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Author Topic: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-  (Read 4527 times)

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Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #15 on: 01/18/15, 10:47:11 PM »
WISH YOU WERE HERE!


Dawn Star Vacation/Secret Mission ATC 13, Orgone Bay, Zeltros
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #16 on: 01/25/15, 07:24:17 AM »
Smoke and Mirrors, Parts I and II Recap

After the attack on Va'ara's Hill, SmugCo searches for information on the whereabouts of the captive outlaw tech Hintin O'reily.  Striving to confirm their suspicion that the mysterious Ionax II, the Grasperson, is the culprit, SmugCo operatives use social engineering and technical knowhow to track the Grasper's henchwoman, Glisteena the Glorious, to a resort at the port city of Orgone Bay on Zeltros.

Outfitting themselves in appropriate local attire, the group infiltrates the Competing Forces Pleasure Hotel and corner Glisteena.  After dispatching her guardians, the group interrogates the muscle-bound Iridorian, who reveals that the Grasper's 'son' has been manipulating events all the while, and is the true Grasper.  According to her, O'reily's mind contains information the Grasper greatly desires; information he is unaware of, but which he apparently picked up during the mission to Ossus.  Through threats and cajoling, the ops coerce Glisteena into revealing O'reily's current location: a hidden satellite in the Koravar System.

Glisteena asks for one further favor: death at SmugCo's hands, fearful of the punishment she's receive from the mysterious Grasper.  The ops angrily refuse, and leave her alive...absconding from the local gendarmes and preparing to face whatever the shadowy collector has in store around Koravar III...
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #17 on: 04/08/15, 05:39:25 PM »

-The Grasper's Palace-


There is no better feeling than that of finally finding yourself...finally finding what you were meant to do.


I had known, since rebirth, that I was meant for something greater than the eternal scrabble of the organism, the search for food and shelter and warmth.  I knew that I had a destiny, for I had the power to make my own.  But what that destiny was, what purpose there was to my power and genius, eluded me.  It was lost to the mists of time.


So I searched.  I scrabbled...I wasted my precious time and zeal on food, shelter, warmth.  I gathered those who recognized my lambent superiority, those who bent knee or showed throat.  And for a time, it was good...but purpose eluded me.  Wealth, power, all of the accoutrements and knick-knacks I gathered in my search...they only held meaning as parts of the whole.


But I never forgot what I truly wished to gain...I could never silence the gnawing emptiness, the lack of purpose that left me as naught but Creation's greatest and most pitiable cypher.  Until now...until I found that guidepost that, in another life, I set for myself.


What a gift!  What a wonderful, glorious, mad gift!  I sometimes wonder if even that ancient architect, that ghost of myself that lived at the beginning of this beautiful quest, knew what he had set in motion!  I will finish the quest, gather the components, and then I will give everyone that lives that which I strove so desperately to obtain.


At long last, by my HANDS, in my EYES...all that lives shall be given PURPOSE, and I shall be whole and beneficent.  It is no more than we all deserve...peace in our hearts.  Won't it be a better, a more wonderful universe under my control?



Won't the game be so much more fair when I'm the only player left?
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #18 on: 04/12/15, 02:36:52 AM »
The Story Continues

Soundtrack: Ancient Lore - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2wnBGSe9hw

Act III

Aided by Jedi Knight Ran-del Qardaak, a Smugglers Coalition rescue force raided the Grasper's secret installation above Koravar III.  While the Jedi did battle with the mysterious smoke demon, SmugCo tracked down the kidnapped Hintin O'reily and found him suspended in the Heartbreaker, a torture mechanism of the Grasper's design meant to chemically alter the subject's brain, inducing a fantasy mindscape designed to make the subject utterly pliant.

The SmugCo ops faced off against the Grasper, and learned that he wielded incredible Force powers.  Despite being outmatched, luck and skill won the day and the SmugCo ops managed to rescue Hintin and escape...though the Grasper made off with the mental archive he'd withdrawn from O'reily.

Upon treatment, O'reily explained why he'd been captured: exposure to a Sith holocron during SmugCo's mission to Ossus had inscribed the holocron's data upon O'reily's brain, which the Grasper extracted using his Heartbreaker.  To learn more about the holocron, SmugCo contacted the retired Sith Lord Seylon, who revealed that it was inscribed with the name 'Venim Tectus' and appeared to be of Sith Golden Age vintage.

