SCD - The First Year

Ever wanted to try something completely different with your character but don't want to screw up your storyline? Put it here!!
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I have a quick request when creating topics in the forum, "Something Completely Different". If we could preface the threads with "SCD-" so that users who use Active Topics and New Posts can easily differentiate the places and do not get them confused. I am personally getting confused and overwhelmed trying to figure it out when I'm looking through active topics and I know that others are as well. If we could do this that would greatly help in cleaning things up.
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Mission Koht
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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:51 pm

Two days later, Mission beat three security staff in a row on the mat, and managed to wrap herself around the third in a double body-triangle right as one of the watchers activated her collar to try and make her back off. The result was that her death grip only got tighter as her body rolled through the involuntary spasms, despite her opponent trying frantically to tap out. They were forced to let up on her collar so she could release her hold before the other staffer passed out. Even so, he had trouble breathing for a bit afterward, and only regained a reasonable portion of his voice around evening. When word reached Wex that Mission had injured one of his security staff, he had her tossed in a storage room and informed Bearden when he arrived home that evening.

When Wex finally came to collect her from the store room - personally - he had a brooding look on his face, and he said nothing to her as they traversed the house to Bearden’s office. He left her at the open door and marched away likes pouting child.

“Joan, come have a seat will you?” Bearden’s tone was pleasant, and his eyes curious. There was nothing disciplinary about his demeanor, which told Mission she might have finally struck the right chord. She made her way across the office and settled into one of the high backed seats across from him.

“I understand you get a headache almost immediately when they activate your collar. Would you like something for that?” So saying, Bearden gestured to an ice pack in a bowl on the desk. Mission immediately grabbed it and pressed it to the side of her head with a murmur of thanks.

“There, that’s more conducive to conversation. Now, what’s this I hear about you breaking Wex’s people?”

Mission shrugged. “I don’t know, I’m just... getting stir crazy I guess. I can’t help it if his staffers can’t hold their own against a poor little girl.”

Bearden threw his head back and laughed - probably the most genuine example of laughter Mission had ever heard from him. “My, have you been cooped up here rather too long again? Perhaps it is time I showed you more of business outside the house. I might even be able to put some of that get-out-and-go energy to use before long.”

Mission judged the man’s emotional pallet for a covert moment, and then found her voice. “I heard you’re going to Jewel City soon to check on things there.”

“You have heard right my dear.” Bearden leaned forward on his desk with an interested smile. “Interested?”

Mission shrugged as casually as she could manage - she thought she felt the points of her ears flushing red, but prayed he was too distracted to care. “I wouldn’t mind. I was too busy hating you and that Galahad fellow last time I was there; didn’t really get to take it all in.”

Bearden chuckled. “My how things have changed, hm? Well they don’t call it the Jewel of Christophsis for nothing. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve enjoyed the town much there either. Perhaps I’ll arrange for an evening out.”

Mission leaned back in her seat with a sigh and moved the ice pack to the other side of her head. She was relieved, just not for the reasons Bearden thought. “That sounds marvelous.”

Bearden leaned back as well, assuming that irritating smile that seemed to be his default and crossing his fingers. “Very good, I look forward to having you along. Run along for now then. Take that ice pack with you and don’t break any more of Wex’s people. He pays good money for them, you know.”

“No promises,” Mission said as she made her way to the door. She exited to the sound of Bearden’s amused chuckling, and it made her want to slap him. He liked her, and she didn’t like that.
I'm broken but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind, I'm short but I'm healthy... I'm lost but I'm hopeful, I'm hard but I'm friendly. I haven't got it all figured out yet, and that's just fine.
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Mission Koht
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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:36 am

The day Mission was set to ride to Jewel City with Bearden, Meridot came and took her to one of the many “decorative” unused rooms in the house. This particular one held a number of deep wardrobes that were all filled with garments which had all either been worn once, or never at all. It was mainly an accumulation of attire that might have been used by the house staff for events held on the grounds in past years, but there were a few items which, according to Meridot, had been purchased by Bearden’s late wife and never worn once. Consequently, they were some of the nicer pieces in the entire collection. Coincidentally, they fit Mission rather nicely.

“Oh yes, she was a petite little thing, just like you. She was blonde though, and not nearly as sturdy.”

