This week we have two stories from the Writers Guild.
The First is an all new issue of The Patron Saint of Crime from @impurestcheese
Patron Saint of Crime #15 - The Goddess Burns
The Toyota Hilux came to a stop one block away from the parking garage, the door flying open as the massive form of Ken Zimmerman got out of the passenger seat.
"What are you doing?" His partner in crime put her head out of the door as Zimmerman unloaded an RPO-A launcher from the cargo bay.
"Finishing the job! " Zimmerman answered as he lined up the launcher with the fifth floor"Siwang may be fast but she can't out run a concussive shockwave." He announced as he fired the rocket, the projectile streaking up towards the target. "She'll be dead in seconds."
"As is our partnership." Sedova snarled. "There has been too much collateral damage on this hunt." She added as she slammed the door shut before the pickup sped off.
"Suit yourself, my crusade is just beginning!" Zimmerman roared as the parking structure exploded outwards in a massive fireball. **
"What do you mean not over!" Siwang yelled over the radio as she lead Hector towards the emergency stairs than led to street level.
"You have an incoming..." The rest of Romeo's words were drowned out by the whoosh of the rocket striking the level below. The resulting shockwave from the weapons impact sent the vehicles flying and cracked the concrete, the later sending Siwang and Hector slipping down to the floor below, the pair of them slidding two floors down. As they hit the floor, the fiteball creayed by the detonation spreaf outwards, the heat melting chunks of masonry to form a rain of molten metal and concrete before rapidly cooling to form a tomb of debris.
"Siwang, you still there?" Montague called, "I have to relocate the cops are closing in."Siwang you have to go." Hector ordered as Siwang slipped back in and saw that her allies arm bones had been completely crushed by the shockwave.
"Okay." Siwang coughed as she squirmed out of the adhoc tomb of debris, before looking down at the chemical burns across her legs and arms. Looking back at the tomb she saw Hector shift slightly, only for his arm to crack as he tried to move, the pain resulting in a horrendous scream.
"Not without you."
"Yes without me," Hector groaned," the cops won't be a problem, at least not for me. " Siwang shook her head as the sound of slamming doors echoed over the sound of creaking superstructure. "Dam it Maya, yes I know who you really are, get out of here now!!!" He bellowed as he tried to reach for his pistol.
"I will come back for you." Siwang hissed as she scrambled away from Hector, sliding down the debris she reached the edge of the parking structure and looked down, red and blue lights flashing on the street below. "Romeo I need a way out, can you see one not locked down by the cops?"
"No, not on the surface, but there should be an access point to the steam tunnels that run under the city. Head down to the ground floor and get out of the structure, the police won't move until damage control teams access what is left of the superstructure.
"Got it." Siwang coughed as she limped towards the stairwell, "I'll call you when I get out."
The plain clothes officer stood next to the Toyota Hilux as Danika Sedova kept her hands on the dashboard before asking "Ms. Sedova?"
"Can I help you Officer?" Danika asked as she shuffled the TAR-21 concealed in the foot well.
"Not me." The officer announced as he switched off his radio. "Although I do know a man who is looking for someone to help him."
"Help him with what?" Sedova asked as she shot a glance at the police car.
"A driving gig, with a little added combat." The officer announced. "I believe you are already acquainted with the target, you did fight her only a few minutes ago after all."
"Siwang." Sedova purred. "So I know the target but I don't know who you are? What do I call you?"
"James Grady, now forget my name and forget yours." James told her as she slipped out of the Hilux. "You will have a new name."
"Anything I might know." Sedova asked.
"Valkyrie. " James told her. "Mr Weaver wants you to be his Valkyrie."
The next story comes from @joygirl and yours truly. Presenting SWGOT: Phantom Lords Part 5
A Game of Pawns and Darths
Zavron snarled as the circle of battle droids tightened their perimeter. The blood stained his teeth and still seeped out of his stab wound. He was cornered like a wild animal, a beast at its most desperate. His body told him to fight but his mind had no illusions; Desaar had played him perfectly, and all parties knew it.
