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Thread: Shadows of the Republic: The Initiate

  1. #41
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    Tell remained silent, listening intently for anything while Kizael rolled onto the level above them. He backed into the turbolift and looked up, waiting for Kizael’s signal.

    It came after three seconds. The felinoid gestured through the open doors, and just as quickly the hand disappeared. The Gossam closed his eyes and let himself fall into the currents of the Force. It flowed through him, removing his weaknesses and magnifying his strengths. With two deep breaths, he opened his eyes once more, and crouched.


    He leapt. While in the air, he curled himself into a ball, and once in position, uncurled himself as quickly as if he were a spring. He landed in the doorway of the turbolift in a handstand, and with a silent exhalation, shifted to his feet, careful to do so slowly to keep as quiet as was possible.


    Kizael was standing watch over the corridors that branched from the turbolift entrance.


    He closed his eyes and felt the Force once more. Silence reigned in this part of the ship, but he could sense a large group of people ahead some distance.


    I sense a large group further ahead,” he reported quietly. “Given what we know, I would assume that to be the holotheatre where the captives are held.”

  2. #42
    Drin Kizael
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    The Jedi Knight stopped in the hallway, crouching on his haunches a meter from the reception area. He closed his eyes, extending his senses through the Force.

    "There's a man over there," he said, gesturing to the left of the door. "Separated from the rest. He seems to be working on something, very focused on something other than the hostages. He's nervous, though, and accutely aware of the blaster sitting within reach on the table in front of him."

    Kizael's eyes shifted around behind his closed lids. He frowned. "That one's yours. The other two are mixed in among the hostages, but they won't be hard to spot once inside. Don't forget the droid. It's somewhere."

    He held a hand to the side to hold back Tell, pointing up to the red blinking light on a ceiling mounted holocam with his other hand.

    "If we use a Force technique to run across without being seen, we still lose valuable seconds at the door. It's locked, and destroying the panel would just as likely keep it locked as open it. It would take time to open by any method."

    He studied the room ahead for a few more seconds in silence. At length he unclipped the lightsabre hilt from his belt.

    "The direct approach it is, then. I take the right edge of the doors, you take the left, together we push them clear of the frame. The royal family can send the bill to whoever programmed our astromech."

    The felinoid's ears rose and his eyes narrowed on the door. "On three. Save your energy for the threats inside. One," he whispered, turning the long hilt to a ready position. "Two. Three."

    Both Jedi bounded across the open reception hall toward the double doors of the holotheater. Kizael's silver lightsabre ignited in mid-stride, slicing into the door in a vertical line as straight as a surgeon's laser. The instant Tell's blue lightsabre on loan from Drallig melted clean through the left door's edge, both Jedi raised their hands in unison, channeling will through the Force to push the heavy doors inward.

    Suddenly blaster fire from two carbine rifles scorched the air, punching holes through the flying doors. Kizael instinctively shifted to a Soresu stance, deflecting the searing red bolts. The blaster fire subsided as the momentum of the doors slammed into a startled HT-75, knocking it off its feet.

    Screaming erupted in the theater as the Jedi felt all attention focus on them.

  3. #43
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    "That one's yours. The other two are mixed in among the hostages, but they won't be hard to spot once inside. Don't forget the droid. It's somewhere."

    The Gossam nodded in understanding and acceptance of his elder’s orders. His eyes followed Kizael’s, trained on a particular spot as if he could see right through the wall.

    When the silver blade of the Knight erupted forth, Tell pressed the activation switch on his, from which blazed a blade of blue. He went low while the Kizael went high; when the blade went up to the edge of his reach, he pushed it the final few inches with the Force, and pulled it out the same way.

    He raised his hand, mirroring Kizael’s own action, and dug within himself, pushing out with his feelings. The door ripped from the molten metal around the frame, and he was rolling inside, blocking the shots of the carbines that were headed his way and were not deflected by the door. Thankfully, the droid was knocked off its feet by the flying door, and Cho focussed completely on the man to the left, who was aiming the blaster he held, training it on the Jedi faster than Tell had expected. But not fast enough. Before the man could squeeze off a shot, Cho’s Force push slammed him against the wall, dazing him.

