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Star Wars THE GALAXY AT WAR PART IV: PRISONER OF CORUSCANT

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by pashatemur, Nov 5, 2010.

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  1. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~OOC~ Deadlines had kept me occupied which hampered my progress here. Since they have eased up somewhat I hope to get things on the move. Hope everyone else is well and keeping safe.

    ~IC~ Captian Dorja
    Location: Chommell Sector - Obligon Nebula/Arrissa's Field - 'Relentless'


    While it may seem to be the ideal hiding place, to be situated between a nebula and an asteroid field does have it’s share of problems, especially when the need arises to communicated over vast distances. Since there was the possibility that the relays had been compromised and the distrust of the ‘Eclipse’, Captain Dorja had arranged an alternative method for a secure transmission. He was grateful that Captain Brandei of the ISD Judicator was nearby and willing to lend a hand in providing a secure relay to the ISD Chimaera that was stationed above Naboo. From the Chimaera the signal was redirected to Grand Admiral Thrawn’s secure location in Theed. The intention was clear, to inform him of the successful outcome of the operation.

    “You did well, Captain Dorja. Ensure that there is no physical evidence of the Ragnarök remaining before you make your way to the Naboo System.”

    Dorja bowed his head to the holographic form of Grand Admiral Thrawn and felt his shoulders relaxed as though a great weight were lifted off him.

    “It shall be done at once, Grand Admiral.”

    “Contact me once you have arrived and await further instructions.” The hologram form of Thrawn flickered as his gaze lingered on Dorja before he dismissed the Captain and his visage faded.

    Dorja was allowed a second to gather his thoughts before another voice, the Communications Officer from the Chimaera, came through the comm. “Communications relay to Naboo via Chimaera will be terminated, Captain Dorja. Will that be all?”

    Dorja swiftly regained his composure, “Thank you Officer, that shall be all.”

    “Good luck, sir.”

    The communication ended and Dorja was finally left alone to his thoughts. He had finally done it, one task remains and then he will be free of this wretched place. A cup of tea would not go astray but that would have to wait for now. Dorja reactivated the comm and contacted the bridge to convey his instructions:

    “Launch a wing of bombers. Have them sweep the vicinity and remove any debris left over from the Ragnarök. Then inform the Stormhawk and Judicator that the Relentless will be leaving the system within the hour. That should give our pilots adequate time to get the job done before we depart.”

    * * * *
    ~IC~ Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo, Lieutenant Garston
    Location: Naboo - Theed

    Lieutenant Garston observed how composed Thrawn was after the transmission with the Captain of the Relentless. Garston understood that Captain Dorja’s mission was necessary to prevent Ragnarök’s secrets from being leaked into enemy hands, however, ordering the loss of the research vessel converted destroyer is not one taken lightly nor taken in vain. Those red eyes flicker and caught Garston’s gaze, he resisted the need to look away as it felt like they had penetrated through to his very mind.

    “Your thoughts, Lieutenant?” The Admiral’s voice was crisp.

    “Ah…” Garston felt his throat tighten. “I am sure Commander Gerard and his team had followed the orders right to the letter. However, do you think that they had recovered more than they should?”

    A thin smile appeared on the Admiral’s lips. “The rest of the conspirators are now under Captain Dorja’s custody. The Acting Captain -Commander Varian, and Pantera Squadron should not give us much grief.”

    “What of Dr. Smith? Should we be concerned about him?”

    “The good doctor’s ambitions are set for new discoveries, not riches in treasures and credits. Commander Gerard had recovered an important asset that cannot be replaced. Will that be all, Lieutenant?”

    Garston gave a nod and looked to the datapads. “Will you want me to continue the follow up with these leads?”

    “They can wait for now, we will have a more prestigious guest to attend to soon.” The red eyes glowed brighter. “The ambassador from the Union, Eddard Dondarion.”

    TAG: Captain Dorja, Commander Gerard, Captain Brandei, open
  2. Jerjerrod-Lennox Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2005
    star 7
    OOC: This post is once again a collaboration between myself and CO, many thanks:)

    IC: Commander Sam Gerard, Cosmon “Cosmo” Rendell, John Royce, Noah Noonan, Dan’el Dennison, Savah Poole-Cooper, Bobby Brigstocke, Nani Kali’iwa
    Location: ISD Relentless

    The explosion had been a sight to see, now the team had made it’s way back home to Relentless. When the shuttle landed, the team were greeted by an honour guard, no doubt laid on for them by Captain Dojra himself, and several Navy troopers stationed at the end of the guard, probably there to take the prisoners to the brig.

    Gerard did not expect any fanfare nor cheering and rightly so. They had basically wiped out an entire crew, people with families, friends, but in the end they were all traitors to the Empire and had to be dealt with.

    Gerard lead the way down the ramp, with the Captain of the Ragnarök loudly protesting behind him and poor Cosmo having to manhandle him down the ramp. The team followed behind the Captain, Savah standing next to Doctor Smith with Brigstocke keeping tabs on him from behind.

    Following on behind them were Noonan and Royce, helping a still groggy Dan’el down the ramp with Nani carrying the rest of the teams bags.

    “Feels good to be home” said Royce “Now that was a tough mission”

    “Poor Dan’el got the worst of it” said Noonan looking around at the scene before him.

    “I told him not to drink before we left” Royce said smiling and nudging Dan’el who only groaned in response.

    “Feels like you’ve got a mountain of drink in these bags” said Nani piping up behind them “What did Royce put in these, bricks?”

    “I think he decided to pack everything, just in case” said Noonan, Royce laughed.

    Meanwhile Gerard had handed over the Ragnarök Captain to the guards, much to his and Cosmo’s relief, the team could hear his protestations as he exited the hangar on his way to the brig to be interrogated.

    “Finally” exclaimed Cosmo smoothing down the sleeves of his lab coat “Never thought we would be rid of him….”

    “Perhaps a night in the brig will cool him off” said Gerard grunting with satisfaction at seeing the poor Captain being dragged away.

    The team plus Doctor Smith had all gathered around near where Gerard was standing, relieved to be home and another mission accomplished, Gerard turned to his “kids”.

    “Okay boys and girls, good job everyone and everyone returned safe and sound. Get some rest and chow time, you all deserved it, and we will be ready for our next mission when it arrives. Savah, please escort the good doctor to the brig please, Noonan, Royce take Dan’el to the medbay to be checked. I’m probably going to have to report to Captain Dorja about today's festivities”.

    “Good luck on that one” said Brigstocke “hope he enjoyed the fireworks”

    The others laughed, Gerard smiled and gestured for the team to head off on their separate ways. The good doctor didn't look too happy about Savah being next to him, but being a fellow doctor, Savah might be able to speak on his level, get some more information about what the researchers on Ragnarök were working on.

    Gerard grunted in satisfaction and headed off to get a cup of caf before meeting with Captain Dorja.
    ****

    Doctor Peter Smith was at a loss. His day had started off how it usually does for him: uneventful and like clockwork, just the way he preferred it. He had inspected the latest developments from the other research teams and was returning back to his own laboratory when that supply shuttle arrived. Dan’el showed up to say hello as he normally did when he made those supply runs but this time he was accompanied by two strangers Smith had never met before… and this lovely lady, very beguiling… and before he knew it, his life got turned around and upside down and now he could not fathom the events that lead him to the deck of the Relentless.

    Savah felt a little sorry for the doctor as she led him with the escort if guards to the brig. She had done her job well, even if it meant using her feminine charms to make sure the doctor boarded the shuttle.

    She noticed the doctor was lost in reflection and wasn't looking where he was going, she waved a dark skinned hand in front of his face to snap him out of it.

    “Hey there Doctor, you awake in there?”

    “B-but what what?” Smith jolted to attention as the motion of Savah’s hand startled him from his ruminations. “Ah yes, yes,” he took off his spectacles and squinted as he gave the lenses a quick wipe with the sleeve of his white coat. “I was just…” he suppressed a grimace and placed the spectacles back on. “...lost in thought.”

    “Thinking about your colleagues?” Savah asked “About your work?”

    Smith nodded somberly. “It is like spending your life building this… ah.. rare collection of knowledge in a database and then having the memory banks storing them purged… ” he glanced down. “Then all you have left is what you retain in here…” he glanced back to her and pointed to his head.

    Savah felt a little sorry for the good doctor, but ultimately she needed to know what they were developing on the Ragnarök that had even Grand Admiral Thrawn worried.

    “That rare knowledge could be useful” Savah prompted “ It could help the Empire immensely”

    “It would go further to increase the survival rate of our pilots and agents in the field.” Smith agreed. “Imagine a time when our standardised starfighters can jump from region to region without the aid of the aid of a command ship or hyperdrive ring and without compromising the benefits they already have… well..” He corrected himself, his hands became more animated as a reflection of his excitement. “We sort of have that ability now with the prototypes retrofitted to Panthera Squadron’s Interceptor’s but that is just the tip. If we could allow the in and output of energy to flow more efficient-Ah, well...” He stopped mid sentence and cleared his throat. “Forgive me, I am blabbering. They don’t really allow us out much nor talk about our work, you see, even amongst each other. Some of my colleagues treat it very competitively and react in an unsporting manner. Some don’t get along and some you have to try and keep apart but are we not shooting for the same common goal to further the benefit of the Empire and its citizens?”

    Jackpot thought Savah smiling inwardly. The Commander and no doubt Grand Admiral Thrawn would love to get their hands on this type of technology, Doctor Smith if he could would create a new weapon in the war against the Rebel Alliance.

    “This technology would be of great use to the Empire” Savah said as they had nearly reached their destination “You would be of great use to us”

    “Ah- thank you, though...” Smith gave her a bewildered look. “I am- or should still be on the Empire’s payroll. I hope I am still of use to the Grand Admiral.”

    “I’m sure he’ll have plans for you” Savah said putting on her best smile “I’ll see to it that my Commander puts in a good word in for you” she winked “Only on one condition though….”

    As they approached the cells, Savah spotted two men standing in front of one of them. They definitely didn't look like Army or Navy guys she noted, more like Imperial Intelligence.

    “Just tell these rather nice gentlemen all you know, and after that you may be suitably rewarded” Savah guided the Doctor towards the cell then turned to the two Intelligence officers.

    “Don’t injure him guys, i’m sure the Grand Admiral and the Captain want him back in one piece”.

    TAG: Captain Dorja, Grand Admiral Thrawn
  3. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~OOC~Always welcome J-L :)

    For this post, the dialogue in blue are excerpts from a previous joint point between Pashatemur and myself. That dialogue is of the new Emperor’s speech, written by Pashatemur.

    I want to wish everyone all the best for this new year! Let's make it a great one :)


    ~IC~ Senator Riyo Chuchi, Baron N. Papanoida, the voice of the new Emperor
    Location: Senate Building, Coruscant


    The senator from Pantora had arrived a few minutes late to the special session of senate. She had spent that morning with selected members of the senate to validate the autopsy of the late Emperor Palpatine. The procedure was not for the faint of heart, several had claimed to feeling queasy throughout the exploratory operation, but it was a necessary discomfort to put up with. Palpatine really was dead and his reign was finally over. The question that now remained on her mind; ‘what shall happen next? Who will take over? What would be the cost?’

