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Old 03-17-2006, 06:53 PM   #41
Jae Onasi
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Nice job. Blowing up a castle with the dust of burned excreta was not something that I ever considered. That was too funny.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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Old 03-18-2006, 10:45 AM   #42
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Wow! Is this really the end of this story? I find myself wanting more.

A nice touch adding the Enyclopedia Galactica entries, especially the one about the Millenium Falcon. You've done a great job with the details with this story. Where do I obtain my copy of the Encyclopedia Galactica?


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Old 03-18-2006, 11:46 AM   #43
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This can't be the end Machievelli! I will strangle you if this is the end. I want more!!!! Well, if it is the end, then you did a wonderful, superb job on this story. I hope it's not the end, or I hope you write a sequel. None the less, great work man.


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 03-19-2006, 12:37 AM   #44
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Jae, if you study explosives, you'd be surprised what will and will not explode. One thing that causes a lot of problems every year are dust explosions in grain silos. A spark ignites the dust and it goes boom. That is all I did.

Hai Wan, This is a vignette from that anthology I am trying to create. This is part one of 3. The next segment will be ready in a few weeks unless the muse decides to show up and drag it out.

As for the encyclopedia Galactia: as Douglas Adams would say;
Send your request to Encyclopedia Galactia, 1000 StarFarer Way, Number 17A. Please enclose $150 for the five disc set, and 1.79 Quadrillion dollars for postage and handling.

Thank you all for your kind comments. After doing some polishing and editing, will start on part 2.


'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

Last edited by machievelli; 03-19-2006 at 12:39 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-19-2006, 07:11 PM   #45
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Heh, I lived in Kansas for awhile, so I knew about the grain dust explosions, but hadn't thought about using sewage dust as the explosive.
Looking forward to part 2.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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Old 03-23-2006, 10:11 AM   #46
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Working on the next part.How about first contact with the Ithorians and a little fun with the Mandalore?


'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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Old 03-23-2006, 10:51 AM   #47
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Sounds like a blast. Can't wait to read it.


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:53 AM   #48
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The Company

Exploration, Galactic: The development of hyper-drive capable ships has had no direct impact on the Hyper-cannon network as yet. Even as CEC and Kuat shipyards began turning out such ships, the process of slowly expansion using hyper-cannon has still continued. All five of the great trade routes were well established long before the Hyper-drive ships made a serious impact.

Fully 400 planets and over a hundred races have been discovered, and commerce has bound us together. The companies and Corporations have carried the brunt of the cost of such ventures. Frankly no government could afford the expense except in the long term and most planets that have Corporations have given them wide latitude in dealings with the systems they have discovered.

They faced terrible dangers out there. Hostile alien species, deadly animals, planets where nothing lived. They also faced the rare race which had achieved local space travel and had a bent for piracy.

In reaction, the Coruscanti Trade Authority was the first to authorize defensive armament of ships registered on Coruscant. This was followed by a dozen other planetary governments deciding to follow suit.

However this posed a problem for the planets that either did not have their own ships, or feared invasion. How could they know that the ship that arrived as actually a merchant with a slight amount of Paranoia and not an invader?

Five years ago, the major planets of the trade routes met on Corellia, and that year, the Galactic Trade Authority was created. A combining of the older planetary bodies, it sent listings of corporations and companies that had armed vessels, the numbers, types, and armaments. It reached the point that the largest armed navy in known space belonged to the Tokara Company of Coruscant. The first actual hyper-drive ’war’ occurred when ships from two rival companies met in the Naboo system. The armed merchant vessel Frisia of the Twi-Leki Sulorio Corporation laid claim to the planet at the same time that the Hutt Trade Alliance vessel Chaamagki did.

The battle lasted seconds. According to the flight recorders, Frisia opened fire with concussion missiles, Chaamagki returned fire. Neither ship survived. Over 400 beings were killed. The trade vessel Coruscanti Sheen of the Tokara Company discovered the wreckage a week later when they arrived to claim the planet. The ongoing trade war between the two corporations has driven both into bankruptcy.

Such things were not merely left to lie. Struggling to make the most profit is understandable, but fighting over it was considered a bit much. Those planets with defensive navies began to build up their forces and extended patrols into nearby systems. Then the planets agreed on simple rules of engagement. They would patrol systems they considered of vital interest, and warship captains were ordered to refrain from conflict unless attacked, or going to the assistance of ships that had been.

The first Frigates, two hundred meter long engines of destruction were designed. Unlike the earlier vessels, these were built from the keel out with hyper-drive capability.

What the hyper-drive ships did affect however, was the speed with which troubles could begin. When a military force had to push it’s way through junctions, and hyper-cannon could be readily destroyed, even the attempts of those such as Sogor of Lortu were doomed to failure in time. With ships that no longer needed cannon, an invasion force could leap straight to the throat of a rival planet. It had been hoped that such would never occur. That the sheer distance would deter hostile entities but this has not occurred.

Last year a brief war between the Corellia and Coruscant in the Sullust system ended. It was believed that the Catharia Corporation of Corellia had attempted a Corporate takeover of the planet. The Tokara company of Coruscant had been trading with the native Sullust and resisted. The unarmed ship Tokara Star was destroyed by the Catharia corporation fleet though they later denied it. Both Corella and Coruscant sent warships in, and fighting broke out when the Tokara Company freighter Tokara Venture reported that they were under attack by Corellian fighters. Both fleets raced to the scene.

No one is sure who fired the first shot. The Corellian escort Shantil reported missiles coming from the region of the Coruscanti fleet at the same time that the Coruscanti escort Surprise did. The fleets opened fire for ten fateful minutes before order could be restored. Five escort and frigate class ships, two Coruscanti, three Corellian were destroyed. However the war ended when Admiral Bono Antilles of Coruscant met with Admiral Freido Dodonna of Corella face to face. The navies retreated away from each other, and the Sullust system was declared a protectorate with both navies patrolling separate sections of the system. This status would last until the Sullust develop or purchase enough ships to protect themselves. Tokara Company has offered to supply snub fighters to the Sullust, and with the permission of their government, offered escort class warships as well. Catharia Corporation has protested, claiming the entire incident had been caused by an attack by Tokara, but since the only ship lost belonged to Tokara, and was not on the armed vessel list, they have been ignored...

From: Encyclopedia Galactica: Fifth edition


'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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Old 03-23-2006, 03:01 PM   #49
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The planet

The jungles stank, there was no other way to describe it. The managing officer of the Tokara Company Caral Santee hissed as the stench raced into his opening shuttle. Meera was not turning out to be a plum assignment. He stormed through the deadfall, passing the stumps of trees that had been harvested to clear the site of the new super hotel that had been planned. Off in the distance, the tallest waterfall so far in the galaxy thundered.

Closer was his target, the huddle of earth movers and excavators that should have been clearing the second hundred hectare area where the landing fields would be placed. The crew were around their huge machines, and too many of the side panels were open for the MO to feel comfortable. The planted saplings that surrounded the machines was a dead give away to what had happened.

Cor Faslan, Construction boss saw his superior coming, and wiped his hands on a rag. This was the fifth time in as many days that the damn natives had disabled the equipment. The building schedule was shot, probably for good this time.

“Report.” Santee demanded.

“They ripped out the molycircs along with the initiator plugs this time.” Cor reported. Santee glared into the opened panel before him.

The machines were idiot simple. After all with the labor they hired it had to be. Faslan was an architect, and smart, but the quality of his crew plummeted when you got below the shift foremen. He could see where the precious molecular circuitry runs had been ripped out, the entire runs missing. Even with the replacement of the initiator plugs the damn things were still disabled. Without molycircs the things were lumps of metal that had to be hand controlled rather than run by the sophisticated computer interfaces.

“How long to get back in operation?”

Faslan stared at him as if he’d just heard a dog talk. “Boss, we don’t have enough molycircs in stock to repair this! We have enough to get one and only one machine in operation. And that is still enroute.” He waved toward the coastal base they had set up three years before. “Figure another hour before it gets here, two more to install and test. We’re talking tomorrow. Assuming the bastards don’t do it again tonight.”

Santee wanted to scream, but the Construction boss was right. Molycircs didn’t break down, at least not in less than a century or more of constant use. In the construction equipment it should outlive every member of the crew, this job, and maybe thirty more.

“What did they do with the molycircs? Eat them?”

The construction boss walked around the machine, and as he walked pointed at the ground. The precious filigree of circuitry, all thirty meters of it had been shredded into ten centimeter lengths. Similar trails ran from the other vehicles, headed for the forest. Santee wanted to scream again. A molycirc bundle was built on the nanotech level, and there was no way to replace them except contact the company. Hell, even if he had the factory here it would be quicker to order it from home.

“All right, the gloves come off.” He snarled. “Clear these trees out of the construction area. By hand if necessary. Second, pick the smartest guys you have and arm them. I want around the clock security on this site until the hotel is completed. Get more men from the base if you have to.

“I’m contacting the company. We need replacement molycircs and a full scale security/combat team to get this back on the road.”

He sighed. “Knowing the company, my successor will handle it from there.”

He trudged back to the shuttle. All in all it wasn't really that bad a planet. He would have liked to have been here. To see the hotel open, to welcome the first of millions of guests. It was not to be.

The workman shifted his shovel, digging at the roots of the tree. It shifted, trying to move away from him, but after a few weeks of dealing with these damn trees, that didn’t bother you anymore. He finished uprooting it, then looked around. No one was watching him so he lifted it out of the ground, setting it on it’s roots. For a moment it sat there apprising itself of situation, then the roots began a rippling motion, moving the tree into the edge of the forest.

When the shift ended, the workman boarded the shuttle back to the base. He wasn't considered very bright, and the shovel he had wielded all day was about the most complex tool he was expected to operate. He picked up his meal chit, and went to dinner.

One of the supply ships was in, and the crew was at a group of tables. He looked, and spotted the contact. She was a pretty little thing 1.5 meters tall, long hair dyed green, which was the current thing on Coruscant, and her fingers were drumming on the table in tune to the music she was listening to on her headset.

Of course, if you knew the old tapper code, what she was beating out was;
TO ME...TO ME...TO ME...

He walked over, setting his tray down. “Mind if I join you?” He asked.

“Jet off, Mig!” One of the men at the table said. Mig. Migrant/indigent. The people who worked shovels while others flew the stars. He looked away, flushing.

He started to stand, but a gentle hand on his wrist stopped him. The girl was looking up, smiling. “No, stay. The planet is beautiful, but it’s so, untamed. It‘s nice to see something that isn‘t covered with moss, you know?” The password was so smooth. He upped her chances of being a professional by several percent.

