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Author Topic: Mirror Empire  (Read 8600 times)
Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 334
Posts: 1689



« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2019, 12:43:09 AM »


Dance of Diplomacy
Part 4


Alina was already deep into her cups at the Feast by the time Lsander arrived fashionably late, her jester cavorting around in his sickly yellow outfit.

 

“A great accord they seek to reach, too much time they spent on speech!”

 

It trilled about rolling and jumping knocking over people’s cups and plates, he could not imagine how angry it must be making Ni’Korish,

 

“A word or two is all it takes, for the Empire to claim its stake…hmmmhahahaha…” it rolled onto the floor leapt up on a servants back and pulled a floral hair piece from her head then presented it to the Chume’Da beside Ni’Korish who not certain what to do simply accepted it and placed it beside her plate.

 

Lsanders followers in Hapan intelligence had given him a brief dossier on the jester, but he could not believe it was who they claimed it to be – surely even Mira could not turn such a Grand warrior into a badly singing Fool.

 

The ring on his finger he sauntered up to make his obedience once more,

 

“Erenda,” he addressed the Queen mother formally

 

“You do look ravishing tonight,”

 

Ni’Korish didn’t even spare him a glance

 

“and Chume’Da beautiful as always…only outshone by your fellow princess, our esteemed guest,” he turned to Alina

 

“Your most Benevolent Highness,” he bowed low with a wicked smile

 

“Benevolent and caring the Empire would be seen!” The Jester interrupted suddenly ending on his bent back

 

“But beware the abyss hiding underneath!”

 

“ahahaha!” Alina giggled as Lsander ruffled himself to throw the interloper off

 

“Yes well, I do hope you’ll join me for another dance Princess,”

 

“Ugh I’m over dancing…” Alina replied absently twirling a knife on her finger with uncanny balance.

 

“…I think I’ll turn in early and jump my hyperdrive a few times….”

 

Ni’Korish almost choked on her drink, the Chume’Da blushed furiously before waving her fan in front of her face.

 

“As it please your highness….” Was all Lsander could say.  Alina dropped the knife and threw down another whole glass of wine.

 

“Come on you useless green goblin,” she demanded of her Jester who was juggling three goblets.

<<<<>>>>

Lsander strode back disappointed…there was just no accounting for the flippancy of women he supposed…his plan couldn’t be delayed much longer, every hour he didn’t make his move was another in which one of his ‘supporters’ might rat him out to Ni’Korish.

 

Turning the corner into a hall lined with paintings he heard a soft giggle, then stumbled back as a hideous green face thrust in front of him.

 

“Get away from me freak!” he blazed at the jester

“Oh so cruel when good news I bring!”

 

Lsander looked down dismissively at the creature “Speak peasant,”

 

“The Princess wished to see in private!  Take you too her I will,” it held up an ugly claw like finger

 

“shhh quiet it must be kept, follow me hrmmhahaha!”

 

finally! Lsander smiled fingering the doped ring progress

 

<<<<>>>>

Her hands ran along the firm muscled chest as she breathed in the sweaty masculine scent – she always had her toys do a little work out to get nice and warm beforehand.

 

“So young and strong….are you ready to serve your Queen?” Ni’Korish whispered in the boys ear

 

“Anything Erenda,” he said slightly nervous, she would soon soothe him of that, her hand reached down his toned abs….

 

“Your Majesty…”

 

“WHAT!” she shouted backward at the handmaid

 

“Apologies Majesty…but you asked to be informed….”

 

Ni’Korish pounded over toward her to listen in

 

<Lsander is being taken to the Princess by her jester> the handmaid – a member of Hapan Intelligence whispered.

 

<Shall we cancel your schedule?>

 

“No…” Ni’Korish whispered back

“Let them meet, I’ll continue as planned….his spies will notice if my routine changes, I won’t let him think I am afraid of his scheming” – nor would she be denied her dalliances with a few strong young men to take the edge off her anger.

 

<<<<>>>>

 

“How far is she!” Lsander complained as the wound through back passages of the Fountain Palace even he had never been through

 

“Not far Princess not far!”

 

Finally they came through a darkened utility passage to a door with a red hazard light lit.

 

Something in the shadows shuffled and briefly caught Lsanders eyes but he paid it no mind.

 

The jester leapt up to grasp comically at the handle.  It swung open to reveal a room bedecked with luxuriant couches and pillows in a dim yellow light – not doubt one of the dozens of Tryst rooms hidden around the palace for nobles to engage in semi-secret affairs.

 

“Where is she?” he demanded,

“Here soon here soon, yourself prepare…clothes not needed hrmmmhahaha!”

 

Lsanders lips twitched as the Jester waddled out closing the door.  With little else to do he began to undress, keeping the doped ring on.

 

After what seemed like an age spent trying to position himself in the most seductive way possible on the lounge and pouring out half a dozen cups of spirits for the Princess voracious appetite the door opened.

 

Alina strode in head held high, the door seeming to close of its own accord behind her.

