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Author Topic: Tales of the Orell Legacy  (Read 8129 times)

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Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #75 on: 05/27/18, 02:32:11 AM »
A Jedi Holiday (Part 4)

Ten days later, at the Treslanis Governor's Mansion

"Captain Derris, any updates at the starport?" Asori said, lounging in the Governor's chair, only occasionally glancing at the vid screen on the wall.

"There's been a few locals asking for transport off-world. No organized resistance yet, just people not wanting to be here," Derris said on the vid screen, shrugging. "I haven't been expecting much to come around here, and they haven't been surprising me. No incidents worth reporting."

Asori paused, gave her officer a long, long look, knowing well what 'worth reporting' actually meant. She set down her datapad. "And off the record?"

Derris chuckles. "I've had to chew out a few enlisted for 'fraternizing' with the locals. Rotated things just to be safe, but it sounds less like strategic probing and more like youngsters being impressed by outsiders with fancy uniforms."

The chorus of Captains gave their own guffaws, and Asori couldn't quite hide her smile. "I'll count that as good news, then. Captain Rhizar, your report?"

Rhizar saluted, even on the viewscreen, the very serious pureblood one of the few not to laugh at the antics of young civilians and young soldiers. "We're being tested, I know that. No shooting incidents, but twelve troopers have reported being struck by projectiles in their patrols."

"Projectiles meaning what?" Asori asked, frowning.

"Four rocks, eight rotten vegetables." Her face remained impassive as the other captains laughed. "Troopers maintained discipline per orders, no escalation." She paused amid Asori's nod of approval. "Permission to speak freely, ma'am?"

"Granted."

"While these assaults were not life threatening, they were still assaults and have impacted morale. I would prefer to authorize my patrols to apprehend individuals if they are attacked again."

Asori sighed. She had chosen Rhizar to lead the patrols because the woman had iron discipline. If you ordered her to stand at the mouth of an active volcano, she would run there at full speed, no questions asked. But even for a proud imperial, some things were too much. "Denied, Captain. We aren't here forever, and sending soldiers to grab children throwing fruit would inflame things. Keep a lid on it."

The faint flicker on Rhizar's face was all Asori needed to see to know the pureblood was unhappy with the order, but she gave the nod all the same. "The other task was completed as well. Is there any reason why you had my troopers drag in a mousey scientist?"

"Yes," Asori said, staring back at Rhizar, daring the woman to challenge the lack of a true answer. "No need to treat her poorly, just keep her contained. I don't want what she knows to get public, but I'm going to want some answers from her." She looked over at the one Captain that wasn't dealing with the Sorialas mess. "Captain Hainleysen, is Zhel's site secure?"

"Of course, ma'am," the Zabrak said. "There's hardly anyone around for kilometers around, not even hikers."

Asori nodded, frowning faintly. "Just remember, if locals show up, arrest them, take them somewhere safe and then kill them quietly. We can't let the locals know what Zhel is up to..."



Meanwhile, at Gherrod's Corner Store

"...still not sure... weird and complicated... still safe... love..."

The clearing of a throat broke Merrant's meditation. He opened his eyes and looked up at the Cathar shopkeep, clearly not enjoying the Jedi's presence. "...hello," Merrant said, diplomatically.

Gherrod sighed, shaking his head. "Imperials are here for a week and a half and the most you've done is sit in my basement and restock the shelves."

"And eat your food."

"...and eat my food," Gherrod muttered, again. "The Empire's been sending out patrols, but the bait that worked in the past hasn't drawn them in. All they're doing is standing around, looking in charge and making everyone nervous. And all you've done is sit there and eat my food!"

Merrant nods as he stands, gently clasping the shop-owner and part-time militia-man's arm. "Good, we know things. Best to do this Soresu style," he said, carefully ignoring the lack of actual progress.

"...what the hell does that even mean?" Gherrod said, shrugging off Merrant's hand and stomping towards the crates of munitions that he'd hidden in the basement long ago.

Merrant had taken a look at them over the past week, and he wasn't impressed. Most of the weapons were cheap slugthrowers that had zero chance of penetrating armor, or blasters that were either poorly designed, poorly made, poorly maintained, or all of the above. He'd fixed up the ones that he could, but spare parts were at a premium. Even in a good day, these weapons wouldn't stand up to a serious firefight, and were only slightly more dangerous to the people being shot at as they were the shooter.

Merrant shook his head, sitting back down. "It's a lightsaber stance. It means you go on the defensive, stay safe and alive and wait for the right moment to strike. A master of Soresu can spend ten minutes dodging and blocking attacks, watching their opponent, getting ready, and finish it in a single, perfect strike."

Gherrod growls again, glaring back at the far-too-calm Zabrak. "That's all fine and dandy for the Jedi. It's my people being stomped on here. My people that are afraid that the Empire's going to turn on the fire from above or start seizing farms or start taking people as chattel!"

"I know," Merrant said, a sorrow in his voice that Gherrod couldn't quite ignore. "I want to act too. It hurts, not helping, knowing people are scared and desperate. But acting now won't help them. Waiting will help them, in the long run. We do what's right, no matter how much it hurts. Because we can take the hurt for a few weeks, if it leads to a sunny sky."

Gherrod stared at Merrant, his hand repeatedly clenching into a fist, anger and hatred and desperation coming off the older Cathar in waves... until it suddenly subsided. "...you're probably right. I hate that."

Merrant gave him a little smile. "Same. I've had to give myself that speech often enough. Relax, I'm sure we'll find an opportunity soon enough."

"Bah..." Gherrod muttered, before movement above caught his ears.

"Gherrod, are you down here?" came a familiar voice.

Gherrod sighed. "Store's closed, Shaney. Besides, just take what you need, alright?"
 
Sheney clambered down the steps to the basement, giving Merrant a wide smile. "Master Jedi, good, you're still here."

"Yeah, you sent him here." Gherrod said with a weary sigh, giving Merrant another dark look. "What's going on girl, you shouldn't be leaving Thol alone with Imps around."

The human glared at her alleged friend, holding her chin up high. "Tholmir is being looked after by a friend, thank you very much. And if you don't want to know what I've heard about the Imperial occupation, I can go right back to him."

Merrant couldn't quite suppress the chuckle, which only made Gherrod's glower deeper. "Your husband never gave me this much shit, you know."

"Shimoln loved you too much to call you out on your shit, Gherrod," she said, a smile cracking her face. "Well?"

Gherrod glanced at Merrant, who just smiled that indecipherable Jedi smile, then gave another groan. "Fine. I'm sorry. I'm sure Thol is fine, even if she has a schutta for a mother. What's your information?"

Merrant couldn't hold back the guffaw after seeing Sheney give Gherrod a very particular finger. "I'd be grateful to hear the information, madam," Merrant said, trying to break up the too-amusing argument before things got serious.

Sheney nodded at Merrant, only a slight smile playing her lips as she tried to look serious. "Some 'Doctor Jaena' was arrested by the Imperials last night and taken to police headquarters."

"Why?" asked Merrant, just a Gherrod butted in with "Says who?"

Sheney sighed. "I don't know why. Carabelli said she was arrested, and Mr. Oris said the convoy went right to police headquarters."

Gherrod stared at Sheney. "Did you speak to either of them?"

"...well, no, bu-" She sighed at the Cathar's beleaguered groan. "Jenny and Sal both heard it from Carbelli, and Mick heard it from Mr. Oris himself, and you know Mick's not one to exaggerate things!"

Gherrod gave Merrant a long, long stare, who just shrugged back. "We go to war with the intelligence we have, not the intelligence we want," the Jedi said. "Don't you have someone that can talk to the original sources and confirm?"

"...yeah." Gherrod shook his head, somehow getting more grumpy at the knowledge that, sadly, everyone else was right. "And it'd take me time to get people in place for a raid. You think some random scientist is worth it?"

Merrant nodded. "The Empire's playing with kid gloves here. Odd, but okay, maybe Alnas is being smart."

Gherrod nodded. "...the kids nailed a couple troopers in the head with rotten produce, and the Imps did nothing..."

"Exactly. So why arrest a random scientist? Police headquarters is a hard target, but this feels off. She knows something, even if she doesn't know what."

Gherrod nodded back. "Finally, we can do something." He turned to Sheney, a feral look growing on his face. "Talk to the original sources, make sure that they're accurate. I'll round up some of the cops that the Imps retired on arrival, we're going to show the Imps our teeth..."
« Last Edit: 05/27/18, 11:15:36 PM by Orell »
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #76 on: 05/28/18, 02:29:25 AM »
A Jedi Holiday (Part 5)

Sewers beneath the Sorialas Police Headquarters

Merrant looked around at the assembled motley crew, all of them forcibly-retired cops, Gherrod excluded. Every single one of them was trying to avoid stepping in anything that smelled particularly bad, trying not to smell anything at all and trying to avoid making it look like they cared too much about where they stepped.

