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The Spice Mines of Kessel


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The last Mandalorian alive on Kessel stepped through the dark and lifeless rows of spice processing machines, limping slightly on her injured left leg, but steady in her determination. Her breathing pattern had stabilized, and the taste of Zalis’ blood was still fresh upon her scarred tongue. Her darkmetal jaw ground slowly as she considered target approach vectors. The question now remained; where was her target? 

 

Terra strained to hear any small movement, but there was not but silence. She tightened her grip on the rifle in her hands, her finger twitching against the stiff slack in the trigger. Harjav had always had a thing for stiff triggers, all snap with little give. She would need to keep it in mind for any fights in the future. She leaned heavily on a duracrete pillar, lolling her head up to stare at the yawning expanse of stone overhead. 

 

A voice, bestial in its growl, ripped through her silence. Her jaw set, sending red-hot sparks onto her already burning tongue. 

 

“Your life is forfeit, you meager worms! Die.”

 

And so the enemy reveals himself. 

 

The Mandalorian stepped away from the pillar, watching streaks of light begin to appear on her HUD, indicating firing arcs. All were parabolic in nature, as though from a launcher. Her combat utility package ran a quick parabolic trace pattern, locating the main firing location. One of the firing arcs appeared centered on her location, part of a determined line of fire meant for maximum effect on multiple targets. 

 

Terra began to spring from the ground, igniting her jetpack in a maximal burst to move past whatever explosive radius the grenades would be able to put forth. If they were the same from the last exchange, they would be EMP grenades, and Terra had no desire to play in the dark. 

 

The leap would have been perfect, but the left leg did not quite put out the same effort as her right, sending her into a leftward arc, instead of a vertical jump. Her feet skimmed the duracrete of the pillar she had been using, and she kicked away from it in an upward motion, but it only served to angle her up into it. Desperation began to dig its claws into her heart and she felt its chill in her veins. 

 

I will not die on this kriffing rock.  

 

The Mandalorian skidded sparks up the duracrete pillar as her chaotic leap caused her to skip like a stone on a placid lake. Her already wounded side began to burn as it was dashed on the unforgiving stone. As gravity overcame her upward trajectory, she activated her jetpack and kicked back, soaring away from the pillar and her enemy at the same time ten meters in the air. She was reflected in the blue fire of the grenade’s explosions and some of her natural fear faded. 

 

The tracing complete, the combat AI highlighted the Troig’s location, and through a magnification of her HUD, traced a golden line about its form, a beast kneeling behind a destroyed processing loom. 

 

The Mandalorian settled the reticle on the exposed portions of the Troig and let forth two swift bursts of fire from the slugthrower, stitching the air with a total of six rounds towards the beast. She terminated the jetpack with a blink of a crimson eye, and let gravity embrace her once more. 

 

((1))

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To the Death...

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The still conscious half of the duel-headed Troig grinned darkly as the battlefield was illuminated by the arcing blue glow of the EMPs as they fizzled and hissed, seeking what they may. Even so, the mein of the criminal radiated a single desire, revenge. The rocketing, duracrete-skidding retreat of the last remaining Mandalorian was not good enough. Though, given the warrioress’ trajectory, Blimp had to wonder if the EMPs had at least partially achieved success. If anything, it gave him another advantage alongside his hungering fury.

 

Pushing himself upwards to take better aim with his arm mounted cannons, the Troig faltered. Any legerity he might have had was quickly washing away as the sniper’s round took it’s tax of blood and pain from where it lay nestled, fragmented within his buttock. With a wince of pain and gritting of teeth, Blimp spun and sank back down with his back against his cover, just as a burst of slugs pinged out of the gloom and zinged against his cover and the ground before him. Blimp winced, his elongated neck tucking downwards out of instinct, even as rattled off his armored feet. Not nearly as powerful as the sniper’s round; but enough to convince the Troig to pull his feet upwards slightly.

