A read-only archive of discourse.darkjedibrotherhood.com as of Sunday May 01, 2022.

[ARC-COU-Allies] Estle City Run-On


The Events of this Run-On take place within Estle City. Any members of Arcona, Clan Odan-Urr, or other allies of Arcona are welcome to participate.

Estle City is the political, cultural, and financial center for the Dajorra system and its inhabitants. By far the largest city in the system, ownership of Estle City grants massive strategic advantage to whoever holds it. It has often been said that whoever controls Estle City controls Dajorra.

Estle City is built along the south face of a large mountain, named “Doto Peak”, with the Arcona Citadel built directly alongside the mountain. The Citadel is a fortress from which Clan Arcona administrates its holdings and the personal seat of power for the Consul. Forward of the Citadel is a large open area perfect for ceremonies and parades, and a long causeway which provides scenic views of the city and countryside.

The city itself consists of a number of tiered “rings” carved into the mountain and descending downward from the Citadel. The highest of these rings, the Huascar Ring, houses the city’s libraries, universities, and archives. Below this is the Sinchi Ring, which serves as the primary entertainment and commercial center of the city. At the very bottom lies the Capac Ring, home to the common workers and civilians and industry.

Quite frankly, the city has seen better days. Recent months had seen plague, war, open conflict between Arcona’s factions, leading to riots and worse. Many portions of the various rings are nearly uninhabitable and, though reconstruction efforts are underway, this has created a new conflict with the citizenry. The rings closest to the Citadel have received priority for aid and reconstruction while the lower rings continue to suffer from deprivation.

To make matters worse, the military has been absent in quelling the public unrest and unable to assist with relief efforts, as the conflict with the Collective has drawn the majority of their forces abroad. In these difficult days, it has fallen to the citizenry and a few outspoken individuals to try and restore order and well being.

But there is always an underbelly to these situations as well. Others are taking advantage of the situation, using the lax security in the lower rings to make a profit; raiding, looting, and worse continue to affect the citizenry day by day.

What part do you take in these events?


  1. For any post please provide a snapshot of your Character or NPC to ensure other readers have a clear understanding of who you’re writing as for the Run-On. You can make use of more than one character, though to avoid confusion try to limit it to a single perspective per post.

  2. Try to keep your posts to about 750 words max so as not to clog the thread — you can always write more posts.

  3. Do not double post (even if from alternate character perspectives) - make sure everyone gets the chance to advance the story or tell their own.

  4. Do not edit a post after someone else has posted and if you put up a placeholder, ensure you post within 12 hours of placing the hold.


Uji Tamike

The “office” assigned to the newly sworn-in representative was built into a former warehouse in the Sinchi Ring that had been repurposed into a staging area for supplies, equipment and medical relief. In truth, it was little larger than a storage closet with a single table, a few chairs and a holoprojector assembled above to display the city.

Uji Tameike watched the indicators on the holo display as one of his assistants, a Selenian woman in her mid thirties, recounted the day’s updates. His features were tense, jawline stretched taut as he ground his teeth slightly out of habit.

“Reports from the Capac Ring continue to suggest rampant looting and gang violence has continued to rise as neighborhoods run out of supplies. We had to withdraw the medical teams we had sent to the west sector after an attempt by citizens to forcibly take supplies,” the assistant continued to speak and Uji absorbed the information as he was beginning to plan the next steps they would take.

“We still have contact with the factory workers in that area, correct?” Uji interrupted before she could continue to the next report. He finally broke his eyes away from the table and looked at her, noticing the exhaustion in her stance, the dark circles under her eyes, and wondered when the last time the woman had slept had been. Most of his staff were volunteers or being paid directly from his own funds, his requests for further support by the Consul and Arcona going unanswered for the last week as other priorities arose.

“Yes, sir, a few of the factories are back up and running but many report being constantly harassed and many workers are practically living in the factories, as their homes are gone,” she spoke as she looked down at her datapad and quickly scrolled through a few screens.

*Tessen, that’s her name.” Uji grimaced that it had taken him that long to remember, his own exhaustion catching up to him.

“Good. I need you to do one more thing for me before you get some rest, Tessen. I want you to reach out to those workers, tell them we have fresh supplies coming in via Giletta port within two days.”

“We do, sir?”

“Private order from Ol’Val. They are not in much better condition than we are, but I asked for a favor from a friend and she promised to come through. Have them spread word: any citizen of any neighborhood found causing additional damage will be ineligible to receive relief, the same for their families - we will not tolerate this behavior any longer.” Uji sighed heavily. He knew the threat would only potentially discourage the regular citizens; those who had already taken to looting would likely make an attempt on the supplies.
Set the bait and if need be make an example of them. He knew the situation was a powder keg ready to explode more then that he needed people to help lighten the load.

Tessen finished her notations and nodded briskly before departing.

Uji lifted his own datapad, his thoughts tumbling as he considered what, if any, alternatives he had. Unconsciously, his fingers tapped through a list of contacts until with a sigh he sat to begin writing private messages to individuals he felt he could rely on within Arcona and even the more distant members of their allies in Odan-Urr.

Something had to be done and it was beyond his abilities. They needed people to deal with the gangs and the riots, they needed medical staff to supplement the local emergency services, and even more they needed to take the streets back so they could begin genuine repairs.



“Master, I have arrived,” the robotic voice of his droid came over the comlink. “And they want a fine before I leave the ship.”

“Wait in the ship till I arrive,” Blackhawk ordered

Blackhawk had sent his droid ahead of him with his fighter. With the announcement of Tarentum’s closure, Blackhawk elected to seek a home within Arcona. Now, he felt the shuttle he’d hired enter the lower atmosphere.

“Sir, we need a ten credit docking fee if you want to leave your ship,” a Duros man said as Blackhawk desended the ramp.

“Last I checked, there is no fee to dock here,” Blackhawk replied.

The Duros placed a hand on his blaster. “Pay the fee,” he ordered.

In reply, Blackhawk placed a hand on his lightsaber. “Give me a reason,” he sneered. Blackhawk could see the wheels turning in his head. The Duros weighed his options. Ultimately, he decided not to attempt it.

“Meatbag, they still there?” Blackhawk asked, heading for the next docking bay, where his own ship was parked.

"Yes, master. There’s more of them now. Four, Duros and a Bothan,"replied the droid replied.

“Wait till I get there,” Blackhawk ordered. "I’ll handle this.

“There appear to be some peacekeepers here, master, should I summon them?” his droid asked.

“I said I’ll handle it,” Blackhawk replied.

Blackhawk entered the docking bay a few minutes later.

“Hey!” Blackhawk shouted to the group around his ship. “What do you think your doing?”

The Bothan answered him.

“It cossstsss usss money to maintain thisss bay. A fee coverss the cosstsss fairly well,” he said.

“Leave my ship, or leave your lives here,” Blackhawk threatened. The Bothan went for his blaster, only to find Blackhawk much faster.

The Bothan went fown with a few swift body blows, gasping for air. He was out for the moment, but not for long. The Duros drew vibroblades and rushed him. Blackhawk stopped them in their tracks by drawing a lightsaber, the crimson blade coming to life before they could getvfive steps.

