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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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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:00 am

Mission slipped into the warehouse through an open receiving portal and then glanced around. Once she knew where she was, she shadowed her way through the warehouse as quickly as possible. She remembered what Salicia had said about the droids being docile, but she didn’t want to take chances. She spent most of the trek to the container stalking through the rafters, only scaling down when she found the container. It was a smallish dark green container with a scanner and a wheel to unstop the door. She scanned her command card across the reader and its display turned red in sync with a metallic pop somewhere inside the container. When she tried the wheel on the door, it broke loose, and she climbed in, wheeling the door shut behind her. The red card was the only light in the container for a moment, but then it shifted green again, displaying the words “in transit” on it. She grinned and pulled a flashlight from her bag that Salicia had supplied her with. She found her way to a corner and settled in. Then she shut the light off and closed her eyes.

During most of her childhood and early adolescence, Mission hadn’t been much better at sitting still than her father had, but being a slave for eight months had taught her the true value of it. She would have preferred to learn the lesson some other way, but Mission had cultivated the discipline to sit quietly and enjoy her peace and calm for as long as it was made available to her. She had every reason to expect that she would sit alone in the dark container for at least the next 5 five hours, and she welcomed it. She sat her satchel down beside her, crossed her legs, and settled down to meditate. The dark fears still lingered around her mind, and she was frightfully aware of how close she had come to being destroyed that night. But the Force was her ally, and she had overcome. She sat quietly for the duration of the journey, and pondered the sensation of absolute, untouchable freedom she had experienced in those few moments as she’d hung in the air between the skyscraper roofs that night. That moment was hers to own forever now, and she was determined that it would define her more than the fear she’d felt in the moments leading up to it.

***

As it turned out, the priority shipping of the cargo container in which Mission had stowed herself had higher quality priority shipping standards than had been expected. After about four hours of rattling, shifting, and the gentle thrum of hyperspace engines, Mission’s ride finally came to an end, and she felt a much different atmosphere in the Force around her. Christophsis had been a cool, still feeling place in the Force through the eyes of an empath – people there created an overarching mood that was almost melancholy, and a bit nostalgic, with undertones of interest and appreciation. Rodia, by contrast, or at least the part of it where she seemed to have found herself, was a busy and determined place, with undertones or concern and determination. Even so, she felt a certain sense of appreciation that was very different from the kind she’d experienced on Christophsis. It was less like the appreciation of art, and more like the appreciation of hard work. She liked it. It reminded her of home... or what had been her home for so many years, anyway - Mission smiled sadly in the darkness, realizing that the place she'd called home for the longest portion of her life had been nothing but a transitory place.

Since she had been sitting in one place for the last few hours, Mission decided to get up and do some stretches in the privacy of the darkness in the container’s interior. After all, she had at least five hours until the container’s recipient learned it had arrived. As usual, she started with the mild ones, and then began to work her way into the more demanding ones, eventually twisting her body in the types of knots that were the stock and trade of contortionists. She grinned as she rose up on her hands in a particularly precarious position and remembered how Nomi had always picked on her for “showing off”. She was quite proud of her flexibility. Nomi had always been a little bit bigger, a little bit faster, and a little bit stronger, but she could never quite bend herself as far as Mission. She amended her train of thought after a moment though – Nomi was a lot bigger than her.

After completing her more complex set, Mission was just starting her cool-down routine when a series of explosions outside the container made her roll back and plant her feet beneath her in a guarded crouch. She could hear a firefight suddenly breaking out beyond the walls of the container. What was this? She reached out with the Force and found a scene that felt like a muted clash of good and evil erupting in whatever facility she’d found herself in. Those furthest from her exuded the sorts of emotions typical in her experience of Jedi guardians – a boldfaced determination to do the right thing, and make the problem go away in the name of justice. Those nearer to her were clearly the opposite. Whomever was operating out of this facility seemed to have found themselves in opposition to the law, and were in the process of reaping the rewards of that decision.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:43 pm

The firefight raged on, and Mission listened as the wave of commotion grew closer - heard as the ring of urgent voices added themselves to the fray. She backed away from the container’s entrance and stashed herself between two crates just in case someone tried to break in and take cover. That didn’t turn out to be the case, but she heard the exchanges get very close before moving away. It sounded like a melee of some kind had occurred outside her container. Once the conflicting forces had moved further on through the facility, Mission reached out carefully to make sure there was no one else close by looking for stragglers or something, and then decided it was safe to slip out. As soon as the door slid open, she could see she had been right about the melee. At her feet lay a body in some kind of strike force armor. She looked at it closer and found the republic emblem embossed on the shoulder pauldron and the helmet. When she rolled the body over, she realized it was a woman. She felt sadness for the fallen fighter. It must have been a frightening way to die – the armor wasn’t damaged at all, which meant she had been physically overpowered. Mission shuddered at some memories that thought brought to the surface and pushed them aside. There was something important about this revelation that she hadn’t thought of yet. The combat was still moving further away, so she stepped back and regarded the corpse. Then it came to her. The woman was barely taller than her. It had taken her a moment to realize it since she was laying on the ground, but they were almost the same size and build. Mission felt a small pang of regret, but her need was great.

Taking the corpse by the arms, Mission dragged her off between two of the larger crates and fumbled with the armor locking joints a moment before she figured out how to release them, then she quickly stripped both layers of armor from the body. She wasn’t going to strip the fatigues though, that just felt wrong. It wasn’t an issue thought, the armor covered everything. The first layer was a fairly form-fitting suit of body armor that was grey and had the sort of ribbed patterns that reminded her of the sparring pads the older Jedi had made during their time on the nexus world, but this material was much sturdier. She guessed it was at least fortified against sharp weapons, if not shrapnel as well. She rolled her eyes as she realized suddenly that all the nights she’d spent listening to her father prattle on with his armorer buddies was actually doing her some good just then. She would have traded the suit for his company by her side in a heartbeat.

The outer layer was pretty obviously blaster-proof, since there were already two muted blast marks scoring the chest plate. Mission noticed a name plate on the armor as well, so she placed the chestplate on the floor in one of the other containers, and shot the tag off with the blaster she’d taken from Wex. She peeked out to make sure no one was rushing to the sound of the firearm, but the combat was still working in the opposite direction. Satisfied that she wouldn’t be immediately identified, Mission tied her fiery hair back as tight as possible, pulled on the torsal armor and helmet, and then snapped the faceplate up off the chest into its locked position against the leading edge of the helmet. She heard a small hissing sound, and suddenly the smell of the air changed mildly. She doubted the armor was airtight, but it was definitely good quality. Whichever government entity this was, they were well-funded. Mission stuffed the contents of her satchel into the hardened pack that was attached to the armor, then stuffed her blaster in as well, and clamped it onto the backplate of the armor. The last thing she did was clamp on the leg plates, and collect the blaster rifle and tonfa off the floor. Mission was surprised by the light weight of the armor. She suspected it was duraplast, or one of the other super lightweight alloys she’d heard talk of.

