[CNS] Lifeblood Run-On

Information: The Karashi Void virus has been cured with success but at a steep cost to some. As Grand Master Pravus continues to threaten the Brotherhood and agents of the Inqusitorious infiltrate the clan’s ranks, many are forced to react in ways they may not expect. With first blood going to Pravus concerning the destruction of the CNS flagship and change of Consuls, Naga Sadow is starting to feel the pressure of choosing a side and can no longer continue to ignore the Dark Council without repercussion. We must fall in line or fight against the tyranny of the Grand Master.

Prompt: This is a slice-of-life Runon. It will have one thread, located at this link. The main focus here is to develop your character and show what they are doing during this time period. As such, you can write about what ever you want, as long as it is realistic and fits within the Brotherhood’s narrative. Your character may have their own agenda, and be doing their own thing, or want to be more involved in happenings in the Brotherhood. Judging will be based on who shows the most character development over the time period of the Runon. Barring major conflicts, posts in this Runon should be considered official for your character moving forward, if you want them to be.

Rules

A member must make at least two posts of 250 words each or more to count for participation and placement, as well as to qualify to earn Clusters of Ice per the rules for Runons. Placing entries, more than likely, will have more posts.

Members cannot post back-to-back.

The member who demonstrates the best overall character development will be declared the winner. This includes showing how events in the Brotherhood have an effective change on how your character acts, views the universe, etc, as well as any story developments. The Fiction Grading Rubric will be used to choose winners.

Guidelines

As this is an open Runon for clan members, it is best to ask someone’s permission before including them in your story.

Be sure to think about realism and how what you write fits into the overall story.

Ryloth
Versea Estate

“I have to go back to my office on Myrmidon tomorrow,” Lilith said as she packed a storage bag. “You could join me for a bit.”

Hearing a snort she turned and looked at her husband.

Firith’rar sat fiddling with his latest Crescent with Diamond Star for his work on Moraband Looking at his wife across the room, he gave her a wry grin. “Aye lass, an maybe I’ll be welcomed with open arms by yer pet Shroudies too.” He responded sarcastically. He flipped the medal like a coin and then and then tossed it into the trash bin next to him.

Lilith looked at the trash bin then back at Firith. She started to say to something but changed her mind and just rolled her eyes. "Motan would like to see you. You haven’t communicated with him for awhile now.” She said going back to her packing.

“Oh aye, and if the lad ever answered any of my communications we would be, but I am lucky if he ever bothers to answer a direct call. Between you and me? I believe I have failed grandly as his Master.” Firith shook his head in despair, and looked down at his scarred hands. “Just another notch against me,” he mumbled. How many more?

“I’ll talk to him when I get to Myrmidon,” Lilith said as she tied of the storage bag and then grabbed up a couple data pads. “Remind him to contact you more often.”

Turning to look at her moping husband again she tilted her head to the side and tried to gauge his mood. He had been upset about something for the past couple days and very quiet since Moraband.

“Firith? Are you sure you don’t want to come with me to Myrmidon?” she asked quietly. “We can discuss what’s been on your mind.”

Grinning, he looking up at her. “Nae lass, nae. I ha’ no fond memories o that place. No after the problems with the weapons factory and the Grand Master. Besides, I believe yer supply officer is still angry at me for scraping up the paint job on the shuttle I borrowed.”

As she watched he seemed to age before her, the light leaving his eyes. He shrugged and sighed, “as for what’s been bothering me I think ye kent the main part.” His accent was thick and heavy, never a good sign.

“Is it the getting passed over for promotion?” She whispered, knowing how while, he was very happy for her, it really bothered him about getting left behind after he had done everything he was suppose to do, or thought he had. She had heard him muttering to himself and asking himself what had he done wrong.

She saw him tense up and then deflate; his anger and energy seemed to drain away.

“I don’t want ta talk about it, I ken the opinions o the Summit and the Dark Council.” He said, bitterness coming into his voice. Sighing he shook his head and stared at his hands again.

“I love you.” Lilith said softly.

Taking a deep breath Firith stood up abruptly. He walked over to Lilith and hugged her. “I ken ye do lass, and I love ye too." He said, andthen kissed her. Holding her he whispered in her ear "Let’s go ta bed lass, I’ll make an honest woman out o ye,” he smirked, sliding his one hand down and pinching her bottom.

