Star Wars: Through the Never

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

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Pryde
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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova and Tsiv stood off to one side as they waited for Ansel. The Forger had a few more details to go over with Vague before meeting them for their strategy session. Tsiv sat with his head in his hands while Nova leaned against a nearby craps table yawning. Every now and again she would catch Tsivoin casting a glance at her with a really apologetic look on his face. He was probably surprised when he woke up in her bed that morning, but Nova didn't really care about that. Rather she was more upset at how talkative he was the night before with people she didn't trust.

"So," she said, "have fun last night?"

"Nova, I--," he started but she cut him off.

"Forget it," she told him, "sleeping in my bed isn't what you should be feeling sorry for."

Tsivoin looked confused. "What do you mean?"

"I mean the way your mouth was working last night telling everyone what happened on Cantonica," she snapped at him, though perhaps a bit louder than she intended. She looked around to see if anyone heard that then turned back to Tsiv and lowered her tone. "Did you ever stop to think that maybe your friend Raav is using you?"

The Zabrak's eyes widened slightly then he shook his head and turned away. No, she had to be wrong. Nova stared at him then sighed. "Think about it," she said, "Even if you hadn't told him about the bounties it doesn't take a mathematician to figure that out. We're the two most wanted people in the galaxy right now and you just told a bunch of criminals how much we're worth!"

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Tsiv looked down to the ground with dull violet eyes and sighed slightly. He couldn't meet Nova's gaze. The truth was, the Zabrak really didn't understand the significance or gravity of the bounties placed on he and Nova. The only thing the Zabrak had stopped to think about the previous night was how awesome it was to be around another Zabrak and how great it felt to be welcomed into the group.

The teen gripped at his head again, trying to piece back together the night and remember what he may or may not have said. He didn't bother asking Nova how she knew about it, and even if he din't remember saying those things specifically, he didn't refute the accusation.

A melancholy settled over Tsivoin. He'd hoped to find a moment today to talk to Nova about the bizarre dream he'd had the night before, but that was absolutely out of the question now. You just told a bunch of criminals how much we're worth! There was a pause in his thoughts as he realized what she'd just said, and he slowly turned his eyes back up towards her. Weren't they all on the same side here? His attention shifted about the room at the individuals he could remember being in the room the night before. Wasn't he supposed to trust them?

"I- Sorry, I guess I wasn't thinking." He offered finally, his voice low and tone equal parts hurt and defensive.

Nova stared at him hard then sighed and turned away. "Look, I know you think he's your friend," she started, "but don't think for one second that just because Vague hired him for a job that he trusts him. If he did he'd be on the ship with us. Think about that the next time you're feeling talkative."

Tsivoin's mouth opened to retort.. The young Zabrak didn't like the way she had said that, as if what, he was too simple to know whether someone was a friend or not? And what about her, flashing her laser sword all over the place? If they were supposed to be keeping secrets -

The words died on his tongue as the long blonde haired forger stepped up to them and spoke, and all that remained was a glint of resentment behind his violet eyes.

"I haven't seen much of you since all that unpleasantness on Chandrilla." Ansel addressed Nova, "I'm ashamed it's taken this long but I wanted to thank you for rescuing us from the sea." He paused, his light blue eyes darted between the two and he frowned slightly. "Is something the matter?" He asked in his heavy coreworlds accent.

Nova glanced down at Tsiv then shook her head. "No, it's fine," she said, "and you're welcome."

Ansel's gaze lingered on the Zabrak for another moment or two, then returned to Nova when he realized Tsiv had nothing to say. "It was quite an impressive feat, to be sure. But our young friend Tsivoin says you regularly do the impossible. Tell me, Nova, where in the galaxy did you develop such fabled skills?" he asked in a conversational tone.

If Tsiv could have dug a whole in the deck and buried himself in it, he would have. Could there have been a worse time for someone to bring up his blabbing mouth?

Nova smirked and chuckled a bit but there was no humor in her smile. Tsivoin says a lot of things he shouldn't, she thought to herself. "Planning a visit, Brimm? I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that place doesn't exist anymore."

Ansel held her gaze with an equally disingenuous smile in turn for a few moments, then made a sweeping gesture with his hand and settled down onto the top of a nearby crate. "Ah, what a shame." He offered with a nod, then shifted his focus back to the group as a whole. "At any rate, I still have some friends in some high places. Before all this is over maybe I can reach out and put a word in for you both - living with a price over one's head is no way to experience the galaxy."

Tsiv broke his staring contest with the deck between his boots and looked up at the forger when he finished speaking. Could he really do that?

"I appreciate the gesture, but no thanks," Nova said. She knew full well that such an offer would have strings attached to it. Even if the offer was genuine it wouldn't have made much of a difference. The Knights of Ren were opposed to the light and she was a Jedi. It didn't matter what friends he had, nothing would change the fact that the Knights viewed her as their sworn enemy.

Ansel would have had to be blind to have missed the way Tsivoin's features twisted as he looked over at his companion incredulously. As he made note of this he smiled in satisfaction, then shrugged a bit. "Of course, keep it in mind, should your fortunes change." He cautioned, then rested his hands palm-down on his knees. "Well, I suppose we should get stared on this plan of ours..."
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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The first few days of the rehearsal were hell and that was putting it lightly. Vague Durin had turned out to be such a taskmaster when it came to getting every little detail correct right down to the timing of it all. He'd been harder on Tsivoin and Nova since they were the newest members of the group and the most inexperienced. Doing this without her powers was difficult, but Nova tried her best to follow his direction. At the same time she tried to always make herself available whenever Masilda was up for her run. There were a couple of moments in those first two days where the Ryn had nearly slipped and fell but fortunately, Nova was there to steady her with the Force. Now they were three days closer to the start of the heist and Nova was feeling exhausted. About halfway through the day Vague had called for a break and the young Jedi found herself relaxing on the bridge of the Bedlam. It was quiet and no one else was around, the perfect combination. She also had a pretty good view of the hull of the ship and the planet beyond.

All of a sudden the holocom buzzed, startling her out of her reverie. She sat up in her chair and turned on the device. A moment later a blue holographic image of the Zeltron Lyshani appeared. "Oh, it's you," Nova grumbled.

"Nice to see you too, sweetie," Lyshani answered with an annoyingly chipper tone. "Tell me, Kid, is your dad around?"

Nova's hands balled into fists. "He's not my... What do you want," she asked irritably.

"Just reporting in like Old Sourpuss asked," Lyshani said.

"Well, Vague's busy running Orev and Rossi through their portion of the heist."

Lyshani just shrugged. "That's fine, just take a message for me. Let Durin know I've made contact with the target. I'm working on turning him now but it'll be a couple of days at least. Give me until the end of the week and I should have what he's looking for."

"Right, sure. Whatever," Nova said dismissively as she flicked the holocom off and stood up. Her first moment alone and she had to have it interrupted by her least favorite person. She let out an explosive sigh and left the bridge in search of Vague...

Meanwhile, across the galaxy aboard the Wanderlust Lyshani set her holocom down on her bed then stood and crossed the room over towards her terminal. She sat down in front of it then called up the message Ansel had dispatched to her. A Jedi, she thought, Durin, you are full of surprises. She'd been interested in the girl since the moment she had met her, but the Zeltron would have never suspected this. There were many tales of the Jedi, some of which were untrue but the one thing that anyone could agree on was that the Jedi were either dead or long gone. To think Vague found one stowing away on his ship. There were so many possibilities swirling about in her head. She failed to turn the Jedi before but she had only a second to try. Perhaps a longer exposure, then? Having a Jedi in her back pocket would be far more valuable to her than the Oracle Vague planned to steal. She smiled then deleted the message and flicked her terminal off. This job had turned out to be far more profitable than she had imagined...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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As far as gigs went on this job Orev, Rossi, and SlackJaw's were the least labor intensive. What they lucked out on in terms of physical effort, however, was more than made up for by the requirements of precision timing. The trio would be boarding the Wanderlust with a significant collection of highly specialized tools and systems - systems that they would need to slip through security unnoticed.

If the timing of their scanner interference devises was off by even a little bit, their equipment might end up seized, or their privilege to board revoked altogether. Because of this, they had been rehearsing their boarding sequence for the better part of two and a half hours before all four original members of the 'Bedlam crew were satisfied with their performance.

As they wrapped up and began packing away their props, Vague noticed a particularly agitated looking Nova step through the blast door and enter the workspace waving slightly in his direction. His eyebrow raised just slightly, then he secured the latches on the container he'd been packing and walked over to her. "What's got your force in a wrinkle?" He joked lightheartedly, unable to help himself.

"Lyshani called," Nova told him, "She wanted me to tell you she's made contact with the target and should have what you need by the end of the week."

Vague considered that for a few moments, then eventually nodded his head. He wasn't so much surprised that the source of Nova's agitation was simply a call from Lyshani, surely the Zeltron could try anyone's patience, but he was amused. He would have preferred it if Lyshani already had the intel they needed, naturally... but a few more days of running through the basic drills wouldn't hurt them any.

"Thanks kid." He told her, looking back at Rossi and the gang packing things up before returning his attention to Nova. "Hey, you haven't seen Masilda around, have you? Once we get going she almost never stops practicing... I usually have to drag her away from the rig myself."

Nova felt a tinge of concern at that. Was Masilda avoiding practice because of her ankle? She just shrugged and shook her head. "Haven't seen her at all today."

Vague grunted a bit then nodded. "Odd, that. I thought maybe you two had gone off on another safari through the ship or something. Well, if you do happen to come across her, send her my way, would you?" He added. Nova merely nodded an affirmative and Vague headed off towards the Bedlam, coughing into the crook of his arm as he rounded the corner.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova watched him curiously. Was he sick? Surely if he was he would have informed the rest of the crew. She shook her head, it was probably nothing. Vague wouldn't risk running an op like this if an illness had somehow impaired his ability. Instead she turned back around and went off in search of Masilda. First she wandered over to the practice rig where the Ryn was supposed to be practicing but of course she wasn't there. Nova knew as much, Vague practically told her so. Still, it didn't hurt to check. Then she wandered all around the campsite. She found Tsivoin and Rossi sitting together talking quietly. Orev was tinkering with some machinery and Ansel and Raav were off to one side quietly conversing with each other. Nova stopped when she saw them. Just what the hell are they talking about?

Suddenly Masilda's face appeared in front of hers hanging upside. Nova yelped in surprise then nearly jumped back three feet. "Masilda," she exclaimed, "you know I hate when you do that."

It took a moment for her heartbeat to slow and when it did she glanced back over to where she saw Ansel and Raav. Much to her surprise they were no longer there. She looked around again but the only people she could see where Masilda, Orev, Rossi and Tsivoin. Where... she started, but she didn't have long to puzzle that thought before the Ryn asked her a question.

Masilda giggled and gave Nova a mirthful grin. “Fact.” She said simply as she swayed back and forth slightly from her tail. “What’s the stitch, hon? You looked like someone just offered to detune your Hallikset.”

"I, um...," Nova tried to say, still looking around trying to find Ansel and Raav. Finally, she gave up and turned to look at Masilda. "Vague said he wanted to see you. He said you're not practicing as much as you used to."

Nova's expression seemed concerned. She had no idea what Vague wanted to talk to Masilda about but she hoped he wasn't onto their little scheme.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Masilda’s cheerful expression darkened and her light green eyes instinctively shot up towards where her injured leg was draped over a rafter before returning to Nova’s. The ankle was still very tender, and while she was eternally grateful that Nova had been around to steady her during the exceptionally difficult bits of her runs, each time she went through the motions it took a toll on the joint. The Ryn had taken a calculated risk by limiting her activity and she’d hoped that Vague would have his hands full with the others, especially since Tsivoin and Nova were relative newbies, and wouldn’t notice.