    As Riyo Chuchi made her way along the hallowed halls of the grand senate building, there was a buzz in the air from those she passed. She only caught snippets but it was something to do with an arrival of a Togruta. Chuchi paid no mind to it, ‘it must be the rare appearance of Queen Zaa Vashee of Shili’ she told herself. She had heard of tales about her unspoken beauty and how rare it was for her to make public appearances. Since this is an unusual occasion so it must be logical for all this commotion to be going about.

    [“I was asked in the past day to define this state…this Empire and I found I was forced to take a perspective it is, I must admit... not in my nature to visit often. Yet, circumstance has brought me to this pass, as it brings us all.”]

    The unmistakable voice of the Executor, now young Emperor, amplified by the cavernous acoustics of the galactic senate’s dome, filled her ears as she disembarked the turbolift. She hurried along the curved corridor, past several openings to different senatorial pods until she arrived at the assigned pod that was berthed for the representatives of Pantora.

    [“You… and I, we are bound together in what must seem at times a sea of circumstance – the unforeseen death of the Emperor, whose body will lie in state but a few kilometers from this … resilient Senate,”]

    She paused to adjust the golden ornate headpiece and strings of diamonds that adorned her head and that her cascading violet locks were clear of them. All to make herself more presentable for the occasion and not to give away that she had rushed to get here. There were two other figures already seated and she recognised the distinct tall regal hat and robes that belonged to Baron N. Papanoida. To his right sat his daughter, Chi Eekway Papanoida, former Senator for Wroona and currently the newly appointed Chairperson of the Pantoran Assembly.

    [“The sudden and brazen attack that claimed the lives of over 3000 beings in this very edifice, public servants, tourists, citizens about the business of just living – circumstance!”]

    "I am sorry that I am late." Chuchi whispered to them as she took her place beside the Baron.

    "How did your errand go, Senator Chuchi?" The deep rich voice of Papanoida was smooth and thick. Chuchi caught that wily glint in his eyes that told her he knew exactly where she had been.

    [“An Emperor, who took it upon himself to fight at the vanguard of his armies at Kalee and in so doing, gave his life -”]

    "As well as could be given the nature of such assignment.” the corner of Chuchi’s violet lips curled up and formed a smile. She betrayed nothing and whispered. “I thought you were retired."

    [“...we have heard the result of the clinical biopsy on the holo news in urgent release just moments ago; it is a matter of public record: death - a result of global trauma,”]

    “You did not think I would miss out on this special occasion?” Papanoida returned his gaze back to the podium.

    "Did I miss much?" Chuchi’s golden eyes looked to the podium to where the distinguished blue Chagrian was positioned. Moving her gaze across, she recognised the tall central human figure speaking as Vader... to think that a long time ago she once called him friend upon their first meeting on the ice world of Ord Plutonia. How the times have changed over the years during Palpatine’s reign.

    "The war with the confederacy is officially over and that it is time to return to a state of peace.” The Baron leaned his head close, his voice was low enough for Chuchi to hear both him and Vader’s speech as he summarised what she had missed. “He has made so bold as to shed some light on certain liberties that we had unknowingly sacrificed to get to this point.” The Baron chuckled as though he had found something amusing about that. “I feel that there is a change to the winds, subtle so far but no doubt we'll feel the effects of it in time. For better or worse is yet to be known. However, it is clear we are in for interesting times."

    Chuchi nodded as she followed along to the speech.

    [“The Emperor did not inform his commander in chief of his intention to fight, but he did leave his express instruction as to the transition of power in the event of his inability to acquit his command.”]

    However there was an additional figure that accompanied Vader and the Speaker that was not part of the usual session, a female Togruta. ‘Beautiful, yes. However, very natural, that no distinct or elaborate decoration adorn her figure to distinguish her in a way that a member of royalty usually does...’ She leaned forward and glanced to the display that showed a real time close up of the podium, her brow furrowed. ‘ ...but why would the Queen of Shili be situated there…? Wait- Why did she look so familiar?’

    [“It is my duty by both my oath and by archived document, and by the will of the deceased Emperor, I will be installed as your … new Emperor!”]

    Chuchi gasped, but it was not the new Emperor’s words that had caused her to react like that but that of a lightsaber hilt that adorn the Togruta’s belt. “Ahsoka!” She hissed from shock and looked wide-eyed to Papanoida only to get a knowing nod from him.

    ‘It was not the Queen of Shili but Ahsoka Tano all along on that podium... the whole time. The whole time! So it is true! But how can that be?’ Chuchi’s mind raced, she had believed that Ahsoka had died a long time ago during the inception of the Empire. ‘Skywalker’s Jedi Padawan has now returned and standing by his side. Were there more to follow her?’ She couldn’t help but glance back down to the display, she scrutinised the young Emperor and his former apprentice. It was not a trick, that was clear. She looked healthy too and as far as Chuchi could tell Ahsoka was not there against her will. ‘What does this all mean? What is your angle with this? I hope you know what you are doing’

    She could not believe it but knew she had to do her job and focus. She firmed her jaw and stared ahead with the will to push the thoughts of her long lost friend from her mind.

    [“JUST … as any just leader must define his administration, whatever the structure of the state - BE IT A REPUBLIC or EMPIRE- in accord with those whom he serves. Circumstance brought me here, circumstance shaped by you and I. Circumstance is not a gamble, it is NOT LUCK OR FATE OR A HAND OF SABACC, but it is the COMBINED ACTIONS OF ALL OF US, not only those of you who sit here today, but of those who have convened this Senate FOR CENTURIES!”]

    There was a loud cheer that rose up like a storm from the pods about her in response to that statement.

    [“EMPERORS… CHANCELLORS... we die! But …. THE SENATE REMAINS!”]

    Chuchi had to smile, he certainly garnered a brilliant reaction out of them. She leaned forward and rested her chin on the palm of her hand, the string of diamonds at the back of the headpiece clattered together.

    “For over twenty thousand years… through civil war, rebellion, transitions of power, and strife, this Senate has come together – Now I was not trained a politician… I am a strategist - an engineer and I’ve never believed in discarding what works! The late Emperor Palpatine, is dead, this Senate, and this Empire, are NOT!

    ’Is this it?’ Chuchi sat back, sparing a glance to Chi Eekway and her father. ‘Is this where we will find out what to expect from this new leadership?’ She suspected those that were expecting a renouncement of the Empire would be disappointed by that statement alone.

    ”However, NO ONE can deny that the Imperial maze of bureaucracy is both cumbersome and difficult to negotiate. I would not trust my socks to an Imperial laundry! The systems of this Empire, however, do work despite the burden of inept bureaucracy that does a very bad job of replicating local governmental functions. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we need to change it! New model, same basic mold! Redundancies are ballast to be discarded! There are too many ticks on this dog!”

    ‘Now this!’ The Pantoran senator sat up. ‘This would definitely ruffle the feathers.’ Already there was the shuffle of unease from nearby pods. ‘More than just several!’ Chuchi remarked to herself. If the sound of movement was noticeable, clearly there were unease from those whom rose to their position in a method she would deemed to be ‘not so honourable’.

    She looked across to where the Alderaanian Princeling's pod was berthed and watched him for a moment to gauge his reaction to all this. She wondered what her colleague was thinking. She couldn’t quite tell from this distance his exact expression but she knew he was completely absorbed and processing what was being said. But his gaze… she followed it across and noted to herself when she saw where it lead. The Moffs! While she could not make out who was who from her pod’s location in the rotunda, however, there was one distinct figure there she could recognise whom stood figuratively taller than the others; Whilhuff Tarkin.

    ‘How did he became so ruthless? Where does he fit into all this?’ It was common knowledge amongst them that fear and power were Tarkin’s two favourite attributes. He had climbed so high over a short period during the war, he had Palpatine’s favour but now... ’Does he now feel threatened? Or is all this according to plan?’

    TAG: Open
    Jerjerrod-Lennox likes this.
  4. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~IC~ Kaylee and Rowan Halcyon, Ariek and Kal
    Location: Icarus - fifth planet of the Corellian System???
    1 cycle before the incident at Coruscant


    The battered ancient warship had sliced through the cloud layer like a hot knife through whipped butter. The angle of descent was sharp and in some twisted sense; that was the whole point.

    “Fifteen hundred metres and closing.”

    The count continued as their altitude dropped rapidly.

    Kal had situated himself in the command chair with his feet up on the console before him, he looked over to his wife at the helm. “You are actually in control of this ship, right?”

    “Why?” Ariek asked, not turning her head from the display in front of her. Her brow furrowed with concentration. “You fancy a pancake?”

    “Yeah! But for breakfast. Not to be turned into someone else's breakfast."

    "Then shut it and let me fly.” There was a hint of strain in her voice.

    The temperature on the bridge had gotten noticeably hotter. Outside he could see a glow on prow of the ship from the heat caused by intense friction.

    “At least turn the inertial dampeners to max like the rest of the ship. This isn’t a freighter or a fighter that can turn on a dime, ya know.” He muttered only to receive an intense glare from Ariek. He shrugged and protested. “What?!”

    Kal sighed and stared out of the viewport rather than follow along with the instrument on the console panel. A sea of blue outside of the ocean, white specks of the waves grew larger. The ship then noticeably rolled to the starboard side.

    “To the left, sweetheart. A little more to the-”

    “I love you, Kal, but you are really ticking me off!” She cut him off.

    “Five hundred metres!”

    Kal felt the weight of gravity press against him as the view outside started to level out. Vibrations pulsed through the deck.

    “Three hundred metres.”

    There was the horizon line! Some landmarks in the distance too! They were almost-

    “One hundred-”

    “SHIELDS! REPULSORS! JETS! GO!” Ariek cried out. “CUT THE SUBS!”

    There was that sensation of rapid deceleration, the deck vibrated harshly and crew members held onto their stations. There was a jolt that forced them to lurch forward, Kal’s feet slipped off the console and outside a great wave wash over the viewport. They could not see anything but water. Counting the seconds, they all held their breath then finally the water washed away and the sky cleared above them. They were still flying! Settling back on the command chair, Kal sighed with relief and turned his head to see Ariek with a broad fixed grin staring at him.

    “The look on your face!” She said with amusement and chuckled. “We are crusin’ now.”

    “Yeah, sure…” Kal shook his head and brushed his hair back with his hand. “For the record, next time I will do it!”

    “Sure, take the fun out of it by using the Force why don’t cha.” Ariek scoffed. “I know you!”

    Kal nodded to the islands approaching from the distance. “Traded one tropical locale for another. Think Rowan is sending us hints?”

    “Probably wants a second honeymoon… come to think of it, don’t even think they had their first yet.” Ariek shrugged as she gingerly eased the ship onto its flight path. “Still, better than desert or snow to gather resources in. Anyway, best to wake the lovebirds, let them know we are about to arrive at our destination.”

    “Yeah, I’ll get right on that.” Kal murmured as he activated the com to page Kaylee and Rowan. There was no response. He frowned as he tried again with the intercom to the navigation module of the ship. It was off. “Looks like I have to do it the old-fashioned way.” Kal huffed as he stood up and left the bridge.

