Star Wars: Annihilation [Vash & DemonTongue]

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Vash, Jan 27, 2015.

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  1. Long ago... in a galaxy far away...


    The Clone Wars have been raging for nearly a decade and are reaching a bloody crescendo. Coruscant itself has not escaped unscathed as it's infrastructure and populace have seen a share of these brutal clashes on their own soil.

    With destruction, homelessness, slavery, starvation, refugees and civilian death tolls on the rise the citizens of the Galactic Republic grow distrustful of the Jedi (who seem to be at the heart of the conflict but are notorious for not getting their hands dirty) and desperate for an end to the fighting. Separatist forces only seem to expand while Republic resources dwindle.

    Propaganda and rumors of a mysterious terror in the Outer Rim circle the streets of the Galactic Seat. The people turn to their senate and their beloved Chancellor Palatine for protection and answers.



    Deeply tinted by the setting sun, an orange haze drifted through the streets of the lower Coruscant slums. Citizens trudged along as usual. Some were headed home, some to stand in food lines and others simply wandered because that was all they could do. At their feet refuse and rubble littered the walkways and alleys. All around shifty characters waited in shadows and the foundations of the structures that towered into the sky had become damaged and neglected. Above them messages from the senate and Chancellor Palpatine as well as news from the war front chattered away in a near unbroken stream. Those lucky enough to not end up down hear zipped around above them though the traffic had slowed substantially in years past. The atmosphere was anything but silent but coalesced into a tense ambiance that became a constant down here. Until it was broken by the scream of blaster fire and and the low reverberation of someone being thrown out of a forcefield.

    Citizens scattered from the front of the canteena with shouts of shock and confused murmurs to either hurry along or stay and watch from a safe distance. An ex-patron rolled off his back to his hands and knees with a pained hiss. After shaking off the initial shock he stumbled to his feet, staggered and sprinted forward as two more people rushed out of the front door.

    "Move!" he gave little notice before bolting through the small crowd. The other two came hot on his heels.

    The glowing lights of shops and homes along the darkening streets became unfocused, blurred, streaks of color as he ran. Every now and again the orange sky would burst through a split in the buildings. Reassurances that he was moving faster than he felt he was since the feeling in his legs had been somewhat reduced by the evening's bad decisions. Wait, which senator had he told the Arconan to go shove his... Dammit! What had he said!? It was so witty too! He wanted to keep that one! In his efforts to remember what had transpired only minutes ago the Togruta lost his sense of surroundings and sprinted into the street and found himself face to face with an oncoming rubbish hauler. The horn blared loudly and the headlights blinded him lighting up his nerves like an inferno. He overcame the startled pause and wheeled out of the path of the hauler which blasted past with only inches between them. The draft ripped at his clothes and lekku but he was unscathed. His heart was racing and he grinned. His perusers slowed to a jog with stunned expressions on their faces.

    "HA!," he yelled at them while backing up, "Look at that! I'm untouchabl--" another horn blared but this time the sideways, out of control vehicle hurdled toward him and he didn't have time to move. A silent curse caught in his throat as he pulled a stupid face, as his life didn't flash before his eyes because he was too scared to think, and as he instinctively held his hands out like that would really stop nearly two tons of steel. As if hitting an invisible wall the hovering transport wheeled into the air above him, the doors buckling inward on impact. It flipped once and struck the ground on his other side sending sparks and shattered pieces flying. The chassis skidded along until friction brought it to a stop. The people inside were shook up and looked around trying to figure out what happened. Jaws dropped. Silence. Even the Togruta was a little unsure of himself at this point... but he was still alive.

    "Un-fucking-touchable," he hissed.

    "Kill him!" the Arconan screamed. A rapid burst of blaster fire tore past his head, one blast singing his jacket and burning his shoulder. He ducked, spun and started running again. Still extremely lithe for being three sheets to the wind.

    "Dammit!" he cursed. This. This is exactly why everybody kept telling him he was a bad drinker and should stay away from canteenas.

    He took a turn down a narrow, barren walk-way where little light was able to reach. The area was getting more familiar. With out needing to see it he launched himself up and over a short barrier and relaxed for the long fall he knew came after it. An eight foot drop and he hit the ground letting his legs buckle and rolled to absorb the hit. Then underestimated the momentum he had built stumbled and landed on his ass. More blaster fire as the two morons struggled with the wall. He rolled out of the way and lurched back into a run. He was getting close to the scrap and repair yard where he worked. Confidence rose as he was sure he could lose them in the maze of twisted metal and parts and then sleep this all off like it had never happened. Having done it many times before in the months he had been on Coruscant he scaled one of the houses near by, hurried over the low rooftops and jumped a gap to a steel ramp that surrounded and barricaded the massive yard.

    The sun was down and now the furnaces and bursts of flame from the mills and refineries in the area lit the way. It was a long slide down the ramp and the razor wire fence at the bottom was approaching fast. Gotta time it right. a nasty scar down his right shin was testament to timing it wrong. With roughly ten feet to go he burst off the ramp with all his strength and sailed over the fence. He hit the other side hard and skidded to a stop, crashing to his knees and side. He couldn't see them anywhere.

    With a relieved sigh he got up and brushed off the dust. His body ached and his head spun but he was still in good shape and would live to see another day on this hell-hole of a planet. He looked up at the sky obstructed by towers and smoke. The traffic high above was only just visible and the stars beyond that were even harder to see, but they were still there. Almost immediately after arriving he had realized that coming to Coruscant was a bad idea. The Republic was falling apart at its core and this was not the safe haven it had been made out to be around the rest of the galaxy. He wouldn't make the same mistake again. One of these days, one way or another he was getting off this rock.

    Over his shoulder he could hear voices. He swore and scrambled into the rows of scrap looking for a place to hide as the men looked for a way in.


    "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOO" Zenithar ran for his life through the streets of corusant a police patrol car behind him with it's lights blaring as he used the force to accelerate himself, but not faster than the damn car. "Marquis, start the ship! Start the damn ship! They don't like me on Corusant anymore! Ten minutes here and the police start waving around this warrant for my arrest that has 10 million credits sprawled on it!"

    He ran for the scrap yard where they had snuck onto the planet to get supplies, the others waiting there while he went out on his own. This would serve to get him nearly killed as the police chased after him. He got close to the scrap yard after turning several alleyways. It seems he had lost them and he sighed, relieved. His armor was scratched and scorched up pretty badly and he had lost his blaster to some Rohdian asshole who decided that he owned him money or some garbage. He paid good money for that pistol! Fifteen credits!

    He backed up and started a slow run to jump over the gate, he never got force jump down. He started to run when out of nowhere the police had caught up to him and slammed into him with the bumper of their car right as he got off the ground. He shot through the air. They REALLY wanted him dead!

    "Whoo hoooooooo" He flew through the air and went right for a pile of scrap, landing hard on his back. He rolled off of the scrap pile and to his feet. Police had stormed their way into the scrap yard in an attempt to find him before he escaped. "How that ship coming, Marky?" "I do say, sir, that it is...broken again. Next time you decide to run into an asteroid, please refrain from doing so." "THERE WAS A PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN RACE THERE." "Yes, there was, a race of knee high toads that barely ran on enough cerebral power to acknowledge you. Then you wiped them out because you were hungry." "Hunger is important! The synthesizer was broken again!" "It is not broken, the power supply short circuited. Just have to get a new one." "Okay, now that wasn't my fault. You and Trinity were fooling around again." "Boy was that bloody brilliant..."

    He stopped as he walked around, trying to find the ship. He stopped as he sensed somebody that was crazy strong. "Hold up, hey, you, I know you're there. Come on out. Do you even hide your force powers man?" He called out to the man-person-beast-thing that was hiding near him.

    The Togruta stopped in his tracks, having tried to get away to the shop where he could lock the doors and windows behind him. Becoming the very essense of caution he slowly turned and stepped out to get a look at the man. He kept his eyes on him and payed attention to every little noise bouncing off every object, giving away any movement, any threat. Shooting someone had been the last thing he wanted to do tonight, but this guy knew, which meant he was more dangerous than any thug. A hand rested on the handle of his blaster as he revealed himself.

    "Who are you?" he asked quietly.

    "I AM YOUR FATHE-" Blaster fire interupted him as the police tried to shoot his face off. He jumped to the side as more came his way. He reached out and grabbed the Togruta that he was preparing to joke with with the force and pulled him over. He flew through the air and landed at Zen's feet. He yelled out "He's my accomplice!" and now they started shooting at him as well. He reached out with the force and grabbed the few police that had shown up and pulled them towards him and over them, making them fly into the scrap pile and straight into the convenient pipes sticking out, impaling them deep enough that they couldn't get out. A few others had shown up and he reached down and stole the Togruta's blaster, using it to shoot at a couple of them, downing them quickly and grabbing the last one with the force. He started to crush the man's vertebrae before two others showed up, yelling for the Togruta's head. He didn't take kindly to this, this was his accomplice!

    He crushed the man's vertebrae and dropped him to the ground before reaching out again and grabbing the last two. They started to scream as they were lifted up and over the two's head. He smashed them into the ground with an immense amount of force, destroying their legs and hips before raising them up and doing it again, and again, and again, and again.

    He finally dropped their crumpled bodies as more police started to show up. He reached down and grabbed the Togruta, lifting him to his feet. "Don't care who you are, just saved your life. You owe me a credit." Just after he finished, more police found them and he was feeling tapped. But blasterfire from another scrap heap put the police down fast. He looked up to see Marquis Von Sterling, a golden colored robot with a golden rifle with multiple small rings on top of it. A black turncoat and vest on his body. He was tall and skinny. He had his arm in an L position, using it to steady his aim with his rifle, of which his aim was impeccable, hitting every policeman in the head. When he finished he yelled out. "I do wish you would let me kill more often, Ouran. I am not getting any younger. The ship still needs repairs." Zen looked at the Togruta and smiled underneath his helmet. "Guess who just got hired!?"


    "NO! He's lying! I have nothing to do with any--" he bit his tongue when the blasts filled the air around him. The police here weren't the listening sort. DAMMIT. DAMMIT. DAMMIT. Confused and panicked, he had tried to scramble away from the skirmish but found himself frozen when the man started throwing the police around like rag dolls. At first he thought this might be a jedi, but jedi didn't wear armor like that and they didn't fight like that. It was horrifying and fascinating in the most disgusting way imaginable. Things only got worse. By the time he was grabbed and pulled to his feet he was forcing down the urge to vomit. The sounds of shattering bone still fresh in his mind.

    More police were showing up and he realized there would be no way to explain his way out of the situation. His life had been ruined in a matter of seconds. He would be hauled away in cuffs and locked up... again... Not in the same way, but still locked up. His fists clenched and his spine tingled. He would die first. He had to get away. Quickly he was snapped out of it.

    "Hired? Hired for what!?" he sneered, "I'm not helping you and I don't owe you a damn thing!"

    "You do know they have cameras in their helmets, right? You're a wanted man cause you're not smart and don't have a helmet. Plus, they'll send a jedi after you, whom will be able to track you down like a Kath hound after a baby because of your inability to hide force powers. Yes, it's quite obvious you have them."

    "Of course I don't have a helmet, asshole. They don't--" he stopped and took a deep breath. No point in arguing here. His shoulders stiffened and he kept his eyes locked on the man's visor... "Fine. Just get me out of here. What am I doing?"

    "Fix my ship!" Marquis came down from his scrap pile and joined them, speaking directly to the Togruta. He took his hand and shook it. "Greetings, sir, a please. Please excuse my ignorant friend, he is insane. Our ship is...damaged, to say the least and the engines have stopped working again and the thrusters might not be able to get us to a repair station to adequately repair them. If it is no trouble, please follow me and I will show you what must be fixed."

    "Oh sure, take all the fun out of it." Zen said as he crossed his arms and looked away. "If you wish to have fun, wait a few minutes. More police will no doubt show up." "YES!" He reached to the back of his belt and pulled up his saber, clicking the button. The black light extended from the saber quietly. He spun it in his hand a little and went off to try and find them first."

    "We're gonna die..." he muttered quietly as the psycho ran off and hurried along with the droid, "Who the hell said I could fix it, eh?"

    "Either you fix it or we wait six days while the automatic repair program tries to make sense of it, which it never does. During said time, you will most likely be detained by the police and subjected to brutal prison..."intimacy." As a bonus however, you might be able to get off planet with us."

    "Alright! Alright! Stop! I get it..." Being reminded of being detained again was more than unpleasant. Then he made a mental note to stop asking questions seeing now that they would never be answered. "Tell me where the ship is. I need tools first unless you got 'em already, buddy."

    "We have several tools, though you might have a few more specialized ones." He lead him deeper into the scrap yard and to a large scrap ship, one that most mechanics would start crying at when they saw it's condition. "Mind the dust, it was stuck on-" He stopped as they both looked up and saw a policeman fly over head, sailing out of the junk yard. "Well, now they've seen us. Fantastic. Zenithar will not require our help however, he has done this type of thing before. Shall we?"

    "What. The..." upon seeing the "ship" he found he was suddenly unable to remember how to speak basic. A million thoughts raced through his head many of which had something to do with unfixable piles of shit, metal death traps, burning up in the atmosphere, getting arrested, getting shot, getting butchered by maniac not-jedi, etc... He was burning up and being forced into a corner. The Togruta shook in rage, let out a feral snarl and started yelling something in an alien language before throwing up his hands. The ground at his feet seemed to heave upward and a few spare parts in the dirt hovered momentarily before he turned on his heels and started racing for the shop. He didn't trust them to have what he needed on board that thing.

    "Get...!" he couldn't find the words and just looked at the droid and jabbed a finger at the ship, "I'll be back!"

    Ducking yet even more blaster fire from the fighting he ran the maze as fast as his body would allow until he reached the large building at the front of the yard. There kicked down the door of the shop so hard, the lock and hinges snapped immediately and a deep rectangular dent was left in the wall on the opposite side of the room. The Togruta rushed through the cavernous shop throwing things off shelves and out of boxes into a stiff, heavy duffle bag. Several tools flew from across the repair bay toward him at dangerous speeds where he caught them in mid-air and threw them in the bag with the rest. All the while hissing and grumbling in the strange tongue until he was done packing and let out a stifled, "FUCK."

    Back at the ship the gentlemanly droid and a strange female voice spoke to each other and then to him but he didn't care to focus on them enough to listen. He stripped off his jacket, tied back his lekku, popped a long panel out of the floor and one out of the ceiling, and threw them aside with no care or grace.

    "Engines and thrusters first. Turn them over," he snapped. He listened to the utterly pathetic noise of the ship trying to struggle to life then grabbed the bag of tools and slipped into the cavern in the floor. He twisted and maneuvered through the cramped belly of the beast like a snake until he found what he was looking for. There was a special place in hell for whoever had done the electric work in this thing. Not to mention the mother. Fucking. Dust. He coughed and spat while soldering a conduit back into place. He writhed back out of the pit and immediately pulled himself up into the top of the ship slithering through an even more tight space with just as much ease. There he kicked several vents loose that had locked up or were clogged. A temporary fix but it would have to do or the thrusters would never fire. For several minutes he ran around like crazy ignoring anything that was said to him until finally, upside-down, incredibly hot, uncomfortable and taking his life into his own hands by not doing this in a more open space he welded a massive split in the power converter of the right engine.

    Snapping the visor of the welding mask up he yelled back up to the cockpit to start her up again. Quickly he backed up out of the floor nearly blackened by dust, grease, metal shavings and sweat. A deep rumble followed by the sound of ignition roared through the cab and the scrap yard.

    "She lives," he grinned with bared fangs and a wild look in his eye, "Let's go!"


    Walking slowly with his cane-gun, Marquis stepped up onto the ship and took a place next to the ramp, waiting, leaning on his cane. "Ouran, it's time to go. The Togruta fixed the ship." Before he could try to look out for Zen, he came wheeling around the corner as fast as he could yelling "Start the ship!" as loud as he could. The thrusters kicked over and started to fire and the ship started to rise into the air. Behind Zen came several large security bots aiming to kill him. "THEY BROUGHT THE BIG ROBOT-MEN, IT'S NOT FUN NOW. THEY KICK ASS." Several well placed shots from Marquis put down two of the robots, but the others followed them and tore their way towards the ship. The ramp started to close and Zen jumped onto the ship just before it sealed shut and the ship started to take off.

    Inside the ship, it was rusty and dirty. Something that came out of a maid's nightmare. Though it was just clean enough to live in without infection, it was still enough to make one cringe. Marquis found Togruta after they had taken off thanks to Trinity and shook his hand again. "Marquis Von Sterling, a pleasure. Thank you." A small hologram popped up next to them out of small wall mounted holo-projector, showing a woman. The Ship's AI, Trinity. "They'll have fighters on us soon. I have to concentrate on flying us through the planetary defenses, mind taking the gun, hun?" "Of course. Oh, and apologies, this is Trinity, the ship's AI. The crazy one is Zenithar Ouran and the Tukata, wherever she is, is Gyro. Don't worry, she's friendly, just let her come to you. Apologies for the dust as well. I was not part of the crew at the time but the Harpoon was stuck on a planet named Korriban for a number of years. Brought down by something. The ship took a phenomenally long time to repair itself and the dust simply got...everywhere. I've done my best to clean it, but more shows up every day and Zenithar is no help even though his room is spotless. If I may pardon you however, what is your name?" The robot leaned on his cane, the light in his one eye flickering every now and then.

    Sighing, trying to settle and wrap his head around the sudden, involuntary life change he looked at Sterling and nodded, "Iisska Relyos... I'd say it's good to meet ya, but... It's not. So how about, 'hi?'" The robot looked at him and cocked his head before raising a hand and jerking it to the side in a fast motion. "Hi. Just find a room and fall in a bunk. It might be dirty, but nothing a little spring cleaning can't handle. Now. If you do not mind, I must attend to the guns. If there is one thing we can be thankful for, it's that the guns and shields work perfectly and well beyond expectations."

    He bowed his head and took up his cane-gun, spinning it in hand and moving to a ladder where he jumped up the steps and to the gun turret deck. Zen came around the corner, dressed in robes instead of armor. He threw Iisska his blaster, the barrel was melted slightly and needed to be replaced. "Broke your gun, sorry. I owe you one new pistol."


    All he wanted was to pull the trigger until this Zenithar guy was an unrecognizable lump of charcoal, but now he couldn't. However, feeling the thick weight of the broken blaster in his hand he supposed he could still easily bludgeon the man to death with it. While blood rushed to his head and he clenched his teeth Iisska even started to raise it up a little. Absolutely shaking with rage, he had to fight to keep from living out his bloody fantasy. After a few moments of tense, uncomfortable silence he finally managed to speak.

    "You and everyone on this thing had better be made of credits," he said, brandishing the gun.

    Iisska did not make himself comfortable nor did he find a bunk. He knew what was coming next. Even though Sterling had tried to reassure him they would be fine he was far from ready to trust. Police vessels had already started to tail them and their fire shook the ship. There was no relaxing in this. Instead he made his way to the cockpit to keep an eye on the instruments and readings. There had to be a billion other things broken on this pile, they were being shot at, and now they were about to try and run the tightest planetary customs in the core with it. They were already leaving the lower atmosphere when he got there and he could see missed laser fire flasing into the space ahead as well as the capital ships and fighters soaring above them. Nothing but tiny shapes against the starry backdrop at this distance. But, they were picking up speed.

    For a moment the impacts rocking the ship and the bright lights blurring past them ceased and a loud BONG! went over the ship's sound system. They were being hailed. No doubt by the patrols wanting them to surrender. He looked around for Zen wondering if they would bother to answer it. At this point he would have been happy to just blaze on through. Nothing they could say would make him choose to willingly be arrested.

    Zen came to the control panel and answered it. "Yes, I'll take one large fries, a nerf-burger, and a large zoke." "This is the Coru-Wait what? THIS IS THE CORUSANT PLANETARY DEFENSE FORCE, ZENITHAR OURAN, DUE TO YOUR IMMENSE BOUNTY, YOU AND YOUR SHIP WILL BE VAPORIZED IMMEDIATELY. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF, JEDI KILLER?!" The ships pulled up next to them, two large patrol ships that used tractor beams to slow them down to a crawl, large guns pointed at them.

    Zenithar just looked back at Iisska and smiled. "Watch this." He reached out toward the window and slowed his hand, his hand started to shake erratically, becoming claw like. The left ship started to creak and groan. At first, it just groaned, but then metal started to grind against metal. In the comms, screams from the other ship filled the room, the ship began to crumple into itself, becoming a ball of metal and blood. The comms ceased quickly thereafter.

    He started to move the ship, blood starting to come from his nose as he pulled the ship in front of them, around and to the other ship, slamming it into the other one. It tried to fire at it, but it did nothing but disrupt the tractor beam, allowing them to escape.

    Iisska didn't realize it at the time but his knuckles were turning white around the handrail beside the control panels. He had stopped breathing and looked at Zen in horror.

    "You're sick," he said just above a whisper, "... I should have just let them kill you down there..."

    "Not sick. Defensive. If somebody threatens your life, what are you going to do? Die or fight?" He turned toward Iisska, his entire upper lip covered in blood. "I choose to fight, and I fight with the tools at my disposal, those tools being my saber, my guns, and the Force. Don't really care who's in my way." The humor was gone from his voice, all sense of dread gone as well, replaced with a neutral voice, neither angry nor defiant, along with this stance. He didn't move to clean his face. "If you had "Let them kill me", more would have died. They would have assaulted the ship for days as Marky and I killed them by the hundreds, both robots and humans, before we ditched the ship and killed more to escape. Kill responsibly, as somebody once said."

    He sneered, the urge to vomit rising up once again, "You're powerful enough... you didn't have to do that..." he changed his gaze, unable to look at Zen anymore, "If you people aren't headed anywhere in particular there's a few repair yards on Iridonia. No customs. They don't ask questions. You can get your repairs and drop me off there."

    The ship re-oriented itself as coordinates were being set into the navi-computer. There was a low whum as the ship prepared to make the jump to hyperspace. Iisska collapsed in the chair behind him.

    "You have no idea what power you wield, do you?" He crossed his arms, his voice remaining as it was. "Throw me."

    Iisska rolled his eyes, "No."

    "OKay." He pulled out his light saber and held it to his neck, the black blade scorching his throat. "Throw me or I'll kill you, simple. Find another mechanic, less force powers, teach marquis how to actually fix something, get laid, the normal."

    The blade had barely nicked the Togruta's skin causing his spine to bolt upright as his entire body tensed and pushed back away from the blade. His heart stopped and an immense pressure seemed to push outward. The saber moved away for a moment and Zen was pushed back a few inches, "Don't!"

    "AH hah! I was right! You do have the crazy-gene!" He laughed and pushed his saber forward again. "You just need deadly motivation! I like that!"

    His eyes snapped to Zen and a low rumble came from his throat that turned into a snarl. As soon as he saw the saber coming again he rolled out of the chair and threw the man into the wall snapping panels, wires and pipes. Sparks fizzled around the body-shaped dent that Zen formed on impact. Iisska bolted from the cockpit.


    "I'M NOT GONNA BE HERE TOMORROW!" he yelled back, looking for that bunk Marquis had told him about.




    Late the next morning they finally reached the Mid Rim and were speeding toward Iridonia and the city of Wortan. Half the city sprawled into a gaping canyon several miles wide and nearly as deep. The other half had been carved directly into the rock walls. Many miles of tunnel streets, homes, civil buildings and shops had already been cut and the city was still growing. Massive defensive cannons lined the ridges of the canyon. Caves and a labyrinth of tall steel structures covered the cliff face and spread out to the water like a web. Ports and small boats could be seen dotting the river, a shocking blue thread that wound its way through the rocky, desolate landscape. On the far end of the visible city Wortan also boasted a sizable spaceport where travelers making the journey from the Outer Rim to the Core could stop, rest and resupply. This seemed as good a place as any to call home for now.

    Iisska hadn't slept much on the trip, feeling like he had to keep an eye open for the rest of the crew all night. Not to mention the unsettling noises the ship kept making. He kept expecting the hyperdrive to fail at any second and tear the vessel into oblivion. Luckily that had not happened. The entire morning he spent trying to avoid Zen. By the time the Harpoon touched down in the canyon port he already had most of his tools packed up and was ready to start the "will-work-for-food" routine. He stood at the loading ramp and took a deep breath as the interior de-pressurized and the warm, dusty air was allowed to sweep in. The smells of thruster exhaust, river algae and greasy food hit immediately. It was a nice change from the putrid, polluted, war-torn atmosphere of Coruscant.


    "The group was moving through an unsettling forest, charred wood, burnt ground, and smoking ruins around them. WHEN. Out of nowhere! They are beset by a snarling dragon! What do you do!" "I THROW ZEE LIGHTSABER AT IT!" "You roll a...four. You miss horribly, The group is killed". "FUCK." "Dammit, Zen!" "Great, two weeks down the drain. Thanks Zen." Zen threw the terminal across the room, anger swelling in him. "DAMN IT, MYSTERIOUS DEITY. WHY MUST YOU TORMENT ME?!" His faithful Tukata, Gyro, poked her head out of a large hole in the wall that Zen fashioned into a personal home for her. "Don't you judge me." She promptly pulled her head back into the hole and went back to sleeping.

    Marquis stepped into the room then, speaking. "Zen old boy, we are here." His mood changed then, flipping off the anger like a lightswitch. "Oooh, Iridonia, I haven't been he-" "Not even a chance, Ouran. You are to stay here, on the ship." Zen's shoulders dropped and his face turned into one of sadness. "Awwww, why?!" "Because I do not wish to be chased off planet. Again. The ship needs repairs and it is going to take all of the credits we have to get it at least operational. "FINE. On one condition though." "What is it?" "Fix the damn synthesizer." "But you are the only one who uses it, why should I use my credits to-" "Oh, next time, I'LL buy the product that YOU break when you and Trinity decide to "experiment." Sterling froze in place, a little steam coming out of his head. Trinity's hologram popped up out of the side of the wall from a projector, she had her hand over her mouth, stifling a laugh. "Have to admit, Silver. That was a lot of fun." Zen crossed his arms and looked crossly at Sterling. "Silver?" Zen held up his cane and put the barrel against Zen's nose. "Tell anybody or call me by that name and I will kill you." "Oh, Silver. Put your gun down. Don't be so mean to him." "Thank you, Trinity." He said as Sterling grumbled and let down his gun, walking out of the room. Zen just shrugged and lay down on his bed again, he was forced to be stuck in this room, might as well sleep. From across the room, a familiar snoring was heard. He sat up in bed and whistled. "Come on girl, Come on Gyro! Come lay with daddy!" She poked her head out and glared at him. "Oh come on, I haven't scratched you behind your spikes in, what? Two days? You know you love it." She continued to glare at him as he patted his bed. She seemed to sigh as she came out and stretched before jumping onto the bed and laying with her master. His hand went to her head and scratched behind one of her spikes, her leg going to try to scratch her head. Her forked tongue rolled out of her mouth and her eyes closed a little as she was enveloped in pleasure. "Now who's a good girl?! Who are! Who's a cute deathmachine?! You are, Gyro! Yes you are!"

    Sterling made his way for the air lock when Trinity popped up, overtaxing a holo-projector so she could appear life size, stopping Sterling cold. "Why do you mother him, so, Trin? I am starting to think that Radon was right in wanting him dead." "He saved my life several times over, as I his, plus, he's a lot smarter than he looks, Marquis. You know this, you've seen him do amazing things already. Not to mention he has never disrespected me." "Never disresp- He kicked you yesterday! I saw! He was angry about some bloody stupid appliance of his not working!" "He kicked the ship, not me. Even you have to admit that the ship is in..." She looked around, sparking wiring and loose panels everywhere, barely any space to really walk or move, dust and sand covering everything. "Poor shape." "That is putting it bloody lightly." "There you go getting angry again." She came close to him and wrapped her arms around him, placing her head against his chest. He may not have felt her and she occasionally clipped into him, but the thought was there, and he was calming down. His one eye closed a little as anger slipped away, replaced with calm, and a smidgeon of happiness. "Apologies, Dove." "Don't apologize, you have every right to be angry, but leave him be. He's annoying, but so is family." "I will look for a replacement ship if I cannot find a mechanic whom is brave enough to take on this monstrosity." She lifted her head off of his chest and locked eyes with him. "Do as you must, but try to get Iisska back."

    She closed her eyes for a moment, a faint humming coming from her. "There is a DT-57 heavy blaster for sale in the market. It's missing a heat sink and the energy converter is cracked, but the parts could entice him back. Offer payment if you have to." "I will look for some work as well. No doubt the Zabrak have a criminal or two outside the city causing trouble." "Ooh...let me see here..." She closed her eyes again, searching. "There are quite a lot of small timers here but...Ooh there is a small band of Mandalorian Pirates that have been ambushing citizens, eighteen thousand credits...and Batarian Slavers worki-" "I will handle the slavers." "Knew you would before I even started. They're 25K." "Maybe speak to Zen about the Pirates. He seems to enjoy putting down people not of his home planet." She smiled for a moment before looking away, biting her lip. "There is also...a mobile holographic projector available in the market. A really nice you think-" "Of course. I will take a look at it and let you know. Stay safe, Dove." "You too, Silver." She leaned up and pecked his robotic lip, a small electrical surge went between the two and she flickered out of existence, disappearing back into the ship. He puffed out his chest a little and planted his cane-rifle's tip on the floor, shaking his head a little before he went out the airlock.

    Marquis walked along the market stalls, for once he had his smell receptor activated and the smells of fresh food and hydrolic oil filled his "nose." While the Zabrak people were very warlike and violent, their foods were a delicacy. At least, they were when all you've had for the last six months were piles of sludge from a synthesizer and horrible Corusant "Cuisine". Fine breads, fried, barbequed, and toasted animal meats, seasoned veggies. A silver lining in the warrior's name, so to speak. Many looked at him with distrust, anger, or even malice. But a word or two of kindness here, a boast or three there, and they left him be. While he might have been accosted under normal circumstances, he had elected to bring his cane with him, a deadly and elegant weapon of Zabrak design. The looks of it were designed by Radon, but the internal parts were all designed by Bek 'lashok, one of the many master weapon smiths that was one of the few that was born off planet and allowed to settle on Iridonia. Nobody messed with him and he was actually given a discount as he walked through, but he did not take them up on their offers, but simply asked for information on the items he was looking for.

    He was sent to a single stall, close to the market's heart. A stall of rares and antiques. He found the blaster he was looking for and asked about it. The owner boasted that it was used by the infamous Jango Fett before his death, but Marquis quickly pointed out that Jango used the Westar-34 and that the market price for the DT-57 was 850 credits, plus reductions due to the damages that he pointed out, they settled on a price of three hundred credits, though the shopkeeper wouldn't have agreed if there wasn't a crowd.

    Continuing among the stalls, he picked up several foods and drinks along with using a sizable chunk of the rest of his cash to pick up the synthesizer for the ship, having it delivered there as it was large and awkward. As he made his way back, he saw the portable holo projector and told the shopkeeper that he'd like to put the item on hold for pay and pickup later after taking down the slavers that were outside of town. The shopkeeper was overjoyed and said that his daughter was captured by the slavers and that he could have the projector for free if he brought her back. He was more than happy to agree considering the projector was seventeen thousand credits.

    After taking the bounty and heading back to the Harpoon, he found several Ithorians huddled around one another, a sign saying "Will clean for credits". He approached them and flashed the few credits he had left at them. Though they were dissatisfied, he promised to give them 1 thousand credits each for cleaning the Harpoon from top to bottom. They mentioned that it would take several hours, considering how long the dirt and dust had been there, how it had worked into the cracks of the vessel, and the sheer amount of it all, but he said that would not be a problem and that compensation would be given upon completion. Though they would have refused most other people, yet again, his Cane-rifle came in handy, making him look like a high-class robot. They agreed and went back to the ship to work.

    He also found Iisska, alone, near an entry door, with a sign that said "Will-Work-For-Food." on it. His clothing was a little singed and he had a couple bruises on his head and Lekku. He had apparently been chased out of several areas and attacked by several of the war-loving Zabrak. They didn't care for his kind nor his practices. He approached him and knelt down to face level, making him look up. He held out a loaf of the bread, he took it reluctantly. It was followed by the DT-57. He helped the injured Togruta to his feet and spoke. "Apologies about the condition of the pistol, Iisska. The Heat Sink is missing and the energy converter is cracked, but the barrel is in excellent condition, as is most of the parts. It should serve you well in your old blaster's repairs." He handed the Togruta the blaster and leaned on his cane again. "I apologize for getting off on the wrong foot. I realize that Zen is quite the...troublemaker. While he is skilled, he gets on everybody's nerves. I see that your sign says that you will work for food. I would like to hire you. Any parts you need I will get, and the Synthesizer I bought today is in excellent condition, so food is a given. I have to hunt a group of slavers outside of the city for the Zabrak people, whom refuse to attack considering that the Batarians are "War buddies" and do not with to start another war considering what's going on with the clones and separatists right now.. Why don't you come along? We can discuss your employment. To me. Not Zen. I however cannot guarantee that you will not be annoyed to no end by him. It is something we have to suffer through it seems. But, on the bright side, the ship is being cleaned right now, and you will be able to have your personal that is not blockaded by debris and dirt. Plus, if you need parts, just ask and I will collect them, or give you the money to do so."

    He simply looked between the droid and the broken blaster for a few moments and then let out a discouraged sigh, "You're kinda backing me into a corner with all that talk," he smiled a little then winced from the pressure that put on a blackening eye. Marquis and he both knew there weren't a whole lot of choices left. After a little more thought he tossed the pathetic sign away, slid the blaster into his bag and stood up. Every part of him urged him not to do it, but he held his hand out to the droid.

    "Deal," he would have to learn to deal with Zenithar later. Sterling grabbed Iisska's hand and shook it, his eye slightly closed, a way to convey happiness. "Shall we get on our way then? I have to drop off a bit of food, but then we will take some speeders out to the slavers." He nodded and started to partially lead the way, walking beside Iisska to the ship to drop off the food, letting Trinity know what happened and seeing her overjoyed face before heading off, grabbing Zen's Tuskan Cycler out from under his nose as he did so Iisska could have something to shoot with.


    Though not normally his food of choice, after not eating much of anything since the morning before, the crusty hunk of bread might as well have been the most tender cut of meat. Truth be told it was nothing like the "breads" he'd attempted elsewhere. This was really good. He dug into it ravenously on the way back to the ship to drop off Sterling's shopping and his bag. The Ithorian cleaners were sweeping over and through the Harpoon at an astounding pace considering the condition the flying casket was in. But they still had a long way to go.

    "You must have offered them a small fortune," he commented to Sterling.

    In the same room he had crashed the night before he dropped off his bag on the bunk. With a few minutes until Sterling would be ready to go he pulled the parts blaster back out and compared it to the melted one in his hip holster. Indeed they would be a good fit even though the metals had tarnished and were now different colors. No matter. He didn't carry the damn thing to look pretty. He only wished he had more time to fix it before they went out, but it would take him hours. What did that droid expect him to do on a bounty hunt like this? Wearing a puzzled look on his face he packed them both up again. Out of nowhere he heard something behind him that wasn't a humanoid shape and turned quickly. Only a fleeting movement on the edge of the entrance greeted him, but he could still feel it there. He took a few cautious steps forward and then it was gone. Creeping into the hall and poking his head around the corner his eyes confirmed it.

    "Hello?" he said quietly. Nothing. He tensed upon remembering being told something about a... what was it? ... A tukata? Though he wasn't entirely sure what that was. If that had been "her," he didn't expect her to be so big... or creepy. Walking back out he couldn't shake the feeling that he was being watched and was almost running by the time left the air lock where Sterling was waiting of course.

    With a gun.

    "Where did you dig this up?" Iisska asked after being handed the rifle. That answered his weapon question.

    "It's Zen's. Do not worry, he will not find out. A Tuskan Cycler. Very accurate and deadly. Not a lot of their type around these days." The rifle was light and ornate almost. Weathered from long years of use but kept pristine by it's master, Zen.

    "That so?" he couldn't hold back a somewhat sinister laugh as he slung it over his back, "You're alright, know that? Where to next, boss?"

    "Have to...borrow...a couple speeders from the garage over there. They may not enjoy us taking them, so a little tact may be needed."

    "Borrow... Right..." he rubbed his chin in thought and felt a painful bruise there from earlier. Then raised a brow and smiled. There was more depth and purr in his voice now, "Actually, I know where there's a few that might be a little easier... and more satisfying to 'borrow.'"

    "Lead the way, Friend."

    Not long after the two of them ducked into a particularly shady neighborhood adjacent to the spaceport. Iisska was doing his best to keep out of sight as he had already discovered that foreigners were frowned upon in this part of town. They came to a run-down canteena partially cut into a large boulder. In front of the establishment nearly a dozen speeders were parked and ripe for the taking... As long as they were quick. He watched from his hiding spot as a group of patrons walked inside.

    "This is it," he said quietly, "It should only take me a minute or two to get 'em up and running. Can you keep an eye out?"

    "Is that supposed to be a cruel joke?" He looked at him, his one eye glowing white in the partial darkness."

    He frowned and seemed to shrink as it hit him, "I-- Er-- No! No! That's really not what I was... It's just a phrase."

    "And that was a joke." He looked at him, his eye becoming slightly pinker for a moment before he walked way to keep a lookout.

    Iisska chuckled nervously, "Oh. Funny."

    Taking the next opening he jogged out to where the speeders were parked, but he did not stop at the first two like any remotely intelligent sentient being would. Instead he skipped over them and the third and fourth and fifth before stopping and looking closer at the next two and grinning.

    "That's them," he whispered to nobody specifically before wrenching a small side plate open on the first one. With a second or two of struggle he ripped a small circular electronic device off it's screws and threw it on the ground. Then he spliced two wires where it had been and moved on to wrenching two more out of the main console. Carefully he touched them together a couple of times, trying not to electrocute himself, and after a few more attempts the speeder roared to life. He gripped a paddle on the handle bar and clipped the plate back in place.

    "Get on. Quick," he nodded to Sterling, "Keep the clutch in."

    "I know how to ride a speeder, boy." He hopped onto Iisska's speeder and clamped his legs onto it via a bit of magnetism.

    "I was just... Nevermind," he said jumping to the next speeder. He tried to work faster than before using the same magic trick, but this one was being far more stubborn. After at least ten tries to get current to the ignition all he had to show for it was sparks and singed fingertips. They were running out of time. Come on you little shit... The canteena door swung open and three dirty looking Zabrak came out. Their eyes snapped to the thieves at the same second Iisska finally got the bike to fire.

    "You!" the first one yelled, though he was a bit stunned. His friend was already racing down the steps to another speeder.

    "Shoulda killed me, jackass!" the Togruta yelled back as he jumped on and threw the machine into reverse.