 

“My my aren’t we excited….” she noted

 

“How could I not be when such beauty stands before me…” Lsander replied as Alina slowly took off her night dress, the dim light made it hard to see but it seemed she wasn’t quite a taught and firm as she appeared…probably used a corset and shape wear - no matter overall he could live with it for the throne.

 

She strode over and dragged her fingers down his chest, he reached out and pressed the doped ring to her naked arm administering the stimulant with a barely noticeable prick.

 

“Are you ready to serve your Erenda?” Alina asked as Lsander waited for the drug to take hold.

 

“Without hesitation future Queen of Hapes….”

 

Her expression seemed oddly conflicted for a moment until the drug soothed away her questioning.

 

As they plunged into each other’s mouths none noticed the small black ball hidden among the cushions left by the jester.

<<<<>>>>

 

A spring in his step he hurried along the corridor the written invitation firmly in his hand as memories of the night before still swept across his mind.

 

After hours of passion he’d headed back to his apartments, and woken in the morning to a formal invitation delivered by a Praetorian no less to attend upon Princess Alina with all due haste.

 

He felt a King already as the Praetorian escort’s mere presence swept away all the onlookers and gawkers as he held his head higher than ever before.

 

Finally he arrived in her apartment, she looked radiant in her silken dress, he smirked that it was his affections that had given her such an afterglow.

 

“Oh there you are….leave us…” the Praetorian stepped out and with eerie silence closed the door.

 

“Take your clothes off,” she ordered

 

He didn’t need to be asked twice

 

“Yes Erenda!” she had insisted he call her that last night, already taking on the affectations of a Queen Mother it seemed.

 

Finally discarding his boxers he stood full attention before her…then he noted her expression.

 

“That’s it?...Was I supposed to be impressed…?”

 

“Did you think you could just waltz in here and I’d spread my legs or you, overcome by your virile charms?” her tone was both incredulous and irritated

 

“Just wiggle that thing at me and I’ll fall head over heels, bra off, panties wet,” she pointed undauntedly at his very prominent preponderance that began to deflate under her barrage of dismissal.

 

“What did you think would happen,” with those words he felt something push like a dagger behind his eyes, image of the tryst he had intended…no not even that his basest fantasies flashed like a holo-movie in front of him,

 

“Goddess you’re gross, you really think I’d let you do that in my hair and enjoy it…”

 

How could she see….

 

“Ewww…on what planet would I stick my tongue up there! I should have you whipped for even thinking such a thing!”

 

“But last night….”

 

“Last night what?”

 

“We…you and I…you said you wanted to lick every part….”

 

She sneered and shattered his illusions

“I never said a thing…I don’t know where you were last night but I was in here having a great time on my own….”

 

“But your jester lead you to the room….”

 

“My Jester!” She laughed

 

“You idiot he’s a jester! He makes jokes….and now he’s made you the biggest joke of all!” somehow a holo projector on the bedside cabinet activated showing himself naked and in between a woman’s thighs…only as they moved in their passion did he see who the woman was.

 

He vomited.

 

<<<<>>>>

 

“I think….” Alina said smugly as Ni’Korish twisted the fork in her thigh

 

“You should abdicate in favour of your daughter….after all if I was caught frelling my own nephew – who was rumoured to be my son as well -  I don’t think I could keep the respect of the army of backstabbing bitches that make up the Hapan court….”

 

The video was all over the Court, picts, close ups…everything….Even as Lsanders support fell away in an instant it was hardly a victory considering he was now termed ‘Queen-freller’.

 

Somehow she had underestimated Alina…she had believed the boisterous party girl image, not realising it was a cover for something far more malevolent.

 

“You know, we can get you two a place on Coruscant, no one will judge you or recognise you there!” Alina offered. “Young hearts can run free Eerenda….”

 

<<<<>>>>

 

The cheers of the regular people drowned out the screech of the Miy’till fighters overhead at the hasty coronation, along with the regular Hapan Army and Queens Guard were a number of Clone battalions the Hapan Royal Seal Side by Side with the Imperial Crest reflecting the new arrangements.

 

The new Queen mother Ta’a Chume was far more agreeable to Imperial integration than her mother had been, and far less disruptive than an ambitious little slug like Lsander would’ve been.

 

More importantly she was perhaps the Only person in Hapes not despised by one faction or the other, Ni’Korish supporters hated Lsander, Lsander’s hated Ni’Korish – but all were lukewarm toward the Chume’Da making her the perfect compromise ruler.

 

Ardyn smirked behind his helmet, the arrogance of that male Outsider to believe a real woman like Alina would ever let him near her expect to be used as a pawn.  Even his pathetic dope ring would’ve had no effect, the blood brain barrier and cellular digestion of People easily able to handle such petty poisons – how little they understood.

 

The parade to the Fountain Palace marked a new day for Hapes, and the Empire…the excess of ambitious nobles would be funnelled into the Imperial Army, the Hapan military slowly integrated along with it.

 

63 systems into the Empire…The plan was working.

 

<<<<>>>>

 

“Well it seems you’re not a fellow princess anymore!” Alina noted as she stood beside the throne after the coronation as over and the vast hall emptied out.