“Cali you want to slum, why not pick up one of the shuttle jockeys?” The first man snarled. “Why pick up someone with a size three head and a size 20 neck?”

The workman slowly settled down. “Untamed is right. But that’s what the company is here for, right?” Her eyebrow, unnoticed by her associates, lifted a trifle. She nodded. Sign and counter sign.

“So tell me, what do you do?” She asked with a winded eyed innocence that was as well faked as his stupidity. He spun a tale of clearing brush away, and hand grading the sites as the machines did all the real work. He had learned to spin such boring tales for hours from those he worked with. After all, there are only so many ways to describe operating an idiot stick regardless of where.

Her eyes glazed after about ten minutes, and he knew her friends had tuned him out after the first five. But he scanned around anyway. The security camera for the mess hall was directly at his back, and no one was watching him. He reached under the table, and her hand took the offered cylinder. He pulled back, then as the table mates began to leave in disgust, he stopped talking.

“Sorry, ma’am. I have early shift tomorrow. Hope to see you again.”

“No such luck. We’re inbound for home.”

“Well maybe you can get me something?”

“I can try to have something sent for you if I can contact the next supply ship bound here.”

“Some Pipalli. The Echana kind if possible.”

Her eyes stayed wide but the tip of her mouth flinched. The code meant some serious trouble coming down, and the need for an urgent response. “I will find a way if at all possible.”

“Thanks, ma’am.” He stood, and walked to the refuse slot, dropping tray and scraps into it.

Professor Harlan Coor, Professor of Ecology at the University of Coruscant stretched his arms, thanking the body builder father that had taught him that big arms didn’t mean a small head, and went to the barracks.


'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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Old 03-23-2006, 03:17 PM   #50
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Sigh, I love spy stories....
Nice job.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

Read The Adventures of Jolee Bindo and see the amazing Peep Surgery
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Old 03-25-2006, 11:55 PM   #51
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Going to be a little slow on the next segment. I'm also going to introduce the Mandalore in one very serious segment and a funny segment near the end.


'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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Old 03-27-2006, 01:23 PM   #52
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The Prisoners

The woman’s staff moved slowly, tapping before her as she walked. It had been only two or three hours since she had arrived on Bandomeer, but already she had detected a quick shuffle in the police and prosecutors attached to the case.

It was simple on the face of it. Two young men from the Mandalore Embassy had entered a cantina, started a fight, and seriously injured fifteen Bandomeeri. They had been charged, and only the fact that Mandalore was a newly discovered planet had stopped the locals from simply buying a couple of lengths of 12 mm cable and stringing the pair up.

The Ambassador had found that a Jedi Monastery ship was coming through the system, and asked for assistance. She had agreed, more from curiosity about these newfound people than anything else. Their language was archaic and rife with words for honor and battle. So like her home world in that regard. But the quick dance being done behind the scenes had drawn her interest even more. Why would they now try to adjust an open and shut case? Ahead of her she could hear chanting.

“Bal kote darasuum kote,

‘Jorso’ran kando a tome,

Sa kyr’am Nau tracyn kad, Vode a.”


She paused, thinking of what the words meant. Then she turned the corner. The cell was set in the very back of the local constabulary headquarters, far enough back that only the person delivering meals would ever see the prisoners.

She walked up, and stopped two meters from the door. She sensed two pairs of eyes scanning her. “Hut’uun.” A young voice snarled.

“I have never been a coward, ad.” She replied. There was silence from the boys. “And glory, eternal glory. We shall bear its weight together. Forged like the saber in the fires of death, Brothers all.” She translated the chant smoothly. “So like my own people. Except we don’t speak of glory so much.”

“Which people?”

“The Echani.”

They thought about this. She stood patiently. “Why are you here then, Yuru’ike?

“Little mother?” She smiled gently. “Since I will be adjudicating your case, I wondered what type of boys did as much damage as is claimed.”

“You are the judge?”

“Yes. At the request of your father, Sev Soochin.”

There was a laugh. “Buir’ike finally acknowledges me?” He snarled. “So he sends me a blind woman to help? Such is his concern for his son.”

“I am not here to help you. I am here to judge this case. As for my infirmity, it is said that justice is blind, but it is neither stupid nor deaf. If you wish I will leave, hear only their side, and find you guilty. The punishment here is ten years per act of personal violence. Neither of you will live to see the outer world again.

“Or you can answer some simple questions.”

“Ask.”

She went over the particulars of the case as explained to her. While she listened, she also probed outward with that sense she had only discovered when she had been blinded. Not using your eyes meant you had to read the person before you. Something she had been teaching the Monks of the Monastery of Jedi for five years now. That you must know the inner person when you meet, when you talk, and when you fight.

“So you went to this cantina at the request of a young lady. You had two drinks each, and then things became hazy. When you awoke you were in this cell, and were told that you had attacked 15 of the locals.

“Yes. But we knew it was a lie.”

“Why?”

“Because only six of those that supposedly fought us were injured. The other nine were unmarked.”

She tapped the staff on the floor gently and the voices stilled. “Enough. I have only one question. You are what, thirteen and fifteen?”

“Yes.”

“What is your training?” There was a deep resentful silence, and she sighed. “Mando’ade are known for many things to those that study them. What level has your skills reached?”

“I am judged verd by my teachers.” The older of the two replied. “Vode Anak is ge’verd. We would not be allowed to travel from our homes with less standing.”

“But you are small for your ages, yes?”

“Does that matter?”

“More than you might know. Very well, tomorrow we go to court.”

*****
Prosecutor Moruth looked around, irritated. The idiots in the government had started this mess, but who would be blamed if it failed? No one had anticipated a damn Jedi Monk arriving when she did.

Make sure the case succeeds The Governor General of the continent had told him. We need soldiers to deal with the uprising on Beta continent, and we can’t just recruit here. Too many have family on Beta. Too many will pass information. So we need the Mandalore. Who cares if a few hundred die?

Moruth snarled. He understood the colonial government's problem. Too many free spirits leaving the safety of Alpha continent. Too many not being supplied by the government, fending for themselves, trading without government oversight and tariffs. Wondering why they should have to pay for a government they didn’t need and didn’t want.

Where is the damn judge? He asked himself. Court should have been in session five minutes ago. Some blind woman was wandering about the court room. She had already spoken to the three best witnesses he had, spoken with the Chief Constable, with the officers called to testify. The ruffians that had shown exactly how inefficient they were. Now she was walking toward the front of the court room. Why didn’t someone tell her to sit down?

“Madam, will you please be seated?” He growled. She stopped, leaning on the staff, her blind eyes turned toward him. “That is exactly what I had in mind. Too much time wasted on this as it is.” She continued walking forward, her staff shoving open the door between the audience area and the court itself.

Moruth stood, then his jaw dropped as the woman made a beeline to the steps up to the Judges seat. She drew the sword at her belt, and suddenly it flipped into a pair of blades on opposite ends. She sat primly, the naked steel across her lap.

“In accordance with the request of the Mandalore Ambassador to Bandomeer
I, Breia Sookor Bai Echana have been asked to adjudicate this case. The Bandomeeri colonial government has agreed with protests.” She looked at the woman recording the trial. “Young woman, unless I say, the record will be taken regardless of protests from any party to these proceedings. Nothing shall be expunged from it without my authorization.”

She stood, looking at the room with her blind eyes. “Bailiff, please bring in the accused.”

The two were unprepossessing. Sev Soochin was perhaps a meter-five tall, and sticky. Anak Vau his companion was perhaps two fingers shorter. Both were manacled with full restraint chains.

“Bailiff, remove the chains.”

Moruth leaped to his feet. “Your honor, I must protest!”

Breia looked toward him. “Sit down and shut up.” She turned to the bailiff. “Remove them.” The bailiff did as he was bid, stepping warily back, the stun rod he carried ready. “Unless you want me to remove that weapon and your hand with it, I suggest you sheath it.” Breia said calmly. The bailiff sheathed the rod.

“I know the form of jurisprudence used here on Bandomeer, and I will not use it. I see no reason to assume that the defendants are automatically guilty. Instead I will use the form I grew up with. There is no book to swear upon, no gods to claim. My people believe in the sword and that is what it shall be.

“I will warn the people in the audience that once I invoke Echani law, no one will leave this room. If you try, I will stop you. All oaths are sworn on the blade.” She touched the sword on her lap. “There is a precept under Echani law that states ‘the steel speaks truth alone, and does not abide the lie’. Under it, any proven to be lying under oath will lose a measure of flesh equal to that lie.”

She seemed to scan the room with her eyes. “Under Echani law I call all witnesses to stand before me. The prosecution may question them, but only after I am done to assure that all evidence has been revealed. As I wandered around just now, I spoke with many of you. I have discovered many things of interest that must be brought to light before this trial can continue. Witnesses, step into the room provided.”

The men who would be called shuffled into the room she had earmarked. There were no windows, no doors. The only way out was past the harridan holding court. The bailiff at her command stood before the door. What they did not know was that the listening devices in the court had been deactivated. No one in the witness room could hear what was going on. She smiled. It helped to have a droid now and then.

“I call Boroda Soochin, Ambassador of Mandalore to Bandomeer to give testimony.” The bailiff leaned in, called, and the Ambassador entered the court. “Ambassador, touch the blade and repeat after me. I swear by the steel beneath my hand, that all I say in this court shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I shall keep opinion to my breast unless asked, and will not allow it to color what I will testify to.”

The Ambassador, fully ten centimeters taller than his son gave his oath.

“Your planet was discovered four years ago.”

“Yes, your honor.”

“Please, no titles. I am Padawan Teacher. Call me Padawan.”

“Yes, Padawan.”

“Ambassador, Mandalore is a poor planet, correct?”

“At this time we have yet to produce exports.”

“So what do you export at this time?”

“Our warriors are hired as bodyguards, security forces for planets that need them, and soldiers.”

“Has there been talk of a contract with the government of Bandomeer?”

“There has.”

“Tell me. What did Bandomeer need from you?”

“One strike force of ten phalanxes.”

“Five hundred men.” She mused. “What was their assignment?”

“Padawan, I must protest-”

“Prosecutor, I feel no taint in you. Those that have placed you here hope for victory but refuse to pay for it.” Breia looked at him in her uncanny way. “The protest is noted, and denied. Ambassador, please answer the question.”

“They wish to bring the second continent named Beta at this time back under governmental control.”

“What have these rebels done to deserve an attack?”

“Nothing, Padawan. When I spoke with the Governor General, he said merely that they have ignored the government. We were to land forces and convince them otherwise.”

