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Author Topic: Redemption  (Read 100 times)

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Offline Kremon

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« on: 07/14/17, 10:47:23 AM »

So the end of the arc with the cabal is near, and a new generation of characters and different directions in storytelling comes into the light, but first there's a few more loose ends to tie up.

So, I hope you all enjoy the first (And rather short) installment of Redemption.

Exephos stepped into the Jedi's library, just out of sight of the Jedi he'd spoken with, Master Reymark. What he'd told her was the truth, he was through with war and in dealing with it's savage ways. For a moment, he'd thought she was on the right track at the beginning, but then she'd started talking about courts and trials.
He regretted some of his actions, he took responsibility for them, but if the time came and he was put before a Senate, to be judged by a bunch of fat aristocrats living privileged lives for the actions he'd taken out there on the battlefield? He wouldn't go through with that. Not unless they'd been there. Not unless they'd been in the shoes of a frontline soldier. Otherwise, they'd find that their key witness; him, would vanish in the night.
But he would give her and the rest of the Jedi the benefit of the doubt, despite his disgust for some of their members. Only that evening, he'd discovered that there were apparently some Jedi that did not even stand with the Republic. Such gall irked him that the defending troopers of the cause he'd pledged to protect bled and died for a war that the Jedi had started, and then they didn't stay with it and continue to fight it, expecting everyone else to bear the weight of their-
He paused in his thoughts.
He was doing it again, ramping himself up to fight, to battle, to find another war to start. It was that thinking which had brought him here in the first place, so if he wanted to live the remainder of his life in peace, he'd have to swallow his pride and his hatred. Otherwise, he'd return to that hellish pit in his mind where he did nothing but destroy and kill, the same pit it felt like he'd been clawing out of for the past decade.
Then Rell rounded the corner of one of the bookshelves, and his world changed. He lit up his galaxy, the only one he still cared and fought for.
"My boy." Exephos said, as his son rushed to embrace him.
He held him in a tight hug, as Rell wordlessly clung to him. He'd been through far too much already. Nineteen years old now, and he'd been a prisoner twice, seen his mother killed before him, and lived out the majority of his days in an Imperial camp. But no more. He vowed right then and there, nobody would mess with his son, his pride and joy, ever again.
"Did they mistreat you?" Exephos asked, implying both the cabal and the Jedi.
"No... No. I was just... So worried about you, father. What they might make you do." Rell replied, letting go and stepping back.
"Well, it's all over now. For good. No more plots and schemes, nor running off to fight other's wars." He returned, with a heavy-hearted sigh. It was good to say, but he had the feeling that at some point, it'd all be over. His ghosts, both physical and mental, never truly left him alone.

