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14 March 2003, 10:48 AM
Penderl Talshon sat lazily in the chair of his duty station. Security at the super-secret installation had originally sounded exotic and exciting. The war ending had left Penderl bored with the way the galaxy was going. He had thought that a high security position would have proved interesting. Now he was reconsidering that thought.

With his feet propped up on the control panel of the security station, he lazily looked at the assorted collection of video monitors that showed various hallways and the outside entrance. One lone tech strolled silently down the hall on one of the monitors, but other than that, nothing was happening. Nothing ever happened. "Figures..." mumbled Penderl. "They make this place so secret that it's the most boring place to pull security."

Not even the non-sentient wildlife of the forest planet ventured close to the installation. Oh, there were occasional flying creatures....the techs called them garupez, do to the sound the flyers made, that would land on the compound, but the garupez were scared of people and quickly flew away when a security team was dispatched to investigate.

"Boring, boring, boring," breathed Penderl.

Just as he was glancing away from the monitors to look at the datapad story in his hand, something flashed on one of the monitors. Something in his mind waved his attention back to the monitor, and he looked at it. What he saw put him into a brief moment of stunned shock. He didn't move as he looked at the monitor, just watched the development as if it was some sort of Holovid. On the screen that showed one of the hallways near Experimental Room 2, something had caused the door to the room to be blown from it's housing and thrown across the hallway, showering the hallway with fragments from the wall. A grey smoke billowed from the fringes of the tattered wall where the door once stood, as electrical fires sparked to life. Laying partly in the hallway, half inside E-Room 2 and half in the hallway, was a white jacketed tech, covered in blood.

Penderl continued, for what seemed like an eternity, to watch the monitor. As the grey smoke began to thicken, the fire alarms began to sound in the installation. Penderl's feet dropped from the console to the floor, but his eyes remained riveted on the monitor. A strange, green mist began to crawl it's way out of the room and into the hallway. It didn't move like the smoke from the electrical fires. The movement was more eerie, more sinister, almost as if it was alive.

Now the containment alarms began to blare, drowning out the fire alarms! With that, Penderl slapped the comm button to the security dispatch station. "Containment team to E-Room 2! We have a containment breach!"

* * *

Penderl Talshon crouched behind the corner of the hallway that lead to Experimental Room 2. Two of his containment team were with him, their blasters drawn and alread heated from use. Penderl's own blaster pistol was in his hand, but for the first time in a long time, he was apprehensive to use it.

Penderl cautiously glanced around the corner, but not too far down the hallway. There on the floor were the torn apart bodies of the rest of the containment team. Four trained security personnel with blasters had fallen, and Penderl wasn't quite sure what had done it. "Keep it at bay if it comes back this way," Penderl ordered the closest security team member.

The man adorned in a hefty blast vest and blast helmet nodded. Penderl could see the fear in the man's eyes behind the slightly tinted visor that cover the man's eyes. With that, Penderl moved back down the hallway that had taken him to this area. Some of the scientists had escaped, and what they were saying wasn't making a lot of sense. Twenty yards down the hallway, another containment team, more heavily armed, waited with a rather nervous looking tech. The man in a white jacket, that was now splattered with something dark that resembled blood, was shaking in fear and sweating profusely. The tech's legs were pulled up in a little ball next to the man's torso, and his arms were clasped around them as if for security from what he had seen.

Penderl knelt next to the tech, "Tell me again what happened. I need specifics!"

The man's voice was shaking so badly that Penderl had to listen closely. What the man stammered out Penderl still didn't quite understand. When the man was done with his nearly unintelligable statement, Penderl summed it up to see if what he heard was true. "So you're telling me a biological agent was created that mutates life into some sort of weapon or creature or something?"

The tech's voice rose to a near shriek when he responded. "Genetic agent! We have to destroy it before it escapes!!"

"Well, we'll give it our best shot," exclaimed Penderl. With that, he motioned for the second containment team to follow him, and he moved back to where the two of the first team still stayed hidden.

Penderl hugged the wall next to the security man who guarded the corner. The man looked back at Penderl and his expression changed from worry to a look of more reassurance at the arrival of the second containment team. "Is it still down there?" asked Penderl.

The man nodded in the affirmative.

Penderl turned back to the second team. "Down the hallway is a creature of unknown origin. It's decidedly hostile, so we've got to hit it hard with everything we've got. Understood?"

The six armored men nodded, the look of their eyes behind the visor of their blast helmets was one of grim determination. Penderl turned back and gripped his blaster pistol a little harder in his hand. He could feel the sweat beginning to form on his hand. "Ready to go.....GO!"

The remaining two men of the first containment team, followed by Penderl and then the second containment team barrelled around the corner into the hallway where the E-Room 2's door lay shattered about the hallway.

Standing in the middle of the hallway, with bloody parts of the first four security men littered around it, was a figure...similar to a man, yet larger and strangely deformed. Penderl and the rest of the containment members dropped or crouched for firing about 10 meters from it. All of the blaster pistols and rifles were raised in unison, and the air was immediately filled with the screaming noise of blaster fire.

The bolts of light streaked out and criss-crossed the creature, impacting it in the arms, torso and legs. The creature bellowed a terrible sound when the shots hit, and the arms of the creature flailed as if it was in pain. The creature turned to face the attack, and Penderl was froze in fear at what he saw....the face was partly human, and partly monster. The top part of the head looked like a slightly balding man, and the eyes of the creature were decidely human, looking almost saddened. The mouth, however, was a distorted visage of evil. It was agape, showing row after row of sharpened, white teeth. A thick mucous substance dribbled from it's mouth and hit the floor, pooling like a pudding rather than a liquid. The mouth was nearly three times the size of what a human's mouth should be, and it worked menacingly as it growled at the attack.

The blaster shots continued to streak at the creature, and impact it. The body of the creature bucked from the shots, and steam from heated body fluids began to hiss from the body. The arms of the creature were also abnormally large...reaching almost to the floor, and ending in wicked looking three fingered claws. The arms, while long, were rippled with muscles. The claws were terribly long, probably 6 or 8 inches in length. They were covered in red blood, probably from the dismembering of the first containment team.

Penderl noticed, as the blaster shots continued to strike the creature, a tattered shred of a white jacket, still adorning the creature. This creature used to be a tech! Penderl figured he'd end this as quickly as he could, since it seemed that the blaster shots were little more than an annoyance to it. He carefully aimed his blaster pistol at a place between the human eyes. He hoped that the more human parts of what was once a man would still be weakened. The blaster pistol bucked in his hand, and the shot flew true. It struck the creature between the eyes, and there was an ear piercing scream as the clawed hands flew to it's head in pain.

The creature blindly turned and lurched back into E-Room 2, out of the line of fire of the men with blasters. Immediately, Penderl and the rest of his men were on their feet and giving chase.

The first man to make it to the shattered frame where the door once was was the unfortunate one. A glob of the thick mucous was flung through the air and hit the man in the chest, flinging him back against the far wall of the hallway. The blast vest protected him against some of the blow, but it soon appeared that it wouldn't help much more. The pudding-like substance, almost milky brown in coloration, began to eat it's way into the blast vest and man underneath. The man shrieked in pain, desperately trying to get his vest off, but not moving fast enough. In a mere two seconds, the man's shrieks turned into a gurgling sound as the substance ate into him. The man slumped lifeless.

Penderl was next to the opening, along with a couple more of the containment team. The blasters came to life again, shooting wildly into the room towards the unseen attacker. Penderl hazarded a glance into the room, and saw the creature, one hand holding a vicious wound on it's head, the other bracing itself up. Once again, Penderl aimed. More men from the containment team made it to the opening, and began pumping more and more blaster fire into the room. The shots struck the creature, searing the flesh and causing it to bubble from the heat, but not seeming to hurt it much more than that.

Penderl fired another well aimed shot at the creatures head, just as the creature heaved and spit out another wad of mucous towards the door opening. The blaster shot hit, the mucous blob didn't, instead impacting the wall behind Penderl and sizzling as it ate into the metal. The blaster shot hit the creature, making the creature turn rigid, as if it was stunned, then falling forward like a dead weight. With a heavy thud, the creature fell face first to the hard deck.

The blaster fire stopped.

In the immediate silence, Penderl heard something that sent a chill up his spine...the sound of metal being torn. It was coming from inside of the room.

Penderl moved quickly into the room, the men of the containment team taking the lead and moving in to cover as well. Penderl heard the sound more clearly, and just managed to catch a glimpse of a creature, different from the first, tearing a hole in the metal wall and making it's escape through it.

Penderl raced to the hole, and looked through it, two containment men right behind him with their blasters ready. Through the hole, the only thing they could see was the lush green of the forested world. The creature had escaped.

* * *

That was two months ago. Since that time, all contact was lost with the research station. A vessel called the Liedimus with 30 armed soldiers was dispatched to the world. No word has been recieved from the Liedimus. It was due to arrive two days ago. The tracking signal on the vessel shows that it is in the system, but no response has been sent to any request of information from the Liedimus.

The only thing we know at this time is that the experiment pertained to genetic alteration, along with biological augmentation. Lieutenant Penderl Talshon had categorically called the creatures "Sludge", due to one of the tactics of vomiting an acidic substance on enemies. Information from a surviving member of the team (before such information was not sent anymore from the installation) seems to suggest that the Sludge can alter currently living life forms, whether sentient or not.

As the experiment was to create a warrior of high power, any alterations of life forms that have been made have been naturally hostile and quite deadly. Blaster fire from pistols is nearly ineffectual, unless the creature can be caught while in the process of transformation. Rifles provide some stopping power, but seem to lack the ability to outright kill fully transformed creatures. Any other information is not available, as further reports from the station have not been forthcoming.

Suggested quarantine of the system Ylmard and specifically the fourth of seven planets. Nearest inhabited system of Honoosch should have the authorities warned to keep all travel away from the area.

End Report

Crin Daroota
15 March 2003, 10:30 PM
Crin Daroota sat at a small booth in a darkened corner of the Rogues' Gallery bar in Bishidi-town on planet Vivrik.The lights were mostly angled away from him, which he liked. The twi'lek, bathed in shadows, was neary the incarnation of the word 'shady.' From time to time, various people would stop by and chat briefly, but none stayed.

For Crin Daroota was an information agent and lieutenant for the Hutt that controlled a minor slice of the crime pie in this section of the galaxy. His informants had little to offer today besides rumor, speculation, and a small bit of intriguing scandal. Yet one rumor stuck in his mind. Apparently a holonet-relay repair team had happened upon a message concerning the quarantine of some far-away world. There was a hint of some sort of laboratory and something going wrong. That was as much as the informant who had purchased the information third-hand had been able to get. Absent-mindedly, he kept flipping the datacard from one finger to the next, as if it was a gambling chip or a Berissian thought-coin.

Crin Daroota couldn't quite get this tiny sliver of information out of his head. His twi'lek subcoscious smelled profit, even if he himself couldn't yet fathom how such profit was to be made.

There was only one thing to do. If he took this to the Hutt, he would never be granted permission to check it out, being that it was just the smallest of information tidbits. But if he found a willing starship captain for the right price, or even the promise of money to be made, or perhaps even the promise of repaying an old debt to the Hutt, he might be able to go to this mysterious planet and see for himself what the problem, if any, actually was. And thereby how to profit from it. A world with a drought pays well for water, a world with a disease pays well for doctors. Crin Daroota would find out what this world would pay for. Now, all he needed was a ship, and a team to accompany him. He decided to head down to the Spacefarer's Lounge, a dirty cantina that had seen better days. But Crin wasn't interested in its ales. He was going to the place because it was just outside the local spaceport, and was frequented by the starship captains and their crews. There was no better place on Vivrik to find willing and capable help. He just hoped the Hutt didn't find out before he got back...

Crin Daroota
17 March 2003, 09:36 PM
Much to Crin's delight, he spotted a familiar face trying to hide from him in the shadows of the Spacefarer's Lounge. He walked right up to the Sullustan's table.

"Why Bvin Rullb, if I didn't know any better I'd say you didn't want to talk to me." Crin kept a steady eye on the Sullustan. The twi'lek was outnumbered and he knew this was a gamble, yet it was a gamble he simply had to take. The young human male was a new addition to the Sullustan's crew, but the Rodian he knew all too well.

"Tell Graza the Hutt that I can't pay him back just yet," Rullb said to Crin. "I just need a few more charters or cargo hauls, and then I'll have his money plus the fifteen percent he expects. Just another month, Daroota, maybe just three weeks. Even a Hutt can wait that long, right?"

Crin mulled it over. It was going just as he had hoped. "Hutts aren't known for their patience, Rullb," he said in a low voice. "Surely you know that. But it just so happens I'm in need of a starship at the moment, and Graza would be able to forgive part of your loan if helped me in this regard. Working it off, you might say. Well, do you accept? Offers like these don't often come from the boss."

The Sullustan had no choice, really, and he knew it. If he refused, and Crin Daroota decided not to be a nice guy, he and his crew could be in a gladiatorial arena or something just as terrible within a matter of days. "Yes," he said slowly, almost forcing the words out, "yes of course, my ship is at your service."

"Good, good," Crin said to Rullb. "When can we depart?"

"My ship is at your service, Daroota," Rullb repeated, "but we can't leave now. Our last run we...well, we lost three of our crew, and the Miner's Dream doesn't leave port without a six-man crew. We picked up Frit, here," he nodded to the human, "but we still need two more before we leave port."

"I see," Crin replied. He had wondered where the rest of the crew was. Apparently two meters under. And it put him at a sort of impasse. He needed to get off the world and about his business as quickly as possible. But Rullb was right. That ship needed six to crew it and it was folly not to have a full crew, especially when the mission could involve danger. "I shall assist you in getting new crew," he told the Sullustan. "You should attempt to do the same. If we don't leave by suns-down, I'll have to find a new ship and a more enthusiastic captain."

Crin left, letting the veiled threat sink in. It wasn't really anything he would turn Rullb in for, but Rullb didn't know that. Crin went to the bar, hoping to find someone who could handle a twin laser cannon station or a sensor array or even just a blaster, and who was willing to sign on with a captain they didn't know for a mission Crin wouldn't tell them. Praying to a few different twi'lek gods, he began talking to the spacers at the bar...

18 March 2003, 05:47 PM
Marek Reens didn't like the feeling that was needling at the back of his neck. He'd been a scout for nearly 20 years now, and he'd learned to trust that little feeling he got, for more times than not it has save his hide from some terrible things. Normally, docking at civilized starports was the LAST thing that caused his angst, but as Reens had approached the orbital station of "Ailabo's Liftoff" in the Honoosch system, he had seen no other space traffic, and he had also not heard from traffic control. Something was quite odd.

Reens warily eyed the exterior of the large orbital station that hung like a great winged sculpture over the planet. The station was quite large...capable of docking as many as half a dozen large capital ships, and dozens more transports in one of it's many hangar bays. Reens couldn't see any exterior damage, but he also didn't see any ships docked.

He throttled back to decrease his speed even more, to be on the safe side, as he approached one of the open hangar bays. Inside the vast hangar he could see the shape of another vessel. The vessel inside was quite sleek looking, having an almost military look to it. Even with that ship placed in the hangar, there was still room for Reens' small, modified Corellian XS-800 Light Freighter. As his ship, the Flying Zuz carefully floated into the open hangar, Reens kept checking around for any sign of hangar crew. There was nothing though, not even any maintenance droids. "This is downright weird," muttered Reens to himself.

The Flying Zuz touched down almost as softly as a snowflake fallen from the sky. Reens powered down the thrusters and started to begin his shutdown procedures, but hesitated, thinking once again about that feeling in the back of his head. Without the immediate presence of the dockmaster or anyone else, he was beginning to get the distinct feeling that something was very wrong here. Leaving his thrusters online, as well as his flight controls and hyperdrive powered, he simply flipped off a couple of switches to make sure that nothing would go haywire while he looked around a bit.

Content that he ship would be ready to go in a pinch, Reens made one last look for anyone approaching his craft, gave a half shrug, and went back to retrieve his blaster and credit pouch. Standing at the main hatch, he punched the button and door hissed open with a sound that seemed more like the release of a rocket. The hangar bay was completely silent, quickly stifling the noise that was just emitted by the opening door. Reens felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck. New planets he was used to things like this....no one around, no sounds. On a station where nearly 3,000 inhabitants lived, he expected more sound than the graveyard silence he was hearing.

Reens stepped out of his ship, his boots sounding loud and hollow on the steel decking. Some 50 meters away, the other ship sat silent and dark. He was almost sure now that the ship was military. The lines of it, coupled with the plain and utilitarian looking blaster cannons mounted on the bow confirmed it. Scrawled in black lettering on the side, in a fancy script, Reens made out the name, "Liedimus." His voice sounded loud, even though he spoke in a subdued tone.

Still there was no one to be seen. Reens reached back and punched the door control, the hatch to his ship slamming shut with the unordinarily loud hiss. With that, Reens began his way across the hangar towards the main concourse that would take him to, hopefully, where someone would be.

ij thompson
26 March 2003, 09:57 AM
"In the darkest depths of the night, the shadows are given life..."

Dara Shaku sang the line with a slight growl, as the piece's Devaronian composer had intended. Looking down at her K'lael, an Ithorian stringed instrument, she struggled with the fingering of the F-sharp, half-diminished chord that plagued her every time.

"Feasting on fools, it comes, stabbing in the dark like a knife..."

Yeah, Dara thought disdainfully, fools like me. Looking out across the gruesome crowd of the Rogue's Gallery, she took a moment to ponder her latest predicament as she entered the solo section of the piece. A young Zabrak woman, Dara had only recently joined forces with 'Savrip Snarl', a pretty heavy outfit that had been gigging in her home system. She'd auditioned for them on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with an outstandingly warm reception. The K'lael, as they explained it, would make a perfect addition to their cutting-edge sound. The fact that Dara was an accomplished vocalist only served to sweeten the deal. She set off with Savrip Snarl, hopping from gig to gig and world to world, living a life of pure freedom, where there was always a round of applause and a round of drinks at the end of the day.

Well, usually.

Then, they'd come to Vivrik, where they were booked to play a three-nighter at the lush Palladium theatre. Advertising for the event had been impressive, and everyone in all the neighbouring towns was aware of the upcoming show. Everyone, including the 'great' Graza the Hutt.

As it turned out, Savrip Snarl owed a fair percentage of its moderate success to the Corpulent One, who'd taken an interest in the group when he'd heard them play years ago. On speculation, he'd had his smugglers distribute their recordings on the worlds they visited, and, surprise of surprises, the band had taken off. Quorice, the Devaronian leader of the group (and the composer of the piece that Dara was just now wrapping up performing), had taken offence to the suggestion that Graza was owed anything in return, instead keeping all of the take, which he split equally with his bandmates (well, with everyone but Dara, who Quorice gave a half-share due to her being new, and untried). When the band arrived backstage at the Palladium club, they were attacked by the crimelord's agents, who were ferocious in their apprehension of the musical sextette. Dara had been able to sneak away in the firefight, slipping down the theatre's back hallways when it became clear that there would be no winning the situation. Since she'd not been in the band when they'd played for the Hutt, his thugs didn't recognize her as one of their quarry. Now, she didn't know if the other members of Savrip Snarl were prisoners of the Hutt, or even if they were alive. All she knew at this point was that Dara Shaku was a solo outfit.

"Through the dark, I plainly see,
through the dark, the Darkness comes for me."

Prophetic lyrics, there, Quorice, Dara thought to herself as she set down the K'lael and thumbed the 'off' button on 'Rock-bot', her tacky rhythm droid. She hated using such automation in her music, but it was a necessary evil, since Savrip Snarl's percussionist was probably even now swinging in a dungeon somewhere. Amid a smattering of half-hearted applause, Dara stepped off the stage and headed for the bar.

Well, she mused gloomily, let's hope the drinks in this dive are better than its customers' musical appreciation...

Crin Daroota
28 March 2003, 07:41 AM
So far, so bad...
It seemed that everyone in the place was already booked for another mission. Which, Crin had to admit, wasn't really all that surprising. Vivrik was a stopping point for most traders, and home to very few. The ships that were here generally weren't staying for very long, and, as evidenced by his lack of luck in finding new crew, the personnel didn't want any part in local affairs, Just a hot meal and a quick drink, and maybe a comfortable bed and someone to share it with.

He was just about to give up and go to another cantina, farther from the spaceport, when the music ended. Crin had previously assumed it was just a recording, as it wasn't very pleasant to his twi'lek ears, but when it stopped he noticed a Zabrak female leaving the stage. Considering the smattering of applause she was getting, Crin didn't think she'd be playing here at the Rogues Gallery for very long. Which gave him an idea...

It was just then that Gurk nearly bowled him over. One of the smarter Gamorreans that Graza employed (which still wasn't saying a lot for the thug's intellect), Gurk was often sent to retrieve people who Graza, or his underlings, didn't expect would require a whole squad of men.

"Crassta keepo jupubi Gurk. Donsa reega pastra...ya'tosta?"

Gurk could understand the Huttese speech but could not reply. He turned, noticing the twi'lek, and pointed to his throat. Crin exhaled loudly, a sigh that was lost on the dim enforcer. He flipped the switch that activated the small droid that hung around Gurk's neck. The Gamorrean made a serious of squeals and burps, which the droid translated into Huttese. Apparently Gurk was after the musician Crin had just seen. She was wanted for questioning.

In Huttese, Crin told Gurk that he had already questioned her, and Crin had fined her 500 credits for being part of the band the twi'lek knew had ticked Graza off. But Crin had never seen this member of the band, so he told Gurk she was not really part of the plot to withhold Graza's money. It was all speculation and lies, of course, but Gurk bought it and went away, saddened that he wasn't going to get to rough someone up. Oh well, Crin thought, I'm sure he'll find someone on his way back...

It was then that Crin approached the bar near the musician. "Tough gig, huh? These people wouldn't understand classy music if you stuffed it through their ears with a plunger," he lied through his teeth. The music had annoyed him as much as anyone. "If you'll be needing another job in the near future, I think I can arrange it."

ij thompson
28 March 2003, 08:44 AM
Dara eyed the Twi'lek suspiciously. The Gammorean he'd just been talking to had looked way too much like one of Graza's goons for her liking. Still, he'd sent the being away... which could imply any number of things.

"I'd heard they enjoyed that gloom-and-doom music, in bars like this, on planets like these," She replied noncommitally, trading the bartender a few coins for a tall, thin glass of amber liquid. "Personally, I'd rather be playing something a little more melodic. Why," she asked, almost as an afterthought, "you a booking agent?"

Crin Daroota
28 March 2003, 09:05 AM
"Hard to tell what any being will enjoy unless you know their culture, though I can understand why you'd think that in a setting such as this. As to my being a booking agent, well, not exactly," the twi'lek said, smiling that famous toothy grin, "just a being who needs some help. I am chartering a ship, but as it turns out the ship is a bit short-handed. As such, I am looking for able and willing beings to lend a hand, and just possibly make a lot of profit." He eyed the Zabrak suspiciously. She didn't seem to be too interested so far. But Crin had another card yet to play. "If you're interested, I could, in return for your services, clear your name with Graza, and you'd be free of his goon squad."

So what if he'd already done that? She didn't know it. Hopefully the threat of Graza would be enough. If not, of course, Gurk wasn't all that far away, and in none too good a mood, either. The sly grin returned to the twi'lek's face. He ordered himself a drink, and the bartender handed him a squat glass with a dark blue liquor. He swished it thoughtfully as he awaited the other's reply.

ij thompson
28 March 2003, 08:00 PM
Dara smiled sourly, turning away from the grinning Twi'Lek. Bumming a cigarra from the barfly on her right, she took a moment to reflect, igniting the dark brown cylinder and inhaling its pungent vapors.

She turned back to the mysterious stranger. "I didn't catch your name, friend..."

She listened to his response, searching his eyes for any gleam of deception, but finding none. Sure, he'd seemed to know that Gammorean thug, but the two of them didn't appear to be the best of friends. And anyway, he legitimately seemed more interested in his own shady goals than in her. Still, his offer to square away her dealings with Graza did not go unheard, and she was all-too aware of what the reverse of that 'generous' offer might mean.

"All right, Crin" she eyed him soberly, "that's a real princely offer you're making. However, I'm not generally too responsive when approached with blackmail." She paused for effect, while the Twi'lek went right on grinning that damned grin of his. "On the other hand, I'd like nothing more than to get off this dirtball, and if there's money involved, all the better. But let me ask you this: what sort of job are we talking about, here?"

28 March 2003, 09:16 PM
The chisled lines of a once proud station Ailabo's Liftoff hung silently over the planet. No ships came or left. No signals were broadcast out from it. No voices carried through the well lit hallways, and nothing save for the near-silent hum of machinery made it to the ears of Marek Reens.

Marek had made it to main concourse. There were all of the trade stations, customs station, food courts, and even retails stores...all of them empty of living beings. Marek moved, tiptoed, along the wide concourse. His eyes moved constantly, his senses straining to give him SOMETHING to hear. He couldn't shake the feeling he had that something staggeringly terrible had happened here, but there was nothing to indicate that what he imagined had happened. There was no blood....there was no signs of struggle. There was nothing. The stores were empty...open, but empty of people. The merchandise in them simply screamed to be picked up, to be taken, but there was no one but Reens to hear them in his mind.

His hollow sounding footsteps echoed as he moved, and he wished that he could float as he moved. Moving past another empty food court where the smell of something cooking still drifted through the air, Marek began to feel strange. It started as a knot in his stomach, but it quickly moved up into his chest as he neared a service access door. For some reason, this one closed door oozed an ominous warning to him. He paused out side the door, looking at it with his blaster held tightly in his hand, the barrel facing the door. Then Marek heard something, something different than the near silent hum of electrical equipment. It was a scraping noise on the other side of the door. Something was there. Something was on the other side of the door, quietly, slowly, scratching at the metal surface.

The knot in his chest moved up to his throat as Marek attempted to speak. "H...Hello?"

The faint scratching stopped. Silence. More silence.


Marek leapt backwards as whatever it was behind the door threw itself at the closed door. The scratching began again, but this time much harder and rapidly, as if whatever it was desperately wanted to get out at the voice. Marek took another step backwards, the sound of his step unheard over the sound of the frantic scratching. Suddenly the scratching sound changed...to one of shrieking metal. The claws of whatever it was were beginning to peel through the metal door.

Another step backwards he moved, and then Marek looked quickly around, finally taking his eyes from the door. He needed to be somewhere else, and quickly. There was another hard and determined thud against the door, and the shrieking sound of metal being scraped away continued to drift from the other side of the door. Feeling the fear begin to grow, almost overtaking his sense of reason, Marek turned and began dashing down the concourse, back towards the direction of the hangar bay. His ship was the only area that was safe on this station now.

Crin Daroota
28 March 2003, 09:54 PM
She was shrewd, Crin had to give her that. But she was way out of her league. Crin might not know a Corellian symphony from a Mantooine trot-trio, but he knew how to haggle, barter, lie, swindle, cheat, and thirty more ways of dealing face-to-face with various beings of this galaxy. And on top of that, to get what he wanted.

"I can promise no money," he straightfowardly told the suspicious Zabrak. From the small folding sign next to the stage he figured out her name. "Not from myself, anyway. But my dear Dara," he said, his toothy grin turning to a sly smile, "as I said, I am chartering a ship. That ship needs a crew, and surely the crew would be paid by the captain. That's my understanding of how insterstellar trading vessels usually work, unless you want to sign on as a slave." The twi'lek laughed at his joke, his head-tails bobbing slightly on his shoulders as he did so. "My offer to you is simply to clear your name, if you decide to join the crew of the ship I charter. I'm in a bit of a crunch for time, and I would like to shorten the wait for Captain Rullb to find himself a crew."

He took a long sip of his drink, well aware that he hadn't yet fully answered her question. He wanted that to sink in: that he, Crin, wouldn't be paying her, and that Captain Rullb would be the one to ask if she had questions concerning monetary rewards. Once the twi'lek felt it had all occurred to her, he continued. "As for what the job is, and what you'll have to do, well, in the end that's up to Captain Rullb again. But if you can handle a starship gun, or serve as coplilot, or watch the sensor screens, or even just help keep the engines running smoothly, I'm sure he can find a use for you. As I say, he's shorthanded at the moment, and Vivrik isn't exactly the easiest place to pick up a new crew. He'll make do with what he can get, I'm sure. And if that means he has to personally teach you how to power up the shields or shoot a twin laser cannon, I'm sure that can be arranged."

Crin was sure he had woven his web to near-perfection. He didn't have to pay Rullb, he didn't have to pay Dara, and he would still get what he wanted just by a few smoothly said phrases to Graza, or perhaps not even that much effort. And what's more both Rullb and Dara would be grateful, most likely, for Crin's "protection" from such a vile and ruthless creature as Graza. There were some days, Crin mused, that it was very good to work for a Hutt.

ij thompson
29 March 2003, 08:35 AM
Dara sighed, growing impatient with this being's evasions and innuendos.

"Alright," she replied, "I've already told you that you've got my ear on this. I wanna get off this rock just like any sensible being would. I understand that it's not your vessel we're talking about, here, but it is your charter. So let me ask you plainly: where are we going, and what are we doing?"

She reached for her drink, then added with a smile, "And I don't think your captain is going to have to worry about teaching anybody how to operate the weapons..."

Crin Daroota
29 March 2003, 09:13 AM
Good, very good. So she wasn't just a simple musician after all. Crin had hoped, but known better than to expect it. There were some musicians out there, in his experience, that could barely handle their xylosax, and were worthless even in a landspeeder. This Dara was shaping up to be what he had hoped to find. The sly grin remained on the twi'lek's face.

"We're going to an Imperial research station," Crin answered plainly. There wasn't much point in lying about that. She'd figure it out eventually. "One that sent a distress signal, and hasn't been heard from since. I'd like to see what their problem is, and how we might profit from the Imperials' misfortune. I trust you've no love for the Empire." It would certainly be odd for her to answer yes to that, in this part of the galaxy. The only people on Vivrik that loved the Empire were those flunkies it sent, who were being paid by the Emperor and Graza both. "Even if you did, you could come along to help them out. In any case, there's good reason for someone such as yourself to join our little expedition, in my opinion."

Crin was satisfied that he'd answered her question, and waited to see if she still had more to ask, the grin finally diminishing.

29 March 2003, 11:01 AM
Marek Reens ran, ran for his life. The sound of the screaming metal had terminated in an aweful sound of as the door had given way and the whatever-it-was moved through the ragged opening. The claws of the creature now clattered loudly against the metal flooring as the monster leapt after Reens.

Now the shops and stations went by with a blur, as Marek dashed back towards the hallway that lead from the hangar. Fortunately for him, the claws on the creature provided for poor traction. The feeling that he was going to make it to his ship glowed like a faint flame in the dark. As Marek rounded the corner to the corridor leading to the hangar, he almost stopped dead in his tracks. Twenty meters away from him, standing in the hallway, looking towards the hangar, was a service tech! The sheer relief and excitement at seeing this man was almost more than Marek could contain. Still, the creature behind him once again reminded him of the danger. "Hey! Run, man, there's a creature right on my tail!" he shouted, his voice sounding much more reassured than it would have only a moment ago.

The service tech continued to stand still in the hallway, facing away from Marek and not making any attempt to turn and look at who had shouted the warning. Marek continued his run, slowing slightly in order to grab the man as he ran by.

Ten meters, five meters, two meters. He was almost to the man.

Marek stretched out his hand to grab the man's arm, and a mere instant before he grabbed hold, Marek's eyes caught a sight that turned his blood cold. The man's face was a contorted mask of evil. The visage of a man was completely gone, and the face was twisted. The eyes were bugged out, almost as if they were on eyestalks. The nose was completely gone, leaving a smooth, slime covered space that lead to the mouth, which no longer acted as a human mouth. Instead, it was a fixed oval opening, ringed in outward pointing teeth. Multiple rows of those teeth ran from the edge of the opening back into the maw.

Marek recoiled at the sight, and paused in his running. The eyes of the man/creature moved to the side, leering their dark, milky greenness at Marek. Still the man/creature stood still, just the eyes watching Marek.

Once again, that knot in Marek's chest came back, this time so large it felt like he couldn't breath. His legs turned to lead, and he began to get the feeling that he wouldn't make it off this station alive. Marek's eyes looked back down towards the concourse. There he saw the creature that had clawed through the metal access door. It stood low to the floor, but had 6 legs, all tipped with wickedly clawed hands. Along it's back ran a ridge of spikes, ranging from the base of it's head to the hind legs, just above a 3 foot long tail. The end of the tail had bone ridges running out of the side of it that looked sharp. The head of the creature seemed almost human, though it had a bone plate across the top if it's head, providing a sort of armor. The nose and mouth had stretched and flattened, forming a long snout, nearly two feet in length. When the mouth was open, Marek could see jagged looking teeth, dripping with a gooey, greenish substance.

Almost as if he was in a dream, Marek turned, a scream of fear escaping from his lips. His legs began to move, to run! As he turned towars the access to the hangar, Marek heard something that sounded like a man vomiting. A glob of dark green mucous was spat out by the "service tech" towards Marek, but Reens was just quick enough (or lucky enough) to avoid the spit wad. With a splattering sound, the glob impacted the wall behind where Marek had once stood, and began to eat into the metal surface.

ij thompson
29 March 2003, 11:46 AM
Dara smiled. This is more like it, she thought, what is it about Twi'leks that you have to dance around for an hour before they'll tell you what's on their minds?

She raised her glass in the being's direction, clinked it amiably against his own. "A research station full of Imps that's come to a bad end? Music to my ears. You have no idea how hard it is to book an inter-sector tour with those jack-booted buffoons running the skies. Hey, hang on a second..."

She marched back to the grubby bandstand, shouldering her k'lael and barking a short command to the small droid that floated there. The pair returned to the bar, the Zabrak woman pointing a thumb at the robot.

"This is Rocky," Dara explained, "he travels with me." She looked around the room suspiciously, conscious of anyone who might overhear. Leaning in close to Crin, she spoke in hushed tones.

"You know, as far as I know, the Imperials don't bother researching much of anything unless it could have some destructive applications. Whatever we find there could be worth quite a bundle!" She grinned mischieviously, then drained her glass. "What say we go meet this captain of yours?"

As Crin led the way to another area of the Rogue's Gallery, it's slovenly bartender shouted after them.

"Oi, Shaku," the grubby human called out, "you owes duh boss one more set! You ain't been paid fur the day, y'know..."

"Keep it," Dara spat the words over her shoulder. "Buy yourself a damn jukebox..."

Crin Daroota
29 March 2003, 12:08 PM
Crin was in luck. When he returned to the table, with Dara in tow, Rullb had already found himself another crewer. The little Chadra-Fan didn't look like much, but hey anybody was a great find here on Vivrik.

The twi'lek approached the table and the conversation stopped. "Captain Bvin Rullb, meet Dara," he introduced the pair. He then waved his hand at the human and the Rodian in turn. "That there is Frit, if I remember correctly, and Heeno, the navigator."

"Sharf's back at the ship," Rullb informed the two newcomers. "This is Jeil-she's a Chadra-Fan," he said unnecessarily, "and that there is her R2 unit." That last took Crin by surprise, as he hadn't noticed the droid before. It trundled out from under the table and beeped what Crin assumed must be a hello. "Well, Daroota," the Sullustan continued, "it seems I've got a full crew. You ready?"

Crin nodded eloquently and allowed Rullb to lead the way toward the spaceport.

Crin Daroota
3 April 2003, 11:16 PM
Dust blew around the well-worn docking bay as Rullb opened the entrance blast doors. The party walked through, and the doors sealed behind them with a loud hiss. The Miner's Dream sat still in her nest, nearly filling the area with her bulk. She was big, built for trading and not speed, or, for that matter, comfort. She could cruise hyperspace with her respectable x3 hyperdrive, but she would win no races. Nor any beauty contests. The ship had once been pristine white, but age, neglect and hard use had turned her into a dark gray behemoth. Egg-shaped, the forward section transitioned from smooth curves to a harsh conical point wherein the pilot did his work. The aft section was seemingly chopped off, its broad, flat backside filled with row upon row of sublight drive thrusters and the tail end of the hyperdrive. She was meant to push a lot of mass around space, and her engines did not hide that fact, as they were both massive and powerful.

"What a piece of junk," Crin Daroota said under his breath, afterwards hoping Rullb hadn't heard it. Even the owner of the most pitiful space launch has pride in his ship and would take offense to such a remark.

But if Rullb's floppy Sullustan ears heard it, he didn't let it show. Instead he continued guiding the party to the ship and up the ramp into the massive cargo hold. Large as a three-story home and completely empty, the bare walls echoed with hushed voices and footsteps.

"Droid," Rullb said harshly to Jeil's astromech, "plug in over there. Get the feel of the ship or whatever you things do, and then monitor the engines and learn all you can from my ship's computer about our shield system. You'll be in charge of powering them up. If anything looks wrong with the engines or the shields, you make that plain to us in big letters on the main command panel in the crew room. Got that?"

The droid beeped and whistled. Crin guessed it understood, for it wheeled itself over to a computer-access point and jacked into the system. A long whistle was the machine's only further comment.

Rullb waved for the rest to follow him. Two flights of stairs and a long hallway later, they came upon what seemed to be a combination weapons area, crew lounge, and crew stations. The middle of the large, wide room was dominated by a pair of curved sofas surrounding a holochess table, next to which was a small eating table and magnet-foot chairs. A tiny bar stood nearby, with three stools bolted to the floor in front of it. Crin couldn't see how well stocked it might be from his point of view. Finally, on either side of the wide room was a twin laser station, with a typical gunner's chair and simple targeting screen. A headset attached to each chair; two laser cannons could be seen out of each viewport hanging limply.

"The guns are connected to the headsets and targeting systems," Rullb announced unnecessarily. "You can cover one side of the ship from those, port or starboard. Dara, pick which one you want, Frit, the other's yours. Oh and Frit, try to get to know the guns without blasting holes in the landing bay, okay?"

That last statement didn't give Crin a lot of confidence in the young human. Still, Frit could probably handle those things as well as Crin could, anyway. But the twi'lek didn't have a lot of time to mull it over as Rullb continued the tour. The Sullustan took his Captain's chair behind the conical, sunken cockpit where a dark-furred Wookiee sat at the ship's controls. Rullb introduced him as Sharf, the pilot. A long howl was the being's reply to their hellos.

To either side of the small cockpit section was a computer station, and a third was located not far from the guns Dara had chosen. Rullb pointed Jeil to one side of the cockpit, at the sensor station, and Heeno plopped himself down at the Navigation array. "We'll go to Alayre Minor first," Crin told the Rodian, and Heeno began feeding information into the navicomputer. Meanwhile the ship started to rumble as Sharf brought the massive engines to life.

Finally only Crin was left without something to do. Rullb jumped down from his Captain's chair and led the twi'lek to the final computer station. There were a pair of screens and a lot of buttons. "This is the Comm station," Rullb explained to him, showing him how to work the main channels and hailing frequencies, how to switch one off and another on, where the intercom feed was, and so on until Crin understood how to talk to other ships and stations and authorities through the complex system in front of him.

"And then there's this little trick," Rullb said with a sly grin on his cheeky face. The short captain flipped a switch and one of the screens came to life, showing the landing bay wall in front of the ship. Rullb pinched a small joystick Crin hadn't previously noticed, pulled back on it. The view swung up to show Vivrik's sky, then twisted as up became down to show things right side up again as the camera swung in a vertical arc to show the landing bay wall behind the ship. "That camera is attached to a small torpedo launcher," Bvin Rullb said in hushed tones with pride on his Sullustan face. "It shoots in an arc, forward, up, and backwards. Pretty well hidden, too. Most folks never notice it." Crin didn't doubt that. He'd never heard anyone talk of a torpedo system on the Miner's Dream . "If things go beyond the time for talk, make sure you know how to use that little trick, too. It comes in handy, those times when you've got someone on your tail who doesn't want you to get away."

With that Rullb left him, the Sullustan and the Wookiee going through pre-flight checks. The deck plates hummed and vibrated beneath the new crew's feet. After a time the checks stopped and Heeno announced that coordinates were prepared. The view from the torpedo camera showed the walls lowering as the throbbing below their feet subsided. They were on their way to Alayre Minor, and a mission whose details only Crin Daroota knew. Though if he had thought about it, even the twi'lek didn't really know what awaited them...

Crin Daroota
4 April 2003, 10:02 AM
It was ten hours since they'd made the jump from Vivrik, and the countdown to their arrival at Alayre Minor had begun. 3...2...1...

The swirling blues of hyperspace vanished, replaced by the long white streaks of starlines, which slowly shrunk into stars. The Miner's Dream had exited hyperspace and was now in the Alayre Minor system.

Right smack in the middle of hell.

"Droid, get those shields up, now! " Rullb all but screamed over the intercom as a pair of CloakShape fighters flashed by the lumbering trade ship, lasers blazing at something unseen. "Sharf, start powering up the weapons!"

Crin was startled by all the commotion but knew enough to get himself strapped into his chair. "Alayre Minor Space Authority, this is the Miner's Dream , just arrived from Vivrik," Crin spoke as calmly as he could manage into the comm. From Dara's viewport he could see a modified Corellian Corvette blasting fiercely at an aging Marauder -class Corvette, which was pummeling the Corellian. Even now fires could be seen as sections of its hull were being detached by the massive blasts. Fires which were quickly extinguished in the vacuum of space. Crin lost his cool as he saw bodies floating out from behind those blown-off panels. "Just what the hell is going on here?!"

A ragged voice came over the comm, tired and angry. "They jumped us," the man said without introduction. "Reinforcements have been sent but they won't be here in time. They lured us out here with a YT-1300, full of spice. We boarded and the bastards came out of hyperspace." A large explosion could be heard in the background over the channel, and a flash erupted from one of the Corellian's engines as a CloakShape strafed the vessel. One of the turrets answered the blow fiercely, blasting off one of the fighter's wings in retribution, then turning again to fire at the Marauder. "Damn YT opened up on us, damaging our shield generators before we could get them up. I dunno what happened to the boarding party." Another explosion could be heard, louder and closer, it seemed to Crin. Mister, my name's Henf Doolag, if I don't make it...tell my wife--"

The channel was severed. Crin stole another glance at the Corellian Corvette out Dara's gun window to see the forward viewport blow out. Fire quickly expanded and retreated in a spectacular flash, then all that could be seen were small objects...bodies...and Crin knew one of them had to be Henf Doolag.

"Guns up!" the Sullustan shouted, waking Crin from his morbid thoughts and filling him with a lethal resolve. "Guns are charged! Get the bastards!"

Jeil spoke, in a very hesitant, squeaking voice, informing them that the circular blue and purple markings on the CloakShapes and the Battlecruiser looked like the Denoid Pirate Guild. The poor little thing was obviously scared out of her mind. For that matter, the twi'lek wasn't doing much better. Crin hadn't noticed anything bigger than the Corvette before, but as Jeil fed info to all the different stations, sure enough a big Cruzan Battlecruiser was approaching the Corvette, intent no doubt on seizing it. Seemingly hiding behind the big ship was the YT-1300 Henf had spoke of, the bait to this trap. 7 fighters, a Marauder with half shield strength left, and a battlecruiser.

"Any friendlies?" Crin asked with a loud gulp.

"Two Z-95s, with the red and white skulls are Mecs hired by the Alayre government. Another corvette and a pair of small patrols ships are inbound from Major's fourth moon." The Chadra-Fan seemed to hesitate then.

"What is it?" Rullb shouted as Frit took a potshot at the battlecruiser. Too far away right now to do anything but stir up the hornet's nest. The Miner's Dream couldn't hit it, but that battlecruiser could sure hit the trade ship.

"They," Jeil squeaked, hesitating again. "They won't be here in time, unless something holds these pirates up. That battlecruiser already has a tractor lock on the Corvette."

"Don't you worry about that," Rullb said, grinning. I've still got one or two tricks up my sleeve that none of you know." He turned to the Wookiee in the small pilot's node. "Sharf, you know what to do." The Wookiee howled an indiscernible reply. Rullb opened a hidden panel on his Captain's chair and keyed in some sort of code. The deck plating in front of him slid smoothly to the left with barely a hiss to reveal a set of quad lasers sandwiched between the deck and the hull. As Crin watched, very impressed, the hull also opened, and the hum of a magnetic field could be heard. "Keep your emergency breath masks handy, everyone, in case that field goes down." Then Rullb pulled a gunner's headset from somewhere as two small flight sticks seemed to pop out of the arms of his chair. From between his legs came another hiss and a gunner's screen appeared. "Alright, now, let's show those pirates what we're made of." Rullb spun his chair, the quad guns, now outside the magnetic field spun with him. They flashed as the Sullustan took a shot at something Crin couldn't see.

A long howl from the cockpit drew the twi'lek's attention. Sharf was slapping a large blue button as he flew the ship one-handed. Each time he slapped it, four green lasers lanced out. The Wookiee howled again, with some sort of chuckle mixed in, as Crin saw the glow of an explosion on the being's furry face.

"6 fighters now remain," Jeil confirmed, her confidence beginning to grow.

Crin too had found comfort in Rullb's attitude, as well as his weaponry. He remembered the torpedo launcher then and activated it. At the moment nothing was in his sights, then Sharf pulled a spinning maneuver that left Frit facing the battlecruiser and Dara facing the Corvette. Rullb could shoot at either, but from what Crin could see, he seemed to be concentrating on the CloakShape fighters. As Crin tracked the camera in its vertical arc, he saw now that Sharf's piloting skill had placed a fighter behind them, and in his sights. As the console before him beeped, then squealed, the targeting system flashed red, and Crin let fly a torpedo at the fighter.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
4 April 2003, 08:37 PM
The Crimson Tortiose smoothly exited from hyperspace, the long streaks compacted into pinpricks once more. Everything was going to schedual, until this moment... A firefight of several large and small ships were just ahead of him! Colison clackons blared loudly!

"Arthor, raise shields!" Fon shouted to the R4 dome unit built indash, co-pilot's console next to him. The red & white trimmed R4 tweetled rapidly an acknowledgement. The R4 was no replacement for a true co-pilot, but did make the several other comm & navigational consoles redundant

Fon Dinoa's hands scrambled for the controls, tugging hard on the stick. A battlecruiser was barely a full shiplength infront of him. The inertial compensators held tight, and Fon barely cleared the battlecruiser. Tapping a switch, he silenced the alarms.

"What in Nine HUTTS is happening out there Fon?!?!??!" shouted Sieanna's voice over the intercom. Sieanna, the ship's mechanic was very protective of the ship, and liked even less situations that meant trouble. Trouble usually meant damage repair later...

"Staashions everyone! Pirates and Alayre Minor cruisahs under attack! Nuuti & Zuuti! goto turrets but don't open up unless'I sayyso" Fon shouted back, his intercom set shipwide be default.

The overhead viewscreen (http://members.shaw.ca/tiger.jadesfire/iaop/preparing%2520to%2520dock.jpg) infront of Fon displayed the sensor data as they passed within meters of the other craft. The transponder ID's of the maruader corvette, yt-1300, and battlecruiser gave no clues, but visually, their markings did not match the corvette. The corvette's transponder was certainly Alayre Minor, and it was in really bad shape - readouts and visually. There was another transport, seemingly caught in the middle of it, attacking the cloakshape fighters.

Two creds say that corvette's not going to last long without backup before any help can arrive... Sieanna ain't going to like it, but maybe we can help even the odds, draw theit attention... Besides, I really hate pirates... My unlce's shipping company went under from pirates... Silently, Fon thought bitterly to himself.

Mind made up, Fon steered his ships around, and vectored in for spot that would put him between the marauder and the battle cruiser. Perhaps the other ships would be too busy to notice an old un-armed looking cruiser, or at least not asume otherwise... "Sieanna, full power to engines, then shunt to weapons on my mark! Nuuti & Zuuti: split into portside & starboard arcs!"

The Crimson Tortoise cut through space, like a ship on superchargers, its old powerful engine lineage of corellian design, predecessor to the 'blockade runner' moniker of the newer corvette models. less than half a km from the battlecruiser, Fon gave the order... 8 Turrets rose from its side hull wings, yet another corvette trademark...

The Crimson Tortoise's weapons opened up! Both laser & ion turrets boadsides ablaze! Speeding through between the marauder and battlecruiser, catching both ships offgaurd in its first pass before they could bring their own guns to bear. The Tortoise sped past, then begun a lazy loop for another round...

Fon opened up the comms, in broken basic spoke, "Ansy wessel who's not attacking the corvette, call in as friendly pleese..."

Crin Daroota
4 April 2003, 10:56 PM
Crin watched the torpero fly on a slow arc toward the fighter.

"Daroota!" Rullb snapped. Crin's head spun quickly to the Sullustan captain. "Don't waste those on the fighters! We've only got so many." Even as he spoke, Crin watched as the CloakShape spun away from the torpedo in a maneuver the little warhead couldn't hope to match. It drove for deep space now, only the Gods would know where it might end up. Again the Sullustan broke him from his spellbound gaze. "Save them for the big ships that can't dodge."

Crin acknowledged the captain and traced the vertical arc to see if the bigger ships were in line with it. Even after Sharf put them into a zig-zagging maneuver he still had no shot on either the Marauder -class corvette nor the big Cruzan battlecruiser.

It was then that Jeil squeaked, "Another ship's just come in from hyperspace. A trader by the looks of her." Moments passed in the crew cabin, the sounds of guns drowned out nearly everything else. Crin didn't see who was shooting at what, his attention was solely fixed to the station before him and the small viewscreen that tracked with the torpedo launcher as he fiddled with the tiny joystick.

Jeil peeped something that was drowned out by the heavy weaponry discharging around them.

"What was that?" Rullb called back as the Wookiee roared from the sunken cockpit cone.

"I said the trader's opened fire," the Chadra-Fan squealed, "and she's as well armed as us, probably better."

"First good news I've heard since we got into this damn system," Frit, the human said before popping off a pair of shots from his double lasers. So far it seemed like the human had been concentrating his fire on the fighters zipping by, as far as Crin could tell, to no avail.

Then the comm, which had long been silent, crackled to life. Just above the staticy hiss, Crin heard the trade ship call out for friendlies.

"Gunslinger three, reporting friendly, in the Headhunter."
"Gunslinger five, copy that, friendly, in the other Z-95. I think the others are down, but if you see any other Headhunters around, don't shoot at them."
"Alayre Minor Corvette Stingblade inbound, ETA two minutes, reporting in friendly."
"Friendly, friendly, Patrol ship Delta-7 friendly, over."
"Roger that, reporting friendly, Patrol ship Delta-9, ETA two minutes and closing."

Finally the comm settled down and Crin realized he was a part of that list, too. "Friendly here, too, the trade ship Miner's Dream ." Rullb shouted at the twi'lek to relay a message, which Crin did. "Advise you that battlecruiser is nothing to snort at." Snort at? Well, that's what the Sullustan had said to say.

Crin cut the transmission and just listened to the background chatter as guns blazed around him. He left that system and returned his attention to the torpedo viewscreen. The screen was now filled with greed and red lasers blasting away at things off-camera, and from time to time a blue-white ion bolt sizzled by as well. But still Crin had no shot on the big ships.

The Miner's Dream rocked beneath them as a massive force hit the trade ship's shields. Frit, not strapped into his gunner's chair, was thrown halfway across the room, and only got up slowly. From the red mark on his forehead, Crin surmised the human's gunnery would be even worse, now. Rullb looked at the young man harshly, but knew better than to yell under these circumstances. It would only hurt morale, and wouldn't help anyone. Sharf bellowed a long, punctuated howl. "Yeah, where'd that come from?" Rullb half translated, half asked.

"It was the battlecruiser," Frit announced as he got back to his chair. This time the man had the sense to strap in before popping a double-blast off at something. "I saw the blasts coming in."

On the screen just above the entrance to the small pilot's station, in large yellow letters appeared the words: "Warning: shields now at 68.41% of maximum." Apparently Jeil's droid had remembered its instructions, and was even now powering the shields back up, painfully slowly. 69%...70%...71%...

Crin didn't understand what the Sullustan said then, but he was sure the little captain was swearing up a storm. "Return fire," he finally said in Basic. "Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and hit something vital, Frit."

The twi'lek, at that moment, began to wonder whether this tough ship he had chosen to "charter" would ever even make it to its first stopover...

5 April 2003, 02:30 PM
Sweat streamed down Marek Reens' face as he scrambled to the flight controls of the Flying Zuz. The sound of the nightmare monster outside the hatch continued to haunt Marek's thoughts as he frantically flipped the button that would bring his ship's engines to life. The screeching sound of the wicked claws on metal began to resound through the ship, as the creature tried clawing it's way into the ship to get at Marek.

Outside of the cockpit, Marek nearly leapt from his seat when the man/creature in the tech suit appeared on the deck in front of his ship. The circular gaping maw of a mouth remained open a motionless, but the arms of the man/creature looked different, almost as if they had lengthened and the hands had been deformed into near spikes.

As the engines of the Flying Zuz roared to life, sending a shiver of power through the ship, the man/creature jumped the distance up to the top of the ship, a distance of nearly 4 meters. Marek's mouth gaped at the sight, and he tried to see where the creature had gone. Immediately he heard the sharp *BANG* as something hard impacted the top of his ship.


Again... *BANG*

"Get off my ship!" yelled Marek as he yanked back on the controls and the ship lifted and spun rapidly to face towards the hangar opening.

The six legged creature was knocked violently aside by the rapid shift of the craft, but the man/creature on top held it's position.


The engines let out a throaty roar as the Flying Zuz streaked from the hangar bay and out into space. "See how you survive in space!" breathed Marek in spite as he saw the welcome white pin pricks of stars.


A warning light began to flash on the control panel, and Marek saw that his ship was warning him about impending loss of structural integrity. He yanked hard on the flight controls and the Flying Zuz began to spin rapidly, trying to dislodge the unwanted passenger.

After pulling several spins, Marek put his ship into a bank, bringing him back around to see where the creature had been dislodged. The planet loomed into view and silhouetted against the bright blue planet was the small speck of the man/creature. The Flying Zuz began to move towards the creature, and Marek flipped the switch to arm his weapons. The creature was flailing in space, the spiked appendages for arms and legs were moving as if it was trying to swim towards the ship. The open maw of a mouth still remained unmoving, and the bulging green eyes were eerily eyeing the rapidly approaching ship. Marek remained silent as he tapped the button to fire his laser cannon when the targetting computer indicated acquisition. The single red laser bolt flashed out and enveloped the creature, causing the still living monster to explode in a sickening green glob.

With that done, Marek turned his craft back around, casting one last look at the station as he did. In his mind, the station "Ailabo's Liftoff" wasn't a welcome place anymore. Next thing he needed to do was get to a civilized place and put out a warning about this place. Whatever happened here wasn't something that should be taken lightly.

The Flying Zuz continued it's outward journey, with Marek working the nav computer to get coordinates to someplace where he could meet someone who could help. Alayre Minor was the closest with anyone that Marek considered civilized. He punched the coordinates in and slid the hyperspace level forward. The ship seemingly stretched as it jumped to hyperspace.

"Next stop, Alayre Minor. Let's just hope someone there listens," muttered Marek.

ij thompson
6 April 2003, 10:30 AM
Sweat beading on her forehead, Dara continued to hammer away at the enemy from the laser turret. The view outside the dome swung dizzyingly around her as the captain rolled the ship wildly, desperately avoiding enemy laser fire.

"Rocky, c'mere!", she called, and was answered by the melodic noodling of her musician's assistant droid, who floated up beside her.

"Crack open, buddy," she commanded, and the little robot obliged by popping a small hatch on its back. Firing one-handedly at pursuing Cloakshape fighters, Dara dug through the contents of the droid with the other. Retreiving a battered pack of cigarras, the Zabrak girl shook one out, popping it between her lips. "Hit me!"

A small mechanical arm emerged from the droid, from the end of which came a tiny flame. Rocky lit the cigarra obediently, then retreated to hover somewhere over his master's left shoulder.

"Alright," Dara muttered, cigarra clenched between her teeth, "time to get serious..."

7 April 2003, 03:01 AM
Kiel d’Tana scowled at the report again.

Of all the high-risk, interesting assignments they could have given him, his higher-ups had sent him to a research station on some Xendor-forsaken planet because the people in the station had stopped transmitting their usual reports back to ISB headquarters.

He’d heard from other agents that had been given missions like this. Occasionally they found something interesting, some action, but usually they turned out to be nothing, a simple oversight. On this assignment, he fully expected to head out to his destination, talk to some other imperials, bored out of their minds at the monotony of their jobs, help fix a communications array, then head back to Coruscant, where a mountain of paperwork awaited him, demanding he explain why an installation without a functioning comm array couldn’t send status reports.

Closing down the datapad he’d been reviewing, he gave his ship’s control boards another once over. His ship, the Event Horizon, was a slightly modified Skipray Blastboat. When ISB had issued him the ship, he was given a small amount of leeway in his new ride’s capabilities. The first thing he did was to remove all three ion cannons and replace the two on the wings with light turbolaser cannons. He left the nose ion cannon hardpoint vacant to free up more power for the turbolasers. Since most of his missions for ISB were done solo, he removed the entire medium laser turret. He rarely had a gunner and he had to concentrate too much on piloting during combat to make them efficient, this also had the side effect of freeing up even more power for his main weapons, the turbolasers. He didn’t touch the cincussion missile launcher or the proton torpedo launcher, wanting to have the warheads as an option when the turbolasers were not the right weapon for the task. He also had a few proton tracking beacons onboard. Her shields and hull plating were stock, Sienar knew how to protect their paying customers, if not the unfortunate pilots of their fighters…

Suddenly his proximity alert pinged. Kiel always thought the proximity alert sounded happy. He knew it was ludicrous to give mechanical devices personalities but simply the fact that the only time one really longed to hear a proximity alert was at the end of a long, boring hyperjump made them seem like a godsend.

Checking, once again, his nav-computer, he determined that he’d reached the end of the second to last leg of his journey. He would come out of hyperspace soon over the outer rim planet Alayre Minor. Gently pressing the hyperdrive levers forward, Kiel watched as the spiraling blue chaos of hyperspace resolved itself, first into starlines, then the starlines shrunk back into their respective stars, Alayre Minor itself at point-blank range. Kiel prided himself an uncanny astrogator and used simple jumps like these to show off to anyone who might notice his arrival.

Suddenly, his highly advanced sensor system blurted out a report as alarms started ringing in the cockpit and red lighting washed over him.

“Stang! What now?!”, Kiel read over the report, but his attention was soon commanded by a pair of Cloakshape fighters looping out of their formation in what seemed to be a pirate crew and point themselves in his direction. Powering up his weapons systems, he hailed them over his comm.

“Starfighters, state your business at Alayre Minor, deviate from your present course, and submit to my wishes and you will not be harmed.”

Moments later a rowdy sounding voice transmitted back at him, “Man, I don’t think you’re in any kind of a position to tell the Denoid Pirate Guild what they can and can’t do! You just keep your nose out of our business and we might let you live!”

Kiel shook his head in mock sadness as he brought up his heads-up-display. He knew the fighters weren’t in range for their weapons, and he also knew they figured the Horizon was a normal Skipray, the fact that she sported long range turbolasers was a fact known only to a few…a few alive, anyway. As soon as Kiel had a target lock, he vaporized the Cloakshape that had threatened him in a single turbolaser beam. The tiny, squarish ship didn’t even make much of an explosion compared to the bright flash of the impact of the beam. Already anticipating the evasive actions the other Cloakshape would probably take, he threw the Horizon into a slight bank, increasing power to his sublight drives as he did so.

Taking another look at his sensor display, he realized he’d come out of hyperpace at the edge of a minor skirmish, it seemed the pirates that had fired on him were good at making enemies: two trading vessels that appeared to be quite efficiently armed for ships of their class were slugging it out with an old maurader-class corvette and a big battlecruiser, a third ship, a corellian freighter, skulked behind the big battlecruiser like a child hiding in its mother’s aprons. In addition to those, five Cloakshapes, not counting the one he’d just vaporized, were harassing the trading vessels and dogfighting with two aging Z-95 headunter fighters. He also noticed a casualty of the scrape: a corellian corvette hung lifeless amid the battle that still raged around it.

Noticing that the obviously fair pilot had managed to avoid a target lock despite Kiel’s excellent maneuvering, Keil dipped the nose of the Horizon downward, then back up, a trick which centered the Cloakshape neatly in his crosshares. Tapping the trigger twice, he didn’t even bother to confim the kill as the fighter was consumed in the blast. While the downscaled turbolasers on the Horizon were hideously underpowered compared to a star destroyer’s main guns, they were more than enough to make picket ships nervous and were small enough to become an effective anti-starfighter weapon, a must in today’s galaxy of thieves, rebels, outlaws, and pirates. Having taken care of the immediate threat, Kiel accelerated toward the main part of the battle, broadcasting his presence, only to the traders and the Z-95s, as a friendly.

“Independent traders and fighters of the Alayre Minor Defense Initiative: This is Imperial Security Bureau Special Agent, Kiel d’Tana out of Coruscant, assisting you in your efforts against the Denoid Pirate Guild, repeat: I am your ally. Please fill me in with any information you have on the situation. What is the condition of that Corellian ship and where can my turbolasers be most effectively used?”

Maybe this wouldn’t be such a boring assignment after all…

Crin Daroota
7 April 2003, 09:39 AM
The Miner's Dream was rocked violently by a double-salvo from the battlecruiser. The first trio of turbolaser blasts had hit her shields just behind the pilot's nose-cone station, Crin could tell, from the "Oh my god!" Frit had screamed as they lanced in. The twi'lek felt himself thrown against his restraints hard, and found himself dazed, wondering how the simple straps had managed to contain him through that fierce blow. Sharf, the Wookiee pilot, screamed a long howl as he tried to Wookiee-handle the controls, fighting to regain their previous heading. The second salvo hit the rear quarter of the trader ship, and combined with Sharf's furious grip on the controls, the ship began to spin clockwise around its axis.

Crin felt himself getting sick as the ship spun, its inertial compensators obviously not controlling the full effects of the spin. He looked around to the crew to find the rest of them handling it well, with the exception of the young human Frit. Dara looked calm and cool and was still taking pot shots even while the ship spun. Captain Rullb was stoicly looking at his screen, trying to spin his chair against the ship's spin to keep his turret-aim steady on whatever he had in his sights. Jeil, the little Chadra-Fan seemed unmoved by the spinning. She was doing her job as she had done, calling out that a Skipray Blastboat had entered the fray, and then reporting that it had destroyed 2 of the CloakShape fighters with relative ease.

Even as she said this, over the Comm in front of him, Crin heard the ship call out as a friendly and ask for a status update. Despite the growing nausea in his stomach, the twi'lek responded. In the voice of someone who's fighting to keep down his lunch, he said, "This is the trade ship Miner's Dream , to the very welcome Skipray. We stumbled upon a mess here, Agent d'Tana, we've got a pirate group trying to snag a Corellian Corvette." Crin related the story of the YT-1300 as bait and ended with the Skipray's entry into the fray. "Looks like there's still 4 fighters, the Marauder and the big Cruzan Thugmobile to deal with. Request you help us with that battlecruiser before they take us out."