And for awhile, everything was right in their lives.

Outskirts of Seng Karash
Aeotheran
Orian System

Gone. The Damnation is gone. Locke and Morax are gone. Now we’re stuck with that tree hugger of a Consul.

The forest canopy hung thick above the lone hut outside the city walls, completely covering the night sky. Wails of the jungle’s inhabitants pierced the air like an alarm, threatening any outsiders who dared to venture into its core. Evelynn Wyrm was not intimidated the slightest bit by her surroundings. The demolished wooden hut was hidden from predators by lianas and broken branches fallen from the towering trees. She had hand picked this location as her home, away from the crowd, and most certainly away from the political nonsense that plagued Aeotheran. It was a perfect hiding place, and Evelynn’s go-to destination when she needed to think.

The Aedile put on her cloak, letting the armorweave slide over the two shoto lightsabers strapped to her belt. The destruction of the Clan flagship hit her hard, harder than she expected. The ignorance and lightheartedness of her superiors hit her even harder. How was this not expected? How many times did I have to warn Morax this would happen if we didn’t unite and strike first? Did they think sitting idly while the galaxy is at war would go unnoticed?

The Battlemistress felt a hot breeze touch her face as she pulled the curtain representing her door to the side and stepped out of her hut and onto open ground. She was shaken by the losses, but her will remained strong, and the incompetence of the Upper Summit would not change that. Idling was no longer an option; it was time for war.

Iron Legion or not, Pravus is going to pay for this.

He opened his eyes, and the sky above was fire. Through that fire, a great dagger of metal emerged, twisted and burning. It streaked down toward the planet’s surface. The object impacted somewhere distant, a bright flash permeating throughout the fire in the sky. A deafening boom soon followed it. The giant wroshyr trees that stretched toward the sky seemed to smoke and simmer under that inferno.

Locke winced as he watched the spectacle, his head throbbing painfully. He was on his back, and he couldn’t move his body. He turned his head slightly, even that causing intense pain to shoot through his body, seeing the remains of an escape pod, still smoldering nearby. What had happened? How had he gotten out of it? Did someone pull him out? If so, where had they gone? The thought faded from his memory as a smaller shape streaked through the sky, heading somewhere else. From here it looked like a fireball, and Locke guessed it was another one of the Warhost’s ships.

The Warhost, he thought, the battle coming back to him. Atra. That thought was accompanied by anger. Somehow, his old friend had survived, and now, it appeared, he served the Inquisitorius.

No, he had been in command of that task force. Locke growled a single word, his voice sounding coarse and not like his own. “Traitor!”

Nevermind that, he had more immediate issues. He had to get back to the others. They would have to mount a defense. There was a lot to do. He tried to sit up…and nothing happened. He grunted from the pain. He tried again, and still was unable to move. Then Locke howled wordlessly, an expression of frustration, anger, and pain. He hoped no one was around to hear. That was not like him, and he had been shocked to hear it come from his throat. He could feel his heart beating, pounding in step with the throbbing in his head.

He couldn’t move, so instead he laid there and watched the sky - watched his Warhost be destroyed before his eyes. How had it come to this? How had he led Naga Sadow toward disaster? He had, once long ago, assumed there must be some great threat on the horizon, but it had not come from where he expected. He had been wrong - completely wrong - about the threat’s source, and it had blindsided him, and his Clan had suffered for it. Now he did not know what the future would bring, but he still had obligations, he still had work to do.

Summoning all of the energy of the Force, Locke called on the dark side, mouth open in a snarl as he filled his body with that twisted part of the Force, feeling the power and the madness of it in a way he rarely had. He tried to use it to stabilize himself, to will his body to move, and all he could do was roll over. He fell on his side, and looked across the landscape. The throbbing in his head grew worse, causing darkness to appear at the corners of his vision. “No,” he snarled. He would not die here. He refused to die here. Locke clawed at the ground, trying to get up, but he could barely move.

Gritting his teeth, Locke focused. He could heal, but that was usually an act of the pure Force. It should not work the same with the dark side, but he didn’t care. He needed to move. Locke did not know what was wrong with himself, but he sent the dark side into his head, trying to clear the throbbing.