 

“You’re a full Queen now…and no doubt a much better one than your mother was.”

 

Ta’a Chume glanced briefly to her benefactor, she might not be overly fond of the Empire…but she could read the times, Hapes would be absorbed one way or the other, her mother had been too obstinate to back down, and Ta’a Chume too anxious for the throne to wait for her to die…disgrace was far easier and with neutral Imperial Garrisons staffed by Hapan officers the potential for civil war between factitious nobles was all effectively neutered – none would risk the wrath of a Queen backed by the Emperor – or rather Mira.

 

“I hope to be, I look forward to visiting you on Coruscant to attend the swearing in of our new Senators,”

 

Part of the deal meant Hapes got one Senator for each inhabited System, a voting block of 63 in the Imperial Senate, overnight they became one of the greatest pools of influence in the Empire – this was a level of power her mother could never have achieved.

 

“Oh I’m sure my sister will show you a good time, I have a few other visits to make before going back,”

 

“hmm perhaps a delegation from Hapes could attend your journey…to extoll the benefits  co-operation can achieve,” And see just what other deals you cut people

 

Alina smiled

 

“I’d like that…” she held out her arm to the new Queen Mother

 

“Well ready to party, I feel like dancing!”

<<<<>>>>


Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 1044
Posts: 3898


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2019, 09:29:08 AM »

I have to say: I'm VERY glad that you came back to this story LSG!

I'm loving the Mirror Hapes Consortium.  There's SO much potential for stories here (and in the normal Forumverse...well, let me just say that I've got my own plans concerning everyone's favorite blue-lipped, dark skinned, diminutive Gray Master  Wink) and you do NOT disappoint!  I have to admit that it was cathartic seeing Ta'a Chume taken down like that (if somewhat disturbing) after her own vile machinations...but then again, that's kind of the point with the Mirror setting  Wink

Alina makes an interesting anti-villain, especially as she sows the seeds of discontent through the Hapes Court.  Here's to hoping that we learn more about her "uncle" Ardyn  Smiley
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Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 334
Posts: 1689



« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2019, 03:35:23 PM »

The Right thing for the Wrong Reason
Part 1

Sweat streaked along his grimy forearm as he wiped it off his brow.  It wasn’t especially hot in the Coruscant sun beaming down into the pit, but the exertion of long hours hauling rubble that was making him sweat.

It was inefficient to do this by hand, but it achieved a greater goal.

Around him in North Pit 5 were nearly 2000 other labourers of all species. The pit was nearly 500 metres into the ground now, only that the overall site was so large did the sun reach it at all.  On scaffolds, hover-sleds and in the bedrock they hauled more rubble away and demolished ancient and once hallowed shrines and temples.

Amidst the labourers squads of Clones patrolled quietly, occasionally handing out water flasks to grateful workers.  And they were grateful.  For many this was their first real job, their first chance to make a living not by selling home cooked narcotics, prostitution or as part of a gang – that was why this was done by hand, to give jobs to the under levels once near feral underclasses.

Going back to work he hefted the power-pick to knock down what had once been an internal wall – the ornate carvings longs since smoothed to obscurity by time and weight.  Amidst the grotty workers were the archaeology and recovery teams, taking picts and artefacts away from the site, occasionally prying out murals or statues that modified LAATs lifted off. 

The hum of one the LAATs over the pits was constant.  Hanging off the edge by a single handhold, a warrior prepared to leap down into the pit and deal death at any moment – a Praetorian who observed everything going on below with silent precision.

The first time he had been near one was…humbling to say the least.  All his years as a Knight couldn’t prepare him for the feeling of vertigo when one walked past, or the sinking of his stomach when its eyes fell upon him at Spaceport.  But from the high platform it did nothing to stop him or his apprentice being permitted through.

Du’An Chillum understood hierarchy, he was amidst the workers, above them the talkers – the archaeologists and Clone officers – but the true masters were the ones who said nothing and watched everything.

“The Time is Now 07:00 Shifts Aurek, Besh and Cresh Have now finished, Gloria in Excelsis Imperator

Gloria in Excelsis Imperator!!!” nearly 500 workers and all the Clones shouted back.  As Chillum headed back to the Equipment lockers he noted the increasing numbers of those who fervently called before and after each shift, at first it had been a few dozen, but every shift a few more joined.

As he headed to the work camps on the edge of the Pit he saw why. 

Clean, secure prefab housing, free meals for all workers, and daily pay.  It was a better life than most of the workers could’ve dreamed of a year ago, Clone patrols meant there was no threat of gangers or random violence as the under levels were known for, and stuck onto the sides of the barracks were posters of the Emperors grandfatherly smile beaming down – a few had been defaced, but nowhere near as many as might be expected.

And none of the posters of Princess Mira had been touched except to be stolen and put up inside the bunk rooms by the more fanatical devotees. Her serene feminie look and the tag line “The Empire is Not Perfect – So Let’s Make it Better Together,” inspired sentients who had been pulled above the poverty line by work programs like this one.

