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

[Ektrosis] Sphere of Research & Intelligence


Introduction - By Justinios Drake

House Ektrosis Quaestor Justinios Drake plopped down into the oversized chair in his office aboard the Paragon exhausted after a day full of meetings. Finally alone with just his own thoughts, Justinios considered sending his resignation letter directly to the man who had recruited him into the position, Clan Taldryan Consul Rian Taldrya. Before accepting the position at the head of Ektrosis, Justinios would have spent a day such as this performing experiments in his lab aboard the Order of Magnitude instead of attending to endless negotiating with the varied members of the Taldryan armed forces in what essentially amounted to begging for personnel, resources and funding for the fledgling Sphere of Research and Intelligence.

The Aleena let out a sigh. “The SRI,” he said aloud to himself, “Rian sure knew what buttons to press to convince me to take this post.” There was almost nothing that could have convinced the blue-skinned Jedi to ignore his own personal work except the opportunity to supercharge it with the combined efforts of others. Back in when he was a research professor his teams had accomplished amazing things together. The ability to use covert assets to acquire resources, by force if need be, would allow the SRI to engage in research that scientists across the galaxy in civilian roles could only dream of.

But before Justinios could use the tools and expertise of this new organization to further his own life’s work, it had to be built. None would mistake either Professor Drake or Jedi Drake as a capable administrator. That was a role that would need to be filled by someone who had both a scientific background but also by a being who had experience leading a clandestine operation. It was with that exact mission in mind that Justinios had deployed the few covert operatives he had to the Caelus system, the star system Taldryan hoped to make their new home. As he reviewed the dossier that had been compiled as a result of those agents’ last few weeks of work Justinios saw an individual that may just be the perfect person to become the first Supreme Director of the SRI.


The “Recruitment” of Kagu Shi - By Kookimarisia Mimosa-Inajh

“It’s not fair! I WANT to go!” boomed a female voice.

A loud stamping of a foot echoed.

“But you can’t. It’s not safe.” The male voice replied.

A disapproving groan was all that could be said at a time like this.




“No. Don’t beg. Just don’t,”

“Pretty pretty please,”

“Fine! But I set the rules!”


“No buts. No ifs. Leave no traces. You wear this and when it vibrates you return back to your safe base. If you need…” the male voice sighed as he relented to the female’s demands.

She had already left the room excitedly.

“Mumma’s going on a mission!” Kooki squealed quietly.

Justinios buried his head in his hands.

He just hoped he had done the right thing.

Kooki squeezed into her maternity leggings and put on her furry boots, which luckily concealed her ‘tag.’ She felt like a criminal. All these silly timings and rules and regulations. Kookimarissia Mimosa-Inahj didn’t get where she was by following such nonsense. Rules were there to be flouted. However, she had a family now and another child on the way, so for their sakes she obliged and followed her Quaestor’s instructions.
The expectant mother was soon fully equipped for her upcoming mission. She wanted to set out while her twins were asleep to cause minimum disruption and avoid annoying questions. She had already sent out correspondence to this Kagu Shi on a neutral datapad, and was awaiting response.

FROM: Drakula
TO: ChocChip


Don’t embark until you’ve receive confirmation.

Stay safe.


Kooki sighed as she deleted the fussy message. Grabbing a small rucksack, the keen Alderaanian kissed her short spouse on the head and headed for the door.

“Stay safe!” Andrelious hushed, trying to sound protective.

Kooki just sighed again, smiled politely and nodded without saying anything.

Andrelious hugged her whilst she stood outside their new homestead and suddenly felt her ankle make a weird shudder.

“Nervous are we?” he teased.

Kooki pushed him off her.

“NO! It’s this frakking ‘tag’ thing!” she yelled, shaking her foot inanely.

Once she stepped back indoors the vibrating stopped. She slumped into a nearby armchair and kicked off her boot, revealing her latest ‘addition’ to Andrelious.

As try as he could, the Warlord couldn’t stifle his laughter.

“What the frak is THAT?” he giggled.

Kooki put her boot back on and stamped on her spouse’s foot.

“OUCH!” he squealed.

“THAT…THAT is what Drake attached to my ankle in exchange for letting me go on this mission.” Kooki complained.

Despite having sore toes, Andrelious still found it funny.

“So are you not allowed out at night?” he continued to tease.

The icy glare he received was enough to make him shudder and silence any further comments. He decided it was for the best that he headed to bed instead of discovering the conditions attached to said device. He would rather not know and keep his body relatively intact, since Kooki was in a feisty and unpredictable mood.

Since she hadn’t heard anything more on her new datapad, Kooki laid on the sofa. Soon her eyelids grew heavy and she drifted off.

After what felt like forever, a beeping sound came from beside the sleeping Sith.

FROM: Kagu Shi
TO: Marie Kook

Miss Kook
Before we can process your application to become my personal assistant, we must meet and converse to assess your suitability.
There’s an alleyway next to a tavern on the north-west side of town. See you there at 02.00 hours.


Kooki glanced at the timepiece on the mantelpiece above the fireplace. She had just short of two hours to prepare herself and make her way through this new lunar settlement. She started to put the pieces of her plan together in her head.

Justinios wanted Taldryan to recruit him and still Kooki was puzzled as to what use a drugs kingpin would be. Maybe his scientific knowledge? These and many more thoughts would keep Kooki warm in the cool, chilly air as she stepped out into the night.

The little magnetic needle inside the device in Kooki’s hand flickered over the aurebesh letters indicating she was heading in the right general direction. As she looked up, she noticed the quality of living had drastically deteriorated from whence she came. A chilly breeze cut across her cheeks and as she panned around, a metallic thud echoed from the opposite direction. Kooki spun round fast, and noticed the breeze had knocked off an empty can of Ebla beer onto the concrete ground below, and tiny stale droplets of carbonated foam trickled out.

Looking down at the device, the needle was now frantically quivering, whilst it tried to regain its bearings. Soon enough it settled and Kooki headed a few more yards in the north-westerly direction. In the distance, a rather grey, rundown building appeared. There were rusty shutters on the windows, and a dim glow emitted from the cracks around the perimeters of them. It certainly lacked a warming glow of most cantinas Kooki had visited in her time. She looked adjacent to the aesthetically unappealing building and spotted the dark alleyway and headed towards it, whilst pocketing her useful device. The lighting was just as poor as inside the building beside it. The stony walls were black and wet from where the damaged guttering above was constantly dripping downwards. When it looked like it was empty and a total waste of time being here, Kooki caught sight of a dark silhouette. All that she could make out was an arm moving to the face, a deep inhale was heard, and a tiny glow appeared and disappeared. Then as the arm returned to its original position, a deep exhale emitted and a cloud of strong smelling smoke surrounded the figure. Kooki coughed and still the figure said nothing.

After taking another drag from his cigarillo, the strange figure threw it to the floor, still alight. Seconds later, the discarded cigarillio was extinguished beneath a huge, black foot.
“Miss Kook?” a voice boomed.

After what felt like forever, Kooki managed to say something.

“Shi?” she queried.

“Very astute. Well done.” Came a sarcastic reply, the figure still remaining as a shadow.

Kooki sighed. She had to fight the urge not to get agitated and use her trusted weapons against him. He was clearly testing her.

“Are we going to get started or just hang around dodgy places getting a reputation? People will talk.” The disguised female teased.

“Let em talk. That’s what they do. Keeps them off our backs. Feisty thing aren’t we?” Shi mused.
“Very astute. Well done.” Kooki retaliated.

Another awkward silence loomed.

Had she annoyed him before her infiltration had even begun?

Shi let out a hearty laugh, which quickly turned into a coughing fit. Years of smoking heavily and pumping goodness knows what into his body had taken its toll, which was evident as the grating noise echoed in the almost darkness.

“I like you, Miss.” he uttered gravelly, his voice still not quite its normal self.

Another loud cough emitted his weakening body, and he coughed up a sizable amount of saliva mixed with phlegm, tinged with his scarlet blood, which narrowly missed Kooki’s boots.

“Follow me,” he continued in a loud whisper.

Without saying another word, Kooki obediently followed silently.

It wasn’t long before the pair were a few yards away from their destination. By now the navy night sky was lightening and becoming a lighter hue and streaks of electric blue were replacing the stars. Light pollution was not problem since most of the streetlights no longer worked, and occasionally broken glass would appear on the ground beneath them and crunch eerily under Kooki’s footwear. A few shells of buildings adorned the sides of the walkways, yet they were shabbily boarded up. Flickers of light came from inside some of them. A damp smell loomed in the air, combined with a spicier, slightly sweet and sickly smell. A hooded Shi continued on leading the way, almost oblivious to the surroundings that he knew his empire had caused.

A deathly pale, barely clothed male approached the pair and was shaking, yet not because of cold nor fear.
“S…Shi…m…m…more. I n…n…need m…m…more.” he stammered, clinging to Shi’s arm.

Shi heartlessly dodged his arm away, causing the unknown male to flop helplessly to the floor. He crouched down beside the man, still fully cloaked.

“Not until I see MY money!” the drugs kingpin hissed at him, before returning to his feet.
“Please miss,” he tried to reach out for Kooki.

Kooki looked down at him and into his eyes. He was pained. He had no life and no one in it. The veins in his arms were collapsed and covered in pin pricks. His days were numbered. Kooki dodged and he slumped to the ground. He barely managed to clasp his hands together.

“Please,” he begged.

“Leave her alone!” Shi boomed, without bothering to turn around.

“Ple…” the stranger began, once again but now on his knees.

An echoing thud was heard and instantly cut off the man’s weak pleas.

Just as Shi turned round to discover the source of the noise, a lifeless body slumped to the ground once again, but this time for the final time.

“What the…?” began Shi.

Kooki smiled.

“Steel-toe caps.” She calmly explained.

Shi just stood there open-mouthed and rather speechless.

“The skull cracks like an egg…if you know where to kick it…of course,” Kooki mused, still cool as ever.

“Well done! Welcome aboard!” Shi commented.

Kooki smiled again.

“You’ll fit right in here.” He stated whilst unlocking the door.

“Ladies first.” The undercover female teased.

“I’m going to have to keep an extra close eye on you, aren’t I?” Shi mocked, and headed inside.

“You are indeed!” Kooki whispered under her breath, and followed inside the factory.

A few hours later…

Kooki awoke groggily in a small camp bed. She stroked her bump, which was hastily responded by a little reassuring kick. She soon pulled her baggy jumper over her growing tummy, which was housing her unborn child.

A knock on the door resounded.

“You awake, Miss Kook?” came a familiar voice.

Kooki managed to make a coherent noise indicating she was waking up and munching on breakfast and juice she had been provided with. Time was not on her side and she knew she had to sort things out… TODAY! So she put the finishing touches to her plan and disguise and headed out to meet Shi.
“So…Miss Kook. You are officially my personal assistant. Forgive my hasty appointment, but your immediate predecessor met a rather grisly end. Turned out he failed a test and wasn’t up for the job.” Shi, still remaining concealed under his engulfing black hooded cloak explained.

“I am up for anything,” Kooki obediently disclosed.

“I know. You showed that earlier.” Shi continued.

Various droids and species dressed in white cloaks hurried around the factory’s interior carrying out various tests on liquids and powders and shipping them out through communication tubes.

It was a very serious and dangerous operation within a relatively small space. The more they ventured round, Kooki’s anxieties grew. Her primary fear was the ‘grisly end’ the previous personal assistant had met. Was she going to meet a similar fate? Her determination not to was still high, but there was a shadow of doubt.

“Ah…here we are,” Shi gestured for Kooki to enter his poky little ‘office’.

She cautiously entered the claustrophobic room. It was very minimalistic. There was a small wooden desk with just a datapad on, a decanter a third full of a ruby tinged brown liqueur and a small tumbler next to it. Behind the desk was a rotatable black chair. Opposite the desk, just a couple of feet opposite, was a tall, narrow cupboard, sealed by a combination padlock. Shi poured himself a large measure of drink, sat in his chair and reclined slightly whilst sipping at his drink. He leaned forwards and opened a top drawer to his left, got out a cigarillo, and went into the inside of his cloak and produced a lighter. After a few presses, a little amber flame flickered and illuminated the end of his nicotine tube. Shi inhaled deeply and took a long drag of his cigarillo and breathed out, creating a grey smoky cloud. Kooki let out a cough, since the room wasn’t well ventilated.

“Right…” he inhaled. “Your test…”

Shi stubbed out his cigarillo and finished his drink.

This time he reached into a top drawer to his right. Shi produced a syringe of brown liquid.

Kooki swallowed hard.

Before either could say anything, a datapad beeped.

Phew! Saved by a message! Thought Kooki to herself.

“Urgh! Not again! That damn reptile is so impatient!” Shi growled.

Kooki caught a tiny glimpse of a familiar headshot of an Aleena.

“When will he get into his head I don’t care if he wants me to join him. If he sends someone to recruit me, I’ll frakkin’ kill em…and then go find him and kill ‘im an’ all!” he yelled and hurled the datapad at the wall, causing the screen to crack beyond repair.

Kooki swallowed hard again.

“Second time lucky,” Shi continued.

“We have been saving this for someone special,” he mused, picking up the syringe.
Shi picked it up and was about to inject Kooki’s arm, when a knock came upon the office door.
Phew! Saved by another message! Kooki thought.

Shi went to the door.

“What?!” he boomed, hiding the syringe behind his back.

“Master Shi. We need your help. A communication tube is blocked.” A lab technician stated.

With a heavy sigh, Shi agreed to go and check.

“I’ll be back. Don’t try any funny business while I’m gone,” he teased.

“Course not!” Kooki uttered, trying to hide her nerves.

“Just to be sure…” Shi stated slyly.

Kooki swallowed hard…AGAIN!

She looked down.

Her head began to spin.

The syringe was sticking out her arm.

Shi was gone!

Meanwhile Shi managed to ‘fix’ the communication tube by firmly hitting it and dislodge the blockage. Soon the machine started whirring again and bags of green and brown shavings were being dispatched to various contacts. The boss began heading back to his office.

Once the footsteps had disappeared, Kooki removed the empty syringe from her arm, threw it to the floor and began snooping in Shi’s top drawers. Nothing. The middle ones. Nothing. Then deep in the corner of the bottom right-hand drawer was a little black book. After checking it was still quiet, the Alderaanaian flicked through the book and she was delighted to locate a four-digit number. With the number she found, she twisted the combination lock on the cupboard, whilst sweat trickled down her brow.
Suddenly, the padlock clicked open!

The doors swung open, almost knocking Kooki over. A grey tinged body dressed in a white lab coat, with a quarter-full syringe full of a brown liquid in, fell to the floor. As footsteps began approaching and getting louder, Kooki went pale and spotted a name tag…

Prindu Fei- Personal Assistant

She pushed the dead body under the desk, closed and sealed the cupboard, sat back on the chair.

Shi entered his office, completely oblivious to what had happened in his absence.

“Ah! You survived then? Even if a little pale.” he mused.

Kooki nodded.

Shi spotted the syringe on the floor and bent down to pick it up. Kooki wasted no time and shook the arm she had been injected into violently, whilst rising to her feet. With a loud and resounding snap, the prosthetic limb slid out of her sleeve and she grasped it tightly in her two hands and smacked Shi swiftly round the back of the head. Now a pile on the floor, Shi looked up at Kooki still trying to refuse to look scared. He went to move, but given there was little space he shuffled towards the space under his desk. However, he was horrified to discover he was sharing a hiding place with his former personal assistant. Whilst he was face-to-face with the corpse whose death he was solely responsible for, Kooki speedily removed an opaque bottle and small box from her rucksack. She began squirting the colourless liquid out onto the floor, and the last few fluid ounces she flickered onto Shi’s black cloak.

“Business hotting up is it?” Kooki hissed.

An alarmed and spooked Shi managed to shuffle forwards on the wet floor towards Kooki fearlessly. He couldn’t smell anything, since many years of snorting various substances up his nose had caused significant irreversible damage to the inside of his nose and permanently destroyed his sense of smell. Nonetheless, he had spotted the dampness of his cloak and floor, and the bottle in the female’s hand.
“What the frak have you done, you crazy woman?” Shi panicked, whilst rising to his feet.

“Oh my! How clumsy of me.” Kooki said carelessly.

“Clumsy?! Clumsy?! I’ll give you clumsy!” Shi yelled.

“I just spilt my drink,” Kooki explained calmly, waving her hand slightly.

“You just spilt your drink,” Shi replied, robotically.

Shi chuckled, but his laughter soon turned to anger and he went to lunge to swing for the Sith before him.
Kooki saw it coming, dropped her ‘drink’ and grasped hard on the fake arm once again and swung it round, colliding with the side of Shi’s head.

“Business on fire is it, ‘Master’?” she teased.

Slightly concussed, Shi cocked his spinning head.

“Huh?” was the only sound he could manage to utter, whilst trying to slowly rise to his feet.

Kooki dropped the aesthetic limb, opened the little box in her hand, and removed a little stick. Turning the box on its side, she struck the little stick with just enough force for it to catch light. She opened the office door just as Shi had got to a wobbly standing position.

Kooki ran.

The illuminated stick began to fall.

The match rotated three hundred and sixty degrees as it fell.

Shi looked on, panic-stricken and began shuffling towards the office door.

Flames engulfed the office space, yet Kooki was already continuing to sprint away.

Shi had barely managed to escape his office, but was trying to move towards the factory door. Still shaky on his feet, this evacuation was proving a big struggle. The anger and adrenaline inside of him was fuelling him to move at all.

“Find…the…woman!” he yelled, in a pained voice at those workers he passed.

However, the workers had spotted the flames and one technician had sounded the fire alarm. The building was ablaze with flames and panic. Soon the doors were in sight.

“Hey!” yelled out the drugs expert, catching sight of the escaping expectant mother.

Shi reached out his hand to Kooki, the flames licking at his cloak.

Kooki spun round, coughing into her lower arm, just as the flames caught up with Shi and the base of his cloak began to burn.

“Please…miss…s…save m…me,” he stammered.

The female just stared blankly at him, as his mysterious cloak began to almost dissolve beneath the fire. He mustered just enough strength to use one hand to feebly remove his hood. Beneath the dark attire revealed a face that had been concealed for many years. Years of hard drug use of experimental compounds and concoctions was clearly evident. His skin was covered in severe acne, sores and had no elasticity. His eyes looked withdrawn.

Kooki needed to cough again and was responsible for herself and the life inside of her to get back home to their family. So she escaped through the factory doors. Seconds later the fire took hold over Shi’s body and he breathed his final breath and his empire continued burning to the ground.

Once outside Kooki continued coughing and a legal official from a team of them investigating a mysterious dead body, came over to her.

“You alright luv?” he asked, putting his arm around her.

Kooki nodded, but patted her tummy, indicating her pregnancy in fear.

“Did you work for ‘im?” he asked.

Kooki shook her head.

“Right guys. Finish up ere with the dead druggie. Get an ID on him. I’ll get mum and baby checked over.”
He ordered.

A couple of hours later…

Kooki awoke groggily with a mask of oxygen on her face and a cheery looking medic grinning inanely at her.
“So Miss…?” the medic soothed.

“Mimosa-Inahj!” Kooki replied sounding muffled under her mask.

She was safe now, so she was finally able to reveal her true identity.

She removed her mask, as the medic explained.

“Just a tiny bit of smoke inhalation, however we did an ultrasound and your baby is perfectly healthy. No harm done whatsoever. He’s a tough little cookie.” She continued.

Happy tears trickled down Kooki’s cheeks.

“I’m h…h…having a b…b…boy?” Kooki whispered.

The kind hearted medic nodded.

“Here’s a printout of the ultrasound miss Mimoosa-Inad. You are free to go home whenever you’re ready.” the medic cooed.

Kooki chuckled.

The news came into view on a holo on the wall. The burning factory appeared on the screen and the reporter explained how the drugs empire of Kagu Shi had been burnt into nothing along with the almighty and mysterious drugs baron himself.

“Let’s switch this awful thing off!” the medic ordered.

The screen went black.

“Thank you,” Kooki smiled.

“No problem you two. Take care of yourselves.” The medic left the room and cast a smile at the pregnant female.

An hour later…

Nightfall had come. Streetlights had flickered on. A speeder pulled up outside a home. Just as Kooki got out to pay the driver her ‘tag’ started beeping at her. The speeder hastily sped off into town.
“Alright already!” yelled the annoyed female.

As she took a couple of steps into her new lunar home, the beeping ceased.

“Right!” she stated.

“Be gone!” she moaned under her breath as she yanked the ‘tag’ off her ankle.

“YEOWWW!!!” she screeched, as the tape pulled off some of her leg hair, leaving an obvious bald patch on her lower leg.

“Mummyyyyyyy!!!” came two happy voices in unison as they came down the stairs, with their groggy father in tow.

“So you’re back then?” Andrelious said sleepily.

Kooki was too emotional to be home and reunited with her family to even respond sarcastically to her spouse. The three of them hugged Kooki’s bump happily.

“Say hello to Mostynn,” Kooki hushed.

The three looked up at her.

“It’s a boy?” Andrelious asked.

Kooki nodded, whilst her twins ran around happily.

Andrelious’ hands were almost shaking as he stared at the ultrasound image.

“C’mon girls! Let’s get you to bed. Justinios is coming round in the morning for breakfast for an update.” The bossy mother stated as she ushered them up to bed.

Andrelious quickly wiped his eyes so no one could notice his unusual show of emotion.
Kooki looked back round at her spouse on the stairs.

“Alright?” she asked calmly, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Andrelious nodded quietly.

“Yeah. Just something in my eye that’s all,” he replied, his voice merely a whisper.

” Good!” Kooki mused, removing her hand, and turning to follow Poppy and Etty to their bedroom.
“Oh!” she popped her head round the corner.

“Check we’ve got eggs and milk for breakfast!” she ordered.

Andrelious smiled and said nothing.

She was home.

Everything was back to normal.

The End
(for now…)


Searching Through the Ashes of Shi’s Empire - By Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj

The Escort Shuttle Tseb’si’tsaerb III zoomed through hyperspace, carrying one more occupant than usual. The Mimosa-Inahj family were returning from a short break to visit Andrelious’ parents on Corellia. As Kooki was now almost to term, Licon, her mother-in-law, insisted on coming back to help. The twins were delighted to have their grandmother travelling with them, but Kooki wasn’t so sure.

“I’ll say this about your mother. She certainly keeps the girls occupied in flight!” the Alderaanian observed.
“And you know that she’s here to help you, too?” Andrelious queried.

“I know that. I just wish she’d stop trying to make those awful drinks,” Kooki answered, going to say more but stopping as she saw Licon entering the cockpit.

“Those girls of yours are getting stronger and stronger. I don’t think their little brother’s going to have to worry about anything,” the older female stated warmly, smiling at Kooki’s large bump.
“He wouldn’t have anyway. You’ve not seen Kooki when she’s really peeved,” Andrelious answered.
“You won’t, either. He does as he’s told. It’s easier for us both,” Kooki added with a smirk.
“You’re not the first woman he’s been scared of,” Licon stated.

“Yes, yes. We all know about her,” the pregnant Sith said crossly.

The control panel beeped.

“We’re back. Someone make sure the girls are ok,” Andrelious requested, clambering into the pilot’s seat. He pushed the hyperspace lever into the ‘off’ position. The view outside changed from blue swirls, to streaks, to stars. The celestial bodies of the Caelus system were nearby, along with the ships of Taldryan’s fleet.

The ship had barely arrived when a hologram of Justinios Drake appeared in the middle of the cockpit.
“Andrel. Welcome back. I have a mission for you. SRI business,” the Quaestor declared.

6 hours later…

Andrelious was unhappy. As usual, he had brought Captain Sram and his handpicked squad of specialists along on his latest mission, but, at the last minute, Sram’s direct superior, Major Dexlan, found out what the newly appointed Ektrosis Aedile was planning and insisted on coming along himself. Unlike Sram, who was popular with his men thanks to his relaxed command style, Dexlan was a by-the-book officer who seemed to like the sound of his own shouting. He also seemed to take an almost instant dislike to Andrelious, although he wouldn’t dare admit it to the Sith’s face.

“Captain Sram. Take two men and examine the perimeter,” Dexlan ordered.

“No. If the intelligence reports are accurate, then I don’t want to start splitting our group. We need to hit their defences at a weak point. Once we’re in, we’ll hit them hard and fast. No messing around,” Andrelious explained.

“And do we know that weak point, sir?” the Major questioned.

“The weak point is wherever I decide we’ll attack. The reports were pretty clear. Whoever has taken over this facility is seemingly paranoid that whatever happened to Shi is going to happen again here,” Mimosa-Inahj responded.

“I don’t blame them, after what happened. I’d want to be armed to the teeth too if I thought there was a heavily pregnant murderer on the loose,” Sram observed.

“Yes, thank you, Captain. I don’t know how you and your squad normally perform these missions, but we have a job to do here. Don’t forget you’re not supposed to use the Force, sir,” Major Dexlan added sternly.
Andrelious glared crossly at the officer. “Actually, Major, I’m fine as long as I’m not witnessed using the Force. That is not going to be a problem.”

Before Dexlan could offer a reply, the Sith patted his silver hilted lightsaber.

“Shall we do this, then?”


Two guards slouched against the wall as they puffed on cigarillos. They had been stood on guard for the past five hours without anything happening.

“We’ve been at this a week now. Nobody’s coming,” one of the guards sighed.

“You saw the news, didn’t you? Shi’s factory burned down. With that and the looting, the new boss wanted to make sure nobody was getting anywhere near us,” the second answered.

“Why is he so sure that that wasn’t an accident? The amount of flammable stuff Shi had? Asking for trouble,” The two guards caught sight of Andrelious approaching.

“That’s as far as you go. This is a restricted area,” the first guard declared, pointing his weapon at the Sith.
Mimosa-Inahj looked decidedly unimpressed. “One chance. Let me and my men past. Just run, and you won’t be the first to die,”

“You’re funny, little man,” the other guard chuckled, also aiming the barrel of his blaster at Andrelious.
“And you’re dead!” the Sith hissed, activating his lightsaber. The crimson blade swung through the air, cutting straight through the heart of one guard and decapitating the other.

Major Dexlan arrived on the scene, followed by Sram and his men.

“Now we’ll have to make sure nobody gets away,” Dexlan complained, pointing at a small camera attached to the building.

“Major. Stop fretting. It’s not your place to tell me how to do my job,” Andrelious stated coldly.

“What is the plan, sir? The whole place is locked down,” the Major explained.

“Don’t be so sure. From what Kooki told me, Shi was paranoid. I very much doubt he let even his most trusted men have full access. You’ll probably find that the lockdown’s already been overridden. What we can expect, is a tough fight once we get inside. Just cover me as best you can,” the Aedile ordered.


The facility’s lockdown had indeed already been overridden. Andrelious and his soldier allies entered through a large set of double doors, their weapons ready. A group of four guards, armed in a similar fashion to the ones Andrelious had already despatched, turned to attack, but the Taldryanites were too fast and cut them down without any losses.

“Let’s find what we came for,” Andrelious commanded.

The assembled crew edged deeper into the building. The ground floor appeared to be little more than a large labyrinth of boxes and cargo containers.

“We should check these boxes. They might have useful equipment,” Dexlan stated.

“Maybe later, Major. What we need is likely on an upper floor. Find a turbolift,” the Sith demanded.
“Sir! Over here!” Sram called out, waving his blaster in the direction of some turbolift doors.
“Excellent work, Captain. Secure the turbolift,” Andrelious ordered.

The Captain pushed the lift’s call button and directed a small cadre of soldiers into a crescent pattern outside the doors. As they slid open, they prepared to fire, but found the turbolift empty.

“Captain Sram. Take one team to the first floor. The rest of us will secure the second floor,” Dexlan barked.
“I don’t think splitting our men is a good idea, sir-“ Sram began, but a glare from his superior was enough to cut him off.

“I am senior officer here, Captain! Do as I say!”

“Major Dexlan, for the last time, I am in charge of this mission. I’ll allow you to split the team, but this had better work,” Andrelious stated crossly.

The Major divided his men into two groups as they filed into the turbolift. Andrelious elected to accompany Dexlan in his assault on the second floor.

The turbolift moved up to the first floor. Sram and his team exited, with a quick nod in the direction of Andrelious.

The lift continued to the next floor. As Andrelious prepared to lead his men out, they quickly came under heavy fire from a large group of enemies. Three Taldryanites were quickly cut down, including the team’s medic.

“Return fire, men!” Dexlan yelled, gritting his teeth as he fired his own blaster. At first, the team remained pinned down inside the turbolift, but, as they thinned out enemy numbers, they started to edge out into cover.

Andrelious, his smaller size making him slightly harder to hit, switched between his lightsaber and Force lightning, clearly not caring about any consequence of using the Force. Eventually, he had helped secure the area directly outside the turbolift.

“Onward!” ordered Dexlan. Before Andrelious could say anything, the soldiers charged forward into a room filled with lots of scientific equipment. The majority of the people inside the new room were scientists, but another large set of guards quickly attacked, along with a few of the braver scientists.

Dexlan dove behind an upturned table, but several more of his men were felled by blaster fire. The fire fight also served to turn much of the equipment into useless debris. Glass from test tubes flew everywhere, whilst substances started to burn away, giving off the unmistakable odour of burning spice.
“Captain Sram! Second floor! Now!” Andrelious screamed into his comlink.

The two sides continued to exchange fire, but the arrival of Sram’s team began to turn the tide for the Taldryanites.

Eventually, all of the guards and the majority of the scientists lay dead. The few surviving enemies quickly held their hands up in surrender.

Andrelious looked around the room. The prolonged battle had left the majority of the equipment that he had been sent for in ruins. Even worse, three quarters of his squad had been killed. Major Dexlan was to one side, seemingly in conference with Captain Sram.

“So if that floor was empty, what took you so long? It’s not good enough, Captain. I don’t know how these missions usually operate but you need to show more proactivity in command,” Dexlan hissed.
“Major Dexlan. I allowed you to split the team, but you were aware that I’d blame you if anything went wrong. Furthermore, you charged into the lab before properly planning your attack. We’ll be lucky to salvage much from this mission now,” Andrelious interrupted.

“I felt that the element of surprise would get the better of them. Besides, we’d defeated so many guards as it is. I didn’t really think they’d risk putting so many in such a sensitive area,” the Major responded.
“Enough! Major Dexlan, you’re hereby stripped of your command and demoted to the rank of Private. I think even that’s too good for you, but I don’t have the time for any paperwork. Captain Sram, have your men coordinate the cleanup. Bring anything of value to the rendezvous point,” the Sith ordered, briskly walking away.

“He’s not fit for command! Captain Sram, arrest Mimosa-Inahj at once!” Dexlan shouted.
“I don’t take any orders from a Private! You get a broom and start cleaning this mess up! On your own! And don’t you dare complain!” Sram screamed even louder. “And don’t you EVER speak to a superior officer like that again!”


“Every time a Mimosa-Inahj goes on a mission, something goes wrong,” Justinios sighed.

“From what I saw, the warehouse we attacked was a spice den. Not a science lab. Besides, we did find a few datapads full of information among the debris,” Andrelious replied.

“They mostly just had names and locations of more of Shi’s operatives. Most of them were killed when I last let Kooki do a mission. Still, we’ll do what we can,” the Aleena explained.

“That we will,” the Sith answered.


Supreme Director Recruitment Attempt Two - By Justinios Drake

“I suppose I am the fool for sending a Mimosa-Inahj on a mission and expecting to receive anymore more than a few useless datapads,” Justinios Drake, Quaestor of House Ektrosis stated as he tossed one of the devices towards his assistant, Major Laes Celyn. “To those two minimum casualties must simply mean don’t destroy the entire city.”

Major Celyn and Justinios’ KX-Series droid, designation K1-L0, had been using their own skills to see if any of the information on the surviving datapads was remotely useful. It was the droid, nicknamed Kilo, that spoke up next, “Sir there is a name here that is very intriguing, have you heard of Torin Morgath?”

The look the Aleena shot the jet black droid cleary conveyed the message that he had never heard the name and the droid continued.

“Why am I not surprised,” the droid responded tersely, “I spent 6.25696 standard hours writing that dossier for the mission to Nancora and why should you in your infinite wisdom have spent any time reading the hard work of a droid such as myself. Maker forbid we have feelings that you organics…”

Justinios knew there was only one way out of this rant, “I read that dossier front to back but my feeble organic mind could never hope to remember such a mass of information. I would have surely died on Nancora if it had not been for your exemplary work Kilo.” The droid might have been a strategic genius but it’s self-pity fueled rants were easily halted by effuse praise. “You no doubt have the dossier still in your databanks, who is this Torin Morgath?”

“According to the Inquisitorious she is one of the Collective’s top cybernetics researchers, she even leads her own team.” The droid paused, which was odd for him when he was on a roll. “But the information on this datapad shows multiple credit transfers out of the accounts of Kagu Shi to accounts in Morgath’s name, on Chyron. Even better, some of the transactions pre-date the attack on Nancora. If she was working for Shi’s organization, the Inquisitorious wasn’t even aware of this defection.” The droids tone seemed to indicate he was proud to now possessed information even the vaunted Inquisitors didn’t have. “Fun fact, Torin made the Inquisitorious’ priority list of individuals to assassinate in order to disrupt Collective operations. Number 27 on the list actually.”

Major Celyn interjected, “So Kagu Shi recruited a top notch cybernetics researcher away from the Collective before the Brotherhood even had any clue the Collective even existed, there is a missing piece of the puzzle here.”

Justinios couldn’t argue with that line of thinking but this was an opportunity that the SRI couldn’t pass up. With Shi’s organization in shambles and SRI agents regularly knocking down the doors of his former facilities, Torin Morgath might be able to be sold on becoming the Supreme Director of his burgeoning organization. This former Collective researcher clearly had the scientific background and leadership experience, but someone had to convince her.

“Find out where she is hiding out and let’s set up a mission to get her on board. If I have to be the Supreme Director for any longer I am going to make myself grow hair just so I can pull it out.” Major Celyn got up from her chair, saluted, and head out of Justinios’ office to make those orders a reality with Kilo in tow. Before she left Justinios yelled out one final command, “If this mission goes to one of those to either Andrelious or Kookimarissia you tell them that if they do not bring Torin Morgath to me alive and uninjured that I swear to the Force that I will buy their children all of the loud toys and sugary snacks that I can find in the closest dozen inhabited systems.”


The Capture of Torin Morgath - By Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj

“I can’t believe they’re asking you to do another mission,” Captain Sram stated.

“Kooki offered to go instead. Apparently I’m considered the safer option,” Andrelious replied.
“With all respect, sir, from what I’ve seen from both of you, I wouldn’t call upon either of you. Not for a retrieval mission, anyway,” a soldier added.

“We’re heading into the unknown here. I felt that a softer approach wasn’t going to work. Especially if it transpires that our intel is wrong and our target still works for the Collective. If things do turn nasty, would you rather have me, or Drake?” the Sith questioned.

Sram smirked. “But I’ll bet Drake would be able to get in and out without things having to turn nasty,”

“We shall see, Captain,” Andrelious answered.


The Consortium of Free Merchants was among the busiest parts of Chyron and Andrelious found himself comparing it to parts of Coruscant. He couldn’t help but feel that Justinios had arranged the meeting in such a busy place to try and prevent another retrieval mission from ending in the death of the target.

“Where are we supposed to meet this Morgath?” Sram queried.

“We’re going to be meeting her in one of the commercial plazas. The whole area’s going to be packed with civilians, so I’m hoping that means she’s not planning anything. But be ready. If it is a trap, I’m going to need everyone on their best form,” Andrelious explained.

“And if it’s not a trap?”

“Then we stun her as soon as we get a positive ID. We don’t have any intel on her description, but I’m expecting her to have some kind of cybernetics. The Collective are pretty touchy about that kind of thing,” the Sith continued.

The small team continued to push through the crowd. Andrelious was surprised by the number of nonhumans; there were lots of Rodians and Twi’leks in particular, in spite of Chyron’s former Imperial status.

“I’m really hoping things don’t get testy. We don’t want to get a reputation for civilian deaths,” Sram declared.

“Let’s hope Morgath has the same idea, then. Unfortunately the Collective doesn’t have the same mentality. Especially with Force users,” Andrelious answered.

“I thought she was ex-Collective?” the Captain questioned.

“It’s like being ex-Imperial. Not really such a thing, even if I’m not affiliated with the Empire anymore. She’ll probably still be very wary when she finds out I’m a Force user,” Mimosa-Inahj explained. “Looks like we’re here, anyway. As I said, be ready,”

Andrelious scanned around the plaza area. Crowds of shoppers continued to mill around, whilst the occasional mercenary looked people over carefully. They appeared to be armed with old Imperial E-11s, much like the one that the Ektrosis Aedile used. Eventually, he spotted a woman of average height, with shoulder length brown hair that wisped about in the afternoon breeze. She was dressed fairly plainly, other than for a white lab coat that gave her likely profession away. She was sat on a bench, clearly expecting the meeting to go ahead as planned.

“Well, she certainly looks like a scientist. Hopefully this will be easy,” Sram announced, preparing to unholster his blaster.

The area was too busy for a simple capture; Andrelious would have liked to approach the target from behind and stun her with his blaster before she even had time to realise what was happening. With so many people around, drawing a blaster would draw far too much attention, and the mercenaries who acted as the district’s security force would shoot long before asking questions. The group moved as one towards the seated female.
“Miss Morgath?” Andrelious questioned.

The scientist turned and nodded. “You are my contact? Are all of you this short?” she sneered.

“I assure you, I may lack height, but you will still find it a tall order to stay alive if you keep insulting me,” Andrelious snapped back.

“Well. At least you brought some extra guns. This sector isn’t exactly the paradise it appears to be. It’s not quite the Dark Sector, but it has its moments,” Morgath responded calmly.
“Yes. And we’re not going to mess about. I have been asked to retrieve you. Now, when I found out you’ve worked with the Collective, I was quite happy to execute you on the spot, but my associates have warned me that must not happen again. So I’m giving you one chance, Miss Morgath. Come quietly and things will not have to turn nasty,” the Sith declared, tapping the hilt of his lightsaber.

Torin glanced at Andrelious, then looked upwards, as if searching the sky for something.

“I don’t think I should go anywhere with you. I don’t even know your name. Besides, I think that my own associates would be extremely upset if I were to desert,” she answered.

“Right. Captain, get ready to stun her. We’re not going to-“ Andrelious began, but he was cut off as the long, thin bolt of a sniper rifle shot through the air, impacting the centre of Sram’s chest. The angle of the shot was just right to slice through the Captain’s heart.

Summoning his lightsaber to his hand, the Aedile looked up in the direction of the shot, but whoever had fired was already leaving the scene.

“Sir, the target is escaping!” one of the soldiers yelled.

“Then we get after her! And don’t waste time with the Captain. He’s not getting up!” Andrelious commanded. The Sith spotted Morgath fleeing the area, shoving people out of the way as she ran.

Giving chase, Mimosa-Inahj didn’t take his eyes off the scientist for one moment. He kept his lightsaber active, correctly deducing that most locals would stay well out of the way. A few of the mercenaries attempted to fire their blasters, but the Ektrosis Aedile easily deflected the blasts away.

Morgath made her way to a row of parked speeders. Andrelious thought he’d trapped her in a dead end as she approached one of the vehicles, but its dome opened, revealing a man with an obvious cybernetic. Climbing into its passenger seat, the female nodded, and the speeder started to move away from the platform.

Andrelious saw another speeder opening nearby. Charging towards it, he shoved its owner out of the way.

“Get a taxi home!” he yelled, throwing a credit chip to the speeder’s owner.

The speeder Andrelious had commandeered was almost completely identical to the one that Morgath was trying to make her escape in. Without a speed advantage, the Sith needed to rely on his skills as a pilot to close the gap.

The chase began in earnest. Morgath’s speeder, having merged with some nearby traffic, was flying relatively peacefully, but as its pilot spotted Andrelious approaching at full throttle, he sped up in a vain attempt to leave the Taldryanite behind.

The two speeders flew between buildings, occasionally crossing lanes of traffic, forcing panicked braking manoeuvres from dozens of unsuspecting civilians.

“I’ll take us out of the city. He won’t dare to follow us into the swamp!” Morgath’s pilot shouted above the din of their speeder’s engines.

“I’m not so sure! I think he’s one of Taldryan’s Sith!” Torin answered as their speeder exited the built up area. Apart from a few poorly constructed shacks set up by various outcasts, the swamps of Chyron began abruptly, bringing with it a new kind of challenge. Instead of traffic, the two speeders now found themselves avoiding trees, rocks, and other natural obstacles.
Andrelious remained fully focused on his target. He lined up directly behind the other speeder, and opening the hatch, tried to shoot at the pilot with his E-11. Although the Sith was usually an almost perfect marksman, his first two shots missed the target entirely, whilst the third bounced off the speeder’s chassis. Mimosa-Inahj cursed and fired one more time before the Force screamed a warning at him. Sure enough, in his haste to try and take down his enemy, he had missed a low hanging branch. He dived back into the cockpit, desperately wrestling with the controls.

The Ektrosis Aedile noticed that he was beginning to close on Morgath. He checked his own instruments and noticed that the engine temperature reading was a little higher.
We’re pushing too hard! He realised.

The gap between the two speeders continued to close as the enemy pilot slowed his speeder, hoping to cool the rapidly overheating engines. Andrelious remained at full speed, even as a warning alarm started to sound within his cockpit. He was secretly enjoying the chase; when he flew his family around Kooki insisted on a far slower and safer flight.
As he reached Morgath’s speeder, the Sith nudged the enemy vehicle, signalling to its pilot to stop.

“I’ll handle him! Open the hatch!” Morgath ordered. The pilot did as he was told, although he could not see a weapon anywhere on the scientist’s person. To his surprise, the fingers on his passenger’s seemingly natural left hand slid open, revealing the barrel of a concealed blaster rifle. She shot towards Andrelious, the blaster bolt impacting with some cooling fins on the side of her would-be captor’s speeder.

As the right hand engine of his speeder sparked, stuttered, and started to catch fire, Andrelious knew he had one final chance. He threw the speeder’s control yoke as far to the right as it allowed, the vehicle lurching with a high pitched whine moments later.
The two speeders came together, sending sparks and debris everywhere as they ground each other to a very noisy halt.

Mimosa-Inahj was largely unhurt, but both Torin Morgath and her pilot didn’t move.
“This is Mimosa-Inahj. I need a medical team to my location. I have two prisoners,” Andrelious yelled into his comlink.


Justinios Drake peered through the transparisteel window at a wounded, but alive Torin Morgath.

“You’re very lucky. From what the medics told me, if you’d rammed her speeder any faster, Morgath wouldn’t have survived,” the Aleena commented.

“Luck and odds don’t mean anything out in the field. I simply completed the mission in the way I deemed best. Now, would you like to introduce me to our new field commander?” Andrelious questioned, regarding the Weequay stood next to Justinios with his arms crossed.
“Sorqa Buuk. Served with Special Forces. And Intel. I don’t need to ask who you are. You, your wife and your eldest daughter were known to us even before you defected,” Buuk answered.

“Very well. Your squad did very well in getting Miss Morgath back here alive. I assume the pilot didn’t make it?” the Aedile queried.

“He was already dead by the time the squad got to you. Our best intel suggests he was something to do with the Collective. Seems Morgath wasn’t entirely honest when she set the meeting up,” Sorqa explained.

“I told you it was a trap!” Andrelious snapped at Justinios.

“Why do you think I asked you? I’ll admit that I didn’t realise how many Collective operatives seem to be on Chyron. The loss of Captain Sram is unfortunate, but several of his team managed to deal with the sniper. Took out most of the commercial plaza. We’ll just have to hope there weren’t too many civilian losses,” the Aleena replied.

“It’ll be another few days before Morgath will be fit enough to discuss her new role. I suggest you leave that to me. Mimosa-Inahj methods of recruitment have a terrible success rate after all,” Justinios quipped.



Spring the Trap - By Justinios Drake

“Well you have lost me a very expensive bet,” Torin Morgath said from her cell deep within the bowels of the new SRI Headquarters on Iosan. “I was convinced there was no way the vaunted Dark Jedi Brotherhood would let an tiny little Aleena into any kind of leadership position. Times must be indeed dire.”

“Wait what, I am short?!” Ektrosis Queastor Justinios Drake said, dripping in sarcasm. “I have never noticed and nobody has ever made me aware of this fact before. Everything I know about the Univers is suddenly crashing down around me with this revelation! Let me get you out of this cell so you can share more life-altering facts like that the skies on Coruscant are blue or that sand is coarse.”

The Collective cybernetics expert seemed unamused. “Are you done?”

“No my dear, the question is are you done?” A smirk crossed Justinios faced. “Done putting yourself at risk for this fools errand know as The Collective. Here’s the deal, I really need to get out from under the day-to-day administration of our little organization. Simultaneously you, whether your know it or not, are fighting a losing battle. The Collective is never going to take down the Brotherhood. As soon as they attack in any kind of force again the Clans will set aside all of their infighting to knock your silly crusade back down before going back to squabbling again. You can find all the mindless zealots you are able to and stuff them full of machine parts. At the end they will still just end up as piles of bloody metallic shards at the end of the day. So you are going to sit in this cell until you realize I am giving you a chance to join the winning side.”

Morgath was unfazed by the Aleena’s monologue. “I assume you think that winning side is yours? Sad. Your people didn’t even attempt to scan me for tracking devices. This facility does look like it has had some credits pumped into it recently, I assume after you forcibly took it from it’s previous owner. it will make a nice base of operations for my fellow ‘losers’ to ruin Taldryan’s plans here in the Caelus system.”

In a flash, Justinios’ tiny reptilian hands snatched up his comlink. “Commander Buuk, it seems the attack we anticipated will, in fact, be incoming. Proceed with coordinating our defenses as planned.”

The Weequay transmit an “affirmative” over the communicator and severed the connection.

“You will learn what it means to cross your intellectual superiors before I am done with you. Hopefully this will happen around the time you finally accept this gift I am trying to give you,” Justinios stated, once again addressing his captive. “It seems we did find your tracking devices and decided that keeping them intact would be a great way to draw some of your compatriots out of hiding. Don’t expect a roommates anytime soon though. Your accommodations will remain private, I have no intentions of leaving any of them alive.”

After taking a moment to soak in the disappointment that crossed Morgath’s face like a wave, the blue-skinned Quaestor left the captive cybernetics expert to sit alone in her cell once more. Aedile Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj would already be with the SRI command staff as Justinios had delegated responsibility for overall planning to the much more experienced soldier and pilot. Justinios would check in on their progress but would focus his own efforts on sending personal messages to members House Ektrosis and Clan Taldryan. The Aleena didn’t want to take any chances in defending the installation he himself took from remnants of Kagu Shi’s organization by force, just as Morgath has guessed. He assumed that some of his fellow Taldryanites would answer the call to help the SRI hold onto their brand hew headquarters and research facility, which still contained the experimental Wampas Shi’s own researchers had been working with. Whether it was for honor, or glory, or just the promise of violence Justinios hoped that at least a few of his other clan mates would answer his call.


Rian wasn’t in his office aboard the Paragon when the message was delayed to him.

Accepting the datapad with a sigh aboard his personal starship StormCloud, the Consul skipped
over the brief message, expecting it to be one like the many he had already received over the past
days – requests for material or personnel from one or the other officer who had been ordered to
inspect the sector of Chyron the local government had given to the Clan just a month earlier. All the
more he was suprised when he realized when he gave the message a closer look.

“Can we be sure about this?”

“To my knowledge Quaestor Drake had never been seen faking any important Data, master.”
The Droid that had handed him the datapad said.

“Nor did he ever lie to me about any assets of his House.” Rian countered, his mind
wandering before he continued. “Seems I have to remind him in time about trust and loyalty.”
Addressing the Droid directly he said. “Inform Master Raistline, i need him and his ship.”

“Yes, master.” The Droid turned at once leaving the Consul with his preparations while
delaying the message to the other Taldrya.

Aboard the Retribution, the two Taldrya watched the image provided by the small
holoprojector between the two pilot consoles showing the secret headquarter of the Sphere of
Research and Intelligence under attack. Several small transports had landed on the bridges
connecting the centralized hub with the surrounding parts of the complex that. The glass on the hub
had been cracked and smoke could be seen curling up from where the glass was broken. Occasional
lightnings from within the various parts of the complex indicated that the battle had for some time
now moved from the outside to the inside of the building, though the blueish image didn’t show
whom the battle was favoring at the moment.

“We checked the arriving vessels of the last three days and no suspicious ship arrived during
that time so can we be sure it’s the Collective that is attacking the facility?” The Gatekeeper asked.
“Justinios had been quite sure about that in his message.” The Consul replied, his voice
heavily distorted by the mask of his armored robe.

“Rian, you know what this means.”

“Yes, our secret isn’t a secret anymore.” The Consul sighed. “The question is for how long
have they been here already.”

“My lord, we are entering the atmosphere of Iosan now.” One of the pilots called from his

Raistline nodded, turning toward the exit of the cockpit to follow the Consul. “Proceed with
the descent and level the ship onehundred meters above the facility. Let’s make sure none of that
scum can escape.”

“Yes my lord.”

Walking the corridors of the Corellian Gunship to its cramped cargo area the Gatekeeper
asked Rian. “So what are you going to do about Justinios.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, this is only Iosan but if its really the Collective, do you think we can handle them if
they decide to launch a fleet like they had on Nancora on us?” Raistline asked.

“We are in a much better shape like when the Clans attacked Nancora. The Paragon
currentlygets resuplied on Chyron like the Revenant. Also I made a deal with Drayen, in exchange
of phasing out our frigates, they grant us control over their cruisers and the corvettes I have ordered
from Arx should arrive soon as well.”

Rian could feel the other Taldrya crossing his arms before his chest. “This doesn’t answer my
question Rian”

The pair had reached the cargo area and Rian petted the small black speeder in its center.
“Well, Justinios is ambitious, he reminds me much about myself when I was younger. He
may make a great Taldrya one day.” Rian smiled behind his mask. “But until then, I will have to
teach him a lesson.”

“Alright, I will keep the sky clear for you.” Raistline said, waiting for the Consul to climb
into the speeder’s pilot seat before pushing the release button of the cargo bay.
Rian’s speeder broke through the dark night toward the cantralized hub of the SRI’s secret
headquarter. Accelarating the speeder to its top-speed, he broke through the glass, scattering the
ground underneath in a shower of glass.

Before the Collective troopers within could adapt to the situation, Rian activated the
speeders hover mode and jumped onto the ground. Rolling over the ground to reduce his landings
force of impact, his lightsaber found its way into his hand and sprung to life with an angry hiss,
bisecting the nearest Collective soldier in a smooth arc at waist hight.

The next soldiers didn’t fare any better as the Consul mutated into a blur of motion
surrounded by a streak of sky-blue light cutting through armor, flesh and bones without stopping for
more than a blink. By the time the last soldier fell had barely a minute passed.

Looking to either side, Rian reached out with his mind, feeling for familiar presences. He
found one not far to his right. Breaking into a confident stride, Rian set out for the presence,
thinking about wether to worry for the presence or those he was facing.

He found him along a squadron of Taldryan troopers pinned down behind a makeshift
barricade trading fire with Collective troopers equipped with heavy blasters.

Coming up from behind the soldiers, Rian was able to cut down two of them before the
others turned, concentrating their fire on the Consul.

Their shift in focus of half the soldiers gave Andrelious and his man the opening they had
dared for for the last thirty minutes since they had been forced into a fire fight where none of the
involved parties were up to give any room to their opponents. Rushing over their shelter, Andrelious
red blades ready to strike ending the conflict qickly.

Andrelious greeted the Consul with a nod. “Justinios had expected you would send
reinforcements, but I don’t think you would have come personally.”

“Extreme situations call for extreme measures.” Rian replied. “What’s the status of the

“They hit us when we were still preparing for their attack, overwhelming our initial defenses
with their sheer numbers. Justinios has set up an security parameter in the western wing from where
we started to regain control over the facility.”

A shuddering roar cut their conversation.

Rian focused on the Aedile, demanding an answer for a question unasked.

“They must have found the stables.”

The answer didn’t satisfy the Consul and Andrelious gave a more detailed explanation: “The
former owner of this facility experimented with Wampas, mostly he wanted to tame them by
inducing them with altered biochemics so they could be used as weapons.”

Rian added this as another point he would have to address to Justinios but first he had to
make sure they secured the facility. “Andrelious, you and your squad will continue to secure the
facility, I will make sure those Wampas won’t get released. Where do I find them?”

“The fastest way would be back where you come from and then take the other hallway to the
left wing of the facility. But if you want to set for a better score, the long way leads that way
through the rest of the facility, though there you will meet heavy resistance from the Collective.”

“For as much as I like a good challenge, I think time is of essence here.” Rian said. “Inform
Justinios that I will take care of the Wampas. You will go the long way and continue to secure the
facility I will close in on you from the other side as soon as I have dealt with the Wampas.”

Andrelious nodded at the Consul before turning to give orders to his squad.

Rian on the other hand turned and rushed back the hallway he had came from. Just when he
arrived back in the central hub, he saw a group of soldiers inspecting their fallen comrades before
turning their attention to the speeder still hovering mid-air.

Extending his mind, he grabbed one of the fallen bodies, moving it just as if the soldier was
still alive drawing the attention of the soldiers toward the fallen body.

“I thought you have checked if anyone in here was still alive.” One of the soldiers said to the
one next to him."

“I did. He’s dead.”

“Than why is he moving. Go check him again.” The first soldier ordered impatient.

The other soldier kicked the dead ones leg. “As I said he’s dead.”

“Are you blind, he just moved.” The first one demanded again, his impatience turning into

Using the distraction, Rian burst through the room unnoticed by the pair.

Once in the left wing, it took Rian only a couple of minutes to reach the stables where a
female soldier was fun torturing one of the beasts with her electrostaff.

The shakled beast howled, raging against his restrainments.

“Hey, how about dealing with someone who can actually defend himself.” Rian shouted at
the woman.

The woman turned surprised but got back her composure immediately. “Oh I will first deal
with you and then return to have fun with the big guy again.”

She whirled her electrostaff around once, inviting the Consul to come at her.

Rian didn’t left her invitation unanswered, charging her with his blade ready.

They clashed once, twice before parting again but it even this brief exchange made it clear
to the Taldrya that she hadn’t received much training with her weapon. Rushing in again, Rian
fainted left then ducked right under her initial slash only to come back up again where she exposed
her left side to his blade. The azure blade first bite through her leg, leaving a deep gash before Rian
rotated around himself, riding his blade through her stomach.

Retracing his blade from her body, Rian closed the doors to the hallway he had come from
before deactivating the controls by burying his blade through it then proceeded the same fashion
with the other door once he left the stables.

Following the other hallway, Rian eventually met again with Andrelious and his squad and
by the time the soldiers saw themselves confronted with the two veteran Force-users, many broke
from their formation, seeking to escape only to find their demise on the outside by the skilled
gunners of the Retribution.

By the time the Collective soldiers have been dealt with, Andrelious and Rian returned to the
facilities command office where the Mimosa-Inahj twins immediately rushed to their father.
Walking past the Sith and his children, Rian removed his helmet. Justinios bowed slightly
before the Consul. “My lord, Andrelious already told me about you having come to our aid.”

“Yes, I did. Now tell me, how all this happened.”

Justinios weighed his words, forming a reply Rian would satisfy but before he could say
something, the air was split by the laugther of Torin Morgath. “Because he was blinded by his own
abilities. He assumed he could turn me into his puppet but he failed. He failed like all of you will

“And you are.” Rian asked the shackled woman sitting in a corner.

“An asset that has exceeded its expiration.” Andrelious said, one of his lightsabers lit in his hand,
ready to kill Morgath.

“No,” Rian stopped him, I have more questions for her. Bring her to the Paragon for

“I will spare you that.” Andrelious said. Ready to probe Morgath’s mind.

“Do it and everyone in this room will be dead.” Morgath spat at the Force-users. "There is an
explosive device in my mind. Whether you kill me or you do your sith magic to get into my head, it
will trigger it and this room goes boom.

“In that case you will learn that there are things far more worse than torture or getting killed
when dealing with Taldryan.” Rian said. “Call the Inquisitorius, tell them we captured a Collective