On the whole, they were failing on all points. Merrant couldn't blame them, it had been a while since he had hidden in a sewer, and there was only so much a nose could get used to. At least it covered the smell of Merrant's borrowed clothing, looking much less like a Jedi and more like one of the other assorted, recently 'retired' police officers.

They'd spent the last hour or so trudging through the damp, dank and dark sewer system underneath Sorialas City, trying to reach the police headquarters undetected. There were sensors and cameras and locked gates in their way, but the people that had installed and maintained those systems in the first place were part of this team.

The plan was simple enough. Head in and split into two groups, one to rescue Doctor Jaena and get her to safety, the other to reach the armory and steal whatever real weapons and armor they could. Given that Gherrod had nearly forced Merrant to take a slugthrower sidearm with him, he couldn't exactly complain about the second part of that plan.

"Merrant," Gherrod said, tapping the Jedi on the shoulder and pointing at an older human woman, loaded up with an ugly scattergun. "This is Tiln, she's going to lead the team you're on. Stick with her and stay on the damn plan."

Tiln looked over Gherrod with a distinct sneer on her face. "...he's not a cop. Why are we bringing him along?"

"He's an offworlder, but he has a few tricks that might come in handy," Gherrod said.

"What kind of-"

Merrant just sighed and pulled his lightsaber out from under his jacket. "No, they're not here for me, yes, I'll follow your orders, we just don't want to let the Sith know I'm here." He looked at Gherrod. "See? Much faster."

Tiln stared at Merrant for more than a few moments, then just shook her head. "...alright. If things go ugly, break out the Jedi ass-kicking. I don't want my team dying because you want to keep a low profile, alright?"

Gherrod just glared at the two of them. "Fine. It's your part of the operation. Waz, how's the security coming?"

"Cameras looping, even if I can't get a feed from any of them, door unlocked... we're good!" said Waz, a skinny little Twi'lek that the cops had busted at least five times for slicing their systems. Used to just be a prankster but now, not so much, now that there was a good cause for his work. "I'll stay here and let you know if we have problems."

Gherrod nodded, finally raising his voice. "Alright, people. Let's get this done, nice and quiet."

The maintenance area was almost completely deserted when the teams slipped inside, slugthrowers and saturday-night-special blasters checking every corner. The police officers were on home turf and they weren't going to waste their advantage.

As Tiln moved forward, Merrant stayed on her back, and he could help but sense the confusion spreading through the team. The building felt more deserted than anything, little sound echoing throughout, even when the ascended to the main floor, there was almost no chatter.

It was slow going, though. Tiln seemed to know what she was doing, motioning to her squad to clear rooms, check the corners, always behind cover, always going from safety to safety, always with the deafening silence of the building surrounding them.

"...this is weird..." one of them finally muttered. "I know the Imps have arrested a few people, burglary and shit. They've got to have some people doing reports..."

"You never liked doing them, Rad," Tiln replied, but her tone was worried too. "...Waz, you're in their systems, right?" she said, tapping her comm. "Can you see if they have any arrest reports filed?"

"Sure, easy enough... huh..." the Twi'lek said, into the squad's comms. "...no arrest reports. Not even for the scientist. No reports at all. Maybe they're just not logging them into the local system?"

".....it'd be more secure." Tiln mused, although Merrant could tell she was trying to convince herself more than anything. "Okay, stay quiet, we're almost at the main holding area."

They approached down the hallway, checking the corners, staying in cover, double-checking everything until they finally reached the door to the main block of holding cells. Tiln nodded at the squad, keeping her voice low. "Okay. I'm left, Rad you're right, sweep and clear, if you see any Imps don't stop until they're all on the ground. On three."

"One."

"Two."

"Three!"

Tiln kicked the door and rushed in, the man known as Rad behind her, scatterguns sweeping over the room, a room completely devoid of Imperials...

...but not devoid of anything at all.

In the center of the main holding cell laid a small pile. Bodies, nearly two dozen of them, haphazardly piled up. Mostly humans, some near-humans, clothed, just dead and discarded in the middle of a cell.

By the time the squad could process it, the smell hit them, rotten flesh and feces and more, causing all but one of the group to mutter curses and back away, horror and confusion coming off of them in waves.

Merrant, on the other hand, stepped forward, looking over the pile of carrion. Each one shot in the back of the head at close range by a blaster, even Merrant could see that. Some a day or two old, some longer.

"...sweet mother of..." muttered one of the squad, staring at the pile. "...what... why?"

Merrant stared at the pile. He didn't want to be right. He didn't want it to be true. But he also wanted to be back on Coruscant, to be trading barbs with too-clever initiates, to be reassuring Dassalya that everything was alright.

What he wanted didn't matter. Only what was right.

Enough strange decisions were adding up. He'd heard Asori was a 'nice' Sith... but she was a smart one first. And a smart Sith could be very cruel indeed.

"They're not going to be here for long," Merrant finally said. "They're here for something, then they're going to leave. Probably after killing everyone."

"Then.. why do the patrols?" Tiln muttered, staring at Merrant now, confusion winning out over horror for the moment.

He sighs, standing and walking back to the group. "They want to keep you afraid and docile. And thinking about attacking their patrols." He stepped back into the hallway. "Hear that? Nothing. They're probably shorthanded here. They probably have a dozen or more troopers out in front, looking official and important. But nothing inside, they can't support those numbers."

Tiln nodded slowly, then tapped her comm. "Gherod, what's your status?"

"We're at the armory. The idiots only kept two people on guard, we took them down without firing a shot, Gherrod said over comms, a tone of smug Cathar pride filling his voice. "What about you?"

Tiln looked at Merrant, who shook his head in response. "...she's not in the main holding area. We'll figure something out." She sighed as she flicked off her comm. "Alright, if not in a holding cell, where would they hold her?"

"If they're shorthanded," Rad spoke up, doing his best not to look at the pile of bodies, "they'll probably hold her somewhere centralized. Building security maybe? Third floor, right near Tiln's old office. It had all the hookups for the city security grid."

"Is there a holding cell up there?" Merrant asked.

Tiln nodded. "Sort of. Interrogation and interview room. Locks from the outside. I guess we're taking back my office," she said, grinning at her squad.

The stairs were just as abandoned as the rest of the building, but as they climbed their way up they heard soft chatter, slowly coming into focus.

"Patrol 8 is at the halfway point, no rotten fruit this time."

"Thought they were vegetables."

"Nah, round and sweet, that makes them fruit."

"It's not what they look like, it's how they're grown."

Tiln's squad stayed low as they hit the third floor and creeped towards the pit, an open plan office space with monitors and charts and consoles everywhere, chairs for twenty officers to keep a watch on anything that might need attention in the city, but right now only two soldiers manning the fort, their eyes glued to the monitors.

"No one cares about that. Red, round and sweet, it's fruit. Anything happening in the building?"

"Fuck all. And they don't taste like a fruit anyway. Get over it, it's a veggie."

Tiln nodded at a pair of her officers. They drew knives, still staying low and in cover, creeping down into the pit, Merrant's frown having little say in the matter.

"Fine. Rotten produce hasn't defaced our glorious troops as they scare the local trash. I bet they're hoping someone takes a real shot at them."

"Come on, no one likes getting shot at."

"Being shot at is at least interesting! They've spent the last week just driving around doing nothing at all."

"Best part of the job if you as- gurk..."

"...Tomas, you ok- hhhhk!"

The officers held the troopers in place, knives keep in their necks, trying to hold their arms down as they breathed their last, convulsing in their chairs, trying to scream but no breath could come, no panic buttons pushed as they finally faded away.

"Disapprove?" Tiln finally said, looking at Merrant.

Merrant sighed. "Wish it wasn't the best play. Where's the interrogation room?"

Tiln pointed at a pair of doors along the wall, watching her officers return, cleaning their knives. "Right is the interrogation room, left is observation."

"I'll take observation," Merrant said, staring at Tiln.

"...do it how you want, Jedi," she finally said.

Merrant slipped his way to the observation room door. The weight of the Lightsaber was heavy in his borrowed jacket, but... no, not yet. Only if he needed to.

He reached out with the Force. He couldn't distinguish between individuals, not exactly, but he could sense two different varieties of boredom nearby. One tired and withdrawn, the other bored but scared, afraid, worried about what's going to come.

Merrant took a long breath, steadied himself, then pushed the door open.

The man inside was lounging in a chair, feet kicked up onto a desk, full armor but his helmet was off, resting on the table.

But there was a blaster on his hip.

The trooper tried to stand, but Merrant charged him, pulling out the antique pistol and bringing it down like a club on the man's head, sending him to the floor.

A wild swing stung Merrant's shoulder but he stomped down, catching the Trooper's other arm before he could draw the blaster. Another swing with the pistol, catching the trooper's temple, the man's head swaying, nearly unconscious.