Lining up for the evening meal he listened to the banter, the food wasn’t brilliant, but it was nutritious and free, all you can eat tubs of vat grown algal nutrients bubbled away, a few Clones watching over – it didn’t matter how much you took really, and because of that the once starving homeless seemed to have settled into taking only what they needed of their own accord.

“Ay’ Kol over ‘ere!” called the bubbly Herdin, whose species Chillum couldn’t pick, though the odd head features suggested Twi’lek ancestry at some point. 
‘Kol’ as his cover name was sat amidst the small group he had befriended.
“’ad a good day!”
“More o’ less,” Chillum replied adopting a mangled accent,
“Ay Good ‘t ‘ere, See ‘ere Fendo tell Kol ya news!”
Fendo an aqua coloured Rodian burst out in strangled huttese
<I’ve been accepted into an Engineering apprenticeship,>
“Congrats Fendo,” Chillum meant it, the taciturn Rodian deserved  leg up, he had become fond of the Aurek Pit 5 crew, even if this was a mission, he had genuine sympathy to these once impoverished sentients – but no he had to steel himself against such feelings – that was how this Empire worked to control people –yes it did raise up the poor, support families and improve economic and social outcomes- but that was their path to securing power – they did the right things for the wrong reasons.

“You See We make the Empire Better together!” boomed the Crolute Pugo beside them parroting Mira’s propaganda

“So the perky tit Princess says,” Nebun the Dug noted across the table

Pugo leapt up slamming his fists on the table “What You Say ‘bout the Princess!” he boomed 

‘Kol’ got up to pull him down

“I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it Pugo, Nebun can’t finish a sentence without noting someone’s tit’s or dongle, or vugu,”

Pugo slowly sat back down “No one insults the Princess, not no one,” this was the fanaticism that had confirmed Chillum’s suspicions. 

Pugo had been a thug, typical goon involved in standover tactics in the under levels to support his ill Gilliand partner during the Clone wars.  Now he had a legitimate job, and more importantly Princess Mira’s Family Support Act with its free health care and three years paid maternity leave for female sentients had meant his partner now got the medicine she needed for free – a good policy to be sure, but it made an increasing number of the beneficiaries like Pugo blindly loyal to the new regime.

Kol settled back into the nightly banter over their free dinners…right things, wrong reasons.

<<<>>>

There was no point in keeping the meeting secret, workers were free to mingle and come and go as they pleased after all, so they met in his apprentices barracks on the southern edge.

Ka’ah’re’Mack, or Karmack, had done a good job fitting in with the crews, kept a low profile and done his master proud.

“So what have you found?” Chillum hoped on the empty bed across from Karmack

“The Obroa-Skai teams uncovered something toward the centre of the excavations,” he leaned forward with an intent expression

“Called in the Praetorian straight after and the Clones cleared out the workers from that grid, ‘sensitive relics’ they said, I managed to get close to the barrier bringing down a column, and found this,”

He pulled out a small folded cloth, within a sparking ling green crystal –Kyber by the looks,

“The Spire…they’ve found it,” Chillum noted

“Then we don’t have much time,” Karmack replied, “We should go tonight, I can swap shifts with some guys on Isk shift easily to get us in,”

“Clam boy, think this through…they just found it, they’ll be extra attentive for the next few shifts at least,”

“But if we wait it might all be gone!” his apprentice protested “We can’t let those monsters get into the Spire!  They’ve already torn the Temple down, dozens of shrines, they can’t have that too!”

He still had all the energy and righteous fury of youth Chillum noted…right intent but wrong reason, the Praetorians were certainly not the benevolent guardians they claimed to be, but to write them off as monsters was to be just a myopic as Pugo was fanatic.  There was more to them than anyone knew.

“And what would you do boy if they stopped you?  You going to take on a Praetorian alone?”

Chillum was under no illusions that eventually a Mak’tor would end up on the wrong side of a Praetorians blade – but before that happened they needed to learn lots more about them to stand a chance – the rumours and scattered rough shot footage from Operation Clean Up couldn’t all be genuine, but even so it was terrifying enough to give the Council of Balance a lot of food for thought, and though they wanted to recover what they could before the ancient mount and Jedi Temple was demolished, their instructions were clear – no risking an engagement.

Karmack looked down deflated

“Son it’s easy to get into a fight when you have right on your side – but it’s a lot harder to get out of it again,”

Laying a hand on his shoulder he sympathized with the young man, the galaxy was changing fast - too fast - it was easy to get caught in the current and swept away.

“So let’s come up with a plan,”

<<<<>>>>

Karmack bristled at the Announcement at the start of the shift

“The Time is Now 10:00 Shifts Forn, Grek and Herf Have now begun, Gloria in Excelsis Imperator!

Gloria in Excelsis Imperator!” the call came back for nearly three quarters of the team he was in – didn’t they realise, - couldn’t they see how they were being manipulated – or did they see nothing past having full bellies and a few credits in their pocket.

