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[November Pilot] Contract 057: Kordath Bleu d’Tana - Security, B-Class


Commissioner’s Office, Antei Contract Bureau Offices
Dungeon, Arcona Citadel, Estle City
Selen, Dajorra System
0930 Hours

The Ryn strolled into the Office, pausing as he caught sight of an unfamiliar figure behind the desk. Without realising what he had done, the Krath took a step back as he studied the male. Messy black hair fell to just above the jaw of the ruggedly handsome features, obscuring the eyes from sight. Dark stubble covered the jawline of the Human as he alternately chewed or puffed on the cigarra clenched between his teeth.

What little of the tanned skin was visible beneath what appeared to be a collaboration of armor plating and robes told a story of a lifetime of battle. The muscles on his forearms rippled beneath the skin, showing how little body fat there was on the man.

Kordath jumped when the figure suddenly spoke, despite having given no indication that he had noticed the member of Dark Forge at all. His voice was gravelly and the lilting accent sounded vaguely familiar, making the Krath wonder if Basic was the other male’s native tongue.

“You going to come get your mission or stand about, di’kut?”

The Ryn moved forward swiftly and took a seat, trying to not make a face as pungent smoke was blown in his general direction. “Where’s Edraven?”

“Out,” the male abruptly replied, holding out a datapad.

Now that he was closer, Kordath noticed that the other male appeared to be anywhere between mid twenties to thirties. The strangest thing, however, were his eyes. They were a dark shade of blue he had never seen on a Human before.

And that was saying nothing about the triangular pupils.

The armor-clad male sneered, puffing on the cigarra as the Krath accepted the device.

“Who are you?”

“None of your business. Now go about your task.” The dark blue gaze shifted from him as a flash of silver blurred past the Ryn’s head, faster than his eye could detect.

Kordath turned and saw one of the knives Celevon kept under his desk buried in a block of petrified wood, gulping slightly as he realized the force behind it would have put it clean through his skull.

“Need I tell you again, mir’osik?”

The Krath needed no further prompting, fleeing the office as though the very hounds of hell were on his heels.

A moment later, Sight stepped into the office, frowning over his shoulder at the quickly disappearing figure of Kordath became distant. He took in the unfamiliar figure in the Commissioner’s desk and scowled. “Who the frak are you?”

The appearance seemed to melt away, revealing pale skin and silver eyes. Celevon’s face bore an amused grin.

“… You know what, I don’t want to know.”

With that said, the Priest turned around and walked out of the office as the Obelisk started laughing loudly.


Mission: Security, B-Class
Specifics: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to provide an escort for a shipment of goods bound to the location of one of our allies. They are currently awaiting your presence in Hangar B of Giletta Spaceport. Be certain to use the code word ‘Traxyl’ to let them know it is you. I would suggest not failing… The members of Tarentum are not exactly forgiving to lost or stolen supplies.
Suspected Resistance: Unknown. Guard that shipment as though your life depends on it, as it very well could.


Kordath left the Citadel in a rush, brushing his hand across the side of his head unconsciously every few minutes, checking for blood. The man in Edraven’s office had been…off putting, throwing him off a step. In retrospect, his presence had felt familiar, and the Ryn noted mentally that he’d never seen the Commissioner without his mask on, maybe he’d walked in at an awkward moment.

Either way, he sighed while clutching the datapad, he had a task to complete for the Clan now, at least the Priest could find some semblance of being useful again. Priest. That was still taking some getting used too after all that business on Nitch Ka, the memory of which sent a shiver through the Ryn as he headed for the spaceport.

A quick scan of the datapad directed him to the proper docking bay, bringing on a familiar tingle of anticipation in the former vagrant. It was always an odd feeling for the Krath, walking in through the front door as it were. So often he’d sneak aboard with the cargo, or pretended to be a maintenance worker so he could get close and stowaway on a ship. His train of thought was interrupted as he stepped through a door into the wide, open air space of the hangar bay, letting out a low whistle of appreciation.

The bulk of a ship hung above his head, casting a shadow across half the bay, droids and people scrambling across gantries hanging above the unmoving hulk. Kordath ran his eyes over the ship, dredging up memories of his planet hopping days, and recognized it after a while as a Gozanti Cruiser. They had a decent amount of room for cargo, if he recalled correctly, but they were slow and well armed, to discourage pirates from both using them or raiding them. This one looked…off, somehow, and the Ryn started to spot inconsistencies in the underside of the hull.

In fact the whole bloody ship looked as if it’d been patched and rebuilt several times, the registry numbers and name barely visible along the prow.

The Soaked Womprat?” said the Ryn aloud, squinting his eyes to make out the print, “What kind of name is that for a ship?”

Bits of the craft looked as if they weren’t properly affixed, odd welding jobs here and there, the occasional portion of superstructure jutting out through the hull. More welds appeared around these protrusions, making the entire ship look a bit…spiky was the only word that came to the Krath’s mind. The entire craft looked as if it were two shakes from falling to pieces, just the kind of craft somebody in the Citadel would think was ‘low profile’ for a delivery mission such as this.

Kordath viewed it more as suicide, but he’d accepted the task at hand. Surely the craft looked like this on purpose, right?

Double checking his datapad to make certain he’d found the proper bay, the Ryn sighed once more, heading for the loading elevator near the front of the ship. Several droids were moving cargo containers under the supervision of an Iridonian female in a navy blue jumpsuit, the traditional tattoos etched across her pale skin were a deep red. If not for the perpetual scowl, which Kordath had noted so many Zabraks and Iridonians seemed to posses, she’d have been at least pretty.