Merrant dropped down, pining the trooper to the ground, his hand on the unprotected neck, squeezing, not too hard, just hard enough, cutting him off from oxygen, forcing the trooper to slowly, calmly, fade into unconsciousness.

Merrant kept him pinned for a few moments further, making sure he was out of it, before standing up and slipping out of the observation room, crouching down beside Tiln. "Clear. Get the package out of here."

Tiln nodded, a touch of approval in her eyes as she motioned to her the other officers. Distant shouting and shushing followed, and soon enough the officers exited interrogation, a scared, wide-eyed scientist in tow, creeping back towards the stairs.

"If we can get through it this easily, I'm going to be a very happy-" Tiln started, but went quiet, hearing footsteps down the hall.

"Hey, Tomas, Wick, brew's up," said an approaching voice. "Get it while it's not entirely shi-", the voice said, cutting off mid-sentence in a gasp.

Three of the ex-cops popped out of cover, slugthrowers and scatterguns at the ready. The trooper was in armor, but her helmet was off, and the rounds of slugs and flechettes tore into her head, sending her to the ground with a very pink splatter on the wall behind where she once stood.

"Run for it!" Tiln shouted, the staccato of the slugthrowers no doubt breaking any need for stealth.

The officers raced for the stairs, the scientist already on the second floor, when Merrant heard a door kicked open. The door said 'Chief Tiln' on it, but it was someone in full armor emerging from it, lifting up what could only be a very high-end assault cannon.

The barrage from the cannon tore into the retreating officers. Merrant tried to tackle Tiln, keep her out of harm's way, keep her safe... but when he looked up, her body stopped short at the neck.

Rad was taking cover, another officer clutching at his shoulder behind another piece of furniture, the whine of the heavy cannon taking chunks out of their cover.

Merrant could hear the shouts. Pinned down. Can't move. Someone shoot the bitch. The cannoneer's armor was too heavy, no slugthrower would do.

He grasped his Lightsaber and lept.

The saber ignited when he landed in the pit, the cannon's fire slow in tracking to him.

He rolled left, the Lightsaber's beam batting away the few shots on target.

Another leap, over the full spray of fire. He could feel the trooper's shock now, shock and recognition. She, and it was a she, wasn't surprised to find a Jedi on planet, just a Jedi here.

He spun to cover, the cannon pounding on the pillar he was cowering behind. She'd tear through it eventually, but not yet.

The glimpse his elbow sent the cannonfire to the right, but he stepped out to the left, another leap, closing distance, the trooper only a few meters away.

The cannon turned to him, too slowly as the Jedi stepped forward, each heartbeat feeling a minute long as he focused on the strike. It rose up, into the cannon, into the arm holding it, into the chest behind it, into the heart that beat within.

That cannonfire stopped.

Merrant breathed, slow and heavy, staring at the Imperial trooper. His eyes flicked at her armor. Captain Rhizar.

".....y-you..." she stuttered, choking on her own blood, the black visor of the trooper's helmet staring into him. "...sh-should've... known... it was... you... bastard..."

Merrant stared back at her.

Rhizar... she was just a Lieutenant back on Corellia. Her position had been broken and she was looking to regroup with the men she still had with her, she thought she could do it behind Lord Merrant.

He'd gotten half of them killed, and another third badly wounded, because he was chasing down a Jedi that had mocked him in a previous fight. He didn't care, he got the Jedi, way back then. He broke her nose when she complained about it.

He looked back at what was left of Tiln, seeing Rad crouched over her, whispering a short prayer. He remembered the bodies in the holding cell down below. Rhizar didn't give the orders, but she did execute them.

He looked back at Rhizar, breathing her last, hatred still coming off her in waves... and withdrew his lightsaber without a word.

He nodded at Rad and picked up Tiln's body in his arms. People didn't want to leave the fallen behind. He fell into step, following the others down the stairs, down the hallways, down into the sewers, down to... safety.
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #77 on: 05/30/18, 01:49:47 AM »
A Jedi Holiday (Part 6)

Sorialas Police Headquarters, a few hours later

"...sounded a little quiet out there for a bit. Thought they just got tired of talking. Then this guy, Zabrak I think, rushed in and started pounding on me. A club or something. It... gets fuzzy after tha-" Corporal Wilings coughed, rubbing his neck. There would be an impressive bruise there in a few hours. "...sorry ma'am."

Asori gave him a quick nod and turned away, letting the medics continue to treat him, her eyes fixed on Lieutenant Gaines, giving his best nervous salute. "Gaines!" she said, going into full, haughty Sith mode. "You were Rhizar's senior Lieftenant, right? Until further notice, you're in charge of Besh."

"Y-yes ma'am."

"Report."

He hesitated. "We're... still putting things together. They left a small trail up from the sewers, that's probably where they came i-"

"Why wasn't that being watched?"

"...w-we had cameras on the approaches. We're pretty sure the attackers had a slicer with them, they must have disabled them."

Asori growled. "How?"

He hesitated again. "I think they were cops. Before we pushed them out, I mean. And most of them were probably insurgents back when we ran this place."

"...Rhizar wanted to round up and execute all of them," Asori muttered. "I told her it would've made things worse."

Gaines took one look at the Sith Lord and kept his mouth shut. It was an old trick any Imperial officer learned early: If the Sith is angry, don't make yourself a target.

"So, they got the scientist. Anything else?"

Gaines cleared his throat again. "...they cleaned out the armory too. Mostly police issue weapons, but-"

"But they're real blasters, and are strong enough to penetrate body armor on a decent shot," Asori finished, muttering another curse.

"They... also probably found the..... holding cells," he said, carefully avoiding the term 'corpse pile'.

"And news could spread," she said, shaking her head. "With luck, Zhel won't hit any more delays and we can get away from this kriffing shithole before the riots start..."

Gaines hesitated, again. Nerves and fear were coming off of the officer in waves, and Asori had to hold herself back from throttling the man. "...do you have any changes to our orders, ma'am?"

She wanted to tear the man's head off, a pathetic excuse for an officer begging for direction now?

...but Rhizar rarely suffered fools in her company, let alone one that would command large segments of it. Rhizar demanded excellence from anyone wearing bars under her command. If Rhizar had a useless officer under her command, she would've thrown him to the dogs. Asori knew that.

She took a long, slow breath. Just an officer feeling nervous and out of his depth. One that had no doubt heard "stories" about what unhappy Sith would do. He just needed some direction to put him back on the right path.

"Double the presence here and button up," Asori said, using her best professional voice. "Make sure any backdoors are kept secure. Cut down on the patrols, they only go out at double strength. You got access to the department's arrest files?" She smiled as Gaines nodded. "Look for someone that's been arrested for slicing. Bet that's who the rebels used."

Gaines nodded back at Asori, making notes on his datapad. "Consider it done. Anything else, ma'am?"

"Yeah, one thing," she said, stepping close and lowering her voice. "Step up. Rhizar told me you were the best officer she had, and right now, your soldiers need you to prove it. Keep. Them. Safe."

Gaines blinked, then gave Asori a quick nod before stepping back, turning to start shouting orders at what were now his soldiers.

Asori sighed, looking down at where Rhizar fell. Her armorcam had recorded the attack. Most of it indistinct, too close to an assault cannon firing full auto, but it had gotten a distorted picture of the Jedi that had killed her. A brown-skinned Zabrak man weilding a green lightsaber, probably the one that had subdued Corporal Wilings. Sith Intelligence might know who he was.

And she'd know what to do with him when she got her hands on him.



Meanwhile, at Gherrod's Corner Store

Most of the cops had left by now, trickling out in ones or twos, trying to look inconspicuous as they hurried home towards a nice hot shower to get the filth off.

It was an option that Merrant was wishing he had, although Gherrod had mentioned that Sheney had offered to let him use her shower. It wasn't far, at least, but he had a feeling that it might be a good idea to keep his head down for now.

No matter how bad he smelled.

Tiln's body was being taken out into the sewers, though. Rad promised he'd see her buried proper, once all was said and done, but he needed to get her someplace cold for now.

One of the others mentioned having to break the news to a kid. Merrant knew how that talk would go.

He shook his head. Do what's right. The ex-cops would handle their own, he was sure of that. Right now, he had a tiny, shaking scientist on his hands, and a scowling shopowner wanting answers.

"Th-thank you..." Doctor Jaena said, hugging herself in the corner. She looked 25 maybe, probably some kid looking for a cushy job fresh out of university, trying to make the degree pay a bit. She didn't sign on for anything like this. "I... I'm sorry about-"

"Why did the Imps-" Gherrod began, before Merrant grabbed his shoulder.

"...mind if I handle this? You should probably make it look like your store's open," Merrant said, staring down the Cathar.

Gherrod stared back, but quickly gave in. "...fine. You can coddle the nerd," he said, stomping upstairs.

Merrant sighed, walking over to the scientist and plopping down next to her. "...he's always like this."

