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Old 03-15-2006, 01:37 PM   #11
Local curmudgeon
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The transfer of the prisoner was easy. At the same time that Holani was paying for her room, and buying a ticket to travel to Berogol, the next planet beyond Lortu, Breia was sedated packaged and immersed into a tank of live Tanif bound for the same destination. A Hutt transport which arrived took the consignment and passenger aboard, and when they arrived in Lortu, they were removed.

You regret your choices. While your father has forgiven you, it will not return you home. Another must do that.

Holani remembered the angry look on her father’s face, the shocked look on her mother’s. The money and jewelry she had been accused of stealing. Above all the sanctimonious smirk of that damned Jedi Monk. She’d run away, stolen some money, stowed away. Vowed that if she was thought a thief, she might as well be one. The name she had once cherished, Organa, heir apparent to the throne, was cast away with her old life. Now her last name changed as often as her employers and her missions. She was called a lot of things now. Every nickname attributed to her was of something sleek fast and in most cases deadly. Her skill were great enough that she could command top credit if she was called, and she had never failed to complete a mission.

But that wasn’t without price. Five years of espionage murder and crime had marked the child she had been in ways her father would never understand and even if he had accepted her innocence of that initial charge she was not the hurt and angry girl she had been.

Holani felt even worse when she saw how her prisoner had been transported. She stood there as the capsule Biare had been stuffed in was cranked out of the tank, and deposited on the deck by grinning Lortuai. One of them opened the casket, and roughly injected the unconscious woman. Holani wanted to object, but the rank tabs on the little monster were of a Su-tai, equivalent to a Corellian Commander. Her own rank as a spy was just above a Merchant.

“Wake up.” The Su-tai leaned forward, and slapped the slowly rousing woman sharply. Holani pictured killing the little creep. It wouldn’t save Breia any pain, but it would be a pleasant sight to take into death with her.

Breia rolled onto her hands and knees, then vomited all over the Su-tai’s leggings and boots. As much as it looked like an accident, Holani caught the savage grin the woman hid when wiping her mouth.

Guards dragged the woman to her feet, and one of them pointed. “Both of you, go!”

Holani steadied the woman as they walked. “You have a way of getting even that is sublime.”

“Isn’t it just?” Breia whispered. “Think of what I have in store for you.”

“I will accept it when it comes. I owe you more than that. Anything you do to me is richly deserved.”

They were chivvied along to a car, and driven toward the massive pyramid shape of Sogor’s palace. A couple of new structures were going up, and Holani stared at them. “What are those?”

Breia seemed to listen. “The workers speak of forges of massive size.” She snorted. “Obviously he seems to think that I can be coerced.” Breia looked at the other woman in her uncanny way. “Why are you still here? I know you have already been paid. Why are you not off ruining someone else’s life?”

“I don’t know.” Holani whispered back. “I can’t just leave you here. It’s my fault that you will be tormented, and I... I can‘t live with that. If there is a way to free you someone must be outside to plan it.”

“Now she gets remorseful.” Breia snorted. “Maybe next time you ask me how to do it?”

The car arrived at the palace, and the women walked up the steps. Guards stood every few meters, eyes watching them balefully as they went on. The massive doors of the throne room opened, and before them across an expanse of crimson tile was the throne. Sogor was bouncing up and down on it like a demented jack in the box.

Holani stepped back, allowing Breia to walk alone as they approached the throne. “She must show proper respect!” Sogor roared. A guard stepped out, clipping the blind woman across the back of her knees, dropping her to the floor. Sogor snorted in satisfaction, then looked at Holani. “As you have promised. Go with my blessing.”

“Please.” Holani raised a hand. “I have come to learn of this woman, and my offices can be used to aid in her redemption.”

“I think not.” Sogor motioned, and her own voice rang from the air.

“...I can’t just leave you here. It’s my fault that you will be tormented, and I... I can‘t live with that. If there is a way to free you someone must be outside to plan it...”

Before she could move Holani was thrown to the ground, her arms bound. Sogor stood walking down to stand over her. “My blessing is always saved for the dying. You will join them at my pleasure.” He kicked her in the face, then turned away as Holani was dragged out.

“As for you, master smith. You will teach my smiths your secret or you will suffer.”

“I think not.” Breia started to rise, and Sogor put his foot in her back, slamming her back to the tile.

“I will have your skin ripped a centimeter strip at a time if you speak to me again!”

“And what if doing so destroys my abilities, you moron?” Breia asked in a conversational tone. “Do you even know what magic i work with steel? Is it something that my mood will affect? Or my physical well being? Which is more important to you, the weapons you demand or the pleasure of my screams?”

Sogor stepped back. “Put this filth in my cells. If she does not relent, I will use that condemned one to convince her of how serious I am.”

“Now, come, and briefing I will give.”

He led the pilot back into the mess deck, where he started a hologram. A flat topped pyramid rotated before them. “Palace of the Ever-living this is. Weapons many, but here is way in secret.” A small red dot flashed, and the hologram zoomed. There was a tunnel running deep into the pyramid, with a flashing area near the center. “This prison area is. Prisoners here will be held. The one we seek is in this room.” A clawed finger marked one of the small compartments.