Seylon also offered a further source of information...a vulnerable Imperial Reclamation Service archive on the planet Zythia.  Using a purloined Jurgoran-class gunship, SmugCo raided the archive and, despite heavy opposition from Imperial agents working for the Dark Network, escaped to free space.

The archive revealed much: Venim Tectus was a sorcerer of antiquity, renowned for his ability to alchemically bind man and machine into horrid new beings.  Working on Korriban before the Great Hyperspace War, he had promised Naga Sadow a device of such Galaxy-shaping power that no force would be beyond the Sith's grasp at its completion.  Tectus locked himself away in a laboratory for years, receiving constant shipments of materiel and slaves...over 20,000 poor souls, all of whom were reported as 'casualties'.

Near the end of the Great Hyperspace War, as resources dwindled and times grew desperate, Tectus demanded more slaves, along with Sith artifacts including a Sith Meditation Sphere wrought on the planet Ziost.  Before his orders could be fulfilled, however, he was reported slain 'in an accident', and his remaining slaves and apprentices sealed him within a Tomb...just days before the Republic arrived and scoured the Sith from Korriban's surface.

What is a 'Meditation Sphere'?  Is the Grasper after it?  If he gets it, what would he do with it?  What connection does a Human have to a dead ancient Sith?  Who IS the Grasper?

To Be Continued...
« Last Edit: 04/12/15, 02:45:13 AM by blingdenston »
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #19 on: 09/12/15, 01:25:08 AM »
Act III Continues

After a period of quietude, the Grasper makes his move!  Offering vast sums of money to the most elite fortune hunters in the Galaxy, the Grasper begins gathering items of ancient significance, moving ever closer to his mysterious end goal.

Goaded by Captain Pehn Qardaak, the Smugglers Coalition's special missions force infiltrates the Grasper's coded holocast and learns about his latest maneuver.  Enlisting the assistance of the rogue Schism Collective agent Mandus Lahke, SmugCo was able to track down one of the items on the Grasper's list: the lost flagship of Ludo Kressh.



Raiding the flagship, SmugCo managed to download the ancient archives of the flagship before it disintegrated all around them.  With this resource, they had an in to the Grasper's trust, and a debate ensued as to what to do with this opportunity.  Recalling the Grasper's heinous actions, and the asymmetry of the Coalition's resources against the Grasper's sinister legions of servants and dark powers, the Coalition voted: they would attempt to assassinate the Grasper.



While Captains Qardaak and Foha scouted out the casino-fortress where the Grasper dwells with his mercenaries and father, Doctor Kyri Orell and the Echani Yzmerri prepared a false copy of the ancient Sith archive with a deadly envenomed shrapnel bomb within.  Drafting Captain Qardaak's bodyguard droid Kyodai to make the delivery, but one challenge remains between SmugCo and vengeance against the mysterious magnate: they must infiltrate the Grasper's Palace and ensure that Kyodai is in position to destroy the sorcerous enigma, once and for all...
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #20 on: 09/19/15, 12:48:55 AM »
Act III Continues

A SmugCo team consisting of Ames Ricker, Foha, Yzmerri, Doctor Kyri Orell, and Pehn Qardaak infiltrated the Grasper's Palace, covertly aiding the assassin droid Kyodai and the deadly bomb he carried in gaining access to the mysterious magnate.  After subverting local security, the group was faced with a dilemma: while their bomb was in place to assassinate their foe, it was also within lethal range of Ionax I, the elder Grasper.

After an argument about whether the lives of those threatened by the Grasper were worth more than the life of a single old man, the decision was made: Kyri activated the bomb, and executed both Graspers.  But, suddenly, Ionax II rose from the ground.  Mortified by the blast, he was flayed to the bone...revealing a bronzium skeleton under his flesh, and a mysterious eye-shaped talisman implanted in the muscle of his chest.