As she made her way to the front of the building, Mission knew she was likely going to have to get past some other portion of the invading law force, so she thought up a reason for her exit. It stood to reason, since the armor’s owner had been killed by physical combat of some kind, that the wearers weren’t invincible, but merely well-protected. The blast marks showed that she had been in the thick of things. All she had to do was twist the string of events into a scenario where she had almost died, instead of actually dying. As she neared the front of the building, she slung the blaster rifle she’d acquired over her left shoulder, and began to nurse the right shoulder carefully, taking the issued sidearm in her left hand and letting her right arm dangle limp at her side. She ambled slowly too, like someone who didn’t want to be jostled too much. She was nearing the front wall when she rounded a stack of containers and found one of the large front roller doors hanging wide open, and several other assault force members in armor similar to her own guarding the entrance.

She felt a sting of nerves as she approached them, but she knew she could pull through. After all, she’d just spent the last 8 months convincing very intelligent criminals that she was one of them. She held her pistol up by way of saluting the rear guard at the door, and then carefully reached around and slotted the pistol back in its holster on her right hip. As she neared, one of the men lowered his rifle and approached her.

::What’s the situation?:: He asked, his tone firm, but not demanding, even through the faceplate.

::We’ve got em on the run:: Mission whispered in a pained tone, careful not to let too much of her actual voice out in case this man recognized the armor’s previous owner by some feature she’d missed.

::What happened to you?::

Mission grunted and flexed her right hand pitifully. ::I got jumped. I’m alright but my shoulder’s out of socket::

The man looked her over for a moment, then nodded. ::Alright, good job staying alive. Go see the medic::

Rather than risk calling the man “sir” in error, Mission simply nodded and ambled past. The others at the door nodded to her as well, but kept their eyes down range. She was thankful for their discipline. She wondered if they had anything to do with the anti-cartel initiative that new senator had been rolling out over the past few months. They seemed pretty well-organized.

Mission continued to amble on through the strike force’s footprint until she spotted the medical staff’s speeder. She made a sharp left and ducked away from it. The visor had a bizarre effect of allowing her to see all the way around her head – virtual 360 degree vision – which she knew to be a common feature in high-end combat armor, as well as most Mandalorian helmets. It was a bit disorienting, but it did allow her to observe everyone as she walked through the strike force footprint and know for certain the second no one was watching. At that moment, she slipped between two containers and disappeared.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:42 am

Once the strike force was behind her, Mission slipped off her helmet, and the pauldron that sported the republic logo, and scraped it off of them both. She wasn’t sure if this armor was exclusive, but she couldn’t help that; what she could help was identifying herself with a government entity beyond any doubt at a glance. What she really needed now was paint.

As she walked, Mission considered the objective value of keeping the armor now that she was away. It was true that it might make her stand out a bit, but with her white-streaked bright red hair she stood out anyway. She figured it would be better to appear somewhat dangerous, rather than somewhat vulnerable. She was still walking through the port with that analysis and a hundred others rolling through her head when she smelled something acrid venting in through the air filter in her faceplate. It smelled familiar – paint! She cast all about with her eyes and the Force, trying to find anyone who might be doing something with paint. She found a group of auras a little way away, very distinctly emanating a mischievous vibe. That was her mark.
Mission rushed toward the mischief, and the smell of paint, and came around the corner to find a group of rodian adolescents – probably around her age – painting a mural of graffiti onto the side of a warehouse that was clearly not abandoned, judging by the shipping activities going on around the corner. She rushed toward them immediately. One of them saw her and shouted, and the entire gang burst into motion. She easily ran them down, however, and smacked three of them in the back of their legs with her tonfa midstride before tackling the fourth. She turned around and sat on the fourth, then pulled her pistol and pointed it at the others.

::I’m assuming none of you have ever been stunned before?::

The teenagers froze half crouched, and didn’t move.

::I didn’t think so:: Mission grinned a little behind her faceplate. The mechanism that broadcasted her voice through the helmet gave it a slight ominous tone.

::Now you’re all lucky I’m busy today so I’m not going to cart you in, but you’re all gonna dump your paint cans right there, and you’re gonna go straight home, understand? I’ve got your faces in my records now so if you show up for vandalism in the system again you’ll already have a warning flag… Need I say more?::

The rodians shook their heads and mumbled variations of “no ma’am”. Under her watchful eye, they set their paint cans on the ground, and then hustled away with their shoulders hanging low. Mission smiled and watched them go. She’d probably done them a favor anyway. Gathering up their canisters, she moved on and looked for a place to hide and take off her armor plates. She ended up walking for awhile before she found a place to step into the shadows, but when she did, she immediately stripped off her helmet and duraplast plating, and began sorting through her paints. She found a few nice colors, but about halfway through the collection she paused and let out a little cackle. One of the kids had invested in a little bit better hardware than the others.

While living in Bearden’s house, Mission had enjoyed a few occasions of helping Anise prepare wonderful play scenes for Varden, in which she rediscovered all the wonderful artistic tools she hadn’t enjoyed since childhood. One instrument that was extremely useful to the end of preparing the dramatic backdrops of Varden’s playtime adventures was Anise’s multivariate “Heat Shade” airless paintgun. It was small, and contained only one type of paint, but that paint was a special prismatic chemical blend that could be shifted to any color in the spectrum depending on what temperature it was at when it was vaporized. It was a high quality and surprisingly precise painting tool. And the best part was, it dried hard as enamel in about 30 seconds. Mission stared at the armor for a moment, playing with shapes in her head, and then got to work.

She used a small application of telekinesis to manage where the paint settled do that her designs looked a little more like a professional job than a back-alley smear job. She started by painting all the armor plates a dark red shade, then she came back and added a sparse collection of broad geometric white patterns across the plates, including an illustration of a kar’ta beskar on the main chest plate. Finally, she came back and accented the edges of the plates with a combination of black and dark grey trim lines. When the armor was all finished, she came back to the pauldrons and carefully painted her logos onto them: on the left shoulder, the mythosaur skull in gold, which was the crest of the Mandalorian people; on the right, the crest of Clan Koht in indigo blue, which had been on a bracelet her father had worn until it broke on the nexus world. She regarded the v-shaped visor on the faceplate a moment, and thought of repainting it to look like the Mandalorian T-visor, but decided against it. No need to be tacky.

Mission stepped back and looked at the collection of plates and smiled. She hadn’t done anything just for “fun” in awhile, but she had certainly enjoyed this particular camouflaging act. She quickly remounted the plating onto her body armor, and then rearranged her gear a bit to her liking. The holster on the armor was ambidextrous, so she switched it to the left hip, and attached the holster of Wex’ blaster onto her right hip. She really felt Mandalorian now, and it brought a smile to her face. She slotted the tonfa on her back where she could get to it quickly in an altercation, and then slung the rifle over her left shoulder and moved on. She left most of the paint in the little alley, but she kept the Heat Shade paint gun – it was handy. After that, she marched through the streets of the port and attracted the sort of glances and glance-away reactions that she much preferred to the interested glances she likely would have otherwise been receiving. After spending the last 9 months at the mercy of others, if felt good to be respected at a glance for once.

