The Schenor Outcast

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The Schenor Outcast

Post by Archangel » Sat May 21, 2005 8:24 am

Outcast.

The word echoed through D'rey's mind as the 2.4-meter-tall feline was led, in chains, back toward his cell.

Outcast.

The black-furred Schenor was thrown unceremoniously into his cell mere moments after his chains had been torn from his worn and broken hands. He wore no garments to cover the mark of shame he now bore, burnt onto his chest.

Outcast.

D'rey fell to his knees, glaring defiantly skyward. Tears streamed unbidden down his face. His green eyes closed to stem the flow.

Outcast!

* * * * *

Four days earlier, D'rey had been at home, with his two wonderful sons - he had taken the day off from his usually dull work to spend time with his family. He stared out his window, glaring fiercely at the vehicle his wife returned home in. She was dressed for an occasion - an occasion which he was neither informed of nor invited to. He knew what occasion she was dressed for.

His two sons were at the table, reading. The bottle in D'rey's hand, once full of alcohol, now empty, shattered against the far wall as his near-drunkenness took control of his anger. His sons rushed into the room to discern the reason for their father's rash actions.

D'rey's wife, A'niaz, walked through the door, waving to her two sons before noticing D'rey, who was now leaning against the rail on the back porch. She swallowed deeply before rushing to her husband. "D'rey, darling, what are you doing home?"

D'rey spun on her, advancing slowly, menacingly. A broken piece of glass cut into his hand as he gripped it - his blood flowed over the glass and dripped onto the floor as he spoke. "Well,
my sweet, I merely decided to take the day off - enjoy my family's company. By the time I returned home from informing my boss of this, however, my dear sweet wife had left for someplace I had no knowledge of. I wondered where she was for hours - that is, until I got a notice from G'hir. It seemed my dear, sweet, loving, always-subservient wife was spending a great deal of time with one not her husband."

A'niaz backed away slowly. "What are you doing?" she asked, panic quickly becoming evident in her voice.

D'rey's green eyes flooded with tears of rage as he took step after painful step, forcing the words from his mouth as he forced his legs to hold under him. "Preserving my honor, my dear, sweet wife." He lunged forward, the broken piece of glass leading his attack. He bulled heavily into his wife, knocking her into a small table, spilling its expensive contents onto the floor.

A'niaz collapsed to the floor, the broken knick-knacks cutting her back. "D'rey, no! Please, don't!"

D'rey, maintaining his balance through extensive combat training - required for him to become the skilled detective that he was. He stared down, uncaring and unfeeling, upon the prone form of his unfaithful wife. "I married you," he said, his voice dripping hatred, "I brought you into a higher social class than you could have ever dreamed of reaching with that whelp of a whore! I gave your family back its honor!" He paused, sighing sadly for just a moment. "And you throw all that in my face for the lowest member of the lowest class on Rhamsis Callo!" He knelt slightly, slipping easily, smoothly, into a combat stance once more. "You not only destroyed your honor, but mine!"

He lunged, and before his late wife could even consider a response, she was dead. She lay, her back on the floor, her chest impaled by a broken piece of glass.

D'rey's two sons stared wide-eyed at the scene. D'rey paid them no heed as he threw another bottle, this one full, into the cozy fireplace. The bottle practically exploded on impact, showering the entire room with small bursts of flame. The tapestry on the wall quickly caught fire; the rug, likewise. D'rey strode calmly from the house, slamming the door behind him - it locked, as programmed. His two sons, trapped inside, burnt alive as the former detective watched the building burn from the street.


* * * * *

D'rey lay in his cell for two days while a transport was arranged. His thoughts drifted - his life had been destroyed in three days, but it hardly bothered him anymore. He had been obsessive about the family codes and strict rules of honor and societal classes that had plagued his species' history. It was indeed a plague, by his terms - the greatest warriors, the most skilled combatants, the most heroic leaders, were all brought down through some dishonor in their family - most often by their wives. Until recent times, though, they had simply been executed. Now, executions were reserved only for the greatest dishonors.

Instead, most criminals were branded with a mark of shame that would show all other Schenor their dishonor. All of these became outcasts. No Schenor outcast was allowed to consort with the "honorable" Schenor. Outcasts were below the lowest class - they were below the slaves, the servants, the weakest beings.

But D'rey knew, as many outcasts did, that he was shamed not for his weaknesses, but for his strengths. The "honorable" Schenor feared him - and rightly so! Why should they not? He was quite plainly more powerful than they, if he were strong enough to break the bonds of tradition - throw of the shackles of "honor" - and do what needed to be done.

