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Saga Dead Money (OT short story complete 7/21)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by The_Face, Jun 23, 2010.

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  1. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Title: Dead Money

    Author: The_Face

    Timeframe: OT

    Characters: Mara Jade, OCs (especially Alias Sibul)

    Genre: Crime

    Keywords: Sabacc, thief, espionage, underworld, assassin

    Summary: When eccentric master thief Alias Sibul is captured attempting to rob a casino-owner, he's plunged into a high-stakes sabacc game where he's playing for his life and none of the players are what they seem.

    Notes: This fic sprang out of the Cliffhanger Workshop, which was run by Luton_Plunder. [link=http://boards.theforce.net/fan_fiction_resource/b10304/27563850]Check it out if you like.[/link] It was loads of fun and there's some good insights in there too.




    [b]Part One[/b]

    Like all high-stakes card games, this high-stakes card game takes place behind closed doors. In the grand open rooms of the Hotel Allemonde ? all marble and plaster and durasteel, carpet colored rich shades of roulette options, architecture borrowed from ancient empires ? there are games with ostentatious wagers and ludicrous pots. Out there the battles are broadcast on the Holonet. But [i]this[/i] card game is recorded only by the back room?s security cameras and the wire on the Zabrak. [i]This[/i] card game?s stakes are higher than the credits bet in plain sight.

    The stakes are life and death.

    Specifically, the imminent death of Alias Sibul.

    ?You?re bluffing, Mr. Sibul,? says the Falleen.

    ?And [i]you[/i] smell like lilacs!? Alias replies brightly. The Falleen glares from beneath his pronounced brow. ?That?s a compliment,? Alias adds. He sits back in his chair, grinning.

    [i]Stop.[/i]

    Alias Sibul is a professional thief. He?s not been anything else as long as he cares to remember. He?s good at it. He claims to do the impossible. Tonight, though, he was captured attempting to rob the Hotel Allemonde?s venerable owner ? that?d be the Falleen across the table with the expression of a man who?s just swallowed a bug.

    While Alias grew up picking locks and pockets, Allemonde was cutting decks and business rivals? throats. He became the sixth-best player in the galaxy at the time. He retired from official play four years, two months, six days ago, to run the Hotel Allemonde. But more importantly, to run the casino inside. His is the definition of an upper-class underworld. The exclusive hotel backrooms, with their secret high-stakes games, are no place for common thugs, nor smarmy thieves.

    Mr. Allemonde is not an unforgiving man. Nor is he necessarily a man of grace. What he is a man of is sabacc. He believes in sabacc. It?s difficult to determine whether sabacc believes in him. But he uses it to this day to settle any and all issues. An assassin killed Allemonde?s chief of security last year. The Falleen?s men brought the assassin in ? admittedly not without blasting the killer?s hand off in the acquisition ? to this very room and tossed his battered body into the chair Alias now leans on two legs. The assassin, barely breathing, played sabacc with Allemonde. The assassin won, and went free, with enough credits to buy himself a new blaster hand. Sabacc had spoken, and it pardoned him. Sabacc was judge. Sabacc was jury. Allemonde was its officer carrying out its orders, and its lover gently drawing its favor. Lady Luck his bride, and Skill his patron saint, Allemonde went forth in taking control of the small Rhoto neighborhood of Coruscant.

    Today he offers Alias Sibul a similar chance to that the one-handed assassin had, though security managed to apprehend Sibul without [i]permanent[/i] damage.

    Two rounds in. Allemonde has won both. The agreement is that three will win the contest. And the whole round rides on this very hand. Alias is showing every exaggerated emotion from his cuff to his shoulder. By that, Alias is showing almost nothing.

    Almost.

    Allemonde knows from years on the professional circuit that [i]everyone[/i] shows [i]something.[/i]

    [i]Go.[/i]

    ?I?ll take your word for it,? says the Falleen man.

    ?I?m out,? says the Zeltron woman at Allemonde>
     
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Interesting beginning and PM please:)
     
  3. zonzo

    zonzo Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 3, 2007
    An interesting beginning indeed [face_thinking] Put me on the PM list for sure :)
     
  4. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Yay, a new Face Fic!!

    I love the description at the beginning (sounds like a swanky place!) and the details about the players. And I'd love to know why Mara's there :D

    PM list, please!! :D
     
  5. Raptor517

    Raptor517 Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Woot! New Face fic! Pm's, and whatnot. Good beginning.
     
  6. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 23, 2000
    Very interesting idea - a man who punishes his enemies or lets them go depending on how mean a game of sabacc they play and what Lady Luck decrees...

    Great beginning! I look forward to seeing more. :) Would you please PM when you update? Thanks!
     