Now all she needed was a ride home.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:14 pm

Mission dug the data pad Salicia had given her from the hardened pack and skimmed the list of good and bad names while trying to maintain the appearance of a purposeful stride through the massive shipping yards. She noticed a few of the “no-go” companies she had already spotted while walking. She continued for awhile through the streets of the port and found none of the company names that Salicia had said were trustworthy. She spent the better part what appeared to be the morning searching for a company that she could hitch a ride with, and felt like she had traversed the entire region, but nothing presented itself, so she decided to change her tactic.

::Hey, you work around here don’t you?:: she said, approaching a man who obviously worked around there. He regarded her uncertainly for a moment, and then nodded.

::I’m looking for a registry of private freighters in port today. Point me in the right direction::

The man glanced up the street and pointed. “There’s a terminal that way where they keep up with all the ships in port that aren’t registered to a parent company. You should be able to find the names of all the private ships in port and their pilots there.”

::Great, thanks::

Mission moved on immediately and marched down the street the way the worker had pointed. She stopped to confirm with one more worker along the way, but she eventually arrived at the building she’d been looking for, and went in. It was not as busy as she had expected it to be, but there was a little bit of activity here and there. She glanced around for a terminal and went to pull it up. She perused through the system’s command list and selected one that said freight registry. The next option she selected was to sort the list by operator name. There were dozens of names, but as she perused through the list and compared it to hers, she found only one. Huilo Garantov. She tapped the name and a registry brief popped up. There was an image of a man with a thin face, long hair, and a patchy beard, but despite his straight face, his eyes stared back at Mission like he knew the punchline to some joke she didn’t. She read down his page but found only his registry information. There was nothing about where he was, or when he was scheduled to depart. She glanced up and saw a rodian woman sitting at a desk looking bored as she tapped through her data terminal. Perfect.

Mission approached the desk and tapped the release on her faceplate; it unlatched from her helmet and dropped down to attach on a receiver on her upper chest plate. “I’m expected by a Huilo Garantov, can you pull up his portage for me? I didn’t get a location from him at the pub yesterday.” That was a good line, right? Mission had noticed in years past that her father tended to use bars as an excuse for fake encounters in his stories. She hoped it would work out as well for her.

“Huilo Garantov. Give me a moment. And you are?”

“Mission Koht.” She was surprised by how readily her own name had come off her lips. She had to admit, presenting her Mandalorian side was a bit of a confidence booster.

“Give me just a moment.” Said the bored desk worker. She tapped through a few screens on her terminal, then grabbed a headset and put it on.

“Hello, let me speak to Huilo. Thank you… Hello Mr. Garantov, there is a young Mandalorian woman here named Mission Koht, who says you’re expecting her. I need written or verbal permission to release docking location info to her.”

Mission’s heart leapt into her throat. Her sly little story had just gone down the drain. She did her best to keep a straight face, but the points of her ears burned as she watched the rodian woman calmly nod along with whatever the freighter pilot was saying. After a minute or so of nodding, she sighed.

“Very well, just a moment.” She pulled the headset off her head and offered it to Mission without a word. Mission hesitantly accepted it, and pulled off her helmet so she could put it on.

“This is Mission.”

::Hello my young friend, apparently we met at a bar last night?::

“That’s right.” Mission didn't recognize the accent of the voice on the other side of the headset, but it gave his words an unassuming, almost tune-like aspect.

::I must have been pretty radically drunk then, because I could have sworn I was at the theater with the guys last night watching “Best Served Cold”::

Mission bit her lip for a moment. “Well, everyone reacts differently to different drinks. You’ll have to tell me about that movie.”

The voice on the other end of the headset laughed aloud. ::You’re a pretty cheeky mando, you know that? So tell me, why should I let you into my port? Your people have no compunctions about shooting other people when they feel compelled to::

Mission glanced up at the desk lady, she wasn’t even engaged in their conversation anymore. “I mean that’s certainly true, but like I said last night I just need lift up the Corellian Run into the interior. I’m a bit stranded here.”

::Interesting problem::

“Yep, well, you know how life is. And – like I said last night – I’ll be happy to earn to my way. You wouldn’t be disappointed to have me on your crew for awhile.”

There was silence for a moment, then the voice came back. ::You’ve got my curiosity piqued Mission. If you promise to play nice when you show up, I’ll let you in::

“You got it. My word is good.”

::Excellent, hand me back to the beautiful lady will you?::

Mission grinned and handed the headset back to the rodian woman. She put it on, gave Huilo a few “mhm” sounds, and then put the headset down.

“You’ll find him at docking platform 5C, dock thirteen. Let me run you off a pass.” She stroked a few keys on another terminal, and then plucked a card off the desk with her suction-cupped fingertip and offered it to Mission. “Out the door and to your left, then keep going until you see platform 5 on the right. Third deck is level C. 13 will be on the right as well.”

“Thank you,” Mission popped the card off the rodian’s fingertip with a quirked eyebrow and marched out of the building. She followed the directions until she got to a gate, beyond which she could see the massive docking structures she had eyed from a different angle earlier that day. The card let her pass, and she stepped onto the new street.

As Mission glanced down to slip the card into her pocket, she realized she already had another card in the same pocket, and it reminded her that she still needed to check in with Salicia. She stuffed the card into her pocket, and then pulled the data pad off the clip on her belt.

::Salicia,

Things got a little dicey at the end, but the ride was nice over all, thanks for the recommendation. One of the connections you recommended looks to be panning out as well. Thanks for all your advice.

I’ll see you around,

Mission::


She didn’t dare say more, in case there was some way for anyone else to see Salicia’s message queue. She hated to think how closely they might be watching everyone on Christophsis, especially now that she had escaped. She would make it right in good time though. For now, she just needed to focus on getting home.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:56 am

At platform 5, Mission scanned her card again, and then rode a lift up to the third deck, where she made her way to dock 13. There was a large service door there, and also a smaller pedestrian door which she was about to open when the service door began to groan open. She stepped back and watched for a moment, then walked over to the side of the portal and stood while the gate swung up and away. There were men in dock worker suits milling around the space, and a few men who looked a little eclectic pointing them around and speaking with them. Mission eyed them carefully, feeling them in the Force and watching as they spoke with the dock workers. They didn’t seem like malicious people. She spotted Huilo beside the curious looking freighter talking to a man who looked like some sort of foreman. She was about to step in when a large machine carrying a bunch of metal canisters rolled up to the service door. She paused and let it roll past, then made her way in and over to Huilo.

As she waded through the workspace, she glanced up at the freighter again. It was a strange-looking ship with the cockpit built onto one side instead of set in the middle of the ship. It was a strange arrangement, but it seemed like a reasonably sturdy ship otherwise. She found her way through the crates and canisters and paused within speaking distance of Huilo, where she waited and watched him. She liked him almost immediately when she brushed against him with her empathic senses. She’d known a few people like him before – he was the type who’d never met a stranger.

