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The Spice Mines of Kessel

Tarrian Skywalker

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Zalis turned around with sudden commotion from Eddo and then the random shot by Jervous near his ship. The Nautolan never once made a move for either of his weapons, but instead frowned directly at both Eddo and Jervous.


"Guys, it's just a lackey. No need to get all hyped up about it."


Zalis himself could now smell the familiar scent of Kaldena. Upon it, her image came into his mind. He couldn't help but admire her body, yet he knew that she wouldn't make a trip to Kessel herself, as she was Dordjobba's main vice... Or so he presumed of her. No one would make such a deal with smugglers without being a top vice in a Hutt's squire. No, her scent was here for a reason, and maybe the lackey was tied into it somehow. He could find out once they found the cargo that they needed.


Zalis then continued to walk on, making his way into the main facility. Luck would have it that Nurax happened to be walking by as he entered and saw him.


"Nurax you old bum, three years pass without a comm sent my way?"


"Zalis, I always knew I would see your ugly face again! You know better then to expect something from me unless money is involved."


Zalis took time to embrace his old friend. Once they broke their embrace, he lifted his hand to indicate his two new crew members.


"Nurax, this is Eddo and Jervous, my two new crew members. We're here on assignment from the Hutts."


"Zalis, you know better then to get involved with the Hutts. They would just as soon rat you out to save their own slimy backs."


"Tough times call for unexpected moves. I needed the money, they were paying well enough for me and a crew."


Zalis raised his eyebrow, hinting to Nurax that they were here to get his help in finding their cargo. It was an old signal to say such a thing without saying it. The two had come up with it during Nurax's smuggling days back when he owned the Star's End. The Star's End was an old 3-Z light freighter that Nurax had own so many years back. It was destroyed during one of their smuggling missions, which ended to him retiring to Kessel. Part of Zalis believed that is Nurax had managed to salvage the ship, he would still be at it.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Jaerahn watched closely through the long articulated barrel of his sniper rifle, steel-sighting it with one eye closed and the other trained on his target. He could see the Nautolan and a Nikto whom he'd seen a few times chatting.


He watched their discourse and kept a keen watch on the others as well, but something was a little off.


The entire crew seemed a bit put off or, in some ways, a bit delayed. It didn't seem like they wanted to move quickly or make any headway on their job just yet and although this may have seemed like a good start to them, Jaerahn was getting a little bored.


He had to slide the sensation off and get back to the task at hand though. He had to stay focused and... BBEEEEEP!


Gorramit! What now?!


Jaerahn thought to himself as he shuffled around for his comm. He didn't worry about his quarries hearing him because he was a good two miles away, but the fact that we was receiving a call on the job didn't usually bode well.


"What's up Darlin?" Jaerahn said, staring a familiar red face down through the channel.

"It's Dordjooba, he's summoned us together for an emergency meeting and he needs all permanent staff here pronto." Kaldena said softly, because she always tried to be considerate when it came to his job. Afterall, being an espionage agent usually required stealth, and although some announcements needed to be made, she understood how the job was handled and was there for more appreciated for it.

This call however, changed things.


"Intrestin, what does the slug want? Don't he know I'm on the clock?" Jaerahn said, stroking the hair on his beard and sitting back in the crux of his sniper's nest.


Kaldena's expression was always a little spicy, but this time her pallor was a little less than luminous. Something about this situation seemed threatening and the sight of Kaldena with the willies gave Jaerahn cause to be just a tad bit nervous.


"The only one he has dismissed for the meeting is Vlahjik, but that lizard feels more at home on Tatooine than anywhere else anyhow. No, he needs you on Nar Shadaa, now."

Jaerahn reluctantly acknowledged the order and began piecing up his sniper rifle, pushing each segment into an ornate carrying case and wrapping it up for the journey to his ship.


"Righto, I"ll be right there. Should I change into sumthin more casual? Or is this a serious issue? You look like you seen ah ghost."

Kaldena stifled half a chuckle as if it would hurt her to laugh, but ignored his comment and hung up the comm.


Jaerahn was a little put off by the sudden blackout, but was interested nonetheless in what was going on. So, he grabbed up his case, said one last goodbye to the smuggler crew from two miles away and hopped into his medium freighter, setting course for Nar Shadaa.

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((OOC: Internet has been down since a week from last Thursday, so I haven't yet found a viable substitute to upload the post. It is still a bit wonky in the building I live and won't be really repaired till perhaps Wednesday. So its not just a trio of Smugglers dragging their feet. Also I know little of Kessel or Spice so bear with me if I am wrong, I was hoping for Zalis or Dordjooba to give me more to go off of. No offense Zalis for Nurax I thought it might speed up the story and I noticed Kitt has a lot to work with now. I will stop if you would want me to.))


I saw the two smugglers exchange glances and Nurax spun around leading us to the large durasteel door behind. Immediately a security eye popped out of a socket in the door. It gibbered on in Huttese sweeping its eye back and forth getting on a good look at each of us; it recognized Zalis.


”œThere with me, they are Dordjooba's new spice runners. Now let us in, Dordjooba hates doddlers!”


Listen to Yoda, any more, you should not.
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((I hope this has met the Three day requirement to aviod double posting, i am just getting bored.))


Data streamed in through TX's digital internal governing interface. In 52.013 centimeters he would complete his 65 patrol route around the interior walk ways of the Serendipity, all the while keep his auditory sensors at their most sensitive. His master had requested he do such, however it peiqued the droids curiosity, ”˜'Why?''


This was unuasal for a droid to possess such an organic ability, but with the myriad of questions flying across his mind this one never captivated his attention. He had been fortunate that this selfawareness had spawn rather than the usual behavoiral cortex meltdown similar models experienced while in service.


Through out the duration of his patrol he used his interal governing interface recycling and intergration software to refine the crude and rudmentry patrol program that his master spent hours splicing and butchering code to put together. He wasn't attached to his master although ”˜felt' a hint of ”˜apperciation'? If the vocabulary data banks proved helpful at all. Though he himself could never actually create or make new programs, he could only develop the ones he already posses; this had been apartent in the days and years of service to Utilicorp of Telos, before the mass shut down.


Utilicorp of Telos was not his original owner, he was property and first activated by a small shipping enterprise that bought him at a bargin deal. TX's were notorious for behavorial cortex problems, but could be remedied by presistant memory wipes; this issue was not sovled till his producer was bought out by a large ship construction firm and model 192 was the first with the updated and opperational behavior cortexes. He on the other had cost to much to wipe and along with the decline of the economy in that sector the short lived enterprise went bankrupt and liquidated their holdings.


Utilicorp of Telos purchased him because of their need to cut costs, the CFO of the corporation believed they would able to meet the energy needs of Telos and still make a confident quarterly statement they should replace their few well crafted labor droids with numerous standard labor droids, since they could be easily replaced and work more. This concept was approved and Utilicorp swapped out its stache of Good droids for a army of mediocre droids; then selected TX for its alloy composite make up, glancing over the droids behavoir meltdowns they were purchased wholesale. The techinicians felt confident that they would be able to manage the TX's with ease since the means of wiping at Utilicorp were already established.


TX 138: Serial Number (original) X2134000109092 had a bring future before him and a steady job, something he loved. Of course being proprety he never got paid but it brought him ”˜delight'? Yes! Delight to proform a repeatisious act at peak effiency. He was fortunate to posess his peculiar behavior before entering the service of Utilicorp, because he understood that wiping was the organic equivalent to dying.


Being an inventive droid with a sparky spirit he was able to circumvent the wiping process. Every droid was given a serial code chip that would be fastned to the exterior of their chasis, they had routine inspections and wipes that they must fufill. Each time it was his turn, he would arrive at the matianence facility early, then wait for a newly wiped droid to exit, since most TX models look the same and were painted the same scheme the technicians would not take notice when he would switch serial code chips.


This worked flawlessly since he was able to continue his delightful task, he was considered wiped and could continue to work and the ones wearing his badge would be ushered back to be inspected and give a good report that he was fully functional. Until the most unfortunate ”˜accident' that would bring an end to Utilicorp and land him in a used droid bazaar in the streets of Nar Shadaa.


Listen to Yoda, any more, you should not.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Zalis spent the next few day working on getting the needed shipment ready for delivery on Nar Shaddaa. During this time, she managed to not see Eddo, which made her wonder what happened to the big cat. Jervous on the other hand was seen randomly throughout to process, but never really committed to working the deal. She found it weird that such characters would willing join up with a smuggler, let alone drop all interest upon after getting a job. Not like it mattered. If either one did drop out, she would simply use their share to get herself more booze or man. It was a simple pleasure that most smugglers and mercenaries would rather not enjoy with their credits, but Zalis found extreme pleasure in such things, and so that's where her money always went.


After two days had passed, Zalis had finished up all of the work and managed to get the deal done and secure. Her old friend Nurax managed to get her the needed spice for the Hutt, and then some. It took some resources to get in unnoticed from the manifest, but Zalis was willing to make a down payment on it, as she figured that the Hutt would pay handsomely for the added bonus. Upon finishing and getting everything into the secured holds on the Serendipity, she spotted Jervous walking back into a crew hold, but Eddo was nowhere to be seen. She shrugged it off and decided that Eddo knew when they were taking off, as she did send out a message. Walking up to the cockpit and warming the engines and then lifted off for Nar Shaddaa and payment for the precious cargo.


((Jervous, if you're still RPing with me, post when you can on Nar Shaddaa. If not, I'll assume you got off.))


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  • 8 years later...

Swift Justice emerged out of hyperspace near the final marker for the Kessel run. Vulios quickly moved and engaged the sensor mask as the ship slowly began to move in a stalking position over the exit marker. “If you’re information is correct, the Mute Decree should be coming out of the channel shortly. Prepare yourselves for boarding…” Tros, who was standing behind Vulios simply gave a quick pat on the shoulder and then turned and left the cockpit. Walking out, he looked to Vrax, who had already moved the majority of the small crew towards the airspace lock on the port side of the ship. “We’ll wait on the outside until Vulios disables the ship.” It wasn’t really and order or suggestion to Tros, but more of a statement of the best move. There wasn’t a point in saying anything, so he nodded his head and allowed for the team to start slowly moving out of the airspace hatch. 


