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Old 12-10-2006, 03:45 PM   #1
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Betrayal and Retribution: The Week of Shifting Sands

Betrayal and Retribution: The Week of Shifting Sands

Prologue- Day 0

Jeez looked outside the window of the Jedi Council Chambers. A knot was deep within his throat, and his hands remained clenched in his hands. He wasn't angry, although some might interpret him as such. Jeez had been steadfast in keeping himself to the demands of the council, and this was the first morning he had awakened without the crusted remains of tears stuck to his eyelashes. Still, Jeez couldn't keep the embittered taste of obeying the Council at the cost of losing Miranda out of his mouth. Jeez had opened his eyes to several things about the Jedi and the Jedi Council, and it didn't bide by him easily.

"Jeez," a voice stated behind him. Without turning around, Jeez knew who it was. "The Council made their decision about me this morning, didn't they, Master?" Jeez responded."That's right. After much consideration, the Council has dropped the issue. Your obedience is the only thing that kept them from doing anything, even after extensive debate among the Masters," Mace Windu replied as he simply walked up beside Jeez and looked out the window himself.

"And what of the Trials? Am I to undertake them?" Jeez asked after a brief pause.

"No. Well, at least not right away. The Council has decided that in light of outside events, you will be given the honorary title of Jedi Knight and undergo the Trials at a later date. Also mentioned was the way you've handled the recent situation. If it hadn't been for your obedience, dedication, and self-discipline, you would still be a Padawan under my supervision," Windu replied.

"What about you? I didn't get you into any trouble, did I?" Jeez asked as he finally turned to look at Windu with a slight smile.

Dropping his head and smiling a bit himself, Windu then said, "Well, the issue was brought up, but the explanation was sufficient. Let's just leave it that."

Smiling briefly, Jeez then dropped the smile and reassigned himself to looking aimlessly out the window.

"Well, Knight Quiinzara, I believe you have some duties to attend to. If I'm not mistaken, your first is in the archives with someone else that was recently knighted herself," Windu stated.

Rolling his eyes as he turned to look at Windu, Jeez then said, "Great. I get to spend some time with the Bookworm. Oh joy."

At a computer terminal, a young twi'lek woman sat still while staring intently at the screen. Her dark violet skin tone was nothing short of exotic, but the most anyone could see of it was her face, her hands, and her two long lekku, or headtails, draping down her back. A black leather brace that was wrapped around her head helped to keep the two lekku separated. Her brown Jedi robes covered the rest of her body, but they still managed to catch some of the curves on her slightly petite but toned frame.

If one noticed the keypad, then they would've noticed her hands moving quickly and then pausing for a couple of seconds at random intervals. Unlike most Jedi, this one was accustomed to sitting in front of a computer terminal for hours on end. Her official job was to go through the Jedi Archives to check for errors or things put out of place. Her studies into the Jedi over the course of her training had prepared her for what several Jedi Masters referred to as a pointless job. In truth, this Jedi truly was the last of her kind. There were no plans to train another Jedi with her task.

Where other types of Jedi training emphasized a connection with the Force or on the lightsaber, this Jedi had been trained extensively on the histories and intricacies of the Order. Her vast and deep knowledge extended far beyond history. Ideas, concepts, and certain art forms were all within the archives. Some parts hadn't been viewed by anyone except for the archivists themselves or the occasional Jedi Master looking for information. Her knowledge of the Force ran deep through the instructions of mere words and phrases. And thus also lies the danger of her job.

As with many archivists in the past, there is always a danger of seeing too much benefit in the teachings of the Dark Side. It was the decision of the Jedi Council thousands of years ago that kept the teachings of the Dark Side within the archives, but it had only been under the provision that the Jedi Masters would have access to those parts. However, there was nothing to stop the archivists from viewing those files for the sake of checking the archive's order, and such was the case with every archivist since the decision was passed down by the Council including this young archivist. However, the dangers of allowing things to go unchecked did not last long.

It was now time for the changing of the watch, so to speak. It was the duty of the Jedi Knights to oversee the archivists of the Order to ensure that they were not following those forbidden teachings. As the door opened to the room, Jeez sighed to himself as he knew that it was his turn to oversee the 'Bookworm', as he had called her before.

Walking down the corridor of the Jedi Archives, Jeez knew that he was walking through a vast array of knowledge. Jeez had spent a number of times in the Archives studying a number of different things, but he most certainly had no desire to virtually live within it. Heading towards the central computer terminal where the young twi'lek was sitting, Jeez recognized her as he had met her several times before on previous visits.

"Jeez Quiinzara, it's been quite some time since you've been in my archives," the twi'lek stated. Looking up from the screen, she smiled at him and said, "It's good to see you."

"'Good to see me'?" Jeez asked somewhat mockingly. Sitting down, he continued, "Well, that's certainly not the reaction I've been getting from the other Jedi around here. Recently, anyways."

"Well, don't take that as an invitation to go further. We both have jobs to see to, so I suggest that we get them done," she replied as she turned back to the screen.

"What the heck is going on? First you're nice, and then all you can do is warn me not to get close. I'm not going to get this kind of a grudge put on me everywhere I go from every Jedi, am I? The charges were cleared," Jeez stated bitterly.

"And so they were. Now if you don't mind, I have work to do," she replied coldly without looking up from the terminal.

Rolling his eyes and putting his hands on his waist, Jeez breathed in deep out of frustration. Sitting down in a nearby chair, Jeez then muttered, "I can't even get fair treatment from the bookworm of all people."

Rolling her eyes, the twi'lek then looked around the monitor to look over at Jeez. Obviously annoyed, she stated, "First off, I was trying not to pass judgment down on you about your ordeal, but since you seem to want me to, I will. You may have wooed the Council over with your discipline, but you certainly don't have anything holding back your urges which is why I want to spend as little time with you as possible. Second, if you would just leave things alone, we can both get our work done and let things be. And lastly, my name is Ryshana Oliaya, not 'Bookworm'. Now, if you would kindly remove your head from your hindquarters, let's just get our jobs done."

After a long drag on the end of the death stick, the man held in his breath. It was a stronger flavor than most, but he had lucked out by finding the pack on the street. Dropping the butt to the ground, the man very slowly exhaled the smoke from his lungs in a long, grey wisp. Closing his eyes, the man could feel the calming effect the stick had on him. Relishing in the moment, the man could also feel his headache draining away. The man was easily in his late 40's, and he had the grizzled look in his short, unkempt hair to prove it. His muscular frame dominated his skeletal structure, and there was no doubt that this man worked for his living. The thing that truly made him stand out, though was his thick, black mustache that matched the black hairs from his youth. However, it didn't take much to notice a bit of grey coming in there as well. "Strova!!" another man shouted behind him with a slightly gruff voice.

"Strova!! Let's go!! If we're going to make this work, we'll be needin' ya, now come on!!" the man yelled.

Dropping his head back down, Strova turned and looked back at the man. "I'm comin', ya lazy sludge-scrappa. This is tha last moment I 'an get before the strike," Strova yelled out after the man. Under his breath, Strova then stated, "This is the last chance I'll get for some peace and quiet."

This man was Strova Vinera. He had been the Head Foreman for the Techno Union Miners for almost ten years. Although he didn't cause as much trouble as some of the other "leaders" the miners had, he was most certainly the cause of this movement. Recognizing the need for an organized strike instead of panic, anarchy, and rioting, Strova had decided that something had to be done. And somehow, he just knew that his decision would mean that this would be the last time he would get to smoke a deathstick.

Turning around, Strova finally trudged on towards the man who was standing in a doorway. Just as he reached the doorway, another man stepped into view. "Thomp!! So, I take it negotiations are over. How'd it go?" Strova asked.

"It didn't. We made the same demands as yesterday, but they came back at us with the same answers. I warned you about that, but it was your call. Is the picket ready?" Thomp answered.

"It'd better be, or I don't think you've e'er seen a man so fiery mad before," Strova answered. "Besides, you're the Union man. Ain't that your job?"

"Hey, I'm here to negotiate terms. It was your decision to organize the strike so early."

"Yah, well, if it wasn't for the darned Separate'ist thing, I wouldn't have pushed for such an early strike. Heh, it'll be sure that the Indies will get pissed. Oh well, that's their fault fer blowin' up that apartment," Strova said.

Looking to the left, all Strova could see was a huge crowd that was still forming. Some of them were holding hand made signs that bore the symbol of the Miner Workers Union. However, most of them were turning out to show off the man power the miners had. The crazy thing was that these miners were only from the Techno Union Mines. There were still thousands more

miners that were already hard at work within the mines, and it was those miners that Strova was wanting to rally.

Turning towards the crowd, Strova then yelled out, "Today we make our stand!! It's time for us to show those cowards that we are the ones who control Perlexom! We won't back down from thar attempts to intimidate us; instead, we'll turn tha tables on them!! We're on strike!"

The crowd roared out in approval, and one could not help but to notice the veiled anger rising from the crowd. The miners had already had to put up with new regulations that forced them to increase the mine's outputs, but that wasn't even the start of the matter.

This was the planet Perlexom. It had been first colonized barely 300 years ago as the demand for the magnarium ore had begun to intensify with the introduction of the magnetic repulser design. At first, it was nothing but a Republic initiative to mine the ore, but other companies soon wanted in on the mining. However, the first major problem with the mining was with faulty equipment due to the magnetic properties of the ore and little manpower to overcome the equipment. To compensate for a growing demand of the ore and the shortage of miners, the Republic would launch a series of Workforce Initiative programs to entice thousands of workers to perform the majority of the mining with nothing but hand tools. With the miners came other entertainment oriented industries. Cantinas, brothels, virtual reality centers, and even several small shopping centers soon followed the flow of miners to the planet.

That's whenever someone had the bright idea to do something even crazier. The planet's surface was barren and didn't have the atmosphere to support life. However, it was one company's idea to use a terraforming process on the surface to make it support life. Then, they would be able to create their own paradise of sorts as a way to attract tourists from all walks of life. It took about 100 years before the project was abandoned as a failure, but the atmosphere had been effectively transformed to support life. There were also
several sections of the planet that were terraformed with success. These parts of the planet were marketed as much as possible, and the industry of tourism made its introduction on the planet. In fact, tourism quickly became the second leading industry on the planet outside of magnarium mining.

With all the growth came a local governing force and a growing schism between the miners and these new entrepreneurs. The miners had adequate housing provided by the Republic, but compared to the government lodges and the private homes that the entrepreneurs built for themselves, they lived in small shacks. In a passing wave towards democracy, the government decided that a representative from the mining companies' management would represent their companies' miners. Together, the mining companies' management, the government, and the entrepreneurs became known as the "Industrialists". Almost every decision made among them was geared directly towards their own good without consideration of the miners. Thus, strikes among the miners were fairly common as it was the only way they could assert themselves. After all, the mining companies had been forced to agree that firing miners could only be done so with the approval of five Republic officials. Two of those had to be from the Republic's Organized Labor Division Office, and if all five signatures weren't given, then the worker was not fired. With such backing from the Republic, the miners wielded their own form of power.

In all, only two strikes ever occurred in which every miner on the planet joined in the strike. Both strikes almost crippled the magnarium exports to the point that it severely affected prices of repulserlifts for years afterwards. However, that was years ago whenever there were other sources of the vital ore available. Now, there were very few systems that could mine the ore due to the incredibly high demand for the ore. There was the new graviton design that required much less of the magnarium ore, but the old magnetic repulserlifts were much more cost effective. Thus, the demand for the magnarium ore remained at the high levels it had been at before. That meant that the first major strike since the Separatist Movement was about to cut off massive quantities of the ore from the rest of the galaxy.

However, this strike was very different from the previous strikes that were focused on getting things for the workers. This strike was somewhat politically motivated. The miners wanted to ensure that the Industrialists would at least ensure that the Republic was still one of the buyers of the ore and that the Republic would maintain control over the miners' labor so they could retain their power. The problem, however, was that the Industrialists had already pledged their support for the Separatists. The government, in fact, had already declared Perlexom to no longer be apart of the Republic just days earlier. The few remaining Republic-owned mines had just recently been the sight of a massive riot between Industrialists trying to shut down those few mines and miners intent on keeping those few mines open. Now, this first strike was intended to cut off the ore from the Separatist-leaning companies such as the Techno Union and the Trade Federation.

However, there was another reason that was even more pressing for the miners. About a week before the Perlexom Government declared their independence from the Republic and swore loyalty to the Separatists, several miners had mysteriously disappeared. However, these weren't your average miners. These men had risen from the miners to become they're unofficial leaders in times of crisis, and they were regarded by the Industrialists as "troublemakers". This was combined with several massive explosions within the miners' housing district that had killed almost a hundred miners. Although no one had claimed responsibility for the bombings nor the disappearances, the miners automatically assumed that it was the Industrialists retaliating for the riot at the Republic mines, and they wanted their own form of compensation by costing the Industrialists everything.

"Now to the mines!" Strova yelled out to the miners.

"But why?? It's been proven time and again that monopolies are good for no one except for the men at the top of the pole," the woman replied in a bit of frustration to the man across the table. It was odd to see the two of them together. There was hardly any doubt that the man was the woman's father if one judged them on physical similarities, but they were still an odd pair. The man was dressed professionally in a well tailored robe and suit while the woman was dressed in a pair of coveralls with a hardhat lying on the floor next to her.

