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Saga - OT The Whispurr Omnibus | TESB, humour | One-shot & short story collection featuring Ozzel’s cat

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    The Whispurr Omnibus
    The Whispurr Omnibus is a collection of stories about Admiral Ozzel’s cat set mostly during TESB in the New Canon continuity. It started out as a single one-shot but then it expanded with a second story, a project for a third and an entire hutch of ever-breeding plot bunnies. So far, it consists of the following stories:

    1. Feline Trouble (below)
    2.
    Princess Seeks Scoundrel for Long-Term Relationship ♫

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

    Title:
    Feline Trouble
    Timeframe: The first twenty minutes (or so) of TESB
    Genre: Humour
    Length: One-shot
    Characters: Firmus Piett, Kendal Ozzel, OCs.
    Continuity: New Canon
    Notes: This story is a repost from my old Chyntuck’s Ramblings thread, where you will find the original reviews and replies. It was written for the 2014 Dare Challenge off the prompt supplied by SatineNaberrie (behind the spoiler tag).
    I dare someone to write a story where Admiral Ozzel brings his cat abroad the star destroyer and it causes lots of trouble for the crew. Requirements: 1. Cat refuses to use litter box. 2. Cat must not be killed.3 Admiral Ozzel doesn't see anything wrong with his kitty while everyone else gets mad.


    Feline Trouble

    The Executor dropped out of hyperspace to receive the transmissions sent by the hundreds of probe droids that Darth Vader had launched across the Galaxy in his hunt for the Rebel Alliance. Standing near a bank of monitors on the bridge, Captain Piett couldn't help but notice that the musky smell that seemed to accompany Admiral Ozzel everywhere he went these days was wafting towards him again. Moreover, the Admiral had been oddly unkempt lately. His uniform was slightly crumpled and his lap was often studded with tiny streaks of white. His orderly is in for a rough time if Lord Vader ever gets wind of this, Piett thought grimly. The swoosh of the closing turbolift doors brought another whiff across the hallway. Ha. No pun intended. Anyway, it’s a good thing Lord Vader breathes filtered air. If he’s going to lose his temper again, I’d rather it not be in front of me.

    Firmus Piett was not a bad man, nor was he a coward. He was ambitious, certainly, and he knew when to duck to avoid the Dark Lord’s fury, but he didn't wish others any harm. Except Ozzel, that is. The man was such a pompous moron, and, to add insult to injury, he’d been promoted to Admiral under circumstances that were shady at best – capitalizing on his family connections, no doubt, Piett thought bitterly as he reminisced about his own, humble beginnings on Axxila. Well, you’d expect someone with that sort of ancestry to polish their boots, wouldn't you? But then, a crumpled uniform isn’t quite enough to warrant a death sentence, and it’s a sad fact that Lord Vader’s never heard of the brig. Then again, Ozzel should know that turning up in front of the Dark Lord of the Sith in anything less than a perfectly crisp uniform is about as stupid as challenging a Wookiee to hand-to-hand combat.

    The absolute silence that reigned on the bridge was broken solely by Vader’s heavy footfalls and the murmur of the Admiral’s conversation with General Veers. Piett shook off his train of thought to focus on the monitors where the information relayed by the probe droids was displayed. Nothing, nothing, nothing, he thought as he flicked from one report to the next. The Galaxy’s a big place. Finding a Rebel base in there is like looking for a grain of sand on Tatooine. He let out a small sigh of frustration and was going to let the crew continue on their own when a fragment of a video caught his attention. Feed me to the fishes of Naboo, he muttered to himself. This is it. This is my chance to make a good impression.

    He hurried up to Ozzel as Darth Vader came closer, the sound of his mechanical breathing echoing now ominously across the bridge. “Admiral.”

    Ozzel spun on his heel to face him. There was a thin cloud of silky floss floating in the air around him. “Yes, Captain.”

    Piett struggled not to wrinkle his nose in disgust. Kriff, what has the man been up to? Sharing a steam bath with a Hutt? “I think we've got something, sir. The report is only a fragment from a probe droid in the Hoth system, but it’s the best lead we've had.”

    “We have thousands of probe droids searching the galaxy,” Ozzel snapped with his insufferably haughty manner. “I want proof, not leads!”

    Piett peeked over Ozzel’s shoulder. He’s within earshot. Let’s hope the filter in his breathing mask isn’t a legend. “But, sir, the Hoth system is supposed to be devoid of human forms.” He held his breath to avoid inhaling any more of the stench. How can Veers stand it?

    Darth Vader’s black mask turned towards the screen, where the fragment showing a base on an ice world was playing in a loop. “You found something?”

    Please let this be the real thing. “Yes, my lord,” Piett answered as firmly as he could.

    Vader studied the image for a moment. “That’s it. The Rebels are there.”

    Ozzel shot Piett an angry glare. “My lord, there are so many uncharted settlements. It could be smugglers, it could be...”

    Doesn't this man know when to keep his mouth shut? Piett thought in exasperation. He’s going to get it one of these days if he keeps playing kick-the-rancor, and I don’t want to be around for it.

    The Dark Lord interrupted the Admiral before he could dig himself any deeper. “That is the system. And I’m sure Skywalker is with them. Set your course for the Hoth system. General Veers, prepare you men.”

    The faintest of smiles curled Piett's lips as Lord Vader turned around and left with a swish of his cape. Ozzel shot him another furious look. “It seems we will find out today how Lord Vader rewards those who take him on a wild bantha chase, Captain,” he said with his perfectly clipped Core World accent. “I suggest you retire to your quarters during the jump to hyperspace, to make any necessary... arrangements regarding your private affairs.”

    Piett didn't wait to be told twice - it would have been most undignified for the Captain to serial-sneeze on the bridge, and this... stuff around Ozzel seemed to be triggering an allergic reaction. He bowed politely and made his way to the area of the ship where the senior officers’ quarters were located. He saw a housekeeping droid exit Ozzel's rooms as he dug in his pocket for his keycard. The whole ship is going to the dogs, he thought. This droid is creaking and wheezing as if it hasn't undergone maintenance since the fall of the Old Republic.

    He took a step closer to look up the droid’s serial number and was pulling out his comlink when the whirr became louder. There was a sudden, loud crackle and he found himself engulfed in a cloud of smoke while the exploding machine showered him with sparkles, dust and goo from all its orifices. He started sneezing and coughing so violently that he thought he would spit his brains out. “This is the Captain,” he shouted in the comlink when he finally managed to catch his breath. “I want a maintenance technician and the laundry service up here, double-time.”

    ***
    “My most sincere apologies, sir,” the chief maintenance technician said. “Our logs show that this droid was checked for malfunctions less than a week ago. I can’t really explain what happened.”

    Piett buttoned his jacket. He had the distinct impression that the sonic hadn't quite removed the stench from his hair, and he was still shaking with anger. “Can you at least tell me what that was?”

    The chief technician glanced at his datapad. “The diagnostics show large quantities of hair and some form of sticky organic matter, sir.” He hesitated. “Actually, it looks like faecal matter, but I’m a bit baffled because it’s not human.”

    Piett arched an eyebrow. “Non-human faecal matter on the Empire’s flagship?”

    “Yes, sir. It’s a problem we've had since we left Coruscant. I fear we may have a pest infestation of some kind. This was” - he eyed his datapad again – “the third droid that broke down for the same reason in the past month. And what’s strange is, it was always droids allocated to the senior officers’ quarters.”

    What in the blue blazes...? “Well, why don’t you find out what’s behind it,” Piett snapped. “And while you’re at it, why don’t you make sure that the Admiral’s rooms are cleaned by a functioning droid. I assure you better hygiene would not be a luxury.”

    The Admiral... Piett stopped dead in his tracks as a sudden thought crossed his mind. What if Ozzel's unkemptness was not the consequence of an infestation, but the source of the problem? Surely, the scion of a proud Caridan family couldn't be that much of a slob. But this is Ozzel we’re talking about, he reminded himself. Anything is possible. He dismissed the chief technician and ordered the Admiral’s orderly to join him in his study.

    Crewman Maneas seemed rather distraught when he arrived in the Captain’s private office, but Piett had no time to concern himself with the young man’s personal issues– he needed to update his will, for kriff's sake. He couldn't however ignore the scratches on the orderly’s cheek or the frayed fabric of his jumpsuit. “Would you care to explain your appearance, crewman?” he asked glacially.

