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Author Topic: A Smuggler's Truth  (Read 6672 times)
B1ondeange1
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You can't take the sky from me....


« on: November 26, 2017, 09:32:39 PM »

This is a story that I started writing years ago, derived from the GCW roleplaying game here on the forum. I came up with an idea for my character to evolve her and after I had decided that it was going to happen in the game, I started writing a story initially just to explore my smuggler's background, and it kind of turned into an extremely long story where she has become a very different person. Now that a certain event has occurred in the game I can finally begin to post the story that is still a continuing work in progress.

This story has been largely written by myself but has had a great deal of input from Krace, who has written sections and given help with others, as well as input about his character Kardac Shalth. Darth Abaddon has also given input about his character Coren Lunelle as well as general advice. Any other mention of player characters from the roleplay will be with permission from their original creators. The GCW roleplaying game itself wasn’t my creation but I've had the pleasure of being its Game Master for a few years now.

I will update this thread as I edit the story so that it can be posted here- the original isn't so PG rated so can't be posted here Tongue That in itself will be a slow process. It is currently over 900 MS Word document pages in length so there will be plenty of reading to be had by the time I get it all up to its current stage, let along keep writing and adding to it.

The character sheets for GCW can be found here: http://www.saberforum.com/index.php?topic=7635.0

If you wish to leave comments, ideas for improvement etc feel free. I would appreciate it if you limited it to constructive criticism.
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B1ondeange1
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You can't take the sky from me....


« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2017, 09:36:29 PM »

Belyra Vekraa walked at a moderate pace through the streets of her old sector in Coronet City, Corellia.  It had been years since she had been back here and she was surprised by how little it had changed. At the same time, she noticed small changes all over the place as memories came back to her. Another warehouse block rebuilt for residential, new public service buildings. Other blocks had become even more run down than they used to be. The smuggler had taken a train across the city to get to her sector then opted to continue on foot. She could have taken a shuttle bus even closer to her destination but she was enjoying the walk.

 The beautiful red head was wearing her customary attire of tight black flightsuit undone enough at the front to show off her ample cleavage, with her dark brown leather jacket over the top and knee high dark brown leather boots. While she was completely covered, the outfit showed off her attractively curvy and slightly muscular body nicely. A blaster belt sat on her hips with two Merr-Sonn Model 434 ‘Deathhammer’ heavy blasters sitting in holsters on either thigh. Her waist length, wavy, fiery red hair fell down her back with the shorter front sections framing her face, and her emerald green eyes were dazzling. She walked with an easy, relaxed confidence, yet there was the slightest air about her that she wasn’t the type to be messed with. The blasters weren’t just for show, the smuggler knew how to use them.

As she walked along the number of warehouses began to increase as did the number of starships. Here and there were dotted open air landing platforms but the majority were hangars. The familiar smells of lubricants, coolant and starship fuel filled her nostrils and she grinned. This was what she had grown up with and while she had never been tied down to home it always reminded her of it. It relaxed her more than she has felt in weeks but still something nagged at her. She couldn't shake the feeling she was being watched.
 
She had managed to check behind her discreetly a few times but she hadn't picked who it was in the busy warehouse district. She got her opportunity to find out when she was almost at her destination. A speeder was manoeuvring to pull into a warehouse ahead of her, so she pushed past it before it blocked her path completely. A bit further up on her left there was an alleyway she knew of between warehouses leading to the landing pad on the opposite side of the warehouses and hangars. She ducked into it, pulling one blaster out and waiting to see who came along. Thirty seconds later, after the speeder had moved out of the way, she was frustrated to see who walked by looking around. As he looked down the alleyway she slipped alongside him with a blaster drawn and poked him in the ribs with it.

"What the kriffin' hell are you doing here Kardac?!" the feisty woman hissed at him quietly, her anger apparent on her face, grabbing his arm and dragging him backwards into the alley with the blaster still out. 
 
The tall darkly tanned man she had named Kardac turned slowly around, obviously angry at being prodded with a blaster and doing his best to stay calm while replying with the same hushed voice. "I could ask you the same thing!"  He had short black hair with dark reddish brown eyes and a few scars on his face, with a muscular build. He wore plain non descript civilian clothing, like that worn by any number of spacers in the galaxy, with a single Merr-Sonn Model 57 blaster holstered on a plain worn blaster belt. While he didn’t currently stand out as anyone special he was a Lieutenant Commander within the Alliance, and the executive officer aboard the Alliance CR90 corvette Qanotha that Bel had been operating out of for the past few months.
 
"Oh no you don't! I'm the one holding the blaster here, you answer my question first!"
 
