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Saga The User (1:3) 'Metalegacies' - Chapter 7 (OCs, CorSec Detectives)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Luton_Plunder, Aug 23, 2007.

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  1. VA_Parky

    VA_Parky Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 10, 2005
    Hey Luton!! First of all, congratulations on having The User archived!! It is a very well deserved honor and I'm quite happy for you! =D=

    Secondly, let me tell you how much I loved this chapter. Your description of the planet Tadgh and Taban are on was PERFECT! I could practically feel the humidity as I was reading - and let me tell you, humidity does NOT make for a good hair day. :p I speak from experience and can honestly say that ponytails are my friend during the summer!

    Anyway, what in the world have our boys stumbled into?? The Maitland commune?? Oh, I am dying to know what that's all about. You left us w/ quite an evil cliffie!!!

    I'm also intrigued by what Keys has going on. I really like her and hope she manages to stay safe. She apparently doesn't have the element of surprise on her side.... Yikes! I'm a bit nervous about her predicament as well.

    Bravo! What a treat it is to read your stories!
  2. Moonlight_Jedi

    Moonlight_Jedi Jedi Youngling

    Dec 8, 2007
    Awesome story!

    The characters are totally great and I love that Keys and her husband are having a disagreement, makes them more human, a bit like the disagreement Corran had with Mirax in I, Jedi. In the last post your description of the situation the brothers are in is really good. This really is like a TV series.

    Anyway, please post more soon.

  3. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    Oh dear. The writer's strike is over. I can no longer pretend that I'm merely keeping with the TV series concept of this series by delaying it!

    Rogue - Thanks! I'm glad you liked it :D I tried my best to make it suitably creepy because, really, who knows what's going to happen next? Certainly not me, the lowly author. Answers will be coming in the next update, in full and hopefully not in infodump format :p

    Thumper - See, desk clerks just don't understand matters of importance like fanfic. All the same I can't help but lohle heartily at your embarassment [face_laugh] And just a hint, next week would be a good time for you to take a vacation ;)

    And oh lord :eek: 'Fuzzy Plan' is a brand new buzz word of mine :D

    And it only lasted like 5 months :D I am the master of cliffhangers. No wonder they let me run the workshop.

    Thanks for the reply!

    MJS - Hahah, I brought you out of reclusion only to go into it myself. I blame you for it, of course.

    [face_whistling] would be my short reply to both questions.

    Thanks for the R&R!

    Parky! Thanks again for coming on back, and I hope you can forgive my long periods between updates.

    Oh, I know. I had long hair once. Oh, the memories :p And let me apologise again for the evil months-long cliffie. It really wasn't my intention, but hopefully now I can get things back on track. I mean, there's many episodes to go. Can't go getting bogged down on episode 3 now!

    Thanks again for your readership, oh faithful friend [:D]

    Moonlight - Welcome to the thread! I'm so happy that you liked the story, and am hopeful that my long period of inactivity won't stop you from continuing. I can promise more posting soon!

    And you're right, it really is like a TV series. And now that the writer's strike is over, I can get right back to where I left off :p

    To everyone - that's the joke reason why this story has been delayed. The real ones are many and complex, but are a combination of real life, a new job helping out around the OC index, dabbling just a little too hard in original fiction (watch this space :p), and a computer that keeps 'sploding on me (I don't have a 'z' key on my home computer anymore. How annoying is that?).

    To alleiviate these concerns, I've since quieted down at work, fallen comfortably into the index, thrashed enough around in Original fiction to realise that fanfic is the true artform and gotten myself a second computer :p Expect a new chapter to be posted a week from now. Sunday or Monday!

    That's an LP promise?.

    Much like the points, it's worth nothing. But I like using the ? symbol. So sue me.

  4. Darth_Manion

    Darth_Manion Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 5, 2007
    Huzzah! "The User" is back! This is almost as exciting as when they announced at work that the men's bathroom was finally getting soap!

    No, seriously, there was unbridled jubilation at that announcement.

    In any case, I eagerly await the next instalment, O Luton. Keep up the excellent work! [face_peace]
  5. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 3, 2008
    [face_thinking] Hmmmm....

    Here I was thinking I had a lot of catching up to will remedy that, won't you Futon?

  6. Rau_Fang

    Rau_Fang Jedi Master star 2

    Mar 28, 2005
    =D= Yay! Very good Luton.

