Service Evaluation

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Tycho
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Tycho » 2012-06-30 01:46

The Dark Jedi's reply left Tycho in an awkward silence wanting for words. If it had been at a party, Shorn's face certainly would've been a different shade, with some ums and uhs to boot. "She certainly is forward," he thought to himself. Shorn felt like his chest was caught in a vice when the Dark Jedi spoke of Eri giving up. It seemed like every time the woman opened her mouth she caused consternation. Shocking, with a penchant for acts of grotesque violence. Yes, definitely a Dark Jedi.

Suddenly, the dark haired woman handed him a carbine. Shorn glanced at it lamely. He already had one, why would she?- his thoughts were interrupted. Literally. He could hear the woman's voice in his head, giving him instructions as well as projecting other information about hostiles. Once they secured Eri, he was to equip her with the weapon. "Oh," Tycho realized. "Well, why didn't you just say so?" he muttered in his mind, not sure if the woman could hear him or not. Maybe because she forgot her helmet and the enemy were right around the corner. He sighed to himself. Stars! Wasn't a man safe even in his own head anymore? He chalked it up as another reason to avoid and strongly dislike Dark Jedi. Still, the woman's orders made sense. Eri was the best shot in the group and handing her a weapon would increase the success of the mission. One had to wonder what sort of state her mind was in, but if the Dark Jedi had been able to feel whether or not Eri was giving up he assumed she would have told him if Eri was dangerously brainwashed to turn the weapon on their little rescue party.

Forcing out all extraneous thought, Tycho took the Dark Jedi stepping around the corner as the cue to start shooting. He pied the corner, careful to expose as little of himself as was necessary, and opened fire. The rounds of galvenized plasma took one of the enormous hostiles in the chest. Shorn dumped two bursts into the- the- whatever it was, but it didn't even so much as grunt in pain! He kept shooting, watching from the corner of his visor as the Dark Jedi took down one of the hostiles, but keeping an eye on all the surrounding foes as well. Until Eri flew toward him. Shorn paused his firing a moment to catch Eri with his left arm, his cybernetic arm. He laid down several bursts of fire as he retreated behind the corner, not that it did any good against whatever those things the enemy used for soldiers.

Carrying Eri for several steps, he finally set her down - after making sure she could walk first. He was glad he added the additional strength packages, holding Eri with one arm was, well... not easy, though a lot easier than a flesh and blood arm, but he couldn't carry her forever. Quick grey eyes took in the way she held her right arm. "I hope that isn't your shooting hand," Tycho said with a grim smile, lost behind his helmet, as he put a carbine into her left hand. The way her fingers curled tightly around the grip told him she was still in it.

With no further time for words, the party fled through the halls, pursued by monstrosities that just didn't seem to die. The members of the group were all highly trained, and their pursuers did not find it easy task. Or at least they should not have. He listened as Eri explained to them what exactly they were. Blood troopers. Tycho frowned in concentration as he readjusted his aim for the head. Harder than it sounded.

"Fugly," grunted Shorn as he peppered one with bolts. It refused to go down. "Damn fugly." He unclipped a thermal detonator and tossed it back, alerting the dark-haired, lightsaber-wielding woman before hand with a timely, "Therm out!"

The grenade bounced once as it hit the floor before it went flying into the midst of the pursuers. Shorn began to smile, until one of the blood troopers kicked it back at him. "Son of a -" Shorn was cut off as the blast ripped him off his feet and sent him hurtling down the hall way. He felt like a leaf in the winds of a powerful storm, helpless. Like a ragdoll, he tossed through the air, coming to land violently against a wall. Shorn blacked out momentarily. Seconds later he was blinking rapidly, pushing himself to his feet. His left arm took most of the collision, saving him some bones. Finally, some luck seemed to be-

He glanced up to find the blood troopers striding through the smoke and sparking electrical wires of the hall. What did it take with these guys?

"Okay, time for plan O," Shorn growled as he chased after the others.

Eri glanced at him, curious. "Plan O?"

"Out," Shorn said. "Where's the nearest hangar? I can fly us out"

"What are you certified to pilot?" asked the dark-haired woman in between batting back bolts.

"Anything."

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Eri Ambicon
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2012-07-01 01:39

"They're both my shooting arms," Eri mused back to Tycho lightheartedly. Though she favored her left hand for pretty much everything- writing, cutting and the like- she was in fact ambidextrous which helped tremendously when it came to wielding guns, allowing her to shift shoulders when using rifles or dual-wielding pistols with consummate ease. She was having some luck hitting the blood troopers, doing her best to ignore the pain that continued to remind her that she wasn't in much condition to fight, especially now, dehydrated, hungry and exhausted on top of being wounded but while she had completely given up moments ago, she found renewed hope and wasn't content to simply let herself be carried out to safety so long as she could still fight. Even if she only had one good arm, why tie up Tycho's cybernetic one?

The thermal detonator worked much as Eri expected it to after seeing the amount of punishment the hulking troopers could take and it was beginning to seem, at least to her, that even a Nightstinger would find difficulty to kill them. She was about to comment about designing a man-portable turbolaser just to reduce them to slag when Tycho announced it was time for plan O. The fact that they were that far along in their plans didn't speak well to their chances of survival, but while the others might feel a sense of impending doom, Eri, knowing the alternative, was more than willing to do everything possible to help them achieve that plan. Bad enough they had brainwashed me... Be much worse if they brainwash everyone else here...

"Aside from the one we came in from- which was empty- there's bound to be another in the same general area we came from." The red-haired commando spoke matter-of-factly, adding her own carbine into the mix with little success. They did manage to drop another one, though Eri couldn't help but wonder if the blood trooper that fell was actually dead or just recovering. "I'll try and scout for one ahead." Without another word, the woman vanished from sight, already concealed from the remaining enemy soldiers.

"I should have guessed this was more than an army operation." Eri could recognize the telltale signs of an ISIS agent when she saw one. "But how in the galaxy did you find me to begin with?" It was a burning question that nagged at the back of her mind since the group appeared and rescued her from the now dead clutches of the man known only as A-9. A sense of dread filled her as she remembered Tavish tell a story about one time in the past when he had a tracking device in his heart, plated by Thrawn's Hand in what seemed like ages past now.
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"There's no outrunning a sniper." - Eri

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Spyker Katarn
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-07-02 06:15

"We had help, ma'am. SUCO wanted you out of here." After all she'd been through, GEN Ambicon deserved that much, Spyker thought, calling back from his position at rearguard. Without a rifle, he wasn't the optimal choice for carving their way through the beings Ambicon called blood troopers, and so he protected the team's rear side while the Guards covered the flanks. The position was less than tenable, but it was all they had. Steadily, the noncom squeezed off shots at any target that reared its head, and put as many holes in them as possible.

Even then, it wasn't enough, not for Spyker. The DC-15s could only shoot so much, so fast, and its lack of punch meant several shots per target. Using his blades was also out of the question; they were too far away and could cut him down before he got into range. He kept up as best he could, though, and started trying to find options that would open a hole. Behind him, he could hear the ricochets of blaster fire off the other Dark Jedi's twin blades as she defended the team from up front. Her skill was notable, and no doubt fueled at least in part by the Force energies permeating this place. Her motions helped them stay moving, for a while at least. 'We're running out of time,' he thought, pressing up against a nearby wall.

