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

[Vodo, Zasati, C’ree] The Other Woman


Squinting against the bright yellow sunlight it took Vodo’s eyes close to ten seconds to adjust. It had been close to a year now that he’d been living aboard one ship or another, since the destruction of Taldryan’s homeworld at the hands of Cotelin. The Karufr Knight, his luxurious and well-optioned shuttle had played the role of apartment and transport in that time but for all its interior lighting, it lacked a certain intensity that the brilliant yellow star of this system projected. The tropical heat on his skin drew little beads of sweat immediately and Vodo began to feel uncomfortable in his dark robes. He sneered at the view all around him.

The landing pad, a large circular dais large enough to accommodate even the largest of personal space yachts, projected off a considerable cliff overlooking the crystal blue waters of Riszo’s oceans. It was truly a paradise; an entire world dedicated to pleasure seeking relaxation. From this considerable vantage, suspended hundreds of feet from the crashing waters below, Vodo could make out three different island chains and their associated floating communities. Wood and plasteel bungalows, connected by floating bridges, were moored just off-shore from most of the islands giving visitors (and the few residents) a surreal experience.

It was too bright here, too hot, and worst of all—too open. From the edge of this platform alone a marksman with a powerful rifle would have an unrivaled view at any number of targets. It was well then that all weapons were confiscated in orbit by the very thorough and very professional System Forces. Riszo prided itself on its discretion and safety. It was little good to market one’s self as a destination for the rich, the powerful, and the secretive if you weren’t prepared to tow that line. System Security has stopped the Knight in orbit, boarded and searched it, and had taken the few blasters on board. Vodo had been issued a receipt for those items that had been taken so that he could claim them as he left. It had been no trouble to convince the guards to overlook the jeweled scepter on its cradle in his lounge with the wave of his hand.


The small boy at Vodo’s side stood one pace behind him, as he’d been taught, “Yes, Zakai?”

The boy’s inner thoughts were unguarded still and read like a mess of worry and anxiety to Vodo, “You said we were meeting m—Zasati here?”

“Yes”, he didn’t back at the child, his Son, “She’ll be here shortly.”

Vodo was disquieted, he decided, because of the ominous feeling in his gut and the tingle of his lekku. Was Zasati coming here to kill him or was there something else?

The blue gem of Riszo floated beneath the barge serenely. In orbit, high above it, a patrol vessel approached with weapons hot. The Barge slowed to a crawl and allowed the ship to come alongside per the broadcast instructions. Rizso System Security was a small force when compared to even modest battle fleets but its primary purpose was not fighting straight up slug matches with warships but the interdiction of inbound traffic for boarding and search. Contraband was taken from nearly every ship that entered the system and wished to land. Every visitor to Riszo was obscenely wealthy and thought little of rules and regulations. It was RSS’s duty to ensure those rules and regulations were followed. Every vessel, regardless of origin or purpose, was stopped and searched.

The Jolly’s Folly was 100m long and rather squat in appearance. Its IFF transponder showed this was the last planetary destination of its run having stopped at nearby Nar Shadda after making ports calls in a dozen other worlds. Its appearance was expected having been contracted to deliver supplies to the resort world by one of the larger suppliers that kept the world stocked with the luxury goods it’s clients demanded. As the Security picket slid up alongside a docking tether latched onto the Folly and a soft-shelled tunnel extended to allow personnel to go over to the other ship.

Aboard the sounds of docking clamps ceased and the airlock’s terminal blinked green as pressure on the other side was normalized. With a whir the hatch slid open and in paced three armored men and an unarmored woman. They were greeted by the command crew of the Jolly’s Folly consisting of the Captain, her Second, and the helmsman. The four Rizsoans inspected documents and manifests before making their search of the vessel.

They briefly interviewed the dozen other crew members like the cook, the Chief Engineer, and the laborers before leaving with a locked crate of the system tariff and confiscated contraband. Jorek Kastlin watched them leave and watched the airlock seal behind them. Outwardly he showed no concern or elation but inside he was congratulating himself on duping the schmucks. Back in his quarters a crate of his armor and weapons remained hidden and unseen and no one was the wiser. Getting to the target once they were planetside wouldn’t be terribly difficult but he would have to get out of system once more and Kastlin wondered if his employer could be trusted to keep their end in that regard.