They were in a well appointed restaurant about a kilometer from the mines. The place was open to the outside, and the morning sunlight gleamed into the place. The table they were at held the remains of a small breakfast they had shared together with two cups of tea that was still steaming. Taking a sip from his tea, the man smiled as he looked over at his daughter.

"And there you have my dilemma: I'm at the top of the pole, if you didn't notice. And besides, this isn't about the mines becoming a monopoly; this is about business and what's best for it. Just because the miners can't understand that a relationship with the Republic is bad for them is just a lack of foresight on their part," the man responded calmly.

"Oh, but if you could just take a moment to step down from you position on the top of the pole, you'd understand."

"Now you're starting to sound like a politician. We're not going to have room for any of that: Count Dooku has already assured us that politics as the norm will change. We won't have any of this Republic nonsense about the leaders appealing to the masses. The masses will have to appeal to their leaders now."

"And what of the leaders then? Are we going to be nothing more than mere slave drivers then? We have to do things for the whole and not the few," she stated.

Sighing to himself as he finished off his tea, the man looked over at his daughter, Nitti.

She was such a fine young woman, and he was a bit surprised that she was still single. Sure, she had been wooed by a number of men, but Nitti had devoted so much time to her job as a Logistics Manager for the Techno Union mines that she had little time for anything else. He smiled again as he was reminded yet again on how much she resembled her mother.

The man was Motiee Hangul, a very prominent Industrialist. Although one would assume that the head of the Perlexom government would be the one in charge, there was no Industrialist out there that wielded power like he did. That's not to say he was a corrupt man: he was a firm believer in the law and in executing justice when needed. He had been the head of a number of mining companies on Perlexom, and each one now heralded him as the best executive they had ever worked with.

"What are you smiling about father?" Nitti asked as she noticed her father.

"Oh nothing. You're just reminding me of your mother again."

Slightly embarrassed, she dropped her head and smiled as she looked back up at him. It had been years since her mother had died, but she couldn't help but to somewhat shy away at the comparison.

"Why do you have to be such a caring father? It would be so much easier to debate with you that way."

Laughing a bit to himself, Motiee replied, "Its only because I love you so much."

Noticing the time, Motiee then said, "Well, its about time for you to run off to work."

"Yeah, I know, but I'm not sure if there will be much work for me to do. There's just been so much talk about a strike, and Strova just doesn't have the patience to hold off on things," she said.

"You mean they might strike today? Oh, fiddlesticks. Well, I'll have to let the Board know about this," Motiee said as the smile disappeared. Sighing to himself, he looked back over at his daughter and said, "I guess that means you had better get moving. Even if they do strike, those miners are still going to need you."

Getting up from the table, the pair shared a hug. Kissing Motiee on the cheek, Nitti then said, "I love you, Father. Have a good day."

"You too, sweetheart."

With that, the pair parted without knowing that it would be the last time they would see each other for the next couple of days.

The crowd was marching onward. Already, they had brushed aside several Security Officers, but they didn't care all that much. There was so much at stake for these miners. All they had worked for was changing so rapidly, but now they were standing firm to ensure that things would turn around to where they were before. In the seething crowd, signs were proudly displaying the defiance of the decision to secede from the Republic. Everywhere, fists were raised and several chants were heard. Several men even had rifles or blaster pistols raised in the air. None of them were about to back down, even for the security gates that led to the mine entrances.

Strova and Thomp were the first to reach the gates. As the two security men that manned the gates looked awkwardly at the massive crowd, they slowly began to back away as they knew they couldn't stand a chance against such numbers. Not even bothering to slow down, Strova and Thomp together were the first to lift the gates up and out of the way.

The miners poured into the area around the entrance while the chanting from the crowd began to form into one clear statement: "We won't separate!!" The crowd stopped in front of the entrance while Strova and Thomp walked up to the massive cave-like entrance. Walking over to a nearby security station, Strova and Thomp forced the lone security guard out of the way.

"Ready to make waves, Thomp?" Strova asked.

"I'm ready when you're ready," he replied.

Grabbing a microphone that controlled the intercom for every mining complex below them, Strova made some adjustments on the controls to ensure that every miner would hear about what he was about to say. Finally ready, Strova spoke into the microphone.

"Men! Miners! Supporters of the Republic! I am Strova Vinera, the Head Foreman of the Techno Union Miners, and I'm here to tell you that we're on strike! Its time for unity! The Industri'ists have gone too far first by separating and then by attacking our own homes!! Its time for all of us to stand up and fight back!!

Some would say that the best way to fight back is to spill their blood and to smear it across the mines, but I say that they're wrong!! What better way can there be than for us to attack them where they'll feel it the hardest? There is none! Today, we fight back to hit them in their wallets and banks!! Today, we'll do what 'as happened so few times in the past: we'll drop down our picks and sho'vels, and we'll turn off all the trains. Every man worth his creds in these mines will come out and show the Galaxy that we won't separate!!"

With that, a shout could be heard within the mines, and men were already appearing at the entrance to join the strike. Cheers were heard from everywhere among the miners already outside the mines as hundreds of miners began to pour out of the mines. Stepping outside the Security Station, Strova and Thomp raised their fists in gratification as they watched stream of miners continue to pour out of the entrance. Although these miners were dirty from work, it wasn't difficult to make out similar expressions on their faces to the other miners as they were all inspired to do what they were about to do.

Looking over at Strova, Thomp then said, "Well, now its time to wait I guess. I'm sure the Industrialists will be heading over hear soon to see what the ruckass is."

Thomp had no way of knowing it, but he would've been right if the statement had been made before the miners had stormed the entrance. Those same Security Officers that had been brushed aside had already made contact with the local Perlexom authorities, and the local police force that the planet had was already being called in to ensure that the strike was a peaceful strike. However, that wasn't the Police's only orders. With the Police on the payroll of the decidedly Industrialist-leaning Perlexom Government, the Police were under other orders in addition to just keeping the peace.

Already, several pro-Separatist groups on Perlexom had been contacted about the strike, and they had been informed on the strike's political motivations. In almost no time at all, the information supplied by the three security guards at the mines was about to stir up a hornet's nest worth of trouble from the Industrialists. Although the Industrialists were nearly as united as the miners, it takes little to pick sides on such a hotly contested issue. Some of the Industrialists had prepared for such an occurance, but like most people, the repercussions of a decision are rarely thought out to completion. Few people prepare for the negative consequences of major decisions, and fewer still go along with a decision that they think is poorly made.

Such was Nitti's position who was just arriving at the mines. Many miners recognized her as she pushed through the crowd. However, she was not received with open arms. Although she was regularly working alongside the miners, she was still apart of the mines' management. Despite being fairly popular among the miners since she was responsible for ensuring that the miners were well supplied with equipment, food, and water, she was still a part of the management, and that meant that she was an Industrialist, at least from their perspective.

Finally getting through the crowd, she approached Strova quickly.

"I though you were going to wait," Nitti stated in a rather annoyed tone.

"I was, but that was before the bombings last week. 'Twas now or never, me love," Strova replied with a smile.

"Well, don't get too comfortable. On my way over, I was followed by several Police Officers. From what I could hear over their comlinks, they're calling up the Riot Control. If I'm not mistaken, I thinking that this strike could go over a bit differently without the constraints on the Industrialists."

"Ahh, so ya've thrown in your lot with us, ehh?? Good. I was startin' to wonder if you were ever going to come around," Strova stated with a nod.

"Yeah, well, that's good news with a lot of bad news behind it. If those Riot Police have orders to clear us out, then this strike might be as good as dead," Thomp stated.

"Hah, they don't have the manpower to do such a thing. We outnumber them by too large a margin."

"But not every miner is going to be willing to give their lives to support this cause, Strova," Thomp started to say, but he was cut off when Strova put one of his burly hands on his shoulder.

"Thompone, my friend, we've moved too far into this to back off to a threat. If our lives be the first to go, then so be it. At least we'll die knowin' that we died for the right thing," Strova stated calmly.

As he stated that, one could almost notice a ripple in the crowd of miners as something had moved their attention away from Strova. what had been noticed was a different crowd holding up signs nearby stating things like "We're already separated!!" and "There's no turning back now." The Industrialists were mobilizing despite their lack of unity, and the Riot Police weren't on the scene as of yet.

Most of the miners knew that the strike was meant to be a peaceful strike, but that wasn't going to stop them from uniting their chanting into one slogan: "We won't separate!!" The chanting from the miners was clear and powerful as thousands of miners yelled it out at the top of their voices. Such was the power of their chanting that one wouldn't be able to hear their own voice over the shouting.

Between the two sides, a line of police quickly began to take shape as they finally arrived on scene. However, there was a distinguishable method to how the line was organized: they were actually forming two lines with one line facing the miners and another facing the Industrialists. True to their duties, the police were there to keep the peace instead of trying to force the miners to leave which would've sparked a riot.

Overhead, several droids began to appear hovering over the crowd, and that meant that the local media had finally arrived on the scene. From the position above the crowds, the cameras had an excellent view of massive size of the miners. There was a literal sea of men below that was continuing to grow as more miners continued to leave the mines. Something else that the cameras could see, but couldn't do anything about, was a man moving through the miners midst. Anyone watching the cameras wouldn't have been able to detect the man as he blended in with the rest of the miners so easily. However, there was something the man was carrying that the cameras could not see that the man was hiding.

As the crowds continued to surge, the two sides began to run up against the police lines. The police had their shields out and were doing their best to stand firm, but there was little a couple ranks of men could do to hold back legions of men. Although more police were continuing to arrive, they couldn't stop the two police lines from meeting each other. Overhead, a small cargo ship came to a halt bearing the Perlexom Police Symbol, and the police on the ground desperately tried to push the two crowds apart to make a landing zone for the freighter. With the freighter carrying the barriers that the police needed to help keep the two crowds separated, the police commander was starting to panic. He was caught in a situation where he didn't want to use crowd control weapons in fear of causing mass panic and a stampede in the crowds. However, he was soon to have little choice in that matter.

A large explosion suddenly rang out among the miners. Several men, debris, and a couple of charred body parts went flying through the air. From the vantage point in the sky, the cameras could see a ripple-like effect go through the crowd as the explosion knocked over hundreds of men that had been standing so close together. The cameras could also make out charred remains of men that had been too close to the blast and severely burnt men that were just outside of the lethal range of the explosion. Then, the cameras could see the impact of panic on the crowd.

Most of the miners started to panic, and a stampede started as the miners started to run for cover. However, several miners that were armed quickly came to the realization that they had been attacked and automatically took aim at the police and Industrialist Demonstrators.

Blaster bolts began to fill the air as the surprised police suddenly had a dire situation on their hands. The police commander, unaccustomed to any type of battle or war situation, suddenly became very indecisive. Without any leadership to back them up, several of the policemen began to fire back. Most of the return fire was made of blue stun bolts, but there were several red and green blaster bolts in the mix. Now, the Industrialists began to panic and stampede for safety. In the confusion, the police opened fire in all directions, and both the miners and the Industrialists came under fire from the police.

Finally with quite a bit of space available, the freighter that had been hovering above them dropped down to a point to let out any available policemen that were on board. Bodies, both dead, wounded, and stunned, littered the open space. Eventually, the blaster fire came to a halt as the last of the armed miners ran away.

Nitti, Strova, and Thomp, in the meantime, had taken refuge in the mines immediately after the blast that started it all. With the area in front of the mines mostly cleared out except for the unfortunate ones on the ground, the three emerged from the mines to assess the damage. However, before they could do anything, the police quickly headed in their direction. Not wanting to bother with getting arrested, the trio fled for the miners' apartments. As they were getting close, several blaster bolts streaked towards them.

Ducking for cover, Strova instinctively looked behind him to see where the bolts landed. As he looked behind him, he noticed that the police that had been chasing them were collapsed on the street. "Come on! They've got us covered! Let's go!" he yelled at Thomp and Nitti. After a bit more running, they finally reached Strova's apartment and went inside.

Back at the mine entrance, a bit of haze hung out above the area. Already, emergency workers were arriving to help the wounded while the police formed a perimeter to protect the wounded and any evidence that was at the blast site. It was about as peaceful a moment that Perlexom was going to see compared to the next several days.

See the struggle of the faithless lot as they negate their time
How low to sink to the depths of their frame of mind

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Old 01-18-2007, 11:11 PM   #2
Jae Onasi
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I wish I'd been able to get to this sooner after you posted, since I always enjoy reading your stories. I had a boatload of stuff going on in December that really nuked my ability to do a lot of commenting. You have very interesting things going on, and the multiple story lines provide lots of activity that keep me coming back to read more.
There was one thing I noticed--most people don't describe enough--you actually do a little more than is necessary. For instance, when Ryshana rolls her eyes at Jeez, I already know she's annoyed. Telling me in the next sentence that she is annoyed actually slows down your story since it's technically not necessary to tell me that. Also, I think you're trying to foreshadow the fact that father and daughter won't see each other for several days, but we'll discover that as the story goes along. Don't give it away to us too soon.
Cut out anything that doesn't move your story forward.

I like the imagery especially during the attacks--I could feel the panic and see the blaster bolts flying , the haze of smoke in the air...those are the descriptive details to definitely keep.

Hope to see what else happens.

