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Topics - Toasty McGrath

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Worldbuilding and Community / The Eos Library
« on: 03/02/19, 06:12:14 PM »

Located a short shuttle ride from the Holy City of NiJedha, the Eos library is a small but immensely important reliquary of knowledge for the Jedi Order. It was carved into sandstone cliffs, in the center of the settlement of Jed'nais, and provides most of the income for the small village through tourist revenue. Jedi, Disciples of the Whills, and many other Force-worshiping orders throughout the Galaxy consider the library sacred, and visitors of all stripes can be seen perusing its halls. All are welcome in the Eos Library, should they only come in peace.

Eos the Defender

Spoiler: show
The Library takes its name from a Jedi Knight who sacrificed her life to save an ancient order of scholars and preserve their years of studies. Although the battle was lost to history, a statue of Eos Nayal marks the Library for visitors, her lightsaber lifted as a beacon of learning.

Statue of Abadesh

Spoiler: show
Equally important to the Library is the statue of Abadesh, the Jedi Master who oversaw its construction. In gratitude for his aid in founding the Library, the Disciples of the Whills erected a statue of him on its first centennial. Master Abadesh's grandchildren were among those who attended the celebration.

The Library

Spoiler: show
Thousands of years old, the Eos Library holds some of the most ancient knowledge in the Galaxy. Lectures and Force demonstrations are frequently held in its large courtyard, while dignitaries often meet in its the safety of its grounds. While most useful to those of the Force orders, the Library also contains some texts valued by secular travelers, from ancient treaties to recent compositions from obscure poets. While it lacks the resources of a research university, the Library is also home to a team of biologists studying desert farming techniques.

The Village

Spoiler: show
Jed'nais is a quiet community consisting primarily of low-scale farmers and groundskeepers for the Library of Eos. Its humble market square is frequently used to hold festivals, and the Fountain of Eos brings forth free water for all to drink.

Imgur collection:

Events and Occasions / Babbo's Spirit Eve Spooktacular!
« on: 10/07/17, 10:24:35 AM »
Babbo the Hutt invites everyone to his Golden Palace to show off their best spooky, goofy, and creative costumes to celebrate Spirit Eve! Show up in your favorite outfit or none at all and indulge in the finest luxuries in the Galaxy this October 31st. Repside players can contact Nykel for invites, currently looking for Imperial volunteers for invite duty. Hope to see you all there!

Holocrons and Info Nodes / "Penance"
« on: 01/06/17, 08:23:19 PM »
Jedha, Mid Rim.

Nykel looked out over the walls of the Holy City down at the reddish desert below, high up in a vantage point on the scaffolding of a temple being renovated. Off in the distance were the Catacombs of Cadera, an ancient tomb the size of a skyscraper that looked like little more than a tiny dot from NiJedha. The dry, frozen terrain reminded him of his homeworld. His brown jacket and pants barely protected him from the chill, but Jedha lacked the painfully-low gravity of his childhood home, and all the medical complications that came with it. That aside, Jedha’s harsh climate stripped away the frivolities of those who visited.

He turned back to face the rest of the city, its vibrant streets filled with pilgrims, scholars, and priests of every sort. Its markets were filled with trinkets and holy wards, and its many temples were filled day and night with travellers. The Dome of Deliverance and the Hall of Glass were majestic, and the Kansaari Monestary was serene, but nothing in NiJedha rivaled the scale of the Temple of the Whills, which towered above every other building on the grand mesa the city topped. Maintained by the Church of the Force, it housed one of the Galaxy’s largest repositories of kaiburr crystals, living gems held in reverence by many faiths and orders.

His travels in the city had shown him the myriad of pilgrims that journey to Jedha. He had watched a procession of monks from the Church of the Force pack into the Siren’s Grotto to join its round-the-clock chorus, and saw cultists from the Central Isopter lay offerings of blessed incense at the Anhera’s Shrine. He spotted a green-skinned Jedi trying poorly to blend into the crowds, and even glimpsed a black-clad Sith Lord wandering the streets at one point. One of the rumored origin worlds of the Jedi, Jedha was a place that Force users and spiritualists alike flocked to for guidance and inspiration. And that was why Captain Nykel Rooks was here. It was where his target had fled after the fall of the Eternal Empire.

Nykel had gone AWOL from the Corellian military to join Alliance Intelligence over a year earlier, sacrificing a promising career to fight the genocidal Eternal Empire of Zakuul. With that enemy toppled, he had a life he sorely needed to return to. Needed to fix. An old mentor had given him that way out. But it required an act of loyalty. The opportunity came when a chime from a distant seeker drone informed him that his target had been located. Lining his macrobinoculars up with the drone’s data stream, he zoomed in.

Down range, a group of three Scions of Zakuul approached a woman wearing plain white robes of a similar cut, although unlike the others she held herself rigidly instead of softly. She was a warrior, not a sage. According to the briefing he had received, she was a knight of Zakuul who had committed heinous crimes during the war. The macrobinoculars confirmed the drone’s assessment as it processed her facial biometrics and displayed the current bounty posted for her capture or elimination. The money was good, but he would never see it. Instead, he would get his life back. Setting down the macrobinoculars, he picked up his scoped blaster rifle and set up his position.

Through the digitized scope, he saw the Scions talk to the woman. She had a look to her, something different than he had expected. She pulled back the hood of her robe to reveal her silver hair draping down her back, not tied in a martial bun like the knights usually wore theirs. Also absent was the usual stern, haughty facial expression her people universally the few times he had seen them without their distinctive helmets. She was a mature woman, but a life of peak physical conditioning left her stunning, her light brown skin showing only the barest signs of age. Her eyes had a slight slant to them, and the deep battle scars on her face caused only a slight blemish to her beauty.

Nykel brought up the drone’s audio feed, but could not make out their conversation in the bustle of the city. Whatever they talked about, the Galaxy would never find out. The robed knight knelt down on her knees and hung her head. After a few minutes, the lead Scion kneeled down and laid one hand on her head. He put the other in her lap and grasped her palms. The woman said something, and in response the three Scions repeated it, loud enough for the drone’s audio feed to pick up: “In the Force, we are one.”

The three Scions left the woman in the street. She remained still, alone and on her knees, her act of atonement apparently fulfilled. Nykel waited for a moment where there were no civilians close by her, and squeezed the trigger. The green blaster bolt shot through the air in the blink of an eye and killed the woman instantly. He heard the frightened screams of the people below and hid himself from view. Despite the numerous witnesses, the exfiltration would be remarkably easy from a city like NiJedha. As he packed up his equipment and sent out a digital report of the completed mission, he uttered the phrase to himself.

“In the Force, we are one.”

Events and Occasions / Spirits Eve Spooktacular!
« on: 10/17/16, 08:17:56 PM »
Babbo the Hutt is feeling a little bored this year, so he's throwing a Spirits Eve Spooktacular! Bring your candy, costumes, and crazy ghost stories over to Babbo's lavish party to celebrate Spirit Eve the way it was meant to be. Come for the party, or set your sights to become the King or Queen of Spirits Eve with the scariest/craziest costume that partygoers will be talking about for months to come.

