Sarapin Body Count

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Aquila Slyphs
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Re: Sarapin Body Count

Post by Aquila Slyphs » 2010-08-24 06:29

Aquila nodded, a little disheartened to hear that they would have to go on yet another expedition to find her father and, after Sarapin, she was more than happy to simply take to the controls of her meek TIE Interceptor and fly around in space with the rest of her squadmates. For some reason, she felt safer that way, perhaps because people weren't riding with her, in the small confines of the fighter, counting on her to see them through back to safety, where her death wouldn't also mean the death of a bunch of other people. Reflecting back, that was a lot of pressure, flying that shuttle back to the ship.

When he glanced at the flowers and asked if she knew what they were, Aquila looked over her shoulder at them and nodded once, a feint smile appearing on her delicate features. "Yes, the red ones that look like sunbursts are Anagallis while the blue ones are puffballs," she pointed to one of the big blue flowers that looked like its namesake. She looked back at him and warned, "Just don't take too deep a whiff because its pollen can cause nerve damage." Looking back at the flower, she added, "But they have such a wonderful aroma." Pointing to a bunch of black flowers that filled the bouquet like space filled the void, she continued, "Those are Lorchads, easily grown and able to weather a lot of severe conditions. I forgot to water them before leaving on a family trip and I spent most of the trip worried sick about them since the weather reported that there wasn't going to be any rain. I got back and they were still blooming as if nothing had happened.

"Oh, and these," Aquila pointed to the last flower, a large, bright, purple, many petaled bloom that contrasted well with the rest of the arrangement, "Purple Passions. One of my favorites. They smell so nice on a breezy day, you can always tell they're around by their distinct scent."

Reaching over, she gently pulled the Purple Passion from the vase and moved it so it was just beneath Spyker's nose. "Here," her voice was soft and gentle as her thumb and forefinger held the stem several inches down from the bloom. She waited for him to take a breath in before pulling it away and asking, "Like it?"

She was about to put it back as Spyker answered when the door hissed open and Alath and Jack walked in. "We thought we'd find you here," Alath grinned, quickly spotting the flower in Aquila's hand and, not missing a beat, added cheerfully as she winked, "Aw, how nice of you to give him a token of your affection!"

"W-what?" Aquila stammered suddenly, glancing at the flower and then at Spyker and then back at Alath, "N-n-no, that's n-not what this is for! I was just-" she turned around to quickly put the flower back in the vase, her hands nearly knocking the entire thing over. "Eek," Aquila cried as she reacted quickly enough to catch it and place it back on the nightstand, suddenly feeling even more flustered as her arrangement had now come apart and needed to be redone. She could feel her face flush and was suddenly glad she had her back to everyone in the room though a nice hole to hide in would have suited her better.

"Aww, how sweet of you to bring him an entire arrangement!" Alath cooed as she looked at Spyker and lowered her voice a little, "She's a little too shy to admit this but I think she likes you."

Aquila could feel herself turn even more red but didn't respond in fear that she'd only say the wrong thing. Instead, she continued to work carefully, rearranging everything to the way she had it before, biting her tongue all the while, wishing the two of them hadn't entered as she was just starting to feel calm for once in what seemed like a very long time. Flowers always made her feel relaxed, taking her to a different place where the only scary things were the bugs and bees but even those she could handle, especially the bees with their fuzzy bodies which she had once petted during a light drizzle as the flying insect sought shelter in a flower. How did it go? I think I had the Anagallis here just above the Purple Passion...

