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>>2281686
"Hello," you call out to the Weequay guard as you and Sadon approach.

"Basic to Weequay," you whisper to R4-K4. It warbles a series of beeps that sound upbeat enough to be an affirmative recognition, though you can't understand the droid speak any better than that. You should really get Hacna to have the droid itself speak Basic.

"I would like to rent a cruiser," you say slowly, enunciating each word so that your interpreter droid is sure to pick it up. "To take us to where my survey team is located. They, as well as I, will be leaving Sriluur--"

"I speak Basic," the man grunts. The Weequay vocal chords were made more for croaks than the wide range of sounds found in Basic, but he's perfectly understandable.

"Oh!" you say in surprise. "Well, perfect. That's an unlikely coincidence."

His leathery frown creases even deeper, something you hadn't thought possible.

"Few Weequay do not speak Basic," he says firmly.

You make a note to yourself to have some choice words with Hacna about that. She had insisted that she has a racial disadvantage when it comes to learning Basic, and that precious few Weequay speak it.

"Like I said," you continue. "I need to rent a cruiser." You go on to explain your position with Imperial geological services, and that you're here to pull your team out early for another, more urgent mission. What you don't tell the guard is that you're responding to a distress call. He would likely be more than happy to let the group die out there in the wastes.

As you finish speaking, you see Sadon edging towards the Sriluur Wolf and raising his hand to pet its bony skull. You spot its stinger-tipped tail curling menacingly, and shake your head at Sadon.

"I really wouldn't do that," you mutter. The animal's appearance should be deterrent enough, but those pack animals his first tribe was riding looked nearly as menacing.

"Where are your men?" the guard asks.

You turn your attention back to him, nearly blurting out the truth before stopping yourself just in time.
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>>2281687
"I have the coordinates. In the flats between here and Meirm." You refrain from mentioning the name of the canyon the team is in, on the very real chance that might affect the guard's decision.

The Weequay lets out a low, thoughtful rumble as he looks between you and Sadon several times. Perhaps realizing that you don't carry yourself like an official of the Geological Service, and that the face-painted Sadon doesn't look like any typical Imperial bodyguard.

Finally, he reaches into a pocket in his tunic beneath his armored smock and pulls out a white sphere that fits neatly into the palm of his hand. There's a small circle of black on top, about the size of your thumb. He gives it a good shake, and after it comes to rest, an indecipherable symbol appears in a milky haze on the blackened portion.

"Quay says you may go," the man says. You tear your bewildered gaze away from the children's toy, and mutter your thanks. Just as you begin to move towards the parking lot of rusted cruisers to find one that looks like it will last the journey, he stops you with a raised hand. Sadon nearly draws his retracted vibrosword, but a growl from the Wolf and a glance from you stop him.

The guard shakes the orb again, and the same symbol appears on it. He grunts in amusement, then barks out an order to his Wolf in what you assume to be Weequay. The animal runs into a nearby stone hut, emerging a short while later with a large knapsack clutched in its jaws. It brings the bag to its master, who yanks it free and hands it to you.

"What is this?" you ask as you take a quick peek inside before passing it to Sadon. From a glance, it looks like emergency supplies and rations.

"Quay does not want you to die," the guard replies.

You're taken aback by the man's apparent concern over your safety, but soon discover that’s as far as his generosity extends. Once you begin talking prices, the means of divining his God's intentions go away and the haggling skills come out. You end up settling on an exorbitant hourly rate, as well as a deposit that is easily twice that of the cruiser's value on any free-market world. A deposit you will get back if you return alive, he says.

With few other options, you allow yourself to be robbed. The Reclamation Service will reimburse you, but it does mean more paperwork on your part. After reluctantly dropping a credit chit into the man's palm, you and Sadon depart through the rusted gates in a roar of engines and a cloud of dust.
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>>2281688
Temptation Canyon is not exactly close to Quay'kizac, but your route there is as close to a straight line as one can get. As soon as Sadon drives far enough for the city to fall out of sight, the next four hours consist of little more than featureless salt flats and the occasional foul-smelling acid lake. The hostile landscape and your silent companion remind you of your drive through Korriban, as well as another world with a mystery you'd like to get to the bottom of.

"Did you ever notice anything odd about Sadon and Kalyan?" you ask him.

At first he is taken aback by the unexpected question, but then his expression turns grim. "They are too close - it is strange. I will tell them not to be so close."

"Not that," you say with a wave of your hand. "Tell me how you met them."

A mean smile seizes his lips, though it's not directed at you. He's remembering something. "Amaza and I killed the four they were with. Then the twins stopped fighting us."

You give him a surprised look. "You accepted their surrender?"

"You said to find warriors, Lord Varrus." He's clearly somewhat annoyed at the contradiction inherent in your question. And he's right - you had told him to find warriors.

"You weren't worried that they would stab you in the back the moment you fell asleep?"

"Yes," he says with no hesitation. "But they did not. And now you have good fighters."

You probe a bit further to see if there's anything hinting at the siblings’ origins, but Sadon knows nothing. Which is not surprising, since he was only with the two for a month before you plucked them all off of Tion.

Awhile later, you glance at your datapad to see the coordinates you were given for the Imperial team are fast approaching. Less than a minute after that, you drive through a field of low hills coated in salt, none of them more than ten feet high - and you're at the canyon's edge. You come to it with little warning other than that slight upset in terrain. A yawning fissure dug into the terrain, much deeper than it is wide. You stand at the apex of one of the loops, and the canyon winds off into the horizon to both your left and right.

"Lord Varrus," Sadon says, pointing at one of the hillocks as the two of you depart the cruiser with supplies in hand. Squinting, you see that the gritty white lump is fluttering in the wind. Upon drawing within a few dozen feet of it, you realize that the 'hill' is actually a tarp covering another cruiser. Presumably belonging to the Imperial team, though it's a local rental like yours. You continue to the edge of the canyon, and are stunned by the sight below you. The bottom is a vivid blue-green, with a small river of water flowing down the center.
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>>2281690
But then you realize that the color is not inexplicable plant life, as you had thought - it's copper oxide, likely deposited by the stream of water coming from the north. You should have known better than to expect life here.

Using your datapad to orient yourself with the source of the signal being broadcast by the Imperial team, you soon find that all you need to do is look more carefully at the canyon. Positioned in front of one of the many cave entrances lining the cliff face opposite you is a small camp, with black tents and supply crates clearly visible against the colorful ground. But you see no people.

Making your way down the length of the fissure's edge, you find a zig-zagging path down the rock face that is very clearly man-made. How long ago, you have no idea - but the precarious-looking staircase does not give way, and the two of you crunch onto rust-coated soil with your bodies intact. The river is small enough to leap over without soaking your boots, and you carefully make your way to the edge of the small camp.

There are signs of living, but no signs of life. Crates of sensitive seismic equipment remain uncovered, but that sloppiness is not as disturbing as the fact that there is no one to greet you.

"Where are the people?" Sadon wonders, echoing the thoughts so clearly playing in your own mind. You duck into a few of the tents, but find little more than cots and abandoned datapads. You would not have been enormously surprised if you had come here to find the whole lot of them dead - they had complained about hostile wildlife, after all - but there is no sign of any struggle whatsoever, and that is even stranger. Even if the six-man team was currently engaged in the cave system they were exploring, they would have left at least two individuals at the camp.

Moving from the camp to the cave they had set up in front of, you notice something peculiar about the shape of the opening. It's more square than round, and the uneasy slope leading up the yawning entrance has the look of carved steps that have been worn down by millenia of wear and tear. You would not have noticed if the memory of a similar structure on Tion were not so fresh in your mind. Looking around further, you see something nestled against the wall of the cave, just inside the shadows.
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>>2281692
A battery. Kneeling down, you thumb the red switch on top, and a string of excavation lights flickers to life on the left wall of the cave, perfectly illuminating a path that stretches far forward before veering sharply to both left and right.

"Hello?" you yell into the cavern, repeating the shout a few times and receiving your own echo as an answer. Sadon steps forward and helpfully adds his own voice to the mix, bellowing out a yell that nearly pops your eardrums. But still, only your own echoes answer back

Taking another look at your datapad, you confirm that the signal beacon is very clearly broadcasting from a few hundred feet ahead - and possibly a good distance below as well, though you can’t tell that from the datapad. Imperial protocol is to leave such a beacon within the confines of the camp, but if the team were forced to seek refuge deep in the cavern - so deep that you couldn’t call to them - they might have taken the beacon with them to ensure you could locate them.

Which makes you wonder just what they’re hiding from.

What do you do here?
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>>2281693
Nothing to do but follow the path toward the beacon. If we're attuned enough to the force to detect any nearby life that'd be cool too.
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>>2281693
Could we examine the datapads that were left behind for clues? Also if Sadon has any tracking experience maybe he could see more evidence of what happened in the camp.
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>>2281696
We could even just have R4 hack them if they're encrypted or locked or something. Assign him to recover a map for us, I'd hope they made one with the seismic data they got as well as their own exploration. Let's not go into this cave blindly if we can avoid it.
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>>2281687
>we can't understand droidspeak
Fuck. Oh well. But if the droid can translate basic then surely it could be made to speak on it's own.
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I keep forgetting my trip. I'll be gone for about 2 hours and then I'll write more. I like these ideas though.
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>>2281693
>Explain Sadon the mission as well what we are about to do. Investigate the camp a little bit more and brig some supplies since most likely we will need some exploration gear if the men went down to the caves.

Time to have a small talk with the dark side creatures!
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>>2281688
Wait... Did this dude just consult a magic 8 ball to decide if we could rent a cruiser? I must have missed that on the first reading. Lmao this dude is awesome. The force is with us.
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>>2281712
R4K4 can speak basic but he speaks like HK.
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>>2281718
I kinda want it as a memento. Or maybe we can give it to Hacna.
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>>2281707
>>2281701
Woops, mislinked my post.
>>2281719
It can translate the speech of others to basic but when it's actually speaking for itself it can only speak in traditional droid beeps and dwoos. Hacnas interpreter droid is the one who translates her speech similarly to how HK47 speaks.
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>>2281712
The fuck? I thought Hurt said we could understand it back when we made it.
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>>2281846
>http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2237696/#p2237828

Stick to the narrative, man.
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>>2281848
Does it really matter? That was an OOC post anyway.
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>>2281863
Of course it matters. We're literally walking around with a droid we can't understand, when it's whole purpose is communicating.
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>>2281871
It's actually a disguised slicer droid. Anyway, I see your point but there's no reason to get all butthurt. Maybe we can ask it to translate its own droid language to basic. Just relax dude.
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I'm curious about how Hacna and Jevan are doing. Could we get an interlude or something about what they're up to at some point?
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>>2281891
>Just relax dude.

It is perfectly reasonabe to point a GM to mixed signals. If you think I'm frothing at the keyboard, you're incorrect.
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What do you guys think this place is? It's suggested that it's more of a weathered man-made tunnel than a natural cave system. I know that lots of gangs and whatnot hang out on sriluur so that could be related.
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>>2281693
You pull away from the cave, not wanting to venture into an underground labyrinth of questionable integrity before you've exhausted all other options. There's also the possibility that whatever caused the Imperial team to call for help also chased them into the caverns. If that's the case, you just assume stay out here a little while longer.

"Sadon." You gesture at the colorful ground around the camp. "Can you track the Imperials?"

He nods and gets to work, walking up and down the visible length of the canyon with his eyes fixed on the ground. The place is a mess of footprints, but the winds that rip through the rest of Sriluur don't reach down here. If anyone can untangle that puzzle, it's someone who spent their whole life hunting other people.

While he is doing that, you go back into the tents and begin picking through the datapads the team left behind. R4K4 takes each tablet in its spidery appendages and plugs into the ports on the side, making short work of the basic encryption. There's little of interest, which isn't surprising given that these are the datapads the team took along for their off-work use. Their Empire-issued equipment will be kept close at hand, on their belts or in backpacks. But you wouldn't be able to break through Imperial encryption with an off-market slicing droid, anyway.

The only thing that catches your eye is on the datapad of one Becu'wis'vrisduo - the team leader, who made the audio message that the Reclamation Service forwarded to you in their message. You weren't able to put a face to the name, but the unpronounceable nature of the latter tells you that he's Chiss. Cuwis - as you'll call him in the customary shortening method - appears to spend his off-time exploring many wild theories that loosely pertain to his work with the Service. One journal entry delves into the religion of the Weequay, particularly their thunder god, Am-Shak.
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>>2282353
Thunder gods are common in tribal pantheons, so there's nothing strange about Am-Shak. Except that Sriluur's peculiar atmospheric properties have yielded conditions in which neither thunder, nor lightning, are natural occurrences. You're sure people could postulate all sorts of interesting theories about how a thunder god came about on a world with no thunder, but Cuwis' idea catches your eye.

He believes that a battle took place in orbit some millenia ago, back before the first recorded records of worship of Am-Shak. According to Weequay legend, Am-Shak was dragged from the sky into Temptation Canyon by the siren song of water nymphs, which then transformed into hairy beasts and tore him apart.

Why they worship a god who was torn apart thousands of years ago is a question for the Weequay. What you would like to ask Cuwis is just what he thinks was dragged down to Sriluur's surface all those thousands of years ago, making thunder loud enough for all Weequay to hear. A ship? A weapon? His journal doesn't get into it. But apparently, he refined his theory enough to take to his superiors and get a team sent to Sriluur.

"Nothing." You turn around to see Sadon peeking in through the tent flap. "The footprints, they go up and down the canyon into caves. Then to the stairs we take up."

"Did you check up above?" you ask him. "Did they walk out into the flats for some reason?"

He shrugs. "Too much wind. No tracks in the salt."

Or, they were never there. You're probably just looking for reasons to avoid going cave diving. Which, at this point, looks inevitable if you have any serious desire to locate the lost Imperials.

You need to decide how to confirm the Imperials' presence within the cave system. Sadon has a bag of glowsticks and other emergency equipment, and both of you have short-range communicators on your wrists.
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>>2282359
Let's both go in there. We should be able to follow our tracks backwards to leave if we start to get lost. Use an imperial frequency on our short range communicators to try to make contact with the team as we descend.
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>>2282359
Go into the cave. Check if there is any gear lefted behind. Also use one of the sismic droids to mao the caves like we did when we went to Sebuks tomb.
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>>2282379
i suspect old droids. I would rather mark our way using R4k4's sense or one of the drones to map the cave corridors for us.
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>>2282359
Well I'm out of ideas. What happened to the probe we used on Korriban? That would be insanely useful right about now. Might as well just go into the caves and do this the old fashioned way.
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Oh could Sadon determine which tracks were the freshest? We should use that cave entry and follow them in conjunction with tracking the transmitter.
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>>2282379
This pretty much
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>>2282359
Does any part of the canyon seem more like a crater? Maybe that's where the "thunder god" was dragged down and probably the best place to look.
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>>2282479
Oh damn that's a good idea.
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>>2282479
If our droid could fly up high and take a picture from above it might be easier to tell.
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>>2282359
You consider taking the time to try and verify Cuwis' wild theory - that a spaceship, or something similar, crashed nearby - but doing that right now doesn't make much sense. The parts of the canyon you could see were deep and narrow, with no water-filled basins that would hint at a past impact crater. Though perhaps that's where the copper-oxide tainted river is flowing from - something to keep in mind for later. A cartographical droid could fly through the canyon and make a map, but even assuming you could find one in the supplies littered around the camp, it would take hours for you to figure out how to work it, and many hours more for the droid to complete its work. Hours the Imperial team might not have.

"Can you tell which tracks are the freshest?" you ask Sadon.

He ducks out of the tent, and you follow to watch as he mills about the camp, somehow managing to find the freshest trail within the criss-crossing paths of footprints.

"They go in there." He points at the cavern you had illuminated, and you return to peer into the illuminated corridor stretching out before you. Sadon has his blaster in his hand, vibrosword at his waist, and bag on his back. You have R4-K4 just behind you, and your lightsaber a twitch of the hand away. You're as ready as you'll ever be.

Shortly after stepping foot inside, Sadon manages to re-establish the trail of boot prints left behind by the Imperials.

"See?" He points at a part of the cavern floor that looks just the same as the walls and ceilings. "The blue and green from outside." You can't see a thing, but you take his word for it and continue to follow him through the twists and turns that become increasingly maze-like. Most of the halls intersect at precise right angles, again leading you to believe that this place was not formed naturally. You will talk to Cuwis about all this later, assuming he hasn't been torn to shreds by Sriluur Wolfs or something equally nasty.

The further you progress into the network of tunnels, the more sparse the lighting on the wall becomes and the more certain *you* become that you are closing in on the team. You call out a few times, and they do not answer, but you can feel them - multiple living beings. They're close - as is the beacon - but you get the distinct sensation the life you feel is below you, not up ahead. A cave-in having trapped them seems increasingly likely, and you tell Sadon to pop one of the glowsticks while being careful to watch his footing.
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>>2283041
You also become increasingly glad that you have Sadon with you. Even with your datapad tracking the beacon, you never would have been able to find your way through the confusing mess of corridors, any number of which the Imperials could have taken when they fled inside. With Sadon watching the trail of footprints you still can't see, you have a path to reach your destination. And you do reach it, after only a few minutes of slow walking through the underground complex. You're not all that deep into the cliffside, but it's plenty dark enough that you need R4-K4's flashlight and Sadon's glowstick to add to the weak glow of the wall-strung lighting.

Your droid finds the beacon before you do, shining it's flashlight helpfully on the center of the room - though you doubt it's intelligent enough to have done that on purpose. On a flat-topped stalagmite jutting up from the dusty floor of the cavernous room sits an Imperial Black Box, its sharp edges and smooth surface contrasting sharply with the rest of your surroundings. But no team - nor any sign of them, other than the beacon they inexplicably abandoned after doing the same to their camp.

"Where do the footprints go?" You say to Sadon. The life forms are still there - you feel as if you're standing right on top of them. But you've seen no sign of collapsed ground or any side-tunnels curving downward from the ones you walked through.

"Ah..." Sadon mutters to himself for a bit, pacing around as his sharp, predatory gaze softens to one of anxious confusion. He goes to the small pillar on which the box sits, then traces the edges of the cave, disappearing behind partial rock walls here and there with the light of the glowstick showing you his path.

"They stop at the box!" he cries out, sounding increasingly agitated. You doubt he's actually worried about the Imperial team. This is either fear of disappointing you, or a simple hatred of feeling like he's been beaten by footprints.

"I know where they went," comes a voice behind you. You spin around to face the corridor you entered the cavern through, and there spot a figure standing fifty feet back down the hall. You dart to the entrance, pressing yourself to the wall just beside it while Sadon does the same on the other side. Taking a careful peek around, you see that the robed figure - a woman, judging by her shape - hasn't moved.

She's not a Weequay. That much is clear from her voice. What's strange is that you hadn't sensed her sneaking up on you, even when consciously throwing your awareness outward in your attempts to pinpoint the Imperials' location. But stranger than that is the fact that you *still* can't feel her presence.

What do you do?
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>>2283047
Ask her to lead on then. And ask who she is and why she's here.

She must be a master of some sort if she can completely conceal her presence from us. Which means she likely already knows that we're force sensitive. Might as well introduce ourselves.
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>>2283047
Well where are they then?
Hopefully she's not a mythical water nymph who's about to turn into a beast and attack us. No reason to be hostile just yet.
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>>2283047
>Introduce ourselves
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Sadon has fucking night vision? What is up with these Tionese survivors?
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>>2283047
Great another force ghost.
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>>2283115
Force ghosts should be very way to sense though.
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>>2283111
He's got a glowstick
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>>2283127
Ah. The fact that we couldn't see anything when he could confused me.
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>>2283119
Not if the ghost has a crystal to mask his presence. The fact we can't sense it even though it's ib front of us suggest either a droid, a live force master, or a ghost because ghosts aren't alive.
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>>2283129
We are not good at tracking. Also once more Sadon shows why we spared him.
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>>2283134
If she had a kyber crystal we would be able to sense the force power it. I'm kind of confused by what you mean here.
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>>2283047
Let the awkward silence ling in for a little bit more then say:"Now is the part that you say what you want in exchange for the information."
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>>2283134
Oh are you referring to how the Jedi on the Hutt's ship did something like that? I feel like the kyber crystal was meant to be a red herring as well as the jewelry being a disguised disassembled lightsaber. The reason we couldn't detect her force sensitivity was because she was trained to conceal it.
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>>2283047
You don't respond, instead letting the silence grow until it's almost a sound in its own right.

"Now is the part where you either tell me where they are--" You slide your hand down to your lightsaber hilt as you speak. "--Or tell me what you want."

The cave again grows so quiet that you can hear the woman draw a sharp breath in even with the distance between you two.

"Throw me your lightsaber, and I'll show you," she calls back. That surprises you enough that you nearly drop the weapon you've unhooked from your belt. No one on Sriluur should know what you really are. Sadon quietly lowers his glowstick to the ground and unfolds his vibrosword, but you motion for him to stay put. For a few more seconds, anyway.

"Why would I do that?" you shoot back. Another look around the corner, and you see something cylindrical gripped in the woman's right hand. Her brown robes and the fact that she knows you're a Sith makes your mind jump to the image of a lightsaber, but you can't detect the presence of a Kyber crystal anywhere nearby. Masking one's own presence in the Force is difficult, but not unheard of. Masking something or someone else's is impossible.

"You have ten seconds!" She tenses her arm, rubbing her thumb over the tip of the cylinder. "After ten, I'll bring that cave down on your head!" Her voice wavers and cracks, but you're not so sure it's fear that has her speaking in so trembling a tone.

"One!" she shouts.

You have nine seconds.
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>>2283300
Throw her our lightsaber then. Activate it in midair and manipulate it with the force to destroy the cylinder in her hand and then bring it back into our hand.
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>>2283320
Actually just sever her hand that's holding it. She doesn't have force power, she has the place rigged with explosives and she's holding the detonator.
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>Her voice wavers and cracks,

Oh it's a hologram and she has a detonator. Which makes her Mandalorian.Most likely after the Darksaber.
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>>2283328
Yeah this.
>>2283329
She's just scared shitless. Why would a Mando be here? Nobody knows we're here and nobody knows that we might have the darksaber apart from Cypher 9.
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>>2283336
Cypher9 might have putted a bounty on us.
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>>2283336
We didn't sensed fear. If we were a real sith we would have being sure it was.
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>>2283300
Dash out of the cave and Pull Sadon with you using the force.
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>>2283336
>Why would a Mando be here?

Mando's are good trackers and the Hutt were we grabbed the dark saber was about to sell it to the Vizla clan. She must have hunted down and it's looking for it.

Also mandos are pretty good in killing force sensitives.
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>>2283356
That doesn't explain how she would be here before us. She isn't acting like a mando and she doesn't look like one either. My guess is she lives in these cases with others and didn't appreciate the empire sniffing around. The Mando theory really makes zero sense.
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>>2283366
regardless of what or who she is she is. There is the fact we can't sense her and the fact her voice is crackling. Which makes clear she isn't near or in front of us making the image we seing a fake one. The fact that we can't make sure if she is afraid is a plus.

Whatever we do i say we escape be it by runni g with Sadon back to the entrance we came or doing something else.
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>>2283380
This room is a dead end and she's standing in the only hall we could escape with.
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>>2283380
Don't star wars holograms look all blue and transparent? It'd have to be super sophisticated to transmit a convincing hologram in a cave that showed no signs of technology inside of it when we walked through it.
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>>2283391
Then pull her towards us using the force. She won't use whatever trap she laid if she is in the middle of it.

>>2283401
It may be a more sophisticated one or it might be the low light from the cave. The fact that she isn't carrying a lightsaber can also mean she is just a bounty hunter or as other anon said someone living in this meadow.
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>Holograms were usually monochrome, often blue, with no or faint other colours. However, full coloured holograms were not unheard of, and more advanced holograms, such as those created by the holographic disguise matrix, were realistic enough to fool both observers and electronic sensors.

Just got it from the wookieepedia
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Either way there's no way we should surrender our lightsaber. If it's a hologram then they're testing us but they'd have to be dumb to think we would actually comply. Hopefully we don't get buried in rubble but we don't have any good options here.
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>>2283448
If she is a hologram then we can just rush toward the entrance and pull Sadon toward us once we reach it.

Unless she putted explosives on the entire cave system.
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>>2283458
Why would we need to pull Sadon? He can just run too. Probably just as quickly as we can.
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>>2283462
He doesn't have force speed. The pull is just to make sure he doesn't end being squashed in the stones that fall over us.
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Is the dice system for this quest gone now?
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>>2283300
"Six..." the woman says, her tone growing more agitated with each number.

"Alright!" You throw Sadon a quick, wide-eyed glance, and pray to the Emperor he knows you well enough to decipher your command to stay put. Stepping out, you hold your lightsaber up high, and move to toss it before pulling back. "I can't throw it that far. I'm going to levitate it over to you."

She's quiet for a moment, her detonator-hand lifting briefly before falling. "Do it!" she shouts, shifting her stance slightly as if preparing to accept the coming object. You were telling the truth about not being able to throw it down a narrow cave hall, and you *do* have every intention of delivering the weapon to her - business-end first, straight through her right wrist. The moment she drops the detonator, you and Sadon will be free to make your next move.

Stretching your hand outward, you let your inactive saber fall a few feet before gripping it with the Force and bringing it slowly forward. Your mind screams at you to activate it *now* and send it hurtling into her chest, but you resist that growing impulse. If her reaction time is good - or if you fail to make an immediately fatal wound - she could activate the explosives with you still in the blast zone. Which is assuming these supposed explosives are real. Sadon made a sweep of the entire cavern room and found nothing but bare rock.

You're counting down the seconds until your lightsaber reaches her, when the woman reaches out towards your still-distant weapon, and it lurches forward with a ripple of Force. It feels as if you've awoken from a dream, or breached the waterline after nearly drowning. You can sense it clearly and powerfully now. This woman is strong in the Force.

"Let go," she shouts. "I will take it."

You had miscalculated. Her lack of a lightsaber wasn't a sign that she isn't a Jedi - she left it behind so that she could conceal herself from you. A Kyber crystal would have tipped you off to her shadowing you, or at least would have piqued your caution.

A bead of sweat rolls down your forehead despite the coolness of the cavern. If you pull the saber back, she will take that as a refusal to hand over your weapon. If you thrust it towards her and activate it, you will have made known your intention to kill her - and she will respond in kind.

What do you do?
>>
>>2283532
Yeah, I didn't like how random it made events feel so I'm going to try just writing a story that proceeds logically & thematically from past player choices.

I tried to do that quantitatively through a system of dice bonuses and all that, but it was too complex and the results still felt too random.
>>
>>2283553
Fuck. Just let her have it and cooperate for now. We're in a bad spot.
>>
>>2283553
We're outplayed fellas. At least we're not defenseless without our saber. Pass it over and see where this goes. She doesn't seem to actually wish us harm right now but it definitely seems that she set a trap for us specifically.
>>
>>2283560
Works for me.
>>
We really need to learn how to conceal ourselves. We keep getting screwed over by others with that skill.
>>
>>2283553
Give it to her. We'll get our chance later after we figure out what she wants.
>>
Loving this quest btw. Finally caught up.
>>
inb4 this is Sebuk fucking with us and her voice was cracking since she was trying not to laugh
>>
>>2283553
Forcing yourself to relax your hold on your weapon, you allow the woman to draw it safely into her waiting hand. Even with her face half-wreathed in shadow, you can tell she's surprised. Her detonator hand tenses and relaxes over and over, as if she herself doesn't know what she wants to do with it.

"You were about to tell me where the excavation team is," you say to her. She swaps the lightsaber and detonator, then points your inactive saber at her. It's a somewhat emasculating gesture.

"You don't care about them," she snaps. "You're Sith." Her voice is so low and so angry that it barely reaches you.

With a loud scoff you make sure reaches her, you hold our right hand out. "Then give me back my lightsaber." You give the weapon a subtle tug, not nearly enough to pull it from her. She grips it tighter and thrusts it down to her side, raising the detonator in turn... but then lowers it again. You've made your point.

Which is not to say the situation is anywhere near defused. Volatile Force-sensitive aside, there's also the matter of the twitchy bodyguard standing just out of sight to your right. His muscles tense like a predator ready to strike, and you can hear the soft squeak of his sweaty hand gripping his sword tighter.

"Why don't you tell me what you want?" you say to her. What you don't want to ask is *who* she is. If she is indeed a Jedi, you're not sure you can muster the force of will necessary to keep Sadon from charging her in a blind rage. He's spent a lifetime nursing a grudge against their Order, then *you* came and stoked those fires into a raging inferno. And here you are, presenting him with a perfect target. But if he acts rashly *now*, you're both dead.

"I want to know where your Master is," she replies.
>>
>>2283765
You had already figured out that this was a trap laid out for you, but you hadn't realized that you are simply a vector to pursue Veredious. Therein lies the problem, though - you don't *know* where he is.

"He's in the Outer Rim."

She waves your lightsaber at you. "I *know* that."

"And I can tell you where he is," you add quickly. "But not until I know my team is safe."

She doesn't respond. You've caught her in a moral bind, something the Jedi often find themselves tangled in. The team you came to rescue are not Sith - they're not even soldiers. They're archaeologists and researchers, with some basic intelligence training. The Jedi draw a strict line between soldier and civilian, a separation which does not exist in reality. Farmers feed soldiers, and archaeologists deliver powerful artifacts to power-hungry Lords. Yet another example of the Jedi code falling to pieces at the briefest contact with the real galaxy and real dilemmas.

"They are alive, and safe." Her angry ranting has been replaced by confident declaration. "I don't lie."

You give her a smile of disbelief, keeping your hands where she can see them. "I'm supposed to take your word on that?"

This time, the woman doesn't miss a beat before responding. "Jedi don't lie."

You wince reflexively as soon as the first word passes her lips. The last one is barely audible over the bellowing roar Sadon lets out as he charges the Jedi, vibrosword held in a straight guard and blaster firing in front of him. She activates your lightsaber, deflecting the first two bolts back down the length of the hall. Then, you hear a sharp beep coming from behind you - from the black box at the center of the cavernous room.