    Once again your characters are full of charm. I love the bit between Keys and Marryt deciding whether or not they want a baby. Its a very real question whether or not to raise a child in a disgusting world.

    Once again... the irony alone should be enough to kill Taban and Tadgh.

    Oh... and its unusual to have a character in Star Wars to be afraid of space... I like that abnormality in Taban.

    Oh... and please put me on the list... you know the one I'm talkin' bout.
  7. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    Manion - You're right, the User is back! Only four months after you posted that sentence [face_laugh]

    Ale - Remedy here.

    Rau - It is great to see you back here! I just hope I haven't ruined everything with the big delay. I've put you on the PM list, but I'm including a standard 'Opt Out' clause in the next PM in case this story has gotten too old.

    I certainly would not blame anyone for opting out of the list. I'd apologise profusely for being away for so long - but it's all stuff you've heard before. In any case, here's the next chapter! And good news, I've actually completed the story in entirety so regular posting from here on will be a breeze!

    Yours in tardiness,

    [u]Chapter Five

    The silence that followed the lightning-fast attack was thicker than anything the humidity had been. Tadgh kept his jaw as still as he could, not daring even to breathe for fear of his skin expanding and making contact with the glowing red blade. It hovered steadily, not a jitter to suggest that the wielder was an amateur. The intensity in her eyes and the scowl on her face went a long way to establishing that fact, also. Whatever happened next would depend on how gently he handled the situation. He knew his next words had to be absolutely perfect.

    "I promise," he began gently, "that we aren't trying to sell you anything."

    He caught sight of Taban's involuntary smirk and, despite everything, was proud of himself.

    "Are you alone?" their attacker asked urgently. She spoke quickly and firmly, like a schoolteacher presiding over an unruly bunch of children. Teachers generally didn't carry lightsabers, however - an important distinction. "Were you followed?"

    "Uh," Tadgh began, the heat on his neck increasing. He was saved the need to speak further by Taban, who seemed to have found his voice again.

    "Through [i]that[/i] soup?" he said incredulously, nodding toward the misty, sodden foliage they had emerged from beyond the great front gates. The lightsaber flicked swiftly - gently - to Taban's still-glistening clavicle. "If anyone followed us," he held his composure, "they drowned long ago."

    "Cute," the woman said dismissively, relaxing the distance between her blade and Taban's flesh. "Both of you keep your hands visible or I'll turn them to level piles of smoking ash."

    "[i]Imagery[/i]," Taban said, visibly loosening. Tadgh followed his lead, daring to finally let his muscles unclench. He tried unsuccessfully to wrest his eyes from the woman who had held their lives so casually in her hands. Who still [i]did[/i] hold their lives casually in her hands.

    "I'm confused," he said to her, maintaining eye contact even under her concentrated stare. "You're not going to kill us?"

    "I'd have done it by now," she answered, extinguishing the saber. "I'd have done it before you knew I was anywhere near you."

    [i]Fair point,[/i] Tadgh thought. "Fair point," he enunciated the fact that point was, in fact, fair. Because after all, it was a fair point. On a scale of [i]poor[/i] to [i]fair[/i], this point definitely tended toward the end labelled 'fair'.

    [i]Firefek'n hell, my brain's going in circles[/i], he screamed to himself. [i]Calm down. Find out what's going on. Get a handle on the situation. Get your gun back. Talk or shoot your way back to the [/i]Rex[i]. Do a gods-damned [/i]dance[i]. Just don't stand here doing nothing[/i].

    All good suggestions, he knew. There was nothing wrong with his rational thought processes. It was [i]acting[/i] on them that seemed to be providing the challenge here. He just kept starting at her eyes. It was like she had him entranced. And given she was a Force User - quite demonstrably one, at that - that was not a possibility he was willing to rule out.

    She turned her neck slightly and inhaled sharply, directing her voice over her shoulder. "They're here," she announced in a voice so loud that he flinched, half expecting a hitherto concealed weapon to shoot suddenly from her mouth. In his experience, anything was possible wit>
  8. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    W00t! [face_dancing]

    Sorry if this reply isn't very coherent or smooth, but I'll try my best through the haze of Monday.

    The introductions (and the introduction to the introduction) were great. Poor guys, I can imagine how odd that whole situation was for them.

