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Old 04-11-2006, 04:37 PM   #23
machievelli
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
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Confusion

Daysah Shani looked at the package that had come over from the Tokara Requiem with a note. “I would enjoy the pleasure of your company at dinner.” Signed by Sunrider.

She tapped the message against her hand, and looked again at the package. She touched the ribbon, then carefully peeled away the paper. Under it was a box with the logo of one of the shops aboard the massive liner. A very high end clothiers.

I wouldn’t eat for a year if I shopped there even for gloves she thought. She lifted the lid, then stared in amazement. Carefully she lifted out the dress. It was of Aldarian Spider-silk, light enough to blow away on a gentle breeze. The bright teal color almost glowed in the fluorescent lighting. The comment ’less is more’ came to mind looking at it. The dress was an open weave that would look as if she was wearing nothing. At the bottom of the box was a smaller box. In it were three Aldarian starflowers. How many years would I have to go without eating just for this dress? Her mind rebelled. It would cost what she made in five years if it cost a centi-cred.
A small note fluttered out, and she set the dress down to look at it. My gift to you. Something beautiful to wear for a beautiful woman.

She snorted. She was short, a little overweight, and her hair looked like she’d survived a tornado. It always did, even with the work she did. Beautiful my rosy red bum.

She walked over to the communicator, and flipped it on. “Connect me with Dasa Sunrider aboard the Tokara Requiem please.” The screen flared with a small light show, and she ignored it, looking again at the dress.

“Ah, I see you got it.” Sunrider commented when he saw who was calling.

“Dasa, I can’t accept this!”

“Please Daysah, it’s not like it’s going to be bought in the next week or so, right? Besides, it’s good advertising. It will look smashing on you, and if you come to dinner, you can’t come in your grubbies. Besides, except for that dress you wore to the party, how many dress clothes did you bring?”

I didn’t expect to have to go to formal dinners, you twit she didn’t say. “All right, I will wear it, but just once, and then it goes back.”

“Can’t.” He smirked. “Aldarian Spider-silk takes on the scent of the wearer. The dress will smell like you forever.”

She really liked the dress, but she’d never be able to wear it ever again. “Then I am not coming. I can’t accept this.”

His face fell. “Then bring it here, and we’ll find something you can wear. Something not so, exorbitant.”

“All right.” She switched off, looking longingly at the dress again. Damn. I don’t even get to try it on! She sighed, packing it back into the box.

*****
“Report.” Breia sat, rubbing her temples.

“There were some of those hammerheads around the site.” Anak reported. “And some had been close enough to witness what was happening. There was a human with them.”

“Wait, someone is running around there with them?”

Anak held out the recorder. Breia reached into her robe, lifting out the plug. Grimacing, she reached behind her right ear, and slid it into the emplaced socket. She had finally had the procedure to give her sight, but it never really gave her the same visual acuity she remembered. But for scan data or written reports, it was adequate. Besides, it impressed people when she moved more readily than they had anticipated, so she generally didn’t wear it.

The recorder had fine detail, and with her implant she could focus down to the microscopic level. A line of foot prints from work boots started at the edge of the trees, staggered back toward where the transport was, then toward the trees again. There was a splash of blood at the forest edge, but no body. The prints stopped facing another set of footprints. Anak had followed them into the forest arching away from where the attackers had been.

“What about the bullet?”

Anak adjusted the feed. The tree where the bullet had been was highlighted, and every blood splatter or body marked. There was nothing near the tree. He fiddled with it, and now the footprints were also marked. Except for the muffled prints, none were anywhere near it. “There were no targets anywhere near the tree. Whoever fired the shot planted the bullet intentionally.”

“So someone used an Echani pistol to fire a shot into a tree, so we would think pirates had killed everyone. But at the same time planted evidence that natives had done it. But they are supposed to be animals.”

“Analysis?”

“One man was missing from the crew according to what I heard.” Sev said. “Maybe he met a friend?”

“But who? And why did they follow the hammerheads?”

“They didn’t.” Anak replied flatly. “They were with them, not following.” He slid the recording a little farther on. At one point, one set of prints disappeared. “The man that was missing at the site must have been injured. They put him on a stretcher of some kind.”

Breia mused. She unplugged “I think we had better talk with Professor Shani.

*****
Daysah was about to board the shuttle when someone shouted her name. The female monk was walking toward her, followed by her bodyguards. “May I help you Padawan Breia?”

“You said your University had a droid to attempt translation. May I ask where it is?”

“In my quarters. Why?”

“Something in our investigation from below.” Breia said. “You said there were two people that infiltrated. One was Professor Coor, the other?”

“Ton Morant. But he’s missing.”

“I remember that much. An architecture student. What was his minor?”

“His minor?” Daysah considered. “I think it was contemporary music. He was the one that suggested the droid in the first place.”

“May I borrow the droid for a while?”

“For a short while, yes. I will be back in a few hours. Where are you taking it?”

“We’re returning to the area where the construction crew was attacked. I believe you might be right. The hammerheads do appear to be intelligent.”

“Are you sure?” Shani stepped off the ramp. “I’m coming with you.”

*****

“Professor Shani sends her regrets. She is accompanying the Jedi Padawan down to the construction site.” The communications tech reported.

