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Old 04-12-2006, 02:13 PM   #81
machievelli
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Dénouement

Daysah rubbed her head. She had a splitting headache. Where-

A net falling, power surging through her sending her into blackness.

She snapped upright.

Not a good idea. Her head seemed to lift, then swivel as if it were going to fall off. She clutched her head, whimpering. The noise faded as she made it. Soundproofing. Where was she?

She opened her eyes just mere slits, but the light didn’t increase the pain. She opened them fully, looking around. It was a luxury suite. She looked down, and grimaced. That damn gown was on her. The flowers she saw, went where they would fig-leaf her breasts and crotch, and had opened of their own accord, the cerulean color offsetting the teal.

Beside her on the night table was a carafe of water, and two small pills. Beside them was a card.

FOR THE HEADACHE

She poured then considered. The water might be drugged. She took the carafe into the fresher, dumped it, and used one of the sanitary wrapped glasses from there to drink tap water. It was only after she had swallowed them that she considered that they could have easily slipped whatever drugs they wanted into the pills she had just taken. For that matyter into the air or the very tap water she had drunk.

She padded back into the suite, and began searching it. A closet held more clothes than she had owned in her lifetime, all of it the same quality and cost as what she wore right now. Of her own gear, there was no sign.

There was a gentle bell tone, and she looked around frantically. The Com annunciator on the night table was blinking gently. She walked across, touching it.

“This is Dasa. Care for that dinner you missed now?”

“Let me out of here.”

“I will be down to get you in a moment.” The light shut off. She touched it again.

“I’m sorry, all communications lines are temporarily out of order. Please try your call again later.” A recording answered her.

She flounced into a chair, crossing her arms angrily. Whatever they were up to, there was nothing she could do at the moment to stop them. She considered slamming something on that idiot Sunrider’s head, then shook her head angrily. If he had a brain he would have a guard or two with him. If he didn’t just send a guard to get her instead. There wasn’t anything heavy enough to hurt someone through a helmet in this room.

A short time later, the door opened. Sunrider was standing outside in the passageway. Two men in security uniforms flanked him. “Please, this way?” He motioned gracefully.

She stood, storming out. The passageway was a step above the opulence of the typical passenger quarters. This must be the first class area. Sunrider walked beside her, directing her to the lift, and they shot up two decks.

If the regular passenger quarters were elegant, and the room she had left opulent, this was positively sybaritic. The floor were a deep pile carpeting thick enough to lose shoes in. The walls were Coruscanti marble in a smooth continuous sheet broken only by doorways. Sunrider pushed open a double door into a private dining room twice the size of her apartment. Larger than the three room suite where she had woken up.

There were three place settings at the far end of the table, and Corona sat at one, flipping through a fan fold report. He looked up, standing and moving toward them.

“Well, Professor, what do you think?” He waved at the room. The clearsteel windows beyond looked out over the planet. “The quarters and dining area for Tokara Board members and their families. If we booked these rooms, they would cost more than you make in a year. And we would already have a waiting list a year long for them.” He motioned, pulling out a chair. “Have a seat. We have a business proposition for you.”

Daysah sat, looking at the place setting before her. All her life she had dealt with meals by using a single fork knife and spoon. Before her were six forks, three different spoons, and as many knives. Already she was out of her depth.

A silent droid rolled in, and a bowl of soup was placed at each seat.

“Lastafarian Snailfish. The absolute best soup made anywhere.” Sunrider boasted. “Dig in!”

The men began to eat, and she watched before picking up the matching spoon. Whatever else happened, she needed to eat. The soup was excellent.

“Running a major corporation is not easy.” Corona commented between spoonful. “We have so much competition that sometimes it’s a war going on. When we discover a planet it seems like you have time for one deep breath before someone else is there trying to muscle you out.”

“Oh how dreary.” Daysah replied smoothly.

“Yes isn’t it.” Corona ignored her sarcasm. “Until a few years ago we were running into so many problems. Until I found a solution.” He looked up and she flinched at the cold look on his face.

She’d seen a huge Pantha cat at the zoo when she was young. Two meters at the shoulder, rippling muscles. It fed on herbivores the size of cargo lifters. Like any kid she had pressed herself against the armorplast of the enclosure.

One moment, the great cat was simply laying there, almost asleep. The next she was bounced back as it leaped, slamming a clawed paw against the glass at her face. The cat’s expression had not changed between those moments. It would have killed her without a thought of malice. Just because it could.

Corona had the same look.

“I found a way around all of that three years ago. I was commanding Coruscanti Sheen, one of our first armed, or at least partially armed vessels. I found a pair of rival corporations arguing about an unnamed little planet in the mid-rim. I was really upset. The planet would be a perfect home for colonists, the company would make billions. But here we had two others already squabbling over it.

“We were on the very edge of their sensor range, but they were too busy watching each other to notice us. I suddenly considered that you have two very hotheaded crews arguing over money. Then I had a thought...

“When you have two people or groups arguing, what can cause them to go from argument to fighting? You’ve seen it. The two rival gangs standing each other off then suddenly a rock comes out of nowhere. Maybe it’s just some kid standing on a fire escape and no one is watching him. Everyone assumes the other side threw it. The fight is on.

“We had some missile pods. Not much really, but enough for my purpose. I had one pod inserted in a slow orbit. When it reached the area between the ships, it automatically locked on one of the ships. A Hutt ship if I remember correctly. Half a dozen concussion missiles. Not enough to even scratch their paint. But the Hutt reacted as anticipated. Their guns tore into the other ship. A Twi-Leki I recall. The Twi-leki opened fire, and a minute later, poof!” He threw his hands up as if throwing money into the air. “Both ships were dead in space.

“We waited for a while, then approached, and collected the bodies and their data recorders. I checked, but neither one had recorded the missile pod.

“So I had a newly discovered and unclaimed planet, and the salvage from two ships. The Company didn’t have any rules about salvage at that time, so the crew spilt it. Fifty men were rich over night. They weren’t going to complain. The Company had the planet Naboo. They weren’t going to complain.

“I used the same method a few other times but not enough for a pattern to be noticed. A rival company would approach a planet we traded with, and boom. Another horrible pirate loss.

“Then there was Sullust. A planet with a native species, so we couldn’t really stop anyone from trading there, could we?” He smiled, a feral grin that didn’t touch his eyes. “Unless they attacked us first that is.”

The second course arrived, and as horrified as she was Daysah kept eating. Whatever else happened she would need the energy to survive.

“So I had some very special cargo loaded onto one of our older ships the Tokara Star. It was sent to deliver a load of consumer goods to the planet. The Catharia Corporation was building an orbital warehousing station to use, and had half a dozen ships there, including two armed vessels. My ship Tokara Venture was already in orbit, and was headed out. A computer program activated, and the Tokara Star detected a missile launch from one of those armed ships. They frantically called us. You see, we were armed, but they were not. Then the cargo did what it was supposed to do.

“Four hundred kilos of thermo-concentrate blasting explosives, scattered through her cargo holds, marked as different items. One minute our ship is there, the next it is gone. And we have Captain Maro Antilles’ voice saying they are under attack. So elegant.”

“Antilles?”

“Yes, the Admiral’s son. A martyr for the people.”

“You sick bastard.”

“Well things escalated as you might imagine. Both Corella and Coruscant sent warships in. Soon thirty warships were jockeying for position, ready to blow each other to hell at the first provocation.

“But military men are more restrained than merchants. They have to have proof, and orders before they do what they do. When my ship returned a month later, they were still there, posturing and complaining. Something had to be done to break the deadlock.

“I had some computer records of the Corellian navy when they were testing some of their new fighters. I had my first officer splice the record together so that it looked like a possible attack. A pair of my crewmen went out in spit-kits, and they used a small cannon to pound a few shells into us. Not enough for real damage, but enough to appear serious. Then I set out two of our missile pods at a sharp angle from us.

“Then the poor under armed merchantman screamed for help. Of course everyone had to charge toward us. The Corellians to find out what the hell was going on, the Coruscanti to gains revenge for the cowardly attack. When they were close enough, I activated the pods, one at the Corellians, the other at one of our own ships, and ducked for cover. They blew each other to hell before the Admirals could stop the fighting.

“I offered my ship as a meeting place, and mediated the dispute despite my own losses-”

“Losses.” She knew what he was going to say even before he said it, but there was a horrible fascination at the rendition.

“Of course. Two of my men were on the hull when the attack occurred, and they were both killed rather horribly. My first officer against orders attempted to rescue them but one of the fighters brutally strafed him. A tragedy I had to set aside.

“Both were upset about their losses, and Catharia wasn’t helping, but here was a mere captain setting aside his own pain to bring peace.

“I suggested that Sullust become a protectorate. That both sides patrol the planet to assure this didn’t happen again and all companies would be allowed to trade. They hailed me as a master peace maker.

“Of course who do you think got most of those contracts? The horrible Corellian company that had started it? Or me?

“Tokara Company suppled snub fighters and escort class warships to the Sullust. My Company built their industrial infrastructure.” He leaned back, happy.

“So you’re doing it again. And this time who do you blame?”

“Why those horrible Jedi of course.” His face turned ugly. “We had a very profitable deal going on a planet named Triseki. The politicians were so corrupt we didn’t even need to bribe them. They wanted money fast, and we supplied them with Ridastinal a drug manufactured by another company. The Twi-Leks use it, as do the Hutt. Humans use it for... mood alterations.

“But those damn Jedi broke the drug ring wide open. Fifty of the local politicians and their flunkies were thrown in jail, along with four captains of our ships implicated. The Corporation lost those ships when the more honest government seized them for transporting the drugs. It cost us billions.

“So I am going to inflict losses on them. When this is over no one will ever even think of asking a Jedi for anything!”

“But why?” She screamed. “You own the planet no one can-” She gasped. “The hammerheads are intelligent, aren’t they?”

“As intelligent as you or I am.” Corona answered softly. “We didn‘t discover that little fact until we‘d already started construction of the hotel complex, however.

“But they won’t deal. To them that-” He waved toward the planet, “-is sacred! They haven’t developed technology because of the possible repercussions to the environment! We have a paradise that is worth trillions of credits in tourist trade and they won’t deal!” As he reached the sentence he was on his feet roaring.

