[ACE - What Must Be Done] Team #DadSquad


(Atra Ventus) #1

Competition

This is a team entry for [ACE] What Must Be Done.

Objective

Second Mission
The Regent has been invited to a grand party on Nar Shaddaa, however he will be unable to attend due to prior engagements. However, it can’t be missed and he has sought out a small delegation to go in his behalf. You must travel with a BD-3000 Luxury Droid known as Ciri who you are not familiar with and will travel there on the Regent’s personal yacht the Exeter. Your team must attend the party and identify persons of interest who deal in Force artifacts and bring back references for follow up.

Team

Format: PIN - Snapshot


(Atra Ventus) #2

"Hey Ciri, I am your father."

"Excuse me while I jump from the maintenance catwalk into the air shaft and then get sucked into the gas shaft and then cling to a weather vane on the underside of a gas mining platform…metaphorically."

Atra Ventus blinked slowly, his black-gold eyes unwavering as he stared down the BD-3000 Luxury Droid that he had the misfortune of travelling with. The Grand Master’s Praetor worked his jaw from side to side and it was another long silence before he came up with another jab towards the droid.

“Don’t,” Uji Tameiki interjected, looking up from behind a holopad while refusing to shift from the chair he had claimed. “I think you’ve made your point.”

Atra sighed before acquiescing. The Umbaran wasn’t terribly interested in the droid itself after all, moreso the information it potentially contained. Ciri, as the droid was designated, served on the Exeter. The Regent’s own personal yacht. There was some history there, and Atra wanted to know what the droid knew.

Too bad his misfortune with technology persisted.

“She’s clearly defective,” Ventus declared with a grunt. He suddenly pushed off his knees and rose to his full height, glancing around the interior of the yacht’s lounge. Other than his periodic needling exploration of Ciri’s responses, the trip so far had been rather uneventful. To be expected, certainly, considering they had been delegated to ‘party detail’ in Evant’s stead and neither Atra nor Uji had a propensity for such.

Their third wheel however…

“If mom and dad are done fighting,” Turel remarked loudly as his head popped up from behind the lounge’s bar. “I have found a most impressive array of liquors.”

Tameike glanced towards Atra without speaking a word, though his expression took care of that. The Umbaran met Uji’s glance and gave a quick flick of the brow and an almost imperceptible shrug. It seemed Atra didn’t know what he had done to perturb the Deputy Grand Master—this time—but that didn’t mean much. Still, Uji had gathered Morgan and Atra exchanged barbs at every opportunity. Babysitting duty to make sure the Odanite Sorenn didn’t get into trouble seemed par for the course.

"Is that how you keep getting captured by the Collective? Their liquor selection?" Atra asked.

Turel didn’t miss a beat. “Frankly, I think they just miss all this.” The so-called Jedi—despite failing at every opportunity to live up to the ideals inherent in the name—gestured vaguely towards himself.

“I’d appreciate the chance to miss it,” Uji offered flatly, his attention back on the holopad.

"Aw, putting on for our company?"

Atra sighed audibly and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Ciri, eta?"

The lavishly designed droid turned just her head towards the Praetor. "Approximately eight standard minutes, sir. Would you like to know the local time on Nar Shaddaa?"

That wasn’t long at all. Definitely less time than the Umbaran had feared. “Unfortunate, Sorenn. Not enough time to ‘pre-game’,” Atra stated evenly, despite the faintly lilting accent.

“That’s quitter’s talk,” came the reply, eliciting another sigh from Ventus.

A sharp clack resounded as Uji placed the holopad firmly against the surface of the table he had been sitting at. "Must I remind you, Turel, that our task is not to mingle—" Tameike paused, somehow making the single word sound offensive to him. "This is an intelligence gathering assignment."

Turel groaned and propped his elbow between his cheek and the bar’s counter. “I know,” he replied. “Identify POI’s that deal in Force artifacts.”

Atra folded his arms across his chest. "It requires an alert mind."

"I know," Turel repeated, letting the syllables stretch through the air. "But, boys and girls, it also means not drawing attention. That means—" Turel gasped before continuing, "mingling!"

"Five standard minutes, sir," Ciri announced unbidden.