    With narrowed eyes, the reptilian leapt, twirling in the air like a dervish, before coming down in front of the man, who could only watch as the lightsabre swept up and sliced the blaster in half, barely missing his fingers.
    Shock by the heat and swift end of his weapon coupled with being dazed by his impact on the wall, Tell’s subsequent suggestion was more than able to have an effect.

    “Sleep,” he murmured, and waved his hand. He turned away, focussing on the scene in the middle of the room, while the man’s eyes dropped and he went unconscious.

  4. #44
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael gritted his teeth as he quickly scanned the room. Failing to consider the position of the security droid cost them precious seconds, as punctuated by the blaster shot that rang out from the control booth. By the time the droid had been knocked down, two of the pirates were already coming to their senses, the shock and awe of the entrance worn off.

    The Jedi Knight reached out with his free hand, calling on the Force to yank the older human's weapon from his hand. The blaster jerked free, but instead of pulling it to his own hand, Kizael sent it flying into the other human's face, knocking him off balance and following through with the telekinetic swing to disarm him as well.

    Just as quickly, he waved his clawed hand back toward the first pirate, sending that one smashing back against the wall with an angry thump. His danger sense screamed at him, pulling his lightsabre instinctively into a parry as the HT-75 recovered one of its lost carbine rifles and instantly squeezed off a bolt.

    A second shot deflected in a flash of silver right back into the droid's chassis at close range. As it reeled back, Kizael scanned quickly over it's frame allowing the Force to guide his focus on what he was looking for. Instantly he spun his lightsabre in a precise arc, drawing a wild flash of sparks from its flank.

    HT-75B stood upright and turned, then just as abruptly stopped and looked down at it's undamaged frame. The older human stumbling to his feet hesitated, seeing the misshapen slag that was the droid's restraining bolt bounce to the floor in front of him.

    Kizael pulled Dam's legs out from under him with another telekinetic yank, slamming the back of his head against the wall before he fell in a heap. Across the theater, Vikter recovered his weapon and frantically grabbed the Queen in a choke hold. Kizael spun towards the pirate, his arm extended straight and his lightsaber leveled straight toward the pirate leader like an extension of his arm.

    The Jedi just stood there for a heartbeat, letting the reality of the situation sink in. His arm unwavering, his breathing steady, showing no signs of fatigue in sharp contrast to the panicked and labored breathing of the leader of the hijacker crew. The fur on the back of his neck bristled, but his eyes never lost a hint of calm focus.

    Merik started to blurt out something in defiance, but the big Trianii cut him off in a startlingly even and direct tone.

    "Don't."
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Jan 12th, 2010 at 07:05:16 PM.

  5. #45
    Chase Merik
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    Vikter held Queen Nahila in a vice grip, blaster pressed against her head. His mind raced in circles around the severely limited options he had left.

    It can't end like this. He should have called the job off a the first warning sign. Something was telling him not to go through with this, but he didn't listen.

    Over by the far wall of the theater, the security droid was putting Dam in restraints. Jerek was knocked out cold. The little alien Jedi had moved closer to the door, blocking his only escape route, as if he had a chance of reaching it anyway.

    In that moment, he no longer had thoughts of survival or revenge. All that was left was regret for the family he had failed. How was he supposed to take care of his wife and newborn son now?

    "I'm sorry, Chase," Vikter whispered as he closed his eyes. He pulled the trigger.

    Or at least he thought he had. Vikter opened his eyes in confusion and anger. He could feel his hands, but he couldn't move his fingers. Fracking Jedi sorcery!

    "Drop the weapon and let her go," he heard the big alien say. As if to rub in the futility of it all, he turned off his lightsaber. There was no compulsion behind the words. He wasn't trying one of those mind tricks. It was just a simple instruction to a helpless, broken old man.

    Vikter loosened his grip, almost surprised that he could move again. Instantly his blaster flew from his hand and the HT-75 threw him in a hammerlock hold against the wall.

  6. #46
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    He moved quickly in front of the door, despite the fact it would have been nearly impossible for the man to run. The Gossam could feel a sudden rise of sadness and despair from the man; this made the padawan curious, as he had been expecting rage, anger, or frustration.