    The furious locals yanked blasters from their belts, having been given a great idea and open fired.

    Marquis jumped onto his own, revving it and firing off, unholstering his rifle for when the bikers chase after them. He turned and started off for the desert, intent on leading Iisska towards where they needed to go.

    He didn't need to be told twice to follow the droid's lead. More angered Zabrak out for blood were coming out of the doors to get a piece of the action. They tore away from the steel expanse on the speeders going down a little used dirt path that followed the river. A few homes and a small ranch or two dotted the canyon floor. The occasional outcrop in the cliffs could be used as natural corals for the reeks and the other strange, lumbering livestock that could be seen grazing on the low desert foliage that grew out from the water and collected in the shady areas along the edge of the rocks. It would have been a rather peaceful and relaxing place had there not been a biker gang hot on their heels shooting at them like a bunch of psychopaths.

    Marquis seemed to be able to not only handle one of these old speeders at a neck breaking speed, but also take his eyes off the damn road, use a rifle one handed and hit targets at his back with an incredible accuracy all at the same time. He made it look as easy as walking. Iisska wanted more than anything to help but only got as far as turning to look behind him for a second or two before realizing that all he would accomplish was sending stray fire everywhere before more than likely wrecking and dying a burning, road-rashed, broken, mess. He couldn't out-shoot them, but they sure as hell couldn't out-ride him. Hunkering down, he put his eyes back ahead where they belonged and throttled the speeder into the red. The speed took him alongside Marquis and then he overtook him. The heart-stopping impacts from his cane-rifle still could not be drowned out though. Risking another glance back he saw one of the bikers get thrown off his bike by a well-placed shot right to the chest. The speeder touched the ground before snapping up, spinning through the air and tearing itself to pieces when it hit the ground again. It's owner's fate was little different. There were only two left and one slowed and turned back. Realizing that this was pointless alone the last one gave up as well. Iisska slowed his screaming bike down so he could follow Marquis once more.

    Now they were well into the desert and unsettled territory. The farther they pushed away from town the less they saw any trace of sentient life. The last person they saw was an elderly Iridonian man with an abscessed horn, battle damaged armor on his chest and one shoulder, and a large blaster rifle across his lap. He reclined on his porch, a black cigar in his mouth, and glared at the strange pair as they zipped past his property.

    "Such a warm and welcoming people," Iisska smirked and rolled his eyes.

    From there on the canyon started to become narrow. A smaller waterway tumbled nearly a half mile down from a jagged vertical cut in the ridge above and joined the main river. Many more would join it in a similar fashion along several more miles. The added body and depleting space transformed it into an angry frothing beast, splashing through rapids and spraying into the air as it spilled over sudden drops. It became cool and dark as the walls pushed ever inward and blocked out the sun. The canyon took a sudden turn. Ahead, towering upward in a way that defied gravity, a massive stone monolith split the river again. Beyond that a jumble of alien rock formations, arches, pits, slots and spires, carved over millennia from the constantly shifting wind, sand and water, beckoned the foolish to become lost in them.


    They had lost them, quite easily he might add. They dismounted from their speeders and hid them behind a few rocks. Iisska tended to them while Marquis stepped away and looked around. His eye changed to a bright yellow color, scanning the ridges. He held his rifle in hand as he looked around. He seemed to mutter to himself quite a lot. He scanned every inch of the canyons, finding every route, every trail, every path. He quickly pinpointed just where the slavers were.

    When Iisska came up behind him and asked about the slavers, Marquis pointed down the trail, following a river. "They are this way, follow me." He lead him up a river, sneaking through the canyon until they came upon a large waterfall in the distance. Marquis' eye turned red and he held up his rifle, his vision magnifying. "There are several silhouettes ahead hidden behind that waterfall. Hmm" He looked around again and saw a path upwards. He lead Iisska up to a small alcove hidden in the canyon wall. They were able to set up their posts and lay down on the ground, sighting in. "Do not try and rapidly fire it, the Cycler will slow down when it passes through the waterfall. We want to lure them out of their hiding spot. Ready?


    On his stomach over looking the dark slot canyon which the falls plummeted into Iisska listened and watched very carefully. Thanks to the rock formations around them the acoustics here were fantastic. He could hear the slavers moving about and had a bead on one before he even made out the silhouette. The Tusken Cycler felt nice and heavy in his hands and he was eager to pull the trigger for the first time. Normally killing of any sort left a bad taste in his mouth but slavers were among those kinds of people he felt little sympathy for. He took his finger off the guard and gently set it on the trigger getting ready to squeeze as he watched his target.

    "Yeah, I'm R--" he stopped and shuddered. He felt nauseated and slightly repulsed by the Cycler all of a sudden. He felt like there was a weight on his entire body and on his very spirit. There was a sort of darkness consuming him. Something was so very wrong. And whatever it was he couldn't help but feel like it might be coming for him. He shook his head a few times and rolled his shoulders out trying to ignore and suppress the feeling. Quickly he got comfortable once more, focused his senses back on the targets and cleared his throat.

    "Sorry. Ready when you are."

    He squeezed the trigger as soon as Marquis did. Even after slamming through the water the slug still found its mark, going right through the Batarian's skull. Accurate was an understatement when talking about this thing. It took a second or two but chaos quickly spread through the slaver hideout and before long they were coming out from behind the water trying to scout for their killers. The Cycler had cooled down by then and Iisska took another shot. Again he found his mark. Marquis was picking them off one by one at a far quicker pace. But it would only be a matter of time before... In an instant he heard the pop of a rifle down below, detected where it was coming from and its trajectory and snapped his head several inches to the left. It ripped through the air where his skull used to be and exploded into the rock behind them. Slowly, almost stunned he moved back into position.

    "Might be time to move soon," he said aiming right back at the slaver who had just shot at him.


    "Oh this is bad, so very very bad. Why did I say it was the mandalorians?! Such a stupid idea...those poor bastards!* Trinity sat huddled in her personal server on the ship, designed as a small house overlooking a canyon-place of some sort. She was sitting on the porch of the house, no dark blue holographic hue to her or the area. She had her head buried in her hands.

    Outside of Trinity's realm, a certain Gray Sith and his faithful companion have stolen a bloody and scorchmarked APC and are heading for the reported Mandalorian camp.


    "Agreed, and good shooting." He stood up and took a step back as a bolt flew by his head. "Ruffians. I believe I saw them retrieving their jetpacks, which means that we will get to have a little skeet to practice on." He looked at him, his eye turning pink for a few moments as he turned towards the edge and jumped off, using his hand to claw the wall and slow himself down as he plummeted towards the ground and launched off, going into a roll and firing after he stood, downing two more slavers. He ducked as blaster fire went towards his unprotected position and sprinted, heading for a large boulder where he dived in and got against it. He drew most of the attention from Iisska, a few Batarians taking off into the air to head after him were picked off by either Iisska or Sterling. His aim was definitely as good as he let on, dropping Batarians the very second they even popped. Their numbers plummeted quickly and when they started to head back into the camp to take cover, Sterling was waiting for them, having moved into the compound. Slavers had nowhere to run except straight into the void.

    Together, the two cleaned house, going through the compound and making sure every Batarian was dead. They made their way towards the prisoner's cells and found a couple more Batarians, beginning executions, but they stopped them before anybody was killed. The prison cells were dank, darkened and grimy, the cells themselves were electrified with a forcefield and were cramped. Over a hundred and fifty people of varying races, sizes, and genders were locked in. Many of them separated from families into different cells. They disabled the cells, letting the slaves come together and hug, kiss, greet, and make sure each other was okay. Some however, were not as lucky. Many had their legs broken, some were dead. In a far cell, they found a small child, a Togruta female with her legs broken. Light orange in color, no face paint or colorings on it. Her Lekku was short, just barely resting on her shoulders, and they had stripes over it, but she was badly bruised, cuts all over her body, dark blue, torn and slightly shredded robes covering her. Her legs were broken.

    Marquis tried to approach, but stopped as the girl started to breathe erratically and bury her face in the corner, terrified. She said several words that he couldn't understand but recognized as Togruti. He turned and found Iisska waiting just on the edge of the crowd. "Excuse me, Iisska. A word." He approached and crossed his arms. "A stupid question, but do you happen to be fluent in Togruti?" He gestured into the cell at the girl hiding in the corner. What was needed exactly became self explanatory.

    Iisska raised a brow at Marquis and made a noise that could only be described as a deep hollow purr before speaking, "Yamar ch. Nadad zaasan yuu ch bish aav eej khoyor--" the low, trilling sarcastic remark trailed off as he saw what Marqius was pointing at. His shoulders slumped and he scratched the back of his neck, "Oh... Yeah. I'll take care of it." Iisska walked over to the girl and crouched next to her and a quiet conversation started between the two that ended with him slinging the cycler over his back and picking her up in his arms.

    They exited the compound with girl in tow. The other slaves went toward the garage and found ships and speeders, taking them and heading off planet. He had sent a message and pictures of the area to the proper authorities and told them where to credit the reward. "I just realized something, Iisska. We are close to the reported area of the Mandalorians. I do not see why we cannot take a look." Iisska agreed and they followed the trail out of the Batarian compound to find their bikes, ready for them. They kicked them on again and took off, heading deeper into the canyon to find the Mandalorian compound.

    Their ride was not long, a half hour or so. After dismounting they went towards the Mandalorian compound, leaving their bikes behind rocks. The girl had mentioned to Iisska that her name was Kifkae and took a position on his shoulders, patting his head every now and then, happy to be with her own kind. At one point, a horrifying stench hit the Togruta's noses and they ran around the corner, expecting a firefight. What they came upon however, wanted to make them puke in a corner.

    The camp was utterly destroyed. Bodies were splattered into walls, impaled, eviscerated. Claw marks, Saber scars, marks where bites had occurred. Pure carnage. Almost all of the buildings that were here were destroyed, they even found some women and children among the blood and death. Kifkae patted Iisska's head and had him back out of the place, saying that there was an unnatural darkness left over. How she could feel it was beyond both of them, but Marquis took pictures, sent them to the authorities saying that somebody had tore through there and if nobody else had claimed it, they were claiming the completion of the contract.

    Not soon after heading back to the speeders, Marquis got a call. He answered. "Where is my rifle, Sterling." It was Zen's voice and he had a very neutral, oddly terrifying voice to him. Iisska turned, hearing the voice too, but Sterling held up a finger, telling him to wait. "We found it at the Slaver camp. I was coming to surprise you with it. It was sold to the Batarians by the Mandalorians." He crossed his fingers, hoping his lie would satisfy Zen. He wouldn't be able to tell if Sterling was lying or not as he was a robot. "How did they get into my Ship to steal my rifle?" "I am unsure. Remember, the ship does not have Sensors and when you are asleep, you tend not to notice people coming in and out of your room." "Bring my rifle back to me soon." "Not a problem, Zen." He finished the call and sighed before asking for the rifle back. "That was close. But that also explains what happened to the camp there...The man has...simple pleasures in life. Apparently when they are taken away for any reason...well, you saw what happened. I apologize for that. I had no idea Zen would snap like that at the taking of his rifle."


    "Simple pleasures," Iisska tensed and muttered under his breath, "Right." He was still fuming at the sight. Even if they were pirates it felt wrong to leave them like this, but he did for Kifkae's sake.

    She sat behind him on the speeder, clinging tightly to his waist. She was a tough little thing and hadn't complained much at all even with both legs broken and swollen. Even now he could feel her singing random notes and little made up tunes. A few times an old folk song or lullaby he recognized from childhood would slip in. Bile continued to rise in his throat and his knuckles had been white on the handlebars of the speeder the entire ride back to the city. He glared into the distance deep in thought. Finding the little girl alive was a blessing in far more ways than one.

    Once back in town Iisska kept an eye out for the thugs they had stolen the speeders from, but he doubted they would see any more trouble from them. Good thing too. He was not in any sort of mood for that. Following Sterling's directions they arrived in the marketplace and neared a small shop. Kifkae started bouncing, grinning, pointing and talking while patting his back. She was talking so fast and excitedly he could barely get a response in. This was the place apparently. Careful of her wounds Iisska picked her up and put her on his shoulders again. They walked into the shop and he looked around to find another Togruta behind the counter. The man's eyes widened and he nearly jumped over the counter to get to them. Kifkae nearly dove off Iisska's shoulders to get to her father. He slowed her down to keep her from hurting herself further, but soon father and daughter were reunited in a tight hug. Despite the touching moment and a tiny smile that was forming on his face Iisska couldn't stand it and had to look away. He put his hands in his pockets and mumbled in Togruti.

    <"Glad to help. She needs to get medical attention soon though.">

    <"Wait!"> the main raised a hand and stood before switching to basic, "I promised your friend here a reward," he nodded to Sterling and walked to a display stand to retrieve the portable holo-projector. He handed the extremely expensive device over to Sterling like it was nothing. The smile still hadn't left his face and his daughter clung to him tightly and even managed a grin and a wave at the scary droid.

    "Oh, thanks," Iisska said. He wanted to object but knew it wasn't his place. He gave one last glance at the pair before starting out the door. But he was stopped by a startled Kifkae yelling at him.

    <"Hey! Don't leave!">

    He looked over his shoulder and she motioned him over. When he got there she caught him around the neck and gave him an affectionate squeeze. He frowned, his brow furrowed and he tried to hide his face until he got his composure back.

    <"Thanks, kid,"> he sighed, <"Good to see you safe, but we gotta go.">

    She frowned but nodded, <"Come back and say hi,">

    <"We'll see,"> he said.

    "Hey," her father spoke in basic again, "You Ranna's boy?"

    "... Yeah," he looked at the man through a narrowed gaze, "Why?"

    "Heh, thought you looked familiar, but you were just tiny last I saw you. Your mom and I used to take out akul together. That woman's a beast. How's ol' scarface doing these days?"

    Iisska sighed and slouched eager to get out of here but not about to leave in the middle of conversation, regardless of how unpleasant, "She died... probably six or seven years ago."

    "Oh... Sorry to hear that."

    He shrugged, "Wasn't without a fight, I hear. Dad's still kickin' around though," Iisska turned his attention toward Sterling again and nodded, "It was good to meet you... again, I guess. But we should really get going. Thanks for everything, and good luck with your shop," he nodded to the man and smiled at Kifkae before leaving. His mood was only souring.

    Zen was waiting for them at the Harpoon. Iisska parked his speeder by the airlock, hopefully there would be a place to store them in the ship so they could have them on hand later.

    "Hey, Zen, we got your rifle back," the Togruta said with an unsettling smile as he walked toward him, "So there was no need to butcher women and children back there, but hey, must have had fun right?" As soon as Iisska was in range the smile turned to a glare and slammed his fist into the bastard's face with enough force to make himself stagger.


    Zen barely reacted to the blow, his upper body reeling back only somewhat noticeably, the punch barely even phasing him. Zen made eye contact with Iisska, looking in disbelief at Zen's fortitude. There was a spark of red in Zen's eye for a mere moment before he spoke. "You. Touched. My. No-nos." Iisska's arm snapped backwards at the elbow, his pinkie now touching his shoulder. He screamed at the top of his lungs and was on his knees before he could truly react. Zen kept his position, his hands behind his back, a look of true anger on his face, his eyebrows coming together, scowl marring his lips and neck tense. "If you think I can't sense your presence on my gun, you are wrong. You fired it fifty-eight times. You are both lucky I do not have enough true evidence other than a signature of your life on my gun." There was a crunching sound in Iisska's arm as Zen started to slowly use the force to pull Iisska's arm toward him, grinding the bones and threatening to snap it off entirely. "There are three rules on [/i]My[/i] Ship. Regardless of what Sterling or Trinity say, it is [/i]My[/i] Ship. One: Do not touch my guns. Two: Do not touch my light sabers. Three: Do not fuck with Gyro." Iisska's arm started to disconnect slightly as more pressure was applied. His screaming became frantic as he couldn't fight back, his very control of the force was being suppressed! Zen bent down low and forced Iisska to make eye contact, the red sparks in Zen's eye appearing every now and then. "If you [/i]Ever[/i] touch my guns again, I will rip off your lekku and force you to eat them while a starving Tarentatek watches across the table from you, restrained by nothing but a pathetically weak chain hooked to a wooden wall. Is. That. Clear?" Before Iisska's eyes, the world around them darkened. Out of the shadows came several Jedi killing Terentateks, all with hunger in their eyes.

    Shaking from either the pain or the fear, Iisska quickly nodded and the hold on him was released, letting him fall back to the ground and hit his head. The monsters around him instantly disappeared and the pain in his body quickly dissipated. He sat up to see his arm wasn't bent or broken, not even bruised. It was an illusion. Zen snatched his rifle from Sterling's hands and turned, swooshing his cape as he did, and went into the ship. Sterling stepped in front of Iisska then, holding out a hand and helping him up. "Are you alright, Old boy? I apologize. Truly I do. I had no idea he was capable of that power when angered. I would have helped, but I could not move." Iisska was shaking a little, but Sterling brought him inside the ship to be tended to by Trinity.


    In Trinity's TI-Core...

    She sat in a club chair within her core, a cabin in a place she called "Trion". Marquis appeared near her, his right hand behind his back. His mouth moved here. "Good evening, mi-lady." He took off his hat and bowed. She stood up, smiling, curtseying. "Great to see you here, Silver." She offered her chair and he gladly took it, Trinity sitting on his lap and laying against his metallic body soon after. "You feel tense...worried about what Zen did, Dove?" "Yeah. He's getting worse. I've never seen him invade somebody's mind before." He wrapped an arm around her hip and rubbed her ribs. "Hopefully the boy isn't too shaken from it. Hallucinations I can understand, but inducing pain is unreal. Zen might just need a good ol' kick in the head to sort him out." "I hope you or I won't be the ones to do it." "If we are lucky, we will make enough money to hop ship. A small starship maybe." She sat up, her face contorted in anguish. She clenched her fists. "No more talk of leaving." Marquis' eye turned a light shade of blue, then light red. "Wha-what did I say?" "I'm not leaving him, Silver. He made me. " "But he is a sickopa-" "I. Don't. Care. I won't leave him." "But I-" She turned and glared at him, her face determined, angry. A lot like Zen's. "End of discussion, Marquis. I won't leave him. If you want to leave because of your dislike of him, so be it." His eye turned a brighter shade of light red before turning white. "No. I will stay by your side, Dove. " She sighed and leaned against him again, kissing his jaw. "Thank you, Silver. It means a lot...Wait...where is your body?" "I...I left it in the chair...oh no..."


    "And a little blush here...a wiener there...ooh, and an "Iisska was here" there!" Zen was straddling Sterling's inactive body as he was connected to Trinity's T.I. Core. Marker in hand, he was drawing away on Sterling's face. He got up quickly then and ran out of the room, Sterling returning to his body moments later. "Hmm. I guess I had nothing to worry about." Little did the gentle-bot know that he was a mess of adult graffiti...poor guy.


    Finally the sights were lined up properly. Despite a bit of a color difference, the parts taken from the spare DT-57 were more than enough to erase the damage done to the original. He stood from the makeshift workbench he had put together, aimed at the doorway and narrowed his eyes. The problem now wasn't in the blaster or the repairs or his tweaks. His hands were shaking. His whole body was shaking and couldn't stop it. He clenched his jaw and started to squeeze the trigger, but quickly shoved the gun in its holster. It wouldn't leave his side again. Not on this ship. Not with Him around. Iisska stood still, taking a few deep breaths. There was work to do before they could go anywhere safely. He looked out the door of his modest quarters but didn't move. The blaster wasn't helping at all. There was nothing he or anybody could do against that bastard if he snapped. Nothing. It was hopeless. He shook his head and rubbed his temples. Work to do.

    He picked up his tools and pulled a small data pad out of the bag. He fired up a blank file and left the room ready to compile what was sure to be a mile long to-do list. First things first: he had to check life support and and the hyperdrive. The two things most likely to murder them all. Wouldn't that be nice?
    The Batarian captain paced back and forth muttering to himself nervously. His hand occasionally put pressure on a painful scorch across the side of his skull. One of his men sat nearby in the shade of a small rock formation groaning and dying slowly of a gut shot. Another stood next to him, a blaster in one hand and his other arm in a make-shift sling. Every few seconds the captain would look up at the horizon and scan the rest of the skies. He rubbed his head and wrung his hands and hissed and kicked small stones in the sand as they waited on the canyon ridge high above their decimated camp. In the distance a large black ship appeared. It was coming toward them at an alarming rate. The captain stopped his pacing immediately and backed up a few paces. In no time the shuttle was upon them. The noise was deafening and it spewed dust into the air as it landed before them. The engines wound down and quieted. The airlock hissed open and a ramp lowered to the ground. Six armed men in black battle armor and featureless, eyeless steel masks filed out of the ship in silence.

    The Batarian captain bowed low, "My Lord!"

    Out of the dark ship stepped a giant. The humanoid's feet fell heavy on the steel and crunched into the sand. He was at least eight feet tall, with broad shoulders and a powerfully set body. He dressed in a very heavy, battle-worn, blackened set of armor that had been augmented by hydraulics and computers. He too was masked but had two very thin slits over where his eyes would be. The small openings revealed nothing. He wore a cloak and a shroud over his head and shoulders. He slowly and gracefully clasped his hands behind his back while staring at the captain.

    "My Lord! There was an ambush! We could not have seen it coming! They were bounty hunters! Demons!" he hissed and pleaded, "I-- We-- With just a few more days and a few more men we could make up our loses! I swear it to you! Please forgive us!"

    The captain continued to beg and prattle on and make excuses while the dark men and their leader watched in eerie breathless silence. The giant raised a gloved hand. The Batarian shut his mouth almost immediately.

    "Where are the slaves? And your men?" his voice was deep, grinding and mechanical.

    "They..." he glanced down into the canyon behind them, "The bounty hunters took the slaves that still lived. Aside from us three there are only corpses down there."

    The leader got on his communicator and spoke quietly, "Send the shuttles," then he turned to his guards, "Collect the bodies. And be quick about it. They need to be frozen. Now."

    The Batarian glanced around nervously as the giant stepped closer to him. He came within inches, towering over the slaver.

    "Your entire operation was crushed by... bounty hunters? That is... upsetting. We will be taking what is left of the slaves. Along with the bodies of your men."

    "Y-- yes. Yes! Take them! Please!" he somewhat chuckled, "And... and our payment? We did have a contract, My Lord."

    There was a very long silence that left the Batarian squirming, he started talking again trying to make more excuses. It was several tense moments before he realized he could not see this horrible man breathing. His observation made his words trickle off into nonsense and quiet. There was a minuscule moment as the masked man looked at one of his guard who pulled a blaster and shot both of the captain's remaining men in the face without a word. In an instant the desperate slaver found himself high in the air, over the giant with a vice-like steel hand clamped around his neck. There was a pop as his trachea collapsed and his gasps turned into a sickening, breathy whistle. His thrashing stopped and his body went limp in less than a minute. He was dropped.

    "This one as well," the man ordered before heading down into the canyon to oversee the losses.
    Buried deep within the guts of the Harpoon Iisska was starting to feel calmer. Getting the ship safely space worthy had consumed him after an hour or two. His mind was absolutely drowning in the amount of repairs she needed. Any other technician would have told the crew to sell the ship for parts and start over. They would see the huge piece of scrap as a lost cause. He saw it as job security. But that was only if he could keep Zen off his back. His stomach rolled over at the thoughts. He tapped a loose coupling and instead of adding it to the to-do list he just tightened it on the spot. As far as he could tell that was it for the parts he could access from the inside of the ship... Now for the outside. The Togruta wriggled his way back up out of the access panel reading through the already huge data file he had written. He pulled himself up and sat on the floor taking a moment to save his progress. Then he felt a hot breath on the back of his head.

    At first he jumped then froze when the growling started. Very, very slowly he turned to look over his shoulder. The growling was turning into a snarl and he found himself staring into the eyes of a not only hideous, but terrifying and furious creature. The tukata. Right.

    "Heeyyy, girl," he groaned but smiled and tried to look calm. When he moved his hands upward, her snarling turned even more viscous and she snapped her teeth only inches from his neck. He stopped moving all together.

    "Hokay, hhoookay. It's fine, I'm a friend. Not gonna hurt you or nothing. Promise," he said slowly through his teeth. She continued her growling and circled around to his side. He stopped looking her in the eye hoping that would help, but it made no difference. She continued sniffing him and bearing her teeth and tensing up ready to strike.

    "M-- Mar-- Sterling!" Iisska called only as loud as he dared, "Trinity! Need a hand here..."


    Heaing Iisska's screaming, Zen poked his head through the door and smiled. "Oh, hi there, Togi. Is there a problem?" Iisska locked eyes with Zen and grimmaced with Gyro breathing down his neck again. "What do you think?" he said through his teeth, "Can you call her off? Please?" "And Why exactly should I help?" "Because... I don't... I don't know! Just do something about your damn pet!" he hissed and cringed as she started growling again. "I don't think so. You're a mechanic, not my friend. Make it a week and I might learn your name. Until then, you're Togi, either occasional bullet sponge and mechanic, or Tuk'ata food." He started clapping then, sliding out of view. The clapping continued down the hall until he stopped.

    Rage and fear started pushing him to the boiling point and he shuddered with thoughts of pain and brutal murder mixing with ideas of escape. Someday... "Okay, girl," he tried to reason with her again, "It's okay, I'm not gonna do anything to you," he slowly reached out a hand and calmed a bit. "-t in the blotty 'ell is wit' all dis racket! Can't a gots damn A.I. Mechanic git sum damn sleep! A little blue foot kicked in a door close to Iisska's head and a small body jumped through, armed with a stick. He was barely the height of Iisska's hip and was incredibly thin. He took several swipes at the dog. "Git outta here, ya mongrel!" His voice was high and insect-like "Out!" Gyro dodged several swipes and growled before finally receeding and running away. "Stupid Idgit." He turned toward Iisska. "And hoo da heck arr you?!

    Iisska pulled his feet under him and stood up before folding his arms and looking down at the little thing, "Bullet sponge and Tuk'ata food, apparently... Sterling hired me to keep this monstrosity together," he lightly stamped a heel on the floor of the ship, "Thanks for the help an' all, but nobody's told me about you." "Ain't No-one out 'ere that pays any attenshun to the little people. Of Curse..." He took Iisska's hand and shook it. "Balva. A.I. Mechanic...wait a minute" He yanked his hand back. "Mechanic?! I eyely doubt yur a mechanic, I dun think you even know whut size of Hyruhspannuh to use on a thruster." Iisska frowned deeply. "Depends on the ship and thrusters. The thrusters on the Harpoon are 150mm except for one bolt on the starboard side which for some reason is 125mm." Balva froze for a second before each of his eyes went into a glare. "Lucky guess. Whut is the frequency ov da hyperbolic energy converter's radion channeler?"

    He thought about it for a second, "Not sure about this one, but from the sounds and handling I'd guess a few hundred gigahertz in low gear and a couple terahertz when Trinity takes over," His jaw dropped. Nobody's ever gotten that right. He took Iisska's hand again, the little guy having a surprisingly strong grip. "Welcome tuh da ship, Fellow mechanic! I would welcome you to my home in the A.I. Core but da radiation wud bake ya alive! Hah hah!!"


    It had been dark for several hours, but the lights from the city and from the ship yards kept the Harpoon's exterior illuminated enough to see where one was going. Balva had dug up a spotlight from somewhere in the depths of the ship under which Iisska was currently working away on patching the re-entry plating. He had wanted to ask Sterling for money to run out and grab some parts before leaving the planet, but had found the droid's vaccant body after somebody had gotten to it and decided it would be better for both of them to just pretend he had never seen that. For now he could work around the lack of parts. Balva stayed with him engaging in chit-chat and aiding with the maintenance.

    Visitors to the planet and city roamed the streets and dock still, some enjoying the nightlife, others just looking for a meal and a quiet place to rest. Iisska couldn't help but give passing glances to those who came close. Part of it was paranoia, part of it was just an interest in the comings and goings of people and part of it was being relieved to finally be somewhere that wasn't Courescant. In particular an old man and a few buddies sat outside his scrap shop at an old table, drinking smoking and gambling in relative silence with the occasional bout of laughter or story. These warmongers seemed to have some peace in them after all. He listened to Balva talk and recant unsavory and humorous tales about the Harpoon's crew. It wasn't enough to keep him from planning his eventual departure from them though.

    After welding down the last major split in the plating he moved onto the thrusters to see what could be done. Out of the corner of his eye he saw someone approaching the men at the scrap shop. They were silenced a bit and it became obvious the newcomer didn't belong. Her features were hidden under a hood but she was small and lithe and graceful. She moved up to the men and showed them a link-pad. There were hushed tones and shrugs and scratched heads as they looked through the info. Iisska squinted trying to get a better look. He couldn't be sure but he thought he recognized the uniform peeking out from under her cloak and the blurry shape of a gold sigil on her collar. Regardless she had to be an authority. One of the old men suddenly pointed toward the Harpoon and the woman's gaze turned on them.

    "Hey, man," he hurried over to Balva and picked up the tools and materials trying to stay casual, "Bodge the last of that up and let's call it a night, eh?"

    He slipped back inside, the anxiety and flight response still chewing away at his gut. He had to convince the others that it was time to leave or at least find a way to keep a lower profile if running wasn't an option. The Harpoon could at least make it off planet at this point. If only Sterling wasn't still out and... covered in graffiti... Iisska put away his work and reclined against a wall near the loading bay. There he drew his blaster turned the safety off and tried to keep his senses sharp for anybody coming too close.
    The hooded woman ducked out of sight between a couple of dilapidated buildings and pulled a holovid from her cloak. It flickered to life as she dialed her contact. On the other end a mechanical voice answered her call.

    "Commander Kalor," she demanded quietly.

    There was a short silence followed by a gruff, "Kalor. What is it?"

    There was no hologram to accompany it. It was just like him to hide from her.

    "Commander, I've located the criminals who escaped from Courescant last night. Visual confirmation on the ship and one suspect," she said.

    "Already? Good work. I'm sending a squad, but for now you are to stay clear and keep me informed. Maintain visual but do not under any circumstance engage them. Understood?"

    "... If they--"

    "Agent Quin," his tone was absolute, "Do you understand?"

    "... Yes sir," she hissed.

    "Good. I'll leave you to your work then," the link went dead.

    She gripped the holovid in her hand tightly until her knuckles went white then swiftly pocketed the device. Her fingers came back clutching what looked like a very small and minimalist blaster. It almost looked more like a toy than anything that would be carried by an adult. She made her way back to the shipyard until she could see the fugitive vessel, but she stopped there. Staying low she aimed the little firearm at the ship and pulled the trigger. There was a tiny pop! but nothing more as a slug whistled out of the barrel. It flattened itself on the hull of the ship and stuck there tightly with four little prongs that snapped out of its sides and sunk into the metal. She retrieved her link-pad and after zipping through a few screens she found where the slug had already started to upload the location and various other data about its new host.

    Now she had to endure a maddening wait. Vengeance was so strong in her blood she could taste it on her lips. Friends of hers had been on the patrol ships that had been destroyed. These monsters would not be getting away from her.
    ##--user Zenithar : Ouran --data-ascii @TransmissionsInquiry.dpd GDLN://local//received//new
    *--Connected to GDLN
    *--Connected to local ( port ##HIDDEN## (#0)
    *--Port auth granted user 'zen'
    > POST /Received text transmissions
    >AUTH: Basic ZnJ1ZDpmbGludHn0b25l
    >HOST: localhost: (#0//Iridonia)
    >ACCEPT: */* (#145.1.1//Dac)
    >CONTENT: application/x-text-transmission-data-form-encoded-received
    >GDLN/ OK
    "To": {
    "Zenithar" endUserID}
    How are you doing? Pretty well, I'd assume. You do tend to go about in that happy, little, twisted, apathetic, careless way don't you? You self-absorbed, childish, asinine, loud-mouthed sociopath. In case you missed it, you single handedly ruined months of my work in mere days. I don't expect you to have noticed this time nor the other several times you have done so. This is you we're talking about after all. Since you have been so careless and destructive and inconsiderate I have no choice but to permanently kick you from our group and ban you from all further P&T sessions with us. If you love to play the game as much as you say you do then maybe this will teach you to pull your head out of your ass and actually learn to play it like a sentient being and not a half-dead slime-mold. Have a nice life.


    P.S. Nobody cares about your stupid, drooling, ugly, mutt. Do yourself a favor and just shut up about the smelly bitch if you ever slither your way into another P&T group.}
    >CONTENT: //end


    "Hah, oh! Oh Sterling! I-Wait...stop, stop."

    Sitting up in the bed within Trinity's personal realm, she darted her eyes about the room, her internals scanning the ship. "Something's wrong. " Stirling sat next to her, his eye a light blue. It was rare when he and Trinity got "into the mood" and most of the time, it was interrupted by something going on in the ship, and this was no different case. "What is it, my dove?" "We're being tracked again. Outside of the ship, near the rear engine, compartment four...class two tracking device, unknown manufacturer, origin...Corusant...military's the Agents again. Come on." "Oh bloody hell..." He got up in a huff and disconnected, Trinity waited a few moments, worried about Sterling's continued stress and anger issues. She disconnected as well and went to inform Zen.


    Balva joined Iisska in the loading bay, plopping down with him for a few moments, a small drink in his hands. "Oi, is dat a Dee-tee fiddy sev-" Just before he could finish admiring Iisska's blaster, a shot rang out from behind them and Balva's head exploded in a mass of chunks and dark blue blood, most splattering onto Iisska. Iisska started to just yell. "AAAAH...WHAT THE-WHAT THE FUCK. " He turned around, blaster pointed, and saw Zen with a rifle. "WHAT THE FUCK?! WHAT THE FUCK?! WHYY?!" Zen started to chuckle and laugh. "Oh man...did you see his head?! It was like...PPTHTHHHH. And your face...your fricken face, man!" He started to laugh very hard, nearly keeling over at Iisska's reaction. Iisska's blaster shook from the anger and he nearly shot it, but out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the limp little body start to move. He looked at Balva's body, narrowing his eyes and seeing that the stump of a neck was healed and there was a...nub? It was growing...before long, it was sizable and took shape, eyes opened and Balva sat up again, turning and shaking his fist while Iisska looked like he had seen a ghost. "OI! YOU BLOODY ASSHOLE! I'LL 'AVE A CRICK IN ME NECK FOR DA REST OF DA AFTAHNOON. PISH OFF YOU WANKAH." Zen was nearly on the ground now laughing almost hysterically, but Trinity appeared on a holo projector near them and spoke. "Zen, we have a problem." He was like a lightswitch, coming out of the laughing and standing like he never laughed in the first place. "What is it?" His face was stern and serious. "There is a tracker on the ship, Zen. Agents again. Want me to pop it off with a small charge again?" "Hmm..." He paced back and forth now, considering the next move.

    They had been tagged by the agents a ridiculous amount of times. Enough to have learned their encryption algorithms forwards and backwards. They weren't fooling anybody, plus, they sent Zen a nasty letter that almost affected him. Almost. Then, he had an idea. "No. Not yet. I have an Idear!" "An...idear?" "YES! Take us to Kamino!" "Why Kamino?" "Because I want them to try and kill me, and fail miserably. YOU!" He pointed right at Iisska and he immediately felt the force surround him. "Come here you, I have a task." Iisska was yanked off of his arse and pulled across the room, hitting the wall and being stuck to it until Zen walked out of the room and he was dragged across the wall and through the door, regardless of how much he fought it.

    "Now...hold, stop fighting, Just a knot here, and a bit there...DAMMIT STOP MOVING. Know what, final step comes now, gimmie the...There we go. Now sit there and shut up. Oh, now that's just rude, sir. That gesture is quite obscene."

    Record this Trinity...alright, thank you.
    "Dear Merlai, and the other Agent bantha poodoo that think they're going to do anything."
    Zen stood in front of Trinity, whom was recording him. Gyro was at his side and he had his hands clasped before him. He was very aloof and on his toes.
    "You do not frighten me. Your actions simply fill my day with glee, your attempts to stop me simply bore me. So, i invite you to come and get me at the enclosed coordinates on Kamino, Kalcozah sector. Come on, bring everything you have. I want your worst, I want your best. I want a capital ship. Come kill me, I'm ready to die."
    He waved at the camera now, smiling. "Love: Zenithar!"

    "PS: We have a hostage."
    He pulled Iisska into view, whom was tied up with a disturbing amount of rope and a ballgag. The air rippled around him as the force mixed with anger.

    The feed cut then and Zen sliced off a rope with his lightsaber so Iisska could get free, without even singing him! "Okay Zen, shall I send it?" "Nope, not yet. Gotta get there first. STERLING!" He yelled. Sterling came in the room moments later, his face cleaned of the graffiti. "What is it that you want, Zen? Do not think that I have forgotten the...Grrraffiti you stenciled upon my fac-" "We get to kill agents. Prepare your guns and show Iisska how to turret." "I forgive you. Come along, Iisska."

    With a deep hole in the back of Zen's head being carved out by Iisska's laser-glare, he reluctantly walked away with Sterling. Trinity spoke now. "So...why Kamino?" Zen didn't answer her, he simply smiled.


    Kamino, Kalkozah sector, Kinowa city.

    They had docked within a private space port deep within the heart of the city, near the lowest levels. There was the occasional mandalorian symbol on the wall as the group looked around the landing bay. They and the ship were pulled along by a freight conveyer belt and moved to a large room with large walls blocking the entire room from view. It was much like a maze. The ship was ferried through the halls and to a central point where smaller walls and pillars stood. Marquis spoke then as they entered. "What is this place, Zen?" Zen held up a hand to tell him to be very quiet and to move back. They did so and Zen stepped forward and whistled. Out from within the maze, a roar echoed. The roar chilled the blood of Iisska as there was only one creature that had a Roar like that.

    Zen moved forward some more as It Stepped around the corner. Massive in size, it nearly doubled Zen's height, and tripled his width. It was a Tarentatek, the largest threat to any force user in the world. A body nearly immune to all but the most powerful force powers, and a hide that shugs off heavy blaster fire. It approached and stopped just before Zen, it's eyes darting between him and the "food with head tentacles" behind him. Saliva dripped out of it's mouth and to the floor, it's breath was disgusting enough to knock out most clone troopers, and the blood of what may be hundreds of victims was layered on it's claws and mouth. Zen held up his hand and, to the group's surprise, it obeyed and knelt, allowing Zen to place his hand on the creature's forehead and what seems like communicate with it.

    He released his grip on the monster's head after a few short moments and turned. "There, now she won't eat you...hopefully. OH." He held up a large sealed back from behind his back and threw it up. It was filled with a dark red liquid that the Tarentatek caught in it's humongous mouth. It turned and went back to it's patrol while Zen returned to the group. Sterling spoke, his eye a bright yellow from either fear or shock.