“Was this contract signed?”

“No, Padawan.”

“Why not?”

“Money, Padawan. We asked for 20,000 for transport, 100 credits a week per man, Our supplies paid for from a disbursement account, 20,000 credits on completion, and costs of ammunition and replacement costs of all damaged equipment. They countered with 5,000 for transport, 75 per man, Our supplies paid for by us, and 15,000 on completion.” He shrugged eloquently. “That would not even pay for transport of the men hired. All they would have to do is delay our departure four months to dispose of every centi-cred except for the men’s wages. Paying for supplies would eat that up very rapidly.”

“Was your contract offer standard?”

“Yes.”

“Ambassador, has the situation changed since that negotiation fell through?”

“Yes, Padawan. When my son and his companion were arrested, an unknown person screened me at the residence, and told me that the charges against them could be expunged if I would accept the government’s offer.”

“A pity there is no proof of that.”

He smiled, holding up a datachip. “Your honor, as asked, I have pulled the communications records of the residence, and they are here. The person was recorded.”

She considered. “Prosecutor? Do you have any questions?”

“No, Padawan.”

“I call the defendants.” They stepped forward. She swore them in. They recounted the events in the cantina.

“I find it curious that two young men could injure six men even under the effects of what might be a soporific.”

“We are trained well, Padawan. I am judged verd by my teachers. “Vode Anak is ge’verd.
“For the edification of the court, explain.”

Verd means I am considered a full warrior, able to serve or take contract. Anak is almost fully trained.”

“Tell us more of this training. Would it help you if you had been drugged?

“Our training assumes injuries, wounds, and the effects of drugs, Padawan. A Mandalore warrior is sudden death on two feet even if he is dying.”

“Were you armed?”

“As we always are.”

“Describe what you were carrying. Not both, just one.”

Koororil, shiv, strangling wire, I also carried a Shukilo.”

“That is a metal knuckle plate for striking, a knife, garrote and a battle-chain?”

“Yes. Anak carries a sakilo-si instead of a shukilo.

“Ah, a whip baton?”

“Yes.”

“So you would have used these?”

“Only if attacked.”

“Yet none of the men you supposedly injured were injured by a weapon?”

“That is correct.”

She nodded. “I call the chief constable.”

The constable came in and was sworn. “Sir, Describe to me the events of the evening three days ago.”

The report was brief. A call from Kuptir’s Cantina of a riot in progress. Three units arriving to find two Mandalore men fighting with the crowd.

“Now, where is the Cantina located in relation to the Mandalore Embassy?”

“One half kilometer.”

“How often have Mandalore been there?”

“It is the closest cantina to the residence, Padawan.”

“So they are common. The Mandalore embassy has been here for seven months. Has there ever been a fight there between Mandolorians and the locals?”

“No, Padawan.”

“Have the defendants been there before?”

“Perhaps a dozen times.”

“Was there something different this time?”

“Not that I am aware of.”

The sword in her hand spun, stopping less than a finger’s breadth from his face. The constable stared in frozen horror at the blade. “One lie I will accept. On the next, there will be blood. Was there something different this time? Speak!”

“They were alone.”

The blade did not flinch. “So there were no adult Mandalorians there. Who contacted you first?”

“I fail to see-” The blade whipped, and he felt blood on his cheek.

“No more lies. Who?”

“The Governor’s attache, Brenner Voss!”

“And what did he have to say to you?”

“That an incident would happen at the Cantina, and I was to treat it as it appeared.”

Her hand snapped, and at the back of the court room, a man who had been whispering into his comlink dropped it as the small sliver of steel punched in like a toothpick, shorting it out.

“Brenner Voss, come forward.” When the man didn’t move, her hand snapped again, and another sliver punched into the wood beside him. “I will not ask again. I will have your corpse removed instead.”

The words galvanized the man to his feet. He stumbled forward, hand reaching for the small of his back. “If you draw that weapon, I will kill you.” The hand leaped back into view, empty. He came forward, entering the court.

“Swear, Brenner Voss. Swear and pray that I ask you only what is connected with this case.”

The man reached forward, fingers trembling as she extended the sword. Then he tried to snatch it.

He screamed as four fingers dropped to the floor, sliced off by the monomolecular blade.

Breia stood, waving the constable aside. “Blood has been shed, and it was not I that did so. Now, speak!”

Voss began, speaking rapidly for several minutes. Finally he ran down. The court recorder reached for the pad, then flinched back as Breia’s hand rose in warning.

“So you arranged this. Did your master know of it?”

“No. He was considering accepting the proposal by the Mandalore.” Voss gasped, clutching his hand. He flinched back as the blade came down, touching his undamaged hand but not cutting it. “Yes he knew!”

Breia stood back from him. “Prosecutor, have you anything to add?”

Moruth stood. “Padawan, I ask that all charges be dropped. That the defendants be declared free.”

“So ordered.” She turned. “Bailiff, release the witnesses. Tell them what has happened in here, and if any wish to give further testimony, I will hear it.” She walked over to the recorder, picking up the transcript of the trial. She handed it to the Mandalore Ambassador. “For your pains, Ambassador.”

“What can my people do to repay you?”

“Repay me for what? For seeing justice done?”

Sev walked over, kneeling. “Yuru’ike, like your people, we feel a debt must be paid. Accept me into your service until you judge it paid in full.” Anak walked over, kneeling as well.

She looked down at them. “Ambassador?”

The ambassador looked down, face glowing with pride. “My son has proven he is worthy of the title warrior. Unless he has sworn to another, I have no say in what he does this day. He is a man full grown able to make contract as he sees fit. Do us great honor, my son. And forgive me any faults I have had in your rearing.”

“Forgiven and forgotten, Buir.”

Just what I need Breia thought. A pair of coursing predators without a leash. “Very well.


'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

Last edited by machievelli; 03-27-2006 at 08:29 PM. Reason: proofreading error
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Old 03-28-2006, 01:24 AM   #53
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I love to see justice served. And so dispassionately too. It warms my soul. I very much enjoy the character you have created in Breia.

I'm curious though why you use the term Mandalore instead of Mandalorian. I find this confusing and distracting as the term Mandalore refers to the leader of the Mandalorians or the planet they come from.


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Old 03-28-2006, 09:44 AM   #54
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Great chapters Machievelli! This is one of the best stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Keep up the great work, I really can't wait to read more. I also love Breia, what a great character.


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Old 03-28-2006, 09:53 AM   #55
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A number of races use a a name that doesn't match what we call them.

When I was writing my KOTOR book, I explained it as if the entire race were a scottish clan. In a Scots clan such as the Kilgour clan, you are say alex Kilgour, but the leader is the Kilgour OF Kilgour.

Since I have just read the Republic Commando books, I am going to change that since Karen Traviss has set the canon by calling their own Mando.

Good spotting. After reading your reply I went back and there were exactly twice I used it in that manner You get a Whatever prize.


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Old 03-28-2006, 12:37 PM   #56
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The People

Mandalore: located around star named Buir. Galactic Reference GSFD-450/CR/EN1/5.

Class: D-9 class. A heavy world with a gravity of 1.5 Coruscanti Standard. land/ocean ratio; 65/35. Native animals and planets graded at level 11, extremely dangerous, but within acceptable standards for human colonization under Coruscant Exploration Guidelines.

Economic rating: 2.

Technology level, in weapons, grade 3. In all other commerce grade 2 and lower.

Population: Last census 4.7 million.

Demographics: 99% human. Remainder are citizen/factors of other races including Duros, Hutt, Twi-lek, Arkanian, and Bim.

Government: Military meritocracy. A council of the 400 clans ruled by The Mandalore of Mandalore. Title passed on to the survivor of a death duel, or person chosen by the Council.

Exports: Few at present. Venom of the Bacatra lizard prized as medicinal supplement used in emergency medical kits. The locally made swords daggers command high prices for each is a hand made work of art. The Mando have proven to be experts at weapons design and development, and their soldiers are masters of all forms of combat which is why they are hired as Guards and security forces.

Imports: All basics of a colony world. Technology transfers so far have included modern weaponry and some ship designs. The Mando prefer small ships of less than ten man crew which fits their military conventions.

Social conventions: All social interaction is between three casts. The Narir Jatne (Leaders of the best) those who lead, Verd (Warriors) those who fight, and the Jatne Dinuir (Giving to the best) those that supply. Upward mobility is measured by your own skills at what they consider important, which is warfare. A child of Jatne Dinuir parents can excel in training, and become Verd. At least once in their recorded history a Jatne Dinuir has even succeeded to the title of Mandalore.

They are prized as personal bodyguards and security forces for once paid, they rarely if ever renege. Negotiation for their services requires contacting the Aliit buir or Father of the Mandalore family or clan. Some have made contracts on their own, but this must be accepted by the Aliit buir.

Social interaction is easy to understand once you discover your place in it.

History: The planet now known as Mandalore was settled long before the invention of the hyper cannon. A long war between the people of Coruscant and an offshoot race called the Taung ended when a volcano spewed ash and smoke over the battlefield for over 3 years. The Taung, trapped under the cloud took the name of Dha Werda Verda or ‘Warriors of the Shadow‘. Outnumbered, they departed Coruscant in long liners, the ships used for attempting star travel. They were rediscovered four years ago on what is now called the Corellian Run.

Mandalore was the fifth planet discovered along that route by a combined Coruscanti-Corellian team, and the planet was contacted at that time.

The settlers intentionally chose the planet due to the extremes. The axial tilt (52%) causes massive weather changes in the seasons from four meter snows in the winter temperate zone to in excess of 50 degrees centigrade.

Mando'ade: People descended from the Taung of Coruscant, living on the planet Mandalore. Translation 'The sons of Mando'

A long war almost 2500 years ago between the people of Coruscant and an offshoot race called the Taung ended when a volcano spewed ash and smoke over the battlefield for over 3 years. The Taung, trapped under the cloud took the name of Dha Werda Verda or ‘Warriors of the Shadow‘. Outnumbered, they departed Coruscant in long liners, the ships used for attempting star travel. They were rediscovered four years ago on what is now called the Corellian Run.

They chose the planet Mandalore because of it’s inhospitality. (SEE: Planetary database; Mandalore), and practiced a ruthless eugenics program upon themselves. The average Mando is stocky, and inured to a gravity half again what a citizen of Coruscant is used to. This makes them stronger and gives them higher stamina.

The brutal weather and fierce adherence to their eugenics program at first drove the population down, then back up as stronger children survived and reproduced. They are now facing a population explosion.

