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Thread: Shadows of the Republic: The Initiate

  1. #21
    Drin Kizael
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    They were still light hours from the edge of the system. Given how weak the Obroa Wing's com array was, it was unlikely the source of the transmission was anywhere near the planet. A ping on the short range sensors less than 100,000 km away confirmed that.

    As he scanned the starfield, Kizael's mind sifted through several possibilities. The hijacked ship had most likely dropped out of a microjump from Rendili. Whether that was because the pirates had another course in mind or whether something had gone wrong remained to be seen.

    "There," Kizael said at length, pointing out the viewport as the message cycled again. He tapped a key and a hologram of a GX1 pleasure yacht appeared on the console. Just then the transmission cut out sharply to static before it reached the end of another loop.

    Without further ceremony, Kizael channeled more power into the sublight engines and turned to port. R2-D9 veered around the corner from the engine room, twittering wildly.

    "Dee-9, lock yourself in," Kizael interrupted sharply with a hint of a growl. "Find the access code on that ship's docking port." The astromech squealed an objection, rambling about the state of the engines and lack of shields.

    "Now," Kizael ordered, this time with a definite growl in his tone. The droid pivoted, and wheeled into his dock.

    Kizael eased into a course directly parallel with the GX1. "The Force is with us," Kizael mused aloud. "If they were heading the opposite direction this would never work."

    "What would never work?" Tell asked from the copilot's chair.

    "Do you have the access code?" Kizael prompted, keeping his eye on the ship. R2-D9 beeped affirmative. "Feed it to the copilot's screen." Kizael turned to Tell and pointed to the readout of number scrolling in front of him. "Memorize that," he added softly.

    Still seeming to be in his own universe, he cut power to the sublight thrusters. The big Trianii pivoted in his seat to face the astromech. "Slow us down gradually until you are within 1 or 2 km. At that point, match their speed and vector exactly. Scramble their sensors. They've doubtless noticed us by now, but have yet to scan us." The droid complied, sending a short burst of static through the ship's speakers. "Now listen," Kizael continued a breath later. "Prepare a distress signal. There was an accident aboard the ship. The crew is dead. If they ask what's blocking their sensors, tell them it's the hyperdrive core leak."

    Tell and Dee-9 interjected simultaneously. "The what?"

    "You need help getting to Rendili," Kizael said without missing a beat. He turned to Tell Cho. "There's a vac suit in back small enough for you. Put it on, quickly. When we're close enough, you will jump to the other ship. Use the code to gain access to the docking port." He cut himself off and turned to R2-D9. "Send a schematic of the ship with the docking port highlighted on his heads up display once he's suited up."

    Tell got up promptly, but hesitated at the door to the cockpit. Turning back he asked, "What about you?"

    Drin Kizael looked back with a slight glimmer in his eye. "I'll be right behind you."
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Oct 4th, 2009 at 02:54:54 PM.

  2. #22
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    Tell Cho shook his head slightly as he entered the access code he had memorized on Kizael’s insistence. He still had no idea what Kizael was thinking; but as inexperienced as he was with adventures of this kind, he was willing to trust the Knight over his own sense of misgiving about the situation.

    Silently, the docking port opened. Tell was tempted to look back to see what Kizael had planned, but he instead made his way carefully to the edge of the now open port to check inside and make sure everything was the way it should be.

    It was at this odd moment that he was reminded of Master Yoda’s teaching that ‘
    crave excitement or adventure, Jedi do not!’; he was quite amenable to that particular line of thinking now. It seemed that at the time, an adventure is something someone is trying to find their way out of, instead of continuing or finding their way into. All he wanted at the moment was to make his way to Rendili, contact the Temple, and continue his mission to Ilum, which would be in itself an adventure.

    The port was clear of debris or any other inhibiting feature. He made his way into the port proper, remaining silent. Though he wished to tell Kizael that the port was open, the transmission could be picked up by the vessel, and ruin the plan that they (Kizael) had thrown together on such short notice. Tell Cho had no better ideas to go about this impromptu rescue mission, so he wasn’t going to scrap the only one they’d had so far.

  3. #23
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael wasn't sure what to make of Tell's reaction, the way he so quietly found the vac suit and jumped out the airlock. He was actually taken aback with how suddenly he seemed to move and was gone.

    He had sensed hesitation from the Padawan, as if he was just obeying orders. That was cause for concern. Yoda's comment about how the boy -- not much younger than himself -- needed to recognize both his potential and his limits began swimming through his mind.