Bel glared at him, and Kardac Shalth glared back. "You were kinda very evasive about where you were going! You avoided answering any question straight and blatantly lied to me."

"So you are spying on me" Bel interrupted him testily. Kardac folded his arms in return, trying to ignore the blaster.
 
"Put that thing away. You aren't going to shoot me. Anyway, I am making sure you don't get into any trouble Bel. I have a ship and crew to be concerned about, I can't let you jeopardize that. On top of that you are part of my crew at the moment, so I am concerned about you as well."

"Kark it all I can take care of myself! Just because I didn't answer you doesn't mean I'm getting into trouble, just because I am a kriffin' smuggler! You can't be here!" Bel's answer ended sounding desperate as well as angry.
 
"Why not? I'm on shore leave while here on Corellia, I can go where I want."
 
"No, no you can't! Are you trying to ruin my security? Get the kriff out of here Kardac!" 
 
Her urgent hiss was louder than before. From the opposite end of the alleyway a loud voice called out.
 
"Oi! What you two doin' loiterin' about at my warehouse?!"
 
Bel's face paled. "No, you've kriffed it up!" she whispered. 

She turned around to face the man striding towards them cautiously but purposely, inconspicuously putting the blaster away as she did. The man looked to be in his sixties, medium built but still fairly muscular and fit. He was wearing a pair of dusty brown old cargo pants as well as a faded red long sleeved shirt. Most notably however were his facial features. They looked vaguely like Bel's own and just like an older version of Danint, her cousin who had been killed by Imperials by a biological weapon in a testing facility on the moon of Alvor a few months beforehand. She had been helping the Alliance break into the facility in order to discover more about the bioweapon and try to destroy their research, when she made the unfortunate discovery that her estranged relative had been captured and used as one of their test victions. The man who continued to approach them had reddish brown hair which was heavily greyed and his face was weathered.
 
"Hello Uncle" Bel called out to him simply in greeting.
 
Any remnant of her usual voice masking was gone, instead replaced by her native strong, husky Corellian accent. The man stopped dead in his tracks, blinking in surprise and squinting at the pair. He took a few uncertain steps forwards.
 
"Ariruuna?"
 
Bel cringed inwardly at having Kardac not only hear her given name but meet her family. She tried to put that from her mind and gave her uncle a smile as she walked towards him slowly.
 
"Yeah, it's me Uncle Gaven."
 
The man closed the remaining distance then scooped the woman up in a giant bear hug with a cry of delight. Bel relaxed a little at that moment, laughing and hugging him back.
 
"Eck, you are squeezing too hard!"

Gaven put her back down and Bel caught a glance of Kardac. He was standing there arms unfolded and looking equal parts of stunned and uncertain while trying to regain his composure. Bel couldn't resist a slight smug grin at his reaction though she was anything but pleased at the situation. She had carefully made sure her true identity had remained secret and completely isolated from all of her personas all these years. Even after Danint’s death and all the questions fielded at her by the Qanotha’s crew she had managed to keep her real name secret, and now in one fell blow it was all undone. She tried to keep that from entering her expression as her uncle stood back and looked at her.

"By the gods it’s been years! Just look at you! I think you'da put your ma to shame and she was a stunner at your age! Where have you been all this time, what have you been doing? Why haven't you visited sooner? Your ma an' pa they will be so happy to see you, have you seen them already?!"
 
Bel laughed and lifted her hands to motioning downwards with them.
 
"Slow down slow down. You are the first I've seen since getting back and I think explanations can wait a little bit. How are Ma and Pa?"
 
The question was asked somewhat anxiously. Gaven replied "oh they are great! Both are home at the moment, you chose a good time to visit. Your old man is looking older by the day, he has even more greys than me!"
 
He gave a cheeky grin at his jab then added with a flurry of his hands "what am I doing why are we standing around out here! Come on inside both of you, I'm gonna call ya pa down."
 
Gaven waved them to come after him and walked ahead cheerily, pulling his commlink out to call his brother down to the warehouse in as serious a tone as possible. Bel looked back at Kardac and shrugged with a sigh before motioning him to follow her uncle. He knew now, it wasn't like he could do any more damage and assuming her uncle hadn't changed over the years if she turned the executive officer away now he would have even more questions. Kardac fell into step beside her and leaned in to speak quietly.
 
"You came to visit your family? Why didn't you say so?"
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B1ondeange1
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You can't take the sky from me....


« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2017, 09:38:25 PM »

Bel turned her head to look at him. Her voice displayed that she was upset. "Yes. I promised Danint I would, and seeing him made me realize how long it has been. The reason I didn't tell you was to protect them. I've put a lot of effort into making sure my true name and my family have been protected from any of my other identities to prevent any repercussions of my actions on them. I've done a lot of less than legal things and you know what the Empire is like, not to mention countless unsavoury types I have worked for over the years. Now someone from my current life knows who they are, who I am. It's all just come tumbling down."
 
Kardac was quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry Bel, I had no idea...."
 
"No of course you didn't. That was the damn idea. I'm not nearly as self-centred as you think I am. Part of the reason I have stayed away and why I'm so secretive was to protect them" Bel snapped back automatically.

Kardac ignored her tone and responded gently "it hasn't all come tumbling down, just because one person knows. I would never betray your secrets."

The redheaded woman looked at him with hurt in her eyes but didn't say anything back. He might say that but she had no way to be certain. She also knew that his cause meant more than any one person to him and she didn't doubt that if it was necessary she would be betrayed for the Rebellion. They finally stepped out from between the buildings. Ahead of them was a landing pad bearing a CEC-YT1250 with blue markings. Bel stopped and blinked with surprise.
 
"You still have the old girl?!"

Gaven by this point had finished his comm call and turned back to them. 
 
"Aye, we still have ol' Blue. She faithfully keeps chugging along." His expression turned a little more serious. "Besides, we haven't been able to afford to replace her. Business hasn't been so good."
 
Bel sighed. "Aye, I've heard."
 
Gaven looked at her curiously. "How would you know?"
 
The smuggler looked at the older man. "I may not have been home in a long time but I've been keeping an eye on the family business."
 
Her uncle nodded. "Aye, I'd forgotten about that. Makes sense. Come on in, not a lot else has changed either."
 
He led them inside the hangar, where another CEC ship lay.
 
"Oh when did you get a YV- 100?" Bel asked brightly.
 
Gaven turned to her. "About eight years ago. Shows how long it’s been since you've been home Hun."

Bel scuffed one foot on the ground. "Yeah, well.... I've been busy." She tried to change the subject. "I have my own ship now."
 
Gaven's face lit up. "Really? What mod... Hey, Erik! Come over, look who is here!"
 
His attention had been diverted by a tall man with dark brown hair in his late thirties entering the hangar from an office in the corner of the room, wearing casual business clothing. He started walking over towards them, his pace quickening and his face lighting up when he recognised who it was.
 
"Ruuni!" He scooped her up and spun her around, then gave her a kiss on her cheek when he put her back on the ground. Bel giggled and gave him a hug back. He stood back and looked at her much the same way Gaven had.
 
"When did my little cousin become such a confident beauty?!"
 
Bel lightly punched him in the arm. "While you were too busy trying to seduce every pretty girl you came across in every cantina in every port." 
 
Erik grinned madly at her. "Well I must have done something right, one of those girls followed me home."
 
Bel's mouth hung open. "You got married?!"
 
"Yep, and had two kids. Five and eight." 
 
Bel looked back and forth between Erik and Gaven. "Wha... Ahhh.... Congratulations!"
 
Erik beamed, and then seemed to realise that there was someone else present. He turned to Kardac and took a few steps forward with his calloused hand extended.
 
"Sorry to ignore you like that, lost in the moment. Erik Elsin."
 
Kardac shook the offered hand with a firm shake. "Kaberc Shurret" he said, giving him the name he sometimes used when pretending to be a mercenary.
 
Gaven came forward to do the same. "Agh where are my manners! Gaven Elsin. You are standing in the home of Elsin Brothers Transport. Started off with just one old ship that my brother and I bought together."
 
He looked proudly around the hangar. "Anyway let’s get you both some drinks."
 
Father and son led Kardac and Bel into the offices and to a small kitchen. They chatted small talk as cups of Caf were made and handed around, Gaven raising an eyebrow when told Bel would take hers black. 
 
"I remember you liking a lot of milk in yours."
 
Bel shrugged with a smile. "Things change Uncle Gav."
 
A short while later a voice could be heard booming through the warehouse adjacent to the hangar. "Gaven! What is this urgency that you called me 'n' Mia down for immediately?"
 
Bel put her cup down and exchanged glances with Kardac before standing and facing the door. A man in his fifties came through first and it was immediately apparent that Bel was related. He had the same fiery red hair though it was dulled and greyed from his years and very similar facial features. Behind him was a woman with long jet black hair. While the woman was in her fifties it was evident that Bel had gotten her good looks from her mother. Both stood stunned at the sight that met them. Bel swallowed, having no idea how her parents would react to her after all this time.
 