As the freighter captain carried on with the foreman, Mission realized he was already aware of her standing there. Knowing she had arrived didn’t stop him from cutting up with the foreman for a couple more minutes, but as soon as he was done, he turned to her and waved.

“My newest drinking buddy! Step over here.” His accent wasn’t one Mission had ever heard before, but it rolled off his tongue with an interesting lilt. Mission approached him and paused just out of arms reach from him. He eyed her for a moment with an interested expression, and then crossed his arms. “Are you a fake Mandalorian?”

Mission’s faceplate popped down and she crossed her arms too, glowering at him. “No, I’m a discount Mandalorian.”

Huilo chuckled, but Mission saw his eyes run over her face and pause on the ragged gap in her left eyebrow. “Alright then discount mando, give me the short and sweet version. Why are you here?”

Mission sighed and brushed the not-so-short-and-sweet details aside in her mind, sifting the most important bits out and into a pair of sentences. “I’ve been stuck in this sector for quite awhile, ever since my last job ended unexpectedly. I was stuck on Christophsis for awhile but I finally got a lift here, and I just need a ride a little further into the interior so I can get a lift to Mandalore. Discretely.”

“You can’t just call home?”

“No, I can’t. Long story.” She didn’t have any way of knowing what the situation was with her clan just then. Eight years ago, her mother had still had a few enemies in the clans. She needed to go and find out for herself. It occurred to her that she might have emblazoned her armor with the Koht crest a little prematurely.

Huilo regarded her for a moment longer, then shrugged and smiled. “Alright, well I’ll be happy to get you as far as Corellia, but it might take a little while. I go where my freight carries me, you know?”

“That’s fine, I’ve been stranded this long, I don’t mind taking an indirect path home.”

Huilo smiled. “Alright then, we’re about done here so let me get things wrapped up and I’ll show you around my boat. Is that all your gear?”

Mission glanced down at herself and nodded. “Yeah, I travel light.”

“Good, you’ll make an excellent spacer.”

Mission sat on a crate and watched as Huilo and his crew of three hustled around the bay getting everything tagged and loaded up. There was discussion of more freight elsewhere, but it was apparently something much larger. She glanced back at the ship, wondering how it was going to carry a larger haul that what they’d already put aboard. It didn’t seem to be designed for towing. The back half of the ship was one big thruster.

Once the dock workers cleared the area, there were only a few crates left, and Huilo’s crew began to move them to the ship. Mission hopped off the crate she was sitting on, clipped her helmet onto her belt, and dragged the crate behind her toward the ramp of the ship. It was heavy and caught on her heel, so she slipped over the top of it and pushed it the rest of the way. She quietly assisted the crew as they move the rest of the crates and canisters to the ramp, and then began swinging them onto the ramp for the man operating the lev-tractor. Huilo worked along with his men, but he watched her as well, and from what she sensed, he was satisfied. He wasn’t without his suspicion though, he didn’t strike her as an idiot. Apparently he worked for Salicia occasionally, which meant he participated in shady dealings and therefore had to be clever and a little deceptive, but Salicia had vouched for him as well which meant if there was any honor among thieves, he had reserved a bit of it for himself.

As the last of the canisters rode up the ramp on the lev tractor, Huilo tossed Mission a bottle of water from a cooler in his other arm. “Here you go Discount; first pay check.”

Mission caught the bottle and cracked the lid, drinking thirstily as her body finally registered how dehydrated she was. It struck Mission suddenly that she had been on Christophsis running for her life less that 24 hours ago. It felt like a lifetime ago already. She pulled the seal collar of her body armor down from her chin so that it looked more like a shirt collar, and then pulled the knot out of her hair and began to tie it back in a mesh braid. Once she was done, she pulled the water bottle out from between her blaster and the thigh plate of her armor and continued drinking until the bottle was empty. Huilo glanced back at her as the bottle crunched in her hand and quirked an eyebrow. “Another?”

“Please.” Mission said and drank half of the second one as well before slowing down.

Huilo chuckled and sipped his own water as he started up the ramp. “I suppose I’d sweat a little extra in armor like that too.”

“Oh it’s not the armor, it’s pretty well ventilated. I’ve just been walking around the docks all day.”

“Did you hear about the Cartel Task Force raiding that warehouse over on the north end this morning?”

Mission nodded, carefully guarding her expression. “I did. Aactually heard some of the blaster fire. They had the whole place locked down though so I wasn’t about to try and take a peek.”

Huilo shrugged. “Bad for business I say. It’s hard to feel safe when you can’t even land in a respectable port and not hear about those spooks making another raid.”

“How much do you know about it?” Mission asked, pausing at the top of the ramp while he closed it.

“Not a lot, just that they’ve got an incredible amount of momentum. The senator behind the task force is about as green as they come, but he’s very popular, and very clever too it seems. I don’t know what his sources are but this push is making all of us independent spacers double-check our employers really carefully.”

“I’m sure it’s a headache.” Mission agreed, careful not to say anything more loaded before she had a good read on him and his crew.

“Absolutely, but anyway, welcome to the industry for what it’s worth. You’ll mainly just be hard labor and added security while you’re on my ship, but I’ll catch you up on the particulars later. There isn’t much to know.”

“Sounds like a good gig,” said Mission. She followed Huilo into the ship and was introduced to the crew. They seemed like a pleasant bunch of motley fellows, but most importantly, they seemed no more malicious than their captain. It struck Mission that while these men were apparently smugglers, they were in no way like the smugglers who had caught her on Mon Gazza. That distinction made her feel much better about being on the ship, and while she was hardly about to let her guard down, she realized that she could actually breath easy again. As the apparently Corellian ship lifted off and jetted out into space to pick up the rest of it’s cargo, Mission settled into the bunk they had assigned her, still in full armor, and smiled inwardly. The number of steps between her and the nightmare that had been Christophsis was now two. She was going to have to work on this ship for awhile, but she could do that. She was out of the woods, and on her way home.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Fri May 10, 2019 1:03 pm

Life aboard the Picatinny – as the ship turned out to be called – was a pleasant and amusing one for the most part. Mission was quite fascinated to learn that the ship used the strange prongs that constituted its prow to lock onto cargo modules in high orbit and actually push them through space, rather than pull them. It explained the size of the thruster on the ship’s rear. It also explained the name, apparently, though one of the crewmen had to explain the concept of a picatinny rail to her before she fully understood it. At that point she realized that two of the weapons she carried had these picatinny rails on them, and struggled to hide her embarrassment. The crew were an entertaining – and easily entertained – bunch of men, however. They made life aboard pretty easy for her.

Yubo was the first mate on the ship, as well as the only non-human on the ship apart from Mission, but he was moreso, being a nautolan. He was a stricter man than Huilo, but only when he perceived that someone was trying to “stick it to him” as he liked to describe it. As long as people did their work, he was just loud and zealous about his own work. Mission got a sense before long that the others liked to harass him a little just for their own entertainment, and entertainment was something that they pursued a lot on the Picatinny.