 

The dropsuit held. With it’s servo-assisted joints, he could move with impunity; but a solid body within made it easier to control and move. An injury within, made the suit bulky and it’s forced movements, a grating pain that would shoot up and down injured limbs.

 

And so, for the moment, Blimp sat there, taking in his surroundings. Devastation reigned supreme. The miniature concussion missiles having set off a chain reaction that had brought portions of the factory crumbling down, it’s integrity now conpromised. Gaping holes in the roof allowed the weak sunlight that streamed in to activate any glitterstim in it’s path. It’s faint glow mixing with the sun’s and casting even darker shadows where pillars and beams still stood sentinel. This is where the Troig sat; beneath a still intact ceiling, his mind churning. ‘The Mandalorian was backtracking, fleeing; surely. Of course it had seen the devastation my missiles wrought. Distance would not diminish such a weapon. The Mandalorian must die!’

 

Even without a target, the missiles were still deadly. It took no time at all to switch from homing to detonation upon impact. The Mandalorian must die! With a hiss, a trio of missiles spun out from his launchers and arced upwards and over his position of cover, racing blindly into the hodgepodge of darkness and light; zipping forward without target; set to destruct upon impact and, with hope, bring the factory crashing down upon the Mandalorian.

 

Blimp whispered, “Don’t worry Shim. I’ll get him. I’ll get him or this will be our grave.”

 

Setting his jaw, the Troig, held his launcher close to his chest, ready to engage his suit’s emergency abilities if the need arose. Without Shim, life was practically not worth living. Still, Blimp would not give the cursed Mandalorians the courtesy of going quietly into the night. 
 

((2))

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Two clones dropped immediately, the first with a sizzling hole in his neck and the second with a blaster bolt through his left eye. A third stumbled as the crimson energy pinged twice off his breastplate before punching through and leaving a smoking hole in his gut.

 

The other two, to their credit, didn't panic. Flash-training and drills robbed them of their survival instinct, and they dropped to prone out of practice instead of fear. They returned fire, sending their own green blaster fire pocking into the wreck of the X-wing.

 

Unfortunately, a rigid, ingrained compulsion to follow orders left the clones with a significant weakness. Their commander. With orders to take her alive at all costs, including their own lives, they didn't aim to kill but just to scare her back behind her cover.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Aboard the Hoat'te's Legacy, Captain Hoat'te watched three of his clones dropped. A twi'lek, his heavily pierced lekku wrapped around a muscled, tattooed neck, his yellow eyes focused on the brief, fuzzy image of his prize's face as she mowed down his men.

 

"Just one rebel, and three die in seconds. Pathetic." He keyed into his comm. "Send out five of the shock troops. Flush her out of there."

 

He paused as he stared at the screen, his own clones returning fire.

 

"And ready my mount. I want to take her into custody personally."

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Another five figures descended the ramp, the deeper thuds of their footfalls hinting at the tall, heavily armored humanoids that emerged. Decked out in the same green and gold gleaming plate as the zabrak troops, these tall figures might have gone unidentified had they not growled in anticipation of the violence. Wookiees, hairless by genetic design, and bred for equal parts obedience and ferocity. Each bore a heavy repeating blaster straight out of the clone wars, modified and gilded to match the opulent garb of the slave soldiers. The weight of the weapons didn't seem to register to them as they all broke into a sprint, moving to flank around the X-wing on each side and catch the rebel holdout in a pincer movement.

Edited by Nok Morliss
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The Mandalorian spun as she fell, her passage creating roiling waves in the spice-smoke laden air. Her 360-degree HUD display was beginning to fill with a lot of erroneous data, and she blinked the data-streams away in frustration. Her team’s basilisks were mourning, and with their neural-links now disabled they were sending data into the void. Even artificial intelligence wasn’t immune to the stages of grief. 