As Crin finished the report, he looked up to the screen where the droid was displaying their ship's shield status. The sick feeling in his stomach grew worse as he read the "17.1%" in big, red, flashing numbers. Between that and the disgusting noises Frit was making as he puked onto the bottom of the large gunner's viewport, it took a valiant effort for Crin to control his stomach.

As the spinning subsided, Crin looked to Sharf, who seemed to be getting the ship under control again. The stars outside his viewport were now lazily moving, a sharp contrast to the streaks they had been bare moments before. The twi'lek tried to get a handle on the situation by looking around to his fellow crew members.

Rullb was conrinuing to fire at something with his powerful quad lasers, shouting what were certainly scathing Sullustan expletives that Crin couldn't translate, but the vicious voice and raspy punctuation made their intent plain. As his pilot pulled off tricky evasive maneuvers, the navigator, Heeno, fed both the pilot and the captain course projections and possible flight paths through the fray. Crin wondered if he'd thought to find them an escape route as well.

Jeil continued to rattle off new details. 4 fighters remained, the battlecruiser was almost on top of the Corellian Corvette, whose return fire had trickled off to almost nothing. From what Jeil could tell, it looked like they'd been struck in their power generator, and were operating on what little energy was left in their individual gun batteries. Crin didn't like their chances in this skirmish. His thoughts were broken as Jeil announced that the skulking YT-1300 had begun an intercept course for the Skipray.

Dara seemed to be taking everything well, or at least she wasn't complaining much. In fact, Crin began to wonder if she was enjoying herself. She had a cigarra clenched between her teeth and it almost, almost looked like she was smiling when she pulled the triggers. As the twi'lek watched the zabrak, a Z-95 streaked by, very close to the Miner's Dream , guns blazing, pelting a passing CloakShape until fires could be seen erupting from its engine section. The pirate ship coasted in a straight line until the mercenary returned, blasting it once more in a strafing run that left the CloakShape seriously damaged. A pair of shots lanced out to finish the fighter off, and Crin wondered whether it had been Rullb or Dara. He certainly thought the zabrak capable of such a shot. It was like a whole different world from this gun station to the other, where Frit's puke caked on the bottom of the transparisteel. He had regained some of his composure, but the human was out of his league in those guns. Luckily, he had a target he couldn't miss out there in that slow, bulky battlecruiser.

The comm station was quiet, and as the ship ceased its violent spin, the shield numbers were slowly but steadily growing again, giving Crin an ounce of hope. He returned his attention to the torpedo-camera, and tracked it back and forth. The Cruzan battlecruiser lumbered into his view, and he remembered the Sullustan's urging to use the torpedoes sparingly, to save them for the bigger ships. Crin established a lock on the huge craft, and pressed the Fire button three times. He watched as a trio of deadly warheads streaked toward their target.

7 April 2003, 04:19 PM
As Kiel neared the major part of the skirmish, he diverted some of his excess power from his sublight engines back to his shields, where he figured he’d need it.

Assessing the situation, he decided the biggest threat for the people he was fighting alongside was the big pirate battlecruiser. His suspicions were confirmed as he closed to point-blank range: the Cruzan had the crippled corvette in a tractor lock and had nearly succeeded in pulling it adjacent to its gaping docking bay and the roughly conical traders vessel sported several long, black scars: souvenirs of the battlecruiser’s turbolasers, no doubt.

Quickly putting his knowledge of starships to good use, Kiel deduced that if the Cruzan was pulling in the crovette, while it could still maintain her deflector shields, which were probably quite powerful, her particle shields had to be down, thus making the ship totally vulnerable to torpedoes. Just as he thought this, he saw thee proton torpedoes rocket out of the concealed turret on the mining freighter that his sensors had only managed to locate at this close range. If they were gunning for him, his sensors would have been too late, the turret was hidden so well.

Good Job!!! He thought to whoever had launched the missiles. He knew that would force the pirates to make a tough decision: either stop pulling in the corvette and raise shields or risk being blown to pieces by missiles and torpedoes.

Just to keep the other ship honest, Kiel let loose with a withering salvo from both his dorsal and ventral turbolasers aimed at the Marauder whose shields had been damaged. Most of his blasts just created blue ripples in the old capital ship’s stressed shields, but the last few sank through to the ship herself, initiating minor explosions.

By this time, however, his attack run had taken him over top the marauder and into an approach vector to the big cruiser. He remembered, just in time, to look away from the blinding white blast as the trio of torpedoes from the miner scored valuable hits on the aft quarter of the Cruzan.

Then Kiel got an inspiration.

Apparently not fazed by the concussive blasts to their hull, the pirates continued to pull the corvette to a docking tube they were extending out of their docking bay.

Taking only a moment to admire the chunks of mangled durasteel protruding from the mechanical gash where the miner’s missiles had impacted the cruiser, Kiel brought his own missile systems online.

Eyeing up the shrinking distance between the cruiser and the corvette, Kiel knew he’d only get one shot at this…he also knew his timing would have to be perfect…

Programming a proton torpedo to lock on to the nearest energy source after launch, he armed it and accelerated to the closing gap between the crippled ship and her would-be captors.

He then realized that there would be barely enough room for him to get the Horizon through without impacting the big ship’s shield bubble, thus, with a resolute seriousness, he flicked off his own deflectors just before he crossed the area between the Cruzan and the Corellian ship at breaknack speeds.

With her defenses down, the Horizon hurtled through the impossibly tight opening, her speed her only saving grace. At the exact moment Kiel felt the tractor beam’s faint tug on the ship, he stabbed down on the ‘launch’ button and let out a battle cry, “Waaaahoooo!!!!” Without pausing to see what his missile locked onto or where it went, he threw his ship into a sharp dive in an attempt to elude the already readjusting tractor beam. Within seconds, the beam’s pull on the ship loosened, and then failed completely.

Geez, Kiel thought, for all the trouble I went through, I sure hope that torpedo had the good sense to lock on the tractor beam projector or that the beam grabbed the warhead itself. And who knows? It might have taken that pirate-stuffed docking tube with it!

As the Horizon rocketed below the battle plane, a few laser blastsfrom the Cruzan tagged her rear. Kiel swore a violent Corellian malediction as he heard the BLAM! …BLAMBLAM!!! on the back of his pride and joy. In response, she lurched violently. A few seconds later, she pulled up a damage report on the cockpit’s main screen.

First, Kiel restored normal power to his shields, which easily repelled the barrage the battlecruiser sent his way after seeing their first few beams go right through his shields. Looking at his shield panel, he laughed: the military-grade unit had only dropped to 96%. The damage the first blasts had caused, however, was terrible. He’d lost his main power grid for his turbolasers, now they were running at 30% efficiency and his rear armor plating was a melty mess.

Too bad!, he thought, In all that I didn’t even get to see what my torp did! With a small surge of embarassment, he flipped off his comm; the other traders had heard his ‘battle cry’!!!

Then he realized just how foolhardy a maneuver that had been and how lucky he was to be alive. To cover for his melted armor, he diverted all remaining power in his turbolasers to his particle shields, which he angled double rear.

“Horizon!”, he shouted to his highly advanced ship’s computer/automated co-pilot, “See if you cant get some of the turbolasers’ power back! They might come in handy later!”

The computer responded in a serene, feminine voice, “Affirmative.”

Pulling back on his stick to regroup with the other trading vessel, an ancient Old Republic cruiser by the looks of her, he noticed his hands were damp with sweat in his flight gloves. With this realization, also came the realization that his hair, normally a barely tamed mass on his head, was soaked with perspiration and matted to his skull.

Looping back around, he hailed the trader, “Attention, Crimson Tortoise! If any of your gunners have the shot, instruct them to hit that Marauder. I think my last strafe on her depleted her shields…let’s keep it that way.”

Then, and only then, Kiel slumped in his chair, exhausted…


Kiel started. The corellian freighter that had been hiding out behind the cruiser was now on his tail and blasting away with a set of autoblasters. Throwing the Horizon into an evasive maneuver, he tried to shake his pursuer. While it would take the autoblasters quite a while to hack their way through his shields, Kiel was under no illusions as to wether the YT-1300 sported heavier weaponry…

Crin Daroota
7 April 2003, 06:48 PM
For a few moments Crin's only view was of whirling stars. Around him he heard plenty of cursing in a few different languages, but his vision was tightly fixed on the small screen linked to the torpedo launcher. He continued to track it back and forth on its vertical arc, and when the stars stopped spinning from Sharf's evasive maneuvering, he saw the big Cruzan ship again. A Z-95 Headhunter flashed past, pulling a tight loop and taking a few seconds to strafe the big ship, then returning its attention to the two CloakShapes on its tail, and Crin could see no more of it.

What he did see made him smile from ear to ear. The battlecruiser was missing a few large sections of its aft hull plating, so large that he knew only the torpedoes he'd sent after the huge ship could have done so much damage. Mangled though it was, he watched it continue to overtake the now defenseless Corellian Corvette. He watched as the Skipray pilot made a suicide run on the big battlecruiser and somehow managed to come out the other side, more or less unscathed. "Waaaahoooooo!!!" came over the comm, no doubt the insane pilot of that Skipray. Crin lost sight of the small, hurtling craft as a large explosion flashed beneath the battlecruiser, from what Crin could tell, directly above the Corvette. The damaged Corellian began a slow tumble down, away from its attacker.

"The tractor beam is down on the battlecruiser," Jeil said in her high-pitched Chadra-Fan voice. A few moments passed as the crew celebrated, and Crin heard others celebreating over the comm. It was far from over, but a critical wound had been inflicted on the pirates. "Battlecruiser attempting to match the Corvette's tumble," Jeil informed them. Looks like they're not giving up quite yet."

"Rwoobubbrathuuuwuuhghui!" Rullb shouted in his native langauge, startling Crin from the depressing thoughts that had begun to creep back into his head. "Scratch one CloakShape! Only two of 'em left. Keep it up, crew!"

"Aaaaagggghhh!!!!" was heard over the comm as someone screamed in unimaginable pain.

"Scratch one Z-95, too," Frit said hesitantly, sadly. Crin watched the young man as his face, still speckled with small bits of his lunch, turned depressed, then steeled with an angry resolve. "The bastards," Frit said, "the skem-nitching bastards! They think they're so bad, think they can just do what they want." Crin watched as he began to breath heavy and ragged, then winced as the man let out a sharp, very uncharacteristic roar. "aaaaRAAAHHR. Not on my watch! Not on striff-chunkin' Frit Guldarn's watch." The human returned his attention quickly, violently to his weapons, blasting, blasting, blasting away at the big Cruzan ship, pelting it in a fit of rage, hammering without remorse in his adrenaline frenzy. Crin was stunned. This was not the same Frit who'd upchucked on the window a few minutes before.

The ship lurched as Sharf spun it again, lurched again as he completed his zigzag maneuver. It put Crin on target with the Maurauder Corvette, and the twi'lek launched a pair of torpedoes at the wounded vessel. Just as he did so, Jeil announced that his target appeared to have lost its shields. Crin watched and waited. One of the torpedoes sped by the Corvette's left wing section, a miss. The second impacted, its harsh white light blinding the poor twi'lek who hadn't known better than to watch the flash. He flailed against the restraints. "I'm blind! I'm blind!"

"Settle down," the Sullustan soothed him, sighing heavily. "It's only temporary. You'll see just fine in a minute.

Crin was somewhat heartened by the news but still couldn't help but feel stupid and scared without his sight. His hearing worked just fine though, as he heard Jeil say "The Marauder's on fire! Port section is mangled and ablaze! Good shot, Crin, for Jeroshi's sake I can see their wing's hull structure beams!"

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
8 April 2003, 01:26 AM
....."Friendly here, too, the trade ship Miner's Dream ."

"Roger that Minorz Dreem! Crimson Tortoise over here acknoledges yous as friendlies" Fon replied over the comms channel.

In the time it took to complete the lazy loop, Fon had managed to exert the excess speed which prevented him from making any tighter of a turn if he wanted to. The Crimson Tortoise shuddered from a few blasts of lasers, which probably came from the battle cruiser no doubt. His ship's own turrets were randomly firing a couple shots, probably the jawa twins taking pot shots at the cloakshape fighters....

"Sieanna, hows you doing back there?" Fon asked as he steered for another run at the Marauder corvette. waiting for her response, Fon watched as a stream of torpedoes whailed from the Minor's Dream and hit home on the prirate ships... And the capital ships only responded in kind, sending the transport into a hard sspin before steadying... Fon made a mental note to check up on them...

"Minorz Dreem, nice shooting. Howz yer situation?" Fon waited for a reply,

Sieanna responded, somewhat calmer now, "Since you decided to ask, We're doing fine Fon. Just don't force us into another hard burn, the power shunt's not healthy for the switchboard."

There was also another small ship that came into the fray as well. It had managed to pick off a pair of cloakshapes, then anounced its Imperial alignment, rallying against the pirates. With bravery, it too closed in on the marauder and battle ship, and with a daring feat of piloting, just exploited a breach in the ship's sheilding... And lived to tell about it moments later... wth a rather raucious "Whoohooo!" over the comms.

“Attention, Crimson Tortoise! If any of your gunners have the shot, instruct them to hit that Marauder. I think my last strafe on her depleted her shields…let’s keep it that way.”

"Afirmeetive! We'sa going there now!" Fon answered back to the little imperial ship, then quickly switched to the internal comms, relaying the message to the jawas in basic. Thank the stars those twins can at least understand basic Fon thanked the stars silently.

Fon set course for the Marauder corvette, throttle at full, which in actuallity put the engines to 60%, since the remainder was feeding the turrets.

The dashboard R4 unit "Author" suddenly beeped in alarm. The ovehead viewscreen temporarily switched from the marauder's status to a grid with a bright blue dot slowly drifting away from the battle. 3 single letters flashed above the blue dot: E.V.A.. Fon knew the urgency EVA meant.

The Crimson Tortoise aproached the Marauder, and veered away just as quickly, allowing for an exhange of starboard broadsides, recieving as well as it was giving, its turrets converging onto a single spot... But the Tortoise's strong sheilds held firm. The Marauder's weakened state, some of the Ion canon bursts managed to get through a small hole their shields, sending blue tendrils of energy raking across its exposed hull... The Marauder seemed to fall in space for those few moments, unable to return fire on the Tortoises engines...

"Sieanna!" Fon shouted, over both intership and external coms "Sensors are picking up a survivor on EVA, we're going to intercept and pick him up. Standby at the airlocks!" Only then Fon realized he had also broadcasted that over open channels...

"Aye Fon! But i'm no doctor!" Sieanna jumped from Fon's urgency. She hurried out of the engine room, a short sprint and she was at the spacious aft cavity which had housed the ship's main entrance elevator, as well as two large airlocks to either side of her. Question was, which airlock did she need to be at, starboard or port... (starboard = right side, portside = left side). Sieanna didn't waste the time, she grabbed the nearest emergency kit just as Fon's voice boomed once again,

"Sieanna, port airlock I think. I'm going to try and sweep us around, putting us between any threat and the EVA..."

Fon's keen eyes located the silvery glimering eva suit slowly tumble through space. Fon's steady hands tight on the controls of his ship, gently sweeped the ship around, and positioned the ship so the airlock would line up with the EVA's trajectory, and hit the switch to drop shields...

It was this very moment, Fon's earlier carelessness soon caught up with him, as the R4 madly twitered non-stop. A Yt-1300 had just changed course and was quickly charging in on them! But Fon was already committed to saving an EVA, he could not raise shields, this was going to be close...

Fate was testing Fon's steel will, as pure resolution was all that was keeping Fon's hand hovering over the shield activation switch, and not slamming it down before then....

"We got him!!!!" Sieanna's voice rang clear, and Fon slammed the shield activation switch just as the ship around him shuddered from a hail of quadfire from the YT-1300... His own turrets returned fire... Loud klackons blarred throughout the ship, a few diagnostics panels glowed red...

*** At the same time ***

In the airlock, Sieanna fumbled for the hemlet releases... The eva suit badge was Alayre Minor, thankfully... And the ship violently rocked around them, throwing them both of balance, becoming a tangle of sprawling eva suit and limbs. Showers of sparks rained from above, and loud klackons blared ...

OCC: take it from here crymoon! swing the ship around and have a little fun. don't worry, we got caught with our pants down, nothing too serious though... this ol' ship has thick skin :)

8 April 2003, 03:27 AM
Jez Kalam woke slowly up from a dream that was becoming more and more interesting. The memories of last events raced through his mind:

"Sound of alarm on the Corvette echoed in his head as he pulled his space suit on and locked the helmet tight. As he moved towards the airlock he saw a bright explosion behind him that tried to eat him alive. He started to run... feeling the heat of fire on his back he just entered the airlock in time to save himself. Damn too close... But it seemed his luck was with him again.. He opeend the outside hatch when another explosion rocked the whole ship and threw him off board. A bright blast caught him and played with him like a really mean girl with her doll. He managed to enable the EVA signal in his comlink before darkness engulfed him"

Now he woke up only to see a beautiful Bothan grlll trying to get up from him. Her worried face surounded by black fur with orange highlights looked like a face of an alien ghost. "I must be suffering from some kind of a shock... Seeing ghosts" he thought. The vision, surounded by showers of sparks from one of the controls, bent over him and took his helmet off. "Lie still" she said trying to speak louder then the sound of klacksons " You look.... damaged..." She cut the suit from Jez's back and treated his burns. "If you were a droid I'd say you'd soon be fine. Can you move?". Jez shook his head trying to understand what was going on around here.. Was it possible that he was saved... Did his luck really came back... He smiled with the smile #3 ("I'm-so-glad-you-helped-me"- smile) and tried to get up.

"Where am I, oh beautiful ghost...?" he said listening to his own words as if they came from an empty well.
"I'm no ghost, I am Sieana Kala'myr mechanic on Crimson Tortoise " she replied seriously. "Damn my charm isn't working.. What's going on..?" thought Jez. "I thought you were my dream... eeeee sorry." he blushed a bit, quickly got up and hissed from pain.

"Crimson Tortoise ...? That's one of those ships that tried to help us... Thanks for the effort." he smiled, this time using his best #1 (I'm-so-damn-handsome-and-I-know-it) "Where is the nearest turret? I want to pay them back for Henf Doolag and the rest of the crew!" as he spoke a dark sparkle lit in his green eyes.

The Bothan mechanic showed him the way "I have to get back to the engine room otherwise..." her voice trailed off as she hurried off.
"Thank you, beautiful ghost" Jez whispered and moved towards the nearest turret. Just as he sat on the the swivel chair the ship was rocked by an incoming fire. "Jez Kalam in control of one of twin barrelled" spoke quickly to the com "have some damn pirate in crosshair and sorry won't wait for orders". He caught YT’s trail and pulled the trigger. Two silver streaks hit the YT square in the middle of the hull. „Wow this stuff is much better then the last one I used... I could get used to it”
He pulled the trigger again and hit the YT for the second time. „Woooowwiiiieeeeee! I’m good!” shouted into the com.

Crin Daroota
9 April 2003, 10:53 AM
As Crin overheard on the comm the rescue of a survivor from the Corvette, the battle continued to rage around the Miner's Dream . The blasts coming from the battlecruiser were less frequent now, as it had apparently split its attention. The Maurauder Corvette was badly damaged, and knew it. Her left wing section was blown out in places, and her shields were gone. Already the lumbering craft was adjusting course, no doubt trying to make an exit from the fray into the safety of hyperspace.

That battlecruiser was still a problem, though, and the trader's shields were a good reminder of the power behind those guns.

"Bring us around, Sharf!" Rullb screamed.

The Wookiee howled, and continued his zigzag course.

"I said bring us around! We need to bring all our guns to bear on that ship!"

The Wookiee slammed his furry fist into the cockpit's control board, leaving, to Crin's surprise, a fairly large dent. But Sharf obeyed, and the Miner's Dream began a slow loop back to the battlecruiser. They were approaching on a vector that would take them over the "back" or upper section of the ship. After a few moments Crin understood. Aside from his torpedo launcher, which only had 3 remaining warheads, every other gun on the ship could pelt the Cruzan ship as they passed, allowing for what amounted to a strafing run, but without making so easy a target as to go in head on.

The ship bucked beneath them as Sharf flew evasively, every now and then dipping low enough to use the ship's forward guns, raking the battlecruiser's shields. Fierce blasts of energy lanced by them, illuminating the interior as the passed. So far, Sharf had managed to give them a hard target to hit, and the turbolasers didn't seem to be tracking them too well. Could they be controlled by people, and not computers?

Dara and Frit seemed to be struggling a bit with the awkward angle of attack, since they could only barely bring their guns to bear forward. Nonetheless they continued to rain laser fire on the ship with steady blasts from their twin lasers. Crin couldn't tell what effect they had as they passed over the forward truncated-cone section of the Cruzan ship, but Crin was happy to find that its top area was relatively unprotected, as the laser blasts slacked off, and the few hits were definitely not from turbolasers. The shields held firm and actually began to come back a bit, passing the 25% mark where lettering on their display returned to a steady yellow.

Rullb's guns blazed constantly at the ship, most likely only weakening the shields. "Sharf!" he bellowed, his Sullustan accent thicker than normal, "I think we's find its weak spot!"


"Crin, let the others know! We may have just found our way out of the grave!"

Crin's stomach dropped. Rullb could have picked better wording. Apparently the situation had been worse than Crin had thought. Was the battlecruiser that terrible an enemy?

"Attention, friendly forces," Crin spoke as his optimism began a long journey back upward, "this is the Miner's Dream with a tip. The ship's back--I mean its dorsal area--is not well defended. Attack runs from that angle would be much safer."

He was rewarded with a welcome reply. "Miner's Dream and other forces friendly to Alayre Minor, this is the Corvette Stingblade speaking for ourselves and the Patrol ships Deltas 7 and 9. We are switching to new attack vector. Thanks for the advice. We're beginning our attack run now."

Crin turned to watch Jeil's monitor as the big Corvette entered the battle, flanked by a pair of patrol ships not much bigger than the Skipray. The Corvette had turned on its side, which made an odd sight, but allowed for both its top and bottom gun turrets to rake fire over the battlecruiser's top shields. The blasts were quick, deadly, and continuous. Crin couldn't hear the blasts of course, but he imagined a steady stream of noise from the Corvette, its fire withering, unceasing, its gunners tracking back and forth along the big ship's shields, probing for weak spots in the Cruzan's shield defenses. Finally they all concentrated on a single spot, hammering at the shields mercilessly as they passed slowly by the top of the battlecruiser. Over the comm, Crin heard someone shout, "Now!!"

On Jeil's screen, the two patrol ships dipped out of formation, then returned. Crin wasn't sure what they had done, until Jeil shrieked, "Holy rotados! Heavy Space Bombs!"

Crin grabbed the comm instinctively. "Lookout, friendlies! Heavy Space Bombs in the area! Suggest anyone making a run veer off IMMEDIATELY!"

He slapped the switch to end transmission and swung his chair around in time to see Jeil put a hand up over her eyes. Her screen turned pure white, corner to corner was nothing but a harsh white light that brightened her fur, casting a dark shadow behind her hand. Crin, too, quickly turned away. He hoped they'd gotten his message in time on the other ships...

10 April 2003, 03:02 AM
Kiel was just about to pull a daring maneuver when the repetitive blasts on his rear deflector abruptly stopped.

“What the…”

He cruised out of the battle area a little before hauling around in a wide arc that brought him a full view of the entire battle: the CEC ship he’d freed was slowly tumbling away from the pirate battlecruiser, which was engaged in a maddening effort to recapture the passively fleeing corvette.

Have fun trying that without your tractors…Kiel thought smugly.

The first trader vessel he’d made contact with, the Miner’s Dream, was moderately damaged, but appeared to be handling less erratically than before, probably much to the gastric relief of its crew.

Only one Z-95 was left, much to the other’s disadvantage: the two remaining Cloakshape fighters were in hot pursuit of the mercenary.

The old corellian cruiser had been leading a successful attack on the dying marauder corvette, but had suddenly broken off and drifted off into clear space for some unknown reason.

That explained where Kiel’s attacker had gone, though: the YT-1300 had passed up pursuit of his agile, well defended blastboat in favor of the slower cruiser, which, if the Horizon’s sensors hadnt gone nuts, had just flicked off her shields.

“What in blazes are they THINKING!!!” Kiel shouted out loud.

“Picking up a survivor.” The Horizon’s computer replied matter-of-factly.

“I see. Well, if they wanna keep on surviving, they’d better flip their –“

He saw the energy signature of the Tortoise brighten back up to a healthy greenish hue.

“That’s better.”, he observed.

Again re-assessing the skirmish, he decided he was most needed by the mercenary pilot in the lone Z-95. The fighter gave their side a unique tactical advantage that would be lost if those Cloakshapes got to it. The fighter could attack both capital ships with total disregard if she could only shake those enemy fighters…he told his computer to swipe energy from the inertial compensators, missile systems, hyperdrive, and sensors and force-feed it all into the turbolaser cannons that were still without a real power source, their grid having been shot all to hell by the lasers from the Cruzan that hit her while her shields were down.

“Headhunter pilot.”, Kiel hailed the tiny craft.

“Event Horizon!”, came the stressed reply, “You can call me Eryn Threll, could you spare me some assistance? These pirates arent interested in a fair fight.”

“Word to that, Eryn!”, Kiel sent back, “On my way, and you can call me Kiel.”

“Thanks for the help. I’m hot enough that I can steadily avoid target locks, but its tough to shake two pursuers in open space, let alone turn tables and toast ‘em.”

“Indeed. Hey, if your ship’s still in good enough shape, break 45 degrees dorsal and 150 degrees starboard on my mark!”

“I think my superstructure can handle that, ok, just tell me when.”

Kiel kept his distance as he lined up on the trio of fighters, careful to stay out of range of the Cloakshapes’ battle-data sensors.

“Okay, NOW!”

Almost with precognitive response time, Eryn feathered out all four of her engines and jerked her nose hard up and right, a tactic which got her pointed in the right direction. A second later, she re-fired her engines, sending her rocketing slightly above the battle-plane.

As the Z-95 soared over his cockpit, the pursuing Cloakshapes hauled around in a poor emulation of her maneuver that merely succeeded in giving Kiel easy shots at both of them, albeit at considerable distance, with underpowered weapons, without benefit of sensor-locks.

Hitting the breaking thrusters to maximize on the opportunity, he jerked the turbloaser triggers on his control yoke as fast as he could. Beam after beam rocketed out from his dorsal and ventral cannons, he was barely closing the distance between himself and his quarry at all, the Horizon being nearly stopped. He could see the beams were paler than normal, probably only firing at about 65% efficiency. They were, however, admirably filling the Cloakshapes’ section of space with destruction. To his delight, his withering salvo tore into the lead ship’s maneuvering fin, tearing it totally off the tiny attacker.

This ruined the ship’s stability and balance, it swerved once right, then left…right into the shields of the second ship, destroying the first one, and overloading the seconds shields. Seeing this, Kiel once again unloaded on the Cloakshape. Its shields depleted, it couldn’t hope to evade a single burst, let alone the storm of light thrown its way by the Horizon, it was consumed in a terrific explosion by the beams.

As Kiel accelerated back to cruising speed, he relocated Eryn Threll, the Headhunter pilot, who was wisely keeping clean of the fighting, letting her taxed shields bolster themselves.

“You okay?”, Kiel asked her over the comm.

“Yes, yes I’m fine, and thanks for your help.”, she replied in a soft (british) accent that had been masked by the intensity of battle minutes ago, “My shields are back to 60%, are you up to an attack run on that Marauder? If those intellectually-chalenged traders would have kept up their attack, the shields would still be down, I bet by now, they’ve repaired them a little.”

Suddenly a report scrolled across Kiel’s main readout: Grid repaired, power partially restored.

“Computer”, he asked, “Running at normal power allotment, how efficient would our turbolasers be?”

The computer chewed on that inquiry for a moment then replied, “Seventy-two percent.”

Far from perfect, but infinitely better than the thirty percent he had before.

“Sure, Eryn, and by the way, the traders were rescuing a survivor, I know its no excuse for breaking off an attack, but at least they had some reason, and I admire them for their bravery in shutting down shields to do it.”

“Among starfighter circles we have another word for that: Insanity”, Eryn snorted, the accent softening the mild insult.

“Okay, okay, let me lead, my shields can take a lot more damage than yours, so I can take most of their defensive fire. If I take their shields down, be ready with your concussion missiles. Aim just forward of their engines to hit the reactor.”

“Already locked on and following, make your move captain.”

Balancing out his power demands, finally, Kiel headed in.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
10 April 2003, 11:26 AM
The comms channel was filled with chatter, but purely inaudible, the klaxons were drowning out everything.

Fon hit the button to silence the klaxons. Some things were worse than death, and prolonged klaxons were one of them, he thought grimly. And finally, a mere few seconds of silence, when an overzelous "Woooowwiiiieeeeee! I’m good!” new voice rang out from the intercom, nearly startled Fon from his seat had he not been already strapped in.

A glance out the starboard window, at least one of his turrets were on the ball, doing more than just clipping the YT's tail. A quick glance at the engine readout panel revealed a healthy green, so Fon throttled up, the ship bucked, then banked hard to the right, momentarily stressing the inertial dampners, and begun giving chase to the YT.

Something was wrong though, the way the ship throttled up, "Sieanna, howsa bad isza damage?" Fon asked over the com, two diagnostic panels still glowing bright red

"We've taken some damage to the turret power distribution coils. The switchboard's I.O matrix, transducer cog and interlink relays just blew out when you decided to throttle up instead of checking in first! My R2 got shorted out from trying to dampen that massive power flux. And now we don't have any shields or turrets!" Sieanna's firey tone of voice responded over the com

"Oopsies, then whys do we'sa still have shields and our laser turrets firing?" Fon asked, clueless for a moment, then noticed the shield indicator slowly depleting by 2% every second, "Umm, shields are dropping now, but slowly..."

The air was heavy with smoke in the engine room, having to take a deep breath from shouting, which Sieanna imediately regretted. Now momently consumed in a fit of coughing, Fon's voice still talking, she stammered towards the intercom near the door hatch. A couple fresh lungfulls later, "Shields what? Dropping?!? ... Then they're only running off the charge thats still left in the modular capacitors! The turrets without a power source will alternately draw from those as well..."

Sieanna's voice trailed off as the mechanics in her mind racing through internal schematics. Sudden realization: "Nuuti! Zuuti! Don't use the Ion Turrets!. Two bursts and we'll have lost sheilds and weapons... And use the lasers sparringly, that also goes for our new Alayre Minor turret operator Jez Kalam."

"Uutinee!!!" an energetic pair of jawa voices replied

Taking a few breaths, almost forgetting to report, "Oh, and by the way... The air auto recycler is also knocked out..." On that note, Sieanna Sieanna picked a hydrospanner from her belt, getting busy with repairs.

Back on the command deck, 3 flights up from main deck... Engines were at full, they still had shields and weapons for the next little while, and they were chasing after the YT. Extending his courtesy, Fon sent his greetings to their new passenger, when Aurthor, Fon's dashmount astromech whirbled, it's message displaying onscreen:
Alayre Minor Situational Report:
* Re-inforcements arrived.
* Battle cruiser damaged.
* Corvette critical.
* YT-1300 to be aprehended.

Fon toggled a switch to send the display screen info to the other viewscreens in the ship.

10 April 2003, 11:42 PM
"Nuuti! Zuuti! Don't use the Ion Turrets!. Two bursts and we'll have lost sheilds and weapons... And use the lasers sparringly, that also goes for our new Alayre Minor turret operator Jez Kalam."

Jez heard it and swore under his breath "Use sparingly... why can't we tell that those damn pirates." He sniffed "what's that stink??"

"Hey, what's going on with you air recycling?" Shouted into the com. "Has anyone died in them?"

"Sithspit!" he shouted and shielded his eyes from the great explosiion that occured on the battleship. "Holly cow! What the heck was that?"
He focused his eyes on the Cruzon and saw a big hole, the size of a YT Transport, in it's aft section.

"To whoever is piloting this ship. Let's forget the YT and make kill on that battleship. You got any missiles or torpedoes on board? Let's concentrato on that opening in its aft."

In that moment he saw a new message on his tactical display:

Alayre Minor Situational Report:
* Re-inforcements arrived.
* Battle cruiser damaged.
* Corvette critical.
* YT-1300 to be aprehended.

"Change of plans then" he muttered. "Okey dokey" he said loud to the com "Let's get the bastard then. I'll make sure we are undisturbed. Hey Nuuti! Zuuti! I think you gotta fire once Do it just after my shot, let's concentrate on the engines."

All he heard was "Uutinee!!!"

"Hope it meant 'yes' otherwise we'll be a big sitting duck." whispered and took the aim on YT engines...
"Be still for a moment" he shouted at the transport who tried all the evasive manouvers they were and seemed to discover new once. "Be still !"
Then as two streaks of lasers hit the escaping ship, and saw Miner's Dream coming from its 3 guns ablaze.
YT rocked under the fire and trying to dodge it made just the move it needed.
"Now!" shouted Jez as he fired two quick shots and saw as they almost intertwine with Ion blasts coming from other turret. One of them missed but the other hit. He saw minor lightnings speeding throught the ship as it stopped, and suddenly his gun went dead.

"Damn, hope no new cloakshapes in area..." he thought and right in that moment knew he was wrong. A dark shape appeared not far fling straigth at them. He prayed that maybe Crimson Tortoise will manage to avoid them with all that frantic evasive manouvers that it's pilot was now trying, but he knew that that pirate was damn good.

Just as he closed his eyes waiting for a great explosioin that this time he won't survive. The ship rocked as if hit and he imagined the heat on his face and saw as it got bright around him. But he didn't feel dead. He open his eyes and saw the ffragments of cloakshape tumbling freely into the dark and cold space.

"This is Kiel d’Tana, please confirm my newest kill" said a calm voice.

"Maybe my luck did realy return"
"I said not to use the Ions, DIDN"T I!!!" came an angry, but still beautiful voice over the comm.
"Or maybe not...." - thought Jez as he looked at the battlefield.

YT was hanging in the space and was surrounded by Headhunters and Crimson Tortoise. Even Horizon and Miner's Dream headed to help finish the battleship. It seemed that the battle was over.

But the why did he had that strange feeling that all wasn't as well as it seems

11 April 2003, 03:20 AM
Kiel was cruising in toward the marauder, Eryn as his wing, when his main screen blurted up a new report:

Alayre Minor Situational Report:
*Reinforcements Arrived
*Battlecruiser Damaged
*Corvette critical
YT-1300 to be apprehended

Realizing that in this battle, even his Skipray, along with the Z-95 was filling the fighter job profile, he also realized that in taking out the last two fighters, he'd, by the book, at least, done his job, and admirably well, since he joined the battle, only one friendly fighter bought the big one.

"Eryn, you get that report?"

"Affirmative Kiel, what do you think we should do? Neither of us have ion cannons and i really dont want that marauder escaping to hyperspace."

"I know what you mean, as far as I'm concerned--"

A bright blast illuminated Kiel's cockpit, casting dark shadows and leaving spots dancing in front of his stressed eyes.

"What the hell was THAT?!", Kiel demanded.

"Imperial craft, this is the Stingblade, deviate from you attack on the marauder, Delta 7 is running an attack with heavy ordnance, we wouldnt want you to catch any of the explosion."

"Thanks for the heads up, Stingblade", switching channels, "Eryn, we're gonna pull up, theyre hitting her with big stuff."

"Copy that, Kiel"

And both ships gracefully pulled up, abandoning the marauder to her fate...

Crin Daroota
11 April 2003, 12:34 PM
The pace and ferocity of the battle seemed to be dwindling, but from the pinched expression on Captain Rullb's face, Crin could tell they were not out of danger yet.

The turbolaser fire from the battlecruiser had dropped by half after the devastating attack run by the Alayre Minor ships. A hole nearly as big as the Miner's Dream itself gaped from the big Cruzan's aft section, trailing all sorts of debris from tiny pieces of machinery, tools, air, to bodies, droids, support beams and sections of hull plating. In short, the battlecruiser had been dealt an almost lethal blow from the Alayre Minor attack, and she was bleeding badly.

Delta 7 had dropped some more heavy ordinance on the Marauder Corvette, but the patrol ships either had no more heavy bombs, or didn't feel like wasting the expensive weaponry on doomed ships, for no more intense flashes of light were seen. Instead, from what Jeil could tell, the Alayre Minor forces seemed to be more interested in disabling the pirate vessels, targeting engines, operational gun batteries, and command sections, and not wasting fire anywhere else.

Indeed it wasn't long before the comm channel came to life in front of Crin.

"Independent vessels, congratulations and thanks from the government of Alayre Minor. We are truly grateful for your heroic service. Stand down, please, and allow us to take it from here."

A moment passed before a new voice could be heard. "Friendly forces, this is the rescue ship Brigadier , speaking for ourselves and the recovery ships Epsilon-F5, Epsilon-F6, and Epsilon-G2, as well as the prison ship Detainer. We are inbound to take what's left of these pirate ships for the people of the Alayre system."

A few flashes of laser fire could still be seen lancing out from the pirate vessels, but each blast was quickly silenced by a burst of laser fire from the Corvette Stingblade. Without shields, the bigger Cruzan ship was at the mercy of the newly arived Corellian Corvette. The Marauder Corvette seemed to be more or less dead, its run for hyperspace interrupted by the loss of its engines. The big, lumbering battlecruiser was now spinning slowly, unable to end its own, similar turn for a hyperspace course, after having its lateral stabilizers destroyed.

Sharf decided to head for the nearby planet Alayre Minor, smaller of the two double-planets that Crin could see out the forward cockpit viewport. The larger, purple acid-gas planet was uninhabited, but Alayre Minor was all greens and blues and whites, and looked very inviting.

Suddenly the comm channel came alive again as cheering broke out among the various crews and ships, hooting and hollering and even a "Uuteenii!" every now and then; the victors were celebrating. Crin and the crew of the Miner's Dream also did their fair share of shouting and clapping, undoing their restraints and hugging each other, happy indeed to have lived. Though everyone seemed to hesitate before hugging Frit, who still had dried puke on his chin.

Once the cheering finally died down, minutes later, the Alayre government voice returned to the channel. "You are all as happy as you deserve to be," the man said. Apparently he'd heard their excitement. "I'm transmitting landing coordinates to you all. Any repairs you need will be happily covered by the Alayre government. Please attend to your ships, and then come to the Overpalace in Trou Prime-city, where you'll be landing. We wish to invite you to a victory feast in the Grand Ballroom, as is our custom. The High Edicter himself wishes to speak with you all, and extends his personal thanks. Alayre Minor out. And if it means anything, I'd like to thank you as well."

"Coordinates recevied," Jeil announced, and the Miner's Dream continued moving toward the planet, eventually passing the slow-moving rescue, recovery, and prison ships as they cruised toward the major prizes a ragtag fleet of independent citizens had just won for Alayre Minor. As Crin thought about it, his twi'lek business sense was just a little insulted that a banquet was their only reward. He hoped there would be a cash prize, as well, or at least a medal he could brag about. Or sell. Ahh well, the twi'lek thought, no reason to ruin the smiles on everyone else's faces. Crin decided just to enjoy whatver came of it...

12 April 2003, 11:44 AM
Quickly dropping out of hyperspace, the Flying Zuz arrived on the fringes of the system Alayre Minor. The long range sensors of Marek Reens' scout vessel bleeped a casual sound to him, indicating the detection of a large collection of craft to his distant port side, though closer to the planet. He didn't care, he had more pressing business to deal with. The system government of Alayre Minor would have to be warned about the disaster he had just witnessed.

After a brief communication exchange for approach vectors, Marek pushed the throttle nearly to it's maximum, and the Zuz leapt forward towards the planet. Marek was already running through his steps in his mind. He'd file an immediate quarantine with the Scout's Commission, and then he'd go immediately to the government representative's office to get them to shut down all outgoing and incoming traffic from that system. He *had* to...if those.....THINGS ever made it to another system, there's no telling what they'd do.

{{Flying Zuz, you have permission to set down on landing pad 423 Bravo.}}

"Confirmed. Flight control, please have a representative of the Scout's Commission meet me upon landing, I have an emergency decree."

{{Uhh...Copy, Flying Zuz. Will advise the Scout Commission.}}

Within a few minutes, the landing legs of the Flying Zuz thmped the hard steel deck of pad 423B. Standing the the side, shielding it's face from the small amount of debris being kicked up by the repulsors, was a crook necked Ithorian. Marek hoped it was the Commission's representative.

Even before the engines had finished their power down, Marek was standing at the access hatch and punching the button to open it. With a familiar hiss, the door slid open, and Marek hopped out, hurriedly moving over to where the Ithorian stood.

A stuttered stream of sound came from the Ithorian as Marek approached. "Marek Reens, independant scout, license 55347992. I need an immediate quarantine of the station "Ailabo's Liftoff" in the Honoosch system."

The Ithorian stuttered/blurted again. "All inhabitants have been infected or killed! There was an attempt on MY life while I was there."

The Ithorian nodded it's head and entered something in a small datapad that it held in its massive hands. It blurted another noise, and turned to leave the pad. Marek let out a sigh of relief, and hurred after the Ithorian so he could go file the report for the quarantine that was almost certain to be granted.

13 April 2003, 11:08 PM
Jez sat in the turret long even after the fight... he had this nagging feeling that it wan't over yet though all sensors and his eyes said something completely else.

"We'sa invited to feasst" - came a message over the com and Jez saw as the ship slowly changes it course as one of recovery ships closed on YT they've been securing.

Just then he so as small scout ship exiting hyperspace and passing fast by the battleground...

"There's something wrong with this ship" he thought "It's...." he search for the word that could describe his feelings "trouble" no other words would suit it...

Jez began thinking about his life: He had served his time in Alayre forces and was fed up with it. And Crimson Tortoise did save his life. Maybe there would be a place on board of a turret gunner. Maybe he'll have his luck back...maybe...

he fliped the swith of the com "Captain, I bet you have a need for such a perfect gunner as I, don't you?" he asked with a smile though nobody could see it.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
17 April 2003, 03:00 PM
The dashmount R4 beeped, another message was coming through. Fon flipped the switch, missed the first part of it, but put it through for shipwide for the remainder...

Once the cheering finally died down, minutes later, the Alayre government voice returned to the channel. "You are all as happy as you deserve to be," the man said. Apparently he'd heard their excitement. "I'm transmitting landing coordinates to you all. Any repairs you need will be happily covered by the Alayre government. Please attend to your ships, and then come to the Overpalace in Trou Prime-city, where you'll be landing. We wish to invite you to a victory feast in the Grand Ballroom, as is our custom. The High Edicter himself wishes to speak with you all, and extends his personal thanks. Alayre Minor out. And if it means anything, I'd like to thank you as well."

"Yousa that everyone? We'sa getting invited to a feast!" Fon beamed happily over the comms. Fon queried the source of the message, and asked for co-ordinates. Without further delay, he set the ship inbound.

"Captain, I bet you have a need for such a perfect gunner as I, don't you?"

"How'sa 'bout we'sa talk about it more when we'sa land ok?"

It was a short while later, the turrets were retracted back, the ship once again looking like an un-armed diplomatic cruiser. Entry into the planet's atmosphere was smooth as it could get, however, when they reached the landing bay co-ordinates, there was a slight problem...

Radioing in, "Alayre Minor port control, we'sa has a slight pwroblem. Either you'sa bay to small, or we'sa ship to big. We'sa standby"

"Roger that. Sorry Crimson Tortoise, our port operators assumed you were transport class, not cruiser class. Standby for new co-ords. Alayre Port out."

R4 beeped as the new set of bay co-ords scrolled onto the display, and Fon changed their heading apropiately. Minutes later, on the far side of the port, Fon touched the Tortoise down very subtly. "We'sa has landed! You'sa all coming?" Fon asked over shipwide.

Sieanna was already waiting outside, standing in the warm shade as a cool wind was mixing with the radiating heat from the engines. Datapad in hand, sporting a fresh pair of half zipped coveralls, she'd forgotten how refreshing being planetside could be.

Now, walking with Fon, the Corellian, and the two Jawas, she looked around for a bay number, not finding any, "Fon, i've got a list of parts that need replacing, as they've generously offered to repair any damages. Some parts are fairly outdated, and i'm going to try for as many modern parts as i can... For which, I'm going to need a bay number... which is?"

"We'sa in bay Thirty-Six-Dee," Fon answered, and the jawa's broke out into a burst of high pitched laughter, toplling over backside :D

Sieanna's fur puffed in embarasement, "Fon!... Here, just write it down will you?" She said, shoving the datapad to Fon, who promptly wrote '3060'.

"Like I said, thirty-six-dee." Fon said, with a shrug, as the twins burst into another round of laughter...

"It's 3060, not 36D! Twins, cut it out and grow up?" Sieanna groaned in defeat. Turning to Jez, asking sheepishly, "I suppose you wouldn't mind catching us a taxi or speeder, would you?"

17 April 2003, 07:05 PM
Marek sat patiently in the receiving hall of the Alayre Minor political bureau. The Scouting Commision had done their job and filed the appropriate quarantine reports for the Honoosch system. Now Marek just needed to plead his case to the authorities here so that they could implement steps to stop any arriving ships from that area, or to prevent any ships from leaving.

His waiting, however, was taking longer than he expected. It seemed that some event had occurred just moments before his arrival. A group of pirates had been fairly handily dispatched by Alayre Minor forces and some arriving vessels, including an Imperial vessel. Must not have been anything big, thought Marek, as I didn't see any noticable Imperial ships when I was inbound. Whatever the situation, the Alayre Minor politicians were in meetings regarding the fates of the captured pirates and arranging appropriate awards for the "rescuers". That was nice and all, but from what Marek had seen on that station, some pirates were the least of Alayre Minor's worries.

Now Marek's thoughts began to drift to what he would do after his meeting with the politicians here. The Scout Commision would certainly get a sanctioned scouting mission to the quarantined area, but as to who would do that, Marek didn't know. With the fairly recent events that lead to the death of Emperor Palpatine, it was hard to tell whether the Empire was really in charge, or whether the Rebel Alliance (which some were now daring to call the New Republic) was the one calling the shots. Either way, Marek was automatically granted the right to partake in that mission, as the scout-on-site, but he didn't know whether he wanted to see the nightmare things again.

Perhaps the captain of the Imperial ship would be able to shed some light on what might be done to investigate the quarantine. Whatever the decision, it would have to wait until after the meeting.

Marek stirred as the doors to the meeting chamber opened and some official looking people left the room. An usher remained at the door and beckoned for Marek. Reens stood, tugged at his rumpled and slightly dirty utility shirt with nervousness, and then moved to the usher and entered the room where a court of officials sat at a long table at the head of the room.

The meeting room doors closed, and Marek stated his case.

Crin Daroota
22 April 2003, 07:44 AM
Crin strode through the massive darkwood double-doors, past the polearm-wielding ceremonial guards and into the Overpalace's luxurious lobby. Bigger than the Miner's Dream by far, the room was probably ten stories high, a hundred meters wide and twenty deep. From the various well-dressed people milling about, Crin surmised this was a meeting area for the diplomats of this place, where much of the wheeling and dealing was done. But as Crin stepped in, with the crew of the trade ship behind him, the small gatherings all stopped and turned and cheered, clapping and hooting and all kinds of general noise filling the room until it boomed with the massive echoes of the cheering.

It had been like this since they had first set down. Local news reporters had mobbed the landing site of the Miner's Dream and, Crin assumed, the other ships. Held back by a strong show of security forces, the reporters had nonetheless succeeded in getting the new heroes' faces to the populace, who cheered whenever they passed. It was nice, Crin felt, to receive such attention. He'd never really been rewarded so simply, and yet so hearfelt. It warmed his cold twi'lek heart enough for him to realize that he could get used to such attention.

Thus it was that the massive lobby boomed, and the twi'lek Crin Daroota basked in the warm reception (though the others looked decidedly uncomfortable) until a small human male came to them and ushered them through the lobby and into the Grand Ballroom.

If the lobby was luxurious, then words could not adequately describe the Grand Ballroom. Tall as the lobby, and twice as wide, the room stretched back farther than Crin could see, with tables laid out in a roughly rectangular pattern around the simply gigantic blonde-wood dance floor. Surrounding and accenting the floor were a double-row of dark green shrubbery with raised flowerbeds in between. The flowers were mostly red, yellow, and white and arranged in a pattern that escaped Crin. The wood floor shone brightly with the reflected light of a ceiling that looked like the galaxy, each light dim but casting a breathtaking brilliance as a whole. The "galaxy" turned slowly in a beautiful dance of its own and lit the room wonderfully. The usher led the group through the maze of tables for a full two minutes before Crin could make out the far wall of the room. Save for the wall they had entered through, the walls all sloped outwards, with stairs leading up into the stadium-type seating that lined the walls. Each tier had a small planter from which hung gorgeous live plants of a kind Crin couldn't recognize. They were vine-like, in greens, yellows, blues, and purples. Where the rows of seating ended, about halfway up the walls, began massive murals that reached to the ceiling, five stories tall themselves. They were a mix of battle scenes, outdoor landscapes, monuments, and people who were obviously the heroes of this planet.

When Crin looked up again, here and there he saw, suspended from the ten-story ceiling by thick cables, fightercraft of all types, though all older designs, the names of which mostly escaped him. The most modern one was perhaps ninety years old, a predecessor of the Z-95s that had fought beside them earlier.

"The Hero-ships of the Alayre system," the guide told them when he saw their upturned faces. "Flown by legendary people and retired after great victories. They are always brought here, as eternal tribute and reminders of what heroism can acomplish. Don't worry," the man chuckled, "since you're not Alayre forces, we won't confiscate your ships for the Hanging Victory Museum."

Crin said nothing as they walked along, as he was still in awe of this massive room and its multiple purposes and beauties. The room seemed to envelope them, make them feel small and yet important at the same time. It was a marvel of engineering, art and technology all at the same time, and where most massive buildings would make one feel insignificant, the Grand Ballroom of the Overpalace at Trou Prime-city did just the opposite.

Finally they arrived at a long, raised table that overlooked the gigantic dance floor and the tables that surrounded it. Apparently they were the first to arrive, as not another soul had been seen on their journey to the table nor did anyone sit there. The usher showed them to their seats at the twenty-meter long table, and pointed out that the crew of the disguised diplomat ship would sit to one side of them, and the Skipray pilot on the other. The human guide pointed to a golden chair raised higher than the others and declared that seat was reserved for the High Edicter, the elected ruler of the Alayre system. With that the man thanked them and left. The crew of the trade ship Miner's Dream was left alone in the gigantic Grand Ballroom, and eagerly awaited meeting the other heroes of the battle that had so nearly cost them all their lives.

23 April 2003, 12:05 AM
"It's 3060, not 36D! Twins, cut it out and grow up?" Sieanna groaned in defeat. Turning to Jez, asking sheepishly, "I suppose you wouldn't mind catching us a taxi or speeder, would you?"

Jez looked for the first time at the crew of the ship that saved his life. His face was carrying smile #16 (Thanks-that-you-helped-such-a-swell-guy-as-me).

He came to the pilot and extended his hand. "I owe you my life, captain. And though I'm no Wookie, I'm indebted to you and your crew" - said shaking gungun's hand and bowing to the rest of the group gathered in the docking bay. His smile warmed as his eyes went over the Bothan machanic. "It will be a pleasure for me to fetch you some means of transport. If you'd be so nice and wait here, I'll be right back. Then captain it would be an honor for me to discuss some further arrangements between your crew and myself on the way to Overpalace."

Then without waiting for reply he quickly exited the bay through one of nondescirpt doors. He returned after not so long time. And smiled reassuringly at the mechanic, who was imersed in some technic mamo-jambo with one of technicians who hold in his hand the list of necessary (and some not) replacement.

"Everything will be waiting here when you return" said the technician with a hint of awe in his voice "And it will be in best condition. Nothing is too good for our heroes."

The two jawas, watched carefully by Fon, were just looking at a worker droid standing near one of bay doors. One of them climbed onto the shoulders of the other to have a look inside when the droid moved and they both tompled to the ground.

"Ladies" - said Jez smiling with #6(Just-for-you-sugar) "and gentelbeings. The transport is ready and waiting"

The jawas looked angry at the droid who tried to look as sheepish as only a droid can, shouted something and proceeded behind Fon and Sieanna to the exit. They almost bumbed into the Fon who stopted suddenlylooking perplexed at a luxury speeder that stood outside.

"Theessa for us?" he asked. Jez nodded.

"Nothing's too good for the heroes, as some say" - said Jez with a broad smile that even a rancor would envy." Please sit where you want I'll pilot you to the place of the reception shortly. There are some snakcs and drinks - feel free to help yourself."

The scoundrel came to a man standing by the ship and some credits quickly changed their owner.

"Ladies and Gentelman. Welcome on board the flight of Kalam luxury taxi service. Our flight we'll be over in 10 minutes and as there are no stewardesses aboard please feel free to help yourself to anything you like. 'For our heroes only the best we have to offer'" said trying to mimic technicians voice. "Fasten your seatbelts and please refrain fom smoking" Saying that Jez engaged the repulsor, which made a very strange sound and suddenly all the blinking lights went dead. "Please, don't do this to me" he whispered, feeling lucky that nobody could see him in the driver seat "Please start. There are some important people on board" he petted the dashboard and pressed the green button again, this time the speeder smoothly lifted off ground. Jez pushed the throttle slowly forwards and the speeder accelerated.

He lowered the wall that seperated him from his pasengers.
"Maybe now we can talk business" said piloting the speeder with ease, as if he did it most of the time (indeed there was some time where he was a taxi driver on Coruscant before the unfortunate gamblling incident). "My time working here is over and I'm free to go where I want. And as you saved my life and thus I'm indebted to you I'd be glad if I could join your crew and supply my humble pilot and gunnery skils to enhance, though it may seem impossible, your highly trained crew. Watch out!" He said as the speeder drove hastily to avoid a big floating advertisment. "So what do you say?"

23 April 2003, 02:57 AM
Kiel settled the Event Horizon down into the starfighter class docking bay the Alayre Minor air traffic controllers had set aside for him. He usually preferred a larger, transport class bay but he was a good enough pilot and wanted to get out of his cockpit as soon as possible. Also, he noted that Eryn had been slotted into the bay next to him, and he wanted to meet her…err…congratulate her. As his Skipray was settling down in, he noticed a large crowd of people pressing against what looked like a small security force.

I hate crowds, he thought to himself.

Finally touching down, he quickly unstrapped and turned on the Horizon’s anti-intruder defenses. He didn’t think he had much to worry about here but one never did know, did they? Now any attempts to break into his pride and joy would result in summary capital loss.

Jumping down out of the main hatch, he breathed his first breath of Alayre Minor air, and heard sounds of the crowd outside. With a quickness gained from years of operating as an ISB agent, he found an air duct in the wall he shared with Eryn’s bay. Using his pilot’s multitool, he was in her bay in seconds.

Eryn had already finished her cooldown sequence and was peeling herself out of her pilots jumpsuit. Underneath, she was clad in a simple tan tunic with light blue pants, that fit tightly around her waist and legs, so as to fit into a jumpsuit with greater comfort. Her light brown hair was darkened by the heavy perspiration of someone who’d nearly lost their life and her eyes still held a look of concern.

When she turned and saw Kiel coming out of the air vent, she at first eyed him darkly, her hand drooping from the hair she was fixing to her side. Noticing the silver imperial insignia emblazoned on the right shoulder of his black SpecOps fatigues, Eryn’s frown quickly turned into a wry grin.

“Pleased to make you acquaintance, Traveller d’Tana. I would enjoy very much exchanging stories with you.”

Kiel inclined his head, gave her a judicious glance, “Traveller? Traveller Threll, I do believe you’ve spent some time on Duro. I would love trading tales with you over steamy mugs of stim tea, but for now I think both of our presences have been spoken for by the Alayre Minor government. By the way, you can lossen up a bit, youre still visibly tense.”

“I cant loosen up, ill start shaking, adrenaline letdown, happens to me after every battle. And kudos to you on your identification of my background, I grew up on Duro with my parents until the planet was nationalized and exploited by the…I mean…”

“Its okay, the Empire has done some awful things, my own family was killed during an Imperial raid, I work for imperial intelligence because I was saved by an ISB agent and felt obligated to serve the organization that saved me.”

“An interesting story in itself, Traveller d’Tana, and I wish to thank you.”

“For what?”, Kiel asked, stepping up to her. She was tall, he noted, almost as tall as him.

“Saving my life, of course.”, she leaned over and gave hime a quick embrace, “But come on, our comrades must surely already be waiting for us in the Overplace.”

She started out toward the main bay doors, but Kiel grabbed her hand. When she looked back, he nodded toward a rear door.

“Avoid the crowd”, he explained.

“Smart move”, as they turned toward the door, Kiel released his grip on her hand. With a start, he realized she was holding his hand tightly in hers. Not used to having company to speak with, let alone walk hand-in-hand with, he jerked his head around and gave her an odd look. Eryn only glanced up and laughed in response.

****several minutes later****

Slipping along back alleyways and through little used doors, Kiel and Eryn had managed to avoid the throngs of people that had gathered to celebrate their victory. Finally, they were in the massive edifice Eryn had referred to as the Overplace. Even Kiel, who had seen all sort of crazy and breathtaking things over the course of his career, found himself quietly impressed by the structure.

Eryn, who had apparently visited the building before knew where to go to find this ‘High Edicter’. Soon they approached a airy atrium with a long rectangular table. Pulling himself and Eryn into a shadow (an advantage of the building’s natural lighting) he peered out at the table. A motley group of bipeds sat at the table: Kiel saw a human, a zabrak, a twi’lek, a wookiee, and a sullustan, as well as a tiny bat-like creature that Kiel assumed to be with the crew. He heard the twi’lek mutter something to one of his comrades, recognizing the voice as the one who he’d linked to the Miner’s Dream during the battle, he realized he was in the right place.

Gently guiding Eryn to follow him he strode out to the table.

“Crew of the Miner’s Dream”, he said to backs, startling some, much to his amusement and slight embarassment, “Allow me to congratulate you on the way you handled yourselves up there.”

By now they were all facing him. “Pilot d’Tana.”, one of them noted him with a nod.

“That’d be me”, he confirmed, “And this is Pilot Eryn Threll. Also allow me to extend the gratitude of the Imperial Security Bureau in assisting an agent in stopping pirates.”

Kiel could tell that the crew of the Dream had no love of the empire, so he took on a more informal tone, “That was quite a fling up there, eh?”, he motioned up to the sky.

Just then a small human male that bore a striking resemblance to a rodent hurried out of a door to the side of the massive table.

“Pilot d’Tana!”, the man gasped, “We’ve been searching for you! It seems you have found your way here with little trouble.” He spoke into a comlink, presumably to tell the other searchers that he’d found Kiel.

“Lieutenant Threll, report to your barracks, you will be debriefed there.”

“Miss Threll stays with me”, Kiel informed the man, with a voice that on the surface was polite but held an unmistakable underlying threat. He didn’t ask, nor was he aggressive, he just simply stated how things were going to be and stared through the man as if to say: you don’t want to argue, trust me.

For a second, the small man looked as if he wished to contradict the intelligence operative, then thought better of it.

“Very well, lieutenant Threll, you will sit here”, he motioned to a chair, “Beside Pilot d’Tana.”

The two slipped into their seats and awaited the High Edicter, Eryn still holding Kiel’s hand, much to the young Imperial’s perplexion.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
25 April 2003, 06:10 PM
Jez said his complementary greetings then went to find a speeder at Sieanna's request. Fon and Sieanna were still in discusion, when Jez came back with no less than a luxury speeder.

Having narrowly missed a huge advertisement, Jez continued piloting the speeder towards the Hall, patiently waiting for an answer, now that his offer was already delivered.

"We'sa been talking it over. We'sa could use another person who'sa well skilled in ship operations. And'sa fact you'sa human, could prove useful sometimes. You'sa contract having being over, isa good timing indeed. Very well, you'sa come aboard, see hows'it works out. It'sa biig ship, and'sa we'sa gots lotsa room. No lesser than state rooms infact" Fon happily replied, with a grin.

It was a fairly happy ride the remainder of the way to the Hall. The jawa twins were kept ocupied standing, looking out the windows, pointing and chittering. One crawled upfront, began pointing and jumping up and down in excitement. Up ahead was a tremendously huge towering building. The area was decoratively spruced up, as well as large crowds gathering. Jez drove them right in, as the security force gestured near the front doors.

Fon & Sieanna along with Jez and the twins stepped out, a chorus of cheers from the crowd greeted them and parted way to the front doors. Fon & Sieanna smilled, waved, and occasionally bowed, garnering some chuckles as the jawa twins following behind tried to imitate them. There was the occasional obnoxious media reporter who tried to stall them, but only got pulled back by the security guards.

Inside the Hall, was ornately furnished with flowers, vines, and other fauna. An usher from the door led them through the lobby, to the ballroom. Fon looked up in amazement, at the high starlit ceiling, and at the various craft hanging above. Up ahead was a long table, of which other people were already sitting at, or milling about talking to others. Among them, there was a Sullustan, a male Twi'lek, Rodian, and a few humans, one in a conservative flight suit.

"Hello there!" one of them at the table spoke above the crowd as they aproached,

"Greetings! on behalf of the Crimson Tortoise, I'm Fon Dinoa, my engineer Sieanna Kala'myr, the twins Nuuti & Zuuti, and our recent addition, the spacewalker we picked up, Jez." Fon spoke up with informal greetings to the group of people at the table,

"Hi," Sieanna briefly spoke, with a half smile, as she was not used to such granduer and publicity. If anything, she wished she could have stayed behind, even if it meant doing nothing but waiting for the parts to arrive. But on second thought, fine wine and apetizers were rare ocasions. And perhaps there'd be the engineer of the Miner's Dream she could at least talk tech speak with to pass the time... Providing the twins didn't get themself into embarasing mischief...

The twins were all for it, as everything around fascinated them. They wasted no time, waving and greeting the others, and skirting around the table to look for all the delectable treats amongst things...

27 April 2003, 11:12 PM
Jez looked around and tried to guess by looking which face belonged to which ship he saw flying in the recent battle.

He notice Threll who he saw on several occasions way back... She always seemed.... lone... but not this time... this time she looked quite content and as if she was shininig from within. That must be that man, beside her, influence..

Jez was kind of happy for her.... even if it was an Imperial whose hand she held, nevertheless he helped them big time... So Jez put his prejudices beside and smiled #10 (I'm-happy-that-somebody-else-besides-me-is-happy) at those two.

So the rest must be Miner's Dream crew... He bowed his head slightly towards them changing his smile slightly to #11 (it's-a-real-pleasure-to see-you). He quickly noticed the mechanic of Miner's Dream and moved a chair beside him so that Sieanna could have a seat.

After that he sat near her and tried to control the Twins that were trying to get on table to reach the best food and, even more, drinks.

Crin Daroota
29 April 2003, 09:21 PM
The lights grew brighter and as they did so, it was possible to see a greater portion of the massive room. It was more than a room, it was like a cross between an indoor sports arena and a huge showroom for spacecraft. The doors opened and people flooded in, filling the stadium-seating and the tables laid out around the dancefloor. Indeed the giant polished floor guarded by its intricate hedgerows was the one placed that had not become full of people.

