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#11039452 May 11, 2015 at 05:32 PM
56 Posts
Handler 2 was an uncompromising individual. He made no apology for his actions, and did his job well. It was why he had been given permission to forge unconventional and terribly effective tools in service of the Empire. One group in particular, the Lion's Thorn. A member of which Ardenith had been a part of. A Black-on-Black operation. During it's peak, the Republic Intelligence had many nicknames for the members of the Lion's Thorn: the Harlequins, the Jester's Grimm, and even Death's Troupe. Regardless of what they were called, their mission remained the same. The elimination of any and all black ops specialists that threatened the Empire. Primarily intended as counter-Intelligence, their resource availability, and skill of it's operatives, had allowed them to branch out from the strict mission profile Imperial Intelligence had set for them.

It was this information that Thyssen now carried with him, some of it even first-hand. The Krayt's Jaw HQ, within the Dune Sea, was under siege. The offenders of which had been some of those same members. Two in particular had stuck out in the mind of the Mercenary: A pair of ladies, twins, it seemed, that had attempted to kill him and Ardenith. Their garish and bright outfits made them seem silly and almost laughable a threat, but the smile on their faces, and very sharp Vibroblades in their hands had unsettled him.

He would have to hope his friends would hold out long enough to get help... Fortunately, he knew exactly where to look.

--------------------------

Ardenith ducked instinctively as the roof of the desert cave shook. The primary gates of the entrance had held out this long, but only a fool could say they weren't getting pounded. Between himself and the rest of the staff on hand, he had been attempting to coordinate a defensive setup for when the doors inevitably fell, but all he could hope for at this point was digging in deep enough to hold the base. It wouldn't be that difficult, for all their skill, the enemy only had six persons Ardenith even cared to worry about... But they were definitely the greatest threat present, and it would be very, VERY, difficult to stop them.

Not to mention, he would have some apologizing to do to Cirsei when she finds out why they're here.
Homo Homini Lupus
For More Often Than Not, We Forget to Act Human to Others
But Still, Despite Our Forgetful Nature, There is Always the Next Day
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#11039780 May 11, 2015 at 07:08 PM · Edited 8 months ago
520 Posts
“I don’t have friends, I got family.” ~ Vin Diesel

- - -

Were this a cinematic cutscene then it most definitely would be set to Puscifer's "The Humbling River." The armored form of Thyssen Krupp knocked six spent shell casings out of his six-chambered slugthrower, where they fell like smoldering coals down upon the bodies of two fresh kills. The victims were droids made for battle, which meant in an ideal universe they were just as deadly as a soldier who was made of flesh and blood.

Two more appeared at the end of the hall. Rather than waste time fishing around for a speedloader, Thyssen took advantage of his ambidexterity; pulling his late buir's old blaster pistol out from one of the many holsters that were on his person and using it to drill the aggressors once each in the temple. The figures fell to the ground instantly and did not move.

Thyssen knew from memory where he was going and how long it would take him to get there, but the information on his HUD that indicated that his vessel resided in a hangar just around the bend and up a ways. A text message appeared. It was from Xyrna. "Still waiting for you and the cat," it read. "Nearly there." Thyssen replied aloud -- although his words were converted into text and sent back on an encoded frequency. He got no reply. He didn't expect to. From the ambient sounds his helmet was picking up, Thyssen knew that the Lonely Specter was likewise under siege.

Stacking up against the wall, an army of one, Thyssen quickly peeked 'round the corner. His helmet took note of almost two dozen hostiles in the process of attempting to force their way into the Lonely Specter's hangar. Somehow the massive blast doors had failed to close completely, leaving a gap a little more than a foot wide that the invaders were firing through. As he watched, three of the enemy's number fell to precision shots from the other side of the door. "Khim." Thyssen mused. The Chiss was an old acquaintance but a recent addition to the KJC and the Specter's crew both. Her skills with a rifle were second only to Ardenith, but only because the man had spent (and had available to him) more years honing his skills.

"I've got eyes on the ball an' chain," read the text message that Thyssen watched her type out in real time on her wrist-mounted datapad. The man rolled his eyes but smirked. Knowing now that she could see him, he flashed her a thumbs-up and then ducked back into cover. He didn't want the enemy to know that reinforcements were literally just around the corner.

Ammo check: Besh's gas cylinder still had a 71% charge, which was good. His multi-purpose rifle on the other hand only had a 42% charge remaining after the lengthy firefight that lead him to where he was now. His compact double-barrel was locked and loaded, but he wouldn't have time to reload once the fighting began. His revolver? He took a second to make sure to replace the depleted baradium slugs, but that still only gave him six additional shots before he needed to swap it out for something else. Several darts still remained available to him as well, plus a couple different kinds of explosive devices. If worse came to worse, he could rely on his buir's most precious gift to him -- a Taung Crusader's Vibroknife.

"Okay? Here we go." Shock and awe was the key to any breaching maneuver. This wasn't a breach, but the principal remained the same. Thyssen stepped out from cover and sent the rocket propelled stun grenade spiraling into the largest mass of bodies that he could locate. Once they were disoriented, Thyssen took his rifle up into his arms, switched it from "standard" to "sniper" mode and picked off three of them in quick succession, all the while approaching at a slow walk. They were stunned; he could afford to be patient. One of the droids smart enough to readjust its optics got a shot off, but Thyssen merely ducked and dropped it as well upon reorientation.

He shifted his aim a degree to his right and sighted in one of the organic targets that was starting to come back to his senses. His finger was just about to depress the trigger on his rifle for a fifth time when, all of a sudden, the blast doors leading to another private hangar exploded inward. More hostiles. A lot more. A quick survey with his helmet's "detective mode" told Thyssen that they had burned their way into the hangar from above. Not good.

Another text from Xyrna arrived. It read: "Anytime now."

