Eldar, near the Archaeological Dig.
Marrek slowly set the shuttle down at the makeshift spaceport near the rather large freighter where the archaeological crew had begun loading things up for the trip to Hoth.
Vigil powered back up and began looking around. After Kanis had made sure he was in possession of everything, he kissed Maa’ka before she latched on her helmet. “Alright team, we go mobile in thirty seconds!” The Templar called.
Maa’ka grabbed her gun case and nodded after making sure her bo-staff was still safely inside.
Laura watched as the shuttle slowly touched down, she then looked back down at her datapad and finished her entry before slowly approaching the vessel to meet the crew. Just around the time she reached the ship, the ramp had already begun lowering. The hydraulics hissed ominously; figuring she was too close Tarr took a few steps back.
Kanis and his two companions emerged from the bowels of the shuttle. The Dark Jedi had his hood donned, the dark veil cast a shadow over the top majority of his face. Vigil kept his slug thrower close to his chest and Maa’ka carried her case at her side.
“Oh, hello, are you my security escort?” she asked trying to sound friendly as she extended her hand to Kanis.
The Templar looked down at her hand then back up to her face. “Obelisk Templar Kanis Da’uul. Representing Clan Arcona of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. I’d like to keep the pleasantries aside on account of the fact that I’d rather not miss you, should your head some how get detached from your body in any way on this escort.
Laura grimaced. “Oh… well… Okay then, right this way please.” She said as she turned around and started off for the freighter at a rather hurried pace.
Maa’ka looked to Kanis as they followed Tarr’s lead. “Smooth.”
“Time to get serious…” He mumbled as he glanced around.
“Come on, get those last pallets loaded!” One of the workers shouted,
Kanis deducted that he was the advisor due to his stance, the way he barked orders. A rather easy assumption to make.
“Will we be working alone as your security detail? Or do you have guards assigned to your expedition?” Kanis asked looking around as he finally reached Laura.
“Well, yes, though I wouldn’t trust just an average security detail with this shipment. Our expedition has been hit before, and I never want to go through that again.” she admitted facing the Dark Jedi.
“So then you sought out the Antei Contract Bureau,” Kanis commented.
“Yes, I sought out the Brotherhood for assistance. I believe this may be the find of the century.” she said trying to hide her excitement.
“Where will we be staying during trip to Hoth?” Kanis asked.
“You will have full run of the freighter, throughout our trip which will be starting shortly; so if you and your team would kindly get ready to board so we may start our preparations to leave.” Tarr requested.
Kanis nodded, followed by Maa’ka and Vigil he proceeded to board the freighter. His boots clanked quietly against the metal underfoot; A few of the crew members stopped to watch the squad move past.
The rather dim lighting in the freighter made the Templar’s appearance all the more ominous, his smoke gray eyes bore a cold gaze which washed over those he passed with disinterest. No one dared get in his way.
After the final preparations had been made, the freighter slowly picked up. The few workers who remained on sight made sure to clear the makeshift spaceport as the freighter departed.
Once in the rather vacant designated recreational area, Maa’ka pulled off her helmet and laid it down on a nearby table. She reached back behind her head and began fixing her ponytail. Vigil had taken up post by the door, and Kanis was sitting on the couch with a slight slouch.
An almost shrill whistle sounded from across the room as one of the crewman took note of Maa’ka.
The Mandalorian soldier rolled her eyes,
“Haar’chak, frakking di’kutla mir’osik.” she grumbled.
The worker laughed,
“I only understood one of those words, but it seems like you have quite a mouth on yah; and you don’t look that bad either.” he commented slowly moving in her direction.
Kanis gritted his teeth,
“Leave the lady alone.” he warned trying not to cause a scene.
The crewman smirked,
“Nah, she wants me; I can tell.” he said licking his lips.
“No, actually I’d rather you stay as far away from me as possible.” Maa’ka interjected.