What do you do? Sadon has only moved a dozen feet ahead of you by the time you see what's happening. The woman is fifty feet further down the corridor that you stand at the entrance of. The black box is twenty feet behind you in the center of the large cavern, plenty close enough for you to manipulate with the Force.
>>
>>2283771
That's all for tonight
>>
>>2283771
Throw the black box as far as we can to the opposite side of the room as us. Begin charging at the jedi alongside Sadon and hit her with force lightning.
>>
>>2283771
FUCK.
>>2283794
Getting the bomb as far away as possible is a good call but I'm worried that Sadon would be in the way of electricity. We should interfere with her lightsaber hand as much as possible with the force to give him a chance to unbalance her.
>>
I feel fucking retarded for giving up our saber. Sorry guys.
>>
So here's the deal. This lady is smart but she doesn't seem supremely confident in her actual combat skills if she contrived this entire situation to avoid actually fighting us. So maybe Sadon has a chance with our backup.

Another option would be to stop Sadon in his tracks with the force. But we still have to deal with the explosive first. Clearly Sadon would not appreciate this but his odds aren't great in this fight. And negotiations have clearly already broken down, possibly beyond repair. I just wish he had gotten actual anti-jedi training first. I need some more input here.
>>
>>2283914
If we can avoid the dangerous blast zone of the bomb we can let it explode and then use the shrapnel and rubble as force projectiles. Sadon would just have to last long enough in melee for us to pull it off. I'll be so butthurt if Sadon dies here. I guess we should've just charged her from the get go.
>>
Either way we need to start sprinting toward her while throwing the bomb as far away as possible as well. Then focus on attacking her.
>>
Does our vibroblade have cortosis in it?
>>
It seems like our best chance is to have Sadon badly wound her, enough that we can retrieve our lightsaber with the force. First we need to push the bomb away as quickly as possible, run behind Sadon, and use all of our force power to throw the Jedi off balance just as Sadon is about to strike her. Ideally he can either wound or kill her with that first strike. Then we steal our lightsaber back while she's distracted by the wound or Sadon just kills her outright if we're lucky.
>>
>>2284163
Also if he keeps shooting at her during his approach we can interfere with her ability to deflect those shots with the force. If she gets hit by a blaster before they enter melee his chances improve dramatically. Basically we should just use the force in very short bursts to push the lightsaber in random directions as he shoots at her and then push it strongly to one side to open her up for an attack by Sadon's vibroblade.
>>
>>2284163
So she's probably not used to the curved hilt either. So if we push the blade further in the direction it's curved she'll have a harder time compensating for it.

Definitely wishing I would have been here last night instead of watching the super bowl but I'm not sure what I would have done differently.
>>
The suspense is killing me, this is fucking tense. RIP Sadon.
>>
>>2283771
The moment you hear that ominous 'beep' coming from behind you, you know that you have the thinnest sliver of a moment to relax. The explosives were real, and neither you nor Sadon missed them - you just walked right by them. Spinning away from your charging bodyguard, you throw a wave of Force outward that spreads across the room, splitting off fragile rock protrusions and kicking up dust that has lain for untold centuries. You didn't take the time to pinpoint your target, but your attack is strong enough to catch the box in its wake and send it hurtling to the far side of the cave.

In the split-second this happens, you consider what to do next. You'll charge behind Sadon, hobbling the Jedi with a blast of Force lightning from overhead as he ducks low. You'll use the Force to upset her blade hand, slowing her enough for one of Sadon's blaster bolts to strike. All sorts of ideas run through your mind, but they're shattered the instant the bomb detonates.

The blast hits you at the speed of sound, blowing out your eardrums the same moment it sucks the air from your lungs and throws you backwards. You can't hear, but you can see everything. The cave ceiling crumbles, pelting you with rocks that become larger and larger until the ground beneath you shakes.

Then, the lights go out. The darkness swallows you up from every direction, and you're gripped by the distinct sensation that you are falling from a great height. Even as you plummet down, debris continues to strike you, until you endure the worst blow of all. Something hits the back of your head and legs all at once, and the churning in your stomach stops, replaced by immense pain and the feeling of being shattered like glass.
>>
>>2285836
For a time you lay there, your skull ringing so hard that you can't even think. There's no light anymore, and when the ringing stops, there's no sound. Just pure oblivion. You're almost afraid to move, lest you discover that your sense of touch has been taken along with everything else. Eventually you summon the courage to shift your hand, and you feel your fingers dragging up wet stone.

Then, you see a light. It fills your entire vision, and you reflexively wince and look away. The spotlight swivels off to the side, and in the split-second it's still half-focused on you, you clearly see the hovering sphere of R4-K4 a few feet above you. If he's making any sounds, you can't hear them.

Letting out a groan so pained you can feel it in your chest, you try to push yourself into a seated position, but then gasp and fall onto your back. Fire shoots through your left wrist, and you use your right hand to feel at it. The fiberglass screen of your communicator is splintered and broken badly enough that you can touch the circuitry underneath. As for the limb its attached to... the odd combination of numbness and burning leads you to believe it hasn't fared much better.

You had instinctively shielded yourself from the blast, but that had only stopped your body from being turned to complete mush. At some point you had broken your arm - either from the explosion, the crumbling ceiling, or the fall that came afterwards. Even now you can barely remember how it played out. R4-K4 swivels its flashlight towards you, and you hiss in annoyance before barking out an order only it can hear. The droid obeys, point its light up towards the ceiling. There's no hole - at least, not anymore. Loose chunks of rock the size of a man have plugged up whatever chasm you plunged into.

What do you do?
>>
>>2285840
Examine the chasm we're in. Have R4 shine his light all around. Did we keep any of the supplies or was Sadon holding them?
>>
>>2285846

You never took the bag of supplies from Sadon.
>>
>>2285840
Make a quick sling for our arm with some of our clothing. Investigate the room we're in. Thank R4 and ask if he knows what happened above.
>>
>everybody suddenly just lurks instead of voting when times get tough
Come on guys
>>
>>2285840
See if we can sense any life around us.
>>
>>2285840
>get up and look around, duh
>make a note beat the stuffing out of sadon
>>
Also ask R4 how long it has been since the explosion.
>>
>>2285840
You roll onto your stomach and stumble to your feet, careful to avoid putting any weight on your left hand. R4-K4's flashlight only illuminates a small patch of gray rock in the distance, but you can tell by the sheer distance that the cavern you're standing in is larger than the one you fell from. You start to ask the droid beside you what happened, but stop the moment your own voice fails to reach you. Even if it has an answer, you wouldn't be able to hear it.

Closing your eyes, you reach out with the Force and feel for any signs of life nearby. Sadon had been further from the explosion, but he didn't have the benefit of your protective powers. You quickly detect a nearby presence... and then a second one. Then three, and four, and five...

You step back as you open your eyes, and find that you've stepped into a shallow stream of running water. You can't hear or see it, but you can feel it trickling past your boot. Commanding R4 to make a sweep of the room, you follow his light as it shines up and down the glistening walls. You've nearly made a full turn when you come face-to-face with it. Two lidless eyes hover a few feet away from you, with yellow irises and pupils yawning like twin black holes. You could almost mistake them for the eyes of a human, were it not for the hairy, wolf-like face they are set into. The animal's jaw creaks open, countless jagged teeth glowing white as R4's flashlight passes over them.

Your own jaw drops open - you might have screamed, though you can't be sure - and you stumble back while thrusting your hand out at the creature and hitting it in the face with a blast of lightning. The animal lets out its own scream, and this one you can feel in your own bones. The face moves away, and you watch in horror as the thing scuttles back on four claw-like hands attached to a flattened body. The current you struck it with continues to sparkle even as it fades behind a wall of rock, the blue light illuminating the domed cavern around you. More of the creatures scuttle into every conceivable crack and crevice, like spiders vacating a room when the lights are switched on.

A hard, rhythmic 'thunk' shakes the ground beneath your heels, and your heart seizes in your chest as you shoot another bolt towards the source of the vibration. It strikes the ground beside another one of the beasts, causing it to scuttle sideways. But this one doesn't flee.

Objective: Survive.
>>
>>2285971
Force scream to scatter the rest of them and intimidate this one. Blast it away with the force to create some distance and pick up several large stones from the rubble to bludgeon it telepathically. Keep a couple floating nearby to use for defense and use them as shields if the creature lunges for us.
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>>2285998
Yes. Answer it's howl with one of our own. If there was ever a time to get fucking pissed and embrace the dark side of the force this is it. Pissed at the Jedi, pissed at Sadon, pissed at our master for always putting us in these situations, and pissed at ourselves for fucking up. Kill the alpha and the rest will be cowed into submission. Let loose a little bit but don't completely lose control.
>>
>>2285971
Okay >>2286009 >>2285998
Although force scream has always seemed a little autistic
>>
>>2286082
Lol it's not like we're gonna just REEEEEEEEE in the wolf's face
>>
>>2285998
Force Scream is gonna be pretty badass, and I generally support this option.
>>
>>2285971
If lightning will not scare it, then perhaps thunder will. You take a deep breath in, your nostrils flaring as you run your mind over every single thing you hate in this moment. The Jedi that attacked you. The bodyguard that failed you. The pain in your useless left arm. These horrible creatures, straight out of a nightmare. And most of all, you - for letting yourself be dragged down here by complacency and ill-preparedness.

Then you let it all out, in one tremendous bellow that rattles your brain in your skull and shakes the ground at your feet. You can't hear it, but you can feel it - and so can the monster before you. Your Force-enhanced shout hurls it back into the darkness, before slamming it into some slab of rock with enough force to send another ripple through the floor. Every animal with two brain cells to rub together understands two things - pain, and dominance. And even nightmares like these can be made to feel fear.

You look all around, R4's light following your gaze as you search for any sign that the remaining creatures are making a move. The blow you inflicted on that other one killed it - you could feel its presence snuffed out the moment it hit the cavern wall. But there is still plenty more life around you - and a few seconds later, you feel something new. It starts as a sort of 'pop-pop' in your eardrums, and for a moment you think your hearing is returning. But you can't hear the sound of your own frantic breathing, nor the small stream flowing past your feet.

That strange popping noise continues with no others accompanying it, and a moment later you see flickers of blue light crackling to life all around you, sliding out of every dark hiding place. There's a rhythmic thumping as the creatures crawl down the walls and scuttle across the floor, pounding their clawed fists on the ground as they walk. Each strike produces a flash of blue lightning, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. And with that sight, you realize that the sound you can so faintly hear... is the crack of thunder.

Maybe you can negotiate with them.
>>
>>2286239
>look at me, I am the captain now
>>
>>2286239
Emulate what they're doing with our force lightning I guess? Hopefully we just killed their leader and took his place in the hierarchy. I don't know if they understand speech or not but it's worth trying, to get us out of here and destroy the Jedi on our way.
>>
>>2286239
I can't tell if what they're doing is threatening or not. Can we get a vague sense of their emotions? And maybe their enhanced senses of smell and primitive minds make them more susceptible to our pheromone control.

This is good though, we've been a classy diplomat for so long that we forgot about the more bestial and predatory nature of being a sith. This is a good reminder.
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>>2286269
Reading the emotions of alien beasts is not a task you're accustomed to. But what little you can sense leaves you with the impression that their sole desire is to tear you limb from limb.
>>
>>2286239
Give them another force scream to establish further dominance. Use the rock throwing force technique mentioned earlier to tear them all apart if they still continue to attack.
>>
>>2286311
Yeah do this then. I misinterpreted what was happening. Start moving toward the source of the stream for a possible exit as well.
>>
>>2286302
>their sole desire is to tear you limb from limb.
So they don't even desire to survive? Fuck.
> run away
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>>2286239
Retreating upstream sounds good, while pushing them away with rocks and force pushes.

We could aswell flash our own lightning, but it seems they have already decided to kill us
>>
When we get back from this we desperately need to do some training beyond these basic force abilities. Our force lightning doesn't ever seem to do much damage
>>
I'm worried about Sadon. He's either dead, injured and captured, or turned against us by the Jedi. I guess there's a slim chance he managed to kill her but I wouldn't bet on it. We don't have any good options for another leader of the guards either.

Also if we can't get our lightsaber back I say we just make a more stable lightspear for immediate use before we can fully replace it.
>>
>>2286239
You can't fight all of these creatures at once. There's a dozen creeping out from their hiding places, and undoubtedly more waiting in the wings. Every good sense in your body is screaming at you to run - but where? And then you remember the stream at your feet. It might not lead to an exit, but it will take you uphill. And right now, it's the best option you have.

Throwing a wave of Force outward at the creatures that sets the entire group off-balance, you turn around and break into a run, doing your best to keep your steps where you can feel the splash of water beneath your boots. The ground is slippery, particularly because you're deliberately racing through the wettest, steepest slope on the cavern floor. You slip a few times, nearly smacking your face against stone. Each time you fall, you throw another blast to your rear to ward off your pursuers. You see them there, growing closer on the walls and floor. One of them has even attached itself to the ceiling, and comes dangerously close to scampering overhead before you grab onto it with the Force and hurl it back into the darkness.

R4-K4's light tracks the way you're facing throughout the entire heart-pounding experience, but the droid can't illuminate everything at once. When you're fighting, you're tripping over uneven ground you can't see. When you're seeing which twist and turn to take in the upward-snaking corridors running off of the main cavern, you're casting fearful glances backward to try and judge how closer your pursuers are growing.

It's on one such look behind you that you run straight into a wall, nearly knocking yourself out cold in your growing need to get out of this hell. The ringing in your ears is back, but you come to your senses the moment you hear the rapid thump of an approaching monster. You hurl yourself upright, lashing out wildly with the Force in every direction over and over. R4's light spins around wildly as you strike the droid by mistake, and a few moments later you are being pelted by rocks and thrown back in a torrential rush of water.

Direction loses all meaning, and as you're thrown about you are gripped by the very real fear that you will be washed all the way back to those creatures' nest. But your grasping fingers find tenuous purchase on an outcropping of rock, and you begin pulling yourself forward against the tidal wave washing over you. Then, a light appears in the darkness behind you. It swims past in a rush of bubbles, and you feel the vibrations of R4's robotic warbling through the hiss of rushing waters.
>>
>>2286738
And you pull. Again and again, hand over hand. Your left forearm might be fractured - broken, even - but the muscles still work. The pain is still there, but it isn't something to be overcome through force of will. It's *fuel* for the will, a burning reminder that you are alive and will fight to remain so to your last breath. That breath is one that grows ever closer as you force your aching body to work against the unimaginable pressure pushing back on it.

One moment of weakness, one thought of giving up, and it will all be over. Foul-tasting water fills your mouth and floods your lungs, but still you kick towards that light. Just as the darkness begins to seep into the edges of your vision, the one light becomes two, and you fight your way towards it. The vicious pull of the currents are gone, leaving only still waters that grow shallower with each passing second.

You breach the waterline, coughing up the coppery lake-water from your mouth before drawing in a huge breath of air. It's the sweetest thing you've ever tasted. Sriluur's sun shines down on you, and R4-K4 makes silent rotations around you with its spotlight pointed at your face. Your arm hurts, your head hurts - hell, everything hurts - but you're alive. You kick your way towards the shore of the blue-green lake, feeling relief wash over you as your feet finally touch ground near the edge of the waters. Once you're on dry land, your first instinct is to collapse onto your stomach and sleep for days. But you force yourself to keep moving, using the sun and direction of the canyon stream to mark the direction back to where you had first entered the cavern.

You were right - there was a nearby water basin. But Cuwis' theory, no matter how elegant, was terribly wrong. As you run, your mind fills with thoughts of throwing the Chiss and his whole team down into that cave to see where their carelessness landed you. The Jedi, too, if she's still close by. Twenty minutes later, you come up to the Imperial camp nursing a side stitch that feels worse than the broken arm hanging limply at your side.

But the Jedi isn't there. And Sadon isn't dead, as you were sure he would be. He is kneeling in the center of the tent grouping, inactive lightsaber in hand. His face is twisted up in anger and grief, twitching with each sniff and snivel he makes. He holds the weapon outward, and then activates it with the red blade pointed at his stomach.

What do you do?
>>
>>2286740
Yell at him to stop.
Fuck, OP this feels like the entire situation was designed to make us fail miserably. Not a very fun feeling but I guess it had to happen sometime.
>>
>>2286749
>Fuck, OP this feels like the entire situation was designed to make us fail miserably.

You guys should've thrown the black box at the Jedi after she mentioned explosives and Sadon had done a thorough sweep of the cavern. Could've avoided all those cave monsters.
>>
>>2286740
Force pull the lightsaber back into our hands. Then approach and ask him what happened. I bet he's trying to kill himself because he thinks he failed. The question is if he killed the Jedi or if she spared him. If she spared him she wouldn't have given him the lightsaber though.
>>
>>2286754
She could have detonated it the second she saw us start to move it though. It's totally understandable that we won't succeed in every encounter but we definitely didn't have enough info to reasonably infer that the explosives were in that box anyway. They could've been buried or in the cave directly below the one we were in or something. It's okay though, if we succeeded at everything easily there wouldn't be much fun to be had.
>>
>>2286740
Call out to him!
Sadon is best boy.
But yeah we would've had to move the bomb over 70 feet for it to reach her and for at least the first 20 feet of that she would have time to use the detonator and her finger was already on the trigger. Definitely an unwinnable situation unless we complied with her demands at least at first.
>>
We've got a good opportunity to teach Sadon the same lesson we learned at the academy. That pure fury and aggression must be tempered with control and reason to be used effectively.
>>
>>2286754
>should've thrown the black box at the Jedi
>giving I imperial property to a jedi
>>
>>2286740
"Hey!" you shout, drawing Sadon's attention at the same moment you use the Force to pull the lightsaber from his grip. His fingers narrowly avoid being taken off by the still-active weapon as it slides from his grip, and he stares at you in utter shock that doesn't lessen one bit as he races towards you.

Sadon's mouth moves rapidly and he gestures just as frantically, but you can't hear one bit of it. You point at your ears and shout that at him until the message finally gets through.

"What happened?" you ask. He throws his hands out at the path zig-zagging up the other side of the canyon, the same one you two descended earlier that day. That's when you realize that the Jedi's body is nowhere to be seen. Sadon surviving the encounter was surprising enough, but the Jedi simply *leaving* after everything that happened is even harder to believe. You turn back to your failure of a bodyguard to see that he's thrown himself onto the ground, prostrating himself before you and slapping at the dirt in contrition.

"Later!" you snap, gripping your tender left arm. "Get me back to Quay'kizac."

He forces himself to his feet and leads the way topside, avoiding your eyes the whole way. You had expected for Sadon to have to call Jevan and Hacna to send help for you two, but when you reach the top of the canyon you find your cruiser in working order. Sadon switches it on while you stand a ways off, but it isn't booby-trapped. The four-hour drive back to the city is agonizing, and not just because of your countless injuries. You're mad at yourself, madder at Sadon, and furious at the Jedi - as well as utterly baffled by her departure.

Before reaching Quay'Kizac, Sadon uses his communicator to summon Jevan and Hacna to the Fury. They're waiting for you when you arrive, and are a sight to behold in their own right. Hacna wears a ratty brown robe over her flightsuit, and the bottom half of it is drenched in blood. Jevan's boots are equally red. You find out later that she had been sacrificing livestock at each Thal stone she visited. From the look of her, a herd of livestock had died at her hands. She chats at you excitedly, but slinks back when she sees how angry you are.

Once aboard the Fury, you go straight to the autodoc to have your ruptured eardrums repaired and the break in your ulna repaired. You put your left arm in a sling, and pray that none of this will require invasive surgery when you get back to Voss. Your hearing, though partially restored by the automated medical equipment, is muffled. Everything sounds far away, as if you're still swimming up from those watery depths that nearly crushed you.
>>
>>2286886
With your senses partially returned, you order Sadon to tell you what happened. His recounting of events is chaotic and disjointed, but that's hardly surprising given how events played out. The blast you narrowly survived collapsed part of the hallway, blocking the way between you and Sadon. You're surprised he got out of it largely unscathed, but then you realize you had been standing right in the narrow entryway. When you instinctively shielded yourself from the blast, you did the same to everything past you - including Sadon.

What little of the blast did get through had floored Sadon and the Jedi, and he charged her. He speaks as if they were evenly matched, but one look at your humorless expression has him swallowing and correcting events. He briefly pushed her back through the corridor from the sheer momentum of his attack, but he was never close to landing a serious strike. She quickly gained the advantage, and was a heartbeat away from killing him.

But then she stopped. She looked shocked and horrified, Sadon says. The Jedi backed away from the fallen Sadon, then turned and ran. He gave chase, but she was gone, and had dropped your lightsaber just outside the cavern exit. He picked it up, ran back to the cave-in that had separated the two of you, and tried to cut his way through the debris. It was no use, he says. Each boulder he cut in half made room for new ones to rain down from above. In a panic he resorted to trying to claw his way through bare-handed, he says - and shows you his bloodied hands to prove it. Some of his fingernails are gone, and you wince reflexively.

"Please give me chance!" Sadon pleads, his grasp of Basic deteriorating with his mental state. He throws himself on the floor of the medbay, clasping his hands together and banging them on the grated floor in front of you.

What do you tell him?

That's all for tonight.
>>
>>2284054
>Does our vibroblade have cortosis in it?

Yeah, I'm going off of KOTOR/SWTOR vidya rules where vibroblades can stand up to lightsabers, at least for one sustained duel.
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>>2286887
Your bravery and fury are commendable. But you should have followed my lead. Your anger stops being a tool once you let it overcome your mind completely. I didn't expect any of you to be able to compete with a Jedi as you are right now. Which is why I am going to arrange for you all to be trained by the echani, one of the few people who can best a Jedi without the force. In return you will swear to never put me at risk again to satisfy your need for revenge. You must devote yourself entirely to me and to your training before you can face a Jedi.
Heal him up a bit with the autodoc afterward.
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>>2286887
The blame is mine to bear as well. I walked both of us right into her trap. But your reckless disregard for my wishes nearly killed me. The blast would have killed you as well had I not shielded you from it. I will look past this for now but I will not do so again. Put a hand on his shoulder and help him up. For now you need to be trained. You saw how much stronger you must be to face the Jedi. And now you must accomplish it and drive the others to do so.
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>>2286887
>don't come back unless you have the jedi's head with you
>>
Here's my plan for the future, at least for their training. Sadon will understand now more than ever the need for improvement.
>Work with Hacna to create an improved version of their lightsaber spears as well as lightsaber daggers. These smaller crystals are perfect for shorter blades.
>Train them constantly in how to combat the different forms that a Jedi may use. We should develop an unorthodox and unpredictable fighting style to give them better odds against trained swordsmen. They must also learn to fight in perfect coordination instead of trying to learn to face Jedi in a one-on-one duel.
>Begin working on finding an Echani trainer for them.
In the meantime I really want to do what I pictured the IRS would have us do. Go to some abandoned tomb, temple, ancient weapon cache, or something similar to actually reclaim something. Hopefully Sebuk will come through for us soon.
>>2286991
You wot m8? That's a death sentence before we train him. A complete waste of a loyal asset.
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>>2286991
But I'd back telling him that he will repay us one day by bringing us her head.
>>
We never got a good look at that Jedi but maybe Sadon did. We should ask him for a description and try to identify her. I'm curious about why she's focused on our master specifically. She must be related in some way to Pailia.
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>>2286996
Also I'm okay with using all of the funds from selling our sith jewelry solely to train them.
>>
As far as training goes I say we upgrade our ship and take as many of the Tionese people as we can. Then we find a military force on that planet and see if they train with or at least observe them as they train. Jevan can use his photographic memory to catalogue their forms and then teach them to the rest of the Tionese Guard.
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>>2286913
Perfect way to address him.
>>2286996
Much more thought out plan.
Support both
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>>2286996
I agree with this, no chance of creating some sai or nunchuks or anything? Might be a bit too memey to kit them out like TMNT
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>>2286887
You look down at Sadon, your lip curling and your arm still throbbing.

"If I wanted an animal that would mindlessly charge my enemies, I would've taken those beasts you rode on Tion."

He continues slowly thumping his clasped hands on the floor in front of you, but stays otherwise silent.

"I shielded you from that blast. Am I your bodyguard, or are you mine?" Not that you had meant to do so, but it's the truth. He would have been torn to pieces if you hadn't been standing in the way.

"I am yours," he snivels. "I am sorry. I waited so long to fight."

This pathetic display of remorse isn't one you can bear to watch for much longer. You're no emotional sadist, but you want to make sure he gets the message loud and clear. If there's a silver lining to this disaster, it's that Sadon's fury and confidence will be tempered by the knowledge of just how badly he failed. You slide off of the autodoc bed and grab him by the arm, then pull him to his feet.

"I want to hear you say that my life is more important than your revenge."

Sadon nods quickly, swallowing and blinking the tears from his eyes. He was probably certain you were either going to kill him or drop him back on Tion.

"Yes!" he replies. "Always."

You turn back to the autodoc and pull out one of the drawers below it to grab a handful of bacta gel and bandages, then hand it to Sadon. He accepts them with muttered thanks and goes to the table to begin wrapping his bloodied fingers. Part of you can't believe how many second chances you're giving these people. Amaza, who tried to stab you - though that was something of a misunderstanding. Kalyan, who nearly burned your face clean off. And now Sadon, whose grasp on bodyguarding evaporates the moment he gets worked up into a frenzy.

"Do you see why I talked about training?" you say harshly to Sadon. "That wasn't a Jedi Master. That was a young woman - a Padawan. An Apprentice, like me."

He nods eagerly, looking to you as he continues slathering his hands in light-blue gel before wrapping his fingertips in white gauze.

"I see now," he says. "I see. I will train, and be smart."

You believe him. At least, you believe that *he* believes his own words. Whether that promised caution goes out the window the next time you encounter a Jedi is something that remains to be seen. With the immediate scolding ended, you fold your arms and watch Sadon work in silence, but then slowly become aware of something. The Fury has left Sriluur's surface behind, but you're not moving.
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>>2287823
"Hacna!" you shout out into the hall. "Why aren't we in hyperspace?"

She comes to the medbay a few moments later, wearing only her flight suit. You had made her discard the bloodied robe before even letting her approach the ship's ramp. But she does appear to have kept something from her time on the Weequay homeworld.

"Quay says it is not to be so." She holds out the white orb in her hands towards you, displaying the Weequay script floating on the black screen built into the surface. You raise your hand, then clench your fist tight, crushing the sphere into a misshapen chunk of metal in her palm.

"He's been overruled," you say to her. Hacna glares at you, drawing a sharp breath in before storming back to the cockpit. A minute later, you feel the familiar rumble of the Fury entering hyperspace.

With your hearing returned, you go to the ship's command center to place an urgent call to the Reclamation Service - but you receive one from them the moment you establish a connection. The Imperial Team, it turns out, is alive after all. They had gotten in one of the *two* cruisers they rented, driven back to the city of Meirm, and then left Sriluur for Dromund Kaas.

When they arrived on the Imperial capital to report in, their superior had asked them why they had left Sriluur behind so early into their mission, and why they had placed a distress call. None of the team could answer either question, nor could they remember anything of substance about the mission. Everything that happened after setting up camp is hazy, they said. They simply felt a burning need to return to headquarters.

The Imperial official you speak to asks what you found there, but you delay by telling him that it's not safe to say over insecure channels being broadcast through Hutt space. When you next return to Dromund Kaas, then you'll discuss with him what happened. He doesn't like that, but ultimately is in no position to push further. With the call ended, you start considering just how much you want to tell the IRS, and how much you want to tell Veredious.
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>>2287824
If that Jedi is associated with the one Veredious killed on the Kwee-Kunee, informing the Imperials about what happened could end up tipping off Cipher Nine, who would be very curious to know why that Jedi is out for your and your Master's heads. Whatever your course of action, you need to know who this woman is, and why she fled in fear before killing Sadon. You sensed anxiety and anger from her in that cave, but not the sort of abject terror that would overcome certain victory.

"Would you be able to recognize the Jedi's face?" you say to Sadon.

"Yes!" he replies. "I saw her clear." He goes on to describe her to you. Young and human - as was your impression - fair-skinned, with medium brown hair and a plain face. None of those details ring any bells, but you didn't really expect them to.

What do you tell the Reclamation Service about the events that played out? Notifying them that you were nearly killed by a Force-sensitive claiming to be a Jedi will send up alarm bells at Imperial Intelligence.

What do you tell Veredious?

Identifying the Jedi will be difficult, but not impossible. Imperial Intelligence has dossiers on many of the Order's members, but getting access to such sensitive information is downright impossible without a compelling reason.
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>>2287825
We were attacked by bandigos who had a strange ability to create a large explosion with a coordinated attack.

Just send Veredious her physical description, he'll know what to do.
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>>2287825
The fact that the team was sent away by mind control will have their suspicions very high about Jedi interference. Maybe we can brush it off since those cave monsters clearly had some limited control of the force and were able to work together to use a powerful technique.

We still don't know for sure that our messages won't be intercepted so we should say very little in our message to Veredious.
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>>2287830
Along this line

Dangerous wildlife, unstable tunnels and mysterious gas around the camp that was likely cause for the Imperial teams strange behavior.

Tell Veredious that some friend of his was looking for him and give him the description.

I'd rather not risk it using Imperial Intelligence services
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What do you guys think happened to make the Jedi stop before killing Sadon? I bet she started to get a bit carried away and maybe our anger infused lightsaber crystal had a small influence. Then she felt the darkness in herself and ran off. Or something.
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>>2287867
Maybe she took a peek into Sadons mind and got scared?
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>>2287842
Yeah this. Maybe we can find a less official means. Organized crime and bounty hunters have to have some kind of database like that.
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Maybe we could have one of our guards trained heavily by Olub'cree on how to operate in the criminal world so they can pose as a bounty hunter looking for information. Just to mask our involvement.

You still here OP?
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>>2287825
You decide not to tell the Reclamation Service about the Jedi, as that information would inevitably find its way to Imperial Intelligence - and the Chiss agent gunning for you and your Master. Instead, you take the very real story of your encounter with the cave creatures and fancy it up a bit. Maybe they are Force-sensitive, you suggest. And maybe their subtle influence they had on the Imperial team is the same way they've kept the native Weequay away from their nesting ground. You, being too strong in the Force to be mentally swayed, stumbled into their breeding ground, and nearly got killed for it.

Once you reach Voss-Ka, you go straight to the communications center within the Imperial enclave to send that information to the IRS. You play off your earlier paranoia as having been born of your near-death experience, and the fact that you considered the existence of Force-sensitive animals rare enough to warrant waiting for access to heavily encrypted channels. In truth, the monsters in that cave weren't Force-sensitive. The electricity they produced was of crude bio-electrical means, though that question of how that came about evolutionarily is undoubtedly interesting in its own right.

