This Run On will feature posts made by Farrin Xies, Laren Uscot, and other members of the Shadow Academy. These events are set prior to the upcoming Great Jedi War, and mean to showcase the inner workings of the characters at the heart of the Brotherhood's deeply guarded bastion of knowledge.
The Circle, Aliso System
Two weeks prior...
The chambers Laren occupied aboard the Plagueian asteroid training facility were small and heavily secured, bearing four custom locking systems he had had installed without approval from the Rollmaster. Though Laren had thought them excessive, even for his brutish line of work, he was an individual who knew his actions sometimes crept up on him at the most inopportune times. Even among the stars surrounded by Sith acolytes and enslaved soldiers, he had felt a sense of security hidden among the asteroid belt of the distant star system. Yet when he arrived at his quarters at the end of another training session, he had found his door wide open and a simple datapad lying on the floor.
He quickly picked up the datapad, reading the contents glowing in green letters on its small screen.
Attached to this message are encrypted coordinates. If you can prove your worth and decipher the details, perhaps you’re worth the time, after all.
The datapad bore no markings, no dents or scratches - it was a pristine piece of equipment that had been dropped in his quarters without any sign of forced entry. The individual - or thing, for Laren couldn’t know for sure among these dark side cultists - had likely long since escaped or had been disposed of. Yet there it remained, a cryptic message in the middle of his quarters asking him to make a choice based on nothing but faith and intuition. The Sith never did anything easily, he thought wryly.
“Dock control, this is the Taskmaster,” Laren said after keying in the wall communications panel.
“Dock control here.”
“I need to request flight clearance - and before you ask, no, not for today. I think you’ll have a few days heads up.”
Deep Space, six light years from the Dathomir System
Far from the scorching heat of the Dathomir star, a small starfighter lurked in the endless void, drifting motionless within the deep blackness. Inside the cockpit of the Delta-7B Interceptor was a spry Pantoran just past his prime, his scarred features illuminated by the lights of his console. His eyes were distinctly focused on the controls, searching endlessly for something. It would have been useless to search space for anything but the largest of ships using nothing but his eyes, and it was unlikely someone with the power to command such would meet him in the middle of nowhere.
The past six hours had been excruciatingly long and uneventful, though that had made Laren even more cautious than usual. He had quickly deciphered the contents of the datapad that had been delivered to him a few weeks prior, providing him the coordinates to this specific location. It wasn’t the first time that employment as a mercenary - or more importantly, association with the Dark Brotherhood - had required that he complete some assignment or cryptic request in order to gain an audience. However, he was used to waiting an hour, perhaps two standard hours at most to meet a potential client or partner. But the methods that had likely been used to find him, breach Plagueian security required power and influence only a few could have wielded. He thought distantly that he felt the fingers of Teylas Ramar, his former client, all over this situation. And yet it felt different. This time, it felt bigger.
Suddenly an audible ping emanated from his console. The long range sensors of his starfighter had picked up something, though the target was still distant. All too quickly it happened again, slightly louder than before. Someone’s incoming in hyperspace, Laren thought. The pings continued to increase steadily, increasing in frequency. Eventually the mercenary disabled the audio warnings and established a limited visual on his console, watching as the vessel represented by a pip was tracked through hypersapce toward his location. It was unlikely that his ship’s sensors would provide any real detail until the vessel - or whatever it was - exited hyperspace. For good measure, Laren activated his deflectors and initiated preparations for his weapons systems. He wouldn’t be defenseless if this had all turned out to be an overly elaborate trap to kill him.
When Laren noticed the blip nearly on top of his position, he began scanning his surroundings, swiveling his head back and forth in the cockpit. Perhaps he could see where the vessel had exited hyperspace and gain an advantageous position - though he was the first to recognize he wasn’t an overly talented pilot, something he hoped to improve. However, as he scanned the space around him, he caught sight of a gargantuan starship that sent a cold shiver down his spine. His luck could not have been worse - though the more he thought about it, he had never really had much luck in the first place.
Victory-II Star Destroyer Paladin, Main Bridge
“Has the candidate been brought aboard?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Farrin Xies, Headmaster of the Brotherhood, nodded slightly. A small grin that did not reach his eyes could be seen through his unkempt beard, which he scratched idly with his left hand.
“See to it that the mercenary stays with his ship. He is not to move until I say otherwise.” His voice was deep and rough, but firm. Farrin was not a man who was used to being in a subordinate position, bearing a commanding presence even as he hobbled slightly toward the exit of the bridge.
The Headmaster went over the details in his head as he exited the bridge. Laren Uscot, twenty-nine years old, born on Pantora but taken as a slave. Mercenary, informant, and a man with a penchant for murder without question. He looked down at the detailed dossier in his hands, reading it half-heartedly as the lift began taking him away from the bridge. He had already combed over and memorized the important details, learning everything about the man. Some used blasters or lightsabers as their weapons. Farrin prefered to cultivate assets through subversion and superiority by knowing those whom he desired better than they knew themselves. Uscot wasn’t the first mercenary to attempt this meeting, though with luck he would be the last.
“Lord Bnar” Farrin said, speaking into his commlink. “Prepare to meet our guest in the hangar.”
“Perhaps the last. I sense something…” Farrin trailed off, terminating the commlink.