"I know," she said, giving a weak smile. "He gets really cranky if you open a drink before you pay for it."

"You're a regular here?"

"...I came by every now and then. Usually if I'm running late..." she said, taking a deep breath. "...D-Doctor Else Jaena. Agricultural sciences, learned on Dantooine." She extended a shaking hand to Merrant.

He clasped it gently, giving it a shake as he sat down beside her. "Came from there originally. Knight Merrant, Jedi Order." He smiled at her shocked look. "Yeah, long way from the Republic. Long story." He gave her a quick once over. "...they hurt you at all?"

Jaena shook her head. "...just grabbing and shoving. And shouting. They shouted a lot. I... thanked you for saving me, right?"

Merrant nodded. "A few times. Do you know why they grabbed you?"

She nodded back. "The governor was sending messages to me, they probably found out," she said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "They hired me a few years ago. Help increase crop yields, preventing blights and droughts and stuff. Good work, especially during the summer."

"You mean, when all the plants are planted and growing and you just have to worry about rainfall?" Merrant said, smirking a little.

Jaena let out a small laugh, relaxing just a bit. "...yeah. Spend an hour looking over the weather data, the next seven arguing with people over the holonet about why the Frogdogs suck."

"Hey, their passing game's been legit the last few months."

"Oh, kriff off, yeah they can get a few fancy scores but they can't play defense, can't win if you can't hold the mid-" Jaena stopped, clearing her throat. ".......uh, anyway."

Merrant chuckled a bit before looking back at her. "So, those messages the governor was sending you?"

Jaena shrugged faintly. "...I have them on a datachip, I... figured I might need to hold onto them." She glanced at Merrant. "...uh, I hid them... somewhere..." she muttered, gesturing at her chest.

"Right."

She looked away from the Jedi, trying to focus. "...the messages were weird though. The first one... he wanted to know what would happen to us if the Chasin Mountain Range was to go away."

Merrant frowned, fully not getting it. "Not much?"

"Not much? A whole lot much!" She shook her head. "To... extremely oversimplify modern agriculture-"

"Thanks for doing that," Merrant said.

"The core of it is about two things." She pauses. "Three- no, wait, four things..... But, uh, getting a lot of sunlight and making sure the temperature is in the right range is obvious."

"Right."

"Another part is managing the soil, toxicity and nutrients and that sorta crap. Because it's mostly crap doing the work there. It's why the ranchers are so important, their herds of walking steaks turn simple grass into cheap fertilizer."

Merrant sighed. "...I like steak. Don't ruin that please."

Jaena ignored him. "But the important bit is water. The farmlands around the city? Most of their water comes the rivers and streams, fed by the rainfall and snowmelt in the mountains. Some of the farms could get by with groundwater and normal rainfall, but it'd nut-punch the whole farming industry here."

"......that's your professional opinion?" Merrant asked, trying to hold back the smirk at 'nut-punch'.

She glowered at him. "They kidnapped me. I'm allowed to be weird for a bit."

He only gave a slight smile as he nodded. He could fell the tension was starting to drain. "I'll give you that. So, mountains go away, bad things happen to the crops. I don't want to be curt, but is that all?"

She shook her head. "The next message was... well, asking what would happen if the mountain exploded." Jaena shivered at the thought.

Merrant already knew the answer. It was the only one that made sense. "Everyone dies," he said, trying to keep the horror out of his voice.

She nodded. "On planet, eventually, at least. It'd depend on the explosion, but there's a massive amount of earth and stone in those mountains. Anything big enough to make the mountains disappear would send enough debris in the atmosphere to kill sunlight over the nearby farmlands. Anyone that didn't die when the big pieces fell would need to import food to survive."

"...and the Empire's not going to," Merrant muttered. "Why?"

Jaena shook her head. "All he said was mining. I haven't heard about anything worth mining in those mountains though. Unless it's real deep in." She paused, then turned away, digging around under her shirt. "...his last message was some schematics. I couldn't understand a bit of it."

Merrant politely looked away, flinching slightly as an unfortunately warm datachip was placed in his hand. "...I'll take a look at it. Just... stay safe, okay?"

She nodded, looking over at Merrant. "...who was she?"

"Huh?"

"...the woman that died. Who was it? I... just want to-"

Merrant held up a hand to cut her off. "...barely knew her. Seemed like a good woman. Probably chief of police before. Want my advice?" he asked, smiling when he saw her nod. "When this is all over, find some of the cops and buy them a round or five. She went out a hero, they'll praise her like one. And they'll tell you all about her."

"...thanks."

He patted her shoulder as he stands. "...Gherrod will make sure you stay safe. He's a hardass and a smartass, but that also makes him a badass, so he can be useful at times."

"You're going to stop them?" she asked, the young scientist looking very much like a little girl for just a moment.

He smiled back at her. "They don't give you the nice robes if you aren't good at thwarting Sith."

Jaena looked over him again, frowning at the borrowed clothing. "You might wanna change into them then."

Merrant let out a laugh, waving her off as he headed upstairs, the mirth falling away in favor of duty. He plugged the chip into his datapad, pulling up the schematics, eyes pouring over all the bad news.

"...how bad is it?" Gherrod said, leaning on the shop counter, glaring daggers into the Jedi.

Merrant didn't bother taking his eyes off the datapad. "Rocks fall, everyone dies."

"Huh?"

He looked up from the datapad. "...need to read more. Schematics get complicated fast. But from what I've seen and heard, they're going to blow up the mountains."

Gherrod blinked at him, clearly not understanding.

"The irrigation that the farmers use will be severely kriffed. And that's assuming the rocks don't land all over their fields. And in the city. Which they will."

"...why?" Gherrod muttered, his jaw dropping at the news. "You said this... Analas was smart, why..."

He ignored the intentionally insulting name for the Sith, partly because he had his own slurs stockpiled. "Strip-mining. There's something under those mountains they want. They just want to get the mountains out of the way." Merrant raised his head, another long frown.

"What?"

"Their numbers have been low. I was thinking quarter on the governor's mansion, quarter on the starport, half running police operations. They didn't have half there. Probably a quarter."

Gherron blinked and slowly nodded. "Meaning a quarter somewhere else."

Merrant nodded back. "Get your people together, Gherron. The Empire's building something in the mountains, and we're going to stop it. Because if we don't, everyone in the city is going to die."
« Last Edit: 05/31/18, 02:10:56 AM by Orell »
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #78 on: 06/09/18, 04:54:22 PM »
A Jedi Holiday (Part 7)

Several days later, at Gherrod's Corner Store

"...the green of the fields will smile upon you, for they know that you did what none else could do. So if we too see the end of this fight, we'll shout out your name, and we'll sing it all night. The city will see us, the city will care. The blood on the streets is a price they must bear."

Merrant paused as he climbed the stairs, hearing the dark, gruff, rough voice quietly singing.

"I hope that one day that no fights will be near, that I'll think of my friends and not shed a tear. But 'til that day I'll fight as one of the brave, and not spend a thought on my waiting grave. So drink up my friends, for it's freedom we'll save."

Gherrod stayed quiet for a few moments. His eyes were locked on a datapad, bad news most likely, not that there had been many other sorts lately. Finally, he spoke up. "......Jedi."

Merrant stepped forward, eyeing the Cathar with a careful eye. "...didn't mean to intrude. A prayer?"

"Something like that," he muttered, pushing away a tear, somehow managing to scowl at the same time. "Back in the resistance, we'd sing it when we lost a friend. The bastard that wrote it thought that it might make things hurt less."

"...there's some hope in there."

Gherrod spat, glaring at Merrant. "Yeah. A bright future that they won't see!"

"I know."

"What the kriff do you kn-"

"The man that trained me as a Jedi, before I went Red? He was killed by Sith in front of my eyes. I didn't handle it well." For the moment, Gherrod didn't have a thing to say, and so he pressed on. "The woman that reminded me what the real point of power was? She was killed by Sith, months after I came back to the Jedi. The Jedi that taught me most of the tech I know? Killed by Zakuul, defending a ship keeping an entire planet alive."

Gherrod still had nothing to say, but there was a different look in his eye as he grunted.

"...Jedi know pain and loss too, friend. I don't know one that doesn't, comes with the job it feels. We just don't have any songs to make it hurt less."

The cathar shopkeep stared at Merrant before giving him a slow, solemn nod. "...we survive this shit, I'll teach it to you."

"Good. I intend on surviving." He raises his datapad, smiling as encouragingly as he could, with his mind sandbagged by memories of Corran, Soldin and Mireth-Kar. "I think I understand how their device works. To oversimplify, a really strong drill that lays mining charges behind it when it drills. The good news is that I know how to disable it. The bad news is I need to be inside it with maybe fifteen minutes to work."