The lightsaber drew the peacekeepers’ attention. They advanced on him, blasters ready.

“Drop the weapon!” they ordered.

Blackhawk considered the order for a second. He looked at the Duros, then the peacekeepers, then back to the Douros. The Duros turned tail and ran. The Bothan stood up and left. With the threat gone, Blackhawk extinguished his saber, and holstered it.

The peacekeepers moved in and detained him. As easy as it would be to escape,Blackhawk decided it would be more worthwhile for him to let them take him in, at leadt for the moment.


Satsi Tameike

Uji Tameike

Giletta Spaceport


Zarseem Korr stared out at the ships coming and going from Giletta and grimaced around his cigarra.

The Zabrak wormed a few fingers under his leathers and scratched at his tattooed bicep. The spot he rubbed was still slightly raw, the blood-red ink fresh only days ago from where he’d gotten it inked at Wicked Sisters’ down in Capac. He’d never thought he’d end up with the emblem on his skin, but things tended to go unexpectedly around here.

Like when some crazy, scarred-up Human lady had waltzed into their previous gang’s bust job and karked it all up, shot the boss, and recruited them. Meeting his bosslady went pretty high up on Korr’s unexpected list.

“Rena,” Korr said into his wrist comm, other hand dropping from his arm to cradle his scuffed blaster in its holster. “You got that manifest yet?”

“Dockmaster was happy to share, Korr,” replied his gangmate. “Says his missus has a bantha roast coming our way if we get them seats at Sugar’s for their anniversary.”

“Done,” snorted Korr. “Hurry up. I want us settled before the evening shift comes in.”

“The one from Ol’Val, right? Registered as a…passenger visit, not hauling?”

“That’s the one,” Korr confirmed, recalling the information he’d been passed about the incoming relief shipment Tameike had organized.

“Coming in at Bay 016E. Want me to gather the guys up?”

“Yeah, I gotta comm the bosslady real quick. I’ll meet you there. Set up a perimeter, make sure the workers forget us.”

“They won’t say a thing.”

The connection cut, and the Zabrak changed channels, stomping out his smoke and reclining against a shipping crate. He watched the port around him warily in case any of the slimesuckers around the city decided another strike was a smart move.

He didn’t know why they would, considering the last time a little looting group was sent, his boss had shoot out their kneecaps with a scattergun, poured spice in the wounds, and had Korr and the others ship them back to their home turf in some tiny cantina, but who was he to argue with stupid? They were authorized to put plasma between eyes if it happened again, but the boss wanted them to drop fewer bodies.

A cry came from his comm, making him cringe, “…OW ALREADY, GET THOSE FRAKKERS IN FRAKKING LINE, HOW HARD CAN IT BE?! I am not here to negotiate— what?”

“Blood,” Korr greeted as she gave him her attention, sparing whoever she was screaming at. “We’re ready to get that shipment in. Lookin’ for that half-Ryn, yeah?”

“Yeah, Bones called in a favor.” There were some shuffling sounds. “Anybody so much as comes near that ship, you shoot them frakking dead. And feel free to rough up anyone else steppin’ out of line around there.”

The call cut off without any further word except for her to resume shouting at someone named Bly. Korr just shook his head. Blood was an interesting lady, interesting and sly enough that he actually liked working for her; enough to get one of the gang signs on his kriffing arm. Estle needed someone to hold it together, times like these.

And if her citizens were a little extra grateful for the protection, then, well, happy days for everyone…

Uji repressed a sigh as he answered yet another transmission on his holodisplay without looking up from his current readout.

“Report,” he said, and was greeted with an intimately familiar scoff.

“Top marks on appearance, poor grade for communications though. Yer impolite.”

“Shimai,” Tameike replied to his twin, looking up and arching a brow. Her miniature paced with her daughter on one arm and a datapad in the other hand. “What is it? Have you any more word on the resupplies I asked for?”

“Only got a sec, hon, can talk about that later. Jus’ wanted ta tell yah I got backup on tha ship the mutt’s bringing in.”

“What, Summit Guard? Is that the best use of resources?”

“Not…exactly. You remembah that gang I was tidyin’?”


“What? They can be helpful!”

“No, I have spent the last two months cleaning up this mess. You are not going to contribute to the problem.”

“I’ll only make a bit of a mess, an’ make sure the other gangs don’t push back yah progress.”

“I know how you are, Satsugai. It will not be a ‘little’ mess. When you pick a fight, you ensure no other fights will come of it, which means you will cause significant damage in the process to prove your point.”


“You already set something up.”


"Damnation, shimai."

"Relax, kyodai, I got it under hand. And they’ll answer to you, too."

“I am not trying to be associated with criminal elements for this reconstruction—”

“Yeah right, sure, I gotta go, bye!”

She disappeared, and Uji let out a deep suspiration.

Oh, well. He would adapt his plans to include his twin’s machinations accordingly. More bodies would not be remiss.

He hoped.


Atra Ventus

Sinchi Ring
Estle City, Selen
Arcona Space

Chaos reigned. Of that there was little doubt. Yet the Combat Master found himself trapped within that miasma, and it wasn’t even of his own making. At least if it had been, he wouldn’t have been so perturbed over the matter.

Instead, Atra Ventus was hiding out on one of the many rings of Estle City, holding a softly glowing datapad on his gloved left hand. The fingerless, black material contrasted sharply with his moon-kissed skin and made it seem to almost glow in the faint light. A message blinked on the screen. He had already been planet-side for his own reasons, but now Atra was receiving a ‘humble’ request of assistance.

A debt was being called in by Uji Tameike.

That, in itself, seemed odd to Atra. One would think that breaking an individual out of prison before requesting their aid would act as a give and take. The scales had been balanced. What a pain.

The Umbaran blinked slowly, his black-gold eyes glittering in the darkness, then he shut off the screen without granting an answer. A clamor of voices reached his ears and Atra’s hand rested against his hilt in preparation. It would be a simple matter to add more corpses to the pile, and their loss wouldn’t weigh on whatever conscious Atra might have. As luck would have it, the violence would be unnecessary. Instead, the rabble moved past just as quickly as it had arrived. Moving from one emergency to the next. Or perhaps causing a new one entirely.

You better be safe, Atra thought to himself. He pictured white hair and pale eyes. In her arms, opal eyes blinked up at him. Innocence made flesh. They were the only reason Atra had to cross the threshold into Arconan space. Their safety had been a promise between himself and the former Consul. The dead one. A pang struck him, sharp and fresh. Perhaps Atra should have had some sort of smug satisfaction. He had told Atyiru to her face that this clan of hers would be her death. And it had. Not in such a direct way, but the lines could be connected with a few logical conclusions.

In the wake of that loss and the assaults of the Collective—an enemy Atra had granted his entire focus during the events of Nancora—Selen had fallen to ruin. Actions had consequence. They had weight. Estle City had buckled beneath the heft that was the sins of Arcona’s past. The Combat Master wasn’t going to allow what belonged to him to fall as well.

