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Old 08-18-2007, 08:58 AM   #81
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"It seems as if Ms. Odnova and our yet-unnamed party have something to discuss," the lips spoke, still singsong.

Kimber turned her head to look down the corridor down which Tysyacha and the mechanic had disappeared just moment earlier. "Apparently so," she murmured to Lane.

She was confused about what had just happened, but being as she didn't yet know the crew that well, she pushed aside the temptation to go and find out what her new captain and the enigmatic engineer were doing. As gregarious as she was, it certainly didn't seem polite to be nosy at the present moment. With a shuddering and dismissive shake of her head, she turned back to console, taking time to familiarize herself with the controls.

"I wonder how long he will go without a name. Names are quite important to have." The eyes glanced at Kimber, a sudden seriousness flashing through them.

Kim nodded. "And, for some, a name can be quite the private thing to disclose," she replied. "I mean, a personal name can not only denote someone's planet of origin or social status, but in some cases, their entire family's history. Perhaps he has something to hide." She paused for a moment, trying to gauge what reason the near-human had for choosing an alias. "As for me," she continued, "I've never had anything to hide about my family. Quitaan's an old and well-respected name on Corellia, goes back centuries. And as I'm quite proud of my Corellian heritage, there's really no reason for me to go by anything other than Kimber Quitaan."

She glanced askance at Lane. "So, why did you choose 'Lane' as your name?" she asked cautiously. "Any particular reason? Special significance? Or did you just like the sound of it?"


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Old 08-18-2007, 02:06 PM   #82
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"So, why did you choose 'Lane' as your name? Any particular reason? Special significance? Or did you just like the sound of it?"

The lips curved into another smile. "As I said, it is a far better moniker to go by than 'that pointy-eared rogue'," they replied. Lane lifted a thumb and forefinger to stroke at an ear absentmindedly. "I think it's a fairly decent name," the lips continued. "Clean, unobtrusive. Definitely one of the better ones I have gone by." Lane paused, lithe fingers at the tip of the long ear. "Do you like it?" the lips asked of Kimber, the eyes focusing on the Corellian pilot again.




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Old 08-18-2007, 02:46 PM   #83
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Kimber took a moment to consider. Odd, she thought to be asked by someone she had just met if she liked an alias name or not. "Yeah," she said after a moment. "I guess I like it well enough. It's simple, short, and easy to say. A bit ambiguous, but..." She eyed Lane over, and then grinned. "...it seems to suit you."

She flipped a button on the control panel, bringing up the nav charts. "So, you're a scout, right? You must know, like I do, some of the 'pit stops' that aren't on the standard nav charts. While our captain is away, let's fill in a bit of our charts, shall we? It might save us some time later."

She punched in some co-ordinates for an apparent empty space on the chart. "Novafront," she said, entering from memory the basic information for the new planet entry. "Or at least that's what the locals called it. See, I've got some of the co-ordinates memorized for the places we went to in the Unknown Regions, but they're all in relation to known worlds. Like Corellia. And not just because it's my home world, but because it's got a lot of hyperspace lane intersections." Her eyes quickly flicked from the console to Lane. "So, where's your home planet?" she asked casually.


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Old 08-18-2007, 05:44 PM   #84
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The lips paused, not answering Kimber's question immediately. They parted, as if ready to speak, then closed again. The mismatched eyes closed and the thin, small nose took a deep breath. "I do not have a planet to call 'home'," the lips finally said, a bit quieter than before. "I do not recall much of my youth, but the little that I do tells me I was born in space."

Lane's thin fingers alighted on the Ebon Hawk's console, quietly typing. A holographic display of the galaxy sprang up, similar to the one in the common room. At Lane's touch, the display zoomed in on a section of the Inner Rim. "The first reliable memories I have are of this area," the lips spoke as the hands gestured. "But it does not feel like home." The fingers manipulated the controls a little bit more, focusing the display out of the Inner Rim and resettling it on the border between the Outer Rim and the Unknown Regions. The lips parted, again as if about ready to speak, but as before, they closed without saying anything.




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Old 08-18-2007, 09:04 PM   #85
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As Kimber examined the area on the galaxy map that Lane was showing her, she asked, "So, does that place feel like home then?" She racked her brain. "As I remember, and don't hold me to this, but... I think there was a planetary system about..." She pointed to a particular spot. "...there. Binary system, six planets, two habitable--one temperate, and the other icy, cold and rocky." She frowned slightly. "Although, it could be there, too," she pointed to another spot slightly away from her first guess.

She looked at Lane. "Are you familiar with that sector? Last time I was there, we were doing survey work for some Republic archaeologists. Daft people," she added, with a roll of her eyes. "Always thinking that they're 'discovering' something new, when really they're just uncovering something that been there for thousands of years."


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Old 08-19-2007, 12:07 PM   #86
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"I'm not familiar at all with that sector," the lips told Kimber. "No one really is, that's why they're called the Unknown Regions." The smile had returned to the lips, and the eyes twinkled with merriment. "As you said, they've been there for thousands of years, but yet we still think we're discovering something new. Why is that? Why do we know so little about the Unknown Regions?" Lane brought thin fingers to the lips, stroking them thoughtfully. "Or maybe the question we should be asking is why Revan wants to know so much about them? After all, he doesn't do things without a purpose. And to go into unknown territories without a purpose doesn't seem like something one of the greatest tactical minds this galaxy has known would do, does it?" Lane's head flicked to the side, sending tousled hair flying. "Oh how I'd love to pick that man's brain for a day or two..."

(( Happy Birthday, Jasra! Hope your day isn't too busy and that you get some good R&RP time. ))




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Old 08-19-2007, 05:42 PM   #87
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((OOC: @R9--Thanks! I did. ))

"Well, I just thought that if you were a scout that you might have been in that area before," Kimber said to Lane. "Lots of scouts keep their information secret." She tapped her temple with her index finger. "Suppose that keeps them 'self-important' in their minds. They wouldn't dare put co-ordinates into any type of navicomputer, in case their 'secret' got out. But eventually, all secrets get out. Otherwise, the Republic would still be just the Core Worlds, right?"