 

Terra’s crimson eyes flicked to her target on her HUD, the orange-outlined Troig in its jumpsuit. A surge of powerful hate flared inside her heart. She reclassified it into a beast, denying it humanity. What she fought now was no more human than the Trandoshans that had tried to sell her into captivity. But there was something more to this fight, something darker was rising to the surface inside her, surpassing the code of honor that she had built as she had joined the Rebellion. 

 

She didn’t care anymore about taking captives. She didn’t care about this useless glitterstim that smoked and burned around her. She didn’t even care for the Rebellion now, or her friend who had sent her and her team on this suicide mission. All she wanted now was revenge for Harjav. For the twins. For the lovers. Her jetpack microfired, slowing her descent. 

 

Tears unbidden clouded her vision, making the outline of the troig swim and shimmer, but as she blinked, three glowing orbs shifted around the beast. 

 

Kriffing… 

 

She fired her jetpack again, angling herself back and away again, but the missiles were faster than the falling Mandalorian. Two of the missiles spun off to impact the ceiling and do the strike team’s work for her, but the third impacted the duracrete pillar before her. The missile’s explosion took the pillar full on, smashing it into splinters of rock and slagged steel and cratering out the ceiling above it in a torrential downpour of fractured stone. 

 

Terra herself was beyond the direct explosive blast radius, but the wave of shrapnel had a much longer reach. The darkmetal chestpiece was showered in splintered stone, some of it spalling into the flesh of her stomach to cut the pale skin in deep gashes. A larger splinter of the stone chewed into the muscle of her left thigh, digging into the muscle belly and causing the woman to shriek in pain as she crashed into one of the many pallets of processed spice. The rifle fell from her grasp, hanging limply from the sling around her shoulders. 

 

The assassin rolled and tumbled from the pallet onto the broken stone, clutching her left leg as it cramped and spasmed about the injury site. The already injured leg was now doubly so, and as she rose to one knee, the woman resisted the temptation to pull the sliver of stone from the injury. She had seen at least one spacer die from removing a knife from a wound, exsanguinating due to the blade being the cork popping from the proverbial bottle. 

 

She breathed in a ragged breath and steeled her nerves. 

 

Terra shuddered against the waves of renewed pain and eased herself forward, laying the battlerifle across the shattered plasticene containers of glitterstim like they were the sandbags in a trench. Checking the fuel supply of her jetpack, she began to angle her field of view back towards her enemy. 

 

The battlefield was now strewn with fractured rock from the ceiling and shattered equipment. The missiles had done the work that she had been assigned; the destruction of the processing plant. She could retreat now with an accomplished mission, but there was only revenge left now. She would drag the beast into the hells of Sabre’tah with her bare hands if she had to. 

 

Terra had previously triangulated the Troig’s position, and with Hades combing her buy’ce’s camera pickups it did not appear the beast had moved. She hefted Harjav’s rifle and watched the firing arc from the impact grenade launcher. It was currently loaded with a Calgary-3 variant of the G-20 “glop” grenade, which would do perfectly. She snapped the rifle down and unloaded a burst of slugs onto the Troig’s position to pin him down, letting the rifle’s recoil raise the angle until it reached proper angulation and depressed the secondary trigger, sending the impact grenade towards the beast. It was time to flush the beast out, or to kill it in its lair.

 

((2))

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To the Death...

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Enemy fire pinged above and around the Troig. “Clearly we missed.” Blimp growled. “Guess we’ll try something else.

 

Pulling his legs up underneath him, Blimp gritted his teeth. This was probably going to hurt, a lot. The moment the rounds stopped pinging about him, the Troig activated his suit mounted rockets. In a relatively uncontrolled ball of metal plating and pain, he shot upwards; spinning about to try and gain a view of the sole remaining Mandalorian; but before the Troig could do so, the grenade that had arced silently through the spice laden air dinged against what had been the alien’s cover and erupted in a marshmallowy eruption of sticky goop that latches onto the flitting armor of the beast, redirecting his relatively uncontrolled launch into a forced arch crashing back into the floor.