  7. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Dead Money PM list

    earlybird-obi-wan
    NYCitygurl
    Raptor517
    Valiowk
    zonzo


    Big thankyou to everyone for reading and replying! It's great to see all of you here. :D Look for Part Two (of Five) next week. Except I guess you won't have to since I'll send you a PM...

    Anyway.
     
  8. zonzo

    zonzo Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Ah, a great start =D= Add me to the PM list also, if it isn't too much trouble
     
  9. Darth_Drachonus

    Darth_Drachonus Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Firstly, welcome back. Secondly add me to the list please
     
  10. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Added! Thanks very much! :D



    Part Two

    Go.

    Alias carefully lifts his hands in surrender. ?I guess angel doesn't quite suit you, unless it's followed by 'of death.' I'd rather hoped you were here for Allemonde. Or Tryn. Guy bugs me. What's a barrel like yours doing in a face like mine??

    ?The Shield of Ozyrokandis.?

    The Twi'lek blinks. ?I have a healthy appreciation for your low-syllable-count way of operating; you know that. But I'm gonna need more to go on than that, MJ.?

    ?You stole it from the Emperor,? Jade says. ?Now you'll tell me where it is.?

    Stop.

    A month earlier, Alias did, in fact, steal the It in question. From the Emperor is harder to establish.

    It's bad business for a professional thief to go around thieving from the ruler of the galaxy. It's worse business for the ruler to know it was said thief doing said thieving... principally because death really brings business to a grinding halt.

    Alias Sibul tries to run his business well, and the Emperor likes to keep his to himself. So, Alias ended up snatching a snatch-worthy Sith antique by the ostentatious name of ?the Shield of Ozyrokandis? from one of Palpatine's collections without ever knowing that the collection was Palpatine's.

    Like any unique artifact, the shield was too hot to move immediately post-theft. Alias stashed the not-so-goods in a safe place to cool off. While the shield refrigerated, Alias got himself into this current hot water.

    Go.

    Alias takes a tentative step backwards, but his back presses up against the sink. ?Whoa whoa whoa! And I think this warrants a fourth whoa! I had no idea that Shield of Osirakandy??

    ?Ozyrokandis,? Jade corrects.

    ??belonged to your Emperor,? he finishes.

    ?It does.?

    ?And you picked now for this chat??

    ?If Allemonde kills you, I won't have the opportunity.?

    ?Then maybe get with the stopping him? You're an Imperial agent, MJ. He's an evil creep. Hop aboard the good ship Justice! Then after his funeral, we can totally talk about this whole artifact fiasco.?

    ?You talk a lot for a man with a blaster to his face,? she observes.

    ?Hi there, my name's Alias Sibul. Nice to meet ya.?

    ?Just answer the question. Where is the shield??

    ?No way. I want some guarantees here. I tell you Act One of my tale here and now, and you get the conclusion when I'm free and fully face-possessing.?

    ?What if you die in the game??

    ?Well, MJ, you'll have to make sure that doesn't happen.?

    ?If I can't??

    ?Then your Emperor has no prize.?

    Jade's eyes narrow. ?What's the first part??

    Alias's eyes light up. ?So we got a deal, then??

    ?What's the first part?? she repeats.

    He smirks. ?It's in a security box at a certain bank on the Rim. You get the planet when I'm confident Allemonde won't kill me, and you get the access code when I feel confident you won't.?

    Jade lowers her blaster. ?If you run, Sibul, I will be on top of you so fast you'll think I time-traveled.?

    Alias drops his arms. ?I like the sound of that.?

    Jade swings the pistol.

    * * * * * *

    Alias saunters up to the bar and sits in an open stool between Hassan and Tryn. He orders a hard drink best categorized as androgynous.

    Hassan glances at the thief. ?Allemonde's men really worked you over catching you, didn't they??

    ?What, the nose?? Alias uses the edge of his sleeve to dab away blood. ?No, this was, uh, more recent.? He downs the entirety of his drink, and orders another.

    Tryn swivels to face the other two. ?Mr. Sibul. I must say, I do admire you.?

    ?That's nice of you to say, Tryn. I only sign female chests, though.?

    Tryn laughs softly. ?No autograph necessary. I'm merely saying that while I spend countless credits sampling philosophies and seeking thrills all across the galaxy, you live a life that is, it would seem, one long adrenaline rush.?

    Alias laughs, too. His laugh, however, is a short sharp one. He mutters, ?You're jealous of me. Priceless.?

    ?Why is that so hard to believe??

    Stop.

    Alias
     
  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    What will happen to Alias?

    And nice scenes=D= with Mara=D=
     
  12. Forcefire

    Forcefire Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 17, 2000
    The beginning was pretty interesting, but you've thrown some nice twists in here. It's fun to see the kind of stuff Alias gets himself into when he's not doing jobs for PIs who can't get past a security system.


