Altered Legacies

2 years prior to The Force Awakens...
A persistent and interactive galaxy set shortly before the events of Episode VII

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Halomek
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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:43 pm

Dorval nodded. “Yes, I believe our business is concluded. You may leave the Nova at your discretion. I look forward to hearing from you soon, Tav.”

Tav nodded respectfully to the Hutt. “Of course, Lord Dorval. Your generosity, as always, is unmatched.”

The guards around them finally relaxed and allowed Tav and Isis to head back to the docking-bay. Tav never thought he'd be so happy to see the Sled waiting for them. It was almost enough to distract him from the crazy mission he'd just accepted. As soon as he closed up the ramp, he slumped against the wall and slid down to the floor as he suddenly felt weak in the knees. It wasn't his first brush with death, but usually he had a little more time to think of a way out of it. The whole escalating situation with Dorval had taken him completely off-guard.

Quex rolled up to them and immediately hurried over to Tav. “Are you okay? What happened in there?!”

Tav smiled as he rubbed the droid's dome in an affectionate manner. “I just had to sweet talk a seriously pissed off Hutt. Nothing to worry about.”

“What did you do to make him so angry?!” Quex demanded.

“Nothing. I swear!” he defended himself. “Dorval wasn't a fan of Isis', well... everything, but it all worked out. We've got a job to head to Juoi. You'll like it there. The place is practically crime free.”

“Why does that sound too good to be true?” the droid asked in a weary tone as Tav got back to his feet.

“Well, there might be a teensy governmental conspiracy or two that needs looking into,” he said in an offhand manner. “It's fine. I'll think of something. I always do.”

“Right...” the droid answered, clearly not happy or convinced.

“Just get the Sled prepped for take off,” Tav ordered. “Make sure Dorval's people didn't leave anything in our systems or on the ship that shouldn't be there. I promise I'll explain things more once we're in hyperspace.”

Quex's reply this time was in droidspeak instead of Basic as he rolled off to complete his task. When he started using the beeps and whistles more common to R2 units, it was a sure sign that he was unhappy with the situation and/or Tav.

“And get rid of that silly restraining bolt!” Tav called after him.

Quex used one of his manipulator arms to grab the restraining bolt Dorval's people had affixed to his chassis and detached it before storing it in another panel on his body. Then the droid was out of sight.

Tav looked over to see that Isis had been watching everything. “He'll get over it,” he assured her. “I've done crazier things than this... although nothing specific is coming to mind at the moment.”

“Ace,” Isis said to him quietly. “Think fast!”

Tav barely had to time to react before Isis sent a fist into the side of his face. He reeled back from the blow and barely had the presence of mind to avoid her follow-up attacks before he stumbled and fell into a chair in an undignified heap.

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” he implored her with his hands up. “What's this all about? I get that you're mad at how things went in there, but this is a little much, isn't it?”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:49 pm

"This has nothing to do with that," she snapped at him, "What the hell were you thinking taking that job? I got no idea what I'm getting myself into but I don't have a choice, my friend's neck deep in this thing. You, however, you have a choice and you chose wrong. Dorval waved a fat wad of cash in front of your face and you're about to throw your life away for it."

"Isis," Tav started, not quite sure why she was so angry, "Look, I'm not saying this isn't dangerous but Quex and I have been through some hairy scraps before."

"Hairier than this? Hairier than what happened back there," she asked him pointedly, "Did you even try to resist when that Vodron threw you against the table? Could you?"

Tav stared at her but said nothing. He was pretty sure they both knew the answer to that question. "If I had Hirai with me...," she started but then drifted off.

"Need I remind you we were in that mess because of you," he said defensively.

"It was part of the plan," she shouted, then she corrected herself, "Well--most of it."

"Plan? What plan?"

Isis sighed then turned away, walking over towards a nearby table and then taking off her belt buckle. She set the device down on the table's surface and Tav looked at it. "What's that," he asked, coming over to stand next to her.

"Personal shield generator," she explained, "It's a bit smaller than some of the other ones on the market and not as strong but it would have been enough protection to get a gun and get to cover." Then she unclipped one of her marble-sized earrings and handed it to him. As soon as she did so Tav realized for the first time that her ears weren't actually pierced. As he held the earring in his palm Isis told him what it was. "Miniature stun grenade," she said while unclipping the other earring and setting it on the table, "It's effective range is about two and a half meters. Effective enough to knock out two, maybe three people if they were standing close."

Then it dawned on him. "That's why you opened with an insult, to draw his guards in closer."

"Couldn't really make use of them while they were stuck to the walls," she admitted, "Then there's this."

She reached behind herself and detached a small metal disk from her belt, a piece that blended in perfectly with the metal rings sewn into the belt's leather. She dropped the disk into his palm and then he held it up to look at it. "Short range EMP," she said, "For any automated defenses. Enough to knock out a turret or two but for anything bigger it's power could be amplified by hotwiring it to shield generator's power pack."

Tav stared at her half in surprise and Isis made a face. "Just because I failed science doesn't mean I didn't understand it," she said indignantly. "Anyway, fat lot of good all this did me. I put it all together on Nar Shaddaa before I went looking for you. I was so sure that I had accounted for just about any contingency I could think of that I completely missed the obvious. I didn't see the danger to you. I was so confident that Dorval's ire would be directed at me and me alone that I didn't see it coming when that Vodron grabbed you and put a blaster to your head. I was stupid and careless and you're right I'm impulsive and impatient. It all looked so easy that it never actually occurred to me that I could fail."

Tav stared at the EMP grenade then set it aside and picked up the shield generator to look at it. "What was the plan, exactly? Kill Dorval's men? And then what?"

"Blast the door controls, lock us in, strong arm the truth out of Dorval and then... Well, I hadn't actually got that far. I had no idea the meeting would take place on a starship, but you said you knew the vulnerabilities of it so I figured if we made it that far then you could get us out."

"And you never told me," he said, perhaps feeling a little insulted that she had planned to use him like that.

"I didn't know you at the time," she told him, "and I thought the less you knew the better off you'd be. I never thought that... Dorval went through all of that trouble to find you, the idea that he'd...," she was still struggling with it. The thought that she could make such a critical mistake was a hard pill to swallow. "Look, for what it's worth I'm sorry."

"Why though," he asked, "Why do any of this? Why not just take my advice and play nice? You could have saved us both a lot of trouble."

"Like hell, Ace," she snapped, "I'm not going to give that Hutt, or any Hutt the benefit of the doubt! They're liars, thieves and murderers! You said it yourself that if I wasn't careful Dorval would try to manipulate me! Why should I give that fething slamo a chance to feed me the same lies as his father?"

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:19 am

“Contrary to how I acted back there, I'm not the biggest fan of the Hutts,” Tav said to her as he set the shield generator down. “In a broad sense, you're not wrong about them. They do tend to do all of those things you said without the slightest bit of remorse for their actions, but you're missing the stars for the space if that's all you see when it comes to the Hutts. I could easily say the same thing about us - Humans that is.”

“Ace...” Isis replied with a dubious look. “You're reaching. Not every Human is a lying, thieving, murderer.”

“Who was it that ran the Empire again?” Tav asked rhetorically. “Granted, not every Human in the Empire was a bad person, but there were certainly a lot of them and we Humans far outnumber Hutts in population density in the galaxy. I can also guarantee that no Hutt ever blew up a planet. If you go by the sheer numbers of all the people the Empire killed, we're probably the most despicable race in the galaxy.”

“You're making broad generalizations,” Isis argued. “Humans also fought against the Empire. Plenty of Humans died to them too.”

“That's my point,” Tav said to her. “It's never as black and white as you're making the Hutts out to be. This galaxy would be so much smaller without the Hutts. For all of their faults, their ambitions have also opened up the galaxy to all kinds of races and people who would otherwise never see galactic civilization. It's because of Hutts that people like me can make a living without being beholden to any government. I might also add that the Rebellion might never have gotten off the ground were it not for smugglers and arms dealers selling them what they needed to fight the Empire. You'd be fooling yourself if you think there weren't Hutts involved in that too.”

Tav rubbed the side of his face where Isis had punched him. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt as much as he thought it would. Had she been pulling her punches earlier?

“Look, I'm not going to pretend I'm doing this because I care about Dorval or his father,” he continued. “I'm not going to automatically condemn Jaska without proof that he's done something wrong. If he truly is being controlled somehow, then he's a victim, plain and simple. That needs to stop and the reward is just vweilu nuts on top of the ryshcate.”

“Is that the only reason you're doing this?” Isis asked quietly.

Tav looked back at her and opened his mouth to say something, but suddenly found himself at a loss for words when he realized that he didn't know the answer. He felt his mouth go dry for a tense few seconds before he licked his lips to try and say something.

He was, fortunately, saved by Quex's voice over the ship intercom. “The ship is clear to depart, Tav. It looks like they tried to access the Sled's database, but they couldn't penetrate my security. We should be free of any surprises.”

Tav exhaled a breath he didn't know he had been holding. The moment was gone. He moved over to the intercom. “I hear ya, buddy. I'm on my way.”

“It shouldn't take long to get to Juoi,” Tav said to Isis over his shoulder. “If you want to split ways after we land, I understand. You've got your family to worry about after all, but I'm committed now. One way or another, I'm going to do my best to find out what happened to Jaska.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:37 am

"You'll just get yourself killed, Ace," she told him, "It's better if we stick together, it's the least I can do. If it wasn't for your quick thinking we'd both be dead right now so I owe you."

Tav just shrugged, "Don't mention it, I'm just surprised your father was actually willing to make a deal with Dorval."

"Yeah, well--he'll be lucky if a deal is all he gets," Isis said under her breath but it was just loud enough for Tav to hear.

"What," he asked, a puzzled look on his face.

Isis sighed, she suspected Tav, like many others, probably considered her father a hero. While it was true he played a major role in several key conflicts towards the end of the Galactic Civil War what many people tended to forget was that before he became a Rebellion naval leader he was an Imperial officer. He played a key role in several conflicts against the Rebellion also and he did many things he wasn't proud of. Things he couldn't bring himself to tell even his own daughter. "Look, my father is not who everyone thinks he is," she said finally, "There was an--incident when I was younger. Something kind of similar to what happened with Dorval. I got into trouble with some men. They found out who I was and tried to use me to extort money from my dad. Instead of involving CorSec he agreed to an exchange, one million credits for my safe return. The kidnappers accepted the deal and they made the trade and that was the last I'd heard of it, for awhile anyway."

She leaned back against the table and averted her gaze from Tav. There was something about her expression that seemed to imply distaste? Disappointment? Or was it shame? Maybe a combination of all three. "So then three months later I happened to catch a news report on the holovid. Three bodies had been recovered from the canals and when they showed pictures of the deceased I immediately recognized them as the men who had kidnapped me. The million credits they stole was not found on the bodies, the men were killed before they even had a chance to spend it. Of course my father was never implicated in the murders. Because the kidnapping was never officially reported there was no connection to either him nor me. That's why he wanted to keep it out of the hands of CorSec and that, Ace, is the kind of man my father is. Vengeful, unforgiving. Where I'm concerned he doesn't let anything slide, so if all Dorval gets out of this deal is a bunch of credits then he should consider himself lucky."

Then she pushed off from the table and crossed the room. "Anyway, we'd better go," she finished as she walked past Tav toward the cockpit, "I don't really want to spend any more time here than I have to."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:58 pm

The Starlight Sled ran into no resistance once it entered Juoian space. Tav expertly guided the freighter towards Mersi Station as he was bidden, keeping a close eye on the swarms of fighters and the small flotilla of capital ships patrolling around the planet. While the ships on display wouldn't worry a reasonably sized Republic fleet, it was still far more than Tav would have expected for a one-planet government.

“I've heard stories from other spacers about how seriously Juoi takes its security, but I thought they were exaggerating,” Tav murmured to himself. “If anything, they were underselling it.”

“It's not too late for you to drop me off and leave,” Isis suggested. “It's only going to get more dangerous from here.”

Tav shook his head. “Not a chance. I took the deal, so now I'm committed. I don't go back on my promises.”

Isis let it go without further remark as they landed inside one of Mersi Station's docking bays. Once they exited the ship there were already a handful of security guards waiting for them. Unbeknownst to Tav, the same guard who had delivered a rather cryptic warning to Isis before she left the planet was the same one leading the guards now.

After looking over Tav's ship registration and license, the guard eyed him suspiciously. “What is the purpose of your visit here, Mr. Garvin?”

“I was hired to fly Ms. Sinclair to Juoi,” Tav answered breezily. “I figured that I'd take in a few sights while I'm here.”

The guard consulted his datapad. “I see you have charges of smuggling on your record, Mr. Garvin. I'd highly advise against attempting anything like that here.”

“Not to worry,” Tav assured him. “I haven't smuggled anything in months. I stick to charter flights if I can get them.”

The guard eyed him one last time before looking at Isis. “You're back sooner than I would have expected, Ms. Sinclair. Nothing has changed. Keep your nose out of government business and we'll get along fine.”

***

Clara woke from the first good night's sleep she'd had in weeks. The past week or so all she had been doing was working on a plan to bust out her uncle, but she was pretty confident now that she had a working plan. After getting dressed she walked outside to see that Tulsar and Hirai were still training. The old man had been pushing her cousin hard while Clara had been working on the prison break plan, but as near as she could tell Hirai hadn't complained once about how brutal Tulsar's training regimen was.

It seemed clear that Tulsar's training was designed to push Hirai to her limits; a constant flow of training exercises, meditation, and the barest minimum of food or sleep. It reminded Clara of her last week of training to get into SpecForce; that had been a test of endurance to try and drum out any last stragglers that couldn't handle the hardships. It had been one of the most trying times in Clara's life, but she had persevered.

In the short time that Clara had come to know Hirai, she had never seen the younger woman look so determined. She had the same look in her eye that Clara knew she herself had sported going through hell to graduate to SpecForce.

Right now she and Tulsar were sparring with each other. Hirai looked tired and ragged, but somehow more alive than ever. She was keeping up with Tulsar, who wasn't giving her an inch to work with, but it was also clear that the old man was not fighting at his full capacity. In contrast to Hirai, he looked rather calm and unaffected by the harsh training they were going through.

It made Clara wonder idly what kind of personal training regimen Tulsar inflicted on himself if this level of combat was something he could withstand so easily.

With a mental shrug, Clara put her fingers to her lips and whistled loudly to get their attention. Tulsar signaled for them to halt and Hirai withdrew her swords and nodded silently. She was breathing hard and was a sweaty mess, but Hirai looked ready for more as soon as Tulsar gave her the signal to proceed.

“I've finished with the plan,” Clara announced to them. “Tulsar, I need you to have your grandkid come by the farm tonight. Essentially the only way this is going to work is if Korzen gets my message to Sysen.”

Tulsar nodded. “I understand, but you could have told this to Falanis. She can get into contact with Korzen as easily as I can.”

“True,” Clara agreed before she started taking off her jacket to reveal her tank top underneath. “The thing is though that before we do any of this, you need to keep your promise to me.” Clara started stretching her arms as she walked towards him. “I'm not going to forget about it.”

“About teaching you how to use that punch?” Tulsar asked rhetorically. “I thought it was pretty clear once I revealed that I'm a Force-user that I used the Force to accomplish that. I'm sorry, Clara, but you don't have the gift for using the Force as easily as Hirai does. It's beyond my ability to train you to use it as I do – not with your lack of openness to the Force.”

Clara didn't seem perturbed by Tulsar's assessment as she kept stretching, now focusing on her lower body. “That's why we're going to fight hand-to-hand. Maybe I can't use that punch, but fighting a Jedi would be a great consolation prize.”

“I'm not a-” Tulsar started to say, but thought better of it and let it go. Instead he tried a different tactic. “Do you realize what you're in for if I accept?”

She nodded before throwing a few practice punches to warm up. “Sure do. I'll probably get my butt handed to me, but whatever. I've always figured that the only way to improve is to keep pushing myself, so I don't care that you're probably stronger, faster, and more skilled than I am. I want to see how I measure up against someone like you.”

Tulsar didn't seem thrilled with the idea, but finally he nodded in acceptance. “Very well. Once you're finished warming up, we'll begin. Don't say I didn't warn you.” He looked over to Hirai. “You may take a break while I spar with Clara. We'll resume once I'm finished.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:21 am

Isis resisted the urge to glare at the guard. It was not lost on her that this was the same man from before though she could only guess at what he was doing here now. The implications of it were rather staggering. There were plenty of other officers in the JSI that could have greeted Tav but for this man to be here now could only mean that the JSI knew Isis was on board the Starlight Sled. How they could have known that was beyond her, though, and frankly at the moment she preferred not to think about it.