Ventus closed his eyes and let out a long, slow breath. Somewhere, Evant was laughing. The Praetor just knew it. This was going to be a long party. “What do we know?” the Praetor asked, turning towards Uji expectantly. The Magistrate met Atra’s gaze with brown eyes that looked dark against his scarred, tan skin.

“Invite only party on Nar Shaddaa,” Tameike began with almost droid-like alacrity. “Host is known as ‘Dakarus Thorne’. Information is short on the individual but it is strongly supposed that he has connections with the local crime syndicates. The same can be assumed for many of those who have been invited. Security will be tight, befitting the locale and the clientele respectively. Additionally, it would be safe to expect some Capital Enterprises presence.”

“Do you think he stopped to breathe, 'cause I didn’t count a single breath,” Turel posited.

Atra glanced between the two humans and then knit his brow together as he mulled the information. “I suppose it’s time to get dressed up.”

“Did someone say ‘dress’?” Sorenn asked all too quickly.

The Praetor sighed. Again. "Unfortunately."


(Uji Tameike) #3

The Minstrel-Class Yacht rocked slightly as the docking clamps settled into place. The three men and their accompanying companion droid stood waiting as the final preparations to disembark were made. The Umbaran stood at the forefront, clearly uncomfortable in the stiff formal attire covering his frame, while the two Humans accompanying him didn’t seem to share his discomfort.

“I just have to say it, you two sure clean up quite nicely.” Turel’s words were punctuated by a whistle of appreciation.

“Eyes forward Turel, we do not have time for frivolous pursuits,” Uji warned.

“I always have time to pursu-” Turel started.

“Enough,” snapped the Praetor at the lead as the ramp descended to the platform below their vessel. “This is already grating without hearing you two flirt.”

Uji barely contained a smirk as Turel’s eyes rolled in exasperation, though the two didn’t press further.

Below them, the valet and staff were waiting like vultures to collect them on the steps. Just as Atra began to descend, Ciri stepped forward and encircled a robotic arm through the Elder’s. The growl that act elicited went unnoticed in the noise of the surrounding environments. Nar Shaddaa was a vibrant and bustling metropolis, the sounds of the air traffic around the tower hosting the party were enough to cut off any further conversation.

Descending the ramp, they were quickly taken inside a long hallway leading into the spire that served as Dakarus Thorne’s luxury suites. The valet—a short, thin Rodian—greeted each of them by name.

“It is an honor to host guests of your standing, though our patron was disappointed that your superior, the CEO, would not be able to join us.” His words were punctuated by small bows as he walked quickly to stay ahead of them.

Shaking free from the grip of the luxury droid, Ventus turned to respond—no doubt primed for a sarcastic barb that would hurt more than it would help. Instead, Uji stepped forward to intercede.

“Our CEO extends his deepest sympathies for being unable to attend himself and has sent us in his place to ensure the prosperous nature of his arrangements with Mr. Thorne continue to be of benefit to your organization and ours.” The Human’s usually arrogant tone was replaced by one of a diplomatic nature and almost soft intonation. His movements also mimicked the Rodian’s as he bowed slightly while speaking.

“Of course, Mr. Thorne will be pleased to hear that and has expressed he wishes to speak personally with your group when the opportunity presents itself. For now please enjoy the entertainment.” The Rodian finished speaking as they reached the end of the hallway. A set of doors slid open to reveal a large ballroom set in the center of the building’s spire, overlooked by row after row of balconies on the upper floors.

Music played softly throughout the vast space, the volume perfectly pitched to allow for personal discussions while simultaneously muting the conversation of the various fellow attendants.

“Somethin’ ta drink, gentlemen?” a waiter asked as he scampered by, carrying a tray arrayed with various beverages.

Turel cooed slightly as he reached for the nearest, brightest drink of the bunch. Each of them taking a glass of something in turn.

“If’n yer interested, could get ya somethin’ a bit more if ya like?” the greasy voice continued

“Be on your way,” Uji warned, his tone of disinterest and mild threat enough to send the servant slipping back into the crowd.

“Much as I hate to leave you two, I believe this is where my skills come in.” Turel smiled charmingly at them as he slipped away, within seconds integrating himself into a small group’s banter and small talk.


(Kordath Bleu) #4

The so-called servant moved through the masses of fashionably dressed people. It was made up of the worst kinds of people; shadowy merchants, thieves, Hutt proxies, and agents of various nefarious groups.

