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Old 06-03-2006, 04:43 PM   #127
machievelli
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
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I am terribly sorry that this is so late in arriving. I have been working on other projects, and one of them, an erotic fairy story in the real world, went from about 40 pages to over 200.

But I have failed you all in not delivering this in a more timely manner.



The Investigation

All Breia had done in that cramped interrogation cell was stand there, arms crossed. Thanks to the helmet, she had not bothered to glare at him. Instead she had listened to a popular piece of music. When she reached a point where it was of the ‘toe-tapping’ type, she had of course tapped her toes. This had a marked effect on the man as well, causing him to stutter, stumble over words, and become frantic.

If she had been writing a doctoral dissertation of psychological reactions, she would have been intrigued, but with nothing to do but be a grim presence, it was merely boring.

Sienna has sat across from him, sternly asking the questions, using that gift of hers that Breia was still learning, to elicit more response when he attempted to lie. It didn’t work on everyone, she had explained. It worked best on the weak minded. But could bring out more truthful responses in almost everyone. She surmised that part of it was the natural ‘lie detector’ that most people had, and which in some Jedi became a highly honed tool.

She had always been able to sense when someone lied before, and it had been suggested by the Masters of the Monastery that this had caused the new effect, being able to actually convince someone to do something they did not want to do. Luckily for most Jedi it was something they had to learn to do, so the few that had gone rogue through the years had not learned it yet.

Cyron Corissi, Manager, had worked for Deriotech Corporation of Coruscant for years, but had been fired when discrepancies had shown up in the accounts he had controlled. He was a gambling addict, and had been caught embezzling corporate funds. His termination was of the rare ‘not suitable for rehire’ type, which would have kept him on the public dole list until he proved worthy again. But his gambling had actually escalated rather than stopped. He had run up debts to a lot of gambling establishments, and a number of those debts were to people that broke bones rather than talking.

Four years earlier, he had been approached by another corporation, one unwilling to tell him who they were, or where they were based. They would cover his debts, pay him a salary, and threatened that the first time he stole would be his last ever. All he had needed was to see one man thrown out of an airlock a week after he was hired to get the message. Threats had done what nothing else could.

He had become the one thing the pirates did not have, a trained manager able to operate in a wide variety of locales, able to set up and run the ground-side support for ships and crews in any port they came upon. He listed ports, front companies, suppliers, names of officers of ships the Pirate operated, and in some cases, even names of ships that had been taken by them.

The base here at Thule had been a recent addition. Five years earlier, a Corporation had put in a cargo handling station. Eight months earlier, the Pirates had hit the station in force. The people of the planet below didn’t even know they had been taken over, though they had wondered why they were under quarantine. The smooth talking Corissi had claimed to be the new station manager, and told them that there was a severe outbreak of Iridian Plague on the trade route, and all travel from the planet was restricted for fear that it might be passed. Things like mail and supplies had been still arriving, so the citizenry had no real complaints.

The Corporation that legally owned the station had been sending messages, and seemed to accept the replies Corissi had returned. Since the station had been controlled five ships had been captured. All of them independent. The Corporate line ships and larger private ships had been left alone. They had not been snatching every ship that came by, only an occasional one.

What bothered the Jedi most was where the prizes went and what happened to their cargos. There Corissi had no clue. As for those taken here either prize crews took them out, or men were sent from the ‘head office’ and took them away along with the crews.

Breia could tell when they had reached the end of his store house of knowledge when the now totally compliant Corissi had begun looking sidelong at her, and started to sweat. The information he had given them would condemn him to death at their word.

Sienna looked at her, and Breia turned and walked out without a word.

“We will discover where you have lied. If you have, make peace with your gods now.” She said, the voder making it a flat threat. She stood, and left.

Breia pulled off the helmet, shaking her hair free. “I hated that.”

Sienna removed her helmet. wiping her face. “I hated it to. But it gave me a chance.”

“A chance for what?” Breia asked suspiciously.

Sienna motioned at the suit she wore. “These are designer made. The standard ones issued to the Marines are black like yours with camouflage capability. When they released them for civilian use, the designers added extra frills. They are the craze back on Corellia right now.” Sienna touched a control on her wrist, and her suit went smoothly from red to an iridescent green.

“They can be locked as yours is, but by tweaking the programming just a little-”

Breia’s went from black to flesh colored. Without the breastplate of a combat suit, she looked as if she were standing there naked.

“Deal with that.” Sienna laughed.

Breia didn‘t seem alarmed. “Funny.” She brought out a hand control. “I wondered why you spent so much time in that shop. I called them afterward, and they told me of the ‘modifications’ you had made to the suit. I thought it was so amusing I had them give me a control to modify yours as well.”

Now both of them were standing there apparently in the buff. Sienna flinched.