Gherrod grunted, looking back down at his own datapad. "...I have my own good news and bad news." He took a deep breath. "The good news is that I know where the drill is. The Imps are keeping a wide perimeter, but one of my scouts slipped behind their lines and found it. Big, ugly and steel, like you said."

Merrant stared into Gherrod's eyes, seeing the tears still threatening to pour down. "...bad news?"

"I sent a dozen scouts. One got through. Two found nothing." He said nothing else.

Merrant closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. "...tell me their names, and I'll sing them all night. But we're not done yet, we need to be ready to fight."

"You're no poet," Gherrod muttered giving the Zabrak a nod. "I'll get my people together. We know where to hit them, we'll give you the hole and the time you need. Any chance we'll get help?"

"Probably. If the Force wills it." He smiled at Gherrod. "And if my friend is coming as fast as I think she is, the Empire won't know what hit them."



Meanwhile, at the Treslanis Governor's Mansion

Asori looked over the reports from her Captains, plus the unfortunate Lieftenant Gaines. Fewer incidents at the spaceport. No increase in protestors outside the Governor's Mansion. No incursions at the police station and patrols going uncontested.

Plus nine hikers apprehended in the mountains around the Hillbreaker. Up from zero before the attack on the police station.

But hey, who knows, maybe it was all a big coincidence.

The doors to the office opened, Lord Zhel née Bresix striding in, in full dress, clean shaven, and maximum arrogance. "Asori, you requested a meeting?"

By all rights, Asori's glare would've left naught but a smoking outline on the wall behind Bresix. Sadly, she did not live in so just a universe. "I told you to get your useless ass here because you're behind schedule. When will you be ready?"

Bresix sneered at Asori. She'd seen that sneer before, on high-born nobles, on prideful Sith, on rich bastards. "Dear Lord Alnas, technological advancement keeps its own schedule, I can only provide estimates. We'll be good and done with soon enough, I assure you."

Asori stared at him. "Hours, days or weeks?"

He sighed. "Less than days, more than hours, assuming no more delays of note. Rushing the project will only make it take long-"

"The rebels know about your project. Or that you're up to something out there," Asori interrupted, staring the Pureblood down. "They will attack. They might have numbers, but they do have a Jedi."

Bresix stared at her. "A Jedi here? Since when?"

"Since Day 1." She gave him a mocking, if brief, smile. "You didn't need to know. I have a blurry picture of him, Sith Intelligence identified him as Merrant-"

Bresix laughed, clutching at his side as he slumped down into one of the Governor's overstuffed chairs. "Merrant? As in Lord Merrant?"

"That was his name in the Empire," Asori grudgingly acknowledged.

Another laugh from the alleged Lord Zhel. "He was Darth Zhel's kath hound. He has as much wits as it takes to open a jar. We'll be fine, Asori."

Asori's gaze was unshaken by Bresix's reassurances. She'd gotten Sith Intelligence's notes on the man, and he wasn't so one-note. SI felt the Jedi could sabotage the drill... and no matter how much of a humiliation it'd be for the loathsome Bresix, it wouldn't do her any favors either.

"Only days? Then I'm going to be paranoid. We'll set-up at your base-camp, pull all of my ground forces besides a skeleton crew at the spaceport. It will take the locals a while to realize we've left, and if the rebels don't know about the device, it'll be too late by the time we finish it. Just get your job done, Bresix, and let's this done with.."
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #79 on: 06/28/18, 08:29:32 PM »
Battle of Sorialas (Jedi Holiday Part 8)

Note: This is a converted chat log from the event I ran for Dassalya, SivWysan and LVT. Stuff happens in it, a lot of it, and a lot of combat too. These tend to be a bit clunky to read, as RP often can be. Aside from a few edits for readability, reorganizing things so each scene is handled alone, clarity (and spell-checks), this is all of what happened...

When we last left our heroes, Merrant was on Treslanis IV, when the Empire invaded and have been up to some less than polite things. The Republic is aware that the Empire seems interested in strip-mining the planet using a device called the Hillbreaker.

The Republic has "graciously volunteered" three Republic frigates, led by Captain I Don't Care of the Abstello, the 22nd Marines and two SpecFor Squads, Patchwork and Lancer, to foil the Republic's plans, under Knight Dassalya Nasadee's command.

Merrant has 'sent word' to Dassalya, telling her that now is the time to attack, and after a time in Hyperspace, have arrived in the Treslanis IV system, with Three Frigates, a Thunderclap Gunboat, Lancer Squad aboard Daimren's vessel and the various dropships holding the 22nd, along with a certain stowaway...

Hark has donned a troopers uniform, one from an attached navy officer of the ground assault. He'd keep to himself, as the navy and the army don't often mingle, and do his best to not be noticed by any others who may know him and be in attendence.

Harkasone remains unnoticed on the dropship, a combination of "someone else's problem" and everyone getting ready for the fight to come.

Dassalya, aboard Patchwork Squad's Gunboat, now has the chance to look over the map. Three Imperial warships, clearly outmatched, seem to be moving to engage the Republic force.

Dassalya stands over the shoulder of the gunboat's co-pilot, watching the ship's readings as they come in. "Captain Abstello," she says, loud enough for the comm to catch her voice. "I do not sense any additional danger. Shall I leave the naval engagement to you?"

"It is Captain I-Don't-Care, Master Jedi," says the Captain of the Abstello over the comm.

"She doesn't care," muttered Captain Brightstar, head of Patchwork Squad.

"I apologize. Mirialan naming convention," Dassalya amends smoothly. "Are you ready to engage?"

"Closer." There was a pause over the line. "We should be able to handle the Imperial warships. We'll screen for you until you hit atmosphere."

There's a crackle from the comm system, a voice coming in very weak but still just audible. "Knight Merrant to any Republic forces, please respond and let me know I got the comm codes right."

"You have the comm codes correct," Dassalya replies. Only the most observant in her vicinity would notice the faint relief visible in the easing of tension around her eyes.

There's another short pause before Merrant speaks up again. "...good. Too long. Sending position of the Imps construction site. They're building a device here that's going to blow up the mountain and kill a lot of people. I know how to disable it, but I don't know how long until it's done."

"Need a few things," he continued. "Local militia is approaching the site from west, up from the city's direction. They're not well equipped and they'll need support. There's also a decent landing area to the east of their base. Second front would help thin the Imperial line, give me room to get inside and start sabotaging. Also, in case we screw this up? Need someone to get to the comm center in the city. Tell people to get somewhere safe and take cover. Hope we don't need that."

Captain Brightstar looks over at Dassalya. "We've hot-dropped into firefights plenty. Bet the Marines could use the decent landing zone, though."

She nods her understanding, and then turns back to the comm. "Your sit-rep is appreciated, Knight Merrant. Please alert us if your understanding of the situation changes." She waits a moment to see if Merrant has anything further to add, then addresses Brightstar. "Captain. Have the 22nd land at the proscribed landing zone to the east. Patchwork Squad and I will drop to the west and unite with the militia. Lancer will assist Daimren in taking the communications centre. We will make our assault at—" She checks her chrono and makes a quick calculation in her head. "—13:00. We want to hit them as simultaneously as possible to ensure as much distraction as we can."

Brightstar nods and starts relaying the orders. Aboard the 22nd's dropships, an annoucement comes in: "Attention, all hands. We will be deploying to the planet's surface shortly and assaulting a light Imperial fortification in the mountains. Report to unit leaders for additional orders and be ready to move."

The ships move in, the heavy frigates racing ahead of the dropships and gunboat. Before long, turbolasers can be seen streaking across the vacuum, fire and return fire between the Republic and Imperials. No fire can be spared for the smaller craft, however, and they streak towards the planet and the city below.

From above, it looks fairly normal. A small urban area, surrounded by kilometer after kilometer of farmland in the basin formed by the heavy mountain range. The atmospheric entry rocks the landing craft, with Daimren and Lancer Squad arcing away towards the city, while Dassalya, Harkasone, Patchwork and the assembled might of the 22nd race towards the mountains, mountains where, even at this distance, blaster fire can be seen.

The City

As Daimren came in low, he smiled thinly, pleased to see a fairly clear flight path into the city's Comm center- but suspicious of anything too easy. He put the ship in a hard drop before leveling off with a wobble, looking to take full advantage of his ship's EM stealth while looking to all eyes a civilian craft struggling to flee from the firefight. He tapped a few side keys, blowing some extra O2 tanks on one wing, starting a small localized electrical fire in a backup area, and struggling to like the ship had taken damage. Then he stood up, facing the crew and continuing to fly with his cybernetics with his back to the oncoming cityscape.

Daimren eyes Lancer Squadron from under 3 days grizzle and an old spacer's cap over his customized but somewhat worn looking cyber-assault light armor. He had played up the role of a sympathetic ex-Republic vet doing merc work on the Rim brought on to advise and handle the tech situation without taking too many shots- or revealing his Jedi identity, hopefully. His lightsaber rested tightly in a hidden leg pouch he kept lined with scanner-jamming mesh.

