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Zyann Aari

A Glance Into Darkness

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Zyann Aari    199

Selona, 3628 BBY

Dromund Kaas - Kaas City

 

Where tall spires of buildings once stood jutting out of the clearing within a lush jungle, only few remained intact; having a ship crash into a populated city was damaging enough, but the Limitless had been the size of Kaas City, had wiped out nearly the entire area and then some upon impact.  Many trees no longer stood, those that did showing signs of fire and wind damage.  Rubble littered broken streets that all led to what remained of the vessel.  

 

The Republic occupants hadn't bothered clearing away the destruction they caused that day, hadn't cared to rebuild homes for the living occupants of the city.  No, they converted the crashed ship into everything they might need: communications center, housing, storage, prison, and cantina.  Patrols watched the entrance to the makeshift city, and groups made regular rounds near problematic areas such as the jail cells and cantina.

 

Having transferred all spare credits to the smuggler @Kala Ming, Zyann made sure all her supplies were packed, her comms silenced, and her weapon fastened at her hip.  She had to be fully prepared, had to be as stealthy as possible given the fact all Jedi would be targeted along with Imperials and Sith according to the holo received in the midst of the supposed secret meeting.  Besides, the woman was practically going in blind, suppressing her signature a bit as well as reinforcing her mental barriers - too much suffering took place there, and should she not stay on the defensive in every form possible, the woman would be overcome with images and emotions not her own, would be paralyzed, vulnerable.

 

...

 

As much as the brunette longed to take the alien's place, for now Darth Sanguira knew her use would be in providing needed supplies, using and expanding connections that would only strengthen her rule when the time was right for her to don the title of Empress.  Saving Imperials meant more subjects to rule, more beings to favor her over other possible candidates, more loyalty and support.  Yes, the decision to contact the drunken pilot was an easy one after hearing the female tell the Jedi a trip to Kaas wouldn't be free.  With their lines properly secure now, the Sith woman waited until all had made it clear of the surprise attack and were far enough away to not have the transmission so quickly intercepted.

 

"Miss Smuggler, I am Darth Sanguira.  While I currently don't know your name, I don't really care - I am only interested in ensuring survivors make it off of that planet.  The Jedi has little funds, I assume, given their nature and lack of personal belongings, so if my guess is correct, that girl has only enough for a one-way trip."  

 

Leaning back in her seat, her expresdion neutral save for an amused glint in her eye that may or may not be noticeable in the call, the woman elegantly laced her fingers together, hands resting in her lap.  Oh what she would do for some wine about now...  

 

"I have a map with secret trade routes, and a sector that will accept your business with a simple word from me.  The map belonged to my father, so only a select few in his trade have knowledge of these routes that help you avoid trouble from other factions.  Both the trading access and map are worth more than you can possibly imagine, but in exchange for these, you will wait for the Jedi to gather survivors and get all of them safely off the planet.  Do we have a deal?"

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Kala Ming    13

Kala took the message with a stoic  look. Her features impassive and indifferent. Kala was unsettled doing business with a Sith. It crimped her style.

 

Kala had trained for a short period of time with Jedi but that was before the Jedi found out she was woefully lacking in some of the finer techniques of the Force. Plus Kala couldn't stomach Jedi philosophies. She couldn't stomach Sith philosophies either.

 

Maybe she was more grey or perhaps a greyish-green since she was Corellian. Kala was a emotional and passionate woman though. So Kala considered herself on the "rogue" side of the Force. She was neither on the Light or Dark. 

 

Kala mulled over the woman or Darth's words. Crossing a Sith Lord was not wise. Kala knew that saying "No" was akin to signing one's own death warrant. Kala had no desire to die. But saying "Yes" was basically letting the Dark Lord's influence drizzle through. Kala would be beholden to this woman for a long time if she agreed.

 

However, Kala had a relatively good heart. She had intended to let the Jedi's lack of credits slide and take a loss. Kala had some sense of nobility about her and was going to stay and let the Togutra Jedi gather up refugees anyway.

 

Kala suddenly laughed. "You don't know me, Miss or how I operate. If it means anything to you I will stay put. I don't go back on agreements or deals. Course on a profit margin or even business model that really isn't practical. So...."

 

Kala grinned and was silent. She let thirty seconds roll by and then a minute. Let the Dark Lord be just a bit nervous if that was possible. Let her sweat some.

 

"You have your self a deal, sweetheart."