Holocrons and Info Nodes / "The Tithe"
« on: 02/05/16, 08:52:54 PM »
Akabur, Inner Rim
Two years before the Outlander

The Royal Palace grounds were majestic and vast, with menageries and gardens spanning its exterior in defiance of the planet’s desert climate. The air was warm and dusty, but not enough to blur the lights lining the countless winding footpaths leading to and fro throughout the grounds. The world had grown quite wealthy in the past century due to the discovery of several rare mineral substances in their dry world’s crust, and that wealth stayed in two places: the royal family and the military. Both were present that night.

Captain Nykell Rooks was at the palace on assignment with Corellian Intelligence, still working under his partner Verro Gallahan, one of the Agency’s best. While Rooks was kitted out in paramilitary gear, Gallahan wore only a casual civilian travelling outfit, his days of doing the footwork long behind him. Around them was a small cadre of elite Akaburan soldiers, soldiers loyal to the General of the Akaburai Military, the current King’s brother. The older of the two, the General had been stepped over for the throne when the previous king died, leading to years of resentment that had finally culminated to this night. The King was making preparations to withdraw the planet from the Republic and spare the world the increased quotas brought on by the capitulation to Zakuul. When the man approached in the dusty night, his tall, slender figure stood out. Nykell watched his mentor handle the situation as they met.

“General. I’m glad we got to finally do this in person. As per our promise, if you go through with this tonight, the Corellian Council will vote to recognize your government once it’s done. And since we’re a Core Founder, the Republic Senate will follow suit within a week.”

“Good.” The tall, skinny man replied. “They will recognize the sacrifices I made during the wars with the Sith. Sacrifices made while my brother lounged in his palace as King.”

Nodding, Gallahan puffed on his cigar. “I’ll make sure they play that part up. Shall we?”

“We shall. This has been a long time coming.”

They shook hands, and then together the three men and a small army of elite troops walked into the palace. All security was bypassed with the mere biometrics of the General, and any palace guards who had not been contacted previously were silently killed on sight. They passed ballrooms and steaming baths, only stopping so the General and his men could kneel before the palace shrine to the Two Gods of Ramu. When they reached the Royal Office, the King was there in his bedclothes, still working on the legal documentation for the upcoming secession. His bodyguards inside died within seconds of the door opening, just as their compatriots had outside the office. The General had his pick of the armed forces, and brought his best killers to accompany him.

“Brother?” The King said, startled by the bloodshed initiated by the General before being shot in the chest.

“You know why this had to happen.” The General said as he knelt to look his dying brother in the eyes. There was no remorse on his face while he watched the life drain from the King.

Sitting down on at the desk, the General took up the traditional-style parchment and ripped it in two. “It is done, then. Now we discuss the terms of your treaty.”

Gallahan pulled out the datapad containing the specially-written treaty between Akabur and the Republic and set it on the desk. “No need, we’ve got it all sorted out already.”

“You misunderstood our agreement, Corellian. Akabur will remain in the Republic, which is what you wanted. The rest will be done on my terms.” The General said, the smug confidence of a man who just won a coup usually exhibits seeping from his body language.

Gallahan did not bat an eye, and instead looked over to Nykell. The CDF Captain had seen his share of violence and was not afraid to use force to achieve his nation’s ends. He stormed behind the desk and slammed the General’s head onto its hard wooden surface.

“Sign the treaty.” Nykell said to the General, pulling his blaster pistol out of its holster. He put it to the man’s temple when he did not comply and shouted at him. “Sign it!”

“If you don’t, your successor will.” Gallahan stated nonchalantly, looking at the officers in the room, none of whom had even reached for their weapons in defense of the General. The spies had made sure they were well paid, and the chance to become the next leader of their world only helped to sweeten the deal. The General looked down at the document, despondent and outplayed, and signed.

Within two days he declared himself the first President of Akabur, a bone he threw to the Republic Senate while praising the merits of democratic rule. To shore up royalist support however, he married the King’s daughter in a public ceremony with the intent to create sons who would inherit the presidency. Akabur remained a loyal Republic world, and the minerals continued to flow into the Core Worlds, just as planned. Minerals that would then be added to the tribute demanded of them by the Eternal Empire. This was not the first time that such actions had to be taken, but measures like this coup would not be sustainable for much longer. It had to end sometime, and it would not end well.

Holocrons and Info Nodes / The Spy Game
« on: 12/07/15, 09:27:25 PM »
“Mighty Babbo, I come bearing Life Day offerings from the revered Susuda the Fuller. His Hutt Majesty graciously bequeaths these gifts as a symbol of his benevolence and gratitude for your help in ‘resolving’ his dispute with the cursed Izbunna of Sleheyron this summer…”

The foreign Hutt’s sycophant drolled on for several minutes before the court of Babbo the Hutt, presenting a small banquet of presents that could barely be fit into the room. Most wealthy members of his kind usually had massive throne rooms, but Babbo preferred to call the luxuriously-decorated chamber in his Golden Palace on Nar Shaddaa an “office.” An exile from Hutt Space as a young huttlet, Babbo sought refuge in the Corellian Sector, and had thrived there for most of his life. Only in his recent retirement had he returned to settle in the “Old Country,” as all elder stateshutts do. Years of sly dealings had granted him immense wealth and influence, and he chose to spend his retirement as a power broker, lending his say and sway to change the course of the Galaxy from the luxurious confines of his palace.

The visitor continued. “. . . One of his harem’s finest slaves, Lipana. May she serve you well.” He brought forward a gorgeous young woman wearing a shock collar. She was dressed in a humiliating metal bikini, and seemed resigned to her sad fate. Even her name, which was taken from a tasty berry known to be one of her former master’s favorite snacks, attested to her lot in life. Babbo barely batted an eye at the young beauty.

Tending to his riches in his spare time, Babbo had found this life to still be somewhat boring; having so much power as to ensure he would never be trifled with lost its charm after the first few years. To remedy this he decided to get into the bounty business. A year into the Second Galactic War he became one of the leading shareholders in the Bounty Brokers Association and began playing the bounty market. He even opened up “The Bird of Prey,” a lounge for bounty hunters, in his palace to encourage business. This too failed to keep the old Hutt interested, however, which led Corellian SOFCOM Captain Nykell Rooks to his palace this evening. The crime lord had worked with Corellian Intelligence in the past, much to the immense chagrin of Corsec back home, but it was rare for the Huttfather to initiate contact.

“. . . And finally, the great Susuda gifts you with this shield, taken by his very own Susudan Oathsworn from the enemy. A finer war trophy will never be found.” The servant at last finished, taking a deep breath at the end of his carefully-practiced spiel. He was as much the property of his Hutt master as the gifts he delivered, even if he wore no chains. He dared not botch his presentation for fear of punishment.

