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Darth Verrin

Imperial Kaar
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2,191 The One


About Darth Verrin

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    Kaar of Ancient Knowledge
  • Birthday 07/20/1970

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    Corruption III
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    Darth Verrin

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  1. Payback

    At first, all was well. His idle comments had his companion amused, and she took the opportunity to explain the fighting nature of mercs, and then the establishment they were in. None of the news was surprising, but having it laid out plainly covered any contrary thoughts Verrin might have. Oh yes, Isa knew places like this, and the people in them. She was proving valuable already. But then things went south. He followed up with his comment about Nar Shaddaa, and Isa's tone turned sticky-sweet such that he didn't need the Force to know he'd said something wrong. Verrin raised an eyebrow, not quite sure how his words soured their budding, professional relationship, but making a mental note to watch himself. Maybe Isa had a falling-out on Nar Shaddaa, and he'd unwittingly touched a raw nerve. He was tempted to ask, but merely looked at her quizzically for a moment before refocusing on the bar patrons. She apparently agreed with his assessment of 'abnormalities' in the place. Then, she reached for her glass and held a finger over it in an odd manner. Maybe it was a signal... or an affectation? Verrin wasn't sure what to think of it, and split his attention between the bar and her hand, watching to see if the gesture changed to mean something else. It did change, but not in the way he expected. Isa stood up smoothly, tipping her drink over and grabbing his own glass while offering to get them something better from the bar. He wasn't in sync with her thoughts yet, but she was certainly acting confident enough. Her tone changed to downright cheerful, and her helmet bobbed towards a door near the rear of the establishment. Little lights started to flicker in Verrin's recognition, as she confirmed his thoughts with the bit about breaking a bottle over someone's head. Then she was moving through the crowd, winding her way towards the bar. She dipped her shoulder subtly and bumped one of the men who was harassing the Twi'lek dancer with more force than mere momentum accounted for. Deftly, she sidestepped, making it look like another bar patron had done the misdeed, instigating a fight between the pair. She dind't stop there though, and before a third punch had been thrown, she was already repeating the incident elsewhere. It was all part of her plan. "Duh," Verrin chastised himself for not making the connections sooner. He quickly got up, and then ducked sideways as a chair flew in his direction. Then, he bent the Force to his will, and disappeared from sight altogether. Unseen, it was easier to move through the crowd of brawling bar-goers, and he made it to the designated door just as Isa reached the pair at the bar. He stepped through the portal into a hallway with a few other doors off it, but it was easy at that point to follow the exit sign to get out. He stepped through and into a dark alley, lit only by the lights of the main street shining down it. It had started to rain too. "Bah!" Verrin thought. He didn't mind rain, but right now, it was inconvenient. He stepped to the side of the door - the side opposite of the way it opened, so he wouldn't get smacked it the face if it burst open suddenly. Then he did as told, and waited for Isa to emerge. As he'd expected, the walking suit of armor shoved one of the two parties out the door in front of her, holding them fiercely in some wrestling hold or another. At that point, Verrin let his hidden state drop, and appeared almost out of thin air. He was practically three hands away from the captive, and dressed as he was, only his eyes would be clearly visible at first... until the person got used to the lighting. The man startled for a second or two, but then started to struggle against his captor more aggressively. Verrin leaned in further, and his voice came out low, but intense. "Pay attention. I'm looking for the cargo of The Dusty Drammus." The cargo was the important thing, not the ship or its captain. "I'm told you either stole it, sold it, or otherwise know where it is. Your cooperation would be greatly appreciated. Am I making myself clear?" H paused only long enough for Isa to add her input - physically or verbally didn't matter to him. But in that space, the captive spat to one side. It seemed like this was a hardened smuggler, or thug, or what-have-you. He might take a little more convincing to give up any valuable information he had. Perhaps some credits would loosen his tongue... or some other persuasive method. Verrin glanced to his expert associate.
  2. ok... who stalled this thread?

    The Arrival

    If it's me, I know nothing... <_<

    1. Lucian Eidolon

      Lucian Eidolon

      I dunno. I got the distinct vibe that I overstepped somewhere, but couldn’t see another real opening. 

    2. Darth Verrin

      Darth Verrin

      pshaw!  You were fine!  But reply to that poor, blind Jedi!  Bring her to the Dark Side ;

    3. Mirran Kai

      Mirran Kai

      So I am a poor blind Jedi....the nerve of Dark Lords. Do I look poor? *opens up credit pouch and flies come out of it.* Umm...don't answer that.... 