    As the Jedi stood before the damaged engines of the ship, he idly wondered what kind of taskmaster the Padawan had grown used to during his training. While he had to admit he was abrupt with formation of the plan, if the Gossam had questions, he would have answered them in the minute or so they had while he donned the vac suit.

    The role of the Force in bringing them to this time and place was undeniable. Hearing the distress call had brought all of the Trianii's focus into that single moment and compelled him to act.

    Time had become a critical factor. If they could see the cruiser, the cruiser could undoubtedly see them. The recorded message had been cut off, which meant that the hijackers were in control of the bridge. They had an unknown number of seconds before the pirates would notice the sudden appearance of the small courier vessel and scan it.

    Without stealth capabilities, they could not just fly up to the bigger ship and dock or they risked the lives of the hostages. If the pirates scanned them and found two life forms aboard, they would become suspicious if those lifeforms suddenly disappeared. So R2-D9 needed to jam them, which in itself was suspicious without a good explanation for why their senors were scrambled.

    Which led Kizael back to this moment. He took a deep, measured breath. There was only one usable vac suit left after the blast which had crippled their hyperdrive. That certainly complicated the plan, but ultimately did not matter in the bigger picture. The ship needed evidence of a radiation leak to explain why the hull was scrambling sensor signals. And Kizael needed a lot of energy for what he needed to do next.

    As if on cue, static flooded the comlink. The pirates were trying to send a signal through the interference. Dee-nine replied with a rapid chorus of beeps and whistles transmitting his own distress beacon as rehearsed.

    By now the pirate leader was getting suspicious. Kizael could sense it. Although the GX1 yacht had minimal defensive weaponry, R2-D9 kept a good distance just in case. So far the story didn't add up, but it was about to.

    Kizael ignited his lightsabre.

    [OOC: More to come]
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Oct 14th, 2009 at 05:34:22 PM.

  4. #24
    Chase Merik
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    The bridge of the cruise liner Sergosa Royale was deathly quiet, save for the static feedback looping through the comlink. Most of the stations had a crewer in place, one with a blaster pointed at his head. Two dead bodies slumped against the door that led to the rest of the ship. The feeling of stifled fear was palpable.

    Vikter Merik leaned over the communications array, frowning at what he was seeing, more accurately at what he was not seeing. He turned toward the the Sullustan sitting in the pilot seat, taking a second to acknowledge the actual pilot laying dead on the floor.

    A burly Trandoshan promptly responded to Merik's pointed look. He lowered his blaster from the navigator's face with a departing snarl of warning, walked over and hoisted the pilot's body, dragging it unceremoniously into the pile leaning against the access door.

    Merik returned his attention to the Sullustan. "Nakriib," he barked. "You sure the sensors weren't damaged when Sskagen started shooting?"

    The Trandoshen growled irritably at the backhanded comment. Nakriib jabbered a reply that sounded far too technical to be a simple yes or no. "So they're jamming us," Merik cut him off sharply. "Line them up with the quad turret."

    Just then a string of beeps and whistles cut through the static. "What the hell's that? An astromech?" Merik's cold blue eyes narrowed as text scrolled across the comlink's data screen. The human stood up straight, scratching his ungainly blonde beard. "You gotta be kidding me."

    Nakriib shared his cynicism, but commented on how nothing surprised him anymore after watching this whole job go sideways so suddenly. The fact that a strange crewless courier ship had suddenly appeared was just one more freak variable for the tally sheet.

    Merik had to concede. His brilliant plan turned into a chaotic mess before it was even cleared out of the launch bay.

    One of his guys had pulled the trigger way too soon, and for once it wasn't Sskagen. Somehow ship's security was triggered less than a minute into hyperspace. Every deck was locked down, making it a job unto itself just to get into the bridge. Then the co-pilot got away. That one he could blame on Sskagen.

    And all this time, only half the passengers were rounded up in the main ballroom. There were only 2 guys and the jury rigged security droid watching two dozen odd hostages because Zeedor and Nix were still sweeping for stragglers.

    Namely the whole reason they hijacked this ship in the first place, the damn Prince.

    Nakrib offered the fact that they were mere light hours from the most likely exit point for a damaged ship if the droid had skimmed a hyperlane to get here.

    "Yeah but why jam us?" Merik countered irritably.

    Nakrib explained that the hull was ionized and their exhaust trail showed signs of a coolant leak. A core breach would definitely scramble any signals trying to scan or communicate.