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

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Old 03-10-2007, 02:33 AM   #3
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notes on this "day":
  • first and foremost, this is probably the most incomplete of the days that i have written, but most of the incomplete stuff comes at the end. i'll probably revise or rewrite those sections later, but for the moment, i felt that it would be best if i just posted what i have now and worry about that part later.
  • fienne - a coffee-like beverage that has very similar qualities
  • i will be posting each day one week at a time. the next installment, or Day 2, will be posted next Saturday.

Day 1

Jeez twirled the lightsaber up over his head and used the leverage motion to bring it swinging down in front of him. In a swift movement, the tip of the blade suddenly halted and moved back upwards to about the midsection where Jeez suddenly withdrew the blade. Turning around, Jeez made a sweeping slash backwards. Then, he moved his left leg forward and pushed backwards, flipping himself up to a walkway just above him. Making a slashing motion to his right, Jeez then brought the blade to bear in front of him in a parry motion. Pushing outward with the blade, Jeez lunged forward in a stabbing motion and then quickly withdrew the blade to form a parry behind him. Turning around, Jeez then performed a counterattack motion in one sweeping strike. In quick succession, Jeez then made several parry motions before leaping sideways off the walkway back down to the main floor. Stepping backwards, Jeez flourished the blade outwards to his right and then performed a sudden dive forward in a stabbing strike towards the middle of the room.

At the last second, Jeez brought his head down and smoothly tumbled forward. Ending the tumble, Jeez jumped to his feet and slashed backwards from his left. As the blade came around to his right, Jeez somersaulted in the same direction to bring himself to bear in the other direction. Coming to a sudden halt, Jeez stood perfectly straight with this head bowed and his blade pointing towards the ground. In one quick motion, Jeez deactivated his lightsaber and attached it to his belt, and then, Jeez finally opened his eyes.

"Is this what an Archivist does when they aren't busy? Watching other Jedi go through their exercise routines?" Jeez asked aloud.

From a doorway behind him, Ryshana emerged from her spot and started to walk towards him. "Only when we wait for others to finish with their routines so that we can perform ours," Ryshana replied.

"But that's not really why you're here, now is it," Jeez commented as he slowly turned around. As Ryshana looked at him, she could feel a wave of bitterness pass through him.

"Well, I guess you're right to an extent. I was going to go through my own exercise routine after yours was complete. But, I'm also here to apologize to you for snapping at you when you first entered the Archive for your duties. I'm sorry; I shouldn't have done that," Ryshana stated sincerely.

"Really? Because from where I'm standing, it sounds like you're just apologizing to make you feel more like a Jedi," Jeez replied. "And I can't help but to break it to you: save your breath for someone who cares. I'm not the type of Jedi that you need to worry about saving face around."

For a second, Ryshana didn't know what to say. "I don't believe this. I was more than sincere with my apology and all I can get from you is some retorted response about you not caring?!?" Ryshana paused for a moment. What was wrong with this man? He was most definitely not acting like any Jedi that she had ever met. Opening her mouth to respond, Jeez was the first to say something.

"Hmm, perhaps you don't quite understand. I accept your apology, but I don't want you apologizing to me for something that you truly meant to say. Now, tell me, did you mean what you had stated earlier?" Jeez asked calmly. A bit taken back yet again, Ryshana just looked at him for a moment. "Oh, come on. Don't just stand there like a fool; did you mean what you said or not?" Jeez said.

Breathing in deeply, Ryshana finally answered, "Well, actually, I did mean what I said. You were being rude and acting rather rashly, and I responded in kind. You couldn't possibly expect a different response from anyone when you act like that."

"Ahh, so that begs this question: why did you feel that you needed to apologize for what you said if you meant every word?"

Feeling somewhat frustrated, Ryshana raised her voice as she said, "Why do you care?? An apology is an apology; end of story."

Sighing, Ryshana drooped her head backwards. She knew that she had gotten too angry, but he was being so frustrating from the moment she had seen him performing his exercise routine.

"I care not because it matters to me. I'm just trying to prove a point," Jeez responded calmly.

Looking over at Jeez, Ryshana looked at him a bit sideways as she gave in to whatever argument he was making. "Then, what exactly is your point?" Ryshana asked him.

"My point is that you knew that you had gotten a bit too cross with me as a way of returning the favor, and you started to feel guilty about giving into your emotions. Thus, you acted out on a different emotion in order to prove to me that you are more like a Jedi than what you really are. The point is that you're acting out on your own selfish ambitions, and you don't want me to think any less of you," Jeez responded.

Thinking for a second, Ryshana knew that he was partially correct, "But that's not the complete truth. I did feel bad about what I said, and yes, I did want you to see me as being like a true Jedi. The part that you're missing is that I truly regret the manner of which those words were spoken. If you can accept anything, Yajisif, then please accept my apology for being outspoken."

Without missing a beat, Jeez then said, "Apology accepted. Now that we are on more equal terms, then perhaps we can get some of our exercise completed together. Since you're the Archivist, I can bet that you know quite a bit more than I do about Lightsaber Combat Theory. How about you show me a little bit of your technique?"

Looking over at Jeez, Ryshana thought for just a moment. This man was unlike anyone she had ever met before, and she was definitely a bit perplexed. Then again, perhaps the time to reflect on him would come later. For now, she had indeed come down to do her own exercise routine. "Hmm, you wouldn't be familiar with the Shinto techniques, now, would you?" Ryshana asked quizzically.

"The fienne is ready if you want some," Nitti stated as she poured a cup from the kettle. The hot, brown liquid steamed as it entered the small cup.

"If you must," Strova stated as he continued to prop his head up on the table with his hands. Still recovering from a doozy of a hangover and the added disappointment over the immediate results of the strike, Strova wasn't exactly in a great mood.

"Oh, cheer up. You got what you wanted to some extent. I checked in down at the mine entrance, and not a single miner showed up last night for the late shift much less the early shift for this morning," Nitti responded as she set the cup of fienne in front of Strova.

"Really? Well, that's good news," Strova replied as he seemed to cheer up a bit. Taking the cup, Strova quickly downed the fienne like a shot. "Bah!! No cream?!" Strova asked in a bit of disgust from the bitter liquid.

"I already told you that there wasn't any," Nitti replied a bit annoyed.

"No you didn't. Ahh, just give me another hit, would ya?"

Picking up the cup, Nitti walked back over to the brewer and started to pour another cup. At the same time, the door to the small apartment opened up. Outside, there was definitely the rustle of a crowd as Thomp came walking in.

"Well, I hope you're up and ready because everyone else definitely is," Thomp stated as he quickly shut the door behind him.

Confused, Strova looked over at Thomp and said, "What on 'Lexom are ya blabbering on about? There wasn't anythin' organized for today."

Walking over to Nitti, Thomp quickly thanked her as he took Strova's filled cup of fienne. Taking a quick sip, Thomp then said,

"Well, most of them are outside waiting to see what we're going to do for today."

Taking a seat next to Strova, Thomp continued, "A lot of them are calling for arms in retaliation for the bombing yesterday, but all of them definitely want us to come out in force today."

Looking behind himself to Nitti, Strova quickly stood up as he seemed to be completely reinvigorated and said, "Well, then what're we waitin' around here for? If they're that riled up, then I say we march on the Corporate HQ Sector right now!"

Thomp was the next one to stand up, "Then you want to be ready for negotiations, then?"

Looking over at Thomp, Strova replied, "No. I want us to go straight down to the ringleaders and show them that we have no fear of them or whatever bombs they might throw our way!"

Walking over to Strova, Nitti gave him a steaming cup of fienne as she held another one in her other hand. "Then lets do it. Here's to the strike," Nitti stated as she held up her cup.

"To the strike," Strova replied as he also lifted up his cup.

"Well, cheers," Thomp stated a bit nervously. With that, they all downed the fienne together.

"I will not let this Republic that has stood for over 1000 years be split in two," the holopanel said in what was supposed to sound like Chancellor Palpatine. A blip suddenly sounded as the recording was paused. Across from the holoprojector and the image of Chancellor Palpatine's Office, Jeez looked up at Ryshana who was staring at something without really focusing on anything in particular.

They were still in the exercise room, but now they were standing next to a series of controls. Not too long ago, Ryshana had recieved a message about needing to place a new holo recording into the Archives concerning a meeting that several of the Council Members had attended. Not wanting to just put the recording in the Archive at what she would deem as "random", Ryshana had watched the recording so that she could attach a number of descriptions to the file for better indexing.

"Something wrong?" Jeez asked.

Somewhat startled, Ryshana quickly looked back up at Jeez. "I don't know. Its just that so many things seem to be moving forward at such a rapid pace that its almost impossible to keep up," she replied softly. "What about you? What do you think?"

"I'm not too sure myself, but there is one thing that I know absolutely. There will be a war of some kind. Whether the war gets hot, I don't know, but there's definitely no turning back now," Jeez stated almost aimlessly.

Ryshana looked at him a bit quizzically and said, "But how can you "know" that? Not even Master Yoda has seen that sort of a fate."

Jeez looked straight at Ryshana and sighed noticeably. "I know that because there are other matters that rely less on the Force and more on inevitability. A line has already been drawn between these Separatists and the Republic, and there is no going back to the way things were," he said.

"Rely less on the Force? Nothing is inevitable; you know that as well as I do," Ryshana responded in a lecture-like tone.

Jeez just nodded his head and replied, "You see what I mean? This dogma of relying solely on the Force puts way too many limits on what is and isn't possible. Intuition, inspiration, and observation, however, lend themselves a degree of knowledge that doesn't come through the Force, and that keeps us all away from ignorance."

"Don't even start with me on the Jedi Code. Perhaps you're missing the part where all knowledge is instilled by the Force," Ryshana fired back.

"Really? Because that's not the version of the Jedi Code that I heard 20 years ago. Even yesterday, I could've sworn that I heard Master Yoda reciting the Code to one of the youngling troops, and that sure wasn't apart of it," Jeez shot back. Looking intently at Ryshana, there was no doubt that the two intensely disliked each other. Although the exercise had gone well, there was no denying the outcome.

"Maybe you ought to just stick with your books because there's no helping you when it comes to the real world," Jeez said intently. Then, he turned around and walked off.

"And what of the miners, Mr. Hangul? Are we supposed to just let them walk all over us in this crisis?" a man asked from the other side of what appeared to be an executive table. It was the Perlexom Government's Council, and they were in an early morning session. Around the table, every man had a cup of fresh fienne in front of them to help keep them awake in such early hours.

"Of course not. I just think that it would be prudent of us to take into consideration that these miners need to understand what all is involved in our decision. I doubt that they are fully aware that we can make our alliance with the Confederation work to their benefit as much as our own," Motiee replied.

"That is absolutely out of the question, Mr. Hangul. They provoked the violence yesterday, and I doubt they'll have anything other than foul intentions if we suddenly open our doors for negotiations," the man shot back.

"Mr. Uzganzin, I think that you're jumping to conclusions a bit too quickly. There is no way to determine if it was the miners themselves set that thermal detonator off or if it was someone else, and might I also add that there is a distinct possibility that someone more devoted to our cause would've made a more likely suspect," Motiee calmly replied.

"Are you implying that one of us started this?" Mr. Uzganzin shockingly asked. "They are the ones that wanted violence yesterday, or I would think that weapons wouldn't have been brought to their little strike. And let us not forget, Mr. Hangul, that it was your employers that decided to make arms available to those miners in the first place several months ago."

"That situation does not merit discussion at this time, Mr. Uzganzin. That was a completely separate incident that required a different form of attention," Motiee stated as he stood up from the table. "As for this "little strike", I think all of you are aware that none of the miners showed up this morning. We are at a standstill, gentlemen, because the miners have yet to see how we can make this situation benefit them as much as ourselves. How else are we going to make them see things our way if we don't offer them an open hand?"

For a moment, the table just sat there in silence. Finally, Uzganzin stood up from the table and said, "I think the answer is obvious to all of us here: forget dealing with this set of miners. Lets just bring in some new ones and call it done. We can do what we want now, and there is no way that those miners can stop us. Chief Winsera? What will it take to deport the miners that don't cooperate?"

As Motiee sat down, he knew that something wasn't quite right. In the meantime, the Chief of Police, Winsera, spoke up and said, "Not much, really. The biggest problem will be getting them to disarm, and I'll need special permission from the rest of the Council here to do that. I don't think that would be a problem, though.

My biggest concern at the moment is if the miners organize for another demonstration today. If they're armed, then my men are going to have a tough time maintaining order. For everyone's protection, I'm making a motion to set up a series of checkpoints to ensure that the miners can't bother us here in the Industry Sector."

Around the table, there was little discussion about the motion. Motiee, however, didn't say a word as it was discussed. Instead, he just sat back in his chair and started to wonder. This entire situation of joining with the Separatists was starting to turn into a bad idea. It was making the rest of the Perlexom Government far more confident then they should've been. Still, there was the pressing matter of making sure that the Industry Sector was secure from any foolish decisions that the miners might make.

Finally, the votes on the motion were passed around, and it was decided that the Perlexom Police Force would set up a series of large manpower barricades as checkpoints in the key arteries into the Industry Sector. There was a part of Motiee that amusingly wondered how answering arms with more arms was going to actually work.


"I'm sorry sir, but I can't just let you and you're men just stroll through town with weapons. Now, I'm only going to tell you one more time: just turn around and go back. There won't be any demonstrations today after yesterday," the Chief of Police stated over a loudspeaker. He was standing behind a hastily erected barricade along with several hundred police officers, all of whom were decked out in riot gear. Standing opposite of them was a massive crowd of miners, and unlike the day before, the vast majority of them were armed with at least a blaster pistol.