“If they’d fight us it would be easier. Mean and nasty primitives murdering our people. But on top of that they’re pacifists!. They obstruct, they plant trees in the areas we’ve cleared, but they won‘t fight! Our crews won’t shoot at them because all they need to do is push them out of the way as they work!

“Then something changed. Someone started sabotaging our equipment. First it was just dirt in the fuel tanks, or bolts loosened in the earthmovers. Then they began ripping moly-circs out of them, shredding the bundles. Those cost over 5,000 credits apiece!

“But as much as the board was upset, I was not. You see, if they are natives, we can’t exterminate them. But a pirate force using the planet?” He smiled. “All bets are off there. We can pursue them to extinction and be applauded.”

“So the attacks, the people, your own people down there...”

“Yes. A small team of security personnel sent on the last ship. They were shipped down secretly. Their orders were to make sure first that natives were accused, but with a twist I added. They had regular weapons, but they weren’t supposed to use them until told to. Meanwhile they had some extra, special weapons.”

“The Echani pistol.”

“Correct. We couldn’t assure which planet the Jedi sent would be from. We have weapons made on every planet that supplied members to those fanatics. All we needed to do was make it look like a badly botch frame-up, yet leave one item that can be tied to a specific planet. The planet the Jedi came from.

“We carried several tons of additional weapons aboard this ship. Crates and crates of weapons and ammunition made on Coruscant, Corellia, Echana, you name it. Even Twi-Lek and Mandalorian weapons.”

“But Breia and the Jedi will deny it!”

“Oh the Jedi will. But our delivery ship, manned by several men, was painted to look exactly like the Millennium Falcon. So was her transponder. When we took the Millennium Falcon we merely assured that our ship was between the planet and the frigate, so they didn’t see the switch. Then the ship took off, attacked us, and ran away. A pity the mercenaries didn’t know about our cannon. They died sure we would miss them.

“The only loose end is you. And you are going to help us.”


'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
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Star Wars: The Beginning
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:33 PM   #82
Char Ell
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Those dirty rotten bastages!

Oooo, but that's a cunning plan revealed in this chapter. It looks bad for Breia and company. And I can't help but think that Daysah is a dead woman after Suli Corona Sunrider is through with her. He revealed too much of his sordid background to let her live for too long.

The Sunriders in your story, are they ancestors of Noma and Vima Sunrider? If so then there was a serious DS-LS transformation that took place somewhere in between the Sunrider generation in this story and Noma's generation of Sunriders.

EDIT: Blast it! I got the names messed up. Uncle = Suli Corona, Nephew = Dasa Sunrider


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Last edited by cutmeister; 04-14-2006 at 10:09 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 04-13-2006, 03:54 PM   #83
machievelli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutmeister
Those dirty rotten bastages!

Oooo, but that's a cunning plan revealed in this chapter. It looks bad for Breia and company. And I can't help but think that Daysah is a dead woman after Corona Sunrider is through with her. He revealed too much of his sordid background to let her live for too long.

The Sunriders in your story, are they ancestors of Noma and Vima Sunrider? If so then there was a serious DS-LS transformation that took place somewhere in between the Sunrider generation in this story and Noma's generation of Sunriders.

Sunrider is the Nephew, Corona is the Uncle. Too different people. Every family has that black sheep they don't like to talk about. Besides, there's almost 2,000 years between them. What were your ancestors like back around the time of Christ?


'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 04-13-2006, 07:09 PM   #84
Jae Onasi
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Heh, nice plot twists. I love it.
The dress description was cool. I might have found a different euphemism ('crotch' just was a little too jarring--the word itself doesn't bug me, it was just its juxtaposition with such a lovely dress description), though 'nether regions' is just way too 'bodice-ripper novel'-ish.
I hope Corona gets taken down good....I'll be interested to see what Dasa does--he seems to be headed for a conflict himself.
I have great faith in the ability of Breia et al to find some truly creative way of extricating themselves from this situation and implicating Corona with the Echani gun no less.


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Old 04-14-2006, 04:30 AM   #85
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A masterful plot you have written so far Machievelli. It it indeed looking bad for Breia and company. But isn't Sanji still on the planet? I have a feeling that he is going to be the saviour of this little battle.


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Old 04-14-2006, 12:42 PM   #86
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He will play his part. As for our captive Mando, they will get their revenge as any kid would...


'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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What we die for...
Acceptance
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Star Wars: The Beginning
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Old 04-14-2006, 05:01 PM   #87
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Explanation and plans

Sanji blinked as the hood was taken off. Two men sat before him on a log. Behind them were maybe forty of the Hammerhead natives. The native were nude, but that didn’t seem to bother them.

“First, who are you?” The smaller of the two men asked.

“I am Sanji. I am a Monk of the Jedi order.”

“So they got through.” The larger man growled. “It took them long enough.”

“I assume that you must be Professor Coor. This then might be Ton Morant?”

“Yep.” Morant replied.

“But you went missing six months ago.”

“Not missing, researching.” He waved toward the natives. “When I came I was studying the natives on the sly. The Company says they are animals. But something about the sounds they make seemed contrived. Language of some kind I was sure. I studied music because I enjoy it, and I rigged this.” He tapped a box on his hip that ran up to a plug in his ear. “I found out why they were able to convince everyone they were animals.” He turned, and spoke in a guttural tone. One of the Hammerheads moved forward, and took a deep breath. As it did, four mouths opened in the neck of the creature, and a sound like a pipe organ began. Sanji closed his eyes, listening.

Language is communication, whether it is body language, sound, moving of the fingers, smell, or a combination of them Master Mogo, one of the few Hutt that had joined the order had taught. As you progress, you will discover even more possibilities. Ways of speaking that you cannot even imagine. To be efficient in spreading our beliefs, we must learn the languages of those we meet, even of those that are of our own races, but speak another. The Force will guide you if you let it in this.

The language was not only audio but harmonic, sounds combined in such a manner that only someone capable of the same stereophonic rendition could duplicate it. Suddenly there was a feeling almost like a switch being thrown in his brain.

“-I continue? The being seems to be asleep.”

“No, I am not asleep.” He opened his eyes. Morant was staring at him as if he’d suddenly sprouted hair instead of Lekku. “I can understand her.”

“How did you know it was a female?”

“The harmonic sounded feminine.” Sanji looked at the creature, no the woman, in wonder. “I can understand why you need a translation droid. I don’t know many species that can reproduce that with any fidelity.”

“Young one, this one seems to hear and understand without a box. Why is that?”

“Do you understand me?” Sanji asked.

The native watched him benignly. “The young one has been with us for many days. It was easier to learn his language than to teach him ours. As you have said, not many can reproduce our voice.” The female replied.

“I can understand that. Now. I need a full report of what has occurred. Whatever you have done has convinced the company to commit genocide, and we must stop that plan before it can begin.”

*****

Daysah wanted to scream that Corona was insane. But she knew that even uttering it would have led to her death. “What makes you think I will help?”

“You’re a humanitarian type. Every anthropologist is. You never see the dangers and the problems in the societies you examine. Only where their beliefs and actions mirror our own.” Corona sneered. He stood, going to a wall, touching it. The wall slid aside, showing her a large view screen. The screen lit, and she started to her feet in shock.

Breia was bound, collapsed on a bed. She had her eyes closed, but Daysah knew somehow that she was resting rather than asleep or unconscious. The view moved backward smoothly, and she saw the two Mando boys also on beds. Neither one was even pretending. They glared angrily off to one side. As the view expanded further, she could see the squat droid sitting on tracks nearby, and the man behind it.

“These people live only because of their value in convincing you.” Corona said. Daysah could see a look of distaste on Sunrider’s face. “Shall we begin persuading?” Corona turned his back on the screen, watching her instead. “Begin.”

At the word, the front of the droid opened in a slow motion explosion. As the carapace slid aside arms extended. Every one had a different tool, every tool a possible weapon or instrument of pain.

“Which one?” The man in the room asked.

“Your choice.” Corona replied.

The man looked at each of them in turn, eyes bright with excitement. “The smaller boy.” As he said that the droid rolled forward slowly, each arm spreading wider away from the other and extending forward. Anak glared at it, but didn’t flinch.

“This is obscene!” Daysah gasped.

“It is obscene that you think I will not do it. The only thing that will keep these people whole and undamaged is your obedience.”

The droid was almost within reach, and one of the arms, carrying a surgical saw blade whirred into life. It extended toward Anak’s hand, coming down-

“Stop!”

“Wait a moment.” Corona snapped.

“Hold!” The man growled angrily.

Corona looked at her, and she could feel his satisfaction. “All right. I will do it.”

Corona just watched her. “Good. We won’t need your little toy just yet, Conoro. Stand down.”

The man in the room glared at the camera, then sighed. “Yes sir. Retract and retreat.” He ordered. The droid paused, then the arms folded back into the carapace, which closed with a gentle hiss.

The view screen blanked. Corona closed the wall, and resumed his seat. “Unless you do everything I say all you have gained is a reprieve. If you refuse, if you balk, if I even think you have done so, Conoro’s little toy will be put into action. There are so many parts of the body that are not absolutely necessary to living. I have watched him literally vivisect one of those damnable natives down there but they still refused to submit.

“The next time someone will lose parts of their body and the only thing that keeps it from happening is your obedience. Have I made myself clear?” She nodded. “Answer me!”

“I understand.” She husked. “But what good would my testimony do? If it goes to a full council or a court, I have to make the statements under a verifier scan. You can’t lie with that!”

“Oh the scanners aren’t that perfect. We have used chemically induced mental blocks for decades to keep business secrets away from each other, and false memories are easy to create when you know exactly what you want to create.

“The scenario we are going to create is very simple. This Jedi is in league with a business consortium on Echana. They want to seize the planet, but they don’t have enough armed vessels to challenge us openly. So they began sending in insurgents to slow us down. When that didn’t work, they escalated again, and again. Now they have attacked our people, but their attempt to make us think it was natives failed. Knowing this might occur, the woman hired two Mandalorian mercenaries as a cover, and brought in weapons for the teams down below. Widely scattered teams as it will turn out.

“She knew you could be used as a pawn, so she told you this. But you were more loyal to your home planet than to any ideal. You reported it to us. We will find the documentation aboard the Frigate, well hidden.”