The droids were rolling up a large, dark brown structure as Kordath began to walk up. His time since joining Arcona had involved enough fighting to recognize an old battle droid pod from the Clone War days. He wondered if the Clan was giving some to Tarentum for some purpose, to be refit or to supplement their own forces.

‘Wonder if that’s my mission then, keep the murder bots from getting blown up,’ he pondered.

The Iridonian’s eyes flashed towards him, stopping the Ryn in his tracks with their yellow gaze as he approached.

“We’re a bit busy here, friend, can I help you?” she growled, showing the barest of deference to another man wearing the robes of a Dark Jedi on a planet full of them.

With another long sigh, the Krath held up his datapad, “I’m to oversee a delivery to the Tarenti, just along for the ride in case things get…bumpy.”

The woman took the datapad, glancing at it before glaring at him, “Under whose authority?”

“Umm, Traxyl?” replied the Krath, feeling incredibly silly having to use code words in the seat of Arconan power.

She nodded curtly, her demeanor shifting slight, “I see, we were briefed on your addition to the trip, your team is already inside. I’m First Mate of the Womprat, you can call me Brindly, and you are?”

“Umm, Bleu, Kordath Bleu, and…wait, what team?” he asked, suspiciously.

“The security team that’s riding along with us, under orders from the Citadel. I doubt they’ll be surprised they have a Sith minder along,” she said, already paying less attention to the Ryn now that she’d insured he had a purpose.

Kordath licked his lips and grinned nervously, “Actually, I’m a Krath, but thank you for your confidence.’

“Oh blast, are you here too look through the books then? If we run into trouble what use are you going to be in a fight?”

“Excuse me? I may be of a…scholarly persuasion, but I can still defend myself. Besides, who’d raid this vessel? What are we even carrying?” asked the Krath, trying not to show his wounded pride. But honestly, what use was he if a fight broke out on the ship?

“Sealed container, we don’t ask questions when the Citadel pays us to transport goods, my Lord Krath,” she replied, her sarcastic tone finally being tinged with annoyance. That always happened, when people had to talk to Kordath for too long.

“I see, I’ll go and find my…team, then, and please, simply Bleu will work,” he said, stepping onto the loading elevator as the final crates were loaded.

“Oh, of course my Lord, of course.”

‘This is going to be a long bleeding trip,’ thought the Ryn, glaring at the deck as the elevator shuddered it’s way up.

Bleu took a few deep breathes as the loader came to a halt, relishing the taste of ship air again, the scent of a crowded cargo bay was familiar. Nearly safe, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, he wondered, before nearly getting knocked over by a loading droid.

“Blasted droids,” he muttered, before noticing several sets of receptors turn to stare blankly at him, “What?”

The droids turned away, and Bleu felt unnerved, that wasn’t normal behavior as he recalled it. Trying to shrug off the sensation, Kordath craned his head to see over some of the cargo, spotting a corner crowded with men in uniform lounging about. Definitely not ship crew, if the First Mate was any indication, any crew caught acting that way would be lucky to get tossed off the ship prior to launch. Making his way through the maze of crates, he noted two soldier sitting a few feet away from the others, talking to one another but not even bothering to look at each other.

“I’m telling you, this is a milk run, Tash, there’s no way we’re going to run into any trouble. Let’s just catch up on bunk time and let the newer recruits deal with stuff,” said one, a human that looked as if he had a slight weight problem.

“And I told you, the Sarge will keel haul the both of us if we sleep on watch, what do you not get about this, Rens?” asked the other, a tall and thin human wearing glasses.

Both of them were sitting at the ease that only a seasoned soldier can achieve when there’s nothing to do. The others in the squad were fidgeting in a nervous manner, checking their blaster rifles and looking around a lot. In the middle of the sea of pent up energy, stood an extremely tall human male, with shaggy black hair and a days growth of beard on his face. A patch covered one eye, and he was calmly directing his troopers this way and that, as they built a makeshift camp in the corner of the hold.

The background noise of the ship kicked up a notch as systems began to cycle on, followed by an announcement over the ships comm systems.

“Prepare for launch, boys and girls, this flight to the Yridia system should take just under twenty hours in hyperspace, barring any problems. Please strap yourselves…well you don’t have anywhere to strap in down there, so just hold on until we break atmo, this part can get bumpy.”

‘Oh yeah, long trip,’ thought the Ryn, grabbing some crash webbing holding a cargo container in place.

Outside of the ship, the last of the droids and starport maintenance workers were clearing the area, except one worker who climbed over the side of a gantry, landing on the top of the ship. Working quickly, he adhered a small black box to part of the hull, before turning to get back on his catwalk. As he started to pull himself up, he felt something tug at his leg, looking down he saw that his overalls had got caught in one of the mismatched plates covering the ship. Panic set in as he tried to pull free, and heard the gantry start to retract so the ship could launch.

Inside the cargo hold, a portly Twi’lek wandered through, randomly checking the catches holding crates in place, and nodding amicably towards the soldiers. As he reached Kordath, he smiled widely and made a show of trying to bow, despite the heavy work belt encircling his heavy belly. It put the Ryn in the mind of a ringed planet attempting to change it’s angle of rotation.

“You must be the Sith Brindly told me was on board!” he shouted over the sound of ship’s systems cycling up to full power.



“I’m a Krath, not a backstabbing little Sith Lord,” yelled Bleu in frustration, glancing towards the soldiers as the tall man with one eye started strolling their way.