"Hi Pa, Ma."
 
Her mother cried out and ran to hug her daughter tightly, followed closely by her father. It was too much for Bel and she couldn't help the tears that came unbidden. It was a few minutes before the trio parted.
 
"Ten years. Oh my little Ariruuna, we have missed you so much!"
 
Kardac meanwhile was standing off to the side looking decidedly like he was intruding on something and shouldn't be there. Bel's mother saw him there and looked between the two of them.
 
"Don't tell me you got married without us knowing!"
 
Bel's mouth fell open at that. "Ma! No I didn't get married it’s not like that! He's just a... shipmate."
 
She had paused momentarily before saying the last word, trying to find the best term to use. Shipmate wasn't entirely a lie, since her YT served out of the Qanotha currently. Her mum gave her a little secretive grin.
 
"Ah but a shipmate that you have brought home to meet us! That must mean something!"
 
As Bel rolled her eyes and groaned and again tried to tell Mia that she had it wrong, the older woman walked over to Kardac and gave him a hug and kiss on the cheek. Her husband came over to shake his hand and introduced himself as Aves, with hands as equally calloused and weathered as his brother and nephew.
 
"Welcome to the family" Mia said brightly. Bel looked despairingly at her Uncle with a look that said 'she is still like this?' and Gaven just grinned back knowingly but said nothing. The elder woman wiped the tears from her cheeks and fussed.
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You can't take the sky from me....


« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2017, 09:43:27 PM »

"Oh I must just look a mess, I am so sorry you had to meet me like this! Please sit down! Where have you been all these years Ari, what have you been up to? Your messages have always been so vague and short and it’s been almost twelve months since we have heard anything."
 
Bel gave a guarded glance to her father who sighed softly and remained standing while just about everyone else sat down.
 
"Ah, well.... I guess you could say I've been following the family tradition" Bel answered as she sat on a chair near the table.
 
"I have my own ship, a nice little YT2400, work as an independent captain transporting goods all over the galaxy. I don't ever stay in one place long, always on the move."
 
The family seemed pleased that the daughter had followed in the footsteps, though Gaven and Aves gave each other a quick knowing glance. It hadn't slipped either of their attentions how heavily armed the redheaded woman was for just a 'transport captain' and they both knew her better than that even after all this time. Mia gave a pleased humph.

“So good to know you have given up that silly smuggling nonsense you had gotten yourself into and taken on some real work. Though why you couldn’t come work for your family and settle down here I’ll never know.”

Aves looked guarded and tensed at that. Bel looked at Kardac. This was what she had been afraid of. She wondered whether she should lie to her mother or tell the truth. It wasn’t like she hadn’t lied to her parents before, but she knew her father knew the truth and if it somehow got back to Mia...

“Yeah…. Well….”

Mia looked at Bel, then to her husband and Gaven and back to Bel. Her expression went dark.

“What? You are still doing that?” She stood up, hands on her hips and staring her daughter down. Bel instantly went on the defensive.

“So what if I am?”

“Wha…. How… I thought I raised you better than that Ariruuna Elsin! My own daughter, a common criminal! I thought I had made it pretty clear last time what I thought of you getting yourself into such stupidity! What, have your brains been scrambled by all that time in hyperspace?!”

Bel’s hackles raised at that and she stood as well, her own hands on her hips and glaring back at her mother.

“Yeah, you did make it pretty kriffin’ clear! Why d’ya think I haven’t been back in ten years, do you think I like you karking yelling at me? It’s my life Ma, I can kriffin’ do what I like!”

Mia shot her daughter a fiery look. “Don’t you swear at me young lady! I am still your ma, how dare you!”

Aves quickly stepped between the two feisty women, an exasperated look on his face.

“Woah woah, both of you settle down. Do we really have to go through all this again? Mia it is her life.”

“What, you are defending your criminal daughter?!”

Mia pointed angrily at Bel. Before Bel could respond Aves grabbed Mia’s hands with his and spoke.

“Mia! Yelling at Ari isn’t going to change her mind! She’s only just come back to us after ten years do you really want to have her storm out of here again and disappear for another ten?!”

Erik meanwhile had side stepped closer to Kardac and leant in to talk in a sarcastic voice.

“Lovely to see that she is still just as fiery and stubborn as Aunt Mia. Some things never change.”

Kardac responded back equally quietly “yeah, she is pretty hot headed, has one helluva temper.”

Erik chuckled quietly. “You must have the patience of a saint then, assuming you really are her shipmate. She didn’t give the most convincing explanation there.”

