Monster

Open roleplaying at the Nemesis' lounge. Open scenario locations are not restricted to the lounge.
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Open roleplaying at the Nemesis' lounge.

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The Lounge offers a wide variety of foods and drinks from all over the galaxy while looking on the breathtaking view of the stars above the 20-km long arrowhead hull of the Federation's most elite battleship.
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Spyker Katarn
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Re: Monster

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-01-22 08:43

Spyker let out a sigh of relief as Aquila/Tymora led the other woman away from his location in the garden. He flipped the safety back on the stingbeam, before stowing it back where it belonged. He continued to watch them as they headed towards the house, then sent a quick message to Keyes back on the ship. As the women were leaving, he had heard Aquila's voice—there had been a very subtle change in her voice from one to the next, he had begun to notice—refer to the unknown as "Miss Syn." This intel needed to be investigated, and he sent it off to Keyes. After a few moments, a message returned.

Code: Select all

O: Woman likely known as Mydnyte Syn.  Known to have visited the Winte'shrine residences in the past; possibly connected with the family.  No other information available.  --K
Closing the message, Spyker looked again at the house; the two women were nowhere to be seen. All the better for him, he supposed; he'd rather not leave a trail of bodies lying around, especially not here. He pushed away from the garden hedge he had been hiding against, and moved deeper in towards the point Col. Dieter had indicated when he sent the map to Keyes. It wasn't that much farther, and he was there in only a few minutes, nicely hidden by both the natural cover and the Camoleon suit's innate properties. There was still some time before his commander arrived, and he used it to pull out one of the two Saw Whet Owl Droids from his armor.

He held it for a moment, looking over the ten centimeter-tall droid. It vaguely resembled an astromech of some kind, and Spyker flipped it around a few times before finding the power toggle. The system came alive in his hand just then, and a small picture in the corner of his HUD resolved into a clear view of the garden. A small message to Keyes, and soon the diminutive droid was flying to an area on the other side of the garden, giving the operator and his handler two avenues from which they could listen in.

They were ready with not a moment to spare, for as soon as the droid and Spyker were both camouflaged and in position, the Colonel arrived at the meeting place. There was no doubt his quarry would also turn up soon, and he began his task: overwatch.
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“I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.”

Blitzkrieg
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Re: Monster

Post by Blitzkrieg » 2012-01-23 07:29

Wolfgang had to admit, he hadn't been expecting an entire cadre of security personnel from the estate to be his welcoming party; in truth, he had expected a pair of guards that would be easily dismissed, and Lady Winte'Shrine, that he might have a brief conversation with her. While he listened to the senior guard, he took a brief look at the wrist-computer he wore, as though checking it for the time; the mention of an assassin had him worried, as it could have easily been a misconception of the backup he'd brought with him for this rendezvous, and that would lead to bad things all around. Whatever the Hell it is, though... he thought to himself briefly, letting that trail off as he turned to look at the estate. Calmly, he nodded once to the guardsman, favoring him with a polite, gentlemanly smile. "Forgive me, kind sir, but I feel my services are most necessary within the estate; if an assassin is on the grounds, I insist that he must be made to get through me."

It was at this that the high-colonel refused to wait for a response; instead, he began heading for the rear entry to the estate, sighing to himself. The guardsman and his colleagues would no doubt be following him, though he imagined that they would at least maintain a respectful distance; he had, after all, saved their charge on the night of the Midsummer Festival, and they had that evening as sufficient evidence to believe that he had her safety in mind. Just as well, had he any desire to storm the place with violent intent, he could have used far more resources to do so, and the guards would have been powerless to even detect him until it was too late. Closing on the back door, he brought the wrist-comp back up, tapping in a short message that he directed to both Keyes and Omega.

Code: Select all

K, O: responding to word from palace guards of assassin; moving into estate proper.  Scan to be safe.  Message ends.
Once he was inside the estate, Wolfgang moved for the stairwell that led up to the residency quarters. The soft thrum of the turbolift motor caused him to turn, at which time he noticed that the personnel lft to the residency was moving...judging from the sound of the motion and the direction the outer lighting of the control panel was heading, he figured that it was coming down, Waiting at the fooot of the stairs, he positioned himelf so that he could get a decent viewing angle on the lift door while maintaining an angle for everything around the stairs. He was there, after all, to meet with his beloved, and while he wasn't assigned to her guard detail, he'd be damned if he faltered her, if this alleged assassin turned out to be more than the mistake he thought it was.

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Spyker Katarn
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Re: Monster

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-01-29 08:22

Spyker fired off a quick acknowledgment to the Colonel, then loosed his second Saw Whet. This one, he took control of, taking it up to its max ceiling of twenty meters before spinning it in a 360. The signal was downlinked to his own HUD, as well as to the systems on board the Lambda, where it was double checked by Keyes. Standard visual returned nothing, as did what little could be seen through thermal after the heat of the day was absorbed by the manor grounds. Although he continued to check, Spyker began to wonder if it was indeed a mistake.

Mentally reviewing his infiltration, Spyker went over every step from the outside wall to his current position. The wall had been monitored, but he made sure not to hit the pressure sensors or be seen by anything nearby during the rappel. The forest was perfect for using his Camoleon suit, and he took great pains not to leave much in the way of sign; he'd bet a month's salary the security teams weren't able to track that well in the forest. Aquila had stumbled onto him only a little while ago, but the alert had occurred long before then. His Force connection likely would have warned him if anyone had directly seen him, and he felt nothing; there was the faint returns from the guards on the ground, and a pair of somewhat stronger returns, but nothing to say he had been detected.

Under his helmet, he frowned. The alert wasn't caused by him; Spyker was sure of it. With some consternation, he reported back as such.

On the shuttle, Keyes was checking every sensor log he could find; given the shuttle's limited mission capabilities, there wasn't much. No ships had entered or left the area since their arrival, and he could find no evidence that there even was, indeed, any actual assassin. The only ship in the area had been theirs, and...wait.

The hatch. It had malfunctioned when they landed, and he'd opened and reclosed it to clear whatever was wrong with it. If that had been misinterpreted, it might have been the source of the alert. He fired off a message to the Colonel seeking confirmation of the source, as well as a short description of what happened. With any luck, it would be only a misunderstanding, but the confirmation would have to come from the Director. It was the only way to be sure.
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“I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.”

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Laurel WinteShrine
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Re: Monster

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2012-03-01 11:27

Laurel marched with authority beside Diri, her eyes bright and alert from beneath the brim of her cover as they made their way through the halls, doing their best to avoid as much of the security personnel as possible. Her doppelganger, however, played the part beautifully; she strode through the hallways with an innate grace that would have defied any suspicions of her true identity, causing Laurel to giggle softly to herself, proud of her grandeur.

Knots of roaming guards stopped to observe the two carefully, Diri off-handedly mentioning that she would shoot someone in order to keep their cover. Laurel was not sure if she had been serious or not about this remark, but was determined to avoid any other drastic measures to escape. Security had indeed made a panoply of the search, and were luckily most only nodded with satisfaction at what looked like the Lady Winte’Shrine being properly escorted to safety by a senior guard.
..Albeit a noticeably small guard, but was being closely watched, nonetheless.

The Ensign exhaled a steady breath as they stepped into the elevator and avoided a confrontation with another servant, though she was not foolish enough to let her guard down, not yet. “We are making our way toward the front gate,” Laurel began in response to Diri’s question. “Its still too early yet for them to be going in formation for the summer guard to depart.. But the confusion with this assassin business will do nicely if we play our cards right.” Laurel felt the weight of restlessness droop her eyes downward, politely covering her mouth to yawn as the elevator doors open, readying herself for another onslaught of confused guards and attendants.

She was not ready, however, to see Wolfgang Dieter himself standing not five feet away from the open doors, back turned as he waited for the lift to descend. A cold slice of panic seized her chest as she practically yanked Diri from the lift, making a sharp turn and throwing the poor thing into an adjacent bedroom, barely getting the door shut as she turned to see the High Colonel looking down watchfully at her.

Laurel kept her head low as if in reverence to the High Colonel, exhaling a soft breath and kept her voice low and was purposefully succinct in her regard to him. “Sir.” There was no doubt in her mind that he could have known it was her; even if by some miracle he did not recognize her scent, small nuances like the perfume that she always wore, her mannerisms, could easily give her away. He seemed to be unsure of how to proceed as well.

Wolfgang cleared his throat, and pulled something away from his hip and genteelly held it out for her: A firearm. "Guard; hold to this for now, and give it unto your charge when you are clear of this place,” he offered. “It has served me well in countless a battle in this war; may it aid her just as faithfully."

Laurel was confused as she gingerly received the gun from him, braving a look up into his eyes, her gaze warm, if not wary. What could she possibly say that she had not already? And, if he had been so opposed to her departure alone, why was he helping her now? There were no other words that passed between them as she arose on her feet to kiss his forehead; for gratitude as well as in apology.

The sound of something small shattering upon the floor registered as the smell of something absolutely delicious wafted up between them. The telltale blue bottle of the pheremone lay at their feet, fallen from her pocket, Laurel’s eyes apologetic. His eyes widened in realization, as she backed away with tears threatening to brim over her eyes at her treachery. He would never forgive her.
“I am so sorry.”
She did not deserve it.

It had been a last resort, an impulsive decision, but she had to be sure that he would not follow her, that he would ultimately be safe. Quickly turning to retrieve Diri, she avoided his gaze as the two young women took off down the hall; away from the seductive fragrance, and away from Laurel’s shame, if only for the time being.

They made their way down the empty hallways, slowing into a fast, determined walk until at last they made it to the front door. Walking towards the guards standing sentry, she purposefully cleared her throat and made she sure spoke without being seen, so as to give the impression that Diri was speaking as they approached, her face bowed downwards and behind the long locks of the wig as well. “Call a hover cab. I wish to be escorted off the grounds,” Laurel was never so blunt with the personnel of the household, but hoped that urgency rang of some fear of this ‘assassin’ lurking about. “I am returning to my quarters and do not require assistance past the gate. Is that understood?” Her heart hurt to give orders in this way, but she had to be sure that her double would be safe even without her present.