    Merik looked at the sensor again. The radiation levels were negligible, but enough to back up the distress call coming from the ship.

    "Cut the com," Merik grumbled at length. "Keep an eye on him just in case, but we got bigger things to worry about."

    He walked across the bridge to the exit, stopping to face Sskagen. "Can you handle this," he said, waving idly to indicate the cowering crewman shaking in their seats.

    The Trandoshan sneered at Merik, barring his razor teeth, but the smaller human only glared back. The pirate leader held his gaze for another two full heartbeats. Sskagen never looked away, but relaxed his posture and nodded.

    Merik hit the door switch and stepped over the pile of bodies on his way out.

  5. #25
    Drin Kizael
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    The Jedi Knight stopped in front of the airlock door, tightening a breath mask over his face and mentally preparing himself for his next move. White mist rolled out of the vents, backwash from the coolant leak mixing with the exhaust. The air around him shimmered in a translucent aura, sending the on-board rad counters into fits as he walked through the ship.

    A sense of determination washed over Kizael, prompting him to tap the airlock access pad and step in. He stood in the compartment for another heartbeat after the door closed, confirming that R2-D9 was overriding the safety controls to keep the airlock pressurized.

    Yoda's words about accepting one's limitations returned to him with new meaning. The Force itself was endless, but it's effectiveness was limited to the focus and will of its wielder. He was still mortal. The amount of radiation he could channel had limits. He had tested them. The telekinetic stasis field pressing a thin layer of air around his body would only last as long as he remained in control. And conscious.

    Somewhere in the back of his mind, Yoda's words, followed by facts about the effects of sudden decompression and exposure to solar radiation crept silently back into a dark corner and locked themselves away. Instead he focused on the distance between the two ships and the amount of kinetic energy that would be propelling his body, both from the escaping atmosphere from the droid's elevator shaft and the Force that he was welling up around him.

    He closed his eyes. He'd be out there for ten seconds.

    Maybe twelve.

    Kizael pulled the hatch, catapulting into the vacuum of space. Immediately he felt radiation bleed off him as it fended off the assault of solar rays from reaching his body. With each escaping particle, he felt himself get colder.

    He focused his entire being on the oncoming yacht and on the sound of his measured breathing through the mask. His mind reached out for Tell Cho, guiding the Force to adjust his momentum toward the Padawan and the open docking portal.

    At least, that dark corner of his mind called out, it had better be open.
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Oct 18th, 2009 at 11:03:19 AM.

  6. #26
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    It was with wide-eyed astonishment that Tell Cho watched the Knight jump through the near vacuum of space with nothing but an oxygen mask and the Force.

    He is mad,’ was the only thing Padawan Cho could really think at the moment. Even so, Tell reached out with the Force as quickly as he could, and tugged Kizael into the docking port with as much strength as he could, while remaining as careful and gentle as was possible. Within a few seconds, Kizael was in the docking port, and Cho was hurriedly entering the commands to close the hatch and pressurize the now sealed environment as quickly as possible. The normal mix of oxygen and nitrogen hissed in through the vents, and the pressure slowly rose to the levels found on the ship.

    You are mad,” the padawan said quietly as soon as he had taken the helmet of the vac suit off. In his distress, his accent had slipped a bit, making it a bit harder to distinguish.

  7. #27
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael sat on the floor of the airlock with his back against the wall, willing his breathing to remain steady. As he saw Tell remove his helmet, he let go of the telekinetic field sheathing his body, welcoming the rush of warm air against his fur.

    "You are mad," tell whispered.

    Kizael smiled. "I've been called worse," he said, followed by a sharp laugh caused be a mix of intense relief and the dramatic imbalance of oxygen in his lungs.

    He stayed on the floor for a few more measured breaths. At length he said, "The moment we came in sight of the yacht, I felt the swirl of emotions on the bridge. Had we stayed aboard the courier ship, the pirates would have vaporized it. They were most definitely not of a mind to negotiate."

    The Trianii climbed up to his full height, taking his lightsabre off his belt and giving it a cursory inspection. "Now we have the element of surprise. The one gamble was the expectation that since they had just hijacked the ship, they had deactivated the security system."

    Kizael hit the airlock controls. "Judging by the silence and absence of blasters pointed at us, they did indeed turn off the intruder alarms. They may have noticed this access port being used, though. Stay alert. I still sense many sentients on this ship, so the hijackers must be holding hostages somewhere. Finding them is our first priority."