C’ree’s Chambers
Godless Matron
Shroud Nebula

Zasati rolled over in the nest of blankets on the floor, yawning as she blinked herself awake. The Hapan reached her hand out to the empty space beside her, noting that it was cool to the touch. Always ahead of me, Zasati thought, grinning. The twisted tattoo on her cheek shifted from white to purple as she stretched. She could feel the gentle humming of the ship beneath her. It was a strange, pleasant comfort of her new home.

The Hapan pushed herself up from the swath of sheets, not bothered by the brisk air against her bare skin. She ascended steps up to the main level of their living space and made her way across to the kitchen to collect a plate of pastries.

Zasati moved through their quarters, obsidian hair tumbling down her bare back and snaking over her chest. The cool metal of the deck was soon replaced by the warmth of soil beneath her toes. She tread gently through their makeshift garden, thankful for the small comfort C’ree had built for them.

The Sephi-hybrid was seated in the center of their oasis retreat, one of Zasati’s shimmershilk shawls spread out before her. C’ree’s lightsaber, Pieces of Home, laid neatly disassembled across the fabric. Suspended in the air around the pink-skinned woman were various tools and parts. Zasati set the plate of pastries down on a nearby table and couldn’t help but smile as the various totems hanging above them began to sway.

“Did you sleep well?” the Hapan asked, kneeling down beside her companion.

“Yes. Home smell like my angel’s cooking. It comforting.”

Zasati smiled and slipped closer, snaking her hand around the Sephi-hybrids waist, “I am glad to hear it.” She watched as C’ree picked a tool from the air and adjusted a piece of her saber. “Are you hungry?”

“No,” C’ree’s said, her concentration unwavering from her work.

The Hapan stifled a laugh, knowing all too well that C’ree was too focused to consider her hunger. “Take a break, hm? For me? I made your favorite,” Zasati whispered, her lips brushing against the woman’s pointed ear. It twitched, the floating tools shaking as Zasati pulled herself closer, grinning deviously.

“Almost done.” The black-fingered witch breathed in deeply. She commanded the pieces of her lightsaber to rise up into the air, systematically sliding back together like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. Zasati rested her chin on C’ree’s shoulder, watching the ritual quietly, yet never ceasing in her playful distractions.

“Your shift begins soon, you know."

“I never late,” C’ree said, a hint of pride laced through her words as the saber’s assembly was completed. She spared a sidelong glance at Zasati. “Why you awake? You no sleep well?”

Zasati sank back, taking a moment to consider her words, “I…have to go away for a few days.” She ran her hand over her stomach, feeling the dozens of rough scars that marred the skin there. The Hapan caught herself falling into her old nervous habits and smiled, “Just a few days. Really.”

Violet eyes widened as C’ree quickly wrapped up her tools before turning to face Zasati. “Go? Go where? What happen? I come with, I tell Morgan.” She started to stand up, clearly beginning to run through the list of tasks she would need to take care of.

Zasati’s metallic hand curled around C’ree’s blackened fingers, the woman pulling the Sephi-hybrid back to the floor. “I am going to work at the Blue Monk for the weekend. And I am going to have a wild evening of dancing and love making with strangers to earn credits so we can buy a boat,” she jested, poking her tongue out as her tattoo shifted to a bright green.

C’ree stared blankly for a moment. “What.” She pointed towards the closet where their safe was stowed. “We have credits. What…I no understand."

“Just a little joke, my love,” the black-haired Hapan leaned forward, quickly planting a kiss on her lover’s cheek. She smiled and patted C’ree’s hand, “It is only a meeting. Everything will be fine. I promise.”

“I come with.”

“I…am afraid not this time, dear,” Zasati shook her head.

“Why? You never leave alone before,” C’ree’s dark painted lips pulled into a tight frown.

Zasati sighed, nervously running her hand of flesh over her cybernetic one. “I promised I would come alone. I cannot go back on my word.” She looked down, smiling at the sight of C’ree’s mark on her right wrist.

“You make promise? Why you promise where I no come too?”

“It was not an option,” Zasati’s stern motherly tone slipped through unintentionally. “You know I would choose to have you with me always if I could.”

C’ree narrowed her eyes as she considered the weight of Zasati’s words. The witch sighed and ran her blackened fingers through her hair, “I trust you.”

Zasati leaned over, lifting a pastry from the nearby plate, her tattoo suddenly shifting to purple. “I know, Love.” She offered the danish to C’ree. “Do you know where I stowed my Nabooian dresses?”