Jack, knowing this could get out of hand quickly even if it was all in good fun, spoke up before Alath could continue harassing either of them. "I trust you're doing well sir?" he asked, adding the 'sir' out of respect to the man. Getting a nod in reply, he continued, "Ponex is being questioned by the ISIS right now and, from what one of the agents have said, he should be undergoing the debriefing stage soon and should be released in a few hours. I thought I'd let you both know since it means he'll be a free man, unless they make him some sort of offer to work and cooperate with the NIF." Jack shrugged, looking at Aquila who was still busying herself with the stupid flowers. "They've got him put up in a hotel down on Bilbringi for the duration of his debriefing, which seems strange but, from what I heard down the grape vine, there's a few internal problems aboard this ship and indeed with all of Third Fleet so I guess they didn't want another variable messing up whatever investigation they have going on. But, so far, they've determined that he doesn't pose a threat to the Federation, or to any of us so we're welcome to visit him."
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Eri Ambicon
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Re: Sarapin Body Count

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2010-08-24 06:45

Eri nodded, the smile on her face asking Tycho to stay. "I don't often ask for company, being a sniper and all, well, ex-sniper turned commander of the army but that's another detail I still have to hammer out of my job description." She laughed softly at her half-joke, hoping the other two would view it that way. "Actually, I never did get a chance to properly thank-you for helping me back there," she said to Tycho, the smile widening. "If it wasn't for you, I probably wouldn't be laying here right now..."

It was of little comfort to Eri, after what had happened on Sarapin, she, in many ways, wished she could have joined Mai, and while she didn't know what the final outcome was, she could only guess that her friend was either dead or now very far away, hiding in some corner of the galaxy to escape the inevitable wraith that would be unleashed upon her. Dead or disappeared, I would have taken either but, I suppose I'll also be glad that there are those in the army content with the way I do things and willing enough to try and save my sorry ass.

Looking back at the repulsor chair ridden soldier, she nodded in agreement to his statement. "I would like to know what happened on Sarapin, though, I suppose I know more than either of you at the moment. Assuming you've both read the debriefing," she turned her attention back to Tycho and continued, "That woman you saw back on Jacknaw's Traverse, you probably don't know who she is, unless you recall the old wanted posters of the person responsible for the Firro bombing..." She let that sink in for as she turned back to Jericho. "Simply put, a lot more was at stake than the costly raid, the Emperor himself had come planet side to fight two of our own Dark Jedi, or so I'm lead to believe. In fact, it would seem that the entire raid was nothing more than some sort of distraction so there could be a titanic clash which, unfortunately, cost many lives."

A single tear welled in Eri's eyes as memories flooded into her mind. Looking away quickly, she wished she knew who was responsible for the whole affair, so she could more effectively bury the sadness beneath the rage she would take out on this individual for causing so much grief. Her first guess was the New Republic, but, somehow, after what Crystala had said, it seemed that someone, or someones in the Dark Jedi inner circle was to blame. Too bad I can't just go murdering the lot of them, what with their laser swords and ability to snap my neck as easily as they can snap their fingers...
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Re: Sarapin Body Count

Post by Tycho » 2010-08-26 04:16

Tycho frowned as he listened to this new information. No, he hadn't seen the wanted posters after the Firro bombing, but he had heard about it. That was something he would have to look into if he actually wanted to find out what was going on here and why the Battle of Sarapin was fought in the first place. What Tycho was hearing right now....it didn't sound like the Empire he had sworn to protect. Or rather, it didn't sound like this was the Emperor he had sworn to serve. Shorn figured that that was the very heart of the matter. The Emperor had his own private plans - assuming Ambicon was telling him the truth, which he believed she was - that took priority over the lives of thousands of soldiers.

Disheartened by this news, Tycho's face became set in a cold expression. He had thought that the Empire fought for order and justice. That was what he fought for. Now Eri was telling him that this enormous loss of life had simply been so a couple of dark jedi could fight it out. Was that what he was really fighting for? "It better not be." he thought, anger beginning to seethe inside him at the thought of it. He didn't want to face the fact that all those poor souls in his platoon had died for an honor duel. But now he knew it to be true.

He had moved over to stand behind a small desk and leaned on it with both hands, hanging his head.

