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[CNS] The Void - Muz and Inyri


Captain’s Quarters
MCHC Retribution
Edge Of The Orion System

Captain Gregorius Videk ran his hand down his face in exasperation before returning his gaze to the figure that loomed before him. Well, loomed perhaps was not the correct word given the figure was minuscule, translucent and hovered some few inches above the holoterminal before the Captain. The figure present, however, was anything but little and as he stared into the face of Simonetti, Videk let out a small sigh. Not so small it wasn’t picked up, however.

“Do you have an issue with my orders, Captain Videk? If so, I can assign someone else to this task, another more capable Captain?” Simonetti’s expression never changed as the words left his mouth. “Whilst I am fully aware this mission may be nothing more than a wild nerf chase, the situation calls for our response. Do you not agree?”

Videk said nothing for a few seconds and turned his eyes to his second in command, Vanel Fremlin, who sat perched on the edge of the desk. She simply shrugged her shoulders, nodding slowly but making no sound. The Shaevalian Captain once more turned his expression to the face of his commanding officer.

“I have no issues with your orders Sir. This just seems a waste of resources that could be better spent elsewhere. The Retribution isn’t entirely suited for this type of mission after all. We’re a combat vessel, not a…” his next words were cut off as Simonetti interjected.

“This is my navy, Captain. I was here long before you arrived. Do not advise me what the ships under my command can do again. Do I make myself clear?” Nothing came back from Videk. “Good. You will be transporting several members of the Warhost Special Forces. You will also be accepting an engineer on board from Sepros plus two members of House Marka Ragnos who will be assisting you in organising this mission. Ensure they are comfortable, you depart as soon as everything is ready. Simonetti out.”

The comm died and the two commanding officers of the Retribution stared at one another. Vanel spoke first, flicking her lekku over her shoulder as she hopped from the desk. As she landed on the floor she took several steps towards the door and hit the release button. Before she exited she simply turned on her heel and stared at her fellow officer.

“No good will come of chasing this ghost ship. I’ll go prepare the ship for receiving guests and heading off. Guess we’ll need to prepare the guest quarters for these ‘Special Forces’ units they are sending us. Wonder if they’re sending us after the Dominion again.” She looked at the ceiling for half a moment, a twinkle in her eye.

With that, she departed leaving Gregorius to his own thoughts. He stood and turned his back before walking towards one of the viewports. Hands clasped behind his back he grimaced as thoughts ran through his head. They can send who they want, as long as they don’t send that thing.

MCHC Retribution
WIld Space

“Captain on deck!” the Junior Lieutenant’s voice rattled around the deck as the doors to the command deck opened and Videk walked in. “All in order, Captain. The ship appears to be drifting. No life signs have been registered but there is a low output of power. The ship isn’t as dead as it seems.”

Videk moved along the deck and took his seat, bringing the read outs up before him on his view screen. His eyebrow raised slowly as a piece of information came to light. “You are quite sure of this?. This information does not entirely sound reliable. If this information is correct, however, it’s suggesting this vessel is…Old Republic era. Sarana, is this information viable?”

The Zelosian scientist looked up from her desk, glasses perched upon the end of her nose and simply nodded. “This…well this isn’t really my area of expertise. But as I understand it, and having cross-referenced with our engineer friend down stairs. This is indeed an Old Republic Hammerhead cruiser.”

The door to the bridge opened once more and heavy footsteps echoed into life. All eyes turned and Videk grimaced as he took in the armoured figure standing before him. Silence filled the bridge and Videk rose, taking an involuntary step backwards. “Miss Delacroix, a pleasure to see you up and about once more. I take it the trip was to your satisfaction. I have not seen you up here since you boarded the craft.” The figure said nothing as he continued. “I do not see the other one that came with you, Hawk was it?”

