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About Cambul

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    Neither Enemy Nor Friend

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    Alex Murphy

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  1. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    "Names that mean nothing to anyone except you," Cambul muttered, tossing his gun aside as the Weequay charged. The Force dash that assisted his under slice was only barely evaded with a force dash and sliding parry of his own, but the cyborg found himself drawing on what command of the Force that he still had to survive what came next. Overhead slashes. Power slashing. A shien fencer. Cambul did not try to meet the attacks head on, diverting the first swing with a dodging parry that let the cyborg manuever his way out of the force assisted power attack and shunt the blade aside one handed into a book case. Cambul almost danced to the weequay's side, balancing himself and augmenting his speed to catch the next overhead attack. He whirled in place, twisting his wrist as he caught the blade then twisting his body to absorb the kinetic impact and let it transfer to the ground, while guiding it into another shelf, where the tip caught the corner. But the weequay was quick and had soon reacquired him. Cambul used his augmented strength to catch the next attack as he retreated, letting the force dash assisted cut lead his until twisting his blade at the last second as he twirl-retreated further and let the weequay's lightsaber impact into the floor. Parts of the library had caught fire, and his slugthrower had been lost in the chaos. He'd tossed aside a second before the darksider had attacked, and he dare not search for it now. The last strike came and Cambul caught it boldly with his blade, twisting it out of the way and going for a stab when he saw the center exposed, only for the weequay to leap out of the way. He did this the next two times Cambul executed wide but fast slashes designed to bisect him. Cambul increased the wideness of his slashes as well as their speed, attacking anything that looked exposed, beginning a counter-attack on torso of his opponent, most especially his weapon arm. Cambul's precise slashes and thrusts resembled at times a quick figure eight pattern, keeping a tempo between speed and strength, to keep the weequay focused on defending himself and his weapon more, but also keeping him at range so he could not build up the momentum for power assaults. The slashes and thrusts at his neck came fast and fluid, designed to frustrate his power based attacker with a death of a thousand cuts strategy. Cambul taunted the weequay, using his experience fighting darksiders to try and unsettle his opponent. "A street thug. No real common sense. All alone in a spirit's tomb. Foolishly serving whoever tosses you a scrap or two, I bet. That you are still alive is not a sign of skill...it merely means you were not worth killing. A spry young man like yourself and you can't even put down an old busted cyborg in the first few blows. Your teachers would be terribly disappointed."
  2. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Cambul, as he ran through the maze, leaving false trails on other routes with his lightsaber to confuse Morgana as to which route led to safety. He was remembering more of this place, and what had led him here. Vious had been killing Jedi Knights through use of poison and torture. Cambul had trailed her for weeks before storming the place with hired mercenaries and as many weapons as he could logically carry and had proceeded to kill most of her assassins, weakening her by introducing a psychotropic into her food an hour before the attack. She had still nearly killed him. He had still been too far gone to care how close he had come to death back then. Not now. He was tacitly concerned about dying now. Hello, Cambul. A voice, in the back of the mind. Silken. Seductive. He recognized it. "So...You are a better swordfighter than I thought," Cambul said quietly, under his breath. It would seem so. "I escaped your sanctum once before, Sith. I will do so again. Not if I'm wearing that woman you brought with you before you do. Cambul was given pause. For his part he didn't consider it so much as personally condemning Morgana to a fate worse than death...he had actively warned her of the dangers. She had not listened. His concience was clean. "You are merely delaying the inevitable, as I have. Stalling for time. Sustaining thyself in this empty, godless, hole," Cambul grumbled. "But we'll both go into the ground eventually. It is simply a matter of how we get there." Your path to the grave involves your slavery to me. Your first task will be to dispatch your friends once I am returned. "We shall see." Cambul stumbled through the maze a bit more, taking a left, than a right. He found himself in some sort of library. He doubted any of it was the real deal. Vious would have kept the genuine article much more secure. This was likely training notes for her acolytes, intel reports, most of it rotted or about to rot. Some looked intact though. Cambul was about to be on his way when what was left of his connection issued a faint warning about a dark presence close by. Cambul turned as a snarling voice issued a threat. Cambul's lightsaber was out, the ancient white blade humming, lighting the shelves. "Boy, I'm going to give you one chance to space off, and I suggest you take it, because there's a spirit in this place and it'll kill both of us once its strong enough. You wanna play Stupid Darksider, you can do it on your own damn time. Now, either draw your blade or stand aside," the cyborg ordered. "I may have one foot in the grave...but I still have more than enough to put your wrinkled hide down." The cyborg gave a Makashi salute, waiting for the response. *** It watched Morgana pursue the cyborg. It was so close, yet so far. If it had lips, it would have been licking them. This was the one. Great potential, but an inept pilot at the controls. It could see the others in its sanctum, the blind man still cutting through the door. Morgana was not close enough for it to try. There had to be more death and suffering for it to feed on. Much more. But it could still feel the sand, feel every grain everyone stood on. A shift in its will, and the boy started to sink into the sand, screaming and yelling. The blind man instantly shut off his saber and rushed to help his charge even as the screaming grew louder... Just loud enough for Morgana to hear, and follow.