Jess Gervani was seated at a desk the Custodum had graciously lent her as she carefully went through the piles and piles of flimsi and data that they'd recovered at the hypertower. She shuffled a stack of mundane troop movement schedules to the side, before running a hand through her hair with a sigh and checking the chrono. It was late, well into the Coruscanti night when ordinary people went to sleep. But like a project on corruption, this one swallowed here. Here was something well beyond the local CSF officer taking bribes. It was a network breaking and bending all of the rules, all beneath the radar. It was a terrifying and real prospect, but fortunately, they also had very real evidence.
She'd already gone through the communications, and that was enough to expose suspicious activities alone. It mentioned, BY NAME, individuals among different departments talking about ways to influence the vote on various topics. Everything from defense committees deciding on the size of troop complements to the outer rim, to economical boards limiting corporate power in Republic space.
They had a hand in everything, and direct cooperation like this, between these heads of department wasn't necessarily illegal, but definitely enough to turn heads. They were supposed to be advising and running the day-to-day tasks of the Republic, not dictating all of it's decisions. Dubious though, not yet illegal.
But that was only the tip of the asteroid.   
There were financial records, where certain accountants had transferred around funds to various side funds. She'd heard about the expensive furnishing at the Hypertower, and this told about where the credits came from. Only a bit would be siphoned off each sum, maybe a hundred thousand credits here, a hundred thousand there. In a government that dealt in billions, if not trillions of credits, it wasn't even noticed in the crafty back and forth transactions of the cabal.
Definitely illegal.
But there was worse. Much, much worse.
Certain senatorial elections from ruling planets like Coruscant, Corellia, and Ord Mantell would be purposefully manipulated. Perhaps not by direct interference with polls, but opponents would be eliminated in various ways. Perhaps they'd get all their campaign funds stolen in fraud, maybe a bit of dirt would come up from their past, or just maybe they'd have an accident happen. All of these were not only mentioned, but planned, and had the results reported on in the records obtained.
It was so fundamentally wrong to the values of the Republic, that it boggled her. Never in her life had she suspected such corruption. But just like that pompous governor on Ord Mantell that had thought he could get away with embezzlement, Jess wasn't going to let this network get away. She had a grip on them now, and they weren't slipping free.
The question was, how to go about it?
The public had to know, it had a right to know. That was why she joined the press. To right wrongs and empower the people, and not the unscrupulous. She knew as well that once it went public, a massive investigation would be set under way. That every last trace of this cabal filth would be flushed out, burned away, and stripped off. Perhaps with it would also go the last of Saresh's influence, and bring a rise to a good honest government again.
But that was getting ahead of herself.
First things first, she needed to package this information in a way that everyone could understand it, and in which the perpetrators were obvious. The last thing that the Republic needed right now was to become disorganized.
That meant unity, she needed to play off of the idea of unity.
Perhaps inspire patriotism in the diction... 'Here in our Glorious Republic'... No, no. That sounded too much like a Tion Hegemony dictatorship.
No, she needed to inspire patriotism but not in the big grand way, no she needed to craft something that appealed to the little guy. To the ones on the streets, in the factories, working in offices, and fighting on the front. Something that kept the Republic together, but also made it clear that something had to be done about this network infesting the Republic's bureaucracy.
This was going to be harder than she thought.
Exephos; a haunted war-ravaged veteran.
Shad'ra; an indecisive ex-mandalorian.
Gharzog; a happy-go-lucky gun for hire.

Offline Kremon

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Re: Redemption
« Reply #1 on: 08/12/17, 08:46:00 AM »
So, I had an original plan for this storyline...
Then I decided to change it. Enjoy.

"Things have spiraled out of control!" Captain Delinor swore, surveying what few assets they had left of their operation. In one fell blow, Exephos had destroyed everything. He didn't know how, but he'd wiped out all of the leadership and removed the access the network had to the advantages of the entire Republic. Gone was the command over entire divisions and fleets. Now he was looking at a hangar filled with a few shuttles, a few crates of weaponry and a handful of cases of armour.
He had no direction, no orders, no idea of where to go. His life of control over entire elements of Republic Special Forces was over. All he had left was five squads that remained loyal to the true pillar behind the Republic's might. Everyone else had fled the organization like escape pods fleeing a destroyed ship. Abysmal.
All because one man, one kriffing man, hadn't fallen in line and done like he was told. Exephos.
That son of an akk hound had done this.
He didn't know where he was now, or even if the bastard was still alive, but he'd get him. He'd destroy his reputation, destroy him to his very core, and he knew just how to go about it.

