You are Leera Varrus, recent graduate of the Sith Academy. From your government-provided home on the neutral planet of Voss, you scour the galaxy for ancient artifacts on behalf of the Imperial Reclamation Service. Your job is comfortable and provides plenty of room for your own pursuits, but has little room for further advancement. Another complication comes in the form of your Master, Lord Veredious, who has gotten you tangled up in treasonous conspiracies you still don't know the full extent of.Your exploits have gained you allies and enemies in equal measure. Four Tionese slaves serve you with varying degrees of loyalty and enthusiasm. Darth Sebuk, an ancient Sith Lord whose consciousness inhabits the body of an academy instructor, seeks employment in the same Imperial agency that you serve.A young Jedi woman hunts you and your Master in order to exact revenge for your killing of another Jedi aboard a Hutt’s pleasure yacht. The Imperial ambassador to Voss, Darth Serevin, is grateful for your unveiling of a Voss prophecy that heralds the destruction of the existing Galactic order. Tuija, your Twi’lek partner in crime at the Sith Academy, has deployed to Balmorra with the Imperial military against the backdrop of a quickly-deteriorating ceasefire. The Second Galactic War has begun.You also have Hacna.The most recent of your adventures has taken you to the planet of Thyrsus, where you hope to engage the services of a Force-sensitive Thyrsian warrior in training your Tionese bodyguards to fight Force-users. Her combat prowess is undeniable, but she is plagued by nightmares that leave her sleep-deprived and delirious.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------QST Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=A%20Fragile%20Balance
>>4198261The first live will start at 8PM EST today.
>>4198262Holy shit! I never thought you'd come back.
>>4198289It's been so long that I'm reading through my previous threads to remember what dangling plot points I set up and realizing I'd forgotten about entire characters.
>>4198497I've been rereading the archives as well. It reminded me of how much I love this quest. Hopefully we can get some players after all this time.
Ready for the ride boss
>>4198261"Why you want me to train these people of yours?” Xoxyon asks. “Normal people not fight Jedi. But I already know you not normal. You have the…”She squints at you and runs her fingers through the air, as if tracing the outline of a Force-aura only you can see. In a world as cutthroat as yours, it is advisable to reveal only those things that will advance one's position, and no more. The closer they are to you - say, another Sith - the more important that principle. But when one is faced with a being who will never be their equal and will never compete for the same exalted positions, those concerns lessen.It is often far safer to confide in a total stranger than a long-time friend. At least, that is the rationale you use to justify your occasional slips."You know, you aren't the only one the Jedi have come after." You motion at the bed in silent request to sit down beside her on the bed, but the near-catatonic Xoxyon continues to stare blankly at you. In the end, you simply take the seat. "I was nearly killed by one recently."A reflexive grimace seizes you at your unconscious choice of words. You would have preferred to represent your encounter as more of an evenly-matched thing, but the young Jedi had almost succeeded in blowing you to bits. Even her failure in that had given you two more close calls, first with Sriluur's cave dwelling creatures and then with near-drowning.Xoxyon's head jerks in amusement. "And you help me, while you run from them? I am safer here."This time, it's your turn to scoff as you shoot to your feet in prideful resentment."Run? A Lord of the Empire doesn't run, he regroups! Next time they come for me, I’m going to be prepared! Myself, and my guards.” You lean towards her slightly and look her square in her tired gray eyes. “No war is fought alone.”And her encounter with you should have shown her how poorly a fight with a Jedi strike team would go. The gaping hole in the floor of her bedroom is evidence of that. You had been trying to do little more than talk with her, and she’d nearly managed to kill herself in the process. Whether the Jedi actually are after her death is a very doubtful matter, but it’s too useful a persuasive tool for you to question openly.Xoxyon sighs, and her back hunches as if someone had let the air out of a balloon. You’d been going for an inspiring approach, but you feel as if you’ve simply worn her down with your arguments.“What do you want me to do?” she says.“Just as I said. You’ve trained yourself to fight Jedi. I want you to do the same for my four bodyguards.”
>>4199152Amidst the jungle foliage wreathing the room, a flicker of movement draws your attention to the far wall, where Amaza briefly raises her hand in greeting. You had forgot she was even there. Xoxyon fails to take notice at all.“I will not leave this.” Xoxyon gestures at the yellowed, four-eyed lizards scattered amongst the branches of the room’s plant life. “I cannot leave this.”But she would very much like to. Her wistful, tortured expression makes that abundantly clear as she turns her gaze back to you."If you pay me - to live, to eat, and build - I will train your warriors here."You open your mouth to speak, but Xoxyon’s back straightens abruptly and she raises a finger in warning.“I train two - only two. You kill my dreams, then train the other two.”>Sure. You'll leave 2 guards with her, work on solving her nightmares, then come back with another 2.>You're not leaving 2 of your people to squat in a tenement with an insomniac. You'll take Xoxyon with you, along with her entire lizard collection. She can shack up with you.>Other
>>4199153>You're not leaving 2 of your people to squat in a tenement with an insomniac. You'll take Xoxyon with you, along with her entire lizard collection. She can shack up with you.We're unlikely to be welcomed back here at this point. She can return when she's finished, if she wants.
>>4199153>You're not leaving 2 of your people to squat in a tenement with an insomniac. You'll take Xoxyon with you, along with her entire lizard collection. She can shack up with you.We have more resources to aid in training and dealing with her dreams at home. We can pay her handsomely. We have specialized weaponry that is useful against lightsaber wielders that she can use and incorporate into her training for our guards.
>>4199160>>4199164Going with this
I wonder if the lizards could be a training aid for us as well? To hone our skills without the force. I'm sure we'd be even more skilled with the force boosting our natural talents.
>>4199189I want to know how their force suppression fields work. I'm not sure who we could speak with to figure that out.
>>4199153Her proposal is a non-starter for many reasons, not least of which being the fact that Thyrsian authorities have already been alerted to your roughhousing of your government-appointed escort. Then there’s the fact that one of your guards is very possibly the clone of their long-dead ‘Sun Lord’. You could continue to expand on that list, but see no reason to consider her proposal beyond those two deal breakers.“That won’t work,” you tell her firmly. “You’re not safe here - if I can find you, then the Jedi certainly can. What do you need these for, anyway?” You gesture at the dozens of lizards visible to you, though more certainly lurk within the camouflage of the trees. The sickening emptiness their proximity produces in the pit of your stomach has yet to relent. “Are they pets? We’ll take them with us.”Amaza responds to your suggestion in lightning-fast fashion, snapping a lizard-bearing branch from the tree beside her and sticking another one of the creatures into her tunic pockets, branch and all. Xoxyon shouts in anger and storms after her, but you intercept the Thyrsian before she can get too distracted.“My home is a fortress - far nicer than this. You’ll be well-paid, and you’ll have a training area to work from. No one will know you’re there but us.”The Thyrsian warrior spins to face you, her flattened nose flaring angrily.“Do you think you’re hidden here?” You point towards the room’s exit. “I had the entire neighborhood following me, asking if I was a Jedi. Everyone knows that you’re living here, and everyone knows why you’re living here.”You’d thought that revelation would soften her anger somewhat, but the frustration boiling within every fiber of her tense muscles betrays the fact that she knows full well the insane untenability of her situation.“Maybe that is fine,” she says in a strained tone. “Maybe I want a fight.”At that, you relax your own confrontational stance, turn to fully face her, and extend an open hand.“Good. Then you’ll come with me, and we’ll get ready for a fight.”Xoxyon stares at your hand for a good, long moment. Hers is a culture that places enormous importance on symbols and gestures, and you will earn her handshake no more easily than you would a signed, written contract. You keep your eyes trained on hers, but as her gaze wanders towards your open hand you let your own travel to her hand, which begins to twitch at her side. Were it not for the Force-dampening lizards putting you at such disease, your species’ innate empathy might allow you to sense her decision before it was made - perhaps even before she knew she had made it. As it stands, though, you are as uncertain of the outcome as you are of how this will all turn out if she agrees.
>>4199221When she does lift her hand, it latches onto your own without a hint of pause, and she gives it a single vigorous shake before releasing it.“I will train your warriors,” she says slowly. “While I do this, you will fix my dreams. That is my price.”You nod in agreement, and she takes a step backwards.“I am in your service, Lord…”“Varrus,” you say to her.She gives a rigidly formal bow. The gesture seems even more important than the handshake in finalizing the deal you’ve struck with her. When she returns to her full height, which is not much to speak of, you are struck by the immediate and unsuppressable desire to not be in this place anymore. Being bereft of the practical use of your powers is unnerving enough, but feeling so cut off from the Force sparks in you the irrational fear that you may lose contact with it entirely.Silence returns to the space between the two of you, far less tense but just as uncomfortable, and you look around the dilapidated bedroom before throwing up your hands. The Thyrsian doesn’t seem to have much in the way of belongings, which will make taking her to Voss much simpler. You don’t relish the idea of having to coordinate an interplanetary household move after all the difficulty you just went through.“Well, then. Are you ready to leave?”Xoxyon begins rattling off the things she’ll need to take with, which amount to her warsuit and weaponry, workshop materials, and the countless lizards scattered about the run-down warrior lodge. They are, you gather from her rambling explanation, the only thing that will allow her to get scant bits of peaceful sleep. Whatever the reason for her troubling dreams, they seem rooted in her connection to the Force, and severing that connection is her stop-gap solution to her problemYou manage to negotiate her down to bringing only the lizards that are in the bedroom, rationalizing that those are the only ones that were ever close enough to affect her, anyway. Apparently she only purchased six, and without natural predators the things quickly overtook their immediate environs - something to watch out for back on Voss, after you use your diplomatic credentials to smuggle them through local customs.>It’s time to leave for Voss. There’s already a warrant out for your arrest on Thyrsus, and you don’t need to tempt fate any further than you have.>How often are you on Thyrsus, anyway? You should see it while you can. Quietly enjoy the local culture while Xoxyon and your four bodyguards pack up everything to put onboard the Fury.
>>4199222>It’s time to leave for Voss. There’s already a warrant out for your arrest on Thyrsus, and you don’t need to tempt fate any further than you have.
>>4199222>It’s time to leave for Voss. There’s already a warrant out for your arrest on Thyrsus, and you don’t need to tempt fate any further than you have.Time to gtfo. Let's look into a force sensitive animal expert.
>>4199224>>4199225Going with this but I got a phonecall so it'll be a bit. It's coming though
>>4199222It’s time to leave Voss. You’ve already overstayed your welcome, and you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. After assuring Xoxyon that her belongings will be in good hands, you radio Jevan and Sadon to come pack everything up, and your entire group meets in the lodge’s main hall for quick introductions. Xoxyon jerks in surprise at the sight of the tall, blond man who looks so similar to her peoples’ folklore hero, but Jevan’s beard and lack of gray skin seems to confuse things enough that she confines her suspicions to repeated glances at the man.With that awkwardness avoided - or at least delayed - you’re next presented with the problem of your total lack of packing materials. Xoxyon descends to the town to solicit the help of the locals, and returns with a small crew in tow. You’re unsure if they’ve offered to help because they’re happy to see her go or happy to have had her, but a sidebar conversation with Xoxyon reveals their true motivations, and you’re forced to dole out a pittance in credits for a few hours worth of labor and packing crates.The Thyrsian’s warsuit and weaponry is taken down to the base of the hilltop lodge and put in the back of a waiting truck. That, says Xoxyon, will pass through Thyrsian customs without issue - it would be anathema to them to deprive a warrior of their tools. The lizards, on the other hand, are a separate matter. They aren’t native to Thyrsus, so smuggling them out might not be illegal, but possession of large quantities of foreign fauna with no documented approval could prove to be an issue.Xoxyon takes Amaza up to the former’s bedroom, and the two return with a fat brownish-yellow lizard clutched in each hand that squirm amidst hideous grunts. You had been completely unable to dislodge the creatures from their perches, but the Thyrsian seems to have taught your slave her particular method of dealing with them.“How did you get these through Thyrsian customs?” you ask her.
>>4199423Xoxyon shrugs. “Hide them in warsuit. Easy.”You frown. “That was six of them. How many are you trying to bring with us?”Her eyes drift upward in thought, and her lips move as she counts the innumerable reptiles lurking in every corner of her moss-ridden corner of the ruined building.“Sixty,” she finally says, followed by another shrug. “...Seventy.”>Find armor or weaponry to hide the lizards in. It worked the first time.>Hide them in something of Thyrsian religious significance.>Just waltz them through the spaceport and use the Force to soothe any ruffled mental feathers. You can be very persuasive when you want to be.>Tell your people to hide as many lizards as they can on their person and walk them through customs.>Do the above, but bring the neighborhood Thyrsians into the spaceport as a goodbye party for Xoxyon. More people carrying fewer lizards each means they’ll be less noticeable.>This is ridiculous. Smuggle six in the warsuit and deal with getting the rest to Voss later. You’re sure you can find someone willing to wrangle them all and smuggle them to you for a respectable fee.>Player’s ChoiceThat's it for tonight. I'll run tomorrow at 8pm.
>>4199427>That's it for tonight. I'll run tomorrow at 8pm.That's EST
>>4199427>This is ridiculous. Smuggle six in the warsuit. That was good enough for her before and it'll be enough for her now.
>>4199427>Hide them in something of Thyrsian religious significance.
>>4199427>>This is ridiculous. Smuggle six in the warsuit and deal with getting the rest to Voss later. You’re sure you can find someone willing to wrangle them all and smuggle them to you for a respectable fee.
>>4199427>This is ridiculous. Smuggle six in the warsuit and deal with getting the rest to Voss later. You’re sure you can find someone willing to wrangle them all and smuggle them to you for a respectable fee.Well goddamn. I remember this quest.
We never came up with a better name for our guards. Tionese is already claimed by the actual people of ancient Tion. Any ideas?
>>4199956>Tionese is already claimed by the actual people of ancient TionAre you worried they're going to sue us if we yoink the name?
>>4199986I just think we can do better. I've been looking through the names of star wars creatures but I'm coming up with nothing good. Maybe we can't do better.
>>4199986Also referencing where we found them leaves a trail that can be followed by the Arkanians who cloned Jevan and Kalyan.
>>4199956>>4199986>>4199990>>4200036is that their uniform? why don't we just call it the Blue Guard or something like that?
>>4200100That's what they were wearing when we picked them up off of Tion. Not sure what they're wearing now. It seems likely that they'll need powered armor similar to what Xoxyon uses. Maybe we can use inspiration from their original look while making those.
>>4200104If we want it to not draw back to where they came from maybe we should make the armor look different?Sith armor from KOTOR
>>4200150I'd prefer something that keeps their techno-tribal aesthetic alive. I don't think there's anything specific about their armor that would indicate that they're from Tion.
Refresher on issues to address since it's been a while. I'm leaving smaller things out, let me know if there's anything important you guys think I've missed. Lady Zhaho: Either an ancient sith spirit or a holocron-based AI who we helped take over a host body. We also helped her escape her dead end job at the academy, likely joining the Imperial Reclamation Service which is also our branch. She is very volatile but as the only one who knows her secret she at least can enjoy messing with us. Still a threat, but not necessarily a true enemy.Involvement in a coup through our master, Lord Veredious, as well as Lord Andar, who has the darksaber and plans to use it to control the mandalorians in clan Vizla. They intend to take advantage of the current war to radically change the Sith. Cipher 9, with imperial intelligence, is suspicious of our master but can’t prove anything yet.A young jedi is hunting down both us and our master as revenge for the death of the jedi we killed while obtaining the dark saber. She has seen our face and dealt us a serious defeat in the past. Kalyan and Jevan are both essentially superhuman clones, most likely made by the arkanians on Tion. After their facility was destroyed they escaped and lived among the warring tribes on the planet. Kalyan was successfully imprinted with intelligence and leadership skills but Jevan did not receive the same training before their escape, and was essentially raised by Kalyan. Jevan still has perfect recall and a photographic memory, as well as impressive combat skills. If it’s revealed that we’re sheltering these significant investments by an Arkanian corporation called Adasca Biomedical Corporation, we could have some issues. Kalyan is a clone of the pilot that discovered Adasca was purging their cloning program. Jevan is likely the clone of a Thyrsian called Sun Lord Macaule, an ancient leader of the movement to liberate his people from the Arkanians.
>>4200292Xoxyon appears to be the last surviving member of a clan that either is or was linked to the Sun Guards. Her fear of Jedi may stem from a defeat of her clan by Jedi. She is plagued by dreams of a dragon and an old man. The dragon may refer to Duinuogwuin, also known as a star dragon, a Krayt dragon, or a Kell dragon. We need to learn more about these dreams if we want to help her become an effective trainer for our guards.
>>4200292>A young jedi is hunting down both us and our master as revenge for the death of the jedi we killed while obtaining the dark saber. She has seen our face and dealt us a serious defeat in the past.Revenge eh...?
>>4200373She's already pretty torn about it. She got carried away and almost killed Sadon but hesitated.
>>4200359Dragon could just be a name, or title, or even motif on a person. Like an insignia or tattoo. It could be that the old man is a master and the dragon is their prized pupil warrior. Or it's literally a wizard riding his dragon around.
>>4199427You look at the scaley, wiggling animals clasped in Xoxyon’s hands and imagine seventy of the things crawling into every nook and cranny of your starship. The four day flight to Thyrsus had been bad enough with only you and three passengers - the addition of another humanoid and seventy Force-suppressing creatures is too much for you to even consider.“No.” You shake your head. “Absolutely not. We’ll take six of them, the same way you did before.”Xoxyon’s prominent brow furrows and she opens her mouth to object, but your patience has run even shorter than her own.“Seventy?” you exclaim. “Be reasonable. It’s not happening.”After some vague assurances that you’ll send for the rest separately and with the utmost haste, Xoxyon contents herself with her mere six lizards sealed into empty plating compartments within her warsuit. The darkness of their confined spaces knocks them out like a light, just as she said, and you hear none of the disgruntled chirps you expected.The last of her belongings are packed into the rusted transport hovering at the base of the lodge, and your group gets into the back of the sealed vehicle with her gear while you take the passenger seat beside your hired driver. You crane your neck back to watch as the wooden lodge dominating the skyline disappears behind the rest of the crowded slums, and are relieved to find your unease lifting even with the six lizards sleeping a few dozen feet to your rear.A long, bumpy ride later - even maglifts can be upset by poor roadwork - you’re at the starport, cleared through customs without issue, and departing Thyrsus in your interceptor. Xoxyon’s belongings are jammed into the back half of the Fury’s storage room, forcing the rest of your party to spill out into other rooms of the small ship.
>>4200724Four days promises to be even more difficult to pass on the return trip to Voss for the multitude of reasons you anticipated before your voyage began. Despite Xoxyon’s lizards remaining in the storage room, you find that the ship’s single bedroom is too close to them for you to fall asleep without serious trouble, so you set up a makeshift bed on the floor of the training room instead. None of your slaves dare ask if one of them might occupy the empty bedroom instead. You’re glad to see they still keep careful regard of the natural hierarchy.You neither see nor hear from Xoxyon for the entirety of the first day. On the beginning of the second - it would be evening back in Sil Trachari - you venture into the overcrowded storage room and are unsurprised to find her fast asleep on a cot beside the crate containing her warsuit. The six lizards it had hidden are perched atop the edge of the container and on the frame of her cot, completely motionless save for the beady black eyes that swivel about to watch your passage towards them. You remain ever vigilant for the moment one disappears from the group and somehow finds its way into your bedding.A flicker of movement to your right draws your attention towards the tool locker, where Amaza lays with her head propped up by her elbow. She stuffs something into the pocket of her tunic.“She is sleeping,” says Amaza.“I can see that.”You continue over to Xoxyon and find that despite her body being nearly motionless, the muscles in her face twitch with bizarre constancy and her lips move in near-silent mutterings. You stoop down beside her and press your ear to her lips, but it does you little good. She’s dreaming - and speaking - in her native tongue. The Thyrsian language is a strangely punctuated thing, and Xoxyon lets out long, drawn-out breathless vowels in between sharp consonants that sound like someone mimicking the striking of stone. It is a tongue tailor-made to describe martial warfare.Whose help do you seek in addressing Xoxyon's nightmares? The Voss mystic, Talsa-Ko? Darth Sebuk? Your Master, Lord Veredius? Or do you have no intention of following through on that promise at all?Four days is a long time - how do you spend it? Do you make any calls to anyone in the meantime? You have a director to answer to, acquaintances to keep up with, a Master to learn from...
>>4200763The voss mystics have experience with visions. Let's use them.Get in touch with our director and Lord veredious. Speak with Xoxyon to learn more about her dreams. Spar with Jevan and Sadon. Speak with amaza. Meditate.
>>4200763>Talso-KoThis is like their bread and butter. Other than that we should make the calls to keep up with our actual duty and try to meditate even with those creepy lizards around. Maybe it'll help us really focus. Amaza a cute. Deserving of headpats.
>>4200763Ask Amaza what she put in her tunic as well.