He shuffled along to the next area for demolition, setting about with the grinder tearing down what was once a cloister of a monastery or abbey.  All this destruction just made him angrier, the Empire was obliterating the history of the Jedi, the Gray orders and the lost Kings of the Mount before that.

“This one next,” called the high pitched strange accent of the Forewoman pointing to the nave while a Rodian proudly stood beside her and two other engineers plotting out the demolition.  Karm hummed a quick sensory expansion tune to pick up her voice over the constant clank and drill of the past being swept away.

“…then the main pillars, it is of no value, but pay careful attention to the main altar, they sometimes buried trinkets beneath it that might be of value, Fendo I leave you in charge of this,” she noted before wandering off, he Rodian looked a head taller brushing stray dirt off the small pin that showed he was a trainee engineer now. 

Karmack sneered, that Rodian had been one of the loudest voices proclaiming Glory to the Emperor in the Highest in his wheezy voice.

“Yeess Goob, Ebryone bet us wbork Harb to cleab ib out Veeerrr Safeee!” he squeaked adopting attempted basic instead of Huttese before setting about with his surveying device to scan the nave columns.

Karm kept trudging through hauling up old pieces of pavement onto the anti-grav skips that were pushed about by other workers- they could easily automate it all, but were so intent on winning people over they had them doing menial tasks. 

He hauled the last piece that would fit in with a crack and spray of old dust that smelt of moss and dirt.

“Thanking You!” said the excited Gotal who thought himself a King pushing the cart of rubbish around. 

Loons, absolute loons Karmack once more snidely thought.  These weren’t really jobs they were patronizing handouts, he’d heard on M’Tzigon it was happening everywhere too, people dislocated after Operation Clean Up - more like Kill Up – were gathered into work teams and sent to battlefields and war scarred cities across the galaxy to clean up after the Clone War. 

It was sick, they were using war reconstruction projects to create armies of fanatics, and being thanked for it!

As the anger rose Karmack belatedly tried to calm himself with a steadying flow of energy – balance he needed to find balance amidst the tumult.

Sometime as he worked he would imagine scenes in his head, himself clothed in gray songsteel armour facing down armies of Praetorians, the one who could bring peace and justice to the galaxy…Chillum would always tut at his ‘youthful fantasies’…easy for him…Karmack had been ‘too young’ to be involved in the Mak’Tor actions in the Clone wars in any real way, he felt if only they gave him the opportunity he could’ve shown them….he knew, just knew he had so much potential….

Over the next hour he tore down the once proudly fashioned cloister, filling the Gotals rubbish cart three times.  Slowly he was working toward the new dig zone, half a dozen Clones standing silent guard about it.  A small group of Archaeologists along with the forewoman approached, followed by two Praetorians.

Damn they’d left it too long, Karmack knew this would happen, Chillum was being too cautious!

“Ah Mi’ke! Lobs of goob work Mi’ke!” Fendo surprised him

“Huh, ah yes, Glory to the Emperor!” Karmack replied in a flurry
“Yeb Much em Glory! Shift is nearly done, yob can pab up,” The Rodain gave him a pat on the back –

Thinking fast Karmack took his chance, turning into hug the stunned Rodian

“Gloria in Excelsis Imperator!!” Karmack cried as the Rodian struggled against his enthusiastic embrace – just to add to the disturbing ambience Karmack quickly pecked him on his leathery cheek with a kiss.

“Gloria in Excelsis Imperator…” Fendo replied before nearly tripping as he backed away quickly.

Karmack gave him a huge smile and provocative wink to add to the troubling scene, in Karm’s left hand the Rodians Engineer Ident Badge – and the zone access that came with it.

<<<<>>>

Across the ruined monastery Chillum heard the call

“The Time is Now 10:00 Shifts Forn, Grek and Herf Have now finished, Gloria in Excelsis Imperator!

Gloria in Excelsis Imperator!” he called out amidst the row of workers who had spent the entire 5 hour shift discussing how wonderful the Princess’ new proposals to the Senate for universal life insurance were – the proposal would insure every citizen of the Empire in effect with a payout to their families on their death.  For the poor he worked amongst this could really take the sting out of the loss of a bread winner, a wonderful idea Chillum had to admit…but once more it was the right thing for a very wrong reason.

He looked across the workers who were packing up under the watchful gaze of the Occupational Health and Safety Reps in bright yellow vests, ensuring all equipment was safely stored and checked.

Yet he couldn’t see Karmack amongst them,
“Where is that boy…” he expanded his senses and met…
Nothing…a moving nothing

Six clones were escorting a mobile device down the rock cut ramp toward where they thought the Spire was – and whatever was on that grav sled was creating a dead zone in the force. He looked across to the spire area where a young man was edging toward the laser wire section barrier.

“Stubborn Mack!”

<<<<>>>

Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 334
Posts: 1689



« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2019, 03:40:43 PM »

The Right Thing for the Wrong Reason
Part 2

Of course they were doing it at change of shift, what better way to hide their plans.

The Next shift wandered in, as he crossed the thin surveying laser that separated the dig zones. 