“But he’s never seen her in these? That’s what I’m really concerned about.” Mission eyed the selection uncertainly

“Oh no don’t worry about that. The woman was a good match for him. She started spending money hand over fist about as deftly as he could conjure it up there toward the end.”

Mission glanced up curiously at the togruta as she held a dress up to herself. “What happened to her?”

Meridot chuckled and began sifting through another rack. “When I say she wasn’t as sturdy as you, I really mean she was quite frail. Your opposite in many respects. She took a holiday to Ansion shortly after giving birth and contracted something like whooping cough on the plains which apparently Ansionians and anyone else with a relatively good immune system would never have been bothered by for more than a day or so. It did her in after two weeks.”

“Oh my, that’s… drastic.”

“Mhm, the medical practitioner who had been working with this house for the last 18 years lost his medical license over it.” Meridot explained. “I say he was lucky to get off with his life.”

Mission tossed a gaudy dress aside and began sifting through a dresser of ordinary street clothes. “I suppose he does that sort of thing when he’s not happy?”

“Oh definitely. It’s mostly restricted to business interests, but I’ve seen him use his power for personal issues a few times. That might have been the only time I felt any sympathy for him though. He loved her quite madly.”

The end result of all the sifting was that Mission left the wardrobe room carrying a bag containing a lavender-trimmed silver dress, and about three changes of travel clothes. In addition, Meridot made her discard the loose-fitting servant-style attire she’d been wearing for the last 7 months or more, and put her in clothes that reminded her a little of the Jedi robes she had grown up seeing all over the temple – the color scheme was all wrong, and the fabric much more ornate, but the style of the garments themselves made her field like a competent force-wielder. Meridot only winked when she commented as much.
I'm broken but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind, I'm short but I'm healthy... I'm lost but I'm hopeful, I'm hard but I'm friendly. I haven't got it all figured out yet, and that's just fine.
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Mission Koht
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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:18 pm

Mission had real butterflies in her stomach for the first time in several months as she paced around the foyer waiting for Bearden. She had sifted through all three wardrobes in the back room looking for the boots she now wore, and they made hardly any sound as her light footfalls wore a path into the hardwood floor. When she sensed Bearden coming, she made herself break from her pacing and take a set at the far end of the foyer with her bag resting at her feet. She crossed her legs out of habit and watched the door as she finally heard his footfalls begin to sound on the other side.

“You look ready for a journey.” Bearden commented when he emerged from the hall.

“I don’t believe in being unprepared.” Mission shrugged, standing and drawing her satchel up off the ground to her shoulder with a casual telekinetic flick of her wrist. Bearden displayed an amused smile at the gesture and motioned her onward in the gentlemanly fashion she so disliked. It had always seemed a little disingenuous coming from him, given the backdrop of his accompanying emotional spectrum. Every time Bearden made a chivalrous little flourish toward Mission, she would sense a little ripple of self-aggrandizing pleasure from him. It was the same sort of emotional stirring she felt from him when he pulled ahead of – or somehow got revenge on – his “business” competition. She had stood by on several occasions where he had made pronouncements that destroyed, either literally or figuratively, any number of people who stood in opposition to his clandestine designs, and there had always been that same little ripple of pleasure. It was disturbing to Mission, when she thought of its implications to his view of the world around him.

The two of them mounted into his private cruiser while she managed his small talk as casually as possible, and they continued in like fashion most of the trip to Jewel City. In the last few minutes, Bearden gave her a simple run-down of the business side of what to expect for the following few days. Apparently with Jewel City being the second largest collection of higher-ups in his criminal organization, he visited it for a few days every other month or so, and simply made himself available to them. Spending some time watching over shoulders and offering more direct resolutions to small issues that came up with every day illegal operations was Bearden’s idea of a magnanimous gesture.

Mission really did quite like Jewel City, as she gazed out across the late morning skyline. It wasn’t as big as Hydian City, but it was by far more artistically designed. The architecture was a lovely contrast to the viridian sky and the navy-blue basalt structures that formed the rolling landscape around the city. This was where Christophsis’ deciding battle had been fought during the Clone Wars all those hundreds of years ago. It was a beautiful place. Mission found it a shame to know so intimately what sort of evil was festering here.