>>4200763You step away from the mumbling Thyrsian and turn to leave the room, once again laying eyes on Amaza at the same moment she extracts her hand from the folds of her tunic. This time you stop, your gaze lingering on hers while your narrowed eyes search her slight form with suspicion. She remains nonchalant, but withdraws further back atop the cabinet as you take first one step towards her, then another.“Get down here,” you say with a wave of your finger.The swarthy young woman hops down obediently and stares up at you expectantly. It’s hard for you to look into those big, childlike eyes and reconcile the naivete within with the stories she’s told you of stabbing grown men in the neck until they had bled out. It’s with those stories in mind that you keep a close eye on her hands as you slip your own into her pocket and fish around for whatever she’s trying to hide from you. Your fingers make contact with the rough, moist flesh of a reptile, and you pull one of Xoxyon’s lizards from her pockets.Amaza’s jaw drops open. “Lord Varrus, I ask, you say I keep it!”She did, and you had. With a disdainful sneer you drop the thing atop the edge of Xoxyon’s crated warsuit, where it immediately clamps down with its unbreakable grip.You wheel about to face Amaza and point at the lizards surrounding the twitching Thyrsian. “I don’t want these things anywhere near me! If you like them so much, then you can make sure they don’t leave this woman’s side.”Amaza frowns and opens up her other tunic pocket to peer inside. The animal within grunts in annoyance at the light interrupting its otherwise peaceful slumber. She avoids meeting your glare as she walks over to place the lizard beside Xoxyon’s head on the cot’s frame.“Is that it?” you exclaim.She nods and says it is, but you do a quick sweep of her baggy outfit just to make sure before leaving the supply room behind. Eight of the things - you need to make sure that’s how many are settled into whatever permanent arrangements you set up for Xoxyon. You count yourself lucky that you checked your slave and didn’t end up with two of the creatures on the loose. Force-suppressing creatures breeding like rabbits on a planet full of Force-sensitives? The Empire would have your head.As the door slides shut with a hiss, Amaza calls after you. “You see me take it, Lord Varrus! I thought it ok!”In the hallway just outside, a repetitive, sharp tapping sound echoes from elsewhere in the ship. There’s no one in the engine room directly across from the storage area, but when you pass into the ship’s central annex you catch sight of Sadon sitting in the ship’s lounge. His left hand, which had been splayed out on the table before him for the split-second before he saw you, shoots under the table to join his other hand. You’re certain that if you were to check, you’d find him gripping the knife he was stabbing between his fingers.
>>4200977Ignoring him, you go to the communications terminal situated at the center of the room, where an encoded text message from the Imperial Reclamation Service waits for you. The message is from Director Thall, and begins with the requisite formal greeting - something your eyes now skip entirely - and moves immediately into an implicit demand that you contact him concerning promising new leads that he wants you to follow up. It’s phrased far more delicately than that - you’re the Sith here, after all - but it is the nature of any functioning Sith organization that its non-Sith higher-ups hold far more power and influence than anyone would openly admit.It seems that the flashpoint on Balmorra has sparked further conflicts between Empire and Republic. War has yet to be openly declared, but the Lords of the Empire are treating it as such. Borders that once barred Imperial forces from entry aren’t as solid a barrier as they once were, and that opens up much of the galaxy to Imperial exploration. Thall is no more specific than that in his message, and asks that you contact him through more secure means on Voss.The message doesn’t end there, however. He goes on to inform you of the newest addition to the IRS’ retinue of Sith Lords… and Ladies. ‘Lady Zhaho’, the academy instructor whose body now serves as the vessel of an ancient Sith Lord, has been given leave from the academy to begin working with the service. That was the goal behind her most recent venture, and you’re certain she’ll be thrilled with the outcome.But then you continue reading, and arrive at the hardly-mentioned detail that she will be answering to you. She’s a life-long academy instructor, after all, with no practical experience in the more social and kinetic aspects of your pursuits. She’ll need training, and direction, and Thall is certain that your pre-existing bond makes you the ideal candidate for supervising her.Tears flow from your eyes in unending torrents, and you’re doubled over with such forceful laughter that everyone on the ship but Xoxyon comes to the ship’s annex to see what has reduced you to a cackling madman. After regaining a small measure of composure, you place a trembling hand on the communicator’s touchscreen and dial a holonet number at the Sith Academy on Korriban. Subspace radio is faster and more reliable, but you need the benefit of a visual feed.A half-minute later, the room darkens, the holoprojector above the communicator glows to life, and the side of Darth Sebuk’s head appears in all its tentacled majesty. She turns her attention from whatever’s off-screen towards you, scowls, and ends the call. Renewed laughter grips you, and it doesn’t let go until your cheeks ache with welcome pain.What do you talk to Lord Veredious about? You don't call up someone that busy just to chat.
>>4200991Lady Zhaho is gonna be so pissed. I love it. Maybe we don't need to speak with Veredious after all. I'd rather he didn't know about what we've been up to recently.
>>4200991Ask him if he has any contacts with xenobiologists that he could share. We've discovered some interesting lizards that disrupt the force.
>>4200991Hell yeah, eat shit Sebuk you spicy old bat. I can wait until she shows up in person and has to show observable deference to us. The Smug must flow. Then again now we have to be doubly on alert for her retribution. I expect it to be petty and huge.Should probably tell Veredious we came across some dank lizards that scare the shit out of anyone with a Force Chromosome. I imagine he could snag a couple and breed them for plans or something.
>>4200991With your wordless call to Darth Sebuk concluded, you turn off the holoprojector and return some light to the room. You have another call to make, but can’t very well do that until you’ve taken a few minutes to calm down. A Sith Apprentice does not call his Master when he’s still gripped by moistened eyes and fits of dry laughter.After fixing yourself a drink from the lounge and ordering your three slaves away from the annex, you return to the communicator and place a subspace radio call to your Master. It will be audio only, but you’re not sure he’ll even have Holonet access wherever he’s currently stationed in the Outer Rim - he’s yet to reveal that little detail to you. Furthermore, encryption is a laughable joke on the public holonet, and you have relatively sensitive matters in mind for discussion.The communicator crackles, and you wait impatiently with hands clasped behind your back and foot tapping against the plated floor. It’s been months since you’ve spoken to your Master through any means more personal than written messages and go-betweens. The distance that he has put between you in both time and space has allowed you to ignore the fact of his existence as of late, but as you wait for the transmission to connect, you find yourself re-discovering just how large a figure he looms within your mind. There is little in your life that you do not owe to him - and you find yourself wondering just what he’ll think of how busy you’ve been in his absence.“Apprentice,” comes a low, thoughtful voice through the static. The crackling fades, leaving only a few occasional pops to punctuate the silence that follows his greeting.“Master,” you say with pointed deference. “It has been too long.”“It has. I trust you’ve been busy?”More than he knows, and more than you intend to let him know. You wouldn’t know where to begin addressing the people and plans you’ve begun to accumulate.“Director Thall ensures I earn my pay. I’m headed back to Voss now to receive information on more secure channels… and training, of course - I don’t let that fall by the wayside.”“Good,” Veredious mutters. “Never rest while your enemy trains. But you didn’t call just to check in.”
>>4201168You open your mouth to speak, but close it when you consider the possibilities of intercepted communication. Even on Voss, you would go to the Imperial Enclave to send messages of the highest secrecy. Subspace radio is a far sight better than Holonet, but there are quite a few non-Imperial relays between Hutt Space and the Outer Rim.“Are you worried about being overheard?” says Veredious. “Don’t be. My technicians are routing us through military relays as we speak. They tell me it’s quite secure.”A chorus of chattered, alien agreement comes from the background of Veredious’ call.“All the way through to the Outer Rim?” you ask him.He is silent for a moment, and when he speaks, you immediately recognize the self-satisfied tone that you’ve become all too familiar with. Your Master loves few things more than the shattering of assumptions.“I am not in the Outer Rim,” he says. “We are currently passing through the Gordian Reach.”A region within the Seat of the Empire - home to Dromund Kaas, Korriban, and many other core Imperial worlds. It seems you aren’t the only one jetting about on business without making the other party aware - though in your Master’s case, full disclosure is far from expected.How do you describe your acquisition of the eight lizards? You didn't just decide to take a leisure tour of a planet within Republic space.That's all for tonight. Tentative live tomorrow at 6pm EST, but it's 50/50 I'll have to do it Sunday instead at 6pm.
>>4201171Fuck. I don't know how to explain them. Maybe we can instead ask for advice now that we'll have another sith, our former instructor, working directly beneath us in the imperial reclamation service.
>>4201171Is there any reason we have to explain it well? Why not just be evasive and say>My work has taken me to strange places. I recently got back from Thyrsus, and I smuggled out some interesting lizards... etc.
>>4201171>>4201216>>4202171I'm cool with both of these. Can we contact Hacna and Olub'cree to have an enclosed terrarium with trees built into the wall at the head of the bed of a room that Xoxyon will stay in? It should be done before we arrive. We need to keep them contained ASAP.
>>4201171Live will be tomorrow at 4pm EST
>>4202901Long time no see hurt. Need to reread this myself since I've forgotten a lot. Good to see you back though
>>4201171A vague “I see” is the only response you can muster to the revelation that your Master is far nearer to Voss than you had originally believed. The new reality of just how easy it would be for him to return to his former home - your current home - has you wondering just what he would think of your recent activities. You plucked four humans from a dead planet to serve as soldiers, recruited a Thyrsian to train them in combat - a Force-sensitive who specializes in fighting Force-users, no less - and are returning to Voss with a collection of creatures whose mere presence deadens one’s connection to the Force.Worst of all, you haven’t told your Master a single bit of all this. A suspicious man might wonder just what it is you’re up to.The radio crackles as Veredious makes some motion on the other end, and you come to the decision - though it’s more of a fearful impulse than anything - that you need to reveal some of your recent actions to him. Much of it can be explained away as inconsequential to a man as busy as your Master, but not the lizards. Those, he would most certainly want to know about.“Apologies, Master. I’m just trying to decide what I can say over this connection.”He scoffs. “I told you that this is a secure connection. Speak what’s on your mind.”“My work took me to the planet of Thyrsus. It’s in the Inner Rim-”“I know of it,” he says.“Of course.” You swallow and race to piece together a story which, while innocuous in and of itself, involves all the questionable topics you contemplated earlier. A full telling would do you no favors here. “While I was there, I came across a very interesting reptilian creature. They aren’t native - they’d been kept as pets, and had overrun a slum building.”Veredious grumbles impatiently and taps his communicator console. Someone says something to him in an incomprehensible tongue, and he waves them off.“These creatures,” you say slowly. “Suppress the Force by their mere presence.”You hear clothing rub against leather as he sits up in his chair and leans forward. When he speaks, the gratingly airy sound of his voice makes it clear just how close he’s put his mouth to the microphone.“What do you mean, suppresses the Force?”“I mean that I could hardly feel it! It was terrifying - I was like a child holding a lightsaber. And I tested my theory, too. As soon as I regained a bit of distance from them-”“Where are these things - these creatures - now?” snaps Veredious. “Still on Thyrsus?”
>>4205127“Yes, Master, nearly a hundred of them that I saw. I took several of them for study back on Voss.”A sharp intake of breath precedes Veredious leaping from his chair and bringing his fists down on the communicator console. The sharp whine of static from the radio makes you grimace.“Voss?” He shouts. “These creatures terrify you, and your plan was to bring them back to a planet full of Force-sensitives? Do you realize how easily they would come to the attention of the Mystics? Do you have any conception of just how quickly you would drive them into the waiting arms of the Republic?”You try to sit down to regain your composure, but stand again when you realize that there’s no seating anywhere near the communicator. Those weren’t considerations you had made, partially because of how easy-going things had been on Voss. You’d been left to your own devices, and so far none of those devices had run afoul of Voss sensibilities. But introducing Force-dampening creatures to their planet? At the very least they would damn you for having brought such dangerous fauna to a place that did not have any natural predators to keep them in check. At worst, they would believe you had brought them there for some sinister end - perhaps one directed at the Mystics themselves.Veredious swears up a fury in the background, and you remain silent as every breadth and measure of your being is damned in all its inadequacy. It’s the angriest you’ve ever heard your Master, and you count yourself lucky that distance forces himself to confine his anger to his words, at least for the time being.Finally, he calms himself enough to retake his seat and place himself back at the microphone.“You are between Thyrsus and Voss, I assume?”“I am, Master.”He draws in a deep breath, then exhales it slowly. “You are going to meet me at the border of Hutt and Imperial space, within the Auril sector. I am sending you the coordinates now.” He speaks to someone near him in the same alien tongue you have heard several times. “I will take the creatures, and you will return to Voss.”What’s the plan here? You’re no more than 2 days away from meeting your Master with three of your slaves, your recent Thyrsian hire, and these force-dampening lizards.
>>4205128>>4205128Yes, Master. Through a combination of study and meditation we'll learn to mimic the force suppression field in the next two days. We have to, so we will. What does he care if we have new slaves? He's got a collection of his own. They're warriors that will work with us in wartime IRS business.
>>4205139This. But if we fail to learn the technique we'll have to keep one. Seems like a stretch to assume that we can.
Wait, are we going to just maintain this force technique at all times? There's no way. We need a lizard.
We'll have to explain to Xoxyon that we can't keep these lizards because our home planet wouldn't allow them. Then explain that they're just a crutch anyway, and we'll have to address to problem head on instead of covering it up with force blocking lizards. We didn't realize at the time what an issue they would pose on Voss. It's worth a shot to try to learn the technique anyway, as a stopgap measure for emergencies.
>>4205156The Force is a wacky thing. Besides you already know Amaza's amazing pockets are going to snag her new favorite reptile.
>>4205128Your Master relays the details of your rendezvous, and you end your call before setting a new course to the Auril sector. The detour isn’t significant, and puts you less than a day’s travel from Voss, but the unexpectedness of it all has you anxious and angry. This will be the first time you’ve met your Master in months, and it will happen alongside three of your Tionese slaves and the Force-sensitive you’d hired to train them. You’re in danger of those surprises being dropped into your Master’s lap at a time where he’s already furious over your carelessness - a very justified fury that brings you no small amount of shame. It’s one thing to risk bringing these creatures back to Voss, but your planning for such a thing had been nonexistent.And then there is Xoxyon, who will be furious once she discovers her sleep aids will be taken from her. That’s a concern, but ranks far below Lord Veredious in the current hierarchy of dangers. Worst comes to worst, you can always drop her off on an empty moon or throw her out an airlock. Veredious, on the other hand, will not hesitate to kill you if he no longer considers you a worthy apprentice. Subterfuge between Apprentice and Master is to be expected - but clumsy subterfuge is a fatal failing.With little to do now but wait, you return to the ship’s cargo room and find Amaza sitting on folded legs beside the sleeping Xoxyon. Her deep brown eyes, which are open as wide as you’ve ever seen them, are locked with those of one of the lizards. Both are equally still, and seemed locked in some sort of bizarre meeting of minds.“What are you doing?”Overcoming your bone-deep revulsion towards the things, you move closer to Amaza, whose presence utterly fails to register within the vastness of your conscious awareness. Part of that is undoubtedly the fault of the lizards, whose proximity deadens you to the Force, but even that should leave you with some sense of being when you close your eyes. Yet despite knowing full well that Amaza sits just a few feet before you, your species’ natural empathy fails to take note of the fact at all. There is no discomfort, hunger, or joy to be felt. Even her breathing has passed beneath audible levels.There is nothing.The sound of breathing returns, and you open your eyes to see Amaza’s chest expanding with a long, slow intake of breath. When she speaks, it is impossibly slow, and scarcely distinguishable from the sounds of her ensuing exhalation.“I am the lizard,” she says. “Peace… and empty.”
>>4205331Once the last of her breath passes her lips, her body resumes its deceptive lifelessness, and she falls quiet. You watch her for a time, too interested to be forced away by the unease wrenching your stomach up in knots. A lizard perched on the foot of Xoxyon’s cot swivels its head to look at you, blinks the two beady eyes on the right side of its head, then levels its head. You sit cross-legged before it and fold your hands in your lap, straighten your back, and meet the creature’s eyes just as Amaza did. Or does, rather - you have to glance over to confirm to your doubtful mind that she’s still kneeling beside you.Your eyes return to the lizard’s, and you begin to count your breaths. One when you inhale, two when you exhale, and then starting over. After some time passes, and the disquieting needles working their way up your spine threaten to overwhelm you, you instead begin to measure your time by the blinks of the creature’s leathery eyelids. It doesn’t seem threatened by you, nor even terribly interested in you - but still it does nothing but watch, just as you do.The black sickness building in your gut becomes palpable, and your breath races alongside your heart as you’re forced to examine the fear gripping you so thoroughly. Your mind races about, searching for the connection it’s been cut off from, but grabs hold of nothing but empty space. Your chest heaves with nausea and thoughts come screaming at you from every corner of your mind - thoughts that speak with your own voice, but with words that seem written by another. This will be the end of you, they say. You’ll be cut off from the Force for good. Your Master will sense it, and kill you. Without the Force, what are you? Even with the Force, what are you?You shoot to your feet and back away from the creature, nearly tripping over a storage chest on your hurried retreat to the door. Amaza tears herself away from her own meditation and looks at you in surprise, but you’re out the door and wiping the moisture from your eyes before she can speak. An uncontrollable anger grips you as you storm into the meditation room on the other side of the ship, grab hold of the metal cabinet on the right side of the room with the Force, and hurl it against the opposite wall.Hot relief washes over you as you tip your head back and mouth the Sith mantra wordlessly towards the ceiling. Your anger is your passion. It gave you strength when you had nothing, and your lightsaber’s kyber crystal was forged through it. People and things have come and gone from your life, but your anger remains an old and reliable friend.The conference room door opens behind you, and you turn to see Sadon’s painted blue face. He notes the wrecked cabinet lying on the floor past you, but doesn’t seem terribly surprised. It is, you think, the sort of demonstration he’d engage in regularly if he had your abilities.
>>4205333“Everything good, Lord Varrus? I see the path change.”Apparently he’s figured out how to use the conference’s room computer to monitor the ship. It’s surprising, but slightly less so when you consider how much pre-supernova technology he likely encountered on Tion. You clench your hand open and closed a few times, finding it sore from the exertion, then drop it to your side.“Everything’s fine,” you declare confidently. “We’re making a detour. Get everyone in the conference room… expect for the Thyrsian. We’re going to go over proper decorum.”With the three Tionese assembled in the conference room, you explain how your meeting with your Master is going to go. You also explain in general terms just who your Master is, a fact which they struggle to wrap their heads around. Sadon, especially, seems confused and incensed by the fact that there is someone who holds the power of life and death over you, just as you hold it over him. Telling him that this hierarchy continues for many, many levels only baffles him further.Despite that hiccup, you end the conversation with a surprisingly high degree of certainty that they’ll conduct themselves properly. Your old Twi’lek servant, Olub’cree, had tutored them on the finer matters of servitude, and it seems the lessons stuck.How do you present your slaves - as menial servants, or as bodyguards-in-training? Do you put their slave collars back on for the meeting with your Master? What about Xoxyon - do you present her as your trainer, or as theirs?
>>4205334They're being trained by her to be of use to us while deployed to recover artifacts during wartime. I don't know how to lie about this, or why we would.
>>4205334The next update won't be for a few hours (just one more update tonight). Next live is tentatively at 2pm EST tomorrow, but that time be delayed a bit.
>>4205344This. Fuck it. We're on thin ice and I cant think of a good enough lie. If the training yields good enough results they could be of use in the upcoming sith conflict too.
Honestly it's probably a good thing that he's keeping us from bringing them to Voss. The only questions are if he takes issue with us forming a personal guard and if Xoxyon will lose her shit without the lizards.
Goddamn I forgot how much planning is required to vote in this quest. This shit is hard especially considering how long it's been.
>>4205344This is smart. bodyguards for artifact recovery
>>4205344This + no slave collars
>>4205334After two days of restless travel, you arrive at your pre-arranged meeting place within the Columex system, which sits along the well-travelled Perlemian trade route. You’re less than a day’s travel from Voss, and even less from Tion. Do the three slaves aboard your ship realize how close they are to their home planet? Sadon may have some inkling, given his propensity to fiddling with the navigational charts, but you suspect that the true scale of the galaxy is a meaningless concept to them. All they know is that they begin their week on one planet, get on your ship, then appear on another.Despite the fact that you’re meeting in space, the relative openness of the location chosen by your Master gives you some measure of assurance that this isn’t a trap of some sort. You have no legitimate reason to suspect one, but the constant imperilment of your person has you seeing threats in every corner. Maybe that isn’t so irrational or unhealthy a thing, given the constant danger you find yourself in.“No ships,” Sadon says from the co-pilot’s seat. Your own sensor screen confirms his assessment, and you sit back in your chair with a deflated sigh. All of that mental build-up, and now you’re forced to stew while you wait for your Master to reach the system.“Wait.” Sadon taps the screen. “Now one ship.”There was no indication from the console that a hyperspace jump had brought a ship into the system, but Sadon is correct again. There is, indeed, a ship within orbit of Columex’s third moon, just where your Master had arranged to meet you. The signature is tiny, though - no bigger than a one-man fighter. You use your sublight thrusters to bring your ship around the vibrantly-colored moon, and there catch sight of a dark shape surrounded by the system’s distant star.“This is Leera Varrus,” you radio the ship. “Do you read me?”An alien voice responds in Basic, and gives you a precise docking path to feed into the ship’s autopilot. The man - at least you assume it’s a man - speaks in an incredibly garbled fashion, as if he were using one speaker to broadcast into another. You get up from the pilot’s seat and let the autopilot do its job, and go to notify your crew of their imminent arrival. The three slaves wear plasteel breastplates over simple tunics, and carry blaster pistols and vibroblades on their belts. If you’re not going to hide their purpose, then you’re going to equip them accordingly. You know your Master better than to worry that three armed slaves might frighten him.