“Well, my Lord Krath, might want to be ready to give a little hop,” shouted the Twi’lek with a grin, “The Womprat is a good old bird, but her repulsor coils are a bit wonky!”

“Define wonky?”

The Twi’lek just grinned as the ship lurched, artificial gravity turning itself on as the ship began to ascend. Suddenly the world went sideways on Bleu, and he found himself face down on the deck, wondering where the Gundark that had tackled him had come from, and where it’d gone.

“What in the hells was that?” he shouted, pushing himself off the deck.

“Told you, wonky, never been able to figure out the problem, one of the coils fires out of sync. Sends everything’s on a bit of a lurch before it settles. Don’t worry, it won’t do that again till we’re landing.”

“Remind me to be laying down when that happens, mate, and you are?”

“Oh, apologies, Chief Engineer Raylen, at your service!” said the Twi’lek, sticking out a pudgy, grease covered hand, which Kordath shook without reservation, surprising the portly alien.

“Most of your kind seem to have an aversion to getting their hands dirty, my Lord, sorry,” said the Engineer, bemused.

“Done a lot of dirty jobs myself, Raylen, and please, just…call me Bleu,” the Ryn replied, leaning against the cargo container as the ship shuddered it’s way up.

“Of course my Lord, of course,” said Raylen, much to Kordath’s chagrin, “Ah, I see the Sergeant is joining us as well.”

The ship gave another lurch as it hit the first atmospheric layer, causing Kordath’s knees to buckle as he fought for balance, the Engineer seemed to sway in time with it. The Sergeant never broke stride, taking the rolling sensation of the deck as if everything was fine. He saluted as he stopped in front of the Krath, a nearly relaxed salute, but a salute nonetheless.

“Sergeant Mickles, sir, at your service,” spoke the man, grinning roguishly under his eyepatch, “My boys are here to make sure nothing goes wrong, most of 'em are fresh after Nicht Ka, but I got a few veterans as well, I do sir.”

Kordath stared at the man for a few moments, noting the facial structure and accent, “Bleu, Kordath Bleu, you can call me Bleu, Sergeant Mickles. You’re…from an aquatic world in the Hapes cluster, if I’m not mistaken?”

The man grinned widely, “Now how did ya figure that out so quickly, me Lordship?”

“You walk like you grew up on the water, for one, and you could be the Consul’s bloody cousin from the look of you,” replied the Krath, relieved as the shudders in the ships structure ceased.

Mickles smirked, “Aye, Sir, from Dreena I am, born and raised. My parents ran a fishing boat, didn’t see dryland for the first time till I was nearly twenty. Bit of a buck in the take off there, Chief, anything fall off of her?”

“Hah! The old girl is tough, Sergeant, don’t you worry about it. We’ve made it into space, gentlemen, now if you’ll excuse me, got to make sure we don’t blow up or anything else,” spoke Raylen, bowing his way out.

“So, Sergeant, anything I need to be brought up to speed on? The battle droids are secure, I take it?”

“Droids? Don’t be knowing anything about droids, Sir, that crate over by my lads, with all the climate control stuff, that’s our precious cargo. Orders from on high said nobody’s to open it, and it’s gotta make it to the Tarenti fellows intact.”

Kordath pondered for a moment, walking towards the crate, it wasn’t very big, but that didn’t mean anything, small cargo tended to be more precious. It could be information…data files and what not, but that didn’t explain the climate control. Laying a hand tentatively against it, he hissed pulling it back.

“Freezing,” he muttered, doing a slow circuit around the crate, “We have no idea what’s in it, Sergeant?”

“Not a notion, Sir, no, like to think the brass would’a told me if it were a threat itself though,” replied the Hapan.

Nodding, Kordath turned to the group of soldiers nearby, the one called Tash perked up as they approached, jumping up to salute and announcing ‘Officer on deck!’ in a loud voice. His fellow, Rens, rolled his eyes and gave the other man a sullen look before standing to a semblance of attention. The Ryn waited as the rest fell in, not concerning himself with the soldier’s lack of discipline, they were Mickles men, not his.

“Right, I’m…Priest Bleu, umm, you can call me Bleu, I don’t really stand on ceremony, I’m just here to make sure things go smoothly,” said the Krath, staring at a point above the troopers’ heads.

“Sir, is there anything we need to take care of? I believe they prepared an actual set of quarters for you, sir!” said Tash, nearly quivering while standing at attention.

Kordath stared at the man, taken aback a bit at the man’s intensity, 'Uhh, very well…Private? Yes, fine, lead the way.”

The Ryn was certain he heard the pudgy soldier next to Tash mutter something along the lines of ‘kiss-ass.’ Kordath chose to ignore this, following the slim human through several corridors, before coming to a door.

“We’ll be bunked down in the cargo bay if you need us, sir, they’ve only got four people in the crew here, I think they actually doubled up the First Mate and the pilot so you could have a room.”

“Oh, great, that explains why Brindly was so unpleasant,” muttered the Ryn, palming the button to open the door. He was glad Tash had already started heading back to the cargo hold, so he wouldn’t see the Krath turn pale, all the blood draining from his face. Obviously the crew didn’t spend much time in their quarters, the compartment had room for the narrow bunk and that was about it, but the view port spanned the entire outer wall, showing the vast emptiness of space. Fighting off the urge to toss up breakfast, Kordath jabbed at the entry button again, closing the door.

He leaned against the bulkhead, shaking slightly as he took a few deep breathes, and felt the ship shudder gently as the hyperdrive kicked in.