The action may have helped him, but he did not know. Instead, all he felt was pain - pure, blinding pain. He screamed until he was hoarse. Everything went black.

Undisclosed Section
Temple of Sorrow
Sepros

Slowly, Locke opened his eyes. It was bright, but now he identified lights instead of the inferno he had observed before. His hearing slowly registered voices nearby, but they were quiet. He remembered the forest and being on his back, and the pain as he had tried to heal himself. What had happened? Where was he?

“He’s awake,” someone said. “Send for Sang, quickly!”

Sang, Locke thought. He was glad that his Proconsul had survived. The man had a good head on his shoulders. Things must not have been going too badly, if they had this facility setup. Locke turned his head slightly to see that he was behind a curtain, and he could just see the back of a guard posted outside. He twisted it more, and saw several items on a counter nearby - his lightsaber among them. He was glad it survived, but was not sure he would be able to wield the weapon any time soon.

“How bad is it?” Locke said, not recognizing his voice.

Sang appeared before any of the nearby medical personnel could, smiling slightly. “Well, you’re not dead,” he said. “But a lot of people think you are.”

Locke laughed - or tried to. It didn’t sound right. “What’s wrong with me?” he asked.

Sang’s smile faded. “I didn’t understand most of the medical terminology they used, but the summary isn’t exactly nice. They say you won’t be able to walk for quite some time - months, maybe even years, unfortunately.”

Growling, Locke tried to raise himself to a sitting position, but it was nearly impossible. “So I’m stuck in this bed?” he asked.

“Well, not exactly,” Sang said. Locke didn’t really appreciate his attempt to sound positive, but said nothing. “They have a hover chair you can use, and later on, crutches. You’ll be able to walk, eventually.”

“Eventually,” Locke said. “What is the state of the Clan?”

“Right down to business,” Sang murmured. “It appears they really just wanted to send a message. They left after smashing the majority of our fleet.”

So there was still hope, Locke thought.

He laughed hollowly. “Message received.” Then he sighed, thinking over what he wanted to say to Sang.

“Are there nurses nearby, or doctors, or something, Sang? I…I can’t turn my head well, you know.”

“No,” Sang said. He sat on a stool nearby, or at least, Locke thought he did. He couldn’t really see. “Why?”

Locke sighed again, trying to choose his words. “I failed, Sang. And I’m in no position to do anything like this. The Inquisitorious can’t be allowed to hit us like this and get away with it. The other Clans will feast on this perceived weakness. I…I can’t continue like this.”

“Sang…as of this moment, I am relinquishing power to you. The Warhost, the Clan, Dlarit - everything. I renounce any claim to leadership of the Clan. You are Consul now.”

Sang looked at Locke for a long time without saying anything, his expression unreadable. Finally, he said. “I figured something like this might happen. I’ll do it, don’t worry.”

“Succeed where I failed, Sang,” Locke said. “I know you can.” He was not truly sure about Sang or his intentions, but figured he had no choice as it was.

As he got up to leave, Sang turned back to Locke. “The rumors say you are dead, you know. I don’t know if you want to let them spread. I’ve arranged for one of our members - Aul Celsus - to clandestinely take you to the Devil Shroud base on Aeotheran. There you can recover…and decide your next move.” Then Sang was gone.

And he can keep tabs on me for you, I bet, Locke thought. He was no longer Consul, but that did not mean he was exempt from the politics and scheming of the Clan. He was sure he still had a role to play, but for now, he had to focus on learning to live with injuries.

Nar Shaddaa
Outer Rim Territories

Tightening his grip, he listened as the soft leather of his glove stretched and shifted over the grooves in the metal of the hilt. The grip of his new lightsaber felt a little odd in his hand, but that didn’t detract him from focusing on his upcoming kill.

Sitting back in the shadows, he waited. Soon his blade would cauterize and cleave the brain of the Hutt…

He grinned in the dark of his hood and remembered the reason he was here.

Tarthos
Versea Estate
Three Weeks Earlier

Firith sat back in his chair feeling the sun’s warmth seep into his bones. The weather has turned to the growth cycle and it was a perfect day to sit out on the veranda of the mansion. It was a beautiful and quiet day. In fact, ever since Moraband it had been peaceful and quiet.