>>4205710When you return to the cockpit, you are rendered speechless. The ship that had registered as such a small signature on your sensors is still minutes away, but looms large enough in space to have blocked everything else from view. Far from being a mere fighter, the thing is massive - many times the size of the Fury, and comparable to one of the all-purpose light cruisers fielded by the Empire. Not that the ship is in any way reminiscent of an Imperial vessel. With four triangular portions jutting out of a central bridge, the bottom one longer than the rest, it resembles a bloated cross surrounded by a thin frame of metal scaffolding. Sublight engines on the backside make you realize that the thing is oriented vertically, not lengthwise - like a person standing with feet together and arms held perpendicular to their body.Yet none of this - the undeniable alien engineering, the shocking size - is what causes your hands to squeeze the back of the seat in front of you and your mouth to open in wonder. The ship is alive - the Force emanates from it in vibrant waves that overwhelm the emptiness lurking in your cargo bay.“Not quite what you were expecting, is it?” comes Veredious’ voice over the intercom.You shake your head and struggle to find your voice. “No, Master. Not at all.”The call ends as quickly as it began, and a litany of questions form in your mind, begging to be answered. You’re tempted to scan the ship and see what exactly it’s equipped with, but that’s quite an intrusive gesture. For now, you’ll content yourself with whatever jealously-guarded details you can claw from your Master.
>>4205713As your ship nears a narrow alcove running vertically down the bottom of the larger ship’s four outcropping, it swings about in space so that the docking mechanism in the rear of the Fury can hook onto the other ship’s. The alien vessel doesn’t look to have a docking bay, as would be expected of a warship its size. And if it’s not a warship, then what is it? Has Veredious decided to commission his own pleasure yacht after destroying Baghora’s?With a dull rumble and a few final shakes, the docking procedures complete, and the airlock between the two ships begins to equalize pressure. All that’s left now is to let the last of your passengers know about your unplanned stop. You leave the cockpit, and find Xoxyon in the annex near the ship’s communicator terminal, pressing your slaves for details on your unplanned arrival. She wears nothing but her boots and boysuit, though she’s put the hood down to reveal a tight bun of gray hair just a shade lighter than her colorless skin. Sadon turns his painted face to you for answers, and Xoxyon storms over.“We are not on Voss, Lord Varrus.”You give a casual nod. “We’re less than a day’s travel from Voss. I made a slight detour to speak with my Master. I assumed you would sleep through it, just as you have the past two days.”It would be incredibly rude of you to leave servants behind when you meet your Master. Do you leave all of the lizards out in the open to be collected in whatever way your Master sees fit? Do you hide a few? Do you tell someone to conceal one on their person?
>>4205715Next live at 2pm EST tomorrow
>>4205715We should request to keep one. It'll be contained safely in a terrarium and has no chance of multiplying out of control. Our instructor needs it to sleep until we find a more permanent solution.
>>4205824This plus have Amaza hide one in what she thinks is the best hiding spot in the ship, where nobody is likely to come near. She would know.
>>4205824>>4205857These.Anybody have any ideas on how we salvage this, and come out looking like not too much of an idiot? Maybe we could build off the two posts I quoted, and say we only intended to take one on Voss to study, and store the rest somewhere else, and that's why we told him about them?Also, Hurt. Do we know if the lizards actually could permanently affect our connection to the Force, or if it's just an irrational response?
>>4205715These lizards are way too useful to be given away.Tell Amaza to hide one without others knowing, I hope the anti-force field can't be followed easily.
>>4206589I think that's too obvious of a lie
>>4205824I agree, hiding shit like this from him seems a little risky.
Fuck guys I'm nervous. What do we do if he orders us to give him our guards?
>>4206886Tell him they're lame and not ready to do much of anything right now. Hence the personal trainer we hired.
>>4205715The revelation of just how long Xoxyon has slept - and how close you are to your destination - assuages her worries somewhat, and you’re able to convince her to throw on some real clothes in order to meet your Master. Once she’s inside the storage room, you pull Amaza aside and tell her to conceal one of the lizards on her person. You trust her to do that much without the Thyrsian noticing, and you would like to keep one of the creatures for study. Keeping seventy of the things on Voss might have been unrealistic, especially given their apparent propensity for quick breeding, but you can’t imagine just one being an issue.Amaza makes a quick return from the storage room, followed shortly after by Xoxyon. The Thyrsian still wears her head-covering cowl, but has swapped out her bodysuit for an armless tunic that hangs down to her knees. A yellow stripe of makeup runs from her bottom lip to the underside of her chin. Two days of uninterrupted sleep looks to have done her well, as she moves with a speed fluidity that stands in stark contrast to the sluggish purposelessness of your initial encounter. Her steely eyes, once glazed and unfocused, shine like polished metal as they flicker from left to right, examining everything in sight - including you. She joins you at the airlock, and you take note of the curved ritual dagger hanging from her belt. You’ve yet to see a Thyrsian who didn’t carry one, so you don’t bother trying to convince her to leave it behind.With the press of a button, the airlock doors open to reveal the interior of Veredious’ ship. A short corridor, no more than twenty feet long, leads to what looks to be an elevator. There’s nothing particularly notable about the engineering of the ship given what little you can see, but it strikes you as distinctly alien as the exterior. Piping and conduits run beneath and through mesh grates, and nothing is covered by plating which doesn’t need to be. Lighting and monitors are built into the structure of the ship instead of mounted on additional plating, as if the ship’s builders had simply given up before finishing construction and decided to skip all the usual finishing touches. There is a free-flowing, organic feel to it all that is made all the more uncanny from the life emanating from any bulkhead.The visual chaos of the ship’s construction is so distracting that you scarcely noticed the being sent to greet you. Only when the alien began shuffling towards you did you manage to differentiate him from his similarly-colored surroundings. The being’s skull is a hairless, oblong thing, covered in alternating patches of mottled green and brown flesh with two beady red eyes. He wears a respirator mask over his nose and mouth, and is dressed in simple clothes that resemble those of a vagrant in their faded colors and torn edges.
>>4206892Despite his simple dress, the alien is decked out in more technology than you’ve ever seen on a crewman. Both of his bracers appear equipped with holoprojectors, his toolbelt sags with the weight of bulky electronic instruments, and his leather boots are circled with sleeves that hold innumerable tools whose purpose you can only guess at - they look almost surgical in nature.“Lord Varrus.”The alien grabs both sides of his cloak, pulls them across his torso, and bows. The respirator he wears turns his voice into an uncanny robotic crackle. This must be who your Master was speaking to while you were being given a dressing down over the subspace radio. This, or a similar being.You give a shallow bow and follow the alien into the elevator, which barely fits your group of six. Jevan is the last to squeeze in, and despite his attempts to draw his shoulders in as tight as possible, you find yourself caught in an uncomfortably small space between his back and the elevator’s walls. The alien engages the lift, and you narrowly avoid having your tunic ripped off as the ship’s innards sail past you on the trip upward. Just like in the hallway that preceded it, the elevator has no walls independent of the structures surrounding it. Apparently its builders never accounted for the fact that someone might want to lean against the wall for a few moments without having their flesh ripped off.As your mind wanders back to your compatriots, you are struck by the worrying realization that you don’t feel the usual discomfort of Xoxyon’s lizard.“Where’s Amaza?”You force your arm between Jevan and Sadon at stomach level and feel about for her head, but end up grabbing hold of the alien engineer’s cloak instead.“I am here,” comes the young woman’s voice, though you still can’t tell where she stands in the huddle. As for the lizard, you intend to assume that it’s still on her, and that she hasn’t let it slip into a vent somewhere without you noticing. The presence emanating from the ship is so strong that it simply cancels out the lone creature’s effect - at least, that’s what you tell yourself. You don’t know enough about either phenomenon to say if things work quite that neatly.
A punctual QM? Don't see those every day.
>>4206902Just as the elevator begins to slow, it spins about ninety degrees in a sickening lurch that has your stomach churning and head swimming. A few moments later, it stops, and the doors slide open into the space between you and the ship. Your group pours into a hallway far larger than the first. The lack of familiar construction and the confusing brown sameness of it all makes it hard to tell how many corridors branch off of this one, but there look to be at least a dozen running in every direction.The alien beckons you left, where two other beings just like him are approaching you. They pass you without notice, and flash elaborate hand gestures at your guide without speaking. Your guide does the same, and you’re left wondering if those ‘respirators’ they wear are for breathing at all. Perhaps they’re artificial voice boxes, worn for the benefit of those unwilling to learn their complex sign language.At the end of the hall, a featureless door the width and height of the space looks to lead to a central area of the ship. Based on where you docked, the direction of your travel, and the sickening re-orientation of the elevator, it seems likely that this is the bridge - or whatever passes for such an area in this hacked-together mess. An orange-lit panel sits in the center of the door at chest height. Your escort stops before it, places his hand atop the panel, and the door creaks downward with a hydraulic miss before dropping full-force into the space below. The entire ship seems to shake, and you take a step back in fear that something has just gone very, very wrong.The alien, however, steps over the threshold in casual manner, and you follow. The room ahead is indeed a bridge, with a raised walkway encircling a recessed pit. Before you looms a massive viewing window, split down the middle by a pillar of winding pipes and conduits, giving a stunning view of Columex III’s rolling red landscapes and vibrant blue oceans. The room does look to be a bridge of some sort, and bears all of the computer terminals and holo screens one would expect in a centralized control location. None are set up in the usual way, though - they’re placed haphazardly in walls and structural supports, leaving the central pit devoid of the neat rows of terminals that would usually fill it. Three aliens scattered about the room tap away at computer terminals, occasionally referencing their wrist-bound communicators or signing to one another from across the room.A short distance ahead of you, on the same raised platform you stand on now, sits a more standard command terminal and captain’s chair. The figure seated in the chair has his back turned, but it is not difficult for you to recognize the neatly-combed, thinning gray hair of your Master. You drop to one knee and motion for the rest of your group to do the same.
>>4206946“Master.”Lord Veredious presses a button on his console, then turns his chair to face you. “Apprentice, apprentice.” A heavy sigh passes through his nose as he pushes himself up into a standing position. “I thought you were smarter than this. I know you are smarter than this.”The fingers you have pressed to the floor dig into the holes of the grating beneath you.“I am, Master. It was risky, yes, but these creatures-”“Quiet!”His voice thunders throughout the bridge, and the three aliens cease their work to look at their employer. Your guide thumps his fist on a pillar leading down to the pit below, drawing the attention of his fellows, then signs to them wordlessly. All four begin making their way from the room.“Trying to bring such things to Voss was stupidity. Nothing more, nothing less.” Veredious lowers his hand to his waist and taps his lightsaber, a gesture you’ve come to associate with his being deep in deliberation. The last of the aliens leaves the bridge, and the door that had dropped into the floor begins to slowly creak its way back into place.When it finally reaches its apex, Veredious waves his hand upward.“Rise.”You stand, and motion for your followers to do likewise. A weight lingers on your back, as if you’re being watched, and you struggle to discern the source of your discomfort until you take notice of Sadon’s rapidly quickening breath. He can’t believe how you’re being spoken to, and has even more trouble reconciling the fact that you’re accepting it. In a way, neither can you. It’s been a long time since Lord Veredious was Master of your life, and even longer since he taught you anything of note.“We’ll take a look at these creatures of yours and see if the risk was worth it. Are they on the Fury?”Behind you, Xoxyon makes a noise of protest that she cuts short when you grab hold of her arm and give it a warning squeeze.“They are, Master, but they’re incredibly hard to move. This woman will need to help your… crewmen collect them.”He raises an eyebrow curiously and peers past you towards the fuming ball of muscle drawing her lips down into a furious scowl.“And who is this woman? A Thyrsian - that I can tell.”“Xoxyon Kau. She is what brought me to Thyrsus. I sought out someone who could offer advice on fighting Jedi without the use of the Force.”You’re careful to emphasize that last part, for the sake of your Master’s ego - and Xoxyon’s life. Seeking out a replacement for your Master was, at best, a condemnation of their entire knowledge of the Sith way of life. At worst, it was an indication that the Apprentice believed they had learned all they could, and was plotting their Master’s death. Neither was the truth in this case, and you need to convey that.
>>4207010Got hit with some actual work while I'm teleworking so this is going kinda slow. It's coming though
>>4207019No worries. You update more quickly than the vast majority on /qst/
>>4207010Veredious’ jaw drops open and he lets out a sound of mock awe that is far too enthusiastic to be genuine. He folds his arms behind his back and draws a few steps closer, each one increasing your fear that he’ll sense her Force sensitivity past the overbearing energy emanating from his ship.“You’ve learned how to fight Jedi, Xoxyon Kau?” says Veredious.The Thyrsian gives you a sideways glare as she steps past you and bows. “Yes, my Lord.”“And how is that?” he asks.She gives him an uneasy look. “Ah?”“How did you learn to fight Jedi?” he asks again.“I fought Jedi,” she responds casually.Veredious gives a slight smirk. “Ah, a cagey one. I can appreciate that.”“I am not… cagey my Lord.” She swallows, seemingly struggling to enunciate the foreign sounds of Basic. “The language is hard. I fought Jedi, so I had to learn, and now I fight Jedi well. But my Lord, these lizards-”You lay a hand on her shoulder, and she bristles at your touch. Her patience with you is wearing thin, and you need to convey to her just how serious this situation is. She may be passingly familiar with what a full-fledged Sith Lord does, but she clearly has no concept of just what sort of people they are.“Master, apologies. It would be much faster if I tell this story for her.” You speak quickly, unwilling to let either the Thyrsian or your Master get a word in edgewise, if you can help it. “A merchant had sold her these lizards claiming they would ward off any Jedi. I believe that’s accurate, as hard as it might be to believe.”Xoxyon shrugs off your hand and looks up to say something to you, but you press your mouth close to your ear and hiss a few words into her ear that wipe any trace of objection from her lips.“He will kill you.”The whispered exchange is obvious, and you quickly move to cover for it.“We agreed on the matter of Imperial employment being a safer bulwark against any Jedi than a lizard, but we’ve been arguing over the price of the things since we left Thyrsus.”“The price?” Veredious asks incredulously.Xoxyon presses her thin lips together and looks up at you with an expression that shows only the slightest hint of anger. Beneath that, though, you feel the swirling tempest of betrayal, fury, and fear threatening to boil over to the surface.“The price we spoke of is fine, Lord Varrus.” She narrows her heavy-lidded eyes at you. “A fair price.”
>>4207100“Good. You can help my men collect the creatures.” Veredious returns to his terminal and brings up a holographic display of one of his alien crewmen. For a few moments the two seem to simply be staring at each other, but the movement of Veredious’ shoulders clues you into the fact that he’s signing to the alien on the other side of his turned back.Veredious opens the massive bridge door for Xoxyon, and the Thyrsian doesn’t miss a beat striding over the threshold as the metal slab drops into the floor.“Xoxyon Kau,” your Master calls after her. She stops and turns halfway to face him. “Why limit yourself to fighting Jedi? Is it any different to fighting a Sith?”She stares at him for a time, and each passing second has you worried for what she might say. There are too many factors out of your control here, and you can fast feel the situation slipping through your grasp. If it were just you and your Master, you could explain away your singular failing and make up for it with some outperformance elsewhere. But each of these people you’ve surrounded yourself with is a wildcard, and you find yourself feeling weighed down by them rather than supported.“No, my Lord,” she says finally. “Same weapons, same power… same thinking.”With that, she turns to leave without so much as a bow. Veredious takes little notice of the slight and closes the door again, leaving you and your three slaves to face your Master and the vacuumous silence of the bridge alone.“Now,” he says sharply, nodding at your slaves as she crosses his arms in front of him. “What are these three? Guards? I see you’ve armed them.”The most volatile portion of the minefield you’re being forced to cross has left the room, but the cold grip of imminent danger hasn’t yet withdrawn its fingers from around your stomach. Veredious taps his lightsaber with his fingertips, and paces with a slow, deliberate speed that calls to mind a serpent preparing to strike. You shouldn’t fear for your slaves - and you shouldn’t have to fear for guards - but you can think of little besides their safety. Sadon, especially, has you wanting to yank from his belt the vibroblade so close to his twitching hand.“I found them on Tion. Having some muscle at my back has proved very useful.”Veredious approaches the group at the same slow, methodical pace, circling and examining them like one might a used land cruiser when searching for hidden damage. Sadon keeps the Sith Lord in his sight the entire time, a fact which gives Veredious a rare bit of amusement. Jevan is still, though he shifts his weight from one foot to the other uneasily, and Amaza remains completely and utterly motionless. You’re certain that Veredious took notice of her when your group entered the room, but as he passes her by a second time, his eyes go straight from Jevan back to Sadon, and he fails to glance at her even once.
>>4207150“I wasn’t aware Tion had life still on it, let alone human life.” Veredious walks back to his terminal, and you relax slightly. “Training these guards while you train under the Thyrsian? You’ll be a busy man.”“The Thyrsian is to train them, Master.” You’re certain he already knows that, and you refuse to take the easily-offered bait. “If I run into that Jedi again, I’d like them to have some use in a fight.”Veredious stops and turns to face you, his expression devoid of any feigned humor. “Do you expect to train three backwater savages to kill a Jedi before you face one next? Is that how you intend to prepare for the inevitable? This is war, remember.”“I don’t expect them to go toe-to-toe with one, Master. But if they can tip the scales in my favor-”“Then they’re cannon fodder?” he snaps back, pointing at Jevan. “You would plunge your lightsaber through that one’s chest if it meant ending your opponent’s life?”Well?
>>4207167Absolutely not. At first they were nearly blank slates, but with great potential which I recognized. They are valuable tools that belong to me and will continue to be shaped and forged into weapons by my will. I have invested time and effort in them, to kill any one of them would be a waste. They each play an important individual role as part of a greater whole. They will prove useful in countless conflicts to come, so killing one to end a single opponent's life would be foolish.
>>4207167"If it meant victory then yes. Victory at all costs.">>4207175You attachment is weakness anon.
>>4207211Don't forget that they're listening as well. We could ruin the loyalty of our entire guard.
>>4207167Fuck. I'm torn.
>>4207221They are warriors and survivors, not children. They are sworn to us and their brutal lifestyle knows that to win takes sacrifice and danger. Regardless, I say say whatever our master wants to hear and get him off our back. Then we can deal with whatever hurt feelings they have.
>>4207238It's a question of long term utility vs short term gain.
>>4207241No it's not. You are making the incorrect assessment here. These are battle hardened survivors on a wasteland planet. Treat them as such, I am strongly suspecting our master will kill them or fuck with us if we show any weakness answering his question. You underestimate the dangerous perdicament we are in right now.
>>4207253Or he might think that if they're just fodder then we're wasting our time with them.
>>4207211Not ideal, but I can't come up with better way to get out of this.Support.
>>4207167>Would you throw a spanner into an engine to stop a speeder? No. The sacrifice of a valuable asset is only tenable if there are no other options. And when the question falls upon dynamic and living challenges there are always other options. You wouldn't slice off your own hand to free yourself of a trap if you could smash the trap instead.Pick it apart Veredious you slave hoarder. Or any other anons. Don't throw the hammer into the lava dammit.Verrus would have made a better Jedi than Sith anyway.
>>4207167“Yes.” You look towards Jevan, who meets your gaze for a brief moment before letting his attention wander back forward. There’s no indication that he’s the least bit surprised by your answer, and you’re certain that it’s exactly the one Sadon expected as well. “I would.”Veredious grunts in satisfaction and turns to the console behind him. He places a small disc in the computer and begins cycling through data files and maps, as if compiling something for you. Then, something draws your attention back to the three slaves. Not a sound, nor movement, but the vague awareness of some as-of-yet unfelt presence. Nearly hidden between the two larger men beside her stands Amaza, just as she was before, with the exception of her eyes, which peer into yours. Her eyes flicker back forward so quickly that you wonder if you hadn’t imagined the brief connection entirely.A ringing forms in your ears, and the world assumes a terrifying unreality. Your words to Veredious had felt hollow the moment they passed your lips, but as they echo within your memory, you fail to find a place for them that turns them into even the loosest of truths. Would you sacrifice them for a small gain? Absolutely not, you tell yourself - they’re too valuable for that. They have too much potential. Would you sacrifice their lives to save your own? Even that seems an unreal prospect.What about years in the future, when you have trained them to the heights of lofty perfection you so dreamed of, and turned them into sharpened weapons of war. Would you sacrifice them then, when their utility has reached its apex and you stand to reap the rewards of your long, expensive investment?When you have known them so long that they might as well be family?Nothing you have outside of your first encounter with these four gives you any reason to believe that you are capable of such a thing. You’ve healed them, trained them, argued with them, fought with them, and learned from them. Any other Sith in your position would have killed Kalyan a dozen times over, and would have beaten Sadon to within an inch of his life. Any other Sith would not be standing here in a cold sweat, gut churning and head swimming.Your cherished life philosophy, which you have held so closely for so long that it has ceased to serve as a measure of your actions, has finally been dragged into the cold clear light of reality. Somewhere, somehow, you have failed yourself - and you no longer know what to do.Veredious removes the disc from the computer and approaches you, then holds out the disc for you to take. The hand that accepts it is unrecognizable as your own.“What is this?” you ask him. Your voice, nearly inaudible beneath the ringing filling your skull, is strangely calm.