Several hours passed in hyperspace, with Kordath wandering the ship and attempting to stay clear of viewports to pass the time. Occasionally he’d run across a pair of troopers or Chief Raylen working on some nondescript piece of equipment. If asked, the Engineer would give an answer that suggested the machine he was maintaining was both ‘incredibly important to keeping the ship flying’ and yet ‘didn’t use to matter, but it’s an old ship, ya know?’

Kordath realized in his unofficial inspection of the ship, that the Womprat was a certifiable deathtrap. Some of the corridors that ran the length of the ship ended in randomly welded hull plating, that if touched would feel cold. The sound of the ships heaters were laborious, as if half the ship wasn’t properly insulated to the vacuum of space, and it likely wasn’t. Worrying what would happen if something randomly failed on the vessel threatened to drive the Ryn to an anxiety attack, so he simply decided to trust in Chief Raylen’s experience with the vessel, and tried to enjoy himself.

This proved difficult, as every time he turned a corner he seemed to run into the Iridonian, Brindly, who would glare daggers at him. Even after trying to explain that he would be bunking down with the troopers in the cargo bay, if he bothered sleeping on this trip at all, and that he wouldn’t require the use of the quarters, she was cold to him. Giving up on making peace with the First Mate, he eventually made his way to the aft of the ship, and ran into some familiar faces.

“You sure the Sarge told us to come down here, Rens? I don’t understand why he’d send us to inspect the engine room.”

“Huh? Sure, yeah, Sarge totally told us to come down here and make sure nothing went wrong. Why would I lie about something like that?” responded the portly trooper, trying unconvincingly to sound innocent.

Tash glared at him, “Oh you little bastard, this is as far from the rest of the squad as we could get, isn’t it? You figure Sarge won’t track you down and make you do something like work! And you dragged me along, again, this is why were still Privates, you realize, right?”

“Hah, you really want to get promoted, Tash? What’s happened to every person in our squad that’s been promoted, huh? The Corporals end up on point for scouting, they get killed, the higher class Privates end up being sentries, they get killed first. You and me, we never get promoted, yet we keep surviving, we’re practically Sarge’s lucky charms at this point.”

Kordath decided to interrupt at this point, making his presence in the engine room known, “Just how often has your squad been nearly wiped out, Private?”

Tash jumped to attention, panic clear on his face for not spotting a superior before he was spotted, Rens simply looked annoyed that something like an Officer had found him, “Everytime we’ve hit the ground since the One Sith business started, my Lord, some Sith or Obelisk gets us into the thick of it. We’ve always done our job, we just always take heavy casualties. Brass always managed to get our teammates killed off, somehow.”

“Rens! You can’t talk like that to him! Sorry sir, but he’s right, you guys tend to get us incinerated, blasted, blown up, and at one point I think half the squad got flash frozen and shattered,” added Tash.

“Ah, the Popsicle Fiasco, that was one of the more memorable ones, nobody expected an IED using liquid nitrogen,” said Rens, shaking his head glumly.

Kordath stared at the two of them for a moment, before simply giving his own a head a shake and walking away.

As he left, he heard Rens say to Tash, “And that’s how we keep surviving, Tash, when the Lord and their kind just don’t know what to do with you, they just leave you alone after a while.”

The Krath made his way forward, intent on finding his way back to the cargo bay where Mickles and the rest of the men had bunked up. Moments later he was pulling himself off the deck, ears ringing from a blast that had come from above him, and the sounds of ship emergency alarms going off.

“The hells was that?” he muttered, watching a glow panel above him spark a few times and go out, plunging much of the corridor into darkness. Running now, the Ryn nearly collided with Raylen as the chubby engineer came careening around a corner.

“Oh, my Lord, sorry, have to get to the engine room, seems like something went boom on us!” shouted the Chief, running by.

Kordath groaned, turning to follow the Twi’lek, wondering if leaving the two troopers in the engine room was a bad idea.

“Don’t know what broke yet,” stated Raylen, replying to the huffed inquires of the panting Ryn, who was having trouble keeping up with the surprisingly quick engineer, “but whatever it was pulled us out of hyperspace. We’re sitting a few systems out from Yridia yet, and the whole damn ship is just sitting out in the open. No hull breaches yet, from the reports coming down from the bridge, which is good.”

“You…sound…like…that’s unexpected,” said the Ryn, feeling a cramp coming on, he really needed to start doing more exercises rather than drinking and staying in the archives at all hours.

Raylen laughed, keeping a steady pace as the engine compartment’s door came into view, “When a ship as patched up as the Womprat suddenly comes to a full stop, mate, you sort of expect it to tear in half on ya. We were lucky this time, looks like all the repairs held. Gotta love this old bird, else it’ll just toss you out into the void, promise ya that.”

The Twi’lek and Ryn came through the door, stopping as they found the two troopers sitting back to back in the middle of the compartment, weapons at the ready and eyes darting back and forth. Rens nearly shot at them before he collected his wits.

“We didn’t touch anything. Swear it on my mother, we didn’t touch a blasted thing!” shouted the trooper.

“People normally blame this sort of thing on you, trooper?” asked the Ryn, bent over and holding his knees, trying to get his breath back.

“It’s not fair, sir,” said Tash, sounding hurt, “Whenever we have down time on a mission, just minding our own business, something bad happens, it’s never our fault, but it always happens when we’re around! It’s like we’re cursed or something, but we really didn’t touch anything.”

Raylen turned to glare at the two men, “You two are awfully defensive for not having anything to do with this, you sure you didn’t bump something?”