The voice that escaped the helmet of the Raider sent a shiver down the Captain’s spine. It sounded as if several pitches had been melded together into a scratching, almost silent scream. It made him wince and several of the junior officers averted their eyes and got back to their work. “I am to presume that everything is in order, Captain? I’d hate to have to report anything…untoward to your superiors.” She moved away from the Captain and gazed up at the holographic image that hovered above her. “This is the ship that has our engineer friend so excited? It seems harmless enough. As I understand it the launch operation is currently underway to send our initial forces across to the ship”

Videk moved away from the armoured figure, closer to the Warhost troops that guarded the bridge. “This is correct, ma’am. The landing team should be departing within the next five minutes. We have detected some low power signs which may or may not be emitting from the mercenary vessel that made its way to the derelict vessel some time ago…” He was cut of by a soft growling and looked over at the dread knight in anticipation of one of her outbursts.

“You didn’t stop them, Captain? Whilst I can do nothing of this matter right now Captain, be assured this matter is not over. This mission is simple as you know. Exploration. Any hostiles are secondary nuisances. Standard procedures apply.” She turned her head head to stare at Vanel, before moving her gaze back to its original target. “We wish to know what this ghost ship is, why it keeps appearing in systems and vanishing. As I understand it this vessel has been reported appearing numerous times over the years, it has been registered in our own database on several occasions. However each time we approach it it simply…disappears. ” Ophelia turned her back to the Captain and looked up at the ship that rotated before her. “We need this small victory to boost morale after the conflict on Mygeeto. We need this. Ensure it is done correctly.”

With that silence descended upon the bridge once more. Ophelia raised her own communicator before her and flicked it into life. The small image of Darkhawk appeared before her and she nodded to him. “It’s time. Tell the shuttle pilot to launch when ready. Commence operation.”

Launch Bay
MCHC Retribution
WIld Space

“As you command,” DarkHawk replied to his Aedile as he bowed to her. The Warrior shut his communicator off as he walked the corridor and entered the launch bay. Two eight-man teams stood before the shuttle awaiting their orders. DarkHawk stood in front of the two teams and called for their team leaders to step forward. Command Sergeants Winst and Teal stepped forward and stood at attention.

“You two will take the strike teams over and investigate the ship. Both strike teams will have open comms and video. You will report directly to Raider Delacroix or myself, no exceptions. Are we clear on that aspect?” asked the Sith. DarkHawk’s stare was deep and he gave no expression of leeway on those orders.

“Copy that, sir!” exclaimed Command Sergeant Winst.

“Winst, you have command on this one, and it’s done by the book. Sweep every room, every bulkhead of that ship. Take Science Officer Denning and his escort with you so they can assess the situation from a science standpoint. No more, no less and they remain in your sight at all times. We don’t know what is on that ship so standard rules of engagement applies. I want every inch of that ship covered, we need to know what’s on board and where it’s been. Get your techs to initialize ship’s data banks and life support systems. Full diagnostics and status within fifteen minutes. No stragglers and no one, I mean no one, wanders alone.” instructed DarkHawk.

The tone of his voice made it abundantly clear how important this was. Command Sergeant Teal replied this time, “By the books, sir, seems like a walk in the park.”

The Shaevalian moved his large frame directly in front of the Command Sergeant, DarkHawk towered over the Sergeant and stared into his eyes. “Do not fail me.” the Warrior said. The words had no emotion, but they carried much clout. Sergeant Teal knew exactly what was being intensely instructed and saluted the dark clad figure.

Winst barked “Move out men.” and as instructed the teams boarded the shuttle. Winst saluted the Equite, entered the shuttle and closed the doors. DarkHawk nodded to the shuttle pilot through the cockpit’s viewscreen and the roar of engines consumed the launch bay.

DarkHawk moved into one of the adjacent control rooms and watched the hangar doors open. The blackness of space was a beautiful sight. As the shuttle made its way down the flight deck, the Warrior watched the wreckage of an ancient ship bounce around in front of them. A very nervous Ensign sitting at the control console stared at the scene, he caught the Equite’s eye. DarkHawk quickly looked down at the Ensign. The junior officer’s throat instantly dried up, sweat rolled from his brows. The black-clad figure turned away and left the control room. The ensign released a sigh of relief once he left the room.