She finished inputting the co-ordinates to the planet she was adding to the Galaxy Map, and started to input another. "As far as a purpose to go into the Unknown Regions? Well, there's only two possible reasons I can see. One, is for money. New hyperspace routes to get from one place to another faster, or perhaps discover a new planet of resources to exploit, or even a new sentient species to trade with. Even the archaeologists have money as their motive. They get funded by rich, bored aristocrats to go and find these 'objects' of art to bring back with them. They might 'say' it's for an existential purpose, but it all boils down to just plain money in the end. Credits make the Galaxy go 'round, even way out there.

"Second reason why someone would travel out that far is just for the adventure." She smiled. "That's my reason. I just want to know what's out there--just for the hell of it. Same reason that some folks climb a tall mountain--because it's there and they can.

"As far as Revan's reasons, well.... Revan was a Jedi, so he probably has knowledge of things that the average person wouldn't. You know, I've even heard that some Jedi can see into the future. Imagine that. I mean, if you knew that a particular event was going to happen in the future, could you change it? Or would it happen anyway, but just by a different method?" She snorted. "Force stuff. It's all pretty mystic to me. Guess Revan's reasons wouldn't be exactly 'normal' though, now would they?"

She paused with what she was doing to give Lane a quizzical kind of look. "Just let me know if I'm talking too much, okay? I don't know you well enough yet to have those periods of 'comfortable silences.'" She winked. "But, don't worry. They'll happen eventually."


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Old 08-19-2007, 06:19 PM   #88
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((Happy birthday Jas! ^.^ Sorry I haven't replied - the wedding has kept me out of reach of a conputer for the past few days >.<))

He watched her with a look of confusion, compassion, and...something that he had to fight to keep carefully hidden. Otherwise, he kept himself quite detatched - as he always did. He had to, for the greater good.

Listening to Tysyacha's empassioned tale caused his expression to grow softer with understanding. When she had finished, he moved slightly closer to her, holding out a hand in pity.

"It is no easy task to be parted from a loved one for any great length of time." he continued forward to lightly put his hands on her shoulders as he spoke again. "However, I think that your problem...is that you need to have a little more confidence in yourself. You've stayed alive thus far by relying on little more than yourself and a few companions - have some faith now."

He held her gaze a second longer before he turned around, moving back towards the foot locker. "Now, I believe that you have a very eager pilot awaiting your orders." he looked over his shoulder at her, "The sooner our search begins, the better."


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Old 08-20-2007, 12:32 PM   #89
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Tysyacha nodded, feeling emboldened not only by the mechanic's kind words, but his touch as well. She re-holstered her two sabers and bowed to him apologetically.

"You're right," she said, her near-whisper sounding stalwart. "I can't afford a loss of faith now, not with everyone on board and ready to possibly sacrifice themselves on this great adventure. A captain leads, after all, and part of leading is boosting morale. Let's get back to the cockpit, and I think it makes sense to take you up on your suggestion of Nar Shaddaa as a hiding place, or launching point, for Revan. Another crime-ridden cesspit, I know, but I have a contact there." The mechanic nodded, and he and Tysyacha strolled up to Kimber's chair. The expanse of stars waited silently.

"Kimber," said Tysyacha, "our mechanic friend here believes that Nar Shaddaa might be a good starting point in looking for Revan. I know it's one more disreputable ball of rock, riddled with the poorest of the poor interspersed with members of the Exchange, but there is a sentient rodent, Kala-Naa, who sees and hears everything that goes in and out of the upper floors of the planet. If anyone might have seen our Jedi target, it would be her." Tysyacha crossed her fingers and winced when HK-47 proved helpful:

"Condescending Question: You're going to interrogate a rat for information? Seems like a viable plan to me. After all, it might do us good to exterminate that bit of vermin."

"Hey, HK," grumbled the Jedi Exile. "Zakroitye vash rot. Shut your mouth."

"Ah! You are addressing me by the respectful form of vy. Excellent, Master."

Tysyacha swore that the next time Rika did repairs on that particular "protocol droid", she'd make sure that Rika put his vocabulator in backwards or at least on "silent".

As for "silent", the rest of the crew was, including Kimber. What would she suggest?
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:18 PM   #90
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Kimber nodded thoughtfully. "Kala-Naa? Heard the name, but never met him. Her. It." She shrugged. "Whatever."

She started to input the co-ordinates for Nar Shaddaa into the navicomputer. "But Nar Shaddaa... I can get us there no bother, Cap'n. Been there lots of times. Not exactly on the 'tourist trail'," she added, as the engines started to rev up. "But, even cruise ships need someplace cheap to resupply and refuel. And the Corellian sector is great for that." She winked. "Especially since I'm a member of the trade Guild."

The ship rose from the docking platform with grace and ease, and then left the surface of the planet. In a few minutes, they had broken the atmosphere. "Okay, we're about to enter into hyperspace," Kimber said through the shipwide comlink. "Please stow away all personal belongings in the overhead compartments, ensure your seat is in its upright position and that your seatbelt is fastened securely. Next stop, Nar Shaddaa."

She turned over her shoulder to look at Tysyacha, and gave her a silly grin. "Sorry. Old habit." She looked at Lane sitting next to her. "Ok, here we go...."

And then she shoved the throttle forward, taking the Ebon Hawk into hyperspace.


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Old 08-21-2007, 01:57 PM   #91
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Hyperspace travel was, according to Tysyacha, the most incredible blessing that space engineers and explorers had ever given to the galaxy. Within a few hours instead of days or even weeks and months, the newest crew of the Ebon Hawk found themselves sliding onto an unoccupied landing pad on the world of Nar Shaddaa, "unoccupied" meaning "slightly unused, crumbling, but still relatively safe."