“How are you going to fake that?”

“That was easy. While neither Captain Magtyar nor Admiral Antilles know it, both ships carry several of my people in key positions. The man operating the sensors aboard Tokara Requiem deleted the liftoff and arrival of Millennium Falcon aboard our ship, which was hidden in our sensor shadow from the Frigate by the way and others have already planted the data we will find.

“It has a probability of success of over 90%. But you are right. Perhaps it will fail. If it does, all of that evidence will lead from the Jedi to our good captain. He was so unhappy that he was assigned this ‘pleasure barge’, and he did it out of spite. Of course he used you to plant that evidence against the Jedi.

“That will not stop us, it will merely delay the inevitable.”

“But the verifier!”

“We will create the images we want you to remember. All of what we don’t want you to say will be buried behind a block that would kill you if anyone tried to break through it.

“Of course you will lose your position as a professor. Too much scandal for the University to accept being linked to such goings on. But my nephew has grown quite fond of you.” He looked at Sunrider with a slight grin. “He will take you away from all of that. He will marry you, and you can then go where ever you want as an independent researcher. Perhaps one day you will even get published again. I can guarantee that, considering how much of the Company’s money has been spent keeping that University afloat.

“Eventually you will grow to enjoy your new life. You will bear children who will sit on the board of directors. Be the talk of the elite sect. The poor little girl that made it rich with one step.” He smiled almost gently. “Don’t worry about whether you love him or not. If need be we can correct that little problem in the same manner.”

Daysah stared at him with dawning horror.

*****
“So let me get this straight.” Sanji said as he paced. “They call this planet Ithor. The Ithorians,” he waved toward the natives, “Tried to communicate with the original survey team, but their language was too complex, and they decided that it couldn’t really be a language because their translation program ignored it.

“The survey team reported that the planet was uninhabited, and a few months later, machinery was delivered that began ripping out the trees where they plan to set the hotel.”

“Yes.” Morant said. “When I arrived I was sure they were intelligent because of the way they resisted. They would stand in front of the machinery to make the drivers stop, and had to be physically moved out of the way. Every night they plant bafforr seedlings in hope that they will not crush them.” He waved toward a tree nearby. It shivered as if it were wind blown. Sanji could almost feel an intelligence there.

“These are really exciting trees to study.” Coor said. “When the seedlings grow to about ankle height, they migrate away from the mother tree to find a place to grow. The roots are mobile, and it is like watching an animal scurry across the ground. When they find an open space they plant their roots again, moving only to gather other nutrients. In a decade or so, I might discover how they know where to look.”

“But that wasn’t working.” Morant continued. “The Company just kept ripping the trees out, and going on with their construction. Finally I disabled one of the earthmovers. When that didn’t work, I did it again, then I finally began ripping out moly-circ control runs-”

“Wait!” Sanji spun. “It was you doing that?”

“The Ithorians have a sense of property like no other. They don’t steal from each other, and they don’t even have words for things like steal or kill. If an Ithorian saw something he wanted to possess he’d either trade for it or make his own. They are such devout pacifists that if there was anything predatory on them here, they would have been extinct millennia ago. They live in complete harmony with their environment. They don’t even kill insects that attack their crops. They evolved other species to do that for them!”

“Evolved other species? You’re saying they are not only intelligent but technically adept as well?”

“Just as early man bred our farm animals and grains to get higher yields, they did the same with insects and small animals. A filed of grain or vegetables they have planted are ringed with plant the local animals don’t like to eat, and animals that feed on the parasites flourish there as well. The only things they haven’t figured out how to combat yet are like plant diseases, but they have been dealing with that by destroying grain from the infected plants and replanting the resistant strains. If they had access to a modern laboratory they would be unbelievable!”

Sanji sighed. “So this is all your fault.”

“What do you mean?” Coor snapped angrily. “How is this our fault?”

“Not all of it. Just what is happening right now. How to explain...” Sanji scrubbed his face with his hand. “The Company would have had this hotel built and running if you hadn’t begun destroying their equipment. You have created an image they can use of actual attacks by a hostile force. If they had admitted that the Ithorians were intelligent, that would be easier to deal with. They could at least attempt to negotiate.”

“They tried.” The Ithorian female Waashiri told him. “We would not let them soil our planet. If they had come and lived as we did, or only used the islands off the coast, this would not have occurred. But the Falls of Dessiar drew them. Such beauty they cannot describe, only witness. This they believed would bring more people here if they could stay rather than camping out.” She sniffed, an almost human sound. “So instead they inflict pain and when that does not work, kill us.”

“So all they could do is leave.” Sanji nodded. “But you have given them a way around that.”

“Again with us being to blame!”

“Damn it think! How long do you think it would take before someone that can hear the harmonics would arrive? Both myself and my master Breia could hear it, and it wouldn’t have taken very long to force the issue. I know that a decade might be too long to you, but it would have gotten them free of it eventually.

“But not any more. They have evidence that an outside force is now killing their people. They can get permission to act to stop those ‘terrorists’. How many villages of the Ithorians can they slaughter from orbit? Or from shuttles? Once the killing begins no one is going to care if they are intelligent or not. Every village will be a strike on an insurgent stronghold, and what makes you think they can’t keep planting evidence to prove it?

“Now take it one step further. Let’s say you get off the planet and convince people that they are intelligent. They can spin that too! They paint the Ithorians as cowardly creatures not even willing to fight. Instead they contacted these same pirates, and have been paying them with whatever might be of value. They don‘t even need to have anything on sale to point to. Just the idea that is happening.” Sanji slowed down. The faces before him, both human and Ithorian looked at him in dawning understanding and horror.

“What can we do?” Waashiri asked. “We can leave, go far away-”

“Forever?” Sanji asked. “How long will it be before they start hunts? There are people that would pay well to put you in a museum or zoom. More still would pay to have you stuffed on a podium.”

“Our doom is before us.” She whispered. “There is nothing we can do.”

“Yes there is. But we need to get them off the planet.” He pointed at the two humans. “We have to get them aboard the Frigate before someone finally give the orders that destroy your race.” He stood. “If you want them to live, come on!”

*****

Breia turned her head. The droid and the human were in one direct line for the first time since they had been put in the room. She could feel that the monitoring camera was off. How she would have not been able to explain. She shifted her hands, then snapped them down at the same instant. There was a plinking sound as the first dart punched into the droid just below the retractable carapace. It whined, but the motivator that would have sent it charging at her was shattered by the dart.

The second one caught Conoro below the eye, skating up the cheek bone into the eye and on into his brain before it stopped.

She rolled to her feet, feeling in her robes.

“Is there a reason you took so long to do something?” Sev asked with a mildness that had nothing to do with his mood.

“We had to find out why we hadn’t been killed below.” She replied. She brought out the set of lock picks she carried, and began fiddling with the cuffs. “It is more logical to have merely killed us, but as long as they can threaten us, Professor Shani is their pawn. We have to save her as well.” The cuff opened, and she started on the other. “If that machine had actually started to cut you, I would have stopped it even if it meant our deaths.”

“May you come back Mando’ade.” Anak said, shoving his hands into her grip.

“That isn’t what I planned for today.” Both boys were now free. She turned to her own cuffs, and they clattered to the floor.

“I don’t have anything that will open the door.”

“I do.” Sev walked to the obviously frustrated droid. The chest opened up, arms extending, and he leaped over, catching it from behind. He spun it around, the sheering blade cutting into the doorframe. Before it could retract and try for him he cast it aside, shoving his fingers into the hole. He locked his feet against the wall, took a deep breath, then with one smooth jerk ripped the door open.

The guard on the other side spun, clawing for his pistol, but Anak leaped, feet slamming into the man and throwing him into the wall. The boy landed on his shoulders, snapped his knees to his chin, then back out sharply, flipping his body into the air, and onto his feet in a crouch. The victim was still standing against the wall stunned when the boy hit him with a punch that shattered his ribs against the unyielding metal. He snapped the man’s neck even as he collapsed in agony.

Breia clucked her tongue. “So much aggression. She stepped over the body, head scanning. “I think you eat too much meat, young man.” Her head stopped looking down the passageway to her right. “That way. A large room. Empty at the moment.”

Sev flipped the knifes he had taken off the corpse to his friend, pulling the pistol. “Pathetic. He could have shot me with this and I would have killed him before I even noticed the wound.”

They hurried down the passageway. The room as not large, it was huge! On the far end they could see the Millennium Falcon. Between them were stacks and stacks of crates. Sev gave a glad cry, and a fist shattered the thin plastic of the cover. His hand came out with a Mando weapon. “Anak! A’den ehn!“ He threw the weapon to the other boy, pulling out another. A quick search gave them enough ammunition for any foreseeable firefight.

“We can’t just blow everyone to hell, boys.”

“Why not?” Anak asked. He checked the tri-barreled ’rage three’. “Kill them all, the Gods know their own.” He quoted.

“Not everyone aboard is in on this, or even against us.” She explained. “If you want to damage company property, that is one thing, and defending yourself is good. But mass murder is out.”

“Spoilsport.” Sev said. He went to another box, reading it carefully. The tool inside looked like a small jackhammer He picked it up, and flinched as Breia slapped it up.

Di’kut! Do you even know what that is?”

“A beam weapon of some kind.”

“It’s a short beam cutter.” She said. “It isn’t a weapon, it’s a tool!” She touched it. “Magnetic field, monomolecular thread. You can set it for any distance you want up to about fifty meters. Flick it on, and it punches forward, and you merely swing it to cut through anything. They use it to cut down trees among other things."

“The boy pondered, then he grinned. “You said damage is all right?”

“Of course...” She suddenly pictured two irate Mando with short beam cutters. “Oh you are so nasty. little man.

“well they did think we were pawns.” He checked the setting. Five meters maximum. “Maybe they need to see how we play chess?”

Breia sighed. “Give me a few minutes.” She walked over to the ship, and climbed aboard. A few moments later, she stepped down with a metal staff. The sword she normally carried was not on her hip.

“Now. Give me a five minute countdown.” She walked across, opening the door into the passageway. “I will find the professor and while you are... Indulging your aggressions, I will make sure she is safe.”

“Chu!” The boys shouted together. She shook her head in exasperation and padded forward.