"Look,I'll do my best," she said with a shrug, "but I kind of have a history of sticking my nose into government business."

The security officer narrowed his eyes at her so Isis explained. "Daughter of a Senator, remember? Everywhere I go I represent dear old daddy. He might ask me for a favor while I'm here."

"You and I both know that is rather unlikely. Juoi is not a nation state of the Republic, your father has no business here," the man said firmly.

Isis just dismissed that with a wave of her hand. "Look, I'm just saying if he decides to send a fruit basket I'm the one who's gotta deliver it."

Neither the guard nor the men behind him looked amused so finally Isis rolled her eyes. "Fine, alright? I'll stay away from your precious government. Sheesh, are all JSI officers as uptight as you?"

The man stared at her for a few moments more than nodded to the others to part and allow them to pass. "You may proceed, Ms. Sinclair, Mr. Garvin, but remember my word of warning."

"Yeah, sure. Bye," Isis said as she and Tav stepped past them into the station proper.

As they walked Tav casually threw a glance over his shoulder at the men behind them then leaned in a bit closer to Isis. "You sure do enjoy pushing your luck," he whispered quietly.

"Could say the same for you," she said simply, "That response of yours wasn't a very good one."

"What are you--," he started, his mind racing trying to remember what he said and what Isis might have been referring to.

"I flew out of here on a ship, Ace," she told him, "They know that. They're going to wonder why I came back without it and it won't be long before they figure out where it went. My dad's ship doesn't have all the fancy whats-its that the Sled does. I had to log a flight plan, they're going to know I went to Nar Shaddaa. Best case scenario they'll think you're just some chump I picked up along the way. Worst case scenario they'll think you're working for one of the Hutts."

She didn't need to explain why that would be worst case, they were both well aware of it. Considering the familial connection between Dorval and Jaska if word got out that Tav was working for Jaska's son that news could make life very difficult for all of them. Though even if that weren't the case, however, simply being suspected of working for a crime boss would be enough to land him in some pretty hot water here on Juoi. "Look," she continued, "we gotta get to my friend's farm, but we're probably being followed. We can take public transportation down to the planet but once we're in the city we have to lose these guys. Think your up for it," she asked, giving him a side-long glance.

**********

That week at Tulsar's was one of the most grueling experiences of her life. It wasn't the first, of course, but it shined all the others, particularly "hell week" as it was called at Beruss Academy. A week long survival training exercise where the trainees were dropped out into the wilds with nothing more than a combat knife and the clothes on their backs. This was nothing like that, though. Tulsar was relentless and unforgiving in his training. It started every morning bright and earlier and proceeded well into the afternoon, pausing only briefly for a quick meal and then continuing until the sun went down. It was like that for almost the entire week and though her muscles were sore and her legs wobbled and her joints ached from all the exertion she still somehow never felt more alive. Her technique with her blade had always been exceptional before, she had put her heart and soul into it. Now, though, after only a week of training with Tulsar she could feel her technique improving exponentially. Still despite that she was leaps and bounds away from matching the man's skill with a sword and that always startled her. How is it even possible for someone to be that strong?

She sheathed her twin blades then threw them over her shoulder, holding onto the cords that typically held the scabbards to her belt. She admired Clara's enthusiasm but couldn't help but feel concerned. After spending so much time training with Tulsar Hirai knew exactly what to expect from the man and even then she had no idea what he was truly capable of. Tulsar had yet to show his full strength, of that she was certain. Still, she knew he wouldn't take it too seriously with Clara, but considering the woman's eagerness to measure herself against him Hirai suspected that Clara might take that personally. Honestly, she was a lot like Isis in a way. Whenever they got an idea in their head there was no talking them out of it. They could both be exceptionally stubborn. Still, there were some stark contrasts between them. Where Clara was only interested in measuring her strength against Tulsar's Isis wouldn't be too concerned about that. She only cared about winning, usually by any means necessary which made her quite unpredictable. Her methods almost always landed her in a heap of trouble, though, since Isis had a tendency to cheat... A lot.

"Be careful out there," Hirai said as she passed Clara, "He's a lot faster than he looks."

Clara knew he was fast, she'd seen them train and she saw him practicing with Hirai's sword but the way Hirai said that seemed to suggest that he could still get even faster.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:15 pm

“Sounds fun,” Tav said to Isis with a grin. “It should give Quex plenty of time to do his thing.”

“His thing?” she repeated questioningly as she realized that the odd little astromech was staying with the ship again.

“I'll fill you in when I'm sure we're not being spied on,” Tav assured her. “For now let's just say that he's got about as many surprises as the Sled.”

Isis gave him another sidelong glance before they boarded one of the public shuttles that ferried visitors from Mersi Station down to the surface. Tav had learned on the hyperspace trip to Juoi that travel directly to the surface was usually restricted to ships belonging to the government or some of the larger corporations that were simply too big to confine to Mersi. Independent permits could be purchased to allow landing on the surface, but they were prohibitively expensive.

The official explanation was that it was to help keep the surface safe and secure for Juoi's citizens, but after everything Tav had learned from Isis and Dorval he was sure that was just a convenient cover for whatever was really going on. Regardless of the reason, it was an admittedly effective way to control and maintain order.

Tav hated it. The whole planet felt stifling and he'd barely left orbit.

Once they were on the surface and away from the shuttle, Tav looked around. It was one of the cleanest, most secure spaceports he had ever seen, with plenty signs of of the JSI monitoring everything – from guards, to cameras, to wandering patrol drones. Those spacer tales really weren't joking. Trying to find any underworld help here seemed like an impossibility.

“Okay,” Tav said to Isis. “You know this world better than I do. What's the best way to see the sights? On foot? Rent a speeder? I'm game for whatever.”

***

Someone like her asking to fight a Jedi warrior was a bit of an insane request on the surface, Clara knew that, but there was a method to her madness. Despite his age and the leg that Sivter had gimped in their final battle, there was no doubt that Tulsar was still a formidable opponent. If he had been in his prime, Clara might have taken a moment to reconsider her demand.

Maybe...

However, Tulsar was old, and his leg was bad – and he had been exerting himself all week to put Hirai through her paces. Maybe he didn't show it, but Clara was sure that being able to consistently fight as he was for such an extended period was taking some kind of toll on him.

There was also something else Clara was suspicious of. When it came to swordplay, Tulsar might very well be unbeatable, but what about hand-to-hand? Aside from that impressive punch when they first met, Clara had not seen Tulsar demonstrate much in the way of unarmed combat skills. He no doubt knew his stuff, but did he excel in it like he did with swords? Perhaps so, but then again, perhaps not...

His punch had been a Jedi trick after all, and ever since then Tulsar had done his best to shift focus away from Clara's desire to learn about it. One could attribute that to wanting to keep his secret as a Force-user secure, but maybe that was just incidental. One way or another, Clara had to know. A good plan hinged on knowing everything about the skills of each individual team member. She felt she had a good read on just about everyone, but Tulsar was still largely a mystery. She had to do her best to try and shine some light on him because her uncle's life might very well depend on it later if the plan went sideways.

Hand-to-hand was the area in combat where Clara truly shined, so there would be no better judge of Tulsar's abilities in it than her - even if it meant being on the wrong end of a Jedi ass-kicking. She would gladly take it to learn just how good he was.

Finally warmed up, Clara adopted a combat stance before reaching out with one hand and beckoning him with a challenging motion. “I'm ready when you are.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:02 pm

Isis was busy looking around, noting the positions and distance of each JSI operative she saw as well as any security cameras or drones. So far everyone they passed seemed to pay them little heed and went about their business guarding the spaceport. Isis didn't think the JSI would send someone to tail them right off the bat, though. There was no need for it. The transport was only going to one place so there was no reason to send a spy along with them from Mersi Station. More likely their tail would pick them up the minute they stepped out onto the street. On top of that it would be someone, or something they couldn't see. A drone perhaps? Avoiding ground surveillance would be challenging but not impossible. Aerial surveillance would be more difficult. Still, the place they needed to go was quite a distance outside of town so either way they would need to rent a speeder.

"We better get a speeder," she told him, "We'll need it, but we should probably check it for trackers first."

Tav gave her an incredulous look.

"What?" She said defensively, "This whole planet has me paranoid."

**********

Hirai found a seat on a low stone wall marking the path back to the house as she watched Clara about to square off with Tulsar. A moment or two later Falanis came up from the house carrying a pitcher and several glasses. She set down the extras and poured a glass of water for Hirai before handing it to her. "Taking a break," she asked.

"Well, sort of," Hirai said, nodding over at Clara.

Falanis followed her gaze to where Clara was still stretching. "I see," she said quietly, then she turned back to Hirai. "I'm surprised your friend hasn't tried to challenge him also."

Hirai smiled faintly, "Isis wouldn't challenge him openly. Behind his back, maybe but not to his face."

"That doesn't seem very fair," Falanis noted.

Hirai just shrugged. "That's how she is. I think it's because she knows just how much smaller she is compared to everyone we went to school with. Someone like Tulsar would tower over her but she'd still find a way to win and only because she refused to play fair. It usually ended up getting her in a lot of trouble but I guess it worked. For as long as I've known her she's always been one step ahead of the boys."

As she talked her eyes drifted to Tulsar standing patiently by for Clara to finish her warm up and for a moment she idly wondered how Isis would try to fight him. Neither of them knew very much about him and in fact Hirai was certain she knew more now than Isis did, but they were both well aware of his leg injury. Clara probably wouldn't try to take advantage of it but Isis certainly would. She would zero in on that leg and try to use that to her advantage as much as possible.

Thinking about Isis made her realize suddenly that it had been almost a week since she last checked in with her. It wasn't the first time Isis went as long without being in communication, of course. She had disappeared for six months, after all, but at the moment with everyone embroiled in a government conspiracy that was enough to raise some concern. As soon as the thought crossed her mind she reached into her pocket for her communicator. Zero messages from Isis from the past few days, just how it was the last time she had checked. Hirai suspected it was because Isis didn't feel that it was safe to contact her. She'd made that excuse before back on Corellia with good reason and Hirai was well aware of just how paranoid she could be.

"Still," she said quietly, but loud enough for Falanis to hear, "I wish she'd call me back."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:57 pm

“I've got experience finding the little buggers, so I should be able to clean out any surprises they decide to send with the speeder... if they're there,” Tav assured her.

“I just want to be sure,” Isis declared stubbornly.

He nodded, still a little undecided how seriously he should take Isis' apparent paranoia, but he couldn't deny that there was something unsettling about the whole planet. He knew there was something rotten at the heart of Juoi, but did it really go as deep as renting a speeder? Did the government control everything to that level? “Okay, let's go rent a speeder then. I'll pick, you pay.”

“Why am I paying?!” Isis protested with a glare in his direction.

Tav smirked back at her. “Look at this way: you're getting a chauffeur and a mechanic for free out of the deal.”

“I hope he's worth the money I'm not paying him,” Isis quipped back with a grudging smile of her own.

They chose a speeder rental place at random with the idea being that if the government actually controlled one speeder rental place, they probably controlled them all, so it didn't really matter what place they picked. From the selection available, Tav chose an XP-38 sport landspeeder. It was reasonably fast for a civilian model, although it wouldn't be able to handle rough terrain very well. Then again, none of the speeders for rent were designed to go offroad, so it was the best option available.

Once they had the XP-38 in their possession, Tav drove them out of the city limits before he pulled over to a side road to inspect the vehicle in earnest. After an hour of carefully examining the speeder, both mechanically and electronically, Tav came to one undeniable verdict: “It's clean. I can't find a single device or program on it that would let anybody track us.”

“You're sure?” Isis asked pointedly. “We can't be wrong about this.”

“Isis,” he said, looking her square in the eyes, “I've checked it from top to bottom twice. There's nothing.”

“I don't like this,” Isis said to herself before explaining her worries to Tav. “This means one of three things to me: either you missed something-”

“Unlikely.”

“-or we got lucky,” she continued after Tav's interruption. “Lastly, and worst of all, maybe they don't need to track us because they know where we're going.”

Tav thought Isis was being over-cautious, but he didn't have the energy to try and argue with her, not after giving their speeder such a thorough inspection. “You know this planet better than I do. What do you want to do? Do we stick to the plan and keep heading to the farm or do we make another play?”

***

After about a minute of staring each other down, it was clear to Clara that Tulsar wasn't going to make the first move. He was waiting on her. There could have been all sorts of reasons for why - from refusing to strike first to getting a better read on his opponent - but Clara didn't really care what they were. She was game to start the combat. If it gave her opponent an advantage, then so be it. She liked a challenge.

When Clara finally decided to go on the offensive, she was impressively fast for someone not using the Force. Her attacks were delivered without the slightest hesitation and aimed with surgical precision at typical Human weak points. She had no interest in drawing the fight out, not against a warrior with the kind of skills that Tulsar had already demonstrated with a sword.

For his part Tulsar seemed a bit taken aback by Clara's sudden and vicious rapidfire offensive. He was able to react in time to block or deflect her attacks, but Clara had a hunch that it was more due to warnings from the Force than Tulsar's own skills.

Not that Clara ever seriously expected her blows to land when going face-to-face with a Jedi. She actually had another strategy in mind. The aim of her attacks and the direction they came from were all designed to force Tulsar to continuously pivot on his bad leg and keep him on the defensive. With any luck all of that extra stress on the bad leg would eventually trip him up.

Tulsar suddenly moved with alarming speed, eclipsing Clara's own impressive pace, and grabbed both her arms by the wrist, halting her attacks cold. “I see what you're trying to do and it won't work, Clara,” he said to her. “You have nothing to prove to me. End this now.”

Clara snickered. “Prove to you?! I think not.” She suddenly ran her boots up Tulsar's body before kicking off of his chest with her legs, forcing Tulsar to let go of her arms by proxy of the forces exerted on him. Clara finished the arc with a flip before landing in a crouch and then standing back up. “I'm the one who remains unimpressed here. Either take this seriously or I'm really going to hurt you.”

Tulsar sighed and closed his eyes as he took a steadying breath. He then closed his hands into fists, but didn't reopen his eyes. “So be it.”
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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:54 pm

Isis considered that a moment then shook her head. "We may as well just go to the farm. Either we got lucky or they already know where we're going and either way there's nothing we can do about it." Also, if they know where we're going then I'd rather be there if they decide to make a play at Hirai. "Anyway, let's go," she added, climbing back into the speeder.

Tav drove them the rest of the way to the farm and the entire way there neither of them had really said much. Tav had been keeping his eyes out for any sign of a tail while Isis was completely absorbed by whatever she was doing on her datapad. They were almost to the farm by the time he leaned over and got a look at her screen. "What's Pek Kular," he asked.

Isis just shrugged, "I don't know. I just see this name popping up as part of a reclamation project. Couldn't even begin to tell you what it was but somehow it's related to Jaska and his administration. My gut's telling me it's important but I can't find any mention of what it is or where it might be on any public databases..."

She had a thoughtful look in her eye as though she were considering something but she remained silent. Finally Tav decided to prod her. "What is it? What've you got?"

"It's a little weird, isn't it? That they direct all non-commercial traffic to the space station and restrict anyone from entering the atmosphere without a special pass. It's like they don't want anyone flying around down here. Well, at least anyone they don't trust. Like they're trying to hide something on the surface of the planet. Maybe Pek Kular is here somewhere. Maybe Tulsar might know something about it."

"Tulsar," Tav asked.

"Tulsar Leidias," she explained, "you'll meet him soon enough."

The conversation died down after that and a moment or two later they came within sight of the farm. Tav directed the speeder down the long driveway toward the house as Isis was putting her datapad away. They pulled up to the house and parked and as Isis was getting out of the speeder she happened to see Hirai and Falanis a bit further down the path towards one of the fields. Hirai had her swords with her and looked like she hadn't showered in almost a week.

What the hell is going on, Isis asked herself quietly. She set off down the path with Tav following close behind her and as they rounded the bend they found Clara squaring off with Tulsar.

"Isis," Hirai exclaimed as soon as she saw her friend, "Where have you been?"

"Here and there," she said, then she pointed towards Clara and Tulsar. "Is this going to take awhile? We kind of have important things to talk about."