They were humans, mostly, and elegantly dressed, the women in gowns varying in their styles and bright colors, and the men in deep purple suits with a red sash running from left shoulder to right hip. It was obvious that this was the more or less standard formal attire for males of this world. Everyone seemed to know where their seats were, and in a very orderly five minutes the giant room was filled with seated humans staring at the long table full of heroes. Hushed conversation of thousands of individuals sounded more like a strong wind than words.

Before long the lights dimmed in the general room, and spotlights shone on the various beings seated at the long table. Though no one said a word, spontaneous applause filled the room, the clapping and whistling filling the ears of those seated at the V.I.P. table, who could not shout to each other above the raucous cheering and clapping, clapping, clapping.

For three minutes this did not end, and more than one of the Miner's Dream crew looked decidedly embarrased, Crin not the least of them. The twi'lek's ears were filled with the noise, as if it consumed all else, as if nothing else existed at that moment but that heartwarming noise.

Then, abruptly, a shrill whistle was heard, barely heard, above the crowd's booming applause, and the clapping immediately ceased. Some sort of signal had been given. The room, a moment ago filled with unelievable sound, now sat as quiet as space itself. No one spoke, no one cheered. A lone cough far back in the room sounded almost like an explosion amongst the now sound-empty Grand Ballroom.

"High Edicter Frellst," a voice boomed from the ceiling, startling some of those at the long table.

A spotlight appeared on the giant dance floor, not very far indeed from the table itself. There stood a man bathed in light, dressed in the same formal attire as most of the other men, except for a second, bright green sash running next to the red one. In his left hand he held a microphone, and he began to speak.

"Citizens and friends of the Alayre system, delegates, law-decisioners, possessors and trade-elects, I, Frellst, present you the heroes of our recent victory!" He swept a hand across those seated before him, then turned his back to address the crowds assembled again. "These most courageous beings, most of whom were nothing more than passersby, all decided of their free will to assist a ship in distress." His voice took on a serious tone. "That ship, a Corvette of the Alayre government, had been engaged by mericless pirates, intent on profiting by our loss, and the loss of many of those who would defend we here tonight." The High Edicter then turned back to the long table, and smiled up at them in the intense light. "Those efforts nearly succeeded, but for your glorious actions. Allow us to thank you, to put your names in our histories as heroes of our system, to honor you as our custom decrees we must."

Silence fell then over the room. It was obvious that Frellst expected a reply. Yet who should speak for the assembled group?

"Okay," Jeil peeped, drawing surprised looks from the Miner's Dream crew at least, Crin included.

"Hoorah!" Frellst shouted into his microphone. The room echoed with a singular booming word, "Hoorah!"

After a few more Edicter-led cheers, the room again grew quiet, until a low drumming could be heard from the ceiling. It grew until it was conversation-volume, when it was joined by a slow blowing of horns, to which the audience sang, as one:

Thee, who have aided,
Oh, thee, who have given,
And who have laid down their lives
We honor, we praise, we thank Thee.

You, who we praise,
Know that honor does not die,
Nor glory fade, nor legends cease
To tell the greatness of You.

We shall not let greatness go,
History lives in the re-telling of heroics,
Thus we pledge now to tell it,
Place your trust in We.

They stopped as one, just as they had begun, and Crin Daroota, cold-hearted twi'lek rogue, felt a tear run down his cheek. Because he knew that each and every single one of them truly meant the words they had just sang.

"Please," Frellst broke into his thoughts, "please, allow us to bestow but a token of our appreciation. As I call your name, would you please stand up, walk down here, and receive. To begin, we start with the first ship to render aid: the crew of the trade ship Miner's Dream!"

The room roared again, yet in a very orderly manner, the clapping raising quickly to its peak, then stopping abruptly as Frellst raised a clenched fist and then spread his fingers.

"Captain Rullb!" The clapping again began, and continued as the Sullustan walked quickly, nervously, down a small set of stairs from the raised table, around it and to the dance floor. A small line of women had now formed next to Frellst, and standing just outside the spotlight's rays, it was impossible to see what they were holding in their hands.

As Rullb stepped into the circle of light, so too did a middle-aged human woman in a pale green and bright yellow gown, who put a shining gold medallion on a white and purple ribbon around the Sullustan's neck. The High Edicter laid a hand on Rullb's shoulder, and respectfully turned the microphone off as he said something to the Sullustan. Frellst then deposited something small into the little hands, before the woman handed the Captain an envelope. Rullb made a small bow and quickly retreated to the table, smiling the whole way.

Though they had not let their guests in on their plans, the Alayre Minor government had planned well for this occasion. When Frellst called for "Pilot Sharf," a tall, thin, 30ish woman in a glowing purple gown awaited the massive Wookiee. When Jeil's name was called, the woman was shorter. Each received a medallion on a white and purple ribbon, something small and shiny, and an envelope. Finally only Crin and Dara were left of the crew of the Miner's Dream.

"Crin Daroota!" Frellst called, and Crin hesitantly stood up, pushed his chair back and idly wondered when dinner would be served. Probably after the ceremony, he decided. The twi'lek, butterflies galore in his stomach, made his way down the short staircase form the table, around the end of it, and through a convenient break in the shrubbery, finally stepping into what turned out to be a fierce light emanating from above. So much so that he could barely see the High Edicter who stood directly in front of him. Applause still boomed in the room as a woman approached him. Probably about forty years old, though still quite attractive, for a human, she wore a dazzling white and scarlet gown with her brown hair pulled up atop her head into an elegant fountain-like arrangement. She smiled at the green twi'lek, and Crin hesitantly bowed as she placed the gold medallion around his neck, the ribbons settling awkwardly on his lekku. Crin raised his head and flashed her a wry grin, then pulled his lekku up and through the ribbons, as the audience boomed with pleased laughter. Crin could only laugh or cry, so he laughed with them. As the laughter returned to applause, Frellst placed a small object into his hand: a silver plated comlink at first inspection, and Crin was relatively sure it was an encrypted version--possibly set up to create encrypted channels specifically to the others he was handing out? He'd have to find that out later. "Good work, my boy," Frellst said to him. "If you need my help in the future, know that you have my word I will assist you in whatever way I can." The woman smiled at him again, a distinct patch of red now on her cheek, and she handed him an envelope. Crin knew it was his cue to exit, and he walked slowly back to the stage, stunned by the attention, the applause, and the shiny medal hanging around his neck. Finally he returned to his seat, in his own little world, as names continued to be called. He opened his envelope to see that it contained a certificate. He put two fingers into the envelope to spread it far enough to read. It read:

Monetary Promessory Note
Given of free will by: Alayre Minor System Government
To be received by: Crin Daroota
For the amount of: 3,000 credits
In the form of: Galactic Standard Currency

And Crin smiled again, still lost to time and the happenings around him, slipping the enevelope and marveled at everything that had happened to him lately, especially tonight.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
30 April 2003, 01:46 AM
The presentation ceremony for the crew of the Miner's Dream by High Edictor Frellst was none less than elegance worthy of royalty itself; as Fon, Sieanna, and the twins watched silently in complete awe.

As the Twi'lek made his way back to the table, there was another round of cheers and aplause for the next several minutes. The High Edictor gently raised his arms, and waved downwards for silence. As all sound dropped to mere murmers, he spoke proudly once more:

"Next but not least of our assembled heros, I call upon the crew of the merchant ship Crimson Tortoise, who's efforts proved pivitol in capturing the lead pirate YT-1300 that started the raid in the first place. Upon capture, our forces siezed a great deal of valuable information as well as a high ranking pirate officer now held within Alyre Minor custody. For this, Alayre Minor owes thanks. Please step forward Captain and crew..."

Fon stood up gracefully as his name was called first. A feeling of such honor bestowed was a rarity for Fon, and his amphibious skin thankfully did not give way his humblement. Although he could not hold back a grin that made his species look outright silly. He walked up to the red haired human female in a rather striking two-tone turquiose marine dress that much reminded him of home, then dipped his head, so the lady could properly place upon the medalion. The lady blushed when she fumbled to not hook it under his chin before placing over and around his neck. As He stepped over to the Edictor, who quietly thanked him, Fon equally whispered a few words of praise in regards to his newest crewer, who deserved the credit...

Her name was called before she knew it. Nervousness had a strange way of making time slow down when waiting for the enevitable, and then didn't speed it up quite fast enough once the moment was upon her. Sieanna felt and tried to supperess her fur subtly rippling in anticipation the entire time. For her species, a wide range of emotions could be discerned by such minute varitions of their unique body language. One of the ladies kindly smiled in understanding as she aproached. Sieanna had to actually look up slightly to face the Edictor as much as he had to glance downwards. Gifts in hand, there was great releif just to be sitting back at the table, nolonger under direct spotlight.

Entertainment was not lost on the evening, as the twins were called forth. Nuuti & Zuuti both jumped out of their chairs, onto the table, then jumped down, and made their way eagerly over to their hosts, earning audible light-hearted laughter the whole way. Never in their lives had Nuuti & Zuuti been awarded before, when it was often quite the oposite. Having aproached the 2 ladies holding the medals, one of them a heavier set lady with long dark hair wearing a light blue tight dress bent over to offer the medal, generously exposing some ample cleavage...

Sitting at the table, Fon watched in amusement, and Sieanna in horror as she could only feel sympathy for the dark haired lady, as what probably was the worst few moments of pure focused male attention any female could hope for...

Just at that same moment, the most dreadfully indignified sound of fabric tearing silenced the room, the dark haired lady bolted upright letting the medal drop around Zuuti's head, as she swept a hand backside at the same time while turning bright pink in horror. It took a few moments for the comotion to settle down, as a thin blonde haired lady in a maroon dress used the time to decide how to proceed. Instead, she carefully kneeled down, her loosely fitting dress conformed to her figure as she reached to place the medal around Nuuti's neck. The High Edictor (now wearing a slight blush) too, had to bow down onto one knee to personally greet the twins, and hand them gifts. The twins proudly walked back to the table, medals hung down to their waists, carrying the gifts in their arms...

30 April 2003, 03:27 AM
Jez sat stunned... He worked for Alayre Gov for some time and he didn't even think that there were such balls. He always thought it a boring place... Well maybe it wasn't that bad.

"Jez Kalam!"

Did somebody just call his name. He noticed that people were looking at him. He came back to reality immediately.

He stood up and smiled his best #2 (I-love-you-too) and moved towards Edictor. He walked with a grace of a tiger in a herd of sheeps. Flashing smiles, looking as though it was his life and not all those years spent shrubing the dishes.

He's seen one of the ladies that awarded Jawas scramble with some dignity out form the hall.

He took the com-something and the envelope and let a stunning lady award him the Red Cross of Alayre Minor.
"wow... " he thought "I never thought it was possible to get this" he played with the medal as he sat back at the table.
The life was begining to shine like all those ladies around. He just couldn't wait for the dances to begin.
"Ok. I'm back" he thought "And beware.. it can only get better..."

"Pilot d’Tana!” the voice called

6 May 2003, 04:06 PM
When Kiel heard his name called he was at once overjoyed and intimidated. There were others in ISB trained for just such a situation, the kind of people that had charisma and poise, Kiel was not one of the people, he preferred shooting to talking. As he stood, he noticed his heart was beating nearly as rapidly as when he'd flown that insane attack on the pirate battlecruiser. Thinking back to the battlecruiser made him, surprisingly, calm down a little. He'd been doing the right thing, and that was why he was being recognized. If the Empire wasn't so caught up in itself, they'd reward him too, but lately his employers seemed too preoccupied to do anything but put him on new assignments, to them he was merely a gun and a hot ship, to these people he mattered.

Walking up to the "High Edicter" as Eryn had called him, Kiel noticed a thin, lithe woman, not unlike him in her height and build standing at the Edicter's side. The young woman placed a shiny, metallic emblem over his head and then the Edicter himself approached him.

"Your actions speak well for your Empire, but even better for you. We are eternally grateful for your risking your life to protect innocent people, innocent people you didn't even know. For that I am personally indebted to you, these people are my reponsibility, my children and you cared for them where I could not, thank you.", at this he handed Kiel a shiny silver device that resembled a comlink, though of distinctly different design than the military-issue equipment Kiel was used to. Kiel's first thought was Minions of Xendor! On a covert mission, this thing would stick out like a Wookiee at the Jawa family reunion!

At this, a tight grin worked its way across Kiel's nervous features. As the Edicter also handed him a small envelope, the woman motioned for him to return to his place at the large table.

Resisting the urge to open the envelope, as it might show he was anxious, or even imply a lack of sincerity, he simply tucked it away in his fatigues. He did the same with the elegant, if flashy comlink-thing. The medal, he left hanging on his neck, it felt good to get recognized for your work, it felt real good...


This idea was reinforced when he sat down as Eryn's name was called. As they passed, she flashed him a tight grin, not unlike the one he felt himself wearing. As she approached the Edicter, a slight man in a sporty outfit presented her with a similar medal. Eryn, who'd spent some time on Alayre Minor with her merc outfit, recognized the award as the Red Cross of Alayre Minor, a very prestigious award, rarely presented to Alayrians, let alone outsiders.

Finally, she thought, An advantage to my months on this sleepy rock, I know the Edicter and I'm not nervous!

Eryn confidently strode up to the poduim, accepted her medal and comlink, and smiled to the assembly in general, and the Edicter in particular.

"Thank your for your valiant service in defense of your charge. When most of your profession would have abandoned the fight when the odds turned sour, you remained and won the day, for that, I congratulate you."

At this he handed her an envelope. Knowing that it contained a monetary reward, she almost refused it, following her Corellian culture, but then she remembered that to refuse a gift on this planet was a sign of disdain. So she smiled, knowing full well that this signalled the end of her mercenary career. She had accepted pay that rightfully belonged to the company because she was doing work outlined in the contract her company commander had signed with the High Edicter.

Oh well, Eryn sighed, Maybe Kiel could use a gunner. He's imperial, but you never do know...

With that, Eryn Threll, now freelance gun/pilot-for-hire sat back down at her seat with all the grace she'd evinced hours before from the cockpit of her Z-95. She was uncertain what the future held for her, only certain that it would mean change.

Crin Daroota
8 May 2003, 09:15 AM
It must have been one crazy sight, Crin realized, but he didn't really care. Sitting together at the table, a Sullustan, Chadra-Fan, Zabrak, Wookiee, human, Rodian and Twi'lek, each clapping, banging, hooting in his species' form of a cheer, as each participant was called forth and awarded.

Crin couldn't get over the shiny medal hanging around his neck. An award of valor, won in combat. Crin Daroota never ever ever thought he would be given such an award. But he had done his part, and it was deserved, as it was for each and every being honored today. The room was boisterous with its applause, and dead silent when signalled to be. But the thanks were genuine, the emotions true, the smiles real. Crin knew how to read peoples' faces, and these Alayre folks were truly appreciative. They meant it.

It was a departure from the normal life Crin led, and at this moment he welcomed it. It felt good not to be cheating someone or lying or sneaking around, he was good at that, for sure, but right now he wondered whether he should give all that up. For a moment such as this can change the heart of even a scoundrel such as himself.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
8 May 2003, 04:41 PM
The high Edictor waited for the last of the heros to be seated, as well as for the round of cheers and applauses that still ensued. Gesturing up his hands again, swiftly to silence them. Spreading hs hands wide, he spoke,

"My fellow nobles, guests, and heroes. Since the dawn of time, as far back as the rulership has known, As great victories were won by great heroes. Great halls such as these were built house the most legendary tools of victory, and to host great celebrations. And with great celebrations, there is too, great entertainment. Your entertainment tonight, will be a time honored performance, that dates back to the very first Edictor... So, without further delay, allow my staff to cater with more refreshments as the entertainment begins!"

The crowd parted to the sides of the hall, allowing for the center floor to become wide open space. A dozen harems stepped out from both walls wearing from head dowm, transparent veil fabric over matching gold or silver trimmed skimpy silky garments of bold solid jewel colors. In their hands, were ceramic decanters, as they fanned out through the crowds, pouring refreshments.

Then lights dimmed, then pure darkness enveloped the hall. Only the starry cieling above brightly glimmered and sparkled, while notable patches of silouetes from the hanging menagerie of anitquated fighters blotted out some of the artificial starlight... The starlight began to shift subtly in a circular motion, giving artificial motion flight effect to the silouetes.

A gentle yet etheral melodic feminim hymm began sounding from high above, breaking the silence, as small colored phospherous glows began to form atop the silouets. The glows began to grow in size as if descending, forming into crude diamond-like shapes. The glows gave way to a backlit type lighting effect. In apearance, thin colored gauz further defining the diamond shapes wrapped around dark crucificial shapes that formed as the centers. In all aweness, in appearance it looked like hooded wraiths with outstretched arms slowly descending from the heavens, with loose gauz wafting to a non-existant breeze.

The wraiths touched ground, a bright spotlight from above then shone in a large circle. Now visible, the wraiths were females, hooded and wrapped fully in loose layered colorful pastel transparent fabrics, with only a single wide horizontal slit clearly revealing their eyes.

The spotlight dimmed to half opacity, a light flutey tune began to play to the rhythm of a timed beat multi-timberal percusion. The females once again had a wraith like, angelic apearance as they danced around to the music, twiling, bending, interchanging in grouped formations. Some even leaped high into the air and spun, twirled, and twisted as they slowly descended back down. The music played on.. The dancers danced...

Sitting at the table, the Crimson Tortoise crew, just like the others beside them sat, watching in awe at the spectacle taking place before them...

Not taking her eyes of the performance, Sieanna leaned over a bit to Jez, "Did you know they were going to do something like this? I've never seen anything like it"

Amidst the 'oooh's & ahhhhs', Fon commented to the twi'ek from the other ship that sat by him. "Theesa reminds mee'sa of the stories told to us young'uns about Spectres from the Depths...Mee'sa impresed."

9 May 2003, 12:09 AM
Jez was impressed... he realy was.. but he couldn't show it... not he.

He turned to Sieanna with a #2 smile (I've-seen-all-there-is-to-see) 'I expected something like this. They always try to impress people. But it works in a different way for heroes. When you're a simple soldier they impress you with amount of orders they give you and that sometimes deny each other... '

Jez head ached. It wasn't a hangover (he knew that feeling well) nor a normal everyday pain. It was as if someone was hitting his brain with a big hammer cushioned with silk wrappings, it felt cool but didn't make the pain easier to bare though.

Jez would watched the show with awe if the nagging pain didn't interfere with it. In any other time he would be mesmerized by the fluent movements of the dancers' bodies. He would be suprised at flexibility of some of them and stunned by some of the moves. But right now he didn't feel well enough to experience any of that.

But as he always had to get by all by himself, he wouldn't show that something bothered him. He tried to sort out his feelings. Putting away all of this show he thought about the crew of Crimson Trotoise, they were begining to feel like... well... like family. Family...? He coulnd't remeber his own. Family... that was a new motion... But it didn't explain his headache. Something was in the air and it wasn't good.

He tried to shut off the pain and emerge himself in the show. And after a while he managed to do this. He became aware that the dance has finished and that servants were bringing in some of the lighter dishes. He didn't recognize most of them but the little green and black bean-like thing tasted really good.

The dancers were nowhere to be seen, but just after a moment the lights dimmed and and everything went dark. He gripped his blaster just in case, when the center of the ball room was illuminated by a single spot light. There stood a creature. Jez felt as everybody looked at it with amazement.

It was over 2,5 meters high, solidly built, with blue marble-like skin. Its huge head had numerous horns, large ears, and four gleaming red eyes. It smiled showing a mouth filled with razor sharp teeth. It was covered from shoulders downwards in a long, shiny black cloak. With a sudden move it moved a step to the left exposing a hidden behind it Dug.

They both, each being so much different than the other, bowed in unison and without a word of command the area between them was filled with various objects changing hands (or legs in some cases) quicker and quicker. Their juggling became so rapid that you didn't see single objects just lines where they flew through the air.

The lights started to dim and at the same time the obejcts those two were juggling with began to glow. It got darker and darker but they still wound't miss a single throw. The whole hall stoped breathing looking as the light lines drew strange shapes in the air. After some time you almost couldn't see the artists, the shapes became 3 dimensional as a third artist joined the show. The lines became more complex and their colors started to change.

Seconds passed, that seems like hours for the spectators, when lights grew bright again and three artists bowed. The applause was overwhelming. It was the first time that third figure could be seen. It was a stunning woman whose eyes were coverd by a beautiful fold.

'She is blind! How could she catch all those balls...' Jez wondered aloud helping himself to some food and serving Sieanna some delicious wine.

Crin Daroota
14 May 2003, 07:34 AM
As the juggling went on, keeping the audience fascinated by the ever-increasing speed, Crin noticed out of the corner of his eye a new addition to the table. The man was slight of build and did not wear the formal attire that everyone else had on, instead sporting a simple blue longshirt, black vest, and purple pants. He approached the High Edicter, who leaned to the newcomer so the man could whisper in his ear.

For a few minutes they conversed, oblivious to the wondrous shows going on around them. To Crin's great annoyance, he could not hear a single thing that was whispered between the two. Finally, the High Edicter shrugged, held up a hand, and the other man left.

The festivities continued for another ten minutes as the High Edicter seemed to lose himself in his thoughts. Another dance troupe filled the floor and left, a flame-handler act passed, and a rather poor comedian, to Crin's tastes, though the Alayre audience seemed to enjoy him.

Even a ten-Wookiee crew of crowd-tossers performed, taking audience members and hurling them from one pair of Wookiees to the next in a pentagon of flying bodies not too dissimilar from the juggling, starting with one being, then at the peak tossing five at the same time between the five pairs of shaggy-furred Wookiees. Jeil scurried down to be part of the action, her high-pitched Chadra-Fan squeals of "wheeeee!" eliciting great laughter from the crowd. A line formed eventually, and the performance seemed to last longer than it was intended.

Yet the High Edicter did not stop it, his role as host forgotten as his fist propped up his head; the man was lost in his own mind. The crowd grew bored with the Wookiees, the cheering died down, though the participants never tired of it.

Finally the man rose and held up a hand. The Wookiees let everyone finish their turn, then politely (for Wookiees) declined any more riders, to the disappointment of those still in line. As the shaggy beings departed the dance floor, the High Edicter walked down to the center of it, a spotlight belatedly shone on him as the lights quickly dimmed. It was apparent that this part was unplanned.

"Citizens of Alayre Minor," he said in a deep, somber tone, "Though I dislike ending such a remarkable night like this, I have been given rather terrible news that I feel compelled to share with you."

The crowd grew loud as thousands gasped in near unison, quiet conversation sprung up until the Edicter held forth his hand, and silence fell immediately.

"Not long ago, we received a report requesting quarantine for a small space station that apparently had become the home for some truly vile creatures. The man who made this report barely survived, and an inspection of the scars on his starship was testiment enough to the awful truth of his story."

For a moment all was quiet as the man let the audience grasped this. Crin noticed for the first time tonight there were hovering cameras around the Edicter. This was not simply for the benefit of this room; the High Edicter was addressing his people.

"Not long thereafter, reports came in from our colony world Jasprik, which lay not far from the station I mentioned. Terrible beasts, seemingly able to transform their own bodies, each different from the last, have made their presence known on Jasprik as they have at the station. From what I am told, the city of Ghurrod is in flames, and the rapidity of their advance is beyond comparison with anything in our histories. In short, I must tell you, that this is a threat Jasprik is poorly prepared for."

Again the whispers and quiet conversation and concerned noises grew to a thunderous roar before the Edicter once more held high his hand, and silence fell. "I hereby declare a State of Emergency exists on Jasprik, and a State of War is now in effect on Alayre Minor and all her territories."

This time, there was no noise but the sobbing of a few women. Crin looked to the crowd. Their faces had turned to stone, surprise and fear and anger dominating the expressions on their faces. The news was indeed shocking, and it seemed to affect the people here a thousandfold more than Crin could know.

"I ask for volunteers," the High Edicter said emotionlessly, as if he had to force the words. "Who will go to Jasprik?"

The next moments warmed the twi'lek's cold heart. The room, filled with dignitaries and the elite of Alayre Minor, it seemed to Crin the entire room rose in unison. These people, who as the cream of society had the most to lose, were solid in their resolve, they knew what must be done, and they had the strength to do it. There were fewer than a couple dozen men in the room of thousands who did not stand, most of the sitting being old men too feeble to get to their own feet. The women, too, were well represented among the standing, perhaps a quarter of them rising to their feet as the Edicter issued his request. It was a marvelous sight to behold, and the scoundrel-at-heart found himself, too, rising quite literally to the occassion.

It was not long before Rullb and Sharf were also on their feet, Jeil, too, found the courage, though she lost a few centimeters as she hopped down from her chair. Reluctantly, even Frit stood.

The High Edicter looked yet troubled, but less so, as if some massive burden had been lifted from his shoulders. "I hereby forego the Recruitment Enforcement Edict of 103 A.E.K. for the time being, volunteers being plentiful." His face was a strange contradiction; he wept, yet he beamed with pride. "I thank you all, Gallego bless you all! Save Jasprik!"

"Save Jasprik!" the room roared, the emotions of earlier now replaced with a fierce anger and the resolve to see their sister-planet freed. There was an urgency in them, for what reason Crin had no idea. Something on Jasprik, specifically, that needed saving as much as its people?

The room emptied with the orderliness Crin had come to expect of these people. The Edicter had asked them, and the citizenry in general, to report to the local Citizenry Guard stations, retrieve the uniforms and weapons that were apparently kept on hand for each citizen in such emergencies. As per procedure, they would be given a random departure time, in increments of 6 hours (Jasprik was a 6 hour flight, each way, by their military transports) in which time they were to conclude their business here, say goodbyes, and prepare to meet a foe as mysterious as it was formidable.

The crew of the Miner's Dream knew not what to do. They sat at their table, and discussed their options. It was not long before the High Edicter approached them. "I would not have asked it of you," the man said plainly, no diplomatic suave in his voice at all, "but since you have offered to join us in our struggle, I must ask you." He hesitated a moment, then continued on. "I've seen vids of these monsters in the last few minutes," he said, shuddering, "vids from Jasprik. And I've restricted them to the public. They are hideous beings, they seem like evil incarnate, and some of them seem to soak up blaster shots like pinpricks. It is an unpleasant sight to see the mighty Jasprik Peoples' Legionarries fleeing before the beasts, personal weapons weak and ineffectual. The tanks seemed to have a better effect, but Jasprik is poor and has relatively few compared to Alayre's home forces. And the worst--the worst was a hovercamera that had fallen, yet continued to send its signal. The--they--they absorbed, melded with the fallen soldiers and citizens, taking an arm from this man, or-or--I'm sorry. It's just too horrible to relate."

Crin's eyes by this time had gone wide with horror, but Rullb stepped forward in the awkward moment as a Captain should. The Sullustan reached a hand up to the High Edicter's shoulder. "What would you have us do?"

The man stiffened. He handed Rullb a datacard. "Go to this station. There can't be nearly as many there as Jasprik. Figure out some way to kill these creatures. The weapons of Alayre Minor are yours, take whatever you want. When you learn how to kill them, report back to us. I fear Jasprik will not be saved by volunteers with blaster rifles and blast vests, no matter how solid their resolve."

19 May 2003, 11:59 PM
Jez has just finished working for the Alayre government and wasn't very eager to do it again, but there were people in danger on the other hand he felt that there was more to this story that met the eye. Even more danger something in his mind said.

He looked at the rest of the crew and was shocked by waht he saw in Sieanna's eyes. There was so much determination to help those people that he felt poorly for his indecision. That Bothan grlll amazed him even more, she felt so fragile and silent but had so much inner strength.

He stod up and flashed another of his smiles (#29 we-are-the-best-for-this-job)
'I think I'm speaking in thename of the whole Crimson Tortoise crew when I say that we'll help Miners Dream, go to the stationa nd find a way to stop them. But first show us the vids. We have to know what we'll be fighting against so that we can be prepared. '
Even saying this he somehow knew they won't be.

And the vids proved it.
The sight of people being ripped apart by those monstrosities. The worst was the hopelessness at the face of one of victims while cornered tried to defend himself from the mosters but his shots were ineffectual and moments later he was bashed into the wall and while still alive, his legs were ripped and absorbed by one of the attackers.

He gulped and tried not to vomit. He looked at the rest of the people gathered in the room. Some of them couldn't look at what was presented. The High Edictor sat with his back to the picture not to see the events he already saw again. Sieanna was pale beneath the fur, but Jez saw even bigger determination in her eyes.
'What has she been through' he wondered. ANd again her determination made him watch the vid till the end.

20 May 2003, 03:10 AM
After watching the vid, and only after watching the vid, did Kiel comment,

"Well, thats some pretty nasty stuff. I can call in an airstrike on any target, no questions asked, that can arrive in 3 standard hours, however, I need to be at the location i want to be hit. I can also requisition some heavy explosives...this station shouldn't be too big of a problem, and im sure the Empire, along with your government, wants rid of this scourge. I shall take this upon myself as well, with the two other ships, the Event Horizon is prepared for combat. I trust your technicians have completed the repairs to my power grids and reloaded my missile bays?"

"Yes, yes of course", the High Edicter hurriedly answered, "And thank you for your service."

"One more thing", Kiel asked.


"Slugthrowers. I want a big heavy machine gun. I think Eryn here, should she decide to accompany me should have at least a pistol. Blasters don't seem to be doing much good against those creeps, i want some punch that they can feel, not just energy."

"They will be on your ship by the time you get there, with plenty of ammunition as well."

"Okay then!", Kiel rose from his seat along the rear wall, "I'm going to go. Flip me a copy of that datacard and Eryn? You comin' with me?"

The young woman gracefully rose from her seat, still visibly shaken by the images captured on the holovid, "Uh, y-yes, I'm coming, Kiel, I'll leave my Z-95 here for the mercs."

"Great", Kiel addressed the entire group, "Well I plan to be offplanet in five minutes, I'll see you all at the station."

As the Edicter gave Kiel his copy of the datacard, he turned and left, Eryn at his side, This has turned out to be an exciting assignment after all.

20 May 2003, 09:38 PM
Captain Rell stood proudly on the bridge deck, his arms behind his back. The men aboard the Star Destroyer Skather moved like a well oiled machine about the bridge, maintaining their stations. At this moment, Rell could almost forget that the Empire was in decline from it's once great glory. With the battle of Endor being almost a year gone now, things in the Empire were beginning to unravel. That annoying rebel alliance was becoming more recognized and organized with each day, and it was unsettling to those loyal to the Empire as their lifestyle began to get turned over. Right now, however, Rell felt as if he had all of the honor and pride of the Empire behind him as he looked at his bridge crew.

To Rell's left, the command officer of the sensor station called out to him, "Captain. We have a vessel matching the engine signature of the assault shuttle Liedimus off the port side inbound."

Rell raised one eyebrow at this bit of information and he turned his head to the left, looking at the Lieutenant out of the corner of his eye. The Liedimus was a specialized assault shuttle that was dispatched nearly two weeks ago to a 'hot spot'. Contact had been lost with that vessel since it's departure. With his baritone command voice, Rell replied, "Status of the vessel, Lieutenant Seferst?"

The Lieutenant replied promptly, knowing his Captain's wants from his years of service under the man, "Engines are online. Life support operational and hull integrity intact. We detect life signs aboard but have been unable to make communication with them as yet."

Rell looked forward again, out of the enormous viewport of the Star Destroyer, not for the shuttle but in brief thought. "Alert the shuttle bay for arrival of the shuttle. Have two security teams stand by to escort the shuttle officer to debriefing upon arrival. Tell the tractor beam crew bring the vessel in."

The Lieutenant gave an "Aye sir" and got to work giving out the orders. Rell waited patiently and within 30 seconds the tractor beam crew had announced it had the shuttle in tow. It would be another minute or so before the shuttle was brought aboard the shuttle and the mystery of the Liedimus was sorted out.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
6 June 2003, 08:15 PM
Fon & Sieanna watched in grim horror, as the holovid's grotesque imagery played. The Twins seemed to be fascinated at first, until the gorriest bits, which sent Nuuti & Zuuti hiding behind Fon & Sieanna's legs...

After the vid played through, a few comments were voiced, the overall view was unanimous, 'cept for Fon's, who was yet to speak...

It was only yesterday they we're heading inboud to the system with cargo to deliver, totally oblivious to the current affairs they knew now. Fon took a few moments to think it all over. They had their next two shipment scheduals lined up, which was their means of income... But on the other hand, they stuck their necks out for a good cause, became heroes, and what it didn't pay in creds, it rewarded with fame, reputation, and an overwhelming feeling of goodness. It was here and now, that two choices wieghed heavily like anvils...

Looking down at the twins, at Jezz, then at Sieanna, who's steeled expresion glowed of profound determination. When Sieanna had those looks, it was futile to sway her otherwise. Fon knew Sieanna worked hard to eck out a meager living against a rival starport repair facility before he hired her on; he knew little else of her past, or why she would become dead set upon certain things...

"Well... I'sa think we'sa are gonna has best prep our criuser an'sa load up on supplies if we'sa going to try help those people!" Fon spoke with a growing newfound sense of adventure.

"Uutinee!" The Twins jumped, happy at the prospect of something excting.

Fon & Sieanna spent the next few minutes, tapping on a datapad, listing supplies they needed restocking, but unsure of what supplies they might yet need. "Jezz, you'sa gonna need anything loaded onboard? We'sa gots the room, shy of few hundred tons..."

It was a short while later, the scene at the Crimson Tortoise's docking bay was nothing short of busy. Ground techs were running around, many of them tending to the various umbilicals hooked beneath the ship to repulsortank crafts. There was a dozen or two cargo load lifters & repulsorsleds either enroute with crates of goods or leaving empty for another load... Sieanna was running around, inside the ship, in the middle of several things at once. The Twins were in the cargo pod and loading ramps, directing the loaders.

In the cockpit, Fon was busy with the preflight warm-ups and systems checks, and more hurried than usual. The comms was busy with intermittant chatter, requests and orders. To Fon it seemed, there was a lively tang in the air, spiced with urgency & heavy with anticipation. He only hoped Jezz was getting his personals packed in & secured, and not caught up somewheres outside the ship...

9 June 2003, 03:08 AM
Well... I'sa think we'sa are gonna has best prep our criuser an'sa load up on supplies if we'sa going to try help those people!" Fon spoke.

Jez heart almost lept out ftom the cage as he heard it and something in his mind went click.. 'YES!' he thought 'Now everything should go as ti should...wait a minute... what do I mean by it..? there is going to be more danger then anyone could possible dream of... why am I so happy to go ther... what's going on with me..'

Jezz, you'sa gonna need anything loaded onboard? We'sa gots the room, shy of few hundred tons...

he looked at Fon and smiled
"Nope, I have everything I need, though a few thermals would be nice"

He tried to help everyone in docking bay. A feeling of complete peace overwhelemd him and wasn't leaving him no matter what his thoughts turned to... HE knew that what they were doing was right...And this rightousness shined from him...

9 June 2003, 03:56 PM
The Event Horizon shot out from under Alayre Minor's planetary umbra into the brightness of the system's yellow main-sequence star, her solitary racing engine a healthy thum under the decplating.

"Everything look good back there?", Kiel asked Eryn.

"I'm still getting used to these boards, but everything seems pretty good, i dont think the computer likes all the extra weight all that slugthrower ammo added to your little hold though."

"Well, that is alot of weight but it'll just hafta get over it, i dont wanna get stuck out on that station with nothing but energy weapons to shoot at those things, they just seemed to soak up the blaster bolts."

Abruptly, Kiel's navicomputer pinged, the course to the station had been successfully plotted. He then took a moment to transmit a message back to the nearest Ubiqtorate base...

Imperial Security Bureau Special Agent Kiel d'Tana to Ubiqtorate High Command: Investigating suspicious reports on an undisclosed location. Reports may be a threat to imperial security. Please standby to send reinforcements on short notice. This is a priotity one assignment. Agent d'Tana out.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
27 June 2003, 04:16 PM
Ship preflight checks were done, when the dock control tower rang in over the comms, "Crimson Tortoise, an exit vector has been cleared for you. You may takeoff when ready. By the way, hope you don't mind a show of friendly escort to lead you on the way out."

"We'sa copy that Alayre Minor. We'sa good to go!" Fon replied enthusiastically. Fon began flipping a serries of switches and dials on the board, various leds now lit up and all in the green. A familiar but near silent gentle whine and rumble began to filter into the cabin...

In the engine room, all boards were showing green. With a sigh of relief, Sieanna was glad all repairs were done, especially considering some of the replaced components were slightly newer and better than the originals. First the higher pitched whine, then then a gentle rumble of the repulsorlifts ignited and came to life.

Fon's voice chimed over the comms "Sieanna, you'sa might wanna see this"

Sieanna made her way to the cockpit, taking the third seat normally reserved for captain and glanced outside the window. Sure enough, they were ascending slowly, and down below on the streets were crowds of people waving material at the sky. To her left, as well infront, was a pair of Z-95's holding in a triangular formation. With a flair of the fighters engines, they sped ahead, dispensing a glittering chaff in their wakes...

Without notice, Sieanna was pinned back into her seat, as Fon accelerated to catch up. "Fon!!!! Must we chase them?!?" Sieanna chided Fon for the dialed down inertial compensator, or was it the engines fully throttled open?

Fon cranned his head around the seat looking at her, with his silly goofy looking expresion that only a gungan could make and replied "We'sa Tortoise fly, chasing the angels!"

Sieanna managed to grin. She may be an old bird, but she's still a classy old bird, and a fiesty one at that when she wants to be...

On that note, it was a smooth ride breaking through the atmosphere, transitioning into space, and heading for the group rendevous point. From there, it'd only be a mater of syncronizing hyperspace co-ordinates before making the jump...

25 July 2003, 12:01 AM
Xion Cyzar slowly walked into the small cantina in the settlement of Anchorhead on Tatooine. He looked around, noticing the usual smugglers and bounty hunters that always hang around the cantina.
He always liked being a Jedi Knight in a cantina like this, because he could persuade anyone in the cantina to do anything with a small wave of the hand. He slowly walked to the bar, covered from head to toe in a long black cloak, with the hood over his head. A male human got up from one of the stools and walked outside, with an angry look on his face. Xion quickly took the stool and placed his arms on the bar. The bartender turned to look at him, wiping a glass with a dirty and smelly rag. The bartender was an old and fat man, with only a little white hair left on his dirty head. Xion on the other hand was a young man of 21, average height with all black clothing under his full black cloak with hood. Under the hood was a white male human, green eyes and short brown hair. He barely removed his hood,unless in battle or in front of his Masters."Well, what do you want?!" he bartender asked impatiently.
"Leave me alone old man...." was the quick response from Xion. The man grunted and turned back the other way,mumbling little things. Xion had alot of the Dark Side in him, and alot of anger. His Masters feared something terrible might happen to him. They feared he would turn to the Dark Side and grow very powerful. Xion looked around, trying to find someone to talk to,besides a dirty old bartender. He sighed heavily and got off the stool,walking to a table in the corner. He sit back and relaxed,waiting for something to do or someone to talk to. He needed a good adventure, and Tatooine was the best place to get one. He couldn't wait to get an adventure started, mainly cause he couldn't stand it much longer on this rock.

25 July 2003, 06:47 PM
Shiane Grethly couldn't get the thoughts out of her head. She wasn't sure what had caused them to start, but after two months of them every night, she was more than tired of them. Rubbing the side of her temples she walked wearily down the sandy streets of Anchorhead on the desert planet of Tatooine.

The thoughts...images...had taken a toll of Shiane's mind, and she was starting to take a grim look of things in general. Even the twin suns of the planet had begun to look odd to her, and she was certain that something was going to happen, so she wanted off the planet. Then again, she didn't know where she was going to go. If those visions she was having were correct, there wasn't any place safe in the galaxy.

As she continued along the dry, sandy street, she passed a seedy bar that normally she stayed away from. She barely gave the place a second glance, hoping that no one standing outside would notice her. She flipped her blonde, slightly stringy, medium cut hair over to the side of her face in order to cut off the vision of anyone who might be leering at her. She was young, and in not too bad of shape, so she didn't like places like bars. As she picked up her pace a bit, she moved past one of the two small windows and was nearing the entryway when suddenly she felt a pulling at her. At first, she felt odd, as if something was needling at her bothered mind, but as she tried to take another step, she found she couldn't move her foot. It was like her body had rebelled against her.

She stood in front of the doorway, not wanting to look at it or anyone who may be standing outside, instead deciding to keep her eyes directed at the sand at her feet. After what seemed like an eternity, she shuffled around until she was looking at the door. Something called to her, though she wasn't sure what it was. That something was inside of this bar.

She gave a slight shudder, barely able to grasp the thought of her even entering such a place, but before she could even think more about it, she found herself throwing her shoulders back and puffing up like she knew what she was doing....and stepping into the darker interior of the bar. Once inside, she took two brave steps and almost bumped into an alien that she had never seen before...and never wanted to see again. Shiane didn't know what, or who, she was looking for, but she figured if she saw it, she'd know.

26 July 2003, 12:27 AM
The Star Destroyer Skather sat motionlessly in space. No fighters moved in picket patrols around it. Nothing moved on the outside. Inside, however, things were quite different.

Captain Rell grasped the blaster pistol in his hand, glancing quickly at the weapon's remaining charge. Only twenty shots left. The sweat poured from Rell's forehead, dripping into his eyes in an irritating fashion. His once perfectly pressed uniform was now anything but perfect. There were tears in parts, and the sweat from his exertion had pretty much soaked it. With his free hand, he used his sleeve to wipe away the sweat that threatened to blind him again. The naval trooper nearest him finished talking to a technician and turned to Rell. "Captain, Heavy Weapons team A has failed to report as scheduled. Team B is on it's way back here to help augment our forces. Last report from the stormtroopers was almost five minutes ago and there were having quite a difficult time securing the main engineering room."

Rell didn't like what he was hearing, but he knew there was little he could do besides hold what he had left of his ship. "So we don't know whether we have the engineering room or not, is that what you're saying, trooper?"

"Yessir. No word one way or the other."

Rell nodded wordlessly at the trooper. It wasn't the man's fault, but Rell hated the fact that situations could get as bad as they had...especially aboard HIS ship!

Rell directed his attention back at the bridge blast doors, noticing once again that one half of one side had been torn open. The thick metal was twisted and bent into what looked like leaves on a tropical bush. Some was bent outwards as the "beasts" had pulled the door open, and some was pushed inwards as some of those same beasts had made it into the bridge area before being taken down. Taking them down was no easy task, either! The bodies of over a dozen naval troopers as well as half of the stormtroopers sent to the bridge littering the floor attested to the ferocity and durability of the beasts.

Beyond the 3-and-a-half foot wide hole torn in the blast doors was the empty, smoke filled hallway. Rell hoped silently that the next things to come through that hole would be the B Team of the Heavy Weapons team and not some monstrosity. Looking away from the hole, he surveyed the motley group that huddled behind the assorted bridge consoles that had been torn out and toppled over to provide a barricade for the defenders. He saw the mixed uniforms of naval troopers, technicians, bridge crew, and pitiful few stormtroopers. All told, about 30 people left. Too many had died on the bridge alone, he shuddered at the thought of how many aboard the entire Star Destroyer had died.

Suddenly, a resounding *thud* *thud* *thud* began to echo through the air, and Rell could almost feel the solid metal under his feet quiver from the impact. Something was coming, and it wasn't the Heavy Weapons B Team. The heavy steps grew nearer, and Rell saw his men all ready their weapons, aiming directly at the opening with grim determination mixed with fear on their faces. "Ready men!" he called out, even though he knew they were all more than ready. He hoped that his voice gave them some courage, even though his own was wavering.

Through the opening, two enormous clawed hands reached in, grasping either side of the ragged hole. The blasters began their fire immediately, raining a torrent of death at the two oversized, 3 clawed hands. Even with hit after hit striking the brownish-black hands, they remained, and Rell heard over the whine of the blaster fire as the blast door metal moaned in protest at the pressure they were enduring. One side of the blast door...the undamaged side... buckeled slightly, showing a bit of a bend. The blaster fire continued, and suddenly the metal of the blast door gave way with a rending sound of metal. Through the now enormous gap came a group of creatures, resembling 3 foot tall men, though moving more akin to nimble demons. Their wild red eyes glowed brightly as they bolted in. Their mouths were filled with needle like teeth and their skinny arms were tipped with sharp claws. Their bodies were slim, though covered in a tough almost plate like armor. The greenish black skin gave them the look of something from hell.

The blaster fire changed targets from the enormous claws to the quick moving demons. There were 6, moving fast, and the blaster shots that didn't hit them squarely merely glanced off of their armored skin. Rell took aim and pulled the trigger on his pistol, making each shot count. One hit, two hits, three hits to one of the creatures approaching. Square hits, and it was still coming, it's wild eyes showing that it wanted blood! More blaster shots from others near Rell hit the creature, and finally it fell, only a mere foot from the feable barricade that Rell stood behind. All of the others, however, were not stopped in time. Two made it to the barricade and with a super leap, was over and swinging their deadly claws at the troops behind. Technicians and naval troopers fell. Blaster fire turned towards the creatures in the ranks, and two stormtroopers moved to protect some of the unarmored bridge crew, firing their blasters with consistant accuracy the whole time. The two were finally brough down, but only after they had dispatched another 8 men.

The gigantic creature outside the blast door remained relatively unseen, and an odd snout, nearly three feet across protruded through the hole. From the snout, a disgusting squishing sound came, and a blob was spat out. The blob was bulbous and rough looking and when it impacted the decking it literally broke into over two dozen "pieces". These pieces each began skittering with lightning speed across the floor, looking almost like fist sized spiders. The blaster fire spat out at the little spiders, but their speed and small size, coupled with their quick darting made it difficult to hit them. When hit, the spiders turned to goo, but too many kept coming. Rell saw in horror as the first of the spiders lept over the barricade and on to his men. The spiders went right for the face or chest area, digging their legs in and immediately burying their "heads" into the victim. The men who were attacked screamed in terror and pain at the attacks, some only for a short bit as the spider buried it's head into the face of a man. Others screamed in torture as the spider burrowed into their chest. Another 6 men were lost to that attack.

It looked hopeless for Rell and his men. The blaster fire was becoming less and less from his men as they were taken out. The shape of the enormous creature still lurked outside the blast doors. Then, a change in the sound. Heavy blaster fire could be heard! An E-web! "Thank you," breathed Rell.

The Heavy Weapons team had arrived, and just in time, it seemed. The creature outside the blast doors bellowed at the onslaught, and the enormous clawed hands left the door, and a hurried *thud* *thud* resounded through the air as the heavy blasters kept firing. The monster was moving away. Captain Rell would live a while longer.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
27 July 2003, 03:30 AM
It was later that evening, when the twin suns were setting, coloring the sky ablaze, and the fromerly hot wind now an ambient breeze.

Down the dimly orange hued backalleys, a tall sandy haired wookie lumbered his way towards Anchorhead's main cantina. His name was Tenbrawhl. He wore a krayat dragon hide sash in which several pouches were affixed to at various places, as well as a ryyk blade. A small brass EMTEEDEE droid hovered behind, it's photoreceptor brightly lit.

Unfortunately, there was someone else stalking the alleyways. Someone with a reason, however none too bright of a reason, and backed by an even cockier ego inflated by an overly generous promised payment, with a small advance upfront. He was a weequaay, his name unimportant. He heard the Wookie aproach, so he ducked behind a stack of crates just around the bend.

Tenbrawhl sniffed the air as he came near the corner, though nothing revealed itself above the rot & decay. So he proceeded onwards, avoiding the rancid stench. A block further out of the way was the lesser of the two undisirable options. His droid silently followed.

The Weequay waited, but his quary did not come. The Weequay decided to investigate, to his surprise, saw the wookie trudging along past the corner. The Weequay knew he had to move quickly, and strike deadly.

Couple meters later, Tenbrawl's droid blared "Master! looko-" when Tenbrawl sidestepped, narrowly dodging a vibroblade to his backside! Half turning, Tenbrawl saw his attacker, and swung one of his powerful arms in a backlash at the weequay, effectively like swatting a fly. The vibroblade was knocked out of the attacker's hands, as the owner was sent unto the duracrete building wall.

The Weequay recovered, but not fast enough to evade another swat from the angered howling wookie, being sent to the other side of the alleyway. Crunch. Bash---thump, the Wookie bludgeoned the weequay with both clenched fists sending the weequay several meters into the air and backwards. The Weequay, realizing the error of his ways tried to escape, however at a pitiful painful crawl. The Wookie dauntingly, stalked him for the next several paces, like a hunter closing in on wounded prey.

Tenbrawhl tired of the game, bent down and hoisted up the mostly limp weequay to eye-level by it's neck and queried him with a serries of growls. His droid was prompt on the translation: "Who do you work for?"

The droid, EMTEEDEE also added in with usual prissyness: "Sir, for your survival, I do suggest you answer my master. He can get quite violent at times. Heavens knows which limbs he'll start ripping off-"

Tenbrawhl: Growl!

Weequay: -Urk-hhhh-

EMTEEDEE: "Sorry master, I do get carried away at times. Oh look! he's trying to answer! I'm so-!" the droid beemed happily before getting cut-off again

Weequay: "Urk-soooolllll......." and the weequay went totally limp.

EMTEEDEE: "Oh my..." the droid sounded grievely

Tenbrawhl fiercely shook the weequay, but to no avail. But not all was lost, he managed to hear just enough to make out a name, a name who was his last query for his previous employer. Chuckling to himself, with his other free hand, he searched the pockets of the weequay. Finding only a cred chip with a meager value on it, and a powercell, he dropped the weequay near the wall, where it sagged down. Fortunately, many unlucky individuals were found like this, and often go unoticed by the public.

Satisfied that the cred chip was at least good for a meal and a few drinks, he found and picked up the vibroblade, stashed it in one of his pouches and resumed heading towards the cantina. He had little expectations for certain individuals to show up as promised. He knew he'd be able to find more employment one way or another...

Some aprox 20minutes later, Tenbrawhl entered the cantina, with his small brass colored droid close behind...

27 July 2003, 11:45 AM
Xion sat at his table watching people come in the door. He had been sitting for a while when a female human came through the door. Xion noticed she was acting strangely as he saw her take two steps and bump into and alien. He leaned up from his relaxed position and watched her, to see what she was doing. "Must not like cantinas..." Xion whispered to himself,smirking. "Mabye I should make her feel at home...." he whispered again, getting up from his table in the corner. He slowly walked over to her, his face completely hidden by the shadow of the cloak's hood. Before he got to her, a Wookie came through the door. Xion looked at the Wookie closely and continued his walk to the woman. He walked right up beside her, smiling, but ofcourse no one could see the smile under the shadows. She looked as if she was looking for something, or someone. "Looking for something?" Xion asked her, still smiling.

27 July 2003, 11:59 AM
Shiane nearly jumped when the cloaked stranger approached and spoke to her. Her eyes glanced around the bar, as she was feeling suddenly very conspicuous. Her mouth opened to speak, but only a slight squeak escaped. She closed her mouth and cleared her throat, trying to recover and sound like she knew what she was doing. "Something....no. Someone, maybe. I'm looking for someone who's got a ship. Do you?"

Shiane stepped by the cloaked stranger, moving further into the bar, still looking about as she did. Thankfully, the empty seat of a nearby booth beckoned to her, as she wasn't sure her legs would remain steady enough to stand too much longer. She slid into the booth and looked to the cloaked stranger to see if he would follow. Her eyes shifted to look at the enormous, furry shape of the the wookie as it made it's way into the bar. She knew of those creatures, but was surprised to see one in person. Her eyes went back to the cloaked stranger, waiting to see if he'd be able to help her.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
27 July 2003, 01:49 PM
Tenbrawhl strode through the cantina, looking for certains persons. Not finding them, and slightly put off, he made his way to the bar. Tapping a fist on the bar, letting out a subtle roar to get the barkeep's attention.
"Dewback ribs - double order - rare. 1 pitcher of cold water" the EMTEEDEE droid promptly tranlated.

barkeep: "Jeeze, big spender tonight huh? lemme see the creds..." and the wookie pulled out a cred chip with sufficient value, lifted from the weequay earlier. "Alright, I'll get you your water, it'll take a while for the ribs"

A few minutes later, the barkeep brought a pitcher of water. Tenbrawhl sampled it, then roared at the barkeep, loud enough to make several customers to step away from near the wookie "The water is warm! get cold or else..." The droid interpreted with anoyance.

The barkeep threw up his hands "Alright! but it'll cost you extra" ignoring another roar, "You drank from it! I cant serve it to another customer!"

Tenbrawhl stood up, pounded the bar counter, letting out another peeved roar, not caring if he scared half the cantina's patrons to start vacating the place. "You will replace with no charge or else...." EMTD translated once again

EMTD also added with arrogence: "Upsetting a hungry wookie is rather unadvisable sir, let alone swindle. Theres no telling what he might do to this rather fine establishment. It's probably cheaper to give what Tenbrawhl requested..."

Barkeep resigned: "Alright alright! no charge! just stop scarring away the other paying patrons!" with that, the barkeep went to replace the pitcher of water...

Tenbrawhl gruffed with satisfaction and sat down again. Looking around and tapped his retracted claws on the counter...

27 July 2003, 11:00 PM
Xion smirked as she brushed past him, heading toward the booth. But Xion didn't walk over just yet, he put his hand up in the air as a sign to the woman saying "Hold on, be right there." He was watching the Wookie howl and complain to the barkeep. Xion laughed lowly to himself and smiled. He loved Wookies, everything about them. Their strength, their honor and pride, companionship. He could go on with the reasons.
He watched him for a while before going to the booth. Still smiling to himself, he sat down. "A ship? Nope. Don't have one. Well, one that I could take you along in. I prefer the trusty old X-Wing. Don't have enough time to deliver people around the galaxy..." He slowly removed his hood, showing a long Jedi braid and his short brown hair. He smiled,watching the Wookie again..............

28 July 2003, 10:32 PM
Xion slowly looked back to the girl. "But, on second thought...." He looked around the bar once again. "I do want to get off of this rock... Nasty little place,don't you think? We could look for a ship, if you like. The truth is , I have grown tired of my 'trusty OLD X-Wing.' It is in very bad condition. But, those stories are not important. I could try to sell my X-Wing to one of the junk dealers around here, and mabye find a good ship. If that is at all possible on this rock.... If you haven't noticed, I hate this place....." He turned back to look again at the people, smiling at the Wookie, grunting at all the nasty bums.

28 July 2003, 10:53 PM
Shiane looked at the man, noticing his fairly youthful, yet strangely peculiar appearance. Something was odd about this man, yet something else pulled at her, telling her to trust her feelings. "An X-wing definitely won't do for transport. Do you have any experience dealing with trouble? Something is coming that's bigger than any of us individually, and I need help finding people that can help."

Her attention was directed away from the man at the table and directed at the wookie as a small fiasco was made over what appeared to be a pitcher of water. Absently, she nodded towards the wookie, speaking to the man at the table, "Someone like that wookie would be good to have along. We'll need size and strength, as well as skill."

She looked back at the man, her eyes almost piercing into his as she spoke in a low tone, "I feel a darkness spreading. Unless we can find special mineral on a planet, that darkness will envelope planet after planet, system after system, until every last inhabited place is gone."

She leaned back against the bench seat she sat in and breathed a deep breathe, as if trying to push thoughts from her head so she could continue. "Will you be able to procure transport soon, and do you have money for provisions?"

30 July 2003, 04:57 PM
Xion nodded slowly taking it all in. "Plenty of experience." He looked over to the Wookie and smiled, then turned back to her. "I can take care of everything we need, I can get the ship and everything." He stood up from the booth and turned to her. "Stay here and get more people...if this thing is as big as you say it is, we will need more.." He turned and started walking,pulling his hood over his head. He suddenly stopped and walked back to the booth. He looked directly at the woman, sternly and seriously. "I really don't get this... darkness spreading, a special mineral? How do you know about all this stuff. Tell me its not a vision..." He narrowed his eyes, hand on the table, and waited for a response.

30 July 2003, 08:17 PM
The Event Horizon's proximity alert pinged, and Kiel d'Tana gently pressed forward the sleek dual hyperdrive lever of the modified Skipray, now sounding smooth as ever after the Alayre Minor techs revamped her power grid after that intense battle with the pirates.

Slowly, the mottle blue spiral of hyperspace resolved itself into long white starlines, and from there, into individual pinpricks of light, Alayre Minor's yellow-white primary among them, a tiny glowing speck, at the Horizon's tail. In front of the sleek patrol/attack craft was a site that. if not for the horror it attested to, might have been peaceful.

Kiel gazed out of the cockpit of his ship at the blue-green planet that rotated lazily before him. Off to starboard, there was a boxy, dark grey space station in a regular, controlled orbit about the planet. Normally, Kiel knew, this station would have any number of ships flying in, out, and around it. Now though, it was dead, a ghost station, without even running lights to signify life.

But there was life on that station. More than Kiel would have liked to admit. Even more than he realized. After a moment to check his boards, just to ensure that the Horizon was running at one-hundred percent efficiency, he returned his stare to the station.

Eyeing the sqarish construct uneasily, he reluctantly keyed in his sublight drives and cruised in toward the station, not bothering to hail it with his comm.

They were already waiting for him.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
22 August 2003, 10:57 PM
The order of dewback ribs came, semed to take slower than usual even when on a busier night, as tonight seemingly was becoming.

Tenbrawl grabbed his order then went off to find an open booth. It took mere moments to find one, opposite side of the cantina. Halfway there, a pair of drunken Gammoreans lumbered right into Tenbrawhl, nearly bowling him over.

The rare cooked ribs on the tray was sent flying one direction, and the fresh ice cold sweating pitcher of water toppled off to the side, into the occupied booth!

In a flash of wookie rage, Tenbrawhl used his great strength to send the drunken pigs rolling back from where they came from... Then went looking where the ribs went, groaning in annoyance the whole time...

the MTD droid once again sprang to his secondary duty of protocol, as was his larger CP0 bretheren known for, and hoverd over,
"Oh My! My most humble apologies Sir and Madam! This establishment can get quite unruly this time of evenings. Oh!" the MTD exclaimed, "Where are my manners? I am mini protocol translater unit Tweedle, And I apologize for my master, Tenbrawhl, in which tonight is not faring well for him tonight I'm afraid... When he calms down after his meal once he finds it, i'm sure he'll kindly compensate you for your soaked garments... or at least I can try to convince him..."

26 August 2006, 03:51 PM
Shiane blinked, momentarily speechless at the man's question. "Y-Yes...a vision. More like a dream. A nightmare."
Xion eyed her a moment, then turned his attention to the big Wookiee. "We may yet need some assistance from someone like him."

With that, he held up his hand, motioning for her to stay where she was, and he moved off towards where the Wookie was finally settling down to enjoy his dewback ribs. Xion moved next to the Wookiee and began talking quietly with him, not getting too close so as not to offend the Wookiee anymore than it already seemed to be. After a dozen minutes, during which time Shiane continually glanced around the room, surveying everyone in it. She looked back over to the man in robes and noticed the Wookiee nodding in approval. Xion nodded with a slight bow and turned back towards her, a barely visible smile on his face. As he neared her he spoke in a confident, yet even tone. "Now we must find ourselves a way off of this planet. Do you, pray tell, know where we must go?"

Shiane looked at the man, then quickly over to the Wookiee who was still eating. Would two additional be enough? Enough for what? Certainly not what she saw in her nightmares. For what they had to do, though, two would be a start. With a twitch, she looked back at the cloaked man. Gulping down the lump that was forming in her throat, hoping that her courage would outlast her time in this place. "I don't even know your name."

Xion closed his eyes and took a breath. "Xion Cyzar. And you are?"

"Shiane..." she stopped, struggling with her inner self that screamed at her to remain isolated for fear that the evil would find those she knew and consume them. "....yes, Shiane. Did you get the Wookiee's name?"

Xion nodded. "Tenbrawhl is his name. If you don't speak his language, he has a translator droid that will speak for him."

Shiane nodded briskly and strained a quick smile. "Okay."

Xion raised his hood again, and turned, away from her. "Try to find others that will help, including a pilot. I will acquire some supplies."
With that, he was gone, moving quickly enough that he appeared to float above the floor, he robes furling around him as he moved. Shiane quickly looked around, suddenly afraid of being in the cantina by herself.
Even though the Wookiee...Tenbrawhl was his name...had supposedly joined up, she still felt alone in this place, even though there were over a dozen other aliens in the establishment. The lights seemed to dim around her, and she could feel the darkness, getting closer, growing in strength. She knew something was wrong. She didn't know where, but she thought she knew where to go. Again, though, she needed a ship, and not just an X-Wing. She would need a freighter to transport her and her friends. No, not friends. She didn't want friends. Her fellow survivors against the darkness.
Though she desperately wanted to leave the cantina, afraid that at any moment some strange alien would take offense at her and blow her face off with a blaster, there was something that kept her here. It felt like unfinished business, but she couldn't, for the life of her, figure out what that business was. So she sighed, her hands fidgeting on the table in front of her, her eyes darting around the room, trying to find that
one thing that she needed to do before getting out of this god-foresaken place.

27 August 2006, 09:40 AM
Fon sat nonchalantly in the captain's chair of the Crimson Tortoise, casually watching the bluish swirl of hyperspace as the ship cruised towards it's destination. Right now, the waiting was rather peaceful, even though he knew that would likely changed when they got to the station. He wasn't too awful worried about it, though. He knew his crew would handle themselves well, like they always had. Glancing down at the estimated arrival time, he felt a shimmy work through the Tortoise. Looking curiously at the other controls, he punched the comm button to the engineering section. "Sienna, is yousa tinkerin' wit da engines why'll weesa moving again?"

Before she could respond, the ship bucked violently. Were it not for the fact that Fon was seated, he would have been tossed about like a salad. He grabbed the controls, yelling out a "Yipes!" as the proximity warning light for the hyperdrive flashed and the Crimson Tortoise dropped from hyperspace. Visible outside the viewport, a half dozen large asteroids hung nearly motionless in space, forming a nice pocket that would catch any unsuspecting ships passing along the lane. Knowing right away that is was likely pirates that had moved the asteroids there, Fon immediately started scanning the area. "Arthor, raisa theesa shields!"

As he pulled the Tortoise to the left, trying to bank away from the hyperspace barricade, he saw the ship that had set the trap, and a large lump formed in his throat. It was an Imperial Star Destroyer. "Oh....Meesa thinkin' weesa in trouble."

"What's going on up there?" came the irritated voice of Sienna over the comlink.

"Theresa a Star Destoyer up here!" shouted Fon. "We needa much power NOW!"

"Star Destroyer?!" exclaimed Sienna. "What do they want?"

"Meesa not sticking around to find out!" said Fon, watching as the Star Destroyer moved in with deceptive speed towards the Tortoise.