The Combat Master allowed himself a sigh. He exhaled and it rushed through his barely parted lips as he pushed his senses outward. Atra made sure no one was nearby before he stepped out onto the streets. He let a hand run through his dark grey hair, the long strands falling back into place halfway down his cheek. Then he took a deep breath and pressed onward, looking to make contact with Uji while avoiding the situation around him as best he could.

At least that was one reliable contact, and he should be able to get Atra to Sildrin.


Kordath Bleu

I know, Bleu. Her words through the comlink had cut through the drunken haze he’d managed to get himself into while waiting for her to answer his call. He’d been trying all afternoon before he finally got through. Her first words spoken, there, had stopped his attempts at an apology, at begging for forgiveness, in their tracks.

I know, Bleu. She already told me.

Then the line had gone dead. Her voice had been strained to the breaking point, he could hear it. The fatigue, the sadness, the sense of the world they’d been building together falling down around her. Around both of them. He’d karked up, badly. And he’d known it when he was doing it, and afterward.

That had been…days ago? A week? He wasn’t even sure as he squinted up at the sunlight as he stepped out of the bar. Behind him, the obnoxious music thumped inside of Euphoria. It hadn’t been for that that he’d crashed the place, but the lax rules regarding other things. As he shook a cigarette out with shaking hands, he felt something loom behind him, prompting him to turn and look up. And up. To the toothy maw of the glaring Barabel bouncer. He held the cigarette up to the lizard.

“Got a light, mate?” he managed before the angry security worker shoved him out of the doorway and out into the street.

“Broke Rynsss do not have a place inside the club! Go and clean yourself up, Bleu. It’sss a disssgrace,” the Barabel shook his big head and closed the door.

“Frakker,” muttered Kord from where he lay in the road, lighting the smoke and sprawling out in an attempt to be more comfortable. People shuffling through the street barely spared him a glance; the streets were hardly safe even in the middle of the day such as now as of late. He blew smoke up into the air and struggled to his feet. His head spun. He lifted his coat and sniffed, gagging.

Big lizard mighta had a point. When was I last home? Frak it, can still run a tab up at tha Pub, m’sure.

Bleu stumbled down an alleyway, a shortcut he thought. Maybe. His feet guided him along, and he felt his mind wandering back to what he was avoiding. Her. Her face, her hair, her freckles, and the speckles that marked out her mixed heritage. He’d frakked up hard. If not for his daughter, safe and sound up in the Citadel, he’d might have done something rash by now.

What he really needed, he started to decide as he punched the nearby wall, scraping his knuckles raw, was to get in a fight. Or get his tail kicked, probably. He’d done a lot of stupid things since the Arconan fleet had come back from attacking the Suffering and he’d learned what had happened to Blinky. To Atyiru, he reminded himself.

Show some bleedin’ respect, Bleu, she’s gone. You was nae there ta help her, mighta been somethin’ ya could do. Then there was that whole…thing, with Zuji and the uh, heh…weird night that was.

He’d not coped well with the loss of his friend, or with the responsibilities that had been piled on his back. It was like losing Atts had karked his whole life up. He’d pushed Zuji away, he’d strayed, he knew she was hurting just as bad if not worse from the loss of her Master. He’d done a lot of things wrong the past two months. A swift kick in the arse and a beating would probably be prudent.

As he stepped out of the alley and into another street, he blinked. He was no closer to the next bar, but he did spot…

“Ventus?” he croaked, eyes trying to focus as he looked up at the taller man. Everyone was bloody taller. ‘Cept that cute wee lil’ Pantoran runnin’ about tha Citadel. She might be a fun one ta…stop it, Bleu, focus. Can nae be chasin’ skirts no more.

“Kordath,” the Umbaran said in a clipped tone, staring down at the disheveled Ryn. His nose wrinkled as it tried to escape the smell. “What?”

“I…I need ya,” Bleu swayed on his feet, lifting a hand and pointing at Atra. He tried to figure out how to explain succinctly that he’d karked his personal life up to the point that he needed help. Advice from someone he…somewhat, respected and trusted. Or Atra, even, at this point. How to explain that a good kick in the head might help straighten him out. How to — “ta smack me, I karke—”

The Ryn blinked, seeing stars as his tail hit the ground. He shook his head, hearing a high pitched squeal in one of his ears as he watched the big Umbaran walk away.


Satsi Tameike
Wyndell Tyris

Consul’s Office
The Citadel, Selen

Her communicator blared again.

Satsi groaned deeply, forehead pressed to the cool surface of her desk, hands clutching her hair. Each heartbeat was now accompanied by a throb that gave the ex-gangster sympathy for every mark she’d ever stabbed in the eye. And a little envy that at least they got to die.

Desperately, she smacked herself, but the new, brighter pain didn’t clear the cottony thudding in her skull or lessen the graininess of her eyes. She lifted her head, reached for her cup of caf, and whined to find it empty.

Damn Bly was ignoring her service requests now. “‘That’s not what I’m for,’” he said.

“‘Frak you,’” she said.

Had that been this morning? She couldn’t remember. She hadn’t been home or seen her family except for brief visits with her daughter in four bloody days.

Scowling, the scarred Human set her cup back down and reached down for her bottom desk drawer instead, pressing her finger to the biometric lock. It opened, revealing a half bottle of scotch, a spare blaster, a holo of her kid, and a modest pile of stims and sedatives from the medcenter.

She fingered the small stash, debating one or two, whether to inject one straight into her jugular or not for the risk of it. Her fuzzy thoughts drifted, like they did every time she opened the damned drawer or closed her eyes, to the last time she’d really needed one…

Her vision dimmed, blood pounding through her ears and seeping down her face. She moved on instinct. She couldn’t stop moving. If she did, she was dead. Or worse. Far worse. She got her one good leg under her as a brace and agonizingly pistoned her other knee up into his chin. A flimsy move, but the best she had. He gagged and fell sideways, and she scrambled upright, grabbing her pistol from his hands. She stumbled away on one leg, pants dragging around one of her ankles, and yanked them off so she could move, everything else forgotten. Keep moving. He started to shift with a groan, and she hobbled to kick him in the head once, twice, three times. He dropped, and she staggered, her broken leg buckling beneath her.

Swearing, Satsi tucked her pistol against her chest, spinning the chamber open one handed, the other useless at her side. There were only three shots left. She looked back at her Master. The gun shook in her hand. Shook with rage and something feverish. She fingered the trigger—

Satsi choked the thoughts back, shaking herself hard. “No time for your head trouble,” the woman muttered at herself, forcing her attention back to her desk and valiantly ignoring the way she was shaking and sweaty. Looking at the sheer amount of files still waiting on her datapad and the list of appointments Bly had updated, she thought to herself, Frak it. Grabbing one of the hyposyringes, she jabbed it into the junction of her neck and shoulder, feeling an immediate and potent rush under her skin, like she’d just walked through fire or been zapped by a sparkfinger.

Why, sweet Shadows, why was she at a desk? She could be going for a run right now. Like, ten runs. All the way down to Capac Ring. Maybe to the beach. Maybe she’d go find Uji and get Sammy back from the sitter and they’d ALL go to the beach, Estle be damned, could swim and eat and and—

She slapped herself again, leg jittering as she stood.