"Very well, then. We'll just have our demonstration right here, now won't we Chief," Strova yelled back through his own loudspeaker.

"You will do nothing of the sort. We have orders directly from the Perlexom Council itself that there will be no demonstrations today after you initiated yesterday's violence. You will turn around and go back to the Miner's Living Sector," the Chief replied.

"Then try to stop us!!" Strova challenged. The tension was definitely palpable, and the Chief stopped for a moment. If they fired into the crowd with stun blasts, they were likely to receive a barrage of lethal blaster fire from the miners. That wasn't the only problem, either. His men were heavily out numbered by almost 10 to 1. Even if it came down to hand to hand combat, his police were at a disadvantage against the muscular miners. He had to think of something fast if he was going to prevent Strova and his miners from demonstrating.

Meanwhile, Nitti was heading over to the mines. She needed to get some first aid supplies for the miners in case something happened. With her was Thomp and two other miners. As they approached the mines, Nitti was puzzled to see men moving ore out of the mines on the trains. "I thought all the miners joined us in the strike," Thomp stated.

"I was just thinking that myself," Nitti stated as they approached the security gates. Several police officers in addition to the couple of security guards stood by the gate. Pulling out their ID's as per protocol, the guards went inside the security station to scan them in. As they waited, they studied the miners that were working.

"There's something very different about those miners," Nitti observed. "They're struggling pretty badly to push those trains around."

"I noticed. The only miners that I've ever see struggle with a load like that is the greenhorns that are still in their first month. The problem is that all of those miners are struggling like that," one of the miners observed.

As the security guards returned, Nitti asked the guards, "What's with all the greenhorns pushing the loads today?"

"Well, that's pretty simple: they're dock workers from the Port. They're the only workers that the bosses could get working for us today. Its almost funny to watch them struggle like that," one of the guards replied with a smirk as he stood there. "Oh, and I can't let you guys in. You're ID's aren't valid."

"Excuse me? What do you mean our ID's aren't valid? Those ID's were valid just yesterday," Nitti stated.

"Well, I can let him in since he's just a Union guy, but the rest of you are marked as terminated," the guard replied as he pointed Thomp out.

"You mean we got fired? When did this happen?" one of the miners asked angrily.

"I think the time stamp was sometime around 6:30 this morning, if I remember correctly," he replied.

"But they can't do that!!" one of the miners started to say.

"Actually, I think they can. Don't forget that we're not under Republic jurisdiction anymore. Well, at least not officially, but that does mean that they can hire and fire anyone at will now without needing those five signatures," Nitti cut in.

"Now if you don't mind, I'm going to have to ask you guys to leave," the guard said. With a wave of her hand at the guard, Nitti grabbed the two miners and moved them away from the security station.

"If they fired us, then they probably fired everybody," one of the miners said.

"I know. It just doesn't make much sense to me, though. I mean, with my father being who he is and all," Nitti wondered aloud.

Running up to them, Thomp stood by the miners as Nitti stood there. "Well, you can go get those medical supplies."

"No I can't. I'm just a Union Rep, and I don't have the clearance to handle supplies. I could try talking some of those other miners, I mean the dock workers, to get those supplies for us, but somehow, I don't think they'll listen," Thomp replied.

Sighing to herself, Nitti just looked down at the ground. It wasn't like her to be so indecisive, but she felt that she was at wit's end when it came to getting those medical supplies. Those Industrialists, including her father Motiee, were making things very difficult for the strike. With all the miners fired, they didn't have any access to the mines, and of course, there was also the likelihood that any of the miners that didn't sign a new contract were going to be forced out of their apartments and deported.

They had definitely responded to yesterday's violence, and it just didn't make sense. They had dock workers doing the miner's jobs and that meant that the Port was likely clogged with transports that were waiting to get loaded. And with the vast majority of the Police force in the Industrial Sector...

Nitti suddenly came up with an idea. "But that's ok. I think there's something else that we can do that will be even better. Thomp, I need you to go get Strova and tell him to bring all the miners to the Port. You two, you're with me."

"Wait, what for? You know Strova's going to need a good reason," Thomp protested.

"Just tell him that I have an idea that will bring this whole thing to an end, and make sure that he knows about everyone getting fired, too. If he doesn't want to do it, tell him to use the comlink. Now get moving!!"

"Are you sure 'bout this, Nitti? We've been spoilin' for a demonstration here in the Indies' Headquarters, and I've just got them all riled up with my last speech," Strova said over the comlink. The miners were still outside the police barricade, and the Police Chief had apparently decided that it would be better to allow them to demonstrate there instead of forcing his police into a firefight.

"I'm positive, Strova. The miners don't have a job back at the mines, so its not like we don't have anything to gain by not doing this," Nitti replied.

"Alright, we'll do it, but this had better work. We're gonna be takin' quite a risk to do this," Strova replied. "We'll see ya there."

With that, Strova put his comlink in his pocket and moved up to the makeshift platform that they had erected earlier. Strova was a bit nervous about making a speech off the top of his head, but then again, this was quite an opportunity to make this strike end in one decisive move.

On top of the platform, Strova motioned for the rather boisterous crowd of miners to settle down. They complied rather quickly as they were ready for another rallying speech from their leader.

"Men of Perlexom! I greet you again today, but this time with some rather unsettlin' news. Those cowardly Industrialists that, as you already know, were so afraid to face us that they made the Police to do their bidding by blocking our path. And now, they show their cowardice yet again by trying to expel us from this planet instead of facing us in negotiations. What they've done is a thing of treachery, although I doubt that they'd understand our vantage point as they sip on their cups of tea.

This time, they've attacked us were it hurts. You see, we might lose an arm or a leg in an explosion, but that will never truly hurt us. Instead, they've decided to hurt us at our character. Our character that works non-stop to provide the necessities of life so that we can live from day to day; our character that works non-stop to provide the necessities of life for our families. Men of Perlexom, they've taken away our very jobs from us!! Yes, you heard me: we've been fired from our jobs only to be replaced by bumbling morons that haven't lifted a thing in their lives except for their fingers from a couple of controls.

So, the question is, how do we respond? Do we just keep on pushing for our jobs that no longer exist? Or do we retaliate for taking our lives from us? I say we retaliate!! I say that we take their lives from them!! Men, I don't say this in order to promote murder; we won't stoop down to their levels!! I say that we attack them where they'll feel it. I say that we attack their method of providing from their families.

You've seen the number of men the Police Chief commands on the other side of that barricade, and you know that those men have to make up for well over 80 percent of his forces. We also know that the dock workers from the Port are the ones that are doing your rightfully earned jobs down at the mines. So what does that mean?? It means that the Port has been left almost completely undefended, that's what!! Its at that Port where those Industrialists bring in the money from selling off the ore, and its now ours for the taking; that Port is ours to control for ourselves!!

Men of Perlexom, now is the time that we strike back and take that Port from them!! Now let's have at 'em!!!"

The thousands of men roared in approval, and many were now running towards the Port which wasn't very far away. In the meantime, Strova smiled as he looked over at the horrified look on the Chief's face on the other side of the barricade. Yanking out his comlink, the Chief very quickly started to scream in orders, but his men had one very distinct disadvantage: the miners were between their fortified position and the Port.

The miners were running towards the Port, and as they approached, they could see the security station up ahead. Inside the station, one police officer and two security guards were just receiving the message about the pending attack of the Port by the miners. "Come on!! We'll make a stand behind the fences. Radio that order in," the officer stated nervously. As they started to make the calls, the officer stepped outside and noticed that the miners were getting very close. As he turned to urge the security officers to hurry up so they could leave, a hail of red blaster fire impacted everywhere around him, and the officer fell to the ground with several blaster bolts impacting his body. Looking out the window, one of the security guards saw blaster fire impacting the glass and was sprayed with shattered glass. As the last horrified security guard watched as he tried to give orders over the radio, the other security guard took several blaster shots to his chest in addition to the cuts from the glass.

The miners quickly ran up and used concentrated blaster fire to bring down the security gate in front of them. Most of the miners didn't bother to look inside the security station and instead just kept on running to the next gate. This gate was connected to a force field fence, so they had to take the gate or the miners would be cut off from the Port. Meanwhile, one miner stopped in front of the first security station and saw the one guard trying to rally other guards to hold the second gate. With a single blaster bolt to the chest, the guard just slumped over, unable to finish his orders. There were a few security guards running to get to the gate, but they were quickly forced to find cover thanks to a ton of blaster bolts impacting around them.

The second gate was soon taken and several miners quickly worked to make sure that the gate stayed open for the miners that were pouring in. The miners quickly spread out across the Port and started the process of capturing it. There were several security guards around, but they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of miners. Most of them ended up throwing down their weapons and surrendering, and the miners were quick to make sure that they didn't go anywhere until the Port had been taken.

Meanwhile, the Police were very much unsure as to what they were going to do. They could hear blaster fire in the distance, but there were still quite a few miners in front of them. "Sir, we should attack them now! We'd be hitting them in the rear where they'd least expect it," a sergeant suggested to the Police Chief.

"What do you think this is, a war? We're peace keepers, not soldiers. We may have failed at keeping the peace, but this will die down shortly enough without our intervention. For now, I think its time that we just make a perimeter around all possible exits from that Port. If they want that Port so badly, they can have it. In the meantime, they won't have food or water, and they'll be meeting us at the exits. This will end soon enough," the Chief replied.

"Is that the recommendation that you'll be giving to the Council?" the now angry sergeant shot back.

"As a matter of fact, it is. Now get moving before I have you relieved of duty!"

Inside the Port itself, the miners were moving rapidly to ensure that none of the ships that were docked there were going to leave. Several ships had already booked it out of the Port, but most of them were had their crews taken prisoner well before they could even begin preflight checks. In the middle of it all, Nitti, Strova, and Thomp were busy giving orders to the other higher ranking miners in order to make things somewhat coordinated. They were gathering the prisoners into one of the main dining areas that the Port had installed, but it was filling up fairly rapidly.

"Strova!!" Nitti called out over the comlink. "We need to get somebody to the Central Security Station to secure the armory there. We don't need the miners fighting over equipment, and we don't need escaped guards getting themselves heavily armed."

"I'm on it. Thomp!! You're with me!!," Strova yelled out over the comlink. "Meet me by the entrance to the Main Tower."

With that, Strova ran off. The initial chaos was already dying down, but there was still a bit of work to be done. As Strova neared the Tower, he saw Thomp arriving there. Motioning for him to get inside the tower, Strova kept running on. First things first, they needed to figure out where the Central Security Station was, and they also needed to know how to access it. Thomp was already aware of that and was looking it up on a terminal just inside the Tower. "Well, did you find it?" Strova asked impatiently as he entered through the doorway.

"I think so. Its not far from here. We need to take the elevator down two levels and follow the signs to Central Security. From there, we just need to figure out how to bypass the security clearances," Thomp replied as he continued to study the screen.

"Well, we've got a couple of security guards as prisoners. We could get one of them to help us," Strova suggested.

"I don't think that'll be necessary. We have blasters, right?? The door to the security room is protected nothing more than a simple door locking mechanism. Shouldn't be too complicated," Thomp said as he finally turned to look up at Strova.

"Well, let's get moving then, shall we?" Strova replied as he opened the door. They both quickly went back outside and went for the elevator. That's when Strova noticed that Thomp was breathing hard. "What's the matter? Can't keep your breath, eh?"

"Well.. its not just... that simple. You're a miner.... and I'm just the one with a desk job, remember?" he replied between breaths.

"Ahh, we'll make a man out of ya yet," Strova said as he gave Thomp a rather healthy pat on the back.

As they kept running, they finally found the elevator, but there was a problem. "Why does there always have to be a problem with the elevators?" Strova asked as he looked at it.

"Its probably some... unwritten law or something. The protagonists always have to... have a significant bump in the road... As one might say," Thomp replied as he bent over to rest. "I have no idea... why these things.. always have to lose power... right when you need them."

"Well, there's more than one way to crack a nut," Strova stated as he pointed a blaster pistol at the door. After a couple of rounds impacted the door, Strova was able to get his hands between the door seal and pry it open. Looking in the shaft, Strova just looked down rather calmly. "Well, its not the deepest shaft I've e'er seen. Come on, it looks to be an easy climb."

"Easy?? Those are smooth, metal walls. What are we supposed to climb on?" Thomp asked incredulously.

"Well, they gave us ropes right there in the middle of the shaft. How hard could it be?" Strova stated. Turning back to the shaft, Strova effortlessly leapt to the elevator cables in the middle of the shaft. Grabbing on, Strova moved down quickly. "Now, you said two floors down, right?" he asked as his voice echoed through the shaft.

"That's right. Just two floors," Thomp replied. As Thomp listened, he could here some pounding on a metal surface, and then he heard some grating as a door was forced open.

"Your turn, Thomp. Its really not that difficult, so be quick about it, ehh?" Strova yelled up at Thomp.

Looking opposite of him, Thomp could see the cables, but then, Thomp looked down again. Not too far down, he could see light from the hallway just two floors down in the shaft. Looking back over at the cables, Thomp then mockingly mouthed off, "Its really not that difficult."