    It was moot anyway, as the security droid manhandled the erstwhile pirate up against the wall. The Queen nearly collapsed from relief and fear. Tell, no longer afraid of the man escaping or trying to do harm, deactivated his lightsabre and clipped to his belt as he moved to help the woman. Her maids and relatives crowded around the woman, all worried for her.


    No,” the Queen gasped. “No. Where are the children? Are they safe? And Lam? We haven’t heard from them, so we were hoping they were all right.”

    One of the maids gasped. “Prince Jun! And Princess Marie!”


    Tell nodded, absorbing the fact that the boy and girl they had saved were royalty. “They were of great help to us. However, the only ones we saw were the children. They may be able to say whether your man has survived.”


    The Queen sighed in relief, and looked past Tell to Kizael.


    Where are they? Where are my children?”

    Tell sent a wave of comfort and soothing emotions to the woman, saying, “In due time, your majesty, we will collect your children. However the bridge is still under control of the pirates, and we do not know where they are taking the ship. They are safe, for the moment. We are not.”


    The Queen nodded, though a bit reluctantly. Tell was glad he didn’t have to use a mind trick on her to settle her down. He stood, and turned back to Kizael, casting a significant look at the man they had captured who was still conscious.

  7. #47
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael grabbed the middle-aged, dark-haired human by the back of his shirt with one hand. "Wake up," he prompted, backing the words with strands of the Force.

    Dam shook his head in a groggy gesture. Suddenly his eyes popped open as he realized he was in restraints. He scowled at the felinoid holding him up.

    The Jedi smirked. He tilted his head toward the security droid. "Take those two to join their friends. We used a supply closet on the deck below as a makeshift brig for their Twi'lek and Rodian partners."

    Kizael turned to the Queen with a nod of deference. "My apologies for the keypad on that room downstairs. And, uhm, for the door," he added with a gesture toward the bent and blaster-shredded durastine doors leaning at haphazard angles over a crushed viewing chair and the far wall. "The Temple will compensate you for any damages."

    He turned his attention fully on his prisoner now, pulling his head back so he could make eye contact. "And you," he added softly, "will help us get onto the bridge."

    Dam narrowed his eyes angrily as another bead of sweat started rolling along his temple. "No I'm not," he growled.

    Kizael raised an eyebrow. He turned his head dramatically to exchange looks with Tell, genuinely impressed. Influencing the mind of someone already so hostile wasn't as easy as with someone unaware that they were being manipulated, but given that the adrenaline of combat was fading and he was clearly defeated, it should have still been well within the Jedi's power. This one was strong.

    The big Trianii leaned down, subtly tightening his grip on Dam's shirt, and hence tightening the shirt's grip around his neck. He whispered in the human's ear, lower than the former hostages in the spacious theater could hear.

    Dam turned pale. He nodded quickly as Kizael loosened his grip and gently nudged him toward the door.

    "Let's go," Kizael said as they started across the room.

    When they were at the opening that was the theater doorway, Tell began to ask, "What did you--?" but the Jedi Knight politely cut him off.

    "Another time, Padawan," was all he said when they rounded the corner with their prisoner begrudgingly walking on his own power ahead of them.

    The appearance of a burly Trandoshen in the maintenance stairwell across the reception hall barely gave the Jedi enough time to ignite their lightsabres. Sskagen's repeating blaster rifle erupted with a shriek that echoed through the whole deck, slicing through Dam in a hail of red daggers like a target practice doll.
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Feb 15th, 2010 at 03:24:41 PM.

  8. #48
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    It seemed Kizael had been caught just as flat-footed as he had, the Padawan noted, blocking a few shots and rolling out of the way. The human’s death was jarring to his senses, but he quickly centred himself and dashed along to the left of the huge horned sentient. The blaster rifle began spitting out another volley of energy bolts, their impacts scoring into the surfaces of the ship.

    The blaster silenced once more, and the Gossam crouched, deactivating his lightsabre as he did so. Then, with just as much calm aplomb, he took the blaster from his belt and took aim, shooting a few times to get the feel of the weapon.