    Maneas blushed. “I’m sorry, sir. I just had a minor accident in Admiral Ozzel's room, and I didn't have time to change. You said to come straight away.”

    Piett's nostrils were itching again. He sniffed the air cautiously. Yes. It’s definitely not coming from me. “Your diligence is appreciated, crewman. Now would you care to explain this smell?”

    The crewman’s blush darkened. “What... what smell, sir?”

    “Let me spell it out for you, crewman. Can you tell me why I seem to have developed an allergy to Admiral Ozzel, to anyone or anything related to Admiral Ozzel, and most importantly to the housekeeping droid that exploded on its way out of Admiral Ozzel's quarters?”

    Maneas went from beet red to deathly white. “The housekeeping droid exploded?... Sir?”

    “Yes!” Piett shouted. “It exploded! In my face! Will you tell me what is going on?”

    Maneas looked at him miserably. “It’s because of the cat, sir.”

    Both eyebrows shot up. “The what?”

    “The cat, sir. Admiral Ozzel’s cat.”

    Piett took a deep breath, then cursed himself for it as he was shaken by another coughing fit. “Are you telling me that the Admiral brought his cat on board? And you've been feeding its litter box to the housekeeping droids?”

    “Not quite, sir. It’s a bit... difficult sometimes. It refuses to use the litter box.”

    This can’t be happening, Piett thought. I’m the captain of the Imperial Navy’s flagship, and I just got showered in cat poop because of that stupid, moronic, stuck-up nerf herder. “Admiral Ozzel's cat is... relieving itself wherever it chooses in Admiral Ozzel's quarters,” he said in disbelief.

    The crewman swallowed. “Yes, sir.”

    There was an ominous silence. “Here’s an idea for you,” Piett said. “You are going to take the cat to the nearest airlock and space it.”

    “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t do that,” Maneas said shyly but firmly. “Admiral Ozzel is very fond of his cat and would be very upset if I lost it. Besides, it’s a rare breed of Caridan angora. Getting him a replacement would cost a year of my wages.”

    By now, Piett didn't know whether he should laugh, cry or scream. “Get out of here now, crewman,” he yelled in fury. “And be sure that if I ever hear about that cat again, or worse if I ever smell it, you’ll find out more about the brig than you ever hoped to.”

    He waited for Maneas to leave and took another deep, calming breath before he switched on his datapad. He’d barely accessed the document he was looking for when someone let out a wail of despair in the hallway. “What is this ruckus?” he thundered as the door slid open.

    Crewman Maneas was standing outside Ozzel’s quarters. He was on the verge of tears. “It’s the cat, sir. It escaped.”

    That’s the best piece of news I heard since this morning, Piett thought. No, wrong. It’s the second best piece of news, I found the Rebel base after all – although that one’s still TBC. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I need to update my will, just in case. “Well, go and find it, crewman. I’m confident you don’t need to be a tracking animal to follow the scent.”

    “You don’t understand, sir,” Maneas whispered with pure terror in his voice. “The cat left that way.” He pointed at the hallway leading to Darth Vader’s hyperbaric chamber.

    I take it back. That’s not good news at all. “Get. That. Animal. Now.” Piett enunciated, emphasizing every word. Maneas hesitated. “That was an order, crewman. Get that cat now, or go to the brig.”

    There was a pause. “I’ll take the brig, sir. Should I report there straight away?”

    ***
    Piett’s mood was absolutely foul by the time Ozzel called him back to the bridge. A squad of very angry 501st stormtroopers had been scouring the Executor for the duration of the jump through hyperspace – the Emperor’s finest looking for a cat hours before a decisive battle! – but the bloody animal remained invisible, although it had left a steady trail of hairs, puddles and droppings for them. I can’t believe I spent what could be my last living hours posting housekeeping staff in every corner of the hallways leading from Lord Vader’s chambers to the bridge instead of updating my will. And when I comm Ozzel to tell him about it, he asks me to make sure that his kitty’s okay. It’s lucky I didn't give him a piece of my mind, I’d be facing a court martial now – and there’s no way in hell I’ll be court-martialled by that pontificating prat!

    “You will be pleased to hear that our hunch was likely correct, Captain,” Ozzel said pleasantly. Our hunch? Our? “There is an energy field protecting the sixth planet of the Hoth system. It is indisputably a military installation.”

    Piett’s heart leapt in his chest –I found it! I found it! – but he kept his composure. “Shouldn't we have come out of lightspeed on the outskirts of the system, sir? The Rebels must be aware of our presence now.”

    Ozzel snorted. “You have much to learn, Captain. Surprise is wiser in such circumstances. General Veers is informing Lord Vader as we speak.”

    The viewscreen flickered to life behind them, revealing Lord Vader’s black silhouette. Spinning around, Piett saw an armour-clad stormtrooper waving at him and pointing at a spot near his feet. No! No! No! Not now!

    “Lord Vader,” Ozzel started obsequiously. “The fleet has moved out of light-speed, and we’re preparing to...”

    He suddenly gasped for breath and clutched his throat with both hands as his trachea was crushed by an invisible force. “You have failed me for the last time, Admiral,” Vader said. “Captain Piett.”

    Piett tore his attention off the cat that was now purring and rubbing its body against his legs. “Yes, my lord.”

    “Make ready to land our troops beyond the energy shield and deploy the fleet so that nothing gets off that system,” Vader ordered. “You are in command now, Admiral Piett.”

    Admiral Piett? I like the sound of that. “Thank you, Lord Vader.” Focus now. Focus. He’s still watching. He turned crisply towards the crew and glanced warily at his feet. Ozzel had crumpled to a lifeless heap on the floor, but the cat was still there. A very pretty cat indeed, he thought fleetingly before he relayed the Dark Lord’s orders. I need to seek treatment for this allergy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: Princess Seeks Scoundrel for Long-Term Relationship
    Timeframe: TESB (concurrent with Feline Trouble), with a prologue that takes place in 20 BBY
    Genre: Espionage-y humour? Humorous espionage?
    Length: Short multi-post
    Characters: Davits Draven, Kendal Ozzel, canon and original character cameos.
    Continuity: New Canon
    Notes: This story was written for the 2017 Dare Challenge off the prompt supplied by Raissa Baiard (behind the spoiler tag). It goes without saying that the (approximately rhyming) lyrics of the song that appears in this fic must be sung to the (approximate) tune of Rupert Holmes’s Escape (Piña Colada), which you can find here.
    Jump to: Prologue (this post) – Chapter IChapter IIChapter IIIEpilogue
    Your dare is to create five (or more, if you feel inspired) profiles for the dating site RebelsOnly.com. You may set this at any point during the OT and use any mix of Legends or Canon characters BUT:
    1. One profile must be Luke Skywalker under the user name VeryLonelyLuke
    2. One must obviously be an Imperial officer trying to locate the Rebel base
    3. One must be a droid
    4. One must be inspired by the lyrics of the song “Escape (Piña Colada)”
    5. One is Leia, writing about Han
    You can combine elements, if you choose.

    Princess Seeks Scoundrel for Long-Term Relationship ♫

    Prologue

    It was a raucous party, like every time Republic Intelligence welcomed a new batch of recruits to its ranks. Despite the galactic conflict that was now in its second year and the rationing problems that the Clone Wars caused in the Core Worlds, a seemingly endless supply of Whyren’s Reserve helped those in attendance wash down the multitude of snacks that the Chancellor’s Office had provided for the night. By the time Major Draven turned up, everyone was in a pleasantly inebriated state, even the Army’s and Navy’s top brass who had accepted, as was custom by then, to join the celebration. True, Admiral Tarkin – or rather Governor Tarkin, as he preferred to be called – was only just making his usual brief appearance, but other high-ranking officers with an interest in intelligence matters, such as Admiral Yularen and Rear Admiral Ozzel, had come since early in the evening and were now lounging on the sofas while the younger men and women still crowded the buffet, chatting, drinking, telling jokes and stories from the field and bursting into frequent fits of laughter.

    Despite his youth – he had made major by the age of twenty-five – Davits Draven was one of the Spooks’ chief recruiters, and his colleagues and subordinates liked to tease him about how he had persuaded many junior officers to leave the Grand Army of the Republic in order to join Intelligence, only for them to find out that the work of a spy was just as taxing, if not more, than the life of a soldier. Despite his efforts to remain inconspicuous as he made his entrance tonight, everyone noticed his presence as soon as he stepped into the lounge where the party was taking place. He’d only just made his way to the sofas and taken a seat not far from Ozzel when a little group of men and women barely out of their teens lined up in a neat row in the centre of the room and pushed forward Ensign Holmes. The ensign grinned mischievously and began to sing in a somewhat slurred voice.