Mia took that moment to turn her angry gaze on the pair. “And you Kaberc! Do you gallivant around the galaxy smuggling stuff and encouraging my daughter to continue her terrible ways?!”

That caused the room to erupt. Bel got even more fired up, her emerald eyes flashing dangerously. It was taking all her restraint to keep her hands from automatically falling to her blasters.

“How dare you, you kriffin’ keep Kaberc out of this!”

“Mia that is enough!” Aves said firmly, trying to keep calm, as Gaven said “really Mia you don’t need to insult him. Ariruuna don’t swear at your ma.”

Kardac meanwhile held his hands up. “Hey, please don’t involve me in this Ma’am. I’m not involved with your daughter’s work.”

“But she just introduced you as her shipmate!” Was the snappy reply.

Bel went to snap back but Gaven stepped up to her so both brothers were between the angry women.

“Come on Ari don’t make it worse” he said quietly, holding her arms. Bel shrugged him off angrily with a hissed “don’t you grab me and tell me what to do!”

Kardac replied back over the top of everyone in his calm commanding voice. “Yes I am her shipmate, no one said she was still involved in smuggling did they?”

Both women stopped and looked at him. It was a truth, of sorts. The only illegal work Bel had done since first coming aboard the Qanotha months beforehand had been in support of the Rebellion. Mia looked at Bel and Kardac.

“Why didn’t you say so?!”

Bel shot her a look around the brothers between them. “You didn’t give anyone a chance to say anything!”

Aves let go of his wife’s hands and motioned downwards with them, speaking firmly.

“Okay I think we should all calm down now. Mia, what Ari does or did might not be legal but it’s her choice and you know it’s a hard world out there. We barely struggle to keep the two ships running at times and there are plenty who had turned to the odd illegal job to keep things going even if we haven’t. Besides plenty of smugglers out there are doin’ good helping the fight against the Empire. Ari, don’t swear at ya ma. She is still ya ma, even if you aren’t that freshfaced 15 year old who ran away.”

Both women shot looks at him but didn’t say anything further. Gaven let out a slow breath and tried to change the subject.

“You said you have a YT2400? I’ve seen’ em in the docks before, nice looking little ship. I’m assuming you have kitted her out?”

Bel gave her uncle her usual grin. "You bet she is! I dun think there's a single thing left stock on my baby." She paused for a moment then added "nope even the pilot seats have been changed!"
 
She started rattling off some of the modifications without going into too many specifics, her family listening on interestedly. Even her mother seemed interested and understanding and her temper died down. The tension in the room has dropped down as stories about the ships were passed around. The Elsin's just about lived and breathed them since their livelihood depended on them.
 
Bel's uncle laughed at the end of telling one story. "Ah, it’s such a pity Danint isn't here. He would be so thrilled to see you home again and he has always wanted to see what a two four hundred was like."
 
Bel fell silent and looked at Kardac. She'd known she would have to tell her family at some stage but it was not something she had been looking forward to. Should she wait until later rather than greet them with the bad news? Or get it over with?
 
"I saw Danint a few months back" she said quietly.
 
"Oh really? He hadn't said anything, in fact we haven't heard from him in months. He saved enough to buy his own ship about a year back and goes for longer periods of time, doing longer runs. He'd be gone for weeks or months with little contact but this is the longest he's been away without contacting us. How was he doing?" 
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 04:59:38 AM »

Wow Angel.  Great world building from the start (thanks for also providing a bio in the beginning, gave me good insight and a mental picture of Bel).  I like the easy dialogue between the family...and the heated argument (I'm sure we can all relate  Wink). 

This story is different from the others is this thread.  Karmack, Lord_S_Gray, Taegin Roan, and myself have stories centering around Force-sensitives (if you haven't had the opportunity to read them, I'd highly recommend dong so  Wink), your smuggler is a welcome and disparate departure from that.  I am certainly eager to learn more and see where this is leading!

I think you did a very good job in sprinkling in subtle info for future story points (Danint, the bioweapon to name two).  You're off to a great start!
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2017, 06:52:20 AM »

Welcome Angel!  This is a great beginning!  As Dutchman said, it has a very different feel from the "gray" stories we've been swapping. :-)  Your style is excellent, though, and you've done a good job of hooking us into your world.  I am intrigued, especially by a smuggler with Rebel Alliance leanings from a family with ties to the shipping industry.  :-) 

And 'shipmates'?  You brought him home to meet the family and he's just a 'shipmate'?  Yeah, sure...  ;-)  (Sorry, a little of the "father" showed there...)