Taking a couple of steps backward, he then ran forward briefly and lunged at the last second for the cables. His hands hit the cables and he latched on, but not before he felt the cables move. Flaying around in a panic, Thomp almost lost his grip as he thought that he was falling. Looking up, he then realized that the cable was moving downward. Easing up, he looked down to see where the open door was. He was steadily moving towards it, and finally, he found himself coming to a halt directly in front of it. As he looked through the door, he could see Strova just standing there with his arms crossed over his chest.

"Well??" Strova asked.

Thomp then started to work on getting himself back over to the floor. As he jumped, he slipped and started to fall, and he suddenly felt a shooting pain in his left shoulder. A set of rough but very strong hands pull him up and onto the floor. It was Strova. "I told ya it wasn't that hard. Why did you have to make it so hard on ya, hmm?" Strova asked as he looked down at Thomp.

A bit embarrassed, he tried to get up only to notice that the intense pain in his shoulder. "I think its been dislocated," Thomp stated as Strova helped him to his feet.

"Well, that's easy enough to fix," Strova stated as moved around behind Thomp. He started to protest, but Strova had already reached around him from behind to hold his elbow in place as he straightened Thomp's arm out with the other hand. Slowly flexing
his arm upwards, Strova applied just enough upward pressure on the elbow to.. "Ow!!" Thomp yelled out as a muffled crack was heard from his shoulder. Flexing his shoulder, Thomp rubbed it a bit. "There, good as new. Now for the security station. The signs say that its right down this hall. Lets get moving," Strova stated. For good measure, he gave Thomp yet another hearty pat on the back as he took off down the hallway.

In short order, they managed to secure the armory, and they then set up a system to hand out the weapons to the miners. Surprisingly, the armory was well equipped with both standard infantry weapons and even heavy weapons like turrets and repeating blasters. It was definitely military grade, and they knew that they might need it. "Its better to be safe than sorry," Nitti had commented before they decided to pass out the weapons. From there, they made the Main Tower into a makeshift HQ station since the communications equipment for the entire Port were centralized there. As for the turrets and the other pieces of equipment, they quickly erected a series of checkpoints and defensible setups around the entrances to the Port.

And so, for this day, victory is ours, Strova thought to himself as he looked out over the Port from the Observation deck on the Tower.

At the same time, one of the miners sat still at his post. Looking up at the constellations in the Perlexom sky, he thought to himself about how he had also won a great victory on this day. But there is still work to be done. Much work to be done, the man thought to himself.

See the struggle of the faithless lot as they negate their time
How low to sink to the depths of their frame of mind

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Old 03-10-2007, 07:21 AM   #4
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A good story going on there. But here is a sugestion: Could you perhaps shorten the chapters a bit?
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:49 AM   #5
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in all honesty, i don't see where that would help out much. whether or not the work is all contained in one post or several posts, its still going to be the same length regardless. besides, my style of writing depends on details, and that does add to the length. that's something i'm not about to change.

See the struggle of the faithless lot as they negate their time
How low to sink to the depths of their frame of mind

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Old 03-10-2007, 11:42 PM   #6
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I wouldn't worry about length, unless you were putting so many details in that it was making the story drag. You can always go back and check to see if there are any unnecessary details in any given chapter and then cut those to keep the story movign along crisply. Otherwise, I'd rather have more story than less, personally.

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Old 12-23-2010, 01:30 AM   #7
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its hard to believe how old this fic is, but after some careful consideration, i've decided to revive it. i've had to dig through all kinds of notes and drafts to figure out where i was then, so its taking a while to get it ready to post, but with any luck, i'll at least have Day 2 up before Christmas.

and no, i don't really care if anybody else cares or not. i've been trying to get things finished that i started, and this is something that i never really completed. so, consider this more of a personal project than a public project.

See the struggle of the faithless lot as they negate their time
How low to sink to the depths of their frame of mind

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Old 12-30-2010, 12:01 AM   #8
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Day 2

"Have you completely lost your mind? There's no way in hell that a full out assault would work!" Motiee yelled out. Standing up at the end of the executive table, he looked intensely over at the Police Chief. The Perlexom Council was in an emergency session early in the morning to deal with the growing crisis.

"And what of it? We have the right to restore order here. Besides, with that Port under their control, we've been effectively cut off. We could try to set up a temporary Port, but as the Tourism Minister pointed out earlier, that would affect the terraformed regions too much to be worth the price. The next best thing is to make an assault; they don't have effective equipment nor the training as our Police have. Their only advantage would be in hand to hand combat, and blasters can easily render that advantage useless," a Councilman countered quickly.

Looking down at the table, Motiee knew they were right. Still, the situation had gone from bad to much worse, and now they were talking about a civil war. His heart was telling him to continue arguing against the attack, but the businessman inside him was shouting much louder. Sitting down while staring aimlessly at the table, Motiee didn't say a word.

"Mr. Hangul, we respect you and your opinions since they've gotten us to this point, but we have to think about the facts. As of now, I'm sure that you're company has already lost millions of credits, and the Chief here has a lot of dead officers on his mind. If we didn't have a reason to fight before, we do now. Its time to restore things to their natural places; we need to make things right again," another councilman offered.

"But perhaps he is right," a man stated at the table. Motiee lifted his head up to see who it was. "Lets just say for a moment that Mr. Hangul is right, and we really are talking about civil war. The implications are huge. It will affect tourism in a big way. Think about it, who's going to want to spend a vacation on a system that's being torn apart from within.

And what about business. If we let civil war rage here, then what's going to stop the Techno Union or the Trade Federation from intervening? If that happens, I think all of us are well aware that we will lose our jobs for our incompetence."

"The problem is that you're assuming too much. There won't be a war here as we've already said. They don't have the means to stop us. End of discussion. Its just simply a matter of whether or not we're willing to give the order," another councilman interjected.

"What about diplomacy, then? Why don't we at least try to talk to them?" Motiee asked calmly.

"Because they won't talk back. If you don't remember, the last time we went with diplomacy, all they did was give us the same offer over and over again. That's not diplomacy; that's called being a jackass, if you'll pardon the terminology," another councilman stated.

Motiee just sat there in silence as he listened. Then, something dawned on him. His daughter was still unaccounted for in this whole mess. Was it possible that she was still with the miners even throughout all the chaos? His heart told him not to worry. She was such a strong, independent young woman after all. Surely, she was fine. But what if she isn't, Motiee wondered to himself. Perhaps if I..

"Mr. Hangul! Are you even listening?" one of the councilmen asked him.

"Yes," Motiee slowly replied. "Yes, we should vote now. All in favor of attacking the Port to regain control of the situation?" A number of "aye" responses came out over the table. "And the naysayers?"

As silence pervaded the table, Motiee then stated. "Fine. For what its worth, I vote "nay" on the issue. However, the Council has voted. Chief, prepare your men."

"He was looking for what?" Ryshana asked.

"A system called Kamino," Jocasta Nu responded. Unlike Ryshana, Jocasta was not a true Archivist although her responsibilities would seem to place her in that role. "Its not a system I'm familiar with. Have you run across anything in the Archives that I'm not aware of?"

"I don't think so," Ryshana replied as her head scrunched up a bit in thought.

"Hmm, and what about you, Jedi Quiinzara?" Jocasta asked somewhat sharply.

Looking up from his terminal, Jeez looked at Jocasta somewhat puzzled. The old Jedi was standing next to Ryshana, and even in the somewhat dim light of the Archives, Jeez could make out the subdued symbols that seemed to flow geometrically down her robes and sash. Ordinarily, the Ansata Symbols of Knowledge would be both ornately and beautifully woven into a garment such as hers, but since she was a Jedi, the symbols merely gave her robes a slightly decorative and perhaps even somewhat regal look.

Expecting to find a kindhearted look that he was accustomed to seeing, Jeez was somewhat surprised to notice how harshly Jocasta seemed to be looking at him. It was a bit unnerving as Jeez briefly recalled a number of instances when he was younger when Jocasta was considerably more kind.

"No, its not a system that I've heard of, ma'am," Jeez responded calmly.

"Hmmph," was her only response as she looked back over at Ryshana's terminal. "Did Master Kenobi mention anything else about the system?" Ryshana asked.

"Well, no I don't think he did," Jocasta replied. After a couple of seconds, Jocasta then stated, "Well, actually, I do remember him saying something about "cloners" while he was searching the archives. You might want to start there if you're going to look. I wouldn't try too hard, though. If its not in the Archives, its not likely to have ever existed."

"Well, let me see what I can do before we jump to conclusions," Ryshana stated. As she started entering in search terms and cross-referencing various sources inside the Archives, Ryshana then added, "I'd rather not go at this from a simple-minded approach."

As she spent several minutes searching around, she finally spoke up. "Gotcha! Alright, Master Kenobi was right; there is a system called Kamino in that area. I have several sources that can confirm that much."

Looking intently at the monitor, Jocasta looked somewhat perplexed. "Hmm, well, I wonder why that was removed from the official records. Your source material is more than enough to justify its existence, but it doesn't provide much detail about the system itself. Is there anything you can do to elaborate on the system?"

"Not much. I had to start by running through various groups in the past that had used cloning technologies, and I eventually found a couple of simple references. No real details about the system, but I can tell you that the people that populate it are rather inwardly focused. I can extrapolate further, but I'm not sure how good the results would be," Ryshana replied.

"Well, if it means anything to either of you, Master Kenobi left Coruscant for this "Kamino" system about a half hour ago," Jeez commented from behind his terminal.

"Hmm, I guess the consolation prize is that we get to place the Archive entry in its proper place," Ryshana stated as she looked up at Jocasta with a slight smile. With a nod of approval from the old Jedi, Ryshana turned back around and got back to work.

Over the horizon of the Perlexom city skyline, the nearby star finally began to rise as beams of light seemed to shoot out across and through the gaps and spaces between the buildings. "Beautiful, isn't it?" Nitti stated as she looked outside from the window of the control tower. Below her, the rising star was slowly beginning to illuminate the port below. All of the major landing zones were visible in front of them, and several miners could be seen working below them. If anything seemed out of place, it was the unusual arrangement of cargo containers below as the miners had moved them around in order to create various checkpoints as apart of their defensive strategy.

The Port had been laid out with just two entrances: one for mine traffic, and the other for transportation. The two entrances were laid out in almost perfect west/south arrangement. The Port itself was built almost right into the corner of a cliff, and although it wasn't originally planned that way, it worked out good for the tourism business in Perlexom since the cliff overlooked some of the most scenic parts of the terraformed region. A shield wall partially obstructed that view, but it was necessary to help contain any pollution from Port from interfering with the life below. Of course, this also had the effect of adding extra defenses for the Port since there was little chance that anyone would try to attack or infiltrate the Port from either of the cliff facings. It made the Port surprisingly defensible since a direct assault could only come from the two entrances.

The Port's main defense was contained in its two outer walls. The walls really weren't all that terribly imposing since they were only about 12 ft high, a foot thick, and painted a light gray to match the rest of the Port, but they were made of several dense layers of durasteel armor plating which made them just as robust as the side armor of a military cruiser. The tops of the walls were also protected by a series of shield projectors and force fields that prevented anyone to use either a ladder or a grapple to scale the walls. Between the two walls were a series of large quad-blaster turrets that were solely designed to take out or at least discourage unapproved aircraft or speeders that weren't obeying traffic control in the Port's Tower. The turrets were also well coordinated with the Port's sensors in the Tower which meant that they could all concentrate their fire on a single target if the occasion called for it.

Strova, meanwhile, just shrugged in apathy as he looked below him. It had been a long night of trying to get the miners organized around the port, and the combination of stress and exhaustion was starting to set in. "I need some more fienne," Strova finally stated.

"Oh no you don't," Thomp stated from the other side of the tower. "You look like me: like bantha fodder. We could use some sleep."

"Bah, sleep's for greenhorns," Strova replied quickly as he turned around. "There's gonna be some sort of retaliation today. Now wheth'r it happens now or later, those men down there are gonna need somebody to lead them."

"And if you don't get some sleep, there's no way you're going to lead them effectively," Nitti shot back as she looked over at him. "Thomp's right: both of you look horrible. And honestly, I could use some sleep, too."

"Well, if we're gonna do it that way, we'll 'ave to do it in shifts," Strova replied as he rubbed his right eye. "I figure three hours for you two first; then, it'll be my turn to get in some rest."

Thomp nodded as he replied, "Sounds about right, but we need to make sure that everybody is getting some sleep. I'm sure the foremen could use some sleep, too."

"I'll work that out," Strova stated somewhat annoyedly. "Would you two just get downstairs and get some shut-eye already?"

"You don't have to tell me twice," Thomp replied as he headed for the door. As he exited, Nitti walked over to Strova and asked, "Are you sure that you're going to be okay? I know that this is a logistical nightmare and everything, but I'm sure-."

"Don't worry bout me," Strova interrupted as he placed his large hands on her shoulders. "Had to pull a couple of 20 somethin' hour shifts in my day. Another three hours 'ill be nothin."

Embracing Strova, Nitti replied, "Just be careful." Stepping back as she let go of the embrace, Nitti smiled lightly as she added, "Don't be afraid to call me up a bit early if you need it."

Strova just nodded and returned the smile as Nitti left. His tired eyes unconsciously followed her attractive body until the door closed with a resounding click. Breathing in deeply, Strova headed over to the main communications terminal and sat down in the chair in front of it. Running his hands along his face, Strova could feel the hairs on his face, and he chuckled softly as he mentally made a note that he needed to shave.