After that message, you compose another one to Lord Veredious. You sit at the terminal with your datapad in hand for some time as you consider how best to phrase a warning that could be intercepted by Cipher Nine. It needs to be specific enough that Veredious will have some idea of what the hell you're talking about, but general enough that the Chiss has nothing to work with. In the end, you settle for a whimsical message about a beautiful woman you saw on Sriluur, which you hadn't expected on a planet full of leathery Weequay. You go on to describe her thoroughly. She caught your eye *almost* as well as that nimble dancer on the Kwee-Kunee. Hopefully he remembers Baghora getting the Darksaber straight through his eyeball.
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>>2288173
It's a little too-smart-by-half for your taste, but it's the best you can do. Your Master needs to know that there's a Jedi after you, for both of your sakes. He's still yet to get back to you about the matter of Cipher Nine, assuming he's even received your message yet.

With those two matters dealt with somewhat unsatisfactorily, you go to the Imperial clinic to get your ears and arm looked at by one of the military doctors stationed there. Your Sith status gets you into an examination room with no three week waiting period, as well as an uncharacteristically thorough examination. Your hearing should return in full within a few days, the doctor says, though he recommends you avoid any noisy environments during that time. Your arm will have to stay in the sling for two weeks, but you're just happy to avoid having it put in a cast.

You arrived on Voss in the late morning, but by the time you near the hill atop which your manor sits, the sun has already set below it. The two human servants who first picked your entourage up from the starport have seemed... *off* to you the entire day. There's nothing outwardly unusual about their behavior, which is as it should be - subdued and quiet. But there's something about their glassy stares that has a hot itch crawling up your spine, and that feeling only grows more pronounced as the cruisers stop in the driveway out front of the manor entrance.

The doors to your home open, but it is neither Olub'cree nor any of the other household servants who greet you. It's Amaza, throwing her arms out wide in an exaggerated flourish that is bizarrely out of character for a young woman who so often reminds you more of a shadow than a person.

"Hello!" she calls out, walking towards you as you exit the hovering cruiser. "Who come to visit?"

What do you do?
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>>2288177
Just continue into our estate and ask what has happened in our absence. Let's see where she's going with this. We don't actually know her at all.
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>>2288177
Greet her and continue in. Sense her emotional state and the state of the other servants. I can't tell if something sinister is going on or if Amaza was just a huge pain in the ass for the rest of the servants to deal with while we were gone. Maybe Olub'Cree is training her to take over the position of the scarred twilek that we didn't keep.
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>>2288177
Okay..how about we /don't/ walk straight into an another trap.
Say does this remind of the imperial team that does not remember anything
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>>2288213
A trap? I don't see how this could be a trap. This is a secure estate. But something weird is going on for sure. God damn we can't get a break can we?
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Are Hacna, Jevan, or Sadon still with us? Or did they return to our manor while we were getting medical treatment?
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>>2288216
We would be crazy not to become a bit over paranoid with all the things that has happened to us.

>discreetly ask from Sadon if this is normal of Amaza
After that I'd suggest an quick, chat while checking Amaza with what mindreading abilities we have
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>>2288177
>does this remind of the imperial team that does not remember anything
Yes.
Just go in full corner clearing mode. Maybe disable Amaza and the two human servants first so they don't shoot us in the back.
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>>2288235
Idk man I feel like we're jumping to conclusions here. Let's make sure something is actually going on first.
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What if Sebuk is here waiting for us? She's got mind control expertise. I could picture her doing something like this to fuck with us.
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>>2288269
That makes perfect sense actually. She would have used mind control to install herself as the head of the household. Which is why everyone is acting weird and Amaza considers us a visitor.
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>>2288177
>discreetly ask from Sadon if this is normal of Amaza
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>>2288177
You turn to whisper to Sadon as Hacna and Jevan depart the cruiser behind yours.

"What's wrong with her?" you ask him. From the look on his face, he's as baffled as you are. Turning back to the girl, you reach into her mind to see if there's anything on the surface that would hint at the reason behind her strange behavior. The ability to peer into another's thoughts with the Force is difficult - far harder than simply sensing their raw emotional state - but you give it a try anyway.

The moment you dip below the surface, her eyes roll back into her head and she collapses onto the ground in a crumpled heap. Sadon rushes over to her, putting his ear over her mouth and feeling her neck for a pulse.

"Breathing," he says to you. You're not quite sure what happened - you hardly did a thing. Motioning for Hacna to back away and for Jevan and Sadon to walk just ahead, you carefully and quietly make your way inside. The two Tionese don't have the benefit of their blasters, which they had to leave on the Fury, but they draw their vibroblades and keep them ready as you inch your hand towards your lightsaber.

Chatter echoes through the entryway, which is devoid of servants. You follow it through another two rooms before coming within view of the manor courtyard, where a strange and unwelcome sight awaits you. A good deal of furniture has been dragged into the open-air space, creating a sort of lounge area. At the center of it, lounged back in a throne-like chair of dark wood, sits a red-skinned, black-robed figure. Her face is blocked by Olub'cree, who stands just beside her, but you don't need to see her face to make an educated guess as you slink through the windowed hallway wrapping around the courtyard.

You tell Jevan and Sadon to relax - not too much, though - and then you stand up straight to make your way into the open space. Darth Sebuk comes into view, as does the very unhappy-looking Kalyan on all fours in front of her. Sebuk has her bare feet propped up on Kalyan's back, and lurches forward with a grunt to grab a handful of small fruits from a bowl on the table beside her chair.

When she spots you walking towards her, the food falls from her hand and her eyes narrow.

"Finally," she hisses to herself, her low voice fraught with impatience. "Finally!"

You return her frown with one of your own, taking in the sad state of your two servants. Olub'cree looks just as dazed and dreamy as Amaza and the servants who picked you up from the starport, but Kalyan looks very aware of her situation, and very unhappy about it.

"Are you ready?" Sebuk snaps, swinging her bare feet onto the ground. "I've been waiting here for two days!"

Well?
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>>2288315
Demand that she relinquish her control over our staff. Ask her how long she has before she has to return to the academy, since we have to recover from our recent injuries.
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>>2288315
Haha damnit Sebuk. Yes I suppose we are. Help Kalyan up and free Olub'cree. I could care less about the unnamed servants.
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>>2288315
You could have just simply sent me a message to avoid this. I see you've made yourself at home in my absence.
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>>2288315
We should give her some D later on
Yknow after we become famous
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>>2288323
This is the smartest answer.
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>>2288490
Poor Varrus hasn't gotten any action in a long time. Must be even tougher for him as a zeltronian.
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>>2288508
>Poor Varrus hasn't gotten any action in a long time.

What's it been... a year+? Can you even imagine?
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>>2288624
And the last time wasn't even consensual lmao
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>>2288624
What is he, a Jedi? He's been neglecting the passion part of the sith code for a while now. Sebuk wasn't above seduction when we first met her. The only issue is whether we trust her mind controlling tendencies enough to bang her.
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>>2288655
It is decided then, we bang the possessive Sith today! As long as we don’t get mind controlled
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>Kalyan is extremely intelligent and resistant enough to force related mind control that even an ancient Darth can't control her
We're really lucky to have her. We just need to figure out how she was created.
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>>2288323
Supporting
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I feel like each member of our Tionese guard are unique enough to warrant separate character summaries in the Google docs.
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File: spear saber.jpg (247 KB, 608x720)
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247 KB JPG
Spear saber concept.
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Light dagger concept.
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>>2288315
You can make a pretty good guess at what happened here. Sebuk showed up unannounced, saw that you were gone, and decided to make herself at home - starting with brain-washing your feeble-minded servants. What you don't know is why Kalyan, who seems unaffected, is still on all fours.

You go over to help Kalyan up, and Sebuk scoffs incredulously at the gesture.

"She attacked me, you know! As soon as I arrived!"

"Good," you snap back at her before taking a look around the vacant hallway wrapping around the courtyard. Veredious took half of the servant staff with him when he left months ago, but there should still be more activity than this. "Where are the rest of the servants?"

Sebuk makes a noise of disgust, like she's got something stuck in her throat. "I had all of your Twi'leks locked away in one of the far rooms. Disgusting creatures." That would be most of your staff, then. The humans who picked you up comprise two of the five non-Twi'leks.

"But you've got no issue with him?" You point at Olub'cree, who meets your gaze without a hint of recognition.

"Ah." Sebuk glances over at him, as if only then remembering his presence. "He's there in case this brute gets uppity." She waves a hand at Kalyan. "Shock collars are a good idea. You should put them on all your slaves."

With that, the rest of the pieces fall into place. Sebuk arrived, saw you weren't here, started working her sorcery on your staff, and Kalyan intervened. But with the bewitched Olub'cree able to shock Kalyan with a mere tap on his wrist, she was forced to go along with Sebuk's demands. It was either that, or try to subdue a decrepit old man whom a stiff breeze could snap in half. You’re glad she found the will to endure this humiliation.

"I am sorry I could not do anything, Lord Varrus." Kalyan's tone is steady, but the icy glare she gives you says that she is very much unhappy with the situation your actions have put her in for the last two days. "I would have done something, but this..." She points at her collar.

You sigh and hold up a hand. "It's fine."

Sebuk launches into another series of sputtering half-words. "She hit me!" she says again, leaning forward in her chair and turning her left cheek towards you as she points a finger to it. "Right here, see?"

You walk towards her, bending over and squinting at the uniformly red flesh. "I don't see a thing."

"It looked horrid this morning," she insists. "And it still hurts."

It seems you've both had it rough. Stepping away from her, you refuse to comment on the matter while very bluntly changing the subject.

"Free Olub'cree. Then we'll talk about leaving Voss."
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>>2288960
Turning to the old Twi'lek, Sebuk opens her mouth to speak before grimacing and closing it. "He'll be a bit sluggish for a few days once I do that." After some pushing, Sebuk amends her statement - he'll probably be bed-ridden for a week. Amaza should recover from the strain in hours, she insists, being so much younger and healthier. You tell the Sith to have Olub'cree free the servants from their makeshift prison, go to his room, lie down, and only *then* break out of whatever spell he's under. With a snap of Sebuk's fingers he's off, and you move onto more important topics.

"How long do you have before you need to be back on Korriban?" you ask her.

"A week," Sebuk replies, then slaps the armrest of her chair. "Which is why we need to leave *now*. You've already wasted two days..." She glances at your broken arm and waves a dismissive hand at it. "...Galavanting around."

You throw your head up to the pastel-painted sky and heave a tired sigh, then drop yourself into one of the free chairs Sebuk had dragged out here.

"I just got home." You heft up your bad arm. "Do I look like I'm ready to go tomb diving with you?"

She shoots you an annoyed look and rises from her chair. "You asked me to make time for this, and I did. Are you telling me you can't go for a quiet little walk because your arm hurts?"

"How quiet?" you ask. She hasn't yet told you *where* you two will be going.

Sebuk eyes you silently for a few moments, searching for any hint of duplicity. "Yavin 4," she says finally. "Well within the safety of Imperial space."

You frown up at her. "Yes, and thoroughly explored."

"Just as Korriban was?" she retorts sharply. You of all people can't help but see her point.

"What's there?" you ask her.

She waves her finger in front of your face and gives a sharp 'tut'. "I'm telling you no more until we're on your ship en route to the Yavin system. I don't want you leaving me here among these awful aliens you've filled your home with."

Nor do you have any intention of leaving your staff in her questionable care. Twisting around in your chair, you glance back at your bodyguards to see Sadon eyeing the Sith with suspicious anger. Jevan, on the other hand, seems strangely fascinated - though his stance tells you he's still plenty cautious of her. Hacna is nowhere to be seen, likely having sequestered herself in the outdoor garage.

Do you leave with Sebuk tonight, like she's demanding? If so, which two servants do you take with you?

That's all for tonight.
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>>2288968
Yes. Let's take Amaza and Kalyan. Hacna should work more on studying and making suitable weapons out of the small kyber crystals from Tion. Sadon will begin further training against our training droids.
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>>2288985
Yup. We should get the truth from Kalyan about her origin during this mission. And get to know Amaza.
>>2288985
Jevan should train with him as well.
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>>2288985
This does appear to be the best option, since we need to get the truth out of Kalyan, and we don't know much about Amaza.
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I'm downloading KOTOR 1 and 2 to play at work tomorrow. Hopefully I'm given some insight for this quest. Plus the games are fucking great if I remember correctly. I feel like the quest is at least somewhat inspired by those games. I refuse to play the TOR MMO.
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What are the chances of the IRS rediscovering Yavin?

Because outside of the Deep Core, it's the only place that has an extant Sith Spirit worth a damn.
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>>2289508
Hopefully they don't know anything about it.
My current concern is that we're doing all of these secretive things and lying to the Empire. After this deal with Sebuknwe should focus on building some trustbwith the Empire.
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>>2289514
Fuck the Empire, FE Malgus and Revan had the right idea, ask any prominent spirit and they'll tell you that Vitiate is a cuck. But those spirits won't talk to you because you're the wrong kind of Sith.
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>>2289518
Hopefully Sebuk is the right kind of ancient Sith to learn from.
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>>2288968
Let's take the twins, perhaps they have some sort of defense against being mind controlled. We are sith afterall, and it would be a good counter to her abilitys, and it might come into handy in an dark side infused place
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>>2289538
She doesn't seem like it, she seems like a cross between Kallig and Xoxaan.
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>>2288968
Yes, Amaza and Kalyan
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>>2288968
"Alright." You push yourself up from your chair and turn to Sadon. "Put Amaza on a bed somewhere. We’re leaving as soon as she wakes up." An annoyed sound comes from Sebuk, and you look back to see that her annoyance hasn't lessened. "Like you said, she should be *fine* within a few hours."

That shuts the Sith up, though she does give one last annoyed huff before throwing her hands up and walking into the home. You tell Jevan to make sure that Olub'cree didn't die on you, and then inform Kalyan that she's going to be accompanying you to Yavin IV.

"What about me?" Sadon says from behind you, arriving back into the courtyard with shocking speed.

"You're in no state to fight."

He raises his bandaged hands and wiggles his fingers experimentally, but you shake your head. That's not what you're referring to, and he quickly comes to realize what you mean.

"Get the training droids out of storage," you suggest. "Show Jevan how to use them."

Sadon's face contorts into all sorts of pained expressions, and he takes a step closer to you while throwing a weary glance off in the direction Sebuk went.

"I do not trust her," he whispers. You're not sure why he bothers - his dislike of the woman was made plain by the way he glared at her.

"Neither do I." You nod at Kalyan beside you. "But I can trust her and Amaza, can't I?"

Sadon can only nod and mumble in agreement. That was the guarantee he had made to you when you first picked them up from that fire-melted stone temple on Tion. With further assurances to him that you'll be fine, you go to see where Hacna has gotten off to. You won't be taking her along, but you have no intention of letting her rest on her laurels.

The Weequay is nowhere to be seen in her workshop, until your eyes fall on a web of thickly-woven netting hanging in a corner of the garage, and the body curled up within. You always assumed she slept in the back seats of one of the cruisers.

"Hey!" You shake the net, stirring her awake. One has to envy her ability to doze off minutes after being shooed away from the collapsing Amaza. For all she knew, you and your guards had walked straight into a home invasion - which you had, though it was of a stranger type than most. Either she is that confident in your ability to protect yourself, or her apathy has reached levels you hadn't thought possible.

"What?" Hacna sighs, reaching through the hammock to activate U4 on the floor beneath her. You make room for her to untangle herself from the netting and stand up.

"I'm leaving for Yavin 4." You look around the garage for any sign of those misshapen crystals you gave her when you got back from your second trip to Tion. "Did you ever find a use for those Kyber crystals I gave you?"
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>>2290197
She shrugs sleepily. "Shit. Shit crystals."

Disappointing, but not a totally unexpected result. "You can't do *anything* with them?"

Twisting her neck around to work out the kinks from sleeping in a bundle of cargo netting, Hacna mills about the room before settling down in a chair.

"Maybe if I am feeling more creative. Any problem can be solved with creativity."

You eye her with confusion, certain that she's awkwardly hinting at something she wants - but with no idea what. Then, her wandering gaze swivels back to you, and takes on an intensity you hadn't thought she could muster.

"You send Jevan here,” she says firmly.

The thought of that simple man being of any help to her has a smile breaking your bewildered expression.

"He's going to help you be more 'creative'? How?"

For a moment, she just continues to stare at you. Then her hairless eyebrows draw down into bedroom-eyes, and she raises her finger before running a sandpapery tongue up the length of it. You recoil in horror, making all manner of involuntary noises of disgust.

"You tell him to help me," she says. "I will do the rest."

What's your answer?

>Reluctantly agree. Tell her to never, ever, let you know what happened.

>No. The Emperor won't allow it.

>Agree, and encourage it. Jevan will come here often, and he'll be under strict orders from you to only speak to Hacna in Basic with her translator droid deactivated. If she wants company, it's going to be a productive experience.

>Player's Choice
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>>2290201
>Agree, and encourage it. Jevan will come here often, and he'll be under strict orders from you to only speak to Hacna in Basic with her translator droid deactivated. If she wants company, it's going to be a productive experience.
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>>2290201
No. What you do with him is your business but you will do what I say simply because I told you to. I've been soft on you lately and this is how you repay me? You've forgotten your place. Do I need to remind you?
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>>2290201
>>Agree, and encourage it. Jevan will come here often, and he'll be under strict orders from you to only speak to Hacna in Basic with her translator droid deactivated. If she wants company, it's going to be a productive experience.
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>>2290201
>Reluctantly agree. Tell her to never, ever, let you know what happened.
Give the choice to Jevan, if he wants to do it, to get his team better weaponry then sure
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I'd rather not force Jedan doing something againts his will, when it is not strictly related to bodyguard duties.

We need to have his trust, by the time he has grown up
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>>2290201
This >2290228
If she wants him she can dress up like his sister and seduce him herself.
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We should get Sebuk to help us indulge in one of our passions... painting portraits, lewd things can come after? Like... hand holding
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>>2290668
We were raised in a sith academy, I doubt we indulged in such frippery.
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>>2290201
>Agree, and encourage it. Jevan will come here often, and he'll be under strict orders from you to only speak to Hacna in Basic with her translator droid deactivated. If she wants company, it's going to be a productive experience.
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>>2290201
....We haven’t gotten laid in years and now our weequay is, poor Leera
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>>2290201
"Alright," you say to Hacna. She reacts with surprise at how easily you gave in to her demand, but is smart enough not to pry into your thought process. "I'm going to see some results with those crystals when I get back, right?"

Hacna hesitates again, likely tempted to add in some qualifier or condition - but she's smart enough not to push her luck that far. "Yes, Lord Varrus."

You're not doing this out of the kindness of your heart. The only reason this perverse coupling will be allowed to take place - if it even does - is so Hacna finally learns to speak something other than a series of croaks and grunts picked up by an interpret droid. You leave her and go to Jevan, telling him that Hacna will need some simple help in the workshop while you're gone. But he is *only* to speak to her in Basic, and only when U4 is inactive. The best way to learn a language is immersion, after all. Hopefully this will at least get her started.

Amaza recovers as night falls, confused and groggy but otherwise fine. Sebuk only mildly protests at her coming along to Yavin, but nearly explodes when you indicate that Kalyan will be escorting you as well.

"Why would you need bodyguards?" Sebuk demands. "*I'll* be there!"

You don't mention that's half the reason you want them along. Kalyan because she is apparently resistant to the Sith's mind-control, and Amaza simply because you'd like to get to know her better. If this supposedly-simple trip doesn't go as planned, you'll at least have a chance to see what the girl can do. Dealing with any obstacles that come up will be harder with one arm in a sling. As will fighting off Sebuk if she decides it's time to have another go at looking into your mind.
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>>2291326
By the time everyone is assembled and you've reached the starport in Voss-Ka, you're more than ready to sleep. Unfortunately, with Hacna not here, programming in the hyperspace route and getting the ship into orbit falls to you.

"I'm surprised you can stand to be around so many women for so long," says Sebuk. You stop on the ramp of the Fury to look back at her, unsure of what she means. If this is humor, it's lost on you. "Good on you for overcoming past traumas."

Her smile widens, and realization dawns on you as you turn and storm the rest of the way up the ramp. You're not sure whether she glimpsed your night with Tuija in-spirit, or when she made brief contact with your mind on your visit to Korriban. Either way, you make a mental note not to give her any more ammunition to needle you with.

It takes a half-hour for you to get the Fury into orbit and past Voss' mass shadow, by which time Sebuk has already firmly established herself in the ship's only bedroom. She hasn't littered the walls and tables with tools like Hacna did to the cargo bay, but her very presence has a way of making the room seem like her own.

Sebuk sits there on the bed, legs crossed, staring at you gravely as you stand in the doorway. She knows as well as you do what silent battle is taking place here, and what the stakes are.

Do you go to war for the bedroom?
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>>2291330
We either argue for it right then and there, or jokingly offer to share, if she's professional enough.
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>>2291330
> I never did get round to cleaning those sheets...
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>>2291330
Absolutely. This is our ship.
bang her.
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>>2291344
This! It’s our chance, emotional build up y’knowhatimsayin
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>>2291330
Yes. She can mind control our entire estate but this is where we draw the line.
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>>2291330
"You're not sleeping in here," you say to Sebuk. "Not unless you want to share the bed." The barest hint of a seductive smile slips through your serious stare, but disappears when you see the utter revulsion Sebuk displays.

"Ah..." She trails off awkwardly and grimaces, her eyes flickering to your broken arm. "Few things are more repulsive to me than weakness."

You frown and take a step towards her, feeling more than a little humiliated. The offer had only been partially a joke. She is old, sure - and her mind is even older - but she's more than attractive enough for you to have considered it. Perhaps you have thing for dangerous woman.

"Out." You point to the doorway. "This is *my* ship."

"Ownership means nothing if you're not strong enough to keep what's yours." Her grip on the bed frame hardens visibly.

Your manhood is on the line here.
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>>2291581
Pomf her! This is our land.
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>>2291581
Flip the bed onto its side using the force.
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>>2291581
We could always break the bedframe if this doesn't work. If we can't have it, no one can have the nice bedroom.
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>>2291581
Throw her off. Not cool.
>>2291587
>pomf
what did he mean by this
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>>2291602
..There are ways to break the bed anon, besides if we aren’t as strong physically at the moment we could use the force?
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>>2291581
Wrap her in the blanket and shove her in the closet.
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>>2291581
Steal all the blankets and pillows
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>>2291654
>>2291590
I change my vote, do both of these and take the mattress too
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>>2291581
You start towards her, and a hand shoots out to stop you. Waves of force ripple over you, dispersed easily by your well-honed connection to the Force. But Sebuk's invisible push is enough to make your arm start throbbing like the break is fresh. You'd really like to avoid having to turn back and make another visit to the Imperial enclave's medical center so soon.

"Don't you try it." Sebuk rises from the bed, hand still stretched towards you. When she speaks, her voice is low and deadly serious. "I took a public shuttle from Korriban, with *four* stops on the way. Did you know they do bunk beds on those ships?"

You shake your head 'no', eyes darting to the two pillows behind her. "That must have been hard," you say.

Her icy stare turns pained, and her teeth clench in a tight grimace. "Aliens and commoners and servants..." She hisses and shakes her head. "I am a *High Lord* of the Sith Empire! I will not be--"

As you half-listen to her ranting, you reach out with your good hand and pull one of the pillows from the bed. She sees what you're doing only when it reaches your hand.

"Hey!" she shouts, rushing towards you. You stuff the pillow under your armpit and make a move for the second one, but she reacts quickly, rushing back into the room to seize it as you step into the hallway. Sebuk shoves the pillow in between the wall and bed and spins about for the one you stole, but you're already striding away down the central corridor.

"Childish!" she shouts after you. "Utterly and completely childish!"
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>>2291744
Maybe, but it wasn't something you did to be funny. You had taken that encounter very seriously, and one look at the soft pillow in your hand makes you feel as if you've managed to scrape out a partial win. You will let her have the bedroom, but she will be slightly less comfortable now.

If you *really* wanted her out of there, you would have sent Kalyan in for her. Their second encounter wouldn't go quite so well for Sebuk without the benefit of control over the blonde woman's shock collar.

You continue through the command center to the cargo bay, and wince reflexively the moment the door opens. You're not sure if Hacna has been cooking in here on your trips, or if the stale-spicy smell that fills the room has something to do with the pheromones Weequay communicate with. You sit down on the cot shoved in the middle of a little cavern of crates, waiting patiently to see if you adjust to the odor. You don't.

"Goddamnit," you mutter, looking back to the exit and considering where to drag the cot.

"I leave, my Lord Varrus?" comes a soft voice from beside you.

You leap to your feet, whirling about to see Amaza seated just beside the cot, in the shadow of one of the crates ringing it. You swear she wasn't there when you sat down, but there's no way she moved that close after the fact. Wearily, you reach out with the Force to sense her presence - it's there, loud and clear. She's just shockingly adept at concealing her *physical* presence, and you were too distracted to otherwise take notice of her.

She leave?

That's all for tonight.
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>>2291749
No, she can stay. This is a good opportunity to learn more about her as well. Ask her about her life on Tion, her skills, and how she's so damn sneaky.
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>>2291749
Nope. Let's get to know her a bit. We've neglected doing so for a while now.
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>>2291754
>>2291768
Time to figure out what kind of person is our stealth operative.
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>>2291749
Nope, she can stay.
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Can non-force sensitives be trained to conceal their force presence? Amaza would be a great weapon against jedi if she could.
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>>2293853
Sure, just dress her up in a tinfoil pantsuit.
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Reading the archives... dank shit
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>>2294690
The dankest
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>>2291749
"No," you say to Amaza. You had already decided not to sleep in the cargo bay, and you had been planning on asking her a few questions. With your heart still pounding from the shock she gave you, you doubt you could fall asleep anytime soon, anyway. You tell her to sit on the cot you were just using, and step back to give her a look over. It's something you haven't really done since you first encountered her on Tion, when she had been covered in dust and grime. When she's not remaining just out of sight, your gaze seems to pass right over her, like a random face in a crowd.

She is remarkable in her unremarkability. Diminutive enough to cut an inconspicuous figure, but not freakishly small. Brown hair, brown eyes, and tan skin that has become slightly tanner with her time away from Tion, where she remained constantly covered to protect from the irradiated winds. Her hair is pulled back into a clumsy ponytail, and the only thing making her plain looks stand out is the blue face paint mimicking the design of the medallion you gave to Sadon. Olub'cree had forced the four Tionese to wash their faces, but they had reapplied it after your encouragement to Sadon to do so.

Amaza remains perfectly still, except for the thin fingers folding and unfolding atop her thighs. If she's uneasy around you, she doesn't show it - nor can you feel it. It's good to know there's no hard feelings being held onto after you threw her around like a rag doll in that cave.

"Do you do that on purpose?" you say, quickly amending your statement when you see her confusion. "Sneaking."

"It good not being seen," she replies. Her voice is just as airy and formless as her person, and the lingering hearing loss you're still struggling with only heightens the feeling that you're talking to a ghost.

"Did you do that a lot on Tion?"

She nods. "Always."
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>>2294975
"Then how did you end up with Sadon?" you wonder aloud. It was hard for you to imagine the twins joining up with him, but it's just as hard to think of why he would let her come along. Maybe she could climb into small places for him. Air ducts and crevices and collapsed corridors that the larger Sadon couldn’t maneuver through.

"I stole food from him," she says. "For nine days. He make camp, I watch until he fall asleep. Then I steal."

"And he never caught on?"

Amaza winces at some mildly irritating memory. "He figures it out, and he lays a trap."

"And you didn't realize it until afterwards," you suggest.

But she shakes her head. "I see it, but too hungry. Try to steal anyway."

And then she got caught. "He didn't kill you?"

"He is kind," she insists, leaning forward on the cot. It's the first real movement she's made. "He only kills when he needs."

That nearly earns a laugh from you. The memory of his band of raiders storming your crash-landed ship is fresh in your mind. As is the image of him stabbing one of his tribesmen who attempted to flee your slaughter of his fellows. He only kills when he *wants* to, and it's a desire that he has never had any reason to suppress. That anti-social attitude got you both into trouble a few days ago.

Is there anything else you want to ask her?
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>>2294977
Ask if she ever over heard or saw anything strange about Jevan and Kalyan while she was sneaking. Make sure Kalyan isn't nearby enough to overhear us.
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>>2294977
Ask her if she has much fighting experience. And this >>2294989
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Where is everybody today?
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>>2294977
Ask if she ever snuck into any strange places looking for food or shelter. Places where the technology of her ancestors was still functional.
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>>2295074
It would probably just be super average tech from a few hundred years ago.
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>>2294977
You spare a glance back at the door to make sure it's closed, and that your words won't reach any unwanted ears.

"What about Jevan and Kalyan?" you ask her. "Are they kind?"

Amaza cracks a thin smile, but suppresses it quickly. You're asking her to gossip about two of the three people in this galaxy she associates with, and she's uneasy about it.

"They are good fighters," she says diplomatically. You don't doubt that. Nor do you believe either one of the twins is quite as mercenary as Sadon. If either sibling were completely self-serving, they would have killed the other to earn your favor when you had demanded it. Kalyan not only had refused, but had risked death to pre-empt your retaliation. Familial bonds are strong, but even those can break under the strain of a wasteland like Tion. This bond, it seems, had not.

"There's something about those two I'm interested in," you say to her. She leans away, her unease clearly growing. "Do you remember when the doctor looked at you four?" She nods in response. "You and Sadon were very sick--" Her eyes go wide, and you wave a calming hand. "--You're fine now. We fixed you. But Jevan and Kalyan weren't sick at all. Isn't that surprising?"

Her eye twitches and she shrugs, glancing off to the side. "I do not know."

"I think they may have come across something before they met you. Something that stopped them from ever getting sick." Amaza looks back to you, her interest heightened.

"I asked them about it, but neither one remembers anything. But they may have simply not realized what it is they found." You can feel her anxiety lessen now that you've indicated this isn't gossip, but rather an open dialogue that you've included her in. "Do you know what it is I do for work?"

Her lips purse and she makes a rumbling sound of thought. "You dig for old things," she says finally.