Tysyacha smiled apologetically at the wary expressions on everyone else's faces. "Sorry," she said, "but this planet's not exactly famous for its infrastructure. Only the Exchange, which I hope is in disarray since I helped to stabilize things here, might have safer landing pads. Foreigners, visitors, and the commonfolk have always had to make do with whatever the Nar Shaddaa government can afford to offer them."

She, Rika Saben, Kimber Quitaan, Lane, and the still-unnamed mechanic exited the Hawk down the loading ramp and started walking toward the center of the upper floor of town. Down below were--seedier elements, so to speak, even more so than the Exchange, and the most destitute of the working class and unemployed. Vermin swarmed heavily in the depths of the planet, and monsters no one had yet named. There was no law on Nar Shaddaa below the true "living spaces" of the planet, and no hope. It was comparable to the depths of a mythical Hell some Earthlings believed in.

"Kala-Naa should be over near the front door of the main cantina," Tysyacha said, pointing. "She's rather inconspicuous, but I can pick up her rodent scent clearly." Grimaces were seen on a couple of crew members' faces, but the Exile smiled. "Don't worry. Kala-Naa keeps herself clean, and she doesn't carry any diseases or plagues."

Reassured (or at least partially so), the five strolled over to the outskirts of a garish-looking cantina. Tysyacha was surprised, or more than surprised, to see that Kala-Naa had built herself a nest near the door. Baby mice peeked their heads out from beneath its bantha-fodder material, and Kala-Naa suddenly came running out and squeaking.

"My babies! Don't touch them, human scum, or I'll bite you--Oh! It's you, the kind lady who visited me two years ago and gave me 2,000 credits to get in very good with the Exchange." Surprised looks from the crew. "I not judge you. You just not want to get on their bad side, and you did good things too. Like save that one girl from Hutt spice
camp, along with mum. What you want this time? More information?" A toothy smile.

Tysyacha nodded. "Kala-Naa, I'd like you to spend some time thinking back, far back, and see if you can remember a man. He had dark hair and was tall, having a scent of power about him and a leader's stride." A pause. "He might have even been wearing a scary mask." She preferred not to think about those dark times, but they had existed.

Kala-Naa started squeaking excitedly. "Scary man! Scary man not hurt me, although I thought he would. I saw scary man in mask. He was looking for someone or something. Who or what could it be? Anyway, I heard him say to someone near him, with bald head and nasty purple sections on it, that he would soon find the place, on a dark planet, where 'there was no darkness'. He headed for light, when all else was black. Where could that be--black planet? Kala-Naa not know of any black planets around."

"Darkness means evil, too," said Tysyacha. "A dark planet. Malachor? Was that it?"

"Mal-ee-kor dead. This planet live--I think. So far, far away that Kala-Naa's head spin just thinking about it. I listen more, but I hear mumbles and more mumbles. Sorry." She bowed her furry head. "Wait--it that way." The rodent pointed decisively.

"Jeering Statement: A black hole? Master, this surpasses ridiculousness. Let us leave."
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:28 AM   #92
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Kimber listened intently as the rodent-like creature known as Kala-Naa spoke to Tysy and the rest of them in broken Basic. When she came to the part of the black planet where there was no darkness, Kim frowned slightly. But when the rat indictated the direction of this mysterious planet by pointing in a particular direction, Kim slowly raised a querying brow.

"Ah, relational co-ordinates," she said in a low tone to Lane. "My absolute fave. Not."

"Jeering Statement: A black hole? Master, this surpasses ridiculousness. Let us leave."

Kimber couldn't help but grin at the assassin droid's statement. "Not a black hole, but...." She paused. "Maybe... maybe a system with binary stars? You know, a planet where there isn't ever any darkness because light always shines on its surface?" She wracked her brain. "I remember coming across an uncharted system with binary stars during my travels with my last crew. Not that we actually went to any of the planets there. I mean, they might not even be habitable. I just remember seeing the system and recall the gravitational fluctuations that indicated there must be planets in orbit around the twin suns. It was most unusual."

She looked at Tysy, and shrugged. "Just a thought, anyway." Then she gave a sideways glance at Kala-Naa. "A lot easier than trying to work out relational co-ordinates from a pointing fin..." Rats didn't exactly have 'fingers'. "Erm, pointing digit."


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Old 08-22-2007, 08:03 PM   #93
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Rika had kept toward the back of the group, listening to the conversations and information from Kala-Naa. As Kimber commented on her prior proximity to the uncharted system with binary stars, Rika smirked.

"Perhaps we could use a combination," she suggested. "Compare Kala-Naa's relational coordinates with your recollection of the coordinates of the binary system. If they match with some relative success, we have a heading. If not..." She frowned. "I have... contacts we could try. However, unless it proves absolutely necessary to call my contacts, I should prefer to avoid them... long story."


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Old 08-22-2007, 10:38 PM   #94
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The lips pursed, pensive. "Twin stars, eh?" they said as thin fingers stroked a stray wisp of long, sandy hair. "There be quite a few twin stars in this nook of the Galaxy. It would be prudent to have a bit more criteria to work with... though if we're dealing with the Unknown Territories, we might as well be going in blind as a mynock." The eyes were alight with amusement, despite the lips' ominous words.




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Old 08-22-2007, 10:54 PM   #95
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Tysyacha turned to Kala-Naa for the second time. "I know it's been more than two years, perhaps even more than five, since you last saw the 'scary man', but we need a little bit more to go on than that, Kala-Naa." The Exile smiled. "Don't worry. I'll reward you for your troubles, and you can be sure that as long as I'm around here, your babies won't get hurt." She dropped to one knee to be at eye level with the gregarious female rodent. "Anything?"