Enraged, the still-living Grasper began casting the smoke demon ritual, sending invulnerable manifestations of Sith sorcery hunting for the SmugCo agents.  Retreating to Pehn's ship, the Rodomontade, the SmugCo ops escaped...but not for long.  The Grasper, having recognized Pehn's bodyguard droid, sent them a holocall: give him the archive of the flagship of Ludo Kressh, and all would be forgiven.

When SmugCo refused, he put his attack into motion: he had 'bought out' Hintin O'reily during O'reily's captivity, 'convincing' him to sign half the company over while the beleaguered tech was under the effects of the Grasper's Heartbreaker torture device.  He had also forced O'reily to document the criminal activities Pehn Qardaak and his associates undertook as agents of the Coalition, and revealed them to the authorities, leading to Pehn being indicted and hunted throughout the Republic and Empire.

Now, with Dawn Star in the Grasper's hands, Pehn and the rest of SmugCo struggle to crack the archive, hoping to discover the Grasper's end goal before he can get there first...
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #21 on: 11/22/15, 04:18:33 AM »
Act III Nears Its Conclusion!

With outlaw captain Pehn Qardaak in hiding, the Smugglers' Coalition gains aid from both the Jedi and the Sith to try and outfox Ionax II, the Grasper.  Traveling the Galaxy in search of signs of ancient Sith meditation spheres, SmugCo journey to places a far-flung as the haunted Cron Drift, to the savage Sorrow Lands on Dosha.

Finally, the race ends up at Begeren, where the Grasper and his forces have begun excavating a long-crashed Sith ship.  Assaulting the digsite alongside a large group of Erinian regulars and mercenary warriors, the SmugCo ops come face-to-face with the Grasper.  A brutal fight ensues, which ends in the Grasper's apparent death...but it was a trick!  Using the amplified illusion-casting powers enabled by the half-destroyed Meditation Sphere, the Grasper buys himself enough time to escape!

During the battle, Captain Qardaak meets the unmasked Grasper for the first time...and realizes he knows him!  One of the Captain's greatest shames, a young Grasper hired Pehn to smuggle him onto Korriban...and was abandoned by the young Qardaak when the Sith and Imperial Guard swooped in to capture the tomb-raiders!  Now possessed of the power of a Dark Lord, the Grasper manages to elude the SmugCo ops and escape with the Meditation Sphere.

But Pehn believes he knows the Grasper's next step and, as mysterious raiders from Wild Space prepare to attack the ancient Sith homeworld, the Rodomontade races to confront the dark collector...
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #22 on: 12/04/15, 03:10:49 PM »
The Colossus, Part One

14 ATC - the Zakuulan attack on Korriban


Korriban burned, and he was glad for it.



He held no rancor (vengeance is mine!) against the Sith...despite their torments (their disrespect!) he had discovered true strength as their slave, and he would never have become whole (blind in the dark) without their...tender ministrations.  But he saw the machine of Empire under siege, and was glad for the distraction.

Ionax II, the Grasper, felt the ancient Sith ship around him shudder with the force of a distant ship exploding.  The meditation sphere had not been spaceworthy when he excavated it, and the restoration of such an object was beyond even him...but the kludge his engineers had worked out to make it glide through the endless dark was more than enough...and the most important part, the lattice of crystal and bone and Power that would furnish his ultimate victory, had withstood the test of time.



He concentrated, and a cloak of deception tightened around his ship.  If you asked him how he did it, he could never tell you (the Force has a powerful effect on the mind...), but the 'how' was unimportant compared to the 'what' that he sought...the source of his power, the tool left for him by ancients to cure the afflictions of the Galaxy (to grind the weak to dust!)  Unnoticed by the beleaguered Sith (always so blind to my glory) or the invaders in their ships of white-and-gold (how much worse than defeat shall be irrelevance...) the Grasper's motley ship rode whining ion engines through the graveyard planet's atmosphere.

One ruined hand, the flesh no more than a lace of grue around his bronzium-colored skeleton, reached up and touched his masked face.  The metallic fingerbones scraped against the metal of the mask, making an unpleasant skirl that briefly drowned out the sound of the retrofitted navicomputers and flight controls.  "It's been a long time siiiiiiince I last came to Korrrrrrrriban," he murmured, as he watched two Empires slaughter each other over the rust-red plains and spine-shaped mountains of the Sith homeworld.

...