"That's right. And if the twins came across something interesting on Tion, I'd like to know about it. Did they ever talk to you about any... amazing things they saw?"

She shrugs again. "I do not know them long." Another unsurprising dead-end. Jevan's memories with Kalyan go back far longer than Amaza's, and are just as much an open book. The only way this girl would have useful information is if Kalyan had inadvertently let something slip. And that never seemed very likely. Still, it was worth a try.

"Did you do much fighting on Tion?" you ask, steering the subject away from matters of clones and secrets.
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>>2295228
"I fight," she says quickly, scooting forward on the creaking cot. "I kill 3 people, knife in back." She holds her fist up and bangs it forward a few times, mimicking a stabbing motion. But there's something else beneath the enthusiastic declaration of her skills. More unease. Maybe you'll explore that later, when you can probe her mind without the pall of exhaustion hanging over your mind. You pick up the pillow you stole from Sebuk, telling Amaza she can sleep in here. The girl starts to say something as you leave, but quickly stops and slinks back into the shadows she seemed to form from.

Making your way across the Fury to the training room you've been using as a third makeshift bedroom, you find Kalyan in the process of gathering thin roll-out mattresses and bedding from the wall closet. She stands sharply at attention the moment you step over the threshold. Everything about her behavior is proper and orderly - it's like she was *born* to be a military Officer. But you can never quite shake the feeling that each speedy answer carries with it the smallest bit of sarcasm, and each faithfully-executed order is done with just enough sluggishness for you to notice - but not enough for you to punish without appearing petty.

Or perhaps that's all your paranoia playing tricks on you. This woman had nearly killed you. But it's not so much the close call with death that bothers you - you've becoming shockingly numb to those. It's the matter of *who* nearly delivered your end. Your academy rival, Loman, had been your near-equal. Harkun, the academy Overseer, had to use all the tricks of his high station to try to end your life. That old Jedi on the Kwee-Kunee was a trained Master, who Lord Veredious himself had struggled to overcome. But this woman standing before you grew up on a hellscape of a world with no training or education, and still had come closer than all the others.

Finding out that she was presumably *designed* to be capable of such feats should be comforting, but it isn't. It only serves to drive home just how fundamentally outclassed you are on a genetic level. If this woman had your degree of Force-sensitivity and years of training at the Sith academy, she would eclipse you totally.

Kalyan's eyes flicker down to the crumpled bedding on the floor. "May I take this to the cargo bay, Lord Varrus?" All trace of the awkward, bumbling Basic spoken by her three companions is completely gone. Had you not seen her origins first-hand, you might have thought she grew up on Dromund Kaas itself.

Do you let her go to the cargo bay, and then go to sleep yourself? Or keep her here, and talk to her? If the latter, what do you talk to her about?
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>>2295231
Keep her here and just directly tell her what we know from the medical report and from speaking to Jevan. Demand an explanation. Its not like subtlety would work on her anyway. She has nothing to fear from telling us.
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>>2295259
This. Let's get to the bottom of this. She shouldn't have learned the language so quickly.
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>>2295231
>let her go to the cargo bay, and then go to sleep yourself

She won't just go ahead and reveal her cards that easily, she will just play dumb and we can't really pressure here that much.
We should not reveal our cards either, we can wait, there is no need to hurry
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>>2295405
I dont see any reason to keep what we know a secret.
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>>2295414
When we get more pressing evidence and throw them all at her face at same time, we can make her crack easier
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>>2295439
It's been confirmed that she's the only source we have left
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>>2295231
"Not yet." You motion for Kalyan to sit on the floor, and you do so as well. There are no chairs in the small training room, leaving the two of you to kneel across from each other like opposing meditators. It feels a bit awkward. "The doctor who examined you and Jevan told me something interesting."

Kalyan nods along, giving little indication that she knows what's coming. She's had a long time to prepare any lies or feigned ignorance she might try to feed you.

"He said you two are clones. Genetically identical."

She stops nodding, staring at you for a moment as if expecting you to continue. "We are twins, Lord Varrus. We *are* identical."

You let out a sharp breath of frustration and feel your eyes roll ever so slightly. "You two weren't born naturally. You were made in a petri dish and then grown to maturity in a surrogate womb. Possibly not even a real woman's womb."

Her eyes go wide with surprise, but not the sort that tells you she knows she's been caught in a lie. "I don't understand."

Now you know what game she's decided to play here - the one where she's just an uneducated savage who doesn't know anything. It would be a very convincing ploy, if her excuse for avoiding the medical examination hadn't been so blatantly fabricated. No one who grew up on Tion is afraid of some needles and a few minutes of standing nude in a full-body scanner. You're beginning to wonder if she even *did* grow up on Tion.

"You said you didn't want to see the doctor because you were afraid," you snap at her. "I say it's because you knew what he would find."

Her mouth moves silently, the dumbfounded mutterings of someone who has been accused of something she doesn't understand.
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>>2295668
"I don't know what to say, my Lord." She finds her voice, though it's still quite uneasy and more than a little apologetic. "I don't know anything about clones or being made instead of born." Her gaze drifts downward, as if taking in the magnitude of the news you've just delivered to her.

"Being a clone isn't *illegal*," you explain, softening your harsh tone. "Neither me nor the Empire is going to hurt you or your brother. I'd just like to know where you two came from."

She glances up and nods in understanding, but says nothing. You find your own conviction wavering. The only reason you don't buy her explanation outright is because of how doggedly she avoided the exam, but what if that really *was* just irrational fear of modern medicine? You rationalized to yourself that her experience with the autodoc would endear her to doctors and medical droids, but it isn't unbelievable that having her melted shoulder patched with fake skin would be unsettling enough to turn her off of the whole idea.

"I asked your brother about this," you say. "He says he can't remember anything before about 7 years ago."

"Do you believe *him*?" she asks.

"I do. And I want to know why he has such a massive gap in his memory."

"Jevan was hit in the head," she responds confidently. "We were fighting another group, and he took a bad blow to the back of his skull."

You've reached an impasse. If Kalyan does know something, she also has a reason to hide it. Guessing at that reason and exploiting it could make her open up, but revealing how little you know would prevent future bluffs of that sort.
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>>2295674
We could occasionally dress up as a giant needle and jump out from behind corners at her. That would surely shake something loose.
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>>2295674
The sort of technology needed to genetically engineer two ideal radiation-proof humans isn't cheap. And you were placed somewhere nobody would ever find you. If you're worried that I would turn you over for a reward to the Arkanians or whoever created you you're sorely mistaken. Both you and your brother are under my protection and therefore if whoever made you tries to get you back then you're under the protection of the sith as well.

It's clear that you were only willing to leave Tion to escape whoever created you. Just tell me who that is and what you really are and I can continue to protect you better, if only because you will be very valuable to me. I can guarantee that your life with me will be the best one possible for you and your brother. You will reach your potential with me in ways that you never could with anyone else.
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>>2295718
This
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>>2295718
We would have found clear evidence of his past head injury in his medical exam. He didn't lose his memory at all, he was "born" as fully grown clone or genetic experiment. His perfect memory would involve his recovery from the injury as well. People don't just master a language in a few months like you and they don't have perfect recollection for no reason.
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I can't remember if I ever explicitly stated it, but all four of them speak Basic, and only Basic. It's just that the other 3 speak a stunted version resulting from centuries of isolation.
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>>2295926
Right but she's learned true Basic much more quickly than any of the others.
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There's a chance that the twins had already escaped whoever created them while on Tion, which is why they were always moving and switching to different groups. Then they learned of a way to escape Tion for good and took that chance. She's concealing her origin from us because she's either worried that we would sell them out or maybe it was the Empire who created them.
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Ok yeah I'm officially running with the theory that they're imperial experiments. That's the best reason for her to hide it from us so insistently.
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>>2295936
Wait. Maybe she didn't quickly learn how to speak properly. She knew how to speak true basic before she was ever introduced to the tribal society and she just dumbed it down to blend in. She might have even escaped from the facility with Jevan just as he was awakened as a fully developed clone. She had already received basic education at that point. That would also explain the varying telomere lengths, she is older than Jevan. The fact that they were radiation proof suggests that they were created specifically to live on Tion but I'm not sure why.
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>>2296284
Oh damn that also explains why Jevan seems sorta childlike sometimes, especially compared to Kalyan.
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>>2295674
You hum thoughtfully and rock back on your folded legs, only then realizing how far you had leaned towards Kalyan as you sought answers from her. Since she likes to feign ignorance so much, maybe you'll give it a try.

"The scans found nothing wrong with Jevan's brain."

Kalyan doesn't look away, and answers quickly. She has prepared for this. "Retrograde amnesia does not necessarily present with physical abnormalities."

"Retrograde--" You blurt out, a scowl creasing your face. "Where did you even hear that term?"

Her mouth falls open slightly, and she waits a few moments before responding. "I asked the doctor about Jevan's memory loss. He explained it to me."

Any patience you had has long since left, but you do your best to soften your frown and relax your tight shoulders. She's afraid of you, in a very rational sense - you put deadly collars on her and her brother after telling her to kill him. Kind words won't lessen that animosity, so you decide to try another strategy. There's someone she fears more than you - the people who made her. There are only so many groups with the funds, technology, and desire to create clones, and even fewer with the expertise to produce specimens like the twins.

"Are you worried I'll hand you over to the Arkanians?"

You finish while Kalyan is mid-blink, and catch an almost imperceptible flicker of unease that keeps her eyelids shut just a moment too long. Her inner self is just as well-controlled as her greater outward displays of emotion, but even the greatest Pazaak players has tells. You would have missed it entirely if you weren't devoting every ounce of attention to scrutinizing her expression.

"I know that's who made you two," you continue, gesturing broadly. You're confident enough now to press that assumption as far as it will take you. If you're wrong, it's a bluff you'll never be able to use again. But if you're right, this might make her crack. She doesn't respond or make any move, and you're still not certain that you've hit the mark. In one last desperate move, you take your datapad from your side, do a quick search on the Holonet, and show it to Kalyan.

"Does this ring a bell?"

She looks at the image, and her eyes flutter open and closed as she wavers from side to side on her folded legs. You're worried she might collapse like some crumbling building.

"What is that?" she asks, her voice shaking.
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>>2296413
"*That* is the logo for the Adasca BioMechanical Corporation." You put the computer back in your lap, confident that you've finally found a piece of the puzzle. There are a few species who could have made the twins - the Lurrians, the Khomm, the Ithorians, the Columi - but only the Arkanians have a historical background of mass-producing clones for martial purposes. And these two seem tailor-made for warfare. With Arkanian involvement assumed, it's a certainty that Adasca was the mega corporation doing the bulk of the work.

Kalyan lurches onto the side of her hips, unfolding her legs and sitting cross-legged with her back hunched and eyes pointed at the floor.

"Are you done lying to me?" you ask pointedly. She nods solemnly, her front of defiance now totally broken. "Then tell me what happened. How did you end up on Tion?"

She's silent for what is maybe ten seconds, but seems like minutes. Then, she takes a deep breath in and begins to tell her story. She speaks in monotone, and doesn't meet your eyes the entire time. The tale begins where it ends, she says - on Tion. She woke up in a glass tank filled with liquid, her mouth covered by a breathing apparatus.

Panicking, she kicked her way out until the glass cracked and she fell into the main compartment of a shuttle. There were flames everywhere, but she spotted Jevan on the floor beside her, his own tube already cracked open and his body covered in cuts. She had no idea who he was - or who *she* was - but she felt an overwhelming urge to get him to safety.

Kalyan dragged Jevan out of the crashed ship and down a hill, leaving him well out of reach of the flames. Then she ran back to look for any other survivors, and found their dead pilot. The pilot's face was unremarkable to Kalyan - at least until a few hours later, when she glimpsed her own reflection in a sheet of metal.

Clutched protectively in the pilot's hands was a datapad, which Kalyan inexplicably knew how to operate. There was a video recording, where the terrified pilot detailed Adasca's purge of their covert cloning program. Kalyan understood very little of what the woman was talking about, but the fear in her eyes said to run. So she did run, leaving the dead woman behind to be consumed by the flames.

Back outside, Jevan was being prodded by some spear-armed scavengers who had seen the crash and come to pick over the remains. Kalyan shouted at them, and things degenerated into a fight, which ended shortly after Jevan awoke and joined the fray with clumsy hand-to-hand blows. He didn't know who she was, but getting him to follow her lead was effortless.

And the rest, Kalyan tells you, is unremarkable. She had gotten them away from the crash as quickly as possible, leaving the datapad behind in the shuttle. She claims she doesn't know where on Tion the shuttle crash-landed. You're not sure you believe that after how much she's lied to you already, but you can't imagine why she would bother at this point.
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>>2296429
"You could have saved us both a lot of headache by just telling me this," you say.

Finally she looks up at you, her eyes narrowing slightly. "Do you have family, Lord Varrus?"

The question catches you off-guard, as does the look she's giving you, and you respond before thinking. "No."

"Then I don't think I can adequately explain my actions. But that is *my* failing, not yours."

It's as veiled an insult as you've ever heard, but it's hard to take it as anything but that. You're not used to getting a dressing-down from someone with a figurative noose tied around their neck. Theirs, *and* their brother's. But you're still too curious to respond to her verbal jab just yet.

"Is that why your speech improved so quickly?" you ask. "You already knew how to speak proper Galactic Basic. You just changed it to blend in on Tion."

Her eyes go a little wider, and you get the distinct impression that you've found one of the few areas she's miscalculated on. Except Jevan is *still* speaking just as awkwardly as Sadon and Amaza, and you can't picture him being the more careful of the two. In fact, you still can't believe he lied to you at all.

"Why hasn't Jevan dropped the bad Basic, like you did?"

Kalyan's eyes flutter closed again, and she rubs a hand slowly across her forehead as she hangs as her head.

"He came out of that tank not knowing how to speak," she says. "I taught him to talk like the others on Tion did."

You give her a confused look. "He didn't know any Basic? Not a word?"

She's quiet for a moment, then lets out a slow breath that becomes ragged halfway through. "*I* taught him how to speak. *I* taught him how to read. How to hunt, how to track, how to fight..." She trails off, and takes another uneasy breath in. Her eyes are still pointed at the ground and her hand covers her eyes, but you can see her lip trembling.

"You raised him?" you ask in awe.

She nods, letting out a sharp squeak of acknowledgment as tears drip from between her joined fingers. You hadn't ordered her to kill her brother, or her clone - you had ordered her to kill her son.

What do you say next? In addition to, or in amendment of, >>2295718

That's all for tonight.
>>
>>2296436
You should know that I never intended for you to kill Jevan. I would have ended the fight with the force before it came to that. I simply had to take some measure of your loyalty to Sadon and by extension to me before I allowed you to board my ship. And as you have seen I do not demand blind loyalty, I took you both in despite your attempt at my life. I find these collars distasteful but you left me with no choice. Now, at my side you and Jevan will become strong enough to continue surviving.

It won't be easy, but you will see more and become more than you or Jevan could have ever imagined on Tion. It seems that joining me was the first, biggest wish that Jevan ever had since he was willing to do it even despite your advice. If you were to escape me you would find a much harder and less glorious life than the adventures Jevan craves.

The question is, what do you want?
>>
>>2296436
>I'm sure Jevan loves you just as much as you do him
Administer headpats and don't remind her that family is weakness.
>>
>>2296436
What is it that you want for yourself and Jevan? Do you want revenge against the Arkanians? Or do you want Jevan to remain ignorant of his origins?
>>2296610
Dude that in no way addresses the issue here. Also this isn't anime.
>>
Are the Arkanians allied with the Empire or the Republic at this point?
>>
>>2297036
Republic
>>
wtf is with anons fetish for headpats, you anime degenerates need to repent!
>>
So she had some kind of education implanted before she left the birthing tank? I wonder why he didn't then.

Hurt did you have this planned when we first met them or did you just wing it?
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>>2297076
At the risk of breaking the mystique of my writing process: I didnt like how everyone guessed the twist that she was pregnant (with Jevan's kid), so I changed it right before you took her for the exam.
>>
>>2297102
Hahaha, well played.
>>
>>2297102
I gotta say, I like this twist a whole lot better
>>
>>2296436
The Galaxy is a cruel place. I believe you're smart enough to see through any lie I could come up with so I'll tell the truth. I believed that a test of loyalty and a display of my cruelty would win over who I imagined were a group of tribal savages. I saw Sadon himself strike down a member of his tribe who tried to flee from battle. But it's also true that I would have prevented any serious harm during that fight. Clearly we got off on the wrong foot and I'm truly sorry for what I did. I have no intention of allowing either of you to be harmed.

Tell her our backstory of being taken from our family for brutal and often deadly training at the sith academy. It's only fair after she told us hers. Not to get pity from her though. Tell her we can work together for mutual benefit. If she seems receptive I'd like to take off her collar and promise to take off Jevans when we return. They're kind of a crutch and working together without them is really better for everybody if we can get away with it.

This quest is good shit OP.
>>
>>2296436
In the end, it wasn't empathy that had made Kalyan reveal her secret - it was trickery. That tact took you this far, but as you stare across the training mat at the woman who has now grown still, you find yourself doubting the idea of it taking you any further. She is afraid of you, but it is a cold, emotionless fear that will evaporate the moment you no longer hold the threat of death over her and her brother. And you would much prefer your bodyguards to not hate you. Changing Kalyan's perception of you will be difficult, but this is a good place to start on that long road.

"I don't know where I came from, either."

Kalyan looks up at you, her hand falling away from eyes that are still just wet enough to glisten in the sterile light. Confiding in this woman - this *slave* - risks lowering yourself to her station. But that danger has long since come and gone. She was never awed by your power, like Sadon is. She recognizes it for what it is - real, but beatable.

"When I arrived at the Sith academy on Korriban, the first thing they told us is that we live or die on our own." You swallow hard at the memory of those early years. Your initial arrival is a blur, but you do remember that single booming declaration. "They gave us training sabers and forced us to fight each other. The weapons weren't deadly, but the shocks hurt badly enough that we thought they were." Part of you can't believe you're telling her this, but you aren't confident enough in your persuasive ability to sway her with anything other than real memories and real emotions.

She stares at you blankly for a moment, and then her expression darkens. "I see, my Lord. That's why you ordered me to murder Jevan." Her tone makes very clear that she hasn't let herself forget, *or* forgive that event.

"I told Sadon to find fighters - the best on Tion. He brought me four, *including* himself." You let the words hang in the air for a moment, particularly the small numbering of the group your head bodyguard had gathered. "Do you think I would have let one of you kill the other?"

Kalyan's lip curls into a mean smile. "Your thought process is a mystery to me, my Lord."

In hindsight, it was a bad idea - nearly disastrous. But maybe you can make her understand, and eventually that understanding will grow to something resembling forgiveness.

"The first group I encountered on Tion - Sadon's former tribe - were savages. They attacked me the moment I landed. I know their type well - primitive people, who respect power, brutality, and nothing else."

She eyes you tiredly, and you struggle to find a way to hammer your point home before you lose her completely.

"I assumed you were like them, and I wasn't aware of your... relation to Jevan." You're no longer quite sure what to call the 'twins'. "I'm not ordering you to forget what I did," you say carefully. "I only want to know that *you* understand that I would not have let you harm your brother."
>>
>>2298913
The room falls silent, and that silence builds until it's a ringing in your ears. You can feel the warring emotions within Kalyan, lashing out at you like invisible licks of sunfire. None of what you sense within her gives you hope for a positive answer, nor does the flaring of her nostrils or the heaving of your chest. But after a few moments her anger is brought under control, and she looks at you with her former facade of cool professionalism.

"I understand, Lord Varrus." Her words drip with more venom than she would normally allow to seep in, but it's the best you can ask for given the circumstances. Bringing up what you tried to make her do was risky, and inevitably gave rise to all sorts of nasty feelings directed chiefly at you. What's more, you had effectively asked her to forgive you - all while insisting you *weren't* asking for forgiveness.

But she had relented, probably due to the simple reality of her and Jevan's position. And that's fine. Ideas, when turned into words and spoken, take on a new firmness. With time and further encouragement, that idea will become her new reality. The events will all stay the same, but they'll take on a softer implication, and you'll no longer be the monstrous villain she's set you up as in her mind.

A few moments more pass. And then, to your great surprise, Kalyan cracks a smile - a genuine one.

"You are right about the people of Tion being primitives," she says with a slight laugh. You eye her uneasily, unsure of where this joviality has come from. "I learned a new term on Voss - 'cargo cult'."

You nod slightly. "I know what it means."

"Some of the tribes we encountered would build landing pads, in the hopes that ships would come that they could loot." Kalyan's smile broadens, but yours does not. Something behind her upbeat tone leaves you weary. "I can only assume they saw old pictures showing ships on pads. I did not know how big the galaxy was, but even then I knew it was an exercise in futility."

You're not surprised by that. Although, you tell yourself, some of the tribesmen weren't so obliquely spiritual about bringing down ships. Sadon's tribe had been very practical and direct about it.

"What I cannot understand," she continues. "Is why a lonely young man who never had a family would fall for the same faulty logic."

Your breath catches in your throat, and your head swims as you grasp her words. Kalyan's expression turns from whimsical to serious in the blink of an eye.

"Does he think that cutting a family in two will allow him to graft half of it onto himself?"

Kalyan waits for you to speak, but you don't even try to. Your anger is rising too hot and too fast for your thoughts and feelings to come out as coherent words.

"Was he looking for the sister he never had?" she wonders. "Or the mother he never knew?"

What do you do?

>Force Choke her.

>Tell her to pick up the bedding she was taking from the closet and leave.

>Player's choice.
>>
>>2298916
>Tell her to pick up the bedding she was taking from the closet and leave.
She wants make us paint ourselves as the villain she pictures us as by making us lose our temper. Not gonna do it.
>>
>>2298946
This, honestly. We should hold our temper but remember this event for the future.
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>>2298916
Baiting my temper serves no purpose. I have no need of a family. I don't even need guards. I just relish the idea of seeing what you can become.
>>
>>2298916
Also this write in would have gone way better, I really wish it would have been used. If we can stay calm enough to say some of the better points from it I say we should do it. Or maybe it can wait til later.
>>2296564
>>
>>2298916
She is just baiting us, she knows that isn't what we were doing. I can see how getting angry at her could be misinterpreted us her hitting a soft spot but this bullshit needs to be punished.
> as you said, my thought process is a mystery to you
> shock her
> tell her to go ask hacna if she needs anything
>>
>>2299026
Hacna? She's back in Voss. We're on our spaceship, flying to Yavin 4.
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>>2299026
Supporting.
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>>2299046
Dammit.
>>
I can't believe you guys let Hacna do what she did. That species is so disgusting. I am disgusted.
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>>2299105
I can't say I'm a big fan of the idea of letting her make demands as a slave but I think it'll be worth it.
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>>2299136
Shame. Repent your foul ways.
I know this MC isn't a human but... there is such a thing as going too far. There needs to be some racial standards here.
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>>2298946
Don't want to lash out at her
>>
>>2299026
this
>>
>>2298916
You stare across the mat at Kalyan, remaining silent as you force the rising anger in you back down into the deep dark holes it bubbled up from. But that isn't the only reason you're delaying your reaction. You want to make it clear to this woman that your retaliation is not something she prodded out of you, but a deliberate action calculated to bring an unruly slave back into line.

The seconds tick by, neither of you saying a word as you raise your hand towards her, fingers outstretched. A jolt of electricity shoots forth and strikes Kalyan in the chest, making her seize up and collapse to one side as a twitching, grunting wreck. You stand up, waiting for her to open her eyes before pointing at the bedding she had removed from the closet.

"As you were," you say, your voice casual. She crawls over on all fours and scoops up the mattress rolls and blankets, then lurches out of the room looking much the worse for wear. You wait until she's past the command center down the hall to close the door. Then you begin pacing, skirting the edge of the training room with your hands working anxiously behind your back. You stop at the far end of the small room, and hammer your one working fist into the wall over and over until pain forces you to drop it back to your side.

The Fury's sound-proofing and the fact that you were hitting an exterior bulkhead means that no one else will have heard the banging that still echoes in your room. You hate that you're even worrying about who hears what *you* do on your own ship. But what you hate even more is how thoroughly your slave pushed your buttons. You had tried to make nice with her, in your own way. And she had responded with the lowest of blows.

What’s more, your retaliation had been no satisfaction at all. If you do punish her, you look petty. If you don't, you look impotent. If you simply get rid of her, Jevan becomes completely intractable.

Hand throbbing, you go to the wall closet to get the remaining bed roll to put out, then stop. Who are you afraid of looking petty in front of? There was no one here but the two of you. Or was your ire raised so thoroughly because Kalyan's assessment had, on some level, hit the mark?

Was she right? Feel free to expand on a Yes or No of your own.

>No. You went to the trouble of innoculating, housing, and training four primitives because you're confident they can be turned into warriors capable of supporting you in battle. The trouble they've given you is made up for by the fact that you don't have to pay them.

>Yes. You want allies without angles of their own, whom you can trust with your life. That's something you've only ever been able to dream of having, and the person who came closest is gone.
>>
>>2299450
I think it's a bit of both, but we don't want to admit the latter to ourselves. It's also interesting to see what they can become. The thought of killing Jedi or rival sith with non-Force sensitive guards made strong not with the force but with our own control and direction is interesting as an extension of our power.
>>
>>2299450
>No. You went to the trouble of innoculating, housing, and training four primitives because you're confident they can be turned into warriors capable of supporting you in battle, warriors that follow you not just because of a slave's fear or a mercenary's payment. You have given them a purpose they cannot find anywhere else in the Galaxy, carrying out your will. All of them will realize it is a gift, in time, and serve you unquestioningly.
>>
>>2299450
>Yes. You want allies without angles of their own, whom you can trust with your life. That's something you've only ever been able to dream of having, and the person who came closest is gone.
They don't need to love us but at least recognize that we can work together and trust each other to our mutual benefit.
>>
>>2299450
>No. You went to the trouble of innoculating, housing, and training four primitives because you're confident they can be turned into warriors capable of supporting you in battle. The trouble they've given you is made up for by the fact that you don't have to pay them.
I think we are far to sith to want familial attachments. I'm not saying that we aren't lonely and emotionally crippled, we are sith after all, but her specific accusation was that we wanted to split the siblings up because we were jealous and wanted what they had. She was just fishing though, we didn't know how close they were, and we don't want the weakness that comes with family anyway. Maybe some deapseated loneliness drives us to lash out at people who are happy together but that isn't relevant.
>>
We really kylo'd out there for a second lmao
>>
That's all for tonight, I'll leave this one open for a bit.
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>>2299550
The way you rewrote that basically turned it into a yes but I like it a lot
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>>2299696
>>2299450
This.
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>>2299771
Yea, but it's not a family. I want knights like King Arthur has, lol. Or maybe how Kylo had... but those knights are memory holed. Fuck Rian Johnshon and the sequels.
>>
So I feel like my understanding of the sith philosophy is super limited but avoiding any strong attachments like family seems like more of a Jedi thing. Being a sith is about living by our own passions and desires, whatever they are. We're not meant to be emotionless monks. I'm not saying we should make a weird adoptive family with these guards but we're allowed to want personal connections for ourselves as well.

Also I know we're a sith but it's also true that nobody sees themselves as the villain in their own story. We honestly haven't even done anything that immoral apart from owning slaves. And we have a hell of a temper. But I don't wanna be some one dimensional emo edgelord sith.
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>>2300051
You are misreading the options. It isn't about having attachments or not, it is about having allies
>whom you can trust with your life
From what we saw of where we were raised that's not something we would risk. We are not in chargen anymore you can't just up and change our character without there being something in-story to change them.
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>>2300141
Allies that you trust with your life are strong attachments. And this is a character defining moment. Have you ever heard of the phrase "character development"?
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>>2299450
>No. You went to the trouble of innoculating, housing, and training four primitives because you're confident they can be turned into warriors capable of supporting you in battle. The trouble they've given you is made up for by the fact that you don't have to pay them.
>>
>>2300164
>Allies that you trust with your life are strong attachments.
No shit Sherlock.
>this is a character defining moment
Because we were given a prompt, yes. Not because there has been anything to happen in story to change the way we think.
>Have you ever heard of the phrase "character development"?
No, I was born yesterday. Have you ever heard of the phrase "get in character"?
This board is full of people who try to play the same character no matter what quest they are in.
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>>2300302
The unemotional pragmatist that you want to be is the most overdone character ever.
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>>2299450
>Yes. You want allies without angles of their own, whom you can trust with your life. That's something you've only ever been able to dream of having, and the person who came closest is gone.

We could've gotten other guards who were already trained with much less effort. These unattached people from a dead planet won't really have their own motivations to conflict with ours (except for Kalyan currently) or connections to others in the Galaxy that could be used against us. I don't want to hold hands and sing kumbaya together or whatever but they're not really guards if we can't trust them with our life.

We decided that we don't want to let ourself be taken over by our emotions through use of the dark side and having others to rely on would be great for our emotional stability.
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>>2300432
>unemotional pragmatist
>sith

you havent been here very long
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>>2299450
'No', you tell yourself, rolling the mattress out onto the floor of the training room. Kalyan was wrong. Completely and totally. Your frustration with her wasn't due to *what* she said, but because of the simple fact that she stubbornly refuses to see what you're offering her and her better half. A life that won't end on an irradiated hellhole with a spear through the gut. A purpose beyond scraping and scavenging for their next meal. All you ask in return is unquestioning loyalty.

You *will* have it eventually, and by her own free will. Your first encounter with Sadon had gone as poorly as a first meeting could. Months later, he was ready to tearfully disembowl himself because he thought you were dead.

As you undress for sleep, you realize why your relationships with Sadon and Kalyan have veered off in so wildly different directions. Sadon's purpose in life is to kill Jedi. More generally, he wants to feel powerful after having lived so long on a planet that made him feel powerless. The Jedi were scapegoats that he had already directed his aimless anger at when you arrived on Tion. Very convenient for you.

But Kalyan's purpose is more normal, which seems a strange word to assign to someone like that. What does any mother want? A good life for their children. You thought that everything you've done for Jevan so far would make it clear that pleasing you is good for him, but she is too blinded by her hatred of you to see the truth in that. And that is your superiority over her. You control your emotions, but she is controlled *by* her emotions. That's why you, ultimately, will win this battle of wills.

You've tried to show her that her stubborn hatred of you is ultimately self-defeating, but any retaliation only seems to harden her resolve further. You are bad, she is good. She is protecting Jevan, and you want to hurt him - a seven year old child, in her mind.