“Look, we get blamed often enough for crap we did do, we’re not taking the fall for something else, alright?” stated Rens, face set in grim determination.

“Fine fine,” spoke the Chief, waving the two off as he started inspecting panels, “well that’s damned odd.”

Kordath felt a sinking sensation, his senses registering incoming danger to the point it almost made his head hurt, and exchanged a look with the two troopers. It was amazing, even those not Force sensitive could tell when trouble was coming on when they’d survived as many muck ups as these two had. They had the same look as the Ryn, as if they were bracing for impact, already checking the power packs on their rifles.

“Should we even ask, Chief?” questioned the Priest.

“Hyperdrive is fine, everything is working how it should, but it isn’t talking to the bridge. Thing’s set up to cut off if the nav computer goes off line,” he turned while saying, meeting three blank stares, “That means, if the bit that tells the ship where it’s going quits talking to the bit that hurtles us through space, it shuts off so we don’t wind up in a star. Or a planet, or a black hole, you get it?”

They nodded, and Kordath had a distinct feeling he knew what was coming next.

“I gotta figure out where the link got severed so I can link them back up, otherwise were stuck with sublight, and that means weeks before we reach a planet. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal, but with all the extra people on board,” he glanced meaningfully at the troopers, “we’ll run out of rations well before then.”

Kordath held up a hand, “There was a blast somewhere above me shortly before I ran into you, Chief, so I should think that narrows down the search.”

“Aye, it does, system failures aren’t unusual on the Womprat, she’s a tough old bird, been going since the Clone Wars, but this is a new one. I’d bet something on the upper hull failed, so I’ll have to go for a walk outside to track it down.”

The Ryn felt a shiver run through him, trying not to picture the void all around him, “Right, better you then me, Chief, anything we can do?”

“Whoa, did he just volunteer us for work?” muttered Rens, leaning towards Tash.

“Shut up, he’ll hear you,” whispered back Tash.

Raylen shook his head, “Not much use for me right now, but thank ya, you lads might want to all get back to the forward cargo bay and just…well frankly stay out of the way and let the crew handle this.”

“Good plan, I like this plan,” stated Rens, nodding with surprising vigor.

“Right, fine, we’ll get out of the way Chief, just…comm us if anything comes up,” said the Ryn, staring off into the middle distance a bit.

“You thinking sabotage, my Lord?” inquired the engineer.

Kordath shrugged, “I feel…something, a sense of impending danger, I’m rarely wrong about these things, and this seems a bit to neat. The blast was localized, and now were stuck with sublight drive, if we don’t have company soon, I’ll eat my tail.”

Tash and Rens gave one another a meaningful look, the kind two soldiers who’ve seen some crap do when they can feel the storm coming. The two men stayed silent as they lead Kordath back to the prow, meeting back up with the rest of the trooper squad.

The Priest leaned against a bulkhead, watching as the two troopers updated Mickles, the Sergeant nodded a few times. After the men were done talking, the Sergeant turned and started barking orders, getting the soldiers on their feet. Within moments, Tash, Rens, and a quartet of newbies left the bay, leaving the Sergeant, Kordath, and a half dozen troopers behind.

“Sent them off to patrol, keeps 'em busy and they might learn something from the vets,” stated the Sergeant, walking up to the Ryn.

“Those two have lived through a lot, I gather,” said the Krath.

Mickles nodded, a grim look on his face, “Damned lucky, those two, Tash might be a kiss ass, and Rens might be lazy, but when the poodoo hit’s the fan, no finer bastards to have around.”

Kordath nodded, he’d picked up an odd sense of competency from the two troopers despite their eccentric behavior, “They mentioned your squad tends to get thrown into the thick of things. Sounds like Nicht Ka wasn’t the first time your boys nearly got wiped.”

The Sergeant stood silent for a moment, obviously weighing something in his mind before speaking, “Truth be sir, many of your fellows think that just because they got the bloody Force with 'em, they make good generals. Experience makes you good, training makes you good, following bloody feelings that come from somewhere else doesn’t. Lotta good soldiers I’ve had that bit it because some flaming Sith thought he ‘felt’ that advancing on an objective was a good idea before proper back up had been brought in. Suddenly you’re pinned down by an armored unit, your boys only got blaster rifles and a handful of grenades between 'em, and communications are jammed.”

Staying silent, Kordath stood and waited for the Sergeant to collect his thoughts, “Nicht Ka was bad, my Lord, some Obby general or another wanted us to take a One Sith communication post, it was lightly defended really, just a few squads of mercs, nothing my lads couldn’t handle with a little air support and the other squad we had there backing us up. We moved in, swept the perimeter defenses out of the way quick enough, almost to easy really.”

“And then?” asked the Ryn, having a feeling that the story was going to take a bad turn.

“And then,” sighed Mickles, suddenly looking much older, “and then things started bloody exploding, they’d left booby traps, not unexpected but still it affects morale when you’re mate suddenly turns into a pink bloody mist. Half of the support squad got wiped out by an exploding fuel tank, they were too fresh, that’s why they were backing us up, supposed to be learning from my lads. Seems somebody who’d been in the intel chain up to the general forgot to mention a minor Sith fighter base wasn’t too far off as well.”

Kordath grimaced, he’d seen the aftermath of star fighters used for strafing runs on infantry back on Slovent, he’d left a lot of his lunch in the water of that ocean world after that.