The penthouse turned out to be the top two floors of a skyscraper overlooking the financial and art districts of the city. There was a pool that appeared as though it were a decorative piece, and a selection of patio furniture large enough to seat a small army. She had heard that when Bearden had any sort of high society or off-world guests that didn’t have anything to do with his business empire, he hosted them here. The interior was just as lavish as his home complex outside Hydian City, but much more modern in décor and design. It fit the mood of Jewel City very nicely.

There were two servants on staff when they arrived, as well as Wex and a couple of security staffers Mission had never met. Wex eyed Mission for a covert moment, and then began to address a couple of the day’s issue with Bearden. As the servants approached, Bearden caught one of them by the arm and said something to them, which made Mission curious. There was no emotional reaction from the servant, however, she simply nodded and collected his bag. She then handed that bag to the other servant and came to collect her bag as well. She hated to see her fighting sticks go, but she made no complaint, and stepped up to assert herself quietly into the edge of Wex’ itinerary rundown.

Later that day, while Bearden and his little group of staff talked around coffee in one of the seating areas, Mission excused herself and went to find a refresher. She poked around the house as quickly as she could and passed up two bathrooms before coming to one that had what she was looking for. It was a larger bathroom with a powder room adjacent, and next to the mirror there stood a basic holonet access terminal. She reached down to make sure the interface was muted, and then pulled up the GPS system it housed.

Early that morning, after having packed her bag and wished her all the best, Meridot had handed Mission one last piece of vitally important information. It was a location written in hasty scrawl on a scrap of paper. Meridot had contacted Salicia the night before, and acquired a rendezvous location for Mission to meet her at. It also had the channel number to Salicia’s unlisted phone, which would be needed once she arrived. Looking at the coordinates now, Mission confirmed that there was in fact a payport she could use to contact Salicia at the rendezvous location. She memorized the route from the penthouse to the payport and deleted the search history, then shredded the note, flushed it, and washed her hands before returning to the discussion. It sounded like it was almost time to go tour the first locations for the day, so her timing seemed to have been perfect.

The next several hours involved Mission and the rest of Bearden’s retainers following him around at different places while he interacted with his underlings, and occasionally providing commentary but mostly just agreeing along as they discussed matters of operation and improvement. Mission found that her greatest source of amusement during those hours came from the emotional dynamics of the men who at this point were essentially her peers. Even the more intelligent and independent of his staff hung around him like hungry dogs, waiting for him to drop the next morsel. They also occasionally struck Mission as students all trying to play teacher’s pet. The responding emotional scale that Bearden wore was one of glowing satisfaction every time he tweaked a situation to evoke some kind of response from one of his retainers. Bearden didn’t show it – none of them did outwardly for the most part, but Mission’s empathic awareness laid them all bare before her. She had no doubt that if Bearden knew how much she sensed, he would have sought to exploit it long ago. The time would come anyway, and that was part of why she needed to get out now.

The work portion of the day finally came to an end, thankfully, and while the others retreated to whatever holes they’d crawled out of, Mission accompanied Bearden’s personal detail back to the penthouse where they rested for a bit, and then changed. It became evident in conversation that Bearden didn’t plan to take any of Wex’ security with him that evening, at which point Mission sensed a distinct spike of jealous aggravation within Wex. After Bearden excused himself to go freshen up for the evening out on the town, Mission was about to do the same when Wex shouldered her not-quite-threateningly into a corner bend in the hallway – though she sensed he likely would have rather thrown her into it face first.

“Listen here little girl,” He hissed, his gravelly voice turning the near-whisper into something altogether more sinister, “Bearden may have become obsessed with his new toy, but I haven’t lost my objectivity. I can see rather clearly how you dance your way in and out of his presence, winning his favor like a little pedigree show animal.”

Mission glowered up at him as he spoke. “I’ve done nothing the rest of his little entourage doesn’t do every time they get a chance.”

Wex chuckled. “You mean all that pandering today? Yes well, I’ll give you that, but it means less coming from them. He hasn’t let them so unnecessarily close before having some inkling as to their true intentions. You’re a clever girl, Joan, you don’t pander, you play. I fully expect that you could be an asset to Bearden eventually, but don’t aim too high before your due time. If you intend to make something of yourself in this organization, that’s very well...” He leaned closer until Mission could smell the mint on his breath. “But until I’ve determined beyond a shadow of a doubt that that’s what you intend to do, I will continue to watch you, closely. And at no point in time will I hesitate to do what is best for Bearden, even if it displeases him at the time.”