No wonder I feel at home, thought the Ryn. He’d taken a foolish risk approaching the Brotherhood agents, but he just couldn’t resist himself. The trio had looked like a mix of ridiculousness, Uji and Atra uncomfortable while Turel was practically preening. Still…

Kordath Bleu caught a reflection of himself in one of the many mirrors built into the decor of the event hall. His red waiter vest over a white, long sleeve and buttoned to his throat shirt was uncomfortable. Tighter than he liked around his neck and shoulders. The black slacks were worse, he’d obtained them in a rush and hadn’t had the time to modify them properly. His tail was wrapped around his right leg inside the pant leg, making him shuffle awkwardly when not in a hurry.

He limped around the room, holding his tray of drinks up. His gray eyes roved the crowd, wishing he had an image capture device on him as he tried to commit faces to memory. Nar Shaddaa was close enough to Arcona’s home that a gathering of power players and artifact traffickers was worth investigating. His eyes skipped over a holo-display cycling through three-dimensional images of items that were on the market for the evening. It was unlikely most of them would be Force related artifacts, but enough information had come from Arcona’s intelligence network and the shadowy web of informants that the Krayt Cartel used to suggest some of them were.

Atra is gonna bleedin’ kill me, did nae know he was gonna be here, thought Bleu, glancing across the room towards the man. Uji may have dismissed him as a servant and Turel ignored him in favor of socializing, but he doubted Ventus hadn’t noticed him. Their Cartel connection was a double edged sword tonight. On the one hand, Kord was doing his part for the organization in trying to acquire items of interest. On the other, he had no idea why Atra was here and had failed to pass on the information about the party to him or any of the others. He had thought it a simple information gathering mission tonight. Identify some marks and maybe make off with a few small items.

The Brotherhood team would complicate things. If Atra was with Sorenn and Tameike, it was unlikely he was here on Cartel business. Turel wouldn’t pose much of a problem. While the man was perceptive and skilled at piercing illusions, he had no reason to expose Kord. Uji, on the other hand, had left Arconan space some time ago under less than pleasant conditions.

“Why does everything have ta get complicated,” muttered the Ryn to himself.


(Turel Sorenn) #5

“So then I say to the guy, ‘Let the Wookie win? You think I’m scared of a Wookiee? You should meet my wife!’” Turel paused for dramatic effect as the small group of partygoers erupted into laughter. They had no idea the punchline to the anecdote wasn’t a mere joke, he had witnessed his spouse overpower a Wookiee in hand to hand combat…in addition to other feats of strength.

A peach-skinned female Devaronian stepped forward from the group and gently took the Jedi’s hand, “Oh, Mister Sorenn, you are too much! If I could bend your ear in private for a few moments…” Turel cringed internally at using his actual name in a situation like this but that is what had been provided to Dakarus Thorne. Thanks Evant, he thought.

The Human raised the young woman’s hand and gently kissed it before bowing in an exaggerated gesture of gentlemanly grace. “Why certainly my dear, anything for a creature as lovely as yourself.” Turel had caught the Devaronian’s introduction to the group a few moments prior. Her name was Amaya and she apparently was the event host’s personal assistant. He was cautious as she had taken an unusual interest in him from the get-go, even though there were heavier hitters in Nar Shaddaa social circles standing next to him. Even ostentatiously representing Arx Capital Exchange as he was, Turel was—in the grand scheme of the party—a nobody.

Amaya wore a low-cut black cocktail dress and worked the exotic beauty of her race to its fullest extent. Black markings accented her face in intentional patterns on her cheekbone and forehead with two large marks resting where the horns would be on a male Devaronian. Lilac colored hair, gold eyes, and pointed ears completed the ensemble. Turel followed the young woman as she led him to a relatively quiet corner of the main room.

“You seem well-traveled and experienced compared to these stiffs,” Amaya cooed in a suggestive manner.

While he found the assistant alluring, Turel had no actual interest in her. He knew a honey pot when he saw one and this woman was over-playing her hand like an amateur. What was she after? He decided to play along.