    "What in all the bloody voids was with that..." Zen smirked and spoke. "I am very, very good with finding one as a baby helps a lot. Okay, ETA on the Agents, Trin?"

    Trinity had very quickly gotten used to the mobile holo projector and she popped up. "About three hours, Zen. But one thing: Next time you pick up the most dangerous creature in the galaxy, let me know so I can never speak to you again." "Done."

    Zen went back inside the ship for a moment, carrying out his guns and two lightsabers. Gyro was with him as well. "Alright, so, the fun part is coming. YAY! I have my guns and sabers, Iisska...don't die. Need you for things later. Sterling, kill things. Trinity, also kill things. Don't stop until they start crying, then make them wuss out like bitches and remember to have some fun!" He threw up his weapons and they floated in the air with the force. He tested the rifles, firing them at a wall while he caught his sabers. Now he was a walking armory, and he was going to slaughter everything. Ever.


    "Iisska!" Zen yelled toward the ship. "I swear to the VOID, if you don't get in that gun platform in the next THREE SECONDS, I'm going to pull you down here to slap you willy nilly!"

    "I'm ALREADY IN the STUPID gun platform!" he screamed out of the turret. He clenched his hands around the grips and rested his fingers on the triggers. They felt good, but not right. All of this was insane. He still had not changed his mind about that from the instant he first set foot on this damn ship. Had it not been for Marquis, Iisska would have been long gone. He frowned, took a deep breath, and mumbled "Please don't send sentients." It was a long shot.

    (After you get back, maybe a little space engineers?)

    "WHAT! WHAT ARE THESE SPACE ENGINEERS?!" Zen started to look around frantically, "STOP PLAYING WITH MY EMOTIONS"

    Marquis poked his head up next to Iisska's and spoke. "What in the bloody void is he on about now?"

    "I-- I didn't-- I said... Never mind," Iisska trailed off leaving the mad man to his own devices, "I have no idea," he sighed, "Won't be long until the GEU are pouring down our throats though... maybe he'll scare most of them off."

    "Doubt it, boy. Not going to be a pretty fight. Zen has apparently drawn the fleet."

    "I'll worry about the fleet once we're off planet. They're not stupid enough to just funnel everything they've got into one port," he scratched his neck, "I don't think they will... but what's to stop them just blasting us to hell and being done with it?"

    "Civilian casualties, my boy. There are a lot of them, plus, they want to make sure Zen is dead. By dead I mean on the ground without a head. A bombardment won't do it for them."

    Iisska visibly shuddered and took his hands off the turret. The sick was rising in his throat, "You sound like you've done this before."

    "I've done this sort of thing many times in my life. This is the first time I've done it on this crew...I've killed a lot of people, Iiisska."
    In the cockpit of a small ship that orbited around the planet she sat calm and still. Deep breaths flowed effortlessly in and out. Her eyes were closed. He heart beat was slow and steady. Kamino, the fleet, her ship, her men, her equipment and her body melted away into nothing until all that was left was her existence at it's very core. The normally balanced sanctuary of being keeled back and forth subject flares of anger and fear. It was frustrating and so much harder to still than it had been before. When she began to feel out the point where her focus was set in all the chaos the alarm on the communications receiver went off. Her eyes snapped open and she was ripped out of her sanctuary and into frigid reality.

    "Agent Quin," the Commander spoke, "We have located the ship and are preparing our forward assault. Mobilize your squad."

    "Yes, Sir," she relayed the orders to move in and gave power to the ship.

    "The Admiral has informed us that the Kaminoans have offered to aid the operation in anyway possible. Should there be complications you will contact us immediately."

    "Yes, Sir," she said more quietly.

    "I suggest you hurry. Our forces are numerous, but the faster you move the less casualties there will be today... Do not fail us, Agent. I believe you know what is at stake if you do," the communication cut off after that.

    Quin held the bile in her gut down. There the emotions smoldered and fueled her. Part of her dared the thick atmosphere of the water planet to burn her alive on entry and face the consequences. It wasn't so bold.

    The small squad of one person ships slammed into the rough seas. Their engines still thrust them under the waters toward the target. She bit down on the mouthpiece in her helmet, double checked her equipment and began the process to equalize the pressure of the cockpit, the water and her suit. The others would be doing the same. On the displays the distance to their surfacing coordinates ticked smaller and smaller. Another deep breath. The ship shuddered against the force resisting it. The small pods would be damaged and worthless after the missions, too abused to be used again. She could see the massive structure that stretched up into the station partially above the water, but mostly submerged and the unfathomably long supports that stretched downward into the abyss with the untold horrors of this planet. Disengage. She gripped the yokes and braced.

    The shock of the ejection nearly knocked her unconscious. The ship spat her out into the unforgiving hellish water with nothing to hold onto but what had once been a section of the cockpit frame. It was like being hit in the gut with a battering ram. She struggled to get her heart rate and breathing back down. Some black ops agents boasted about getting used to such maneuvers. She seriously doubted them. On the under section of the frame a small engine kicked on and spun a propeller which dragged her through the currents. All around she caught glimpses of her squad ejecting and heading toward the rally point.

    It wasn't long before she was manuvering into a small opening in the lowest part of the station. It was tight. The sides of the tunnel nearly touched her on all sides. It stretched on and on and contained tight turns and inclines. It was shrouded in total darkness. The light on her dive helmet did little to illuminate her path.

    The hatch should be in sight any second, she reassured herself.

    It was several more agonizing minutes before her light shined on the sealed door. Here she let go of the little device that propelled her forward and reached out for wheel and override panel on the hatch. It was old, tarnished and stiff. The interface had most likely not been touched since it was installed. Regardless, the Kaminoans, thorough species they were, had maintained the codes she needed. It took several sequences of numbers but it was followed by a rewarding hiss. She wrenched the wheel counter clockwise. It took all her strength but slowly it screeched and ground until the hatch snapped inward. The force of the water shot her through. Quin landed roughly inside a dark corridor and grunted and rolled onto her knees. The water continued to flow in like a geyser. The rest of her squad came with it. Water splashed around her ankles but she ignored it and removed the bulky case from her back.

    Inside were explosives, EMP grenades, and a very illegal but standard issue blaster rifle. Others had both similar and very different equipment. A couple unloaded deadly blaster cannons that had to be supported on their shoulders. Those were designed to punch holes and kill with out subtlety. So that's what kind of operation it would be. Quin ditched anything she would not need for the fight here including much of her flight suit. Underneath she wore a dark, lightly armored stealth suit that matched those of her squad. She dropped her helmet with a splash and checked the comm link in her ear. It worked.

    "Commander. We are in the station and have surfaced in the labyrinth," she reported.

    "Confirmed. The forward assault has already made contact with the target. You had better hurry, Agent."

    The Squad waited for orders. The human woman leading them clenched her fists and turned stiffly. She was small, yet well built. Her dark hair was cut in an asymmetrical bob, ear length on one side and trailing down her chest on the other. A deep scar shot up her left cheek over her eye and across her brow. She glared at them.

    "Get through their shields and disable the ship. Trap them. Execute them. No prisoners. Move out," Quin spoke harshly.


    "They are here." Marquis said from his perch near Iisska. He stood atop the ship, using a small deployable barricade as cover. He rested against it and had a clear view to the front-most entrance where they would be coming from. He steadied his rifle and took aim, waiting. He could feel them landing on the base and he was almost worried. Not for them, but for the invaders. They were about to die a bloody horrible death.

    Zen stood from his kneeling position and reached for his belt, pulling a lightsaber from it's holster and spinning it with the force, activating it and swinging the black blade to and fro. He lifted up his head and it was almost as if he was sniffing the air, sensing the enemies start to pour into the room. He reached out with the force and sensed any and all attackers coming inside and saw a small force coming from behind. "Heh...child's play." He whispered to himself. The squad that would be coming from behind would be met with a Tarentatek, and their lives would be made miserable.

    He charged forward, leaping for the wall and bounding up it with the force, jumping over and landing with a thud, his force controlled weapons right behind him and already firing kinetic shells at the enemies around him as he unsheathed his second saber and went into a blender of light and darkness infused saber whirlwinds, leaping into the group and beginning his rampage, slicing up two troopers and spilling blood onto their comrades. He used the force to raise one into the air and slam him into the ground before leaping into the air and slashing at all the troopers around him, kicking, firing, throwing, slashing, and rending his way through the forces, decimating them and making them shoot each other before they could even get into the door. They were no match for the Gray Sith. Anything that made it past were quickly shown the door as they were decapitated by Sterling or reduced to ash by Iisska. Even if they made it past that they would have their throats ripped out by the ever loyal Gyro. Even Balva helped, taking the second gun and watching the other doors. He got several shots off, quickly followed by many a quip and gutteral laugh.

    Zen was getting deep into it, Lifting entire squads into the air and pancaking them against the wall, using them as bowling balls to rip apart the forces. His rifles were clearing out any riff raff and their attacks were doing nothing. Zen himself was covered in blood, nary a blaster round having done more than scorch his clothing in near misses. He started to spin the lightsabers with the force without touching them, allowing them to almost become sentient as they went to seek the enemies, letting Zen concentrate on the singular force abilities and start to rip soldiers in half with nothing but his mind.


    The squad moved quickly and suprisingly quietly for how well equipped they came. Quin kept a map of the structure up on her tiny data-link at all times to flawlessly lead them to their target. There was a rumble that shuddered the walls around them and the floor beneath their feet. Had they brought up the heavy artillery already? She pushed forward into air that was becoming thick. Think and pungent. It was only seconds before the stench became so strong she felt averse to breathing and some of the agents began to wretch.

    "What in creation is that?" one of them mumbled.

    "Rotting flesh..." Quin knew it well.

    She slowed her pace. The rumbles continued. Not artillery. It wasn't quite right. What could be happening? With he light on the floor of the dark passage she spotted a small grimey bone beside her foot. She kicked it away. A few more steps revealed a larger bone and then several more, then a bit of clothing here and a pile of unmentionable rot there. She shined the light forward. The edges of the floor were piled high with shreded corpses as if their bits clawed at the wall still begging for escape after death. The floor shuddered and rattled.

    "That... That sounds like breathing..." a man behind her whispered.

    "Or footsteps?" another said in a jabbing tone.

    "Don't be stupid," Quin snapped, "Keep moving, we're losing time."

    She was the first to plunge through the fetid pile of wretched leftovers. Her rifle was raised safety off. The air felt cold. Then damp and warm. The drafts swept around them with a hiss. The bones that held her weight shifted. Screaming startled her and a roar from the void deafened her and stopped her heart.

    Quin spun around and nearly fell as her squad errupted into chaos. The screaming became gutteral like choking. Blaster fire lit up the passage like flames. Shouting and screaming and the roaring. By all the suffering in the universe the roaring. Before her, barely fitting in this section of the labyrinth stood a monster. It lashed out at her men and crushed them between the horrible teeth that lined its foul maw. She froze. This could not exist...

    "RUN!" the shrill yell tore at her lungs as she tried to be louder than the slaughter, "FALL BACK!"

    The woman tore back onward away from the demon behind them. She could hear some of the squad repeating her orders and following immediately. The decaying carnage that she scrambled over now became nothing. It was all she could do to hail the Commander.

    "Commander! There's something down here! It's... It's a monstrous... I don't know what it is, but we have casualties! We need to extract!" she screamed.

    "Agent Quin, have you completed your mission?" his voice was cold.

    A response would not form for her.

    "I never thought I would be so disappointed in you... Agent, you will leave this planet alive when your mission is completed or you will not leave. Need I remind you that you and your men are not soldiers?"


    "Deal with it, Agent."

    The feed went dead. Her ears were ringing and full of static, but still the beast's howling managed to peirce them. The ground rose up and threw her to her face as another squad member wailed and garggled in agony and death. There was a ripping noise before his silence. A rough hand grabbed her arm, hauled her to her feet and drug her forward.

    "Captain!" The large blonde man thrust a laser cannon into her arms before pushing her along again, "He won't be needing it anymore!"

    She couldn't tell how many of them still lived. How many were behind or in front or if they were going in the right direction now. Her heart slammed into her ribs painfully and her breath clawed at her insides. Another roar. Quin loaded a charge and turned on her heels to slide to a braced stop. The monster towered above her and fell upon her with a gaping, dark mouth. She fired. The impact struck the back of its throat in an explosive display. Its head ripped back and its furious, pained screeching could be felt in her chest. She sprinted away again. She could feel it tearing at the passage behind them, throwing bits of corpses and slamming walls and ceiling in its rage. The muscles in her legs ached, but she had to keep putting precious distance between them. She stumbled around a corner blindly and saw ahead flashing warm light flooding the passage. The exit! The battle! But they would lead this thing into the fray... It was the only choice. She could only hope it would be to their advantage.

    The light and deafening blaster fire that burst all around them in the open space nearly felt like a sanctuary, but she knew it was far from that. There was the ship. The assault was being cut down left and right. Nothing had gotten through. Her guts boiled at the sight of the bodies and the blood. The monster crashed in after them. She risked a glance back to see its full form. She almost wished she hadn't. There was no stopping now. With a fierce battle yell she sprinted at the ship knowing full well it still followed her. Lasers whipped past them aimed at the ship and those that fought from it. A shocking pain ripped through her ear and she immediately slapped a hand over it and stumbled. She could feel the chunk missing from it but regained herself and charged forward. Only a few more meters. She slammed on the breaks and dropped down sliding into the low clearance between the ship and the ground. Rolling back around to aim the cannon and face the beast she fully expected it to come down on the ship with the same destructive force with which it had come after the squad. But it didn't. It had lumbered to a stop. She breathed hard and kept it in her sights. It walked around the ship and bellowed at her before striking under the ship with a deadly claw. She screamed and fired another blast causing it to recoil its paw in anger.

    "Damn creature!" she spat. Frantically she looked for an out and only found herself trapped and alone.
    The Commander sat comfortable, watching the butchering of his army in silence. He heaved a sigh and contacted the Kaminoans, "I apologize, but it seems we will need to resort to our back up plan... Yes, the damages will be repaid in full... Flood the sector."
    Every blast of the turret shook him. The first kill had been the easiest. He hadn't thought about it. He had only followed suit. The following kills had been out of fear of what would happen if he didn't. Now it was just happening. Out of control. Horrifying. They put up little fight which only added to his guilt. They could have just run... but he knew what was waiting for them off planet.

    A sudden cacophony from the rear ripped his focus away from the battle. Iisska dropped the turret after a few more moment and clambered out of the platform and up over the ship for a better look. The terentatek was back. Two people in black uniforms and carrying large guns fled from it. One of them was snatched up and torn to pieces in the blink of an eye. Then it came toward the ship. Not good.

    "No. No, no, no!" he yelled.

    It brutally tried to fish something out from under the ship, circling it and shrugging off fire like it was nothing, obsessed with its prey. Iisska aimed his blaster at its eyes.

    "Back off!" he yelled at it. He was completely ignored and it struck out under the ship again. This time slamming it roughly. He nearly lost his footing but managed to stay up right.

    "You, stupid... you gnotrohk... UUH'K WHORE!!" Iisska let loose several blasts into the creature's eye causing it to wince and throw its head and growl in annoyance. Again it went after whatever was under the ship slamming it again. This time there was a low snap and high pitched whine. The ship jerked and sunk to one side as one of the landing gears gave way. Iisska fell backward and started to slide off the ship toward the terentatek. He snagged a vent with his foot and kicked down hard to propel himself into a jump stronger and higher than anatomy would normally allow. Surprised by his own force jump he stumbled but stuck the landing on the new top of the ship.

    "ZEN! YOU AND YOUR SODDING PETS! COME GET THIS--" the lights went dim and red sirens filled the room cutting him off mid tirade. What in the 'verse was... From hatches the suddenly opened in the ceiling and from the passage where the monster had come and from nearly all entrances into the area water flushed in like tidal waves and began to rapidly rise.


    Zen came strolling around the corner, his kinetic rifles still floating around him, along with a single saber. He held his other, darker, saber in hand and held his hand out, using the force to hold what seemed like a commander in his iron grip. He wriggled and tried to break free, but Zen simply crushed his throat and dropped him to the ground so he could choke and die in his own blood. Death and destruction was all around him, nothing survived the torrent of pain that erupted from his being. As the room started to fill with water though, he surmised that his fun would have to end some time. Either through a watery tomb or the army running out of mindless goons to uselessly throw at him. He was walking back to the ship when he saw the Tarentatek clawing at something hiding under the ship and she was injured. He was about to shoot Iisska for insulting his "pets" but then he saw her. The woman poked her head out from under the ship and his heart Erupted into strange feelings that he could in no way understand. His mind was flooded with various scenes, one of them on a first date on a moon, careening towards a planet, another getting married on top of a giant rancor corpse, and one growing old, fighting bad guys. He pursed his lips and forced the Tarentatek back with the force. It looked at him and retreated a bit. The woman tried to crawl away, but Zen stopped her. She tried to point the gun at her, but he just took it and crushed it without even trying. The weapons floating around him continued shooting at the goons trying a final assault, badly of course, He pointed the tip of his darksaber at her. "How can I put this as politely as possible...hmm...I would p-" Then he remembered that Marquis is an etiquette nerd and he should try that. "I want to get you out of here."

    The woman looked up at him like a wild cornered animal. Her entire body shook. She could snap his neck. The water splashed around her thighs as she knelt there. It rose higher and higher. Her legs would not move. Murder was calling to her, pulling at her heart and poisoning her mind. She could break his spine if only she could move her legs. The thought showed in her eyes. If only she could get up.. "You..." she hissed weakly. Quin shifted her weight and tried to get up but only fell forward onto her hands. She needed to kill him. Fire burned through her and without thinking she surged upward, her fingers outstretched, dying to wrap them around his neck in vain and snuff the life out.

    "Uuuh...MEEEE!!" He yelled, raising a hand. The water was getting higher and was around his ankles. "Okay, look, you have a choice. Come with me and the group and survive to try and-fail-to kill me at a later point, die in a watery tomb, or die by that." He pointed to the Tarentatek, licking her mouth in anticipation for the kill. "Your choice."

    Marquis poked his head out from the landing ramp that had opened and he yelled. "Zen! I know that you are busy, but if we do not leave right now, we are not going to make it. " "Yeah yeah yeah, gimmie a minute." She froze where she was, blocked by some invisible wall. It was useless. The fire still burned but her will seemed to be sucked from her leaving only a husk. Her strength vanished as she realized he would only tear her apart like the others. Her head sagged and her body slumped "... I... I surrender," she whispered as the water was nearly waist high now. "EXCELLENT!" Zen yelled and she would feel a strong grip around her waist yank her around the ship and up the loading ramp, right behind Zen whom was yelling "Nyyyeaah!" The ramp went up and

    The ship was starting to start and get ready to fly off at any moment, but then something in the engine went wrong and it stopped. An almost collective "OH WHAT NOW?!" sounded from the crew of the ship as Iisska and Balva went to work, quickly fixing the engines as the water surged higher, nearly swallowing the lower half of the ship. They were cutting it close as they fixed the problem in the engine and Zen found his way to the main hanger and set down a small mat. The woman stood near, glaring at him, her arms crossed. "You should really go clean yourself up. Don't need you bleeding out." Zen high-knee ran in place, shaking his hands and breathing. Trinity's voice came over the intercom. "Okay! Ready to go!" Zen yelled then as well. "Take us anywheres not here! Iisska! I need you down here to support me! NOW!" Iisska didn't even bitch or moan this time, just coming right down and standing close to him, asking what he needed to do. "Just concentrate your force powers on me. "

    The ship started to whirr and take off, but the engines were about to be flooded with water and, for a moment, it seemed like they were doomed, until Zen spread his legs, threw out his arms, and closed his eyes, the air vibrating around them as the water inside the ship was pushed out and a bubble was created around them. The ship lifted up into the air and fired the main cannons at a wall, punching a huge hole in it, letting the whole damn sea into the base. They flew towards the hole and Zen started to scream as he took the weight of the sea onto his body, via the bubble around the ship. Blood started to seep from his nose, mouth, and even ears as he continued screaming, actually being pushed to the limit. Iisska tried to help, but he barely knew what he was doing. They rose higher and higher through the sea, coming to the surface as quick as they could, pushing the engine to it's max. They burst through the sea-ceiling and into the air, heading straight for the stratosphere. Trinity yelled over the intercom as Cannon fire rained down onto the ship, splashing over the shield of pure force power that Zen had put up. He screamed as if a lung had exploded, blood covering half of his face. "Zen! Where?!" Marquis spoke, thinking of the one place they could hide. "HOTH! GO TO HOTH!" The coordinates were punched in and they made the agonizing climb to the stratosphere, several more shots landing home on the ship. The shield broke then, Zen falling onto his back, barely breathing as his entire body was pushed up to and over the limit. He had gotten them just enough time though and they were high enough above the planet to shoot into hyperspace. They were safe.

    Zen however, stared at the ceiling, unable to move or speak, blank. He wasn't dead, but to the crew, it would seem like he wasn't alive either.


    The Harpoon lurched and tossed violently into hyperspace. It felt as if she was struggling just to keep herself together now.

    "Zen? Zen! Damn it!" Iisska slapped the comatose man's face but his efforts yielded no result. Zen still lay there like a corpse and stared cold and blank into nothingness. He placed his fingers on Zen's neck and felt the light flutter of a pulse, faint, but insistent.

    Iisska shook his head with a huff, "He's still alive, barely. Help me move him to his room."

    With Sterling's aid they managed to move Zen to his bed so he could hopefully recover in peace. A deeply unsettling shudder passed through the Harpoon as they did so, leaving them all in a tense silence until it passed. Another would follow a few minutes later. The crew was managing to settle in and catch their breath when the next tremor hit. It was going to be a long trip anyway and the ship constantly reminding them that they were playing with a quick death would only make it longer.

    "There's something wrong with the hyperdrive," Iisska muttered to Balva as he slipped below into the cargo hold to get a look at the engine monitors. Little numbers and meters, most of them in red, flickered on the screens. The readings were abysmal. "There's something wrong with everything," he sighed and leaned against the wall. He felt absolutely lost. They couldn't touch the hyperdrive that was currently holding their lives in the balance until they came out of the jump and he dared not cut their route short and possibly leave them stranded in the middle of wild space... or far worse. Quietly he mumbled and counted a list on his fingers. Missing landing strut, water in several electric systems, radiation leak in the ion converters (again), coolant low, hydraulic fluids low and contaminated, shield generators overloaded... His stomach growled loudly... Haven't eaten and haven't slept. With a frown he pushed himself off the wall and stood up straight.

    "I'm gonna get something to eat and then get to work," he said to Balva, "We should at least be able to get her ready to land before we reach Hoth." The one planet where any parts what-so-ever would be impossible to come by. He shoved the thoughts out of his mind and climbed back up to the main deck.
    Agent Quin splashed the stale water over her face and took her time clearing the grime and blood from her skin. She dabbed at the cauterized, swelling flesh on her ear but the pain became too intense for her to want to bother with it further. It would heal in time. She looked deeply into the tiny mirror then snapped her eyes to the door of the bathroom. Zenithar Ouran. Murderer. Psychopath. Dangerous. He had nearly dropped dead on the bridge and, from what she had seen, was hanging on by a thread. This was her chance. She had no weapons, but that had never stopped her before. The woman slipped out of the bathroom quietly. Her ears strained to hear any movement. The corridor was clear. With exceeding care and grace she padded along the floor in nothing but skin-tight under garments. They had carried him this way. Around each corner her pulse picked up like the rising beat of a war drum as the charge reached it's climax, but would then slow under her constant control. Wait for the moment. There was the door shuttered between her and her target. It wasn't even locked. The door hissed open revealing Zen still seemingly unconscious and waiting for her. He had to keep weapons around. To her dismay the room was immaculate. Clear of all clutter and useless trinkets... including anything that could be used to kill him with. She would have to do it with her bare hands. One step at a time she crept closer. His eyes were still open, but still lifeless and gazing far away from her. She reached out ready to yank the skull around in the way she was trained. Sever the spinal chord. No mess, no fuss. In and out.

    A powerful hand wrenched into a chunk of her hair, close to the scalp, and yanked her backward to the floor. Quin gasped and yelled out in pain and landed hard on her ass. She clawed at her assailant's arm as they drug her out of the room and then threw her into the wall opposite the door. Her head spun and she groaned and hissed before glaring up into the barrel of a DT-57. The Togruta she had seen in the shipyard the night before closed the door behind them and then turned on her.

    "You got a death wish, lady?" he growled at her.

    She didn't speak to him. A strange pressure was pushing down on her chest, shortening her breath, making her body feel heavy, leaving her growing uncomfortable and anxious.

    A long silence followed as the two of them sized each other up and waited for the other to do something stupid.

    Finally he relaxed and pulled the gun out of her face and scratched his forehead with it. The pressure she felt evaporated. After a deep breath he spoke quietly, "I'm not gonna kill you... We're gonna need all the help we can get soon... But that doesn't mean you'll live long if you keep mucking up aggro!" he jabbed the gun at her again before holstering it, "I don't care for the bastard either, but you wouldn't be kicking if it weren't for him. None of us would... At least give him that for a few days," now he folded his arms and stood guarding the door, "Promise... If we actually manage to survive this, he's all yours. Deal?"

    "You're all going to die or be locked up for the rest of your lives," she spat at him before storming off.

    The turbulence of the frozen atmosphere beating against the ship on entry felt like they were being bombarded with torpedoes and lasers all over again. Iisska braced himself in the bridge keeping an eye on the monitors there and yelling over the comm, trying to get Balva to shut up for a minute. They had been awake and working away for the entirety of the journey and had managed to survive coming out of the hyperspace jump. Balva had confirmed the damage to the hyperdrive in the form of a hairline fracture in one of the cells. The entire debacle was a miracle of sorts. At least they were only plummeting toward the ground at the wrong trajectory and not exploding into tiny bits with enough quantum energy to thrust what was left of them into the next dimension. A million yellow and red lights were chiming repetitively to remind Iisska of the crew's impending doom.

    "Trinity, not be brash but it kinda feels like you're piloting this thing ARSE ABOUT FACE!" he yelled over the warning siren that kicked on.

    "Oh?! You think you're so good at driving a hunk of metal and rusted bolts?! You try!"

    The ship threatened to veer off course now as Trinity took her processes off of the controls and Balva started screaming. "YOU BLOOMIN' IDGIT, APOLOGIZE AND STOP CRITISIZN' THE WOMAN."

    "FINE! WATCH ME!" Iisska yelled back. He hunched over the controls and took the yokes in both hands and pulled up as hard as he could and only managed to get the ship back on it's erroneous trajectory. There must be some thrusters out or a rudder jammed or a circuit misfiring or one of a billion other things going wrong. Working quickly he shut off the upper thrusters leaving them with only the set toward the bottom of the ship. The trajectory righted itself somewhat but now they were falling too fast and risked going into a flat spin. He could feel the ship threatening to turn to one side in a descent that would surely kill them.

    "T- Trinity..."

    She appeared in hologram form next to him, sitting on a chair with her legs high on a table. "OH I'm sorry? Is it a little too hard?" Marquis came into the room then and looked between Iisska and Trinity and let out a disgusted "Uuuuugh!" He then slapped Iisska in the back of the head, making a clang. He slapped him again and again. "Get out! Get out of here!" He got Iisska out of the chair and slapped him out of the room."

    "Thank you, Silver." Said Trinity, taking over the ship again as everything was accounted for and it righted itself again.

    Zen was in his quarters, on the floor due to the ship shaking, his eyes fixed like a statue as he gurgled and moaned.

    "No! Sterling! I need to be able to see what's going on! Sterling we're going to crash! LISTEN TO ME!" Iisska fought back but the door to the bridge slammed shut behind him. Before it did so, however, he caught a sickening glimpse of the snowy, glacial landscape rushing up at them at an astonishing speed, "Oh for fuck's sake," he gasped and looked for anything to hold on to.

    When the sudden darkness ebbed it left his body freezing and numb aside from his head which throbbed and sent shocks of pain through his brain and down his back. Regardless he struggled and writhed his body off what appeared to be the floor. He winced against the dull white glow that diffused in from one of the portholes. The sirens and engine had stopped, leaving the ship in an eerie silence, but the red lights continued to flash. They were going to make him vomit. Iisska closed his eyes and sank back sitting on the floor with his head between his knees. They had crashed. They had fucking crashed the ship. The ship that was already broken to begin with. He put a hand over his face. It was wet, sticky and cold. The hand he had used was now coated in congealing blood. Of course it was. Through squinted eyes his vision cleared and he could clearly see the bloody dent where he had pile-driven his skull into the door.


    Deep within the core of the planet...

    A dark sanctuary, littered with rubble and debris, torches being the only source of light. The dust on the dark marbled floor shifted and moved in time with invisible footsteps, silent as the night. Picking it's way over the destruction of this once formidable true Sith temple. He sat atop the rock, uncloaking and revealing a daunting figure clad in metal and blades. Heads of what seemed to be former kills adorning his collar, strange in physiology, he hissed as he crouched on the rock, scanning the hall in front of him. He seemed to know this place well. He spied something on the floor, a rifle, ancient and weathered. He moved off the rock smoothly and quickly, going to the rifle and picking it up in one swift motion. He looked it over, hissing all the while.

    After several moments, he froze and looked up into the air, seeming to be sniffing. His helmet retracted bit by bit, revealing a reptilian face, scarred by what seemed like countless battles, many of which being saber scars. His left eye was blinded. He opened his mouth to reveal a dual set of sharpened and pointed teeth. " prey hasss arrived...jussssst assss planned...time to finissssshh my life'ssss work..."

    I come for you...Gallow.


    "OH IN ALL OF THE VOID. IT'S KORRIBAN ALL OVER AGAIN...BUT MY TITS ARE FREEZING! IISSKA...I REQUIRE YOU TO WARM MY TEATS UP. ACCOMPLISH THIS TASK IMMEDIATELY. PREFERABLY WITH YOUR TONGUE FOR I FEEL SALACIOUS." Zen screamed from outside the ship, recovering from his ordeal from before and the ship crashing far faster than Iisska could recover from the probable concussion he got from hitting the wall. Zen ran back inside, covered in snow from the blizzard outside. The ship was running on emergency power as the primary generator core was damaged, as was just about every system on the ship. He found Iisska in the back rather quickly. "Did you not-" Iisska rightly shot up his middle finger and said that he was more concentrated on fixing the ship than he was on sucking Zen's tits. He recommended seeing Quin, though he chuckled at the thought of her pile driving him. He slipped into the engine compartment and got to work.

    Marquis found his way into the cockpit and found Trinity's primary holoprojector, but it was damaged, as was much of the controls. He got down onto his knee with a grunt and opened it up, fixing the wires as quickly as he could. She hadn't been heard at all since the crash and he had to make sure she was alright. The ship was getting colder, the backup generator being taxed as it is because Zen never upgraded it. The lights started to dim a little, but he got the projector working after about half an hour and...nothing. She didn't show up. In a huff, he walked through the ship and found her portable projector, but it didn't light up or hum using it's internal battery. It's like she wasn't trying to connect, or couldn't. He instead found his way to the stern of the ship and worked his way into her A.I. core, seeing if there was an issue within it. Fortunately, nothing was wrong with it other than being shaken up...Unfortunately however, the lack of power was the problem. It was pitch black in the A.I. core and the power in the ship was so small that there was no chance that he could get Trinity back up and running. Giving up for the moment, he went back down to try and find Balva to see how the generator core was coming.

    Zen stepped into the room that Quin had claimed and found her by her lonesome. "Oh hi there, Quin!" She sat with her back to the door on the ground with her legs crossed and hands on her knees in meditation, "Go away." she said, anger in her voice. "Aww, but what did I do to you?" he said, his voice slightly pleading for at least something interesting to happen. The woman took a deep breath as her body visibly tensed up, "You were born." "Now ma'am. I doubt I was your sole antagonist since before you were concieved." he said, his hands on his hip. "... And then you murdered my coworkers and my friends... and my lover. Now get out." She said, venom now laced in her very breath. " be fair...Terrik was cheating on you with your best friend...and running a smuggling ring." She froze for a moment before Suddenly she slammed both of her fists into the floor and hunched over, "Get out of my head, you scum," she hissed, "And stop spewing your nonsense. You won't pull me over to your side with wild lies." He stood his ground and crossed his arms, not moved by her screams. "If they are lies, then use your connections. Prove me wrong." The room seemed to grow darker for a few moments as he spoke. "The very same best friend of yours used her body to reach even into the senate, corrupting it and only adding to the turmoil that is coruscant. Aided by Terrik, whom smuggled arms, highly dangerous drugs, and mercenaries onto the planet. But...what do I know? I am but "scum", correct? Not a living well of the force, sight seer, neerdowell, or mercenary for hire, correct?"

    She got to her feet quickly and stomped over to him, getting close to his face and looking into his eyes and scaning his face very carefully. It was as if she were looking for something. Slowly her expression turned from anger to worry. What was worse is it all made sense to her. She pulled back for a second in thought then immediately got in his face again after remembering what happened on Kamino. She would never be allowed back into the ranks after this... unless she came back with his head. "You ruined my life," she spat.

    "I gave you a chance." he said, his eyes flickering blue for a moment. Gyro seemed to poke her head out of the shadows nearby, watching intently. "On the next planet, you'll have the chance to return to your corrupt home, a finger richer-" He said as he held up an index finger. "and a contract fulfilled. But curiosity is a fickle beast, and the terminals on the planet we'll be visiting may just have a connection to coruscant...what do I know? I am simply a man that never kills without due reason. This galaxy is corrupt, few are redeemable. Even fewer are redeemed. But then again." He put up his hands and pursed his lips. "I'm void-damning crazy from this cold freezing my tits up!" He laughed and bounded away, Gyro following at his heel.


    The cargo bay was strewn with broken parts and pieces all laid out as neatly as possible, but they were running out of room. Iisska had convinced Zen to lift the ship out of the deep crater they had carved upon crashing so he could get a better look at it. It slumped pathetically to one side where the landing gear had been snapped and they had propped it up on a rock. Soon it became painfully clear that they would be going nowhere anytime soon.

    Iisska shivered and bundled up tighter in his jacket, but it was almost no help at all. Much to his embarrassment he had vomited shortly after waking up thanks to what was indeed a concussion. He still struggled to think straight and with the medical stations offline he would just have to deal with it. At least there was plenty of deadly, deadly ice around to keep the swelling down. Trinity was missing. The ship's systems were failing. It was getting colder. He could already see his breath. Inside the generator core Balva relayed information to him on the outside and together they struggled to figure out why she wasn't turning over like she should. Instead of the constant deep hum it should have been making the core sputtered and flared any coughed up any energy it managed to produce. The fuel was intact, none of the coils were broken, rotors seemed to be working, and there was obviously an ignition cycle. They had agreed it had to be one of a billion connections or transfer points knocked loose on impact. Without being able to shut off the ship's systems entirely he couldn't be in the core with Balva and with only one set of hands working on the problem it would take twice as long to fix. Regardless, he was glad to have the little guy around.

    "Oi! Link TC-8390 sound!" Balva shouted at him.

    Iisska turned away from the makeshift metal smithing workshop he was setting up and marked off the link on a schematic of the generator core he had laid out. It was another among hundreds. Luckily they were making progress as the schematic filled up with check marks of parts that were fine or they had fixed, "Marked," he called back. This system had been going on for hours.

    The bone he had been grinding between his teeth splintered. He spat it and the pieces out with the rest into the garbage and replaced it with another one from the dinner plate that was still sitting nearby. So many parts were charred beyond repair, smashed or otherwise in need of complete reconstruction or replacement. Though, replacement was not an option here. As far as he knew Hoth was a safe place to hide out, but that was because there were no settlements or permanent outposts. Everybody was expecting him to fix this. He was expecting himself to fix this. Even as the situation grew more and more grim he kept moving along with the work like it would get done sooner or later.

    He jumped and stumbled, his head spinning and his heart pounding heard when there was a sudden clang and a slew of screaming from the core. Just Balva. It was always just Balva. He leaned forward and shook his head supporting himself on a homemade saw horse.

    "AH! YE GREAT CANNIE TOSS O'SHITE!!," more banging and a sudden flicker and shutdown of all the lights on board followed, "AH'LL CHIB YER MUM AND PUT YER HOOS ON FIRE YA BASTART!"

    With another series of clangs and what sounded like an electric whine the lights came back on somewhat brighter than before. Iisska looked around with a grimace and rubbed his temples.

    "Link TC-8742 fixed!" Balva sounded suddenly far more cheery.

    "Got it," Iisska mumbled and marked it off, "Think that one did something," he added trying to sound more chipper himself.

    You are all going to suffer, freeze and die here no matter how much you try. Even if you manage to fix everything else, and you can't, you know you can't fix the hyperdirve. the thought pierced to the forefront of his thoughts and for a few moments his expression became vacant and distant. Again he snapped the small but solid bone between his teeth like it was a piece of straw and the floor and clutter and parts and tools around him shuddered and pushed away slowly like ripples in a pond. He glared at the ship's insides and balled up his fists. He could feel what he was doing and tried closing his eyes and taking a deep breath to stop it.

    Think about something else, he urged himself, focus on something else. A coolant pump rattled into the wall and he watched it. Nine screws, nine bolts, four seals, three hoses, a cable box, two valves, two timing switches... The shuddering of matter around him died down and objects came to a stop. He visibly relaxed and then, You are all going to die. In a fraction of a second the coolant pump tore itself apart piece by piece. Every individual component was ripped out of place and distanced from the rest then slowed in the air like it had never been assembled to begin with. Then they all clattered to the ground. He took a step back just looking at the mess.

    "Link TG-9531 check!"

    "Y- Yeah! Got it..." Iisska checked it off and then went back to tearing into unnecessary equipment looking for anything that could help them fix major systems.

    A hand was placed onto Iisska's shoulder, cold and mettalic. "Quite the unique power you have there." Marquis stood behind him, his eye a light pink. "Bang up job you're doing here. Trinity should be back online soon, I think. Doing alright?"

    Iisska snapped away from the touch with a snarl before he realized it was only Sterling. He sighed and twirled a wrench around in his fingers while forcing a smile.

    "Saw that didja? It's so unique I have no fucking idea how I did it or how to do it again, but that's life I guess," he said with an eyeroll, "I'm doing fantastic. Once we get this son of a bitch up and running and once Trinity is back things will go a lot smoother."

    "So you're not going to tell me what's wrong. Alright." Marquis shrugged and turned. "Let me know if you guys need help with anything. I am not perfect with engineering but I will do what I can." He started to walk out of the room, leaving them to their business.

    "Sterling. I can't fix... It's not going to be possible..." he clenched his teeth and tried to find a way to admit it, but couldn't, 'I'm gonna get Trinity back online first. At least then we'll have everyone accounted for... and then we'll just have to go fom there."