From the get go the entire mission had been seemingly pointless. Yes, Sarapin supplied many New Republic worlds with power and it was obviously an important planet. Even during the briefings, Tycho hadn't seen the point of damaging this planet to an almost critical level, but pulling back before it was destroyed. If they wanted to critically damage it, they should have simply blasted it with a superlaser, or bombarded it from orbit after taking out the shields. Instead command had seen fit to launch a large scale raid. Tycho had disagreed with command, but had kept it to himself. Now he wished that he had spoken against the raid. The cost far outweighed any benefit there might have been. But hindsight was twenty-twenty. How could he have known that it would all be for a couple dark jedi?

Tycho's fingers curled around the edge of the desk.

Of course Tycho had heard all the stories. These force-users could supposedly snap your neck at whim, without using any physical force, but rather the force of the Force. Rumors went that Darth Vader had done it repeatedly to many under his command as an 'encouragement' tactic. And some reports moved it from the realm of rumor to fact. As well as ancient history, there were more recent records of the current Dark Jedi committing similar acts. Tycho hadn't had much enthusiasm for reading them. He didn't really like depressing mission reports. So who were these Dark Jedi, and why was there - from what Eri told him - an assassination attempt by some of their number on the Emperor, who was supposed to be the head of the order....at least that's what Tycho assumed. He was the head of everything, right?

Now that it came down to it....he wondered if it would have been better for Eri to have kept this to herself. He hadn't quite gotten over the anger stage yet, but already he could feel the onset of deep sorrow in his heart. It was almost as if someone had opened up a hole in his heart where all hope and good feelings drained out of it.

When he finally found the words to say something, his voice came out hard and icy, "I almost wish you hadn't told me...." Tycho paused and then fell back into silence, losing words to continue further. He felt a tingling in his hands and glanced at them to see that the knuckles had turned completely white, drained of blood. Relaxing his grip on the desk, and his grip on his anger, Tycho let it slide away. But when all the anger had drained out, just as the blood came back, he still felt as if someone had come and plucked his heart out, because it now felt hollow with sorrow. Taking his hands of the desk, standing up straight, and finally looking up, he spoke again.

"Who are these guys anyway and what the hell are they fighting each other for?"

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Eri Ambicon
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Re: Sarapin Body Count

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2010-08-27 06:47

"I almost wish you hadn't told me...."

Eri looked away from Tycho at that moment, feeling a surge of guilt flood within her. In her anger, frustration and hate towards the Dark Jedi, she hadn't stopped to consider how others might perceive what they were hearing from her, the Surface Marshal of the Federation army. Of course, she knew where he was coming from, she had felt the exact same way just after Tsoss Beacon, wishing, in some ways, she had stayed in ignorant bliss of the whole affair regarding the Dark Force-users.

But, now that I know, would I really want to go back? she asked herself mentally, feeling the tension in the room lessen along with Tycho's anger. The Dark Jedi are trying to destroy the Federation for their own personal gains and I can't lay idly by and let it happen.

"Who are these guys anyway and what the hell are they fighting each other for?" Tycho asked as he stood back up, still upset at what he had heard but appearing to be prepared to move on in light of what he just heard.

"I'm sorry," Eri began softly, glancing at Jericho briefly, "I'm sorry you had to hear that, but I know just how you feel, believe it or not. Perhaps, before Sarapin happened, I would have wished the same thing as you, but now, I feel I can't let myself sit with the wool over my eyes any longer while everything you and you," she gestured to Jericho before spreading her arms out wide to encompass the entire ship and Federation, "and the entire Federation as well as myself have worked so hard to achieve. I still believe in the Federation, in what we've been fighting for. It's the leadership that concerns me because I honestly believe that there's still some good left in the NIF, there has to be." She locked her green eyes onto Tycho's own eyes, a look of grim determination marred only by the sorrow in her heart at the loss of her friend and comrades only a very short time ago. "But, ask you self this, now that you know, would you really prefer to remain ignorant to the whole affair? To be the next possible, unwitting victim in a game where your destiny and fate seem to be pre-determined and at the whim of the Dark Jedi pulling our strings?"