He stood back with a pleasant smile then, and marched away from her without a backward glance.

Don’t worry Wex. I’ll be out of your hair soon anyway
I'm broken but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind, I'm short but I'm healthy... I'm lost but I'm hopeful, I'm hard but I'm friendly. I haven't got it all figured out yet, and that's just fine.
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Mission Koht
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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:58 am

As the sun began to settle on the horizon, Mission emerged from her guest room wearing the dress, shawl, and shoes that had been packed for her. She didn’t like any of them very much, but they were acceptable. She also didn’t much care for the familiarly with which Bearden began to address her again as they rode to their engagement for the evening. It was an orchestral performance of some sort, accompanied by the most astonishing holographic lights display she had ever seen. It was mesmerizing, and it reminded her of the pulsating light that had been cast off by the heart of light on the nexus world when they had begun to pour their own light into it on that last day. Dinner was served as well, and Mission tried her best not to eat too much, but she knew it might be the last decent meal she’d get for awhile.

“What did you think of things today?” Bearden asked as he sipped a glass of wine later on the flight back to the penthouse. “That was the first time you’ve gotten to see some of the actual operations. Any lasting impressions?”

“It’s a much cleaner thing that I expected,” Mission admitted honestly. “The only, umm… Extralegal operations, I’ve ever seen were very dirty, and very much hidden from view. What I saw today didn’t seem any different than any other industry.”

Bearden chuckled, crossing his legs in his recliner as the ship angled about. “That’s really the heart of what makes it all work. You see, even you who come by it so naturally don’t quite grasp the concept of it. But that’s okay, I shall educate you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling my business interests “extralegal”, it’ certainly a lot less crass than calling them “criminal”, but the truth of it is, they’re no different than any other form of business, I simply serve a different, more… high stakes population of clients. It’s a fantastic and rewarding challenge and it truly keeps the galaxy spinning in more ways than people realize.

“Like I’ve said, though, you possess a very natural aptitude for this industry. Many of the men who work for me would let it all settle into a very shady sort of clandestine operation if I left it to their methods, but you seem to understand that a certain degree of grace and tastefulness is required in all this. That’s why I keep you close, and to be honest that’s why I make these little ventures to my other facilities – they need to be reminded that they’re business men in need of quality standards, not a bunch of thugs making deals in dark alleys.”

Mission nodded thoughtfully, tucking her legs up into her own recliner across the cruiser. “It certainly is a very vast array of interests you’ve collected. I can see how a certain degree of discipline would be intrinsic in keeping it all intact.”

“Absolutely, and you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Operating my business as I do, with such a unique appreciation for the law, allows me to cut out plenty of the unnecessary encumbrances that drag normal businesses down. Things can be more decisive when there’s no red tape. So, the only reason it’s so vast is because it’s such a well-oiled machine.”

Bearden continued to “educate” Mission as they rode home, but the conversation became a little more focused on her, and the ways she might fit into things as time went on. Mission didn’t like this direction, but she felt she needed to continue entertaining it for as long as she needed to in order to make a graceful exit to the evening. After that she’d be free to slip out and make her escape. As they walked through the hallway to the quartering wing of the penthouse, Mission started to linger outside the door she’d changed in earlier that day. Bearden only carried on until he noticed what she was doing.

“Oh no, come along this way my dear. Those rooms are just for visitors. I’ve had your things moved for you already. I’m upgrading you.” Bearden winked in a way that made Mission’s skin crawl, but she indulged him and walked along through the hall beside him into the suite of rooms where his own chambers were located. When she stepped in, she found herself in a remarkably well-furnished room, with all the trappings of a high society living quarter, including an enormous bed at the far end. Mission looked around, trying to seem appreciative, until her head swiveled left, and she noticed that they weren’t near Bearden’s suite – they were in it. Through the left-hand door, she could see the edge of a chair with some of his things from earlier that day tossed over the back of it.

Mission turned to glance at Bearden, trying with all her might to seem casual and interested, but she could fill a cold stone of fear settling in the pit of her stomach, and she felt the points of her ears burning red. Bearden smiled in that way she hated most, and took a tiny little step toward her.