    I really liked Tadgh and Taban's mixed reactions to hearing about their father and what he did with the other Jedi, especially this part:
    In truth, it slightly offended Tadgh that these people would assume they were worth dying for. If there was anyone in the galaxy that his father would trade his life for, he rather thought it would have been his children.

    I was really impressed with that. It's a very realistic reaction for Tadgh to have. Kudos. :)

    This was the very definition of a situation sliding suddenly and sharply out of control.

    I agree! But Tadgh should be used to that by now, heh heh. ;)

    "In exchange for your lives."

    D'OH! :oops:

    No wonder Thelonias was so happy to see them. :eek:

    I'm gonna hold you to that promise of more regular updates, Futon. [face_mischief]

    Great update!

  9. Darth_Manion

    Darth_Manion Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 5, 2007
    Ha! There is now better way you could've ended that chapter! Way to bring 'The User' back with a bang - and with all the cliff-hangery goodness we've come to expect. =D=

    Four months, you say? Why, I didn't even notice.... [face_plain] [/lie]

    In any case, I will remain a loyal reader up until you decide to put this story to rest, or if at any intervening point you choose to abandon it, in which case I will be sad but I'll get over it. Eventually. [face_worried]
  10. Moonlight_Jedi

    Moonlight_Jedi Jedi Youngling

    Dec 8, 2007
    Well, I'm a day late but that's okay. Great post!:D
    The suspense was awesome and the ending was very dramatic.
    I'm excited for more. Yay for regular posts!

  11. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    Wonderful! :D

    One of the newcomers - an elderly man with a scruffy white beard - stepped forward. He was staring intently at Tadgh's face, his look so acutely focused that he might as well have been a pair of eyes on legs. He lingered on Tadgh for several drawn out seconds before suddenly blinking and turning his attention to Taban. For a moment or two this was how he occupied himself - studying each of the brothers as though they might reveal a wonderful secret to him if he wished hard enough. The silence was so fragile it was like a sheet of glass waiting to be shattered.

    "Like what you see, perv?" Taban took a battleaxe to the brittle quiet, placing one concealing hand on each pectoral in mock modesty.

    It did the trick. Their observer shook his head slightly and scaled back his stare to a socially acceptable level. "I do apologise," he said quickly, his voice the scratchy and worn result of years spent talking in low register. "It's just I don't quite believe it."

    "Believe what?" Tadgh asked, narrowing his eyes. "Clarify, and fast. I'm getting annoyed."

    "And rightly so!" the senior citizen agreed wholeheartedly, his eyes widening and a grin spreading across his leathery jaw. "Being lured all the way out here, disarmed and held hostage and all without a shred of explanation as to why. Or who or where, might I add. It's enough to drive anyone around the bend, dear boy."

    =D= =D=
  12. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 3, 2008

    Chapter Five

    "Oh dear, boy - I think you have misunderstood."

    "Thank god for that," Taban said.

    "We aren't looking to make a final stand, but you will indeed be our salvation. You see, it's like this," he began, reaching inside his robe. From inside he produced a lightsaber and activated it, letting the sulphur-yellow blade hover in the space between them. At the same time, Kayleh activated her blade. "The Emperor has offered us a gracious chance to live.

    "In exchange for your lives."


    The next chapter is when things happen? Like this ins't bloddy well enough?!?!?

  13. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    Thumper - Thankyou so very much for coming back to this one [:D]

    I'm so happy the introductions worked! This was one of those very annoying chapters in which alot happens without alot happening, if you know what i mean. Introducing two new characters, an entire backstory and an ominous revelation through conversation. This is something that if I had my time over, I'd probably re-write into a different situation. But this one will serve fine for now, even if it's very much info-dumpy :p

    I'm also glad that Tadgh's emotional handle on the situation seems real - that's something that was vital to the success of this particular episode. So we're on the right track ;) Thanks alot, Thumper! I am so very close to posting my catchup review of 'The Way'.

    Manion - Cliffhangery goodness will never die ;) Though actually from here on out, I think the cliffhangers start to subdue as the story begins to chug along. Though sticking to TV format, there ought to be a cliffie before each commercial break, right? :p

    Thanks so much for returning to this [face_dancing]

    Moonlight - A day late to a four-months-late update is nothing to complain about, trust me :p Thanks alot for coming back! I'm definitely going to be posting regularly now that I have finished the episode :p All I need to do is a quick review before each post to make sure it reads properly and bang.