Quit acting like some kid taking their first hit and get your sithspit together, woman!

Remembering to grab her datapad, she strode out of the office, too wired now to be still. She’d pace the Citadel while she responded to queries and dealt with the Force-using maniac now in the dungeon that had just been arrested at the port and all that other kark, until the stim’s hormonal gambit had run its course. Then, she’d take another and go meet with whatever frakking Summiteer she had to this time. She just hoped it wasn’t the damn Zeltron—

“Hey!” a voice said brightly beside her. Satsi startled, turning to see a man with sharp green eyes and long black hair pulled back in two low tails loitering…outside the window, on one of the stone spires. With a very large hat that might have been from some of the old ceremonial guard uniforms in storage. And two pistols, though neither were pointed at her — he seemed to be holding up a Selenian condor. “I’ve been looking ALL OVER for you! Nearly thought I was right with this one,” he gestured at the ruffled-looking buzzard that squawked in perturbation, “but no. Except here you are! Excellent. I nearly lost my disguise in the wind out here, let me tell you—”

“Who the frak are you?” growled the Consul, lifting her own gun threateningly. Her fingers trembled a bit, but hey, at least she was awake.

“Name’s Wyndell Tyris, Professional Wynner, at your service!” chimed the man. “And I’ve on a mission!”


Blackhawk looked around the small, dark cell. This was far from what he’d had in mind when he allowed himself to be detained.

“Guard,” the Clawdite called out.

“What?” the guard answered, approaching his cell.

“I’d like to speak to someone in charge,” Blackhawk said.

“I am in charge. What do you want?” the guard inquired through gritted teeth.

“I want to speak to someone with actual authority, not a glorified babysitter,” the former Tarenti replied, an edge developing in his voice.

“Watch your tongue,” the guard sneered. “I can make things much worse for you.”

“You can do nothing,” Blackhawk answered, his voice now filled with venom. "I could end you with a thought, and I probably wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Your authority over me will only go as far as I let it. Now, get me someone actually in charge.”

With that, the guard activated Blackhawk’s stun collar. With Blackhawk incapacitated, the guard walked off, annoyed that he would have to do paperwork for the stun collar’s activation. The prisoner might get his wish after all.



Just outside of Estle City

The ground rumbled as the trucks slowly trundled along the small country road. Soldiers walked apace with the vehicles, guns swung low and eyes on the forest that surrounded them. They’d scraped every bit of food they could from the villages and hamlets surrounding Estle City, and it’d be an embarrassment to lose it now. More substantive shipments were still days away, and the loss of this food would destabilize the situation beyond repair.

Goddess, what I wouldn’t give for a speeder tank right now, Grot thought wryly, feeling dangerously exposed on his open-topped speeder bike. Unfortunately for him, the Arconan Military didn’t have enough vehicles under the best of circumstances, and the war against the collective had dragged every combat-ready vehicle to the front. The relief forces had to make do with personal transports, civilian vehicles, and good old marching.

The repulsors hummed loudly underneath as he floated along on autopilot near the head of the convoy, freeing his hands to handle his rifle. Looting wasn’t merely isolated to the city, indeed, many citizens had taken to the countryside in order to escape the present unrest. Some of these people had family in the villages, but much more were simply desperate for an escape. Banditry was not uncommon.

The repulsors hum evened out as they turned onto the main road to Estle City, Doto Peak looming up ahead. The sporadic bands of refugees they encountered in the countryside grew more frequent the closer they came to the cities walls. Mostly they were families, women and children huddled together behind their patriarch, boldly marching into the wilderness. Most were hauling sacks, carts, wagons, whatever they could gather from their homes on the way out of the city. Grot stared in mild bemusement at a woman carrying a large, gilded lamp in her arms. It was covered in a thin white sheet in a poor attempt to hide its value, and the power cord left a dusty trail in the dirt as the woman walked by

The poor fools were more concerned with saving their valuables than they were with survival. Most were simply convinced that the situation would only be temporary, a few days at most before they could move back into their homes and restart their lives. A few days in the countryside would be a temporary discomfort, sure, but so long as they kept the jewelry and the china safe they could sell it for enough to repair whatever got damaged

The poor fools.

It wasn’t those people he was worried about though. Grot eyed a pack of bachelors as they marched past the convoy. Their fists were clenched, their eyes downturned, and their faces scarred with wounded pride. Young men, strong men, wild men with nothing to lose and everything to gain. They were the bandits, the looters, and the criminals. When the times grew desperate they would be the first to take up the sword and scream revolution to the skies, content to carve their way with blood and steel.

His eyes didn’t leave them until they were well out of sight of the convoys, and only then did he let out a breath and lower his rifle. He cursed the frakker that had given him this job. *May your prey ever elude you, Uji Tameike” he growled inwardly.

The gates of the city loomed overhead, the stream of refugees slowly swelling into a crowd as they grew closer. As their convoy drew into sight a few people cheered, ecstatic that relief had arrived, a few people bellowed insults, blaming the military for the crisis, but most simply stared dully onward, beaten and broken. All of them swelled forward like a great ocean, their hands outstretched, crying for food with parched mouths.

The convoy grounded to a halt, blocked by the sheer mass of humanity.

“Clear the road!” he shouted, grabbing a loudhailer from his pack, “Make way for the Dajorra Defense Force!”

The crowd stood undaunted and closed in, desperate to get to the trucks. The soldier behind him closed ranks, looking confused and intimidated as thousands of starving civilians descended on the trucks. Inwardly, Grot felt panic begin to set in. These soldiers were not veterans or front-line soldiers, but local Selenians. Bandits were one thing, but giving the order to fire on a crowd of civilians was another. If they began looting the trucks… he honestly didn’t know if he could count on them to stop it.

They’d lose the shipment before they even made it to the first distribution point.


Far louder than any blaster, the rifles report echoed for miles across the countryside, rebounding off the walls with an eerie reverb as the crowd screamed. Women ducked to the ground, covering their children for safety, while men flinch away in fear. Shouts and screams were replaced with nervous murmuring as the crowd backed away from the convoy, frightened by the weapon. Grot brought his rifle back down the sky, pointing the smoking barrel and armor piercing ammunition down towards the crowd and cycling the bolt.

“Rations will be available soon at the designated distribution areas! Make way for the Dajorra Defense Force or you will be fired upon!” Grot glared at the crowd, silently daring them to oppose him. He glanced back towards the convoy, staring down the soldiers under his command. Shakily, they raised their rifles, their scared and confused faces thankfully hidden behind the impassive helmets of the DDF.

“Convoy! Move out!” The ground rumbled as the trucks slowly moved forward, the crowd parting around them as they progressed into the city. Some people shouted curses and insults, some spit and cried at their inhumanity, but Grot didn’t care about them. He could not spare even a moment for these sheep, for at the back of the crowd he could already see the wolves circling. Packs of them, with angry eyes and grim expressions, the scars of wounded proud clearly written on their face. Young men. Strong men.

Desperate men.