Closing his eyes he began to meditate, feeling the Force, sensing all that was around him. The ebb and flow of nature, of the surrounding woods, the flowered poking up from their cold cycle slumber. Stretching and yawning, he fell asleep.

The slight squeak and whine of a droid approaching woke him. Looking at the shadows on the floor of the veranda, he realized had had only been asleep for a few minutes.

His personal droid appeared beside the rocker he was sitting in, making an attempt to look sexy.

“Good d,d,d,day Master, fwerp how a,a,r,r,re you todd,d,d,d,day?” The droid asked, putting a hand on its hip in a sultry fashion.

The Dark Jedi pulled himself from the chair and walked over to the veranda’s banister, before the droid could try to sit on his lap and kiss him. “Fine, I’m fine, thank you BDThree. Lass, It sounds like your stuttering is getting better, except for the d. I may need to work on that.” He said, admiring the play of the sun and shadows on the grass and trees.

The droid thrust its upper torso towards the Jedi insofar as was possible and crooned. “You can work *fwhip! Bzzzztwork, work kkkkping on my d’s whenever​ ever you want!”

Firith glanced at the proffered durasteel and plastic form which was a B cup at best and closed his eyes, shaking his head. I wonder if a total reprogram would work?

“BD? I’m assuming ye ha’ a reason for bothering me, aye?” Firith said as he took out his pipe and began to fill it.

“Oh! I’m s,s,s,sorry Master! I d,d,d,d,_fwerp tic,tic,tic, (PING!_), didn’t mean to bother you, please forgive me fo–”

“BD! WHAT IS IT!?”

The droid took a step back and contrived to look hurt. “You have a p,p,p,priority communication. The light _bzzp h,h,h,hphhhzz_* has b,b,b,been flashing in the ccc,c,comm room for a while now.”

Firith took a deep breath, sighed and rolled his eyes. Now he knew why it had been so quiet in the time since Moraband, he had shut down the communications relays except for the priority scrambler.

Ahh kriff, I am going to be so much trouble for this.

Looking down at his ratty dressing gown and slippers he realized he need to get somewhat presentable to answer the holocom. Turning, he ran back to his rooms to clean up.

After a quick shower, he went to the closet. His new robes has arrived the other day and they were very comfortable and well made. The colors reflected his feelings and attitude since Moraband. Blacks and reds, the light wool felt good, felt…right.

Cinching his belt in place and strapping his lightsaber to it, he pulled the hood of his outer tunic over his head and headed to the the comm room.

Entering the room he saw the light rapidly blinking on his private scrambler. But first he turned on the system and undid the block he had installed when he had first got back from Moraband. When the final keystroke was hit, the communications panel lit up in a blaze of flashing and blinking lights. Screens flickered to life showing burning starships, death and destruction, Sang speaking with the title of Consul of Naga Sadow under his picture, numerous private messages scrolling up another screen, many with capital letters and multiple questions marks or exclamation points in the subject line.

“Uh Oh.”

Shrouded Redoubt
Myrmidon
Aeotheran

His quarters in the Redoubt were sparse. Locke had grown used to large offices and an endless array of powerful tools that were designed to manage an entire Clan, but he was starting to appreciate the spartan accommodations here. He had only a single room, a bed, a couple of chairs, and a refresher. There were no view screens, no holonet links, and only a tiny workstation. While it was nice and simple, not everything was going that well.

It took some difficulty for Locke to get used to his new condition. The power chair he had been provided with allowed him to get around, but it made life much different than before. It was greatly frustrating. He found himself relying on the Force more and more now. It was not something he particularly enjoyed, but he resolved to make do with what he had.

At least I’m alive, he thought.

There were advantages. He did, in some ways, have a fresh start. He was no longer Consul, and thus no longer was required to lead the Clan. He no longer had any responsibilities, save for those of any member. It had been years since Locke was in that position, and he was trying his best to enjoy it.

However, his mind would not let him. Thoughts flashed through Locke’s mind. The Iron Throne, their attack, the so-called Lotus resistance that they had heard about, Sang as Consul, the future of the Clan, the battles that would come…

There was no mistake; they were at war now. They might not have seen this White Lotus as allies, but they fought the same enemy. After attempting to stay out, Naga Sadow had been attacked and forced into the war against Darth Pravus and his Iron Legion. Locke did not see any end in sight for it. Despite his “freedom”, he did not feel free at all. He was still the same person. He still had a duty to serve his Clan and see them through this conflict. He was still a Son of Sadow and a friend to the Warhost. Others would likely look to him.