“You know, she didn’t say we had to start here.” Anak said.

“You’re right. Oya!” They loped down the passageway aft.


'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; 04-14-2006 at 05:15 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 04-14-2006, 10:05 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machievelli
Every family has that black sheep they don't like to talk about. Besides, there's almost 2,000 years between them. What were your ancestors like back around the time of Christ?
Good point but I don't even know who my ancestors were 2,000 years ago let alone know what they were like or what they did. I've only identified about 600 years worth of my ancestors and even that has holes in it. Based off your response though I've assumed that you have indeed made Dasa Sunrider an ancestor of Nomi Sunrider. Fine by me but I was just curious if that was what you intended. Dasa and Daysah could end up together and with children and she could be a good influence on Dasa as well as her children, introducing a refining element to the family that could have a positive impact on future generations of Sunriders. Or not.

Retribution in the form of destruction of company property is oh so wonderfully close at hand. The young Mando warriors will be avenged on their enemies! And it sounds like so much fun too. Seems that Breia is understanding she can't really change their nature so she has to work to channel their aggressive natures in a more positive direction. And I have to assume that Suli Corona doesn't have much experience with monks of the Jedi Order as his lackeys did such a poor job at disarming Breia. Seems like her captors made quite an oversight when they didn't discover the darts Breia had concealed on her person. Too bad for them, heh-heh-heh.

This story is wonderful reading. As Renegade Puma stated you have a masterfully written plot.


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Old 04-14-2006, 11:39 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutmeister
And I have to assume that Suli Corona doesn't have much experience with monks of the Jedi Order as his lackeys did such a poor job at disarming Breia. Seems like her captors made quite an oversight when they didn't discover the darts Breia had concealed on her person. Too bad for them, heh-heh-heh.

This story is wonderful reading. As Renegade Puma stated you have a masterfully written plot.
I agree, a great story. I can't wait to see the level of destruction the boys create....

Breia could have concealed the darts as hair pins or something equally innocuous appearing. Even chopsticks can be used as a weapon.


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Old 04-15-2006, 12:47 AM   #90
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Guys, you won't believe what these kids will be doing.

I hope you all enjoy it, because their insurance WON"T cover it...


'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 04-15-2006, 09:41 AM   #91
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I don't know. I can imagine those kids doing a lot.


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 04-15-2006, 11:56 AM   #92
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To quote Bette Davis in one of her movies 'Fasten your seat belts it's going to be a bumpy trip'


'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 04-15-2006, 08:44 PM   #93
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Youthful exuberance

“Well now that the details are settled, would you like an aperitif?” Sunrider asked.

Daysah stared at him. “You two have already planned to reprogram me like a new droid one second and the next asking if I want a drink?”

Corona shook his head. “I could have merely done it without informing you, now couldn’t I? The luxury suites aboard the ship have full pharmacopoeia already installed. You can heighten your sexual potency, go straight into a dreamless sleep, focus your memory on exactly what you are working on or lay in a stupor without having to leave your bed. They can also be controlled from that panel.” He waved toward the now hidden view screen. “You could have woken up a few hours from now, ecstatic that you were going to marry my nephew, and remembering everything I wanted you to remember. But Dasa seems to be overly fond of you.”

He leaned forward, thumbing a contact. “Two brandies and the lady will decide when they arrive.” Then his head came up, the cold look in his eyes. “As it is the only reason you are here and not below learning about Conoro’s little toys first hand, I suggest you simply thank me for my courtesy.”

The door opened, the droid rolling toward the table. Corona leaped to his feet. There were no brandy snifters. There was merely a small round ball.

“What the-” Dasa started to reach out.

“Don’t touch it!” Sundrider’s fingers barely touched the ball.

Daysah winced as a bright flash and concussion threw her out of her chair. An alarm screamed from everywhere as she tried to understand what had happened. She blinked, her eyes tearing from the harsh chemicals, and a hard hand caught her, dragging her to her feet. She was staggering, her course directed by the person pulling her. They entered the passageway, and the same hand pulled her relentlessly.

There was a rumble of footfalls from before her, and she was shoved against the wall. There was a scream, gunfire, then blessed silence. The hand caught her, and she was dragged forward again.

“What-”

“Hush girl.” Breia said. “We’re in a bit of a hurry here.” A door whooshed open, then Daysah felt the drop of a lift. “We have maybe three minutes before all hell breaks loose.”

Daysah shook her head. and it was as if a film poured down off her eyes. The blind Jedi Monk was looking upward, head cocked as if thinking. “How did you escape?”

“One advantage of being blind is that people always seem to underestimate you.” She replied coolly. The lift opened. “You have to run down the passageway. Three hatches down turn left, go one corridor then right. There is a double hatch ten meters farther on. Inside there is the Millennium Falcon. Get aboard, go to the cockpit, and look for a flashing red button. Punch it, then sit down and wait for us.”

“Why are you-”

Breia shoved her out. “Those men will be after you unless I lead them on a chase. If you do as I say nothing on this ship can touch you. Just watch out for irritated Mando.” The door slammed shut.

Daysah ran, following the directions. The hatch opened, and she felt the joy a relieved outpost feels at the sight of the ship. She ran up the ramp. From behind her she heard a shout, but she ignored it.

She ran into the cockpit her fist slamming down on the flashing red button. Before the viewport a group of men were running toward her. She recognized the Tokara Security uniforms, and didn’t need to identify the weapons to know she was in deep trouble. There was a hiss, the ramp coming up, then suddenly the auto-tracking board lit up. There was a thunder and the men dissolved in a red mist as the belly turret roared into life.

She sat stunned. On the board near her hand, she saw the guns tracking endlessly. The main hatch opened, and she winced, plugging her ears.

*****

The three fugitives watched from the woven coverings the Ithorians had supplied. Liberally sprinkled with mud and uprooted plants, the small pit was invisible.

An assault shuttle settled down on it’s legs, and men poured out to join the troops already on the ground. Tokara had been ready for this, Sanji saw. There were fifty men already here, and they had laid a standard minefield around their encampment. They had gotten the hole dug and concealed just in time.

“We can’t get through that!” Morant couldn’t scream and whisper simultaneously, but he gave it a good effort.

“If you do exactly what I say, we can.” Sanji whispered. “Notice they don’t expect an attack from here, do they?” Coor punched the smaller man in the arm. “He’s right. Every sensor is aimed at the tree line.”

Morant leaned up, looking. He had to admit it looked wrong. Not only were the sensor platforms aimed at the trees, but every head was turned that way as well. A man with a Commander’s bars waved, and all but the six men manning the two mortars moved forward.

“They’ll slaughter the Ithorians!”

“They won’t have time. Come on.” Sanji eeled up and forward, his head below the berm, and invisible. Coor followed. A moment later Morant moaned, and followed.

Sanji stopped and reached forward. He lifted a small hand held sensor. “Better and better.” He looked back at the two scientists. “They have them on command detonators. If you don’t touch a mine, you’re safe.” She knelt up into a high crawl, and moved forward. As he did he stuck small pieces of split wood that marked the mines. They had to follow a serpentine path, but ten minutes later, Sanji motioned them down, and peeked over the edge. He watched for several seconds, then moved back to the men less than five meters back.

“Keep moving, head straight for the shuttle.” Then he was moving up slithering over the edge of the berm without a pause. The two looked at each other, then moved to follow.

Sanji had risen, and moved toward the men. One of them looked up, stunned, but before he could shout Sanji threw the small knife he carried. The man choked, falling backward. The other two men at the mortar stared at him surprised, then back toward where Sanji was. But they didn’t see him. Yet.

Sanji drew his sword, leaping the five meters in one bound. Both men went down as he barreled past them into the second group. All six were down before Coor’s head popped up over the edge.

“What, you’re waiting for invitations?” Sanji hissed. He looked around, then found the control panel for the mine field. Six concentric rings, the outer ten meters from the edge if the berm, the inner right on the outer face of it. He picked up the microphone, and screamed.

“The camp is under attack!” He heard. He leaped straight upward. The men had turned, and even now they were pounding back toward the camp.

“Sanji!” He could hear the engines of the shuttle revving. They had to be closer.

“Sanji!” The first man was past the outer edge of the minefield. Sanji stood, watching.

“Damn it Sanji, we are Leaving!”

The first man was barely head up over the berm when Sanji flipped the switch, diving for cover.

The mines went off in ripples. The outer ring first. With a command still being issued the second ring went off, then the third, then with a bare pause each ring followed. One rolling thunder of death and destruction broken by one 10th of a second pauses.

The man, who Sanji could now see was the commander had dropped aiming his rifle even as the sixth and last ring flashed death and destruction. One of the mines was less than half a meter from him.

There was screaming, the crackle of secondary explosions as ammunition went up, the hiss of flames. Sanji stood, brushing himself off, and walked up to the edge of the berm. Except for several badly wounded men, no one moved between him and the forest line. He walked calmly to the shuttle, passing Morant, who was standing higher, and could clearly see the devastation.

“No. Now we’re leaving.” Sanji said. He walked forward, flipping the switches. “Thank you for warming the ship up for me.”

Coor simply stared at him as the shuttle leaped into the air.

*****

The engine crew turned as the hatch suddenly fell. Two figures stepped through. “Move and you’re dead!” One of them shouted.

Anak clicked the selector to Armor piercing, and aimed, putting one round into and through the control panel one of the men had leaped toward. Everyone froze in shock.

Sev smiled, the short beam cutter held even with his hip as if it were a machine gun at assault position. “Now we were told to try not to kill anyone, and we’re going to oblige our Yuru’ike in that. However she didn’t say we couldn’t kill you if you got in our way. You’re choice.”

The men moved into a clump, cowering back.

“Very good. You.” Sev pointed at the shift duty officer. “I need a full schematic of the ship’s decks. Everything. Just in case you forget-” He aimed, adjusted the setting, and a magnetic beam snapped out. The boy pulled the cutter left. One of the lift and drive engine manifolds shrieked, falling into pieces.

“Now think of what happens if I accidentally cut a fuel line or tank? We don’t all want to die, do we?”

The officer walked carefully over to a panel, downloading the information onto a pad. He held it out, and Sev walked forward, taking it. “Now I want all of you to run like hell. I would suggest toward the nearest escape pod bay.”