As he stood and waited his turn to go out the hatch, he could feel the anticipation begin to arise within him. There was a thrill about this contract they picked up. Normally his time working contracts were always alone. To do so alongside his vode seemed somewhat more important and exciting. He took a final look back at the cockpit, which was now sealed off leaving Vulious alone to be to backup if needed. The cold air was rushing still into the ship, which felt relaxing against the face. Even with his buy’ce sealed, the coldness could still be felt within, and it was enough to remind him that death was always waiting for him to mess up. Today wouldn’t be one of those days either. He had a group to lead, and a job to collect on. With that fact secured tightly within his mind, he allowed himself to climb out of the hatch. 


He took a look around to see a few flashes of something from within the Maw, but since it wasn’t his first time to this sector, he shrugged it off and moved towards the front of his vode, whom were all gathering and preparing for the Mute Decree to show up. From his angle, which was now near the top of the cockpit of his own ship, he could see the marker for the channel to Kessel, which was below him. It meant that Vulouis had put them in the correct position to take the Mute Decree by surprise. As if on cue, the Baleen-class heavy freighter shot itself out of the channel moving at a slow pace, clearly on the lookout for any capital ships that may try to enforce laws. The slow movement made it easy prey for the Mandalorian band, as Vulious at the helm of the Swift Justice opened up fire of ION blasts towards the large freighter, quickly disabling it. 


Tros knew that was the cue for them. He jumped off the ship’s hull and activated his jetpack and began to move towards the disabled freighter. He couldn’t really hear anyone else and their movements, but within his HUD, he could make out the blips of their movements, which indicated they had followed without any hesitation. Turning off his jetpack and letting his feet hit the hull with a thud, he quickly spun around to look at Bex, who already knew what his role was. He began to bend down and cut through the hull of the ship’s airlock hatch to make entry easy for the group. As he did, Tros activated his commlink to the rest of the crew. “Secure the crew first, then we’ll take the goods with us back.”


There were clicks as acknowledgement given as Tros turned around and drew both of his DE-10 blaster pistols only to have Bex fling open the hatch. Tros wanted to be the leader who would lead by example, so he was quick to jump through. Gravity on the ship was working but made the jump down difficult, as it was counteractive against the void of space. As his feet hit, the red flashing lights and alarms were already blaring that the ship had a breach. He had to move quickly to gain entry, so he ran to the panel at the nearest door and waited for the rest of the crew to make it in. Upon the last one, Bex landing on the floor, Tros hit the panel to close the airspace hatch and to seal the room. Upon doing so, some of the alarms shut off. “We’ll have to move quickly. They’re most likely armed and ready for us.” Vrax opened the main door into Mute Decree and the crew quickly fanned out. 


Tros allowed for his HUD to remain as the main part of him tracking things, as it was picking up heat signatures, which was telling him where the majority of the crew were at and where they were preparing for gun fights. This would be the beginning of where names would be made famous.


Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.


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  • 2 weeks later...

The sudden shift of the ship beneath my feet signalled our exit from hyperspace as the rest of the men began the final turning of their armor and weapons check, myself sitting only in silence as we awaited the rest of our orders. So much had changed since I began running with my fellow 'vod, from our shortly live crusade until now where I follow Mandalore's second in command into the unknown, questions about Kad Ha'rangir and his purpose filling my thoughts for the most part. I tightly gripped my blade and slammed into the metal near my leg in disappointment and despite, one of my fellow 'vod tossing me a helm mumbling "You're going to need it." as I looked up. Tearing my blade from the metal, I rose and placed the buy'ce upon my head, sealing it tightly. It was time to act and I needed to get my game face one.


I was growing accustomed to being in the openness of space, feeling its pressure against my form, the weightlessness of its atmosphere and how to maneuver myself within it. So when I positioned myself in weight, it felt almost as if it was second nature to me, like I've done it all my life. And in a sense, it was a tad bit freeing in a sense as we watched the target move into position and our gunner disable it. Without a second thought, we lept forward, some using proposition to make the leap, others like myself allowing our own momentum to glide us into place as the next stage began.


Like blocks lined and tipping in a row, we responded to Tros' comm, whether in voice or in agreeing nod as we went down the line and as soon as the hatch was open, we made our move. But even beneath the buy'ce I was wearing, the noise of the klaxons and alarms tore at my hearing as we settled in, and once the airlock was sealed, I tossed the blasted thing aside. This was why I hated helms, and I'd rather much be deaf than blind at moments like this.


Blades in hand, my blinded gaze shifting about, I followed closely behind Tros as we began to fan out. 


Formally Known as Hunter Of Shadows/Dark

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  • 3 weeks later...

Movement from everyone on his team seemed to flow rather quickly and silently. No one held any orders though to kill on sight, so Tros figured he wouldn’t hear much blaster fire anyways. He was also aware that in the fanning out, Canderous remained close to him. Within his own mind, he believed that maybe it was due to the fact that both were broken in some form. But such a trivial thought didn’t have a place to be occupied during this time, so he pushed it aside. 

Turning the corner, a crew member was working at a console trying to find a way to restore power or systems to the downed ship. Using every muscle he had, he raced forward and used his left hand to drive the poor man’s face into the screen. His head struck it hard, cracking the screen to be completely unreadable immediately. Even with lights down, his HUD gave enough light to the situation to show him that he had successfully cracked the man’s skull, and it was now bleeding out on the floor. Tros leaned down and observed the man’s uniform for a quick second and then stood up. Using his comm system within his buy’ce. “Heads up team, the crew has ranks. We need the upper crewman alive. Better to take everyone into the main hold- alive.”


Tros turned towards Canderous, whom he knew was standing near him and gave a quick nod of his head. “We need the systems up to go through the cargo and fetch what we need.” He then used his foot to move the body for more movement for the two. He put his own blasters away and leaned down to rip off some of the hull plating to allow for him to begin to rewire the system. As he did, he sued the HUD comm system again, but this time only this time directly to Vrax. “Vrax, have Bex begin to setup containment protocol, use strill methods.” He quickly shut off the comm system and began to work hard on getting the systems of Mute Decree back up and running. It didn’t take him terribly too long. He was getting updates throughout the process, which also included having Bex bitch about some systems were not as identifiable as others. 


After about four minutes and thirteen seconds, Tros finally rewired the system to get all of the systems back up. Standing back up, he looked down at the man, whose own blood was spilling everywhere, causing a massive mess. He slowly began to walk towards the main hold, as he already received word that all of the crew had been rounded up. As he walked in, there was about twelve crew members all knelling down in a circle. All of their hands were bound and their mouths gaged from being able to speak- all except one. Tros recognized him from the contract as the captain, red skin and all. Bontin. He slowly walked to him and bent himself down to be eye to eye with the Zeltron and the two locked eyes. He was the only one who did not have his mouth gaged. 


“Stealing from me will have the wrath of Zann Consortium fall upon you Mandalorian!” The Zeltron then spit on Tros. All he could do was look down ever so slightly at the spit and then picked his head back up to Bontin. “Well you see… that’s the thing. Zann Consortium has hired us to handle you. While you may have been a good smuggler for them, your own greed has caught their attention.” Almost as soon as he finished the words, Monilar – one of his own crew walked in and practically shouted. “al’verde- both Spice and Coaxium have been located. Bex is finished as well.” At the very sound of the words had Bontin swallow hard. Tros then stood up, as there was nothing left for him to say to the Zeltron. 


Vrax walked up and whispered to Tros. “Remember reputation.” It was a soft reminder for Tros of what he needed to do next. His head slowly moved over all of the crew, taking each one in slowly as he figured out his next move. After a good long 11.5 seconds passed, he lifted a finger and pointed towards the youngest crew member. “Him.” As if on cue, Vrax grabbed the collar of the boy and began to drag him towards the escape pod. Tros slowly followed and stopped upon Vrax throwing the boy in the pod. After he did, he handed Tros the distress signal. He then bent down again and stared at the small device. “If you are found…” Tros then tossed the device into the pod and then with his other hand produced a small token. It held the mark of the Mandalorain wolf, which also was upon Tros’ own left pauldron. “… Seek out the Wolf.” He then stood up and drew one of his blasters and shot the bindings that held the boys hands together. After the shot made contact, Vrax had the pod launch into space. 


Turning around, the rest of the crew that remained began to stir. Taking a small inhale of breath with his nose, he turned towards Vrax. “Get everything on our ship. You have two minutes to have everyone off this ship.” “So, you’re just going to leave us here to be found by someone who might be wandering?!...” Tros now slowly turned to look directly at the face of Bontin and began to walk towards him. No one else remained still, as his own crew understood what was at stake. Standing about a good 3 feet from him, Bex entered the room and quickly passed him a small device and walked out of the room to join the rest of Mandalorian crew. Tros never once looked at the device. 


“…No. I’m going to give you a chance to survive.” He now looked down at the device and entered something on it before tossing it into a room that was just off the main hold. “3 Minutes. This ship is rigged to blow. If you can get to the control- you can stop it and survive. Otherwise…” He let his words hang as he began to walk away towards the door and quickly shut it. After it shut, he used his flamethrower to seal the door. After he could tell it did indeed melt slightly- he turned his flamethrower off and walked out of the room towards the hatch that Vulios had docked the Swift Justice at. 


After about 45 seconds had passed, Tros was in the cockpit standing over Vulios as they were beginning to pull away from the Mute Decree. Tros stared at the ship for a moment before barking out his orders. “Use strill protocol now.” As he finished his words, he took his buy’ce off as Vulios opened fire on the fuel containers placed on the hull of the Mute Decree by Bex. The explosions began as Tros watched his own eyes as the ship quickly became no more…


Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.


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Darkness was a state I had been used to my entire life, most of which I had spent hunting it rather than embracing it. So as we made our ways in different directions, newly self appointed Dar'Manda of Kad Ha'rangir that I had become, I embraced what I walked among and within. Turning the corner behind Tros, my blades at the ready and my forward finger guiding their aim, I stood back as Tros acted, remaining a silent observer as the events unfolded.