By this point Kanis had gotten up and had initiated a steady stride towards the man, he said nothing as his assassin’s instincts kicked in once more.
“Come on, you don’t mean that.” The human offered.
“Actually, yes I do; and you may want to stop before you get yourself hurt.” she requested.
“And what are you going to do?” he said cackling.
“Oh, it’s not what I am going to do…” she said trailing off as she saw Kanis get into position.
Before the worker could make another snide comment, Kanis lashed out and looped his arm around the man’s neck pulling him in as he cut off the blood flow through his femoral artery.
“You just couldn’t leave well enough alone could you?” the Arconan grumbled as the crewman tried to break free.
The Coruscanti called upon the force to drag his saber from his belt, then he caught the metallic object in his right hand and quickly placed it up to the side of the mans head. The struggling human’s face had begun turning red as Kanis was also putting pressure on his windpipe as well.
“Y’know I would say next time you will know to leave a woman alone, but I’m afraid for you there won’t be a next time.” the Obelisk hissed.
Kanis ignited his saber and with a muffled hiss the azure blade punched through both sides of the man’s head bathing the proximity around them in a dull sapphire glow; the man’s body immediately went limp and his eyes rolled back as the scent of searing flesh filled the air.
The Templar thumbed the ignition button again, and the cobalt blade retreated back into the bowels of the hilt. Steam rose from both holes in the sides of the man’s head as Kanis let his target’s lifeless form fall to the floor in a heap.
“I give it a nine.” Maa’ka jested.
Kanis looked up from the man’s body to eye the woman,
“Okay nine point five.” she teased.
He then turned to the onlookers who watched in awe,
“Let this be a lesson to you, let this be a lesson to you all!” He called, “My patience is not to be toyed with, and this woman is not to be disrespected.” the Templar paused for breath, he wore an angry scowl.
Maa’ka slowly approached Kanis placing her hand on his shoulder,
“Hey there flyboy, save the aggro for later; don’t need you wasting all of your energy here.” she said rubbing his upper arm.
The Templar looked to the Mandalorian soldier, he then brushed past her exiting the room. Maa’ka watched him leave with a worried look in her eyes.
Vigil turned to Kanis’ Fade,
“Is he going to be okay?” he asked.
After a moment of silence, Maa’ka nodded.
“Yeah… It’s just that he doesn’t want to admit that he really cares, but he shows it. He just doesn’t want to lose me like he lost K’ara.” she said grabbing her helmet putting it back on as she left the room in pursuit of Kanis, Vigil followed closely behind her.
Tarr Heavy Industries Spaceport, Hoth
The freighter slowly pulled into the spaceport, just outside a convoy lay in wait to intercept the shipment.
Kanis sighed as he and his team checked their gear,
“Something on your mind?” Maa’ka asked, her voice slightly muffled by the filtration system in her helmet.
“The freighter wasn’t hit on our trip over here, which undoubtedly confirms my suspicions…” he paused for a moment.
“We’re dealing with professionals, they know something which is why they didn’t attack us on the trip over here. So they knew that either myself or another Force sensitive would be aboard and didn’t plan on me traveling the whole route with the cargo, or… they’re planning something big.” he said looking from Maa’ka to Vigil,
“For the rest of this operation I want both of you on high alert, take no chances.” he said in an undertone.
“Roger,” Maa’ka commented as she slipped her collapsed bo-staff into the holder on her right thigh. She pulled out her knife and examined the blade for a moment before locking it back into the sheath just above her left breast.
Kanis turned around and proceeded to exit the ship flanked by his team, the workers had begun unloading pallets of cases bearing ancient artifacts, and a small tug-like vehicle moved in connecting it’s hitch to the sizeable flatbed that was being loaded up with the pallets.
“So what’s the plan? Do you think they will try to hit the spaceport and make off with the artifacts?” Maa’ka suggested.