“Oh my dear,” the Sentinel placed his hands on his chest in a gesture of feigned innocence. “I’m just a businessman here to secure new markets for my boss. But perhaps you and I could ditch this party for some more intimate negotiations.” As the Jedi placed his hands back on Amaya’s, his fingers brushed across an ornate bracelet on her left arm he hadn’t paid much attention to before. For the briefest of moments while there was physical contact between himself and the bracelet he felt a sharp chill shoot down his neck. He knew that feeling, it was almost like a surge of dark side Force energy.

Turel jerked his hand back without realizing it. Amaya seemed almost pleased at his reaction. “Is something wrong?” she inquired.

“No, I just got a shock from your bracelet. Must have been static or something.”

The Devaronian lifted her left arm up and brushed the jewelry with his free hand. “Oh this thing? It’s a gift from Mister Thorne’s collection. Would you like to see it? It’s in his private chambers.” The insinuation of ‘private’ was so ham-fisted it could have cold-cocked a Gamorrean. She was really bad at this.

“Lead on, my dear,” Turel replied coolly as he scanned the room for one of his companions. He needed to signal one of them he was leaving with this woman in case he didn’t make it back and needed a rescue. Finally, he found Uji glad-handing representatives, moving through the crowd smiling and greeting. Turel made eye contact and nodded his head toward Amaya, who was leading him out of the room by the hand. The Shadicar saw the gesture and rolled his eyes with a smirk.

“Well, at least he knows I’m leaving,” Turel thought as he continued into a dimly lit passage.


(Kordath Bleu) #6

Well, good on ya, Sorenn. D’know what yer Tree-wife will think about ya chasin’ tail but what do I know. Maybe ya gots an arrangement, mused Kordath, holding a tray of drinks up and wandering towards the back of the hall. Snippets of conversation and some intuition was leading him to believe that things of value might be had behind the scenes. The scattered holographic models of artifacts were nice to look at and all, but they weren’t exactly the sort of thing he could slip into a pocket.

Checking to see if he’d picked up any security types as an escort, the Ryn gently set his tray down on an end table that looked old and expensive, whistling quietly as he backed through a door. The din of conversation and music became muffled, and his eyes took a moment to adjust to the change in lighting. Turned down glow-globes on the walls were a good way to keep the more honest folks out of an area, an obvious ‘off-limits’ sign. From the occasional dark shape pressed into an alcove and quiet giggle or…other noises, it was also where those who wanted some privacy had gotten off to. Bleu shook his head in a rueful manner and moved on, padding through the shadowy corridors on quiet feet.

"Can I get you a drink, Mister Sorenn?" came a husky voice from one of the rooms he began to pass. The Arconan was brought up short, pausing to press himself against the wall next to the door, grinning to himself.

“Perhaps, though I thought you wanted to show me a…display,” came the Odanite’s response.

Kordath nearly choked trying not to let out a bark of laughter. The girl was trying hard, from what he could tell, and poor Turel was just along for the proverbial ride.

“Oh I’ll show you anything you wish to see, Mister Sorenn. The auction display for later is just the next room over, but it will be sometime before that begins yet. We have some time to get to know one another better.”

She felt off to the Ryn’s senses, but as it went, not his Bantha, not his problem. The comment about the auction chamber did not escape his notice either.

Good luck, mate, he thought with another grin, slinking off to check out the chamber.

He squinted as he reached the end of the hall, eyes roving for signs of occupation. It seemed devoid of droid or person, which was making his tail lash in nervousness. The lack of any kind of holo-cams was less a surprise; nobody that came to a black market swap wanted to get their faces on the screen. He crept into the room, feet placed with care, not taking the weight off his back foot till he was certain the bit of floor he was advancing to wouldn’t do something sinister. Pressure panels had caught the Ryn with his tail in the pot before as it were. He let out a sigh of relief when he reached a central dais, covered with items of wildly varying design.

Spike covered bracelets set on a small rack, though one looked to be missing, caught his eye briefly. He wondered why that looked familiar before his gaze was drawn to an inconspicuous cube, sheer of sides and only a few inches across in any dimension. His palms were beginning to itch as he kept up his survey, skipping across rust etched weapons that more than likely weren’t actually Force imbued artifacts, just something old that someone was foisting on wanna be collectors. A collar with spikes, similar in design to the bracelets, snared his attention before his eyes returned to the cube, his fingers unconsciously rubbing together as he focused on it.