    He peered out into the hall, gripping his lightsabre loosely in one hand. "Are you ready?"
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Oct 18th, 2009 at 08:59:32 PM.

  8. #28
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    Tell Cho stripped off the rest of the vac suit quickly, and unclipped the borrowed lightsabre from its place on his belt. He quickly estimated its heft and how it fit within his three fingered hands. Suddenly a sense of loss struck him when he remembered that his own lightsabre hilt was still on the Obroa Wing, bereft though it was of the crystals essential to its use. Though the distracting sense was pushed away, he still hoped that they’d be able to retrieve it after they had rescued the crew from these pirates. It didn’t seem likely, but he had put too much into it to be unaffected by its loss.

    Are you ready?” Kizael asked. Tell nodded, and turned to the panel that would open the inner hatch of the docking port to the ship proper. With a few deft strokes, the panel let out a small tone and the hatches opened.

    ***

    Marie,” he gasped. She turned to look at him. “We should be fine for a moment. Nix and that Rodian are still looking for us, but I think we lost them back at the holotheatre.”

    Marie stood there, gasping a bit herself, as she looked down both ends of the corridor they were in. Seeing nothing, she nodded, and couldn’t repress a grim smile at how Jun nearly collapsed in relief.

    We won’t be resting for too long, Jun,” she reminded him. “It’s not safe.”

    He nodded in return, his breathing slowing down. Marie wasn’t one to say, but as far as she could tell, they were handling this situation better than she would have expected them to. Wasn’t the stereotype of the children of the rich that they were the first to break and fold at the signs of danger? They had run, yes, but they hadn’t panicked. Even so, Jun’s knuckles were almost white from how tightly he gripped the blaster that he had picked up from the dead bodyguard.

    Do you think that Lam managed to get that distress call off?” he asked. Marie shrugged, suddenly depressed. Lam had needed to stay with the beacon to make sure that the signal was being sent, but with Nix and that Rodian on their tails, he’d told them to keep going. He was most likely dead now.

    A sudden sound of thudding boots on the floor brought them both up and running before they could think anything else, much less say anything.

    Here!” Marie hissed, tugging Jun into a small closet in a branching hallway. They were close to the passenger cabins now. The door slid shut silently just as their pursuers came up on the branching in the hallway.

    The Rodian was speaking quickly, but neither of the teens could understand what was being said. Nix could understand him, however, and his response told them enough.

    No!” he growled. “Vikter wants ‘em alive, understand? He knows more about this than you do, professional pirate or not!”

    A sudden chirping cut off whatever response the Rodian had in store. The voices were getting nearer.

    Vikter?” Nix said. “We haven’t got those kids yet, but that’ll just be in a few moments.”

    One of the docking ports on the starboard side just activated. Go and check it out. It might be those kids are trying to play with us.”

    Nix swore. “It can’t be them! There’s no way they could have gotten down there when we just heard them up here!”

    Vikter’s tone chilled. “There’s ways. Those kids would know them too, the little brats. Go and check it out. Even if it isn’t, it means someone’s playing around where they shouldn’t be; kill whoever’s doing it if it isn’t the kids. If it is them, you can shoot the arms or legs, but they’re not worth half as much dead, understand?”

    Yeah,” Nix replied sourly. “I understand. Out.”

    The tapping of the two’s boots faded as they made their way to follow Vikter’s orders. Marie and Jun looked at each other and slipped quietly out into the hallway.

    Think someone got the distress beacon?” Jun asked. Marie shrugged.

    It seems like it, though it doesn’t make much sense. We gotta warn them, anyway,” Marie responded. Jun nodded.

    Come on then. I know a short cut.”

  9. #29
    Drin Kizael
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    Drin Kizael and Tell Cho made their way quietly out of the maintenance bay and into the posh interior of the ship. Rich reds and golds dominated the decor, weaving through the carpet, the paint, and the tapestries lining the walls. Overhead, light emanated from ornate crystal glowpanels.

    Kizael held his lightsabre comfortably in his hand. His senses stretched out in all directions as he padded across the carpet. Soon they reached the end of the hallway, leaving the rows of passenger quarters and entering a wide, spacious part of the deck equipped with a pool, a bar, and several gaming tables.

    The Trianii gestured and pointed to an elevator and a stairwell across the pool, marked to indicate crew access. He'd taken only two steps toward it when a presence rippled through the Force.