Since my time coming into the fold of the Crusaders, my part had grown from warrior to historian, blinded eyes set to record the events of what I saw and preach the words of Kad Ha'rangir. And even now, under Tros, my role had not waivered. If this was what I was meant to be, then so it would be. As the crew member's head was bashing in, I quickly scanned our local vicinity and made sure we remained unnoticed as Tros went about his duty. Satisfied, I nodded in return to Tros. Bending down, I reached my gloved hand outward and touched the crimson liquid as it spilled out upon the floor, running it across my fingers and marking my face between my eyebrows with its thick texture in the name of my beloved Lord.


As the power to the ship returned, we made our way to where the others began to gather, our path stained by the bloody footprints we left in our wake as we reached the others and the crewmen they had rounded up. As Tros and what appeared to be their leader passed words, I paced behind the lot ever so slowly, the blades within my hands clinched tightly, ready to pounce. And I almost did when the Zeltron spat upon Tros. Yet, I remained calm, watching and recording what I saw mentally as Monilar came in with great news. Then I watched as Tros and Vrax dragged off one of the members and a blaster shot soon resounded the quarters. I sheathed my weapons as the others began to move, and soon we all departed for the cargo we had came for.


After the cargo was loaded, and Tros was back aboard, the ship soon shook with ferocity. I looked about amongst the others as cheerful grins conquered their faces and strangely enough my own. Within moments after, I found myself alone, kneeling within the cargo hold of the ship as I prayed in silence to Kad Ha'rangir, praising him for his rescuing of more infidels through his cleansing fire. No matter where my path led me, I was glad that his guiding hand was there to show us the way of his truth.


Formally Known as Hunter Of Shadows/Dark

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  • 11 months later...

“Ahh The Maw,” spoke the slimy green head Shim of the duo Shimsinblimp as they dropped out of hyperspace within galactic spitting distance of the monstrous anomaly, “Like the galaxy took the biggest spice hit in history. We’ll skirt it and try to keep the element of surprise on our side” 

“If, of course, it doesn’t distort our insides and give us all cases of space madness whilst slowly tearing apart our ships and bodies over the next million years” Blimp added with a dark twisted smile that exuded all too much pleasure at the thought.


The battle-worn GR-75 was nothing spectacular to behold, a transport like countless others plying the hyperlanes. Inside, the hold was spacious and roomy with piles of gear scattered about in a haphazard manner. Still, of the 40 pirates, for whet else could one call such a lawless band of miscreants, aboard to Tortuga things were as orderly as one could expect. Haphazard to the untrained eye, but carefully organized none-the-less. Built to hold copious amounts of cargo and armored enough to drop a load of battle hardened soldiers or mech in the midst of a chaotic battlefield, the Tortuga was a beast of burden and a beast of war. Still, that was only one of the reasons Shimsinblimp had contacted the self-proclaimed Raiders of The Reach. The ruthless band of cutthroats had also been employed by the Hutts and the Troig had worked with them before. That was before they parted ways after the fall of Nar Shaddaa, but relations remained warm when spice and treasure were on the table. Truth be told, the Troig had worked hand in hand for years with the ruthless pirates. Had he not ventured out on his own, they had a place for him. So when he had come calling, the Raiders knew the prize was worth the risk.


Angling their trajectory towards the misshapen prison world, the Tortuga plowed towards the inevitable. A safe haven from which to carry out their nefarious deeds and unmapped tunnels guarded by terrifying energy spiders was a perfect place to store the ill gotten gains.


Approaching high orbit the massive transport creaked as it began to slow. Shimsinblimp turned to face Nok and Xar. Twisted smiles of glee painted on each of his faces. Smiles that glittered darkly in his four eyes. “Time to suit up.” Blimp chuckled before making his way out of the cramped bridge leaving the pilot and copilot to man the ship; Kessel filling the viewscreen. “For those of you uncomfortable with high velocity orbital entry, or scared of burning up, The Lady Legionnaire is in the back of the hold to ferry the more delicate of you.”  

The Skipspray blastboat sat in the shadowy rear of the hold, fit for deployment only if the entire hold was opened to the vacuum of space. The hold was a flurry of activity as some of the filthiest most vile scum to trod the universe talked softly amongst themselves as they donned their pressure suits and checked their weapons.


Two nondescript suits had been set aside for Nok and Xar, albeit well worn and patched with a single blaster rifle lying atop the pile. The state of the gear combined with the distrustful glances and general refusal to make small talk with the outsiders spoke clearly of the pirates’ thoughts of the retinue of non-affiliates.  Of the 40 spacers aboard the ship, 10 each were assigned to accompany each Nok, Xar, and Shimsinblimp. 

Their first targets: the few still functional satellites in orbit above the so-called-city of Kessendra. The derelict military outpost served as the de-facto capital of the planet by means of being the only truly established settlement of non indentured servants or slaves. Once the command of occupying forces that sought to control the world and with it the precious control of the bulk of the spice market, the roughshod town stood as a testament to the voracity of the world and it’s small unwilling population, a testament to the iron imposition of greed upon others. They would be heading there as soon as the satellites were disabled. From there they could shut down any planetary defenses and enable Nok Morliss’ shadowy allies to descend upon the world en masse. 

Sliding into his customized dropsuit, Shimsinblimp looked like a deep sea mine with his four arms, two heads and legs and one tail, and was just as deadly. Clasping the EMP launcher to his chest, Shimsinblimp turned to survey the armored sentinels who stood at the ready. All that was needed now, was for the chosen few to board The Lady Legionnaire and they would be off. Those in the blast boat would circle the world in an expanding spiral taking out more and more orbital threats whilst also providing surveillance alongside the Tortuga for any incoming unfriendlies.


Once everyone was settled, Shimsinblimp offered a brief statement, “Gentlemen and vermin alike. Glory and riches await!” Several muffled shouts of praise and aggression reverberated out of the armor-enclosed suits to fill the hold.


With that, Shimsinblimp slammed a fist into the large red button behind him, signaling the emergency hold override. In mere moments, the entire hold would be voided into the vacuum of space.


The takeover had begun!

Edited by Leena Kil
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6 hours earlier. Aboard The Bleeding Edge


"And finalized." The voice coming over the comm was deep, clipped, and refined. While Nok could not see the hologram, he was familiar enough with the current Darth Sovros' reputation to pay careful attention to every word said.


"Thank you Uncle." This voice, coming from the comm on Nok's left, was feminine and radiated the naked ruthlessness of the privileged.


Darth Zayira. Niece of Darth Sovros. Nok Morliss' newest business partner.


"And the terms of the contract are understood by both sides?" Sovros asked, sounding almost bored. "We wouldn't want misunderstandings clouding up this deal, assuming success." His tone remained level, but Nok imagined Darth Zayira shivered with him at the implied meaning. As the witness to the contract, Darth Sovros would take it upon himself to hunt down and destroy any party who violated the agreement. Even his own family. Perhaps especially then.


"Of course Uncle." Nok thought he caught a slight tremor in her voice. "You understand, neimoidian, that my ships won't jump until we have confirmation that the defenses are down?"


Nok took a moment to collect himself before responding. "Yes. Just keep your forces in the nebula and wait for our signal."


There was silence, and even over the hologram Nok imagined he could feel Darth Zayira's glare.


"Don't waste my time...apprentice. House Sovros-" She stopped midsentence. Nok didn't know what Darth Sovros was doing, but it was apparently enough to make the haughty noble back down.


There was a blip as Darth Zayira disconnected, leaving Nok alone with the infamous Darth Sovros.


"...One chance neimoidian." Then another blip, and Nok was alone.


Present, aboard The Tortuga


Nok slipped the last latch shut, the hiss of the suit pressurizing distracting him from the resentment and nervousness of the men around him swirling through the enclosed space.


This is it.


As the void of space opened up, Nok sensed something was ending for him. This was the true end of his time hiding in the shadows, living off the margins.


He jumped out.


The small voice from Mon Cal, from the deepest, scarred parts of his mind, spoke up then.


Dead in the cold and dark.

Edited by Nok Morliss
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They came shrieking out of hyperspace, entranced by their time in the dancing stars. Terra was at their head, laid back upon the saddle of the night-black basilisk, her eyes swimming as the stars stopped their cavorting to fall back into their reality. Her pupils stayed dilated, the rush of the bersærkergang still upon her. The kiss of the gods. She let out a singular howl, rising in her saddle and Hades began its arrhythmic dance of death.


Basilisks were like starfighters in their abilities, but their tactics were far more irregular. Hades moved through the stars like a spasmodic hyped on phetaril, making a capricious approach of swirling loops and sideways thrusts. Terra screeched again, shattering her own ears the lights of her HUD turning into irregular waves of iridescence. In her mind she was the jai'galaar itself, the murderous shriek-hawk that defined the Deathwatch.


The work of hyoscyamus niger upon her physiology was truly delightful.


The cry was picked up by Arna and Longkra’s AI, Setapoite emitting a static-borne wail into the vacuum of space. Harjav, Aorn and Bas’ar added their gravelly voices to the din. Hades burst all their voices into the all-com, adding his own screech to bring the warcry to its fullest. It was a sound that had not been heard since the fall of Coruscant and the high tide of the Mandalorian Crusade.


There was a hail, the sound of a young man’s panic-laced voice.


“Unidentified spacecraft”


A yellow highlight appeared on her HUD, marking an old retrofit RX4 patrol craft that angled its route towards the swarming Basilisks. It stood them and the surface of the spice-world. Terra breathed in, her eyes growing wider. She could smell the fear. Her teeth ground sparks onto her tongue.


“This is patrol ship HDV Garrote. You are not showing any transponder code, please identify.”


Hades pitched into a spiral, the matte-black metal giving off little visual. Green lightning filled Terra’s vision as the Basilisk spiraled closer, the warning shots becoming a panicked from Garrote’s twin-turbolasers. Her attack from waited until predetor and prey were close enough that escape was impossible. Terra could see the shocked faces of the pilots through the viewscreen as the duel Taim & Bak KX5 laser cannons spoke, lancing through shields like they were made of bantha-butter to peel away the hull beneath. The cannons did not stop until the ship was in glowing pieces.


Terra’s wild eyes turned to the planet below.



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To the Death...