Without being told again, the men bolted.

Ade, they’ll call for help.” Anak said.

“So? She said we could defend ourselves.”

Anak considered. “Can we hope they call in a lot of reinforcements?”

“I would.” Sev checked the holographic projection, then walked toward the door they had sliced free entering. “What is the record for totally dismantling a ship from the inside?”

“I don’t think there is one.”

Sev set the beam, slicing it first right at knee level, then left at just above his shoulder. Panels fell apart, sparks flying. Alarms began sounding. He grinned. “There will be when we’re done.”


'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; 04-15-2006 at 08:51 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-15-2006, 10:08 PM   #94
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Record for dismantling the ship....


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 04-16-2006, 09:04 PM   #95
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This story gets better and better. IMHO it has a real Star Wars feel to it, albeit an ancient Star Wars feel since its time is set so long before the movies.

And a job well done by Sanji. His actions are as one who is a full fledged Jedi Monk and no longer a padawan.


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Old 04-17-2006, 03:45 PM   #96
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I had a quote in the next section from a pair of writers I like;

'There are only three kinds of luck, blind, dumb, and bad'.

My computer hiccuped and ten pages that was supposed to be here went bye-bye.

So I'll have to do them again.


'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 04-17-2006, 03:51 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machievelli
I had a quote in the next section from a pair of writers I like;

'There are only three kinds of luck, blind, dumb, and bad'.

My computer hiccuped and ten pages that was supposed to be here went bye-bye.

So I'll have to do them again.
That's OK, I need some breathing room to catch up on reading all the other stuff your prolific mind has created in the last week. I was beginning to wonder if you even slept anymore, you'd written so much.


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
Story WIP: The Dragonfighters
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Old 04-17-2006, 04:02 PM   #98
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That's OK, I need some breathing room to catch up on reading all the other stuff your prolific mind has created in the last week. I was beginning to wonder if you even slept anymore, you'd written so much.

Sleep... That's laying down with your eyes closed, right? I remember that from somewhere...


'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 04-17-2006, 11:12 PM   #99
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When in danger when in doubt...

“Shut off those damn alarms!” Captain Magtyar roared. He loosened the buttons of his uniform, then with a curse he ripped the tunic off. “Report!”

Janos Tor at the security panel started talking immediately. “Someone attempted to assassinate Vice President Corona and his nephew. They failed but they did kidnap Professor Shani.”

“I thought she was aboard the Frigate.”

“No sir, she came across on yesterday’s shuttle.” Tor lied smoothly. He was sweating. “Then we have reports that the automated defense system of the Company supply ship was accidentally activated without someone aboard to shut it down. We have seventeen dead and thirty wounded down there. We had a vague report from engineering about maniacs. Now structural sensors in sections 15 and 13 have reported extensive damage.” He paused, checking his console. “Correction. Section fifteen sensor report that all five decks have collapsed. Ship is no longer structurally sound for flight. Section 13... The same for thirteen. Both sections are total losses.”

“What are they using? Explosives?”

“No sir. The engineers reported that one of them was armed with a short beam cutter.”

“Maniacs are right!” Magtyar turned, pointing at his exec. “Pahner. Head toward the docking bay. I don’t care if you have to blow the hatches get that damn ship out of there.” Pahner nodded, running out. “Toki, lead an assault team. Take out those maniacs before they get to the Mall.” The third officer nodded, running out. “Brekor, take a team and find those assassins.” Magtyar turned toward communications. “Where are the security troops we brought?”

“They were staged to the surface, sir. VP Corona’s orders.”

“Fine time for that. Contact their shuttle...”

As his voice thumped out orders, the panic that had been building leveled off then faded.

*****

Daysah stared through the view ports in horror. She didn’t know how many times they had sent men in to try to stop the ship, but there were bodies and parts of bodies everywhere. She brought the engines on line, but stopped when she did. It wasn’t like she was in free space! The hull of the lighter ship would crumple into foil long before the behemoth’s hull even knew it had been kissed!

Suddenly lights began flashing. What the hell-

“Warning! Decompression in ten seconds. Nine, eight, seven-” she squeaked, grabbing the restraint harness, putting it on, the last buckle closing as the countdown reached zero. There was a thud and the loading hatches blew free, propelling the ship and several tons of cargo into space.

*****

“Keep together.” The security sergeant ordered. His team of five had debouched a deck below the Company quarters. The point man lifted his rifle, using his scanner.

“Sarge, according to this, the intruder is right here!”

“Piece of-” Breia dropped from where she had been waiting, arms and legs pinned against opposite bulkheads, her feet coming down to pile drive the sergeant into the deck. He finger tapped, and the metal sleeves covering the blades of her sword snapped back. She cut twice, once forward, then back. The man behind the sergeant stared at the pistol grip that was all that he still held of his rifle. Forward the point man clutched his wrist where the blade had cut him just deep enough to sever the muscles, rendering his hand useless. The other two backed, dropping their weapons frantically.

“Cuffs.” She snapped. The unwounded man pulled his cuffs off his belt, holding them out in mute offering. Breia took them, cuffing that man to the sergeant’s left arm, using the cuffs from the point man to cuff his uninjured hand to the Sergeant’s right. She motioned the other two over, took their cuffs, and threaded them so that all five men were jammed together and cuffed tight.

She tapped the button, the sleeves dropping to hide the blades again. Now let’s see, two levels up to the Bridge, with any luck she would reach it without too much trouble. She stepped onto the lift, shooting upward.

Ten meters from the bridge she stopped, head cocked. She pulled a tenth meter long dart from her boot, stepping around the corner to throw. Fifteen meters away, the gunner on the chain gun they were setting up on it’s tripod gaped as the dart punched into the feed tray, jamming it. She sighed. “The only kind of luck there is are dumb, blind and bad.” She commented. The sleeves popped back. “Shall we dance?“

As the gunner frantically tried to clear the jam the two men with him drew their swords, charging.

*****

“It’s my turn.” Anak said.

“In a minute. Sev was trying to puzzle out the schematic. They were down on the number 2 deck, second from the bottom. What kind of idiot numbers decks 01 02, then one two and three? He mused. The tank was marked with a brown sigil he had never seen before. Of course, he didn’t read Coruscanti that well.

Down the passageway, someone stuck his head around the corner low to the deck. The barrel of a rifle inched around the corner.

Anak thumbed the selector to flechette, and triggered a burst. There was a scream and some shouting. “Why should I wait?”

“All right, set your beamer, and give me a tick.” The two boys exchanged their weapons, Sev slinging his short beam and readying his Rage III. Anak doing the same thing in reverse. The younger boy set the beam for maximum extension, starting a cut left to right at knee level. A brown liquid spurted from the cut as he reversed to cut right to left.

“I said wait-” The wall exploded outward, a brown flood with a horrible stench filled the passageway, slamming them into the port side bulkhead.

Di’kut!" Sev shouted. He held out the pad. “Your Coruscanti is better. What does that say?”

“Sewage tank.” Anak read. "What is a sewer tank?” Sev wiped the mess from his legs, sticking it toward his compatriot. “Oh.”

“We had better hustle. Cut us a place to climb out, fast!.”

Anak raised his short beam, and sliced quickly. Since he had not reset the beam length, they ducked as not one but two sheets of sliced out decking fell spraying waste everywhere. “what’s the hurry?”

“That tank?” Sev jerked a thumb at the flood as he leaped upward. “It goes up three more decks!”

*****

“Shuttle 821. Emergency. Come alongside the ship at the starboard entry way. Prepare for boarding action aboard ship.”

Sanji clicked the microphone instead of answering, turning to approach the Tokara vessel. Morant at the second console turned in shock. “Are you out of your mind?” He screamed.

“That ship has five chain guns, one aft and two on either broadside, and two missile tubes, one on each broadside. It also has a heavy projectile gun forward. If we try to break past them they will blow us to hell. There is only one way to make sure they don’t kill us.”

“How is that?” Coor asked from the communications panel. Sanji answered by flipping a pair of switches. The weapons panel in front of Morant came alive.

“Are you insane?” Morant gasped.

“Insane is trying to outrun the bullets.” Sanji replied in a reasonable tone. “There is a targeting caret. Place it on the target, press this button-”

“This button?” Morant tapped it. The cannon fired, shells exploding against the other ship’s flanks. Air gushed from the breached compartments.

Sanji rolled the ship. “Now if you target their weapons instead of just pushing buttons...”

Morant hastily found the diamond shape, moving it onto a red spot on the hull. “That’s-”

“A chain gun. Tap the lock and fire!”

Morant tapped the buttons, and the small chain gun in the nose tracked as it fired almost 100 rounds into the ship. There was a puff of air, then a blast of flame.

“Hit! Now switch forward to the missile!”

A few moments later, the missile tube and the other gun had been destroyed. Sanji hit the retro thrusters bringing them to a stop. There was a flash, and something went past the view port. One of the hull sections ahead of them exploded outward. A mass of crates spewed out, followed by-

“Millennium Falcon, this is shuttle 821. Who is aboard?”

“This is Professor Shani. Who is this?”

“Sanji Gretu of the Jedi order, professor. Give me a minute, I need to clear our way out of here."

He turned to the weapons console. “Now since you warned them, this is tricky. We have four missiles, and this is how we need to use them...”

Tokara, like every company that made weapons, built them with specific missions in mind. As an example the chain guns were quite sufficient for destroying assault shuttles out to half a light second. They could spike a flying insect at half that range.

However the guns did have a drawback. They were direct fire weapons. They had to have a target in line of sight to aim at.

Missiles such as the large model 4s that were in the Requiem’s magazine had a range of over a light minute. They could track and home onto a target and follow it as long as they had fuel. The model 9s aboard the shuttle had an additional capability since the designer had forseen that you could be this close to an enemy vessel...

Already warned, and knowing they had an enemy close to their hull, the gunners immediately slewed their guns to cover the least time approach from it’s last reported location.

With five targets, Sanji had to take a big chance. The missiles were launched at approaches off that optimum least time, and still within the seeker envelopes, a difference of about 30 degrees off target.