History: When the first settlements were built almost a thousand years ago, the Mandalore had to split up to forage for sufficient food. This caused them to break down into family groups, and these became the clans of today. One Clan, the Ordo, settled in the Bika valley, which is the primary breadbasket for the major continent called Mando. They were successful in fending off attacks by poorer clans, and eventually made alliances with them, supplying food to the weaker clans in return for loyalty and troops. In their history oddly enough, the Ordo have never aspired to the Mandalore title. Instead the clan has taken the forefront of their history by recording events of other clans for future edification.

Most of their history is still hidden because if their view, anyone who is not Mando is worth the effort to even discuss it with. They accept anyone with the same view of life as colonists, refusing to allow those who would want to change their society too drastically.
From: Encyclopedia Galactica: Seventh edition


'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
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Old 03-28-2006, 03:48 PM   #57
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The investigation

There was a wordless roar, and Breia sighed. Having two Mandalorian boys running around on a ship this small was like having a herd of Gianta puppies from home! She heard a pattering of feet, followed by a thunder of boots. Padawan learner Sanji roared again, followed by a thump that rippled through her feet. Breia could hear laughter. She stood, moving into the mess deck.

Sanji stormed forward limping, growling in his native Twi-Leki.

“Sanji, try Basic for me, please.” Breia asked.

“Those, those... boys.” Sanji snarled. “Have you seen what they did?” He paused, flustered. “Sorry, Master.”

“Of course I have not. Why don’t you describe to me what is bothering you.”

“They’ve turned the port storage bay into an obstacle course and ambushed me when I chased Anak.”

Breia pictured the area. A wide pie wedge space with cargo tied off to the deck and bulkheads. Then she pictured it as an obstacle course. It didn’t quite come to her. She picked up her staff, and walked aft.

Obstacle course was right. Directly in front of the hatch a stack of crates required you to climb twist right and climb again to enter the bay. There was a drop on all sides with a stack of crates placed just out of easy stepping distance, meaning you would have to jump there. She paused, waving her stick. As she had thought, the gravity plates in the gap had been set to 2 standard gravities. You would not only have to jump, you would have to literally vault over.

She heard surreptitious movement, and turned, her hand catching the thrown practice knife out of the air. She ducked, and something spattered on the bulkhead behind her. The smell identified it as an overripe Chunga Cherry.
Vode, come here now.” She said.

She could feel them coming closer, slithering around the crates to drop to the deck below her. Grunting they swarmed up to stand beside her.

She sighed. “I understand that training is necessary, but this will stop now.”

Chu, Yuru’ike.” Sev replied.

“I know what you have done, and if this were a Mando ship, I would applaud your creative use of space. However this is a light transport, and there are safety issues to address. First, there is no clear way to reach the portside emergency breaker panel, which is right over there behind the staggered stack. There is no way to reach the portside fresher controls, which are behind the pyramid abaft the vent space there. There is no way to reach the food for our dinner, something I consider important, which is on the bottom of the stack in the corner. Not to mention that if Sanji had to run in here in an emergency the gravity shift would cause injury.

“Just for my own interest where did you get chunga cherries?”

“On Bandomeer.”

“So instead of eating them you let them go to waste?”

She could picture them digging toes into the crate. “Well, we sort of bought them overripe.” Sev said.

“Thrown?”

“No. we use blow pipes.”

“They make great blood spatter patterns!” Anak added.

“That explains the accuracy.” She murmured “And the mess and smell.” Breia looked around. “Since you need something to do, I will suggest that you first set the entire bay to 2 gravities. Then you will get the cleaning supplies and clean up every speck of cherry juice and pulp. My nose is a lot more sensitive than yours, so I suggest you not miss any. Especially that one hit above my head and three meters aft on the overhead.” She pointed at one of the strayed rounds. “Then you will stow all of these packing crates where they belong and have Sanji verify that they are where they belong, and all panels we may have to access are clear.

“By then we should be dropping out at Coruscant. You will clean your gear, pack it, and be prepared to move by the time we land.”

“Chu!” They leaped to the other stacks, and swarmed down to the deck. She left the bay, walking forward to the cockpit. Sanji was massaging his foot.

“They really are good boys.”

“For a pair of homicidal reprobates they are perfect.” He growled. “I think I might have broken my ankle.”

“Give it here.” She sat on the co-pilot’s chair, and took the appendage. “No, merely badly strained. You haven’t been practicing in heavy gravity.”

“No, master.”

“And what if you had to fight in it? What did I tell you?”

“A warrior can learn to control his weapon and himself. All else is determined by luck.” He repeated.

“If you remember what I said, you should use it.” She admonished.

“Yes, master.”

She looked toward the view ports. It was times like this when she wished she could see with real eyes. People were always telling her about the tunnel like beauty of hyper space but she had never seen it. This was her ninth mission for the Jedi council since she had joined the order and every time she felt this wistful yearning.

The ship shuddered, and she could feel a massive out flowing of the force from ahead of her. She was still tasting it when the com panel bleeped.

“This is Coruscant approach control to Jedi Council transport Millennium Falcon. Respond please.”

Sanji was busy shutting down the hyper drive systems, so she reached across, long practice guiding her fingers to the panel. “This is Jedi Council transport Millennium Falcon receiving Coruscant approach control.”

“Millennium Falcon is requested to dock at the Coruscant University Annex station. Jedi Council has requested Padawan Teacher Breia Sookor Bai Echana hold herself there to meet with Government representative.”

“Understood. Will comply.”

“Coruscant approach out.”

“What now?” Sanji asked.

“I don’t know.” Breia sniffed deeply. “But I think we’ve already got another mission.”

*****
The Coruscant University Annex was a huge fifty kilometer disc stationed in geosynchronous orbit above the University it served. A docking port in the outer ring accepted their authorization, directing them to one of the smaller ports designed for personal transports.

The YT07 was dwarfed by the larger shuttles that plied space between the planet and the 50,000 student annex. It settled on the deck, and Breia scanned the figures that people waiting for her. There were three men and a young woman. The ramp came down and they headed for it. Breia stood, arriving in the mess deck as they entered.

The older of the men carried himself with the stiffness of a military officer recovering from an old wound. His long hair was black with streaks of gray through it. Beside him the Jedi Monk that was administrator of the local Monastery would have been laughable. He was about a meter five in every direction, a huge roly-poly caricature to the undiscerning eye. Master Hontu had proven to be her first and best student at Mah-rehal, the ‘dance with eyes closed’ which was the fighting style she had pioneered among her own people. He had taught her how to use the same sense she had honed for combat into the ability to detect not only the force but duplicity as well.

The third man was an interesting view using that ability. He had threads of duplicity and anger in his aura, but she knew that he was a glad-handing political hack to the naked eye. His blonde hair fell in a long train behind him, and she could tell by the smell that he wore cologne and expensive fabrics.

Compared to them all, the woman was a breath of fresh air. She was petite, probably cute, and had the air of someone that would have been more comfortable in a wilderness than on steel and plastic decks. She carried a pad, and was entering information as she walked up.

“Padawan Teacher, may I introduce Admiral Bono Antilles of the Coruscant Navy. Conno Daystrom of the Tokara corporation, and Daysah Shani of the University Anthropology department.” Hontu said.

“Greetings.” Breia turned her head, and each felt as if she was looking at her. “I assume there is another mission?”

“Yes. May we be seated?”

She stepped aside, motioning toward the table. The others passed her as she walked to the carafe. “I have Echani tea already made. If you would like some, please indulge.” She poured, and wordlessly filled a cup for herself then another as Daysah came up beside her. She took her seat, sipping the hot spicy beverage. Daysah gasped, but kept drinking.

“I don’t know where to begin.” Daysah said.

“At the beginning is always best.” Breia commented dryly.

“Yes. Well four years ago, Mr. Daystrom’s company filed patent on a paradise world that has been named Meera. At that time, the government did nothing about it.” Her voice was sour at the statement. Corporations controlled too many seats in the local Assembly to really be restricted. “Three years ago, one of our students reported to the anthropology department that he believed the larger primate species might be intelligent.”

“It’s all a tissue of lies.” Daystrom snapped. “Anyone who has seen one of them knows they don’t have a large enough brain pan to be intelligent. Besides our survey team attempted to communicate with them and found that it was impossible.”

“The fact that they have four throats and mouth causes them to speak in stereo.” Daysah replied levelly. “When we heard this, we began assembling a translation program to try again. We are uploading it in a new series of homo-form droid supplied to us by Droids incorporated. May I continue, sir?”

Daystrom snorted, nodding.

“As I was saying our student believed the primates were intelligent, yet all requests by the university for permission to study them have been rebuffed. One of the members of our University Harlan Coor of the Ecology department had other issues with the company’s handling of the planet. Tokara is building a massive new super hotel on the plains below a giant waterfall. He was concerned that no study had been made of the environmental impact of the construction and potential guests, and when he requested such studies the company again refused.”

“We can’t be expected to deal with every possible complaint!” Daystrom almost shouted. “We have a business to run, and facilities to maintain and build. If we stopped every time someone assumed that we were in violation of statutes we would still be in a two room office over in west sector.”

Daysah sighed, rolling her eyes. “When attempts by both departments through the government also failed to gain us access, one of my associates Ton Morant got a job as a surveyor with Tokara. As an architecture student, he was assigned to the hotel project. He disappeared six months ago. Professor Coor on his own also infiltrated the company. His reports were sufficient for us to finally gain access to the government offices we needed to contact, yet they still ignored us.

“Finally our department contacted the Jedi Monastery, and they were able to break through the bureaucratic deadlock. Tokara finally gave permission for myself and our droid to meet up with Professor Coor and permission to do the surveys we had requested for several years.”

Breia sipped. “All right, that explains two of you. Why is the Admiral here?”

“The Navy is going to place a defense base orbiting the fourth planet of the system.” Antilles said. His voice was soft, but used to command. “I was assigned to survey the chosen site when Mr. Daystrom’s company requested that we await the arrival of a Padawan who could accompany us.

“At Tokara Company’s request the Frigate Duroc will accompany the Liner Tokara Requiem to the system.”

“Which leave me there without a ship?”

“Of course not. There is enough room in our forward hold to carry your ship in it. Once we’re there, your ship can be unloaded, and when you’re business is done, you can leave without waiting for us.”

“Or you can travel aboard Tokara Requiem. She is brand new and will be making the run from Kinyen to Toprawa and return twice a year.” Daystrom enthused.

He’d rather we rode in the Frigate. That offer was for form’s sake only, if we agreed something would come up. I wonder what? Breia thought.

“Thank you, sir, but we will ride with the Navy if it is all right with you. Is there anything else we need to discuss?” She ducked aside, as did Hontu.