His mind quickly turned back to the organization he and Thomp had set up during the night. The miners were well equipped with both small arms and stationary turrets for defense, but of course, weapons can only go so far when you barely know how to use them. The bad news, though, was that food was limited to a couple of vending machines and whatever rations that some of the remaining grounded ships had on board. Granted, the Port's employee break room had stockpiles of fienne, but even that was complicated. To make fienne, you need water, and that was the biggest problem they faced. With only one water line feeding the entire port, the Police had been quick to cut off the supply shortly after the takeover. That meant that the miners lone source of water was the bottled water found in the vending machines. Nitti had earlier estimated that the miners probably only had a day before they ran out of water and maybe two days before they ran out of food, and that was with strict rationing.

To make matters worse, there were several miners that had been wounded in the takeover. Basic medical supplies weren't scarce given all of the grounded ships that had full on medical bays in addition to the port's own medical bay. The problem, however, was that all the medical droids that could actually perform the more advanced surgeries and take care of the wounded had been placed under lock-down by a remote signal. Even with the best technicians the miners had, they had failed to activate the droids during the night. As such, the miners were forced to take care of their own wounded, and while most miners could handle basic first aid, none of them had enough medical training to perform more advanced procedures that some of the miners needed.

It was a lot to think about, but Strova was too tired to worry about it. Activating the console, Strova entered the scrambling code that the miners had devised earlier that night to secure their communications. After a confirmation dialog popped up on the readout display, Strova then began to check in with the foremen around the Port to see how the men were doing in their specific assignments. Most of the information was good. Despite the food and water shortage, the miners seemed to be maintaining their morale, and the outer defenses had little to report on Police activity aside from the fact that the Police had erected barricades out in the city to block anyone from approaching the Port.

When it came to structuring a chain of command, Strova and the other foremen had been wise enough to get the miners to organize themselves into groups based on who their supervisors were back in the mines. As such, all of the miners were organized based on what company they had been working for, which section they worked in, and finally by which shift they worked. It wasn't to say that all of the miners were happy with the arrangement, but it worked to maintain at the very least a way to get the miners to work together at specific tasks. Some of them had been gathering food and water from places around the Port. Other teams had been busy moving larger structures around while others worked at disassembling things so that other teams could put together barricades and other various forms of cover. Yet other teams had been busy seeing to the rationing side of things by organizing who got food and who got water.

After he finished with the last of the checks, Strova then pressed another button on the console to deactivate the panel. Leaning back in his chair, Strova closed his eyes for a moment. Things were together, but Strova knew that the Industrialists were in a bad situation. One way or the other, their profits depended on the Port, and they had to take it back. He wondered if they would try to contact him to see about making amends, but Strova quickly discounted that thought. After all, they had bombed the miners back on the first day of the strike in order to break it up. The Industrialists weren't at all opposed to using violence to counter peace; so there was no question that they would counter violence with violence. Right?

"Perlexom? Never heard of it," Jeez replied to Master Windu. Jeez had been surprised to see his Master down in the Archives late into the morning, but Jeez sensed that Windu wasn't going to stay there for long. Looking at Windu, Jeez recognized that Windu had been awake for several days. His old Master's ability to disguise the fatigue by focusing on the task at hand was good, but as Jeez had spent years under Windu as his Padawan, Jeez could tell when Windu had gone a long time without sleep.

"I've heard of it. Supposed to be one of the only natural sources of magnarium ore in the galaxy," Ryshana stated as she looked up from her terminal. "I can look it up for you if need it."

"That won't be necessary for the moment. However, it would be a good idea to look into it a bit later on your own," Windu replied as he looked over at Ryshana.

"Is there something wrong?" Jeez asked.

"In a word, yes," Windu stated as he looked back at Jeez. "The Perlexom Government has declared its loyalty to the Separatists, and due to the complexities of the labor situation, the miners are on strike because they wish to remain in the Republic."

Thinking fast, Jeez then said, "So you have a government switching loyalties while its workers disapprove of the move. A strike sounds a little too peaceful for that sort of situation; so I'm guessing that something not too peaceful occurred and now the Chancellor's Office is asking the Jedi to restore order."

"More or less," Windu replied. "We received reports from several freighters coming from that system late last night that the miners had forcefully taken over the one and only spaceport on Perlexom. And yes, the Chancellor's Office did notify us of this situation, however, they did not ask us to intervene. It was Master Yoda's decision for the Jedi to intervene. He also suggested that the both of you investigate this incident together."

Closing his eyes tightly, Jeez couldn't believe what he was hearing. Sure, it was going to be good to get out of the Archives for a while, but with Ryshana along, he knew that it wasn't going to be all that simple. Having been trained as an Archivist, Ryshana had never been sent out on a mission before, and Jeez knew it. As such, Jeez knew that she was probably going to be confused and hesitant when it came down to making decisions in the field. "Wait, are we investigating, or are we actually trying to work out an end to the violence?" Ryshana asked as Jeez opened his eyes.

"You know its strange that Chancellor's Office didn't ask for Jedi support," Jeez chimed in as he really didn't feel that sort of a question was necessary. Obviously, you check in with the Council to find out, he thought to himself. "I mean, why would they give us that information? If magnarium ore is such a precious commodity, you would think that it would be in the best interests of the Republic to get that planet back."

"I'm aware of that, and it would be prudent to determine that as a part of your investigation," Windu replied to Jeez. Looking back over at Ryshana, he then said, "And to answer your question, Ryshana, it would be preferable to work out a peaceful arrangement, but that is up to the Council to sort out. Find out what is actually going on there and report to the Council before you try to pursue a peaceful arrangement."

"We'll leave at once, Master Windu," Ryshana stated as she stood up from her seat. She was obviously excited to be doing something a bit different, but Ryshana did a good job of containing herself.

"Good, may the Force be with you," Windu stated as Jeez also stood up from his seat. Looking at Jeez, Windu just nodded lightly as he turned around and headed for the entrance of the Archives.

Looking over at Ryshana, Jeez then said, "So, our first assignment as Knights. I hope you're ready."

Turning her head quizzically at Jeez, Ryshana replied, "Of course I'm ready. I might spend a lot of my time here in the Archives, but there's nothing that makes me believe that I'm not ready for this sort of assignment."

Jeez just raised his eyebrows and pressed his lips together as he nodded lightly. They then headed for the exit to the Archives themselves so they could prepare to leave. As they walked together, Jeez thought aloud as he said, "You know, that is the interesting part. You, being an Archivist, being assigned to a mission."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"Just that you would think that there would be other Knights to send on this mission," Jeez replied. "Not to say that you're incapable of doing it, but why an Archivist? Particularly the only Archivist at the Temple?"

Realizing that Jeez wasn't intentionally insulting her, Ryshana replied, "I see where you're going with this, and quite truthfully, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. There's a lot going on in the galaxy right now because of the Separatist Movement. There's just not enough of us Jedi to quell all of the unrest. Even here at the heart of the Republic, we're having to keep the dissent in the masses from spreading into the Senate."

"Well, I told you before that a war is coming. What do think of that now?"

"I don't know. You saw the signs before I did, but don't let that feed your arrogance because I still believe that we can achieve peace through all of this."

"My arrogance?" Jeez replied rhetorically as he stopped to face her. "Look, we're about to go onto a mission that could possibly be quite dangerous. I know that you've made it clear from the start that you don't like me. Quite truthfully, I could accept that before, but now its different."

"So me liking you has something to do with the mission now?" Ryshana replied as she crossed her arms in front of her chest.

"Not that," Jeez shot back. "Its your attitude towards me. I mean, how many times have we tried to have a conversation only for you to say something negative about me?"

"So I'm supposed to just ignore that encounter back in there?" Ryshana asked as she pointed back towards the Archives. "Do you really think that I didn't notice you trying to read me back there? I know that I don't have any experience out there, but at the same time, I would appreciate it if you didn't try to brush me off right in front of Master Windu. If we're going to work together, then it starts with both of us trusting each other and what we bring to the table."

"Then it is a matter of trust, then. Tell me then, do you trust me?"

Pausing for a moment, Ryshana then replied, "I want to. Call it a leap of faith if you like; I don't really care. There is something about you, Quiinzara, that I don't like. It has nothing to do with your past, but from the beginning I've sensed that you were going to rather problematic."

As he listened to Ryshana, Jeez could sense the honesty behind her words. Perhaps there's more to this twi'lek then I realized, Jeez thought to himself. "Good of you to be honest," Jeez commented as he nodded out of courtesy. "If there's any one thing that's apparent to me, its that things that you view as problematic come naturally to me. I live and work in a real galaxy that has real issues. The things I've seen can't compare to what you've seen only in your mind. That kind of knowledge isn't arrogance: its wisdom to see the underpinnings of what your senses are showing you."

"Then answer me this one thing, and I swear to you that I will forever leave the subject be," Ryshana challenged. As Jeez nodded his head in approval, Ryshana then asked, "Is it wisdom, then, to turn your back on the Council so that you can chase after a forbidden dream?"

Smiling a bit, Jeez knew that she had baited him. "You really want the truth? Fine. It wasn't wisdom that drove me to make that decision. You can look it up in a book if you like, but in my eyes, it was love in its truest form to sacrifice everything for someone else. Now, I can look back and feel everything involved in that decision, and I can truly know how to handle myself. No book can completely describe to you how to do something within yourself; only an experience can do that for you. That is wisdom, and that is the wisdom that I've gained through all of this."

In an instant, the screen flickered on, and Perlexom's finest finally had a view inside the Port. "So, what am I looking at?" the Police Chief asked the officer who was handling the tech. The Chief was leaning over a chair as several other high ranking officers looked on from behind him. They were in a make-shift command room near the Port as the Police Station was a bit too far away for the Chief's liking. Around the room were various stations that were all used for communications. In the center of the room was a holoprojector that was currently rotating a rendering of the Port's blueprints.

"Well, it appears that the miners have made short work of securing the facility and have been working hard at building up the defenses," the officer replied.

"I can see that," the Chief replied. Rolling his eyes, the Chief then said, "What kind of defenses can you see? Can you tell if they broke into the Port's Armory or not? Give me details you half-wit."

"Okay, okay, I understand, sir," the officer replied as he tried not to roll his eyes. "From what I can tell, yes, the miners managed to break into the Armory. See the weapons they're carrying? Most of it is military spec, and of course, there is -or at least was- a lot of restrictions on those kinds of weapons. Granted, you could say that those are black market weapons, but that's when you'll notice the extra turrets that they've set up near the major checkpoints. Black market or not, there's simply no way you can smuggle weapons that large onto this world. They have to be from the Armory.

As for defenses, they've definitely fortified the two entrances with what appears to be some armor plating probably sourced from some of the stationed freighters. That's not the only bit, either. Looks like they've moved around some of the cargo canisters to create artificial choke-points and provide extra cover. Gotta give it too 'em, sir. They've got that base locked down tight at least when it comes to foot traffic. Give me a sec, and I can tell you if they have the anti-air turrets operational or not."

With that, the officer pressed a couple of buttons on his comlink and began giving orders. Within a couple of seconds, the view jumbled around a bit as the view zoomed in on one of the anti-air turrets. It was blurry at first, but the view all of the sudden came into focus and then back out of focus. Then, it was back in focus, and that's when the officer spoke up, "Yeah, those turrets are active all right. See these indicator lights near the base? The red light indicates that the turret has power; the green light indicates that the turret is connected to the main sensor array in the tower; and the blinking blue light indicates that the turret is currently scanning for a target."

"Blast it all," the Chief stated quietly. "Well, that rules out the easy solution of just sending in the gunships. What about shields or force fields? Anything?"

"Just a second," the officer replied. He then started giving out more orders over his comlink, and the view suddenly zoomed out. First, the view panned over to the right, and after another order, the view panned over to the left. A bit excited, the officer yelled out another order over the comlink, and the view zoomed back in. This time, the view centered on what appeared to be several blade like objects. The screen then flashed white for a split second and the view jumped upwards. As the view re-centered on the blade objects, you could plainly see sparks and a bit of haze just above one of the blades. "Yep, looks like they've got those turned on, too."

"I was afraid of that," the Chief responded. Breathing in deeply, he just sighed as he began to think to himself. The only way into the Port was going to be through one or both of the entrances. That meant heavy casualties even with military grade armor and active riot shields.

"What if we punched a hole in the wall with some explosives?" another officer suggested as he pointed to a spot on the Port's blueprints. The spot was between the two entrances almost perfectly.

As the officers turned away from the camera view to look at the holoprojection, the Chief shook his head as he quickly replied, "Not unless we used half of our demolitions supply. Not even our gunships have the kind of firepower to punch through that durasteel plating."

Almost as if on cue, the floor beneath them shook violently as a roaring sound seemed to tear through the building. On instinct, the crowd of police officers turned back to look at the video feed only to see a blurred image. The feed seemed to move around quite a bit, and then it seemed to center on something and zoom in. As the view came into focus, the officers were a bit shocked at what they saw. There was now a large hole in the wall between the two entrances on the outer ring. Apparently, an explosion had torn a hole right through the wall, but from the way the debris was scattered, it was also apparent that the explosion had taken place on the inside of the wall.