    I think Alias would look pretty cool in a fedora. Plus, ancient temple death traps are a whole different challenge from, say, Imperial facility security, so it would make for a nice challenge to grab an unclaimed artifact.

    How did the Braken Starblaster narrator get in here? :p

    I'll look forward to seeing what happens next.
     
  13. Raptor517

    Raptor517 Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 12, 2006
    I was thinking Don't drink it, you idiot! But oh well. Good post, though.

    Raptor517
     
  14. furrylittlebantha

    furrylittlebantha Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Fantastically entertaining so far. I like the style you've chosen to frame it in, very clever. Your main character is hilarious--sure hope he's not dead! Look forward to the next update.
     
  15. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    earlybird: Glad you liked the Mara scene. She was something of a trick to write, between the fact that this is during her Emperor's Hand days, which we don't see much of in general, and the fact that I haven't read anything with her in it in ages.

    Forcefire: Hey there!

    Yeah, that was definitely part of the appeal for me in focusing on Alias a bit. He gets into situations the other characters don't. And he fits right in with this weird tone I established for this one. Which, yes, shares a little in common with Braken Starblaster. :p

    Haha, of course, Alias has more than enough of Jedi artifacts a few years down the line.

    Raptor: "Don't drink it" and "you idiot" are both sentiments Alias could stand to listen to more often, just in general. :p

    flb: Hey there!

    This fic's narrative style was a lot of fun to write. It takes more from film and TV (Guy Ritchie, Soderbergh, Tarantino, a dash of Matt Nix) than anything. I thought it made sense that a fic about the ever goofy, ever larcenous Alias would have a looser, more crime-is-cool vibe.

    Everybody: Thank you very much for reading and for posting! [:D]
     
  16. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Community Squirrel Whisperer star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2000
    HAha, a delightful start. Please add me to the pm list. :D
     
  17. The_Cheshire_Cat

    The_Cheshire_Cat Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Well then! I am hooked so hard, I believe you tore a really big hole in my cheek. Doesn't look like it'll come out anytime soon >.>

    May I be placed on the PM list pleeeeaaaassse??
     
  18. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 23, 2000
    My apologies for the late response - I was away on a hiking trip in China for the past week.

    Interesting adventure Alias has gotten himself into, I see - thieving from an unknown owner who knows that you're the thief really isn't a good idea! [face_shame_on_you] Nor is being too confident of yourself in front of a woman whom you know you should be wary of...

    I liked the "Go"s and "Stop"s that you interspersed throughout the story - they served to change the mood of the story well without being too obtrusive.

    Nice update, and thanks for the PM! :)
     
  19. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    I loved the Mara scene :D And:

    On a certain level, Alias sexpects that Ciel is using such a trick on him, but he's confident in his own willpower, and believes such a factor is minimal at breast in influencing him.

    That just cracked me up :D

    Hopefully Mara will manage to sense his imminent death and arrive to do . . . something 8-}
     
  20. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2008
    So I opened a Pm about this a few weeks ago, and never read the story... but to my credit, I don't recall the link I saw today (must have been one of those days when the link's font colors weren't so clearly defined...) but for some reason, looked back at the PM today to get the OCs name so I could do a search, or couldn't recall if I was supposed to respond if I was interested, you know the deal.

    However, short story long, I am here now. On with the entertainment!


    First of all, I'm not all that familiar with sabacc, so this "stop" - "go" stuff is confusing the hell out of me...

    That being said :p So far, awesome, little details on unknown OCs and we've got 'em as figured out as cops pulling over a lowrider in Compton. Then there was the red-head who you pretty much spelled out for us. :D

    Am I excited so far? To say the least, can't wait for the rest... oh, wouldn't you know there's more:

    Alias' interaction with Hassan was priceless!!!


    On a certain level, Alias sexpects that Ciel is using such a trick on him, but he's confident in his own willpower, and believes such a factor is minimal at breast in influencing him.

    dude. [face_laugh]


    And she leaves him to die.

    Obviously more nonsense from Luton's Cliffhanger Workshop...

    Return me to the PM list my good man!!!
     
  21. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Leona: Will do!

    Cat: My bad! I'll try a different kind of lure next time.

    Valiowk: Sounds like fun!

    Glad you like the Stop/Go. This fic is sort of experimental in terms of narrative style.

    Nat: That line is a ridiculous thing. :p Glad you like it.

    Ale: Good day, sir!

    Hopefully you won't need to know anything about sabacc, though this post was the hardest for me to write sabacc-wise. There's so many contradictory aspects to the game that make it make so little sense. I ended up keeping the randomizer, the "get 23" goal, and some card names and tried to make the rest generic enough to fit a basic poker-style game.