There was a phutting sound, and the other people leaped up, cursing at the stench of seriously overripe Chunga cherries.

“Except for the cleaning bills that is?


'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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Old 03-29-2006, 08:18 AM   #58
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Lol, I loved the last line! Perfect humor! Great chapter Mach, keep it coming.


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:50 AM   #59
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Kids! If someone would just invent an energy siphon then adults like Breia would just have to hook up high-energy youth like those Mandalorian teens and things would be so much more calm and peaceful.

I'm so glad this story continues, machievelli. Looking forward to more.


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Old 03-29-2006, 11:30 AM   #60
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I'm enjoying the development of Breia's character.
@Hai Wan--kids are energy vampires. They suck it out of adults.


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Old 03-31-2006, 06:58 PM   #61
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Party

“Oh this is rich.”

“What Master?” Sanji asked. Breia held up her brail pad. He took it, reset it to standard, and read the document. “A party?”

“Yes.” Breia leaned back, staring at the overhead. “Tokara company has extended an invitation to the crew of Millennium Falcon, The officers of the frigate Duroc, and the party from the university to a farewell dinner aboard Tokara Requiem. Dress is mess dress and uniforms for officers, formal for all others.”

Sanji tapped the pad on his chest, an annoying habit but Breia let it slide. “Odd. You and the council seem to think that Tokara is up to something, yet they invite us to their ship for a party. I wonder why?”

“Can you think of a better way to have us thinking what jolly people they are?” Breia asked. “Sanji, what do you see when you look at Daystrom. Not with your eyes, but with your senses?”

He paused. “He is a duplicitous man who thinks of himself and the company in that order.” He paused, considering. “He doesn’t seem to notice me, but you he does not like at all.”

“How perceptive. Now, assuming he has some deep plot in mind, why ask us over there?”

Sanji shrugged. “You must be right, Master. He is hoping to keep you from seeing what it is.”

“So I will accept, with regrets for you.”

“For me? Why?”

She shook her head. “Sanji, you can make people forget you are there, a usable skill and one all of the Monks will wish to learn if it can be taught. I wish you to... Exercise that ability. We need to know what they might be hiding aboard that ship.”

“But isn’t that... Illegal?”

“Sanji, I have explained to you before that it is only illegal if you intend to steal. Are you feeling acquisitive again?”

He flushed, with his skin color that meant he turned a violet color. “Will you ever let me forget that?”

“Why student, every new member of the order has their... foibles.” She laughed. “When I first entered the order the old sword master thought it was funny to move the furniture in every room when I left a building. So I... dealt with it.”

“How, Master?”

“I rigged the gravity generator in my rooms so that if anything shifted on the floor that I had tagged, it would shift from roof to floor and back once per second at standard gravity for thirty seconds.”

Sanji pictured it. One instant you are moving something, the next, the floor has become the ceiling. Like suddenly finding out you are standing upside down. You would fly up, taking perhaps half a second to impact the ceiling, and an instant later slam into the floor only to hit the ceiling a second later... He snickered. “I can see it.”

“See it! He felt it for a week.” She laughed. “Considering what I did to you, I think that was a bit much, so I toned it down.”

He flushed. It had been a dare from the other students. Just go in her rooms and steal something, then bring it back. He had succeeded, walking by her without being noticed. The object he had chosen was a small picture of her sister Revana. But when he had picked it up, it began speaking to him.

Loudly.

Try, the equivalent of a full scale popular music concert at two paces.

Breia had merely sat there unmoved as he had put back his trophy and slunk out. The next week he had been assigned as her pilot and student at her request.

“I am not telling you to do this. I am asking if you can.”

“Of course I can.” Sanji answered.
“Then please do so. Oh, and send in the boys. I think I have something right up their alley.”

*****
The ballroom looked like it belonged in an expensive home. Rare woods from a dozen planets paneled the bulkheads. A chandelier hung ten meters in the air over the tables lined along the bulkheads. The buffet line held over twenty meat courses alone. Servants, not droids stood behind the tables. A show of extravagance that paled beside the clothing of the dozen or so officers of the ship herself.

Tokara had spared no expense on dress uniforms for their officers. Rich silk in the company green and gold colors with stripes in the color of their departments. Captain Werrol Magtyar looked them over with a critical eye. He was a tall heavily built man with a shock of short black hair and green eyes that bored through you. He had started on one of the pirate chasers, the old Tokara Fist, and his new command was supposed to be even more interesting.

A pity the company had to act as if it were a display piece.

There was a gong, and the first of their guests began to arrive. The students from the university.

“All right men. Just remember best behavior.” He whispered. “So help me the first one of you that tries to get it stuck in will deal with me afterward, clear?” The men nodded.

Magtyar turned around, and his voice oozed charm as he approached the students. He recognized Daysah Shani from his briefing. “Welcome aboard. You must be Ms Shani.”

“That is Professor.” She replied. Something about the man didn’t fit. His uniform was sleek and high class, but the man in it... “And you are?”

“Captain Magtyar.” He motioned. “May I present my officers?”

He introduced her around. The others had broken up to one officer per student, pointing out the fixtures on the newest luxury line of the Tokara fleet. There was another gong, and Magtyar looked toward the open hatch. Antilles and his crew were coming in, followed by...

His eyes tightened. One of those damn Jedi Monks. Behind her in flanking positions were two young men in... He blinked. Mandalorian Kama with weapons belts. “Excuse me, Professor, I am after all the host.”

Daysah watched him walk away, rubbing her hands on her sleeves. The captain had struck her as a cold man better suited to a pirate’s life than a luxury liner command.

“Someone is coming toward us.” Anak said, scanning the crowd. “Large man, looks like a brawler.”

“Yes, I can feel him.” Breia sensed a dark shot cloud approaching. She stopped as it cut between her and the buffet.

“You must be Padawan Breia.” The voice was smooth and melodious. So why did she feel her hackles rise?

“Guilty.” Breia answered She stuck out her hand as if to shake, but it was off to the man’s right a bit. He smoothly moved to intercept it, his large hand almost swallowing hers.

“Welcome aboard my ship. Would you like something to drink Padawan?”

“Not yet.” She shook hands with him, then placed both on her staff. “I was thinking about sitting down for a while. Sev, guide me to the nearest chairs, please.”

Sev stepped forward, extending an arm. Breia reached out, feeling along it hesitantly, then caught him at the elbow. Sev led her to a table, and guided her to a chair. After watching her walk through crowds with no problems, he knew she was merely giving this aruetti a show. “Shall I get you something?” He asked solicitously. “You know you get grumpy when you haven’t eaten.”

She grimaced. “Yes, please.” When we get back to the ship, you and I will have a little talk, boy.

Anak stood behind her as Sev marched across to the buffet line. “The Admiral is headed our way.”

“Anak, I may be blind, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sense things.”

“Padawan.”

“Admiral.” She waved toward the crowd that had gathered. “What do you think?”

“Too rich for my blood. From what I hear the first class cabins will cost my monthly salary for a one way trip.”

“I meant the crew.”

He looked back toward them. “Magtyar I have heard about. Made his name in one of their armed auxiliaries. Considered a good man in a fight.”

“Then why send him here?” Breia asked. She took the plate Sev had brought. It was loaded down 20 centimeters thick with meat. He’s just trying to harden every one of my arteries isn’t he? She drew a small eating knife, slicing the meat swiftly into bite sized chunks, and speared one.

“I have no idea. Tokara has a new pirate chaser the Tokara Saber. I would have expected him to get her instead of this luxury barge.”

Breia nodded. Something didn’t quite fit. She turned her head. “Admiral, two men have just entered. Would you describe them for me?”

“Two more of Tokara’s finest. Vice President Suli Corona and his nephew Dasa Sunrider.” He had an eye for detail. The men were something she could almost see with the eyes she no longer had when he was done. Her face turned away, but she followed them through the crowd with that extra sense the Force gave her.

Ah. So that is what it was...

*****

Daysah backed farther into the corner to escape the first officer. She didn’t know where Tokara had gotten this crew, but the nicest man in the group was actually the captain, and he terrified her.

It wasn’t that they were unpolished or unintelligent. But they had a level of violence in their eyes she had only seen in rabid animals. This man for instance. Nemo Pahner. Smooth, very efficient she could tell. Yet when he looked her over, she wondered if he was going to... well, she feared for her virtue.

“Lieutenant, allow me to break in.”

The officer looked up, then snapped to attention. “Of course, sir.”

Daysah looked up. The man was thin, hair lay in layered perfection on his head, and laughing green eyes met hers. The suit was worth more than she made in a year, and the single ring he wore would have cost her a decade of work. Behind him was a smaller man nearer to her age. The hair was blonde instead of black, the eyes blue. But the younger man looked like a copy of the elder.

“I am Suli Corona, Vice president of shipping for the Company. This is my nephew Dasa Sunrider, my assistant.” He looked at the lieutenant, and something cold flashed in his eyes. “My apologies. We had to find a crew for the ship in a hurry, so we took the entire crew from one of our ships under repair. A pirate chaser. Captain Magtyar is excellent in that role, but will not command the ship when it is in service. For a milk run from here to Meera he is adequate.” He looked to the first officer again. “Lieutenant, go mingle. And try not to terrify our guests.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You are Professor Daysah Shani of the Coruscant University anthropology department. I do so love to study people. It helps with my job. May I?” He motioned toward the couch beside her.

*****

“Very interesting.” Breia murmured. “Corona and Sunrider busy with Professor Shani. That means...” She turned her head. The cloud of repressed fury that was Magtyar was headed for her table.

“Padawan, Admiral. May I join you?”

“Of course, Captain.“ Breia waved idly for a seat. Since she used the arm away from the table, she seemed to be motioning for him to sit somewhere else. He sat, and she returned to her meal. “The stuffed roasted Nerf is excellent. I will have to ask for your recipe.”

Magtyar laughed. “Don’t ask me, Padawan. If it isn’t moving when I start eating, it’s good enough. I’ll have the chef make up a card for you.”

She sensed a lightening of his mood. “My thanks. You served on armed ships before this I am told.”

The mood darkened. “Yeah. Six years working my way up on some of the first armed ships. Five years in command of Tokara Fist, then...” He waved around. “This barge.”

“I would have expected them to give you the newest ship. the Saber if I recall?”

“You and me both, Padawan.” His mood darkened again. “When you’ve spent your entire life working to one goal, being handed this gilded box was a slap in the face.”

“I understand.” She said. “After a decade and a half as a blacksmith, I got this.” She waved at her robes. “With little on the job training.”