  3. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Cambul heard her distant shouts as he ran ahead but it mattered little, with Kev and the Mute following behind as he had problems of his own. He drew rifle when his force senses screamed a warning into his brain and he instinctively threw a right hook with all his might, cracking the skull of a Hississ, another runt by the looks of it, and caused the still alive animal to crash into a side wall, still flaying, disoriented, and in pain. The Mute rushed forward and jammed his lightsaber into its still snarling mouth, burning it from the inside out. "Don't bother trying to use the Force directly...sithspawn are resistant," Cambul warned. "You'll just waste your energy." They heard snarls from where Morgana was being attacked. "She wants the damn lizards," Kev said sourly. "Maybe we should give her what she wants." Cambul stared at the boy. "You really want this woman dead, don't you?" Kev stared back. "Wouldn't you, if your mother was being turned into something terrible?" "Boy," Cambul said slowly, "You should be just as worried as to what thy own zeal shall turn you into." The cyborg looked ahead. "Just look at me. People like me...we don't get happy endings." Cambul turned back to the boy. "Better to nurse the instinct that causes you to recoil from savagery than ignore it." The Mute tapped his cane in annoyance. He was clearly wondering what to do about Morgana. Cambul sighed. "Time to deliver her the wages of her sin. Let the animals tire her out a few more seconds. Cane-fighter, take the boy and take a right, a left and a straight, than two more lefts, than another right, you'll come to a vast dome of sand. At the center of that dome will be the stone chamber I assassinated Vious. Avoid it at all cost. You'lI know why when you see it. Go to the door at the far end of the dome. That leads to the emergency hanger. Maybe there is a ship we can take. Maybe. I'm gonna take Morgana up on her suggestion," Cambul croaked electronically. The Mute nodded. Cambul turned to the boy. "You'll know when," he said to him. "Dont be too close, of course." Kev nodded in understanding. The Mute looked at them both, and furrowed his brow in curiosity. "Never you mind, stick man. Just be sure that boy survives. And if that spirit goes for you, make sure that boy gets to the hanger. Stay there until me and Morgana arrive." The Mute acknowledged him with another nod, grabbing the boy and running. Meanwhile, Cambul took off in another direction in the maze, knowing he had sent them through a route that lacked Hississ...the other parts of the maze were infested with them. He ran down those parts, careful to activate his lightsaber to leave a trail back to the point he had left the others. He heard the snarls as he twisted down one path, deactivating his lightsaber and firing off a shot to rouse a nest of runt Hississ, and when they came out of camouflage, he went running the other way, leading the snarling mass of animals chasing him right to where Morgana was. Morgana had been correct on the general knowledge but what she failed to understand about these lizards is that they were inherently a product of the Dark Side. To them, any target would do. As he neared Morgana he saw more beasts surrounding her. "Sinner! Is this enough lizards for thee?" Cambul asked, running right towards her with pack of small lizards even as she was threatened with being overwhelmed by three lizards already trying to kill her. He made a simple, crude Force jump over her, while the lizards chasing him focused like a laser on the one still in their path. He took another route down the maze, drawing his lightsaber and running it on the walls of the maze so she could follow him as he ran to the exact center of this hell, adrenaline and desperation forcing him to remember the correct path. *** The Mute ran desperately with the boy, only meters ahead of the Hississ chasing them the claustrophobic nature of their surroundings only made it worse. But Cambul's memory had not faltered. The dome was vast, and covered in white sand. The chamber at the center stretched into the ceiling as a dark tower made of stone. The Mute moved cautiously, nervously with the boy. Nothing. Nothing at all. As he moved quickly, the boy in tow, he spotted the door to the emergency hanger. He made sure Kev was close by as he went to it, shoving his saber into the large, square door. The magnetic seals looked to have failed, so he began the process of cutting through it. As he did so, the sand behind them both shifted. There was no wind that could account for it...
  4. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Cambul, after a few moments hesitation, turned to Kev. "Like a star, boy. Like a star," the cyborg grunted before hitting the switch. Kev paused at Cambul in curiosity." "Private joke," the cyborg explained to him. Kev could only stare in curiosity...before nodding in understanding. The cyborg hit the switch and the door lifted. Metal feet touched soft sand, and the cyborg, Kev and the Mute went forward, turning when the cyborg said to turn. The Mute kept a close eye on Kev while the cyborg took point. The cyborg gave soft little whirs as he advanced from his mechanical body. "How did you cheat death?" Kev asked. "Like I said to Morgana...heh...I'm a good swordsman." "Too cryptic." "Truth is...I'm not so sure I did...take my advice, boy...sometimes winning is worse than losing...because you may find that in winning, you've sacrificed so much the victory is almost meaningless...or the conditions of your victory give rise to worse problems. Unavoidable sometimes, but that doesn't mean there is no point in going out of your way to avoid such victories." "So why bother trying to survive down here?" Kev wondered. "Well, do you want to die in this tomb?" Cambul asked pointedly. "Everyone's death comes for them eventually. That's why Death doesn't mind losing a sword fight now and then...because one way or another, you're going to have a lapse in your defense eventually." "You think we'll make it?" "Kid, I'm not gonna sugarcoat it...we're all looking at a nasty end...I'll do what I can but it isn't looking good. Surely it knows we are here..." Cambul made a turn, and found the slashed open remains of multiple scientists. He did not see the one that had upgraded his body. He did see claw and print marks, large ones. His Force senses tingled, and he open fire in front of him as a Hississ came out of force concealment to attack. The bullets buried themselves in thick hide but didn't quite pierce it. The three dodged out of the way as it leapt, Cambul emptying the magazine into the back of its head, which stunned it from the sheer kinetic impact as it hit. Cambul leapt onto it and felt his joints creak as it thrashed about trying to throw him off in the confined space to no avail, he kept his face from drooling jaws as he snatched his curve hilt and pressed it into its eye, activating it. It thrashed mightily even as the blade burned through its skull. Cambul didn't even stop to catch his breath as he retrieved his rifle, shutting his saber off. "Dark Side Dragons!" Cambul snarled. "Where there are one there are dozens! Hurry!" The three took off just as there was a snarl behind Morgana. "Morgana! Behind you!" Kev shouted.
  5. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Cambul, as he stared nervously at the other side through the small window, he got faint scratches of memory from what was left of his brain. She had been lithe, and quick. Used the maze expertly to try hemming him in. First turns were right, left... He'd seized her wrist, stabbed her when she had tried to disarm him. It had nearly taken his head off, that vertical slice. He'd caught her out of her "guise". He despised that form she took. Revolting. He looked at the Mute. He had no connection to any of them. Not really. "No matter what happens past here...you'll protect the boy, right? Might be able to buy time for you and Kev to escape... The Mute looked at him and nodded. "It's waiting for us, isn't it?" Kev breathed nervously, trembling. "Oh yeah. Its waiting." "Can spirits be destroyed?" "There are old tales of such things, but we have none of the means they tell of at our disposal. We're likely about to die." Kev thought a moment. Then he scowled. "I didn't kill that witch on Tattooine just so I could die at the hands of its predecessor. I'm going home. Even if I gotta go through Ghost-Schutta." "A grand attitude! You will need it. There is a fire prepared on the other side. A fire that is fueled by the foolish and wicked," the cyborg said. "Only fools cannot see the fire until they stand in front of it." "We'll have to take rights and lefts, in that order, three a piece. Forward after that, ignoring passages to the side, then a left, then a right, then another forward. You'll know we reached it, when we are at a pit of sand under a dome. The emergency hanger is beyond that. We move quickly. Cane-fighter, you take the boy and run when I give the signal. We wait for Morgana. No splitting up until then. Got it?" They both nodded. Kev sensed some unspoken plan, but he was not certain what.