With a mouthful of pastry, the Sephi-hybrid pointed towards the closet on the far side of the chamber, mumbling something unintelligible while taking another bite of her breakfast. She watched as Zasati sauntered away, the woman’s scarred ivory skin almost luminescent in the dim lights of the room. Soon, the Hapan was flicking through the back of the closet, taking a few of her nicer dresses and folding them neatly into a small bag. Zasati held a light, flowing dress up to herself and tilted her head, swishing the fabric. She seemed to consider it for a moment before nodding and slipped into the gown.

Why she taking fancy cloth? She no say everything, Carrie. What she doing? Where she going? C’ree’s dark alter whispered in the back of her mind. The pink-skinned woman shrugged away the voice and finished eating.

After dressing, Zasati unclipped her lightsaber from the belt that hung over her vanity chair and examined it. The planet she had agreed to meet Vodo and Zakai on was known for its strict weapons policies and she preferred to avoid showing up to her meetings without sufficient protection. But smuggling any weapon onto such a planet while wearing a dress was no easy task. Zasati smiled and turned the saber over.

It was simple and elegant, designed to fit comfortably in her small hand. The hilt, slightly curved, was made from a black metal that shimmered like oil on water. The pommel was crowned with a polished blue stone from Hapes. She took her seat at the vanity and double checked the saber’s custom safety switch, satisfied that it would remain inactive.

She leaned forward and pushed her long, dark hair behind her shoulders, smoothing it down. Then, with the assistance of the Force, the Hapan skillfully rolled her thick hair around the hilt until it was nestled inside a bun at the nape of her neck. The pommel stone was all that remained exposed, appearing to be nothing more than a decorative hairpiece. Zasati pinned up the chignon, checking to ensure her lightsaber was well disguised.

“That shall simply have to do,” she muttered, quickly swiping a dark rouge across her lips. “I had better get going. Ipsa despises waiting on–” Zasati yelped, surprised by the sudden embrace of her companion. She melted into C’ree, holding her tightly for several heartbeats. “Only a few days,” the Hapan whispered to herself. Only a few.

A while later, Zasati slipped from their quarters, completely disheveled and grinning widely. She shifted the weight of her bag before adjusting her dress and fixing her smudged lipstick. Ipsa is going to kill me, she sighed, wistfully, as she made her way down the winding corridors of the The Ball to the nearest hangar bay.

Meanwhile, C’ree paced across their quarters, flexing her hands as she ran her tongue over the ridge of her teeth.

You no leave her, Carrie. You keep Zasati. Where she going? You need to go. You follow her. You protect our angel!

“I-I protect my angel. I protect her, I follow her. I-I will.”

The Ipswich
RSS Checkpoint

It had been months since she last saw Vodo or her son and equally as long since she’d been apart from C’ree. Zasati sighed, the thought of separation from her constant companion made her heart ache. Though, admittedly, she could not shake the feeling that the other woman was still with her. Perhaps that was one of the many side effects of love…or insanity.

Zasati willed her mind to be silent. She shifted in the plush seat, having been unable to concentrate for the entire flight. Dark thoughts of Vodo and his ‘teachings’ crept through her mind. They seeped through her like poison, twisting black currents that threatened to strangle her. Zasati nervously tapped her nails against the pearlescent casing of her cybernetic hand. What if Vodo had managed to turn her son against her? There would be no C’ree or Morgan or Rhylance to help her this time. The Hapan woman gritted her teeth and began planning. If nothing else, she was prepared for every eventuality. Vodo was unpredictable and volatile. Would Zakai be as such now too?

Her thoughts dissipated as a group of Riszo’s System Security guards shuffled through the lounge area of the shuttle. Zasati smiled coyly at the four armored guardsmen and nodded to the woman who accompanied them. The woman scowled and made a note on her datapad before waving her men off.

They searched the area, filling two crates with contraband. Zasati remained seated and finished the last sip of her drink before pulling a small metal case from between her breasts. One of the guards watched her from across the way, perplexed by the obsidian haired beauty’s antics. He smiled sheepishly and approached her with a swagger to his step.

“I need to do a pat down, ma’am. Standard procedure, of course,” he grinned.

She did not offer her gaze to the guard. Instead, she flicked open the metal case and drew a thin cigara to her dark painted lips. Zasati sighed dramatically when she realized there were no matches in her case. She lazily pulled the cigara away from her lips and tilted her head back to give the man a pleading look.

“Do you have a light, darling?” she purred, rolling her shoulder back to give him a better view of her assets. “I seem to have forgotten my own.” The guard blinked, dazed, before he snapped to and rummaged around the pouch on his belt, producing a small lighter. Zasati leaned closer to him, allowing him to shakily light her cigara. She smiled and exhaled a twisting ribbon of white smoke in his face. “Thank you, dear,” the Hapan shifted in her seat, causing the slit of her dress to expose the entire length of her leg. Toying with men without ever having to summon the Force had become all too simple. She almost lamented at the ease of it.