"Sithspit!" A shot pinged off the wall next to where Spyker was taking cover, and he fired right back, taking down yet another tango. "This place is a deathtrap! We need to get out of here!"

"Door, left! Six, Alpha, clear it!" Spyker risked looking back to see one of the Royal Guards and Alpha enter a hatchway, presumably sweeping it. Having done plenty of that action himself, he could picture the maneuver perfectly: the Guard, having started on the right of the door, would sweep in and left from the near corner out to the midpoint. Alpha would do the same on the right, each one trusting the other to eliminate threats on their side of the room. If all went well, the inhabitants would not even know what hit them.

"Clear left!"

"Clear right!" One of the friendlies closest to the door waved them in, and they all migrated quickly. Being the last one in, Spyker hits the stud to close the hatch, and lets out a breath. The area was secure, at least for now. It would take their opponents several minutes to find another route, and they were all glad for the breather. "Status, people," spoke the guard who had cleared the room with Alpha. A chorus of affirmative replies came forth; given the situation, just having the Surface Marshal back was a boost for morale. Her condition, though, left something to be desired, and he headed over to check on her.

"Everything okay, ma'am?"

"I'd be lying if I said 'yes.'" Eri shook her head before hanging it down, the rest giving her time to think and—and unfortunately, reflect—on what had happened. "I was interrogated not long ago and before that they...they did something to me. I don't know what exactly, but I remember everything, and..." She paused, her mouth dry and parched. She looked back up and offered her saviours a weary smile. "...And I didn't think anyone would come."

"Army takes care of their own, ma'am. We don't leave our own behind," Spyker said, reminding her of the special forces' maxim. Reaching into one of his suit's pouches, he held out a painkiller, combat stim and ration cube. "Here; these should help with the pain and nutrient loss. I've also got some water if you need it." The surface marshal took them gratefully, and he let her do her thing, looking around at the others. Trying to stay together was not going to work; they'd have to separate, and the genesis of an idea took root. "Ma'am?"

"Yes...?"

"May I scan you? Image, not medical." As he expected, a confused look appeared on her face. It was an odd request, to be sure.

"Well, yes, but I'm fine, aside from the drugs, dehydration, and just general mistreatment. Shouldn't we be trying to get out of here?"

"I've got an idea, but I need a visual scan. My suit's one of the new Camoleon Mk.IIs, with the improved holosystems. I think I can fool them into chasing me in order to give you and the others the time to get out of here." Spyker's idea was risky, but it would give them all a chance.

"...Sounds like you intend to trade places with me." She frowned. "We're all getting out of here or I'll stay behind. I'm not giving these bastards anyone else to toy around with."

"With respect, ma'am, your safe retrieval is our objective as per the Supreme Commander's orders. As long as we get you off this rock, our lives would not be wasted." He saw her green eyes turn flinty hard at the mention of the Supreme Commander; clearly there was a history there, and Spyker realized he may have made a mistake in mentioning the source of their orders.

"So it was Wesiri who sent you?" Before Spyker could respond, Thessalia came over to them, ostensibly having overheard their conversation. She sighed once before speaking, the pain from her injuries—the ones she hadn't healed yet, anyway—apparent.

"Ah swear, Ah ain't got the tahme fer this... Eri, with all th' respec' Ah can offer, you ain't in a position t' order us t' do anythin'. We're here at th' Supreme Commander's request, t' rescue you, not to play fuckin' games with everyone's lives. Allow me t' bring you up t' speed: th' SUCO reinstated me before this op's green light. As such, Ah'm in command here, not you. Th' sergeant's plan is a go, Eri. Ah approve of it, and Ah'll be joining him to pull them off your ass."

Spyker was surprised at this; he had expected to go it alone, since there was no point in sending two when one would do, but when the second was a Dark Jedi... well, he wasn't one to look a gift bantha in the mouth. The noncom tapped a few buttons on his wristcomp, setting it up for the scan he hoped she would agree to.

"Your objections will be noted in mah log, for review at a more convenient time. Now..." As she spoke, Spyker saw the bleeding from her arm slow, stop, and actually reverse itself; the slight slouch disappeared too, apparently the result of a leg injury that was healing just as quick as the arm. "Perhaps Ah can offer something friendlier than this pointless arguin'?" The two looked at the Surface Marshal, waiting for her reaction.
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“I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.”

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Azra Avasara
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Azra Avasara » 2012-07-02 12:16

There was something about these 'Blood Troopers' that worried Thess, but she was unable to determine which particular trait it was that did it.  Their size could be overcome easily enough, through the proper application of the Force; against it, nothing in this galaxy was too big, or too small.  Their determination was on par with her own, if not more so, yet even that was something she could overcome...  But then there was what appeared to be their inability to die.  Every so often, her redirection of their strikes, or a shot from someone with her, would bring one of the bastards down; within a short span of time, what felt like perhaps no more than fifteen seconds, the monsters would get right back up, looking slightly wounded but otherwise fine.  Even a thermal detonator didn't bring them down completely, only managing to knock one down for a few seconds before it got back up and continued firing.

Early into their torrential offensive, she had decided that her aura was best served shifting rapidly back and forth between phases, absorption and emission working almost in perfect tandem.  Each stray shot, every blast she wasn't able to reflect and every shot from her friends that came too close for comfort, was absorbed into her aura, empowering her abilities.  As she did so, every one of the giant troops began to draw closer as she slowed down ever so slightly, allowing the monstrous beings to come just close enough...

...In a flash, she burned through most of the absorbed energy, channeling it into a series of attacks meant to stall the mob and--hopefully--put a few of them down for the count.  A wave of overwhelming Force energy blasted out forward from her position, battering its way through the Blood Troopers and...much to Thessalia's consternation, all it did was slow them down further, causing a trio among them to stumble.  It wasn't the sort of result she had wanted, but this was at least something she could put to use as more of the energy came to bear.  Her aura shifted once again, combining the effects of reinforcement and emission to try and overpower the beasts in closer quarters.  Her body became but a blur and her sabers as mere flashes and streaks of color as she moved like lightning amid the ranks of Blood Troopers, her saber carving a swath through their numbers.  When at last she finally retreated from their lines, it was not of her own choosing, as one of the brutes had managed to strike her in the chest hard enough to send her flying towards the others.  The adrenaline rush that had been fueling her body and augmenting her energetic use of the Force slowly started to fade, and she could feel a measure of pain beginning to wash over her senses.  Conversely, among the three she had caused to stumble, one bore scars along its sides that told of massive struggle, and a second one had wounds from where her blades had impaled the creature's chest.  Only one of the three was down, his head rolling slowly from his body.

"Ah don't get it..." she muttered as she brought herself to her feet, blades still out to deflect any shot coming her way.  Her aura had once again shifted back to an absorption pattern, stray blasts once more melting into it.  While she'd been in melee range of them, she'd felt something...off, about them, some sort of malaise that made her shudder briefly as she considered it again.  For all that their masks concealed their faces, somehow, she knew the glare that she had received from the one that had sent her flying...knew it, and the face behind it.