Fon winced as green bolts lept from multiple points on the Star Destroyer. The shots, thankfully, were inaccurate, streaking by the
Tortoise as it finished it's turn and began bobbing and weaving, trying to open the distance between itself and the big ship.
Turbolaser bolts flashed around the diplomatic cruiser, causing the craft to buck as the compensators suffered surges of power from the blasts. The comlink came alive again, and Fon heard the chittering of the twins. "Yes! Get to theesa guns! Weesa need all the help weesa can get. Jez, yousa too!"

A shot from the Star Destroyer impacted the rear of the Crimson Tortoise, shoving the craft forward, collapsing the rear shields and
causing damage klaxons to begin their annoying chatter. Damage lights began to flicker on the control board in front of Fon. They couldn't stand another hit from that angle. The banked the Tortoise to the right, giving a fresh shield to help absorb any other shots. Unfortunately that one shot had reduced the Tortoise's speed. At the rate the Star Destroyer was gaining, it would be on them in only a minute or two. Reversing his turn, he pulled hard left, and turned back towards the asteroids. If he couldn't outrun the big ship, maybe he could outfly it, using the asteroids as cover so he wouldn't get his tail shot off.

Weapon's fire began to leap from the turrets on the Tortoise as the twins, Nuuti and Zuuti, opened fire. An excited chattering did
little to help Fon, "Meesa no care if it does not have eetsa shields up!"

More turbolasers burst around the Tortoise as he moved the ship as quickly as he could to the cover of the asteroids. The ship bucked
and shook as shots from the turrets streaked back and tore into the front of the Star Destroyer. The behemoth still lumbered towards the slower Tortoise. The asteroids grew larger and larger in the viewport as Fon maneuvered the ship as best he could to avoid catching another shot in the backside. As the Crimson Tortoise began to bank around the first, large asteroid, he noticed something on the surface of the rock. It looked like a spider, although substantially larger. Its body was dark, and it had ten grotesque looking legs protruding out of a multi segmented body. Its head was wide and flat, and half a dozen green eyes glared menacingly at the Tortoise as it moved by, a mere 60 meters from the surface. From its fourth body segment, the tail, a barb and cable was flung out towards the ship. Like a missle with a streamer, the barb just missed the Tortoise.

Fon puzzled as to what the thing was, then realized there were more of those things on the rocks. More barbs and streamers arced out from the surface of the asteroid. With a sharp *tang*, one of them made contact with the ship. Fon shook his head not wanting any strange thing sticking to his ship, and banked to the left around the next large asteroid. There were more of the strange creatures on this asteroid as well. More barbs were flung from the creature's tails, and two more sharp bangs indicated his ship had been hit twice more. He toggled the comlink. "Weesa maybe gonna be having some bombadda meanies
coming. Get ready to shootza them!"

Sienna, in the engineering section, frowned and growled. She had just got this ship back into some semblence of order, now there was Imperials shooting it up and some unknowns that were going to be coming aboard. Snapping up the spare blaster she kept strapped to the wall near the door, she slapped the comlink, "I'm on it! Jez, meet me at the port side airlock. Bring some heavy firepower!"

27 August 2006, 01:52 PM
"I'm on it! Jez, meet me at the port side airlock. Bring some heavy firepower!"

Jez punched the comm without a second of delay
"I'm coming dear. As fast as I can..."
He checked if his trusty DL-44 was fully charged and hoped that this new upgrade would give more power as it should and not destroy the whole gun. He ran towards the airlock when the ship was shaken by some outside force. He tumbled to the floor only to get up and sprint even faster. He knew they haven't much time to act. Just around the bend he saw the angelic shape of Sienna disappearing round the corner. He took another few steps and almost caught up with her.

Suddenly Jez head ached throwing him to his knees. He was holding his head with both arms screaming as through the mist he noticed that one of the barb stingers pierced the hull of the ship and to his horror he saw the dropping body of Sienna. Ignoring the pain he ran towards her just to catch her limp body before it hit the floor. "Don't say anything..." he said as he tried to drag her into the only safe place he noticed - the escape pod. Suddenly all of the alarms started to go crazy and Jez became aware that they were being drawn towards the asteroid. The Tortoise deeply damaged was bleeding fuel and his heavily dentured body looked like a damaged toy ship which some rich kid threw out of the highest levels of Coruscant. Jez reached the comm "Fon!, Anyone! Get out of the ship!!! NOW!!! We can't save it so save yourself!!! I have Sienna!!"

He quickly jumped into the pod only to see another barb piercing the hull from the opposite side of the ship. Through the opening he saw that one of the creatures already attached itself to the Tortoise and was trying to widen the hole so that it could get inside. He fired in the general direction of the spider even hitting it once but alas without any noticeable results. "They will tore the whole ship apart" thought Jez as he punched the pod’s release button. The thruster engaged and the pod was rocked by the starting explosion. Jez looked at Sienna smiling his #20 (we-made-it smile) and suddenly he knew that what he saw was exactly the opposite of what he wanted to see. Her body looked like a puppet with cut strings laying on the floor. Her lifeless eyes looked at him accusingly - why couldn't he be faster. Why couldn't he saved her in time. Why?...
He looked from one of the small bull-eyed windows of the pad only to see the last seconds of his ship...Several of the creatures tearing it’s way inside. Although he wasn't there long he thought of the crew of Tortoise as his new family. One he never had. One he never remembered. And now they're dead... Anger boiled in him. Why must it happen?.. Why he?... Is it not enough to rob him of his past... must the cruel fate rob him of his present!!!

The pod flew passing the last asteroid also inhabited by those strange spidery things. Some of them fired the barbs at the pod but due to its small size they missed. Jez looked at the creatures with great anger vowing to deliver any justice.. not justice - Vengeance.

And then one last small asteroid, he was passing, turned to reveal the hated creature just mere meters from the pod. The spidery eyes calculated the attack - cold malice shining from them. Jez saw the barb flying straight towards his face - or at least so it seemed. The anger filled his whole body and suddenly he couldn't control himself. Convulsions have overtaken him and small lightning arches formed between his fingers - they jumped forth and back between his arms and the rest of the body – and grew to surround him in a glowing halo. His mind was blind filled only with the pictures of the destruction and death of those he started to care about. Fon, Sienna, Jawas, even the ship, then another sights filled his tortured mind - death of a woman on the hands of lightsaber wielding individual. Death of a man killed by a swoop gang. Another woman strangled by a green rodian fingers. And another death and another - he witnessed tens of deaths and each of them hurt him deeply as if he witnesses them personally or even took part in them. Suddenly his body gave in and he lost consciousness.

The pod was still flying away.

And on the rocky asteroid lay the remainder of the spidery body as if it exploded from within... A few small lightnings still surging through the dead body...

28 August 2006, 12:42 PM
Marek Reens flopped heavily into the padded lounge chair of the upper class "cantina". It was hardly like many of the cantinas he'd been in before. Here, the food was good, the music decent, the waitresses actually pretty, and the furniture comfortable. Closing his eyes, he let out a sigh of frustration.

He had figured that when he put in that request for quarantine of Ailabo's Liftoff, the results would be rapid. What had happened was the petition had gotten bogged down in bureaucratic red tape. Rubbing his hand across his face, he tried to wipe the image of the....monsters.. he had seen from his mind.

As he said, his head facing the ceiling, hand over his eyes, a waitress came up to him. She waited a moment and when he didn't notice her, she spoke up, "Can I get something to make the thoughts go away?"

Marek looked from underneath his hand at the voice, noticing the slim, attractive build of the humanoid before him. The tray in her hand gave away the fact that she was a waitress. "Uh....Something light. As much as I'd like to forget, I've got a meeting later tonight."

She gave him a wink as she turned, "Sure thing, hon."

Marek watched her go, giving a eye clearing blink as his eyes began to dry out from staring. "Yeah...."

The last word he had gotten was that an "official" representative would arrive from the Empire to assess the petition for quarantine. Petition. Assess. The fools didn't know what they were doing. Word needed to get out about that station sooner rather than later. If others showed up there, who knows how many people would die. So....tonight....against Marek's better judgement, he had agreed to meet with the Deputy Governor and the Imperial "special" assessor, to get them to see the light. He didn't know what he would say that would be any different than what he had already told them. Somehow, though, he needed to come up with a convincing arguement.

As the waitress came back with his drink, he thanked her and tossed an extra few credits her way. Might as well....the last trip had been a complete waste for income, and with the repairs he needed to do to his ship from those monsters, what was a few extra credits, especially to a pretty gal.

Leaning forward on the high gloss, black table, he took a quick drink from the tall glass of florescent red liquid. It has a quick bite, followed by a nice, warm slide down the throat. He smacked his lips from the flavor, looking at the glass. "Not bad..." he murmured.

From the nearby vid display, he overheard a Holonet Newscast break in, the announcer relaying something that sounded oh-so-urgent. Marek normally didn't pay those much attention. Most of it was Imperial propaganda or mindless drivel. It wasn't until he heard a system...Jasprick...that he directed his attention to the screen 30 feet away. The scene cut to a Holonet news reporter, the hovercams floating nearby and local law enforcement officials in the background appeared to be shooting at something in the darkness of the night. <...this time...unable to determine what they are, but there are reports of massive civilian casualties...authorities requesting advanced security forces from Imperial Authorities. Whatever these things are they're.......eliminate. Gyren Teth, Holonet News.>

Marek closed his eyes. Jasprick was a colony world...and an entire hyper jump from the Honoosch system. Those "things" must have gotten off the station. Taking another swig from the glass, feeling the warmth slide down his throat, Marek decided he would DEMAND the station be quarantined. Yes, indeed, that's what he'd do!

Uron Teff
28 August 2006, 04:11 PM
"Well it was like one these typical rainy nights on Szarda Prime, and I still had no assignment. Hanging over my twenty fifth cigarette in the last three hours didn't make be feel slightly better. I had my feet suited in my worn-off boots place upon the desk while my eyes were looking throughout the open window into this dark and wet Saturday night.

"Lighting my twenty sixth cigarette the sound of a women wearing high heels walking down the street caught my attention. Although the chance were insignificant that she was heading for my place, I had the feeling that I would either ruin a marriage or that I finally would get job. In the end, either choices were fine to me.

"As the noises from her steps faded on the sidewalk, desperation hit me harder than ever - at least if you call twenty four hours without sleep an eternity. My mind returned to the state where you think androlarian asperin could do any good. But sadly, I had eaten the last two three hours ago.

"I closed my eyes to settle my mind and to find rest from a long boring day between squished Huibaran noodles and cheap Mardian beer, as a again my senses were more alert than my mind. Although my movements weren't entirely controlled by my subconciousness, I would say that it was rather a reflex than a self-concious act. My hand had moved into the drawer at the right side of the desk and had pushed it open. I was staring now, not quite sure what to do, at the barrel of the 67-rT4 Czerka Devastator. I never figured out why they gave this moderate weapon such an intimidating name, I thought by myself gripping the handle.

"Once again, before my conciousness could process the input from my senses my body reacted. My hand with the pistol in it, flew into the air as the door to my office was opened. I would have been ready to fire, but thanks the deities I hesitated. If this affected by the influence of some ancient Force or by my badly shaking hand, I don't know.

"The pouring wet, young gal infront of me was close to an heart attack as she saw me handling the gun. With a nimble movement of my palm I fliped the weapon over, so that the barrel pointed at my desk. With a short 'I'm sorry... I convinced her that this was more an accident and that I would not mean her any harm. My left and free hand pointed at the single chair standing in front of my desk while I laid the pistol back into the drawer only to shut it fast.

"Her sobbing voice underlined the impression I first got from her appearance, although a part inside of me still thought that it was only rain running down her cheek and that she only had a cold. But nonetheless I wasn't entirely wrong about her and the purpose of entering my office.
'Are you Francis Locke?' she asked trying to find her voice again.
I only nodded as reply, trying not to make cunning remarks about the tag on my desk and the sign on my door.
'I need your help. My man was a technician at an Imperial Facility. she began her story.
'Well that's not that unusual these days' I answered only to be coursing myself for not shutting my mouth.
'Yes, you're right, it is not that uncommon. But still,', she sighted slightly before continuing, 'my husband has contacted me in weeks.'
'And now you want me to find him? I concluded. After a short arwward pause I continued. 'He might have chosen to leave you and get someone else. Are you sure that you want to know?'
She took a deep breath as she would reply instantly but then her view shifted away from me, through the window, outside into the night. Before she again lost her voice due to her crying she answered my question. 'I cannot stand the uncertainity. I need to know.

Uron Teff
29 August 2006, 03:52 PM
"After a few calculations and the simple assumtion that this job wouldn't take longer as one week, I could name two thousand credits as a charge for this case. Her through the crying swolen, but still beautiful face showed a short indication of loveliness as a short smile enlightened her appearance before she turned and left my office.
There I was again, employed by a desperate housewife with too much fantasy and with a man lacking all respect of her. For a short moment my mind pictured me running after her, down the stairs... Then this moment was gone. My emberacement of this thought was quick covered with questions according this case. Where should I begin? Where will it take me?, and the most agitating question of all, What will it cost me?, troubled my mind.

"As split second later I had my hand opon the communicator on my desk, pushing a button to dial a preprogrammed number. While the silence between the ringing noise of the com seemed to last forever I ordered the information Mrs. Dilverson - Megan - gave me. The information weren't enough to grant me a general overview about her husband's life but still I was quite able to draw conclusions from mere signs or evidences. And at least this would be all I had to do to be paid. My job was only to present evidences and to make some assumptions, nothing more nothing less.

"As the seconds passed and I still had not answer from the end of the line I tried to focus upon the facts that could help me to find Mr. Dilverson. His name and profession could provide me informations about his current where-abouts with the utmost probability. The information on is profession though, according to his wife, was classified. Only the general term for his employment status was named by her - technician. I would have to research this later...

"My thought were interrupted by deep voice at the other end. 'Hello?', the voice announced and then faded again to silence. Only a deep breath, possibly from inhaling cigarette smoke, were audible from the other end of the line. After shortly considering how to reply I chose to make it the traditional Szardarian way.
'Hey, it me.'
After a slight pause the voice answered more indignant than I had expected in a harsh way.
'What do you want, Locke?'
'Well, I am here in some sort of situation and basically I thought you might help me.', I said aware of my current reputation on Szarda Prime.
'After what you pulled last time, you really think that I will help you, Locke?', the voice very close to anger, I assumed.
'Hm...', I sighted audible, realizing that the dialogue had moved far from what I had imagined. 'Well simply think about about any number between one and five and add to zeros to it. Can you imagine what I am talking about?', I asked realizing the one quarter of my share was lost forever.
A short answer was transmitted through the ether in return of my question. '1 grand.' And even before noticing it I had replied.
'750, and this is my final offer. Take the money and find what I want or leave it and be 750 worse off.'
The mind of my counterpart at the other end of the com was evaluading the current situation - and I could almost hear how the small gears were spinning and interlocked and interwined to get the machine going.
'We have a deal, you old scoundrel.' the voice replied after another minute of consideration.
'You will get you money as soon as I got information about a male human named Stuart Dilverson. Working as a technician for the Empire.'
A slight sight was carried over from the voice, followed by fingers running over a keypad. Five minutes, 1.5 credits and a couple of Hms, Ahs and Nos later my information broker finally arose his voice to give me a sadisfying answer and tons of details on my target.
'Well, most of the information is restricted. But I found his home address.'
'You know what, Dutch?', I asked angered and upset for blowing 750 wingwags for something I could have looked up in the lime-green pages, 'I don't need his home address, because he is missing.'
'Well I figured that. But there is nothing in the files I can access. Not even the name of an Imperial company he should be working for, nothing. Only home address and the destination of his last holidays.'

My mood was setting the longer this whole conversation lasted. It was senseless to try an approach from this side. The Empire - at least that was what I assumed - had erased its track well. I turned with my chair to look outside the window, down on the street, into the night, as my view got caught by the huge advertisement board across the street. Smoke Grand&Goer and win an experiencing holiday trip to Martora VII the board said. At first my thoughts circulated the inpulse to get a cigarette in my mouth. But then other synapses in my brain interlinked and suddenly a thought occured.

'Dutch, are you still there?', I asked quickly, hasting to continue the conversation to not loose the thought of mine.
'Sure,', the deep voice from the other end replied a quite amazed sound, 'I thought you finally died from age. Too bad.' Rattling caughes were carried through the ether and transformed into laughter seconds later.

I chose to ignore the last comment and continued the to follow the idea I had. 'Dutch, what was the name of the planet of Mr. Dilverson's last "vacation"?'
After another few seconds of silence followed by the hasty sound of fingers touching keys on a keyboard my informant named a single planet. 'Sar'uk II, in the...'
'I know where Sar'uk is,' I intervened, 'and thanks for your help, Dutch. The money will be on your account within the next two days.'
Before the deep voice could ask or even say good-bye, I ended the communication. Within a second I was on my feet packing the most essential equipment I would need on my short trip to Sar'uk.

29 August 2006, 08:39 PM
As the throaty engines of the Event Horizon pushed through a flyby of the station, the sensors picked up nothing…

…nothing except for life readings…a lot of life readings.

As he tapped at the navcomputer, Kiel eyed the gray metal box uncertainly. He didn’t know what exactly was inside, but he knew enough. He just hoped that the ordnance he’d had onboard, combined with the slugthrower weaponry from the Alayrians would be enough.

Weapons and shields hot, Keil eased his ship down to an open docking bay…well away from the one that had been…chewed…by something.

Or someone, a nasty, sarcastic part of the agent’s mind opined.

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Keil moved in toward the dark bay, flipping on the landing lights, and the spotbeam floodlight, which he sweeped across the entire bay, ensuring that they were alone. The pure white beam swept right…left…then back—and stopped, Kiel having spotted some movement from the corner of his eye.

“Get to the turret”, Kiel instructed Eryn, goosing the engines and putting distance between himself and the station, as the sensors identified bandits coming hard from astern. Glancing at the lifeform scanners on a hunch, Kiel noted with uneasy dismay that the bandits were very much living creatures, thriving and attacking in hard vacuum. Tired of running, he put his ship into a tight arc and angled back for the creatures.

Suddenly, a proximity alert pinged and Kiel watched in amazement as a barb-tipped cable shot across the nose of his ship, missing her by scant meters.

What the?

Finally getting a visual on the things as he completed his turn, he saw a trio of spiderlike abominations headed for him, the center one being the source of the ‘cable’. In anger, he turned on his targetting computer…which prompty failed. Without an energy signature, the targeter came up totally blank. Thus Kiel slapped the toggle with a disgusted look and lined up a visual for his main guns as the targeting computer slid back into its recess.

Almost…al…most…now!, Kiel tapped the firing stud with the timing and precision he’d forged through years of flying this ship. An ordinary pilot would have fired too fast and blown out the capacitors, which weren’t designed to deal with the power demands of a pair of turbolasers…even extremely downsized ones. A pair of green bolts leaped out from the wings of the Horizon and caught the spider-thing dead center, turning it into a pile of floating ash and still-twitching legparts.

This seemed to convince the others that the unfamiliar hunk of metal was more than a match for them, and they disappeared to the other side of the station, and off of sensors.

“What were those?!”, Eryn called nervously over the intercom. Though the turret capacitors hadn’t had a chance to charge thoroughly, she’d still seen the events through the turret viewport.

“I’m not sure, but it’s a safe bet they originated from in there.”

Cruising back to the bay he’d selected, Kiel again tried to enter the landing bay, this time successfully.

As the Skipray closed down its sublight engines in favor of repulsors, an exceedingly ugly mutant-thing was spotted, charging out of a nearby man-door. The ugly thing resembled some sort of aquatic reptile, with a toothy, slime-covered snout on one end of its bone-plated, three meter long body, and a set of wicked-looking spikes on the other. The thing moved with deceptive speed toward the Horizon, and Kiel almost instinctively pulled up, nearly ramming the bay ceiling. Luckily, for all its ugly apearance and speed, it wasn’t much of a jumper, snapping at the air directly under the Skipray’s port forward landing strut. This gave Kiel inspiration.

Lowering his ship slowly, he got within about a meter of the creature’s angrily snapping jaws, then hailed Eryn on the comm, “Strap in! The landing promises to be a rough one.”

Giving her a moment to secure herself, Kiel eyes a viewscreen readout from a ventral camera…good….stay right….there…

A moment later, and Kiel killed nearly all power to the repulsors, maintaining just enough lift to keep his ship form hurting herself.


The landing struts of the ship crashed to the deckplates hard, even buckling a few of the plates near the rear portion of the ship, the heaviest part, as it contained the souped up engine. Viewing the camera, Kiel smiled in satisfaction, the man-creature thing lay, head beneath his landing gear, squirming slightly.

So far, both of his attacks had proven successful enough, though the hardest part was yet to come.

30 August 2006, 05:02 AM
Kaz Talon yawned and didn't bother to even try covering it. He blinked his eyes at the planet below and struggled to remember what the hell brought him out here in the first place. Something about, something about a map he had to make. But there were so many, so many diagrams and charts and maps and reports and this and that and stuff it was hard to remember which one. He yawned again, then absently mindedly started to rummage around in his duffel bag. He slid his fingers around something familiar, and pulled it up. He went to press a button on the screen, when he realized it was a can of yomaato soup. Frowning, he tossed the can over his shoulder, ignored the clunk it made against the metal, and actually found his datapad.

"Hey, watch what you're throwing!" the pilot shouted. "Don't you have respect for other people's ships?" The Duros growled, but when Kaz remained silent, he turned back to his console. Another yawn made him groan. "Will you knock that off? They're contagious."

"So's stupidity. Haven't picked that up yet." He tapped a button on the datapad's screen and watched as words starting to flow. <b>Galactic Map Systems Inc., Order 87743-A2: Alayre Minor</b>... There was more underneath, something about tugging on a rope and quarantining some space stations. Crazy coincidences, odd and probably nonexistent connections. No doubt the company felt they might have to change their starmaps again to suit their always finicky customers. The Empire always had to ××××× about a star being off by one billionth of a parsec or a moon having two less kilometers to its diameter than it really did. The Rebellion didn't complain as much, though since they rarely paid up, management had enacted policy that pretty much forbid dealings with them. There were more than enough sympathizers, though, to make the rule largely unenforceable. Good thing the Empire was too busy cleaning up some mess in the Outer Rim. What was the name of that planet? Endor? He wished he could have seen it. It was so far out there to be practically in Wild Space. He wished he could get out far, out to where no maps existed. Then he could actually make something new, instead of just changing old crap that got obsolete according to the whims of a few idiots nibbling on data styluses. He sighed. Life sucked.

"So, what kind of business do you have on this rock anyways?" the pilot asked, not really that interested.

"Oh, some stupid planet detailing to do, that's all," Kaz answered. A fourth yawn escaped past his lips. "It's really exciting."

"What kind of detailing?"

"Eliminating spacer myths, that's all. Aren't we going to land yet?"

"Just hang on. We're almost there."

Kaz was thankful that the pilot had finally touched down. He jogged out of the ship, duffel bag slung over one arm, slid his ID card through the customs checkpoint, and then was walking around in--downtown Alayre Minor City? Hell, where was he supposed to go? Something about a city hall and a governor to talk to. Or was it a deputy governor?

30 August 2006, 07:14 AM
Marek walked up the steps to the rather impressive looking govenment building on Alayre Minor. He wasn't used to going to such buildings, with their impressive looking facades, and their gleaming interiors, lavished with such eccentricities and luxuries to make the bureaucrats happy. He wa a scout. He wasn't one for pomp and frivolty, so this meeting was a little over his normal scope of work.

Entering the large, open lobby, he was greeted by a host/security guard who, in a polite and professional manner, asked Marek his business. "I'm supposed to meet the Deputy Governor for a meeting. My name's Marek Reens."

The guard relayed the information, got a response through a barely visible earpiece, and then nodded, thanking the unseen informer. "You're expected, Mr. Reens. Up the stairs through the double doors on the left."

Marek barely tipped his head, then looked up the grand, sweeping staircase of polished stone. He could barely make out the large, double doors that he would go through. As he moved by, the glanced at the guard, noting the plainly visible blaster holstered at his hip. As he moved up the stairs, his footsteps echoing in the large, nearly empty lobby, he spotted another couple of security guards in random locations around the spacious area. It was low key, but definitely present.

Making his way to the doors, he found one ajar, and looked in, knocking hesistantly at the door. "Enter!" called a voice from inside.

Marek pushed the door open a bit more and peered in. Inside, the room was wide and long, decorated with impressive holo pics representing people of various importance in fancy clothes. Several elegant looking lights hovered midway between the floor and the 20 foot tall ceiling, illuminating the polished wood floor and lush carpeting that covered the middle of the office. A large, semi-circular desk, looking like polished stone as well, but likely just artificial, sat near the far side, with a man behind it. Two couches and four plush chairs sat in front of the desk, allowing for a great many people to meet with the "very important person" behind the desk. Marek's eyebrows raised. If this was the Deputy Governor, he couldn't imagine what the Governor's office looked like.

"Ah, you must be Marek Reens," said the man, standing up and coming around the desk.

Marek moved in. "Yes."

"I'm Deputy Governor Huve Tomennan. I've been appraised of the situation that you have brought to our government. I'm sure you've probably heard of our current problems we're experiencing on our colony world of Jasprick. It's been eating up a lot of my time of late."

Marek nodded, shook the hand offered to him, and then sat where the Deputy Governor offered. He remained quiet, waiting for something to respond to. Tomennan continued. "I've requested a meeting with a surveyor from the Empire to help assess the situation you refer to. He should be here any minute now. Once he gets here, we'll discuss what steps need to be taken to get official authorization to quarantine the system."

"The station is the big thing. Has anyone even set up a post to warn people from going there?" asked Marek.

"We have some select teams going to investigate the station now. Depending on their findings, and depending on what the cartographer's needs are, we could see some action within the week. Perhaps sooner," said Tomennan.

Marek squirmed at the time. He glaned back at the door, wondering when the other fellow would get here.

30 August 2006, 09:11 AM
Kaz couldn't help but yawn as he made his way up the stairs towards the capital building. It must have been something in the atmosphere here, some chemical the government created to keep the populace in line. He opened up the datafile on Alayre Minor and began adding his own notes. <i>Warning to all travelers: Alayre Minor's unique atmospheric composition, bolstered by government-backed chemical programs, are liable to make you extremely sleepy. Always know where the nearest caf-bar is.</i>

Well, it probably wouldn't make it into the next edition of the Galactic Map, but he figured it was good enough for a try.

He strolled into the lobby, straight up to the security guard standing there. "I'm Kaz," he said casually, extending a hand from his slightly too-long sleeve. "I'm told the Deputy Governor wants to see me."

The security guard frowned and looked at his clothing. "You're...Kaz Talon? The Imperial surveyor?"

Kaz stared at him for a minute before laughing. "Ha! Me, Imperial? Now that's funny!" But his laughter died down when he noticed the serious look on the security guard's face. "Well, um, yes I guess so. I mean, that's one my contract is for."

"Uh-huh," the guard answered. "I thought you'd be wearing a uniform."

Kaz looked down at himself and began picking at his pants. "Well, you could say it's a uniform. I mean, a uniform of fashion."

"You have any identification?"

Rolling his eyes and groaning, Kaz pulled a small, worn ID card from an inside pocket and watched as the guard slid it through a card reader. <i>Oh my gosh, can you take any longer, it's just a freaking ID card, not a letter from your wife saying she wants a divorce...</i>

"I guess you are Mr. Talon," the guard said apologetically, handing the card back. Kaz took it the moment he saw it, but the guard didn't seem to mind. "Right this way sir..."

The guard led him up a flight of stairs that attracted no attention from Kaz's eyeballs. He was drawn more into the addendum attached to his order. <i>You're telling me somebody left a datachip on the station being quarantined? Aw [censored]...</i>. He looked up just as the guard motioned towards a door.

"...pending on what the cartographer's needs are, we could see some action within the week. Perhaps sooner," a voice said from inside. He nodded to the guard and pushed the door open. The picture of a majestic room came to his eyes--and he flat out ignored it. "Yo," he said, waving a few fingers at he governor. "Hope I'm not late. Nearly yawned myself to death on the way here." As if on cue, another yawn escaped his mouth without him covering it. "I think I'm developing hypersomnia." He practically fell into his chair, bouncing a bit, as if only a teenage boy. He crossed his legs and checked the datapad. "Okay, station qas quarantined and--oh, hi, didn't notice you." He extended a hand towards the other man in the room. "I'm Kaz. Just call me Kaz."

"This is Merek Reens," the Deputy Governor said, himself a little flustered at this strange display. "He is the scout who discovered the, ah, situation on the station. We called you in to assess the situation and dictate whether or not to quarantine the system."

"Umm..." His green eyes rolled around in his head before he finally said, "Yeah, sure, why not. Can't be too safe, can we?"

The Deputy Governor blinked. "Are you serious?"

"Absolutely. This man says there's a danger in that system, I suggest we quarantine it. It'll give me plenty of time to figure out what the hell is going on."

"But aren't you supposed to figure out what's going on <i>before</i> you come to a decision?"

Kaz waves the question off. "Pff. This is a <i>preliminary</i> quarantine. Won't be as strict or demanding as much paperwork." <i>Besides, I've always wanted to quarantine an entire star system.</i>

[OOC: Hope I haven't stolen your thunder, <b>Grimace</b>.]

30 August 2006, 09:56 AM
Marek looked at the man the Imperials had sent. Kaz.... Hardly an impressive individual, and surprisingly not like anyone Kaz had ever seen work for the Empire. Most times they were uptight, overly professional, and utterly incompetant. This one certainly wasn't uptight or professional, that was for sure.

When the man, with so little discussion, arbitrarily decided to quarantine the system, Marek's eyebrows raised. Perhaps this would be easier than he thought.

"So what sort of things do we need to do to get you to figure out what the hell is going on?"

30 August 2006, 10:37 AM
"So what sort of things do we need to do to get you to figure out what the hell is going on?"

Kaz rubbed his chin, to at least give himself the air of thinking. "Well, I'll need a ship with a sensor array, for one." <i>Okay, dumb answer, but it'll give me time.</i>. "I'll also need some recording equipment, a few scanning droids, perhaps a cappuccino to keep me awake, and um, oh fudge, what was that?" He sighed. "Darn, it was on the edge of my mind. Oh, right, specialists. And reports. I'm going to need to know all about the situation on this station." He waved his datapad in the air. "Funny, how forget to actually tell you what's going on."

"We already have teams heading to the station now," the Deputy Governor said. "They are composed of many specialists--xenobiologists, radiologists, metallurgists, scouts, hazardous waste disposal officers--we have just about everything short of stormtroopers heading there."

"I thought you said it was select," Marek said.

"Select in that they have all been selected," the Governor said, before realizing the idiocy of his remark and adding, "In that they are all extremely competent."

<i>Uh-huh</i>, Kaz thought, before yawning again. "Andragnammit, can I get a coffee or something?" He furiously rubbed his ankle as it started to doze off. "By the way, any demolitionists?"

The Governor blinked. "Demolitionists? I uh, I don't think so, why? Would they be needed?"

<i>Damn. No explosions.</i> "Well, with these sort of situations, you can't be too careful. Yawn at the wrong time and--" He raised his hands in defeat as his mouth opened to reveal a maw big enough to eat stars. "Dammit, I'm really getting sick of that."

30 August 2006, 11:45 AM
Marek squirmed some more. His patience was running short, especially with the Deputy Governor. "Look. There's creatures on that station, creatures that shouldn't be there. One of them WAS a service technician! I'm not talking about some psycho lunatic that's spent too much time in space, I'm talking about an honest to goodness, chew your face off, MONSTER! That .....thing, lept onto my ship while I was leaving and held on as I went into space. And the dang thing didn't DIE in space. After I dislodged it from my ship, it still tried to get at me," he blurted.

"You go sending anyone short of a weapon's team in there, and you'll have more of a mess on your hands than you've already got. Cripes!"

Marek looked at Kaz. "You wanna go there and see those damn things? I'll take ya there, but I ain't stepping foot on that station again unless I've got a dozen armed men with me. I'll give you the scans, I'll tell ya all you need to know to fill out your stupid reports. Heck, I'll even drop you on the station if you get the urge to run for your life."

Marek was silent, steaming for a moment, while both Kaz and the Deputy Governor sat silent, eyes widened, looking to each other and then back to Marek.

"The only thing I need to know is when you want to go and how much YOU," Marek said, pointing to Tomennan, "are going to pay me to go back there. I'm a scout, I don't work for free."

The Deputy Governor sighed, cleared his throat, and looked evenly at Marek. "You will be paid the standard rates for services according to Imperial pay rates. Will that suffice?"

Marek nodded silently.

"And you, Mr. Talon... I will contact the space control authorities and get them to institute a general quarantine of that system, if that is what you really feel is necessary. Though I expect that this measure be lifted the moment we get word from our teams, and the independent groups, that were sent there to investigate. In the meantime, I suggest you get refreshed at the club just down the street, and check in at the hotel across the way. The sooner you get rested, and this whole situation is resolved, the sooner you can be on your way, and I can get back to other duties," said the Deputy Governor.

30 August 2006, 06:27 PM
"You wanna go there and see those damn things? I'll take ya there, but I ain't stepping foot on that station again unless I've got a dozen armed men with me."

"We'll need zero-g assault troopers," Kaz added, though it was ignored in the man's rant.

"Heck, I'll even drop you on the station if you get the urge to run for your life."

"Right now, I have the urge to run for a caf."

The Governor turned to Kaz. "And you, Mr. Talon... I will contact the space control authorities and get them to institute a general quarantine of that system, if that is what you really feel is necessary. Though I expect that this measure be lifted the moment we get word from our teams, and the independent groups--"

"Independent groups?" Kaz interjected, frowning. "Excuse me, but what, <i>independent groups</i>? There shouldn't be anyone in that system aside from the standard quarantine forces and your recon teams." He drummed his fingers on his arms while he waited for the governor to answer.

The governor sighed instead. "I suggest you get refreshed at the club just down the street, and check in at the hotel across the way. The sooner you get rested, and this whole situation is resolved, the sooner you can be on your way, and I can get back to other duties." With that, he let out another sigh and waved his hands.

"Well, I guess that settles that," Kaz said as they walked down the stairs. "So, you in for a caf? I think I'm gonna--" and with that, he yawned. "Aw damn, not me too. Everyone else in my family came down with hypersomnia, please not me."

31 August 2006, 05:00 AM
Marek was tired...tired of the red tape, and tired of thinking about this. As he walked down the stairs with Kaz, the cartographer said, "So, you in for a caf? I think I'm gonna--" and with that, he yawned. "Aw damn, not me too. Everyone else in my family came down with hypersomnia, please not me."

Shaking his head, Marek mumbled, "Sure...why not..." as they moved, down the stairs, past the security guard who bid them good afternoon, and out on the street, Marek sighed heavily. "If you wanna kick that yawning, we can grab a caf and figure out when you wanna head over to take a gander at that station. While I ain't itchin' to get back there, I'd just like to get this whole thing taken care of and get back to work. Heck, if I knew it was going to be this much of a hassle to get a dangerous place shut down, I wouldn't have bothered."

"So....Mr. Talon is it? What's on your schedule?" Marek asked with more than a hint of incredulousness in his voice.

31 August 2006, 05:49 AM
"Schedule?" Kaz absently minded scratched his chest as he fought down yet another yawn. "Uh, sleep, I guess. No, no, caf, caf, I need caf. Right, let's head to the nearest caf place and see what they got." He patted his pockets as he walked out the door. "I know I got money in here somewhere--you have a ship?"

31 August 2006, 06:32 AM
Marek raised an eyebrow. "Yeah....yeah, I've got a ship. It's getting repaired now, from my recent run in with those things on the station. The mechanic says it'll be done by this evening, so we can either leave then, or tomorrow morning. I'll leave it up to you."

As they made their into the slightly upper class establishment in order to get a caf, Marek looked Kaz over with a curious eye. "You ever done anything besides crunch numbers, push datapads and punch buttons? You know, this trip isn't gonna be just a simple walk about. Do you even own a blaster?"

31 August 2006, 06:43 AM
"Do you even own a blaster?"

"I got a stungun," Kaz admitted, sitting down at the bar. He wiggled his fingers and a waitress came over immediately. "Yeah, I'll take a caf, double-strong, super-hot, triple-creamy, please." As she blinked and then walked off, he sighed. "As for the record, I don't crunch numbers all day. Or at least I don't want to. I wanted to become a cartographer because I was good with maps. I had a dream, join a scouting ship and then go off in search of alien planets. What I got were some bloodshot eyeballs and a whole bunch of paperwork for a communications and mapmaking company on Obra-Skai. Boring, in other words."

When she brought him the caf, he eagerly sucked it down, licking his chops whenever he put it down. "I've tried taking blaster courses, y'know, so when I finally become Tatooine Jones I'll know how to shoot something, but I never got anywhere. Now--" <i>SLURP</i> "--I'm just a stylus-presser for GMS. It really sucks."

He turned to Marek, his eyes pleading. "So please--" <i>SLURP</i> "--I would really like to be on your ship. If at all possible."

1 September 2006, 07:36 AM
Marek leaned on the counter, thinking heavily for a moment, then cast a sideways glance at Kaz. "If you wanted to see other planets, the last thing you shoulda done is what you did. Granted, you probably get a steadier paycheck than I do. It things like this that put me in a crunch."

He stopped for a moment, turning his back to the bar and looking out across the floor at the other patrons in the place. It wasn't real busy yet, but there were at least a dozen people in here. Since this was a higher class place, Marek was the most scruffy looking with his dirty scout jacket with its multitude of pockets, and black pants and boots that hid the smattering of dirt and grease that adorned them. Even his blaster pistol, sitting in his hip holster, seemed "rough", even though it was the cleanest thing on him. None of those people had the slightest clue about danger. Most had probably never even left the planet. It took a special breed to journey into space and do the things he did, go the places he had.

Marek looked back at Kaz. The "yawning" man wasn't out of shape, per se. Given the opportunity, he could probably become something other than a desk jockey. "A stun gun, eh?"

Kaz nodded in silence.

With a sigh, Marek gave a resigned nod. "Yeah....I'll take ya to that station. Heck, the Deputy Governor said I'd get paid Imperial wages for ferrying you around, so I guess it's worth it to me to ship you over there. Make sure you bring along that stun gun of yours...you might need it once we get there. I just hope those people that went there know what they were getting into."

After another moment as Kaz sucked down some more of the caf, a hint of a smile on his face as the prospect of something more exciting than data pad punching, Marek set the time. "I'll check with the mechanic, but I'm pretty sure we can leave by tonight. 2100 hours. That'll put us at the station by tomorrow midday. I'll meet you at pad 546A tonight."

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
2 September 2006, 02:01 AM
External Camera, music could be heard playing from within
[Does it feel like it should?
Does it feel like it could?
With the top down, head out your window
Don't let it be misunderstood]

Cruising through the mid rim, the cloudy electric purple-blue lines and swirls of the hyperspace tunnel reflected off the creamy YT-2400 light freighter's hull, known as NightRaven. Her system were running smoothly. The CorelliMax powercore thrummed gently to the finely tuned .75 hyperdrive.

Internal camera, music playing loudly[/i]
[Yea yea yea
Yea yea yea]

[Who will be your man?
Who will be there then?
Cuz we all know [frak] happens
Let's dance]
Laying on the floor, closely pressed against her in embrace, feeling her damp hot Aqua skin, inhaling her musky perfumy scent, her breath hot moist spicey, looking into her sheening face and Peach colored eyes. She tightly kissed him fully, deeply. The universe momentarily faded to nothingness around them as time stood still, consumed by the exotic sweet spiceyness of her taste... Panting heavily for breath, their legs a tangled mess, his arms pinned, smiling, caught in the after moment...

"More?" he hoarsely breathed
"I am, if your willing." she replied coyly

[You can drive through the night
Till the roads outta sight]
As she got up to roll off him, he moved swiftly, hooking his leg around hers, sending her off balance with a surprised yelp, pinning her down.

[Put the top down, hang out the window
Under the shiny Northern Lights]
"We could be doing this all day" she ginned amusingly, as his shoulder length dark brown hair draped down, tickling her lekku.
"I won't mind" he grinned back

[Yea yea yea]
"Count of three then?" He asked...

[Yea yea yea]
He rolled to the side, grabbing the padded shockblock-cushions

[And who will be your man?]
She sat up, as he got to his feet.

[And who will be there then?]
She got to her feet, standing up. facing him, knees slightly bent, and keeping mobile on her toes with a light bounce.

[Cuz we all know [frak] happens]
"Ready?" Terras asked, getting into proper combat stance.

[Let's dance]
[Let's dance]
"Ready." She replied, matching him, flexing her arms and fingers as they began circling each other counter-clockwise. Each waiting for the first move.

[Sometimes it makes me wonder]
She lounged forward, to the timing of the beat,
Jab-jab-left, swing right-he blocked
Jab-jab-left, swing right-miss
He Blocked.

[We fall like the stars we're under]
Jab Jab right, swing-miss.
Jab left-right-left-swing

[We've made such a wonderful life]
He dodged, and riposted- Shoulder he Hit!
She stepped back, fiened right, fiened left

[When every color is black and white]
She lounged forward, side-step left, spring right knee-jerk-he blocked!

[Everybody is movin' on up]
Jab Jab left, swing right-blocked
Jab left, Swing right-she hit! swing left-

[Mr. Mayfield never gave up]
He deflected, hooking his leg- inside hers and thrust

[Everyone that Jesus saves is always someone
Lose their way]
She fell back, twist-rolled into landing.

[Yea yea yea]
She recovered, with same momentum, onto all fours, crouch-sprung back to her feet.

[Yea yea yea]
Ready, she nodded. They circled again in a light prance.
She fiened a lounge. He dodged.

[Does it feel like it should?]
She Jump-kicked, he barely deflect-evaded.
He backstepped for balance. She landed on her feet, prancing again shifting from foot to foot

[Does it feel like it could?]
Right Jab high- left punch low- rib- she hit!
Right Punch low-blocked, left jab high-shoulder she hit!

[With the top down, head out your window]
Feint swing left. Feint swing left. sidestep right-jab-block!

[Don't let me be misunderstood (Yea)]
Side kick left-rib tap-hit! He swung his arm under -thrustlift!
Off balance-she spun on her right heel, and recovered

[And who will be your man?]
Jab-Jab right- left hook swing- he blocked.

[And who will be there then?]
Jab-Jab left- left hook- she hit!

[Cuz we all know [frak] happens
Let's dance]
Jab-jab- "Terras!" Raven's voice called out as her as sudden as her holographic avatar apeared standing to their left
forward lounge-knee-thrust- "Wha-" as Terras looked to the side- "OOOOF!!" contact!

Terras backsteps backwards, arms flailing for balance, shockpads go flying.

He lands on his backside.

[And who will be your man?]

"Oooops!" Nileeta exclaimed in surprise, as she watched him fall, land.

"Terras!" Raven's voice shouted again in urgency above the music

[And who will be there then?]
Nileeta sprinted forward, bending down with a hand to help Terras up.

[Cuz we all know [frak] happens]
He reached up, took her hand, then tugged her down hard,
"Wh-hey! Ooof!" as exhaled Nileeta landed ontop of him.

[Yea we all know [frak] happens
Let's dance]

Terras grinned best as he could given the moment of accidental distraction and unintended mishap, and playful payback. She gave him a fiened hurt look, he grinned slyly, they both burst into laughter as the song came to a soft abrupt close.

"Terras!" Raven shouted again, hands balled on her hips, not amused, looking down seriously at him.

"What?!????" Terras replied with question and annoyance.

"I was trying to tell you, we're picking up a universal distress beacon!"

"Well Raven, take us out of hyperspace then." Terras ordered, while Nileeta let out a sigh. The mood of their moment had been abruptly ended.

"As crew and co-pilot, acting in accordance to Spacer's Code, I already did Terras." Raven replied.

"Raven, scan where the distress signal's coming from, and what sort of vessel or vessels in the area while we get ready."

Nileeta promptly removed herself off Terras. Half disapointed that their training session was definately over, she knew about the Spacer's Code. So much for the rest of the day Nileeta silently thought to herself.

Continuing her status report, "Already on it Terras, theres an irregular asteroid field 50 clicks from our position. and a Star Destroyer on the other side, weapons blazing."

Picking himself off the padded training matt, Terras stopped in mid action, imediately concerened "Wait- you said Star Destroyer??? Don't tell me they've spotted us." Terras finished, now standing, offering Nileeta a hand up which she accepted.

Standing at his side, her hand in his, Nileeta piped up, "Hold-on, Who's being attacked, or who's attacking who?" Her inteligence sharp as a vibroblade.

Sounding perplexed herself, "Thats just it, i'm not see'ing any other active ship on my sensors."

Their sweaty clammy skin was begining to stick to their damp sweatcloths from the frieghter's air cycle system. "Alright, charge the sheild capacitors, and keep them on standby, and take us in slowly. I think we're too late but as long as there's a beacon, we're still obliged to check it out. Meanwhile, I'm going to hit the 'fresher for 5 min."

"You got it Terras." Raven acknowledged, while Nileeta started folding up the padded floor matts, and Terras headed for the refresher.

Several minutes later, a fresh pot of Spiced StimTea was being auto-brewed in the galley. Even with a dedicated recycler and water a limited comodity, nothing could ever beat a hot shower. Terras was just toweling off, while Nileeta took her turn in the 1 person stall, when Raven chimed in.

"Terras," Raven paused, "There's a slight metalic mass or debris, and an ion trail laced with reactor fuel that could possibly be bleeding off from the main reactor of the remains of a ship directly in the middle of the asteroid field."

The shower stopped. "Raven, are the Imperials attempting any sorts of recovery operation yet?" Nileeta asked, then added, "Pass me a towel will you?" with an oustretched hand.

Terras tossed her a towel, as he strode for the door. Raven added, "Unknown. Wait, several fighters and possibly a shuttle has just launched! Their eta will be 3 mins to the wreckage at top speed."

"They coming for us or it?" Terras asked half dry, bolting out the door to his quarters to pull on some fresh cloths.

"Unknown, our apraoch has put the wreckage directly between us and the Imperials. I thought you wanted us to remain unnoticed?"

"I did!" Terras exclaimed, struggling with a pair of leggings & belt fastner, as Nileeta streaked by, to her quarters next to the crew lounge. With an awkward jaunt, he made for the cockpit.

"Sheilds?" Terras asked as he jumped into the pilot's seat.

"Raised. Turrets on standby." Raven reported, as Terras gripped the flight controls back to manual, throttling the engine to full speed towards the asteroid feild.

"Terras-watch-!" Something black as midnight lashed out at them, a blurr that connected with the sheilds, crackling, causing Terras to reactively pull hard on the stick "out..." Nileeta finished as she entered the cockpit, having barely grabbed hold of the auxilery seat for balance.

the NightRaven climbed up and away at a steep angle, away from the asteroid field, it's speed and size far too fast and nimble to be caught.

"Well, if they havn't noticed us before, they sure do now!" Raven scolded

"Which? The Imps or those things?!?" Terras counter questioned back.

"Whatever they are, who cares?!?" Nileeta shouted, as she spun around on her heel.

"Guns would be a good idea!" Terras suggested,

"Already on it!" Nileeta shouted over her shoulder as she vacated the cockpit.

"Thats twice in- nevermind..." Terras muttered, as he brought the ship around in a wide arc, just to see one Tie fighter 2clicks out fly straight towards them, guns blazing, then sharply veer sideways all over the place like a toy dangling on the end of a string before smashing into an asteroid.

"Frak me!" Terras yelped as the approaching shuttle 0.7km away, suddenly jerked up and sideways, spun around on wingtip before it halted abrutly, its engines glowing brighter as it tried to pull free. The shuttle shuddered a couple more times, then began its helpless decent down inbetween the asteroids. It's shiny white hull and spinal fin getting coated in dark wirey splotch marks.

"Terras! get us away from those things!" Raven shrieked, her anger suddenly replaced by the ice cold fear of mortal terror, as surely her optics had recorded the shuttle crew's fate.

The ship shuddered. Raven shrieked. Terras froze. Then again from impact. "Incoming! Fire!" Nileeta's voice shouted over the comms. Heart in his throat, Terras swallowed it back down hard, then chided himself for losing track of the other 2 remaining Ties.

Terras rolled, juked and jinked the ship in a random pattern, to try shake the gaining pursuers. It didn't help the sheilds crackling from either assault. Nor his nerves, or anyone else's for that matter. The pom-pom of turret fire could be heard sporadically in the cockpit, as volleys of stray laser fire traded back and forth.

"Yes!" Nileeta cried out, as her shot lanced though one of the Tie's wing to hull pylon, shearing it in half, spiraling away. The ball and remaining wing spun uncontrollably and then puffed white gas as something speared right through it.

"Yeah!" Nileeta then Raven shouted, as their combined turret fire sawed off both solar wing arrays on the remaining tie... The Ball oddly staying on trajectory until it jerked with a white puff through the front canopy. With wicked speed, it zoomed backwards towards the asteroids.

Terras wasted no time, vectoring up and away from the asteroid field. In his opinion, his pulse was just returning.


Terras nearly jumped in his seat, from Raven's abrupt adress. "What?"

"We just passed over the wreckage. Couldn't detect any life unless it was very faint, but I'm getting a weak signal from an astromech: power failing... deactivation iminent.. save yourselves... find escape-" Raven broke off, then spat in frustration "Kark! signal died. I didn't even catch it's name, or what it was saing next. Find escape? Can we turn around? Maybe we're out of signal range."

"Argh, alright, just this once, at this distance..."

Minutes later of circling, "Anything?" Terras asked with concern and respect for his A.I.

"Nothing..." Raven replied solemnly. "Those were his last sparks he had in him..."

Terras sighed, "Alright, lets get going then, sooner we clear the gravity mass, sooner we can make lightspeed again. And get the warning out." Shock, surprise, fear, and disheartened all in a few minutes worth...

"Hey, guys? whats that in the distance?" Nileeta chimed in, "kinda to the right, and up a bit?" was her best able co-ordinates from in the top gun turret.

"Dunno... more wreckage?" Terras adjusted course, as indeed there was a sliver of sunlight reflection a fair distance out, glimmering occasionally.

"Lets check it out!" Raven said, with a bit of hope ebbing back into her voice.

Terras gunned it full throttle, keeping sheilds and turrets powered- just in case. It wasn't a damaged Tie fighter, or wafting solar panel, but an oblong cylindical object. As they got closer, it was without a doubt, an escape pod. Extremely old design, from days of the former Republic, which could've easily meant floating in the dead of space, gone unnoticed for over 50years...

"I dunno, looks old... really old in design..." Terras commented doubtfully.

Without needing being told, "Scanning... Wait- I think I have something! it's feint, but its there alright..." As it dawned upon her, "I think thats what the astromech didn't get to finish: Find Escape Pod..."

"Raven, do the honors and link us up. Nileeta- grab the med kits, main airlock." Terras said, as he released the ship's controls and exited the chair, heading for the airlock that was on the outrigger arm that connected the cockpit & escape pod to the body of the ship.

Nileeta was quick, slid down the ladder, bolted for the kits, and then to the airlock. As she got there, Terras at the wall controll, the common thunk-shhh-hisssss of the seals cracking and the pressure equalizing of the airlock. And the hatch rolled open. Carbine in hand, a penlight in mouth, Terras climbed up the ladder rung, into darkness.

Up ahead, all lights were out, with a few shadows and dark sihouetes far end of the pod playing of the light beam. Two shapes were more recognizably humanoid as Terras entered the pod. Blood- there was drying blood on the walls, not a whole lot, but enough to indicate injuries or worse. A human may, cradeling something furred- Bothan. Female, dark fur with orangy coloration.

"Terras?" Nileeta's voice called from behind him, with a brighter light - a luma-lamp, and kit inhand.

"Only if you can stomach it, hon, they're injured." Terras cautioned as he reached to the bodies, to find a pulse.

"Terras? what did you find?" Raven's concerned voice came over the comlink attached to his collar.

"Human male, possibly alive, Bothan female.... I don't know," Terras replied grimly. What a way to escape, only to not make it... "Umm..., Looking for injuries" Terras spoke as he examined the Bothan more closely for wounds, her 3/4 zipped cover-alls were dark, either greased or stained from oils or blood - or both. "Frak..." He muttered, having to use his hands to feel around, blindly feel for wounds on the Bothan female, which made him uncomfortable in the first place. He found a small crusted spot, upper chest, off center below the breast, and another, lower side above the hip - where the tears in fabric were.

"Ok, I need to move her out of here before we can do anything else." Terras spoke as he gripped her by under the arms, further smearing blood past his wrists, which was just the begining of it.

Several sloooow minutes later, the Bothan female was now laying on sheets in the spare middle quarters bunk. Nileeta was trying not to gag from it all, the smells of engine lube, oils, blood, whatever else that was itching her nostrils. She didn't think it was allergies from the fur as she's fine around their vacationing resident Togorian named Sivar. Nileeta had the task of trying to clean up and patch up best she could, the Bothan, who was still pretty much lifeless- save for a very feint pulse, indicating possible comatose. Minimal life moniters were also hooked up to her as well as various med patches. And the crusting over both wounds were somewhat of a mystery - lots of blood loss but the crusting prevented fatality.

Several grunts, groans, and an exhausted 'ooof' from Terras, as the other survivor was brought into the other remaining spare quarters aboard, next room over.

"Alright, close the airlock and jetison the pod..." Terras spoke, as he was checking over the male human. Despite all odds, didn't have much more than a few scrapes and bruises, and dirtied from cradling the Bothan; otherwise totally knocked out / passed out from some sort of exertion. He hoped both would pull through, so they could live, to tell of the tragedy that took place in the bizarre asteroid field...

"Raven, care to do the honors again, take us back into hyperspace, to the nearest port away from here?" Terras asked tiredly.

"Sure thing captian, I'll check the nav-charts." Raven purred warmly, with bit of an accent, as she enjoyed this rare treatment given once in a while... "Theres a StarPort on Planet Berini, of the Ynos system, Kenderdine Sector... Is that alright?"

"Sounds perfect Raven." Moments later, the ship smoothly jumped into hyperspace, the ship's A.I at the helm.

Standing outside the quarters, the two of them looking like they crawled through a med-center middle of a battle-zone, and a flawless untarnished hologram....

"I think she was the ship's engineer." Raven commented the obvious
"Think they'll make it?" Nileeta asked
"Hope so, they might've been something to each other, the way he was holding her." Terras replied,
"You think?" Nileeta responded, looking up at Terras kindly in understanding, an arm around him, leaning against his shoulder.

An arm around her waist, he gave a gentle squeeze back, as that was something they both were able to understand equally, as what it meant to be, and mean to each other, in a galaxy of so many varried species, yet where more than two could find something within each other to share.

[a soft-jizzrock strummed guitar / light percussion tune plays...
[Mandalor sunset
Technicolor sky
Counting all my regrets
In your steel rimmed eyes
There's a warm wind whispering
What used to be alive
Not everyone makes it
Into the starry night
Whoa Mandalor sunset
Whoa scattered with broken hearts
And faded stars
I met her at a gift shop
Was something 'bout her smile
Told me all that she needed
Was a place to crash for awhile
Together every moment
The city came alive
Never said he was leaving
There were no last words
No good-byes
Whoa Mandalor sunset
Whoa scattered with broken hearts
And faded stars
Whoa Mandalor sunset
Whoa scattered with broken hearts
Take one look if you care
After tonight you won't find me there
Mandalor sunset
Technicolor sky
Not everyone makes it...]


2 September 2006, 12:50 PM
Arriving at the planet Berini, in the Ynos System located in the Kenderdine Sector, to make a cargo delivery, the Starbound Misfit II is on landing approach, when Criss notices the NightRaven also on a landing approach. Letting Lynnori handle the landing procedures, Criss hails the Raven. "NightRaven, this is the Starbound Misfit II, please respond."

"Hey Criss, is that you? How've ya been?"

"Pretty good, how about you?"

"I've been good. Man, it's been a while."

"Yeah, it has. Hey, how about we meet for a drink or meal in, say, a couple of hours?"

"Sure, that sounds good. We can't be away for too long though, we just rescued a couple of survivors from a starship mishap, and we don't know how soon they may come to. Will you have Lynnori with you?"

"Yeah, she and I are still together. Is Nileeta still with you?"

"Yes, she's with me still. Where should we meet?"

"How about the starport's cafe? We're here making a cargo delivery and we should be done within 2 hours, give or take. That way we're not rushing to get to somewhere far from the port, and you'll be relatively close by your ship, just in case."

"Works for me. We'll see you there."

Ending the transmission, Criss returns his attention to the matter at hand. After landing and concluding the delivery. Criss and Lynnori head for the starport's cafe to meet Terras and Nileeta. Upon arrival, they are escorted to a booth along the far wall from the entrance where Terras and Nileeta wait.

Terras and Nileeta both stand and greet Criss and Lynnori. "Hey Criss it's good to see you. I see you've kept that Mandalorian armor of yours well maintained."

"I see that you've obtained a set of armor as well, Lynnori. Was it hard to modify that to accomodate your Farghul anatomy?" asks Nileeta, as they all sit down.

Removing her helmet, Lynnori replies "Not really. Criss maintains a pretty decent machinist's shop down in the engineering section of the ship. He's got enough pieces of Mandalorian Iron laying around for keeping his armor patched up, so he had no problem modifying the helmet for my ears. As for my tail, it was just a matter of making the opening large enough to fit the tail thru, and figuring out how to articulate the tail armor pieces."

"Well. it certainly looks impressive."

"Thanks. He's been hounding me for a long time now to adopt that part of the Mandalorian lifestyle, and he's finally talked me into it. That reminds me, Nileeta, would you be interested in hitting the local clothing shops later. I'd like to see the latest fashion trends around here."

"Sure, I'd love to. I'll have to borrow Terras' cred-chip before we go, though."

"What? Nileeta, I was hoping to hang on to some of that money."

"Oh come on, Terras. You know you like to see me get all dolled up for you, and I do need to keep my wardrobe up-to-date."

Batting her eyeslashes, Lynnori adds "Hey, Criss, honey, I'll need our cred-chip as well."

"Aw, man!" Criss exclaims as he removes his helmet.

"Okay, let's change the topic, shall we? So, Criss, how's Misfit? Still as agoraphobic and surly as ever?"

"Yup, he still is. I'm starting to think we may need to have a psychiatrist talk to him. Provided we could convince one that we're dead-serious about having a neurotic ship AI."

"Good luck with that."

"Thanks a lot. By the way, you ol' scruffy-looking nerfherder, what kind of get-rich-quick schemes have you been thinking up lately?"

"Me, plotting & scheming? Since when?" :P

"How about that time before we met the girls, on Yaga Minor, when you convinced me to join you in disguise to infiltrate that penal workforce, claiming there was a hidden fortune on the site they were working? You do remember that, don't you?"

"What's this? You never told me about this, darling. Let's hear it."


Yaga Minor, Imperial penal workforce, building a new residence for the local Moff, as well as a large guest house on the far end of the estate. Criss and Terras, both disguised as prisoners, are working among the other prisoners, using shovels and picks to break up the large rocky outcroppings where the large and lush garden will be.

Up rides the work Chief (looks and sounds like Slim Pickens) and his lieutenant, riding on TaunTauns.

"Alright, the surveyors are saying there's a chance that there may be some quickmud over at the end of the estate where the guest house will be built. I need two of you to head over there on a repulsor-sled to check it out. You and you." the Chief says, pointing to Criss and Terras.

Remaining in character as prisoners, Criss and Terras climb onto a repulsor-sled and head off in the indicated direction, and discreetly chat the entire way.

:hansolo: "Thank you so much for talking me into this, Terras, tell me again what we're doing here?"

:lando: "Criss, I heard thru the rumornet that there was a big Old Republic bank heist here on Yaga Minor back during the Clone Wars, and that the money was never recovered. Rumor is it's hidden, buried somewhere out here. All we gotta do is find it, and sneak off with it when the guards are preoccupied."

Stopping the sled at the end of the estate, Criss retorts "I say that rumor's a big load of Bantha poodoo. The money's probably long gone by now."

"Well, we'll see. Say, is the land rising, or are we getting lower? What was we supposed to look for out here?"

"Uhm, what's not quite liquid, but is also not quite solid ground?"

"Uh, lessee, wouldn't that be quickmud?"

Criss and Terras quickly look down at the ground, which the sled is starting to sink into. 8o

As they both simultaneously scream out "QUICKMUD!!!!!!!!!!", the Chief and a couple of his henchmen ride up, and quickly dismount.

"Ah, stang it! Quickmud! Now we're in big trouble. Quick, get a synthrope!" the Chief orders.

The two henchmen grab their rope and hurry over, and quickly lasso the sled and proceed to pull it free, leaving both Criss and Terras standing there in the quickmud, continuing to slowly sink into the ground as they watch the two men.

The Chief then says "Wow, that was a close call, we almost lost a 400 credit repulsorsled. Nice work boys. One of you get that back to the speederpool and clean it up." As the Chief is speaking, Criss and Terras manage to free themselves from the quickmud and are lying there resting as the Chief continues with his orders.

"Well, don't just lay there you two. Break time's over, back to work, and you, while he's getting that sled cleaned, I want you to send a message off to the Moff. Write this down."

As the henchman is grabbing his electronic stylus and a datapad to record the message, Terras looks at Criss, grabs one of the shovels and starts getting to his feet as Criss is saying "Don't do it! Don't!"

Standing behind the Chief, Terras lifts the shovel as the Chief is saying "Tell the Moff that I said-" >WHACK< "OWWWW!" The Chief immediately flops face-first onto the ground as the henchman is repeating him and writing, while Terras moves behind him to swing again.

"Tell him I said-" >SMACK< "AAAAGGGHHHH!" The henchman drops right next to the Chief as Terras glances back to Criss with a poodoo-eating grin on his face.

"Look, Criss....TaunTauns." :D


"I still say that was a wise idea to get out of there right then & there, Terras. Otherwise we'd have been executed on the spot."

:lando: "You know, I still feel that money's there somewhere and that we should go back and look for it."

"ARE YOU NUTS!" Criss exclaims, suddenly remembering where they are and returning his voice to a low level. "By now that residence, and the guest house, have been long-since completed. If the money was there when we were there, then it has to have been found by now. Just forget about it."

Before anyone at the table can say another word, the lights in the cafe dim as the entertainer walks out onto the stage. The entertainer, a male :bith:, begins his introduction.

"Good evening everybody, and welcome to the starport's Radeon Cafe. I'm Reeds Sangha, your entertainer for the evening. Let me start off with something appropriate for the evening."

As the singer begins his first number, Criss returns to the matter at hand.

"So, anyway Terras, we had a stopover about a month ago on Togoria, and we ran into Sivar. We had no idea he stopped traveling with you."

"Yeah, he finally got homesick enough that we felt it was a good idea to drop him off there and let him spend some time on his homeworld. When he's ready to come back and resume his duties keeping the ship running smoothly, he'll contact us."

"Ah, I see, well, considering the way Togorians are, he probably won't be contacting you anytime too soon."

As the group continues their chat, they notice something happening onstage during the current song.

"I've got you, under my skin...."