Hirai glanced back over her shoulder and Isis could have sworn she saw a look of concern in her eyes. "I don't think it'll be too much longer. Tulsar's been going easy on her."

She said that last part under her breath just loud enough for only Isis to hear, then she glanced over at Tav. "Anyway, who's this?"

"Tav Garvin," Isis explained, "He's a friend. Ace, this is Hirai Molariou."

Hirai cast a quick glance at Isis after that last remark. 'Ace' was a nickname she generally reserved for guys who had hit on her and thought they were hot stuff. Usually, though, she wouldn't allow such specimens to hang around long enough to be considered a friend, which made Tav quite a rare commodity...

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue May 02, 2017 11:04 pm

Tav wasn't sure what was happening, or why they were so calmly watching two people fight each other, but if there was one thing he had learned while living on Nar Shaddaa, it was to go with the flow whenever possible. Right now no one else seemed concerned, so he tried to take it all in stride as he sat down next to Isis.

The older woman sitting next to Hirai smiled at him as she offered Tav a glass of water. “You must be thirsty after your long drive here. Would you like some refreshment?”

“Uh, yes, thank you,” he replied as he accepted the glass, but paused when he realized that Isis hadn't introduced them.

Fortunately she seemed to be have it covered. “I'm Falanis,” she introduced herself. “Don't worry about the fight. It should be over soon.”

Tav nodded politely as he took a drink of water. His eyes widened in surprise at how cool and refreshing it was. Hr was so used to the stale and sometimes brackish recycled water offered by most establishments on Nar Shaddaa that he'd almost forgotten what the natural stuff tasted like. Even his shipboard recyclers, which were a damn sight more efficient and cleaner, couldn't compete with what was in his glass.

However, it was also then that he noticed that Falanis had apparently been expecting them as she had enough glasses for all of them. That was quite odd since he couldn't recall either of them ever calling ahead on the drive over. He silently nudged Isis to get her attention before gesturing to the number of glasses. “Should we be worried?” he whispered.

"Only if you're afraid of Jedi," Hirai interjected before Isis could say anything.

Tav nearly choked on his drink in surprise. He coughed and sputtered as the liquid went down the wrong pipe. “What!?”

It seemed to be as much of a surprise to Isis who did a double-take, but she was quick to regain her composure. “Keep it down, Ace,” Isis admonished him playfully. “I'm trying to watch this fight.”

As Tav struggled to recover he caught sight of Falanis turning away, but not before there was a hint of a smile on her face as well.

***

Tulsar was bigger, stronger, and faster than Clara when it came to physical attributes, but it seemed as though he was perhaps not as experienced in real combat. So far Clara had been able to anticipate his moves and defend herself even though he was moving much faster than her. Right now all she could do was defend and wait for her opening.

Regardless Clara wasn't intimidated. Getting in over her head was pretty much the story of her life. She had always faced bad odds. Even as a child she would regularly challenge those that tried to pick on her, even if they were a few grades ahead of her. It wasn't pretty at first, but Clara learned from each mistake she made and soon she was turning the tables on not just her tormentors, but any bully she came across.

And so it continued. When the bullies began to run from her, Clara sought greater challenges by signing up for the roughest sports her school would offer. Again she was brought low at first, but every defeat just made her more determined to overcome her own limitations. When that wasn't enough, her parents eventually decided to enroll her in Beruss and see if the military could temper her inner fire.

Tulsar was simply the latest challenge presented before her. A part of Clara knew that they couldn't afford to get into a real fight. They had a jailbreak to do and for that to work everyone had to be as close to peak condition as possible. One way or another this fight had to end quickly before someone actually got seriously hurt. Although she didn't have the Force, Clara could sense Tulsar was still taking it easy on her despite the escalation of his attacks. The old man was far too levelheaded to lose control, even after being taunted by a brash redhead doing her best to challenge him.

When she had the opportunity, Clara continued her assault on Tulsar's bad leg with little success. On the one occasion when she was able to land a low sweeping kick to it, it felt like she was striking rock instead of Human flesh. Tulsar was undeniably fit for his age - despite his age even - but this went far beyond mere physical conditioning. An artificial limb perhaps? Tulsar didn't seem the type, and as odd as it was to think, due to how hard it had been, it didn't quite seem to have the feel of a prosthetic either.

It was, however, enough to satisfy Clara that the old man would have no trouble keeping up with them. As an unarmed fighter he wasn't quite as polished as she was, but Tulsar seemed more than capable of making up for whatever shortcomings his hand-to-hand technique had with his access to the Force. Now ready to end the fight, Clara changed tactics to what had been her real adjective all along: his good leg.

She had known at the start that a warrior like Tulsar would recognize his bad leg was his weak point and be prepared for opponents trying to exploit it, so she had fed into that preconception and played along. She made a feint at his bad leg again before pivoting and kicking with as much speed and power as she could muster at the back of his knee to try and topple him.

Unfortunately Clara was in for one more surprise. When her foot struck his other leg, it felt just as hard as the bad leg had. She barely had a chance to register surprise before she was knocked to the ground by a shove from Tulsar.

“Yield,” Tulsar said - almost commanded - as he stood over her.

Clara raised her hands in surrender. “I give. I give. You've definitely got the chops.”

Tulsar offered her a hand to get back up to her feet which Clara accepted.

“Frag me. What are you anyway?” Clara asked with grudging curiosity. “I've hit droids who felt softer.”

“It's a-”

“-secret,” Clara finished for him. “Yeah, yeah. I should have known better than to ask by this point.”

Tulsar smiled as he called his cane to his hand and leaned on it once more. “A good fighter should always keep a few tricks up his sleeve. To be fair, you might have had me if not for my disability. When Sivter crippled my leg, it forced me to learn a new technique so that I wouldn't be hampered by it in times of crisis.”

“I'd say that was a success, but even so, I know you were going easy on me.”

“It doesn't mean that I didn't underestimate you,” he countered. “You played your feint well. I can see now how you got your reputation.”

By now the rest of the group had made their way over to them. After some brief introductions to introduce Tav to Tulsar and Clara, the old man nodded. “My grandson, Korzen, should be arriving in a few hours. In the meantime I think we should use the downtime to rest and recuperate. Hirai, this includes you as well. For now our training is concluded. Once Korzen arrives, we'll compare notes and put together a plan of action.”
Last edited by Halomek on Wed May 03, 2017 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed May 03, 2017 12:54 am

Isis had noticed the number of glasses even before Tav had. She had glanced over to Hirai with a raised eyebrow but before she could voice her concern Tav nudged her elbow and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Should we be worried," he asked.

"Only if you're afraid of Jedi," Hirai interjected before Isis could even form a thought in her head.

Both Tav and Isis did a double take, glancing between Falanis and Tulsar. Tav, for his part, had nearly choked on his water. He sputtered a bit and stared wide eyed at Hirai. "What?"

"Shh," Isis hushed him, focusing now more intently on Clara's bout with Tulsar, "Keep it down, Ace, I'm trying to watch this fight."

She'd never seen a Jedi fight before and this was a golden opportunity to see what they were capable of and Tulsar did not disappoint. Clara was good, like really good but despite that Tulsar was able to keep ahead of her in spite of his age. The younger woman should have easily overpowered him but Isis had known there was more to the old man than what could be seen on the surface. The way he surprised her in his office was proof of that. No one had ever managed to disarm her so quickly. Apparently, superhuman speed wasn't the only thing he was capable of, either. Clara had landed a pretty good hit on his bad leg which by all rights should have ended the fight but the older man barely even seemed to notice. In fact, from the way Clara had balked at the strike it almost seemed as though she were kicking a boulder. Her feint and subsequent strike against his other leg yielded the same result and for a moment Isis wished she could do the same. Being able to make herself stronger would be incredibly useful, or whatever it was he was doing.

After the fight was over and the introductions were out of the way Tulsar looked at each of them in turn and said, “My grandson, Korzen, should be arriving in a few hours. In the meantime I think we should use the downtime to rest and recuperate. Hirai, this includes you as well. For now our training is concluded. Once Korzen arrives, we'll compare notes and put together a plan of action.”

Isis gave Hirai a sidelong glance as they all headed back towards the house. "Training," she asked with a raised eyebrow.

Hirai's cheeks flushed slightly. "Tulsar's been showing me how to better use my swords," she said, deciding that for now she would leave it at that. It was true enough, either way. All Tulsar did was help her improve her swordplay. The rest she decided she would figure out later for herself. "Anyway, never mind all that. What the hell were you doing this whole time?"

Isis just shrugged, "Trying to learn more about Jaska and what he might want with you."

"And what did you learn?"

Isis' expression darkened. "That he's probably not the one we need to worry about," she said.

Hirai stared at her friend, sensing the tension coming off of her. "If not him then who?"

The other girl shook her head. "I don't know and I don't like it. I say we bust your dad out of jail and then blow this place. Tav here can take us back to Corellia."

That was surprising. Hirai had never known Isis to want to run from a fight. Just the opposite in fact but there was something different about her now. It wasn't tension she saw in her friend's eyes it was fear. That was just so uncharacteristic of her. "Isis, what's wrong? What happened?"

"Nothing--yet," she said, after a moment's hesitation, "but I'm starting to think that maybe we've... Maybe I've made a mistake."

Hirai stopped dead in her tracks and leveled Isis with a stare, hands on her hips. "Alright, what did you do," she demanded, "What's this really about?"

Isis' cheeks flushed and she looked away. "Things didn't go exactly as planned while I was away and I nearly got Tav killed. I just... I don't want the same thing to happen with you."

For a moment Hirai briefly wondered what 'as planned" was supposed to be since for the most part Isis tended to use the word 'plan' fairly loosely. A lot of her plans seemed like they were often cobbled together haphazardly on the fly. Improvisation was her strongest attribute though that's not to say she didn't take any time to prepare. Still, despite her fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants attitude things rarely seemed to shake her for long. This was different, though, whatever had happened it had really affected her.

Hirai smiled, "Well, you don't have to worry about that. I'm now even better with a sword than I was before and we've got two Jedi helping us out."

Isis didn't seem convinced, "That's just it, Hirai. We're up against someone powerful enough to take over an entire government and now the Force is apparently involved. Two days ago I would have said this whole thing was crazy but now? If what I learned about Jaska is true then it's the only thing that makes sense. We're just... We're way out of our league here. So maybe the best thing for us to do is just grab your dad and go home. Back me up on this, Ace," she told him, nudging him in the side a bit rougher than she had intended.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun May 07, 2017 12:34 am

They stopped outside of the house as Tav glanced from Isis, to Hirai, and back to Isis again before shaking his head. “Sorry, Isis, but no. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not eager to stay, but I didn't come here for a vacation. I came to do a job, and yeah, I'm most likely out of my league, but that's never stopped me before.”

“Where was all this bravado back at Dorval's ship, Ace?” Isis asked him with narrowed eyes.

Tav cleared his throat to buy himself an extra second or two to try and think of a good way to phrase his answer. “There's a difference between being brave against terrible odds and rushing headlong into danger, heedless of the consequences.”

Isis grumbled back something incomprehensible, but was saved from having to clarify any further as Clara joined the group – having gone over to retrieve her jacket after Tulsar dismissed everyone. She now had it casually slung over her shoulder with one hand.

“I like the way the new guy thinks,” she said as she approached. “So tell me - Tav was it? - did Isis already fill you in on what's going on?”

Tav was about to speak, but Isis interrupted somewhat indignantly as she locked eyes with Clara. “Just who do you take me for? Of course I brought him up to speed!”

Clara returned the look without flinching, but her stare was more measured. “Glad that's cleared up then.” She then pointedly shifted her attention to Tav. “I'm sure Isis trusts you if she brought you along, and Hirai trusts Isis, so that's good enough for me. I won't bother asking about your loyalties. What I do want to know is if you're up for breaking someone out of a high-security detainment facility, because our next step is going to be breaking Tulsar's son and my uncle out of jail.”

“A jailbreak?!” Tav asked in surprise before shaking his head wearily. “Oh, Quex will never let me hear the end of this.”

“Quex?”

“Right, no one else has met him yet,” Tav said to himself aloud. “Quex is my droid. He's the finest little astromech a pilot could ask for.”

“Wait a minute, Ace,” Isis said to him. “Weren't you going to tell me what he was up to once we were somewhere safe?”

Tav snapped his fingers in remembrance. “Yes I was.” He turned his attention back to the group. “You see, while my buddy might look like an ordinary R2 unit on the outside, he's anything but standard on the inside. Among his many modifications is some serious slicing hardware and subroutines. I'd pit him up against any military-grade bot any day. I put him to work slicing into the government data network when we arrived.”

“These aren't amateurs we're up against, Tav,” Clara said with a stern look on her face. “Is this droid of yours good enough to hack a database with the same kind of security as say... an Ubiqtorate base?”

“He's never been tested to that kind of extreme, but I have complete faith in his abilities. I've, uh, had Quex slice into government networks before to clear out fines and such when some stuffed shirt gets unreasonably upset about my flying violating some rule or another.” He smiled. “And if there's one thing governments invest a lot of security into protecting, it's their money, so yeah, he's good.”

“At any rate, I suppose it's too late to do anything about it now,” Clara said with a sigh. “I hope, for his sake, that your droid doesn't do anything foolish.”

“Quex embodies the concept of being cautious,” Tav replied with a grin. “I'm the one always frying his circuits by doing something too dangerous for my own good. Anyway, once he's cracked their security, I've told Quex to contact me by comlink.”

“Well, if he doesn't get found out, that could come in very handy.” Clara rested her free hand on her hip as she looked Tav up and down with fresh eyes. “You say you're a pilot? How good are you?”

He chuckled. “I can make a garbage scow breakdance if that's what you're asking. Nothing can touch me in the sky and I'm not too bad on the ground either.”

Clara raised an eyebrow at Tav's braggadocio. “Pretty much the answer I expected from a Corellian spacer. I suppose that's the best I'm going to get. You better be as good as you say.”

“No worries there.”

“I hope not.” Clara nodded to the group. “Now that you two are here, I need to take this into account for my jailbreak plan. Excuse me.”

It was just the three of them after that. Tulsar and Falanis had already gone back inside the house. Tav just smiled and shook his head in disbelief. “So, that was pretty amazing, right? I'd heard some stories about the records Clara Molariou set at Beruss, but seeing her in action was something else. Who fights a Jedi barehanded?! I mean who does that?”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Mon May 08, 2017 9:12 pm

Isis felt her hands subconsciously balling into fists at Tav's admiration of Clara. For the most part Isis didn't have a problem with the older woman though she did feel that Clara tended to take things a little too seriously. Hearing Tav praise her just now, on the other hand, totally set her on edge and she didn't even fully realize it.

"It's not that impressive," she blurted out, "She lost."

"Well of course she lost," Tav answered, "He's a Jedi!"

Isis resisted the urge to grind her teeth in frustration. "That doesn't mean he's invincible," she persisted.

Tav squared her with a look then crossed his arms. "Alright, how would you have won?"

"I'd have shot him," Isis replied with a completely straight face.

"Haha, yeah... Wait, are you serious," he asked after realizing she wasn't joking.

"In the leg, Ace, I'm not heartless," she answered indignantly. "I know from the personal experience of others that it's really hard to focus on hitting someone with a hole in your leg. Doubly hard if I put a hole in both your legs."

Tav let his arms fall to his side. He would have said he felt surprised but he'd come to expect this of her. Instead he shook his head. "Is winning really that important to you?"

"Winning is the only thing that matters," she told him, "Winners don't die."

"Says the girl who nearly got us killed on Dorval's ship," Tav replied though he regretted it almost immediately after.

Isis froze in place for half a second then punched him roughly in the shoulder before pushing past him towards the door. "That was my first loss, Ace," she threw back over her shoulder and there was an edge to her tone that carried a mixture of shame and resentment, mostly directed at herself. "I don't like losing," she finished, her voice subdued. "If you both knew what was good for you you'd take my advice and leave."

Then she entered the house without another word. Hirai just stared at the door wide eyed in surprise. "What happened to you guys," she asked, "I've never seen her like that. What did she do? And who the hell is Dorval?"

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue May 09, 2017 12:17 am

Tav sighed as he watched Isis storm into the house. “Damn it, Tav! That was so avoidable,” he mentally admonished himself.