...Knew it like it was a close friend.

"Remahnd me," she remarked over her shoulder, loud enough to be heard over the blaster fire, "t' speak with Jacen when we all get back t' his office.  Ah wanna fahnd out how the Hell these freaks're made...  ...an' shut them the Hell down."  Once more, she fired a wave of Force energy down the length of hallway, trying to open up more space between the two groups.  Given the nature of their enemy, it appeared to be increasingly likely that they weren't going to get off this damned station in one piece.  Thinking about having a chat with the Supreme Commander later, however, made her feel better; sure, it was more appropriate to at least keep in mind the dangers and the growing chances of failure, but thinking of something that carried their success as a prerequisite at least gave her that little bit of hope...

"Pray.  Force knows I will."  Simple words, answering a simple question.   Right now, in the back of her mind, Thess was thinking ahead to a long chat with one of her least favorite people in the galaxy.  Another image entered her mind, of a chat with the Surface Marshal at what could only be a time somewhere in the not-too-distant future, where the two of them hopefully put aside their differences and Thess was able to finally, properly apologize for the colossal fuck-up that was Dathomir.  Next to that, images of a grand celebration somewhere in the Empire, probably McFini's flagship, after the group was hailed as heroes for rescuing the Surface Marshal from this nightmare.  They had to get there first, however...and in the same corner of her thoughts, Thess could feel the words form as she began to silently, subconsciously pray for the first time in her life.

"Clear right!"  For half a second, Thess honestly thought she was just imagining that sound, hallucinating as she saw the man by the door waving everyone in, but such lunacy was washed away by the one force that could prove it wasn't all a dream: pain.  Backing up to get closer to the door, the Dark Jedi stumbled over herself, finding an injury from the earlier tussle with the Blood Troopers and agitating it; very vividly, she could feel the muscle tissue in her ankle begin to tear as she tripped over the sprained muscle, and directed a surge of Force energy around the injury to keep it from getting damaged any further.  A round of blaster fire connected with her right shoulder once, twice as she stabilized herself, jarring her concentration as she tried to get back on both feet and almost sending her sprawling. As quickly as she could, she made for the open door, just clearing the entryway before the sergeant.

For the first minute or two inside the side room, all she did was just stand there, leaning against a wall with her eyes closed, breathing deeply.  In reality, she was only in a light meditative trance, enough that she could recover--albeit slowly--and still use her senses to observe the world around her, save for her sight.  She had, out of some continued sense of personal shame and guilt for the Dathomir debacle, chosen a spot a bit away from the Surface Marshal, and that guilt--strangely now stronger than it had ever been--radiated off of her in waves, even as she drew the Force in around herself to try and recover.  There was little she could do to push it away; it hungered for her, sought out every last shred of her confidence, especially at a moment like this, when the other woman was in the same room.

Dammit, leave me alone, she thought to it.  I know where I fucked up already...I've relived that thought a thousand times.  Would that I could go back and fight that damned pull off, but I couldn't.

With a sigh, she broke off from her meditative trance, feeling at least restored, if not completely refreshed.  Her ears perked up at the sound of an argument between Katarn and the Surface Marshal, and as calmly as she could, she made her way over to handle it.  Disagreement between team members was one thing she didm't need to have going around...especially right now.  It was not terribly long after that before both of the Dark Jedi were looking at the Surface Marshal, awaiting only a response of some sort.  Offering a friendly smile, Thess made sure she had her skills with the Force ready...because whether Eri wanted it or not, she had a broken arm that was about to get thoroughly healed very quickly.

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Eri Ambicon
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2012-07-03 03:51

Blinking, Eri couldn't believe what she was hearing. They actually wanted to split up? That was both stupid and foolish, not to mention very reminiscent of Dathomir, though in all honesty, Eri was coming to expect that from Thessalia now and the disappointment in her eyes showed though pretty plainly.

Then there was the mention of Wesiri who had apparently sanctioned this whole little operation which flew in the face of what Eri had previously thought, having suspected he was behind her transport to the station in the first place.

For the intentions that existed behind it, the respite was probably the worst thing the group could had done as it gave Eri the time to think as she was no longer being shot at and now that she was thinking, she was becoming more livid with the two soldiers talking with her. "Let me get this straight," Eri began sourly, her green eyes narrowing at Thessalia, "You're going to leave the rest of us to be gunned down because you think there's more value to running around as a decoy than to remain as a group where we will be able to support and backup one another?" Shaking her head, she gestured to the others with her left hand, "In case you haven't noticed, none of us are capable of deflecting blaster bolts and we're going to be facing a lot of it between here and the hanger..." Being turned into a pincushion wasn't particularly high on Eri's priority list.

The fact that the Dark Jedi had pulled rank made Eri more frustrated, harkening back to another such instance when that happened in her life. Eri had apparently been lucky to be alive after that episode and now part of her was curious to see if she would come out alive this time as she said, "I can't believe this is being suggested, splitting us into two groups that will be easily outgunned, outnumbered and left pinned in unfamiliar territory." Incredulous, Eri was now speechless as she tried her darnedest comprehend what they were possibly thinking...

Spyker was something of a lone wolf though it hadn't always been the case according to his record, or what little of it Eri could recall. Botched mission or something saw his team dead so he preferred to operate alone ever since. That was easy to explain away, the man simply hoping to do what he believes is best to give everyone else the best chance for escape.

Thessalia on the other hand, Eri had no clue as to the woman's motivations, aside from what she said, helping out the Sergeant so he didn't get butchered. But by abandoning the rest of the group to help him, it would be just as Eri had said, they'd become little more than bolt cushions, especially Eri who was wearing only an Imperial officer uniform, the thin cotton fabric hardly capable of protecting her.

The one time I could actually stand a nice flak vest or suit of armour.

By another one of the doors, the ISIS commando quietly waited for the next set of orders and was instead being treated to what amounted to the biggest squabble she had seen between an enlisted and two officers. If this was the state of the army, Stars help the NIF defend their worlds. Looking over at the door near her, she heard feint sounds of metal clanking on the other side of it. There were no voices, though, aside from some of the screams from the hanger personnel when they first arrived and the bickering which she had drowned out to little more than an annoyance, the ISIS commando wasn't terribly surprised. The Blood Troopers had yet to utter a single word or even make any sound and the droids they had encountered thus far were likewise mute. Very unsettling.

Straining her ears, she heard a muffled thump against the door. Twisting her lips, she took a step back as she searched her mind for any sort of recollection as to what they might be doing. A second later she realized her answer and, with wide eyes, raised her carbine and backed away, yelling for the benefit of the others, "Breaching charge!!!" Ducking behind some furniture away from potential shrapnel and molten metal droplets as well as the force of the explosion itself, she readied her carbine.

Barely a moment later and the charge went off, the door disappearing in a flash of light and thick haze of smoke. Stun grenades were chucked into the room followed immediately by several blaster bolts which caught one of the royal guards- thankfully not the one with the laser sword- and dropped him to the floor before he had a chance to fully react to the sudden intrusion.