Kala-Naa gazed deeply into the eyes of the Ebon Hawk's desperate captain. "Let me see. Scary man was talking with bald head man, and they were saying something like, 'all black, all darkness, then light. All shall be light.' Kala-Naa not understand everything they were saying, though. She do her best. As for planets--something like Pal. Pal-um. Pall-a-dum." A pause.

"Palladium." This was a wild guess on Tysyacha's part, but a guess was better than nothing. "There are few planets in the galaxy that supply this scarce Earth metal, and one that is entirely made of palladium would be--"

"Impossible." This from the Exile's most favorite droid. "Shall I terminate her?"

"No." Tysyacha ignited her lightsaber and held it dangerously close to HK's chest. "The trace Force signature here is one of almost Earthlike proportions--mass, density, environment--but it's not Earth. It used to be a 'light' world, inhabited by peaceful beings, but now every single inhabitant has perished except for one and his or her followers. Sort of like Nihilus and Visas Marr."

The Exile turned to her crew. "Well? Do you think I should be in an asylum?"
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Old 08-24-2007, 06:29 AM   #96
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Kimber raised an eyebrow. "An asylum? You, Cap'n? No." She looked askance at Kala-Naa. "Though I'll reserve judgement for... erm, any others." She cleared her throat and quickly continued. "But an entire planet of palladium.... Well, I'd have to agree with the droid on that one. Sounds pretty impossible to me, but, then again, in the Unknown Regions who knows what's possible and what's not.

"But to have that much palladium in one place...." Her brow wrinkled as she considered the possiblities. "The amount of cold-fusion power that could be generated would be nothing less than astronomical."


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Old 08-25-2007, 11:51 PM   #97
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Tysyacha nodded. "You're right. I'm sorry, Kala-Naa, but none of what you're saying seems to be making any sense. Would you like some credits to--erm, help support you and your family?" She hoped the rodent wouldn't take offense at her offer of 200.

"Thank you, kind soul," Kala-Naa said, taking the proferred credits with a dainty, pawlike hand. "I owe much to you. However, I am afraid. If you go after scary man, you might die. He not be headed for any place good--that's for sure. Kala-Naa could smell the anger and the hatred running off of him. Please be careful, sweet tall one."

"I will." She shook Kala-Naa's paw and turned to the others, especially Rika Saben.

"Well. It seems this contact hasn't panned out as much as I thought it would. Rika? You said you had contacts as well, and we might need to consider them a bit."
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:38 PM   #98
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"I have one contact," Rika corrected. "And she has a galactic network from which she gathers information beyond anything passed on by word of mouth... and often, her information is far more accurate than Republic intelligence. Though lately, that isn't much of a compliment. Her information is good."

She hesitated for a moment. "I should offer some kind of warning, though. Katya Skyhawk has attempted to kill me at least six times before..."

Kala-Naa squealed. It was obvious she'd heard the name. Indeed, very few in the galaxy had not heard of Katya Skyhawk. "Bad name! But it is legend. None have seen a face."

"I have seen a face," Rika answered sternly. "Katya Skyhawk is very real, a flesh and bones human being."

"Many faces she is said to have," Kala-Naa whispered. Rika nodded.

"Disguises," she agreed. "Some say she is not one woman, but many. Lies."

"I fear..." Kala-Naa began, but Rika frowned sternly down at the little creature.

"I am far more familiar with Katya than anyone has a right to be," she said quietly. Turning to Tysyacha, she finished, "I know her tricks. We can have the advantage here. We just have to be careful."


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Old 08-26-2007, 11:47 PM   #99
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Part Two: The Dvukh Ultimatum

Tysyacha felt an odd, hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach. Words such as evil and terrorist briefly flashed through her mind, subconsciously associating themselves with the not-so-innocuous name of Katya Skyhawk. However, what did such concepts mean anymore? Both the Jedi and the Sith, she remembered, used these ideas to further their own agendas, Light and Dark. Being careful was exactly what one had to do in this ambiguous day and age, dangling by a spider's thread.

"It's a mistake to seek help from this Katya," said the Exile, "but at this point, it's a mistake I am personally willing to make. If there is a price to be paid for Ms. Skyhawk and her full cooperation in locating Revan, I will pay it. Any cost that comes with this mission will lie on my head." She turned to the crew. "If any of you object to this, I'll let you back out. Something tells me that this is what the sages meant when they coined the phrase 'necessary evil'. The Force tells me that Katya knows what we so desperately need to know as well, but if we seek her out, the cost will be very high."

Words from Master Kavar, long-buried, came back to warn her. If you must do evil for the sake of the greater good, Tysyacha, then humbly, gladly, and fully accept every consequence. If there is guilt to be felt, feel it, if a penalty to pay, pay it.

"If you stand with me, we could all fall together. Are you sure you'll take this course?"
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:04 AM   #100
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"Fall? I'm a pilot. Pilots don't 'fall'. Not ever." A slow grin manifested itself onto Kimber's full lips. "They crash and burn sometimes, yeah, but they never just 'fall'."

She gave a look at the others. "I'm in this for the adventure. And if part of that adventure is seeking out some 'necessary evil' in the form of a mysterious ill-tempered woman called Katya Skyhawk, then so be it. I agreed to be a part of this, and I never break my word. Besides, I've been in dangerous situations before." She looked down at the bloodstripes on her trousers. "CorSec don't give these out for selling cookies, you know."

She smiled at her captain, her enthusiasm to get going visible and clear. "So, as long as you and Rika can find this 'woman of a thousand faces', necessary evil or not, I'm in. Lead the way."


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Old 08-28-2007, 01:18 PM   #101
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He listened to the conversation silently, his eyes moving from one person to another as each spoke, seeming almost as if he were watching a tennis game. He drew in each of the words spoken, drinking all the information in.