 

Blimp let out a shout of pain as the glop yanked him backwards to the floor and slammed his armored frame into it. The pain in his side shooting down his leg and up into his gut. Kicking and pulling at the goop only made it worse. In a matter of moments, any point of the armor that came into contact with the expanding foam was instantly caught in it’s sticky grasp and the Troig was entangled in a spider’s web of mallowy entrapment.

 

This was bad. Very bad. If Blimp knew anything; being immovable was not a position of advantage. It was a death sentence. It only would allow the spider to close in and ensnare him and suck him dry.

 

With his arms and legs snared; Blimp activated the emergency escape protocols of the suit. The armor peeled back where it could from his front and propelling the Troig out forcefully into the air. Even so, it was not enough to send him completely clear of the glop and his legs were entangled along the edges of the foam. For the second time in as many moments, the Troig slammed into the floor, this time without any armor the soften the blow. Letting out a grunt of pain, Blimp gritted his teeth as he used two arms to push himself slightly off the floor. Using his third hand, he reached into his vest and pulled his disruptor pistol free. His eyes scanned the hazy darkness, looking for the Mandalorian. Seeing her in the shafts of weak light that pierced the hazy darkness, he fired once, twice, thrice in the woman’s directing. The haze being eaten alive by the powerful weapon, igniting the haze of spice along the fringes of the blast.


It was time to die or avenge his better half. Nothing else matted.

 

((3))

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Terra’s crimson eyes narrowed as she watched her grenade make impact, spraying its adhesive in a fountain of multicoloured foam. She let out a small breath between her gritted teeth. Her eyes wandered to the various alerts that began to appear on her HUD. Her heart seemed to be racing. 

 

--ENVIRONMENTAL TOXIN LEVELS--

 

Her eyes narrowed. She was feeling extraordinarily warm, and her heartbeat was sounding a drum in her ears. 

 

--Systems infiltration at catastrophic levels--

 

The Mandalorian blinked at the alert, opening the full notification with an explosion of sanguine aurebesh. 

 

--The drug known as Glitterstim has infiltrated into your environmental scrubbing unit- 

 

Kriffing not now! 

 

The assassin began to gingerly move backwards on the leaking glitterstim containers, favoring her right leg heavily. Her eyes were drawn back to her prey as she saw the beast eject from its armored shell. Her mind toyed with the idea of skinning the beast alive for its transgressions, and it contorted her mouth in a cruel smile. 

 

These are not honourable thoughts

 

The crimson eyes narrowed.

 

These are the derangements of the Sith

 

The Mandalorian began to curse herself for dishonoring the deaths of her squad. 

 

This is not who you were meant to be. 

 

Terra’s smile faded as she staggered to her feet, focusing on her breathing as she fought with the corruptions of hate and the onslaught the spice was having on her senses. A bolt that blossomed in the color of fire scorched past her head, and then the viewscreen went blank as a disruptor bolt ripped through the warfare processing center of her jetpack disconnecting her from Hades and the combat AI. 

 

Kriffing…

 

Terra ripped the buy'ce from her head in a snarl of rage, exposing her flushed face to the sweltering environment of the glitterstim processing plant. She gasped a breath, her senses overwhelmed by the rush of spice that piqued her nervous system. The pain her wounds began to produce nearly crushed her and her vision swam with tears as the grief of her loss came in unstoppable waves. 

 

Kriffin… Spice...

 

The assassin shouted a cry of anguish, finally losing the control she had carefully crafted around her emotions, the walls about her rage breaking like a dam over-flooded. Her cry became a shriek as her left leg gave out and she slammed herself again a fallen scrap of duracrete, the shattered stone scraping along her beskar’gam with overpronounced sound, nearly deafening her. 

 

It killed Harjav. 

 

Shaking hands clung to the rifle’s stock and handguard like it was the last handholds of the brink of insanity, and they were slipping. 