“Roe!” the woman holding the datapad marched over, irritation bubbling over with every step. “Have you secured the cargo bay? Ugh,” she rolled her eyes. “Roe. You’ll stay behind and assist with the delivery. We’ll see you back up top when you’re ready to do your actual job.”

“Uh-no…sir. Sorry sir,” the guard spared one last glance at the captivating Hapan woman and scurried off to finish his job.

The woman with the datapad turned to Zasati, jutting out her chin and trying to stand taller to give herself an air of authority. “Ma’am, I respectfully ask that you not distract my men for the duration of their search.”

“Certainly,” Zasati frowned, unimpressed by the other woman’s display. She exhaled another swirl of smoke. How silly, she mused sarcastically to herself, not a single Force user amongst you. I feel terribly secure.

Zasati stepped from the shadows of the shuttle into the sunlight. Thankful for her Hapan blood, the bright daylight hardly bothered her. Instead, she welcomed its warmth on her skin, the salty breeze reminding her of life on Gallinore. She looked out at the glassy ocean, making quick mental notes about the area. Zasati walked to the edge of the landing pad and slipped off her shoes. She stepped into the lush grass and let herself smile.

“Ms. Tryezsh?” a small voice came from behind her. Zasati turned slowly, her blue dress billowing in the sea breeze. She sized up the bellhop waiting with her bag in one hand. “Would you like your things taken to your room or…” the bellhop shifted awkwardly.

“My room,” Zasati began, stepping back into her shoes, “and I would prefer to be called ‘Lady Tryezsh’ in the future, thank you.” The bellhop bowed slightly and extended his hand, expecting a tip. She smirked and pushed the smoldering butt of her cigara into his palm, relishing his wince of pain.

A while later, after stopping by the bar for a quick drink, Zasati made her way to the sandy alcove where her son and Vodo were waiting in the shade. The Warlord was a hard man to miss as seven-foot tall cyborg monsters often were. She smoothed a hand over her hair, ensuring her lightsaber was still tightly secured inside of her bun.

“You’re late… as usual,” Vodo’s voice boomed against the rocks, his face emotionless.

Zasati huffed, shrugging away his words, “Pleasure to see you as well, Vodo.” She stopped a few steps away from the two, turning her attention away from her former lover and to their son. “My, look at you!” Zasati beamed. “You have grown so much. I suppose I cannot call you my little bird any longer,” she reached out to her child, expecting an immediate embrace.

“Hello, m-Zasati,” the small boy murmured, never lifting his blue eyes to meet his mother’s. He remained still, two paces behind his father.

The Hapan woman’s expression instantly soured as she dropped her outstretched hand. Zasati turned her attention to her former Master, willing herself to remain calm. She swore Vodo nearly smirked. “Zakai, go and play, darling,” she waved her son away, never taking her lapis gaze from the man that stood before her. Vodo began to protest, but stopped short as Zasati’s hand snapped against his chest. “Hush,” her brows knitted tightly together, eyes flashing crimson as her tattoo burned brilliant blue. After a moment of consideration, Zakai slipped away towards the water, leaving his parents alone.

“I brought our son into this world and he will call me Mother. That is not up for discussion.” When the Twi’lek did not respond, Zasati continued. "I did not come here to kill you, Vodo,” she smirked, a spark of blue flickering between her thumb and forefinger. “Though…women are often fickle creatures.” She ran the blade of her fingertip down his arm, letting a small electric jolt slip across his swallow skin. She moved closer to him, until they were a mere handbreadth apart and he could smell the perfume in her hair. “Test me once more…” Zasati reached up and caressed his cheek, slipping her hand down to grip his chin between her fingers. Slowly, she turned his head so that he was looking out to the crystal blue ocean, watched their son run alongside the water. “I will make you wish you had killed me months ago.”

Vodo sighed heavily and brushed her away, “Already trying to start a battle and we haven’t even had dinner yet.”

Meanwhile, back on The Ipswich, Roe and a female guard shuffled through the cargo bay, mindlessly scanning in every crate for inventory. The Human caught himself daydreaming about the obsidian haired temptress from earlier. He indulged in the thoughts of her dark lips wrapped around her cigara, a blush spreading across his tan skin. They just don’t make ‘em like they use ta, he thought wistfully.