In her eyes, tears mixed with a sad sparkle of what appeared to be a distant memory in her mind. Forcing herself to continue, Eri managed to choke out, "They're the ones in power, gods if you will, as the laws favor them and we are helpless to stop them if they were to murder us in cold blood." Eri took in a deep calming breath, a recollection of what the then Admiral Wesiri had told her. She shuddered at the thought, feeling a coldness crawl up her skin. "I don't know why they're fighting each other, but I have one guess. What do people in power usually want?" Letting the question loom, she took the moment to wipe the tears from her eyes as she let her own anger build. "More power. They'll use any means at their disposal to get it, even if that means us."

She had no illusions of that fact, it seemed to be their mantra and Eri was lucky enough to have survived through it twice. Still, whatever Thrakis was after on Sarapin, his message was clear enough in the end though it was a lot easier for people like Jericho and Tycho to stay away from the Dark powers than it was for her, something she took a small amount of comfort in which brought a rare smile to her face as the tears started to fall. "I envy you both, unburdened by the hassles of having them be your direct superiors. But, I promise you this, I'm going to do whatever it takes to make sure another 'Sarapin' does not happen regardless of what they decide to have us do..."

Whatever it takes... she repeated to herself mentally, clenching her fists, accepting her promise even if it meant extreme measures. Someone had to try and protect the others from their influence and selfish decisions.
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Jericho Winters
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Re: Sarapin Body Count

Post by Jericho Winters » 2010-08-29 19:32

Jericho Winters paused and nodded to himself, staying quiet at the mention of these groups of people who seemed to possess means of which to torment or destroy others at but a whim.

It was almost inconceivable to him that such people would be allowed to be so loosely unencumbered by morality, and laws. But then again- some people seemed to think that lawlessness was the ultimate existence to strive for. Where the strong ruled with impunity... But he could understand the situation as the Surface Marshal described it. But...thinking about it he had seen at least one so - called 'dark jedi' in actiion which didn't fit in to the usual stigma.

A man quaintly referred to on that mission into the Unknown Regions named Commander Baker. A person it seemed a fellow soldier named Katarn respected. And anyone he respected couldn't be too bad... could they?

But was that Commander strong enough to do what was said- to kill all those people on Sarapin?

Sadly- the only conclusion was No. Not without aid of technology at least.It was like trying to figure out a puzzle where all the pieces weren't properly fitting together. He hated that- it was a sensation he seemed to have alot in his past profession as a detective. So the real question which came to mind was formed after a few moments of introspection.

"Surface marshal- I agree with you on the danger these groups represent as a whole when they allow themselves to attempt actions which endanger the masses. To me their lives worth are no greater then any others. But ... I believe I do know one of such a group which doesn't seem to fit the mold you describe. At least from a mission that still remains classified so I can't go into to much detail but I'm sure you know what I'm alluding too. I think it was before Mr. Shorn's time.

Quaintly put- this "commander" exhibited behavior there that quite frankly stood to serve and protect the mission and the responding units. Quite uncharacteristic of the selfishness you're currently ascribing to them as a whole. Granted- the person in question didn't seem to be as powerful as the one's who must have caused the losses on Sarapin. So this perhaps make me think it is a factor of their ability to draw upon this 'power' that plays into the equations."

He paused a moment for breath, wondering if the Marshall could hear his words, "Like any power- it is my belief that power will slowly corrupt another if they do not possess the proper means of support to keep them from acting upon it's influence. That corruption may be inherent in the amount of power that each one of them possesses. Thus logically it is safe to assume that as they progress the temptation to commit wrong will be greater as they begin to become detached from the galaxy. Withdrawing into themselves and their points of views in ways we , as normal people, cannot imagine."

He raised his arms in a weary shrug. "Thus it's almost like a psychosis."