This is recon, Bleu, yer not meant ta be grabbin’ up…much…tis small, innit? Who’d even notice it were gone, eh?

Kordath licked his lips, feeling his tail twitch and closed his eyes. He let his senses reach out, feeling the living beings around him. There were guards on the other side of the doors leading back to the hall; he realized he’d taken the long way around. Other than them, he felt nothing but those party-goers looking to spend time together, pressed into alcoves or behind tapestries. His ears warmed as he tried not to focus on the emotions coming from some of those couples. Or groups. His brow furrowed when he brought his attention towards the familiar presence of Turel and the unfamiliar one of the Odanite’s new friend, feeling a malevolence and danger from the woman.

Sorenn is a big lad, he can take care of himself, thought the Arconan, reaching out towards the cube. He paused, his hand just about to cross the threshold to the displays, and squinted at the table they were sat on. He squatted, checking under it, looking for cables or wires that might lead to a built-in sensor suite. When nothing showed itself and an itch at the back of his mind saying he should move on soon, the Ryn shrugged, stood, and snatched up the cube. He tossed it into the air, watching the thing spin like a die, the sides catching what light was in the room before settling into his palm, a self-satisfied smirk on his face. A loud, confidence shattering ‘click’ came from the table, a small bit where the cube had sat rising up; a depressed button he’d not been able to see with the artifact still in place.

"Oh no," he whispered, as the a sense of dread filled him. He could feel the guards outside the door become more alert, likely signaled by something he himself couldn’t hear. “Oh no, oh no,” he repeated.


(Uji Tameike) #7

Smile, shake another hand, laugh at an inane joke, agree that the current political crisis on Coruscant is distressing. Uji Tameike played the role to near perfection, his inner revulsion at the assembled masses hidden behind a controlled mask of presentation. He leaned on his cane out of habit, ensuring he garnered a sympathetic air and could more easily move through the gathering as others made way for him to pass.

Making his way up a winding staircase to the next level, the Augur leaned against the railing, taking a few moments to rest. Feigning further difficulty with his injury to buy time worked to perfection as several guests avoided stopping and proceeded past him. He shifted his gaze across the crowd looking for familiar faces. Atra had apparently drawn the attention of a small group who circled the Grandmaster’s representative. It appeared the Umbaran—despite his lack of social tendencies—was making due by mimicking the gestures of those around him and ensuring he kept his guest’s attention on one another.

Turel was nowhere to be found.

“Here is hoping his search proves more useful than wetting his wick,” Uji mumbled. However, his curiosity piqued and he expanded his senses, allowing the Force to work its way across the assembled guests, his monitoring subtle as to not draw attention from any other potentially Force sensitive individuals. A general feeling of anticipation and excitement, arousal and boredom in equal measure emanated from many of the guests.

Fear.

Off of the grand ballroom, his senses picked up a growing sense of concern and uncertainty. A mixture of emotions that—through the touch of the Force—felt all too familiar to him. Kordath. The presence of his close friend and former Consul struck recognition in him.

And in that moment, as the Arconan Consul began weaving his way back across the ballroom. Uji saw the plain-clothes guards moving to intercept him. They were unsure of his exact location from the looks of it but it didn’t take much probing to realize the security forces were tense, their anxiety and concern a sour sensation mixed with the medley of emotions emanating from the rest of the party.

”Do you see them?” Atra’s voice appeared suddenly as if the Elder were standing beside him, Uji glanced back to the Adept, who’s location remained unchanged and found him taking a long drink, his eyes meeting Uji’s.

”I do, it appears we have familiar company and as usual he has caused trouble.” Concentrating for several moments, Uji summoned an image of Kordath to his mind and wasn’t surprised to see Atra’s nod of understanding.

The bastard knew he was here.

”Yes I did,” Atra responded without the slightest regret.

With a small snarl of irritation, Uji slipped the cane off his arm and began his descent down into the ballroom. He’d lost sight of Kordath in the crowd, but his elevation allowed him to clearly see the security forces blocking each exit, including the exits to the kitchens and back rooms.


(Atra Ventus) #8

The word ‘unfortunate’ passed quietly between Atra’s lips, disguised as a sigh. It wasn’t exactly surprising that Uji hadn’t noticed Kordath there, despite the fact that the Ryn had served them shortly after they had arrived. After all, no one noticed the help. That is, of course, except those with a particular dislike for said help.