    The door whooshed open as Kal entered the navigation centre. His eyes were automatically drawn to the two figures by the holodisplay. He witnessed both Kaylee and Rowan had an arm around each other, hush whispers were exchanged between about something Kal could not pick up as they were deeply engrossed over the holographic charts. It was clear to him that they did not notice his presence.

    “Rise and shine!” Kal called out.

    Startled, Kaylee and Rowan both popped their heads up together from the map like two sand panthers caught nuzzling each other.

    Then came a noticeable shudder through the deck, usually associated with the landing gear touching solid ground. “We have arrived at the designated landing site.”

    “Designated?” Kaylee regained her composure, brushing a rogue lock of blond hair from her face. “As in you have spoken with port authorities?”

    “Eh.. ah no. Ariek just found a suitable spot at the location Rowan had suggested.”

    Rowan nodded and stood up properly. “If memory serves me well, the density of the jungle on the island is enough to hide a vessel this size.”

    “Way ahead of you.” Kal grinned.

    “Great! Well… we… Rowan and I have been planning our next set of moves.” Kaylee pulled away from Rowan’s side to reveal the topographical charts they were studying. “As you can see, there is the possibility of a settlement on the other side of this jungle. About a half day’s journey on foot.”

    “Kaylee and I will scout ahead and confirm that.” Rowan added. “I trust you still have my comlink frequency.”

    “Yeah but do you still have your comlink?” Kal glared and folded his arms in front of his chest.

    Rowan frowned at that remark.

    “Never mind, I will have mine.” Kaylee saw the exchange and placed a hand on both Rowan and Kal to settle that issue. “Once you have confirmation from us, send a handful of the crew to gather and barter for fresh supplies.”

    “Also Kal, if this place is definitely Selonia then expect Kaylee and I to catch a ferry directly to Corellia.” Rowan said as he stepped away from the charts. “Timing is of importance and I need what crew we got here to concentrate on getting the Icarus back to being shipshape rather than to take us further.”

    Kal shot him a perplexed look. “So you do not want the Icarus to take all of us over?”

    Rowan shook his head. “Call it intuition or gut instinct but until we know for sure, I do not want to bring further risks to the ship and crew. You should be clear here to get repairs done in peace.”

    “Fair enough,” Kal shrugged, “it is your call. Just let me know when we are needed and we be there like a shriekbat from hell!”

    “Thank you, Kal.” Kaylee smiled and then looked to Rowan. “We best get ready if we are to arrive before sundown. I want to double check our stores quickly before we go. I will meet you at the ramp in twenty minutes?”

    “Sure thing.” Rowan bowed his head slightly to her. “Be sure to dress cooly as it be hot outside.”

    “Will do.” She smiled and gave him a kiss. “I will see you in a bit.”

    Once the door had closed behind Kaylee, Kal laughed out loud.

    Rowan shot him a perplexed look. “What has gotten you amused?”

    “The way you watched her leave just now,” he nudged Rowan with his elbow. “You should ask her out.”

    “Out as in dinner out and dating?” Rowan arched his brow. “I guess you do have a point… Kaylee and I need time to ourselves and to be ourselves.” Rowan sighed and shook his head. “When we have time and all is settled, we will.”

    “No, sooner than that! You aren’t responsible for everything and everything does not fall squarely on your shoulders. Many hands make light work. Share the load.”

    “I tell you what. Since you insist...” Rowan smirked.

    “Ah man. Why do I feel like I just put my foot in it?” Kal groaned.

    “Because you did. Now there is something I want to run by you to and to check out while Kaylee and I are gone.” He drew Kal’s attention to the charts. The holographic display showed off the immediate region. The terrain was like half of a broken shell, bordered by hills and sharp peaks that jutted out of the ground like teeth. It all sweeps down into a valley dressed by thick jungle and continued down the south-east to the coast. “This is what I’ve dug up from our time preparing for the Corellian Campaign…”

    Kal pointed to the heart of the jungle. “From what I could tell out the viewport, that is how the terrain was where we have landed. Give or take some variations and such. We did not want to risk alerting what devices they might have if we turned on our scanners to get an accurate reading of the terrain. Ariek will be assembled a team to go outside and drag the cameonets over the ship to blend us in better.”

    “Excellent work.” Rowan looked quite pleased with their progress. “So you are definitely sure the terrain outside matches the charts?”

    “Give or take…” Kal shrugged. “Close enough I guess.”

    “Okay, so then we know there is a settlement which rest near a network of caves to the north. That is where Kaylee and I are going to head to. Since we are working under the assumption that this is Selonia... there should be an old CorSec safehouse over here.” Rowan pointed to a trailing path about three klicks to the west from where they had landed. “There is an underground bunker, supplies, weapons cache, communications… you get the idea. The entrance might be hard to find so take one of the survey teams with you but to enter you will need a passkey.”

    “And I assume that you have the key?”

    “Ah… yes and no... they are all unique and the one I have is tied to my identification, my old callsign. Once you have used the key, it will send an encrypted message to CorSec HQ on Corellia to notify the sector chief. Maybe you can get a hold of Becca or J.P through there.”

    “Great, I get the idea. So what is this passkey?”

    “I ah… can’t remember.”

    “You can’t remember? Then what good-”

    “I know, I know!” Rowan cringed. “I wrote it down in my personal journal. That journal was onboard the Raptor’s Fury when it was destroyed over Corellia when the Avalon was taken out. I have been trying to remember with no success.”

    “Ah..” Kal rubbed his chin. “All is not lost then.

    “If you are thinking about slicing through, it would take a long time and might trigger the anti tampering security.”

    Kal shifted uncomfortably “Not that. We… kinda… well.. I want you to know it was all Ariek.”

    “What was all Ariek?”

    “Remember that time on Hapes with Mara and ah-”

    “That mad house!” Rowan cursed under his breath as he cringed again and shook his head. “Do not remind me of that place,”

    “Ariek snagged a copy of your journal from your ship while she assisted in remotely getting your freighter out from impoundment.”

    “Ah…” Rowan gave him a stern look and then softened. “I can pretend to be furious but in this case I am grateful. I suppose it is not a bad thing for someone to know my history even though it raises an issue of privacy. The entry you need is the date of my graduation to Knight and under the same year we had first met.” Rowan turned back to the charts. “Okay, take a team with survey equipment with you to find the entrance just on the off chance that it is buried. Got it?

    “Understood and I will keep you appraised of our progress when it develops.

    “Thank you,” Rowan smiled. I best get ready and meet Kaylee.”

    * * * * * * * * * *

    It was not long before Kaylee had checked the stores and changed into more appropriate clothing for the upcoming trek through the jungles. Gone were her dark leather attire and now sporting tanned trousers and kingfisher blue tank top. She had found a matching blue shawl with embroidery in golden stitching to wrap around her shoulders and if necessary protect her head from the sun. She wished she had more of a selection from the limited wardrobe onboard the Icarus but they would do.

    Satisfied that she was all set, Kaylee shouldered a rucksack and left to check on her patient before leaving Icarus. Se’Iva laid unconscious in the infirmary alone and surrounded by monitoring equipment. Kaylee checked Se’s vitals and noted their levels on the datapad. She was stable and her brain activity matched that of someone who was in SWS. Maybe she was asleep after all? Kaylee wondered as she gazed at her serene form. The cuts and bruises on her body were healing and the wings were setting. She certainly deserves a rest after the ordeals she had been through.

    Kaylee sensed movement behind her, glancing to the pad to see a familiar reflection off the display. Closing down the datapad, she placed it back and turned to face Rowan.

    “Wondered how long it would take for you would show up.” Kaylee said to Rowan, who was sporting garb that was common amongst Corellian freelancers. “Come now, we have to head off.”

    “Yes.” He said as he came to stand beside her. His gaze was focused on at Se's restful form. “Though It is hard when needed in several places at once.”

    "She is strong, trust in her and her faith in you." She whispered and found his hand. "She is a fighter and resilient, we both know how hardy she is."

    Nodding, Rowan still didn't move.

    "I need you..." Kaylee whispered, “...Min larel.”

    Blinking, Rowan turned his head to her and smiled. “You have me, min larel.”

    "There is nothing more you can do for her now, my staff will tend to her every need possible."

    "Thank you" Rowan whispered.

    “No need to thank me.” She smiled as she heard the sincerity of his gratitude and squeezed his hand. "Are you all set?"

    "Ready when you are." He smiled as he watched her lift her shawl onto her head and brought the ends around her shoulders.

    “Okay, then we’re off like a bucket of eels!”

    TAG: Open, To Be Continued...
  5. TheAdmiral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: Long time since I have posted anything :D

    IC: Investigator Cyrus Teg
    Various locations in Kala City, Kaladan
    Several hours before the blockade of the Union

    Cyrus strolled slowly towards the exit of the park. This meeting that he just had left him with even more questions than answers. Up to this point he had been dragging his feet as the case of duke Leto’s death was straightforward and there was hardly any room for an actual investigation. He was only uncovering some minor details but the fact that he was not allowed to go to Giedi Prime (the Ordonnen homeworld) and also the denial of access to their archive and practically made the investigation pointless. He had been on the verge of making things up to boost his prestige and artificially inflate his image. At this point the public would believe anything and probably the CSS, Castle Kaladan or the Kaladanese Government wouldn’t deny it to avoid the complications. He knew of such cases from history so Cyrus was pretty confident of the success of such an endeavour. Luckily for him and the population he was given a real task. One that might provide some tangible results. The Investigator’s guts told him that both cases were connected somehow and that this time he will get all the clearance he needed. Though the latter was more of a wishful thinking but the duchess’ signature along with the fact that it was given to him by a CSS agent (probably very senior one as well) gave him high hopes.

    It must have been a punch in the guts for the State Security not to be the prime investigators and the case to be given to a simple Kaladanese Police Investigator. Though this concerned him a bit as they might become a direct threat or at least a hinderance. Cyrus hoped that at least the Inquisition and the Bene Gesserits will stay out of this. It was too complicated as it was without their interference. Moreover they will most likely turn the investigation into another farce as always. These two organizations, in his opinion, were highly inefficient and even could be considered redundant with their narrow mindedness and petty bickering. The thing was that he couldn’t share this opinion with most people without risking unwanted attention to himself. Which was probably the most dangerous thing that could happen to him, even more dangerous than the regular encounters with criminals.

    A feeling was nagging him. There was something missing, an important clue a piece of the puzzle. The good thing was that this case will be the greatest he ever had. Probably one of the most important cases in the whole Union history. There was a chance that it will be as important as the case where Investigator M’koll uncovered a secret cabal within the Union or the one where Investigator Hark discovered a Sith cult. Cyrus was sure that he will make a mark on history.

    The sky was getting darker with each passing moment. There will be snow that night, at least that was what the weather forecast had said. He couldn’t wait until summer. Cyrus hated the cold and gloomy winters. But this was part of the natural cycle so there was nothing he could do to change that. He will have to endure walking around in the cold. These were the vagaries of his profession. The alternative - a boring desk job equally, appalled him so there was that.