Looking forward to more installments!  RP games can be AWESOME inspiration!
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 08:34:10 AM »

Thanks guys! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it Smiley

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


Bel didn't even bother trying to hide her emotions. She looked at her family with a grave troubled expression, dreading what she was about to say.
 
"Danint's not coming home. He was killed by Imperials."
 
Shocked silence filled the room and everyone was staring at her. She had never felt so uncomfortable in her life, and she had dealt with some real nasty beings in her time. Finally Erik just said "what?"
 
"The reason he had been going on longer runs was because he had started smuggling to make some more money on the side to try and help the business. But he got caught. Instead of just killing him or imprisoning him they experimented on him, nasty biowarfare stuff. We found him afterwards but it was too late. I… I’m so sorry.”

Tears were in her eyes, it was as bad as reliving it. It had happened about three months previous, on the second mission she had done with the crew of the Qanotha. Her path had started with the corvette’s crew long beforehand though she hadn’t realised it at that time. The promiscuous smuggler had tricked a young cocky Imperial officer in a cantina after hearing him drunkenly boast about some important information he had. She had gotten him more drunk then slept with him, stealing a datachip containing confidential information after he passed out before making herself scarce. The heavily encrypted datachip was sold on and she thought that was the end of that, though it was the Alliance who purchased the information when it was decrypted. Months later Bel herself unwittingly was the courier of that information and the mission details to the Qanotha, and they went on to hire her to aid them in their mission to the gas planet of Alvor. There the Empire had been working on a new superweapon and they were tasked with finding more information about it and destroying it.

Bel’s small group were an advance team and their mission was endangered when the smuggler was recognised by the very Imperial officer she had stolen the information from. She had managed to turn the tables on the flustered man after he had attempted to kidnap her, but a fight had broken out in the marketplace on the satellite station Touk which they had infiltrated. The Empire, fearing a breach in security, decided instead to kill the thousands of people in the marketplace. Bel’s small group had narrowly escaped the slaughter while the second Alliance team infiltrated another station. Unable to do anything to help Bel’s team had left the system and gone to Nar Shaddaa to find more information. After discovering the true nature of the Empire’s superweapon in development they flew back to Alvor to find that the second team had completed their mission by destroying the weapon and were attempting to escape. Bel was able to help them fight off the TIE fighters and escape back to the Qanotha. They then discovered that the weapon on Alvor was only part of the Empire’s plans.

The Empire’s true weapon was a deadly biological agent, designed to be delivered into a planet’s atmosphere by the prototype weapon they had destroyed on Alvor. The agent was being developed on the small moon Drongar Alpha, and the Qanotha was tasked with finishing the job by infiltrating the research facility and destroying the weapon. Bel used her knowledge of the underworld, her ship and a mercenary alias she had as leverage to become part of the strike team under the guise that she was in it for the pay, though that was only partly the truth. The Empire’s ruthless slaughter of thousands of innocents at Touk had affected her more deeply than she cared to admit. They gained access to the research facility by assuming the personas of slavers, bringing ‘prisoners’, the strike team from the corvette, in as test victims for the scientists. It was while carrying out their mission to find out all information they could about the bioweapon before destroying the facility that Bel discovered her cousin Danint had been captured by the Empire for smuggling and was an unfortunate victim.

They had been too late to save him, but it had haunted her since and started her down a very different path to the one she had taken beforehand. She was no longer the same free-spirited smuggler who worked for whoever offered the most credits with no allegiance to anyone. She had only recently started to come to terms with Danint’s death but having to explain it to her family was bringing it all back. The silence was eventually broken by her mother beginning to cry. Aves put his arms around his wife and held her close. Gavin and Erik had matching murderous expressions on their faces. Bel crossed her arms and hugged herself, feeling absolutely terrible. The tall executive officer of the Qanotha came over and put his arm around her shoulder to comfort her. Finally Erik choked out an angry “how the kriff do you know this?! What were you doing?!”

“I…. I can’t say. I really wish I could tell you but I’m not allowed to. It’s not safe for you or us if I tell you. I promise we weren’t working for the Imperials, I’m never working for those bastards again. You have to believe me.” The words were choked out as Bel struggled to keep some composure.

Erik clenched his fists in anger and glared at her and Kardac. Gaven asked flatly “are you sure he is dead?”

Bel nodded, her voice still choked. “He told me what happened with his dying breath. He asked me to make sure I came home and let you know what had happened to him. We watched him die.” It was a lie but she couldn’t tell her family that he’d died in the destruction of the facility at the Rebel's hands. The Imperials were the ones to blame regardless. Her mother’s sobbing got louder.