  6. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    The cyborg dropped another three before he heard Morgana's whistle. Grabbing the boy, he sprinted through the gunfire, firing from a corner as Kev scrambled closer to Morgana. He saw one Devil going for a grenade and shot him. He heard yelling as the grenade dropped. He shot a few more who attempted to grab it, before pulling back from the blast. There was a loud crack and the pathway behind them collapsed partly. But the Devils could get through all that ice with enough sustained fire. They had less than a minute. He saw the man that had helped him escape. He was in a meditative trance, holding his side. He looked injured. Kev grabbed the cane and as the Mute stirred, he saw the boy and grinned weakly. Kev held out the cane and the Mute grabbed it, forcing himself up. Definitely a castoff, Cambul thought. His weapon was the weapon of a vagrant. The Mute felt his cane for a second before Morgana pointed out the laundry shoot. Cambul was suspicious. He'd been around these Mustafar devils long enough to know they didn't take chances. No way they'd leave a Force Adept unattended... Blaster fire from behind made his decision easy. "We have to go down the chute!" Kev yelled, "They're probably waiting on the other side of that exit!" Indeed, Cambul heard more gathering. The layout of this place already confused him badly. Whoever Prosper was, he had added to the facility, repurposed parts of it. The chute led even lower, might even be a shortcut...but it was lower...deeper in this nightmare fortress. They had no choice. It was all bad. Everything said they were going to their deaths. Good thing he had held back on using the lightsaber, it would do no good giving Morgana an idea of what kind of quality his blademanship was. He would avoid using the blade until necessary. He still had no idea what to actually do about Morgana. An encounter looked dicey at best, and she knew Force Lightning. Cambul forced all thoughts of scheming from his head. Spontaneous, Cambul, he reminded himself. Be spontaneous. That would give her the most trouble. Make it harder to counter. There was a way out. There had to be. Cambul told the Mute to go down first, trying to time it. He was injured, might as well serve point. He had the boy go next. The Devils were nearly through. He went last, shouting for Morgana to follow, just as the Devils burst through and opened fire in their direction with scatterguns, and he was already sliding down the chute barely avoiding buckshot. *** The Mute had landed first, and when he landed and saw what was at the bottom, he grew nauseated at what his force sight showed him. When Kev landed The Mute had immediately placed a hand to cover both of Kev's eyes, and when the cyborg came dow the chute landing in a large pile of bloody clothes he saw why. "Cambul, why won't the Mute let me look?" Kev asked. The stench of the Darkside was like a cold icepick in his skull down here. "Trust me, kid," Cambul asserted hoarsely in his electronic tone. "You don't want to look." He moved through a pile of freshly vivisected corpses, the armor of devils discarded nearby. This was no laundry room. It was a morgue. An ancient one made of black stone. Blood splashed the walls, which were also caked with viscera. The Mute began escorting the boy by picking him up and walking him over the mess and dirty disgusting piles of morgue tools still caked with fresh gore. Cambul struggled to control his emotions with the code as he walked through the morgue. Vious. He remembered a bit more about his kill now. This was all classic Vious. "Why do I smell blood everywhere?" Kev asked, still not allowed to look. "Don't worry about questions like that, we got bigger problems," Cambul said as he heard the faint rumble of someone coming down the laundry chute. He didn't wait up for Morgana knowing she would catch up to them in due time. He headed forward, finding more piles of wrinkled, mummified shi'ido in the dark, deathly silent stone halls beyond. He signalled the Mute, who finally took his hand away from Kev's eyes. There were three main halls , branching out before them but he felt an icy chill of death from the center. The center passage was streaked with blood. He saw a few piles of sand about. "This leads to some central chamber. We have to move. Quickly." He had remembered a bit more. There was a central chamber Vious had used for her worst excesses. Beyond it...a hanger. Her personal hanger. But they had to get through that central chamber He took point, aiming with his slugthrower as he headed down the central passage. He saw more dead Mustafar devils. Sliced. Butchered. Madness of some sort. Prosper's doing, most likely. How had he gotten the drop on them? Poison? This wasn't making any sense. Prosper had said he needed Cambul's help to get in deeper. But this suggested Prosper already had a pretty deep understanding of this place. It wasn't until he came across Prosper's corpse in front of one door, throat opened by a vibroknife that he began to understand. The corpse looked like it had been dead for more than an hour. There were already gnats buzzing about. He had a look of pure terror on his face. Cambul backed off, slowly. The spirit wasn't as weak as he had hoped. This whole place still had juice, as a matter of fact. "Oh dear," Cambul said, turning to the others. "Its a trap." The spirit had manipulated Prosper. He had already known a good deal of the layout, but the spirit needed suffering and death to feed on, and more than that, knew it needed Force Users who would walk willingly into its den. Sure, if Prosper had strongarmed him, Cambul would have cooperated, but he would have delayed reaching this part of the facility as long as possible. Not one of them would have truly come down here freely without delaying. But if you give stupid adepts the illusion of escaping their captives when in truth they would have resisted an encounter with a spirit under the (correct) assumption they would have no chance against it while under armed supervision...then they would foolishly judge rushing towards the spirit as the better option versus risking death in Hoth's ice fields or at the hands of trigger happy mercenaries. Cambul peered through a small window in the door Prosper was next to. He saw nothing but a long hallway, filled with sand, waiting beyond. Coldly, Cambul began to calculate his odds. One of them wasn't going to make it. The situation was just too lethal. The slightest missteps would end in death, or worse. Cambul and the Mute looked at each. Neither wanted to be spirit chow. Cambul stared into that hall. When he heard Morgana come up behind him, he began to speak. "Its in there. I'm certain of it. Waiting. There's a hanger beyond. But I think what's ahead is some kind of maze."
  7. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Cambul charged past the firing of the sonic blasts, aided by the fact the ceiling turrets were already half rusted, and was soon falling back from the firing blaster bolts of the Mustafar devils, who had come charging throught the icy tunnels armed with scattedguns and sonic blasters to force them back as well. The cyborg dived behind a collapsed arch and pulled out his rifle, noting his cyborg hands were not shaking. He wasn't human enough to shake like that anymore. He was terribly scared, of course. But he didn't want to die in a dead stronghold of a dead kill he barely remembered, and he certainly didn't want Kev coming to harm. It was times like this that he was glad he was nearly senile. Wasn't like he could look forward to quality of life. He had been surviving just to survive, he suspected, for a long time. Karma seemed to have tossed him a bone with the cybernetics getting repaired. Half the original stuff that took the place of his organs was on the verge of failure. So he could look forward to a few more years of painful existence, and THEN he would expire as a pile of junk. That was, provided he escaped. He squeezed off a shot, watched his bullet hit one of the devils in the leg, and ducked at the barrage of return fire. He fired once there was a lull. To his surprise he hit two more and injured a third before he crawled to his feet and ran, dodging sonic bolts and metal bullets and blasterfire as he caught up with Morgana on the other end, watching Kev fiddle with the sabercane. He finally got it on and began cutting through the door while Morgana explained the next step. "Oh, joy. You both get to play nightclub bouncer," Kev uttered dryly as he cut. The cyborg turned and stared at the dark Jedi wryly. "Funny enough, I think I WAS a bouncer at one point, because this whole thing is creepily familiar," he said, getting out his rifle. "I'll drill 'em at a distance, you wade through these sinners as you please, just watch out for the sonics and slugthrowers because they brought alot." "Yeah, those guys are jerks like that," Kev growled. The mercenaries arrived and opened fire on all of them, Cambul returned fire, ducking behind a collapsed stone pillar and his head was forced down from the whine of sonic bolts. He force pulled the boy away from the door so he wouldn't get hit and then resumed firing.