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In the dark expanse of lonely space above the spice laced asteroid, four formations of distinct starfighters dropped out of hyperspace. First came the My’til snubfighters, their blue ensign upon a while field marking them firmly within the Hapan Royal Navy. Or at least a cadet branch of that elusive and hidden empire. This vanguard streamed through kilometers of space, spread out firmly into a cordon that screened the next three formations. Next came the X-Wings, the classic workhorse of the Rebel Alliance, painted in familiar grey and blue. Their ensign showed the glowing crescent moon of Carida, marking them as a mixed Imperial and Rebel Flight crew, or more particularly the elite fighter squadron Templar. 


Next came the E-wings, a new model of craft, and one heavily plagued with technical woes that had persisted in the last decade of development. These were painted similarly to the Templars, grey and light blue, representing the dark cliffs and barren sky of Precopia. Though the insignia that slashed across their wings marked them as firm royalists of the Taipani Princedoms. The twin crowns on a pale field of fleur-de-lis. And lastly came the Javelin fighterbombers, their dark, heavy-burdened wings bearing the phoenix of the Rebel Alliance in a bright pale gold. 


But all the pilots, either Hapan, Taipan, or Rebel, were left shocked by what they saw. Or to be more precise, what they did not see. No Star Destroyers lay before that asteroid. No great massed fleet, no armada, not even a picket ship. Had Rebel intelligence failed even this most simple task? 


Comm chatter erupted from one end of the squadron to the next until they were quieted by Beth’s hissed orders. 


“Keep an eye out, slow advance, this could be a trap. Templars we are going to begin our close inspection of the planet surface. Sith forces could simply not be on station yet. Comms dark, Sensors dark. Lets not trip this trap yet.” 


And so with a push of a foot against the rudder pedal, the X-wing, followed by her squadron began its long run to Kessel’s surface. Before long, a blossoming blip of fire and smoke in her forward viewscreen told her that something had stirred up the locals. 


“Sensors on, X-Foils into attack positions.” 


And instantly the display board behind the rudder yoke blared to life, and the low whistle from her astromech told her that there was an active dogfight ahead. One that apparently, the locals had just lost handily to the Mandalorians Rebel Command had dispatched. And so the X-wings would follow in their wake. 


“Dimitri, get me a lock on that other IPV. Lets give the bucketheads some cover.”


Defang the planet. Clear the way for the heavy fighterbombers. 


It was just like the long practise runs on Nar Shaddaa. Except this was no practise, and those weren't drone ships. The beeping of her torpedo lock became a constant thrum and she let loose a pair of brilliant white torpedoes that snatched the life out of the local militia IPV with an explosion of energy, burning fuel, and flailing bodies. 


But still no sign of the Sith.

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Rebel Alliance Fleet Command - Lieutenant

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Xar sighed in annoyance among the pirates. This was not what he was hoping for. When Nok said he had forces ready with the Troig, he expected something a bit better. Something higher class, like combat droids, or highly trained assassins and sabeteours. Not a rag-tag band of merry, most likely inebriated, idiots. 

“Nok, you better come through on this next payment, or so help us, we will never do another one of these...jobs.” Xar grumbled to the Neimodian next to him. It was a hollow threat though. Nok had paid handsomely already before, and Xar didn’t suspect that would end after today. But did the Neimodian have to be so suicidal? The sewers on Mon Cal were bad enough. This…this was something else entirely.

A honking noise distracted the Hunter-Trainer droid. His Water Beetle Drones, Mozo and Char, cocking their stun blasters were attempting to draw it’s master’s attention to the riff-raff around him. The countless potential threats were driving them insane. 


“Shush you two. They are friendly...for now. Now reattach. It’s nearly time.” 

At Xar’s command, Mozo went to Xar’s front and Char to his back. Xar held his arms out sideways to give the two drones better access. Small gravity locks clicked in place as the drones quickly turned sideways and embedded themselves. A last minute addition Vizier had made before Xar left Mon Cal. While the blue color scheme of the drones didn’t match his green, and their awkward shapes weighed him down slightly, it was a useful tool in this mission. True, they couldn’t shoot while in this mode, but it was still useful. Xar could now carry his drones when he would be hopelessly uncatchable at their normal speeds. Such as when dropping out of a spaceship and freefalling towards a planet. 

“Time to suit up” one of the Troig’s heads said. Xar didn’t know which one, nor did he care. He was just glad to get to work finally. 
Xar didn’t put on the suit that was offered. As a droid, the exposure of space wasn’t a worry. Atmospheric re-entry could be a bit harmful, but Xar calculated that, while he would get singed, he would survive. Besides, his first target was in space. 

With the hold override activated, a cheer went up amongst the pirates who were partnered with Xar. Mozo and Char seemed to take this as a good sign and honked in praise as well. Xar would have rolled his eyes if he could while leaping out of the ship. He was surrounded by lessers. 


Xar’s target was in sight. A large, barely working satellite almost in the planet’s manufactured atmosphere. Built as a communications array between this planet and others, it stood as a testament of being able to last despite years and years of neglect. Parts of the hull were made from Phrik even. Normal blaster fire would've ineffective against it. Xar’s mission was simple: Destroy it so that the planet below couldn’t radio for help. 

The band crashed into the satellite with ease. The pirates activated their magnetic boots to avoid falling off while Xar himself simply armed his claws and grabbed on to a piece of the hull.

“Get to work you stupid mynocks! We don’t have all day for this!” Xar barked out. The pirates grumbled but obeyed, arming and attaching detonators. Ten would be enough, especially if they placed them at the...

An explosion of noise caught everyone’s attention. Xar looked up to the sky where he had just came from. 

“What in the maker are those?!?”

Ships were descending on the planet. No, they were beasts! Xar shook his head. Those were beasts but also machines. With riders of all things. And following them were actual ships.   

Xar looked at the pirates, who were dumbfounded. 

“Get to work you idiots! Don’t let them intimidate you! Move no-”

All hope of keeping the pirates under control was lost. The pirates picked up their weapons and began to open fire at the approaching forces. Xar groaned in annoyance. 

“Idiot lessers...” 

A strafe of fire began on the satellite. Pirates who were next to the shots were blown away. A few smart beings were beginning to jump off the ship and continue their descent to the planet. One particular crazy pirate actually called out his enemies an inappropriate name before getting obliterated.


“Must we do everything ourselves?” Xar lamented. Mozo honked once in agreement.  Char rapidly beeped and honked in laughter. Xar sighed. These two were getting a memory wipe when the mission was done. 

Grabbing one of the last detonators, Xar made a running dash and jumped off the satellite, falling to the planet at a rapidly increasing speed. As the droid jumped off, he armed and chucked the last detonator towards the satellite. Once it would blow up, Xar would then descend to the planet, with the help of his drones of course. All he had to do was release them and let them slow his descent with their own methods of flight. Nothing could go wrong. 

A miscalculation of the detonator's timer ruined that plan. As the explosion occurred, the force shoved the unanticipated Xar forcefully away. With Laser fire around him and an explosion behind him ,Xar was in a world of light and fire. 

The momentum made Xar spin head over feet as the droid tumbled through the dogfighting. Over and over his sensors attempted to recalibrate, in a vain attempt at telling where up was up and where down was down. Xar stretched his arms out, grasping at that slim chance of catching something that he could help slow his fall. A dead pirate. One of those metal beasts with a rider. Anything. 

The possibility of catching a ship with his bare claws were astronomically small. But even so, the chance was there, as the droid was caught on a descending X-Wing’s upper right wing.  With a newfound resolve and a determination that only a droid could muster, Xar clutched on as tightly as possible, pulled as close as he could, and clutched onto the bottom wing with his feet claws. 

“This is much worse then the sewers…” Xar stated to himself. It was bad enough that his entire pirate group failed to listen to him and were now probably dead. Now he would have to replace his claws too. Not to mention he’d have to live with the fact that he owed his circuits to some random pilot. Perhaps he could kill them, as a way of showing thanks. These X-Wings certainly weren't with Nok. 

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The Troig relished in the pull of emptiness on his suited body as he was wretched from the hold into the void of space. His entire body, tensed with excitement, was prepared for the inevitable. Countless times from the comfort of a hold to the void of space; his body knew what to expect. Very soon action was coming. Adrenaline and other endorphins would mingle and the Troig would feel alive. From the void, followed the thrill of conquest.


Of course, all of this was cast aside in the moment as Shimsinblimp righted himself in the void and saw the chaotic approach and din of rebel-aligned star fighters. The spicejacker did not get an exact count, he didn’t need one; the signature X wings, Mandalorian and Hapan vessel were enough. Shimsinblimp knew someone had squealed. His mind flashed immediately to the droid, Xar, it was even easier to milk information from their computerized minds than it was to obtain sensitive  secrets from a spice-starved addict. If not Xar, than had Nok betrayed them? He did not have time to ponder it further; however, there were more pressing needs at hands. First and foremost, he had promised these Raiders of The Reach a conquest, if he did not deliver . . . Shisinblimp shuddered, pushing the unpleasant thought from his minds.


With a thought, Blimp activated his suit-to-suit comms and announced to the crew around them, “Change of plans. Get to the surface and disable defenses and communications. If Morliss has troops en route, we best make sure they get here. Morliss, tell your men to advance.”


Almost in unison nision, the squadron of pirates, criminals, mercenaries, and low-lifes directed themselves towards the planetoid and activated their dropsuit-bound rockets, powering down through the outermost reaches of the thin manmade atmosphere.


Like streaks of light, the dropsuits streaked across the vacant skies of Kessel, meteorites that burned with the intensity of friction. Inside the suits, the temperature was bearable, but uncomfortably warm as the whole of the suits took the brunt of rapid atmospheric descent. Visors had dimmed against the intense brightness of burning air and Shimsinblimp stared onward grins plastered across his faces. This was fun. The danger of it all made it so.


As they neared the surface and the so-called city of Kessendra, with it’s mix of aged, worn military-style buildings and ramshackled lean-tos, and repurposed abandoned and disabled freighters, came into view, Shinsinblimp and company angled their bodies. Against the forces of inertia, gravity, and nature itself, with rocket powered assistance, the band angled their feet towards the rapidly approaching ground. The roar of their rockets drown the area in a cacophony of noise and dust as each raider braced for landing against the rocky packed soil of Kessel’s hub.