Eri bit back a curse, sliding for cover as she wished they had spent the time coming up with a better plan than the one that was tabled. Managing to get herself next to the fallen guard, Eri worked at uncliping his utility belt and it was only now, as she used her right hand to work the belt free from the red armoured soldier, that she realized something- or, more accurately, someone- had healed her arm. Show-off, Eri thought in case Thessalia was reading her thoughts. Unclipping a fragmentation grenade, Eri chucked it towards the door where four armed, bipedal battle droids were walking in. Though the grenade wouldn't do much against the shiny metal plating, she hoped enough of the fragments would find their way into the softer joins of the droids and cut a few wires or something. The device went off and, through a combination of focused fire from the others, the droids were either dispatched for forced to fall back, holding the door in hopes of timely reinforcements.
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Azra Avasara
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Azra Avasara » 2012-07-03 12:31

Thess sighed once, very bitterly, looking over at Eri with a glare as cold as teh ice she could so easily generate through the Force. The accusation had been made, silently; that it had existed at all, even as a sliver of a thought, was all that the dark woman needed. Where her look was one of glacial chill, her rage began to churn inside, growing hotter and hotter, much like a furnace beginning to warm up. "Ah swear," she muttered, just low enough for Eri and Spyker to hear it, "Ah don' need this shit right now!" If anything, the grim stare on her face best conveyed how depressing it was becoming, trying to set things right between herself and the surface marshal; it took an effort, however, to keep from making that the focal point right away. "In case ya missed it," she continued, her voice still low, "Forceglaives, the standard arms of a Sovereign Protector, are able to be made blast-resistant to a degree. In case you ALSO missed it, I can make that go a good deal longer. But at this point, I shouldn't have expected you to remember details of your own personnel, huh? Should I have?"

The scowl only worsened as Thess continued, and it became clear that she was extremely pissed off. "And here Ah thought you were someone to whom Ah actually could apologize..." She had seen it in the surface marshal's eyes; that look that spoke only of Dathomir, and spoke of it in only one way: the single worst fuck-up of Thess' life. "Yet you make it impossible...because you are impossible."

A single look, cold and stern, was the last Thess gave to Eri before looking at Spyker, anger weighing heavily on her. "We do as our 'guest' asks," she said, using the term quite loosely, before turning back to Eri. It was perhaps perfectly clear in the instant she looked back at the surface marshal that it was no longer Thess, per se; instead, it was her darker half that now moved about...and Azra was pissed. "You are impossible, Eri..." was all she said, a hurt anger lacing through her words.

One last whisper of Thess reached out to Eri and Spyker, this time touching just their minds. The message was more meant for Eri, but...maybe it was just coincidence, or something else, that it reached a second mind. "Ah'm sorry, about what happened out there, so long ago...but it doesn't help when it comes up every tahme we meet. Maybe we can talk later...after Ah help get your ass home." Before Azra could expect a reply to the thoughts she wasn't aware she'd projected, she had her sabers in her hands, blades lit as a breaching charge went off against the door. To be fair, she hadn't even heard Lynine's warning...just felt te blast's warning in the Force.

...Droids. It had to be droids. Already, she'd had enough dealing with the metal scrap-heaps in the hangar on the way in...now they wanted to disrupt a good, healthy bitch-fest of a time-out. Her sabers up, Azra found it once again only a small challenge to fend off the wave of blaster fire from the machines and bounce it back...but this time, she wasn't feeling particularly patient. Violet death flew from her hand as the saber took to the air, carving a path through the room towards the machines; behind it, a wall of flame formed in her empty hand, tearing through their lines as they tried to fall back from the room. Reinforcements be damned, she was going to gladly tear each and every last board out of them if she had to. Within seconds of taking flight, her weapon returned to her grasp, and the blade returned to reflecting shot after shot, turning blasts back with no longer any wide strikes, but instead a horrifyingly lethal accuracy, scoring marks against the droids with every return volley.

"Keep th' pressure up!" she roared, gesturing for everyone to close in. "Ever'one on me; let's move!" The remaining guardsmen immediately moved to flank the surface marshal, and a brief flash of Force energy spilled outward from the Dark Jedi as they started to bring Eri near, not once lowering their guard. Were Eri to look, she would find that her suit had just been modified slightly, now sporting some bulk where a series of solid armor plates had been grafted to it through the Force. They weren't much, but...

"Take what ya can get!" she projected to Eri, the voice clearly Azra's angered sound this time. "And...ya are, in fact, welcome..." There was a brief pause, and Thess' voice came to Eri's mind once again, genuinely sorrowful and just barely above a whisper. "An' thank ya, for not hatin' me as much as Ah thought ya did." It was in that time that Azra had issued formatiom orders, using hand gestures to keep the communication quick while they continued to battle back the droids all the more. The guards still left were to flank Eri in the middle, with Alpha and the ISIS agent up front around the Dark Jedi, and Omega sitting in rearguard. Part of her...didn't expect the agent would stick to it, but such was within her expectations for the mission entire...not that she was a fan of ISIS anyway.

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Spyker Katarn
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-07-07 06:27

The good sergeant, like anyone else would be in his position, was not irritated with the General's reasoning; she was doing what she thought was right, as all officers often do. That said, Spyker Katarn was pissed off at the General herself. There were few things he considered worse than officers coming to ground level, to the tactical level—to his level—and try to take control of a situation they did not understand. Ambicon was skilled, yes, but her reliability and loyalty would be in doubt, at least for him, until they made it back to friendly territory to have her checked out. He could tell that he wasn't alone with his opinions, either; in giving that damned speech, she'd managed to piss off both Dark Jedi, and one angry Dark Jedi was a force in and of itself.

The breaching charge prevented Spyker from replying to the Surface Marshal, as he found himself in motion just moments before it went off, cutting off his externals and tightly closing his eyes to shield them from the flashbangs. While the others—save Baker, of course—were still recovering from both the detonation and the stun grenades, Spyker was already back up and returning fire with his sidearm. The close-in work favored his methods, and several droids fell to his unerring accuracy. He had to stop when the other Dark Jedi waded into the fray, though; not out of any fear of hitting her, but rather of concern that he would be hit by one of her ricochets. When she called, they responded, the most senior of them calling out additional orders.

"Diamond formation, on the package! Let's move, people, extract does not wait!" With the precision and speed that only a military unit could attain, the group collapsed around the Surface Marshal, forming a barrier between her and the enemy. It was a hard formation to break, sacrificing forward firepower for increased protection on the flanks, but with Baker leading them, that was mitigated. Spyker pulled up the rear, keeping his left hand on the right shoulder of a guard in order to maintain the coverage required of him.

With the Dark Jedi at its head, the team pushed past the droids and through the corridors, cutting down all comers with precise, accurate fire. Luckily for them, the Blood Troopers seemed to have pulled back for the time being, but the problem soon became the sheer numbers being thrown at them. By the time they made it back to the hangar, all were running low on ammo (save Spyker, whose DC-15s had a nuclear battery powering its heavy rounds) and nearing exhaustion. The intense fighting had hardly let up since their insertion, and it was beginning to take its toll on the hardened soldiers.

Inside the hangar, silence reigned over the corpses left behind from their earlier incursion. It was a startling contrast to the chaos they faced in the rest of the facility, and they attempted to catch their collective breath with the respite. A lone shuttle, a Svelte-class by the looks of it, stood near several fighters in the center of this particular hangar. It was their way out, and the team carefully covered their angles on their way towards it.

