Vague details of Kooki’s latest mission were on the screen of her datapad. She hadn’t even received the intricate details and was already infuriated. She had requested a thousand credits to ‘cover her expenses,’ yet Marick had declined. The datapad had been thrown far onto her bed, displaying the refusal in patronising text. It was a good thing the Warrior enjoyed going undercover…
Kooki sat drying her freshly highlighted jet black and electric blue hair on the end of her bed. She held the holocomm in the palm of her hand as a ghostly, grainy image flickered into existence. An unknown person kept their message succinct and simple…
“Miss Starva…Meeting at 2200 hours. Past the cantina, down the alleyway and under the second bridge you come to.”
As quick as it appeared, the image vanished…
Kooki glanced over and realised she had two hours to get herself changed and to the specified location. The twins were already sound asleep and their little poppers on their sleepsuits moved up and down carefully with each tiny breath they took. Her daughters were a few short weeks away from turning a year old. And what a year it had been. The sentimental mother looked at the mantelpiece and saw an array of photographs capturing a select few of some momentous occasions over the preceding eleven and a half months. She smiled. Once changed into a fresh outfit and blowing her daughters’ kisses, Kooki quietly snuck downstairs.
Andrelious, her spouse was casually spread out, lounging on the couch in front of the open fire. The flames were licking the sides of the fireplace and slowly warming the air in the spacious living space. Upon hearing footsteps, the Warlord poked his head round the side of where he was sat and acknowledged Kooki’s arrival.
“Off anywhere nice, love?” he asked inquisitively.
Kooki merely smiled and tapped the side of her nose.
Andrelious quickly realised she was off on a mission. Most likely undercover, hence her deliberate avoidance in telling him her whereabouts. Predictably she put her two fingers up to her eyes and pointed at the slouching male. He knew what her paralanguage meant. Just as she left, the letterbox pinged and a blank purple envelope fell onto the doormat below. Typically it contained a letter detailing Kooki’s top secret mission details. She always had this escape clause just in case things were to go awry her whereabouts were known to her loved ones.
[B]Top Secret Location
Kooki stood with her back against the archway of the bridge. She was almost invisible lurking in the shadows. Before anyone could be seen a smell of cigarillo smoke hit Kooki’s nose. The grey smoke floated in mid-air and the only light came from the smoker’s bad habit. The hooded figure’s face only became slightly visible when they struck a match and ignited their cigarillo again and puffed more smoke into the cool night air surrounding the duo. Kooki couldn’t help but cough slightly as the smoke tickled the back of her throat as she opened her mouth to speak. Before she could even say a single word, the tall cloaked figure whispered deeply.
“Miss Starva, I presume?”
Kooki nodded quietly, acknowledging her alias.
“As we understand it you be a Rogue Jedi, straying away from and seeking revenge on the Brotherhood?” the stranger began.
The female Sith once again nodded.
“Goooood. Then you will be amongst good friends here, lovey. We ‘Blind Seekers’, seek through the darkness to find necessary information and put it to better use, whilst earning a fair amount of money along the way.” He continued.
Kooki was finally able to speak.
“Sounds like a good plan. After all what use is information to such a pool of corrupted people anyway? Information in the wrong hands can be dangerous.” She stated assertively.
“Precisely. Miss Starva, something tells me we are going to get along fine…just fine!” replied the stranger.
Before Kooki could ask for directions to where she was going to have to go to meet with this peculiar group of people, she was simply told to follow.
A walk past the bridge and through some long overgrown weeds followed the brief conversation. As the undercover Sith was attuned with nature and familiar with the ancient art of foraging, this rural venture was nothing out of the ordinary.
Eventually the pair of them came to a rusty and aged manhole cover. Kooki looked around rather puzzled at where she was expected to go from here. She cocked her head in slight confusion towards the hooded stranger and the only response she got was a hand emerging from a black sleeve and pointed at the manhole cover at their feet. A sense of unease loomed. The hand clenched into a fist and knocked a rhythmic sequence. After a few moments another cloaked figure emerged from under the metallic cover. Without a single word exchanged between anyone, a finger gestured the two outside into the cool, damp pipework and they began traipsing through underground.
The temperature dropped and the grey cylinder pipes around Kooki were slowly dripping with unpleasant water. These were clearly once sewer pipes, but had been long abandoned for many years. Venturing through this cleverly hidden hideout was a unique experience for the Alderaanian. The pipes were rather wide and cloaked figures were sat adjacent to one another, each working hard on datapads. Weirdly, barely any communication occurred between characters. The eerie silence created a disturbing atmosphere deep underground. Without looking up they all nodded, almost simultaneously.
Once deeply inside the underground pipes and passed all the figures, the stranger Kooki had originally met had stopped.
“So Miss Starva. Welcome to ‘The Blind Seekers’ where we seek for secrets of those blinded by corruption,” he stated stoically.