    Cyrus loved his job and he was good at it despite all the rumors and blatant lies regarding his background. Back then, when he met his future wife Koraline, he didn’t know that she was his boss’ daughter. He only found out the truth when she brought him with her to present him to her parents. Needless to say it was a very awkward dinner. At that point for him she was just another medical student. Now she was a very respected and successful surgeon down at Maryon Atreides General Hospital and also a professor at the medical faculty of Kala City University. Both were the most prestigious institutions on the planet in their respective fields. He was proud of her, even though he rarely showed it. In the past few years they had grown cold and distant from each other. To make matters worse Cyrus had had some brief extramarital affairs. Though as he tried tried to justify his actions he managed to find a suitable excuse - their rather frosty relationship with Koraline. Unfortunately she knew about this all along, this made him even more uncomfortable, but to her credit didn’t say anything nor did anything rash. He was sure she remained faithful despite all the opportunities that were present at the time and that he had hurt her deeply. Even to this day he didn’t know how to make amends so they carried on in order to save the family for the sake of the kids.

    They both loved their children deeply, one of the few “common points” in their relationship. They both tried to conceal the situation from them, but they are sensitive enough to find out that things are not exactly what they seem to be. The fact that they both were almost constantly away from home didn’t improve the situation. They had three children: the two youngest ones Jorj (a boy, 10 years of age) and Marie (a girl, 8 years of age) and a young man in his late teens called Tobias. So for their sake they decided to save the family. Cyrus was curious whether Koraline had told her father, the Chief of Police and his boss, what he had done. Though he supposed that he would have found out one way or another. For now there was no indication that the old man knew. If that was the case, Cyrus was grateful to his wife for concealing the fact. Furthermore this would have increased the animosity between him and his boss. Not that their relationship was stellar by far.

    Hopefully the resolution of this case will decrease the tension between them and would make his career go forward. All in all, despite the fact that he was a hero Cyrus was not well accepted by his family and people close to him. Possibly the only person with whom he had a close tie was his partner, Jimmy "the Junior" Bates. The boy joined the police some years ago, fresh out of the academy, and probably due to the fact that someone must have hated him was appointed to Cyrus Teg, the hero troublemaker. Not much of a promotion, given the fact that everyone tried to create obstructions in their investigations.
    As if taken from a police film cliche their first days were a bit bumpy but after a while they managed to get along well and even formed something resembling a friendship. Cyrus still wondered why the young man was still with him but was grateful that he remained at his side. He was curious how Jimmy will react to the news that their task had been changed. They had been frustrated for the last few weeks and now some development at last.

    Cyrus approached the parked speeder. It was a standard one for the investigators - medium sized in dark blue color. Jimmy was leaning on the left door drinking what appeared to be a cup of coffee from the warm drink dispenser nearby. It was his third this day, sometimes Cyrus wondered how the boy even slept after taking so much caffeine. Though their job involved a lot of overtime and a lot of sleepless nights so Cyrus guessed that partly it was his fault. The harm had been done and considering the nature of their new case there will be even more working overtime.

    Jimmy took another big gulp and squished the plastic cup and threw it in the recycle bin nearby missing it by a few centimeters. The boy swore silently and went slowly to pick it up and to put it in the bin properly. Cyrus snorted in amusement and shook his head as he approached the speeder.

    “Protecting the environment, eh?”

    “Every man has to do his duty!” he replied with a mock indignation.

    Cyrus smiled and shook his head. “Come on, we have to go...”

    They both entered the speeder, this time it was Jimmy’s turn to drive. The engine purred as it was ignited followed by a subtle vibration indicating that everything was alright. The radio went on as well, drowning them in the fast beat of the current generation of music or whatever the young people called that noise today. Jimmy of course loved this style so Cyrus had to bear listening to it. He could hear the high-pitched voice of a bimbo “singing” about things that she probably didn’t understand. He doubted that even her audience understood it as well but that was an entire matter. Jimmy hurried to turn it off as he knew that they were not supposed to listen to it so loudly as they could miss a call from the station. Cyrus chuckled and shook his head again.

    “One day you are going to get us into trouble...”

    Jimmy grinned at him.

    “Yeah, but not today.”

    Cyrus indicated at the road ahead of them.

    “Watch the road.”

    Junior nodded as he looked back at the indicated way.

    “So...” he paused trying to find words “... how was the meeting?”

    Cyrus sighed and put the folder and the papers on his lap. He tapped the yellowish folder sporting a red stamp TOP SECRET and the Atreides’ seal. He activated the scrambler, one can never be too sure that the car was not bugged again. Cyrus had checked for bugs every day, but after the fourth one the opposing force got more creative. Before the meeting he managed to find one but he was not sure.

    “You know what this is?”

    “Nope...”

    “This...” he paused “...is our new mission.”

    Jimmy frowned.

    “New mission? What about the last one?”

    “Yeah, I know, but if the things that the man told me are true our previous case was a part of a much bigger one… We are hunting the Enlightened.”

    Jimmy bursted out laughing.

    “Yeah, right, then we are going to go after the bogeyman?”

    Cyrus was silent. Jimmy looked at him.

    “You are serious, aren’t you?”

    “Yes...and please mind the road. We need to survive this.”

    Jimmy nodded, blushing slightly.

    The traffic was heavy as hardly anyone wished to walk at this weather. There were some flurries flying around, soon there will be snow. Good news for the children and bad for the parents who will have to stay with them in the cold.

    “The mission was signed by the duchess herself, so I guess this time we will have all the access we need.”

    His partner whistled.

    “Nice.” he said as they passed a holo billboard with Her Ultimacy on it “Do we get to meet her?”

    Cyrus snorted in amusement. He knew of the boy’s crush on their leader.

    “Ask your girlfriend to arrange something.”

    Jimmy’s girlfriend, Amberley Vale, was the duchess’ personal aide. She got picked right from the university for this job and they still wondered how did this happened. It was surprising as she is highly introverted and despite being highly intelligent she lacked some social skills which made her an odd choice for an aide. It was also a mystery how she hooked up with Jimmy boy. He didn’t believe the story that they just met in a game store. Though as he came to think about it the “how” was not important. What was important was the fact that they loved each other and were happy together, despite the fact that Jimmy tried to make himself appear as not so involved in the relationship. Cyrus could see the small hints and signs as clear as day, but pretended to play along. After all the boy needed his self confidence…

    “You know that she can’t do that.”

    He knew that, after all you can’t meet with Her Ultimacy without having a good reason. Cyrus had met her father once when the man gave him the medal for capturing the bad guys.

    “Yeah, well maybe this time we might get lucky.”

    He saw Jimmy grinning.

    “Don’t get any ideas...” Cyrus added. “Besides, she will like me more than you.”

    Jimmy laughed out loud.

    “You wish, old man!”

    “I might be old, but still got charm.” he then became serious again “Anyway, we have to find a safehouse to set up camp. We can safely assume that if the Enlightened exist they surely had infiltrated our forces. Though I doubt that our investigations will go unnoticed for long.”

    “Yeah, I can check for an apartment for rent, somewhere out of sight.”

    “Try not to get one someplace seedy.”

    “I am not promising anything.” Jimmy paused “An off-topic question, do you know whether that duo Katya and Yavo will be coming to your brother’s club?”

    “Talk about change of topic.” Cyrus laughed again. “And the answer is, no, I don’t know and I don’t care.”

    His brother, Valerius Teg, owned a nightclub down at “Vice City” area called “Elegance” which was ironic as the people who went there after spending some time were everything but elegant. Cyrus knew that his brother had some illicit connections but could not prove anything, nor he wanted to. He had an irrational fear that the rumors about his family will be true and that he will be a fool not seeing the truth in time. At least his brother gave him some crumbs of information about the underworld presented as pieces of gossip that he had heard in the club. Cyrus wondered why his brother was not prosecuted by now, if the rumors are true. There was something in all this that worried him. Some day he will have to muster some courage and start an investigation. But not today…

    Something caught his attention, the traffic on their side of the boulevard had stopped and the speeders on the opposite side were hurrying forward or moving to the side. Cyrus frowned. What was going on? The answer followed a few second later as a military column containing tanks, Armored Personnel Carriers and trucks carrying soldiers rumbled by them.

    “What the...” this was from Jimmy.

    Cyrus rolled down the side window as he thought he heard something. He was right. The air raid sirens were wailing throughout the city. What was going on? Were they suddenly under attack?

    The comm. channel suddenly crackled.

    “Be advised, the Union is under siege by outsider forces. Martial law is in effect. All units stand by for instructions.”

    Cyrus opened the door and stepped outside. The roar of the engines of the military vehicles was deafening. People were going out from their speeders as well, looking confused and worried. He looked at the next intersection as soldiers were setting up roadblocks. Was the duchess dead? Was she captured? What was going on? He heard the comm. channel crackling again followed by the same emotionless female voice.

    “Hey man, something came up...” came the voice of Jimmy from inside.

    Cyrus frowned.

    “What?”

    “I’m sorry, the old man got killed...”

    “Oh...”

    To be continued
    Last edited by TheAdmiral, Feb 17, 2014
  6. Eme-ma_Himou Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 29, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: Well... hello all. :)
    SithStarSlayer likes this.
  7. Jerjerrod-Lennox Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2005
    star 7
    OOC: This post is another collaboration between myself and CO, many thanks:)

    IC: Commander Sam Gerard, Captain Rickard Dorja
    Location: Captain’s cabin, ISD Relentless

    Dorja sat in his cabin, awaiting news from the bombers and thought, was it the right decision? Yes, yes it was but did his people think so? If there was a button, he would have pushed it himself than to order someone else to execute such orders. These people were trained professionals, they were drilled and were prepared to handle such scenarios and the collateral damage that happens during times of war.

    They will come around… no need to feel pity as the enemy certainly didn't. Nor remorse for that matter. This war would be so much easier against the droids. Loose lips, scuttle ships. They had to stop a potential leak to prevent more of their own from being needlessly-

    There was a chime at the door. He glanced to it, wondering what it could be then he remembered.

    “Come in.” He said and smiled when he saw his friend enter.


    Commander Sam Gerard entered, watching as Captain Dorja smiled at him. Luckily the Commander had managed to grab a cup of caf before his datapad pinged him with a message to say that the Captain was ready to debrief him.

    Dorja was also one of his closest friends, even though he outranked him they still shared a friendship that had lasted decades. They had been friends since the Academy, and while Dorja had gone into the Navy and had a family, Gerard remained a loner and joined the Army.

    Gerard and his team had a reputation for never failing a mission, Gerard recruiting his team based on their skills and requesting some of them be transferred from other ships. Young Noonan was only just a couple of years out from the Academy.

    Dorja had requested Gerard join the Relentless in part due to their friendship, in part due to Gerards reputation as a skilled leader. He wouldn't have had it any other way.

    Ever the consummate professional, Gerard did not acknowledge the smile, instead he strode to the Captain’s desk, snapped to attention and saluted.