    Both Jedi looked up simultaneously toward a side hallway. Kizael extended his lightsabre arm out to the side, but did not ignite the weapon. Whoever was approaching was anxious and scared, but not hostile, and moving too quickly to be a patrol.

    Two young humans in their early to mid teens ran into the courtyard. They were dressed in expensive clothes, though wrinkled and hanging loose from too much running and climbing. The girl's skirt was torn. Both had brown hair and round faces with only subtle variations in their eyes, though the boy was a good head and shoulders taller than the girl, making it hard to tell which was older.

    The pair stopped suddenly, practically stumbling over themselves in surprise, then just stood there for half a second looking at Kizael and Tell as if figuring out how to react.

    "Jedi?" the boy exclaimed. "For real?"

    The girl gripped the older boy's arm as she cut in, "They're coming this way. Two of them."

  10. #30
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    One of Tell’s digits was dangerously close to the activation switch on his borrowed lightsabre when he turned to see the two children. Not one of the many questions he had were uttered, however, when the girl took charge and said, “They’re coming this way. Two of them.”

    We should learn more of the situation before anyone else gets hurt,” he said, glancing at Kizael. He was still a bit worried about the elder Jedi due to the fact that he’d just thrown himself into space using only the Force and an oxygen mask to keep safe. Even if the Trianii was ready, a bit more rest would never hurt, and using the Force like that must be taxing.

    A twinge in the Force had him turning back to the turbolift. Surprisingly, only the girl seemed to grow more distressed as the seconds wore on. The boy had actually calmed down a bit.


    It’s them!” the girl said urgently. “Come on, before they see us!”

    Don’t worry, Marie,” the boy replied. “These are Jedi. You see what they’re carrying? Only Jedi carry those. It’s like a law or something. And everyone knows Jedi can’t be killed. A few more wouldn’t hurt though, I guess. Any more coming?”

    Tell blinked and grinned, somewhat amused by the boy’s estimation of their abilities, but he withheld comment, letting Kizael take control of the situation. Inwardly he hoped that Kizael would choose more direct path; caution was always the more sober path, but sometimes inaction could lead to a fatal error; and the attackers would have no idea they were fighting Jedi. Only his worry for Kizael kept him from immediately finding his way to the bridge and cutting off the problem from the source. With the ship under control, the attackers would fold, sooner or later.


    The padawan kept his head, though. He looked at Kizael, and waited for the elder Jedi’s decision.

  11. #31
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael eyed the turbolift as the boy deliberated about Jedi folklore. His ears crooked up when he asked, "Any more coming?”

    "No," Kizael replied flatly, though his soft voice had a way of taking the edge off of the bad news.

    Marie interjected quickly, "We heard em say something about an airlock. They thought it was us."

    Again he found himself in a position where time to plan would have been welcome, but his window of opportunity to act was being measured in seconds. They were caught out in the open, with no suitable cover in the auditorium sized rec area, and two armed pirates approaching. Worse than the enemy's blasters, though, were the comlinks they carried which would alert their leader and endanger the hostages.

    "Now we need you to go hide behind that bar," Kizael continued as calmly as he could. He pointed and waved to urge them on. With the other hand, he gently pushed on Tell's shoulder to guide him back into the hallway where they had come.

    "Stay down and keep very quiet," he continued even as he walked. "Do not come out until one of us says so, understood?" His awareness of two sentients in the turbolift grew sharper. "Don't make a sound," he added with a finger held up before his mouth.

    "Marie?" he whispered sharply. She stopped short just as her brother ducked behind the bar. Kizael raised two fingers with a questioning look and a nod. Marie nodded back. He smiled and waved for her to hide next to her brother.

    The two Jedi backed out into the hall, around the corner of the only exit from the room that led toward the maintenance bay and the airlock -- and the closest place that would provide any cover from view, especially for the 2 meter tall Trianii.

  12. #32
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    Tell obeyed Kizael’s commands, and they were soon hidden behind the corner. Tell had insisted on taking the position closest to the doorway, and was going over the non-lethal combat techniques he’d learned in his time as a Jedi.

    No lightsabres, Tell,” the Trianii said. “We need to knock them out quickly, before they can alert the others, and we don’t need any accidental injuries getting in the way.”

    The Gossam nodded, and listened carefully for the chime announcing the turbolift’s arrival. When it came, he glanced back at Kizael, who glanced down at him and nodded. With a returning nod, the Gossam prepared to subdue his opponent.


    ***


    Jun and Marie had barely hidden themselves away when they heard the turbolift chime and the doors slide open. The Rodian was once again speaking.