“Turns out the communication post had air defenses nobody knew about, started picking the fighters of ours out the air, as One Sith fighters came in and started raining hell on us. We took the post, and we were pinned for a few days before the rest of the offensive came through and consolidated the front line around us. By then it was just myself, Rens, and Tash, bloody General gave us all medals and pulled us off to be re-manned. Fight was over by then, told us we’d won.”

“Damn, Mickles, just…damn. Ever had an incompetent Krath commander, before this trip, anyways?”

Mickles barked a laugh, unexpected as the question was it pulled the man out of his reverie for a moment, “Can’t call you that yet, sir, Obelisk tend to be objective oriented, bloody Sith always seem to be after glory. Not had a Krath lead us, they tend to organize things from the back, what I’ve seen, my boys always get put on the very front. Damned problematic, having a reputation for getting the job done.”

The Sergeant glanced at the Ryn, who had that distracted look of somebody waiting for something bad to happen, “Why, you expecting trouble, my Lord?”

“Can’t shake the feeling, the longer we just sit here, that something is coming for us.” replied the Ryn, sounding a bit distant.

Almost as if on cue, a loud sound rang out through the cargo bay, coming from the far end.

“Oh bloody hell, what was that?” muttered the Krath, clambering atop a crate to get a better view. He scrambled back down even quicker as a blaster bolt went over his head.

“Battle positions, right now!” roared Mickles, directing his troopers towards a low stack of crates they’d put along the camp perimeter. He turned to the Priest, who was shaking a bit and taking a few deeps breaths, fumbling for the lightsaber hilt on his belt, “What was that, sir, you got any orders for us?”

“Flarking droids, Mickles, those blasted battle droids we brought on board at Estle, they’re online!” shouted the Ryn, anger creeping into his voice, overcoming the surprise and fear of the surprise shot.

“The old droids are active? How is that even possible, nobody been over there, promise ya that sir, told the lads to stay clear, not seen any ship crew down here since the Chief earlier.”

“If I were to guess, I’d say they were on a timer, probably to go online when the ship got knocked out of hyperspace. This was planned, Sergeant, we’ve got sabotage and hostiles, this is not a coincidence.” growled the Ryn, getting his saber loose and activated, the blue blade thrumming to life.

Blaster fire came blazing out of the darkness of the cargo bay, red flashes of light leaving scorch marks on the bulkheads and crates. The soldiers were huddled up behind what cover they had, at least one or two had already soiled themselves and one was shaking and muttering to himself. Kordath shook his head, realizing he himself likely had more combat experience than the six men put together. That didn’t bode well, in his mind, as he watched Mickles start yelling at the men to get their tails in gear and start shooting.

It started sporadically, but eventually he got the half dozen newbie troopers to start firing towards the source of incoming shots. The droids didn’t appear to be in a hurry to close with them, Kordath wasn’t sure if that was because they were old and possibly in poor maintenance, or they had decided the troopers weren’t going anywhere. Most likely the latter, he decided, watching the soldiers shoot wildly into the dark, illuminating portions of the bay and exposing the droids briefly.

“Suggestions, Sergeant?” shouted the Ryn over the sound of the blasters.

Mickles looked at him in brief shock, “Honestly not used to hearing you lot ask for ideas, my Lord.”

Kordath ducked as a bolt hit the container behind him, showering sparks, “Mickles, I’m a bloody scholar, a researcher, you know what I’ve learned from reading military tactics and histories? Officers look at the big picture, the big picture here is we’re dead in space, we’ve got hostiles on board, and likely we’re going to have a visitor in space soon if the trend keeps on. The small picture is this fight, small pictures belong to Sergeants, especially Sergeants with a reputation for getting the bloody job done, so, suggestions?”

The Sergeant grinned at him, despite the cacophony of fire around them, the man was cool and calm, “Call Tash and his boys back, they can flank the clankers and wipe ‘em out before they know what’s going on, but we’ll have to hold the droids’ attention while they get in position.”

Kordath took a deep breath, and nodded, “Make the call, Sergeant, let me know when we need to distract them, hmm?”

Mickles cocked an eyebrow at him, before getting on his comlink to the other half of his team. A soldier fell, screaming in pain from a blaster bolt burned through the armor covering his chest. Two of his fellows pulled him further under cover, and went back to firing desperately, the squad’s morale was close to breaking. Kordath stepped up to the line, saber held up and started batting back shots, this seemed to bolster the resolve of the men a bit, seeing the Krath put himself in the line of fire. Sweat was pouring down his back, focusing solely on defense and not accidentally clipping a soldier with his blade.

Kordath felt a tap on his shoulder, ducking down behind the crates as Mickles gestured towards one of the entries to the cargo bay, “Thirty seconds, my Lord, and they’ll be through the door, another ten for position probably. What’d you have in mind to keep the droids’ attention?”

“Just tell them to be quick, Sergeant,” replied the Krath, his voice taking on a dull tone of repressed fear.

“Sir?” asked Mickles, staring at the Ryn, whose whole body relaxed, eyes slitted before the Krath stood and hopped the crates.

Blade moving by feel, Kordath was a center of calm, unthinking, letting the Force guide him as the the saber deflected bolt after bolt. Slowly but surely, the Ryn moved forward, leaving the safety of the barricade. More fire was directed his way, as the droids realized a target was exposed, and acquired him for firing solutions. Parrying bolts back the way they came, several droids fell, the rest pushing forward to close and encircle the Krath. Seconds counted by in the back of the Priest’s mind, and a budding sense of confidence began to grow.