"Alright folks, here's hoping we're in and out before they know it, and this is a cake walk. In case they don't though, I want Tetch and Eben's to stay up top, man the side guns and keep the landing secure in case of fast evac. Everyone else, we will land like a wounded garbage scow looking for shelter, and hit the door before they know what hit them. The ship will have a 6 meter jamming field to fry a few extra hidden alarms, though once inside we're on our own. Remember, the faster we can get this done, the less risk of alarm to the Imps and more lives we can save."

"I'll have my carbine, but trusting you folks to cover my six so I can work the keyboard magic. We'll try and shut the power first, but if we can't we'll fight to central control and pull the plug on any alarm fast as we can."

The SpecFor troopers nod, although Daimren could sense a bit of a chuckle coming from them. "Good plan, we'll keep your ass nice and shiny."

A couple others seemed initially visibly alarmed at Daimren's leaving the ship pilotless, then chucking when he tapped an implant and they figured it out. He then spun back around, guided the ship the rest of the way in and yelled a final "brace!" as they came down hard and skidded a few feet at an odd angle- yet one that helpfully ended up with their rear deployment hatch pointed at a slight angle to the sole rooftop entry. The air shimmered slightly as a jamming field sizzled into life, and the troops pulled off their belts and sprang to leave in 2 lines, covering the roof with their sights, looking for any trouble.

The roof is still oddly clear, an obvious door leading the way down. Even a convenient map noting where you are, where the emergency exits are and where the primary comm station is. "Force praise fire codes," one of the Lancer squad mutters.

Daimren chuckles. "One of the blessings avoiding Imperial construction methods. Here's hoping this will help keep it that way."

"Don't let your guard down though. I'll check the locks, then clear the first landing while I try and locate the power conduits." Daimren quietly slides a custom lock-breaker over the door, letting it run while flicking his left wrist to reveal an EM scanner and several auto-drills on bendable serpantine mounts, hoping they get lucky with the power grid

The lock's broken before he even finishes his sentence. The building was built to withstand pranksters and thieves, not a serious incursion. The analysis of the building's EM signature is odd, though. There's really only one place with power on right now, the main comm center. Everything else is at barely background levels of power, as though the lights are off and nobody's home.

Daimren frowns reaching out slightly in the Force, though his sense powers are lesser, and activiating his suit's flickering partial camo blur effect, "I have a bad feeling about this," he murmers. "Too easy. A moment." He pretends to finish some scans, but actually sprays a small dose of recon nanotech out of his wrist mounts, tiny drones that scope out heat or hidden power sources ahead. Then he motions the troopers forward, following in the middle himself and moitniong for a tight recon formation.

Daimren and Lancer don't hit any conflict at all, until they approach the comm center. A good baker's dozen of heat signatures there, seemingly on guard.

Daimren drops low, doing a final scan of the area outside the comm center, looking for any possible points to plug in to further distract. Meanwhile he waves the troops in, tossing a lock-buster on the door and motioning for stun grenades, concussion only. "Try to keep the fire to a minimum in there, we need that equipment intact. And leave the door, in case we need to defend this place later."

Imperial Marines were capable, Lord Alnas' force especially so, but against Special Forces with full information on the enemy and time to prepare? The doors were breached, stun grenades were sent in, and barely more than a dozen shots were fired to eliminate the twelve soldiers within.

The only figure within unharmed was the one without a weapon, a shaking, balding man, stunned both by the sudden violence and the liberally applied stun grenades.

While Daimren worked the systems, regaining command and quieting what few alarms were raised by the assault, one of the soldiers gave the shivering man a salute, recognizing him from a briefing. "Governor Baylen? Captain Olsen, Lancer Squad, Republic Special Forces. Are you alright?"

"...y-yes..." the old man stuttered, his eyes fixed on the corpse of the Imperial captain that had, so recently, been browbeating him into submission.

"Sir. Intel suggests that the Imperials intend to detonate a device that could kill most of the citizenry. We are working to disarm said weapon, but in case of problems, we need you to inform the public of the situation."

"...w-what?"

"They should get inside, sir. Preferably underground, until the situation is resolved." He looked back at Daimren, still working the computers. "Our... 'advisor' should be able to get everyting set up. Can you tell your people they need to get inside and underground?"

Baylen blinked. Then blinked again. Then, nerves finally finding purchase, he stood. "Yes. Of course. Thank you, all of you. And I hope your friends are as fortunate as you."

The East

The 22nd flew over the Imperial camp, and the slumbing hulk of the Hillbreaker, and soon found the landing zone, a brief bit of flat land in the jagged mountain range, no Imperials to contest. The soldiers within raced out, officers around shouting to secure beachheads and get ready to advance. No imperials... yet.

In the din of the criss-crossing orders, Harkasone slips quitely away to the hills and casts away his uniform for his Jedi battle armor while watching the battle set-up, looking for signs of a counter attack by Imperial forces after they organize against their new foes.

A few troopers give Hark a curious look, but either assume he's scouting or that he's someone else's problem. But the distant sound of stomping boots tells them all exactly where the Imperials are coming from. Imperial Marines in heavy armor race across a pass ahead, blaster fire spraying both ways as the soldiers keep each other honest... and from his vantage point, Hark could see the sign of a small flanking force, moving through some more rough path.

Hark checks the terrain of their small path. A ridge above them perhaps, is the path on a ledge itself... there is a small ledge overlooking where the path probably is, not easy to reach or approach. For normal people anyway.

Hark summons the force, hoping the burst is small enough to mask over the din of battle, and pulls down the ridge with full force, with the objective of slowing the small group. He fires his borrowed blaster up in the air as the Imperials become preoccupied, hoping that the soldiers that this squad was flanking, would be alerted.

It does the trick, Hark could see the soldiers starting to regroup and reorganize to cover that flank. But Hark easily senses a familiar feeling from the flank, and the sound of a pile of rubble being thrown out of the way with the Force.

"As always..." Hark glances back, to silently observe to main push; collecting his thoughts on his friend's situation. After a moment, Hark throws back the hood of this robe and stop trying to conceal himself in the force. He leaps into the path, into the path of the signature.

A dozen rifles are raised when Harkasone lands on the pass, but a raised hand holds them off. "...hello, Hark," Asori says, igniting her Lightsabers. "Here to convert, talk or fight?"

"What's the likelihood that either one of the first two would work?" Hark gives her a bitter, wan smile; laced with sadness.

"I meant you converting," Asori muttered, staring him down. "...Sergeant, find a different path. I'll handle things here." She slides into a combat stance, waiting for the troops to fall back.

Hark watches them go, moving from a crouching stance; to balancing on the pile of rocks. "Yeah... Let's talk, I guess. What is it exactly do you want to do here?" Hark asks, without hostility, though with definite curiosity in his voice.

Asori glowers at Harkasone, staying in her combat stance. "The Empire needs the minerals here. People will die, yes. But a tiny farming colony in the middle of nowhere for the whole of the Empire? There's no question."

"If the colony you came from had minerals that your Empire needed to survive; would that constitute as a 'small' sacrifice? This place is only slightly bigger, isn't it?" Hark holds her gaze, a serious expression written on his face. "If you remove the people from the government they should be serving, What's left in its purpose?"

Asori scowls, glaring at Hark. "Nima'Kluub doesn't have those minerals. And my path is with the Sith. You told me to pursue that."

"I did. And you should do do what you feel is right. I stand by that." Hark gestures around them. "You signed on to protect innocent people like this, right? You said you had the flexibility under the Sith to do it."

Asori growls. "I'm defending my people. Either get out of my way or try to stop me."

"This place is under Imperial martial law. These ARE your people. But you let Zhel loose on these people?" Hark shakes his head, unfazed at her threat. "I wanted you to be the best person you could be. Is this it?" He asks, his question purely honest.

"They murdered one of my finest officers, because I was too soft to do what was needed. They aren't worth a damn thing." Asori shifted, in a way that Hark knew was the precursor to a leap.

Hark moves his hand under his robe as he balances, looking at her. "Letting Zhel loose, and planning to destroy the planet didn't originate as a revenge plot."

"It's what the Empire needs, Harkasone. So is this." She says, and leaps at him, bringing both Lightsabers down at his shoulders.

Hark brings his prepared lightsaber from under his robe; having read her move, bringing it up with an easy block. He pulls her smashing down into the pile of rocks with the force as she hangs in the air from the parry without holding back.

Asori gets smashed into the rocks, her armor taking most of the blow but still leaving her hurting and off balance. She tries to make distance, throwing herself away from Hark while sending a few smaller stones at his head.

Hark leaps off the rock, circling around the larger once for cover. "I'm here to make you think about yourself. Improve yourself. Be a better person. I know you can do it."

"I don't need lessons from you, Hark!" She shouts, pushing one of the rocks at him and starting to close the distance.