"At target location now." Ferill reported in through his comms, one hand holding the rope holding him aloft via his abseiling rig. Around him, five others were similarly arranged in full black-out armour. It was expensive kit, equipped with infared and thermal scopes, advanced energy disruption plating, securely encrypted comms with a wavelength varifier, and magnetically sealed plating to ensure an utterly impenetrable vacuum-proof set.
"Copy that. Proceed as planned, and remember, no heroics on this one, Exephos is damned dangerous, and that's not helped by being surrounded by Jedi. Make it quick and clean. Avoid other casualties. Delinor out." Delinor replied from the other end, before clicking off. It was up to him and his squad now to take down the old veteran.
"We've got the all clear. Jam alarms and set up to breach." Ferill quietly ordered through the whisper sensitive commlink system. One of his squadmates moved over to the window and set up a small cylindrical device on a pane whilst another accessed security protocols through a datapad. None of them knew each other's names, backgrounds, or service history. Sometimes it made things difficult in getting orders done... But it kept operations entirely confidential. Nobody knew anybody, which meant that no-one could compromise the other's security. Personally, he didn't like it, but orders were orders, and his logical side acknowledged that it was better this way.
"Breach." He stated, to which the earlier small device was activated, and a thin laser carved through the pane in a neat circle. Once it'd completed it's arc, repulsorlifts activated, slowly hovering the cut circle out of it's frame, before deactivated and sending the circle of transparisteel tumbling kilometers down below. Meanwhile, the other three on standby swung inside, checking the interior. Normally, they might have set off motion sensors or the window's built in alarm, but thanks to their slicer who was still perusing the building's security with a datapad, they weren't sounding any alerts and bringing Jedi down on them. As it was, they still had to account for their Force-sensitivity. It was damned difficult. He'd infiltrated Sith compounds before... One just had to move quickly, quietly, and and get out fast.
"Clear." A squadmember whispered.
He moved into the room, which was some sort of library or data repository. Empty at this time of night which was fortunate, but he didn't want to push his luck. He made his way through the maze of data stores before coming up to the main door where he was joined by the rest of his squad. With a gesture, they stacked up before he palmed open the door. It opened quietly, and he turned out onto a main corridor, checking his area for any targets. Fortunately, there were none. That was lucky, but that luck was bound to run out.
"Start checking guest rooms. We only want Exephos, disregard anyone else." Ferill commanded.
"Roger." Was the unanimous response as they split up into three pairs and began checking lifesigns through the cracks in the door. It was revolutionary new tech; stick a thin sensor strip through even the smallest crack in a door, and it'd scan the adjacent room for lifesigns, before relaying back their specific details. Since they had a sample of Exephos's DNA from his service file, it was an easy matter to just scan the room and compare it to his. If it was a match, they killed everyone inside, then left.
He made his way up to one of the rooms, shoved the scanner through a tiny space in the door, and activated it, waiting. A buzz once; no matches. A quick hustle along to the next door, closely followed by his matching companion. A quick push in, a short moment, another buzz. One more door on his side of the corridor to check. Another jog along, and a quick press into a gap. Another buzz. Nothing on his side.
"Got a positive." Someone reported in.
He turned and moved quickly over next to him, stacking up on the doorway.
"Alright, here's what we do. That door opens, we blast everything, confirm a kill, then exfil. I want it all over in two minutes tops." He said, explaining the plan.
"Roger." Once again the standard reply.
"All ready?... Breach!" He ordered.
The door whooshed open and they opened fire, spewing blaster rounds inside. Tearing up the bedding, display cases, a banner, and everything else in sight. After a few seconds, they ceased fire to a smoking room. With blaster rifle raised, the breachman entered inside and yanked off the perforated sheets, revealing... Nothing. When suddenly a darkish shape detached itself from the roof and dropped down on the breachman, a glinting knife brandished. A clatter of plates, the distinctive snapping of bones, and he was on the floor.
"Kriff! Fire! Fire!" He commanded, opening up with his blaster rifle. But the attacker rolled beneath the firing area, before being right in among the squad. With one hand, he grabbed a soldier by the leg and flung him to the side at one of his comrades, before snatching up his rifle and gunning down the whole group.
He fired a staccato of shots, clipping their aggressor in the shoulder but that only seemed to make him madder. The towering giant swung the rifle into the side of one of his squadmate's head and there was a distinctive snapping sound as his neck broke.
In only a moment, it was just him and the giant, who was now revealed in the light... Exephos.
"Son of an akk hound!" He swore, ejecting his wrist blade and stabbing forwards, to only get a blow in the face as Exephos's left arm spun around and hit his visor. The helmet stopped the blow but he stumbled backwards at the ferocious impact. He tried to get his rifle up and aiming, but the old veteran stomped forwards and grabbed him by the throat.
With a roar, he spun and tossed him out... Through a window.
Ferril felt the transparisteel shatter around him as he plummeted downwards.
Kriff! Kriff! Kriff!
A sudden thought struck him; he'd wanted it all over in two minutes... In a way, he got his wish.
Then an impact, searing pan, and that was the end.