Frakkin’ sleemo sonuva gundark… grumbled Kordath inside his head as he tried to stumble down the street. He was using the storefronts and buildings to help support him, head spinning. The bastard of an Umbaran took things too literally at times, he decided.

Part of the Ryn’s sodden brain was picking up details, things that were wrong. It was amazing how many of the establishments for the consumption of alcohol had withstood the troubles Estle City had suffered in recent times. Much of the rest hadn’t fared so well. More than a few of the shops he passed were facades of shattered glass and soot, the insides piles of broken furniture and debris. They’d ran off for Nancora so blasted fast that the place had been left in chaos, disorder. It wasn’t a shock when he spotted groups of semi-organized locals running around with makeshift weapons, or carrying what they could scavenge away on their backs. Scurrying like rats.

“Whole city’s gone ta bloody ‘ell while we was out,” he sighed, stopping to gain his balance, hand on the wall to his left. He glanced over, at it, soot covering white masonry, and his eyes moved up to the purple strip around his wrist.His throat was dry, his stomach felt painful, like he’d not eaten for days. He may not have. A nearly pure liquid diet did bad things to a bloke. Maybe he should eat, for…for…he stared at the ribbon and felt his knees weaken.

“The hell am I doin’? I should be in tha Citadel, with Shay, or tryin’ ta…ta…fix it,” he finished, lamely as he slid to the filthy sidewalk. “Or I could get more drunk,” he mused, eyebrows lifting in contemplation.

Thoughts of his daughter passed through his hazy, soaked brain. Images of amber eyes and white hair did, as well, freckles and tears. His chest hurt, when had he last slept? Maybe he should lie down and take a rest, but whe—

Kordath slumped the rest of the way down to the pavement, tail twitching fitfully as his face lay on the ground.

“See, tranq darts, doesn’t trigger the rodent’s little danger sense. Now load him up and get him uptown, we’ve got business to attend to.”

“Yes, Captain!”

“Uh, sir, do we have to carry him? Smells like he may have…soiled himself.”

“Right, up the mountain and dump him in a bath, we should clean him up for this next part. Actually, no, assign some droids to do that. Can’t afford hazard pay for the rest of you with the state we’re in.”


Kordath Bleu snored as he was dragged from the ground and tossed over a shoulder.


Giletta Spaceport


With one finger tapping lightly against his blaster pistol, Zarseem Korr scanned the docking bay from where he crouched behind a crate with a fresh ciggara between his lips. They’ve been staking out the place for nearly an hour, and Bay 016E has been painfully quiet — he already had to kick awake Jeofrick twice. At least the dock workers had been dealt with fairly easily, mostly. The Zabrak darted his gaze to the next few docks to the side. A number of men were still working diligently on loading and unloading the ships docked there. Their uniforms sharing the same large emblem painted across the haulers, the logo of the new shipping company ran by that Kaminoan chick, or he thought it was a woman. A scoff escaped his lips, watching one of the overseers stare across at him. They had seemed to be cooperative and the like, but after Rena’s group had left them, they had sent one of their guys scampering off. So, Korr sent a couple of his closer to keep an eye on things.

He took a long drag of his ciggara and was about to return his gaze to the job at hand again when his wrist communicator crackled, “Korr, ship’s in route.”

“Thanks, Rena. Wake up, boys,” Zarseem addressed the rest of the gang scattered around the bay. “Time to look alive.”

Scanning Giletta horizon, the Zabrak spotted a small starcraft ducking behind one of the much larger haulers before it circled about towards the bay. It certainly matched the look of a ship coming from Ol’val, its hull covered in an array of mismatched plating as if it was born straight from a scrapyard. As it descended, a large splash of green and orange paint introducing it as the BS Firebrand, Korr hefted his pistols and scanned the perimeter. So far, so good, job may just be a breeze after all—

“—The cake has arrived! And none ya are gettin’ a slice!”

The gangster spun around just in time to catch Rena rolling to cover as a spray of crimson bolts peppered where the Selonian and her brother had been. Korr cursed through his teeth, it looks like the delivery team hadn’t been told about their protection set up. Probably why Blood was so pissed earlier. Ducking behind his own shipping container, he chanced a glance toward the transport. Boldly standing upon its ramp was a woman with a green bushel of hair and a pair of blaster pistols training for them. This certainly made things more interesting.

“Oi, Jeane! Looks like we already got some eager helpers lookin’ to raisin some trouble. ”

The G-1a starfighter rocked as the not-Zelosian removed a hand from the controls to sign a blaster. Zujenia just shook her head, directing her gaze out the viewport towards the docking bay below. Sure enough, she spotted a couple forms crouched among the containers, and tsked. Her hopes of the relief delivery going smoothly was decreasing greatly.

“Okay. Bring us in, Diy.” Zujenia unclipped the harness strapping her to her seat, it was uncomfortable to wear anyways right now, and started shuffling towards the back of the crew compartment. She fished her bo-rifle from a hook on the wall before glancing over at the third person on this transport task, voluntold by herself. The petite Pantoran was clutching onto the cargo netting above the ‘passenger’ seating, if a couple crates strapped together counted as such, her lavender braid draped around her shoulders like a scarf.

“Lee, get ready to fight. Keep it mundane, no, er, no lightsabers, okay?” The half-Ryn grimaced at the weapon, a sharp phantom pain breaking through what concentration she had numbing her midsection already.

“I’m sure I can whip-tree of them with no problem.” Leeadra flashed a grin, giving Zujenia a set of finger guns — what’s with the finger guns? The action nearly almost knocked her out of her seat as the BS Firebrand lurched to a stop.

“Let’s egg this surprise party, girls!” Diy passed by and flipped the switch for the hatch, tossing a grin over her shoulder. The Kiffar turned and walked out as it lowered, Wynetta and Whyell gracing her hands naturally.

“The cake has arrived! And none ya are gettin’ a slice!”

Zujenia pinched the bridge of her nose and wondered dreadfully if baking puns from her Fade were going to be the bane of her existence for the next few months. With a sigh, she followed the faux-Zelosian out with her bo-rifle raised, the Pantoran close behind.


Lucine Vasano

Lucine studied the message that had just come across her datapad. It seemed that Uji was having a bit of trouble keeping order within Estle City. Things must be dire if he is calling on others for assistance, she thought to herself as she scanned the message once more.

The opportunities this presented were too delicious to be ignored. Especially when she had a few useful tools at her disposal. After the plague abated, she had begun seeding the local gangs with her own people. The goal had been to get them in place and situated, to feed her intel and make preparations for an eventual hostile takeover. Now, it seemed, the time was right to start putting her plans into motion.

She pulled up her contact list and skimmed it until she found the person she was looking for. Miche Fainwright had grown up on the streets; he was bright, tough, ruthless and utterly loyal to her. He had eagerly agreed to help her with her plan, convinced by promises of power and respect. With his street smarts, he had easily infiltrated one of the smaller gangs of Estle City.

Upon finding his entry, she tapped out a simple message to the young half-Zeltron. It very simply read:

Beware, the snake can still bite after its head has been removed.