He turned his attention to Hirai. “Dorval is Jaska's son,” he explained. “Isis found out the hard way that insulting a powerful intergalactic crimelord on his own ship wasn't the best idea. She nearly got us both killed because of it. We were able to negotiate a way out of it after contacting her father and setting up a business deal with Dorval.”

Hirai gave a sympathetic wince upon hearing him mention Isis's father. “Ouch. That explains a lot.”

Tav nodded. “Yeah, so I've come to understand.” He then leaned in a bit closer. “And just between you and me, it wasn't her only loss. She also lost when she tried to collect the bounty on me.”

Hirai looked him up and down for a moment before a dubious look crossed her face. “Really? You? How?” Then, perhaps realizing she was being rude, she quickly added: “No offense or anything, it's just that you don't seem the type.”

“Well... I'm not,” Tav admitted. “I'm certainly not at her level, that's for sure. If you boil it down to the essentials, she was overconfident and I tricked her, but afterwards we started talking and decided to help each other out. Hence our fun time on Dorval's ship.”

“Let me get this straight: Isis tried to capture you and almost got you killed, but you're still hanging around with her?” Hirai asked him with a serious look on her face. “I consider her my sister, but I know how difficult she can be on even her best days. You're either a glutton for punishment or...” Hirai abruptly stopped herself and smiled coyly. “Oh, I get it now.”

Tav rubbed the back of his head nervously, not quite liking the idea of being put on the spot like this. “It's not the only reason - I have business with Jaska too - but fine, just give me the friend warning and let's get that out of the way.”

Hirai smiled at him. “No need for that. Trust me, if you hurt Isis, I'm not the one you need to worry about. She'll take care of it herself.”

“Then I sincerely hope it never comes to that,” Tav assured Hirai. He then changed the subject in an attempt to take the focus off of him. “Anyway, Isis told me a little about you and why you're here at all. It's because of you, actually, that I decided to help her in the first place. I could tell you were very important to her. I wasn't intending to go this far, but things kind of snowballed.”

He crossed his arms thoughtfully. “So, are you like Tulsar's apprentice or something?” At Hirai's shocked look, Tav explained his deduction: “It wasn't hard to figure out based on your appearance and who was here when we arrived. Plus he did mention you specifically by name when he told us to take a break.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Tue May 09, 2017 10:59 pm

Hirai's cheeks burned red as she averted her eyes from Tav. "It's not like that," she said, "He's not teaching me the Force, or anything. He's just teaching me to be a better fighter." That she might have any kind of potential in that area, though, she decided to keep to herself rather than share with someone she barely knew.

"Oh," Tav replied, seeming a bit disappointed, "well if his skill is any kind of indication you're probably no slouch when it comes to a fight."

"Well, maybe," she said, her embarrassment easing up a bit, "I feel like I've improved a lot over the past week but we won't really know until we bust my Dad out of jail."

Tav couldn't help but blink in surprise. In many ways Hirai was the polar opposite of Isis. Whereas Isis might be rather boastful about her skills Hirai was modest to a fault. "Anyway," she continued, brushing a stray lock of hair out of her eyes as she looked back at him, "this might sound a bit strange but I'm glad you're here. I've known Isis for a very long time and there aren't many people she feels she can confide in--only one, as a matter of fact. Until you came along I was her only real friend."

"I find that hard to believe," Tav replied dubiously. "I mean Isis has her rough edges, sure, but she was born with money and spent most of her life in the public eye. Those kinds of people usually tend to be fairly popular."

Hirai just shrugged. "If she had the normal rich girl attitude then maybe, but Isis' first instinct is to push people away. I think that's partly because of her father."

"Why? Was he super strict," he asked.

"Well, sort of," Hirai started, "Isis' mother left when she was very young and her father was forced to raise her alone. I'm sure you know that he used to be an Admiral with the Rebellion, right? Just before the end of the war with the Empire. I think when Isis was born he was really hoping for a son, you know someone to carry on his legacy and when he didn't get that he tried to force that legacy onto Isis. Before she even came to Beruss she was already pretty incredible in a fight and her tactical awareness was leaps and bounds above the rest of us, partly because of the training she did with her father. I mean, he's always saying that he sent Isis to Beruss to temper her wild attitude but I don't think that's true. I think he was intending to send her there regardless. That's why Isis is the way that she is, she's never really had a chance to just be a normal girl like the rest of us. You can see it in her fashion sense. I mean, could you imagine Isis in a dress? I can't and I've known her for like ever."

Now that she had mentioned it Tav realized that Isis' outfit was rather androgynous compared to Hirai's, but there were some feminine qualities about her though. She did prefer to keep her hair long and she did use makeup, albeit very lightly and like a lot of rich girls she had developed a taste for expensive things if the holowatch on her wrist was any indication. Though, if Isaac had tried to raise Isis as a son rather than a daughter well that explained a lot.

"So like I said," she continued. "I'm really glad you decided to stick around, even after she tried to kill you," she added jokingly.

**********

Isis was still steaming when she entered the house. The incident on Dorval's ship wasn't exactly her best moment and the fact that it was Tav who got them out of there hurt even more. Isis had never before been in a situation where she didn't know what to do and nothing she tried would work. Even in the fight against Senator Aarik when things were spiraling out of control she still had a plan. Dorval, though, had managed to catch her off guard with something she did not expect and she just couldn't think straight after that. That startled her that she could feel that way.

Back inside the house Falanis had already started making some tea as Clara and Tulsar perched themselves in the living room. They were conversing quietly by the time Isis had entered the room and when Tulsar saw her he looked up. "So what did you learn," he asked.

Isis sat down opposite Clara and kept her eyes averted. She didn't know why but for some reason she felt threatened by the older woman. "Not much," she said aloud, "Jaska's son seems to think that he's not himself right now. As if someone was controlling him, but I don't see how that's possible. Maybe he's working with someone, sure, but Hutts have always been the ones in control, not the other way around."
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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Tue May 23, 2017 11:55 pm

“Hutts like to think they're in control,” Clara replied disdainfully, “but they'll bow and kowtow to anyone who has more power than they do if you show them they right kind of force. I've had to 'negotiate' with a few of them before and it always helps to come in with a show of strength to let them know you mean business.”

Tulsar shook his head disapprovingly at the gross generalization. “No species is ever that simple. Hutts can be as varied as any other race. The problem is that their society values wealth and power above all else, so their most prominent members in galactic society tend to be crimelords. I think you'll find that if you threaten just about any crimelord of any species with the right show of force you'll get the same results as you would with a Hutt.”

Clara raised an eyebrow. “Sounds like you're speaking from experience there, Tulsar.”

His response was to smile back easily as he settled into his chair. “I'm sure I don't know what you mean.”

“Well it seems clear that something changed Jaska's mindset,” Isis interjected. “Dorval seemed pretty sure that his father initially came to this planet to usurp the standing government and eventually open it up to be exploited by the Hutts.”

“Right now I still choose to believe that if he did have nefarious plans for Juoi, he changed his mind naturally after living here,” Tulsar replied. “I've never sensed any kind of deception from Jaska in all the years I've known him. I may not be the best at sensing things through the Force, but I'd like to think that I would have picked up some kind of warning sign.”

“It's not just Tulsar,” Falanis added. “Our entire family has spent a lot of time around Jaska and the other members of the government. No one has picked up on anything duplicitous – at least on the scale we're talking about now. Even our daughter, Kalja, who naturally tends to be very good at sensing others and their emotions, was never suspicious of Jaska, or Qan, or any of our other friends in the capital. That's why it came as such a shock when Sysen-”

Falanis abruptly stopped in the middle of her sentence as she held a few fingers to her temple. She looked back up at the group. “Korzen has arrived, but he's brought someone with him. It's Qan.”

Tulsar's concerned look was shared by Clara and Isis. The unspoken question in the room was obvious. Why was Qan here, of all nights, when they were about to discuss their plans to break Habas and Sysen out of the detainment facility? Was it simply bad luck? Clara didn't know, but she knew the best thing any of them could do right now was play it cool. That knowledge couldn't quite quell the flicker of nervous energy that had suddenly ignited in Clara's gut, but to all outward appearances she was as steady as a Hoth glacier.

Tulsar stood back up. “This is an odd thing for him to do. I'll go out and greet him. You three do your best to act casual while he's here. If you try and make yourself scarce now, he may suspect something is up. Qan is not a fool, he'll pick up on any odd behavior.”

Tulsar then left the room, followed shortly by Falanis. Clara remained seated as she looked over at Isis and pulled a beat-up sabacc deck out of a front pocket in her jacket. “I don't know about you,” she said as she idly started fiddling with the cards to distract herself, “but something about that Qan guy rubs me the wrong way. He seems a bit too clean for a politician.”

She then abruptly changed the subject as she expertly shuffled the sabacc deck. “Do you play?”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Thu May 25, 2017 9:58 pm

Isis stood and shook her head. "Not really," she admitted, "I'm not overly fond of games where the ace up my sleeve can shift to a five at any moment."

Clara laughed a little to herself then stopped shuffling and looked up at Isis after realizing the other girl had said that with a straight face. In that moment she made a mental note to keep an eye on her if they should ever play something together in the future.

"Anyway, you're right about Qan," Isis continued, changing the subject, "but you don't know the half of it. Try looking up his biography on the holonet some time. You'll find there's nothing to see before his arrival on Juoi. No birth records or history of employment, nothing. It's like he just suddenly came into being out of thin air."

She undid the safety strap on the blaster holstered at her hip and moved towards the window. Clara finally set the sabacc deck down on the table in front of her and stood to look at the other woman. "What are you doing? You'll tip him off."

Isis sighed from where she stood off to one side of the window over looking the yard in the front of the house. "Look, I know Tulsar told us to 'play it cool' but playing it cool isn't exactly in my vocabulary and besides, Hirai's still out there."

**********

Hirai's conversation with Tav was cut short when a hover speeder started down the driveway and pulled up in front of the house. Both Tav and Hirai stopped to look at it as it's occupants stepped out of the vehicle. "Who are they," Tav asked, stepping up behind Hirai.

"The one on the right is Korzen," she said, "but I have no idea who the other one is."

Tulsar didn't mention anything about Korzen bringing a friend to the house and something about him immediately set her on edge. That feeling was immediately compounded when Tulsar came out of the house and stood on the front porch to greet them. Hirai looked quizzically at him and he gave her a look that seemed to suggest she stay right where she was. Even without saying a word to her she could still pick up on the tension he was feeling. So palpable it was that one could probably cut through it with a knife. She lowered her swords to her side but refrained from placing her hand on the hilt. Then she took a half step to the left, shifting her body partway behind Tav to lightly obscure the other's view of her.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:37 am

Clara walked over to stand next to Isis. If the other woman was already putting the mission at risk, then there was no sense in trying to resist it. In battle the best fighters were the ones who could learn to adapt. Isis was a rogue element, but she was also one who was on their side, and Clara was starting to make peace with the idea that she would have to take that into account.

“Hirai can take care of herself,” she said to Isis. “You'd be amazed at how far she's progressed during her training with Tulsar. Makes me a little jealous actually.”

Isis briefly glanced back at Clara before turning her attention once more to Qan standing by the patrol speeder. “I've never been worried about how well she handles herself in a fight. It's what happens when she fights that makes me concerned.”

“What are you talking about?”

Isis hugged herself as if to ward off a chill. “The Hirai you know is not the same girl I met back when we were both admitted to Beruss. That Hirai was cold, distant... angry. Her life before the academy was one tragedy after another. Sometimes I wonder if the goal of finding her father was the only thing keeping her from going totally off the rails.”

Clara remained silent, but found herself grimacing as she remembered learning about how her father had treated Hirai. She was definitely going to have words with him once this was all over.

Isis continued her story: “Back in the early days Hirai was always getting disciplined by her instructors for going too far with the combat training. She usually left any recruit unfortunate enough to be paired up with her in the med bay. That's how we met, actually. I was getting reprimanded for... other... reasons, so we usually saw each other during our punishments. A lot of times it was only us. We eventually bonded because of it. She started opening up to me and gradually she changed into the Hirai you see today because of our friendship... our sisterhood.”

Clara looked at Isis in a new light after this revelation. Admittedly, how two people as different as her cousin and Isis could be as close as sisters was something she had wondered about. Now that she knew, it made many things much clearer. “Thank you for that,” she said to Isis. “The way my father treated her was a disgrace. I can never undo that, but I'm in your debt for the way you helped her.”

Isis shook her head, but didn't look at Clara. “You don't owe me anything. She changed my life as much as I changed hers.”

Clara nodded even though Isis didn't see it. “If she's changed for the better, then why are you worried about her fighting?”

Isis finally looked back at her. “Because Hirai isn't like us. Once you get past all of the tragedy in her life, she's still a gentle soul at heart. We both know that the gentle souls are the ones you need to watch out for because they can be the ones to lash out the hardest when things turn ugly. I still see traces of that when she fights, so I try to keep her away from it when I can – finding ways to distract her or putting the attention on me instead. There was nothing I could do about all of this though. The goal of finding her father has consumed most of her life.”

“And now you're worried that the same people who lured you two here, who somehow changed the mind of a Hutt crimelord, might find a way to manipulate her into serving them,” Clara guessed.

“Someone wanted her here for a reason,” Isis confirmed with a nod. “Maybe it was Qan. Maybe it wasn't. All I know is that I'm tired of not knowing who I'm supposed to punch to keep them away from Hirai.”

Clara rested a hand on Isis's shoulder. “Then let's change that. You and I might have our differences, but to us Hirai is family, and no one messes with family. Why don't we go out there and get some answers from the mysterious Mr. Kisa?" She raised her other hand and made it into a fist. "The hard way if necessary.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:16 pm

Tav instinctively placed a hand on Hirai protectively as she slid behind him. He had no idea what was going on, but he knew enough about Juoi now to be on edge when anyone new or unexpected showed up. He glanced from the mysterious man to Tulsar and back again.

Tulsar didn't seem tense at all upon seeing the new arrivals, but that didn't necessarily mean anything. Tav barely knew the old man, but he had seen enough to know that Tulsar was someone who had seen a lot in his life. Hiding his emotions was probably child's play to someone like him.

“Qan!” Tulsar said as she walked towards the other man. “You have me at a bit of a loss. We were about to start making dinner. I didn't know we'd need to set the table for one more.”

Qan shook Tulsar's hand. “My apologies about hijacking your grandson. I expressly forbade him from alerting you that I would be coming because I don't want anyone to know I'm here.”

Korzen bowed his head. “Sorry, grandpa. I can't exactly refuse a councilman. I would have called ahead if I could.”

Tulsar nodded. “It's okay, Korzen.” He then shifted his glance to Qan. “What's with all of this sudden clandestine behavior, Qan? This isn't like you.”

Tav and Hirai had been listening in on the entire conversation. Hirai didn't seem inclined to move and Tav wasn't sure if he should either. That was when Qan looked over in their direction. At first Tav thought he was looking at both of them, but he realized he was looking slightly to Tav's side – directly at Hirai.

“She's the reason,” Qan said, even pointing at Hirai make his point clear. “Jaska has had Xorpex monitoring your farm through satellite ever since Clara Molariou was brought here. He's seen your training sessions with her and, to put it mildly, he's not happy that you've been keeping this from him.”

Tulsar's expression didn't seem to change, but it certainly felt as if the air had become slightly colder as the old man spoke: “What right does Jaska have to spy on my home? I'm-” he paused as if about to say something, but thought better of it. “He knows better. Xorpex should as well.”

“Jaska knows of the arrangement, Tulsar,” Qan explained to him. “An arrangement that only extends to you and your family. If you're training more Jedi here beyond that, then that is a clear violation of the terms you agreed to. Jaska doesn't want to attract the attention of the First Order. Despite the Director's bluster to the contrary, we wouldn't be able to hold out for long against a dedicated assault from their military. You know what happened to Skywalker.”

“I'm not training her to be a Jedi,” Tulsar clarified. “We've been honing what was already there and nothing more.”

Qan shook his head sadly. “I'm afraid Jaska won't see it that way. After what your son did, and now keeping this from him, I don't think he trusts you anymore.”

Tulsar crossed his arms. “Should I be expecting JSI troops to be swarming my farm any second now? Is that why you came? To warn me?”