Pressing a button on his gauntlet, Ophelia appeared before him, “It is done, my liege,” DarkHawk told her. “You should be able to watch everything on the bridge’s viewing screen and you and I both have direct communications with the strike teams,” he stated.

“Excellent, DarkHawk, make your way to the bridge” Ophelia instructed.

“As you wish” replied the Equite.

MCHC Retribution
WIld Space

The doors whisked open and DarkHawk entered the bridge of the Retribution. This was the Warrior’s first time on the ship, a very impressive sight indeed. Crew scurried around and maintained the many stations on board, their target ship was not only visible out the many windows of the bridge, but was on just about every viewing screen as well.

Raider Ophelia was standing right next to the captain’s chair. As he walked toward her, the chair swiveled around and Captain Videk’s grimace was apparent on his face. He stood and extended his hand, DarkHawk ignored the gesture and moved to the side of his Aedile.The captain ignored the snub and sat back down and continued monitoring the mission at hand.

Ophelia whispered to the Equite, “You know, dismissing the captain like that sets a precedent for his crew.”

“He is not my captain, my liege, plus can you not feel the slight nervousness flowing through him?” asked DarkHawk. A small smile came across the Raider’s face. DarkHawk gestured as the shuttle came into view.

At that moment DarkHawk spoke to the communications officer, “Lieutenant, open all strike team channels for the Captain.”

“As you command, sir.” replied the communication officer.

Captain Videk scowled inwardly, unused to having the command removed from him by the impetuous Sith. It would not happen again he thought to himself.

Shuttle Tiburon
Wild Space

As the shuttle made its approach to the old Hammerhead cruiser, the pilot’s voice came over the comm system, “I am gonna make a pass around her just to make sure we have a clear shot at docking.”

“Copy that,” replied Command Sergeant Winst. The shuttle passed around the starboard side of the cruiser.

One of the troopers commented upon the appearance of the old vessel “It’s awfully odd she has that large power array on top of her, sarge.”

“True.” replied Teal, “That could be the cause of her fading in and out. Maybe some sort of old experimental cloaking device, it would need a lot of power to cloak something the size of her.” Teal continued.

The pilot made his pass and found a docking port just adjacent to the engines. “Commencing docking sequence. Maintain harness security.” said the shuttle pilot. The shuttle approached her target and hovered for a moment with a flick of a few toggle switches the docking pillow extend and the pilot moved her in closer.

The shuttle seemed to be caught in some sort of paradox as she was phasing in and out of sight with the cruiser. The bridge of the Retribution watched as the pilot completed his docking sequence. Unknown to those watching on the bridge, once inside the perimeter of the cruiser all seemed normal. The pilot locked the docking pillow on the cruiser and started the pressurizing sequence.

“All clear Sergeant Winst.” the pilot instructed. The cabin lights of the shuttle went dark and the emerald flashing lights began to fill the cabin.
“Troopers on your feet, by the numbers. Team one with me, Team two with Sergeant Teal. Comms/video on….LET’S ROLL!!!” ordered Winst.

Shuttle Tiburon
Hammerhead Cruiser
Wild Space

Teal came to the docking port door, he turned the lever and a loud whisk of wind echoed throughout. Teal opened the door fully, both teams entered the cruiser. Their helmet lights filling the dark dingy vixen. A cloud of dust filled the ship and made it hard to see clearly. Sparks from from broken wires and control panels arched and dimly illuminated the the glass shield of the strike team helmets.

“Teal, take your men and get to the engine room and see if we cannot get some power restored. Science Officer Denning is with you until power is up, then make your way to the bridge. I will take my team to the bridge and start the sequence there.” instructed Winst.