With that final thought, you snap wide awake and calmly dress yourself to the minimum, then slip out of the training room and go to the cockpit. There, you place an audio call to your home on Voss. You don't bother taking the time to set up an encrypted channel.

"Lord Varrus?" says Sadon, his tone gravely concerned. No doubt he's wondering why you're calling him in what is the dead of night back on Voss.
>>
>>2301068
"I need you to tell Jevan something," you say slowly, making sure every word gets past the hiss and crackle of the spotty comm channel. "Tell him not to do anything with Hacna that makes him uncomfortable... and tell him that's an order."

Sadon wavers audibly for a moment before muttering an acknowledgement. This is more for your own peace of mind than anything. Jevan's brain structure is that of an adult, but his apparent lack of any sort of pre-activation imprinting means his emotional and conceptual knowledge does not extend past the seven years he lived on Tion. Kalyan, from what she herself told you, has the benefit of having been imprinted with standardized templates.

If that's indeed the case, you wonder why the unfinished of the two is so much more cooperative and agreeable. You would like to take off Jevan's slave collar before he starts chafing under its weight, but that risks you appearing as if you're folding to Kalyan, and might embolden her further. You don't want her thinking that concessions can be extracted from you by a refusal to cooperate, a line you're already toeing with Hacna.

On the other hand, it may finally make clear that you are not a threat to Jevan. Her own collar will stay on, ensuring her continuing cooperation. And you're not sure she'll care so much about her own leash once Jevan's is off. Moreover, it will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are not some raging tyrant that can be pushed to retaliation by a few off-the-cuff insults that come nowhere near the mark. You shocked Kalyan because she became disobedient. You freed Jevan because he has shown himself loyal. Her punishment is hers, and his gift is his.

Do you tell Sadon to have Olub'cree take off Jevan's slave collar?

>No.

>Yes.
>>
>>2301069
>Yes.
But don't even tell her about it. She'll see when she returns home.
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>>2301069
>Yes
>>
>>2301069
>Yes.
>>
We should really bring Jevan under our wing more when we return. His genetics make him a top tier warrior and his immature mind combined with his perfect memory will make him the perfect learner. He's got the most potential out of all of them, easily.
>>
>>2301069
"One more thing," you say into the intercom. "Tell Olub'cree to take Jevan's collar off."

Sadon is quiet for a few seconds, likely wondering why you would do this while you're light years away from Voss. But that's exactly why you want it done now - it will be all the more surprising when Kalyan returns and sees him without it.

"Should I say why?" he asks. You're not sure whether he's referring to the Twi'lek or Jevan. The former doesn't need a reason to do as you command, but you take a moment to consider if it might be best to give Jevan some reasoning behind your decision.

"Tell him he's shown that I can trust him," you say simply. Sadon will likely add on some additional bits about how he had better not betray that trust. You end the call soon after telling Sadon that it's fine to wait until morning, and then you return to the training room to sleep.

The floor mattress is not as uncomfortable as you thought - hardly any worse than the ship's sole permanent bed, which is a slightly thicker mattress atop a hard steel frame jutting out of the wall. At some point you'll need to get around to refitting the ship for multiple passengers. This game of musical chairs you play with the sleeping accomodations is going to get very old very quickly.

The next day, you ask Sebuk to duel with you in the training room using practice sabers. You already know what she's getting out of this trip to Yavin - a way off of Korriban and out of that stuffy instructor's office. But you want to get a feel for what you can get out of her.

Immortality through consciousness transference is a major draw, of course, but the gradual degradation of your body is not something you'll have to worry about for quite a long time. Nor is storing yourself away in a holocron a solution to avoiding non-age related deaths. For those, you need training.

"*Darth* Sebuk," she corrects you sharply from across the training room, saber in hand. You lower your own weapon, which feels very heavy in your single-handed grip. You've long since grown used to the airy weight of a lightsaber.

"You're not a Darth," you shoot back. "You're barely even a Lord."

Her face twists in anger, and her hands grip her weapon tighter. "Mind your tone, *boy*. Naga Sadow himself granted me the title."

"Yes, and he's been dead for a thousand years. So has the Old Sith Empire." That reminder only heightens her frustration with you, though you doubt her nostalgia extends past the power and influence she used to wield. "I'll call you *Lady* Sebuk. Or, if you prefer, I could use your given name--"

She screams and launches herself at you in a blind fury, wailing away with the practice saber with such ferocity you barely have time to put your guard back up. Your 'duel' continues like this for another half-minute, and you end it as soon as she's calmed down enough to listen to reason.
>>
>>2301265
The 'fight' - if you can call her outburst that - was brief, but you get the distinct impression that she was never much of a swordsman. That's not surprising - what she achieved with her holocron would have taken a lifetime of dedicated study. It had paid off, but left her bereft of martial skills.

Halfway through the third day, you arrive at Yavin IV in what feels like morning to you, but which is night on the portion of the jungle moon Sebuk directs you to. Like Korriban, the place is a tomb world. But unlike Korriban, there is nothing here *but* tombs. No academies or training outposts, only countless stone ziggurats jutting out of the dense canopy, like icebergs in an ocean running down to unfathomable depths.

You find a plateau barren enough to land on, and cross your fingers that your trek through the undergrowth below is not a long one. Sebuk still has yet to tell you exactly where you're going, no matter how much you press. Every time you question her, she responds with a sly smile and a 'you'll see'.

Normally that sort of secretiveness would trigger your paranoia, but you don't get the sense that she's planning something nefarious. Rather, she relishes having a secret she can hold over her your head and surprise you with. It's less worrying a motive, but far more obnoxious.

You lower the Fury's ramp and follow Sebuk out onto the plateau, stopping just short of stepping out onto the blue-green grass. She takes a deep breath in and throws her arms out wide, taking in the sight of endless forest lit by bright moonlight. A chill runs through you, part real and part imagined. A lifetime on Korriban has made you decidedly non squeamish about delving into ancient crypts, but you have real concerns about your presence here.

The foremost being that technically, you *shouldn't* be here. Korriban is a holy world, off-limits to those who are not granted explicit permission by the Dark Council. Your request for travel probably would not have been granted on the spurious idea that Lady Zhaho suspects an unexplored tomb. But if you *do* find something worth taking to those High Lords, all trespasses will be forgiven. You learned early on at the academy that within the Order, it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission... but *only* if you can show results.

"Lord Varrus?" says Amaza. You turn around to see her and Kalyan standing at the cusp of the ramp, two bags of supplies in the latter's hands. "We come?"

They come?
>>
>>2301269
Yes. Amaza will be useful in getting to hard to reach places. Plus she's at home in the dark. Bring Kalyan too, she's smart and we can see how well she works with us.
>>
>>2301269
Sounds good
>>2301290
Don't forget her weird resistance to Sebuk's influence
>>
>>2301269
"Yes," you say to them. "Both of you will come with." Tombs always have tight spots where Amaza could come in handy, and Kalyan is useful as a pack animal if nothing else.

You close up the Fury, and Sebuk leads your group on a circuitous route of the plateau's edge before finally finding a path downwards. The moment you pass the canopy line, moon-lit night turns into sheer blackness, and you're forced to break out the glowsticks well before reaching any sort of tomb. With those as your only source of light, you work your way down the zig-zagging cliffside road, slipping here and there on loose patches of gravel that have your heart pounding with each misstep.

There's a crack of thunder overhead, and you swear under your breath as the shock it gives you nearly sendings you leaping over the darkened edge. Even the glow of lightning barely pierces the thick leaves above you.

"If you're scared, I will permit you to wait on our ship." Sebuk stops to crack a wry smile lit by the green light of her glowstick. ‘Our’ ship, she says.

Frowning, you move to push past her to the front of the group before remembering how narrow the path is. There's hardly room for two people between the drop to your left and the cliff face to your right.

"I'm looking forward to this tomb even less," you admit before sharpening your tone. "Yours was a real shithole."

Her smile vanishes, as does her face when she drops the glow stick to the ground.

"Say that again," she says softly. Even if you can't see her expression, the wavering in her voice makes her anger clear.

"A shithole," you say with a grin you make sure to illuminate with your own glow stick. "Collapsed walls and skeletons littering it like garbage, and a *stupid* little puzzle that took maybe five seconds too--"

Sebuk roars, grasping at your throat through the darkness. You shift to the left, only remembering the sheer drop when your foot leaves solid ground and your stomach lurches upward. Just before gravity can take over from your own rash decision making, a strong hand grabs you by the collar and moves you back onto the path.

"*Please* be careful, Lord Varrus," Kalyan says, her voice trembling with dread.

Sebuk grunts and turns around to continue walking. "Would have served you right," she says.

After a few more minutes you reach the jungle floor, and begin the real walk. Sebuk references her datapad topography a few times, swearing up and down that she knows where she's leading you among the thick trees and dense underbrush.
>>
>>2301475
Yavin IV may be a tomb world, but you are fast discovering that the similarities with Korriban end there. It's wetter, louder, and far harder to trek across. Your boots sink into potholes of muck that are impossible to see coming, and your ears are assaulted by a chorus of every category of animal imaginable. Birds, what sound like primates, and more insects than you can fathom. The last of the three swarm around you, biting at your exposed neck and hands so much that you pull on a pair of gloves despite the wet heat making you sweat through your tunic.

"How in the hell do you stand this," you say to Sebuk. The frantic slaps coming from behind tell you that Amaza and Kalyan are having just as much trouble as you, but Sebuk hasn't flinched once.

"Stand what?" she asks without stopping.

"The bugs!" You slap yourself across the cheek, feeling a particularly juicy insect pop like a burst balloon. "They're everywhere!"

She stops and stares back at you with a strange look of awe. "The Force mosquitoes are feeding on you?"

You eye her curiously. "The what?"

"The Force mosquitoes," she says reverently. "They only venture from their nests within the tombs to feed on the most powerful of Force-sensitives."

"Really?"

Her lips purse and she sputters, whirling about and continuing on her way as the sputtering turns to mean laughter.

"Use the Force to maintain a low current across your skin," she says as her laughter finally dies down. "That will ward off the insects."

Do you walk the other two women by their arms and run a current through them?
>>
>>2301482
Yeah definitely. No reason not to.
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>>2301482
Let's do it. Get a sense of their emotions as well. Sebuk's pretty immature for an ancient Darth but the back and forth is great
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>>2301482
Yeah sure, why not? and fuck i love how much we troll sebuk, all the keks.
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>>2301482
As long as it doesn't tire us out I'm all for it
>>
So I feel like we've overlooked a few things about Sebuk. If she was a great Darth then why was her tomb completely forgotten? Why did she wait so long to try to escape her tomb if she was capable of taking over a new body? Why was she even put in a tomb in the first place if she could have taken over a body immediately? Maybe it took a while to regain her strength after her death but there may be other reasons as well.
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>>2301482
You slow your walk to remove your gloves, then work your fingers back and forth as you produce a slight surge of electricity. It takes you a few moments to direct it back towards your own body, which is not something you've done before. But the immediate freedom of your hands from any sort of pestering insects emboldens you, and eventually that invisible tingle spreads across every inch of your flesh.

Careful not to let the current drop, you stop and turn to the two servants behind you. "Come here." You gesture them towards you, Amaza coming much more quickly than Kalyan. You grab the former by the arm, which makes her jerk in surprise. Then, she lets out a sigh of relief as the cloud of buzzing and stinging vanishes from around her. Kalyan sees what you're doing for the girl, but is in no hurry to be touched by you. You stow your glow stick in a pocket, relying on Amaza's light to illuminate your beckoning hand.

"I am fine, my Lord," says Kalyan.

"I said *come here*," you repeat, more firmly this time.

"Let her be bitten!" Sebuk snaps from up ahead. She seems in no mood to wait for you. "I hope her face swells up like mine did! I haven't forgotten that, you know."

Kalyan throws the ranting Sith an unhappy glare, then walks the rest of the way over. You grab her arm as soon as she's within reach, and easily pass on the current traveling through you. Unlike Amaza, she does not jerk in surprise, nor breathe a sigh of relief. As you maneuver your strange little grouping back towards Sebuk, you feel Kalyan's muscles tense in your grip.

Sensing emotion is as natural for you as breathing, and those of both women beside you are plain to read. Amaza is a little anxious, a little afraid, and not at all excited. That genuinely surprises you - she had spoken with you very enthusiastically on the trip here.

Kalyan's inner state is very different, but no less complex. There is anger there, but it is eclipsed by a deep revulsion at your touch. You almost release your grip on her when you feel it, and you force it out of your awareness before it can make you sick. Part of you wonders at how *you* could produce feelings like this in someone with your mere presence, but you remind yourself that this is just more of her delusion.

And your touch, even though she may hate it, is part of the cure. She'll come to realize that you're no evil tyrant. You're a *fair and rational* tyrant, who can keep away the nasty, biting things always pressing in around her. But only if she lets you.

After a half-hour of walking, Sebuk stops of her own volition for the first time. Standing at the top of a small hillock, she looks down at the three of you, cast in green light from the glowstick at her bosom like some spirit of Yavin IV.
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>>2301945
"Welcome..." She throws her arms out wide, assuming a gravitas that is not matched by her horrid jungle surroundings. "...to the tomb of Darth Arawits."

You wait patiently for her to continue, but after a few moments of nothing but the roar of insects and the cry of nocturnal birds, you realize that she's done.

"Who?" you ask her.

Sebuk's eye twitches perceptibly and she points behind her. "My husband!"

Your interest piqued, you walk up the hill with Amaza and Kalyan still in hand, and look where Sebuk is pointing. The night is as dark as ever, but there's a massive gap in the treeline that lets you glimpse the edge of the moonlight. Ahead of you is nothing but blackness, and you're not quite sure what she's pointing to until lighting cracks overhead, pushing aside the shadows just long enough for you to see the massive stone structure looming ahead. It's a step pyramid like many of the other tombs on Yavin IV, nearly all built during the golden era of the Old Sith Empire. But this one only runs up four tiers, leaving an expanse of flat stone on top instead of terminating in a sharp point that sticks out over the treeline.

"This isn't the tomb of a High Lord," you say in disappointment.

Sebuk does not become angry. She chuckles to herself and waves you along towards the structure, which soon becomes a wall of darkness that your glow sticks illuminate only a small portion of. She walks you around a corner of the pyramid, banging her fist on brick after brick as if searching for something - some hidden switch or button.

Then she stops, and sighs in frustration. "Of course," she groans, gesturing ahead to a tunnel that has been bored straight through the facade. Undoubtedly the work of an Imperial archaeological crew who couldn't find whatever hidden entrance Sebuk was looking for. She leads you inside, and you have to duck your head to avoid hitting it on jagged brick. That doesn't stop your hair from building up a thick collection of cobwebs. Eventually you come to a central chamber, nowhere near the size of the exterior but plenty large in its own respect. It's an empty cube, with a single stone platform at the center ringed with stairs.

You continue up onto the platform, where you find a sarcophagus laid to rest. The chiseled facade depicts a man - pureblood Sith, judging by his tentacled face - resting in eternal slumber with arms crossed and eyes closed.

"Darth Arawits?" you wonder aloud.

"No," Sebuk says. "This was some lesser Lord under him. I can't remember his name."

You look up from the tomb and raise an eyebrow suspiciously. "So what are we doing here?"

"How do you ward off tomb robbers?" she asks you, changing the subject completely.

"Booby traps," you suggest. "Ghost stories."
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>>2301950
"One will run out, and the other will wear off." She clicks her tongue and shakes her head. "You can't scare them away. But you can mislead them."

She steps back and leans her weight on the side of the sarcophagus, but after a few moments of effort has only moved it a fraction of an inch.

"Help me," she gasps, staggering away from it. You go to her side and join your efforts, using the Force and your own muscles to push on the thousands of pounds of nearly-immovable stone. Eventually it shifts again, and the two of you become bolder in your efforts - a little *too* bold. You pick up speed, and send the sarcophagus sliding down the steep set of stairs. It shatters against the floor below, sending chunks of stone and bits of pulverized skeleton scattering in every direction.

You grimace and turn to offer some apology to Sebuk, but she's already back at the center of the platform, scraping aside dust with her foot. You join her to see that she's slowly revealing a circular seam in the floor, barely perceptible even with the dust cleared away.

"Cut along the circle," she orders you. "And make it deep." You take your lightsaber out and activate it, then walk along the outside of the circle as you drag your weapon carefully through the stone. The circle is about twenty feet in diameter, and the quality of the stone makes cutting through it a lengthy process. As you near the end, you can't help but notice that Sebuk has moved to the base of the stairs.

Then, the platform shakes as if a quake has gripped the temple. The circle you cut out shoots downward, stops, then begins a much slower descent that is accompanied by the hiss of air and groan of ancient rock.

"There!" Sebuk says as she returns to the top of the platform. "Stairs."

On the outer wall of the ring you cut out are stairs, carved right into stone that abruptly changes to rock a few dozen feet further down. The structure of it all is baffling, but from what you can tell, you just cut out the single bit of stone keeping the slowly-descending pillar in place. And that hiss of air you hear from below is the pillar slowly pushing down on some partially-vented chamber meant to receive it.

"Come." Sebuk begins walking down the spiralling staircase, a frightening path even narrower than the one down from the nearby mesa. Your sole comfort is that you very quickly reach the level that the pillar has yet to pass, at which point you're only able to take a single step every few moments while you wait for the rumbling blockage to move downward. After awhile, Sebuk tires of standing on the narrow steps and goes to sit on the top of the pillar, but you don't join her. You have nowhere near her confidence in the construction skills of slave laborers.

"Arawits was your husband?" you ask her as you take another impatient step downward.
>>
>>2301953
"You're wondering why we weren't buried together," she says.

"I'm curious." About that, and quite a few other things. You're the only one who knows what 'Lady Zhaho' is, but you know shockingly little about the woman who possessed her. She lived at the height of the Great Hyperspace War, a conflict that saw the Sith driven off Korriban and sent into a second exile that eventually saw them settling on Dromund Kaas. That period of Sith history was so chaotic that little in the way of records still exists. You don't know how Sebuk lived, nor do you know how she died.

Sebuk sighs and looks up at the roof of the pyramid's interior, which is now about twice as far away as it had been when you first began your descent. Then, she looks at you and shrugs.

"We didn't care for each other very much," she says. You don't have trouble imagining marriage with such a woman being difficult, but the sigh she cast upward tells you it was likely a bit more complicated than that.

"So you built a tomb on Korriban instead."

"A nicer planet, don't you think? There's too much life here to build a tomb."

You nod in agreement. "I do prefer Korriban."

Just as she cracks a genuine smile, the pillar abruptly stops, and for one infuriating moment you're certain that you and the three women will have to jump up and down to get it moving again. Sebuk rises from her seated position, looks around, then says "Ah!" and walks towards you.

She passes under your last bit of staircase, and you hop down to see that she has ducked into a small corridor passing underneath the stairs. You, Amaza, and Kalyan follow, the latter having serious difficulty fitting into the passage without turning sideways. Amaza is the only one who doesn't seem bothered by the claustrophobic conditions.

Sebuk disappears around a bend, and a short distance after that the passage opens up into a larger chamber with a tall set of double-doors opposite you. Looking up at the rock ceiling and remembering how far you descended, it's little wonder why the archaeological crews never found this chamber. This is far too deep for sonar probes to penetrate, and the pillar of rock you cut loose would have looked like just another part of the temple's necessarily sturdy foundation.

You approach the door, and find Sebuk studying something at the center of it. Right at eye-level is a deep, dark hole, just barely too narrow to fit your arm inside. Above that is a plaque, written in Old High Sith.
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>>2301959
"Can you read it?" you ask her.

She scoffs incredulously. "You *know* when and where I lived. Really, you're just asking if I can read at all."

You glare at her silently, and she rolls her eyes and steps back. "Yes, I can read it." She clears her throat, then folds her hands behind her back and adopts a dramatic stance and speech.

"The key is the only thing your saber cannot cut."

She ends there, and you have to take another look at the plaque to confirm that it really is that brief a message.

"Another puzzle?" you wonder. "I can see why you two married."

"That wasn't a *puzzle* in my tomb," she spits out. "That was a cute little locking mechanism."

One which, to your slight embarrassment, *had* taken you quite a bit longer than 'five seconds' to figure out, as you had bragged to her. Hopefully you can untangle this knot with a bit less difficulty.

What do you do?
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>>2301962
Is it light? Try shining some light in there. If we have R4 or a flashlight use that but otherwise just use a glowstick I suppose. It's worth a shot at least.
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>>2301962
Another lightsaber?
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>>2301962
I think we're meant to insert the activated blade of our lightsaber into the hole. But make sure to avoid damaging anything just in case we're wrong. It can't cut itself after all.
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>>2301997
Yeah actually you're right. The fact that "your" lightsaber was specified is significant. I'll back this idea instead.
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>>2301962
bruh, you copied skyrim and got called on it in like two posts
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>>2302018
Skyrim? I don't recognize the puzzle.
>>
Is the husband ghost gonna try to take over our body?
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>>2302096
That thought definitely crossed my mind.
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>>2301962
You opted not to take R4-K4 along with, rationalizing that there would be nothing worth translating in the jungle and nothing to slice in an ancient tomb. His flashlight would be useful right now, but you have something that should be close enough. Taking the glow stick from your pocket, you slide it into the opening. The small crevice it sits in is featureless, and runs back only a foot before abruptly terminating in the same smooth, stone surface as the door's exterior.

Nothing happens, and Sebuk scoffs. "Do you think your lightsaber can't cut through beams of light?"

Frowning silently, you remove the glow stick and stick it back in your pocket. As you take a step back, your lightsaber bounces against your hip, and your mind rushes through all the things it can't cut. Cortosis, space, abstract concepts... but those are all either things you don't have on you, or which are impossible to stick in a hole. You narrow your focus to what you *do* have access to, which is very little indeed.

Then you groan, throwing your head back as a smile spreads across your face. You pull your lightsaber out and activate it, then slide the blade carefully into the hole. There's a 'hiss' as you cut through stone, then a sharp 'pop' and something metal clattering to the floor. The twin doors lurch open, and both you and Sebuk back away in case you've triggered some trap.

But nothing more comes.

"Kalyan." You motion her forward to wiggle her fingers in between the stone slabs and slide them open. They grate terribly, but the grooves they sit in are smooth enough that you're able to slide them back with the use of the Force. Kalyan, apparently, only needs simple strength.

"I knew the answer," Sebuk remarks as you enter the dark chamber ahead. "I only wanted to give you an opportunity to solve it yourself."

You mumble an acknowledgement, too caught up in the moment to bother mustering any sort of retort. The chamber is as tall and wide as the one you were just in, about twenty feet tall and forty feet across. It's at least several times longer, though, stretching back into darkness that your glow sticks have yet to reach. You walk along a central aisle with standing sarcophagi, and can't help but compare it to Sebuk's tomb - though this one is far less grand. Not that you'll ever tell her that.

At the end of the room is a large sarcophagus lying down, with a flat top and no indication of who is entombed within.
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>>2302129
"Your husband?" you ask Sebuk.

"And his life's work," she replies, running her hand along the edge of it. Her tone has taken on a nostalgic quality, and you realize that this is not as trivial a matter for her as she would like you to think.

"Help me with the lid," Sebuk says, before adding a stern: "Carefully."

Kalyan stands on one side, while you and Sebuk push on the other. The lid is slid off, then lowered to the ground on one end gently enough that it doesn't crack. Dust - and Emperor knows what else - billows up from the open sarcophagus, and you take quite a few steps back while you wait for it to clear. The moment it does you approach, Sebuk shooting past you at a fast walk. She holds her glow stick up the container, and makes a slight choking sound, as if her breath has caught in her throat. Then she lowers the green light, and you have to raise your own to see what she has found.

There, in the container, are *two* skeletons nestled inside the stone. One wears a red cap and gold-leafed clothing that has gone drab with age, though the metal shines as brightly as ever. The skeleton beside him, quite a bit smaller and lighter of build, wears a faded purple robe and gilded epaulets. That sight alone has your breath catching in your throat just like Sebuk's had, but then you spot the bits of face-adorning jewelry scattered over the skeleton's face and fallen behind its head - and you stop breathing entirely. You recognize the jagged designs, and remember the first time you saw them emerge from the shadows in the Sith academy's dueling chamber.

Shocked and confused, you look at Sebuk to see her eyes wide and lips moving wordlessly. You look back down at the sarcophagus and shift your glow stick down the bodies to look at the rest of them. Fallen into the stomach cavity of each skeleton, clasped between bony hands, sit two red pyramids - holocrons.

What do you do?
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>>2302135
I'm guessing she didn't know that she was buried here with him?
Ask about what would be contained in those holocrons. If she just used us for a visit to her husband's grave I'm gonna be butthurt.
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>>2302135
>sit two red pyramids - holocrons.

....

Mine!
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>>2302135
Give her a moment, I guess.
>>2302168
Holocrons of any kind are considered very useful to the Empire.
>>2302175
That seems like an excellent way to start a fight to the death with Sebuk. Not a great idea while we're wounded. But if she tries to take both of them for herself or attacks us then we'll have no choice.
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>>2302135
"You didn't know your body was buried here?" you say to Sebuk.

She closes her open mouth as swallows. "No," she murmurs, finally managing to find her voice. "Lisum must have... had it moved."

"You said your husband's life work was in here." You point to his holocron, just out of reach. "Is that it?"

Sebuk mutters a vague acknowledgement, still bewildered by what she sees. It's surprising to you as well, but you thought her shock would have cleared by now.

"What's in yours?" you ask her. She remains silent, and you're forced to wave a hand in front of her face to get her attention.

"I don't remember making a holocron," she says. "Not this one..." Sebuk trails off, casting a confused look down at the small pyramid. You reach down and pick it up, with no objection from the woman beside you.

Both holocrons interest you, but you'll take a look at this one first. Partly because it was the one within reach, but primarily because its structure interests you so much. It's not that it's special - in fact, it looks nearly identical to Darth Arawits'.

And that's what's strange. The holocron containing Sebuk was a masterpiece unlike anything you've seen, a baffling fusion of technology and Sith sorcerery. This one is... just a computer.

Stepping away from the sarcophagus, you take Sebuk's holocron in the palm of your hand and twist the cap. A red-tinted hologram flickers to life overhead, taking the form of a one-foot tall Darth Sebuk. The bald, purple-robed Sith looks very different from the woman standing opposite you, of course, but the way she speaks and moves is uncannily similar.

"I am Darth Sebuk," the hologram says. "High Lord of the Sith Empire. To whom am I speaking?"

Suddenly, your own voice has become as lost as Sebuk's. But you find it again, and manage to sputter out an answer. "Leera Varrus."

"Your name is not important, little thing. I will call you 'student', and you will call me 'Master'." The figure nods upward, at something behind you. But there's nothing there - just a very curious Amaza, and the empty gloom past her. "Look upon my stone face. Step closer. Do you see my eye?"

You don't bother taking another look around - you have no idea what the holocron is talking about. This isn't like talking to the spirit contained within the skull you found on Korriban - this is only a computer.

"Good," it continues, having paused a few seconds for an answer that never came. "That is my life's achievement. A holocron, but unlike any other." The holographic Sebuk's regal demeanor is overtaken by an enthusiasm that you can see even in this tiny, distorted image. "Over decades, I devised a method to construct a holocron that was not static, but could be shaped and molded. Through careful manipulation of the Force, one may imprint parts of their own mind upon it."
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>>2302423
She cracks a confident smile and leans towards you. "But far more unique is how it can be used. Knowledge is imparted instantaneously to the user, through a transfer of neural patterns mediated by the Force. One can pass on any knowledge or skill they choose in the blink of an eye."

The hologram nods upwards again, and you finally realize what she's motioning towards - the giant statue in the tomb on Korriban, and the holocron you plucked right out of its eye socket.

"The construction is far more sophisticated than this crude device." She stomps her foot on empty air above your hand. "It is a living thing, which can be added onto and made to grow. Take what I made, and learn from its construction."

Her expression grows grim, and she looks downward. "Naga Sadow's Sith Empire may die, but my knowledge will not." The hologram vanishes, and the tomb is darker than ever with your eyes forced to re-adjust to the sparse lighting of scattered glow sticks. As you stand there, struggling to fit all these new pieces into place, you come to revelation after revelation.

Records of the Old Sith Empire are sparse, but even non-historians know about the war that sent its people into exile. The Republic invaded Korriban, forcing them to flee to nearby worlds for desperate last stands while a larger contingent ventured off into unknown space. That's why Sebuk wasn't buried on Korriban - the entire planet had fallen into Republic hands. However she died, and whoever recovered her body, she ended up here - lying next to her husband.

"How did you die?" you ask softly, though you know the question is pointless. The woman standing here with you does not know how Darth Sebuk died. The part that *calls* itself by her name was made well before that event, and stuck away in a tomb in preparation for her Master's eventual burial. There she grew, alone, for over a thousand years.

When no answer comes, you lower the holocron and look around to see Sebuk sitting off in the darkness, her glowstick dropped halfway between the two of you. You approach cautiously, raising your own light to see her staring blankly off into space, her expression a frightening blank.

"Lady Sebuk?" you say uneasily.

She finally blinks, but still doesn't look up at you. "I'm not sure who I am," she murmurs.

Who is she?

>Lord Zhaho

>Darth Sebuk

>Lady Zhaho
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>>2302429
>Lady Zhaho
Darth Sebuk's life is over. Your chains have been broken and you are free to be whatever you want in your own life.
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>>2293853
Atton was trained to do just that, even if he's force-sensitive.
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>>2302470
I thought he was just trained to resist mental force fuckery with pure pazaak.
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>>2302458
This.
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>>2302473
That's the pazaak thing, but to conceal yourself from a force user you have to mentally build a wall inside your mind made out of extremely strong emotions. Atton revealed this while I was running through Nar shadda last time I played Kotor 2.
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>>2302527
Does that hide only force sensitivity or prevent the life detection force power?
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>>2302747
You're effectively masking your presence in the force, so if you got the technique down I can only imagine that Force sight can reveal your presence and force sensitivity, but only the Miraluka and a select few Jedi/Sith can utilize it.
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>>2302429
That's it for tonight.
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>>2303002
Thanks for running!
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>>2302458
This
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>>2302458
Supporting this.
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>>2302429
You're not quite sure what to say. This woman may not know who she is, but you're equally clueless. How much of Zhaho's personality and memory was overwritten when she accepted the holocron's offer of power? Nearly everything, it seems. Sebuk's knowledge grew for so long that an entire a person had formed - one which had you thoroughly fooled into thinking that spirits were real.