With Fendo’s pass it chimed a briefly affirmative signal and he was in. 

Approaching from behind he mingled at the back of a small group of engineers as they waited on the Clones brining down a number of grav sleds, some empty some with strange devices on them.

“Arrange them around the entrance, begin propping the shaft.”  Just another one of the engineers Karmack kept his head low and worked studiously along with the others setting supports on an entrance way. 

It was tiring work after a full shift already, he started a healing…

There was no Song…
The Force was…
Gone
What sick twisted game were they playing, supressing the energy of the Spire – no doubt to make it safe to plunder and demolish it.

“You all right?,”
Karmack nearly jumped out his skin as a hand was placed on his weary back by a concerned looking Phindian.

“Fine…yeah fine…just…long shift,” he paused looking around and thinking fast
“Hey do you mind taking this beam, my backs gonna give out, I’m happy to take those cases instead,

“Yeah sure,” the worker replied eager to help,

“Just take them one by one inside,” he pointed a gangly digit toward the entrance covered by clone troopers,

Hefting up one case Karmack smiled and headed straight toward the entrance way, old pottery sharp underfoot, confidently he strode toward the small group of clones, noting the intricate carving around the entrance to the shaft they had opened was covered in old runes that looked familiar, he had seen them before in his studies of Mak’Tor history but wasn’t proficient enough to read them.

His heart beat harder as he got closer…just behind those white armoured goons could be a store of valuable Mak’tor relics, tomes, manuscripts, lightsbares…and he could be the one to secure them from the hands of this twisted Empire.

He swallowed dry as he got closer Maker don’t let them stop me…

One of the Clones adjusted his rifle strap, another tapped his helmet…everything seemed to be in slow motion as he approached – Karmack could feel the breath held in chest itching to escape and reveal him.

The Clone with a red streak on his helmet looked him over, noted the case, then stepped aside

“Head on through, take the first right follow the red guide lights,”

Still holding it all in Karmack stepped forward into the dusty tunnel, turned right.  Then near fainted as he let his breath out.

He was in.

<<<<>>>
He got as close as he could, mingling among the coming and going workers, but without a pass he couldn’t get into the more restricted zone…

Stubborn Mack how’d he get a pass….

Chillum’s finger twitched under his baggy work clothes, the sabre concealed within as he considered just how much of a lecture to give the boy…his heart was in the right place but he was just too rash about it.

But he could worry about the dressing down later, for now he just hoped Karmack kept a low profile and didn’t try anything…
<<<<>>>

The wrongness was overwhelming.

This cave…those crystals should be alive with light and song he knew…yet under the suppressive devices of the Praetorians they were dead and quiet, the plinth in the centre heavy and unmoving.

Karmack tentatively followed the three other workers placing their cases to the side, noting one Praetorian standing beside an unusually black object on a grav sled, and a young woman jotting notes on  data pad with one hand a strange orb in her other hand.

But his eyes were drawn to the central plinth…something was…beneath the stone…calling to him…

Even though the Force seemed absent here…there was something deeper…older than the stars that cared not for the petty tools of this Empire which was mere dust on it age.

He stepped forward hardly knowing what he was doing

…….Ka….

The word was in his ears…not behind his eyes somewhere

Kar….

Kadyn noted the odd human worker walking toward the spire…and felt movement in the aether….

Movement that shouldn’t be there. 

They had set up Null Pillars to supress the power of the Spire’s Crystals while it was moved in accordance with Warmaster Valens instructions – the Legendary Elder Guardian had been here centuries before, destabilising the planets Aetheric flow as part of a long term plan to create a so called ‘dark side’ taint to limit the Jedi’s powers and perceptions, one the real Palpatine had unwittingly benefited from.

Karmack…

He was almost an arms length from the pitted ancient stone, strange symbols not there before glowed along its length.

Karmack…we choose you to restore the balance…

The words were not an offer, not a request, but an inevitability etched into his very destiny.

Even as Kadyn stepped toward the teenage human male the front of the Spire began to lift, Jisaea collected data on her orb turned as well,

There were three hollows in the monolith that was revealed, only two were filled, the missing one absent the so called Light Crystal Valens had destroyed centuries ago…the remaining two were known in Mak’tor Prophecy as the Dark and the Gray – a trinity of so called balance.

Despite the null fields the crystals still glowed, cracks in the Null pillars formed - their suppressive power in adequate against the build-up.

Karmack had never seen such beautiful crystals…the Red and orange pulsing…and more than that he had been chosen to save the Shrine, to bring Balance to the Force, and yes surely that must mean to destroy this False Empire and it’s horrific Praetorians he convinced himself oblivious to the Dark side energy of the Red crystal that had no balance in Light.

“Get away from….” Kadyn’s words ended as a blinding flash slammed him back, the entire cavern rumbling. His Mark 7 Blackstone Armour more than able to compensate for the buffeting into the dull clusters of crystals in the wall that shattered on his overly heavy impact. 

The Crystals left the Monolith as the Null pillars shattered and Jisaea squeezed her panic ring with her mind to alert the others.