Glancing from one to another he continued, "This truly is a shame Marshall for I feel the only way to stop such things would be to ensure they retain their sense of humanity. To be friends with them during the formation periods of their psyche and their 'extra' abilities. Otherwise- like children, they will eventually grow to resent whoever is teaching them and attempt to strike back by any means necessary. In my view it takes 'a village' to raise a child. And children are meant to be disciplined when necessary.

And that leads me to my next point Marshall- the idea that it takes laws that shelter and protect them from that discipline is atrociously setting their development so off kilter it is only natural that they might set upon each other like Rabid Dogs. Why? Because something in their training was lacking- or that no one ever stayed with them enough for them to get the point that regardless of their 'extra' abilities they should still give a damn about the galaxy and not their own selfish desires. That doesn't mean they can't have their own desires- doesn't mean they can't get angry. It just means that they should learn to not go ballistic with such things."

He reached up to scratch his head, "Sorry Marshal- it's just from the viewpoint that these people might be overgrown children in adult form Explains alot of things. You speak of about them killing others on the 'merest whims' calls out to a part of me which says- censure. Censure- not go up against, or flat out try to foster an insurrection against them. But Censure- as in a rebuke by bringing them by force to those who should be watiching over them. The galaxy learned the hard way with the Jedi purges- no Force User is invulnerable. Not to weapons, but most importanly- not to matters of the heart. I don't know if I would classify each and every one of them as so abberant that they could not be served to remind them of their own humanity. I just think in order for their silent war to effect each and everyone one of us by killing with disregard is the height of hubris.

I just know that the mere idea that such actions may have been perpetrated by some of these beings strkiing at others is just a sign that there was an failure in their formation. Their training if you would. And as such- those who have gained such abilities have only proven how flawed they truly are. Just like the rest of us. They're individuals and should be judged as so."

He looked down at his hands, asking himself a question, "Does it make me angry that such people caused the deaths of thousands of their own side. Yes. Friendly Fire- isn't, is the old expression which comes to mind. Was it inecessary- the emperor's duty to the federation to remove such a flawed individual if their actions were endangering the entire Federation? "

His voice trailed off into silence, "I just don't know... but I don't believe the Emperor should have found it necessary to do so personally. To censure these children. Or to kill one of them in person when a tactical orbital strike could have done wonders to save thousands of our own side before things spiralled out of control.Do I still think the end result of censuring such an individual may have come into play at the emperor's behest? Yes. I won't lie to you. He's the emperor he's supposed to make the big decisions, and the Force help us if any of these other 'mystics' disagreed with his positions. It would only serve to tear the Federation apart!

My view is this- force User or not- turbolasers can kill them just like any other person. Do I believe I presently know enough about the particular sides of the situation to accurately judge what happened? No. The Devil is in the details as they say- and honestly I don't know if we ever will know the true particulars of what happened. I'm just saying, until we do, find out the reasoning behind such events- we must abstain in judgement, and follow orders. While struggling to ensure the NIF is as prepared for all things possible so hopefully it never happens again!"

He glanced down sheepishly, "Sorry it could just be the drugs, or maybe just the fatigue and latent feelings regarding the whole situation of Sarapin, I didn't mean to launch off into a tangent of any sort. I just wanted to openly say what I felt is all... in short if this organization of force users failed to properly censure their own kind then the onus is upon them to as well to make sure no one else in the armed forces suffers from their lack of ability to discipline their own. You could say in this case- yes the parents are responsible for the child's actions- but any other adults in the area shouldn't hesitate for an instant to smack their hands if they're reaching into the cookie jar.

He just stared off into space, rhetorically speaking, "Otherwise- they'll just kill more people."