Suddenly, eight 3-inch long, bright red sludge-beetles drop from the ceiling onto the singer, illiciting a jump and shout of horror as they begin to burrow into the singer's skin, casuing him to convulse as he falls to the floor.

Screaming in agony with each convulsion, with his dying breath, he manages one last line before dying.

"You'll have me, under your skin..."

Suddenly, everybody in the cafe freaks out, and starts running in terror as more and more sludge beetles start dropping from the ceiling. Grabbing their helmets as they all jump to their feet, Criss shouts out "What the frak's going on?"

"I don't know, but let's not stay to find out!" Lynnori adds, as the four hurry thru the panicking crowd and run from the cafe, managing to avoid all of the beetles in the process. Upon exiting the cafe, they all notice hundreds of the beetles, swarming everywhere, save for a clear path between the cafe and the port where the ships are parked.

"Oh, fracking frell! Get to the ships!" Criss barks.

Luckily, the four manage to get to their ships ahead of the swarming beetles, and proceed to launch and get clear without harm. Over the comm, Terras asks "What the frell! Where'd all those huge bugs come from!?!"

"You're asking me? I say we contact the proper authorities and report this! Who knows if those bugs were native, or if they came in on a ship. Either way, it's bad."

"I'll check the ship's charts, and see where we can go....Here it is, Alayre Minor. It's not that far off from here. We can let them know about those bugs back there. The local government should have some sort of policy and procedures for dealing with such a large scale infestation, even if they have to quarantine the system."

"Sounds good, Lynnori. Did you copy that, Terras? Set course for Alayre Minor, your ship's a bit faster than the Misfit II, so we'll meet up with you there."

"I've already got the course set." Lynnori says, as they watch the NightRaven jump to hyperspace.

"Okay, then...Punch it!" Criss replies.

Lynnori pulls back on the hyperspace throttle, and the Misfit II accelerates to lightspeed, on course for Alayre Minor.

2 September 2006, 02:20 PM
Darkness... the void... empty and lacking any kind of substance, no sound, no smell, no time.

A place where you lose you senses. A place where you could lose your mind.

A lone point of light somewhere inside. you can't tell whether it's in the middle or not, as there are no boundaries to judge by.

"Who am I?... What am I?... And where am I?..."

The point of light moved as if looking around. Having nothing to navigate by it didn’t knew if it moved at all.

Darkness in front of him slowly changed colors into black then brown and through the full spectrum moved into pale red. It was as if a window has been opened through which images flew in.

A quite handsome man playing sabbacc in a darkened room. He and three another players, a Devaronian having gathered quite a nice sum of money in front of him, a squat Pacithip have been losing all night but was completely unshaken by this fact and a Jenet, who despite his photographic memory just lost his ship with the cargo to the human. A flash of light and the loosing Jenet falls to the ground with a smoldering hole where his left eye was. His blaster which just a millisecond ago left its holster twistingly glides to the corner of the room. The man blows the wisk of smoke from the barrel and puts the gun on the table.
“I hate bad losers says the Devaronian. And I see you too, Jez.”
The man smiles sadly using his #23 (Some-guys-never-learn). The Pacithip gave out a few short snorts and a low trumpet and from a door came two man who dragged the body out.
“Care for another game, Kapp Vant.” said Jez shuffling the deck.

Three bodies lay literally pressed into the walls of hangar, smash debris all around. The metallic color of floor and walls was spotted with impressionist painting made from blood and intestines of the dead. Jez was laying on the floor holding a male Twi’lek corpse in his arms as if he was trying to protect him. But the shot just glanced Jez side leaving a nasty hole in Twi’lek’s body.
”I failed…again…” thought Jez before fainting.

Jez, wearing some kind of uniform, stood by a small fighter with big Alayre Minor Forces logo. The engines were humming silently as technicians were warming up the machine.
”See you in the air” he said to someone not visible as he climbed into the cockpit. ”Wish me luck. My first flight and already a battle…” said the voice of “the screen”. ”You’ll do just great, Balin. You’ll do great” says Jez.

A big dancing hall, over 10 meters high, illuminated by crystal chandeliers suspended in mid air. Over hundred pairs swirling around the wooden mosaic depicting some ancient beast. One of them Jez dressed in white old-fashion army uniform (like some other man beside him) a few medals visible on his chest and a beautiful saber on his belt. He smiles brightly at his partner as his feed lead them as if over the floor in a perfect unison. She smiles back with her big green eyes glowing with inner warmth.

A dark street full of old crates and low hanging cables. Two hooded silhouettes in a brawl. One of them stretches his hand and a lightsaber flies through the air straight into his firm grip. A quick move and the glowing weapon pierces the side of his opponent who falls on the ground. Just for a mere second his face is illuminated by the glow as he slides down the blade. Jez’s face smiling in disbelief.

Jez looks from his cockpit dodging incoming shots. Slightly to the left he sees Balin in his fighter performing and awesome stunt as he manages to shake a rocket. Then a volley of shots hits the ship and it explodes in a bright flash.

A dark spidery creature looks straight into Jez eyes and he feels paralyzed. His limbs are not responding his head aches badly. The creature without moving a muscle evolves into Large, lumbering humanoid, staring at Jez with his small eyes hidden by a deformed, large mouth, about 3 times as large as humans, with lots of teeth. Only to grow to over 3 meters. Its arms stretch to almost 2 meters and it’s claws rest at the ground twitching as if wanting to tear Jez apart. Just to change again into a pack of small black bugs looking like a horror version of Gerban II burrowing beetle. Only to again fluently grow into one mass of about 1 meter high covered in dark chitin like armor plate. This sprouts wings and becomes a mixture of a flying bat and vulture with long bare hideous neck and a furry body with almost 2 meter wingspan.
Jez can move and as the creature evolves again into an almost man like figure with dark green eyes with a milky substance swirling in them, protruding about 10 centimeters above the head he steps towards it. It’s round large mouth fixed with rows of spiraling teeth covers half of the face. As Jez comes closer its arms stretch and begin to ensnare the man almost like huge snakes. Jez holds its head in it hands and starts to squeeze really hard all his strength coming from a deeply rooted feeling of vengeance. He can hear as the skull cracks and suddenly his hands meet in the middle with a wet splash spraying the brain and blood all over the darkness of the room.

Jez wakes up only to a beautiful Bothan girl trying to get up from him. Her worried face surounded by black fur with orange highlights looked like a face of an alien ghost. Suddenly she becomes more and more transparent only to leave him with a great feeling of loss and kind of emptiness.

The red screen becomes brighter and brighter and starts to fill the whole darkness. There are some kinds of sounds around. Beeping coming as if from another side of the wall. Some strange whining and squeaking that are identified as normal during a ship’s flight through hyperspace. The monochromatic white, that is everywhere around, starts showing some kind of diversity changing into a cabin’s ceiling. His head aches from the inside and hurts from the outside. As his hands move into the view and disappear again behind his head he notices that those are male human hands. He feels the cut on the back of his head covered completely by hair and a low moan escapes his mouth. He sits slowly on a bunk.

Take one look if you care
After tonight you won't find me there
Mandalor sunset
Technicolor sky
Not everyone makes it...

He gets up and touching the wall with his right hand the wall comes to a door which opens with a silent hiss. Outside there is an empty ship’s main hall with some doors and a corridor leaving by a holo-table towards what probably is the cockpit. At least he thinks so. But something told him to go to the room to his left.


The dark-haired and quite sexy holo turns its head towards Terras and Nileeta.

”I’m quite happy to inform you that one of our passengers has got up and feels strong enough to walk. He is just entering guest quarters where the wounded Bothan stays.”

Nileeta looks at Terras taking her hand from him and giving him a slight push
“As the captain you should do the talking.”
He moves away from her with visible reluctance and bows his head slightly.
“I think I’ll give them a few seconds.” says softly and looks deeply into the almond eyes. Seconds pass in total silence.

Back in the portside

The door to the cabin opened as silently as the first one giving high credit to the engineer maintaining the ship. There on bad connected to various monitors and med patches lay the angel from his vision deeply wounded and from what he could discern comatose. But she was alive. A warm feeling swept though his body. He stood in the doorway not daring to enter. The time stood still.
He heard footsteps coming towards him and turned to see a Corellian dressed in brown trousers and light brown shirt. A blaster hanging on his left hip. He had long brown hair and looked like man who can take care of himself. A few steps behind him followed quite a beautiful Twi’lek girl. He felt that something connects those two. There was a deeply dug pain emanating from the girl, cover recent happiness. And the man had a dark secret.
He didn’t know how he gained this knowledge he just knew that it was so. He straightened up and stepped away from the door allowing it to close. A smile slowly came onto his lips - his #3 (I'm-so-glad-you-helped-me). He waited.

2 September 2006, 08:01 PM
The hangar bay that the Event Horizon had landed in was small. Probably meant for visiting shuttles or the occasional light freighter that came with supplies.

Not to mention poorly lit. There was only a single emergency light to provide illumination and that was just enough to see your hand by.

As Kiel and Eryn emerged from the Skipray Blastboat after retrieving slug machine guns and ammunition from the cargo bay, sweat broke out on their foreheads. The hangar was also extremely hot and humid. It was nearly suffocating to anyone not used to this kind of climate

Eryn glanced down towards the squirming monster under the Horizon’s landing strut and winced thinking to herself

What on the name of Duro compelled me to come here? I didn’t even ask about pay. No reward for the risks

Still Eryn Threll wouldn’t try to flee or back out; she had given her world to the people of Alayre Minor and Kiel. And honor demanded that she keep it...

As the pair looked around the hangar they discovered two exits. One of which was sealed off by a thick blast door that had disturbingly deep gouges cut into it. The other was a short passage way that led to who knows where.

The adrenaline from the encounter with the Sludge had begun to wear off and as Eryn peeled off the flight gloves that she wore. Her hands began to tremble.

“One has to wonder why the Sludge stay here it certainly can’t be the climate” She noted with a small wry smile. It helped cover the nervousness that Eryn felt that she always felt in a dangerous situation such as this.

Seconds after she spoke. the emergency light began to die becoming dimmer and dimmer until it finally cut out a minute or so later leaving the hangar almost pitch black the only light coming from the short passage way.

Along with the suffocating conditions and almost no light. An air of menace hung about the station. Something very dangerous was here... and from the sounds of the monster under the Horizon’s landing skid it wasn’t hard to tell what that something was...

As the pair advanced from the dark hanger, the passage way at first glance seemed to be a relief fairly well lit and free of Sludge. Until they saw the blood; the sticky red fluid was splashed across the hallway in an erratic pattern covering the walls, floor, and the ceiling several human limbs were scattered about on the floor including a freshly severed arm.

A soft wheezing sound caught the attention of both Eryn and Kiel It sounded like a human in extreme pain

Eryn paused and listened, a strange sound had caught her ear, it seemed to be a human who was in pain, but the sound could still belong to a Sludge of some sort.

The scene that had been described on Alayre Minor still echoed in her mind, the descriptions Eryn had heard were horrible and repulsive. Her amber eyes were narrowed and the slug machine gun was gripped tightly in her hands.

With a quick glance to Kiel... the young woman moved forward slowly not wanting to make excessive noise.

A horrible place this station. Death and misery are perhaps the only things left, no life or trace of joy.

The source of the sound of the sound was indeed human... An old man dressed in the coveralls of a maintenance tech Horrendous wounds covered his body, the worst being gaping holes punched into his chest, It seemed like some kind of spike had done this How the man had survived this long was a mystery and something of a miracle. His green eyes focused on Eryn The tech lifted his gnarled hand towards the young woman... His voice little more than a whisper ”Leave you young fools leave now before they get you...” the old tech expired after that , his last breath came out in a rattle and his green eyes glazed over in the eternal sleep of death.

A grimace overtook Eryn’s features She had seen and dealt death in her time as a mercenary and before that, But this was just horrible to see a fellow sentient mauled in such a way. Eryn certainly wasn’t the galaxies shining light and had done things she wasn’t proud of to survive but this was repulsive in the extreme.

”It seems the Sludge are the ruthless killers that they are made out to be, These foul creatures deserve no mercy from any sentient” She noted grimly to Kiel...

As both of them advanced down the hall. a grizzly sound caused them to stop in their tracks. the crack! Of bending and breaking bone soft at first. then louder and louder As they looked back Eryn and Kiel saw that one of the sludge had erupted from what had been the tech’s body. A large lumbering humanoid with huge limbs and a deformed mouth many times bigger than a humans. Green eyes the same color as the techs stared out at the two. They blazed with an inhuman fire, a blood lust unlike any other..

The thing moved at a surprisingly swift pace as it started for Kiel and Eryn.. Covering half the distance in several seconds..

After the initial shock Eryn had recovered enough to squeeze the trigger of her slug machine gun.. Braaaaaap! A burst of three bullets lanced out towards the monster They caught the thing in the thigh and the arm as it reached up block the rounds. A loud and fearsome snarl emerged from the sludge. But like a juggernaut it came on anyway advancing as Kiel and Eryn fell back down the hallway.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
3 September 2006, 02:21 AM
*** After landing at port, before heading to Radeon's ***

Terras, followed by Nileeta, walked over to the crew quarters, where the guy was awake, and checking on the Bothan.

"How are you doing?" Terras asked their awake newcomer. "I'm Terras by the way, this is Nileeta, and of course, the avatar is Raven, our YT-2400's A.I."

"Pleased to meet you. I'm Jez, and this is Sienna," Jez indicated to the Bothan. "I think I'm alright, I hope she will be alright..."

"Terras, i'm dropping out of hyperspace, we've arrived in the Ynos system" Raven reported.

"Alright, take us in Raven." Terras ordered, then returned to Jez, "Well, we'll find a med-center to take her to soon as we touch down."

"Terras, its Criss and crew hailing us," Raven reported with surprise.

"Patch him through, " Terras replied. They talked for a minute or two, then made arrangements to meet at the starport's cafe. "Tell you what Jez, I and Nileeta will goto meet up with Criss for a few minutes. You and Raven should be able to locate and contact the nearest med center..."

As they landed, Terras got ready, "Jez, make yourself at home, do what you need. We'll be back shortly." On that note, Terras and NIleeta left.

*** After vacating Radeon's ***

As Terras and Nileeta ran, litterally keeping hot on Criss & Lynnori's tails, he thumbed the comlink, "Raven! warm up the engines, and be quick about it! Raven?" Terras thumbed the comlink again, no signal... "Kark! I forgot to recharge it again!" Terras cursed as they ran to their docking bays.

Several minutes later, as Terras and Nileeta stormed up the access ramp, "Terras?!? What shinanigans and trouble did you start, cause, create or get into this frelling time?!?" Raven scolded, right on que.

Slapping the ramp access button as he swung around the corner for the bridge, "No time to explain! We just gotta hyper outta here ASAP!"

Making it to the cockput, he jumped into the seat, seconds later Nileeta did the same, taking the co-pilot's seat... Terras began the lift-off sequence.

"Wait! is Jez still onboard?" Nileeta suddenly asked, remembering their 2 new passengers.

"Right behind you!" Jez's voice answered from the back of the cockpit, as he took the auxilary console seat.

Hearing as good of a confirmation as any, Terras pulled back on the flight controls, rapidly lifting off, racing for the statosphere; mildly pinning everyone into their seats Misfit's triple engines were visible slightly ahead of them.

Patching into the ships comms, "What the frell! Where'd all those huge bugs come from!?!" Terras asked Criss.

Criss' voice replied, "You're asking me? I say we contact the proper authorities and report this! Who knows if those bugs were native, or if they came in on a ship. Either way, it's bad."

"I'll check the ship's charts, and see where we can go....Here it is, Alayre Minor. It's not that far off from here. We can let them know about those bugs back there. The local government should have some sort of policy and procedures for dealing with such a large scale infestation, even if they have to quarantine the system." Lynnori's voice came through moments later.

"Sounds good, Lynnori. Did you copy that, Terras? Set course for Alayre Minor, your ship's a bit faster than the Misfit II, so we'll meet up with you there."

"We copy Criss, we'll be waiting for you." Terras replied, closing the channel, then asked, "Ready guys? Raven? If you will?"

"Fine..." Raven replied, as the hyperdrive kicked in.

"Now you'd better tell me what the Frak's going on here..." Raven demanded imediately after.

Terras got up, and made a 'follow me' gesture, "I could use some StimTea... I'll tell you best as I can, Nileeta saw it too."

Reaching the galley, Terras put on a fresh pot, and grabbed a few mugs for the table. The tea would be ready in a few minutes. He sat down...

"This should be good," Raven quiped, the avatar spoke with her arms crossed.

"Oh, it is..." Nileeta confirmed somberly, sitting down.

Everyone sitting down, Terras began..."We were sitting down with Criss and Lynnori at Radeon's, the Bith host began singing, then..." Terras paused, "Something small like insects fell from the ceiling, then more did, onto the singer, and killed him - borrowed right into him. Could see the things burrow right into his skull. More came down, and we barely got out of there unscathed..." Terras finished grimly.

"All true. I'm still freaked about it, the whole thing just gives me the shivvers. First the asteroid field, now this?" Nileeta added with a brief shiver, while Raven's avatar stood there, shaking her head.

"This day keeps getting stranger..." Raven finally commented, and the Tea was ready.

"And theres still the matter of the asteroid feild, and your wrecked ship Jez..." Nileeta added, sounding perplexed, as she got up to fill the mugs.

3 September 2006, 04:24 AM
"Something small like insects fell from the ceiling, then more did, onto the singer, and killed him - borrowed right into him. Could see the things burrow right into his skull. More came down, and we barely got out of there unscathed..."

A cold dread crept up Jez spine. He stood up and moved to Terras turning him so that he faced him.
Terras almost lost it when the newcomer newcomer almost dragged him from the seat. But something in the eyes of Jez told him to try to control himself.

"Tell me slowly and excatly how did those bugs look like." said Jez with his voice cold like Ice. He hasn't noticed or paid no attention to the fact the Nileeta's blaster was firm in her grip and aimed at him.
"Drat, I told you already. Black bug with prolonged body and pincers with which he cut the body open before burrowing itself in the body. I wish I could stop seeing that." spat Terras.
"One piece body. Short six legs. Eyes somehow hidden behind the pincers. Everything pitch black and covered in an armor like skin." as Jez slowly described the bug from his vision Terras could only keep on nodding with his head.

"Turn back."said Jez coldly.
"What?.. Are you crazy?" said Nileeta standing just behind him. "Haven't you heard what Terras said those bugs have just eaten through more then a dozen of restaurant guests... We're not going back..."

"Turn back" Jez said his voice quivering with emotions he was trying to withhold. "I left Sienna in a med bay there. They said the hospital is near the port so I could see her next time I'm in town. I have to save her."

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
3 September 2006, 05:27 AM
What was supposed to be a calm StimTea break had rapidly turned into a wierd but choatic few moments. Tensions rapidly raised, blaster drawn, and how-in-the-kark mind reading?

"Turn back" Jez said his voice quivering with emotions he was trying to withhold. "I left Sienna in a med bay there. They said the hospital is near the port so I could see her next time I'm in town. I have to save her."

"Kark!" Terras groaned frustratingly, "How the frak are we supposed to just 'turn around?' And let Criss know?"

Raven's hands were on her hips, "Well, if we exit now, I can double back on the reverse co-ordinates without having to re-calculate. We should be able to arrive back just shortly after they exit hyperspace..." Raven replied, then jabbing a finger at Terras, "You frelling nerf-hearder, if you had only said what was happening, I would have told you we dropped off Sienna into medical care....!"

Nileeta lowered her blaster as Jez released his grip

Sighing, "Karking... argh...... Ok, drop out of hyperspace, turn around, jump back in... And lets hope to frell we can make it there in time before its too late..." Terras groaned... "And the instant we drop back out, hyper-message Criss we had to turn back... Now where's the extra strong tea spices? I could really use a drink right now...."

"We're going to need to arm up then, hit the lockers, suit up and be ready soon as we land... Good thing you still have your service armor Terras..." Nileeta suggested, as she went to the top-most shelf and pulled out a small box. "And next time, the strong stuff is over here, since last time..."

3 September 2006, 06:25 AM
Sighing, "Karking... argh...... Ok, drop out of hyperspace, turn around, jump back in... And lets hope to frell we can make it there in time before its too late..."

Jez stepped back and slumped down the wall to sit on the floor. He smiled a rarely used #30 (I'm-really-sorry) at Nileeta.

"I'm not really good with words, but I believe there are some things we need to clarify. My name, as you know is Jez, and there's not much I do remember, but I do know some things for sure. I have to protect Sienna over my life and I bet you really understand that feeling..." he said and both Terras and Nieleeta felt a bit naked under his gaze. "I heard you want to fly to Alayre Minor. That's the direction I want to fly to but I'm not sure after I'm finished you'll be so happy on doing it. Those bugs you have spoken about are just one of variety of strange mutants. Other are for example great spidery things that can with easy survive in the vacuum of the space." Seeing the exchange of looks between his interlocutors he noded. "You have probably seen them while trying to rescue us. For which you have my eternal gratitute." Jez stopped as his head started to ache real badly.

Nileeta started moving towards him but he stopped her with an outstretched hand. With uncertainty she looked at Terras who showed her to stop. She sat back but watched Jez with care.

A vivid images of a holorecording flashed acrossed Jez's eyes. As if he has seen it with his own eyes. The masacre at Jasprik.

"On a colony world Jasprik mutated monsters masacred a whole town called Ghurrod. They not only killed everyone in their path in the most gruesome manner. But they somehow assimilated some of their victims. Those monsters came from a small space station and seem to spread like fire. Jasprik is a colony world of Alayre Minor. And I swore vengance upon those creatures." said Jez wearingly. he shook his head and added quietly "though I don't rememeber why..."
He moved his head up to look at Terras and Nileeta.
"I can understand if you don't help me. But as you saved my life I would ask you to let me go for a while and if I'm still alive afterwards I'll find a way to find you and pay my debt. Think very carefully as nothing you have seen so far is even close to the horrors you will encounter if you decide to help those in need now. I'm sorry but I must rest for a while. If you excuse me." With this Jez stood up holding the table for balance and slowly moved into the cabin leaving behind him silence.

3 September 2006, 08:18 AM
Mayhem reigned. Civilians ran everywhere, speeders clogged the streets, people were screaming. Overheard the roar of multiple ion engines cut through the night sky as panicked ships took to orbit, blatantly ignoring the “no thrusters within the atmosphere” rule. Somehow, there was even a fire burning, building to a greater threat, on the front of a building half a block away.

Senior Patrolman Vev Unills frowned as he moved, along with five more patrolmen, through the mass of people spilling out from the block around Radeon’s pub. The reports had been confusing. Bugs of some sort. Supposedly killing people by eating into them. Nobody could get a straight answer on what the bugs looked like either. Black, red, striped, it varied. That’s what Unills was going to figure out. Pushing aside the people, ignoring the people screaming at him about “doing something” because there were bugs back there. What did they think he was doing, going for a stroll in a swarming mass of panicked people?

Finally the people began to thin, as the people stuck in speeders that has rammed into the bad of other speeder that had stopped, vacated their disabled vehicles and ran for their lives. Ahead of him, he could see the mass of the starport building looming against the night sky, the lights of it standing out like a well patterned star cluster. Beyond that was the source of the disturbance. Then Unills’ eyes moved to his left. Nearby, this side of the starport, was a medical facility. If these things were as bad as some of the reports, they’d need to make sure the medical facility was protected. He stopped, turning to his men. “You two…go to that medical facility and work on getting the area secured. Close any windows, barricade any doors so that nothing can open them. Keep all people inside and don’t let anyone but other security forces in. If you start having problems, call for backup. The rest of us are going on to investigate the pub.”

The two men nodded and moved off towards the medical building. Unills and the others moved on towards Radeon’s. As their booted feet clopped over the hard surface road, Unills’ eyes watched the ground around them, looking for any sign of bugs. Nothing so far. Ahead, as they rounded the large bulk of the starport’s main building, they could see the front of the pub. Outside the front door, Unills spotted the first of the bugs. Hmm…red. It was a good three to four inches long, probably about 2 or more inches tall. On its front, it had two large talon-like appendages. Fangs of a sort. It had six legs, three on each side, and look like it had a hard shell covering its back. It was strange, indeed. Not like any bug Unills had ever seen. It certainly wasn’t native to the planet. Probably brought in on some ship. Unills toggled his comlink. “I’ve spotted the problem. It’s a bug alright. Red in color, larger than any native species. Better get a pesticide crew down here, as well as a couple more patrols. There’s a mess of speeders wrecked on the exit access, so everyone will have to come in on foot.”

As the “confirmed” chirped over his comlink, Unills turned it back down and onto standby. “Let’s go, guys….move in, but keep your eyes open.”

The three men moved in, their weapons at the ready. As they neared, getting to within 10 feet of the solitary, red bug, the bug’s attention seemed to divert directly to the humans. It made a chittering sound. Squeezing underneath the door to the pub, more red bugs began to exit the establishment. First a dozen, then more and more. Unills and his men stopped. “Uh…let’s back up a little,” he said, waving his men back with his free hand, but still keeping his blaster aimed towards the growing mass of bugs.

After they had taken four steps back, the mass charged the three men. With eyes wide at the speed of the bugs, the men turned and darted towards the nearest thing they could find; an abandoned speeder, floating nearby. With the bug charging furiously at the men, the three hopped on top of the speeder, scrambling wildly so as to not slide off on the other side of the speeder. The hard top and closed doors of the speeder didn’t facilitate climbing aboard, but at least the men were able to find space on top. The trick worked. The bugs ran over to the speeder, but didn’t seem to have the ability to jump. Instead, they just swarmed the ground underneath the speeder, looking like a pool of red liquid.

Unills toggled his comlink again, “Better make that an extermination team for the pests. These little buggers are mean suckers.”

One of the other patrol men fired a single blaster shot at the mass of bugs, the bolt splattering three of them, and tossed a couple more a few inches. The man looked at the killed bugs and frowned, before the sight was covered with more living red bugs. “Hey, when you kill them, the basically turn into a mush. Kinda green and black.”

“It’s probably just bug guts,” said Unills.

The man shrugged, not considering that before. At the three sat on the hood of the speeder, Unills heard his comlink come to life. “Patrol leader, this is Bettow. We’ve got some of those bugs trying to come into the medical facility. We’ve got a total of 14 medical personnel and 3 patients in here.”

Unills looked around, thinking quickly, the responded. “Hold them off. Use your blasters, they can be smooshed pretty easy.”


Unills looked at the other men. “Any ideas on how to get out of this predicament and get over to the medical facility?” he asked.

3 September 2006, 08:57 AM
“Patrol leader, this is Bettow. We’ve got some of those bugs trying to come into the medical facility. We’ve got a total of 14 medical personnel and 3 patients in here.”

Unills' voice came back scratchy. “Hold them off. Use your blasters, they can be smooshed pretty easy.”

"Roger." Bettow almost smiled; Unills almost never said anything like "smooshed"; he was probably freaking out over this. But he knew his boss, he'd keep it under control and out of the boys' sight. Be bad for morale, anyways.

He started pointing to the windows and looked directly at the nurses. "I want these windows shut and locked NOW! Get the patients away from any of the entrances! Get the doors shut! C'mon people, move!" The nurses started scurrying to and fro, while Bettow looked over the scene with mute satisfaction. Okay, so this wasn't like the days with the Astarres Legion, he was only a cop now, but still, the yelling felt great.

There was a scuttle off to his right. He turned, but there wasn't anything except a shelf and some windows. He raised his gun anyways, and when he heard the scuttle again, he fired. A glop of red and black mush splattered the backside of some medical canisters, and the nurses jumped in fright.

"What the frell do you think you're doing?" a nurse practioner asked him, hands planted firmly on her bulbous thighs. He frowned at her mottled face. <i>Jeezums, where did you pick that up, at the local trash facility?</i>

"Back in my former job, I shot bugs for a living. Now get back with the--"

"YEAAHHHHH!" Dwedoo let out his Rodian battle cry and starting pumping blaster bolts into the wall. Only it didn't look like a wall--it looked more like a moving river of red and black stripes. Pressing his back against the NP's face, he pushed her back towards the rear of the center, letting loose with his own volley of shots. There were pops as the beetles were turned to mush, but it was only pebbles being thrown into a raging river. It wasn't doing any good.

"Dwedoo!" Bettow shouted, "We gotta shut that window!" He reached down into his pocket to grab a grenade--then belatedly realized he wasn't back in the Legion. Dropping a curse his mother would screech at, he elbowed the NP backwards, flicked his blaster onto wide screen, and poured himself a path towards the window. Chittering madly, the bugs started to retreat, not actually dying, but in intense pain. Around his feet the bugs fell back, revealing the mushy remnants of their fallen comrades. He planted his foot on the wall, grabbed the lock, and threw the window shut. With a clang, the chittering at once was silenced.

"Nighty night," he said, and then blazed the rest of them. By the time they were gone, his boots were soaked, and had lost their brilliant shine from only this morning. He slapped a fresh power pack in and smiled at Dwedoo. "Ah, I never get tired of it. What about you?" But Dwedoo didn't answer. He just stared off into space, as if not hearing. "Dwedoo?" Bettow stepped up to his face. "Dwedoo, answer me!" He prodded the Rodian's chest, and he fell over backwards. With a disgusting squish, a dozen or so beetles popped out of his chest.

"Oh f--" Yanking on the trigger as fast as he could, he riddled his partner's corpse of blaster bolts and darted back into the rear treatment area, shutting the door and locking it. Blaster still raised, he turned to the rest and said, "Anyone here a bug collector?"

3 September 2006, 03:03 PM
Not long after making the jump to hyperspace, Criss and Lynnori exit the bridge, allowing Misfit's AI to handle the piloting for the moment, as they return to their cabin to remove their armor and rest for a bit.

"Criss, after seeing those bugs and what they did back there at Radeon's, I'm really glad right now that I let you talk me into adopting the Mandalorian lifestyle. If I hadn't been wearing beskar'gam back there, I probably wouldn't have managed to keep my cool."

OOC Note : Beskar'gam is Mando'a for 'iron skin', made from Mandalorian Iron (beskar).

IC :

Criss places his armored flak vest on a hanger in the room's small closet. "Yeah, well, I for one wouldn't take a chance on hanging around to see how well beskar'gam could resist bugs like those, even though it's typically lightsaber-resistant."

"Okay, I know that the hard armor plating is saber-resistant, but what about the fabric of the jumpsuit, and the soft armor of the vest?" Lynnori asks as she's removing her leg armor.

"The soft parts of the battle armor are made from cortosis, so it's also saber-resistant. That's one of the things about the Mandalorian's history that the Empire didn't apply to their corps of Stormtroopers or their Clonetrooper predecesors. Mandalorian's have always tried to use beskar and cortosis ore for the battle-armor throughout our culture's 5000 year history. The Empire's used whatever's the most cost-effective."

"So that explains why Stormtrooper armor's so inadequate for blocking blaster bolts."

Sitting down on the edge of their bed after removing the last of his armor, with the exception of the full-body jumpsuit, Criss replies "Basically," as Lynnori sits beside him.

"Um, guys, I'm receiving a hypercomm message from Raven. It seems they had to drop to sublight and turn back. Something about a passenger they forgot back at the medical center near the cafe."

Criss jumps to his feet. "WHAT! Are they crazy, with all those bugs back there, I doubt they'd get anywhere near the medcenter." Criss starts to reach for his boots, as Lynnori stands and moves over to him.

"Raven said they shouldn't be long, with her hyperdrive they should still arrive at Alayre Minor just after we do."

"I hope they know what they're doing, and will be careful. I don't even want to think about what I saw back there." Lynnori puts her arms around Criss, stopping him from putting his boots back on and heading for the communications room. "Criss, don't. There's no point in sending a response. By now they're probably re-entering the atmosphere. Just stay here. Hold me."

Criss gives in, and hugs Lynnori to himself. "Alright. I'll stay here." Criss then turns to look toward the wall viewscreen. "Misfit, alert us when we arrive at Alayre Minor. Hopefully we can get somebody there to listen and take that bug threat seriously."

"Fine, but I'm shutting off my visual and audio sensors in there until we arrive. I already know what you two are about to do, and the last thing I wanna do is go back thru my security archives and delete all that stuff from my memory. And this time, once we land, can we stay there on the ground for longer than 3 hours? You know how I don't enjoy the vast unending infinity of space. All that nothingness gives me the heebijeebies."

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
4 September 2006, 12:20 AM
*** Planet Berini, Starport, 1 block south of Radeon's Cafe ***

Amidst the building chaos and panick within the streets and people en-mass were running every which way possible between the crashed landspeeders. Swarms of large hyper-ball sized beetles were fanning out towards the crowd.

Through a holocamera lense, with the GHNN logo bright yellow in the corner. A blonde haired woman in a white summer's outfit was pushing through the crowds opposite direction, towards the spaceport. A young male followed close behind, with a holocam resting on his shouder. On it, a station logo: GHNN

"Lady, get back!" one of the crowd control officers holding the line with a blaster pistol shouted.

Unable to proceed any further, she turned around and held a finger-sized mic to her mouth, and the young camera man stepped a pace back, ready.

"Live from the streets outside of Berini Starport, this is Erisa-Lin Mair reporting for Galactic Holo-News Network! We've got an infestation of - bugs! They're everywheres! hundreds Black, red, and striped!"

"Officer, Officer! can you tell me when this outbreak started?"

"Look lady, I [censored] told you before, get back! This is no place for a lady, let alone a nosey reporter!"

"Oh Shock!- " The blonde reporter points towards an officer nearby getting attacked - the bugs crawling up his legs and into him, the guy screaming in agony. The Officers barely have time to fire upon him before several beetles launch out of his chest and onto the other officers!

"Oh Shock! Oh Shock! Oh Shock!" The blonde reporter cried out hysterically, then started figiting wide-eyed, flaying her arms around, turning around in circles as there was a bug crawling up her back. An ear spliting scream, then a blasterbolt hit her in the torso. She collapsed.

Another officer grabbed the cameraman so that his face was inches away from the lense, with a crazed look on his face shouting inchoherently about getting out of there, then steps back, hands clutching his head as his chest was covered with beetles.

The camera swung wildly around for several more moments as more screams were heard, it all kinda blended into the panic in the background, then all of a sudden the camera drops to the ground, cracking the lense. A limp arm falls infront of the camera. A beetle walks by.

*** Onboard the YT-2400 NightRaven ***
The ship had dropped out of hyperspace, and the crew aboard were gearing up near the weapons and equipment lockers near the entry ramp.

Blaster pistols, carbines fitted in leg & hip holsters, a rifle or two on a sling. belts and backpacks getting stuffed with blasterpacks and grenads - frags, smoke, stun. Spike grapple launchers - one for each were loaded with fresh liquid cable dispensers.

Nileeta was strapping on some thin protective leather padding that was meant more for sneaking around or climbing: arms, shins, torso, knees, elbows. There were ringlets and small pockets, which she was also stuffing small gadgets into - stuff handy when in a pinch, or for breaking into places. In the wrist and arm bands, she slid in a variety of darts, as well as attached a small hard-case to her waistbelt. Then she loaded and holstered a SoruSuub Security S-5 heavy pistol.

Terras was putting his SpecNav suit on as well. It was two-tone black and dark grey. Consisted of specially made PolyFlex fabric material for the pants, and jacket with hood- both black. Then a dark grey thickly padded sleevless vest of the same material with many pockets. He attacked a comlink to the collar, a ear/mouth mic, and a wire to the comlink. Then grabbed a clear visor, reached into his vest, pulled a thin wire and connected it. Then he put the visor on, and taped a small button on it's side.

Jez simply looked... "Looks like a hiking suit Terras."

"Yup, thats what it's exactly supposed to look like. special issue blast, burn, weather and tear resistant clothing. Fringe benifit from my Special Navy Forces days." Terras replied with a grin

"Never heard of any such outfit." Jez replied.

"Thats because it was top secret. Simply, we were called when the ISB needed their query to be found. Can't do the job blending into the public, had it been public knowledge."

"Huh. And you Nileeta?" Jez asked, only half buying it.

"Lets just say I know how to get in, out, and around of places in a pinch." Nileeta replied while she bent down to attach a good sized sheathed vibro knife to her shingaurd strap.

Raven's voice chimed in "We're approaching the starport. Minutes from landing. Its absolute chaos down there!"

"So tell me something thats new," Terras replied.

"Fine. Suppose you tell me what's an Imperial Assault Shuttle doing in one of the port bays, and total lack of any Imperials around?." Raven reported.

Puzzled, "Now that dosn't make any sense." Terras replied, checking over his carbine.

"But chances are, they'll be fully stocked up on supplies" Nileeta chimed in.

"Hope your locked and loaded Jez, " Terras said as he walked over to the access ramp, waiting for it to lower.

"Hope you make it back safe Terras and Nileeta. And Nileeta? make sure he dosn't do something typically stupid & Corellian, will you?" Raven spoke up, as they were ready to leave.

4 September 2006, 01:11 AM
"Hope your locked and loaded Jez, " Terras said as he walked over to the access ramp, waiting for it to lower.

Jez checked his blaster and found that it's almost full. He smiled his #18 (We can do it) and went to Terras to stand by the opening ramp. He stubled a bit and had to hold to the wall as another of his head ahces attacked but it passed really quickly.

"Raven would be so kind and open the ramp before we land so that we can asses the situation." said Jez still smiling "I wouldn't like anything to happen to such a beautiful ship as yourself."

"Terras, why didn't you think about it?" said Raven mockingly. "You don't care for me anymore"

"You know you have a warm place in my heart" said Terras exchanging amused glances with Nileeta.

The ramp opened a bit and the whole crew could see the utter chaos below. Jez looked carefuly at a group of patrolmen holding their way on a roof a speeder.

"Raven, do not land just hover above ground. Those bugs can't jump. And Terras how about we help those guys on the speeder over there. They maybe our ticket into the medical facility. " Jez pointed to the speeder.

Terras nodded and readied the blaster

"Raven, bring us down with the ramp open so that we can get them of that speeder. But please be careful." he added with a crooked smile.

Senior Patrolman Vev Unills was deeply shocked when his dilema had came to such a quick solution. He lookd with awe as the old YT managed to avoid all obstacles and with a grace showing a very experienced pilot hovered with the ramp open just inches from the speeder that has been his and his men hiding place. A vclley of shots came from the ramp from three characters. One of them clad in dark hiking suit waved with his hand.

"Jump. The roofs prohibit us from coming nearer. We're heading towards the medical center and we can drop you off somewhere."

One by one the patrolmen got into the cover of the ship and still firing to decimate the bugs.

"Raven get us to the med center"
"Aye, aye, captain"

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
4 September 2006, 03:15 AM
"Welcome aboard" the holographic avatar greeted them, "Though if you excuse me, I've got some flying to do." then faded out of existance. As NightRaven gained altitude, her voice came over the speakers "Unless theres another imediate priority, next stop - Med center rooftop."

"Talk about a close call there. By the way, I'm Terras, captain of this flight." Terras introduced himself.

Nileeta grabbed a few spare powerpacks from a new box within the locker, handing them out to the guys, "Might as well reload guys, we can spare a few."

4 September 2006, 04:46 AM
Things had changed so fast, Unills barely had time to think. First there was little to nothing to get out of the situation. Then, a ship, then a holograph, then a trio of strangers just acting like this was a common place occurence.

"Captain. My thanks for getting us out of that situation. Things are getting way more out of hand than they should be. I'm Unills, Senior Patrolman. What are you doing here?"

Unills took the offered power packs for his blaster with a nod, pausing a bit longer than he planned to look at the individual handing them out. "Not sure what these bugs are, but they're causing some serious problems. I've got a couple of guys in the medical center, holding off the bugs at that place. Don't know how much longer they'll hold though."

With that thought, Unills tapped his comlink. "Bettow, Dwedoo, this is Unills. Give me a situation report."

4 September 2006, 05:10 AM
Jez looked at Unills with his #13 (I've seen it before).

"You would not believe if we told you"
"Try me!"
"Those are mutants that ahve already overtake on espace station destroyed one city in Jasprik and probably much more. And theses are the smallest and easiest to kill kind from what I have noticed." Jez wasn't changing his all knowing smile.

"If I hadn't seen what I saw I would put you in mental ward in the med center... But I'm inclined to believe you..." said Unills and hanged his head for a while then rememebering where he was he straigthen up. "But will push them back! We will not be defeated by such bugs!" it seemed that his short inspirational speech worked on his team.

Terras looked at Jez sadly.

Raven directed the ship smoothly just above roofs to the med center. It took them mere minutes until they reached they destination.

"I need to pick up one patient from the center and if need arises I think Terras here will assit you in moving some of the patients. Of course as you see we are not equipped to handle any bigger evacuation. But it's a course of action you should consider."
Terras nodded in agreement as the hovered over the building. It seemed that bugs took the center as their primary target. Ahtough they didn't forget about anyone in vicinity they main "forces" tried to get into the building as if something inside made them really angry.

Unills looks down and gulped hard. One of his man couldn't stand the vision of carnage on teh street and threw up.

4 September 2006, 03:57 PM
"Bettow, Dwedoo, this is Unills. Give me a situation report."

Bettow swore and turned on his comlink. "Dwedoo is dead sir; the bugs got to him. Literally. I'm stuck in the rear treatment ward of the medcenter with the patients and the doctors. We pretty much immobilized, but I think we'll hold out for a--"


He sighed and then said, nonchalantly, "This is just not my day." Blasting a pair of beetles that had somehow crawled underneath the door, his shoulders sagged. "I hate this planet."

"Bettow?" his comlink scratched. "Bettow, are you there?"

"Yes sir, I'm still here, but these bugs really want to get in here. They've started crawling under--" <i>BETOO! BETOO!</i> "--and I think our situation may have just been com--" <i>BETOO! BETOO!</i> "--Any luck securing transport?"

Waiting for an answer, he shook his blaster pistol. "I hate this thing. Crappy Alayre Minor stock." He then turned to the rest of the civilians. Their eyes were all open in fear, save for two of the patients; a Bothan who looked pretty well drugged, and a Squib brandishing a crazy grin on his face. 'What's so funny, squirrely?" Bettow asked. "Mind letting us in on the joke?"

"Nothing," the Squib replied. "I just find it amusing that we're all going to die because of some tiny bugs."

Without looking away from the rodent, Bettow blasted another beetle into complete mush. "Yeah."

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
4 September 2006, 05:10 PM
Raven reached the rooftop, but didn't set down, just hovered gently so the ramp was just a foot above the floor, with the slightest of up/down bob from the wind at that height of the tall building.

Walking to the near end of the ramp, Terras checked their surroundings for bugs, then stepped off the ramp, "Alright, coast is clear!"

"Terras?" Raven called out,


"Be careful" Raven replied with concern.

Nileeta and the other four vacated the ship. Soon as everyone was clear, the ramp was raised and the ship took off, in a wide spiral around the building and upwards.

"Hey! where's it going?!?" one of them asked in alarm, pointing, "we're going to be stranded!"

"Relax, Raven's just taking the higher ground. I don't think any of us would want those bugs getting aboard" NIleeta replied.

"But we gotta evacuate the hospital!" Unil's men said,

"Guys? When we're getting the patients standing on the rooftop, I'll call her back down for pickup." Terras guestured to his collar comlink.

"Man, it's going to be cramped, hope we have room enough for everyone." Nileeta said worriedly.

Terras nodded in agreed, "Yeah, Misfit would've come in handy here with his large cargo deck. . Enough space for a few dozen temporary passengers easily."

His carbine drawn and ready, "Well, are we ready?" Terras adressed the small group of them, indicating towards the rooftop exit. "Mr. Unils? want to notify any personell inside to get ready to evac?"

Unil's team readied, and approached the doors. One stood gaurd, the other tried his flashchip on the digital lock. The panel beeped, but the remained lit red under 'lock-out' status. "Frak!" he shouted in frustration. "Mr. Unils sir, clearance code overides arn't working."

"Wait, let me try." Nileeta offered calmly, walking over to the panel. She pulled out a multi-tool, and begun unscrewing the panel. Tapping her Comlink, "Raven, I might need you to help me break a security overide. The place is locked down tight."

"I'll do what I can, as long as you can get to the circuits and patch-in..." Raven replied.

"Got it, " Nileeta removed the panel cover, setting it aside, pulling out a small datacard with a row of unlit LED's, and wire with end clips attached to it. It took a few moments of prodding and finding the proper wires, til the datacard's lights went bright red. "OK, we're hooked up, " Nileeta confirmed, "

"OK, accessing and scanning...." Raven reported, as the row of lights on the card started blinking on and off from red to green randomly. "Nileeta, i'm goin to need you to find the door release wire and trip it when i find the right code..."

"Will do..." Nileeta began tracing the wires from the back of the panel.

4 September 2006, 07:19 PM
Jez watched with growing impatience as Nileeta search for proper wires and as women do was trying to gently open the door. His idea was quite the opposite and had about 50 % success but was much faster. He was never the man to know how to break or hack into things. Taking a blaster and shooting the damn lock was his way, but now he waited - he didn't want to shock the girl with a blaster bolt flying just pass her head.

As long seconds passed he looked around the roof and found some buckets and pipes left probably by some kind of repair crew. He picked one and went to the edge of the roof to look down. The masses of bugs seemed to mostly got inside the building but there were still some around. He dropped the bucket seeing with a smile as some of the bugs squashed with a loud splat.

"Sithspit!" he cried out loud "Nileeta would you mind opening that door a bit faster..." he said casualy as he drew his blaster and started shooting down. "It seems that some of them can climb..." His well aimed shots were picking one bug after another but for everyone he shot two more appeared.

A second later he was joind by the patrolmen and Terras and miraculously it seemed that they joined forces stopped the attack coming up.

Terras looked down.
"Your bucket- trick angered them a bit. But it also broke to one of their tunnels they have dig under the street."

It looked that though those bugs weren't intelligent per se, they imployed quite a cunning insect tactics.

"Done" said Nileeta accompanied by a loud beep as the door opened. "Let's get those people out of there..."

Unills and his men took the front as they descended the short stairway. It seemed that there were no bugs here, but with the burrowing underneath there was no telling when it would change.

The group came to another door this time open and the patrolmen in a trained fashion got inside with their blasters ready.

Suddenly all the ligths died. Everyone waited not daring to move. Then after a short while the emergency power kicked in and the small room was covered by pale white light.

"We're in back storage." said Unills consulting his on-hand display "Behind this door is a corridor leading from front to rare entrance to the center." he pointed to the door on the left. "Behind that door there is a personel room of some kind with an entrance to patient room number 6. I'd say we avoid the main corridor." he quickly assumed the leading role.
"Bettow, what room are you in and how many patients have you got with you?"

5 September 2006, 05:28 AM
"Bettow, what room are you in and how many patients have you got with you? I've got transport secure and we're coming in with some help. Have those people ready to move when we get to you."

Worry tugged at the mind of Unills. These bugs weren't something that seemed easy to deal with. Blasters, while effective, didn't kill very many at one time. If anything, it seemed to make the bugs more determined to get to the person with the blaster. What he needed was something else. Either something that could squash them in greater quantity, or kill a lot more of them at once.

As he waited for a response from Bettow, Unills turned to the the two patrol men and three civilians with him. "If anyone comes up with a better way to kill these things...speak your mind. Blasters only work so good, it seems."

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
6 September 2006, 06:39 AM
"If anyone comes up with a better way to kill these things...speak your mind. Blasters only work so good, it seems."

Terras shrugs... "Anyone got a flamethrower in their back pocket? .... No? Me neither...."

As they stood there for the short moment, Nileeta starts looking around... Looking for something along the walls.

"What?" Terras asked, curious, since he was all out of options. However, he knew Nileeta - never one to give up, and considering her specialties, one never knew what she'd come up with.

"Aha! This!" Nileeta dashes over to the far wall, where a glass panel secured a hose reel, hand valve, an axe, and of course a small nozzeled tank... "Maybe freezing them will at least slow them down? or the water pressure - hold them back?"

Terras grinned, "Brilliant idea! Unill, tell those guys to grab all the tanks they can get!"

Terras starts for the door, then looked back, "C'mon! lets meet them half way!"

6 September 2006, 06:52 AM
"What?" Bettow said. "Leader, can you repeat that?"

"I say again," Unills said, his voice getting stronger, "Grab as many tanks as you can. We're going to try and freeze the buggers. Over."

"So you want me to make a snocone out of these things?"

"That's the general idea."

"Frell." Bettow turned to gathering of patients and nurses. "Alright, listen up! We got a new strategy! We're going to try and freeze the bugs! I want the medical personnel to grab as many of the nitrogen tanks as possible, and then see if we can hook them up to make uh, uh, an icethrower, I guess."

"A snocone machine?" the Squib said, unable to hold back his sniggering.

Bettow glowered. "Yes, a snocone machine. Now get moving!" All at once--and in a surprisingly orderly fashion--the medtechs managed to get a half-dozen six-gallon tanks together, rigged with tubes. It took two people to man each tank, one aiming, one opening/closing the valves. That left two people without "weapons" --the center chief, and her mousy little assistant, who kept eyeing Bettow as if he was going to be the next course on the menu.

"Ah, now this is what I call a good day."

6 September 2006, 09:40 PM
Terras starts for the door, then looked back, "C'mon! lets meet them half way!"

Jez looks at him smiling #26 (What-a-guy!).
"Unills grab the tank and move with your man out. Nileeta if you'd be so kind and wait here by the valve. " Jez walkes to the Twillek woman "Someone will have to turn this thing on."Jez says apologizingly "Here we go" he smashes the glass with the blaster, takes the hose and waits for one of Unills man to take the extinguisher.
"Cellis go take it!" orders Unills one of his man.
A big burly man who could almost easly hide it in his palm takes the tank and moves to stand just by the door.

"Bettow, are you ready? We move on my command. Get all of those patients out. If someone can't move assign a person to push his bed out. No one can stay in here. No one! We'll meet half way"

Jez unwinds a bit of the hoze and looks at Nileeta with childish #15 (Let's play) "It was a great idea. I must say." he feels a strange joy overcoming him which is then suddelny squashed under a black gloved hand of his headache. He stumbles but the pain vanishes as quickly as it came. He flashes a quick and false #5 (everything is ok) at Nileeta. Then moves quickly to join the rest of the squad by the door.

"Ready when you are." he says to Unills.

7 September 2006, 06:06 AM
Unills checked around to everyone, making sure they were all ready. Only a pair of fire suppression tanks had been found, and with the hose, that made for three that had anything other than blasters. He decided he'd stick with his blaster, with one tank in the hands of Patrolman Cellis, another with Patrolman Hengarn. The Twilek and the smiling joe had the hose, and the Captain and Unills each had blasters.

"Aright, let's move," Unills said, then activated his comlink. "Bettow, we're on the move, starting moving towards our signal, we'll meet and fall back towards the roof."

The group moved forward, through the hallway, Unills near the front, his eyes scanning the area, his men on either side ready to use the fire suppression tanks. Rounding a corner, they came to a stop, looking at a mass of the red bugs clustered around the lift doors. Unills tapped Cellis on the arm and the big man took a step closer. The bugs turned in unison and rushed towards the group.

Cellis opened up the tank with a *WHOOOSH* and a cloud of white, cold gas burst forth. Hengarn didn't take any chances, and also started to empty his tank at the bugs. Unills watched the flood near Cellis' feet, waiting for any of the red bugs to appear out of the white cloud. His blaster pistol was held ready.

Amazingly, the cold gas seemed to be slowing the bugs down. The first bug that appeared out of the white cloud was moving so slow you could have picked it up to look at it. Unills stepped forward and crushed the bug with his boot. It made a sickeningly crunchy sound as he did. "It's working! Let's move!"

With the tanks still disgorging their gas, the group moved forward, crunching over the nearly unmoving bugs. Unills hit his comlink again, "Bettow, the gas works to slow the bugs down. You should be able to head out towards the lifts. We're got the bugs here slowed down and are crushing them now!"

With the batch of bugs around the lift crushed, the group turned the corner to see a veritable SEA of red bugs, flooding towards them. It's like all of the bugs on the street had decided to come in and play. He slapped the arms of both men, yelling, "Fall back! Let the hose handle these!"

The three men ran a few steps back to where Jez, Terras and Nileeta stood with the hose ready. As the bugs surged around the corner, Jez opened up with the hose.

7 September 2006, 11:14 AM
Jez expected the hose to try to wrestle itself free but even then he was suprised by the sheer power of the water.

He, out of habit, tried to hit the closest ones but soon discovered that the hose didn't work like blaster.

He never used a flamethrower before but it he believed he saw soldiers or whoever that was using them so he tried to copy the idea and it worked.

It seemed that the bugs weren't so tough after all - most of them were getting squashed on the walls and floor by the sheer force of the water. But more and more kept coming. Somehow he lost track of the time.

"Will they ever end?..." he said more or less rhetorically "Hurry up guys, it's harder then it looks..." He gritted his teeth and tried to aim carefully but his strength was letting up and some of the bugs came through the wall of water.

Fortunately they were hit by nicely aimed blaster fire but as Jez was concnetrating on the front he didn't even know what's happening behind him.

7 September 2006, 12:01 PM
Shiane sat, fidgeting and glancing about. Though she had managed to find someone to fly them off of Tatooine, she still felt uneasy, nearly afraid of what she was doing. She looked at the strangers that sat in the crew compartment of the old, battered freighter. Strangers that SHE had brought along with her. A cloaked man who seemed to be a bit more than he looked, a Wookiee with a floating, translator droid, and the Squib captain of the ship they were now on.

The Squib was expensive, but he claimed his ship was fast. Thankfully, she thought, Xion Cyzar had the money to pay for their transport.

Now they were hurtling through space, in a ship that looks like it would fall apart any minute, towards a place that Shiane had never been, to get something she had never seen or even heard of. She'd never tell the others that last part though. They wouldn't be along if that was the case. Of course, if she told them about her nightmares that she had, they probably wouldn't be along either.

It was going to be a long trip, though. Clear across the galaxy, to a remote area of space...a place "no one ever goes", as the Squib had said. Maybe that was why the object was hidden there. When they found it, though, it would help. Somehow.

Then, she knew, they would have to go to the lair of the beast. They would have to find the way to stop the nightmares. She wanted so much to close her eyes, to take a long rest, but her eyes kept darting back and forth between Tenbrawhl and Xion. Both pretty much kept to themselves, though when they did talk, they mainly spoke to one another. It probably helped that Xion could speak the language of the Wookiee. The droid remained mostly silent, only rarely making a comment how the Wookiee should speak to Shiane, but it was quickly growled to silence by Tenbrawhl.

She didn't mind....much. She didn't want friends. When people died, the less she knew them, the less she would hurt. Her hands fidgeted endlessly, and Xion noticed her worried and stressed look. He moved over to her in his strange, fluid walk. "Do not fear. We will arrive safely and find the artifact."

She looked up at him, still unused to his even keel demeanor. Strangely, she felt a bit more calm near him. Though she wanted to always feel that calm, she knew it wouldn't last. Instead she only forced a smile and muttered, "Uh huh."

He looked at her, curiousity getting the better of him. "How did you learn of the location of the artifact? The Leetrum system is not the most commonly known area. The nearest, inhabited and technological world is two sectors away at Alayre Minor. We'll be stopping there before travelling on. It'll be another day and a bit before we get to Leetrum."

Shiane nodded again, still remaining quiet. Xion wasn't sure what to think, though he could sense that Shiane was more than just a skittish young woman. Without another word, he moved back to his chair and closed his eyes. Shiane watched him go, and then looked over at Tenbrawhl, who was watching. She wanted to tell them more, but she couldn't.

Hopefully the journey would be over soon, she thought.

7 September 2006, 03:49 PM
"Bettow, we're on the move, starting moving towards our signal, we'll meet and fall back towards the roof."

"Okay people, let's bug out!" he ordered, failing to notice to horrible pun in his command. He ignored some of the medics' frowns and pointed towards the rear. "Alright, you two, start pushing the beds. We need to clear out a path towards the rest of the fellas." As the medics opened the door towards the rear lift, Bettow got behind the last bed and starting heaving himself. "Move move move!"

At first it didn't seem too bad--but then they turned a corner and a sea of red bugs started to advance towards them. The medics were screaming for their lives, but at least they held their ground, spraying the bugs with enough cold gas for Bettow to pop a good dozen with his blaster. Getting back to his bed, they continued, making sure to stomp as many as they could going by. They continued in this fashion, the medics turning the walls to ice, Bettow shooting any that desperately wanted to commit suicide by blaster, and the two unhosed ones pushing the beds alongside Bettow. It was all going great--

Until they saw the REAL sea. At this, Bettow only sighed.

"I know I should have called in sick today."

12 September 2006, 12:24 PM
A twig snapped underneath Kaz's foot. He took a deep breath and sucked all the night air in. It's a wonderful feeling, being on an unexplored planet. No other people to bother you, no one to have spoiled the land before you--well, unless you're traveling with Marek. It amused Kaz how the man would take out his frustrations on him--as if <i>he</i> was the reason the navcomputer developed amnesia and the hyperdrive had a giant whopper of a burp, shooting them a hundred lightyears off course. Even now he could hear the man cussing and hammering on his poor little ship, as he had done for the past few days. Marek frightened the cute fuzzy-wuzzies who lived on this planet, to the point where they called him the "Great Storm Bringer". One of the village elders--a fuzzy barrel Kaz had nicknamed "Taiko", because that's what it sounded like--was always creeping closer and closer to Marek's ship, then running off whenever Marek said something about his ex-girlfriend's mother. Kaz wondered if Marek really had an ex-girlfriend, or if he was just making it up.

Keeping the datapad's recorder on, Kaz kept heading towards the sound of Marek's voice, that wonderful bass ringing. He noticed a bulge on the tree up ahead and squinted. It wasn't just a bulge; it was one of the fuzzy-wuzzies, hiding next to it, peeking at Marek. Kaz recognized him as good ole` Taiko. He strolled up to the fella and said, "Hey, boss, what's up?" But when Taiko turned, Kaz dropped his datapad. Where the being's formerly small snout was a giant oval maw of razor teeth, and the chest had split open, with spider legs extending from the black void. With one fluid motion he was thrown to the ground, and the spider-Taiko took off running towards Marek, an inhuman roar filling the air.


Marek turned his head and stared at Kaz. "What are you talking about?"

The blue-white light of hyperspace stung Kaz's eyes, or was that the sweat rolling down his forehead?

He looked around and saw he was not on some alien planet, but the cockpit of Marek's freighter, the place he had <i>thought</i> he left a few days ago.

"Where am I?" he asked dreamily, even though he already knew the answer.

"On the way to Aliabo's Liftoff," Marek answered, still staring (a little in fear) at Kaz's face. "Are you okay?"

"What happened?"

"Um, you feel asleep. You want something?"

Kaz paused, considering his options. Then he raised his hand and yelled, "I NEED CAF!" and ran out the cockpit, banging his knee against one of the consoles.

Marek just shook his head and returned to his readouts. "What the hell's an Ewok?"

13 September 2006, 02:43 AM
Jez could hardly stand still aiming the hose at new masses of red bugs. His whole body ached from the tension of trying to hold his aim steady, the power of water which seemed so successful was also draining his strength in way too fast fashion.

"I won't be able to hold them much longer!" he exlaimed not turning his head, keeping his eyes fixed on the enemy. "We have to reatreat... And do it quite fast... I'll hold on.. as long.. as I ... can" his clenched teeth gritted unpleasantly.

He couldn't look back and was really hoping that Sienna was among surivivors somewhere behind him and not eaten by those monstrosities. This though gave him new strength to hold on a fe minutes longer. He took one short step behind. Then another one.
His aim getting a bit sloppy. And a few bugs came through the curtain of water only to by stopped by blaster fire or to be frozen in place. He noticed a big concentration of sludge in one place and imed the water squashing tens in just few seconds but unfortuantely that left a gap exploited by a small group of red bugs at the other side of the hall. Most of them were killed but one of them managed to reach patrolman hangarn and buried itslef quickly into his right arm.
The screems of the man and paniced shrieks of patients and personel alike fille the hallway above the sound of rushing water.
Thankfuly his partner Cellis was a quick thinker despite his burly posture. He opened the tank and directed it straight at his friends arm. Tears swirled in his eyes as he froze his arm but he knew that it's better to lose an arm then his life.
The screams of Cellis ceased as he lost consciousness out of pain and sheer shock.

13 September 2006, 09:38 PM
The Starbound Misfit II drops out of hyperspace and begins it's sublight approach to Alayre Minor.

"We just dropped back to sublight. I'm on approach to the planet. Is it safe for me to turn my internal sensors back on, without blinding myself?"

Rolling his eyes as he casts a glance to Lynnori, Criss replies "Oh for cryin' out loud, Misfit. All we did was strip out of our armor and began to change into clothing more appropriate to the matter at hand."

Still fidgeting with the necktie, Criss continues to check how the R'Monee suit looks on him in the full-body mirror.

"Lynnori, does this look straight? I dunno how businessbeings can wear stuff like this on a daily basis. It's so awkward and so un-Mando'ade."

Lynnori finishes the touches to her makeup, then steps over to Criss, taking the tie in hand and adjusting it herself. "Honestly, Criss, it would be just fine, if you'd quit playing with it. You look fine. Like a perfect gentlebeing."

"If you say so. I feel like I'm about to face a firing squad. Why do you want us to dress so formal anyways?"

"We're dropping in at the planetary government building, where there's going to be high-ranking officials and important people everywhere. How would it look for us to walk in there, in full Beskar'gam and armed to the teeth? Security wouldn't even let us anywhere near the building."

Smoothing the jacket lapels, Lynnori takes a step back to give Criss a quick look-over. "There, you look fine. Now, how do I look?" she asks, turning all the way around for Criss to see.

"Well, you look great. That Cristin Dee-Yor suit looks good on you. If we weren't here for something so important, I'd be having a hard time trying to keep my mind, and my hands, off you."

"Since we're on our final approach to the planet, do you two want to come up to the bridge and request landing clearance, or should I do it?"

"We'll be right up, Misfit. Hold our course."

Criss and Lynnori exit their quarters and take the fore turbolift straight up to deck one, then proceed directly to the bridge and take their seats, with Lynnori taking the controls as Criss opens a hailing channel.

"Alayre Minor control, this is the Starbound Misfit II, requesting landing clearance at the capital's spaceport. We have an urgent matter to discuss with someone high up about a serious crisis on the neighboring planet of Berini, in the Ynos system. Over."

14 September 2006, 10:39 AM
"Copy, Starbound Misfit II, this is Alayre Minor Space Control. You're cleared to enter in lane 20, putting down in Starport Alpha, docking bay 80. A port official will meet with you for you to formally lodge your complaint. No guarantees on how fast it'll get processed, though. You're in a long line of people complaining about things," came the somewhat bored sounding voice from the system controller.

14 September 2006, 10:56 AM
Unills fired his blaster as more of the bugs started to make it past the dousing of water that Jez was pumping out. He winced as Cellis had to literally freeze the arm of Hengarn to avoid having the man fall victim to the bugs. As Hengarn dropped the tank from the pain and inability to use his arm, Unills moved over and scooped it up, checking how much was left in the tank. Only 1/4 of the tank was left.