“On it, sir!” replied Teal. Teal barked at his men to move out and within seconds Teal and his team were out of sight.

Strike Team One
Hammerhead Cruiser
Wild Space

Winst maneuvered around the corner and went immediately into a kneeling position, his troops came around the same corner one by one and flanked one another. Their helmet lights pierced through the darkness with almost little aid for their vision. Vision was approximate to about two meters. The cruiser creaked and moaned as they made their way through her.

The strike team made its way down the corridors of the eerily dim ship. Climbing each level, slowly but surely through the maintenance ladders. Just one floor below the bridge
Winst gathered the team in what was the remnants of a briefing room. Winst had his team give a status check and as it stood from that briefing room all was a go.

Winst came over comms “Teal. Status report.” Silence. “Command Sergeant Teal. Status Report!” Winst said with a tone of deep bass in his voice. Again silence. “Teal, answer your freaking comm!!!” he shouted. Nothing but static. Winst switched channels and hailed the Retribution. “Captain, this is Command Sergeant Winst, I have lost all communication with Command Sergeant Teal and Strike Team Two.”

A broken response came over the comm, “Radios are trashed, we are losing comms.” Winst exclaimed in exasperation. Just then a flash of light rolled through the aft corridor. The strike team immediately reacted with weapons pointed down the corridor. Each commando poised to attack any approaching target. “Easy fellas, easy…” Winst ordered.

Strike Team Two
Hammerhead Cruiser
Wild Space

Teal was trying to respond to a barrage of broken comm hails. His strike team had made it to the engine rooms and was about to begin the power restoration sequence when the radio calls started coming in. “Winst, do you copy, over?” he hailed his colleague. Nothing but static.

“What the hell is going on here, sir?” asked one of the troopers.

“Not sure as of yet, but we still have a mission. Start the sequence, we need power in this dump!” ordered Teal. “Mr. Science guy, take your assistant and do your thing, but do not leave my sight!” barked the Command Sergeant.

The science officer was a very thin man, his helm was fogged up because of his improper breathing during the trek to the engine room. “It’s Denning, Sergeant, Science Officer Denning.” replied the man.

“Yeah well, its Command Sergeant Teal, and I don’t give a rat’s ass what your name is, just do what you’re supposed to do!” snapped Teal.

The Science Officer stood there in almost in bewilderment as the Sergeant rounded on his fellow team member. “Move your ass, Caldwell or I am going to empty this clip in your backside!” Teal shouted. Caldwell moved like a scolded pet and started in on his assigned duties.

The Command Sergeant continued hailing both his counterpart on Strike Team One as well as the Retribution. Nothing. That old feeling of trepidation came over the sergeant. He watched Denning going through the boot sequence for the engines and generators. His troopers were following suit, making necessary adjustments and checks to the ION coils and power supplies.

In an instant a flash of light blinded the entire team. It was so intense that it set them back on their heels. Teal’s eyes tried to adjust his eyes, but it was like looking into the sun. Teal blinked rapidly to try to clear up his sight. The flash so intense was affecting his equilibrium, he staggered to his feet. As his eyesight slowly returned he saw his men unconscious on the floor. Denning and his assistant were nowhere to be seen. He heard a noise behind him and as he turned, he saw the growing light in the corridor. As he regained his composure, he glanced back down the corridor and before he could blink the light consumed him.

MCHC Retribution
WIld Space

Ophelia and DarkHawk stood with no emotion staring at the screens. All screens aboard the flagship bridge were completely black. A long pause took place before DarkHawk turned to his Aedile. “Seems your feelings were true, my liege. We have apparently lost all communication with the expedition.” said the Warrior. The Raider looked up at her adherent and almost smiled. She turned toward the Captain, whose face was completely blank of expression.

She muttered only one word “Captain.” The words resonated to his core. That fiery voice cut right through him. The captain stood from his chair and turned to his First Officer. “Commander Vanel, keep attempting to contact the teams.” Turning his attention to the Ensign manning the communications array, “Ensign, please raise the shuttle.”