“Drellt.” She cursed, “Nova, I...” she whispered then stopped short and looked off in the direction the rehearsal area was in.

"I'll go with you," she said, "At least as far as the ship. If Vague asks I was heading back there anyway. Just-- try not to look so guilty."

Masilda chewed on her lip for a moment then nodded. “Ok. Yeah, you’re right.. he’ll just be more suspicious if I don’t go.” She was more reasoning with herself than really talking to Nova at this point. The Ryn sighed slightly and uncoiled herself, she fell to the deck absorbing the landing on her good leg, using Nova’s shoulder to steady herself and then shot her an apologetic look as she straightened up. The two turned and headed off in the direction of the ‘Bedlam, Masilda busying herself with ideas of what fib she was going to tell Vague when they got there.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Later that evening Nova found herself laying awake in her bed. She hadn't seen Masilda since her talk with Vague. Her ship was still here so she hadn't left, but she still wondered what it was exactly they had to talk about. What is wrong with me, she asked herself. A few days ago I wanted to strangle her and now I can't stop worrying about her. She rolled over onto her side and tried to think about anything else. Fortunately, it didn't take long for her other distraction to present itself. She heard a thud as Tsivoin once again thrashed about in his sleep. He'd been moaning and tossing about for awhile now and it was making it difficult for her to sleep. With a sigh she stood, threw on some pants and a shirt and stepped outside. She made her way to the galley where she found Rossi brewing herself some caff.

"Late night," Nova said as she sat down at the bar table behind her.

"Same to you," Rossi answered back. "Coffee?"

Nova nodded and Rossi poured a cup for both of them then sat down across from Nova. "Tsivoin still keeping you awake at night," the Kessurian asked before blowing the steam from her cup and taking a sip.

"Yea," Nova said, she held her cup for a moment but did nothing with it.

"Any idea why?"

Nova shook her head. "Just a nightmare, I guess. Tsiv's been through a lot so that's not very surprising." Though, he didn't start doing this until recently, she thought, I wonder what it could be. "Anyway," she continued, "Have you spoken to Masilda?"

Rossi shook her head. "Nope, been in here working all day, why?"

"No reason," the girl replied before blowing at the steam from her cup and taking a sip.

Rossi picked up a spoon and started stirring her cup. "You think maybe Tsivoin is remembering?"

The thought had crossed Nova's mind, but she really couldn't be sure. "Maybe," she said, "Would make telling him the truth a little bit easier."

"You really think he should find out that way," Rossi asked, giving her an uncertain look.

Nova shook her head. "I don't know. I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm just making it up as I go. It's not like Master Luke gave me an instruction manual for how to stop someone from falling to the dark side... Not that he's much of an expert," she grumbled to herself.

Then she stood and crossed over to the lounge, taking her cup of caff with her. "Anyway, I think I'll crash out here tonight," she continued, "I'm not likely to get any sleep in my own room until Tsivoin works through... Whatever it is he's working through."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsivoin once again found himself within the firm grasp of a force induced dream. The young Zabrak was being battered by intense emotions of betrayal, anger, desperation, and anxiety and he periodically stirred or flailed in the bunk he occupied aboard the 'Bedlam.

Some time had passed since his previous dream, but it was obvious that this was just a continuation of the same story. The teenager had boarded one of the troopers transports, surrounded by the red-eyed man and his band of outcasts. They all brandished weaponry and had a hard edge to their aura's as the transport left the atmosphere and rocketed up to the capital ship in orbit. Tsivoin had once again tried to contact his master over comms but there was still no response. He now feared the worst. Several of Gaan's outcasts had boarded various ships of their own. Fighters and armed transports, mainly, and there was a viscous firefight in the void of space as the Venator-Assault ship attempted to repel the boarders.

Tsiv's transport was one of a handful that survived the assault and was able to land in the ships vast hangar. Though as he looked back at the singed and smoking craft, he doubted it would be able to take back off again. A stray bolt drew his attention back to the present and backed by his new-found family of Outcasts, Tsivoin pressed their attack forward. He was no longer deflecting blaster bolts harmlessly away into the floor or bulkhead, but rather sending them straight back at the troopers that fired them. One a few occasions, he'd been had the time to focus enough to send a stray bolt into a grenade belt resulting in a tremendous explosion and a huge loss of enemy life.

Enemy. It was still so jarring to think of these troopers, his charges, as enemies. Yet this was reality. Every corner of the craft he came around, there were more of them waiting, fighting to their last breaths to take his life.


It was sometime later in the night when Tsivoin would stumble down the ladder of his bunk, and out into the corridor. The teen slowly and carefully made his way through the 'Bedlam and out into the Venator itself, eyes closed and still in a deep sleep being guided only by the Force. The emotions that swirled about him had shifted since he'd left the bunk. No longer was he feeling anxious, or even angry really. A firm resolve had washed over the teen. Resolve and a deep, dark sadness. He walked along the corridors of the Venator barefoot and exposed, save for the loose fitting black sleeping trousers he wore. He'd probably wandered for a little less than an hour before the'd arrived at the access corridor that would lead to the exposed and vented primary bridge of the craft.

The fighting had been tough and only grew worse the closer they got to the bridge of the craft. Many of Gaan's Outcasts had been killed along the way, only five remained. Tsivoin and the red-eyed man charged down the corridor, dispatching any clone troopers who got in their way, until they reached the blast doors to the bridge, and Tsivoin stopped short, falling to his knees next to the body of Sev, his Jedi Master. The Nikto was surrounded by a half dozen clone troopers that he'd obviously dispatched as he fought for his own life, but there had been too many of them, and he'd not been there to back up his Master.

A familiar sense of pain and loss washed over the Zabrak as he knelt near the remains of the Jedi Master. Tsivoin was still in a deep sleep but the Force coiled and collected within him, its taste dark and acrid as he processed the feelings of loss and betrayal that swirled through the space around him.

The blast doors flew open and the corridor erupted into blasterfire as clone troopers rained shots down on Tsivoin and his remaining allies. Tsivoin did what he could to repel the attack but it wasn't enough. In desperation, he called his masters fallen blade to his hand, igniting the second saber he twirled and evaded oncoming blasts, trying his hardest to protect the Outcasts who were returning fire while retreating down the corridor behind him. Ultimately, only he and Gaan would escape, retreating back into the depths of the ship.

The pair were ultimately cut off in an access corridor, Tsivoin couldn't count how many of the white armored troopers had converged upon them, but he continued to fight. Twin green lightsaber blades danced through the area around him, deflecting blasts, and gouging through plastoid armor. He was the only one left. Gaan had succumbed to the combined onslaught a few moments earlier. A bolt made it through his defense, striking him in the right arm. He dropped his masters lightsaber to the ground, then tried in vain to fend off the assault with only his offhand and saber. He was no matched for the troops who now numbered in the dozens. In desperation, he let loose a powerful telekenetic blast - it only delayed the inevitable. A pair of blasts struck his plant foot, sending the Zabrak down to a knee. He batted away two more before he was struck by multiple bolts in the back, stomach, and chest. He cried out in anguish and collapsed to the deck, struggling to breath as he reached for his discarded saber. It was a futile gesture. One of the clones closed the gap between them and slammed the but of his rifle against the hilt repeatedly until the casing cracked. Tsiv's eyes slowly closed and he felt the dark emotions drift away. They were replaced by a sort of serene wave and he watched with his minds-eye as his body slowly dissolved, leaving behind that of a young teenage human with short blonde hair and one long braid.


Tsiv jolted awake and his violet eyes widened in confusion and fear as he recognized his surroundings. He was no longer in his quarters on the 'Bedlam. "What?!" he exclaimed as he took a few frightened steps backwards away from the robbed skeleton of the Jedi Padawan Joc Sah, and ultimately stumbled over a fallen troopers armor. He shuffled backwards on hands and feet until his bare back struck the cool metal of a bulkhead and panted nervously as he tried to come to terms with all of this.

It was a dream. Obviously. But, was it real? He looked around with wide violet eyes at the damage to the corridor. The markings on the troopers. His mind was erratic and his memory was fuzzy at best... but it all seemed to match up with the sequences of the dream he'd just suffered through. Tsivoin forced himself to stand and the Zabrak moved back over towards the robbed figure. He wrapped his arms around his midsection, becoming acutely aware of the chilled environment in this corridor.

He wasn't sure what compelled him to do so, but the teen knelt next to Joc Sah's fallen body and he shifted the robe ever so slightly. A small pouch on the Padawan's belt caught his eye and Tsivoin reached down and removed the pouch, unfastening it's enclosure he emptied it out into his hand. A few very old republic credits, some seemingly random pieces of machinery, and a strange circular metal object. Tsiv returned the other items to the pouch and held the metal object up in the limited light of the corridor. The outside of the object smooth, with some ornate details and several different sized holes in a somewhat geometric pattern on what he imagined was the top. There seemed to be a seam along it's circumference... but he couldn't get it to open.

Tsivoin shivered and put the object back into the pouch and hooking it onto the waistband of his sleeping trousers. He had no way of knowing when he'd left his quarters or what time it was now, but one thing he knew for certain. He was absolutely lost and had no idea how to get back to camp. His panting increased in concert with the anxiety he felt as he looked back and forth for any sort of a sign as to what direction to go.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova rolled over on the lounge and shivered slightly. She had underestimated how cold it was on the ship and after an hour of tossing and turning she finally sat up and hugged herself tightly. Seriously, did someone turn off the heat, she asked herself quietly. With a groan she stood and headed back to her cabin. She might not be able to catch any sleep in there while Tsivoin was having his nightmare but at the very least she could grab a blanket or two. What she found when she entered the room surprised her, however. Tsivoin was not in his bunk and after a brief search of the ship and the campsite which took about twenty five minutes or so she concluded he was nowhere to be found. After awhile she worried that maybe he had wandered off into the ship and that realization sent a cold shiver down her spine. She headed back into the Bedlam and knocked on Rossi's cabin. At first there was no answer so she knocked again, louder this time. Finally the Kessurian answered.

"What? What is it?"

"Rossi, open up we've got a problem," Nova said.

Rossi groggily stood and threw a robe on before stumbling to the door and opening it. "Nova, do you have any idea what time it is?"

"Tsivoin's gone," Nova told her matter of factly, ignoring everything else.

"And," Rossi asked, "He's your ward, go look for him."

Nova shook her head. "No, you don't understand. If he wandered out into the ship he could put us all in danger."

"I know," Rossi grumbled, "He wanders down the wrong corridor or opens the wrong door he could vent us all to space, but doesn't he have the Force like you do? Can't he just find his way back the way you did?"

"No," Nova told her, then she sighed and half turned away. "Look, there was something we didn't tell Vague when Masilda and I came back. While we were exploring the ship we found a working Clone Wars era droid and it attacked us. We didn't find anymore on the way back, but it might not be the only one still active. Tsiv could be in serious danger right now!"

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

"Look, there was something we didn't tell Vague when Masilda and I came back.”

It took all of Rossi’s willpower not to roll her honey colored eyes when Nova said those words. The Kessurian patiently listened to the rest of the girls explanation and in the end, her eyes widened and she turned back into her room. In a practiced and efficient manner that seemed counter to her usually carefree spirit, Rossi dressed and armed herself.

When she returned to the doorway, her expression had hardened. “We better find him, before anyone - or anything else does.” She warned Nova.

"Thanks," Nova said with a smile.

The pair immediately headed out from camp and began searching for clues. The task of finding one lone humanoid on a ship the size of a Venator was monumental, though, and eventually Rossi stopped them and sighed. “Nova, we can’t possibly search this whole ship... where would he go? Why did he even leave?”

"I don't know," Nova replied, "I have no idea what's going on with him. He's been acting strangely ever since I came back with...," she stopped suddenly when a thought occurred to her.