The youngest member of the crew (perhaps apart from her) was a scrawny-looking young man who the rest of them called Sevs. He was, in fact, anything but scrawny. He was the next most competent mechanic in the ship after Huilo who was intimately familiar with the innards of his own vessel, and Mission saw him on several occasions carrying canisters and crates nearly his own size up the ramp when they were in a hurry. However, she also sensed once in awhile that he was showing off for her benefit. He indulged in nearly continual tech talk, unless he was too busy eating or slaughtering the other crew members at table ball.

The last member of the crew was the oldest, and pretty hard to ruffle. His name was Hermudus, though he complained that it sounded like the name of some over-dramatic character from a play. He preferred to be called Hermy. He managed to be a little pudgy in his old age, but he was a hard and cheerful worker, and took a particular liking to Mission once he discovered (as did she) that she shared his secret love of exotic beverages. He was the crew’s silly old uncle on most days, and even Huilo treated him with a deferential respect when it came to matters that didn’t concern his ship and contracts.

Huilo, Mission discovered, was a very intuitive man, and a gleefully sarcastic individual. He kept up with Sevs’ tech talk better than anyone else, picked on Yubo more than anyone else, and on a few occasions, she even caught him up late at night helping himself to Hermy’s stash of fancy drinks. He was a good captain to his men, and they liked working for him. She was on the ship nearly a month before they themselves let it slip that they were smuggling anything. As it turned out, a good bit of what they smuggled was contraband supplies going to places where aid was restricted or otherwise impossible to deliver. The first time they ran a blockade to deliver relief supplies, she had seen a distinctly noble side of the smuggler captain. He was calm, determined, and very decisive under pressure. He said he was just good at his job – good at getting paid – but she sensed a deeper desire to do good. She asked him once what kinds of things he smuggled apart from humanitarian aid and he simply chuckled.

“Mostly the sort of thing you’d find in Hermy’s little stash. I made my name as a rum runner.” She asked no more questions after that. He’d done right by her, and never done anything to make her feel uncomfortable either directly or indirectly. He was a good man, with a good crew.

For her part, Mission had started out doing exactly what Huilo had told her she could, which was manual labor and added security, but she quickly developed a pension for acting as his “scary lady” at the rougher ports they stopped at. The crew joked that she was like a little watch dog, and she enjoyed the reputation. In truth, she simply had grown accustomed to the emotional ranges that were common among those who frequented space ports, and learned to empathically scan for individuals who had any kind of particularly devious or malicious intent. She could almost smell them before long, and she sought them out before they could make good on any of their designs. Even though she was tiny compared to most of the individuals she encountered in the port, she managed to be menacing in her own way. The aggressive color scheme of her armor, and the way she rested her hands on her pistols like they were her hips made her seem – as Yubo described her – like a firecracker looking for a flame.

“And it don’ change any when you take off de helmet.” He would say. “You and dat crazy hair and stare. I wouldn’ wanna meet you in some alley.”

Mission learned all she could from them. She paid attention to the tech talk, she took the wheel whenever Huilo was in a good enough mood to let her pilot, and she always, always made sure she knew their cargo and destination. She realized that if she had spent the last nine years as a Jedi and a part of the galaxy in which she now found herself, she would already know most of this stuff, so she had a lot of catching up to do in her mind. She had already learned bits of Durese and snips of Huttese from Derry and Lylia on the on the nexus world in addition to the mando’ad in which her father had insisted she retain a proficiency, but now that she was out in the star lanes interacting with other spacers, she experienced a major leap in her linguistic skills.

She also learned to know her gear a little better, since she had come to rely on it while in port and during smuggling runs. Her armor was capable of a little bit more than she’d realized, but not much. She was able to get into it’s software directory eventually and find out for sure, though. It could in fact give her vacuum seals, but only with a specialized air tank attachment, so she didn’t count on that too much. There was also a registry number in its base code which she deleted. She familiarized herself with her rifle, and her pistols. Yubo raved over the pistol she’d take from Wex one day when she pulled it out at the dinner table to wipe off some condiment Sevs had dribbled on it. Apparently it was some manner of high-end Westar that had been a limited run, and was nothing to shake a stick even. Her rifle and other pistol were SoruSuub firearms, but they were good quality weapons too.

Table ball was something Mission naturally gained superiority at rather quickly, what with her mildly precognitive Jedi reflexes and natural athletic talent. She was Sevs’ only contender for “Lord of the Realm”, but she also discovered one day that Huilo was holding back quite a bit. She had learned the body language of pulling blows and intentional hesitation over the years of sparring, and she saw all the signs whenever he played. She found it both disappointing and endearing all at once. Even so, she called him out on it one evening during a hyperspace haul between Hutt and Bothan Space.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Mon May 13, 2019 7:56 am

“You totally let him win!” Mission cried, throwing a crisp at Huilo after Yubo defeated him by about five points. Huilo grinned and tossed his paddle to her. “Why don’t you show me how it’s done?”

Mission caught the paddle and threw it back. “You first.”

“Hey, you not goin’ easy on me now Huilo, are ya?” Yubo eyed him.

Huilo shrugged. “Maybe I’m just a little distracted today. You know I haven’t eaten since I got up.”

Mission glanced over at his dirty plate sitting in the sink, and said nothing.

“Oh you need some breakfast?” teased Yubo. “I think there’s some apple sauce in the coldy.”

Huilo chuckled and bobbed over to the cold store unit. “Hey, breakfast of champions. I suppose it’s either this or squid right?”

Yubo gaped at him while the other laughed. “Rude, mahn. I’m no squid. And I beat you too, so enjoy da kid’s meal.”

While Yubo ignored Sevs’ request for the next match and challenged Hermy, Mission watched Huilo across the common room. He was definitely holding back. Breakfast was cut short, though, when an alarm sounded in the cabin and drew them away. Mission ran to the side of the ship behind Huilo and looked over his shoulder as he squelched the alarm. It had been a distress call.

“Are we gonna check it out?” She asked, leaning on the back of Huilo’s chair.

“Yeah, we’re in no hurry.” His spacer accent rolled lazily off his tongue as he settled into the pilot seat.

Huilo reached up and killed the hyperdrive, then activated the long-range sensors. There were two pings, but one of them was just a comet. The other repeated the emergency broadcast they’d picked up after another minute of scanning. Huilo immediately pressed the thrusters and moved toward it. They didn’t have any exterior cargo at that time, so they had full maneuverability. He pulled up alongside the ship and scanned it with the high-resolution array that projected from the dish atop the ship’s left side.

“Two life signs, both pretty weak.”

Mission tapped him on the shoulder. “Bring us around to that side hatch. I’ll go get Yubo and bring them back here.”

Huilo nodded quietly and manipulated the control yoke to swivel the ship around and line the side ports up. Mission headed back into the ship and informed the rest of the crew what was going on. Sevs immediately volunteered to help.

“If there’s a mechanical failure I can get it stitched up.” He suggested. Mission could sense his desire to show off a bit, but it was mingled with genuinely good intentions.

“No.” She insisted, rolling her collar seal up to her chin. “We just need to get the passengers over here and make sure they’re in good condition for now, then we can worry about the ship.”