Overwhelmed but thinking fast, Thyssen switched his rifle back to "standard" mode and began opening fire at a less controlled pace into the enemy's ranks whilst simultaneously retracing his steps back to a nearby support column that he could use for cover. The crossfire that Khim generated helped, but not by much. Unlike Thyssen she wasn't wearing any reality augmenting headgear, meaning she had to eyeball the figures through the smoke and dust that now filled the corridor.

"Could use a little help here." Thyssen says, now broadcasting openly since the need for stealth was no longer prevalent. This time he expected a reply -- just not the one he got. From behind him came a roar and a snarl, followed immediately by the surprise appearances of the Cathar known as Karvis and the 7'0" tall, black-furred Shistavanen that Thyssen distinctly recalled getting up close and personal with not too long ago. Together they act as a whirling dervish of fur and pain, sending limbs and blood flying and the enemy falling back in an attempt to regroup.

"You took your sweet time!" Thyssen shouts over the heightened din. "My apologies, Thyssen," Karvis says, "but I couldn't leave my student behind." Thyssen looked back to where Karvis indicated with a mere jerk of his thumb and saw the steadfast young Twi'lek known to all in the KJC as Sweetie following Thyssen's example; utilizing a column for cover and ducking out only when she thinks it's safe to squeeze off a shot from her snubnose blaster pistol. Most of her shots missed, but those that hit were surprisingly dead-on, resulting in kills.

"The party's all here, Red, plus a couple extra."

The doors to the Specter's hangars opened and the ground beneath the largest gathering of invaders was upturned as Dilphi, the Specter's pilot and mechanic, turned the nose-mounted turbolaser upon it. Next came Kearse and Xyrna, the former laying into the enemy like Tekken's Bryan Fury, the latter like an ace Titan pilot.

60 seconds later: "Clear!" "Clear!" "Not yet you're not! Two contacts, comin' in fast from your 6 o'clock!"

The group whirled around just in time to hear Sweetie's scream as the twin (the one on the right in this picture) closest to her attempted to take her head off with a single swipe from a monstrous sword. Thanks to Karvis' training the Twi'lek manages to duck and roll out of the way in the nick of time, but her attempt to counter-attack is disrupted by the Pureblood's sister darting in to deflect the blaster fire astray with a portable high-powered energy shield. Even the volley that Thyssen, Khim and Xyrna send the woman's way is either deflected or outright neutralized. "Frak me." Khim's voice breathes over the comm.

"Time to go!"

Karvis grabbed Sweetie by the arm and shoved her behind him and into Thyssen's protective custody just as the Pureblood with the sword leapfrogged off her sister's shoulders to engage him. Dust flew into the air as the high frequency blades connected with one another, and for the next ten seconds or so it was an all-out struggle for domination. While sustaining some pretty bad lacerations that were immediately cauterized, Karvis was successful in driving his opponent back with a mighty shove of both his blades that he had interlocked into an 'X' in order to prevent his head from being split down the middle.

Hoping to take advantage of the scant few seconds that it would take to reorient herself, "Miss Beast" darted around Karvis and launched herself at the Pureblood who had attacked him. "Your carcass should fetch me a pretty price on the black market! More than enough to help me finance a second ship!" Breaking through the siblings' defenses was easy, but managing to land a hit on either of them seemed like an impossible feat. No matter what the wolf-like alien tried, the Purebloods either blocked, dodged or parried any attack she throws their way!

"That was her ship in that other hangar there?"

Silence fell between the crew of the Specter at that point. Even though Thyssen had taken the time to familiarize himself with the Shistavanen after his bout with her, he hadn't yet grown to trust her. (...) "She's coming with us."

(...)

With only seconds to spare before the ramp leading into the ship finishes retracting, the Shistavanen leaps aboard the Specter. "Hang on!" Dilphi's voice echoes across the cavernous space. The mighty vessel takes off and, with absolutely no regard for collateral damage, turns its nose and port cannons upon the sisters. Alas, even though the fire is sustained for the entire duration it takes for the craft to reach surface level, both survive thanks to that damn energy shield.

They look at one another, exchange a shrug and a "tch" of indifference, and then turn on their heels and retreat back into the base to continue their slaughter.

- - -

The effort to break orbit hadn't been much easier. A nearby enemy Spotter sent word of the launch, resulting in a Drone Swarm being sent after the Lonely Specter. It wasn't a hurtle that was easily cleared, but thankfully the vessel managed to exit Tatooine's gravity well without having to worry about a hull breach of any kind. It also helped that there wasn't a starship of any kind waiting for them in orbit., but that didn't mean that there wasn't one (or more) already en route to intercept them.

"Where to?"

"Anywhere but here."

Unknown to all but those who actually lived and served aboard the ship, the Lonely Specter's astrogation computer was capable of randomly choosing from a vast selection of safe houses that the ship's crew had accumulated during their individual careers and plot the longest course there. The trip wasn't likely to be a fun one, but was a surefire plan to lose any kind of tail that had been picked up.

- - -

Back on the planet's surface: Ardenith and Cirsei would receive one last communication from Thyssen's ship before it vanished from their sensors.

"Don't let anybody tell you the odds. Stay safe."
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#11085088 May 23, 2015 at 02:56 PM · Edited 3 years ago
215 Posts
A man stood atop the roof of the KJC headquarters, sporting this armor (the one on the far right). A distinctly deep Wookiee voice came through the comm in his helmet, to which the human responded with a sigh. "Alright," Henji Fortin's voice spoke back, drab as ever, and he cut the connection. "Stars. Thyssen's ship too?" He asked himself. Time to go.