    “Commander Sam Gerard reporting for debriefing” he then smiled looking down at the Captain “sir”

    “At ease Commander,” Dorja returned the salute and then gestured to a chair. “I am sure you would rather not stand on ceremony for me after what you had been through today. Ah… first things first...”

    Dorja stood up and walked over to the matching rosewood cabinet at the back corner of the cabin and unlocked it. Always a stickler for rules and regulations on board a military vessel, Dorja did have one exception; fine dining and all that encompassed it. It was a guilty pleasure born from the nobility of his family on Coruscant. He pulled out two small crystal glasses and a matching decanter containing a dark liquid. The stopper made a small whomp noise when Dorja removed it and filled one of the glasses to halfway. He turned to Gerard and held up the glass. “May I offer you a sherry, Sam?”

    Sam took a seat and nearly sighed with pleasure at finally getting to rest his aching bones, he wasn't getting too old for this….yet.


    “The more the merrier” he responded “I think we both deserve a drink after all that has happened.”

    “Quite right.” Dorja agreed as he handed Gerard a glass and then poured one for himself. “To the more simpler things in life…” He raised his glass as a small toast. “...and to good friends to share it with.”

    “Indeed, and to the Empire” responded Sam, sipping the sherry and feeling the liquid warm him up after the coldness of space, “And I have to say, it’s nice to have a break from all this running around”

    “On the contrary, I was going to say that all this action is a nice change from the waiting around and constant drilling to keep our edge sharp. Mind you, you and your team were the ones that had to do the running.” Dorja sighed and grimaced slightly. “It would have been better if our targets were the true face of the enemy, the Confederacy or something. Unfortunate business that it was one of our own to be taken down for acts of treason.”

    Gerard took another sip of his sherry, gathering his thoughts together.

    “Like you Rickard, I wish it was the same, however orders are orders, treason needs to be punished, and unfortunately the penalty is death” he took another sip “No doubt their deaths will be for nothing though, hopefully the analysts are sifting through the data now and we can find out what it was they were working on”.

    “Or records of who they were dealing with on the side.” Dorja added and took a sip. He enjoyed the warmth the liquid brought on as it went down. It was soothing and he felt years of pent up frustration leave him, his duty here on the fringes of the Chommell Sector’s border were finally over and the Relentless would at last return to civilized space. “They had it coming. The impudence and arrogance of Captain Eclipse had escalated the situation and Commander Varian is as guilty as she is...or was.” Dorja was quick to amend his own sentence.


    The interrogation of Panthera Squadron was still carrying on and so far it was believed that Captain Juno Eclipse had perished with her starfighter above Naboo when the Imperial Admiral John Thaw had fired upon her. None of this should have happened if everyone followed correct protocol! But it did happen and it was over and they’d have to clean up the aftermath. “Don’t get me started on those that operate outside of the Grand Admiral’s protectorate. The last thing we need right now is a civil war to tear this Empire apart.”

    “I agree” replied Gerard “The last thing we need is a civil war, we should focus on those who really need our attention like the Rebel scum. Besides traitors are the last thing we need to-”

    His datapad then beeped, signalling a message. Sam pulled it out of his jumpsuit pocket, apologizing to Dorja as he read the message. Savah had just sent her findings from her conversations with the good doctor, and she’d come up trumps.

    “Rickard, you’d better take a look at this” he said passing the datapad over the desk to his friend “My medical officer just got this juicy bit of news from Doctor Smith”

    Dorja frowned as he took hold of the datapad from Gerard and read the contents. His eyes narrowed at certain keywords from what Smith had divulged. “That witless wonder.” he muttered under his breath about the scientist and then returned the pad to Gerard. “On the surface it appears that Doctor Smith is clueless about the situation and had been more focused on his work to realise what was really going on over at the Ragnarök. I suppose that is a good thing we save an honest man from being punished with the others but further questioning is required to know if his innocence is genuine.”

    A thought crossed his mind and he frowned again. “However, playing devil’s advocate here. It could be misdirection. He did not let slip of any other new developments and the retrofitted prototype fighters he spoke of were already known to us from their flight exercises they performed in the asteroid field. Unless he was referring to the next phase of development beyond what we know.”


    Dorja leaned back in his chair, his gaze focused on the contents of the glass in his hand. “Though, Panthera Squadron’s Interceptors are now in our hands, that is one bit of technology we can salvage from this ordeal... the Grand Admiral’s orders permitting of course. I had them transferred to deep storage while the pilots are in our custody to keep them safe.” He looked back up to meet his friend’s eyes. “I still cannot believe the nearsightedness of those pilots. To allow Imperial military experimental hardware be freely handed to citizens of the Union to pilot shall be a mark on their record!” Dorja drained the last of his drink. “Regardless of the situation they were under, the risks were too great. Even though we recovered them safely, who knows what they might have picked up from that limited exposure to those Interceptors.”

    Gerard listened intently, draining the contents of his glass as Rickard spoke.

    “These Union chaps sound dangerous,we should not in any circumstances give them any piece of technology, especially these prototype fighters and whatever Doctor Smith was working on” he shrugged “Hopefully Doctor Smith will reveal on about the Ragnarok, until then we will just have to wait on what the Grand Admiral wishes to do next”

    “That shouldn't be too long if all goes according to schedule.” Dorja allowed a small smile. “Once the remains of the Ragnarök are swept away we shall set course for Naboo and leave this blasted location for good.”


    “I’ll drink to that” said Gerard raising his empty glass “I’ve always fancied a trip to Naboo” he set his glass down on the desk “Before I head off, I just need to ask, how’s the family?”

    Dorja smiled at his friend, now there was a subject that can put his mood at ease. “It would be good to spend some time with Amelia, she hates me being on these long term missions. Mother is doing well though the old Admiral has still not come to terms with his promotion to a desk. It is clear he misses the routine and rituals that come from the command of a ship but I know he makes a fine instructor for those rookies... I know he was joking about resenting the younger officers and recruits at the academy…” He chuckled, almost to himself ”...just don’t repeat what I said about him otherwise it would ruin his reputation for being a cantankerous old fossil and I will never hear the end of it.” Dorja leaned back in his chair. “How about yours, Sam?”

    “My lips are sealed old friend replied Gerard with a wink.

    “Well Father is still teaching Army recruits, like your old man he likes to joke about the younger recruits calling them “whippersnappers”. Mother is still helping my brother Colin with his art exhibits, he’s hoping to go to the next Art Expo on Pantolomin next month. His wife and kids are still doing well, got a video message last week from the kids, they really are little sweeties”

    Gerard paused with a slight smile on his face remembering his nephew and niece with their innocent smiles.

    “I know Amelia is interested in Colin’s work, I’ll make sure he gets her tickets for the Expo”

    Dorja smiled. “I am sure-”

    A double chime came from his desk intercom interrupted him.

    “I am sure she would enjoy that a lot. Just one a moment.” Dorja finished and answered the call. “Dorja here.”

    [“Zeema here, sir. Our bombers have completed their run and are now returning to the hangar.”]

    “Very good. Inform Captain Brandei that we are leaving the system. We may depart for Naboo once the bombers have landed.”

    [“It shall be done, sir. Zeema out.”]

    Dorja closed off the comm and looked to his friend and sighed. “Mission accomplished. I can almost taste the return to civilisation in the air already.”


    “It will be as sweet as any wine you could taste” Gerard arose from his chair “And now I shall leave you in peace, time to get my beauty sleep” he grinned.

    Dorja chuckled. “Don’t get too comfortable, it won’t take too long before we arrive at the Naboo system.”


    “No doubt everyone will be looking forward to it, good luck with trying to keep our new toys away from the Union my friend” Gerard smiled, saluted and left leaving Dorja to his thoughts.

    TAG: Eddard of the Union, Grand Admiral Thrawn
    SithStarSlayer likes this.
  8. TheAdmiral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2004
    star 4
    IC: Amberley Vale
    Castle Kaladan, Kaladan

    Amberley felt comfortable sitting in her form fitting swiveling chair. Finally some peace and quiet. The duchess was gone and she will have at least a week of less stressful time to herself. A dish with the salad she took from the mess hall sitting in front of her, along with a glass of some sort of freshly squeezed juice she didn’t bother to ask what was made of as long as it was both sweet and sour - the way she liked it. She could have asked one of the servants to bring the food from the kitchen. After all her office was located in the residential part of Castle Kaladan and she as the personal assistant of Her Ultimacy the duchess Jori Atreides was entitled to some privileges. Some of the perks were a nice and comfortable office, to eat in a special dining area for staff who worked in the residential area and who were working close with Her Ultimacy, a direct access to the duchess, etc. Not that she took advantage of all of them, but it felt nice to know that they were there. Maybe she will have some time to catch up on her other tasks now that she had been avoiding for some time.

    Though it would have been better if they gave her that time so that she could spend it the way she wanted. But nothing happens as you want it to do. At least she won’t be bothered too much. It was stressful enough as it was, being disliked and sabotaged by most of her peers. The others liked to get in her way as she was a shy, a bit socially awkward person - a vulnerable person. They disliked her because she was nobody, the daughter of a clerk in a small town who became the personal assistant to the most powerful woman in the Union. She barely had finished her master’s degree in administration when she got the job offer. It was a complete surprise, she accepted of course, there was no time for hesitation. This was one in a lifetime opportunity.

    At first she didn’t ask herself why she, or where did the future duchess knew about her? Amberley was extremely happy. This was going to improve her resume immensely. It was as if she had won the lottery. The job allowed her to pay her student loan and also help her family back home. Actually she earned more than she could spend. Also the work hours did not allow much for going shopping. Not that she cared that much. Amberley was one of the so called nerds at high school, something that did not change when she moved to the big city as part of the social inclusion programme for students from smaller and poorer regions of the Union to get an opportunity to get a job and better education in the big cities. Due to her being a nerd she was able to get better grades at school which in order qualified her for this programme. Aside from studying she spent her free time playing datamachine games, following holovid series and holocomicses, as if taken out of a teen holoflick.

    The problems started the first few days on the job. Most of her coworkers were hostile towards her. Most of them were passive aggressive but the other part, the active ones, were the worst. They always tried to sabotage her in front of the then princess Atreides. Amberley wondered how she still got the job after all the interference. Only once, the princess talked to her about it. She said that she could see through all these petty acts but wouldn’t do anything about it as long as they don’t do something serious that can endanger her decision making process. She also said that even though her social status allowed her to play favourites this could disrupt morale and can be detrimental to what they were doing. So the only thing left was to endure the everyday petty problems that some of her colleagues caused to her.

    There were some days that she even considered quitting. But how could someone decide to leave such a job? Amberley knew that she should consider herself lucky for being picked from a myriad talented young people. That was what gave her strength to endure the pressure. Furthermore she considered these issues to be just a part of her growing up as a professional. By dealing with these issues she even managed to form some alliances and even made some people pause and rethink their strategy. Only the narrow-minded and short-sighted people still nagged her. Only one issue remained unresolved, at first she heard people whisper the question ‘How did that girl get the job?’. It was some time later that Amberley knew the answer. Only very few people knew the truth.