He had, at first, thought of disappearing and staying in the shadows. After much thought, however, he had realized that would not work. Even if not Consul, he was still Locke Sonjie. He was still the same man who had claimed enough allies to challenge Macron Goura Sadow for leadership of the Clan. He was still the same man who had rallied the Dlarit Military together against Zoraan’s fleet near Judecca. He was still the same soldier and ally who had fought side-by-side with the Warhost throughout the Dark Crusade. And he was still the same man who had recently led the Clan for over a year.

No, he could not pretend to be dead. He did not think it would be easy; nor prudent. He was a better resource to his allies when they knew who he was. Still, he would be careful. As word of his condition spread, there would be those who would seek to take advantage of it. Now, more than ever, he needed to be sure to surround himself with powerful allies. There was no doubt that he had enemies in the Clan, and those without who may send assassins to finish the job that the Iron Legion started.

There was, of course, a negative voice to his mind. You led the Clan to this conflict. Haven’t you done enough damage already?

Perhaps, he relented, but I did the best I could.

Is that enough? the voice asked.

“Is it?” Locke questioned aloud. He buried the negative thoughts under pure willpower. I am Locke Sonjie, he told himself. I am a Son of Sadow. I must continue to fight.

It might have been prudent to keep a low profile, but that still wasn’t going to keep him from serving the Clan. He would need to be careful to not draw to much attention to himself, even if he was not truly in hiding.

Fighting, however, would be hard in many ways. He gently reached out with his mind’s eye, grasping at the Force. Locke maneuvered the invisible power around a glass of water nearby, gently guiding it through the air and into his hand. He drank from the glass until it was empty, then let it drift away from his body, his hand up and guiding it.

Suddenly, Locke reversed the flow of Force energy. A calm caress became a torrent of strength as he closed his hand into a fist. The glass shattered as the invisible power of the Force tore it apart. Locke chuckled. No, he was not helpless. He still had the Force, and he was still who he was. Jedi, soldier, pilot, diplomat…" he thought. He was all of those things and more. Though being confined to the power chair inhibited him, he was far from helpless.

With a sigh, Locke fished out his comlink to page someone to clean up the mess. He did summon most of the larger pieces into the air himself, slowly guiding them into a nearby garbage disposal. After that, he waited. He was restless. Locke had easily mastered the power chair in the confines of Devil’s Shroud’s base and his quarters there. The walls were starting to feel constraining. Perhaps it was time for an excursion outside.

Tarthos
Versea Estate
Communications Room

Firith flipped up the tunics hood, hiding his features and then dimmed all the lighting except the one directly over his head. Taking a deep breath he switched on the the scrambler and stepped into view of the holocamera.

“Speak, I am here. Why am I being disturbed?” He asked in a angry voice.

The chatter and arguing by unseen people on the other end abruptly stopped and a figure hooded and cloaked to hide his features stepped into view at the opposite end of the communication.

“Firith’rar? Nice outfit, very dramatic. Why have you had your comm unit shut off? I have been trying to reach you for days now.” The speaker on the other end queried. “You have been told time and time again to not be out of contact with us. Have you not? I know I ha–”

Firith held up a hand and silenced the speaker. “I am here now Nexus, you have interrupted my leave. I can only assume from the news reports you need me to take care of something. Save the petty items for later. What do you need me to do?”

The glowing blue green figure on the other end looked off to the side as if speaking to someone, nodded and then looked back at Firith. “It is the will of the, no, I take that back. Your orders are to assassinate with extreme prejudice one Sanyri the Hutt and three of his most trusted informants. This piece of filth and his cronies are responsible for supplying the information to our enemies as to where out fleet was currently stationed and when it would be there. As a result of a surprise attack, we lost our flagship and thousands of personnel.” The figure stopped speaking for a moment and calmly continued. “We have been told they will be on Nar Shaddaa within the next two weeks. Information packets being sent now. Read them, learn them and then destroy them. We’ll talk about your insubordination when you get back.”