All four missiles leaped out simultaneously. The missile tube exploded in a gout of fire, followed by the heavy projectile weapon, then the forward surviving cannon. The gunners on the other two guns immediately worked out what was happening, and set their guns for self defense, the aft firing chain gun blowing the missile fifty meters away. But as they did the Shuttle raced around the least time curve, gun slamming into the emplaced weapon.

“Professor, head directly toward their stern! “Sanji ordered, leaping up. “Take over!” He shouted at Morant as he charged aft. “Put us between the Falcon and that damn gun!”

There were half a dozen pallets locked down on the magnetic rollers. Enough supplies to keep the security force they had decimated in action for a week or more. Sanji checked the pallets.

As he had anticipated, the shuttle was designed for what is called parachute low level delivery. With a touch of a button the rear clamshell doors would snap open, and a parachutes would be deployed, dragging the pallets out and onto the ground as the shuttle raced by at about 200 KPH.

He unlocked the magnetic bearings. Then cut all of the bindings with his sword. He caught a stanchion, whispered a prayer, and slammed his hand down on the emergency release.

The gun started tracking on the Falcon, but immediately chose the shuttle because it was an offensive vehicle. But before it could open fire, the targeting system was overloaded as hundreds of boxes poured from the stern of the shuttle.

The gun immediately opted for a subroutine, targeting by distance, closest outward. It immediately began destroying the boxes one per shot. It was fifteen seconds and 200 boxes before the gunners could disengage, then retarget the ships. By then they had ducked behind the frigate.

*****

Sev sliced open the bulkhead, and stepped into wonder. The mall stretched up four decks from where they were. Anak looked up, then at his war-brother. “Together?”

“Oh definitely.” They both unslung their short beams.

*****

Magtyar turned, ready to shout, then gaped as Breia stepped onto the bridge. “You’re dead! We killed you!”

“You blew up a ship, but it wasn’t mine. Corona has my ship down on deck five-”

“Had.” Magtyar broke in. “We jettisoned it when the security system activated.”

“I only hope Professor Shani is up to flying her. The ship tends to pull right on docking thrusters.” She walked toward him, then paused, looking toward Tor at the security console. “Since your man has already called him, I think we should wait for Mr. Corona.”


'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 04-18-2006, 08:41 AM   #100
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Wow Mach, these last three chapters left me breathless! I can't wait to see how you resolve this mess. The beam cutters remind me of lightsabers, any significance? Keep up the great work.


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 04-18-2006, 08:42 AM   #101
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Love the battle scenes, love imagining just what Breia's going to do next, love the kids wreaking havoc throughout the ship as the crew can only react. Using the crates as a countermeasure was a nice touch. Good to know the missiles weren't heat seakers or Sanji would have been screwed.
Humor mode way, way, way on: You have this thing for poop, apparently.


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Old 04-18-2006, 09:40 AM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Humor mode way, way, way on: You have this thing for poop, apparently.
Hey! This could become machievelli's trademark. Any story he writes would have at least one encounter with excrement, heh-heh-heh.

Wonderful detail with the weapon descriptions. Some of it I didn't really understand though. And I enjoy how you've got the Mando teens, Breia, and Sanji and company all in the mix. Very entertaining, to say the least.


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Old 04-18-2006, 10:00 AM   #103
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Heh, nice plot twists. I love it.
The dress description was cool. I might have found a different euphemism ('crotch' just was a little too jarring--the word itself doesn't bug me, it was just its juxtaposition with such a lovely dress description), though 'nether regions' is just way too 'bodice-ripper novel'-ish.
I hope Corona gets taken down good....I'll be interested to see what Dasa does--he seems to be headed for a conflict himself.
I have great faith in the ability of Breia et al to find some truly creative way of extricating themselves from this situation and implicating Corona with the Echani gun no less.
Sorry about the crotch. It was flowing well and you guys are seeing it as it is written with little or no editing. I changed the phrase to 'her privates' describing both regions.


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Old 04-18-2006, 10:11 AM   #104
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Wow Mach, these last three chapters left me breathless! I can't wait to see how you resolve this mess. The beam cutters remind me of lightsabers, any significance? Keep up the great work.
Actually there is not. The short beams use a monomolecular thread. I see them as the forerunner of vibroblades, which use a narrow blade and vibration.

The problem with a weapon like this is if the magnetic field failed, you'd have a whip of thread that cuts everything.


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Old 04-18-2006, 10:22 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Love the battle scenes, love imagining just what Breia's going to do next, love the kids wreaking havoc throughout the ship as the crew can only react. Using the crates as a countermeasure was a nice touch. Good to know the missiles weren't heat seakers or Sanji would have been screwed.
Humor mode way, way, way on: You have this thing for poop, apparently.

Not missiles, projectiles. Remember this is onyl slightly advanced to what we have now.

As for the sewage tank, it's contents weren't on my mind. What happened was I was having them chop up anything that would seriously damage but not totally destroy the ship, so fuel tanks, main electrical power, gravity generators, life support etc, are out. They also had to leave elevators and the storage area where the ship was. I wanted something Tokara would remember for a long time.

But when I wrote the segment, I used the wrong word. You see, if it were marked sewage, they would have probably firgured it out. On a ship, this is actually called a Sanitary tank.

Does that tell you what is in it?


'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 04-18-2006, 10:29 AM   #106
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Hey! This could become machievelli's trademark. Any story he writes would have at least one encounter with excrement, heh-heh-heh.

Wonderful detail with the weapon descriptions. Some of it I didn't really understand though. And I enjoy how you've got the Mando teens, Breia, and Sanji and company all in the mix. Very entertaining, to say the least.
Again, military mentality, remember? Anyone who reads it who does know abput modern combat will see that the weapons can be fit into a modern arsenal.

As for the subroutine, I have to thank David Drake in his Rolling Hot for that. In one scene anti-tank rounds are fired in a friendly fire incident at the same time that cluster bomb anti-personnel are fired. The cluster bombs are smaller, but the guns started simply blasting by proximity. Drake's character had to order a retargetting sequence, (i.e. target by size not proximity) which he did, but too late to survive it.


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Old 04-18-2006, 10:41 AM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutmeister
Hey! This could become machievelli's trademark. Any story he writes would have at least one encounter with excrement, heh-heh-heh.

Wonderful detail with the weapon descriptions. Some of it I didn't really understand though. And I enjoy how you've got the Mando teens, Breia, and Sanji and company all in the mix. Very entertaining, to say the least.
I really hate it when a writer gives you a character who pretty much stands around doing nothing, so I decided to make everyone work. Daysah gets to be the panicked 'what do I do now', the boys and Jedi do what they do so well, Magtyar and his crew get to see exactly what messing with the Jedi or the Mandalore is like without to much damage, and Corona gets to see a multibillion credit ship reduced to salvage.

In the next section the Admiral and Sunrider get their chance.


'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 04-18-2006, 10:43 AM   #108
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Sorry about the crotch. It was flowing well and you guys are seeing it as it is written with little or no editing. I changed the phrase to 'her privates' describing both regions.
'Crotch' itself doesn't bug me--being in the med field I call them by their proper anatomical terms myself, and my friends in college took great delight in 'educating' me on all the other permutations of names for private parts just to see me blush, so I had to learn them just so I could quit getting embarrassed. Now with 2 kids I get more private part discussions than I ever wanted because they're at the age where that's just either fascinating or hilarious. Our dinner table conversation can be...interesting.
Anyway, in its context, it would be fine. I just had this jarring sensation because I was picturing this woman in a lovely dress in the middle of an opulent bedroom, and all of the sudden along comes what I consider one of the more crass terms for female anatomy and boom, my image of the scene was shot. If you used a different term that worked with the image you were creating, I would have been fine with that, too. I was fine with breasts because it doesn't carry the same negative baggage, or at least has a more pleasant connotation. If you'd used 'boobs,' then I would have had the same jarring reaction.

Sanitary tank--still makes me think of poop, sorry, since it sounds like a euphemism for a toilet tank. After hearing about all the raw sewage that went into Lake Michigan last year or the year before courtesy of Milwaukee's failed sewer system, 'sewage' and poop are probably forever linked.

You know, my son would be proud of me for all this discussion of privates and poop.


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Old 04-19-2006, 02:39 AM   #109
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Cover up

“Sir! Two pirate vessels are approaching!” The sensor officer aboard Duroc painted the targets red.

“Stand down!” Antilles roared. He turned toward the sensor officer. “Stand down, Mr. Queek.”

“But sir, they attacked the Tokara Requiem!”

“Sir, the lead ship is trying to contact us.” The com officer shouted.

“They’re trying to confuse us, sir!” Queek pleaded. “All weapons-”

“If you finish that order, I will kill you.” Antilles warned. Queek looked at his Admiral, then turned back to his console. “All Weap-” The panel sparked as a bullet plowed into it.

“I said I will kill you. There will be no further warnings.”

“Sir!” The com officer flipped a switch, the call coming over the speakers.

“Shani aboard Millennium Falcon. Admiral, Corona admitted to murdering-”

“Fire!” Queek screamed. Antilles turned smoothly, his weapon coming up. The next bullet blew Queek’s body over the console.

One of the defensive guns opened fire, the shuttle staggering before Antilles could regain order.

“Emergency rescue teams, get aboard that shuttle, now!” He ordered. “Have Millennium Falcon brought aboard.”

Docking bay open. The ship is- Crap!” The ship crumpled as it veered right, spinning to crash on the deck.

Antilles ran through the passageways, stopping at the carnage on his deck. A team were cutting into the Falcon. Beyond the force field of the entry hatch, he could see the rescue team jetting back, towing stretchers.

“Report.”

The team leader turned. “She’s pretty badly banged up, sir. But it is definitely the Millennium Falcon.”

“The crew?”

“Professor Shani was banged up, but should recover.” He held his hand to his ear. “The rescue team reporting. Three occupants. One dead, two wounded.”

*****

Sev ran down one side of the atrium, Anak down the opposite side. As they passed each supporting pillar they stopped, making a figure eight whip, slicing the supports through top and bottom. They reached the forward end of the mall, and set down their short beams. Anak ducked as someone on an upper deck fired down at them. He switched to armor piercing.

“Anak-”

The boy fluidly lifted the weapon, aimed not at the man shooting at them, but farther forward. His rifle coughed, and there was an explosion far overhead. Like a glittering missile the chandelier plummeted down four decks, slamming with a crash onto the sculpture in the center of the atrium. Shards of the crystal rattled off the supports, and two were knocked free as heavier shrapnel took it’s toll.