    "Yes, yes you can." He stopped. "Gold can be made from the blackest of scorched scrap.Don't worry about it. Just focus on getting trinity fixed."
    Iisska nodded.
    Less than an hour later a violent kick start could be heard coursing through the entire ship. She rumbled hard and then stilled as the lights came back on full force. The heat followed along with other life support and control systems. Navigations were still down of course but at least now they wouldn't be going about the repairs blind anymore. The cab lit up brightly and computers booted up.

    "Balva! What did you do!?" Iisska dropped what he was doing and crouched by the entrance to the generator core.

    "Laddie, fit to voids ya think ahm doin! Ah sodder the bobs n bits an yell em tae the dunderheed teuchter next over, an ah donmind tellin' ya!" Balva retorted.

    Iisska couldn't help but smile as he finally accessed the computers, "I have no idea what that is coming out of your mouth but I think we did it! Come on! We need to get to Trinity's A.I. core!"

    He bolted off, not waiting for Balva. He took the steps out of the cargo bay two at a time and sprinted down the corridor to the cab to check Trinity's main projector. Finally. Progress. He skidded to a stop and slammed into the control panel.


    He got no response. He tried turning on the projector manually and fiddling with it a bit. Still nothing. With a frown he went back to meet up with Balva who was working his way into the core now.

    "Anything? Is something broken in there?"

    "Dinnae see nothin," Balva answered, "Looks pure dead awrite. Dunno what tae tell ya, laddie."

    The little alien squirmed back out into the hallway and shrugged.

    Iisska turned in place, rubbing his head and pressing his lips together. After a few moments of silence he wandered off, "Dammit all... We must have missed something..."


    Sitting within a small lounge within the ship, Marquis, Balva, and Iisska had found some solace to relax while Trinity's A.I. core booted up. Turned out that she was totally fine, but her A.I. core took time to ready itself for use. It would be a couple hours, but it was nice and warm in the ship, the food synthesizer was working excellently, and Zen was leaving them alone for once!

    Iisska sat in one of the booths, his feet propped up, Marquis sitting across from him and Balva at the end of the table, his head barely poking up over the table. "So! Markey!" Balva spoke up. "We got us a cup'ah hours, what's yer story?" Marquis looked at the little man, a cup of hot oil in hand. He shrugged and started to speak, his eye a pearly white. "I was created on Nar Shadda by Radon Thexys, an Ithorian crime lord that had a habit of being overprotective. He did not enjoy conflict, nor having his personal property be gazed upon by those he deemed unworthy. In addition to being an assassin droid in his service, I was also his bodyguard. The estate where he lived was attacked quite a bit. Anybody that happened to survive the attack that did not have their head blown apart would be hunted down the next day." Balva was silent for a moment before speaking again. "Jus 'ow many people did ya kill in yer time thar?" Marquis took a swig of his oil and thought about it for a moment. "Seven thousand, eight hundred, thirty three. That was before I joined the crew of the Harpoon." Both Balva's and Iisska's jaw dropped at the number. "SO. Iisska." Marquis looked at him. "What is your story?" "My story?" Iisska looked up and shrugged, "Can't say there's a whole lot to tell... Nothing that would interest people like you guys anyway." "Oh whi don' ya jus' skip da modusty and jus tell us!" Balva yelled.

    "Fine! Keep your pants on, shrimp. If everyone else is doing it..." he rolled his eyes, "Dunno where to start. Grew up in a mountain town on Shili, Dad taught me how to fix ships after Mom told the Jedi to take a hike and never come back. Mom could be a real nasty bitch sometimes," he chuckled and a soft smile spread across his face, "... 'Course they did come back for my younger half sister and that was the last we saw of her. Mom and Ty really had a nasty fight over that one. Uh, Ty is Dad's third wife and that was her kid. Anyway, Mom was a hunter and butcher and taught most of the girls, my sisters, the trade. I went along a few times but wasn't ever that good at it. Pretty normal stuff I guess... Until I got arrested. Mom died while I was in prison on Courescant and I went back after that, but it just wasn't really the same I guess. Didn't really fit in anymore and the neighborhood didn't much care for me hanging around so I left. Bummed around a few planets for the next few years. Heard Dad picked up a fourth wife and they had a boy, guess that makes eleven of us now... But at least he's happy. I hope."

    Zen was outside the ship, after the talking had concluded, most of the crew started to settle down, especially Marquis and the recently reactivated Trinity. Zen however was outside, his robes whipping around his body as the winds sliced their way through their landing zone. He had his hood up, his lightsabers at his sides. From within the dilapidated ship, Iisska and Marquis were sitting in a small lounge, that had somewhat survived the crash, that was near the opening ramp of the ship. Iisska looked out a window to see Zen standing in the night snow. He asked what he was doing and Marquis poked his head close to the window to see as well and his eye turned a light green, then a dark red. "Iisska...grab your blaster. Something is not right." Just as he said that, Zen drew his sabers.

    "Come out, you cowardly monster. I know you're there. " He had both his sabers humming quietly at his side, illuminating the area around him. Zen starred straight ahead, seemingly seeing something in the darkness of the tundra. Appearing slowly out of the storm, it's cloak disabling and revealing the hulking form of the hunter, it's arm blades shining in the light from Zen's sabers. "Tu'cha'kah." Zen spoke, his voice barely audible over the snow. "...Gallow..." It spoke. It's helmet retracted, the metal folding over itself and pulling into it's collar. A lizard-like man with deep scars all over it's dark green scaled head, it's eyes black as night and teeth filed to razor sharp points. A pointed tongue slithered out between them as it spoke. "Finally, Gallow. I have found my...prey." Zen stood fast, flipping his blacksaber to back hand with his whitesaber remaining front hand. "It is you, corrupted beast, that shall fall prey to my blades." A deep chortle echoed from within Tu'cha'kah's chest as he reached behind his hip to a pack and fished out a small metallic sphere. Just as he did, the lights on the front of the Harpoon turned on, casting a bright white light onto what will be the two warriors' battlefield.

    Iisska had his blaster on him as he went down to the docking bay with Quin nearby. Marquis had climbed up to the top of the ship and sat down. The lizard reached up to click a small button on the sphere and it floated up in the air for several moments.

    Without warning, Iisska went forward, slamming onto the ground, his head being sent into a maelstrom of pain and anguish a thousand times worse than any pain that he had ever encountered in his life. He gripped his head as he screamed and writhed on the ground, his wails filling the hanger. Outside, Zen was experiencing the same pain, he grit his teeth and was down on one knee, the pain being equivalent of somebody dropping a hundred Kaminos on him. He breathed slowly and in bursts, barely sustaining himself. It took everything he had to stand up and grip his Sabers. He flooded the force within him to his mind and tried to shove out the pain as Tu'cha'kah's helmet now covered his head and he bolted forward, arm blades at the ready, Zen grit his teeth to the breaking point and met his foe head on, bringing down a saber onto it's head only for it to be blocked and a thunder-backed punch hit Zen in the gut, sending him reeling backwards into the snow. He recovered quickly and dashed to the side as shoulder-mounted blasterfire came his way, glassing the water in the snow instantaneously, each shot getting closer to Zen as his foe recalculated. Zen zigzagged back and forth, narrowly dodging blasts that would destroy him in an instant. A rifle shot rang out from the ship, narrowly missing Tu'cha'kah's sphere as it floated next to him. He turned and fired on the top of the ship where Marquis was firing from, giving Zen enough time to blitz forward, jumping into the air and slamming down onto Tu'cha'ka.

    Inside the ship, Iisska couldn't stop screaming, Quin and Balva managed to get him to the med bay, but they might as well have just started hitting him with metal objects as it would have helped just as much as they have.

    His sabers screamed against it's armor, drawing deep scorch marks that bled to the scales below, making the monster scream, but it stood strong, haymaking Zen in the jaw, ripping across his chest with his massive arm-blade and preparing for the kill move, only for Zen to unleash what little force energy he had built up in a radial explosion, sending both of them backwards and giving time for Zen to recover, but it seemed to barely effect the monster before him as Tu'cha'kah walked towards Zen, laughing. "Assss prey, thissss issss your mosssst dissssappointing performanssse, Gallow. " He raised his arm, Zen's blood covering it. It flicked it to the side, sending the liquid into the snow. it approached the massively weakened Sith and gripped his neck, raising him into the air, choking the air out of his lungs. Blood covered Zen's face as he fought to stay conscious. "Our long hunt sssshall now come to a pathetic end, Gallow. Running can only get you sssso far." It raised his arm blade for the final lunge but froze as a shot rang out. Its spherical contraption exploded, falling to the snow in a heap. It looked up towards the ship and saw Marquis standing, giving a two fingered salute. It looked back at Zen to see him smiling, turning into a hysterical laugh. It went to deliver it's final blow, but it was far, far too late as the force seized it's body and threw it back into the snow. Zen dropped to the ground and rose up slowly.

    Jumping up out of the snow, it wasn't prepared for Zen already making leaps and bounds for it's position. It didn't have any time what so ever so block the dual sabers tearing across it's chest in a large combo, coloring it's armor the darkest black as it was scorched to nothing. It flaked off bit by bit before it's underarmor became exposed where then Zen used the force to pop Tu'cha'kah into the air, back down to slam it's spine down onto Zen's knee, be thrown across the battlefield, into the nose of the ship, be slammed into the nose five more times, each consecutive impact greatly denting the nose, before being thrown into an arch into the glass that was created from earlier, raining shards about the area. It tried to rise, but it was constricted by Zen again, being held in the air. It's shoulder turret tried to fire, but it was crumpled into dust by Zen's immense power, as was it's arm blades. Its helmet was forcibly ripped off and now it was Tu'cha'kah that was gritting it's teeth and snarling.

    "You vile, pathetic, corrupted piece of indescribable GARBAGE." Zen screamed. Marquis had run back down to the ship to find Iisska recovering from the mind shattering pain slowly. He would be fine, but Marquis turned on the audio in the ship's bridge, allowing them to hear what was happening. "You are NOTHING. Gallow. My master will exact vengeansssse on your pathetic life and your unworthy crew!" "You have brought darkness and corruption to this world..." he stood before Tu'cha'kah now, his arm held up, his hand tense, holding this monster. He started to tighten his grip. "For this, Tu'cha'kah...I, Sith Lord Gallow, Send you back to the void...FROM WHENCE YOU WERE BORN." The snow around Gallow seemed to move in waves as his grip tightened, his exposed muscles contracting from the effort. The monster before him began to shake violently and scream, it's limbs being turned inside out and forced inside it's torso. Gallow's robes started to move on their own, regardless of the wind, the force seeping out of him, making the snow withdraw from around him slowly. A dark glow appeared around Tu'cha'kah as he was imploded by Gallow's substantial power before finally it started to crumple and implode into a darkness within it. The dark aura was a black hole! Gallow's hand was turning into a tightly bound fist, forcing Tu'cha'kah into the black hole, bit by bit. It imploded and screamed as loud as it could, hurting even the listeners inside the Harpoon before it crumpled into nothingness and was sucked into the black hole, into the void itself.

    Gallow stood motionless for a short time, the black hole in front of him imploding with it's new occupant. He gritted his teeth and balled his hands into fists, yelling into the sky, the snow around him moving away in waves again as his force power was expunged, one of his greatest foes having been vanquished at last. He cut his scream short, throwing his hands out, palms outstretched and downwards, squatting, calming the sea of force power around him.

    He turned towards the ship.


    The pain and the darkness and the overwhelming urge to cut his own throat, to put the blaster in his hand to his head, to take his own life in anyway came to a sudden stop. There was a warm light over him that flickered and swayed between the shadows cast by the tall grasses and abundant trees. He rolled onto his stomach and pushed himself up. It smelled like it had just rained. The soil and foliage was damp under his palms and knees. It was so familiar. He curled into a crouch and realized that he was barefoot and shirtless. A light tapping by his face drew his hand and he could feel the simplistic Togruta headdress wrapped around his lekku and montrals. There on a a leather strap hung a tooth from the single akul he'd ever managed to take down. Just the one, but it had been enough to pass out of childhood and it was only a formality anyway. A foreign tongue whispered to him from somewhere far away but resonated in a hiss on the wind. He followed it, slinking through and blending into the shadows of the garish, fire-tinted grass. Soon he came to a road paved with lava stones, worn smooth from thousands of years of travel. A preteen girl sat on a low stone wall that lined the road swinging her feet and plucking the petals off of a white flower. Not sure why exactly, he sat next to her.

    "Hey, Iisska," she sighed.

    "Hey, Myna," he said, "Long time no see."

    "Yeah," she said quietly and looked at him out of the corner of her eye, "You got big. What do you do, lift things and put them back down all day? ... Can't be anything too strenuous. You were always lazy and looks like you still didn't get rid of that belly."

    "It's not a belly," he argued, "It's completely average... after that much booze and human food."

    That managed to get a giggle out of her, "And your montrals still look funny, even grown out. I've never seen anybody with them sweeping back that far."

    "I don't have to listen to this" he started to stand up again.

    "Iisska," Myna chuckled and twirled the beads on her headdress around a thin finger, "Come back. I'm kidding."

    He slumped back down with a smirk, "Yeah well you were always pasty and bony."

    She elbowed him in the ribs, playfully. Then they both fell into silence. He watched as more of the white petals were stripped from the red center of the flower and tumbled down to the stones. It wasn't until a few moments later that he realized the trickles of blood seeping out from under them when they landed.

    "I thought we were going to get married," Myna finally whispered.

    "I was twelve when I said that," Iisska blushed and scratched his head, "Besides, your mom hated me and my family. She'd never have sold me any of her girls, let alone you."

    "That wouldn't have stopped you back then," Myna dropped the barren stem into the puddle of blood on the ground, "I would have loved to have seen the look on her face."

    Iisska smiled, "Yeah, me too."

    "Iisska..." she clutched at her chest.

    "Yeah?" he asked.

    "Why did you kill me?"

    The young girl turned to look him in the eyes. Her right eye was brilliant acidic green and filled with tears. The left was smashed along with the side of her skull into a bloody mess. Bone protruded through the ruined flesh and massive bruising spread out from the wound. Blood and pale yellow fluids flowed down her neck and chest. Iisska jumped up and recoiled away from her. She stood slowly and followed him.

    "I didn't even do anything to you," she sobbed and tried to wipe away the tears.

    "That's not what happened!," he backed away from her, "I wasn't trying to--"

    "Yes it is!" she screamed in agony, her soft face twisted, "And you got away with it! They let you out! You should be rotting away in the RJCDC with the other filth! You shouldn't be allowed to be near anybody! Your mother should have abandoned you!"

    The sky grew dark as she approached him and he suddenly found himself with his back against a wall and nowhere to run. Insectoid fingers reached out of the void and dug into his wrists and ankles, burning and tearing where they gripped.

    He was starting to panic as the pain in his skull returned and he pleaded with her, "Myna! I swear it was an accident! I never would have--"

    "You're dangerous, Iisska. You're a monster. You're evil..." she hissed.

    The long sharp fingers shot into his heart and churned. The sky was black and the land was on fire. The road was a river of blood. Myna got so close to him he could smell her. The flesh was tightening and becoming brittle around her bones and her eye sockets were becoming hollow. She reached out with skeletal fingers and touched his face. Behind her bodies stepped out of the flames, all alabaster and beautiful, but devoid of a soul and starving. They consumed each other but could not satiate the hunger and the rage that drove them. He screamed in pain and writhed trying to get away from her touch and the black claws that held him down. He wanted to kill her again. Kill her and put her in a place where she would never come back. She needed to die. They all needed to die.

    He forced the fingers from his body and blasted her down into the blood flow, holding her under until she suffocated and dissolved into nothingness. His skin darkened and black veins reached across it's surface. Fangs bared, eyes glowing red, headdress adorned with teeth ripped from the jaws of sentient beings. He could erase it all.
    A sensation of falling overtook him and Iisska was jolted awake just before slamming into the ground. He scrambled up and tripped and rolled until he was huddled into a corner. There he caught his breath and remembered where he was. The medical bay on the Harpoon. It was quiet and still. He was alone. For a moment he put his head on his knees.

    Sith Lord Gallow. The name repeated in his mind over and over again. Everything else had been a blur, but that stuck with him through the blinding pain. Just what was a Sith Lord anyway? Where in the damned 'verse was Zen? This was all his fault.

    "Zen," Iisska growled while pulling himself up. He stomped out of the medical bay looking for the man. Iisska staggered to the ship's lounge looking for Zen, or anybody he could interrogate for that matter. It was empty for the time being. He walked over to the synthesizer and ordered the strongest drink it would let him and slammed it back in one breath before getting another. If it didn't help him remember last night maybe it would help him forget what parts he still had. Early morning be damned. Immediately he felt a stabbing nausea but held it back. Again he went looking for the crew.

    "Zen! Sterling! Balva! ... Hello!?"

    Balva poked his head out of a duct above Iisska. "Whut da bluddy 'ell are you screamin' aboot now?!" it was obvious that Balva was a little more than tipsy as well.

    "I'm not screaming!" Iisska screamed, "I..." he cleared his throat and lowered his voice, "Have you seen Zen? I wanna talk to him."

    "Nope. Not at all. "He retreated back into his duct.

    Iisska sighed, "Well do you have any idea where he may have gone? C'mon man."

    He was already long gone, Iisska's voice would go unheard.

    Iisska glared up at the duct and took another deep swig from his drink before moving on. He stopped by his room to kick off his boots on his way to check on the A.I. core to see if Trinity was up and running now. She would be more help.

    He knocked on the panel outside the core, "Anyone home?"

    There was no response at the door. Trinity was not active yet.

    He gritted his teeth and growled in his chest, "Uhg, dammit! Fine! Whatever everybody just up and vanish! Why not!? Not like we were all just very nearly killed or nothin'! Not like Zen's a fucking... something... But that's exactly the problem! Was I the only one who felt that!? Did you people SERIOUSLY not FEEL THAT SHIT!? I mean c'mon! That was like... I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT WAS LIKE!"

    Iisska kicked in the door to the cab and slumped in one of the chairs before falling forward and slamming his head on the control panel in frustration. There was a long silence.

    "Ow..." he mumbled.

    Marquis came up behind him and slumped an arm onto his shoulder. "Hey buddy. What is wrong?"

    "Everything..." he whined and tilted his head so his chin was now resting on the panel, "I don't know what's going on and I don't know what to think and here I am just rambling and talking to myself. Fuck. I hate being alone Sterling. I hate-- Wait. 'Buddy?'"

    "What? I am unallowed to say the word "Buddy" now? He mused. "It seems to me that you are on the right track to forgetting." He gestured at the bottle. "Zen is being weird."

    Remembering he had sweet sweet comfort he took another long drink as soon as Sterling reminded him of it. Then he grimaced as it hit his stomach hard once more.

    "Weird? That's the most fucking erroron-- errorous-- erronous... yeah, erroneous statement I have ever heard," he grumbled, "Do you have any idea what he was talking about with that... thing or where he is now?"

    "The...bit about how he is a sith lord...yeah. I am keeping my opinions to myself on that. At least until trinity is fully back online. As for Zen...I think he is in his room."

    "There's that word again. Sith. What's a sith?"

    " not know? How long have you lived under that rock, Iisska?"

    "OH!! OH OKAY!!" He shot up to his feet and nearly fell, but caught himself, "Everybody knows about this thing except me! That's fine! Not like I haven't been running around the galaxy since I was seventeen. Not like I haven't seen a bunch of shit and never once heard of this mysterious awesomeness that somehow everybody knows about but me! OH DARN! MUST HAVE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK!"

    "To be completely fair, Iisska. Anybody running about the galaxy since they were seventeen WOULD know what a Sith was."


    The Togruta stood up straight, frowned and narrowed his eyes before taking a deep breath and placing a hand over his stomach in a pose of the utmost regal modesty.

    "Sterling. Please. Just tell me what--" without warning Iisska doubled over and puked into the closest scrap bin.

    If Marquis could, he would be smiling right now. Instead, he laughed. "Okay. Think Jedi, but wants to kill everybody. Think Jedi Master, but the reverse. A Sith Lord. Then think of Zen, whom is a Gray Sith, neutral, but follows the sith doctrine. He is a gray sith lord."

    Iisska lay on the floor next to the bin, "That was terrible, Sterling."

    "Oh. Right. You cannot think. Just know that he has earned his super powers."

    "Oh. Right. You cannot think. Just know that he has earned his super powers."

    "No, no... I get it. Kinda... Okay not really, but it's a start," he mumbled, "You. You knew this?"

    "I did not know he was a sith lord, but I knew he was a Gray sith."

    "Oh. I guess... I guess that's..." he sat up slowly and crossed his legs, "That's happened. It doesn't matter now, though. We're all going to die here."

    "Not unless you get off of your ass and fix the engines. Trinity should be around soon enough."

    "So, get off your arse." He kicked him.

    Iisska curled up to protect himself then stumbled up.

    "I can fix the engines... most likely. I'm super talented like that," he smirked, "That's not the problem, though. Nobody can fix a cracked hyperdrive. You have to replace the whole damn thing. Even the people who build them for a living don't exactly know all the ins and outs of the tech and they wouldn't dream of making a repair like that. Even if I do get those engines fixed we'll be thrusting through space for an eternity before we reach the next populated outpost."

    "Well. Time to learn then. We have plenty of time for you to become the only hyper drive specialist in the known universe."

    "Sterling. Listen. Just listen for a second. If I mess up," he spoke slowly with deliberate hand gestures, "Even just a smidge. If I look at the hyperdrive funny. If I sneeze and it gets upset. We all die a terrible disgusting death."

    "Consider it a challenge then." He looked at him, his eye a light pink. "Trinity will be able to help, but the ship's auto repair system is shoddy at best. "

    "Yeah I was afraid of that. We'll have to shut it out of the hyperdrive for the time being," he scratched his chin, "With Trinity's help... So. Just so we're all clear on this. You've all come to terms with death? Right? We're all in agreement that death is imminent?"

    "We are in the midst of a Sith Lord. We are all bound to die one way or another. Hop to it."

    "Fan-fucking-tastic," he rubbed his hands together, "I guess this way I will get to kill Zen after all," he chuckled nervously, "I'll see you around, Sterling... And thanks... I feel... well I almost feel better. A little. Probably."

    Iisska left the cab still a little tipsy but feeling stable enough to work. Once down in the engine room he tied his lekku back and dragged his tools out of the million places that had wound up the day before, gathered the ruined parts he would need to focus on, and the salvaged bits he would have to tear apart to desperately patch things up. Then he maneuvered deeper into the engines where the hyperdrive lay in wait. It just sat there, shut down, slumbering, waiting for him to start stabbing at it so it could get angry and murder him. He reached out to the small fracture where the intricate patterning in the cells didn't line up. Then he stopped, afraid to even touch it. He just stared. He had no idea what to do. He wanted to fix it. For all his resentment and fighting and depressing nay-saying he really wanted to fix it and get out of here. He wanted to live. He wanted all of them to live. How, though?

    Not knowing what to do about it now and having zero ideas he went back to work on the main engines.


    "Aaah, that was a good...good...good...ALRIGHT. WHY IS MY ASS FREEZING?!"

    Trinity appeared on the main console in the briefing room, three of her fingers slotted in the middle of her forehead as she sighed and ran diagnostics. "Why in the VOID am I buried thirty feet in the snow...why has somebody been tampering with my engines?! WHY is the hyperdrive cracked?! WHY IS MY NOSE SMASHED MULTIPLE TIMES?!" Several windows appeared around the infuriated woman, as well as a feed from what happened outside. "MARQUIS!" Her voice boomed out of each of the intercoms and everybody was roused from whatever they were doing. Marquis sprinted for the briefing room and poked his head into the door. "Oh! Honey! You're back on-" "Explanation. Now. The feed was knocked out by a SUPER POWERED ZEN."

    One explanation later....

    Her normal dark blue color turned red as she found out what happened to the ship. Gallow came running into the room as he finished, Iisska right behind him. She shot daggers at Gallow. "ZEN-" "I've decided to go by gal-" "ZENITHAR OURAN. You are banned from telling me where to pilot the ship." She snapped her fingers in the air several times. "Repair bots, Please assist Iisska with the repairs and get the DAMN hyperdrive fixed. " Zen stepped forward, his eyes squinted. "Wait, wait, hold on. You're telling me that I cannot cap-" She came right back at him, her voice growing more menecing by the word. "Shut the fuck up, Zen. You broke my nose." His eyes lowered and his hands clasped behind his back. "Yes ma'am." He backed away towards the door. "Go shovel my ass out of the snow, Zen." He bowed and backed out, running to go do as she said. Meanwhile, both Iisska's and Sterling's jaws were dropped. "...and why in the VOID is SHE doing here?!" She gestured towards Quin, whom had poked in as well. "She joined us out of need, Trin. She is...a marksman! Yes! Like me, but with automatics! Yes!" He made up a lie...or a truth, he had no idea. She sighed and nodded. "Silver." She said as she was just starting to calm down, returning to her blue color. "Yes, dove?" His eye turned a light pink. He was hoping that he wasn't going to get yelled at. "I need a hug." He nodded and sped off to jack in and be with her. Iisska was the last one there, his eyes wide. "Don't just stand there, Iisska. Fix the ship!" He nodded frantically and ran off, not willing to mess with a still pissed off Trinity. She sighed and retreated to her personal zone, where Marquis was waiting to comfort her.

    Zen, outside the ship, quickly used the force to budge the ship out of a snowbank and let the floating repair bots in to fix the landing gear. Once it was finished, they went to work on the engine, patching up the serious damages and cracks with blow torches then retreated back to their slots, having finished quickly. Trinity herself came to Iisska and was there to help guide him with the hyperdrive repairs.

    After the ship was let down, Gallows went to work on the nose, carefully undoing the severe dents against it.

    Once everything was done, the engine was tested and it kicked up fine, it would be just enough to get them to a store to get actual repairs. Gallow retreated inside, his body frosted over from the blizzard picking up. He went into the lounge and was kicked out by Trinity, not wanting to even talk with the "mighty sithlord that slammed a lizard man into her face." and he accompanied Gyro to his room. Everybody else was in the lounge, discussing their next location....


    The elderly Mirialan woman hobbled out of the great hall, leaning heavily on a twisted, hand-carved cane. Her face was partially hidden by the dark shawl which covered her hair and shoulders and flowed into the line of her thick robes. Many of the younger, busier senators whisked past her, caught up in their conversations, opinions and work. She watched them with a frown and tried to move to her office as fast as those aching legs could take her. Maybe she would get lucky and make it before anyone tried to talk to--

    "Senator Imzad!"

    She grumbled and pretended that she couldn't hear them. A moment of peace, the Spirits would refuse her even that. Incessant, ruthless, blind and starving creatures these young politicians. All of them running around, posturing, primping, arguing, deceiving, bargaining and fraternizing. The mental gauntlets and cutthroat games and the drive and energy to make them endless... Those were the good days.

    "Senator Imzad," a gentle hand fell on her shoulder. The old woman looked up with a feigned look of innocent surprise.

    "Oh my, Ia-Nys Otouta," she greeted the tall, dark haired man with a soft smile, "What a pleasure."

    The man took her hand and shook it briefly. His chest was puffed out and he was immaculately groomed and dressed with perfectly white teeth.

    "I assure you the pleasure is mine. It's been too long," he beamed.

    "It has," she replied. These political pleasantries made the bile rise in her gut, "But I doubt our time apart has been brought to a close due to personal matters."

    The man frowned a little, "I'm afraid not... Straight to business as usual then. You've been assigned a body guard."

    "I'm honored the Senate has a mind to consider my safety, but I assure you it is hardly necessary."

    "This is hardly up for debate," Otouta shrugged and held out a hand behind them, "This is Qazelok Danol, Jedi Consular."

    She let out and audible sigh as she was forced to stop walking and make the effort to turn and make nice with yet another useless Jedi.

    "Qazelok, this is Senator Sanora Imzad of Mirial."

    When she had finished limping around to face the pair of men a deep frown pulled at the hashing of wrinkles that scattered and faded the smattering of tattoos on her face. Her brows were pressed together. She looked over the Jedi as if she were being swindled. An Iridonian... maybe... He had the horns and the stature, but his skin was pale, his hair was white and tied back into a short tail, and his eyes were glassy and colorless aside from a redish tint and any reflected hues they caught. An albino. A mutation that would not have allowed him to survive under the desert sun nor in his species' society. Not to mention the myriad of other health issues that must come along with such a deformity. Jedi Consular, Otouta had said. This one was still wet behind the ears. In what universe could he have had the experience and mental fortitude to become a Consular? And what luck with the vast majority of padawans being assigned the rank of Knight as their first promotion what with a war raging and fresh fodder needed for the front lines. The Senate had pushed a draft order through only weeks ago as the coffers ran deeper into the negatives and money for more clones drew beyond their reach. The damned Order wouldn't keep a warrior fit for battle here in the sheltered bosom of Courescant, nor would they waste such a resource on an aging, unpopular Senator unless he was a reject.

    "Senator Imzad," Qazelok bowed deeply, "It is a great honor to be your body guard. I will protect you with my life."

    Imzad looked on, baffled at such a display. She looked between the young Jedi and the Representative. Waiting for the punchline to this joke.

    "When did you leave your master?" she grunted, "Last week? Yesterday? You've still got baby fat on your cheeks! 'A great honor?' Stowe your polite speeches, boy. You want to be out with your comrades, testing your skill on your own. Not looking after a dying hag. A Consular," she snorted, "When given to little ones like you that title becomes a fancy word for 'liability.' Otouta, tell his Order to put him somewhere else. Even if they want to keep this one on a shelf I can think of hundreds of places more useful."

    The young Jedi's eyes grew wide, but he stood still and said nothing. The exasperated Otouta tried to put up an argument but Imzad turned on him and continued her slow limp down the corridor.

    "It was so nice to speak to you two," she said sweetly, "Do come around more often."

    As far as she could tell they had not bothered to follow. Good. The rest of the long walk to her offices was enjoyed in relative quiet with little interruption. Upon reaching the large door and the electronic pad next to it she found that the pad had been powered down and that the door itself was unlocked. She pushed it open slowly. The sprawling office, lit by the large windowed wall and setting sun was undisturbed save for a pale Jedi standing in the corner. He turned his eyes on her.

    "For someone who was nearly assassinated for her radical views on war policies your security is abysmal. I'd almost be bold enough to suggest you may, in fact, want to die," Qazelok spoke casually.

    "Get out," Imzad growled at him and jabbed a gnarled finger at the door, "You are dismissed. Fired. Trespassing, whatever it takes to get rid of you!"

    "You can't fire me, Ma'am," he smiled, "You're technically not my boss. The Military is. And last I checked the government is currently under crisis and thus under Martial law."

    Imzad glared at the audacious welp.

    "Somebody powerful likes you," he shrugged.
    The next morning after rudely being dragged out of the engine core, where he had slept, the Togruta was met with the misfortune of finding himself standing knee deep in the snow. He shivered and huddled against the biting cold in clothing that was nowhere near enough to stand up to the harsh elements.

    "Z-Zen... What the gr-reat celestial f-f-f-FUCK are we doing out here?" he managed to spit.

    Zen looked over the snowy plain in front of them, seeing the hundreds of faceless snowmen. "We must destroy them immediately! Lest they overtake our position and attack us from the rear!"

    An eeire quiet swept over the pair of them save for the slow wind that swirled little fingers of snow through the air and tugged softly at them. The ship's frame creaked in the cold. The snowmen stood completely still and lifeless in their barren wasteland under the pink sunrise.

    "I'm going back to sleep," Iisska grumbled.

    A ominous growling came from the snowmen in front of them and they started to grow crazy snow arms! Zen shoved a saber into Iisska's hands and just used the force to throw Iisska into the snowmen to begin the attack!

    Instinctively he curled and rolled to a stop before shaking off the snow. He was about to start yelling, but found himself surrounded by the horrible snow things. Immediately he threw a punch into the face of the one closest to him as it flailed it's long arms. It connected. The snowman's face shattered under the blow, but the stuff was hard as ice and absolutely bitter cold. Iisska clutched his hand to his chest groaning and backing off instead of fighting.

    "ZEN! THIS ISN'T FUNNY! TRINITY!" he screamed back.


    Iisska still gripped the damned thing in his left hand and now looked the wrong way down the shaft into the lense, his fingers dangerously close to the power switch.

    "What-- How do you--" he turned it over several times like some sort of impossible puzzle toy. A heavy tentacle-like arm slammed into the snow, barely missing him. Blaster! Where was his blaster! He reached for the holster and found it empty. His heart sank.

    "SHIIIITTT!!" he gave up and sprinted away franticly.



    With a flick of the wrist to get it away from his body, Iisska hit the switch and a long beam of white light shot out of the hilt. The heat was beyond intense and the rush of power nearly popped his arm out of socket. Without any more thought he took the saber in both hands and swung it wide and out of control into the neck of the nearest snow monster. It melted clean through and the snow slumped into an amorphous shape.

    "Now do it again! But better!"

    "Yeah, alright, okay, I totally get what you're saying-- A LITTLE MORE INSTRUCTION WOULD BE NICE!" he yelled while slicing a monster in half as if he were weilding an axe.

    "Imagine they were all me! Then pretend it's a knife!"

    "Go fuck yourself and die, Zen!" Iisska spat before plowing haphazardly into more snowy bodies. Several times he was hit in the face and gut and then thrown off his feet as the beasts became more numerous. The cold was slowing him down and every time he fell he feared the deep snow would suffocate him. Not to mention the damage these things could do if he went down for too long. His heart raced. Imagine they're all Zen. His blood boiled at the thought. They're all Zen... and I finally get to... kill... The ground shook beneath him and a sudden upheaval slammed the ground and flung the ice and snow into the air like a great splash of water that hung in slow motion. The monsters were flung every which way by invisible blows, many in pieces. Iisska shot out of the blast after a stray snowman, blindly slicing it down before charging after the next one with a roar. Unbridaled bursts of energy kicked up the ground and left deep cuts behind and around where he landed. Another violent slam split the permafrost under the snow and ice, causing sheets to cut upward into spikes. Iisska found himself flying through the air dozens of feet above the shattered ground after simply jumping out of the way of another blow and landed hard, sliding back several feet. The last monster came at him and somehow he could feel it rather than see it. Fuck the force, fuck the ship, fuck the hyperdrive, fuck the crew and most of all fuck Zen. He didn't even move, the monster simply exploded from the chest and crumbled into nothing.

    It was like an explosion had gone off and he barely remembered any of it.

    Once the damage was done and Iisska had blown everything up. Zen just gave him a thumbs up. "Wow. You really hate me. I feel so loved!" He turned to go back inside. "If you break my saber, I'll break you."

    "Wh-wait!" Iisska stumbled after him and tripped after a stabbing pain ripped up the side of his ankle. He cursed and got back up, limping onward, "What did I just do!? Zen! You can't keep doing this to me. Not if I don't know what's happening or what I'm doing..."

    But the great Sith Lord Gallow didn't so much as look at him. He merely continued inside the ship.
    "My Queen," the huge man dressed in black and steel sank to his hands and knees on the floor of the ship. He dared not look up at her, "The majority of the new captives are still functional. I believe they are ready to be added to the ranks."

    He could hear her heels pacing back and forth in the silence that clouded the bridge.

    "Have you heard any interesting news from these... Republic territories?" her voice was deep and silken.

    "Nothing that would cause us obstacle or interest, My Queen," he responded, "They are beneath us."

    She sighed and stopped her pacing, "Can you not feel that? Feel it!" her sudden yell caused him physical pain but he did not flinch. He knew better, "What am I saying? Of course you can't... Everything in existence is linked through the tender spiraling wisps of fate and causality. There are no coincidences. None what so ever. Your men were destroyed by pitiful bounty hunters, leading us to unnecessary loss. The Republic forces chase down a mysterious outlaw only to be met with catastrophe and then sweep the incident under the rug. Major contenders are being knocked out of the game and each time it happens the Force has been bent to make it so. It is used with such mastery to make it seem as simple as breathing. The bastardized remnants of my ancestry did not and have not left this filthy galaxy after the exodus. Order is decaying in the face of war and death. Someone... Rather, someones... are tipping the balances of fate."

    The man remained quiet. He did not follow.

    "So loyal. So fearsome. So great. And yet you do not understand. The Lords, my Champion. There is no room for all of us in this universe."

    "Is there someone you would like me to destroy then?" he asked.

    "Oh, most assuredly, but we must find the second first."

    "The second?"

    "Only two. No more. No less."

    "... Understood."

    "Then leave," she ordered. Then she looked back out at the stars most peaceful, "I'm coming for you," she whispered.
    You're a monster.

    Iisska had been half asleep next to the hyperdrive again with a head on his knee, but a waking dream had ripped him back out of the stupor. So tired. The crack was still there. As it had turned out all he was good at was destroying things. Even then it just happened. It wasn't like he wanted to. It just was that way. So angry. The dream that had snapped him awake was the same as the one he had suffered after Gallow's fight. It made no sense. It made him sick. It wasn't his fault. He clenched his fists. He wanted to hit something. Anything to take out the frustration on. Why did the universe want him to fail? Why did it want him to self destruct? Why did it want to take away any sort of control he had on his miserable life? He raised his fist ready to punch the cracked drive right in it's stupid Zen-like face.

    "What are you doing?" A female voice scolded him.

    Iisska jumped and hissed, "What are you doing!?"

    Quin leaned into the opening with a frown and watched him with a raised brow, "You've been working on this for at least three days. Aren't you quite done yet?"

    "No. Get out. I have work to do," he growled at her.

    "You mean sulking to do, surely."

    "Get. Out."

    "Why don't you just use your Jedi mind tricks to fix it?"

    "Because I can't-- I don't-- Do you even listen to yourself!? For that matter why am I listening to you!?" Iisska turned away in a huff and started digging through his tools and supplies, trying to look like he had purpose, "That shit is for fighting and killing people, not fixing ships... and I'm no Jedi... stupid bitch."

    "Excuse you," she frowned, "How do you think Jedi move objects, or illude people, or heal wounds? Do you even know what those powers are or what they do?"

    "Nope. And I don't care. They're rubbish."

    Quin sighed and shook her head, "So you're just a stupid boy with big guns and no discipline. Never mind then," she began to walk away.

    "Hey! Hey!! Don't you just come down here and insult me then leave! I don't have to keep taking this shit from everybody!" he scrambled out after her, "I'm not the ship's whipping boy, I'm not their slave, and I'm not here for your amusement! I'm here to make sure this stupid junker stays in the air. I have a job. You're just here because you got lucky."

    She shrugged, "Maybe, but at least I'm not wallowing around in my own inadequacies like a child."

    "You..." Iisska rose over her and glared with his teeth bared.