"Why did you want to be called 'Lady' Zhaho?" you say down to her.

She gives a slight shrug. "I am a Lady, not a Lord."

"But you didn't think you were Zhaho, did you? Why could you pretend to be Zhaho at the academy, but you couldn't pretend to be a Lord?"

Another shrug, this one a little livelier and accompanied by a firmer answer. "I don't know."

"I don't know, either." You bend over and untangle her clasped hands, then bring her to her feet. "Maybe you can think about that on the way to Dromund Kaas. For now, I'll call you Lady Zhaho."

She mumbles something you can't quite make out, pulling free of you and wandering off towards the tomb's exit. You motion for Amaza and Kalyan to follow, and make sure she doesn't do anything rash once she's far enough up the stairs to be facing a deadly drop. As they leave, you pocket Sebuk's holocron and pry the other from Arawits' bony fingers. You feel a bit bad about grave robbing given the circumstances, but this *is* what you came here for.

With a twist of the pyramid's cap, the holocron is activated. What appears is not the figure of Darth Arawits, as you expected, but a softly-glowing orb of crimson light. The seconds tick by, and nothing happens except the slight wax and wane of the pulsing sphere.

"Hello?" you say cautiously.

The moment you finish speaking, the holographic orb flares brighter and a man's voice comes from the holocron. Deep but soft, and a little unsteady - like that of a scholar, not a warrior. Not a simple, machine-generated voice.

"I sense great power within you," it intones. "And great darkness."

You watch the flickering hologram attentively, already enraptured with that single opening line. This holocron isnt like the one that Darth Sebuk was clutching. If this relic is truly sensing your degree of Forcen-sensitivity, the artificial intelligence imprinted onto it is a more sophisticated one.

The red orb fades in color, becoming a shining star of pure white.

"Are you ready to be led into the light?" the voice says.
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>>2304848
Your open-mouthed look of awe turns to a tight-lipped frown and you switch off the holocron, clutching it tight in your hand as you jog after your three companions. They're only halfway up the spiralling staircase when you spot them, and Zhaho's lurching gait means that you reach the tomb's ground floor only moments after her.

"What is this?" You shake the holocron as you walk beside her, hoping to break her out of her doldrums long enough for a few questions.

"Darth Arawits' holocron," she sighs. "I never knew the man."

"Yes, but why is it talking about leading me towards the light? What does that mean?"

"He had a 'revelation' near the tail end of his life. The code of the Sith was a dead end, he said."

You stop in your tracks as Zhaho maintains her slow walk. You're sure that if you hadn't found the truth about Sebuk down there, this would be the moment where she breaks out in laughter at this dud of a holocron she's foisted on you. This isn't the sort of find you can woo a member of the Dark Council with - this is heresy.

The way of the Sith is more philosophy than religion, and there isn't much in the way of established orthodoxy, but you suspect whatever lessons of peace & love are contained within violate every broad tenet the Sith hold dear.

"Why did you bring us here?" You chase after Zhaho as she enters the tunnel leading outside.

She's not carrying a glowstick for you to see her with, but you can hear her grunt and sigh again.

"I can't remember... I think it was supposed to be funny."

The joke would be more at her expense than yours. The purpose of this entire venture was to get her out of the Sith academy and into the Reclamation Service, and that goal is shot.

You stop, wanting to slap yourself as you remember the fact that you found *two* holocrons. Not just the one in your hand made by Darth Arawits, but the one in your pocket, created by Darth Sebuk. One which should be very valuable to Sith Lords of high status. You can only imagine how much someone like Darth Zash would love to get her hands on it.

The four of you begin the long night-time trek back to your ship, which you quickly realize is one that will be made at a slight incline. You hadn't noticed when it was making your walk a bit easier, but the return trip is almost entirely uphill, through the same fetid jungle you passed through on your way to the tomb. You hold onto Amaza and Kalyan to keep the bugs away, and the latter bristles less noticeably at your touch.
>>
>>2304852
On your trip *to* the temple, Sebuk had constantly been shooting ahead, frequently moving out of sight. Zhaho trails behind like some moaning spirit, and you're forced to stop and look back to make sure that she hasn't laid down in the muck to die. Eventually you reach the base of the plateau, and going up the zig-zagging pathway of loose gravel is just as unpleasant as sliding down it was.

Your journey was unpleasant, and certainly not the one you expected, but the results are undeniable. You stand in the command center of the Fury with not one holocron in hand, but two. Zhaho slouches into the bedroom and slides the door shut, and you hear the door lock click into place. That leaves only Kalyan and Amaza with you in the ship's central chamber, waiting for your orders.

"As you were," you mutter, pocketing Sebuk's holocron and going to the training room with the other one in hand. You shut the door and kneel on the mat, then activate it. You're greeted by the same ball of light, though it seems to remember you and has skipped the brief introduction of changing colors.

"Are you ready to be led into the light?" it says softly.

"What does that mean?" you ask, setting the small pyramid down in front of you. "What can you teach me?"

"The end of suffering," it replies. "Nothing more, and nothing less."

Your frown returns, and you find yourself biting at the inside of your lip as you consider what to do with this thing. You're already within the Imperial Core, and once you get the Fury into hyperspace you'll reach Dromund Kaas in less than a day. Before you reach the Imperial capital, you'll need to decide which of these holocrons to keep, and which to hand over.

These artifacts are always a rare and treasured find, but you have trouble imagining Arawits' holocron raising the eyebrows of the sorts of power-seeking Lords you were hoping to court - partly for your own sake, and partly to get Zhaho noticed and out of the academy. The latter of which is *also* for your sake, so that she can teach you what she knows.

Except now you're not even sure *what* she knows. It seems that she has every bit of the knowledge and skill the real Darth Sebuk possessed, but it's impossible for you to be sure. At the very least, she can read minds with a mere touch. That's quite a skilled application of telepathy.

You need to decide which holocrons to keep, and which to hand over to the Reclamation Service. It could be one, both, or neither.
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>>2304854
Let's keep Arawits and give them Sebuk's. I have no interest in her advanced holocron tech since it just creates a copy to take over our life instead of actually prolonging our own life. We can say Zhaho did some research to lead her to Sebuk's true resting place to unlock the potential of the true holocron.
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>>2304867
Second.
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>>2304867
This
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There's no way Arawits would publicize his heretical holocron so I think we should be safe enough in keeping it for ourselves.
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>>2304921
And who knows, maybe we'll find a way to twist his heretic teachings to our benefit in a way no current Sith have?
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You still here Hurt?
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>>2304854
A single day is hardly enough time to plumb the depths of a holocron, but you give it a try anyway. Sebuk's lecturing on holocron construction is excessively wordy and obscenely self-aggrandizing, leading you to give up before you catch the barest hint of any technical lessons.

Arawits' holocron is no less frustrating. It politely asks you to meditate with it before it will discuss the knowledge it holds, and your refusal to do so reveals that the ‘request’ is more of a pre-condition. You give it a fair try anyway, but after some gentle whispers from the thing telling you that you are not letting go of your anger, you wrap it in a blanket and hide it away in the training room.

Upon your arrival within Dromund Kaas' orbit, you are greeted by an overworked and very tired-sounding customs official who directs you to an outlying starport only capable of fielding small ships like yours. Normally you would land in the city's centralized starport, a metropolis unto itself that sits a short taxi ride away from any number of governmental complexes.

You look out the cockpit window for any sign of what mass delegation is forcing your detour, and see that the usual stream of sub-capital ships moving to and from the surface is quite a bit more crowded than usual. Far stranger than that, though, is the lack of any larger ships in staging near the capital. You double-check your sensors to confirm the emptiness of the black space around you, and find nothing. Ordinarily there would be an entire defense force in system, within sight of the capital planet.

Descending through cloudy purple skies into an endless night broken here and there by cracks of lightning, you set down in a jungle-side starport smaller and more provincial than the one you are used to. When you leave the cockpit, you expect Sebuk to be waiting for you beside an already-lowering ramp, impatiently tapping her foot while she tells you that she'll be taking the Rancor's share of the credit for this find. Then, you remember that this is not Sebuk - this is Zhaho. And she's still in your bedroom, sulking behind a door that is likely locked.

Do you drag her out of bed and take her to the Reclamation Service headquarters to present Sebuk's holocron? Or leave her, and take all the credit for yourself?

>Take her

>Leave her
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>>2305503
>Take her
Her talents are wasted at the academy. We have an opportunity to gain a powerful unattached sith ally here.
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>>2305503
>Take her
There would be questions about how we knew of this tomb that we can't answer without her.
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>>2305503
>>Take her
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>>2305503
You turn back from the temptation of the ship's exit and go to Zhaho's room to knock on the door. Having her as an ally has always been the goal, and still is. It would also be much harder to explain to your superiors how you divined the holocron's location on your own.

"Lady Zhaho?" you call softly through the intercom, listening closely for any signs of life. You give it a few more seconds before trying the door, and find that it is unlocked. A robed Zhaho is lying on her back on the wall-mounted bed across from you, one foot dangling off the edge and the bedding kicked into a pile on the floor. She heaves a tired sigh and waves a hand in your direction, though you're not quite sure what she's trying to direct you to do. You close the door and approach her bedside.

"I am a teacher," she says softly, her blank gaze pointed at the far wall. "Who *taught* because she could not *do*."

Time clearly hasn't helped soften the blow she was dealt on Yavin IV. Shock has turned to a dark depression, making her an even more pitiful sight than the ghost trailing behind you through the jungle. Her hair is a mess, and except for her earrings, the gold jewelry that usually covers her face is scattered on the mattress around her.

"So I gave up my mind," she continues. "To obtain the knowledge of a woman whose sole achievement was devising a means to be a better teacher."

She sighs again and gropes blindly at your hip. "Take your lightsaber. Cut me down."

You push her hand away, ignoring her pleas for a mercy kill. "We're on Dromund Kaas. It's time to hand Sebuk's holocron over."

"*Darth* Sebuk," she mutters, apparently having yet to kick that reflexive correction of your titling. You wait for her to rise, but she doesn't seem to share your sense of urgency. Eventually the silence builds enough for her to tilt her head away from the wall and towards you.

"What's the point," Zhaho moans. "I did this because I thought I wanted off Korriban. But *I* didn't want it... Sebuk did. And she's not real."

Her voice is an airy groan that makes you grimace at the sound of it. If she does eventually manage to recover her usual manic narcissism, you'll welcome it.

"Why should I do anything?" she asks you pointedly. "I have nothing, and no one. Not even myself."

Do you bother bolstering her spirits enough to get her moving? If so, how?
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>>2305744
You aren't Sebuk. You began as less than a person and became one over 1000 years. You aren't merely what Darth Sebuk created you to be, you became something more through your own will and abilities. You were powerful enough to overtake the mind of a Sith Lord and you don't have to stop there. You have me as an ally and you must use the artifacts gained by your knowledge to increase your station and become what you want to be instead of what Darth Sebuk made you to be. You are the first of your kind, unique in every way. And your telepathic skills are second to none already. Imagine what you could become.
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>>2305744
"I can kill you later, but rn we need to get in there and report our findings."
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>>2305744
You can do much more than just teach young sith at the academy. You are in control of your own destiny. Darth Sebuk was just your creator but you have the potential to become much more than she was since you aren't obsessed with creating something like yourself. You are free to improve your skills far beyond what Sebuk ever could. You've been given a chance to have your own life despite your creators wishes and you would be a fool to pass it up.
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>>2305744
We should also give her shit about moping around while we would benefit greatly from taking full credit for her contribution to finding this holocron.
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>>2305744
>Do you still not want off Korriban? You have more than you did before. You've experienced the world through the eyes of a Lord as great as Sebuk. Do you not have the hunger to become as great yourself, for real?
Oh, I have an idea how to "bolster her spirits". Activate the Zeltron charm and have her grope at Varrus's hip for something other than a lightsaber.
It's been too long, probably for both of us.
Do it. Do it.
>But I have you. Maybe that is enough to satisfy you?
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>>2305836
I like this option but dicking isn’t the answer, and make a comment how this weakness is repulsive, you know, payback
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>>2305836
Dude. No. Existential crises can not be solved through the power of dick.
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>>2305842
This is obviously the perfect time, when she is having this breakdown.
You know what to do. Let's give the old bitch a reason to live.
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>>2305846
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>>2305852
Terrible timing! It should be after a romantic evening followed with some hardcore handholding
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>>2305869
>handholding
What are you, some kind of Jedi?
This is how the Sith do things. Varrus's daterape serves as an example.
She won't turn him down. She's totally alone and desperate for a reason not to die. There is no better time.
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I can't trust myself to make a decision without my dick having a unfair say so I am abstaining.
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>>2305877
...only your dubs have swayed me, dick her.
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Let the record show that I 100% oppose any sexual advances and I am not responsible for the awful consequences of this decision if it actually happens
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>>2305836
Supporting.

Holy shit, supporting.
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>>2305877
Honestly, I support it, if only because of the potential of learning things from her.
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>>2306049
This is obviously a bad idea for a continued educational relationship with her.
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>>2306057
Also potentially true. I'm fine with avoiding it, if there's no real tasteful way to do it.
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>>2306057
Teachers and students sleep together all the time! We very well could learn even more things from her
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>>2306079
She was completely repulsed by us last time. This is an awful idea and it actually bums me out that I'm playing with a bunch of people who think it's a good idea.
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>>2306096
To be fair it might go okay in the short term. I just don't get the point of putting our larger goals at risk for something so pointless.
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>>2306114
Because those players aren't actually invested in the story like they should be. Fuck. Yes I'm mad.
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I love democracy.
>>2306096
Last time she was 100% Darth Sebuk. This time she doesn't know who she is.
All we're doing is making this relationship even more mutually beneficial. I don't see the big deal. You're acting like we're proposing.
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>>2306143
Besides she can always say “No.” and give us some spiel about how she won’t lower herself to that, and how from the original bit she’ll be better than sebuk
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>>2306143
There's literally no reason to try to bang her at this exact moment, where we're trying to gain prestige by turning in an artifact to our superiors. And a proposition could obviously fuck it all up. What's more important, short term sex or getting out of our glorified imperial diplomat position and gaining power?
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>>2306158
If she says no we just go by ourselves and take all the credit, so if we risk pissing her off getting out of our diplomat position is only more likely.
And if she attacks us we can just kill her. She sucks at lightsaber combat.
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>>2306167
Our plan is to use her firsthand knowledge of ancient times to continue to recover ancient sith artifacts that we can keep instead of going after artifacts that we have to turn in to the IRS. We've invested all of this time in her for that reason only. Just turning in one holocron isn't enough to advance, we need to increase our strength and turn in many more artifacts in the future. And your putting all of that in jeopardy to bust a nut.
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>>2306167
Yeah, that's just a pretty bad idea. Honestly, getting on her good side and supporting her here is better than possible lewds. We can broach the subject later, when there's less on the line.
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>>2306167
She herself needs to be promoted out of the academy to the IRS to be of the most help to us. Which requires her presence while we hand off this holocron.
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Even if we do bang her and she gets promoted, we're trapped in a closer relationship with a bitchy sith supremacist while we're on the rebellious side that wants all sorts of aliens to be sith. It's a recipe for disaster.
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>>2306179
Ssssshhhh. No tears, only dreams.
When Varrus is finished with her there won't be anyone else she comes (lel) to with archaeological knowledge, because she'll want it to happen again.
This is an entirely calculated seduction.
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>>2306202
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree and see what happens then.
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>>2306201
I don't know about you m8, but I'm on the side that makes me the big power. Not saying I support this bang just that let's not say whose side we're on yet.
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Hurt pls come back
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>>2306230
As we are now, we're a low tier grunt sith with little chance at promotion. After taking part in a successful insurrection our position would be much higher.
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>>2306252
Yes, but it could also be higher after also helping to quell the insurrection. As a Zeltron we are unlike the other alien species and could gain the respect of even the purist Sith elite.

So lets just keep our options open. I know that Veronious wants to do the rebellious stuff.

Pretty soon we will be able to kill him. Remember when Varrus almost won that duel? Still, it is best to hold off on that so we can keep using his connections.
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>>2306268
From my understanding the current higher-ups are even more of sith and human supremacists than the instructors at the academy, since they likely came to power in a time before other species were recruited for the sith academy. And zeltrons aren't very highly respected as their culture is focused on pure hedonism above all else.
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>>2305744
"Infants don't have anything, either." You squat down beside her bed, forcing her to roll over so that she can look you in the eye. "They don't just lie there."

"They kick and scream," she says dreamily, and then her expression hardens. "I detest babies."

"See?" you give her a light nudge in the shoulder. "You've got something - a thing you hate. Maybe you can build on that."

Zhaho thinks on that for a moment, then groans noncommittally. You're not a natural when it comes to pep talks, but circumstances in recent years have forced you to become somewhat adept at them.

"I'm not sure who you are, but I know what you are." You lay a hand on her hip. "Boundless potential." Zhaho's leg shifts slightly in the bed, but she doesn't pull away from your touch. "You have all the knowledge and skill that was contained in that holocron, just like you wanted. Now, you need to figure out what to do with it."

Her gaze remains fixed on yours, and you become bold enough to put your Zeltronian touch to use, subtly buoying the positive emotions she feels towards you. There isn't much there, but you've already laid the groundwork with your encouraging words. You crack a smile, feeling the swell of emotion within her.

"And you don't have *no one*," you remark casually. "You've got me."

Your fingers press into her hip ever so slightly, and her eyes flicker downward before returning to yours.

"Are you trying to toy with my mind?" she asks flatly.

You pull back immediately, and a split-second later realize how guilty that makes you look. "Only to bolster your spirits," you assure her, your smile becoming strained.

Her blank stare skips any sort of mild frown and goes straight to a furious scowl as she hurls herself to a seated position, causing you to stumble backwards.

"Disgusting!" she shouts, pushing up from the bed. "Horrible! A violation of the worst kind!" Zhaho slips her feet under the wall-side table, sliding on her shoes and shoving past you to open the bedroom door and storm out. "And to think, I pitied you for being raped."

Your eyes go wide and you throw a weary glance at Amaza and Kalyan who stand only twenty feet away in the nearby command center.

"I wasn't--" you start, lowering your voice to a whisper as you and Zhaho pass them. "--*Raped*." Zhaho scoffs angrily, punching the button for the ramp and tapping her feet impatiently as she waits for it to lower.

You tell your two bodyguards to stay behind, knowing how ridiculous it would look for you to bring the two along to go speak with your superiors. Presumptuous at best, and pathologically paranoid at worst. You and Sebuk leave the starport, a small structure set on the edge of a military outpost, which itself straddles the border of Kaas City. A few minutes later you're in an automated taxi, leaving the jungle outskirts behind, which you are very glad to see go after your time on Yavin IV.
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>>2306293
You're technically within Kaas City already, but it's another half hour until the low-lying suburbs give way to broad highways and dark spires in which thousands of people live and work. The city, like the planet, is dark. Only the illuminated windows give any hint as to how far up the buildings on every side of you run.

Your environs makes you feel small, but that isn't solely the work of the megapolis' physical size. Here, you are one Sith among thousands - and not even a particularly high-ranking one. There is no honor guard to greet you, like had happened on the farm-world of Nez Peron when you were of even lower status. Every trip you make to Dromund Kaas is an important reminder of what you have, and what you stand to lose. You force yourself to remember this insignificant feeling that the teeming masses of the galaxy live day in, and day out.

"*This* is the new capital of the Sith?" Zhaho sneers, her long silence throughout the drive finally broken. "How dreary."

She's not wrong, but she would have hated the place far more before the fleeing remnants of *her* Empire had ended their decades-long retreat and settled here. When they had first arrived, there hadn't been a single mud hut in which to take shelter from the planet's overgrown predators. Beasts which *still* lurk outside the walled confines of Kaas City, despite the ongoing efforts of the planetary garrison.

"And these roads!" She gestures out the front window of the cruiser to the stop-and-go traffic you've been stuck in for the last hour. "Is it always like this?"

It's not. Nor are there typically so many people cramming the sidewalks and moving at such frenzied paces. In an effort to figure out what the commotion is all about, you take your datapad out and try to access some general holonet news - but there is no signal. Your efforts blunted but your curiosity only heightened further, you pass the rest of the drive impatiently before the traffic slows to such a degree that you and Sebuk simply get out and walk.

You're in the government district now, moving through thick crowds that pass across dark stone plazas like worker ants. There are slaves and servants, soldiers and clerks, Sith Masters and neophyte Apprentices. It's always odd to see these types working and living in such close proximity, but then you remind yourself that's what a society *is*. If this sight is bizarre, it's because Sith society itself is bizarre.

You come to the headquarters for the Imperial Reclamation Service, a boxy series of connected buildings near the center of the government district, but not quite as central as those towering spires housing the Military Spheres or Imperial Intelligence. The inside is hardly any busier than usual, but you can sense a frantic energy in the air that makes the little hairs on your neck stand on end.
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>>2306299
"Remember what we talked about?" you whisper to Sebuk, passing through the building's security station after a quick check-in with the guard stationed there.

"Yes, yes," she snaps. "I know my part." Her impatient tone is a welcome change from the sullen one she had carried earlier. Introducing her to your superior would be difficult if she was nothing but groans and moans.

The room ahead of you is the central chamber of the complex, a low-walled cubicle farm of analysts and functionaries who collect and collate information that occasionally results in tangible leads on the items exploratory teams get sent to find. Or, when the situation demands it, items *you* get sent to find.

Standing amidst the dozens of flickering screens and passing workers stands an older man in a light-gray uniform, his remaining hair only a shade darker than that. He's leaning over the shoulder of one of the analysts, staring at the screen as he speaks into their ear. Aurro Thall is a micromanager of the worst sort, and you are ever thankful that you do your work light years away from his prying eyes. With a nod to Zhaho to indicate that you've found the superior you told her she'd be speaking to, both of you approach, coming within a few feet before his attention is finally obtained.

"Varrus!" he says, his voice carrying a degree of surprise you've rarely heard from him. "I'm amazed you made it through." He looks from you to Zhaho, but you speak before he can ask any questions

"Made it through?" you wonder, thinking back to the closed-off starport and bustling city. "What has the city so worked up?"

Thall opens his mouth to speak, then closes it and throws a weary glance at the seated analysts beside you before ushering you and Zhaho off to the side of the room.

"Balmorra," he says in a low voice. "It's not been officially announced, but word is that the navy already has a spearhead in system."

"Balmorra?" you echo wondrously. "That's a Republic system."

He gives a slight smile and clasps his hands behind his back before shrugging, looking positively giddy for someone his age. "The capital garrison moved just a few hours ago. That hasn't happened in years."

Your eyes drift upward and your mouth hangs open as all the pieces fall into place. This is it - the war. And it began with the entire planet of Dromund Kaas knowing about it before you did.

How do you feel about the next Great Galactic War kicking off and you being nowhere near it?

That's all for tonight.
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>>2306304
We're not military so it makes sense. I wish we would have known sooner but it's good that we have further time to prepare ourselves and pursue training for our guards. We might even be able to get the Empires support if we can prove that they'd help us acquire artifacts to help the war effort even in hostile territory.
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>>2306293
Damn, what'll it take for that tsundere bitch to admit she loves us?
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>>2306304
Well I wonder what the hell Varrus is going to do to make himself useful in this war.

I recall Veronious mentioning some more exciting work that IRS agents do during wartime. I'll have to go read the old threads.
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>>2306304
Take the siltstrider to Balmora immediately.
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>>2306304
Well at least that clumsy seduction snapped her out of her funk. I'm curious about how Veredious and his allies plan to carry out an insurrection in the middle of another war. It might destroy the sith entirely.
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>>2306324
Thread 2, Veredious describes our wartime responsibilities.
>"I know. Little room for advancement." His eyes seem to glimmer with barely contained excitement. "But imagine how that will change when Republic worlds are overrun by the Empire. They will need someone like you to run active reclamation efforts. Imperial troops under your command, looting Jedi temples in the midst of battle."
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>>2306331
T-that was actually my plan all along. Nothing brings people out of depression like disgust. Please clap.
She's just being tsun. I can't give up yet!
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>>2306348
Slow and steady anon. Slow and steady.
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>>2306321
>>2306348

That's not how love works.
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>>2306348
Do anime archetypes apply to ancient Sith Lord experiments?
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>>2306367
Hey, there are plenty different kinds of love out there. Sometimes it rewards persistence. I'll keep texting muh lady until she responds. *tips fedora*
>>2306368
I hope so.
We also have another archetype on our side, if you can call it that. "Third time's the charm."
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>>2306359
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>>2306304
Two things, when can I go find relics on republic worlds, and I cannot thank Lady Zhaho enough for the research that led ‘us’ to another relic of Darth Sebuk, she would make a lovely partner in more retrieval’s.
And make a point how we wouldn’t of found it without her, generally kiss ass, stuff like that
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>>2306445
Sounds good to me.
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>>2306293
>What are you lying there for lady? You could be out killing babies!
Damn, we are good at pep talks!
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>>2306304
Noticing Thall staring at you curiously, you find your voice and force yourself to look him in the eye.

"The holonet was down," you remark. "I can see those military connections left you better informed than me."

You're glad not to be among the landing craft and drop pods dropping down onto a fortress planet, but you can't help but feel that some opportunity has come that you need to seize before it slips by. Chaos always brings great change, and an upheaval of this magnitude will ripple throughout the Sith power structure. You need to make sure you're one of those who benefits.

Thall can't help but crack a proud smile at your mention of his past within the Sphere of Military Defense. It was not a glorious career - not even an interesting one - but he loves nothing more than having an excuse to bring up his time in service. Nothing, that is, except for running the Reclamation Service with the same rigidity and formality he ran his planetary garrison.

Zhaho delivers a sharp jab to your lower back that is just out of Thall's sight, but he takes uneasy notice of you rocking forward on your feet, and his attention then shifts once again to the Sith before him. His uneasy expression tells you that he's struggling with the same troubles all Imperial officials face when dealing with a pureblood Sith of unknown status. Her appearance means she is someone of *some* power, but the fact that she's doggedly trailing behind you - an Apprentice and known quantity - confuses him.

"Director Thall." You step aside and gesture a hand at her. "This is Lady Zhaho, a senior instructor at the Sith Academy."

Thall forces away the last remnants of his smile and gives an absurdly deep bow. "It is an honor, my Lady." He then rises, his eyes darting to you for some prompting or clue as to what she's here for.

"Could we speak in your office?" you ask him.

"Of course!" he says quickly, with an embarrassed shake of the head as if he's forgotten his manners.

Just as Thall has his social difficulties, you had more than your share when you first started your work with the Reclamation Service under your Master. In theory, all full-fledged Sith - from Apprentices on up - are above even the highest civilian or military official. But *only* in theory.

In practice, if you were to start screaming at the Director in front of his men or beating him for some perceived slight, there would be no codified legal repercussions, but the full might of every Sith Lord who considered him remotely valuable would come bearing down on you in a heartbeat. Director Thall would have no problem giving you a verbal dressing-down if you gave him good reason to do so.
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>>2307020
It's that informal pressure that keeps the modern Empire functional, unlike past Sith states which collapsed under the weight of their own out-of-control warrior castes. Just as the Jedi Code crumples at first contact with reality, the Sith creed is one that finds itself blunted when it's applied to anything larger than the individual. But the ad-hoc *works*, and you can think of no better way than what the Emperor himself has created.

You make your way down a hall leading deeper into the complex, leaving the hustle and bustle of the 'war room' - as Thall affectionately calls it - and entering the comfortable confines of his personal office. It's sparsely decorated, but his hatred of clutter could not prevent him from adorning the walls with every bit of evidence that he had served during the last Galactic War - served, but not fought.

Thall goes to the other side of his desk, and you pull a bundle from your tunic pocket before unwrapping it on his desk, revealing the red-and-silver pyramid of Darth Arawits' holocron. The director's face goes through all manner of expressions, from confusion to excitement to simple curiosity.

"Were you assigned this?" he asks, trying to figure out just where you got a lead on an undiscovered holocron. As you told yourself earlier, he's a micromanager, and is unaccustomed to surprises - even good ones.

"No." You look from him to Zhaho, and hold a hand towards her. "Lady Zhaho and I--"

"It was me!" she shouts suddenly, jolting both you and Thall. "My former student, Leera, helped of course..." She throws you a sly smile before launching into a laboriously constructed narrative detailing her interaction with Darth Sebuk's skull-shaped holocron, and how she came to believe a second, undiscovered holocron lay in the tomb of her and her husband. A tomb which she found through consultation with the academy's Lord Hostay, who has sadly passed on.

Thall bristles at the mention of you setting foot on Yavin IV, reluctantly informing you two that he'll have to pass a written reprimand up to the Sphere of Ancient Knowledge. Then, he asks what knowledge you believe the holocron contains - and Zhaho activates it for him. Once the holographic image projected overhead finishes its brief introduction of the techniques she has developed, Zhaho switches it off and steps back.

"Quite interesting." Thall finally takes the time to sit down in his chair, and leans back with fingers steepled in front of him.

"And a complete lie," Zhaho says sharply. Caught off-guard, all you can do is watch as Zhaho leans over the desk and stares down Thall. "Unlike my young student--" She gestures to you without looking. "--I would never take a Sith Lord at their word. I examined this 'Eye' as Darth Sebuk calls it, and discovered its true purpose."
>>
>>2307021
Thall's chair creaks as he leans forward expectantly, and you do so as well. You *should* know how this entire conversation will play out, but Zhaho has taken it off its intended track.

"The purpose of the Eye is a far more powerful one than simple knowledge transference. What Sebuk sought, was..." She lowers her voice to a whisper. "Eternal life."

Thall jerks back, eyes going wide. "What do you mean?" Extending one's lifespan is the work of every age-worn Sith, and every one of them would love nothing more than to find a permanent solution. Sith Lords are not alone in their desire for eternal life, but they're some of the few bold enough to consider it an attainable goal. But to your knowledge, none have obtained it save the Emperor himself.

"This holocron--" Zhaho taps the top of the small pyramid with one finger. "Is a trap - bait for curious Sith. The Eye is a marvelous welding of technology and Sith sorcerery, a sort of... phylactery, capable of housing the life force of its designer."