He waited, fearing the worst and then the reply came back he didn’t want to hear. “Unable to contact the shuttle, Captain. Just static on the comm.”

Videk’s fist clenched and he rose, rounding on the Sith and Raider. Anger flashed across his eyes as he rose to his full height. “You have potentially cost the Warhost irreplaceable professionals on this ridiculous endeavor, not to mention a shuttle. As commanding officer of this ship, I demand you fix this and get my men back. Now.”

Ophelia said nothing, impressed by the Captain’s moxie and nodded her head. “As you wish, Captain. Keep attempting to raise our forces and the shuttle. Until then, I believe we have some other guests on board who may be able to lend their aid.”

The Captain growled and snapped back. “Fine, get it done. Your objectives have been updated, this is a search and rescue operation. Exploration be damned. Find my men, bring them home. You can have access to one more transport and if you lose this one your head will roll. Now get it done and while you’re at it, get the hell of my bridge!”

Rules of the Run On:

Two posts minimum for participation.
Word count minimum of 250.
Word count maximum 1500.
One person cannot post back to back posts, must be a break between your posts.
This thread is for Muz and Inyri.


MCHC Retribution
Crew Deck
Wild Space

Inyri had been ordered to the Retribution after her little jaunt in the Javin Sector. She had been left with plenty of questions but the immediate issue of pirates who dared to steal from the Clan was resolved. As her Master, Teu Bukhari, had explained, it wasn’t what the pirates took, which were munitions bound for storage after being replaced, but rather that they did it on the heels of a defeat the Clan suffered. But there were deeper ramifications than sating the need for blood, and those would be addressed in due time.

For the time being, Inyri just kept to herself aboard the Retribution, keeping out of the way of the crew and ship operations. She had no experience with capital ships, and her flight training had not yet covered the ships carried aboard. So, she occupied her time with physical training and studying her course material when the ship’s Holonet connection allowed for it. The crew seemed content to leave her to her own devices as well, so it wasn’t like she was skirting any duties.

But that all changed shortly after the calls for some kind of boarding operations came over the intercom. Inyri was leaving the rec area when a Naval officer, a Human female with raven black hair and piercing green eyes approached her.

“Acolyte, I need you to come with me.” The woman said curtly.

“What? Why?” Inyri asked with an arched eyebrow.

“Captain’s orders. I’m afraid there isn’t much time, but you will be filled in once you’re geared up. Your equipment is waiting for you in the staging area.” The woman started off, and Inyri fell into step next to her.

“How about you fill me in now. What’s going on?” Inyri asked.

“All I can speak to is that there is a boarding operation in progress and we’ve lost contact with the first team. You and our other guest will be going in after them.” The woman explained.

“Another guest? I didn’t realize I was a guest here, I just thought no one knew what to do with me.” Inyri replied with a shrug. She was led to the armory where her stealth operations gear was waiting. The camouflage pattern was the same as it had been during her mission to the Javin Sector, a digital splash of black in various shades. Aside from that, her tools, datapad, Gile-44 blaster pistol, tanto combat knife, and Armory lightsaber were all arrayed on a table for her to check over.

“Before you go, can I get a light blast vest and a carbine requisitioned? I’d rather not go in under-armed if there’s a fight in progress.” Inyri asked as she started changing from her casual clothes to her bodyglove.

“I think that can be arranged. I’ll be right back.” The woman disappeared through the door, leaving Inyri to don her gear. After a few minutes, she returned just as Inyri had finished pulling on her gear, with a blast vest and an A280C. Inyri slid the vest on before sliding her utility vest over it. It wouldn’t stop a direct hit from anything, but it would at least help mitigate some of the damage or help with glancing blows without sacrificing too much stealth or mobility. The A280C was slung over her back diagonally, the barrel facing downwards.