Firith waved off the threat as he watched the screens fill with information about the Hutt and the three other targets. He might be able to just blow them all up if he played his cards right. “It will be done,” he said bowing to the other figure. Then he cut off the transmission and had all the information transferred to his personal ship’s computer and to his study here in the mansion.

Firith stood there for a moment then shook his head. Turning on his heel he headed for his and Lilith’s rooms.

Entering his study, Firith locked the door and activated a sound dampener. Dropping into his desk chair with a sigh he rubbed his temples, feeling a headache coming on. “Computer display recent files, begin analysis of any movement patterns, similar contacts and begin a simple persona that will fit into the working situation.”

“Working…” the speaker said as images began to flash up on the screen. Various holos of the Hutt and three other individuals, two normal looking humans and what appeared to be a cybernetically enhanced Twi’lek appeared.

Slowly the hours passed as Firith studied what information was available.

“Computer can you give me an estimate of when you will have the information I requested?” The aged assassin asked as he yawned and stretched.

“I believe the information you have requested has already been printed to a holo disk and sent to the main monitor. As for a persona, there is not one that readily lends itself to the mission at hand. None of the individuals would have anything in common except that they collect information and then relay it to the Hutt. Unless you are to be a traitor to your house and clan then the option with the highest rate of success at 32.85920842% is to go to the sail barge of the Hutt and kill him and the other three in a direct attack.” the machine responded in a flat monotone

Firith rubbed his temples, feeling the ache in his neck and head. Bleary eyed he looked at the speaker on the desk and groaned. “Mmphm, and my chance of survival?”

“If you gain the advantage of surprize and kill the Hutt first, your chances go from 50.76209842% to 53.0912374809123%. Depending on fighting style used, weapons, Force powers, allies, suicidal attitude, etc. survivability can vary as much as another twenty to forty percent.” it responded with cold efficiency.

“Fine, we all have to die some day. Begin prep of my ship for the trip to Nar Shaddaa. Make sure the ECM suite is fully updated, have food and fuel added for the trip plus four weeks. Send a communique to Lilith and another to Quaestor Ashen and Aedile Keibatsu and let them know I have been sent on a mission by Nexus and why.” Standing up Firith pressed his hands to the small of his back and stretched. His spine popping as he flexed. Heading out of the study he went off to get a shower and then pack for the trip and get something for his headache.

Nar Shaddaa
Outer Rim Territories
Three Weeks Later

It had been an interesting three weeks. The research into the habits and ways of the four individuals had not panned out as Firith had hoped. There was no rhyme or reason to their patterns. The only thing that they all seemed to agree on was meeting on a party barge the Hutt owned once a week for something. A something that lasted about 15 standard minutes, and then they dispersed. The days of the meetings always seemed to coincide with a lavish party.

Firith studied the party barge for two weeks and had managed to hack up a set of its blueprints. It didn’t lend itself to an easy escape. There were numerous guards and often times up to a hundred guests or visitors of some kind. And the worst part is that it docked thousands of meters from the ground at a private and heavily guarded dock, attached to a high end casino. The meeting always took place in a large office at the aft end of the barge, away from everyone else.

Firith had managed to get into the casino through hacking into it’s database and entering his name into the permanent guest list. But it took him befriending and paying off one of the bar keeps to get him the information he needed to get to the party barge. A party was going to happen in a few days and it was going to have many dignitaries from off world visiting. Special arrangements had been made to have numerous foods and drinks on board to accommodate the different people. Firith realize this would probably be his best chance to sneak on to the barge and get close to the Hutt.

Hiding himself in a crates of foodstuffs and supplies that were being loaded onto the barge Firith Force Cloaked himself from the guards as a visual inspection of the items was done while they were being taken aboard.

He knew he could hide from everyone on the barge, except maybe the cyborg. He wasn’t sure what modifications it had to it’s eyes. There was always a chance someone, somewhere had designed a sensor that could “see” him when he was cloaked.

Once on board and stowed below with the supplies, Firith broke his concentration and began to make his way to the aft office where the Hutt would hold the meetings. It was slow going and he often times had to hide from members of the crew and different security personnel.