 

Aorn. Ba’sar. 

 

The Mandalorian stared at a slowly widening dribble of crimson that ran from her armored side to splash amongst the lumps of steaming spice about her, bubbling into a blackened pool that stank like the backend of a Ragnet

 

Was that from Zalis? Did the Troig do that? 

 

None of her wounds were life-threatening, at least not yet. A few tears joined the sanguine river, diluting its purity with evidence of her grief. She still had a mission, and all it was now was to kill. The Rebellion had designated the mission for minimal enemy casualties. Any opponent she was supposed to bring in for questioning and processing.  

 

Arna. Longkra

 

Terra stood, favouring the right leg and sighted, through the smoke and destruction, along the iron sights of Harjav’s rifle. She pulled with all her might against the pistol-grip and the handrail to bring the rifle to her shoulder and to keep it steady. She closed her left eye and let the front sight come into focus in the ring, letting it waver over the mass of adhesive foam. 

 

I don't care what I'm supposed to be. No prisoners. 

 

The slack in the trigger taken up, she let the front sight rest on the figure of the Troig. She heard nothing but the tachycardic thudding of her heart. Mandalore let out another shriek, a mix of pain and predatory triumph, and slammed the trigger again and again, hammering a burst of slugs at the Beast with every pull. 

 

((3))

 

((OOC: Great job, this was a ton of fun.))

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To the Death...

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Alrighty, first ruling, what could possibly go wrong?

First, I want to congratulate both of you. This was an excellently written duel, one that on my first read through had already sucked me in. You both did an excellent job of detailing your surroundings and the effects the had on your characters. In addition, you both expertly handled injuries from previous duels, making it clear that they were there, and no, they weren't just fluff. Multiple times one of your characters would try something or think of something that didn't or wouldn't work due to present injuries and battle damage, as well as fully utilizing what remained of their kits very effectively. Well done.

 

The only glaring errors in this duel comes from Blimp, firing three concussion rockets even though in his last dueled he emptied his reserves. There were no mentions of a restock or a reload, raising the question of where the rockets came from, and Terra's character sheet being edited before we could confirm that one of her NPCs was in fact kitted with a glop grenade (This is more forgivable, as the rebels came with the express intent to capture the enemy, and he could have just as easily picked one up from an unaffiliated rebel corpse and noone would have batted an eye, whereas finding three miniature concussion rockets on a pirate is considerably more jarring an idea). The takeaway from these is to A) Be mindful of what you have written on your sheet, and B) To be mindful that mods need the info as well

 

When it came to taking new damage, however, I think Terra handled it more effectively. None of Blimp's attacks were useless. Each one, even if it didn't connect, was used by Terra to describe how she came to be in her current location, and damage was assigned accordingly. Terra only made three attacks the Blimp could respond to due to the formatting of the duel, and two of those were disregarded entirely by Blimp. Her opening flurry of shots were described as harmlessly bouncing off of his armor and the surroundings, and then again in the next post when she opened fire again.

 

In the final two posts of the duel, both characters lose important parts of their kits. First, Blimp loses his armor, severely limiting his capabilities. Next, Terra loses her connection to Hades, which she'd been relying heavily on for the prior duel as well as the current one. The duel ends with both of them in the dark, stripped of their fancy tech and weapons, and left to duel it out with regular weapons and the naked eye. For Blimp, he's on the ground, his leg stuck in his armor, his mobility and positioning easily the more disadvantageous of the two. Terra, despite her injuries, is left standing, firing as an opponent that is for the most part, immobilized.

 

This was a very close duel, and one that I'm glad will be my first ruling. But in the end, Terra's positioning and the rockets from Blimp mean that

 

Terra is victorious over Blimp

 

The next post is Terra's.

 

Once again, I'd like to congratulate you both for an excellently written duel. For people that love Star Wars even without all the laser sword wizards running around, this is an excellent piece of storytelling that I look forward to seeing more of in the future!