Through a hatch, Henji entered the top floor of the facility. All around him, yellow-and-black-clad soldiers whirred and ran through the halls, grabbing their rifles and moving to their posts. Cirsei had immediately given everyone the order to guard every nook and cranny of the HQ; except Henji. And he knew why, too. 'Why did I have to be promoted?' he thought to himself. Cirsei had eyes (kind of), ears, and every other sense for assessing threats, and she knew the magnitude of this one. She was going to have to gather her best; her Dragon Guard.

Henji busted through the doors of the main chamber. Naturally, he was late. "Henji!" Cirsei screamed at him from her bedazzled throne at the back of the room. "Where have you been?!"

"Seein' what we're dealing with. They cut our external feeds." The human removed his helmet to reveal this face, and brought himself to the foot of the steps that led to Cirsei's throne. Around him, individuals of note rose from their seats or emerged from their dark corners.

Under normal circumstances, the Dragon Guard would be spread across the galaxy, spearheading operations unfit for the grunt populace that fills most of Cirsei's ranks. While she had a sizable army of vagabonds and ex-military, the Guard was necessary for her to keep her entire sphere of influence afloat. Rarely does the enigmatic red-head crime lord ever call upon these individuals to gather; but rest assured, when she does, you know there is hell to pay.

Enter Rul'kaar. The unofficial strategist of the Guard rose from a chair close to Henji, his specialized bowcaster in tow. The wookiee was one of Cirsei's oldest friends, through -- ironically -- the life debt he owes to her.

From directly next to Cirsei's throne descends Mr. Shade, an overpolite Muun with a deadly sonic blaster. Through Xyrna's recommendation, he was hired as one of the KJC's 'debt collectors' and is now known within the KJC and around Tatooine as The Debt Collector.

From a smoky corner, enter Addelyn Bosk (played by this woman): Inborn leader. Explosive-savvy. Dar'manda. With a rusty set of beskar'gam, a big-ass knife, and a bunch of very effective explosive weapons...well, Cirsei likes a girl with a big personality, after all.

From seemingly nowhere, enter Gand. This one has no name, but finds a home with the KJC and family with the Guard. A tall, lungless variety of his species, he serves Cirsei as a reconnaissance specialist, expert marksman, and intelligence broker.

Enter the behemoth Tino, a Herglic pulled from the brink of death by KJC medics after his owners' ship was boarded by one of Cirsei's slavebusting squadrons. Heavily injured during the initial attack, he required cybernetic supplement and, most notably, a prosthesis for his left hand that (voluntarily) became a miniature ion cannon. With a repeating blaster slung across his back and a knife that most would call a claymore, this guy is unofficial bruiser of the Guard.

Enter Grom'gar, an ex-military Cathar that served under Cirsei's command, and was there during the founding of the Cartel. With his light repeating blaster, he was the last to join in the line of individuals that made up Cirsei's elite.

Cirsei rose from her throne, slowly. "It's not often you all are in the same place at the same time; you're usually in pairs, or going solo." No music played. Just the sound of Cirsei's combat boots striking each step. "This is not a last stand. Nor is it a battle that is unwinnable, and will take a miracle to get through." Step. "You're the best I have." Step. "And you know what you can do when you work together." Step. "Whatever these guys are here for -- I won't let them have it." She reached the floor, and stood with hands on hips in front of her team. "Chances are I'll have some heads to bust even after we beat these guys. But right now, we fight. Failure isn't an option when it comes to protecting our family. Am I clear?"

"Yes, Captain!" The group said as one entity.

"Then I have one thing to say to you sorry kriffin' excuses for a Dragon Guard." The group looked on with confusion as Cirsei removed her red cloth mask and let it fall to the floor. "Time to kick some ass!"

And for the first time in a long while, Cirsei's deep blue eyes shone with a vigor most would think long-dead.
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#11110082 May 30, 2015 at 01:34 AM · Edited 3 years ago
56 Posts
A full meter of Starship hull, featuring a twin-pylon locking centerpiece, weight-counterweight opening mechanism, and a closed-circuit security system. These were the obstacles facing any who dared to attempt to breach the front door of Cirsei's primary base of operations. Getting through meant either serious firepower, patience, or both.

Unfortunately, Handler 2 had both in ample supply. While the fodder and mooks made their way in through alternate entrances, the handler and his operatives set up a means of getting through the apparently unbreachable obstruction. A pair of the operatives, a green-skinned twi'lek and a plain-faced Zabrak began to apply a gel to the door, framing an opening large enough to move through. This gel had running through it a wire, hooked up to a portable generator the pair had set up.

Another pair stepped up beside Handler 2. A pair of humans, a man and a woman.

"Will the Lonely Spectre be a problem, Mountain? Sky?"

The man responded, "Negative. Sword and Pen were already inside."

Handler 2 nodded, apparently satisfied with the answer.

The pair working on the door spoke in unison, "Stand clear, breach commencing." And the gel began to burn as electricity flowed through the wire. In just a few seconds, the outer layer of the door had begun to melt, forming a perfect doorway. It would still take several seconds to make it through the full meter, but not much longer. The pair known as Mountain and Sky took flanking positions on either side of the new opening-to-come.

"Forge, Anvil. Watch our backs, please. Make sure no reinforcements follow in behind us."

The twi'lek and zabrak nodded, and quickly moved to set up a defensive position, using weapon emplacements and deployable turrets. Before they could finish though, the gel completed it's work.

Handler 2 nodded to the pair, and moved to one side. The woman, Mountain, placed a small detpack on the cutout portion of the gate, and gave a large smirk. The man, Sky, mimicked it.

BOOM!

The gate's new opening blew open and in, the pair of operatives moving in quickly behind it...

//\\//\\//

Ardenith did not have the luxury of blowing large holes in walls, or assaulting a hallway with backup en route. He did not have the ordnance or the manpower.

What he did have was a rifle, energy bayonet affixed, and many years of experience as an Imperial Agent...