He would know what it meant. All this time spent preparing, earning the trust and the loyalty of the other members of his gang was about to pay off. Miche would rise up and take over the gang, using the allies he had accumulated and the credits she had been funneling him.

Once the message was sent, she repeated the process, until all of her people were notified. So many small gangs; they were fractured and divided. Most of them would not even know that they were working together as part of a larger plan. She could direct them as needed, causing violence wherever she needed it done. It would be so very helpful.

Lucine considered the next step. Once the gangs were firmly in control, she would set them to the task of sowing more chaos and violence within the city. Still, an operation like this would be more easily managed if she were close at hand. It was time to go to Selen itself. She could make herself indispensable to Uji, and play her own games in the meantime.

“It sounds like ever so much fun,” Lucine murmured to herself as she typed out a quick message to Uji informing him of her intent to come and lend her assistance. Once it was sent, she went to stand in front of her overflowing closet. It was time to go.


Ruka Tenbriss
Corazon Ya-ir

Estle City

He was defying gravity.

His target leapt another rooftop, and he followed it, soaring through the air over the stretch of hard-packed ground several meters below. His boots slammed into the metal of the next ledge and pushed off as he continued his sprint, almost feeling the need to whoop with laughter. A grin split his face even though his brows were screwed tightly in concentration, purple eyes flickering gold while he tracked the figure moving ahead of him.

He was like lightning, like the electricity dancing in his veins and down his fingertips. He twisted to dive under a stretch of comms array antenna and several clothing lines strung from it, garments waving in the wind. His foot slid along gravel and the Dark Side thrummed in his muscles and sinew, strengthening them and speeding his nerves, and he righted, rolled, kipped back upright, and continued on with arms pinwheeling as he ran, uninterrupted, across the apartment building and over and down to the next. He reached out, fingers closing around a collar just as a smaller body vaulted for a balcony to escape–

“Gotcha!” Ruka cried at the tooka cat who yowled and clawed at his arm, its mottled ginger and brown fur fluffed up in rage.

Right before he fell off the roof.

His back connected with something hard, then something else hard, and then he shoulder-checked a dumpster and the cat did a pretty good job of tearing his chest open digging its claws in fright. The young Sith groaned but didn’t let go of the animal, pulling himself upright one-handed and prodding with his tongue to see if he’d lost a tooth. He sure ached badly enough in several places. The Mirialan man glared down at the struggling feline in his grip, its jingling bell an odd counterpoint to the angry caterwauling it was making.

“Sure, show some gratitude,” he scathed at the demon-cat, scowling as it continued to bite at his bicep. He nearly just dropped the thing, but Cora’s voice sounded in his mind, fresh from not half an hour before: “These people are suffering so much, we have to do something to help! Anything. Especially the little things. Imagine how happy little Jena will be to have her kitty back. She might even forget she’s hungry.”

“She’s a kid,” Ruka had muttered back, because he knew from experience with his own little brothers, “she’ll forget everything except getting to cuddle the furball again.”

And so was he duty-bound.

Hoisting his captured prey, the young and newly-minted Equite began his job back to the small shopping plaza he’d started from, which had been converted temporarily more into a hostel than anything else. He didn’t want to tell his partner as much, but Estle City’s current state was way more natural to him than anywhere else he’d visited since he left Kiast’s slums. Gang violence, poverty, theft, frang going to hell and one damn street in one little neighborhood cranking out so much misery — that, that was home to him. Or it had been before he met Cora, anyway.

The Pantoran had come to visit him on Selen with Turel only to find the planet in such a state of disarray, and both boys had felt it only right to hit the streets and do what they could. They’d spent the last several days scrounging up food for people, fixing roofs or doors or windows, locating stray pets or stolen possessions, organizing people into groups to help each other, such and so on. Ruka might’ve had the hands and street smarts for the work, but it was Cora who had the heart. Cora had somehow turned an angry mob into some sort of group therapy circle in under ten minutes - not that the Mirialan was surprised in the least. His husband was unfathomably amazing like that, brightening and dazzling everything he touched or graced with his gorgeous smile. One look in his open, friendly golden eyes and you were spilling your guts; just like the large Selenian man who was currently sobbing in dry, soft shudders against the Pantoran’s shoulder as the Jedi patted his arm, murmuring comforts.

Ruka’s brows furrowed again as he slowed his trot, not wanting to startle anyone in the currently gathered crowd. Some people crouched around fires in trash receptacles, since their power had gone out, Ruka having given a bit of a public crash course on cooking when one hand no electricity, no fresh water, no dishes, and maybe some cans of beans if they were lucky. Others were huddled up together, speaking quietly, listening to the sounds of the city growing ravenous the closer it got to nighttime. Others lingered near Cora, who kept talking to the upset man, evidently trying to perk up he and his wife. Ruka couldn’t remember who they all were, but they all seemed happy to have someone who would listen.

“Ruka!” cried a small voice, and then several others joined it as the neighborhood’s children all scampered over to meet him, tackling his legs and making his bruises ache. He tried to hide his wince but knew his husband caught it at the Pantoran looked over.

"Ay, Ay, ay, careful, nianeses, you’ll break me," he said, ruffling a few heads of hair and one of spikes, ouch, shit, remember the Zabraks, before handing off the squirming pet under his arm. “Here, Jena.”

“Pebbe!” cried the girl, whose cat still kicked unhappily but was at least less vicious once reunited with its owner. She smiled like there was nothing better in the world, not even a warm bed. The cuts on his arm suddenly hurt less.

Worth it.

“Angel,” Cora murmured, leaving off his little session to come check on the Mirialan. The Sith and Jedi kissed quickly, exchanging glances that spoke of worry and stress; neither of them really talked about how they had no idea what they were doing, trying to help a whole city and only really having any tiny bit of impact for a tiny few streets in Capac Ring.

“Hey, babe. Doing okay here? No trouble?” Ruka asked. Cora’s expression grew a bit more worried, lip jutting out.

“Heeytr told me he’d heard about some of his coworkers from the plant talking about hitting a power station. It might have just been venting, you know, everyone’s angry, but…” he sighed. “How much more can these people lose?”

“A lot more. Trust me,” the Sith muttered grimly, hating the upset look on his husband’s face. He yanked him into a hug, quick and tight. “You’re doing good here though.”

“Let’s hope so—”

They both tensed at the same time, senses screaming, when nearby a large explosion rocked the air and fire bloomed tall and bright in clouds of black.

“Kriff,” swore the Mirialan, staring wide-eyed. He grabbed the Pantoran by the shoulders, saying fiercely, “Get these folks inside. I’m headed over there.”

“But–” Cora began, and fear flashed over his face, surely remembering the war. But then his jaw tightened and he nodded, kissing his husband again. “Go, and be careful. We’ll be here. Bring any injured.”

“I’ll get anyone I can. You be safe too, love.”

They squeezed hands then sprinted apart, Cora rounding up the Selenians and Ruka running into the fire that clawed down the block.


Tameike Offices

Selen City

Uji Tamike

“Where are the supplies from Ol’Val?” Uji’s voice cut through the noise of the warehouse outside his office. What supplies his people had been able to gather were being handed out for the day and they were already expecting shortages before the afternoon.