It was clear that the Custodum was no longer safe for Exephos. He and Rell had to leave, the sooner and quieter, the better. He didn't like going back on the Jedi, but if it was clear that the cabal was still around and that they could not protect his son, he'd need to take measures into his own hands. But first, he needed to make sure that they were exposed. He strode quickly and quietly down the carpeted corridor whilst Temple Guards swarmed the scene  towards where Jess Gervani was staying. To keep things quiet, he reached into the crack of the door and eased it open between his gloved hands.
Inside, he could see Jess poring over the piles of flimsi that he'd heard had been taken from the hypertower where Rell was being kept. She had her back to him, so he crept up behind her. He must have made a rustle, or she had a instinct to look back, because she glanced over her shoulder and just briefly exclaimed, before he cupped a hand over her mouth.
"Quiet. I'm not here to harm you." He hissed.
She nodded slowly, to which he took his hand off her mouth.
"The files, are they enough? Can you expose the organization?" He asked, glancing between her and the documents laid out on the table.
"I think so. There's at least enough to start an investigation, which is the last thing a secretive cabal wants." She replied, turning back towards the neat notes she'd been typing out on datapads.
"Publish all of it." He quietly stated.
"All of it?" She asked, somewhat incredulously.
"All of it." He reaffirmed, before turning and heading back through the door just as quickly as he'd come. He went looking for Rell, who he was glad to find dressed and ready.
"We're going, come quickly." Exephos told him.
"But what about the Jedi-"
"They clearly can't protect themselves, let alone you. I know a place, down in the Works..."