With Masilda and the lightsaber. Could his dreams have been connected to the broken lightsaber? There was no way to know for sure, but at least it was an idea. It was also the only thing they had that might give them a chance at finding Tsiv.

"With what," Rossi asked.

"I think I might know where he is, follow me," Nova told her.

"That's the idea..." Rossi muttered under her breath as she followed behind Nova. The Kessurian wasn't sure how the Force worked, but she also didn't know if it would have made a difference to her nerves as Nova seemed to just pick and choose which passages and bulkheads were safe and which would open them up to the vacuum of space. Despite knowing that Nova had successfully navigated through the ship once before this way, Rossi still found her eyes closed and muscles tense each time the girl took another 'guess' as they were.

Not for the first time since they'd set off from the camp, Rossi was worried about how they were going to find their way back... and not for the first time since they'd left she was also thinking about how they ought to hand out communicators with a location function on them next time they work in such a vast space. But then, if everyone would just follow the rules... she sighed, resisting the urge to just start shouting the kids name. If Nova was right and there were semi-dormant battle droids lurking about the ship then the last thing she needed to do was draw attention to them.

They'd started coming across small groups of fallen troopers every so often, and Rossi was starting to get a really weird feeling in her gut. "Nova-" she started but the girl turned to look at her in the dimly lit corridor and held up a hand.

"We're almost there, Rossi." she said, then turned back to the corridor, sneaking her way through some dangling conduits.

Rossi grimaced in the darkness but continued to follow the Jedi. They'd ducked through a couple more bulkheads before they came upon the corridor that Nova had been drawn to a few days earlier but besides the dozen or so dead troopers and the remains of what seemed like a young Jedi, there was nothing to be found.

Rossi looked over at Nova, who was standing near the dead Jedi with her eyes closed and one hand outstretched... The Kessurian sighed heavily and ran a hand back through her hair. The rest of the crew would be waking up soon and she was already way over her head keeping secrets from them. How was she going to explain this?

She was about to interrupt whatever Nova was doing when she felt a sudden chill and a rush of air blowing past her and down the corridor in front of them. She couldn't be certain, but a surprised yelp seemed to travel the opposite direction as the sudden gust of air.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by Pryde »

Nova had her eyes closed trying to sense where Tsivoin was. He was close but it was hard to pinpoint his exact location partly because she could feel Rossi's inner conflict just a few feet behind her. She felt bad having to admit yet another secret to her though in truth Masilda was the one who roped her into it first. Nova resolved to tell Rossi everything and let the Kessurian decide for herself what to do with it after they had found Tsiv. She would have to apologize to Masilda later.

Rossi took two steps forward and opened her mouth to say something, that's when they both felt a gust of wind. Nova's eyes shot wide open and there was a look of dread in her eyes.

"Oh no," she said quietly, "No, no, no, no, no."

She took off running in the direction the wind was blowing with Rossi hot on her heels. The closer they got to the breach the harder it was to stay on their feet. They found Tsiv a few feet away from an open bulkhead that seemed to be the source of the breach. He had cracked the door open enough to let the air through but not wide enough for a full grown humanoid adult to pass through. If any of them got caught in the stream it would certainly be fatal. Tsivoin was hanging on for dear life but he wouldn't be able to maintain that for long. Nova got as close to him as she could then reached out with the Force to grab him. She had to fight against the breach to pull him towards her and Rossi could clearly see the strain on her expression.

Gradually she managed to pull him closer and closer until he was within range of the Kessurian. "Rossi, grab him!"

Rossi reached out and grabbed the Zabrak and struggled to pull him back to safety. Once they were both behind something Nova finally let go of her hold on Tsivoin. Then she waved them both back to safety.

"Get him out of here," she shouted at them. "Try to close one of the bulkheads behind us!"

"Nova, what are you--," Rossi tried to say but the girl cut her off.

"Just do it," she exclaimed, "I'll be fine! But just in case you need to close the breach behind us!"

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

It was a good thing that Tsivoin was as scrawny as he was, Rossi found herself thinking as she dragged the trembling Zabrak backwards and through a bulkhead into a side corridor. The Kessurian wasn't sure she'd have been able to accomplish the same feat with any other member of their crew. She did not like the idea of leaving Nova to fend for herself against the breached blast door but as seemed to all too often be the case with these two, she couldn't think of an alternative solution to the mess they'd found themselves in. She glanced once more out through the doorway then slammed a palm against the release, sealing them and the rest of the ship off from the danger.

Tsivoin was in a full blown panic, his violet eyes were as wide as saucers and his twin hearts were beating so fast it was like a constant thrumming sound echoing in his head. His breath was coming in a short, rapid panting fashion and the moment that Rossi loosened her grip on him he practically smashed himself prone to the deck.

Rossi gasped a bit, then shifted her stance and placed a knee down on the deck to steady herself. She watched the Zabrak for a few seconds, he was practically vibrating, and the look in his eyes was like something you'd see on a feral Akk. Suddenly, she remembered what Nova had told her about how he had become overwhelmed with emotion and that was what lead to him destroying that section of The Tangle back on Cantonica. "Shavvit. Shavvit. Um... Tsiv, Campo..." She looked around the corridor but had no idea what she was hoping to find. "Um..." She looked back down at him and without thinking she reached down and pressed the palm of her hand to his back between his bony shoulder blades.

His skin was so cold it made her gasp and retract her hand for a moment, before she returned it and slowly shifted it up and down. She had no idea if it would help sooth or calm the Zabrak but she didn't know what else to do. Her hand glided along Tsivoins grey and black tattooed skin until it snagged on a particularly vicious looking scar that stretched diagonally almost five inches long. Her other hand rose quickly to cover her mouth and she stifled a gasp as tears brimmed up in her eyes. This poor boy.

Okay, now what, Nova thought to herself after the others had left. She had no idea how much air she had left. There was another branching corridor that led somewhere off into the ship but it was blocked by debris. How far it went was anyone's guess. Maybe the rest of the ship was sealed off, maybe the others were still in danger. The only way to know for sure was to close the breach and she had to do it before she ran out of air. By now the air flow into the breach had gotten stronger. She tried to reach out with the Force and pull the bulkhead doors closed but the force of the air flowing between them was too strong. She would have to seal the breach somehow.

With a great deal of effort she turned herself painstakingly around inch by inch. She was practically glued to the bulkhead now by the force of the breach. She needed something to block the hole with and the fallen debris blocking the side corridor was her best bet. There was a long, slender piece of metal paneling that could work, but it was wedged pretty tightly between the debris. She staggered towards it inch by inch then took hold of it with both hands, pulling as hard as she could. After a moment she managed to maybe pull it out a few centimeters, but it was taking too long. So she tried again, this time calling on the Force for help. Using the Force to enhance her own strength she managed to pull it out to at least a foot at first, then a meter and finally it was free. The rest of the debris collapsed behind it to fill the gap it left behind, then she carried it back to the breach.

When she rounded the corner the strength of the airflow picked her up off her feet and sent her and the metal panel careening towards the bulkhead. Nova had maybe a second to angle the metal paneling just right to completely cover the hole before both the metal panel and her smashed into the bulkhead with incredible force. The Jedi cried out in pain as her right arm and side took the brunt of the impact. Fortunately, the panel had hit the bulkhead just right to cover the hole completely but air was still escaping from the crack. Grabbing her lightsaber with her left hand Nova carefully welded the panel to the bulkhead, sealing it completely. When the last bit of airflow had stopped she disengaged her lightsaber then fell into a heap on the floor, breathing in sharp, short gasps. She couldn't tell how bad her injuries were but it definitely felt like she cracked a rib or two.

Rossi heard the thunderous sound of Nova and the debris smashing into the wall and winced. She waited until she could no longer hear the rushing of air on the other side of the blast door, then gingerly reached up to the release with her free hand and keyed the door open. That’s when she saw Nova’s crumpled form on the deck just to the side of the previously breached bulkhead.

The Kessurian sucked in a quick breath and her eyes shot back and forth from Tsivoin’s panicking form to Nova. She sighed, then patted Tsivoin’s back. “I’ll be back, Campo.” She told him, then stood and rushed out into the corridor and knelt at Nova’s side. “Nova, you ok girl?” She asked, casting a nervous glance back in the direction of Tsivoin.

"Peachy," Nova answered between gritted teeth. She tried to stand up using only one arm but had little success until Rossi helped her up. She winced sharply when Rossi's hand brushed the bruise over her ribs.

"Sorry," Rossi said quickly before grabbing Nova by her waist and helping her up.

Once she was on her feet Nova turned her emerald gaze to Tsiv and she saw the panic in his eyes. I'd probably look that way too if I'd been nearly sucked out into space, she thought. "Help me," Nova said to Rossi while nodding her head at Tsivoin's crumpled form.

The Kessurian helped the young girl stagger over towards the Zabrak where Nova painstakingly got down on her knees. She rested a hand on his shoulder and closed her eyes.

"What are you doing," Rossi asked.

"Trying to calm him down with the Force."

Rossi looked surprised. "Can you do that?"

Nova shrugged and the effort pained her. "Maybe? I've never tried before."

She fell silent again as she tried to reach Tsivoin through his thoughts and bring him back to reality...

Whatever Nova was doing with the force, it seemed to be working. Tsivoin was slowly being allowed out of the constricting grip on his panicked mind. He was aware of the feeling of the durasteel deck against his bare torso, he could feel his chest heaving with short, sharp, and shallow breaths. Tsivoin was cold. He was so cold... The teen shivered, as if on cue with the realization, and that’s when he felt the hand on his shoulder. His frenzied eyes blinked, and he twisted his head to the side to try and see who was next to him.

"Hey, sport," Nova said gently, a smile in her eyes. "Almost lost you there for a second. You were about to be a lot thinner than you already are."

Rossi couldn’t help but laugh out loud at Nova’s comment. The Kessurian’s eyes widened and she covered her mouth slightly in embarrassment. Must have been the stress of the situation getting to her, she was normally more composed than that.

Tsiv took a deep, shaky breath and rolled a bit onto his side, curling his knees up towards his chest. He touched a hand to his sternum as if trying to will his hearts to slow. “I. Hate... space.” He said weakly, looking up into Nova’s eyes with a gaze that was equal parts embarrassed and grateful.

"Don't worry about it, Kid, we'll get you back to the ship safe and sound," she assured him. "How'd you even get out here, anyway? And why aren't you wearing any clothes?"

Tsivoin’s eyes shifted downward and he wrapped an arm around his middle in response. How in the frell had he gotten here? It’d been the dream, hadn’t it? But could he tell them that? They’d surely think he was barvy, wouldn’t they? “Uhm... I think I had a - nightmare?” He started... “it all seemed so real.” He whispered under his breath, then continued his words coming out in a rushed mess. “I just - woke up, in that corridor back there. There were bodies, I don’t know how I got there and then I was lost I couldn’t find my way back and I tried and then-“ he stopped to take another shaky breath.

"It's alright," Nova told him, placing a hand on his shoulder. She glanced up at Rossi who was standing behind her. Both women had the same look of concern in their eyes. Tsivoin was drawn out here the same way she was. "Come on," she said, holding a hand out toward him to help him up. "You'll catch a cold lying on the floor like that."
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by Pryde »

The three of them walked in silence for some time after getting Tsivoin back to his feet. Nova's ribs were still fairly tender and her arm had a giant bruise on it that was at times visible under her jacket. She tried her best to ignore the pain, but astute viewers would have noticed that her breathing was still haggard and short. The young Jedi led the way back, navigating for them like she had in the past. She had just rounded a bend out of sight and stood still with her eyes open and a perturbed look on her face. That's how the others found her when they finally caught up to her.

"Nova, is everything alright," Rossi asked.

The girl shook her head. "I'm sorry, Rossi. I just keep roping you into these secrets, don't I?"