Laurel surmised the hanbok Diri was wearing would serve as payment enough for this extra service: the fabric alone would fetch a hefty sum, not including the embellishments and embroidery upon it; Diri was free to do with it as she so wished. The Zeltron turned once to brave a look at Laurel as she was being escorted away by a single guard, the young Ensign’s eyes grateful as she mouthed something, once, to her:
Thank you.

Quickly running out toward the eastern exit to the estate, toward the back gateway and past the gardens, Laurel caught a handful of guard out on the stoop, smoking cigarras. At her approach, they quickly stiffened, stubbing out the burning wink of the red tips, their faces guilty: Indeed, if it had been her mother who had caught them, she would have thrown an absolute fit.

Their eyes suddenly widened with recognition, bewildered to see Laurel clad in a guard uniform, flushed and breathless. “I am taking precautions,” she quickly offered, gesturing beyond the gate toward the hangar. “Let us say that you won’t tell anyone I was wearing this to avoid the assassin,” here, she feigned a sheepish smile. “…And I won’t tell anyone that you were smoking on the grounds. Agreed?” They looked unsure but hesitantly began to nod, allowing Laurel to make her way to the hangar of the estate unchallenged.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“It has all been arranged, Milady,” the pilot began, the gentle thrum of the engines sounding as they began to lift off. “The group from Jephrie has contacted us, and will be awaiting us once we land for the ‘shipment’.” His eyes saddened, as if he looked unsure of their purpose in doing this. “Milady.. What is it that you have planned? This group seemed to be of a sinister sort, highly untrustworthy. What business could you possibly have with them? Milady? Are you listening?”

Laurel had already turned away, too frustrated and exhausted with her motives being questioned, as unsound as they now seemed even for her reasoning. She heard the pilot sigh in defeat behind her, the door sliding shut with a finalized hiss as she made her way to the cargo hold. In the corner awaiting her was a large, dark object. It seemed misplaced here in the sparse room; a casket.

She carefully walked over to it, taking a deep breath as she opened the heavy lid, and placing Wolfgang’s gift beneath the cushion where she knew that the jian she had previously ordered lay.. along with the mysterious sword Thess had given her, forged by the Emperor himself. She had been long in deliberating about bringing it, but it seemed almost… tempting fate if she did not. It had been bad enough that she had refused the help of the others; if there were a means for her to better come back to them without placing them in harms way, she would take it.

Laurel knew that she was not very strong by herself.. but with these, maybe, just maybe

The Ensign quickly undressed, taking off the guard uniform and unpinning her hair with one had as she uncovered a secondary package, untying it. A neatly folded, back stealth suit lay within. She quickly put it on and zipped it up, also pulling out one of her typical house robes to conceal it under, should one be so bold to open the casket and see her at some point whilst she lay unconscious. She fished out the three vials from before along with a small pill from the back of the suit, taking out the blue one and did her best to ignore the two with milky-white toxin as she put them away. Heaven forbid if she had to use either of them. Quickly swallowing the pill-- the contraindication to the sedatives --she quickly began to dress in the robes over suit.

She had been careful not to choose a gown that was too elaborate, as if she had been struck by whatever malady that befell her whilst meandering about the house on a typical day, unawares. For all she knew, this facility could have believed that the sender itself could have killed her, and they would not have cared. The thought made her shudder with revulsion, the knowledge that such people could exist.

The young woman herself had contacted the facility using untraceable means: The body of Laureleiden Ophelia Winte’Shrine, aged 23. The details she had given had been scant, but she had made doubly sure that above all it seemed the body had not been compromised in any way.

Either by sheer desperation or negligence to delve deeper into her fake message, they had sent her a reply within a mere two minutes after it had been sent.
A perfect, intact, test subject.
One that she knew made for a coveted asset to this organization, for whatever reason. The shady group on Jephrie itself did not know the details, only that the pay for the delivery of casket was considerable enough if taken to the laboratory facility on Dosuun without tampering and no questions asked.

Laurel finished dressing the robe over the stealth suit, tying the lacy ribbon about her throat so as to conceal the black fabric beneath, and pulling down the long sleeves of the robe to do the same. Her thoughts began to darken, her nerve arising as she quickly put on and laced up her boots.

What if… she woke up already on a dissection table? Her fingers hesitated.

..What if she did not wake up at all?

Laurel had gone too far at this point to lose her nerve, and if she already taken the awakening drug at the exact time if she had wanted to wake up when she had planned.
She was wasting her time, her chance, that she had fought so hard and long for. Quickly, she finished with her boots, picking up the blue sedative and eyed the vial as if testing her mettle for a final time.
You’re being weak again.

She steeled herself, snapping the head of the ampoule off and sipping the liquid down through hesitant lips, pursing them so as to deter any bits of glass that may have fallen through. Moments passed as she set the empty vial on the floor, her hands wringing themselves in worry in her robe. Nothing happened as she lay herself down in the casket as if to test it, not daring to shut the lid; her claustrophobia still existed with a livid vehemence within her, the consequence of having spent a childhood shut away after Euphemede had gone.
She stood in the casket, crossing her arms, waiting. Footsteps sounded nearby, and she began to suspect that someone had discovered the drugs, or the the pharmacist had-

A moment later, she gripped herself, her eyes wide as a strangled cry suddenly arose to her lips, her hands flying to her throat.

A sharp cold laced an intricate pattern of frost through her veins; the void first blooming in her fingers, her toes, and reaching fingers of ice upward to claim the feeling in her limbs. It ran insatiably through her body, consuming her senses, stealing them away. Laurel stumbled backwards on phantom legs, only falling once more and striking her heard against the edge of the inner casket, further heightening the numbing buzz that blossomed in the back of her skull. She realized that she was going into some kind of drug-induced shock.
Or dying.
Truly, she did not doubt that it would feel the same.

She did not see as her skin whitened into an alabaster from the sudden disruption to her system, her flushed lips and cheeks quickly draining into a white pallor as her vision began to blur, both from her frightened tears and the influence of the drugs now quickly taking hold within her. The world spun, her breath becoming shorter, ebbing away.

Laurel took this as penance: An arrest of her sins for leaving her dear friends Mydnyte and Aquila behind, for drugging Wolfgang, and Force knows what else she would have to do to find her sister before she was through. Atonement for her sins, her selfishness. Quickly, her thoughts began to abandon her, leaving her in a hell worse than she could have fathomed, worse than being shut away from the world; she felt nothing.

Her eyes drifted shut of their own accord, mind quickly following suit as it desperately conceded to the hazy memory of a moonlit hallway, to arms that held her safe in the darkness and she thought no more.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fallinor swore aloud to himself when he saw the state Laurel was in several minutes later, as still and white as death. The guard had seen many bodies when he had served in the war to be sure, but seeing the body of a woman, especially one so beloved as this, still made him blanch with a deep-seated horror.

A fallen mess of robe and ribbon, limbs and hair; a broken doll halfway out of her case with her hand pressed lain her chest. He feared greatly for the mistress-- they all had been, to be honest --but she had begged them for months to trust her, to have faith in this mysterious plan of hers.

Still, looking at her again, he was briefly gripped of the fear that she had perhaps taken her own life, as she so looked convincingly deceased. There were dark shadows still beneath her eyes, grim testament of this nameless tension she had been under, though for the moment she had no breath in which to voice them.

Disturbed, the guard crouched low to lay his ear against her chest, beside her lips, just to be sure; her heartbeat and breath still registered, though were barely audible and slowed into an eerily faint metronome. She lived, though if only by a mere thread. Fallinor carefully and neatly tucked her into the casket as he had been instructed by her to do beforehand, locking it with a tone of finality afterward.

He stood and looked at it for a long moment afterwards, unsure if he were making the right decision. He had faith that she had a method to her madness.. Surely she would only do something so horrific to herself if there were not a good reason. Perhaps they had all been wrong- if the means of what she had been doing were so dire, what kind of trouble was she truly getting herself into?
She had been so secretive, who would know?

He thought back to the past few days, to the slew of visitors that she had in that short span of time. Notably, there was that tall fellow that he had seen at the estate from the ball, and those two young women who had come back not once, but twice. Perhaps he ought to go ask them what was wrong with the young mistress.
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{One should never confuse duty for loyalty. One either purposefully serves, or serves a purpose.}

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p r o f i l e

Thrakis Gregory
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Re: Monster

Post by Thrakis Gregory » 2012-03-09 07:58

Money is the root of all evil, or so they say. Looking at his account figures, Lukas could understand the sentiment. Money was the democratization of value, and how much of it that he had right now underscored once again his knowledge of how little people valued his contributions to science. Ah, well. Genius is undervalued, and true artists are never lauded until they die. In time, he would be recognized. Until then, his patience would see him through. Patience and cunning.

He needed credits to continue his projects. In particular, he needed to squeeze just a few more credits to complete his best work, This wasn't the first time the problem had arisen, and like every problem he had faced before, he had devised a solution. Most of his funding came from external sources—individuals, corporations, and governments which needed biomedical research performed that for various reasons they could not perform themselves. Most of them were small enterprises with big ideas that lacked the talent and facilities to conduct their own experiments, but a few of them were larger organizations that hired Lukas to perform research of a less-than-ethical nature. They gave him the credits, and they received the results. They were never told how the results were obtained, and they never asked, and that was they way they preferred it. Those organizations would not do for what Lukas had in mind; with larger profit margins came greater power and flexibility. They were not afraid to take whatever precautions they deemed necessary to protect their business. Instead, Lukas browsed the smaller organizations that had outstanding business with him. Many of the smaller ventures lacked the credits to be useful for him right now; he ruled those out. Somewhere in the middle was his sweet spot; sandwiched between the large, powerful corporations and government entities, and the under-funded start-ups and individuals was his ideal customer: small corporations with a few credits to spare and a small pile of dirty laundry to protect. They could not afford to lose their research, but they also could not afford to strike back with enough force to harm Lukas. Perfect.