The Umbaran had quickly performed some mental arithmetic to factor in the Arconan Consul’s presence and his impact to the mission. It had not been an improvement, to say the least. And now, that change was making itself known in the worst way.

Atra eyed the crowd around him and made to excuse himself, nodding a farewell—similar to those he’d seen others doing nearby—and turned leave. Instead, he found a man almost as tall as himself blocking his path. A quick glance told the Praetor much. The man was older, wrinkles falling around his eyes and tugging at a jagged scar running from above his left ear and down his jaw. There was a vibrancy to his blue eyes that didn’t match his squared features and his hair was tightly cropped. A smile pulled at the man’s lips but never reached his eyes and a quick side to side flick of the eye brought Atra’s attention to what was quite obviously a guard detail.

“Dakarus Thorne,” the man offered by way of introduction, leaning slightly closer. “We haven’t had a chance to speak just yet, though I am saddened Mister Taelyan was unavailable.”

"Unfortunate," Atra offered again, disguised as another sigh.

Meanwhile, Kordath was continuing his rapid pace towards the exits, not knowing they were blocked. His short stature was a detriment in that regard, unable to see over the crowd. What the Ryn did know, however, was that he was being tailed. Kriffing great, he cursed mentally. He had to be just greedy enough to screw the whole thing. What’s worse, he would no doubt hear about it from—

The Arconan Consul stopped in his tracks, having first spotted Atra—pale as a ghost, tha’ one—and then Thorne and his detail. A quick flick of the Ryn’s eyebrows accompanied a low whistle and an about face, bringing him eye to eye with one of the plain-clothes guards. “Pay no mind tae th’ wee nyaff now,” Kordath mumbled while frozen, as if the stillness would disguise him.

It didn’t work.

The guard pointed straight at him, riot batton in hand. “Don’t move a muscle.”

Kordath’s tail immediately twitched and he offered up an embarrassed grin. “Abou’ tha’…” The Ryn wasted no time doing the exact opposite as he was ordered, and he wasn’t exactly subtle about it. He was already caught red handed, so to speak, so there would be no harm in making a bit of a scene. A distraction, if you will. And that’s exactly what he did. The Consul swiped a bottle of what appeared to be a particularly expensive wine off a nearby tray and tapped into the Force. He felt a surge of energy course through the musculature of his hands as he swung the bottle around and squeezed in one smooth motion. The glass gave way, shattering and releasing its contents across several patrons while a sizeable chunk of shrapnel gave a sudden and rather impactful kiss to one of the male guests. Kordath winced by way of apology. He wasn’t done just yet, shoving through those he had just harassed and driving an elbow into the slack jawed fellow on the way past for added measure.

“Dammit, Kordath,” Uji sneered as he picked up his pace, his cane clacking loudly against the steps. The man was sorely tempted to suppress Bleu’s abilities before they got him into even more trouble. That, however, wouldn’t really help anyone at that point. Uji watched from his descending perch, seeing the cascade effect of Kordath’s efforts with several patrons falling to the floor, others tumbling like so many dominos. Still, the Consul continued onward in a sprint for freedom. Towards blocked exits. Like a fool, Uji thought.

The kitchen exit was nearing view as Kordath weaved through the slowly exciting crowd, heads turning this way and that. A wave of relief threatened to wash over the Ryn. That is, until a large, red-skinned Devaronian stepped out with more muscles than he had a right to. That made Kord skid to a stop, almost tumbling over himself as he fought to halt his momentum.

“Frak! Tha’s a big—” The Devaronian chose that moment to heave a large power hammer into view. “—hammer. Oh hell.”

At the same time, air shot heavily through Atra’s flared nostrils while he tried to navigate the unravelling threads. Dakarus, the whole reason they were there, stood right in front of him and now the Praetor was going to be left with what would surely be a migraine. Thorne had only just started to discuss the particulars of his more noteworthy collections when the disturbance had begun. “Apologies, it seems we have some unexpected entertainment,” Dakarus started with a hint of sarcasm. He didn’t get a chance to say anything else as what could only be described as a high pitched squeal rapidly approached. The source unceremoniously landed on Dakarus himself while bringing down the pair of guards.