The decision to blow up the barge and kill everyone on it just to take out the four targets was an easy one to make. At one point he would have questioned it and tried to keep the collateral damage to a minimum. After the mission to Moraband though, he no longer felt that way. If the people died, well, to bad. They should have chosen their friends better or picked a different party to attend.

Firith wasn’t to sure about the his escape plan. He wasn’t afraid of heights, much. But the possible drop wasn’t something he was looking forward to, not to mention the fact debris from the party barge would be falling around him. His real concern was his escape ride being close enough to pull off the rescue he was sure he would need…

A week prior Firith had bribed a local hotshot speeder pilot to be his personal taxi service and to be ready to help him get away from possible security issues. The hack into the casino was also skimming credits into a shadow account. One that he hoped would not be found out until well after the job was done. This allowed him to pay off various people with stolen money.

Pressed against the wall he waited, seething inside, keeping it bottled up like a pressure cooker. His Rage would be the fuel for this fight, and he knew he would not be able to last more than ten or fifteen minutes at the most. He began to focus inward, leaving just enough of his concentration on his Force Cloak. Feeling the anger at what this filth had done to help Pravus destroy his clan and kill Locke.

Dimly aware of the sound of the Hutt as it was slithering into the room and up onto the dais where it held court, Firith opened his eyes and looked at the huge bulk of the slug in front of him. Glancing around he realized he couldn’t see if the other three were in the room with the Hutt or not. His hand tightened on his saber, the other slowly reach down to the flash grenade attached to his belt.

Firith listened and as the Hutt talked he was answered by two, no three different voices.

Excellent they all were there, time to party.

Firith triggered the flash grenade and lobbed it over top of the Hutts head. He heard startled exclamations from the four people and then from others further away. Guards? Other informants?

The Hutt shielded the bright and disorienting flash from Firith’s eyes and with a yell he uncloaked and ignited his saber, stabbing it into the back of the Hutt. The plasma blade burned deep into the spine and punched out the fat of the Hutt’s chest.

Grabbing the hilt with both hands he dragged the blade upwards, slicing up into the neck and then head of the foul slug. Gore and blood splattered everywhere. The smell of burnt Hutt filled the room with a odor that Firith knew he’d never get out of his armor.

Feeling the Rage inside him finally boil over Firith was filled with a burning energy. The aches and pains of old age fell away and his body felt young and vibrant again.

Launching himself over the corpse of the Hutt he did a forward flip and slashed at the still stunned trio. Hacking and slashing to overwhelm them, he wildly chopped at them with quick, swift movements. Soon all three were dead before they could even draw a weapon.

Looking over at the door he could see two guards. One still rubbed his eyes from the flash, the other, blinking away the spits drew a wicked vibro sword and started forward.

Firith planted his feet, turned to the side, his left foot forward. Raising his saber over his head with his right hand, he pointed the tip of it at his opponent. The crimson blade filled the room with a bloody light. Growling he brought his right arm around in a slash as he lept forward towards the guard.

The saber met the vibro sword in a clash of sparks and squeal of plasma against metal. Slicing through the sword the plasma blade continued its sweep scoring a charred line across the chest armor of the guard.

Firith grasped the hilt of the saber with his left hand and still screaming he brought the brought the saber tip back up to thrust it forward into the stunned guard.

Firith could feel the pulse of his heard and hear it beating, thundering in his ears. He could feel the Rage fueling him. He also began to feel an ache in his chest and a sharp pain began to radiate down his arm, spots formed in front of his eyes and his head started feeling light.

Grabbing a pouch of blinding dust off his belt, Firith threw it at the final guard, creating a cloud of gray around him so he was blinded once more.

Firith staggered back and fell against the far corner of the room, losing strength and feeling dizzy.
The Rage the fueled him was gone, his concentration disrupted by his own failing body. His lightsaber gouging a hole into the floor and the machinery below. I’ll no die like a mewling bairn on the floor alone!

Scrabbling for a nitro syringe in his med pack he collapsed to his knees as he felt his heart fighting to work. Combined with the depleted energy of his body, all he wanted to do was sleep, forever. Fighting it he found what he needed and pulled it from the pack and ripped the cap off of it with his teeth exposing the long needle.