Bending his knees with the impact, Shimsinblimp blinked reflexively as if trying to keep the billowing dust out of his eyes.  “Always nice when we don’t splatter like a bantha on the tarmac.” Shim grumbled as he shook out his arms. Blimp just smiled, gripping the grenade launcher to his chest. Plumes of dust clouded the area around them, so much so it made it next to impossible to see their fellow raiders. Even the sensor suite built into the dropsuit was scrambling to catch up and make heads or tails of the residual energy signatures, charged particles, and dust that clouded the air.

Stretching up to his full height, the Troig grimaced. Hard impacts always left one feeling a bit jarred. He would muscle through, keying the comm unit, Blimp called out for a roll call. After determining that all ten raiders had made it planetside relatively unscathed, they were able to locate each other as the brisk wind swept away the billows of dust. Ahead of them by about two city blocks lay their first target, an aged Imperial communications relay station. Even if it was not manned by Imperials anymore, it was they key communications hub to connect Kessel to the galaxy at large. With rebels already here, it seemed, there was no need for them to be calling in any more help.


With an array of weapons amongst the group all held closely or clipped to belts or shoulders after descent, the squad set off at a low trot. The streets were empty as the pale natural light that bathed the world paled further as an upcoming wind / dust storm sent the locals seeking cover, leaving an eerie ghost town feel across the cityscape.



With his EMP launcher held tight, Shimsinblimp lowered his long neck and heads into the fierce wind that was picking up and muscled his way with the others towards the closed double doors of the relay station. Slamming the back of his suit against the wall next to the door, the Troig let out breaths he dis not realize both had been holding. Just out of the wind, he had a moment as his team assembled behind him. Once there and an all good thumbs up was given, Shimsinblimp tried the door. It was unlocked, much to everyone’s surprise.


Pushing the door open, Blimp switched to external comms, his voice radiating from the suit in an unnervingly playful hiss, “Knock knock. Does anyone want to come out and play?”

Edited by Leena Kil
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It was a world of great wealth and the poorest of living conditions, a place that even Remo vaguely treaded unless there was a need. And so came the day for the need. Tatooine had became nothing but a bust for the R3 unit with the lack of Agents willing to task themselves with its rebirth. So instead, he had set its steely photoreceptor outward, rebuilding the Galactic Criminal Organization from scratch. It was then that he heard tales of another's plan to monopolize such riches, and for Remo, that was a complete and unforgivable sin. Not just to those whom worked to toil its soil, but for those who could prosper from unity.


And so he came. Gazing out the front of the ship, Zepex at its helm, the Black Sun's de facto leader gazed with anticipation upon this newest conquest with intrigue and determination. The underworld was his domain, leaving the populace worlds for the major factions to feast and squander upon. But Kessel wasn't such a world to be given so lightly, one with such lifeblood for Criminals and Entrepreneurs everywhere. And now these rogues dared place feet upon what he oversaw? Sacrilege as far as he was concerned. And their payment was due unto him.


Unlike his gathering foes, Remo had prior dealings Kessel, both during his time under the Hutts as well as his time upon his own. So acquiring access and landing was vaguely noticed, not that it mattered. Turning to the hold, Remo blooped as his gaze shifted from the former prison world toward the Operatives he had gathered. A total of Thirty stood before his gaze, steeled forms harvested from former Acolytes of the past, hardened by both life and their perspective rises. As the ship made its landing, each buckled and swayed with the ship, but none faltered or fell, giving hope to this moment.


Like an Eclipse dotting out the sun's Ray's, the Black Sun had came to block out the monopoly of Kessels enterprising wares. The Sith would not claim it, nor would the assaulting Rebels. Only Remo would lay claim this day, as Protectorate and Governor of the Underworld he dreamt of. The rest would leave this world licking their wounds like whipped dogs if his say was final. And if not, then none would have any left to speak of. With a grin, Remo watched as the ship's ramp was laid before him. Today, he was the Hero.

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Silence. Pure, perfect, dead silence. Without his sight, the lifeless void was a great blank as the others spread out away from him in the descent.


So, it jarred him when his comm crackled to life.


On 9/20/2020 at 3:21 PM, Shimsinblimp said:

“Change of plans. Get to the surface and disable defenses and communications. If Morliss has troops en route, we best make sure they get here. Morliss, tell your men to advance.”


Shimsinblimp knew those ships weren't set to arrive until after some of the ground defenses had been cleared and a landing zone was prepared, and there was no way they'd managed that. If Nok changed the plan, House Sovros could declare the contract invalid and leave them all with nothing.


But the troig was also a capable commander and experienced raider.


Nok grimaced, hesitated, then resolutely pressed the switch of the subspace transceiver.



Kelzin H'nabro stared out the viewport of his ship at the roiling nebula.

"Adjusting thrusters to compensate for drift," his first officer muttered from his console, voice bored and listless.


"Kriffing Maw," Kelzin cussed, just as lifelessly. This was the worst part. Waiting.

"Commander, there's still time..."


Kelzin rubbed his forehead. "What are the odds right now?"

"3 to 1 that we get sent home, no combat."

Kelzin could understand the men's reasoning. Half of combat was positioning, advancing and retreating, fleets chasing tails. This was Kessel. Even under the thumbs of criminals, attacking it was...well it was something you just didn't do on a whim, and every crewman here (at least the nobles) could see a cobbled together attack when they were sitting at the helm of one. The commoners...well, they were brainwashed clones. They spoke when spoken to. They thought as they were directed. They didn't really have an opinion on the matter.


But Kezlin knew something his fellow Force-less nobles didn't. He knew his wife.

Darth Zayira, a woman with a vicious streak to match a nexu and an ambition that could out hunger a sarlacc. But more than anything else, she had an insecurity so deep it was swimming around the core of Onderon. No way would she just pull them back, not with her uncle watching. And if Kelzin failed her...well, she had two other husbands, and one of them actually was Force-sensitive.


"Fine. Give me 800 crowns on the long shot. There's going to be a battle, and more than that we're going to be walking on that scummy asteroid in 24 hours."

He saw his first officer shrug as he lazily keyed in his commander's bet. "It's your money...sir."


As if the universe had a sense of humor, the light on Kelzin's console blinked to life. It was a small thing, but every set of shoulders on the bridge of the VT-49 Decimator tensed at the tiny click.


Kelzin grinned.


"We're on."




The nebula parted, and a wedge of ships in tight formation raced out of it. Their sensors parsed the dogfight in front of them even as they became visible to others.


At the head of the formation flew the blade of the tiny fleet. A VT-49 Decimator, the old imperial ship painted green with brilliant gold patterns lining the wings in opulent, overwrought designs. Etched in flowing script, the bow of The Eldest proudly proclaimed its name to the stars.

Less extravagant but matching in green and gold, 4 Guardian-class corvettes spread out on each side of the lead ship, the 8 vessels forming the blades of the arrowhead. Hanging in the center, 5 Sentinel-class landing craft and 2 Gozanti-class carrier corvettes kept pace. The Gozantis each bore a HAVw A5 Juggernaut. The heavy wheeled vehicles bore blaster scars that poorly matched the polished fleet, but looking carefully one might see pilots waiting patiently for the land battle where they would demonstrate their real value.


Completing the advancing force, 20 HH-87 Starhopper fighters screamed out of the concealing gases and fanned out, screening the tiny fleet.



"Sir! Fighters ahead! Counting...X-wings...E-wings...My'tils...Javelins...Still working on the final count sir."

"What? They're already-"

"Sir! They're engaging the Kessel defense forces! And..." The first officer paused as he enlarged the still image of one of the Javelins on his screen, or more to the point, the image of the insignia emblazoned on it.


Kelzin's teeth gritted. "Rebels. Of course."




Kelzin's stance changed. His spine turned to iron. He pointed forward, the image of resolute and commanding.


"Advance! Cover the transports to the landing zone! Anything gets close, you destroy it. Do not pursue. Fighters! Fan out another 100 meters and harry anything that tries to approach. Don't be brave, just keep them off us until we can get these troops on the ground."

The fighter pilots, flash-trained sullustan clones, gave no affirmation, instead simply obeying.

"Sir, we'll be in firing range in 10...9...8"

Kelzin's eyes narrowed.


Well...this may be a challenge.


He smiled.




Nok only had a moment as his own fear illuminated the ground to his peculiar sight before he struck it. He managed to turn it into a half-decent roll, and the clunky suit absorbed the rancor's share of the impact. Unfortunately, it left him bruised, stunned...and on his back.


He struggled, flailing in an inelegant way for almost a minute as his faculties returned to him. He then realized two things.


He wasn't alone.


They weren't Shimsinblimps men.


"Alright drunk spider," one of the men surrounding him, fear and anger pouring off him in equal measure, barked. The other two laughed nervously, and Nok could only assume it was a local joke. "Don't move, or we help you out of that armor with these." He hefted a serious looking blaster rifle in his hand and pointed it at Nok. The other two held their rifles at the ready, but were more focused on checking their surroundings than on Nok.


"Of course, of course," Nok said, voice measured even as his rage, humiliation, and fear mixed inside him into some strange emotional bonfire of indeterminate quality. "I won't move a muscle."

He reached out with the Force. He had one good trick, and while his knives were under the bulky suit, the scumbag guards (weequay he realized) had provided him with the tools he needed.


The blaster rifle of the most distracted guard jerked to one side. With his nerves as thin as paper, he fired out of panicked instinct, and promptly dropped the guard who'd been hovering over Nok to the ground with a scorched hole in his shoulder and a string of Huttese curses. Dumbfounded, he only had a moment to consider as the third guard raised his own blaster at the supposed traitor's head, screaming "Drop your gun or I'll shoot!"


"I...what?" stuttered the befuddled guard.


Nok chuckled. "He asked you." Then he touched the Force again, and the trigger of the third guard's gun pulled back a few hair's breadth, and the second guard collapsed, lifeless and smelling of burnt grey matter.


The third guard wheeled on Nok. "You're doing this!"


"Too late."

The first guard's gun, levitating into the air behind the third guard, went off at Nok's tiny gesture, and the third guard fell silent for good.


"You...you...kriffing...magician!" The first guard, now disarmed and writhing, only managed the fractured sentence through a thick blanket of pain.


"No need to be disrespectful." Nok turned the gun even as he lay, now relaxed, on the ground. It rotated, then fired once...twice...and the guard joined his friends in the Force's final embrace.


A few clicks and Force-propelled pieces of armor later, Nok was free and standing. He grabbed his comm and spoke into it, collected and feeling rejuvenated by the bursts of dark power the violent deaths had released.