The hologram resolved into the form of an insectoid alien, the same one that had first contacted Lukas nearly a month ago. He didn't know what species it was, and he didn't really care. The alien represented a small firm with some very interesting ideas into a poorly-understood area of biology. Since beginning his research, Lukas had found that there was little hard data on this topic, and that most of it was buried, suppressed, or simply forgotten. Yet he had found a few interesting clues, and with those, he had been able to establish a few working theories. There were a few experiments on his drawing boards to test those theories, but as yet he had not put much time or money into this particular project; both commodities were too precious when the eve of his vindication approached so swiftly.

The holographic alien spoke, its language a series of rasps and clicks, and a computerized voice spoke in Basic, translating over the alien's speech. ”Greetings to you. We are curious as to your reason for contacting us.”

Lukas flashed his best apologetic smile. “A good day to you, as well. I have been conducting the experiments that you requested of me, and the data I have collected is quite fascinating. However, I find that without a more significant investment of credits, I will be unable to complete this research.” He wasn't exactly lying; sure, he hadn't yet come close to spending as many credits on this line of research as he had been paid to do it, but with most of his credits going into his own grand work, he wasn't going to be able to do much of anything else without more money with which to work.

The alien gestured oddly, the meaning of the motion lost in translation. “We were lead to understand that our current level of investment was more than what would be necessary to fund your research for several months.”

Lukas shrugged. “There were unforeseen complications. I'll need a further fifty thousand credits in order to continue working. If you can't get it to me, I'll have to recoup my losses however I can. I'm sure the Empire would be willing to pay me that much for the data I have gathered thus far.” And that was the master stroke; they were not merely paying to see their project completed, but were paying to simply hold on to what they already had. “I don't want to do that,” he added. “But if you won't supply the credits I need, I'm not sure I'll have a choice.” And the final touch, just to make sure his clients understood he was on their side.

The alien responded with another series of clicks. “Am I to understand that you are holding the research for ransom against our funding?”

Lukas's expression dimmed momentarily, but he quickly resumed his cheerful mask. That was exactly what he was doing. “That seems a little extreme. I'm just trying to run a business here.”

"We will present your proposal to our partners. You will have our decision shortly.”

The transmission terminated, and Lukas sat back. They would pay. How could they not? Offhandedly, Lukas flicked the view-screens that surrounded him back on. In an hour or two, he would use the same trick on another client. Until then, there was work to be done...

Thrakis frowned. “You are sure?”

”By analysis of his vocal stress patterns and facial expressions, I have concluded that it is ninety-eight point three percent probable that he was lying to me. To be more specific, he was probably honest when he said he was having financial difficulties, but he does not seem to associate those difficulties with the research that he is conducting for you. The most likely conclusion is that he is using the funding that you have provided to him in order to fund other projects, possibly his own independent research.”

”It seems that this man requires additional motivation. Prepare my shuttle. I will see to it that he understands the obligations imposed upon him by our agreement.”

”Physical confrontation as a consequence of his failure to deliver results was not a clause in the agreement that I brokered with him.”

Thrakis chuckled. Pariah was always so serious. “Then I will alter the terms of our agreement.”

Blitzkrieg
Brigadier
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Re: Monster

Post by Blitzkrieg » 2012-03-15 03:13

As Laurel'eiden quickly made to get away from Wolfgang, he simply turned to look down at the broken bottle lying at his feet. It was small, the transparent blue glass left in haphazard shards that spoke of the unexpected fall. It was ironic, in a sense, that it had dropped before him; a symbol, for him alone to understand, of another fall that had just taken place before his very eyes. Sighing softly to himself, he knelt down to inspect the damaged container, grabbing a few shards with his mechanical hand and closing his fist around them. To say he was displeased with this was an understatement, to tell the truth of the matter. This was--as the lady no doubt fretted to herself--treachery of a deep and personal sort, and the type of act that would doubtless earn any normal man's fury. But the high-colonel had already established himself as a gentleman, which would make it that much more terrifying...for if there was one thing more frightening than the temper of a raging lunatic, it was the temper of a gentle man.

A brief moment passed, no more than half a minute, before members of the house guard were finally in the hallway with him. As they entered and took position near him, he finally bothered to stand up, eyes narrowed in silent, fuming anger as he looked for the most senior official in the group. His eyes fell on the officer quickly, and without so much as a word, he stormed over to the guard-captain, a scowl growing on his face and a snarl in his voice. "Captain," he began, the near-growl making his voice sound like jagged ice, "I want you to tell me, right now, what led to your men raising the alert for an assassin on the grounds." The man appeared apprehensive as he began to stammer out his response, stepping back just slightly, which prompted the colonel to place his right hand over the man's shoulder. In one clean motion, he pushed forward, pinning the guard-captain's back against the nearest wall; the small shards of glass from the bottle pressed gingerly against the man's uniform. "I won't ask again, kid; what made you raise the alarm?"

"Sir, I... My men reported seeing a shuttle approaching the area. One said that she saw the landing ramp open, but that nobody came out of the shuttle. The report was corroborated by an eye-witness from among the Lady's earlier guests shortly after it was relayed to me from the perimeter watch. We felt it better to raise the alert, sir...I chose to err on the side of caution."

The iron grip of the commando's right hand did not loosen; instead, he pushed harder, still scowling. "And what were the markings on this shuttle?"

"Im-Imperial, sir."

Increasing the pressure of his grasp on the guardsman's shoulder, Wolfgang pressed until he could just begin to feel the other man's muscle and bone strain under the onslaught, and the man's body lifted just slightly off the floor, and then he let go; in an instant, the guard-captain was down on one knee, clutching his injured shoulder tenderly. Wolfgang didn't linger long enough to see the confused look on the other man's face; instead, he was already off for the rear exit from the manor grounds, his anger beginning to grow with each second. Forcing himself to remain calm, he brought his wrist-computer up and began typing, the strokes fast, yet deliberate.

Code: Select all

K, O: Assassin negative.  Security reports tie suspected assassin to our shuttle, possible malfunction.  O, return to shuttle.  K, confirm: were there issues with the access ramp?  Also, prep the workbench and an M-435.  Message ends.
Within seconds of sending the message, Wolfgang found himself at the gardens in the rear of the estate, looking at a scene that doubtless brought back one of the better memories since his return from retirement. In his mind's eye, it was already nightfall, and the sky was dark save for the stars that graced this world's sky with their light throughout the evening. Exhausted from her ordeal, Laurel lay asleep among the garden's many varied plants, perhaps sleeping the dreamless sleep of the dead-tired. The mere thought of that sight calmed Wolfgang just a little...enough that he walked over to where his memory placed her, and knelt down beside the empty space in the garden, reaching his left hand out to gently touch the sleeping figure he knew was not there. His hand closed around the vacant air, and a soft sigh escaped his lips. Laurel'eiden, my darling, he thought, almost praying, as he stood up, I can still hear the soft whisper of your voice, asking me if I believe in angels. You never heard me when I at last answered...if you had, you might have an idea of how strong that faith truly is, and of where it truly rests.

Sighing to himself again, he began to make his way off the estate grounds and back to the shuttle, his thoughts continuing in this odd direction. I also believe in devils, the little demons that gloat triumphantly over our suffering when we hurt the ones we love...and louder still, when we hurt those who love us. I never told you about all of this, because I was worried about what you might think when I told you...and I was worried about how it would sound to come out and say it. Yet when I called you my angel, even though you never heard it., I meant it... We all have our demons, and we all have our angels. Sometimes, we wind up with a guardian angel, protecting us from those demons...sometimes, we need to protect the angels. The clanking of his boots against the landing ramp was the one thing that alerted Wolfgang to the fact that he'd arrived back at the shuttle; he'd been so deeply lost in his thoughts that he hadn't even looked much of anywhere on his trip back. That's why I didn't want you to do this alone, he continued, thinking these thoughts as though he were finally telling her all of them in person. Know this, my darling: I will keep you safe. I give you my word, on my blood and on my soul...and it'll be a cold day in Hell before I break that oath.

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Spyker Katarn
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Re: Monster

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-03-15 17:39

Winte'Shrine Garden

Spyker's withdrawal from the area of operations began almost as soon as he received the message from the high colonel. He needed to recall the two micro-UAVs he had deployed, and he sent the commands with a couple taps of his own wrist computer. One, he snagged out of the sky as he left his hiding spot at one side of the garden, and the other he sent back to the shuttle autonomously for later retrieval. With that task completed, he moved to the garden entrance that Aquila and her friend had left by a short time before, and scanned the area beyond.

Were he there officially, Spyker would find it a short walk from the garden to the landing pads for the air- and spacecraft of the Winte'Shrine family. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't, and he would be forced to tab over, still wary of drawing any suspicion. With the guards already jumpy about their team bringing along a potential assassin--even though that was in essence one of the man's many mission roles--he wanted to do everything he could to not provoke an incident.

Keeping that thought in mind, he stayed in the shadow of a hedge and looked out over the open space ahead of him, attempting to divine the positions of the guard staff. A tap of his wristcomp opened a video window of the second micro-UAV's travels above, and the device's onboard software helpfully marked biosigns as it passed overhead. These marks appeared on the main HUD, and Spyker felt confident after seeing it that there were no guards nearby.

The soldier's instincts told him to move, and move he did, sprinting from the cover of the hedges to the shadow of one of the low buildings dotting the grounds; a peek inside revealed tools and parts for the groundscrew. Satisfied that he had nothing to worry about here, he edged to the corner and peeked around it. Standing in his way were two guards, talking with their backs to his position and smoking cigarras. Without a shadow to hide in, and no freedom to engage, he had to find another way to get by. Thankfully, his Camoleon suit provided just the means.

A clicking of the contacts in his gauntlets dropped the suit's active mask and changed his outward appearance to that of a Winte'Shrine guard. At a distance, he would look like he fit into the existing security apparatus, but he had to make sure no one got too close. He pulled back from the edge, straightened up, dusted off, and walked brazenly around the corner. To his surprise, they never turned their attention over to him and remained engrossed in their conversation.