“No, no… If they are professionals just as I assume, they are going to wait until we are moving the cargo, because then they will know that everything is there rather than on a freighter which can take off and possibly never be seen again.” Kanis said,
“No, our fun starts when we are out there.” he stated gesturing towards the exit.
“Until then?” Maa’ka asked.
“We lie in wait, dig in here and expect the worse just to stay on our toes in case I’m wrong.” he said looking around, profiling the workers as they rushed around.
The Dark Jedi proceeded to wander around the hanger, making sure to stay out of the way of the workers. He didn’t want to hold up progress, as a matter of fact, he didn’t want to be here at all. The icy surface of Hoth reminded him too much of his time on Rhelg during the one of the earlier phases of the Dark Crusade.
He hoped he would not find himself in a similar position, holed up in an ice cave due to an operation gone wrong. Sleeping with one eye open every night, just waiting to freeze to death.
The Coruscanti grimaced at the memories of time past, he shook his head of those thoughts as he completed his first lap.
After a good bit of roaming, Kanis couldn’t shake a strong feeling. He wasn’t sure why, but to him something didn’t feel right, he could sense a dark presence in the force; Another practitioner of the Dark arts. Against his better judgement he classified it as paranoia, but remained vigilant.
Around the time the Arconan had made his way back to the flatbed, the employees of Tarr Heavy Industries were strapping down the cargo and prepping it for the trip to the compound.
Laura watched the Dark Jedi wander, she was soon joined by one of the supervisors.
“Miss Tarr, are you sure contracting this… Brotherhood was such a good idea?” he asked.
“No Jack, but he’s here now and I have to trust him, If he betrays that trust then it’s on my head.” she said folding her arms across her chest.
The supervisor nodded quietly, keeping his gaze locked on Kanis and his team.
“Alright everybody roll it out!” called one of the floor managers, “Let’s go, let’s go we’re behind schedule, we need to get that flatbed hooked up to the Trast A-A6z!”
Kanis pulled an ear mounted communication device from his pouch, he looked around as he mounted it over his ear.
The Qel-Droman and his squad walked beside the cargo escorting it out into the cold, desolate wasteland where the A-A6z was waiting to pick up the artifacts. The air was thick with falling snow, it was at the point of near blizzard proportions.
To his surprise there was a rather admirable convoy waiting for them, four guard vehicles: Two in the front and two in the back.
Laura Tarr emerged from the Spaceport with her own personal guard detail moments after the A-A6z had connected to the flatbed,
“I am impressed by your initiative miss Tarr.” Kanis admitted.
“Thank you mister… Da’uul was it?” she asked.
“As I mentioned I am going to try and keep pleasantries at a minimum, I figured I owed it to Tarr heavy Industries to show admiration to the preparation that went into this escort; which brings me to my next point. My team and I are going to be riding with the cargo.” he announced.
“I’m afraid that you can’t do…” Jack said before being interrupted by Laura.
“No, Jack it’s fine…” she looked to Kanis,
“I appreciate both your and the Brotherhood’s cooperation in this escort, you may choose your mode of transportation freely be it by the A-A6z or one of our armored security vehicles.” she said gesturing to the convoy.
Kanis nodded, and with the company of Maa’ka and Vigil; proceeded to board the speeder truck.
Jack looked to Laura with an expression of disapproval,
“You give that… That Dark Side practitioner too much leeway, you might as well turn over control of the company to him while you are at it!” he complained until Tarr slapped him.
“That’s enough Jack, I don’t want to hear another complaint about our guest or you will be looking for another job. Do I make myself clear?” she asked with a stern expression.
“Ma’am…” He said shutting up shortly after.
Once everyone had piled into their respective vehicles, the convoy slowly peeled out and away from the spaceport starting the trip back to the compound.
Kanis toyed with the Fang, as the group stood in silence. No-one dared speak; Kanis looked up from his knife after about five minutes had past, he found Maa’ka looking out the windshield with her arms folded across her chest.