    I was tired of fighting, the war went on for too long,
    It was dull and aggressive and somehow it felt wrong.
    So I just sat there grumbling, looking for a way out,
    And ol’ Draven then told me, “Here’s what life is about.”

    Tarkin snickered, Ozzel chuckled, Yularen started laughing and Holmes grinned again at the sight of Draven’s embarrassment – the major wasn’t precisely known for his sense of humour and his team loved him for his gruffness. The ensign turned around to face his improvised choir and began gesticulating like a conductor as they engaged in a loud chorus.

    “If you like killing Seppies but don’t enjoy the pain,
    If you’re not into brawling, if you have half a brain,
    If you like code and slicing, don’t mind secrets and lies,
    The Republic still needs you, whatever your disguise.”

    Holmes spun on his heel to face the audience again and looked apologetically at a group of army staff, including a few clones, that were standing together at the far end of the room.

    I didn’t think about the army, I know that sounds kind of mean,
    But by then I was tired of the same old machine,
    So I signed up for spook duty, took a secrecy oath,
    And that’s how ol’ Draven proved you can’t be a sloth.

    The intelligence personnel who weren’t in on this little musical conspiracy nodded knowingly as the chorus resumed. Many were smiling already in anticipation of the punch line, while the new recruits exchanged puzzled looks.

    Yes, I like killing Seppies but don’t enjoy the pain,
    I’m not much into fighting and I’m a bit insane,
    I do like code and slicing, don’t mind secrets and lies,
    The Republic still needs me, whatever my disguise.

    Ensign Holmes stared straight at the noobs as he began the last stanza.

    When I turned up with high hopes and I walked in the place,
    The army bid her time to remind me of my fate.
    Off I went to the Outer Rim as a spy officer,
    Only then did the army say I can’t leave without her.

    Ozzel was laughing out loud by now. “Indeed, you can never escape the army,” he told Draven, leaning forward to talk to him over the ruckus. “She is a mighty old lady. It seems that even we, in the Republic Navy, cannot...”

    The end of his sentence was lost to the final chorus as the little group of junior officers hollered,

    Yes, I like killing Seppies but don’t enjoy the pain,
    I’m not much into fighting and I’m a bit insane,
    I do like code and slicing, don’t mind secrets and lies,
    But don’t let no one tell you life is easy for spies.

    There was a boisterous round of applause, after which Draven stood up and addressed the new recruits, who were guffawing as loudly as their more experienced peers. “Well, boys, I guess this bunch of oldbies outed me.” He raised the glass of brandy that had somehow materialised in his hand. “Welcome to Republic Intelligence.”
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  3. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Great song at the Intelligence gala.
     
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  4. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Oh, oh, oh...this is going to be goooood... A good dare from Raissa (and appropriate for Valentine's Day!). Chyntuck could have done it simply and kept it within length, but instead she is going to give us all a wonderful treat by embellishing and embroidering and delighting us long beyond 2500 words, and we are all happy about it. Woot woot! @};-@};-@};-[face_laugh]
     
  5. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    [face_rofl]Oh this is going to be good. I loved the new rendition of the song!
     
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  6. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Whoohoo!

    This looks like it might be fun!
     
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  7. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    I'm glad that my Dare was inspiring to you :) You've really put your own creative spin on it, going beyond the personal ads and creating the GFFA version of Pina Colada. I can totally hear it being sung by this gathering of slightly drunken officers. Woo hoo...karaoke night at Republic Intelligence!

    Can't wait to see how you work in the rest of the elements; this should be good :D
     
  8. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks for your kindness RX_Sith Mistress_Renata Briannakin Lady_Misty [:D] and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!

    Raissa Baiard First of all, thanks for the review :) Second, I have to tell you that this story came to be because I initially misread your dare -- I didn't get that you were asking just for the profiles, I thought that you wanted a story with the profiles. So I cudgeled my brain a bit and the plot bunny bit me, and by the time I re-read your dare and understood it, it was too late. But you're getting the profiles anyway; I might even photoshop an extended version at the end, just for kicks.
     
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  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter I

    Admiral Ozzel drummed his fingers on his desk as he read the latest report from the probe droids that the Executor and other ships of Death Squadron had been launching into the farthest reaches of space. Someday, someone would have to tell Vader that this half-baked plan wouldn’t work. The Galaxy was a big place, there were as many uncharted settlements as official ones, and expecting a clue to the location of the Rebel base to pop up at random just when you needed it was delusional at best. The dark lord could talk all he wanted of his outdated belief in the Force and how it would cause the stars to align in the Empire’s favour, but Ozzel knew better than to trust a hokey religion whose representatives had betrayed the government they had sworn to serve and protect when they’d tried to murder then-Chancellor, now-Emperor Palpatine some two-and-a-half decades prior. For the umpteenth time in the last three years, Ozzel wished that Tarkin hadn’t been killed in the destruction of the Death Star and that he were still in charge. The late Grand Moff was the only senior officer of the Navy that Vader had ever listened to, and he had had an uncanny ability to piece together the smallest scraps of information to find what he was looking for and achieve his goals.

    The admiral sighed heavily as he scratched his cat behind the ears. Tarkin was long gone, Vader was obsessed with this Skywalker pilot, Piett was a worthless pawn, and there was no doubt that that finding the Rebel base would be his one and only task in the foreseeable future. The problem, of course, was that Imperial Intelligence was a shambles since Yavin, that its sister agency the ISB had fared no better, and that no one had the slightest inkling where to start or even how to conduct a proper baiting operation to cause the Rebels to reveal themselves. He sighed again. It looked like he would have to do this himself.

    He activated his datapad and conducted a HoloNet search for social networking sites that the Rebellion was known to favour. There was Spacebook and Chirrup of course, but the use of those was so widespread across the Galaxy that it would take him weeks, if not months, to find a suitable target. Skimmit was hardly better, although there were some sub-sections that he believed were dedicated exclusively to topics of interest to terrorists – but then again obtaining access to those would take more time than he was able to devote to this endeavour. He ran down the list and further dismissed Galaxy Online, Holo+ and SoundNebula, but he suddenly stopped when he found what he was looking for: a dating holosite called RebelsOnly.com. Yes, this one would do. He had no doubt that enough young, gullible women swallowed hook, line and sinker the Rebellion’s tall tales of a better world with sentient mynocks and flying banthas to provide him with an adequate victim, and he was confident that he could bamboozle one of them into betraying her whereabouts sufficiently to narrow the scope of the Empire’s quest and ultimately lead the fleet to the Rebel base.

    He verified that the holosite was not a paid subscription service – there was no way he was spending his own good credits on this just because Imperial Intelligence weren’t up to their job – and started browsing the profiles. The picture of a pretty but dour-looking woman jumped out at him. The profile was rather nondescript (“Liana Hallik – Age 25 – Average height – Average weight – Brown hair – Green eyes – Strong-tempered and stubborn, precious flowers beware!”) but what really caught his attention was the opening sentence of the expanded summary: “ Don’t let anyone tell you life is easy for spies


    Could it be that the silly song a group of young Intelligence recruits had come up with all these years ago had made it through the ages? This was a golden opportunity. Yes, a Rebel spook was bound to be on her guard – but he also had an entry point here, a clever way to forge a connection. He looked up the name ‘Liana Hallik’ in the Imperial databases and found her immediately – a common criminal with a record of felonies so long it could cover the distance all the way from here to the Core, and who had broken out of the Wobani labour prison shortly before the Battle of Yavin. She probably hadn’t joined the Rebellion for any other reason than to escape the fate that awaited her at the hands of the Empire had she been recaptured, he thought with a sneer. Good, very good. This was the target he was looking for. He began to build a profile for himself on the holosite, and as soon as he was done he sent her a wink.