<<<<>>>>

The entire excavation site began to rumble, sections fell into sink holes in the near twenty kilometre wide pit to his left taking workers with it in screaming horror.

Dust plumed in towers as tall as the skyscrapers around the former temple precinct, LAATs overhead wove and dodged…

Yet this was all secondary to the explosion…no…Release of Force energy Chillum sensed from the cavern Karmack had entered.

There was no time to think, he had to move, as the Clones rushed inside he leapt the laser fence, the red alerts shrill tone lost to the crack of rock and shattering scaffolds as he lit his sabre.

<<<<>>>>

The Crystals hovered above his hand, filling him with power, in that instant he felt he could lift the very galaxy with one finger.

Kadyn quickly recovered, the signal already sent more forces would arrive soon, the teenage boy was staring at the crystals, the imbalanced emotional content of the ‘Dark Crystal’ feeding into his youthful fantasies of glory and conquest…the boy was barely twenty, only human, too young to understand the forces he was dealing with….

Kadyn had to end this swiftly.

Like oblivion lightning he struck forward in a smooth motion pulling hi Blackstone sword in a graceful arc that slammed into an invisible barrier about the boy.

Suddenly aware of the threat Karmack looked up and grabbed the crystals in one hand his sabre in the other.

With a heated anger at all the Praetorians and their so called Benevolent Empire stood for he pushed with the Force at the warrior who was bouncing back from the deflection.

Another kinetic blast slammed Kadyn across the cavern, the aetheric power too strong for his own kinetic shield or Blackstone armour to absorb – only those crystals could give the human such power.

Jisaea understood just as well, shikkar daggers spinning from hidden pockets in her trousers, lighting from her finger tips that arced harmlessly off the instinctual power the Crystals offered Karmack.

Noticing the woman he turned on her – the face so similar to the detested Princess Mira, the sweet voiced bitch manipulating and twisting people to her will…

In the righteous red haze of youthful fury Karmack imagined it was the Princess and the Empire with it he was killing.

<<<<>>>

Blue blaster fire shattered against his blade as he swept through the Clones – in the panic they had reverted to shoot on site leaving Chillum no choice. 

In a swift pirouette he moved though the three of them severing limbs and head with his sabre, knowing full well the implications, yet he had to get to the Spire, to his apprentice before….

As he rounded the corner breath already ragged from the throat choking dust the cave in’s had yielded he saw he was too late.

Karmack stood over bleeding young woman on her knees, cruelty on his face as if every check and balance on his rage had been broken, his sabre swinging down to her neck, the yellow encased by glowing furious red from something he held in his off hand.

He didn’t just cut into her throat which resisted with unusual strength against the energy blade – but her mind – in the fluid waves of the pulsing dying song he heard the voice, the intent, the TRUTH.

The Praetorians were not human, not even meta human – something…better yet terrifyingly worse – and they would hold every thread as the galaxy burnt in war seeming without end, a wildfire blazing white with heat around the core, yellow and wicked down the galactic arms. 

But no fire lasts forever, soon the fuel – the bodies of every race Karmack had ever scene and some he not, were spent, the inferno turned them to cinders.

Then Silence

Quiet

A galaxy turned dark except for a small flickering light in the centre where the Daemons returned from whence they came to a life of peace and plenty, at last feeling safe behind an adamantium wall of defences around the galaxy.  Their peaceful perfect lives bought at the price of the genocide of Every. Other Species.

And they didn’t care – they just didn’t care – he stood upon the mountain overlooking half a dozen valleys of small farms between rich forest, laughter and joy, peace and plenty, the Outsiders a myth relegated to stories to entertain. No guilt, no sense of remorse, just joy.


It was a heaven for a pagan tribe, it just waited for the galaxy to eat itself in war first – it had almost done so in the Clone Wars, but more was needed – and they were more than happy to guide it.

His fury rose to new heights…then he saw the quivering frightened woman’s face
I did that…

The impulse so deep in him to kill, to harm died and was refilled with regret.

He fell down to his knees as the body before him dropped absent a head.
<<<<>>>>

He would more than Die….

Kadyn would kill him yes, take those crystals that had given him power to kill a real Person off him…but then…

They would resurrect him…and kill him again…and again…and again….until every star in the universe died – such was the punishment for harming a Female.

His muscles tensed and ready as a heady mix of combat hormones flooded his system, switching off emotion and pain sensation and enhancing cognitive speed, perception and physical strength and speed by half, he rushed forward blade craning toward the weak human skull.

Chillum’s blade sparked in defiance against the blow as the fractures in the rock ceiling grew larger and larger.

A swift punch Chillum barely dodged slammed into a falling piece of the mountain shattering it with explosive force.

“RUN!” he yelled to his apprentice, no time to counsel him or ask what had happened.

Karmack’s glazed eyes suddenly registered…Chillum’s blade was flashing white, spinning in defensive circles against a living shadow that would inevitably win.

Chillum could not hold the Praetorian long, already his arms were pained, legs sore, the weight of each blow was like a slab of ferrocrete, the Force, the Song was hammering through him at an inevitably fatal level just to keep up.