“Very well, this pleases me. Go tell your master his friendship is ever appreciated.” Babbo the Hutt said in basic as he scratched his chin. He was only vaguely paying attention to the gifts; they did not matter to Babbo. It was the show of respect that was owed to him that he cared about. Be it a galactic kingpin sending him a luxury yacht or one of his slaves presenting him a handmade trinket, it was the respect that mattered.

Babbo dismissed the visitor and lifted himself off of his massive couch to inspect the gifts. Life Day celebrations had been modest throughout the Galaxy since the war with Zakuul ended, but a Hutt in Babbo’s position was rarely affected by such a dramatic economic depression. He lifted a cigar the size of Nykell’s arm off of an ornate platter and stuck it in his gaping mouth. A waiting slave eagerly rushed to his side with a butane torch to light it. Nykell detested slavery, and the sight made his stomach churn. At least this Hutt treated his slaves better than most.

The elder hutt approached Lipana and inspected her like she was livestock. “Tell me Captain, is this one attractive?”

“Very much so, Mr. Babbo.” The human officer responded, displeased that his rank had been announced in a room with strangers. In the black ops community, secrecy was paramount.

“Very good, very good.” The Hutt muttered, puffing from his giant cigar as he looked up at the massive debris field orbiting Nar Shaddaa; the remains of the dreaded Star Fortress that once held the system in bondage to the Eternal Empire. “Now, tell me about this ‘Alliance.’ I think it is time I got involved with this lovely little war…”

Cantina / Your Character's Influence Gifts
« on: 11/02/15, 09:00:38 PM »
Hey guys, I thought I'd put forward a little game I've been thinking about lately. To dovetail a bit off of the holiday gift exchange @Zmaj scheduled, I was wondering what sort of influence gifts everyone's characters would like if they were the player's companions. For example, here are Nykell's influence gifts from lowest to highest:

Nykell Rooks

Like: Cultural Artifact
Love: Imperial Memorabilia, Military Gear
Favorite: Republic Memorabilia

Can't wait to hear about yours!

Coronet, Corellia
Five years before the Outlander

“I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”

The young woman sat up, pulling up her dyed blond hair as she lifted her torso from Nykell’s chest. She wore a skinny black dress, typical of many women at the club that night. They had been making out in a private room before her sudden change of heart.

“Wait, what’s wrong?” Nykell asked, surprised.

“I’m sorry, it’s just… The eye.” She replied, half embarassed, half eager to just get out of the room.

Of course it’s the eye…

Nykell had seen many battles in the war against the Sith Empire, and it left him with many scars, including a glowing, ominous, red cybernetic eye that wierded out women. Augmented people had always been seen with apprehension in nearly every culture in the Galaxy, even inclusive societies found in the Republic. Even though Corellia electing a cyborg as Prime Minister went a long way to reducing the stigma there, it was still present.

As she left, Nykell hit the night club’s sofa in frustration, but calmed himself down quickly. He should have known it would be this way. The whole reason he was at the club and spending time with women like her was because his friend had dragged him in to celebrate his return home. He was a professional grav-ball player and always attracted a crowd, but it was clear that Nykell’s purpose there was mostly just to be his excuse to party. Nyke didn’t know anyone there and nobody knew him. Truth be told, the woman probably only got close to him so she could appease his celebrity friend.

He walked out of the private room and up to the bar. At least his friend was paying for the drinks. He ordered a vodka mule and threw it back. As usual, he was the only person at the night club not dancing, getting laid, or otherwise having a good time, and instead he skimmed the news headlines on his smartcomm. While he was at the party, lots of alerts had popped up in his absence. Reading them in order, unreliable rumors of an invasion from Wild Space slowly turned into early reports. Early reports turned into confirmed sightings. Sightings turned into official headlines. And according to the headlines, just ten minutes earlier an announcement from the “Eternal Empire of Zakuul” was made, declaring war on the Galactic Republic. And that was when Nykell looked at his comm’s inbox:

“Official mobilization notice, effective immediately. All defense personnel are to report to their units. This is not a drill. Prepare for war.”

Holocrons and Info Nodes / The Coming Shadow (Vignette)
« on: 10/14/15, 08:02:43 PM »

Camp Xesh, Jenaro Bay Detention Facility, New Plympto
Five years before the Outlander

It always rained in the primordial jungles of New Plympto, and tonight the large drops shined in the bright white glow of the camp’s spotlights. Even outside, the camp was delineated with mesh fences placed to form outdoor corridors and discourage detainees from making a rush for cover. Snipers manned posts and scanned the area with their blaster rifles while guards walked trained canoids around the perimeter. But most importantly, it was located on a world not directly governed by Corellia, which gave it political deniability. The local Nosaurians were none to happy with the military prison built on their soil, but they were in no position to protest.

Lieutenant Nykell Rooks walked through one of the mesh corridors, watching several of the orange-clad prisoners nearby with his red cybernetic eye as he walked past. Most were terrorist, typically Imperial-aligned militants who had been fighting guerrilla wars against the Republic ever since the Empire’s devastating loss at Corellia. Nyke had been with CDF Special Operations Command for a couple of years now, and he had helped put many of the monsters behind bars. But for those years only one prisoner mattered, and something big had just changed with him.

He reached the maximum security building in the center of Camp Xesh and signed in with the guards. Even though he was a special operations officer, he got patted down like everyone else; the prisoners in this ward were so dangerous that no risks could be taken. Nykell knew the process well. He knew the building, the people, and the prisoners. Camp Xesh had become an intelligence gold mine in the years following the start of the Cold War, and every special forces operator visited it several times a year for interrogations. Tonight, however, the camp’s most prize possession had finally broken. When he reached the prisoner’s cell, he found the man curled up on the ground, shaking and mumbling gibberish. He was plugged into an IV feeding him nourishment, but didn’t seem to notice any of his surroundings.

Captain Varsus was the crown jewel in Camp Xesh’s prisoner registry. He was a commander in Emperor Vitiate’s Imperial Guard, a dangerous warrior whose will had been enslaved by the most powerful being the Republic had ever faced. For years he had provided information to the CDF and Corellian Intelligence, but only against those common foes that threatened the Empire. The man was willing to divulge secrets about the Dread Master and the Order of Revan, but once those enemies had been terminated he went back to his permanently-silent self. Nothing could break an Imperial Guardsman, not even the off-the-books “enhanced interrogation” activities that occasionally took place at Camp Xesh. So what had cracked this man’s psyche?

“How long has he been like this?” Nykell asked.

“Since Ziost.” The interrogator replied, looking at the broken man on the ground. Captain Varsus gasped for a brief second upon hearing the name of the Sith world that Vitiate had exterminated, and then fainted. A medic rushed into the cell to check on the prisoner, but Nykell had seen enough. He knew exactly what had reduced this formidable monster into a gibbering vegetable. Something had happened to the Emperor, and it was about to get worse for the Galaxy.