>>4207387“Your next mission.” Veredious taps the disc. “This takes precedence over everything else. If Director Thall dislikes your absence, then so be it. We’re too close to worry about that now.”You slide the disc into a pocket within your tunic. “What will I be doing?”Veredious goes back to the terminal and leans against it, folding his arms casually across his chest. “Collecting a cache of planetary mining equipment on Balmorra that’s gone unused for the past two decades. Though, ‘cache’ might be underselling it by quite a bit. The Empire stood to claim the hoard from the Republic-backed rebels until very recently, but a military defeat set them back. You are going to claim it before the Empire can.”“Before the Empire?” you say in disbelief.Veredious narrows his wrinkled brow at you. “The Empire is not a united front. You know that.”You nod absentmindedly and tap the disc in your pocket to make sure it’s secure. Half of Veredious’ words are gone from your mind by the time the next word passes through it, and even in your delirium you know that you’re going to have to review all of this again.“I don’t know anything about mining equipment,” you say with a forced smile that slips away the moment you try to hold it. “I suppose I’ll learn.”“As long as you can recognize it from the photographs, that’s all that’s required. And you weren’t selected because of your fondness for mechanical engineering. Your connections make you uniquely suited for this endeavor.”“My connections?”He smiles. For the first time in your life, seeing that self-satisfied half-grin gives rise to anger instead of annoyance.“The Lord who led the offensive on the cache is none too fond of me. His apprentice, however, is known to you… was known, I should say. She was killed in the counter-attack. Her Master is out for blood, and you’re going to swoop in on a vengeful streak. Tell him you weren’t just classmates, but friends, and lovers. He won’t care, but he’ll see an opportunity to pry you for-”You want to grab him, shake him, and scream at him to tell you her name. But all you can muster is a stammering question to interrupt his instructions. The moment he speaks Tuija’s name, the ringing returns to your ears full force and the outside world ceases to hold any importance. You’re vaguely aware of your legs moving beneath you, and of the darkened metal of your surroundings shifting as you pace slowly across the platform, but your Master’s words no longer reach you.
I uh. Think we may have a problem.
Being Leera is suffering.
>>4207392You reach the wall opposite the one you were standing near, and remain there for a time whose passage you can mark only by the unanswerable questions hammering away at the inside of your mind over and over, battering themselves to bits until they’ve been reduced to a single musing.Why does this bother you so much?A hand taps you on the shoulder, and you slowly turn to come face-to-face with your Master. If he recognizes your unease - you have no idea how he couldn’t - his expression betrays no concern for it.“Do you understand?” he says.You nod. “I understand.”You can only credit the confidence of your words to your lingering shock. Veredious pats you on the shoulder, withdraws his hand, then approaches your slaves. “Perhaps you’ll be able to put these two to use. Balmorra is crawling with as many Jedi as it is Sith. Which one would you say is the strongest?”A sharp, panicked breath inward jolts you back to reality, and you take a few steps towards your Master. “They haven’t been trained yet, Master. They’re not ready to-”He gives a sharp tut to silence you. “I know. I’m asking you which is the strongest now. They can’t be exact equals in combat, can they?”What do you tell him?
>>4207408I'm leaving for about an hour, but there will be more updates after 8pm EST.
>>4207408In combat? Jevan.For stealth? Amaza For leadership, loyalty, and strength of will? Sadon.
>>4207408>these 2He forgot about Amaza.Let's just say Sadon. He's the best all around. It'll give Jevan something to prove.
>>4207408"Each has strength and and weakness, for pure combat? Jevan.">>4207418>these twoUnless it was typo, he has hard time remembering that Amaza is even here, lets keep it that way.
Honestly I think it's a toss-up. Jevan strikes me as a bit soft, even though he is skilled he doesn't have the drive that Sadon does. Sadon takes it for me.
>>4207408Physically Jevan. Sadon would probably need to be beheaded to actually keep him from trying to kill something though. Dude's got guts.
>>4207392>that picTuija was a guy??
>>4207517You thought we dodged the gay with Shashannis? Truth is, the gay was rigged from the start.
Why do you think he asked? Is he going to take one of them? Will we be sent there immediately with only one person as backup?
>>4207408Slowly, and with great hesitance, you raise your arm to gesture at one of your slaves. Far worse than the scrutiny your Master is devoting to them is how intimately you feel the danger they’re in. He knows this, you’re certain of that - and he intends to use that leverage to teach you a lesson. Your finger lands on Sadon, and Veredious points to him in confirmation.“This one?” says your Master. “He doesn’t seem too fond of me.”You nod. If the question were one of sheer speed and strength, then Jevan would have been your answer, but time and again Sadon has shown his determination to win at all costs, no matter how grand or petty the stakes. His confrontation with Jevan aboard the Fury demonstrated that. He walked away bloodied and bruised, with the other Tionese hardly the worse for wear, but had still been able to claim victory.A petty, stupid victory.Veredious motions for him to step forward, but Sadon stands fast and looks to you, leaving the old Sith glowering darkly.“Tell him to attempt to kill me,” says your Master. “I want to see if he’s an asset to you, or a liability.”You scoff in disbelief and move even closer to the pair, seeking to place yourself between your Master and your slaves.“He wouldn’t stand a chance, Master!”Veredious levels his eyes at you, and the pitiless look within stops you dead in your tracks. You’ve known the man long enough to see many aspects of him - frustration, fascination, anger, feigned humor, genuine humor - but never something so inhuman and unveiled as what faces you now. This is the sort of person you once dreamed yourself to be - and perhaps you do resemble it in the eyes of others. But the limitless cruelty lurking in the crags of that wizened face is never something you have felt within yourself.
>>4207608“Master.” Sadon turns his painted face towards yours. The weight of his expression, the heaviness of his voice, the drawing back of his shoulders - all of it points to a man who understands full well what he faces. “I will do this.”He unbuckles his belt, then grabs hold of his sheathed vibroblade in his left hand and the right side of the belt with the other, as if to lower it to the floor with the blaster still in its holster. Veredious eases himself up off of the terminal he leans on, and slides his hand towards his lightsaber as Sadon drops the belt.Sadon’s right hand whips upward, blaster in hand - you hadn’t even noticed him take hold of it. Three shots fire off in rapid succession, terminating in a brilliant flash of white light where Veredious stood. Raw instinct brings your hand to your own lightsaber, but conscious thought breaks in before you can go any further than that. If you draw your weapon, then you and Sadon are both dead - Jevan and Amaza too, most likely.And Sadon isn’t dead yet.Four more blaster shots ricochet off of Veredious’ lightsaber, which never leaves his center of gravity as he strides quickly towards a retreating Sadon. Jevan hastens back, and Amaza does likewise behind him. Sadon takes aim at Veredious’ feet as your Master draws near, but Veredious reaches out with one hand and uses the Force to crumple the blaster to bits, along with three of Sadon’s fingers.Sadon bellows in pain and falls to one knee, drawing Veredious in for an easy kill. The exaggerated fall was a bluff, however, and the vibroblade in Sadon’s left hand swings wide in an attempt to catch Veredious outside the unbreakable guard he’s set up between the two of them. Veredious dodges the wild swing, stepping back and drawing his blade across the outside of Sadon’s upper arm - not enough to sever, but enough to immediately strike you with the acrid scent of burnt flesh. Sadon tips forward onto all fours, and Veredious readies a downward blow towards his back.>This is a test of your resolve, and of your attachment to your slaves. Doing nothing is Sadon's best chance at living.>He's going to kill Sadon, and you can't let it happen. Intervene forcefully.
>>4207608FUCKI guess it could've been worse, we could've lost both Jevan and Kalyan. Sadon a best though.
>>4207610>This is a test of your resolve, and of your attachment to your slaves. Doing nothing is Sadon's best chance at living.I believe in Sadon. To intervene now would show that they're just attachments and not assets. Sadon won't give up.
The contradictory sith teachings have me clueless here. Do we do what we want and intervene to protect what we've worked for? Do we allow this to continue to show that they're not an emotional crutch?
>>4207610>>This is a test of your resolve, and of your attachment to your slaves. Doing nothing is Sadon's best chance at living.Sadon is made for this...I hope.
>>4207610>>This is a test of your resolve, and of your attachment to your slaves. Doing nothing is Sadon's best chance at living.C'mon Sadon, get him with a spear tackle and take him down. Ah man Sadon is going to need some serious surgery. If he dies I cry.
>>4207689If he dies, us and our guard will have our revenge. We'll never find anyone with Sadons loyalty.
Fuck. I'm so worried. Sadon is our only truly loyal guard.
>>4207708Maybe if he does really go in for the kill Amaza will say hello and someone just appearing next to him will scare him shitless enough that he backs off.
>>4207610>>This is a test of your resolve, and of your attachment to your slaves. Doing nothing is Sadon's best chance at living.
>>4207610Your breath catches in your throat, and your hand takes hold of your lightsaber despite all of your reservations to the contrary. The entire world seems to balance on the fulcrum of this moment - both your world, and Sadon’s. If you draw your blade, then you will have no choice but to meet your Master’s. You will be cut down, your slaves here will be killed, and the ones back on Voss will be sold to a Master far less forgiving than you. Everything you’ve fought and suffered for will crumble to ash, and the future you’ve dreamt of for yourself and those around you will die as easily as it was born.All of this is known to you, but still your hand refuses to leave your lightsaber. Your breathing becomes so fast that you can hear it in your ears, and sheer adrenaline threatens to drive your blade in between Sadon’s back and Veredious’ poised strike. Just as the unstoppable momentum of your own emotion seems poised to push you over the brink, an upward glance from the kneeling Sadon gives you pause. He tips his head towards you and motions for you to remain still with the knife hand concealed against his chest.He’s forgotten his place before, and you’ve forgiven him as many times as he’s tried to make it right. This, however, you will not forgive him for.Veredious swings his blade at Sadon’s back, and a wordless shout escapes your lips. The lightsaber, however, travels no more than half of its arc before abruptly stopping, and Sadon launches himself onto one knee, slashing Veredious across the thigh. A spray of blood and a startled cry from your Master draw Sadon upon him like a Tuk’ata to the scent of blood, and Sadon hurls himself at the Sith.Veredious, however, is done playing. He lifts Sadon by the neck with the Force, then thrusts his saber at the slave’s chest. But again, the blade stops. For a few baffling moments, you have no idea what you’re watching. Then, your eyes land on Veredious’, and you follow his furious gaze from the hilt of his lightsaber to the room’s sealed doorway, where Jevan and Amaza stand watching. The young girl has moved in front of Jevan and leans forward with both hands extended towards Veredious, her face a tortured grimace of unbelievable exertion.You draw your lightsaber. Veredious bellows in anger, startling Amaza and breaking her concentration for the fraction of a moment necessary to thrust his blade through Sadon’s chest. The purple saber appears on the other end, then slices through Sadon’s torso as Veredious drops the man’s body to the ground. Before you can ignite your weapon, Veredious reaches out and grabs hold of Amaza with the Force, yanking the screeching young woman across the room until he can grab hold of her with his free hand. He staggers back against the computer terminal, pressing his saber hand against his bleeding thigh without disengaging the weapon.
>>4207780“Apprentice!” he shouts to the ceiling amidst gasps of exertion. “You must think little of me. So, so-” He draws in another deep breath and coughs, still struggling to catch his breath after the carnage of the last few moments. “-So little.” Amaza screams in Veredious’ face and makes a move for the blade on her belt, but Veredious gives her pause when he points the end of his lightsaber at her. The move is clumsy, and the weapon wobbles in his grasp.“You find a Force-sensitive,” says Veredious. “You hire a Thyrsian to train her and these other two in killing Force users. You seek out a cache of Ysalamir lizards, and you expect to conduct all of this under my nose?”Each sharp accusation increases in volume until he is cursing your very name from the rafters. All you can do is stare in disbelief from Sadon’s burnt corpse, to the girl bristling beneath the threat of his lightsaber.“I didn’t know,” you say quietly, your eyes still wandering over the scene to try and find just where it all began to go so wrong. “I didn’t plan any of this.”He gave a sharp, dismissive huff through his nose. “Even worse. Competent treachery, I can permit in one such as you. But this?” He shakes his head and lurches off of the console, the bleeding of his thigh having slowed to a trickle. “I don’t know how to begin to describe this.”“We’ll take this one to Korriban. She’s young enough that they’ll have a place for her. As for you and your future… we’ll discuss that in-depth later.” Veredious motions at Jevan with his lightsaber, but quickly returns it to Amaza, whose hand constantly wanders to her waiting weapons. “This one at least seems obedient. Tell him to take control of this girl.”Jevan’s eyes have never failed to connect with yours when your gaze wandered over to him, as if he were waiting for the merest hint of an indication as to what to do. He appears almost casual in demeanor with his hands gripping the top of his breastplate. Closer examination, however, reveals the slight up-and-down wrenching of his hands against the plasteel - and the deep grooves he’s created in the metal.>Let him take Amaza to Korriban to enroll her in the Sith Academy.>No. He's not taking her.
>>4207782That's it for tonight. Next live at 2pm EST tomorrow.
>>4207782>No. He's not taking her.Fuck this shit. Veredious is pathetic.
>>4207782>No. He's not taking her.I've had enough. Veredious can fucking die. Sadon inflicted the first wound and will not die in vain. Amaza shouldn't have to go through what we did.
>>4207782>>No. He's not taking her.Gee maybe if you did your fucking job and trained us we would be able to know half of this shit. Fuck him. Just fuck him and his whole stupid fucking rebellion thing. Now I want to tear the whole thing down just to spite him. He and whatever stupid legacy he wanted to leave can go straight to hell.
>>4207797Here's the question though, do we turn on them or take our crew and defect from the sith entirely? It's clear that we can't truly follow their teachings.
>>4207797Or a third option, kill our master and take his place in the rebellion
We can really leverage this though. If we best him or at least get out of here we can reveal his rebellion for brownie points with the established sith order. Say he stopped us to give us this mission, turn over the data he gave us, and reap the benefits.
>>4207803Pft. Schemes are for those too weak to enact their will of their own accord. We don't need this faggy ass insurrection to get ahead in life like Veredious does. We didn't even consider using our bodyguards as a way to kill him because we aren't some shitty loser who needs to hide our intentions.Let him and his allies burn. I'm mad.
But others could find out that Amaza is force sensitive and they'd want to send her to the academy as well. If she does go to the academy we could eventually take her as an apprentice and we'd still have Jevan and Kalyan as Jedi or Sith killers.
>>4207782>>No. He's not taking her.He is master of nothing, if all our plans are to crumble into ash, lets make a blaze that will be remembered.
>>4207816Fuck what they all think. She's our bodyguard and she isn't going. If they insist they better be ready to catch these fucking hands.
>>4207816That's a lot of ifs anon. I honestly believe that if we let her get taken, she will not forgive us for letting Sadon die and there's no guarentee of us getting her as an apprentice. Damn, might as well just kill our master now. Fuck him, fuck his plans, and if Sadon and Amaza can land a hit, we can finish the job.
>Kill our master>Deactivate the ship with strategic application of lizards or blow it up>Leave and report the rebellionDepending on how that goes we can stay or leave the Empire with our crew
Lets have Jevan drag Amaza back before making our move, so he has no human shield.Empire and rebels will most likely just try to replace our master with us, problem will come if we turn them down.
Tuija may be a debatable friend but Sadon was a true bro. I will miss him terribly. But yeah apparently Tuija's dead too. What's next, we get a message saying the Republic made a move on Voss and killed Shassy boi? And that Sebuk managed to get crushed under a mountain of jewelry? Maybe Hacna managed to electrocute herself to death. I want to make good decisions to get us all out of here but I am too mad.
>>4206941It’s not a technique the Jedi would tell you
>ask Sadon to assemble a backwater tribal planets strongest warriors>finds a force sensitive stealth savant and two superhuman clonesHe was absolutely based. We need to honor him somehow. Can we incorporate his name into the name of our guard regiment?
>>4207944I mean we could just call them "Sadon's Chosen". But that isn't a very terror-inspiring name or anything.
>>4207782Voting for >>4207895 , and I think everyone who wants to kill Veredious should as well. He's injured; with deception and maybe support from our remaining guards, we can kill Veredious.I'm afraid something went over my head, however. What exactly is Jevan doing with his breastplate? >>4207633Sith ideology is contradictory and self-defeating. Jedi is too. Take the graypill, anon.
>>4208307I think he's just gripping it tightly out of anger
>>4207782Live will be a little late today. 3pm at the latest.
>>4207782The fingers of your right hand coil about your lightsaber, feeling for the familiar grooves within the wood and electrum inlay of the weapon gifted to you by your Master. You've disassembled and reassembled it more times than you can count, and can envision with perfect clarity its inner workings. If only you could see within yourself so clearly."Jevan, take her." You nod at your Master and Amaza, who grips the Sith's forceful hand with both of her own. "And check her pockets after you've taken her belt. She always has something in there."Amaza's eyes flash in realization as Jevan stalks over to her, the latter seemingly hesitant to approach the volatile Sith and his wandering lightsaber. The disdainful expression he gives you as he passes reveals that his hesitancy is not borne from fear, but from disillussionment with his Master. It is the first time you've seen such a complicated expression on his bearded face.When Jevan reaches Amaza, and goes for her belt, the girl responds by letting her oversized coat slip from her shoulders along with it. Jevan takes the entire bundle, weapons and all, and simply slides it down her legs and leaves it on the floor beside Veredious’ feet. He takes Amaza's hand and leads her back to the sealed doorway, this time avoiding eye contact with you altogether. Veredious deactivates his lightsaber, turns, and leans over the console. You are struck by just how old he looks as he stands there with head hanging and shoulders sagging."Have him take her to one of the crew rooms," says Veredious. "He'll need to watch her. This ship wasn't designed with prisoners in mind."With the press of a button, Veredious drops the bridge door. Jevan looks to you for direction, an unspoken plea written in every line of his sun-weathered face. Your mind, however, has long since been made up."Take her to the ship," you say to him. "We're going back to Voss."Veredious straightens his back and turns to face you, lightsaber in hand. His expression bears the same murderous glare that had cowed you into submission before, but it doesn't carry as much weight when you've already resigned yourself to the facts of what you're facing."Did I misspeak?" says Veredious. "Do you know the penalties for concealing a young Force-sensitive from the Empire?""Are they worse than those for treason?" you snap back.He looks at you, then the two slaves, and takes a step towards you, gesturing with his still disengaged lightsaber. "She is going to the academy.""No, she isn't!"
>>4208749Your voice fills the vast space, echoing off every hollow pipe and in every curved alcove. You draw your lightsaber, ignite it, and level the red blade at your Master. Plasma weaps from the blade in volatile sparks that dance in the air between you. The fresh scent of ozone fills your nostrils, replacing the nauseating stench of burnt flesh. The steady hum of the focusing crystals runs from your hand to your skull, quieting all of the niggling doubts that had plagued you.Veredious stiffens and ignites his own blade, though he does not point it at you or assume a battle stance. He's still no more than a few paces from the terminal and Amaza's crumpled coat. Hopefully, the creature slumbering within is still close enough to make a difference."Think about what you're doing, Leera." You have, and can come up with very few justifications beyond your present course of action. Death is likely, and punitive measures from the Sith Order a distinct possibility, yet your body and mind move in harmonious agreement. Perhaps that is how you know you’ve made the right choice.Veredious begins to pace to his right, and you move towards the door in an attempt to drive him back towards the concealed lizard. Veredious won't fail to take notice of the fact that you're trying to control his position, but will assume your goal is to keep him pinned against the edge of the raised platform you four stand on.“You must think I’m stupid,” you say to him. “Training at the academy? After everything she’s seen? Everything she’s heard?”“And whose fault would that be?” Veredious swings his lightsaber upward, draws it behind his head, and slides one foot back into a defensive stance. “Do you think I teach you these lessons to indulge my own cruelty?”As his back foot shifts along the floor, you catch sight of a yellow-scaled reptile clutching the back of his boot like it were a tree branch swaying in the wind.“If you had any hope of leaving here alive, I would pity you,” says Veredious. “For you will learn this lesson… and it will be far worse than if it had come from me.”>The Sith philosophy still holds some importance to you. Tell Jevan and Amaza to prepare the Fury for departure. You will fight your Master alone, and the superior man will prevail.>His 'test' proved to you that you can't stomach endangering those you've grown attached to. Tell Jevan and Amaza to prep the Fury for takeoff while you face your Master alone.>You are willing to let those close to you face danger, as long as you face it with them and they do it of their own free will.>As always, 'Other'
>>4208756>You are willing to let those close to you face danger, as long as you face it with them and they do it of their own free will.
>>4208756>You are willing to let those close to you face danger, as long as you face it with them and they do it of their own free will.Open fire with blasters. Without the force he can't deflect them all.
>>4208773Going with this
>>4208756Hard choice as always. The Sith philosophy is quickly losing its meaning to us.Second choice one is close, but a bit too jedi sounding. Lets go middle ground, that we have are familiar with.>>You are willing to let those close to you face danger, as long as you face it with them and they do it of their own free will.
Did Amaza manage to use the force while the lizard was on her? In this ship it might just weaken force users in close proximity.
>>4208820I think the philosophy still rings true but the interpretations others have grate on Leera's. Why do you have to be an asshole if you're a Sith? Because every other Sith is a gigantic asshole. The Code doesn't say you have to be an asshole but everyone turns into one. Whether it's because the Darkside corruption or just having to be a paranoid dick because everyone wants to kill you to get ahead. The actual self-determining and empowerment part still makes sense to Leera.Least that's how I see it.