“Blinded by corruption,” came a hypnotic reply from the hooded people adorning the sides of the pipes.
Kooki was handed a black hooded cape, which was draped over her shoulders. The material cloaked her as it fell to her heels. The tall hooded stranger, who was clearly a leader of some sort leant towards her and picked up Kooki’s hood with both hands and covered her head.
“Welcome Sister Starva!” he boomed.
“Welcome Sister Starva!” replied the group.
“Show us what you are capable of in forty eight hours. Retrieve some key information and then we shall make you a full member. Then you will be one of us!” the leader continued.
“One of us!” echoed the others.
“The Blind Seekers!!!” shouted the tall stranger, reaching out his arms above his head.
“The Blind Seekers!!!” shouted everyone else, mirroring the exact same paralanguage of their leader seconds before.
It was clear there was some sort of weirdness beneath the surface of Karufr. The lack of eye contact. The dreary atmosphere. It was almost like something or someone had sucked the life out of these people. Something just wasn’t quite right.
Daybreak was dawning upon the upper surface of Karufr. The crisp early morning sun was beginning to ascend into the sky. The ground was still damp and the air smelt fresh. It was late in the year and nature was bursting with vibrant colours, as most vegetation was starting to die off for the year, ready to spring into life after the cooler weather was yet to cover this planet in the months ahead.
A juxtaposing sight lie beneath the manhole cover in the pipework. No one had any idea what time of day it was. The ground was damp and the air smelt similar and stale. It was late in the year and yet the surroundings were black, grey and dismal. No life of any kind was apparent, even those humans deep inside the pipework may have been alive, but weren’t living a proper life. And the months ahead looked to be no different.
Kooki awoke cloaked in her latest attire. The drowning black robes felt rather depressing, yet seemed to systematically fit in with her new environment. Not long after rousing, a datapad was thrust into her hand. The tall stranger stood over the female, causing a sense of unease. Kooki was never one to feel under threat, but this unusual being had an unpleasant aura surrounding him. He pressed his thumbprint onto the blank screen, causing it to spring into action. This too lacked any colour or excitement, let alone any motivation.
“Now get to work, Miss Starva. Time is not on your side and is running out!” he boomed.
The cloaked stranger pointed at a sand timer, which unusually had grains already trickling through it. Kooki cocked her had in slight confusion once again as to why it had already started.
“As you overslept you have forty-six hours!” the male retorted and stormed off, avoiding any further questions.
Looking up, all the other people captivated in this underground prison were all hypnotically searching for information to sell for profits. Kooki knew if she proved herself her ‘reward’ would be to become just like them. She was going to have to come up with a plan and fast!
The undercover Sith just sat with her hood up in a cramped posture and began searching through the information on the datapad in her hands. There were files containing pages and pages of colourless information and databases of contacts of who to sell information to and their prices. Admittedly there was some high prices for what seemed like pointless data and locations of Brotherhood information. Most of the data was clearly hacked from various paths and Clans within the Brotherhood. The fact such high amounts of money was exchanged for such things baffled Kooki. However, there was just something suspicious about one directory in particular. It just seemed so detailed and far more informative than other sections, but clearly was different to the remainder. This information could tear holes in the Brotherhood and Kooki had uncovered some rather unpleasant conversation logs between superiors and even some unsavoury photographic material that could cause a lot of trouble in the wrong hands. Clearly this had been obtained accidently when hacking in to retrieve the required data.
Kooki spent a couple of hours scouring through the explicit conversations and photographs, rather astounded by her accidental discovery. She knew communicating with the people involved would now forever be very awkward. She glanced up and noticed everyone in this cult was already hypnotically working and hacking into multiple Brotherhood systems. The Warrior could hear distant muffled talking, but couldn’t identify any of them or what exactly was being said. Kooki slyly inserted a memory stick into the datapad she was working on and hastily downloaded all the hacked data she could in the limited time available. She made doubly and triply sure that the inappropriate information came too.
While the information was still being downloaded, an incoming message popped up…
I assume the latest databases were made accessible for you. I have since reinstated the protection shields against the data, so the rest of my associates believe the Dark Jedi Brotherhood to be victims of hackers. Your identities remain safe for now.
Another one of my men will arrive at 2000 hours with some passwords for you to access another database. However, I have heard through the grapevine an undercover agent is heading your way. She may have arrived already. Trust no one. She is a threat to you and isn’t one to keep her mouth closed. It has been brought to our attention that some explicit material leaked into one of the latest folders of information we sent you. If this undercover female happens to find this, she could create a lot of problems for some members of the Brotherhood. She will claim to be a Rogue Jedi, yet she is far from this. She is very active and will destroy your cult and thus ceasing our business arrangement. So far I have hoarded the money we have divided.
Trust no one.