8 BTC - The Sirensong Saloon, Ylesia

Ionax II adjusted his satchel, feeling the weight of the holdout blaster inside and taking a deep breath.  He stuck out here like a Zeltron at a nunnery...tall, gangly, clean, and obviously well-heeled.  The crowd at the Sirensong in the afternoon was just as thick as it would be in the evening, packed with late-morning shift spice-processors and kajidic bullybeings just getting loose of the Ylesian drug-factories.  Creatures of every stripe stared at him - a filthy Adnerem scavver dealing with his Cragmoloid client through a protocol droid, an amber-eyed Arconan playing thundersticks with a Paaerduag's smaller head, and a whole crowd of Vippit accompanied by a slime-trail cleaning drone.



He had the space of a second to swallow before the crowd returned to its business, and he felt intense relief...he'd lived on Ylesia almost all of his life, but he'd never been down from the Besadii's pleasure satellite alone before.  He had hoped that his experiences at the University of Boglingbond's digsites would have prepared him for such adventures...but there was a significant difference between cataloguing the artifacts in an abandoned Nevoota glory-hive and facing down a crowd of drug-dealing aliens.

Of course, that wasn't the only disappointment stemming from his University time...he thought, again, of his father and tightened his jaw.  Ionax strode in, over bold.  He would not blanch from the task at hand.  He had much to prove...

He didn't even noticed the short Huralok, so consumed was he by his self-appointed quest, until he'd almost bowled him over.  He plowed straight into the stout, rust-colored reptilian and bounced off of him like a puck from a goalpost.  Crying out, young Ionax stumbled backwards and landed on his delicate rear, wincing at the crash.  The bar fell silent as, again, everyone inside turned to watch the outsider.  Ionax took a moment to squeeze his eyes shut, to deal with the pain and embarrassment, before he became aware of the gun shoved in his face.



The Huralok towered over the prone Human, pointing an ugly little blaster with a bore that looked as huge and dark as the Maw itself in his face.  "Schutta...you think you can just barrel through my space without a care?" the Huralok asked, his noseless face clenched like a fist in bitter fury.  "I'm not important enough for you to pay attention to, rich-girl?"

"Uh...uh...ahm...I'm...I'm a male..." Somehow, someway, it was the first thing that came to Ionax's mind...not, 'I'm sorry' or 'My mistake', but 'Correct a factual inaccuracy'.  If his father could see him now, he'd be so proud of his dedication to truth.  It would have been nice to give the old man SOMETHING to be proud of.

The Huralok deepened a shade, going from rust to ochre.  "AND I'M NOT?   You cur!  This settles it.  What I do now is only what you deserve!  Ignorant, bumbling..." The tridactyl creature moved swiftly to cock the blaster, and Ionax's mind strained for something to say...anything, anything to offer that would set this madness aright...

"Oh, knock it off, Lehkx.  Shootin' 'im in the face ain't gonna make you taller."  The Huralok's flush deepened again, and he whirled to his left...just fast enough to take a sneaker-clad foot to the mouth.  The stocky humanoid stumbled, joining Ionax on the ground as the interloper stood tall.  He was Human, maybe the same age as Ionax...but in far worse condition.  He was mostly bald, aside from a stripe of red-dyed hair that stood up from the crown of his head down to the back of his skull.  His face was livid...not with emotion, but with still-healing jagged tears and scorches that puckered around several exposed pieces of bionic attachment...most prominently an open, searing-crimson cybereye.



The interloper had a long-barreled target pistol in his hand, which he leveled at the Huralok, arresting the attempt to bring his own blaster to bear.  "Don't do it, Lehkx.  I'd hate to make you even shorter by puttin' you in a shallow grave."  The Huralok was wide-eyed with outrage, but obeyed, his stump-like teeth gritted.  The interloper turned the barrel of the gun to Ionax, pointing at him.  "Now. say you're sorry."

Ionax swallowed, looking around.  "I'm what?"

"Say you're sorry!  Tell Lehkx what a crapper you are for knockin' 'im on 'is duff!"  The cyborg waved the barrel of his gun in a little figure-eight as he explained.

"Ah, uh, yes.  I'm sorry, sir...I really intended no offense, truly."  Ionax looked towards the Huralok, who's huge, bloodshot eyes stared only at the cyborg.  The cyborg nodded in satisfaction.