    None of his shots hit the former guard, but they did force him back into the stairwell to find cover.


    Ki-zael!” he called, still aiming. He didn’t want to lose focus now, when a split second’s worth of inattentiveness would cost him his life. He wanted to tell the elder Jedi to hurry to the bridge, but the Trandoshan could probably hear them and react to that faster than either Jedi wanted. He would have to see where Kizael was, and then make up a plan, if the Trianii hadn’t one already.

  9. #49
    Drin Kizael
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    Tell's lateral movement drew away the hail of blaster fire, allowing Drin a half second to do more than simply react. His first instinct was to charge the Trandoshen while he had the opening, but no sooner had his muscles tensed to move that direction, his senses screamed at him to turn around.

    He took a long stride backward, pivoting at the doorway to the theater and pushing Queen Nahila with one arm back behind the threshold as gently as he could manage with his momentum.

    Kizael bit back the urge to admonish the woman for not heeding Tell's warning. She was clearly not used to taking orders and was undoubtedly worried about her children. Instead he took a second to make sure she was unharmed.

    A second blaster joined the first in the foyer, and then both subsided.

    “Ki-zael!”

    The Jedi allowed himself a sigh of relief at hearing Tell's voice. With that, he politely nudged the Queen further back into the theater to give him more room. She obliged, though with a hint of offense in her features. "Another step back please, Your Highness," he added with a disarmingly soft smile. She complied and he nodded. "Thank you."

    The big Trianii became a blur. He pivoted on one foot through the open double doorway, whipping himself and his lightsaber around the wall in a single fluid motion. The silver blade flew out of his hand in an unerringly straight upward line into the stairwell.

    The sound of the blade extinguishing echoed down the stairs, followed up a loud, clumsy series of thumps as Sskagen fell to the floor.
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Feb 15th, 2010 at 04:23:42 PM.

  10. #50
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    Tell stood, pushing the blaster pistol back into his belt. He glanced at Dam’s dead body before shaking his head slightly and breathing deeply, calming himself from the nearly mindless violence that had just happened.

    He swiftly made his way to the stairwell and looked up, confirming that the guard with the heavy blaster was indeed dead. He also saw Kizael’s lightsabre; a small touch of the Force had the weapon zooming into his hand with unerring accuracy. He turned back from the stairwell to see the Trianii making his own way to the stairwell.


    I believe, if we follow those stairs, we will find the bridge soon enough,” the Gossam padawan noted, handing the Knight his lightsabre back. “Or we could alternatively ask for directions from the Queen or her companions.”

  11. #51
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael took the lightsabre and clipped the hilt to his belt.

    "No, the bridge is most definitely that way. And Her Highness is going to stay seated in the theater this time. We can find it on our own."

    He paused at the stairs, reaching out with his senses. Satisfied, he nodded to Cho and proceeded up the stairwell.

    "Not that it didn't come in handy for laying down cover fire, Padawn," The Jedi Knight began softly. "But a blaster? Really? Not very civilized, especially for a Counselor."

  12. #52
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    "I find nothing civilized in violence," the saurian said matter-of-factly. "Whatever tools are at hand I shall use, except if the cost would be too high."

    He followed the Trianii up the stairwell quietly, wondering where exactly this adventure would take them next; the thought reminded him of his original mission for crystals, and he felt a stab of remorse for his lost, unfinished lightsabre. It was by now inundated with radiation from the wound Kizael had inflicted on the engine, and even if he managed to retrieve it, cleansing it would take a matter of time that he was not sure of – he’d have to read up on such things when he next got the chance.

    They reached at length the floor of the bridge, and Tell stepped forward, listening and sensing in the Force. With a slight touch of the mystical power, the door slid open. It opened into a hallway, where the door was situated in what seemed the halfway point between a small foyer in the back, and a door which, while closed, was most certainly the bridge.

    Tell absently noted that Kizael was now letting him take the lead, which he found curious, but he dismissed any idle thoughts on the matter, considering that they might have to continue fighting and distractions usually meant death.

    The walk to the bridge was silent, save for the slight tapping of his feet and the heavier padding of Kizael’s. However, when he attempted to open the door via the control panel on the side, he got in return a harsh tone and a still unopened door.