“All right.” Sunrider switched off.

“So you’re plan didn’t work.” Corona commented.

“It still can work, Uncle.” Sunrider replied. “She’s enamored of our lifestyle. She just hasn’t had a chance to witness it fully.”

“But if that damn Jedi convinces her the hammerheads are intelligent, we’ve lost.”

“This actually works in our favor.” Sunrider demurred. “We have all of the people we want to contain in one place at the same time without military assistance. Our assault team can take them down, and once they are out of the way...”

*****
The Millennium Falcon settled down on her pads, and the ramp came down. Breia walked down, paced by the homo-form droid.

“I do not understand why I am being subjected to this environment.” The droid complained. “After all, most sophonts understand the need for paving.”

“I can tell you’ve never been where people really live, B-7.” Breia replied. “Most life forms feel more comfortable in this setting than on asphalt.”

“That may be so, Padawan.” The droid replied. “However droids are not most life forms, are they?”

Breia simply shook her head. The others came down the ramp, Anak in the lead. He passed the quarreling pair, and led the way to his find. Sev stayed beside Breia, his rifle at high port. Daysah pushed past them, followed by Sanji.

“Just shut up and do your job.” Breia finally snapped.

“Well I can’t very well shut up and translate now can I?” The droid visibly wilted under her glare. “Shutting up.”

Daysah was kneeling, looking at the footprints. “So they came this far, and then carried someone off that way?” She asked, pointing.

“Correct.” Anak replied. He swiveled, his rifle swinging toward the trees. “Down!”

The rifle purred, bullets hosing the trees a few meters away. Someone screamed, and fell.

A net dropped. Sanji leaped, diving out away as it hit. Anak and Daysah shuddered, falling. A man ran over, his weapon pointed at the prostrate pair. “Move and I blow the woman’s head off!”

Sev stopped, assessing the situation. He could detect a dozen or more people out there, and not all of the weapons were pointed at Daysah and Anak. “Options?”

Breia sighed. “Except for dying gloriously, I don‘t see any. Do you?” He shook his head. “Drop it, Sev.”

The young warrior growled, then knelt, setting his rifle down. The men moved out of the trees. They were obviously Tokara Security. One of the men lifted his com. “We’ve got them, sir.”

“All of them?”

“All but the younger Jedi. I’ll send a team after him.”

“If he gets away, you had better have died in the chase.” The voice warned.

“Yes, sir.” The man looked at one of his men. “Take six men. Find that little Jedi and make sure he dies. I don‘t want to hear anything from you until you can report him dead.” He looked at the blind woman and her escort. “We have a few minutes.” He motioned. “Back aboard.”

Men rolled up the net, cuffing Daysah and Anak. Their limp bodies were dragged aboard. Two of the men went forward, and the engines purred.

*****

Sanji watched from his hide. He kept thinking I’m not here, I’m not here as he did. The patrol was moving around, looking for him. He heard shots, but they were more probing fire than actually aimed at him. He moved farther back into the trees. Suddenly something covered his eyes.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” He whispered.

“If you want to live, don’t make a sound.” Someone whispered. Then he was picked up, and thrown over a shoulder.

*****

Far above, the two ships orbited. As the Frigate moved into the sensor shadow of Tokara Requiem, the Millennium Falcon lifted off, running toward the larger ship. A docking bay opened, and the ship slipped inside. Another A-7 dropped from the same bay, and headed down. By the time Duroc could again see the landing zone, all was as it had been.

*****

“Sir! The security team reports they’re under attack!” The communications officer shouted.

“By whom?”

“The Jedi!”

Antilles spun around. “What?”

“The Jedi landed, supposedly to do some more investigating. One of the security guards saw those two Mandalorians carrying something down the ramp, and when they went to investigate, they came under fire.”

Antilles ran toward his command console. “Get me the Millennium Falcon!”

“Sir, the Millennium Falcon is lifting off!” On the screen, the ship was an arrowhead on an arrow of fire, aimed straight at Tokara Requiem.

The cannon in the defense turrets opened fire, spalling the hull of the liner. Then a pair of chain guns opened fire. As the ship dodged, it ran toward the bow of the liner. Then it came apart as the projectile cannon turned it into confetti.

“Get me the Requiem!“ Antilles waited impatiently until the screen came up showing captain Magtyar. “Who ordered those guns to open fire?”

“My crew was on alert because of the reports of Pirates, Admiral.” Magtyar replied. The guns were on automatic. If anything approached us in a hostile manner they would be engaged.” He ran his hand through his hair. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t stop them from firing in time.”

“So what were they delivering?”

“Haven’t gotten a report yet. Wait a minute.” Magtyar looked to the side. “Split screen it.” He snapped.

The screen split. on one side, Magtyar watched, on the other, a man in Tokara uniform was prying open a case. Inside it were ten Echani designed cone rifles. He hefted one, opening the action. A 1mm discarding sabot projectile winked in the camera. The man on the ground ejected the 8mm diameter cartridge. “It looks like we don’t have pirate, unless the Jedi Monks are supplying them.” The man said. “There’s three cases of these rifles, and ten cases of ammo.”

Antilles shook his head. “I don’t believe it.”

“Then who?” Magtyar asked.


'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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