Alas, the break was not to last: Spyker felt a twinge in the Force just before the hatches opened behind them. Spinning around with his pistol ready to fire, he was caught short when a number of Blood Troopers entered the room. These were larger than the others, easily a foot taller than Spyker's six-foot-height, and had the musculature to match. 'Four...six...eight,' Spyker counted off in his head. Eight targets, individually stronger than any one of the team members...or most of them at least. There would be no repelling this attack, only holding them off long enough for Alpha and the Surface Marshal to evacuate.

He looked over at Thessalia Baker—no, she was gone, replaced by the other now, Azra Avasara—and received a nod in return. She understood his decision: secrecy was no longer a concern. For some time now, his status as a Dark Jedi had remained a secret, known to only a few select people, all of whom were connected to his late Master, Kyp Baker. He could feel the man's presence even now, as if his ghost were watching the sergeant from the realm beyond the grave. The Force guided his hand to a webbing pouch, and the sergeant was surprised to find a metal cylinder within; as he touched it, he knew exactly what it was: the lightsaber of a fallen Bothan Jedi, taken from the scene of a crater on Bogg 11 where an honorable man gave his life to save another.

He withdrew the lightsaber with his right hand, igniting the ice-blue blade as if he had been using it for years. He felt the Force suddenly shift ever so slightly around it, seeming like its allegiance had shifted to him from its former owner. The weapon retained some of its slippery nature, but now it drew partially from Spyker's aura, not entirely from the Bothan as it once did. With his off-hand, he drew his sword, holding it in his customary reverse grip for better defense.

"Omega, what..." Alpha's transmission was cut off by Spyker's reply before he could question what his eyes saw plainly and truly.

"No time, Alpha," Spyker said softly. "Get the General on that shuttle and off this station. I'll explain everything when we get back to the fleet. Go, hurry!" Stepping to Azra's side, he faced the Blood Troopers down. What happened next would mean the success of the mission, or the death of the entire team. He opened himself up to the Force as Kyp had taught him, and drank deep of it, abandoning himself to its will, to Azra's will as a student does a teacher. He hoped they would not be a sacrifice; he knew they very well may be.
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“I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.”

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Azra Avasara
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Azra Avasara » 2012-07-15 04:59

Azra scowled deeply as she watched the Blood Troopers pour into the hangar, disgust at their presence--both physically and in the Force--long replaced by an abject hatred so powerful it couldn't even be given a proper voice.  "EVER'ONE ON TH' SHIP!" she roared, her eyes never once coming off of the goliaths of what seemed to be unliving flesh, her lightsabers drawn before she finished speaking.  There was no regard in her posture for a defensive stance, no consideration in her at the moment for her own well-being, save the macabre pleasure she imagined she would feel in putting these monsters back into an early grave...

...and getting this damned rescue done right.  Without even moving a muscle, the Dark Jedi reached into the Force, the shuttle falling under her grasp in little more than a split-second.  Faster than one would have expected, the ramp practically crashed down onto the deck, the ship lying there silent...open...waiting.  Another display of the Force's raw might came at the same time, an unseen wall of power surging out from the young woman and spreading as it hurtled towards the mass of Blood Troopers.  The nearest two were thrown back, sent sprawling into their comrades, but even this didn't keep them down for terribly long...not that it was meant to work for a significant time.  Once more, those two particular Blood Troopers were picked up off of the hangar floor, this time almost like they were the grotesque toys of some giant misbegotten child in a tantrum, and were hurled straight into their brethren.

"Hurry up, y'all!" she shouted, gesturing with one hand to the waiting shuttle.  "Th' secon' y'all're onboard, get th' Hell outta here!" The anger in Azra's voice was so strong that there was no way in Hell to hide it...just hope--deep down inside herself, some measure of hope--that it could be consumed before it got too far.  Turning her fullest attention back to the fiends pursuing them, she noticed that they were still coming, and beginning to speed up.  The floor was a thought, but...wouldn't get hot enough to melt in time, even under her own considerable skill with that particular measure of power, until they were on top of the group, making it useless.  She couldn't tear the plates up, either; if she went too fast, they'd break off in defined segments, rendering the approach wasted.  Numerous other solutions presented themselves, each one unfortunately less and less appealing than the one before, all of them discredited as useless within seconds.  No...there was only one solution left...if the others on the team were listening and actually gave a damn about getting the job done, it was a solution that would leave the two Dark Jedi on the station, in harm's way.  Such, however, was the nature of sacrifice...

...and for a former Imperial Sovereign Protector, sacrifice was the nature of business.  Further still, for a guardsman shamed by her own failures, honor and duty commanded a penance of this nature.  Penance...an oddly apt word, for someone who had sinned even against her own will, seeking to atone for the crime.  In many ways, her atonement would not have a concrete measure, and could only be told in the deeds she committed to try and make things right by the woman she called friend; still, there was one form that could be measured, and it would be tallied in blood.  Specifically, Azra thought to herself as she eyed the fiends of undeath before her, it would be measured in the black, ichorous blood that flowed in their veins.

Feeling the strange, almost glacial calm of Spyker's willful submission to her instruction, Azra forced herself to at least try and calm down...to focus on her task.  Emotion, yet peace... she reminded herself, the words projecting to the man beside her.  Passion, yet serenity.  In that instant, she could feel her more proper self come back to the forefront, could literally feel the surge as Thess dredged herself up from the depths of her soul, the dragoness defending a threatened clutch.  Deep in the reaches of the ebb and flow of the Force, she surged, her power feeling as though it had escalated into something far more dangerous...yet far more refined, focused, and honed. The gentle, kind warmth of her accent vanished entirely, replaced by a voice that was at once both chillingly austere, and blazing with impassioned wrath.  "BY MY FURY!" she bellowed, her lightsabers igniting in her hands as she stalked her way over to the unliving fiends.  "BY MY FURY, YOU SHALL KNOW THE LIGHT'S COMMAND!" There was no defensive regard in her posture...only the overt, distinct rage of a coming storm bound in the chains of flesh.  For better or worse, Azra and Thess were no longer separate souls and alter-egos; they had become one, defined as much by a single passion as by a single purpose...and they were--she was--bloody well pissed off.

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Eri Ambicon
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2012-07-15 06:31

I don't kriffing believe this! Eri thought to herself sourly, seeing that the two Dark Jedi had no intent whatsoever to make it to the shuttle. This wasn't how a rescue was supposed to happen and as noble as their sacrifice should be, two Dark Jedi weren't worth trading over her. Though she hated to admit it, the two of them were intrinsically more valuable to the Federation- and ultimately to any shot at overthrowing Kane- than she would ever be. Unfortunately, it didn't seem the two of them saw it quite that way as they continued to wade deeper and deeper still into the hanger. Still firing from the hatch, Eri felt a hand grab her, one of the royal guards pulling her back aboard the vessel.

"NO!" she cried, struggling in vein, "This isn't over yet! Damnit!" Pulled out of view to be of any use at this point, Eri stood up and faced the others, fury written all over her face. "We can't leave yet!"

"We can't stay here," one of them remarked, devoid of emotion.