    It had been in the second year since she became the princess’ aide that she found out the truth. Jori (as she secretly called her in her mind) had been leading a double life for some years. The princess, with the help of some CSS agents, had been sneaking out of the Castle Kaladan using adaptive masks to conceal her identity. Later she told Amberley that she wanted to see how her subjects lived their lives, not read the reports or hear the stories. She wanted to feel the real thing.

    It was at that time the princess invited Amberley to join her. ‘Invited’ is a strong word, it was a polite way of ordering her to come with her during those escapades. That way Amberley managed to make a large number of friends from different social and educational backgrounds. One of the places they liked to frequent was a cafe-cum-bookstore in one of the more artistic districts of Kala City. There they had joined a group of young students and university drop outs from the upper middle class and lower upper class. They were mainly discussing history, art, philosophy, literature and some politics. Most of the people there were intellectual snobs that didn’t tolerate other people’s opinion. For Amberley it was an opportunity to practice her knowledge, but for the Princess it was just plain fun. The first time they joined that group she had been on edge when Jori started talking against House Atreides. This situation was so surreal that she had to pinch herself secretly just to check that she was awake. It was like sitting next to a schizophrenic person. That night Amberley dared not say anything as she was not sure what the princess was doing and what was the purpose. The rest of the group just took it in and even added things to the arguments.
    Amberley felt sorry for the detail of undercover CSS agents that had to come with them around the city. It was amazing how they managed to blend in with the crowd so she sometimes forgot they were with them. The princess told her how the first time she managed to sneak out of Castle Kaladan she got caught by her father when she got back. She wondered how Jori managed to convince her parent to allow her to go out like that after this incident. Well some things had to remain a mystery, after all. But one thing was sure, part of the deal was that she had to be accompanied by CSS guards. This didn’t make things easy when the princess decided to start crashing parties. The guards had to pretend that they were part of a group of friends or come one by one. It was amazing how no-one paid any attention that strangers just swung by and joined them. Amberley guessed that there was truth in the expression to hide in plain sight.

    She didn’t mind those escapades, as they gave her an opportunity to have social life. If it weren’t for them she would have just stayed at the apartment she rented and would never have met her boyfriend Jimmy. Jimmy, the investigator in training, who was paired with that despicable man Cyrus Teg, whom her boyfriend considered to be something like a father figure. Amberley always felt uncomfortable around the man, knowing his reputation, despite the fact that he was considered a hero of sorts in the Kaladan Police Force. At least that was what Jimmy told her, so she had some doubts about him. On the other hand she liked Cyrus’ family, especially his wife whom she respected deeply as a professional and an elegant woman.
    Amberley was amazed to find out that the princess did not approve of Jimmy as she believed him not to be mature and smart enough for a girl like her. Though she didn’t press the issue so Amberley decided to stay with him, she loved him even though that they were quite different…

    A knock on her door brought her back to reality. She almost knocked out the dish with the salad she had been eating. Then the door just open and a head just popped in. It was Kenneth, Her Ultimacy’s spin doctor - or also known as the media advisor. His job was to advise the duchess how to act in front of the different media outlets, arrange interviews, liaison with the media, etc. He was a handsome man her age. Ken, as she called him, was one of the few people who were actually friendly with her.

    “Daydreaming on the job, eh?” he grinned.

    She blinked quickly, as if woken up suddenly from a deep sleep.

    “I guess so...” she hesitated, feeling her face warming up from the embarrassment.

    He beckoned her with his hand.

    “Come...”

    Amberley frowned but stood up. Kenneth entered the room and close the door behind him.

    “Before we go, I need to ask you something?”

    Amberley’s right eyebrow rose.

    “Yes?”

    “Have you heard what had happened? The news had not gone viral on the news media as of yet. We are deciding how to phrase it.”

    Amberley frowned again.

    “No, I was just...” she paused trying to find the correct word “... relaxing.”

    Kenneth laughed and shook his head.

    “Why am I not surprised?” then his face slowly regained his seriousness “Anyway, try not to look too shocked. There was fighting and to keep it short Her Ultimacy was captured by the Empire and she is enroute to Coruscant with a small retinue. The Imperials are making a blockade around the Union, the Ruling Council is moving to the mountains. The non-essential personnel in the Castle will be asked to leave. For the time being we can stay, but I guess at a certain point we would be asked to leave.”

    Amberley gasped, she couldn’t hide her shock.

    “For now we are safe. Anyway, Leopold is fuming so try to avoid him.”

    Leopold was Her Ultimacy’s Chief of Staff.

    “Why?”

    “Because for now, Her Ultimacy’s uncle is the ruler, along with the Council and for now his staff will be taking over some of our responsibilities.”

    Amberley knew some of the people from the baron Atreides’ staff. His chief of staff was one of them - an arrogant, nasty and narrow minded man. Small wonder why Leopold was fuming. He is a good old man, could be strict sometimes but fair nonetheless. He was one of the people who was kind to her by offering guidance and assistance.

    “Anyway, we should go to the hangar now.” continued Kenneth.

    “Why?”

    “Because a shuttle is coming to the Castle, and we need to see who is coming.”

    “I don’t think it is our job to be the welcoming committee...”

    Ken drew a datapad from his pocket, tapped several times on the screen and turned it towards her.

    “This is an image of the ship approaching, don’t ask how I got the picture,” he paused for a dramatic effect, at least that was what she thought “you see that? That is an old Atreides shuttle.”

    “Do you think it carries who I think it does?”

    He shrugged and grinned.

    “Only one way to find out!”

    She nodded and followed him out of the room. The corridor was bustling with activity. Soldiers were moving up and down. Orderlies, secretaries, assistants and some maids were carrying boxes with documents around. They were to be sorted for burning or to be moved to a safe place in case the outsiders decided to attack. The faces displayed a rich palette of emotions - fear, determination, shock, numbness, anger and even some excitement.

    Somehow they managed to maneuver through this hustle and bustle, though their progress was minimal. They were still in the residential area. She winced several times as people nearly destroyed precious pieces of art - and given that Her Ultimacy was an art patron those people would have had a very unenviable fate. Amberley nudged Kenneth to take a slight detour as she wanted to avoid meeting Lilian, one of the “Honored Matres” - as the duchess jokingly called them. These were young women from noble houses that were sent to Castle Kaladan to be presented, some of which remained there as lady-in-waiting to Her Ultimacy. Some of them were particularly nasty and arrogant and caused her enough grief, but after a couple of incidents the duchess warned them not to bother Amberley. So they confined themselves only to give her bad looks and give some ambiguous remarks. Lilian was the nastiest of all and Amberley wondered why Her Ultimacy still keeps her around - though she mentioned once that she was bemused by their squabbling and trying to please her. Which was strange as she despised sycophants.

    Just as they took that turn the Head Housemaid, Anna, appeared out of nowhere. By the look on her face she had been looking for Amberley.

    “Miss Vale, do you have a moment?”

    She stifled a sigh.

    “Yes, Anna, how may I help you?”

    Kenneth looked annoyed. There was a we-don’t-have-time-for-this-nonse type of look on his face.

    “I am worried that from what I heard, Her Ultimacy didn’t take with her the maids that were supposed to serve her during this trip. Do you… is she displeased with our services?”

    Amberley knew that the duchess didn’t like having any type of servants around her. Once she confided that she felt awkward having a maid helping her to get dressed or do things that she could easily have done. So she confused the maids and sometimes annoyed them as she didn’t let them do their jobs properly.

    “I am sure that she did this for a good reason. Her Ultimacy knows that there are some of you who were arrested along the Lord Advisor and she does not want others to suffer as well. Don’t worry about that, you should worry about her safety and pray for her safe return.”

    Anna nodded energetically in agreement.

    “Yes… yes! We all worry about her, we even talked with the Castle’s chaplain that the servants who are off-duty to gather in the chapel for a prayer for her safety. You can join us if you want!”

    Amberley smiled.

    “I will try to come. Don’t worry Anna, things are hectic right now. Besides, Her Ultimacy has a lot on her mind right now. I will convey her your worries.”

    Despite being wary of having other people do menial jobs for her the duchess was actually good with them. Of course she kept her distance, but was friendly enough. She inquired about the well-being of their families, signed greeting cards for different occasions like birthdays, national or religious holidays, knew the names of everyone who served her and knew some basic information about them - for instance family status, whether or not they had children. Because of that people loved her.

    As Anna moved away shouting orders at some unfortunate maids who tried to sneak away from work, Ken nudged her to continue walking.

    “Good job...”

    “Sometimes it pays off being nice to other people, you know?”

    He said nothing, just grinned.

    They were walking through the beautifully ornate corridor - walls made of expensive dark-brown wood with different floral and avian ornaments carved in them, with paintings hanging at an even interval, the parts that were not covered by the wood the walls were painted in light pink. The parqueted floor was covered by a thick purple carpet. All of the doors were made of wood and they had to be pushed or pulled as opposed to just slide. Some things were just old-fashioned. The brightness of the lamps had been increased as the day was dying - as she saw through one of the windows they passed. The residential area had the best view in the entire Castle - after all it was in the top part of the tall pyramid-like structure.
    Then something rare happened - the turbolift arrived at the floor just as they reached it. Something more, it was not crammed with people who decided to have a lively discussion on their way down or up. The cubicle was empty. Amberley and Ken both raised their eyebrows.

    “I will have to buy a ticket for the lottery today.” murmured Kenneth.

    “Yup, split the prize afterwards?”

    “Deal...”

    They spent the last couple of minutes while they rode the turbolift down in silence. Amberley wondered what was going on, who was on that shuttle? Some distant relative who decided that they wanted a piece of the pie while the duchess was gone? They were about to find out. The decor of the level where the hangar was situated was more bland and more practical. At least in the areas that they were allowed to pass. The duchess and any visiting dignitary passed through better decorated corridors that resembled the residential levels. The number of guards was increasing by the number of meters they passed. Something was going on…

    They were stopped by two masked Death Guards just before they were about to enter the hangar. Luckily the entrance was open and they could see the shuttle landing. She saw the duchess’ uncle standing there with a retinue of guards. After several moments a lone figure exited the craft. It was a female - old, but still looking good, her features were quite familiar. Amberley turned her head towards Kenneth, he seemed ashen and shocked.

    “Why is she here?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Don’t you know who she is? She is the duchess’ grandmother...”

    Now it dawned her. The woman who chose self-exile, the one who stepped away from the throne so that her son, Leto, could take it and denied it to her older child - Paulus. Things were about to get interesting…

    To be continued.
    Last edited by TheAdmiral, Jul 9, 2014
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  9. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~OOC~ I hope everyone is doing well. Again, I apologise for my absence. The deadlines stole what time I had and directed to an animation project that I am involved with. Things are progressing well but enough of that and here we go. I want to thank @Jerjerrod-Lennox for the fantastic joints posts we had steadily been working on, always a joy :) also to both J-L and @TheAdmiral for keeping the flames going. Here's to more.

    ~IC~ Captain Brandei
    Location: Obligon Nebula - ’Judicator’

    Two Imperial Star Destroyers held their position along the fringe of the Obligon Nebula. The Stormhawk and the Judicator appeared as two bone-white daggers against the fiery swirls of red and orange clouds of dust and gases.