''Should we... should I.. and should you still be loyal to the Federation, and the Emperor? Undoubtedly yes: he was currently the one that stopped this force user from killing more of your men , Surface marshall. Should we be afraid to voice our honest opinions to him, regardless of the power he wields? No. At least ideally- that should be so. I don't know what weight he might give to such opinions. It seems from what I heard earlier on before I joined up he would have done so with even the lowest rank officer who served him faithfully countless times. Would that still be the case, now? I just don't know. You might- you've had more contact with him. In your opinion- has anything truly changed?"
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Eri Ambicon
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Re: Sarapin Body Count

Post by Eri Ambicon » 2010-09-01 04:16

It was a long speech from Jericho, though Eri listened as best she could, trying to keep an open mind which was, admittedly, hard to do these days. She let him speak with no interruptions though there were times she would have gladly put in her two credits worth, if only to agree with what he said or put in her two credits, but she refrained, too tired to make any sort of debate out of it. Admittedly, there wasn't much to debate, she did agree with what he had said. When he finished, posing the last question, "In your opinion- has anything truly changed?" Eri couldn't help but smile sadly, at forlorn memories of some distant age.

"Sadly, yes," she answered, her gaze falling down to the floor below Jericho's hover-chair. "Though, other things have remained the same." She gestured to the flowers beside her with a carefree wave. "Some people haven't changed, for the better though some other people also haven't changed, for the worse." Looking back up at him, her eyes still sad and forlorn, she added, "But you're more right than you could ever begin to know. I'll leave it at that, but I do agree with what you said."

I wish I knew the whole story though, what Mai's part was, why the Emperor actually came down the Sarapin, what Thrakis wanted with the Force-user... Eri's mind trailed off and it wasn't until she heard something from somewhere outside her room in the hallway fall and smash against the ground that she snapped out of her daydream, realizing that the three of them were laying, sitting or standing in an awkward silence for what could have been minutes. "I'm sorry," Eri gave the two others a bleak smile, "I suppose I'm not much for trying to bring up others' moods right now." She leaned her head back against the headboard of her bed and let out a deep sigh. "I... I wish I could go back in time, do things differently. Maybe all this wouldn't have happened if..." she cut herself off, aware that the two of them here probably didn't want to hear her utter "if I wasn't Surface Marshal." After all, Tycho had risked his own life to try and bring her back to safety, a gesture that she wished she could find suitable reward for. And Jericho, well, he seemed content with her command and was supportive of her efforts.

"I'm sorry we got into this discussion, I'm sure there are better things you wished to have discussed..." She shook her head, noticing Tycho's mood not improving much, and decided to impart upon them the same wisdom Thrakis had given her. "But, I would like to ask of the two of you this: just stay away from all of them. From my personal experience, they're little more than trouble and they're only interested in looking after number one." Hanging her head down, Eri trembled a little as the soft sound of sniffles emerged from her.
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Re: Sarapin Body Count

Post by Tycho » 2010-09-01 05:53

Tycho listened through Winters' long winded speech. Personally, he didn't care much for drawn out speeches, mostly because he couldn't really pull them off. His own speeches were rather short. But despite this, there was a lot of truth in what Winters said, even if most of it sounded to be on the edge of what some might call 'traitorous' thoughts. He refrained from replying, keeping a passive face. For one, his brain was a little fried with the information he just been handed. And for two, Shorn preferred to keep his thoughts on these matters to himself; at least until such a time as he could get them in order and have a definite standing on this issue. For now, his mind was in turmoil. And so he kept silent on that issue.

But he couldn't help from speaking after Ambicon's remarks. She was in far more advanced state of emotional compromisation than he was. And also something of a tumult of loyalties if he guessed right. She showed selflessness by putting the needs of her troopers over herself in this instance, made obvious by her words of sorrow and regret. And then there were the words of advice she gave out. Shorn nodded slowly as he heard them. Staying away from such people was a good idea, if you didn't want to get hurt. But there were some needs greater than personal safety. The Surface Marshal sounded as if she was about to burst into tears. Someone needed to say something....