If the Sith wasn’t so infuriated he might have actually been impressed. Tricking him into doing all of the camp’s work was notable, but trapping him around droids that couldn’t be brainwashed was damn near brilliant. A stab to the front may not have been as treacherous as Kallum or Brennek had intended but using the wound to gain leverage would suffice nonetheless.
“I must say, seeing a Sith fall to his knees makes me feel so powerful. It’s a shame I couldn’t savor this moment in person, but I like to think that I’m there in spirit.”
Zavron spat at the hologram. “I might be on my knees Desaar but when I’m done with you, know that your husk will rot below dirt.”
“He still has a fresh mouth,” Kallum noted. “Shall I bring back his tongue?” The henchman asked. “I know how you love your souvenirs.”
“That won’t be necessary. Just open the gates after it is done. We can use his scraps as target practice.” Brennek stated, twirling on his hair before dismissing Kallum.
As the blue hologram faded, Kallum smiled and drew his blades. “Hold him up!” He commanded the droids. Two of the droids wrenched the Zabrak’s arms, yanking the injured Sith to his feet.
He dragged his blade against Zavron’s chest, digging through the light armor at first, then piercing flesh after he passed the heart. The Sith lightly winced from the new gash over his ribs. He tried to block out the pain but Kallum knew that he had hurt him. “I’m going to enjoy this!” He gloated, grasping his free hand tightly on the Zabrak’s collarbone and withdrawing the knife closely to his side.
Zavron glared spitefully at Kallum while the Rattataki prepared to thrust forward with his knife. Suddenly, the hateful glare was broken when the Sith noticed a camouflaged figure dash past his peripheral vision, a few yards behind the thug that was holding him. Before Kallum could lung his knife back into the Sith a rifle bolt darted through his head, nearly grazing Zavron in the process.
“Quickly!” The Chiss agent shouted as he emerged from stealth. As the droids shifted their attention to the sniper, Zavron broke free from their hold. Once he fell to the ground he instantly smashed his fist, releasing a shockwave of force energy that propelled the robots away from him. With his other arm he channeled lightning at the ground, immobilizing the droids long enough for the Chiss to override their programming.
When the agent was finished at the access panel, each of the droids were shut down. The agent sighed in relief and turned to Zavron--the Zabrak now fully seethed all of his wounds—and said, “We really need to stop meeting like this.”
The Sith responded with an inquisitive look on his face. “Have we met before?” The Chiss picked up Zavron’s golden saberstaff and handed it to him. “Paros? The sniper at Kass City!” [part 2]
The Chiss smirked, “Gaius Phoenix, Imperial Intelligence.” He affirmed. “It’s nice to finally meet you in person. The two shook hands and discussed their next step.
The camp forces advanced on the compound as soon as the gates rose. Quivok and Brennek quickly made their way to the control room. They both discovered Kallum's corpse within seconds of entering the room. It was evident that the Sith had escaped but he had left most of the droids intact.
"<Bastard!>" The Trandoshan hissed, kneeling by the side of the fallen inmate. She may not have appreciated his methods but she did respect Kallum as a warrior. Brennek was more concerned with salvaging his battle droids.
Desaar walked to the control panel. Aside from a few electrical burns the Balmorran driods were relatively unscathed. He knew if he could reboot their command system the day would not be entirely lost. However, as soon as he touched the console a recorded message appeared on the holocommunicator. Two blue holograms appeared, one was the Sith that he had betrayed, the other was an unknown Chiss.
"Greetings, Desaar. As you can see I have given you your droids, at least most of them..."
Brennek twirled his hair and viewed the recording. "This should be good." The convict said as the droids' oculars heated to an orange-red a few yards away. The Sith resumed his monologue.