    * * *
    Several thousands of light-years away, in a remote sector of the Outer Rim whose name he could barely remember, General Davits Draven was also sitting at his desk in an ice cave so cold that he could nearly feel the crystals forming at the tip of his fingers. This was one of the moments when he cursed himself for his mishandling of the whole Death Star plans issue three years earlier. Not only had he caused that poor girl’s death – despite her chequered past, Jyn Erso had proven herself just as dedicated a Rebel as many of those who had served under his command, even as Draven himself – but his blunder had also cost the Rebellion some of its best spies, saboteurs and assassins, and he had been demoted from head of Rebel Intelligence – to what? Head of the Alliance’s service for monitoring activity on social networks. Mon Mothma had been kind enough to let him keep his rank of general, but the fact remained that, in the Social Network Monitoring Service, he was director, employee, secretary, clerk and usher all rolled into one, and that he spent his days alone in a cramped, windowless office always conveniently located deep in the bowels of whatever facility the Rebellion’s leadership was using at the time. The bitter chill of Echo Base was a mere detail in the grand scheme of things.

    Still, Draven told himself firmly – the job he was doing was important. There was no way that the thousands of young men and women, males and females, the foot soldiers who formed the backbone of the Rebel Alliance, would give up on having friends, chatting with acquaintances and keeping in touch with their families, and it was far better for everyone if this happened in a carefully controlled environment where they couldn’t be baited by Imperial Intelligence and made to betray themselves – and to also betray, unwittingly, the people they loved or the Alliance as a whole. Unfortunately, what he was dealing with here was a far cry from that carefully controlled environment. There were dozens of social networks on the HoloNet, and all he could do was to keep an eye on Rebel profiles to ensure that they didn’t give away any information that should be kept from prying eyes. It was standard Alliance procedure that all members should signal to Draven any new accounts they opened online, and that they sign a statement swearing absolute secrecy with regard to Rebel activities – but of course many forgot to do so, or fell victim every now and then to a slip of the tongue. He often spent his days and nights tracking down an absent-minded pilot or a careless trooper to remind them to keep their mouth shut and their fingers off the keyboard.

    Today he was checking the profiles on RebelsOnly.com, a dating service that he had established last year in an attempt to keep any budding romances within the confines of the Rebellion. The holosite had spread among the ranks like wildfire, with virtually every member of the Alliance signing up – to the point that, right now, he was gazing with utter bafflement at the picture of a golden droid whose bio read: “Hand-made to the highest level of specifications – Fluent in six millions forms of communication – Certified expertise on every form of protocol and etiquette across the Galaxy – Nice copper-gold shine, especially in the sunset – Male personality – Would love to meet a female of the same standing for long-term partnership – Only serious proposals please – Not interested in residents of sandy desert worlds or planets so cold that my servomotors will freeze.”

    The Force curse Princess Leia’s protocol droid, Draven thought as he picked up his comlink. He knew that the damn bot was an over-talkative, pretentious mechanical with delusions of grandeur, but how could this be serious? What did C-3PO need a counterpart for when he already had Skywalker’s astromech, and, most importantly, what on earth was he thinking with the frozen planet throwaway line? Was he trying to give away the location of Echo Base to the Empire? He commed Leia in order to tell her that she needed to have a word with her droid – there was no way he was confronting Threepio himself unless the Alliance technicians were in dire need of spare parts – but reception was poor in his office and he couldn’t get through. He was about to stand up and go find the princess in person when his datapad pinged, signalling an incoming message on one of the half-dozen bogus profiles he maintained on RebelsOnly.com to weed out potential Imperial spies. He hesitated for the briefest of moments and tapped the monitor to see what it was.

    Liana Hallik – Jyn Erso – was staring at him reproachfully from the screen as if she were still blaming him for her death. A small winking eye flashed in the upper right-hand corner, indicating that someone had taken interest in her profile and wanted to get in touch. He keyed the icon to check out the sender.

    He found himself looking at the holo of a young, tired-looking man whose left cheek bore a long scratch mark similar to those caused by angry pittins or whisperkits. The user name he had chosen was CManeas. His profile was rather nondescript and very similar to Jyn’s (“Male – Age 26 – Average height – Average weight – Brown hair – Brown eyes – Kind and caring, the man you’re looking for!”) but what caught his attention was the opening line of the expanded summary: “ Do you like killing Impies but don’t enjoy the pain?


    Now this – this was outright strange. It was true that the song Ensign Holmes had composed for him all these years ago had found its way into the Rebellion, where it had been adapted and sung many times. But it hadn’t been heard again since Draven had been sidelined after the Battle of Scarif and he doubted that any Rebel would choose it as a chat-up line. How would anyone hope to pick up a girl with a reference to a disgraced Intelligence general? Imperials, on the other hand – that was a different matter. Draven thought with bitterness of all the men and women he had trained, all the senior officers with whom he had collaborated when he was one of the chief recruiters for Republic Intelligence, and who went on to join the Empire as soon as Palpatine proclaimed himself emperor. Many of those would know the song, but none would be aware that he was now freezing away at the bottom of an ice cave on Hoth. They all believed he had died in the mop-up operations against the Separatists at the end of the Clone Wars and it was a well-kept secret that he had actually joined Mon Mothma and Bail Organa when they’d founded the Rebel Alliance.

    He ran an inquiry through the facial recognition software of the Alliance’s personnel database for this CManeas – he couldn’t exclude the possibility that yet another member of the Alliance had forgotten to register with him before signing up to RebelsOnly.com – but the search came up empty. Well, there was a way to find out if CManeas was a random passerby who had found RebelsOnly.com while browsing the HoloNet, or an Imperial infiltrator. It would take some time, but it was worth it. He tapped ‘wink back’ on Liana Hallik’s profile and added a message that read: “Yeah, I’m not into fighting and I’m a bit insane


    If CManeas was indeed an Imperial spy, it would take him a while to reply. Draven slipped his comlink in his jacket pocket, locked his office and went looking for the princess. At this time of the day she would be in the command centre no doubt, and he took off in that direction. There was shouting and screaming in one of the hallways ahead – it was clear that there was an angry argument going on – and as he came closer he realised that one of the voices belonged to Leia Organa.

    “And what precisely am I supposed to know?” she was asking.

    “Come on!” a man answered. “You want me to stay because of the way you feel about me.”

    “Yes. You’re a great help to us. You’re a natural leader!”

    “No! That’s not it. Come on. Aahhh – uh huh! Come on.”

    This was not going to end well, Draven thought as he kept walking. Whoever this man was, he visibly didn’t know what happened to those who had the nerve to hit on Leia Organa or even to say a single word out of line.

    “You’re imagining things,” Leia said in the glacial tone that Draven had anticipated. He hoped for the other man’s sake that he would know to walk away, but no such luck.

    “Am I?” he shouted. “Then why are you following me? Afraid I was going to leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?”

    “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee,” Leia replied heatedly.

    “I can arrange that. You could use a good kiss!”

    The argument ended there and Draven hastened his pace, expecting that both participants had stormed away – the truth being, of course, that he was genuinely curious to know who this man was who dared speak to the princess in such a way. He was hoping that Leia would return to the command centre where she would be easy to find, but as he took a turn into the south passage he bumped right into her. She was standing there alone, staring so miserably at the wall that he wasn’t quite sure how to open the conversation. He settled for the matter that had brought him there in the first place.

    “Your Highness, there is an issue with your droid that must be resolved –”

    “Not now, General!” she snapped before he could continue. And she fled the ice corridor with what sounded suspiciously like a sob.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  10. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Clever, clever, let's see if Ozzel falls for the bait or if he dies before he can.
     
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  11. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Some really great and funny bios on the dating sites along with Threepio who obviously should have posted on DroidsOnly.com
     
  12. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Ozzel's cat returns!!! It's going to be more famous than Schrodinger's feline, at this rate! And Ozzel and Draven are about to start a, er, chat? This should be good. Funny that Draven started it to keep his people out of trouble, and instead they're going nuts.