"The fleet is on its way. We clear a landing site now. According to my comm's locator...I'm near one of the power relay stations. I should be able to disable one of their shield generators from there. Any assistance would be appreciated, but no matter what we need to clear the guns from this area...or at least blind them somehow."


Nok started walking.

Edited by Nok Morliss
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The high pitched alarm that blared momentarily over the communication headset that was buried in Beth’s ear caused her to wince and she looked at the display panel with a practised eye. 


“Imps!” Came the voice of her wingmate and friend Kailia. That word, Beth knew, was purely instinctive on the Twi’leks’ end, but it still caused her to bite her lip before she could respond in some anti rebel tirade. They were still a mixed unit, and the phraseology of the unit still reflected that. And Kailia was right, these were Sith/Imperial ships that were escorting a group of transports out of the darkness of hyperspace. But to Beth, ‘Imperial’ meant so much more. It was a philosophy, it had meaning, it had tradition. Something that the criminals in the Sith Empire knew nothing about. They had built their new empire on a bedrock of terrorism, mass death, and the destruction of Coruscant. Look at what they had done to precious Carida. The very thought of it made her blood boil.


And now they were here to take spice that could be used to enslave the galaxy. She flipped to an all squadron's frequency, dialing the squadron commanders from all wings. 


“Aérien and Sukhoi-” She addressed the agile My’tils and venerable E-Wings first. “-block any attempt at those transports getting to ground.” The X wing’s yoke vibrated under her gloves and the entire craft slipped sideways for a moment before she was able to regain control. “Tau…” 


But her voice had trailed off as the the X-Wing twitched again, throwing her against the sidewall of the cockpit. A matching screech from her Astromech brought her eyes to her S-foil. And there like a barnacle or a mynock was a massive droid, hanging off the wing. Her mind raced for a solution and a glance at the display board told her that trying to spin the droid off or any crazy maneuver would likely just separate the entire S-Foil from the Xwing. 


“Dimitri, keep your head low.”  


The droid whistled in return as the X-wing jerked violently again as the droid pulled on an aileron pitching the nose of the starfighter down towards the rapidly approaching planetary surface. She cursed and triggered the comm again to her own squadron. But already she knew what the result would be. The X-wing was acting sluggish to her attempts and the entire display board was lighting up a dark crimson red. That damned monster was tearing the starfighter apart! 


There would be no soft glide to the ground. She swallowed the bile that shot up into her throat at the thought of an EV in the thin air of Kessel. Then instinctively ran her hand down her chest, checking her flightstraps and the very light plastoid armour that she wore over the orange flightsuit. She checked the blaster carbine that was in its holster on her flightchair then grabbed the control yoke with both hands to stop the turbulence as they hit the low atmosphere. But there was not much she could do. She spared a glance at the evil looking droid, then clicked on her comms. 


“Templar one going to ground. EV. See you in the mess lads.” 


She didn’t wait to hear the acknowledgements. 


“Dimitri, fly another three seconds in straight glide, then eject too. Okay?” 


The mournful whistle told her his response, and she pulled the lever beside her seat. 


The ejection seat fired right after the micro thrusters in the cockpit’s windscreen fired. Launching the young pilot free of her failing X-Wing before the small boosters in the bottom of the seat took over, slowing her fall as the distant Xwing turned down towards the ground some kilometer below them. She would be on the ground in another thirty seconds. On the dismal surface of Kessel. 


“Spast it.”

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Rebel Alliance Fleet Command - Lieutenant

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At the bottom of the ramp, Remo shifted his photoreceptor around, gauging the potential garrisons laid about Kessendra in preparation for war. No more than a mining town, there was little to none protection for the would be Capital of Kessel. He blooped in disdain, the Elder buildings and security no more than relics of bygone eras. He knew he had a task ahead of him, and such a place made it only harder for the R3 unit. Turning to his men, his binary voice began to groan.


"Master Remo wants you to split into three groups of ten." Zepex translated to the Operatives. "Head North, East, and West. Master Remo and I will head to the South. Find worthy fortifications and start patrols of the immediate areas. When the enemy is sighted, comm in."


With that, the groups departed. Zepex turned to Remo with a concerned tone in his voice as he questioned Remo's orders, to which the R3 ignored. It wasn't the most solid of plans, and the group to encounter the enemy first would likely not survive. But he needed to gain a hold here for future business ventures, and the local businesses needed the Black Sun as much as the Black Sun needed them. Pivoting, Remo headed south toward the closest power relay stations. It's likely the enemy would hit the stations first, causing mass blackouts and rendering the atmosphere chaotic.


It wouldn't take long for them to close the gap between he and the first enemies.


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“What? Whose there? This is a restricted ar . . . Whoa now!”  came the response and sudden shock as the technician answered the call at the door to be faced by a fluid-like stream of goons pouring into the entry hallway of the communications relay station. A blaster fired and there was a cut off cry followed by a body tumbling to the floor.


The team spread through the entire facility dropping any body that crossed their paths. The building was not that large. In minutes, the entire facility was purged of anyone save for the raiders. The whole thing was done without a word. Professionalism came in many forms. Even criminals and murderers could be professional. All it took was a personal detachment, a bit of skill, and the willpower to want to do the best job possible.


Nodding his head, Blimp keyed his mic, “Set charges and rendezvous out front in two.”  
Staring down at the control panel in front of him, Shim began to read the scrolling display. Nothing listed indicated any distress call. That confirmed it, someone on the inside had leaked something. How else were the rebels waiting for them? Still, there was a chance others on the planet would soon be placing calls and messages across the cosmos alerting the galaxy-at-large to the unfolding crisis. Bringing down the main relay on the planet would hamper if not severely limit any outgoing transmissions; especially as the fearful masses tried individually in unison to reach friends, families, and contacts offworld.


Slapping a single frame charge with a timer to the bottom of the display against a supporting wall, Blimp smiled darkly.


Turning Shimsinblimp hurried out of the room and building to meet with his fellows. Hurrying across the dirt-trodden street, Shimsinblimp slid feet first behind the cover of a half-tumbled duracrete slab that once held a sign for some long forgotten goods. All that remained was half a sun-bleached poster for GungaGlow.


Holding up thirteen fingers, Shim looked at his fellows while Blimp stared around the edge of the toppled slab, silently counting down to zero. Suddenly a deafening kaboom and subsequent fiery roar drowned out the area in a plume of chaos, downing communication across the city and small planet as chunks of durasteel and duracrete rained down on the area.


“Now on to the next one” Blimp added as the Troig pushed himself back to his feet, the dropsuit having provided more than enough shielding from the blast. Some old habits died hard. Waving the rest of the group forward, the eleven heavily armored raiders made their way down the street, sending blaster bolts towards anyone that dared to look out the windows at the cacophony of chaos.

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A rise of pleasure resonated in Xar’s circuits as the Hunter-Trainer droid activated his claws and began to tear the wing apart. Like a wild animal enjoying a delicious kill, Xar sliced and tore apart metal. Each piece of metal screeched as it was cut threw and tossed away like trash. Xar cackled to himself. Something about being purely destructive made Xar ecstatic. While it wasn’t as pleasant as hunting some form of prey, listening to fine music, or slitting a lesser’s throat, it was certainly enjoyable and even euphoric.

However, the feeling didn’t last. Xar took a glance at the cockpit for just a moment, and the feeling of pleasure vanished. In that moment that didn’t last a full second, Xar caught the pilot’s eyes looking at him. He was expecting a look of fear from the pilot. Some form of terror or panic. But what he received was something different.

The pilot, a fully grown humanoid, was not afraid of Xar. She was well-practiced and following  protocol. Xar did not see fear. He saw a what he believed was a feeling of grit and resolve.

Xar’s pleasure had been replaced by anger. She should’ve been afraid of him! She was a lesser! He was the superior being!

The pilot's cockpit released. Her seat ejected from the doomed ship. Instantly Xar gave an order to the two drones latched onto his chassis.

“Hunt her! Now! Track and Kill!” 

Xar wasn’t sure what caused him to send the drones like it. He wasn’t sure if it was because of his sudden anger at the pilot, because of his pride at being a superior being, or because of his utilization of a hunting chassis, but something inside Xar clicked. Like a dog seeing an animal run away, Xar had to catch the pilot and kill her. He had to sink his claws into her, or see her lifeless body splattered on the ground. He had to prove he was superior, and make her know it. 

Mozo and Char honked in acknowledgement at their commands. Without a moment of delay, the two detached from their master, activated their repulsorlift engines and took off. While they were drones, capable of handling only the simplest of commands, The drones understood the command ‘hunt’ .  The two Water Beetles tried their best to catch up with the pilot, rising to meet her. In a few seconds, both were firing their stun blasters in hopes of stunning her or disabling her seat. Mozo honked with delight at each shot, while Char simply beeped a few times in agreement. 

Meanwhile, Xar focused on the task at hand. He had to get a safe landing, and there was one hope at the moment. The ship was beginning to point itself downwards. If he was correct, he didn’t have a moment to lose. In one second, Xar grabbed onto part of the wing he hadn’t destroyed and pulled himself up. In another second, Xar crawled closer to the ship’s center, fighting air resistance all the way. He could see the little astromech.


Xar's ticket to a safe landing. 

“You will serve us and help us kill that pilot.” Xar declared loudly as he got into a crouched position, balancing himself on the rapidly descending ship.

The astromech launched itself into the air. Xar didn’t care if the astromech was willing to let Xar hitch a ride or not. It didn't have a choice in Xar's eyes. Like the pilot, the astromech was a lesser, and Xar was the superior being. Thus it was meant to serve him. As the astromech launched, Xar leapt upwards and reached out with both arms, claws eager to grab a hold of more metal. He would attempt to grab onto the astromech’s flying little body, and force it to land on the ground safely. 

As a superior being would do Xar thought to himself.



Edited by Xar
added color in for speech
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The light atmosphere of Kessel rushed past her helmet in a constant roar and Beth was glad for the small reserves of air that were captured in the tank attached to her left thigh. It wasn’t enough for 24 hours of life on the surface, but it was enough to wait for the evacuation shuttle. Or, more likely, getting enslaved by whatever the Sith would bring with those damned shuttles. She visually checked that the E-22 blaster carbine was still strapped into its harness beside her then her eyes sought after the disintegrating X-wing in the distance. 