“Hey, Roe,” the Chiss jabbed him in the side. “Stop doddling. I wanna go to lunch.” She stared at him, her glowing crimson eyes narrowing.

“Yeah, yeah,” Roe grumbled, punching in a code on his datascanner. “Sor–” His words dried up as his gaze fell on an armored, pink-skinned woman sitting amidst the containers. Her violet eyes glinted in the dimness, immediately sending a shudder slipping down his spine. “H-hey! You can’t be down here!”



“Wha-what do you mean why? All the passengers have left already. You need to get outta here.” Roe stood straighter to assert his authoritative position.

C’ree tilted her head to the side, studying the man intently. She slowly stood, allowing Pieces of Home and her sapphire blade to clank between her legs and the various cargo containers next to her. Roe’s eyes widened slightly, a hand slowly making it’s way to unclip the holster containing his blaster pistol. C’ree sniffed at the air and looked past the Human, her eyes locking onto the Chiss behind him; she also had a hand upon her blaster pistol, just in case.

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to relinquish your weapons and submit to a search, ma’am,” Roe stated confidently.

Man scared. Man fear you. See it, smell it… taste it, Carrie… the darkness within her whispered, bringing a smile to her lips.

The Sephi-hybrid’s gaze turned back to Roe as she took a single step forward, causing the man to stumbled backwards into one of the crates. “Why you fear?”

The man’s mouth opened as if to respond, but only a choked whimper sounded as he felt a sense of dread hang heavily upon his shoulders. His heart raced and he began to sweat. Something about this woman caused him to think of every horrific moment he had ever lived, every traumatic story he had ever heard. His trembling hand touched the blaster pistol at his side, renewing his confidence as he cleared his throat and spoke once more.

“I s-said, relinquish your weapons and submit to a s-search, ma’am.”

C’ree’s eyes narrowed as she took another step towards him. “You no take my things. No one take my things.”

“What’s going on, Roe? Is she giving you trouble?” the Chiss asked with a raised voice, trying to peer around Roe.

We no have time for this…

The man quickly turned to respond, but was silenced by a taloned, black finger tipped hand as it clamped firmly across his mouth. His eyes widened more than he thought was possible as his head was quickly, violently, jerked to one side. His wide, fearful eyes became dull as his body fell to the deck in a heap. The Chiss woman, yelped at the action and moved to fully draw her pistol. C’ree drew in the darkness around her and willed her legs to push themselves harder than normal, closing the distance between her and the Chiss within the blink of an eye.

Blackened talons gripped blue skin tightly, preventing the weapon from being drawn as the Chiss woman was forcibly pushed against the wall. C’ree pressed her body tight against the other woman’s and buried her face into the Chiss’ jet black hair, taking in a deep sniff. Hot breath trailed down the woman’s face as C’ree studied her. The Sephi-hybrid had not encountered many of the Chiss species, so she was greatly intrigued at how she would react.

“You tremble,” C’ree whispered, just audible enough for the Chiss to hear if she strained to.

“W-what do you want? I can let you go, I-I won’t say what I saw here,” the woman promised while blinking frantically, her eyes darting upwards to one of the various security cameras dotting the ceiling.

No time to play, Carrie. Pretty thing must go. No play without Angel, the alter whispered seductively within C’ree’s mind.

C’ree breathed a sigh of contempt as she accepted her alter’s words. “I want to play, but I no have time, pretty blue girl. I sorry.”

“S-sorry for wha–aahhh!”

The Chiss was suddenly cut off by her shriek of pain as she felt a sharp piercing sensation at the base of her skull. Her body began to convulse as her eyes rolled into their sockets and a final gurgled gasp put an end to her struggle. C’ree removed the stiletto from the woman’s head and licked the red, gooey blood from the blade before sheathing it in the pouch strapped to the back of her waist. She looked at her work and smirked before exiting the hangar bay to locate just where Zasati had wandered off to.

The sun beat down on C’ree as she made her way through the sandy beaches and busy trails. The sights and smells were something she was not accustomed to, but everything was so rich and full of life; she loved it. The odd stares and sneers were of no concern to her, all the vacationers obviously criticizing her choice of armored attire for such a warm environment. The ocean was vast and blue, bringing a smile to the Sephi-hyrbid’s lips.

As she proceeded further into the resort, she slowed as her brow furrowed. She felt what she believed to be Zasati’s presence, but it was different somehow; smaller than she remembered. C’ree quickly darted in the direction of the sensed presence and hid in a mass of bushes and trees to survey the area. She could not locate Zasati anywhere, but instead, at the central location of what she felt, a ruddy brown Twi’lek boy sat crouched down. He held a short stick and continuously poked what seemed to be a dead crab-like creature in the sand.