"Nova--," the Kessurian tried to say but the girl cut her off.

"Please, let me finish." Finally, she turned to look at them. "I should have told Vague about the droid," she said, "but it wasn't my idea to keep it a secret. Masilda and I barely survived killing it and when it exploded she was caught in the blast. The shockwave picked her up and sent her flying. When she hit the ground again she rolled her ankle pretty bad. She swore me to secrecy because she was worried she might lose this job. She seemed so desperate, I couldn't say no. So, ever since then I've been feeding her pain pills and supporting her during all of her practice runs. I thought I was doing the right thing, but...," she fell silent.

Rossi tilted her head to the side and scrutinized the girl. "Why are you telling me this?"

Nova just shrugged. "I don't know, maybe all that stuff Vague said about honesty is finally sinking in." Or maybe it's because there's a dark cloud following behind me that's making me feel guilty with every step, she thought. Referring of course to the conflicted feelings she could sense from Rossi that only seemed to get stronger the closer they got to camp.

"You know I have to--," Rossi started.

Nova winced in response and interrupted her. "I know, I know. I'm not asking you to keep it a secret. I'll apologize to Masilda later, I just hope I haven't cost her this job."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

Tsivoin was still recovering from the the ordeal with the dream and the crisis with the blast door and it kept him silent as they made their way carefully back to the camp. In the back of his mind, a blurry and disjointed version of the dream was playing over and over, trying to make sense of it all. His eyes squinted a bit as he overheard Nova’s confession to Rossi. He’d noticed that in the last couple of days Nova and Masilda had seemed to be spending more time together but he hadn’t given it much thought.

Rossi sighed softly and pinched the bridge of her nose as she processed this new information. Well she had to tell Vague. There was no way around that. Would that mean Masilda was out? Well, they were all on the razors edge with this job but the Ryn’s portion of the heist was critical. If she messed up it would trigger the alarms and the entire rest of the team would end up having a really bad day. Not to mention, Rossi was sure that Vague wouldn’t be happy with either Nova or Masilda trying to keep this whole incident under-wraps.

Ultimately, the Kessurian sighed, blinked her honey colored eyes open, and gave Nova a non-committal smile. “Above my pay-grade.” She said softly, then glanced at the still shivering, half dressed Zabrak behind them. “Anyway, lets keep moving. Tsiv’s gonna need to be flash-thawed if we don’t get him back to the ship soon.”

The trio made decent time getting back to camp and Rossi left Nova and Tsiv at their cabin. She told them if there was any way she’d try and spare them a few hours to get a bit more sleep. The Kessurian, on the other hand, knew she wouldn’t be getting back to sleep any time soon and instead she fired up the slicing rig in her cabin and got to work on some prep for the heist. She set an alarm and would go talk to Vague after it went off, hopefully then if Vague decided he needed to see or talk to them the kids would have gotten a bit more sleep first.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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The next few days were filled with drills. They were still waiting for Lyshani to report back in. Meanwhile, Vague wanted everyone to back over their roles again and again until they knew them by heart. Nova hadn't had many opportunities to speak to Rossi after rescuing Tsivoin, nor did she have a chance to speak to Vague. However, everything seemed to be business as usual so she simply figured nothing was wrong. Except for Masilda insisting on doing her practicing alone without Nova's help everything seemed fine. On the fourth day the Zeltron finally contacted them again with news of the upgrades to the Wanderlust's security systems. It seems in addition to a number of motion sensors placed in sensitive parts of the ship they also added a heat sensor in the vault that could detect elevations in temperature.

In addition to that the security for the vault was kept on a separate power grid from the rest of the ship, so getting access to it to shut down the heat sensor would require a special code. That code was located on a code cylinder that was kept in the possession of the head of security at all times. Nova and her team were in charge of lifting the code cylinder before passing it off to Vague. This portion of the heist needed to happen before the start of the card tournament. Not to mention they had to accomplish this task without raising alarms, so Ansel would first have to forge the cylinder to prevent security from catching on. That was the hard part, after that they were on surveillance to support Vague and the others as they went after the vault.

Ansel, Nova and Tsiv were first dispatched to the Wanderlust. A trip made especially awkward since Nova had to spend most of her time evading Ansel's questions. While the forger hadn't been very forthcoming about his role in the heist he did have a hand in inserting Tsivoin as a server for the casino. A perfect fit considering the experience he gained from working at Klang's and the Canto Bight Casino. Nova's role was simply that of a casino patron. The head of security was known for making frequent sweeps of the casino floor to keep watch for cheaters or people trying to steal. Tsivoin was the watch, he would alert the others the moment security was making the rounds. Then Lyshani and Nova would tag team the head of security and lift the cylinder. Nova being the pick pocket would take the lead with the Zeltron acting as support. This would be her first time working with a team. Normally she made these lifts on her own.

"Here you go, miss," a Twi'lek woman said as she handed Nova a drink.

The girl graciously accepted it then turned and took a moment to look Tsivoin, taking a sip in the process. The Zabrak looked stiff from where she stood. He'd worked in casinos before so this should be natural for him, but considering they were all here to steal something that fact might have been difficult to ignore. After their last outing as world-renown thieves he very nearly died, now he was at it again.

"Try not to look so nervous, Kid. You're just serving drinks, you've done this before," Nova said quietly. The two of them, Ansel included had micro communications devices in their ear canals that allowed them to communicate with each other and were virtually undetectable.

At the sound of her voice Tsivoin turned his head to look at her and Nova quickly broke eye contact, covering it up by standing in at a blackjack table. She felt a slight tug at the back of her mind and half turned to see a man approaching her. "Fething hell," she cursed, "Prince Charming's back. I swear this guy won't leave me alone."

As part of her cover Nova had to look like she belonged there, so instead of her usual dress she wore a long, silvery gown that accentuated her curves. It also made her significantly more appealing to the opposite sex. "Get rid of him," Ansel told her, "Our guy could be showing up any minute now."

"There you are, beautiful," the man said, "I've been looking for you everywhere."

Nova laughed awkwardly. "Haha, you don't say."

"Here, I brought you a drink," he told her, reaching out and handing her a glass.

Nova simply answered by holding up her own. "Thanks, but I've already got one."

The man seemed perturbed. He could tell his pickup wasn't going well, but he wasn't about to let that deter him. "Mind if I sit in with you on a game?"

Nova sighed and rolled her eyes. "Look, um..."

"Galen," he said.

"Right," Nova answered, "Look, Galen, I'm sure you're a nice guy and all, but I'd really prefer if you didn't talk to me."

The man flashed her a confident smile. "Oh come on, don't say that. One game, give me a chance to win your heart?"

"Aw, he likes you," Lyshani's voice cut in on their comm line. That was perhaps the worst part of this job. She now had the Zeltron in her ear just like Ansel. "Let him take you back up to his room. There's no reason you can't mix business with pleasure."

"Shut up," Nova grumbled under her breath.

"What," Galen asked.

Nova looked flustered. "Nothing," she lied, "Anyway, can I take a rain check on this? I'm really busy right now."

"Too busy for me," he asked while feigning a pained expression on his face. "That's alright, I'll just wait right here."

"Could you maybe wait over by the buffet?"

There was a flicker of hope in his eyes. "Will you be joining me?"

"If I said 'yes,' would you leave," she asked. He didn't seem very convinced.

"Look," he began with all the smug confidence of a hustler, "I get it, you're playing hard to get, I know. I normally don't approach women like this, but after seeing you I just had to stop and say hi."

Nova cast a glance over her shoulder at where she last saw Ansel. She was hoping someone would eventually come and save her from this lecherous clod, but she knew that it was impossible without breaking their cover. Finally, she had lost her patience and turned back to the guy. "Why don't you go to the buffet," she asked, "I insist. Maybe stick your head into the punch bowl."

The man stared at her blankly for a moment then set both his glasses down atop the table. "I'm gonna go stick my head in the punch bowl," he announced then he turned and walked away.

Nova turned her attention back to the blackjack table in front of her. A moment later there were cries of alarm from somewhere behind her as a man was caught sticking his head into the punch bowl by security. Nova allowed herself a slight giggle that she covered up with one hand.

"Try not to do that anymore," Ansel spoke into her ear, "You'll blow our cover and yours."

"Sorry," she answered back, "I just wanted him to leave me alone."

"You need to explain to me how you do that," Lyshani said, "That kind of thing seems really useful."

"Focus," Ansel interrupted them, "We'll only get one shot at this. Tsivoin?"

It was just about time for the head of security to make his rounds. Once Tsivoin had given them the go ahead Lyshani would make her approach followed closely by Nova. The cylinder in question was kept in his left breast pocket. Lyshani needed to distract him long enough for Nova to swipe it, take it to Ansel to copy it, then pass it off to Tsivoin who would bring it back to the Zeltron. Lyshani would then slide it back into the man's pocket as if it had never left.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

It was true, Tsivoin was struggling to play both his cover role and his assigned role for todays mission. The Zabrak kept trying to remind himself that he’d slung drinks plenty back on Cantonica, but he was having a tough time figuring out how to pretend to do so.

The fact that every fifth two-bit sleamo seemed to feel the need to insert themselves into Nova’s business and personal space wasn’t helping any. He kept reminding himself that Nova was perfectly capable of redirecting or incapacitating any or all of them, but the teen still bristled each time they did so.

The clink of one of his horns against the overhead glass rack brought him out of his thoughts. The teen was wearing a handful of prosthetic horns as part of his disguise for this heist and they were quite a bit longer now.

He heard Ansel say his name and took a moment to step away from dishwashing station and his violet eyes sharpened, scanning the area he knew that the security team would be making their sweep from. Like clockwork, the head of security and his mini entourage rounded the corner and swept through the decorative archway that separated the administrative section of the casino from the main floor.

Tsiv took a few moments to confirm that the code cylinder was in the mans pocket and that he was traveling with the same number of people along the same path as every other time they’d observed him. He reached up to grab a mug from the rack above him and started to fill it with an ale as he spoke quietly into his communicator. “Right on schedule. Crossing the cash counter now.”

Up until the Zabrak gave the go ahead, Lyshani had been concentrating on minimizing her presence and her effect on the other patrons in the casino. It was not an easy task for a Zeltron to go unnoticed, their intoxicating pheromones notwithstanding, they were still blessed (or cursed, depending on how you looked at it), with being almost universally attractive to other humanoid and near-human species with bright shades of red or pink skin and vibrantly colored hair. If their entry in the galactic encyclopedia simply read ‘exotic’, it would be fitting.

She flicked her tongue out and drug it across her lips in anticipation as she stood from the card table she’d been hunkered down at and slowly removed the shall she’d had draped over her from. In an instant the Zeltron transformed from any other unassuming patron, to a suggestively dressed beacon of desire. She beamed a magnificent smile and gladly released her focus on subduing her pheromone production. It was showtime, and Lyshani absolutely loved the spotlight.

Across the casino floor, Ansel was secluded in a corner booth. The equipment he’d need in order to clone the security code cylinder was cleverly disguised in a medical container on the seat next to him. He let a predatory grin smear across his features temporarily as the Zabrak kid gave them the go head signal. The accomplished forger still wasn’t thrilled with relying on such young and inexperienced players for this leg of the heist, but he understood the reasoning behind Vague’s choices and he’d gone to great lengths to minimize the influence that they’d be able to exert over the excessive.

“Lyshani,” he spoke quietly into the communicator, “You have fifteen seconds... Mark.”

For his part, Tsiv was supposed to go back to serving customers. However, as he went to set the mug of ale down on the tray he caught a glimpse of Lyshani in her shockingly revealing black dress and Tsivoin very suddenly felt the same type of flush engulf him as it had back on Chandrilla when he’d first met the Zeltron. His tongue didn’t quite hit the deck but his mouth slacked open a bit and he caught the mug on the edge of the tray, dumping it’s contents in the process. One of the many busy bartenders noticed his lapse and came over quickly to start berating the relatively new server.