Cue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeumyOzKqgI

[Intro]
Ardenith creeps down the hallway, rifle in hand as he moves cautiously forward... He approached a corner.

"This is the end..."
Mountain & Sky come through the door, blaster bolts blaring across the scene, striking some of the soldiers that were dazed by the blast of the door. Their falling forms freeze and stretch as the scene shifts...

"Hold your breath and count to ten..."
Ardenith drifts around the corner, rifle coming up, ready to fire...

"Feel the earth move and then..."
A slow zoom onto a blaster pistol, it's power pack resting beside it as it's owner showers on the other side of a white-fogged screen...

"Hear my heart burst again..."
Cirsei sits on throne, looking at her soldiers, a look of incredible frustration on her face...

"For this is the end..."
Mountain and Sky step through a hallway of dead bodies, moving with precision, and heartlessness...

"I've drowned and dreamt this moment..."
Ardenith finishes off an enemy soldier, letting him fall off the end of his bayonet before casually stepping over his corpse, moving on while reloading...

"So overdue I owe them..."
Handler 2 smirking as he steps through the gate's new opening. Appearing to almost revel in the destruction left in the wake of Mountain and Sky.

"Swept away, I'm stolen..."
Xyrna sits in the cockpit of the Lonely Spectre, either deep in sleep, or in thought...

"Let the sky fall..."
Mountain and Sky continue through the hallways, unphased and not slowed in the least by the opposition.

"When it crumbles..."
Handler 2 follows in the wake of the pair of Operatives, hands folded neatly behind his back.

"We will stand tall, Face it all together..."
Cirsei and her men turn towards the doorway, a look of anger and determination.

"Let the sky fall, when it crumbles..."
Ardenith is moving much more quickly down the corridors, rifle held down in front of him instead of forward.

"We will stand tall, face it all together..."
Xyrna smiles at Thyssen just as he appears in the cockpit. Her husband taking the seat opposite her smiling back.

"At sky fall..."
Handler 2 approaches the closed door to the throne room, Mountain and Sky already flanking it. His uncomfortable smile rests upon his face...

[End montage...]

The Lonely Spectre comes up on a port, dark & seedy...
Homo Homini Lupus
For More Often Than Not, We Forget to Act Human to Others
But Still, Despite Our Forgetful Nature, There is Always the Next Day
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#11110108 May 30, 2015 at 01:55 AM · Edited 2 years ago
520 Posts

THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BY A VERY TIRED PERSON. DO NOT EXPECT IT TO READ WELL.

The "port" wasn't just your average port, or even your average shadowport for that matter. It was called the Smuggler's Ear, and it was a place that Thyssen unfortunately knew well. For those of you familiar with the movie iteration of Guardians of the Galaxy, the Smuggler's Ear is more or less Knowhere except in the form of an asteroid the same size that has only one way in -- a single, somewhat narrow passage that resembles an ear canal; hence the name. Thyssen had called this place home in a bygone time, but circumstances...

"You alright there, sugar?"

The man jumped. He hadn't heard the oddity that was Khimerra (real name unpronounceable) approach. A quick glance at Xyrna, curled up in the co-pilot's chair, told him that her presence hadn't fully awoken her. The Chiss was stripped down almost to her underwear (like so) and her black hair & blue skin shone with moisture. Clearly she had decided to take advantage of the shower while they were in transit. Thyssen didn't object. Nobody would. Why would they?

"Yeah," Thyssen said on a sigh. Much like Khim, he too had decided to slip out of his armor and into something more comfortable, which of course meant his usual (and equally iconic) work clothes. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just trying to figure out what our next move is going to be." The Chiss gently patted his shoulder. "I think that's goin' to be answerin' that request from the dockin' authority." She pointed to an indicator light on his console. Thyssen followed the finger, cursed when he saw what she was referring to, and hastened to send out a response. Khim could only snigger, and at that moment Thyssen realized that her peculiar way of speaking - which was something she had adopted during her early years as a Freelancer as a way of attracting customers - carried all the way to her laugh box. An oddity indeed. But what an oddity. Thyssen had to multitask as Khim turned and sashayed out of the cockpit, evidently to get kitted up and ready for deployment.

"You're staring." Xyrna's voice was accusatory. "You would be too, if you took the time to get your head off the armrest." "Not the point."

- - -

It was something of a miracle that the Lonely Specter was allowed to dock. Thyssen and Xyrna's "argument" had been transmitted back to the shadowport's dock masters, and even though it had resulted in more than a few chuckles, it had eventually crossed the line from humorous to unprofessional, which in turn had resulted in a missile lock. Now they were being lead by tug through the canal leading into the interior of the hollowed out planet killer. "So what's the plan?" Kearse asks. He and the others had joined Thyssen and Xyrna in the cockpit. Even Khim was back, except this time decked out in one of her more roguish getups. "First and foremost? Familiarize yourselves with this place, because we're going to be stuck here for a while." When nobody raised a question or objected to this statement, Thyssen continued. "All of us would be fools to underestimate the people behind the attack on the Dragon's Den. Just because the ship doesn't register any tracking devices on our hull doesn't mean there aren't any -- which is why Dilphi here," he indicates the Zabrak, "is going to work with the techs we hire to make sure nothing's out of place." Dilphi nods.

"I'd also like you all to refrain from using the ship's transmitter to broadcast messages to your contacts. Until we're absolutely certain that we're not being tracked or otherwise monitored, we'll need to rely upon the services of the Smuggler's Ear. Given our reputation as a collective and as individuals, I don't think we'll have problems securing the essentials. As for food and lodging? I plan on continuing to call this place our home, but if you personally want a change of scenery then you're welcome to crash elsewhere. Any questions?"