“Was there a reason for that?” Sev asked.

“Artistic freedom. That was a really bad sculpture.”

Sev sighed, setting his rifle for armor piercing as well. “Now!”

Both boys fired, each at different pillars. The shells penetrated, then exploded, shattering the supports one by one. They had gone only halfway to where they were when there was a creaking and groaning sound from above. They ran forward as several million credits of shops crashed into the lower deck. A bank machine slammed into the deck, and suddenly high denomination notes began spewing from it’s ruptured insides.

“Well we’re rich, brother.” Sev joked.

“Can’t spend it when we’re dead.” Anak replied. They shrugged and picked up their short beams again.

*****

Corona stalked onto the bridge, glaring at the Jedi. He walked over, and swung backhanding her onto the deck.

“Do you know what this ship cost?” He screamed.

“More than it is worth now.” Breia replied, wiping her mouth.

Corona screamed, snatching up a pistol, pointing it at the woman with a quivering hand. “We are going to call those maniacs of your off!”

“Why?” She rolled to her knees, standing. “They are having so much fun.”

Corona stepped forward, catching her robe and slamming the woman against the wall. “They will stop or you will die!”

“All they have been doing is punishing you for insulting them.” Breia answered. “That and having a bit of fun. You want to see what they will do if they get angry instead?”

“Sir, put her down.” Magtyar said softly.

“Shut up, Captain. You work for me!” Corona had lost any shred of calm he might have possessed. Foam flecked his lips, and his teeth gleamed like a hunting predator. “They may have fun. but you won’t live to enjoy it!”

The gun came up, and Breia’s hand moved. The knife she held was only 75 mm long. But she had forged the blade herself. It went through muscle, bone, and the grip without even slowing down. Corona stared at the hand as the blade came back, removing three of the fingers from the other hand, forcing him to let go.

Breia stepped back from the bloody fountains. “Mr. Sunrider, I would suggest you either use that gun, or help him.” She looked up at the young man. He stood undecided.

“Kill her Dasa. Kill them all!”

“No Uncle.” Sunrider dropped the weapon. “It’s over. We lost.”

“You fool!” Corona screamed, leaping to his feet. pounding the stumps of his hands on his nephew’s chest. “We have money, we won’t lose!”

Dasa pinned the arm with the missing hand. Magtyar stepped forward, catching the other.

“Magtyar, a million credits. Just kill that-”

“Money doesn’t mean anything to me.” Magtyar snapped. “Not if it means a death sentence.”

Breia turned to Tor. “Surrender, and you will be granted justice.”

Tor stood frozen. Then his hand went for his pistol. There was a shot, and he collapsed backwards, a hole the size of a fist in his chest. Dasa dropped the gun he had snatched up, turning back to his uncle.

*****

The shuttle landed in what was left of docking bay one of Tokara Requiem. The soldiers spread out as Admiral Antilles marched down the ramp. The people there to meet him were bloody but unbowed. Captain Magtyar and what was left of his crew, Breia, and Dasa Sunrider. Two men carried a litter with a screaming lump in it. There were thuds from aft, and he looked up at the noise.

“What in the name of all the gods has been happening here?”

“I am sorry, we just called the boys, and they have stopped dismantling the ship.” Breia replied. “That I believe was the first class swimming pool.”

“Admiral, as the senior-” Magtyar began

“Captain, it is my last act, allow me the privilege.” Dasa said. The captain waved graciously. “Admiral, as the senior representative of the company in the system, I request that you assist Professor Shani in communicating with the native species below. I now turn myself over to you for judgment.”

Antilles looked at him coldly, then walked past them to the litter, drawing his sidearm. Corona’s eyes fixed on him, though he obviously didn’t recognize the admiral. “Ten million credits.” He husked. “Kill the Jedi, we’ll cover it all up. They’ll never arrest us. We make the laws after all...” He fell to mumbling, then his eyes locked on the Admiral again. “Fifteen million. Kill the Jedi, we’ll cover it all up. They’ll never arrest us. We make the laws after all...”

Antilles turned away, holstering the weapon. “Put them aboard the shuttle. Captain, damage estimate?”

“Over half the ship has been gutted.” Magtyar could barely keep the pleasure from his voice. “Engines destroyed, everything except fuel tanks and electrical mains gone aft of the mall. I would classify her as a total loss.”

Antilles hid his grin. “Then we’ll have to salvage it, won’t we?” He turned to Breia. “One of my men, the sensor officer was in their employ. I am afraid the shuttle and your ship have been damaged.”

“Oh dear.” Breia felt a chill.


'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 04-19-2006, 03:08 AM   #110
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You know, I was having a generally crappy day (no pun intended, honest), and reading about Anak shooting down the chandelier to take out the atrium sculpture in the name of artistic freedom made me laugh. Seeing Corona reduced to a quivering crazed mass is the dream of all of us who like to see the good guys win and the bad guys really get nailed like they truly deserve.


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Old 04-19-2006, 10:26 AM   #111
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Quote:
The gun came up, and Breia’s hand moved. The knife she held was only 75 mm long. But she had forged the blade herself. It went through muscle, bone, and the grip without even slowing down. Corona stared at the hand as the blade came back, removing three of the fingers from the other hand, forcing him to let go.
So am I correct in understanding Breia made two cuts? The first cut off part of his hand that held the pistol and the second cut off three fingers of his hand that was holding onto her robe. The first time I read this I got the image that she threw the knife and it cut through one hand and then came around like a boomerang and cut off the fingers of the other. That didn't seem right though.

Very interesting that Antilles' sensor officer was willing to face death when he very well could have just let the two spacecraft peacefully land aboard the ship and Antilles would probably have never known that Queek was moonlighting for Tokara Company.

One dead, two wounded from the shuttle crew, eh? I have a bad feeling about this...


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Old 04-19-2006, 12:35 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutmeister
So am I correct in understanding Breia made two cuts? The first cut off part of his hand that held the pistol and the second cut off three fingers of his hand that was holding onto her robe. The first time I read this I got the image that she threw the knife and it cut through one hand and then came around like a boomerang and cut off the fingers of the other. That didn't seem right though.

Very interesting that Antilles' sensor officer was willing to face death when he very well could have just let the two spacecraft peacefully land aboard the ship and Antilles would probably have never known that Queek was moonlighting for Tokara Company.

One dead, two wounded from the shuttle crew, eh? I have a bad feeling about this...

As I said in a previous posting, you guys are getting to see this before a lot of the editing is done. As an example, I have reworked two scenes mentally making Dasa Sunrider more of a pawn than he was before. The scene you have mentioned is going to be rewritten, and I will try to be more specific about what happened. I remembered the man who was shooting when Anak made his artistic criticism after the fact, and intend to deal with him as well.

Yep, someone died. But who?


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Old 04-19-2006, 04:20 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by machievelli
Yep, someone died. But who?
You are such a tease.


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Old 04-19-2006, 11:35 PM   #114
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Want a hint? Or do you want to wait for it?


'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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Acceptance
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:26 AM   #115
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OK, I'll be entirely impatient and bite on that 'ask for a hint' hook.


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Old 04-20-2006, 02:19 AM   #116
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Better yet, I'll just give it to you.


Loss and gain

Breia moved toward the table. The figure didn’t move. She reached down, running her hands across the forehead. “Oh Sanji.” she whispered.

“Stop playing with my Lekku unless you mean it.” Sanji gasped. His lungs felt like they were on fire. The last thing he remembered was the cargo spilling out into space.

“Maybe I do.” She joked, sitting beside him. “What have I told you about trying to breathe vacuum?”

He tried to chuckle but it turned into a wracking cough. “Nothing I remember.”

“That’s because I forgot. The thing to remember about breathing vacuum is; don’t.”

“I considered that at the time.” He gasped. “Maybe if you had told me before I wouldn’t have tried.”

“You are such a silly young boy. Get some rest. You’ve had a busy day.”

“Wait. The scientists. I failed them.”

“Failed them how?” She snapped. “You are alive because Professor Coor ran back, to drag you into the cockpit. Didn’t know that there were emergency air masks every two meters, did you?”

“I must have missed the briefing.”

"Good thing for you Professor Coor didn‘t. He strapped an emergency walk around tank on you before you’d done too much damage to yourself. But Sanji, if he hadn’t gone to rescue you he’d be dead.“

“What?“

“While he was doing that, a traitor aboard the Frigate opened fire. Ton Morant was killed when they blew the cockpit right off the ship. Coor caught some shrapnel that would have killed you.”

“I failed.” He whispered. “I failed Morant, I failed you. I murdered so many men down there.” He turned away, tears of shame running down his face.

She wordlessly touched his cheek.

*****

Daysah Shani walked into the brig. Behind the force field Dasa Sunrider sat, looking at the floor. She walked over to stand before it. After a moment, the prisoner looked up.

“Professor.” Sunrider looked away.

“Breia told me what you did.” She said softly. “Surrendering. Killing the man that tried to kill her.”

“Maybe being around people like you and her has rubbed off on me.” He joked. He wiped his face with his hands. “I have to tell them the truth. I have to... I have to atone for my sins.”

“For following a lunatic?” Shani asked. “Did you kill those ships along with him? Did you order the deaths of those men?”

“No.” Dasa whispered. “But I knew and did nothing.” He looked up. “Maybe when they are done with me I can see you again. Maybe that man will be worth your time.”

“You silly man, if I hadn’t liked you I would have told you to jet off when you wanted to take me on a tour.” She sighed. “After the trial, we’ll talk again.”

“Yeah. After.” He sat in silence as she left.

*****

The Mando ship snuggled up against the Duroc. The captain stepped aboard, looking around. “Impressive, but I bet we could out maneuver her.” He commented. He saw the woman waiting for him. “Captain Johara Vau, Clan Ordo.” He said saluting. “I have come for my brother.”

Breia motioned for him to follow. “We were unsure what they should record on their Soochir.” She said.

“Battles and conquests.” Johara snarled. “Nothing else is worth recording."

“Then let us speak with him, and let them tell it.”