    "What? Gonna smack me around again? Gonna slash me to pieces with your little light up toy like you did with Zen's beasties?"

    Iisska was silent and still.

    "You're not going to do a damn thing. You're too weak and too wrapped up in yourself to even try anymore. You're going to let us all die," she shrugged.

    "You're really starting to piss me off," he said quietly.

    "No I'm not. I'm starting to make you scared. I've seen it thousands of times before and you absolutely reek of fear. You're not some big, tough, powerful, thug like you want people to think you are. You're a scared, aimless, stubborn, brat who won't slow down long enough to calm down, focus and actually think. I know your type, kid. You light up bright and burn out fast."

    "Don't fucking lecture me," he got in her face before turning away, "Trinity. Can you make sure our stowaway stays out of the engine core and out of my way?"

    He slipped back into the compartment and fumed for several minutes. I am not acting like a child.

    It was hours before he had cooled off enough to slip back into an almost trance-like state as he tinkered with the few parts of the drive that he was brave enough to even touch in an effort to start understanding it better. He could almost feel it. All the links, all the cells, all the power amplifiers and relays, all the reaction housings. Every single one. Then there was the split. So wrong in every way as if it threw the entire construct out of balance. He started thinking about what Quin had said, about the past week or so, about the crew, about his whole life. How had things might have turned out if these people had never come to Courescant? How had things might have turned out if he hadn't been arrested? How had they might have turned out if his mother had just given him up like she was supposed to? If things had turned out right? If things were right...

    He took a deep breath and stared at the split. It was everything that was wrong with everything. But he wasn't mad. He didn't have anymore energy to be mad. He just wanted it to be right. To be functional. To be whole. Still focusing on the obstacle he closed his eyes. They could be out of here so easily if not for... A relaxing wave spread over him while still in the trance and it felt like everything had come to a stop. Who was he kidding? Death and destruction were just a part of everything. Fighting it was futile. Things would be reborn in the place of the dead as long as life was kept in balance. They weren't the only living things that mattered. He wasn't the center of the universe... Somehow it felt better that way. Like his mind was in the right flow with everything else. What the fuck was he getting on about? This was stupid mystic mumbo jumbo crap.

    He opened his eyes still hyper aware of the drive and all it's functions and malfunctions. Not. In. Balance. He focused on the split throwing everything out of whack and before his eyes. He understood the damn device so well he could just reach out and seal it back together the way it should be. It just had to slide and re-forge... just... like...

    That. Before his eyes the crack sealed. He had to blink a few times to make sure he wasn't hallucinating. It was one piece. He couldn't feel the barriers anymore, or the malfunctions or the power clogs or the jarring sickness he had when focusing on it before. Slowly he reached out and touched it. Dumbfounded he hurried out of the compartment, got hung up on the exit and face planted the floor.

    "Hey! Trinity! Trinity!," he bolted the lead cover back onto the radiation shield, "I think I-- Something happened! Run a diagnostic on the hyperdrive!"


    "Ohhhh!!! Ohhhh!" Trinity jumped in her projector as the diagnostics came back and she saw that the ship was fully warp capable. Iisska came into the room and she nearly tried to kiss him, but stopped herself and regained her composure. "Iisska I could hug you if I wasn't immaterial. You glorious bastard." She turned on her heel and looked towards the front, interfacing with a small holographic display as Marquis and Quin came into the cockpit. Marquis took the pilot's seat and began to start the ship up while Iisska took co-pilot. "Alright...Marquis, hun." "Where are we flying Trin? Bespin? Nar Shadaa? Please do not tell me we are flying to Nar Shadaa..." Marquis turned towards trinity, his eye yellow, full of fear for his former home. "Nar Shadaa was where I was going to recommend..." "I am being...hunted there. By a lot of hutts...and my former master, whom spent his entire fortune on a massive bounty on my head." Iisska turned towards him, slack jawed. Trinity just smiled and shook her head. "Bespin it is then. "

    A low rumble started in the heart of the ship, the turbines kicking up from a gentle sputter into a fury, igniting the fuel, the cyclers, harmonic stabilizers, power couplings, and, finally, the engines. Glorious dark blue light erupted from the engines, flaring then outward and melting the snowbanks behind them, cutting a swath through the blizzard and acting as a beacon in the dense wall of snow surrounding them. "Come on...Come on..." Sterling whispered as the ship rumbled and slowly rose off of the ground. Trinity angled the ship upwards slightly as it drifted forward and finally upwards and towards the stratosphere. Everybody in the cockpit threw their hands up into the air and yelled with joy as Iisska's work was not sacrificed, the Hyperdrive kicked in and soon they were deep into FTL, speeding off to Bespin.

    It wasn't very long before Trinity sent a message ahead to contact the Bespin authorities and gain a docking bay near a workshop to get repairs done and pay a small fee. With the autopilot set, they adorned to the lounge. Hot chocolate was served. It was glorious. It was still going to be a long night before they could get to Bespin, so they had plenty of time to kill.

    Gathered around a small booth, Trintiy in her little porta-projector, they each had their big ol' cup of hot chocolate, though with quin being angry off in a corner as usual, Balva not being there, and Zen being grounded, it was just them three. Trinity tried to beckon Quin over, but it seemed like she hadn't warmed up to them quite yet. She summoned a little chair and sat down, listening to Iisska and Silver talk.

    Iisska stared at Marquis for a small time and said something peculiar to the man. He mentioned Marquis' kill count and asked if he had any interesting stories to share. He placed a finger on his chin for several moments and thought back to his old career, sifting through the memories, nearly reliving each contract. His metallic skin tingled as he remembered the splattering of blood onto his chassis, the almost iconic slam of his rifle's buttstock against his shoulder, and the nearly mind breaking pleasure reward his assassination protocols would deliver into his system for each contract completion.

    "There contract that I am willing to share in polite company. Not exactly as long, arduous, and boring as most of my contracts, but gruesome nonetheless." He sat back as Trinity dimmed the lights a little. His eye glowed a solemn blue color as he recounted the events in his memory...

    "I was chasing down an infamous Duros bounty hunter that had put Radon into the hospital. His name: Cad Bane...."


    Sprinting along, his hand on his bowler hat to keep it from flying off, Marquis bounced from building to building, his target just below him on the street. The blue Duros hunter had just shot Radon in the shoulder, melting most of his shoulder bone and putting him in the hospital. Now he was running, fully aware that Radon's attack dog, M4R0U15 was on his tail. He cut down an alleyway and into a large crowd, but Marquis wasn't far behind him, keeping close with his rifle on his back, constantly scanning ahead for the perfect spot for the shot that would go into Cad Bane's head. That's when Bane did something unexpected, he fired a blaster shot into the air, making the crowd duck and sream, and he himself dashed into a building. Marquis jumped from the building down to street level and dashed into the building, only to be met with the butt of Bane's blaster slamming into his face.

    Marquis staggered, a new scratch adorning his forehead as Bane tried to follow up, but Marquis blocked with his cane, snapping the barrel into Bane's cheek and using the butt to shatter his jaw. Bane tried to scream, but found that he was unable as Marquis ripped out the tubes that fed air into Bane's cheeks. He gasped for air and Marquis took the opportunity to maul him, slamming his metal fist into Bane's head multiple times, forcing him onto the ground and using his cane-

    "Wait wait...hold on."

    Trinity interrupted him with her hand up. "Cad Bane is still alive. He's on Corusant. There are headlines about him all the time. No way this happened, Silver." Marquis froze in his seat and his eye turned bright pink. " see..." He put up a hand, his eye half closing. "It was a long time ago, and..." "Sterling...."

    "Alright, you have caught me." He put his hand down and sighed. "I do not enjoy talking about my hits. They bring back very...vivid memories. Even though I have the gift of true intelligence, I am still a robot. My memories are perfect recollections. Combine that with my 5 senses that activate upon reliving them...well...." Iisska put up a hand and said that that was enough, he understood. Trinity agreed.


    Like being torn out of a hole in the wall by force, the reptilian warrior found himself being yanked through an interdimmensional hole. His bones realigning, his skin reforming, his brain becoming as it once once, Tu'chak'ah fell to the ground in a slithering yell. He was lifted up by the force, used by whatever brought him from death. A cloaked figure, taller than he was. "You serve me now, beast." he said. At first, Tu'Chak'ah was apprehensious, but considering this powerful individual just brought him back from the dead, his will to survive overcame his instincts, and he bowed. "Yesssss...My masssster. To whom will you have your loyal Ssssservant pointed to annihilate...?


    Deep in slumber in his bedchambers, the Sith Lord Gallow awoke with a start and fell from his bunk. He picked himself up quickly and held still, sensing the air around him.

    "Damn it all to the void...this can't be good..."


    Bespin. How delightful. The crimson atmosphere glowed with the glory of something divine under the rays of the planet's warm sun. Masterful works of art in the thousands had been painstakingly created while gazing out over her surface. Writers across the galaxy had compared the sight to wildfires, to the beauty of a female, to billions upon billions of flower petals drifting in the wind without care. The magnificent floating hubs and cities housed diversity unheard of, trade goods of the rarest sort and any service imaginable legal or not. Workers came from far and wide seeking employment within the gas harvesters. Tourists came for the flights, skies and exotics. Outlaws came for the refuge and leads. This truly was an escapist's paradise.

    "I hate this planet," Iisska mumbled while scowling from under the collar of his jacket.

    "Oi! Don' be such a lil' pun'er" Balva jabbed him in the side of his leg with a pointed elbow, "'Less ya want we should go straigh' on back ta Hoth?"

    "No..." Iisska sighed, "I'm glad we survived. Even more glad to be off of the ice... Guess this place just makes be feel like complaining."

    He scuffed his foot along the steel catwalk outside the docking bay. The two of them had been admiring the clouds while Sterling and Trinity contacted merchants for parts and services for the Harpoon. Iisska supposed he and Balva should be there for that, but after Hoth a little procrastination had been earned at least.

    Below them there was nothing but atmosphere and a plummet into the clouds would send the victim falling deeper and deeper into more and more intense pressure until they were crushed to death. Unless the molten core was counted, you would never impact a solid surface. What a way to go.

    Quin had ducked off the ship wearing nothing but her unmarked stealth suit almost the second they had landed. He wasn't sure they'd be seeing her again. Good riddance. At first he had been nervous, but who would she turn them in to here? And if what she had said about the galactic authorities had been true, he doubted she'd be trying to contact them at all. Iisska stifled a yawn and popped his neck.

    "I still have a couple credits or so," he shrugged, "Up for some food that's not from a dirty synthesizer?"

    "Celestials be merciful, laddie. I though' ya'd nevahr ask!"

    It wasn't much of a miracle that the pair of them made their way through the floating city without being shot at, mugged, yelled at or otherwise accosted, but Iisska seemed to think it was. Upon recounting the events that had happened around him for the whole two cycles he had spent here on his last and only visit, Balva mentioned that none of the city hubs were the same. With more sulking and huffing piled on, the Togruta reluctantly admitted that the little guy probably had a point.

    "Wha's yer bloomin' problem anyhows, laddie?" Balva rolled his eyes as they headed back after sundown, "Ya been bummin' 'round wit' dat stupid long face o' yers for days."

    "Just thinking about stuff n' things, I guess," Iisska frowned.

    Back at the ship Balva returned to the A.I. core and Iisska was left to his own devices. Horrible squirming insects filled his guts... figuratively at least. He found himself slowing as he walked past the door to Zen-- Gallow's quarters. He thought about stopping, but moved along. Several minutes went by and he was back. Then left again. On the next pass he raised his hand in a fist ready to knock on the door, but stopped. Maybe now was a bad time. He spent a grand total of about thirty seconds in his own quarters before turning right back around. Nope, now was as good a time as any to ask. He rehearsed what he would say carefully. Again he went to knock on the door, stopped and frowned. He forgot what he was going to say. For a second or two he paced. For a few minutes he sat on the floor by the door with his hands on either side of his head like the world was coming to and end. Then he stood up straight, puffed out his chest, pulled his shoulders back, balled up a fist and... slumped against the opposite wall and banged his head into it until his thoughts cleared.

    "Okay, enough. This time for sure," he whispered to himself, "Just don't think about it."

    Straightening up once more he pounded on the door with the back of his hand, confident and calm.

    "Zen-- er, shit. Gallow, it's me. So things didn't go so well the other day with the whole snow beasts thing, but I... I think I can do better. Just not by myself. All you force user types take on students or something, right? I want you to teach me, or be your apprentice, or whatever... Please."

    Zen opened the door, most of his clothing off except for a fundoshi. "You passed by my room ten times, lay on the floor in front of it, and stared at it for several minutes and now you're asking me to take you on as my student to show you how to adequately eviserate those whom stand before you with nothing but your mind and various drinks of either alcoholic or carbinated nature." He stood before him for several moments more before speaking again. "I have one request: Call me daddy."

    Iisska's brow furrowed and he frowned. HIs eyes were wide at Zen's lack of any sort of clothing save and the insane demands being made of him. He knew he would probably wind up doing any sort of humiliating utterly stupid things to get into an apprenticeship with this man... but this?

    "Wh- Why?" he scowled, "Aren't I supposed to call you 'master' or something along those lines? That's..." his tongue felt gross in his mouth and he grimaced, "That's wrong." He spoke with a completely stone-neutral face, devoid of any humor or chance of sarcasm. "Call. Me. Daddy." He reached over to the side for a moment, clicking something behind the wall, out of Iisska's view.

    The Togruta looked sized up the man nervously. His eyes flicked around looking for any sign of weakness or humor. He took a step back, fists clenched.

    "And you'll take me as your student if I do? You're not just screwing with me?"

    Zen did not reply to him, he simply stared and awaited for his answer. His hands were clasped behind his back, his eyes remaining steadily trained on Iisska's.

    Iisska stared right back in several moments of silence. The heat fuming off of him was almost visible. Finally he let out a snarl and shook his head.

    "FINE!" he shouted.

    His shoulders stiffened and he folded his arms looking at the floor.

    Very softly and sarcastically he mumbled, "Daddy..."

    "Excellent. We begin on the morrow." His door slammed shut then and after a few seconds and a few soft clicks, the intercom was turned on.

    "And you'll take me as your student if I do? You're not just screwing with me?"

    Those evil words played on the intercom in Iisska's voice and the laughing that ensued from all around the ship would make zen erupt into a fit of laughter behind his locked door.

    The blood drained from his face and a few brighter shades of color flushed through his stripes as his jaw dropped open. A slew of curses that couldn't be translated to basic sputtered out of his teeth and with a roar he punched the wall of the ship as hard as he could before stomping back to his quarters. Balva and Marquis caught him before he could enter his quarters though, both leaning against the wall next to it. Marquis' eye being a fushia purple color. They were in sync as they spoke. "Hi there, Daddy's boy!"

    Iisska glared at both of them, fangs bared, growling in his chest and shaking with rage.

    "Get out of my way."

    Balva was quick to reply. "Yeh, SIR, daddeh's boi!" He stepped aside and let Iisska storm into his room and slam the door shut.

    Anoran, city of the setting sun, one of Marquis' favorites.

    Stepping off of the ship with his cane-gun in hand and his tophat pleasently placed onto his head, Sterling held the full-bodied holographic hand of Trinity's projection on the mobile projector next to him, keeping a steady pace with him as they walked into the city. "Where do you want to go first, Marquis?" Trinity said, looking around the shops and businesses set up on the sides of the marketplace. "Not sure. Take a pick, hun." The market was much like a traders market on many other planets, various goods and wares and vegetables hand made in the city. Anything and everything was here and due to the multiple guards walking about, it seemed to be a very well protected place. But like any well protected place, one wrong step and you're in the middle of an alleyway with a dozen thieves and cutthroats on either side of you wanting more than just your money. Not that that bothered Marquis, what with his Cane of Virtue. Nothing this city could threaten him with could really do any damage short of a building falling on him.

    As they parused and looked around however, Zen was

    "I STAB AT THE ORC WITH MY SABER." 'You kill it and make it explode! Its guts terrify its cohorts into running away! You win the battle!"

    Sitting around a round table in a small cantina off of the beaten path was Zen, a green-skinned Rodian, a dark blue Selkath, and a Gossam, all playing Prisons and Tarentateks. Various maps and figures and dies were scattered about on the table. The rodian had a large blinder in front of him denoting him as the Prison Warden. They were all adults as well. The rodian was short and stocky, larger than most Rodians of his age, his eyes being a black color and constantly twitching. The Gossam was taller than the rest around the table, his clothing traditional and beautiful, colored in whites and yellows, while the Selkath was decorated in an arctic garb, visiting from some snow planet on the outer rim, the clothing fit her body nicely, winter boots and snow pants with a sweater. She had various jewelry in her skin. "Alright, I think I'm done, Zen." The Gossam stretched and stood up. "Aww! Don't go Trebon!" The selkath woman spoke up. "I was just about to romance your Geonosian archer!" "Sorry, Elise, I don't get much time to play these days. I'll see you on the extranet tomorrow night though." She looked down, her eyes sadly staring at the table. "Yeah...." The Rodian reached over and patted her on the head. "Don't worry, Ellie, you still have Zen and I." "Not quite, Yis." Zen stood up then, grabbing his little figurine of himself. "I have stuff to do with evil people." "Aww!" exclaimed both Yis and Elise. "See you on the EN." He walked away and out of the Cantina.



    "Finally...I found the last piece..." Stepping up to a large display case, an older human male had a black sash in hand. THe man was relatively tall, 5-ft, 9'in and was frail, dark circles around his eyes. His right eye was black pupiled while his left was white and blinded. His skin was substantially pale, his lips chapped and split, his nose crooked from being broken several times over, and his left cheek missing a chunk, revealing a small part of his teeth. He wore dark robes and walked with a hunch.

    The display case, taller than he was, held a large mannequin that he tied the black sash onto, tightening it just right. The mannequin was dressed in what seemed to be very ancient clothing, kept in excellent condition from repairs and refabrications. They were dark robes that spoke of evil when looked directly at even though they were relatively plain looking. They covered the body from head to toe, even the face was covered in a black shroud save for a white mask with red markings on it. Held in it's hand was a gray lightsaber with sith markings on it. "My collection of the most dangerous lord of the sith...finally complete, after all these years...maybe now the nightmares will stop..." He stepped back and looked at his Work and smiled. He froze for a moment then, hearing something in the back of his skull, dark whispers whispering to the depths of his mind. He felt a shake in his hand as he looked upon the dark lord of the sith before him. "I...I won't do lord, please I..." He dropped to the ground on his knees, his heart beat like a war drum, he felt his body start to burn all over. He started to scream. "Please, My lord! Do not do this to your faithful servant! I...I feel weak...please..." He keeled over and used his arms to support himself as he groveled before the mannequin. His arms started to shake and give weigh as his body was weakened by an unknown force. A darkness seemed to seep from the mannequin, darkening the room around it. " lord...Darth Nihilus...." He stood on weary legs and grabbed the robes, pulling them off of the mannequin and quickly donning them himself. He was small for them, the robes drooping around the floor and pooling around him. Once he finished putting on the robes and gripping the lightsaber, his face concealed by the shroud, he held the white and red mask of the dark lord in his hand. "I give lord." He placed the mask onto his face and screamed again, throwing his arms out and spasming.

    Then all at once...his upper body went limp and he stood still for several moments. The robes seemed to fill themselves, growing taller to a staggering 7 feet tall and properly filling the robes. The man inside was no more as the clothing came alive. They had absorbed and consumed the man that had donned them and now, the ancient dark lord of the sith reborn clicked the button on his unholy lightsaber, igniting the blood red blade inside. He made no sounds as he waved it around and got a feel for it. He looked to the side for a moment, staring beyond the floor and the room, seemingly lost in thought for several moments. He suddenly turned and went for the door.

    The Darth Lord Nihilus was on the hunt....

    #1 Vash, Jan 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  2. She had to ditch the suit. It stuck out. The woman kept to the shadows and hid among crowds as she made her way through the floating cities back streets. All the while her only defense was to pretend she was supposed to be here and knew where she was going. A sign hanging above the door to a cleaners caught her eye. She didn't take the front door and instead opted to duck around the back way. It wouldn't be locked during business hours. As she strode through the racks and conveyors of soiled and cleaned garments she ripped several items down which looked to be her size and unzipped the front of the stealth suit. She didn't stop walking until she had to slip out of the legs and switch into the pants she had grabbed. A noise from behind a slowly moving conveyor made her snap to attention. The Twi'lek owner who came around the pathway found himself jerked into a tight choke hold. He grabbed his assailants arms and wheezed and gasped for air.

    "Where's the safe?" Quin hissed.

    The owner pulled at her arm in vain. It was like a steel vice around his wind pipe. He struggled to speak or shout and only got raspy whistling.

    "Point!" she snapped.

    He did as he was told and pointed the way. Quin pushed him along until they came to an office and he showed her to a small strong box under the desk. Careful to remain behind him and keep him from looking at her she threw him to his knees.

    "Look up and I snap your neck. Try to stand and I snap your neck. Disobey me and... you get it... Now open it," she growled.

    As soon as the safe door clicked open she struck him in the back of the head. Hard. Hopefully not hard enough to kill him, but enough to leave him sprawled limp on the floor. She didn't take all the money. There really wasn't much to begin with. That would explain the lack of other workers or surveillance. She almost felt guilty, but this was survival. Kill or be killed. When she had what she came for she strode out the front door dressed as a civilian with enough credits to eat and jump to another system. But which system?

    She thought about this as she poured over a stolen data pad in a canteena a dozen blocks away from the cleaners in a busier part of the city. Which systems would be less important to the GEU? With access to a terminal she could get more information on their movements and current events. Next to nothing was available on civilian news networks aside from the brainwashing garbage of the Republic. However, she was probably blacklisted by now or presumed dead. Trying to log onto a terminal with her identity would have the GEU raining down on her before she could even board a ship. She rubbed her temple and took a sip of her drink.

    "I'm telling you I've never had anything like that before! It's worth every single credit!" a voice from across the canteena boasted loudly.

    "No girl is worth that much. Not for just one night, and not when she looks that creepy," another scoffed.

    Quin looked up with a glare.

    "Think about it! All those tentacles, amphibious, wet, gills. Do you have any idea what a girl can be doing with her mouth when she's got gills?" the republic officer laughed.

    Her eyes locked onto him. Then onto his drink. It would seem it wasn't his first. The badge on his shoulder denoted his rank. Not very high, but not low either... He should have some access to the terminals. Just enough. The woman reclined in her seat, watched, waited and thought. Of all the ways she could think of to make this work none of them would be pretty. With a deep breath, she rose from her table and got ready for what she had to do. Her hips swayed from side to side as she glided over to the officer on long legs. She put a hand on the stool next to him and batted her eyelashes.

    "Hey there," she pured with a seductive smile, "This seat taken?"


    The officer lay on his stomach, limp and cold with his head the wrong way around on his neck. Blood pooled over the back alley street where his hand had been severed. The hand, his weapons and his I.D. cards were gone.

    On a quiet, darkened street in a barren outcropping next to a rundown apartment complex Quin was flitting through the information on a terminal after logging in with the man's I.D. and hand print. The GEU's forces were sparse out here but not sparse enough for her to feel safe. It seemed they had been pushing further into the outer rim in the past week. She had a feeling she knew why. She snorted thinking of that crazy force slinging bastard... And what he had said. It couldn't be true. But her mind would not be put to rest. While she still had time she pulled up the file of one, Terrik Sud-Mal. All the stuff she knew was there, birthday, home planet, occupation, rank, previous assignments and stations... and surveillance. She scrolled through the photographs and video taken on the streets. She saw him at work and on duty and it brought a pained twist to her lips. She fast forwarded and ran through assassinations and cold blooded murders, underhanded deals with gangsters, infiltrations into the lowest places. It was just orders though. Underneath all the pomp and circumstance they were all killers. And then she saw the woman. A woman she had once called a friend. He took her hand, kissed her and they walked into a doorway before that particular video cut out. Quin froze and stiffened. Zen was right...

    "They committed atrocities together. Their actions brought people like Cad Bane onto Coruscant with less effort than it would take for you to scream at Iisska again." She turned to see him looming over her, his hands behind his back, a spark of sadness in his eye as he spoke." Between now and two days before that video was taken, five hundred forty seven people have died due to mercenary activity, terrorist attacks, gang warfare, drug overdoses, and senate debauchery that was caused by their illegal actions. There are now no more than thirteen corrupted senate members that were 'serviced' by your "friend" Shen. Blackmail was used, services were promised, deals were made, bribes were taken. War will break out across three systems due to councillors turning a blind eye to dangers in the systems, instead turning towards those who do not deserve it, increasing taxes, arrestng for petty crimes, spreading the web of blackmail and deceit. They were why I was on Coruscant and why you were eventually sent after me to kill me. They lie dead now, their bodies burned and scarred from my sabers, having paid for their crimes."

    "If you're trying to preach to me then save it," she glared, "I know when to admit I was wrong... but don't tell me everybody you've ever killed was for a reason. The thousands of people who get your way can't all be evil."

    "All those I kill of my own accord, of my own free will, are for a reason. Those that are thrown at me in an attack, forcing me to kill in defense, are a different story."

    Quin frowned, but relaxed, "Well... at least you're admitting to it..." she started to walk.

    He stepped alongside her, keeping close. "I have no reason to hide it, nor have questions. Ask."

    "When do you plan on killing -me-?" she raised an eyebrow at him.

    "Depends on if you still intend to take a piece of me back to your employers, whom turned a blind eye to terrik's works, or stay with the crew and prepare for the days to come."

    "I have no interest in doing something as suicidal as fighting you or going back. They'd torture me for information and then kill me... or worse."

    "What will -you- do, then?" He gestured towards a small corner-in-the-wall cafe and lead her in to fetch a drink. "Will you simply wander and watch the universe continue to sink lower and lower until total war takes the place of uneasy peace, or stay in the company of those whom would rather see you smile every once in a while?"

    "Don't get chummy on me, Zen. I'm far from trusting you... But you're right. I don't know what I'm going to do. I need to stay out of sight and off the radar. And yet, on that note I'm not sure I'd be a good match for that little band of misfits you call a 'crew,'" she ordered a drink, something with a bit of a punch and took a seat.

    "I am sure you would be a good fit here with your skillset. A mercenary for hire, killing those that can cause ripples for a few credits, no doubt being hired to try and kill me again, or prostitution. Iisska can no doubt attest to how much use your mouth gets, though what it's getting used for will have to be up for you."

    He ordered a Tarisian black ale and relaxed, hooking his leg over the other and setting back. "Or join my crew formally. Regardless of my destruction, I do not draw as much attention as you may imply. If I was, we would be dead several times over by now...meh ni vercopa bah cuyir mar'eyce, ni tra'cyar gotal'ur bic bid o'r haar kyramla be'chaaj ret' iba' manda enteyor..."

    She grimaced at the thought of having anything to do with that filthy little street urchin and took a drink as if trying to wash out a bad taste. Her answer rolled around in her head and she tried to make up her mind and find the words.

    "What did you just say?" she asked after Zen had finished speaking in that strange tongue.

    "If I wish to be found, I will be in as deadly a way as a manda must. It's in the tongue of the mando'a, the mandolorian."

    Quin was silent a moment and looked into the milky swirls in her cup.

    "Mandolorian. I knew there was something underneath all that crazy that I liked about you," she smirked, "Since I have so few choices and none better than your offer, I accept. I'll join you."

    "I expect one nipple twist to be given to iisska a day. That will be your rent."

    "Uhck," she sneered in disgust, "Your rent is too steep... Can't I just break his nose or start taking fingers?"

    He paused for a moment, downing his tarisian ale in one gulp. "I expect you to represent the Mandokarla. Most Basic speakers would translate the term as 'having the right stuff'... It's a blend of aggression, tenacity, loyalty and a lust for life. All the crew members, even Iisska in his inexperience, shows it in their own way."

    She nodded and smiled, "I can do that. I'm all yours." With that she reached out and shook his hand.
    #2 DemonTongue, Jan 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  3. "Agent Quin is your target, Sevryn. Do not capture her, eliminate her at all costs. She is a traitor to the republic and deserves nothing but death for casting her lot with Zenithar."
    "What if I should meet this "Zenithar"?"
    "Do. Not. Engage. Eliminate Agent Quin, but engaging Zenithar will result in your death, and not at the Republic's hands."
    "Is he some kind of threat?"
    "He was the 'person' that turned master vrook into a pile of meat and bone dust."
    The Kleesh jedi assassin standing before the holoprojector swallowed the heart that had jumped into his throat. "Why is she with him?" "She decided that she did not care for the republic anymore and would prefer being a scoundrel and thief instead of a dignified soldier. Complete the mission swiftly, Kishik. We need you on the front lines with the commandos. They were last seen on Bespin, the city of Anoran."

    "Very well, my master. I shall eliminate her post-haste." He bowed, crossing his right arm over his chest respectfully before the hologram cut out. The platform he was on lowered and he was lowered into the bowels of the N-X-211, an older interstellar vessel that was as much of a home for the Assassin as a fighter ship for a commando. It wasn't the largest ship, designed for speed over power, but it served it's purposes very nicely.

    Sevryn was a tall Kleesh warrior, standing at about 7:10 and was relatively thin and lacking in muscle, but what he lacked in muscle he made up in raw speed. He stepped off of the conference room platform. His cloak billowed behind him as he moved, his head scarf swaying just above. "X-J, are you ready?!" He walked down a corridor to find his loyal friend and companion X-J-9812459-VBB0, or X-J for short, leaning against the wall of the ship lounge, toying with a Lightsaber He threw it to Sevryn and stood up straight, stretching a little. His voice had a very rustic accent, calm and low, but almost soothing. "As always sir, I am ready whenever you are." Sev caught the saber and looked it over. "What in the...what did you do to my saber?" He turned it over several times, trying to find the button to activate it. "Flick it, sir." He did so and the blade ignited, coming dangerously close to searing a swath through the door frame. It was a dark blue color that was slightly longer than a typical saber. "I utilized the payment from the ever so grateful Bothan people to improve it. The cross guard is pure cortosis that I molded using the ship's engines while you were gathering supplies earlier today. Had to replace my hands a few times while doing it since it burns hotter than a sun, but in the end it worked nicely. Very balanced and you'll find it easier to wield than it was previously. The bantha leather was a personal touch." "I know how you are about your bantha leather...thank you." He flicked the blade again to disable it and approached the droid, standing at nearly 3 feet lower than Sev, and brought him into a hug. They disconnected seconds later and reported to their stations, seating quickly to run the ship through it's diagnostics.

    "Everything is green, Sev. We're ready to go...where are we heading, exactly?" Sitting in the cockpit, The Kleesh nearly didn't fit his seat, but was still able to sit comfortably. "Bespin, city of Anoran." "Oooh." Said the droid. "Finally, I can fetch some Tarisian Ale. That's one of the few places that Taris Exports to anymore." Sev turned to his companion, his eyebrow raised under his mask. "Why would you want Tarisian Ale?" "The stuff has the consistency of oil, and it works like it too." The Kleesh shook his head and smiled under his mask as he flipped the final switches to have the Genesis' engines kick up and lift them off the ground of the Dantooine jedi temple. As they rose up into the sky and towards the stratosphere, Sevryn looked back down to the planet, feeling something. "Something wrong, Sir?" "N-no...just...felt something. Something wrong..." He shook his head and concentrated on the fast approaching stratosphere. "It's nothing. Nevermind."


    "Iiiiiisska...wakie wakie...time to wake uuuup..."

    Nearly jumping to hit a roof, Iisska was startled from a drunken stupor yelling about what's going on and who's dead and why his head hurt so much. Zen stood in front of him, his hair strangely whipping about. "Good morning, trainee. Welcome to day one." Day one? What? Iisska started to wake up from his grogginess, the image of Zen in front of him clarifying quickly to reveal a dark orange background around Zen...and metal below him...wait...why was there a pressure emanating from the underside of his knees...why did he feel light headed...why was WIND TEARING HIS FACE APART?!

    When the realization hit the poor Togruta, it was the most terrifying realization ever. Here he hung by the underside of his knees on THE BOTTOM SIDE OF ANORAN ON A RINKY-DINK ANTENNA with ZENITHAR standing upside-kriff-down in front of him with that damn smirk of his. Iisska started to thrash but quickly stopped as his right leg slipped from the antenna and he had to quickly nearly snap his back as he reached to grab a corner of the pole to hang onto for dear life and pull himself up. Once he was upright, he started to yell at Zen, nearly drowning out the hurricane force winds whipping at them. "Oh shut up." Zen said. He was standing completely upside down with his arms crossed, holding Iisska's blaster and a sandwich in each of his hands. There was nothing tethering him to the underside of the antenna except for the force itself. "Lesson one, when you balance onto the tip of that antenna without plummeting to your doom in the cloud sea, you get to eat and you get your baster back. Extra credit if you do it upside down." Iisska just glared at him and demanded to be taken back to the ship. "Ha ha ha! No." He held his blaster out by the force, floating it just inches away from Iisska's grasp. "Fail and I drop it. Oops." He dropped the blaster and it plummeted before Iisska's very eyes, whom reached out to grab it but nearly fell off of his pole. Zen grabbed it with the force before it got too far out of grasp and brought it back up close. He just smiled at Iisska, whom was too busy being between throwing up and wanting to murder his "mentor". "We get to stay here AAAAALLL day until you learn to balance, too. I sent the ship off to be repaired with the funds you received for winning a strip dancing contest last get really crazy after three pints of Tarisian ale." Zen's eyes seemed to draw down Iisska's body then. "Also, I had no clue you were that big. How are you single? Seriously? I might get you a date tonight if you actually balance fast enough."

    ___________ the depths of space...

    No...NO GET AWAY.

    Sprinting down the corridor the last survivor of The Virago WR&D republic vessel on the fringe of the Anoat sector. Clad in heavy trooper armor, the survivor constantly snapped his head backwards into the darkness that threatened to swallow his every step forwards. The power was completely gone, his friends were all...twisted, inhumane beasts now. His only chance was the escape pods!

    His heart was pumping, no training in the entire galaxy could have prepared to face whatever that was., that thing, gripped the very souls of his friends here, those whom he had considered family and...and...

    He froze in his tracks and stared upward into the the shadow that stood before him...the unmistakable visage of the void stared back at him from above, from within the depths of that white and red mask of pure evil. His mouth agape, his entire body trembling, the soldier tried to scream but he could not even draw the breath to do so. He felt a...whisper in the back of his mind. Growing and clawing it's way to the forefront of his mind. The more he focused on it...the more it started to...burn. He grasped at his head as the minor burn turned into a searing covered his whole head and spread down his body. The trooper fell to the cold metal floor and writhed in pain as the fire spread throughout his body and burned him to the very core, his wails and cries echoing throughout the entire ship...

    The monster stood in front of him, unmoving, peering down at the man thrashed from the invisible flame that covered his body. He watched him scream and wail louder and louder before coming to a stop, slowly going limp on the floor, his eyes wide in terror as his heart stopped by the terror that this beast inflicted onto him. His last breaths left his body, finally, and the being that stood in front of him knelt down, placing a black clothed hand onto the face of the now deceased corpse.

    The body started to spasm and kick again as the being forced a dark energy through it. Life sprang through it's every muscle and bone and, after several moments, the being stood, placing it's black hands behind it's back. The body of the trooper before it sat up, it's blood drained from it's face, making it a ghostly pale. It spoke. "Lord...Nihilus..." The trooper's head shook from the order that the Lord before it gave, his very telepathic voice being nearly too much for the servant of darkness to withstand. "g...o...f...o...r...t...h..." There were several moments of silence before the trembling began again. "P...r...e...p...a...r...e...t...h...i...s...v...e...s...s...e...l..."
    The trooper bowed it's head to the lord and turned, shambling away. It turned to see it's lord once again before it turned a corner just to see that Lord Nihilus was gone, as if he was never the trooper's shattered, zombified mind, it knew that it's Lord Nihilus was not far, watching, commanding. It already knew the truth of it's Lord's plans, and it's only purpose was to fulfill them now.

    Soon. The Ravager would be reborn, this Venator Class Destroyer, while a paltry tribute to the lord's immense power, would be more than enough for the Lord to incite his plans to hunt the Jedi once again, as he did four thousand years prior. There would be no survivors this time, no Meetra Surik to dispel him again. He would make sure of that...and according the flight computer set to a particular grass world valuable to the Jedi, he would do just that....
  4. The low growl was mostly lost in the wind as he buried his face into his arms, still clinging for dear life to the old tarnished metal. All day, he said? Iisska sneaked a peek at the antenna's connection to the main structure. He was not impressed. This damn thing was a ticking time bomb. It might make it all day under the strain of his weight or it might make it another thirty seconds. Again he covered his face trying not to look down into the infinite pastel abyss below them. Have to get out of here. Have to get back to solid ground. Don't die. Don't die. His mind scrambled and clouded with a million worthless options for escape or death.

    "I should have known this is what asking you to teach me would look like!" he yelled and shook his head, "There is no way I can do this! You know I can't do this you sadistic, messed up, backward, son of a whore!"

    The antenna creaked and shuddered in the wind. Iisska groaned and tightened his grip.

    "Just like you couldn't fix the hyperdrive?" he yelled

    Iisska cast Zen a sideways look, "One, that was a different situation! Two, I don't even know what I did!"

    "It's the fricken FORCE. Nobody knows what they're doing. They just wave their hands and it does things. Sometimes it breaks things, sometimes it just gently cleans said thing. The trick is letting it flow. It looks and feels like a different situation, but it's not."

    "Stupid force..." Iisska mumbled under his breath. He took a deep breath trying to stop from shaking. It was only going to make everything worse. Let it flow. For several moments he grew silent just breathing and trying to calm down so he could think and focus.


    "Deadly motivation is your crutch, man. Not my fault you're like that. Just relax."

    Again he tried taking deep breaths. That's what Jedi do right? Deep breaths equal meditation or whatever. Okay, Force. Look. If you don't work with me I'm gonna die one of the worst deaths I can think of. Not the worst, but pretty close to it. I mean it's way up there, but never mind you get it. Also that blaster. That's important. Why am I talking to a non-entity in my head? Eyes closed so he didn't have to look around at all the looming terror he loosened up and somehow felt lighter. It was like he had realized a couple days ago. The force wasn't some beast that special people learned to tame and furthermore it didn't care if he lived or died. How could it? He shook his head and snorted at his own stupidity. This was kinda like working on a ship. With that thought in mind he let go and flipped upside down again hanging on with his knees and one hand. Fuck I hate Zen. The intrusive thought had him feeling his full weight, panic, gale force winds, and the weakness of the antenna once more. He nearly lost his grip but regained focus.