>>4208756To your left, Jevan and Amaza separate, their blasters already in hand. Despite knowing that if you die, they will almost certainly die alongside you, you feel little of the nauseating fear that had beset you when Veredious singled out Sadon as the object for your lesson. You do not intend to die here, nor let them die here, but for you three to fall together would be no shameful thing.“I have learned from you.” Your eyes travel briefly to Sadon, where thin wisps of smoke still trail up from his scorched back. “But not as much as I’ve learned from him.”You charge Veredious, lightsaber held high, and a storm of blaster fire erupts against him, staggering him back against the console as he struggles to deflect the shots. It’s only a matter of time until he notices the weight on his boot and puts two and two together, but you do not intend to allow this fight to last that long.A mere twenty feet of open platform remain between you and Veredious when an explosion rocks the ship, breaking your stride and sending you tumbling to the floor. A thunderous din emanates from every corner of the tightly-woven inner workings of the ship, drowning out the sound of blaster fire and the roar of the lightsaber in your hands. You launch yourself back to your feet, and hurl yourself at Veredious again as he pushes himself up with the aid of the computer terminal.At the far end of the bridge, a spidery crack shoots up the length of the viewing port window, bisecting the red and blue moon you orbit. A shard of transparisteel flies out into space, and a storm gale of wind sucks everything in the room towards the small opening that’s been created between you and space. Veredious flies over the terminal, drops into the recessed pit below, and manages to stop himself by grabbing hold of the floor as the wind currents drag him up the far stairs towards the breach. You strike the terminal with your hip and are dragged across it without finding purchase with your hands, but are able to grab hold of the railing beside it before tipping over it just as Veredious did. Amaza screams somewhere to your left. You don’t see Jevan.Lowering your body so that your chest is positioned squarely against the railing, you squint against the wind rushing past your head and look for some means to claw your way into the hallway and away from this death trap. A series of robotic chirps draws your attention back to the breach, where four insect-like droids mounted on repulsor jets are busy welding a metal plate over the breach. Just as the wind currents begin to die down, and you risk standing back to your full height to search for Veredious, a larger blast rocks the ship.
>>4208897Damn bro who's shooting at this ship?
>>4208897This one hurls you over the railing and drops you into the pit below. Your head strikes metal, your vision fills with the smoke and sparks shooting up from every bent conduit and splintered pipe, and an ear-shattering alarm hammers at your eardrums.“Evacuate,” comes a robotic voice from the terminal above and behind you. “Hull breach in docking bay. Evacuate.”The artificially-generated voices of Veredious’ crewmen are unable to convey emotion, but the words alone make the danger you’re in abundantly clear. A short distance away, your lightsaber grows bright red in the smoke-filled pit. You use the Force to wrench it back into your grip, then work your way forwards as you reach out with the Force and search for any sign of Veredious or the lizard attached to him.Your foot strikes something, and you glance down to see a black leather boot with a lizard stuck to the back of it. The creature blinks at you, and you kick it away before tightening your guard and taking a hurried step backwards. A ’click’ sounds out in the fog, followed by the hiss of plasma and the glow of a purple light. Veredious roars, and hurls himself at you from the mist.You've learned much from many, and applied it to all manner of deadly situations. When faced with single combat against your most formidable opponent yet, what tactics do you tend to fall back on?>Superior swordsmanship.>Power over the Force.>Creative use of your environment.>?
>>4208916>>Superior swordsmanship.Veredious didn't do too hot back when we were fighting the Jedi on Baghora's ship. Or when we sparred with him last. Just being good at the age old stabby is very reliable. Keep in close and stop him from flinging bullshit at us.
>>4208916Also relentless ferocity
>>4208916You raise your lightsaber to meet Veredious’, and deflect the downward blow to the side. A secondary explosion rocks the ship a third time just as Veredious cuts across your field of vision in a broad, sweeping arc. You deflect that one too, and find yourself staggering backwards from the force of the blow as your old Master presses the advantage.A pained whine emanates from every strained bulkhead within the ship, and as you stumble back further you realize that it hadn’t been the force of the blow that seemed to momentarily shift your sense of direction. The entire ship begins tilting slowly to the left, and Columex III spins out of view of the bridge’s viewport. Another alarm blares alongside the first, this one deeper in pitch and slower in its reverberations.Veredious lets out a Force-imbued cry with each diving strike, drowning out the roar of the ship’s alarms in the brief moment before your lightsabers meet and fill your eyes with a brilliant light. Your fury grows within you, carrying your blade into his faster and faster and screaming at you to unleash upon him the full force of your emotion. You want to hammer away at him until there’s nothing left but a pile of ash-filled cloth for you to leave in this death trap careening towards the moon below.But you resist. No one knows your Master’s swordsmanship better than you, and the same can be said of your own. He wants you to take the feigned openings he leaves you, to match his fury and find yourself striking at empty air with a carefully-placed cut across the stomach. His is a precise and measured technique. If it appears as anything but, it is to draw you in and cut you down.Your back strikes the wall of the pit. Veredious brings his blade down from overhead, and you catch it with your blade perpendicular less than a foot from your face. A rain of sparks scorch your forehead, briefly blinding you to Veredious’ snarling visage. With nowhere left to retreat, you’re unable to push his blade off to the side and continue the endless riposte meant to exhaust him and open him up for a true killing blow.Instead, you push. With every memory of Sadon’s burnt corpse and Veredious’ taunting you drive your crossed blades towards your Master’s face. The old man’s knees buckle, and you find yourself staring down at a man whose face was once level with yours. Veredious gives up all resistance and throws your blade back and sideways, causing you to stumble forward with your own misplaced momentum. On the return swing, his blade catches you across the right shoulder, vaporizing fabric and burning straight through skin and muscle alike.
>>4209165The bridge shudders, and reality loses all direction as the ship’s artificial gravity goes haywire for a brief moment, turning up and down into meaningless concepts. You crash to the floor, and your lightsaber spins into the smokey distance. You roll onto one knee, and your hand shoots out to grab hold of it with the Force before it can escape from view. But just as it flies towards your waiting grasp, a purple blade swings into view, cutting through the hilt and detonating it in a brilliant display of red light that nearly leaves you blind to the blade flying towards your eyes.You draw your hand back to your face and push outward with the Force, slowing the arc of the blade to a crawl as your left hand joins the right to strengthen your defense. Veredious stands before you, bearing his teeth and trembling with murderous intent as he seeks to drive the blade through your hands and into your skull. Age and strength are not in his favor, but his exhaustion matters little when your own effort is so much more taxing. Waves of energy pulse from you joined palms in undulating waves, making the smoke swirl and ebb around the blade creeping ever closer to your flesh.A terrible heat grows within your right hand as Veredious puts everything he has into the strike, and it creeps forward at a terrible and inexorable pace until smoke rises up from your palm. You scream in pain, and your concentration threatens to shatter entirely. The weapon you know better than your own self is gone, and your furious determination falters under the mind-bending weight of the Force energy you channel. When that breaks, what do you have left?The answer comes in the form of a hail of blaster fire from the catwalk encircling the pit. Too much smoke has filled the room for you to see the source of the attack, but Jevan and Amaza have the aid of Veredious’ lightsaber as a convenient target. A bolt strikes Veredious in his saber arm, and he takes a staggering step away from you before bringing his lightsaber around for a quick defense of the shots that follow.You drop to the ground and clutch your hideously burned right palm to your chest. At your feet stands Veredious, ready to deliver a finishing blow to you the moment he gets a single opening in the bladework that deflects the shots coming his way.Without a lightsaber, and without the focus of mind to draw upon the Force with reliability, you opt for a tactic no less effective than those vaunted techniques. You draw your foot back, aim it at the side of Veredious’ left knee, and kick as hard as you can. The sickening crunch that heralds your blow is one of the most satisfying sounds you’ve ever heard, topped only by the wailing scream that Veredious lets out. Two blaster bolts catch him in the neck and torso, and he falls onto his side, still alive but unable to bring his lightsaber up into the most rudimentary of defensive postures.
>>4209167Another explosion. This time, the shockwave strikes you from beneath the very floor you lay on, sending you a short distance into the air. The center of the pit detonates in a volcano of flame, smoke, and twisted metal, and the ship lurches further to the left. The artificial gravity struggles to find a new equilibrium as the nearby moon takes a more thorough hold of the ship and drags it down to its surface, resulting in a sickening disorientation that has you struggling to find your footing as you rise to your feet. The room flickers into pitch blackness, and for a moment you are left with nothing to see by but the light of distant stars. A few seconds later, strips of yellow emergency lightning glow to life along every surface in bizarre and haphazard placement.Your head swimming and ears ringing, you whip your head around in search of Veredious. The hem of a dark tunic whips through the smoke and you race after it, struggling to keep yourself upright as you run across the sloped floor, avoiding the gnarled wreckage strewn about by the latest explosion. Bloody footprints lead you up a stairwell, where the smoke clears enough for you to begin to see more than a few feet in front of you. You emerge back on the raised platform at the fore of the bridge, and catch sight of a small, dark figure limping along the right edge of the wide hallway.You give chase, storming through the licking flames and choking smoke as Veredious turns to face you. The murderous cruelty of before is gone, replaced by a stupefied fear that makes him look all the older. Seeming to find himself for a moment, he clenches his jaw, narrows his eyes, and uses the Force to rip a metal panel from the wall before hurling it at you. You cast it aside easily, tear a vibrosword-sized pipe from the ruined machinery, and bring it down across the side of his head.Veredious gasps and crumples to the ground. You fall upon him in a blind rage, unable to even see what you’re striking as you rain down blow after blow on the huddled old man. All you know is that you’re hitting human flesh, and that each cracked bone brings you renewed strength that has you feeling as if you could murder him for an eternity and never have fully satisfied yourself.Blood and sweat cause the pipe to fly from your grip at the apex of your swing, and you drop atop the man, fishing about in the dark for a neck to choke or skull to bash. Your hands find the folds of his tunic and you slam him against the metal floor, each impact wetter and duller than the first.
>>4209170“You’re not taking her!” you scream as you slam his head into the ground. Hot blood showers your face, and your voice cracks painfully. “You don’t steal children from their families, and make them fight each other, and murder each other!”A flame roars through an open grate nearby, briefly illuminating your fallen Master. What lays between your spread legs is no longer recognizable as human. The flames fade, returning the scene to darkness, and you let your fingers slip from Veredious’ lapel. The dead Sith drops to the floor a final time, never to rise again.You stumble to your feet in an exhausted daze and wipe at your eyes with your hands and forearms, but quickly realize that you have just as much blood on those as you do on your face. As you turn about in an attempt to regain your orientation, you find two figures standing a short distance behind you. A well-placed lighting strip in the ceiling illuminates the ashen faces of Jevan and Amaza, as well as that of the Thyrsian slumped over Jevan’s shoulder. Her hood is folded down, exposing her blood-matted hair and the nasty gash running across her hairline. You must have run right past her.“Breathing,” says Jevan. “But no lizards.”This ship is going down. Veredious was running somewhere, and you have to assume it was to an escape pod. Do you go back for Sadon’s body, and tell Jevan and Amaza to go find the escape pod and prep it? Or do you leave Sadon, and go with them immediately?
>>4209176That's it for today. I plan on posting one entry/vote tomorrow, then letting that vote run into Thursday's live. But if I don't post by 8pm EST tomorrow, then I won't post until Thursday.
>>4209176>>4209176Steal our master's saber. Have Jevan and Amaza find the escape pod while we go back for Sadon's body. He deserves that much at least. Holy shit this is intense.
That was intense. Thyrsian was probably ambushed by the order of our master.The sword would come in use, but we are likely just wasting time if it is not on his belt.I'd hate to leave Fury behind, but pod must do> go back for Sadon’s body, and tell Jevan and Amaza to go find the escape pod and prep it
>>4209351At first I figured the explosions came from her since there was a hull breach in the docking bay. Now I'm clueless.
>>4209176They can get the escape pod ready. We gotta get our boi. Better run fast though.>>4209403Maybe all those lizards did some shit and accidentally pressed some buttons.
What's the plan after we escape? Come clean with the Empire about everything we know about the plans for treason? If we went that route, we could possibly be tasked with hunting and eliminating the traitors with our squad. That's a big maybe though. Would we have to go on the run? Going to the Republic would most likely not go well for us at all. We need our ship to escape too. An escape pod only has so much range.I think we ought to work more with Arawit's holocron. It's on our ship I think so that might not be possible anymore but if we progress with it maybe he can direct us toward a community of other Sith who have seen the flaws in the code. As it stands right now I think Leera can't stand the sith way of life anymore.
>>4209544It'd probably be easiest to report this to someone who can talk to the dank council. Say that our master called us out here to give us a mission and tried to induct us into his treason. Sell out everyone we know about. Sorry, Shassy. Even if he's kind of a dick. Then since we killed Veredious we get to assume all his shit and inherit his stuff. I still count it even if we got a little help. I wouldn't admit it though. But we might get a new, cooler master if we admit our training isn't necessarily complete. But that sounds like a new cage honestly.
>>4209598For the Sith killing our master means that our training is complete.
>>4209176Veredious was too sharp a man to flee aimlessly, and you have to believe that his engineers placed an escape pod somewhere within easy reach of the bridge.“Search this hallway,” you say to the two Tionese. “Find an escape pod, and get it ready.”You push through the pair before they can object, leaping over a fallen ceiling support as you race towards the bridge. You’re loathe to leave the Fury behind, but you don’t dare try and make use of the elevator given the condition of Veredious ship, especially given the fact that the hull breach seems to have originated from your ship.“Don’t leave without me!” you shout back to the pair. Hopefully one of them can manage to prep a pod for launch without triggering the undocking mechanism.The smoke growths thicker the closer you get to the bridge. By the time you step over the threshold, even breathing is a struggle, let alone finding your way through it. You crash into the terminal at the far end of the raised platform without locating Sadon’s body on the floor, and quickly realize that the worsening tilt of the ship will have had his body sliding off to the left. You grab hold of the railing and work your way along the edge of the platform, hoping against hope that he didn’t fall into the wreckage of the pit below. Your Master’s lightsaber is likely down there, somewhere, but you could spend hours searching and come up empty-handed. An impossible task, when the integrity of this ship is best measured in minutes.As you shuffle along the edge, peering down into the pit and adjoining stairwell, your foot strikes something. Sadon’s body lays wrapped around one of the railing posts, as if he had grabbed hold of it to avoid tumbling over the edge. You grab him by his armored breastplate and pull him away from the precipice, then slip your arms under him and try to throw him over your shoulder. But no matter how you try, you can’t manage to stand with his weight atop you.Stripping off his breastplate, you instead kneel down, thrust both arms under his back, and lift him against your chest. His cheek is burnt from the same flames that lick greedily at your heels, and the floral designs he had painted across his face are smeared into unrecognizability. With one foot and one knee planted on the ground you force yourself to your feet, then begin your staggering walk from the collapsing bridge. Everything is deteriorating around you, twisting and straining and raining down debris and ash as you take one agonizing step after another. You can’t breathe, nor see, and your ruined right hand sings in pain.
>>4209670The ship shudders like a dying man coughing up a lung, and some new wound in the ship rips open behind you, showering you in burning debris. You stumble over a bent bit of flooring and drop to the floor. Sadon slips from your grasp and rolls forward down the gently-sloping hallway until you manage to grab hold of him and hoist him back into your arms.You try to stand, but can manage little more than a single foot planted on the ground. Pushing with that foot only makes you tremble with a full-body weakness that has you realizing the futility of it all. You search the hall ahead for any sign of aid, but find nothing except for the flame-lit blackness of Veredious’ crumpled corpse. Your mind wanders to the prophecy given by the Voss Mystic, Talsa-Ko, and you wonder if it hasn’t been fulfilled by your actions. Veredious was not a ‘friend’ in any normal sense of the word, but he was the oldest… unless one counted Darth Sebuk’s spirit rather than her body.As the seconds tick by, and each new moment brings with it some new sound that heralds the breaking of this ship against the rocks, you find yourself unable to relinquish Sadon’s to the flames. His face, as peaceful as you have ever seen it, has you wondering if such a rest might not be so bad.A new light illuminates the distant hallway, this one green. It grows closer and stronger, moving gently through the air with a repetitive up-down motion, like the slow bounce of a ball across the floor. The light resolves into a short beam of light, no taller than yourself, and you are struck by the knowledge that you are looking at a lightsaber. What you can’t understand is the length of the thing - not until the person carrying it draws close enough for you to make out the hand clutching the hilt at the center of the beam.A brown-robed woman stalks towards you from the shadows, carrying a double-bladed green lightsaber that illuminates her soft, round face in a pale green light. Two blue eyes meet yours, then drift down towards the body cradled in your arms. She walks right by Veredious without noticing, and holds her lightsaber out to better see Sadon’s face. Her eyes widen, her jaw tightens, and the tip of her blade up towards your chest. The woman looks as young as you - no more than an Apprentice, or whatever the Jedi equivalent is - but you are far too exhausted to have any serious hope of fending her off.“Who did this?” She tips her blade towards Sadon’s face.You nod at Veredious’ body. “He did.”
>>4209673The Jedi takes a few guarded steps away from you, and searches for what you’re indicating at. When she kicks over the bloodied figure and sees its ruined face, her lips compress into a strange sort of disappointment. She deactivates one half of her lightsaber and returns to you, kneeling down beside Sadon with her blade trained on your neck as she examines his face. Her fingers trace along the smeared blue paint flowing from hairline to neck, and she continues running her palm atop his shirt and chest. There, her hand stops, and she tears aside the folds of his tunic, revealing the silver medallion you had gifted Sadon as a symbol of his station.Her fingers wrap around the ornate disc, and she yanks it free of its wearer along with the chain that held it around his neck. You shout in protest and move as if to rise to face her, but the Jedi steps back and points her lightsaber at you, warning you against anything further than that. Once enough distance has been established between the two of you, she turns her back, activates the other end of her lightsaber, and moves to rejoin the shadows.What do you do?
>>4209675Wait! That's my only belonging from before I was turned into this by the Sith. What do you want with it? Follow her. We have to leave Sadon.Guys in thread 1 the medallion was given to us by a girl before we were taken by the Sith. The floral patterns obviously mean something to her and those were Sadon's attempt to mimic the pattern in the medallion.
>>4209675That medallion was a gift to Sadon and he would've wanted us to keep it. Ask for her help, we can't just leave him here.
Any more updates tonight?
>>4209701Nope that's it until Thursday, probably 2pm EST
>>4209675Lady you already almost killed us, you can't go robbing us as well. Do you want to have a guy chase you down? Because this is how you get a guy to chase you down. muh famlee shit. Don't give a shit it's ours.
>>4209675We don't have time, neither strength to challenge her. She won't talk easily."Keep it well, the only thing Sith didin't take from me..."Or something in similar lines, too tired to come up with better.We are not leaving Sadon, the trinket can be tracked down later>double our efforts and try to call Jevan for help
>>4209774Going with this. Hopefully we have enough plot armor to not die here.
I have not checked the archives, but I got strong feeling the jedi girl might be the one that gave us that medallion in the first place.It clearly is important for her. Either it has some mystical powers that people want their hands on...but I really doubt it, or more likely, it is family heirloom.If the girl really is the same, she probably thinks that she gave the medallion to Sadon in the first place.It would explain her reaction, when she fought him and the strong reaction at his death now.
>>4210476I don't think you forget that the thing you give something to is red.
>>4210534Maybe all the blood we're covered in makes it harder to recognize us. Or maybe it wasn't her that gave the medallion to us and it's just a symbol of some organization that she's involved with.
>>4210543Always possibly. I just think that too much time has passed for either of us to recognize other by the face alone..from hazy childhood memory.
>>4209675Live at 2pm EST Thursday (Tomorrow)
>>4209675Now that your most trusted slave is dead and your lightsaber is lost to this dying ship, you have few things left to you with any sort of meaning. With this Jedi threatening to disappear with your last token of sentimentality, you roll Sadon’s body onto the ground and hobble after her through the debris.“That’s mine!” you shout after her.An explosive rumble loosens a girder from the ceiling, which swings down behind you and nearly cleaves Sadon in two before you manage to catch it with the Force and ease the sheared end gently to the ground. Your fragmented attention flips back to the man’s body, and you drag it away from the collapsing portion of ceiling above, failing to notice the woman re-approaching you from behind until you hear the hiss of her lightsaber.“What do you mean it’s yours?”You spin around to see that the Jedi has come close enough to cut you down, if she so chose, but the fact that she didn’t do so before leaves you unwilling to worry about whether she’ll do so now. Her tone is demanding, yes, but dripping with a strange hesitancy.“I mean it belongs to me,” you repeat. “It’s always been mine.”Turning your back on an armed Jedi who came here with clearly violent intent isn’t a smart move, but you are long past acting with cool rationality. You grab hold of Sadon by his collar with both hands and continue dragging him down the hallway, but between the debris, smoke, and your own exhaustion, you don’t get very far before dropping to your knees as your body forces you to rest. The Jedi remains motionless and simply watches you, apparently enjoying this rare display of weakness from a Sith.“I just want to bury him,” you say to her.She meets your gaze with one that seems pitiless in its total lack of emotion. Then, to your utter disbelief, she moves to Sadon’s feet and raises her free hand. His body rises with it, and you stagger back upright to grab hold of his shoulders and help guide it down the hallway. The two of you work your way through the collapsing central hallway before turning into an adjoining corridor that the Jedi directs you into. Apparently she did some scouting before making her way towards the bridge.