“I wish you could see just how well you fit into this enterprise – this world that I’ve built. You’re a perfect match, like piece of a fine-tuned clock that’s been missing until just now. You could be more than just an asset to my ventures, Joan. You could be my right hand, if you continue to conduct yourself as you have. It could change so many things, and for no one more than you.”

He reached up and lifted the control collar on Mission’s neck, taking another step toward her which she instinctively inched back from. Her heart started to pick up speed as he came nearer. “I could get rid of this thing for you in an instant. All you have to do is say the word, Joan. I’ve needed someone like you by my side for quite some time now.”

Bearden took another step forward, his hand lingering on Mission’s neck, and she clinched her thumbs against the sides of her hands to keep them from trembling – she didn’t dare speak or her voice would shatter.

“I wonder if you even know how beautiful you are. You’re like a panther, Joan. Lethal and elegant all at once; its extraordinary. If you stood by my side – made my cause your own – I could show you to all the challenge and satisfaction you’ve sought but never found before now. I'm nothing like that fool that cast you out before. Let me show you the way.”

Mission’s face was serene as she backed up in conjunction with Bearden’s advances – or at least she hoped it was – but her heart pounded in her ears, her hands had begun to tremble at last despite her best efforts, and her entire body burned with adrenaline. She wanted to get away, she wanted to run, but she just had to… something shifted under her foot, and a cold hand sank its claws into Mission’s heart when she realized her heel had just slid over the edge of the area rug covering the floor – that meant the bed was right behind her. She couldn’t wait for the conversation to end; she couldn’t wait for Bearden to retire for the evening and leave her in peace. None of that would happen. She had to go. Now!

“I can see the wheels turning it that mind of yours,” Bearden said with a possessive smile. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”

“I’m just…” Mission began, and then her other heel caught on the edge of the rug, sending her stumbling back. Bearden moved surprisingly quickly and caught her in his arms even as she reached out to catch the back of his neck for support.

“Wow there, I’ve got you.” He chuckled. “I didn’t expect you to sw-“ The rest of what Bearden might have said trailed off, and his eyes lulled shut. Suddenly he wasn’t holding Mission’s weight up anymore, and he crashed to the floor on top of her, unconscious.
I'm broken but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind, I'm short but I'm healthy... I'm lost but I'm hopeful, I'm hard but I'm friendly. I haven't got it all figured out yet, and that's just fine.
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Mission Koht
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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:57 am

All the trembling Mission had been fighting back rose to the surface at once, and she lay there on the ground gasping, staring in horror up at the ceiling as a tremor of primal fear burned through her body. Tears began to streak down her eyes and she grabbed Bearden by the scruff of his shirt, rolling him off onto the floor. She knew he was unconscious, and would be so for quite a while, but she had to get away from him. She scrambled across the floor and backed up against a dresser where she curled up in a protective ball and began to breath heavily, vacillating precariously between panting and sobbing, but not quite finding her way into either one. A sudden knock on the door snapped her out of her stupor, and sent more adrenaline surging through her system.

“Sir, is everything alright?” It was Wex, his voice resonated somewhere between suspicion and concern. “Sir?”

Mission rose frantically to her feet and fumbled with the clasp on her bag. She needed her fighting sticks. “Sir?... Sir I’m sorry, I’m coming in.”

“No!” Mission cried. Wex had the other control to her collar, and if he activated it, her chance was gone forever. Her bag fell to the ground and her hands shot forward. The door was designed to swing inward, but it blasted outward off its hinges and smashed into the far wall. When it toppled to the ground, Wex was smashed partway into the drywall and hanging just as unconscious as Bearden. She didn’t truly even know if he was alive or dead, but she didn’t care. The security detail would have heard the commotion for sure now.

In that heart-pounding moment, Mission glanced back at Bearden lying face down and unconscious on the floor. She suddenly felt as though an opportunity had befallen her. She edged over to his body even as she heard voices calling far away in the penthouse halls. She could kill him right there and cut the head off the snake of his criminal empire. It would have been so easy to strangle him or stomp his head in or cause his heart to seize or any number of other things. She kneeled beside him and reached for one of the sticks in the bag she had finally gotten unclasped. As her finger touched the stick, she noticed something on the back of Bearden’s head. A simple detail she had never noticed before – it was a little scar, about the same length as the end of her thumb. It was in exactly the same place as the one which now undoubtedly marked little Varden’s head.