Edited by Mavanger
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The Mandalorian continued squeezing the trigger, letting the recoil take the rifle wherever it pleased. She could not see past the tears of rage that streamed down her bleeding face, to drip and mix with the sweat to absorb the drugs. Within a moment, the rifle spoke with nothing but the rhythmic clicking of a magazine devoid of ammunition.

 

Terra dropped the rifle, letting it rest on its sling across her heaving chest, the heated barrel glowing faintly orange and giving rise to steam. It took all her energy to start walking, her armor felt unbearably heavy and her joints as if they were greased with sand and lead. She could barely pick up her feet to avoid stepping into the blood-soaked mud which was all that was left of her men.

 

She left them undisturbed but for the tears she let mix with their remains, and still her rage built. Her fists clenched and her pace quickened, for she could now hear its ragged breathing. Adrenaline began to pump through her, washing aside some of the placidity the Glitterstim had forced into her.

 

The assassin could see it now, sprawled in the disintegrating adhesive foam, blood leaking from several gunshot wounds. One of its legs was snapped by a shot and she could see the bone protruding from the flightsuit. One of the heads was clearly unconscious, while the other looked at her through bleary eyes, in shock from the wounds.

 

Kriffing Akk Dog.

 

The Mandalorian stared at the chunk of ivory bone, highlighted in the Troig’s iridescent blood against its alien flesh, protruding like a marble pillar from a macabre landscape. She placed a bootheel onto the wound and began to add weight to the bone until she could hear it grate against the muscle beneath in a wet snapping. She met the bleary eyes and smiled, showing the inhuman features of her darkmetal teeth. A reflection of her soul, animalistic predation hidden behind an athletically beautiful face.

 

She slipped a tomahawk from her belt and leaned on the beast’s wounded chest, staring deep into the eyes of the conscious Troig. Her eyes were crimson and held no emotion but malice. When she spoke, her voice was gravelly and devoid of humanity.  

 

“You killed my family.”

 

The Mandalorian pointed with the tomahawk to the broken body of her Sniper, Arna. She shrugged derisively.

 

“So, I will take yours.”

 

She hacked down again and again on the protruding neck of the unconscious head, all while staring into the conscious eyes. She could have made it fast by activating the vibration, but she had no desire to quicken this. The eyes began to fade as her cuts began to hit the bone of vertebra, sending up splinters of gore-laden ivory.

 

 Terra paused only long enough to administer a bacta injection to keep the beast alive, before finishing her work. She kicked the severed head away from her, watching it roll awkwardly in the dust.

 

-Snap-Hiss-

 

 

The destroyed facility was alight with the azure flame of Qaela’s blade as the Mandalorian cauterized the wound. She made it slow and painful work.

 

“You will live with your loss, as I must.”

 

Terra stooped, picking up the severed head and placing it on the wounded beast’s chest.

 

“May you always remember.”

 

With that, she limped away to collect her men’s beskar and to deliver Zalis to Rebel custody. Within moments, she was astride Hades and on her way back to Nar Shaddaa, followed by her mourning, riderless basilisks. 

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To the Death...

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Across the asteroid, the blasters of Sovros soldiers spraying fire across the desolate landscape went silent. A single order crackled in their headsets.

 

Retreat.

 

_______________________________________________

 

A small freighter, the former property of the droid boss of Black Sun, cut through the dust-churned air. Inside, the autopilot mechanically gave repeated status updates to the lone neimoidian sitting at the helm. Nok barely paid attention. His focus was on the reports and orders being frantically relayed between the Sovros officers.

 

A full rout. The rebels had managed a full rout. Nok's fingers twitched as the implications of his worst case scenario unfolded before him. House Sovros would be cutting him out at minimum. Darth Zayira would be after him personally for this disgrace to her burgeoning reputation. Contractually Nok owed them nothing, but that would hardly matter for insecure heiress's vendetta. Plus, Nok had no spice to guarantee his hold on Mon Cal, and if the reports were accurate his would-be drug lord had been in the vicinity of several large explosions and hadn't emerged.