Holstering his blaster, Unills started to use what was left on the tank, freezing the bugs that got too close. Through the fog of the fire suppression tanks, Unills saw the group that they were coming to retrieve, moving quickly down the hall, blasting away with their own tanks and moving as quick as they could with the patients. He saw Bettow a few people back, using his blaster to shoot at the bugs that the tanks didn't slow down.

"Move it!" yelled Unills.

In a jumbled mass, the doctors, patients, orderlies and Bettow met up with the other patrolmen, and the crew from the ship. Just when things looked like it might work out for them, one of the orderlies let out a scream and fell, clutching at his chest. The others hesitated, stunned by the sight, and then raced in panic when the chest burst open to reveal more red bugs moving at full speed towards more targets.

Thankfully, a pair of younger orderlies were quick on the tanks, and the scene was masked with the white billowing clouds. Unills couldn't make out what was happening, but he yelled at the others. "Move to the lift! Keep an area cleared around the door so we can all get in!"

Thankfully, the lift was a large one, designed for the medical facility it was in. As he used the last of the tank, Cellis gassed the last of his and ran to help out Jez on the hose. Hengarn, even with one arm, still used his blaster to shoot at the bugs he noticed. Unills hurled more and more of the civilians into the lift, taking a moment every now and then to shoot at bugs that the water or fire suppression tanks didn't take care of.

As the rate it was going...they just might make it out. Unills glanced over to the captain of the ship that would take them to safety. "Captain! Better get that ship back here. We'll need to evecuate these people the moment we reach the roof."

14 September 2006, 12:27 PM
Jez hold to the hose more then hold it. His aim wavered from time to time but he still managed to keep the bugs at bay.

"How many more are there?" he thought. It seemed that the wave after wave the bugs came at them not diminishing in numbers.

He heard screams from patients and awaited the moment when one of the bugs would burrow into his flesh. His eyes got bloody and veins protruded on neck and forehead. His hands shivered from exhaustion. He took another step back.

"Move it!" yelled Unills.

He heard as patients and personel got to the lift and was reliefed when he heard its door open and people slowly getting in. There were blaster bolt flying but he couldn't perceive where they were coming from. But at least it seemed they somehow managed to hold.

Another cries erupted behind his back but they were silenced by the swooshing sound of emtied tanks.

"Move to the lift! Keep an area cleared around the door so we can all get in!"

Suddenly somebody's strong arms got hold of the hose and Jez almost fell to the ground. He was shaking. He dared to move his eyes only to see who was helping him and noticed the big burly figure of Cellis.
He nodded a wordless thankyou too tired to speak and blasted another wave of bugs. They took another step back.

"Captain! Better get that ship back here. We'll need to evecuate these people the moment we reach the roof."
He heard Terras saying something to the comm and they took another step back.

It seemed as if the waves of the bugs weren't so packed. As if there were a bit less of them but still enough to get them all.

Another blaster joined the frey and Jez heard Nileetas voice shouting something. He wasn't sure what she was shouting or at whom. His ears were defeaned by the constant roar of the water and the blaster bolts flying all around his head. He felt a strong arm was laid on his shoulder and he was almost dragged into the lift. The doors closed and as the elevator started moving a rain of bugs hit the other side of it. Jez collapsed on the floor breathing heavily and slowly regaining his hearing and other senses as well. It wasn't all that bad unitl it came to touch and a wave of painf flooded his body. His whole body ached from tension, his hands were burned from not trained hold on the hose, his hair was burned in one place by a close shot that took a bug crawling on a wall just miliseconds before it could launch itself onto Jez.

He got up slowly and searched patients and was deeply relieved to see Sienna laying on one of the beds sleeping peacefully various fluids being slowly pomped into her. He smiled at the rest of the crew around him. It seemed that some of them aged at least a few years in the last few minutes.

"We..." he tried to say but all that came out of his mouth resembled a Gadarian frogs croak. So he just showed thumbs up and waited for the lift to get to the roof level.

14 September 2006, 09:28 PM
Originally posted by Grimace
"Copy, Starbound Misfit II, this is Alayre Minor Space Control. You're cleared to enter in lane 20, putting down in Starport Alpha, docking bay 80. A port official will meet with you for you to formally lodge your complaint. No guarantees on how fast it'll get processed, though. You're in a long line of people complaining about things," came the somewhat bored sounding voice from the system controller.

"Lane 20, Starport Alpha, Bay 80, copy. Control, let your port official know that our alert is in regard to the deaths of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people by now on Berini, due to an outbreak of extremely nasty, and quite possibly, non-native insects. We're recommending a quarantine and extermination alert be issued. Over"

"I hope that'll get us moved up their list in priority. I hate to think of how many people have died already. We still haven't received any further word from Raven."

"Well, we'll soon see. Take us in. Misfit, try to hypercomm Raven again and ask for a sitrep. Things back there are probably very hectic and volatile right now."

"I'll try. Please tell me we'll be spending a while planetside. After making the trip here at maximum speed, I'm needing to give my engines a good rest, and top off my fuel tanks."

"Well, that'll depend on what the rates here at the port are. We really need to hook up a solid waste converter to your engines and power plant, just to cut down on our restocking & refueling expenditures."

"Speaking of which, honey. Once we've finished filing our report on Berini, I wanna hit the shopping district and see what the latest local fashions are, since I didn't get the chance back on Berini."

"Alright, just keep the spending to a minimum though. I'd like to see us make a sizeable profit from all these jobs we keep doing."

Lynnori guides the ship into the designated lane and flies the ship to the specified starport, then manuevers the old Corellian X-9000 Cruiser into the designated docking bay.

Powering down the drives, and putting the ship's systems into their respective off or standby modes, Criss and Lynnori then leave the bridge and make their way down to the aft entry/turbolift in the ship's lowermost deck.

As they enter the lift, Criss addresses the nearest audio pickups. "Keep all of your sensors alert, Misfit. We'll talk to this port official first, then we'll see the dockmaster to learn the local restocking and refueling rates. We'll be back in a while, keep the lights on for us."

Closing the lift's double sets of doors, Criss presses the appropriate disembark button, extending the ship's external lift tube and lowering the lift car itself down to the bay's well-worn flgiht deck. Opening the lift's doors, Criss and Lynnori step out into the docking bay, and glance around for the port official.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
15 September 2006, 03:13 AM
"Captain! Better get that ship back here. We'll need to evecuate these people the moment we reach the roof."

Terras barely heard the man over the fire suppressant tank swooshing, high pressure water hose roaring, and constant fire... It was a warzone. Only thing was mising was the low sonic 'whumps' that was heard as well as felt, and the flash-bangs of grenades...

"Will do!" Terras shouted back between shots...

Carbine firm in his two handed grip, he pulled the trigger again and again, until it clicked... he pulled the pack-release, and quickly slapped in a fresh one... resorting back to one arm, he thumbed the comlink on, shouting, "Raven! Come in! Over?"

No response.... or was there? everything was quite loud around him - in the confinment of the hallway....

"Watch out!" Terras shouted

"Got it!" Nileeta shouted back, as she pegged a beetle somebody else missed , that almost got through.

Terras took a few steps over to where Nileeta was standing, he pointed to the comlink, she nodded. Terras tried again. A worried frantic voice came through barely audible.

Everyone was pulling back, towards the service elevator...

And finally they were in... It was packed... and it seemed to take forever for the doors to close as the bugs kept coming...

"Terras! Terras? What's happening!?" Raven's worried voice rang out, as the blaster fire and noise halted

"We're clear!" Terras responded back with some releif. Before he could say another word, as the elevator slowly crawled along - it began to groan and creak, stressed to the limits of its capacity.

"Aww frell...." Nileeta whispered as her eyes met his- as the realization of a sinking feeling...

"Oh frell what- and whats that sound?!?" Raven asked franticly

"Never mind what, just be parked on the roof and ready when we get there!" Terras orederd, trying to keep the situation reasonably calm. Last thing they needed was everyone panicking in a very confined space.

"Just do it! or hover then... Terras out."

And it was getting hot in there - all of them packed, many sitting on the patients beds, and so were the walls in some spots... And it began to reak of hot lubricant, and rubber... Some people began coughing... There were still several levels to go to the roof... The elevator shuddered slightly- everyone gasped, but it kept on going... And then were the scritching sounds coming from underneath...

"We need to get some air in here..." Terras looked around.

"Ceiling hatch- help me up will you?" Nileeta asked, as she grabbed his shoulders. There was no room to go but up.

He grabbed her belt, lifting up as she pushed up on his shoulders, then finding her foot and clasped both hands for a foot-hold. The Ceiling was shy of 3 meters tall, and there were two roof hatches for this elevator. It was a bit of a stretch to the left, but Nileeta managed to get to it, and nearly slipped as she needed that extra bit of leverage she didn't have to lift it aside.

"Its open, i'm going up!" it wasn't a question, Nileeta grunted as she began pulling her self through.

"Hey-wait!" Terras was only able to object, then looked at the orderlies next to him- "C'mon, give me a hand-" as Terras guestured to follow suit...

"Where's he going?" one of the people asked

"Just trying to help. If a few of us climb out, the better for everyone's chances. See that Max Capacity sign? Well, we're over it..."

Out of the elevator, Nileeta grabbed her spike grapple launcher and aimed for a clear spot the roof and fired.

"Give me a hand will you?" Terras called out, Nileeta looked down, saw his hand reaching upwards for purchase...

"I can do better!" NIleeta as she knelt down through the hole, as the line had started becoming slack, allowing Terras to grab onto her. "Ready?" She squeezed the grappler's activator and they were pulled out of the hole and above the elevator, ascending at several times the rate. A couple shouts of cheer and protest were left behind.

Couple seconds later they were at the roof floor level. The doors were closed.
"Brilliant idea." Terras commented,
"Thanks" Nileeta smiled breifly before getting to work on the doors.

It took both of them to start prying the doors open with little to no leverage, just muscled strength alone. The elevator's ascent pitched in sound, as they looked down, some of the orderlies had also climbed out and were climbing the ladder after them as fast as they could, but the elevator was also picking up in speed from the reduced load...

In unison, both uttered "Oh kark...." as both Terras and Nileeta strained to prey the stubborn doors apart, - which had finally given by a few feet... Terras hauled himself through first, then pulled Nileeta through. Both began shoving the doors apart as the orderlies had climbed through and pitched in...

The elevator finally reached them half minute later, its inner doors starting to open...

"Terras! What the kark's taking you so long???" Raven asked once again - irritated, worried, impatient

"Don't get your circuits tied in a knot, we'll almost there!!!" Terras quiped back, earning a few odd looks from the orderlies in which Terras commented "Pilot..."

"Right, like you said last time..." Raven chided back.

Everyone spilled out of the evelator while the orderlies rushed back in to help pull/push out the beds. The squib was rambling something the whole time but everyone ignored him.

Just as the orderly pushed the last bed out - Sienna's, the floor gave out beneath him, as he screamed for his life gragging onto the bed frame, pulling it back. The beetles started crawling through the elevator floor, while Terras and Nileeta began firing at them - picking them off, as 3 others struggled to pull the bed free. The doomed orderly gave a blood curdling yelp, and finally let go, as the 3 others slipped and fell backwards onto the floor and the bed went down the hall... Least it was going in the right direction.

Terras and Nileeta backed away from the elevator, while Jez and 2 others picked themselves up and went after the bed.

Several reached the doors at the end of the hall, opening them and began firing their blasters, the daylight spilling in bright and blinding.

"C'mon, run!" someone shouted to Terras, but i f they stopped firing and ran - the bug would catch up to them just as fast.... and the beds were holed up at the door while blaster fire was now constant...

"We gotta slow them down!" Terras shouted,

"Beds! carts, anything!" NIleeta shouted as she began grabbing anything that was lined up against the walls into the center of the hallway, some tipping over with loud clangs. Creating a sporadic narrow obstacle course, the bugs had to climb over or around...

End of the hall was still meters away, as Jez and Unils disapeared through them into the sunlight... blasters firing...

"Hurry up you two! Your not going to make it! Bugs are all over the place and heading towards the doors!" Raven's voice panicked...

"Then blast them!!!" Terras shouted
"Don't worry about us, just do it! Or somebody!" Terras commanded

Half second later, the familiar whine of laser canons and debris could be heard, several shots, as Raven began blasting at the roof.

Terras and Nileeta broke into a run now, closing the distance to the doors, and Skidded to a halt as they reached daylight. Arm over eyes from the glare, the roof was riddled with large holes, and Raven couldn't get any closer as her overhead outrigger was in the way.

"What about your spike grapple launcher?" Terras asked

"Left it back there, remember?"


Nileeta looked around - "Up!" she pointed, and motioned for his hands again. Terras wasn't sure what she was getting at but there was the roof above them yet, and the bugs were getting close. He hoisted her up, then grabbed 2 power packs, and set them to overload - which required a moment's time to set..

"C'mon!" Nileeta reached down, and waited til Terras threw them, then grabbed hold. With the door cross-bar handles and Nileeta's hand, he was able to climb up, only to see they only had a short ledge, and a solid wall of air ducts, grates, and air purifying systems for a good 10ft up to the next ledge.

"This just keeps getting better and better don't it?!? Raven, why didn't you tell me?!?" Terras groaned.

"I tried to, you nerfhearder!!!" Raven spat back

Nileeta sighed in exhaustion, and pointed upwards. "C'mon..." she said as she began scaling the wall, looking for foot and hand-holds. It was a tough slow climb, having to renogotiate a path half way up, nearly slipping twice for both. But they made it... both were panting and exhausted,

"Terras, I still can't get any closer..." Raven spoke, as she hovered at their height,

"Raven - drop down just a bit, and straddle the wall, its a short jump, we'll jump for it...", holding Nileeta at his side, "C'mon, we'll both jump..."

"K...." Nileeta breathed

It was the best chance they had, jumping onto the top of the cockpit cylinder, at the other end of the outrigger. On the count of 3, they jumped. And barely made it - almost slipping down the curved side from the movement of Raven maneuvering away from the building. Both crawled on their hands and knees off the cockpit, to the flat outrigger, and then collapsed, rolling onto their backsides.

"What is it now Raven?"
"Terras, You know how stuffed I am right now?!? And there a squib thats-" click.

Terras started chuckling as he thumbed off the comlink, cutting Raven off, which grown into full blown laughter by the time Nileeta rolled into his arms half puzzled...

Terras tried talking inbetween breaths and laughter "Squibs... This one time... well.... Squib incident... she ... really hates Squibs..."

Then it dawned on her- that squib really seemed to be short of a few sabbac cards shy of a typical squib as exampled back in the elevator. The Danger, adrenaline, fatigue, the wind down, she couldn't help but start chuckling herself nomatter how much chaos was happening down below. Call it a bout of lunacy, but at that moment she really didn't care what the squib was up to. With an arm drapped around Terras, resting safely atop their ship, flying through the air to heck knows where, one laughing, other chuckling, it was releif and sweet release...

(OOC: wrapped it up better)

15 September 2006, 02:06 PM
Bettow slid his back down against the hull of the ship. There seemed to be a pilot of sorts telling everyone to shut up, a very attractive one at that too. She must have had a past career as a dancer. He sighed. Ever since Iella left him a few months ago, he hadn't taken a single hard look at a woman. Frell, they weren't even married, just engaged. But then she had to run off and see the galaxy...

Frell her.

The Squib was still nuts, though that didn't matter so much now--another orderly had died, and the bugs had completely overrun the medical facility. Hell, they might have overrun the entire city, if not the planet, by now. But he didn't care. He was on a ship, and he was above the ground. It felt good. It felt somehow...ordinary. It was a little more chaotic that it used to be, back on the troop ships, but it was still natural. He had fought the enemy and survived to tell about it. There had been casulties, but these were casulties that were acceptable. The patients had survived. He at least fulfilled one oath.

He sighed and leaned his head back against the metal, and felt like he was home.

15 September 2006, 02:14 PM
Jez didin't quite remember the last few minutes from entering the lift till he was in the ship. It was all a big blur to him, but he was quickly regaining his wits if not his strength.

"Where is the next medical center we can get those people unloaded?" he asked Unills "Just say it now and the pilot - the lovely Raven - will fly us there. As you have seen she is quite a girl when it goes to piloting and she's a beauty at the same time. "

He took a few steps towards Sienna. She seemed to be peacefully sleeping. He looked at her for a few seconds but it seemed as everything has stopped around him. No voices no one moving as if someone pushed a pause button. Only he and the Bothan girl.

Someone pushed play.

"OK!" he shouted over the crowd's nervous voices. "We're safe now. And..." a loud aplause interupped him. A clapping and cheers heard even outside the ship. He waited for it to calm down. "You're in charge of them so make sure the doctors check the aptients and do their job we'll manage the flying..." he said to Unills and left him as he went to the cockpit.

The Raven holo sat comfortably on her chair.
"It's a lot of people back there how is flying? And where the frell are Terras and Nileeta?" he asked softly to transparent Ravens ear.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
15 September 2006, 02:56 PM
Inside the ship was packed - the common area filled with the beds. The lounge bench was taken by those first who came aboard. The crew quarters doors were locked shut, in addition to the engineroom - as few found out by trying - probably looking for the refresher or just curious, however the galley was opened, and some beverages and hot drinks were getting passed around.

The Raven holo sat comfortably on her chair.
"It's a lot of people back there how is flying? And where the frell are Terras and Nileeta?" he asked softly to transparent Ravens ear.

"Well, I can carry over a hundred tons of cargo, but it dosn't mean I have to like feeling like an over-stuffed bantha." Raven replied with her arms folded, then added with a thumb gesture "Those two are still topside, probably having a real picknick. I'd be able to fly faster if they'd get their nerfing buts in here..."

16 September 2006, 12:13 AM
"Those two are still topside, probably having a real picknick. I'd be able to fly faster if they'd get their nerfing buts in here..."

"So I'll be the evil uncle who'll spoil their fun then." Said Jez with a smile and went to Unills passing a group of patients and personnel helping themselves from the galley.
"Our lovely pilot would like to remaind you that you are guests here so please behave accordingly." he said to Patrolman but a bit louder so he'd be heard by the surrounding people also. Having said that he took two cups of hot Bandomeer coffee, known for it strength as well as spiciness - the best thing to keep the miners awake.

It wasn't a far walk to the upper airlock, inthat ship everything was just a few steps away from the couch, and he emerged from it with both cups in tact, even though Raven kept up quite a decent speed. The air swooshed around him as he looked around only to find two figures laying very close to each other on the flat part of the outrigger. He judged the distance.

"Raven, if you be so kind a slow down for a moment I'll get those lazy pants fo here..."
And indeed the ship slowed down to a speed where walking around was maybe not very comfortable but possible. Jez climbed out and walked towards Terras and Nileeta who still smiling were watching the sky passing baove them. Suddenly in their view two flying soucers appeared. Not battle ships but they closed quickly with and then they heard a voice.
"Here's some coffee for you, ma'am, sir. But I'd be more then happy to show you the way down, if you cannot find it." Jez droppped the butler tone "And if I were you I'd get down there Terras. Those guys are almost as those bugs in that they try to get EVERYWHERE. And I can be sure there aren't any skilled ones among them that will succeed through sheer luck or just simple persistance."

18 September 2006, 11:55 AM
The portly man, dressed in the uniform of a port official, came out of the access portal onto the landing pad where the Misfit II sat and the two occupants of it stood outside the ship. He scratched at his nose, an aggravated look on his face as he studied the datapad in his hands while he walked towards Criss and Lynnori. Mumbling something to himself as he went, he tapped the datapad repeatedly, skimming over the data.

Finally making it to where the two stood, he glanced up, the stress and aggravation evident on his face. "So I hear you want to file a report. You done this before? I'll need your vessel's ID, your BOSS certification card, and your ship's log to validate your claim....just so you know. So what's the claim?"

He stood there, a full six to eight inches shorter than Criss, but a good 150 pounds heavier. Even in the cool air of the evening, the guy seemed to be sweating, probably from his extra weight, and it didn't seem to help his dour mood at all.

18 September 2006, 12:33 PM
Unills looked over at Jez and nodded. "Hey, when you can, get the captain of this ship to set us down, preferrably near the central enforcement station."

After that, Unills moved around the cramped ship interior, making sure everyone was getting settled from the ordeal and that no unwanted stragglers had tagged along. He moved over to where Bettow sat against one of the walls. "Good job back there in the med facility, Bettow. I think we'll have our work cut out for us. At least we know a general means of containing them. Just wish we knew where they had come from. Someone had to have brought those bugs here."

18 September 2006, 01:53 PM
Bettow just shrugged and nodded as his boss talked to him. It was old news now, and nothing really needed. He just wished he could get off this boat soon.

"Someone had to have brought those bugs here."

"Why don't you ask those Imps?" Bettow suggested, letting his chin drop and giving the illusion that he was sleeping.

18 September 2006, 04:49 PM
Originally posted by Grimace
"So I hear you want to file a report. You done this before? I'll need your vessel's ID, your BOSS certification card, and your ship's log to validate your claim....just so you know. So what's the claim?"

Well-prepared for this, Lynnori produces the Misfit II's ID, BOSS cert, and ship's log on datapad for the port official to peruse, as Criss answers.

"Well, to put it bluntly, there's an outbreak of highly aggressive mutant insects on the planet Berini, in the Ynos system. Most likely non-native, brought to the planet on some ship that arrived at the starport. Vicious critters, too. Attack without little to no warning, burrow into their victim's skin. Apparently they secrete some mutagenic agent into the victim as well, because shortly after attacking, even more of the bugs burst forth from the victim's dead or dying corpse, suggesting the agent breaks down the victim's genetic structure to create more of the bugs.

Initially, the first attack that we witnessed was 8 bugs attacking a stage performer, within minutes outside in the city streets we saw hundreds of them swarming throughout the port, attacking anybody not fast enough to avoid them."

Lynnori adds "We barely made it to our ship and lifted off before our hangar bay was crawling with the bugs. There's another ship that should be on it's way here and arriving shortly, bringing some survivors they opted to rescue from the port's medcenter, and they can confirm our claim."

"There's no way to guess at the moment how far the infestation has spread on-planet. Quarantining the system and sending in an extermination team and hazmat team is probably the most appropriate course of action, considering how quickly and horrificly these bugs multiply."

18 September 2006, 05:27 PM
The port official did a double take as Lynnori produced the requested material without a moment hesitation. "I ...uh...sure...okay."

He looked at the data provided him, tapping more information into his datapad. With a scowl, he mumbled, "Seems you ain't the only one to have seen something like this."

He listened to Criss tell him of the bugs, seemingly indifferent and unimpressed, making more notations as Criss talked. "Well, not so much our call. Beniri isn't in direct jurisdiction with us, so's I can put it before the starport authority and it'll be up to them to decide on the action. As it is, if we do that, we'll be down to a fairly narrow route in and out of Alayre Minor. We've got a quarantine on Alaibo's Liftoff, a military lockdown on Jasprick, and now this. That leaves only the Fahls Corridor and the planet Norin Thein left open."

He tapped a few more things on the datapad, handed the items back to Lynnori, and looked up at the two. "Don't leave the planet. If the starport authority does decide to take this, they'll want testimony from you. So just stay in town and check for messages with Port Control."

With a grunt, and tugging at his sweaty uniform, the pudgy man turned and started moving back into the building he came from.

18 September 2006, 06:02 PM
Watching the port official walk away, Lynnori gets a big grin on her face. "Great! This gives me the chance to go check out the current fashion trends around here. :D

:rolleyes: "Why do I suddenly get the feeling our credit chip's gonna be a few kilocreds lighter?" Criss asks as they re-board the ship.

"Oh, come on, darling. You know I'm not gonna do that much spending. I know we gotta have enough funds for the docking, refueling and restocking fees. I mainly just want to look around, and see what the latest styles are."

"Well, if we're just gonna be wandering around the city near the port, there's no point in wearing these clothes." Criss says as he and Lynnori return to their quarters to change into something less formal and far more comfortable.

"If you want to check the ship's manifests to see what we need to restock, I'll head up to deck one and see if I can get thru to Terras on the Hypercomm."

"Okay.I'll see what we're needing and make a list. Let me know if you get thru and learn anything."

After changing, Lynnori accesses the ship's supplies manifest as Criss heads up to deck one, and proceeds to the Hypercomm station just aft of the bridge. Taking a seat, Criss fires up the comm system and selects the NightRaven's known comm frequencies.

"Starbound Misfit II to the NightRaven. Terras, Nileeta, Raven, you guys there? Over"

19 September 2006, 03:56 AM
Jez left Terras and NIleeta with coffee and got down.

Unills looked over at Jez and nodded. "Hey, when you can, get the captain of this ship to set us down, preferrably near the central enforcement station."

"Raven, my dear would you be so kind and get us to the central enforcement station." Jez asked as he got to the cockpit.
Raven smiled at him and for a moment he forgot that she was only a holo. He remembered the sweet eyes of Sienna and another pair somewehre from his past a deep blue eyes as deep as cold ocean but glowing with inner warmth.
"Already doing so. ETA 10 minutes. It's getting chaotic out here." she turned on the inner comm system "Here is your pilot speaking. Please fasten your seatbelt or hold tight. We may encounter a few turbulence."
Jez looked oput of the window and saw that almost every speeder in the area was trying to fly as high as the inhibotrs were allowing only to get away from the bugs. They were behaving like mindless insects flying in everypossible direction not seeing anyone else. It was a miracle that noone so far got killed.

A bright explosion rocked the ship. A small spiderbike rammed into slowly flying repulsor adverstisment.

"Fark!" Jez started running towards the airlock thinking what the explosion might have done with Terras and Nileeta only to see them two step away from the cockpit. Shaken but unhurt.

"People are gettig hysterious trying to escape those bugs. Just some poor soul got himself killed." said Jez answering the unasked question. "In few minutes will be at enforcer station where we can get rid of those people but if you have nothing against I'd much prefer if Sienna could stay aboard. I somehow loath to leave her here."

Raven had to avoid two another blind pilots as she got to the station and soflty out of habit hovered slightly above the roof of the station as Unills helped everyone get of the ship.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
19 September 2006, 08:53 PM
Terras and Nileeta accepted the cups of coffee took a few sips and followed Jez back down.

Just standing in the corridor was faily crowded as is. A peek around the corner showed just how full the interior was packed...

Raven: "Here is your pilot speaking. Please fasten your seatbelt or hold tight. We may encounter a few turbulence."

"Uh-oh, that can't be..." Terras began,
Just then, the ship shuddered, as he and Nileeta both used their free hands to grab hold...

"People are gettig hysterious trying to escape those bugs. Just some poor soul got himself killed." said Jez answering the unasked question. "In few minutes will be at enforcer station where we can get rid of those people but if you have nothing against I'd much prefer if Sienna could stay aboard. I somehow loath to leave her here."

"Yeah, I suppose that'll be alright, long as we can stock the meds and equipment we need. " Terras replied

"Did you get any update on her condition from any of the nurses? We're going to need to know what she needs and how to take care of her" Nileeta spoke, concerned.

It was subtle, but they felt the ship slow down to a gentle hover, which was further confirmed by the ramp lowering and a calmly order by Unils to exit the ship...

"C'mon, lets see if we can give them a hand." Terras guestured as he looked around, making mental notes - wondering how much of a mess there was to clean up and evidently by all the empty cups on the floor, that also meant dishes and likly a restock of supplies...

The patients were reluctant to leave, the bedded patients offered much less resistance. And there was one orderly who had Sienna's bed qued in line...

"Not her! she's staying here!" Jez went imediately almost tripping over the stuff on the floor.

"Here, i'll start giving you a hand," Nileeta bent down to start picking up the cups when out from the galley ran a Squib with- a pair of yellow spandex leggings wrapped around his head, jabbering maniacly "woohooohoohoooo" like some cartoon holovid character as an orderly was close behind him trying to catch him.

The Squib ran around in a few circles, made a lap and a half around the common area, then under a stretcher where the 2 circled a few rounds. Just as the orderly sidestepped and nearly caught the squib, he climbed up Jez's leg and backside and jumped clear, nearly burrying Jez's face into Sienna's blanketed chest, as the squib made a bolt for the corridor and cockpit.

"Oh no you don't!" Raven scolded, responding with both the airlock and cockpit access doors slamming shut with a re-assuring shhh-thunk! shhh-thunk!

It was a standoff. The Squib was trapped. End of the corridor before the T junction. The Orderly advanced, slowly, arms out front, half bent, ready to grab the sucker. The Squib shivvered, wide-eyed, the clatter of his teeth could be heard. The orderly was just a few steps away. The Squib panicked, jumped up hysterically. Threw the orderly off-guard, scrambled up and past his shoulders and shot down the hall with a maniacal whoop and down the access ramp.

Terras and Nileeta simply just looked at eachother.
"Where'd he get a pair of my spandex?" Nileeta asked,
Terras shrugged, "Beats the heck outa me. Raven?"
"Ohhh, don't even start... While you two had your picknic, I was busy flying, dodging craze panicked air-speeders, and narrowly avoided several collisions, and all the while trying to be the good Host, and keep all the doors and access panels locked... There was a Squib running amuck, so fark-knows-where he found it from..."

Terras sighed, and walked over to the galley, maybe there still was some caff left. Or anything drinkable for that matter, save reactor coolant.

"Oh, and Terras"

"What now Raven?"

"Incoming call, its Misfit."

"Put them through in my quarters." Terras walked to the door, nearly walked right into it face-first. "Raven, the door?"

Soon as it opened, Terras walked inside, releived this was one of the few places in the ship still left untouched. Ok, it was kindof a mess, but it was his made mess. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, the wallscreen came on.

"Starbound Misfit II to the NightRaven. Terras, Nileeta, Raven, you guys there? Over"

"Yeah, we're here... Just getting the patients offloaded from a stop-over at the med-center. Picked up Sienna - our of the crew we picked up, as well as a couple dozen patients through a rooftop exit."

19 September 2006, 09:01 PM
"Yeah, we're here... Just getting the patients offloaded from a stop-over at the med-center. Picked up Sienna - our of the crew we picked up, as well as a couple dozen patients through a rooftop exit."

"That's good to hear, we were starting to fear that you might have ran into big trouble, or not even made it at all. We've arrived at Alayre Minor, and we just filed a claim on the incident with the port official. We've got to stay in the city near the port for now, and check in with the port control for any messages in regard to our filed claim. So how soon can we expect you to get here?"

19 September 2006, 09:49 PM
Jez was getting really impatient. This damn orderly literally guarding Sienna's bed was so thick headed! He would not understand the words like "safety" when it didn't mean medical center, or "good care" when it didin't mean him. Most of the patients were out and yet still Jez and the orderly kept on arguing.

Jez looked around and noticed that Unills has already moved out. He took out a blaster and pointed it at the orderly. His eyes glowing with inner anger.

"Now you will tell me what I need to know" he said through his clenched teeth "What care does she requires? What medicine? How long will she be in this state? Like I said - everything... " he came closer seeing as orderly's eyes grew bigger with fear "Or I'll shoot you. Not to kill. Oh, no. I'll stun you, wait untill you are almost conscious again and throw you to the bugs." He didn't know where his anger came from but there it was - like a wave, he was unable to hold it, and it began to pour out of him. "And the I'll watch as they eat you alive and breed on you only to eat your whole town..."
At that time the orderly was pale and shaking.
"No care really... no care... just turn her from... time to time... and check that she gets all needed fluids... It's all there... in the pad." he said his hand pointing in the general direction of a pad hanging on the side of the bed.

"Go! Go now." Jez couldn't control his anger. His head was aching big time again. The orderly didn't hesitate a second.
Jez looked around to shout at some one or even better beat the crap out of any one, but there was only Bettow left, leaving the ship as the last one.
He was somehow unshaken by Jez anger and even smiled at him understandingly, what caused a sudden illumination. Jez looked away and entered the nearest cabin only to throw up, fortunately in the right place. It was as if the anger was a disease that festered in Jez soul that he was allergic to. A few moments later he came back to the hall to move Sienna's bed to the cabin she lied in before. He was unnaturaly pale and his eyes were red, as if he rubbed them for at least an hour.He was feeling really sick.

He checked that everything was in order with her and then went out. Ignoring the questioning gaze of Nileeta, who was trying to get this mess sorted out.

"Where is Terras? I just have one question to him." Jez asked silently. Nileeta saw to many things to inquire as what was going on. She knew when the time was right he would tell it by himself - if need be, so she just pointed to a captains cabin.
Jez went there slowly and knocked at the door.

He looked at straight at the wall.

"Starbound Misfit II to the NightRaven. Terras, Nileeta, Raven, you guys there? Over"

"Yeah, we're here... Just getting the patients offloaded from a stop-over at the med-center. Picked up Sienna - our of the crew we picked up, as well as a couple dozen patients through a rooftop exit."

"That's good to hear, we were starting to fear that you might have ran into big trouble, or not even made it at all. We've arrived at Alayre Minor, and we just filed a claim on the incident with the port official"

"Big trouble..?... Nah..Nothing serious.." Jez muttered under his breath slowly coming back to his normal self. "I’ve put Sienna in her old cabin if you don’t mind."

Outside - The airspeeders, swoops, speederbikes, people running on foot, repulsor vans and all kinds of other vehicles seemed to be moving uncontrollably, but then something started to slowly change. As if here and there a few places of order appeared. The traffic seemed to get more in line and after a few minutes you could see that probably all enforcement personnel has been put on streets. They directed the moving masses. Some of them wearing flame throwers were backing up fire trucks slowly moving hovering just inches above the ground. It seemed that Unills report reached the right ears and gave hope that at least one high officer had the right attitude.

”Do you think they will manage?” Jez asked silently. He seemed torn by the dilemma of helping people down there and getting as fast as possible to Alayre and finding and stopping the source of the infestation

20 September 2006, 04:37 PM
"Spandex." Of all the things he had to see in his lifetime, that was something he didn't. "Spandex." He walked towards the ramp, shaking his head. "Spandex."

Another cop frowned. "Spandex? What about it?"

"Ever been in the Astarres Legion?"

The cop frowned some more as they slid down the ramp. "Uhh, no, can't say I have. Never heard of it."

"Merc unit. They made us wear spandex during a parade once." At that moment, Bettow made an evil face, and snarled, "Evil bastards!"

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
24 September 2006, 11:07 PM
"That's good to hear, we were starting to fear that you might have ran into big trouble, or not even made it at all. We've arrived at Alayre Minor, and we just filed a claim on the incident with the port official. We've got to stay in the city near the port for now, and check in with the port control for any messages in regard to our filed claim. So how soon can we expect you to get here?"
"No clue, soon I hope. I've got no intentions staying planetside any longer than I need to. I just have to check with a few passengers before we're spacebound. Do me a favor and scare up a cache or supplies for me will ya? We're probably low on just about everything." Terras replied.

"Big trouble..?... Nah..Nothing serious.." Jez muttered under his breath slowly coming back to his normal self. "I’ve put Sienna in her old cabin if you don’t mind."
Looking away from the screen to face Jez, "Yeah sure. Get any med equipment or any sort of treatment for Sienna?"

”Do you think they will manage?” Jez asked silently. He seemed torn by the dilemma of helping people down there and getting as fast as possible to Alayre and finding and stopping the source of the infestation
Terras shrugged, "Who knows. We couldn't have taken them along with us, Misfit would've been able to though, and probably plenty more. So, you ready to hit space again? And is there anyone else coming along with us?" Terras asked.

Nileeta joined them, "Well, we're all out of coffiene... And the 'fresher is something else. I set it for decontamination cycle."

25 September 2006, 01:39 AM
"Yeah sure. Get any med equipment or any sort of treatment for Sienna?"

"Everything that was needed was by her bed. And fortunately she doesn't need any sophisticated treatments. Just normal care."

So, you ready to hit space again? And is there anyone else coming along with us?"

Jez looked as if he was awoken from a dream. "We can go. Noone said anything about the idea of leaving so I doubt it. Let us get quickly to the bottom of this - and we need guns, big ones, even though I don't know how to use them, so we need someone who does." Jez focused on the future instead of leaving in the past. The images of bugs slowly went into background.

25 September 2006, 01:45 PM
The anger from seeing the Spandex toting Squib fueled Bettow's muscles. Without thinking, he walked past the medics and other cops and went straight out the building. People were still scurrying in the streets, screaming bloody murder at the sight of the bugs overrunning the city. At least this section had been cordoned off in time; while packed with people, the bugs were still blocks away.

The sidewalk in front of his building's steps was trashed, but since half of it was his fault from earlier that morning, he didn't mind. Actually, he thought to himself, The only one minding things will be my landlord.

He opened the door to his first floor flat and walked in, not for once savoring that musty smell. Immediately he went to the giant box underneath his cot and pulled it out. He typed in his personal passcode, let the palmscanner do its work, and then opened it up. The musty smell of the apartment was immediately replaced by the crisp, cold air of a vacuum-packed weapons container. The metal on his peice was still shiny, despite not having been cleaned for the past five years. Well, nothing had touched it, so perhaps that isolation did it some good.

With a mopey look on his face, Bettow shut the box again and walked over to his locker. Inside was a pair of credsticks, a handful of ID cards and other documents, and a small silver bracelet, adorned with a brilliant Koperian fire topaz. A smile came to his lips, and he gave it a tiny kiss. Then all went into a small bag, none of them long for this world.

A few minutes later and his police uniform was laying on his bed, all neatly folded, with the badge lying on top. Now he was wearing a stained A-shirt with a heavy-duty military vest over it, his favorite unfingered gloves surrouding his hands. With a hiss the magnetic lockings on the box linked up with those on the back side of the vest. He put the rest of his clothing into a massive duffel bag and slung it over his shoulder, before grabbing his blaster pistol, a vibroblade, and a blaster carbine from his desk. He stuffed a candy bar and a handful of power packs into his vest pockets, and turned for the door.

"Leaving so soon?" the old man said. He was still wearing the same island shirt from yesterday, but at least the man had shaved. His pencil-thin legs were shaking slightly, unused to being outside their hoverchair.

"If you haven't noticed," Bettow muttered, "Armageddon arrived."

"I never took you to be a religious man," the landlord said. He turned his head towards the front door and sighed. "I guess I won't be receiving this month's payment."

"I guess I won't get out unless I pay you."

The landlord chuckled. "No no, that's not what I meant. I meant that, since the world is ending, I might as well get off planet. I've given everyone this month free, with the encouragement to leave." He turned his withered, cracked face back to Bettow. "So, where are you headed? Back to the Legion?"

Bettow gave him a wry smile. The man must've worked for the Bothan Spynet; it was the only logical conclusion as to how he could know everything. "No, not the Legion. It's a different group, and from what I'm guessing, it's the group that's going to end this mess."

The landlord nodded and then shuffled back towards the inner depths of the building. "Best of luck then."

Still with that smile on his face, Bettow plugged his credstick into the wall and made his payment. Perhaps charity would survive.

The streets were just as packed as before. He picked his way towards the starport, figuring they had to be there. Every ship needs fuel, and there was this thought, gnawing at the back of his head, that said they desperately needed fuel. Climbing up and over the fence installed at the edge of the depot, he spotted the very same transport coming in for a landing. He hoped the woman in the red dress was still there. She looked like his type...

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
26 September 2006, 05:59 AM
Jez looked as if he was awoken from a dream. "We can go. Noone said anything about the idea of leaving so I doubt it. Let us get quickly to the bottom of this - and we need guns, big ones, even though I don't know how to use them, so we need someone who does." Jez focused on the future instead of leaving in the past. The images of bugs slowly went into background.

Raven simply interjected with a huff, "Well, we have to stop and refuel first boys. Seriously, what do you expect me to run on? carbon fumes? Or did you both forget we already left for Alayre, stopped, turned around and came back..."

"Easy there!" Terras replied, "Ok, nearest starport. Bugs or no bugs. We're low on supplies too so your not the only one."

"Well, I'm not going to that bug infested place... Though there is a smaller port other side of the city. Hope they still have some reserves left or else we're all screwed..."

"Well, quit complaining about it and take us there!" Terras simply replied back in jest.

"Fine..." Raven said, as there was a shift in gravity and motion from rapid lift-off and thrust. Either the internal compensators were slow to keep up or Raven really gave it on purpose. Such behavoir normally reserved for 'in a pinch' or so says hot blasterfire...

A Yelp and "Hey!" could be heard from the galley, and a crash of cups, as the rush even took Nileeta by surprise.

However it was a breif flight of a few minutes on a normal day, although it was the chaotic traffic that made approach almost impossible, even with Terras sitting back in the Pilot's seat, and joining Raven in groans of idiocy and frustration... But finally they made it, to an open bay... They both knew the drive, Terras and Nileeta wasted no time in hot-footing it outside to get the fuel lines... The mess inside could wait. there'd be plenty of time inbetween system jumps to tend to it...

27 September 2006, 08:54 AM
The flight to the station "Alaibo's Liftoff" was relatively uneventful. Beside the rather odd dream that left his passenger, Kaz, muttering about Ewoks, there was nothing for Marek to do besides sit and let his mind fret over the impending docking at the station.

He didn't relish the idea of going back there. He didn't relish the idea of dying either, so he wasn't quite sure why he had volunteered to take the cartographer back. Something got Marek to do it, though, and it gnawed at him for the entire trip.

Finally, after what seemed like way too long, the arrival light began to flash. Marek hollered back through the open door to the combination bunk room, mess and lounge. "Better get up here. We're about ready to come out of hyperspace at the station."

A moment passed and Kaz moved wearily up to the cockpit, rubbing his eyes and yawning. Marek pushed the lever for hyperspace forward and the bluish swirl of the alternate dimension seemed to shatter to a thousand points of lights that were stars. Some distance ahead, Marek could make out the station, and beyond that the planet that it hung over. Flipping on the sensors, the Flying Zuz began scanning the area with powerful scout sensors. In addition to the planet and station, two other small blips appeared on the screen. Lifeforms, not mechanical. "Looks like we might have some company," muttered Marek as he charged the weapons on the ship and activated the deflectors.

Sure enough, on the screen, the blips came closer while Marek and Kaz searched the blackness for the unknowns. "There!" pointed Kaz.

Black specks could be seen, moving closer. The specks took shape, resembling a spider, though of hideous preportions. With a frown, Marek took aim with his ship's weapons. Tapping the firing stud, the bolts from his laser cannons streaked out and skimmed the first creature, igniting it into a flaming, writhing ball. Moving the ship a little more to the left, Marek fired again, and the second creature turned into a spray of greenish color. The flaming creature didn't last long, quickly turning into a blackened cinder that hung motionlessly.

Marek looked over at Kaz, who looked back at him with a wordless expression of surprise and question. "Sure you want to go on the station?" Marek asked.

Kaz nodded. "Just because there's some....thing out here doesn't mean the whole station is that way."

With a shrug, Marek said "Ooookay."

The Flying Zuz banked around the station, with Marek and Kaz both watching for an open, and empty docking bay. They noticed a skipray blastboat parked in one of the smaller docking bays, but there wasn't adequate space for both ships in that area. In the next bay over, there appeared to be room, even though the lights were out in the bay. Marek muttered to himself, "Well, at least it's not the same bay I originally landed in."

The ship moved in, slowly passing through the still active magnetic shielding, and set down in the darkened landing bay. Only the running lights from the ship provided light. "I'm going to keep the engines warm, just in case we need to make a quick getaway."

Kaz looked over at Marek...his yawns gone for the moment. Until now, things seemed relatively benign. Being in a docking bay, where there were no lights, seemed to bring home the reality of the situation. Something was definitely wrong here.

Marek finished flipping switches and the ship continued to emit a low whistle as it idled, ready to go at a moment's notice. Then he stood, checking his blaster at his side. Grabbing a pair of glowrods from a storage cabinet on the side wall of the cockpit, he handed one over to Kaz. "I hope you're ready."

27 September 2006, 11:59 AM
"I hope those marines are ready," Kaz said. "Hey, Marek, you think these guys the Governor sent really know what they're doing?"

Marek shrugged. "Well, they seem to act like marines. Didn't complain one bit that they might be going into a really freaky and possibly deadly situation. I guess they are."

"Oh, how reassuring."

The two of them marched down to the main common area. Six heavily armed and armored troopers--the best the governor said he had--stood ready to depart. Sergeant Grody, that irascible one-nostriled bastard, was tapping his foot impatiently.

"Were we under attack?" he growled. "I can hear those cannons all the way from back here."

<i>Well, duh,</i> Kaz though, but Marek was a little more...diplomatic. "The creatures that attacked the station were trying to intercept us, but don't worry, I got both of them." The marines chuckled at the word "creatures". Some of them started trading lewd jokes back and forth. "Unfortunately, the station is crawling with them."

Grody snorted. "Yeah, I'll bet. You just stay here, buttercup, and we'll take care of the rest. All right maggots, get in formation! Lock and load, we're heading out!" Both Kaz and the door sighed in relief as he let the marines run loose. They immediately started to swing their guns around, barking orders, and then disappeared into a corridor.

"Yup, just leave us all here, completely alone and defenseless, while you go play cowboy," Kaz muttered. "I hate the military." With that, he walked over to a corner of the hanger and stood facing it.

"Uh," Marek asked, "What are you doing?"

"Urinating," Kaz answered.

"What? Here?"

"I sure as hell ain't gonna use yours after those damn--" He was interrupted by several blaster shots. A scream ricocheted back towards them, magically transforming halfway into a bloody gurgle. There were several more shouts of anger and desperation, and then silence.


30 September 2006, 08:40 PM
After checking with Terras over the Hypercomm, Criss returns to his & Lynnori's quarters to see how she's been doing on the list to restock the ship's supplies.

"How much stuff do we need?"

"Not too much, actually. I'll go and purchase the things we need and have it delivered here. Misfit can load it on the ship as it arrives."

"Okay, I'll remain with the ship in case any messages come in."

Lynnori collects what she needs and heads off to purchase supplies and requisition fuel and water for the ship's tanks. After a while, she returns, to find Misfit outside the ship, checking the hull and overseeing the refilling of the fuel and water tanks.

"Welcome back, Lynnori. The tanks are nearly fully refilled, and Criss is currently resting in your quarters. No messages have come in yet."

"Thank you, Misfit. There should be some items I've purchased that should be delivered shortly. Will you load it onto the ship and store it in the proper bays?"

"I will. I'll notify you if any messages come in."

Lynnori reboards the ship and goes to hers & Criss' quarters, finding Criss stretched out on the bunk, reviewing a datapad. As she walks in, Criss sets the datapad down.

"So how much did you spend on clothing?"

"Now, now. Don't be that way, I didn't buy any clothing, but I did find something I knew you'd like. Maybe later we can sit down and watch it."

Lynnori draws a small item from a pocket and tosses it to Criss. Catching it, he takes a quick glance at it and instantly realizes it's a datacard case for one of his favorite holo-action shows, Aetherlupus.

Thapherm designed the A56-7W Aetherlupus as a basic assault platform on worlds where various elements prohibited the use of repulsorlifts. During the intial demonstrations of the Aetherlupus its chief test pilot and senior designer, Moff Ett, opened fire on Thapherm's R&D facility destroying both the records of the design and killing most of the other developers. Moff Ett returned to his base of operations on the contra-repulsor world of Lib Ye Arh with the Aetherlupus where he commenced attacks against unfortunate victims as a form of amusement.

Thapherm's director of operations recruited renegade fluttercraft pilot Linechap Gull to retrieve the Fluttercraft. In exchange Linechap demanded that Thapherm locate his missing sibling believed to be still on an Alliance holding world.

After retrieveing the Aetherlupus Linechap Gull hid the fluttercraft rather than return it, and now conducts the occasional mission for Thapherm in exchange for any more information about his sibling.


OOC : Credit for the Aetherlupus pilot story goes to the Admiral over at Colonial Chrome (http://www.colonialchrome.co.uk/aetherlupus.htm).

16 October 2006, 03:39 PM
He got a sense of <i>deja vu</i> as he came onboard. Not from the ship--he was on it earlier that day--but just from the circumstances. Five years ago, he walked onto a tramp frieghter ready to give up the life of adventure and mercenary pursuits. Now, he was walking onto a tramp frieghter, going back into that same exact lifestyle. It was unnerving, but he welcome it. It was surely better than the pressure of being a cop on a pathetic backwater planet. And now, it had the added benefit of saving the galaxy. Not that he really cared about that; he was just in the mood for blowing something up.

A few cusses came from the back of the ship. Deciding on a whim that someone was in need, he followed the sounds to find that there was indeed a person in distress, though he'd hesitate to call her a damdsel. "You need help?" he said, sticking his head inside the galley and raising an eyebrow at the carnage.

Nileeta looked up and grinned. "No, no, I'm alright. What's your name? Below, Bazo, Boma, Batou--"

"Bettow," he said, his voice containing no anger. "So, did your boyfriend ditch you?"

"What?" She looked around, and then laughed. "This? No, no; that idiot Raven took off before I got ready. This is the result of not having everything locked down."

"Ah, I see." <i>It feels like home already.</i> "Where can I find Captain Whatshisname?"

"Behind you," a familiar voice called out. Bettow turned to see a familiar face matching it. "Do I know you?"

"Terras, honey," Nileeta said, "It's Bettow. He was one of the patrolmen, back at the hospital?"

Terras scratched his chin. "Oh yeah, now I remember. What the hell are you doing on my ship?"

"Most of the people are evacuating already," Bettow explained. "I'm not a big fan of beetles, so I decided to jump planet too. When I saw your ship in port, I figured you could use some help."

"Help?" Terras snorted. "Just exactly what kind of help are you offering?"

Bettow tapped the case on his back. "Firepower, for one."

"Just because you have firepower doesn't mean you know how to use it."

"Six years in the Astarre Legion. I know how to use it, thank you very much."

Terras scratched his chin again and looked up towards the ceiling, thinking hard. After a minute or so debating what sort of wisecrack was in order, he turned back to Bettow and said, "Sorry. Never heard of them."


"I'll determine that later. So, you really ready to come with us? I'm aiming to find out where those bugs came from, and I intend to stop them."

"Good," Bettow said, cutting him off. "Because I'm in a squishing sort of mood."

18 October 2006, 12:43 PM

Due to current difficulties in communication and pending travel restrictions, all non-essential travel out of Alayre Minor is halted. Vessels arriving in system will be stopped and scanned. Requests for departure from Alayre Minor must be directed to Port Control and must be presented with current flight plans and complete roster of passengers and crew.

Once again, all non-essential travel out of Alayre Minor is prohibited and all incoming vessels will be stopped and scanned before landing is authorized. Please respect all Alayre Minor military vessels as well as Imperial vessels.


Port Control was mayhem...utter and complete mayhem. There might be only 200 vessels at any one time in the ports on Alayre Minor, but now those 200 were all calling in with complaints and everyone else inbound was calling with complaints. Add to that, shipping companies were calling in with complaints as their shipping lines were frozen in port. The result was pure mayhem.

Assistant Administrator Huuderst rubbed his head. He had reports of a quarantine pending on at least three areas; one station and two planets. There was only one system that still wasn't on the pending list, and the Empire was taking care of that one. It seemed, however, that the Empire was having their own problems as well. Something about a missing Star Destroyer...Huuderst didn't know, nor..at the moment...did he really care. He had to figure out how to make all the angry people happy for an unforeseen amount of time. That wasn't going to be easy.

He tapped on the compute console, pulling up the ever increasing list of merchants, traders, passenger liners, private citizens, and shipping lines that were issuing complaints to Port Control. His staff was overworked right now, and there was no end in sight. A new entry ticked across his screen, indicating a scientific envoy from Jasprick had just entered system and had been cleared by one of Alayre Minor's system patrol craft. Maybe they would have some information on what was going on.

Tapping another page up on to his screen, Huuderst cringed at the site of 54 vessels pending inbound, currently being scanned by Alayre Minor craft. That would be 54 more people that would soon realize they weren't leaving once they got here. Oh well...there was little he could do. He had a much bigger headache to deal with right now.

18 October 2006, 12:53 PM
Marek stood still, the blaster ready in his hand. The sounds of the firefight from the marines had stopped, and now it was dead silent. Bad choice of words.

Marek looked over, shining the glowrod in the general direction of Kaz, but not into his eyes. He knew better than to blind one of the only other living people on the station besides himself. In a whisper, Marek said, "So...what is it you need to see to make you sure we need to quarantine this place?"

Ahead, in the long corridor, something moved, something heavy. A heavy shuffle-thump sounded dully in the dark. A lump formed in Marek's throat as he turned the glowrod back to face down the hallway, looking for the sound of the noise. The sound stopped.

Marek froze.

The light from the glowrod illuminated a hundred feet down the corridor, showing the bloody, dismembered limbs of one of the marines. The source of the shuffling couldn't be seen, however. Marek was glad for that.

Glancing back at Kaz, Marek looked to see what the astro-cartographer was doing.

18 October 2006, 01:12 PM
Bettow tapped the case on his back. "Firepower, for one."

Jez left Sienna's cabin just in time to hear the conversion between Terras and Bettow.

"What kind of firepower have you got there?" he asked quietly when they were done. "I hope there are some thermals 'cause the blasters are mostly useless against the bigger ones. And we're gonna meet the bigger ones for sure... Spiders the size of a ship, great hulks with malice in their eyes and lots of others..." he was speaking evenly his eyes looking somewhere at a floor. "Are you scared?" he asked softly for the first time looking straight at Bettow.

19 October 2006, 12:05 PM

The shuffling noise stopped, and for a minute Kaz just stood still, pants unzipped, components freezing in the cold station air.

"Consider it quarantined," he whimpered.
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"Who is this kid?" Bettow said, jerking a thumb at him. "Look buddy, I fought for six years with the Astarre Legion. I've stared death straight in the face. I've fought against some of the ugliest critters you'll ever find in the galaxy. And have you ever seen an AT-AT lose a joint just because a slug whammed into it at a tenth the speed of light? Didn't think so."

He turned back to Terras. "Spiders, jeez...Look, you want me, or not? One way or another I'm getting to the bottom of this, and I'm squishing some bugs."

19 October 2006, 12:25 PM
"Who is this kid?" Bettow said, jerking a thumb at him. "Look buddy, I fought for six years with the Astarre Legion. I've stared death straight in the face. I've fought against some of the ugliest critters you'll ever find in the galaxy. And have you ever seen an AT-AT lose a joint just because a slug whammed into it at a tenth the speed of light? Didn't think so."

"I'll take it as a negative response." said Jez softly as if not noticing Bettow's emotions "Then please be so kind and contact your family before we enter hyperspace, as it may be your last chance..."

He turned back to Terras. "Spiders, jeez...Look, you want me, or not? One way or another I'm getting to the bottom of this, and I'm squishing some bugs."

Jez looked at the captain "I'd suggest you take him, but I'm just a guest here so my vote doesn't really count. But we'll need as much firepower as only possible. And as he underestimates our enemy this trip will be quite educational for him. his voice is tired as his mind was again filled with horrors of his vision. "You'll learn a new definition of word fear soon..." he finished turning to Bettow. Jez headed back to Sienna's cabin not waiting or not minding any response"If somebody needs me I'll be here." he said without turning his head.

The door opened silently and closed behind him. Jez looked at comatose engineer and the look on her face - the feeling that she's sleeping so peacefully - gave him an internal impulse to stop worring so much. Everything will be as it shall be - as Force wills it.

19 October 2006, 12:32 PM
At the sound of Kaz's voice, the sound began again...that heavy shuffle-thumping sound. This time, though, it was quicker, and getting louder. Marek wanted to run, but fear froze his legs and his eyes remained glued to the spot where the glowrod still illuminated the arm and leg of one of the marines. Into the light, a hulking monstrosity appeared. It was tall, yet stood hunched over, it's head hanging down but still standing three feet taller than Marek. It was enormously deformed, with huge arms hanging down almost to the floor, ending in massive, three fingered clawed hands. In the light, blood could be seen dripping from the hands of the creature.

Instead of some huge gaping maw of a mouth, this creature had a snout, wide and flat looking. If it wasn't so large, the creature would almost look comical. Unfortunately, it was anything but comical. As the monster came into view of the light, a sickening belching sound could be heard and a half foot wide blob of blackened mucous dropped from the mouth and on to the floor. When the blob hit the floor, right near the bloody limbs, it splattered into three small, spiderlike creatures.

With shocking quickness, the fist sized spider creatures, with no visible eyes, just a body and legs, started skittering down the hall towards the two men. Marek's eyes widened, and he fired a single shot at the spiders, missing completely. "RUN!"

Without waiting for Kaz to say anything, Marek turned and began his race for his life back to the ship. Though he didn't dare look back, he could hear Kaz behind him, running as fast as he could too, and the ticka-ticka-ticka of the spider legs on the metal floor. Yep...coming back here had been a BAD idea.

19 October 2006, 12:55 PM
It seemed the trip was at an end for Shiane. Upon arriving at Alayre Minor, while supplies were being acquired, the planet had issued a stop on all outgoing traffic. That left her, Xion, and Tenbrawhl with a place to go but no way to get there. The Squib captain hadn't been happy about it, but he still gladly took the money for the trip so far travelled and went off to spend it.

Shiane, on the other hand, still needed a way off of the planet. Xion had tried to make her feel better, telling her he would handle it, but it didn't help calm her. She could feel it. It was near...death. It was on its way, and she didn't have what she needed to fight it. Now she found herself wandering the shopping district of Alayre Minor's main city. She didn't know why either. She didn't have any credits, that was all Xion's area. Somehow that man had more than a little bit of money, even though he looked as if he was as creditless as she was. She wasn't really even a shopper.

Walking along, her arms wrapped around her, as if she was holding herself back from doing something, she walked quietly and cautiously along. That when she saw someone...a woman. Shiane frowned, there was something about that woman, something about the way she moved, the way she glanced about the area as she exited a shop. She was pretty, much prettier than Shiane would ever be, but Shiane could tell there was something else about her.

Being nothing more than a shadow, following nearly out of visual range of the woman, Shiane shuffled along, watching the woman purchase things in more stores. Finally, after an hour, the woman left the shopping district and headed towards the starport area. Shiane watched her go, and muttered a word unknowingly to herself, "Misfit."

Shaking her head, Shiane shivered and watched as the woman went into a secure landing pad. Docking pad 80. Maybe she should talk with the woman. No, that wouldn't work. She wouldn't believe. No one really does, not even Xion or Tenbrawhl. Turning, Shiane headed back to the section of town where they had secured a place to stay. Maybe she would mention the woman to Xion. Maybe he could do what he does and get the woman to listen. Shiane couldn't get too comfortable with that, though. Like everyone else, Xion would probably die.

She shivered again as she keyed in the entry code to the room and the door slid open. Tenbrawhl's droid spoke up as she came in, "Welcome back, Shiane. Did you have a pleasant walk?"

Tenbrawhl issued a low rolling sound that Shiane took to be a welcome. She muttered "Hey," as she came in and sat down, curling her legs under her. What would she do? Who was the woman? Docking bay 80....Misfit.....

19 October 2006, 07:38 PM
As the supplies and other purchases made by Lynnori arrive, she and Criss busy themselves with unloading and unpacking everything into the ship's proper holds and storage compartments. Misfit's AI continues to moniter comm traffic as he remotely directs his ASP droid from the ship's computer, supervising the ship's refueling and filling the ship's water tanks.

"I've been monitoring the starport's comm traffic. I've got some bad news. All non-essential travel out of the system has been suspended. Until further notice, it seems we may be stuck here, thank the Maker."

Criss angrily shouts out at the nearest intercom pickup. "Misfit! That's nothing to be thankful for! We need to be able to leave so we can earn our living, not to mention deal with the current crisis going on. We need to be able to get word out to our fellow Mando'ade. This crisis could mean a large-scale campaign for us all to do battle in. It's our duty to spread the word."

Criss storms out of the cargo hold he was working in and makes his way to the ship's galley where he finds Lynnori restocking the foodstuffs. "Did you hear that!?! Can you imagine the number of PO'd starship crews that will be complaining. I wonder what di'kut made that decision."

"Well, that's probably a part of their policy when it comes to quarantining an area of space. I'm sure they'll be allowing a few freighters to be coming & going, just to avoid a total collapse of their economy. If it comes down to it, that could be a way off-system for us. I say we keep that in mind as a last-resort option."

"Alright, so we've got us an option. Misfit, keep monitoring all comm traffic. Let us know if you pick up on anything else that could be of any importance."

20 October 2006, 06:52 AM
Shiane couldn't take it anymore. She sat, staring blankly at the darkened wall of her room. Out in the main room, she could hear Xion and Tenbrawhl talking, although it was in Basic and Wookiee, so she couldn't make out what was really being discussed. She couldn't just sit here on this planet. She needed to get off of it, to find the item that sat on the edge of her conciousness. Her dreams had gotten worse, now, and the monsters that gnawed at her mind seemed to be closing in.

More names had drifted to her mind in dreams...names she had no idea what they meant. Uyv, Criss, Terras, Alaibo... what did they all mean? Shiane picked up her personal comlink, something that Xion had been kind enough to purchase for her. He said they needed to keep in touch, in case things got crazy. She toggled the call button and spoke hesitantly "Uh...I'm looking to find a ....ship?"

The voice that responded sounded strained and a bit annoyed, "Look, lady, I need more information. Do you know the comm number for them, or a name or anything?"

Shiane paused, flustered by the man who seemed so impatient and rude. "Uh...Misfit?" she said, more as a question than an answer.

"Hold on.....Misfit....Misfit....I've got a listing for a Misfit II. Is that the ship you're looking for?"

Shiane nodded, realizing that the man wouldn't see the motion. "Yes."

The comlink made a beeping sound as the control officer switched her to the communication frequency of the Misfit II. The line beeped for attention.

Shiane nervously gripped the comlink. What would she say? Who was she going to talk to? She hoped it would be the woman, even though she had never so much as talked to the lady.

It beeped again.

What would Xion and Tenbrawhl think? What was she hoping to get from this "Misfit"? Would it be enough to stop the nightmare from reaching her?

The line picked up, and Shiane's throat clenched in anxiety. She couldn't speak. She held the comlink, nervously listening to the person on the other end.

20 October 2006, 04:32 PM
Misfit's AI answers the incoming comm. "This is the Starbound Misfit II. How may I help you?"

Misfit then interrupts Criss and Lynnori's work down in the galley. "You're needed at the comm station. There's an incoming call that one of you should take."

"We'll be right up, Misfit, thanks."

Criss and Lynnori hurry up to the command deck and head for the cmm station.

21 October 2006, 01:03 PM
The voice on the other end said "This is the Starbound Misfit II. How may I help you?"

Shiane couldn't get any words out. She moved her mouth, but no sound came out. She felt a bead of sweat roll down the side of her face. Clearing her throat, she forced herself to talk, though her mind was numb. She couldn't think of anything, yet still she spoke.

"I...I...need to speak to someone about.....travel...for me and my....some other travellers. We can pay......yes...but we need to go somewhere, away from this.....planet, this place. I saw a lady today...I think she....is on the ship."