Atra stared straight ahead for a moment and merely blinked, as if weighing if it was worth acknowledging what had just happened. With his black-gold eyes half lidded, his jaw worked from side to side slowly, then the Umbaran tilted his head down to look at the Ryn currently contemplating his life choices.

"Kordath," Atra said, offering nothing more.

"Hammer," Kordath rebutted, blood dripping from the corner of his mouth.

The Ryn winced, feeling at least one broken rib, and gave a couple quick kicks to the heads of the guards he had landed on just to make sure they didn’t get up. Then, inhibited somewhat by the pain, he managed to climb to his feet on the third try. Uji pushed through the crowd at the same time, planting his cane in front of him with both hands pressed against it and exuding an air of disappointment. “I suppose it’s time we leave,” Tameike suggested as he correctly deduced there was no more to be gained by their presence.

The Consul winced again, this time from regret. “It’s not like I meant ta—”

“Huh…that is a hammer,” Atra interrupted. Both of the other men followed the Praetor’s gaze towards the oncoming large Devaronian, the patrons parting like a curtain ahead of him. Kordath winced, not wanting another taste, as he glanced between Uji and Atra. Then between the cane and Atra. Then just at Atra.

“Well, go get’em,” the Ryn said with a pointing gesture.

Atra tilted his head to the side and then turned slightly to look at the Ryn. Kordath merely repeating the gesture in reply. The Praetor sighed and rolled his right wrist, clenching the fingers and causing his own knuckles to crack loudly.

Then a nearby chandelier came crashing down upon the oncoming thug.

"Huh," Kordath said with a half-chuckle before looking at Atra approvingly.

The Umbaran’s lips were drawn thin with one eyebrow raised. His quick shrug clearly said, “wasn’t me.”

Before any of the three could formulate another though, a commanding voice boomed out over the crowd. “I simply cannot stand for bad manners at my party,” the familiar voice declared, yet it was distorted as if multiple voices were in unison. Turel walked confidently out of the passage he had first disappeared down. One hand was extended outward, Amaya’s bracelet now firmly affixed to his own forearm. There was a bit of a saunter to the Jedi’s steps as his hips sashayed from side to side. As he came completely into view, Turel jutt his hip out to the side and planted the knuckles of his right arm firmly against it while surveying the crowd. “Now then, who wants to have some ‘fun’?!”


(Turel Sorenn) #9

Kordath shifted his gaze toward the newcomer, immensely grateful for the distraction. For a split second he thought he had recognized Turel’s voice but where the Jedi should have been a fair-skinned blonde haired human female stood. This loud newcomer wore a low-cut black dress revealing her ample bosom and hugging the curves of her body. The Ryn would have been tempted to try some of the ol’ charm on this beautiful creature had he not been in intense pain. He reflexively reached out through the Force to ascertain the female’s intentions and felt power, dark side power. Kordath risked focusing further on the source of that power as he started to crawl away from the scene.

Sorenn? the Ryn pondered as he felt a familiar presence at the eye of the storm of dark side energy. It was Turel, but it wasn’t. In place of his normal aura imperfectly grounded in the light side of the Force it was pure dark and tainted with an insatiable ethereal hunger. Something was very wrong, this wasn’t a typical Turel illusion ploy. Kordath had more pressing matters to attend to, like slipping out of the crowd while all eyes were on the unfolding spectacle.

Atra stood firm in a posture of deliberate stoicism, watching Dakarus very closely and hoping the Arconan Consul could successfully evade detention. He had seen and heard the blonde human at first but after a few moments his highly disciplined mind began to recognize the telltale signs of intrusion and the illusion began to fall apart. The slightest smirk crept across his face as his gold tinted eyes pierced the veil and saw Turel playing the part of this femme fatale.

Uji shifted his position in the crowd slightly to place himself directly between Thorne and his Consul scampering to the side of the room. He glanced Atra’s direction only to see the Umbaran mouth “Sorenn” when their eyes met. The Proconsul sighed, of course Turel would be the one to make a scene. Though, smashing the thug with a chandelier wasn’t the Jedi’s typical style.

Amaya trailed behind Turel as he confidently strode through the room. “My lady, it is not time–”

Turel, under the veil of an illusion, cut the assistant off, “–nonsense! Why don’t you announce me to my guests.”