Holocrons and Info Nodes / “Good, for Mandalore”
« on: 09/23/15, 12:44:01 PM »
Operation Caraway, Corellian Intelligence Clandestine Operations Directorate
Roganda, Planet Mandalore
Three years before the Outlander

Humid wind flew by Nykel Rooks’ face as the speeder rushed through the jungle, the tangled, dark mang’ja trees flying past his vision. The climate in this part of Mandalore was ideal for cane sugar plantations, and that industry made up the majority of the region’s economy. Be it harvesting, processing, or simply supporting the sugar trade, everyone in the town was involved. It also brought with it the alcoholic spirits industry, as Nykel’s partner made sure he knew.

“I tell you, the booze here aren’t like that crap you get at the store. Rogandan molasses makes the best fucking rum in the Galaxy. Hands-down. You can barely even taste the ethanol; it’s like candy. There’s a reason the Mandos can’t stop drinking it. We’re definitely bringing back a few bottles since we’ll be bypassing customs anyway...”

Nykel simply nodded, taking in the sights. The man he was working with was Verro Gallahan, one of Corellian Intelligence’s best Core Collectors for the Mandalore Sector, and he did more than enough talking for the both of them. He was an older man, with a sizeable gut and a cheesy gambler’s mustache, his slicked back hair quickly losing its fight against the gray. He was also a family friend, one of Nykel’s father’s greenputt buddies in Coronet, although nobody suspected he actually worked for the Galaxy’s oldest intelligence service. Indeed, Nykel suspected that his parents had always hoped he would one day marry Verro’s similarly-aged daughter, although that plan humorously fell through in her teens when it became clear she was “not into men.” But their families had remained close through thick and thin, even when Nykel lost his father and Verro lost his wife, and he looked up to the older man with great respect.

Nykel had recently been accepted into the agency and Gallahan had volunteered to take him under his wing for a few operations. Something of a surrogate father for Nykel as he grew up, it was a natural fit. This time it took them to the capital world itself, one of the most dangerous places for Republic-aligned operatives to travel to since there was no diplomatic relations with the Mandalorians and thus no possibility for official cover. But Verro was the Agency’s best man when it came to the Mandalore Sector, and was as much at home there as he was back on Corellia.

As they approached the town of Roganda, a light rainstorm began to fall, pattering everything inside their open-topped speeder with small, dark dots. All around them were abandoned buildings and an aborted construction projects, with blaster scoring peppering most major streets. Relics of the Crusader’s Schism.

“The contact’s name is Kenyobaran Hurrain, goes by Kenyo. She’s a member of Clan Itera, actually Andarra Itera’s second cousin. I worked with her father back in the civil war, she’s solid.” Gallahan said as they turned onto a main avenue in the town.

“What happened to him?” Nykel asked.

“What else? Died in the war. Right on the last day, too, hours before the cease fire. Artus Lok’s enforcers killed her mother a week later, although nobody could ever pin it to the Mandalore.”

“They’re just assets.” Nykel replied dismissively. He was no fan of Mandalorians.

“Well, these ones were good. Clans Ordo, Kelborne, and Itera joined Cadera against the current Mandalore. The Imperial-aligned Mandalore. If they’d won, it could have tipped the scales in our favor during the Cold War. The Empire would have lost its largest deniable force. Trust me, it was worth the try.”

Gallahan was right, and the locals didn’t forget it. Roganda was still dangerous territory for the current Mandalore’s people, even after all the years that had passed since the Crusader’s Schism. Anyone from a loyalist clan stupid enough to wander its streets at night usually ended up dead, so he stopped sending them. It was one of the few places on Mandalore that it was relatively safe to be aligned with the Republic. Unfortunately, it was also one of the poorest settlements on the planet, relying almost entirely on agriculture for its existence. All but one of the three rum distilleries in the town had closed, and the last one was the single largest employer in the region, which did not amount to much. Still, it was home to a proud people whose honor meant more than just glory in battle, but in staying true to one’s allies.

“So what do we need her for?” Nykel asked.

“Her dad was a major player in the Schism. She’s still got connections from him, and will certainly give us a safe house. Plus, she has a serious thing for older men.” Gallahan said, winking slyly.

Nykel sighed. “Always an ulterior motive. You’re a dirty old dog, Verro.”

The man put a lit cigar in his mouth, a clever smile on his face. “Sometimes. And no real names on Mandalore.”

They pulled onto a narrow street and stopped in front of a run-down townhouse. The street was dirty and wet from the rain, and the fog obscured all prominent points of ingress. A woman in was working on a project in her workshop, which was set up in the garage. Kenyo’s parents both used to work at a machinist shop in a parts factory in Roganda, but it got destroyed in the war. Now she worked small orders, mostly producing parts for farm equipment for locals. On shelves were pieces of metal, and strewn around the floor were welding equipment and an expensive 3-D fabricator unit. Kenyo herself was busy welding two large pipes together, her face mask pulled down.

“Knock knock.” Gallahan said loudly to get her attention.

The woman looked up and pulled back her face mask, revealing the attractive if dirty face of a woman roughly Nykel’s age. “Haven’t seen you in a while, Goddart.”

“What can I say? I’m a busy man these days.” The old man responded, treating his cover name as if it were his own.

“Yeah, well you left us high and dry after Artus Lok started cleaning house.” Kenyo said as she shut off the welder and slammed it angrily into a nearby cabinet. “Who’s your friend?”

“Rolan Dienes.” Nykel said, using his own assumed name.

“Right…” She said, removing her gloves and moving to a nearby sink to wash the grime off of her hands, arms, and face. She had fair skin, but her face and arms were artificially tanned after hours of UV exposure from welding. She kept her long, brown hair tight in a ponytail, and she wringed the soot out of it as well while she talked. “Why did you come back?”

The old man feigned humility. “Look, I’m sorry I left when your father died. You have to understand, things got too risky for me to-”

She cut him off, agitated. “I didn’t ask why you left, I asked why you came back.”

“Kenyo…” He said.

There was a long pause, but she soon came up and gave Gallahan a hug. One that only a close friend would receive after years apart. “Come on. I’ll show you inside.” She said.

=          =          =          =          =

Two hours passed of settling in and catching up, and Kenyo became more amenable to her guests. The townhouse was small and cluttered on the inside, with just two floors and a handful of tiny rooms filled with random junk and tools. On the wall was a vidscreen tuned to the Imperial News Network, itself ironically a former division of Imperial Intelligence. On another hung photographs of Kenyo’s family, including one of her parents. Unlike the rest of the home, these were tended to, a telling sign of how the woman viewed her own life now. And resting on a mannequin in the corner was a set of brown Mandalorian armor, dusty and forlorn after years of neglect. She agreed to let them spend the night while they worked on their operation. All it took was a hint that their business would fuck with the Mandalore’s grand plans and she jumped on board. As night fell and the time for sleep arrived, Kenyo headed upstairs to the house’s only bedroom.

“She said you get the couch tonight.” Verro said, getting up out of his chair. “Sleep tight.”