    And you really signed up for these yourself, for research? Now THAT is some scary dedication! ^:)^
     
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  13. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    All righty doo, catching up, and going chapter by chapter:

    Prologue: This is off to a fun start so far, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how you will interpret the five personal ads of the dare throughout the story. Already you’ve set up the GFFAified version of the “Piña Colada” song in a very interesting way as the theme song of the entire story. Given the fact that it’s being sung by a spy, and the fact that the song itself describes a scenario of spying and mutual deception, and the fact that one of the other ads specified in the dare is indeed supposed to be clearly written by an Imperial spying on the Rebels—well, I can’t help but think that that all forebodes a lot. Holmes ( :D ) may be a rank n00b in Republic Intel at this stage, but his wacky hazing song might well just turn out to be prophetic, in a way! :eek:

    Chapter 1: I love that both Empire and Rebellion are keeping their eyes on the social networks and maneuvering fake profiles— for related-yet-different reasons! [face_laugh] And even though it is humorous in its way, there’s also a dead serious angle to it too: loose lips really and truly do sink ships, just as the old WWII propaganda poster said (and I don’t even want to think about what might have happened if Facebook and the like had been around during WWII! :eek: ). Ozzel’s scheme to infiltrate the rebellion by playing on the confidence of younger, female Rebellion members is untellably sinister. What a lucky thing that Draven (in his capacity as head of the Rebellion’s Social Network Monitoring Service—which is just a priceless notion all around [face_laugh] ) is the one really behind that Liana Hallik profile! There too, there’s a tragic edge to the way he was relegated to this “desk duty” post after the events of Rogue One. And there, again, is the song text as signal and leitmotif, clearly portending something to both of the officers behind those phony profiles, though they can’t quite put their finger on what…. [face_thinking]

    In a way, even C-3PO’s very humorously in-character profile has a shadow over it—as Draven aptly observes, that droid is coming dangerously close to letting the pittin out of the bag with that “planets so cold my servomotors will freeeze” remark! :eek: Kudos to Draven for spotting it, and being perceptive enough to recognize just which copper-gold droid that was—though he might not find it easy to resolve matters given the state Leia’s in after that Very Familiar Conversation with A Certain Scoundrel. (And I can only imagine this means that her ad will soon be flashing across Draven’s screen soon—and/or Ozzel’s too. [face_nail_biting] )

    You’re definitely taking this dare to some very inetresting and unexpected places—looking forward to seeing more! :)
     
  14. A Blind Prophet

    A Blind Prophet Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 25, 2016
    oh, this is excellent. to look at each section...

    prologue: that was an excellent song i have to say, and i'm enjoying the hints of what's coming in it. and the character of draven is interesting, even in such a small dose.

    also very, very interesting to see that particular group of people in that kind of section. we never really get to see the imperials at play or anything of that nature, and it feels kind of odd to humanize them like that. especially tarkin, but clearly they didn't start out as such hum-drum humbugs. would be interesting to see more of that time period in general, i have to say. and it threw me for a bit of a loop initially to see the time frame the prologue was set in, but it made a lot of sense very quickly. you have an excellent writing style, very clear and to the point but not skimpy on details. greatly enjoyed.

    chapter 1: oh ozzel... that's such a... i don't even know. it seems like a stupid idea, but at the same time i can think of more than a few worse one's that's for sure. can't say i like ozzel, but then i never really liked most of the imperial officers in the slightest. they're all just so... sleazy. but i do find it interesting the direction it seems like you're taking this, that this whole idea will be what brings about the empire finding echo base. looking forward to seeing how that develops.

    poor draven, i have to say. it's amazing how badly some things can go and what the results of that can be. but to be locked into a room like that on hoth with no obvious heater or anything... that's just mean. >_< excellent use of the song in this, as a bit of a pickup connect point.

    the profiles were very amusing. and that was so threepio... though the idea of him looking for a partner is a bit disturbing in some ways, i have to say. >_< don't want to think about the being/droid that would actually want him as a partner, i have to say. scary stuff.

    nice way of placing things with that convo between han and leia, though i have to say i'm mildly surprised draven doesn't now who han is. but then, recognizing someone just by their voice takes a bit more familiarty than he has any reason to have so not so surprising in a way as well.

    looking forward to more of this, for sure.
     
  15. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    It always amazes me what magic you can do Chyntuck with the input that a challenge here demands of you. The complexity and the genius of the fic itself, the depths of the characters, their interaction... ^:)^

    Sometimes I wish I would be more clever to write longer and and more accurate feedbacks like Ewok Poet, Findswoman, Kahara and all the others.
     
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for the reviews, and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!
    Thanks! I never thought of Ozzel as the sharpest knife in the drawer, so, um, yeah, he's falling for it... but how much will he manage to do?

    Hehehe. Draven should never have created the sub-page RebelsOnly.com/droids :p

    Oooh! Now you make me want to write an actual live chat between those two... but no, I will restrain myself. There are so many good options here that this could become a never-ending story!
    Yes I did! I'm married to my childhood sweetheart (we met when we were all of twelve years old) so my knowledge of dating sites was purely academic until Raissa came up with this dare. There must be a few moderators right now staring at the profile of a user named "Wookiee Chyntuck" and wondering what on earth this is about.

    Welcome to this story [:D]
    Is it that obvious that the song was behind the plot bunny? [face_laugh] I'd completely forgotten about this song until Raissa brought it up, and how could I not use it to the fullest possible extent? I even tried to make the lyrics about two people who are spying on each other ending up outsmarting each other and finding themselves face-to-face, but that was becoming a bit too complicated [face_hypnotized]
    Isn't it a sign of how dated SW is that there are no social networks in the GFFA? (except the ones we make up, of course!) And yet with the two sides constantly spying on each other, the possibilities are endless. I like your reference to WWII because it reminds me of that row of desks in Rogue One where Rebels are monitoring Imperial communications -- the scene had a great WWII movie feeling to it. As for Draven, well, yes, he would find himself relegated to desk duty after everything he did wrong -- and who else than him would have a bogus Liana Hallik profile? I thought of that as part of his self-imposed penitence for being so narrow-minded and causing so many deaths.
    Hahaha. Threepio is so often saying things that shouldn't be said that something would have to escape his mouth (or fingertips) here. But Draven is so paranoid, at the same time, that he'd definitely spot it too! As you said, talking to Leia might not be easy, and for her profile... you'll have to wait a bit [face_whistling]
    Thanks :)

    Thank you [:D]
    Thanks again! To be clear, I always thought of Tarkin et al as hum-drum humbugs, even in the days of the Republic (I find that TCW does a great job at describing him that way too :p ). However, at that time, they didn't wield the sort of power that allowed them to isolate themselves from everyone and just send orders for people to bring them the info they need -- so a minimum of socialising would be in order. I'm pretty sure ANH Tarkin wouldn't be caught dead in a party where drunk people sing stupid songs [face_laugh]
    "Sleazy" is precisely the word I'd use to describe Ozzel. He's such a smarmy, pretentious snob that's just over-full of himself, right? Which is why I wanted to make him something of a sexist too -- of course he would think of Rebel women as easy targets for his plan (not that he thinks highly of Rebel men, obviously...)
    I'm going to show my true colours as a Mediterranean that's very sensitive to the cold here, but I always thought that ALL of Echo Base had very bad central heating! But Draven... yeah... he had it coming, I think. I can't imagine Mon Mothma keeping him around after how he messed things up in RO.
    Creepy droids for the win [face_worried]
    Actually, I thought that, being sidelined from the leadership, Draven would have had only intermittent contacts with Han and that would explain why he doesn't recognise his voice.

    ... and now, I need to write a profile for Han too, I guess, because that would be priceless. Why are you all doing this to me?
    Thanks again!

    Thanks so much Azure [face_love] But you can blame the fic on Raissa. She gave me the framework and I'm just filling in the blanks :)

    Thanks again all for reading and reviewing! Chapter II up in 5, 4, 3...
     
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  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter II

    Admiral Ozzel was overjoyed when Liana Hallik winked back at him and quoted another line of the song. This was good – this was not good, this was excellent. He had hit gold. The girl had replied immediately, which meant that her life was as glum as her face and that she badly needed company, comfort and solace. She would be happy to do a live chat sooner rather than later. Furthermore, the fact that she’d answered on the spot was a good indication that she wasn’t much of a spy – it was a well-known tool of the trade to let your interlocutor stew for a few days so as to kindle their interest, and it was a trick he firmly intended to use on this little endeavour. For the following week, he kept away from RebelsOnly.com and focused his attention on the fruitless probe droid reports and on running his fleet. It was only several days later, on an afternoon when his orderly was cleaning cat droppings from the floor, that he sat at his desk with the intention of messaging the Rebel girl.