His mood lightened a little at that. “I am sorry I have tried to bite your ear off, Padawan.”

“I get that a lot.” She admitted. “So, what can you tell me about this planet Meera?”

“Not much to tell you the truth. The Company found it a few years ago. They seem to think a paradise world is perfect for hotels and resorts. I didn’t even hear of it until about four days ago when I was sent over to command the ship.”

“Perhaps there are survey reports I can read?”

“Be my guest.” He snapped a finger, and Pahner came over. “Nemo, get the full survey readout for Meera, and give it to the Padawan.” As the officer walked off her turned back to his guest. “To men like me a planet is a destination or a target that needs defending. Not within our job description.”

“Is your ship armed?”

“Yeah, but not that heavily. The refit included two missile launchers a heavy projectile cannon and five anti shuttle chain guns. Enough to deter a pirate. In something this size that’s like the eating knife you’re using.”

She nodded. Over near the bar, she heard singing. “Oh dear. I hope that is only the Mando singing.” As she said it there was the slamming bang of fists hitting armor.

“Taung-sa-rang-broka!
A-rueti seka-art!”


“Why?” Magtyar asked. Three of his men had joined in, slapping their chests and thighs as they tried to sing along. Suddenly the two Mandalorian boys leaped and spun in place. Anak’s fists pounded out the rhythm on Sev’s back plate. unfortunately Sev’s fist punched the unaware lieutenant off his feet.

“Dha-Werda-Verda-a’den-tratu!
A-rue-tii-se-ka-dosii-adu!”


Again the boys leaped and spun, now facing the other way. Sev’s fists beat out the rhythm on the smaller boy’s back, while Anak punched another man on his side.

“Captain, I think we had better get over there.” Breia stood, and walked toward the soon to be confrontation. The captain hurried after the suddenly adept Padawan.

“Duum-mo-tir-ca-tra-nau-tracinya!
Gra-tua-cuun-hett-su-dralshy’a”


The first lieutenant, blood spraying from his mouth leaped to his feet, just in time to get punched again. Before he could rise again Breia’s stick stopped him.

“[i]k’uur![i/]” She snapped. The boy’s faltered, then stopped, looking at her confused. “Why did you strike those men?” She demanded.

“Permission to speak.” Anak said.

“Granted.”

They were talking with us about Mando customs. Sev told them about Dha Werda, and they wanted to see it. When we started the chant and began the rhythm they stood too close.”

Breia looked down, hiding her laugh with a cough. She blistered the air for a full minute in Mando‘a. By the time she was done both looked ashamed. Then she turned to Magtyar. “I must apologize for my young warriors. They forget that most people do not have their reflexes. Boys, if you wish to show them the Dha Werda, I suggest we use a couple of empty tables they can waste.”

Magtyar had two tables cleared, and the two boys danced again, this time to completion. It was grueling even for the observers.

The evening wound down, and Breia finally left with her charges. “Sev, I told you to create a diversion. But did you have to hit the first officer?” She asked as they entered the lift.”

The young man looked at her placidly. “It was either that or something more, lethal.”

She shook her head, then put her arms around their necks. “Boys, we need to talk about your style.”


'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?

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Old 03-31-2006, 07:52 PM   #62
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Excellent suspension building in this chapter, machievelli. I'm pretty much in the dark on where this story is heading and I like the feeling. Obviously conflict of some sort will arise but I don't find anything predictable that I can look at and say, "Oh, this is what is going to happen."


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Old 04-02-2006, 12:23 AM   #63
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Heh, Breia and the boys' 'diversion'--very amusing.


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Old 04-04-2006, 08:35 AM   #64
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So what was Sanji doing during the diversion? I wonder, hmm... Great chapter Machievelli. I agree with cutmeister, there is some tension building up. Can't wait to see where the story goes from here.


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Old 04-04-2006, 10:36 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegade Puma
So what was Sanji doing during the diversion? I wonder, hmm... Great chapter Machievelli. I agree with cutmeister, there is some tension building up. Can't wait to see where the story goes from here.

What was Sanji doing? Bwahhaaaaaa! You should be asking why Breia needed a diversion!


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Old 04-05-2006, 03:42 PM   #66
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Infiltration

Sanji had not even known he had a special ability when he was younger. Sure he could duck a fight or his parents when they came looking to punish him, but every child has those days when everything goes right. He merely thought he was lucky.

But that had changed when his parents died in a transport accident when he was ten. Left alone, the boy had run the streets, stealing what he needed to live. The Constables had come looking for him. The Constables on Triseki had been ruthless especially when the offender was not human.

He had been trapped in an old abandoned house and had hidden in a closet. If he were lucky, they would only send him off to one of the asteroid mines. If not they would beat him to a bloody pulp then send him to a mine. Or kill him depending on their mood.

He had heard them coming closer, smashing doors, occasionally blasting a closet rather than open it. Their mood obviously was not conducive to being taken prisoner.

I am not here. He thought. I slipped out some other way, I’m a block away at least running like the hounds of all of the hells are after me.


The door opened, and he stifled his scream by stuffing his hand in his mouth, biting down hard enough to draw blood. The man looked huge, the bore of his rifle the size of a tram tunnel. The man stepped in, looked around, then stepped back out.

“The little crapper must have gotten out of the building somehow.”

“How?” another officer asked. He stepped over, looking idly into the closet, then shrugged. “We had the place surrounded.”

“Don’t ask me. I just work here.” The first constable slung his rifle, lighting a smoke-stick. “If he’s smart he’ll run and never come back. And I was so looking forward to shooting him when he tried to escape.”

“Unit 7; fight at Baleka Cantina.” his com burped.

The officer took a leisurely drag on his smoke before touching the key on his wrist. “Unit 7 responding.” He slammed the closet door hard enough to smash the lock, and Sanji stared at the door in amazement as he heard them walk away.

From that day forward, Sanji had become the premier sneak thief of the planet. He had found that some people could see him when he was concentrating on being unseen, but that person was rare. By the simple expedient of casing his robberies first, making himself unseen then walking around and gauging reactions, he was never caught.

Until that day three years ago.

He had been casing the docks. There was supposed to be a shipment of medical supplies, and among them were a lot of drugs the poorer people couldn’t afford. He had walked through the dock area unseen, and had found the warehouse where the shipment was supposed to be stored. The only person near by that might have seen him was an old human in some kind of robes, and he didn’t pay any attention to him.

A few hours later, he had slipped in with the largest bag he could find. He had gone through the shipment, grabbing out the supplies he had earmarked. Enough to keep four or five dozen people in health. It had gone great until he had been ready to leave. Then something had slapped his foot tripping him.

He’d rolled over, looking at a big mother sword, and the robed guy holding it.

“Why are you stealing, boy?” The man asked calmly. “Didn’t your family teach you better?”

Sanji had glared up at him, a thirteen year old tough that wasn’t taking crap any more. “If they’d actually let some of us have medicine, I would have let the slags keep it!” He growled. “And my parents taught me pretty well before they died!”

The man stood there, then turned the blade of his sword so the flat was up. “Lay your hand on the sword. Swear to me by the steel you touch that all you say is the truth.”

Slowly, Sanji’s hand came up, and his palm rested on the sword. He wanted to grab at it, but some instinct told him that was a bad idea. “I swear.”

“And if you could take more?”

“Hey, this will take care of a few dozen, but there are thousands of us that need but can’t buy because of our race.”

The man considered, then with a fluid motion he sheathed the blade. His hand reached down, and he helped Sanji to his feet. “Then we had better make sure to help everyone.”

To Sanji’s amazement, the man had led him toward the Planetary controllers office. “This skill you have, does it work with everyone?”

“No.” Sanji admitted. “After all you saw me.”

“No, I felt your presence. I asked because we can help everyone if you can merely walk in there,” He motioned toward the building, “And you can get into the office of the Health department.”

“Are you crazy?”

“My friend, with a little help on your clothing sense, we can do this.”

“But why do you care?”

The old man looked at him for a long time. “I am a monk of the Jedi order sent to negotiate for the Galactic Trade Authority. when I arrived, I called up the records of the ships of the past week and found a lot of Ridastinal was being sent here.” At the boy’s blank expression the monk took pity. “When used on say a Hutt or your own Twi-lek species, Ridastinal is medicinal. With the Hutt it is a contraceptive, with the Twi-lek it lowers your blood pressure, very necessary when your species has certain heart conditions.

“However on humans, it has an hallucinogenic affect and is highly addictive. This planet has bought enough Ridastinal for a population of 40% Twi-lek. But the Twi-lek population here is less than 5%.” Still there was incomprehension. He sighed. “How can you be so clever and so dense at the same time? Since as you say the aliens are not getting medicines they needs, someone is diverting it. Someone in the Health Ministry is buying it for resale. Either out system or as drug dealers. I am here to stop them.”

“So what do you need with me?”

“As I said. Just get into the Health Ministry, and put this on a computer.” The old man flashed a disc.

Two days later, Sanji was ready. The old man had bought him some nice clothes and coached him ruthlessly.

“This isn’t going to work.” Sanji said following the old man up the steps.

“Why?”

“Some of them are going to see me no matter what I do!”

“Ah, but what will they see?” He stopped, turning to face the boy. “Before they would see a street urchin, obviously up to no good. But now? They see a young boy in off world clothes, obviously the son of a rich off planet merchant. Whatever they may think of their own alien immigrants, they will hesitate to assault you. After all, they are trying to join the Galactic Trade Authority. It would be hard to convince that authority when all of the peoples they oppress are members in good standing. They might see you, they might even stop you, but they will be polite about it.

“So do this ‘now you see me now you don’t’ trick of yours, and let’s continue.”

“I’ve been ‘doing’ it as you say, since we got into the taxi at your hotel.”

The old man grimaced. “So everyone who has walked by thinks I’m some senile old monk talking to myself or my imaginary friend. Just wonderful.” He smiled ruefully. “But that is also an advantage.”

They entered the building, and Sanji immediately moved to the right toward the lifts. The old man went up to the security kiosk, asking for directions.

The biggest problem with being functionally invisible was that if people don’t see you, they don’t avoid you. Sanji had to leap out of the way as a human matron almost large enough to be mistaken for a Hutt stormed past. The second biggest problem was doors. You can’t very well open them without being noticed.

However lifts were easy unless they were crowded. He palmed the button and waited. A lift opened, and he allowed the half dozen or so humans waiting to enter, taking the second lift that came instead. When it opened on the seventh floor, he merely concentrated, and at the same time strode down the hall. Pretend you’re the biggest meanest gangster on the street. you own that hall. If someone talks to you, keep it in mind. The briefing he had gotten echoed. In his pocket he had both the disc he had been given, and a pass that said he was a member of the GTA entourage.