On jelly legs Karmack stood up, pained eyes looking to his master.

Run Son… the soundless words overtaken by the shattering of the roofs collapse as a tsunami of rock and rubble crashed between them.

Karmack ran.

<<<<>>>>

All is dust

Some descriptive words in an old psalm he had never really paid attention to before.

From dust are all things forged…to dust returned

He felt that dust now, choking up his mouth.  If there was one consolation it was that somehow Chillum had survived the cave in…

It was black though…he couldn’t see a thing, only feel the scratching dust all over…yet it felt…wrong…

You’re alert…good…now you can tell me where yor accomplice is
The words were not quite words, more like thoughts dripped into his head…he tried to speak but the dust was chocking him.
ccch…ccckk
“How long?”
“Perhaps a day or two, the stimulants should speed adaptation to the new environment”
Chillum could not hear them, could not see…for he hd nothing left to hear or see with.
Kadyn stood before the bubbling amnio-tube that contained the remains of the would be assassin.
The cave in had crushed them both, but Blackstone armour a kinetic shield and most of all Aethan physiology meant Kadyn had been dug out with only superficial wounds.

The human with only a dirty workman’s overalls for protection had fared less well.  The flagging shred of meat that comprised his body had been rapidly stabilised, the dead tissues beyond repair removed until only a half head brain and three quarters of a spine were encased into the amnio-tube then jump started back to life with a Shatterpoint healing burst. 

Whatever sensation the human body had last felt were now locked into its somatosensory cortex…most likely the crushing grip and choking dust of the collapse. They kept him ‘alive’, but not out of mercy…only intelligence – the right thing Chillum might say, for the wrong reason.

Speak human… Kadyn went on, his words translated to electrical impulses into the brains hearing centres
…tell me everything…

<<<<>>>>

Ragged, dirty and stinking he let the equally unkempt crowd move him onto the ship.

Everything after the collapse of the spire was a blur of running, hiding, panting for breath, sipping foetid stagnant water where he could, trying to think of a way off world…

He needed to get home to get…

You are chosen, you will bring balance…

The words no longer held the same glorious ring, they repeated painfully over and over a sting behind his eyes, an itch he could not scratch….

If Master Chillum were here he would tell Karmack this was what happens when you rush in.

Gulping down sweat drenched air he pushed into the overcrowded passenger compartment – standing room only for the four hour flight.

The sooner he got off world the better, the Council would help, would know what to do…and…

You must find the Crystal of light

..Maker hopefully rid him of this incessant demand in his head.

He felt the shudder of lift off through the press of the crowd…even if he couldn’t reach M’Tzigon at least he could get to a Healing Centre….they would help him…they had to he was an apprentice who had just lost his master – finding other knights to help was the right thing to do…

So why did the reasons feel wrong?

<<<<<>>>>
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

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« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2019, 11:32:16 AM »

...Poor Chillum.  Really makes me think of a "fate worse than death."  Especially as he'll be used by those who will stop at nothing to root out and eradicate ANY person who is a direct threat of the Benevolent Empire.  I guess I should also say "poor Karm" as well...

I really like this setting; there really is just SO much potential as far as the Mirror Universe is concerned.  But just how is Karm supposed to fight against a galaxy under the thrall of Princess Mira...and her Praetorians...and...Others...  Wink

Can't wait to see where Karm heads next  Wink
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« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2019, 12:58:31 PM »

Nice...

The thread of Karmack restoring the balance of the Spire ... or more accurately the crystals that were placed there so long ago ... is a nice continuity thread.   With the two crystals recovered, the Dark and the Gray, plus the influence of the Ancient One, he will find himself driven in ways he cannot even imagine.

And having killed a female, the Aethans will stop at NOTHING to hunt him down.

And Chillum is the first clue to find him.   And he's one of the senior Knights.   What he knows will lead them to M'Tzigon and the Temple and the treasure hidden there...
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« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2019, 05:44:00 PM »

Thanks I was going for some continuity but with a twist, instead of being mature with the Light crystal, Karm is immature, lost his master and with the Dark one (and Gray but you know that's still overall more dark than light in his hands), so a way to see a very different side of his character.
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

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« Reply #37 on: October 18, 2019, 10:26:29 AM »

Exactly.   This would be before he had to make that very critical choice that shaped his light vs dark views as a young man.   With this change he could become VERY different.   Especially if you add in that dark, stubborn MACK streak...   :-)
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« Reply #38 on: October 18, 2019, 12:24:17 PM »

Exactly.   This would be before he had to make that very critical choice that shaped his light vs dark views as a young man.   With this change he could become VERY different.   Especially if you add in that dark, stubborn MACK streak...   :-)
Oh!  Oh!  I can almost picture it...Karmack as...

A DARK SINGER!!!

OMG, now I REALLY want for LSG to continue with this characterization  Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2019, 02:08:02 PM »

Karmack as a dark singer....

I wonder how the entities inside the AO will react to that...   Oh my....
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