“What about you?” Nykel replied, chuckling until Verro looked up at the stairs to the bedroom with a sly grin. He then sighed. “She’s young enough to be your daughter, dude...”

“That’s the beauty of it. This old man’s still got it.” Gallahan said, followed by his customary wink as he made his way up the stairs.

After ten minutes of trying to ignore the sounds coming from the bedroom, Nykel picked up his gear and stepped outside. The night was foggy, as most were in Roganda, and the smell of the jungle travelled far into the town. He lit up a cigar and puffed from it, wiping sweat off of his brow in the humid night. It was a quality cigar and burned for about 45 minutes, before he went back inside for a beer. As he navigated the clutter into the townhouse’s tiny kitchenette, Kenyo came down the stairs in a bathrobe, apparently to do the same.

Putting a second, unlit cigar in his mouth to free both hands, Nykel pulled out three beers, opened them, and handed two to the woman. “Sounds like you’ve been having fun.”

She smirked at him as she took the drinks. “Jealous, are you?”

“Of course not,” Nykel bluffed unconvincingly. “Old man’s been knee-deep in pussy ever since I was a kid. Nobody can compete with him, so there’s no shame in it.”

She laughed. “I knew you’d say that. You know, he thinks of you like a son.”

“Mandalorian pillow talk,” Nykel muttered grumpily.

“Psht.” She snorted dismissively. “Just trying to get under your skin, eh? You don’t know what he did for our people back in the war. What he did for my parents.”

“And that’s why you’re helping us.”

Kenyo nodded, reaching for a stylus and paper note. She wrote down an address and a code word on it and passed it on to Nykel. “People here remember our friends. There’s a cantina walking distance from here. The owner will know where your target is.”

“So I get to work and he gets a dinner-and-dessert.” Nykel said, nodding up to the bedroom. “Brilliant...”

“Well, one day you’ll be the boss.” She laconically replied as he left the house.

=          =          =          =          =

Tor’jan’s Cantina was small, with seating for maybe twenty customers at a time. It had one bartender, one waitress, and a stage to one side that hadn’t been used in years. The radio was tuned to festive, tropical dance music, but nobody danced. Nykel walked in, his all-black fatigues emphasizing his cover identity as an offworld mercenary recruiter; his scars and cybernetic implants only enhancing his appearance. Recruiters were one of two common types of offworlders commonly seen on Mandalore, the other being arms dealers. He sat down at one of the old tables and set up his laptop, complete with a real uplink to well-known mercenary networks.

The young barmaid walked up to him to take his order. She was pretty, with black hair and brown skin, and she wore a black and red dress and flower in her hair. Nykel hadn’t seen much color in Roganda, and the flower stood out like a beacon of light in the dull earthtones of the town. Around her neck she wore a small amulet that indicated she was soon to be married, although how any couple in that impoverished town could afford a wedding worthy of such beauty was beyond him. He closed his laptop and met her gaze. Although he considered trying the Rogandan molasses rum that Verro had raved so much about on their trip in, Nykel settled on a bottle of beer. As she brought his order back, he thanked her and asked a question.

“Is the owner around tonight?”

The barmaid looked at him suspiciously at first, but shrugged away her paranoia and motioned behind her. “He tends the bar nowadays.”

“Thanks.” Nykel replied, sliding over a handsome tip as he payed out for his drink. One thing he learned over the years is to pay common folk well, as one small act of generosity could make the difference between being ratted out to the authorities or an eyewitness conveniently forgetting having seen anything.

The man behind the bar wore green traditional mandalorian armor, although it was scratched and worn extensively to the point where the metal could be seen in many places. Nykel walked up and leaned over the bar, catching his attention.

“Folks say you own this place.” He said in his most casual tone.

“Folks say a lot of things, aruetii.” The bartender replied, his Mandalorian accent thick as he spoke.

Nykel looked him in the eyes and mentioned the code phrase Kenyo had given him. “Starfield.”

The Mandalorian scrutinized Nykel for a moment, but his demeanor eventually relaxed. “Alright, what can I do for you, offworlder?”

“Darno Baraddas needs to die.”

The bartender went silent for a moment. Baraddas was one of the Mandalore’s enforcers in Roganda, and with his private army of mercenaries and bounty hunters, he was one of the few untouchable men in the town. It was obvious that he was reluctant to help. But after a long pause, Nykel took a good look at the man and realized he was silently watching a group of three armed and armored patrons walk into the cantina and begin scanning faces. Outside there were around a dozen more patrolling the streets.

“You may get your chance, outsider.”

“What do you mean?”

“That one is Lastagir, one of the top bounty hunters on Mandalore. The one next to him is Hantir Spinebreaker. And the big guy in the middle is Darno himself.”

Turning around slowly, Nykel watched the three men pull their weapons. “Oh SHIT...”

He jumped behind the counter instinctively, pulling his own blaster pistol out of its holster, and all hell broke loose. The three enforcers shot up the bar, sending shards of glass from shattered bottles everywhere. The bartender pulled out a shattergun from behind the counter and returned fire. Tables all around the cantina got upturned for cover as the other patrons joined the fray, some out of ideological loyalty, others simply to have a good scrap. Outside, the sound of blaster fire began to draw armored figures out of their homes and into the streets. In a matter of seconds, Roganda transformed into a war zone once more.

Blaster bolts smashing his surroundings into debris all around him as he returned fire, Nykel frantically pulled out his communicator and called Gallahan. “Uh, boss? I think I stirred up the hornet’s nest…”

=          =          =          =          =

By the time the smoke settled, Roganda was once again silent in the foggy night. Mandalorians in the streets were talking casually as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. War was truly what these people lived for. Nykel walked out of the ruined cantina and into the street. Most of the loyalists had escaped the fight, but on the ground among the several armored corpses that littered the area was the distinctive red armor of Darno Baraddas. Unlike his men, he refused to retreat once the town turned on them. Nykel put two rounds into his chest and one in the head to make sure the job was done. Verro walked up to the scene, puffing his trademark cigar with a satisfied smile on his face, while Kenyo followed nearby, wearing her brown armor at last.

“Good job, kid.” The older man said, chuckling.

Nykel looked around at the destruction all around him. “You call this good?”

Verro shrugged. “Good for Mandalore. C’mon, the three of us have a shuttle to catch, and we’re hitting the liquor store before we go.”

The night sky of Corellia’s northern hemisphere was always alight, even if one was located far from the outskirts of any major city. But even though there was too much light pollution to see anything more than the faint outline of the Milky Band, what replaced it was far more breathtaking. Along the planet’s equator was a massive ring of shipyards, docks, and all of the associated traffic buzzing about them to and fro. It was their very own artificial galaxy, a testament to their progress and affluence.

Nykell lay on a blanket on the ground as he watched the enthralling show above. His head rested in his girlfriend’s lap, her hands brushing through his trimmed hair as she hummed a soft song. Nerissa was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and she always hummed to him at night. It was soothing, one of the few things that would actually make him forget the troubles of the world after all the years of war and betrayal. He was a Captain in the Corellian Defense Force, and had seen more tragedy and senseless killing than any person had a right to.