“Jaska was close to giving just such an order, but I talked him down,” Qan said to him. “I've even ordered Xorpex to cease monitoring your farm for the time being, but I don't know how long any of that is going to last. The only thing that has saved you thus far is your many years of service to the government and my own intervention on your behalf. I can go back and try to explain to Jaska that he has you wrong with this girl you're training, but trying to calm an angry Hutt is not easy – especially one that feels betrayed. He's become increasingly irrational as of late.”

“So what are you saying, Qan?”

“I'm saying that I don't know what you're doing, Tulsar, but I want to help. That's why I'm here.”
Last edited by Halomek on Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:23 am

Isis looked at the other woman with renewed interest. For the first time since meeting her she began to feel like they might actually get along. They may not have the same opinions on a lot of things but when it came to family it seemed like they were of one mind and that was good enough for you. With a smile she nodded and said, "Took the words right out of my mouth. Come on, let's go."

**********

Hirai kept looking between Tulsar and Qan trying to decide what she should do. She could feel her nerves rising, but the presence of Tav's hand on her arm helped to calm her down. If not for that she probably would have hurried back inside and out of sight, especially when Qan had stopped to point at her mid conversation. It was what he said after that that she found most surprising, though. She was only meeting this man for the first time so she wasn't sure if she could trust him but the offer seemed genuine enough and if he really had talked Jaska out of sending a JSI squad then what could be the harm? Neither she nor Tulsar had a chance to answer him, though, before their conversation had been rudely interrupted.

"That's a hard pass," Isis suddenly said as she and Clara stepped out in front of the house. "First of all, how do we even know that anything you've said is true and secondly, I just don't like that outfit. Honestly, look at the weather! Spring colors, man, get with the program!"

Hirai looked at Isis, eyes wide in surprise. "Isis, what are you doing," she asked under her breath but the other woman ignored her.

"You know, Q--can I call you Q?"

Qan opened his mouth to say something but she immediately cut him off before he could voice his opinion. "Look, forget I asked. Anyway, Q, I've been doing some digging into you recently, but I'm sure you already knew that. Funny story, though, go back far enough and it's like you don't even exist. Except, you know, it's not really that funny."

She had a defensive posture about her and her right hand was on the butt of her pistol. The weapon was still holstered at her side but the message from her stance was pretty clear. "Qan Kisa came into being the very day he stepped foot on Juoi, which begs the question. Who is Qan Kisa really? And what does he have to hide? Now the way I see it someone who goes out of their way to hide their past is not someone who can be trusted. So you either start talking or you can start walking."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:15 pm

Tav watched the scene developing before him with a bad feeling in his gut. This was precisely the last thing any of them needed right now. He would have taken the precaution of placing a hand on his own blaster, even if he wasn't sure if Qan really was as sinister as Isis was implying, but his gun hand was the one currently holding on to Hirai's arm. Something told him it would be better there than grabbing for a weapon.

As it so happened, Korzen moved to block her shot as he stood protectively in front of Qan and rested a hand on his own blaster. “Isis, step back! As an officer of the JSI, I can't allow you to threaten the life of a government official. Qan Kisa is not the one making threats against you. It's Jaska.” He tapped his fingers against the butt of his blaster warningly. “I know you're good, but you don't have the training that I do in the Force. You'll lose this fight. Don't test me on it.”

Clara smiled as she stood next to Isis. “Is that so? I'd kind of like to see just how fast you are, Korzen. Maybe you're good enough to stop Isis, but I don't think you're fast enough to stop us both. She has a point you know! Words are cheap. I'm not inclined to trust anything said by a man with no past.”

Tulsar seemed about ready to step in and put an end to the stand-off himself, but Qan beat him to it by placing a reassuring hand on Korzen's shoulder and urging him to move out of the way. “Officer... Korzen... it's fine. I can speak for myself. They have every right to be suspicious. After all, they barely know me.”

The patient measured response was clearly not what either Isis or Clara had been expecting. Qan didn't seem ruffled at all by having his life threatened. He placed his hands together in a calm manner, almost as a teacher would do when speaking to unruly children. “To answer your accusations: I didn't go out of the way to hide my past. It was taken from me. Have any of you heard of the planet Arda-2?”

When all he got back were blank stares, Qan nodded. “There's no reason you would have. It was a neutral world along the Outer Rim Territories. I was a professor there, specializing in psychology and sociology, and taught classes at Tun Wala University. I had a wife and two children. It was a peaceful life - a good life - if perhaps a bit mundane.”

Qan took a deep breath, exposing the first real emotion Tav had seen from the man thus far. There was a deep pain in that breath, but as soon as it was expelled, Qan's expression returned to being neutral. “I was even able to provide a decent life after the Empire came and subjugated my world. However, that diminished happiness was not destined to last either as a few short years later the Stenax arrived on my homeworld.”

Tav grimaced at the word. He had a feeling that he knew where this story was going. He had heard of the Stenax, and more importantly of the Stenax Massacres. They had been a short but brutal series of bloody conquests by the Stenax on neighboring worlds. Few, if any of the native populations were said to have survived the massacres before they were stopped. For the longest time Tav had just assumed that the Stenax Massacres were stories told to scare unruly children, but then he had ventured out into the galaxy and learned that the stories told back on Corellia were not only based on real events, but that, if anything, the stories had been toned down.

Qan swallowed hard. “Arda-2 was not fortunate enough to survive the Stenax Massacres. I tired to flee with my family when they attacked, but it was not to be. The school my children were at... my wife at home... I arrived too late for any of them. I must admit that everything after that is something of a blur. The next thing I remember, I was on a ship with other refugees as the Empire retreated from the planet.”

He looked both women square in the eyes and Tav did not envy being on the receiving end of such a haunted stare. “I have no past because it was all wiped out. Gone like ash through my fingers. Arda-2 only exists as a footnote now - one of the handful of planets that fell victim to the Stenax. When I arrived on Juoi, I tried to make a new life for myself, but I couldn't bring myself to speak of everything I lost without breaking down. It's only decades after the fact that the pain has receded enough that I can tell it to all of you now. I never spoke of my past before because I didn't want to and I didn't need to. After all, one of Juoi's core tenants is that all outsiders are welcome to start new lives here, regardless of where they came from or who they were before.”

After Qan's story everyone was stricken momentarily speechless. Even Tulsar seemed shocked and dismayed by the unexpectedly tragic nature of Qan's past. Inevitably, however, all eyes moved from Qan to Isis and Clara to see how the two women would react to everything he had told them.

Clara was the first as she sighed in defeat. “Frag me,” she uttered to Isis under her breath. “I've got nothing for that. If he's lying, he's one of the best kriffing actors I've ever seen.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:26 am

Isis was silent a moment longer as she leveled Qan with a measured stare. She had to admit the man's story was pretty convincing, but then again so was Senator Aarik in his offer to help. She wasn't immediately inclined to believe the man just because he appeared to be genuine. Her father was a businessman and she grew up around other businessmen as well as politicians. She saw how easy it was for them to appear sympathetic while also lying to their constituents. Even her father was not exempt from this, he presented a great deal of empathy for his employees even while cutting their wages or downsizing his company. Even without all that prior experience, though, there was just something about the man that didn't sit right with her. A story like that was perfect for a politician. He could have used it to garner sympathy and swing votes. By all rights it should be him leading Juoi's government instead of Jaska so why wasn't he?

"I don't buy it," she said finally, loud enough for all to hear.

Hirai was shocked. "Isis! How could you even say that?"

"Sorry, Hirai," she answered with a shrug, "I've got nothing to base it on but instinct and my gut is telling me he's lying about something."

"That's insane, Isis, you're just being paranoid."

Isis gave her a hard stare. "Am I? You know better than anyone here what happened the last time I trusted a politician."

"Qan is not Senator Aarik, Isis, you've really gotta let that go," Hirai pleaded with her, "You can't keep accusing every politician of lying to you!"

"Juuust watch me," Isis replied sarcastically.

"Well, how about this then," Hirai said, stepping out from behind Tav and walking over to stand next to Qan, "I trust him."

The other girl said nothing for a moment then finally shook her head. "Fine, you want to believe him then be my guest. I want no part of it," she said, then she turned her attention to Tav, "Ace, you and I need to get back to the ship."

"But, I--," he started to say before she cut him off.

"Now, Ace," she said and as she turned to walk away she purposefully turned towards Clara and put her hand on the other woman's arm giving her a half nod towards Hirai. Even though no words had passed between them her silent message was still pretty clear, 'Watch her.' Then she and Tav stepped away from the group towards their rental speeder.

Once they were out of earshot from the rest of the group Isis leaned in close to Tav and lowered her voice. "Sorry, Ace, I just needed to get you away from the group for a minute. I don't suppose you have a secure line you can use to contact Quex? We need to talk."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:01 pm

“It's not that simple, Isis,” Tav said to her. “Technically I do have a secure line, but we don't know what kind of countermeasures Juoi has to prevent slicers. What if I contact Quex and it turns out that they trace the signal to him? That could ruin all of his hard work trying to get inside. Considering how obsessed this government seems to be in monitoring everything, I don't want to risk it until he contacts me.”

Isis gave him a frustrated look and Tav tried his best to keep things from escalating.

“Admittedly it's taking longer than usual for him to send me a notice that he's inside, but every system is different and he's never failed me before.”

Her look of frustration became one of concern. “You don't think that they...”

Tav shook his head. “I doubt it. I'd hear some kind of warning from him if that was the case.” He then changed the topic slightly. “When he does contact me, what did you want to talk to him about?”

***

Clara was studying Qan's face closely during Isis' outburst, looking for any kind of tell that would indicate that the man had some kind of ulterior motive. She saw nothing. Granted, she was no professional sabacc player, but she had become pretty good at reading her opponents. He seemed to be everything he claimed to be, which should have mollified her, but instead Clara felt as uneasy about Qan as Isis did. Tragic backstory not withstanding, Qan seemed a bit too clean, a bit too ready with an answer for every question.

Maybe she was being paranoid. Maybe she wasn't...

“I'm sorry about this, Qan,” Tulsar said to him. “It's been a rough day. Tensions are kind of high around here. I'll speak to Isis and Clara.”

Qan shook his head. “No need, Tulsar. Showing up out of the blue is not the best way to engender trust. I should have expected a reaction like this. If there had been any other way to get this information to you securely, I would have done so, but I fear you're not the only one being monitored.”

“Jaska is watching you too?”

Qan nodded. “Jaska is watching everyone. I fear it will only be a matter of time before he tries to place the JSI under his direct control and phase out your job completely. Thanks to you I still know some ways to slip away, but Xorpex is constantly devising new methods of surveillance.”

Clara didn't miss Qan's intimation about Tulsar and was quick to speak up about it. “Hold up just a second.” She turned to skewer Tulsar with a look. “Your job?! Is Qan saying what I think he's saying?!”

Tulsar was stonefaced, but he nodded just the same. “Not quite. Qan is referring to my old job, before I retired. I was the head of the JSI for several decades.”

All of the pieces started falling into place for Clara and she felt kind of dumb for not connecting them earlier. There had been plenty of hints, now that she thought about it, but she had been too focused on freeing her uncle to think about them.

“Why didn't you say anything!?” she demanded angrily. “If I had know that I could have...” Clara quickly cut off her sentence as she remembered that Qan was still here. She didn't want to give him any ideas about their upcoming jailbreak. Instead she just let it devolve into incoherent muttering.

“Several reasons,” Tulsar tried to explain, “not the least of which is that the people I try to help don't tend to trust me when I tell them I used to run the massive planetary army which could throw them in jail. Would you have trusted me?”

“I... no...” Clara admitted. “I don't know if I trust you now though. How many other secrets are you hiding from me?”

Tulsar's response was unexpectedly candid. “Far more than you'll ever know. It doesn't change anything. I'm still here to help you. It's always been up to you if you want to accept it.”

“We're going to have some words later,” Clara promised.

“To save time, allow me to dispel another secret then,” Qan spoke up as he lightly rested a hand on Hirai's shoulder. “I've seen Xorpex's debriefings on his surveillance of your farm. He knows who all of your guests are, including young Hirai here. She seems to be of interest to Jaska for some reason. I believe he's looking for an excuse to place her in JSI custody. You, Tulsar, are likely the only reason he hasn't made a move yet. You're still very popular within the JSI, it will take more than a flimsy excuse for them to mount a serious operation to take her from you.”

Tulsar grunted in disappointment. “I find it hard to believe that Jaska has slipped that much.”

“Hutts can be capricious, even ones like Jaska,” Qan replied sadly. “If your goal truly is to keep Hirai safe, I can help. I know a place I can take her where the JSI won't have any influence. She'll be safe until we can get this whole sordid mess sorted out.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:01 am

Hirai felt her body tense up slightly when Qan placed his hand on her and she wasn't entirely sure why. The feeling worsened when he mentioned that Jaska apparently had an interest in her. It was something they had already suspected so it wasn't exactly news but now hearing it affirmed from someone within Jaska's camp somehow made the threat appear more real. Her nerves nearly got the best of her and so distracted was she by her thoughts that she was only half paying attention to what Qan had said next. It was when he suddenly suggested taking her somewhere that she finally reacted.

"No," she cried, perhaps with a bit more alarm than she had intended as she stepped back from him away from his grasp, "I have to stay here! I need to...," she stopped short and glanced at Clara. She was going to say she needed to be here to help break her father out of jail but something suddenly held her tongue. In her mind she could almost hear Isis' voice. 'I thought you trusted him,' she was saying. Shut up, Hirai thought to herself.

"Look, I just--I can't leave here yet," she finished, albeit rather sheepishly.

**********

"Sysen," Isis answered simply, "Tulsar's son. He's got the final piece to this puzzle so we need to break him out."

Tav was a bit confused. "I thought that was the plan," he said, "Didn't Tulsar say we were going to break him out when we went in after Habas?"

"That was before this new element popped up," Isis answered irritably as she and Tav climbed into the speeder and drove off. "I don't know what exactly they're planning to do about this Qan person, but him showing up out of the blue right now of all times... Well, let's just say it doesn't feel like a coincidence. I just get this feeling that he and Jaska know more about what's going on than we think they do."

"Alright, so what exactly is your plan?"

"We go in after Sysen," she said, "Just you and me. When the others make their play for Habas we'll make a play of our own."

Tav was surprised. "You want to use the others as a distraction?"

Isis made a face. "No, we're not using them as a distraction," she snapped at him, "We're going to be more like their insurance. We just need to plan something without Qan knowing about it. If the others let him in on what we're trying to do or he's tipped off in some other way then the whole thing's going to fail, I'm sure of it."

Tav let out a long, slow sigh. "You know, this would have been easier if we'd actually stuck around to hear the plan," he said.

Isis' cheeks immediately turned red when she realized he was right. "Um, maybe but uh... Look, we had to leave for dramatic effect or something, shut up," she answered quickly.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:54 pm

Tav still wasn't sure what to think. Qan seemed like an okay guy, but Isis seemed absolutely certain that there was something up with him. Without any clear direction to go with it, he attempted to try and suss out something more solid to work with.

“Okay,” he said to her. “Assuming Qan is involved in this conspiracy somehow, why would he put himself at Jedi central? Wouldn't that be a good way to get found out? Aren't Jedi supposed to be able to sense evil intent or something?”

Isis shook her head, showing a bit of frustration. “I don't know!” she replied, all but screaming with a whisper. “Maybe he knows a way around it! Old Palpy fooled the Jedi for years, right? Maybe it's the same kind of thing.”

Tav rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Come to think of it, Palpatine was a politician too...” He shook his head, banishing the thought. “Even granting that, it's quite a leap to assume Qan is the same way without any evidence to support it. I mean, assuming you're right, and if Qan has been on Juoi as long as he says he has, and hasn't left so much as a fingerprint in the wrong place, he must have the patience of a space slug.”

“It's not impossible,” Isis insisted fervently.

“Not very likely either,” Tav replied sardonically, but regretted his quip almost instantly. For just a moment he spotted a very vulnerable look on Isis's face from his remark. He realized with a bit of shame that Isis desperately wanted him to believe her. She would never say it, but the fact that she was so sure that Qan was dirty and that seemingly no one was listening was hurting more than she would ever willingly show.

In that moment Tav decided to give Isis the benefit of the doubt. “Okay,” he added. “Not very likely, but possible. Let's work with that. If that's true, we should get the time they plan to do the jailbreak and then leave. When their plan happens we can observe from a distance and come to their aid if necessary. I get the feeling that any jailbreak would include rescuing Sysen too. If we're lucky, we might even spot Qan lurking somewhere he shouldn't be. Does that sound good?”