"What the hell, man? Some kind of drill? That's what they're telling us this was?"

"Hey, I'm just passing along what I was told. They want us to stand down, I'm going to stand down. No argument here."

"Bullshit, man. Bullshit. Whatever, we gotta get back to our posts; captain'll have my nuts in a vise if I get caught again." The two men headed in the other direction as Spyker passed by, the first one still clearly irritated by the delay in his smoke break. The seasoned soldier could do nothing but shake his head in an unseen response to the man's lack of professionalism, and re-established the active mask when he was away from the area.

He was able to move to the landing pads without any further hassle or hiccups, and saw the shuttle sitting there, sealed up and waiting for the Colonel's return. Spyker could do naught but wait for the man to get back without blowing his cover or worse, revealing that someone had indeed infiltrated the estate. Friendly or no, it was often worse for an opponent to realise someone had been there than it was to find out someone still was.

In the shadow of a hangar, he sent an arrival note to Keyes and the Colonel, grabbed the second Saw Whet on its arrival where he was, and sat back to wait for his superior to open the hatch.

Imperial Shuttle, Winte'Shrine Landing Pads

Keyes let out a small sigh when he received the communique from Colonel Dieter; all the activity on the estate had been caused by that infernal hatch mechanism, and he'd have to be sure to talk with the mechanic when they returned. Mechanical failures could spell the success or failure of a mission, and it nearly caused the latter here. When the feeds from the droids went dark, he stood up from his seat at the communications station in the cockpit, stretched, and tapped the copilot on the shoulder.

"Get the bird spun up; dustoff in less than five minutes." The copilot acknowledged the order, then nudged the pilot from where he was taking a short catnap. Within moments, the two were working their way through the preflight checklist while Keyes headed to the cargo area to follow the rest of the Director's order. A DeathHammer was retrieved and disassembled on the nearby workbench, and made ready for the SPECWARCOM head. For what, Keyes didn't know, but an order was an order, and his boss was likely to be an angry man.

When done, he moved to the access ramp and hit the button to open it up; by the time it was lowered, the shuttle's passengers would be there, waiting.
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Re: Monster

Post by Blitzkrieg » 2012-03-19 04:37

There was a cold chill to the air around the high-colonel as he moved through the shuttle, quickly moving from the landing ramp to the workbench. Anger swirled through him, a rage that would have slaked a Dark Jedi's thirst within seconds of being felt. "My cup runneth over," he could imagine Thess saying as she drank of it; indeed, he could smell it in the air, acrid and icy, a horrible stench of rage and death. Looking down at the workbench, he stopped, and a soft, tight sigh left him. His left hand rose to his face, the palm pressing against it in a silent sign of exasperation. It took a great effort, yet he remained completely calm as he turned and left the area of the workbench, heading into the ship's cargo hold and retrieving the weapon he had written in the request. Next time, Wolfgang, he thought to himself, hefting the DeathSledge in his grasp, send a voice-memo. Returning to the workbench, he rested the weapon down next to the table, and briefly stepped out of the room; he had taken more than enough time for Omega to secure the remote observation drones and board the shuttle, and had little doubt that the man had indeed already done so earlier. Knocking twice on the work area's doorframe, he gave the shuttle's crew a silent gesture to pull up the ramp and take off. It was, after all, time to leave.

Returning to the workbench, he patiently and deliberately reassembled the DeathHammer pistol, each part fitting together like the pieces of a delicate-yet-lethal puzzle. When it was assembled, he put it off to the side, and put the rifle from the cargo hold there instead. Maintaining his outward calm, it took the commando a good three minutes to strip the outer casing from the weapon and isolate the components he needed to modify. "Gottverdammte Scheiße! he cursed under his breath, the first words uttered in the room since his arrival. Progress with the weapon was moving smoothly, contrary to the tone the vulgarity might project, yet it also wasn't the weapon and that project's progress that caused the outburst; no, the high-colonel was livid over what had happened recently at the estate. Sighing, he reached for the room's intercom, a scowl resting tight on his face. Tapping the button, he spoke into it, keeping his voice low and calm despite the rolling anger within him. "Major, report to the workbench area; Sergeant, if any calls come in over the comm, patch them in down here."

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Laurel WinteShrine
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Re: Monster

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2012-03-25 05:24

Once upon a time, there was a city, bright and beautiful, full of light and sound.

A book opened, and upon its pages were a delicious riot of rich colors, painstakingly drawn and painted by loving hands; there was never to be another like its match again. It was rather large, and served as such a treat for little eyes to gaze upon, as was its intention.

The king of this city loved art, and so his city was filled with things that were pleasing to the eyes and ears, and everything flourished under all the beauty. As well as the art and architecture, the people who lived in the city were especially beautiful as well: Some were beautiful because they were very smart, and could create the most wondrous things with numbers and languages. Others were beautiful because they had flashing eyes and charming smiles, their bodies willowy or strong.

He turned the page as tiny hands, dimpled with flesh and chubby little fingers, affectionately ran over the vibrant pictures on the page. He bounced her gently on his knee, leaning forward to kiss the newly curling hair on her head. “Yes, yes, mein kleine; I’ll be getting to that soon.” He smiled before continuing on.

But some of these people were beautiful because they had something special that nobody else could ever explain. Some could do miraculous things, like see events before they had even happened, or move objects with a single thought. This king was a scientist as well, and so he began to devote his life to finding these other wondrous beings and their gifts, and invite them to live in his glorious city.

One day, a very special person did, indeed, come to him: A woman, so beautiful and warm and radiant that the king knew that she could have been nothing less than an angel. They fell in love, and the king made the angel his queen, and they were both very, very happy.

Lukas turned the page again, revealing a stunning spread in shades of gold and champagne, the same color of the dress she had been wearing when she had first been brought to him, all those years ago. The woman on the page lilted toward the king from the sky on gilded wings like lace: In actuality Euphemede had glared at Lukas with such obvious violence in mind, though even in the throes of rage he was captured by how lovely she was.

He had spent countless hours capturing her in small moments onto paper afterwards: That first, glacial stare. A curious fingertip tracing the velvet silhouette of a rose on the table, brows furrowed as if she were consigning the touch to memory. Perched beautifully in the foyer, her hair in a long silken braid down her back. And so forth.
He had once made the mistake of leaving her alone for just a moment after sketching her before dinner one evening. Lukas came back to his drawing materials broken and scattered to every corner of the room, his sketch a torn mess of canvas on the back of a chair. He had speechlessly gaped back at her-- sitting as prettily as ever on her cushioned chaise like nothing had ever happened, fierce little minx --smiling beautifully in triumph to have been able to thwart him, even through such a small slight. That smile engraved itself to his memory, causing him to spend weeks committing that image to paper, it haunted him so. It burned him straight to his soul.

Much time passed, and the city soon fell into the mists of history and legends, along with the magnificent secret of the treasures within and safe from the dangers of the outside world. Soon, the queen was with child, and gave birth to a precious little girl, their perfect Rose.

He poked the little baby on the nose playfully and she looked up at him, her eyes a piercing blue; so unlike his own, or her mother’s for that matter. “That’s you.” Her little hands moved upward to grasp at his finger as he turned to the final page: A little baby with dark hair and blue eyes, sitting amongst the roses of her namesake with the king and queen. “And so,” he concluded, “The king, queen, and their princess lived in the hidden city, amongst the beauty and wonder for all the rest of their days, and lived happily ever after.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“I have a present for you, love.” Rose sing-songed, her voice light as childish fingertips traced along the collar of the doctor’s well-tailored coat.

She would never be stupid enough to have had that nasty, treacherous little creature brought to the facility alive, as a possible threat. Rose imagined her a pale, cold, fish-thing in her sad little coffin, and smiled- it certainly saved her the trouble of having to compromise the little delivery herself if she had been living.
Of course she would explain to Dr. Fleischer that she tried her best to have her brought alive, but of course the offer was for the subject’s corpse and nothing more; it had already been too late. These things could not be helped.

The doctor swiveled around in his chair to look at her, his eyebrow quirked upward keenly in interest. “A present for me, mein kleine? And what is the occasion for this?” He chuckled, and she went to sat on his lap, kissing him softly on his forehead.

“Simply because I love you.. and I want to be the one to make you happy. Always.”
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p r o f i l e

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Re: Monster

Post by Simon Basai » 2012-03-26 00:44

Simon watched as the Lambda Class shuttle's wings folded up and began to descend in the small star port on the world Jephrie. Simon had been here in the past. The planet was so out of the way from the mainstream of the galaxy, and it lacked any formal authority, which made it perfect for various seedy elements to conduct their dealings. An Imperial Shuttle was a sight though, he'd have to make this deal quickly before the shuttle drew any attention. He brought the datapad up and reviewed it one last time as the shuttle's engine kicked off.
Cargo: 1 comma human comma female
Name: Laurel Winte'Shrine
Age: 23 years
Height: 5 feet comma 5 inches
Weight: 125lbs
His eyes glanced up when he heard the cargo ramp lowering, and he began approaching the Shuttle. The whole deal was strange, he'd worked for Doctor Fleischer before, never directly, but through an agent. Most of his 'specimens' had been yanked from their beds, or bought off of a group of outer-rim slavers. The doctor was a sick man, although Simon didn't know exactly what was going on, It was pretty hard to hide the rumors of Sapient Experimentation that came from his lab. He'd tracked down slaves before, even took a couple, but Selling someone to be cut open on an operating table was something completely different, although 20 thousand credits per head was enough to make Simon forget his morals.

A man appeared, wheeling a hoverdolly with a large plasteel crate loaded on it. "Mr. Basai?" The man said, when Simon walked up to the crate. "Lady Winte'Shrine died on the way here. I do not know what happened." Odd. Simon would think that his contact would know what's going on, smuggling people in caskets was pretty common, in the slave trade, even if it's very risky, mostly because the cargo would suffocate to death.