What is this? Who is that? Why feel like Angel? Why, Carrie? Why?! her alter screamed within her mind, casing the woman to jump with a start.

“I no know. I find out. I find out who boy is,” C’ree whispered to herself and pushed out of the bushes towards the boy.

A shadow cast across the crab carcass, causing the Twi’lek boy to look up from his entertainment. The pink-skinned, armored woman before him stood with arms crossed, studying him intently and without word. Cautiously, he dropped the stick and slowly rose to his feet. The two simply stood before each other, watching. Her violet orbs radiated a fire that he could not decipher, while his lapis jewels shinned brightly in a manner that caused C’ree to doubt.

The boy awkwardly raised a hand in a half-hearted wave. “H-hi.”

Why he feel familiar? Why his eyes like that? Who is this? Find out, Carrie! the alter raged within her, unable to determine why this child shared a presence with Zasati.

Without warning, C’ree leaned forward, their noses barely apart, and took in a deep sniff. “What are you?”

“Uh…I-I’m a Twi’lek? I mean…well…mostly,” he muttered warily.

The woman scoffed and stood straight. “I know this.”

“Oh…well, I, uh…”

C’ree could feel the confusion bleed off the boy. It was thick and his fear began to bubble to the surface as she pushed her aura to envelope the both of them. After a moment of silence, the Sephi-hybrid cleared her throat and dropped to her knees, to soft sand softening the impact. She leaned from one side to the other, studying every bit of the boy that she could see. Without asking, she grabbed one of his arms and waggled it in the air noting him barely offering resistance, though muscles tightened.

“You show sign of fighting. You train? Who train you?”

Something…not right about boy, Carrie… the alter whispered, but C’ree half brushed it off.

“M-my fath– my Master.”

“Hmph…here. You do to me,” C’ree stated confidently, stretching her arm out loosely.

Hesitantly, the Twi’lek started waggling her arm the same way she did with his. At first, it had the same effect, but the moment she tightened her muscles, her arm snapped rigid and there was nothing he could do to move it.

“You need train every day. You need practice. Fight. Become strong.”

The boy let C’ree’s arm go and hung his head, a blush of embarrassment creeping upon his cheeks. “I do train everyday…”

“Then you teacher bad. You need new teacher,” she said with finality.

“I… have to stay with my Master. Mother said so.”

Mother…feeling…eyes…Carrie! Angel?!

C’ree’s eyes widened as all the pieces slipped into place. She knew Zasati’s presence intimately, this boy shared that presence. His eyes held the same perfect jewels as her angel. Lastly, she knew that a Twi’lek was an important part of Zasati’s past. Everything clicked together. Everything suddenly made sense.

“You mother Zasati. My angel. You Vodo child,” C’ree stated in a hushed tone.

“Y-you know my mother? And father? Are you here to meet with them?” His tone shined with excitement.

“You mother have all my heart. She hear my song,” C’ree actually smiled, which quickly soured into a scowl. “You father must pay for what he done.”

Zakai paused for a moment, considering the strange woman’s words. “Yeah… Master gets that a lot,” he kicked at the sand sheepishly. “W-wait,” the boy glanced up, a small smile pulling at the corners of his lips. “Are you and Mother…”

“Are we what?” The Sephi-hyrbid’s brow furrowed inquisitively at the question.

“You know… together-together?” he tapped his pointer fingers together for emphasis.

“I always with my angel. Unless she say no. Like now. I no know why she no want me here.” C’ree stared intently at the Twi’lek boy as more confusion washed over his face. “We share bed.”

The red-brown of Zakai’s skin burned a bright pink as he breathed in sharply, “O-oh.” He weighed the news for a long while. For all of his life, his mother had never once held a flame for someone, and Zakai had never heard anyone speak of her in such a way. “Her and Father… they fight when they’re together a lot. They don’t get along. She probably didn’t want you to see her upset. Did… did Mother not tell you about me? Or are you… one of her clients?” He marked his final word with disdainful accusation.

C’ree’s face turned into a scowl as she leaned forwards once more. “My angel no take clients like that no more. She have my heart. I have her heart. We share song. You be nice to you mother.”

Wide eyed, Zakai nodded and swallowed hard, “Y-yes ma’am!”

“Where is she?”

“Down there,” the boy glanced over his shoulder and pointed at the rocky alcove on the other side of the beach.