“I’m so so sorry. I wish I didn’t have to be the bearer of such bad news.”

“Karking Imperial scum!” Erik spat out and stomped out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Bel looked after him helplessly not sure what to say. Gaven stepped forwards and put a hand on her shoulder, tears in his eyes and shoulders slumped.

“Thank you Ari. For telling us. Erik will come round just…. Give him some time.”

He took the hand from her shoulder and walked slowly from the room like a man defeated and looking ten years older in that short time. Aves watched after him but kept his arms around Mia. Her mother sniffed and looked at Bel, her face filled with a mix of sadness, outrage and despair. Erik and Danint had been more like sons to her. When their mother died the boys had often lived with Bel and Mia while Gaven and Aves worked away. Bel had grown up with them, seeing them more as brothers than cousins.

“This is why I never wanted that life for you! That could have been you!”

Aves hushed his wife and sat her down on the small couch, then came over to his daughter and wiped the tears from her face. His own eyes were tear filled.

“I’m so sorry you went through that Ari, but I’m glad he had someone with him at the end.”

He pulled her in for a hug and Bel wrapped her arms around him, tears running silently down her cheeks. Aves held her for a few minutes then looked back over his shoulder at Mia. He carefully steered Bel into an adjoining office, beckoning Kardac to follow. Once they were somewhere more private he spoke quietly to the two of them.

“I’m going to take your mother home. Please Ariruuna, don’t push her. Everyone is a bit upset right now and it won’t help anything. She has missed you terribly and has blamed herself for you being gone for so long. Please promise me you won’t go anywhere.”

He redirected his gaze to Kardac. “Don’t let her go anywhere. I know my daughter, she has always had a habit of wandering. She is worse than her old man.”

Kardac nodded. “Aye, we will stay here. My condolences to you all for Danint.”

Aves looked hard at him for a moment. “You are a military man aren’t you? Or at least used to be. I’ve seen enough of yous in my travels to know that hardened look to death. I don’t think you are Imperial either, I severely doubt my Ari would have brought you here if you were. Don’t worry we have no love for the Empire, even less now. Look after her, I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

He nodded towards Bel and gave Kardac a pat on the shoulder before walking out of the room. Bel looked at her friend and sat back on the edge of the desk.

“That was….. that was horrible. I don’t know what I was expecting but I don’t know if it could have been much worse. How do you do it? How can you tell families that their loved ones aren’t coming home?”

Kardac came over and leant back against the desk next to her. “Because I have to. The families deserve to know and it is my duty. It doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you do it.”

He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close, giving her a kiss on the top of her head. She wiped the tears from her eyes and gave him a slight smile.

“I think I need a drink.”

She opened the office door quietly, seeing that her parents had left. While the couch had been replaced since she had last been home everything else looked the same as from her childhood. She went to a cupboard above the sink and reached her hand to the back, standing on her toe tips and feeling around. With a small grin she pulled out a bottle of whiskey.

“They always thought it was well hidden back there and that we kids didn’t know about it. So predictable that they still keep it in the same place.”

She opened the bottle and took a mouthful before leading Kardac out a different door and into the warehouse itself. Her uncle was sitting on the edge of the drop down from the office to the main floor a metre below. Bel hesitated but he heard the pair come out, turned his head and waved them over. Bel sat on the edge next to him, her uncle eyeing the bottle in her hand and wiping his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt.

“I always suspected you three knew where to find that.” He motioned for her to hand it over and had a long pull from it before handing it back to Bel who did the same thing. She offered it to Kardac. Gaven gave her a small smile.

“I remember the time I found you and Danint drunk in the corner of this warehouse. You were what, 15? Danint said you’d only had one glass. You begged me not to tell ya ma. I can’t remember how many times I covered for you, you were always such a trouble maker.” His eyes flicked up to Kardac. “I bet that hasn’t changed.”

Kardac grinned in return. “No it hasn’t. I’m not the least bit surprised she used to get into such trouble. She can hold her liquor better now.”

Gaven chuckled. “Of course she can, she’s a Corellian through and through! Her ma never quite understood our love of drinking and mischief, she wasn’t Corellian you see.”

“Hey, I’m right here you know” Bel protested mildly about being talked about.

Gaven smiled and put his arm around her. The two occasionally shared the bottle but otherwise sat in silence. At one point Gaven shuffled sideways and looked at the grip of the blaster sticking out of the holster on her hip.

“I see you haven’t lost your love of blasters. May I?”

Bel hesitated a moment then handed over one of her deathhammers, grip first. He took it and turned the heavy blaster pistol over eyeing it appreciatively.