Every conviction Mission had ever had about the entire world she’d found herself dumped into came crashing back to her in an instant, and she stood up. Bearden was a wicked, awful man who needed to die. But this wasn’t the time; it wasn’t the right way for it to happen. If she killed him now, his less disciplined underlings would divide up his empire, and people caught in the crossfire would suffer just as much as those who deserved what came their way. Meridot, and Anise, and Varden, and all the others in the home staff would suffer if Bearden died tonight, and she would be powerless to stop it. She drew the sticks from her satchel and turned away. His day would come.

The voices calling down the hall rounded the final bend as Mission turned to the door, and she took a long vaulting step toward the doorway, knowing suddenly exactly where the first man would appear. The dress she wore was not designed for anything other than walking slowly, and the hem split from her knee halfway up her thigh, but she cannoned unimpaired through the air and her heel shot forward to connect with the throat of the first guard as he came around the corner. He smashed into the brittle drywall alongside Wex and stayed there as well. She dropped to the ground in a crouch and made eye contact with the second man as he approached. He stopped for a moment as his partner was suddenly smashed into the wall by a tiny redhaired devil with fire in her eyes, but he recovered and came at her.

The guard was smart and didn’t try to swing some wide blow at Mission in the hall, but he failed to appreciate just how accustomed Mission was to being smaller than everyone else. He planted a foot in a forward stand and made a controlled jab at her that undoubtedly would have staggered her, but Mission simply made herself even smaller and swung her left-hand stick up to strike his blow aside at the wrist with an equally crisp blow. At the same time, she swung down with her right stick ad struck his forward leg across the kneecap, followed immediately by another blow from her left. Then she stomped down on his arch with one heel, using it as a stepping stone to stomp down on his compromised knee with her next foot. The joint didn’t quite snap back, but it hyperextended dramatically, and before the guard could scream in pain, his mouth was slammed against the wall opposite of the other two men by a blow from her knee. His face smashed into the wall and left a nice dint, but he was at least allowed the dignity of falling to the floor once he was incapacitated. Mission didn’t know where this strength in her limbs had suddenly come from, but she didn’t have time to stop and think, she needed to keep moving.

Mission had lost her shoes at some point in the fray, and she glanced back simply by rote to see where they’d gone. Her eyes fell instead on the blaster holstered on Wex’ hip. She’d seen it before, it was black with pearl hand panels, and golden wings emblazed on the sides. She might need a blaster before she got home. She bounded over to him and yanked the holster off his belt, stuffing it into her satchel even as she turned to race down the hall. She came into the main entertaining room and shot her hand forward; the enormous panoramic window blasted into a million pieces in front of her. She charged bare-footed through the ragged remains of the window and leapt across the pool. Mission didn’t slow as she raced toward the edge of the high balcony patio but sped up instead until her hair snapped out of the bun it had been in and whipped behind her. The roof of the nearest skyscraper was a hundred meters away, and at least 30 meters down. She didn’t stop, she didn’t slow; she ran full tilt until the very last moment, and then the Force surged mightily through her entire body and she vaulted out into the open air of the night with a bellow of determination. The Force was her ally – she didn’t fear the fall.
I'm broken but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind, I'm short but I'm healthy... I'm lost but I'm hopeful, I'm hard but I'm friendly. I haven't got it all figured out yet, and that's just fine.
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Mission Koht
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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:12 pm

The high-altitude winds rushed past Mission’s ears as she sailed through the air, and time seemed to slow as the abyss yawned below her. She felt three breaths come in, and go out of her body, then her feet touched the roof of the next building and she ran two heavy steps before toppling and rolling across the roof, only to be stopped by the bulk of air conditioning unit that caved when she slammed into the side of it.

Mission picked herself up off the roof with a painful groan and looked down at herself. She was quite too disheveled from the fight and the fall to go running through the streets – her dress looked like she’d spent the last two weeks in the jungle. She glanced up one last time at the penthouse where the submarine lights of the pool cast the high walls into wavering blue shapes. She made herself turn around, and pushed the place from her mind, at least for the moment. She still needed to move. Finding a stairwell, Mission swapped the ruined dress for the Jedi-esque robes and running boots she’d packed, and then swung over the rail of the emergency stairwell. She had to catch the rail a few times just because she didn’t know how far down the stairwell went, nor how far she could safely manage to fall. The last four minutes had been a revelation about what she might be capable of with the Force fighting as her ally, but Mission didn’t want to push her luck. She knew Master Lylia could drop any distance at all without harming herself by redirecting the inertia into the ground instead, but she hadn’t figured that bit out yet. Even so, she dropped 140 stories in less than two minutes, and made her way out the lobby of the building with only a curious glanced from the lobby attendant.