Yubo returned with his gear just as she finished speaking and zipped up his jacket. “Are we docked yet or what? Let’s go do dis ting.”

Mission slapped on her helmet and locked in the faceplate, She immediately could see a mild luminous outline on the edges of solid objects – it was a passive low-light mode she had discovered, and it was good for situations like this. She and Yubo advanced to the airlock as soon as they felt the clank of the ships latching together and slid it open.

Air whooshed past the boarding party before they even began to cross the threshold into the other ship, which meant the atmospheric systems had been down. Everything was dark, so Mission stepped in first. The lamp on her helmet was not a visible spectrum of light to the naked eye, but it worked in conjunction with her night vision filter to give her a kind of ghostly daylight even in pitch black, so she set her visor to screen out Yubo’s flashlight as he stepped in behind her.

::Give me something, Huilo::

::Advance twenty paces ahead and turn left. Follow that corridor to the cabin of the ship, they’re both in there::

Mission waved Yubo on and they made their way in through the ship to the cabin. They found two men sitting in the pilot and copilot seats. As she examined them, Mission had a sudden sense of foreboding. These weren’t good men, or at least one of them wasn’t. She sensed darkness surrounding them, but not the kind she had grown accustomed to in the past couple of months in and out of ports where criminal scum gathered – this was the concentrated kind; the intentional darkness that she had grown up in the shadow of on the nexus world. She looked at the two men, apparently struggling to remain conscious, and tested their emotional states. The man in the pilot seat was foggy and uncertain, like a man struggling to find his way in a dark room, the man in the copilot seat, however, seemed almost neutral, which wasn’t possible for a living being. She detected only a mild inkling that he was waiting, for… something.

In the confines of her helmet, she contacted Huilo on a private channel. ::Something’s not right here, Huilo… These aren’t good men::

The line was silent for a moment, then his voice crossed through, low and steady. ::What makes you say that?::

::I don’t… I just have an instinct. When have I been wrong about the people we cross though?::

::I’m not disagreeing with you Mission. Something doesn’t add up here. There’s nothing wrong with their ship::

::Nothing?:: Mission raised her arm to stop Yubo as he stepped into the cockpit.

::Nothing I can see with the high-rez::

Mission was just about to back out of the ship and leave it far behind when the man in the pilot seat stirred. He came to with a start, but he was clearly weak, and he slumped back into his seat. His eyes sluggishly tracked toward them and settled on the light from Yubo’s flashlight.

“Oh thank… I don’t know what happened, our… we might have been sabotaged. Please…”

Nothing about his presence was untoward. His emotions were a mixture of shock, fear, and relief that matched someone being rescued from a hopeless situation. The other man still didn’t stir… not even in the Force. Mission wrung her hands and took a step forward. Regardless of the situation with the copilot, she couldn’t ignore the genuine distress of the pilot. He was weak, and desperately needed help. Her mind races over the options.

“Yubo,” she said, turning and opening her faceplate so she could whisper to him. “Get the copilot but be careful. Something’s off about all this, and it’s got something to do with him."

Yubo regarded her uncertainly for a moment, but then he nodded and moved forward. He was the one who had declared her their watchdog, and he trusted her implicitly. As he pulled the copilot from his seat, Mission drug the pilot up onto her own shoulder, and turned to follow Yubo out of the ship. Before they had gone ten paces, the copilot woke up, and grunted a bit before mumbling that he could walk and tapping Yubo on the back. Mission glared intently as the first mate dropped his charge carefully to the ground, and then caught his arm as he stumbled. He still just felt like he was waiting for something. As they all staggered back into the Picatinny, Hermy and Sevs stood waiting in secondary cargo hold through which they’d ported onto the distressed vessel. Huilo walked in just as Mission crossed the threshold.

“Are they alright?”

“Yeah boss, dey just air deprived.” Said Yubo.

The man leaning on Yubo for support glanced up at the word “boss” and looked at Huilo for a moment. “Are you… Huilo Garantov?”

Huilo quirked an eyebrow. “That’s me.”

A flash of color and movement flashed through the eye of Mission’s mind, and she glanced suddenly between Huilo and the copilot.

“Awesome.”

The copilot broke into motion at the very same moment Mission dumped the barely-conscious man from her shoulder. By the time she reached out her hands to catch him with the Force, he had already shoved Yubo to the ground and crossed half the distance between himself and Huilo. A red lightsaber blazed in his right hand. With a growl of effort, Mission dragged him backward and slammed him through the airlock into the far wall of the room in the other ship.

:: Huilo get us out of here now!::

The captain didn’t stop to question what he had just seen, he holstered his pistol and dashed through the ship to the cockpit. Mission opened fire on the assassin with both pistols and gestured at the control panel for the airlock. The assassin deflected all five shots she managed to get off before the door closed – one of them back into her chest plate, which knocked her back a step. Two seconds after the door shut, a red blade stabbed through it and began to cut through the metal. It didn’t have time to make a substantial cut before the ships broke loose, however, and it popped back out. Immediately air began to rush through the hole, but Mission reached her hand out and crumpled one of the empty canisters a few feet from her, then whipped her arm forward and smashed it into the hole. The air stopped hissing, and the ship lurched forward.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Fri May 24, 2019 7:11 am

***

“What in the actual hell just happened?” Huilo demanded. He couldn’t manage to sit, so he leaned against the control console of the Picatinny and stared at Mission as the hyperspace tunnel swirled behind him. She sat in one of the passenger seats and looked stricken. She knew he wasn’t just talking about the assassin.

“I think we may have stepped into some kind of trap laid for you.”

“It seemed that way, didn’t it?” Huilo shook his head and looked out the viewport, undoubtedly replaying the single moment of the struggle over again in his head. The attacker had been halfway through thrusting his saber forward when Mission caught him. “And why is this the first I’m hearing about you being force-sensitive? People know the Mandalorians have been raising their own force-sensitive children, that’s not a big secret you needed to keep from me.”

“I couldn’t be sure.” Mission said.

“Of what?!” Huilo cried? “Were you afraid I’d toss you out the airlock if I found out you could move things with your mind? I like you, Mission. We all do! I would have put you to better use months ago if I’d known; I’d have trusted your “instinct” about that trap from the get-go if I’d known. I’m guessing it wasn’t just some instinct, right? Force-sensitives ping each other like radar or something isn’t it?”

“In a way, yes. He was concealing his force-sensitivity, but he was over-compensating and I couldn’t sense anything at all from him, almost. Just darkness swirling around the ship, and a feeling like some kind of predator waiting to spring.”

Huilo laughed incredulously and shook his head, running his hands over his long hair. “Yeah, I bet your friggin’ skin was crawling when we dragged his ass on the ship. So now what? Can he sense you? Can you still sense him?”

Mission shook her head slowly, still not sure quite where she stood with Huilo; his emotions were a bigger whirlwind than she’d ever felt within him. Ever. “I’m not that far-sighted, no. And I’d doubt he is either. Usually only elders can do that.”

“Elders?” Huilo eyed her with something between curiosity and skepticism.