Kordath sensed it moments before it came, the bolt slamming into his left shoulder and making his body spin to the ground with an anguished cry. Glancing over he saw the troopers coming through the door, if they were spotted before getting into position this would all be futile. Everybody would die. Calmness abandoned, the Krath stood up, blade in front of him, and screamed in challenge at the battle droids. Just a few more seconds, thought the Ryn, just a few more moments and he could go lay down.

Blaster fire scythed out from the side, the reinforcing team of troopers taking careful aim and taking down many droids in the first volley. Kordath fell to the ground, getting out of the field of fire as best he could as Mickles lead the rest of his troopers over the crates to get a better field of fire on the droids. Within moments it was over, the droids a sparking mess on the deck, the soldiers policing them for weapons and occasionally blasting one in the head to make sure they were down.

One of the troopers squatted next to the Krath, and started checking the blaster wound, while Mickles began to give orders.

“Get the debris off to the side, pile 'em up out of the way, find something to secure it all! Tash! Go check the pod they came in, Rens go with him, if you find anything that looks like a bloody explosive don’t touch it! Command will want to know where the hells these things came from,” he bellowed, putting his men in order.

“Damned brave, bit stupid,” said the Sergeant, turning to the Ryn with a grin.

“You have a better idea for holding their attention, Sergeant?” asked the Krath, grunting as the trooper bandaged him.

“Honestly, no, just didn’t expect you to do that I suppose, we’ve got two wounded, counting you my Lord, think we came out of that alright,” stated Mickles.

Kordath shook his head, and pointed towards the speaker set in the cargo bay ceiling, “Wait for it.”

Mickles gave him a bemused look, “Wait for what, sir?”

The intercom crackled to life, “This is First Mate Brindly speaking, I take it from the sounds down there that whatever it was is over. Chief Raylen has found the source of the damage and is working to repair it as we speak. Long range sensors have shown a vessel entering system, a Carrack cruiser from it’s profile, and we doubt it’s friendly. Lord Bleu, please make your way up to the bridge.”

“There are no coincidences, Mickles, I promise you that,” sighed Kordath, waving off the medic and climbing to his feet. With a heavy sigh, the Krath drew on the Force, numbing the pain in his shoulder and headed towards the bridge.

Before reaching the turbolift that would take him up, the Priest was met by Raylen, the Chief still wearing a spacesuit, minus the helmet, “Find the problem, Chief?”

“Aye, and something else, funny thing about our dear old Womprat, the hull’s got so many irregularities we’ve gotta run the shields to break atmo, else the old girl might break up.”

Kordath stopped in mid step, staring at the engineer, “That’s dangerous, isn’t it? I mean you could burn out the shield generators doing that I’d think?”

“We’ve got a pair of back ups, but really it’s the only way we can get in and out of atmosphere’s without the poor girl coming to pieces. Also happens to mean that the poor bastard that sabotaged the ship and got himself stuck rode all the way into space with us,” said the engineer, getting quiet near the end.

“You…found a body out there? That seems incredibly unlikely, Raylen.”

The Twi’lek nodded as they reached the turbolift, “Aye, found him with his pant leg caught in a crack in the hull, surprised the blast didn’t shake him free, not much left of him, died of exposure after we broke atmosphere. Shield kept him from burning up, must have been one hell of a last ride though, doubt we’ll get anything off the body to tell us who he was though.”

“That would be far to easy, besides the new arrivals will likely tell us who did this. Are we going to be able to get out of here, Chief?” asked the Krath as the lift took them up.

The doors opened on to the small bridge, the Captain, Brindly, and the pilot were already there, the addition of Kordath and Raylen made it a bit crowded, much to the First Mate’s annoyance.

“Good question, how we looking boss, did I get the fix done in time?”

Brindly glanced at the Captain, a tall, slim Duros, who had a dour look on his face, though in Kordath’s experience all Duros looked as if someone had just kicked their puppy. The Captain nodded, and held up two fingers.

“Two minutes for the nav computer to finish calculations, then we can leave. The ship closing doesn’t appear to have anyway of stopping us, so let’s hope they want to gloat first,” spoke the Iridonian. She glanced over at the Krath and arched an eyebrow, “Got shot did we?”

“Told you when I got on board, I’d help if anything happened,” replied the Priest, feeling suddenly defensive again in the First Mate’s presence, “I take it they’re on intercept?”

Brindly nodded, turning to look back out the front of the cockpit, reaching over and to gently pat the pilot on the head in an affectionate manner.

“Maybe they’re nice?” spoke the pilot, hopefully.

“That’ll be the day,” muttered the Captain.

A light flashed several times on the pilot’s console, “Aaand they’re hailing us, that’s good, right?”

“Put them through,” said the Captain, quietly.

The comm buzzed and came to life, “Gozanti Cruiser…Soaked…Womprat? The hells kind of name is that?”

“That’s what I said,” mumbled Bleu, quieting after catching a glare from Brindly.

“Womprat, you are ordered to lower your shield, power down weapons and engines, and prepare to be boarded!” said the authoritative voice.

The Duros nodded to the pilot, a Bothan male of maybe twenty years, who cleared his throat and responded, “Ummm, sorry, have we been introduced?”

“…excuse me? Womprat confirm that you are powering down.”

“Sorry, unknown vessel, still didn’t catch a name there, we don’t put out for just anybody, please respond with you’re ship’s registered name and source of authority for this demand, over,” the Bothan was grinning widely, obviously trying not to crack up over the comm.

Kordath stared at the back of the pilots head in horror, while Raylen shook gently with repressed laughter next to him. Even Brindly was grinning, much to his surprise.