    "Damnit..." he mumbled

    Zen just crossed his arms and smiled. He was getting there. "Now, let the wind hitting you represent the force flowing through you, battering against you until, like the generators of this city above us, you let it flow freely, let it energize you and invigorate you. The force is a dangerous beast at it's heart. Fight against it, and you will be lost to it's wrath. But if you let it roam freely and allow nature to take it's course, you will find no greater friend in existince."

    What a nerd, Iisska scoffed. Again his concentration was broken and he felt himself losing it. A slew of muttering and cursing was taken away on the wind as he was yanked and pushed around on his precarious perch. Focus, damn you! he thought to himself. He repeated what Zen had just said to him in his mind. It's fine. Everything is fine. Not gonna die here. Just like a ship. Just like a ship. Just like a ship. He held onto the crossbar with both hands and brought his knees to his chest so the soles of his boots were pressed upward against it. He shuddered with gravity still pulling him the wrong way. Relax. He managed to open one eye again to get a look at Zen who was now the right way around.

    "If I fuck this up you're not just gonna let me die are ya'?" he asked.

    Zen stood still for several moments, silent, watching. "Probably not."

    "'Probably not!?' PROBABLY!!??" Iisska screamed at him.

    "Relax boy, unless you'd like to put that probably to test."

    With another breath he focused on Zen again, but this time with more of a glare than before. Little by little as he started to feel what Zen had been talking about he felt lighter and lighter. The wind became more bearable and he started to feel less stress. His feet felt more sturdy. Still the remnants of fear kept him still. It was several long minutes before he started to let himself straighten and his weight started to shift. Keeping his eyes locked on Zen he could feel the direction of energy pressing "downward" toward the base of the city. Everything seemed to be an illusion, but an illusion that could be bent. Just stand there, he thought to himself. Slow, cautious and shaky he let his fingers slip off the crossbar one hand at a time and straightened his legs.

    Zen kept quiet, knowing that one peep would make Iisska fall. He couldn't help but curl the corner of his lip.

    Once again, in his own world, out on another armpit of a planet, on the verge of death, with the whole universe against him he felt at peace. Everything was simple here. As such he just stayed there for a while letting himself relax and think about things other than problem solving and cutthroat survival for once. Here he didn't feel like his worthless self. But he knew he couldn't stay here forever. Somewhere inside he was growing exhausted.

    "Now what?" he asked softly.

    "Aaand now this." he said and Iisska did not get more than a second to guess at what Zen was going to do before he turned his hands forward and shoved them out, slamming the full power of the force into his body, launching him backwards. Zen threw his hands upward and Iisska followed the movement, shooting upwards into a large pipe.

    Several moments of screaming, scratches, and probably a cuncussion later, he flew out of the pipe and landed with a roll, stopping on his back staring up into Zen's face. They were in the market now, and now, Zen extended his hand down to him to help him up. Good job rookie. Now to the fruit of your efforts."

    He stumbled upward with Zen's help and lurched forward before he felt alright on his own feet agian, "YOU ARE SUCH AN ASSHOLE!"

    He pointed at the pet shop that was in front of them. "Get a pet. It is required in your training. Because ones."

    Iisska folded his arms, "I don't like animals."

    He pointed again, accidently pointing towards the most adorable Snarler pup ever. "Required or I put you back in the pipe."

    "NO! Animals are gross. Some of them shed that... hair stuff you're all so proud of for some reason... They all make a mess and smell bad and eat everything. Don't even get me started on the clean up and what they could do to a ship out in..." he trailed off as the snarler looked at him with those big eyes, wiggled it's butt and drooled all over the window as it's tongue lolled out of his mouth. Iisska bared his fangs at it causing it to whine and retreat. It still looked up at him innocently and he stopped the aggression immediately. Somewhere... Somewhere deep deep deep deep down... he almost felt bad.

    "See. it likes you. Go give it a pet. Plus, that species doesn't do everything you just said. Minus the slobber. It doesn't shed except once a year to get a new shell, you make a worse mess than it can ever cause, and its defecation has a half life of half an hour, so, get a cleaner droid and call it a day."

    Grumbling and trilling quietly in his strange language the Togruta stomped into the store and glared down at the creature. He gave it a quick scratch behind the armor plating on it's head and face then turned his back on it.

    "There. I still hate it. Can we go now?" he muttered at Zen.

    Suddenly he jolted forward after the snarler had jumped up with its little talons on the edge of its pen and head-butted him in the ass.

    "HEY! You little punk!" he scolded it.

    It shook its butt and stubby tail again, slobbering and yipping happily, oh so proud of itself. Iisska shoved its face away and it bounced around on the floor and licked his palm. A frown that was more pained than angry formed on his face and his eyes went wide.

    "No... Come on, don't do that," he winced and gave it another scratch.

    "How cute. He suits you, Iisska," said Marquis as he turned the corner, "I have hunted a few in my day, you know. He will be bigger than you when he is an adult."

    "And deal breaker," he hissed and started to walk away from the pen. A stressed, lonely little whine followed after him. He stopped almost immediately. His shoulders sagged and he let his hands fall to his sides with a sigh. Several minutes later he was leaving the shop with the little creature nibbling on his pant leg.


    The Zygerrian bazaar was as full of movement and life as it ever was with exotic items and creatures and foods lining its streets. Everything was for sale. Some said there were merchants who would sell a buyer the clothes off his back for the right price. But these mere trinkets were not what the planet was know for. No the real reason these bazaars were so popular among the more underground circles of the galaxy was due to the incredible selection of fresh obedient slaves. A guard was making his rounds under the heat of the mid-day sun. He had long since grown bored of the noise and bustle. His patrol route took him through the main thoroughfare all the way to the capital building gates. He and several others would keep an eye on the busiest stretch of the city during the daylight hours and another group at night. Night would not come fast enough. The guard let out an irritated snarl as a pair of fuzzy children shoved past him, caught up in a game. As he watched after them a low rumble caught his ears. A cool breeze swept along the street. The sky to the south had become dark. Thunder? A rain storm? At this time of year? He shrugged. They could use the water. He continued along to the capital gates. This place was usually deserted of merchants and street rabble as most of the capital property was off-limits to the general populace unless they had business here. Even in that case most business was taken to the rear entrance where the slave dungeons and under works proper could be accessed. To his dismay a tall, unusually thin figure, wrapped in black clothing and hooded stood to the side of the closed gates. It looked in on them.

    "Hey there! Hey! Loitering is not allowed here. Go about your business."

    The figure did not move. It did not even acknowledge him.

    Thunder rumbled louder to the south and a sudden wave of nausea worsened his attitude and shortened his patience.

    "I said go about your business! Leave now or face the dungeons, wretch!" the guard grabbed the figure by the shoulder and spun them around.

    He yelped as a biting cold shot through his hand and arm. He stepped back with his mouth hanging open. An eyeless, mouthless mask covered its face. An ugly slab of shaped iron, lacking any sort of features, bolted into the skull. Silently the figure turned back to peer in on the gate and the courtyard. As the guard slowly backed down the steps another figure with a similar mask and dark clothing which exposed dry white hair and cold marbleized white skin joined the first. He passed another as he bolted down the steps two at a time now. Out of the market crowds he could see more and more of the masked beings coming out of the woodwork. In his rush he slammed into a brick wall. Or so he had thought.

    A truly massive man towered over him clad in a black cloak and black steel armor. He wore a mask as well, but this one had eyes. Eyes as black and empty as the most barren parts of space. A sort of breathing apparatus was built over the mouth. Storm clouds rolled through the sky above. They flared and roared with lightning. Murmurs and yells spread through the crowds. The huge man stepped over him. A blinding light and a deafening explosion tore through the city as lightning crashed down on the capital building. More would follow as other large structures were struck. The guard struggled to stand and keep order. All around him people were in a panic running and screaming. Ice rained down from the clouds. The people began to drop like stones. The corpses slumped on the pavement mid run. Still beings stood among them with their hands raised. The air rippled and swirled. People howled and stumbled in agony. He grabbed his head and screamed feeling like his brain would burst. A mask stood before him. The pain and sorrow and loneliness and despair grew more intense until it could not possibly grow anymore. His heart raced faster and faster and faster until he felt a wound had opened in his chest. The sweet embrace of the darkness swelled around him and then there was nothing.


    Though not as force sensitive as his other comrades, the warrior could feel the building resentment seeping from the bridge. In front of the sprawling window opening onto empty space and a lone dark planet stood a slender figure draped in shredded ribbons of black silk that pooled on the floor around her ankles. Her black braids wrapped with gold ornaments flowed nearly as long. A red skinned statue with a golden headdress and black veil covering her face. He approached her carefully. Her soldiers worked quickly in the passages below the deck. He knelt behind her and averted his eyes.

    "Zygerria has fallen," she said softly, "The bodies are being processed. We have a fleet and an army. You have served me well. And yet I still find myself immeasurably displeased."

    The warrior remained silent.

    "This galaxy is profane," she hissed, "Sniveling human insects squirm around claiming the name of Sith. They shame us. They shame my lineage, they shame me and they shame the one true Emperor. I. Will not. Stand. For such a disgusting display of taint and filth."

    The fabrics which barely clung to and exposed her soft body began to flow in the air and swirl around her, the bells on the end of her braids chimed sadly, and the air around them seemed to be sapped of oxygen. She raised a clawed hand and pointed at the planet in the distance. The turbulence consuming her became more violent.

    "I will take back the lands which are rightfully ours. I will take the remains of the intruders as my prize... And then I will crush these impostors and send them and their broken minds to the Emperor as a gift. The pathetic creatures living in this galaxy will bow to true power. They will remember the day they turned against righteous dominance and exiled the True Sith."

    The huge masked warrior stood.

    "Dromund Kaas," she let the words roll off her tongue slowly, "Take the army and claim her... I'm coming home."
  5. Zen had Isska sitting before him at a circular table in the lounge. A holonet terminal was between them facing towards Iisska. Zen had him sit down in the early morning. Zen slapped down a hand to wake Iisska up fully. "IISSKA. Look up the battle of Geonosis and read the report of how the Jedi won the battle valiantly, Then gaze upon the report that dictates how the Jedi brought peace to the Togruta planet of Krosis. Finally, recite to me the Jedi Code. Look it up on the holonet if you cannot remember it."

    "Why?" Iisska muttered.
    "Do it. Wielding the force is more than just throwing things into the ground."
    He twisted his mouth and sighed a little before doing what he was told, typing in the subject matter quickly. The baby akkdog waddled into the room confused and dazed having just woke up and bounded over to him. It whined and nuzzled his leg before laying at his feet under the table.

    "Yeah, boy. I hate reading too."

    "We'll be showing him the force and beginning his training soon as well. Might want to read up on that."

    Iisska narrowed his eyes at Zen, "He's an animal. Just how the fuck do you plan to teach him to use the force?"

    "Gyro!" His faithful companion walked into the lounge sat attentively. "Gyro. Speak." Gyro brought in her breath, her chest expanding, before she barked loudly, a force push eminating from within and blowing a table across the room.

    "Your Akk dog happens to be force sensitive, that is why I MENTIONED it yesterday. Now. Back to your studies. When you have finished, recite the jedi code."

    Iisska's eyes were wide at the display from Gyro. He made it a point to avoid her anyway and now he had even more reason to do so. He had to admit it was impressive, but it left him casting a sideways glance at the little wrinkly bundle of spines and cuddles. No way it could do that... could it?

    Iisska shrugged and gave Zen a casual, two fingered salute before going back to work, "Yessir."

    It was a little while before Zen would speak again. "Alright. The jedi code. Recite it."

    "Uuuummm," he stalled as he brought up a small secondary window, "There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is s-- serend-- serenity. There is no chaos, there is harmony. There is no death, there is the Force... That one, right?"

    "Good. Now, look up the sacking of Coruscant that happened nearly four thousand seven hundred years ago. I have seen the reports myself, they are there. When you are finished, tell me."

    "Looks like the Sith beat the shit out of the Jedi during some peace talks, or something, killed a bunch of Jedi, destroyed the temple, killed a lot of senators... They pretty much put the Republic in a chokehold and went barbarian on the whole city until the Republic signed some treaty... Not much has changed..."

    "Peace is a lie, there is only passion, through passion I gain strength, through strength I gain power, through power I gain victory, through victory: my chains are broken. The Force Shall Free me." He waited a few seconds then continued. "That. Is the sith code. Now. Considering what you have learned this morning, which side do you believe is the correct path. Look into your heart for this answer."

    There was a long silence as he thought about the question. He tapped his fingers on the table and stared ahead with a grim expression, "... Neither."

    Zen looked long and hard at him, not expecting that answer. "Correct...but...also incorrect.”

    "Well, no shit, old man. Those aren't facts, or lies or anything. It's all just philosophical opinion mumbo-jumbo. You can't say any of that is right or wrong because it's just... not."

    "Also correct. But also incorrect. Both codes carry truth, yet both carry lies. Peace is indeed a lie, there will enver be peace in neither physical nor mental form. Yet there is also plenty of ignorance and passion. In the sith, there is a specific rule: The rule of two. A master and an apprentice. Why is it that the Jedi, polar opposites of the sith, follow the same rule? The Jedi masters are identical to the sith lords, they simply do not fight each other."

    "I honestly have no clue. Tradition or something," Iisska shrugged.

    "They both come from the same source. There was a time when neither Jedi nor sith existed. The reason they fight now is not known. They say it is for peace or power, but neither are achieved by the other's destruction."

    "So then it's just a bunch of morons going at it for no reason?"

    "Not exactly. They are a bunch of morons going at it because they have strings attached to their arms. They are both blind to the masters lying beyond the veil of corruption."

    "... Man... Dodged a laser there, I guess... How does nobody else see this?" he asked.

    He tossed a few credits onto the table, bouncing through the holoprojector. "There's your answer."

    "Money?" he raised a brow, "I thought Jedi didn't believe in material possessions."

    "They don't. Their masters however can say otherwise. I do not mean the likes of Yoda either. The senate is a good example."

    "Hmph," he snorted, "And the Senate has the Jedi in their pocket?"

    "Like a hutt has a slave in his fat."

    Iisska wrinkled his nose and sneered with that thought becoming all too much for his senses, "Yeah I could have done without that analogy, thanks."

    "In my fight, I never attack and murder for no reason. Defending myself is just that, defending myself, but when I purposefully attack an individual that had little or no reason to know who I am, I know for a fact that they are corrupt, bringing more corruption and greed into the system, regardless of fighting for the republic or the CIS. You will learn this truth as well in time, and how to find them. Now. I'm going to put you into an engine, and you're going to find out how to bubble!"

    Over the next several days, Iisska was put through more inane tasks meant to show him the power of the force and what it can truly do. From bending the very fire of a starship around one's self to showing a force sensitive pet what the force is and making it jump in excitement at the thought. The Harpoon was getting quite a bit more than a simple repair job as well, in fact, it was being completely reoutfitted as directed by Marquis. He was using funds gathered by...Zen. He didn't ask questions on how he got enough credits to actually reoutfit the ship, he just made sure that they wouldn't be destroyed by some orbital attack again.

    In other parts of the city, stuck knee deep in a drinking contest between Zen and Quin was Iisska, just watching the battle unfold between two of the strongest stomachs in the galaxy, his already loyal Akk Dog at his side. The little guy was already a little bigger than when his master purchased him. As for the action, both were going down the line from weakest to strongest. With fifteen drinks down each, both were quite tipsy. " won't win...not you...nor your two twins..." She just scoffed and downed her sixteenth, which was a "Sith's blood". Tarisian Black Ale mixed with Trandoshan bloodwine. She sat up and seemed to snap out of the drunkeness. Zen held up his hands at chest height and speak. "Uuund...she's..." She fell forward and planted her head on the table. "Out. Bam. She owes me a...wait...what was it? Oh right! A da-" He froze then, feeling a strong presence enter the bar. He looked straight at the entrance and saw two individuals enter, the shine of their sabers glistening off of of the low cantina light. A human male and a Togruta female. Zen held his drink just in front of his mouth, the sith's blood just about to drop into his mouth. "Hold on...I know those two...well, not really the guy, seen him somewheres on the holonet or something, but the girl...then it hit him!

    He stood fast, running at the two and stopping in front of the Togruta woman. The two had their hands on their sabers, but stopped from pulling them as Zen spoke. "Sokee...I'd recognize that force trace anywhere..." His voice was somber, almost world weary as he spoke. His eyes connected with her emerald ones as they went wide with realization before she gripped his arms and yelled. "Zeener!" They pulled each other into a tight hug, yipping and and shrieking, much to her friend's distaste. As they bounced in glee, Marquis and Trinity entered from behind and slipped around them. The man spoke up, distaste thick in his voice. "Snips...who is thi-" The crack of the slap that Zen made against the man made the other three, and multiple patrons around them, stop cold, the smiles melting from their faces. "You DARE call Ahsoka such a vile name?!" Zen yelled at the man before he followed up with another backhanded slap that sent the man to the ground before Ahsoka grabbed Zen's arm and stopped him from further pushing him. "Zeener, Stop! That is Anakin, my master! Stop!" He stopped at the plea of Ahsoka and pulled back.

    Marquis crossed his arms and spoke. "Alright, Zen. I would enjoy an explanation." "As would I." Said Trinity. He turned and spoke, his brow furrowed. "This is Ahsoka Tano. Fourteen years ago I sort of...adopted her on her home planet, Shili, while I was hiding out from bounty hunters." Her master finally got up from being slapped around by Zen. He stood up, red hand mark on his cheek. "Why you little..." he rose his hand to strike back in anger but he froze as Zen's turned back towards him, a deadly presence emanating from Zen. He lowered his hand slowly. Marquis spoke before Zen could crush this ignorant fool. "The...ah...word you chose to use to call young Ahsoka here is a very...derogatory word in the Mandalorian Language." "What exactly does it mean?" Anakin spoke, crossing his arms and taking a step back from Zen, quickly seeing that he is a very powerful force master. "Means 'whore'..." Zen spoke, anger and fury in his voice.

    Ahsoka spoke, interrupting the tension that was quickly mounting. "Now, Zeener. He didn't know that. Let it go...both of you." Anakin huffed, as did Zen, whom turned towards Marquis and spoke again. "Ahsoka and I used to watch cartoons on the Harpoon every morning before I would spend the day slapping away brigands and juggling trees. Then she tried to replicate me and ended up throwing a visiting Jedi across the town and into a hay bale.A master saw what happened and wanted to take her, which, because the bounty hunters had finally lost my train, I encouraged." "Hold on...just how old ARE you? Your dossier says you are thirty eight..." Marquis said. "I lied, because women enjoy young men. I'm actually sixty seven. Force-centered aerobics keep your skin smooth, man."

    Both Marquis and Trinity sighed and shook their heads. "So, Sokee. Why are you and mmhmm here on Bespin? Not that I'm disappointed in seeing my oldest, most treasured friend." She giggled and Anakin's brow furrowed more. "We're here investigating a disturbance that rocked the jedi counsel four days ago. A very...dark for-" "Ahsoka...shush. We cannot speak about it. Zen. Counsel business." She shot a glare up to her master and spoke. "He is my friend, Master. He can be trusted...hey, he might even help. What do you say?" Her master was about to speak again but Zen spoke first. "Done. We'll do it for free. Our ship should be repaired and refitted for duty in a few hours. Just give us the destination." Her master was disgruntled and angry, but allowed Ahsoka to continue to speak, already realizing that he wasn't going to stop Zen from doing whatever he was going to do. "A very dark force awoke recently. One that drained the life around the area where he awoke on Coruscant. Many people died in the area surrounding the house he awoke in. We lost contact with a Venator class destroyer not long after and, this morning, we lost contact with a research vessel on the edge of the sector. My master and I were going to investigate."

    "We can handle it. You can tag along if you want in your ship, or the crew of the Harpoon can do it on it's own." Zen spoke proudly. He was one to fiercely defend Ahsoka and Marquis wasn't exactly keen on it, neither was Trinity. "Thanks for Volunteering us, Zen. It's so nice of you." He turned to her and smiled. "She is my friend. If you don't want to join, do it, and I'll just go by myself." "Now I didn't say that, Zen...." Ahsoka spoke then, clapping her hands. "Good! We'll be ready when you are, right master?" He just grunted in compliance and walked back out of the Cantina. Ahsoka didn't follow, electing to stay with Zen to catch up.


    "So...have you seen this woman?"

    Sevryn was standing in yet another Cantina on Aurora asking people about Quin. He has gotten almost no help thus far...until now. "Oooh...I know that woman. One of my coworker's mates died after going out for a little plowing. Either she has one amazing mouth or she killed him. You going after her, jedee?" "That is Jedi, and that is none of your concern. Where is she?" "I'm not sure, but you may want to check the Other side of town in the blackwater district. It's a good place to disappear." "Thank you for your cooperation." Severyn left the man then and started to head out, but as he got to the door, somebody stopped him and turned him. A tall man in a large circular hat stood before him, just about matching his height. There as a large Anooba behind him sitting patiently. He spoke in a tongue that was hard for Sevryn to understand, but after a second he got it down. "Allow me to see the picture please, sir." Sevryn nodded and handed the picture to the man. He nodded in several times. "I know where she is. I witnessed Quin being led by the dead man into a back alleyway and kill him." "Show me? Er...wait. How much? You're obviously a hunter." "This one is free. I will join you to kill her. I...know her well." "Done. Come on."

    The two stepped outside and exchanged handshakes. "My name is Embo." the man said, his dog being very close. "Sevryn Kishik. Glad to meet you."
  6. Iisska watched the newcomers closely, but didn't bother with any introductions. After making sure a passed out Quin was still breathing and hadn't broken her face he finished the single drink he had ordered that night. Somehow the taste of alcohol seemed to be more foul than ever. A cackle-like giggling from a couple tables away caught his attention. An elderly human woman with gaudy clothing and purple hair waved at him. He vaguely remembered her from the strip club several nights before. She winked and blew him a kiss. His stripes flushed brighter in color and he slunk lower in his chair with a groan.

    As the conversation grew more solemn so did he. The still un-named akk dog jumped up and put his talons on his knees. He sighed and scratched him under the jaw. Yeah... I don't like this either, he mentally agreed with the pet. After one of the Jedi left Iisska rose quickly.

    "You hoyty-toyty Jedi types, always sucking other people in to do your dirty work and be your meat shields. You're not heroes, you're warmongers, kidnappers and executioners," he said quietly, "I'm gonna go. There's some stuff I wanna read up on."

    He looked down at Quin with a sneer after starting to walk away. The woman looked pathetic. After making a distasteful noise he let his better side take over and pulled her arm up over his shoulder and held her up around the waist. He left with her, never even looking at Zen's little friend.


    ... Gonna vomit. Her head was spinning violently and the world kept lurching around her. It was several horrifying moments of confusion and delirium before she realized she wasn't breathing. Immediately a gasp of cool air filled her lungs and she started to cough and wheeze while trying to find her feet and free herself from the vice-like grip on her arm and torso.

    "Whoa. Cool it lady, it's me," her captor growled at her.

    As her vision cleared up a little bit she relaxed. Uhg. The alien kid.

    "Oh, j-good," she slurred, "What're'oo doin'? Wh're're we?"

    "You passed out at the cantina. I'm taking you back to the ship so you can drool on your bunk and not all over their tables."

    "I passed... out?"


    "Uuuhhaaahhhggg," she hissed and tried to pull away from him, "What'm I doin' here? Why did I do that? 'm so s-stupid."

    Her heart was racing, she couldn't shake off the alcohol, she was vulnerable, she felt sick, the world wouldn't stop spinning, she couldn't fight if she needed to, she hadn't been this drunk in so long. She lurched and could hear her escort swearing and suddenly turning her around just in time for her to puke in an alley.

    "Where's everybody?" she coughed after she finished emptying her guts.

    Iisska sighed and tried to pick her back up, "Still at the cantina."

    "No. I don't want you to help me," she shoved him away.

    "Get up, you're embarrassing yourself."

    "I don't care what you think!"

    "Probably a good thing."

    Quin could barely put up a fight and in a few seconds she found herself being half carried, half dragged once more. In retaliation she gave him the silent treatment. Unfortunately it seemed to backfire as he didn't even notice.

    "Why are you helping me? Thought you hated me," she mumbled.

    "Ah," he snarled, "I dunno. You looked all gross and slobbery and lonely. Felt bad for you I guess."

    The akk dog at her heels yipped happily.

    She frowned. It seemed she wasn't the only one.

    "I'm... always alone," she mumbled.

    "Oh, spirits below, here it comes," Iisska rolled his eyes.

    "In school, in the academy, in the field... my boyfriend cheated on me with my best friend," she sniffled, "Maybe I should just turn myself in and die."

    "Stop," he shook his head, "You're just drunk. You'll be back to your old bitchy self in the morning."

    "You're right... I'm such a bitch," she sniffled more.

    "SACRED. CELESTIAL. FUCK. Lady, I don't wanna hear it. You're gonna make me sick."

    "Then just leave me alone!"

    "Can't. Zen would kill me... Think he likes you or somethin'... Dunno why... but this is Zen we're talking about... Look, I didn't really mean to call you a bitch. Think you n' me just got up on the wrong leg."

    "Off on the wrong foot."

    "Whatever. About a week ago I wanted to kill everybody in this stupid crew and run away. Now... I guess I understand why we're all here. Everybody is messed up and... lost... or somethin' like that," he shrugged, "Means you probably fit in just fine."

    "Pfft, you're so wishy-washy. You were threatening to kill me too on Hoth."

    "Take the kindness or leave it, lady. I can go right back to being an asshole if that's what you want."

    "No... it's fine... It's... I appreciate it... You think Zen really likes me?"
  7. "Alright alright! Lets get this show on the road!"

    Zen yelled from within the newly re-outfitted Harpoon. It was like a new ship, least to Balva and Iisska. Holes patched, hyperdrive upgraded, engine completely overhauled, Syntisizer re-programmed to be able to create Togrutan food, rooms uncovered and given to the crew members to properly find a home in, scrap cleaned, shields replaced, A.I. Core cleaned, lounge booths replaced with couches and good furniture, carpets vacuumed...and all Trinity and Marquis can wonder is just where in the void Zen got the money. They asked him several times about where he got the money to do this and why he didn't do it before, but he avoided the question like Rakghoul disease. In the end, they never got an answer. They gave up and got used to the new digs.

    "So...why exactly are we going on this jedi mission, Zenithar?" Marquis asked Zen as they finished preparing the ship. "Because Ahoska and I have history." " she your daughter or something?" Zen was silent for several moments as they watched Iisska and Balva move supplies around the hanger and fix it up from the entrance to the ship. He didn't speak at all, just stared off into nothingness. "Something like that..." He said after a long moment of silence.


    "M-M-Mommy?! D-Daddy?!" The small Togruta child whispered as she stumbled into the door. A man with two light sabers stood in the room, black and white respectively. He turned sharply, a low growl emanating from his throat and his eyes being bright red...his face immediately softened and his eyes turned back to their normal gray as he watched the girl drop to her knees and place her hands on her parents bodies and started to push them. "Get up...come on..." She started to tear up and quiver as her parents didn't move.

    They were in a small home, bodies strewn all over the place. Many were sliced in half and scorched by lightsaber scars. The parents had multiple blaster rounds in them, the scorch marks being their demise. The man disabled his lightsabers and approached her, kneeling down in front of her. "They...they won't be getting up, little one." She looked at him, tears starting to roll down her face. "B-but...BUT, I was a close friend of your father...I...uh...was here to visit them when those bad men attacked." She sniffled, but didn't move. "They told me to...take you in if they wouldn't make it. They trusted me with your protection...." He lied through his teeth, and the three year old in front of him started to dry her tears and hug him. "My name's Ahsoka...what's yours?"



    It was not that much longer in the day before the Harpoon was in orbit with the Eclipse, Anakin's personal ship. Taking off for the edge of the sector, there was not much conversation as Zen kept to himself in the lounge, watching old cartoons. He was vacant, unresponsive. Lost in his memories. Marquis did not bother him, and neither did much of the crew, but he did keep an eye on him. He was acting completely out of character and it was driving him crazy.

    They came within range of the research vessel, the Yellow Thunder. A destroyer with Republic colors on it. Zen was in the front, his voice a bit more solemn than normal. "Ahsoka...what were they researching here?! Planetary conquest?!" She echoed back over the comms, her master in the background trying to tell her to be quiet. "I'm not sure. It was important to the republic though." Zen rubbed his chin and pointed at the shop. "Alright, take us in, Trinity."

    The Eclipse and the Harpoon took opposite sides of the ship, attaching and forcing their way into the airlocks. There was no resistance as they did.

    Zen was decked out in his white and black armor, his rifles on his back and sabers at his side. Marquis was next to him as well as Iisska and Quin. They moved slowly, watching the corners. The ship was without power and creaked creepily in space. The life support was strangely still active, through the gear they had equipped said that they weren't going to give it a chance to fail.
  8. "One night comatose and I find myself boarding a ship in the middle of nowhere to fight who knows what for the very people who are trying to arrest or execute us all. That will be the last time I touch a drink around you people," Quin shuddered and mumbled through the com-link in her oxygen mask.

    "I'm gonna bet it's not," Iisska shook his head.

    "With what credits?" Quin shot back.

    Iisska frowned at her and clicked the safety off his blaster, "Oh, ha ha ha. Look who's talking, Miss I-stole-everything-on-my-person."

    "Are you seriously chastising me for being a capable survivalist? What I need, I get. Perhaps you should try ransacking the cleaners from time to time. 'Drenched-in-engine-oil' isn't exactly a good look, or smell for that matter, for anyone."

    "Sticks and rocks, lady. Damn, you need another drink."

    "Sticks and stones."

    "Nobody cares! Fucking pull the stick out of your ass or I'll shoot it out, you pompous--"

    Iisska didn't get the chance to finish before Marquis was coming down on both of them for being childish and stupid. As soon as he was done chewing them out and turned his back on them Quin turned to Iisska with a coy smile. He growled at her as she followed the other two men who were moving deeper into the ship and walked next to Zen, rocking her hips with each step. His trigger finger was getting itchy.

    After passing through a few corridors Iisska split off the group to check on one of the many systems surveillance hubs installed on a ship of this size. For all he knew the ship looked completely normal. The screen he pulled from a hidden cabinet in the wall showed nothing out of the ordinary or of concern aside from an auto pilot that had not been updated for a couple of days. All the systems were functioning, everything was clean, and all the noises and frequencies bouncing around sounded fine. However, he dug up a bit of information that gave him chills. All of the ships escape pods were still docked. It wasn't strange, but he didn't like it.

    The environment was nothing short of sterile, as was expected of a military research vessel. At least that's what he thought until he wandered into the cafeteria. Even through the oxygen mask he picked up very faint traces of rot. Iisska bunched his nose up and snorted as he walked past tables with plates of abandoned half eaten food that was beginning to spoil.

    "Man, this is weird," he spoke into the com-link while making his way back to Zen and the rest of the group, "It's like they all just up and dropped what they were doing and vanished. None of the escape pods have been used, everything was left where it was and I haven't found any signs of fighting or trouble or nothing! Uhg, this is giving me the heeby-jeebies. You guys find anything?"

    "Look at the big fierce man-beast growing afraid of nothing," Quin quipped back, "We've found nothing noteworthy and somehow I doubt we will. Strange, but nothing to get frenzied about."

    After she was finished speaking she cast a subtle glance up at Zen who was still being oddly quiet.
  9. Dark. Foreboding. Empty. Zen's focus was pushed beyond the room they were in, seeing every room they passed and their contents. There was nothing, barely a trace of life in even the food they abandoned, the books the troopers read, the training dummies they hit on, the clothing they had worn. There was nothing. Just emptiness. With every step he made he felt an enormous weight upon his shoulders, the very emptiness of this ship was like that of an engine being placed onto his shoulders every was then that he realized what was going on...the very force itself was lacking here, as if it had been drained. He felt weaker with every step as the force within him was being sapped. He stopped and turned to Iisska...

    "Iisska..." He said, his voice devoid of any emotion or vibrancy, flat and neutral. "Return to the ship. This is not natural. The gone here."

    "While everybody else is having all the fun?" he asked sarcastically, despite a growing weakness in his knees and knot in his stomach "Not a chance. And what do you mean the Force is 'gone.' It's the Force. It doesn't just go away." "Reach out with the force, attempt to feel the rooms around you. You will feel nothing...the force itself has been drained from here...something...unnatural has damaged this ship..."

    Iisska looked at Zen as if he were speaking nonsense at him then shifted his weight with a sigh and closed his eyes. A sort of pained look crossed his face after only a few moments. He took a deep breath and put a hand to one of his temples.

    "That's... Wrong... Look," he spoke defiantly, "I'm still not just turning tail because of a little... I don't even know what. What if you need help?"

    "We'll be just fi-" A moan echoed through the hall behind them and Zen whipped around, his sabers drawn and ignited. There was nothing in the hall, least not from what they could see. It was then that he noticed that even his sabers had been affected by the lack of force. They did not shine as brightly in the darkness, their saturation and hue being sapped away. It carved a deep fear into his gut. He disengaged a saber and placed a hand to his helmet. "Ahsoka, can you hear me?"

    There was silence over the comms.

    "Sokee...? Come on. Respond...."

    There was nothing.


    "Oh man! Look at him fly! Is that what it's like to be a force user like you, Zeneer?!" Ahsoka laughed as she watched a spiky haired man fly through the air and punch another spiky haired man with super sonic force on a TV show in the Harpoon. Zen sat next to her, laughing with her. "Not exactly, Ahsoka. I can't fly. I can punch things with super sonic force though...well...I'll shatter my arm and the face of whomever I'm punching, but yeah, it can be done." "Wooooahh..." She said as she looked up to her caretaker in awe. She put her hands out towards the wall projector and closed her eyes. "W-what are you doing, Sokee?" "I'm be like you!" she yelled, trying to concentrate. Zen shook his head but watched. She squinted her eyes as tight as she could, concentrating hard. Across the room, a small cup sat on a shelf on the wall. It started to shake and vibrate slightly as Ahsoka concentrated as hard as she could. Zen's eyes opened wide as the cup she focused on started to rise int the air a little bit. "Well...I'll be damned...." his words broke her concentration and the cup fell to the floor beneath the shelf, shattering. "OH. Zeneer! I'm so sorry! I...I...I'll never do it again..." She started to tear up, but Zen grabbed her by the shoulders, a look of pained happiness sprawled across his face. "No! No! That was really good! This means you can be like me, a force user! Come on, lets go throw things outside!" He picked her up and slung her over his shoulder as he rushed outside.


    "Come on, 'Soka's in trouble." Zen sprinted through the halls, the others close behind him. They were headed towards the other side of the ship where Ahsoka and Anakin had been investigating. Zen stopped in his tracks though as another moan echoed, but from behind them. The group turned to see a clone trooper standing in the hallway, his armor damaged beyond repair, his body missing in chunks. Marquis stepped forward to address the trooper. "You there, trooper. Please assist us!" He yelled, stepping closer. He did not feel the lack of presence like Zen and Iisska could, and thus moved closer without fear. "Marquis...stop!" Zen yelled, but it was too late. The trooper turned around towards them, his face half missing from blaster rounds and vibro-knife slices. Marquis immediately raised his rifle upon seeing this and fired, the blaster shot nailing home in the trooper's skull. It dropped to the ground in a heap and Marquis approached it, planting his foot on the trooper's chest. "What in all the void...?"

    The noise of the blaster round had attracted something...sinister...from within the ship. From multiple rooms around them, more of the shambling creatures poured out, moaning and groaning. Zen and Iisska ran forward as the monsters approached Marquis, whom could only take down a few of them at a time, and both used force push together to shove the beasts away, was not the desired effect. The troopers held their ground, their upper bodies going limp and bending backwards for several moments before righting themselves and continuing their approach. Zen spoke immediately afterwards, a bit of fear and shock on his face.

    "Oh...crap...they're immune to force powers...RUN AWAY."

    The group turned tail and sprinting in the opposite direction as the shambling troopers chased after them slowly. The ship seemed to come alive then, troopers coming from every corner as they flooded the halls in an attempt to chase down or impede the group. Zen's force power assisted efforts was all for naught as they were totally immune and drawing on the force to pause their advance was extraordinarily more difficult than before. His saber strikes were not entirely effective as the troopers simply kept coming. Even the one Marquis had shot earlier had come back and was chasing them. Marquis contacted trinity and yelled. "Trinity! Trinity! Respond!" She was in the meeting room on the projector, looking through the cams of the ship to ensure there were no intruders when she answered. "Sterling. What's going on?! Movement just picked up all over the ship. It's as if the entire thing is moving right towards you." "Lock down the ship, now! Activate the flame thrower defenses and hunker down. These things refuse to die. We will attempt to make our way back towards the ship soon, but keep it locked down until we are there!" "Aye aye, cap'in." she said as red emergency lights filled the ship and an alarm flared. She locked down the airlock and activated turrets that she controlled, priming blasters and flame throwers.

    The group had made it somewhat close to the bridge elevator of the ship now and were heading towards the eastern side with all due speed...the only thing being between them and the destiny duo was only about three thousand undead clone troopers....
  10. Growing numbers of troopers slowed the group's advances to a grinding halt. Quin was doing her best to keep a cool head after slamming a viscous elbow into the throat of one who came to close. A blow that would have crippled most sentient beings. This... monster however was only staggered before it came forward once more. Several holes were shredded through it's chest by her stolen blaster, but it kept only a mere couple of feet between the two of them. Her pulse was speeding out of control. The focus she maintained while in battle was beginning to slip away as things went awry. Things were becoming muddy with fear. It took another step after recovering from her barrage of fire. The light went on. Without another moment of hesitation she blew both of the trooper's knee caps out from under it leaving it sprawling on the floor with it's lower legs hanging on by threads.

    "Target the legs!" she barked, "We can at least keep them from moving around much!"

    Her blaster became more like a machete as she blasted the limbs off troopers in her way. Even though the change of focus was of some help there were still bodies clogging up the corridors. Bodies with souls ripped out and blood in their eyes. Too many for just the four of them.

    "Still not gonna get far like this!" Iisska shouted over the roar of guns and Zen's light saber.

    Despite the fact that he was tearing smoldering chunks the size of dining plates out of any enemies that were caught in his sights and Zen and Marquis were decimating the things, the onslaught was crushing down on them. Fighting was pointless.

    "This ain't working..." he spoke more to himself than any of his comrades, "Think, think, think... Don't need to kill 'em all... just need a way to go. Need a path. Force doesn't work..."

    "Iisska!" Quin screamed at him.