“My eyes are up here, kid.” Lyshani spoke into her communicator, her tone incredibly mirthful.

“Can we focus, please?” Ansel’s voice came through the comms. “Five seconds.”

Lyshani wanted to retort, but even she knew when it was time to get down to business. It took the Zeltron no time at all to narrow down a couple patrons who were the most drawn in by her pheromones and appearance and work them up into a hot and bothered lather. By the time the security team came within earshot of where she was two human men and one green skinned Mirialan had come to blows over defending her honor... or whatever they thought they were doing.

“Boys, boys, I assure you, there is plenty of lil ole me to share.” Lyshani said, purposefully stepping into the midst of the impromptu wrestling match so that she could feign getting knocked over into the walkway, effectively splitting the security chief from the rest of his entourage. She pumped the lot of them full of alluring pheromones, then accepted the security chiefs assistance to stand back up, as his team set about trying to separate the brawlers. When she turned to blink up at the chief, however, she was met with a hard stare.

“Hrmph. A Zeltron, of course.” He spoke, his dialect distinctly high-republic and his face twisted in thinly veiled contempt.

“Excuse me?” Lyshani replied haughtily, not entirely prepared for this kind of response from the man.

“Tell me, why is it that your kind simply insists on causing disruption and corruption wherever you travel?”
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by Pryde »

"I beg your pardon?" Lyshani sounded genuinely offended.

Nova had already started to make her approach but as soon as she heard the security chief's response she stopped cold and turned to join a nearby craps table. The man next to her was quick to notice her presence and even quicker to strike up a conversation.

"Well hello, Beautiful," he said, "What fortune to have someone as lovely as you joining our table tonight."

Nova tried her best to appear flattered. "You definitely have a way with words," she said.

She had meant it to be sarcastic, but that's not how he took it. Instead he gave her a big toothy grin. "I have other talents as well," he told her, "Would you like some advice on how to play this game?"

"Yes, thank you. That would be lovely," Nova lied.

Meanwhile Lyshani was floundering. Normally her pheromones would have taken effect by now and her victim would be putty in her hands, but this man was different. He did not appear affected by her pheromones at all. "Ma'am, if you continue this behavior I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

Lyshani feigned surprise. "But I've only just arrived."

"I know that's not true. Your stay aboard this ship has been well documented. I hear you've been particularly interested in one of our floor managers. Would you care to explain why?"

"Lyshani, abort. This operation's a bust," Ansel's voice filled their ears over the comms.

"Not yet," Nova answered him. "I still have a play. Lyshani, follow my lead."

Nova turned back to her companion who was still talking her ear off with the rules of the game. He seemed very eager to show off his vast gambling knowledge and Nova felt genuinely sorry for what she was about to do. When he finally stopped talking she gave him a sweet smile. "Thank you," she said, "You've been so helpful."

"For a gorgeous woman such as yourself, it's hardly an inconvenience. If there is anything else you would like to know please don't hesitate to ask."

"Well," she said, lowering her voice so only he could hear, "there is one thing you could do."

"Name it," he whispered back.

"Could you... Grab those chips over there, knock me down and then run for the nearest exit?"

There was a moment as the man processed exactly what it was she asked him to do. Then without warning he grabbed the large tray of gambling chips sitting next to the man running the table and turned to run. In the process he pushed her over, sending her crashing over the table and onto the floor, her arms flailing about knocking over everyone's drinks. There were cries of alarm as he sprinted towards the closest exit. The security chief looked up from his conversation with the Zeltron and ordered his men into action. Meanwhile, he turned to go check on Nova who had fallen nearby. A myriad of alcoholic drinks spilled all over her gown.

"Miss, are you alright," he asked as he reached down to help her up.

"I think so," Nova said while taking his hand. As he tried to lift her to her feet, however, her stiletto heel gave out and she fell into him. Nova leaned on him heavily for support, one hand reaching into his breast pocket and snatching the code cylinder. Then she passed it behind him to Lyshani who had walked by at just the right opportunity.

The security chief buckled slightly under her weight but somehow managed to keep them both standing. Once Nova was back up on her feet she looked completely embarrassed. "I'm sorry," she said, "I'm just a little frazzled."

"It's alright," he told her, "Can you describe for me what happened?"

Nova shook her head. "I don't even know. We were just talking, I thought he was trying to pick me up. Then all of a sudden he just reaches over the table, grabs those chip thingies and runs. I don't even know what he was thinking. I mean, where's he going to run to?"

"Probably wasn't thinking too hard about it," he surmised. It was rather pointless to try to steal from a casino on a spaceship.

Nova stared down at herself, her dress completely soaked with alcohol. "Just look at me, I'm a mess. Is there anywhere I can go to clean up?"

"Of course, Miss, right this way," he said, gesturing with his left arm while his right reached up behind her and around her shoulders.

As the security chief accompanied her off the floor Lyshani was busy making the handoff to Ansel. She passed by the man's table then reached down behind herself to hand the code cylinder to the forger. He grabbed it discreetly then began the process of copying the code onto a duplicate cylinder. "The girl's extraordinarily clever and resourceful," Lyshani spoke under her breath as she passed by Ansel's table. "I can see why Durin keeps her around."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

Ansel’s face was twisted into a bit of a scowl as he worked quickly to connect the dummy cylinder to the actual one. This had not gone at all the way it was supposed to, he’d have preferred to scrap the whole thing and try another approach a different day. The forger hadn’t been in the game as long as he had by improvising. This seat of the pants operating seemed to be a staple of the girl Nova’s. He considered Lyshani’s words... Well if Vague wanted that kind of unpredictability on his team, then maybe Ansel had underestimated the man.

“Beginning the transfer now.” he told the team.

Much to Tsivoin’s dismay, Lyshani had not vacated the area after dropping the code cylinder off to Ansel. Instead, the Zeltron had found her way over to the bar and was busy tormenting him. His twin hearts were racing in reaction to her pheromones and he was having trouble coordinating his fine motor skills while his head swam. To make matters worse, one of the straps of the Zeltrons dress seemed to have broken during the tussle she’d started, leaving her left shoulder bare and he couldn’t seem to keep from looking over every so often.

“You know, no matter how many times you peek you’re not going to get any more of a show.” Lyshani jeered at the teen. “Like I said back on Chandrilla, you’re cute.. for a horn head, but I prefer playmates that don’t need a star map to guide me by.”

Tsivoin’s face rapidly crimsoned, and he quickly looked the other way. They were supposed to be monitoring the rest of the security team but all Tsiv could think was that he wished Ansel would hurry up so that he could get away from Lyshani.

The head of security escorted Nova swiftly from the main casino area and to a small service room. He stood just outside the door to the room and had been trying unsuccessfully to get any further relevant information from her regarding the thief and his motives. “Miss,” he started, stealing a quick glance at inside the room as she worked to get a setting stain out of her rather alluring silver gown. He’d seen her on the floor a few times in the last week or so, usually deflecting passes from some man or the other. Now that he’d had the chance to make her acquaintance, he certainly couldn’t blame the, for trying. “Are you certain that he was acting alone? It’s imperative that we gather as much information as possible in instances like this.”

Nova had a damp, rolled up towel she was using to work the stain on her dress. Normally she wouldn't wear this sort of thing. She'd never been able to figure out how to hide a lightsaber in a backless dress. Still, she felt saddened for ruining it with her ruse.

"I'm sorry, I wish I could help, but we only just met minutes before he pushed me down. He was trying teach me the rules for craps. I thought he was so nice, I never suspected he would--well, you know...," she let her words trail off.

The chief sighed slightly and seemed to tear something into a communicator before he looked back up at Nova. “Right, well,I do appreciate your willingness to assist us and I also hope that you understand we would like to keep this incident as private and quiet as possible... may I ask where you are staying here onboard the ‘Wanderlust’, I’m certain our passenger experience team will want to follow up its you later to make this right.”

Nova was somewhat concerned he might ask this question but there really was no way around it. She got herself involved in an incident where the worst-case scenario was filling out a report. They were bound to ask for personal information from her. Fortunately, Ansel hooked her up with documents and a fake identification in case anyone tried to dig too deep. So, giving this man her room number didn't really seem like too much of an inconvenience.

"Of course," she told him, "I'm staying in room 236B on deck 13, I think it is."

He made a quick note of that, then looked back up and asked. “And are you traveling unaccompanied, Miss...?” he paused, his eyes lingering perhaps a bit too long on Nova’s exposed back.

Lyshani perked up a bit and a wicked grin crisscrossed her face. “Oh, well that’s interesting... the discriminatory security chief seems quite enamored with our dear Nova.” She spoke into their comms, maybe a hint of annoyance or jealousy straining her usually chipper tone.

Back in the lounge, Ansel was too busy working with the delicate circuitry of his cloning rig to bother redirecting Lyshani. As far as he was concerned after today, this whole advanced party was just in his way and he’d decided that if push came to shove, he’d jettison the lot of them to save himself. The older man watched the status bar on his data pad tick it’s way closer to 100% and took a moment to take a sip from his drink. He was secluded in the booth but till had a part to play, after all.

Nova ignored that and nodded. "I am. I entered one of those silly contests on a whim, I didn't expect to win. They actually sent me two tickets, but I'm embarrassed to say I couldn't find anyone to go with me."

"It's hard to believe a woman such as yourself has no friends," he said.

Nova just shrugged. "I have friends, just not any that happened to be free."

“A shame,” the chief replied with a far warmer smile than he’d presented to Lyshani earlier. “Well, again on behalf of the Wanderlust, and more importantly The Peregrines Lament, I’d like to apologize for all this unpleasantness. My name is Blaine McAllister and I’m in charge of Security here and if there is any way that I can enhance your stay further please don’t hesitate to ask.” He took one step backwards to look down the corridor, he had not finished his sweep of the floor and he needed to do that and then also follow up with his team regarding this would-be thief they caught.

Ansel popped the cylinder from his device and quickly examined it next to the original. His hard gaze scrutinized the forgery for several moments, then he nodded slightly and spoke into his comm. “Process complete, ready for pickup. Nova you can quit flirting with the chief now we need him back on the floor.”

Tsivoin licked at dry lips and happily snagged a tray with some prepared drinks on it and took off across the casino floor. The teen was eternally grateful for the excuse to get away from the intoxicating presence of Lyshani. He glided naturally through the crowd and eventually ended up passing Ansel’s booth. The Zabrak leaned inane set a glass on the table at the same time that Ansel slipped the code cylinder underneath a folded towel. Tsiv repositioned the tray for the proper balance and then took off back into the casino on a wide arc. He had no idea where Nova would want to make the lift at and hoped she had a plan, otherwise he’d be stuck with the cylinder and risking his cover.
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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

It looked like the security chief was just about finished questioning Nova. He needed to get back out on the casino floor and so did she. Fortunately, she had to head back out that way to exit the casino and get back to her room for a change of clothes. All she needed was an excuse to stick close to Blaine. She stopped dabbing her dress with the towel and set it back down on the counter.

"I suppose there is one more thing you could do for me," she said, "I have to go back to my room. Could you escort me? At least as far as the front door, I know you're busy."

Blaine inclined his head in her direction, “Of course,” He replied, stepping fully out into the corridor to allow Nova the room to exit the service area. As she glided by he matched his stride to hers and set his hand against the middle of her back. “I didn’t catch your name? For my report, ofcourse.” He asked.

Tsivoin heard Nova in his headset and slowed his pace, looking around him briefly as if he was struggling to find the right table to take some drinks to, while in reality he was judging the trajectory that she and the security chief would likely take across the floor. He needed to plan his route so that Nova would be able to access the tray he was carrying along the way.

