[Mysteries of Aliso] Event Fiction Updates

(Ronovi Tavisaen) #1

Mysteries of Aliso, Week 1

The Pinnacle
36 ABY

Nothing was ever exactly calm about Aliso. After all, the planet had a torrid history: Ecological disaster had taken its toll, expunging the surface and the vast oceans of all but the simplest of life forms. To have complex sentients living here now - Humanoids and non-Humanoids alike - was impressive.

“We were lucky,” intoned Arden Karn from his chair, as he sat in his quarters, looking out the viewing portal that overlooked the enormous hangar bays below.

His Wrath, Ronovi Tavisaen, blinked. Standing beside her was TuQ’uan Varick, the new Overseer, his breathing raspy behind his mask. The new Plagueis ruling council had finally convened, ready to discuss the status of both the clan and its homeworld.

“How were we lucky?” asked the Epicanthix.

Arden sighed, the air whistling through his nostrils. He stretched out the fingers on his right hand. He didn’t want them to be too stiff - after all, his marksmanship and aim could not afford to suffer.

“Dracaryis,” he explained, “was instrumental in preventing an outright decimation of our fleets. And as a result, the Collective never exactly had a chance to hit our assets. Aliso remains pristine, unscathed. However…”

“There are less dramatic ways to infiltrate enemy lines,” finished Ronovi.

“You reckon spies?” asked TuQ’uan.

“Seems obvious.”

The Dread Lord stood up from his chair. While he was by no means as tall as Ronovi was, his stature was still intimidating, though he exuded an aura of both charisma and business savvy.

“There’s much more to this planet than Aliso City,” Arden remarked. “We need to remember that. And the Collective may very well be performing reconnaissance on us. We need to beat them at their own game.”

“Expansion,” muttered Ronovi. “Cute.”

“Necessary,” retorted the Dread Lord. “This planet is rife with natural resources. We already have significant gains from our duracrete and durasteel production. Our population’s agricultural endeavors - also good. And don’t get me started on the growth of our trade.”

“We won’t,” replied TuQ’uan.

“Economically, Plagueis is stronger than ever,” Arden continued. “Aliso City is prospering as a result. But we don’t simply end our commerce at its border.”

He was right, and Aliso City was far from static. It continued to grow and sprawl, making even the colossal Landsdown Docks seem too puny to house every ship for every merchant and traveler. There had to be other land masses - other potential settlements, abandoned or no - to scavenge and explore. And the Valneikian Spire, too - that could not be forgotten.

Ronovi and TuQ’uan exchanged a knowing look. The Left and Right Wings of the Dread Lord - Kelly Mendes and Furios Morega - would receive direct orders tonight.

(Ronovi Tavisaen) #2

Mysteries of Aliso, Week 2

Aliso City
Landsdown Docks
36 ABY

Sevrin Arce was a man who was good at not being noticed when he didn’t want to be. Given this was a crowded spaceport, that was even easier than normal. He’d made his way to Aliso posing as a technician on a Hyperdyne Industries transport and slipped away at the first opportunity. He wasn’t here to make money, though, like most of those who had come with him. He was here on a mission, and he wasn’t going to let himself get sidetracked.

The athletically built human made his way through the spaceport to the location he was given, a small food establishment slightly off the beaten track. Once there, he started looking around for the person he was supposed to meet, someone who wasn’t hard to spot because of her unique appearance.

Waiting at a table was Kel Zar, a Zabrak with one red horn. She was sitting at a table with two cups of caf and a stern look on her face. Looking up at the human in front, she waved him into a chair.
“You must be the one Ghafa told me about. Arce, isn’t it?”

Sevrin nodded and relieved himself of his heavy travel pack before sitting. After taking a long gulp of the caf, he finally spoke.

“Sorry, long trip. Yes, that’s me.”

Kel looked the human up and down. She then looked down at a datapad and then back up at Sevrin.

“Ghafa forwarded me your proposal and your dossier," she said. "Both are quite intriguing. CorSec Special Operations, several well known mercenary units, now a ‘Private Security Consultant.’ Impressive credentials, though somewhat unusual for the son of the sixth richest man on Corellia. But that doesn’t explain why you’re here, and since you’re not one our usual agents, I have to ask.”