"And what the frack happened to 'no one left behind'?" she demanded sourly, looking at each of the soldiers in turn, avoiding the agents on purpose mostly because she doubted they followed the same standard. They glanced at each other and Tycho called back from the cockpit that the engines were just about powered up. This wasn't acceptable, not by a long shot, but she knew none of them would willingly stay behind either, not as long as their mission was to get her off the station... Taking in a deep breath, she sighed out slowly, hunching her shoulders down. "Just... Just leave the hatch open for them..."

Pushing her way past the guards, she withdrew to the back of the shuttle, glancing down at the red-headed ISIS agent as she went by. "Can we talk in private?"

The fighting outside intensified as though every last able bodied person and droid on the station had come in a bewildering effort to recapture the Surface Marshal. Droids of all makes and models were rushing in, firing with everything they had while the blood troopers picked their way to closer positions, some of them brandishing cortosis weave swords, a testament to the resources that went into equipping them with the best weapons and armour the Emperor could personally provide.

Tycho, finally getting the engines warmed up and ready, triggered the repulsors and lifted the shuttle up off the hanger, the vessel lifting off and turning away, breaking past the environmental field and beyond the effective reach of everyone flooding the hanger.

What may or may not have surprised the two Dark Jedi was the lack of a noticeable shift in the effort level. Though the Surface Marshal was gone, there were still worthwhile targets in the hanger and if they couldn't capture the Surface Marshal, they would gladly settle for two Dark Jedi, all they had to do was throw enough bodies at them and they would make a mistake that they could capitalize on sooner or later.

From a security room far away from the action, A-10 watched the scene unfold with distaste. This was fast becoming a blood bath and one that could potentially set them back months. Still, he thought with an upwards curl of his lips as he chewed on the end of his thumb, Two Dark Jedi brought into the fold... They could be extremely useful.
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Azra Avasara
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Azra Avasara » 2012-07-16 04:50

The Force was alive within Thess as she waded into the fray, surging through the core of her being with the undying passion of a thousand suns, and just as strongly with the serene presence of an eternal waterfall. Her movements were fluid, graceful examples of the art of death, every strike scoring some measure of damage against her enemies. With her intense rage, her strikes became so fast as to defy the sight of her enemies, her sabers dancing through the air more rapidly than even the droids themselves could measure, slashing at metal and flesh alike. Indeed, where she struck, enemies seemed to fall in droves, their numbers slashed almost as vehemently as the air around the penitent scion of darkness.

Yet there was the odd part of the entire thing. For all that her sabers cut through the air, and for all that the Blood Troopers and assault droids took enough damage to fall in heaps of mangled wires or twisted flesh, everything stayed whole. Burn marks appeared, savage and tormenting, but there was nothing outward that was truly characteristic of a lightsaber's slash; the wounds were not entirely through the body, and limbs did not fall to the ground...heads did not roll free of necks from which they should have been severed, and the burns themselves were shallow. The only thing that made them so destructive was the Dark Jedi's unbridled anger, infusing itself into her actions, permeating and enhancing every wound to become gradually more and more devastating.

Behind the fighting, Thess watched the doppleganger plot at work, an expressionless look on her concealed face. Through her will, the illusory pair of combatants was all that could be seen of them in the hangar, fighting a losing fight against impossible odds. Soon, they would grow tired...or would make that one fatal mistake...and once that happened, it would all be over. Already, the Dark Jedi needed to pull her concentration away from them to more important matters, and sustaining two of the phantom images was vastly more taxing on that focus than just projecting the one. Likewise, masking the sight of two was more straining than masking the presence of just the one...

...and doing both at the same time...that was Hell. With one last gesture through the Force, Thess guided the two dopplegangers to what would be their last hurrah: a charge so blatantly suicidal, it would hopefully throw the hostiles for a loop for at least a few seconds while they tried to sort out their reaction, a response she knew they would be forced to consider because of how they'd acted since entering the hangar. Several opportunities had come up for the illusions to be struck down and proven false...several such opportunities had gone by the wayside, untouched in favor of what appeared to be a more precise style of warfare, aimed at incapacitation instead of annihilation. They were wanted alive, a concern that by itself worried Thess to no end, the mere idea that whoever had tried to corrupt her friend would think her fair game for the same punishment. She didn't plan on being there to find out how it ended.

Fortunately, the fact that the two illusions were charging enemy lines left for plenty of room, time, and opportunity; as expected, everything stopped to try and subdue the two false Dark Jedi, giving the real ones ample time to move. Nearby, just on either side of where the shuttle had been parked, there were two TIE Avengers sitting patiently, their running lights on as though they had been prepped for a patrol route before this incursion took place, and never shut off. Nodding once to the fighters, the gesture unseen to any and all, Thess turned her complete and utter focus to the two dopplegangers for just a few more seconds, giving them the final command they would ever receive. Not fifteen seconds later, the two false beings were escorted out of the hangar, and the Blood Troopers and their assault droids began tactically retreating from the hangar, their 'consolation package' secured.

When the door sealed behind the last guard, Thess immediately drew back on some of the concentration she gave to the unfortunate images. Their movements became sluggish, choppy, the signs of two individuals seriously weakened by fatigue and declining adrenaline. Everything about their state was geared to sell the charade; everything sold, perfectly. Perhaps it was just that the Blood Troopers lacked cognitive thought and were supplemented by combat-programmed droids, but everything sold without a hitch, and both Thess and Spyker were left to the pair of waitingg TIEs. Signaling to him through the Force, she made her way to one of them, climbing the pilot's ladder near it as quickly as she could. Her concentration immediately reverted back to her immediate surroundings, every last shred of it now torn from the dopplegangers that had willingly left the room, luring the enemy away. Time was of the essence...

...especially with how much she suspected Eri had seen of the damned fiasco. The woman was going to be one ornery bitch after all of this was over.

It was as the cockpits opened up to accept their new pilots that the illusion finally ended, the dopplegangers of Spyker and Thessalia fading away to nothingness in the clutches of the proud, overwhelmingly strong Blood Troopers like ash in the wind...there one second, gone the next. A roar of engine noise sounded from the hangar bay, followed swiftly by another, and the banging sound of two TIE cockpits closing shut behind their operators, the thundering crash of victory.

Clearing the environmental containment field of the Death Star's hangar bay, Thess let a smile cross her face. Just ahead and off of them by a few klicks, the hijacked shuttlecraft was moving, making as quickly as possible for the nearest hyperspace lane out of this system and back to proper Federation space. The smile on Thess' face affected her voice as she looked at the shuttle, almost giggling when she reached for the comm and pulled up the shuttle's frequency. With a simple twitch through the Force, she clicked the shuttle's communications on, her voice gently broadcasting throughout the entire ship. "Ahmy Force One," she began, barely able to contain the laughter that spread through her, "this is Fallen Angel. Repeat, Ahmy Force One, this is Fallen Angel. Be advahsed of two fahghters formin' on your wings, at 4- and 8-o'clock, respectively. Thought y'all could use some escort outta heah. Please respond."