The guards came - it was almost time to leave. The cell door opened and D'rey barely had time to notice the stun baton before it struck him. His vision swirled into blackness and he collapsed.

* * * * *

It was the day of the trial. D'rey stood before the Tribunal as they cast their sentence upon him.

"D'rey, son of J'zhirr, you are accused of first-degree murder of your unfaithful wife, second-degree murder of your innocent sons, and first-degree murder of one Kre'on, son of Rhilm. What do you plead?"

"Guilty," D'rey replied forcefully.

"D'rey, son of J'zhirr, you realize that this plead will lead to your reception of the mark of shame and your banishment from the system of Rhamsis Callo forthwith?"

"I do."

"Then we so sentence you, D'rey, son of J'zhirr. Take the outcast away!"


* * * * *

G'hir shook his head sadly at D'rey as the latter began to arouse. "I never would have told you if I thought you would go to such an extreme, D'rey. Killing your own children! ... "

D'rey glared up at G'hir as he was dragged by his arms towards the waiting transport. "Everybody dies, G'hir. If I'm the one who has to decide where, when, and how, then so be it."

G'hir shook his head again, but remained silent.

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Post by Archangel » Sat May 21, 2005 4:41 pm

D'rey stood, unmoving, at the stern of the ship, gazing into the span of innumerable stars that made up "space". He was unchained, unbound, and free to move.

The ship he was on, the Quick Trip, was a mercenary vessel. Those on board couldn't care less what D'rey had done, they merely assumed that they could handle a humanoid cat if it should try to become trouble. With the pair of blaster nozzles staring sightlessly at his back, D'rey was inclined to agree.

One soldier walked up to his right side and glared insolently up at him. "So, kitty, yew killed yer fam'ly and thought yew'd be better off in space, 's 'at it?"

The two guards shook their heads, chuckling. "You'd better not antagonize him, Jerref. He packs quite a punch in that lean frame."

The one called Jerref raised his eyebrow skeptically at the speaker. "Yeah, shore, like Ah'm gonna b'lieve yew, Hart." Jerref pulled out a knife and pointed it menacingly at D'rey. "What yew gonna dew, kitty? Scratch me wit' yer claws?" He jabbed the knife at D'rey - just enough to draw blood from his side.

D'rey moved more quickly than the two guards could follow. He spun towards Jerref, knocking the blade from his hands and, spinning, into the air. He punched the human mercenary thrice in the stomach before spinning back the other direction and knocking Jerref off his feet with a roundhouse kick. D'rey dropped onto the floor, slamming his elbow roughly into the man's chest. The outcast lifted Jerref and smashed him, face first now, back into the floor.

The spinning blade completed its ascent and, within moments, returned to the floor, point first. The ship's artificial gravity embedded the knife to its hilt in the back of Jerref's skull.

The two guards stared on, wide-eyed in fear. D'rey glanced at them calmly before gently moving Jerref's body aside and standing back where he had been moments before. He straightened his cloak and slacks - he was not allowed, by Schenor law, to wear anything that would cover his mark of shame, so he wore no shirt beneath the dark cloak. He withdrew a small cloth from an inner pocket of the cloak and wiped the fetid stench of human blood from his hands as he stared into the vastness of space once more.

The specks turned to streaks before joining the tunnel of light that was hyperspace.

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Post by Archangel » Sun May 22, 2005 6:11 am

Verrekohl - or Verr to his colleagues - stood up straight in a vain attempt to assert his authority over D'rey. The scaled Barabel was a good fifty centimeters shorter than the Schenor, and the reptilian pirate resented anything that was larger than he - and at 1.9 meters, he was a small Barabel.

Verrekohl, of course, made up for any lack in size with ferocity, skill, and raw power. Throughout his life, Verrekohl had been bullied by larger Barabel and had learned to overcome his physical size - by the time he was coming of age, most Barabel living nearby knew better than to mess with him.

He became a pirate as soon as he got off the planet. He loved the life of piracy, and he loved getting new recruits, which he hoped to accomplish at that very moment.

"So, D'rey, you're the heartless Sithspawn that slew your own kin," Verrekohl said in his deep, gravelly voice. "I respect a creature with the guts to pull something like that off in the face of social adversity to the subject. I have a proposition for you. Join me ... or end up like them." On the last syllable, the Barabel gestured calmly to the four remaining mercenaries as they were dragged - bound and gagged - towards the airlock.