Sevrin nodded, fully expecting the question. “My father sent me, actually. Family errand, you might say, one that’s suited to my skills. They took my younger brother, and I intend to retrieve him.”

When he said the word ‘they,’ he glanced out the window to a passing Verpine in red and black robes who seemed to be arguing with a pair of labor droids following him. Kel’s face froze for a moment before it changed into a look of contemplation.

“Interesting. You know what they do to their guests, right? It’s not pleasant.”

Sevrin nodded. “I’ve heard, but I have a way to deal with that. Something your people said you might have a use for. You just get me in where I need to go, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

A wicked grin spread on Kel’s face. “The Collective would be happy to assist.”

(Ronovi Tavisaen) #3

Mysteries of Aliso, Epilogue

Aliso City
The Pinnacle
36 ABY

Arden drummed his fingers on his desk as he pored over the datapads in front of him. Flanking him to his right was Ronovi, her hands tucked behind her back, her eyepatch glinting in the sparse light of the Dread Lord’s personal office. TuQ’uan stood across from the Dread Lord and the Wrath, presenting several Plagueians who had brought the information and reconnaissance data straight to the Pinnacle. Malice and Gaius Julius Caesar were two of the many brought in, Malice’s amber eyes bright and Caesar’s slightly wrinkled face clean shaven despite his drawn out excursions on Aliso’s surface.

“Tell me what you learned,” intoned Arden, still perusing the data on his desk.

Caesar went first. “My lord, I have discovered a suitable site for some of our military operations.”

“So I see,” replied the Dread Lord. “Cordana Valley, isn’t it?”

“Correct,” said Caesar. “By the Braun river. The mountains would do wonders for our sniper training. And the land itself is well suited for our infantry.”

“Might be good to check it out further,” added Ronovi. “We could use some more barracks outside the city. A weapons depot, too.”

Arden pondered this. His fingers ran across the edge of his upper lip, before he picked up a datapad and examined it. “Cordana Valley,” he repeated, his voice low and tinged with humor. “I’ve always known it to be a thrill seeker’s paradise. Lots of camps there.”

“Those can be easily dealt with,” Caesar replied.

“Perhaps,” sighed Arden, “but I do find recreational markets and facilities to be useful. Especially for our coffers. Still, you make a fair point about our military. I’ll send more men to the valley to plot out potential buildings and structures.”

Caesar nodded and stepped back, opening the floor for Malice. Her announcement, however, was more somber. “My lord,” she declared, “I found what appears to be an abandoned Geonosian weapons depot.”

The Dread Lord raised his eyebrows. “Where? Near the former enclave?”

“Not even close to the city, my lord,” Malice replied. “I went south with a few of my droids. I’m not sure when or how the Geonosians built it, but it was in a hollowed out hill. The security system was non-existent, so I managed to enter easily.”

“And what did you find? Besides weapons?”

Malice swallowed. “Bodies, my lord. Dead bodies. Most stripped of skin by now.”

Arden leaned back in his chair and folded his hands in front of him. Ronovi was silent; so was TuQ’uan. The five of them stood in the office and let the tension wash over them. No one would speak even if they dared to: the Dread Lord had the floor.

“So.” The word more dropped from Arden’s mouth than slipped out. “Some decomposing skeletons in an abandoned weapons bin. Well.”

In truth, there was not much to say on the matter. The Geonosians had been known to kill, and with their queen now beholden to Selika and the rest of Plagueis, it was clear that they would not do the same again. Still, some questions remained, perhaps better posed to the Geonosians directly. Arden suddenly considered a trip to the Valneikian Spire.

“That will do,” he finally stated, waving his hand toward the two Plagueians. “You’ve done well and will be rewarded justly for it. Do we have anyone else waiting outside?”

“Vivackus Kavon di Plagia, my lord,” replied TuQ’uan. “He has notes on the Pearl Islands.”