“Ni kar…” Kanis started to speak, but was cut off by a loud explosion that took out the front to security vehicles. The A-A6z swerved throwing Maa’ka up against Kanis sandwiching him between her armored figure and the wall behind him.
“Haar’Chak!” Maa’ka shouted,
“Frak!” Kanis yelled.
Vigil pushed himself away from the all after having been forcefully thrown into it,
“Oh my…” he said looking around.
Kanis wasted not a second, he opened the door and Vigil lept out slug thrower in hand, he began scanning the area. The Dark Jedi was next to emerge from the truck, “Maa’ka, first chance you get find a ridge and set up, I will be counting on you in this conflict.” he mumbled into his communicator.
“Understood,” she replied.
The Equite unclipped his the saber hilt from his belt holding it in a tight grip.
The snowdrops stuck to his armor and cloak, his smokey eyes scanned the wall of white. As the snowfall began to weaken allowing for more visual range.
He narrowed his eyes upon the sight of blaster rifle toting silhouette off in the distance.
“CONTACT!” the Arconan shouted as the blaster bolts began flying.
The Templar ignited his saber and began diverting the bolts with the Azure column of light that cast a sapphire hue on the snow around him. He would spin his lightsaber knocking back each bolt of crimson that rushed towards him. He spun out of the way as a long thin bolt flew past him burning a small hole in the speeder truck.
Maa’ka dropped to the floor as the sniper round flew past her.
“Kark!” She shouted.
“Are you hit?” Kanis asked as he rushed forward still deflecting blaster bolts and occasionally rolling to the side to avoid the wrath of the enemy sniper.
“No, thankfully.” she replied swiftly.
“Good, because I’m going to need you to run to the nearest ridge opposite of my current position, I need this sniper taken care of.” he ordered as he rolled again narrowly avoiding being clipped by the long, slender bolt of yellow.
“Got it, do you have them distracted?” she asked moving towards the door.
“As of now you have a five to ten second window.” Kanis replied deflecting more bolts.
“More than enough time.” she commented casually, as she bolted from the speeder truck disappearing around behind it. She began running up a slightly steep hill gun case in hand. Ten or so seconds later she had reached the top of the hill and laid down using the slope for cover as she retrieved her Barracuda from it’s case.
Jack bolted from Laura’s escort vehicle seeming to flee, he tripped a few times before disappearing over a snowy mound.
“Jack you Frakking coward!” Tarr shouted before closing the door again.
By this time, the security had taken cover behind their armored land speeders and were exchanging fire with the approaching forces, despite their tactics they were still suffering slightly moderate casualties.
After setting up her bipod, the Mandalorian soldier crawled back up the hill making herself as out of sight as possible while still being able to provide admirable sniper support.
“Online.” she stated disengaging the safety and began scanning for the enemy sniper.
She spotted a few inches of black steel poking out from under a white blanket. The marksman was well blended, save for when he moved his rifle to take another shot at Kanis, she placed her crosshairs in the proper position a few centimeters above where she’d deducted the target’s head would be to account for bullet drop, she then shifted a small portion to the left to account for wind speed.
Maa’ka smiled behind the cover of her helmet,
“Game…” she put her finger in the trigger guard,
“Set…” she slowly began applying pressure to the trigger,
“Match.” she whispered as the hammer struck the primer of the .480 SOG sending it flying down the barrel followed by chemical pressure. The SRB-1 kicked back as a loud crack filled the air and blood misted from the where the target’s head was as it exploded inside of his white synthweave mask which was dyed a pinkish red in a matter of seconds. a mixture of blood and brain matter misted onto the white blanket and snowy underfoot.
“Hostile down,” she said, “Looking for new target.”
She smirked pulling the trigger again after acquiring a new target,
A pinkish red mist spattered on Kanis armor as one of the assailants dropped to the icy underfoot in a decapitated bloody heap.