    I know I made a deal with you,” Nix replied, his voice sounding aggravated. “And I’m not one to break a deal without good reason. But you’re not acting professional. There’s a long proud history of able pirates behind you, and you’re acting like some normal street thug!”

    The Rodian’s words were quicker now, and he was sounding aggravated as well.


    Well, we can deal with that as soon as we get the kids. The docking port’s this way. They can’t have gotten far, and they’d stay away from this area; it’s too close to the turbolift, and they’d know we were using it.”

    Jun and Marie held their breath as they heard the pirates walk toward to the docking port. When were the Jedi going to do something? But before either lost their common sense and whispered the question aloud, there was a shout, and the sound of a blaster firing.

  13. #33
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael's ears rose curiously as the two pirates approached around the pool. One was a Rodian, sounding very annoyed about some sort of deal made with the other, possibly a Twi'lek judging by his accented Basic. Neither of them projected the aura that he'd detected earlier from the bridge. So if neither of these two were the leader of the crew, talk of a deal suggested dissension in the ranks.

    He tensed, pushing his back flat against the wall as they drew close to the hallway. The Jedi sent a gentle nudge through the Force, focusing both pirate's attention on the path toward the maintenance bay, so they would not think to look both ways when entering the hallway.

    The first to come around into view was the Rodian, followed half a pace by the Twi'lek. In a singular motion, Kizael wrapped his big furred hand tightly around the Twi'lek's mouth, yanking him backwards off balance while relieving him of his blaster rifle with the other hand.

    Tell Cho leaped across the hall, planting a foot in the crook of the Rodian's knee, taking him down to the Gossam's level so he could wrap one arm around in a reverse neck hold and pin his weapon arm down with the other.

    The attack was executed flawlessly, just as he was doubtless trained to grapple larger opponents. But the technical move didn't account for the Rodian's reaction speed. A blaster bolt rang out, echoing down the narrow hallway. Tell grabbed the pirate by the wrist, smashing his hand against the wall and jarring the weapon loose with one hit.

    Kizael didn't exactly frown, but his countenance dimmed somewhat and he sighed quietly. "This isn't a sparring ring, Padawan." He left any further comment unspoken, hoping to let the experience speak for itself for now.

    Instead of focused on the Twi'lek prisoner. "What is your name?" he asked softly, carefully loosening his grip on the pirate's mouth. As he spoke, the Trianii's prehensile tail unclipped the pirate's comlink from his belt.

    "N-Nix," he stammered. Nix's eyes bulged out, looking up at Kizael, over to Tell, finally landing in surprise at his comlink held up next to him.

    Kizael tossed the blaster rifle on the carpet behind him and grabbed the comlink with his now free hand. "Well, Nix," he continued at length. "We're going to start by talking about what you had planned for this ship and its passengers. Then you are going to tell us how many more of you there are, who they are, and where they are. Understood?"

    Nix entertained thoughts of escape for a fleeting second, but finally just nodded.

  14. #34
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    Tell nodded at the elder Jedi’s remonstrance, though he was annoyed by it. How could he have controlled the other’s reaction time? But it was past, and he would attempt to never allow such a chance again. The Rodian had been struggling a bit in the hold, but soon stopped, realising that the Gossam, though small, held enough strength to keep the larger being from moving.

    There are eight of us,” Nix said anxiously. “Merik’s the mastermind of all this. He’s angry with the King and Queen for some reason, and decided he would get the ship, and ransom off the passengers. Merik’s on the bridge with Nakriib and Sskagen. They were guards with him and he convinced them to join in with us. He,” here he gestured with a slight motion of his head to the Rodian, “is Zeedor. Me and him were supposed to check for stragglers. Everyone else is in the holotheatre; the Queen and her handmaids, and a few relatives; Jarek and Dam are guarding them with a security droid. The King’s not on-board.”

    While the Twi’lek was speaking, Jun and Marie had poked their heads up from their hiding place. Catching their eyes, Tell shook his head, and they ducked back down. Shifting himself carefully so that the Rodian still could not find a way out of his hold, the Gossam swiftly struck him in the back of his head and knocked him out.

  15. #35
    Drin Kizael
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    The comlink chirped in Kizael's hand. "Nix? Nix respond."

    The big Trianii loosened his grip around the Twi'lek's neck, shifting his hand to the pirate's shoulder should he try anything foolish.