They had met in college, and although they broke up shortly after becoming a couple, six years later they crossed paths again and decided to give it a second chance. Both had done a lot of growing up since those youthful days, and the opportunity had come to get the relationship right. To that end Nykell made good on a promise he had made so many years earlier, to take Nerissa out to the desert to see the stars; something that could not be done in the city. Out on the historical Route 99 the only signs of civilization were gaudy, neon-lit fuel stations, diners, and motels, each with their own kitschy hook to attract tourists travelling the worn-down road.

This trip was an attempt to keep their relationship fresh, because even the eloquent love letters he sent her from abroad when he was on assignment began to lose their effect. He had always been better at telling her he loved her than actually showing it. He was still the arrogant, possessive, and detached man that he was when they first broke up, and this was his way of trying to put things right. In reality he didn’t love her; not truly. That wasn’t an emotion he was capable of any more. But he did care about her, and this was the best his hardened heart could offer.

They had talked about the stars, constellations, and even the starships in the sky for some time that evening, but now they were both quiet, watching the night’s show in silence. It was such a change from life in the capital that it was almost overwhelming to experience the solitude and peace that the autumn’s desert nights provided. She leaned down to kiss him and he met her halfway, although the strain of moving to meet her lips made his recently-replaced cybernetic implants ache. It was worth it, he decided without a second thought. She slid her hands down his arms, and then to his hands, and slowly lifted them onto her body. First over her clothes and then down to reach under, reminding him of another activity they had not done for some time. It was the middle of nowhere, and a little fooling around would never be noticed. Nerissa gave him a playful smile, her eyes catching the glint of the glowing horizon as she looked down at him. It was then that something in Nykell’s pocket chimed.

“Nine Hells…” He muttered, frustratedly pulling his hands back out into the cooling night air. He always carried two commlinks: one his personal and the other an encrypted cell from his employer. Standing up, he reached into his pocket, dreading finding out which one it was, before finally pulling out the work comm. At Corellian Intelligence, operatives were required to have it on their person at all times in case of emergencies. Apprehensively, he swiped the screen to unlock it, revealing a text message from his boss, the Assistant Deputy Director for Black-13, CI’s targeted operations unit. The man led the most elite unit in the Galaxy, identified only by its numerical assignment on the Agency’s budget, and this meant he spent no time on triflings.

The commlink’s text message contained only two sentences: “Big op coming up. Get back to Coronet immediately.” He looked back at Nerissa, feeling guilty over having to cut their long-awaited vacation short. He didn’t have to say anything, the look of disappointment on her face told him she already knew. It was not the first time this had happened to them, and he only hoped it would be among the last times it did.

Holocrons and Info Nodes / De Otio Religiosorum
« on: 04/19/15, 06:55:37 PM »
((Since this has been the big weekend for Star Wars teasers, Elym and I present the intro to our pre-Patch 3.2 story due out before the patch. Enjoy!))

[Jakku, Outer Rim.]

Shiar wiped sweat from her brow with one hand with a cigarra in her mouth. When she wiped her hand on her pants, the water evaporated from the cloth in a matter of seconds, leaving only a light line of salt behind. As far as the eye could see, there was only sand and rock. There was little more to Jakku than this, but its distant location made it useful for discreet meetings, black market arms deals, underworld hostage exchanges, and the like. It was just one of countless barely-habitable desert worlds perfectly suited for this. The heat was oppressive, but the trip to this pathetic backwater planet was well worth it. Or at least, she thought, it’s my job. Shiar took one last habitual puff from the cigarra before tossing the butt into the sea of crystalline sand that stretched out to the horizon.

“That’s littering,” her partner said, sitting on the hood of their speeder behind her.

“So it is, Petrarch, but you’ve bigger problems than an errant cig butt.” She retorted sarcastically, peering off to the horizon. In the distance, its image warped by convection currents lifting off of the hot ground, appeared a speeder fast approaching. “Right on time,” she said.

The speeder eased up its throttle as it neared them, the driver clearly exercising some caution as it reached the long-weathered ruins where the meeting place was set up. What this tiny settlement used to be would remain a mystery until the years finally wore it down entirely, at which point there would be no reason to believe this spot was ever inhabited. Finally comfortable that the location was secured, the speeder stopped a few meters from Shiar’s, and a bounty hunter stepped out.

“Choo have coin?” He asked her with a heavy Huttese accent.

“If you have the package,” she coldly responded, pulling out a small bag of cartel coins. In the underworld, this untraceable hard currency was always prefered.

Satisfied for the moment, the bounty hunter walked to the back of his speeder. He was covered in cloth garments that both protected him from the sun and obscured his face. Shiar didn’t even know what species he was, not that she cared. He opened the trunk and pulled out a figure, his arms bound tightly and his face obscured by a cloth hood. Setting the man on his knees, the bounty hunter pulled up the hood to identify him. Shiar nodded. “It’s him,” she said, tossing the coin purse to the hunter.

“Choo want I leave him here?”

Shiar didn’t bother even voicing a response, and simply waved her hand dismissively. She was an Imperial, and felt no need to stoop down to such grotesque beings as bounty hunters in conversation. As the hunter hopped back into his speeder and left in the same hurry he had arrived in, she pulled out another cigarra. She lifted the hood off of the man’s head, although the sudden brightness of the sun and golden sand still left him blind. Calmly, she offered the cigarra to him, lighting it as soon as he accepted the offer and sticking it in his mouth. He was clearly dehydrated and starving, having suffered no small measure of ill treatment at the hands of his captor. It was a sad, pathetic image, and any normal person would feel sympathy toward the man. But she suppressed her emotions at seeing such a wounded and helpless specimen. She chose instead to remember what he had done. The Emperor he served.

“Why?” She asked the man, not really expecting a response. “Why did you do it? Make me understand.”

The bound man paused, reflecting upon the years of evil deeds he had committed on behalf of Emperor Vitiate. When he finally spoke it was deliberate, full of shame, even remorseful. His sentence trailed off as if it was fate itself speaking through him for his final words. “You don’t know the power of the Dark Side…”

She looked back to her own speeder, where her partner was sitting. He nodded, and she turned once again to face the bound man. As he burned through the last bit of the cigarra, Shiar pulled out her blaster pistol and shot him. Without saying a word, she walked back the driver’s side door of the speeder and got in. “All right, then. Where to next?” She asked, unsettlingly nonchalant.

Outside Realm / Shakespearean Star Wars
« on: 04/18/15, 06:57:38 PM »
Okay, this was too awesome to not share...

Holocrons and Info Nodes / De vita solitaria
« on: 03/14/15, 01:22:25 PM »
[Coronet City, Corellia.]