Hark quiets, muttering only to himself for a moment. "As long as you keep your memory of this, anyway..." before going silent, and ducking behind the stones; using how they're strewn about as a line of sight maze.

Asori moves quickly, trying to track Hark, moving to slash at him when she can, well aware that fighting a Jedi in a rock garden is like standing in a pond and mocking a Sith.

Hark ducks back, staying out the way of her deadly blade. He leaps back onto another rock behind him, before slipping down onto the other side of it, and disappearing into the maze.

"Stop hiding and fight me!" Asori shouts, still pursuing him, going around the boulders instead of over them, ready to attack the first thing she can.

A blade lashes out from behind a bolder quickly slashing at head level before retreating back into the rock it was behind. "Do you sleep well at night, Asori? Do you ever wonder if you are doing the right thing?" The voice echoes around the many walls of their battlefields.

Asori growls again, turning aside the strike before continuing to pursue, chasing the echoes, hunting him down with a greater and greater rage. "I sleep great! And I'm doing the right thing!"

Hark's voice is honest, not at all judgemental. "Shouldn't you be asking yourself that?" A rock flies at her from dead ahead flying at a good speed.

Asori cuts the stone in two, still trying to find Hark in the Jedi in the maze of stone. "I don't need to!"

"Why?"

"Because I know!"

"Why?"

"Because I know!" She repeats.

"That's a pretty childish response, you know." Hark steps out from behind the last rock of the maze, slashing low with his saber, letting her momentum do his work for him.

Asori flips over the saber, landing briefly before striking at Harkasone, the spins, flips, rolls and slashes graceful and light, like the dancer she had always insisted she wasn't. Her muttered "Shut up," however, lacked a certain finesse.

Hark leaps back, towards the edge of the a cliff this part of the path curved around. "It's over Asori. I've bought enough time." He gazes at her, expectantly.

Asori paused, staring him down. "...diversion. Two pronged attack. Third prong somewhere else. Smart." She sighed, shaking her head. "Gaines, get back to the site!" she shouted, charging at Harkasone, double-feinting before swinging at his waist.

"You'll learn from this and be a better person in time. I really do believe in you." Hark deactivates his saber and takes the slash, letting it sink into his armor.

Asori seems almost shocked that the blade managed to sink in, a moment of fear hitting her.

With the adrenaline of his injury. He grabs her wrists, and takes them both over the edge of the cliff together. "For now... take some time to sleep on it..."

Asori was taken entirely by surprise, only barely able to hit her comm, shouting that she needed help... before going silent.

The West

As Patchwork's gunboat slows, approaching the noted path, Dassalya could see the fighting going on underneath them. A large collection of maybe-civilians, some wearing body armor but most in civilian clothing, being pinned down and struggling against the entrenched, and up-hill, Imperial position, including what looks like a pair of heavy cannons at the top of the path.

Dassalya activates her personal comm and radios Merrant upon it. "Merrant. Do you have any further information on the militia? We do not wish them to think us Imperials before we have an opportunity to explain ourselves."

Merrant chuckled. "I told them you're coming. The person in charge is the second grumpiest Cathar I've met, called Gherrod. Just shoot in the same direction they're shooting and you'll be fine."

"Understood."

Brightstar races towards the exit. "Patchwork, go! Sal, get the ship to safety once we're down, I don't like the looks of those cannons!" he said as the other members of Patchwork started to drop down to the ground.

Dassalya leaps from the gunboat and executes a three-point landing. Her senses immediately reach out, seeking for danger, for the forms of the militia, and scouring the area for pitfalls and places of advantage.

The Gunboat takes a few potshots at the Imperials, but the press of the cannons are too much and it's forced to withdraw, leading to a chorus of groans from the militia.

The locals are mostly scared and angry, and the reason for the fear quickly becomes apparent. The weapons in their hands, some of them are stolen Imperial weapons or police-issue blasters, but between the civilian grade blasters and the antique slugthrowers bouncing rounds off Imperial armor, they feel outmatched.

Dassalya ignites her sabre and launches forward, aiming for the head of the militia's line. "Militia! To me!" she shouts, holding her sabre aloft in a holovid shot of a valiant Jedi. Without waiting further, Dassalya whirls to face the Imperial line, grasps a shattered outcropping of rock, and hurls it at them.

The rocks smash into the protected position and send the soldiers first scattering, then dead as the few decent weapons the militia had gathered tear into them. There's more hope in them now, a Jedi is a good thing to have at your back.

"Jedi, we need to take out those cannons!" Brightstar shouted over the cheers and blasterfire. "If we get much closer, they're going to tear us to shreds. I think my team can take the one on the left, can you do the right?"

"Yes!" Dassalya struggled to keep up with the blasterfire now directed at her—the majority of her deflected bolts went spinning off into the sky or studded harmlessly wide of their targets. She juked to the side, darted back, then leapt forward to gain herself some manoeuvring room as the Imperial's were forced to track her.

The Imperials are definitely firing a lot at Dassalya, so much that most of them fail to note Patchwork forming up and slipping along the left flank. The Squad's heavy gunner carried something that might, in another light, be considered a handheld artillery piece. A few careful shots and the gunner is clear, lifting up the cannon and firing a stream of blasterbolts right into the stem of the enemy emplacement, creating one more explosion for the embattled ground.

Dassalya takes advantage of the chaos created by the explosion to charge the right cannon. With a whirling of green light, she slashes the main targeting computer and uses the lightsaber's blade to form a near-instantaneous weld of its aiming mechanisms. Before the Imperials can recover, she leaps beyond and continues batting away blaster bolts.

Another cheer from the militia as the Imperials fall back again, the local forces advancing, a few enterprising souls charging up to the top of the hill after them... only to be met by a new wave of blaster fire and the telltale crackle of Sith Lightning arcing through them.

"Hold back!" Dassalya shouts. "Advance as one with the troopers!" She doesn't, however, follow her own advice. Lightsaber readied to catch lightning, she storms the ridge to face the foe on the other side.

Dassalya's met by another torrent of blaster fire, Imperial troopers huddled behind barriers and rocks. And she sees the Sith in question, a Pureblood wearing black and silver, and a particularly distasteful expression as he looks over Dassalya. "...is this it?"

The militia does slow down their advance, even seeing Dassalya race forward, with Captain Brightstar and a grumpy looking Cathar trying to keep order among the force.

Again, Dassalya struggles to keep the blaster bolts at bay. One slices through her robes just shy of her bicep, another is barely deflected into the dirt beside her toes. With a gathering of Force, she leaps to the side, disarms an Imperial trooper who has approached with too great of confidence, and throws out a telekinetic wave towards the bulk of the enemy soldiers.

The troopers are scattered, but not badly harmed, and quickly get back into position once the militia, supported by Patchwork, make the ridge and get to their positions. The Sith, however, cares little and throws lightning at Dassalya, the exchanges of blaster fire focused on soldiers vs soldiers, leaving Dassalya and the Sith to their dance.

Dassalya catches the lightning on her saber and, with grit teeth and painstaking care, redirects it into the sky and away from her own troops. "Surrender," she says, falling into a neutral, low guard. "No one else needs to die here today."

"Your surrender is not accepted," the Sith says with a sneer, more Lightning, more crackling. "You think you could defeat Lord Zhel, girl?"

Dassalya once again catches the lightning on her blade and redirects it with the same care. "I think Zhel died five years ago." She slips into a more active guard—one hand before her, her saber held parallel to the ground, pointing forward. "You do not need to meet so ignoble an end as him."

Zhel growls. "I am Lord Zhel, girl! You will die here and your-" His stream of lightning is cut off by a blaster shot from Captain Brightstar, easily battered away by the Sith but still earning a glower from him. "Do you mind, we're busy here!"

Dassalya seizes the moment and lunges forward. As her saber thrusts forward to strike at Zhel's center mass, her free hand tugs him towards her in the Force.

Zhel is dragged in, but he seems to catch the trick quickly enough, bringing his saber around just fast enough to push Dassalya's blade away. "Die schutta!" he shouts as he tries to strike at her, seemingly as effective in the melee as anyone that uses lightning as their first, last and only option normally would be.

Zhel's blade is thrown off its mark by a carefully timed push of the Force. Dassalya recovers her saber from its errant path and thrusts again at Zhel's chest. For as vengeful as the Pureblood is, she is calm. "Your namesake was more eloquent."

Zhel scowls, stumbling away from the stab before his free-hand unleashed another volume of lightning. "I am destined to surpass him! Who cares about eloquence?!"

The green saber shifts to catch the lightning on its blade, but, even as it does, Dassalya reaches out to send a hail of fist-sized stones at Zhel.

Zhel swings the Lightsaber around, intercepting most of the stones, but taking a pair to the ribcage. His cry of pain is short, though, and it's second verse same as the first, more lightning, trying to overwhelm her guard.