"Remind us again what we're going to do as far as calling in the cavalry goes." Xyrna's tone wasn't curt, but Thyssen did detect a small edge. He knew how she must be feeling right now. Even though they'd had their share of past differences, Cirsei was her sister, and family meant everything to her. "Once we exit the ship we're going to split up and hit every cantina that we can find. A place like this has to be infested with mercenaries just like us, eager to make a quick credit. We interview those that look promising, make note of them, then play a game of 'show and tell' when we meet back up. Except you," he adds, gesturing to the large Shistavanen who stood next to his wife with her arms folded across her bust. His sudden addressing of her caused her eyebrows to shoot up in surprise. "As much as I hate to say it, Dilphi here is going to need someone to remain behind to back her up in case things get ugly. I think I speak for all of us here when I say that you are easily the most intimidating presence on this ship, and I would like to use that to our advantage." Miss Beast snorts, "Fine."

"What about the Four Moons?" Khim asked. Thyssen scratched at his chin thoughtfully. "The recent assimilation of the Thorne crime family into the ranks of the KJC will have made them points of interest to this group we're looking to fend off, since the eldest son has found himself in the precarious position of acting as its Commander and Chief. However..." Thyssen eyes Khim. "It might be wise to get the word out to them. Our enemy might already be planning to take similar action against them, which would be very bad considering they're still in a state of disrepair." He was of course referring to the attack lead by Allynier, which had left the floating stronghold on Nar Shaddaa that the Four Moons called their home nearly incapable of remaining aloft. "Maybe tell 'em to get their asses to the Argo and hightail it to the nearest safe haven?" Thyssen nodded. It was a solid plan. "Then extend an invitation to this intergalactic kegger. Knowin' Gabriel, he'll want to wade hip deep into this trash compactor."

- - -

What would ideally come next would be a montage several minutes long, depicting the crew of the Lonely Specter going here and there, chatting up people, etc. But then suddenly...

"Hello, Thyssen."

Now if this were a movie, this would be the moment when the audience is left hanging with the ultimate tease. At the sound of the voice that'd be obviously familiar to the Krupp brother, Thyssen would whirl around. But before the identity of the person is revealed, we would transition to...

(CONT'D IN NEXT POST.)
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#11112218 May 30, 2015 at 03:57 PM · Edited 3 years ago
108 Posts
The screen arcs back over to the planet of Nar Shaddaa, zooming in quickly onto the Four Moons base. It slides in through the entrance, panning around to Gabe eating a burger, Garrace talking to Syn on the med bays com, and then a man in dark shirt and pants watching with Chef and Thess as Ally played with a little two year old girl on the floor.

"So you still want me to keep an eye on her? I know its been two years now." Kenngri had a voice similar to this. He brushed the scars on the right side of his face as he leaned back and waited for her answer.

Ally nodded, looking from Chef to Thess and then down at her own feet. "Yeah... I think it'd be better if she was with other people. As long as you come to visit with her."

Kenngri nodded, "Course I will. And I'll make sure she's taken care of."
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#11113240 May 30, 2015 at 09:33 PM · Edited 3 years ago
380 Posts
Once Gabriel finishes his burger, he leaves the mess hall, walks down to the garage and starts working on his Speeder bike, He then lights up a cigarette and continues working on his speeder bike. "Hm...Wonder how much a harpoon or a jamming device would cost." He then takes a drag from his cigarette, puts it out, and looks around for some black and yellow spray paint canisters.
"The smew honks at noon."
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#11116879 May 31, 2015 at 09:12 PM · Edited 3 years ago
215 Posts
"Pull up every monitor," Cirsei's rage-filled voice filled her chamber. A uniformed grunt did so, and from the ceiling lowered dozens of camera and data feeds. "Move." She pushed the man from his seat and began typing rapidly. "They disabled our external feeds, but it won't matter once they get in -- and they will." Her piercing blue eyes stared up at the monitors for a moment, deep in analysis. "They took out our main channel, but that doesn't mean I can't make a new one. And...there. We have a network now."

"You know," Bosk interjected, "You're going to need the Moons. With the Lonely Spectre gone--"

"Don't kriffing remind me. I'm trying to handle it." Cirsei sets a holorecorder on the desk in front of her, stands, and begins to speak to it:

"This is Cirsei Altaros. Anyone that receives this message is given the following order: Get to Tatooine as fast as you can, bring everything you have, and expect a war. Krayt's Jaw out."

The woman gripped the recording and stared at it for a moment. "Gand. I need you to get out of HQ, to the nearest outpost, and send this communication to the Four Moons, the Dark Hand, Freedom Zero, and Cabotta Thorne. They want a war, and they're getting one. Oh, and tell Zero to bring the 'big guns.'"

That one salutes his captain, and vanishes from sight.

Blaster fire began to sound from various internal monitors. "Time to go." The six remaining in the Guard took a position, three on the left of Cirsei, and three on the right. The queen and her vassals; the dragon and her minions; the crime lord and her comrades stood in front of the door that led to the conflict. Cirsei breathed deeply, and sighed.

"You know," Henji said, facing forward, "if you die, so does the Cartel. Might be better to play defense from here."

"It's been a while since you've pointed your blaster at a moving target," Grom'gar adds.

A few long, silent moments pass as the half-human, humans, Herglic, Cathar, Wookiee, and Muun stare at the door.

"I'm going to kill one of those kriffers. I've waited too long on my ass. Now someone's at my doorstep, and you want me to hide? Don't make stupid suggestions."

"Point made, Captain." Henji pulls his helmet over his eyes.
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#11116927 May 31, 2015 at 09:32 PM · Edited 3 years ago
51 Posts
Chef leaned against the wall, his arms crossed, cup of coffee in hand. He sips as he watched the child stumble about. He looked over to his fiance, smiling, and said "The little bugger's kinda cute. And pretty soon is gonna be coming. I think it might, ya know, finally be time for us to settle down. Someone's gotta take care of the kid, and Heaven forbid something happened to one of us."