    He snapped out of it only to find himself face to face with a grossly mauled clone. It's mouth gaped open showing dried lips, cracked teeth and a shriveled tongue. It looked through him with milky, vacant eyes. It shot forward like a striking snake grabbing him around the neck with ungodly strength and began to squeeze. He flailed and tore at its hands uselessly as if a steel vice had clamped down on his throat. He blasted a hole through its gut, but the attack had zero effect. Other monsters around them were being tripped up by Quin's suppressive fire, but she would not risk shooting this one. The power of his own struggling was throwing the trooper off balance and in desperation and panic he balled up his fist and lashed out with a devastating punch to the front of the trooper's face. Its neck broke, its face was shattered and its head shot back at an unnatural angle as it was embedded in the steel wall of the corridor behind Iisska's fist. The steel gave way, rippling and crushing inward all around the site of impact, splintering like a spider's web for several feet in a circular pattern. The trooper's grip was lost in the fight and Iisska bolted away before Quin shot its arm and both legs to bits.

    Iisska caught his breath in gasps and coughs.

    "Pay attention! Dammit! Keep firing or you're going to get us all killed!" Quin yelled at him.

    "Wrong," he rasped and coughed, still focused on the damage to the steel paneling, "Just keep doing what you're doing!"

    The force wouldn't work on the troopers. But there were other tools here. He holstered is blaster, grounded and pretended nothing was going on around them. It was as easy as standing upside down. He put both hands on the wall, inhaled and pulled. The apparent weight to the structure and its footings was more than he expected, but he put his full focus behind it. The steel panels, screens, door frames and everything that happened to be lining the wall's internal structure was ripped up like carpet with an ear rending screech. Iisska turned and slammed the sheet of metal into the opposite wall digging it in deep. Troopers were smashed between the panels like the galaxy's most disgusting jelly sandwich. A wave of the same fashion of carnage tore down the hallway to the next junction where he ran out of wall.

    Iisska staggered a bit, suddenly feeling winded and woozy. It was as if he had just sprinted a mile in only a couple of seconds. All he wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep in the unmentionable fluids that were pooling out of the smashed bodies pinned in the crumpled metal. But no such rest could be had. Troopers were coming from behind them.

    "Running again..." he groaned and lurched forward on his newly cleared path.
  11. "She demonstrates phenomenal control of the force at such an early age, Zenithar. How did this happen?" Zen looked at the little Togruta play with a jedi knight, lifting her into the air gently and flying her around with fantastic whimsy and precision. The knight was in no danger as she flew. "Guess I rubbed off on her in the last year...." Master Plo Koon stood next to him, his hands clasped behind his back. "Do you attend to apprentice her as she grows?" "As if you would let me get away with that, Plo." The master scratched at his mandables, stroking them gently. "You are a dear friend, Zenithar. I know that there are no more capable hands than yours." Zen watched the little girl closely, seeing the happiness on her face. His own was a mix of sadness and fear, his eyes starting to well up a small bit. "Yet there are few hands that are as dangerous as mine...." Plo cocked his head and crossed his arms. "By what do you mean, friend?" "I want take her to the temple." Plo koon was taken aback by Zen's words and he spoke with a degree less of confidence than before. "Are you absolutely sure? You may never see her again." "I'm sure. She'll be safer there...away from my kind, the danger the surrounds me constantly. Hunted by both Jedi, sith, bounty hunter, and republic alike. It is not a life I would force onto my worst enemy. She deserves better."


    "W-why are they calling my name, Zeener?" Zen knelt down in front of Ahsoka in front of the Jedi Master Plo Koon's transport ship. The sun was setting on Shili, and the ship was ready to head home. "You'll be going with them, Sokee." He place his hands on the girl's shoulders, smiling. "You'll be safe with them. You'll have a home." "The harpoon is my home!" She yelled, tears welling up in both of their eyes. "Many people have multiple homes in their lives. The harpoon will always be your true home..." She didn't break eyesight with him as he spoke, the tears starting to roll. "Don't worry. You'll see me again. Maybe not soon, but you will. I promise." He pulled her into a tight hug and she wrapped her little arms around his neck, crying into his shoulder. "I love you, Zen."


    Sprinting through a good chunk of the horde, they reached an elevator that would take them to the bridge. Zen looked at Iisska and pointed at the horde closing in on them. "Do that wall thing again, but from the floor!" Zen didn't wait for Iisska to reply, he simply went to the opposite hallway and placed his hands on the ground, pulling the force from deep within himself and gripping the floor itself with the force, yanking his hands upwards and the floor following afterwards. Durasteel and metal screamed upwards to slam into the ceiling, forming a nearly impenetrable wall to stop the undead. He looked back to see that Iisska had copied him perfectly. For the moment, they were safe. "How are we going to get back out?!" Yelled Marquis as Zen started to step into the elevator. "Iisska can push the metal and crush anything on the other side like a sandwich.

    Agreeing, the rest of the group stepped into the elevator and hit a couple buttons. The emergency power had recharged enough for them to be able to use it and ascend to the bridge.

    Zen couldn't hold still. The slow moving elevator had him on edge. Pacing back and forth. When the elevator finally got to the top floor, he was the first out the door, but he did not jump into a fighting stance, he dropped to his knees, the air stumbling out of his throat in short bursts as across the room, laying smoking on the war-games holoprojector was the long-departed Ahsoka Tano.


    "I love you too, Ahsoka." He picked her up and stepped close to the landing ramp where Plo Koon stood. He reluctantly gave her to him as she sobbed, his own tears rolling down his cheeks. "May...may the force be with you both." Plo Koon nodded and turned, heading up the ramp. Zen took several steps back and watched the ship start to take off and head towards orbit, and the only action he could muster was sitting on the ground, pulling his knees close, and sobbing into them.


    Standing behind the body was the Darth Lord that caused so much destruction, Darth Lord Nihilus. He turned to face the intruders on his bridge, silent, unmoving. Zen's eyes flicked to a deep red as he stood, utter rage overtaking him. He screamed back the others just leaving the elevator. "Head back to the Harpoon and get away from this ship!" Marquis went to protest, but he was unprepared for the force push that shoved him and the group back into the elevator. "NOW!" Zen screamed as the doors slammed shut and the elevator was reactivated, sending them back down. Zen dropped both his rifles to the ground and ignited both his lightsabers. Light blue and dark red auras surrounded both and Zen's body as he drew upon every energy he could, overloading his body and forcing it outwards. His every step towards the dark lord was strained and oozing with pure anguish and malice. Nihilus ignited his own bright red saber and held it at his side.


    The elevator hit the bottom and Marquis was still pounding at the elevator controls, trying to let them head back up to help Zen, but the power had been exhausted long before they had even come to a stop and there was no way to reactivate them. They looked between each other and had to concede to head back to the ship. Iisska ran out and did as Zen had told him before and pushed the wall. The crunch of hundreds underneath it as it sandwiched cleared the way for them gruesomely. They wasted no time admiring the work as they ran back towards the ship.


    Zen Exploded the force around his feet, firing himself across the room to slam into the waiting Nihilus, triggering an explosion of force between the two that rain sparks throughout the two and shove them both backwards. Zen corrected himself in midair and landed keenly before sprinting at Nihilus again, relentlessly attacking Nihilus with both sabers, each strike triggering an explosion from the full power of the force being channeled into Zen's sabers, dodging back and forth as Nihilus deflected all of Zen's attacks and snuck in his own that Zen either blocked or dodged. The speed they were hammering on one another was bewildering, blurry to any that would happen to be looking at the battle. Zen ducked down as Nihilus slashed at him and force pushed Nihilus back and jumped at him, preparing to slam the sabers down, but Nihilus gripped Zen with the force and slammed him into the ground, then the ceiling, then across the room.

    Zen reoriented himself mid flight and landed with a slide, starting to run before he even came to a stop and was sprinting back at Nihilus, whom retaliated by lashing out with multiple waves of the force, splintering the ground in front of Zen. He jumped over them or deflected them with his own use of the force. As he neared Nihilus, he brought up his sabers as dual surges of red force lightning shot out from Nihilus' fingertips. They danced along his blades and he brought his blades together and redirected the lightning away from himself so he could interrupt it with a force push. The ploy worked and Nihilus stopped for a few short seconds to deflect the force. Zen took the opportunity to get back into range and unleash another flurry of explosive saber slashes against his foe.

    The infinitely powerful Nihilus was quick to bring up his lightsaber and deflect Zen's barrage without hesitation, he was being shoved back with every blow that Zen connected and his guard finally broke as Zen brought down his blades multiple times onto Nihilus'. Zen rose his blade to finish him off when Nihilus' body exploded in force, making Zen rocket back and slam his head into the ceiling. But before he could even hit the ground Nihilus gripped him with the force, throwing him into the window, cracking. He brought Zen back and threw him into the window with even more force, cratering it and making cracks splinter all over it. Nihilus slammed Zen into the window multiple times over again, following up with force lightning, making him scream with agony before drawing Zen back once more.


    Running onto the ship from the docking bay, Trinity was already closing the door. "Silver?! Where is Zen?!" "No time! Just go!" Marquis screamed. "But what about-" "JUST. GO!" She did as Marquis said and detached from the ship. They flew around it and passed by the bridge as Trinity entered the hyperspace coordinates. They caught Nihilus slamming Zen into the window and, as they started to speed up to hyperspace...Zen was thrown through the bridge window, flying out into space, glass shards following in his wake and the force field shutting him out. Just as he was thrown out, a New Ship entered the sector. It's jagged shape and strange design was completely alien, and it was on a crash course for the ships! Before anything could take place, They shot off into hyperspace. Leaving Zen behind.

    Marquis yelled and started hitting buttons at random. "Trin! Cancel it! Drop us out of hyper space!" Trinity panicked and yelled, trying everything she could. "I-I'm trying...Alright alright...there." She canceled the coordinates after a bit of fiddling and they dropped out. She reentered the coordinates they were at and sped off.

    In a few minutes, they were back at where the ship was but...there was nothing. She started preforming scans, but the ship was gone, as was Zen. It was as if Nihilus' ship, Zen, and the crew themselves were never there in the first place. Even the alien ship was gone.

    "Iisska, can you feel anything?" Marquis asked. He reached out with the force and nodded, his eyes closed. He pointed straight ahead and the crew looked out of the window. In the background of space, just barely making a silhouette was something. "Is that them?" Marquis asked, but they must have been listening as the ship from before uncloaked just then and shot off into hyperspace.

    And just like that, everything was gone.
    #11 Vash, Mar 4, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  12. White, ghostly figures drifted slowly through the trees under the moonlight just before the dawn. The black leaves brushed along their icy skin. All around them charred, holes blasted in the dirt, fauna and droids now torn limb from limb wafted into the air. The parts and circuits of the CIS's army fizzled and sparked as they clung to the fleeting impulses and artificial life slipping away from them all too swift. A stray blaster round tore through the relative silence and singed the cheek of one of the figures who did not flinch. The bright flashes came with the frequency of stray insects in the forest hailing from the muffled cacophony some distance away. The watery voices of thousands of blasters being fired, the occasional deep reverberation of a grenade or mine, the scream of cannon fire and the faint cries of dying men replaced the usual veil of nature's ambiance.

    "Regroup on my location!" barked the lieutenant over the com-link in his helmet. Out of the absolute carnage of dismantled CIS droids, tanks, republic bodies and native buildings and homes, his men found their way to him. They found cover and got into position to await the next wave. The battlefield was growing quiet. A few of the men with him shifted around or shivered in their boots. Green recruits courtesy of the draft. They came with an insignificant fraction of the training given to clones like himself, none of their superior genetics and none of their discipline. The Republic may have just as well sent children.

    "Where are they?" whispered one of the cadets, "Maybe they've given up. Maybe we can go--"

    "Cram it, Cadet, or I'll silence you myself," the lieutenant ordered, "We wait for our orders or targets to engage."

    There was no protest. However, he was growing worried as well. Intelligence had suggested far more units than this coming their way. It wasn't until the first reds of sunrise started to bleed over the trees and horizon of Telos IV that a crackle sounded in his ear.

    "Lieutenant, do you copy?"

    "Yes, Captain," he responded.

    "We are reading no further signs of activity. Take your squad and spread out. Look for survivors and clean up any stragglers."

    "Yes, Sir!" he nodded, "You heard him. Move out... And I'd better not catch any of you lagging behind or messing around."

    The remaining Republic troopers and clones spread out through the dimly lit city limits and into the dark trees beyond. Carefully they navigated their way over broken machinery, snapped trunks and overthrown terrain. The lieutenant caught glimpses of a couple of men trying not to recoil too much from the sight of fallen, badly mutilated comrades. That always took some getting used to, clone or not. A handful of wounded survivors were located and stabilized before being sent back to camp. The sun's edge finally clipped the horizon and a beam or two of floating, eerie light seeped into the tightly packed trees. But even that light could not reach the forest depths. It was about this time they reached the edge of the battlefield. There was little out this far. He surveyed from atop a clump of torn up roots and saw nothing of interest.

    "We're done here," he told his squad, "Let's get out of--"

    "Sir!" one of them spat with his gun pointed into the darkness, "Movement ahead! Awaiting orders."

    "Hold your fire!" he shouted, "Command, report of any new CIS engagements!?"

    There was a short silence. He narrowed his eyes looking for what the Cadet had seen in the interim. Only just visible was a pale humanoid figure wandering in and out of sight, weaving its way toward them, gracefully, weightlessly, aimlessly. Another followed it.

    "Negative. Send us your location," Command finally responded.

    He did as he was told, "I'm looking at possible sentient life on the edge of our zone. How many on the radar? Can you tell what they are?"

    Another long silence followed. His men took steps back, still aiming at the things with a tense discomfort. More of the pale things dropped out of the woods like terrible stars slowly appearing in the night sky. A few winked in and out behind trees and rocks and other obstacles. All of them slowly pressed forward. A suffocating weight pressed down on his chest. He cleared his throat.

    "Radar shows no movement aside from our own forces in your location. Your orders are to return to base."

    "I'm looking at the damn movement!" he yelled back, "There are at least a dozen unidentified life forms coming toward our position! Asking permission to engage!"

    "Permission denied. Lieutenant. There is no reading at your position... We are sending a squad to investigate."

    "That's impossible!" he snapped looking away for a moment to signal his men to hold position, "They are right here infront--"

    When he returned his attention to the forest there was nothing.

    A dead silence over came them all until the only thing he could hear was the static in his head set and the pulse in his skull.

    A pale white human stood next to him with its palm stretched over the visor of the helmet of one of his cadets. It held him hoisted in the air with one arm as if it had always been there. The faceless, half naked, wrought iron masked female turned her head toward him as the cadet started to scream and a sudden eruption of blood and brain matter exploded from the back of his helmet. Hundreds of them were in the battlefield. Men screamed and howled but all voices were cut short by sudden, brutal deaths to quick to comprehend. There had been no charge, no slow encroach. At one point they were far away and at the next they were here. One stood before him. Another female with no visible face. Her hand slammed into his visor.


    Her soft touch trailed down the side of his cheek. Then slowly they traced back up the very edge of his ear where she dared to weave several delicate strands of his silken black hair around her fingers. She looked into his sleeping face with a deep serenity.

    "You did well," she whispered gently.

    The armored lizard-like man behind her snarled as an agitated ripple swept through his large, well muscled body.

    "Despite your obvious distaste..." she added, "You shall be commended, Tu'cha'kah."

    "Master takes Tu'cha'kah's prey," he hissed.

    "Yes. I take what I need and dispose of what I do not. Should you continue to protest then I will not need you," she hummed.

    The red-skinned woman rose, her sheer clothing draping loosely over and exposing her body. She stood over the man laid out on the simple bed in a simple room as the sunrise glinted through the single window. Light glinted off of her golden headdress like a divine halo framing her head and shoulders. Warm light and a deathly silence flowed from her entire being. Yet the black veil over her face released no hint of her emotions as she cast an invisible gaze upon her servant.

    "Do you understand?" she whispered to him like a cooing mother.

    "Yes, Master. Tu'cha'kah is loyal," the reptile growled.

    "Leave us," she ordered.

    The loyal servant obeyed and the mechanical door slid shut after his exit.

    Again, she was looking down upon the man. His battered armor and scorched, frozen clothing had been removed. He had been washed and any wounds had been tended to. A single blanket was draped over his naked form as he rested. Her fingertips slowly traced the contours of his lips with a sort of mesmerized fascination.

    "A diamond in the emery," she breathed and a warm breeze from nowhere tugged and twisted the fabrics around her frame, "Zenithar Ouran."


    "Degenerate Sith scum," the large Jedi Guardian huffed as he pulled up a file on the holo in the center of the table. It was complete with a candid portrait of the grinning, wild Mandalorian outlaw along with similar pictures of a small, hodge-podge, collection of other individuals, "and his degenerate, traitorous scum friends."

    "Master Vantu..." his young, human associate said in a calming voice and placed her hand on his arm.

    The hulking Cathar, Master Vantu, took a deep breath and let his shoulders relax as he tried to purge himself of anger, "Apologies, Master Seren."

    With a frown the young Jedi woman took over, "What I'm sure he means is that this mission is not going to be easy, regardless of only being reconnaissance on your part. This man and his accomplices are dangerous and we urge you to avoid any kind of engagement with them at all costs. In fact, it is essential. The Republic has wiped their hands of the Sith since the disaster on Kamino, at least until alternatives can be devised. However..." she paused to focus in on a portrait of a young woman in military regalia, "This individual, Pikire Quin, is a traitor of the Republic and an ex black ops commando. She possesses information that could be detrimental to the Republic if it were to find its way into the wrong hands. Two months ago our Order sent one of our Shadows to eliminate her. Republic spies have reported seeing this target on Tatooine in recent weeks, but we have received no report from our brother. We would like for you to make contact with him in the field if possible and re-establish contact."

    He had barely looked at the holo and now stared blankly at the table before him. Although he was extremely aware of the awkward tension seeping into the small meeting room deep inside the temple where the three of them now gathered. He was even more aware of the Cathar now circling around behind him and coming closer. He cleared his dry throat.

    "Jedi are not assassins," he rasped.

    With a sad sigh, Seren pulled a strand of loose blond hair behind her ear and looked away from him, "The Jedi do what they must to maintain the peace."

    "And as a Jedi, yourself, even one so green, you will do the same," Master Vantu said sternly, "Or you will spend the rest of your days in the archives, maintaining records and running errands with the rest of the wash-ups, weaklings and failures."

    Seren cleared her throat and glared. Her eyes softened when she looked back down on the Zabrak. He was tall but very slender with sharp horns adorning his skull and a row of white hair running down the center of his scalp to a tied tail at the base of his neck. Everything about him was a spectral shade of white save for an angry, burning red in his eyes.

    "Please, Qazelok, if not for the Republic or the Order, do this for yourself. Many Jedi fail missions and we all have setbacks, but we can overcome them."

    "But not all of us are sickly, younglings who cause the death of our master and fail the first three missions of our careers with catastrophic results," Vantu boomed.

    Qazelok glared up at him slowly, the badly hidden fatigue and hopelessness obvious on his face. Seren rubbed her temples and took controlled breaths.

    "If you succeed at this," she sighed, "It could be a stepping stone to better things. To a recovery."

    For a few more moments the albino Zabrak did not respond until he finally let out a chuckle and shook his head.

    "You're sending me to Tatooine?" he managed an exhausted smirk, "I'll burst into flames as soon as I step off the ship. I'm sure someone else--"

    "This isn't a request, 'consular,'" Vantu said his title in a most condescending manner, "It's an order. Make contact with the Shadow... And buy some sunblock."


    "Why!?" Iisska lamented and glared up at the scorching Tatooine sun as it tried to light him on fire, "I don't burn! I have never burned! Not until I came to this horrible asshole of a dried up sesspool!"

    The horse-sized akkdog curled up next to him and half asleep rumbled a noise of consolation. His owner, wearing nothing but dirty khakis rolled up to his knees (probably the exact reason for the burns in the first place) rubbed a sort of salve made by the locals all over his swollen and redder than normal skin as he continued to sputter obscenities. But soon the cooling effects of the strange mixture worked their magic and the personality change happened at a neck break speed.

    "Oh yeeeaaahhh... That's the good stuff," he sighed with a genuine smile and rolled his shoulders out.

    The akkdog mimicked the noise with a deep puff that kicked up dust around his nostrils.

    "Kobel!" Iisska barked, "Enough napping, we have work to do!"

    With a reluctant yawn, stretch and grown, Kobel lurched up. He was taller than Iisska now and resembled a large, spiny boulder more than the adorable puppy of months ago. The pair of them returned to the mouth of their self designated practice area in a long desert canyon near Mos Eisley. Not many of the locals had any interest in the place which made it private most days. The Togruta stood up straight and relaxed with an inhale and exhale.

    "Remember 'grounding?'" he asked his companion who just yawned and shifted on his talons, "Good... I guess... No... Uhg, Kobel... 'grounding.'"

    The akkdog nudged him in the side with a growl and lapped at his elbow playfully before relaxing as well and seemingly became more focused. After a small smile Iisska closed his eyes and cleared his head. He felt the ever shifting sand beneath his bare feet and the solid ground far beneath that. He became aware of the movement of the atmosphere, however subtle. His own bodily systems, breathing, heart beat, blood flow, digestion, movement, hearing and other minute processes came to life. Then he was able to sense them in the large animal with him. Then in the miniature and sparse smattering of simple desert life forms in the immediate area. The space around them filled in the gaps and linked them into a web. It was is if everything had tapped into an existence as a singular all-encompassing being. As if they could all push and pull and change each other.

    After a dozen long minutes of silence in the clearing of rocks and cliffs Iisska opened his eyes and spoke quietly, "You may be the reigning champion now, but soon you will know the bitterness of defeat. The day is mine. Oh, and remember, the canyon floor is lava. No touching the floor. That's cheating. Cheeaating. Got it?"

    Kobel slurped up Iisska's arm leaving a wide streak of foul smelling, thick, sticky, akkdog slobber over the limb, most of his torso and the side of his head.

    "Damnit! Kobel! No! Aaauuuuhhgggggggg... Iiiikkkkkk... Hokay... Last one to the end of the canyon and back has to eat a plate of grass! Go!"

    With no other warning, Iisska bolted into the air leaving a cloud of dust in his wake. He touched down on the vertical face of one of the canyon walls with an all too pleased grin and broke into a force sprint of incredible speed. Maybe he couldn't blow up planets or bend people's minds to his will. But this, this he could do. However, Kobel was hot on his heels, tongue lolling out of his mouth and throwing up rocks under his claws. Before losing his footing, Iisska kicked off the wall and back-flipped in a wide arch that cleared half the width of the canyon and landed him on a tall ridge that sprung up between the walls. Kobel barked and boomed at him, still running sideways.

    "It's not the floor! It still counts!" he yelled back and cackled, oh so pleased with himself.

    The Akkdog followed suit with a great leap that landed him on the ridge in the lead of his owner.

    "Oh. No," Iisska shook his head and pushed himself harder, focusing on moving himself through physical space like he would any other object rather than running faster. With a risky jump, he landed on Kobel's back and bolted over him before springing off the rocks and back onto the canyon wall just before the ridge sank into the ground. A horrible snarling came from behind him.

    "Hey! Don't be a sore loser," he taunted, "I'm just a better force user than y--"

    Kobel took in a deep breath and puffed up his chest. A shrieking clap of the air in his lungs mixed with an otherworldly, ear-shattering roar and powerful force wave heaved up, with wild abandon, the rock, atmosphere and anything else that got in his way... Including his owner and his dirty tactics. Iisska found himself with no bearings, horrible head pain and complete disorientation before he hit the ground like a bullet, kicking up dirt, rocks and dust as he skidded and rolled in a flurry of arms, legs and lekku.


    Quin walked slowly to the Harpoon. She was hidden from prying eyes and from the heat by long, light weight robes and a hood over her face. In her hand was a data pad which she scrolled through. As she entered the open air hangar, or rather the large cleared swatch of dirt, where the ship was docked she saw to familiar figures lumbering and limping in the same direction as her. She rolled her eyes.

    "Oh, well if it isn't dumb and dumber. Just what are you two-- Oh, my... Oh, my... What did you do!?"

    Both the Akkdog and Togruta were covered in dust from head to toe, smelled fouler than most anything she had ever encountered and the latter had a nice slathering of crusted blood over most of his face.

    "Hey, little miss perfect," Iisska snorted, "We been... Well... I've been, you know, working out."

    He flexed his muscles, in what would have been a more impressive display had he not looked like he had just been put through a rusty wood chipper.

    "Pumping some steel, doing some sculpturing, gettin' in those revs," he continued.

    "Stop talking or I'm going to hurt you," Quin said, "... some more... If you've been training yourself so hard then what is this?" She jabbed him in the stomach and the pouch of fat he still held on to around his midsection.

    "It's... Look, it's just residual... from all the... The past few years have been..." he stammered and folded his arms, trying to hide.

    "Come back when you have something more impressive to show off, chubby," Quin shrugged and walked away.

    " ... 'm not chubby," he pouted.

    Quin sighed with relief when she stepped into the cool interior of the Harpoon and removed her hood. It wasn't long before she found Marquis talking with Trinity in the cockpit. She handed him the data pad she had been looking at and folded her arms.

    "This is all the information I've dug up on your crystal... Seems like we're after quite the treasure here, Marquis. This crystal is rumored to be in a few different places but all signs point to a place called the 'Hollow.' It's north west of here, well past the Jawa sandcrawler routes and through the Xelric Draw. From what I hear from the locals and other fortune seekers around here it is nothing short of a fool's errand to try and retrieve it. Every expedition to do so in recorded history has failed. There are terrible animals and Tusken Raiders swarming the area, not to mention a complete lack of shelter and no water or civilization for hundreds of kilometers... This sounds like our kind of job if you ask me," Quin smirked.

    #12 DemonTongue, Mar 18, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  13. "Excellent job, Pikire. Here." He stood up and handed her the payment he had promised. He went into his room and grabbed his rifle and a small elongated silver box, engraved with a swooping wind-like pattern on it. He placed it into a pack along with several cans of oil and a few battery cells for his cane before heading back out. He then opened up a communicator and sent a message to a friend. He sifted through the remaining supplies, making sure that he was truly ready as he waited for the reply. When it finally came, he stepped out into the hallway and towards Iisska's room, which had a bit of a hole punched through it to Zen's old room at the moment thanks to the ever gracious Kobel wanting a place to rough house without waking his master...more than fifty times a night.

    He used the handle of his cane to knock on Iisska's door and the tired man answered it with nary but his pants on. "Do not get too comfortable, my ruffian of a friend. We have a trip to take." "Uhg, Why? Does it have to be today?" he groaned and slumped against the door frame while scratching his neck. "Well..." he started to say. "Do you happen to remember the night of the fourteenth? You were very inebriated and you talked of your late mother, but more importantly, you spoke of your Coming of Age ritual. Well...thanks to the ever lovely Miss Quin, I can help with this task. It will be a day's journey there, so you can rest then." Iisska said nothing and only glared at Maruqis before quickly and quietly shutting the door between the two of them. "I will also give you a particularly nice...and expensive present if you do this." he spoke loudly. "No, Sterling!" he yelled from inside the room, "Forget I ever said anything about that."

    Marquis stood for several moments before he spoke again. "You spoke very fondly of her. As someone who understands attatchments to loved ones...." He said, thinking of Trin."Doing this will be very beneficial to you. It would do her proud." There were several long, tense moments of nothing before rustling about and a trilling sort of foreign cursing could be heard. In another minute or so Iisska opened the door with a half-zipped shirt and jacket on and his boots in hand with his holster and blaster slung over his shoulder. "Fine," he sighed through the strap of leather in his teeth, as he continued to get ready, "Where are we going... and what's this... present?" "You shall recieve it when we get there. Come along, my contact will not wait forever. Our speeders should be ready by now." He and Iisska made their way down to the hanger and loaded up, grabbing plenty of water and supplies on the way. Once they were ready they sped off for the cave.

    The journey to the cave was not particularly arduous. The speeder they took out were ones that they had procured as rewards for a very well rewarding bounty on Alderaan and they made the trip rather nice and scenic. Kobel had to stay behind however, which was also part of the ritual as Iisska had to face the beast alone. The contact that Marquis spoke of was going to meet them there. In reality, this contact was an old hunting buddy of his. A beautiful woman by the name of Nyrette Sylvan. He had bumped into her the previous day and told her of the gem he was hunting. She said that she was going to be on the planet for a few days and would be happy to join in a hunt again. The message he had sent earlier had been to her, letting her know where he was going and to meet them there, which she agreed to.

    Since she traveled alone, they never saw hide nor hair of her in the day that it took them to reach the cave. Once it came within view however, they saw her personal speeder stationed outside of it and Her, leaning against it. Marquis and Iisska stopped their speeders and stepped off, walking towards her and exchanging handshakes. "Hello, Madam. This is Iisska, the companion I told you of yesterday." She nodded and shook his hand. Her voice was very sophisticated and relaxed at the same time, light in town. "Greetings Iisska. I am Nyrette. A pleasure. Marquis here has told me that he and I are your...what is it again? Lookout?" "Indeed, Ma'am." He said. "Not exactly very exciting like you described." She said, sounding disappointed. "Not exciting for us, no. For Iisska however...." he turned and stretched out his hand towards Iisska. "Iisska...your blaster and knife please. Do not worry, I will give them back." "Heh... this some kind of joke?" he asked nervously. "It is not. Please, if you would." Marquis said flatly. He backed up defensively with a sneer, "How am I supposed to kill whatever's in there with no weapons!? Are you insane?" "Trust me. Please." He pleaded. "I would not ask them of you if I was not sure you would be perfectly fine." His hand rested on the grip of his blaster as he looked over Marquis and Nyrette with intense worry. With a growl he took off the holster with the blaster in it and pulled the long knife from his boot.

    "Here," he mumbled and handed them over. He placed them into his bag and pulled out the engraved case instead, holding it in his hands, presenting it to Iisska. "There is a small bit I have not told you Iisska, and I have even managed to bequeath the information from Quin as well." He said as he held the box with one hand, placing the other on top to open it, but not quite yet.

    "This is no ordinary cave, my friend. a force cave. Creatures both light and dark are attracted to places like this for one reason: The force. While I am no expert in the force, I do know that the crystal that I am after...or rather you are after now, populates caves just like this...and this, is for you my friend." He opened the case finally and inside was a perfectly assembled lightsaber, placed into a velvet lined container. "All it is missing is the focus crystal, which is inside this cave waiting for you to pluck it. I would have gotten one for you myself, but as I have been told by my many contacts that helped me construct this gem, the user must choose the crystal, and vice versa. Unfortunately, I could not save you from all danger. Inside the cave is also a Hississ. A dangerous darkside creature that uses the force to cloak itself and hide from all types of location devices...except force users like you. You alone can sense it and kill it." His eye remained white as he stood, motionless, waiting for Iisska to take the elegant weapon before him.
  14. For a few moments he simply stared down at the hilt. Reaching out and taking it, a simple action, seemed completely overwhelming. Whispers in the back of his mind told him he was unworthy. Regardless he plucked the incomplete weapon from its velvet bed and weighted it in his hand. The high noon sun blasted down on them and glinted off the dark metal and heated the leather. It made it seem like it was already ablaze even without the crystal to make it work.

    "It's heavy," he said and looked up at Marquis, "You constructed this? ... Thanks..."

    Thoughts of the first time he ever used one of these, a foreign, unhinged weapon of terror which he almost killed himself with flooded back to him. He thought of Zen and the snowmen and the tiniest smile crossed his lips. This one felt different already. Iisska looked into the rocky slope that descended into the broken cliff side and the darkness that pulled the bottom out of sight. He inhaled slowly and swallowed hard. He didn't like the way this place felt.

    "Guess it's now or never then, eh?" he forced a chuckle and pushed the saber hilt into his belt, "I'll be right back."

    With a nod and a casual salute he descended into the cave a little bit at a time until he had disappeared completely.

    At first things weren't so bad. However, as the cave carved it's way deeper into the crust of the planet the darkness became total. For fear of wasting the fuel in his lighter he kept it in his pocket and made slow progress with one had on the left wall of the cavern. He tested his footing carefully along the way. With the little noise he was making he could easily pick up on the basics of his surroundings and the direction he was headed, but little else. The air in here was thick and constantly moving as if it were alive. The feeling was near overwhelming. Instead of letting himself be sucked into his fears and the urge to jump at every little bad feeling or strange noise, he focused on his goal and his surroundings and his breathing. There was a job to do.

    Another set of lungs joined his own. Deep, raspy and animal. He froze. Something behind him shifted. Every sense he had left honed in on the hulking shape as it came forward. It was huge. He was weaponless. The heat of the creatures breath wafted over the back of his neck. With a panicked and explosive burst he broke into a sprint through the blackness.

    A guttural howl echoed through the caves, chilling his blood but reverberated off the walls heavily and did so just in time for him to sense the sudden turn and steep dip before him. He scrambled down somewhat clumsily, snagging his footing on rocks and cracks he was not sensing. It was becoming difficult to sense anything. Especially when the further he went the more he was sure that beings and twisting, morphing, horrible life forms were standing all around him. There were no shapes but they were there. Images clouded his mind and the hississ bucked off the turn and slid down the decline after him with another roar. The cave seemed like it was everywhere.

    And then the floor was gone. With nothing but air meeting his flailing fingertips he fell, a scream caught in his throat.


    "Ninety seven," she grunted as her elbows came up to her legs again, "Ninety eight..."

    Sweat slicked her skin, matted her hair and dripped off the curves of her body onto the floor. Her legs were hooked around a braced steel bar she had installed in her mostly bare quarters. She hung upside down with her hands placed gently on the back of her head. With a wince and a sharp exhale she crunched her abdomen and pulled her upper body to her thighs in the most torturous kind of sit up she could think of.

    "Ninety nine."

    Angry determination showed in her eyes.

    "One hundred."

    She slammed her hands on either side of the bar when she came up one last time and relaxed her legs. In a swift motion she pushed herself backward and flipped off off the bar. She landed heavily but rock steady on both feet. Her breathing was shallow and her pulse was near visible in the veins just under the skin pushed up to the surface by strained, pumped and perfectly sculpted musculature left mostly uncovered by tight shorts and a bandeau. She stretched for a moment. Then with a sigh that turned growl Quin stomped out of the room muttering under her breath.

    A few minutes later she came out of the showers shaking left over moisture out of her hair, only slightly more dressed, having donned a baggy long sleeve shirt and clean undergarments. Perfect sulking clothes.

    "Trinity," she called on her way to the lounge, "Are they back yet?"

    The response was in the negative.

    She was growing impatient to see the fruits of her labor. As if it wasn't insult enough that she was not allowed to come along on the job to put her skills to good use and see their prize immediately those two were taking, quite literally, all day about it. Quin called herself up some sort of rudimentary bar packed with a hodge-podge of nutrients and protein and zero flavor and chewed it deliberately as she opened up the cargo ramp. Somehow she hoped that maybe she would see them coming onto the landing pad with treasure and riches in hand. The least they could do was let her see it and regale her with stories and hopefully Iisska's many, many, many inferiorities and failures. Why he had gotten to go and she had not still escaped her completely. Some cryptic mumbo-jumbo about having to do something on his own or a ritual or other nonsense like that. She had been spared the details, much to her dismay. She spit on the ground when she saw that they were still not back. The sun was dipping below the horizon and it left most of the landing pad in shadow. Only the tallest buildings and highest ridges around the area still had some sort of light glinting off the very crown of their structures. Even a star or two was already starting to glimmer in the darker parts of the eastern sky. Why didn't Marquis just let her come along to watch? She could have used a good laugh. Instead she had spent the whole day in the ship cleaning and training and trying to keep herself entertained. What a waste.

    Quin was about to close the ramp and find something more worthwhile to do when a figure walked past the entrance to the pad. She paused. Was that...? Her shoulders slumped. No. It wasn't them. A couple then passed by talking to each other. The were followed not ten seconds later by a lone robed figure. She stood and watched with a frown. They wouldn't stay out after dark would they? A light glinted off the half dismantled wall that partially sectioned off each landing pad. A dock hand seemed to be doing repairs on a spotlight. Another dock hand moved crates along the wall on the landing bad adjacent to them... It was a bit late to have workers still out and about wasn't it? Shouldn't they be at the cantinas or brothels by now? She watched them for a few more moments noting the unusual baggy clothing and the glint of blasters on their hips. The hair on the back of her neck stood up. At the gate another figure eerily similar to two that she had just seen walked in the opposite direction. One stopped a moment and looked in her direction.

    She closed the cargo hatch. Quin wheeled around and ran down the corridor, bare feet padding along quietly but quickly.

    "Lassy, yar lookin' a bit moar buggered than yar common buggered self," Balva poked his head out of a panel behind her as she ran.

    Quin slid to a hault in front of a control kiosk and yanked out one of the transformer relays next to it. Nestled in a spare relay slot was a fully charged blaster. She removed it and threw it to Balva.

    "Take this. Stay low. Don't argue," she said.

    Further up the corridor she ducked back into the bathroom where she wrestled the bottom of a drawer loose and removed yet another hidden blaster and a belt stocked with grenades. She slung it over her shoulder.

    "Trinity! Lock down the ship. Can you get me a visual on the yard around us!?"

    "What? Why?" She said as she popped up in a projector near quin. She opened a video screen to the front entrance and saw several dozen soldier-looking men and women outside with various weapons of many sizes, and a tall Kleesh in the front spouting orders. She turned the view screen with her hand so Quin could see as she locked down the ship and cycled up the defenses.

    "Okay, ship's locked down and defenses are primed. How do you want to proceed?"

    Meanwhile back out in front of the cave...

    "So. Do you think he's dead, Mark?"

    "Not in the least. Have a little faith, Nyrette."

    "He has been in there for hours now, he is most likely dead."

    "He is not. I know it." He held up his hand and held a small communicator in his fingers. "I may or may not have tagged him on the ride over to watch his health status...."

    "'re the one without faith then, is it?"

    "Now I did not say that."

    "OH. I'M SURE YOU DID NOT. Learn some contraptions, will you?"

    "I will do no such thing. Elegant men do not use such childish things."

    "And yet you hung around with Zen..."

    "Quiet you."

    A blast jarred the entire ship as if it had impacted something. Lights turned off. The alarms blared. Smoke started to float in from the rear section. They were in. Quin loaded up their communications.

    "A few of us can hold down the ship if we're careful, but reinforcements wont hurt... MARQUIS WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU!?" she yelled into the receiver as soon as she was through to him.

    "Wait what's going on?" Another explosion in the communicator sent him into a frenzy and he started to panic. "Alright, I am going to send Nyrette, she will be there faster than I will be." He turned to her only to see her speeder already taking off and heading for the city. "She is on her way. I have to stay here with Iisska."

    "Nyrette!? Who or what is that!? There cannot possibly be anything more important going on over there than--" blaster fire ripped through the corridor and seared into the wall only just missing Quin's head.