Vision beginning to tunnel, he snapped the trigger cover of the syringe and slammed the needle into his own chest and heart. Screaming in agony he pressed the plunger forcing the drug into his failing heart.

Almost instantly he felt a massive headache as the drug began to dilate all his blood vessels. His brain cleared as did his vision as the much needed blood reached his head. His heart suddenly flooded worked to deal with the excess and began beating a semi normal rhythm

Taking a deep breath, Firith promptly threw up.

Suddenly the party barge’s alarms went off and the whole thing shifted, breaking away from part of its docking arm to the casino. It’s aft end swinging downwards, he could hear screams and people falling.

Trying to clear his head and spit the bile from his mouth Firith noticed the hole in the floor his saber had gouged, and the underlying pipes and wires it had severed. Hmmmm

Lets see what happens if I do this, he thought jabbing the blade into the floor again up to the emitter. Flames and smoke began to spew out of the previous hole and the lights flickered. More alarms sounded and the room was plunged into a smoky gloom.

A loud metallic groan was heard above the screaming of the people outside the room and the barge shifted again, its deck canting to a sharp angle. A series of crashes could be heard and shrieks of the other guests got louder as items and bodies slid down to slam into the outer wall of the office. The bodies of the dead and the remaining guard piled up against the aft wall.

Suddenly the door splintered open and a chair and two more people slid into the room. Causing the barge to tilt even further back and then snap off completely from the mooring ramp. Smoke filled the room and flames could be seen flickering and glowing through the rents in the floor.

Looking about Firith realized he hadn’t an escape plan for this scenario.

The barge was slowly sinking, it’s front repulsorlifts keeping it from total free fall.

Finding a window nearby Firith tried to open it, finding it sealed he didn’t bother with trying to figure out how to unlock it. He grabbed his lightsaber and used it to cut the window out of is mounting.

Breathing fresh air and coughing he was able to make out approaching emergency speeders. “Kriff, that won’t do.” he muttered. Holstering his saber he then flipped open his wrist communicator and called for a pickup. Keeping the instructions short he kept looking out the hole for the pilot he had bribed.

Moments later he was rewarded when a small open cockpit speeder pulled up just below the window. Gathering his cloak about him he pulled himself out of the barge’s office and jumped over to the speeder.

“Uba ye wanya bacaka poo-doo pinii, Uba doth tee meeto toe chateua dah mi bankop uba wamma mi doth uba?” the pilot asked

Gasping and still feeling woozy and exhausted Firith gave him a wain smile. “Not yet, I’m not going to die yet. And your money will be transferred to your account when I get back to the space port. First I need to do this though.” Pulling a thermal detonator from a belt pouch he flicked up the trigger and pressed the button. Lights blinking a count down on it, he tossed it into the room he had just escaped from. “Drive, FAST!”

The pilot gunned the engine, pressing them into the seats and Firith hastily put his restraining harness on. Swerving in and out of the local traffic and around buildings they soon were far enough away to hear only a faint explosion as the detonator went off. Pulling around they headed back towards the casino see the carnage. Dropping down towards the distant ground they could see the shattered remains of the barge where it had impacted the buildings below. Fire crews worked diligently to try and subdue the burning buildings, and bodies, lay broken and crushed across roof tops and were hanging from support beams and various antennas. “Excellent work, take me to the spaceport.” Firith said.

A short time later the speeder fell into the traffic patterns around the spaceport and then pulled into a parking area. Firith took out a small data pad and typed in some commands. “Aaaaand done. Your money is transferred.” he said smiling. Handing the data pad over to show the man next to him. He unbuckled his restraints and reached into his boot, and drew his vibroblade.

The pilot looked up in shock as the blade slammed into his chest. “Sorry friend, no loose ends.” Firith whispered. Undoing the pilot’s restraint harness he shoved the body down to the floor of the speeder and then got out.

Keeping himself wrapped in his cloak to hide the armor he wore and his saber Firith quickly made it back to where his ship was berthed. After getting clearance to depart, he blasted away and into space.

Dialing up the scrambled frequency he used to speak with Nexus he sent a simple “It’s done.” and set a course for Tarthos. He was surprised when the communicator responded with “Proceed to Qirool VI with all due haste, more to follow once you are in system.” Looking out the flight decks window into space, Firith typed in a very simple “Acknowledged”