A trusted friend
Kooki was astounded!!! The Brotherhood were working WITH ‘The Blind Seekers’. The alcohol induced whispers and rumours seldom eavesdropped upon in cantinas back on Selen and sometimes on Karufr about the Dark Council and the Summit were true. Exact wording wasn’t always fully audible, yet some words stuck out. ‘Corrupt’, ‘leakage’ and ‘Summit’ were among the select few that Kooki seemed to recall.
Suddenly, the memory stick beeped. All the data was transferred. Kooki made a hasty decision. She deleted all the information aside the explicit material and a copy of the email that had been received, then deleted the original and removed all evidence of it ever arriving. The Alderaanian read and re-read the copy she had created. She knew there would be a loophole somewhere displaying clues of who this ‘SUVARP’ was. It was someone who knew her and vague details of her mission. There seemed to be no end to this corruption and people involved. Kooki sighed as she glanced down at her chrono and realised it was 1950 hours. She had just under ten minutes to decipher who or what ‘SUVARP’ was and time was running out. Logically it didn’t appear to be an acronym of any sort.
Think Starva, think! Kooki thought to herself.
With literally only three minutes and counting, Kooki immediately had a revolutionary breakthrough.
PRAVUS!! SUVARP backwards!!
Kooki quickly messaged the ACB staff that her mission was completed in record time and she requested a meeting in a few hours at her local cantina. She refused to go back to the Dajorra System. She put down the datapad with a thud causing the screen to crack. She stamped on it with her steel-toe cap knee-high boots and an echoing crunch resounded, as the hard drive shattered beneath her foot. The crux of the hypnotic cult was destroyed. All the datapads in the hands of the hooded beings scattered in the underground pipes began to malfunction and make ominous sounds. They also started to smoke as the hard drives began overheating and the cloaked humans dropped the heated devices almost simultaneously. Kooki raced round removing the cloaks of everyone and made a big pile of them and thrust them onto the ground, covering up the smouldering electronics. Once free of the cloaks, the humans instantly snapped out of their hypnosis and were all equally confused and to where there were and why they were here. However, upon noticing the burning smell adjacent to themselves, Kooki pointed at the manhole cover.
“QUICK!! Get out of here!” the female Sith screeched.
The large throng of people hastily exited the pipes that had been their prison for an unknown length of time. Just as the last person had left their underground captivity, Kooki too began clambering out. By now the destroyed datapads had ignited the cloaks and bright orange flames were licking the sides of the dreary pipework. The slight dampness was overpowered by severe harshness of the fire. Kooki was almost free, when she felt a grasp pulling at her ankle.
“You evil little Jedi!! You destroyed my life’s work. And now you will repay me…with your LIFE!” boomed the dark twisted stranger that Kooki had only met a few hours previously.
“No chance you corrupt bastard!” Kooki retorted.
“And that’s SITH, not Jedi!” she yelled, as she kicked her foot with such sheer force, that the steel-toe cap boot flung off and projected into the stranger’s chest, thus removing his hold on her ankle and causing him to tumble clumsily into the flames below.
Kooki quickly escaped the manhole and sealed the cover. She rose to her feet and led the group of people to safety. Once arrived at civilisation on the surface of Karufr, the Alderaanian’s maternal instinct kicked in as she arranged a large sized speeder to collect the group and to reunite them with their families as soon as possible. Once it departed from sight, Kooki headed to Spanky’s Tavern to meet with the ACB staff to announce her completion of her mission. She walked over to the bar and swiftly ordered an Ebla beer. The alcoholic beverage had never tasted quite so refreshing and well earned.
The Warrior glanced around and spotted two familiar faces in deep conversation. Upon her arrival at the table, the two Arconans looked up.
“Ah Kooki, mission completed in just over twenty four hours. That’s mightily impressive.” Celevon began.
Kooki just smiled rather smugly.
“So have you got our data back?” enquired Marick.
Kooki nodded and presented a memory stick.
“Most of it got destroyed in a freak accident I’m afraid.” She stated apologetically.
“Well at least it’s not in any danger anymore,” Celevon murmured.
“I did manage to salvage some very ‘interesting’ bedtime or recreational reading and viewing. It’s amazing what the filthy minds of the ‘gruesome twosome’ elaborate when given the chance. Almost makes me look virginal!” Kooki teased.
The colour drained from Marick’s face.
“Touched a nerve have I?” mused Kooki.
“Is it just them or is it a family trait?” she continued.
“Umm… How much was your expenses again?” the Hapan asked sheepishly.
“FIVE thousand credits!!” Kooki demanded.
“It will be in your account within the hour.” Marick muttered as he nodded and took the memory stick from Kooki.
With that the female smiled, got up, left the cantina and headed home.
Just before she arrived home she popped into a nearby shop.
“Ah Miss Mimosa-Inahj, what can we do for you?” the shopkeeper asked.
Without saying anything, she pointed at the black boots in the window display.
“Send the bill to the Antei Contract Bureau!” Kooki stated as she slipped the new pair of boots onto her feet.