Shiane didn't know where her words were taking her, and she closed her eyes in frustration. She dreaded hearing questions from whomever was on the other end, but she realized it would inevitable. That's what happened when you spoke with people. She just didn't know how Xion or Tenbrawhl would take it. Maybe they had a plan too? I didn't matter now, the only thing that mattered was getting off the planet before the nightmare arrived, before everyone, even the person on the other end of the comlink, died.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
21 October 2006, 09:28 PM
Terras and Nileeta simply stood there for the few moments, even Raven who was about to make a sharp witty comeback to Nileeta's remark simply settled to watch the brief interaction between Bettow and Jez. Raven would have her chance sometime later, as life aboard for those 3 was always interesting and oppertunity for trading witty dialogue back and forth.

Taking a breath, "Ok-ay then. Guess thats settled. Bettow- our limited stash of goods are in the weapons locker here, and if you still have any old contacts where we could possibly re-stock, i'd like to know about it. I'd best get us spaceward Alayre Minor then" Terras finished as he headed towards the cockpit.

"Might as well get yourself settled into some quarters over there, and galley's over there" Nileeta pointed to both areas as she then got back to picking up the mess left about on the ship. The Auto-wash was full at the moment, and she did want to get the ship back to a 'semblence of normality.


Sitting in his seat, Terras was flipping a few switches, as the engines warmed up.

"Ready to leave this joint?" He asked

"Yes, and about time. Normally I don't mind a short stay in docks, but not when theres a rampant city-wide infestation going on!"

"I don't mind cityscapes if traffic is at least half sensable. Besides, I prefer the vastness of space anyday." Raven quiped

"Well, while your talking, can you find us a clear trajectory? Or is it still mayhem central?" Terras asked.

"Do you really need to ask?" Raven sighed "And starport control isn't even answering, probably too busy with all the chaos still outside."

"Just as I figured..." Terras groaned.

Terras gently pulled on the repulsors, taking them up slowly, to above port walls to asses a flight path. The airspace around and above was still madly buzzing with panicked airspeeders. "OK, raise sheilds. I'm not taking any chances. Hey - you guys back there - we're taking off. And strap in, its going to get bumpy for the next few minutes." Terras spoke to the comms.

Sheilds raised, Terras lifted them higher, cutting in the sublights and began navigating through. 5 gut-wrenching sweat induced minutes later of cussing, sharp stops, dips, turns, near misses, they were finally hitting the upper atmosphere, as the sky around them thinned and transitioned to the familiar blackness of space. As Terras was more relaxed in his seat, adressing the crew and passengers, "Alright folks... we're clear and spaceborn. Next stop, Alayre Minor!"

22 October 2006, 12:13 AM
"OK, raise sheilds. I'm not taking any chances. Hey - you guys back there - we're taking off. And strap in, its going to get bumpy for the next few minutes." Terras spoke to the comms.

Jez found the nearest seat with belt and strapped himself in while watching the Sieana in bed. The ride got a bit more bumpy but he felt quite safe knowing who was flying the ship.

He could feel that Raven was dodging through some major traffic, which was quite understandable knowing the situation on the planet.
After a while, quiet a long while, the ship steadied itself and the comm squeeked again.

"Alright folks... we're clear and spaceborn. Next stop, Alayre Minor!"

After that he felt the tingling in the ships structure as Raven entered hyperspace. Jez unfastened his seat belt and stood up. Sieana was still laying quietly as if no worries in the world would get to her - which probably was the case.

Jez for the first time wondered what he was getting into.And why? He felt an inner urge to stop those monstrosities, but he couldn't understand the reason for the strength of this emotion. Another sudden headache almost knocked him off his legs. He stumbled and leanded on the wall. The pain was like a dull blade not really stabbed into his head but living a swirling at the moment. As if somebody put his brain into somekind of dough mixer. After a time that seemed like an hour the pain left as abruptly as it came.

Jez looked around and as soon as the room stopped moving he checked Sienna. All the vital signs were in green. He changed one of the fluids and looked at the comatose engineer again. He remembered the first time he saw it.

"Where am I, oh beautiful ghost...?" he said listening to his own words as if they came from an empty well.

He still blushed at this memory. He touch her cheek softly and smiled at her softly.
"We'll get you out of it..." he whispered then turned and left the cabin.

Bettow has just finished packing all his stuff to the locker, an action which was impossible a few minutes ago due to highspeed maneuvers of the ship.

Jez nodded with a head as he passed him by on his way to the cockpit.
Terras sitting in the captain chair was checking some minor subroutines with Raven.

"Mylady, captain. Sorry to bother you but I was just wondering." Jez said softly "What are we planning to do? Marching just like that on to the station to find the source of those vile creatures isn't the best idea, I think. We need some kind of plan and means to do it. I'm not sure if my memory serves me right but I think that those creatures spread like a disease and have probably destroyed or if they are more intelligent, which is teh case I fear, have taken over at least one ISD. We need help. he finished.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
22 October 2006, 01:46 AM
"Mylady, captain. Sorry to bother you but I was just wondering." Jez said softly "What are we planning to do? Marching just like that on to the station to find the source of those vile creatures isn't the best idea, I think. We need some kind of plan and means to do it. I'm not sure if my memory serves me right but I think that those creatures spread like a disease and have probably destroyed or if they are more intelligent, which is teh case I fear, have taken over at least one ISD. We need help. he finished.

"We're typically doing what Terras does best - exactly that. Jumping in with his feet first before looking..." Raven replied, provoking a 'hey!' look from Terras.

In fleeting defense, "Criss and Lynnori are there, so at worst we'll end up bailing them out. Or- maybe things arn't too bad there yet. No way of telling until we arrive. We'll arrive somewheres in-system, and if things seem alright or pending message from Criss, we'll venture closer in and take a better look. Its not like we'll be arriving in a starport bay and only then finding out..."

"I hope they're alright," Raven chimed in, worriedly.

"Knowing Criss, they are probably just fine. And hey - we'll only be realyl screwed if one of two things should happen when we arrive: A: We exit hyperspace right into the middle of a fleet battle, and hence try survive by not getting shot at from both sides. B: Theres a flee-wide battle going on and theres an Interdictor cruiser. But don't worry, the odds of either being present are slim to none..." Terras finished confidently...

"Hey, do you think Criss and Lynnori managed to scare up some supplies? And hopefully more than just food-stuffs?" Nileeta asked, entering the cabin with two mugs of spiced tea "Thirsty guys? Its decafe though. All that i've got left is a bit of this, or plain water" Nileeta offered.

"No cafe?" Terras groaned, "Knowing Lynnori, i'm willing to bet my last cred chit that she'll have procured some for us in more than one of many ways."

22 October 2006, 02:51 AM
Jez leaned against the cockpit door.

"I'd say it could be wise to contact Criss as soon as we exit hyperspace, if the planet isn't safe anymore he could let us know." he said so softly that it could have been mistaken as a whisper.

The view outside the cockpit window mesmerized him as always. There was something special in this tunnel of stars. Something that calmed his mind.

"The government of Alayre Minor had already sent one group to check the monsters that was slaughters. Then they sent us..." a flash of painfull memory crossed his face.

Sieana body looked like a puppet with cut strings laying on the floor. Her lifeless eyes looked at him accusingly - why couldn't he be faster. Why couldn't he saved her in time. Why?...

"There were two others on other ship like Kiel dTana. I believe he was an Imperial, but not of the usual kind you would expect. He got awarded with the Red Cross of Alayre Minor..."
Jez smiled a sad version of his #24 (What a great time it was) remembering the ball with jugglers and everything..."Ah" a short sigh escaped his lips.

"I could try and conntact him. We were given such strange coms and from what I've checked there were comm frequencies of all others from our group in them. IF he is still alive he may be able to update us on the situation. And I'm sure he wouldn't say no to our help." Jez saw a light in the tunnel of sadness, a glimmer of hope that maybe not everyone from the past was dead.

He tuned to Nileeta with a warm #9 (Thank you) "May I?" he asked pointing at the cup.
As he sipped the hot tea a few worries disappeared. Tea had that influence on people. Stars skimmed past the window...And he found himself whistling an old tune and then even began to sing it quietly...

Sitting in the Garqi sun
I'll be sitting when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah

Sitting in the Pesgda Port
Watching as the spice boards
I'm just sitting in the Pesgda Port
Wasting time

I left my home in Vlassi
Headed for the Minas bay
'Cause I had nothin to live for
And look like nothing's gonna come my way

So I'm just...
Sitting in the Pesgda Port
Watching as the spice boards
I'm just sitting in the Pesgda Port
Wasting time

Look like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same

Yes, I'm sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home

Now, I'm just...
Sitting in the Pesgda Port
Watching as the spice boards
I'm just sitting in the Pesgda Port
Wasting time


22 October 2006, 10:14 AM

The ride was anything but bumpy, at least for him. He had endured worse treatment from the hands of bantha herders. At least the pilot of this vessel knew what he was doing. Competence was something he enjoyed.

Keeping his balance he managed to stuff everything into the locker, despite the hard maneuvers. His large package barely fit, but it was okay--she had endured worse too. As the ship leveled out and they got ready for hyperspace, Bettow yawned and moved back towards the galley. For some reason, he was getting hungry...
<center><hr width=50%></center>


"What do you think I'm doing?" Kaz yelled as he trailed after Marek's feet. This was really scary, he meant REALLY scary. He thought the horrorholos back home were bad, but this was just plain downright scary! He ran up the ramp hot on Marek's heels, lucky to get aboard just as the man closed the door. For a second they stood panting together, and then Marek grimaced.

"What?" Kaz asked. Then he looked down. "Oh." <i>ZIP.</i> "Kinda forgot about that in the excitement."

"Well," Marek said, "We should be--"

A giant <i>wham</i> resounded through the ship, and Kaz was sent flying to the floor. "Safe, right?" he said, just barely keeping his cool. "You were going to say safe, right?"

"Frack, let's get out of here!" Marek shouted, running towards the bridge. Kaz got to his feet and followed. Why couldn't he just be a cartographer for once?

22 October 2006, 07:48 PM
Criss and Lynnori arrive at the comm station. "What have you got for us, Misfit?"

"Let me play it back for you." Misfit plays back the incoming call, which he has momentarily placed on hold.

"I...I...need to speak to someone about.....travel...for me and my....some other travellers. We can pay......yes...but we need to go somewhere, away from this.....planet, this place. I saw a lady today...I think she....is on the ship."

"Thank you Misfit, I'll take it." Lynnori says as she takes a seat at the station. "This is Lynnori Staven. Misfit tells us you're seeking passage for yourself and others. We can accomodate six passengers and have enough cargo space to accomodate any gear or supplies you and your group would bring. However, all outbound travel has been restricted to only the absolute necessary. Getting offworld may be problematic without proper clearance and a valid reason for leaving the system."

22 October 2006, 10:57 PM
The, a bit rusty, shape of YT-2400 flew through the tunnel of stars. It hummed gently with music. Although the group in the cockpit probably hadn't noticed it, well maybe except Raven, Bettow sitting in the galley and eating was silently humming himself.

There was something soothing in a ship in hyperspace with a music playing. As if you were a part of a holomovie where after a moments of tension a short pause was always required.

Time passed and a red warning light blinked in cockpit.

"We're near the exit." reported Raven.
Terras cut off the music "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are coming out of hyperspace in 30 seconds. Please fasten your seatbelts and hold the food on the table."

Nileeta sitting on the nearby seat strapped herself in.
"You'd better do as the captain says" she said with a smile to Jez who just nodded and left the cockpit. A few steps took him into the galley where Bettow was eating alone again.
Jez used #11(It's a real pleasure to see you) and sat near him and fastened his belt.
"I just wanted to say..." he said softly "...You know I'm sorry for the way I treated you before. We're really glad to have you aboard. I just hate to lose friends and the sludge have already killed too many of them."

A slight tremmor was the only sign of the entering realspace.

23 October 2006, 11:33 AM
Marek was at the controls of the Flying Zuz in the blink of an eye, and outside of the cockpit, he could see the monstrous hulking creature, one large fist coming down hard on the side of the ship with a thunderous smash. The ship shook roughly again, and Marek muttered a curse under his breath. He thanked himself for keeping the engines hot, and slammed the thrusters to life in a hearty, powerful roar.

The ship pulled away from the sludge monster and Marek swung the nose of it to aim at the creature as he backed the ship towards the exit. "Beat on my ship, will ya?" Marek said with a scowl.

He flipped the activation switch to power his ship's weapons and watched as the crosshairs drifted towards the creature that was lumbering after the Flying Zuz. Tapping the firing stud, twin bolts shot from the lasers on the ship and tore through the large creature, slamming into the far wall of the docking bay with a brilliant flash of fire and rending metal. The pile of goo that was once the threatening creature quivered in the flickering light of the fire as the ship pulled back out into space.

Spinning the ship around in a tight turn, Marek threw the throttle forward and his ship lept forward with sudden speed. Not easing up on the throttle at all, Marek kept the ship heading toward the hyperspace jump point. As he went, he simultaneously plugged in the jump coordinates and scanned the sensors to make sure there wasn't any surprises coming up on him. Sadly, there was.

His sensors showed a vessel approaching quickly from the rear, from the station. A quick tight beam indicated that the ship was a Skipray Blastboat. Not good, not good at all. That ship had WAY more firepower and shields than the Flying Zuz could ever hope to have. "Kaz, get up here, I'm gonna need some help!" Marek shouted.

As Kaz came up to the cockpit, asking "What's up?", the sensors bleeped again. Something large had come out of hyperspace well ahead of them.

"We've got company, on both sides," said Marek.

The comm light flashed, and for a moment, Marek only looked at Kaz, confusion on his face. Punching the comm button, Marek remained silent, just listening. The voice on the other end was decidedly human, "Ship leaving Alaibo's Liftoff, this is Kiel d’Tana of the Event Horizon. I just got off of that station after meeting those monsters.”

“What, by the stars of Hunga, were you doing on that station in the first place?” asked Marek.

“Checking things out for the Alayre Minor government. Though it’s a lot nastier in there than we could handle. Eryn and I barely got back in one piece,” answered the voice.

Before Marek could respond, he had to throw his ship into a sharp spin, his hands flying to the defensive panel to try to activate shields, as a barrage from the large ship came sailing towards the Flying Zuz.

“What the--?” yelled Kaz, watching the veritable rain storm of green turbolaser bolts streak past the cockpit of the ship.

“Don’t know!” yelled Marek in response.

“Event Horizon, this is the Flying Zuz, we’re taking fire from a capital ship that came out of hyperspace in front of us,” said Marek as he continued to bob and weave his craft, desperately trying to avoid the dangerous shots.

“I see that,” answered Kiel. “Unidentified capital ship, you have entered a restricted zone and are taking hostile action against non-threatening vessels. Stand down or I will be forced to disable your craft under Imperial authority 157 Alpha.”

Still the shots continued to streak at the scout ship, some shots detonating so close as to jar the ship. Were it not for the fact they were both sitting down, Marek and Kaz would have been tossed around like sacks of spare parts. “Can you work sensors?” asked Marek as he concentrated on his flying.

Kaz looked over. ”Uh…yeah”. Then moved over to the sensor panel and began to try to align the sensors to detect what the ship was that was shooting at them. The sensors worked well, and soon the details of the ship came up on the screen. Kaz swallowed the lump in his throat. “It’s a Star Destroyer!”

Over the comm line, Kiel sounded off again, “I say again, this is the Imperial Skipray Event Horizon demanding that the capital ship conducting hostile act stand down now!”

“Event Horizon….that thing’s a Star Destroyer!” shouted Marek.

There was silence for a dozen seconds, then a response. “Understood. Flying Zuz, make for a hyperspace jump, we’ll provide cover for you. Make your way to Alayre Minor and report on the conditions of the station,” said Kiel.

“Planning on it!” said Marek through gritted teeth as a turbolaser bolt skimmed the surface of his ship and his shields flared in protest. Immediately a warning light began to flash, indicating that deflectors were at half strength.

The Event Horizon accelerated by the Flying Zuz, moving like a runaway comet towards the now visible Star Destroyer. The turbolaser bolts halted their barrage on the scout ship and concentrated on the approaching blastboat. The act was futile, as the pilot of the skipray seemed to easily avoid the barrages.

Marek looked over at Kaz. “Hang on…we’re getting outta here.”

As the Event Horizon flew ever closer to the Star Destroyer, a small barrage jumped from the skiprays’ weapons, easily impacting the large, triangular ship. More and more weapons opened fire on the small, nimble blastboat as Marek reached the jump point. Before activating the hyperspace, Marek called out over the comm, “Event Horizon, this is the Flying Zuz. We are clear! Get yourself outta there!”

With that, the Flying Zuz made the jump into hyperspace and relative safety. Slumping back in his seat, Marek looked over at Kaz, who looked like he wouldn’t sleep for a week. “I hope that was reason enough to quarantine this area of space.”

23 October 2006, 05:12 PM
The only reason Kaz wasn't giggling with glee, the only reason he wasn't overcome with giddiness, was the fact that a really ugly critter had just killed a bunch of Alayre Minor marines, they were being shot at by a Star Destroyer, and another vessel had probably just been destroyed, meaning that two people--well, he thought it was two--that had saved his life had just died.

In the depths of hyperspace though, none of that mattered.

"Wow!" he said, panting hard. "Man, that was awesome! You really are a pro, Marek! Where'd you learn that type of flying?"

Marek shook his head faintly. "Just a knack."

"Knack? Hell man, that was way cooler! Hey, you think you could let me fly this baby when we get back to Alayre Minor?"

The look on Marek's face wanted to remand Kaz to a mental institution.

"Uhhh...guess not. I mean, I just wanted to be a pilot since I was little, and this is the closest I ever got. Except for that prank on Averam. But that was bad."

"Oh, really?" Marek said, a little absentmindly.

"Yeah, me and some buddies decided to take one of my friend's shuttles out of its docking bay, just to freak him out. Turns out we actually took the shuttle of a visiting Imperial officer, so, you know what happened."

Marek frowned. "How the hell did you accomplish that?"

Kaz shrugged. "I have no idea."

24 October 2006, 07:47 AM
The hyperspace journey to Alayre Minor seemed altogether too short. The peace of flying was short lived as the nav computer indicated arrival in the system. Marek pulled back on the hyperspace lever and the swirl of the "other" dimension became the pin pricks of light in the vast canvas of blackness.

As the Flying Zuz made its way towards the jeweled planet of Alayre Minor, the sensors bleeped that they had detected an approaching ship. Marek glanced over at the screen. It was an Alayre Minor Picket Cruiser, bigger than his ship by more than double, but small for a capital ship. Then the sensors indicated that they were being scanned by the cruiser.

Marek looked over at Kaz. "Seeing as how you're the 'official' representative from the Empire, why don't you do the honors of relaying our recent events to the authorities?"

To punctuate Marek's comment, the comm line came to life and a voice called out over the speaker, "Scout vessel Flying Zuz, this is Cruiser Ulyin of the Alayre Minor government. We are scanning your vessel for foreign infestion. Please power down your engines momentarily and report your last port of launch."

Marek looked over at Kaz, extending an open hand as if he were offering Kaz the conversation privelages.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
25 October 2006, 04:52 AM
As the timer was counting down, Terras looked over to Nileeta sitting in the co-pilot's seat. She looked at him. Their eyes met for a couple of moments. A couple of those moments, time stood stiil.

A few heartbeats later, "Are you ready?" Terras asked.

"Yeah..." Nileeta replied, as she reached over to the hyperdrive lever between them. Placing her hand over his, her fingers between his, the lever pulled back.

Lines reverted into pinpricks with a subtle shift.

And there they were, Alayre Minor. Clear open space. No starships, fleets, or needles of green criss-crossing around them. Both sighed in releif.

"Ok... Raven, start scanning. If theres anything out there, I want to know about it." Terras requested as he set course towards the planet.

"Scanning." Raven aknowledged.

"Ok guys, we've arrived at Alayre Minor. Sofar so good..." Terras spoke over the intra-ship coms, to their 2 passengers.

"I'm opening a channel to Misfit." Nileeta said as she got up and went to the comms console behind them which often doubled as a passenger seat. True, there was a small coms screen in the co-pilot's station, but the consol had a much bigger unit. Flipping a few switches on the board, "Raven to Misfit, over? It's Nileeta, we've arrived in Alayre Minor safely with a few passengers. How's the situation down there?"

25 October 2006, 12:55 PM
Jez unfasten the belt and went back to the cockpit to hear the news if any.

The lonely palnet hung before them - its green areas filled almost three quarters of the planet. The rest was ocean and small polar caps. It was another clear day on Alayre Minor and one could see a small storm gathering near the north pole. Jez has seen it so many times during his employment but it took him almost five seconds to realize something wasn't quite right.

"Guys, there are no ships leaving. And judging by those few cruisers out there..." he pointed to small dots and one definetely coming closer "...we've got some kind of quarantine, but it's hard to say whether they are stopping inbound or outbound flights. Be careful - most of the officers are quite good guys but there are some trigger happy youngsters out there too..." his voice goes one tone quieter "I've met some of them...ah..."

Nileeta was trying to reach Misfit but it sounded like they were talking to someone else at that time. Jez turned to her with his #17 (I bet you can help such a great guy as me) "Ni, could I later try to conntact Tiel? He can have some useful info for us if we're gonna go and try... not try... STOP this sludge thing."

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
25 October 2006, 04:53 PM
"Guys, there are no ships leaving. And judging by those few cruisers out there..." he pointed to small dots and one definetely coming closer "...we've got some kind of quarantine, but it's hard to say whether they are stopping inbound or outbound flights. Be careful - most of the officers are quite good guys but there are some trigger happy youngsters out there too..." his voice goes one tone quieter "I've met some of them...ah..."

"Speak of the Sith... Terras, we're being scanned" Raven reported promptly

"The odds of that... I won't say it. I won't say it." Terras raised his hands in mock disbelief. "Source?" Terras asked, serious again.

"Its a ship on vector, presumably from Alayre Minor." Raven replied.

"Alright. Keep at it. And put on your pleasant face while your at it."

"Terras, just how am I supposed to do that? Step outside and paint a big yellow happy face on my saucer hull?" She quiped.

Terras shook his head in disbeleif, "Figuratively speaking I meant. They're likely going to be hailing us any minute now""

"Well, why didn't you just say that?"

"Because incase they want to board us for inspection." Terras replied, "Assuming they're identifiably known life forms."

"Or don't start shooting at us moment we drop sheilds." Raven added.

"Yup." Terras agreed. Up until the past week, it seemed those were much simpler times.

"Ni, could I later try to conntact Tiel? He can have some useful info for us if we're gonna go and try... not try... STOP this sludge thing."

"Your more than welcome to, but it looks like we'll have to deal with this first." Nileeta replied, indicating to the front.

25 October 2006, 05:05 PM
The comm panel indicated an incoming call while Nileeta still tried to reach the Misfit II. With a slight roll of her eyes, knowing what was going to be said once she answered the call, she looked over at Terras then toggled the channel open. The voice on the other side was professional, but a bit tired sounding. "Light freighter Raven, this is Alayre Minor Picket Cruiser Lubiin. We are scanning your vessel for foreign infestation. Please power down your engines and report your last point of origin."

The ship was coming up quickly, with enough power that it could likely scoot even faster if it wanted to, even with its 120 meter or more length.

25 October 2006, 05:29 PM
"Your more than welcome to, but it looks like we'll have to deal with this first." Nileeta replied, indicating to the front.

"Additional few minutes or an hour won't probably do us harm anyway." said Jez smiling again.

"Light freighter Raven, this is Alayre Minor Picket Cruiser Lubiin. We are scanning your vessel for foreign infestation. Please power down your engines and report your last point of origin."

Raven quickly and smoothly slowed down and did as told. The ship hung motionelessly in the dark sky waiting for the approaching cruiser.

"Lubiin?... " Jez searched his memory "That's one of the ships crewed by the old guard, so to say. They'll do everything exactly by the book. The bugs must have gotten out of control though - their captain, Adben Contrel, usually just counts days towards his retirement in a two months or so..."

Nileeta sitting by the com and sensor station calmly replied:
"Lubiin, This is NightRaven, we're coming from Berini, in the Ynos System. We are sorry to inform you that South Port has ben invaded by strange insects, spreading virus like. We do not have any information on number of victims or such. We are..." she looked at Raven, who nodded "...bugs free according to our systems."

25 October 2006, 07:00 PM
"Understood, NightRaven. Stand by."

The line was silent for a moment, then a moment longer. The [i]Lubiin[/b] drew closer and closer until it was within spitting distance of the ship. Everyone aboard the NightRaven could see the four starboard side triple turrets tracking the ship as the Picket Cruiser slowed and idled by the YT-2400. Then the voice came back on the speaker. "NightRaven, you are requested to set your vessel down in Central Starport, landing pad 194. You will be met by representatives of the Alayre Minor government to gather information from you. Your vessel has been checked as clean by our sensors, but we will still require information from you about recent activity on Berini.
"Maintain present course to the planet and resume a safe speed. Do not attempt to leave the system. Restrictions have been placed on all vessels and departures are only granted on a necessary basis. Do you copy?"

25 October 2006, 07:44 PM
"We do copy" came the not so happy voice of Nileeta. The thought of being held captive one way or another didn't appeal to the former slave girl. Althought it was only kind of quarantine there was something in the back of her head that was saying loud and clear that she didn't like it. She found Jez waving at her and showing at the com so she muted it for a moment.

"Please tell them that Jez Kal'am would like to talk to High Edictor Frells about the mission to Jasprik ASAP. No lower rank officers." said Jez softly. Nileeta, one eyebrow raised, nodded and unmuted the com.

"Lubiin, I'd like to pass the request from Jez Kal'am for the meeting with High Edictor Frells personaly about his mission to Jasprik."

"Roger, NightRaven. We will pass the message to proper authorities. Lubiin out." came the same bored or tired voice.

"Is there a possibility of Raven patching my comm signal through the ship systems without blocking your call to Misfit?" Jez asked Nileeta and Raven at the same time.
"I don't think so" "Yes" came two responses almost immediately. Nileeta and Terras turned towards Raven.
"You never asked" said the holo smiling brightly seeing the astound faces. "Go ahead, Jez."

Jez with his #22 (You are the best) on his lips switched his comm as he took a step behind to allow Nileeta to make her own conversation undisturbed. He searched for the proper frequency.

Crin Daroota, Dara, Eryn, Fon Dioa, Kiel d'Tana

"This is Jez Kal'am formerly of Crimson Tortoise calling Kiel d'Tana. We are courently en route to Alayre Minor Central Starport pad 194. If you are somewhere near I think we should meet and discuss the events. Did you get to Jasprik?

"Raven to Misfit, over? It's Nileeta, we've arrived in Alayre Minor safely with a few passengers. We are forced to land in Central Starport pad 194. How's the situation down there?"

26 October 2006, 11:50 AM
Kaz threw his arms into the air. "Why izzit that everyone thinks I'm from the Empire? I'm a cartographer, dammit, not some pompous windbag with dung in his ears and his head up his ass."

He turned the comm unit on, waited for the crackle to disperse, and then said, "Yo, this is Kaz from the--what'd you call this bucket?"

"Bucket?" Marek growled.

"Fine, fine," Kaz said, retreating, "Ship. What's it's name?"

"The <i>Flying Zuz</i>, you twat."

"Right. This is Kaz from the <i>Flying Zuz</i>. We've just arrived from a survey mission ordered by the Alayre Minor governor, investigating--what was that place, oh that's right--Aliabo's Liftoff. We have further orders from the governor to land immediately and report as soon as possible, and not to be disturbed by the Alayre Minor patrol. Do you copy, over?" he adds with a smirk. Marek just cringed.

"Riiight," the reply came. There was a pause, and then, "<i>Flying Zuz</i>, permission granted. Control wants to ask--did any, er, <i>bugs</i> come with you?"

"Oh hell no," Kaz answered. "We sprayed this ship top to bottom with STRIKE. No bugs here."

"Good thing, whatever that is. You're permitted to land at docking bay 195. An official from the government will meet you there. Have a bug-free day." Then the line clicked.

"Maybe I could be a pompous Imperial," Kaz said wistfully.

27 October 2006, 09:00 AM
Marek rolled his eyes as he pushed the throttle forward and took the ship into the atmosphere of Alayre Minor. Still scowling over the comment about his ship, Marek muttered to himself. "Call my ship a bucket...nobody calls it a bucket but me."

As the ship bucked slightly through the atmosphere, he finally looked over at Kaz. "So you're not an Imperial? I figured you for one since it's them that usually come out and set up quarantines of planets and such. Plus, you had that twisted desire to go and check out the station, rather than just taking my word for it. That's why I figured you for an Imp."

Kaz replied, "Not hardly. I WISH I got paid what an Imperial cartographer got paid. In fact, that's one reason why I went along on the trip. When I heard you were getting paid Imperial courier rates, I figured I might get Imperial cartography rates as well."

Marek issued a muffled laugh. "Even with the added pay, whatever it may be, I doubt it'll pay for the damage that thing did to my ship. Make sure you mention that when you're giving your report."

The Flying Zuz slowed and touched down on pad 195. Sure enough, not only was there an Alayre Minor representative, but there was also a pair of less-than-enthused security guards standing over near the only access door to the pad. Definitely a secure pad. Marek wondered if "secure" meant better services. At least, so far, there had been no mention of docking fees. Hopefully since he was here on "official" business, the government would cover it. Hopefully.

As he powered down the engines, he said to Kaz. "Well, I think the fun and excitement is over now. Next up, boredom and endless questions. Coming back without the Alayre Minor marines and with confirmed quarantine of the station....right?.... they'll probably ask as more questions than we ever want to answer. Hopefully you can use some of that bravado to get us through it relatively quick."

Kaz shrugged as he stood up and moved towards the exit ramp. Marek just shook his head. Well, at least Kaz wasn't yawning and complaining about being tired anymore....

28 October 2006, 01:58 PM
"Thank you Misfit, I'll take it." Lynnori says as she takes a seat at the station. "This is Lynnori Staven. Misfit tells us you're seeking passage for yourself and others. We can accomodate six passengers and have enough cargo space to accomodate any gear or supplies you and your group would bring. However, all outbound travel has been restricted to only the absolute necessary. Getting offworld may be problematic without proper clearance and a valid reason for leaving the system."

Shiane squeezed her eyes shut. Somehow she would have to convince this woman....Lynnori Staven, that there was a danger coming. "Uh...I.. uh....there's only 3 of us...well four if you count EMTD, but he's not very big. And...well....we need to get off world soon. There's danger...coming...." her voice trailed off, realizing how hollow her words sounded.

Standing up, even though the woman on the other end of the line couldn't see her, Shiane tried to bolster her confidence. Her voice came back stronger, "There's a bad thing coming, and it's killing people, killing everything! It's coming here, and we need to find a way to stop it. I know where that is, but I need a way to get there. Can you help me?"

28 October 2006, 03:23 PM
"There's a bad thing coming, and it's killing people, killing everything! It's coming here, and we need to find a way to stop it. I know where that is, but I need a way to get there. Can you help me?"

"We've had a run-in with this threat of yours. This threat is the reason why the entire sector is being quarantined. The local government is working on a way to deal with this crisis. We could take you to where-ever you wish to go, but you'll need to get the clearance from the authorities for us to travel off-system."

Misfit cuts in and interupts Lynnori for a moment. "Incoming message from the NightRaven. I'll patch it thru on another channel."

"I'll take the call in the bridge, Lynnori, so you can continue with your call." Criss moves forward to the bridge proper and takes his seat at the controls and opens the indicated channel.

"Raven to Misfit, over? It's Nileeta, we've arrived in Alayre Minor safely with a few passengers. We are forced to land in Central Starport pad 194. How's the situation down there?"

"Criss here, Nileeta. We copy on pad 194. The situation down here's not too bad at the moment, but the longer ships sit in their berths, the worse the complaints from flight crews will get. Eventually I expect to see protestors on the streets around the starport and the government offices. Things are going to start getting ugly when that happens. Right now Lynnori's on the other line with someone else who's seeking passage off-system. Once you make touchdown and get your passengers taken care of, why don't you and Terras come by. We can then go to the nearest cantina and compare notes. We can also see if we can track down these people wanting to hire us. We're in docking bay 80. See you soon."

29 October 2006, 08:10 AM
"We've had a run-in with this threat of yours. This threat is the reason why the entire sector is being quarantined. The local government is working on a way to deal with this crisis. We could take you to where-ever you wish to go, but you'll need to get the clearance from the authorities for us to travel off-system."

Shiane fidgeted nervously while Lynnori talked. "But that's the thing...I don't have the permission. We don't have time for that. By the time they realize what's happening, and can do anything about it, this will all be gone!"

Looking up at the ceiling of her darkened room, as if pleading for help from above, she continued, her voice sounding resigned to a fate worse than death. "Look, I know I may sound like a nut, but my dreams tell me things. And they've told me things in the last couple of weeks that I don't want to know anymore. They told me that everyone I know, everone around me, will die if I don't do something. So I'm trying to do this thing, but something is also trying to stop me...I can feel it! I can pay you...probably a lot" Shiane silently thought to herself that she hoped Xion had a lot of money, like it seemed he did, "but I can't get permission from the government to get off the planet. I was hoping that you could figure a way to get us off the planet. Please.....I don't want to see the things in my dreams for real."

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
1 November 2006, 06:57 AM
While everyone else was using the comms and making the arrangements to meet/ hookup/ whatever upon landing, Terras knew the drill, and simply set an appraoch vector, having negotiated a bit of traffic... And minutes later, there they were - Pad 194 was rising up to meet them as they descended down to a textbook landing - well, almost. But then again, who ever wrote the textbook in the first place?

"Alright folks, we're down." Terras spoke out loud. "Hey Nileeta, ask Chris if they scoped us some restock supplies while your at it. Raven? We need a full restock of consumables?"

"Will do." Nileeta replied.

"You got that right Terras, we're completely out." Raven complied,

"Ok.... " Terras said in return, picking up a datapad while mentally compiling a list of all what's needed, and anything last minute. Yup, typical, most things were usually done last minute anyways.

While she had him on the channel, "Hey Criss, you or Lynorri manage to secure us any more supplies? we're running low if not flat out...?" Nileeta asked...

1 November 2006, 07:54 AM
"I'll check if anyone from government is there to talk to us, we may have a way there to get off this planet quicker." Jez said and went towards the ramp passing Bettow in the galley. "Wanna join me?"
He asked and without waiting for the reply opened the ramp and went down. He looked around the pad but it seemed that again Terras skills suprised the officials and they were a bit too early.
A few seconds later he heard a familiar sound of droid steps on the other side of the ship and a moment later a 3PO unit emerged from behind the ship.

"Welcome, I'm 3T-PO, I'm here to help you with all your needs. Unfortunately due to the blockade we are understauffed and you will have to wait for a while until.... " he turned his head to one side as if listening to something 'Oh, Ah... Is one of you fine gentelmen Jez Kal'am, by any chance?"

"I'd like to infrom you that a transport will be provided for you and your companions to High Editcors office. The speeder will be here in aproximetely 4 minutes 45 seconds. I'll be honored to receive your restock orders."
"I've always wondered how they manage to say so many words at once" came the voice of Bettow standing on the ramp
"Sir, I'm not only programmed with over 6 billion languages but I do posses the special time saving procedures."
"Terras said he will have the list ready in a few secs."
"Great" said Jez smiling "Wait here we wil have the resupply list in just a moment." he echoed.

1 November 2006, 08:02 PM
"Hey Criss, you or Lynorri manage to secure us any more supplies? we're running low if not flat out...?"

Criss replies, "We've restocked all our supplies, and do have enough to give you some stuff, but if you need a full restocking, Lynnori can show you where she went to get supplies. Right now she's taking another call from somebody wanting to hire us to take them off-system."

4 November 2006, 01:47 PM
Shiane didn't know what to think of the silence on the other end of the line. Perhaps she had said something wrong. Maybe this woman was going to turn her in. Then the government would be after her. The last thing she wanted was for Xion and Tenbrawhl to have to fight against government people.

Shiane fidgeted a little, closing her eyes, hoping that the woman on the other end of the line wouldn't yell at her or threaten her.

4 November 2006, 01:56 PM
A small convoy of speeders pulled up outside of secured docking bay 194. The first was a deep blue in color, and bore the official seal of Alayre Minor government on the side doors. The next three were obvious police speeders, with the black striping on the dark blue body of the speeder. Lights flashed silently on the top of each of the police speeders. As they pulled up outside the access door to Pad 194, multiple people hopped out of the speeders. One was in a business suit, and had the look of someone important by the way he carried himself. The others were police officials, all dressed in their light grey with silver piping uniforms, each bearing a blaster sidearm in a holster and wearing a jet black helmet with tinted visor covering the eyes. The exposed faces of the police were stone-like....no nonsense.

The man in the suit, a human in about his middle ages but still looking fit for his age, moved through the access hatch, accompanied by 4 police officers. On the landing pad, he saw the 3-PO unit and a pair of men standing nearby. In a clear voice, the man said, "I'm looking for Jez Kal'am and the pilot of this craft."

4 November 2006, 03:01 PM
Jez seeing the police escort smiled warmly and turned towards Bettow.

"Would you be so kind and tell Terras to come here? We have some important government guests." he asked softly.

Bettow eyed the newcomers carefully then nodded silently and went inside the ship. The cockpit was turned towards the exit of the bay and thus Terras was sitting comfortably listening to Nileeta's conversation. His eyes were skimming over her face and a warm smile was playing on his face unitl he saw the serious face of Bettow.

"Something's wrong?" he asked playing with the re-supply list. "There is some official with police escort outside asking for your and Jez's presence." Bettow said looking for the first time at Raven's holo. "Looks serious" he added although it wasn't sure what he meant - the police escort or the holo.

"Ni, Raven monitor everything and be ready. I hope Jez hasn't gotten us into any kind of trouble..."
Nileeta just nodded
Criss replies, "We've restocked all our supplies, and do have enough to give you some stuff, but if you need a full restocking, Lynnori can show you where she went to get supplies. Right now she's taking another call from somebody wanting to hire us to take them off-system."
"It seems someone took care of our supply list. Though I doubt it will be as good as what Lynnori found. Terras just went to a meeting with some local big fish so we may be able to assist you with your passenger and getting off the planet problems. Unless of course we get all arrested in a few seconds. I'll keep you informed."

"Bettow, you were there when the bugs hit us so come with us" said Terras coming to the ramp.
"Come here, go there" Bettow mumbled silently "I feel like back in forces..." But he followed Terras.

Jez heard the steps and hoped it's Terras and not Bettow. He smiled at the man
"I'm Jez Kal'am and this..." he waved behind him without turning his head "...is captain Terras Jadeonar. How may we be of assistance?" he finished with #28 (we are the best) on his lips.
Terras went down the ramp and looking at the man in the suit he stretch out his left hand with the list towards the 3PO unit, that rushed to take it from him.
"I'll start working on this right away" he said again his words coming way too fast "With your permission, sir." he finished addressing the official.

4 November 2006, 03:29 PM
The man in the suit looked slightly annoyed at the droid and waved a hand towards the droid, "Carry on."

The droid moved past the uniformed police and out of the secured pad to perform the task given it. The man looked at Jez, he face a look of seriousness on it, and then to Terras. "I'm Tiyn Helnst of the Alayre Minor government. Deputy Governor Tomennan has sent me. You both are to accompany me to be debriefed. As you may or may not know, all travel out of the system has been ceased and all vessels entering are being scanned thoroughly. The 'situation' seems to have gotten worse and any information you have is required immediately. So if you will come with me...."

Helnst stepped to the side, swinging an arm towards the door to the landing pad as he waited for the men to move that direction, "we can get going right away."

The police officers turned slightly to allow for Jez and Terras to make it to the door, though their demeanor was still rather impersonal.

4 November 2006, 03:41 PM
Marek and Kaz had been questioned and then "requested" to accompany the man and guards. Once outside of the secured landing pad, they had been greeted by a governmental speeder and a man in a suit. Again, they had been "requested" to accompany this man...what was his name again? Heln or something like that? .... to a meeting with some high up muckity mucks.

Of course, no one was enthused about the fact that the marines sent with Marek had been lost, but they did seem more than agreeable in quarantining Alaibo's Liftoff. Well, at least Marek had accomplished that. The man in the suit, whatever his name was, had brought them to a fancy government building...not the one that Marek had been in before, and had been scan ID'd and given secure passes and told to wait in a room for someone to come and get them.

The whole time, Kaz had been doing most of the talking, and thankfully been receiving most of the scowls that were directed towards the two. Now the two sat in a plain, rather non-descript conference room. A large circular table sat in the middle of the room, with a holo projector in the center of it, and two dozen chairs sat empty around the table. Marek has plopped into one of them and Kaz had sat in another, a few away from Marek.

The silence in the room was defeaning.

Marek thought out loud in order to break the silence. "So we go to a station to figure out if it needs to be quarantined. We get back, find out no one can leave once they're here, and are now being told to wait here so we can talk with someone that's obviously 'in the know'," he said, moving his fingers like he was quoting something. "I think things have gone from a little bothersome to a bit more pressing. What do you think, Kaz?"

4 November 2006, 03:55 PM
The 'situation' seems to have gotten worse and any information you have is required immediately.

"It's even worse..." said Jez silently as again the images of stabbed Sieana and bugs crawling from bodies filled his mind for a split second.

So if you will come with me....

Terras pointed at Bettow "This is ex-patrolman Bettow from Berini. We had an encounter there with some bugs, 'sludge' as Jez calls them and he as a first-hand witness can provide much to our testimonies."

Tiyn Helnst judged him qucikly and with a nod, that made policemen include Bettow in group went qucikly towards the speeders. The street outside was bustling with crowd of creatures - Some gathered around the speeders - not everyday you see a governemetn speeder - some doing their jobs loading and unloading stuff - some protesting loudly about the necessity of staying here a minute longer.
The door to the speeder opened silently and after everyone went inside it closed as quietly. A feeling of peacefulness somehow filled the speeder, despite the sour face of mr. Tiyn. All outside sounds were just a mere whisper and the smell of well maintained and comfortable limousine made the group relax.

The small convoy started smoothly and quickly made its way through the crowded streets of the city.

4 November 2006, 05:34 PM
"It seems someone took care of our supply list. Though I doubt it will be as good as what Lynnori found. Terras just went to a meeting with some local big fish so we may be able to assist you with your passenger and getting off the planet problems. Unless of course we get all arrested in a few seconds. I'll keep you informed."

Criss responds, "Okay Nileeta, we'll see if we can arrange a meet with this potential client and see what all she has to say, Once we know more, we'll be in touch. Misfit II out."

As soon as Criss closes the connection, he moves back to Lynnori back at the comm station. "Seems Terras and his passengers are meeting with some local government types. See if this lady wants to meet and discuss her situation in more detail."

"Right, hang on." Lynnori says, then turns back to the open signal. "Sorry about the delay. we had another comm from some friends that just made planetfall. If you are willing to meet with us in person, we can discuss your travel request in more detail, and perhaps see if we can get off-system travel approved. You can come here to our ship, or you can specify a neutral location where you'd feel more comfortable."

4 November 2006, 06:32 PM
"So what do you think, Kaz?"

As if in answer, Kaz let out a mammoth yawn. <i>Aw crap,</i> Marek thought, <i>There he goes again.</i> "I think I'm going to fall asleep again." He rolled his neck around a little. "You didn't happen to see a caf machine in here, did you?"

"Kaz, I'm being serious."

Kaz sighed. The adrenaline from the station had completely worn off by now. Some parts of his brain were even starting to think that he was hallucinating, or dreaming even. Maybe he would wake up soon back in his bed and go back to his old job... "Honestly, I don't know what to think. I just saw something that should only belong in holohorrors right before my eyes, and that's after it killed a whole bunch of people." For a few moments, silence continued to reign. He finally broke it. "So I guess, I guess we're probably going to be shot."

6 November 2006, 07:32 AM
The speeder convoy pulled up in front of a large, multi-story, rather non-descript office building. The outside of it looked like one solid window, reflecting the surrounding buildings off of it. Tiyn Helnst opened the speeder door and stepped out on to the sidewalk in front of the building. Already there were four officers waiting to escort the three men from the Nightraven into the building.

Once inside, Helnst moved to a man sitting behind a security screen and flashed an ID. The man passed out three badges, each bearing the bold lettering of "VISITOR" on it. Helnst turned to Jez, Terras and Bettow. "Put these on. If you have weaponry on you, make sure you leave it here. It will be returned to you on the way out."

Helnst passed out the badges and moved towards a security checkpoint where two stout men stood on either side of a security scanner. To one side, a revolving lock bin sat, with doors open, to accept any items that people didn't want confiscated. Helnst once again flashed his badge and moved through the scanner, the loud *BEEP* indicating that he was, in fact, carrying a weapon, although concealed under his suit. Once through, he turned and motioned the others through. "You're going to be addressing the Security Director, appraising him of what you have seen. There will be others in the room who have also been places where they have seen things. State your position when asked and listen carefully to what the Director has to say."


The door to the room opened and a tech in plain brown clothes entered the conference room where Marek and Kaz sat. "Please follow me, I'll take you to the meeting."

"Any chance of getting some caf during this meeting?" asked Kaz, suspecting what he might hear in response.

The answer was rather bluntly put. "No."

The tech lead the two down a hallway and around a corner to a pair of doors that sat all by themselves on one long wall. Inside was a large, fancy conference room, with a half circle table. On the far side of the table, already seated in chairs, were six men of varying ages. Two were in fancy business attire, and the other four were in different uniforms, though obviously all belonging to the Alayre Minor government. An elderly man, bald on top, sat at the head of the table, and looked rather stone faced at the two.

The tech motioned to a pair of chairs to the left, that faced the table of men. "Have a seat, please," the tech said. "Others will be joing us in a moment."

As Marek sat down, he looked about the room, noticing three other chairs about 8 feet away from them, also facing the table. All of the men sat with rather sour faces, ranging from outright glares to emotionless indifference. In the far corners of the room, standing near the planetary flag and the governmental standard, a pair of security guards stood watch, the blaster sidearms readily obvious.

Marek leaned over towards Kaz and whispered, "Doesn't look like a very happy bunch."

6 November 2006, 07:57 AM
The man passed out three badges, each bearing the bold lettering of "VISITOR" on it. Helnst turned to Jez, Terras and Bettow. "Put these on. If you have weaponry on you, make sure you leave it here. It will be returned to you on the way out."

The Nightraven crew accepted the badges silently and Terras notice that both Bettow and Jez put them on as if they have been wearing such, if not all they life, at least long enough to become a habit.
They have put their sidearms in the open bin and passed the gate without any *BEEPs*.

Helnst quickly led them through the corridors to a pair of doors that sat all by themselves on one long wall. It seemed that they have just closed behind someone.

Jez, Terras and Bettow exchanged glances on their way but said nothing, from the feeling of speeder's peacefulness into the almost hanging seriousness of the conference room. The change was enough to suggest that they should play things by the book.

They nodded to two man sitting near the three empty chairs and sat quietly. Jez looked through the faces of the six man on the other side of the table. The presence of Chief Commander of Alayre Minor Navy if anything else hinted again at the seriousness of the case.

6 November 2006, 11:30 AM
As everyone took their seat, Tiyn Helnst stood in front of the five people from offworld and said, "Gentlemen, you've been requested here to help us clarify the extent to which this...problem is going to affect us. The Security Director will ask you questions, and take your comments one at a time."

Then he turned to the men at the table. "Security Director, sirs, the meeting is yours."

Helnst moved back towards the door but remained inside the room, leaning against the wall near the door. The balding man at the head of the table cleared his throat and spoke, his voice holding the note of someone used to issuing orders. "I'll cut right to the problem and spare all of you mumbo jumbo of political talk. We have reports from Jasprick, Berini and from non-governmental personnel from Alaibo's Liftoff that an infestion has occured. I'm told that you all have come from at least a couple of those locations and I need confirmation of these reports."

He looked down at a datapad and then looked back up at the 5 different people. "To whomever is Jez Kal'am, we have you listed as being part of an impromptu reconnaisance party aboard the vessel Crimson Tortoise. Yet now you arrive here on a new vessel. What happened to the reconnaisance? Have you been to investigate Alaibo's Liftoff?"

6 November 2006, 01:18 PM
"To whomever is Jez Kal'am, we have you listed as being part of an impromptu reconnaissance party aboard the vessel Crimson Tortoise. Yet now you arrive here on a new vessel. What happened to the reconnaissance? Have you been to investigate Alaibo's Liftoff?"

Jez stood up and cleared his throat. He wanted to be heard so he spoke slowly and loudly but without shouting.
"Yes, sir. The crew of Crimson Toroise with myself set out to conduct the investigation of Alaibo's Liftoff. Unfortunately we didn't had a chance of getting there - we got yanked out from hyperspace, by an asteroid field seemingly set into our path as a trap. Jez noticed the faces change their look for second "That were no pirates. Unless they use an Imperial Star Destroyer." the faces again became made of stone but a few glances of disbelief were exchanged. "Not only was there a ISD but the field was full with big spidery creatures of the same kind as seen on the vid. Dark body, ten legs, multi-segmented body with a barbed tail - which was harpoon-like in that the barb could have been shot with a cable to catch a ship. And it was powerful enough to puncture the hull of a ship. While we avoided ISD fire, which was clearly shooting at us and not at the sludge spiders, we got too close to one of the asteroids. The ship has been destroyed by the monsters. There was one thing strange as far as the ISD is concerned - although our pilot was really good it seemed that the gunners of the destroyer were quite sloppy." he stopped pondering for a split second "As if possessed, or maybe assimilated.". He took a deep breath and continued. "Only I and chief engineer Sieanna Kala'myr survived, although she is still in coma. And it was only because the quick help of captain Terras and his crew." Jez pointed at Terras sitting next to him.
"We then flew to Berini where we were ambushed by a new kind of sludge a small and definitely fast bugs who seemed to multiply incredibly fast by absorbing bodies. Fortunately they couldn't jump nor fly but seemed to posses some kind of intelligence which allowed them to coordinate their attacks. They seemed to have come from an Imperial shuttle seen in Berini port. From what we know it is still there. Ex-patrolman Bettow could tell you a bit more about the bugs as he commandeered the defense of Medical center against their attacks."

"What was the range of spider's barb?" Asked with a hoarse voice G'dan Otyn in his Navy uniform.
"I'd say half the range of freighter-type tractor beam" Jez looked at Terras for approval. "I'd say one quarter."

"Patrolman Betow, what is your threat assessment of those bugs." asked a highly decorated older man in an Army uniform.

"They are susceptible to fire and cold, the second of which slows them enough to take away their advantage of speed. Unfortunately they seem to learn and due to their burrowing capabilities are able to avoid simple traps. " Bettow stood up, but somehow managed to do it nonchalantly but not insulting. "But they couldn't stand a chance against a coordinated attack of defense forces. Their main weapons are their speed, burrowing capacity and chaos wrecking - it's really hard to hit them when everyone else is running away screaming."

A silence fell for a few seconds and Terras stood up as Bettow sat down. "I'm not sure if this is the right moment, but on behalf of myself and my crew, I'd like to offer my help in solving this matter. I'm in contact with captain Criss Staven of Starbound Misfit II who may also want to participate in the mission, although I cannot speak for him."

"We'll get to that later. the Security Director turned his attention towards Marek and Kaz.

6 November 2006, 03:35 PM
The Security Director looked back down at the datapad in front of him. "Marek Reens, your services were rendered in transporting Kaz Talon, a cartographer, for determining the status of the station 'Alaibo's Liftoff'. For this journey, you were afforded one squad of Alayre Minor Marines that could provide assistance if the situation warranted it. Upon arrival back here, we recieved word that the Marines are not with you. Would you explain what happened to them?"

Marek fidgeted a little and looked over at Kaz. Standing up, he tucked his hands in his pockets and spoke out, looking only at the Security Director. "We..uh...ran into some of the monsters on the station. Or, I should say, the Marines you sent along went out looking for the monsters, and found them. We, Kaz and myself, went to go see if we could find any of them when we lost contact with them, but the only thing we found was body parts. Then one of those ....things... came after us and we ran back to my ship. We barely managed to get out of there before it damaged my ship too much to fly."

A middle aged, squared away man in a highly decorated uniform spoke up, a hint of suspicion and anger in his voice. "Are you saying that a full squad of Marines was elminated, with no survivors? I don't believe it!"

Marek cocked his head, thinking about it for a half second. "Yeah, pretty much that's what I'm saying. No one responded when we called out, and if they had gone the way that we went, they hadn't surived."

"You may have left good men to die!" shouted another man in a uniform.

The Security Director raised his hand in order to calm down the men sitting around him. "Kaz Talon, can you verify the statements, or expand upon anything Mr. Reens has said? Also, in your professional appraisal of the sitatuion at the station, is a quarantine warranted?"

6 November 2006, 08:10 PM
"Right, hang on." Lynnori says, then turns back to the open signal. "Sorry about the delay. we had another comm from some friends that just made planetfall. If you are willing to meet with us in person, we can discuss your travel request in more detail, and perhaps see if we can get off-system travel approved. You can come here to our ship, or you can specify a neutral location where you'd feel more comfortable."

Shiane almost couldn't believe what she had heard. She wanted to discuss it. There was hope! "O - Okay. Uh...I'm not real familiar with the area around here, so I don't think I can really pick an area. Why don't we meet near the shop where you bought those really pretty clothes you got today? I'll have to bring the others along, as they know how much we have to spend on travel. I know what you look like, but just look for a big Wookiee with a translator droid floating along next to it, a guy in robes, and ....and me. We'll be there in about an hour. Okay?"

7 November 2006, 04:14 PM
"Kaz Talon, can you verify the statements, or expand upon anything Mr. Reens has said? Also, in your professional appraisal of the sitatuion at the station, is a quarantine warranted?"

Kaz cleared his throat. <i>Now don't be an ass,</i> he heard his mother say. Yup, if she was only alive now... "Everything that Marek has said is 100% factually accurate. And yes, the station needs to be quarantined immediately. It's like a bad holohorror in there, except everything is real and not special effects."

He eyeballed the one who said they left the marines to die. "And for the record, it we did leave anyone to die on that station, then it was probably the best course of action. I'm certain that they would prefer death to an existence that consisted of only pain, torture, and horror. We had no chance of rescuing any of the marines. They would have died in any case."

He turned back to the Director. "Savvy?"

Marek just hung his head.

7 November 2006, 07:36 PM
"Okay, we'll meet you there. One hour. Misfit II out." Lynnori closes the connection and rises from her seat at the comm console.

Criss glances at Lynnori. "Pretty clothes? I thought you said you wasn't gonna be buying any clothing."

Lynnori gives Criss an almost-sheepish look and a slight shrog. "Sorry, I saw a couple of fashion ensembles that I just couldn't resist."

"Lemme guess, bad species habit, right? Oh well, let's go get this over with."

Criss and Lynnori head aft to the turbolift and down to their quarters on deck 3. As soon as they enter their quarters, Criss starts to suit up in his beskar'gam.

"In armor, honey? You sure?"

Criss glances at Lynnori and keeps donning his armor. "We're Mando'ade, it's the way of our culture. You know that perfectly well. Now suit up. Besides, with all the grounded ships and the angry crewers that will be running around, I want to make sure we're given a wide berth by the crowds and that everybody will know not to mess with us. It'd be bad for their well-being." Lifting his helmet and settling it into place, activating the armor's power and initiating the helmet's self-seal, Criss adds "Plus, I don't like to take chances."

Quickly suiting up, Lynnori watches Criss slip his Westar-34's into their holsters, as well as his Baktoid E-5 and BlasTech DL-44. After donning her helmet, she holsters her weapons and follows Criss back to the turbolift.

Stepping out of the lift into the docking bay proper, Criss looks briefly up to the ship's underside. "Keep your sensors alert, Misfit. Any sign of trouble, of any sort, comm us immediately."

"Shall I keep the ship locked up tight as well?"

"Always, when we're not around." Criss then starts to move away from the ship, and lets Lynnori lead the way to the rendezvous, as the crowds in the street clear a wide path for the two well-armored and armed Mandalorians.

8 November 2006, 06:38 PM
The Security Director frowned for a moment, then raised his eyebrows in a look of brief disbelief and looked over to Terras. "Mr. Jadeonar. According to reports from Berini, you took your ship in a daring maneuver to rescue the occupants of a medical facility. According to the testimony of Mr. Kal'am, you also assisted in the rescue of the survivors of the Crimson Tortoise. What is your appraisal of the threat posed?"

Another man, one of the men in suits, who had remained quiet thus far, also spoke, "And is it your assessment that the Empire has some part in this?"

8 November 2006, 07:12 PM
Shiane felt relieved, but still anxious. She had, at least, convinced the woman to help, now she just needed to convince Xion that it was the right thing to do. Putting the comlink back into her pocket, tossing her shoulder length dark blonde hair back and taking a deep breath, she left her room and came out into the room where Tenbrawhl and Xion sat chatting idly. They both stopped and looked at her when she came out.

Her eyes fell to the floor for a moment, then she steeled herself and looked back up at them. "I just spoke with a woman, she's going to give us passage off of the planet to where we need to go."

Tenbrawhl made a sound that obviously sounded like a question at the same time Xion asked, "What?"

"I saw her earlier today when I was out. She has a ship, and she said she can help get us off this planet and out to where we need to go. We just need some money..." her voice trailed off a bit at this point.

Xion eyed Shiane, his look was one of a parent disapproving of a child's actions. "What does this woman do, and what is her name?"

"Uh...well, she has a ship, so she transports things....I think. And her name was......Lynnori....Lynnori Staven. She seemed like a nice enough lady," said Shiane.

Xion looked skeptical and sighed deeply. "How much is she asking?"

Tenbrawhl issued a stuttering sound and EMTEEDEE politely translated, "If she is anything other than a woman of ill-repute, she will not be able to procure permission to disembark from this planet given the current stipulations put upon space travel."

Shiane looked back and forth between the two of them, and answered Xion's question first. "Well, we hadn't really come to a price yet. We're supposed to meet her in an hour to talk about that. And I don't think she's bad, if that what you mean. Bad people don't buy nice clothes."

Tenbrawhl rolled his eyes and waved a big paw, muttering something. EMTEEDEE turned to look at Tenbrawhl and then turned back to Shiane, "Looks.....may be deceiving, young lady."

Xion knew that wasn't what Tenbrawhl had said, but decided not to mention it. Xion was well aware of what it meant that an individual was willing to transport people off of a planet when flights were not allowed. He hoped that what they would meet would not be someone he would have to contend with. During his brief time with Shiane he had come to trust in the visions she had, the "dreams" as she called them. He knew what it was...he could sense it, and that assured him that Shiane was on the right path. Unfortunately, she was young and naive enough to enlist the help of people whose help wasn't necessarily needed or wanted. He decided that he would go along to see what came from the meeting. He was also glad that he had acquired some more credits, as it seemed he might have need of them very soon. "You mustn't trust everyone on looks alone, for many can conceal agendas that are to their benefit, and not your own. We will go meet this woman, this Lynnori Staven, and see what she has to offer. If I do not feel that she is genuine, or would be of the type to help rather than hinder, I expect you to respect my judgement. Is that fair?"

Shiane nodded, her eyes falling again to the floor. While she was happy to have them agree with her, she didn't feel very confident in her decision based on their responses. "Well....we should probably be going, as it'll take us about half an hour to get there, and we have to meet her there in an hour."

"Very well. Why don't you lead the way," said Xion and both he and Tenbrawhl stood.

As they moved out of the rented room, Xion spoke quietly to Tenbrawhl so that Shiane would not hear. "Be especially aware. If there is trouble, we must make certain that Shiane is kept from danger."

Tenbrawhl looked down at Xion and nodded, responding in Wookeese, "I'll keep an eye out for trouble, EMTEEDEE will watch the girl."

Within half an hour, Shiane had taken the other two, with EMTEEDEE floating along just behind the trio, to the spot she had chosen. As they waited, Xion asked Shiane, "What does this woman look like?"

"Well, she's Farguhl and she's pretty fit, I guess. She might be wearing some nice clothes, because she bought some earlier today," said Shiane.

Xion nodded, keeping his thoughts to himself, and began to scan the crowd the moved along the sidewalk.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
9 November 2006, 09:04 AM
The Security Director frowned for a moment, then raised his eyebrows in a look of brief disbelief and looked over to Terras. "Mr. Jadeonar. According to reports from Berini, you took your ship in a daring maneuver to rescue the occupants of a medical facility. According to the testimony of Mr. Kal'am, you also assisted in the rescue of the survivors of the Crimson Tortoise. What is your appraisal of the threat posed?"

"Yes sir, that is correct on both counts." Terras replied,

(OOC: ran out of time, will be back before supper time to finish)

11 November 2006, 07:17 PM
Criss and Lynnori arrive at the chosen meeting place and spot the Wookie and his companions. "There they are. Well, here goes nothing," Lynnori says to Criss.

"Keep your armor's sensors active. Let's see what they may pick up. You never know what kind of weapons they may be trying to keep concealed," Criss says as they proceed to approach the waiting party.

Glancing at each member of the group, Lynnori addreses the woman who seemed to be in charge. "I'm Lynnori Staven, and this is my husband Criss."

Criss takes a second glance at each person, giving his helmet's sensors a second chance to detect any hidden armaments. "My wife tells me you're looking to hire our services. Exactly where are you expecting us to take you?"

11 November 2006, 09:14 PM
As Shiane, Xion and Tenbrawhl waited, they noticed a pair of heavily armored and obviously armed individuals coming up the street. Tenbrawhl let out a growled warning and Xion turned to look at the Wookiee. EMTEEDEE translated for Shiane so she could understand what was being said, "Those two wear Mandolorian armor."

Xion said, "I highly doubt they are Mandalorian. Most likely people who've acquired or modified suits to make it appear as such."

The two in armor made their way through the people on the street who moved aside to let the two pass without being bothered. Then, to the surprise of all three, the two armored individuals made their way up to where Shiane and the others stood. Tenbrawhl issued a quiet, rumbling growl and Xion motioned with his hand to calm down, "Let's see what they have to say first."

Glancing at each member of the group, Lynnori addreses the woman who seemed to be in charge. "I'm Lynnori Staven, and this is my husband Criss."

Shiane was stunned, still silent. This armored individual was hardly the person she had seen earlier that day. She tried to force a smile, but it only came out as a barely there hint of acknowledgement. In the silence, EMTEEDEE takes the opportunity to speak up, "Most pleasant to meet you, madam. I am EMTEEDEE, translator droid for...." Tenbrawhl let out a short bark and cast a look over at the droid, causing EMTEEDEE to promptly shut up.

Criss takes a second glance at each person, giving his helmet's sensors a second chance to detect any hidden armaments. "My wife tells me you're looking to hire our services. Exactly where are you expecting us to take you?"

On Criss's helmet sensor's he detected two weapons not readily visible. While the Wookiee had a large blaster rifle slung over his back, and plainly visible, the sensors picked up a blaster pistol on the hip of the human male...under the robes, and something else. Sensors indicated a weapon, but inactive. A cylindrical weapon that hung on the man's other hip, under the robes.