“Kriffing hell I-” 


There appeared to be two objects rocketing up towards her ejection seat. She could not make them out specifically, but the pale sunlight glinted off their exteriors enough to tell her that something was in fact coming straight towards her, from the droid that had taken off her S-Foils. 


She was just reaching for the pull line of the blaster carbine when the first blue tinged bolt smacked into the seats padding next to her helmet, spraying her with little chunks of impact foam. The next three bolts span past the seat entirely, diffusing into the pale atmosphere behind her falling ejection seat. And Beth pulled the carbine up from its straps and slapped the slide release with a gloved hand, arming the blaster carbine as she brought the iron sights into alignment with the weaving orbs. 


This was certainly outside her training purview, and shooting from an ejector seat at two small droids would be hard, but they were closing the distance and when the first dodged into her sight picture she depressed the trigger. Sending a burst of three bright crimson bolts towards the first little droid, she then adjusted her aim to the second, letting it settle for a millisecond before shooting at it as well.


But those little bots had not been idle and a single blast of energy grazed along the side of her face, numbing her cheek and filling her eyes with tears of pain. She furiously blinked them away as the altimeter on her wrist ticked towards zero.   


For R9-DT, or as his master had dubbed him in her tireless enthusiasm, ‘Dimitri,’ the story was equally terrifying. Though as an Astromech he was particularly programmed to feel fear, the sight of a giant droid with literal claws jumping at him was enough to give his circuits a taste of it. The metal behemoth spoke to Dimitri and the words he spoke was enough to develop a bead of hate in the little droid. Though he only spoke in binary, he thought his tone carried. 


“I do say how dare you. I would never!” 


And the claws dug into his chassis, dragging the larger droid along with him, though the power of his rocket boosters couldn’t save them both. Only slow their descent. But Dimitri had no such ambitions. He was a droid of the Rebellion, he had honour to uphold. Even if that meant his own destruction. He cut power to his boosters before ejecting his shock probe. And proceeded to dump half of his battery reserves in an effort to electrocute the other droid. As they plummeted with all the grace of a meteorite towards the ground. 


It was doubtful that it would work, but it was all Dimitri could do. And of that he was proud.

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Rebel Alliance Fleet Command - Lieutenant

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Terra’s eyes began to water as she was washed in the brilliant color-storm of the X-Wing’s battle as Hades passed through, rocketing both the ship and its rider towards the pockmarked surface of the spice asteroid. She lulled her head back, letting the slight gravitational pull of the decent lay her back in the Basilisk’s saddle. The radiance of the Maw Nebula reflected in her dilated pupils, the snaking lines of iridescent mercurial purple and yellow helium painted upon the background of red hydrogen. She breathed in a lungful of recycled air from the lines that connected her beskar’gam to the shimmering blackness of Hades’ armor.




The Mandalorian stretched, arching her back and cracking her neck with a tug on her buy’ce. Setapoite’s sarcastic voice cut into her mind.


…There is Cryterkyh processing plant at… 45.72, -95.432. Target priority alpha. Adjacent to main city and the Rebellion's warefare. 


Terra’s HUD displayed the planetary topographic, and the image spun to highlight a deep crater on the northwestern hemisphere. The processing plant was set into the southern face, taking advantage of the crater wall to be eternally in shadow. According to readings, the plant had four access tunnels from landing pads and uncharted access points from the innumerable caverns that ran throughout the asteroid. The processing center itself was an immense, underground monolith as high as 15 stories throughout and roughly a rectangle seven-hundred meters on its longest side and three-hundred on its shortest. The relatively weak sandstone of the roof would be supported by durasteel crossbeams and pillars of permacrete spaced every 10 meters.   


The Mandalorian took a sideways glance at her explosive ordinances and her mind began to churn through mental math. They would be hard pressed to bring down two-hundred and ten square kilometers of even sandstone with their paltry supply. Harjav whistled the team’s awe at the sprawling complex map. There would be innumerable machines and supply-crates of glitterstim, all photoactive and hazardous.


The squad of Basilisk-riders turned their metallic beasts toward the northwest hemisphere, dodging x-wings and criminal fighters as they made their approach. The blaring of a small alarm caused Terra to wrench about in her saddle, a beam of light from an anti-infantry turret scorching through where her head had been an instant before. Four DF-9 batteries and two 1.4 FD P-Towers were identified, disguised into the crater’s irregular edge, spitting forth their fire against the oncoming Mandalorians. The fire of the defense batteries was irregular and uncoordinated, evidenced by the spaced and terrible targeting. Terra’s teeth ground out sparks.


How I wish I had the Xaakzaamheid and her railguns…


Hades’ claws dragged against the sandstone as it flattened nearer to the surface to avoid the combined fire. Even ineffective fire could get lucky.


Terra selected the Taim & Bak KX5 laser cannons that were mounted under the Basilisk’s forward arms while she unslung her own slugthrower. With a blink, she sent bouts of red flame into one of the DF-9s, and as it exploded, she aimed in on the fleeing gunnery crew. Their anti-vacuum suits each had an explosive mounted on the belt which kept her finger from the trigger of her rifle. Her voice rang out over the crew-comms, as she winced


“Gunnery is slave crews, use ion.”


Hades toggles the H9 Ions under the nose and her fire turned to an electric blue. Within seconds, the rest of the basilisks opened up with azure flame, gutting the remaining defenses without loss of life. Banking down, the basilisks landed upon the northmost landing pad, surrounding a Xebi-Class freighter whose crew was desperately attempting to load black plasticene-wrapped glitterstim into the hold.


Slipping from the saddle, Terra sent a three-round burst through a Twi’lek trooper, her lekku twitching as she hit the ground, her useless blaster pistol skittering across the decking. Harjav put a bullet through a Quarren holding a fragmentation grenade and Aorn put down the remaining defender, a Mon Calamari who seemed to be about to surrender. The squad secured the area, disabling the loading droids, shutting down the engine block, and sealing the ship for it would not do for anyone else to claim the disabled ship as a prize.


Terra turned to the yawning tunnel and activated her commlink to the Rebel Commander,


“Forlorn Hope moving to disable Cryterkyh Plant, will report once secure.”

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To the Death...

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The first shot that sailed towards Char was crippling, winging and disabling his entire left side. The next two were lethal. The drone’s last noises before the blaster fire squared him away was a beep of pain. The Water Beetle, who was so eager to fulfill any command given to him, fell lifelessly through the air like a stone before exploding in a small ball of fire.


Mozo was slightly more lucky as the shot went just to his right. The explosion that occurred barely fazed him, but the beep that had come just a millisecond earlier had enraged him.  Having heard his companion’s death cry, he began to honk in anger and try to circle the pilot’s backside, away from her sidearm. It’s gun swiveled a top its body, firing twice at the chair.  Xar had ordered her death, and she had killed his partner. Xar would be beyond displeased if both drones failed this task. 

While the lone drone tried to finish it’s task, Xar was busy with the astromech. It had denied him. It had declared its loyalty to the puny organic being.  When the astromech turned off its engines, Xar was surprised. Xar couldn’t help but wonder if the little astromech didn’t care for its own survival.


When the astromech attempted the electroshock Xar, he knew that the little droid must have had a death wish. 


The electricity was enough to short out Xar for about two seconds, forcing him to fall limp and separate from the droid,. As his own sensor came back on, he had a glimpse of the astromech’s own eye sensor. Rage filled the Hunter-Trainer droid once again, forcing him to forget why he had attempted to grab onto the droid in the first place. This little machine was trouble.

“You wish to serve your inferior master so well?” Xar cried out as he raised both arms and aimed  his forearm blasters. 


“Then die with her!” 

At a distance of a meter at most, Xar opened fire, giving two shots aimed at the droid’s eye. 



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There were a lot of things that Nok might have guessed would be useful in getting inside the shield relay station. His weapons, his growing mastery of the Force, his experience in sabotage...

His neimoidian sense of smell was not on that list.

Nok had been jogging towards the shield relay station, relying on the spoken instructions of his comm device to compensate for his blindness. He had estimated he was less than a mile out when an acrid stench wafted past him. Nok's neimoidian scent glands, not covered by his respirator, got a full blast of the odor, and even as his eyes watered the smell triggered a memory. Nok had once owned a small ore refinery that had smelled just like this, and if he remembered right it had come from the building's old generator. A Naboo model, it had been built to run off of Naboo-mined plasma. When the whims of history ensured that the sparkling blue stuff was too expensive to import, people like Nok had turned to artificially grown plasma to keep their machines running. Problem was the impurities in the manufactured plasma burned up when it was used, and it stank like nothing Nok had ever known.


And if they were using artificial plasma, then they were using a Naboo model generator, and Nok had crawled around in his own generator enough to know the usual layout. Granted, he'd been doing it to blow it up in an insurance scheme, but he figured the experience translated.


Mentally chuckling at how uncreative he'd been in those early days, Nok had followed his "nose" to find the exhaust port, and as he predicted there had been a maintenance hatch. It was locked and sealed of course, but once again the Naboo obsession with safety measures got Nok what he wanted. A slight Force push on the right mechanisms inside the door and he tricked it into thinking there was a sudden pressure build-up inside and that someone was trying to work the inner latch. With a hiss and a squeal it popped open, and Nok crawled down into it and towards the relay station.


Now, Nok was hooking up his datapad into the station's main computer. The bodies of two techs who'd had the misfortune to be doing maintenance lay a few feet behind him, bleeding out from the necks. The twitching body of an astromech lay a couple yards further back, the blast mark on its head smoking.


So long as he wasn't interrupted, this wouldn't take long...

Edited by Nok Morliss
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The still air of Kessel went about, the small R3 unit and his companion unphased by the usual atmospheric conditions as they traversed the desolate rock and dust. Remo's red photoreceptor darted about vicariously, scanning the areas inch by inch as his wheels stirred through the muck. It really wasn't a place he'd prefer, but with the Black Sun's dire needs, it was a necessity. After all, if you wanted something done right, one must get their own hands, or in his case, wheels dirty.