"Well, that is a turn of events," the Chief stated confidently. Turning to one some of the other officers, "Assemble the men. We have our point of entry. All we'll have to do is to capture it and move within the walls and shut down those turrets. Once that's done, we can send in the gunships and force them to surrender. And give the snipers the all clear to fire at will. We'll need those miners to be as confused as they possible can be."

The tech officer quickly snapped a short salute to the the Chief and turned back around in his station as he started barking orders into his comlink. With that, the camera suddenly zoomed back out and quickly moved over to the left. The view quickly centered on a miner that was running towards the hole in the wall. The view began to fluidly follow the miner as the view began to center around the miner's head. In a brief flash and a cloud of red, the miner's body crumpled to the earth without its head.

The explosion rocked the tower, and Strova nearly fell out of his chair. Trying to force himself to move, Strova quietly cursed himself for dozing off in the chair. Grabbing the comlink microphone, Strova quickly yelled out for somebody to tell him what just happened. Realizing that he could probably see what happened in from the window, Strova looked out the window towards Perlexom's Capitol. He instantly noticed a white cloud of smoke rising into the air, and his eyes quickly followed the smoke down towards the gap in the outer wall. Being a miner that had used explosives on multiple occasions, Strova was also able to figure out that the chasm had been blown out from inside the wall. "Holy Mother of the Force," Strova stated quietly to himself.

Suddenly, the glass in front of him sparked and sizzled as a blaster bolt impacted the window. "Blast it, snipers!" Strova instantly stated as he quickly dove behind one of the control panels. Quickly getting an idea, Strova sat up a bit to look for the panel that controlled the Port's active defenses. Looking across the room, he spotted a panel that said something about defense turrets. Knowing that it was the one, Strova quickly crawled over to the panel and got up to his knees. Kneeling over the panel, Strova was a bit dismayed to notice that the panel had about two dozen switches and indicator lights. It did, however, have a couple of large monitors with distinct readouts.

Working quickly, Strova was able to figure out that the panel controlled the anti-air turrets sitting between the two walls of the Port. More importantly though, he was also able to figure out that the turrets had a fully automated control system.

Realizing that he needed to be able to type in commands, Strova scrambled around for a moment until he found a pullout keyboard located just under the middle of the panel. Typing in a series of commands, a text box popped up in the first monitor that read, "Auto return fire selected. Continue?" Without hesitation, Strova quickly mashed the selector key.

Below the Tower, the Port was in chaos. The checkpoints near the two entrances had quickly come under fire from multiple snipers in several different directions, and miners were scrambling to move towards the chasm in the outer wall. There were multiple dead and wounded, particularly near the chasm where there was little cover aside from moving right along the outer wall. Suddenly, though, the turrets sprang to life as they began to rotate around and move down slightly. If anybody happened to be studying the turrets, they would notice that the blue indicator lights had switched from blinking to just on which meant that the turrets all had acquired a target. The turrets quickly leveled themselves as they began to target the various sniper perches located both on top of several buildings and just inside of several others. With a loud burst, the first turret began to fire. The quad-blaster turret fired rapidly as it cycled between its two top blasters and the two lower blasters.

From the sniper's perch on top of the building, only the spotter even saw the blaster fire coming. As the bolts impacted the perch in rapid succession, smoke and pieces of debris began to fly around the perch. Although several bolts missed their mark, the blaster fire did its job as they tore through the partial exposed sniper with multiple impacts to his head, shoulders, and chest. The spotter fared slightly better as the only blaster bolt to impact him hit him squarely in the head. As the bolts were never adjusted by the computer to account for soft targets, the bolt left a large, burnt entry point and an even larger burnt exit point in the back of his head. Few of the other
snipers around the port fared better, and those that did had to find cover quick.

Looking out from the tower, Strova could easily see on the buildings across from the Port where the snipers had been perched as each location had been pounded by the rapid fire turrets. The turrets, however, had ceased firing as all the targets gathered by the Tower's sensors had been eliminated. Knowing that he was now safe from the sniper fire, Strova started to get up just as the door to the tower opened. Nitti quickly ran inside followed quickly by a winded Thomp. "What in the blazes just happened?" Nitti demanded as she caught sight of Strova.

"Looks like the Industrialists decided to grow a pair," Strova replied quickly as he headed back over to the comlink. The comlink was going like crazy with different foremen all wanting both information and instructions. As Strova handled the comlink, Nitti and Thomp just stared outside at all of the carnage. Between the two walls were the bodies of multiple miners either dead or wounded. Across the outer wall and within the Capitol itself, Nitti and Thomp just stared at the carnage wrought on the snipers by the turrets. It didn't take the two of them long to figure out what had happened just by looking at what was now a war zone, but Nitti quickly spotted the worst of the trouble.

In the distance between some of the buildings, Nitti could just make out a series of white flashes and what appeared to be several bluish-white orbs floating at ground level. Heading over to a security station, she quickly brought up some of the camera feeds from the outer wall. Noticing what Nitti was doing, Thomp just watched her from over her shoulder. "There!" he exclaimed quickly as he pointed out one of the feeds. Maximizing the feed so that it filled the screen, the camera clearly showed a line of Police Officers about 20 ranks deep. They were clad in full military armor, and the men at the front held glowing riot shields that were so large that it was difficult to make out their shapes from behind the shimmering, translucent energy shield.

"Strova, I think they're about to attack us from that hole in the wall," Thomp stated quickly without looking away from the camera feed. There was an uneasiness in his voice that was difficult not to notice.

"I know that!" Strova yelled back at Thomp from the comlink station. "If ya don't mind, I'm tryin' to get things organized over here."

Straining his head to look out the window, Thomp could clearly see that the miners were trying to move small cargo canisters between the walls to provide some cover. As heavy as they were, the strong miners quickly organized a series of layered firing lines. Near the entrances, the miners were also trying to move the small turrets from the Armory in a position that would cover the middle space from the entrance itself. Thomp quickly recognized that they were placing them there in case they needed to fall back from the middle section and provide covering fire with the turrets. For a second, Thomp thought it was a pretty good plan until he thought of something. "The turrets! The big turrets!" he yelled out excitedly.

"What? What about the turrets?" Nitti replied.

"Think about it: there's about 30 or 40 police in that group coming towards us. They can't take this Port with that few men. They can, however, take that middle area and shutdown those turrets."

"What's the big deal there? We can setup our own snipers to counter theirs-"

"Those snipers aren't the real threat. Remember when we started the strike a couple days ago? Remember that right before the explosion that there was Police freighter overhead trying to set up more barriers? The Police have more than just a couple of freighters at their disposal," Thomp explained as quickly as he could.

"You mean gunships? The hell," Nitti stated as she looked back at the monitor. The Police had slowed their advance as several miners were leaned out from behind the wall in the chasm to take pot shots at the approaching Police. The shots weren't doing much since the miners didn't have the aim to get a bolt past the riot shields, but at the very least, the shots were slowing down their advance.

"Strova!! You need to send more miners into that middle section and move up those smaller turrets right now! They're after the big turrets!"

See the struggle of the faithless lot as they negate their time
How low to sink to the depths of their frame of mind

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Old 12-30-2010, 12:02 AM   #9
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((continued from previous post))

In the cockpit of the Jedi Starfighter, Jeez looked over at Ryshana who was sitting next to him. Almost as if to highlight Jeez's concerns about Ryshana's lack of field experience, Ryshana had never been certified to fly one of the Starfighters, and as such, they had to take a two seat training fighter. Its not all bad, Jeez thought to himself. The larger size means more stability in atmosphere.

"Quiinzara, these coordinates are pointing the other way," Ryshana stated as she looked down at her scope. It was displaying information on the hyperspace jump from Coruscant to Perlexom. Studying it, she could see that it wasn't that complicated of a route since they were able to take the hyperspace lane that freighters used to pick up ore from Perlexom and bring it back to Coruscant. The lane was a one way trip with no stops. If they had to take the standard, civilian lane, they would've had to make a stop at Alderaan first. The problem was that they were exiting Coruscant's atmosphere in the opposite direction of the hyperspace lane.

"Why didn't we just ride on the outside of the atmosphere until we reached the other side?" she continued.

"We didn't take that route because it uses more fuel to get there. Burning in atmo means that we'd have to refuel on the other side before we made the jump. This way, we can ride to the other side on the gravity well from the planet and use almost no engine power at all," Jeez replied as he concentrated on getting an accurate vector. He was trying to get an accurate vector just by following his instincts as a pilot, and within a couple of seconds, the speed indicator quickly began to climb without Jeez having to increase the throttle at all. In fact, Jeez had to pull back on the throttle so that he didn't have so much speed coming out of the gravity well that he would overshoot the Starfighter's Hyperdrive Ring parked on the other side of the planet.

"Oh, I see," Ryshana replied as she studied her instruments. They were essentially using Coruscant's gravity well to slingshot them around the planet which was actually quite easy to accomplish with Coruscant's stable and predictable gravity well. "I thought that was illegal, though. Riding the gravity well, I mean."

"It is for civilian traffic," Jeez replied as he carefully touched his instruments.

Sure enough, the comlink quickly began to bark as traffic control warned Jeez to stop. Jeez's vector was dangerously close to a major traffic stream that moved into the atmosphere, and traffic control was trying to get him to divert. Instead of listening, Jeez just reached over and flipped a switch that turned the comlink off.

"Quiinzara!" Ryshana yelled out as she realized what Jeez was doing. "This isn't a thrill ride!"

"Sure it is," Jeez yelled back as a smile quickly began to widen across his face. In front of them, they could plainly see the traffic stream approaching very quickly. Ryshana cursed loudly as Jeez carefully maneuvered the Starfighter just slightly to cut right through the stream right between several ships.

"Are you crazy?! That's the kind of thing I'm worried about by having to work with you!" Ryshana yelled at Jeez.

"Me? Crazy? Nah, just needed an adrenaline boost. That's all," Jeez replied with a slight laugh. Indeed, his heart was pumping rapidly, but he had enjoyed every second of it. Not the least of his enjoyment was feeling Ryshana tense up in terror. "Relax, we're almost there."

"I'm really starting to wonder if we're going to make it through this mission alive, thank you very much. Next time, you take risks like that when its your life on the line, not mine. Understand?" Ryshana snapped.

"A Jedi's life is all about taking risks. Some of them, you just have to trust in yourself and hope that the Force is with you. If not, well, there's not much of a point to having all these abilities in my book," Jeez stated as he watched his scope. He sensed that he was right at the critical stage of his trajectory, and he quickly increased the throttle to give them an extra boost to escape the gravity well. As the gravity subsided, Jeez decreased the throttle as they approached several flashing anti-collision lights.

"Well, I don't know what books you've been reading, but there's no sense in doing anything without knowing that the risks are minimal at best. That's not a Jedi teaching: that's just common sense, laserbrain. And believe me, that incident will be in my final report," Ryshana stated with as much menace as she could muster.

"You do that, Ryshana. You do that," Jeez replied with a hint of sarcasm. The Starfighter was now making its approach on the Hyperdrive Ring, and it quickly moved in below the cross brace. Carefully lining up the Starfighter, Jeez lightly tapped the engine reverse and switched to thrusters only. Moving the control stick just slightly, thrusters below the Starfighter fired, and it quickly locked itself onto the cross brace. Switching back to standard controls, Jeez hit the throttle to give them some forward motion as he lined up the fighter with the hyperspace lane. He then activated a switch that turned on the hyperdrive computer. The inside of the cockpit whirred as the hyperdrive began to spool up. An indicator light on the panel lit up, and Jeez slowly slid a lever backwards. The stars quickly turned into white lines, and the Starfighter quickly accelerated to light speed and then into hyperspace.

As she sat there in her seat, Ryshana quickly pushed aside past events and began to clear her mind. Concentrating on the Force, Ryshana tried to bring her focus onto Perlexom. As she seemed to slip from consciousness, Ryshana quickly began to feel darkness envelope her. It was so full of pain and an intense anger that Ryshana quickly opened her eyes and reacclimated herself to the cockpit as she began to breathe heavily.

"Something wrong?" Jeez asked with some concern as he made a couple of checks to make sure the hyperdrive was working properly.

"Something. I don't know. I sense that there is something terrible that has either happened already or is about to happen," Ryshana replied as she began to control herself.

"Like what? What did you feel?"

"I felt pain and anger. Such an intense anger; it-it almost burned it was so intense," she replied as she forced herself to relive the brief feelings. "And death. I could feel the coldness of death."

"Well, we'll be there in just under an hour. So, just hang on. We'll know what's going on soon enough," Jeez replied with as much reassurance as he could muster. Wanting to know what she had felt, Jeez closed his eyes and tried to concentrate. Within a couple of minutes, Jeez didn't bother to open his eyes as he solemnly stated, "It was both. Blood has already been spilt, and more will be shed in the days to come."

A beeping sound suddenly brought Jeez back to consciousness. Instinctively checking his scopes, Jeez noticed that the hyperspace computer was notifying him that they were approaching the end of their hyperspace jump. "What is it?" Ryshana asked as she looked over at Jeez. She had just woken up as well.

"We're almost there. Standby," Jeez stated as he started switching on various controls to prepare for the jump into normal space. Already, the computer was starting to slow down the Starfighter towards light speed. On his indicator screen, a countdown appeared, and Jeez grabbed a lever and slowly pushed the lever back to its position. The swirling mass of hyperspace quickly faded, and white lines swirled around the Starfighter momentarily. Then, they were back in normal space.