A woman stood, carrying her cup toward the carafe, and he slid into her seat, slipping the disc into the reader. He punched the button, and as it ran he stood. The woman was staring at him.

“What are you doing there?”

when in doubt, remember you’re a kid. whining at your age is not merely acceptable, expected in small quantities.

Sanji imediately remembered a six year old human he‘d seen on the street, and put that look on his face. The woman’s irritation faltered. “I was just tired. I’m with the group from the GTA, and I got turned around and tired.” He put the whiny edge in his voice. “Do you know where I’m supposed to be?”

“Oh get away from my desk.” She sat, thumbing her com unit. “This is Gerda over in Med-records. Could you send a security guard down please? We have a youngster who says he’s with the Trade Authority party down here.”

“Right away.” a deep voice replied.

A guard stepped out of the lift, and stalked over. “ID.” He snapped. One look at the ID caused him to motion politely. “If you will follow me, sir?”

Sanji concentrated instead on being the petulant little boy as they rose to the 18th floor. The monk merely nodded, motioning toward a seat. Just as the negotiations resumed suddenly every transmitter station including the dedicated military and transit ones began listing the names of ships and people that had brought drugs, sold them, and especially diverted them. It took less than four hours before a dozen member of the Central Committee, including the Controller were being arrested.

The negotiations continued afterward, were completed satisfactorily and the monk left. followed by his young protégé. Sanji followed him off the planet, and never looked back.

*****

For his disguise this time, Sanji was using a simple key-pad. He concentrated on being unseen, but in the part of his mind trained by the order he added. Don’t mind me. I’m just that twerp from inventory control you’ve seen a dozen times trying to find that missing case of whatever.

The disguise and his own innate abilities had gotten him just about everywhere. But the last section, an area large enough to hold a thousand men or more had been sealed, and he didn’t have any access codes. He looked at the pad as he turned into yet another storage hold.

Odd. All of the cargo holds for passenger luggage and ’steerage’ berths are sealed. But there is no reason for it in the log or the manifest. Construction crews are supposed to be finishing up the fitting out, but there are no construction men on the crew or in their quarters. No beds for that matter. No beds in steerage yet according to the manifest.

He walked back to the landing bay, and was back aboard well before Breia returned to the ship.

The woman nodded at him, taking a seat at the mess table, opening her own pad. “Get us out of here, Sanji.” She looked toward the two Mando boys. “Planted as requested?”

“One on the Chief engineer another on the First officer.” Anak said.

“One on the Captain when I jostled him before we finished Dha Werda Sev reported.

“And I placed six on the table to place themselves.” Breia said. “Well done. “Now, let us see what we will see.” She touched the button, and scanned.

Back when men still used wire for listening, they would cut into communications line to plant listening device. Later they made specific units that they called ‘bugs’.

The modern equivalent actually looked like small bugs, less than a centimeter in length. They ran on six small legs, and would implant themselves if it was at all possible.

Seven of the screens showed movement. Six were scurrying across floors toward their targets. The other was on the Captain’s sleeve as he marched toward the bridge. The other three were riding on clothes of men who at present were at rest.

As they watched, one ran under a foot, then was riding along with it. Then it moved surreptitiously around the edge, catching a pants leg. It scurried upward, catching a cloak, and climbed even higher.

“Excellent.” Breia mused. “Either Corona or Sunrider has one.” She checked the others. “No, that’s Sunrider with Professor Shani.” Two of the bugs were scurrying toward the pair.

“So what do you think?” Sunrider waved at the grand decor.

“Too rich for my blood.” Shani said wistfully. “For a girl from the sticks, this is a bit much.”

“Ah, but such opulence grows on you. After a while, you only notice when it’s not there.” Sunrider said. “Come, I will give you a guided tour.” The bugs made a final dash, one running up Sunrider’s pants leg. The other attached itself to the professor’s shoe.

“Not bad, eight of nine.”

“Where’s the last one?” Anak asked.

Breia keyed in the last unit and chuckled. While programming the bugs to act like real insects, glitches occurred. One such glitch was that sometimes the camouflage programming overrode the device’s tiny little mind. One of the bugs had decided it was hungry, and climbed onto the buffet table. After biting into some cheese, it had fallen into a bowl of gravy, and was sinking rapidly. She sent the self destruct, and it shut down, already dissolving.

“All right, we record now, and play it back when we’re safe in the Duroc’s hold.”

*****

Daysah was stunned by the sheer opulence around her. The ship was almost 500 meters long, three hundred tall deep, and four hundred wide. Almost 60 million cubic meters! In a warship that would be enough weapons to devastate any attacker. The Duroc was 200 meters shorter alone, and considered huge.

In a cargo vessel it was large enough to carry a full colonial cargo load for fifty thousand people. Or to carry that many people to a new colony.

Instead it was designed for a mere 4,000 passengers and 8,000 crew.

There were four decks that could only be defined as one massive shopping mall in her belly. Four hundred stores selling everything from candy for the children to gowns that cost more than her annual salary.

After seeing ballrooms larger than her lecture hall, a swimming pool large enough to be considered a small lake, and every other thing they had decided to put inside this huge ship, she was almost overwhelmed.

“-That is the only branch of the Bank Of Coruscant not on a planet.” Dasa Sunrider was saying. Without his uncle standing there, the young man was actually quite personable. Though he did come across as a commentator for Lifestyles of the Embarrassingly Rich.

He wound down, then smiled wistfully. “I’m probably boring you.”

“No. It’s just that I never enjoyed looking at something I can’t have.” She waved at the vaulted ceiling and the shops above and below them. “That’s all well and good, but to me it’s what I can never have.”

“Don’t be so sure.” He smiled shyly. She started to ask him what he meant when there was a chime from his com unit. “Sunrider here.”

“Dasa, we have business to discuss.” Corona’s voice sounded like he was standing right there.

“On the way, sir.” He switched off, then reached out taking her hand. “There will be several days when we are at Meera when he won’t be looking over our shoulder. May I ask you over for dinner one evening at least?”

“I’d like that.” She replied. He tapped an annunciator plate, and a ship’s crewman arrived. “Escort the lady to the boat bay, please.”

*****

“Why was he talking like that?” Sev asked as they watched through the lens on Sunrider’s attendant bug.

“He was trying to seduce her.” Breia sensed the boy’s confusion. “A mating ritual.”

“Ah.” Sev nodded as if it explained it all. “We don’t do that at home.”

“Obviously.” Breia replied coolly. “What do your people do?”

“Well you don’t learn about sex beyond basic hygiene until you’re thirteen or fourteen.” He replied. “Everyone goes through the military training first, you see. You can’t be thinking about what your team mates might be good for other than combat until you’re done with that.”

“I see.”

“When you enter the last stage of training, they teach primary mating methods, you know, positions, how to-”

“I get the drift.” Breia interrupted hastily.

“Well, then the week before graduation, they take the entire remaining class and give them a full 28 hour day to... Practice what they had been taught. Just like every other part of training, you learn by doing.”

Breia had a vision of several dozen young Mando of both sexes locked in a room with no adult supervision. Or tried to. Her mind rebelled. “That is really more than I needed to know.”

“You did ask.”

“Sunrider is approaching the door.” They tensed. When Corona had opened the door, his bug had suddenly ceased transmitting. Breia had a good idea what had caused it, and she set this bug to record only electronic emissions. As the door opened, there was a sudden burst of energy, and the bug went dead.

“So we won’t hear what is happening in there.” She said, closing the monitor.

“Why?” Anak asked.

“EMP barrier. Fries the circuits of the devices. Lucky for us they merely begin decomposing when that happens.” She leaned back. “Now all we can do is wait.”


'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?

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Old 04-05-2006, 05:16 PM   #67
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Mandolorian mating techniques....

Love the 'bugs.'


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Old 04-05-2006, 09:40 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Mandolorian mating techniques....
Doesn't sound like there is much technique to me, just mechanics... you know, "Wham! Bam! Thank you ma'am!" It matches up with the "all-business" attitude that machievelli depicts the Mandalorians with though.

Another excellent chapter to this story, machievelli. I'm glad you gave us some more background on Sanji as it gave his character more significance and I can relate to him more now.

I'm curious though how Breia uses the monitoring device to "see" all the bugs she and her group planted.


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Old 04-06-2006, 04:46 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Mandolorian mating techniques....

Love the 'bugs.'
Wow, I was laughing so hard at that same thing. Still it is kind of gross and wrong Great chapter once again Machievelli. When will you be posting the next one?


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 04-06-2006, 11:00 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutmeister
Doesn't sound like there is much technique to me, just mechanics... you know, "Wham! Bam! Thank you ma'am!" It matches up with the "all-business" attitude that machievelli depicts the Mandalorians with though.

Another excellent chapter to this story, machievelli. I'm glad you gave us some more background on Sanji as it gave his character more significance and I can relate to him more now.

I'm curious though how Breia uses the monitoring device to "see" all the bugs she and her group planted.
Won't tell in the next section, but I will explain how she 'sees'.

I got the idea for the bugs from the movie Fifth Element. The only thing I didn't do was mount an obvious sensor dish on a cockroach.


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Old 04-06-2006, 11:04 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegade Puma
Wow, I was laughing so hard at that same thing. Still it is kind of gross and wrong Great chapter once again Machievelli. When will you be posting the next one?
Again, I have to pay homage to the movie Battle Beyond the Stars.

Back when Starlog wrote their review of that movie, the reviewer mentioned the Valkyrie race (Played by Sybil Danning) and postulated on their training and upbringing. Then he said he had a picture of all of these highly trained warriors being locked in a room together to blow off some steam literally.

Of course, that means we oldsters get the night off...


'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?

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Old 04-10-2006, 10:39 AM   #72
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Bait

Meera: Planet In the Otegga system deep in the Lesser Plooriod Cluster. Galactic Reference GSFD-446/CR-A4/E-2/3.

Class: C-7 class, similar to Coruscant before urban construction. Native animals and planets graded at level 4, some dangerous, but within acceptable standards for human colonization under Coruscant Exploration Guidelines.
Status: Property of the Tokara Company.

Meera is a world discovered five years ago by the Tokara Company vessel Tokara Explorer using the Hyper-space Cannon extension from the planet Taris. Meera was surveyed by the company, and discovered to be a wilderness paradise.

The company is building a resort hotel to rival the largest ever constructed near the largest fall known in the explored galaxy.