  3. Payback

    Verrin almost smiled at the seemingly motherly comment about his earring. To date, this merc was the first person to both notice and comment on it. He was all too aware of the situation in a fight, given the way he'd taken it for himself, but that might be a story for another time. For the moment, they had other matters to attend to. The first of those matters, was apparently finding a table and grabbing drinks. His companion handled both - selecting a vantage point, and then even offering to get him a beverage. "Get ME a beverage - what a novel idea!" He thought to himself. Normally - he was the one offering beverages to those who visited him. Isa Sal just jumped up several notches in his eyes. Too bad she was Mandalorian... that would take more effort to get over. At least she wasn't the worst Mandalorian. He ordered bourbon, though he doubted the sort of swill they'd serve in a place like this would be up to his usual standards. Still - it was a disinfectant, if nothing else. She returned with the drinks - he thanked her - and sure enough, it was pretty harsh on the tongue. At least it would kill any germs left behind on the glass. She then went to sit on the chair at the table with him, only to have it buckle beneath the weight of her armor. It didn't collapse, thankfully - she caught herself before that could happen, and resettled her weight accordingly while making light of the situation. Verrin almost - but not quite - laughed as he recalled a memory from long ago. When he'd first come to the Sith, he'd been smaller - frail, really - but as studious as ever. He'd had his nose in a book, and hadn't watched where he was going. He wound up running smack-dab into a six-foot tall smuggler woman with red hair named Dion. He'd literally, and figuratively, fallen for her as he crashed to the floor in front of her - the very picture of the Sith Lord he was trying to be. She, far more sturdy, had helped him up, laughing up a storm. But that was then... Now, as Isa resettled and took in the room, she feigned a casual posture and offered a conversational tone. "Now we wait, and listen. I’d rather not go about asking questions, not in a dive like this. Quickest way to end up with a shiv thrown at each of our spines. People talk when they don’t think anyone can hear. And the racket they call music is going to be enough to grant people a sense of immunity." She was professional, he had to admit. She didn't want to ask questions, but rather wanted to wait for a potential source to reveal itself. Verrin wasn't too sure that was a sound plan - in his experience, waiting for magic to happen was usually an exercise in futility, and he wasn't sure he wanted to be here all night. But then, beating the bushes was sure to draw too much attention to them, so maybe it was a better idea after all. He decided to rely on her expertise and experience in the end - he certainly hadn't spent a lot of time in this sort of place, and with these kinds of people. He mused again that Darth Sanguira would be watching, and so he made a casual sweep of the room using Force senses. There were no hidden cameras - the people that came here wanted as much anonymity as he and Isa did, especially for illicit plans and activities. But there were plenty of electronics around - holos, datapads, and the like. He casually commented, "I'm a little surprised they don't confiscate weapons and such at the door. Perhaps the engagements got too boring that way." It was his way of noting to her that any fight might end up with blasters going off around (or at) them. Shivs were the least of his concerns. She was armored though, and he was quick. He wasn't overly worried about them surviving a brawl, but he certainly wouldn't be whipping out a lightsaber in the commotion unless some Bothan drew first. He then followed up with, "You pick the best places, dear. This reminds me of that place on Nar Shaddaa." It might have been too much, but he knew if HE Heard that in this joint, he certainly wouldn't listen in on any following conversation. As they peered about, they spied several tables of heavy drinkers - regulars, Verrin supposed - mostly at the bar though. Others were younger and braver, possibly young men and women in their early twenties looking for cheap booze in large quantities. A few people were obviously out of place though - too well-dressed to be either regulars or party-boys. Maybe they were former nobles, slumming to see what life was like on the wild side? There were also a few mercs, like Isa, though whether they were true Mandalorians or not, Verrin couldn't say. And then there was the table of heavily-inebriated patrons who were hassling a Twi'lek dancer that probably should have retired five years ago. Everyone had to make a living though. It just seemed like a tough way to do it - being the arse-grabbed focus of slobbering 'fans'. Verrin couldn't hear much though - nothing specific anyway, or at least, not yet. There was a spot at the bar where two men were talking in tones that were more hushed than not - so those were the only stand-outs to him. He mentioned, "That couple at the end of the bar looks like they're having a good time, no?"
  4. Payback

    Verrin filed away some of the vocabulary corrections, and did his best to remember the context of them. He'd met a few mercs in his day, and even a few Mandalorians, but when he didn't use the words in everyday speech, their meaning got lost, or misconstrued. Even so, he might use a term that was 'popular' in its day, but turned out to be replaced by something else over the years. Such was life - such was getting old. At least his companion seemed to be amused by his errors, rather than offended. The Force told him she was tense, but not unduly so. This was probably her day-to-day level of alertness, and not a particular concern for being with him. That was both good and bad. It meant he wasn't a threat to her - or more correctly, she didn't see him as one. In truth, he wasn't, but that might also mean she didn't think him capable in a combat situation. It might undermine any authority he had with her... or it might not. Time would tell. She approved of his general plan, but wanted to change some particulars. He was fine with that. He wasn't a grand military leader, and his general way of dealing with conflict was to do it subtly - not in some showy display of strength and brute force. There was some undertone in her initial remark about how he managed to assume quite a bit, but even with the Force, it was difficult to tell what, exactly, she was thinking. Feeling, on the other hand, was more sincere. But he nodded in agreement to her statement - he didn't have any Imperial intel in advance of all of this, other than the general situation, and location of interest. He could only picture @Darth Sanguira, sitting in a small, lavish, lounge with some of her diplomatic 'friends', sipping at expensive cocktails, and watching the goings-on once he and Isa arrived. He'd even bet credits that she had sent her minion ahead to wire the place with hidden cameras, so that they could all have a grand show at his expense. Verrin made a mental note to disable any cameras he detected... he'd learned how to do a few tricks with electronics using the Force. His musings were brought back to the present quickly though, and he listened while Isa laid out more of the details of her plan. She described herself as being something of a big, dumb thug, which was something he hadn't assumed at all. Granted, he might make that leap if a Gammorean were involved, but not a Mando. He wondered if she was Gammorean beneath her helmet. She didn't move like one though - her gait was more humanoid. She was too tall to be Bothan... the helmet was such that she definitely wasn't Twi'lek or Togrutan... maybe she was... He mentally smacked himself for trying to pin a race on her. Did it really matter if she was human or alien? Of course not. He was already struggling to get past the fact she was Mandalorian, and his hatred of their whole sect. He grimaced a little, and reprimanded himself for making assumptions - especially after she'd just explained how people generally thought of her as stupid because of her size. The rest of her plan sounded pretty solid, with her taking the lead in starting a brawl that would be completely apropos for the venue. He looked sideways at her though, and remarked, "Sounds solid. Just don't start the fight using me, all right? I don't feel like wearing an icepack on my face for the rest of the night if I don't have to." Their conveyance deposited them a couple of blacks away from the establishment, and they went the rest of the way on foot, moving through the crowded streets like anyone else. One difference though, was that people tended to get out of Isa's way because of her size and her armor - nobody wanted to bump into that accidentally or purposefully. And for some reason, people just tended to move out of Verrin's way, as if they felt the spectre of death walking among them. So it was that they wound up outside the front of the cantina - it's unremarkable facade only suggested that this was the place because of a broken, blinking, neon sign that would have read Dante's Dugout had it been fully operational. A large - you guessed it - Gammorean bouncer stood outside the entrance, looking bored and all but picking his nose. Verrin led the way towards him - not out of any sense of authority over his companion, but out of a sense of responsibility to somehow lead this mission. The bouncer looked up as they approached, but focused almost entirely on the big suit of well-worn armor behind Verrin. She looked dangerous - armed and armored - just the sort of patron he was hired to stop and question. It wasn't that mercs never drank at the Dugout, but this Gammorean usually knew who they were already, or was told to let them pass. Neither was the case here. But Verrin spoke softly as he came within earshot. "Pay us no mind - we're simply grabbing a drink." A little Force suggestion went a long way in this sort of situation. The bouncer moved aside and let them pass, for some reason, believing that they were 'on the list'... had there been an actual list. The inside of the establishment was little better than the sign outside. It was overly dark, dingy, and smelled of old booze, grime, and the coppery hint of blood. Patrons of all sorts littered the place like flies on flypaper, and some kind of smoke made the air hazy and bitter. Verrin wished he'd thought to wear his mask to filter out all of the nastiness, but he'd stick out like a sore thumb if he went in looking like an assassin. It wans't that there weren't killers in this place - he was sure there were many - but there was a distinct difference between the kind of killing they did and the type he performed. Seldom, if ever, did the two meet. Some loud, raucous noise that might have been considered music to some, was blaring out, joining with the shouts, talk, and patter of the place to create a general din that made conversation almost impossible. Again, Verrin wished he had his mask, so he could use the built-in communicator to talk directly with Isa. He raised an eyebrow beneath his cowl. This was not his kind of establishment. This was not his area of expertise. He didn't assume that it was Isa's either, but he turned and leaned in and up towards her helmet to mention, "Ahhh... I'm not going to pretend to know who to talk to first. Please... lead the way."
  5. Payback