  8. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Cambul of course, had no intention of trying to stop Morgana. The reason for this was twofold. One, his technique was lacking both at the force and the blade, and two...what need did he have to try? One does not try and prevent a threat from making a mistake. A realization stilled him as he thought this...if the spirit succeeded, then he would have to contend with whoever the hell they were heading towards who was strong enough to possess her. Cambul began to think about it but stopped himself. Mother had warned him once: NEVER overthink it. Enemy adepts have trouble predicting plans that are spontaneous and on the fly. Plotted threats are easy to avert. But not entropy. He signalled to Kev silently to follow them into the passage. After walking through the passage that was a mix of ice and stone, they started seeing bodies. Old ones. New ones. Cambul frowned, feeling a blanket of evil that was subtly tainting the environment. The oldest bodies looked like piles of mishapen flesh and leather that had been sliced open by a black scorch. Cambul saw the body of a devil masked mercenary next to it. He went over to the mummified pile of flesh. "The hell is it?" Kev asked. "Shi'ido. I estimate no older than, oh, about...sixteen years...guess someone had a tussel," Cambul muttered, noticing really old lightsaber marks on the chamber. "Someone really took this place to the cleaners. Look at all the piles down the passage," the cyborg pointed out, the passage starting to have shrines made of human bones with rotting meat long since dried on frozen bone. "Sliced open, butchered." "Reminds me of Ryleya's sanctum," Kev growled. "Yeah, Vious always did have a thing for torture." "I wonder if this supposed spirit we are heading towards is even Vious, and not one of these Ryleyas," Kev wondered out loud. "What could make them all adhere to this insanity?" "Power makes people do weird things," the cyborg answered, examining the body of the Mustafar Devil. He found a thermite grenade and chucked it to Kev, who caught it. "But as to whether or not the spirit really is Vious...the boy does bring up a good point. But given the threat a spirit poses, the question is irrelevant. If it could survive its demise, the sane solution is to get as far the hell from it as possible normally. Only our circumstances prevent this." "What happens if it tries to possess you?" Kev asked. "Oh, it won't take me," Cambul asserted, standing up. "My days of being a tasty snack for evil spirits are long past me. At best, I'll be a last resort. It'll go for Morgana first if it can, and I heard if she loses the mental duel she gets sent to chaos." "Huh," Kev asked, not sure if he would like it to happen or not. There was faint echo of laughter from down the passage, that seemed to extend far ahead. Prosper had to be down further. "We need Prosper alive. I think there is some sort of security grid we have to get past ahead of us." "You 'think'?" Kev asked tersely. "Dude, its been a while," Cambul snapped. "I had one foot in the trash compactor when Prosper found me. Memory was unreliable before that, however." "You mentioned the Krath. I learned about them in school. Are you that old? I've never heard of a cyborg surviving so long. How did you do it?" Cambul thought a moment. "Swordsmanship," he answered cryptically before proceeding ahead. "Where'd the laughter come from?" There was more laughter. But Kev heard shouting behind them. "Mercs following!" Kev hissed. Cambul began to run. Kev followed. And that was when ancient sonic turrets popped out of the ceiling and opened fire.
  9. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    As soon as he finished cutting open the door, he was hefting it up, partly with his own considerable strength, which caused fire to still human nerves when used, and partly with telekinesis. He used it as a shield while Morgana advanced down an alternate route. The blaster fire started pelting the door he hid behind when he made a turn, and he was forced to hold his ground for what seemed like forever: the shouting sounded like more than a dozen, too many in such a cramped space in this ice. He hid behind it, even as parts began to grow hot from the constant fire, the pelting of bolts against the door like rain drops. A sound of ignited lightsabers took most of the fire off him and he saw his chance, hurling the door into the legs of a nearby attacker, breaking it and sending him into the fire of his friends, who had no time to readjust, as Cambul descended on them with his white blade. "A sinner's only reward is fire," he said under his breath as he cut off an arm. "And the sword it enshrouds." One more leg. Two more arms. Three blasters. He was slow, but he was efficient, subtle decades of knowing when to strike buried in an addled subconscious, bubbling to the surface as he manuvered the curved hilt with both hands, nicking a bolt into someone else's knee, sending another into the barrel that fired it. He was deliberate, and as he moved ominously on the stragglers still firing it was clear he wasn't afraid of using his appearance to intimidate, deliberately playing up his mechanical nature by being slightly stiffer and more measured in his walk as he approached, swatting aside blaster bolts into the walls. Morgana was killing them. He just wanted to live. The last few bolts he swatted into their limbs, nothing fatal, at least not intentionally. He hefted up one survivor, a scrawny human man with black hair, brown skin and wearing maroon colored armor, by the neck. "Prosper's goal. WHAT DOES HE WANT?" Cambul snarled, throttling him. "Boss...the boss...he's been having dreams..." the man answered. "Started after his kid got whacked on Tattooine. Nasty bit...son got torn to pieces. There were parts of him on the ceiling when they found him. Dreams...promising him...something..." "What, exactly?" "This place...there's a woman he wants here. Li Whitewolf." Kev came out of nowhere, slammed his pistol into the captive's grown. The man let out a high pitched shriek. "What do the dreams promise?" Kev demanded to know. "They promise ressurection...for a body." Cambul snorted at this. "Falsehoods. When did the death of his son occur?" "Weeks ago." "Definitely falsehoods." Cambul dropped the merc. "Dreams that want your mother...we could be dealing with a spirit that thinks its strong enough to possess someone. But why focus on your mom?" Kev glowered. "Mom...is different." "Like Morgana?" Cambul asked. Kev looked at Morgana and burst into dirisive laughter. "No," he said between chuckles, wiping tears from his eyes. "Worse. I think she had the black magic in her all along." "A natural dark sider. Great..." Cambul grumbled. "I can see why your pal here would be interested...and maybe why that spirit would be also. Exactly what abilities did your mother manifest?" "Savage, animalistic rage." "Oh, thats classic. She get good with telekinesis quick?" "Somewhat." Cambul knocked out his hostage. "Follow me." After some time of walking he found the main cavern again. No one was there. It was silent While he sent Kev to wait by a disturbinglly quiet and empty entrance to the deeper levels he turned to Morgana. "A spirit is way above your weight level, whatever you are thinking," he said. "If it thinks it can possess you it will try. You might think you could beat it...but what if you lose?" he asked. "You do know what happens to the spirit who loses, right?" He walked off into the entrance, grim faced. "Stick together. The place is booby-trapped, if I recall. You see anything weird, either run or kill it."
  10. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Cambul moved at around the same time she did, his white blade activating as he took a crude, Shien stance with his curved hilt, batting away two blaster bolts from Morgana's attackers into the nearby ice wall. The attackers were cut down however, before he could do much else. Cyra's white blade lit the ice in a hideous, pale glow, as he moved around. His metal feet, articulated like a human's clicked on the ground as he moved to examine one of the corpses, taking an extra blaster clip and what looked like a smoke grenade. "You know things in the Galaxy have gotten delightful when a merc crew actually has the money to waste going themed." "I think they were military," Kev suggested. "Ex-military anyway." "Pub or Krath?" "Huh? What's a Krath?" "Oh, forgot, wrong era," the cyborg mumbled to himself, standing as Morgana told him to lead them to the tunnel. He headed north, his memory showing him some mercy and leading him through a narrow, winding ice passage that ended in a small metal security door. He shoved his blade into the door, carving a rectangular hole in the door. Kev stopped him. "Something is wrong," he said to both of them. "Why is no one guarding this passage?" Cambul paused at this, than he put his ear to the door, shutting his blade off before he did so. He closed his eyes, concentrating. He heard something, shuffling. He silently signalled to Morgana as he resumed cutting the door to get ready. "We got company," he silently mouthed to her. But there was a problem. The passage was narrow enough that squeezing to the sides to avoid incoming fire would be impractical, to say nothing of manuvering lightsabers in said cramped space. Kev suggested something quietly at Morgana. "You can use the black magic of yours to make lightning right? Lets get this gorram cyborg to hold the door up with his black magic, have him advance forward like its a riot shield, while you shock whatever is in our way from behind cover." "He's got a point," the cyborg whispered in an electric hiss. "This passage we're in might as well be a barrel, with us as the fish. Fish and barrels do not mix in these situations." "By the gods, how far gone are you?" Kev asked, clearly creeped out. The Cyborg paused thoughtfully at this question. "Depends," he said after a moment. "How much of me is machine?" "Is that rhetorical?" "...Sorta." Kev rolled his eyes at this, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. "I'm gonna kriffin' die down here..." he moaned, getting out of the way for whatever would occur next. "I'm gonna die down here with a walking rustbucket and the evil psychic equivalent of a community college afterschool tutor." Cambul looked down at his motorized form. "I'm 'not' rusty. There isn't even a bucket installed on me...damn kid..." he grumbled with all earnestness. "Note to self: Never give that little brat a discount on prosthetics..." The door was nearly cut through. "Ready?" he whispered to the Dark Jedi.
  11. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Kev stared at Morgana, clearly not trusting a single word, but judging by his sudden frown, he also clearly knew he had few options. He nodded warily and ran to join Cambul, who took Morgana's lightsaber as they reached the security office in the darkness. He examined the blade, switching it on and scowling. "Yeah, it kinda causes that reaction," Kev muttered, looking at his weapon. "Maybe they have a slugthrower in there." "So, who is this 'Prosper', boy?" The cyborg muttered, cutting through the door. "He was the father of this gangster on Tattooine. Nordra. Nordra wanted protection money. Mom had nothing, but Mom didn't bend to anyone. Our house was burned down by Nordra's best friend. Best friend turns up dead in the desert later from severe torture." "My mother would have reacted similarly," Cambul replied absently, finishing cutting through the door, there was a detonation in the distance. The cyborg stepped into the darkened office, spotting heavy duty weapons lockers. Not wasting time, Cambul reached forward and ripped the electronic padlock off the first locker with his bare hands, servomotors whining as they did so, exposing what looked like simple black blaster pistols inside. Cambul took one, ripping the second rifle off and exposing what looked like very simple, thirty caliber slug carbines. Cambul looked at the child, then the weapons. "You do not want blood on your hands, child," he said softly, taking up one of the rifles. "So you will stay behind me. That is not a request." Kev stared but sighed. Cambul ripped the last lock off the last locker and stared. On one shelf, lay both his weapons. Delicately, his hands whirred out as he grasped the only friends he had with him in this madness. The Lightfoil had been created upon his ascension to Knighthood. He had often ended up with this on his belt more than his actual lightsaber, as he was often in diplomatic events in his youth, and he had taken it with him into his retirement. It was bronze colored, with a largely decorative defensive cup and a pistol grip, for better thrusting and reducing stress on the wrist. The other was Cyra's. Cyra hadn't been too clear on how her curve-hilted blade had ended up in his hands. He wasn't sure he wanted to find out. The delicateness of Cyra's work was something she had gotten from him, the gentle, flowing aesthetics of the silvery hilt with its blade guard merging into one another as they reached the blade guard. He handed Morgana back her blade as he clipped his foil to his belt, still grasping Cyra's weapon. The white crystal was visible in its chamber via a transparisteel window in the blade hilt itself. He pulled out his blaster pistol after he finished staring at it, wondering why Cyra's weapon troubled him so as he clipped it next to his foil. He spotted what looked like a wooden cane, but was actually made of metal. Familiar with the set up, Cambul twisted a mechanism on the T-shaped handle and it split in half, revealing the emitter. The Green blade flashed to life. "Fugitive's blade, definitely," he remarked, shutting the blade off and tossing it to Morgana. "That's the Mute's," Kev explained to him. "Retrofitted training model. Evidence of salt stains, suggesting time spent at sea. Weighted cane, for blunt force trauma. Age and Patina suggest post-sacking. No dual phase action. Doubt the guy finished his training," Cambul noted distantly. "You can tell all that just by looking?" Kev wondered. "Yes," was the Cyborg's blunt answer. He began heading out. "Lets find a way back to that strange door. Its starting to come back to me. This place was meant to be deliberately confusing to outsiders." "You think a spirit has been jumping from body to body, like Morgana said?" Kev asked. "Good possibility. Vious was just evil enough to pull it off. But its more likely you and I have simply faced different shapeshifters. What was yours like?" "Fat, smelly, ugly, disgusting. Left a strange smell when she burned," Kev answered. "Like...like rancid lunchmeat." "Hmm...mine had a preference for body building," Cambul replied, coming across a side tunnel. A larger detonation rocked the whole complex and all the lights went out. Only Cambul's bright green cybernetic eyes were visible in the dark. The eyes were pointed straight at Morgana. Glassy, and not human. The cyborg silently mouthed words at the Dark Jedi, grasping his pistol: "Behind you."
  12. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    The cyborg had run for his life, managing to collapse part of the tunnel by detonating a sonic charge he had found with a drill laser behind him. He sensed the woman, barely managed to slow down while she gave a LONG introduction. Cambul sensed the stink of the Dark Side but was SHOCKED at how open she was being about her scheme. What kind of Darksider was this? Didn't her master teach her to play her cards close? "Lady," Cambul said, tired. "We have a few problems. I just fled Prosper's men. They're coming this way. They got way more weapons and numbers." He looked around, trying to make sense of this place. "My memory is full of holes..." he said hoarsely, his electronic tone adding a harshness to his voice. He smacked his head, trying to remember. What was this place? A name bubbled up from his subconscious. When it was remembered a jumble of images went across his eyes, all of them about slaughter and lightsabers. "We're in the Sanctum of the Geomancer," Cambul said. Kev openly recoiled and stepped back. "This...this place...is it hers? Is it Ryleya's?" "Ryleya...sounds like a witch I offed on Jakku. What was that? Thirty? Forty years ago? That was right before the Jedi temple got sacked. Wait, that name...My God, has it been that long...?" "Robot!" Kev yelled impatiently. "Oh, right, we're being hunted," Cambul muttered absently. "This place...is...was...the stronghold for a cult of Shi'ido Darksiders. The Cult of Ryleya." Cambul looked around. "It was originally a group of Dark Acolytes. They acted as proxies for a Sith Torturer called Darth Vious. Spies, mostly, but assassins when it was called for." The darkened corridors of ice cast an unholy pallor to his cyborg face as he looked around, growing more stressed as he remembered more. "You, Morgana, you probably know this next part," he said ruefully, hands going towards hips joined with metal at the ribcage. "Vious, had a, uh...tell. A bad habit. This schutta--pardon my language young man, I forgot you were there--anyway, this schutta, this schutta was so damned sadistic you know what she liked to do in her spare time when she wasn't breaking people on the rack for the empire?" Cambul asked rhetorically, a snideness in his tone at the question, though the snideness was not directed at them. "She liked to...'roll around in the mud', as they called it back in the day," he explained, wanting his lightsabers. "Strangest thing. She liked to shapeshift into a fat homicidal witch and murder people on rural planets for kicks. Her alias in this guise was Ryleya. Or, it was, until I put a lightfoil through the schutta." "Bull! Me and mom, WE killed Ryleya!" Kev snarled in panic. "Oh, good, so did I," Cambul mocked. "And I thought that was it. Thought her acolytes would break up. But one of 'em, who was smarter than the rest gets the most 'wonderful' idea. Why should the alias go to waste, especially when there were so many shapeshifters left willing to adopt it, and carry out their own schemes, except you can blame it all on one person? In other words," the ancient cyborg added, shuddering from a sudden drop in temperature. "They weaponized a meme." Cambul heard a detonation from far off and shouting. "Look. We can't win a straight fight. We have to lead them deeper. We can finish playing twenty questions later. Where are my weapons?" Kev pointed in the blacked out area. "I saw a security office on my way to the cells. We could try there." "Good boy," Cambul said, walking past them. He turned to Morgana. "Yeah, we can work together. But spotty as my memory might be, I know whatever is at the center of this place is above your weight level. Now, obviously, I have neither the energy, nor the youth, to try and give you a detailed explanation of why trying to profit from this den of blasphemies will end badly for you. But if you are smart, you will at least consider your soul before you touch anything shiny." The cyborg walked off. "We have to get back into the main excavation site after I get my sabers. We only leave this place through those men...or whatever the hell is at the center. But we should resort to killing Prosper only if we have no choice. Maybe if we can capture him...we can negotiate." "Kriff you, you gorram bucket of bolts," Kev snapped, turning to Morgana. "That bastard has been on me and mom since Tattooine. He dies. Here." Kev's eyes were a cold brown. He had clearly reached the end of his patience. "He reminds me of someone..." Cambul muttered as he ran down the ice corridor.
  13. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    Cambul had to give them credit...they never left him out of their sight. He was strapped to that table again, the blind folded man still held at blaster point. And there was the pain. As the full reality of his situation had begun to register, Cambul had found himself unable to shoulder his responsibility to the others. To his own distaste, he had fled Uriek in the night, finding the Galaxy thought him dead. The first three months had been spent in the burned out remains of Chateaux Naldi on a lonely area of Boz Pity. Only parts of the underground were habitable, a burned out lab in particular with a sparse bedroom chamber had been his home as he tried to piece together whether or not any of his funds were still accessible. A book he had found let him know of a single shadow-account on a shady bank on Nar-Shaddaa. One kept completely off their official records. He had not tried to access it yet. The lab had some cybernetics equipment, all outdated, but usable. But his old cybernetics had caught up with him. And so he had been found on Boz Pity, by this Prosper. And now he was really screwed. He had to find a way out of here, but he was surrounded. Only way he escaped was if they slipped up, which wasn't likely, or if he received outside assistance. He wanted a lightsaber, more than anything. Give him just one, and he could get out of here. He wasn't the best anymore, but he wasn't so far gone he couldn't defeat mere soldiers. Even with his newly repaired and replaced cybernetics causing painful phantom aches in his nerve endings, he still had his servomotors, which were built to last and gave him great strength. But he still needed help. Maybe that scientist-- The lights in the cavern cut. All the power cut. Including the power to his magnetized restraints. While others were scrambling in the Dark, Cambul had already snapped one open and was heading for his legs when he saw a flashlight train on him and an order from that devil-themed merc to freeze. Cambul did so and the Merc ordered him to return to his prior position. Cambul straightened out, sighing. The Merc yelled as the Blind folded man wrenched the blaster away from his face and shot the Merc pointing a rifle at Cambul before breaking free and running down a ice tunnel. Most of the mercs gave chase, and by the time the remaining ones trained their rifles back on Cambul's position, he had already freed himself and was running, brutally knocking over a scientist as he ran as fast and as hard as his artificial legs would allow down a seperate ice tunnel. *** Kev stumbled out of the power room in the ice caves of frozen rock. He had a cut on his forehead and a bruise on his cheek. He was holding a baton, having forced himself to escape as he was being transferred to another cell, knocking out his captor and immediately making his way to a power station he had seen, taking a blaster to the generator. It might buy time. Maybe. He was running through the darkness, having left two guards he had surprised and overwhelmed unconscious near now destroyed generators. As he ran, the darkened ice tunnels created nightmarish shapes on the ice that subconsciously made the young boy run faster, even as he heard some sharp crack or dislodging ahead. He held out his blaster, hand trembling as he aimed... ...and ran smack dab into Morgana, having done her own escaping. Not sure if her still being alive was really an improvement, Kev lowered his pistol, sighed, and leaned against a wall of ice. "We're in some kind of fortress. On Hoth," he said. "Overheard one of the excavation crew when they walked by my cell. I don't know where the ships are, so I bought time by cutting the power," the boy said. "We need to find the Mute and split. The feel of this place...it reminds me of Ryleya, for some reason."
  14. The Geomancer's Retreat!

    "Why go to all the trouble of repairing me if all you are going to do is threaten someone the moment I don't know what you talking about?" "I'm not too clear on what you remember exactly. But you were not lucid. Your cybernetics needed a near complete overhaul. You were in no condition to tell me what I wanted. Repairing you was a matter of necessity. Gaining your cooperation is my only goal. Whether you actually want to help is not my concern." Prosper held up a man Cambul did not know, a man in a black, tattered shirt and trousers with scuffed boots. He was pale skinned, with a dark, maroon colored blindfold. His dark hair was shaved to a buzzcut. His face had an angular, chiseled look to it. He look wounded, bleeding from the mouth. Bruises everywhere. They'd been beating him. Cambul now had a decision to make. He could continue to agitate Prosper, and get an innocent man killed, or he could try and buy time. "You have to understand...it was a long time ago. I haven't been here in decades. But tell you what...show me this tomb entrance and I will see if I can't figure out how to open it," Cambul croaked electronically, throwing Prosper an exasperated look. The greedy types. Always so pushy. Prosper snapped his fingers and team of heavily armed men in red, demon-themed armor stepped forward and unhooked Cambul from his restraints, hefting him up roughly and increasing the sting of pain in his joints. He was dragged through what looked to be a vast cavern that bore the ruined stone skeleton of some kind of large chamber. The architecture was simplistic, black brick, buried in the ice. He saw faint traces of blood splatter. Blaster bolts. Lightsaber burn marks. He spotted a few scientists, who looked to be archeologists studying what looked to be frozen corpses. Cambul was struggling to remember. He remembered a viridian lightfoil piercing purple skin, but that was about it. What the hell had happened here? The brought him before a great black set of doors, which were clearly locked. They were recessed into frozen rock. Cambul felt something suddenly. A sense of cold. Evil. "Even as dead as I have become to the Force, what remains of its blessings tell me you want no part of what lays beyond those doors," Cambul warned Prosper earnestly. "Your only reward on the other side is a fast track to the grave. What do you seek, Fleshy? What sinful thing in there has tempted you to malice?" Prosper merely stuck a blaster in the blindfolded man's face. Cambul sighed. He stared at the door. He looked around. It looked familiar but. He flinched as an oily voiced woman's scream echoed hideously through his mind. He lost focus for a second, came to, and he approached the doors, walking unsteadily on his own. He recalled...something. A trick. He began to understand Prosper's gambit a little better. Prosper knew he couldn't just reduce Cambul to a head and a chest, because then Cambul would have completely refused to cooperate. Also, he needed what amounted to a guide. Plus, he was subtly dangling a carrot in front of him. He just got a newly refurbished body, free of charge. Perhaps he might yet be allowed to walk away from alll this. Cambul took one look at Prosper, who returned a mild look of distaste, and knew right then that as soon as this was over, he and that other hostage were getting unmarked snow graves. Maybe Prosper would put them in a body bag if he was feeling generous. Not likely. Not at all. Cambul spotted a small rock. It would not have normally caught his attention, save all the other rocks had a dull gray color in this ice cavern. This was the only one that was black like the doors them selves. He tried lifting it. The first time his servos started to whine he stopped. He tried twisting it. Nothing. Ignoring the thudding pain in his skull he focused, stretching out his perceptions, feeling the Force spread through the caverns contours. The Force fed him back a dull impression. An impression of something important under the rock. He got up, rubbing his chin. He held out his hand, straining, forcing himself to ignore the constant, maddening ache that was his whole body. He struggled. So much was lost. His connection was a joke. But what was left would see him through. He felt what was left of his telekinesis slip around unsteadily on the mechanism underneath the rock. He didn't have the physical strength to turn that mechanism. But maybe he still had the mental strength. Weapons were trained on his head as he stretched out his hand, covered in metal and patches of synthskin mixed with what was left of human flesh and muscle. Prosper called them off, and Cambul turned the mechanism under the rock, though it strained him terribly in the process. He dropped to his knees, panting, mind hurting as much as the body as he finished and a heavy, audible click sounded from the doors. Prosper shouted for the doors to be opened. Cambul stared. "What now?" "For now, you will go back to the doctors. Until I need you again. Once I am prepared to explore this place further I will summon you," Prosper answered. "What are you after?" Prosper smiled. "You're a smart man, Cambul. At least you were reputed to be. I'm sure you will have plenty of chances to figure it out." "You are a fool if you think this will go in ANY way as you have planned." "Noted," Prosper said with another smile. "I'm sure you know the way back to the doctors and won't require...persuasion." Cambul looked at the guns around him, and the devil themed soldiers holding them. "And you are, worst of all, a Devil Worshipper," Cambul snapped as he headed back to the medical area.
  15. Selona 23rd 3632. (Immediately after Pendragon Estate Thread) Hoth. "Cambul Naldi, your day of reckoning is upon you." The voice was heavy, a baritone with a dusty rattle underneath. "No, not like this! Its not fair! We were murdered! We were all murdered!" The voice was soft. Clear. Panicked. Devastated. "Your time to cross is come! Do not fight your fate." "She murdered us. We were her friends and she murdered us!" "The Force shall hold no pain for you." "NO!" Cambul screamed in the swirling fires around him, sapphire in color, the thing in ash robes before him pointing a great claymore that was ablaze with sapphire flame. He could not see the face, just the eyes. Two glowing orbs of white flame, the hood failing to conceal them. Death pointed its sword at Cambul Naldi, Cambul, a ruined burned, half melted mess still mysteriously standing, holding only his viridian lightfoil, trying not to buckle on melted knees. He was beyond mere pain. He had entered an agony he had not conceived of even in his darkest nightmares. And yet he could still stand, still focus. He felt agony everywhere, yet he was not dead. Merely halfway there. He could not let her get away with it. With what she had done. She had to face justice, even if it killed him. But not just yet. "I will not go yet!" "Then, Cambul Naldi, thou shalt be made to." Death lunged, the flaming claymore rushing for Cambul's skull. The mutilated thing that had once been a pacifist dodged and feinted backward out of instinct, The area around him and Death was just endless, swirling spirals of sapphire flame. He parried the second sword attack, and somehow managed to force Death backward. He dodged, parried, and outright blocked Deaths sword with his foil, which should not have been possible, as Lightfoils were weak against power assaults. But it worked all the same, Death pressing the attack and Cambul falling backward and executing a spin to the right of Death that ended in a retaliatory slash that was almost against his will. The screams of his friends as Cyra's flame consumed them bounced around like hornets trapped in his skull, feeling the pain of every death twist him, worse than the flame. He had failed them. He wasn't good enough. He should have had his lightsaber. If only he had had his lightsaber he could have killed her, save everyone else. It was this heartwrenching realization that allowed him to not really feel the weight of Death, not feel its edge press on him. The flame blade struck and struck, but he met it with parry after parry, dodge after dodge, swiping away the flaming sword from seemingly everywhere. Death pulled back. Its sword was held in a vertical position. "Your will to live is strong. But you are denying yourself the mystery of death." "CYRA OF PRESS MUST FACE JUSTICE!" Cambul was not certain, but through his own agony he thought he saw Death cock its head to the side under the hood in pity. Or perhaps curiosity. He was not certain. Death lunged. Cambuls next moments were a hurricane of sword blows met with elegant parries, slices, and counterattacks. Cambul gave only as much ground as he needed careful not to remain too defensive. Death was power blows and thrusts, mixed with lightning quick feints, slices that tried to cut Cambul's head off. But Cambul would always find a way to be where the sword edge wasn't in the exchange between them. Death fought hard. But Cambul was somehow faster. Somehow swifter for one solitary instant. The lightfoil pierced Death's robes. Death stopped, mid sword blow, and stared at the lightfoil stuck in its chest. Cambul drove it in further, the shock at his friends deaths giving him a strange resolve. An acceptance. "Beware Cambul," Death warned. "Sometimes winning can be worse than losing." *** Cambul shot awake on the operating table. He screamed, not from pain, but the stress of the recurring, disjointed nightmare. "Subject is awake," one of the hazmat suited doctors noted in the ice cave. The lights over his face were blinding. "Adrenal system is normal...whats left of it..." He felt clamps. Both arms and legs. He felt heavy. Felt ugly. "Is the subject cognizant?" "Sir, I've never dealt with anyone this heavily cyberized. Frankly, I'm amazed he's not ranting and raving gibberish. Lots of cyborgs go insane from too much modding." "Will he hold basic conversation?" asked one of the scientists. "I don't know," answered the other, a woman by the sound of it. "We had to rip a lot of junk out of him and update. He didn't even have a jaw when we found him." "Mr. Prosper paid you and your technicians a great deal of money to restore him back to health and coherency. He expects what he paid for...quality." "He should be able to talk. We even manage to fix some of the brain-damage. Added more cyber brain implants to compensate. Even replaced some of the really old stuff in his head." "I'll return with Mr. Prosper shortly," said the other, Less than agreeable scientist, who turned to leave the ice cave. Cambul blinked. His groan had an electronic tone to it. He saw the female scientist step away from her computer, going over to him while others worked at what looked to be dig sites in the vast ice cavern. He seemed to be sequestered in an area full of medical equipment. What else was new? "What...how long...was I out? What's going on?" he called out weakly. The female scientist, her face covered by a hazmat hood with a tinted faceplate leaned over him. "Shut up and listen," she said. "You're in terrible danger. Prosper is coming." "Who?" "The guy that paid me to rip out most of the outdated junk you call cybernetics and replace it with more efficient, modern materials. Nothing military grade, just more efficient. I left your arms microhydrolics intact though. Those things are primitive, but very strong design wise." "I have a jaw..." "You're welcome," she hissed. "Listen, you have to tell Prosper whatever he wants to hear. About this place. About the tomb..." "Tomb...? Where am I?" he asked, barely coherent. "You're on Hoth. We're in what was supposedly a stronghold for a Sith you murdered." Cambul had learned enough about his activities as a solo fighter post Uriek to know he had pulled some things against Dark Siders that would never have been tolerated by the Jedi Order. It seemed this was one of them. "Which one?" he quietly asked. "I dunno what you have heard...but my memory is a tad fuzzy." "Make something up then," she hissed silently. Cambul looked around him. The place seemed faintly familiar. Could not quite place it though. A flash of a viridian blade piercing a slender, purple skinned figure startled him. A memory fragment. "I need my weapons." "Prosper has them." "Where? "His ship, the Mabari Razor. Its in a hanger in this complex," the scientist answered, startled by a fast approaching series of steps. "Damn it all, he's coming!" The scientist headed back to her workstation. Cambul stared at Mr. Prosper. He was a zabrak with brown, almost bronze skin, clad in expensive but high quality cold weather gear, face with a puggish quality with a long brown head of hair tied into a ponytail, the crown of horns on the scalp poking through. He had a pleasant, easy going look. That was what put Cambul on alert. "Cambul Naldi. Son of Jedi Knight Madeline Naldi, last surviving member of House Naldi, a Tapani Family of noblemen and Jedi. A pleasure to make your acquaintance," Prosper said formally and coldly. "Spent yourself quite the pretty credit fixing a broken old cyborg," Cambul muttered, the pain he was in from his cybernetics near constant. "What could I possibly have to offer someone with that kind of money?" "Easy. A way into the heart of this sanctum," Prosper said. "This is where you slew Lady Vious, correct?" "Let us pretend my memory isn't full of holes and I know what you are talking about," Cambul snapped bitterly. "Lady Vious, a sadistic Sith torturer. Her specialty was Geo-Kinesis. You ran her through with a lightfoil here decades ago. Eighty years, to be exact." "Must have been a slow weekend," he quipped, the name ringing certain bells in the back of his head, but not enough to meaningfully remember. "Don't tell me you were her concubine or something. You are wasting your time avenging someone who didn't give a Kriff about you probably." "I don't seek revenge and was not her lover. But I do want to know how you got in to the inner doors." "What's in it for me?" "Your life." "Try again. I'm not built for enjoying it," Cambul snapped. Prosper sighed. "You are not known for harming civilians or Jedi. So I must assume some kernal of humanity remained for you to choose that. I'll exploit it," he said, snapping his fingers, bringing the prisoner in heavy restaints, blasters both sonic and slug thrower trained on prisoner. Prosper pulled out a pistol. "Tell me what I want to know or I will harm the defenseless prisoner," Prosper said.