Thorne coughed audibly, drawing the attention of the room back his way. “I beg your pardon madam, but this is my home and I’m afraid I do not recognize you.”

“Amaya, if you would,” Turel stated in his disguised female voice.

The assistant paused for a moment glancing between her current employer and her true master. “As you wish milady.” She cleared her throat. “Ladies and gentlemen may I introduce her excellency Darth Vash.” A small murmur in the crowd erupted as few had heard the title Darth outside of the infamous Darth Vader. Was this lady for real? Was she an antiquities collector who developed a delusion of grandeur from her collection?

Turel bowed with a flourish, “thank you my dear.”

Atra continued to observe Dakarus who seemed genuinely irritated but not as confused as the rest of the crowd. The Umbaran made a quick mental note of their host’s suspicious reaction and turned his gaze toward the “Darth.” He had personally witnessed several of Turel’s illusion attempts and he had never seen the Jedi act so convincing. It was almost as if he truly believed he was who he said he was. The elder reached out through the Force and felt the same dark power Kordath had earlier.

The Umbaran’s mind raced with the possibilities. Had the Jedi been drugged? Mind tricked? Neither would have caused that large of a shift in such a short period of time. It was then he noticed a piece of jewelry on Turel’s wrist. The elder’s trained eye recognized the supposed jewelry was of an ancient Sith design. Possession? It was a possibility Atra was aware of with Sith artifacts, but a very remote one. Only a handful of artifacts were imbued with Sith spirits powerful enough to overwhelm the minds of those careless enough to handle them.

As Turel began to walk toward Dakarus, Atra reached through the currents of the Force and gave the Jedi’s leg just enough of a telekinetic shove to cause him to trip. When Turel fell forward and hit the ground Atra focused his own dark side energy on the bracelet and gave it a focused but powerful tug causing it to snap off the Odanite’s wrist. The artifact slid across the floor landing at Thorne’s feet.

Atra watched very carefully as the evening’s host stooped down to pick up the bracelet. He didn’t appear to have been affected by the artifact in any way. Dakarus turned to his assistant, “Amaya I believe this is yours.”

The female Devaronian sheepishly took the jewelry from her employer, “I, I, let this guest borrow it when–”

“–you’re welcome,” Thorne interjected. Amaya took the hint and stopped talking, a fact which did not escape Atra’s notice. It was obvious they were hiding something.

Turel began to stand up with a groggy expression on his face and no sign of his illusion. “What happened?I was looking at a display and the next thing I know…”

“That wasn’t very funny Turel, you really shouldn’t use holoprojectors for cheap laughs,” Atra scolded with a firm look.

After a pregnant pause Turel took the hint to play along, “holoprojector, right. Can’t pull one over on you.”

“You’ve had a little too much libations old friend,” Uji interjected as he motioned toward the door with a nod.

“Right,” Turel muttered, still visibly confused. “I have no idea what’s going on,” he whispered into Uji’s ear after the pair walked away leaving Atra alone with Thorne.

“We really should be going,” Atra reiterated with an icy stare. “It seems you have pressing matters to attend to,” he stated as he looked down at the unconscious thug.

“So I do. Please give your Regent my regards.” Dakarus turned toward Amaya and gestured for her to leave with him.


“I did what?” Turel inquired from within the safety of Evant’s vessel.

“Made a fool of yourself,” Uji quipped without a moment’s hesitation.

“Well you guys expected that, I mean the part about claiming to be a lady Sith lord.”

Atra stood looking out the viewport of the ship as hyperspace rushed by. “Apparently some of the artifacts in Dakarus’s collection were genuine.” The elder paused for a moment, “and they know it.”

“I don’t get it,” Turel mused. “Why would they try to possess me with some kind of magic bracelet?”

Uji sighed, exasperated, “a question worth further investigation, perhaps one we could have answered had we not been forced into an early exit.”

“Hey! It’s not my fault the mission failed,” Turel protested. “I’d say we learned quite a bit.”

“Indeed,” Atra nodded in agreement. The Umbaran smirked at the thought of the Krayt cartel gaining a holocron to their inventory thanks to Kordath’s almost disastrous interference. A holocron that conveniently wasn’t mentioned in his report to the Regent.