"Felicity O'Connor," Nova answered, giving him the fake name Ansel used for her cover ID.

“Ah, a lovely name for a captivating young woman.” He commented as he guided her back onto the floor. The moment they appeared in the casino proper, one of the mans security staff approached, but he waved the man off. “I’m going to see to it that Miss O’Connor here gets back to her suite safely, then I’ll hear your report.” He replied, applying a bit of pressure to her back as they continued on into the casino proper.

Tsiv watched out the corner of his eye and adjusted his pace to match as Blaine quickened his own. It seemed to Tsivoin like he was in a hurry. The Zabrak had to dodge around a particularly excited gambler as they won a hand of cards, then steadied the tray and positioned himself in their path. “Ready when you are.” he spoke into the comm. This wasn’t their original plan so he wasn’t sure how Nova planned to make the swap happen, he’d just have to be ready when she made her move.

Nova allowed Blaine to guide her towards the exit. The second she saw Tsivoin approaching she decided to make her move, hoping the Zabrak was ready. As they walked she stopped briefly and fell against Blaine, one hand pressed against her forehead. She turned to face him as Tsivoin made his approach from behind.

"Are you alright," Blaine asked.

Nova nodded as Tsivoin made his pass. Then the girl deftly snatched the code cylinder from the Zabrak and slid it back into Blaine's left breast pocket. "I'm alright, I think. I'm just feeling really light headed. I think I might have hit my head when I fell."

Tsivoin kept going around the casino, dropping off a few drinks to tables who didn’t order them but also didn’t complain receiving them, then rounded his way back to the bar. ”She did it. We’re good.” He commented into the comms, then shot a quick glance towards Lyshani who was still loitering around where he waited for more drinks to run... He hoped that now that they’d completed their objective she’d find somewhere else to be.
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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Blaine gave her a look of concern. "Could be a concussion," he told her, "I should take you to see the ship's doctor."

"Oh no, that's fine, actually," Nova tried to assure him, "I'll be fine."

"Nonsense," he said, "You're a guest under my care. Have the doctor look you over, you can go back to your room once she's given you the all clear."

Nova resisted the urge to sigh. Perhaps she was a better actress than she gave herself credit for. Either way, this guy wasn't about to let her leave without seeing the doctor so she silently nodded. Fortunately, the ship's sick bay wasn't too far from the casino. With the casino being the major draw on the ship that sort of made sense. All the other amenities, the pools, the lavish theaters, didn't quite pull in the same crowds. Blaine escorted her all the way to the sick bay and made sure she was checked in by one of the nurses before heading back to the casino. Nova found herself alone in an examination room waiting for the doctor. She thought about just leaving, but several people saw her enter. As she was considering what to do about getting out of here the door to the room opened and a young woman stepped in.

"Felicity--O'Connor, was it," the woman asked.

Nova looked at her with surprise. She was dressed like a doctor and carried with her a stethoscope among other things, but she was so young. Not only that her hair color was almost pure white. Nova thought she might be an Arkanian, but even if that were true this was her first time meeting one so there was no way to be sure.

"Um, yes," she said once her initial surprise had worn off.

The woman looked at her for a moment, fixing Nova with a piercing gaze that made the girl feel uncomfortable. Then she moved over to a nearby desk and sat down, typing at her computer.

"Um, excuse me," Nova said, "but are you the ship's doctor?"

The woman shook her head. "Not quite," she said, "It's more of a temporary thing. The ship's real doctor became woefully ill after ingesting something that clearly did not agree with him. I have medical training so I volunteered to fill in for him until he recovers. My name is Micaiah, it's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. O'Connor."

"Um, likewise, I guess," Nova replied, mostly to herself than to Micaiah.

"Now," Micaiah answered as she stood and crossed over to where Nova was sitting, "as I understand it you hit your head?"

She placed her hands under Nova's jaw and turned her head this way and that, examining her closely. Nova tried to nod with little luck. "Wrong place, wrong time," she said. "I just happened to be in the way of someone trying to rob this place."

"Right," the woman muttered quietly, but just loud enough for Nova to hear. "And just how long ago was it that you cracked your ribs?"

"What," the girl asked in surprise, "What are you talking about?"

"This," Micaiah said, reaching down and touching the girl in the tender spot above her broken ribs, causing the girl to wince in response. "I count one... No two, broken ribs," she announced as she ran her fingers along Nova's chest.

Nova gritted her teeth from the pain, her surprise showing clearly on her face. "You can tell that just be looking at me?"

"In a manner of speaking," the doctor answered cryptically. "The bones aren't healing properly, we'll need bacta. One moment, please," Micaiah said just before she left the room, presumably to get some bacta patches.

After she was gone Nova stared dumbfounded at the door as it closed behind her. Just what was that feeling she had when the other woman was looking at her? It was hard to explain, but it felt like she was seeing right through her. Like an X-Ray... Just who exactly was she?

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

The next couple of days consisted of the advanced party returning to their assigned roles. Tsivoin remained as a server in the casino, while the other three went about the daily activities that might be expected of them as patrons of the liner. Ansel cautioned Lyshani about the security chiefs suspicion regarding her interest in his man, while Nova was asked to follow up with the ships medical officer. Naturally the Jedi wanted to blow off the follow up appointment, but Ansel instructed her not to do so, they couldn’t afford to raise any further flags now.

The rest of the crew began to arrive during this time as well. Some via public transport, others via chartered private transport, and then Vague and Masilda arrived with their personal craft under assigned alias’s and falsified transponder codes. Each member traveled with luggage that contained a specially shielded compartment so that they could smuggle in all of the sensitive equipment that Rossi and Orev would need to complete the heist.

Over the course of several days, the team members performed a complicated and synchronized ballet in order to get each piece of the equipment to the family sized suite that Orev, Rossi, and SlackJaw occupied. Now it was two days until the tournament started and all that was left to do was play their parts until the next phase of the heist took off.

“You think you’ll get the spike done in time?” Rossi asked as the lay on the bed flipping through the room service menu idly. She looked up and over at Orev as he sat at the suites desk working on some delicate circuitry. “Two days to go.”

The Duros grunted as he finished attaching a wire, then glanced over at her. “It’ll be ready. So long as Lyshani and Nova get us the codes.” The codes they needed were changed daily, and the ladies were assigned to acquire them from the mark that Lyshani had turned.

“According to Ansel’s report, the security chief apparently has it out for our dear pink lady.” SlackJaw interjected from the recliner he was lounging in. The droid remotely lowered the volume of the holo-screen he was watching before looking over at his companions. “Apparently he’s really got it out for Zelts. Maybe she oughta be sidelined for this phase.”

Orev shook his head slightly as he pushed the chair away from the desk to stand. “Not our call. Besides,” he walked over to the mini-fridge to grab a bottle of water. “There are a lot of credits stacked up on the board with her name on them, Lyshani will come through.”
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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Nova sighed as another sleezeball walked by and waved at her. She'd spent the last week trying to fend off approaches from random men while trying to focus on her role in the heist. Now that she was on standby she no longer had that stress hanging over her, so the extra attention didn't matter as much. That, of course, didn't make it any more pleasant. For now she'd gone back to wearing what she usually wore, a spacers jacket over a simple shirt with slacks and boots. It wasn't quite as appealing as the gown she'd worn days before, but her clothing did still hug her curves and accentuate her body. Still, it was much easier to hide her lightsaber inside her jacket than it was inside her dress and having it with her was a huge relief.

Tsivoin came over to her side of the bar and set down a shot glass in front of her before moving on to take other orders. She'd kept her contact with him to a minimum as not to blow her cover and she'd made it a point to avoid Ansel and Lyshani as well. Unfortunately, the Zeltron didn't get the memo. The woman the others affectionately referred to as "the Pink Lady" came up and sat down right next to her.

"You know, that last one didn't look half bad. Why didn't you offer to take him up to your room," she asked.

A flash of annoyance passed over Nova's features. "You know why," she whispered back, "Now stop talking to me or you're gonna blow our cover."

"Oh relax, honey, you're too wound up. We're just two people having a conversation."

As she spoke Nova could smell that intoxicating scent of hers again. It seemed like any time the Zeltron was near her that smell got stronger and it did occur to her that Lyshani had been spending more time around her lately. She shook her head trying to clear it. She knew what the Zeltron was capable of, Orev had explained it to them on the ship, but she also knew it didn't effect her at all. Or did it? She was having trouble organizing her thoughts.

"You specifically shouldn't be talking to me," Nova told her, "Blaine's been keeping an eye on you."

Lyshani smiled at that. "Oh, you're on a first-name basis now, are you? That's so sweet."

Nova felt her cheeks flush red even though she knew she shouldn't feel embarrassed. "Look, I gotta go meet with the Doc again. Just leave me alone, alright? Stop following me."

She got down from her stool and hurried off towards the exit. Lyshani watched her as she left, noting the quick shuffle of her feet. It was working. The more exposure the young Jedi had to her pheromones the more her resistance broke down. She was confident if given enough time she could break her entirely. She waved the bartender over for another drink then leaned forward on her hands. We haven't seen a Jedi in recorded history since the fall of the Grand Republic, she grumbled quietly to herself. Then Vague stumbles upon one hiding in his cargo bay and that man's first response is to sell her for money. Are all men so ridiculously short sighted? The bartender swooped by and set a drink down in front of her. As she took a sip from it she half turned and caught sight of Raav's enormous frame leaning over a craps table in the middle of the casino floor. Well, I certainly have a few things to say about that...

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

A swirl of Tabak smoke shifted its way upwards towards the ceiling of the darkened stateroom. The only light source activated was the screen of the secure holo-comm that Ansel was using. He’d retired a bit ago for the evening, having spent just enough time out on the floors of the liner to maintain his cover – the goal was to avoid suspicion, both from the liner’s crew, as well as Vague’s.

“Again, we appreciate your support and allegiance to the Order, Mr. Brimm but the Admiral does not wish to delay action any further. Our team is on it’s way there presently.”

“Now you listen to me, this is my Op. I’m the one that uncovered the assets, and I’m delivering them to you on a plater. Don’t mistake my allegiance for some sort of misguided charity. The Order didn’t do me any favors while I was wasting away in that prison on Chandrilla. You will wait, because I need to make certain that my future is taken care of. If you don’t tell your goons to hold off until my signal I will raise the alarm and your precious targets will go back underground and you’ll be back to square one, do you understand me?”

There was a long pause on the other end of the line, and Ansel Brimm puffed away at his cigarra as he waited. The forger hadn’t lied. He did align himself with the human-centrist friendly First Order, this much was true. But that was because he had no faith in the fledgling New Republic and their pandering to the lesser species and outer rim worlds. At the end of the day, Ansel Brimm only worshiped at the alter of himself, and of credits. He would hand over the Zabrak and the Girl to the First Order for a handsome reward, and during the confusion he would make off with the Oracle, too.

Finally the comm beeped again. “Mr. Brimm, the Admiral has agreed to put the team on standby until your signal, but he asked that I remind you that should this delay result in an unsatisfactory conclusion of the operation that she will hold you personally accountable for it.”

Ansel smiled behind the haze of Tabak smoke. “Very well.” He replied and keyed the comm off. Very will, indeed.
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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by Pryde »

Nova sat alone in the small room. She could feel her heartbeat quicken as her nerves increased. She wasn't afraid of doctors, of course, she'd seen plenty of them before. However, something about this woman unsettled her to a remarkable degree. So much so that she had not wanted to come back and likely wouldn't have if Ansel hadn't insisted. She sighed and leaned back on the exam table, propping herself up on her elbows. A moment or two later the door opened and that same woman from before stepped through.

"So how are we doing today," she asked.

Nova quickly sat up and there was a slight tinge of red to her cheeks. "Fine," she said, "Everything feels fine."

"That's good," Micaiah said. She set a folder containing some flimsies down on her desk then crossed the room over to where Nova sat. "Lift up your shirt."