"It doesn't matter." Simon said, as he knocked the crate releases off, and set the top of the box down. A finger snaked inside and hit the release button on the casket's side. The lid hissed as it Simon opened it. Fallinor's eyes widened, with barely constrained rage as Simon lifted the lid up. "I need to inspect my cargo." Simon said sternly to the red faced, but silent guard. "You were the one who chose to transport her this way." he reminded.

There she was, dressed in her robes, decorated in emblems that matched the ones on Fallinor's shoulders. He didn't know many parents that would sell their children to such horrors, especially under Doctor Fleischer, but 50 thousand credits for one head was too good to pass up. He reached down and peeled back one of her eyelids, there was no rigor mortis, probably due to the climate control of the casket, With his other hand he shone a pen light into her eyes. And looked up at the guard who was still red in the face. Laurel's eyes dilated, she was still alive, but it was obvious that Fallinor didn't know, and if he wanted to think that she was dead, Simon wasn't going to stop him, he was probably a jackass anyways.

Simon took a syringe from his thigh pocket, and jabbed it into the girl's arm, just below the shoulder. "Slows down Rigor Mortis." He said, leaving out the fact that it slowly counteracted the drugs Laurel had taken prior. Even with death mimicking drugs, if the subject stayed in that state for a time, death could very well occur. Simon closed the casket and put the cover back on the plasteel crate after checking her teeth. Dosuun was only a hop skip and a jump away from Jephrie, she'd be fine with the air she have in there.

"I'll take this off your hands. You can leave now." Simon said, wrapping up the deal as a bystander paused in the corridor behind the shuttle. The guard took one last look at Simon, and his cargo, without saying anything, he turned around and boarded his shuttle.

...

Simon stood next to the hover cart in one of Dosuun's more seedier spaceports. He'd come alone, between him and the 2 Duros, he was more of the people person, having to deal with various scumbags and assholes of the Galaxy was the price Simon had to pay, since Cad and his brother could barely speak Galactic Basic.
He watched his contact's shuttle descend like it did hundreds of times before, and his contact, simply known as "Black Rose" walk down the ramp. "Do you have it?" She asked.
"Right here." He said, patting the crate.

"Excellent work Mr. Basai." Rose said, after she'd seen the Casket. She closed the crate and began moving the hoverdolly towards her ship. Simon's hand fell to his side, and rested on top of the DL-44 that rested in his holster.

"My pay?" Simon asked, raising an Eyebrow. Although his tone was casual, the statement carried a hidden threat.
Rose stopped half way up the ramp. "Oh yes, Your pay." She said. She whipped around, and a concealed hold out blaster shot out from her sleeve, Simon's blaster was halfway up when she fired bolt aimed for Simon's head, the quickly fired shot had dropped, hitting his armored shoulder, Simon fell to the ground and remained still "You've outlived your usefulness Mr. Basai. Consider your contract terminated." She taunted before the entering the ramp.

Simon lie there, bleeding on the dock's floor. His stomach tightened, and he felt no pain in his arm. Rage had completely taken over him. He remembered was feeling the blue hands of a Duro grabbing his good shoulder before he blacked out.

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Re: Monster

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-03-29 16:21

Spyker could sense--no, that wasn't the word for it, feel the High Colonel's anger as he moved into view from the direction of the garden. It permeated the air, and was strong enough that even the novice Dark Jedi could sense it. He watched as the senior officer walk briskly towards the Lambda, reaching it just as the ramp began to open. From his cover in the shadows of the outbuilding, Spyker jogged over, moving at the very limits of the Camoleon suit's algorithms could cycle, and followed him up, silent as a mouse, silent as he was trained. He wasn't worried about being seen by a guard at this stage; from his observations, none were around, and by the time anyone would respond to a sensor alarm, they would be off the ground and flying away.

Spyker shut down the suit's imagery when he was sure no one could see him from the outside, and pulled off the helmet. Cool, filtered air from the ship's scrubbers entered his lungs, and he rolled his neck and shoulders to loosen the stress of the mission from them. 'Endex,' he thought. In and out without being detected, and he had a feeling the Colonel knew what was up. From the waves of emotion rolling off the other man, though, he knew whatever was going to come was not good.

Near the hatch, Keyes had already hit the button to seal it, making sure that it was tight and the hydraulic cylinder controlling the doorway didn't seize up again like during the insertion. In atmo, such a malfunction wouldn't have been a big issue, but it would be a death sentence in exoatmospheric operations as it would depressurize much of the ship. His task done, the officer walked to his operative to check on the mission, and found him in the passenger compartment lying on a bench with his eyes closed.

"How'd things go down there, Sergeant?"

"Not bad. In, out, and nobody saw me." That was a lie, but Keyes didn't need to know of his run-in with Aquila/Tymora and that Syn woman. Only the former spoke to him, and although that might make things somewhat dicey, he could trust both personalities to keep quiet, Aquila because she was a friend—'At least I hope she is,' Spyker thought—and Tymora because it was in her own best interest. Revealing him would only hurt her goals in the short term, but he knew time was growing short. He made a mental note to check on her parents at the ISIS facility holding them, and ask them some questions.

"That's good. We're still waiting to see where the tracker's going, so get some..." Keyes was going to say "rest," but was interrupted by the crackle of the ship's intercom. The Director had not come back in a great mood, and it showed in his voice.

"Major, report to the workbench area. Sergeant, if any calls come in over the comm, patch them in down here." The two men called in acknowledgements to the senior officer, and went their separate ways: Spyker to the cockpit and the COM station, with Keyes to the section of the ship that was serving as their makeshift armory.

"You called for me, sir?"
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Re: Monster

Post by Blitzkrieg » 2012-04-01 03:16

Still tinkering with the innards of the DeathSledge, Wolfgang didn't even look up as he heard Major Keyes enter what passed for the ship's humble armory. For a solid fifteen seconds, he remained completely silent, looking to be engrossed in his work; indeed, for the past few minutes, he had been. The rifle's guts had been spilled out on the bench for a good while now, and certain components had been replaced with modifications kept on-hand, or re-tooled to be made more efficient and potent. Silence had been the high-colonel's only companion as he labored....that, and thoughts of the woman who had managed to get into his heart, and the great risks she seemed to be taking. "Major," he said at last, still not bothering to look up. He gestured once to the rifle, an obvious yet silent gesture of something from earlier being mistaken.

"Major, I am displeased with what happened recently." At this, he finally looked over to stare into the Major's eyes, and his own reflected the anger beginning to boil over inside of him. "Of all the things in this galaxy...of all possible things...I come here, and I am greeted with deception. She tried to trick me, and plotted to use a chemical attack to deter me from helping her. All for..." The words became blocked up in his throat, choked up by the anger brewing in his voice, and he turned away. After a while, it cleared, just enough that he could speak. "Gottverdammte, I don't even know what for anymore!" Had it been any normal person, he mused to himself as he thought of what was going on with her, and how he raged about it even now, he would have gladly left the poor sod to rot on whatever excursion it was. Some avenues of deterrence were too much, even for him to suffer through, and this would have been shown to be no exception to the idea. But, he reminded himself, they had fallen in love with each other, and he would not forsake that...

...even if he was receiving a golden invitation to do so. He loved her--needed her--too much to cast her aside for these transgressions. "Major, where do we stand? Is the Dust able to be tracked?"

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Spyker Katarn
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Re: Monster

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-04-04 20:44

Keyes winced as he realized what the High Colonel had on the workbench in front of him. He wasn't quite as familiar with the M-435 companion weapon to the better-known M-434, and had misinterpreted the man's earlier message. A small mistake, to be sure, but it happened and there was no getting around it. He would make sure to not let it happen again.

Shaking off the error, he focused in on the Colonel's words. The rage was evident, that was sure; to attempt a chemical attack of some sort on the man was absurd, to say the least. Underneath it though, he thought he discerned no small hurt. The woman they had come to track--for the only reason that note could be in a soldier's voice was the betrayal of a love--seemed to have wounded the man severely, and this was evident in his words. Keyes could do nothing, though, as he vented his rage. Shit flowed downhill, after all.

When the Director asked about the Dust, Keyes stood up a little straighter. This was something he could help with, and he intended to.

"Yes, sir, we had a hard lock on it." The Colonel looked over at Keyes's choice of words, additional signs of anger beginning to show.

"Had, Major? What do you mean, 'had'? Are you telling me we've lost her?" the man said with a slow rumble, his anger visibly growing once more.

"No, sir. The Dust worked fine, but the tracker was transferred to a ship that left about ten minutes ago, and made a jump to lightspeed just before you stepped on board. Luckily for us, I was able to get a trace on the ship's emissions via the planet's orbital sat grid. Based on the course of the ship as it left the system, the only possible destination for it is Dosuun, out on the edge of Wild Space."

Seeing no recognition on the Director's face, he continued. "Dosuun's a backwater, sir. There isn't much out there save pirates and a few settlers trying to eke out a living. The former Remnant had a base there at one point, but what's left of it, we're not sure. I've made some inquiries with some of our ISIS analysts, but I'm still waiting on a response. In the meantime, the pilots have already developed a flight plan and are ready to go, unless you have another idea, sir."
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Laurel WinteShrine
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Re: Monster

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2012-04-05 22:39

Lips, cheeks colored back into a healthy, rose flush; her fingers began to twitch as warmth awakened them. Her skin colored in accord slowly, gently, despite how violently it had been rendered pallid only hours before. Her breast arose as she drew in breath; she breathed, she bloomed.
Her eyelids fluttered, then snapped open as she bolted upright-

...then felt her hands fly instinctively to her face as her forehead collided with the closed lid of the casket, laying back down irritably as a dull throb of pain heated onto her forehead. Laurel's skin tingled into goose bumps as welcome, living sensation settled itself back into her body; and it was then that she registered that she felt so cold.

Her stomach suddenly roiled with nausea, and she turned onto her side to hug her knees into her chest, desperate to have some form of command in a body so ready to revolt against her. Laurel felt, most of all, the hot tears of shame that that rolled over the bridge of her nose upon remembering what had transpired back at the estate. A saturnine mood settled itself heavily within her, and she truly knew that this is what she deserved.