Up ahead, Jeez and Ryshana could see Perlexom off in the distance. It really wasn't that large of a planet, and the terraforming projects had only made a small zone around the planet's equator habitable. The rest of the planet was dotted with small outposts that were busy searching for other large deposits of magnarium ore, but they only had ties to the Republic, not the Perlexom Government nor the Industrialists.

There was something orbiting Perlexom, though, and neither of them could figure out what it was just by looking at it. Checking his sensors, Jeez was shocked to find out that they were being jammed. "What in the blazes?" Jeez started to say before he noticed several small craft were heading his way.

"Watch out!" was all that Ryshana managed to get out as Jeez instinctively rolled the Starfighter out to the right. Blaster fire quickly shot past were they had been.

"Shields up!" Jeez yelled out as Ryshana quickly brought them online. Looking up, Ryshana quickly scanned outside of the Starfighter to see what had shot at them. That's when she saw them, four small fighters that had managed to overshoot them thanks to Jeez's quick thinking.

"Those are Trade Federation fighters! How did they manage to get here before us?" Ryshana asked loudly.

"Don't know," Jeez responded as he was obviously distracted. Cursing to himself for having to use a two-seater in a combat situation, Jeez tried to maneuver the Starfighter around. Concentrating on the Force, Jeez could sense the fighters in the distance. They were turning around to come back at him, and they would have him targeted before he could get the nose of the Starfighter around to face them. Realizing this, Jeez quickly moved the Starfighter around away from them. "Power to the rear shields!" he yelled out quickly. If he couldn't out maneuver them, Jeez could at least use his superior speed to get ahead of them, and he put the Starfighter's engines into full burn.

Coming up with an idea, Jeez hit of series of switches. Meanwhile, small explosions were going off behind him as blasters from the fighters chasing him impacted the shields. "Power to forward shields.... NOW!!"

With that, Jeez pulled back on the throttle and used the thrusters to quickly rotate the Starfighter around a full 180 degrees. Flipping a switch, the engine thruster jets reorganized themselves behind the Starfighter, and Jeez slapped the throttle forward putting the engines in full reverse. Jeez's targeting computer suddenly came to life, and Jeez mashed down on the triggers for the blasters.

Green blaster bolts quickly began to rapid fire from the Starfighter, and within seconds, two of the other fighters exploded as blaster bolts tore through their unshielded armor. The other two fighters broke off in separate directions. Jeez quickly pulled back on the throttle and flipped another series of switches. "Umm, Quiinzara," Ryshana started to say as her vision locked in on something in the distance. Following her gaze, Jeez couldn't believe what he was seeing. The something orbiting Perlexom had broken off its orbit and was now moving towards them. By now, however, they were close enough to see what it was: a Trade Federation Starship with its distinctive styling of a large orb structure in the middle of an almost complete circular structure. "Umm, not good," Jeez stated quickly as he then turned for Perlexom.

"What are doing? This course will take us right past that starship. There's no way we'd be able to get past that thing. Not to mention that there will probably be more fighters heading our way," Ryshana stated quickly as she looked over at Jeez.

"So, you're willing to just jump back into hyperspace, tail tucked firmly between our legs, because of one starship and a couple of fighters? We're Jedi, remember," Jeez stated confidently if somewhat distracted as he tried come up with a new plan in his head. "Just redistribute power to all the shields."

"Jeez, this is suicide," Ryshana stated as she complied with Jeez's orders.

"No its not. Its a calculated risk, and a far sight better than the one I took back at Coruscant," Jeez replied confidently as he pushed the throttle all the way forward. "Take another look at that trajectory."

Seething as she tried to control her anger, Ryshana looked over at the flight controls. Then, it dawned on her what Jeez was doing, and she quickly released her anger. "Are we going to need more shields for this?"

"Probably," was all that Jeez stated as the Starfighter started to shake slightly as Perlexom's gravity tried to start influencing the Starfighter's course. Behind them, the other two fighters had resumed chasing Jeez, but they were also affected by the gravity which threw off their targeting. Blaster bolts began to fly around the Starfighter in wild directions, but within another couple of seconds, the blaster fire stopped as the Starfighter was now out of range of the small fighters. Checking their scopes, the Starfighter's sensors were picking up another squadron of fighters heading their way from the starship. They were still out of range of the starship, but only just. "We're going to be within range of that starship's main guns in about 10 seconds," Ryshana notified Jeez as she flipped a couple of control panels.

On her small screen, Ryshana pressed another couple of buttons beside the screen. A slight power fluctuation rippled through the Starfighter as power was diverted from weapons to the shields. "That should do the trick in case they get off a lucky shot," Ryshana stated with a bit of satisfaction. Looking back at the starship, Ryshana could see large turbolasers shooting off towards them from the main guns, but they were moving so fast and the distance was so great that the bolts flew by harmlessly.

"We're almost in the clear, standby," Jeez stated as he concentrated on maintaining course. As before with the flight out of Coruscant, Jeez was using the gravity well of the planet to gain speed. This time, though, he didn't bother cutting the engines back to conserve fuel. The Starfighter began to gain huge amounts of speed, and several warning indicators began to go off inside the cockpit. The main problem was that Perlexom's gravity well wasn't nearly as stable as Coruscant's, and the Starfighter began to shake violently as minor fluctuations in gravity pulled at different parts of the Starfighter at the same time. Knowing that the Starfighter wouldn't be able to withstand anything harsher, Jeez finally pulled back on the throttle and even fired some of the reverse thrusters to help stabilize the trajectory.

"We'll need to alter course slightly if we're going to be flying into the Port at the Capitol," Ryshana stated as she checked their position and trajectory in relation to the Port's location. She then punched the numbers into the computer and sent them over to Jeez.

"That'll do. We'll be entering atmo in about five seconds," Jeez stated as he checked his scope. The starship and the fighters were well off in the distance, and in fact, the smaller fighters had already broken off their intercept course and were heading back to the starship. The Starfighter, meanwhile, began to hit turbulence as they entered the atmosphere, and their shields began to sizzle as the temperature increased outside the Starfighter. Switching on the reverse thrusters, Jeez gradually began to slow the Starfighter down.

"That's odd," Ryshana stated as she looked at her scope. "Jeez, we're being targeted by the Port's defenses, but I'm not picking up any signals for the defense turrets. We should be targeted by the turrets by now." Looking outside, Ryshana could see the beautifully landscaped parts of the terraformed region of Perlexom, and in the distance, she could even see the Capitol. Oddly, though, Ryshana could also see flashes of light going off around the Port.

"Quiinzara, the LZ is hot! Call it in to the Tower!" Ryshana warned as she continued to study the Port. Without noticing, Ryshana's mouth opened in shock as she made out the distinct outlines of two gunships that were firing at targets in and around the Port.

"Perlexom Tower, this is Jedi Starfighter do you copy?" Jeez stated as tried once again to reach the Tower. Then, a gruff and heavily accented voice came in over the comlink.

"Thank tha gods! Those gunships are makin' hell for us down here if you don't mind?" the voice stated quickly. "They took out the last of our defenses just minutes ago!"

"Roger. Standby for support," Jeez responded as he activated the repulsorlifts and slowed the Starfighter down even further. He then switched on the targeting computer and painted the two gunships. "Switch power back to the weapons, but only charge them to ten percent power."

Ryshana complied quickly as she realized that Jeez was probably only going to fire off warning shots on the gunships. Without saying a word, Ryshana just watched as Jeez opened fire on the two gunships. Even at ten percent, the Starfighter's blasters had plenty of punch, and the gunships rocked sideways with the impacts.

"Gunships, this is Jedi Starfighter. Leave the area now, or we will use deadly force," Jeez stated calmly over a general comlink frequency as the Starfighter flew over the Port. Bringing the Starfighter around, Jeez then began to fly in a holding pattern over the Port.

"You don't understand the situation, Jedi Starfighter. This is the Perlexom Police, and we are trying to regain control over the Port!" a very disgruntled voice stated over the comlink.

"I copy you, but I'm not warning you again. Back off the gunships, or I will use deadly force," Jeez replied. Jeez could almost sense the tension brewing from whomever was operating the comlink on the other end, and Jeez almost smiled a bit to himself as the comlink remained quiet for a moment.

"Roger, Jedi Starfighter, we will comply, but only with the gunships. My men on the ground will continue to try to restore order."

"That's a negative. You will remove all ground forces immediately," Jeez replied calmly. Looking over at Ryshana, she just shook her head to indicate that the gunships still hadn't broken off their attack on the Port.

"That's another negative to you, Jedi Starfighter. We will not withdraw from the ground. Again, we are giving the orders for the gunships to withdraw right now, but we will not withdraw our men on the ground. Unless you have something meaningful to say again, this conversation is over," the man replied sharply over the comlink. Meanwhile, the gunships had ceased firing, and were now moving off in the direction of the Capitol.

"Well, we're going to have to set down," Jeez stated quickly. "Our first priority will be to drive off the Police on the ground and establish order on our terms. The next priority will be to get the Port's defenses back online. There's no way we can keep out those gunships and restore order on the ground at the same time while we're in this Starfighter."

"Sounds like a plan," Ryshana replied as she began to feel pangs of fear rise up inside of her. Afterall, this was the first time she had ever had to actually use her lightsaber to restore order.

The Starfighter then hovered over a vacant landing zone and quickly dropped down into it and landed with a bit of thud. The landing zone itself was completely empty as the action on the Port was concentrated in other areas. The cockpit glass quickly raised as Jeez finished shutting down the engines. Ryshana and Jeez both quickly climbed out of the cockpit and headed for the exit that opened to the main concourse. Concentrating on the Force as he was accustomed to, Jeez breathed in a bit deep as he listened to the sounds of blaster fire and various impact noises on the other side of the door. Pressing the button to open the door, Jeez and Ryshana activated their lightsabers as they ran through the opening.

Ahead of them, they could plainly see that the miners were desperately trying to hold off the Police as they had multiple firing lines advancing on some of the last miner positions in front of the Tower. The Police were using the riot shields to great effect by essentially using them as portable cover. The front rank would orient the shields towards the incoming blaster fire while the ranks behind them layed down suppressing fire. As they advanced, other Police would use different types of cover and debris around the Port to outflank the miners from all sides.

Trusting in the Force, Jeez and Ryshana just ran forwards towards the advancing lines of Police. Some of the Police started to fire on them as they ran towards them, but most of them were just paying attention to the miners. Blaster fire steadily increased as they advanced, and the two Jedi just compensated by deflecting blaster fire away from themselves like experts. As the neared the firing lines, Jeez and Ryshana used the Force to leap over the Police lines and land in front of them. For a while, they just stood there deflecting tons of blaster bolts until Ryshana moved behind Jeez and switched off her lightsaber. Gathering the Force into a small ball of energy, Ryshana then slammed it into the ground. A huge shock wave erupted around the two Jedi, throwing debris, dust, and the line of Police backwards.

Finally free to do something other than deflect blaster fire, Jeez then released a wave of energy in the direction of the now highly disorganized Police line which sent them flying backwards even further. Running forward, Jeez quickly began to use the Force to fling away riot shields and weapons away from the officers who were struggling to get up. Ryshana did the same as she signaled the miners to cease firing on the Police. And though the miners quit firing on the Police that used to comprise the firing lines, they still had to fire on the Police that had outflanked them around the Port.

As Jeez approached the Police on the ground, Jeez then repeatedly yelled out, "Withdraw!" to the Police. Most of them complied as they raised their hands up in surrender and tried to stand up. Surprisingly, though, the rest of the Police that hadn't been in the firing lines also began to stand up and either raise their arms or weapons into the air as a sign of surrender.

"Ceasefire!" Ryshana yelled out to the miners that were still firing at some of the Police. Without warning, the Port was suddenly and eerily silent except for the sound of people moving around and the hum of Jeez's lightsaber. A bit shocked after all the fighting, some of the miners looked around and began to stand up gingerly from behind the various pieces of cover that they had been using. They kept their blasters leveled at the Police, though, as they tried to figure out what was going on.

"Who's in charge here?" Jeez called out to the Police. One man that had been near the back of one of the firing lines raised one of his hands a bit higher.

"I am, Jedi," the officer called out to Jeez. "We're under orders to withdrawl from our HQ, Jedi. With your permission, we will leave without incindent."

Thinking for a second, Jeez hesitated. If they were being called back, then that meant that the Trade Federation Starship had gotten into contact with the leaders of the Police. That meant more trouble over the next couple of days if the Trade Federation was going to get involved. "Fair enough. You and your men can go, but they have to leave their weapons and shields behind," Jeez finally replied.

"Agreed, Jedi. We will leave at once."

With that, the Police all began to toss their blaster rifles and pistols to the ground as they slowly began to leave the Port. The miners, with blasters leveled and ready, approached the Police and began the process of escorting them out. Meanwhile, Jeez deactivated his lightsaber and turned around to look at Ryshana. She nodded in approval at Jeez and even almost managed a smile.

Above them, Perlexom's sun was starting to set on the horizon, and to everyone that looked at it, they couldn't help but to notice that it was a vivid reddish color.

See the struggle of the faithless lot as they negate their time
How low to sink to the depths of their frame of mind

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Old 05-06-2011, 10:05 AM   #10
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