"Great!  Now, your wallet."

Ionax blinked.  "What?"

"Your wallet.  Gimme your wallet."

"Ah!  Yes!"  Ionax scrambled in his pack, pulling out a leatheris pouch and offering it to the gun-wielding cyborg.  The mohawked man smiled cheekily, and moved the gunbarrel back towards Lehkx while he deftly unlaced it and jiggled it around.

"Ooh!  Clinky-clink.  Here..." The cyborg upturned the pouch over Lehkx, dumping a few golden peggats and silver truguts on him.  "There, that makes up for it.  Take it an' get outta here."

"This isn't ended, whelp.  I won't forget this...I NEVER forget..." There was a roar of gunfire, and the entire bar inhaled as the Huralok's little blaster exploded.

"I don't miss twice, Lehkx.  Take the money an' run!"

The Huralok scrambled to his feet, standing as tall as his squat frame would allow.  He took the money, looked one last time at Ionax, and then stumped out.

The cyborg smirked, his horrifically scarred face seeming somehow even worse for the merriment.  "Charmer.  I bet he drives all the lizards wild back home.  Now..." The gunman decocked the gun and shoved it into the front of his baggy airmen's jumpsuit-trousers, and began to search through the pouch.  He took two golden peggats and the tossed the rest back to Ionax.

"That's my fee.  Advice is free, though...watch where you step 'round here...rich-girl."

The swaggering interloper turned to leave, and Ionax saw the flight patch on his unzipped jumpsuit-top.  There! Ionax blurted: "Wait!  You're with...Flipdarter Squadron, yes?"

Ionax sat up as the man put his hand on his hip and looked down at him.  "Yup."

"And...you're...not engaged?"

The spacer laughed, bouncing the coins in his hand.  "You ain't my type, sunshine."

Ionax scrambled up to his feet as the bar quickly resumed its business in the wake of the excitement.  "No, no, I mean: you're not currently on assignment?"

Ionax loomed over the other man, hands clenched over his stomach.  The scarred man scowled.  "No, I'm on leave.  If you're lookin' for a bodyguard, find some Gamorrean or Red Nikto..."

"No, I do not require a bodyguard.  I'm looking to hire a pilot!  I have more money."

The cyborg looked up at him, still bouncing the coins in his hands.  "OK.  I'll bite.  What's your name?"

"You can call me...Iann.  And you are?" Ionax held out his hand in what he understood to be the usual gesture of introduction.

"Qardaak."  He took Iann's hand and gave it a quick pump.  "Pehn Qardaak."

To be continued!
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #23 on: 12/09/15, 02:50:02 PM »
The Colossus, Part Two

8 BTC - The Sirensong Saloon, Ylesia

It was barely even a 'crash'!  It was more like...a kiss.  Just a little smooch.

Sure, it deformed the fuselage a little bit...and that one laser cannon won't ever shoot straight again...but, as mid-flight collisions go, it barely warrants mentioning!


And, Pehn Qardaak noted bitterly, MY ship is perfectly fine.  Where's the justice, I ask you?

The rest of Flipdarter Squadron took him entirely too much for granted.  He could match any member (aside from Kogan.  And Reyyde.  And that freak Phneg [which is barely worth debate...he's  Pho Ph'eahian!  Four arms, that's like cheating!]) in kills in the air, and missions completed on the ground...but one LITTLE navigational hiccup and he's off the active flight list for a MONTH.

Well, one this time.  There had been others.  But they all had their mitigating factors!

"Umm, Mister Qardaak...are you...there?" said 'Iann'.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Pehn said, raising his head from his drink and looking at the kid (he's PROBABLY younger than me, he thought).  His cognitive danger tracker rated him low (aside from a hidden weapon, likely in the satchel he kept close at hand), but all of his normal senses told him the guy was an easy mark. 

Being off the active flight list meant no pay...and Pehn had blown all of his savings on numbspice and a traveling dancing troupe out from Sleheyron.  If he didn't scrape together a gig before his suspension was up, he'd either starve...or the agony of cybernetic rejection would get to be too much, and he'd eat his own gunbarrel.