The Millennium Falcon looked as if she had come in second place in a collision, which was in fact the truth. The starboard mandible had been shattered and crushed to half it’s size, collapsed forward to where it scraped the deck. The starboard main gear had been shattered as well, the oleo struts slammed halfway through the deck by her mass. Breia walked up the slanted ramp, leaning as if she’d always boarded this way. In the mess deck, the boys stood resplendent in their full kit.

“Soochin. Brother.”

“Elder brother.” Anak bowed.

“Boys. Tell of what you did.”

*****

“What are the losses?” The chairman asked. He looked out of the fiftieth floor window at the city skyline.

“The Requiem has been declared a total loss.” The new Vice President of Shipping reported. “It would cost us more to bring the hulk home than the salvage charges. It would be cheaper to declare her a dead loss where she is.”

“Meera?”

“Almost a total loss. Over a hundred dead, fifteen earthmovers destroyed or so badly damaged that they might as well be destroyed.” The Vice President in charge of Commerce reported. “The hotel is set back at least a decade.”

The door swung open, and a small woman marched in, followed by Admiral Antilles. The chairman turned his chair back, glaring at the secretary that squirmed in Antilles’ grip. “What is the meaning of this?” He growled.

“This Jedi Monk and the Admiral wanted to speak to the board, and when I tried to stop them...” The man gestured with his head toward the arm lock. “They didn’t take no for an answer.”

“Have your say, and leave. The company has pressing business.” The chairman snarled.

“They have more than business to worry about if I don’t have my say.” Breia retorted. She looked at the men. Was there even a scintilla of good in them? She walked along the table, stopping beside the chairman. “Gentlemen, I have a deposition from Professor Daysah Shani of the University of Coruscant. She has some interesting things to discuss with the Galactic Trade Authority. Murder, fomenting the destruction of vessels that belong to rival corporations. Trade irregularities that well have your stock in the penny column by the end of the day.”

“Whatever Suli Corona might have done-” The Vice President of Shipping stopped as a blade suddenly lunged toward him, stopping 25 centimeters from his nose.

“I will talk, you will listen. That means mouths shut.” Breia said coolly. “I can have every member of this board in court for the next century with all of the proven irregularities. Care to bet who will win?” She looked around the table.

“The problem is, you’re not the best example of Coruscanti business, but you’re not the worst either. Removing your company will leave others just as bad if not worse out there. The Admiral had decided to set aside the vengeance he feels is owed for his son’s life. Assuming this board can come to an accord with me.”

The chairman looked at the extended blade which had not moved from the Vice President, staying exactly that distance, level and perfectly still. He licked his lips. “What do you propose, Jedi?”

“Meera is no longer property. The company will foreswear all claim to the system.”

“Agreed.”

“The Ithorians are interested in obtaining some technology. Specifically repulsor lift. You will give it to them.”

“For a reasonable-” The chairman stopped talking as Breia’s face turned toward him. “Free. An orbital factory.”

“Then there is the matter of some construction. The Ithorians don’t mind visitors. They would just prefer that they act like guests, not rapacious monsters. The people of Ithor have agreed to allow an orbital hotel, owned and operated by Tokara. In return they want something built. A floating city capable of sustaining one third of their population with a fair and honest price schedule for the construction of two more within the decade. The first will be built with the promise of payment paid for with medicinal herbs they will supply at fair market value.” She slowly leaned back onto her feet, the sword dropping to low port. “In return for that concession, they have agreed not to take Tokara to court and demand one trillion credits. Admiral Antilles and Professor Shani have agreed not to pursue the matter further. The Jedi will agree to let it be.” She looked around the table. “The only alternative is for all of this to become public. No one will care that some man did this, whether he had approval or not. Even trying to prove it in court could be slippery.” She touched the stud, the blades folding, and she sheathed the weapon.

“Shall I tell them your decision?”

*****

Sanji gasped, leaning against the bulkhead. His lungs were healing, but even this short walk had winded him badly. The treadmill stopped as he did, so he didn’t face the indignity of being dragged onto the deck again.

“There you are.” Breia snapped tartly. “The entire council came from the Monastery to judge you, and you are playing in the recreation deck.”

“Judge me-” Sanji gasped, then coughed, his shoulders shaking with pain.

“Yes, judge you. Now come with me.” She caught his arm, throwing it over her shoulders. “I can’t leave you alone for a minute.” She growled, dragging him into the passageway.

The pair walked down the passageway, entering a large area set aside for briefings. Silent, the full council, all twelve sat, watching.

“Sanji Gretu, you are called to judgment for your actions on Meera-”

“Ithor.” Breia snapped, taking her seat. Sanji stood in the center alone.

“You are correct. Let the record show that Meera is now declared to be Ithor, the name the natives have given it.” Master Hontu corrected. “If we may continue Breia?”

“Of course, Berol.” she replied.

“You are charged with abandoning your master, fomenting a rebellion along with two scientists, decimating a fifty man landing force, and attacking a private company vessel destroying her armament.” Hontu looked at the young man. “Did you do these things?”

“I didn’t foment a rebellion. And as for abandoning my master, I was attempting to escape capture.”

“A technicality.” Hontu snapped. “I have never seen such arrogance in a student in my life!” He stood, storming down the steps to confront the younger man. Sanji straightened, looking down at the master.

“If you’re going to keep doing things like this, there is only one thing I can think to do about it. Are we agreed?” He turned to face the other masters.

Sanji looked at the faces. Human, Hutt, Twi-lek, Gram. They all looked at each other, then nodded. He looked at Breia, who also nodded, his heart sinking.

“Breia, he’s your student. You announce the judgment.” Hontu returned to his seat.

She stood, walking down to stand facing him. “As master Hontu has said, I have never seen such arrogance in a student in my life. So to make sure it doesn’t happen again, I will pass judgment. Will you accept my decision?”

Sanji nodded, closing his eyes.

“As the representative of the council, and your master, I strip you of the rank of Apprentice. From this day forward, you will be Padawan Teacher Gretu.” His eyes snapped open. She reached out, and he silently took her hand. “Next time try not to leave another of the order out there all alone. Now go away, and celebrate. The council has to decide which mission you have to undertake when an apprentice has been assigned to you.”

“Apprentice?”

“Of course you young twit. You can’t be my pilot forever. You have your own duties, as I have mine.” She sniffed. “First I have to get my ship repaired. So go on.”

*****

Aboard the Mando corvette Dhalmarta, Captain Johara Vau stood. “In circle we sit, to tell of our battles, and victories. Tonight we have a new voice in the circle. Tell us ade Anak Vau of Clan Ordo. Tell us of the gutting of the Tokara Requiem.”

The warriors looked at their youngest member as he stood up. “Listen brothers of war as I tell you of my first victory. The one I share with Sev Soochin of clan Ordo.

“We had been captured by the Hut’uun of the Tokara Company... “

*****

Sanji walked slowly. His lungs would never fully recover, he knew that. But he didn’t let them slow him much. He looked at the sleek five man ship he had been given with pride. It was not the Millennium Falcon, but at least it wasn’t being repaired.

He walked up the ramp, then paused. There was a thump of a rock hitting the side of the ship, and he walked around it slowly. He had never seen anyone of the small creature’s race before. Green skinned, long pointed ears, tridactyl hands and feet. The being was sitting in meditation ten meters from the ship. As Sanji watched, the little being looked down, a stone lifting into the air, then shooting forward toward the ship to ring against the hull plating.

“May I ask you what you are doing?” He asked.

“Ask you may, Padawan teacher.” The little being replied. “Bored I am with study. Pilot I heard you need.” He looked up, standing. “Yodai I am. Apprentice I am.”

“And bouncing rocks off my ship was the only way you could think of to get my attention?”

“Worked did it not?”

He sighed, shaking his head. Of all the arrogance-

Just like I was all those years ago.


“Get aboard.”

Sanji walked down toward the monastery. As he passed the rooms, he could hear snippets.

“Language is communication, whether it is body language, sound, moving of the fingers, smell, or a combination of them...” Master Mogo was saying.

A few steps farther he paused.

“As you progress within the order, there will come a time where all you can depend on is your blade.

“You are children, but this you must understand. Steel is pure in it’s honesty. It cares not for your values, or your beliefs. It will protect you only as long as you are honest to it as well.

“To become a full Jedi monk, you must master the blade. Any can master the single blade, few will master two blades. But only a true warrior of the heart will ever master the blade staff.” There was a clicking snap. “It is not to say that using a single blade is weak. Just that if you wish to stay and learn the twin blade and blade staff, you must show more heart.

“Now, each of you pick up a dull steel practice blade. I warn you now that it will be painful, but-”

“Master?” a voice asked.

“Hmn?” Sanji looked at the small human girl. She looked to be about six or seven.

“You are late for class, master.”

“So I am. And you are?"

“Breia, master. Breia Solo.”

“Ah. I have heard of you.” Sanji walked on, entering the courtyard he had been assigned. He sat, easing his form into a meditation seat. He looked at the expectant faces. Young Solo sitting off to one side.

“The art of concealment is sometimes necessary. There are those that can be convinced you are not there. But this is not something you can merely be told of. It is something you will practice in the coming years.

“Now I wish you all to meditate. As you do, I want you to focus on a single thought. That you cannot be seen. You are a wraith...”


'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; 04-20-2006 at 02:34 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:02 AM   #117
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Bravo, bravo! A great chapter Machie. Why do I get the feeling that this was the last chapter of this installment? Oh well, keep up the great work. I can't wait to read more of SW The beginning. The end of this chapter had a very awesome SW feel to 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 04-20-2006, 11:50 AM   #118
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for those of you who have read it from the start, this is 225 pages long.

It is a full book, in other words. With editing it will come out to just about 250.
I'd have to start an entirely different thread, because as Mozart said about music 'you put just as many words as is necessary, then stop'.


'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 04-20-2006, 04:20 PM   #119
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I'm in heaven that it wasn't Sanji...and bummed that this is the end.
More stories, please!


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Old 04-20-2006, 10:20 PM   #120
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That was a very good end, I hope you post a lot more work here. I can hardly believe that was 225 pages.
But why do you keep on using a lot of a smaller unit when you could use the next unit up? (It happened a few times, but the only specific one I can remember is the 75mm blade, when you could have used 7.5cm)


Let's kill ourselves.
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