“Your shuttle is waiting. Good luck.” The Naval officer said before departing. Inyri took a breath and left the armory, heading straight for the hangar. She began to wonder who this mystery guest was, but she hardly knew anyone in the Clan, much less the Brotherhood. The question was how well they’d receive being paired with an Acolyte.

Her question was soon answered as she approached the shuttle and saw a tall man in dark armor with purple trim to the black fabric. He was pale, maybe a shade more than her own skin tone, with long black hair, and she was quite certain as she approached, his eyes were also black. And then the Force began to fill in more of the gaps, as she felt that the man resonated strongly with the Dark Side and also with great power.

Finally, her academics kicked in and she realized who she was standing in the presence of; a Grand Master of the Brotherhood. Now she had to really wonder what was going on, since the idea that a Grand Master needed backup, especially when that came in the form of an Acolyte who was still training to become a covert operator. Inyri tried to push these questions aside in her mind as she snapped to attention before him.

“Sir. Acolyte Inyri Ginovef. Reporting as ordered.” She spoke firmly, but respectfully.


MCHC Retribution
Wild Space

Muz nodded at the acolyte. At least she didn’t drop to one knee. Those cloying shows of obeisance all but nauseated him. He watched her adjust her new blast vest, reaching around awkwardly to remove a sizing tag. Lifting his helmet, he angled his face up before settling it on his head. the padding made the helmet a tight fit, and that was before the environmental seals engaged, sealing out the void and any other toxic elements that could be floating in the theater. He turned to her, the plume of lion’s mane that embellished the dark helm swaying with the movement. Raising a hand and gesturing to the shuttle, he bid her aboard.

The pilot kicked the engines, the ramp sliding up over the entry as the transport pivoted, pointing toward the open bay, staring into the black. It would not be a long flight. The blue haze of the airlock swept across the shuttle as it left the Retribution, sliding out along the side of the ship, calculating the easiest trajectory toward the Hammerhead ship. Muz tilted his head for a moment. The ship’s pattern was old, ancient. He had heard that a few were still in use by rebel forces during the Galactic Civil war, but he had figured that most of those had been either destroyed or scrapped this many years later. The stories about the ‘phantom’ ship in this sector were not unfamiliar to him due to his research. If the stories had a grain of truth, however, there was a possibility that this ship was from the days of the Old Republic, and that he might find a little of what he was searching for on board.

The transport swung toward the ship, engaging thrusters a little more aggressively now. It would be a couple minutes before they made it to their destination. Standard procedure was to keep their distance from derelicts. You never wanted to risk your working ship by getting too close to a derelict. It could explode, or have some other sort of disaster aboard that you would not want to be near. Which was exactly what was happening here. Two teams, both gone completely off grid moments after being on board. Muz smiled beneath the darkened visor of his helmet.

The report from Delacroix and DarkHawk was incomplete, as it would be. The video feeds had weird artifacts on the screen before going dark. They happened quickly, the sensors burning out almost as quickly as they could register what was happening. Muz had made them play it back in slow motion several times. The symbols were interesting, reminiscent of…

The shuttle slipped onto the darkened hangar bay, the transport from the other teams waiting for passengers that would never come. Muz walked out along the lowering ramp, his boot hitting the floor with a resonant thump. He stopped for a moment, his hand reaching out along the edges of the universe, feeling along the thread of the Force, fingers outstretched in arthritic and uncomfortable ways.

Inyri slipped from the transport behind him, watching him with a wary eye. She had read a fair bit about the Grand Master, the stories of his prowess chronicled at the Shadow Academy due to his extended time on the Dark Council. Few were the Dark Lords of the Brotherhood, after all. She watched him close his fist, letting his hand shake off the resonance he had felt, bringing it back to rest casually on the hilt of one of his sabers at his hip.

“Lord, what do you feel?” Curiosity finally got the better of her.

Muz turned to her, the pitch black of his helmet betraying no emotion on his face. He studied her for a moment, then turned back to the opening leading from the bay to the rest of the ship. The word he said next rattled her senses, the sound seeming to come through her ears and her mind at the same time.