The Fallen Jedi spun his saber before charging in again to confront a grouping of three armed assailants deflecting their blaster fire with his lightsaber, once he ran up on them he dropped to the ground entering a slide in which he cut off the right leg of the target to his right; spun around sweeping the legs from under the assailant in front of him and initiated an upward slash cutting the last man in half.
The Arconan turned to his surviving targets and quickly decapitating the target who still bore both legs. A loud crack sounded and the head of the last target to Kanis’ left exploded in a bloody display, a bolt of red flew over the Dark Jedi’s shoulder as the injured assailants shot missed by a few inches, thrown off by the devastating headshot.
Vigil had take cover behind the speeder truck and was popping out firing off slugs. Sparks leapt from his right shoulder where he’d recently been hit; by this point only half of the non-Brotherhood affiliated security team was left.
Kanis bolted towards a new group up on an icy dune ducking, weaving and deflecting blaster bolts. Dashing to the side he initiated a downward diagonal slashing motion that caught one of the soldier’s left shoulder and ended at his right hip. The Dark Jedi spun as his target fell into two separate pieces, now reverse gripping his blade, the Coruscanti exited the spin performing an upward slash that went from his next target’s left hip, to his right shoulder. Spinning his lightsaber in a now loose grip, Kanis lunged forward plunging his azure blade deep within his target’s chest. The assailants blaster rifle rested on Kanis shoulder as he glared into the dying eyes of his opponent. The soldier dropped to the ground after the Templar ripped the blade from his chest, hearing a hiss Kanis spun around bringing up his lightsaber in just enough time to block a column of sinister crimson.
“Frak!” Kanis shouted,
The Sith smirked behind the worn steel mask that hid his features, the eye slits were completely blacked out making his appearance more frightening.
Kanis smirked as he pushed against his opponent in a power struggle; reinforcing the hilt with his left hand, the Templar peeled his right index, middle, ring, and pinkie fingers off his hilt still keeping his thumb locked tightly around it.
“Come on…” he muttered,
“Is that all you’ve got?” he asked managing to thrust his saber forward, he called upon the force; sapphire sparks danced over his fingers and the top of his palm, a bolt of force shock shot from his hand impacting the Sith’s mask, the current superheated the metal scorching the Templar’s adversaries face.
The man screamed as he spun his saber down and leapt back managing to rip his mask from his now burnt face with a gloved hand.
“I am going to make you regret that Obelisk.” he hissed.
Kanis’ eyes widened,
“So were you always that ugly or did I do that?” he asked with sarcasm blatantly present in his tone.
The Sith charged towards Kanis with a series of aggressive slashes, after pulling back from his final strike which the Qel-Droman batted away with his saber; He angled his body and threw a kick at the gap between the Templar’s breast plate and belt.
“Juyo?” Kanis thought to himself as he instinctively spun away from the kick,
He brought his saber down in a arcing slash angled at his opponent’s ankle, but he wasn’t quick enough. His sapphire blade bit at the empty air and he brought his saber back around as he lifted his arms to counter the downward slash initiated by his opponent. The Arconan ducked just as the blades clashed just mere inches above him.
Acting quickly, the Templar deactivated his saber, quickly spinning away. The Sith’s crimson blade flew down past him and the Arconan quickly reignited his saber entering a spinning slash as he slowly crouched moving closer to his opponent.
The Sith spun and angled his blade down stopping the shaft of azure inches from his waist.
“Cute little trick Obelisk,” he hissed, “Too bad it failed.”
“I’m not the one you have to worry about.” Kanis added with a smirk, “Do it.”
Maa’ka rested her crosshairs just above the back of the Sith’s neck, she pulled the trigger and a loud crack sounded as her Barracuda kicked back. Blood misted from the Dark Side practitioner’s upper back and chest, blood flowed from his mouth as he trembled for a moment, he slowly lowered his arms and another loud crack sounded; blood misted from his mid-back and stomach area, the force of the last round threw him forward in the snow, his blood poured out onto the colourless terrain, his saber lay beside him just out of reach of his hand.