Pehn tapped his orbital implant.  "Lotta information to deal with.  Gotta process all this stuff most non-augs ain't never aware of.  That's one o' the things that makes me such a bad-ass stickman, though...well, that an' just plain style."

'Iann' smiled, a guileless and nervous expression that revealed his bright white teeth and made him look even younger.  "I don't just need a 'bad' pilot, though...I need a smart one.  I need someone who can...gleam the cube, yes?"

Pehn kept his sabacc face.  "You mean, you're lookin' for a cutter?  A rocambolesque?  A three-channel hooster?"

'Iann' looked confused, and then nodded tersely.  "Yes!  You understand."

Think he means 'smuggler', Pehn thought, and smiled.  Inside, his guts fell.  He knew next to nothing about smuggling...he'd never done it in his life.  As a member of Flipdarter Squadron, he flew combat missions in space, and he did commando work on the ground...but he was more in the 'slice a comm' or 'slice a throat' school.  Kogan and the other old hands handled the logistics...he was just the muscle!

They all thought they were so much better than Pehn...he remembered how they laughed when he asked them what they meant when they talked about hammocks and pulling teeth...

"'course I do.  Been cubin' turkey since I was knee-high to a Chadra-Fan.  Question is, though, whether or not you can afford me?"  Well, Pehn would show them all.  Here was a nice little hammock of his own.  He'd pull the job, get all the cash he could, and then show up for muster with a fat stack of gold and a story to make 'em envious!  THAT'S what they'd get for trying to teach Pehn Qardaak a lesson about 'responsibility for yourself and your comrades'!

"Oh, of course," 'Iann' said, losing some of his nervy tension and reaching into his satchel (Pehn felt his pulse jump, felt his hand crawl down to his waistband before the danger tracker insisted that the threat level remained low).  He drew forth a datapad, which he slid across the beaten plastoid table to Pehn. 

The pilot picked it up and glanced through it...weight and crew manifesto, ration planning, armaments...even the licenses for a gently-used Plug-6 heavy fighter.  "I've taken the liberty of purchasing and provisioning a ship already...my mechanic assures me that it's in excellent working order."

"Yeah, well, I'll wanna check it myself...don't take this the wrong way, cupcake, but you never trust your balls in another mech's hands.  How do you think I ended up this way?" Pehn smirked and gestured to his scarred, bionically-modified face.  From what little he could reckon, the setup looked fine...he recognized a lot of digging equipment, class-five droids for heavy labor, enviro-acclimators for an arid environment...and a Plug-6, with the right control setup, could be a sweet slam indeed.

"I'd never hazard a guess, sir," 'Iann' said, swallowing in discomfort...but not looking away.  "As you can see, you'll be well reimbursed.  When do you think we'll be ready to go?"

Pehn scrunched up his face, causing his scars to (intentionally) furrow in a very unpleasant manner.  "Shouldn't take more'n a couple o' days to get all this put together...we got supplies for five people?"

"Yes, a few compatriots of mine will be assisting me with the dig."

"Yeah, that explains the sonic drill an' the preservation cases...where'm I takin' you, anyway?"

"Oh!" 'Iann' smiled, getting excited.  "That's the best part!  Korriban!"

Pehn blinked, his cybereye flashing open to scan the kid again.  He felt his guts twist a bit.

'Iann' looked a bit worried.  "Will...will that be a problem?"

Pehn blinked again, then smiled broadly, again causing his scars to stand out.  "Nah!  Why would it be?"


8 BTC - Hyperspace

Six days packed into a heavy fighter with four other people were about five days too many...but he did not mind, because he was taking charge of his life.

Ionax looked over to Tivesta, snoring away in her hammock, the baby-fat of her face making her a sketch of innocence.  He looked beyond, to the lit area of the hold where Minlan ran the umpteenth equipment check on the droids, tossing his lekku over his shoulder and scowling.  And he looked up towards the cockpit, where the hireling and Divenja were flirting bawdily between arm-wrestling contests.

He sat back and smiled, adjusting the light-capturing lenses on his face and looking back to his datapad.  'Numbering only eleven, the Exiles were welcomed as gods by the primitive natives and eventually took up the titles of Dark Lords of the Sith. Founding the first Sith Empire after killing King Hakagram Graush, Ajunta Pall took control of the Empire and was...'