    She pulled her gun up and open fired on the figures emerging out of the smoke before rolling out of sight behind a corner. Above she could hear the ship's turrets open firing as Trinity faced the enemy as well. With all the caution of plucking a piece of fruit from a bowl she popped a grenade from the belt over her shoulder, pulled the pin and threw it down the hallway. The eruption was all too satisfying. Fine, she thought, more for me.
    #14 DemonTongue, Mar 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  15. Coming to a stop with the speeder, Nyrette dismounted in front of the Harpoon and grabbed her rifle from the side and held it close. As she approached the Harpoon, there was blood and bodies everywhere. She heard a rustling and saw a limping jedi-looking man slide into an alleyway. She didn't bother to go after him, she was more interested in the fact that there were grenade craters and ship parts all over the place. The Harpoon was damaged, not to the point of serious repairs, but damaged. Chunks and body parts were among the craters and bodies were messy.

    And before her, walking down the front ramp of the Harpoon, swinging around a bolt of grenades and deatlhy staring and scanning around the landscape, borderline naked, was the woman that caused so much destruction, and Nyrette just found herself squealing on the inside. She waved her arms and yelled that she was friendly before she approached, slinging her rifle over her shoulder and speaking. "Uhm..." She looked at the imposing form of the woman in front of her and tried her damndest to keep her composure. "I'm Nyrette, did you do this?" She said as she looked around.

    Quin snapped to attention and had her barrel in the face of the newcomer the entire length of her approach. Her eyes locked with the strange woman's in a wide, intense stare. Blood ran down the side of her face from her scalp and her lip was split and bruised. Her shirt was ripped up and various scrapes and shallow wounds covered her legs.

    "Yes. Stop walking unless you want me to do the same to you, 'Nyrette." You're the one Marquis sent?" Quin said quietly.

    "Yes. And...look, I'll be completely honest with you right now. I am the kind of person that heavily respects this level of mayham caused by one person and I have to say...kinda wanting to get hammered with you sometime...." she said, winking, crossing her arms, and accenuating her hips slightly. "Here, I have some medical training in me, I can help patch those up, just show me the med room....oh, and here." She clicked on her communicator and connected with Marquis quickly, whom confirmed that it was her before cutting again. "For reassurance." She blushed and growled in her throat as Nyrette introduced herself. Then she let her blaster fall to her side before exhaling deeply.

    "Bastard... At least he sent somebody," she mused, "Med room is this way. Don't you try anything funny with me though."

    Quin turned and headed into the ship, leading the way.

    "Oh...hun...not on the first date. I'm not improper...." She thought to herself as she followed Quin into the ship and to the med chamber.

    Once there, she had Quin shed the remainder of her clothing so she could fix up the wounds with the medical equipment there. She had bad burns and scrapes all over and was missing a small chunk of her shoulder, but she would be fine and the flesh would grow back in a few days provided the nano-healers did their job right.

    "There we go. Good as new." Nyrette said and handed her a bottle of brandy. "Doctor's orders. Survivors of a good fight get a good drink." Quin glared down at the bottle and looked up at Nyrette with a very unimpressed expression. The memories of the last time she had a drink were still all too fresh. Regardless she snatched the bottle away and took several long swigs of it with just as much reaction as if it had been nothing but water.

    "Thank you... I suppose," she mumbled.

    Her fingers still rested on the blaster near her side as she continued to size up the woman and the work she had done on her wounds.

    "How do you know Marquis?"

    She leaned against the counter and crossed her legs, standing in a direct light as well. She spoke in a bit of a melencholy attitude. "Mark and I used to be hunting buddies back in the day. took down scores of beasts together before I...took a trip to the outer rim for a bit. I was in town after finally getting back and He and I bumped into each other."

    "How convenient... I guess if he trusts you then... I'm Quin. Pikire Quin. Thanks for the help," she shrugged. "Nyrette Sylvan." She said. "No problem, especially not for a woman of your..." She trailed off as she checked Quin out again. "Strength."

    Quin sneered as she saw where the woman's eyes were going. Her cheeks flushed bright red and she quickly started putting on the useless filthy clothing again.

    "Y-yeah... We should probably try to clean up some of the mess... and find Balva..." she stammered. "I might have to stick around to help clean up the mess. Depends if you're nice." She said as she walked by, patting Quin on her undamaged shoulder before walking out of the room. Nyrette knew what Quin was going to look at from her actions and sauntered, making sure Quin got a nice good look at the goods. Quin pretended not to care, with her nose stuck high in the air as Nyrette passed her by. However, curiosity got the best of her and she couldn't help a quick glance as she walked away. She also couldn't help but notice how tight those pants were around that perfectly shaped ass. Quin snapped out of it and could have slapped herself silly. No! Stop. Just stop. she mentally scolded herself. She followed Nyrette trying her best not to even look at her and got to work.
  16. "Ah...Ah...XJ!" Sevryn yelled as he crawled onto the ship. The droid ran to his friend's aid and helped him up to his feet and just about carried him to the medical bay. Two others followed him up, just as equally damaged as poor Sevryn.

    The Kleesh was on the brink of death. Shrapnel from grenades scarred his skin, chunks of flesh were missing, his stomach was torn open, several teeth were missing, his face was gouged. He was not in good shape and XJ had to put him into the onboard Kolto tank just to keep him from passing out. One of Sevryn's companions, Embo, was a bit less hurt and was able to patch himself up in a few moments while the third, a Trandoshan hunter, stood at the door to the med bay. His wounds were quickly healing thanks to his species' naturally fast healing rate. The rest of the mercenaries were dead however.

    "Get some rest you two, I'll contact Sevryn's Jedi Master and let him know what happened." They nodded and went to the a small lounge to rest and recuperate while XJ started the ship and ran to the meeting room to contact Sevryn's master and get reinforcements or something, anything to kill this team of psychopaths.


    Marquis looked down at the heartbeat monitor and saw that Iisska was still alive and well and sighed. "Why is he taking so long? Does he not know what the crystal looks like? It is as obvious as the drool Kobel leaves behind is...odorous..." He shivered, recalling when he accidentally turned on his olfactory senses and got a whiff of Kobel's drool. He crossed his arms and leaned against the entrance to the cave, his cane leaning with him. He was getting quite annoyed now, but he knew that Iisska would be fine. Zen taught him for void's sake.

    His thoughts came to an abrupt end as noises from the dunes beyond alerted him and made him ready his rifle, his eye flipping to a dark red color as he began to scan the area. He was definitely not alone. He sprinted to the speeder and got down behind it as the threat edged closer. He readied his rifle for whatever was about to come over the dunes. There were several voices, savage ones. He recognized them as Sandpeople warcries. If his translator was correct, they knew that he and Iisska was here because of Nyrette's departure earlier. He scoffed at himself and took aim as the first of many sandpeople stepped over the dunes and subsequently beheaded by Marquis' rifle bolt. They panicked and got down, screaming in their language as several gaffi-stick wielding grunts ran forward only to meet Marquis' precision. None made it down the hill, but they distracted him long enough for the rest of the pack to spread out and find positions around him. Marquis took several shots and downed what he can, but they had surrounded him now and, judging from the three kinetic rounds that hit him in the back, he was completely out flanked. He bolted for the cave entrance and dove inside as bullets impacted at his feet.

    From the amount fired, there were at least twenty of them watching the entrance. He got up behind a rock and stood to fire twice before one of them fired and took off his bowler hat. He got down as bullets ricocheted off the rock he was hiding behind and he waited for them to have to reload. They were coordinated but they had to get closer eventually or else Marquis would just thin them, and they recognized this as they drew closer, rifles raised, and Marquis poised himself to stand, fire, and drop very quickly.

    He was able to down a sizable chunk in the scramble for cover. Enough that they started to grunt and yell for a retreat. Least from what his translator could tell. When next he looked, the yells of the Sand people were in the distance and he was alone again. He picked up his bowler hat and cursed the void as he looked at the bullet hole that passed through it. He sighed and plopped it back onto his bald head and sat on a rock at the entrance, scanning for any other trespassers.
  17. I can't breathe. I'm drowning. Where's the surface? Why can't I see? Why can't I tell which way is up? He thrashed in the heavy cold water and looked in desperation for a light that did not exist as his lungs sent rhythmic bolts of pain through his chest. I don't want to drown. Not like this. Not like this. Please no!

    Iron flavored air ripped through him like a jagged blade and sent his body into spasms as he coughed and gasped violently after rolling onto his back. Disoriented, suffocating and blind. The illusions of water had vanished but left nothing in their place save for cold hard stone at his back. This place was evil. The coughing slowed and he was finally able to take in more controlled, but still ragged and painful breaths of stale air. His mouth was full of fluids which made him sick to swallow.

    Get up, he urged himself, Need to get up.

    Spitting and snarling, he rolled himself over to his side where the stabbing pain intensified and forced him to lurch up onto his hands and knees. For several long, agonizing moments he curled up there, trying to get a hold of himself. Through the blinding pain in his side he was able to remember the flashes of that thing that had chased him through here. The hssiss, Marquis had called it. He remembered the gut churning plummet into nothingness and that was it. No. No, that wasn't it. The ground had slammed into him then crumbled away to absorb him into the void before spitting his corpse back out here in this eternal jail cell. Was he even still alive?

    Stop being so dramatic, he scolded, On your feet. I need to figure out how to get out of here.

    Some struggling and wobbling and cursing later he had found the wall of the crevasse he had fallen into and pulled himself up. Iisska listened closely as his own breath echoed off the walls and rocks until it disappeared upward into emptiness. This area was narrow. It was a miracle he hadn't hit one of the walls on his way down. Or maybe he had. He didn't know. What he did know was that the crevasse extended a for a very long way before him until it wound around on itself. It would not give up anymore secrets to where he was standing though. He listened upward and waited patiently for the minute noises to paint a picture in the dark of what was above. The walls were vertical and bent inward on themselves in several places. He could not discern how far away the top was. In his condition he wouldn't be able to climb. With no other choice he pushed forward along the bottom of this trap. Luckily he could not pick up any trace of movement or the creature that he knew would be stalking him. Regardless there was an unshakable feeling of unease in the very rocks. As if they were not solid, but rippling, softening, shifting under his weight. Decaying.


    The hooded man stepped off the passenger ship at a leisurely pace. He carried no luggage save for a light bag slung over his back. He had arrived with near perfect timing. Tatooine's deadly sun had sunk below the dunes for the night and he would be free to wander the space port with little hindrance. However, the evening would prove to be far less peaceful than he thought it would be as around the very next corner there was a large commotion.

    Many of the locals and visitors alike had gathered around one of the many open landing pads. It had been roped off and was now guarded by sentries and Republic police, but that didn't stop the curious onlookers. He gently moved through the crowd to get a better look, slipping between the natural movement of so many people until he reached the barricade. It was a sight to behold. The landing pad held no ship, but scorch marks from blasters and explosives left shallow craters all around and at least a dozen bodies and a few miscellaneous and grizzly parts lay covered by black sheets. Investigators and officers crowded the scene. It seemed all the bodies belonged to mercenaries and soldiers of the Republic. This was not a good sign. As discretely as he had pushed into the crowd, he slipped out and back down the walkway of the port.

    He checked his holo and datapad trying to maintain a casual composure. It would be a mess if one of those corpses belonged to a member of the Jedi Order, but nothing they couldn't cover up. They did so on many occasions, especially while mired in a highly controversial war. There were no updates for him to read, no further instruction, no tips to investigate. He would have to start on his own. As he walked the Jedi folded his arms and closed his eyes while breathing easy. He cleared his mind. He knew the taste of failure well. Were he a failed assassin, where would he retreat to? He would have parked a get away ship close by in an easily accessible, yet private place so he could come and go as he pleased without drawing attention from the wrong sort. He wouldn't have run too quickly either. It would be too suspicious even with his level of clearance. The customs officers would be investigating departures far more thoroughly for the next couple of days as well. But that would be easily avoided if the ship was not docked in an official port. Perhaps a private hangar would be more ideal. If mercenaries could be bought so easily, mechanics and scrap peddlers with room to spare and an abundance of camouflage could be bought far easier.

    When Qazelok opened his eyes he was wandering one of the quiet side streets several blocks from the main thoroughfare where most business was conducted in Mos Eisley. He would allow himself to wander and meditate on his predicament for a short while longer, allowing himself to be guided along as he came to conclusions about the crime scene and his rendezvous. He stopped suddenly. The warm artificial glow of a lit sign washed over him. A deep smoldering flash reflected from his eyes as he turned his gaze to it from under the hem of his hood. A consignment yard. Not a moment later a chime went off on his holo.

    He pulled it up, but instead of a proper transmission it was merely a written message. A set of coordinates sent from the Order. He entered them into his datapad quickly and was not surprised at where they were. He had already arrived.

    Qazelok broke into the yard's lobby quickly, disabled the security door and cameras and slipped out the back into the acres of ships, parts and scrap. It wasn't hard to find the ship he was looking for. One running ship amidst dozens of dead ones. They were trying to leave. They wouldn't be going anywhere just yet if things went his way. There was still a job to do and he would make sure this would not end in another embarrassing mark on his record.

    On his holo he scanned for the ship's frequency and linked with their communications. Once he was through he allowed an image of himself to be sent to their projectors for the sake of transparency.

    "This is Qazelok Etilliat, Consular of the Jedi Order. Open your bay doors," he demanded.


    Keeping his hand on the wall of the cavern to give support to his weakened body started to make him nervous with ever step. A nagging fear that when he touched the rock the next time it would be nothing but insects and worms and rotting flesh under his fingers crept up on him slowly. Iisska pushed it down at first but now it was becoming a never wracking irrational fear that left him cringing. Part of him was insisting that this place was alive. He had to stop a moment.

    "Damn it," he wheezed softly, "Never gonna make it out of here... Should probably just lay down and..."

    A loud rushing spark of red light raised his pulse to a dangerous speed. He steadied himself from falling over backward and stared at the beam in the distance ahead. There had been nothing up that way just a second before. He was sure of it. He would have heard it. As clear as day a figure cloaked in the shadows of the cave held a red light saber at its side.

    "What are you doing, kid!?" someone yelled beside him, "You've got a job to do! This is no time to sit around."

    Iisska whipped around to a familiar face. One he hadn't seen in a long time.

    "Jakaal? Wait, you're d--" he started.

    "No time!" the human man yelled at him.

    To his surprise he pointed to a fork in the path that Iisska had not picked up previously. Iisska looked back at the figure with the saber to see that it was approaching slowly.

    "Are you gonna sit around all day with your mouth open, kid!?" Jakaal yelled at him, "GO! I've got your back!"

    Without another second of hesitation he took off down the other path with Jakaal on his heels. It wasn't possible. Blaster fire rang down the cavern and lit up the walls. For the split second he was able to see them, they weren't rock at all, but the rusted walls of a well-loved Helix-class interceptor. A ship he had seen before. One he never wanted to see again. No. Not here. Anywhere but here. He stumbled to a stop, coughing, spitting up blood, clutching his side and struggling to breathe. He felt his heart stutter, skip and rush back into its breakneck pace.

    "What is wrong with you!" Jakaal slid to a stop beside him.

    "This isn't real," Iisska muttered, "This ship is in a million pieces. This is where I saw you die. You're not real."

    Jakaal's fist connected with his face like a brick and sent him sprawling to the ground. He looked up at him in shock.

    "That felt pretty damn real," Jakaal said before offering a hand to help him up, "Don't you remember where you are? This isn't a dream, it's not some fantasy or nightmare you can just shake off. This is serious. You have to keep going or all of this," he gestured around at the inside of the ship, "all those struggles and sacrifices and hard work and everything that's coming will be gone. You give up here and you give up a lot more than just yourself."

    The ghost with the light saber was running at them. It raised the red weapon over its head. Iisska took a few steps forward. Jakaal stayed put.

    "Go. I'll slow him down. You're almost there," he nodded.

    Iisska took a few more steps and shook his head, "No. Wait, Jakaal I wanted to tell you I'm sorry for--"

    Before he could finish the shadowed figure was upon his old friend as if it had been there the whole time. In one fluid motion and a red flash, Jakaal's head fell from his shoulders. Iisska wheeled around and ran. He nearly slammed into the rocks that jutted out in his path as the walls came in closer, turned and rocketed up a steep incline. He nearly had to climb up it on hands and knees, scraping his palms on the way. All the while he could hear the footsteps and his heart pounding away until it hurt.

    A small sliver of pale light started to pierce through the veil of black. The first real light he had seen in ages. He gritted his teeth and sprinted for it. It was growing brighter. He was no longer relying on his hearing. Once he reached it he had to squeeze through a tight split in the rock. With a pained his he tripped out onto a ledge and landed on one knee. It over looked a wide hollow carved out by an underground stream over thousands of years. The pale cold light emanated from hundreds upon hundreds of crystals that grew along the walls, in the ceiling and under the shallow pools. For a few seconds he paused and just took it in.

    Until he saw someone standing below. He rushed over and slid down a slope into the knee-high water and squinted, trying to get a look at them.

    "Sterling?" he said in disbelief, "What the fuck are you doing!? You knew how to get in here!? You said I had to do this on my own! If you were going to come to the rescue why didn't you--" the breath caught in his throat and he gaged on his own words for a second, "Never-- never mind. If you're here, then it's over. It's over. Let's just get out of here."

    Red overtook the dim white of the cave. His eyes went wide and he turned to look at the way he had come. The figure with the saber slipped from the corner of his eye. There was a splash as something dropped into the pool next to them.

    "Sterling! Run!" he yelled.

    The same as before he watched as the figure ran its blade through Marquis' throat. His frame collapsed leaving him alone with the saber wielding maniac.

    "No... No, no, no, no!" he screamed.

    There was a deep rumble in cave that grew into a deafening cacophony as the ceiling was pulled away and collapsed inward on the far end of the room. The animal roar that came afterward could only be from one thing. Behind his pursuer the hssiss, now in full few, descended. It towered over its master, gnashing its teeth, drooling and filling the air with its foul breath.

    "You made it. This is your journey's end. How does it feel?" The shadow figure asked him.

    Iisska backed away. That voice. The hssiss took a warning step forward until the figure raised his hand to stop it. The figure came closer and closer until Iisska could make out more than just its horned silhouette.

    "Don't be afraid. It's much easier to embrace death," it said.

    "Shut up!" Iisska hissed.

    "Go quietly, with dignity," it hummed.

    "Stop talking!" he yelled back. The voice was driving him mad, "You're not real."

    It was almost face to face with him now, he could smell the man, hear the bones hanging from his clothes and headdress as he moved, see the black stripes over his lekku and skin. He didn't want to see anymore. He tried to look away, but he couldn't. Then it happened. The moment he was dreading. He was looking into his own grinning face and was caught up in the red eyes.

    "Go before you have to face your fate. This is the only way to avoid it," he told himself.

    Iisska found himself backed into a wall. His fingers brushed over the pointed tip of a large crystal that grew there. It was warm to the touch and seemed to slow his heart and breathing on contact. He tightened his grip on it. It felt like it could almost be part of him.

    A strong hand clasped around his neck and he was forced to look up at himself as he raised the red light saber.

    "You want to accept it then? Good choice. You have no idea how much power fate has in store for you" his dark self spoke.

    He looked past him into the hungry eyes of the hssiss.

    "I don't believe in fate," Iisska snapped. The crystal broke off the wall in his hand, "You're the one who's going to die here."


    Hours passed. Painful, slow, cold hours. Stars filled the sky when he emerged. Tired, beaten, broken, bruised and covered in more fluids than he cared to acknowledge. Some were from the hssiss, some were his, none of them would wash out. A silvery, transparent, un-cut, stone-encrusted durindfire crystal about the size of a fist was clutched in his hand. He saw Marquis at the mouth of the cave. Still waiting for him.

    The droid said something to him as he came forward, but Iisska didn't hear it. He didn't say anything. He only grabbed Marquis when he got too close and pulled him into a vice-like, blood-drenched hug.
    #17 DemonTongue, Apr 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  18. Slammed up into a wall and down into the ground. Zen rose and fired across the room in a force tackle, his saber impacting against Nihilus' with incredible force, splintering and cracking the metal around them, neither moving an inch away. Zen launched off landing on the ceiling for a moment before crashing back down onto Nihilus, following with a flurry of strikes, never letting up, each successful impact against his foe's saber sending a shockwave of pure uncontrollable force energy radiating out across the room.

    "ZEN!!" A female voice screamed and he froze, turning to see Ahsoka being electrocuted alive by Nihilus and the duplicate of him fighting Zen took the sopening, jamming his scarlet blade deep into Zen's heart. Mouth agape, Zen silently screamed and slumped over as Nihilus ripped out the saber.


    Sitting up screaming at the top of his lungs, he opened his eyes and looked around, there were servants around him, two humans and a blue skinned twilek. They hung in the air grasping at their throats. Zen shook his head quickly and the force suffocating them released and they dropped to the ground. He was drenched in a cold sweat and shirtless. The servants stood, coughing and trying to talk to him, but he couldn't heart anything over the sound of his own heart pounding and his heavy breathing. He placed his head in his hands and breathed a deep sigh, trying to calm down.

    His body was covered in decades worth of deep scars, knife scars on his right shoulder and chest, blaster burn scars on his stomach and left shoulder, even saber burns on his back and torture marks. Bite marks on his collar bone, obviously from what may be the biggest Kath Hound imaginable, scars from the shards of glass that had ripped him open from the ravager were present as well. There were even more on his legs and feet, but they were covered in light weight silk trousers. He ignored the servants as he stood and nearly fell over from having not walked for what felt like...months. He righted himself and finally heard the twilek grip his arm. "Master! Sir! Please lay back down! You're not ready to move around yet! You've been in a coma!"

    Master? He thought to himself. "Ma'am. I am no master of any man or woman, and certainly not yours." He said. He placed a hand on her shoulder and had her step back, she was frozen and speechless at his words. Either she had never been complimented before or she was too amazed by Zen getting up and walking out the door. They didn't try to stop him.

    Zen walked barefoot through the halls of this mysterious place. It was dark outside, but it felt like day time. Least to his body it did. Lightning flashed occasionally. The halls themselves was something he had only seen once, a gothic architecture. Vaulted ceilings large spacious halls with the occasional bench. Paintings of various men and women rested on the walls opposite of the stained glass windows. Outside was a phenomenal garden where dozens of armed sentries stalked. There was nowhere Zen could run, not that he wanted to at the minute. That might change when he got answers as to what the hell happened to him, but for now, he explored the torch and lightning-lit halls. Servants passed him occasionally, never making eye contact with him regardless of what he did to get their attention. They seemed to fear him, or maybe they were trained to be like slaves. He noticed that each one had an explosive collar around their necks and masks on their faces. He grimaced as he saw a few scurry away whenever he asked questions.

    He came to a stop then as he entered a foyer and took a long and slow sniff in the air. A delicious aroma was wafting heavily through the air. Nexu bacon and ronto meat...eggs and fresh biscuits. Before he knew it, he was at the entrance to the kitchen, looking into the white tiled room. What made him stop in his tracks wasn't the food however, it was whom was cooking them.

    Black clothing barely clung to her naked sith body, flowing to and fro lightly as it reacted to the fantastical power that radiated from her very soul, her long dreadlocked hair splinting off down to her thighs and flowing with the garments. her face was uncovered, showing the angular features of a proud and immensely powerful woman that did not care that her extremities were being shone to the world. To a woman such as her, it was a sign of dominance and power. Angled ears and a golden headdress only accentuated her face and cosmic star-like yellow eyes. Every curve and feature screamed immense power and strength and Zen could feel it down to his bones. She carried enough power to crush entire planets without a thought and here she was...making eggs and bacon. Zen wasn't sure how he felt, but upon stepping on the first tile of the kitchen, the face was gone, a black veil covering it entirely.

    "What dream have I so carelessly stumbled into and how can I be permitted to stay?"

    "Iisska I liked this sui-Oh my...what happened...your arm is barely attached, and this is not all your Come on, lets go. You Need to spend a few nights in a Kolto Tank, boy."

    He shouldered the unconscious man and started off for the Harpoon, which was landed right next to the cave entrance. He yelled out "Trinity, hun! Please ready the Kolto Tank!"


    "There we go, friend...." Marquis said as he got Iisska into the Kolto Tank. He stepped back and crossed his arms, looking at the battered man before him, wounds all over him, chunks missing...nearly lost an arm. It was an wonder he was alive. He just floated there now, a tube in his mouth keeping him from drowning and nothing but his dreams to keep him company until he wakes up. Marquis looked over to the things he had brought back. A fully intact lightsaber crystal and a full set of adult Hississ teeth...all 56. It was quite the achievement. One he would definitely try to let his family back home know about. He wasn't sure how he was going to let them know, but a courier knowing his family name should be good enough. He grabbed the teeth and took them into the hanger bay, where he found a small chest of drawers. He opened them up and found a long wire. He stretched it until it was taut and tested it. It was a nice and strong wire. He grabbed a specialized drill then and went to work, drilling each tooth carefully, taking extreme care not to damage them more than he had to and made each hole just the right size for the wire to slip through unhindered. He worked for a good three hours, making each and every single possible tooth perfect so as to properly conjoin with the others and not hinder Iisska in any way.

    Once he was finished he held it up proudly. The teeth formed a ring in the wire and he had fashioned a metal clip between the two wire ends so that it could hook together neatly and tight enough that it wouldn't get caught or fall but it wouldn't bother the wearer either. Satisfied, he went to place it in a small jewelry box in his room until Iisska awoke. It would most likely be a while before he did.


    "Afternoon, Keeper. All is going well."
    "Excellent Cipher. How long until you infiltrate the senate?"
    "It will be some time, sir. We are in the middle of nowhere right no-"
    She clicked the holocommunicator off and turned sharply, whipping her hair around as she did. She ran for the door and opened it, lashing her hand out and snagging a handful of hair, yanking hard and dragging whomever was outside the room, inside the room. She slammed the interloper's face against the wall. "Quin!" She yelled, holding her hand against Quin's head against the wall. She tried to struggle against Nyrette's strength but she grabbed an arm and quickly locked it high up Quin's back, much to her pain.

    "Why are you spying on me?!" She wouldn't get an answer as Quin's free elbow hit Nyrette's stomach, breaking the hold she had on her. Quin followed up with a strong kick, but Nyrette blocked and redirected it to the side. She took a defensive stance and blocked Quin's furious punches and kicks. She tried to disable Nyrette's weaknesses, the knees and throat. Much to her disappointment, Nyrette was a skilled combatant and easily parried Quin's offensive. She stayed defensive for a short time before she instantly switched to the offensive and delivered a hard elbow to Quin's chest, knocking her back and throwing several punches and kicks. The only one that actually connected was the elbow as Quin was a fantastic fighter as well, on par with Nyrette and easily deflected the attacks.

    They wore each other down over the course of a good 15, 20 minutes. They backed up from on another, breathing heavily and assuming defensive stances, each waiting for their opponent to give the charge that would never come. They were each glistening with sweat and panting heavily. They were staring each other down, trying to decipher each other's coming actions, trying to cool down and prepare for the next oncoming flurry.
    #18 Vash, Apr 26, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  19. From the way her muscles screamed and her clenched hands shook, she could tell she wouldn't last much longer. Nyrette was drenched and trying hard to conceal the fact that she was out of breath. Both of them were worn from the fight. But it was Quin, who now cast aside her pride for the sake of judgment, and stopped. She stood up straight, rolled her shoulders, and let her hands fall to her sides.

    "I'm done," she said, "Good fight. I'd avoid attacking our crew in the future if you want to stay on board."

    "Why were you outside my door?" she said, maintaining her pose, ready to strike if her opponent said anything that sounded suspicious

    "'Spying' apparently," Quin scoffed, "To be frank I was passing by to welcome you and to ask you to join me for a drink in the lounge as thanks for your help in the fight and for fixing me up. Consider the invitation redacted."

    "You should have called ahead. A proper woman needs time to prepare." She said, relaxing.

    Quin shook her head and turned for the door, rubbing her bruises, "You're not a proper woman."

    "In your opinion, the missles could be on fire, but that doesn't mean that it's true." She said, sliding along behind her.

    "Mm-hm," Quin nodded absently, "Moving right along to the giant squid in the room, what in the void would you be so tense about that you would accuse me of spying while merely passing by and then attack me without letting me get out a response? That's incredibly suspicious behavior."

    "...." She stopped cold. "Iisska's...'pet'. It tried to lick me." She looked at Quin. "I don't 'do' pets." She said, the hair on her arms standing on end from the faked memory.

    Quin slowed her steps to a gradual, silent, cold stop. For a moment she stood still and stared at nothing in particular far in the distance, perhapse beyond the barrier of the ship's structure. Her head tilted ever so slightly and her eyes narrowed before she cast a glance at Nyrette.

    "That made no sense. I've flustered you," she concluded, "You were masturbating weren't you? Why didn't you just say so? Or keep the door locked? It's a small ship."

    "Masturbation is a girl's activity, one that I do not need to engage in. Besides, I am woman enough to admit that, yes, you did make me flustered, upon first meeting." She shrugged, taking a step past. "Can't help myself. You have a great ass." She said, walking towards the lounge.

    Quin spoke through gritted teeth and blushed, "That would explain the tension... Regardless, be wise and remember where you are. If you attack me again, it will not end well. If you continue to lie to me, it will not end well. Now, I don't suppose you still want a drink?"

    "Sounds like a great idea, good thing I was already heading towards the bar. Now, if your drinking skill matches your fighting, we may be there for a while."


    "This is far from a dream. Don't be foolish," the Sith woman slid down the long stone counter as if she were dancing. She all but ignored him while putting the finishing touches on her cooking in silence. Hot pans and grills turned into fine obsidian dinnerware with well calculated, but quick movements of her arms and hands. Tools slipped in and out of her fingers and then precisely back into their rightful places in a way that required uninterrupted concentration. And yet, after only a minute or two more she was turning toward Zenithar with two plates in hand.

    "Sit. Please," she said.

    Only after he had obeyed did she present him with a plate laden with spiced eggs, perfectly arranged strips of meat fried in fine ale, and an assortment of a strange dark skinned vegetable grown on Dromund Kaas and dry roasted to perfection. Along side that she set silverware, a glass of a transparent bright-green drink and a more solid mug of a thick, tan, steaming liquid. Then she sat beside him at the small table.

    "Eat," she ordered next, "You're malnourished."

    In silence once again she indulged in the food she had reserved for herself. Though the veil shielded her face from him and her body gave away no such hints at emotion, she eyed him without subtlety. However quiet, the atmosphere in the kitchens was not stale. Sounds of servants cooking in other areas not far from here surrounded them. A light rain was falling outside the open window. Inside the stone walls, stone table tops, stone shelves and stone floors there was somehow a feeling of life and activity and warmth. Her skin positively glowed, her scent drifted like the bite of harvest fruits, and her clothes moved as if tugged by a light breeze. She seemed to be in a world all her own, but not hidden from onlookers.

    "I find cooking to be a highly meditative activity. It is like science. There are rules and predictable reactions between your substances and catalysts. But unlike the disective, destructive nature of science, something productive and generative comes out of it. You, as the cook, are both an artist, chemist and god," she said softly, "Do you know what it is like to be a god, Zenithar?"
  20. "To be a god...?" He echoed her, his voice falling to nearly a whisper. "There are no gods in this reality as there is one fallacy that all pretenders must come to terms with: Gods do not bleed. At one time, I did think myself as a god. That was until I died."


    "Gallow." The spirit of the long dead Darth Bane loomed over him, his arms crossed. He was floating just above the shadow robed pupil below him. His eyes glowed with fire and he spoke with a low, gravelly voice befitting of a former darth lord. "That will be your name now. Darth Lord Gallow. The force's representation of the hangsmen's gallows. You care not for whom your victims are, all those guilty of corrupting the dark side shall fall to your blade. There will be no survivors." Gallow stood, pulling back his hood and revealing his lithe, malnourished features. He had been using nothing but the force to sustain himself. His cheeks were recessed quite a bit and his teeth rubbed against them, as if his cartilage was being stripped away, leaving nothing but skin and bone. His eyes were a dark red color and his hair was long and dirty, reaching his back. "What is my first order, milord?"

    "Go now, to the Jedi Temple. Slaughter the one named Vrook. Make an example of him."

    The darth lord bowed as the spirit before him disappeared into a cloud of darkness.


    "Have to get away...." the robed Sith panted and wheezed as he ran through the coruscant streets. He turned a corner and stopped short, a familiar, dangerous, face before him now. Master Plo Koon. "Zenithar." he said, his lightsaber ignited and poised to strike. Zen was frozen, his red saber unhinged from his belt. He was prepared to ignite it, but dared not, as next to Plo Koon was the child he once regarded as a daughter. Ahsoka. Plo must have brought her along as a training mission to catch the petty criminal that killed Master Vrook. "I heard the reports of what you did but I scarce believed them. The physical description was so far wrong that I did not believe that it could be you at all. Why...why did you do this?"

    Zen did not answer, he simply stared blankly at the two, his jaw slack and his fingers twitching slightly. Republic troopers gathered behind him, kneeling and preparing to fire, many gathered on the rooftops as well, blocking every escape. Zen was prepared to die fighting but as he reached to ignite his saber, the child ran forward. "Ahsoka! Stop!" Plo yelled, but she didn't. She grabbed hold of Zen's leg and hugged him tightly. The Sith barely felt it at first, like a drip of warm water into a lake of ice, but then one drip became two, and two became a thousand. The power of the force radiated from the child and washed over him with a feeling of serenity, encapsulating and purifying the darkness inside of him. He dropped the lightsaber, falling to a knee to hug the child. "I'm so sorry...." He whispered into her ear.


    "This isn't right!" The Jedi Master screamed as he slammed his fist into the wooden table, shattering right through the heavy gauge wood and to the other side. The small green Lannik, Yoda, stood up in his chair, as did several masters around him. "Your anger, Master Zenithar. Control it you must. Tread down the path of the dark side again, you must not." The infuriated Jedi glared death into Yoda's eyes and grit his teeth. "Okay, fine, let me get this straight. You, the Kriffing JEDI, are refusing to stop DRUG LORDS and SEX RINGS because the senate SAID SO, the reason being "The cost of relocating citizens is too high.". Right?!" One of the masters, Windu, nodded. "That would be correct. Yes. We work within the laws of the senate, Zenithar. We cannot assault parts of the city while citizens stand in the way." The force rippled and shook around Zen's body as his anger and rage mounted. "So you're going to let them be ENSLAVED and killed by drug lords?! Mothers and daughters will be sold into slavery so they can be whored out to fucking idiots like Palpatine! Fathers and sons will be given body armor and told to kill SOLDIERS or watch as their family is drugged to death! This is against your own void damned CODE!"

    "How this must be, it is." Said the Lannik. "Fuck you." Zen barked, pointing a finger at Yoda. "You are corrupted and pathetic like the senate itself, and I will have no part of it." He reached up and ripped off a patch on his shoulder, a symbol of the Jedi order. He threw it forward and turned, walking out.


    "Let me go, you Bantha sperm bucket!" The heavily built drug lord yelled as Zen held him aloft with the force. He started to squeeze his hand and crush the lungs and neck of the man he held. He tried to fight it, kicking a chair he could reach at him, but Zen simply deflected it with his saber. He tried to reach for a blaster as his eyes started to roll back and he panicked, every shot missing. Zen brought him in sharply then and ignited his saber as he did, running him through as Zen brought him face to face. "Die, you scum." he said as the drug lord silently screamed in agony as his stomach was torn apart by the saber. He ripped upward and sliced the man in half, like he was nothing but paper.

    He let him drop and looked around. Bodies were laid everywhere. There was not a single member of the drug and sex ring left alive, and now, Zen was a wanted man.


    "Man. Windu sure does want you dead...."
    "You don't want me do you, kid?"
    "No. I...can understand why you did what you did. I don't like how you did it, but whats done is done...and you're not a jedi any longer, that's for sure."
    "I can't tell which one is better anymore. Jedi or Sith. One side is a bunch of murderers that only want power, the other is...just about the same, but power is represented by money. Neither feel right."
    "I hope you're not trying to convince me to join you...Anakin would kill me if I did. Hah hah."
    "Nah....have to walk this next path alone. I have a crazy republic woman after me afterall....don't want you to have to endure that burden."
    "Ya aren't a bad guy. You're still a good person too, just not...hmm...'jedi good'. A bit gray that I think of it, which code do you believe in more?"
    "...To be honest, the Sith Code. Peace is a lie, that's definitely true. But there is not only passion, there is love, happiness, even joy. There are emotions. There is ignorance and knowledge. Through emotion I gain understanding...both codes are wrong in multiple lines...except that there is only the force. The force shall free me...I guess you can say that...I'm a gray sith."
    "I was hoping for gray jedi, but that works. I won't judge."
    "Then so be it. I am Zenithar Oran. Gray Sith. Corruption is my enemy, no matter the side."


    Zen found himself staring at his face yet the darkness, the red and white mask of an enemy that had ripped his adopted daughter from his embrace. Wrapped her in a scalding coat of lightning and burned her until her lungs melted and her heart exploded. The figure stared back at him, an ominous wave emanating from it's eyes. Zen could feel his head being ripped apart bit by bit by the power that poured forth from the mask of the darth lord. He had fought him head on, unleashing every bit of power he had commanded in an unrelenting fury fueled by the death of his loved one...but to Nihilus it was as if it was nothing. He had barely moved from his spot and simply deflected him and thrown him out a window. He could not avenge his family, his loved one, not even his crew. Though his body was alive, he had died. He was nothing.

    And now that he had told Sol'tsyri his story, he had no reason to speak, and no appetite for the delicious food in front of him. She watched him carefully as he got up and left. He felt very weary after telling the story, and felt no reason to remain awake....


    "Mommy? Where is my daddy?"
    "He is gone. Run off without me, leaving me to deal with his mistake. Off to die in some bar or fight on some unknown world."
    "When will he be home?"
    "He's never coming back. Get used to it."
    "Mommy, wake up. Don't leave me like daddy did! Please!"
    "Get away from me, Nyrette. Leave me to die alone like your father did."
    "But momm-"
    "GET AWAY."
    "W-why...why did you hit me...? Why don't you answer?! Why aren't you breathing!?"

    Zen tossed and turned in bed that night. He had another dream of some child speaking to her mother. This was the first he had learned of the name, unlike the rest of the dreams that only ended up with him forcing himself awake from falling off the bed as he tumbled. He liked the name Nyrette. He felt that if he had a girl of his own, he would name her Nyrette.


    Marquis inspected the Kolto tank where Iisska was floating. In just four days time he had healed up nicely. His arm was even reattached! He hit a large red button and the Kolto started to drain and the glass started to open. Marquis didn't bother catching him as Iisska dropped to the floor. A low groan was elicited as he slowly woke up. Marquis sped up the process a little by kicking his rib lightly. When he didn't respond he placed a hot plate of bantha steak in front of him. He already knew that it would definitely work...probably. Maybe....

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