Kanis slowly moved in and grabbed the silvery hilt, he then angled both the sabers down impaling them through the Sith’s midsection before thumbing the ignition switches; he kicked the Sith in the ribs, before rolling him over with his boot.
A datapad peeked out from the Sith’s cloak; The Qel-Droman knelt down and removed it from the corpse possession, he scowled as the display flickered to life showing the seal of the One Sith in the backdrop of an encrypted message.
“Kill confirmed.” he stated, walking to the edge of the Dune observing the slaughter below, as he tucked away the Datapad.
Vigil and the remaining few of the security force slowly pushed forward mopping up any remaining resistance.
Maa’ka slowly packed up her rifle and sat down pushing off as she inititated a slide down the icy mound she was recently positioned atop, once at the bottom she stood up and ran in Kanis’ direction,
By this Time Laura Tarr had stepped out of her armored landspeeder against the advisory of her security detail who abruptly followed her.
She proceeded up the hill to meet with Kanis, she was about to speak but stopped cold in her tracks at the sight of the body.
“Kark,” she muttered,
“I suppose you two know each other?” Kanis asked.
“That…” she paused for breath, “looks like Jack, my head advisor for Tarr Heavy Industries.”
“Looks like you had a rat in your midst.” Kanis uttered, “You’re welcome by the way.”
“Right…” Laura muttered, “We should get moving, compound is just a few miles north of here.” she said turning around starting to walk back to her land speeder.
It was around this time that Maa’ka reached them, “Well, looks like you were right for a third time.” she said, “How’d you do it?”
“Like I said, it’s what I’d do.” he muttered as he grabbed the Sith’s mask on his way back to the A-A6z.
The Mandalorian soldier nodded as she flanked the Templar, Vigil joined the pair as they climbed back into the speeder truck.
After a moment the convoy was mobile again minus a couple security vehicles.
A small group of robed figures approached the Sith’s body, they watched as the convoy disappeared in the distance.
The One Sith searched their fallen comrade’s corpse and cursed when the didn’t find his datapad,
The convoy slowly approached the compound, armed guards waved them through the security checkpoint as the barrier lowered.
Kanis and his team exited the speeder truck which stopped abruptly inside the compound to let them out before proceeding to the warehouse,
Tarr’s armored speeder cut them off and the door opened abruptly as Laura stepped out,
“I wanted to thank you for your support on the expedition Dark Jedi,” she said reaching her hand out for a shake one last time.
Kanis looked down at her hand before slowly extending his own shaking her hand briefly,
“No, need to thank me for doing my job.” he said,
“Shall I arrange your ride back to the Spaceport?” she asked, “The freighter is also waiting to take you back, just tell the captain where you need to go.” she said putting on a smile.
Kanis nodded, and Tarr waved her security detail out of the land speeder and gestured for Kanis and his team to pile in.
After they were in and seated, Tarr poked her head in. “Take them back to the spaceport.”
“Ma’am…” the driver said, after Tarr was clear, the door shut and the armored speeder turned around and peeled out of the compound.
ACB Contract Offices
Lower levels, Arcona Citadel
Estle City, Selen
Kanis let himself into Celevon’s office flanked by Maa’ka and Vigil, the Onderonian looked up from his datapad,
“Come in Kanis.” he said sarcastically.
The Templar tossed the One Sith’s datapad onto the Prelate’s desk,
Celevon raised an eyebrow,
“What’s this?” he asked picking up the datapad.
“During my contract, I found this on a One Sith that attacked me. Think of it as a souvenir from Hoth.” the Coruscanti announced.
“Interesting, I will send this in to the higher ups for decoding and interpretation.” he said, “Get prepped for debrief.”
Kanis nodded, before exiting the office with his squad.