    Obviously more nonsense from Luton's Cliffhanger Workshop...

    [face_whistling]

    Thank you everybody for reading and replying!



    [b]Part Three[/b]

    In a big galaxy, even seeing someone else pour and drink the same beverage isn't necessarily enough to avoid being poisoned. Alias Sibul has just learned this lesson, and it may be his last. The toxin coursing through him has all the effect of a headache on Zeltron physiology, but for a Twi'lek, the symptoms are considerably more dramatic.

    [i]Go.[/i]

    Alias is sweating profusely as he lay on his back with eyes open and dilated. His breathing is shallow and difficult. The weight he feels on his chest is like a rancor sitting on his ribs, except nothing he can do will persuade it to get up. His arms and legs are almost literally ?dead weight.? It takes all his concentration just to flop his free arm over to the side where Ciel cuffed him to the bed.

    Alias grinds sharp teeth and hisses as a burning sensation announces its arrival in his chest. He drags his hand up to his mouth. He takes a couple short breaths before plunging his fingers as deep down his throat as he can. Alias vomits, mostly liquid once alcoholic in nature. He coughs a few more times without any more coming up.

    ?Help,? he wheezes. ?Creepy security guys? Jade? Anyone??

    The door remains shut, and the room silent, except for Alias's staccato gasps for air. His trembling hand searches his body for the proper pocket. He pulls a silver pick gun free from black nerf-leather pants.

    He presses a small button on the device on his second try. A lightning-bolt-shape attachment slides out. He inserts it into the cuff lock on his third try. It slips from his sweaty fingers. He grabs it again. This time, he picks the lock. The cuffs come undone with a [i]shhk.[/i] He grabs his wrist and rolls over. His momentum takes him off the bed. He staggers a couple steps before crashing into the holovision.

    Alias pulls himself back to his feet. He takes a few halting steps toward the refresher. His legs give out just as he reaches it. He stays vertical only by taking hold of both sides of the door frame. Alias reaches for the sink counter next, dragging his rubbery legs along.

    [i]Stop.[/i]

    There's a cabinet just above the sink. In the cabinet is a satchel. In the satchel is a secret compartment. And in that secret compartment is something of a catch-all antitoxin. It may not fully combat whatever specifically is raging through Alias's system, but it will give him the time he needs to find help. And it is just out of reach.

    [i]Go.[/i]

    Alias glances the cabinet door once with his fingertips. The door stays closed, but his support is compromised. He collapses onto the floor, his chin slamming into the counter's edge on the way down. His arms, legs, and lekku seize. It feels like his heart is in a vice.

    ?H-help,? he whispers.

    Alias loses consciousness as the two men with dark suits and pale skin enter. Their cybernetic eyes glow dimly in the dark room. They each take an arm and drag the Twi'lek away, glossy black shoes clicking on the floor.

    * * * * * *

    ?You're awake!? observes Allemonde.

    ?You're astute,? Alias groans.

    [i]Stop.[/i]

    Allemonde's security grants certain allowances for Ciel's indiscretions. The two dead-eyed men posted outside Alias's room safely assumed that the thief fell under that cate>
     
  22. Valiowk

    Valiowk Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 23, 2000
    Nice update!

    There's something ironically funny about this sentence - most people with no idea of how the Force works hope that the Jedi can't read their thoughts, but here Alias is trying to project his thoughts to Mara as hard as possible.

    Very vivid description of Mara's telekinetic distraction - I wouldn't have liked to be there! ;)

    I hope Mara is all right - and Alias too - he doesn't seem like he'll last too long without her help!
     
  23. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2008
    ?What's wild??

    ?As always, nothing,? the dealer droid answers.

    ?We'll agree to disagree,? Alias replies.


    [face_laugh]


    Oh great, it seems we'll have to suffer theses damn "cliffie" things til the bitter end!

     
  24. furrylittlebantha

    furrylittlebantha Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 2, 2005
    I know what the framing device reminds me of: Burn Notice. The atmosphere a little, too.

    Once Alias was brought back from the precipice of death, he could safely be returned to the tightrope across it which was the sabacc game.

    :D Clever writing, tis.

    So, most enjoyable update. More of the fantastically polite and heartless Allemonde, Alias with his deadpan observations, and Mara Jade awesomeness. Loved the card change bit. I also particularly liked the bit about taking down a Force-user. I recently pondered these options myself during a writing exercise, and came to a similarly short list. The cliff-hanger you ended on was, once again, very most cliff-like.
     
  25. The_Cheshire_Cat

    The_Cheshire_Cat Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Ah ha! Bravo, an excellent update, says I!

    I was wondering as to how on Earth he was ever going to get out of the poisoning, but, there you have it!

    Well done! :D
     
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