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Tycho
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Re: Service Evaluation

Post by Tycho » 2012-07-20 03:51

"Does anyone else have something to share? Like: oh hi, I'm a Dark Jedi. I use the Force to kill people. Did I not mention that earlier when we met?" Tycho muttered darkly to himself, a scowl on his face as he flipped toggles, pushed buttons, and ran through a pre-flight check faster than he had ever done in his life, all the while wondering when the hell the mission had turned into a Dark Jedi palooza. "Why does nobody ever tell me these things? It's not like I'm in black ops or anything, oh wait, that's right, I am."

The repulsors kicked into a high whine. Shorn looked over his shoulder to see Eri being dragged in by the Royal Guards. Everyone else was aboard. Well, except for the two Dark Jedi, who apparently decided they could hold off the entire Death Star III to buy Eri time to escape. Shorn gritted his teeth as he closed the ramp and hit the acceleration. He didn't like leaving anyone behind. Anyone. As conflicted as he was about Dark Jedi, leaving them in the dust just felt wrong. The shuttle sped out of the hangar. Shorn checked the IFF to make sure they wouldn't suddenly be grabbed by tractor beams and hauled back. The bad guys would have to check to make sure this IFF was the one they wanted.

Shorn was punching in the codes for lightspeed, when he sighed suddenly. He couldn't leave them behind. Just as he was about to turn around and go get them, he heard a voice come across the comms. It was the female Dark Jedi's twang. "Uhm, copy that Fallen Angel. Okay, how did they do that?" Shorn wondered aloud.

One of the ISIS agents seated in the co-pilots seat opened her mouth as if to respond.

"You know what? I don't want to know. Forget I asked. Punching the codes for lightspeed now."

The stretching stars of hyperspace swallowed the shuttle. Not long later, the stars reverted to normal pinpricks of light, revealing a friendly ship and their final destination for the mission. Tycho breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of the ship.

"Hello, beautiful," he murmured.

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Crystala Endivain
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Re: Service Evaluation - Epilogue

Post by Crystala Endivain » 2012-07-24 01:33

Assembled in the conference room, arranged around an oval table were seven holoprojectors in a semi-circle, each one showing the blue projected forms of people mostly unknown to even those in IMEXCO. At the opposite end of the table, standing on a transmitting holopad was Crystala who regarded this conference with some trepidation, her red eyes expressing her displeasure, even if the red didn't convey itself through the projected images the others would be seeing.

"I hope your proud of yourself Inquisitor," the man at the head of the table said darkly. He was a wry, sickly looking individual with sunken features and probably very ashen skin if the lightness of his image was anything to go by. His hair was cut short and he wore the rank of a Grand Admiral, a deduction Crystala had reached shortly after her first meeting with him as she knew all the other Grand Inquisitors in the ISIS- of which there were very few- and all the Grand Generals- as the Surface Marshal was still trying to handpick her own cabinet. "You've just set back months of work with your pigheadedness."

Crystala's eyes narrowed. It didn't bother her that she set someone else back months of work, in fact she was more perturbed at the fact he had the nerve to refer to her merely as Inquisitor, his flippant disregard of her station would be duly noted. "I could say the exact same to you Admiral," she shot back calmly, keeping her steely gaze locked on the man. He blanched visibly at the use of his rank. "Ah yes, that's right, you go by 'A-1' now, don't you?"

"Director, surely you realize that it's in your better interests to work with us rather than remain at odds with us." Next to the central figure of A-1, on his left, was another man, A-2- Crystala really found their codenames dryer than the sands of Tattooine- and though he looked marginally healthier in form, his hair appeared to be falling out in clumps, leaving unsightly bald spots that he neither made any effort or strides to fix or even cover up and it in fact only ever looked to get worse with each encounter. "Our objectives mimic your own and we are simply working toward the betterment of the Federation. We are willing to overlook this little transgression, if you're willing to cooperate with us."

Crystala looked at the others who had yet to speak. Beside A-2 was C-1, an attractive woman in her mid-twenties who was, surprisingly enough, a Moff. She had a certain charm about her, but in most encounters, she seemed reluctant to open her mouth. This was perhaps a deliberate move as the woman's strength lay in the political arena, preaching to the masses why a 10% tax increase was a good idea and why they should support it... over the 9% increase originally proposed.

Beside her was S-1, a short, elderly man who had a breathing mask strapped to his face which was attached to a life-support unit, his laboured breathing, though not quite as exaggerated as the late Darth Vader's, still pierced the occasional silence whenever it cropped up.

On A-1's other side was B-1, a middle aged man who was, admittedly, quite handsome, his light, well groomed hair, smiling eyes and honed physique...
Next to him, D-1, another woman who was hunched over, a strange mechanical device affixed to her back and with a half mechanical face that always brought out the worst fears in Crystala that her sister might end up looking like that someday. She had a very raspy, simulated voice and Crystala remembered that one of the others, possibly A-2, enjoyed referring to her as "old crone".

Lastly, Z-1 who appeared as a very typical man of average height, average weight and was pretty much average in every way. Something was off about the holo that represented him, Crystala had discovered in the past, a fake image was being used to represent him, a measure not shared by the other individuals who felt sure enough of the ISIS to trust the Director they were conversing with wouldn't do anything so stupid as to plaster their faces across the galaxy. The discovery of the false image happened during a momentary flicker, Crystala swearing she caught the sight of another image somehow underneath the projected one. It happened too fast and she hadn't been paying close enough attention as A-1 had been harking about something at the time.

"I agree we are working towards the same ends," Crystala acknowledged as she turned her gaze between A-2 and A-1 in response to the earlier statement, "But we go about it in two very different ways. Before you had so blatantly kidnapped the Surface Marshal- exposing yourselves in the process I might add- I had her under surveillance. If she was, in fact, hoping to form a rebellion, there was a good chance she would have also lured Gregory out at the same time and we could have taken them all down in one fell swoop..." Her gaze darkened as her voice finished icily, "Had you not intervened."

A-1 grunted. "We did what was a necessary precaution and everything would have been fine if you hadn't turned this into some sort of pissing ma-"

"Spare me your rhetoric. The Emperor has already said the exact same." Crystala cut him off with a dismissive wave of her hand, not needing to hear the same message twice.

"Than perhaps you will be so kind as to how you're going to help us clean up this mess. People, yourself included, now know of our little project and of our existence. Furthermore, there seems to be some behind the scenes maneuvering going on that we're not being made aware of." He was referring to the Death Star which, before today, had been kept a very closely guarded secret.

Crystala nodded in agreement, ignoring the thought about the not-so-secret project. "I take it you mean the Supreme Commander."

A few of the people exchanged uneasy glances with each other. Maybe that was news to them? Or maybe they were debating something, debating whether or not to fill the Director-General in. Since their formation, the Commissariat had always maintained their own secret agenda, something that often brought them at odds with the ISIS. They seemed to have silently sided against the thought as C-1 spoke in her honeyed voice. "Regardless of who's all involved, we're going to need you to make sure none of them start talking about what they've seen."

"That's not good enough," A-2 growled, looking over at C-1 with disdain, "We need to clamp down on all of them. In fact, I think the best way the Inquisitor here can redeem herself is if she eliminates all possibility of the project being leaked out to the wider galaxy."

B-1 smiled a very charming and disarming smile. "I can't say such extreme measures are necessary. So long as they're placed under watch and reminded to not speak about what they've seen or heard, that should suffice."