Feel her. Feel him with her. Anger. Pain…we must go to her. Protect her, Carrie… the darkness within whispered as violet orbs followed the outstretched finger.

“You stay here–” C’ree began, but faltered; she didn’t know his name yet. With a sheepish frown, the Sephi-hybrid returned her gaze to the boy. “What you called?”

The young Twi’lek smiled. “I’m Zakai. What’s your name?”

Before C’ree could respond, her ears twitched in the direction of Zasati and Vodo. At first, she believed Zasati to be in trouble, but quickly realized that it was neither of them but rather a third presence full of hostility and purpose. “My name C’ree. Follow me, Zakai.”

C’ree placed a fingerless gloved hand on the boy’s shoulder and coaxed him to follow as she made a wide arc around the alcove and pressed her back up against a wall. Zakai, not really knowing what to do, mimicked her movements and mannerisms as they snuck around corners and under windows as stealthily as possible. C’ree smiled inwardly, noting how quickly Zakai was catching on to not being seen and waved a hand for him to cross the walkway and place himself against the opposite wall.

The end of the path opened up to a sitting area full of trees and brush; a private getaway. Two bushes were perfectly spaced to give direct line of sight into the alcove, to which C’ree’s violet orbs noticed Zasati speaking vigorously to a green Twi’lek male. Her eyes locked upon the man, noting his cybernetic legs and a growl rose softly in her throat. He would have to wait, however, for in between the bushes, a heavily armored man laid prone with a high-caliber rifle aiming directly at the quarreling former lovers.

“What is that man doing?” Zakai whispered to C’ree as she moved to join him against the wall.

“I no know…but I no like it.”

Rizso System Security HQ

“Uhhh…sir? SIR!?”

A Chiss male of age rubbed his temples from within a spartan office. He sighed heavily; this was not a day he wanted full of problems and nuisances. The man pushed himself out of his chair when a security officer barreled through his door, causing him to glare.

“Apologies, Captain. But you need to come see what’s on the hanger video feed. We have a situation,” the intruding officer breathed heavily.

The ranking Chiss officer quickly jumped around his desk and followed the man. Using the words “we have a situation” had been beaten into his team. They were to never use them unless there was an emergency that would require a show of force. For the tenured officer to use them…

“Show me what you got, kid,” the captain stated gruffly as he leaned in to watch the fuzzy picture clear into a replay of events that occurred within the past hour.

As the events played out, the captain’s lips pursed and his teeth grit. Two of his officers, personally trained by him to handle any situation, were just murdered with ease. The captain instructed his tenured officer to zoom in on the Chiss woman as she began to blink. It was a simple method of code that he taught his force. The code said two things: “she’s heavily armed” and “lightsaber.”

The captain quickly turned and drew his blaster pistol, checking the charge. “Listen up everybody! We have a situation here. Every on duty officer is to report to the armory for weapon allocation and instruction. Silent alarms only. Let’s move it!”


Jorek adjusted the resolution of his scope without lifting his finger. A click of his teeth, a glance at the HUD icon, and a waggle of his jaw was all that was required. This allowed him to keep the slugthrower perfectly aimed, steady and immobile. He glanced at the readout in his helmet visor that displayed the ambient temperature, the humidity where he was and the estimated humidity at the target’s location. He watched the wind-speed and began making mental calculations about the difference in height, the ballistic arc of the slug’s flight path, and took into account possible movements his prey might make between now and the time he depressed the mechanical trigger on his weapon.

Shooting a slugthrower was a throwback to a far distant time, before the advent of cheap and reliable blaster weapons, and it required a great number of skills and deliberations that most people would never have considered. Most who attempted shooting the antiquated-style weapons often gave up in frustration when the alternative, a long-barreled blaster rifle, was far easier to master. Blasters didn’t care about atmospheric conditions, they didn’t care about the Coriolis effect upon objects in flight, and they didn’t care about gravity grabbing your projectile and pulling it back down to terra firma. With a blaster you lined up the shot, pulled the trigger, and watched a pulse of coherent light (plasma really), arc across the distance between the barrel and your target in a straight line.

Kastlin liked his slugthrower though. It was one thing, among many, that set him apart from his competition. Meticulous in all things Jorek liked the Slugthrower because it held several advantages over blaster rifles that even the most expensive models could not compete with. Broken down into its component parts this weapon resembled so many primitive mechanical pieces. Of the Galaxy’s trillions of sentient inhabitants only a meager percentage had any experience or knowledge of slugthrowers and could identify one, disassembled, at a glance. Fired by ignited combustibles expanding down the length of the barrel, the sound of the weapon’s retort could be muffled with sleeves placed at the end of the barrel considerably masking and reducing the noise generated whereas blasters’ distinct click-squeal made them less than discreet.