He slammed the elevator cage door closed and sent it down as blaster bolts hissed past above. They'd found them, quicker than he'd expected. Perhaps they knew about this place of his in the Works, perhaps they just had eyes watching the many cameras in Coruscant city. He didn't know, but one thing was clear, they were coming for him and his son.
All he had wanted was peace. A chance for some quiet before he kicked the bucket. But this organization wouldn't let him go. He'd destroyed it's leadership, put it on the run, and made preparations for it's lies to be revealed to the galaxy. So he guessed that if anything, they were going to end the one who'd torn them apart.
He glanced across the small rattling elevator at Rell, his son. He shouldn't be involved in all this, running from shadowy cabals, evading blaster fire, and fighting for his life. It wasn't right, and it was all his fault. If there was one thing he could do right in his life... It was going to be getting his son out alive, to live a normal carefree existence, free from the guilt of wars and the marring of one's very soul by heinous acts and senseless murder. He made a promise to himself then and there. His son would get that life, no matter the cost.
"Rell, listen to me closely." Exephos said, getting the lad's attention, having his eyes, his mother's eyes, reach up and hold his gaze.
"You stay behind me. We're getting through this, don't you worry." He assured, as the rickety old elevator arrived at his old facility. A place of such pain and suffering, of his own inflicting... No matter, it would serve as a sanctuary if only for a little while now.
"Quickly." He stated, strolling down the corridor and into the first junction. A quick glance at the electronics control box, before he opened the lid to reveal the many gauges and switches therein. What was it again? Backup, then auxiliary generators, before primary? No, the backup fizzled out the last time he'd been here. Go straight to auxiliary. He turned a lever to the side, before snapping down a switch. The lights powered on, dazzlingly bright in the dark interior.
"Go around the corner, and wait there! I'll be right behind you!" He said towards Rell, before looking back at the entry shaft and placing his hand on one of the mechanism's grips. There was a couple things he could do to slow them down, to buy he and Rell a little more time.
The rickety old lift descended again, soldiers in black rig clearly evident through the metal grille. With a grunt, he slammed the lever up, disengaging the lift's brakes. It screamed out of sight as gravity took a hold of it, straight down to the planet's core. But that was far from all of them, more hitmen came into view on abseiling rigs, raising blasters to fire down the corridor.
"Kriff!" He swore, drawing his sidearm and blasting two of them down, before ducking for cover as the control box was destroyed in a hail of fire.
He wasn't finished yet. Ducking out from his cover, he fired away, scything into three more before a shot hit him in the shoulder, closely followed by another in the side. He fell to one knee, breathing out heavily. Come on, he'd been through worse than this. He had to keep going, keep fighting!
With a roar, he rose to his feet and blasted one clean off his rig, sending him plummeting down below. As more green blaster bolts arced inside, Exephos blasted the door shut, before frying the mechanism. After that, he turned and hustled down the corridor, one arm holding his side.
"Your injured!" Rell exclaimed as he came around the corner, a blaster in hand.
"I'm fine. Come on, back to the security room!" He returned, striding into the dusty security station. With the power on, the security monitors were up and running, giving him a perfect view of the five squads arranged out on the entry shaft platform, cutting their way in.
"Watch the doorway." He told Rell, before opening up the security programs and running a diagnostic check. The turrets were offline, as were some of the traps. But many remained operational. He could work with this, could thin them out. Quick tapping on the keys to place the systems on standby, before he made for a switchboard set in the middle of the room. If there was any place he had a home advantage on, it was here. He'd designed this facility himself; he knew every square meter of it.
So as the first team broke through the heavy duty primary door, he thumbed a button on the board, opening up the floor beneath them and sending them plummeting into darkness. As a second group came past that, and entered the junction, he flicked three switches up, frying them into literal ash with an arc generator.
When the brave third group came up to the security room's door, he ratcheted a lever down, activating ray shielding that slowly began closing in on them.
He didn't watch the results, only gesturing for the wide-eyed Rell to follow him out the other door and down the corridor where a few of the old traps were activated from when he'd used them when his 'hunters' were down here. Foolish, now that he looked back at it. Very foolish.
As they rounded the corner though, blasterfire kicked up from the other side. They'd gone around the other way and not through the security room. Damn, these black-ops squads moved fast. Shoving Rell back, he fired a blaze of rounds, hitting two through their visors. One of their shots clipped him in the arm, causing him to drop his blaster with a curse.
As they closed in, blaster rifles raised, Rell stepped around the corner and let loose with a volley of shots that knocked them off their feet. Exephos wasn't going to let that opening go, he charged forwards with his knife brandished, cutting down through the neck chink of one of the soldiers. With his cybernetic left hand, he slammed a balled fist into another's chest, smashing the armour into shrapnel and breaking ribs. As another member of the squad raised his rifle to open fire, he used his knife to catch the end of the barrel and thrust it over to the side, hitting one of his fallen comrades. Right before he pulled his arm back and stabbed him thrice in the leg joint. Another blaze of blasterfire behind him, and the last soldier fell dead with a smoking hole in his visor.