"Y'see, D'rey, those mercenaries thought they could transport an animal like yourself. I know different - animals, like you and I, aren't transported. If we don't go down fighting, we're dragged kicking and screaming to our deathbeds! And that's the way we like it, isn't it, D'rey?"

As the inner airlock door closed, the muffled screams faded. D'rey glanced sidelong at the airlock - Hart stared back, his eyes wide, just before the outer airlock door opened. Hart and his companions were sucked out in a rush of air, and were gone.

D'rey turned back to the Barabel pirate. "You're wrong about me," he stated matter-of-factly.

Verrekohl leaned forward slightly. "Is that so?" he asked menacingly.

D'rey nodded slowly, showing no fear. "I'm not an animal. I'm not the type to go murdering others for enjoyment. I'll kill out of necessity. I'll take blood money any day. I'll kill those who think they can besmirch my honor - an honor no other member of my species can offer. But I will flat-out refuse to kill on a whim. I will kill no one who does not deserve it in some form or another. And being rich does not make you deserve to die."

Verrekohl hissed disdainfully. "Well, you think yourself better than me? You think that an assassin earns more respect, more honor, than a pirate? I doubt it. A pirate takes credits, D'rey; an assassin takes lives. Assassins make enemies real quick."

D'rey smiled thinly down at the Barabel. "A good assassin makes enemies quickly, Verrekohl. A great assassin kills his enemies even more quickly."

Verrekohl looked thoughtfully at the outcast. "Good point, Schenor." He held out a clawed hand. When D'rey didn't shake it, he snarled, "Take him to the brig! We'll deal with him later."

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Post by Archangel » Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

D'rey spent the next few days locked in the pirates' brig. No one came to see him. No one fed him. There was a guard stationed outside at all times. They had taken his cloak - he now only wore his slacks.

D'rey was not an impatient being. He waited. He knew they would come, and when they did, he would be ready for them.

* * * * *

D'rey was awakened to the sound of someone entering his makeshift cell. It was Verrekohl and the Barabel's personal guards - as if he needed them.

"Get up, outcast," Verrekohl hissed. When D'rey was slow to comply - not from any drowsiness or residual feelings from his recumbent state, but from a simple lack of urgency - Verrekohl lashed out with a clawed foot and struck him across the leg.

Still, D'rey did not stand quickly, nor did he attack the Barabel as he might have others. He knew that the reptile was ready for him and he also knew that, even if he began to win in such a battle, the pirate's fellows would kill D'rey without a second thought.

"Alright, Schenor," Verrekohl spat, "You're going to join my crew and follow my commands, or I'm going to kill you. Alternatively, you can provide me with the coordinates to some priceless family heirlooms or the like, if you've got them. But if you don't give me something I want now, I'll have Hrrsk here kill you." He gestured to his "companion" - a rather large, brutish Togorian. "He has no qualms about killing felines like yourself."

D'rey's thin mouth curled into a smile. "I have nothing to offer you, Verrekohl. My advice is this: kill me now, yourself, or suffer the consequences."

Verrekohl snarled, "I will not debase myself and fight you! I have no need to!" He stormed from the cell, taking all but the Togorian, Hrrsk, with him.

Hrrsk popped his neck, looking up at the taller Schenor. He drew a long vibroblade and leveled at D'rey. "Die, outcast!" he said in his deep, obviously unintelligent voice.

D'rey dropped to one knee as the blade was swung over his head - it was a close call, for even on his knees, D'rey was still quite tall. The room was small, confined; it would be difficult to fight.

Hrrsk, however, had no problem with the room's size - the way he swung the vibroblade at the nimbler D'rey, it seemed he wished to enlarge it through simple brute strength. "Stand still, stupid!" the Togorian forced out haltingly.

D'rey moved quickly towards the Togorian, feinting to the right. Hrrsk, on a whim, threw his vibroblade in that direction. It clattered off of a wall and to the floor. D'rey cut in to the left, landing several solid hits on Hrrsk's torso.

Thoroughly enraged, Hrrsk emitted a feral growl and extended the claws on his hands. He leapt at D'rey, who tried to dodge to the side. The large Togorian's right hand still managed to strike D'rey's midsection. D'rey hissed, blood seeping from the wound. He rolled to his feet as he landed.

Hrrsk, however, did not fare so well. He crashed into the scant furniture - the single cot - and the metal bent and crushed, partially entangling him. Using the spare moment to his advantage, D'rey grabbed the vibroblade from its position in the corner and advanced on the Togorian.

The brute stood slowly, freeing himself from the broken cot. He eyed the blade warily, trying to anticipate where it would strike. When he was kicked in the side by one of D'rey's long legs, he snarled and spun to grab the appendage. By the time he realized his mistake, his right arm was almost completely shorn from his body.

Hrrsk roared in agony. D'rey moved behind him and clasped the Togorian's good arm in a tight hold behind his back, threatening to cut open Hrrsk's veins at the throat with the vibroblade. "Call to the guard," D'rey said calmly. Hrrsk shook his head quickly. "Call to the guard," D'rey repeated, "Or I'll kill you."

Hrrsk sneered. "No deal!"

D'rey smiled thinly. "Call to the guard or you'll spend the rest of your life without arms, legs, or children."

Hrrsk gulped. As stupid as he was, he knew what that would mean. He summoned up his confidence and called out, "Guard! Get in here and help me with this corpse!"

D'rey nodded. "Very good," he said softly.

The guard opened the door, moaning something about always having to do the dirty work. When he saw D'rey alive, he instinctively drew his blaster, levelling it at the two.

"No!" Hrrsk shouted only moments before five blaster bolts tore into his furred flesh.

Flinging the limp body at the guard, D'rey leapt nimbly after it. The Togorian's body landed on the guard and the two went down, the guard's blaster firing wildly. D'rey struck the guard in the neck, crushing his windpipe with that single action, and moved quickly and silently through the corridors. He heard voices and running feet closing on his position - probably investigating the blaster fire. He ducked into a room.

He took stock of his surroundings - it was some low-ranked crew member's quarters. The crew member in question lay sleeping in his bunk. D'rey slipped over and snapped the man's neck before moving on to the lone computer terminal in the room.

He checked over the ship's records, personnel and otherwise. Apparently, there were seventy people on board: fifty-eight pirates and twelve prisoners, probably hostages from some bygone raid. He hacked into the security system, rewriting the codes for the door to the room he had entered. It would become his staging area, his home base, as it were.

These pirates would pay for not killing him when they had the chance. An anger greater than that which had killed D'rey's wife overtook him; an anger with no source, it seemed. It was fueled by the air, strengthened by the floor beneath D'rey's feet. A sinister smile overtook his tired features.

* * * * *

D'rey accessed Verrekohl's logs again. He had established a permanent hack in the security system - according to the cameras, the Barabel captain was making another entry, and D'rey wanted to see what he had to say this time.

"... found dead yesterday," Verrekohl was saying, "We don't know how the outcast is traveling the ship - some suspect the ventilation system, but I don't think that any creature his size could fit into those vents. There must be some other way around the ship - we have patrols in the corridors at all times, and each is heavily armed. We have sealed most of the vents, but we're still losing people. What makes it worse is that there is no pattern. One day we will lose an engineer from the lower decks, the next we'll lose the guards outside my quarters. There seems to be no way to track or predict where the Schenor will attack next."

D'rey smiled at the Barabel's cluelessness. They still had no idea that he had access to the security systems and knew the movements of every patrol on the ship, and could access the ship's internal tracking system from a datapad he had jury-rigged for the operation. He did not use the ventilation system - Verrekohl was right, the vents were too small - instead, he used the corridors. He would leave his stolen room and move in synchronization with the patrols, and attacking only those who were too far from others to be noticed immediately.

The pirates were getting smarter - it had been a day since he had found a single sentient alone; they were all walking or working in pairs. He knew they would get tired and hungry, eventually - he had reset the door codes to the storage area, meaning only he had access to the food and drink stores.

He also used this to his advantage. Some pirates, being weaker than others, would sneak off to their quarters. D'rey would reset the room code and trap them in their own quarters until he felt it necessary to eliminate them. He had established a pretty good system - indeed, he had been doing it for two weeks.

"The engineers are still working on repairing the engine damage caused by the outcast's sabotage," Verrekohl continued, "But there's no telling when the hyperdrive will be up and running again. I am transmitting this log entry as a distress signal, including our current coordinates, on several broadband frequencies." The Barabel raised a bottle of some alcohol - one of his last, by D'rey's estimations - and said, "Here's to hoping it's heard." Verrekohl gulped down the drink before his hologram fizzled out.

D'rey smiled. All was going according to plan. Some might call him crazy, but events like D'rey's past tended to do that to people. All he wanted now was a job - a living. If it took slaughtering seventy or more people and stealing another ship to do that, then he would do it. Rumor had it that Tatooine was a pretty good source of jobs for lowlifes.

D'rey chuckled at the term. Mere months before, the term "lowlife" would have been the last one D'rey would have used to describe himself.

Oh, well, he thought. Time changes all things.

[OoC Thread here.]

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Post by Archangel » Fri Jun 03, 2005 8:31 am

Captain David Collins was a man of strong stature and intelligence. His once-black hair was then streaked with grey, especially near the temples. He was very much in shape, and he could say the same for most of his crew. He kept a tight leash on his mercenary crew and the moodified CEC CR90 he had fondly named the Fey, after his darling wife - on a second note, the idea that the ship was either doomed or prophetic made the crew all that more subservient to its master.

Collins was not a man to be trifled with, but he was also not a man to suffer the indignities of being adrift in space. Consequently, when he received the distress signal from the Barabel, he was quick to the rescue.

Looking at the damaged, drifting hulk of metal now, though, he was having second thoughts. It was not heavily damaged - only the engines seemed to be unusable - but there was something about it that seemed to be throwing Collins and his crew a curve ball.

Collins pursed his lips in thought, tapping one gloved finger on them as he pondered the situation. He leaned back in his captain's chair, centered on the bridge, and called out, "Alright, prepare a boarding team. We've got to find out if anyone's alive on that thing."

One of the nearby officers saluted and began sending comms to the security personnel on board.

"And send a medical officer, too," Collins interrupted the communications officer. "If they have wounded, we want to keep them alive to question them."

* * * * *

Chief Medical Officer Thomas Briggs hated away missions. He was always the one to go on them - mainly because he was the only mercenary on board with enough medical expertise to handle such situations, but that did not serve to abate his hatred of leaving his precious medical bay.

"Can't we go any faster, Corporal Veericks?" Briggs asked the chief security officer, a lean Cathar.

Veericks grunted at him and Briggs settled back into his seat. That was a, "No," as Briggs had come to understand.

The shuttle neared the other craft, coming within docking range - it was much smaller than the Fey, only a typical transport, so the shuttle had to dock via an airlock. After a few moments, Veericks stood and spoke to the team of five others in his gruff voice. "Alright, team! We're to secure the ship and search for survivors. Keep your comms open - if you find a survivor, notify Chief Briggs immediately. If you find a hostile survivor, subdue it, then notify Chief Briggs. Don't kill unless you have to. Move out!"

The shuttle cabin pressurized and the team moved quickly and quietly through the airlock into the pirate vessel. They were greeted with a very unsettling sight.

Verrekohl, dressed in formal combat regalia, sat in his throne-like chair, staring sightlessly at the entering team. As soon as Briggs saw the Barabel, he rushed forward to check for a pulse, but Veericks caught his shoulder, halting him. "Don't waste your time on the dead, Chief. Move on."

Briggs swallowed, grimacing at the smell of death that had accumulated throughout the ship. "That quells any enthusiasm one might have upon entry..." he muttered.

Veericks, as he often did, spoke aloud as he thought about what must have happened. "It was probably intended to, Chief. The Barabel was sitting in the same chair when he made his logs, but his surroundings were different. The 'outcast' must have moved the entire throne here just to surprise whoever answered that distress call." Veericks ventured off into a side room, followed by one soldier. "Stay here!" the Cathar called to Briggs as he disappeared around the corner.

Briggs muttered under his breath, "Nyeh, stay here, Chief, you're too weak and defenseless! Hmph!" He plopped himself down next to the airlock, leaning against the bulkhead, to wait.

He did not have to wait long before comm calls started coming in.

The first came in following a suppressed gag. "Corporal ... " one soldier began.

"Where's the crew?" Veericks said. Briggs envisioned him coming up behind the first soldier.

The soldier suppressed another gag. "All over the place, Corporal."

Another soldier muttered, "That's disgusting..."

"Stow the gab, soldier! You're mercenaries, keep it together!" Veericks ordered.

There was a chorus of "Yessir"s, then silence again. The squelches of boots on something Briggs was trying very hard not to imagine came vividly over the comm.

"Who could butcher people like this, Corporal?" one soldier asked when the squelching had stopped.

"I don't know, soldier, but it had to be one sick Sithspawn," Veericks replied.

Another soldier - one that had gone a different route through the ship - said, "Looks like I've got a live one!"

Blaster fire ensued. "Hold your fire!" the same soldier shouted, "We're here to help you!"

"Sithspit!" a gravelly, foreign voice replied. "Just stay away from me! You're not going to touch me!"

"I don't want to!" the soldier shouted. "Just come with us, we'll get you patched up!"

"No, you won't! You're lying! You're crazy! The Outcast is out there, outside this room, somewhere! He thought he could masquerade as one of my friends, ho ho! I proved him wrong! I killed 'em all! Butchered 'em, chopped 'em to bits with a kitchen knife! They won't be trying to betray me to the Outcast, no, no!" The other, whoever he was, laughed maniacally.

"He's insane," Briggs muttered - his comm mic was off, so the others could not hear his idle chatter.

"I'm glad he mentioned that," a refined voice said from above Briggs. The medical officer glanced up ... and up ... until his eyes met with those of D'rey, standing at his full 2.4 meters above the smallish man. "I really didn't want anyone to think I did that to those pirates. At least when I kill someone, I leave their body honorably intact."

Briggs stuttered, "Y-- You're that 'outcast' everyone's referring to, aren't you?"

D'rey smiled and nodded. "I am." He knelt until he was eye-to-eye with the human - a difficult task, even with Briggs now standing. "But you won't tell Veericks that, will you?"

Briggs swallowed hard, shaking his head. When D'rey stood back up, still nodding, Briggs cowered, hiding his face. "Please don't kill me!" he exclaimed, almost involuntarily.

D'rey chuckled. "I'm not going to kill you. You've done nothing to me." He turned and gestured to Verrekohl's body. "Ol' Verrekohl there, on the other hand ... " He trailed off, leaving the sentence unfinished. Humans had good imaginations, in his experience. He knew Briggs would think of some horror story.

Paying attention to his comm receiver once again, Briggs heard Veericks yell in pain. "Corporal! That Sithspawn shot him! The freller shot the Corporal!" one of the soldiers shouted.

Long strings of blaster fire ensued, with several shouts of agony.

D'rey shook his head sadly. "The pirate has both the knowledge of the area and the advantage of height. I doubt many of your comrades will survive that little firefight," he said.

Briggs swallowed again. "What should we do?"

D'rey glanced at him. "Best bet? Tell your captain that the rest of the team was killed in a shoot-out with a crazed madman, and that I'm the only coherent survivor onboard." Briggs looked unsure, so D'rey finished, "It's the truth, anyway."

Briggs glanced at him and nodded quietly. He opened the airlock again, going back into the shuttle, followed by D'rey, who almost had to crawl to move through the small airlock.

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Post by Archangel » Fri Jul 01, 2005 6:47 pm

Collins sneered impatiently. "Where in the Hell is Corporal Veericks?" he demanded.

The comm officer shrugged helplessly. "I'm not sure, sir. His tracker deactivated some time ago. In fact, only Briggs' tracker is still active."

Collins glared at him. "Well, genius, what does that mean?"

The comm officer swallowed, knowing his life would depend on his answer. "It, uh ... it most likely means they're dead, sir."

Collins' left eye twitched involuntarily in anger. "Why wasn't I notified, Sithspit!" he shouted.

The comm officer grimaced, as if in pain. "I, um ..." he trailed off, not able to think of an answer.

Collins furrowed his brow and pursed his lips. His hand slipped down to his holster, where his blaster sat nestled comfortably at his hip. He drew the blaster and placed the barrel next to the comm officer's chest. The officer's eyes widened just before Collins fired the blaster.

The officer collapsed onto the deck. "Clean this mess up!" Collins called out to no one in particular. "And somebody contact Briggs!"

"That's not necessary, Captain," Thomas Briggs said as he walked through the doorway to the bridge, followed by the very tall D'rey. "And Veericks and his crew are dead. They were killed by some kind of ... some kind of crazed madman. This one--" he gestured to D'rey, "--was the only coherent survivor onboard the vessel in question."

Collins glanced over the Schenor. "Right..." he said incredulously, "Well, get back to your medical station, Briggs. We've been contacted by the Empire. We're to pick up a criminal on Tatooine and take him to Coruscant for trial in the Imperial courts. Apparently, this guy was a little crazy himself. We might just need your help, Doc."

Briggs nodded, then looked at D'rey, then back at Collins. "Uh, sir? What about him?" he asked, jerking a thumb over his shoulder at the outcast.

Collins glanced at D'rey. "Do whatever you want with him, Briggs. If he survived whatever happened over there, he must be resourceful. Just run a few tests on him and inform me of his capabilities; if I need him, I'll let you know."

Briggs nodded curtly. "Sure thing, sir." The officer glanced back at D'rey and motioned for him to follow before venturing back into the corridors.

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