This Katya Skyhawk sounded like quite a piece of work, but he wasn't scared. Hell, he wasn't even worried. When you went through life and did the type of things that he had done...it took quite a lot for you to get worried.

"Count me in," he said, "I'm intrigued now."


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Old 08-28-2007, 05:15 PM   #102
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"Skyhawk, eh?" the lips said, rolling the name around almost lazily. "A curious name, though appropriate for her line of work, I suppose." The mismatched eyes gazed upward. "I don't think her father would have liked it too much, rest his soul..."

Lane gazed back down and noticed the four pairs of eyes staring. "Ah, apologies, I must have been talking to myself." The lips curved enigmatically upward. "Of course, Lady Odnova, I'd be delighted to accompany you to see this Skyhawk person. It should prove informative in more ways than one."




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Old 08-28-2007, 10:20 PM   #103
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"It's settled, then." Tysyacha reached out a fragile-looking mesh-gloved hand, and Rika Saben, the mysterious Lane, the mechanic without a name, and Kimber Quitaan all placed their own hands on top of hers in a quintessential gesture of loyalty. "We seek out Katya Skyhawk, and whatever foes pursue us, we will take them down. No one ever saved the galaxy by playing it safe--or by selling cookies." Kimber grinned.

"As for Katya herself, where do you believe her present whereabouts lie, Rika?" The Exile put one hand on her generously curvy right hip and waited for a reply.

************************************************** ***

Darkness is a sign of corruption, of decay. All light--no darkness anywhere...

The world's gravity had been turned, tilted, to lie in the exact region where twin white-hot suns never stopped shining. The planet itself was quite pleasant, habitable at least, but the creatures upon it still had not evolved to the point where they did not require darkness for sleep. They scuttled around in a half-daze when awake, not sure why they were on this world or how they had come to feel so perpetually tired.

An explorer on a foray in the cool, white night. Beautiful, she was, with calm eyes that were the flesh-and-blood examples of the serenity all Jedi sought in their souls. Hatred was beneath her, she was beyond love, and revenge was mere childish folly.

Her goal was Light, only Light, both on planets and in hearts and minds. Why should there be evil, when it was at last within her grasp to cleanse the galaxy of it?
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:32 PM   #104
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Bastila looked up at the twin suns and closed her eyes for a moment to bask in the blue-white light. I shall be the Light of the Galaxy. And when this planet yields up its enormous mass of palladium, I shall have all the fuel I need to power the fleet needed to find Revan and with him rid the universe of the scourge of the 'True Sith'. It is my destiny..

Bastila opened her eyes again and spoke to the heavens beyond the stars. "Soon, my love. Soon we'll have everything we need, and I can hold you in my arms, hear the beat of your heart, and feel your strength against me. My heart aches for you, Revan."


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Old 08-29-2007, 12:48 AM   #105
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The priorly stagnant air suddenly began to move ever so subtly between the large high-rise buildings that stuck up like jagged teeth from the gaping maw of Nar Shaddaa, the stink and decay of the area momentarily forgotten as the breeze made the air seem almost...clean. Fresh. As if it had come sweeping across the plains of Dantooine, rather than a cesspit like the Smuggler's Moon.

He tilted his head to the skies, looking to the small sliver of sun that beat down between the tops of the buildings, closing his eyes as the warm rays shone down on his skin. He took a deep breath while the breeze lasted, enjoying this fresh breath of air while he could.

The light of the galaxy...

"The last I heard of her, Katya had been spotted on Tattooine. Rumor says she had been hunting a Krayt dragon nearby the settlement of Anchorage. My guess that she would be hiding out at the dragon's lair, if she weren't in the settlement. Or...she could be dead, of course, but..." he lowered his head again, his eyes now on Tysy. "That would put a bit of a damper on things, wouldn't it?"


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Old 08-29-2007, 06:53 AM   #106
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Kimber snorted at the mechanic. "Nah, she's alive. Anyone who has the gumption to hunt krayt dragons, or worse hang out within the dragon's lair, certainly has got to have enough will to stay alive. If for no other reason than pure stubborness or spite," she added with a quick grin. "But living in a krayt dragon's lair on Tatooine? How apropos for a 'necessary evil.'"

She looked upwards, looking at the space traffic above them. "If it's Tatooine we're going to first, I can get us there in a couple of hours." She grinned secretively. "I know a shortcut. And," she added, looking at Tysy, "that's a good place for us to resupply if we need to. I've got some favours I can call in with a certain well-known Hutt."


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Old 08-30-2007, 03:57 PM   #107
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Tysyacha made a small poluvazhenie half-nod to Kimber with her gaze. "Good plan. Tatooine, even though it's hotter than a basilisk's warmth rock, would be a vast improvement over this stinkhole of a planet." She made a face. "Sorry. I know I sort of helped things here, back when I was still wandering the galaxy and trying to find the last three Jedi Masters, but even the best of changes can slip back into inertia or decay if no one makes any real effort to keep those changes up." Knowing nods.

Maybe it was her picturing Tatooine in her mind's eye that caused her to feel a warm, almost hot breeze. At the same time, she experienced a vision, or merely a flash of a vision, about a glass of water. Her imagined self was tipping the glass up toward her mouth, drinking with relief and almost pleasure, and then doubling over in utter shock.

"Acid!" her imaginary alter-ego cried, coughing and spitting. "I've swallowed acid!"

Then reality came back into focus again, and Tysyacha shook her head in a rapid reflex gesture. "Sorry about that--blanked out for a minute. Saw a vision of myself in my imagination, and I was drinking acid by mistake. Maybe that's a warning not to try Tattooine's tap water. Heh, heh." Confused looks from the crew, and a blush from the captain. "I guess I'm starting to sound like Kala-Naa. Come on. Let's go before the steam and fumes from down below find their way up here and do that to me again."