Bombs exploded in the distance and aircraft darted overhead as he made his way back to the spaceport. There were bodies everywhere, buildings had been reduced to rubble all around him, and he was bleeding. For the past several months, Captain Solan Petrarch of the Corellian Defense Force had held his post at the Coronet Spaceport, leading his security teams to keep military resources protected while the Empire mobilized their forces in Coronet. He had adhered to the Prime Minister’s order to stand down and cooperate with the Imperial authorities, a decision which was rapidly becoming an increasingly bad call for Corellian policy makers. But Solan was a soldier, and he followed orders. Until, that is, today.

Throughout the Imperial occupation, local Corellian insurgents had sprung up to oppose the Sith, and despite being nearly wiped out during the height of the occupation they had grown in size due to the timely counter-invasion by the Republic military. One man in particular had risen to leadership within the resistance, and Solan needed to contact him. After all this time, he finally was going to do his part to save Corellia from the Empire. One comm call would give him the direction he needed.

Satisfied that he was out of earshot of any prying Imperial troops, Solan dug his communicator out of his uniform pocket and fumbled to look up the number. Nine hells, he thought, I’d better get a damned signal. He scrolled down through the list of names, his hands shaking from hours of hunger and adrenaline, until he found the number of his old college Military Science instructor, Colonel Tonson Rampart. Colonel Rampart had retired from the service after a long and distinguished career right before Solan had graduated, but the occupation had drawn the man back into the fight. One of the few resistance commanders to have survived the multiple counter-insurgency campaigns that the Empire had conducted over the weeks of occupation, he would have a large say in the new government to be formed after the Sith were driven off of Corellia. He was the man to call. Solan pushed the button and listened to it ring.

When the voice finally picked up, there were no sounds of battle on the other end. No explosions or blaster bolts whizzing by, only the quiet background of a victor’s command center. After being on the defensive for so long, the resistance was now able to fight a real war. Likewise, the voice of Colonel Rampart was calm and collected, nothing like the scrambled panic he’d been seeing at the spaceport.

“Mr. Petrarch,” the man said as a greeting, his voice cold and uninviting; nothing like the affable man Solan once knew.

“Colonel, I’m at the Imperial evacuation center at Coronet Spaceport. Just tell me what I need to do.”

The Colonel paused for a moment before answering. “Solan, you need to slip out, find the nearest Republic patrol, and surrender. I can promise you will receive a fair trial once this is all over, and you will most likely be given a pardon for your collaboration by the reconciliation committee.”

This hit Solan like a turbolaser. “Surrender?” “Collaboration?” “Trial?” He had simply been following his orders and cooperating with the Sith like he was told to do. Now that the government had finally collapsed, Solan had planned to join his fellow Corellians and do his part in the resistance as the Empire was in full retreat. Instead, the man he had looked up to for so long told him to turn himself over like he was some sort of criminal. Some sort of traitor. The shock of hearing his plans crumble before him left him speechless.

“Sir, I…” He stumbled through trying to form a coherent response.

“You backed the wrong team, Captain. It’s time to live with the consequences. Turn yourself over and I will promise you will be treated fairly. Too many Corellians have died needlessly for anything else.”

Solan did not respond; there was no point. After several seconds of silence he hung up, removing his comm’s various internal chips and smashing them to pieces to prevent being tracked. He had to take such precautions now. He had become the enemy. After weeks and months of following orders, just for doing his job, just for guarding a damned spaceport, his own countrymen now considered him a traitor. Even if he was pardoned, his career was at an end. He would never be allowed to remain in the military, nobody in the private sector would hire a collaborator, and any government job would be permanently out of his reach. He had served his country with dignity and diligence, and it had betrayed him. He walked into the bustling militarized spaceport, despondent. Troops were being rushed into shuttles as the Republic advanced through the Incorporation Islands. One loadmaster grabbed Solan’s shoulder.

“You’re on that one!” The sergeant shouted at Solan so he could be heard over the rush of jet engines all around them, his Imperial accent thick. “Besh Two-Five! That’s the last shuttle taking on Corellian Nationals!”

Solan didn’t respond. He only stared at the geometric, angular Imperial shuttle across the tarmac. The time to choose his fate had come: prosecution or exile. A slap to the head from the Imperial loadmaster snapped him out of his trance. “Move, soldier!”

And with a heavy heart, Captain Solan Petrarch marched over to the Imperial evacuation shuttle and climbed aboard. From there, he went off the grid.

= = =

[Talaos City, Makeb. One year later.]

Solan sat at a café table in the prestigious Talaos Grand Resort, drinking his cocktail beneath soft-lit string lights as twilight slowly crawled across the sky. The air was warm, but with the sun having set it was not unpleasant, and people were out and about enjoying the nightlife. Tourists, bankers, and local hospitalities workers bustled to and fro around him, going about their business. More a small luxury town than a hotel, like most settlements on Makeb the Talaos Grand was built with a distinctly rustic aesthetic, with ceramic tiles and carved stone used in lieu of durasteel and ferrocrete. It made the planet feel more exotic, harkening back to some oft-romanticized galactic past that likely never actually existed in reality.

For the past year, Solan Petrarch had “retired” to Makeb, and had finally gotten used to his life in exile. Using an assumed identity and easily-forged credentials, he got hired as chief security manager at the First Bank of Makeb, which he found to be one of the cushiest jobs he’d ever taken. A small fortress for holding the credits of wealthy tourists and investors looking for a place to hide offworld slush funds, the First Bank of Makeb was all bark and no bite. Being located on a neutral, isolated world that just happened to have a gravitic anomaly that prevented any fast escapes should anyone attempt a heist, the bank had no real need for expert security personnel. It relied instead on extensive and expensive technological devices for protection. When he had approached them with his years of military security experience, the bankers jumped to take him aboard.

One of the perks of the job was an all-access pass to the Talaos Grand Resort. The First Bank of Makeb dealt primarily with offworld investors, so the resort did what it could to keep its relationship with the bank at a cordial level, even going so far as to permanently comp rooms for the bank so as to encourage it to send its clients their way. Petrarch naturally took advantage of this as frequently as possible. Tonight he had found himself a cozy seat near an outdoor dance pad, sipping his Ice Blasters and watching attractive young tourists dance their asses off to the tune of an acoustic band playing on a small stage nearby. Normally he would have picked a stool at the bar by the resort’s main pool where he would cowardly back out of any attempt to pick up swimsuit-clad women, but a groundquake earlier that day had unfortunately cracked it, and over the course of the afternoon the pool was closed while the water slowly drained out. Odd, he thought, how there had been three quakes this week.

The resort as a whole wasn’t very crowded that night - the Hutt Cartel annexation had driven many to cut their vacations abruptly short – but the dance pad was still remarkably lively as traffic had been diverted away from the drained pool. The bartending staff had set up additional drink stations around the pad, turning the plaza into an outdoor night club, which had naturally attracted a sizeable crowd. And in that crowd was one woman who Solan could not take his eyes off of. Beautiful and graceful, she seemed born to dance; her black hair and olive skin glistening in the night as she moved beneath the warm lights above. Every move she made on the dance floor seemed to happen in slow motion, and he felt electricity in the air every time she made eye contact with him.