Darshan looked at the hologram. “How wide is this way?”

“Fifty meters wide and tall.”

“How could something this big be a secret?”

“Lortu mind makes it so.”

“Wait a minute, that doesn’t answer the question. fifty meters square, half a kilometer long. How the hell can that be invisible?”

“Lortu only what is important sees. This path waste from Sogor’s palace is used for. Toilets and trash do go here.”

“Wait a minute. It’s the sewer chute?” At Dor’s nod, Darshan laughed helplessly. “Well, if I have to end up where it’s brown and smelly, at least I have a ship to sail that creek in!”

Dor looked at him. “Humor humans have none. Now...”

The Han Calrissian came out of hyperspace. Ahead at ten AU was a bleak planet. Darshan looked at the globe, snorting. “Why can’t the bad guys live on a beautiful planet instead of some slimeball?”

Dor shrugged. In the last week he and Darshan had come to a truce. Dor would stop telling him about his destiny, if Darshan would supply tea and stop asking questions he could not answer.

“When find on pleasure world an enemy, you I will contact.” Dor promised.

The ship drifted silently as the sensors scanned all frequencies. What people didn’t know was that since a space ship required communication and detection of possible dangers, even the simplest adjustment of the operational parameters could turn that around and use it as an undetectable scanning device. The radar frequencies and ranges were mapped. Communications between the ground bases and the fighters that swept their skies were recorded, analyzed and plotted. For once Darshan was happy to have a droid around because only A1A7 had the patience to do it all.

Finally Darshan had it all down. His insertion orbit was laid in, and he sat in the command chair, ready.

“So tell me.” Darshan asked, nudging the controls so the ship began to drift forward. “Why is this mission so important to you?”

Dor sat looking toward the planet. For a long moment, Darshan thought he wouldn’t answer. “Lortu traded because convinced them I did. Saw within them darkness, but thought it was minor. Something grow out of they would. But wrong was I.” He looked down. “Foolish I was. Fifteen years ago mistake was dark with fruit. Lortuai evil spread. Duloc conquered. Millions died. Berodilo then was taken. Millions more. All deaths, all pain my fault.”

Dor stared up at the young man. “Think young one. To be millions of deaths, hundreds of millions of suffering the one to blame. Save these women limit the workings of Sogor I must.”

“So you’re powers don’t make you perfect?”

Dor snorted. “Power responsibility begets but beings still are they as before. Evil in all, restraint of evil best goal. Use wrong causes pain. Those of us that learn sometimes darkness have. Those that do, we must follow and stop. Balance maintain I must. My acts unbalance, restore my acts must.” He looked back at the planet. “Sogor student was. Evil has he done. Came home before father war began. Pushed to make this empire. Killed father when failed he did.”

“Wait. This Sogor was a student of your order?”

“Surprised you are? Think you what value this be if evil you are.” He waved at the ship. “Superior it is to all. Until drive created again, raid you could. Take millions. Escape no one follow can.”

“But this isn’t my ship! I’m just a pilot.”

“Difference is between you and Sogor. He pilot of Force, but see it as his to use as he will. Stop him I must.”

“Great. So we have to save these two women, stop this guy, and by that I think you mean kill him.“ Dor nodded sadly. “It’s hopeless. Are we going to live through this?”

“Ambiguous question is. Remember always, life permanent is not. No one in long run survives.”

“Just peachy.”

The planet had systems for detecting approaches by ships, but it had a blind spot as most did. Anything unpowered object traveling below ten kilometers a second was labeled as an asteroid, and ignored. Weighing less than 50 tons, the ship was scanned and catalogued as such as it plummeted into the atmosphere. The ship raced across the sky until it was beyond the range of the ground based sensors of the Palace complex. At that point, Darshan brought up the lift and drives, coming out of the dive and rocketing along the surface of the ocean at low speed. He was flying at zero altitude, faster than anyone would have imagined on this little planet, and this part at least he loved. Nothing pleased him more than seat of the pants flying. He grumbled as they approached the palace, having to drop to the same speed as an air car on his home world.

The pyramid bulked ahead of him, and he inched lower as he approached. “There.” Dor said. Darshan could see the passageway, barely ten meters larger that the wingspan of the ship. The ship slid into the hole. Darshan was in his element. He’d always wanted to try flying something this tight, and disconnecting the collision and proximity alarms had been a big help.

The ship slowed, and settled, the skids sinking into something he’d rather not think about. Dor had told him that the palace had 20,000 residents. He mentally figured how much waste that was of every type, and wrinkled his nose at the thought. No Solo is every going to have to do something this disgusting ever again!

“Now, your tool we have need of.”

Darshan figured it out, and sighed. His multitool had been a gift from his mother when he’d gone to college. It could slice cable, strip it for connections, weld them firmly, and allow him to work on micro-circuitry. He wasn’t sure if removing the screws from the grate was on the list but as it dropped to squelch in the muck, he knew he’d have to add that to the list.

'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...
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile
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