>>4212773The nearby moon’s gravity takes hold of the ship more and more, wrenching it so far onto its left axis that the two of you are forced to switch from walking on the floor to clambering across the divet between floor and wall. The Jedi manages must more easily than you, moving with a fluid grace that stands in stark contrast to your own stumbling. You remind yourself, however, that you did just defeat a Sith Master.The corridor ends in a circular room ringed with ten multi-person escape pods. When you see that only one door remains open - and one pod left for use - you prepare yourself for a fight. But the Jedi surprises you again, and uses the Force to lower Sadon’s body over the threshold while you skid down the floor and drop past his floating body into the awkwardly-angled vehicle.The moment your buttocks hit the seat opposite the pod door, Sadon’s body drops towards you like a rock. Reaching out with the Force, you ease him into the seat beside you while the Jedi slides easily into the pod, using a handle near the door to swing herself into a seat and buckle in before you have a chance to even consider starting the launch sequence and leaving her behind.Your eyes meet briefly with hers, and you use the Force to pull down the manual door controls, sealing the pod. The Jedi leans forward in her harness to key in the launch sequence, but only gets part way through the process when an explosion rocks the pod, breaking it from its moorings and sending it on a chaotic path out the ejection chute that batters everything inside with each impact. The top of the pod strikes something, bringing its brief upward movement to an abrupt halt amidst the immense forward acceleration, and your head strikes the ceiling.
>>4212779It is always a disconcerting thing for your consciousness to end in one place and resume functioning in another. The last things occupying your awareness were the gravitational forces crushing your ribcage and making it impossible to draw an inward breath. You still feel those things, but they are far away - as if your body is only living a memory of them. There is blackness, the same as you saw in the split-second after striking your head, but it vanishes as you open your eyes, resolving into the hazy image of a light-skinned young woman wearing a ventilator mask over the lower half of her face. A long braid of brown hair hangs over her shoulder, and her hands are applying a painful amount of pressure to your shoulder, which feels as if it’s been pinned to the wall.Something cold and hard wrapped around your own face brings your hand to your mouth, where you feel metal and plastic. The woman shouts something you can’t quite hear, and yanks your hand away from your face. Your head rolls to the side, and the fuzzy beige background to her rear resolves into the interior of the escape pod you had boarded. The far wall and ceiling are crumpled inward, reducing the maneuverable space inside to a fraction of what it once was. A section of the handle bars circling the upper wall has snapped off, and you note with a sense of detached disinterest that the missing section seems to be what the woman is trying to pull out of the right side of your chest. There is more pressure than pain, but still plenty enough of the latter to make you groan into your ventilator mask as the Jedi plants one foot against your seat and yanks the metal bar out in one clean pull.Warm wetness cascades down the front of your torso, and the world spins even faster than it already was. The woman ignites her lightsaber within the awkward confines of the pod, pins you to the seat with the Force, and places the tip of her saber near your open wound. Superheated plasma seals the wound in the blink of an eye, bringing with it all the accompanying screaming agony that you expected. Your bodily instincts demand that you lash out in turn, driving her back with your own powers, but you retain enough awareness and control to understand what she’s doing.The process is over as suddenly as it began, leaving you with one new pain out of many, and a return of the tempting grasp of unconsciousness. You close your eyes for a moment, panting and struggling to draw enough air through your suffocating mask. When the danger of passing out fades, you open your eyes to find yourself alone in the pod. The view to the exit is blocked by the caved in ceiling, but both the Jedi and Sadon are nowhere to be seen.
I guess Jevan and Amaza left without us. Understandable I guess. Pour one out for R4-K4. It was left on the ship. I wonder if there's any chance we could find the wreckage? We had Arawits' holocron in there too, as well as Xoxyon's armor.
>>4212810You lift yourself up from the seat and feel something tug at your respirator. A small red air canister sits on the seat beside you, connected to your mask by an air hose. You pick it up in one hand and make your way around the interior of the pod to the exit, ducking beneath steaming ductwork and sparking electronics. On your way out, your foot strikes another air canister, which spins into the far end of the pod and out of view.Outside is as alien a landscape as you have ever seen. The moss-covered rocks are as red as Korriban’s rusted plateaus, and the thin, nearly leafless trees surrounding you are as tightly packed as the jungles of Yavin IV. Flat, step-like hills surround you, webbed with small waterfalls that end in pools of clear water amidst the mossy rocks. A fine red mists floats down from the otherwise blue sky in a slow rainfall, covering everything not yet touched by the similarly-colored moss.You step down from the pod’s threshold, and drop quite a bit further than you had planned, falling flat on your face and smacking your burnt palm and shoulder against the rocks below. Before your air canister can bounce away you snatch it against your chest, then roll onto your back to catch your breath. A short distance away, the Jedi woman stands amidst a collection of emergency supplies that look to have been salvaged from the pod. Beside them lays Sadon, his hands folded across his chest. She reaches towards him and lifts him up with the Force, then begins walking towards the forest’s edge.“Where are you taking him?” you say to her.She turns to face you. Her own air canister is hooked into the belt clinching her robe tight about her waist.“To bury him, like you said. This ground is too hard.” She taps her foot on the hexagonal stones covering the clearing around your pod. They look almost manmade in their uniformity. “Or were those just Trandoshan tears?”You want to bury him on...>Tion>Voss
>>4212842>VossI think his excitement toward his new life with us outweighs any nostalgia he would have held for Tion.
>>4212842>VossAsk her about the medallion.
>>4212842“Not here,” you say to her as you roll onto your knees. “I’ll bury him back home.”On Voss, not Tion. That desolate husk of a world stopped being his home the moment he swore himself to you. All things considered, he might have actually spent more time aboard the Fury than he did Voss, but you can’t very well inter him on a ship that likely doesn’t exist anymore.The Jedi lowers Sadon back down to the ground, opens up an emergency kit salvaged from the pod, and unfolds a white body bag taken from the box. Once Sadon is tucked inside, she zips it up and triggers the sealing mechanism, expelling all excess air from the bag and leaving you with a shrink-wrapped human. It’s an unpleasant sight to behold, so you turn your eyes to the sky in search of some hint of Veredious’ ship, but find nothing but blue skies and red precipitation. The bulk of the ship would have broken up upon planetary entry, and anything that was left would have landed along with you.“What did you do with my guards?” you ask her.She paces about the clearing for a bit, eventually finding a raised portion of hexagonal stone that rises to about waist level, and sits atop it with folded legs.“I told the big one to take off without you.” She wags her inactive lightsaber at you. “The little one didn’t like that very much. The sleeping one didn’t have much to say about it one way or the other.”Despite her words, her expression remains intensely focused. For the span of a few words she seems to be trying to force an insulting smile, but after a moment of trembling lips simply drops it. Even in your present pitiful state, you’re apparently too much of a threat to allow even the slightest of dropped guard.You try to stand decide, decide against it, and scoot back into an outcropping of rock so that you can keep upright without effort. Even a passive flexing of your back muscles has you feeling as if the cauterization in your shoulder will rip open and blood will pour forth like the wound were new.“What now?” you say.She raises a curious eyebrow and unfolds her legs, propping one foot up near her buttocks with the other hanging lazily off of her seat.“What do you mean?”A tired sigh escapes your chest, and you throw up your hands in exasperation before letting them drop back into your lap.“Am I a prisoner of war, now? Are we waiting on Republic pick-up?”
>>4212921Her only answer is to roll down the sleeve of her robe and show you the Beckon Call strapped to her wrist. A green light blinks on the simple electronic device, indicating that whatever ship she’s contacted with it has received her signal and is on autopilot to her position. It doesn’t quite answer your question, though - if Republic forces were on their way, they wouldn’t be summoned with a device meant for retrieval of an unpiloted ship. Whoever she is, and whatever her reason for sneaking aboard your Master’s ship, she’s alone.She folds her hands atop her knees and stares at you, apparently willing to pass the time in nothing more than uncomfortable silence. And you would find that fine enough, if you didn’t still have questions for her - and if she didn’t still have something for you.“You have something of mine.” You hold out your burnt hand, and the Jedi eyes it for a moment before pulling your medallion from her robes. She lifts it by the chain and holds it in front of her face, letting it spin in the clear light of day as she examines it. The smooth back and a portion of the side have been burnt badly enough to warp the metal and scorch it a charred black.“I would say most people in your position aren’t so demanding.” She returns the medallion to the inside of her robes. “But that wouldn’t be true. It seems to be a racial trait.”A bloody grin twists your lips, and you let out a wet cough as the back of your head thumps against moss-padded stone. “How many Zeltronians could you possibly meet?”“You’re not a Sith?”You close your eyes and fall silent. Two minutes with this woman and you’ve already said too much. You might not have been so quick to pointedly clarify her misconception if it weren’t such a sore spot for you. In the early days at the academy, when you were young and very pink, no one in their right mind would have mistaken you for a Sith Pureblood. Being unique had made you stand out, and you’d championed that uniqueness as a point of pride to prevent it from being used as a weapon against you. You’re not about to abandon that pride now that your complexion has reached its crimson maturity.“What do you want with that thing?” you say to her. “It’s worthless.”She shrugs. “I thought it was pretty, so I took it.”“It’s ruined,” you snap back.“And it bothers you, so I’m keeping it.”Her air canister beeps. She tilts it upwards on her belt to look at the readout.“3 hours,” she says casually. “And my ship arrives in 8.”You look at your own canister, which estimates 4 hours of air left at your current rate of consumption. That leaves you quite a bit better off than her.“4 hours,” she declares firmly. “If you had 5, I wouldn’t have given you it in the first place.”“Then why give it to me at all?”
>>4212948Her lips curl into a sad sneer - as close to a smile as she seems capable of, given the circumstances. You could certainly do no better.“I’d rather die with an enemy than die alone,” she says.Resigning yourself to this cruel joke of a fate is hard, but it only becomes harder when you remember the three other people trapped on this moon with you - and they don’t have a ship waiting on them like this Jedi does. You get to your feet with a start, but settle back down to the ground amidst your persistent weakness and the desire not to wait any unnecessary oxygen.“My guards-”“Are fine.” She turns her gaze towards the equipment she had salvaged from the escape pod. “Given how early I sent them out, I doubt they lost all their air canisters in a crash landing.”“That doesn’t help them much with no ship,” you snap at her.The Jedi returns her attention to you, that same flat stare seeming to be split between disregarding you entirely and picking you apart with immense and overbearing interest.“After you left your ship, and I thought I’d finally have it to myself after 3 days of meditative trance, I was a little annoyed to find you’d left someone on board.” She holds up a balled fist and shakes it. “A slicing droid, about this big. I disabled it and tossed it in with your slaves. So don’t worry, they will outlive you.”“Brilliant.” You let the back of your head drop against the rock again. “You’ve planned so well for everyone but yourself.”And by extension, you. You’re certain that all this ‘leaving you for dead’ talk would vanish in instant if there were any hope of both of you leaving here alive. There are few Imperials more valuable as prisoners than Sith Lords. You might not be the most distinguished among the Sith Order, but Sith are Sith whether they’re archaeologists or generals, and remain powerful bargaining chips no matter where they land on the hierarchy.With little left to talk about, and much left to think about, a heavy silence settles between the two of you. Minutes accumulate into an hour, and the indicator on your tank creeps steadily downwards at a pace that you swear exceeds the original estimate. That has you breathing a little harder despite your meditative attempts to calm yourself and slow your bodily functions, but it doesn’t matter much in the end, anyway. Even if you killed this woman and took her air canister for yourself, then achieved a perfect trance state to minimize oxygen consumption, you still wouldn’t last until her ship arrived.And more to the point, it doesn’t matter because there aren’t only two air canisters. The one you had kicked on your way out the pod had an indicator showing a full tank of air compared to your own depleted fraction of a tank. That, you’re certain of.
>>4212981“I’ve been wondering,” says the Jedi.You open your eyes from your meditative thought to see that the Jedi has laid down across the rocks, both legs propped up halfway and one arm laid across her forehead. She looks at her air canister and sets it back down.“Would I be like you, if I grew up like you did? Would you be like me, if you grew up like I did?”You roll your eyes and allow yourself a wasteful sigh. Even now you’re beginning to feel the creeping edges of sleep and lethargy that always come after injury, though at first you mistake it for lack of air and look at your canister’s indicator in a panic.“That hardly seems worth thinking about.”She hums thoughtfully, tilting her legs back and forth as she stares up at the sky. The lightsaber clutched in her right hand reminds you that any appearance of vulnerability and absence of mind is just that - an appearance.“Is it?” she wonders aloud. “Have you read about the sacking of Coruscant?”“Everyone has.”Or at the very least, has heard by word of mouth news of the battle which, 13 years prior to today, ended the Great Galactic War. Imperial forces under Darth Malgus had attacked Coruscant under the guise of treaty negotations, and for weeks the Imperial capital had been held hostage by the Sith Empire as a bargaining chip for a more favorable peace accord. It had cemented Darth Malgus’ reputation as a military mastermind, granted the Sith Empire victory in the largest war seen in millenia, and nearly destroyed the Jedi Order. Their temple had been sacked by the Sith, and word was that it still lay in ruins. No one knew where they had chosen to rebuild.“I was a youngling, then. Not even a Padawan. I got out before the siege began - but not everyone was so lucky.”“The problem with child soldiers is that the other side treats them as soldiers,” you respond.She stops bouncing her knees against each other and turns her head towards you. “And the Sith are different?”“I didn’t say that they were.”She doesn’t respond, seeming content to drop the line of questioning there as she turns her eyes back towards the sky. Silence returns, the minutes continue to tick by, and you look at your air canister to see that you have barely over an hour remaining. A short distance ahead of you, the Jedi laying on the rocks has closed her eyes, and her chest heaves in quick, shallow breaths that struggle to suck up the last scraps of oxygen in her nearly-depleted canister.>An enemy is an enemy, and this is war. Wait patiently for her air to run out. Once she's dead, retrieve the fresh canister from the pod and wait for the ship she's summoned.>You can't let someone die after they've saved your life - even if they did try to end it twice prior. Retrieve the fresh canister for the two of you to share.
>>4212984That's it for today. I'm going to post 1 more passage/vote today or tomorrow and then the next live is Saturday.
>>4212984>You can't let someone die after they've saved your life - even if they did try to end it twice prior. Retrieve the fresh canister for the two of you to share.
>>4212984>You can't let someone die after they've saved your life - even if they did try to end it twice prior. Retrieve the fresh canister for the two of you to share.I am more than just a product of my upbringing.
>>4212984>>You can't let someone die after they've saved your life - even if they did try to end it twice prior. Retrieve the fresh canister for the two of you to share.
Do we have a wrist link to our Droid? There's a minimal chance that it's been reactivated and is in range. Might be able to contact the others through it.
>>4213186Maybe we can link it with her Beckon Call and transmit the signal through that somehow, as a range extender.
>>4212984Killing on a battlefield is one thing, but you are no soldier - not at the moment, anyway - and you can’t sit here and watch while the woman who saved your life chokes to death on her own exhalations. True, she may have saved your life from her own sabotage, but you also helped kill her Master. Considering the messiness between you two, you’re willing to give a little leeway.With some difficulty you push yourself up using the rock at your back, then hobble over to the pod and begin the awkward process of clambering inside.“What are you doing?” the Jedi calls out to you, her voice raspy and nearly delirious.“Looking for more canisters,” you reply.“I already looked.”You don’t bother responding, and circle around the caved-in ceiling to the back of the pod. Dropping to your knees, you fish under the seating with your one good arm until your fingers land on the cold rubber of a sealant valve. Back outside, the Jedi takes only dim notice of your approach, her lightsaber arm going stiff as her eyes track your slow movements toward her. You show her the air canister cradled under your arm, and she rises to a seated position, fumbling with her hose until the two of you get it connected to one of the nozzles atop the canister. With only an hour of air remaining in your own canister, you connect your hose to the second nozzle and thank whichever engineer conceived of tandem air canisters.With your goal accomplished, you slump down against her stone platform with your mask’s hose awkwardly stretched across your face towards the canister propped up above you. The Jedi’s breathing returns to normal in short order, but it takes her quite a while longer to sit upright again. If you were any other Sith Lord, she would be dead right now. Part of you expects some sort of ‘thank you’, but as soon as she resumes speaking you give up even the faintest hope of that.“This doesn’t change anything for you,” says the woman seated to your rear. “I’ll leave on my one-person ship, and you’ll have a little more time alone.”You dust the falling red powder off of your wrist communicator and try again to contact R4-K4, but are unable to make the connection without the Fury or some other nearby relay to boost your signal. The droid, if it even survived the landing, could very well be on the other side of the planet given the chaotic trajectory your own pod took from Veredious’ ship. The Jedi’s one-button Beckon Call could theoretically be used to boost the signal of your more complex communicator, but that would require precise tools and electronics expertise that you simply don’t possess.
>>4214763“The droid you gave my guards has a subspace radio.” You drop your hands back into your lap and content yourself with watching the swaying of the thin, branchless trees surrounding the clearing. “They’ll call for help, and they’ll find me - one way or another.”“Your slaves will rescue their enslaver? Are you sure about that?”“Yes.”Without a doubt. What you’re less confident about is their ability to bring you aid before the air canister you’re sharing with the Jedi runs out. Voss is just around twenty-four standard solar hours away by hyperspace travel, and that leaves you with very little wiggle room if your guards have to waste time fixing R4-K4 before sending for help. Then there’s always the scenario wherein they can’t get the droid working at all. Nearly as bad as that last fatal eventuality is the possibility that the wrong person answers their distress call. Olub’cree should be the only one at your house with access to the secure line, but the one Tionese guard you left behind has little else to do than wait on word from her brother. Her slave collar keeps her movements restricted, but there's always the chance that she tricks the old Twi'lek into sending her to retrieve the four of you."Was he a Sith?" says the Jedi. You can't see her from your seated position, but have to assume she's eyeing Sadon's shrink-wrapped body near the escape pod."No.""You said your Master killed him," says the Jedi. "Who killed your Master?"Even the few tidbits of information she's gleaned from you are a few too many, and you don't dare confirm her likely assumption. It would do you no good to tell anyone that you killed your Master, though you still haven't decided on a suitable cover story for the whole debacle. That will depend on what, if anything, you ultimately decide to do with the scant information you have on Veredious' co-conspirators."This thing was more talkative than you are."You turn around to find her holding a red, pyramid-shaped holocron. At this point, you wouldn't be shocked if she'd somehow managed to smuggle Xoxyon's warsuit in her robes as well."That isn't yours."You grab hold of the rocks and launch yourself at her in an attempt to grab the holocron, but she deftly moves it out of reach.
>>4214765"What makes it yours?”"The fact that I found it,” you fire back.“By that logic, it belongs to me now.”Again you try to take it from her, and again she lifts it just a little too high to grab while fixing you with a warning glare. The wounds in your chest and back feel as if they’re about to tear open, and you give up.An hour passes, then another half-hour on top of that, and still the Jedi remains unconcerned with her ship's late arrival. Well into the second hour, she's vindicated when a rapid beep from her Beckon Call indicates that her ship has reached orbit. A short time later, a distant roar draws your attention to the forested horizon. A small fighter shoots out over the treeline, passing close enough overhead to blast you with hot exhaust and kicked-up debris before settling a hundred feet or so away at the edge of the clearing opposite the escape pod.The Jedi slides off of her stone seat, takes the air canister in hand, and inhales a huge lungful before dropping the canister and mask into your lap. You get up on your knees and drag your arms up onto the stones behind you to watch as she makes her way towards her ship. A boxy one-man cockpit sits atop three landing legs, and two bulky cylindrical thrusters just out of either side of the cockpit at an upward diagonal angle. There are no identifying markings on its featureless beige hull, and you venture a guess that the scout ship isn't broadcasting Republic transponder codes.She jumps up onto the side of the cockpit, swings open the hatch, and shoulders a bulky black box before hopping down and returning to you. She sets the box down on the stone slab she’d been sitting on, and a quick examination of its simple display and frequency knobs has you concluding that you’re looking at a very old, and very rudimentary subspace communicator. There are no holodisplay capabilities evident on the device, and it looks capable of doing little more than transmitting audio messages and realspace coordinates.The Jedi circles over to your side of the slab, picks her mask up from your lap, and places it back over her face.“I’ve decided that it wouldn’t have mattered,” she says.You look at her in confusion. “What?”“You would have ended up the same no matter where you were raised.”
>>4214766It’s an oddly fatalistic point of view for a Jedi, and condescending enough that you can’t stop your eyes from rolling as you rest your forehead against the stone. Even being on your knees for this long is becoming exhausting. You stopped bleeding quite a while ago, but your wounds are severe enough that you’ll likely die without medical treatment to stop the inevitable spread of infection. Fortunately, that’s a moot point if this transceiver doesn’t have enough juice to reach someone who will help you.“I’m fine with who I am,” you mumble into your folded arms.No witty retort comes, and a few seconds later the sound of metal bouncing across rock has you looking up to see the Jedi striding towards her ship. As she hops inside and swings the cockpit closed, you turn your eyes to the transceiver and see a silvery disc a bit smaller than your palm resting beside it. You lift up the chain it’s attached to, and the other side of the disc spins into view to reveal the flowing patterns of your lost medallion. Each swirling line is as perfectly carved as it once was, with no evidence of the fire-borne deformities that had marked it the last time you saw it.The twin thrusters on the Jedi’s ship swivel downwards and roar to life, lifting the vessel into the air and blasting you with grit and red particulate. Ten seconds later she’s gone, with only a distant supersonic rumble to remind you of the fact that she was ever there at all.Emperor only knows how many calls you'll be able to make with this transceiver, so you'd better make them count.>Call Darth Sebuk for help>Call your household on Voss for help>Call Dromund Kaas for help - although there's no guarantee that your call won't be re-routed before making it to the Reclamation Service.>Make a local wide-band distress call. You won't know who you're reaching, but you'll reach far more people with each call, and they'll be close to you.
>>4214774Next live is at 2pm EST tomorrow/Saturday.
>>4214774>Make a local wide-band distress call. You won't know who you're reaching, but you'll reach far more people with each call, and they'll be close to you.