***

Qan seemed taken aback by Hirai's refusal. Clara tried to judge if the concern was fake or overdone, but she couldn't discern it as anything less than genuine.

“My dear, why ever not?” Qan asked her. “The longer you stay here, the more likely you are to put everyone else in danger. Jaska does not make idle threats. I can't stall him forever. If he does send a force to place you into JSI custody, it will be one powerful enough to overwhelm Tulsar and Falanis. I shudder to think of what this place would look like after that battle.”

Clara wasn't sure what to say. On one hand she didn't want Hirai to leave alone with Qan. On the other hand, assuming what Qan said was true, a JSI force could disrupt the whole plan to rescue Habas and that would dash her dreams and Hirai's at the same time. Rather than risk Hirai blurting out that they intended to break Habas out of the detainment facility, Clara struggled with the best compromise she could think of.

“What if someone went with her?” she suggested suddenly, while at the same time trying to get across to Hirai with a look that she was still intent on rescuing Habas and that she would bring him to her. “Would that work?”

“We should keep the group as small as possible, but yes, I don't think one extra person would be a problem,” Qan answered her. “It's Hirai's decision though. I only seek to help. I certainly won't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:40 am

Isis knew Tav was just placating her but considering everyone else, including the one woman whom she thought was on her side were ignoring her warnings she decided she would take it. Still, the fact she had to fight this hard just to get that much frustrated her. "Qan won't be at the detainment facility," she said quietly but loud enough for him to hear, "If Dorval's right and Jaska's just a puppet then Qan's been running this place from the shadows for years. If he's planning to interfere with the jailbreak then he won't do it in a way that will implicate him and we should be so lucky if he did."

"Still, we should go back. Without knowing what time they plan to make their move we won't be able to help them."

"Don't bother," she told him, holding up a datapad she procured from her pocket. On the screen a red blip flickered in a rhythmic pattern over a two dimensional image of Tulsar's farm. "A little present I left with Clara," Isis explained, "Slipped it under the collar of her shirt when I had my hand on her arm. When she and the others make their move to rescue Habas we'll know."

Tav looked at her in surprise while trying to keep his eye on the road. "How--," he started and she interrupted him.

"Learned a few tricks at Beruss," she said and with a flourish of her wrist she made a sabbacc card appear in her hand, "Never lost a card game while I was there. Anyway, I wasn't kidding when I said we needed to go back to the ship."

"Back into space? But why," he asked.

"Because, Ace, your ship is the only place on this planet I can trust to be safe," she answered, "Fething bastards were watching the farm the whole time but I'll bet my life they haven't been able to crack your ship. We'll plan our portion of the operation there."

**********

Hirai looked at him and then back at Clara. She wasn't stupid, she knew what Qan's warning meant and if he was right about it then she would never get to see her father. Still, something nagged at her, though. A feeling of unease that she couldn't explain. Maybe she would feel better if someone came with her but who? Isis and Tav were already gone and Hirai knew Isis well enough to know that the other girl was already plotting something. Whatever it was she wouldn't be seeing her until after the jailbreak, that much was certain. That left Clara, Tulsar, Falanis and Korzen. Clara needed Tulsar and Korzen for the jailbreak which left Falanis free to come with her but was that something she could be happy with? If that feeling of unease turned out to be well founded and Falanis was put in danger or maybe even hurt could Hirai live with herself after?

No, she shook her head finally and looked back at Qan. "Alright," she said, "I'll go with you but no one else has to come with me. If I'm such a danger then maybe... Maybe it would be safer for everyone else to stay here."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:03 am

Clara was torn about what to do. If not for the fact that she didn't trust anyone else to rescue her uncle, she would have volunteered herself to accompany Hirai. The other problem was that, based on how just about everyone else seemed to be cool with Qan, she couldn't really trust them to have the appropriate caution when dealing with the politician.

She sighed, not hiding her unhappiness at that situation, before stretching her arms behind her as a cover to surreptitiously reach into her back pocket and palm the tracker Isis had tried to hide on her collar. The girl's sleight of hand had been good, no doubt about it, but not quite good enough to fool a seasoned member of SpecForce. Clara had removed it with the thought of using it later to prank Isis by attaching it to a bird or something.

Now though it might be the only way she could fight back against Qan manipulating Hirai without isolating Hirai in the process.

“It's your decision, so I won't argue with you about it, but I can at least wish you good luck,” Clara said to Hirai as she approached the other girl and spread her arms for a hug.

At first Hirai seemed unsure how to respond to Clara's show of affection, but suddenly the younger girl darted forward and hugged her more tightly than Clara had been expecting. Clara smiled as she wrapped her arms around Hirai and deftly stuck the tracker on the underside of Hirai's belt at the same time.

“Stay frosty out there, kid,” Clara whispered to her. “I promise we'll find you when it's time for the reunion.”

“Thank you,” Hirai said to her as she broke the embrace, but left it vague as to what exactly she was thanking Clara for.

“I don't wish to interrupt such a heartfelt farewell, but time is of the essence,” Qan spoke up. “We should leave now before Jaska discovers my orders to Xorpex to cease surveillance on the farm.”

***

Tav slowly nodded as he thought about Isis's plan. He might not have been sure about everything she was saying, but there was no disputing that the only place he'd feel safe on this planet would be his ship. “They're probably not going to allow a ship to stay in orbit around their planet without prior authorization, but I know a few tricks. I should be able to avoid the scanners. Let's do it.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:59 am

Hirai pulled away from Clara after their hug and when Qan spoke up she looked to Tulsar. "Promise me you won't let Isis do anything crazy," she said and Tulsar nodded. She knew he had about as much chance of succeeding in that as she did fighting off an entire army of JSI officers but still his nod came as a relief nonetheless. Finally, she turned to look back at Qan.

"Okay, I'm ready," she told him, hefting her swords over her shoulder...

**********

Isis was only half paying attention to what Tav was saying. All the while they were driving she had this unsettling feeling in her stomach that seemed to be getting worse the further they were away from the farm. It was only after he had finished speaking that it finally registered in her mind that he had said something.

"Hmm, what," she asked.

Tav looked at her out of the corner of his eye then shook his head. "I said I'll make sure they don't find us."

"Well, that's what I'm paying you for," she told him.

"You're not paying me," he said, "Dorval is."

"And I'm getting my money's worth," she answered with a shrug and when she saw the look on his face she smiled. "Relax, Ace, I appreciate it... Really."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:59 pm

Tav smirked back at her in a playful manner. “You couldn't afford me if I decided to charge you for all the stuff I've gone through since we met. I don't care how rich your dad is.”

Isis laughed. “Everyone has a price, Ace. Being a bounty hunter and having a politician for a father has taught me that much.”

“Well you can relax, I'm not about to start charging you credits,” he said to her as he casually leaned back in his seat. “I think we're beyond that now.” Tav flashed her a suggestive sidelong glance. “Still... maybe a round of heavy 'negotiations' when we get back the ship wouldn't be the worst idea.”

Isis appeared to be oblivious to Tav's innuendo. “I thought you just said you weren't going to charge me. What is there to negotiate?”

Her answer left Tav momentarily dumbfounded. He had thought his line had been pretty good, but with it sailing over Isis' head, he had no way to bring it back without it being weird. Instead he opted for damage control. “Never mind. Force of habit from living on Nar Shaddaa for so long. Nothing is free there.”

***

Clara watched with something akin to a sinking feeling in her gut as Hirai entered Korzen's squad speeder, followed shortly thereafter by Qan. Apparently it had been decided without a spoken word that Korzen would be getting a lift back to the city from one of his grandparents once they went over the jailbreak plan. Clara wasn't jealous of much, but it always made her a little green to see Jedi powers at work and know that it was something she could never do. The telepathy, at the very least, would have been extremely handy in SpecForce missions to prevent the enemy from slicing into their communications.

She stood and watched the speeder drive away until it was out of sight. It really bothered her that the only red flag she had with Qan was that he didn't raise any red flags. Even Tulsar had raised more than a few red flags when she had first met him. Falanis too. Qan, on the other hand, was like some kind of social chameleon – always able to blend perfectly no matter where he was or who he was with. It was a bit too polished and uncanny for her liking.

Finally she sighed and looked around. “Hey, where did Tav and Isis go?”

***

The drive to Qan's destination was in silence. Either to respect her wishes or because he had nothing to say, Qan remained quiet as Hirai stared out of the window at the passing scenery, apparently lost in thought at what she had just undertook. She didn't end up breaking her silence until she noticed Qan was driving her to a private airfield that was seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

It was fully dark out now and the light of the city was still far off in the distance, meaning that the airfield was about the only source of civilization in sight. Qan stopped the patrol speeder at the gate and disembarked. “This way, Hirai,” he beckoned. “We must hurry.”

Hirai followed him onto the airfield with a confused look as an aide took the keys from Qan and drove the patrol speeder away. “Where are you taking me?”

“To the most secure place on Juoi, but I dare say nothing more until we're in the air - lest I'm overheard,” Qan answered her. “I assure you though, that Jaska will never find you where we're going.”

Hirai resisted the urge to ask more until they were inside Qan's private airspeeder. Like most things surrounding the man, Qan's airspeeder appeared to be quite humble and unassuming. Not particularly luxurious or flashy, but well designed and functional.

Once the airspeeder had lifted off and was put on autopilot towards their destination, Qan breathed a sigh of relief. “Okay, I think we're past the hard part. To answer your question, we're headed to the fourth continent of Juoi. It's a small landmass that is constantly covered by storms, but we were able to set up a secret research facility there. Very few people have authorization to go there and that includes the JSI.”

“Won't I be spotted quickly in such a small group?” Hirai asked worriedly.

Qan smiled and shook his head. “There's only one person working there at the moment. The rest of the staff are droids. He's a personal friend of mine too; Doctor Ruk Voger. You have my personal word that he'll never betray you to Jaska. You'll be safe with him.”

“What is this place called?”

Qan glanced over at her. “I suppose it's only fair to trust you with that information since you'll be staying there for the foreseeable future, but you must never speak of this place anywhere else. Knowledge of what's there is a highly guarded state secret. I'm only bringing you there because of the extraordinary circumstances you've become entangled in. Do you understand?”

Hirai nodded wordlessly.

Qan nodded back, apparently satisfied. “The first colonists dubbed the continent: 'Pek Kular'.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:56 pm

Some time had passed before Tav found Isis staring out the window of a thirty story office building. Shortly after arriving back on the ship the tracker Isis had placed on Clara started moving. At first she had initially thought the operation was on so she and Tav were in a hurry to get back to the surface, but then the tracker veered off on a strange course over the ocean rather than back to the city. Isis suspected and Tav concurred that the red haired Flare of Flare Platoon found her tracker and then promptly pranked her by placing it on a bird. It's what Isis would have done in her situation.

She sighed heavily and glanced down at the datapad she held in her hands. The blip from the tracker had long ago winked out of existence so it was no longer necessary for her to keep tracking it, but it was the way it disappeared that bothered her.

"Something wrong," Tav asked after hearing her sigh.

"I was just thinking," she said, "Could it really have been a bird? I mean the migratory patterns of land birds tend to follow the land or at least the coast. This one flew out into the ocean where there is no food to hunt and then disappeared completely in the middle of nowhere."

Tav shrugged. "Maybe it was eaten by a fish or something."

"Maybe," she answered quietly, "but even if it was or if the tracker had fallen off it would still be transmitting but it's not. It just--stopped."

She slipped the datapad back into her jacket pocket then pushed away from the window to come stand next to Tav. "Any movement down at the prison," she asked and he shook his head.

"None so far, or at least nothing out of the ordinary."

Shortly after losing track of Clara and her friends Isis had asked Quex to help her work up some false identities for her and Tav. Then after making landfall again they both scouted the area around the detainment facility for the perfect vantage point. That came in the form of a thirty story building with office space to rent overlooking the prison site about half a block away. Some credits had changed hands at that point and Isis and Tav found themselves with a fairly decent place to stake out the prison while remaining out of sight of Xorpex's spy satellite network. Of course, that also meant that if anything should happen at the prison they were still some distance away to be able to help.

"We could just go back to the farm," Tav offered, "It would save us both some trouble."

Isis shook her head. "The farm's been compromised," she said, "You know that. We stay here, wait for them to make their move before we make ours. With any luck they won't even know we're there."

She looked back over her shoulder at him then down at the street below. Tav dropped the macrobinoculars from his eyes for a second before passing them off to her. Isis accepted them then took over his place at watch, sweeping her binoculars over the front gate and the grounds of the prison facility. "How's the ship," she asked, "and Quex? I assume they still haven't found him yet?"

**********

Hirai couldn't help but feel a bit nervous after the speeder had entered the storm. Lightning cracked the sky around them and rain fell heavily upon their windshield. Down below them she could just make out the form of a small land mass and a secured facility which they were now heading toward. Qan deftly piloted the vehicle down onto the landing pad, completely calm despite the bolts of lightning and strong winds that occasionally shook the speeder. Once they had touched down a squad of droids were there to greet them. Qan had stepped outside the vehicle first then came around to help Hirai. Once they were led inside the facility they were left in a small but comfortable room which Hirai assumed was designed for receiving guests. As they waited for Doctor Ruk Voger to come greet them Qan sat patiently in a chair while Hirai paced nervously, her swords clutched so tightly in each hand that her knuckles were white. Finally, after several minutes had passed she stopped and looked directly at Qan.

"Does he normally make you wait like this," she asked him.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:25 pm

Qan allowed himself a small smile at the question. “He has been known to take his time, yes, but I'd say he's more than earned it considering what it takes to survive here.”

Hirai didn't look reassured. “What do you mean?”

“Pek Kular is a very dangerous continent. There are reasons why information about it is so heavily restricted.” Qan gestured upwards. “For instance: that storm we passed through hasn't stopped since the founding of the colony, and research suggests that it's been raging over this continent for thousands of years before that. It was discovered the hard way that passing through it will short out all electronics if they're aren't specially shielded.”

“This isn't making me feel better.”

Qan nodded in understanding. “You should be wary. This is not a resort. Of all the people that have been sent to study the continent, only Dr. Voger has lived to tell about it. The rest have perished in one way or another to the hazards of the continent. That's why we only use droids now. You're an exception since this is where you'll be safest from Jaska.”

Seeing that his words were just making Hirai even more nervous, Qan stood and walked over to her before placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Listen to what Dr. Voger tells you and you'll be fine. I'm confident that if anyone can handle this place, it's someone who has trained under Tulsar. I've seen the kind of training regimen he placed his son under. If yours was anything like that, then there's nothing here that you need to be afraid of.”

“It's not just that,” Hirai said to him. “This place doesn't feel right. I've felt like this before. It was at the-” She suddenly stopped talking with a realization that she might be saying more than she should have.

However Qan was able to complete her sentence for her. “You mean the orchard that surrounds the place where Sivter died? I'm quite familiar with the events of that night. You needn't worry about that. I'm an old family friend, remember?”

Hirai nodded. “Right, right. I'm sorry, I'm not thinking straight.”

“I won't lie to you, Hirai, there is a big reason why you're feeling like this and it's actually the reason we think the continent is so dangerous: there are ancient ruins deeper inland which we believe may be Sith in origin.”

She gasped in shock at the revelation, even recoiling from Qan's hand on her shoulder. “Sith ruins!? Why would you bring me here?!”

Qan didn't seem perturbed at her response. In fact he seemed to expect it. “Sith ruins,” he repeated, emphasizing the last word. “Any Sith that might have once lived here are long dead. The government decided to study the ruins after Sivter's death since it's believed they were the reason he cursed this world with his presence in the first place. The goal is to learn what knowledge they have and remove it from the continent so other Darksiders, like the Knights of Ren, aren't able to get their hands on it should they find out about Pek Kular. This is all to protect our citizens from another attack like the one that the Leidias family had to suffer through.”

Hirai still looked very unsure about the situation. Qan's words were logical on the surface, but the boogeyman of the Sith left long scars on the galaxy. “I don't think I can stay here,” she said to him. “Isn't there anywhere else we could go?”

Qan shook his head. “Nowhere that would be nearly as safe as this place. I can understand your concern, Hirai, but you shouldn't let your fear control you. I've been friends with Tulsar long enough to know that fear can be a gateway to the Dark Side. Don't let your fear of this place override your common sense. I would never try to trick you. That's why I'm telling you all of this upfront, so that you'll be well-informed about just what it is you'll see here. I know Tulsar wouldn't chose to train someone he had doubts about. Believe in his faith in you.”