    Onboard the bridge of the Judicator, the atmosphere was less than idyllic with the activity taking place in the crewpits.

    “Captain, communications from Relentless.” The comms officer reported from his post as Captain Brandei walked past. “Only to say they are outbound to Naboo and to wish us luck.”

    “Ah, well,” Brandei was momentarily caught off guard and off his line of thought. “Good on them, they deserve to go home. Captain Dorja and his crew probably half mad from been stranded here for far too long. Don’t know how we would have faired up under similar circumstances.” He patted the officer on the shoulder to dismiss him. “Now, back to unravelling this mysterious ghost fleet.”

    ‘Ghost fleet…’ Brandei thought. One moment the Judicator’s crew were all hands on deck and ready for battle and here they are stuck in the middle of nowhere investigating a mystery.

    It was only several hours ago since they had joined the Chimaera from Naboo to resolve an internal situation between Admiral Thaw and the rest of Captain Eclipse’s group. During that encounter, the sensors had picked up a contact from the edge of their scopes coming from the Obligon Nebula. There was reports about pirate raids and a “Be On The Lookout” for Kuati forces in the vicinity following up on that particularly problem but they have yet to hear anything from that task force.

    After the Chimaera left for Naboo, the Judicator and Stormhawk were instructed to investigate the unknown entity while on standby to provide support to Captain Dorja, if he required it, for Thrawn’s directive regarding the fate of Eclipse’s Ragnarök.

    Dozens of probes had been launched into the nebula. Many of them were lost, swept away by a jet of gamma and electromagnetic radiation that originated from a young pulsar. Only two probes remain and transmitted back what looked to be a debris field. From what the Judicator’s crew could tell from the garbled imagery that came back to them, there was a derelict Nebulon-class frigate amongst the yet to be identified various parts of starships and more larger wreckage.

    It was tenuous work but the probe had managed to get inside the vessel, it’s objectives was to find and collect the Captain’s log, gain data from the bridge and to find out what had exactly happened to the ship.

    The probe passed through silent halls of warped and cracked bulkheads, disturbing the thick particles that hung suspended in the zero gravity environment. Each section showed holes pocketed the plating with signs indicating burn residue around the ragged rims with the starfield and nebula peeking through from beyond.

    While a team of technicians focused on that particular probe, another team focused on the other probe sweeping the debris field. The results that came back were mixed, pieces identified came from various components belonging to a collection of known manufacturers. Whether it was an assortment of crafts to form a multipurpose unit or that the ships themselves were pieced together or maintained by scavenged parts.

    “How is that probe going?” Brandei asked the team. “Anything regarding that graveyard of debris?”

    “There is an awful lot of astromech parts in the mix. Photoreceptors, multifunction appendages, charred pieces of chassis. We found half a torso from one and a dome belonging to another. Can tell by the difference by the distinct markings.”

    “Ahh.” Brandei nodded. “Which means whatever the craft was, it had to be large enough to house their own hyperdrive and an inboard astromech mechanic.”

    “Indeed, the remains of several armatures suggest they belonged to a fighter of a single class type. if we are lucky, we might be able to salvage and extract some of their data from the broken droids or if we find an intact computer.”

    “Then it is not Imperial.” Brandei concluded. “Any insignias or markings to tell whom they belongs to?”

    “Agreed that it is definitely not Imperial though hard to tell who though. There is no consistency so it is probably a ragtag group of pirates or mercenaries. We will know more once more data arrives.”

    “Very well. In the meantime I shall report in with the Chimaera and have them appraise the Grand Admiral of our progress.”

    TAG: Grand Admiral Thrawn, Relentless, open
    Last edited by Corellian_Outrider, Aug 7, 2014
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  10. TheAdmiral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2004
    star 4
    OOC: This is a joint post between me and @Corellian_Outrider that had been in the works for quite some time. Thank you C_O for the patience.

    IC: Lord Commander Basil Xavier, Rowan Halcyon, Maya Fyodorovna, duke Darius Atreides
    Location: en-route to Castle Kaladan; Castle Kaladan; Kala City; Kaladan
    Year: 1113 ATC - (2519 BBY)

    The dinner was over, as expected it was uneventful, which was great from Basil’s perspective. It had been some time since nothing happened, well nothing noteworthy. There was no attacks, no assassination plots and all that poodoo that was becoming the norm in the Union. He had been worried for some time about it, the Union of the Great Houses was becoming a place of mistrust and petty intrigues. There was no sense of unity, of purpose. Now everyone cared about profit and how to ruin the lives of the rest. Sometimes he wondered how will he survive in this mess but then remembered that there was a beacon of hope - House Atreides. At least the patriarch of the house - duke Darius Atreides. The Xaviers were loyal to the Atreides to the point of absurdity. Which, to Basil was a good thing, as such loyalty was rare nowadays.

    The dinner luckily went fine, the duchess Atreides had left early with her retinue of sycophants, thus relieving him of some of the pressure that had been building inside. Hopefully his fiance Maya and his friend from the outside Rowan didn’t notice the tension. Basil longed for some time just to relax, but these events were too important, all the time during the dinner he had been thinking. The blasted duchess provoked him, he noticed the look in her eye when she finally saw and recognized him. There were some problems with the Xaviers in her mind. At least that was what he caught from that look and he couldn’t remember what his House might have done to hers... ‘Now where is that speeder that I ordered to come?’ he wondered as they were waiting at the parking lot. Basil looked around, there were some parked speeders with their chauffeurs huddled in small groups chatting and laughing at some jokes or gossip. His companions were standing there in an awkward silence.


    I frowned inside. I could feel that something had my friend on edge, while he hid it well though I could sense that there was some anxiety coming from him. Moistening my lip, I was going to ask him about it but thought better of it, this was probably not the right time. I glanced away to look up at the sky and gauged how the clouds were, whether it was going to rain or not, before returning my focus back to Basil and his lovely fiance.

    “It looks like it will be a fine evening.” I smiled, hoping to take their minds off things. “Again, I want to thank you both for the lovely dinner, it’s good to be with companions every once in awhile.”


    Suddenly a very long and black limousine stopped in front of their little group. Basil frowned, this was odd, this was the duchal speeder and the duchess had left half an hour ago. What was going on? This worried him, it meant that something was going on that needed his immediate attention. The passengers’ door opened and the duke’s aide Jorgen Marshall came out. A tall middle-aged man with a constantly scowling expression on his face stood up in front of them.
    “Baron Xavier...” Basil cringed at the usage of his title “”...duke Darius Atreides ordered me to bring you and your… outsider friend with me to the castle.”

    ‘Outsider?’ since when they had begun to use this term? What was going on in the Union, was he so out of the loop? Did the Union change overnight?

    “What about my fiance?” he decided not to bring the matter about the term ‘outsider’ up. He was going to discuss this with the duke.

    “She will be brought home after we leave you at the castle. In another speeder of course...”

    “Of course...”

    Mister Marshall ignored Basil’s sarcasm and indicated with his hand that they were to enter the speeder. The baron looked at his friend Rowan apologetically. He had been in the speeder on very few occasions. It was a piece of art - specially produced on Alderaan, a gift from the royal houses on that planet to the duke. Elegant, but not overly posh, just as how the Atreides liked everything. The passenger area could carry up to six people: three seats in the back and three behind the driver area facing the other three all made of expensive black leather. In the middle there was an oblong table made of some sort high quality wood that Basil could not identify. There was a minibar and a small cupboard with glasses in it.


    The arrival of the speeder was clearly unexpected and I felt my muscles tense, ready to act accordingly if came down to that. ‘No,’ I observed the figure whom addressed Basil. I regarded the new arrival and his hand with detached curiosity, no sense in giving the newcomer any indication of what I am capable. ‘Outsider?’ I had to smirk at that. ‘Yes, I suppose that is true.’ I remarked in my head.

    I caught Basil’s look and gave him one of my own to assure him to not worry about me. However, I felt a pang of concerned for Maya’s well being if she was to be separated from us. No need to give voice to that concern to myself as I knew Basil must be thinking the same. Silently I followed my friend’s lead and trust in his judgement.


    They rode in silence. Basil felt conflicted: on the one side he was loyal to his duke and his requests but on the other he was furious for being fetched like that. What was going on? Why the rush and so late in the evening? The duke better provide him with answers. Maybe there was an emergency. He hoped that the duchess was not involved in all this. Anyway he was going to find out soon enough.

    The lights of the city flashed by them. This night there were not that many people outside which was odd by the Kaladan standards. The city was awake all day and all night, like Coruscant and some of the other major worlds around the Galaxy. But tonight, there was hardly anyone to be seen. It was as if everyone was feeling that something of a historic importance is going to transpire.

    Basil looked at his fiance. She seemed a bit nervous, he felt angered at the fact that he could not do anything to help her. But there was nothing to be done, orders were orders. Though he doubted that anything will happen with her. He will call her in the morning as this meeting will end in the middle of the night. The next day will be tough as Basil doubted that he will be able to sleep. Probably this will be the beginning of a series of sleepless nights.


    I could feel my frustration rising as my gaze switched between the other occupants of the speeder. I can tell where Basil’s priorities lie and of Maya’s nervousness but what of this other fellow that delivered the summons? This interruption was getting in the way of our evening. They should know that the longer my ship was berthed, the less I make from my next cargo run to the Corporate Sector. The speeder isn’t going THAT fast, I may as well step out now and be on my way. No! I glanced down to my lap and gave a small cringe as I pushed that line of thought away. That is the bitterness talking, she would not want that of me nor would she approve of abandoning a friend in a time of need. ‘Friend… not many of them are left… some still remain, no matter how hard I try to push them away to protect them. Part of me had to wonder... was it to protect them or bury the pain?’

    I glanced out the window and watch the cityscape pass us by with detached focus. I should be happy… I am happy for Basil… Just not for myself and that constant reminder of what was lost. My gaze returned to the inside of the speeder and gave Maya a reassuring smile. Time does not heal that quickly and then there are the scars that remain. Rather than let my mind mull over that, I decided to try something to occupy my thoughts with something else instead. I discretely threw Basil a wink as I turned and remarked to the stranger. “You are quite the conversationalist, especially for a temporary host such as yourself. Any idea about what this is about? Or how far along we got to go before we arrive at our destination?”


    Even as a non-Force user, or a psyker as they were fancifully called these days, Basil could see the hostility in the other man’s eyes. Was he always like that and how did he get a job in the Atreides household? Was he one of the duchess’ people? What was this collective madness? Was Basil so blind not to see this coming?

    Before Mister Marshall could reply Basil interrupted him. He didn’t want to listen to that nonsense.

    “The duke needs us I presume and we will know why soon enough.”
    “Fair enough.” I nodded and decided to let it slide for now. While I don’t like being left in the dark, no doubt they have their reasons. Just have to keep my mind open to prepare for anything. I can play along as the ‘ignorant’ outsider, I have observed that stereotype seems to be demanded by some officials around the docks. Who knows, this invitation could prove beneficial in more than one way.