    (continued from the Spacedock) Verrin and his armored associate had left the spaceport, where he hailed them a vehicle to take them across the city of Praetorium. They probably could have walked the distance, but it would have taken a while, and not everything Verrin had to say was for the ears of everyone in the bustling streets around them. Once inside the vehicle, he went into more detail. "So from I'm told, there's a seedy little cantina in the northern sector of this city, that is run by some faction of the Hutt Cartel. The head Hutt - and no, I don't know it's name, yet - had smugglers intercept a cargo ship that was bringing in supplies to aid in the construction of some facilities within the High Tower here. In the old days, when the Empire was strong, they would have just sent in a pile of troopers or something to take back what was stolen, and be done with it. But now... in this new age, when we're supposed to be 'getting along' with Jedi, and fostering relations to support the cause against the Republic... we can't go flooding the place with a lot of troops that we simply don't have. Nor can we arrive in force, and have the Hutt not just roll his slobbery arse out the back door, or barricade the place and call in the local media to broadcast the whole thing to the galaxy at large. We can be forceful - yes - but we can't be so blatant about it. I'm told that's where you come in. Supposedly, one of you Mandalorians is worth thirty Imperial guardsmen. And with just two of us heading into the place, we shouldn't be setting off every warning buzzer that the local bouncer has in place. I'm no great statistician. My plan is to have us both go in for a drink, and try to find out if either the smugglers or the Hutt are in residence. Then, if we can do it quietly, we take the Barve... You know what, forget I said that. I know as much of the Mandalorian language as you probably do about the Force. we take the bastage out the back door, and ask him or her where the Imperial cargo went. If he - or she - doesn't tell us, then you beat the living daylights out of them until they do. I confess it's probably not a great plan, but that why you're here. You are supposedly expert in this sort of thing. What do YOU propose we do?" Verrin concluded, doing his level best to be inclusive rather than pushing the Mandalorian out the door and hoping she broke her neck when she landed in a pile of poodoo. Who knew... maybe she would grow on him, and change his mind about her kind. After all, the Sith and Mandalorians had been allies for quite some time.
  6. Poniard Spacedock Offices

    A six-foot tall behemoth stepped out of the door to the offices, causing Verrin to pause in his pacing long enough to look it up and down. He knew Mandalorians were some of the best mercs in the galaxy, and he had yet to meet one that was either short or frail - those would be weeded out long before they reached adulthood, or so he believed. But when it spoke, and he heard a woman's voice emerge from the helmet, he was thrown off guard for a brief moment. It wasn't that he'd never known tall, or physically capable women in his time - he'd known both - but of all the Mandalorians he'd ever met, this was the first woman aside from their chieftain... or, Mando'a, he thought he remembered, but didn't dare try to say it lest he butcher the pronunciation and put himself on weaker footing. Her speaking was as he expected though - short and to the point. She was nodding in his direction, and noting his appearance as being knowledgeable. He mused that he was the Kaar of Ancient Knowledge, but doubted the title would impress her or give him a leg up in this encounter. He only stood around five-foot-ten himself, and didn't wear such bulky armor, so he doubted that he looked like much more than a bookworm to her. He could give her a squeeze or two of Force energy, and see if that established his prowess, but that sort of posturing was for young people. He had no need to be showy with his power, until such a time as he needed to be. As he took her in, he noticed typical armaments, and imagined there were more built into the armor itself. As for himself, he wore a simple-looking black half-robe, belted at the waist. Its joints were padded over in black leather, and it bore a cowl that he had drawn up over his horned head. His pants were simple, and also black, and one of his signature trademarks were the simple, black, functional boots that he wore - the same issue that was given to new recruits at an Academy, almost as if he was stating in his appearance that he hadn't forgotten where he'd come from. The extended hilt of his lightsaber was tucked into his belt, but that's all he appeared to be armed with. And the only significant items that stood out in his apparel, were a pair of black gauntlets he wore, that looked very, very old and ornate, and a single jeweled earring glinted from beneath the cowl, worn in his left ear. His skin, on the other hand, probably stood out. It was an odd color for a Zabrak - a dusky, lavender tone. It's rarity was similar to albinism in humans, but it was largely covered over in a variety of black tattoo work - some of the markings were tribal, others elaborate, and still others simply connected the entire works. Closer inspection would show a variety of scars and burns beneath the black ink, as well as the lines on his aged face. He nodded at the newcomer, and spoke softly, "I am Lord Verrin, and I presume you are Isa Sal. Do you have a rank I should use, when calling on you? Or a name you prefer to go by?" It was the polite thing to ask, whether he liked someone or not. He took her name - if she gave it - and explained, "I confess that I'm only vaguely aware of why I'm here, and I suspect you may be in a similar situation. I can only assume that someone out there is having a grand laugh at our expense, but that doesn't change the fact that we have a job to do. Come... walk with me, and I'll explain what I know. That is... unless you have a problem working with a... what word do you Mandos use? Shabla? Barve? Something like that." He gestured for her to follow him, and then led the way out of the office waiting area... (continued here)
  7. Poniard Spacedock Offices