    Ma'am V - So glad to see you back [:D] Thanks again for reading!

    The All-New, MkII Corellian_Ale - Ale, thanks for coming back to the story. It means a great big huggy bunch to see the ol' OC Captain is still on board.

    Things will happen in the next chapter! We'll be going back to Keys for the first time in about 5 months too, which is going to be exciting for me. I like her style :p

    I hope to see you all for the next update, coming up in the next couple of days. I'm actually on the wrong computer at the moment otherwise it'd be up today [face_laugh] But soon, more User is coming your way.

    Thanks again to everyone for returning [face_love]
  14. The_Face

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

    Feb 22, 2003
    It?s back! [face_dancing]

    She'd have been more at home with a name like "Skullcrusher" or "Madame Maims-a-lot".

    The second one has a nice poetry to it, I think?

    :eek: Okay, I didn?t quite see that coming. They should really consider that deals with the Empire do not end well for the parties involved. They often involve phrases like ?Pray I do not alter it further?, and that?s just no good.

    Great update, and looking forward to getting back to it. :D
  15. DountCooku

    DountCooku Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 22, 2006
    Wow, nice twist at the end! I think these two have been in hiding a bit too long. One too many days in the humidity can do horrid things to a person's sanity. ;)
  16. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    Face - If only more people would take their cues from Lando! There would be none of this betrayal to the Emperor gone wrong and like half of Star Wars lore could have been averted. Tsk tsk tsk. These characters, I don't know.

    Thanks so much for your reply - it means alot to have you back ;)

    DountCooku - Maybe the humidity has mind alterting qualities [face_thinking] It'd be a nice defence to put up around your commune, I must admit! Thanks greatly for the reply and for coming back to a story that needs some serious ressurecting.

    That goes for all of you!

    [u]Chapter Six

    Tadgh had long ago given up trying to find a weak spot in the makeshift wooden cage they were being held in. For one thing they were being watched too carefully by a woman who was only too eager to wave her lightsaber around. For another, the wood seemed to be something in the order of a metre thick. It was more than likely that it had taken the Force to get the girders into place and it would take nothing short of the Force to get them to move again. All that was left to do now was wait.

    Wait, and argue.

    "Come off it," he shouted at an unmoved Kayleh. "Do we look like Jedi to you?"

    "What does a Jedi look like?" she answered his question with a question. He hated it when people did that in regular circumstances, but he'd just discovered that being held hostage magnified that hatred. What was wrong with well structured, conventional conversation? Call and response was not a difficult concept.

    "Not like us," Tadgh protested, nobly burying his grammatical concerns.

    "You look a lot like your father," she observed, sitting cross-legged on the ground and facing away from him. From the position of the cage they had a view of the entire commune - an enclosed, serene looking place. The image of her taking in the tranquil view was the stuff of works of art. "[i]He[/i] was a Jedi," she concluded.

    "Well," Taban said, leaning against one of the wooden bars, "if we're going with the theory that 'people who look like Jericho Maitland are therefore Jedi', it follows logically that people who [i]don't[/i] look like him are definitely not Jedi. I guess that means I'm off the hook?"

    Kayleh paused, presumably to take a deep breath. "I'm almost certain that your ability to annoy me is being drawn from the Force. So no, you are not off the hook."

    Taban sighed and let his head fall backwards against the bar, using it as an effective headrest. "Worth a shot," he said, closing his eyes. Tadgh didn't need the Force to sense his discomfort. It wasn't at the fact that they had been captured or that they might soon face their imminent death - though that was likely a contributing factor. It was a deeper sadness than that. Underlying and unspoken. His mannerisms were not those of his usual self.

    Being honest with himself, Tadgh felt the same sadness. It was the feeling that came with being told that what you thought you knew of your father was only a fraction of the real thing. It was like a complete identity change in the space of a few minutes, one that was occurring on the strength of the anecdotes of their enemies. The immediate reaction was to ignore their claims, naturally - to dismiss their stories as lies designed to gain their trust before betraying them.

    But it didn't sit right, and they both knew that. If these people had merely wished to capture them, they could have done it without the story. Capable as he was, Tadgh couldn't fend off the attacks of two fully trained Jedi and their dozens of adept followers. Their motive behind spinning their tragic tale was not deception. They wanted to be understood. Maybe even forgiven for what they were doing.