"Come on!" He yelled towards Rell, before racing down the corridor junction towards the holding cells and interrogation lab itself. There were horrific memories here, terrible acts that he'd committed in the name of the Republic. Some of the acts he'd committed still sickened him. But not Dershoi or Antileen, oh no, they'd gotten what was coming to them. The latter was actually still down here, stuffed into a body bag by one of the furnace chutes. A little tidbit for the akk dogs of the organization to find, if they survived getting through his traps.
With Rell in tow, he ran past the holding cells where one could practically taste the despair in the air before heading towards a data room. It'd been largely destroyed and wiped by both the passage of time and the hunting party that'd come through here, but there was still a fairly large amount of fairly useless data still kept on the drives. Outdated intelligence for example, reports on logistics and troop movements - From ten years ago.
They made straight through this, towards his office at the other end of the facility. He had full control over the lab from there, in addition to an escape route through a hidden reinforced doorway.
As the shouts of more hit-teams echoed behind them, Exephos really thought that they'd both make it.
A burst of blaster fire rent through the air.
In an instant, he knew he was hit, and he knew it was bad.
He fell forwards into the office, to the sounds of further muffled blaster fire. With an agonizing effort, he crawled forwards past the doorway, before slamming the door shut with a fist on the panel.
"-ather! Are you alright!? How bad is it!?"
In the past he'd been injured grievously, but by the intense burning in his chest, he knew his luck'd run out.
"Your bleeding bad, just- Just hang on! There's got to be a medical kit in here!" Rell cried out, looking in various compartments along the wall frantically.
His boy. He was so proud of him.
But he knew that he wasn't making this one.
"Rell..." He croaked, gesturing for him to come to him.
"Just tell me what to do! We can fix this!" Rell exclaimed, tears beginning to gather beneath his eyes.
"This is the end of the road for me, Rell. But-"
"No, no! You can't die! You can't!" He sobbed.
"Listen to me, Rell. Listen!" Exephos ordered, grabbing a hold of his arm.
"I wish we had more time, but fate and my own mistakes have stolen that away. I have three things to tell you, my son..." He coughed out a spat of blood, before gripping his boy's arm with renewed vigor.
"First... Always, ALWAYS choose your friends and family first, understand? You can never bring them back. Do you understand?" He asked, to which Rell shakily nodded.
"Second. Never let your guard down. We... Have many enemies in this galaxy, and there are many that would take advantage of you. Don't let that happen. Remain your own true self."
He paused to draw in a breath.
"Third... You are the last surviving member of our family line, bear our name well, Rell Elon, and go knowing that I am proud of you."
"I won't leave you." Rell returned, shaking his head with tears streaming down his cheeks.
"You must! My time ended long, long ago. It's time for you to carry on this legacy! Go beneath the desk, there is a panel there which leads to a tunnel which will take you to safety! Go to Corellia, to the Intergalactic library and find Hoid, he will tell you everything you need to know! Now, you must go!" Exephos shouted, sticking his holstered knife in his hand and shoving him off towards the desk with his last bit of strength.
"No buts, you must go now! I will buy you time, just move as quickly as you can!" He commanded, to which Rell tearfully nodded and went to the desk, where he pried open the escape tunnel.
"Father... I love you." Rell said, locking his eyes with his the last time.
"And I love you, my son. Now you must leave!"
To which his boy, the only reason he had left for life, left.
Once he was sure he was gone, Exephos pulled himself along to his desk, before heaving himself into his chair, using it as support. The desk's terminal displayed the security monitors, showing as the hit teams moved through the facility towards his office. His hands settled on the chair's armrests, as he sat surrounded by the past. Some of his old awards hung on the wall, victory crosses, service stars, even a Chancellor's commendation. Looking back now, he would have given them all up for his family. He had been so foolish.
He was tired of running, tired of having to constantly deal with his past in his life and in his dreams.
But now, it was time to finally end this.
Boots rattled down the corridor, shouts echoing through the ventilation ducts. With a sigh that broke down into a cough, Exephos unlocked a drawer in his desk as a plasma torch's beam poked through the metal door. He typed in a six digit code, which unlocked a further box, wherein lay a detonator. The beam continued it's circle, as he reached inside and flicked up three unused switches, before grabbing a detonator. The entire facility was rigged to blow, a last resort, and one he'd never imagined he'd have to use. Selina... He would see her soon.
The beam finished it's cut, before it was kicked inwards. Black-armoured figures rushed in, blasters raised to fire.
"This one's for my boy." Exephos stated, before clicking down the detonator.
A distant resonance rumbled for a brief second, then a brilliant flash, and it was over.
Exephos; a haunted war-ravaged veteran.
Shad'ra; an indecisive ex-mandalorian.
Gharzog; a happy-go-lucky gun for hire.