    "Is that Merik?" the Jedi asked. Nix nodded, looking hesitantly at the comlink as Kizael held it up before him. "Tell him you've found the children and you're on the way down to the holotheater."

    As he handed the comlink to the pirate, he added, "You will not try to betray us, or say or do anything suspicious." Each word of the calm statement was reinforced by subtle strands of the Force.

    "Nix!" the comlink barked.

    Nix nodded again, and thumbed on the device. "Yeah, boss."

    "Did you find the damn kids?"

    "Yeah. They were trying to find the escape pods like you thought. We're bringing them down now."

    "Good. Hurry it up. We're on a timetable."

    Kizael took the comlink back, turning it off with the motion. "When you walked off the turbolift, you and Zeedor were talking about a 'deal'. Is this Merik not getting the employer of the year award?"

  16. #36
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    Heh,” Nix laughed shortly. “He’s been pissing us off since he hired us. I’m the middle-man, you see. I used to be a pirate, but didn’t like risking my life all the time for what was usually a tiny share. And it didn’t sit well with me having to kill people to steal their money. So I went straight, but kept some connections with some old friends of mine. I ran a little cantina on Denon which was popular with the Guards, and Merik found out about my past.

    Still have to find out how he did that,” he murmured before continuing with a small wince; Kizael had squeezed his shoulder in warning. “He comes in, telling me that he’ll turn me in if I don’t cooperate. So I agree. He tells me that he needs some blasters to back him and his buddies up with stealing the ship and ransoming the prisoners. I find Zeedor, Jarek, and Dam and bring myself on board. Merik tells me he won’t need the ship after the ransom’s taken, so we can have it and do what we want with it. But we can all tell there’s something going on. Zeedor’s the best shot to come out of Rodia for almost twenty years, and he and I are supposed to catch a couple of kids instead of helping take the bridge? Merik hasn’t been telling us even poodoo about what’s happening since we’ve taken the ship. All the hostages are tied up, so why have two blasters and a droid watching over ‘em? Doesn’t make sense.”

    Nix seemed like he was going to continue, but stopped for a moment and shook his head.

    That’s all I know, Jedi,” he said. The word Jedi was used a bit hesitantly, as if he didn’t know what else to call the Trianii. It was definitely not an epithet, though. “And every single word’s the truth, I swear it.”

    While Nix was talking, Tell had been busy himself. He picked up the Rodian’s dropped blaster and slid it into his belt, noting that it could be useful for later. Conveniently, the Rodian had also been carrying binders, likely to restrain the children when he and Nix had caught them. Using one pair on the Rodian, he turned and faced Kizael and the Twi’lek.

    It sounded like Merik was on the move,” he offered when the Twi’lek had finished speaking. “He seemed especially hurried and breathless when he was speaking about a timetable. We should not stay here for too long.”

  17. #37
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael nodded. "Agreed," he said while fastening the restraints on Nix.

    He pulled the pirate forward by his bound arms toward the first door he saw a few paces down the hall. The door slid open with a tap of the access tab, revealing a small supply closet inside with bedsheets and towels lining the shelves. Kizael pushed Nix inside far less cordially than he'd been treated during the interrogation, turning to usher Zeedor in right after. As an afterthought, he smashed a wall mounted intercom panel with his elbow.

    As the door closed on the prisoners, he turned to face Tell. "So we have an erratic pirate who appears to have a hidden agenda that he won't even tell his own crew. If he press ganged any others into this job, that can work to our advantage."

    The Jedi mulled those last words over as he walked back to the courtyard. "These do not strike me as the methods of a career criminal. Or at least not a very good one. We can't rule out the possibility that he's running on emotion alone, and got in over his head."

    Kizael looked down at the children. "You came up to this deck by another route. Will that way lead to the holotheater as well?"

  18. #38
    Chase Merik
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    Vikter stepped off the maintenance stairs that lead up to the bridge deck. He intently scanned the spacious reception hall as he walked. Despite getting control of all the problems that plagued the operation so far, he couldn't shake the odd sense that the ship still wasn't secure. Fifteen years experience as a dock marshal on Denon was telling him something was seriously wrong.

    He'd been rewarded for that fifteen years of loyal service with a termination notice delivered by a sith-spawned courier droid, along with a letter informing him that he'd lost his pension. What the letter failed to mention was how all that money that used to support his family was going to fund a senate bribe for transport rights to some new mining colony.

    Nothing was going to stand between him and the justice he deserved.