    If that was it - if they truly were trying to assuage their guilt for selling the sons of their idol to the Emperor - then Tadgh was happy to disappoint.

    "You don't know how he died, do you?" he asked suddenly.

    The question had the desired effect. Kayleh whipped her head to the side, looking at him out of the corner of her eye. She didn't>
  17. Corellian_Ale

    Corellian_Ale Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 3, 2008
    Another piece in the game had been played.

    Time to try another.

    Making an emotional connection with one's captor?!?! o_O

    Brilliantly played chapter Futon!!!! Glad to see you back, and congrats on the noms!

  18. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Some Jedi would call this meditation. Tadgh called it a serious attempt to resist the temptation of answers to questions gone unanswered for too long. The Jedi version was admittedly more succinct.

    There were some great lines in this post, but I think this part was my favorite. :)

    Poor Keys, that club sounded way too loud and overwhelming. That was certainly one way to get someone's attention by using alcohol, heh heh. I hope Marryt's never seen that side of Keys before.

    The childhood story at the end was great. :D It was sweet, and at the same time we got to see a little glimpse of how Tadgh and Taban grew up into who they are today. And the "ugly one" comments--LOL! [face_laugh]

    Going from Kayleh's initial reactions, Tadgh seems to be making some progress with his game, and I'm looking forward to seeing if his plan works to help them escape from their thick and slightly daunting cell. Without any weapons or communications available, it's good that he's thinking outside the box, yuk yuk yuk. :p (I can't believe I just said that.)

    Congrats on the noms! Well-deserved. :D

  19. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Sorry, double post. [face_blush] Great update, though!
  20. DountCooku

    DountCooku Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 22, 2006
    Great update! I'm already looking forward to the next one. This line was my favorite:

    Kayleh paused, presumably to take a deep breath. "I'm almost certain that your ability to annoy me is being drawn from the Force. So no, you are not off the hook."

    If that's the case, I think some of the people that I know are Force users. [face_laugh]
  21. Darth_Manion

    Darth_Manion Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 5, 2007
    I very much enjoyed this particular chapter. It showed more of the character's depth than anything, and nothing can really show what makes a character tick than seeing them under pressure - in this case, captured with little chance of escape. The brother's anecdote was very clever.

    I must admit, this is shaping up to be my favorite 'User' instalment yet. I can't pin-point any specific reason, but whatever you're doing, keep doing it.

    Hmmm, I wonder what the Star Wars equivalent of 'Stockholm Syndrome' is?
  22. Rogue_Pilot_2347

    Rogue_Pilot_2347 Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 16, 2005
    Hey you're back! To tell the truth, I'd forgotten about this story....

    Awesome development. I like Tadgh's plan thus far, though I'm not quite sure where he's going with it. I've an idea, but it seems pretty far fetched....we'll see, I suppose.

    Just out of curiosity, how do you pronounce Tadgh?
  23. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004

    He was playing a game, he told himself. The words were true but he didn't mean them. That's what he told himself.

    "It'll all have been, as far as I'm concerned, for no-"

    The shrill hiss of a lightsaber silenced him mid-word.

    He hadn't even seen Kayleh turn around and go for the weapon, but nevertheless she was now standing not a metre away from him on the other side of the wooden cage. Her blade was held loosely at her side, serving mainly to illuminate her eyes with a faint red glow. Taban, having been trying his hardest to look the other way during Tadgh's spiel, was now enrapt by their captor's presence. Tadgh had to try hard not to gulp.

    "If you dare say that his death was for nothing," she said in a voice barely loud enough to be heard, "you won't live to meet the Emperor's Hand."

    Tadgh's heart skipped a beat.

    So that's the plan, he thought. He didn't know what an 'Emperor's Hand' was, but he had heard the term before - used by the very first Dark Jedi he had ever met, Bastian. If another Bastian was coming to collect them and take them to the Emperor, they were in a lot more trouble than he had originally thought. And he hadn't exactly been selling himself short when apportioning trouble.

    "Keep quiet," Kayleh punctuated the words with another hiss as the lightsaber retracted. She resumed her seated position, and the two brothers were left once again in total silence.