Chef then turned his attention to Kenngri. "Is the little runt yours?" He asked with a smirk, gesturing to the child.
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#11117500 Jun 01, 2015 at 02:45 AM
108 Posts
Kenngri had just started opening his mouth when Ally gave him a kind smile. He looked at Ally, then back to Chef. "Yep, all mine. Gave birth to her and everything. I'm just that fabulous." He said all but the first sentence sarcastically, even causing Ally to giggle.

"Can you give me some water, please Chef? My throat hurts a little..." Ally looked over at him, giving a little pouty lip in her begging face.
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#11124141 Jun 02, 2015 at 04:36 PM · Edited 3 years ago
56 Posts
A voice begins to broadcast itself into Cirsei's throne room. Deep, smooth, and unnervingly calm.

"Queen Cirsei... A shame this could not be done under better circumstances. You may refer to me as Handler 2, and the destruction I have wrought upon your home was not intended for you."

A brief pause, should Cirsei (or her Dragon Guard) attempt to respond, they find themselves cut off.

"My mission here is only for a stray wolf. A former member of Imperial Intelligence who has something we want. I will bring an end to this destruction, at your word. If you deliver unto me this individual, going by the alias Ardenith. Doing so will be rewarded with enough funds and manpower to recover from the damage we have inflicted."

Suddenly, all the world falls quiet as all sounds of combat cease.

"I urge you to consider my offer. For the sake of both of us."

The intercom cuts off... Leaving Cirsei and her Dragon Guard in calm, eerie silence.

//\\//\\//

Gabriel becomes, by degrees, aware of a beeping at his datapad. Apparently, a message is waiting for him. He must have been so absorbed in working on his speeder that he failed to notice it... Strange...

//\\//\\//

Spend your life long enough in hostile territory, and you can feel danger long before you recognize it. Such individuals near Allynier and the child would feel a chill, a tingling at the back of the neck... Something is wrong.

Something is very wrong.
Homo Homini Lupus
For More Often Than Not, We Forget to Act Human to Others
But Still, Despite Our Forgetful Nature, There is Always the Next Day
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#11126475 Jun 03, 2015 at 09:42 AM · Edited over 2 years ago
380 Posts
After checking the message, Gabriel leaves the garage, and bumps into Chef whom he stops "Look, Cirsei's in danger, so I need you and Syn to get all essential able-bodied personnel onto the Argos, except for Ally. We're meeting up on Tatooine, so I want you to have the Argos in orbit there positioned above the Krayt's Jaw Cartel headquarters. Once there you're going to have to send people down to the surface so they can help Cirsei. I'll be traveling there in my ship to buy you some time. This is our paycheck so DO NOT let me down on this."

He then leaves for his ship's docking bay, once he gets in the ship, he goes into the cockpit and leaves the docking bay, piloting the ship until it leaves Nar Shaddaa's atmosphere, he then punches in the co-ordinates to the desert planet and activates the hyperdrive, while in hyperspace, he goes into his room, puts on his armor, and slings a suppressed slugthrower rifle over his back. He then puts on a bandolier of smoke and frag grenades and extra ammo. He then places a couple of smoke flare sticks for the Argo on his belt, adds a suppressor to his pistol, then he tests an Echani made stealth generator prototype. Once he's ready, he heads back to the cockpit, where he comes out of hyperspace.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile Cabotta's crew is boarding the Argos. Cabotta lights up a cigar as he stands at the ship's firing range. He pulls out a pistol and proceeds to fire at training targets with the rest of his crew. Once he gets bored of that, he walks over to the cantina, where he takes a seat at a booth and watches the holonet news. He's then visited by one of his subordinates, who takes a seat across from him. "You think this is a good idea?" "What? Me coming along?" "Yeah. What if you get killed?" "Well...No, Roland, But it's been a while since I've actually fought anything. Besides, we got nothing better to do." "I still think it's a bad idea." "Well...you're not paid to think, now are you?" "No, sir." Cabotta lies down on the booth and closes his eyes "Wake me when we get there."
"The smew honks at noon."
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#11127645 Jun 03, 2015 at 02:49 PM · Edited 3 years ago
51 Posts
Chef nodded as Gabe spoke, a look of confusion in his eyes. Once Gabe walked away, however, he snapped to attention, turning, cupping his hands around his mouth and yelling "Syn! Something's happening! Get to the ship. Bring weapons, this doesn't sound good." He turned to run to the Argos, but stopped, turning around and kneeling down next to Ally.

"So apparently the Universe needs saving again, so I'm gonna run, you stay safe, eh?" He kissed her on the forehead then got up, turning to Kenngri, "You don't happen to fight do you?" He didn't wait for a response, though, jogging toward the ship, and calling back over his shoulder "Bring whatever you've got. We've got some weapons on the ship but I have a feeling we're going to need a lot more firepower."

Chef stopped again, slapping his forehead, making an audible "Doh!". He sprinted back , quickly shuffling through cupboards trying to grab a glass, dropping a handful in the process. He filled a glass and ran it back to Ally, tripping over Kenngri's foot on his way back into the room, spilling the water all over Ally and the baby. He got up slowly, taking a breath, then looking down at Ally, her hair matted and wet. She angry parted the hair that now covered her face, glaring at Chef as the baby began balling. He looked left and right, thinking. He quickly leaned in, pecking her on the lips, then sprinted away toward the ship, yelling over his shoulder "Love you, babe, have fun with the baby!"
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#11127864 Jun 03, 2015 at 03:51 PM · Edited over 3 years ago
520 Posts
Thessia, who had likewise been made sodden by Ched's bumbling, is immediate to adopt a look like this after his quickly retreating back. Did that just happen? Did that seriously just happen? Why that half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder! "I'll be right back with some towels," mumbles Thessia to Ally and the child. When she returned she made a point to avoid making eye contact with either of the cell's occupants. Yes, the child was innocent and all that, but the anger and the pain that originated from Allynier's unprovoked attack on the Nar Shaddaa stronghold several months ago still hadn't fully abated. Thessia knew that it wasn't truly the Echani's fault. After all, the Dark Side can do horrible things to one's mind. But still...