    "Perhaps…" Kizael murmured, waving his hand (Tell squashed any idle conjecturing on the subject of "hands" versus "paws"); but he got the same result, without the harsh mechanical tone.

    «I know you Jedi are out there!» a voice called from behind the locked door. Tell could roughly understand the Sullustan within, and whispered what he could understand to Kizael. «I surrender! Don’t kill me, and I promise I won’t put up a fight!»

    "We won’t kill you," Kizael said.

    There was a moment of silence, and there was a clicking sound, followed by the hiss of the door opening. Standing there was the Sullustan, who put up his hands, and backed away quickly. Tell made for the Sullustan and began speaking quietly with him, while Kizael found the navigation panel and decoded where they were heading.

    Tell softly made his way next to the Trianii and sighed. "As far as I can tell, the Twi’lek was not lying about what happened mostly. Apparently there was much he did not know as well. Some Guards lost their jobs with these royals, and did not receive severance packages that they had been promised. The leader, whom we have captured in the theatre, organized this as retribution."

    He shook his head, turning to look at the Sullustan, who had followed the padawan’s orders and was standing quietly behind them.
    Last edited by Tell Cho; Sep 1st, 2010 at 03:33:36 PM.

  13. #53
    Drin Kizael
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    Kizael nodded at the navicomp screen. "It appears the royal family was returning home to Denon, but the hijackers had different plans. They were recalculating for Hutt space when we arrived."

    He turned to Cho. "You and the security droid secure the prisoners and let the passengers know we are safe. We'll have to see what we can do about our gear and R2 unit aboard our ship, too. They should have a cargo hold they can seal off till we can clean them properly."

    The Padawan tilted his head curiously. "A cargo hold? I'm sure they have facilities on Rendili." His anxiousness to return to their original mission went unspoken, but underscored his tone.

    Kizael shook his head. "I am sure they'll want to try the hijackers on Denon. Rendili authorities won't want anything to do with this. I've a feeling we'll be enjoying her highness' hospitality for a little while longer."

    He stepped over to the comlink array and added. "I'm calling Coruscant now. The Temple might like to know we're alive."

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drin Kizael View Post
    "I'm calling Coruscant now. The Temple might like to know we're alive."
    Padawan Cho smiled slightly, and nodded. He turned to the Sullustan.

    "Stay here with Knight Kizael," he commanded. "He may need your help."

    The Sullustan nodded quickly, and Cho left the bridge for the turbo-lift down to the holo-theatre. The ship, now that all the excitement was over, was almost eerily quiet, and he took the time to calm himself and remove any distractions from his mind. The sight of Dam's dead body in the empty passage kept him from reaching his preferred state, however.

    "Is everything all right? Why are you the only one returning?" one the maids asked quickly as he entered the holotheatre. She looked protective and wary, her eyes going from him to the door he had walked through, as if attackers would spill through at any moment. Cho gave her a measured look and nodded in what he hoped was a comforting manner.

    "Everything is fine. Please. I will explain it all as I speak with the Queen."

    She nodded hesitantly and stepped back. He walked over to the Queen and bowed.

    "We have secured the ship, your highness," he began. "Your kidnappers were attempting to jump to Hutt space, but we have stopped them. I must take these criminals and secure them. I require a guide to the brig, if you have one. If not, I can find another serviceable room."

    "We don't have a brig," one of the handmaidens said, looking a bit patronizingly on the Gossam. "This is a pleasure yacht, not a battleship."

    "With recent events," the padawan replied evenly, "I am sure that there will be one included hereafter, yes?"

    "There will be," the Queen finally replied, having gained her composure. "What about the children?"

    Tell nodded. "Allow me to secure these prisoners, and I will retrieve your children."

    For a moment, the Queen had an odd look on her face, but it passed quickly, and she waved her hand, looking down into her lap once more.

    The padawan bowed and turned, gesturing to the security droid.

    "Help me secure the prisoners," he requested, and both bent to work putting binders on the two surviving guards. The leader, identified as Merik, remained silent as the binders tightened and immobilized his arms; he still had an almost choking sense of despair about him to the Force-sensitive Gossam.