Xion spoke up when it became apparent Shiane didn't have the ability to speak. "My name is Xion Cyzar. My associates and I would like transport off of this planet. Our destination is a planet in the Gvasten system, probably 3 days hyperspace journey from here, depending on the speed of your ship. The only problem is, we're not going to have, or be able to gain, permission from the government to leave this planet. That is where, we hope, you will be able to assist us. Shiane here told us that you would be the type that might be able to help us. "

Shiane, after Xion spoke, felt embarrassed at her inability to speak for herself. Clearing her throat and doing her best to sound sure of herself, even though the cracking in her voice indicated otherwise, she spoke, "Lynnori, I know you don't really know me, other than when we talked about an hour ago, but we really, really need to get off of this planet. It's a matter of life and death."

12 November 2006, 05:31 PM
Glancing at the robed human, Criss comments "I'm guessing you fancy yourself some kind of Jedi, carrying a lightsaber under your robes like that?" Criss pauses for a moment to guage the man's reaction then continues, "My grandfather was killed by your Jedi kind 44 years ago at the Battle of Galidraan. Despite my parents raising me and training my in the ways of my Mandalorian heritage, and teaching me about how your kind was responsible for the deaths of many of my people, I should feel nothing but hate towards you, but I'll reserve my judgement of you until I've seen how you handle yourself in action."

Lynnori quickly butts in, "I'm sorry, ignore what my husband said. He may not be all that fond of Jedi, but he is a good man. We understand your desire to get off-planet, but this regional quarantine they've established will make it difficult to get any kind of clearance. We have some friends with another ship that had to go to some meeting with the local officials, though, so they may be able to help us arrange clearance. If you'd like to collect your things, you can bring them to our ship in docking bay 80 and wait there with us until we manage to contact them. We have 6 staterooms on deck two that you can take your pick from."

"There's just a single refresher on deck two, so you'd need to take turns freshening up. There's a lounge and a small galley on deck one, but the main galley and the formal dining room are both on deck three, and if you need any assistance with anything while onboard, our ASP-7 droid can assist you."

12 November 2006, 07:25 PM
Xion looked levelly at Criss...his eyes unblinking, his face expressionless. "I do not fancy anything. It is my birthright to weild this weapon. Contrary to your misinformed and preconcieved depictions based on appearance, the light foil I possess does not necessarily mean that I am a Jedi, nor am I in relation to any that may have had dealings with your ancestors."

Shiane shot a glance over at Xion, her eyes wide in surprise and she opened her mouth to speak, but Tenbrawhl rumbled a response first. EMTEEDEE courteously translated, "It would be best for all if we simply let the past be past. Perhaps a discussion of departure time and payment is in order."

Shiane was watching the conversation rocket wildly out of control. As she turned to Tenbrawhl, Xion spoke up again. "I must ask, with this devotion to a dying, if not dead, devotion...the Mandalorians, why are you so timid in taking this job and breaking a law to leave? Such things should be common place for people such as you."

"WAIT!" shouted Shiane, holding up her hands.

Both Xion and Tenbrawhl looked at the young lady, their eyes showing a bit of surprise at her outburst. Even Lynnori and Criss were momentarily quiet. "We need help," said Shiane, looking directly at Lynnori. "You and you," she said, pointing at both of them, "are going to die here if we don't get off this planet. All of us will. We'll die horribly, eaten, torn apart, or worse...by creatures that have been created. These creatures will not stop here, they'll keep going, and no one else will be able to stop them. I know where we need to go in order to stop them, but I need a ship to get there. If you don't help us, we'll find someone else who can, and you can stay here to face your doom just like everyone else!" As she finished, Shiane was near tears, her voice wavering as she belted out the fears she had hidden within her.

Tenbrawhl looked wordlessly at the two in the Mandalorian armor, and Xion looked back to Criss, the expression on his face one of worry. "My apologies if I have spoken ill of your family. It is not my place. We have money that may be able to partially compensate you if you are able to do as we ask."

Shiane remained silent, tears hanging in her eyes, a fear and determined resolution also present in her eyes.

13 November 2006, 06:55 PM
Lynnori waits a moment, then says "Let's not argue or get into a fight here. Nobody is going to die here. The quarantine and blockades are in place to prevent any such occurrence like the Berini infestation from happening here, which is why they're restricting travel."

"Well, as my wife has said, we have friends currently meeting with the local government officials, and they may be able to help us with obtaining clearance to leave. Yes, we're Mandalorians, but we're also Bounty Hunters, not Blockade Runners, which means we work for and by the law first and foremost, and secondly for whomever can afford our rates. Ours is a warrior culture, and we're not that easliy killed. We already said we'd provide you passage, we just need to see if our friends can help us with travel arrangements."

"Would you like to collect your things now, and go to our ship? By the time we get there and get onboard, our friends may be done with their meeting."

13 November 2006, 07:08 PM
Xion nodded. "We haven't much, but we must go back and close out our room before we can join you at your ship. Where is it located?"

Tenbrawhl let out a string of sound and EMTEEDEE translated, "You have not mentioned what the price of this transportation would be."

Shiane whispered absently, barely casting a glance towards Lynnori, "I wish no one would die here, but they're coming....they're coming."

13 November 2006, 07:30 PM
Flight Commander Inglerhemm glanced at his scanner readout, noting the dot that materialized right near the edge of the jump zone. Putting his Z-95 into a bank, he spoke into his comlink, "This is XeQas One, we just got an arrival is sector five one niner two two. I'm moving to check it out."

The scratchy sound of a reply came back in his earpiece, "Copy XeQas One. XeQas Five is nearest you, we will dispatch him to back you up."

The Z-95 rocketed towards the blip on the scanner while Inglerhemm searched the stars for a sign of the ship. Closer....closer....green bolts began to arc in towards him, and Inglerhemm's eyes widened in surprise. He yanked hard on the controls to roll his fighter, avoiding the shots coming in. "XeQas One, I'm taking fire from unknown vessel. Repeat, I'm taking fire from unknown vessel!"

Another voice rang out over the comm channel, "This is Five, hang on One, I'll be there in a few seconds!"

Inglerhemm managed to swerve his fighter enough to get out of the line of fire and banked hard about. He could tell from the shots that they were from a capital ship. He redirected his scanner to his aft as he fired the engines to full and tried to get some distance between him and whomever was shooting at him. "I've got you on my scanner, XeQas One."

"I'm heading back to Berini, you better turn about too. Whatever's back there is big and it's mad," said Inglerhemm.

About that time, his scanner bleeped a recognition and he punched it up on the small screen. "A Star Destroyer?!"

Toggling his comlink again, he called out, "This is XeQas One to Berini control. I've got an Imperial Star Destroyer inbound, and it is hostile! Request immediate assistance from all available Berini military craft!"


On the surface, Senior Patrolman Unills gave an exhausted sigh as he leaned up against the patrol speeder. He had been going pretty much constantly for the last 14 hours...ever since the ship with those people had lifted him and the other from the roof of the medical facility. Now, it was looking like the infestation was over. The city had banded together pretty quickly to get the military, pest control, police and disease control all working on the problem. The only part that remained was one lone hangar platform. Registry had listed it as an unidentified Imperial craft, but nothing else was known about it. Whoever the crew was, they were certainly dead by now. Those bugs would have seen to that.

Unills listened to the comm chatter as the containment teams began to make their way into the hangar. He was happy, for once, that he didn't have to partake in something like that. As heavy as his eyelids were right now, he probably couldn't see straight to shoot at a building.

Suddenly the comm chatter turned to yelling and screaming. Something had happened. One...no two, containment teams had encountered a problem. It was hard to tell from the sound, but there were losses and the cold systems and plasma torches didn't seem to be doing the job on whatever it was. Unills listened intently, trying to determine what was happening. Whatever was doing it, it wasn't the little bugs. He kept hearing "it". "It" was killing people. They couldn't kill "it".

Standing upright, Unills barked hoarsely at the four patrolmen near him. "Get in, guys, sounds like we may not be done for the night!"

13 November 2006, 08:07 PM
"The price is dependent on the destination, which you haven't named, yet. Our ship is in docking bay 80. If you're still wanting to hire our services, you can meet us there."

Criss and Lynnori wait for a moment to see if anybody has anything else to say or ask, then move away and begin to head back to the Misfit II.

"Let's see if Terras is still in that meeting, or if he's gotten back to the NightRaven and has any news for us."

"Do you think what she's afraid of is related to the incident on Berini?"

"I'm fairly confident that it is, given the proximity to there from here. Judging from the details of this quarantine, there's other near-local hotbeds of trouble as well. Chances are good the Empire's involved in all this somehow, too."

15 November 2006, 01:48 PM
"Yes sir, that is correct on both counts." Terras replied.

After a long pause, while the men at the table waited, Terras shrugged and sat down. The Security Director raised his eyebrows and mumbled "...well..."

Another man, wearing the uniform of the Alayre Minor Police Force looked to Bettow. "Patrolman Bettow, you are a member of the Berini Police, are you not? What brings you to this location and what is your threat assessment for the spread of this....infestation?"

15 November 2006, 02:17 PM
Captain Nibtren was sweating as his ship took a beating. He steadied himself as a shudder shook the Defense Cruiser, causing sparks to leap from control panels on the wall near the defense station. The sparking, sizzling smell of circuits burning added to the haze from other fires and the fire suppressants used to control the fires from getting out of hand. Over the loud, groaning protest from the ship, the damage control officer called out, "Port side deflectors are gone, Captain! We're got fires on levels 2, 5 and 6! Moderate casualties reported!"

Nibtren frowned and looked at the hulking shape of the Star Destroyer to the forward port. Ahead of and slightly above Nibtren's ship, an System Patrol vessel was enveloped in a ball of flame as green turbolasers from the star destroyer lanced through the hull of the smaller ship. The Captain toggled the comm switch, "Cruiser Tiigrex, concentrate fire with Patroller Inbnir on the command tower of the star destroyer! All remaining fighters, make a sweep on the same area...we've got to get their shields down!"

Nibtren watched as the limping shape of the Tiigrex turned the flaming port side of its hull away from the Star Destroyer Skather's punishing turbolasers and cut across the bow of the huge warship. Moving in quickly to open fire was the smaller Inbnir, firing the pair of concussion missiles and unleashing with all of the lasers it could bring to bear. A string of less than a dozen Berini fighters streaked in towards the conning tower of the too durable beast. Turbolasers and ion blasts lept from dozens of points across the Star Destroyer. The shots were punishing, devastating. Two Z-95s were vaporized instantly, the little patroller Inbnir took several blasts from ion cannons, causing the engines to sputter and the craft to slow, becoming an easier target for the devastating turbolasers.

To his credit, Lieutenant Commander Cashen of the Tiigrex kept his ship together and unleashed a massive barrage on the control tower of the Skather. Briefly visible, through all of the shots still flying in space, a brief flash indicated that the main deflectors had taken a severe blow. Nibtren called out to his gunnery commander. "All batteries, open fire on the command tower of that ship!"

The pitifully few operational weapon emplacement of the Defense Cruiser Berini's Pride opened fire with deadly accuracy. The exhance of fire was so heavy that Nibtren thought he saw another fighter or two die in the exchange, but he couldn't worry about that right now. If the Star Destroyer survived, the planet was surely doomed. The Skather had come in with weapons blazing, and was neither sending warnings nor receiving calls to cease fire. Whatever was in the Imperial Commander's mind, talking was not one of the options. So now it was up to Nibtren and only four remaining vessels to stop the massive warship. Already, Berini had lost 6 of it's 10 main ships and was down to less than one squadron of fighters out of 3 that it originally had. All of that loss, and the Star Destroyer hadn't even launched fighters. The sheer power of the Star Destroyer was stunning, and Nibtren would have been impressed if he wasn't in the fight for his life.

The barrage from his ship, along with the continued barrage from the Tiigrex had indeed penetrated the deflectors and now shots were directly impacting the control tower of the Skather. Even then, the fire from the weapons on the ship didn't let up. The poor Inbnir, its engines disabled from ion hits, was pounded by multiple turbolasers, and soon the deflectors on the 85 meter long patroller failed and the ship lasted only a blink of an eye longer before it exploded into a thousand pieces. Nibtren didn't have time to consider the ramifications before his ship took half a dozen impacts, rocking the ship, tossing people about, and bringing about a new bout of fires and system malfunctions.

"Keep firing! Give it everything we've got left!" he yelled at his gunnery commander.

16 November 2006, 12:25 PM
"Patrolman Bettow, you are a member of the Berini Police, are you not? What brings you to this location and what is your threat assessment for the spread of this....infestation?"

Apparently, this one hadn't received the memo. "I'm not a patrolman anymore," Bettow said, letting just a hint of anger creep into his voice. "I'm a...freelancer, now."

The offical <i>harrumphed</i> and said, "Just answer the damn question."

"Assessment of the situation, huh?" He straightened his neck out and wished he could magically teleport away. They hadn't said anything about a meeting, did they? Pointless to complain now. "You have any nukes?"

The officials exchanged worried glances.

"Just in case," Bettow added.

"We're not allowed to disclose such information," the oldest man said, "But I hardly think that weapons of mass destruction would be necessary for an 'infestation.'"

Bettow shot him a look of incredulity. "Do you even know what the [censored] we're talking about here?" Some stiffed at his coarse language, but a few seemed to be put at ease by his choice of words. "We're talking about a sea of bugs so vast that they could fill up your entire oceans in the same time it takes you to sip your caf. That's a lot of bugs, and that's not the worse part. The worse part is that they crawl into you and make you explode. I lost a partner back on Berini because of that."

His eyes narrowed, and his look became intense. "I suggest you change your definition of 'necessary.' Immediately."

16 November 2006, 02:05 PM
The Security Director raised his hands to quiet the murmuring that was going on between a couple of the people who sat at the table. Looking at Bettow, he said evenly. "Thank you. Please be seated."

After punching in some information on the datapad in front of him, showing the pad to one of the business suited men who sat next to him, he looked back up that the five people who basically wished they were somewhere else right now. "All of your testimonies have confirmed the many reports we have recieved from other sources, mostly 2nd or 3rd hand reports, as well as the rather confused information coming from other systems. Unfortunately, they also vindicate our measures so far taken and prompt us to expand our response to protect this planet."

The rather nonplussed looks from the five gave him the confirmation that most of what he said had simply gone beyond their understanding. With a sigh, he said, "Seeing as how you five are the only people we have encountered, and spoken with, that have actually had contact with the infestation, as well as some success with actually dealing with them, the Alayre Minor government is securing your assistance. You all will be given special status, will be allocated equipment necessary to complete your duties, and will be appraised of the situation as we know it. If necessary, additional resources may be allocated to assist you, but you must realize that this planet needs to be defended, so some of the larger resources will not be available to you.

"Let me put it to you all very plainly. Some of you may have volunteered to work for this government before. Some of you may not want to work for this government. Sadly, you don't really have a choice. We've got to figure out a way to stop whatever this is, and you five are the best opportunity we have at any success in that matter. You will be compensated for your service, assuming this entire situation is resolved successfully without undue loss or damage to this planet's infrastructure. Basically, you screw up and we all die, you don't get paid. You help us beat this, you'll be paid well."

He paused a moment and the eyes of the other people at the table shifted towards him and then around at each other, as if the thought of having civilians, non-Alayre Minor civilians, was enough to make them reconsider, but no one said anything. The Security Director finished up, "I'm sure that you'll probably have some questions, or even complaints. Now's the time to voice them, because when we leave this room, I expect us all to be working towards the same goal. Who's first?"

16 November 2006, 02:23 PM
Jez looked around and stood up slowly.

"It will be me, sir. I have worked for Alayre Minor government before and I understand your point of view. Though if mr. Bettow would like to resign I'd suggest you'd allow him. As this is going to be extremehly hazardous job we should not force anyone as they will only wait for aproper moment to run away and that's exactly what we are trying to avoid. I' hereby not suggesting that mr. Bettow would do so, only that he be allowed to chose his future. He may in fact prefer to wait for the sludge here. It's his choice which we should not rob him." he looked at Bettow and smiled softly. "If you had seen what he saw and experienced first hand you would not be so quick to force anyone to do this job." He looked again at the Director "As I said we have some friends that could help us and one thing we need for sure is a way to get from the planet any time we need, no queues, no beaucracy. The other thing is we need intelligence. Everything you've got. The holos from the first troop - uncut. All information you've got and a place where we can undisturbed forge a plan. As far as equipment and such we will know what we need after we know what will gonna do. Any of you knows..." said Jez looking at generals"...that logistics can win a battle sometimes." He stopped for while but as he hadn't seated himself noone said anything.
"You never told us who delivered the first holo? Can we talk to him? What information do we have on the station, Jasprik and Berini? What's with the ISD? Sorry to say but it needs to be destroyed - every little piece of it. And do we have any official respons from the Empire? It was their station and their ship?" Jez wanted to say something more but he felt an incoming headache and he quickly seated himself clutching his head in his hands.
Terras cast him a worried glance.

16 November 2006, 03:51 PM
Terras wasn't the only one eyeing Jez. So was Bettow--but his glance wasn't one of worry, but more of irritation. To even <i>suggest</i> he was going to back out of this; to Bettow the thought was insulting. Better to call him on it later, though, when there were no witnesses and no chance for assistance.

Kaz, meanwhile, groaned inwardly. It'd be nice to be paid well; he hadn't had a decent paycheck in weeks, ever since the payroll department decided to have one too many and cause a royal snazzup with everybody's records. But he'd rather have that crappy pay then go back into the howlrunner's den. Whatever that thing on the station was, it was really ugly and really bad. He had seen as much as he wanted of it.

A little while ago, and it was at least somewhat better. At that point, at least one person was thinking he was an Imperial official, which carried a sense of security. But now, he was back to being an ordinary cartographer, and there wasn't any benefits. In fact, it seemed to have a lot of bad things getting attached to it the longer he stuck around.

Then he yawned...

16 November 2006, 07:01 PM
Marek sat dumbfounded for a moment. They were what? REQUIRING him to work for them? Riiiiiight.

After Jez was done speaking, and no one else stood up, Marek sprung to his feet. "Now, what gives you the right to just DECIDE we're working for you? I don't wanna go anywhere near those things if I don't have to! And from where I stand, I don't have to! I'm a scout, not some mercenary or soldier or anything. I work for me, on my schedule, not for others."

The Security Director's voice took on a decidedly louder, commanding tone. "Mr. Reens! You have previously agreed to work for this government when you shuttled Mr. Talon to the station. You agreed to work for pay then, you are still under the employ as the situation regarding the dispatch of Kaz Talon has not been resolved. If you attempt to remove yourself from our employ, your current pay will be revoked, you will be charged for all fees associated with your landing on this planet, as well as supplies, and then you will find yourself sitting on this planet for the duration, as I can GUARANTEE you that you will not be granted permission to leave! Is that clear?"

Marek stood with his mouth open, interrupted mid sentence by the Security Director. The words he just heard hit him hard. He was stuck. Either he sat here, stewing on things, or he went along with things....for now. The last thing he was going to do, though, was to tangle with those monsters. He'd fly his ship, he'd scout, but that was it! Without a response, and looking somewhat cowed, Marek sat down, but the frown on his face clearly displayed his displeasure.

The Security Director looked back over to where Jez, Bettow and Terras sat. "Intelligence reports will be made available to you, as well as any of the holos we have received from infested locations. No one, however, has the option of sitting this one out. We're all in this mess together, people, so get used to it. Are there any other questions?"

17 November 2006, 12:03 PM
Kaz watched as the Security Director chewed Marek out. Now that isn't fair, Kaz thought to himself. When Marek sat down, cowed, Kaz jumped to his feet. "Excuse me, Director," Kaz said loudly, startling one older official who was halfway to the Land of Nod. "I believe you've made a mistake."

The Security Director arched an eyebrow. "Oh I have, have I?"

"Yes. First of all, you ordered Mr. Reens here to take me to Aliabo Liftoff to determine if it should be quarantined or not. I have already said that it should be. End of contract. Mr. Reens is free to go, and you have to pay up."

The Security Director went red in the face. "<i>Excuse me</i>? Just who are you--"

"Hey, remember who you're talking to," Kaz interjected, putting on an extra inch of height. Perhaps he could regain his "former Imperial glory" after all. "I'm still an official representative from the Galactic Empire, called in to investigate a station that was supposed to be quarantined. You wouldn't want me to bring the whole Imperial legal system down on top of your heads now, would you? I think not. And since this is such a highly dangerous mission, forcing a mere scout to participate would be unlawful. Or do I need to cite a section of the Imperial Space Code for you, Director? No? I thought not."

Kaz sat back down. That had been one of the longest outbursts he had ever had in his life that wasn't with his parents, and it felt awesome. Hopefully nobody would push him on the subject...

17 November 2006, 12:20 PM
Unfortunately, one of the General's at the table decided he'd bring the issue to a point. "Perhaps bringing the Empire here to explain their position in this whole thing would be a good idea. We've had multiple reports of Imperial vessels in the immediate vicinity of this infestation. If this is the Empire's doing, they need to speak to us on the matter in which they are conducting their affairs. Or would you like to speak on behalf of the Empire, Mr. Talon?"

A couple of other uniformed individuals nodded in agreement and looked to Kaz to see what he would say. The Security Director, after redoubling himself, held up his hands. "Wait just a minute."

Kaz was thankful he didn't have to try to answer the General's questions. "Mr. Talon, you were out of line. I am well aware of your affiliations, and I also know that you are not an official speaker for the Empire, nor do you have much pull in their ranks. Beyond that, however, I believe I've misspoke. While this IS an option for everyone, at the same time, we are not going to just let people stand by and do nothing when this planet is at stake. All of you are the people with the absolute most experience in the matter, as you have had direct interaction with the infestation. That puts you all high on the list of people we need. Trust me on this, if you opt not to work FOR us, you may stay on this planet and weather whatever comes our way while those of less experience attempt to solve this issue. If the Empire gets involved, or if those Imperial ships arrive here, though, I'm sure they will be much less forgiving than myself."

"So, I put it to all of you again, will you work for us?"

17 November 2006, 12:42 PM
Jez looked at Terras who nodded slightly. He stood up fighting his headache which slowly subsided. He spoke softly not rising his voice for a moment.

"The way you put it I'd say NO. But we all know that we have to put an end to this infestation so we will work WITH you. I'd like to make this clear WE ARE NOT your citizens so we could end up intertwined in some civil court dispute in Imperial City. You should consider us allies more then your employees. We would not like for example that our ships end up in Hanging Victory Museum." he looked at Terras and Marek ignoring the looks of the commitee. "It's a local tradition to put the ships flown by heroes on display in a Museum." Jez explained.

He allowed for momentary pause.

"I believe that more questions will pop up later after we will get all the info and everyone interested in one place. Delegate someone to run errands for us as we get ready - you know equipment lists et cetera... and we can get started. Seeing how fast the sludge mulitplies and that it's probably technicaly possible for it to take over a ISD we need to work fast. We CANNOT allow this infestation to grow." His head was clear now and he knew what he was meant to do. "Even if it means we will have to die stopping it...." he added silently as he was sitting down, but not silently enough as the eyes of Terras went grey full of determination. Bettow only silently nodded...

19 November 2006, 08:27 AM
The Security Director looked warily at the five individuals, then turned to the generals, admirals and "suits" near him. "Does anyone have any objections to the appointment of these men, and any accompanying crew, as a special task force?"

There were looks around the table, a couple of non-commital shrugs of shoulders, and no one spoke against the idea. "Very well," said the Security Director, "An agent of the government will be assigned to you, to provide you with the information you request and to help expidite supply delivery to your craft. Any requests will be made through him and he will then relay those requests through the channels.

"If you will follow Agent Helnst, he will take you to another room where you can talk amongst yourselves and meet the agent that will help you. If there is nothing further, I will adjourn this meeting."

Tiyn Helnst stepped back forward from where he had been resting against the wall near the door and looked at both groups. "If you men will follow me, I'll take you to where you need to go." he said, motioning towards the door.

19 November 2006, 01:16 PM
Tiyn Helnst stepped back forward from where he had been resting against the wall near the door and looked at both groups. "If you men will follow me, I'll take you to where you need to go." he said, motioning towards the door.

Seeing that the meeting was over Jez got up and waited for the rest of teh group to move. He subconsciously took point just behind Tiyn.

"Terras would you be so kind and tell Nileeta to join us and take Criss and his crew with her. We may need all kinds of approaches for that assignment and it's no use to repeat everything." Jez said softly "Mr. Helnst, if you could arrange that our friends when they arrive be led to our meeting room without any delay. I'd appreciate it. "

Terras nodded and took out the com.
"Raven, it's Terras is Nileeta somewhere round?"
"I'm here" came Nileeta's voice"What's going on? Are we in some kind of trouble?" she asked worriedly.
"Well, yes and no. We have been somehow a bit forcibly employed but the Alayre goverment. Could you conntact Lynnori and ask her and Criss to come to... wait a second..." Terras turned to Helnst "What's the address here?"
"I'll send a speeder for them to your ship. It will be faster this way. Just tell me how many people should it accomodate?"
"At least three." He unmuted the comlink "A speeder will be sent for you to our ship with best regards from government so behave..." he added with a smile"What gave you the idea that I wouldn't. Nileeta out."

The Alayre Minor official led them though the maze of corridors that filled the office building, they entered a lift in silence. It seemed that Marek and Mr. Talon were deep in thought about the recent discussion. And Terras studied carefully the way. Bettow somehow lazily followed the group although he had no problems with keeping up.

Meanwhile aboard the NightRaven

Raven looked at Nileeta as she finished talking with Terras
"So we are going to fight those bugs or something? I just hope everything you ordered will be delievered soon as I feel really hungry."
"Now that we are employed by the government we shouldn't have much problems with that I presume." Nileeta's eye caught a movement at the hangars door. A few technicians appeared together with a droid she has seen before. The techs were moving all the necessary cables and pipes to under the ship. "It seems that they are even faster. I'll check if they brought everything."

Nileeta left the cockpit and went down the ramp. The protocol droid approached her carrying a padd. "Oh, hello there. I have procured everything on the list" he said handing the padd to the Twilek "Unfortunatelly some of the items were difficult to find and they will be delivered a bit later. I have taken the liberty of marking them blue on the list." Again his words almost blurred into one.

"Lynnori to NightRaven. Is Terras back? We need to discuss few things."
"This is Raven. Terras is still out, but Nileeta wanted to talk to you. It seems you and her have been invited to join a mission planning session in somewhere in the city. But Ni will explain it much better. I''l get her."

Nileeta was looking over the list noticing that the blue marked items were few and mostly some of more exotic food when her comlink buzzed.
"Nileeta, I have Lynnori on the line. I'll put you through."

28 November 2006, 05:37 PM
OOC : Just thought I'd make a quick post to get this back on the first page.

IC :

As Nileeta comes on the line, Criss and Lynnori arrive back at the Misfit II. "Nileeta here, Lynnori. Are you at your ship?"

"Yes, we just got back here. What's up?"

"It seems we've been invited to Terras' meeting. They're sending a transport to pick us up, so we'll be swinging by there to get you."

"Okay, we'll be ready. We'll have Misfit keep watch to see if our potential clients show up. If they do, I'll have him comm us."

"Sounds good. We'll be seeing you in a bit, then. NightRaven out."

"Hmmm, I wonder if this will be the opportunity our potential clients are looking for to get offworld."

"I don't know, dear, but we'll find out. Misfit?"

"So you're finally back, does this mean I'll soon have to be going back up into that dark endless void of nothingness up there?"

"Not quite yet. A transport will be coming shortly to take us and Nileeta off to a meeting. If a man, woman, wookiee and droid show up here looking for us, can you comm us and patch the call thru to their comlink?"

"I suppose I can if I have to. I guess this means I'll have to postpone my nap. You know I perform better when I'm well-rested.""

"Oh for the love of...How many times do I have to repeat myself. You Are A Machine! You don't eat, you don't sleep. Just keep watch and make the call if they show."

"That's not necessarily untrue. I may not eat, but I do require sustenance of a sort: fuel and power. I may not sleep, but I do need my batteries to be periodically recharged. I may be a machine, but I'm also an AI, and I do have feelings, you know, so I'm not really all that different than you. It's just that I'm immortal compared to you organics."

Criss glances at Lynnori. "Are you sure you won't let me reprogram him with a hydrospanner?"

"Honey, I know he tests your patience sometime, but I'm not gonna let you risk corrupting all of his vital systems. If it wasn't for him, we'd need to hire a full crew just to get the ship off the ground, and you know we can't afford that."

"I know. Let's go stow our weapons and get out of our beskar'gam. I've got a feeling they'd frown on our attending their meeting in armor and packing weapons.'

Criss and Lynnori hurry aboard the ship and change back into their R'Monee and Cristin Dee-Yor suits. After changing, they leave the ship to wait out in the docking bay for the transport to come pick them up.

4 December 2006, 12:56 PM
The wait isn't long before three speeders arrive. Two are police speeders, one is a black, business-like speeder. The man exiting that speeder looked all the bit the stereotypical government official, right down to the shined shoes. After verifying who Criss and Lynnori were, he invited them into the speeder to be taken to meet the others who were "expecting them."

The journey wasn't long, and the man had very little to say. Any questions directed at him were answered the same with his rather monotone "More information will be given when you arrive at the meeting."

Arriving at the building, the three get out and the man escorts the two into the foyer. After despositing any weapons on their person, they're taken through the security scanner, down a short maze of hallways and to a set of doors. The man motioned Criss and Lynorri to the door. "You're associates are in that room. A representative will be here shortly with the information."

With a hint of suspicion, Criss goes first and finds, to his relief, that there was, in fact, one person he knew in the room. Terras was present, sitting at a round table, looking somewhat bored but also looking as though he were thinking about something rather serious. There were four other people in the room, too. One was most likely a pilot...a fringer type. Another looked like a desk driver. One was definitely military, though not from Alayre Minor. The fourth was hard to peg.

Terras stood at the sight of his friend and moved to greet him. "Well, I'd be lying if I said you were going to like this, but I'm glad you two are here."

Criss looked around at the others as he talked to Terras, "Who are these guys?"

"Oh. Other unlucky people who managed to get caught up in this too. Jez is more or less an extra hand on my ship now...at least for the time being, and Bettow," Terras said, motioning to the military man, "tagged along with us when we left Berini. He was police there, but he's prior military, so he'll work out well. The other two...most I got from our prior meeting was one is named Reens and is a scout, the other I can't remember the name and he's a cartographer or something."

Criss nodded understanding. Terras continued, "Right now we're just waiting for someone to show with the information we asked for."

Just as he finished, the door slid open and a somewhat portly man, with short cut brown hair and a brown mustache entered. He held a briefcase in one hand and he moved in without a word while all eyes watched him move around the table to side opposite the door. Taking a chair, he popped open the briefcase and began to take out multiple data pads and miniature holo projector. Glances were exchanged around the room as people wondered silently who this fellow was. Finally, the man stopped, looked up at everyone and said, "My name is Pikeral Hamgun. You can call me Agent Hamgun, or Hammie, it's up to you. If you will all grab a datapad, we can begin the briefing session with your questions."

He motioned to the stack of datapads that he had placed to either side of him, pushing them slightly down the table towards where the others were. "So who wants to go first?"

5 December 2006, 04:14 AM
Jez scrutinized the two people who entered and was relived to see that at least they will add some force to their group. He noticed that both of them moved with ease and grace showing seasoned fighters.

"Oh. Other unlucky people who managed to get caught up in this too. Jez is more or less an extra hand on my ship now...at least for the time being, "
As he overheard Terras he nodded politely to both Criss and Lynnori but remained silent.

"My name is Pikeral Hamgun. You can call me Agent Hamgun, or Hammie, it's up to you. If you will all grab a datapad, we can begin the briefing session with your questions."

He motioned to the stack of datapads that he had placed to either side of him, pushing them slightly down the table towards where the others were. "So who wants to go first?"
Jez got up and took all the pads then gave each of the attendees one of them just to avoid all that chaos of everyone getting up and reaching for the same pad. This also allowed him to get closer to each and everyone present - a thing he needed to do just to somehow feel the person.

"Could you play the first holo now, before any questions are asked?" he said softly. "Then any other material, although some of us have seen the enemy I believe we all need to see what we are getting into.." He sat down near Terras and waited. There are some moments when silent is the best answer and comment.

And as the vids from Jasprik started no words were needed. Personal weapons ineffective, Those few tanks that manged to offer some resistance soon destroyed by the sheer mass of the enemy. Legs, arms, whole bodies ripped apart and consumed or rather absorbed. Total chaos on the streets soldiers running away only to get cornered and slaughtered. The hovercamera has fallen but still sent the signal. The worst thing was that normal enemies attacked soldiers and man but those monstrosities attacked everyone and ripped apart. Man, woman, children.

Jez saw it for the second time and he has already seen what the spiders and bugs can do. But still he needed all his strength to watch the vids for any signs of weak points, any tactical advantage they could gain.

The vid has ended but the silence still hung in the air for some time.

5 December 2006, 12:36 PM
Agent Hamgun looked at the group for a moment, letting the silence prevail, then cleared his throat.

"Word is still sketchy from Alaibo's Liftoff, and no holo-footage has yet to come from there, so we're only going on unconfirmed reports courtesy of people here in this room. As far as Berini is concerned, the situation is mostly under control on the surface, but recent word from there indicates that an Imperial Star Destroyer known the as the Skather is in orbit combatting the Berini defense. Shots have been fired at the planet by the Star Destroyer, and assistance is being sought by that planet's government to combat the Imperial ship.

"Data suggests that the Skather was in the nearby area and was last reported finding and bringing aboard a lost Imperial assault shuttle. This is the same assault shuttle that was reported by the Berini starport control as being docked at one of their landing pads. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the same assault shuttle was sited on Jasprick a day before mayhem erupted.

"It's estimated that the shuttle is a direct link to the spread of this menace. We're not certain whether it is the source, but intelligence experts believe it may have been to the location where this all began. Where that location is, we don't know, as the Empire is denying the existance of the shuttle and claim that it is likely a rebel terror tactic. They also claim that the captain of the Star Destroy Skather issued a statement that leads them to believe he's lost his mind and has engaged in a personal vendetta. Still no word from the Empire on whether they will send any assistance to deal with their errant Star Destroyer."

He stopped for a moment, looking at everyone, then asked again, "Are there any questions?"

5 December 2006, 03:17 PM
Kaz lifted up a cup. "Can I get some caf please?"

6 December 2006, 05:17 AM
Agent Hamgun looked at Kaz, his face expressionless. "No."

He then looked back at everyone else, "Any other questions?"

6 December 2006, 08:26 AM
"How can we contact you if we need anything? What resources are there to our disposal? We need all the info you have got, access to a computer and some food. It may also be possible that we may have to leave this building quickly and return here with some kind of specialist so we need a way past the guards. We may also need to get from the planet quickly without any delay so could you take care of this, too? " Jez said softly and slowly. "and then we need some time alone to discuss our plans." he finished looking at everyone. "there are definetely some things we need to discuss before proceeding any further and it eb best if you were not present at that time..." he added looking back straight at Agent Hamgun.

6 December 2006, 10:08 AM
Agent Hamgun nodded, "Simplest way to answer all of that, as I have been instructed by the Security Director, I am attached to you all. So, if you have questions, I'm here to answer them. If you need supplies, ask me and I'll put in the requisitions. If you need clearance to land, I'll be there to give it.

"As for resources at your disposal, that all depends on what you ask for. I've been instructed to provide whatever we can afford and muster in the appropriate amount of time. If you want access to a computer, it will have to be me doing the access. And finally, if you want to discuss this on your own, that's up to you, but since I'm going to be accompanying you all, it may be in your better interests to keep me in the loop. But...it's up to you," he said as he closed his briefcase and picked it up, acting as if he was getting ready to leave the room.

"If there are no other questions, you'll find the data we have on the situation on the datapads, and I'll be waiting outside."

Pausing a moment, he waited to see if anyone would ask anything else.

6 December 2006, 01:12 PM
"Since caf falls underneath supplies, can I get some now?"

6 December 2006, 06:46 PM
With an almost disgusted look on his face, Hamgun nearly mumbled, "I'll get someone to bring some in while I'm out waiting."

With that, he moved back around the table to the door. It slid open and he moved out into the hallway, turning to his right before the door slid shut behind him, leaving the group sitting in the room, silent.

6 December 2006, 11:13 PM
As the door shut behind the agent Jez got up "OK. First if someone, anyone doesn't want to take part in this mission I believe we will have all the means to allow such person to go his own way." he said not looking at anyone in general. "then, Criss, Lynnori it's nice to meet you in person I've heard lots about you. I have also heard that you have been conntacted by someone needing your assistance could you tell us a bit more about it?" He bows slightly smiling again.

7 December 2006, 01:53 PM
Marek glanced towards the closed door and then back at Jez, who had just finished his sentence. "Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not in the mood to go tangling with those monsters. Given the chance, I'll be outta here. So I'm willing to hear what you have in mind for that."

8 December 2006, 01:27 AM
"I feel compelled to stop those monsters, but if anyone wants to leave we can do it after we start from here. This agent wants to travel with us so he will travel with one of the other ships. Jez turned towards Marek Your ship, if you want, will fly its own course for a reconnaissance mission or however we want to call it and you're free to go. The rest of us has to think about a plan and I believe that we should go to the source of the plague and there look for the clues."

He looked at the rest of the team and then back to Marek. "But first we need to know everything that you know. Coordinates, ships logs, sensor readouts, what you saw and what you think you saw - simply everything..."

8 December 2006, 08:22 AM
"We saw something extremely ugly," Kaz interjected. "Something so hideous I thought it stepped out of a B-holo horror." Kaz took a longful look at his empty cup, wondering if its condition was also froma B-holo horror. Oh the yawns, the yawns... "I'd really like to avoid going back there."

"But isn't that where this all started?" Bettow asked. "I think we should nip this in the bud."

"Sure," Kaz said. "I'll be over there while you're doing it. In the next system."

"Kaz," Marek groaned.

"That's it," Kaz said, standing suddenly. He was about to say something more when his mouth stretched way beyond normal, and a deep yawn escaped. "Screw it," he muttered, and walked out the door. "I want my caf NOW!"

9 December 2006, 08:28 AM
As Kaz left, Marek shook his head, wondering how in the world that man ever managed to stay awake in an office. He must guzzle caf like it's going out of style. Without considering the possibilities, Marek tapped the screen of the datapad, that Agent Hamgun had provided, in his hands. A menu popped up. Situation. Threat assessment. Types. Alaibo's Liftoff. Jasprick. Berini. Alayre Minor. Failure.

Marek knew the situtation, and he had seen enought to be able to assess the threat and what types there were. He didn't want to know what else there were....what he had seen was enough. His thumb touched the Alaibo's Liftoff button.

A new screen popped up, showing the station, it's location in the system, it's crew compliment, daily visitors, imports and exports...all that stuff. He tapped the icon of the station, and a schematic popped up, showing the entire station from a side view. He could see the docking bay level and the two bays he had put down in both times. 14 floors above, station control and administration...22 floors below, shops, storage, repair and machinery, and living areas.

Tapping on the docking bay level, the picture turned sideways, allowing an overhead view showing the 24 docking bays, the access corridors leading to the central trade location, the prominent shops, and the central turbolifts that allowed access to the rest of the station along the central spine. There were side passages connecting some maintenance rooms and service turbolifts that probably only connected a couple of floors together, and even marks denoting access ladders that could take a person up or down one floor. Those access ladders were well hidden, and only accessable in the "station secure" areas where only people with station code cylinders could gain access to. Even the service turbolifts were in the mildly secure areas, and so far removed from the areas where most people went that they would be hard to access. Only the central turbolifts were easy to reach, and Marek remembered what he had seen in that area.

Absently, he tapped one of the docking bays and a list popped up, detailing the arrival and departures of ships at a time in the past. Three days prior to his own arrival there and the beginning of this whole mess. Two ships had arrived, and 30 minutes later, 27 ships departed. Nothing more after that. Strange.

Punching up the "Departing" list, it listed the names of the 27 ships and only showed declared destinations for 4 of them. The rest were listed as being in violation of docking procedure protocol....leaving without proper declaration of departure and not receiving proper clearance. They left in a hurry, thought Marek. Can't blame them for not going through the normal procedures.. Of the four with listed destinations, 2 were heading to Jasprick. 1 to Alayre Minor, and 1 to Sullust, via Alayre Minor.

Marek looked up at Jez, who seemed to be running the meeting when the Hamster wasn't here. "If you want to know what I know about the station, and more, take a look in the datapad. Probably more in there than I could ever offer. As far as what I know or THINK I know, as you put it, I know there was a man like thing that could survive in space. Spikes for hands and a face that gives you nightmares. I know there was a multi-legged thing that wanted to eat me, but I didn't stick around long enough to see what it really looked like up close. I know that something tore apart a dozen Alayre Minor marines, then came after my ship and actually damaged it. I know that that THING spit some little spider things at us and those spider things chased Kaz and I. And I know there were some much bigger spider things outside that I vaped before going in the second time. Finally, I know I'm not going back on that station. Does that help?"

9 December 2006, 08:57 AM
Kaz sighed as he walked down the hallway. There wasn't a caf machine in sight, and all the while there was this illusion of that oh-so-legendary odor of caf tickling his nostrils. Oh, how he hated and detested that disease the doctor called "hyposomnia", and how he hated the fact his nose was lying to him--

Or not. Just as he directed a silent curse towards his nose, a man dressed in a waiter suit turned the corner with a tray in his hands. Perched on it was a pitcher of caf. Smiling, Kaz rushed over and grabbed the handle. Shaken out of his mindless reverie, the waiter could only stare in shock as Kaz filled his cup and then proceeded to empty it.

"Uh, sir," the waiter said meekly, "Uh, sir--"

"YOWIE!" Kaz shouted, surprised that no flames came up and scorched his tongue. Damn, that was <i>HOT</i> caf! "Whoa, you guys really like it pipin` hot," he said.

"Sir," the waiter said, now even more cowed then before, "This caf is for the Security Director--" he stopped as Kaz picked up the pitcher and started to walk off.

"I'll take it to him," Kaz said. "I got some business with the guy anyways."

"But sir--"

"No worries, it's too hot for me anyways." But not even five minutes later, the door to the Special Response Team's conference room was open and Kaz was walking through, a pitcher of hot caf in his hand and his quarter-full cup in the other.

"Does that help?" Marek was saying, but everyone's eyes were slowing being diverted to the pitcher of caf.

"Hot...caf..." Jez said slowly. "Yes...that...does...help..."

"I knew this was necessary," Kaz said, refilling his cup and then setting the pitcher on the table. "Now, on to business. Just what kind of a station was that Liftoff sort of place? Just a routine supply station or a deep-space science post? Because if it was a science post then it should have been frequented by deep space explorers, which could help narrow down just where the hell those monsters came from."

13 December 2006, 12:25 PM
Bettow almost drooled as he saw Kaz bring in the caf. "Caf..." he muttered, just as the hot stench tickled his nostrils.

"Okay then," Jez said, filling up his own cup. "Well, Marek, if you don't want to go back on that station, I won't force you. But Kaz is right, and I think that the station does need to be investigated more thoroughly. Any thoughts?"

"Why don't we just blow it up?" Bettow suggested.

"Because," Kaz said, "That would be too much paperwork. You'd have to authorization to destroy the station, then file out the debris collection forms, then post all the travel warnings, file a 473 for scrap metal processing--"

Bettow shot him a look that said he clearly wasn't amused.

"Well, that's how the Empire does it."

"The Empire can shove it up where the sun don't shine. I still say we blow it sky high."

"But we need to know where it came from," Terras objected.

Bettow shrugged. "Then let's go back to Berini and find out where that Imperial shuttlecraft came from."

"Yeah, sure," Terras said, snorting. "Go back to Berini. Not on your life. And what if that shuttlecraft just leads back to the station? Then what?"

"Ever heard of a 'Star Destroyer?'"

"Sheesh," Kaz muttered, "He likes to think big, doesn't he?"

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
13 December 2006, 05:20 PM
Terras spoke up, "I wouldn't be as much concerned with the shuttle as I am with the Star Destroyer, or where it's been. Problem is, compared to the Star Destroyer, the Station's probably the easier of the two to investigate." Terras didn't like the idea anymore than anyone else in the room as he had spoken grimly.

Speaking again, bringing forth what he didn't volunteer in the briefing, "We picked up Jez and his shipmate drifting in an escape pod, after we ran into the remains of their ship smashed in an asteroid field. A Star Destroyer didn't let us get any closer, Its guns were blazing like mad and had dispatched Ties to deal with us. We had a bit of a chase through the outer edges of the asteroid field which included dodging those same spider-like tentacles. Black as night and barely saw them coming at us."

"And that makes me wonder if thats the same vessel that has been traveling around, with stops such as the station. The station would likely have that in their logs."

Terras continued, "Whatever we do, and where we end up going in, I don't know yet, but we're definately going to need some heavy supplies. Maybe even some powered exo-suit armor for those of us in the front of the group. And from the sounds of it, what we encountered in the hospital was just the little guys..."

"But on a last note - I really don't want anymore involvement with the Imperials than necessary." Terras paused thoughtfully to choose his words, "Lets just say, I used to be one, and my departure from the service, they really didn't take it too kindly. Not that i'm on a 'most wanted list', Intelligence would sure love getting me back, or some of their properties anyways. Knowing them all too well, they wouldn't put old grudges behind them if it served to their betterment."

14 December 2006, 04:05 AM
"But on a last note - I really don't want anymore involvement with the Imperials than necessary." Terras paused thoughtfully to choose his words, "Lets just say, I used to be one, and my departure from the service, they really didn't take it too kindly. Not that i'm on a 'most wanted list', Intelligence would sure love getting me back, or some of their properties anyways. Knowing them all too well, they wouldn't put old grudges behind them if it served to their betterment."

Jez raised one eyebrow but just for a short time. There was something about Terras that almost shouted "professionally trained" and there weren't many places where you could get such training. Not that it matter much.
"So I think we all agree so far that we need to get to the station. But I'd like to hear what Criss has to say?"

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
2 January 2007, 02:15 PM
"So I think we all agree so far that we need to get to the station. But I'd like to hear what Criss has to say?"

"I think you should have chosen a career choice like mine instead Terras. Much more lucrative, and quite Imperial free."

"You got that hon. Three simple rules, a simple contract, and lots of fringe benefits." Lynnori added with a smile.

"Although Terras does have a point. The Imperials wouldn't likely disclose any information on their part; they certainly wouldn't want anyone else getting their hands on one of their Star Destroyers, and start poking around in whatever other Imperial secrets it may contain." After a moments pause, he added "And they'd just as likely try to sweep it under their rug once they neutralized whatever is going on with it. For our troubles should we offer to assist them, would only earn all of us a free lobotomy session and then a lavishly accommodating trip to Kessel. Lets just say that when you get to travel the galaxy like I have, you'll here stories people have to tell about the Empire. People don't go missing then never heard from again. And not everyone just takes a ship and jumps into the Unknown Regions." Criss finished grimly.

2 January 2007, 03:25 PM
Marek nodded at the comments about the Imperials. He didn't much care for them either, and figured the last thing he wanted to do was to go running to the Imperial navy for assistance. When Criss was done talking, Marek spoke up. "Look, like I said, I won't go on the station, but if there's a need, I can use my scout ship to go there and make sure you don't run into any trouble. With that trigger happy Star Destroyer running around out there, the last thing you'd all want is to go stumbling into the area where it's located. The sensors on my ship can reach out a long way, probably further than anything you guys have on your ships, and make sure the area's clear. Then you all can go running on to that station if you want to. I'll be completely happy staying in my ship, a good distance away from the station."

2 January 2007, 04:18 PM
"Hey, the Empire isn't all that bad," Kaz said. "You won't believe the French benefits you get from working with them." He paused as everyone stared for a moment. "Oh, sorry, fringe benefits, my mistake," he added hastily, waving away his error as if it was a bug.

"I think I can help out with sensors, though," Kaz added. "I mean c'mon, I am a cartographer--the one guy who <i>would</i> jump into the Unknown Regions--and if we're going to track this mess we're going to need a recon team. I nominate myself and Marek for this group."

"You two are cowards," Bettow muttered.

"No, we're intelligent."

"Anyways," Bettow added, "I have some limited exo-suit training. I joined the paratrooper division of the Legion though, because the suits they had were really uncomfortable. I'd prefer not to use one, but considering the circumstances, I'm willing to sacrifice myself."

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
2 January 2007, 05:37 PM
As the cartographer spoke, Lynnori's interest became suddenly piqued as if she found a way to cheat a Slot Machine... That meant she smelled easy credits and lots of it.... Or in this case...???

Criss noticed it, "What?" he asked but she just shushed him silent until Kaz finished,

"I don't know much about long range sensors, but if they're that good, couldn't they be re-tuned for short range?"

Again, Criss asked "What? Why?", looking kinda puzzled

"Well, if so, then why don't we get those sensors trained on the station, maybe could find a way to detect those things, and then we'd know whats around the next corner if we go in."

Exasperating dubiously in dumbfoundment, "We?!?"

By this time, Terras' curiosity and attention we're piqued too.

"I didn't exactly say we had to be the first ones in did I?"

"Your half losing me here. First we're going in, then we're not going in first. And sofar those things don't even show up on the sensors... How does that all help us knowing whats behind the next corner?"

"Go in there with a sensor probe of some sort... Most life-detect sensors can pick up our readings right? So tune a sensor thing with a datapad and have it look for anything unusual..."

Terras pipes up, "So, someone still has to go in, holding the thing right? What if its not foolproof or the thing comes at ya before it can scan what it is?"

A lightulb seemed to flash behind her eyes, when she suddenly asked "Droids! .... Probe Droids! Don't those things have all the kit-and-kaboodle stuffed to the wazoo full-range already built into them? C'mon, the government must have a surplus of them sitting in a wharehouse right???"

Criss looked at Terras, Terras looked at Criss with a shrug, "Maybe she's onto something?"

"So where does the ship sensors come in if the Probe Droid has everything?"

Lynnori sighed the obvious, "Well, the sensors could maybe scope the layout of the place, keep track of us, and linked open channel to a datapad, and get some kind of co-ordinates tracking thing happening, see?"

Criss was still chewing it over, when Terras asked, "Are you sure your not Nileeta's twin???"

Lynnori grinned devilishly, relishing in the compliment. Truth was, their habits did rub off on each other, and they were very like-minded. And their professional skills weren't all that different, rather complementary in a sort of fashion.

As if taking a large bite out of a sandwich, taking the cautios side of things, "Assuming the Probe Droid stays ahead of the party by several meters, thats assuming we can get any... Whats in it for us?"

"C'mon, a whole station? the place has got to be loaded... We could fill Misfit's hold full!" Then politely adding on a more business-like note, "And of course the personal effects of whoever was stationed there, their families may want to pay something to get those articles back....Collection & retrieval services fee, y'know?" she finished, trying to sound on more professionally.

Criss sighed "Uh-huh... I should've known that clever mind of yours was up to something, and definately not out of generous good-will either.".

Lynnori feigned a slightly hurt look, "You should know me better than that by now hon.", finishing with a wink.

"Hey, while we're at it, IF we can get a Probe Droid, think we could also outfit those suckers with some meaner weaponry? Shields?" Terras asked... "What you think guys?" indicating to the rest of the room.

2 January 2007, 10:55 PM
Jez sat back relaxed seeing that the little brainstorm came into being right when he needed it. If anyone ever had any thoughts about the inferiority of females he should be here now. He smiled figthing another of those painful headaches - he knew they were forgetting something, something important but he couldn't concentrate hard enough to get the hang of it.

"Assuming the Probe Droid stays ahead of the party by several meters, thats assuming we can get any..."

'An early detection system, quite an interesting thought'

"Hey, while we're at it, IF we can get a Probe Droid, think we could also outfit those suckers with some meaner weaponry? Shields?" Terras asked...

"Shields would be good for sure... Jez said getting up and walking a bit there and back to gather his thoughts The droid idea is a great one Lynnori." he stopped to bow his head in acknowledgement of a great mind. "We, well at least I, have assumed that we are dealing with a kind of viral infection that uses living tissue for multiplication, but from what we have seen the bugs seem unique in that fashion. Others may spread the disease somehow, if it is one, but what we have seen is that they absorb dead and maimed creatures - does anyone one know if they can multiply and if yes how?" Jez stopped for a while in both his movemement and words. "The other thing is that again except for the bugs, and again as far as we know, it seems that the mutated creatures do retain or posses some kind of inteligence enough to steer a ISD. Why am I saying posses - I got this idea recently that may be not a viral infection or a mutant agent but an alien life form - a parasite." he stopped again and looked at the whole group. He picked up his padd. "Ok, let us note everything so that we don't forget something important later on. 1. Ask if there are some probe droids available or other kind but with possibility of implementing somekind of spy technology. I think that's the first question we should aks our "friend" from the government. I believe the smaller the droid the better as the big ones tend to get attention - maybe we could get a mouse droid and stuff it with sensors. OK then, number 2, I wonder if anyone managed to test the dead bugs, I don't believe we have much other samples to run some test on, but dead bugs we should have plenty of...." Another headache swept over him like an ocean wave, his feet gave away and he toppled towards the table like a puppetl with strings cut. In the last minute he managed to soften his landing with his hands a bit.

He saw the shocked faces of people gathered round the table and there was just darkness... darkness surrounded him... he blinked and saw worried faces of two man in uniform. They were both big and looked really tough. The way he always imagined Mandalorians look underneath their armor. Both clad in the same black uniforms with insignia of somekind. He somehow knew that they were high ranking officers of the Black Guard - the elite force of Dermedian Empire.
”Commander, is everything alright?” said one of them looking at him. ‘Commander?...’ Jez got up slowly and looked around. He was in a small simply furnished room. A desk with a computer terminal, bed, a waredrobe with a mirror door, some maps on the walls. Two doors led out of the room.
”Commander, we were wondering if you would join your men in the great Great hall for the festivities?” spoke the one Jez knew to be Holdun. ”It seems your headaches are getting worse, should I conntact the medic this time?’ he asked knowing the answer.
”I’ll join you in five minutes” Jez heard his voice. His both officers nodded and left silently. He stood up and went to the other door he knew to be his meditation/training chamber. As he passed the wardrobe he stopped and looked at himself. He looked good in this black nondescript uniform even the dark handle of his lightstaber suited perfectly. ‘Lightsaber?...’
He went into the next room playing with the lighstaber. He flipped the switch and a pale blue blade lit the chamber. In the same moment five training probes launched at him he diverted each of the shots and each of his targets went down. ‘There’s something wrong. I’ve never been that slow. As if there was someone here with me slowing my movements. And what is this sludge I keep thinking about?’ He went into the center of the room and sat down. A few quick conscious breaths cleared his mind and allowed the Force to travel through him. A few minutes later he was going down the corridor to the Great Hall. His whole troop was gathered there - 147 men and women, even his black ops team was there. He smiled as he nodded to Holdun and his brother. There weren’t many force-sensitive people in the room but it didn’t matter, they were all highly trained professionals. The feast wasn’t over until late at night but he slipped quietly an hour after the start. There were still reports to write. He went back to his room and sat by the desk quickly writting the summary of their last victory. ‘Emperor should be happy’ Jez though looking at the map of the Dermedian Empire. There were over 30 planets ruled from the Dermedius and 9 of them have been won with Jez’s troops help. The newest one was this small Alayre Minor. ‘What the heck...’ Darkness again swallowed him.

He looked around to see the faces of some unknown people around him. He slowly reached for his saber but there was nothing. ‘Saber?..’
”How long was I out, Terras? he heard his own voice.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
3 January 2007, 01:53 AM
”How long was I out, Terras? he heard his own voice.

"He's awake!" someone shouted, "And he's callin for ya Terras"

As his name was called, Terras was just on the comlink calling in to his ship, as both ladies usually got worried or insatiably curious or upset when he didn't check in regularly. And then there'd be frell to pay. But to his surprise, neither were even concerend about him, as an intense Pazak game was going on Raven and Misfit with Nileeta doing more than spectating on the viewsceen. More like it was Digital Pazak over the comm channels, a virtual playboard in both AI's cyberrealms. Terras shut the comlink off and shook his head in total disbelief just as he heard Lynnori request "Somebody pour him a cup of cafe"

Terras walked with a heavy gait over to Jez who was now propped up backside against the wall when Jez repeated the question how long was he out. Terras checked the chrono "About 5 minutes maybe. You feelin alright?"

Criss handed Lynnori a hot cup of cafe, in which Lynnori held it for Jez to sip carefully.

"How's the ladies? They ready to flay you this time?" Criss asked Terras with a half-serious grin.

Terras smirked, "Quite the opposite actually. Hey Lynnori - have you been teaching Misfit how to play Pazak? or more specifically - Pazak Strip?"

Lynnori cocked an eyebrow as she turned her head with puzzlement, "Not particularly...Why?" she answered then slowy asked.

Terras sighed, "Well, guess who's playing it - with whom. Were it real stakes, they'd both be stripped down to their bare bulkheads and wires by now. Its been a fierce chip for chip game so from what Nileeta's been raving to me about."

Criss looked at Lynnori, Lynnori looked back at Criss, with sort of a "whoops" expression exchanged silently between them.

Before either could speak in their meager what little defense they could even offer, Terras continued resting his hands on his hips, with an "uh-huh..." nodding expression, "But thats not all, they had to use the channels through the Docking Port to tap into a Pazak Terminal Kiosk in the Docking Port's lobby and forgot to encrypt them or lock out the active viewscreen. Somebody took notice it wasn't a normal game, and wired it up to all the big lobby screens, the entire lobby - patrons and staff were starting betting pools..."

Criss groaned a 'good grief' under his breath, while Lynnori commented "And I get the feeling thats not all of it? Call it woman's intuition..."

"You got that right. You know how the both of them banter all the time?" Terras asked, getting worried nods from both of them, "The colorfully verbal exchange between them is all there with banter and all. I think the people know its not two ordinary people who hacked into the terminal kiosk."

"When I get my hands on that..."
"Now now Criss...." Lynnori tried to sooth

As Terras opened his mouth to speak, his comlink beeped, somehow dreading it, he thumbed it on and put it to his ear. Something was sounding frantic, and all Terras could respond with: "What?!? Slow down, say again? gambling what? hundred thous- deci... Percent? holo - The City??? ... Frak me!!!!!" Terras exclaimed loudly which at that point everyone had their eyes bolted on him...

When all of a sudden, Jez yelped, as apparently Lynnori accidentally dropped the cup of caff on his lap, spilling over his groin area. The caf was hot enough to still sip but not hot enough to burn... Lynnori instinctively and almost put her hands to his lap before realizing and retracted them before halfway, and squeaked in embarrassment as his lap was a big brown stain patch now, "Umm, towel?"

"Yeah yeah yeah, well I'll try... right. As if. Uh-huh. I'll see what I can do then... K, bye." And Terras thumbed the comlink off... He really didn't look to pleased, and in total disbelief, looking at the floor and shaking his head, pulling a hand down over his face... And everyone's eyes were back on him, which didn't help things any...

Picking up on the vibe, concerned, "What?" Lynnori asked, being echoed by Criss.

Terras took a breath or two, "Well....." Terras started slowly, "Nileeta just comm'ed.... And uh.. Apparently its being broadcasted over the local holochannel, gambling houses all over the city and beyond are placing bets in one huge betting pool scoping into the hundred thousands of deci-creds, and being dubbed as the "Game of the Century" by all major Pazak & Games Leagues and we don't even have a 1 percent profit share into it....!"

Criss slapped a hand over his face. And Lynnori just about feinted herself as she tried calculating what one percent of the winning pot of such a huge amount would even be - and probably realized enough to buy a small moon, if not a whole sector of moons...

"And did I mention that betting on a game like this isn't even legal if the card holders don't even have a registered license???" Terras added, awarding double groans from Criss and Lynnori...

You think our government agency hosts know about it yet? or more spefically the AI's are with us?"

"And... Just what are we gonna tell our agency friends here?"

Then a knock at the door came, and the door opened. Two medics - male and female came with a stretcher carried between them by the handles with a big red medkit sitting atop, "Did someone call the medics? somebody seriously ill?"

Leaning weakly against the wall herself, tilted to Criss, Lynnori groaned, "I think we're all gonna be...." in which the medics looked at each other with worried puzzlement...

3 January 2007, 03:51 AM
Terras checked the chrono "About 5 minutes maybe. You feelin alright?"

Jez had to think for a while. Was he really alright? What the heck was going on.
"I think... I am..." he said hesitantly

When all of a sudden, Jez yelped, as apparently Lynnori accidentally dropped the cup of caff on his lap, spilling over his groin area. The caf was hot enough to still sip but not hot enough to burn... Lynnori instinctively and almost put her hands to his lap before realizing and retracted them before halfway, and squeaked in embarrassment as his lap was a big brown stain patch now, "Umm, towel?"

"Uh...aaaa..... yes... pleasee......." said Jez jumping on one foot then the other.

Then a knock at the door came, and the door opened. Two medics - male and female came with a stretcher carried between them by the handles with a big red medkit sitting atop, "Did someone call the medics? somebody seriously ill?"

"I don't think so..." Jez said drying himself with the towel "At least not physically.." he added silently. "But thank you for your quick reaction." he said loud again. "If you could leave us now. Thank you"

He said and turned towards Terras and Criss. He heard as the door closed behind the medics.
"Tell both of them to stop it right now and try to cover their tracks. We have enough problems as it is. " he tried to be serious but his vivid imagination made it quite impossible...he looked at Lynnori smiling brightly "You naughty girl..." he burst in laugh after a few seconds he tried to become serious again but failed. "I bet they would play till only the naked AI were left..." he said gaining his composture again...

He looked at Lynnori again with a mischievous smile
"If you weren't married I'd gladly elaborate on that with you later on..." his handsome face bright as his eyes move to Nileeta but he didn't say anything.

"OK" he took a step back and breathed deep. He felt strange tingling in his whole body. "Now if you'd be so kind and try to make them stop. We can offer them soon other attractions..."

He looked at Marek's shocked face. "Your proposition to work as a scout is a generous one. I would appreciate if you could act as our long sensor eyes before we get tot he station and as an early warning system while we're in it." he looked at Criss and Terras both speaking quite feverishly with their ships. He smiled slightly again.

A strange though came to his mind..."Does anyone know if there was something called Dermedian Empire around here?" his question directed more to Kaz then anyone. "You guys try to deal with your ships I'll be back soon." he said and turned to the door.
"If you need me faster call me."
Outside he looked for either Agent Hamdun or anyone other security personel. He was quite relieved to see agent sitting not far looking at his pad.
He came closer
"Have you got any historical reference to this system. Maybe anything about Dermedian Empire or Force Users in this area?"
"There maybe some information in our museum library. I can get you an access if you want in the conference room."
"That would be great.." said Jez and went back to the room leaving Hamdun talking to his com.

3 January 2007, 03:14 PM
"Dermedian Empire..." Kaz thought, still a little mystified by the insane card game going on between the two sentient ships. "Dermedian Empire...yes, I think I know of it. Oh, yeah, I know!" His thoughts immediately left the game and came back to his "real world". "It was a polity out here on the edge of the <i>Galactic</i> Empire several years ago," he said. "I remember having to go back and update some old star charts. It had about thirty systems, I-I-R-C, but they were all conquered by the Empire, the big one, I mean. I guess somebody didn't want anyone else to be called Emperor."