The young woman gathered her growing strength and resolve about herself to fend off her feelings of despair, noting that the coffin was stationary and propped up in an angle; there were no sounds from beyond the lid. Either she had arrived on Dosuun as planned... or she was completely and utterly lost, Force knew where.

Holding her breath, she felt around the seam of the lid to find the inside latch specially crafted into the door, undoing it and carefully opening it a crack before being satisfied that nobody else was in the room.

Laurel's senses were assaulted by an oppressive, chemical smell as she opened the lid all the way, a dim light affording a very little help as she tried to gain her bearings. She stared into the darkened space to acclimate her eyes to it, her hands moving quickly to fix the length of her hair into a long braid before tying it off at the end. There were a number of sizeable crates and heavy-looking, opaque containers with a series of numbers and letters written legibly across them.

R. Fausteed. Sixteen, eleven, thirty-two.

M. L. Orion. Sixteen, eleven, seventeen.


Fearfully, she craned her head to look over the side of her own vessel; Indeed, in red lettering and numbers adorning it in serial fashion was a neat 'L. O. Winte'Shrine': Sixteen, eleven, twenty-nine.
It came to her in sudden clarity, the reason for the cold temperature and the strange, sterile smell: There were other bodies being stored, preserved here. She fought down a wave of revulsion, and settled herself again to the task at hand.

The junior officer carefully crept out of the coffin, grabbing the edge has her legs suddenly buckled beneath her and a wave of sickness gripped her. Laurel took a steadying breath, then bullied herself to stand once more, to carefully begin unlacing the robe from about herself and tucking it back into the casket, reaching beneath the cushions to fish out the blaster and the two swords. Laurel managed to stretch her cramped muscles briefly before fastening the firearm into a holster on her hip, buckling the jian and Azra's sword diagonally and parallel onto her back. Lastly, she snapped the pouch with the ampoules of toxin inside to her belt, its touch almost forbidden against the small of her back. She prayed that she wouldn't need them.

Laurel stepped forward into the dark to search of a way out of the morgue; saddened, scared, but purposed nonetheless.
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p r o f i l e

Blitzkrieg
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Re: Monster

Post by Blitzkrieg » 2012-04-17 17:47

This time, the high-colonel favored Major Keyes with a smile that was decidedly feral in nature, akin to that of a predator closing on his feast. "Now that you mention it," he began, the look in his eyes one of a dark, sinister hunger, "I do indeed have a little something else in mind." Calmly, he turned to the workbench, tapping the communications console near it to open a line to the cockpit. Omega would be on the other end of the line by now, monitoring the communications as ordered; it would be for the best if both were involved in this discussion.

"Gentlemen, I suspect that whoever we're dealing with is going to be possessed of significant resources. As you're well aware...resources are exploitable. Major Keyes, you mentioned Dosuun. If our quarry has taken over the Remnant base there, we can use that to our advantage...and it makes sense that whoever it is would have taken it. It's already there, and ISIS would probably just mistake it for Remnant activity and shrug it off as unimportant. The computer systems there would be military-grade...more than a match for anything a pirate could whip up; how long would it take to get a virus running that could turn that computer into scrap?"

There was a soft chuckle...one that sounded like the beast had cornered something, and was ready to strike. "...And I want it embedded in something else. Something that'll scare the wits out of him. Our Emperor has a very special performance of the Imperial anthem play whenever he is on parade....embed the bug in that. We can ruin his security mainframe, and blast the music throughout his entire base in the same stroke, make him think the Emperor's wrath was sent to deal with him."

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Spyker Katarn
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Re: Monster

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-05-05 04:12

"I think we can handle that, sir," Keyes said to his commander, smiling. "ISIS might already have something we can use. I'll take a look while we transit." Keyes' mind was already thinking of what they'd need. They'd have to insert a type of logic bomb into the system, one that would activate on a timer and royally screw the security systems. Conceivably, with the right code, he could even physically overload certain subsystems, inhibiting the restoration of functionality even after they had come and gone. Pulling up a stool next to the Colonel at the workbench, he set about his task.

Meanwhile, all was quiet up in the cockpit, save for the pilot chatter. Spyker paid them no mind as he focused on the communications grid. In hyperspace, communications were impossible to receive, or nearly so even with specialized transceiver units. These were restricted to only the most important shuttles, however, such as those carrying the SUCO or Emperor, so they had to do without. Even so, he monitored all the same.

As the sergeant focused, two parts of his mind wandered away from the task, each doing their own thing during the trip to keep his mind sharp and ready. The first reviewed what little he knew about Dosuun, the world their quarry had fled to. 'Dosuun. Temperate, neutral in the war. No major cities to speak of; just farmland and small towns, maybe a spaceport or two. Location: the tail end of the Hydian Way, beyond the Spine. Former Remnant base; could we still have a small garrison there? Unknown; consider hostile.' There wasn't a whole lot, and Spyker had even checked the Empire's unclassified records to see what they could be up against. He found nothing, and as such, needed to prepare for everything.

The other wandering section of his mind focused on the Force, and began a slight meditation. He thought back to the last thing Kyp had ever taught him, how to sense the lines of Force connecting individuals, and figured it would be a good idea to practice now while he had the chance. He turned his focus inwards, searching for the core of Force energy he knew lay within himself, and took control of it. The young Dark Jedi was finding that this got easier as he worked at it.

Using this core, he reached out, letting his consciousness suffuse the area as he had been taught. The two pilots popped up in his awareness first, all calm feelings as they went through their practiced routine. A tight thread connected the two, bound largely by their close working relationship. He could also sense other threads connecting them to somewhere in the distance, but it led far beyond anything he could sense. Beyond that, he could tell where their focus lay, and he let it go.

Continuing his move outwards, he found the Colonel and the Major working diligently in the bay. One was particularly overpowering in his sensing; the auras being shed were white-hot with anger, laced with hurt and...some sort of feral mentality? Spyker was confused; there were no animals on the ship, but he distinctly felt something wild. It was wrapped up in a cloak of determination, though, and the sergeant felt that clear as day. It was an interesting sensation, and he chose the source as the target of his meditations.

For the entirety of the trip, Spyker observed with that part of his attention, learning how to read emotions based on the turbulent shifts in his superior. Anger flowed fiercely, but controlled, while animal instinct was caged yet anxious. Others swirled around as the time went on. Spyker thought that with more time he might be able to enhance or reduce certain aspects, but he'd rather have a willing subject to test on instead of his commander.

Alas, it was over far too soon, as the streaks of stars outside the shuttle faded to pinpoints against the black of space. Ahead of them lay the blue-green jewel of Dosuun. Somewhere down there was their target, and Spyker passed along the word after finding there were no messages awaiting them except the steady pulsing of a Dust tracker.

"Colonel? We're here. I'm coming back to get set for drop."
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“I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.”

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Re: Monster

Post by Blitzkrieg » 2012-05-19 05:08

Wolfgang had offered a rather pleased smile after the quick perusal he'd taken of the logic bomb, but that was truly it for mirth on their flight in. No, there was no real room for it within him right now...he was pissed at someone--make that several people--and something out there...something that wouldn't rest without being taken on head-to-head and wrestled into submission. He himself had plenty for which he'd have to answer later, he knew that much...but there were people out there in the galaxy right now who had to answer to him, and he would have the answers he sought...even if it took blood to get the answers. The more he thought about it, though, the more he prayed that it didn't come to that. Sighing, he picked up the rifle that had occupied so much of his time on this flight, and inspected it again, making sure that it was reassembled. There was no firing range on this shuttle, so there was no way to test it until they arrived at Dosuun and found something they could fight.

The Emperor's Wrath...that's what he had called the fear they were going to instill in the 'monster' that had brought all of these happenings into existence. From what the high-colonel had read, it was an old legend dating back to the ancient Sith Empire...an enforcer renowned for strength, loyalty, and martial prowess. Seeing the Wrath was akin to seeing the Hell of War unleashed, a brutal reaver tearing through the battlefield on a rampage of both efficiency and carnage. Right now...the high-colonel could feel that carnage, that anger building up in him.

Shaking his head, he set the rifle down on the workbench, retreating to a corner of the room to sit and think. He hadn't known Laurel'eiden all that long, but he felt as though he had connected to her, on a level that had truly only been felt on the rarest of circumstances; deep down, he knew that connection for what it truly was...it had to be love. Nothing else could have explained why he was willing to risk this much, do this much just for her. Yet the more he thought about it, the more he wondered whether or not she was acting consistently with her own sense of self. "I refuse to let her just....suffer. Alone. I absolutely refuse to forsake her like that. I need to find her. I am going to find them..." The high-colonel sighed as he remembered the words, the tone that had flowed through them and the scents in the air. This was personal for his beloved...personal enough that it was affecting her judgment and then some. She was enraged, hurting, staggering around through her own emotional wilderness like a blind and battered beast.

Merely thinking about it brought the rage once more to his own senses, flooding his soul anew with the fury. His faith in the otherworldly came to his mind again in a brief instant, triggered as much by the anger as by a memory. "So you believe in angels, then?"

"...Of course I do. I'm looking right at one." And for every angel in the galaxy, there was a devil...a creature so unholy as to be unworthy of mention, a beast so profane and wicked that merely thinking of it was enough to allow for the possibility of corruption. The galaxy had chosen an especially vengeful devil for his angel...a devil that was long overdue for an important meeting with its own divine reckoning.

"The enemies of the Federation are as mortal as any creature of this galaxy," he had once commented, though he had long since forgotten when and where. "They live, and they die. The ideals are immortal, but the men and women fighting for them are not. As mortals, they all have their own inner worries...they all have demons they fear...

"...And their demons fear me."


The shuttle arrived without incident in Dosuun's orbit, and Wolfgang immediately snapped to his feet, the rage within him expressed outwardly in a cold scowl of contempt as he grabbed his rifle from the workbench. In response to Omega's call from elsewhere in the ship, he merely double-clicked the work bay's comm system in silent affirmation, and waited silently. The quiet was almost palpably dark and foreboding...the calm before the most dreaded storm.