“Yeah, I mean… I don’t suppose that’s necessarily the best… term.” Mission hesitated, wondering how much she should say.

Huilo took a steadying breath, crossed the cabin to sit down across from her in the other passenger seat. “Hey, it’s alright Discount. What’s up?”

Mission let out a heavy breath, and looked him in the eye. “I’m a Jedi. Or, well, my father is a Jedi, my mother is a Mandalorian. But I know only older force users are generally that far-sighted because I’ve been around a lot of them.”

Huilo rocked back in his seat. “You… You know where the Jedi went?”

“No, I don’t. Well I do, but I don’t know where they are now. It’s hard to explain but I got separated from them almost a year ago and I haven’t seen or heard from any of them since.”

Huilo watched her in shock for a moment, then slowly began to nod. “Damn… Alright, so then give me the more relevant version of how you ended up on my ship?”

Mission explained to the best of her ability how she had been cast across the stars to Mon Gazza, how she had been captured and sold off, then sold again and left to the life of a house slave for months before finally finding her opportunity to escape. Huilo grinned when she mentioned Salicia.

“She’s a good girl. I like working for her. She doesn’t deserve to be stuck where she is.”

“Huilo, I’ve gotta find a way to help her. To help them all. And then I’ve gotta find the rest of the Jedi.”

Huilo stared at the ground for a good ten seconds, and then seemed to make up his mind and gave a decisive nod. “Alright, well we’ve got cargo to haul, and a creep with a lightsaber to shake, but once we’ve done that I think we might be due for a jaunt up the Corellian Run, maybe see if we can’t find some cargo bound for Keldabe or something.”

Mission stared at Huilo for a moment, struck speechless by his suggestion. He grinned and bobbed his eyebrows at her.

“What’s wrong Discount? You really thought I was going to toss you out an airlock if I found out didn’t you?”

“No I just…” Mission stared at him another moment. “I didn’t think you’d wanna get involved.”

“Ouch! Young lady, when have I ever shied away from the tough jobs?”

Mission laughed self-consciously. She knew better. "I don’t mean you specifically, I just meant… In general. I figured if I said anything, people would try to distance themselves.”

“Nah, you’re in good company. We may be smugglers, but we aren’t dirtbags. Well, Yubo a little bit.”

“Fo real?” Yubo had just stepped into the doorway, and glared at Huilo. “I was just comin’ in here to say I tink it’s great how Mission saved us from dat freak and you’re heepin crap on me already.”

Huilo shrugged. “If it sticks…” He rose from his chair while Yubo huffed down the hall, and stepped over to the console to make a few corrections in the system. Then he turned back to Mission and that characteristic gleam had returned to his eyes. “Well Mission, I think our course is clear for the moment. We need to have a chat with our new passenger.”
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Wed May 29, 2019 3:44 pm

Domine was a pretty delicate individual as it turned out. When he had been dumped on the floor earlier, the impact had knocked him out cold again. When he had woken up, he was laying on a bunk in the medical bay of the Picatinny with two very tall men and a very short woman in frightening armor standing over him, and he had almost passed out again. When they fit an oxygen mask over his face, he came to a little more, and managed to give them a proper frightened stare for a minute before they convinced him that he, neither, was about to be tossed out the air lock. At that point he introduced himself and cooperated a bit more readily. As it turned out, he didn’t have much to hide.

“He seemed like a pretty ordinary, competent fellow to be honest,” said Domine when they asked him about his copilot. “He had a bit of a temper I’ll give you that, but I had no idea he was looking for someone, much less looking to kill them. He just hired on as my first mate for this trip to Nar Shadaa.”

“Now you know if you’re lying, my friend here the Mandalorian Jedi will know it immediately,” Huilo said, leaning down over Domine. “So you’d better be getting this right the first time.”

Mission grinned behind her faceplate. Huilo could seem very ominous with his towering stature and weathered features, but she could sense the amusement and theatrical flare mingling in him as he threatened their guest.

“No, honest, I had no idea. I never even saw a lightsaber on him. He seemed legit, and he knew his stuff. He just wanted to make a few runs with me and build up his experience, then he said he had an offer to hire on with some company I’d never heard of.”

“What company was dat?” Yubo asked.

“Uh, Welles-Droite was the name, I think.”

Yubo and Huilo exchanged a glance.

“You tink it could be- “

“It must be.”

“Must be what?” Mission asked.

“Yubo you wanna take this guy and get him a cup of coffee?”

“Sure ting boss-man.”

Mission stepped aside while Yubo helped Domine off the bed, then leaned against it herself as they departed the sick bay. Her eyes cast curiously back at Huilo again.

“So you know the last couple of blockades we’ve run had as much to do with trade disputes as with political squabbling. It’s the sort of nonsense the Jedi would have snuffed out immediately, eight years ago. Unfortunately, when you stay in one smuggling lane for too long, people start to recognize you, which is why we would normally change lanes after one delivery. But you saw how things were on Hevnora, we can’t just leave them like that for the vultures…”

Huilo smiled and shrugged, and Mission sensed a mingling of frustration and tenderness it him that reminded her of a father. “Anyway, we’ve run the blockade on Hevnora three times, which is okay, but professionally speaking it’s not a great idea if you want to keep up your anonymity. Welles-Droite is one of several dummy corporations that belong to the man behind that blockade. I think word has gotten back to him that I’m messing with his stuff.”

“So this guy put a hit out on you?”

“Looks that way.” Huilo brushed a hand back over his long hair, and Mission again sensed a feeling of tension in him. “Though I gotta say, this guy they sent isn’t like the kinds of hitmen I’ve dealt with in the past.”

Mission gaped. “You’ve had hitmen after you before?” She felt she should have guessed as much, but it still seemed crazy to imagine.

“Most smugglers have to shake a hit from time to time. Yubo and I have been shot at a lot.”

“But not so much been chased with a lightsaber.”

“Not so much.” Huilo gave her an exasperated look at turned to leave the sick bay.

“I guess it’s a good thing you picked me up when you did.” She called after him.

“So it would seem.”
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Thu May 30, 2019 10:10 am

Domine continued to be forthcoming as they sailed through hyperspace toward Hutt space. As it turned out, they had the same destination, which was likely what had made this fellow “Dirk” choose the vessel he had for his snare ploy. Since they had a head start on the hitman, Domine had offered to contact his porter once they reached the shipping station and concoct some sort of story about hitching a ride in to get repair parts so they could find out if Dirk was close behind.

“It’s a big station,” he insisted. “The odds of him docking in the same platform as us are slim to none.”

Mission wasn’t so confident. She couldn’t sense the hitman nearby, but her connection with the Force resonated a need to be cautious. Whether he was tracking them physically or not, she didn’t think they were going to get off the station without another run-in. She told Huilo as much as they walked along one of the half-asteroid super-station’s pedestrian catwalks, and he merely shrugged.

“I don’t normally stick around to face these guys, I just keep ducking and dodging until they lose track of me. Are you telling me we’re in for a fight?”

“I’m just saying you’re not likely to lose this guy as easily as some others.”