“I... I don't know.”

Before Qan could say anymore, the door opened to reveal Ruk Voger. He was a Shistavanen, with all of the prominent wolf-like characteristics common to his species, including a pair of piercing yellow eyes that seemed to drill right into Hirai. He wore clothes common to scientists around the galaxy, including a lab coat. Seemingly impossibly perched on his snout were a pair of spectacles. Ruk would have been as tall as Qan if not for the fact that the wolfman's posture was slightly hunched.

Ruk looked first from Hirai, then to Qan, and made no effort to hide how unimpressed he was.

“This is the girl I'm supposed to be protecting?” he asked Qan dubiously. “I doubt she'll last a day out here.”

Qan smiled politely, but appeared to be a little nonplussed. “Now, now, Ruk, none of that. Hirai is nervous enough as it is to be here. Trying to scare her even more isn't helping anything. I need someone I can trust to watch over her until this whole thing with Jaska is resolved.”

Ruk huffed in annoyance. “Yes, I know. I'll keep her safe.” He then looked back at Hirai. “We have very strict rules around here, young lady. I don't know how or why Qan let you into the artifact vault, but you need to put those swords back where you found them. They aren't toys.”

***

“Quex is full of surprises,” Tav assured her. “One of them is optic plates on his chassis which lets him change colors and mimic the design schemes of other R2 units. With how ubiquitous R2 units are around the galaxy, it's the perfect camouflage. Just think about how many R2 units we passed in the city today. Quex could have been any one of them and you'd never know it.”

“Impressive,” Isis agreed. “You've really put a lot of work into him, haven't you?”

“That mod was my idea, yes,” Tav agreed, “but I've done less work on him than you might think. My dad is responsible for most of Quex's modifications. He's an engineer at Industrial Automation and he actually built Quex from scratch to look after me when I was little.”

“No wonder you became a spacer,” Isis said to him with a smile.

Tav laughed. “It's more like my dad knew there would be no dissuading me from my dreams. I was interested in flying through space long before Quex was built.” He shrugged. “Dad has always been a practical man, so he accepted it and came up with Quex. He's like the polar opposite of my mom. Apparently she was quite the wild one before they met. Don't get me wrong, I love them both, but it's clear where my wanderlust came from. To this day I'm still not quite sure what brought them together.”

Tav looked over at Isis. “You know, I've read about your dad quite a bit, but there is surprisingly little information about your mom. I don't mean to pry, but... uh...” Tav suddenly found he couldn't finish that sentence as he realized midway through that he might be opening an old wound. “Actually, forget I asked. I got carried away in the conversation and I wasn't thinking.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:53 am

Hirai tried without little luck to hide her surprise when Ruk entered the room. It was her first time seeing someone of his species in person and against the backdrop of her current environment it did little to make him seem all that appealing. Especially so after he expressed his doubt of her survival in this storm torn place. Then he turned to her and addressed her about her swords which immediately made her feel defensive. Almost reflexively she gripped both weapons tight to her chest and half turned to keep them away from him.

"No way," she said in alarm, "These are mine, I made these."

**********

Isis was fine talking about Tav's father up until he started to ask her about her mother. Almost immediately her shoulders drooped and she half lowered the binoculars from her eyes. Tav must have caught on to her body language as he was quick to suddenly change the subject. "It's fine, Ace," she assured him, "I've had time to cope with it so we can talk."

She dropped the binoculars to her waist and turned to look at him. "The reason there isn't much information about my mother is because she left when I was five. I guess raising a kid got to be too much for her and she skipped town. Just gathered her things and walked out the door, didn't even say goodbye. Don't really know where she went after that and I honestly don't care."

She turned her back on him then and raised the binoculars to her eyes again. "You know," she added after a brief moment of silence, "I don't always get along with my Dad... In fact, I never get along with my Dad. He can be such a hardass some times, but at least he had the guts to stick around."

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:19 pm

“That's rough,” Tav said to Isis with a sympathetic look on his face. “I honestly don't have anything I can say to that. I've never had to face that before, but it kind of makes me want to drop by the old homestead once this is all over and see how my folks are doing.”

Tav snapped his fingers as an idea came to him. “Why don't you come with me? I bet you'd get along famously with my mom. I know she was a bounty hunter for a number of years before she gave up the trade and married my dad. Maybe you and her could swap stories. You ever hear of Brisa Wild? That was the name she used as a bounty hunter. She's told me some pretty crazy things about that part of her career.”

***

Ruk appeared to adjust the spectacles on his snout to get a better look at Hirai's swords. “Impossible,” he muttered to himself. “I didn't think there was such a thing as a modern day Force-imbued sword, let alone someone who knows how to make them.”

Hirai grew even more defensive as she looked at the wolfman with suspicion. “How do you know they're Force-imbued swords?”

Ruk took her accusations in stride. “Because your swords are doing the same thing as the swords we've recovered from the temple. They're reacting to the heavy ambient Force energy that permeates this continent. Your eyes are probably too weak to see it with the lights on. Here...” Ruk abruptly moved over to the controls and turned the lights off.

The room was instantly bathed in darkness, but sure enough there was a very faint glow spilling from the inside of Hirai's scabbards. Hirai let out a small involuntary gasp of astonishment at the new phenomena as she experimentally pulled one of the swords out of the scabbard to see the glow better.

Ruk then turned the lights back on and the glow seemed to instantly disappear. “To my senses they're still emitting a glow,” he assured her. “I would need to go blind to not be able to see it.”

“If there's anybody on Juoi who can rival Tulsar's knowledge of swords, it's Ruk,” Qan said to Hirai with a smile. “You see? It won't be as bad as you think. You two already have some common ground.”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:09 am

"Brisa... Wild," Isis asked, turning back to look at Tav wide eyed in surprise. "There's no way... Brisa is--and you're... You couldn't possibly be related."

Tav felt chagrined by that remark but put that aside for now. "I take it you have heard of her," he said, his voice betraying a hint of pride at his mother's accomplishments.

"Heard of her," Isis asked incredulously, "She's only the person I've modeled my entire career after. Forget all the Boba Fett wannabes, Brisa Wild is the woman who inspired me to become a bounty hunter and you're telling me you're related to her? That's impossible. I mean you're good, Ace, but you're not that good."

"You don't have to sound so surprised."

She shook her head, "No seriously, you're pulling my chain here. I know you are."

Tav crossed his arms over his chest and gave her a hard look. "I'm not, Isis, she really is my mot--,"

"Shh," Isis whispered sharply, interrupting him. She had caught some movement down on the street below out of the corner of her eye and turned to see a hover truck heading towards the prison.

"What is it," Tav asked after a moment of silence.

"Quex's report stated the prison received regular supply drops in the afternoon around 1300," Isis said and Tav looked confused.

"So?"

"So that truck is early," she explained, pointing at the truck heading towards the prison.

"Still don't follow you."

Isis sighed and rolled her eyes. "It means something's up," she told him, "Either it's Clara or it's something else, either way I don't like it. Come on, let's get a closer look."

She quickly gathered up her things then rushed out the door without bothering to check if Tav was right behind her...

**********

Hirai was shocked by Ruk's demonstration. She hadn't even noticed her blades behaving differently, not until the lights were out. She'd seen them spark with lightning before but this was different. It was almost as if they were feeding off this place, absorbing the ambient energy and glowing brighter. But Qan said this place was on top of a Sith ruin. Doesn't that mean they'd be reacting to the dark side? She never really considered her swords to be inherently good or evil but now she found herself asking the question. What is this place? And what effect is it having on her swords?

"You see? It won't be as bad as you think. You two already have some common ground," Qan was saying.

She had only managed to catch the last thing out of his mouth, everything that came before that she had subconsciously tuned out. "Um, right," she said aloud, not really sure how to answer. Looks like he's intent on leaving me here, she thought, not really relishing the idea of being left behind with this sinister looking wolfman. "So what are you going to do," she asked just before Qan could excuse himself and leave the room. "Jaska's still watching you, right? Isn't he going to wonder where you've been?"

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:45 am

“He always does,” Qan said to Hirai before giving her a reassuring smile. “I'll be fine, trust me. I make frequent trips all over Juoi to meet with its citizens and Jaska is also not the only one who can call on favors from the JSI. If anything, I have more clout with the citizenry than he does.”

Hirai looked like she wanted to say more, but she simply gave a nod instead.

“I'm sure this whole ordeal will be over with soon,” Qan added. “Ruk may seem frightening, but I've told him explicitly to only bark and not bite.”

Ruk made an annoyed noise. “Don't you have better things you could be doing right now other than making bad jokes, Qan?”

Qan nodded. “Of course.” He looked back at Hirai. “I wish I could stay longer to help you get acclimated here, but my schedule waits for no one. Do as Ruk instructs you and you'll be fine, I promise.”

Hirai nodded again, putting on more of a brave face. “Okay. Please tell everyone I'm safe, so they don't need to worry about me. Okay?”

“I'll do that,” he agreed before waving one final farewell and exiting the room.

After Qan had departed, Ruk opened the door that led to the interior of the compound. “We'll go over things in more detail in the morning,” he said as he started walking, with the clear intention that she was to follow. “For now I'll show you to your quarters.”

The interior of the compound was a stark contrast to the pervasive taint of the Dark Side that lingered everywhere. The walls and ceiling of the interior hallway were a bright marble white and as they walked down it, there were numerous branches leading off elsewhere. The compound seemed much larger than it looked from the outside.

As they walked past a large window that showed a room of several droids being repaired by more droids, Ruk spoke again. “Unless you're accompanied by me, you should never go outside of the compound. The native fauna of this continent are quite dangerous and will attack you on sight. Even the patrol droids have trouble with some of them. Stay inside and you'll be safe.”

He stopped to eye her. “I can only keep you safe if you do as I say. Pek Kular is not to be underestimated – or you will die. You may think those remarkable swords will protect you, but I doubt any training you have could prepare you for the things I've encountered outside.”

***

Tav had to do a doubletake before he realized what Isis was doing. He hurriedly gathered his things and rushed after her, but she was not slowing. At best he could only catch a fleeting glimpse of her darting down a hallway before she turned a corner and was gone again.

By the time Tav made it outside, Isis was crouched behind a hill with the macrobinoculars. She hurriedly grabbed him and yanked him down to the ground.

“Teamwork means keeping your teammate informed, Isis,” Tav said to her with a harsh whisper. “Why are we outside now?”

“The truck went inside,” she said to him without apology. “Something about it is giving me a really bad feeling.”

“Supply trucks are allowed to be early,” Tav said to her sarcastically. “There's nothing odd about-”

He was suddenly cut off by the alarm siren of the prison and the sound of intermittent blasterfire. They both looked at each other in surprise, likely having the same thought: was Clara really so brazen that she would attack a prison head-on? Isis brought her macrobinoculars back up to try and get a better idea of what was happening.

“What do you see?” he asked her.

“Not a lot,” Isis admitted. “One of the tower guards is firing into the courtyard. I can't see at who. It doesn't look like he's aiming at anything.” She took her eyes away to look at him grimly. “It looks like they're just slaughtering the prisoners.”

Tav felt sick. Was this the real Juoi? Was the prison really some kind of elaborate charnel house? No, that wouldn't make sense. Why the alarm then? A riot? Was that Clara's plan?

“What do we do then?” Tav asked her. “Those alarms are bound to bring more JSI quickly. If they catch us near this place, we'll probably become the next inmates.”

***

Clara had no idea what was going on. Her plan had been simple. During the morning, use Korzen to telepathically speak to his father, Sysen, and inform him of the jailbreak. Then she and Tulsar would sneak through the prison sewer system and mount a quick rescue of Habas and Sysen. With Tulsar's help – both as a Jedi and former JSI chief - it should have been easy enough to bypass the security system, locate the cells they needed, and break them out before anyone was the wiser.

Instead as she came up through the boiler room, she heard the loud wail of alarms. At first she thought she had been discovered, but there were no guards waiting to arrest her and Tulsar as they emerged from the sewers. She cautiously peeked out of the doorway by cracking the door open a little. To her initial observations it looked like a riot - that was until she saw a guard run up to another guard and shoot him in the face without a moment's hesitation.

“They're killing each other,” Clara realized out loud in astonishment. “It's not a riot. For some reason everybody is attacking everybody.”

“They've all gone mad for some reason,” Tulsar said from behind her. “I can sense it: an overpowering loss of control. Sysen appears alarmed, but fine; he still seems to have control of himself.”

“What about Uncle Habas?!” Clara asked urgently as turned around to face him. “Did he get infected by whatever is causing this?”

Tulsar frowned as he appeared to try and stretch out his senses. “I don't think so. I can barely sense one other mind that appears to be unaffected by what's going on. I think it's your uncle. Strange, I wonder why he's apparently immune to this.”

Clara readied her blaster determinedly. “That's where I need to go. Point me in the right direction and I'll find him. Go rescue your son. We'll meet up back at the designated safe house.”

“We'll go together,” Tulsar replied sternly. “Sysen can take care of himself. He'll come to us, I'm sure of it.”

The fact that both Sysen and her uncle were not suddenly violet madmen made Clara reasonably sure that there wasn't a virus or a nerve gas she had to worry about. No, something more was going on here that she didn't yet understand, but it had the stink of the Sith on it. She would have to ask Tulsar more about it later.

Clara nodded and opened the door all the way. “Let's go!”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:17 am

Isis eyed the guards up in the tower a moment longer then without another word she took off running in the direction of the prison. "Hey, wait," Tav called after her as he too ran towards the prison. He finally caught up with her just outside the main gate where she was crouched behind a low wall. "You're not seriously thinking of going in there," Tav asked, panting heavily from having exerted himself.

"We needed a diversion," Isis said simply, "I can't think of a better one than this."

She unholstered her blaster and checked the charge level on its power pack. "Stay close behind me and follow my lead," she told him.

"Isis, I don't think--," he started but she interrupted him by grabbing him by the wrist and pulling him along behind her.

In a matter of seconds they were through the gate into the courtyard beyond, ducking and weaving behind various walls, vehicles and potted plants. Isis moved through the chaos of the fighting around them with masterful precision and catlike agility. Even pulling Tav along behind her didn't seem to phase her very much. In no time at all they were through the main doors into the heart of the complex and once they were inside Isis gave Tav a moment to breathe.

"Did you see what was happening out there," he asked. Isis didn't respond but he knew the answer. "There's no reason for it, everyone's just fighting everybody. What the hell is going on?"

At the moment Isis and Tav were crouched behind a wall while Isis kept a lookout down the hallway towards the prison cells. She had no idea what was happening out in the courtyard or why but the fact that it was happening now didn't feel like a coincidence. "Here," she said, tearing off her sleeves and handing one to Tav, "Tie it around your nose and mouth."

"What," he asked, a look of confusion in his eyes.

"It's probably pointless now since we might have already been exposed to it but whatever is causing this could be an airborne pathogen," she explained.

Tav didn't seem very sure about that but did as she asked anyway. Once he had the remnants of her sleeve tied securely around the lower half of his face he looked back to her. "Okay now what," he asked and she immediately shushed him.

Down the hallway she could hear footsteps coming closer to them. The two of them waited with bated breath a prison guard appeared around a corner. The two guards were heading in their direction and there was no way for them to retreat without revealing themselves. "What do we do," Tav asked Isis but when he turned to look for her she was gone. That was when the prison guard spotted him and opened fire.

Tav quickly ducked to the side narrowly avoiding being shot by the enraged prison guard. Unfortunately, his dive left him completely exposed and as the prison guard tried to correct his aim Tav closed his eyes in response but nothing happened. The guard pulled the trigger but his weapon was out of charge so he simply dropped it and rushed towards Tav with his hands out like savage claws. Tav tried to scramble to his feet but barely made it three inches before the prison guard was in range. Then out of nowhere a hand reached out to grab the guard and pull him off balance. Isis spun him about and threw him roughly into a wall, laying him flat with a pair of well aimed strikes before tossing him over her shoulder for good measure. Then she knelt down by his side and grabbed the security card at his waist.

"Come on," she said before heading down the hallway from which the guard had come.