Wildlife: Except for the large animals known as Meeran Hammerheads, there are virtually no large animals on the planet. It is a paradise with few dangers, notably a feathered serpent which can be dangerous, but is shy and retiring.

Tokara Company planned to open the hotel last year, however there have been unforeseen setbacks...

From: Encyclopedia Galactica: Fifth edition

*****
As the two ships began to move away from Coruscant, a message torpedo passed them. It flicked into hyper space, travelling many times the speed of the snail like ships. They would take over a week to arrive when the torpedo would be there in less than a day...

*****

“This is just too much!” The foreman roared. The labor crew looked at the earthmovers. It had taken weeks to get enough moly-circuitry to get them working again, and the damn animals had ripped it out again!

Harlan Coor, leaned on his shovel, looking at the neatly spaced trees that again filled the cleared space. He shook his head, smiling slightly. No matter what the company said, these things weren’t animals.

He noticed a small shiny dot near the trees, and leisurely walked over. A coin. Just as he wondered what it was doing here, something smashed into the back of his head. There was screaming, and he rolled over, looking back toward the open spaces. In the haze of his injury, he saw a horde of figures in black suits had descended on the crew, blades flashing. Someone ran toward the transport trying to call for assistance, but was cut down. One figure standing aside turned, drawing a weapon from a holster. He fiddled with a control, then put a single bullet into a tree. Figures surrounded the massive earthmoving machines, then ran away as flames licked upward. The earthmovers exploded one by one, and when Coor finally came completely around, there was nothing but bodies scattered among the wreckage.

He staggered to his feet, moving to the men he had worked beside for the last months. Something caught his eye, and he bent, picking it up.

It looked like a club with an edge that had been sanded into a blade. Pieces of sharp stone flakes had been imbedded in it.

He reached the transport, keying the alarm, then looked at the weapon again. Evidence of a native attack. The problem was the weapon was an exact copy of what was used ten centuries ago on Coruscant by one now extinct tribe on a small island. Something obscure that most wouldn’t know, and they wouldn’t have made here. He pulled back, and threw it as hard as he could into the underbrush. He couldn’t stop what was going to happen, but maybe he could delay it.

He froze, staring into the jungle. A figure stood there, watching him. Then there were more.

A lot more.

One moved closer, until he could recognize it. A hand came up, waving for him to follow.

*****

“So that’s Meera.” Sanji said. Breia had come forward a few minutes before, almost as if she had known precisely when they would arrive. They stood well back from the bustling crowd on the frigate’s bridge.

“Yes.” Antilles said. Our base is going to be out there.” He motioned toward the planet on the edge of the system. “Too many reports of pirates in the area.”

“Pirates.” Breia looked toward him. “From where?”

“I don’t know. The reports from Tokara have been vague. Ships attacked, but the enemy has been beaten off. Not without losses, mind.” Antilles moved back to the bridge windows. “So we’re setting up a base to protect them.”

Breia nodded. The download from the Tokara Company had been vague to her as well. There were holos of the native wildlife, including a bipedal creature with a curved spine, and eyes on a forward sweeping trunk. The survey looked to have been well done, but that biped still bothered her.

The ships plunged toward the planet. Antilles stood beside them, watching the planet they were approaching. “It is beautiful.” He mused.

Breia raised her head, sniffing, then turned toward one console on the edge of the compartment. The crewman there stiffened, then turned sharply. “Admiral! The Tokara construction base has called in. Their crew at the building site were attacked and slaughtered!”

“Prep my shuttle for launch. I want a squad aboard by the time I get down there!” Antilles looked at the two monks. “Coming?”

Breia motioned then moved rapidly through the compartment to the lift, pacing the Admiral.

“We will take our own ship down, if you don’t mind.” She answered. “My two... hounds shouldn’t be left unsupervised for too long. Besides, they might be of some help.”

The lift stopped, and they headed for their ships. Breia slowed as she entered the mess deck. “Boys?”

“Yes, Yuru’ike?” Anak answered.

“How are you at tracking?”

“I was first in my class in basic, standard and advanced tracking.” Anak said. There was no pride in the statement. He was good, but didn’t brag. “Sev was first in basic, but fourth in standard and ninth in advanced.”

“My ad is the best I have seen.” Sev added.

“Good. Sev, I want you to play the bodyguard. Anak...”

*****

The scene looked like a war zone. The Millennium Falcon settled down, crushing some of the newly planted tree, and a moment later was followed by the shuttle from Duroc. Soldiers poured from the shuttle, surrounding it as Antilles stormed down the ramp. He moved forward, his men keeping a tight perimeter as he stopped at the first body. It had been hacked again and again as if by some blade wielding madman. He walked slowly through the battlefield, and his face was cold.

A guard clicked his tongue, pointing something out to his sergeant. The noncom walked over, picking up a war club. “Sir?” He held it up. Antilles waved, and the weapon was brought to him.

He looked up as Breia walked toward him followed by Sev and Sanji. Then he looked back at the club. “Any idea of the losses?”

“Thirty dead. According to the base camp there were thirty-one, so someone is missing.” The sergeant reported. “All four earthmovers were torched. The fuel lines had been hacked open.”

Antilles looked at the carnage. “Natives?”

“May I?” Breia held out her hand, and Antilles passed the club to her. Her fingers ran over it delicately. “Odd. Admiral have you been to the Museum of Natural History?”

“Why is that important?” He rasped.

“Being blind, I get to handle the exhibits when it’s safe. This-” She held up the club. “-is an almost exact duplicate of a Chambri Islander’s war club from Coruscant. The odds that a native would not only know what it looked like, but how it was made are miniscule.”

“Convergent evolution.” The sergeant harrumphed. “Happens all the time.”

“I mention it because four cases of artifacts from the Chambri exhibits were hijacked two weeks ago.” Breia demurred. “Odd that an exact copy turned up here.”

“Sir.” One of the guards had knelt beside one of the bodies. “Most of these cuts weren’t made with something like that.”

Antilles and the Jedi moved over to the soldier. Breia knelt, running her hand along a slash. “He is correct, Admiral. These were made by modern swords.”

They looked up as a pair of shuttles came in. The first was a standard cargo lifter large enough to put two of the earthmovers in. The other was a slim two man personal model.

Men poured out of the larger shuttle, stopping to stare in horror and anger at the scene before them.

Dasa Sunrider followed Suli Corona into the front. The older man paused, his face cold as he surveyed the site. “So they’ve struck again.” Corona said.

“Who?” Breia asked.

“These damn natives.”

“This wasn’t done by any natives.” Antilles interrupted. “Whoever did this used modern weapons, and left these-” He waved the club, “-to make you think it was.”

Corona locked eyes with the Admiral, then stalked forward. He took the weapon, looking at it. “What proof do you have?”

Antilles walked the new arrivals through their discoveries. Corona’s face became thoughtful, then looked at the Jedi Monk. “It seems that someone else is trying to convince us to attack innocent wildlife after all.” He agreed. He walked over to the earthmover, looking at the wreckage. “Pirates perhaps?”

“Possibly.” Breia agreed. “But why would pirates want to disrupt your business here?”

“We are a large fish in a very small pond here.” Corona answered. “If they could convince the Galactic Trade Authority that we are fighting a native species, the planet’s classification would change from class 2 to class 3.”

“Ah.” Breia pondered. A class 2 planet was open for colonization or exploitation. But a class 3 was a planet with an indigenous intelligent species, and while they could trade with them, the company would not own the planet. That would not stop exploitation, merely slow it down. She looked at the Vice President. “So they would be able to trade here without your clearance.”

“Precisely.”

“All right sergeant. Spread your men around, and see if you can find anything that tells us where the enemy came from and where they went.”

The soldiers supported by the Tokara guards spread out. Sev watched them go, then leaned forward. “ They’re not Mando.” He whispered. “But they move well.”

Breia scanned the forest beyond the men. Her head cocked. “Did you hear that?” Sev started to ask, but she shushed him. From deep in the forest, there came a thrumming sound. Like a bow pulling across a taut string. It fluctuated up and down, then repeated. From another point much farther away, there came a reply. The pair stood in silence as a third then a fourth thrum sounded. Then the forest fell silent again.

Three hours later, the command team surveyed the findings of their men. There had been foot prints, but they had been muffled by cloth so no discernable pattern on possible footwear had been found. The prints had come from all sides, but had left, and deployed from the east along a game trail. Two hundred meters down that trail was a clearing, and in it were depressions that looked like landing gear.

Breia scanned, and detected Anak coming back from the forest where he had been. In one hand he carried a recorder. In the other, his rifle. He paused, slung the recorder, and walked toward her.

“Anything to add?” She asked. At his terse nod, she looked back toward where Antilles Sunrider and Corona were standing at a table which had been set up. She walked over to see what was so interesting. In the center of the table was a single distorted slug.

“May I?” She asked. At Antilles’ nod she picked up the lead, rolling it around in her hand. “Weight about five grams. It feels like...” She set it down. “Admiral, when you analyze this I think you will discover it came from an Echani designed pistol.”


'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?

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Old 04-10-2006, 08:56 PM   #73
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Another good update. And I have a wild question to ask: are the natives Ithorian?


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Old 04-11-2006, 03:38 AM   #74
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^^^
I think you're onto something there, Hallucination.
Quote:
Originally Posted by machievelli in post #46
Working on the next part.How about first contact with the Ithorians and a little fun with the Mandalore?
Hmmm... another intriguing chapter that only reveals a little more info but still leaves much in suspense. Nicely done, machievelli.


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Old 04-11-2006, 10:52 AM   #75
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Quote:
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Another good update. And I have a wild question to ask: are the natives Ithorian?

Keep reading to find out.


'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?

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Old 04-11-2006, 03:37 PM   #76
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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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Old 04-11-2006, 08:58 PM   #77
Hallucination
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A conspiracy!!!!1!!11!!!!one.
Another good addition to the fic-tacularness, Mach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by machievelli
Sanji watched from his hide.
I was under the impression that Twileks used their eyes to see....


Let's kill ourselves.
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Old 04-12-2006, 05:34 AM   #78
Renegade Puma
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Once again, great job Machievelli. You really know how to write an engrossing story! Next chapter soon!


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:48 AM   #79
Char Ell
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A bold move on Tokara Company's part, trying to frame the Jedi as the ones using Echani weapons against the company's colonization efforts. Doesn't make much sense though when the Jedi monks are known for their specialization in melee combat so I can see why Antilles doesn't immediately buy into it.


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Old 04-12-2006, 12:54 PM   #80
machievelli
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Ah, but there is more to this plot than you think...

Bwahahahahaha


'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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