>>4214774>Call your household on Voss for help
>>4214774>>Call your household on Voss for helpNever easy choices.
>>4214774>>Make a local wide-band distress call. You won't know who you're reaching, but you'll reach far more people with each call, and they'll be close to you.
If we get no tie breaker vote, I >>4214877 can support local distress call too
>>4215023>>4214877>>4214837Going with this
>>4214774The subspace transceiver is simple enough to operate, though the lack of a battery indicator has you worried about whether you'll be able to broadcast a signal at all. In the interest of making your first - and possibly only - message count, you plug in the code for your home's transceiver on Voss and transmit your realspace coordinates. Next comes the audio message, which isn't quite as important. If Olub'cree receives a set of coordinates from an unknown source with transceiver codes only a handful of people know, you would hope that he could put two and two together and sent you aid sooner rather than later."This is Leera Varrus," you wheeze into the microphone box. A fit of coughing splatters the inside of your transparent respirator mask with blood. "I need immediate pickup at these coordinates on Columex III. Immediate."Recalling the distinct possibility that Kalyan will intercept the message before your Twi'lek majordomo receives it, you hastily add that Jevan and Amaza are stranded nearby as well. Before you can begin detailing what medical equipment should be brought with, the soft hiss of the audiobox cuts out and the digital transceiver display cases into darkness. You give it a good shake and fiddle with the knobs a bit, but quickly conclude your initial fear has come true. The battery lasted you for one message, and now you have to hope that it made its way home.You sit back down with your back against the rock, stare off into the depths of the gently-swaying forest before you, and wait. Heaviness grips your eyelids and threatens to pull you into unconsciousness, but you resist the siren song of sleep for fear that once you give into it, you won’t wake back up. Blood slowly soaks the inside of your tunic atop the wound on your chest, though you see no obvious gap in the horrible scarring that the Jedi’s lightsaber had left behind. The burns on your hand and chest make your growing thirst even more unbearable than it would have been otherwise, and after several hours of waiting you force yourself to crawl over to the supplies left behind by the Jedi. You open a canteen and take a quick sip underneath your ventilator mask, unwilling to test just how long you can survive whatever poisonous miasma fills the moon’s atmosphere. With your thirst satiated, but your muscles even more shredded from exhaustion than before, you simply collapse on the stone path nature had carved around the escape pod.Hours more pass by, seeming simultaneously torturously slow and terrifyingly quick with each gap in consciousness that afflicts you. Your air canister lays on the ground in front of your face, the indicator on the side ticking steadily downwards like the sand of an hourglass. You awake to a burning in your lungs, find that the can is empty, and hurriedly swap it out for the nearly depleted one you had set aside earlier.
>>4217119With less than an hour of breathable air remaining, you resign yourself to the inevitable conclusion that this will be the final hour of life that you enjoy. It’s hard to say whether it was a worthy life, or even a particularly enjoyable one. Those fleeting moments of comfort and joy at the academy only stuck in your memory for virtue of their sheer rarity, and your time outside of it has been so short that it seems more of an epilogue than a sequel. All of the suffering and difficulties you’ve endured had been bearable only because there was the promise of a future payoff, however vaguely defined, that would justify them in retrospect. If you slept on stone in a draft academy hallway without a blanket, it would only make your palace on Dromund Kaas all the more grand by comparison. If others stepped on you, it was only to bide your time until you were strong enough to step on them. If you allowed others power over you, and bowed to a Master, it was only to grow powerful enough to never have to bow to anyone ever again.Your journey is at its end. Do you have any regrets or revelations to take with you to the grave?>Reflecting on your actions shows you how much you've changed since leaving the academy. You regret ordering Kalyan to kill Jevan.>Leaving the academy for an apprenticeship had been trading one slavemaster for another.>Tuija was the closest you ever came to a romantic relationship, and now it's too late for you to explore that.>You should have tried to find your family, wherever and whoever they are.>
>>4217153>Leaving the academy for an apprenticeship had been trading one slavemaster for another.The sith code's promise of freedom is a manipulative lie, at least as the Sith currently exist.
>>4217153I regret that it took Sadon's murder to realize who I truly wanted to be. If I had intervened I could have saved his life, and instead I did nothing until after the death of the only one who deeply cared about me as a person.
>>4217186I like this too. I think we can take some satisfaction that in the end we did what we wanted by killing our master and protecting the other guards, not just acting pragmatically or according to sith customs.
>>4217153As your eyes slip closed for what you decide will be the final time, the swirling emotions in your tired mind resolve themselves into a single, unshakeable conviction. Power would never be yours so long as you suborned yourself to men like Veredious. The Sith code preaches the visceral truth of passion over the lie of peace, and then the Sith Masters - men of ‘knowledge’ - demand that you forsake the attachments that allow one to feel. Then, just as Darth Arawits’ holocron had warned, their emotions turn inward - and their passion becomes a stunted, incestuous thing that wars with the world without end.You would not be you without the relationships that defined you. Arawits had told you to try drawing on those passions as a source of strength instead of the directionless anger that had been so useful at the academy. It was not an exercise you had ever tried, but the strength you’d felt in your defiance of Veredious had given you a glimpse of what the holocron was hinting at. Not fear, or anger, or greed, or even love, but some other feeling so fundamental that you can’t in good faith compare it to those raw emotions.The Sith code, as it had been taught to you by the academy instructors, was a lie. Endless recitation of the code had given you the illusion of understanding, but visceral experience of its truths has revealed just how shallow your understanding runs. For once in your life, passion had brought you strength that left you in control and unafraid of a man who should have been your death. Those Sith drowned in philosophy and dusty tradition might point to your guards’ intervention as the deciding factor, but the simple truth is that you lived, and your Master did not. Your only regret is that it took Sadon’s death to teach you the lesson that so many learned instructors could not. Never again will you betray yourself for the false promise of future power. Power lies in this moment, and with every action you choose whether to seize or relinquish it.
>>4217360As you lay there in the accumulating rain of red powder, two more thoughts strike you in quick succession. The first, how the lesson Veredious had tried to teach you had been proven wrong before he’d even finished demonstrating it. And the second, which enters your mind as your eyes open to the sound of approaching footsteps, is how similarly wrong the Jedi had been.Jevan kneels down before you, a look of concern on his maskless face as he points at your ventilator.“You need this?” he says.At first you take his ability to breathe to be the result of Arkanian genome tampering, but then you notice the similarly maskless Amaza standing behind him with a look of open-mouthed horror directed at your injuries.You mumble a ‘no’ and ease the mask off with Jevan’s aid, after which he slips his arms under your body and easily heaves you into his arms. There is mercifully little opportunity for you to consider just how embarassing a sight you must look right now, as darkness is quick to fill your vision as you approach a waiting shuttle.
>>4217369>the air was safe this whole timehaha fuck. I bet the jedi would've survived even if we didn't save her
>>4217369Bruh. What if the Jedi knew the air was safe all along and was just fucking with us? That's like a Sebuk tier prank.
>>4217369Awakenings are rarely a gradual thing, but this one is particularly sudden for how immediately your senses rail against the strangeness of your surroundings. You can’t feel any surface beneath your feet nor back, but there is a distinct sense of definitive direction that accompanies your weightlessness. Something is strapped to your face, and you open your mouth to discover that something has been jammed between your teeth. The space ahead of you is a murky, glowing haze, as if you were underwater staring up at the midday sun. You bring your arm up to your mouth, but find your movements restricted by some tethering of your hands and feet.Your mind races with all manner of possibilities, none of them good, and you thrash about in an attempt to free yourself. Your foot strikes a hard surface just in front of you, and you reach out with the Force to destroy it and break through to freedom. The clear substance surrounding you ripples hard enough to rattle your eardrums, and reality seems to crack. A moment later, you’re riding a tidal wave of fluid across the cold, sterile surface of a tiled floor. The vital monitors attached to your skin rip free, and you roll over onto your back before wrenching a breathing tube out of your esophagus.The seamless glow of white blazing down on you resolves into a low ceiling dotted with fluorescent lights, and you ease yourself to a standing position to find yourself in a white-walled medical room. Three bacta tanks sit against the wall to your rear, all empty, and the leftmost one reduced to a shattered wreck by your outburst. You run your hands over your back and chest to find that the cuts you earned from the healing tank’s glass are the worst of your bodily injuries. Only a faint patch of scar tissue remains on the right side of your chest, and your palm appears fine aside from being oddly devoid of fingerprints. The Tuk’ata scars on the left side of your face still remain, however - the beasts’ venom makes them notoriously difficult to heal.The door to the room slides open, and a startled Imperial doctor piles in alongside two human nurses. One of the nurse’s eyes flicker down to your exposed nudity, and she blushes as red as your own flushed skin before backing out of the room. The other woman stammers something about finding your clothes and follows shortly after.The doctor, however, maintains a degree of professional composure and calms you down before explaining the events of the past week. Your slaves brought you to Voss, and you were rushed to the military hospital in the Imperial Enclave. With the barest outline of that period established, you go to collect your clothes, only to find that they’re just as burnt and bloodied as when they’d been stripped off of you. The panicked nurses scrounge up an extra military uniform for you, and you don the gray outfit and black boots before asking how they intend to get you home.
>>4217554They respond that yes, of course they already planned for that, and the hospital staff drop everything in order to find you the nearest Imperial driver. You leave soon after, but not before retrieving the other man who had entered the hospital with you, and having his casket loaded in the back of the vehicle.It is evening in Voss-Ka, and your drive through the city is marked by a gentle breeze and the lingering warmth reflecting off of the bronze-capped stucco buildings. A short time later - but still too long - your hilltop manor comes into view, and the land cruiser begins the circuitous route up the plateau.With your return unannounced, there is no welcoming party waiting for you as the driver pulls up in front of the home’s entryway and you exit the car. A lonely figure cuts through the front of the yard, their face shadowed by the garden trees and high walls behind her. For a brief moment the failing sunlight catches Hacna’s wrinkled face, and she glances your way before continuing towards her workshop on the other side of the manor.“Hello?” you shout at her, quite a bit annoyed.She stops, turns, and bows to you. “Hello, Lord Varrus.”You wait for something more - questions about the difficulties you endured, or how your health is faring - but all you receive is the soft sound of leafy trees rustling against eachother in the evening wind. With a sharp huff and a shake of the head, you continue into your home, and Hacna continues towards her workshop. The greeting inside if far more animated, though more mixed in reception. A clapping Amaza nearly throws herself at you. Jevan grins broadly but keeps his distance. Kalyan - notably lacking the slave collar you had never removed from her - remains inscrutably stone-faced just outside the entryway. The remaining household slaves assemble alongside your guards, though you have the distinct impression that they do so simply because you’re the Master of the home and that’s what’s expected of them. As soon as the excitement dies down, they return to their prior activities - which, given your absence, you assume consisted of very little work whatsoever.
>>4217599Before you’ve so much as changed clothes or washed the bacta fluid out of your hair, your first task is to have Jevan unload the coffin from the back of the land cruiser waiting out front. Then, you return to Hacna, and put her to work on an unexpected project that she puts up surprisingly little fight about. While your slaves dig a pit in the manor’s rear garden, Hacna uses a torch and sanding equipment to carve a walkway stone into a grave market. The torch, poetically enough, uses the same volatile Kyber crystals that Sadon had nearly killed you with.Underneath a setting sun and rising moon, the Tionese watch as you use the Force to lower Sadon into his final resting place. Jevan is somber, Kalyan grim, and Amaza’s constant attempts to stop her lip from trembling have her tilting her head back until she’s looking straight up at the tree branches hanging above her. The disinterred soil is put back in place, and after some final smoothing of the ground there is little evidence that anything of note remains beneath the trees and flowers.In order that you might inform of them who lays here, and to remind yourself that you did, once, have a friend, you lift up the finished headstone and drop it into the soil at the foot of the grave. It reads...>No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy>A Noble Savage>An Enemy, Then Slave, Then Friend>Sadon
>>4217603>No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy
>>4217603That's it for today. Next live at 2pm tomorrow
>>4217622Thanks for running Hurt. This quest is the shit.
>>4217603>>No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy
>>4217603>No Better Friend, No Worse EnemyAmaza is best girl
Rather amateurish military hospital, one would expect better service in war time.We will have our hands full for months after this.I think first order of business would be to find out, how many already knows that Veredious is dead and to make sure that only our version of story is told, if anyone anyone comes asking.>>4217603>>No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy
>>4217662First we need to know if we still have that intel he gave us for the mission on Balmorra. We can use that as evidence while reporting the coup, and link that to why we had a falling out with our Master. I'm not sure how to explain how the ship was destroyed. I'm sure they can recover evidence for that from the damage to the ship.
>>4217764Do we want to report the coup? I don't think we care if the coup is successful or not.It's more of the question, it is more dangerous to ignore the coup and hope they leave us alone, or report it and live in fear of the surviving coup members.The powerful Sith lords won't be locked up, just because we point finger at em, so we have to play this smart if we want to live.We can just report that our master died with the ship after it was sabotaged by jedi, but this pretty much depends how much our slaves have already talked.And even if our killing of master slips out, I doubt we would get any major punishment...it is way of the sith anyway.
>>4218114Until the other coup members hear that we were the last to see him alive. Sith being paranoid as they are would be very quick to suspect us. Even if we try to pin it on a Jedi. It seems hard to believe that a single Jedi managed to track him down AND sabotage his ship to such a fatal degree on their own. Mentioning Jedi at all would put us into the spotlight. A Jedi at a sudden unplanned rendezvous between a Master and Apprentice? Red flags. It would be better to say our bodyguards managed to cause the catastrophic damage once Sadon and ourselves engaged with Veredious.Even if we don't want to bring up the coup we're better off just saying we killed him. It's what Sith do after all.
>>4218114Other things to consider:Did the Imperial staff find the disc in our clothing?We need to either destroy the coup or continue to participate, possibly taking over Veredious' role. Otherwise we're just a loose end that needs to be dealth with.
We also need to investigate the medallion more with our IRS resources. The Jedi must have had an identical one that she gave to us, while keeping our burnt one. I'm not even sure if she's aligned with the Jedi Order at this point. She's just been on a solo mission of revenge this whole time.
What are we going to do about the lightsaber situation? Use a vibrosword? Ask to get another one made? Start training with Hacna's whipsabre invention?
>>4218358We got plenty of that sand stuff left. We can just hold onto it until we can try to use a processor again. Eventually we'll have the chance. Until then we can just carry around a bunch of rocks and use the force.Or a vibrosword yeah. Lame.
>>4218371Maybe we can work on a unstable kyber crystal weapon with Hacna, personalized to our own needs until we can get our hands on a new lightsaber.
>>4218394Better than going empty handed and exotic weapon would give our opponents an nasty surprise.Who knows when we get new lightsaber.
>>4218394The best we can hope out of that is some no more heroes kinda shit. Or a weird chakram style thing. Maybe a grenade?
>>4218446Yeah obviously we should make every effort to get a new lightsaber first but we need something in the meantime as well.
>>4217603‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.’That is how your faithful guard lived his life, and it is how you intend to conduct yours. Gone are the days of compromise and servitude. You may lie to your enemies, but you will never again lie to yourself. The goal is the same as it ever was - autonomy - but the path is clearer than it ever was, though you can still only see a few steps in front of you.You tell your slaves as such at the foot of his grave. Amaza tries to follow your euology up with a few short words, but opening her mouth opens up the floodgates and ruins her quivering attempt to hold back her tears. She says something through her blubbering, that much you’re sure of, and you simply press your lips together and nod somberly as if you understand every bit of it. She walks off towards the manor, wiping her snot with her sleeve, and you leave the twins beside the grave. You need to talk to them as well, but there is a more time-sensitive conversation that demands your attention first.With the opening salvos of Galactic war disrupting commercial movement in the region, interplanetary taxi services have nearly come to a standstill. As a result, the public transit terminal at Voss-Ka has turned into a tent city full of travellers waiting their turn for one of the few ships willing to make the dangerous trek before agreements are hashed out with the belligerents. You find Xoxyon Kau squatting among them in the opening of a small tent, accompanied by little more than a single wheeled carrying case for her meager belongings. She stares off into space seemingly half-dead, with bags under her eyes so deeply set that she looks to have taken a fist to both sockets. Despite likely not having slept a good night’s sleep since she lost her lizards, she notices your approach before you’ve made it halfway through the teeming crowds of exhausted adults and screaming children. Her connection to the Force is as strong as it ever was, and she’s not happy about it. Olub’cree had offered to let her stay at your manor until you awoke - Emperor knows you have the space - but she was furious enough to endure this chaos instead.As you near her, she directs her gaze back downwards and refuses to meet your eyes.“What happened to our agreement?” you say to her.Her face contorts into a craggy scowl, and she grips her knees tightly. “You break agreement. No armor, no sleep-”Two giggling human children run between the two of you, and Xoxyon slaps at the air as they pass.“This!” she shouts in frustration.
>>4219867You can certainly see how the last week might have put her off of the idea of working for you, but you don’t intend to let your hard work on Thyrsus go to waste. Nor do you intend to let her throw away her best chance at healing her fractured mind just because she’s angry with you.“I know someone who can help you,” you say. “They deal in prophecies and dreams on a daily basis.”Xoxyon snorts derisively and turns her head away from you.“She’s in this city,” you add, a bit more firmly as annoyance creeps into your voice. “This planet’s mystics deal in prophecies and dreams on a regular basis. I’m offering you the best chance at healing you’ll ever get.”Her face turns fractionally towards yours, and you hold out your hand in offering. She eyes it for a moment, then scoffs and slaps it away.“Jedi say same thing.”Well, you tried. With a single gesture over your shoulder you summon forth the four Imperial soldiers whose services you’d procured from the Imperial Enclave. Xoxyon is none too happy about being escorted out of the starport by force, but knows better than to try and resist. She is, after all, a guest on Voss by means of your Imperial diplomatic credentials. And she can be as angry as she wants now - you expect tempers to cool once she’s been delivered to Talsa-Ko at the Tower of Prophecy in Voss-Ka.With yet another loose end tied up, you return home in search of the least agreeable of your Tionese slaves. In consideration of the late hour, you first check the dormitory-like room they’d been set up in when they first arrived. The lights are on and the door is open, so you give little thought to walking right in. Kalyan, clad in a blue and gray tunic, is seated with her back to you on a far bed set against the left wall. Jevan, his top half blocked by her body, lays on the bed with his head on her lap.You stand there in the doorway, strangely unable to approach the pair and interrupt whatever it is you’re looking at. Kalyan’s right shoulder moves back and forth as she strokes his hair, and your heart pounds so loud you’re certain she must be able to hear it. It’s a completely innocent display of affection - though somewhat bizarre considering Jevan’s age - and you have no inkling of why the sight causes you such discomfort. Nor do you know why, when Kalyan turns her pale face towards yours, you retreat from the room and make your way to your study upstairs.
>>4219875There, you begin your search for the disc that Lord Veredious had handed you aboard his ship. Whatever you decide to do with regards to the conspiracy he’s gotten you tangled up in, the information contained on that disc will prove vital. The nurses at the Imperial hospital swore that it wasn’t on your person when you were brought in, and none of your other slaves had any idea of what you were talking about. Nor could they point you to the whereabouts of your medallion, which you had placed back around your neck after the Jedi had tossed it to you.After slamming shut the last of your desk drawers in a fit of panicked frustration, you look up to see Kalyan filling out the doorway ahead of you with her substantial bulk. It takes you a moment to realize that she’s waiting for permission to enter, and you motion her in. Clutched in her right fingertips are two items stacked on top of one another - a silver medallion, and the splintered sections of a computer disc.She sets them down on the desk, and you examine the first for any new damage before taking a look at the remnants of the latter. The disc is broken, yes, but the sections themselves are largely intact, making data recovery a distinct possibility. After setting the items back down, you approach the taller woman and try once again to size her up as you’ve done so many times before. Two sky-blue eyes stare down at you from beneath a few stray locks of short blond hair. Her hands are clasped in front of her, a gesture you’ve noticed her adopting in an effort to appear less threatening. A deliberate slouch takes an inch or two off of her height, adding to the effect. The blank expression on her face might trick some into believing that simple look to encompass the full breadth and depth of her though, but one look into those eyes reveals a hungry intelligence that can’t be switched off. You do not need the benefit of your natural empathy to feel just how strongly the emotions within her storm at your presence.All of that was there before, though you may not have seen it as clearly in the past. What is new is the lack of the slave collar she’s worn since you first placed it on her. Olub’cree swore that he never gave her the means to remove it despite giving her the range to travel to Columex III with Hacna - you can only surmise that Kalyan used your wrist communicator to disable it while you were unconscious. You’re certain that Kalyan understands full well just how far you’ve thought her actions through. It is, in a way, refreshing - to meet someone eye-to-eye with so little that needs to be said before the important matters of the evening are addressed.“If Jevan hadn’t been aboard that shuttle, would you have let me die?”Kalyan’s eyes drift upward in momentary thought. “My Lord, if Jevan had not been with me, it would mean he was dead.”
>>4219877And so would you be. The implication is clear enough, and you see no reason to launch into a series of hypotheticals meant to pin down the exact extent of the woman’s loyalty, which only goes so far as her brother forces it to. It’s an untenable situation, and one for which a correction has been a long time coming. You’ve tried brute force, manipulation, and open dialogue, and enjoyed mixed success with each tactic… but none have bought you the loyalty of a woman whose raw talent is as rare as Sadon’s unflinching resolve or Amaza’s Force-sensitivity.What do you do with her? Actions speak louder than words.>No Slaves, No Masters. Free of all your slaves and employ those who remain as servants.>Offer to let her take her anger out on you physically.