Just thinking about the incident caused Thessia to migrate a hand up to her collarbone, to the spot where a blaster bolt had nearly cost her her life. She sighs. "I'm going to leave you with the guards now, Ally. If you need anything, just ask them."

The stronghold held a skeleton crew now. Whatever was happening must have been serious. Thessia sighs again. Upon returning to her quarters she finds all of her attempts to get work done stymied by her annoyance and curiosity. (...)

"Tatooine?" Thessia mumbles aloud, pocky stick dangling precariously at the corner of her mouth. She had decided to pay a visit to the stronghold's command center and commandeer a console for herself through which she could monitor her group's movements. "Why're they all going to Tatooine?" She frowns, runs a hand through her hair and grunts. Obviously it must have had something to do with Cirsei and her brother's organization. Right? But why else would Gabe deem it necessary to send practically every asset the Four Moons had to the ass end of space? If it was really that bad... She bites her lip. Should she? Yeah.

- - -

Minutes later: Iyo'tress and Mededayya Kojhal, and Qunai Duvallin's personal comm frequencies would ping.
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#11127980 Jun 03, 2015 at 04:26 PM · Edited 3 years ago
108 Posts
"Thanks Thess..." Ally started to dry herself off then the child.

Kenngri sighed as he walked down the halls to the exit of the FM base. Ally had given him a look after Chef had run off again, and he knew exactly what she asked with it. "Please protect my dumb-ass husband." Well, she probably wouldn't have said it that meanly, but that's the way he took it. He had left his ship parked a little away from the base, and he walked off to the speeder to fly to it. Once aboard the vessel he moved quickly to set his course to follow the Argo, to the heat-killing planet of Tatooine.
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#11133350 Jun 05, 2015 at 01:39 AM
334 Posts
There was something growing in his gut as he observed with slumbering, squirming, dreaming two year old son. The blankets were thrown off to the side, the boy murmuring as he tried to grab at whatever only he could see. A smile slid it's way onto the older male's lips. He knew what it was: the warmth of happiness.

With a chuckle, Qunai Duvallin stepped out of his son's room, letting the door slide shut behind him. He gave his C2 unit a shoulder pat, inciting a praise from the golden droid, and strode off to his own little haven. After a day of wrangling his little tyke and keeping him from tampering with his helper, the older Duvallin was due some shut eye. After all, who could say they could handle Fythan Duvallin and not want to sleep? No one. Shut up.

Of course that would've been easy. The buzzing of his holocommunicator on his bedside desk kept him upright as he sat on the foot of his bed. With a pop of the neck, he snatched the little device up and answered the call.

"Qunai here. What's the news?"
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#11135503 Jun 05, 2015 at 04:58 PM · Edited over 3 years ago
520 Posts
The image of Qunai's best friend would then flicker to life before his eyes. "Qunai? Good; since you picked up first you can relay this to Iyo and mother. Somethin' major is happenin' over here. We're talkin' an 'all hands on deck' kind of situation. Gabe's ushered practically everyone aboard the Argosy and shipped them off to Tatooine. I don't know much more than that, but my guess is -- hold on."

Two sounds - an ominous rumbling and a distant scream - had not only drawn Thessia's attention away from her task but had also, for some peculiar reason, caused her projection to flicker. When it corrected itself, Qunai could see that she was no longer facing him, but looking at something that the recorder on her end wasn't picking up. "Hey. Hey! What're you doing with her?" Suddenly there's the sound of a blaster going off, and then the line goes dead.
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#11137528 Jun 06, 2015 at 10:38 AM · Edited 3 years ago
56 Posts
The moment Gabriel Thorne exits hyperspace, and into the space surrounding Tatooine, his sensors go haywire. His instruments start telling him he has no power to his shields, LADAR is telling him there's hostiles literally everywhere, his hyperdrive is out, assisted navigation and landing is telling him he needs to start doing loop-de-loops... And he isn't even in range of the planet to begin landing sequence.

Despite all of this, however, his ship (as any pilot worth his salt could feel) seems fine. Smooth, except for his dials and sensors. If he plans to keep flying towards the base, he's going to have to do it by eye.

//\\//\\//

"Please protect my dumb-ass husband."

No sooner had Kenngri stepped away from Ally, than the pair of guards in the room turned towards mother & child. At first, they simply seem to be standing at attention, but then one of them pulls a small device from their belt as they both cover their eyes, and hurls it to the ground.

A blinding flash and an enormous snap steal Ally's sight and hearing. Confusion sets in as Ally backs away, bewildered by the flashbang's effects. She's unable to respond, right up until the moment she feels a tugging in her arms.

Her child. Someone's trying to take her child.

The tugging grew more incessant. Her eyesight hadn't yet returned completely, a myriad of images and shapes played across her vision like a kaleidoscope. But there was one thing she could do.

No one takes a child from it's mother.

With a scream to rock the proverbial foundations of the Stronghold, Ally knocks the assailants away from her and her child with a particularly powerful blast of the Force.

...That's the last thing she remembers.

----

"He wanted us to steal a kriffing FORCE USER'S child? Sure, give US the hard jobs. Why the hell not? We're just the fodder."

A heavily tattooed human girl, with a thin body, a guard's uniform that was a few sizes too big, and a hair style like this, shook her head as she looked to the child in her arms, and then to the woman sleeping on the floor, an injection dart, that had once been filled with a sleep toxin, sitting neatly in her neck.