“Lethal looking piece of equipment there my dear, and you have two of them. Still any good with them?”

The smuggler grinned slightly. “Do you have to ask? I could whoop your arse in target practice with dual blasters now.”

Her uncle grinned. “You could whoop my arse with one back in the day, I have no doubt you have improved to wield two just as effectively. It’s a strange thing, seeing you all grown up. No longer that young lady so eager to see the galaxy. You look like you have seen more than your fair share of things now.”

Bel sighed as he handed her blaster back. “You have no idea.”
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 10:34:01 AM »

And an excellent continuation!  :-)  I am very much liking the character interactions and development here.  A subtle shift in the Bel/Kardac relationship, I think...  Or maybe it was just not "there" yet.  It definitely feels like back-story, though.  But good back-story!  Now, what could they be setting up?

I can't wait to find out!  :-)
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2017, 02:03:44 PM »

And an excellent continuation!  :-)  I am very much liking the character interactions and development here.  A subtle shift in the Bel/Kardac relationship, I think...  Or maybe it was just not "there" yet.  It definitely feels like back-story, though.  But good back-story!  Now, what could they be setting up?

I can't wait to find out!  :-)


Krace here, Kardac's player.  This is actually forward story for where things are in the RPG currently.  She started writing and then we just took it in a continuing direction. 

The backstory is actually in these locations:

Aboard the Qanotha

Aboard the Wagtail's Shadow, Smugglers Ship

Drongar Alpha

The story jumps from location to location at points, but it always has links to the threads where it jumps.
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2017, 02:07:08 PM »

Poor Danint.  And poor Bel.  She's the anti-anti-hero.  But such imperfect characters make for great pathos.  And now that we get to see her among family, letting her emotional barriers relax somewhat, we see another facet.  I am reminded of a Japanese proverb: that each personality has around it an "eight-fold fence:" the closer you go to the center, the more "real" the person will be (trust, actions, emotion, et. all.), but NO ONE can ever truly know a person in their heart of hearts, in this case, the inner-most fence.

I get the feeling that Bel would know precisely what I mean.

Keep it up Angel!  Looking forward to the next installment  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2017, 02:39:09 PM »

Wow. I had a feeling there was a lot more to Bel than what I knew, but I never knew how much. This is a very cool story, and knowing some of the background makes it so much more understandable. Like the others, I can't wait for more.
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2017, 03:01:55 PM »

Wow. I had a feeling there was a lot more to Bel than what I knew, but I never knew how much. This is a very cool story, and knowing some of the background makes it so much more understandable. Like the others, I can't wait for more.

Just remember, none of this has actually happened in our RPG, it's all future.  Also, some of what eventually will be posted here may never actually happen in the RPG just due to how the RPGs work.
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2017, 03:06:03 PM »

Just remember, none of this has actually happened in our RPG, it's all future.  Also, some of what eventually will be posted here may never actually happen in the RPG just due to how the RPGs work.

Yes. Ralen has no knowledge of any of this whatsoever.
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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2017, 05:10:14 PM »

Just remember, none of this has actually happened in our RPG, it's all future.  Also, some of what eventually will be posted here may never actually happen in the RPG just due to how the RPGs work.

Yes, as far as the RPGs go this is a separate story. What happens here in my story isn't a sign of what will be happening in the future of the RPG.
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2017, 05:54:39 PM »

Good start, interesting take, I like the sort of family dinner table scenario, it's not what you often get in Star Wars stories, a kind of more familial space in which events are impacting everyday lives of a family largely uninvolved in the Galactic politics.  The echoes of Imperial policy...

Okay so some constructive criticism as you've asked for....
The section starting at “Tears were in her eyes, it was as bad as reliving it…” when Bel recounts her adventures with the bio weapon and Danint, there are four solid blocks of text just describing past events…it’s a bit overwhelming, I’d break it up a little maybe one section of back story then a little dialogue in the present.  but yeah can be hard to do when you need to get the reader up to speed.

This is something I’m guilty of having done but in my next stories am trying to get away from it.  My current strategy is roughly one paragraph of action/dialogue, then one of description/backstory when I need it. 

Also there is a lot of play by play in the dialogue, its very descriptive about what everyone's saying...its great in setting the atmosphere, but that can work against you in that its hard to pick up on what the most important points that I as a reader need to keep in mind...having said that most of my chapters are done more like 6-7 minute scenes so might just be me.

These are all just my opinions/observations, I'm by no means a great writer or anything, its more these are some issues I'm trying to work on in my own stuff so though it might help out.  Overall good stuff.
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