Unsettlingly, the look on the mechanic's face said It wasn't the core fumes at all.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:50 PM   #108
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After her own vague comments on Katya Skyhawk, Rika fell mysteriously silent, not even answering when Tysyacha directed a question to her. Then, the Exile recoiled and Rika's eyes snapped suddenly into focus on Tysyacha. At the woman's feeble explanation, Rika's eyes narrowed ever so slightly.

"You may want to keep that in mind," she said softly, almost reproachfully. She shook her head and blinked twice. Then she nodded. "Yes, Tatooine will do fine."

Abruptly, she turned and lead the way back toward the ship.


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Old 09-04-2007, 12:02 AM   #109
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Hyperspace travel this time was longer than the travel that it took to get to Nar Shaddaa, Tattooine having been quite a few quadrants away. No shortcuts this time - shortcuts through Hutt territory was never very advisable, and even a roguish Corilliean knew that.

With another half an hour of nothing to do ahead of him, he sat back in his bunk in the men's dorms with a sheet of tools spread out beside him. Pulling off the glove of his left hand, rolling the sleeve of his shirt up past his elbow and halfway up his bicep. A small sliver of muscular skin was visible beneath the edge of his shirtsleeve, but from the elbow down, the skin disappeared. In its place was gleaming biomail.

The robotic arm's face was open, and his miniature hydrospanner was whirring in his hands as he cut out a small section of faulty gears, a replacement visible in a small plastic bag sitting on the roll of thick cloth beside him with the rest of the tools.

Within the past few hours, the fingers had begun to jam ever so slightly, and he had grown far too annoyed to put up with it any longer. Rather, he decided to take this extra time to sit down and fix it for good.


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Old 09-04-2007, 11:43 AM   #110
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HK-47, far from being bored or "stifled" by patrol duty (as much as a droid could be stifled), rather enjoyed it. Not only did he get to intimidate absolutely everyone, but he also got to form deeper impressions of the newest crew of the Ebon Hawk. This served to let HK know, of course, whether or not he should "terminate" them.

As of now, his suspicions were not exactly put to rest when it came to the nameless mechanic. Any being, droid or meatbag, that refused to identify himself/herself/itself by any sort of name was automatically suspect in his mechanical mind. HK wondered if this mechanic were in fact a spy, and he was spying upon a spy. He'd soon find out.

"Reporting Statement: I have been 'picking up' some odd noises from the men's dormitory, Master, to use the inferior terminology of meatbags," he announced. "They are slightly outside your normal range of hearing, so I decided to alert you of a possible mishap or malfunction of one of the locker containers. Perhaps the still-unidentified mechanic is attempting to fix a problem, but my perception is that this is not the case." A cough.

"You're probably right, HK," said Tysyacha, "in that he may be trying to fix something. Nevertheless, I'll go see, because the way the Hawk is right now, she's an old girl, and we can't afford to have her malfunctioning in the middle of hyperspace." She rose from her place in the co-pilot's chair to check on the possible "situation".

"Is everything all right?" she asked the mechanic, smiling gently. "HK said you might be fixing a--problem--?" Was she seeing things, or was his arm not quite an arm?
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Old 09-04-2007, 01:19 PM   #111
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His eyes flicked up to the door when he heard Tysyacha's voice. He did not jump in surprise, even if shock did flit across his eyes for a moment. His only immediate reaction was to pull his arm back out of view behind his leg, his eyes focused on her the entire time.

"Exile..." he said, the faintest smile coming to his lips, "Everything is perfectly fine. Is there something I can help you with?"

He had been hoping that no one would have had to see him and his arm...but he supposed that while in such close confines, it was only to be expected - especially if he had to constantly be fixing it. But, even so...


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Old 09-04-2007, 04:14 PM   #112
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An embarrassed blush came to Tysyacha's cheeks. "Erm--I'm sorry, no. HK was just getting a little suspicious, and he supposed one of the lockers in the men's dormitory might have malfunctioned. I apologize if I disturbed you, and now I'm going to go and disassemble one nosy protocol droid." Her eyes narrowed. "Assassin droid, I mean."

"Interjection: No need, Master. I am simply here to inform you that we shall soon be landing at the Anchorage station on Tatooine. You might wish to fasten your seat belt." HK-47 saluted sharply and returned to patrol duty, and Tysyacha scowled at him.

"Next time, I'll make sure he stays out of here unless it's an absolute emergency. I'll leave you be, unless you want to come up front and view our descent. It's quite a light show." A wink and a crisp quarter-turn to the right, and the Exile was gone.

************************************

Tatooine. The very name was a synonym for not only hot, but so kriffing hot that you could fry a krayt dragon egg on the sidewalk. Tysyacha could not think of any time she had been on this planet's desert surface without almost fainting from sun exhaustion. Were the Sand People still here? What about the Czerka merchants and corporate drones? The Exile had heard that Revan, being of just nature, spared both.
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:32 PM   #113
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His smile became a bit more prominent. "There's no need to apologize - really, Tysy. It's quite alright."

The annoyance that flickered across her face made his eyes soften. He recognized the expression from so many years ago...from a time that was both brighter and darker than the days now. It was rather...nice, strangely.

"I'll be out momentarily." he said, nodding before lifting the hydrospanner in his hand again. "Thank you, Exile."

When she and HK had left - HK hesitating to give him what he thought was supposed to be a warning look - he lifted his arm into his lap again, finishing taking out the faulty gearing and replacing the parts in question. The whole process took about ten minutes - ten very rough minutes, due to reentry. He was rather amazed that he hadn't accidentally cut something that he shouldn't have...

Snapping the casing closed again, he twitched all of his fingers experimentally. When they didn't jam, he shook them, curled them, wiggled them - and they all worked. Wonderful! He pulled the long glove back on, pulling the straps tight. Quickly, he rolled the tools back up and deposited them in his locker before sliding that under his bed. Straightening his vest, he proceeded to the cockpit.