"A-2 has a point," Z-1 uttered, his voice slightly garbled as though his connection were very poor. "She committed a grievous error in judgement, she should be the one to clean it up, no matter how messy it gets. Dead people... Tell no tales."

"Enough," A-1 swept his hand across the air in front of him to silence the others, his eyes never once leaving Crystala's cool gaze. "I think it will be fair to say this is the Inquisitor's problem to fix and she will fix it how we deem fit." He paused, hoping to get a response from the woman across from him but he got none. Clearing his throat, he continued. "I want everyone who has had possible contact with the Deus Ex Machinia project terminated."

C-1 looked over at A-1, her eyes widening with horror. "That's potentially a lot of people. We could use them, re-purpose or indroctinate them to-"

"No," A-1 growled, "The Inquisitor here needs to learn a lesson in humility."

Crystala drew in a deep breath and said submissively, "You want me to kill everyone who has had contact with the station or the images captured?" A-1 began to nod and opened his mouth to speak when Crystala cut him off by looking over at A-2, posing a rhetorical question to him. "A-2, you were there a month ago correct?"

"How did you-?" A-2 started to ask before being cut off by something glinting across his throat, leaving a sudden dark gash which began oozing out profusely. A-2's eyes bulged out, the horror and shock that he had just been attacked hitting him instantly though it was too late to do anything as he gasped for breath, blood flowing out of the open wound.

The others looked in A-2's direction with mixed emotions, some mortified, others outraged, all the while Crystala looked at A-1 coolly while A-2's gurgling sounds (and the occasional mechanically assisted breath of air from Z-1) filled the room. A-2 finally collapsed, a heap on the holopad that couldn't contain him entirely so it looked as though his head shoulders and right arm were severed suddenly, as were his feet just below the ankles.

"Weren't you there five days ago B-1?" Crystala asked, flitting her eyes over in his direction, a knowing smirk on her face.

"You dare oppose us?" A-1 roared, several veins in his neck looking as though they might burst, cutting off B-1 before he could respond.

"If it's to save the Federation and the Emperor from the incompetence of your organization, than yes." Folding her arms across her chest, Crystala finished calmly, "I'm not interested in protecting a group that has no sense of tact and I don't have the time nor the resources to be constantly cleaning up your messes."

B-1 extended his hand in her direction. "Come now Director, we needn't be enemies in this." His voice was like silk, inviting her to a paradise beyond her wildest dreams. "We can still work together and turn this around, use this as an opportunity that will benefit us both."

Crystala paused, feeling her resolve weaken. Whatever sorcery he had at his command, it wasn't the Force. "I'm afraid we've passed the point where I can believe we can be anything but at odds with each other," she began, shifting her weight to one leg. "Since your formation, you've done nothing but make demands of this agency while our own requests have gone unheeded, or worse. If you really were serious about cooperating, than we wouldn't be having this conversation right now."

"Suit yourself Inquisitor," A-1 hissed, his blaster bolt shooting gaze trying to intimidate the woman, "But know this, we represent the Emperor's Will, not you or the agency. Lack of future cooperation is at your own folly." His image flickered out and disappeared, as did the holopad of A-2, an override command probably having been triggered. The other followed suit, B-1 giving Crystala one last look that reminded her it still wasn't too late to reconsider her position before he disappeared.

Silenced filled the room again, a silence that only lasted for two seconds before a voice from behind began in a most venomous tone, "So you've been working with them this whole time..."

Turning around on the holopad, Crystala faced the people standing in the back of the room, the Surface Marshal chief among them, her stern frown of disapproval mixed with a resentment Crystala recognized as also belonging to that of her ilk, the Dark Jedi. Also present was several others, mostly the ones responsible for rescuing the Surface Marshal and they all had mixed expressions on their faces. Her eyes softening to a light blue colour, Crystala nodded slowly. "Yes, I have been." There was no point in lying, after all, she had purposely had the group escorted to watch the conference.

"Why am I not surprised?" In all honesty, Eri wasn't sure which was worse, the fact the ISIS had been working with the group that had kidnapped and tried to brainwash her or the fact she was under ISIS surveillance. Numerous questions swirled about in Eri's head, too many for her to be able to ask all at once so she decided on the most pressing as she took a step forward, her left hand resting on her blaster pistol. "Why did you leak the information about my location? They would have solved all your problems had you just let them capture me."

A short laugh escaped the Director. There were a lot of answers she could give, most of them true, most of them geared try and smooth relations over the whole affair, a select few fitting both categories but ultimately the woman settled on the one that would answer a lot more questions that were as of now still unspoken. "I suppose you could say a great deal many things have reached a tipping point, for all of us. Relations have soured lately, the feeling that knives are hiding in the dark ready to be plunged into someone's back at a moments notice- more so than before I mean. The Commissariat represents the single biggest threat within the Federation that threatens to destroy any unity and cooperation we try to reestablish and rebuild and, left unchecked, they will no doubt either brainwash the entire Federation into mindless slaves or use people as raw material for those Blood Troopers I believe you have been formally introduced to."

Eri's green eyes flitted over to where the sickly image of A-1 had been projected. The thought of seeing more of those things was almost as sickening as the idea that everyone could become a mindless slave to the Emperor and his clandestine organization. "Which means..." she began, reaching a conclusion she was hoping would be the case and not some figment of her imagination.

As though already sensing that conclusion, the Dirctor nodded. "The Commissariat needs to be removed from the Federation and while the Emperor has expressed under no certain terms that his little toy, the Deus Ex Mechania project, is to be touched or looked upon again, he made no express provisions for the Commissariat. I invited you here to see the major figures who head the organization as they often are able to pass through the Federation unnoticed, walking among people like you and I as though they were any other agent, stormtrooper, medic and the like. They're not an overly large group, but because they're closely tied with the Emperor, they have access to incredibly sophisticated resources, like those Blood Troopers and sadly, this agency is stretched out too thinly for me to be able to commit to hunting every last one of them down and root them for good."

"Which is where we come in," Eri nodded. "And the Emperor isn't going to get all ticked off that we're wrecking his personal brainwashing division?"

Crystala shrugged. "Whether he cares or not is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, I already have a dedicated section of the ISIS responsible for brainwashing people." The disapproving looks that statement got the Director made her smile a little. "Come now, it's nothing new and it existed since before I became Director but I've only ever used it against the enemy and people claiming to be our enemy. If you care to see the statistics, you'll notice a sharp spike of abductions and kidnappings around the time Kane became Emperor with a steady, almost exponential increase ever since. And besides, having two overlapping groups tends to create problems, like the one we all just experienced." It would take a lot of time, more than she had at the moment right now, to fully detail who and what the Commissariat was. "I can give you all more specifics and details tomorrow if you're interested. I told you the Commissariat needs to be removed and that's what I intend to see happen."

"You're going to fight them? Even when we're already at war?"

The dark smile on Crystala's face was mimicked by her red eyes. "It's either that, or you can all stand in line to the nearest indoctrination facility."
"Dagger of the ISIS? No, I am the hand that wields it!" - Director-General Endivain
"The quickest way to find the needle, burn the haystack!"

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