    Soon a single handmaiden was leading them down to the passenger cabins, where Tell opened a cabin and settled the two hijackers inside, where they were soon joined by Zeedor and Nix, gotten from the supply closet.

    "Guard this door," he commanded the droid. "Do not allow anyone in or out without either my or Knight Kizael's express approval." The droid did not answer, but stepped to the side of the door and stood at attention.

    A few moments later, the door to the children's room opened. Jun saw Tell standing there with the handmaiden and grinned. "Wizard!"

    Marie rolled her eyes. "Wizard? That's just dumb."

    "I think it'll catch on," he protested as he stood and stretched. "It'll be a galaxy-wide phenomenon! People will always wonder who was the first to say 'Wizard!'"

    The banter continued until they had reached the holotheatre and it was cut short due to the inability of both children to speak while their faces were pressed against their mother's shoulders.

  15. #55
    Drin Kizael
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    An hour later, Kizael and Tell watched from the observation deck as a Republic salvage vessel separated from the cruiser. After completing the transfer of the radioactive R2 unit and gear to a sealed off cargo hold, they locked tractor beams on the Jedi ship for the slow journey back to Rendili.

    "Master Yoda said he'll arrange for a ship to be ready for us on Denon," Kizael said. "I don't predict any problems with that after rescuing the Queen from a hostage crisis. It's no surprise that they requested we escort them home with the prisoners on board. They have facilities that will have little problem decontaminating everything quickly, too, so it will be worth it."

    He grimaced and added. "An engine leak was the only thing I could think of to cloak their scanners and maintain our element of surprise."

    The big trianii looked down to regard his fellow Jedi. He thought back to how he felt when he completed the lightsabre hanging at his belt. "The techs said they retrieved everything fine. Sorry about your lightsabre. It's all there, but I can't promise what shape it will be in after it's cleaned."

  16. #56
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    Tell remained stoic as he watched the vessel move off to Rendili, but shook his head.

    "A Jedi does not dwell on what one cannot change," he said, reminding himself of the dangers inherent in not being mindful of the present. He turned to Kizael and nodded with finality, signalling to both himself and his compatriot that the time for such matters was past. "You did what had to be done. Another lightsabre can be made if this cannot be salvaged, but another royal family is much more difficult to create. It is past."

    He let the feelings of loss go into the Force, only to be assailed by the curiosity concerning the expression the Queen had held when he spoke of her children back in the holotheatre. He indulged the idle curiosity for a moment, before letting that too go into the Force.

    Both Jedi turned in time to see one of the Handmaidens move from the gaggle surrounding the Queen in their direction. She was holding the two children close as they wept into her dress, mindless of the doubtlessly expensive fabric.

    "The Queen would like to thank you for accompanying us to Denon," she said, bowing. "We'll be entering hyperspace soon to return."

    The two Jedi bowed in return. Noticing the Jedis' gazes on the crying children and the wet-eyed Queen, the Handmaiden wiped her own eyes.

    "We've found Lam's body on the engineering deck. The prince and the princess especially enjoyed his company. Arrangements will be made to have his family come to Denon as guests for the funeral."

    "His family doesn't live on Denon?" Tell asked. She shook her head.

    "He is Alderaani," she replied. "In fact, he joined us as part of an exchange between Denon and Alderaan to foster closer relations. He was a pilot for the Alderaani royal family as well."

  17. #57
    Drin Kizael
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    The trip to Denon was uneventful, a very welcome relief from the weeks spent crawling through realspace, always keeping a nervous eye on the life support systems.

    Kizael spent the bulk of the time entertaining two spectacularly curious children, neither of whom had met a felinoid before. The fascination his presence seemed to generate in children was something he had long ago learned to accept. At first he thought it surprising, given the twins' upbringing around the royal court, but he was all too often surprised by how insulated so much of the Core and Colony worlds were.

    Eventually, one of the Queen's handmaidens shooed them to join their mother. Kizael took advantage of the respite to get in a relaxing, if not brief kata routine.

    The first mate's voice echoed over the com systems, "We've just reverted to realspace. Preparing for final approach."