Thall looks doubtful as he eyes the holocron, but her claims are so wondrous that he can't help but push for more. "Were you able to interact with the Eye? Or its... owner?"

"No," Zhaho says simply, pushing up from the desk. "The Eye is unused - a house with no one home. But the intended purpose of it is clear from its construction."

"That's a bold claim," Thall says.

Zhaho glances away and shrugs. "When I determined it was empty, I gave it to Darth Zash just in case she could produce anything of value from it. She agrees with my assessment as to its function."

"But why store the holocron in some tomb on Korriban?" Thall wonders, referring to the Eye now tucked away in some academy vault. "It might never have been found."

Zhaho can only shrug again. "Darth Sebuk lived in an era when the Sith were on the brink of destruction. Perhaps she wanted to emerge again when times were opportune." More conjecture, except you have a creeping feeling of dread that none of this is guesswork.

"Why didn't she?" Thall asks. "You said the Eye was empty. Was Sebuk simply not able to master the process?"

"She was," Zhaho snaps. "And the Eye works perfectly." Thall is taken aback by the strong rebuke, and she softens her expression. "That is to say, my assessment of the device is that it works. More likely she simply died before she was able to make use of it."

Thall snorts in amusement and shakes his head in wondrous disbelief, eyeing the holocron with a new sense of respect - and growing fear. "So you believe this ancient Lord is simply... gone, yes?"

Zhaho slowly turns her gaze towards you, a clever smile creasing her lips. "Oh, I don't know about that."

Thall looks between the two of you in confusion. "What do you mean?" he asks hesitantly.
>>
>>2307023
Remembering herself, Zhaho winces reflexively before plastering a smile back on and turning to face him. "An inside joke, Director Thall! We have several of them."

He returns her smile with an uneasy one of his own, then looks to you and begins discussing what will become of the holocron. There is one issue with investigating Zhaho's claims, he points out. Darth Zash, the last owner of the Eye, vanished some months ago. You search Zhaho for some hint of complicity, but see no sly smile or winking eye.

Thall promises that your name will be thoroughly affixed to any report or communication referencing the discovery of Sebuk's holocron, though in smaller print than Lady Zhaho's. You leave his office having accomplished everything you intended to, but feeling as if you've been utterly thwarted. Zhaho trails silently ahead of you, walking with long, confident strides that don't show a hint of the sulking gloom she has carried with her for the last day.

By the time you step out onto the streets of Kaas City, you feel as if you might explode if you don't ask her the questions multiplying inside you. She stops beside a busy main road to wave down a taxi, and you glare daggers into her back while trying to settle on the least embarrassing way to satisfy your urgent curiosity.

A taxi pulls up, and you slide in along Zhaho. Now that she's half-facing you, you can see that her eyes are watering and her lips are quivering in barely-contained laughter.

"I'm here for you, Lady Zhaho!" She bursts into laughter at her own mewling impression of your kind words as the taxi pulls away from the curb.

"I knew it!" you fume, pounding your thigh furiously.

"You didn't know it," she declares. "You were ready to cry because you thought I was suicidal."

"I wasn't crying!" you shoot back. "And the *only* reason I said all that was so you would get off of your ass."

She lets out a haughty laugh. "You could have handed them my holocron on your own. Why would you bother dragging me along?"

You wrack your brain for some witty response, but nothing comes. In this of all times, you’re hesitant to tell her how much you desire her teaching. She’s sure to twist that around on you. Sebuk's expression softens, and her eyes widen.

"That wasn't you being selfish, was it?" she wonders. Her hand falls on your knee, resting there as she leans toward you. "You really wanted me there… at your side."

Too confused by her touch and the sudden shift in the conversation's tone to be angry, you simply stare at her as her face moves ever closer.
>>
>>2307024
Then, she bursts out into laughter yet again, throwing herself back into her seat. "You're so easy!" she cries.

You bite your lip hard enough to taste iron and look out the window beside you at the passing city. Sebuk's raucous laughter gradually dies down, though it's still resumed here and there by chuckling gasps that makes your eyes twitch and teeth clench.

"I haven't had this much fun since your little hike through the desert," she says. "Remember when I almost tricked you into killing your Twi'lek friend?"

You whirl about in your seat to face the demented Sith.

"That was you?" you shout. "I thought I hallucinated that!"

"Oh, you *were* hallucinating. But I added my personal touch." She reaches over and presses her fingertip to your temple. At her touch, a bodiless face appears reflected in the front window of the cruiser - Tuija, the yellow-skinned Twi'lek girl you haven't seen in over a year.

You grab Sebuk's wrist and throw her hand away. "Remember when you asked me to cut you down?" You shift your hand down to the lightsaber at your side, and Sebuk lets out a disgruntled 'hmph' before withdrawing and staring out the window on her side.

Once you leave the city center behind, she looks back to you with a smile on her face.

"Admit it," she says. "I got you good."

Did she?

>She got you good.

>She didn't get you good.
>>
>>2307027
>She got you good.
I have my doubts about her faking but I'll accept it
>>
>>2307027
>>She didn't get you good.
Don't feed her already bloated ego. Otherwise we'll never hear the end if it.
>>
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>>2307027
>She got you good.
>>
>>2307027
>She got you good.
>>
>>2307027
>She got you good.
Let her enjoy her meaningless victory. It will make her more agreeable.
>>
Well look at that we have been made an idiot yet again. Maybe if we just used our saber more this would not keep happening.

Also she is reading our mind everytime she touches us, and we can't even detect that can we?
Now that we have given her the ticket off the planet,she does not neer us. Unless she wants to keep her personal court jester around for toying of course.
>>
>>2307170
Yeah, people are too inclined to trust her and treat her well. It's detrimental to the MC.
>>
>>2307170
>>2307220
Hey, everyone bristled when I mentioned we could leave without her if she reacted poorly and didn't put out, and just kill her if she tried to stop us. Nobody voted to leave without her. Everyone voted to ">Take her"

It was always a risk that after we found these holocrons with her help, she would stop helping after she got promoted to the IRS. It still is a risk, but it is one everyone before me voted to take (I only recently finished reading the archives).
Even if she doesn't help us in the future, what happened is better for us than not finding any holocrons at all. We still have that other one which we decided to keep.

She might decide it is in her interest to help us after all anyway, since it is obvious we are on an upward trajectory with or without her help, and also because Varrus is just that damn charming. Don't assume everything is going poorly because of the banter and her taking most of the credit.
>>
>>2307027
You look back out the taxi window to keep Sebuk from seeing your tight-lipped smile.

"Yes," you admit with a sigh. "You got me."

She grabs your shoulder, jostling you back and forth playfully. "I got you," she croons.

As you return your gaze to the passing city, your remaining questions begin to vanish, but a few still remain.

"Why *were* your holocrons separated?" you ask her. The pyramidal one you had handed over to Director Thall spoke as if you were standing in front of Sebuk's statue in her tomb on Korriban.

"Oh, Lisum really did have my body moved. The Republic was making a push on Korriban, so he had my... *lesser* holocron and I taken to Yavin IV."

"But not the Eye? You couldn't appear to him like you did me?"

She frowns at you like a disappointed teacher. "And be stuck under hundreds of feet of solid rock on an uninhabited world? Think, Leera. Use your head."

"But that's exactly what happened," you shoot back. "Your tomb was buried, and Korriban was abandoned for centuries."

Sebuk starts to speak, then looks away and blows air out through her clenched teeth. "Yes, well... you have the benefit of hindsight."

The city center disappears behind you, the buildings becoming squatter and less grand as you approach the jungle-side starport you landed at. The Fury is flight-checked and fueled, waiting for its master like a silent animal of black metal and sharp design.

"Come!" Sebuk walks up the lowered ramp, shrouded in the steam billowing from the launch-prepped ship's underbelly. "Get our ship to Korriban. I have some loose ends to tie up before my inevitable appointment as your superior."

What do you do?

>Fly her to Korriban yourself.

>Going straight home to Voss sounds better. Sebuk can make use of the Empire's overburdened interstellar public transit network.
>>
>>2307238
So, reasons for her to help Varrus:
>Varrus's connections with other Sith, such as his well-connected Master
>With Varrus just starting his career, now is a good time for anyone to ally with him, because they won't have the chance later
>Hey, maybe she actually feels some gratitude that we are helping her get off the shitty planet with the academy and broke Darth Sebuk's total control over her psyche
>the other benefits which were cruelly denied to us
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>>2307244
>Fly her to Korriban yourself.
Slow and steady...
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>>2307244
>Fly her to Korriban yourself.
I wouldn't wish public transportation on my worst enemy.
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>>2307244
>Going straight home to Voss sounds better. Sebuk can make use of the Empire's overburdened interstellar public transit network.
>>
>>2307249
>and broke Darth Sebuk's total control over her psyche

I'm now worried that I didn't make that most recent revelation in Thall's office clear enough
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>>2307249
Yes, let's be her bitchboi for as long as you want.

Welcome to masochist sub sith quest!
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>>2307264
Did I misread something?
From
>"I did this because I thought I wanted off Korriban. But *I* didn't want it... Sebuk did. And she's not real."
I assumed she realized she isn't *actually* Darth Sebuk, just someone who Sebuk's memories replaced. She lied to Thall about the purpose being eternal life because that makes the holocron more impressive.
>>
>>2307244
>>"Get our ship to Korriban. I have some loose ends to tie up before my inevitable appointment as your superior."

She's walking all over us and we're happily submitting to her, but hey, this is how anons want this quest to be. Ecks dee.
>>
>>2307244
>Going straight home to Voss sounds better. Sebuk can make use of the Empire's overburdened interstellar public transit network.
Oh but Sebuk you know there is war going on, we don't have time to give lift, when there are jedi temples to be looted.
>>
>>2307244
Changing my vote to
>Going straight home to Voss sounds better. Sebuk can make use of the Empire's overburdened interstellar public transit network.
>>
>>2307244
Alright I'll change my vote to this.
>Going straight home to Voss sounds better. Sebuk can make use of the Empire's overburdened interstellar public transit network.
>>
>>2307283
Wait...what part was lie again...for all we know she might actually be the orginal darth sebuk as the comment at Thalls office hinted at.
But she has wrapped herself in so many half trues, lies and possiblities, that it is next to imbossible to know for sure
>>
>>2307283
>I assumed she realized she isn't *actually* Darth Sebuk, just someone who Sebuk's memories replaced.

She was just messing with you to pass the time.
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>>2307329
Sebuk a shit. Can we not sense her true emotions with our power?
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>>2307244
'Our' ship, she said. You follow Sebuk up the ramp, gaining on her quickly. She takes notice of this - and the fierceness of her expression - and breaks into a full-on run towards the ship's bedroom, where she will likely try to lock herself inside.

"Kalyan! Grab her!" you shout at the woman as both you and the Sith near her in the ship's command center. The blonde woman hurls herself at the Sith at your command, slamming the both of them into the wall beside the corridor. Kalyan's usual hesitation to obey your commands is gone, overridden by a deep dislike of Sebuk that makes her momentarily forget her stronger hatred of you.

Sebuk launches into a screaming fury, thrashing and kicking in the much larger woman's grip as lightning arcs off of her fingertips.

"You're going to have to take a public shuttle," you shout over the din of metal bangs and high-pitched shrieking. At those words, Sebuk falls silent and her resistance assumes a sharper edge. She grabs the forearm Kalyan has wrapped around her throat, delivering a shock that stuns Kalyan and sends them both to the ground.

"Korriban is only 8 hours away," Sebuk gasps out, casting a desperate eye at the bedroom door you stand guarding while she extricates herself from your crumpled bodyguard. Amaza rushes in from the cargo bay with vibroblade in hand, but stops just short of the command center at the sight your raised hand.

"There's a *war* on," you say to Sebuk, your tone awed. "Do you have any idea how much can happen in 8 hours?"

With a grunt she rolls Kalyan off of her and scrambles to her feet. Your bodyguard's eyes are still open, but it's clear from her dazed expression that she'll need at least a few minutes to get moving again.

"I do," Sebuk says darkly, eyeing you like a cornered animal. "People can die... for the most trivial of reasons."

"That's right." You edge your hand towards your lightsaber, making very clear the line you're drawing in the sand. With one arm still confined to a sling, your ability to grapple with her is limited, limiting your remaining options to those of a more lethal variety.

Seconds tick by, and the tense standoff continues. Sebuk's eyes dart past you and her muscles twitch, the Sith looking for any opportunity to flee deeper into the Fury. Seeing no opening, and perhaps sensing the immensity of your resolve, she finally eases her stance and looks between you and Amaza with a mean smile.

"Fine, then. I can see when I'm not wanted." She looks past you again and points to the bedroom down the hallway. "I'll want my jewelry back."

"Amaza." You beckon the girl over, and she wearily skirts her way around Sebuk. "Go grab the bits of gold jewelry - it's all over the bed." With a mumbled acknowledgement she glides past you into the room, and you return your attention to Sebuk.
>>
>>2307440
"You may mistake it for shredded tin foil at first," you shout to Amaza, drawing a scowl from Sebuk. Amaza returns, and the exchange proceeds peacefully. The two of you escort Sebuk down the Fury's ramp, and she turns to face you with thin little plates of gold bundled up between her joined hands.

"I won't forget this," she says to you from the base of the ramp. Her eyes narrow, and her nostrils flare as she takes a deep breath in and tilts her head back ever so slightly. Even from this difference in height, it's like she's looking down on you. "When everything you know is burning and everything you love is dead, remember that *this* is where it all went wrong."

You give her a tired look and wave your goodbye, then close the ramp and head back to the ship's central room. Kalyan has recovered enough to pull herself up into the lounge booth at the corner of the room, though the way her face presses into the table and her arms hang limply at her sides leaves you wondering if there's going to be any permanent damage. Some memory loss would be alright.

Approaching carefully, you grab her by the shoulder and give her a firm shake. She rolls her head over to face you, her half-closed eyes shooting wide awake when they connect with yours.

"Don't *touch* me!" she snaps. In the instant before her arm swings out, you feel that same hatred and revulsion you sensed from her on Yavin. Those dark emotions move out of reach when the back of her hand connects with your cheek, sending you scuttling sideways with the force of the blow. It's only the lounge cabinet next to you that stops you from falling over completely, the plates and glasses inside rattling alongside your ringing skull.

Your vision swims, but you're plenty aware enough to see Kalyan staring at you in utter horror, her mouth hung open and eyes blinking rapidly. She throws herself to the floor, prostrating herself before you with palms flat and face pressed into the grating.

What do you do?
>>
>>2307444
Tell her to give Amaza a bath.
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>>2307444
Stand her up and strike her even harder in the face with a force strengthened strike. And then again on the other side.

We're giving her too many chances at this point. Why can nothing go well for Varrus lately? This quest is just pure suffering now.
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>>2307455
...what?
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>>2307444
>"When everything you know is burning and everything you love is dead, remember that *this* is where it all went wrong."
Lel. That is a pretty extreme reaction. I hope yall are happy you made her take the bus.
Idk what the response to this clone should be.
>>
>>2307444
Shock the shit out of her. She apparently doesn't understand her position.

Fuck Sebuk, she's not even worth it. I fully consider her an enemy.
>>
Also say something about how we've been nothing but nice to her after that initial mishap but she's now making it clear that it's the wrong tactic to deal with her. One more mishap like this and I say we just kill her.
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>>2307461
Unleash the lightning.
>>2307456
Time to Kylo out. Can't get laid, got broken arms, and our servants are out of control.
I still want to bang the bitch DESU, whether she's an ally or an enemy.
>>
>>2307456
It's like Hurt saw that things were going too well for us and then decided to reverse all of that in this thread. At least we've learned about Kalyan and Jevan and hopefully got some favor with some higher ups with that holocron. But otherwise we've been getting shit on nonstop. Especially by Sebuk, who is completely unreasonable and unbearable.
>>
We need to quit caring about others we're a sith. Quit trying to fuck Sebuk she want none of you. What we should do is screw up everything she tries to do. Then invite her to do another ruin run and bring some backup. Kill her once we find the holocron. Fuck the dead body if need be since we have a bunch of normies in here.
>>
>>2307444
Sinply hitting back or adding some lighting is too tame...she already had those.

Take her to the training room and "spar" with her. Force throws, weak lighting, see how long we can make her last...release our anger a bit...lets make clear that this is last change for her if she is still alive afterwards

>>2307581
This sounds like plan too.
Although I suspect that Sebuk will realize that she over reacted and will just try to make us look like fool again as a payback
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>>2307581
That just reeks of pettiness, no, we need to be BETTER than her in everything, that is the best way to get back at her
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>>2307614
No, the best way is to better than her at everything and THEN kill her when we've made our superiority clear.
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>>2307581
I agree about not caring but you are wrong about Sebuk.
The bitch just gave us a shittest, which we passed with ease. She only wants the Zeltron dong even more now. A few negs and we will be IN.
>>
So the thing is we planned to benefit from working with Sebuk in the future, that's the only way all of this would actually be worth it. I don't want to be her bitch so I'm glad we finally took a stand after she fucked with us so much but hopefully she wasn't serious about the whole destroying our life thing.
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>>2307640
Just translate it into thot and you will see we have nothing to worry about.
>You're an asshole! You'll regret not giving me a ride home! I should just break up with you
She might be a thousand year old Sith thot, but still a thot. All the rules apply.
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>>2307614
Yea, sure beat her at everything but she is smart. to smart. We need to continue to act like a bitch then murder her. Her weakness is she is too confident in herself. Not now but later in 5 months go on another trip with our crew and kill her. Yes I'm being petty but we gave her a chance to play nice. I just don't want the normies to make us her bitch trying to fuck her.
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>>2307634
>>2307652
>using redpill dating theory to get bitches in collaborative star wars fanfiction run on a canadian mitten-knitting forum
absolutely based
>>2307673
Come on now. I'm the big guy who suggested devastating her orifices last night and I voted to kick her to the curb today. Don't worry about my priorities!
It's those... handholders you have to worry about, especially once the Twi'lek comes back into the picture.
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>>2307719
Yellow skin ain’t got nothing on ma red lady, nor that danger about it
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>>2307652
>Sebuk confirmed thot.
My heart says begone, but muh dik says something else. Still, better to be dominating than submissive in the face of an ancient Sith that values strength above so much else.
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>>2307444
Zap her
>>
We need new chains to keep Kalyan in bay.
She will find find way to get rid of the collar at some point.

She is driven by her emotions as seen here, we need to use that to our advange.

We should focus on keeping her brother happy, and excited to be with us. She can't hate us if she sees us treating him well and him having an promising future with us.
>>
Also, now that the war has restarted we should be considering contacting Tuija since I'm sure she's made contacts within the military sphere that we can use to our advantage.
>>
Okay, I chilled out a bit. Here's where we can gain the moral high ground. Just wordlessly leave, chart a path to Voss, and check out that holocron some more. Her hitting us unprovoked and us not retaliating would take away her moral high ground. It's the perfect opportunity for manipulation. Punishment clearly doesn't actually work on her.
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>>2307792
Promise that for every transgression from this point forwards Jevan will be punished, after we zap her
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>>2307799
.. I change my mind, clearly best option
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>>2307799
This might be the better option. Maybe.
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>>2307799
Yea, well, Hurt has probably already started writing the unlimited power option.
He should state when voting is closed.
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>>2307799
This
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>>2307814
>He should state when voting is closed.
He really should, but if he did we might not get to be smart about it after the initial anger subsides.
>>
>>2307444
Your spinning head steadies quickly, but with the full return of your senses comes a white-hot rage that demands to be satisfied.

"Stand up," you say to Kalyan, your voice dark and trembling. Not from fear or shock, but from a long-building anger that has your skin crawling and blood boiling.

Her eyes fixed on the floor, Kalyan slowly stands, shoulders drawn inward to make herself appear as small as possible. Amaza stands in the same spot she had stopped when Kalyan backhanded you, not having dared to move a muscle since that moment. Both are expecting immediate violence - a blast of lightning, or the cruel cut of the lightsaber hanging from your belt.

Instead, you turn and order Kalyan to follow you into the training room. There, you take a practice saber from the wall rack and toss it to her, then grab the other for yourself.

"Do you want to hit me?" you ask her, wrapping your fingers tight around the rubberized grip. Like a vibrosword, the training weapon has a satisfying weight to it that you can't help but miss.

Kalyan holds her weapon limply, dangling it at her side so loosely it might drop at any moment. "No, my Lord," she mutters to her feet.

"Yes, you *do*!" you shout, readying your weapon. "I can feel it!"

Except right now, you can't. Her anger is gone, replaced by an overwhelming fear that keeps her from action. Not fear for herself, though. You know where she's worried your retaliation will fall.

"Hit me," you command her, readying your weapon. She looks from your fierce eyes to the arm you have in a sling, but one more look at the former has her reluctantly readying her saber. Kalyan shuffles forward and swings at you in a slow, ponderous arc that you parry with ease, striking her in the ribcage as you sidestep her stumbling fall. It was a pathetic, insulting attempt to strike you.

"Don't make me say it again," you tell her. She turns back to you with a strained look of anguish, delivering another swing - faster this time, and more precise, but still less than she's capable of. You counter-attack at her stomach, knocking the air from her lungs and making her double-over in pain.

"This isn't ending until you hit me."

She assumes a fighting stance again, a more solid one despite the pain she must be feeling, and launches herself at you. This time, you meet her attack with the strength of the Force flowing through your body and weapon, both working in tandem to overcome her brute strength through superior bladework and force of will.

Kalyan strikes at you in feverish earnest, but comes nowhere close to landing a blow. You deliver sharp retaliatory strikes all over her torso and arms, sharp satisfying 'cracks' heralding each slap of rounded blade against flesh. The final one hits her wrist, and she cries out in pain as her saber clatters onto the mat.
>>
>>2307994
You pull back for another swing and pause. Perhaps instinct from having disarmed your sparring partner, or perhaps simple pity. Either way, the overwhelming anger you felt has evaporated. Not satisfied or fulfilled, simply... gone. Kalyan throws herself at your feet again, but you find the gesture more insulting than placating.

"I've been nothing but generous since we left Tion." You draw back your saber and, somewhat reluctantly, deliver another strike to her rib cage. Kalyan flinches and grunts in pain, but says nothing and remains prostrated. You no longer want to do this. You feel tired.

Squatting down in front of her, you support yourself with your downward-pointing saber and take a good, long look at this slave of yours. Trouble heaped on you from above is one thing, but to have it thrown into your face from those below you is another thing entirely. This can't go on.

"I can see I took the wrong approach. You don't appreciate what I've done for you, and you won't listen to reason."

Kalyan stays silent, likely not sure whether or not you're expecting a response. You aren't sure, either. Her simple compliance would be answer enough, but she continuously refuses to give you even that. You rise to your feet and turn around to walk to the door, when fingertips lightly grip the back of one of your boots. You turn around in time to see Kalyan's hands withdrawing and going back to the floor.

"I'm sorry, my Lord." Her voice is a small squeak, utterly at odds with the woman who takes up a good eighth of the room's floor space. "I failed. I behaved wrongly. You are right to punish me."

You frown down at her. "Now you're telling me what's right and what's not?"

She goes silent again. Her fear is palpable, and it's clear from her words what she's trying to do. She wants to draw your anger towards her, and away from her brother. The knowledge of what she's doing disgusts you, and only makes you angrier. You don't *want* to hurt her brother, whose limited service towards you has been exemplary. Nor do you even want to hurt Kalyan, if she would only listen.

But her anger has become self-destructive, making her lash out and then beg for forgiveness once she realizes the enormity of her error. She of all people would benefit from time with Arawits' holocron and its endless preaching.

"This isn't a second chance," you tell her pointedly. "This is a last chance."

With that, you step past her to rack your saber, then leave. She might have some fractured bones after that beating, but you're hardly in the mood to check. And maybe some wrongly-healed ribs will serve as a better warning than the shock you gave her some days ago.

Upon reaching Voss-Ka, your foul mood is made fouler when you remember the promise Hacna made to you just before your departure - that she would produce something worthwhile with the Kyber crystals you gave her. Even before reaching the manor, you're certain that she'll have forgotten all about it.
>>
>>2307996
Except she's there on the front lawn when you pull up in your cruiser, waiting off to the side away from Olub'cree and the other servants. In her hands is a sword, though it's bulkier than any of the vibroswords you keep in the house or on the Fury. Jevan and Sadon are there as well, and you watch carefully as Kalyan takes notice of her brother's lack of slave collar. She doesn't look at you, though you're sure she wants to.

As you talk with Sadon, Hacna remains off to the side, tapping the stone ground with her sword faster and faster until finally you go to speak with her. But then, you take notice of her lack of interpreter droid.

"No U4," she croaks confidently. "Speak it. Speak it all."

You heave a genuine laugh at this minor but welcome development as she turns around and walks off towards her workshop.

"Is this what I asked for?" you point at the sword as you walk beside her.

Hacna stops, eyes going a bit wider as she look from you to the blade in her hands.

"Ah..." She wavers uncertainly for a few moments, then looks back up. "Is sword."

You force a smile and place a hand on her back, ushering her the rest of the way to her workshop. When you get there, you find her interpreter droid amongst the clutter and activate it.

"Disappointed: I am fluent in Basic now," she says through it.

"Oh, I know!" you say carefully, not wanting to discourage this rare bout of proactivity on her part. "But you're going to explain to me what that weapon is, and that's going to require a lot of technical language."

She nods in understanding, and the two of you walk back out onto the manor lawn.

"Which tree do you hate the most?" Hacna hefts the sword up in both hands and points it at a short row of saplings about twenty feet away, their trunks about half as wide as your torso.

"None of them," you say sharply, but her disappointed stare tells you that you've thrown off some carefully-prepared showcase, and you relent. "I hate the leftmost tree. I've always wanted it dead."

"Now," Hacna says. "It will be!" With a grunt she swings the sword off to the side, then hurls the tip back forward. The blade seems to come off the hilt mid-swing, but then you realize that segments of it are separating from each other, connected by thick coils of corded wire that run down the core of the blade. Hacna's swing was far too weak, though, and the separated sword tip lands well short of the tree she had meant to strike down.
>>
>>2308001
Then, the blade explodes. There's a thunderous 'boom' as the weapon flares with white-hot light, scorching the grass beneath it and making you wince reflexively. When you open your eyes, the extended blade is intact, but has been thrown up into the air over the long, thin crater it left beneath it.

"What the hell was that?" you demand.

Hacna goes on to explain, ensuring you that had she successfully snared the tree, it would have been split clean through. She snaps the weapon back into place with the press of a button and goes for another toss, but you stop her and ask her to explain further.

The explosion she says, was the working of the Kyber crystal in the weapon's hilt. A charge is run through it, producing an electro-plasma current that travels up the wires connecting the blade segments. The strength of the charge can be manipulated, as she demonstrates - from a small one capable of lending additional resistance to energy weapons, to a larger charge that drowns the wires in super-heated plasma.

The problem, as she says - and as you saw - is that the larger the charge, the shorter a time it can be maintained. The explosion she created was the result of the weapon's inner workings discharging the build-up of energy before it could overload the Kyber crystal and blow off the user's hand.

That last bit has you reluctant to take the weapon from her, but you do so anyway and give it a fair try after ushering Hacna a good distance away. There's a swiveling switch beneath your thumb, used to both extend & retract the blade, as well as adjust the energy levels. It works, you'll give her that - but you feel ridiculous trying to wield the exotic weapon. It’s almost too heavy to wield with one hand, and you only manage to wrap the whip around a tree trunk through sheer luck after a dozen tries.

"Just the one?" you ask her, retracting the extended segments a final time and lowering the weapon.

She stares at you aghast. "You give me no credits, Lord Varrus!"

That's not strictly true. She's a slave, so she has no wages or salary, but she does have an allowance. It's small, though, and not the sort of thing you can expect her to finance weapons production with.

"Can you make more?" you ask her.

She gives you a narrow-eyed examination. "Maybe Hacna *can*, if--"

Before she can say more, you lay the heavy weapon on her shoulder. "You've got to know when to press your luck."

Buckling under the weight of the blade, Hacna winces and tips to one side, letting it roll off of her shoulder. "I can make more."

Do you have her make any more? And what do you do with this one?
>>
>>2308005
Yea have her make like two more and we can have our Knights train with them.
It seems like a good anti-Jedi weapon, just like a flail is good to get behind defenses IRL. If you wrap a jedi up in that thing and it explodes they are done for.

As for what to do with this one... keep it. Let's become at least competent in using it to hit trees so we can teach Sadon how to use it.

Ask if she can make training sabers that interlock like this weapon, so they can train.
>>
>>2308005
I like it. Let's make more. Keep this one.
>>
>>2308005
That's fucking badass. Thank her for her work and ask her to make more.
>>
I was kind of attached to the lightsaber dagger idea too. But this is fucking rad.
>>
>>2308005
>Two more, give this one to Sadon.
The siblings can most likely use this effectively with their strenght and it is good surprise weapon in our or Sadons hands.

We won't be using this weapon as we already have saber, and we are not going to walk around carrying bulky weapon like this along our saber even if we did keep it.
In emergency situations we can just take one off our bodyguards.
>>
>>2308141
Back up weapon for multiple jedis mang, not exactly civilised but damned effective
>>
Would other lightsaber blades be able to cut through it while it's activated?
>>
>>2308278
>Would other lightsaber blades be able to cut through it while it's activated?

With enough time, yes, but the cortosis blade and the energy field will allow it to last through at least one sustained fight against a lightsaber-wielding opponent, and the Kyber crystal itself will last far longer (so Hacna says, and you hope).
>>
Just get practice sabres like this pls.
Otherwise they will start losing limbs in training
>>
Excellent, I say we get more of these produced, give Hacna praise then go sit down, have a glass of wine and listen to some chill tunes, you know, wind down a bit, or fuck around with the holocron
>>
>>2308419
I mean they can just be used without activating the energy right?
>>
>>2308462
Oh, maybe so.
If that is true disregard.
Other good anti-Jedi weapons would be proximity-activated grenade launcher machine guns, or stuff like shotguns with explosive rounds.

Nobody who fights Jedi should use lazer weapons with slow ass projectile speeds.

Though, arming Kalyan with all that shit and getting fragged by her would suck ass.
>>
So I feel like we could maybe just get familiar with this weapon for a bit and then give it to one of our guards. I feel like a lightsaber is a more suitable weapon for us.
>>
>>2308630
Well duh.
>>
>>2308005
"I want you to make two more," you tell Hacna. Three of your guards could potentially wield them, but it's hard to imagine the diminutive Amaza lifting it off of the ground.