Hammerhead-class Cruiser, Unknown ID
Wild Space

Inyri paused for a moment at word spoken, trying to get used to having the sensation of having Muz speak to her in stereo. Her mind finally shifted gears to what Muz said rather than how he said it, and a spark of recognition hit her.

“The race that built the Star Forge, during the time of Darth Revan. But they’ve not been seen or heard from since Revan’s redemption.” Inyri mused aloud, reflecting on the most recent of her history lessons. Truth be told, she was fascinated by the story of Revan and Meetra Sturik, the so-called “Jedi Exile”, so the chance to see a part of history from that time did trigger some feelings of anticipation.

Muz simply nodded in reply before stepping off once more, heading for the hangar’s exit, which would take them deeper into the ship. Whatever mysteries awaited them would not be found standing around, and it was evident that the Grand Master was not going to stand around debating the academics. Inyri nodded to herself and fell into step behind him, drawing her Gile-44 pistol and held it at low ready, barrel pointed down as she walked.

The door creaked open, functional but showing wear and tear from being still in use after four millennia. The ship clearly had seen better days as wires hung down from the ceiling and out of parts of the bulkheads. Parts of the floor plating were missing, and the lighting was poor at best, likely the ship was running on emergency power and backup lighting. A thin layer of smoke hung in the air, and only added to the eeriness of the atmosphere.

“So, where to first, sir?” Inyri asked. Muz looked around for a moment, as if he was studying the ship both at the physical level and through the Force, and then turned to the right. As he did, he drew one of his lightsabers from his belt, but did not ignite it yet.

“Engineering.” His voice once again not only reached her ears but the interior of her mind as well.

“Roger that, on your six,” Inyri replied, turning to follow right after him. As they walked, Inyri now really began to question why someone would dump an Acolyte on a Grand Master when Rakata were involved. But, that wasn’t going to be any reason to shy away, she was going to treat this like anything else; roll with the punches and take it one step at a time.


Hammerhead-class Cruiser, Unknown ID
Wild Space

The ship had seen better days. He adjusted the settings on his armor, the alarm for the trace radioactivity on the ship was starting to irritate him. It dialed back to a barely audible hum. He turned, looking at the journeyman. She had some spunk, but it was odd that they had sent her along with him. Shrugging off the idle thought, he moved past her, moving directly toward the centre rear of the ship, the engineering area that was putting off all of the trips to his sensor array.

The corridors were narrow, carbon scoring peppering the walls, fluorescent beams hanging by their wiring harnesses. He moved through them, his body smoothly avoiding the debris as he navigated deeper into the darkness. The razor hum of energized adegans filled their ears as his saber lit the path in a violet pallor. The layout was similar enough to the Corellian Corvette’s. There were some significant differences, but the broad strokes were the same. He stepped over a piece of rotting metal, his mind trying to place it against the catalog of experience. It could have been an old battle droid arm, it could have been some exotic tool, and neither were important.

It was these things that kept his mind occupied as his feet drove him forward, his senses overwhelmed by the miasma of antiquity. He knew, and yet didn’t. There was too much interference here, that was how he knew the flavor, how he knew that the old navigators were somehow involved. He paused, reaching out with his hand, feeling the music of the spheres burrowing into his senses.

There was something amiss. They were not any nearer to the engine than they were several minutes ago. Muz shook his head, then looked at the girl. He narrowed his eyes, letting the flavor of the ship settle into his mind, recentering his mind, his consciousness. Focus was slippery here, intangible, as opposed to that temple on Kalsunor.

“My Lord?” She stared at him, his head pivoting to look at the walls like a caged animal.