"I understand your reasons for betraying me, but it was a costly mistake that ultimately forced your associate to pay with his life. As compensation for my services, I took a few droids with me to retrieve my prisoner. I'd like to think that this betrayal was a one time occurrence and that you wouldn't be foolish enough to retaliate, but I cannot take that chance..."
Quivok examined the droids and noticed the heating had spread across their exoskeletans and concentrated at their cores.
"My mission is of a most secretive nature and I can't risk the impediment of your forces, or your disclosure of our previous rendezvous. You are all loose ends, which I can't allow..."
"What!?" Desaar growled, taking his fingers out of his hair and smashing a fist on the console.
Quivok noticed the heat was gradually melting the fuel rods. "<Everyone get out! It's a trap!!>
"You heard the lady, let's move!!" Desaar commanded. The doors suddenly locked seconds before they could retreat.
"By now you've probably noticed that your droids aren't in mint condition. My new associate exploited a few flaws before we let you in. You'd be surprised how easy it is to turn a high end service droids into time bombs, but in a few seconds you will see the effects first hand. Bye bye Brennek!" The Sith waved as the message cut off.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" The camp leader roared.
Nearly a mile away the Sith and the agent could see the eruption in the skyline.
"Think they got your message?" The Chiss rhetorically jested.
"Indubitably." Zavron responded with a smirk.
Gaius Phoenix revealed himself to be one of Cipher Nine's operatives. Like Nine he was former Imperial Intelligence and he did not support the new regime change. For the past year he has been working with the rogue agent to subtlety undermine Sith Intelligence. Killing Paros was meant to weaken Kaas City and Chrain's death only cause more dissension amongst the Sith [read parts 2 & 3 to catch the full story] Zavron spread his Master's worry to Phoenix, noting that the Sith would neglect the new organization's incompetence if they remained fully loyal to the Dark Council. The only true way to regain Imperial Intelligence would be from the assistance of influential Sith, such as Zavron's master, Darth Verudan.
The Chiss sympathized with the Sith's cause, having some doubts of Nine's strategy, but he could not be sure whether his own mentor would take Verudan's hand or swat it away. For now the best course of action was a temporary alliance, for Djannis' sake.
The two had no time to debate technicalities with one another. They knew if Kaliyo was taken off world by either the RSF or Sith Intelligence, Cipher Nine's operation would be crippled indefinitely.
Gaius Phoenix had tracked the troops to the tombs before leaving the wing. As they entered the deepest facilities of Belsavis they could see bodies scatter across the tunnel with clusters of fire staggered on the path.
The bodies were all either RSF or other prison guards. They were all massacred before they could retreat. The Chiss spotted a Rattataki on her knees of in the distance.
"Is that her?" Zavron asked. The agent nodded. She was shivering from being thawed out of the carbonate seal as two black hooded figures stepped towards her. "Droids-full sprint!!" Zavron ordered.
Instinctively Gaius began constructing an improvised sniper's nest as Zavron charged with the battle droids.
They were only meters away before the kidnappers noticed. Zavron could see that they both looked like Sith, the younger one was a human and the older one being a blue Nautolan. The Nautolan was attempting to invade Kaliyo's mind as the Human turned to stand guarded. The Nautolan smiled as Zavron approached.
The Zabrak hurled his saberstaff at the pale human but the younger Sith dodged the bladed impressively, drawing his own purple lightsaber and deflecting the droid's shots in mid air. Before the human could land Zavron guided his saberstaff to fly in an L-shape, aiming it at the other ship. The Nautolan made no effort to dodge the weapon and instead caught the saberstaff in his free hand.
The human charged at Zavron but was intercepted by three battle droids, each pulling vibroswords from their backs. The other two droids fired at the Nautolan, time successfully stopping his mental assault on the Djannis and prompting him to use Zavron's weapon to deflect the bolts. He quickly parryed the shots with one jolt of lightning that destroyed both droids. In that moment Zavron forced pulled the Nautolan's own personal lighsaber and unsheathed it's blood red blade. The Nautolan clicked his tongue in disappointment and headed back to Kaliyo.