Womprat, you have thirty seconds to comply, or we will open fire on you, heave-to immediately!” the voice over the comm came across with even more frustration.

The Captain had an odd grin on his face, glancing down at the chrono next to the scrolling nav computer count down, and waved at the pilot to keep going.

“Umm, I’m sorry, could I speak to your manager by chance? My Captain is telling me I’m not allowed to heave-to for subordinates.”

There was a long pause from the speaker, before a grating voice came over it, “This is Lord Synchos of the One Sith, little Arconan ship, I know who you are, power down and your deaths will be quick. Continue to play games with me, and I shall destroy your craft. My purpose is to stop your delivery, not obtain the goods, do not test me.”

“Sooo our choices here are death, or death? Do we have another option?” asked the pilot watching the chrono start counting down from ten, reaching for the hyperdrive controls.

“Another choice? Slow torture, perhaps, I shall flay your skin, break your bones, and I will not allow you to die until-”

“Sorry, gotta cut you off,” said the pilot, flicking the switch on the communication console, and yanking the hyperdrive activation lever back, “bye bye.”

Space twisted, and the ship took off into the hyperspace, the Captain patted the Bothan on the shoulder and smiled, before nodding to the Krath and sitting back down in his own well worn chair. The Duros pulled a datapad out and seemed to ignore everyone else. Brindly reached over and scratched the Bothan behind his ears, which caused the pilot’s fur to ruffle and his entire posture to straighten up, Kordath coughed and back into the turbolift.

“Just…let me know when we’re landing, alright? So I can lay down ahead of time,” he said, palming the door closed. The last thing he saw was Raylen’s wide grin at his obvious discomfort.

Kordath made it back down to the cargo bay without incident, the troops had cleaned up nicely and the battle droid’s pod had been torn to pieces in search of evidence. Mickles informed him that nothing had been found that seemed dangerous, and the Ryn nodded and found a corner to bunk down in for a while, entering a healing trance for his shoulder as he did.

He was awoken several hours later, when the ship lurched as it began it’s landing on Yridia II, tossing the Ryn up against the bulkhead and then back to the deck, groaning. As the ship finished it’s descent, Mickles and Bleu oversaw the loading droids prepare the climate controlled container for delivery. On the loading elevator coming down, the Ryn and the Sergeant exchanged glances and nodded, ready for whatever was coming next.

In the docking bay was a squad of Tarenti troops, armed and armored, standing behind a small human in a suit. The man swaggered as he walked, and Kordath took a dislike to him almost immediately, when the man opened his mouth he realized why, the Coruscanti underworld was thick on the man’s tongue.

“Ello there then, you must be Bleu, brought me Lord his gift did ya?” the man said, sticking out a small hand to be shaken, Kordath did so reluctantly and wished he could wash it right then.

“The name’s Dachs, I’m a representative for, well, one of the High Lords or Yridia, let’s just go with that, eh?” he said with a wink, walking towards the container and making a show of checking over the seals.

Despite the man’s attitude and bearing, Kordath had to know what he’d almost been killed over, “So, what’s in it?”

“Oh ho, wouldn’t you like to know, but why not, won’t hurt nobody to have a peek,” said the little man with a grin, punching a series of numbers into the control panel. The container hissed as it unsealed and revealed…

“Is that’s a bloody flower?” asked Mickles, incredulously.

Dachs nodded proudly, “Tis a Sukharan Lava Flower it is, only grows on that melting rock world of you Arconan fellows. Me Lord has a soft spot for exotic fauna, ya see, this is one of them trade things between allies, he gets a pretty flower and you’re command folks get information that the Tarentum spy networks pick up, eh?”

Kordath didn’t say a word as he reached out to keep the Sergeant from lunging at the little man, nodding towards the squad of well armed troopers and the gun emplacements in the walls of the docking bay.

“All friends here, Sergeant; just sign the datapad and we’ll be on our way, Dachs,” said the Ryn.

“Oi, that’s Mister Dachs to you mate, I do business on this rock, you’re just a visitor, ain’t ya?”

Kordath felt his tail twitch a few times as he fought down the urge to let Mickles go for the little gangster, before simply smiling and holding out the pad.

Dachs took it, signing with a flourish before handing it back, “Thank you…Mister…Dachs, I don’t take it anything is going back to Selen? No? Good, Mickles, let’s go home.”

“Right you are sir,” growled the Sergeant, glaring at Dachs one last time before the elevator started back up.

“Knew this was going to be a bloody long trip,” muttered the Ryn. Mickles, beside him, simply nodded. It was time to go home, hopefully the trip back would be a bit less eventful.



Grade: Excellent (+3)

Since this fiction is 23 pages long, I’m jumping straight into the grading…

That was still taking some getting used too after all that business on Nitch Ka, the memory of which sent a shiver through the Ryn as he headed for the spaceport.


‘This is going to be a long bleeding trip,’ thought the Ryn, glaring at the deck as the elevator shuddered it’s way up.


“I’m telling you, this is a milk run, Tash, there’s no way we’re going to run into any trouble. Let’s just catch up on bunk time and let the newer recruits deal with stuff,” said one, a human that looked as if he had a slight weight problem.

Human is capitalized in the Star Wars Universe.

Overall, this was both an interesting and entertaining read. It honestly made me picture what you would get if you combined Red Vs. Blue and Monty Python. There were very few errors to speak of, beyond the ones listed above. As I’ve said in previous gradings, your sentence structure could use some work, as you still have a tendency to write run-on sentences that could be separated into different ones.

This was very well done, though not quite good enough as publish-worthy material. You score an Excellent.