    "Are you fracking with me?!" The question was rhetorical, and the person on the other end of the holo-call was well aware of it. Darth Verrin was not amused with the situation presented to him, and the officer that had to bring him the news - even via holo - was uncomfortable with the situation. He'd heard rumors that a Sith could reach through space and choke the life out of someone they didn't like. At least, that was what his supervisor, @Darth Sanguira had told him. He didn't want to believe it, but neither did he want to test it. But Darth Verrin was going on, apparently having answered his own question. "So let me get this straight. 'In the interest of diplomacy', and 'repairing our broken relationship with our old associates' - " The Darth was using his fingers to make 'quotations' in the air around his words that required it. "- Darth Sanguira wants me to go to the spacedock myself, and meet a fracking Mandalorian to do a job?! ME?! What - pray tell - is going through her fracking mind, that makes her think I'm the best possible candidate for this effort?! My apprentices aren't good enough? She thinks I have nothing better to do?" The officer - somehow - managed not to roll his eyes, even though he was thinking to himself, "More likely, she just wanted to provoke this very reaction from you... for her amusement." He didn't say that aloud, of course, not daring to direct the Darth's anger towards himself. Instead, he diplomatically offered, "Darth Sanguira is an expert in diplomatic relations, My Lord. I'm sure if she thought anyone lesser was appropriate for the job, she would have had me contact them. Instead, she chose you. Surely, there is a reason." Even as he said it, he began to consider that his initial thought was correct - that this somehow amused his supervisor. The transmission was cut off abruptly, but not before Darth Verrin affirmed his participation with a single word, "FINE!" A short while later, in the waiting room outside some Domhnall's office, Verrin paced back and forth like a caged Edan tiger. He hated waiting. He hated waiting rooms. He even hated the person he was supposed to meet - some Mandalorian named @Isa Sal - and he hadn't even met her yet. He was already pre-judging her, based on her affiliation with her kind - the Mandalorians - for they had been the catalyst to his whole life as a Sith. More than twenty years ago, a group of Sith and their Mandalorian allies had descended upon his planet, and executed most of his family, kidnapping both him and his daughter. The Sith had wanted information from him and his science team, about projects they were working on in the labs, and instead of asking - they had done what one might expect, and simply 'persuaded him to cooperate' by severing his ties to those he loved. But oh no, it hadn't stopped there. They'd kept his daughter alive, using her life as the final assurance that he would tell them everything they wanted to know - even things he didn't know. Oh yes - he had a beef with Mandalorians in general, though there was no way Darth Sanguira knew that when she thought he was 'the best candidate' for this job. Of course, he could have refused. He was Sanguira's peer, not her subordinate. But she probably knew he was generally willing to do what it took to further the return of the Sith and the Empire, even if it meant... this. He paused his pacing only to look up and see just how long he'd been waiting. It was only fifteen minutes, but it felt like so much longer.
  8. The Arrival

    Verrin took in the scene - the construction, the moving of shelving and data, and the comings and goings of some people who didn't appear to be affiliated with the Sith's 'moving day'. There were a few individuals, moving through the shelves that the Jedi already had in place - most of them in robes, some with smiles. By and large, in Verrin's mind, they were a happy people who relied upon the Jedi Masters to keep the peace so they could pursue their own dreams. Verrin made a mental note to make sure he demanded more from young Sith Acolytes - that they become part of the solution, not just bantha to be herded. But one individual stuck out to him from the others, and he commented idly to his guest, the Sith'ari. "That girl, over there... the Miralukan with the droid... she was at the space station, wasn't she? What role does she play in the hierarchy of the Jedi? Someone of import? She's..." He reached out with the Force, sensing her unease, "... troubled." A glance behind him to his guest had him wondering, "An opportunity to nurture the seed of emotion?" Verrin wasn't so much concerned with solving a person's problems to bring them peace, but rather to provide a feeling of elation that might lead someone down the path of the Dark Side. The young woman might not be so susceptible to that sort of suggestion, but then again... she might. The thing with Miralukans though, was they could sense and see through the Force better than most sentients could with their eyes. Even now, he and the Sith'ari had to be shining like beacons to her senses in the Force. The real question was whether she would avoid them, or fly towards them like a moth to a flame?
  9. With a Quiet Sigh, Not a Bang

    As the panel moved aside, revealing the lift, Verrin smirked. Just like his apprentice, he could imagine his former student, associate, and Emperor being amused by having them wend their way down to his 'cron while all the while, there was a much more accessible route via this lift. That didn't keep him from examining the conveyance closely though, cautious of yet another trap. It seemed to be legitimate though, and large enough to convey both of them along with the holcron. Verrin turned his wry expression to his apprentice. "You didn't think he hand-carried all of those books down here through all of those traps and corridors, did you? And no - he probably didn't use slave labor either. Force forbid they set off traps and destroy his precious tomes." It never ceased to amuse Verrin how people, in general, thought that Sith had no senses of humor. Vanessa was distant, however, as she recovered from her ordeal. She was self-assessing, processing her experience - her mind was putting it into bite-sized chunks that she could chew. That was good. It was especially nice when she concluded her thoughts in thanks and a positive assertion that she was ready to return to the fold, to continue her path to power. His wry smirk turned to a genuine smile. "Good. Everybody needs a little time away... I heard her say... from each other." He was quoting a song he'd once heard in a cantina, by a band called the McCool and the Coruscant Critters. He'd slaughtered the band - unintentionally, or so it was thought - as he was coming to grips with the Dark Side and its power. Still, it had been a good song. Of course, unless his apprentice had an affection for old music, she would never get the reference, but it amused him anyway. He went on without the song lyrics, "Let's be off then. The Force tells me of great uncertainty in the future of the Sith, and I'm sure you can be a large part of shaping that should you so desire to. I'm very proud of you, you know. The things you've accomplished here... the person you're growing up to be. You are so far beyond the person I drafted from the Academy. I cannot wait to see what your future holds." He was sincere in that. He felt that way, from time to time, with all of his apprentices. But he seldom ever expressed those feelings. Usually, he just tucked them away, and fed off of them when he wanted to use Force Lightning to burn some misguided soul into the afterlife. He would do the same now, with these feelings towards Vanessa. But his hope was that she might pick up on the part of the code that always fascinated him the most. Peace is a Lie, there is only Passion... through Passion, I gain Strength. They took the now-silent 'cron, utilized the lift, and returned to the shuttle, and then the ship. There, they hovered for a day to allow Reclamations to gather the rest of the learning materials from the tomb, but then they were under way, back to Dathomir.
  10. With a Quiet Sigh, Not a Bang