There was so much he knew he did not know about Korriban, about the Sith homeworld that had been reclaimed from the Republic 20 years ago.  From his understanding, the Jedi had guarded the place jealously, sequestering all research taken from there and studiously repelling all interested parties...it was a goldmine of unknown treasures and undocumented finds..and, more than that, a true challenge for any anthropologist and archaeologist to venture forth into.

Imagine his face!  Ionax closed his eyes, letting the datapad droop, and once again felt a thrill of anticipation.  He envisioned himself striding through the Besadii Memoratorium, entering his father's office, and plunking down...what would it be?  Some jeweled treasure?  Perhaps a text transcribed from tomb-stone?  Or maybe...a lightsaber, taken from the hands of a long-fallen Dark Lord!

Wait...did they use lightsabers?  Perhaps not...  He felt a sudden, small wave of guilt.  All his training told him that he was engaging in something foolish...not merely because of the dangerous inhabitants of Korriban, but because he was engaging in what amounted to base grave-robbery.  This was not science...it served no purpose but his own.

He thought again of his father...of Ionax I, trusted servant of the Besadii kajidic.  A biped honored as as a true companion to the Hutts, his father was the curator of the opulent Besadii Memoratorium...a complex on Ylesia dedicated to chronicling the long, glorious history of the Besadii...and hosting rare treasures that showed the heights of their taste and the depths of their fortunes.

Those slugs...they have no appreciation of anything.  Their collection is nothing but a...a prop, for their own vanity! Ionax scowled.  His father was a great man, a true scholar.  And he was dedicated...dedicated to the upkeep and growth of the Memoratorium.  For Ionax I, it was no mere pile of treasure, or bullet point on a list of gangster's bragging rights...it was, indeed, the preservation and honoring of generations of Hutts gone by, and a testament to their glory.

Ionax I had earned his place in the Hutts esteem...he had spent most of his own life, and all of Ionax II's, in the pursuit.  It is all he cares about...all he knows to care about.

But once I've done this...once I've shown him what I can do, that I'm a scholar in my own right...then he'll know that I've followed his path!  He'll know how much his example means to me, how much I've worked to rise in his esteem!  Maybe...

Ionax smiled, returning to the scene in his mind: striding into the Memoratorium, his robes dusty from the field (perhaps some blaster-holes in the hem, to add to the excitement?)...stepping in front of his father and delivering...a skull, crowned in mythra and bearing a scroll of ancient Sith poetry between its teeth!  They'd laugh, and chat...and, seeing that his namesake had truly entered the family business, Ionax I would take some time to talk with his son about his work...and the next adventure they'd go on together...

Ionax smiled, sitting back up and jostling the datapad.  I can't wait to get to Korriban!
« Last Edit: 12/18/15, 07:02:22 PM by blingdenston »
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline blingdenston

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Re: -<<Eyes in the Dark>>-
« Reply #24 on: 12/18/15, 07:24:08 PM »
The Colossus, Part Three

-14 ATC - Valley of Golg, Korriban-



'...the sacred precincts of this, the world of our conquered and uplifted ancestors.  The ritual benefited greatly from being held in a place so close to death...the baleful wills of the spirits of Dark Lords will bolster the Figure's growth, and pacify the bound essence of the Grotthu who will serve as its skin...'

The Grasper turned away from his datacorder, checking the instruments within the hidden sphere.  He (I!) had worked very long and hard to acquire the information...Venim Tectus had been scrupulous in his (my!) paranoia.  It took every ounce of his brilliance (the sacred arts of the Kissai...) to devise the mechanism by which he tore the information encoded by Tectus' codex into the unfortunate Hintin O'reily's axons and dendrites...but the answers he'd found were worth it.  They had lead him to seek out the sphere, and were finally revealing the ancient destiny left for him (mine!) by the ancient sorcerer-priest.

The sphere slowly crawled over the graven tombs, as death and despair rained from the sky around it.  The Sith fought like fiends...but the white-and-gold invaders were unperturbed.  Their droid armies seemed limitless, and the armored warriors that lead them matched the Sith blow-for-blow...a battle the likes of which Korriban hadn't seen since the fall of Kao Cen Darach.  The Grasper smiled, feeling above and beyond it all ...as he always had.  His power had been hidden, harnessed, cultivated for just this moment...let the powers of the Galaxy tear each other's throats out...they would bleed out just in time to see the dawn of a new destiny for all life.