  18. #58
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    The approach was quick, with the ship reverting to realspace just outside the planet's gravity well. In a matter of minutes, the pleasure yacht had entered the ecumenopolis's atmosphere and was touching down on the palace's landing pad; the ramp lowered and the procession of people began leaving the ship.

    Waiting for them on the pad was the King and a number of others. The Queen broke into a run and launched herself into her husband's arms.

    "Thank goodness you're alright!" he said. The children were right behind. The two Jedi remained silent.

    "Your mother has told me a lot of what happened," he said to them with a smile. "I cannot be any more proud of you than I am at this moment."

    Jun and Marie smiled and embraced their father, who looked at the Jedi.

    "I have also heard much about you and what you did. I am indebted to you for saving my family and those of the others onboard," he said, bowing. "Anything you ask that is in my power to give you, and it is yours."

    "We need no reward," Tell spoke up, shaking his head. "A Jedi's duty is to right whatever wrongs that one can, within reason."

    "Surely there must be something," the King began, but another man coughed slightly behind him and he turned. "Ah, we can speak of that later. May I introduce you to Judicial Somnou Atrapes? He is the coordinator for Denon; and was working on this when we received news of your involvement."

    Somnou Atrapes was a severe looking man with thick brown hair; though he was clean-shaven and looked otherwise alert and awake, he still seemed to be used to long nights and little sleep. Dressed in the blue uniform of the Judiciary, he cut a different figure from the other royals and their servants on the platform.

    "I thank you for bringing a quick end to this crisis, gentlemen," the Judicial said. "I would like to take your statements and relieve you of your prisoners."

    Four red garbed Judicials stepped up behind him, all bearing holstered blasters and binders.

    "We can speak on the way, if you would."

    They turned to re-enter the ship, but halted as the crew processed out with Lam's covered body on a hoverstretcher. The group remained silent as they passed, and Atrapes's expression became even more severe, if that were possible.

    "After you," Atrapes gestured, and the two Jedi led the way back onto the ship.

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    Kizael nodded to Atrapes in greeting, taking note of the subtle shift of tension in the air. His eyes shifted from the armed Judicials, to Atrapes, and back, trying to place the source of it.

    He stepped back as the pilot's body was carried out, then lead the way into the ship, keeping his senses open on the men behind him.

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    Atrapes kept quiet throughout the walk through the ship, only asking questions and marking the answers down on a datapad. The other Judicials were completely silent.

    I can find no real abuse of powers or avoidable deaths within this other than the death of the Trandoshan,” Atrapes finished, placing the stylus into the datapad and the datapad into his pocket. “Given the circumstances, even that seems unavoidable.”

    Tell remained silent, remembering that the Judicial was following his own set of standards; one in which every criminal possible was brought down alive for questioning and incarceration. He was a Judicial, and they were Jedi, and one's objectives and goals were not the other's. Still, the man's tone seemed to hide something small, which the Gossam assumed to be his opinion of them.

    The security droid was standing guard, and Cho nodded. The droid stepped to the side, and Atrapes pressed the key to open the door.

    The door slid open, and all the prisoners looked up; Merik still seemed to have that crushing sense of despair about him.

    Stand up, face the wall, and place your hands behind your backs,” Atrapes ordered as the Judicials entered the room. Zeedor looked as if he wanted to fight for a moment, but followed orders; Nix instantly complied while Merik slowly stood himself and faced the wall.

    How's the kids?” Nix asked conversationally while his wrists were placed in the binders.

    Take them to the cells,” Atrapes ordered, ignoring the Twi'lek. The prisoners where paraded down the halls back out the ship. Atrapes stopped and turned to face the Jedi.

    I thank you again for you assistance,” he said. “If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.”

    Kizael and Cho nodded, and watched the Judicial walk off to the palace. Outside the ship were two handmaidens waiting.

    If you would follow us to your rooms,” one said. The other nodded, and the four entered the palace themselves.

    You spoke with Judicial Atrapes?” asked one, a cheerful looking young woman with brown hair. “How was it? He doesn't talk much to anyone, so a lot of people say a lot of things about him.”

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