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Re: Monster

Post by Thrakis Gregory » 2012-07-07 03:18

Thrakis adjusted the cuffs of his business suit as he stepped off of the shuttle and into a scene from his own youth. The main spaceport on Dosuun amounted to little more than a paved field for parking rusted-out tramp freighters. The air carried the smells of livestock and burning hydrocarbons, two scents almost unknown on core worlds where technology had replaced both. The locals seemed to completely ignore Thrakis; it seemed they were accustomed to occasional corporate visits to their back corner of the galaxy.

A landspeeder moved down the exit ramp into position next to him, and the door opened. Thrakis took one last look around before taking a seat. The door closed and he was on his way.


“I have completed my analysis of the scans that I took during the approach.”

Thrakis sat back and watched the countryside flash by, giving no indication that he was listening.

“I have determined that Doctor Fleischer is operating out of an abandoned Imperial outpost. Traffic in and out of the compound is minimal, and so security is probably very tight. I do not have a high degree of certainty concerning the security forces, but my analysis suggests a high probability that he has outdated military-grade firepower available in the event of a security breach.”

“He will not have a chance to utilize his security systems,” Thrakis pronounced, though he still gazed out the window.

Pariah offered no argument, but instead continued giving its analysis of the situation.

For his part, Thrakis was paying as little attention to the scenery as he was to Pariah's interminable determinations. What was coming was important. He did not know why. He could feel it. The anticipation was brewing in the pit of his stomach. Beyond this nebulous premonition, the Dark Side offered no guidance, no further detail. That was the nature of the Dark Side: it teased, it offered cryptic inspiration. It never plotted his course for him. It never solved his problems. That was why he loved it: his future and his problems were his own responsibility. Nobody and nothing else could do it for him. If his path was written for him, how then could it be his path? If his problems were solved by another, how could they ever be his problems? And how could he look back and take pride in what he had done, what he had accomplished? No, instead, the Dark Side gave him power, and left it entirely up to him how he would use that power.

Soon enough the speeder slowed to a stop at the outside of the compound's security perimeter, just outside the main gate. A speaker system squawked something, though Thrakis couldn't make out the content from inside the speeder's enclosed cabin. Thrakis removed a pair of sunglasses from his breast pocket and slid them on, obscuring the burning yellow-red shade of his irises. The window slid down as he leaned forward. “I am here to see Doctor Fleischer,” he announced. “I am a representative of AreteiCorp. We communicated recently.”


“What is the purpose of this visit?”

“In our last contact, Doctor Fleischer gave us some disconcerting news. I wish to touch base with Doctor Fleischer, to review any progress he has made, and to determine whether our project with him merits further funding.”

The ill-mannered greeting droid held him in its unblinking gaze for several silent minutes. Finally it responded. “Pull your speeder up to the compound. Doctor Fleischer will see you if he has the time.”

Thrakis sat back and smiled in self-satisfied amusement. “Of course he will.”

His speeder was admitted through the gates, and within a minute, it was parked in front of the facility's opulent facade; only Thrakis's familiarity with Imperial architecture allowed him to see the place for what it had once been. As he emerged from the speeder, his hands brushed out the wrinkles that had formed in his suit, and he took another look around.

Another speeder was arriving, though this one was not hassled by the greeting droid. As Thrakis mounted the front steps, the other speeder pulled around to the side of the building and disappeared into a garage. Out of habit, Thrakis noted the markings of the speeder and the location of the garage.


Another droid greeted him at the top of the steps as he approached the front door, this one a typical protocol model. “Right this way, please, Mr...”

“Baker. Federik Baker.” A common enough name, and the fake ident-card in his pocket would pass basic scrutiny. Cross-checking the identity against the citizenship records of his supposed world of origin would reveal a discrepancy, obviously, but that would require governmental clearance and plenty of red tape. The last name was that of Kyp Baker, of course. Thrakis had never considered the man to be a friend, but they had also never gotten the chance to get to know each other. There was little chance of that changing now, but Force knew stranger things had happened.

“Since you made no prior appointment, you may have to wait several minutes to see Doctor Fleischer.”

Thrakis followed the droid through several security scanners as he made his way into the facility. No alarms were raised, and so he concluded that the weapons he was carrying were all well-enough disguised. It helped that most security systems weren't designed to scan for lightsabers, of course.

“Please wait here,” instructed the droid, as they reached the middle of a large reception hall. There were no chairs available, and Thrakis had not seen a single living being since he had entered the compound. Still, the droid ambled off, leaving Thrakis standing alone in the cavernous space.

Several minutes transformed into twenty minutes. Thrakis had exhausted his detailed analysis of the floor tiles, which had followed his analyses of the ceiling and walls. There was still no sign of Fleischer, and the protocol droid that had led him here had not come back. Clearly, Doctor Fleischer, for all of his reputed skill in biology and medicine, was a lousy host.

Not caring if it hurt his first impression, Thrakis sat down, then laid back on the stone-tiled floor, lacing his fingers behind his head. He didn't quite go to sleep, but he let his mind wander off, thinking of things half-a-galaxy away. Concerns of empires and emperors, thoughts of wine and women, musings of song and sorcery. As he lay on the floor, he gradually relaxed further and further, and the dreams came upon him like neurowhip lashes.

The images passed by swiftly, morphing in strange almost-human shapes that never seemed to find their proper form, stinging Thrakis with their despair and incompleteness.

His eyes snapped open. Slowly he rose to his feet and started walking. There was something here, something that called to him. He followed it, at once curious and fascinated. His stride was not quick, but it was purposeful; he knew where he was going and how to get there. The whispers of the Dark Side spoke to him.

The final door opened. The chamber was large, but it was subdivided into smaller sections, and so it did not feel large. And all around—in the walls, in the floor, suspended from above—were the strange, grotesque, and beautiful creations of Doctor Lukas Fleischer.


“Deceased, you say?” Lukas gazed into space for several moments as he took a few educated guesses and made a few conclusions before muttering under his breath, “Das ist nachteilig.”

“She will still be useful to me, but this will take longer that I would like. If only I could have acquired her while she was still alive...” He didn't notice the disgust that flickered over Rose's face. “Oh, well. Not everything turns out exactly the way we want, isn't that right?” He turned his admiring gaze to Rose. “But our progress continues.”

He finally turned to regard the protocol droid that had been speaking to him before Rose had arrived. “Now, what was it you wanted? Something about a visitor?”

“Indeed, sir. A man by the name of Federik Baker wishes to see you. He claims to represent AreteiCorp. Do you wish to meet with him, or shall I tell him that you are too busy to meet face-to-face?”

AreteiCorp...where did I...ah! Lukas recalled contacting a small corporation with that name this morning to coax a few more credits into his coffers. That they had sent a representative was a bad sign. Mr. Baker probably wanted to see the setup for the experiments that Lukas had been conducting on the corporation's behalf. Lukas would of course have been perfectly willing to show him this...if he had actually conducted any of the experiments. The truth was that he had done little more than dig through older scientific records and journals to gather some information about the topic of AreteiCorp's interest. That alone had been work enough; scientifically credible research into the phenomenon was sparse extremely sparse, and most of what there was had been buried for ages in highly-classified government databases. Lukas had found a few interesting pieces of information; certainly he suspected he was probably the most-educated man in the galaxy on this topic, but that meant little when everybody else was abjectly ignorant.

He debated for a moment, but his mind was made up for him when he chanced to glimpse at his security monitors. His face visibly paled, but he quickly regained his composure. Mr. Baker was already standing in the middle of Lukas's private laboratory. “It seems I will have to meet with Mr. Baker. Contain him with a security team first, though.”

Thrakis wandered about the periphery of the room, examining each experiment, each piece of art with his complete attention. Most people might use words such as perverse or twisted to describe this strange menagerie. Thrakis had another word: genius. This was the work of a man who saw far beyond the simple minds that governed society; the work of a man who refused to be held back by the petty, the weak, the cowardly. In short, this was a man who reminded Thrakis of himself. Perhaps he was not endowed with the same strength in the Force, but even so, Thrakis could feel the blessing of the Dark Side over Doctor Fleischer's laboratory.

Somewhere on the other side of the room, a door hissed open. It was a small sound, but hyper-awareness had been indoctrinated into Thrakis when he had worked in intelligence. The Dark Side in the room was thick, almost tangible. Thrakis grasped it and drew it around himself as he stepped into a nearby pool of shadow, disappearing from view as easily as if he'd carried a cloaking device.

Doctor Fleischer's security teams swept the room. Thrakis couldn't understand what they said; they communicated through commlinks in their helmets and the only sounds that reached Thrakis's ears were muted into incomprehensibility, but eventually, it seemed they pronounced the room safe, for after a few minutes, Doctor Fleischer himself appeared. Thrakis sized him up. He was middle-aged, but in good physical shape. By the way he moved, Thrakis guessed he could handle himself in a fight. And of course he effortlessly exerted his authority, as Thrakis had known he must: this was a bold man, a strong man, a man without mercy or remorse. The shadows in the room seemed to shift, distort, and then Thrakis stood face to face with Lukas Fleischer.


Instantly every security trooper's blaster was trained on Thrakis, and he could hear the muffled muttering from inside their helmets. Doctor Fleischer did not flinch at the sudden appearance; he merely passed his eyes over Thrakis, over the empty air from which Thrakis seemed to have emerged, before pronouncing, “Fascinating.”

Thrakis grinned, an expression that most would have found intimidating, especially from a man who had over a dozen blasters pointed at him. “Doctor Fleischer. I am a big fan of your work.”

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Laurel WinteShrine
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Re: Monster

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2012-07-17 00:30

The sterile, chemical smell breathed with a life of its own in the darkened hallways, permeating her skin, clinging to hair and clothes until Laurel was sure she could never fully rid herself of the odor. It was by any other circumstance a medical facility: She had passed a large, silent operating theatre on her left, seating set in a tiered fashion around an assembly of lights with a lone surgical table below in the center. Another door stood off to the side with a small window, showcasing an array of labeled ampoules and containers in a cabinet when she had stood on her toes to peek timidly inside.