“That’s the place with the natural hot springs, right?” asked Ronovi.

“Perfect,” sneered Arden. “I’ve always wanted to build a resort.”

Aliso City
The Medina
36 ABY

One thing that struck Sevrin Arce as intriguing was how consistently chilly it was on Aliso. It was as if someone had cast a permanent shadow across the sun, making even its beams sting the bare skin with an autumn-esque frost. He looked across the frontier city from his vantage point with squinted eyes, the ball of his hand propped against the butt of his scoped blaster pistol that was positioned on his left hip.

It had been easy for Kel Zar to get the two of them up to the roof of the nondescript and vacant building. Despite whatever developments had been initiated and executed across the many military barracks and outposts initially abandoned by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, there were still plenty of edifices that remained untouched, practically condemned. You could see the extent of this negligence - at least, that was what Sevrin decided to call it - from the multitude of holes and crevasses that remained of the Valneikian Hive’s former enclave, which was guarded day and night by Aliso law enforcement.

Of course, Sevrin knew all too well whom those scattered police officers and soldiers were really beholden to. He had done his research, scoured his contacts and resources for clues and answers. For a unit that demanded secrecy, it was certainly easy to discover its proceedings through both military and economic channels. These “people” were not subtle, and whatever holes the man had in regards to his knowledge, the Zabrak was able and incredibly eager to fill.

“You can see where they house their guests,” she quipped, once again using the term “guests” ironically. She pointed to a gaggle of buildings and what appeared to be storage units.

Sevrin blinked. He tried to figure out what she was pointing at. “I don’t get it,” he admitted.

Kel smiled. She gestured for him to sidle up closer to where she knelt on the roof, and he followed her pointer finger as she directed his gaze to what seemed to be some sort of groove or bump in the asphalt below. In fact, there were several of them grouped together. Sevrin let his eyes focus on that strange deviation, and he thought that they almost looked like large tubes or pipes - like a network of tunnels that had managed to show themselves from the ground. He was confused, but he figured that Kel would explain.

“When you were doing your reading,” she asked, “did you ever learn about something called the Medina?”

“No,” replied Sevrin.

“Figures,” sighed the Zabrak, scratching at her one red horn. “That’s one thing these people keep under wraps pretty well. Most of it is underground, though no one’s quite sure why it was built in the first place. No notes on it that I could find.”

“How did you manage to learn so much?”

Kel grinned. “There’s a pun here,” she snickered. “Let’s just say the Collective is very good at collecting information.”

Sevrin stifled a groan. A slight change in the wind’s direction caused his brown hair to bristle on his head. His dark, simple clothes did the trick of keeping him warm, though, as he scanned what he could see of “the Medina” as well as whoever was guarding it. These security personnel were different than the Alisoan law enforcers, though. They wore dark armor - helmets, too. As if stormtroopers could appear any more sinister.

“The Medina,” Kel informed Sevrin, “is where you’ll find your brother. And every other poor soul who got caught in the Dread Lord’s clutches.”

Sevrin felt his eye twitch at the title, “Dread Lord.” An image of his smiling brother flashed in his head. His stomach churned.

“He was on a mission, you know,” he murmured. “A humanitarian one. He was all about helping people, aiding them in times of need. But then those Trandoshan bastards…”

“There’s no sense in getting worked up over it now,” chided Kel. “Your objective is clear. If you want to get your brother back, you’ll have to infiltrate.”

“The Medina?”

The Zabrak nodded.

“How in the galaxy am I gonna do that?”

“Simple!” Kel retorted. “I told you the Collective would assist. I’ll just need you to follow my lead for a bit.”

Sevrin swallowed. He was not used to taking other people’s directions or orders anymore, not since he left his company. He remembered the tattoo he bore on his shoulder - five overlapping pentagons, a permanent reminder of his mercenary status. Still, he was so close now, and he and the Collective jointly benefited from their newfound pact. He would do almost anything to get his brother back.

“Okay,” he said, a bit gruffly. “What’s the plan?”

Kel smiled. “Do you want to know what it’s like to be a Plagueian slave?”