    Verrin watched as Vanessa started to focus, and then observed as her pupils quickly dilated - growing so large that they appeared almost entirely black, without any whites at all. She was having a vision, like he had - all perfectly normal. He was using the Force to sense her, to feel her emotions, and general well-being. He couldn't read her mind, as it were - to see what she was seeing - but he watched her skin grow pale, her chest rose and fell more quickly, and then her breath caught in her throat... and she hadn't even touched the 'cron yet. She wasn't ready - not for this. The very idea stung him because he took it personally that he'd failed in her instruction. But then, at the time where he would have trained her in such things, she wans't ready. She had just received the news of her lineage, and had left Dathomir to pursue her own identity. It was an excuse, in his mind, but one thing he knew from experience was that instruction in the Force took time and effort. Even learning from a holocron couldn't be done in the blink of an eye. The power of the Dark Side came at a price, and one could either pay it with life force in terms of the time it took to patiently study, learn, and practice, or one could pay that price more immediately, lessening the time, but still costing the fee in life energy. Danael... Lucian... Valirian... Valyrian... had learned the Dark Side that way - the fast way. Verrin had not. And it was his responsibility to his apprentice to teach her his way of learning, so that she did not age before her time. Verrin watched as Vanessa's breathing remained stopped, and sensed that the Force was leaving her - flooding towards the holocron. He grimaced, not liking that at all. She might have potential, but her willpower wasn't yet tempered. He reached out to grasp her by her wrist. Her pulse was racing like mad, and her skin felt cold and clammy. Sweat was on her brow, as if she was training hard at her sabercraft. "Not good... " he muttered, as he took a more aggressive grip on her, Bodily, he moved her closer to the 'cron, and then forced her hand upon it. As soon as her physical being came in contact with the device, she sucked in a huge lungful of air and screamed - her voice extremely loud in the otherwise silent space. "NO! YOU WILL NOT HAVE ME. YOU ARE DEAD. AND I COMMAND YOU TO RELEASE ME." There was a pulse of Force energy as she seemed to overpower whatever was eating at her mind, and her eyes quickly returned to normal dilation, even if they remained wide with fear, or wonder, or excitement - or all three. He sensed a swell of emotion from her, and through his contact with her wrist, noted she was still cold and clammy. But blood was rushing back to her face, giving it a pinkish hue, and she was breathing again - albeit rapidly. It appeared that she would be all right. " Master, I just saw you die... The Force, it swelled... it felt......... whats that? " She had so many questions. He had answers to most of them, he thought, but before he could begin to help settle her mind, the holocron before them began to glow, lift, and spin. A door opened upon its surface, revealing the inner workings of the device, and a hole where something ought to go. Verrin surmised it was the crystal from the lightsaber - the thing to bring it all together. This was what the whole trip was about, after all. Verrin realized that though he'd been holding his apprentice by the wrist, the contact had shifted to their hands, and their fingers were now interlocked. They were sharing the experience - neither one alone. He smiled at the looking holographic figure, and responded authoritatively. "Ahhh Danael... not yet. We're close though. Let's get you out of this stuffy tomb first, and teach your darling daughter a few things. Now... shush." Verrin exerted his will over the device - this time, not in an inquisitive manner, trying to determine the intent of the spirit of the thing, but forcefully, severing its contact from the Force altogether. The pyramidal device fell tot he pedestal with a clanging sound that rang in the chamber, and stopped glowing. The spectre of Valyrian disappeared as well, leaving them in a darkened room lit only by what had been there before they arrived. It seemed that for the moment, the former Emperor would rest peacefully... or at least in frustrated silence. Verrin patted his apprentice's hand comfortingly. Her pulse was slowing and her body temperature was coming back. He spoke quietly to her, "A good lesson in holocrons, no? That is the reason that they have been secreted away for so long... the reason there is an art to studying them, even to making them. Some are very safe to use - the spirits housed within them simply wishing to prolong their existence, or merely wishing to pass on what they learned in life. But others... XoXann... this one... only a Sith who is strong of mind and intent can convince or command the spirit to unlock its secrets. I saw a vision too, but then, I have experience with such things. Whatever it was you were seeing... you broke the spell in the end. You commanded it to release you, and it did. That was a huge breakthrough moment for you, and I couldn't be more proud. A lesser Sith would have succumbed and perished. Good job, apprentice. Good job." He lifted her hand to his lips for a quick kiss, and then finally released her. "However... I think that before we reunite our lost friend and father with his other part, you should rest up, and we should have him in a more controlled environment of our choosing. Tombs are all fine and well for storage... the Vault is the way it is for a reason, after all. But why should we give advantage to the spirits? I have just the place. Come. Let's get this out of here. I'll send a group to reclaim the Library later. I recall promising you a meal and a refresher... and perhaps a bed?"
  11. With a Quiet Sigh, Not a Bang

    The trip through the catacombs was almost fun. Even though Verrin had spent some time with Vanessa in training, and even now and again in combat, he hadn't really found an opportunity to work with his apprentice. The timing had been all wrong - by the time she was ready to keep pace with him, Dromund Kaas was falling, and then Dathomir needed building, her father revealed himself, and she went out on her own to come to grips with who she was, and who he'd been. But as they descended further, dodging and overcoming trap after trap, he got to see more of the woman she'd become. He liked what he saw. She did seem to grasp who she was, and had a sense of her own power. She likely understood her potential now, and maybe even had goals to pursue. And her execution of saber techniques and Force powers was more refined. While they worked together to defeat two mechanical beasts, Verrin felt more like he was a companion than a teacher. It was a nice feeling. In due course, they entered the final chamber - a library of sorts, and the end-goal holocron of Valyrian Eidolon. It was quiet as a tomb here - both in practical reality and in a metaphorical sense - and Verrin found that even his own quiet footfalls could be heard as he approached a large bookcase. His fingertips addressed some of the spines while Vanessa surveyed the rest of the room. He could see value in the pages - additional materials for his ever-growing Library - and he wondered if there was any knowledge of real import within the pages. A quiet cough drew his attention back to his apprentice as she asked him, "Master, did you bring the lightsaber with you?" He smiled. This was almost like a birthday for him - a celebration of his likes and desires. He had his lovely apprentice, a holocron, a pile of unread books, and relative peace and quiet to enjoy them. The only thing missing was a tasty beverage. He nodded at her, but held up a hand in caution. "Remember some of my lessons regarding holocrons and the spirits within. We should assess the situation before trusting too much. Solitude is a harsh mistress for even the strongest minds. I remember pulling the holocron of XoXann from it's resting place, and her spirit was initially not happy to be disturbed. A moment, if you will." He didn't confirm the presence of the lightsaber aloud, but hopefully his nod affirmed her query. Instead, he approached the holocron cautiously, as if expecting yet another trap to befall them. His eyes, and his senses in the Force, went over the device and its resting place like a surgeon. But the scrutiny revealed no further physical trouble, no more protective glyphs or sigils, and no other dangers than the 'cron itself. Verrin rested a hand upon its dark surface. At first, he felt a surge of Force energy, as if a wave of water was coming at him. But it stopped suddenly, becoming more of a stream, and then a trickle of intense power. Oh yes, this was definitely Emperor Valyrian's 'cron - Verrin had no doubt. But as he used the Force to probe the device, he felt a tingling sensation on his scalp, between his horns. It was as if his head was being stroked by slender fingertips. Those fingers moved on, feeling more solid. They were Vanessa's. Verrin could sense her behind him. He felt her hands upon his biceps, moving up to rub at his shoulders and neck. Then, he could feel her warm breath upon his neck, and then, her inner thigh against his outer one as she propped herself on one leg behind him and used the other to wrap about his hips. Her hand moved from his shoulder down to his chest, then to his mid section, and then it continued its descent further. He could smell her perfumed hair. The last detail gave him pause. She'd been cooped up here for days, at least, and personal grooming had suffered for it. He looked back over his shoulder and saw her standing several feet away, even though he could still feel her limbs upon him. A wry smile crept onto his face, as he focused his thoughts. "Tsk, tsk, Lucian... using your own daughter so! Shame on you!" The feeling of her dissipated like smoke, and Verrin remarked aloud, "Oh... he's in there, all right." Verrin also sensed some urgency coming from the secreted lightsaber, but he didn't want to rejoin the two devices just yet. Instead, he offered, "Come, apprentice. This will be good practice for you in dealing with holocron spirits. Make contact with the device, but remain strong of will. It will tempt you, possibly command you, likely wish to possess you. But keep your focus. YOU are the living soul in charge. You are strong enough of will to resist it - I can tell - but this will give you an idea of what it's like, should you wish to learn from XoXann, or Bo Vanda, or the like." With his free hand, he gestured for her to join him at the 'cron. He wondered what Valyrian would do when he sensed her.
  12. The Arrival

    The Force was odd in this new place. Or rather, the way it acted to Verrin's mind was the odd part. He knew why; there were a few reasons. The presence of the Jedi was throwing off his senses - he was so finely tuned to the presence of the Light Side, that when it appeared on Korriban, Dromund Kaas, or Dathomir, he picked it up immediately. But here, where the two factions were becoming one, the Light Side was almost always 'on', niggling at his senses, and sending him into an almost constant state of wariness. When a youngling practiced their art, when a student used the Force to pull a book from a shelf, when a sparring pair used it to heal one another's injuries, each one was a warning bell, telling Verrin of potential danger. But now, those 'dangers' were supposedly not, and he was going to have to learn to accommodate the new sensations, bringing them more into balance with the way he sensed the Dark Side. Years of experience and training had taught him to be 'aware' of other Sith attempts on his life. Now, the Jedi were going to have to be put into that same category of threat-level. He would have to adapt, or else he'd have to medicate himself so that he might find a few hours sleep now and again. This also wasn't his Library - not like he knew it. Sure, he made the space 'feel like home' by hanging the portraits of Temple Lords past, by lining the shelves with his beloved books and flimsi, and by transplanting his office. But it would take time to 'own' the space the way he was used to. It was like buying new shoes that had to be broken in. He would do just that, as he'd done a few times prior to now, but it would take time. Still, there was no mistaking the sensation in the Force that announced the presence of the Sith'ari. Verrin was slightly surprised that the leader of the Remnant would be here, overseeing matters, but perhaps he was still developing a level of trust in Verrin. He couldn't blame the man. Back when he'd been the Hand of the Emperor, and Verrin had newly ascended to the Council, their differing philosophies had put them at odds. But time, and shared experiences had tempered that somewhat. Verrin understood and respected the man's position, and maybe he felt the same way. Verrin could only assume that, given that he was still alive, and still in a leadership role among the Sith. If he was still hated so much in the Sith'ari's eyes, then he'd surely be dead or gone... or both... by now. Verrin didn't quite snap his fingers at Maggie, but a nod and a look from him told her to hurry up with the beverage cart. The command came just before the leader of the Sith spoke, his words surprising Verrin as much as his presence. He bowed in return, and replied in kind, "Sith'ari. We can only show them the way. Sadly... though we lead them to water, they seldom drink." In truth, he was envious of the Sith'ari too. Prior to the recent meeting aboard the space station, he had been unaware that the Sith'ari had children. Seeing him with his offspring unintentionally turned a knife in Verrin's side as it brought up the memories of the family that he had lost to both Sith and Jedi. That, and it seemed like the man had some kind of relationship with Darth Sanguira, who was likely the mother of those same children. Verrin sighed inside. Even though time had turned the wounds to scars, he still missed his wife and children. Granted, it was that love and their loss that made him as powerful a Sith as he was, but if he had the choice to trade the power for them... he wasn't sure he would still be Sith. The Sith'ari went on, both calling Verrin his equal and simultaneously telling him he was promoted. It was contradictory, but still nice to hear, though the truth told Verrin that there were few Sith left to promote. He could see Darth Sanguira performing the job of managing the various spheres as well, if not better, than Verrin given her lust for power and her youth. But then, if she was indeed the mother of the Sith'ari's children, then she likely had her hands full already. She had their upbringing to manage, their personal training, and then the constant guardianship of their lives from potential assassins. And now that Verrin knew Darth Tanit was around, albeit in a new body, he could imagine her taking command. But perhaps she wasn't yet ready to 'come out' as the Darth she was. Verrin bowed a little lower, and just then, Maggie produced two crystal glasses of Alderaan's best bourbon from the beverage cart. The service wasn't fully unpacked, but she'd focused on the guest at hand. Verrin couldn't imagine where she produced the ice from, but there was a single cube in each glass that caused a pleasant ringing 'clink' as Verrin accepted them and offered one to the Sith'ari. He nodded as he offered a toast to him. "As you will it, Sith'ari, so it shall be." Verrin wasn't ingenuous enough to believe that the Sith'ari truly considered him his 'equal', though to even speak the sentiment spoke volumes of their ever-developing relationship. Verrin sipped his drink to cement his toast to his guest, and then covered the former topic. "I understand you wish me to work with some Jedi Archivist to uncover the secrets of some artifacts... items formerly tucked away in the Sphere of Mysteries, but also some devices that the Jedi are providing?" He sipped again - the smoothness of the bourbon warming his insides. "I trust this Jedi is aware and willing to work with me, as well?" Verrin stepped to the door of his office, expecting the Sith'ari to join him in surveying the ongoing work.
  13. The Arrival

    (Two years ago...) The attack on Dromund Kaas had happened a while ago, and the remnants of the Sith had dispersed across the galaxy - some to Nogatan, where this faction had come from, others to a temple hidden deep in the jungles of Dathomir, and still others on the inhospitable world of Ziost. For a while, they licked their wounds, they slowly recovered, and then they stuck their heads out of their respective holes to see how the galaxy was getting along in their absence. It was not going well. The Jedi, feeling that the Sith had been all but eradicated from the galaxy, had pulled back to their enclaves and out of politics at large. And the Republic, without an Empire keeping them in check, had surged to fill the void left behind by the rest. Not even Mandalorians were able to come together to stop it - and nobody believed they would have even if they were at their strongest. The void-filler was a feared and respected leader who disseminated punishment upon the crippled Imperials he came across. Such punishments were largely terminal - a scorched earth policy when one didn't want the roots spreading beneath the surface after the tops of the plants had been cut. But the roots weren't completely eradicated... and they took hold elsewhere. They grew stronger. Scattered Imperials, Sith, Mandalorians, Chiss, and Jedi banded together - the enemy of their enemy was their friend, and they all had a common enemy in the leadership of the Republic. On a small space station, they gathered, and they formed a pact to work together. The plan was to relocate the majority of their forces to a planet called Nirauan, and begin their war upon the Republic that wanted them broken, once and for all. That was then... A short time after, construction was well under way on Nirauan. Expanded facilities and structures were needed to house military folks, Sith, Jedi, Mandalorians, Chiss, and civilians too - not only support staff for the various parties, but refugees, and the usual commerce and business-oriented beings of the galaxy. One such structure was a massive building that would become 'The Archives'. (Some time between now and then...) One night, like any other, the stars over Nirauan winked out of sight as first one massive ship, and then another, and another warped into space, taking up orbit around the planet. Starting at night, a convoy of cargo shuttles began to ferry out of the sky towards the Archives, and that flight-path was still congested when morning came and daylight lit the facade of the building in a warm, orange glow. There were other ships too - some carrying people, others ferrying droids, and one older fighter class ship stole down among the traffic. Its trajectory appeared to be the same as the rest, though when it landed, a large contingent of humanoids emerged. They were clad all in dark, light armor, and wore faceless masks that made them all look alike (aside from height and build, of course). They strode down the boarding ramp with purpose, forming a living aisle for a man dressed all in black, who exited seconds later. This man wasn't particularly tall, or built, nor was he wearing anything that designated him as a person of import or rank. But his mask was not faceless - it bore the resemblance to a bare skull, complete with baleful black eyesockets. He walked unhurriedly to the end of the aisle of guards, and paused to reach up and release some catches on the mask. It came free, revealing the face of a Zabrak beneath it. The Zabrak was older, or seemed to be - it was difficult to tell given all of the tattoo work that covered his otherwise dusky lavender skin. Those tattoos were evidence enough to any Iridonian that this Zabrak had been through much. Many of those markings addressed rank, battles, family, and the dead - and there were far more of them than there were not. He took a deep breath of non-humid air. He didn't quite smile at that, but he was grateful to be gone from the oppressive humidity of Dathomir. His golden yellow eyes surveyed the large building, before him. It was roughly the size of the Institute, back on Nogatan - a massive temple-like structure, and the first time he'd been ordered to build an educational facility rather than just a Library. In a quiet voice, he said to nobody in particular, "It'll have to do." He stashed the mask upon his belt and proceeded forward, with the ranks of Guardians falling in behind him. In the distance to either side of him, the cargo vessels were being unloaded by heavy lifter droids that moved the various containers towards the building proper. Upon entering, Verrin took in the scene. There was a lot to like. The place looked sturdy, for one thing, and definitely capable of holding the contents of a Library twice the size he was used to, if not more. It didn't have the black marble tile he liked, but he could have some flooring reworked, if he was really of a mind to. Besides, this building had multiple levels - something he wasn't so used to. His Library had basements and sub-basements, but upper floors were a thing he wasn't accustomed to, and he snarled a little in disappointment. "Stairs..." he sighed. He wasn't so old that he was pained by taking stairs, but having them to negotiate meant things could get dropped - and not just people. There was nothing worse than tripping with an armful of flimsi, or being pushed by a rival Sith. He finished, "How quaint." Descending one of those staircases now, was a familiar sight though. Maggie, his protocol droid and assistant, negotiated the steps flawlessly, even though her 'feet' were crafted to look like high-heels. She flashed a broad smile as her emotional replicators told her the expression to make, and she greeted her master pleasantly, "My Lord - please follow me. Our wing is this way." Verrin nodded, and followed her into the facility, passing the droids as they assembled a replica of his Library in this area. It appeared there was another wing, adjacent to this one, that was also under some kind of renovation, but for the moment Verrin paid it no mind. The Guardians who followed him fanned out, their leaders surveying the site as they began to fulfill their oaths: to Protect the Library and its Contents. There wouldn't be any lightsaber duels here... no fires... no errant blasters going off... not without their direct intervention. Two Guardians stayed with him though - for he was a 'content' of the 'Library'. Maggie went on about the developing construction, and pointed out that the portraits of the past Temple Lords had been brought along. Even now, they were being hung carefully on the walls of his area, massive twenty by forty foot canvases depicting people who were mostly dead and gone - but people Verrin had served in his time among the Sith. Beyond those, along one wall were a few doors. The wall spanned across both Verrin's 'wing' and the adjacent one - and two doors were within fifty feet of one another. Maggie led him through the one in his section, revealing his office. Sure enough, the black marble tile he loved was already present, though his area rug was still rolled, and his desk and beverage cart were still in packing material, carefully preserved. There were also several crates that he assumed contained the contents of his desk, but only he would be able to make sense of them. He nodded at Maggie - things were moving along satisfactorily. "The adjacent door," he commented, "is that an office too, and who occupies it if it is?" Maggie replied readily, "Why, Jedi Master, Homra Azner, My Lord. The Jedi contingent occupies that wing of the Archives." Verrin's face went deadpan. It wasn't completely unexpected; he knew he'd be working with or near Jedi when he agreed to the Sith'ari's orders, and the pact on that space station. But now that he was here, and now that the idea was becoming reality, caused him to pause and consider. He had a really strong dislike for the Jedi - a hatred, really, though he prided himself on 'being professional' if necessary. Still though... the Jedi would be right... there... Would they miss one master if they went missing? Verrin sighed and rolled his eyes. Even if he wasn't the one to make the Jedi disappear, he would likely be blamed for it, for being so close in proximity. This would likely be a frustrating situation. "Hmph," he hmph'd. And then he repeated, "It'll have to do." He grimaced. He couldn't help it. "Well... better unpack that beverage cart asap. Either we'll have visitors soon, or I'll want that bourbon... whichever comes first."
  14. Welcome to the Galactic Coalition

    Reading the missive aloud, Verrin began a tirade on a couple of points that weren't particularly important to anyone besides him. " '... hearkened back to the good old days where a new member would post somewhere and be grabbed immediately and taken on an assignment...' The 'good old days, indeed! What do they know of the 'good old days'?! Why... back when I started, the Temple Lord demanded that every post be 'graded' and experience 'points' were earned based on the content of every post, nevermind every thread! Why... back then, we had to claw our way through an Academy, climb the ladder of power inch by inch... execute our brethren and dodge the tempers of our masters! There was none of this 'posting anywhere' nonsense, and 'being grabbed immediately'! And what's THIS about? '... in addition to one or two people that generally are just older members that have proven they are workhorses in their own right on this site.'" His tirade that followed covered both being 'old', and a work ethic that wasn't followed by the younglings of today. It left his droid, Maggie, rolling her ocular implants, and sighing in exasperation as her emotional replicators attempted to keep up. She didn't dare interrupt her master though. He finally stopped, but only so he could address, "To keep this simple and clean, all questions and answers, as well as other mumbo-jumbo, can be asked below about the IC portion right now - though the OOC portion will come soon™. " "What the frack do they mean by OOC? What does OOC mean?!" An inanimate object was hurled against the wall. He ended by asking rhetorically, "What I want to know is... when do we start?!"
  15. Won't Get Fooled Again

    At first, the trip to the hangar went smoothly. The turbolift operated as it should, even though Verrin considered- and reconsidered - the wisdom of taking it instead of the stairs. He might get out of a broken, falling lift alive, but would all of the others? In the days of the stronger Empire, he might not care at all, and have just figured 'survival of the fittest' and all that. But now, with the Sith struggling for survival, his role was to keep them alive long enough for them to develop into the future of the Sith. In a sense, he'd become the parental figure he felt was taken from him in his youth. In another sense, he was simply herding a bunch of nerfs. Adept Nadi and Lord Rohl led the way competently, though there was one dicey moment where turbolasers rocked the station and sent debris falling towards them. One of the Jedi who had opted to join them caught the missile deftly though, and held it long enough for the rest of the group to pass by. Her strength in the Force wasn't overly impressive, but her timing was perfect. Verrin considered their caution. He didn't sense any intruders on the station, so they weren't about to be set upon by soldiers. The General apparently showed his hand too early - which was sadly a rookie mistake. Had Verrin been in command of the Spectre once more, he would have fired and destroyed the station without ever announcing himself. Rude? Perhaps. But then, he wasn't a military man. As if on cue, the voice of Vansic Modun came across the stations comms, explaining their escape plan and route. Verrin nodded - the man was efficient, and no doubt realized that not all of them were trained. Even Verrin's young cadre of Sith would know what to do, were they alone. They were just about to reach their ship - a vessel piloted by the husband of one of Verrin's apprentices; a man named 'Key' - when Verrin's eyes went wide behind his mask. The hangar was a large area, certainly, but the wall that faced out of the station, towards space, was open. There were blast doors, but they'd been opened in preparation for their exit, and the only thing keeping the atmosphere in was a low-powered energy shield. Beyond the shield, like tiny mosquitoes flitting about, were the fighters that the General had scrambled. One of them was performing a strafing run at the station, headed directly towards them, and that atmospheric shield would not stand up to the blaster fire that was coming. The Sith were boarding their shuttlecraft, but the Jedi girl and one of the Sith were still ahead of Verrin, and apparently saw what he was looking at too. If they remained there, they'd be ripped to pieces by the gatling-like fire coming their way. There was no time to shove them safely away, nor would that necessarily protect them from the ship's moving line of fire. Fancy lightsaber work wouldn't necessarily deflect bolts that large either. So Verrin shot forward, and grabbed the Jedi and the Sith by their waists. "Hold on to me," he managed to get out, before the 'pak, pak, pak' of the strafing fire breached the atmospheric shield and ran across the decking towards them, melting or buckling the durasteel it hit. It moved menacingly towards them, and then it seemed like they got lucky, because it walked over and around them, without any of them being holed or scarred. As soon as it passed, Verrin released them and shoved them forward towards their vessel. Of course, it wasn't that they'd been 'lucky'. At least four shots went right through them. But Verrin was using the Force to phase their beings momentarily, allowing those deadly shots to pass harmlessly through their bodies. Whether they had the presence of mind to notice what really happened or not wasn't overly important - what mattered was that they all got on their escape vessel safely so they could launch when Vansic's plan of turning the station developed. Verrin paused long enough to take one more look out the 'window'. He really wanted to get onto that vessel and execute every single person on board. He'd never really had the time to grieve those lost at Dromund Kaas and Bastion, nor had he a target for any sense of payback. Now, some of those thoughts and feelings were bubbling, and now there was a target in sight. He growled into his mask, until motion behind him drew his attention. A couple of people from the station were heading his way, possibly hoping for escape on the shuttle. He had room, so he didn't hold them back, but it reminded him that the Sith'ari was 'right behind him', and while Verrin had brought up the rear, he wasn't necessarily the last man out. He looked back the way they'd come as the workers boarded the ship, and wondered if any other Sith, Jedi, or others were coming.