Further exploration yielded more innocuous little details, but nothing overtly suspicious. Frustration gnawed through her, then panic.; was she in the wrong place, or had she just been plain wrong?
The hallway terminated at a stairwell, beckoning her to ascend to the next level as her doubt began to claw at her.

She climbed toward another hallway, the same as the last; cool, dimly lit and washed over in that ever-present stench. She had not noticed that she become accustomed to it until now, where it wafted oppressively about her as she wandered further into the corridor, much stronger here than in the level below.

Doors began to emerge through the darkness as she progressed, beckoned to her though they were not so helpful as to open for her when she tried them, albeit halfheartedly.

I was wrong.

Such a masterpiece of understatement it was. She had pushed her friends away, and the sole person she had come to love for.. this. For nothing. Laurel's hand pushed irritably at another knob... the door yielding to her touch, slightly ajar now. A shaft of light pierced the darkness like a ray of dawn and beckoned the young woman inside.

The low, welcome glow lent an of atmosphere calm to the room; cool, treated air with no trace of the chemical smell wafted about her as she stepped noiselessly inside. Summarily, it was an art studio: Paints and sketching materials, sheaves of blank paper and canvas stood off to one side, while the rest of the room was devoted to displaying various mediums of artwork.

There was a certain sullenness to these works upon the walls, crammed onto the shelves: A cold and mirthless cheer that she could not put her finger on. Here, a field of the reddest flowers she had ever seen, a carpet of sanguine beneath a cloudless blue sky yawning overhead as together their expanse stretched into oblivion. Graceful, anonymous sculptures and busts of males and females alike on a shelf, sketches poking out from books on an adjacent shelf like leaves sprouting from the branches of a tree. Still, it could not be denied for a moment that their creator was possessed a masterful hand.

Contemplating all of it exhausted her as she wandered through the studio, idling every once in again to observe other pieces of art. Her heart leapt into her throat as a door on the other side of the room hissed softly open at her approach, voices straining in through the warm darkness beyond, far away.

Narrowing her eyes, she could just make out something on the wall in the dark. A mural as it were, with large white shapes like ghosts emerging in the dark as her eyes adjusted. Willing her very being to radiate quiet, she was enveloped by the shadows as she strode forward, the voices clearer now though still seemingly unaware of her presence.

“..Fan of your work..“

Wings emerged from the shadows, a face-

Laurel did a double-take.

Not merely just a face; a form protruded from the wall like the figurehead of an old seafaring ship with her face. A bit taller than she, barely older... and eyes that opened, dull, but identical to her own.

Laurel stumbled back, her movements disjointed, something metal falling behind her and shattering its contents wetly onto the floor, a various assortment of liquid spreading beneath her feet. A turgid shape lay amidst the broken glass, the chemical smell erupting about her as Laurel's hands flew up to cover her mouth as the urge to retch swam through her stomach.
It was not possible. This was not her sister, pinned down as if a butterfly by her wings.

As if she had stepped from the confines of a painting she was, and still, the Euphemede from so long ago. A sleeping princess, untouched by the hands of time and dressed almost identically to the very day she had walked out of all of their lives forever. Her eyes regarded Laurel as if bored, and the young woman shook with relief and horror at the sight of her.

Wires ran in a complex concert through her arms, her torso, disappearing behind her like a skeleton of seraphim wings, various fluids and Force-knew-what transferred into her body and secreted out. The wall behind her was painted in shades of approaching dawn, delicate wings spread beyond her bound and outstretched arms. In any other regard, she could have made for an absolutely beautiful work of art.

Laurel’s legs buckled from beneath her, and she crawled, hysterical, to the wall and bowed her head as if in prayer; her eyes hot with tears as her mouth gaped open and shut with words that would not come.
She swallowed down the bile that arose in her throat.
“How…? What.. what have they done to you?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This hallucination was unlike so many of the others, and for a moment she allowed herself to become interested in what her broken mind had decided to entertain itself with now.

This Laureleiden was taller, older, clad in dark clothing and did not laugh or tumble about, but cry; and she spoke to her in Basic, not the language of their household. How curious.
Her delusions usually afforded her distant memories of her sister running in from the hall, hair thick with leaves and sap as she darted beneath her bed to hide from the scoldings of their nanny. Her skirts were torn, sometimes. Other times she would sit quietly, wordlessly, staring up at her for days on end. But this Laurel was not a child.
And she cried.

She hadn’t even an inkling as to how old she was now. Perhaps Twenty-eight? Fifty? It pained her greatly to not know such a mundane detail as this. Everything here in this gallery lived immortal, twisted, mad.

She had been engaged, nourished and intrigued by what was suddenly happening and felt a sliver of humanity finally blossom within her. This Laurel was real.
Euphemede had felt, moreso than heard as others began to approach, no doubt curious about the noise. They were going to find her, too.

“..Run.”

Words, just being able to taste them again; to use the lips, tongue, in endeavors other than to lick tears or have them rent with pain or sorrow. To listen, and to be spoken to in turn. So overwhelmed she was by the possibility of it, the horror of knowing that a loved one was here, trapped in this hell and so close to danger moved her to tears for the first time in what felt like her life entire.

This Laurel was hysterical, her eyes darting back and forth between her form on the wall and the door she had come from. Closer now, the footsteps. She licked her lips and again found the temerity to speak for her sister's sake.

"Run away. Hide. Hurry."
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{One should never confuse duty for loyalty. One either purposefully serves, or serves a purpose.}

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p r o f i l e

Blitzkrieg
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Re: Monster

Post by Blitzkrieg » 2012-07-28 02:57

Looking around at the dismal landscape, Wolfgang sighed, wondering not for the first time what he was really doing here. Nothing, that was all he could see, from one horizon to the other; nothing, with the exception of a single...judging from the looks of it, research outpost of some sort. This building and empty land was next to nothing, he thought to himself, yet the tracker in the handgun he'd given Laurel pointed here, to this part of this useless, lonely world. If that was where she had gone, then he would follow... Yet why, he again asked of himself. It was a question he had not yet been able to answer to himself, and that silence irked him.

"Hans, you old bastard," he could hear in the back of his mind, a conversation he had thought he'd never hear again, yet had heard many a night in his sleep. His voice was laughing as it began, yet always, habitually faded into something more stern. "How many times do we have to go over this? It's decided; I'm heading off to the Empire."

He would always remember the sad, soft look on his old friend's face...the general had never been one to cry, but the look had been close to it. "And there goes the son I never had... So tell me, Wolfgang. Why are you going? Is it loyalty to emperor and galaxy, or something else that drives you? Are you like one of those verdammte fleabags that seeks riches and fame in return for fighting wars?

In the dream, as in reality, the commando bristled sharply at this remark, almost slugging his friend then and there. "Were it about the money, friend, I'd already be on the Republic's damned payroll. No...it's something else, Hans." He could have recited the next part hundreds of times, easily, but didn't need to; hearing the whisper of his past say it was enough. "Duty is an obedience paid out of necessity...loyalty, out of love. I head off not to fight out of loyalty for any emperor..but for a duty to push the Republic back into the heart of their territory...to punish them for their arrogance."

It held true still, he reflected...he loved the Federation, yet it was still more about the people in it, and that still-nagging duty to drive back the Republic at all costs. The Krieger had knelt before, once, to the Emperor...he was grateful to only remember the event as something long since done and gone. Yet none of that explained why he was here, and as he made his way quietly across the empty land, his mind struggled to find an answer that made sense. She was one girl, and at that, merely an ensign; there was no duty to the Empire in committing a rescue of this scale. Worse came to worst, the Federation could just hand a blue square out to any other naval recruit, and call it a day. Paperwork would keep moving, and bodies would keep deploying. Perhaps it was duty to the girl's parents...or, at least, to her father. For all that the high-colonel hated Laurel's mother beyond measure, he had no quarrel with the father and would take up such a duty for the kindly lord in an instant. But this man, this lord, had no clue of the entire affair, could not be told...

...Why could he not? Wolfgang once again felt himself thinking abut duty and loyalty, trying to rationalize why he was there, getting ready to break in a doorway at some throwaway research post. Toward her parents, his thoughts held mixed regard: her lord father, he could abide, tolerate, and even respect; but her mother--by no stretch a lady in his estimation--was a living thorn in his side, a venomous viper, were one to ask him plainly. He owed them, on the sum, no loyalty, would not even if he respected the mother. There was, however, a duty to them in keeping her safe.

Just the same, he owed her a duty to the promise he had made, and by rights he was breaking the promise in question: to leave this matter be, uninvolved. That promise had been born, however, of scheming and lies, and was but a duty. He seemed eager to discard himself of it, he surmised, when he reached the final reason to be here. He was of a duty to her to stay away...

...and loyalty to her was what brought him regardless. Duty, he reminded himself, spawned of necessity; loyalty was bred of love. She had bid him not to follow...had pleaded with him, made him promise not to come on this fool's errand...had tried to drug him to keep him away. All these, he knew, were good and strong reasons to keep away and leave her be, condemned to whatever fate she had chosen worthy of her time, had deemed to face alone. And still the loyal heart of a son of war beat inside him; despite her wishes--in spite of earning her hate, if it came to that--he had followed...

...and war itself rode with him.

As the group came upon the door, Wolfgang signaled a halt, left hand raised into a fist. He had brought Omega along for several reasons, and by his own reckon, none of them were of the elegant sort: the man was a force of the Emperor's justice, and there had been a time, while perusing the NCO's record, that the colonel had fancied he was reading the blueprint of a construct of strife, machined in the forges of Hell for just this sort of grim work. Knowing the operative as much as field records and other official documents could offer, however, was far from knowing the whole truth of the man...but for the moment, it was enough. "Sergeant," he began, noting the armor the commando wore, "do me a favor, see if you can look into the building. I want to know what we're up against here."

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