Which led them to the power relay station, the churning of the generator's gears echoing distantly. With a few clicks of the small droid's receptacle, it wasn't hard to slice his way inside, each door presenting a dulling scenery not unlike the last. They were truly in dire need of cleaning droids, to say the least, dust and atmospheric carbon latent upon everything placed within, like layers of soot placed upon layers of ages past. Yet, for Remo, it was meaningless. He just needed to win over the inhabitants of this baseless world, not dwell upon it.


With a few clicks more, the large blast door opened to reveal the main computer inward, likely intertwined with the others that gave this rock its atmosphere. And as his photoreceptor scanned the area, forms began to appear upon his memory banks, all fallen corpses, save for one. His gaze shot from the fallen forms back to the one standing near the computer, then back to the fallen, and finally resting upon the Neimodian with a cold stare. What could only be translated as "Hello" escaped his binary vocal cords.


"Step away from the Computer, Neimodian." Zepex instructed firmly behind Remo as the droids stepped across, and in Remo's case, rolled around the corpses. "Master R3-M0 requires it."


As for Remo, he sat in almost dead silence, his gaze fixated upon the form before him with unspoken intent. Only the droid truly knew what was upon his mind.

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Of all of the emotions one would think that Zalis, the Queen of Vice would be feeling as she had her ship, Lucky Strike navigate the Akkadese Maelstrom towards the planet, many would not have guessed nauseated, but she was. The idea of the whole situation brewing on the surface brought up many scenarios playing out in her head, all of which had many of the legitimate companies she owned or had high stock in could come crashing down around what was transpiring or could transpire. At that was her sole purpose in making the run as fast as she could to get here. Not to respond to the Black Sun's call for agents to help defend it if they could, but rather to protect her own agendas, which could do more damage to the Sith Empire and Rebellion, which in turn would hurt her own business. 


She stood behind the pilot droid, PD-087, who was navigating as best it could with its high tech gear. She couldn't care less how the droid actually did it, so long as it got her planet side safely. As the ship moved, she got her dress off, which revealed bare minimum clothing, to which she quickly but her weapon belt and straps on, followed by her brown leather jacket and combat boots. She needed to make sure that she was in a position to defend her assets, no matter what. "Ma'am, there are a few reports coming in quickly. It seems to be several small insurgents attempting take overs at multiple locations. I will try to find the least dense populated are-" "No- swing me over near the processing plants. I want to protect them." She didn't give the droid a chance to respond, she began to walk back towards the landing ramp. She knew what she was about to do, and the droid knew its role in all of it.


She opened the landing ramp, having sirens from within the ship blare at her in warning, which were quickly drowned out by the loud whoosh of wind that took over. She zipped up her jacket and and stepped down onto the landing ramp towards the edge, holding onto one of the gears that held the ramp. She looked towards where the ship was headed and saw what she needed to see. Lucky Strike was moving quick and low towards one of landing pads, and she saw her moment. She stepped off the ramp and leaned backwards in a quick fall over the landing pad. She used a trick she learned when escaping crime bosses she would assassinate from high buildings on Coruscant. She spun herself backwards so that she would land without a lot of impact upon her own bones and joints. As she landed, she pulled out two blasters and began to pour fire towards those that began to oppose her as she moved hurriedly towards defending the processing plant.

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On 9/29/2020 at 9:33 PM, Roleplayer X said:

"Step away from the Computer, Neimodian." Zepex instructed firmly behind Remo as the droids stepped across, and in Remo's case, rolled around the corpses. "Master R3-M0 requires it."

Nok stopped moving. Very slowly, he turned his head and raised his hands. His blindfolded eyes stared into space as his own fear painted the room, that sudden rush of adrenaline when something surprises you followed by the electric chill that comes when you realize it's something dangerous. Nok took a breath, letting that emotion sink in as he moved past his physical senses and unraveled into the Dark Side. This world was strong in it. Centuries of suffering, fear, and death piled onto one another into something you could almost taste in the air, behind the stink of freshly dead bodies and burning plasma impurities.

"Master R3...ah, Master Remo. I'm honored. I did not think I would ever meet the master of Black Sun. I'd bow, but I'm afraid you'd shoot me if I tried."

The console behind Nok beeped, and he fought to keep a grimace of annoyance off his schooled expression. His program was done. The entire relay station was set to send an unprotected pulse to the shield generator, forcing an emergency shutdown. If Nok had done it right, and if he knew anything about the old shield generators they used on this rock, they'd be down for almost 20 minutes. Plenty of time for House Sovros' clones to take the atmosphere factories.


The problem, appropriately enough, was the Naboo dedication to safety. A pulse like that would trigger a break and just cut power. The shield would be weaker, but not down. Unless, of course, someone pulled the manual override lever before the pulse got sent.


The manual override lever on the wall directly behind the psychotic little droid and his henchman.


Nok had heard of R3-M0. A dangerous criminal in control of more dangerous criminals, who regularly matched up against the darkest and most depraved elements in the galaxy. Black Sun didn't have the reach it once did, but every action of the mastermind in that durasteel dome that rippled through the underworld promised big things.

"It seems you've caught me at a bad time Master Remo. And given your...independent affiliation I can only assume you're here to lay claim to this little rock same as us. Perhaps we can work something out? I might have something I can-"

Nok's fingers barely twitched as he touched on the Force, the swirling eddies of energy around responding like the strings of a harp to second-year student. Not perfect, but passable.

One of Nok's knives tore free of its sheath and launched itself through the air at the droid's henchman.


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As the altimeter ticked down to the surface of Kessel, Rose desperately kicked at the side of her ejection seat to slowly spin herself around to meet the second incoming threat. Each kick rotated the chair a little as a few more rounds from the droids stun gun rocketed over her head. Two kicks, three, and the ejection seat shifted on its micro rocket engines spinning her around to face the little darting droid. She brought up the E-22 blaster carbine and squeezed three more rounds in a solid burst at the drone. Though its last round blazed into her leg at where the orange jumpsuit met her imperial issue boots. 


Pain jabbed up her leg in a spasm that turned completely numb in the moments after, with a twitch she knew that she could still use the leg, but only marginally. And she growled a curse into the rushing wind. This was not how it was supposed to have gone, and she could begin to feel worry creep into the back of her mind. What would capture be like? Or would they just execute her for being a terrorist? But the alarm on her altimeter tore her away from her thoughts, and she refocused down the sights of her carbine. They were now brutally close to the surface and the rockets on her chair chugged into overdrive to ease her descent. But how had Dimitri fared? Did he make it out? She couldn’t see. But she hoped that he had.


As for Dimitri, he died. It was not the beautiful and serene death of old age, surrounded by his robot friends as he might have hoped. but it was honourable. The blaster bolts blew through his thin durasteel frame and dome, detonating his central core in a spectacular gout of flame and circuitry. Burning away forever the little droid who hated his given name. And in that dusted circuitry, spinning in an endless carbonized loop as it burned out, was the equation for gravity and velocity. Perhaps Dimitri would have smiled if he had the ability. Perhaps he would have also dreaded impacting on the rock hard surface of Kessel. But as the X-wing detonated below them so his burnt chassis fell as well. 




Rebel Alliance Fleet Command - Lieutenant

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A blaster shot tore through the darkness of the approach tunnel, searing through the infrared projected darkvision of Terra’s HUD, causing the Mandalorian to wince in pain. There was a follow-up flash and report from Arna’s rifle, and a gurgling cry of pain. Terra’s HUD flipped to thermographic setting, pulling wavelengths through the voltage-tunable, quad-color quantum-well infrared photodectors with effective wavelength switching for more reliable temperature sensing. She had no desire to be blinded again in the heat of battle.


Terra stared down at the gurgling Rodian gunman, crumpled against the tunnel wall. Half of his thorax had been ripped out, scattering the wall and floor with chipped bone and blackened blood. He took a rattling breath, preparing a call for assistance, but with a flick of her wrist, the Mandalorian brought the sharpened butt of her tomahawk into his throat silencing his forever. With a twirl, she sent the dripping ax end over end into a running Wookiee. The distance was off, and the polished handle smacked the beast in the muzzle stunning him for long enough for a vibroblade to take its head off, swung by Harjav. The man tossed her back the tomahawk with a disapproving shake of his buyce. The older man had little love for primitive weapons.


Terra slid the handle back into her belt, bringing her hand back to her rifle’s angular foregrip as she stepped up to cover the branching hallway as Hades analyzed the battlemap. They were closing on their destination quickly, but there was little data on what resistance they were bound to meet. A shriek brought Terra back in time to see a knife-wielding Twi’lek filled with the silver light of maser rounds. She fell hard, twitching in the dust.


Rounding the corner, the team cleared their corners, stunning a few huddling slaves and binding them with stuncuffs. Terra stepped to an overlarge blast door, made large enough to fit a handful of Hutts through it at the same time. Hades' grating voice came echoing from behind them as he prowled through the tunnel


….Reading…. Requires at least two thermite charges…


Mandalore swore, staring at the locked durasteel through her scanning HUD.


If only I had the kriffing force....


Terra glanced down at the gleaming hilts on her belt




The assassin released her left hand from the foregrip, bringing the single point sling to its full taughtness against her back, letting her right hand handle the rifle’s weight. With her now free hand she slipped her oldest acquisition from its belt loop, cradling the handle in her palm, letting the polished surface pick up the glimmer of light that her thermal imaging displaced. She had remembered taking the weapon, many years in the past from the body of the Grandmaster himself, Kitt Fitt.




As the lightsaber ignited into a silvered emerald blade of pure energy the door opened to reveal the shocked faces of a trio of Weequays. Terra shrugged, shoving the barrel of her rifle through the teeth of the leading soldier, blasting his spinal cord across the decking while the lightsaber made smoking, bisecting heaps of his compatriots.


The emerald light of her lightsaber showed a long line of red-lighted machines, like the weaving stations of primitive cultures. Glitterstim processing racks.


With a wave of her hand, Terra brought the world back into its false darkness, extinguishing the lightsaber and spreading out her team. Arna and Longkra began to work their way towards the nearby western wall while the rest of them began to push ahead with Hades staying near the entrance, to guard from any incoming forces and relay information to the Rebellion as needed.


Terra slipped a thermal charge from her bag with her left hand, lobbing it onto the nearest support pillar, taking in the immensity of the facility while it primed. It was an impossible task.


To the Death...

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