Suddenly the Nautolan was forced away from his prey after dodging sniper fire. He continued to dodge and parry as the Zabrak advanced. Zavron was cut off from the Nautolan as the Human leapt into his path. This apprentice had already made mincemeat of the droids and was prepared to do the same with the Sith.
Zavron quickly dodged the human's strike and struck at his unbalanced foe. The human parried it narrowly and flipped away with superb footwork. What the human lacked in form he made up for with strength and technique. Several more swings were deflected, this time push Zavron to the floor. He swung heavily at Zavron, but the Zabrak rolled beneath his power, sweeping a leg and force pushing the human against a wall. The young human tried to repel with lightning but Zavron force sprinted through the brunt of the blast and skewered the apprentice through the heart with his own master's lightsaber. The Human gasped as he stared back at the Zabrak's vicious eye's as the light rapidly left his own.
The Chiss was a fast sharpshooter but his opponent was even faster. The Nautolan was crafty enough to use his target as a shield to slow down the sniper's fire. The Chiss managed to keep his composure and fired a remarkable shot which grazed one of the Nautolan's head tentacles. Were it not for his sharp reflexes and full focus the same shot could have blasted any Sith's head off. The Nautolan grimaced, growing bored of their game. He yanked a RSF transport vehicle into the air and flung it at the Sniper's nest. The Chiss sprinted as fast as he could whilst the Nautolan blasted the truck with another great bolt of lightning.
Zavron pounced at the opportunity, fling both the red and purple lightsabers at the Nautolan's chest. To save his own life the Nautolan desperately dropped Zavron's saberstaff and halted the oncoming lightsabers with the force. Zavron clasped his saberstaff as the Nautolan entered the Juyo form.
The Nautolan was far more deadly than his apprentice, narrowly missing Zavron's vitals several times before smacking him with the force. With the added distance the Nautolan leapt into the air. With a backflip he kicked the purple lightsaber at the Zabrak while Zavron surged his saberstaff with lightning. The saber lodged itself into Zavron's shoulder joint as he flung the lightning at the falling Nautolan.
The Nautolan was wounded from the lightning but blocked most of the blast with his other lightsaber. Zavron writhed in pain on the floor as he examined his wound. The purple lightsaber pinned him to the ground like a nail to the coffin. He electrocuted Zavron within an inch of his life to make sure he wouldn't be interfered with. He grabbed the Rattataki by her collar and stared into her eyes. Within moments he had all that he had needed.
The Nautolan returned to Zavron with his red lightsaber drawn. He put a boot on his chest and retrieved the purple lightsaber.
"Deliver this message to your master and I will spare your life (Zavron nodded): I am Darth Angier, Hand of Jadus. Interference with our cause will only result in death. A new empire shall only come to fruition with the approval of my Lord. Darth Jadus still lives, and so does the Emperor. Without either the Empire is doomed."
The Nautolan walked away as Zavron passed out.
Zavron awoke in the cargo bay of the Ebb Tide As he rushed up he was stopped by Gaius Phoenix. Cargo was exactly the best place for medical treatment, but the ship wasn't designed to have emergency rooms.
"Easy, you're back on your ship." The Chiss answered, before the Zabrak could ask.
"Already back on the field. She sent your message back to Cipher Nine."
"And you?" The Sith inquired.
"A new directive. Nine's ordered me to watch your back indefinitely. Consider the remainder of his forces in Verudan's corner, at least after we set up shop somewhere else.
"I have to report this to my master."
"You will, but you need rest first."
Zavron's eyes where to heavy to protest as Gaius Phoenix returned to the flight deck.
Nar Shaddaa was a gilded planet. To the outside this world was the glowing jewel of Hutt Space, but behind that façade this place was a wreck. An open cesspool which smelled worse than bantha scat and was filled with the worst sort of scum.