"We are not fodder, 12."

A similarly tattooed (though bald) man checked the hallway, he had a bit of gut to him, but every part of him seemed like hard muscle. He had since pulled off his helmet, suspecting few, if any, would just let him walk out with the child of the resident Dark Side-er.

"Whatever you say, Zen man."

The man smirked at the nickname the girl had given him. But now they were wasting time. With a nod to "12" he turned into the hallway and began sprinting out the door, making for the nearest exit. The girl, holding the now-crying baby in her arms, followed in quickly behind.

Many of the other guards that were supposed to be in place were no longer, either paid off, killed, or a part of whatever this pair had planned, leaving the strange pair free to make their way into their destination.

"Hey. Hey! What're you doing with her?"

The pair had ran past an open door, and past the room in which Thessia had set herself up.

A blaster bolt from the man's pistol was her response.
Homo Homini Lupus
For More Often Than Not, We Forget to Act Human to Others
But Still, Despite Our Forgetful Nature, There is Always the Next Day
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#11138467 Jun 06, 2015 at 03:13 PM
334 Posts
"Thess?! Thessia! Kriff." Qunai wasted little time, sprinting out of his bedroom towards the cockpit of his ship. C2 tilted his head at his master's sudden haste, and as he raised a hand to inquire, he got his answer. "C2! Help me with take off procedures, and send a message to Dayya and Snowflake! We're heading back to Nar Shadda, something's wrong."

His sleep clothes would go unused, for now. Slipping into one of the two leather seats at the front, his fingers danced across the console. As C2 copied the message from Thessia and attached it to his rather unpleasantly cheerful 'heads up' to the Kojhals, Qunai pulled his ship up off the ground.

It was time to go.
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#11138880 Jun 06, 2015 at 06:01 PM · Edited over 3 years ago
520 Posts
Cue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECewrAld3zw

Just as the shuttle carrying the turncoats and agents of Handler 2 departed, the already aged and strained stabilizers tasked with keeping the Four Moons' stronghold aloft began to give out with explosive force as a result of the strain caused by Ally's Force Scream.

Thessia came to with a start. A quick glance around the room revealed to her that main power had failed. The only true illumination she would get would come in erratic intervals, whenever a console or other piece of equipment decided to short circuit and spew sparks everywhere. A familiar burning sensation around the stomach region also told Thessia that she'd been shot once again. Yes, because life wasn't difficult enough for her already.

Reaching the doorway was a struggle unto itself. It might have only been a few yards, but she was left gasping for breath and sweating and fighting to remain upright. A simple turn of her head to the right brings another sharp shock to the system. There were bodies on the floor, strewn about in ways that suggested they were killed trying to put up a fight. 'But that's the direction those two went... Oh no!'

"Ally!"

It was almost as if uttering the name were cause enough for an angry deity to slam a fist the size of a mountain against the stronghold, for at that exact moment another stabilizer gave up the ghost, sending it dropping several dozen feet in only a handful of seconds. How many did that leave now? Four? Maybe less? There was no way of telling how long she had been unconscious.

The truly sad fact though, that Thessia at that moment realized, was that there was no possible way for her to save the renovated sky palace now. Even if there were other survivors (and she doubted there were), there wouldn't enough of them left with the technological know-how to aid her in stopping the catastrophic chain reaction that was already well under way. Shit, shit, shit, quadruple shit! There was only one thing left to do, and that was get the only other person she believed firmly to still be alive off of the sinking building.

Another jolt accompanied by momentary weightlessness greeted Thessia along with the unconscious form of the Echani woman when the door to her makeshift cell opened. The Krupp sister cursed but rather than immediately go to Ally and attempt to rouse her, she ripped open the doors to the medical cabinet that had been affixed to the wall right as one entered and proceeded to hastily tend to the blaster wound that she had received. No point in attempting a rescue mission when the rescuer runs the risk of bleeding out, right?

An injection of kolto and one hastily slapped on bandage later and she was good to go. Ally, however, was not. Thessia spoke to her, shouted at her, shook her and even slapped her, but the white-haired woman simply wouldn't stir. Great. "For both our sake's I hope you're as light as you look." Thessia grumbled before throwing Ally over her shoulder in a fireman's carry. She groaned and sagged dangerously to one side as the weight sent a sharp jolt of agony through the wound in her side. Nothing for it. She'd just have to grin and bear it, as it were.

By the time that Thessia and Ally reached the garage, the stronghold was listing with only one stabilizer left to keep it aloft. A quick mental calculation made Thessia grimace. They probably had less than a minute left before the place went into an uncontrolled free-fall -- if they were lucky. "C'mon old girl, just stay with me a little longer. C'mon. Don't let mama down."

There was no room for Ally on Thessia's prized Vectron WGF Veteran, but there was a working air speeder still miraculously left in its bay on the opposite side of the garage. That would have to do. "C'mon." She heaved her in. "C'mon." She turned on the power. "Just a little more." She set it to autopilot. "Fly!"

BOOM!

The speeder soared away from the stronghold just as the last stabilizer self-destructed. The place was now falling at terminal velocity toward the metropolis below. There was no time left. "No, no, no, no, no!"

She made it with only seconds to spare. She could feel the heat from the inferno as it blossomed into life behind her bike, and braced for the shockwave which hit her seconds later, threatening to throw her off course. But she endured. She had to. What else was there for her to do now but endure?

... And somewhere, having watched from afar with a glass of brandy in hand, Handler 2 finally finished singing his song...

(( P.S. I'm assuming that all of the major Player Characters left with Gabe and Chef and are currently en route to Tatooine either aboard their own personal starships or the Argosy, meaning that all those killed during these last few posts were throwaway NPCs. ))
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