"Well, brooding on how you could've done it better does more harm than good most of the time. At least that's what they say. I dunno about that, but I do know that stuff happens and we can't go back and fix it." Shorn said, his brows drawing together and his grey eyes contemplative. He looked straight into the Surface Marshal's eyes, trying to find hope in them. "And ma'am, whatever they may say, it wasn't your fault. In fact you did everything you could to stop the loss of life." as he thought Eri was about to make a protestation he quickly continued. "I was there. You can probably still smell the sulfur, yeah? I smell it too. And so does everyone else who came back from those gates to hell. And ma'am, the only reason that those others can smell that ash as if they were still there, and the only reason as many survived as they did was because of you. If it hadn't been for you....well, I don't want to think about that. All I know is that we couldn't have asked for a better Surface Marshal and pretty much everyone in the army thinks the same way." Shorn looked down hastily, frown still scarring his features. "So, what I'm really trying to say is....don't beat yourself up about it. I would say that me and my boys would follow you to hell and back, but we already did that." A smile broke out through his features, a bit half-hearted, but a smile. The eyes, though weary, shone with a twinkle of dry wit.

Tycho stood up straight. He didn't know how Ambicon would take that. He just hoped it helped. But the time seemed right for him to be leaving. Now that he could stand there was stuff he had to attend to, things to look into. Right now, it didn't seem as if Ambicon wanted to talk about this anymore. He had done what he had come here to do anyway: find out at least part of what really happened on Sarapin and make sure that Ambicon wasn't about to go suicidal, again.

"I should take my leave. Thanks for the advice, ma'am. Winters, General." Tycho nodded in Jericho's direction and then gave a salute to the Surface Marshal that, while it may have been a bit casual, was not at all given in a sense of disrespect. Once more, Tycho Shorn turned to the door. The advice Eri had given he had not intention of following. Following orders completely was something he had never gotten the hang of and while this may not have been an order, it was close enough. He would find out everything he could about these Dark Jedi and their intentions, someone had to; if not to take action, then at least to understand what they were really doing with all this. Perhaps he could even find a few good souls who were of similar disposition. But first, he needed to get out of this hospital gown.

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Re: Sarapin Body Count

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2010-09-12 17:58

"Good. That's... good. We'll have to pay him a visit soon, then; thanks for the update. How is everyone else?"

"Recovering. A few of us took some hits--" Jack held up a bandaged arm, "--but we're still more-or-less in one piece. You and Aquila, oddly, were the worst injured. What happened up there, anyway? One minute, you seemed fine, the next, you were on the ground seizing. Corsair had to hit you with a hypo to get you stable." Both him and Alath seemed concerned at this; neither knew what had transpired, and it seemed to worry them. Truth be told, Spyker didn't know either, but he planned on finding out. The problem was getting in contact with the person he needed to ask.

"I don't know what happened; that's never occurred to me before. I haven't had the chance to talk to the doc yet either, so I'm as much in the dark as you are." The others all nodded. They had to ask; the appearance of the hardened sergeant in a hospital bed no doubt unnerved them. "I plan on finding out, though." The three of them exchange some more pleasantries while Aquila fixes her flower arrangement, and then Alath and Jack take their leave to check on the others. With them gone, Spyker simply watches Aquila finish her arrangement for the second time, smiling at the change in her demeanor whille doing so.

'She needs this more than any of us realize,' he thought to himself. His next thought was of the last mission, 'That was a disaster. Not again.' There were simply too many people, too many things that could have gone wrong, and Spyker was less than happy with the result. A microexpression of darkness flickered across his face, and Aquila picked up on it. She frowned.

"Is... is everything okay?" Spyker tried to return a smile to his face, but the damage was done. She knew something was bothering him.

"It's fine." He waved his hand dismissively, "I'm just thinking about the mission. Too many people went on that op. It won't happen again, at least not to that extent." He saw a look of worry cross Aquila's features, and he mentally smacked himself for it; she thought she was to blame. "It's not your fault; you did great out there. We made it back in one piece, didn't we?"
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“I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.”

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