A proximity sensor began flashing in the corner of Jorek Kastlin’s head up display. He toggled it and brought up the small sensor’s readout and feed. No larger than a datachip the sensor had been affixed earlier to the trunk of a tree some 20m behind him near where the huddle of nearby bungalows ended. It, and close to a dozen more, were spread across the area to give him fair warning of the approach of the security forces or the unfortunate soul who happened upon him. It was a diminutive woman and a child and they seemed to be aware of his presence already, judging by their secretive postures against the wall that hid them from his direct view but laid them out in full view of the sensor.

Jorek waggled his chin, activating different applications and subroutines while he blinked commands into the HUD zooming the image in. His shoulder’s tensed. The child was not hers judging by the juvenile headtails. Several things clicked into place all at once. The child was a Twi’lek, sharing his target’s red-brown complexion, while the woman was wearing a light saber apparent only through the sensor’s various non-visual sensors. They were with Biask. This mission had just turned upside down.

He lay there on the ground unmoving as through he remained undiscovered, masking his momentary jolt of adrenaline with an iron shunt of will. He locked his mind down until he was a cool, calculating machine again and not a creature of emotion. Kastlin had hunted Jedi and Force Users in the past and he’d learned how to defeat their precognition. To Vodo’s woman back there, his nanny or apprentice whatever, he appeared and felt as though he was unaware of her presence. It came as a complete and utter surprise to her then when she made a move and ended up entangled in a durasteel-filament net fired from a concealed canister planted in preparation for this very eventuality.

C’ree had broken from her cover lithely, moving with a silken grace common only to predatory cats. Zakai waited a moment before moving from his own cover, unsure what was really going on but too curious to remain behind. He was a curious boy and the last months since beginning his training had revealed to him a galaxy full of secrets to be learned. The weird lady, the one that claimed to share Zasati’s bed, moved up and made it only four steps before everything happened. Paces behind her, Zakai was not caught up in the net that suddenly enveloped her. Zakai watched as the man’s body recoiled recoiled slightly in time with the muffled wump of his weapon’s retort as he lay prone. Seemingly in one motion the man rolled over, a blaster pistol in hand, and he fired twice into the net before a jet pack activated on his back sending him sliding away along the ground. A white flash sizzled where the man had been laying moments before leaving only a molten pool of metal and parts, all that remained of his weapon.

Vodo stood erect in the sunlight of the resort world’s sun. Zasati leaned in the shade of the overhanging awning of the bungalow near which they stood. Their bickering hadn’t ceased since Vodo had dismissed his Apprentice to give them some privacy. Zasati’s indiscretions, her nocturnal business, was well known to Vodo and it infuriated him. Zasati hadn’t taken well to criticism from the man she had come to loath, who had all but stolen away her child. This was not the way this visit was supposed to have gone. Vodo was always so in control of his seething anger but she always knew how to let him loose. Of all the trillions of beings in the galaxy it was Zasati that unhinged him.

Vodo’s lekku hadn’t ceased tingling since he’d left the Karufr Knight earlier that day. It was no surprise then that he hadn’t felt the impending danger. It was luck however that he hadn’t been standing where he had been only moments prior when a small crack of a sonic boom passed him by. The caustic sneer on Zasati’s face that had driven Vodo to grab her arms about the shoulder vanished as they both stared at the splintered hole that had appeared in the bungalow’s wooden wall beside them. Had Vodo’s weight not pushed Zasati back a pace that hole, 4 cm across, would have been dead center on his abdomen.

“Sir!” a woman sitting at a com-station looked up from her monitor at Captain Zarc’obati’vaeza, “Blaster fire has been reported on Island 41.2 at the south end.”

The Captain rose from his seat, leaving the steaming mug of caf there. About half of his staff were Chiss professionals, careerists enjoying the opportunity to practice their skills outside of the Ascendency, while the other half were an assortment of beings from dozens of worlds. To them he went by Captain Zarc as their bungled attempts to pronounce his full name proved distasteful.

“Get the Rapid Response teams in place, I’ll be joining them shortly”, Zarc left the command center and trotted to the waiting assault speeder that took off as soon as he was aboard.

A black clad agent handed him a carbine and a helmet which he dawned and patched into the com-net.