Tarkona unbuckled her jacket and tossed it onto her bedside stool, wiggling out of her pants as well and flopping backward onto the squeaky, mildly uncomfortable bed of her little room at the inn. Clad now in a form-fitting action top and matching shorts, Tarkona fiddled idly with the tip of one of her lekku and let her mind wander for a long moment. Nar Shaddaa. As terrible as this place was, she couldn't help but feel comfortable here – feel at home. It reminded her of her early life, out on the run, first learning the skills that had brought her into this game of pawns and Darths that she was a part of now. Reminded her of the days when everything seemed so exciting, so thrilling, when her stomach used to flutter every time she went somewhere nobody could find her. When she was alone in the world, a young twi'lek, on her own and free.
She shifted one leg up, pointing her knee at the ceiling and closing her eyes for a long moment, allowing herself one last deep, nearly-meditative exhalation. It wouldn't be long, now, before–
Her eyes opened, and she glanced at the other side of the bed. Her little droid wiggled back and forth on its short wheels, emitting another beep.
“Send it through,” Tarkona said softly, and the droid opened up a little hologram of a familiar face: Vyalis Zoll, Tarkona's “first mate,” not that there was a very organized hierarchy in their little band of misfits. Vyalis (or Viya, as Tarkona often called her) was a bounty hunter, or so she called herself. There was a story behind that lightsaber she carried, and while it was a mystery to many, Tarkona herself knew a little – Vyalis had once been a Sith apprentice. Sensitive to the Force, if, perhaps, not strong with it. She planned to worm the rest of that story out of her, one of these days.
“Which room did you say you were in?” The Rattataki chirped, folding her arms across her full chest. Vyalis was beautiful in the fierce, gloomy way that rattataki sometimes were, her face decorated with a few light scars and darkly suggestive tattoos. Eyes tinted gold by the Dark Side seemed to see straight through the holographic projector, staring into Tarkona's soul, making her feel watched. Vyalis often had this effect, and it had taken some time for the twi'lek to grow accustomed to it.
“Room Sixteen, I already gave Fact-0R the specs.” Tarkona answered.
“He put himself down for maintenance shortly afterward,” Viya offered a grim smile. “Don't act surprised. Anyway, Zeeka and I will be there in a few minutes, we're trying to get past customs right now.”
“Nylo isn't coming?”
“He says his place is with the ship. He also doesn't trust the customs officer as far as he can throw him. After all, what happens in Nar Shaddaa....”
“Usually doesn't stay in Nar Shaddaa, I get it. He's wise to stay on board. We don't need Fact-0R getting stolen either.” Tarkona exhaled and rolled around, laying on her stomach and putting her chin on her palms to face the projector. “Alright then, I'll see you two in a few minutes and brief you on the mission. Make sure to bring your gear, you're gonna need it.”
Viya furrowed her brow. “Should Zeeka bring her shotos?”
“She can use them, right?”
“Better than I can.”
“Then yes. No intel's perfect, so our mark could have a hidden weapon I don't know about. I wouldn't mind having a Force-sensitive on my side in case that Hutt has one of his own. I prefer to bet on a sure thing.”
The rattataki pouted, an expression that, for her, was as rare as it was hilarious. “I'm Force-sensitive.”
“You know what I meant.”
She huffed, giving Tarkona a look, and turned off the projector, her hazy blue visage vanishing altogether even if her presence seemed to linger. The twi'lek rolled back around and onto her back, splaying out and looking up at the ceiling, fondling her lekku again and letting her mind wander. It seemed almost therapeutic to let her focus drift before a big job, and Shoust seemed pretty serious about bringing this Hutt down.
A game of pawns and Darths....
Tarkona was a pawn, she knew that. She wasn't a major player and she knew she wasn't going to end up on any kind of dark throne of the Sith. She'd already chosen her pod in this race and she had put her chips in Shoust's corner. She just hoped the Sith didn't let her down, as Sith so often tended to do. It was all too possible that Shoust was using her, manipulating her – that passion she felt when the woman was nearby, was it just some tailored manifestation of the Dark Side? She didn't want her mind to linger on it, but Tarkona hadn't lived this long by being overly trusting. No... she had to keep her eye on Shoust, no matter how she felt about her. The first step to that was listening to the opinions of those close to her, who Shoust has mysteriously been playing keep-away with.