-----------------------------

He leaned against the wall near the starmap, his arms folded over his chest as he looked out the viewscreen at the dock outside, his blue eyes following the progress of the Czerka officer that was already coming towards the Hawk, clipboard in hand. His upper lip pulled back in a small snarl.

"Ugh...not them." he muttered. "The worst part about Tattooine is the Czerka. They're allowed to run completely rampant around here - hell, they're practically the only government they have."


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Old 09-04-2007, 07:20 PM   #114
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Kimber spun around in the pilot's chair to face the mechanic. "Yeah, well...," she said in a slow, disparaging tone. "It's either Czerka or the Hutts. And of the two, neither is desirable. But..." She gave him a quick grin, "not to worry. I'll get us a discount on the docking fee."

With that, she rose and headed out of the ship to meet the Czerka officer. She put an arm around the man's shoulders, guiding him away from the ship and towards the Czerka office as she talked to him in hushed tones. In a few minutes she was back on board the Ebon Hawk, with a couple of permits in her hand.

"One permit for docking," she said, waving the permit in the air, "and another for... wait for it...." She grinned. "Krayt dragon hunting." She wiggled her eyebrows. "'Course, I don't know the first thing about dragon hunting, so...." Smiling, she tossed the other permit card to the mechanic. "But you look like the capable sort. I'm sure you can advise the rest of us on how to 'blend' in with the hunter crowd around here."


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Old 09-04-2007, 07:38 PM   #115
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Tysyacha shrugged, and her gesture betrayed cynicism with just a hint of sadness. "I guess someone has to sell things to the tourists from off-world and keep some small semblance of law and order around here. Although," she said ruefully, "having been their flunkie and fall-girl once, I shouldn't be the one to sing their praises. I know just how hollow Czerka's 'law and order' can be, and also their sense of 'fair play'."

At a surprised look from the mechanic(?), a tall, dark-haired female approached them.

"Welcome to Tatooine," she said with a lipstick-glazed smile. Her teeth must have been capped and bleached with the most intense Kaminoan salt-bath methods. "I am Bah'ri, and I hope that your stay on this planet will be a pleasant one, although not too long. The sandstorms are coming--it's that season. Is there any way I can help?"

Tysyacha smiled in return, although far less effusively. Jana Lorso certainly didn't teach me to grin that way, she remembered. Then again, I wasn't exactly in the customer-service department. I was more in the 'stealing droids and smuggling' one. "We're looking to go big-game hunting," said the Exile, which earned a pleased murmur from Bah'ri. "The weapons are with us, but what we don't have are any maps of notable caverns or lairs. We'll also need a sandbroom to ease our way on the trails, and a supply of rations for five." Bah'ri nodded appreciatively and went to get the supplies. She certainly was efficient, and the materials she brought of good quality.

"That will be one hundred credits," she said, her smile re-pasted onto her pale face. One hundred credits was a lot, but the rations were real food, not the synthetic kind that was often fabricated off-world and sold to Tatooine dwellers at exorbitant prices.

"Much better than dried bantha jerky," the Exile complimented. "Thank you, Bah'ri."

Deciding not to travel in the heat of the day, Tysyacha, Lane, Kimber Quitaan, the mechanic, and Rika Saben trudged along a marked trail toward one of the massive lairs. "Krayt Dragon's Cavern," it was labeled, and yet the Exile wondered if any of the huge beasts had ever shown their faces since Revan had slain one on his visit here.
It was sunset, or nearing sunset, and any reptiles might be out hunting or foraging.

"There it is." Tysyacha pointed. The cave was as dark and deep as the entrance to Malachor V, sprawling for hundreds of feet. Such space would be required by animals as large as krayt dragons, although humans would find it rather hospitable in a pinch.
It looked empty, although you never could be too careful around any strange caves.

The Exile lit her lightsabers, and Rika did too, once they neared the mouth of the lair. It looked lived-in, with (presumably) bedclothes scattered about, and crude dishes. Datapads, possibly broken, rested in the corner, and gnawed bones lay here and there.

"Ugh," said one of the other females, perhaps Rika or Kimber. "What's that smell?"

Tysyacha tried hard to keep from laughing, only smiling instead. "Bat guano and reptile droppings. Not fresh, though--perhaps only a day old, and matted with straw. "Good thing this sandbroom will come in handy." She took it from the mechanic and handed him one of her petite silver sabers. "Please, hold the blade. If Katya Skyhawk lives here, I can't fathom how she can stand it." The dung was dry, so her work was light.

"Why are you even doing that?" someone mumbled. "Maybe this cave is abandoned."

"Penitential labor, long story," replied Tysyacha. "Don't worry. This won't take long."

It didn't, and when the Exile had finished, she created a great Force Wave outside of the lair to bury the droppings under six feet of sand. Everyone else had stood back(!) After the dust had cleared, Tysyacha looked around once more. "Well--doesn't seem like I did any good. No one's shown up yet, and it's almost nightfall. We don't want to be out here in the dark." Not that she was afraid--only cautious, only desiring safety.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:57 PM   #116
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He was still twirling the silver saber round and round, watching appreciatively as the blade lit curving arcs in the air. He didn't cut himself, and it didn't come anywhere near his body - so much for lightsabers being 'unruly' weapons. It handled just like a vibro blade.

"No, we don't." he answered, "But I don't know that we would want to leave here. It seems pretty well-lived in - everything seems quite recent." his eyes didn't leave the acrobatics of the spinning blade. "I'm sure that whoever lives here will soon be back. The night usually brings people crawling back to whatever hole they crawled out of."

With one final toss, he flicked the saber off, the blade withdrawing into the hilt. He smirked faintly, pleased with himself, before offering it back to the Exile. "We can either stay here for the night, and maybe catch whoever we're looking for, or return and get back to Anchorage a good thirty minutes before nightfall and return in the morning."