    Basil could see that they were approaching the old Castle Kaladan. The new one was being built on the opposite side. It was going to be a tall, imposing building, maybe in tone with what was going on with the Union. The one they were going to, was not so spectacular, but beautiful nonetheless. It was a very large, cream-colored, house with multiple ornaments on its facade. Most of the large windows were dark, but the one of the duke’s office was lit. So they were going to meet him there.

    The metal gates opened to let in the speeder. Underneath them was a white road and the repulsors were kicking pebbles around. They drove through the park, with sculptured bushes and actual marble sculptures. The speeder approached the front stairs.

    “I guess this is it...” said Basil.


    My eyes took in the old castle as we disembarked the speeder. My gaze travelled from the base, all the way up to the battlements that surround the roof. The large stone blocks not only made it look smooth but also gives the impression that it is solid enough to withstand artillery fire. The structure was reminiscent of classical Corellian architecture but that was the only familiarity to me. The aesthetics brought it more in line with the culture of the Union and no doubt the interior would also reflect that. Quite different from the Palatine back home. I could not sense any malice coming from the entrance of the castle but that did not mean there was none within those walls. The request to come here was unconventional after all and I could not afford to be lulled into a false sense of security. For now, all I can do is stick close to Basil and be ready to make a quick getaway.


    They disembarked the speeder as the butler held the door open for them. Basil turned towards Maya, who was still sitting inside the vehicle. She smiled at him reassuringly and waved at him subtly. He nodded, his face didn’t reveal how he felt at that moment. A wave of light hit him as the main door opened, forming an illuminated rectangle on the dark wall. Basil pitied the servant who were ordered to stay up late so that they could attend to their needs.

    “Let’s see why the duke needs us.” Basil turned towards Rowan just as the speeder moved away in the dark.
    “May as well,” I sighed as I could no longer see the departed speeders, “since we are here after all.” I caught Basil’s gaze, gave a lighthearted “...or we could always walk back if not up for it.”
    I turned to the light emitting from the entrance to the building. How can something that brings warmth and refuge from the cold and dark be also foreboding? Or maybe I am thinking too much into this. I bit the inside of me cheek. Definitely overthinking it. This is not about me, this is for my friend and I happened to be in the area. Besides, it is probably for best that I am here to help out if he needs it. I gave a subtle nod and muttered under breath so only Basil could hear “Got your back.”


    Basil smiled and nodded in appreciation. The two of them climbed the marble stairs followed by the brooding butler. By the door they were greeted by a sleepy looking footman. The poor lad must have been exhausted and now he was forced to stay up late just to hold the door for him when he comes and later when he goes.

    Basil turned to the butler.

    “I imagine, the duke is in his office?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “You can leave us, I know the way.”

    The man was about to protest when Basil frowned at him, so he closed his mouth and gave him a nasty look. He made a 90-degree turn and walked towards a corridor on the side. ‘Good, at least I won’t have to see his face...’

    The vestibule was brightly lit. It branched out to The mosaic covered floor glistened from the light. Pictures hung on the cream colored walls, floral motifs decorated them. Wall lights were set at equal intervals between the pictures. Vases and small sculptures were put on postaments. Granite columns supported the second floor. The staircase was at the far end of the vestibule and in the middle it branched towards the two opposing corridors. On the wall directly opposite of the front door hung the portrait of the founding father of House Atreides - Atreus. It represented a regal looking middle aged man in an old style military uniform.

    Basil turned towards Rowan.

    “I know you are a psy… I mean, you are a Force user, do you sense anything that might give us clue what is going on?”


    “Does not quite work like that,” I sighed at the question, my gaze glided over the decor, “but as far as I can tell, we are not in immediate danger. As for the purpose of this visit…” I shrugged and grimaced at Basil. “Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever it is, there is some trepidation in the air.”


    Basil nodded. It didn’t hurt to try.


    I followed Basil’s lead through the old palace to the Duke’s Office, my eyes always watching for any possible escape exits in case this was an ambush. Can never take too many precautions when dealing with the unknown, I blame that line of thought on the war happening between the Republic and Empire. I reflected.

    There was another hallway, this one had suits of armour line the wall at intervals. As we walked along, I could tell the way the buckles and pieces were fitted that they were decorative, more for military parade than for warfare. It would give the wearer the freedom to glide through a battlefield. My thoughts momentarily drift to that of my Uncle, how he once took me to a jousting match with Connie. I did not quite understand the cheers of the crowd when blood was spilt even though my Uncle claimed it was ‘All for honour.’ All that fanfare for blood and I saw no honour in losing one’s life just to entertain the crowd. I chuckled to myself as I remembered Connie was bored too but we had found ways to entertain our young imaginations during those matches.


    Basil walked silently, he paid no attention to his surroundings. The building felt empty, deserted, though it might be because of the late hour. He wondered if there were others like the butler - suddenly becoming hostile towards the “outsiders”. Basil felt sorry for the duke, having to live with such people. Somewhere in the distance a clock was ticking, it was an archaic device, round face with intricate patterns on it, the outer casing made of wood. It gave a sense of connection with the past. A certain feeling of continuation…

    As they approached the duke’s office the sound of bells ringing twelve times could be heard indicating that it was 12 o’clock. If only they could turn of this function, but there was nothing that could be done. It gave Basil an ominous feeling. From the massive wooden door he could hear the muffled sounds of music coming from the office. That was odd enough, though the duke exhibited some minor oddities before. Basil knocked on it.

    “Come in...” came the calm, but commanding voice of the duke.

    It was Basil’s cue, so he pressed the golden handle and pushed. The lights in the office were dimmed. For a ruler of a great House the room was a bit austerely decorated. Two large bookcases opposing each other. Some painting hanging on the walls. In the middle there were four brown leather armchairs surrounding a small glass table. On it there was a tray with a couple of teacups with steam going out of them. In the far back there was a massive wooden bureau with some trinkets on it and a computer. On the right wall there was another door that was mainly used by the maids or the duke’s staff.

    The duke was sitting behind his bureau in his large swiveling chair. There was an open book laying in front of him and a cup of tea on the side. He seemed relaxed, but Basil knew that looks could be deceiving. Darius Atreides was a middle aged man, with a calm and regal face, he always had an air of sadness surrounding him - as if knowing that his destiny was going to be a tragic one. His dark blond hair was going gray and he seemed to be balding a bit.

    The music he was listening to was slow and smooth. Alarms rung in Basil’s mind, this was not good. The duke switched off the recording, then stood up and smiled.

    “Ah, gentlemen, come in and sit.” he moved around the desk “I took the liberty of asking Ms. Daisy to make us some herbal tea.”

    Darius Atreides approached Rowan and gave his hand for a handshake.

    “You must be Rowan, Basil and my friends of Corellia had told me a lot about you. It is good to finally meet you, young man.”

    “Ah.. Khasaan’l..” Was all I could utter as I was quick to hide the shock from the tone of my voice. It was rare for me to be addressed by a stranger by my true name rather than my alias. As a recovery, I stepped forward and shook the man’s hand firmly, “I guess the pleasure is all mine. Whatever they told you... all lies, the lot of them.” A small smirk appeared on my face. “If I am not mistaken, you must be the Duke, Darius Atreides.”


    The duke laughed.

    “Yes, I am the duke.” he gestured towards the chairs “Come, sit...”

    Darius then moved towards his desk and took a delicately designed box full of chocolate candy and brought it on the glass table.

    “I like to supplement the tea with these, you should try them as well...”

    TAG: To be continued
    Last edited by TheAdmiral, Aug 18, 2014
    Corellian_Outrider likes this.
  11. Corellian_Outrider Admin FF | Art Curator | Oceania RSA | CR of NSW

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2002
    star 5
    ~IC~ Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo, Lieutenant Garston
    Location: Naboo - Theed

    Rain fell lightly against the windows of the suite at the Deeja hotel in Theed. The usual bustle of a new day in the capital city had gone unnoticed as the rhythmic drumming of water on glass erased any sense of the passing of time.

    Inside the suite was a world of its own altogether. The crackle from the fireplace was noticeable among the sound of the rain. The radiant light shimmered steadily, illuminating the room and the rich kriin-wood paneling which further enhanced the cosy sensation of warmth. In contrast, there came the cool blue glow from the holographic displays and datapad monitors. The walls of text and diagrams were streaming through the devices in different scripts.

    Aside from the universally known aurabesh, Lieutenant Garston could recognise one other script, the strange elliptic runes to that the natives of Naboo use. He could not remember the name of them nor did it matter. To him, they were unsophisticated compared to the galactic standards. As his gaze glided over the texts, a chill tingled down Garston’s spine as two harsh blood red eyes pierced through the displays back at him. He straightened to attention immediately.

    “Pardon the intrusion, Admiral. Message from Captain Brandei.” Lieutenant Garston informed Grand Admiral Thrawn.

    “Proceed, Lieutenant.” Thrawn’s response was crisp.

    “Preliminary sweep showed remains of a Nebulon-B class escort frigate and possibly several starfighter squadrons that are yet to be identified. Brandei also added that it is believed that the vessels belonged to the same group whom raided Xa Fel some time ago.”

    Those red eyes narrowed when Garston uttered the word ‘remains’. “Have they identified the cause of damage?”

    “They are still investigating however the site is problematic for their probes. The quadrant is swept regularly by a jet of gamma originating from a pulsar within that section of the nebula.”

    

“Intriguing.” The tone of Thrawn’s voice was cool, his eyes brightened a fraction as his brow creased. “Had the pulsar been observed prior to Brandei’s investigation?”

    “I do not know, sir.” Garston was uncomfortable admitting that to the Admiral. “However, I will refer to Captain Dorja’s old survey reports of the region to find out. Do you think they had something to do with the pulsar, sir?”

    “The nebula is where stars are born and die, most there become binary partners. It is possible that the pulsar might have a twin or is a partner to another star. It is possible that the they thought they could shroud their presence at the right position without being affected too much by the emissions. A decision that can be fatal if the information proved to be incorrect.”

    “I see, sir.”

    “Has there been any further news on the Kuati forces?”

    “Negative, sir. We lost all communications since they had entered the far side of the Obligon Nebula. Possibly interference from the intense activity of radiation there.”

    
Thrawn clasped his hands together, his red eyes glittered noticeably stronger. “If that is the case, the risk is unacceptable for our people to go in after them. Captain Harbid is scheduled to the Arrissa Field in a few days with supplies. He shall be instructed to bring the Death’s Head there early, pull the Inexorable and the Nemesis from their border patrol to provide additional coverage. Once there, they are to await further instructions.”

    “Do you feel that it is necessary to find them, sir?”

    “A considerable amount of military hardware is unaccounted for and on our doorstep, Lieutenant. If the same fate befalls them, nothing should be left behind to be salvaged by other parties.”

    “Very well, sir. I will send out the dispatch.”

    “One other thing, Lieutenant. Contact Captain Aban of the Bellicose to cut his tour of Chommell Minor early and resume sector patrol. Then have the Chimaera notify us as soon as he learns further more from Captain Brandei or regarding the Kuati forces.”

    “It shall be done, sir.”


    TAG: Relentless, open
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