 

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Isa Sal    12

At least Mandalorians actually bothered to build and repair what was theirs - whether it had started in the hands of another people or not. Isa lay prone on a rocky ledge a good distance away from what had once been the city of Dromund Kaas, barely recognizable as it was. The former Imperial city below her screamed of neglect, shattered buildings and rubble-filled streets all stood as some sort of twisted monument to the Republic’s work here. And right in the centre of it all, like some leering statue that exulted over its victim, was the crashed ship Limitless. The ship the Republic had turned into a city of its own. Why, Isa hadn’t the faintest idea. To her it seemed like a shabla stupid thing, to not only destroy an entire city with a ship, but then to leave it there and live out of the carcass. All they were doing was digging deeper trenches between themselves and those they’d conquered here, giving them a daily reminder of all that had changed, all that had been lost. Not exactly a smart way to occupy a planet. But then again, the Republic’s strategies had been remarkably scorched-earth lately, leaving Isa bitterly wondering how they could still see themselves as different than the Empire they’d fought so hard to unseat and cast out.

 

Who’s acting like the shabla emperor now, chakaar? She mused darkly. Taking lives and worlds on a whim hardly seemed to fit the title ‘Chancellor’, after all.

 

She rolled her shoulders slowly, trying to ease the stiffness from her sore muscles as she considered her situation. She’d hiked in from further in the jungle, where her own ship was now hidden away in dense foliage. Hopefully none of the large wildlife tried to make a meal out of it, but at the moment that was the least of her problems. She needed to get into that shabla ugly fortress, and make it back out again with at least one other person in tow, if not more. Add to that the fact that she herself wasn’t exactly in the best condition of her life, thanks to the events that had led her here, and life was getting more and more tricky by the moment.

 

Buir, why in haran couldn’t you have gotten yourself holed up in a normal prison?” she muttered, shaking her helmeted head. The sound of her voice stayed safely ensconced in the confines of her helmet, her vocoder switched off. There was no one to talk to anyway, and she was down to both her simplest and most advanced tech within her suit’s systems. Simplest were the ones anyone might have, with nothing even remotely unique about them. And the most advanced were pieced the Republic likely wouldn’t even think to look for, much less be able to pinpoint. As it was, she was being careful to stay well out of sight - her armour was hardly camouflage, and until she had a way in, she didn’t much feel like getting spotted by some eager-to-please Republic trooper who would drag her to the jail cells - if they even bothered.

 

Still, least I would be inside, she thought darkly. Provided, of course, they didn’t opt for a blaster bolt to the brain. And with the way the Republic had been acting lately, Isa wasn’t willing to bet her life - and the lives of those she’d come to pull out of this mess - on the outcome. One hand lifted to her still-sore throat at the thought, the skin bruised all the way down her shoulder, with others lacing the small of her back, her right arm, and her left thigh. There was also a particularly nasty bruise right beneath her left collarbone, left from a blaster bolt whose killing force had been stopped by her beskar, but had left its own complaint, if a less deadly kind. She was well aware that her buir hadn’t been the only one they’d been looking to drag here. Luck alone had kept her from falling into the same type of trap that had snagged him.

 

It was time to oblige the hutuun'la Republic, though likely not in the way they’d hoped.

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Mirran Kai    88

Mirran felt like she had gotten pulled along for the ride. She was quiet and followed along with Zayyan. She let her take the lead because Mirran was only a Padawan. Yet Mirran vowed to help out where she could. 

 

So this was Dromund Kaas. Mirran had heard stories of this place and none of it good. The planet seemed to radiate sorrow, pain, anger and hate. Mirran could see it and feel it. It also radiated off the various life forms here. Mirran gasped and then bound her senses up as she had done on Tython. 

 

Mirran cocked her head curiously. Tython was broken, Dromund Kaas was broken. One planet a beacon of light, the other a beacon of darkness.

 

Did this mean that the Force and the natural flow of the galaxy was out of balance? Mirran wondered about this and then said softly more to herself than anyone else. "Tython and Dromund Kaas must both be rebuilt. The two spectrums of the Force are imbalanced." 

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Zyann Aari    199

With a glance to their pilot and her ship, the comms on all three beings set to the same frequency and directly linked to one another, the Togruta slowly, carefully reached outward with her already heightened senses; the Force slipped from her like small strings of light extending around the pair just beyond an average line of sight.  It was too much to open herself further just yet, and while the feeling would be weak at best if her energy found something, it was better than being taken completely by surprise.

 

"Can one heal such damage, or would it be merely tossing a bandage on a fatal wound and wishing for the best.  In this galaxy, planets and even stars are destroyed and reborn in another form.  These planets were in their later stages of life, and it is a process all experience eventually.  Do not mistake the pain of the flora and fauna for that of the ground we stand upon... If you prune a plant, it will feel pain, no?  Yet the pruning keeps it healthy, extends its life.  The dark feelings and energies here are sourced around the death that took place.  Imperials were happy before the Republic interfered, otherwise there would have been no Empire.

 

"The Force, light or dark as it may be, is neutral until we, beings that utilize it, come along.  Through our personal practices and beliefs, we cause change.  We create the imbalance by infusing ourselves deeper within the Force.  Through studies and experience as you gain a strong control over your mind, you will fully see it.  Your people have some of the best understanding of the Force and how it works based on your genetic composition."

 

Pressing herself against what used to be a building and a fence that barricaded the city, Zyann glanced around the corner.  Two guards were stationed there, and blocking the quickest and most direct route to their destination.  With the men fully armored, it would cause too much commotion to inject both with a sleeping stim, and so they had to be dealt with directly.  

 

Turning to the Padawan, the woman smiled, slipping a hand to the other's shoulder in hopes to help ease the nerves.  "While I deal with the guards, I need you to seek out any life signatures in our direct vicinity.  You can do that, yes?  Chances are there are citizens hiding, and we need to get them headed for the ship before our situation becomes hostile."  

 

Without waiting for a reply, the Jedi walked out into the open, hands flying out in front of her the moment the men looked at her cloaked figure.  They flew back, smashing into the wall.  The impact would only deter them a moment, likely knocking their breath from their lungs.  No further action and the Republic stationed on this desolate place would know of their presence.  Fingers twitching, it took precious time to forcefully undo the clips to their helmets, but the moment their faces and necks were revealed, the Jedi apologizes and made a flicking motion with her right arm, two darts filled with a sleeping tonic hitting them in the neck just below their jaw.  Her brow had been furrowed, eyes never wavering from the targets, her senses honed in on them and not their surroundings; it was a hard lesson in combat she had to learn on her solo journey to various secluded locations, most host to the lesser scum of the Galaxy.  

 

Walking up to the slumped over men, Zyann checked their pulses before nodding and taking the dart-like vials that were now empty.  They could be sanitised and reused in the future.  "They have some time before they wake...maybe just before we get out of here.  Vitals are strong, no signs of abnormal reactions," she mumbled to herself before picking up the helmets to put on some rubble that was roughly the same height as the men.  No need to alarm anyone taking a quick glance and not seeing those meant to be stationed at a post.

 

"Padawan Mirran.  Anyone nearby, or are we set to move?"

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Mirran Kai    88

Mirran was not sure she agreed with Zyaan's assessment. Yet she was certain there were several viewpoints in the Force. As many as the beings I'm the galaxy. It was enough to overwhelm Mirran. 

 

The smuggler in the front of the ship stated that she had supplies in the back of her ship. Although where the woman had gotten them Mirran did not know. Mirran had a feeling that the smuggler had either stole them or got them through questionable means. The smuggler dumped a load of these supplies into a couple of packs and gave them to Mirran. 

 

Mirran opened one up and fingered rations, first aid kits and other survival gear. Hmm...

 

Mirran nodded. "I am ready to do whatever the Force wishes and this planet is restless it is not warm or inviting. There are things in the shadows that wish our death but it doesn't matter if we are Jedi or Sith. It treats everyone in the same manner."

 

Edited by Mirran Kai

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Isa Sal    12

Isa sighed, shaking her head as she dropped from her small outlook. No matter how she came at this, she always reached the same conclusion. There wasn’t going to be a simple, clean way in. There was going to be a risk factor to this whole thing that she didn’t particularly like, but she was simply out of time.

 

She approached one of the walls of the former city, doing a quick scan with her HUD as she crouched beside it. There were no immediate entry points, but she wasn’t concerned about that. Gates were only one way in, and she had another.

 

Her HUD showed two guards on the other side of the wall. Decent odds, and likely the best she would get. The rubble had left the area a maze, meaning there were few clean lines of sight from post to post. Luckily, this was not one of those, meaning those on the other side were relatively isolated. Isa blinked twice, activating a system in her suit. A simple comm jam. Nothing overly fancy, as it would simply look like a bit of interference. Not uncommon with the storms on the planet. It meant she’d have a limited amount of time, but she hoped she wouldn’t need more.

 

Way to have an osik plan, Isa, she thought wryly, a small smile pulling at her lips. She shook her head wryly, looking up to judge the height of the wall.

 

“Oya,” she murmured inside her helmet. Waiting around wasn’t going to make this more plausible.

 

Isa launched herself up and over the wall, her jetpack giving her the height needed to allow her to drop to the other side. Her scans had been correct, and the two guards whirled to face her as she landed, each already pulling pistols. Isa managed to slam her gauntleted left hand into the throat of the closest one, staggering him and buying time even as she fired a dart from her left gauntlet towards the second guard.

 

But she had miscalculated with the first guard, his recovery far quicker than she had expected. A weight slammed into her side even as the second guard fell, unconscious before he struck the ground. Isa crashed into the wall, the first guard’s armoured shoulder pinning her there with surprising ease. She cursed, fighting to twist free even as her already bruised shoulder screamed in protest at the sudden mistreatment. This was not the plan.

 

The guard was good, she had to grant him that. He kept her pinned with his bodyweight, her own position twisted enough that she didn’t have a clear shot at him with either of her pistols. She needed to turn for that, and his superior height and weight made that a near impossibility. She heard the hiss of a knife unsheathed, likely with his free hand. Thank te manda she had gone with full armour for this instead of a lighter half set. As it was he had no good places to try to stab her, meaning she had at least a little time. Fingers scrabbled for her helmet, hooking beneath the rim and trying to jerk it off her head. Smart. Unfortunately, the chakaar didn’t seem to realise it was sealed with a catch. Unless he managed to release that, her helmet would be staying firmly in place. She slammed her head to the side in retaliation, and the crunch of metal meeting bone and cartilage was grimly satisfying. He shouted a curse, blood spattering the shoulder plate of her armour from his now broken nose as he tried to stab through armour. He was rewarded with the scrape of metal on metal, but the gaps in her armour were hard to hit in a struggle like this, her weight braced against his limiting his movement if he wanted to keep her pinned. They were at an impasse for a few moments, and Isa let loose a string of curses inside her helmet, well aware that she was running out of time. The jammer wouldn’t last much longer, and all he’d have to do was call for backup and she’d be finished.

 

He managed to get a grip on the rim of her helmet once more, but this time he shoved forward, slamming her helmet into the wall and taking off a decent stripe of paint. Her head slammed against the inside of her helmet, hard enough to make her dizzy. Isa tasted blood in her mouth, suddenly grateful for the padding inside her helmet, otherwise that would have hurt a lot more. She dropped the pistol in her left hand to free her grip, slamming upwards against his wrist and trying to break the hold. His grip broke and she shifted her weight to the side, forcing him to adjust his footing or fall. He tried to adjust, but the motion rocked him back ever so slightly, changing the balance of power. She twisted, and realising his mistake he swung, knife blade flashing in the dim light. But he’d been watching her right side, as most attacks would come from that way and her left hand was empty. But Isa drove her left wrist forward instead, bending her hand back even as she slammed up towards his ribs, between the gaps of his armour. The blade hidden in her gauntlet slid out, meeting flesh and cutting through effortlessly. Her right hand had mirrored the action with one of the many small knives housed within easy reach, this one striking home in the side of his neck - a follow-up in case the first had missed. He dropped like a puppet with its strings cut, his own blow thudding uselessly against her armoured shoulder as his momentum disappeared.

 

Isa caught him on his way down, lowering him gently to rest against the wall and crouching beside him. His breath was coming in ragged gasps, and she could hear the wet sucking sound of it. No medical help could save him at this point, and Isa closed her eyes for a moment. Osik, it wasn’t supposed to go this way. She might hate the Republic, but she’d not come in to slaughter soldiers. Just to get her own out, as cleanly and quietly as possible.

 

The man’s hands lifted, struggling to remove his helmet, the motions desperate. Isa didn’t hesitate, reaching forward and removing his helmet herself, gently. She found herself looking into the face of a zabrak, his eyes already losing focus. He flinched as his gaze met the visor of her helmet, and Isa reached up, removing her own helmet cautiously. He relaxed almost immediately, his gaze taking in her features. Her own weapons were within easy reach should this all be a dying ploy, but Isa didn’t think it would be necessary. She’d seen enough death to know. His hands fluttered, suddenly uncertain, and Isa took them carefully in her own. His hands gripped hers, holding on almost desperately.

 

“Your fight’s over, verd,” Isa’s words were gentle, and he settled at the sound of them. “You fought well. Peace, verd… Peace, it's alright.”

 

And then he was gone. His eyes glazed over and his chest stilled. From start to finish it had all taken only a few seconds, no more than a minute at most.

 

Isa let out a slow breath, gently folding the man's hands over the hilt of his knife and placing them on his lap. She reached forward, closing his eyes with two gloved fingers.

 

“May your ancestors accept you into their own, verd,” she said softly. “And may your stories join theirs.”

 

A small sound behind her was her only alert and Isa spun, still crouched, her usual pistol in one hand and the small slugthrower in the other. Not an ideal position to defend herself from, but she'd dealt with worse.

 

...Had also dealt with a lot better, too.

 

Brilliant, Isa. Just brilliant.

Edited by Isa Sal

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