The next twenty minutes were spent jogging up one street and down another, then catching an entirely illegal ride on the roof of a tram, until Mission finally reached the corner she’d been told to seek out. There was the payport. She rushed up to it and mashed the credit chip she’d been provided into the slot. She frantically tapped in the number, missed a key, and called the wrong person. She apologized equally frantically and entered the channel more carefully. When Salicia’s face appeared, she grasped both sides of the screen.

“Come get me! Things went wrong, I had to fight my way out, but they were all out cold when I left. Its been almost half an hour.”

::Oh my… Okay, stay where you are and stay out of sight. I’ll be there in a moment:: The image of Salicia disappeared, and Mission disappeared into a side street. She continued to carefully peruse the minds of the people as they came and went, however, both near and far. She felt Salicia’s peculiarly receptive mind a little way out after a few minutes of this, and brushed it.

<<Come out to the payport, I’m here>>

Mission emerged and found Salicia settling down to the ground in a closed-top speeder. The passenger hatch popped open when it landed, and Salicia waved her on immediately. Mission ran across the short expanse between them and leapt into the speeder. Salicia pulled a data pad with some kind of extension on it from the center console and pointed it toward Mission. “Turn this way – there you go, and… got it.”

The collar popped loose from around Mission’s neck, and she clawed it off. Before Salicia could even say anything, she held it up between her hands and pressed in on it with the Force, compacting it down into a jagged little ball of metal with a cracked gem hanging on one side. She swept her hand and the chunk of metal shot far off into the distance between buildings. She watched it go and breathed a sigh of relief.

The relief was a short-lived sensation for Mission, as she settled into the passenger seat. She glanced up at Salicia’s face and found those understanding amber eyes watching her. When her brain registered that she was finally safe, the dam of emotion she had locked down so tight with the force of her flight instinct suddenly broke, and she burst into tears. She tried to hold her composure, but it was no use, she sank deeper into her doubled over sobbing until her head rested on the console between her and Salicia – she cried from the pain of crashing into the roof, and the pain of a thousand times that wretched collar had shocked her to within an inch of unconsciousness but hadn’t quite had the kindness to do so; she cried from the terror of being beaten and shoved into walls; she cried from the constant terror of not knowing what the next moment would hold or what the plans of those in power over her were, and the even greater terror of the moment when she finally found out; she cried for the family she had lost. Everything came back to the surface all at once, and Mission cried as she hadn’t since the day they’d thrown her in the Kath hound cage almost 9 months ago. It was all over.
I'm broken but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind, I'm short but I'm healthy... I'm lost but I'm hopeful, I'm hard but I'm friendly. I haven't got it all figured out yet, and that's just fine.
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Mission Koht
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:00 pm

Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:27 pm

Salicia sat quietly with Joan for awhile. She knew how much was at stake, and how great the need was to keep moving just then, but the speeder could do that for the moment. She tapped in an autopilot course that would get them away from the collar’s last registered location. That was the most important thing for now. Once the speeder was moving, she leaned down and wrapped her arms around the young woman’s trembling shoulders. She didn’t know what had gone wrong that night – what it was that had forced Joan’s hand at the penthouse – but whatever it was it had clearly shaken her some place deeper than the roots of the barriers she’d built up around herself in Bearden’s house.

“You’re such a brave girl,” Salicia said quietly. “You’ve had to be so much braver than I could ever be... but you’re safe now.”

She sat quietly awhile longer, holding the little redhead in her arm and stroking the side of her head softly until the trembling ceased. After a few more moments, Joan took a few deep breaths, and Salicia knew she had finally pushed her walls back up. She certainly hadn’t overcome the emotional scars of the past months – that would take far longer than Salicia could give her – but she was clearly a surviver, and she would find her way to something better if given any chance whatsoever. That was where Salicia came in.