    Their eyes locked from across the cage, and Tadgh tried his best to communicate without words. There was only one way out of this, he knew. And he'd need his brother's help to do it. They had no weapons, no communications and no backup on the way to help them out. There was only the game he had already started.

    Your OCs are always such amazingly complex characters! =D=
  24. The_Face

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

    Feb 22, 2003
    [face_laugh] Attention, everyone, do you see what Keys did just there? That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we like to call How It?s Done. :cool:

    That Maitland Family Flashback? brings to mind the ones used in ?Psych?, always to good humorous effect, always to a larger thematic or plot-driven purpose. Just get Corbin Bernsen-with-a-hairpiece to play Jericho and you?re good to go. ;)

    Good update, as always!
  25. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    Ale - Thanks greatly! Wow, noms? I remember awards....they were so long ago :p

    Thumper - So nice you said it twice! Thanks very much for the words of approval - and hah, for that yuk yuk yuk moment :p I'm appreciative of the personal sacrifice that must have taken!

    DountCooku - I sure hope you haven't been looking forward to this that whole time :p Thanks for the reply!

    Manion - Oh Manion. Thanks so much for your kind words. I honestly didn't mean to repay you by turning around and making this the longest wait between chapters ever :p Thanks again!

    Rogue_Pilot - Oh, if you'd forgotten about it before you'll have forgotten it again now :p But thanks for the review!

    VaderLVR - Thanks for the compliments!!

    Face - Keys patented the How-its-Done manoeuvre actually. Maybe that'll be good fodder for a short story.

    Thanks a lot Face - back then you were a mod! Awesome! :p

    Okay so, it's likely that some of you have been wondering where Iwas.

    Keep on wondering, because whatever you think up will be more interesting than the truth! I'll just say the big "Sorry" right here and move along. To those who are sticking with the story: Thankyou greatly. To those who aren't - rest assured I don't blame you. And you are welcome back at any stage :)

    [u]Chapter Seven

    [/u]"Filthy Firefek'n Human!" Knittok spat out through a swollen mouth.

    "Nice. Good start," Keys said, muscling the larger Kuati male around with ease. She forced him forward, pushing him against a door marked 'Private' that she had found along one of the walls of the club. She didn't know what the room was for. She didn't know who was in there. All she knew was that it was, ostensibly, private. Privacy was what she needed.

    The door swung open violently and she flung Knittok to the ground. Startled male patrons and female dancers jumped, leaping from their seats and making to cover themselves. Going by the expressions on their faces, some were angry, most were embarrassed, yet more were frightened. Her response to each of the silent questions and demands hanging in the air was the same.

    "CorSec," she announced, producing her ID. "Get out."

    There was a flurry of activity, the room transforming from full to empty with a quiet fervour.

    "[i]Not[/i] you," she clarified, grabbing Knittok's collar and forcing him back to the ground. His attempt to escape with the throng spoke quite poorly to his intelligence, she thought. It perhaps, though, spoke glowingly to his recklessness. Caution would be vital through this interrogation.

    In this case, caution was an overcharged Blas-Tech DL-22.

    "Oh great," the Kuati said, more to the gun than her. "Staring down a blaster barrel again."

    "I'd have thought it was routine in your line of work," Keys said calmly, making herself comfortable on a soft seat. The ambient noise level in here was not such that she had to yell - rather, it was the muted, thumping din of the club filtered through thick walls. Frosted windows to the dance floor outside exhibited the impressionistic visage of dancing shadows moving rhythmically against pulsating colourful lights. Keys had the bizarre feeling of being in purgatory. [i]Not a good sign[/i], she thought.

    "Only when bigoted humans stick their fleshy noses in," the Kuati said, careful not to move. His voice was a sinister hiss - though this was perhaps due to the new configuration of his teeth.

    "Really?" she responded, letting her grip on the blaster ease. "Come on now, Knittok. You've only been too happy to talk to us filthy humans in the past. What's one more friendly conversation?"

    "What do you want?" Knittok cut to the point, still eye-locked with the blaster.

    "Information," she answered.

    He rolled his eyes. "Original."

    She decided to gamble.

    "How long have the Sceptres been back?"

    The question cut right through his pretentious façade of arrogance. She had never expected to get an answer to that specific question, rather had only asked it so that he might answer another, unasked question. If she had opened with 'which ga>
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