(There!  THERE!)

Ionax turned his masked face to the left, looking down.  A weathered mastaba, the front of it cleansed of identity and shape by the centuries, jutted out from the side of the canyon.  An enormous statue, a slave bent in eternal genuflection, rose over the ancient tomb, one of many faceless mourners lining the Valley.

(No!  Not this one!  Look closer!)

He felt his mouth go dry, leaving nothing but the taste of blood and metal (the legacy of the scampering smugglers' assassination attempt).  He leaned forward, his hands guiding the sphere into descent until it was suspended over the mastaba...parallel to the 'heart' of the gigant's torso.  He felt..strange.  Giddy.  He had been giggling and coughing in series, not even noticing.  His heart beat like a triphammer...and he felt, somewhere near, an echo.

His limbs tingled with energy, even the decayed and missing portions of his torso felt ALIVE with power.  It had all lead to this...every moment of pain, every second of searching, every life taken and treasure gained...just bricks on the road to inevitable victory.  He took a single moment to drink it all in.

The sensors suddenly blurted out a rough tone, and the Grasper exhaled loudly, letting his will solidify the air beyond the sphere's skin.  The vessel shook as laser-fire skirled against the impromptu shielding.  He tore his attention from the sense of destiny and glared at his console...was it the Sith?  The aliens?  How had they...

The rough shape of a Corellian freighter, far from home and coming in hot, was illumined on his viewscreen.  "Ahhh!  Hah hah hah hah hah hahhhhhhhhhhh!"

The Grasper barked out a genuinely gleeful laugh.  "How far we've come together, my friends!  Welcome, welcome, welcome..."  He leaned over his controls and set the sphere to duck around the statue as the Rodomontade fired blindly...


-8 BTC - The Horuset System-

He'd nearly had to come clean to Iann about his complete lack of smuggling skills, but his complete possession of what the Klaatooinians called 'big, swinging gurambas' had come through in the end.  Pehn used the advance the rich boy gave him to scout around for information on back-routes into Sith Space, and he'd managed to parlay the remainder into a stake on a game of Pazaak with an old hyperspace explorer.  He stripped the spacer clean of credits, and then twisted his arm to get him to pay off the debt with prize information...access to his rutter, the log all spacers kept of prized routes and navigational secrets.

That was where he'd learned about 'Okarr's Slip', an old backroute to the tomb-planet.  He'd nearly fractured his brain trying to get the navicomputer to understand the obscure coordinates onto the 'Nache Bhelfia' hyperloop, and he was only about 70% sure that they weren't completely lost.  But he be damned (well, MORE damned) if he'd let Iann and his cronies know about it.

Pehn sat in the cockpit as often as he could, trying to familiarize himself with the navicomputer and ship's status readouts.  He also thought it made him look more professional...always at his task, brow furrowed with concentration over the gauges and dials.  He was quite sure he had 'em fooled...except maybe Divenja, the four-eyed flirt.  And she didn't really seem to care all that much...she was more interested in swilling down everyone's booze ration and challenging him to arm-wrestling contests.

Note to self, he willed his orbital implant into data-processing mode, upon return to civilization: start doing curls or something, whatever you do to get not-noodle-arms.  He nodded in satisfaction as the information was safely placed outside his brain, where he was less likely to forget it...and then the console began to flash and beep and his heart crawled up into his throat and began beating so loud he figured it'd wake up the rest of the ship.

He swiftly untangled his feet from where he had them kicked up on the dash, and began frantically searching the indicators for some sign of what was happening...when he felt the hyperdrive start to tick down, and breathed a sigh of relief.  Just coming back to realspace...  He grinned, shaking his head.

Just comin' back to realspace right next to the Sith's junior varsity squad, an' every Terminus-class cruiser in existence...  Pehn gulped, and sat behind the controls.  "Time to earn your pay, 'smuggler'," he muttered, and got ready to fly like he'd never flown before...carefully.
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace