Boot Camp Blues

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Pryde
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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:56 pm

"Um, I'd love to only they don't allow us to carry weapons on or off campus."

And probably for good reason, Isis thought quietly to herself as images of Sergeant Ohara danced in her head. "But since you're asking I take it you know a place?"

**********

A lone figure stood in a window on the fourth floor of a four story building. His black hair was matted and slicked back and his ragged attire was a myriad of mismatched fatigues and equipment, the best people like him could afford. With one hand pressed up against the wall he leaned into the window for a better look down into the alleyway where two girls and a man were quietly meandering their way through. Behind him a door slid noiselessly open, but the man had a feeling that someone was there.

"How goes the operation," he said without even turning around to confirm his suspicions.

"We have a complication," the other man replied, stepping into the room as the door slid shut behind him. "Two complications, actually."

Marius Baralein scowled then shot the man a dangerous look. "You know how I feel about complications, Ajax, now stop beating around the bush and give it to me straight."

"The thugs our girl got mixed up with in the bar are hired muscle working for Lady Byrana, but that's not our problem. Our problem is the man who saved them, an assassin by the name of Habas Molariou. He and Byrana have had run ins in the past and she's not a very forgiving type of person. No doubt she's heard about the scuffle in the bar already and if she's planning on making a move she'll probably do it through those two girls."

Marius nodded then stepped away from the window and over to a nearby chair. He didn't sit in the chair, though, and just settled for resting his hands on the back of it. "So, basically you're telling me it's a race?"

Ajax nodded. "Sounds about right. Either we get to the girl first or she does and if she finds out we want her...," he left the rest hanging in the air.

"Byrana's not the type to pass up an opportunity to make a bit of profit," Marius agreed, "Well then, if that's how it's going to be then I suggest we get to the Senator's daughter first and while we're at it we may as well use the situation to our advantage. Kill two birds with one stone, as it were."

Ajax just gave him a confused look. "Advantage, Sir? May I inquire as to how?"

"It's simple, Byrana wants Habas so we'll give her Habas. We kidnap the two girls and he'll think she did it. After that we just sit back and watch as the situation resolves itself."

"And what do we do with the friend once we have her."

Marius just waved off his concern and returned to the window. By now Isis and her friends had moved on down to the end of the alley and were just about out of sight. "We'll worry about that after we have Sinclair," he said, thumbing the butt of his pistol...

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:20 pm

“Take it from a boy from the backroads, any isolated place will work as a shooting gallery if you know how to utilize it,” Habas said to Isis. “Growing up, I learned the basics from my dad. Afterwards I practiced on my own to get even better. At first it was just to hunt game, but as I grew more skilled I made an act out of trick shooting and toured the local fairs.”

As they neared the outskirts of the city, Habas directed them towards an empty field populated by a few trees. “This looks like a good spot,” he declared as he handed one of the blasters he had used earlier to Isis. “This is a BlasTech LL-30. It provides a good mixture of accuracy and durability. It won’t do as much damage as some other hand blasters, but it’ll put your shots where you want them to go, which I find to be far more invaluable.”

He pointed to a nearby tree, smiling. “I think that tree could use a little pruning, what do you say?”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:23 pm

Isis glanced at the tree then back at Habas and sighed. Then, almost as if she didn't want to do it, she picked up the blaster took careful aim and fired seven shots, two slow and five fast. To Habas' surprise all seven shots missed the tree entirely, he glanced at Isis inquisitively and she gestured towards a stump that was just about at max range for the pistol she was holding.

"Tree wasn't far enough," she said simply as she started walking forward. When the three of them neared the stump they noticed seven burn marks in the bark, all of them spaced appropriately to make an almost perfect smiley face.

"I could go back and put one right between the eyes if you want," she said to Habas almost nonchalantly.

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:05 pm

“Big deal. Anybody can shoot a tree stump,” Clara remarked, doing her best to not sound impressed. It still bugged her a bit that she couldn’t match Isis in terms of precision shooting but the smiley face was a bit too much for her pride to swallow. She knew Isis was good, but not that good. “Tree stumps are big stationary targets. There’s no challenge.”

Isis grinned as she spun the blaster and offered the handle-end to Clara. “Is that so? Do you want to show me up?”

Clara just crossed her arms, smart enough to not take the bait. “I don’t do trick shooting. I’m just saying that’s something Uncle Habas could do in his sleep.”

Habas chuckled. “Alright, girls, just take it easy. It’s clear Isis needs something a little more challenging, and Clara is right that stationary targets are easier to shoot. I have a solution.” He pointed to a tree that was roughly at the maximum range of the blaster. “Aramo, would you mind going over there and shaking that tree? This time the test will be how many leaves we can hit before they reach the ground.”

Clara gave Isis a doubtful look, mostly just to give her a hard time. “What if Sis misses and hits me? I don’t want to spend my R and R recovering from blaster wounds. I’ll climb the tree and shake the branches. How’s that?”

Habas nodded approvingly. “That’s a good idea. It might be unnecessary, but it’s better not to take chances.”

Clara nodded back before making her way to the tree. “Just give me the signal when you two are ready.”

As they waited for Clara to get into position, Habas looked over at Isis. “Do you mind if I ask how you learned to shoot so well with a blaster?”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:19 pm

"You can ask but you're probably not going to like the answer," Isis replied and Habas gave her a curious look. For a moment she considered not answering as she pretended to fiddle with her pistol then she just smirked. "Giran's Laser Emporium," she answered finally and now Habas was even more confused.

"A gun store?"

Isis just shook her head, "An arcade. I had the top score at the shooting gallery, still do actually."

Then she turned to look at him and shot him a sweet smile. "Well, looks like Clara's ready to begin. I just hope you don't get all sore when I beat ya."

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:29 am

Habas grinned a bit; a teasing smile that had a strong resemblance to the kind Clara used so often. “If that happens, I may just take you on as an apprentice and retire.”

He hefted his blaster, but kept it at the ready, muzzle pointed at the sky. “You know, I’ve never found much challenge in shooting galleries myself. Too predictable. Even the best of them still rely on a pattern of some kind. Once you figure out what it is, the targets may as well be standing still.”

A shout from Clara interrupted any retort Isis might have made. “I’m waiting!”

Habas gestured towards Isis with polite challenge. “Ladies first.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:09 pm

Isis just nodded then readied her blaster. She signaled to Clara to let her know she was ready and then opened fire after the first leaf started to fall. In quick succession three leaves burnt up in tiny little fireballs almost immediately. There was a brief pause before she fired a fourth and a fifth. When it was all over she had nailed seventeen leaves and was rather proud of herself. There's no way he could beat that.

Unfortunately he did, Habas had nailed twenty leaves without pausing once. Isis just stared at the tree in shock, her belief at being the best there ever was utterly shattered. "I, um...," she started, her mind grasping for words but finding none.

"I just didn't want to beat you in front of Clara," she lied and though she tried to be stubbornly confident as she handed him back his pistol there was a sense in her tone and in her demeanor that she had been humbled.

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:54 am

“Well, I didn’t feel like showing off in front of my niece either,” Habas replied with good humor as he put the blasters back in their holsters. “Tell you what, I’ll keep your secret if you keep mine,” he added with a slightly exaggerated conspiratorial wink.

“My lips are sealed,” Isis agreed with a smile and a return wink.

They waited as Clara climbed down and started walking towards them. Even at a distance, it wasn’t hard to see the smile on her face; no doubt caused by her uncle’s win. Habas couldn’t help but smile back at her unbridled delight. When she got in range, she hugged him and then pulled back. “That was amazing! There’s no one in this galaxy who can beat you!”

“That’s nice of you to say, Aramo, but there are plenty of people in this galaxy more dangerous than me,” he corrected her. “I just hope you girls never have to meet any of them.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:46 pm

"I don't know," Isis started off-handedly, "It might be fu--," she stopped suddenly when a group of armed men suddenly appeared out of the brush and rushed them.

"Drop the weapons," they cried, "Drop the weapons, damn it!"

Habas held up his hands then let the two pistols fall to the ground as the men surrounded them. He quickly debated his options but decided any resistance would only get his niece and her friend killed so his only option was to play along. The leader of the group stepped up in front of him, but Habas couldn't make out any distinguishing features through the mask he wore. He stared long an hard into Habas' eyes for a moment before planting his fist right into his gut. Habas doubled over from the blow and the man smashed his elbow into the back of his neck to send him to the ground. Then he kicked him twice in the chest just for the fun of it.

"Stop it, leave him alone," Clara shouted, she started forward but the man behind her grabbed her by the shoulder. She spun around and caught him in the midsection with her knee while Isis helped take him down by throwing herself into him. As Isis wrestled with the soldier on the ground Clara turned back to the leader and as she cocked her fist back she caught the butt of a rifle to her cheek.

She was knocked to the ground as two soldiers shoved their blasters into her face and one of them pinned her to the ground with his knee. Isis was wrested from the man she was wrestling then thrown to the ground and given the same treatment as Clara. The leader watched them for a moment then turned back to Habas and nudged him over with his foot.

"If you want them back you know where to find them," he said, then he knocked Habas out cold with one final kick to the head. He shot a glance to the men restraining Isis and Clara then nodded. The men quickly threw bags over the girls' heads and dragged them off as the leader pulled out a communicator and flipped it on.

"We have the girl," was the only thing he said before he switched it off again and stuffed it back in his pocket. He turned to follow after his men who were still struggling with the two girls. Their muffled shouts and fruitless thrashing would no doubt draw too much attention. Finally he became fed up with it. "Can't one of you shut them up," he said in an aggravated tone.

"But, sir," one of them started, only to be cut off.

"Drop them," the leader ordered him and the men carrying the girls gave him an odd look. "Drop them now or we'll leave you behind."

The men did as they were asked and as soon as they hit the ground Isis and Clara tried in vain to crawl away. They didn't get very far, though, before two stun blasts halted their efforts at resistance. "There, was that so hard," the leader asked impatiently. "Now pick them up."

The girls were hefted off the ground and carried away and the man couldn't help but smile. Everything was going according to plan...

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:19 pm

Clara slowly opened her eyes as she resumed consciousness, but all she saw was darkness. Her military training kept her from panicking as she coolly tried to analyze the situation. She had been blindfolded so that she couldn’t see, but that didn’t mean her other senses were similarly blocked…

She could feel a tightness around her wrists and ankles; sure signs that she had been shackled. More to the point, her wrists felt especially sore, which meant they had chained her up at the wrists and allowed her to hang from them, arms raised, as her body slumped over.

There was a heavy odor of antiseptics and cleaning solution swirling around the air, which either indicated a med center or a particularly well cared for holding cell.

The sound of a faint humming noise to her right confirmed Clara’s suspicion of a holding cell. Only a security shield made that kind of noise. She could also hear the sounds of guards talking outside.

Clara remained as she was, limp and still feigning unconsciousness as she listened in on their conversation. Perhaps they would unintentionally give something away and clue her in as to why she and Isis had been kidnapped.

“Any idea what’s going to happen with this one?”

“All I heard was that she was bait. Rumor has it that the real prize is the Sinclair girl.”

“You’re kidding me,” the second guard said in disbelief. “Sure, she has a rich daddy, but I’d take this one over the Sinclair girl any day. Look at her! I’ll bet you took your time locking her up.”

There was some amusement in the first guard’s voice. “I wasn’t in charge of that, but I can’t say I wouldn’t be tempted.”

“What are they going to do with her after she’s served the boss’s purpose?”

“What else?” the first guard asked rhetorically. “I imagine she’ll have an ‘unfortunate accident’ in a bad part of town and that’ll be that. You know the procedure.”

“What a waste. The Hutts would pay top credits for a slave girl with her kind of assets.” He whistled appreciatively. “Damn, I’d pay good money myself just to see what they’d give her to wear.”

“Don’t be fooled by how she looks,” the first guard cautioned the other. “You should have seen how much trouble she was before the boss hit her with a stun blast. Her and Sinclair both. They were like animals.”

“Yeah? Well, I wouldn’t mind trying to tame her.”

Clara had reached her limit. Up until this point she had been listening with ever-increasing revulsion, but now she couldn’t keep quiet anymore. Despite her better instincts, she couldn’t contain herself. She lunged forward, straining against the chains as she shouted at them. “Don’t even think about it, you creeps! I swear I’ll make you regret it! I’ll break every bone in your sorry, pathetic bodies! I’ll… I’ll…” she trailed off as she choked on her own anger.

“How long have you been awake?” the first guard asked, surprise evident in his voice.

Clara was about to let loose with another nasty remark before the second guard cut her off. “I’d bet for awhile now. She was probably just too weighed down to stand up straight.” He then started laughing as if he had just issued the cleverest joke in the galaxy.

Clara felt her face burn red at the laughter and fell into a murderous silence. There were few things in this galaxy that she was as sensitive about as the size of her breasts. “Damn it, my life would be so much better without these things,” she thought to herself angrily as she slumped back down. “Mom never got this big, so why’d I have to?”

The laughter died down as the guards continued their conversation about her, with the second one tossing a few tasteless asides at her. Clara didn’t respond further, knowing it would only encourage them, but her anger continued to simmer. “Remember those voices,” she told herself. “Don’t leave here without teaching them a lesson. Make Guard Two’s lesson especially painful.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:37 pm

A sudden bright light blinded her eyes as the bag over her head was suddenly removed. She tried to raise he hand to shield her eyes only to find out that it was bound to the chair. In a panic she tried to struggle free but only succeeded in scuffing the floor as she pulled ineffectually at her bindings.

"Now there's no sense in doing that," a man said as he came into her field of view. "You'll just tire yourself out eventually."

"Who the hell are you and where have you taken me," Isis demanded.

The man grinned at her then straightened up. "You are a guest in my humble abode, but don't worry. You and your friend will be well taken care of."

Clara, Isis' mind screamed at her. "Where is she? What have you done with her?"

"Nothing yet so long as you cooperate," the man replied, then he turned around and walked away from her a short distance. "You see there is something we need, not from you but from your father. He has been less than accomodating lately and you and I are going to send him a message."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"You don't need to know the details, my dear, just do as I say and you'll come out of this alive."

"And Clara?"

The man hesitated a moment before speaking. "We'll see how well you behave first," then he turned to one of his men, "Take her back to the holding cell."

There was a racket as Isis once again tried to struggle free only to have the bag thrown over her head once more. They untied her arms and she immediately threw a punch at where she thought her nearest captor was but the man easily dodged under it then delivered the butt of his rifle to the side of her face. Isis stopped struggling after that and she had to be carried back to the cell on the man's shoulders. When they got there Isis could barely make out the sounds of two men talking and the rattling of chains from someone else.

They opened up the holding cell then tossed her inside. She hit the ground hard on her side but before she could try and climb to her feet she was being pulled up again. Her arms were chained to the ceiling and her body left to dangle then the guards exited the cell and reactivated the force field.

"Some vacation, huh," Isis heard Clara's voice and in spite of herself she smiled.

"Well, I was hoping we'd see a little bit of action," she admitted, "Now I kind of wish we were back at the hotel."

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:40 am

“Just who do you think you’re fooling, Sis?” Clara said to her, feeling herself smile. “Maybe this isn’t exactly an ideal situation, but on some level you’re enjoying this. You would have been bored to tears back at the hotel.”

***

The first sensation Habas became aware of was the splash of cold water as it hit his face. He sputtered at the assault as his eyes fluttered open. He would have moved, but found his arms tied behind a sturdy durasteel chair. Instead he just shook his head to try and shake the water off of it. He tried to focus on who had thrown the water on him, but his vision was obscured by a bright light shining in his face.

It also didn’t help that he had a splitting headache from the kick to his face earlier.

“Taking a nap in the open like that can be quite unhealthy, Habas,” a female voice said to him. “Especially for a man in your line of work. You never know who’s going to find you in such a condition.”

Fortunately, it didn’t take Habas long to place the voice. “A pleasure as always, Lady Byrana. He squinted against the light as he tried to make out her silhouette. “Why are you being so cagey? You think I wouldn’t recognize your voice? You’re not someone I’d easily forget.”

There was a sigh from the voice before the light was turned off. It took Habas’s eyes a moment to adjust before he could focus on the Selonian female standing across from him. Like most of her people, Byrana felt no need to wear clothes, but instead adorned herself with jewelry that was both functional and durable. Her sleek muzzle curled back disapprovingly. “You’re never any fun.”

“And you’re not the type to hold grudges like this,” Habas replied as he tested the ropes again. “Or so I thought. I know you have issues with me, but leave my niece and her friend out of it.”

Byrana tilted her head in curiosity. “Your… niece? What are you talking about?”

“Your big bruiser attacked them at a bar and after I chased him off, you sent more of your men to kidnap us,” Habas explained. “Don’t even try to pretend you didn’t know she was attending the academy here. You’re too well connected.”

“Of course I knew,” Byrana confirmed, “but it wasn’t me. My dear, in case the fur and whiskers didn’t give it away, I’m a Selonian and that means we don’t mess with family. If Bonvar Trag attacked them, he did it on his own and probably didn’t know who they were. I can also tell you for a fact that none of my people attacked you in the woods.”

Habas raised an eyebrow. “Then why am I tied up?”

“Maybe I like seeing you tied up,” she answered coyly. “It helps to put my mind at rest that you won’t be killing anyone else working for me.”

“I’m not here for any of your people this time,” Habas assured her. “Now, with all due respect, please untie me and let me go. I need to find Clara and her friend before something happens to them.”

“How can I trust you?”

“Because it’s me,” Habas said to her patiently. “I give you my word I’m telling the truth.”

Byrana studied him for a moment before slowly nodding. A second later, Habas felt his restraints being cut from behind. He stood up and shrugged off the remains of the rope. “Thank you,” he said with a nod of respect. “I’ll collect my gear and go.”

“Just where do you think you’re going?” Byrana called after him. “You don’t even know who took your niece.”

Habas turned to look at her. “I’ll find them.”

Byrana smiled. “I think you’ll find them a little faster with some help.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Mon May 17, 2010 9:46 am

It wasn’t long before Clara and Isis fell silent. Despite their bantering, both women knew that they were in a very serious situation. Someone wanted Isis for something and they were apparently powerful enough not to care about kidnapping a New Republic senator’s daughter. From what Isis had said when she got back, this didn’t appear to be a simple ransom job either. This was something different, but what it meant, neither of them knew.

The silence gave Clara some time to think and all that came to her mind was that she had to take matters into her own hands if they were going to get out of this. She couldn’t count on anybody saving them; not CorSec, not the New Republic military, not even her uncle. For all she knew, he could be…

No. She wouldn’t admit that until there was no way to deny it…

Her options were few, and the plan she came up with that gave them the best chance of succeeding wasn’t one she was too thrilled about, but desperate times called for desperate measures. It was either swallow her pride or end up as a corpse on the street - or even worse - a Hutt slave girl.

“Hey!” she abruptly called out. “Hey jerks! I need to use the bathroom! How about untying me so I can take care of business?!”

“You can hold it,” Guard One replied back. “I’m not falling for that old line.”

“I’m serious,” Clara insisted. “What? You two don’t think you can handle one little girl? What kind of men are you?”

“The smart kind,” Guard One retorted. “You need to go so badly, then feel free to wet yourself.”

“Don’t say that!” Isis suddenly spoke up. “She’ll do it! I know her. She doesn’t care about staying clean at all. She’s going to mess up this nice clean cell and then you guys are going to have to explain to your boss why you let it happen.”

Guard One didn’t seem very intimidated. “We’re going to kill her anyway, so who cares?”

“That’s not what I heard,” Isis shot back. “Your boss has something planned for her, just like he does for me. I bet that doesn’t involve letting her swim in her own waste.”

“I’ll take her,” Guard Two spoke up.

“I bet I know why,” Guard One replied. “Fine, but if you take too long, I’m pulling the escape alarm.”

Guard Two laughed. “It won’t take long, trust me,” he said as he deactivated the security field and pulled off Clara’s blindfold. Her eyes widened with a little surprise when she finally saw what Guard Two looked like. He was huge - not as big as the bruiser who worked for Lady Byrana, but big nonetheless. He looked like ex-military.

“This is going to be a little more difficult than I thought,” Clara realized, “but oh so much more satisfying.”

***

Guard Two marched Clara down to the nearest restroom, her hands still chained at the wrist. Without hesitation, he opened the door and shoved her inside before following after. He indicated a nearby stall with a tilt of his head. “Use this one, but keep the door open so I can see you. No tricks.”

Clara stood where she was and faced him, trying her best to fight her gag reflex at what she was going to do next. “I’ve got a confession to make,” she said to him. “I lied about needing to use the restroom. I just wanted to get you alone.”

He arched an eyebrow. “Yeah? You planning to jump me and make an escape? I’d like to see you try.”

“You’re half right,” she answered him, trying to sound seductive. “I do want to jump you.”

“Funny, you didn’t sound very accommodating earlier.”

“I wasn’t,” she admitted, “but that’s because I’m so used to being in control. Now that I’m not, I actually find it kind of exciting. I want to have a little fun before they do who knows what to me.”

Guard Two still didn’t seem convinced. “How do I know this isn’t a trick?”

“Keep the bile back,” Clara thought desperately. “Just take a look at me, big man,” she said as she stuck out her chest. “Does this look like the body of a real soldier to you? My parents dumped me at that academy as a precursor to a cushy job as a starship commander. Their influence means I’m just there for appearances. Why else do you think I’m able to hang around with Senator Sinclair’s daughter?”

Guard Two still seemed to have his doubts, but considering his eyes were no longer on her face, Clara was sure her pack of lies was starting to have an effect. Finally the guard grinned as he holstered his blaster and grabbed her bound wrists with one hand. With a hearty shove, he pinned her against a wall by keeping her arms above her head. “You tell a good story, but I don’t really care if you mean any of it or not. There’s nothing you can do about it, so I’m going to enjoy this no matter what you want!”

“I doubt it,” Clara growled before slamming her head forward and connecting solidly with his face.

The man reeled back with a yell of outrage before reaching for his blaster. Clara didn’t give him the time as she rushed forward and body checked him into a mirror before kneeing him in the groin. Guard Two doubled over in agony just as Clara swung her bound fists up and knocked him out cold.

Clara took a moment to calm down from the rush of adrenaline before spitting on his body in distaste. “Oh, did I forget to mention I’m the academy hand-to-hand champion? Must have slipped my mind.”

She knelt down next to his body and grabbed the keys to unlock her shackles and grab his blaster. She was formulating tactics to take down the other guard when she heard the man on the floor groan. Clara spun back around and trained the blaster on the guard as he slowly got back up.

The guard didn’t seem very intimidated as he reached up and felt his jaw where Clara’s fists had connected, and then smiled. “You definitely have some fight in that lovely frame of yours. I love breaking women like you.”

Clara raised the blaster warningly. “Take another step and it’ll be your last. I haven’t had time to set this thing to stun. I don’t want you kill you in cold blood, but I will if I have to.”

The guard chuckled. “I think not. I can see it in your eyes. You’ve never killed anyone before and you’re not going to start now. Give me the blaster and I promise not to be too rough with you.”

“This is your last warning,” Clara told him as she narrowed her eyes. “Step back against the wall and put your hands on your head, or I will shoot you.”

“I don’t think I will,” the guard objected as he took a step forward, “I-”

His next words were muffled by the whine of a blaster bolt. The guard looked down at his blackened and smoking chest in shock before looking back at her. His mouth was frozen in a wordless objection before he keeled over backwards and was still.

Clara took a deep breath before shaking her head. “So, the seal is broken,” she muttered to herself. “I’ve always wondered what it would be like, but I feel just fine. Trying to seduce you was way worse than just shooting you.”

***

The other guard was taken down easily enough. A few blaster bolts and he joined his fellow guard in the afterlife. Clara wasted no time in shooting the controls for the security field to knock it out before unlocking Isis. The destruction of the security field triggered the alarm, but considering that they were already being watched by a security camera, stealth was never really an option.

“Done hanging around?” Clara asked with a grin. “Sorry, that was awful, but it was the best I could come up with on such short notice.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:12 pm

"Maybe you'll have more time to think of a better one once we're out of here," Isis told her as she rubbed her sore wrists. Clara tossed her a blaster and motioned towards the door.

"Come on," she said and the two of them hurried out into the hallway, weapons raised and ready to shoot anyone that got in their way. They sprinted down the corridor and stopped at the corner. Isis peeked out once and saw nobody so she motioned Clara ahead of her. As soon as Clara cleared the corner two guards noticed her and opened fire. She quickly popped off two rounds the darted back behind cover.

"I thought you said it was clear," she snapped at Isis.

Isis just shrugged. "Well, it was for a second. Come on, I think I saw another hallway back here."

She ran off the way they came with Clara firing behind her to keep them covered. They darted down a side passage and into an adjoining room. Isis closed the door but left it partly open as she peered out into the hallway. The two guards joined by a few more hurried down the corridor past their room and kept going. Isis slowly counted off the seconds then nodded to Clara. They left the room and ran down the hallway in the opposite direction from where the soldiers went.

"You know, neither of us really know where the exit is," Isis mused. "Maybe we should try to follow th--,"

She stopped suddenly when she and Isis sprinted around a corner and straight into a large squad of men. In front of them was the same interrogator clad in business suit whom Isis remembered from before. "I should have expected that you two would prove to be resourceful. After all your legacies are rather impressive."

He motioned to the men standing behind him and they slid off to the side of the hallway opening a path for Isis and Clara. "Your father is waiting for you outside," he informed them. "You should be grateful, he has a great deal of concern for his daughter." Then he turned to appraise Clara, "And for you, Ms. Molariou. He was as concerned of your well being as he was his daughter's. The agreement we've made will ensure that neither of you are harmed," then he stepped aside and gestured with his hand, "These men will show you to the exit."

Isis and Clara both eyed him suspiciously, but neither of them were about to waste this chance. They moved forward, cautiously keeping their hands on their weapons and their eyes on the soldiers. When they were past the man in the business suit they stopped when he suddenly spoke up again. "And, girls, just one more thing," he turned to look at them and held out his hand, "Academy students are not allowed to carry weapons off campus."

Isis and Clara looked at each other. Neither of them were comfortable with giving up their weapons but with all these armed soldiers around them they didn't really have a choice. First Isis handed over hers and then Clara did so as well after a moment's hesitation. Once the last blaster was placed in his hand the man seemed satisfied. "Have a pleasant day, you two," he said with an almost genuine seeming smile then he spun on his heel and walked away. Most of the soldiers followed him except for two.

"The exit is this way," one of them said and he gestured for them to move on ahead.

Isis and Clara just followed behind them in stunned disbelief. That was the shortest hostage situation since... Well, since ever. Isis couldn't think of a situation like this that had ended so abruptly. Once they were shown the door both Isis and Clara were glad to be outside. True to his word in a dark black, luxurious speeder Isis' father awaited them. He had one of the doors held open and as soon as he saw Isis he rushed forward.

"Isis, sweetheart," he cried, wrapping his arms around his daughter.

Isis' cheeks flushed and she looked at Clara who had a bit of a snicker on her face. "Um... Can we do this later, Daddy," Isis asked sheepishly.

He looked at his daughter then nodded and turned to Clara. "Are you alright," he asked.

Clara answered him with a nod and he gave her a smile. "Good, I'd hate to have to explain any scars to your uncle. Come, he's waiting for you in the car."

"Habas is," Isis asked in surprise.

Rodrick nodded, "I had my people pick him up. It was necessary to keep an eye on him so that we could control the situation here."

Control? Sounds more like you gave in, Isis grumbled to herself.

"Anyway, we better get you back," he said, gesturing towards the speeder with his hand. Isis and Clara were quick to climb inside and soon after the door was closed and they were on their way back to their normal lives. On the way back Clara couldn't help but notice Isis' frown.

"Something wrong, Sis," she asked her.

Isis shook her head. "We just had our first real adventure and I didn't get to shoot anyone," she grumbled...

The rest of their impromptu vacation went off without a hitch. Isis and Clara spent a great deal of time with Habas though this time all three of them were a little more careful about watching their surroundings. Shortly after they were back on a bus and headed to the academy. Their time away had been mercilessly short but in a way they were kind of relieved about going back. it meant that they wouldn't have to keep looking over their shoulders all the time, not with base security all around them. Getting back to all the drills, though, only Clara was looking forward to that...

**********

A few days after they got back to the academy Clara was just getting back to the barracks for a bit of R&R when she spotted Isis in street clothes and stuffing her bag. "What's going on, Sis" she asked, a sudden look of concern on her face, "They didn't finally can you, did they?"

Isis shook her head. "Worse," she answered, "my father was invited to some kind of charity dinner and he wants me to come along."

"Well, that doesn't sound so bad."

Isis just looked at her. "You have no idea, Clara. All those stuck up rich people strutting around turning their noses up at everyone. Ugh, I'd rather be back here running one of Old Hardass's iron man drills than go to this dinner."

Clara frowned at that. "Come on, I think those are fun even though I know they're not supposed to be. What's the big deal anyway? You get to score some good food while rubbing elbows with the Republic elite. If I were in your place, I'd just sit back and enjoy it."

"Good," Isis said with a smile, "because you're coming too. Dad said I could bring someone with me and I insisted on bringing you. So get out of that stuffy uniform already, my dad's going to be here to pick us up in about twenty minutes."

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:28 am

That took Clara completely by surprise, freezing her in her tracks; eyes wide in surprise; like an animal caught in a headlight. “Me? Are you insane!? I wouldn’t fit in with those stuffed shirts. I don’t know the first thing about being cultured. I don’t even have a dress. I don’t even like wearing dresses!

Isis was clearly enjoying herself. “I’ll get you a dress and teach you everything you need to know. Honestly, you’re such a farmer’s daughter.”

“And you’re such a little rich girl,” Clara countered with an exasperated sigh. “I don’t really have a choice, do I?”

“Not after all that talk about what you’d do if you were in my place,” Isis confirmed for her with a shake of her head. “I’m calling your bluff. You lost. Now get ready. Time’s wasting.”

Clara moved over to her foot locker and grabbed her most decent pair of street clothes. “Oh, I’ll find a way to get you back for this…” she grumbled without any real bite. “I don’t know how, but I’ll find a way…”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:05 pm

A short time later Rodrick led his daughter and her friend into the common room of his penthouse. Almost immediately upon entering the room Isis slipped off her jacket and tossed it on the floor by the door. Her father turned and gave her a hard look. "What," she asked innocently. He gestured to her jacket on the floor and she rolled her eyes but obediently picked it up anyway.

"Hurry up and pack your bags, Isis, we don't have much time," he told her and then he turned and started to head into an adjoining room.

Isis just stared at him in shock. "Pack my bags? For what? I thought you said we were going to dinner."

"The dinner is being held at the Gold Beaches Resort, it's a four day retreat," he called back over his shoulder as he left the room.

"Wait a minute, it's that dinner," Isis called after him, "but it's early!"

"No it's not, it's the same time every year," Rodrick yelled back then he stood in the entryway of the room and looked at her, "Did you even read the message I sent you?"

Isis shifted uneasily from one foot to the next. "Most of it," she lied, sheepishly averting her eyes.

Rodrick gave her a hard look then shook his head. "I suppose Clara has nothing packed either," he said, "Why don't you take her into your room and loan her some of your clothes. You're both about the same size."

Isis looked at her. Yeah, arms, legs, shoulders, waist maybe but chest... She shook her head. Clara you beat me in everything, don't you, she grumbled. "Come on, it's this way," she said and she led her friend through the extravagantly opulent penthouse towards her room...

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:55 am

Clara tried not to gawk as Isis led her through the penthouse to her room. She’d never been in such surroundings before. Growing up on an agriworld like Taanab didn’t afford one many chances to see how the other half lived. Even after becoming friends with Isis, and knowing mentally that she was the daughter of a Republic senator, Clara had never had a clear picture of what it must have been like - only exaggerated notions. It seemed, however, that those exaggerated notions weren’t quite as exaggerated as she had previously believed.

“You know,” Clara spoke up to Isis, trying to reassert herself, “when I used to call you a spoiled princess before we became sisters, I never meant that literally. This is… too much. I think your living room is bigger than my parents’ house.” She tried to smirk. “I mean, where is your tiara?”

“In my room somewhere,” Isis answered her offhand. “I’ve got a few of them actually for formal occasions, but I hate wearing them. You want one?”

“Umm…” Clara answered noncommittally, starting to get an apprehensive feeling in the pit of her stomach. “That was supposed to be a joke, Sis. I repeat that this is a bad idea. This isn’t my element.”

Isis stopped at the door to her room and looked at Clara. “Don’t tell me you’re actually nervous? You?! Fearless personified?! The same girl who single-handedly almost freed me from that hostage situation without breaking a sweat?”

“The scum of the galaxy I can handle,” Clara said, feeling her face turn red with embarrassment and hating it. “I have skills for that.” She gestured to the penthouse. “This… I have nothing for this. This place... I'm not...” Clara struggled to say something coherent. “It's not going to work.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:57 am

"Nonsense, Clara, have more faith," Isis replied, playfully punching her in the arm. "Talking to rich people is just like talking to any other person. Except that rich people are boring and full of themselves."

"You realize you're talking about yourself, right," Clara added jokingly but she still had an uncertain look on her face.

"Yeah, but I'm not boring or...," she stopped suddenly and considered that, then abruptly opened the door to her room. "You know what, never mind," she said as she walked into her room and went immediately to her wardrobe. She threw back the doors and Clara stared wide-eyed at the row upon row of clothing and shoes.

"Where do you find the time to wear all of this stuff, Sis?"

"I don't, usually," Isis replied with a shake of her head, "Some of this stuff I've never even worn before. You're welcome to have some of it if you want."

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:00 pm

Clara had never considered clothing to be anything other than a necessity. The nicest thing she owned was her dress uniform. Fashion, and what was fashionable, was completely unknown to her. All she ever cared about with her clothing was that it was durable, comfortable, and did its job. Looking at the rows and rows of clothing Isis had at her disposal made Clara feel even more lost than she had before. It was almost a relief when she came to a realization about everything Isis had to choose from.

“None of this is going to fit me,” she said, trying not to sound too cheerful, “at least not the way it’s supposed to. The bottoms I think would work, but not the tops… And I’m not even going to try looking at the swimsuits.” She shrugged. “Oh well, it was a nice idea, Sis, but I guess I’ll have to bow out of this one. Maybe next time.”

Clara headed for the door. “I’ll just tell your dad that I’m catching a hovertrain back to the base-”

“Not so fast,” Isis stopped her with a sudden iron grip on Clara’s shoulder. “You’re not getting away that easily.”

Clara looked behind her. “I’m… not?”

Isis shook her head with a decidedly evil smile. “Oh, no. Not even close, my friend. We’ve got time.”

“But your dad said you need to leave right away. I don’t want to hold you two up.”

“Do you think a place as famous as the Gold Beaches is without high-end shops?” Isis pointed out to her. “We’ll go on a little shopping spree when we get down there.”

Clara’s shoulders slumped as she sighed with defeat. “Does it matter if I point out that I don’t have the money to buy all this stuff?”

“Not in the least,” Isis assured her. “You’re my guest, so this will be on me.”

Clara gestured rather limply towards the door. “Lead on then.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:11 pm

Smug in her victory Isis turned back to her wardrobe and began tossing random articles of clothing haphazardly onto her bed. Then she pulled out a rather large suitcase and started stuffing it without any regard for orderliness. Clara watched the whole display in wonder and when she saw Isis struggling to close the luggage she considered giving her a hand. Before she could speak up, though, another woman entered the room and gasped in surprise.

"Madam Sinclair," the woman said, "I did not know you were home."

"Isis, Rhianna, just call me Isis," she insisted, still trying to close the suitcase.

"Here, Madam, let me help you with that," Rhianna said and she came forward and took the luggage from Isis. She flipped open the lid then frowned at the contents.

"It's okay, really. I've got it," Isis tried to object but the woman had already begun taking the clothing out and rearranging it neatly in the suitcase. She stopped suddenly and looked at the articles of clothing with a critical eye. "Really, Madam, I should be going with you on this trip. You'll make a mess of yourself if I'm not there to dress you."

Isis' cheeks flushed immediately. "I can dress myself, Rhianna, I'm not a child anymore," she snapped, stamping her foot for emphasis.

"Really now," Rhianna mused then she pointed at the clothing on her bed. "None of this stuff fits together, here let me pack you some accessories and rearrange your clothing for you."

Isis was keenly aware that Clara was watching her the whole time being babied by her maid. She could imagine the smile that must be on her face but she didn't have the courage to glance out of the corner of her eye and look. Instead she balled up her fists, closed her eyes and tried not to let the embarrassment kill her as Rhianna began pulling out articles of clothing and instructing her on how she should wear them.

"Madam Sinclair, are you paying attention," she said finally when she noticed Isis wasn't looking.

She snapped her eyes open, glanced up at the maid and nodded meekly. "Good, now I'll have to start over," she said and once again she began matching tops with bottoms and explaining what accessories she should wear and how she should have her hair done and what kind of shoes go with each outfit. Isis suffered through the whole thing until finally she heard her dad calling from the living room.

"Well, it looks like we have to go," Isis said quickly, relieved that it was all over.

Rhianna still had that look on her face that said she wasn't sure if Isis would be alright on her own. "Maybe I should ask your father if I could come with," she said finishing up her explanation by zipping the suitcase up and carrying it out into the living room.

"Dad already said no," Isis lied as she followed Rhianna out to the living room, "Besides, someone has to stay here and make sure everything gets done, right?

Rhianna didn't answer and instead walked directly to her father. "Are we all ready," he asked as she approached.

Rhianna nodded. "I've packed the Miss' bag, but I'm not sure she'll be okay by herself."

Rodrick smiled at that. "She'll be fine, Rhianna, she's been on her own quite a bit already. Besides," he added with an off-hand gesture and a look at Isis, "I have someone lined up to help make her look presentable when she needs to be."

Isis shrunk away from that look and half obscured herself behind Rhianna. "Anyway," Rodrick continued, "we better get going."

He turned and opened the door then led the way down to his personal garage where Rhianna helped load all of their luggage into the speeder. Then she stood by and waved as the speeder took off and carefully entered traffic. The ride down to the Golden Beaches Resort was a short one but for Isis and Clara it felt longer than it was. Clara for her apprehension in mixing in with rich people and Isis for her embarrassment over her life suddenly being made so plain in front of her friend. When they arrived at the resort it was a bit of a relief for Isis. Clara was to distracted looking around at all the elegant furnishings, sculptures, twisting fountains and floating chandeliers to remember anything that had happened back at the penthouse. Isis finally allowed herself to relax and walked confidently behind her father as they were led by the resort staff to one of their many villas.

Their luggage was carried in for them and again almost immediately upon entering the villa Isis took off her jacket and tossed it on the floor. Again her father gave her a hard look. "Oh come on, we're on vacation," she objected.

"Now, Isis," he said and his tone left little room for argument.

Grumbling to herself she picked up the jacket and hung it on a nearby hangar. One of the staff members came by and announced that everything was ready for them. "If you should need anything, Senator, we have servants on standby for all of our guests."

"Thank you, Chavez," Rodrick replied and he handed the man a few credits as a tip. Then he turned back to the two girls standing behind him. Clara was busy staring at the room and Isis was indifferent. The villa it seemed was almost as big as Isis' home Clara still couldn't get over the idea that they were staying here for the next four days. "If you want, you two, I could arrange to have a car brought around to take you to the shopping district."

"That's okay, daddy, I think we'll walk. Clara's never been here before," Isis answered and her father nodded.

"Alright," he said, "just don't take too long. You and I have an appearance to make tonight at the opening ceremony."

Isis groaned at that but her father ignored it and left to go arrange his room. I hate appearances, she grumbled to herself then she turned to look at Clara. "Well? You ready to go?"

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:46 am

Isis was as good as her word; better even than Clara expected. All Clara had been intending to have purchased were enough clothes to get her by for the four days she would be at the Gold Beaches. Isis had practically insisted on a full wardrobe for Clara, seemingly dragging her to every shop within sight. Shorts, tops, shoes, underwear, jewelry, perfume… she didn’t miss a beat. They’d found a black two piece swimsuit for the beach and a very expensive red designer dress (over Clara’s objections that it was too much) for the charity dinner. In fact, Isis bought so much that they had needed to rent a valet droid to carry it back to the resort for them while the two girls strolled along the boardwalk.

“You know,” Clara said to Isis, “I think you spent more credits in one day than I have in my entire life. Now I know why you have clothes you’ve never worn before.” She shook her head ruefully. “What a lifestyle... Who knew that viol of yours was just the edge of the asteroid, huh?”

Isis stopped at a fence facing the beach and leaned against it. She crossed her arms confidently as she faced Clara. “Feeling better about coming here now?”

Clara took a moment to enjoy the view of the setting sun. “I gotta admit, Sis, it’s not all bad, but-” She suddenly cut herself off and pointed excitedly. “There!”

Isis turned around and tried to spot what had Clara so worked up, but even as she did, the other girl had already jumped the fence and was running towards the beach. A confused Isis, left with little choice but to follow after her friend, duplicated the maneuver. “Hey! Wait up!”

She didn’t have to run long since Clara abruptly stopped and stood looking out towards the ocean with a big smile on her face. She turned to face Isis. “Do you see!?”

Isis looked out at the ocean, but still didn’t see anything remarkable. “See what?”

Clara looked at her like she was blind and then motioned towards the ocean exaggeratedly. “The surfers! How can you not see them?”

“I saw them,” Isis confirmed. “Big deal. There are surfers on the Gold Beaches everyday.”

“Yeah, but…” Clara stopped and took a moment to chuckle. “Sorry, sorry… You see, I’ve always wanted to try surfing, but Taanab isn’t exactly known for its oceans. I’ve never had the chance.” She looked back at the surfers packing it in now that it was getting dark. “I’ve just gotta get out there and give it a shot tomorrow. Have you surfed before?”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:20 am

"Um, not exactly," Isis replied sheepishly. She had tried surfing before but she wasn't very good at it. The only reason that didn't bother her was because the guy who had been encouraging her to try it was particularly good looking. With his help she managed to stand up on the board but she couldn't stay up for very long. I kind of doubt I'll see him again, she thought with a sad shake of her head. "I think there's time tomorrow if you want to come back here," she said finally while out of one pocket she fished her datapad.

She played around with it for a bit while Clara watched her quizzically. "What's that," she asked curiously.

"My itinerary," Isis explained, "Dad sent it to me on the way over here. He does this every year so I can keep track of all the appearances we have to make." She shook her head then and sighed heavily. "It's all so cumbersome," she complained, "I hate parading myself around in front of the media."

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:50 pm

Clara snatched it from Isis’s hands without warning and quickly browsed through it. “Let’s see… fundraiser… art gallery opening… charity function… charity function… fundraiser… dinner with the Chief of State… dinner with the Diktat… charity function…” She rolled her eyes and tossed it back at Isis. “Bleh… talk about being chained up. Is that why you enrolled in Beruss? To get away from this stuff?”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:56 pm

"Kind of," Isis replied sheepishly, "I mean that's what I thought at first but then charity dinners and fundraisers got replaced by drills and mandatory training exercises. It's really not all that different from my current life."

"So why did you join then," Clara asked her curiously.

Isis shifted uneasily from one foot to the next, her cheeks turning a slight red color. "You're going to think I'm stupid," she muttered.

Clara crossed her arms at her and gave her a serious look. "I kind of doubt that, Sis."

Isis looked at her then across the beach over to where the surfers were just now coming in. Her shoulders slumped and she sighed heavily. "You know how my dad's a big time war hero, right?"

Clara nodded.

"Well, it was just kind of expected of me to follow in his footsteps. First a few years of service with the military and then maybe later I get elected to the Senate, you know? That's how things have always been for me. My life was pretty much dictated for me before I was even born. That's why I do everything I can to break the rules and get into trouble."

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:53 pm

Clara couldn’t help herself from snickering, which was exactly the reaction Isis didn’t want. Clara forced herself to keep it under control before she inadvertently hurt her friend’s feelings further. “I’m not laughing at why you did it, Sis. Really. I just think it’s funny that you joined the military to break the rules.” She elbowed the other girl with a friendly jab. “Come on… It sounds ludicrous when you say it out loud. Perfect Sinclair logic if I ever heard it.”

Much to Clara’s relief, Isis managed a smile. “Okay then, why did you join Beruss?”

Clara grinned as they started walking back. “Believe it or not, I was quite the troublemaker.”

“No! You?!” Isis replied with exaggerated sarcasm.

“I know, I know, but it’s true,” Clara giggled before confirming it. “Actually, I’ve wanted to join the military ever since I first heard about the Battle of Yavin, but of course I wasn’t old enough then. I never let anybody bully me though, just like the Rebels standing up to the Empire.” She sighed and gestured to her chest. “Then these things came in and people stopped taking me seriously, so I lashed out a lot more. When it got to be really bad, my parents started looking at military school. Unlike a lot of other kids who would have been in my place though, I loved the idea. You know the rest.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:27 pm

"That seems just like you," Isis said with a smile, "Little miss Aramo, always the first in line for drills. I'll even bet that...,"

She stopped suddenly and her eyes widened. Clara looked at her then tried to follow her gaze to see what she was looking at. "What is it, Sis?"

"Isn't that one of Byrana's goons," she said, pointing across the street to where a man was coming out of a small cafe. Several others followed him out as well including the large one that had manhandled them the weekend before. Mixed in with them were a couple of faces they didn't recognize, one a woman, possibly Byrana, and the other...

"Wait a minute, that's Senator Caldwell," Isis exclaimed, "What's he doing talking to those guys?"

The goons and their escort turned in their direction and started walking down the street. Both Clara and Isis spun around to face the beach all the while hoping the fat one wouldn't recognize them.

"We have to tell your dad," Clara whispered under her breath.

Isis just looked at her incredulously. "You're not serious, right? If I tell my dad I saw Senator Caldwell talking to some goons he'll want to know how I know they're goons. If he finds out I was in a bar drinking beer...," she shuddered at the thought. "What about your uncle," she asked, changing gears slightly, "Is he still on Corellia?"

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:28 am

“I don’t know,” Clara answered her. “I haven’t heard from him since that kidnapping incident. He did tell me that he’d talked to Lady B about rescuing us, but he never went into what kind of details that entailed.” She peeked back at the action before turning around again. “Truth be told, Sis, I’ve been a little suspicious about how quickly we were returned from that.”

Isis nodded. “I know what you mean.”

Clara bit her lower lip in thought before she came to a decision. “I’m going to follow them. You coming with?”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:44 pm

"Of course," Isis replied, "No way I'm letting you do all the work alone."

"Didn't think you would," Clara answered and the two girls hurried after Caldwell and the others.

Keeping track of them wasn't too difficult. The big one they met in the bar was easy to spot from miles away. They just had to keep track of his lumbering outline, which in the crowd beach goers and millionaires wasn't hard to do. They turned down a side street and walked for some distance before taking an abrupt turn into an alleyway. Isis and Clara stopped at the entrance to the alley and peeked around the corner. Isis, who was trying to lean over Clara's head, felt her foot slip and she crashed into Clara, threatening to toss them both out into the open. The two quickly scrambled behind cover again and Clara gave her sister a harsh look.

"I slipped," Isis whispered and Clara just rolled her eyes.

Again they tried to peek around the corner, though this time Isis was being a bit more careful. Their mark had gone a bit further down the alleyway and just as Clara was about to suggest they move they heard a voice behind them.

"Isis?" A boy asked and the two girls turned to look at him.

"Rhan," Isis said in surprise, "It's, um... Great to see you again."

"Always a pleasure to see you, mademoiselle," the boy answered with an exaggerated flourish and a bow, "Who's your friend?"

Isis suddenly remembered that Clara was standing beside her. "Oh, this is, um--Clara. We go to the same school."

"Is that so, a woman like you joining the military, I'm surprised. You must have some great skill to be able to keep up with Isis."

Yeah, don't mention it, Isis wanted to say but she refrained from speaking aloud. "Clara, this is Rhan Kentas. He's the son of Julynn Kentas, the president of Industrial Automaton."

"A pleasure, mademoiselle," he said, extending his hand out to her. Clara accepted it and with another exaggerated flourish the boy bowed and lightly pressed his lips to the back of her hand. "If you would, Madam, it would be the greatest of honors to me if you would join me for a drink and maybe a bite to eat."

Isis had a hard time ignoring the fact that all of his attention seemed to be on Clara for the moment and that the two of them seemed to forget she was even there and once again she was keenly aware of the differences between her body and Clara's. She turned around and peeked into the alleyway once more, when she noticed that neither Senator Caldwell nor the goons he was with were there her shoulders slumped. "I'm, um... I'm going to head back to the resort," she interrupted suddenly.

"But, Sis," Clara tried to object but the girl was already leaving.

"It's okay, Clara, go have fun," she threw back over her shoulder, "I have that thing tonight, remember?"

Clara seemed like she was about ready to follow her, but Rhan wasn't about to let her get away so easily. "Shall we," he said, looping his elbow out towards her...

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:37 pm

Clara wasn’t sure what to think at first. She was totally blindsided by the unexpected arrival of Rhan and his bizarre dialect. “What the heck is a ‘mademoiselle’ anyway?” she found herself wondering.

Isis suddenly ducking out on her didn’t help matters either.

Clara placed a hand on Rhan’s outstretched arm and firmly, but gently, forced him to lower it. “Listen, Kent, I’m flattered, but I was kind of in the middle of something. Go chase down Sis and bug her. Maybe you can be her date for that appearance she’s supposed to make tonight.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:49 pm

Rhan glanced in the direction in which Isis was heading and then shook his head. "I would chase down your friend but it seems I've lost track of her," he said with a nod of his head in Isis' direction. Clara followed the nod and noted with some irritation that Isis had gone and lost herself in the crowd. "Looks like it's just the two of us now," Rhan continued, that same confident smile still plastered to his face, "So how about that drink?"

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:29 pm

Clara came to the realization that not only had Isis slipped away from them, but her chances of finding Caldwell were essentially over as well. She had a feeling that short of slugging Rhan in the face, she wasn’t going to get him to go away in time for it to matter. She was tempted, but had enough sense to realize that assaulting the son of someone as powerful and influential as Julynn Kentas probably wouldn’t end well for her. Attacking rich boys like Karl at a military academy like Beruss was one thing, but attacking them on the street was something else entirely.

Rhan was going to have to really deserve it if she went that far.

“Listen, you seem like you’re a nice guy, but I’ve already got a boyfriend,” she tried. “I’m pretty sure I’m not your type anyway.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:46 pm

The man's confident smile didn't waiver in the slightest, not even at the mention of her boyfriend. "That's alright," he said with a gentle shake of his head, "I can see you're a bit shy, but I'll win you over yet."

He stopped and pretended like he was considering something. "I know, you said your friend is going to the opening ceremony tonight. Perhaps I'll see you there. Once you see me on the dance floor you just may reconsider my proposition. Until then," he said with another flourish and a bow. Then the Clara's relief he turned and left.

Meanwhile Isis had just arrived back at their villa at the resort and as soon as she entered she found her father waiting for her. "You're late," he said sternly, then he clapped his hands together twice. Two women came out and dragged Isis into another room. "Hurry up and get ready, we're out of time," her father called after her.

The two women poked and prodded at Isis, styling her hair, doing her makeup, helping her dress, when they were finished she barely recognized herself. Her normally straight sandy blond hair fell in curls around her bare shoulders. A bright, silver tiara adorned her head and a necklace of gorgeous pearls hung around her neck and draped over her bosom. Her gown was a deep lavender that accentuated her long lithe form and though she had spent most of her time running around in combat boots she hadn't lost any of her poise and grace gliding around in heels. When she came out of the room finally all Clara could do was stare. Isis turned away from that gaze, her rosy cheeks turning an even darker red.

"Don't look at me like that, it's embarrassing," she said and Clara had suddenly realized she'd been gawking.

"Sorry," she quickly apologized.

Isis seemed to regain her composure and then turn to smile at her friend. She was about to ask her about her impromptu date with Rhan. She'd been so busy getting ready she hadn't even noticed when she got back. She was planning on teasing Clara about it but before she could say anything her father came in.

"Hurry up and put something nice on, Clara," he said gently, "You're coming too."

Clara looked at Isis wide-eyed in surprise. "Don't worry," Isis assured her, "You don't have to do the whole song and dance, just wear something that you're comfortable with."

Clara still had an uncertain expression on her face but she obediently went into her room and pulled out some nicer clothes to wear. When they were all ready a speeder was brought around to take them all to the Wessiri Art Gallery. Upon arriving the three were bombarded by the press, snapping holo-pictures and shouting questions at them. Isis and Rodrick moved easily through the crowd, answering the occasional question and smiling for a lot of cameras. Clara was a bit overwhelmed by all the attention and if not for Isis grabbing a hold of her hand she probably would have been lost. Thankfully, once they were inside the art gallery things were a bit calmer. Isis and Rodrick still posed for the occasional camera or two but now they had taken to mingling with the other guests and observing the art.

Off to one side of the gallery a buffet table was set up with an array of food spanning several sectors. A live band was playing on a nearby stage and a dance floor was cordoned off for guests who felt so inclined. After mingling with the guests for a few minutes Rodrick turned and looked at the girls. "Why don't you girls go and have some fun," he told them, "I just spotted someone I need to talk with."

He turned and left leaving the two girls alone in the center of the gallery. "Now comes the boring part," Isis muttered while eying the buffet table. "You want to get something to eat? I'm famished."

Hearing her talk like that was almost a relief for Clara. Ever since she put on that gown it was like she had become a completely different person. In front of the cameras she was refined and elegant in her speech. When she walked she moved with such poise and grace as to seem almost as if she were gliding across the floor and when she smiled... It was the smile that first caught Clara's attention. It wasn't anything like the way she normally smiled. Somehow it felt less genuine.

"Hey, ground control to Clara, you awake?" Isis asked her when she noticed her friend was spacing out.

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:36 pm

Clara was wearing a party dress, something a little less formal than the red number that Isis had insisted upon for the upcoming dinner. It was green, to match her eyes, and speaking of eyes, it did a good job of drawing them to her as well - not that she wanted the attention, but these weren’t the kind of functions were she felt she’d be able to get away with wearing a non-descript jumpsuit. As much as she hated to admit it, Clara knew that she was extremely self-conscious right now. She didn’t want to come off as looking like a bum.

Through the haze of the event, Clara realized Isis was talking to her.

“I’m fine,” she assured her with a whisper. “How do you stand walking in these things anyway?” Clara added with a little irritation, indicating her heels. “They’re completely impractical.”

“So is the world of fashion,” Isis said with a grin before something about Clara’s comment struck a chord. “Wait a minute… are you telling me you’ve never worn heels before?”

“Ha! Do I look like the kind of person who would ever wear shoes like this, Sis?”

“Right now you kind of do,” Isis admitted, struggling to hide a little irritation of her own. Although Clara hadn’t spent nearly as much times as Isis preparing for the party, it was tough to tell that at a glance. It would be almost impossible to recognize the Clara here as being the same rough-and-ready cadet that could intimidate most of the student body at Beruss with only a glance.