The blue-skinned scoundrel crossed one smooth, lean leg over the other, starting to softly hum to herself when she heard a knock on the door. With a gesture to her little droid, the machine whirred and moved over to unlock the door, ushering in Vyalis and her... well, “apprentice” was an odd way to put it.
Zeeka was a mirialan girl, a youngling by most standards. While she hadn't caught the girl's exact age, she appeared fifteen or sixteen by Tarkona's standards, with skin the color of pale jade, twin pigtails the color of a rich wine, and big, expressive eyes of a vibrant cyan hue. Zeeka was a stowaway-turned-hostage-turned-apprentice, taken in by Vyalis when she had sensed the teen's potential with the Force – she had a connection to it that far surpassed Viya's own. Training had been going on for about one cycle now, and while the Sith-turned-bounty-hunter had mostly run out of things to show her little apprentice, Zeeka still seemed to be learning, absorbing knowledge from the world around her like the Force itself whispered into her ear off of the breeze. A strange girl, Zeeka. But one Tarkona was glad to have as a part of the team.
“Took you long enough,” the twi'lek said with a cheeky smirk. “How are you two?”
Vyalis just grunted, setting down her heavier pieces of weaponry on the room's modest countertop. Zeeka, however, answered. “I'm alright,” she said with an optimistic grin, her disposition as sunny as ever despite her connection to the Dark Side. “Nylo was teaching me how to play that game today, the one with the little pieces that move.”
“Did you win?” Tarkona inquired, half-interested.
“Yes, ten out of ten times.”
There was a pause, and the twi'lek's brow furrowed. “Wait. Didn't you say you just learned how to play?”
“I was able to anticipate his movements... the Force is not his ally.” Zeeka's smile widened, and she folded her arms across her barely-existent chest. The girl was developing slowly for her age – unless it was merely twi'leks that matured quickly. After a very brief musing, Tarkona decided that the latter was more likely.
So Zeeka was beginning to naturally develop precognitive abilities, something she knew Vyalis had never mastered or ever even learned. This girl may end up being more useful than her lightsaber skills alone.
“So what's the mission?” Viya growled, sitting on the opposite side of the bed and letting her eyes linger on Tarkona, unused to seeing the twi'lek in such an exposed state. “You mentioned a Hutt.”
“Temiuriyan the Hutt, to be specific,” Tarkona laid back again, stretching out her lithe spine and propping her feet up casually on the rattataki's shoulder. “It's a wetwork job – he's to be taken out without question. He has some kind of deal going on with the Republic, a deal that's advantageous to both sides. We want to remove that advantage.”
“What kind of deal?” Viya inquired immediately.
“I didn't ask. Something about some chemical fuel. It wasn't info I needed.”
Zeeka sat down, cross-legged, on the floor – her short, black leather robes giving Tarkona a view of the mirialan's legs that gave her more than a few impure thoughts. “What info did you get?” the girl asked.
“Info on how to kill him. I don't like to get intimate with wetwork jobs. This isn't diplomacy, we're not trying to convince him of anything or get any information, so understanding isn't part of my job description. I know that he's an obstacle, and I know that obstacles get removed. I have information on the movements of his guards and the places he goes; the kind of security he has. I know what I need to know to remove him from the board.”
“Like that game!” Zeeka said excitedly, her adroit little brain immediately linking the strategy board game she'd been playing with the real thing, a sign of a natural tactician. “We're removing a piece, to make our side stronger.”
Vyalis nodded grimly, adjusting the chestpiece of her armor. “When do we head out, then?”
“Soon. I need to get dressed, and I want to get a drink at Jeezo's... y'know, in case we have to run out of Nar Shaddaa.”
To be continued...
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