 

"Approaching warehouse. Setting down," the autopilots tinny voice rattled off emotionlessly.

 

______________________________________________

 

"You're still alive..."

 

Nok stared down at what remained of Shimsinblimp.

 

It was borderline miraculous that the tough spice jacker was still breathing. His pain, muted by his weakness and flickering consciousness, stood out to Nok as a deep, dull thrum. Staring down at him, Nok clenched his fists. His gray-green skin tightened and paled as pure wrath flooded his carefully controlled demeanor.

 

Nok hated. He hated like he had never hated before. This failure...this catastrophe...how dare these idealistic, subservient, moronic...rebels ruin his plan? For what? To save a scummy asteroid like Kessel? They'd fought and died for this garbage scow of a world? This victory was worth the lives they'd tossed away to get it? It was irrational. It was ignorant. It was stupid. And that stupidity had cost Nok. Their suicidal, insecure need to believe in a fantasy and go out in a blaze of glory because they couldn't handle reality had put Nok's plan in jeopardy.

 

The rubble rattled as Nok's pure bile poured out of him and churned the Dark Side.

 

Then he was in control again. The hate did not leave or diminish, but his rationality took the controls back. It was the way of the universe that fools hindered the intelligent. It was childish to think otherwise.

 

Nok channeled his hate, lightly touched the Force, and lifted the prostrate, mutilated troig.

 

"You represent a significant investment. Survive if you can."

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Blimp could barely comprehend the goings on of the sole Mandalorian survivor as she towered over him. He felt the pain, each swing of her blade coursing through his nerves with fiery furor. The red head of the Troig gritted his teeth in pain, able to do little else to stem the assault. In the back of his mind, atop his brainstem boiled a cauldron of rage. Even through his pain, his hatred seethed from his very being. If Shim had not been dead yet, he surely was now.

 

The crime lord forgave little in his business dealings; nor did he allow offense to go unaddressed. Yet here he was, powerless to stop what could very well be the end of his days.

 

Instead the Mandalorian administered enough aid to assure that the Troig would not die on this desolate rock; at least not soon enough. This was no aid. It was torture to the finest degree; an art to the level Blimp himself could respect. And still, he hoped for death. With Shim’s lifeless head atop his chest, he wheezed as he lay there in the darkness. Death would be a welcome release and it would not come. In the dimness of Kessel’s setting sub, Blimp waited for what, he did not know; but if he lay there long enough, the icy hand of death would descend and take him to be with his other half, his soul, the light to his darkness. 


“I am coming Shim” he hissed. He was not afraid of death. He welcomed it if it would come. Even as he awaited the icy embrace, his words tinged with compassion for his other head; the explosive rage boiled beneath his scalp. He did not know who that woman was. He did not need to; her armor was enough. Who she was, he did not know, but what she was, who she called her own. That was enough. Honorable warriors. He spat, the phlegm sticky and clinging to his dried lips. His vision clouded red with pain and anger as his thoughts dwelt on two things, death and hatred.

 

Finally, Blimp faded into a void of rage and semi-consciousness. He was awoken as an otherworldly force hefted him from the ground. Pain shot through his wounds and drove the battered beast to a pinpoint focus. ‘Nok Morliss? So the blind insect is a sorcerer as well’

 

For a moment, he was surprised. The Nemodian had more tricks up his sleeve.  Still stranger yet, he had come for the Troig in his defeat. Staring intently into the eyeless mask of his business partner, he raised a feeble hand to point towards the lifeless bodies of the slain Mandalorians, devoid of their armor and arms. “The Mandalorians lay in ambush. Shim . . .” he paused, gritting his teeth against the surge of loss. For the first time, Blimp was truly alone. “Their bodies.” he hissed, “and whatever spice you can salvage.” His thoughts lay in revenge; but even if Shim was gone, the two heads had shared a telepathic-like connection. Their thoughts, their body, both were mingled together. Blimp had lost his other, most would argue his better, half. He owed a debt to the raiders that had accompanied them. He knew what happened to anyone who left a debt unpaid. The Hutts had taught that lesson all too well.