Not only did Clara look the part, she was doing an excellent job of acting the part, whether she realized it or not. She carried herself with exceptional grace and surety of movement, which was probably her martial arts training aiding her in an unexpected way, and even though she claimed never to have worn heels before, she walked in them like she had been born with them on her feet. To top it all off, Clara’s being uncomfortable around such powerful and influential people was causing her to act shyer and far more polite than she ever would normally.

“You’re just saying that because we’re sisters,” Clara grumbled under her breath, oblivious to Isis’s thoughts.

“Isis? Can this possibly be Rodrick’s daughter all grown up?”

Both Clara and Isis turned to see a New Republic officer in a captain’s formal uniform approach them. He was a tall Human, with a short-cropped military style haircut. He smiled genially. “It’s Mogon, Mogon Kor. We met a few times when you were younger. Rodrick tells me you’re one of the star cadets at Beruss now. My congratulations, that’s very impressive.”

It took Clara a moment to realize that the officer was talking to her and not to Isis. She felt her cheeks flush a bit. It didn’t help that she recognized Mogon’s name. He was a former graduate of Beruss as well – one of the most exceptional in the academy’s distinguished history. “Um… I’m sorry, but you have the wrong person. You want the girl next to me.”

To Mogon’s credit he took it all in stride without a moment of hesitation. “My apologies to you both. It’s been so long since I’ve seen Isis. All Rodrick will talk about is how lovely and accomplished his daughter is. I saw you both walk in with him and… well… it wasn't easy trying to pick which one he meant.”

He looked at Isis. “Tell me how I can make it up to you.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:19 pm

The case of mistaken identity did not help improve Isis' mood at all. While he talked to Clara as if she were her she glanced down at her chest and suddenly felt an irrational anger sparking up inside of her. She ground her teeth together and balled her fists. Is that all men ever see when they look at a woman?

"How can I make it up to you," the man asked, his voice cutting through her anger like a knife.

She glanced up at him, surprised that his eyes had finally noticed her. A spark of memory in the back of her mind almost put her on the rampage again, but when she noticed something out of the corner of her eyes her lips twisted into a sinister smile. "I think you owe me a dance," she said, coolly and confidently as if she had trapped him.

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:56 am

“I’d be glad to,” Mogon said, offering his arm so that Isis could take it.

As the two of them left for the dance floor, Clara felt herself breathe a sigh of relief. “Thank the Force. I think I need a drink.” She was nervous enough as it was trying not to make a fool of herself with these people, she couldn’t imagine trying to dance in front of them too.

Clara moved over to the bar and grabbed a glass of champagne. Although she was technically under the legal drinking age, the bartender never questioned her. Clara could guess why, but right now she also didn’t care.

Feeling a little bit better, she joined the crowd to see how Isis was faring with Mogon, but made sure to stay towards the back so nobody would get the bright idea of asking her for a dance.

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:27 pm

Isis was still grinning evilly as Mogon led her out onto the dance floor. Once they were there they separated a bit and turned to face each other. Other couples on the floor were doing the same as a new song was starting to play. Every gentleman in the crowd bowed to their lady and every lady curtsied to their man, then they joined hands and began to dance. The dance was slow and quite formal but required intricate footwork while maintaining direct eye contact with your partner. Isis was surprisingly good, having been instructed in a number of dances from childhood. What surprised her most of all, though, was that Mogon was keeping up and quite well at that.

"You're pretty good," she said just before Mogon twirled her around and leaned her over backward. He slowly brought her back up to standing and she smiled at him, "I'm quite surprised."

Meanwhile Clara's attention was so focused on the dance that she failed to notice someone approaching her from behind. "I thought I would find you here," a familiar voice from earlier that day said to her. Clara turned to come face to face with Rhan Kentas. "You are looking even more radiant than before," he said, his lips twisting into that same confident smile he wore before.

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:10 pm

Clara was so busy studying the deceptively simple-looking dance, and how well Isis and Mogon moved to it, that she never even noticed Rhan sneak up on her until he spoke up. “Aw, poodoo,” she grumbled to herself. “I was hoping he wouldn’t find me.”

She turned to see Rhan as eager looking as he was a mere few hours ago. He was dressed up and sporting what was probably his best lady-killer smile. Clara tried to smile back politely. “Thanks,” she said, before turning back to watch the dance, hoping that he’d take the hint.

He didn’t.

“Would you care to dance, mademoiselle?”

Clara sighed as she looked back at him. “What does that word even mean anyway?”

Rhan affected a look of surprise. “Mademoiselle? It’s a word I picked up from a friend of mine who travels the galaxy. I like how it rolls off the tongue. I believe it means ‘beautiful girl’.”

Clara was doubtful. “Are you sure this friend of yours didn’t just make it up? It doesn’t sound like any language I’ve ever heard.”

“And how many languages have you heard?” Rhan asked pointedly. As Clara struggled to answer the unexpectedly insightful question, he continued. “It doesn’t matter. Even if it was made up, the word still has the meaning that I impart to it, so for now it means beautiful girl.”

Clara just shook her head, but raised her estimation of Rhan a notch. Apparently there was some depth to him after all. “You’re an odd one, Kent.”

“That’s better than being boring, isn’t it?” He answered with a smile. “You still haven’t answered my question, by the way. Don’t think you can get out of it that easily.”

Clara waved him off. “As much as I hate to disappoint you, I’ll have to turn you down. I’ve got two left feet. You’re better off asking-”

She suddenly cut herself off when she noticed Isis flash her a challenging look from the dance floor. “Is she… She is! Trying to taunt me onto the dance floor, are you? Well it’s working!”

Clara reached out and snatched Rhan by the wrist before making her way through the crowd. “It’s your lucky day, Kent, there’s been a change of plans. I need to show a certain sister of mine a thing or two.”

***

When Clara and Rhan took the dance floor, Clara was awkward at first, but quickly picked up the moves of the dance and was soon able to keep pace with the rest of the dancers. Rhan was leading her in function only. Clara seemed to have taken charge of where they went.

Mogon looked at Isis. “It seems your little gambit worked.”

Isis looked at him with mild surprise. “You noticed that, did you?”

“My earlier mistake aside, I happen to be very good at reading people,” Mogon answered her. “Your friend appears to learn very quickly.”

“Yes,” Isis admitted. “Clara never ceases to keep me challenged.”

“You two are close,” he stated. “If I didn’t know better, I would swear you’re sisters.”

Isis found herself laughing a bit. “You have no idea.”

“Well,” Mogon said after twirling her around. “Are we done making it easy for her? I think she’s getting a little too comfortable.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:30 pm

Isis' smile turned impish, "I was just thinking I could use more of a workout. Shall I tell the band leader or would you like to do the honors?" She asked him while casting a sly glance at Clara that immediately put the other girl on edge.

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Halomek » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:00 am

Mogon smiled back. “Ladies’ choice. Whatever you decide will be fine with me.”

***

Clara watched Isis a little warily as the other girl walked up to the band after the last song was finished and started talking to them. She had been feeling pretty good about how well she was doing, but now… She should have known that Isis would up the ante.

“You dance quite well,” Rhan said to her, drawing Clara’s attention back to him. “Thank you.”

Clara tightened her grip on him. “Where do you think you’re going? You wanted to dance, we’re going to dance. This thing is just getting started.”

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Re: Boot Camp Blues

Post by Pryde » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:24 am

"This thing?" Rhan repeated and he glanced up to where Isis was grinning at them evilly. Suddenly he felt very on edge as the other dancers on the floor moved to the side to give the two couples space. The dance Isis had requested was quite fast paced and rather sultry. Isis had picked it for several reasons; one, it was inappropriate for the setting and she loved to make a scene. Two, it was perhaps one of the most difficult dances she had learned and Clara would have a difficult time keeping up and three, it amused her to no end that Clara would be performing this dance with Rhan whom she no doubt tried to reject earlier.

"I hope you're ready, Mogon," Isis said a bit more seriously but still in good humor, "I don't like taking second place."

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