Nova did as she asked and the woman peeled back the bacta patch to examine the bruise around her ribs. She gently touched her fingertips to the bruise and noted the way Nova winced upon her touch. It wasn't as severe as before which meant the pain must be subsiding slightly. She did a quick examination of the rest of Nova's ribcage and when she was satisfied that no other bones were broken she replaced the girl's bacta patch with a new one.

"Your ribs seem to be healing nicely," she announced.

Nova hoped that meant she could leave. "Sooo, can I go now?"

"In a moment," Micaiah told her, "I just have a few more questions."

Nova sighed heavily. This is starting to feel like an interrogation. She couldn't have been more right.

"You know, as the ship's doctor I am required to report any suspicious activity," Micaiah began.

Nova looked incredulous. "I fail to see what this has to do with me."

"Do you," she asked, fixing the girl with a keen stare. "While most of our patrons do carry blasters with them ancient weapons from a bygone era are exceedingly rare."

The girl's eyes widened in alarm. "What are you talking about?"

"This," Micaiah said, holding up Nova's lightsaber hilt.

Nova immediately reached inside her jacket to find her weapon missing, wondering just how exactly the doctor had managed to lift it without her noticing. "I can explain that. It's not what you think."

"Is this not the weapon of a Jedi," she asked, tossing it back to her.

Nova fumbled with it for a bit before she finally caught it. She opened her mouth to speak, but the woman held up a hand and cut her off.

"Before you lie to me, you should know that I already figured you out the first time I saw you," she said. "You see, my people believe in an entity we refer to as the Seldarine. I believe you call it the Force. My people and I share a deep connection to it and many of us are even capable of seeing the Seldarine of others. Yours is brighter than any I've seen before and its flow around you is controlled, organized. Not like the chaos I see in others. You've had training."

"You think I'm a Jedi," Nova asked, trying her best to sound skeptical.

"You carry a Jedi's weapon," Micaiah pointed out. Nova opened her mouth to object but again the doctor waved her off. "Don't worry, I'm not going to turn you in. I just have to ask, why are you here?"

Nova looked confused. "What do you mean?"

"Once upon a time the Jedi were the heroes of the Republic," Micaiah explained, "Until they were betrayed by the Chancellor and labeled as traitors. Thanks to the Jedi Purge that followed it's nearly impossible to find one today. Though I did not think I should look for one rolling dice on a luxury cruise liner. Gambling is a bit beneath your Order, isn't it?"

What Order, Nova thought, there's no one left but me. "That's hardly any of your business."

Micaiah nodded. "You're right, of course. I'm just surprised to find a hero of the ancient Republic sitting in my examination room."

"I'm not a hero," Nova told her firmly, "I'm just trying to survive."

Micaiah looked surprised at the tone of her voice then gently shook her head. "Anyone can be a hero, Miss O'Connor, if they choose to be," she said, then she half turned and picked up the folder lying on her desk. "Anyway, I think we're finished here. Your ribs should be fully healed soon and that bacta should hold out for another week. If you have any questions or concerns please see the nurse up front. Good day, Miss O'Connor. I hope you enjoy your stay aboard the Wanderlust."

She left the room, leaving a bewildered Nova sitting alone holding her lightsaber. Great, she grumbled to herself, how am I going to explain this to Vague?

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

Vague took a moment to glance away from the game of Sabaac he was playing in order to survey the casino's floor. He'd trimmed his facial hair into an audacious mustache, was wearing colored contacts, and had applied a spray to his skin to alter his complexion all to better embody his alias for this heist, Quentin King. King was known throughout the gambling world as a high risk player who was fast with credits, cards, and women... The persona was perfect for this op because no one would think twice about the fact that he'd buy into the mega-stakes tournament, but also that some of the more prolific and professional players wouldn't see his cavalier approach to gambling as a threat to their chances.

His eyes scanned for a few moments making note of several of his crew members that were also on the floor. Lyshani was doing- well whatever it was that Lyshani did- over by the the holo-gambling machines, Raav seemed to be striking up a friendly conversation with Tsivoin who was posing as a server here at the Casino for the duration of the heist, he had caught a glimpse of Masilda earlier but couldn't find the Ryn at this moment... and. No Ansel, no Nova... he remarked to himself. Odd, that.

A brief exclamation brought his focus back to the table as the Twi'lek sitting across from him took the round. Vague smiled cooly and tossed his cards into the pile near the dealer effortlessly before settling in for the next round. He needed to check in with Orev, Rossi, and SlackJaw later in the evening to make sure they were progressing on schedule, but for now he needed to lose just the right amount of credits in front of the Casino's staff and security.

*Empty space near the Wanderlust's engine wake*

"Realspace in ten." Tarhead spoke then keyed off the tranpsorts intercom system and set his gloved hands to manipulating the controls.

Sitting in the cockpit of the MPAT/R transport was Sable Detachments communications specialist Hook. A readout in between the two First Order Raider's was rapidly counting down towards zero. Neither trooper turned around when the door separating the cockpit from the rest of the craft swished open. They'd expected Odist, the detachments commander, to want to oversee their approach with eyes on.

"Baffles armed?" He asked the pair as he came to a stop with his hands resting on both of their headrests. They were dressed in full First Order Raider armor, it's coloration a variation of shades of gray. The MPAT/R they were in was a specialized class of troop transport with advanced and experimental stealth equipment, allowing First Order Raider detachments like their own to insert into systems or land on planets undetected in order to execute their missions.

"Aye sir, baffles armed and the sensor jammers are already squawking." Hook replied. "Any update on the rat?" He added, referring to the whistle-blower that had tipped the Admiral off to the whereabouts of the two wanted force users.

"We snagged a tight beam transmission a few minutes ago, were to infil onto the ship and then go on standby until the asset signals," Odist paused for the briefest of moments, and as if he were able to predict the pairs objection he added, "Admirals orders. I don't like it any more than you do."

Before either trooper could reply further, the timer ticked to zero and the mottled blue and white flashes of hyperspace gave way to a tunnel of starlines, and then as the transport completed it's rapid deceleration the lines contracted into individual points of starlight. The transport drifted idle for a handful of moments as it's systems reacted to their new location and the sensors probed outward, searching for any sign that their arrival may have been detected. There was no such indication.

"Take us in." Odist ordered, then made his way back out of the cockpit towards the rest of his Raiders.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by Pryde »

Nova was quite clearly distracted as she left the infirmary. She almost didn't even notice when one of the ship's crew stopped to get her attention. She'd passed by the man without a second thought and he had to quickly hurry to catch up with her. A tap on her shoulder finally caused her to stop and turn around. "What," she asked and in hindsight that sounded a bit more curt than she had intended.

"I'm sorry to intrude, Miss, but I have a message for you," he said, handing her a note along with a datachit.

Nova gave him a confused look but took the note and datachit anyway. She unfolded the small piece of flimsy and read the message that had been scrawled for her. 'Security watching me very intently, had to get creative. Do be a dear and pass these along to Revvy and Ross.' She glanced down at the datachit in her hand then quickly shoved it into her pocket. The man who had approached her wasn't someone she'd seen Lyshani interact with before. Her mark had the security codes Rossi would need to access the ship's systems, but with security watching the Zeltron's every move obviously she couldn't make the approach herself. That would make the man she'd just interacted with a cut in. A middleman between Lyshani, her mark and Nova that the Zeltron must have influenced with her pheromones. Either way, it looked like Lyshani had finally pulled through with her end of the operation and now it was up to Nova to make sure these codes got to where they needed to go.

Back out on the floor the crowd that had gathered for the high stakes poker tournament had nearly tripled in size. The young Jedi could see Vague sitting at one of the Sabaac tables wearing his Quentin King alias. Lyshani had been putting on a grand show of being exactly where she needed to be so that security could see her at all times and Tsivoin was right about where Nova had seen him last along with Raav, her favorite new addition to their team. She sighed and headed up the stairs to where her room was located. Along the way she made a pit stop at the room she knew Rossi and Orev were staying in. She knocked lightly at the door and waited a few seconds for someone to let her in. Once inside the room she reached into her pocket and handed the datachit to Rossi.

"Compliments of the Pink Lady," she said, her tone dripping with sarcasm. Rossi understood where she was coming from, Lyshani was a bit of an acquired taste.

The Kessurian took the chit from her and shoved it into a slot on her computer. "Okay, yea. These should grant us a back door into their system," she said.

"Great," Nova answered, "The sooner we get this done the better. Anyway, I need to--," she stopped suddenly when a wave of dizziness washed over her. Feeling lightheaded she fell against the bulkhead but somehow managed to keep herself upright.

Rossi and Orev looked at her in concern. "You alright, Kid," Orev asked.

It took a moment for Nova to answer. This wasn't just a normal dizzy spell, it was a warning from the Force. Something bad was about to happen, but she couldn't be sure what. Was it enough to call off the operation? She resisted the urge to shake her head. No, she couldn't call this off. They were already in way too deep and besides, what would see even tell everyone? Everyone, we need to fall back because I had a bad premonition? The simple thought of it was absurd. Doing so would ruin nearly a month of careful planning.

"I'm fine," she said finally, "Just--lightheaded. Anyway, like I was saying I'm going to go lie down..."

**********

Later that evening the ship's 'young' doctor was enjoying a bit of free time out on the casino floor. She didn't get involved too much with gambling at the casino but she loved to watch others play. The range of emotions that were on display everywhere she looked was oftentimes staggering. On one side of her a man wailed at the loss of what was apparently his life savings, on the other a woman whooped excitedly upon hitting the jackpot on a nearby slot machine. Though, in all honesty, it wasn't the disparity between these two extremes that interested her the most but rather the people themselves.

On some level everyone present knew that the odds of winning were stacked against the player yet people would often line up to play anyway. It was the illogical behavior of gamblers that intrigued her the most and identifying those who were more susceptible to it was as simple as reading their reactions. The games were all very cleverly designed to reward players for their persistence, to keep them playing and spend more money. Each win acted as a catalyst to encourage the player to spend just a little bit more in the hopes of winning even bigger next time, but ultimately everyone goes home a loser at some point. Only those few with the discipline to control their impulses manage to leave after breaking even or maybe even a little bit ahead. She found the whole affair rather fascinating, if a bit egregious. Tricking vulnerable adults out of their life savings was in fact in poor taste, but that was the business of a casino.

With a sigh she sat down at the bar to order a drink. After giving the bartender her order she half turned in her seat to watch the players at the sabaac tables. Sabaac was one of the few games at the casino she considered to be at least partially fair. After all, the goal of the game wasn't necessarily to have the winning hand, but rather to make the other players at the table think you have the winning hand. It was effectively a game of social engineering where the players involved actually have a bit of agency. In the end, though, a bad hand was still a bad hand and even the best players need to know when to fold.

The soft thud of a glass against wood drew her attention and she turned back to thank the bartender. She lifted the drink up to her lips and took a sip, savoring its gentle, fruity taste. A moment later a man stepped up next to her, leaned against the bar and began to order something. Micaiah glanced up at him and was surprised to see who it was.

"Quentin King," she said in an amused tone, "taking a break from slinging cards?"

Quentin blinked twice at her in confusion. "I'm sorry, have we met?"

Micaiah shook her head. "No, but you're all anyone's talking about. Quentin King, the famous card player... Or do you prefer 'infamous'," she asked, giving him a sidelong glance. "Your entry into the tournament turned quite a few heads, if I recall. Last I heard the field was divided between those who are worried you're going to win it all and those who believe you won't make it past the first round."

Quentin smiled at that and leaned in a bit closer. "Which do you believe," he asked curiously.

"I believe," she began, giving him a sly, all-knowing look, "judging from the way you're eyeing my chest right now that the tournament is the last thing on your mind."