“Now, as the patient holding the dentist’s wedding tackle said, ‘Now we’re not going to hurt each other, are we‘?”

Sienna sighed. “You win.” She reset Breia’s suit. Breia returned the favor. They walked down the passageway. As they entered the bay, Sienna quickly reset it again. Breia stopped at a wolf whistle, looked down, and then back. “Maybe you should look down.” Sienna as well had returned to flesh tone. “I set the control so your suit to mimic whatever my suit setting is the next time it is changed.”

“Damn.”

“Well, are you going to admit defeat?”

“Please no!” An anonymous crewman shouted. He ended with a wail as if heartbroken.

“I’ll never live this down.” Sienna moaned.

*****

Admiral Lucas strode into the building like a capital ship, surrounded by his staff. The lift was ahead, and he saw the figure waiting for him. As it opened, Cracken stumbled, falling into him.

“Sorry, sir.“ He said, then got off two floors up. Lucas could feel the data chip, and inwardly he grinned. Finally!

The data was clearly marked, and damning. A pattern of odd promotions had appeared, along with an equally odd pattern of deaths retirements and replacements in key positions. The present head of BuShips disposal, Admiral Lankar had been in his job only a few years, and already discrepancies had begun to appear, at least under a microscope. Worse yet Lucas’ own adjutant was also in the ring.

The Wasps weren’t the only ships that had been diverted. There were seven in all, including an old frigate that had supposedly been disposed as a target. Money had flowed into the hands of these men, and that had come from...

He touched his com screen. “I’m going out for breakfast.” He snapped. He stormed out of the building, for all the world like a man who still had problems.

*****

Logos looked up as his screen flashed. His assistant Queren Siel looked at him. “Sir, there is an odd message.”

“Read it.”

“Bird seared. What dressing?”

He had the man repeat it, then asked the sender. The address was one of the smaller restaurants in Coronet near the spaceport. “I am going out for a while.”

*****

Lucas sat down, ordering tea, and relaxed. The restaurant was owned by an old friend named Frin Below, an officer that had been badly injured, and retired. Frin nodded to him, and talked to his waiter. The service was prompt. Ten minutes later, Logos walked in. He sat across from the Admiral. “Well?” Lucas slid the chip across, and Logos scanned the file. “This is bad.”

“How bad is it on your end?”

“Three top rankers and an incompetent head man.” Logos replied. “If we can move fast, it will be simpler."

“The worst is that everything ends in a wall of Corporate maneuvering. We know ships is sold off the books, but not who bought them. We can’t close this out unless we can discover another link.” Lucas said depressed. “We arrest these people, and six months, a year from now they’re back in business.

Logos sipped his drink. “Perhaps, perhaps not. Would your man be willing to crack another data base?”

“Who's?” Lucas flinched when he heard the answer. “You know, I was ready to retire. This will be the perfect way to end my career.”

*****

Star Trader moved away from the station, heading back out. Her fighters had been left at the station, along with 200 of the Marines, and the anti-shipping weapons that had been carried as cargo and were now deployed. The next pirate to arrive would be in for a rather nasty shock.

Freya Dodonna sighed as her ship entered hyper space. She turned to the matched pair of dark eminences, for Breia had found she kind of liked the way she looked in the skin tight suit.

As long as someone else didn’t control the setting.

“Well it’s back home, and we can report mission accomplished.”

“But there are still ships loose out there.” Breia mused. We destroyed three, but according to that ONI report, there are perhaps ten more out there.”

“When dealing with pirates, you have to look at it like a gardener.” Freya commented. “You pull the weeds you can reach, and make sure they don’t grow back.”

“Where do you think it will lead, Breia?” Sienna asked.

“Too far up for my liking.” The older woman replied. “Seven high ranking officers just at Corellia. I wonder how bad it is where the others are?”

“We can only wait and find out.” Sienna replied.

“I’ll head back to our quarters. Maybe rereading the material will give me some clue.”

“I’ll be with you shortly.” As Breia walk off the deck, Sienna nonchalantly drew a small control from the pouch on her belt.

Freya saw it. “You-”

“Just a fire suppression drill in the passageway. I just set the temperature index to body temperature.”

There was a thudding of alarms, then the sound of a lot of foam being dumped fast.

There was a long moment of silence.

“SIENNA!”

“Now we’re even.”

“So you think sister. Why not go that way.” She pointed toward the auxiliary entrance, which followed the wiring conduits. Sienna took off at a run.

The hatch opened, and Breia stormed in like a Warrior goddess. She was smeared with fire fighting foam, hair stiff as it began to dry. Freya merely pointed toward the same exit her sister had taken. Breia stalked after her.

“Little sister, I think you have met your match.” She mused, turning back to her controls.


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile
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