“Hey you, are you with me?” she shook Joan softly. The young woman sat up and looked at her through reddened, puffy eyes, but the determination she had witnessed in all prior encounters still burned there.

“I’m here.”

“Okay, good. You’re almost out of the woods here, so listen carefully. I’m going to take you to a warehouse that belongs to a company that we own, and I’m going to give you directions to a special priority container that is not to be opened for any reason until it reaches its destination. The facility is operated by droids, so you won’t have any trouble as long as you’re discrete. Now, I’m going to give you a command card that will grant you access to the container, and once I get word that the seal has been broken, I’ll reset it on my end, and send the order to have it shipped. Once I do that you’ll be in hyperspace within two hours. Then another three hours will get you to Rodia. Your command card will allow you to get out of the container without breaking the seal, and the receiver isn’t scheduled to pick the crate up until five hours after it arrives, so you can get out any time after the indicator strip changes from red to green, see?

“Okay, now here’s the bad news. I wasn’t able to get transport any further into the interior than Rodia, so you’re going to have to find your own way from there, but I have a few credits for you. It won’t be enough to barter with, but just be careful and you’ll be alright. Rodia’s a fairly civilized place, and while I can’t guarantee you a ride straight to Coruscant, the port you’ll end up in will have plenty of freighters headed back to the Corellian Run and further into the interior. Here, this data pad has routes you can take, names of a few individuals and companies you should avoid if you can, and a few others you can count on if you find them. Some of the guys on the second list are smugglers, but I’ve worked with these guys long enough to know which ones are good eggs, and which ones are rotten, okay?”

She knew it was a lot of information to take in at once, so she had written it all down in steps on the data pad as well, and showed Joan as much, but she also made the young woman repeat it back. Once Joan had found her center again, she proved to have a mind like a steel trap, and Salicia felt certain her work would come to fruition once the Jedi-child disappeared from her sight.

“Joan,” she started as they neared the warehouse. “I’m not a… I don’t…” she paused and sighed. She had no doubt that the young woman was grateful, but she wanted to explain herself for some reason. She felt woefully unworthy to hold her head up in the presence of a member of the order who had carried the banner of the good and the right of the galaxy for countless generations. She who was a clerk in back office of evil men.

“Salicia… I’m not a Jedi either… not really. Just the child of one.” She glanced down and found the girl’s grey eyes watching her carefully. She felt somehow both disquieted and also profoundly at ease there. For some reason, the words the young woman had spoken seemed to strike her core, and the shame she’d suddenly felt slackened just a bit.

“This life… I would have never chosen it for myself, but I feel I’ve been a coward for never trying to find my way out. I cover the tracks of ruthless men so they can continue on as they are.”

Joan nodded her understanding. “And in the months I was trapped in the house having to curry favor for my chance to escape, I did the same thing. When they asked my opinion I gave it, and furthered their ends. Your chance to break free will come. I certainly won’t forget about you when I get back to my mother’s people.”

Salicia smiled. “I think, if that’s true, then some good might come of all this after all. If you have the connections Meridot suggested, the Mandalorian clans might have enough pull to bring down Bearden’s empire… assuming he’s…”

“He’s still alive. I realized if I killed him it would only make things worse for everyone else.”

“You’re right. It will all have to come down at once. I’ll have to keep my head down for now, but when the time comes, I’ll be able to help you prove everything. I could put together enough proof to give you a case worth taking before the senate.”

Joan glanced out the canopy of the speeder as they set down, and then smiled. “I’ll keep track of you then. For now, though, I’ll let you know when I make it to Rodia. Oh, and… my name’s Mission, not Joan.”

Salicia laughed quietly and shook her head. Of course. She had Joan – Mission – repeat the instructions one last time, and then opened the canopy and sent her on her way. As the redhead disappeared into the dark of the shipping yard, Salicia watched her go. She prayed she’d set Mission on the right path. She had landed her craft in a place where there was no surveillance, so she waited. She would wait until the seal on the container broke, and then she would reset it and go home. From there, the girl’s life would be out of her hands. She knew Mission could take care of herself though – she wasn’t worried.
I'm broken but I'm happy, I'm poor but I'm kind, I'm short but I'm healthy... I'm lost but I'm hopeful, I'm hard but I'm friendly. I haven't got it all figured out yet, and that's just fine.
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