 

Death would not come; but with Nok Morliss’ help, perhaps revenge lay on the horizon. It was all that kept his heart pumping.

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On 11/20/2020 at 11:51 AM, Shimsinblimp said:

“The Mandalorians lay in ambush. Shim . . .” he paused, gritting his teeth against the surge of loss. For the first time, Blimp was truly alone. “Their bodies.” he hissed, “and whatever spice you can salvage.”

 

The agony of Blimp echoed out from him with clarity as he regained consciousness. His pain was a harmony to Nok's senses, the Dark Side quivering to the pulses like the strings of a musical instrument. Physical pain, loss, rage...and hatred. Clear, cold, cutting hatred. It prickled like needles on Nok's skin. He sucked in a breath, half out of shock and half out of desire to taste the sensation.

 

It was...galvanizing.

 

Nok carefully floated the body of the mutilated troig to his borrowed ship, before reemerging to begin lifting and looting the battlefield for corpses and spice. It was quiet, tedious work. While Nok's "vision" using the eddies of dark emotion within the Dark Side allowed him to see objects and through them, sensing the physical world in a way the sighted couldn't fully imagine, it did nothing for color or light. The wording that was no doubt painted on the sides of containers were invisible to him, too shallow a difference in height for him to distinguish.

 

Then something caught his attention. One of the containers nearby distorted the echoes of the Dark Side as they touched it. It was so minor Nok wouldn't have noticed had he not been paying close attention. It felt like...pain...and death. The container itself wasn't in pain, as ridiculous as that would have been in. It was as if Nok was sensing something from a great distance, something faint yet consistent.

 

He sank deeper into the ripples and churning of the Force, the taint of that dark echo filling his thoughts.

 

Pain...yes...the pain of muscles worked past exhaustion...the pain of blows and electroshocks...over and over...

 

And death...a brief spike of fear, then despair, and then death, a final explosion of darkness that snuffed the life engulfed in it.

 

This was spice, Nok was sure of it. What else could have such a lingering fingerprint on it? The man...men?...who had mined this spice had been overworked and tortured when they had. And then they'd died violently, terrified and hopeless.

 

And Nok could sense it.

 

As he expanded his awareness, he became aware of other, tiny echoes on other containers. None were as insistent as the first, but all were present. Suppressed rage...hope that turned to pain after years of darkness...despair...fear... It was all there. It was soaked into the very stone of the world, generations of agonies poisoning the ground and seeping into the air.

 

The corpses were similar. Their pain and violent murders wafted around them like an afterthought. Had this one been scared when she'd died? No...furious. This other one had suffered, his body burning before giving up the fight.

 

Nok focused his work on the containers that bore the greatest agony, and on the corpses. Soon enough, he was finished, and the stolen ship of Black Sun's lord rose into the sky and shot out towards the stars.

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The small force of rebel alliance marines, escorted by the remaining starfighters and CAS began their cleanup of downed pilots, dead mandalorians, dead black sun, and dead Sith. THe bodies of the rebel allied mandalorians were collected and loaded into the transports, being given a place of honour due to their status of “Heroes of the Rebellion.” 

 

The Iron Knights would ride no longer. But their crypt would be a monolith to the sacrifices of the enfants perdus. Those few Crusaders who turned from their once dark path and forged the light of a new rebellion. 

 

Beth and the Templars escorted them back to Nar Shaddaa as the Rebel Marines secured the planet. 


 

 

Andromina

Rebel Alliance Fleet Command - Lieutenant

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