Tav stared at her in bewilderment before looking back over his shoulder at their former hiding place. Just how in the hell did she do that? He didn't have much time to ponder it before he lost sight of her around the corner and had to hurry to catch up. She lead him straight to the command center for prison security, a feat that was quite astounding. She had only had a brief look at the plans for the facility when Quex had managed to crack its security but that was cut short after Quex's cyber intrusion was detected and he had to cut the connection or risk revealing himself. That didn't seem to matter, though, as one look was all she needed to memorize the entire layout of the prison.

Tav entered the prison's command center shortly after she did and immediately drew up short. Strewn about the room at various angles were the bodies of the room's previous occupants. Each one of them with some form of agonizing expression on their face. Isis ignored all of that and went straight to the console, pulling up the prisoner manifest and searching through it for Sysen's cell number.

"I don't know how you can be so focused right now," he said, his stomach still turning from the bodies in the room. "This is horrific."

"If mourning these people would help me save my friend then I might consider it," Isis told him, "but they're dead and we're not and that's all that matters right now... Alright, got it," she said after discovering what she was looking for.

"Good then let's--," he tried to say but out of nowhere prison guard appeared and grabbed him, tossing him toe the ground before leaping atop him.

"Ace," Isis cried as she tried to rush over to his rescue. She made it about two feet before one of the prisoners grabbed her from behind.

She struggled against his grip, biting and clawing and searching for any purchase she could use as leverage against him but the man seemed unphased by all of it. Driven mad with rage he threw her bodily into the wall knocking the air from her lungs as he stalked towards her. Tav, meanwhile, was desperately trying to protect his face as the prison guard on top of him rained blow after blow upon his head and body. The situation seemed utterly hopeless until two shots rang out, followed by the sound of two bodies crumpling to the floor.

Tav looked over at Isis who was halfway to her feet, her body still half leaning against the wall, smoking blaster in hand. Then he reached over to the prison guard who had just attacked him and felt around for a pulse. When he found none he looked at her in surprise. "Isis, did you just--," he left the rest hanging in the air.

"He was going to kill you, Ace," she answered matter-of-factly as she heaved herself the rest of the way to her feet, "If you want to complain about me saving your life then you can do it after we live through this but right now we need to find Sysen. Come on, he's this way."

She didn't bother to wait for a response before she was out the door and heading down the hallway. Whenever Isis had an objective to accomplish she had a one tracked mind and she was capable of doing anything to protect her friends as Tav was now beginning to realize. She didn't even hesitate to sacrifice that guard's life to save his and they still weren't even sure of whatever was causing him to go berserk in the first place or even if it can be cured. What's more killing him didn't even seem to bother her. If Isis was feeling any weight from mercilessly killing an innocent man, crazed or not, she sure wasn't showing it.

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:26 pm

“Every time I go somewhere with her, I almost die,” Tav thought to himself as he reluctantly followed after Isis. “So why do I keep doing it?”

Tav had no immediate answer and this wasn't the best place to try and come up with one. Survival was goal number one, followed shortly after by finding Sysen, Clara, and Tulsar. When it came to that first goal, Tav wasn't sure what to do. At first he tried stunning or maiming the people coming after them with his blaster, only for it to result in those incapacitated people being set upon by some other crazed inmate or guard who would tear them apart.

Even in the sleaziest depths of Nar Shaddaa, Tav had never witnessed anything as senseless and depraved as what was happening here. Even at its worst, the criminal acts perpetrated on the Smuggler's Moon had some veneer of being tied to higher thinking and galactic civilization. Here... here there was none of that. He would almost call them animals, except everyone seemed to have an idea of how to use blasters and other weapons.

Tav didn't know what was causing it, but he was incredibly thankful that it didn't appear to be affecting either him or Isis.

Tav was sorely tempted to switch to lethal shots when it became apparent that his attempts to incapacitate his targets was getting them killed anyway, but he resisted the urge. It was a small distinction, but a worthy one. If he straight up went for the kill shots, he'd have a body count comparable to a war criminal by the time it was all done.

As it turned out, finding Sysen was not as difficult as Tav initially thought it would be. He and Isis came upon a flurry of inmates trying to swarm a single lone occupant, but none of them could seem to touch him. The lone man was fighting barehanded as he blocked, dodged, and knocked away anyone who tried to attack him.

Aside from his skill in fighting, there were two important distinctions about him that Tav could see. First, unlike everyone else, he wasn't seeking out anyone to attack, and second, he seemed to have a destination in mind and was making his way towards it.

“That's our man,” Isis said to Tav before she shouted down to him from the catwalk they were standing on. “Hey, Sysen, up here!”

Sysen looked up, somehow able to hear Isis over all of the yelling and violence inside the prison. He immediately pushed back the inmates still trying to attack him and impossibly found a way to scale up the side of the walls until he was in front of them.

Tulsar's son was an intimidating sight. He was taller than either of them and more broadly built. His face was covered in a short, but thick beard, and up close it was readily apparent that Sysen had not come through this thing unscathed. His clothes were torn, his skin was bruised and scratched, and his fists were covered in blood that ranged from the familiar red to a few other colors from some non-human inmates.

“You're part of Ms. Molariou's breakout attempt?” Sysen asked them, although it sounded more like a demand.

Isis briefly faltered at the abruptness of the question and its content. “Yes, we're part of it. I'm Isis. This is Tav.”

Sysen gestured around him angrily, seemingly unconcerned about their names. The area they were at was clear for the moment, but there was still plenty of violence happening all over the place. “Was this riot part of her plan? I don't know what she did to these people, but this is unacceptable.”

“There's no way Clara caused this,” Tav was quick to say in her defense. Granted, he didn't know her that well, but it didn't seem like anything Clara would condone or was even capable of. “We don't know what this is.”

“Jaska then,” Sysen said between gritted teeth. “We need to go now. The JSI will have this place surrounded very shortly, if not already. You've all walked into a trap.”

***

Clara had no qualms about killing the people coming after her, even if they didn't appear to be in their right mind. She was a soldier; moreover her views on morality tended to be quite simple, so her moral quandary was not difficult to resolve. She couldn't help these people, they were largely made up of criminals trying to kill her, and they were standing between her and her uncle. Their life, therefore, was forfeit.

With Tulsar backing her up, they made pretty steady progress towards where Habas was supposed to be. When they arrived, Clara didn't see Habas anywhere until Tulsar directed her attention upwards. That's when she spotted him, somehow having found a way to crawl into the rafters with a guard's rifle.

“Basmo!” Clara yelled at him, using her pet name for him. “It's Clara! We've come to rescue you. Please don't be insane like the rest of these guys.”

“I'm fine, Clara,” Habas yelled back. “What are you doing here?! You need to leave!”

“We don't have time for this,” Clara said to Tulsar. “Can you use the Force to bring him down? We need to get back to the sewers and get out of here. There's no telling how long it'll be until the JSI shows up.”

“They're already on their way, according to Korzen,” Tulsar said to her, pointing to the small comlink in his ear. “I'd estimate five minutes at most before they have the place fully surrounded and blockaded – that includes the sewers.”

“Efficient as ever,” Clara grumbled. “I'd be impressed if I didn't hate them so much. Can you get him down or not?”

Tulsar nodded. “I believe so.”

Clara didn't hesitate after Tulsar gave her an answer before she turned back to her uncle. “We're going to lower you down and then get the hell out of here! Argue with me about it later!”

“What are you-” Habas started to say before he yelped in surprise as Tulsar lifted him up with the Force and began to lower him down to the ground.

Clara provided coverfire to keep the area clear until Habas had his feet on the ground. She rushed up to him and couldn't resist wrapping her arms around him and giving her uncle a fierce hug. “I'm sorry I kept you waiting in there for so long.”

Habas returned the hug before breaking contact. “I don't know whether to be happy or furious to see you, Clara, but what's done is done. We need to get somewhere safe and talk. By freeing me, you've just stepped into a much more dangerous world.”

“Nothing would make me happier,” Clara replied, barely paying any heed to her uncle's dire talk. “We still need to rescue Tulsar's son before we go though. I promised him that.”

Tulsar shook his head. “It's fine. Sysen will find his own way out. We'll get back in contact on the outside. The important thing right now is to get somewhere safe.”

Clara nodded in determination. She didn't care what tried to get in their way now that her uncle was free. She felt like she could take on the whole prison herself, maybe even the whole planet. “Then let's go!”

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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Pryde » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:17 am

"Well, this wouldn't be much fun if it were otherwise," Isis grumbled, the tone of her voice seeming to suggest frustration more than enjoyment. She slipped the guard's rifle from her shoulder and handed to to Tav.

"What's this," he asked.

"You'll need it," she told him, "Take Sysen and get out of here."

Tav had a sinking feeling in his gut. "And where will you be going?"

"If Clara's in the prison than she'll have brought Hirai," she told him, "I'm not leaving my friend behind."

Tav remained unconvinced. "Isis, you don't even know for sure that she's here. Why don't we just regroup outsi--,"

"If they're not here than why the riot," She asked, cutting him off before he could finish, "They didn't start this show for our benefit. We were blocks away when the fighting started. For what other reason would Jaska have to try and kill Sysen or Habas? And like this?"

If Jaska had some warning about Clara's break in it was possible he could have timed the prison riot to interfere with her, or at the very least kill those she was trying to protect. A prison riot would provide a convenient excuse for disposing of all his enemies at once and if he could somehow incriminate Clara as the one who started the riot all the better. Still, there was always the possibility that these two incidents were completely unrelated and Clara wasn't even here at all. In which case Isis would be getting herself captured for no reason.

"Isis--," he started but Sysen interrupted them.

"We don't have time for this. My father is close, I can sense him and if he's here then so is your friend."

"There you go," she said with a wave of her hand though she didn't entirely believe that Sysen could sense his father, "Now take Sysen and leave through the sewers!"

Tav stood his ground, arms crossed. "Isis, we're not leaving you."

"Nor am I giving you a choice, let's move," Sysen added decisively as he started moving in the direction where he felt his father heading.

"Wha--," Isis stuttered as Sysen pushed passed her, "Damn it, Sysen, you're key to this, you know! If you die then this was all for nothing!"

He said nothing as the other two scrambled along behind him to catch up. By now most of the fighting had started to move on towards the fringes of the prison as bodies were piling up below them. Not much was stirring in the cell blocks and anything that did move was quickly beset upon by any stragglers looking for a quick kill. Between Sysen's sixth sense and Isis' mental map the three companions were able to work their way around most of the trouble spots as they made their way towards the sewer entrance.

Isis had no idea how far away they were from Clara and the others and Sysen wasn't exactly being very talkative. She did know, however, how close they were to the sewer entrance and that was enough. If that's where Sysen was taking them then that's probably where Hirai and the others were heading as well. Everything was going well, that is until they hit a dead end.

"What the hell," she said, "There should be a door here."

"How do you know?" Tav said.

"It was on the map you showed me."

Tav gave her an incredulous look. "Isis, you had maybe thirty seconds to look at that map, how could you possibly tell where everything was?"

"It's called an eidetic memory, Ace. My father had me practicing memory exercises ever since I was five. I only need to see something once to remember what it looks like and there's supposed to be a door right here..."

As she spoke she felt around on the wall for a bit until her fingers slipped into a groove. Her words trailed off as she followed that groove up and down and then frowned. Closing her eyes she let her mind's eye wander back to the map searching for any details she might have missed and then she remembered. The date in the corner. "Fething hell," she cursed, "The map was outdated, they sealed the doorway."

"Then we better find another way around," Tav told her.

"Yeah, yeah, just be quiet for a sec. I need too--,"

"Shh," Sysen hushed them from over by the door and both Isis and Tav immediately stopped what they were doing and drew their blasters.

Tav checked the charge on his weapon then frowned. "How much do you have," he whispered to Isis.

"I'm out," she whispered back, tossing her borrowed pistol to the ground.

"Me too," he told her, doing the same, "So now what?"

"We improvise," Isis told him, grabbing a nearby rod and using it to smash the only light in the room, plunging everyone into darkness with the exception of what little light filtered in through the door. The three of them separated into various hiding spots and waited with baited breath as the seconds ticked by. Finally, the door slid open just a little bit wider and a dark figure, vaguely feminine stood in the middle of it. She held a blaster in her hand and cautiously scanned the room for any dangers before carefully stepping inside. Isis waited until the figure had passed her before making her move.

She sprang out from hiding catching the other person off guard and slapping her pistol away with the rod. The pistol clattered to the ground a short distance away as Isis followed up her attack by catching her opponent under the chin with the center of the rod then striking her in the side of the head with one end before slipping behind her and putting her into a choke hold. She had both hands on the rod pressing it against the woman's neck but much to her surprise, however, she only managed to hold it for a few seconds before the other woman broke the hold by grabbing her thumb and twisting it, forcing her hand free of the rod. A simple kick backwards sent Isis sprawling and the rod clattering to the ground with a loud metallic ringing. After that Isis quickly found herself on the defensive as the other fighter attacked her with a vicious assault of punches and kicks. Isis took a shot or two but managed to deflect most of her blows before they could do serious harm. Whomever this person was they were good. Probably even better than Isis, but then again Isis never liked playing fair.

After she got knocked to the side with a backhand that caught her off guard Isis grabbed onto one end of a chain that had been coiled up nearby and pulled on it until it grew taught. Twisting her body around while avoiding the other woman's attacks she managed to hook one of the other woman's arms and her leg in the chain before yanking on it to pull her off balance. As the other woman started to fall she had the wherewithal to take Isis down with her, much to Isis' surprise. The two combatants stumbled around on the ground for a bit until Isis' assailant landed on top of her. That was when someone shined a light on them.

"Isis, stop," Tulsar shouted suddenly and Isis glanced up at him in surprise before shifting her gaze to the woman she had fought.

Clara gave her a smirk. "Looks like I won, kid," she said and Isis could feel the cool metal barrel of Clara's pistol pressed against her neck.

"Well," Isis said with a shrug, "sort of."

Then she tapped Clara on her back, right above her kidney with the flat of the vibroknife she held in her hand. "I'm willing to call it a draw."

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Halomek
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Re: Altered Legacies

Post by Halomek » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:56 pm

“Call it whatever you like,” Clara said, still smirking as the two separated and stood up. “I got what I needed. Besides, I'll trade a kidney for a blaster bolt through my opponent's neck any day. I can survive that a hell of a lot better than someone getting their head blown off, especially with two Jedi around to help with the healing.”

“If you think-” Isis started to protest.

Clara grinned as she interrupted her. “You think this is my first rodeo? I don't come back from the impossible missions because I'm lucky. They key to winning the no-win situation is to lose less than the enemy. Points to you for getting it that far though.”

Isis seemed ready to argue the point, but Tav placed a hand on her shoulder and spoke before she could. “I've got a better question, actually,” he said as he looked to Tulsar and Sysen. “Why didn't either of you stop them from fighting? You must have been able to sense them. Sysen might not know who they are, but Tulsar, you're familiar with both of them.”

“I didn't know who she was,” Sysen confirmed. “There's so much chaos going on inside this prison that just being able to locate my father in this noise was a small miracle.”

Tulsar shook his head. “I was ready to step in if necessary, but they were bound to fight sooner or later. Better to get it out of the way.”

Tav raised an eyebrow in surprise. “What kind of Jedi are you?”

“I'm not a Jedi,” Tulsar corrected him. “No one seems to listen when I say that though. The Jedi Order died long, long ago.”

Tav wasn't quite sure about Tulsar's math regarding the Jedi Order, but they had more pressing concerns; a fact Clara was quick to bring up: “We can gab more once we're out of here. Right now Habas is waiting for us up ahead. We need to go before the JSI storms the place.”

Isis grabbed Clara's arm as the other woman turned to go. “Wait! Where's Hirai?”

“Not here,” Clara replied brusquely. “She uh, she went with Qan. She seemed pretty adamant about going despite my thoughts on it. I slipped your tracker on her if you need to find her. Now let's go or we won't be good to anybody.”

Clara then exited the room before she could be questioned further. Tulsar and Sysen followed shortly afterwards. Isis, however, spared a worried glance with Tav. “I lost her. That tracker I was following that cut out over the ocean... That was her. You don't think...”

“I don't know,” Tav assured her. “A dead tracker could mean anything.” He instantly regretted his choice of words, but continued anyway. “Let's not assume anything until we learn more. One thing is for sure, we can't do anything for Hirai here.”

Isis nodded and sprinted to catch up with the others. Tav followed close behind as the group moved through the sewers and away from the gruesome scene of the prison. The lingering cries of pain and death echoed down the tunnels after them.

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