A voice piped up, “We received coordinates for pickup half an hour ago, but they have not arrived at the checkpoint.” Tessen looked better then she had a few days ago, having had a few hours off that seemed to reinvigorate her. Concern spread across her features as she spoke.

“Coordinate with the checkpoint and see if we can get someone down at the port to confirm their arrival.” Things had not improved much in the last few days; the food shortages were growing worse as more local centers were raided or ran out of supplies.

Worse yet, a convoy had nearly been overrun by the masses down in the Capac Ring, and being forced to resort to warning fire had set everyone on edge. Shortly after the entire sector had lost electricity after one of the power stations went down, then another, and another in what seemed to be coordinated sabotage.

Now they were receiving news that riots had begun, the citizens believing the outages to be backlash for their attempt to stall the convoy. Things were growing more desperate and the former Proconsul’s only hope was that with the return of Arcona’s fleet, they might be able to provide additional aid, yet he knew as well the men and women of the Defense and Expeditionary Forces would need time to recover as well.

As the difficulties continued to mount, he had received word from numerous benefactors that they would send aid. Now those of the Clan down in the streets had to ensure there was enough of the city left to receive that aid.

As Uji was finishing his thought, the lights of the warehouse flickered for a few moments, everyone’s eyes going to the displays and hanging bulbs above them.

Then there was a loud explosion of transformers blowing, followed by a moment of almost pure quiet as the facility and everything within several city blocks shut down. The absence of the electric hum of humanity was deafening for just a moment before panic began to set in and the voices of thousands of the city’s residents rose up.

Maaz Sawyer


The Citadel

Maaz yawned briefly, stretching and feeling the familiar snap of something in his spine aligning before he settled back into the cot of his cell. He’d had the chance to sleep more comfortably since the guard had knocked out his fellow inmate a few cells down from him. So far he had to admit he was mildly enjoying his stay: there was a nice mountain breeze through the bars of his cell, it was quiet, and he was fed semi-regularly. All in all, he might give the place a decent review once his visit was completed.

He’d slept most of the last few days away, still without any word from the prick Arconae who’d picked a fight with him and let him take the fall for it. “Whatever,” he grumbled while rising, his irritation dissipating as he realized how badly that encounter could have ended. A week or two in a cell wouldn’t do much harm.

Coming to his feet and making his way to the exterior wall, the Devaronian looked out, leaning forward until he felt the clink of his horns against the metal of the bars. A low whistle escaped his throat as he looked down on the city below. Smoke rose from fires throughout the lower rings, flashes of muzzle fire catching his attention in the dimming light of the evening. Most of the Capac Ring was cast in shadow, only illuminated by areas where emergency flood lights were operating, and the Sinchi Ring didn’t appear in much better shape.

“You gotta be kidding me, I came here to get away from this kind of drek.” A long sigh rattled from the man’s throat until a happier thought entered his mind.

“Well, least it’s not my problem yet.”


Capac Ring

Rrogon Skar Argona

Fire and violence raged around him as the young Kaleesh walked through one of the many intersections of the Capac Ring, emergency lighting had begun to flicker to life as the power had finally gone out. It had been sometime since the Juggernaut had walked these streets. Since his self imposed exile and traitorous activities against the clan had begun. There had been many regrettable things he had done during this time, some of them far worse than others and yet all of them guaranteed him for execution without a trial.

His reptilian eyes roved the streets as his thoughts wandered, he contemplated whether he actually regretted his actions; he acted on emotion rather than logic. During that time letting blind hate and false information guide him and his blade to strike out against those who he believed, at the time, had wronged him. It was quite frankly immature of him and so many had been hurt or worse ended up dead in his blind rage and his own misunderstanding of the force itself and the corrupting effects of the Dark Side.

Taking a second to stop and look around him and the city that was falling apart he reflected inwardly that the fires and death, it was every much a crude reflection of the damage he had caused on his own if only on a much smaller scale. Yet no emotions came in war. The forefront of his mind as he looked on. It had taken time to finally be rid of them and to fix the memory gaps in his own mind but once they had been castaway and the truth revealed, all that the Sith had felt was shame.

He had even pushed away those seeking to try and help him. What did he gain from all the pain and loss? Some title in the Inquisitorial that meant nothing now the ire of most of the Clan’s Summit and then some. Nothing he had done was worth it and he saw that now and it was only thanks to Lucince that he was back on Selen now. Letting out a deep sigh he continued to move and push these thoughts out of his mind for the time being. Regret and shame can come later once he was face to face with the Consul and her subordinates.

For now he had to try and help the people for as long as he could before he was brought in for either his trial or execution. The latter of those two seemed to be what was in store for him but he had resigned himself to that fate when he decided to come back. Lifting his red eyes he could see a large crowd of rioters pillaging and generally causing destruction not only to themselves and others but to the surrounding buildings as well several of which were already lost to the flames.

He needed to try and route these people away from the major population centers and hospitals and at least try and make sure they didn’t hurt themselves most of all. An angry crowd like this would was capable of many things if set off the wrong way and he would rather not kill anyone if he could help it. Moving his head to the side he began to pop the vertebrae in his neck to relieve the tension before he began to move forward once more.

“Time to get to work.” He said to himself.


Satsi was going to goddamn scream.

In the space of the hour since she’d left her office — moving on the grace of what was probably nearing lethal levels of stimulants alone — she’d encountered one random Tyris brother and a jailbreaker from the recently-razed Tarentum that she’d had to put down named Blackhawk; had six different calls about various urgent matters, including one about Rrogon frakking Skar being in her city and one from her gang lieutenant saying that their little escort guard had been mistaken for attackers and now they were in a firefight with the relief ship instead of distributing supplies; and just been notified that the Gfika Power Station down in west Capac had blown, which just made the riots starting in the area SO MUCH BETTER.

As if she’d needed to be told of that; she’d caught sight of the explosion from a frakking window.

The woman twitched violently, eyes rolling back briefly, but she stayed upright, only leaning on the corridor wall for a moment instead of crumpling.

“Are you alright, ma’am?”

“Peachy, Bly,” the War Consul answered, trying not to vomit. She couldn’t have if she’d wanted to — the stims had her stomach all but shriveled up — but the nausea was strong like the faint ringing in her ears. “Did your men pick up Kordy?”

“Checked in from the field, they’re securing the subject now.”

“Good. Now…ahh, what now?”

“We’ll need a call on what to prioritize, ma’am. The rioting is spreading from sectors six and nine to ten and five, and we’re estimating they’ll grow before we can get enough troops down to subdue. I’ve got a request for use of force.”

“Didn’t we already release arms this morning?”

“Only in regards to warning shots, ma’am, no actual contact. It’s getting worse, though.”

“Defensive purposes only, nothing lethal.”

“Confirm. However, on the prioritizing…”

He was pushing the datapad back into her hands and for a moment, she checked out completely, her thoughts turning to white noise while she stayed against the wall. Her vision blurred on the screen, unfocused, staring at nothing.