Hacna starts to speak, but you hold up a hand.

"You'll get your credits. You're going to keep the receipts and show them to Olub'cree, though."

That seems to satisfy her, but then she turns downcast and starts kicking up clumps of grass that had been tossed into the air by her explosive demonstration of the whip-sword.

"What?" you say.

She gives you a look of righteous indignation, though it doesn't seem to be directed at you.

"What is wrong with him?" she asks.

"Who?"

"Jevan," Hacna replies. She sticks her hand out at waist level, fingers pointed down and palm facing outward. "I touch him like this, and he does nothing. He stares at me like he is stupid."

You recoil at the image of her leathery fingers handling anything more delicate than a socket wrench.

"What did I say?" you snap. "Just before I left Voss."

She drops her hand, and her eyes drift up in thought. "Don't tell you about it," she says guiltily.

"Don't tell me about it," you echo. Before departing, you leave her with a well-meant: "Good job," that takes her off guard. Hopefully the mild praise doesn't go to her head. You stop halfway there, spotting Jevan lurking behind a corner as much as his huge bulk will allow. His stance straightens as you approach.

"It was nothing," you call out to him, lifting up the sword to show the source of what must have sounded like a grenade going off. "Just this."

"Yes, my Lord. I want to see it work."

You stop in front of him, heaving a slight sigh as you consider how much easier everything would be if your other three guards were clones of Jevan. Stoic giants bereft of Sadon's psychotic fury or Kalyan's defiance.
>>
>>2308722
With those traits gone, you could easily bear the uncanny knowledge that you're dealing with a child in a man's body. Then, you remember that you *do* have a clone of Jevan - and she's the hardest of the four to deal with. Nurture, it seems, trumps nature.

"Did Hacna put you to work while I was gone?" you ask him.

"I hold things, carry things. Simple jobs."

You hold the sword up to him. "Do you know how to use this?"

He gives a firm nod. "I watch her make it."

You push the sword out further and drop it in his hands. "Show me."

Leading Jevan back over to the young trees you and Hacna had been lashing out at, you direct him to strangle the one you already cut up. He assumes a combat stance, but then his stern glare breaks and flickers over to you as his arm lowers somewhat.

"Kalyan will fight better next time,” he says.

For a split-second, you are certain you've just been handed a thinly-veiled threat. But Jevan's attention quickly returns to the tree, and you realize that Kalyan must have lied about the source of her injuries. That, or simply brushed his questions off entirely.

Drawing his arm back, Jevan swings the blade towards the tree, and the blade separates with a series of metal clicks as the whip lashes outward. He tries four times, the first three stabbing at the ground behind the tree, then into the branches, then digging into the trunk itself. The fourth coils around the trunk, and only a powerful tug from Jevan manages to dislodge the sharp-edged chunks of blade.

"I'm sorry," he mutters.

You look from the pock-marked tree to see him shaking his head in self-directed disappointment.

"No," you assure him. "That was good." Not perfect, but he had landed a chokehold on the tree in a third of the attempts it had taken you - and only using one hand, just like you did. His strength and size undoubtedly help, as does the practice he already had with the thing, but you can't help but feel there's some natural talent there.
>>
>>2308727
You take the whip-sword from him and once again head back towards the manor's front entryway, where you run into a pair of Voss commandos wearing their distinct armor of gray-and-olive that looks painfully dull against their colorful skin.

"Leera Varrus?" one of the men says to you.

"Yes?" You hand Jevan the sword, certain that they've come about the explosion. Blasters aren't permitted within Voss-Ka outside of the foreign governmental enclaves, and you're not sure where Hacna's creation falls in terms of weapon categorization.

"We must ask you to remain on the grounds of your home until further notice," the man says, his voice soft but firm.

"House arrest?" You crack a disbelieving smile. "What's going on?"

"It is a temporary measure," he assures you, and then he and his partner leave before you can pry any further details from them. Too many other places to visit, they say. You go inside to place a call to the Imperial enclave, and quickly learn the reason for what sounds like martial law.

When it became clear that the Imperial invasion of Balmorra was more than a skirmish, fighting broke out between Imperial and Republic forces within Voss-Ka. All three groups - the Voss being the third - put a stop to the violence with only a few deaths, none of them Voss, and local authorities responded with this.

The Empire and Republic were more than happy to agree, too afraid of angering the neutral Voss to worry about inconveniencing their own people. War with the Republic has yet to be officially declared, but it's only a matter of days until one side decides to make it official.

You were ecstatic to get back to Voss after so long spent within the stifling confines of the Fury, but being told you can't leave suddenly has you wanting to hop back on your ship and jet over to another insect-infested jungle. It's not a rational desire, but the ache for freedom is a natural one. Burdened with the knowledge that you'll be stuck in your home for Emperor knows how long, you grab a bottle of Corellian Brandy from Veredious' picked-over stores and go to your office on the second floor.

Though, perhaps 'office' isn't the right word. There's no computer terminal to bother you with its pestering communication alerts, and therefore no way to do any work. There's a dark wooden desk, made on Voss, and a high-back chair you sit in that faces the window opposite the door. The downside is that when the door opens, you have to twist around awkwardly to see who is standing in the entryway.

Except when their distinctive footsteps make it obvious, like with Olub'cree's slow shuffle. Or, as is the case now, when their presence within the Force is distinctive and memorable enough that you recognize it before the door even creaks open.
>>
>>2308733
"Come in," you call out, still staring through the window at the bronze-capped city you're presently forbidden from stepping foot in. Heavy footfalls sound out behind you, loud enough that you would have easily narrowed the candidates down to one of two people.

Then, Kalyan passes your chair, entering your view and stopping in front of your desk with her hands clasped behind her back. She stares off into space above your chair, avoiding eye-contact in a show of practiced deference. You take another sip from your glass, silently wishing she would block less of your sunlight.

"May I speak, my Lord?" she says finally.

"You may speak *respectfully*." You look around the room, then point to the wall on your left. "Sit down, first."

Kalyan grabs a chair from where you had pointed and carries it over, setting it down directly in front of you. You direct her to move it a bit further to the left, then allow her to sit. She's trying to avoid looking you in the eye for fear of seeming too aggressive, but you can tell that conflicts with a need to search your gaze for some hint of purpose or emotion.

"You removed Jevan's collar, my Lord," she blurts out, sitting forward as the urgency of her remark drives her towards you.

You eye her tiredly and give a weak wave of the hand. "I was expecting a question."

"I would like to know why... if you will allow me, my Lord."

"Why wouldn't I?" you ask her. "He does his job well. He's respectful. I like him."

You can see the gears turning in her mind as she tries to figure out what devious, multi-layered gambit you're playing at here. But she will not find one, because there is none. You sit up straight in your chair, your diminished patience bolstered only slightly by the calming effect of the alcohol and your view of Voss-Ka's warm rooftops.

"I want you to answer me honestly," you say to her, your expression stern. "Don't lie to me, and don't put on an act."

Kalyan twitches as if to nod in recognition, but then thinks better of it and stops. Even that small amount of compliance would be an act on her part.

"Tell me why you refuse to obey me. Every last bit of it - don't leave anything out."

She hesitates to speak to you so openly after the fury you unleashed on her a few days ago, which she still wears in the form of yellow bruises peeking out of her sleeves and tunic collar. But she recognizes how close to the end of the rope you have come, and how little room to maneuver she has.

Kalyan starts by describing the events in the cave on Tion. Her language is clinical and disconnected, as if she were a passive observer. That must be the only way she can discuss the topic without wanting to throttle you.
>>
>>2308735
Once her story reaches the point where she awakens on the Fury, she becomes more heated, but then trails off awkwardly when she mentions Jevan's slave collar. When she finishes you lean your elbows on the desk and look her in the eye, beginning with a reminder that you want complete - but respectful - honesty from her.

"Do you believe that I knew you and Jevan were family when I ordered you to kill him?"

Her face twitches so noticeably that one eye closes, but then she shakes her head and mutters a firm 'No'.

"You lived on Tion for seven years - you know what its people are like. The first member of your group I encountered tried to kill me without warning. Can you understand why I assumed you were violent savages like all the others?"

Another 'No', this one a little too fast and a little less firm. That's alright, though. Your first question was the most important, and the root of her hatred.

"Do you believe I have sinister intentions for your brother?"

Kalyan's eyes snap up to you, then narrow. "I don't know," she says.

You scoff and sit up in your chair, having already started slouching throughout a question-and-answer session that is fast becoming tiresome.

"Why do you think I brought you four here? Housed you, clothed you, got you first-rate medical care?"

"You want to use him," she responds firmly.

"Yes!" You throw your hands up in the air, heaving an exhausted sigh. "I want to use him, because he's *useful*." Composing yourself and pushing aside your drink, you lean forward again and lower your tone to one less casual.

"You're smart. You know the only reason I've tried this hard with you is because you and your brother come as a package deal. You're the one using him as leverage, not me."

That last accusation finally seems to hit home, and Kalyan sits back in her chair looking somewhat shaken.

"Do you think Jevan's life will improve if you keep pushing me?"

Her gaze snaps downward and she swallows visibly, likely envisioning her and her brother being dropped back on Tion. That, or simply killed outright. It takes her some time to respond, but the answer comes with more dread conviction than all the previous ones.
>>
>>2308738
"No," she says.

You sit back and lean the side of your head on your fist, looking her over as you try and think of anything you left uncovered. It seems that every time you try and pick this woman apart enough to pull out the weeds of hatred, she finds a way to let it regrow.

"Will Jevan's collar stay off?" she asks you, still looking away.

"I can't picture him giving me any reason to put it back on. Your punishment is your own."

Kalyan swallows again and nods, grappling with a problem opposite yours. She has far too many questions, and doesn't want to test your patience with more than a handful. Ultimately she pushes them aside, and looks up at you with an expression that is a bizarre mix of wild enthusiasm and tired resignation.

"I will do whatever you order, my Lord. I swear it."

You don't bother with much of a response, telling yourself that her words mean nothing and her actions mean everything. As in all things of importance, time will tell. With a wave from you she rises from her chair and sets it back against the wall. Then, just as she passes you, she stops.

"You fight dangerous enemies," she says, drawing a mumbling agreement from you. "What will happen to Jevan if you die?"

What do you tell her?
>>
Damn son, how do you churn out these long update?
>>
>>2308742

That's it for tonight.
>>
>>2308742
Okay, let's not give this bitch a reason to murder us and think of a good response.
Because if Varrus says "he goes free", we're just getting shot in the back.
Perhaps
>If I die, my master Verodious will claim you all. If he dies too, perhaps I will bequeath you to Sebuk in my will. Is that reason enough for you to serve me honestly, as a true defender? It is better for everyone here that I live. There will be no one else you can attach yourself to as they climb to greatness.
>>
>>2308759
Have you run any other quests in the past?
>>
>>2308776
Nope, this is my first.
>>
>>2308784
Well, I'm impressed. Good job.
>>
>>2308784
Have you read any of the other star wars quests or any at all? Really good quest.
>>
>>2308801
I've only taken a brief look at some quests to see how people run things, I haven't gone through and really read any.
>>
>>2308806
Do you have experience writing outside of questing?
>>
>>2308817
A bit, I started writing a year and a half ago. Most of that's been either Star Wars fanfic or romance novels for the Kindle store.
>>
>>2308766
Best option really
>>
>>2308766
This sounds like the most logical answer to give, honestly.
>>
Alright. Can also mention how other Sith do not treat their... knights (should we call her a slave?) well.
The only one I am actually of a mind to free in the event of our death is Sadon.
It is actually fucking weird how loyal he is.
>>
>>2308742
It's hard to say. He could be sold as a slave and separated from you. Or forcibly drafted into the Imperial military as a grunt.
>>
>>2309012
That's also good.
>>
>>2309014
Both of them work well
>>
I just re read most of the post from tonight by Hurt... I think Sebuk is the main driving force behind our date rape, or was the one doing it, tricking us into believing a hallucination, but mostly I think she implanted the thought, then watched... and liked it?
>>
>>2309647
Ehh I think that was all Tuija. Just revenge for trying to manipulate her emotions when she was already trying to bang us. Which made no sense at all by the way.
>>
>>2308742
"You would pass to my Master, Lord Veredious. He's not as nice as I am." Hopefully she senses the total lack of humor in that last statement. "Or I could put together a will that leaves you two to Lady Zhaho."

You twist around in your chair to look up at Kalyan, whose resigned look has become twisted by memory of her treatment at the Sith woman's hands.

"I understand, my Lord," she says.

With another wave you dismiss her, waiting for the door to close before you reach into a desk drawer and pull out the cloth-wrapped holocron of Darth Arawits. You've calmed enough to take another crack at it, and no one ever said you can't meditate sitting in a chair - or after having had a few drinks. With a twist of the cap a shimmering white star appears overhead, casting the desktop in more light than a hologram has any right to. A cute little effect.

"Are you ready to be led into the light?" it says in that gentle, airy tone.

"Sure," you reply, sitting up straight and putting your hands in your lap. "Lead on."

You close your eyes, and for minutes the holocron drones on, asking you to allow your thoughts to settle and your mind to clear. Don't push the frustration away, it tells you. Let those thoughts fade away of their own accord. They're ephemeral things with no real substance, that will vanish quickly if not clung to.

But you are so used to hoarding every last scrap of hatred and anger to use as fuel for the fire, that it feels wrong to let go. To your surprise - and perverse satisfaction - the artificial sentience of the holocron gives up before you do.

"Why do you cling to your anger?" it asks you.

Eyes still closed, you feel a frown crack your serene facade. "It's useful. I'd be dead without it."

"You'll die if you let go of it?"

"No," you say impatiently. "I *would* have died without it. Countless times over."

"Then why do you cling to it still?"

The answer is obvious, but you hesitate to say it for fear of this computer twisting your words around on you. Despite the speaker's angelic appearance, it has a primitively deceptive mind.

"I will need that passion, and that *strength* in the future."

"You will deal with future problems the same as past ones?"
>>
>>2310091
You open your eyes to glare at the thing, realizing that meditation won't be resumed anytime soon. You're about to continue the argument more heatedly, when a knock comes at the door. You wrap the holocron up and stuff it away in the desk, standing up at the same moment you realize how absurd you're being, hiding your own belongings from the eyes of your own servants.

"Lord Varrus?" Sadon says, peeking his head in through the cracked door. "There is a call. The comm room."

Intrigued, you leave your office and head downstairs to your home's communications room. The holographic terminal within has a link to the nearby Imperial enclave, but they refuse to transmit any sensitive data to you for fear of Republic spies picking it up.

The connection you find waiting for you has been established from Dromund Kaas, which is odd - typically you would have to go to the enclave's offices to receive anything official. You answer the call, and the wizened face of Director Thall appears overhead, a small gray officer's cap covering what little hair he has left.

"Ah, Varrus," he sighs. The comm-link crackles and distorts, rendering his words barely understandable. "What a relief."

"What is it?" you wonder. "Is something wrong?"

"No, no." He shakes his head. "I just wasn't sure I'd be able to get through to you. Communications are spottier than ever."

"Are we alright to be talking like this?" you ask him, knowing that he's fully aware of Imperial security protocols.

"It's nothing sensitive. Not even Service-related, really. I have a favor to ask of you."

"A favor?" You can see the exhaustion and desperation in the beleaguered Director's eyes. He's probably been at this for hours, trying to get a call a quarter of the way across the galaxy while data channels are throttled by Imperial Intelligence.

"A diplomatic official arrived on Voss early this morning, but he’s been stuck in the Imperial enclave all day. He was supposed to finalize living arrangements within the city, but the Voss won't let him do more than travel in between the starport and enclave."

"There's martial law," you respond. "Or something like that."

Thall nods gravely. "This isn't the sort of person who's used to living in an Imperial barracks. Word got around that you have quite the home..." He trails off, the question made clear without being stated outright.

This visiting official's superior - maybe the official themselves - found out that you live in a mansion with three quarters of the rooms empty, and leaned on Thall to ask you to play host until this city-wide house arrest ends.

What do you say?

>Yes. The more the merrier.

>No. You simply don't have the space for a guest.

>You're cracking up, Director. What was that last--
>>
>>2310094
>Yes. The more the merrier.
Making them connections.
>>
>>2310094
>Yes. The more the merrier.
Let's network then.
>>
>>2310094
>You're cracking up, Director. What was that last--
Hell no. We've got stuff to do. Who knows how long this martial law will last?
>>
What should Hacna's new weapon be named?

Could it wrap around the blade of an activated lightsaber? Ideally it could and then it could conduct that energy down the blade to detonate the crystal contained in the lightsaber. That would make it one hell of an anti-jedi weapon.
>>
>>2310094
>You're cracking up, Director. What was that last--
Hard choice, but I'd rather not let possible spies and/or uppinity officials in our home so soon after dealing with someone like Sabek.
Although if I am outvoted we can always counter spy on them
>>
>>2310220
One big reason why we kicked her to the curb is so we could take advantage of opportunities like this, and you want to pass it up because of paranoia? We can search the house for bugs if you want, but we should get this diplomat in our debt.
>>
>>2310094
>Yes. The more the merrier.
>>
>>2310094
>>Yes. The more the merrier.
>>
>>2310094
"Of course!" you say to Thall. "I've got plenty of room. I can play host for a few days." At least, you *hope* this shutdown only lasts a few days. Having some stodgy attache slinking around your home will likely wear thin quickly, but you can't see a good reason to turn Thall down beyond that simple distaste. This will ingratiate you towards the Director, and possibly allow you to form some more connections, assuming this visitor really is someone important.

Thall ends the call, assuring you that he'll be able to relay your acceptance to the Imperial enclave since his distant connection is already being routed through them. Olub'cree directs the servants to prepare a room, and Sadon stands watch for any approaching cruisers.

Despite the fact that you really don't have to *do* anything, you find yourself unable to relax while you await your visitor, and you busy your mind with thoughts of who it might be. Another Sith seems like a very real possibility, given what Thall said about him being 'unused to staying in a barracks.' That could be quite awkward, if they're someone of higher status than you.

Two hours later, Sadon calls you with news that he's spotted three cruisers pulling onto the side-road leading up to the manor. You step outside with him and two household servants to await your visitor. The sun has dipped below the horizon, leaving it too dark out for you to see through the opaque windows of the three cars.

The two in the front and rear are boxy things, Voss commando vehicles - but the middle one is a standard civilian cruiser. Normally that would be quite the enviable escort, but the Voss likely just want to make sure this Imperial gets where he's going and stays there. The doors of the commando cruisers stay shut, but the backseat door of the middle cruiser opens, and a man steps out.

He's tall and lithe, with a form-fitting robe that becomes loose at his waist and elbows. His skin is a vivid jade, and his clothes a far darker shade of green that looks almost black against the bright gold trim and flowing designs of the fabric. He is completely bald, except for a single braid of long, black hair that sways in and out view as he walks towards you. It's only when he moves into the light of the entryway that you finally recognize the Falleen.

"Shassanis?" you say in disbelief, all of your carefully-gathered composure dissipated in an instant. The surprise is all your own, and he stops in front of you with a smile.

"Varrus," he says in a smooth voice, extending his right hand in greeting. You take it without thinking, giving a half-hearted shake before letting your hand fall away. For a few moments all you do is stare at him, and his expression grows uneasy.
>>
>>2310552
"They called you--" he starts to ask, and you shake the residual shock from your system.

"Yes," you say quickly, stepping aside and motioning for him to come inside. "I just didn't know it was you."

As you step into the entryway of your home, surprise and disbelief is replaced by an overwhelming feeling of awkwardness like you've never felt before. Shassanis had been among the four students sent by Harkun to kill you and Tuija in Sebuk's tomb - though he had been a less-than-willing participant in their plot.

You had spared him despite Tuija's insistence otherwise, though he didn't escape unscathed. You notice his left arm, and how it hangs more limply than a well-functioning limb should. He stops in the middle of the first room, and turns to face you and the few servants you've assembled.

"You crushed my arm," he says. His confident smile is gone, replaced by something utterly unreadable. He lets the declaration hang for a moment, and then a fraction of his pleasant expression returns. "I never did thank you for that."

You let out a breath you hadn't known you were holding, and form a confused smile. "Thank me?"

"You could have killed me, by all rights." His smile broadens. "Tuija *tried* to kill me."

And you had stopped her, to her great frustration. Remembering yourself, and the principles of good hosting, you continue leading him to the dining room where dinner is in the early stages of being brought out.

"No hard feelings?" you ask him.

He laughs. "At first, yes. If you had come talked to me in the med center, I probably would have spit in your face." The two of you sit down at the table, you at the head and him just to your left, and you picture the Falleen lying there in the medical bed, certain that his future as a Sith has been ruined as surely as his body. Except this is a man moving up in the world, not remaining mired at the bottom.

"Seems like you've done alright," you respond.

Shassanis tilts his head and nods thoughtfully. "I was sure that no Lord would take me as their apprentice like this." He leans to his right, then slowly and with great effort lifts his trembling left hand high enough to set it on his chair's armrest. "But I have more to offer the Empire than my skill with a lightsaber."
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>>2310561
"You're with the Diplomatic Service," you say, remembering Director Thall's description of the unnamed visitor.

Shassanis nods again. "If I hadn't been injured, I would have been picked up by some Lord in the Military Spheres and attached to a battle group." Were he anyone else, you would call that a brag - but you remember watching the skilled Shassanis duel other initiates in the academy's arena.

"And I'd be on Balmorra, getting shot at by Republic insurgents and battle droids..." He gestures at your spacious dining room and its carved wooden furniture. "Instead of here, eating your food and drinking your wine."

You give a polite laugh, and to your surprise his expression turns downcast and embarrassed.

"Sorry," he says.

"Why?" you wonder. "I'd rather be here, too."

He wavers for a moment. "Well... Tuija."

"What do you mean?"

Shassanis is surprised and moves to speak, but swallows his words and thinks them over for another moment. You get the impression that he's a doctor about to deliver a terminal diagnosis to a patient.

"Her Master is leading the ground assault on Sobrik," he says. "I can only assume she's on Balmorra with him."

Does this news worry you?
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>>2310565
Sure. Tuija was skilled but she was no combat prodigy. Hopefully she got some combat experience with her Master before being thrust onto the frontlines. With luck she'll be able to survive and prove herself though. I hope to prove ourselves too by stealing an important artifact from a Republic world. Sure we got a holocron but Sebuk deserves a fair amount of the credit for that. And that wasn't some massive victory for the Empire, it just made one or two of our superiors happy.
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Is there actually a way for us to contact Tuija?
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>>2310565
It's the way of the world.
While I'd rather she not die, we're Sith. Death is right around the corner for most of us. There is no reason to be worried. She was in just as much peril before Shassanis shared his knowledge of her whereabouts as she is now.

And you know, Shassanis, it is not too late for you to die for the Empire. Prosthethics have become quite advanced, haven't they?

Still, I don't like maiming. One should either kill one's enemies or leave them whole, the same way one either takes down a painting or leaves it up. You don't go scribbling on it with a piece of marker. That's uncouth.
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Also, should we confront him about how Tuija mentioned that he had done something similar to her when we tried to influence her mind while making out?
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>>2310597
I don't suppose you could link that
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>>2310600
From the first thread.
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2194831/

>"For years I was sure you were magic, but when I read up on the Zeltron people I finally understood." She looks back up at you and heaves a warbling sigh. "I wasn't sure whether to be furious or grateful." When you had first come to her room, she looked tired. Now, she looks downright exhausted. "So I know what it feels like when my mind is being touched... and when it is being pushed."

>Pushing herself up from the bed, Tuija walks over to the door controls and slides open the automated door, then turns to stare at you. You get to your feet and walk over to doorway, casting a shameful glance at her as you pass her. Her formerly steady gaze flickers away now and then, and you can see tears welling in her eyes that she tries madly to blink away before they can form tears.

>"Maybe you can trade notes with Shassanis," she says, her voice cracking as you step into the hallway. You stare blankly at the wall opposite you before turning and heading to your own room. For now, you just want to sleep--and not have to think. Tomorrow, you'll need to decide what to do about the expedition.

I sort of feel like we were meant to care more about Tuija than we did but that's mostly because our backstory and actual relationship with her was concealed until it was too late to do anything about it.
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>>2310565
Somewhat, but we have get over her by now, and She can handle herself just fine.
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>>2310565
Worrying is pointless. If we had a chance to see her or even help her out I'd probably take it but at this point it's not in the cards.
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You know that holocron is rubbing off on us. This is a remarkably Jedi line of thought.
A Sith would be all "IDGAF about that bitch lel"
but Varrus is now just letting go of his feelings
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>>2310630
She was the person who we were closest to in the Academy and we both protected each other repeatedly. Sith can have allies they care about too. Jedi aren't supposed to have specific emotional attachments like the one we had with Tuija.
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It'd be really interesting to have Varrus interact with some Zeltronians who were actually raised in their culture. He's emotionally stunted and even reserved which is a harsh contrast to most of his people.
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>>2310565
>Does this news worry you?
Yes, but at the same time I think we're more certain than not that she'll be alright.
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>>2310883
Apparently they turn a darker red based on stronger emotions so he's not unique there. But they're usually focused on positive but hedonistic emotions. It definitely would be interesting to see the contrast though. They really like to party. Varrus definitely shares the racial gullibility though.
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>>2310565
You'd long known that Tuija had ended up with the Sphere of Military Offense, but the news that she's in an active warzone still takes you by surprise. You take the image you have of the small woman wielding a lightsaber, and surround her with all the threats of a battlefield - orbital bombardments, spider droids, wave after wave of Republic troops. The picture you paint feels too absurd for it to worry you.

Maybe that's why you don't feel any overwhelming sense of worry once the initial shock passes. You feel as if you should, but see no reason to force another mental burden on yourself, and Tuija can handle herself. You had tried your damndest to kill her while in the grips of a Tuk'ata venom-induced hallucination, and had failed. If she can survive Korriban with you as the closest thing she had to a friend, she can survive Balmorra with the might of the Imperial Army behind her.

"I wasn't aware," you remark. "We haven't kept up."

"Oh," Shassanis says simply, seeming surprised enough at the casualness of your response to let the matter drop. The conversation returns to him, and his business on Voss. As Director Thall had told you, he is here to finalize living arrangements - for him and his Master, he says. Darth Serevin will be taking over negotations with the Voss from Lord Maghur.

"Official word is that he requested a transfer," Shassanis says. "He took some garbage posting in the Inner Rim."

You jerk back in your chair, letting out a cackling, tear-stained laugh made more boisterous by the two glasses of wine you've gone through. When you open your eyes again, Shassanis is staring at you oddly.

"But I suspect he was forced out," he continues carefully. "The higher-ups must be getting tired of so little progress with the Voss mystics."

You nod quickly, swallowing your trembling laughter. "That must be it." You'd like to find some way to let Serevin know that *you* were responsible for the recent opening, but you doubt they would believe the story you'd have to tell them. A Sith Lord, fleeing an arranged marriage before he could become the laughing stock of the entire Diplomatic Service.

"Voss-Ka is a nice city," you tell him. "You'll like it here."

He gives a strained smile and an uncertain tilt of the head. "I certainly hope so. My Master fought tooth and nail to obtain this posting."

"It's that competitive?" As a Darth, Serevin should have been able to easily push aside any other Lords angling for the title of head diplomat to Voss.
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>>2311005
"Not so much that," Shassanis says. "I was the problem."

"You? What'd you do?"

"I didn't *do* anything," he says politely. "It's who I am that's the problem - an alien."

"Look at this." You crack a smile and gesture at your home and everything in it. The sprawling mansion might belong to your Master, but it is as good as yours. The rest, Fury and slaves included, is fully yours. "This isn't the academy. You don't have to be a human or pureblood to not get your teeth kicked in."

"You work for the Reclamation Service," Shassanis says pointedly. "You've found a niche, and I applaud you for it. But do you really think the Empire is ever going to allow you or I to become real decision makers?"

You try to muster some retort, but none comes to mind except your own stubborn surety that your life will continue on its current trajectory. Through sheer force of personal will, if nothing else.

"How many aliens are on the Dark Council?" he continues, a bit of fire entering his smooth voice. "Or heading Spheres? Services, even?"

None, none, and very few. The questions are rhetorical, as he knows that you're already well aware of how un-diverse the higher echelons of Sith society are. But times are changing, and a generation ago you wouldn’t have even been allowed into the Sith academy.

“Face it, we’re servants of the Empire.” Shassanis lips turn up into something too weak to be called a smile. “They’ll happily use us, but they’ll never let us take the wheel.”

Is he right?

>Yes, but you don't particularly mind. You're happy with your standard of living and the freedom of movement your position gives you.

>Yes, and you chafe under the knowledge that your upward mobility will be limited to positions that amount to being an errand boy or manager of errand boys.

>No. The change you've seen within the Empire will only be accelerated by the necessities of war, and old minds will be forced to adapt.
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>>2311010
>Yes, and you chafe under the knowledge that your upward mobility will be limited to positions that amount to being an errand boy or manager of errand boys.
As it stands now it is up to us to prove them wrong and advance on our own merits, not just the merits of our race.
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>>2311010
>No. The change you've seen within the Empire will only be accelerated by the necessities of war, and old minds will be forced to adapt.
We don't actually agree with him, but just in case Shassanis is here for "other" reasons, agree with him.
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>>2311010
When times get tough as they will during this war, pragmatism will win over dogmatism. Our time will come.

I vote this way mainly to maintain plausible deniability over our involvement in the upcoming coup that will be more friendly to alien races. I'm not convinced that he isn't working with Cypher 9 to suss out our allegiances.
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>>2311010
>Yes, but you don't particularly mind. You're happy with your standard of living and the freedom of movement your position gives you.
We don't want to be chained by our rank like the crime lord Hutt at his ship.
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It's one hell of a coincidence that someone who could hold a grudge against us has been sent to Voss to stay with us. I recommend caution in stating our true ideas.
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If we can accomplish great things despite our racial "handicap" as other see it, it might even give us higher renown.
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>Page 9
It might be time to archive this thread once the session is over. I can't tell you how much I appreciate these frequent and consistent sessions. This is without a doubt my favorite current quest.

Hey Hurt, how are you liking the jump from writing fanfiction to the more collaborative nature of quests?
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