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Old 09-04-2007, 09:23 PM   #117
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"Whoever or whatever we might catch here will not be Katya," Rika said. "I did not speak earlier, for it mattered very little where on the Outer Rim we went. Tatooine will suit our purposes just as well as any other planet out here." She looked into the cave for a moment. "Katya has eyes everywhere out here. We merely need to... catch her 'eye', so to speak."

She nodded toward the cave. "It may do us well to stay here overnight. Let us see what we can see. I sleep very little as it is. You all can rest. I will stand watch in case we have any unexpected visitors."


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Old 09-05-2007, 03:04 PM   #118
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Maybe it was sleeping on bare rock that was only flimsily covered by crumpled sheets that did it. Regardless, Tysyacha had a nightmare, one that caused her body to break out in sweat. Or was that the night heat, customary for all seasons upon Tatooine?

She was standing before a Jedi, a Twi-lek, with a saber as silver-white as her own.

"Come with me," she said softly, her eyes kind. "Or, please, let me kill you before my Master does. She's severe, and the methods she uses to persuade her prisoners are even more severe. I can't pretend I don't see the power in you, because I do. You and the man Master loved are the two most powerful reported Jedi in the galaxy. However, neither one of you will last before the Indoctrination, or the Judgment Seat. I will make your exit painless if you'll kneel down and bow your head, lovely Exile."

Instead of shaking her head, fleeing, or even poising to attack, Tysyacha asked, "Who is your Master? What does she want?" A brief pause. "To vanquish the True Sith?"

The Twi'lek's laughter, like the tinkling of silver bells, made Tysyacha shiver inside. "My darling! Don't you know who the True Sith are? They are all of us, every one, because we have all done wrong and made harmful and dark errors in our judgment. I am no Jedi, Lady Dvukh. I am one of the True Sith, but I have been forgiven. As will you be, if you turn to the Light. My Master is waiting. Submit. I don't want to have to kill you, but she will if she finds out you are still hostile to her plans by the time we've finished speaking. Let the Light of the Galaxy find you, cleanse you. Let it fill you."

"Light has no place for murder, for domination, for torture and interrogation," Tysyacha said. "Let me turn you to the Light, and perhaps we can stop your Master before it's too late." She reached out a hand, sensing no intentions of harm on the Twi'lek's part.

"Ah, Ty-sya-cha..." Her name said slowly, like a caress. "She is unstoppable. With her Battle Meditation, she can conquer the world, and the galaxy. Don't walk this path. In her eyes, and in mine, you are still a Sith, though you can turn back and be saved."

"Take me to see her," came the terrifying words, "and if I die by her hand, I die."

Tysyacha convulsed with fear, knocking her head against a rock and not even caring.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:24 PM   #119
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The softest, almost inaudible whir emitted from his hand as he shifted his fingers every few seconds, his hands joined behind his back and feet spread in military at-ease fashion. The glow from the item before him shed a blue light on only half his face, leaving the rest in ghastly shadow.

"The Star Map." he whispered under his breath.

And so it was. When everyone else had fallen to slumber, he had risen, unable to resist the item's call. With a single touch of his human hand, the three arms of the device slowly opened, and the great map that was hidden within its ancient databanks had expanded before his very eyes. Those eyes now examined every inch that he could take in. The hundreds of planets, billions of stars, and multiple systems from his many years of space travel were recreated here - data holes and all.

When a sudden shifting of clothes sounded somewhere behind him, he spun and ducked to his knees, his blue eyes piercing the darkness. It was Tysyacha who had been moving - and as she twisted in the blankets that covered her, he slunk further into the shadows, expecting her to wake.

But she didn't. She uttered a small moan, and thrashed once more - her head colliding with the rock beside her - and lay still once more. That didn't last long, however. She shifted again - and then again.

She was having a nightmare.

Knowing from experience just how terrible nightmares could be, he touched the Star map again, allowing it to close before dashing quickly over to where she lay. With a gentle hand, he knelt next to her, his hand touching to her shoulder.

"Tysy? Tysyacha."


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Old 09-06-2007, 09:28 PM   #120
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The Exile jerked awake, startled, saying not a word besides her muffled gasp. Her eyes were half-full of sleepy grogginess and half-full of something else, some deeper form of consciousness besides what kept her alert and functioning during the daytime. Not noticing the mechanic per se, but rather a warm and sentient figure needing guidance and clarity, she motioned to him with a quick snap of the wrist and slowly walked outside, drawn by an enveloping hypnotic trance. In her white nightclothes and with her ghostly pale skin, she looked like a wraith newly risen from the dead.

Not minding the rocky floor of the krayt dragon lair or the desert sand beneath her feet, Tysyacha kept walking until she and the perplexed mechanic were about a thousand yards out into the desert. Not once did the Exile break from her state or look back to see if the man was still following her. It was as if she knew the Force would have him follow, and no matter if he professed to the contrary, he'd obey it.

When she had reached her destination, surrounded by a billion stars and their cold and dispassionate fire, she turned and pointed to a faint speck in the sky. A lost planet, perhaps, or a star that had turned into a white dwarf, dying at last?

A rhyme came to her lips, dark and insidious, making the mechanic's blood run cold.

Where the darkness used to be, that's where you'll find the Light.
The Star Forge may have been destroyed, but not its center's sight.
Malak was only a pawn, as are we all, somehow,
In this war between Light and Dark, the Light shall conquer now.
She waits for you, she waits for him, the one he left behind.
The price of life for this one is his love, but he is blind.
He'll say she plans to use him for the Dark Side's greed and gain,
But once he yields, and once I yield, we all shall feel no pain.
We have the option to retreat, and that can be our choice,
But if we do, the galaxy will lose its only voice.
She's there, the one who rules us all. She's waiting, the Sublime,
And we must find her and join her before the death of Time.

Tysyacha fainted. Her body lay limp on the sand. Was the mechanic there?
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