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

Vague had intended to return to play another hand or two of cards before ducking out of the casino for the night, but he reckoned he’d put on enough of a show at the tables for the staff tonight... and if what this odd and alluring beauty said was true that his arrival was being discussed in fervor, then it would certainly make sense to play this encounter out in typical Quentin King fashion.

An easy smirk that found a way of splitting the difference between mischief and adoration shaped Vague’s lips beneath his characters trademark mustache. As he waited for the bartender to return with his drink order, he worked a credit chit between his fingers on the bar top and let his artificially colored blue eyes examine the young doctor a bit more thoroughly.

Finally, she gave Micaiah a playful shrug and replied. “Guilty as charged, I’m afraid. Tourney kicks off tomorrow afternoon, that’s ages away. King lives in the present - and the night is still very young.” His gaze finished the curvy course it had taken over her figure and settled itself front and center, locking with her own. He heard the sound of his drink being delivered and flipped the generous cred chit to the bartender before grabbing the lowball glass and taking a slow sip, all without breaking eye contact with the Sylarian. “If I might ask, what drew a starblessed dame like yourself here to the Wanderlust?”

"A sense of adventure? Credits? I don't know. I think the word 'wanderlust' sums it up pretty nicely."

Vague’s smirk morphed into the garrish full grin of Quentin King, and he raised his glass towards the... come to think of it, Vague couldn’t identify the woman’s species. She was gorgeous, that was hard to miss, even if her choice of more subdued and practical clothing seemed at least partially designed to downplay that... but with her shock-white hair and grey eyes, he considered maybe an offshoot off Arkanian? It wasn’t relevant, he reminded himself. “To credits, then, and the sometimes honorable pursuit of them.” He offered as a toast.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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Micaiah allowed herself a smile as she raised her glass and said, "To credits."

They clinked their glasses together and as she sipped from her drink she glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. There was something off about him that she just couldn't quite put her finger on. The way his gaze lingered upon her figure very clearly suggested his intentions, but the lack of carnal attraction in his eyes seemed to suggest something else entirely. It was almost as though he were two separate people. That seemed kind of odd given his reputation as a sleazy womanizer.

"I must confess," she continued, putting her drink down, "I'm not very familiar with the game of Sabaac. It's not one that's played very often where I'm from."

"Oh really, and where is that," he asked.

She gave him a coy look then half-turned to glance at her drink. "Somewhere very far from here," was all she told him.

Vague took a slow drink from his glass. The cocktail was far to pretentious and a bit too sweet for his taste, but it played with the King persona well. His eyes flicked around their immediate surroundings once, then he shifted his feet and opened up his stance and body posture more fully in her direction.

The way she answered his question... sounded like there was a story there. Vague likely would have pursued it, but King didn't bother himself with idle curiosity in that way. Instead, he tilted his head a bit in an effort to lock eyes with her again.

"I've got the time, if you wanted to learn from a practiced hand." he offered, jerking his head slightly back at the tables. "Or," he paused and spared a glance towards the exit. "We could ditch the crowd instead?"

There was that strange oddity again. Sylarians, like Zeltrons, were empathetic creatures capable of reading the emotions of others, though unlike Zeltrons, Sylarians did not manage this through the use of telepathy but rather an acute sense of awareness. In a process not unlike cold reading a Sylarian could intuitively analyze another person's body language and accurately deduce how that person was feeling. Here Quentin was very obviously inviting her back to his room, but the invitation felt rather mechanical as though it were a calculated decision rather than one motivated by lust.

She had arrived at this conclusion the same way she would as a doctor, by studying her subject. Looking at Quentin's face she noted that there was a distinct lack of color in his cheeks. His palms didn't appear to be sweaty and if she closed her eyes and listened through the Force she could feel his heart rate was as steady as hers. On top of that, he seemed somewhat distracted, glancing around at his surroundings as if checking to see who was watching. It almost felt as though he were simply making the offer to her as a matter of formality. He did, after all, have a reputation for bedding nearly every woman he interacted with.

If that were true, though, that would imply that he was simply asking her out of a necessity for maintaining his reputation rather than from any kind of actual desire. Which is not what she expected of him. He lacked the telltale signs of attraction but managed to put on a good show either way. So maybe that's just who he was. Still, this odd contradiction between the man and the myth intrigued her somewhat, but unfortunately it wasn't enough for her to say yes to his invitation. Sylarians were not often driven by impulse and Micaiah was no exception. As much as she was enjoying their conversation her interest in him was little more than idle curiosity.

She smiled and shook her head. "I'm flattered by the offer, but I'm afraid you're far too young for me."

Quentin looked confused, judging from her appearance one might say it was very clearly the other way around. "Now you're flattering me," he said, but there was a slight edge to his tone as though he were not sure if her comment was an insult or a compliment.

"I assure you," she told him, "I mean no offense. The truth is I was born forty-seven years before the fall of the Galactic Republic."

The event she referred to happened nineteen years before the Battle of Yavin, which would make her ninety-eight. Nearly sixty years his senior if what she said was true. Yet she hardly appeared a day over the age of twenty.

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

Post by VagueDurin »

Vague took a moment to process what she'd just revealed. The corners of his eyes pinched down as he tried to re-examine her, as if he'd missed something the first time around. If there was a tell he couldn't find it. Outwardly she appeared to be half his age, yet here she was declaring she'd been alive for nearly a century. Inwardly Vague cursed his luck. Of all the aliases I could be wearing, Quentin King.

He very much wanted to know more about this woman. Who she was, where she came from, how many more beings in the galaxy were like her. Vague coveted information above almost anything else, and he loathed to let it slip away. What could he do, though? It would play against everything he'd put into creating the King alias if he heel turned now. Instead, he raised his glass in another toast. "To a long and prosperous life, then." he offered, then took a swig. "If I can't coax you into following me upstairs, could I at least trouble you for your name?" He asked.

"Micaiah," she told him. She examined his features closely. It was difficult to tell if that toast was genuine or not. Or whether he was just mocking her. Just looking at him it almost sounded like he didn't believe her. Finally, she downed the rest of her drink and set the empty glass back down atop the bar.

"You know what," she said, "Maybe we should ditch the crowds." Then she got up and started heading for the exit. "Follow me."

Vague paused inwardly at her sudden reversal, but showed no outward sign of hesitation. Quentin King wouldn't think twice, after all. He swirled what remained of his cocktail in the glass for a moment, then knocked it back and set the glass next to her own. "By your lead, Micaiah." He replied and turned away from the bar and followed after her without an once of the grace that the Sylarian was moving with.

Micaiah said nothing as she walked, simply tucking her hair under her jacket and ignoring everything he said. They were outside the casino and down the hall heading towards the observation deck. Micaiah imagined that Quentin's disappointment must feel palpable. He probably thought they were going someplace to be alone. She allowed herself a small smirk as she pulled a veil out of her pocket and wrapped the rest of her hair in it as they entered the observation deck. She took a quick look around and surprisingly there were only a few couples there. She imagined this place would be packed with vacationing lovers, but the crowd was actually fairly sparse. There was enough room around them to actually afford them a bit of privacy.

"So, why are we here," Quentin asked, looking as confused as ever.

Micaiah sighed and exited the shadow out into the sunlight. She partially removed her veil and turned back to look at him. "This," she said and as the sun's light surrounded the Sylarian her hair began to glow, creating a faint aura that surrounded her. "It's photosynthesis," she explained to him, "Like in plants. My people possess limited regenerative capabilities that extend the life of our cells. This process is a part of it. We take in nutrients from the sun's light to repair damaged cells, that's how we're able to live so long."

Quentin seemed even more confused than before. "Why are you showing this to me?"

Micaiah shrugged as she pulled her veil back over her head and the glow around her faded to nothing. "Just a feeling," she said, "Since I met you, you've contradicted everything I know about you. Quentin King, the sleazy womanizer. I half expected you to try to pick me up and you did, but something about it just felt off. I don't need to explain to you the physical signs of attraction, do I?" At his blank stare she sighed. "Attraction, lust, and love, are all emotions attributed to the heart, but the fact is they all happen in the brain. The release of certain chemicals into your system such as dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine can leave physical and very visible effects upon your body signifying your interest in another. Yet none of these do I see in you, which has led me to conclude that you invited me to your room simply because that is what was expected of you. So, you could say my curiosity got the better of me. I know a little something about what it feels like to be more than what you're pretending to be."

It was a struggle for Vague to strike the right posture for the King persona. Truth be told, he’d never really been placed in a situation quite like this as Quentin and it was difficult to imagine how the reckless gambler would take to this. Vague had half the mind to drop the act all together, but even in this low traffic area of the ship that posed too great a risk to his plan and his crew. Maybe if they’d ended up at either his or her private rooms things could have spun in that direction, but as it stood now such a choice would bring with it too many questions and was an unnecessary risk. She was expecting shallow and basic, he needed to deliver that. With practiced skill he let an exaggerated sour expression crease his features and replied with mock indignance.

“It’s sleazy womanizer, now?” He asked, then half turned and hitched a thumb back in the direction they’d come from. “What happened to famous card player?”

Micaiah stared at him a moment. Maybe he really was as shallow as people say. "You did eye me from head to toe the first time you saw me," she pointed out, "Then your second move was to solicit me. I admit, the sleazy part is only what people say about you, but if it smells like a Loth cat...," she left the rest hanging in the air. "However, I seem to have offended your sensibilities, I apologize. Perhaps I overestimated you."

She stuffed her hands into her pockets then and stepped around him towards the door. "Good day, Mr. King," she threw back over her shoulder as she walked away.

As he watched her leave Quentin could just barely overhear her muttering to herself as she went. "The data was correct but my hypothesis was wrong, I'll have to make a note of this..."

Vague sighed just a bit as she left. She wasn’t wrong, and he wished there’d been another way, but he couldn’t afford the risk and it had never been his intention to get King involved with anyone on this job. The experienced conman was not one to shy away from exploitative tactics when they were called for but he did not take any pleasure in pulling bantha fur over an innocent beings eyes. He waited just a few more moments staring out of the observation deck, before he reminded himself that Micaiah had indeed been the one to initiate their conversation and then he set off down the corridor in the opposite direction as she had, it was time to check in on Rossi, Orev and SlackJaw. Tomorrow was going to be a very busy day.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: Star Wars: Through the Never

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The next day was the big day. For nearly a month they've been preparing for this heist and now that it was finally time Nova suddenly had butterflies in her stomach. She leaned against the bulkhead and sighed, holding the copied code cylinder to her eyes to inspect it. How did I get picked for this job, she asked herself. She knew the answer, of course. Ansel was just a computer monkey, Tsivoin lacked the necessary skills and Lyshani had too many eyes on her. The only one who could conceivably deactivate the secondary power grid was her. This wasn't part of her training, though, she didn't rehearse this. At this point she was officially flying by the seat of her pants. To make matters worse she knew in the control room she needed to break into that there was always at least one guard on duty. They didn't have time to watch for shift changes, so if something were to go wrong she'd have to improvise.

"Just do that thing you're always fond of doing," Lyshani had told her in reference to her Jedi mind trick. As if it were that simple, she thought. She'd been lucky with it so far, but it wasn't always a guarantee. She could have tried using it on the head of security the day they copied his code cylinder. However, he resisted Lyshani's pheromones, which meant he was either immune or possessed incredible willpower. Either way Nova suspected a Jedi mind trick would not work on him. And if he's the one sitting in that control room... She let her thoughts trail off. Such an occurrence was impossible. The head of security would not stoop to working such a low salary position such as that. She was just letting her nerves get the best of her.

Down the hallway she could hear a loud ruckus as the card tournament was about to start. Vague would be making his move soon, the time to procrastinate was over. She sighed and pushed off from the bulkhead. "Four, this is five," she whispered under her breath, "Moving into position now..."

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