Dassalya struggles against the onslaught. Loose hairs about her head begin to stand on end as the charge of the contained lightning builds. She twists her saber in an attempt to send the torrent arcing back towards the Pureblood.

Zhel yelps as the lightning feeds back on him, backing away, batting away a pair of stray blaster bolts as he sizes Dassalya up. "Let me guess, the humidity is just awful?" He says, mocking her hair before sending another wave of lightning.

Dassalya is already on the move. Her saber snaps the lightning into an Imperial trooper who ventured too close to their duel, then darts to the side with Force-enhanced speed and sends a violent jet of telekinetic energy Zhel's way.

Zhel winces at the friendly fire, about to say something curt about how people shouldn't get in the way... and then he gets thrown into another set of Imperial marines, making about as comfortable a landing as heavy armor would be. The marines just push him aside and continue firing back at the militia and Patchwork squad, something of a stalemate in the blaster battle for now.

Zhel is momentarily off-guard while he finds his feet.

Dassalya seizes him with the Force to plow him face first into the ground.

Zhel is about to fire off more lightning at Dassalya when he realizes what's about to happen, and can only just close his eyes before he's slammed, face-first, into a mountain. He does, however, manage to throw another blast of lightning at her, mid painful groan.

Dassalya could even sense a twitch of amusement from a few of the nearby troopers, even as they point their rifles at her, trying to drive her back.

Dassalya deflects the lightning, but it leaves her open to the first salvo from the troopers. A bolt burns across her thigh. With a wince, she retreats to find cover behind a nearby outcropping of rock.

She puts her back to the moss covered stone and attempts to recover her breath. Her saber stays ready by her side.

Zhel muttered as he took cover himself, clutching as his bleeding nose. "...yes, yes, I'm fine. The Jedi will have to do better than that to beat me!"

One slow breath. Another. Another. As Dassalya allowed her calm to centre her, she focused her inner eye on the wound on her leg. Flesh slowly knit. Pain eased. She extended her senses beyond herself, seeking to pinpoint, exactly, the nexus of Dark Side energy that would Zhel's location.

"Is that all you have, Bresix?" she called, her voice pitched to carry to the Sith.

"Shut up you kriffing schutta!" he shouted back at Dassalya, albeit somewhat nasally. He did stand, however, and sent out another blast of lightning at where he thought Dassalya to be.

The outcropping caught the brunt of the blast; Dassalya whirled out from behind it and made to seize Zhel yet again with the Force.

Zhel grimaced, seeing the outcropping explode instead of the Jedi... then an all too familiar feeling of being seized by the Force, a muttered "not in the face" coming from the Sith.

Dassalya disengaged her saber and let it drop to her belt in a telekinetic, controlled fall. Then, both hands thrust before her, she set the Force to pin Zhel's hands to his side and drive him to his knees.

Zhel is forced to his knees, struggling against Dassalya's grip, when two things happen.

First, the Imperial troopers with nicer gear and more stripes stop firing and look around. Something's changed.

Then, the loudspeakers in the base speak up. "This is Knight Merrant. The Hillbreaker has been disabled. Job's done, nothing left to fight for here."

There's a cheer from the militia, even some of Patchwork getting in on it, but the Imperial troopers act quickly, several of them pouring fire down on Dassalya, the others falling back.

The saber snaps back to Dassalya's hand, but her hold over Zhel is broken. She deflects the blasterfire clumsily, nearly hitting one of Patchwork with a redirected bolt, before she is able to retreat beyond the angle of the upward-firing Imperials.

She casts a glance either way down the line of her troops—were any hurt? Were any cut off from the group? Did any require assistance?

The Imperials grab Zhel, who's still protesting that they can somehow win this fight, and fall back, heading to where shuttles might be found, but with plenty of covering fire as they fell back. Comms from the 22nd would tell a similar story, retreating Imperials.

Many in the fighting force are injured, however, mostly the civilians, and more than a few on the hillside that couldn't make the climb. The Cathar shouts for everyone to hold position. "We won, let's not get killed trying to win more!" he shouts, glaring at the Republic Captain making his own arguments on the subject.

Dassalya activates her wrist comm. "Captain I Don't Care, there may be additional Imperial shuttles departing the planet. Do you have the resources to intercept?"

She moves to the nearest wounded in cover and begins triaging injuries.

The first roars of shuttles sound as she hears I Don't Care's response. "We will try. The Imperial warships are losing this fight but they have not lost it yet. And if we were to 'sell out' for an intercept, we would expose ourselves to a flanking strike. What, prepare a flanking course. Soon, try to work out firing solutions in case we cannot close."

Shuttles roar, not that far off, lifting off, either to reach other soldiers needing evacuation or making for the stars themselves.

"Understood, Captain. I trust your judgement."

She turns her attention fully, then, to treating the injured.

Captain Brightstar muttered as he came close to Dassalya, helping with the triage. "...do you really? His pilot's name is 'Who'."

Dassalya decides to ignore that comment in favour of her work.

Those looking, up in orbit, as the string of Imperial dropships returned home, would see a few explosions, long-rage fire intercepting the retreating units, but not so many. In not too long, word would come down that the Imperials had retreated, albeit after losing most of their orbital fleet.

And, as Dassalya is treating another of the injured, a familiar brown hand drifts into view, helping keep pressure on a wound. "Hey."

Her eyes flick up to take in the face she knows so well. A smile flits across her lips, and then she returns her attention to the task at hand.

"I am glad to see you are here."

"I'd rather be seen somewhere else," Merrant says, smiling at her. "Has Gherrod given you much trouble yet?"

"I cannot say I have exchanged two words with him," she replies. With his help, she bandages the wounded civilian she's treating, administers a pain reliever, and relieves her into the care of her companions. Dassalya rises, looking about for others to assist.

An angry looking Cathar walks up to them. "...Jedi, couldn't you have done that faster?!" he growled, but beneath the angry face, Dassalya could see a bit of warmth and relief in the man.

"Wanted to disable it without blowing anything up. Harder than it sounds." Merrant gestured at Dassalya. "Knight Dassalya Nasadee, Mister Gherrod, local corner-store owner and part-time revolutionary.

Seeing no one in immediate need of her, Dassalya allows Gherrod the courtesy of her full attention. She bows her head at Merrant's introduction.

"I am happy to meet you, Mister Gherrod. I hope the next time may be under more favourable circumstances."

Gherrod sighed, looking her over. "You saved my city and everyone that I talked into fighting here. From a Sith too. Seems like a good circumstance to meet."

Merrant just rolls his eyes.

Dassalya, again, bows her head, but this time in acknowledgement of his gratitude. "I did not save it alone. You and yours had the courage to stand against the Empire. That is not a small feat to be ignored."

Gherrod nodded, then tries to bow his head like she did. "...I don't plan on ignoring it. But thanks. So, is this where you give me the speech about joining the Republic?"

"Do you wish to join the Republic?"

"No." He said, sighing. "But I want to join the Empire a lot less. I'm sure the politicians will fight over it. Assuming they didn't kill all our politicians."

"If you join the Republic, it is true that it will better be able to send you aid if the need should arise again," Dassalya says calmly. "However, if your world does not wish to join the Republic, then I will not attempt persuade you otherwise. Your fate should be yours to decide."

Captain Brightstar jogs up at that. "Got word that Lancer Squad manage to rescue your governor. I mean, the one that was here before. Not sure if that's good news or bad, but it's something." He quickly salutes the Jedi. "Any orders for us, ma'am? Abstello's holding orbit, pretty sure all the Imps scampered off."

She turns to Brightstar. "They may return in an attempt to recover their assets here. I feel it wise to remain a little longer to deter any such efforts and to offer aid to the people."

Once again, her attention shifts to Gherrod. "If you are amenable to our continued help, that is."

Gherrod blinks, then looks around. "...wait. When did I get put in charge?"

"When you started shouting," Merrant replied.

"At me," chimed in Brightstar.

Dassalya hides a brief smile.

"...fine," Gherrod muttered. "You are welcome here by me for as long as it takes for the politicians to find their ass with a map. That work?"

She nods. "It is." She looks to Brightstar. "You have your orders, sir."

Brightstar nods, then starts relaying orders into his comm, particularly about sweeping the city, checking the infrastructure, making sure that Sorialas City would be open for business tomorrow, and the days after. Gherrod goes after him, if only to make sure that the right things were given priority by the offworlders.

Meanwhile, Merrant just smiles at Dassalya. "...next time, you're coming on vacation with me."

She chuckles and shakes her head. "I believe we found ourselves in a similar state of trouble last time we attempted to go somewhere together, did we not?"

"Exactly. If I'm going to stumble into a giant mess of chaos, I want you with me." He smirks.

Another smile. "Yes. I do seem to have a way of getting you out of it, do I not? Come, let us see what else the people need of us."

Merrant nods, going off with Dassalya... and looking forward to going home.
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas