Low Orbit over Selen
Aurek shift was just taking over the bridge when Captain Cortel burst through the turbo-lift doors and around the corner in a fret. Throwing a datapad onto the Captain’s chair as she passed, she made her way down the bottleneck to the cockpit proper where the ship’s pilots were going over their start of shift checklists. After waiting a moment, co-pilot Karth Orsai turned and noticed the Captain standing with arms crossed.
“Captain!” He stood quickly with a proper salute as Specialist Maharet quickly followed suit.
“At ease, you two. I have some coordinates that we need a jump to. Top priority. Complete hush-hush.”
“Yes, Ma’am. We’ll be underway in a few minutes,” Devani responded directly.
Arcia nodded her acknowledgement and made her way back into the CIC where Commander Teroch Erinos was reviewing the previous shift’s logs. He gave her a brief nod, informing her everything checked out as she passed by. He was already aware that she would be departing the Nighthawk via the Captain’s Stealth-X fighter once they arrived at their designated jump coordinates.
The ship’s reactor’s hum vibrated the hull before silencing abruptly. The stars seen out the viewports began their shimmering blur into a solid streak of light, signifying the ship’s jump to hyperspace. Arcia used that queue to enter the turbo-lift once again, picking up a small duffel that she had left in her previous visit and hit the command for Deck 5. The lift quickly descended three levels before coming to a stop, the doors hissing open, and access to the hangar where her ship was being fueled became available.
After her own once-over, she tossed the checklist datapad to the deck chief and threw her bag into the cockpit before climbing in herself. She hated flying on her own, but she would need an exit strategy once she completed her mission deemed simple enough for a Junior Operative.
A few minutes went by without word or sound until a ping from her forward console broke the silence; it was time. The R9 droid assigned to her chirped and activated the preliminary launch sequences of the ship as the Nighthawk lurched to a halt and the hangar doors shot open for emergency egress.
Cortel’s Stealth-X shot out of the Nighthawk’s belly and away from the modified Pickett as the much larger ship minutely altered course and shot off into hyperspace once again. Its stealth systems were active, effectively keeping it completely undetectable by the inhabitants of the planet they just dropped the Captain off at.
Arcia sluggishly entered the atmosphere as the ship was hit with the tail end of a solar crosswind, causing it to rock back and forth violently. A few ‘bells and whistles’ rang through the cockpit signifying the potential loss of control, and Cortel quickly allowed the droid to stabilize their approach vector. With a groan, she took control once again and navigated to the far side of the planet, keeping the ship’s sleek black frame invisible in the night’s sky and touched down several kilometers away from her target location.
5 kilometers from Tamara Weapons Facility
The area surrounding the installation was populated by a thick gathering of trees to the west, south and east with a large bridge-crossed river to the north. Arcia had landed to the east, but after surveying her surroundings, decided that it would be best to approach from the south as there was a supply route situated there. Gathering her duffel and slinging it overhead, Cortel started towards the installation at a slow jog that culminated into a relative sprint.
Her muscles expanded and contracted with ease, as they always had for years spanning into the past. The extended duration of the sprint barely caused her heart rate to rise as various obstacles came to be in her way. Arcia’s body seemed to move of its own accord with every step, whether she was vaulting over crags and rocks, sliding under fallen trees, or any other assorted means of parkour.
She began to wonder as the late-night ‘jog’ continued. How long it would take her to make it to the installation? Would she beat her own personal record for a 5k run? The thoughts brought a smile to her face as the cool air bit at her cheeks and twigs snapped at her feet.
Tamara Weapons Facility
Rear Security Checkpoint
After a decent bout of running, Cortel slowed to a walk with heavy breathing and checked her time. Blast, just shy…
Approaching the facility from the south, just off the supply route, Arcia adjusted her cybernetic focus to recon a security checkpoint that was situated before her. It was manned by two heavy infantry, a mounted heavy blaster repeater and several canine-like creatures.
Well, osik…this might take some additional plan- She cut herself short in thought as her attention was directed further down the route where a small convoy was starting their engines.
Without a second’s hesitation, Arcia sprinted the distance between her and the convoy. Outside the larger of the three canvas-enclosed vehicles were two humanoids: a male Trandoshan bodyguard and a female Twi’lek executive. They were arguing back and forth in Huttese about the Twi’lek’s orders to oversee manufacturing of new weapon designs. After listening for just a minute longer and gathering the information she needed, Arcia moved in…
The lead vehicle slowed to a halt before the checkpoint and exchanged papers with one of the heavy troopers as the other made a visual inspection of the vehicle itself. After a moment, they flagged the transport through and waved the second forward. Stepping up to the passenger seat where the Twi’lek was seated, the trooper demanded the reasoning for their visit.
“Chut chut, koochoo? Jee-jee koose parchee che kagwa blastoh,” the Twi’lek half insulted with a cool and sultry demeanor. *
“Spastika, hmmm,” the trooper mumbled and looked over to his partner who nodded their approval of the vehicle. “Foonta, yatuka nenoleeya.” **
The Trandoshan driving the vehicle hissed as the troopers waved them on and made his way towards the installation’s loading docks. The lead truck was already unloading its contents when the Trandoshan parked his transport. Both he and the Twi’lek exited the vehicle and the woman was escorted to the logistics offices where they were to sign off on various manifests and wait for their cargo to be unloaded.
There were two Human men within the logistics office, one of which was wearing a badge implying he was the Quartermaster for the facility. The Twi’lek glided over to the man and flashed him a smile before offering a holodisk with the credentials for the parts they were transporting. As the man was reviewing the contents, the Twi’lek’s eyes shifted to one of the computer consoles and shimmered from a bright purple to a mechanical gray as they focused and downloaded a floorplan of the entire installation.
The Quartermaster turned back to the woman as her eyes returned to normal and she leaned against one of the desks with a girlish grin on her face. “Everything suitable for your tastes?”
“It’ll do. Is there anything else you need?”
“Oh, just somewhere quiet to relax while the workers take care of the heavy lifting.”
Pointing off towards a hall containing various offices, the Quartermaster nodded. “Down that hall should be some quiet offices. Everyone has left for the day, so you should have privacy.”
With a sultry smile, the Twi’lek shortly bowed her thanks and glided down the halls, leaving the Trandoshan guard in the logistics area to supervise the unloading.
Tamara Weapons Facility
As the Twi’lek moved further away from the logistics crew, she began to sweat and stumble. After taking a turn or two, she slid into one of the side offices and nearly collapsed to her knees as the illusion bled away in smokey strands, revealing Arcia’s normal appearance once again. Even being adequately trained in such a feat drained her of energy quickly when performing complex tasks.
Cortel collapsed into one of the over-stuffed chairs facing a rather large desk and slowed her breathing, attempting to regain her composure after nearly draining all of her concentration to keep the illusion up. Slowly opening her eyes, Arcia began to take in everything within the room: the paintings, the minimalistic furniture and various other unimportant articles.
Then she noticed the rather interesting looking computer console.
Pushing up from the chair, Cortel rounded the desk and sat in the even more comfortable chair meant for the office dweller. The baseline encryptions were easily mitigated as she began opening personal messages, work related announcements and various other pieces of information. After just a few moments of rummaging around, she found what she was looking for: the location of two sets of servers.
The first belonged to the corporate facility. This server system would hold banking information and more data regarding any research and development being carried out within the facility. The second was the core firewall and server setup that included all information of any specialized weapon designs the Tamara Corporation was working on. Her two goals, in the first office she picked. How lucky could she get?
Tamara Weapons Facility
Corporate Server Room
Shifting from office to office, Arcia kept tabs on each of the security cameras and made sure she moved where the shadows were most opportune. She could have hacked them, but the corporation’s substandard security would have been an effortless waste on time. Instead, she darted in and out of blind spots as the viewers turned and swiveled their way through their preordained day.
Arica reached a turbo-lift that would take her three levels down and into the corporation’s general server room. Here, she would be able to access secure bank accounts and remove funds, as was her secondary goal in the mission appointed to her.
The turbo-lift lurched to a halt and the doors opened with a ‘clank.’ Almost immediately, the heat of the room slammed into Cortel like a solid wall moving at high speed. It was obvious that the corporation did not invest in proper cooling systems for their equipment, which could possibly be used to her advantage.
Moving through the corridors containing the highly secure equipment, Arcia began to think: which of these servers would be holding the information and access that she required? The rudimentary equipment around the outer edges of the room was easily sliced and proved to be, at the least, useful: they gave way to the more important pieces of technology that held the banking information and codes.
Without a second thought, Arcia quickly forced her way into the security systems of the corporate firewalls and fooled them with ease. After locating the banking subroutines, Cortel falsified proper transactions and had most, if not all, of the corporation’s funds transferred to a previously provided account. After covering her tracks to ensure that anyone who did their research would believe the transfers were legitimate, Cortel exited the systems, caused a superheated flash across the physical systems and began making her way towards the R&D department which held her primary goal.
Tamara Weapons Facility
Research and Development
The large chamber designated for the general R&D held many display cases with various weapons filling them. Sniper rifles, assault rifles and even a beam weapon or two were scattered throughout. These were not of importance to Arcia, though. She was looking for the highly experimental designs still in drafting phases.
Towards the end of the chamber, various security systems were in place to prevent unauthorized access to the special contracts that were being developed. Arcia quickly interfaced into those systems and began, one by one, removing them from her path. She became frustrated very quickly before brandishing a specialized slicing spike and completely bypassing the system entirely in one fell swoop.
The system is down, Arcia smirked.
One by one she watched as the Tamara Corporation’s ill placed funds fell at her fingers. Once the physical security systems, such as the trip beams, were deactivated, Cortel made her way into the supercooled room. That, however, was only the first of her problems. The data encoded on the R&D servers was secured by a system she had never encountered, causing her to wish she would have kept the ‘super spike,’ as she called it.
The security system had a cascading deletion algorithm that would take effect in the event that the improper coding sequences were input. Arcia, however, was too smart to be fooled by such a system. Instead of falling for the false credential input screens, Arcia found the backdoor that allowed her to bypass all credential systems and provide a single word, which she had picked from a database on the corporate office computer.
Keying in the proper word, the system opened itself to Cortel and she smiled at her own success. Before her were decades of research regarding singular and grouped designs for various weapons. Many corporate secrets were downloaded as soon as she pressed the associated buttons. Within minutes, all of Tamara Corporation was hers.
Quickly rewriting some code to mask her trail, Arcia backtracked out of the server control chamber, reactivated the security systems and left trace readings that made it seem as if the Twi’lek female had attempted to remove data from the systems. Quickly satisfied with her own work, Cortel took a deep breath, sunk back into her falsified appearance and made for the front doors of the complex.
Tamara Weapons Facility
The Twi’lek female smiled as she passed by various janitorial workers and late night security officials. She was already cleared for passage, so she thought nothing of them. The doors leading out and away from the complex were just before her when she realized something just wasn’t quite right…
Outside of the doors, standing at perfect attention, was a platoon-strength grouping of marines and security forces. Many thoughts immediately flashed through Arcia’s mind as she began formulating various scenarios regarding the lack of intel for the warmachine before her.
In an instant, the Twi’lek guise was stripped from Arcia as one of the captains of the platoon growled and pointed towards her location. “There she be. Thinkin’ her sneak-sneak tactics and slicing skills would keep her safe from the might of the Tamara Security Force! Tam-Sec doesn’t let people run off with corporate secrets, you know!”
Arcia quickly adjusted to her surroundings, and within an instant, vanished from sight. She knew that her Force Cloak would only last for a finite amount of time, but it could possibly give her the opportunity to sort out exactly what she would have to do in order to escape from the situation before her.
In a fury unlike anything she had ever encountered, the glass doorways before her shattered under the sheer might of the blaster fire provided by the Tam-Sec enforcers. Her Force Cloaking prowess was for naught.
Throwing herself behind various pieces of furniture in hopes for cover, Arcia drew her KYD-21 and started delivering ‘pot shots’ in hopes to…well…she didn’t know what she hoped for. With a force that large, there wasn’t much a single person could do. Instead she simply was forced to wait while the unit marched forward and into the building, quickly surrounding her position.
In a last futile attempt to escape, Arcia threw herself forward and into a slide towards one of the platoon captains. He quickly saw through her action and sntached her left arm, raising her several feet into the air, the raised boots of his armor giving him a towering figure.
“You make me laugh, bitch.”
With a severe jolt, Arcia felt her arm snap in two, bringing with it a white light of pain that soon dwindled into a blackness that overwhelmed her. The last thing she saw before fading into the abyss was a darkened hood moving closer to cover her vision.
It was dark when Arcia came to and her eyes burned something fierce. The last thing she remembered was the brilliant flash of light followed by mind-numbing pain, but she couldn’t remember what hit her. The air smelled rank of stagnant water and feces, causing her to retch.
Feeling out into the blackness, Arcia realized that it wasn’t just a dark room, but that her implants had catastrophically failed. Panic suddenly overwhelmed her. Taking an involuntary breath, she gagged again and attempted to crawl. Fire suddenly ripped through her right arm as she put her weight onto it, causing her to cry out in pain and crash into something squishy. Gritting back the tears, she shifted her weight onto her left arm, crawling forward before bumping her head into a wall. Turning to place her back to it, Cortel forced herself to calm down and slipped into a trance-like state.
From the darkness of her non-existent vision, the room suddenly blasted to life with color. Her need of the Force was answered in an instant, giving her a fair enough representation of where she was. There were three solid walls: two on either side of her and the one to her back. Directly in front of her was a glass section with two heavily armed guards and a simply clothed officer.
She was a prisoner.
Blind, unarmed and seriously injured, Arcia started to panic again: she had been in a situation like this in the past. Her breaths began to increase and she forced each gag down until the stench no longer bothered her. Clearing her throat, she hoped the glass before her wasn’t soundproof.
“H-hello? Is anybody there?”
“I said is a-anyone there?”
Arcia heard a mumbled Huttese response, but couldn’t understand it through the glass. All she caught was ‘schutta’ and that made her blood boil. Within an instant, the bearer of the words was pulled violently into the solid glass with a sickening ‘CRACK.’ The two others jumped to their feet, yelling something about ‘jeedai.’ ***
The man’s body was collected and Arcia’s strength began to dwindle, her vision fading to black once again. She continued to listen intently as a door opened, leading the echoing sounds of footsteps into her ears. Clearing her throat, Cortel stumbled to her feet, wincing as her left arm brushed the wall and stared straight into the glass.
“Little cat can’t see, hmm?” A female voice rang through the air. “I’m sure we can fix that for now…”
An electronic whirring that Arcia didn’t actively notice before suddenly stopped and her vision began to brighten. There must have been a dampening field within the cell that caused a short-wave interruption of her cybernetics.
“How long have I been in here?” Arica asked quietly.
“Oh…I would say about two hours or so,” came the woman’s reply.
That brought a smile to Cortel’s lips.
“So smug now, are we? Something you know that I don’t, perhaps?”
Arcia shrugged in response. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out, hmm?”
The nameless woman chortled and opened her mouth to respond when suddenly the back wall of the cell blew outwards, creating a vacuum and sucking Arcia out and into the arms of a heavily armored commando. A look of sheer horror covered the woman’s face as Arcia and her rescuer retreated into the cargo bay of a small shuttle and it shot off into the night sky.
Within the shuttle, Arcia was thrown into one of the crew chairs, causing her arm to flare with pain again as the commando removed his helmet.
“For the love of…careful, Locke!” Cortel yelled out, cradling her arm.
A larger, more armored body entered the hold from the cockpit and removed his own helmet to reveal the very displeased face of Operative Wilder, the Sergeant of the Special Forces on board the Nighthawk. He didn’t say a word, but motioned for Specialist Locke to retreat to the cockpit and sealed the door behind him.
“What in Slice were you thinking, ma’am? You’re lucky that subdermal tracking beacon the doc and Chief Celahir whipped up worked. You could have been killed!” Azler blurted out.
“Sergeant Wilder, thank you for doing your job and getting me out of there. We will have a debriefing when we are back onboard the Nighthawk,” Arcia stated plainly and they both sat in silence for the remainder of the flight.
The ship’s doctor, Specialist Maaks, ordered Arcia to remain in medical until they reached Selen, but she wouldn’t have it. The moment she received word that she was suitable for normal duty routines, she left the care of the doctor and headed for the bridge. Sergeant Wilder was waiting for her at the turbo-lift, his face showing much displeasure.
“Before you speak–” Arcia started, but was quickly cut off by the commando.
“You should have taken someone else with you, Captain. You would have avoided any unnecessary injuries,” the man stated plainly, eyeing the woman before him up and down and taking note of her arm in a sling.
Cortel rolled her eyes and dismissed his remark, pushing past the man and entering the turbo-lift with Azler on her heels. Since joining the crew, Azler Wilder had acted as an unofficial bodyguard to the VIPs on the ship: Captain, XO and any designated guests. Admirable as the trait was, it usually got on Arcia’s nerves very quickly.
They rode the lift up to Deck 2 without word and as the doors hissed open, Arcia immediately exited and turned to face Azler, blocking his way out of the chamber. “I’m not a little girl, Wilder. I can take care of myself.”
“Obviously. You still should-” He was cut short as the doors hissed shut, signifying that the lift had been called or ordered elsewhere and Cortel waved her fingers as he vanished from sight.
Arcia smirked to herself, having been the one to press the Deck 5 command, and turned to make her away around to the CIC. The bridge was active as usual with Commander Erinos sitting in the Captain’s chair, half asleep. Cortel slid around and propped herself on one of the armrests without a word as Teroch slowly looked over to face the woman and yawned.
“You look like osik,” he observed.
“Isn’t it past your bedtime, ad’ika?” The Captain retorted to the much younger man with a smile as she moved her attention to the viewports, the stars blurring past.
ACB Contract Offices
Estle City, Selen
Escorted by Sergeant Wilder, Cortel made her way through the ACB offices until she reached Edraven’s and sighed: there was snoring echoing out into the halls. Quickly opening the door, Arcia sounded off, snapping the Onderonian out of his slumber.
“Edraven! Sleeping on the job again, I see?”
“Wha-- Oh, Captain Cortel. You’ve returned…and you’ve looked better,” he stated the obvious, nodding towards her sling.
“Yes, this is what happens when someone is given botched intel and stumbles onto a damned platoon of hostile troops,” Arcia stated, throwing the datapad containing her report on Celevon’s desk.
The Prelate snatched it up and reviewed her findings, frowning at the contents. She had accomplished the job per specifications and even drained the accounts, but she was discovered and nearly killed in the process. He raised his eyes to the woman and sighed.
“We’ll have to discuss this with our superiors…this,” Celevon paused. “This was very sloppy. We expected better from you, Captain.”
Cortel scoffed, but before she could speak, the ACB officer cut in again. “We haven’t had a botched mission like this…well…ever! We-you…”
Arcia opened the door and stretched out her good arm, a displeased look on her face. “Lead the way, Edraven.”
- “Excuse me, idiot? We bring parts for newest weapon”
- “Shipments, hmmm. Satisfactory, move out.”
- ‘bitch, slut, whore’