    He looked at his pet fondly before switching on his datapad. The poor animal was very upset about being cooped up in the admiral’s suite all the time, but it couldn’t be helped on a Super Star Destroyer. However, Ozzel was certain that, with time, Whispurr would get used to the situation and stop relieving herself in the most awkward places to protest her predicament – and that she would also stop attacking, biting and clawing crewman Maneas, who was covered in scratches from cap to boots and whose uniform was so badly frayed that it would have to be replaced in the very near future. It wouldn’t do if the Admiral’s orderly was seen breaking regulation, would it? Ozzel would mention it to him later, when he retired for the night, but for now, he had bigger giju to fry.

    He waited for Maneas to complete his task and leave, so as to be sure that the crewman didn’t catch a glimpse of himself on Ozzel’s monitor, and logged in to RebelsOnly.com. He was mildly disappointed to see that Liana Hallik had not tried to contact him again – he had somewhat been hoping that she would have winked, poked or otherwise nudged him again while he didn’t return her call. But while this was a little frustrating, it wasn’t something he needed to worry about quite yet. He tapped ‘new message’ on the screen, typed “ Do you like code and slicing? ” and keyed ‘send’.

    * * *​

    Echo Base had been rather quiet over the past week. The sensors had been placed around the perimeter and were operating normally, and the mechanics had finally succeeded in adapting the speeders to the cold. There was still a lot of activity among the generator technicians, who hadn’t managed yet to bring the energy shield online, but the rest of the departments was finally getting some well-deserved rest after the mess and the confusion that the move to Hoth had entailed for the Rebel Alliance. All the departments, but one: the Social Network Monitoring Service.

    General Draven hadn’t slept or eaten properly in days, and the constant pinging of his datapad since he had sliced into Luke Skywalker’s various HoloNet profiles was threatening to drive him out of his mind. It was bad enough that the boy had gone and got himself assaulted by one of those monstrous ice creatures that sometimes found their way into the base, but what was worse was the outpouring of sympathy for the hero of Yavin that came from every corner of the Rebellion through every possible social network – and Draven had no choice but to constantly remain at his station to monitor what was being said. He had to ensure that the traffic remained confined to the private messaging section, lest the Imperials got wind of the accident and found in the various versions of the story that were circulating – some more accurate than others, as the tale seemed to grow an extra leg with each re-telling – a clue that would guide them to the Alliance’s leadership. It was truly a mystery to him why Skywalker had chosen the user name VeryLonelyLuke. There was no way the boy could be lonely, if the number of messages, winks, pokes, prods and smiles he received on RebelsOnly.com alone was any indication.

    When his datapad beeped again for what felt like the millionth time on that morning, Draven sighed as he tapped on the screen, expecting to find himself facing once more the user profile that he could recite by rote: “Male – Age 22 – Blue eyes – Blond hair – Taller than I look – Much more muscular too – The Force is with me, and we’ll free the Galaxy!” It was a masculine rhyme as well, he noticed as he thought of it. The boy didn’t leave anything to chance, did he?

    He was surprised when the notification turned out to be something else entirely. There was a new registration on the holosite, but the person hadn’t built her profile yet, other than entering the initials Y.W. as her user name and stating that she was female. Draven checked his files. No one had signalled the intention to sign up to the dating service this week. He leaned back in his chair and shook his head in dismay. There went another solitary soul in need of romance that he would have to track down – but since RebelsOnly.com didn’t allow for browsing and messaging until one’s profile was complete, he would figure it out another day.

    He remembered that he still hadn’t managed to speak to Princess Leia about C-3PO, and when three successive pings indicated that Skywalker was receiving more get-well wishes, and possibly some saucy comments, he decided that this was as good a time as any to go and talk to her. It wasn’t likely that the Empire would find them through the HoloNet page of a protocol droid – of all things – but then, stranger things had happened, and this shouldn’t have waited so long in the first place. He collected his comlink from his desk and set out into the frozen hallways.

    Leia wasn’t in the command centre but General Rieekan was able to direct him to the medical bay, where she had gone to visit Skywalker who was now out of bacta immersion but still in recovery. He headed over there swiftly – there would be at least a hundred new messages on the boy’s profile by the time he returned to his office, and it would take several hours to skim through them all. He had just reached the door to the recuperation ward and was about to palm the opening panel when a man spoke inside. “... in the south passage,” Draven was able to make out. “She expressed her true feelings for me.”

    Before he could process what he had just heard, an irate Leia shrieked so loudly that several 2-1B surgical droids who were going about their business in the open-plan lab turned their bulbous heads towards the door.

    “My! Why, you stuck-up – half-witted – scruffy-looking – nerf-herder!”

    Draven chuckled. Someone was getting a well-deserved comeuppance here.

    “Who’s scruffy-looking?” the man asked. “I must have hit pretty close to the mark to get her all riled up like that, huh, kid?”

    There was an ominous silence, then Leia spoke again, not loud enough for Draven to understand what she said but in a tone so glacial that the temperature in Echo Base seemed to drop by several degrees, if that were possible at all. Then the door slid open with a swoosh. He did his best to peek inside and see who this audacious man was, but the princess stormed out and closed it behind her. “Your Highness –”

    “Not now, General!” she said sharply. “Why do you always need to talk to me at the most inconvenient times?”

    She strode past him with superb disdain and left. Draven sighed and followed her. He would really have liked to find out about the man who was flirting so rudely with her, but duty called in the form of the 127 new notifications on RebelsOnly.com that awaited him by the time he reached his office. He sat down with yet another sigh and began inspecting them one by one.

    * * *​

    It was a shame, Draven mused three hours later, that his position as director of the Social Network Monitoring Service didn’t give him the authority to delete public messages on the dating site when they could be detrimental to the safety of Alliance personnel. There were at least five people he would have to meet in person, in addition to the three he had been able to contact through the platform because they were his ‘friends’. He was reaching the end of the list and thought that this would be a good opportunity to stretch his legs again, when the blasted datapad pinged for the zillionth time. He tapped on the notification with an exasperated groan, but his face lit up when he saw that the incoming text was destined for Liana Hallik.

    Since the day CManeas had first made contact with her – or rather with him – a little voice in the back of Draven’s head had been whispering continuously that his new holofriend had to be an Imperial mole. There was the quote from the song’s lyrics, of course, but also the fact that it had taken CManeas so long to reply. It was a well-rehearsed intelligence technique to make first contact, then to let your target stew for a bit before getting in touch again, so as to let the unwitting victim think that he or she had been forgotten. Of course, things were made more complicated by genuine lovers’ spats – but all Draven needed to do to identify those was to spend a few hours in the pilots’ cantina, where gossip ran amok. In this case however, he didn’t need to worry about sorting out a romantic falling-out from a case of Imperial bait, since Liana Hallik didn’t exist and CManeas wasn’t a member of the Rebel Alliance.

    Predictably enough, the new message read: “ Do you like code and slicing? ”, which was exactly where he wanted to take this exchange. Without a second thought, he tapped ‘reply’, typed in “ I don’t mind secrets and lies ” and keyed ‘send’.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  18. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2006
    More mysterious happenings on the dating sites as Draven monitors those that will most likely lead him to the Rebels.
     
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  19. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    That is taking one for the team! Although with the name "Wookiee" in your profile, at least you'd know that anyone who responds would be a SW fan.

    So Draven knows he's talking to an Imperial Spy, but he doesn't know who; Ozzel just knows he has one on the hook. I can almost see them starting to ping back and forth and fight off a genuine attraction, heh heh heh! And poor Draven, trying to get Leia's attention and continually getting pushed out of the way due to her romantic entanglements!

    It is hard to think of Luke as "Lonely," since I'd imagine half the girls in the Alliance (and some of the boys) would be throwing themselves at him, slipping their security door keys or their undies into his message box, etc. etc. And the mysterious Y.W....Young Wookiee? Yavin Witch? You Wish? Hmm... [face_thinking]

    Would Han make himself a profile? Ooo! [hl=black]No, CHEWIE would make a profile for him without his knowledge! BWA-HA-HA! But Han might not take it down!![/hl]

    I know almost all the required highlights are posted, but now I want one for EVERYONE! Greedy, I know...
     
  20. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Very Lonely Luke, eh? You've been browsing Twitter. Or Pinterest, because that's where I found out about that (hilarious) Twitter account.
     
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  21. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 21, 2007
    This is all going to end in Ozzel's death, isn't it? Or at least Ozzel's communications.

    The guy does seem to have lousy timing when it comes to speaking with Leia.
     
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  22. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I like your characterization for Draven very much. In your fic he is a fun guy, a genius with social websites & profile analysis. [face_love]

    And Ozzel´s cat sounds fun.
     