>>4219924>No Slaves, No Masters. Free of all your slaves and employ those who remain as servants.
I'm tired of trying so hard to secure loyalty. If they don't want to be here then they can leave. The only time we've been unfair is when we told Kalyan to kill Jevan, which was a misunderstanding on our part, and something we did before our change of heart.
Can we just straight up ask what Kalyan wants for Jevan and herself? The galaxy is on the brink of war. We can offer training, resources, and relative comfort in uncertain times. Also explain to her our epiphany after Sadon's death.
Maybe we can also discuss that they both have amazing potential. They can excel at whatever task they're given. The choice is theirs to become excellent farmers or commoners or to play an important role in the future of the galaxy. And Jevan is on his way now to becoming his own man, and can't be coddled by her forever.
>>4219924>>No Slaves, No Masters. Free of all your slaves and employ those who remain as servants.No good options, but atleast the rest of our household will be more loyal, if nothing else. Well slave markets are always open when we need more workforce anyway.
>>4219924“Nearly dying taught me something,” you say to her. She shifts her weight onto one foot and blinks, as if she already knows the revelation you’ve come to but is willing to feign surprise. Let her enjoy her self-satisfaction, you tell yourself. She may be uncannily sharp, but her judgement is weighed down by the mass of assumptions she carries, blinding her to just how much you’ve changed.“It taught me the value of loyal servants…” You scoop up your medallion and the disc fragments before facing her once more. “...And just how useless disloyal ones are.”Muscles tense beneath the folds of the woman’s tunic, and within her eyes you witness the cold calculations meant to counter whatever retaliation you have in mind for her. Your free hand reaches into your tunic pocket, and she takes a step back. The surprise on her face when you pull out two holo IDs is well worth whatever remote risk there was that she would simply attack you at the veiled threat.“What are these?” she asks as you hand her the IDs.“I’m technically a diplomat, and wartime measures have been put into place. You and Jevan are now war refugees, and provisionary Imperial citizens.”She eyes them suspiciously, examining the personal information you had fabricated when generating the cards. You kept what truths you could, but that wasn’t much - you couldn’t even put Jevan’s true age on there. Kalyan holds the cards up to you, her face reddened with confusion and frustration. “What does this mean?”“It means you’re fired.”
>>4220133The next morning, you make the rounds of your estate, firing your entire slave staff and immediately re-hiring them as servants. Considering how little work they do and how few employable skills they possess, you aren’t surprised to find that none turn down your offer. None, that is, until Hacna. You meet her in her workshop - your workshop - and pull her out from underneath a land cruiser to tell her the good news.The Weequay lifts up her welding mask, stares up at you blankly from her roller on the floor, then puts the mask down and slides back under the cruiser.“Hacna quits.”The news hits you nearly as hard as Tuija’s death in terms of sheer unexpectedness. No person in their right mind would hire this woman as a pilot. She certainly wouldn’t enjoy the personal workspace she does now, and there’s not a chance in hell that another employer would give her half as much leeway as you. As difficult as it is for you to imagine her hunting for a job, it’s nearly as hard to picture her bothering to pack up her scant personal belongings and camp out in the starport terminal for a week.Which is why it comes as no surprise when Hacna reignites her welding torch and continues to work on the underside of the vehicle. You use the Force to switch off the gas tank the tool is connected to, and a swearing Hacna wheels herself back out to see what you’ve done.“Why?” she snaps.You give her a look of naked disgust. “You realize this is my workshop right? You just live in it. These cruisers, these tools-” You snatch the blowtorch from her. “They all belong to me. I want you out, now.”Hacna stares at you in shock, her leathery lips working wordlessly for a few moments and wordless croaks escape her throat.“Hacna doesn’t quit.”You set the torch down on a work bench and shrug. “It’s too late! You already did.”The Weequay mechanic shoots up off of her roller and tries to grab hold of your tunic in a grovelling display, but you dodge her grasping hands and leave through the nearest garage door.“Please, Lord Varrus!” comes a wavering cry behind you.“I’ll consider it,” you call back to her.
>>4220185kek you dumb bitch. What a goof.
>>4220185Back inside the manor, you’re approached by Kalyan within the seclusion of the dining room. The two Imperial IDs are clutched in her hand, and you fully expect her to press you for details on how exactly to go about making use of the twins’ newfound freedom. Instead she holds the two cards out to you, one in each hand, and an expression of mild displeasure on her face.“These names are wrong.”She points at the name flickering on the clear transparisteel. The surname is a fabrication, of course, but her first name is spelled just as you’d always envisioned it - as is Jevan’s on the other card.“My stasis tank was labelled ‘K-4-L-Y-4-N’,” she explains, enunciating each alphanumerical character in turn before pointing at Jevan’s card. “And this should read ‘J-3-V-4-N’.”Your brow furrows, and you look up at her with a sad, pitying expression, like one might give a mental invalid when explaining why their dreams of cybertech engineering would never come to fruition. The tension gripping your face eases as you come to understand the forced nature of the expression Kalyan wears.“You’re joking.”Her frown vanishes, and she returns the cards to her pocket.“We will be leaving,” she declares. “To a quiet, peaceful place.”You eye her suspiciously. That was quite a quick decision on her part. “And you told Jevan this?”“Not until the time comes.”“And when will that be?” you ask her.She tilts her head slightly and looks down at you across the bridge of her nose, a distant and intense energy flickering in her eyes. “When there’s no one left to run from. Then, I can rest.”“The Arkanians.”She gives a barely-perceptible nod and takes a step forward. You lean away reflexively, and your back strikes the wooden chair behind you. Even when you know for a fact that a woman is capable of cutting you down without a second thought, or crushing your esophagus from across the room, it’s difficult for you to feel a sense of visceral danger at their presence. Not so with Kalyan, whose sheer size and hard features were lent to her by her brother.“I want to know why we were stranded on a dead planet. I want to ensure that no one is searching for us. Then, I want our own world… quiet, and peaceful.”You remove your back from the chair she’s pressed you to and meet her gaze with chest thrust out and head held high. It’s hard to tell whether this is a clumsy attempt at intimidation or a very awkward attempt at speaking covertly.“That’s a tall order,” you remark.
>>4220351Kalyan purses her lips and draws in a long, deep breath, as if mulling over some thoughts she’s not yet decided whether to put into words.“If I am not a slave, does that mean I should abandon the slave-speech?”You nod.“Lord Varrus, would you be intimidated by a simple statements of facts?”You tell her ‘no’, but the wording of the question fully prepares you to hear something insulting. What it doesn’t prepare you for is what the woman says next - or the deep, serene calm with which she speaks it inches from your face.“I was never your slave, and I will never be your servant. He plays with this idea because he believes you to be something better than you are.”‘He’ - Jevan. You’ve come to understand that whenever such a nameless person is mentioned by her, it inevitably refers to her male counterpart. Similarly so with her talk of ‘we’. To her, the rest of the world is merely a sideshow to the strange path they cut through life.“Then explain to me why I would want you at my side,” you say.“Because if I had told him to leave you on that moon, he would have.”Finally, all the cards are laid out on the table, and you find little in the way of surprises. There’s something refreshing about knowing exactly where you stand with this woman, even if that ‘where’ isn’t quite where you’d want it to be. Still, you’re confident that the partnership will be a fruitful one… and you’re even more certain that her regard for you will only improve with time.Kalyan holds out her hand, and you give it a firm shake.“Now that I know you’re sticking around, we have quite a lot to talk about.”Namely, that statue of Jevan’s genetic donor you saw outside Sil Trachari’s spaceport. With your new not-quite-servant left to stew over your vague hint-dropping, you depart the dining room and gather the collected fragments of Veredious’ disc from your study. It’s well past time to wrap up the final and most pressing loose end that’s been left to fray while you floated in a bacta tank. Olub’cree can no longer ward off the attempts to contact you from all corners of the Empire as they seek information on your Master’s unusually lengthy absence, and it’s time to give them an answer.Your former Master was involved in a conspiracy to undermine the existing Imperial order and introduce pro-alien and meritocratic reforms. You know that Darth Serevin, the Imperial diplomat to Voss, is involved, but beyond that you don't know the extent of the conspiracy.>Meet with Darth Serevin and tell him that a Jedi strike team assaulted your Master's ship and killed him. You were knocked unconscious and brought to an escape pod by your servants.>Contact Cipher Nine and tell him that Veredious attempted to draw you into the conspiracy when you met him above Columex III. You turned him down, he attacked you, and you killed him.
>>4220365>Contact Cipher Nine and tell him that Veredious attempted to draw you into the conspiracy when you met him above Columex III. You turned him down, he attacked you, and you killed him.A final "fuck you" to our master.
>>4220365>Contact Cipher Nine and tell him that Veredious attempted to draw you into the conspiracy when you met him above Columex III. You turned him down, he attacked you, and you killed him.
>>4220365>Meet with Darth Serevin and tell him that a Jedi strike team assaulted your Master's ship and killed him. You were knocked unconscious and brought to an escape pod by your servants.The Sith Order must change. Right now it's pure shit. We have a greater chance of influence with the rebellion.
We could make some very powerful enemies if Cipher Nine immediately takes action against the conspirators. I think it's more likely we'll be tasked with infiltrating the rebellion from the inside. It's definitely a large risk.
Why are we against this rebellion in the first place? The things they want line up with us nicely...although I doubt we want to serve the imperium for rest of our lifes.
>>4220365This is the last vote for today. I'm going to wait until 8pm EST to start writing the next passage.
>>4220365>>Contact Cipher Nine and tell him that Veredious attempted to draw you into the conspiracy when you met him above Columex III. You turned him down, he attacked you, and you killed him.The problem with rebellions like this is that they are fueled by selfish intentions. It'll fall apart in the end exactly because of the reasons they're doing it. Besides, right now we have the Republic to deal with.
>>4220444We don't actually know enough about them to side with them fully.
>>4220365>Contact Cipher Nine and tell him that Veredious attempted to draw you into the conspiracy when you met him above Columex III. You turned him down, he attacked you, and you killed him.If we have to choose between these, I'd rather be on the winning side.Although ideally, we'd stay out of this mess.
>>4220523>If we have to choose between these, I'd rather be on the winning side. Although ideally, we'd stay out of this mess.That's an option too. Or whatever other conceivable write-in people vote for.
>>4220523We're already in this mess. We've met the key players of the rebellion and even taken part in it.
Cipher 9 better appreciate the promotion that just fell into his lap.
>>4220365Rain cascades down on the streets of Kaas City in unending torrents, flooding the wide causeways faster than the roadside drains can do their work. Both the roads and sidewalks are filled with those Imperial functionaries making the daily trip from Central governmental district to outlying housing districts, and the rain does little to deter them as they sprinted with coats held over their heads and feet splashing through puddles. The majority of them walk at a steady pace beneath what cover is offered by the towering building blocks, then run to the open streetside and let the rain soak them as they wait impatiently for the crossing signal to allow them across. Some, a bit more experienced with life in the city, wait beneath the nearest overhang until the signal ahead changes, then race to the crosswalk.All, however, end up uniformly soaked. The rain is so heavy that ten seconds exposure will have one's clothes holding as much water as they're capable of. Of all the thousands of pedestrians Cipher Nine has passed on the way home from Intelligence headquarters, the only people besides himself who have maintained a walking pace are the two human males who have been following his movements for the past week. The blue-skinned Chiss cuts a conspicuous figure among the overwhelmingly human crowds, making their job quite easy - and leaving them more than a little complacent.Cipher Nine is no stranger to tailing a person of interest and performing stakeouts, and he holds a degree of professional sympathy for any adversary forced to engage in either tiresome assignment. As such, he would not make them endure the worst of Dromund Kaas' inclement weather if such a thing were reasonably avoidable.Cipher Nine stops at a crosswalk and waits amongst the gathering dozens of pedestrians for his turn to cross the nine-lane causeway. Transports and passenger cruisers roar by at a nearly constant space, but a glance in either direction reveals a promising opening with the otherwise steady stream of traffic. Kaas City’s civil engineering is second to none, and the lamposts lining the streets are placed with such uniformity that he can quickly gauge the distance of each car from himself and from each other without having to resort to guess work.With the speed and position of each vehicle held so firmly in mind that he no longer has to look to see the present arrangement of things, Cipher Nine slips through the crowd and steps out into the street.“Careful!” shouts a man behind him.
>>4221558Cipher Nine glances back in the man’s direction to verify that the two men sent to tail him took notice of his attempted crossing. One of the plains-clothed officers cranes his head to look at him, then slaps his partner on the arm and quickens his pace. Cipher Nine continues walking for the requisite seven paces, then breaks out into a dead sprint that carries him within a hair’s breadth of a passing cargo transport. Horns blare, onlookers yell, and the wind whips at his back and front with each near-death collision. As he splashes down into a puddle with one foot and steps on the sidewalk curb with the other, a hollow impact and the sharp screech of repulsor lifts roaring to a halt draws his attention back to the road, where a ground taxi skids to a violent halt amidst pouring rain and screaming bystanders. The body of one of his pursuers rolls down the street, leaving a deep red streak that is quickly carried away into the flood grates lining the road. His partner sprints over to him, the Chiss agent momentarily forgotten.Cipher Nine turns and resumes his casual walk home. If Darth Zhorrid would like to know what he’s up to, then she should simply ask. She is the councilor for Imperial Intelligence, and he has never shown anything but the utmost deference to his superiors.A short time later, he reaches the towering monolith of his government-provided apartment block and steps inside the empty lobby, deactivating the personal shield module on his belt. Chiss-made body-conforming shields didn’t offer much in the way of protection, and the bands that had to be worn all over one’s body made them quite inconvenient for daily use. They did, however, keep the rain off well enough - and they were very easy for his pursuers to track on those days when he desired such a thing.Cipher Nine passes the building’s elevator and makes the fourteen-story climb to his apartment, as he does every day. It is a quiet place, and a simply-decorated one, which made the unusual stand out all the more starkly. As he leaves the stairwell and enters the hallway leading to his apartment, the vague sense of unease poking at the corners of his mind has become too strong to ignore. It is often difficult to pinpoint the source of the feeling - it could simply be a revelation forming regarding some ongoing case - but he knows better than to ignore it.The windows to his left gives a view of the Kaas City skyline, marred as it is by the torrential downpour shrouding the sky in an opaque veil that likely won’t lift for days. It is a wonder that these peoples’ Emperor had chosen such a world as their new home after fleeing the one destroyed by the Jedi. Outside, a flash of lightning briefly illuminates the otherwise hidden skyline. The crack of thunder follows, rattling the windows in their housing.
>>4221562As Cipher Nine passes the last of the windows before the row of apartment doors, he stops, takes a step back, and examines the ledge just outside the window. With each fresh rain, those creatures more adapted to this world than himself seek shelter until the crushing downpours have ceased - creatures like the bosha bats that routinely nest on this particular ledge due to the protective overhang above.In a place so devoid of extraneous stimuli, it is easy for one to notice the addition of something new. Slightly more difficult is to take note of the subtraction of what few unusual features hold with regularity in such a sterile place. Cipher Nine presses a button on his belt, and is immediately struck by the smell of ozone and the odd creeping sensation of a charged field establishing itself around his immediate person. Four apartment doors down, he comes to the one leading to his own domicile. Neither the door nor the biometric scanner glow with any residual body heat, but that does not rule out a break-in.He continues to the next apartment, knocks, and waits patiently for the soft creak of the floor to make his way to him. A moment passes as the person inside verifies his identity through the viewscreen, and the door slides open, revealing the smiling face of his elderly neighbor. She states how unusual it is for him to come calling, and comments on his dryness given the weather outside. Cipher Nine makes the requisite small-talk about the weather, brushes aside the woman’s profuse thanks for helping her keep her deceased husband’s home when his old agency threatened to take it away, and counts down the moments until it is polite for him to ask something of her.A gap arrives in the conversation, and he seizes the moment to comment on how he locked his keycard in his apartment, which is unreachable due to a malfunction with the biometric scanner. The woman suggests that perhaps it is due to the unusualness of his eyes - he agrees with her assessment, and asks if he might use her outward-facing window to enter his home. She is shocked at the request, but a faint nod and quibbling ‘yes’ gives him the permission he needs to slide past the woman into her apartment and make his way to her bedroom. There, he opens the window to the storming evening air, and the woman cries in surprise as he climbs through the window onto the narrow ledge outside.The rain is fierce, the wind fiercer, and the heights dizzying. With his eyes fixed firmly on the faint glow of the city’s horizon, Cipher Nine presses his back to the building’s facade and shuffles slowly to the left, stopping each time the winds whip up so viciously that he dare not risk moving. Just under a minute later, his hand touches a raised portion of the wall, and he crouches down, feeling about until he’s found the bottom of his bathroom window. It is, as always, unlocked - and the door to the bathroom, as always, closed.
>>4221564He slips inside, letting his feet fall softly onto the tiled floor, then eases the window closed. The carrying of weapons is largely banned in Kaas City - even for an Imperial Agent - so extra caution is due. Those conducting break-ins typically do not worry about the legality of their accompanying activities, and he cannot count on them to be equally unarmed. Cipher Nine creeps to the bathroom door and presses it open with his fingertips. A flash of lightning illuminates his darkened bedroom, but he has already noted the lack of unusual heat in that room… and the faint presence in the living room just outside.Cipher Nine picks up an electric razor from his bathroom counter, slips into the bedroom, and approaches the open doorway to the living room. The rain covers the sound of his approach, but as he draws nearer he waits for the flash of lightning to drive his next step, and for the ensuing thunder to quiet his footfall. He reaches the threshold, peers around it to his left, and lays eyes on his intruder.A man in an ornate black tunic sits in a chair at his dining room table, back to the Chiss and eyes pointed at the doorway between the apartment’s entryway and the living room. His red skin - almost pink in its vibrancy - marks the man as non-human despite his otherwise human features. No facial tattoos - and more importantly, no keritinous horns, so not a Zabrak. No deformations of the jaw or chin, so Sith Pureblood is unlikely.A smell which had likely already reached the Chiss agent’s nostrils finally becomes powerful to reach conscious awareness. Sweet, yet poisonous, like the native flowers so carefully kept from spreading within the city limits - pheromones. Far weaker than those of a Falleen, yet still present. That rare trait and the hue of the man’s skin lead Cipher Nine to the obvious conclusion that a member of the Zeltronian species has come for him, but the exercise was an academic diversion to begin with. He remembers full well when he had laid in wait so similarly in the man’s home on Voss. Cipher Nine, of course, had done his due diligence and ensured all entrances and exits were known to him beforehand.Varrus’ back stiffens, and his hand grips the table as his head begins to turn backwards. Cipher Nine realizes his crucial oversight - silence does not deaden one too the Force. Abandoning all pretense of stealth, he rushes forward and presses the butt-end of his razor to the man’s neck. Varrus goes still, though his left hand lifts from atop his knee and angles towards the Chiss.“Keep your hand on your knee,” the Chiss says calmly. “The other one remains on the table.”The Sith Lord complies, and Cipher Nine eases the razor from his neck before the man can realize he doesn’t have a blaster pointed at him.“Isn’t carrying a firearm illegal here?” says the Sith.“As is breaking and entering,” replies the Chiss. “What can I do for you, Lord Varrus?”
>>4221565The Sith turns his head just enough to look the Chiss in the eye, then motions with his chin down towards his tunic. The Chiss moves the razor in his hands away from the man’s vision.“May I?” says Varrus.Cipher Nine nods, and the man reaches into his tunic before withdrawing a clear plastic case. The small data disc inside is shattered, though all of the pieces appear present.“The question,” says Varrus. “Is what I can do for you.”Keeping his eyes on the Sith, Cipher Nine leans over and picks up the disc, then steps back to examine it. Though broken, the sections themselves are intact, and the data contained within likely recoverable.“You’ve had a change of heart?” says Cipher Nine as he places the razor down on the table and takes a seat opposite Varrus. The Sith says nothing in response, though he eyes the harmless razor with an obvious sense of deflated ego. His gaze returns to the Chiss, and they observe each other in silence for a few ticks of the clock, each one sizing up the other until a slight smile creeps across the Sith’s face that has the Chiss raising an eyebrow.“This is sort of exciting,” says Varrus.
>>4221585Thanks for playing - that's it for this thread. I'm going to start running this on fiction dot live due to their bigger player base and innumerable quality-of-life features. Hopefully some of you will join in there. The story will continue directly from where we left off, but I'm working on finishing up a story summary and character writeups to hopefully make things accessible for new people.fiction dot live/stories/Knight-Of-Nothing/C7CrMDWFSqPzivYye/homehttp://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=A%20Fragile%20Balance
>>4221601I can't say I'm too excited about the switch to fiction.live but I get it. The chat system is way less conducive to thoughtful discussion and the larger playerbase is cancerous. If we have a sister the star wars quest community there will vote to fuck her, guaranteed.
>>4221601Thanks for running, shame about the change, it is always a bit tricky to get players on board after hiatus.
>>42218456 votes is actually pretty good! I actually prefer lower voter quests because I feel like my write ins matter and discussion is easier. It's definitely a shame that this quest is moving. Fiction.live is not a good community unless the quest ends up with a smaller amount of players.
Akun only gets really bad if too much lewds is encouraged, in my experience. I suggest you all follow the switch, it'll be fine.
>>4221601Read all of this through the archives, enjoyed it up until this post. Good Quest. Will not switch.
>>4238849>literally the same writer>"Will not switch."