And then it happened. She walked up to him and put her hand on his, pulling him out of his seat and onto the dance floor. Solan never danced. He hated it with all of his being, but somehow this woman had pulled away all inhibitions with just a look from her sharp eyes and a playful smile. The tempo of the acoustic band seemed to slow down with time as they moved to the beat, the lead string player injecting heat into the air only to be thrust into the night by the soft drums. He lost himself in her eyes, and the two danced like star-crossed lovers in the middle of the crowd. Every time he brushed his hands against her arms it was like lightning, and it was doubly so when her hands touched him. By the time the song had finally ended, Solan found himself exhausted, as if they had spent the whole night on the dance pad. Likewise winded, the stranger smiled at him and wrapped her arms around his neck, whispering a discreet question into his ear. Petrarch pulled back and smirked cleverly before slipping his spare room key into her hand, kissing it as they separated from the embrace. The woman departed, turning back one time before disappearing down the crowded street to look at him with an alluring smile, and Petrarch made his way back to the café seat to finish his drink.

As he picked up his Ice Blaster cocktail, one of the hotel staff approached him holding a tray, which he sat down on the table before him. On it was a small, disposable pre-paid communicator, typical of the cheap, trendy models bought by travelers at spaceports. “Mr. Dienes?” The waiter asked, calling him by the assumed name that Petrarch had used since leaving Corellia. “For you, courtesy of an anonymous guest.”

Petrarch picked up the comm, thanking the staffer. Almost immediately after the man departed, the device chimed as an incoming call lit up its screen. Curious if it was given to him by the woman earlier, he held it to his ear and connected the call.

“Mr. Petrarch?” A feminine voice asked over the comm. He use of his real name shocked Solan out of curiosity and into suspicion.

“How do you know that name, and how did you find me?” He demanded.

Her response was longer, clearly meant to give him time to recognize her Imperial accent. “If you recognize who you are talking to, you’ll know we have eyes everywhere. Tracking you down was never an issue.”

The Empire, he thought to himself. “What do you want from me?”

“We have an operation on Makeb that you might play a role in, Mr. Petrarch. We don’t have many assets on the ground, and your positioning may prove useful.”

“And why should I help you?” He asked. “Last time I did, it ruined my life.”

“Because you know we have resources. We can give you a career again, Captain. We can give you dignity, the respect of your peers… We can give you protection. All we need is your cooperation.”

“Protection from what? Why should I trust you?”

The woman on the other end paused, but he got the distinct impression that she did it for emphasis, not hesitation. She knew she was in control of the situation, and she was toying with him. “The woman you just met. The one with the black hair? In half an hour she will try to kill you or capture you. She’s a bounty hunter known for luring her targets in that way. She has quite the gift for it, it seems.”

“Why should I believe you?”

“You already do, Captain. Call back at this number if you decide you are willing to play ball. Provided you don’t get killed beforehand…” The woman said, letting her final sentence trail off before she hung up.

Petrarch didn’t know what to think. He knew she was right, everything had seemed to fit into place just as she described it. He could only hide from his past for so long before it caught up to him. He walked unarmed back to his hotel bungalow, expecting an ambush at any point on the way. As he arrived along the secluded foot path, he saw nobody following him or hiding among his surroundings. The little street was silent. But as he approached his bungalow, he saw that the lights were on inside. Damn, she wasted no time, he thought; chastising himself for not moving faster. Now this supposed bounty hunter had the upper hand. But he needed answers, and there was only one way to get them.

He slowly slid open the low-tech swinging door, and he saw her sitting on his bed, playfully waiting for him. Her clothes were the same, but she had clearly undone several key buttons on her blouse to “get more comfortable,” and the look on her face was clearly meant to entice him to come closer. He slowly closed the door, and that was when they struck. The woman’s partner, dressed more for battle than romance, stepped out in between them, his light body armor strapped with military-grade equipment typical of bounty hunters in the Outer Rim. He pointed a blaster at Petrarch and smirked, knowing his bait had worked perfectly. Petrarch put his hands high above his head in surrender, and neither party spoke a word for seconds. But where Petrarch’s hands were now placed put them perfectly within reach of a hidden weapon hitch in the ceiling which held a scattergun. Smugly satisfied that his trap had worked, the armed bounty hunter didn’t take any notice of where Petrarch’s hands had gone. He would die for that mistake.

“Alright Petrarch, you know the drill. Put your-”

These were the man’s last words as Petrarch swiftly pulled down the scattergun and unloaded a blast at point-blank range into his chest cavity. Being hit in the center of mass meant that every shot pellet went into a vital organ, and the impact shock stunned the man for his last few seconds before succumbing to unconsciousness and eventual death. The woman screamed, shocked at both the violent death of her partner and the sudden reversal of her own fortunes. She was meant as bait, which forced her to remain in the room unarmed, and now she faced a scattergun pointed directly at her head.

“Who put out the bounty?” Petrarch demanded loudly, seeking to quickly intimidate the woman into talking before security arrived.

“You - you killed him…” She said, still in shock.

“Who put out the bounty!?” He demanded again, grabbing the woman by her long, black hair and shoving the scattergun in her face.

“Corellian Intelligence!” She exclaimed, now terrified enough of the man that she spilled the whole story without thinking. “We only work for them so they can keep it covert. They put out a capture/kill notice on you and we were cashing in. They’re… They are cleaning house.”

This told him everything he had always suspected. Coldly, Petrarch pulled the trigger. He quickly wiped his fingerprints off of the scattergun and positioned it in the dead woman’s hands before leaving into the night. Once he was confident he had escaped cleanly, he pulled out the pre-paid comm he was given earlier and speed-dialed the number.

“Welcome to the Empire, Agent Petrarch.” The woman on the line told him.

Events and Occasions / Halloween Stronghold Costume Party!
« on: 10/29/14, 11:42:57 PM »
Hey guys, this is Nykell from Jedi Custodum. Are you going to be at home this Halloween, playing Star Wars: The Old Republic while passing out candy to all those fantastic Trick-or-Treaters? Would you still like to attend a costume party? Well this "Trench Coats and Tommy Guns" event is just what you're looking for!

To mark the grand opening of Babbo the Hutt's Sky Palace casino and lounge, the doors are being flung open on Halloween night this year for all mobsters, private detectives, and sultry lounge singers to bask in the glory of the Godfather of Nar Shaddaa, and YOU ARE ALL INVITED! So jump into your best 1940s costume, put on some jazzy lounge music, and join the party for some intrigue, greed, and backstabbing the way no other cantina in the Galaxy can match. There is no set time, and I will be online all evening long so that the new stronghold looks perfect for all of you guests.

It officially starts at 6PM server time, but feel free to jump in whenever. Whether you just drop by to check out the scene, or you stay the whole night and RP, I can't wait to see you there! And most of all, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Here is the location:;sa=details;lid=24

For some background on the goons that run this gig:

And finally, for your listening pleasure:

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