    Merik tapped a keypad and opened a pair of double doors set into a curved wall. Instantly a security droid bearing the insignia of the royal guard swiveled toward him with twin carbines poised where it once held stun blasters. HT-75B stopped abruptly, eyes dilating, then just as quickly lowered his weapons and returned to a ready stance.

    Merik passed with a casual inspection of the restraining bolt, which was loaded with override code that Jarek had sliced. His scowl softened a notch. At least someone on his crew could be trusted.

    Twenty six pairs of eyes turned to him in unison. Whispers darted through the gathering of techs, cooks, servants, guests, and the queen's handmaidens on the floor in the center of the room, then silenced suddenly at the command of a middle-aged dark haired human standing against the far wall.

    A smile crept across Vikter's features at the glare from the Queen of Denon. She was seated on the floor, restrained in front of the platform that housed the many holoprojectors of the room's ridiculously expensive entertainment system.

    The disgruntled guard turned hijacker idly wondered if that idiot Nix seriously thought he was going to get to keep the ship after this job was done. The amount that he could fetch for selling off the interior alone on Nar Shadda was worth more than that cowardly Twi'lek's whole family.

    "Don't worry your Highness," he said with a renewed sneer formed around the words. "Your brats are on the way here, safe and sound."

    Merik nodded to the man in the back of the room, on the other side of the semicircular rows of chairs arranged around the platform. "Dam, this is everybody else?" he asked. The other man nodded.

    The pirate turned to the other member of his crew, a noticeably younger blonde human. "Nakriib's just about got the hyperdrive unlocked. Ten minutes tops. Go run a quick sniff of the security net again."

    The slicer looked at him quizzically. "Just do it," Vikter interjected with only a little more annoyance than he intended. He knew the kid was in way over head his, but he needed his skills. "We've got time to kill, and we don't want to take any chances."

    At that, Jerek nodded and headed back to a computer terminal in the control booth of the theater.

  19. #39
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    The two children looked at each other for a moment, communicating with each other through nearly invisible gestures and small facial expressions.

    Yeah,” Jun said after a brief moment. “It also bypasses the security net, but just barely. You have to be quiet if someone’s working at it. It was made for guards to move between decks quickly without having to use the main turbolift in case of an emergency.”

    Jun made a face while he said that, no doubt reflecting on the fact that the guards had been the ones to create the emergency. He turned and gestured for the two Jedi to follow him, assuming that the large one’s question meant that they wanted to head to the holotheatre.


    Marie remained quiet throughout the exchange, and followed Jun, speeding up to walk alongside him.


    The guard lift’s this way,” Jun said, glancing back at the Jedi while he led them out of the recreational area and into the maze of hallways and corridors just beyond it.

    Tell remained behind with Kizael for a moment.


    It does not make sense for any part of the ship to bypass the security net,” he murmured. “Unless it was done after the ship was made. Perhaps this has been in planning for some time.”

  20. #40
    Drin Kizael
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    The gate to the turbolift opened as the Jedi approached. It was an open platform in a wide lift tube, designed to be big enough for maintenance droids or freight to be moved. It was ideal for security to utilize given its position with doors in front to the passenger cabins or in the rear to engineering and storage. But the durasteel frame would also make a lot of noise.

    Kizael held a hand out to Tell to stay behind and stepped onto the platform. He studied the control panel for a moment, popped open a metal plate and hit an override switch to lock down the lift. Pausing a second to raise a cautious gaze upwards, he stepped back out into the hallway.

    "Children, you've done an excellent job," he said softly. "Now I need you to go hide in one of those passenger rooms there. Lock the door and don't come out except for one of us." He gestured to himself and the Padawan. "Not even for your mother unless Tell or I are with her, do you understand?" They nodded excitedly. He raised a finger in a gesture of silence just before they started to run off.

    Both Jedi entered the turbolift with a wave from the big Trianii. He put a hand on Tell's shoulder and pointed up the lift tube directing his eyes toward the door to the upper deck of the ship. He then held up a hand, palm open in a sign of 'wait'.

    After just a second's pause, the felinoid leaped up, bounding off the side of the tube with one leg to come to a precarious landing an instant later, hanging in front of the door 10 meters overhead. He moved with deceptive quickness grace for his solid 170 kilo frame, padding off the wall and catching the ledge in silence.

    Kizael closed his eyes and tilted his head, his ears pivoting toward the door as he reached out to the Force. He took a measured breath. Once more. Satisfied that no one was on the other side of the door, he hit the manual latch with his prehensile tail and rolled out of the tube.

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