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  23. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Gosh, I feel sorry for Draven! As if his job as the Alliance's social network monitor weren't thankless enough, he's now got to keep on eye on the outpourings of love and sympathy (and what we might call fangirlism :p ) that are constantly pinging onto the profile of HRH the Hearthrob Rebel Hero—and echoing what the others have said, "very lonely" my eye! :p On top of that there are all the people (and droids) he has to have talking-tos with about the security of their profiles (and yeah, I hope he gets in touch with Prof. Goldenrod eftsoons and right speedily, because he left a really super big giveaway of the Rebels' location on his profile). Plus this mysterious and unauthorized Y. W. who's turned up, who I hope won't add to Draven's headache too much...

    I see that there is one more profile still remaining in Raissa's list of five, and that plus the continuation of these Very Familiar Quarrels gives me a guess or two, though I still have no idea yet how the initials would relate to that. :p
    ...

    At least one thing's going right for our long-suffering general: his trap for "CManeas" seems to be working—and naturally, at the same time, Ozzel thinks that his trap for some naive Rebel girl is working, too! The "Piña Colada"-type mutual deception is really building to a climax here—can't wait to see what form that will take!
     
  24. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I'm terribly sorry for dropping off the grid for the past couple of weeks, but the awards called and I didn't have much time to write. However, I have Chapter III for you today, and the epilogue will be coming soon too.

    But first, a few very quick replies:
    Well, as unlikable as Draven might have been in Rogue One, he's definitely smarter than Ozzel, so you can be confident that he'll have the last word.

    Each and every one of your reviews opens a Pandora's box of ideas that I want to write... and you'll get one of your wishes, because you have me convinced. However, you'll need to wait until the epilogue ;)

    Hehe, yes. I definitely follow that account on Twitter, and somehow I suspect that Raissa does too :p

    Ozzel's communications will end, yes. But it won't stop there for everyone -- because Ozzel's actions have consequences... for others [face_devil]

    Actually, I thought that Draven came across as pretty good at his job -- if slightly paranoid -- even in Rogue One. He's just not exactly likable, you know what I mean?

    "HRH the Heartthrob Rebel Hero" [face_rofl] [face_rofl] [face_rofl]


    "Thankless job" describes it just about right. The only satisfaction he can get out of it is the little things -- figuring out who CManeas is, figuring out who Y.W. is... Which I won't say more about, because the answers are coming soon [face_whistling]


    Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to read! Next chapter coming right up.
     
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  25. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter III

    Whispurr had been in a particularly playful mood that morning, and it took Ozzel some time to brush as many as he could of the cat’s hairs off his uniform before making for the bridge. The fact that she was a rare breed of Caridan angora didn’t help – but it was also one of the reasons the Admiral was so fond of her in the first place. He was running late for his shift when he left his private quarters and he punched the turbolift’s call panel impatiently. A faint whirr indicated that a car was arriving for him, and when the door slid open he found himself facing Maximilian Veers. The army general gave a formal salute and stood aside politely to allow him in, but the two men exchanged a warm handshake as soon as the closing doors hid them from view.

    “Have the probe droids found anything?” Veers asked as the turbolift started moving again.

    Ozzel sighed. “Nothing of value so far, Max. Nothing more than that abandoned smugglers’ outpost on a piece of rock that you were asked to” – his fingers drew inverted commas in the air – “‘conquer’ last week. It is a hopeless endeavour, if you ask me. I am surprised that Lord Vader cannot understand this. We might as well be hunting for a single grain of sand on Tatooine.”

    Veers lowered his voice. “If I may say so, Kendal, this is not going to end well. Lord Vader is becoming impatient, and sooner or later someone will pay the price for his impatience again. I do not want to share the fate of the private we sent to tell him about the smugglers’ facility.”

    “I am aware of this,” Ozzel answered in a similarly conspiratorial tone. “Which is why I have begun to explore other avenues to find the Rebel base – informally, of course. I am confident that my efforts will yield at least partial results very soon.”

    The turbolift came to a halt and the doors opened. The two senior officers stepped into the hallway and headed towards the bridge, and Ozzel was explaining to Veers his plan to bait a Rebel girl on RebelsOnly.com when they strode past a bank of monitors where Firmus Piett was examining a series of incoming transmissions. The captain spun to face them as they walked in.

    “Admiral.”

    “Yes, Captain.”

    “I think we’ve got something, sir. The report is only a fragment from a probe droid in the Hoth system, but it’s the best lead we’ve had.”

    The Sith take this useless bureaucrat to Chaos where he belongs, Ozzel thought angrily. What would they be clearing this time? Another smuggler base? An abandoned outpost formerly owned by some petty criminal gang? A remote trading station? A primitive settlement inhabited by aliens of an unknown kind? Or perhaps one of those giant space slugs that were said to be a frequent occurrence in the Outer Rim?

    “We have thousands of probe droids searching the Galaxy,” he snapped. “I want proof, not leads!”

    “The visuals indicate life readings,” Piett insisted. He sounded a little hoarse all of a sudden, as if he’d caught a head cold.

    Ozzel suppressed a sigh. He should have known better than hope that his captain would listen to the voice of reason and give up so easily. “It could mean anything. If we followed every lead...” And why in the Galaxy was Piett staring at him with that disapproving look? He had done a fair job at cleaning up his uniform, hadn’t he?

    Piett sniffed. “But, sir, the Hoth system is supposed to be devoid of life forms.”

    Ozzel was about to let out a harsh reply when a towering, black-clad figure materialised at his side. If this turned out to be a false lead and they were conquering an empty outpost again, he would make sure that Piett delivered the news to Lord Vader this time.

    “You found something?” Vader asked.

    “Yes, my lord,” Piett replied. Ozzel liked to think that the tightness of his voice was due to his fear of the Sith lord’s ominous presence, but a more probable reason was his obvious effort to suppress a thunderous sneeze.

    Darth Vader studied the image on the console screen for a moment. “That’s it. The Rebels are there.”

    Someone had to stop this nonsense. The Imperial fleet couldn’t continue jumping left and right at random or at the whim of a Sith lord, which, to Ozzel, were one and the same. He glanced at Veers, who gave him an imperceptible nod, and stepped forward.

    “My lord, there are so many uncharted settlements,” he said, trying hard not to sound condescending. “It could be smugglers, it could be...”

    So much for talking sense into Vader’s thick skull – or helmet. “That is the system,” the dark lord said with absolute finality. “And I’m sure Skywalker is with them. Set your course for the Hoth system. General Veers, prepare you men.”

    Piett was still sniffing, but the faint smile that curled his lips when Darth Vader turned around and strode away sent Ozzel into a fury. “It seems we will find out today how Lord Vader rewards those who take him on a wild bantha chase, Captain,” he said, emphasising his perfectly clipped Core World accent. “I suggest you retire to your quarters during the jump to hyperspace, to make any necessary... arrangements regarding your private affairs.”

    The captain apparently didn’t need to be told twice and left the bridge immediately. Veers took a step closer to Ozzel. “I’ll go and make preparations for a ground assault,” he murmured. “Then I’ll come back here and take over from you. It looks like we might need your little project’s results sooner rather than later if we don’t want to be launching half a dozen coffins into space – including our own.”

    * * *​

    Echo Base was in an uproar after Han Solo and Chewbacca had destroyed an Imperial probe droid on the planet, and General Draven was packing the Social Network Monitoring Service’s entire archive when his datapad chirped with the characteristic sound that signalled a user modifying their profile on RebelsOnly.com. He sighed heavily. There were already half a dozen people he’d had to track down because they had somehow indicated that the Alliance would be moving off Hoth, and he simply couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to give the enemy such an obvious clue as to their intentions. One would expect that the Imperials’ impending arrival – which may or may not have to do with the tip-off on C-3PO’s page that he hadn’t resolved yet – would be a cautionary tale to all social network users, but no. The young men and women of the Rebellion could always be trusted to act even more recklessly than before, and this was a case in point. Still, Draven thought as he slid back into his chair. That very recklessness was as likely to be the key to the Alliance’s success as to its demise.

    However, the profile he found himself examining when he switched on his datapad was something entirely different. Apparently, the enigmatic Y.W. had chosen today, of all days, to fill in the missing details on her page, without however uploading a picture. Her profile now read: “Female – Age 22 – Brown eyes – Brown hair, fancy hairdo – Slim – Petite – I’ll be your princess, will you be my scoundrel?”