And after a moment, it wasn’t just woozy emptiness. Words are came to mind, ones she’d read two dozen times since the Invicta II was blown half-open and Atty along with it: the letter she’d found waiting in her message bank when she’d looked later, the letter she’d raged and railed about, the letter that had sent her into that summit meeting to declare herself the new frakking Consul.

Satsi, it had begun.

Let me start by saying this much: I am sorry. I am sorry for the ways I have failed you as a friend and a sister and a godmother. I am sorry for the ways in which I have hurt you and Uji. I know you think me — now and, let us be honest, from the beginning — to be the only thing worse than naive or foolish: cowardly. That you think I am in denial of my faults and cannot see where I may have erred, or that I may be wrong. That is untrue. I am not blind, Satsi. I merely believe. I did what I think is right, and I carry with me every soul that my choices have cost us for the sake of that. Still, so said…I mediate often on my time as Consul, and while I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too aware of my humanity not to think it probable that I may have committed many, many errors. I hope somewhat that you all and those who come after us will view them with indulgence, and that those mistakes will be consigned to the Void with some forgiveness, as I myself will be.

I do not have many friends left here anymore, Satsi. I have lost you, and all but lost Uji. I have had daggers at my back every moment of the last two years, and I have loved every person holding them, whether or not they loved me. I am not oblivious to how many of my own would see me dead or deposed. The Arconae, and any number of our people, not to count of those outside our own borders. I trust Marick with my life, and I trust that we can still trust him, and must forgive him, but that is not a sentiment widely shared, and he cannot help us, nor should he. We are surrounded by enemies and friends, here, in the other clans, on the Council, and the worst of it is that they are each and every one of them one in the same under the right circumstance. People are just people, Satsi, and they will do what they must to live. Never begrudge them this. Love them, because they all deserve it.

Do you know why I trusted Uji as my Proconsul? It wasn’t just because he is my family, and I have loved and relied on him, or because I knew the content of his character would be enough to make up for my own weaknesses. It was because he is selfish. He wants a world he doesn’t belong in, yes, in all his honor, but the fact of it is that he still wants the world. He wants things to be by his design and control. He wants better for what he cares about, like Samantha’s tomorrow and your tomorrow and his Clan’s tomorrow, yes, so long as it is his. He would not let us be destroyed, even if he had to betray any one of us to ensure that. And I admit, in my own selfishness, I feared what the Throne would do to him if he sat it. I trusted, but I feared. Those who actively want for power are doomed by it, and I do not want him to fall when he has risen so far.

I trust that same selfishness in you even as I despair at it. You do not want power. You want peace. Don’t laugh — I know better than you do. Leave you alone, and you will be content because you are free. Intrude on what is yours, and you are all fight and fury. You have always been so predictable, Satsi. You’ve never been wrong about my using you, no matter how little I like to admit it. You are misguided in many things, my dear, but not in that. You are who you are, and you will do as you will, without repentance and with far too much stubbornness to ever be made to do otherwise. It always made you a very safe bet when your brother was too clever by half.

That is why I am doing this, Satsi. That is why I am making you my heir, and why you will find all our systems keyed to your biometrics and no one else’s, why the DIA and our armed forces have all been put under your command. I need you to protect Arcona like you would protect your family, and I need to motivate you to do it when you would rather do, I expect, quite literally anything else. So, I leave you with one simple plea.

Do not let these people make an orphan of your daughter. Put the weight of all Arcona’s resources and powers between her and anything you would shield her from. Fight for what is yours, as I have made this clan yours.

You’re good at that, dearie.

Go with my love, and know that everything will be okay. Have the faith I know you do, Satsi. Ashla and Bogan watch over us all.

May the Force be with you. Always.


It’d been months, and still all Satsi could think was, you bitch. Atyiru was like an infection; she got to you and suddenly you’re fever crazy, wanting to rise up to what she saw in you, be better because she thought you could be. Satsi had thought she’d been able to resist that banthafodder, all these years.

Frakking figured.

But right then, as she shook herself and her head stopped spinning so bad and she got back the sense in Bly’s words, she thought, I can’t anymore. She thought right then about how many times she’d fallen asleep standing up in her shower lately and thought, frak this.

It’s too much. She’s not Atty, never was, never tried to be or said so, but the fact is she’s not and this thing, this thing needs an Atty. Someone who gives a shit. Someone whose priority is the clan, actually willing to run themselves into the ground until there’s no blood left to bleed, and that’s not Satsi. She gives every thing she has for her brother and their daughter and the family they’ve picked up along the way. Arcona? Arcona could burn for all she cared.

I did what you wanted, she thought of the Miraluka, remembering her smile. The memory comes with anger. Anger at Atyiru and anger that she wasn’t there anymore to be angry at. I did what you frakking asked. I got these frakker through the war when nobody else could and dammit, Pigtails, damn you, that’s all you get. I’m done.

She didn’t want this one more second. She was sick of being late for this, late for that, late for love, all her life. She wanted to go home. She wanted caf for her and Uji and berry juice for Sammy in the mornings, sitting watching holos, swimming in the ocean and messy castles in the sand. She wanted talking late at night, taking walks, little games, reading holos together about bunnies and tookas and rancors and teaching Sammy everything from her alphabet to holochess to how to cripple someone who tried to touch her without her permission. Speeder rides with the stain Sammy had left in the back seat on her booster and the millions of pairs of socks the toddler just kept taking off. She wanted that before it was gone, gone, gone.

“I worked hard to make this me,” she muttered to the stones, feeling her eyes burn. Bly cut off whatever he was saying to stare at her questioningly. “I ain’t gonna waste it now that I got a home to go to at all. My kid’s not gonna grow up without her mom and daddy. I’m done being away from her, and him, and I’m done trying to fix anything from up here. I’m gonna get down there in those goddamn streets and make her a home she can care about. And you can’t stop me.”

Atyiru wasn’t there, but somehow, she was still arguing with the damn girl. Like her frakkin’ conscience or something. It really frakking figured.

“I can’t…what, ma’am?” her Guard Captain asked, and Satsi shook her head again, pushing past all her aches and straightening up to stand.

“Wasn’t talkin’ to you, Bly. Listen, you’re gonna have to get the Ryn up here fast, and you’re gonna have to put all that advising of yours to use, and point me in the direction where the fighting’s worst. I’m done, Bly. I’m done trying to be something I’m really not, and I think you need to be done trying to manage me. Let’s both do what we do better, yeah? You get your new Shadow Lord settled to hold down the fort for a little bit, 'til we got someone invested, and coordinate the men, and I’ll go blow up whatever you tell me to.”

The wily captain was much more dangerous and clever than anyone ever gave him credit for — which was sort of the point — and he gazed back at her with appraising eyes. Slowly, a smile cracked at hiss lips. It was miniscule, more a twitch, and last just a second, but it was there.

“Justs get down to Capac Ring. You’ll find something to help with, I think.”

He didn’t say ma’am. Shadows, she loved this frakker.

“Aye, aye. And Bly? Thanks,” replied Satsi, turning around then and moving for the armory instead of the meeting rooms. She could play at politician all day, but really, she was a fighter. She thrived when she had a war.

And it was about time to go find one.