He had read about the Rakata, studied them intensely. There was a lost technology, a rumor of a legend that could course even a Sith Lord into circles, warping their perceptions, confusing their strengths and weaknesses. They called it a Mind Trap, although none have been seen in thousands of years. It was equal parts Force and Technology, like everything else that the Rakata allegedly manufactured. Muz had wanted to find one for years, study it, tear it apart and understand how it worked. The integration of Force and technology was an interest of course, but it could have ramifications on his own plans, his own goals. And with only a few of his prey left scattered in the galaxy, they were becoming more and more formidable as he worked his way up the food chain. What if he had fallen into one of them. It made sense, the sensory confusion he felt, the force reacting in odd ways, the twisting of will giving him little purchase for even his will. The concept was bitter on his tongue. Had he not been wearing his helm, he would have spat.

“My Lord?” She repeated and he froze, staring at her. She swallowed hard. “Are you okay?”

Muz said nothing, swinging his saber up and flashing twice, leaving a pointed scar on the wall. She had tried not to flinch, but it was all but inevitable. The arrow he left was to mark the trail, to make sure that they were not making circles in the dark. The thought that they were possibly lost rather tore at her mind. It seemed such a trivial thing to have happen to them, given all that they had seen, all he had done.

More arrows were carved into walls, more darkened hallways awaited them, drawing them further into the maze, calling them further into the morass of twisted wires and battered electronics that would sit at the core of the hyperspace mechanism. Muz kept at a steady pace, plowing through the darkness like clockwork. She followed, watching him carefully. The ways of the Lion were foreign to her, but still he seemed to be acting a bit off.

The snarl of lightsaber blade grinding against metal caught her attention, pulling her from her own thoughts. The thunk of falling metal echoed through their heads as he pushed his way into a room. She stepped after him, following the swirl of the black warcoat into the engineering bay to admire the ruined hyperdrive. He raised his saber, letting the light from his weapon illuminate the darkness. Someone had patently raided the ship for parts before, absconding with a dozen necessary bits and wires, leaving not much to work with. Which begged other questions about how it had gotten here, why it had shown up suddenly on sensors. And how anything could be living here without power or atmospheric controls. It didn’t even make any sense as to why the artificial gravity still seemed to be working. She looked to him as his free hand reaching out to feel along the threads that tied the universe together. She had questions, he knew.


Muz twisted his mind sideways, calling on the exotic power of the Force, rotes learned from ancient tomes, pulling from deeper reserves within him. Inyri shifted backwards as it seemed to cause the walls to bellow outward, shrugging with the pressure he was exerting. He smiled as the strain pressed through his sinuses, as he heard the laughter of the Darkness in his heart. The world finally snapped backwards, the sense of reality giving way to his willpower sliding across his mind like water over a dehydrated tongue. It was only a moment ago, and yet there was a world of difference.

The powerplant hummed along in the engineering bay, flowing power through to the old hyperdrive. It was an ancient model, but well maintained. He stared at it for a second before the realization set in. It was calculating for a jump. Muz snarled, his hand reaching out to Inyri, throwing her back out of the room with the Force as he threw his lightsaber forward. The cauterizing beam of light screamed through the air, coming to a rest in the heart of the hyperdrive, sparks building as he bounded backwards out of the room, the explosion rocking the ship and setting off ancient claxons.

“Retribution to Lion.” The commlink sputtered in the ash. “Lion, come in.”

Muz cracked his neck as he rose to his feet, reaching down with his hand to help Inyri up. He looked at the commlink, depressing the button as he looked her over to make sure she was still whole.

“We read a massive power flux, here.” The comm continued. “It looks like the ship was working for a moment there. What is going on?”

Muz looked at Inyri for a moment, then turned to the commlink. “This was bait, Retribution.” He stopped for a moment. “I broke the trap.”

You could almost hear the man try to understand what he meant through the commlink. Muz waited for a moment, before stepping back toward the way they came. There was more to it than all that. Whatever would have been waiting for them when the ship completed its jump would be coming for them. Muz smiled, stepping back toward the shuttle. “Tell Locke I may have just kicked the nest.”