    What in the Five Rings of Fornax could that possibly mean? And why would Y.W. choose this crucial moment to complete her profile in the first place, instead of preparing for the evacuation like everyone else? Draven stared at his monitor with utter bewilderment for a few moments before deciding that this was nothing that couldn’t wait. He put away his datapad and resumed packing. He would find out later who this mystery user was, but for now, he needed to make sure that his archives didn’t fall in the hands of the Empire.

    * * *​

    The good news was that Whispurr had escaped. The bad news was that Whispurr had escaped.

    Ozzel had returned to his quarters as soon as Veers was able to take over from him on the bridge, and he found a very special – if nasty – pleasure in the idea that Piett would be spending his last living hours looking for a cat instead of updating his will. What was more, a technician he encountered in the turbolift told him that a cleaning droid had exploded and showered the captain with feline excrement. The admiral chuckled as he mused that his pet seemed to guess her master’s every wish before he could even formulate it. Whispurr wouldn’t have done better if Ozzel had actually asked her to torment Piett before Lord Vader came along to strike the final blow and rid him of his incompetent executive officer.

    At the same time, Ozzel was very attached to his cat, and he was deeply worried that the poor little thing would be hurt in the ship-wide search for her. Piett had locked crewman Maneas in the brig after the droid mishap – Ozzel would release his orderly as soon as Piett was out of the way – and there was now a squad of 501st stormtroopers running around the ship, trying to track down a terrified Whispurr who would probably remain hiding in a corner until she found her way home. The admiral feared that she might get stuck in a ventilation shaft or encounter Lord Vader and fall victim to his wrath – and he had commed the squad leader to tell him that he would hold him personally responsible for the cat’s safety and well-being.

    He would have liked to go and look for Whispurr himself, but that wasn’t possible right now – he was needed on the bridge, but he also had to re-contact Liana Hallik urgently and make some progress on that front, lest he found himself sharing Piett’s fate when Lord Vader realised that there was no Rebel base to be found in the Hoth system.

    He sat at his desk and activated his personal datapad. He entered his password – at least with Maneas confined to the brig he needn’t worry that the crewman would see him, – opened a new message and typed: “ The Rebellion still needs me, whatever my disguise ”.

    And without a second thought, he keyed ‘send’.

    He then allowed himself a few minutes to reflect on his next steps before he returned to the bridge – it would take some delicate handling to ensure that Piett took the blame for the unavoidable fiasco when they reached Hoth, and he wanted to be certain that Lord Vader didn’t find a reason to turn against Ozzel himself instead. There wasn’t anything he could think of, quite frankly, save for the Sith lord’s notorious temper – but then he would just have to know when to step out of the way.

    His wrist comlink pinged as he stood up, and he activated it to hear an urgent whisper from Veers. “This is it,” the general said. “There’s an energy shield around the planet. The Rebels are here.”

    WHAT?

    The admiral rushed back to the bridge as fast as he could, wondering along the way how it was possible that the astronomical odds of finding the Rebel base by chance had come through in Piett’s favour. But there was no time to waste now – he needed an alternative plan and he needed it fast, because he had ordered the helmsman to drop out of hyperspace inside the Hoth system, and that went against every rule in the book if you wanted to catch your enemy unawares.

    “Here is what we will do,” he told Veers as soon as he found him near the sensor console. “You are going to tell Lord Vader that –”

    Veers interrupted him. “Me?”

    “Yes, you. You will spin him a tale about how we reverted to realspace this close to the target so as to cut off the Rebels’ escape route. You’re the only one I trust to do this properly, Max. And then –”

    The general interrupted him again, his voice ice cold. “Is that an order, Admiral?”

    Ozzel had to keep himself from shouting. “Yes. It’s an order. Now go.”

    He watched his friend – or former friend – straighten himself, brush non-existent dust off his uniform and leave, and he was trying to calm himself and behave with the composure that befitted an admiral when Piett sauntered in. “You will be pleased to hear that our hunch was likely correct, Captain,” he said as pleasantly as he could. “There is an energy field protecting the sixth planet of the Hoth system. It is indisputably a military installation.”

    Piett raised an eyebrow but thankfully refrained from making any snide comments. He glanced at the monitors. “Shouldn’t we have come out of lightspeed on the outskirts of the system, sir? The Rebels must be aware of our presence now.”

    Yes, it was that big a blunder to have jumped in so close to Hoth. Ozzel hoped with all his soul that Veers would be more intent on self-preservation than vengeance when appraising Vader of the situation. “You have much to learn, Captain. Surprise is wiser in such circumstances. General Veers is informing Lord Vader as we speak.”

    The viewscreen flickered to life behind them. Both men spun around to face Vader’s image, but they were distracted by an armour-clad stormtrooper waving at them and pointing at their feet.

    Whispurr!

    Whispurr was there. She had found her way to her master on the bridge, bless her little heart!

    But there was a more pressing matter at hand. “Lord Vader,” Ozzel began, “the fleet has moved out of lightspeed, and we’re preparing to –”

    He suddenly gasped for breath and clutched his throat with both hands. Maybe Veers had managed to go for self-preservation and vengeance all rolled into one. “You have failed me for the last time, Admiral,” Vader said. “Captain Piett.”

    The admiral barely heard Piett’s reply as oxygen began to flee his brain. It was not fair, he thought. He had tried, he had found Liana Hallik, he had show initiative, he had...

    “Make ready to land our troops beyond the energy shield and deploy the fleet so that nothing gets off that system,” Vader ordered. “You are in command now, Admiral Piett.”

    Ozzel crumpled to the floor. He saw Whispurr rubbing herself against Piett’s boots, and his last thought was the hope that his cat would be well cared for – before everything went black.

    * * *​

    The cavernous hallways of Echo Base were shaking under the Imperial walkers’ unrelenting bombardment as General Draven made his way to the transport that would take him to safety, but a grin of satisfaction lit up his face nevertheless. He was right, he had been right all along: CManeas was a mole. The last message he had received on Liana Hallik’s profile mere minutes before the attack began read: “ The Rebellion still needs me, whatever my disguise ”. As innocuous as such a detail may have seemed to an outsider, this was the final clue he needed to ascertain that his correspondent was an Imperial spy trying to bait a Rebel woman into saying more than what was good for her.

    There had been a long, barely civilised debate when the staff of Rebel Intelligence adapted the old song’s lyrics back in the day when Draven was in charge, and the verdict had been that the final line should be “The Alliance still needs me”. Alliance, because ‘Rebellion’ was a disparaging term used by the Empire. Alliance, because they found strength in each other. Alliance, because the song dated back to a war to save the Republic, and they were the Alliance to Restore the Republic. No Imperial could understand such subtlety, but to Draven it mattered greatly.

    He reached the hangar and noticed that his transport would be the last to leave Hoth. He handed his crate of datatapes to one of the crewmen and kept the self-destruct trigger clenched tightly in his fist – if the ship were intercepted by the Imperial blockade, he would disintegrate the files. He made a mental note to demand that Mon Mothma either shut down access to the social networks altogether or give him full moderator powers. For every CManeas he was able to weed out, there were several C-3POs whom he would never manage to get hold of on time – if at all – and the odds that the Empire had found Echo Base by chance were astronomical. Yes, the men and women of the Alliance needed to have a social life of sorts, but operational security had to come first or they wouldn’t have a life at all.

    Speaking of C-3PO, where was Leia Organa? He knew that she was assigned to the same transport as him, but he couldn’t see her in the passenger compartment and he still needed to have a word with her about her droid. The walls of the cave were crumbling now and the ship would be buried under a mountain of ice if they didn’t take off very, very soon. He made his way to the cockpit and was about to ask the captain if there was any way he could help bring the stragglers to the hangar when the communications console pinged. A familiar voice came through, somewhat muffled by the sound of explosions and avalanches, but very recognisable nevertheless.

    “Transport, this is Solo. Better take off – I can’t get to you. I’ll get the princess out on the Falcon.”

    So the man in the south passage – the man in the recovery ward – was Han Solo. Draven grinned again as he returned to his seat and strapped himself in. It suddenly all made sense. ‘Scoundrel’ seemed like a good choice of words to describe the smuggler-turned-hero of the Rebellion. Now all he needed to find out on his spare time was why Princess Leia had chosen the initials Y.W. for herself.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
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