Huilo nodded. “You’re the watchdog. I’d still prefer to pick the turf if we’ve gotta get rid of this guy the old-fashioned way though. And it’s not here.”

They took as little time as possible to reach their contact and get things going. They could run with less concern if they weren’t carrying someone else’s cargo. Several men showed up to the docking bay to unload the Picatinny in short order, and they were soon making preparations to depart once more.

“It’s gon’ take us a minute to get fueled up though,” said Yubo, watching as the men connected the line to their thruster port.

“We don’t need to get a full tank,” Huilo assured, “Just enough to get us on our way.”

As he was speaking, his comm piece chirped. He took it from his jacket while Mission and Yubo edged closer. A voice crackled over the channel suddenly in an urgent tone.

::He’s here already!:: it was Domine.

“Okay, slow down.” Huilo said calmly. “Where is he, and how long ago did he get here?”

::He docked in the platform adjacent to this one three minutes ago! The porter just now got around to telling me because he assumed it wasn’t urgent::

Mission glanced at Huilo as Domine’s voice crackled out of the comm piece. He was visibly more tense than he had been five seconds ago. Three minutes was plenty of time for their pursuer to have asked some questions and made his way across to the next platform.

“Thanks for the heads up Domine, wish us luck.” Huilo didn’t leave his comm piece on to hear any well wishes. He stuffed it back in his coat and turned to Yubo. “Tell those guys we’re topped off and get that hose off the side of my ship, we need to leave now.”

Without hesitation the nautolan jogged over to the fueling crew, hollering the whole way. Huilo clapped an arm on Mission’s shoulder plate as he spun back toward the ship’s ramp. “Can you smell him?”

“No. Just get this thing ready to fly, I’ll scream at you if I do-OH THERE HE IS!” Mission drew both of her blasters and immediately opened fire on the pedestrian entrance to their bay. The blue rings of energy sizzled through the air and splashed across the doorway just as a figured with a glowing red blade appeared. He slashed one ring out of the air and sidestepped the second, then made to advance.

“Go go go!” Mission continued to pour stunner fire at the hitman, joined by Yubo who saw the commotion as well. He was already backing up the ramp and shouting for Mission to follow, but she knew she had to keep him at bay just a few moments longer. He couldn’t reflect her stun blasts back at her, which was why she’d chosen that setting, but all that meant was that he was slowed in his advance. The second she heard the ship’s engines roar to life, she stepped back onto the ramp and continued to pour blaster fire at their attacker while they rose up off the platform. She crouched on the ramp as it shut, continuing to shoot until the last possible second, and heard as the fuel line popped loose of the ship, and they spun to make an exit. A second later, she heard another thud on the hull, and a frightened shout above.

“He’s still on us!” Sevs cried. Mission rounded the corner to find the red blade stabbed through the same airlock it had been several hours ago, carving a hole.

“Huilo can you shake him off?” She called up the hall, taking a pot-shot at the gap that had already been cut out.

“I’ve got no maneuvering room, this isn’t Bespin!” He called back. “Can you do anything?!”

The question resonated in Mission’s head as if she’d heard an echo of a long-past thought. It summoned to mind an image of some strange horde of beasts stampeding down a steep hillside, and a tall lupine Jedi who had calmly stepped into their path, certain that the force was his ally. Many others had followed in his footsteps, each certain of their course, and each willing to sacrifice. Yes, she could do something.

Mission dropped the blasters from her hands, took two running strides that launched her the entire distance across the adjacent cargo bays, and shot both her feet out in front of her to connect with the sealed hatch. It blasted off its heavy hinges under the sudden force of the impact, and she careened down toward the surface of the station along with the seered and now terribly misshapen bulkhead, and their assailant.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Fri May 31, 2019 3:55 pm

Mission tumbled for a moment while she figured out which way was up, but she found the ground, or what passed for it on the space station, and began to orient her feet toward it. The Force was her ally, and she didn’t fear the fall. The ground, or rather the roof of some docking structure, rushed up to meet her, and she summoned the Force to protect her. When her boots made contact with the roof, the momentum of her landing dispersed across the receiving surface and bashed it in like a crater had it – she felt no more impact than if she’d jumped off a table.

“You keep getting in my way!”

Mission turned to the sound of the angry voice and instinctively dodged as the hunk of metal that had been the airlock door came sailing at her and whooshed a few inches over her crouched form. Then she saw the hitman, Dirk, racing in behind it with his saber drawn. She drew the duraplast tonfa that had been on her armor, and hoped it was really was good against lightsabers. She didn’t intend to put it to the test unnecessarily.

The man raced toward her and attacked aggressively with his lightsaber, but she dodged away and danced around his cuts and thrusts, taking swipes at him whenever she got the chance, but not pushing her luck. She did bat his saber away with her tonfa a couple of times, and it did the job nicely, but it also left dull glow marks where the weapons had made contact. She spun around him for several seconds, avoiding his blade doing her best to keep him shifting at awkward angles to avoid her own attacks. She realized quickly that he wasn’t an accustomed dualist – he felt frustrated, and annoyed, as well as very mildly concerned. He’d probably never fought another force-sensitive warrior before. That realization was empowering, and Mission began to carefully press her advantage.

The exchange between the two fighters was still a messy tangle for a few more seconds, but a fortuitous distraction occurred when the Picatinny wheeled around into view around a dispatch tower with its navigation lights glaring down at them. It the split second that Dirk turned to see what had come upon him, Mission brought her tonfa down on his wrist in a sharp crack and disarmed him. The lightsaber clattered to the deck below them, and she launched her heel straight into his chest, blasting him off the ground and against the side of the same dispatch tower that had concealed the Picatinny’s approach.

Mission didn’t waste a moment, but scooped up the lightsaber and activated it, coming upon Dirk just as he rose to his knee and holding the blade out to him. “You’re finished.”

Dirk eyed the length of his own lightsaber being pointed at his throat, and held his hands up, glaring at her with hate-filled eyes. “It never ends, girl.” Suddenly the hitman slapped his palms on the metal surface under their feet and caused it to ripple violently toward Mission. She staggered back only a step, but it gave Dirk the opening he needed to rise and reach out a hand to grasp her with the Force. She was too far to attack physically, and her only recourse was to do the same. The two of them stood for a moment, bearing down on each other in a contest of will – Dirk with his open palm outstretched with hawk-like fingers, and Mission with her fist raised up as if to shake it at her opponent in insult. She could see the weight of her determination crushing in on him, but at the same time she could feed his own desire to defeat her crushing in on her torso from all sides, locking her in place and stifling the air in her lungs. The hatred he felt for her strengthened his resolve, and she felt as if he would gain the upper hand – that was the nature of the darkness, it thrived on conflict, and malicious intent. As her vision began to blur and the dark anger of her opponent began to fill her mind, she was reminded of the horrible dark nexus that had overshadowed her childhood – the wretched consuming impulses that had emanated from it, destroying and corrupting everything that it touched… but it hadn’t corrupted them. It hadn’t corrupted Mission.

The raised fist stretched out toward Dirk softened, and turned to face him as a gentle, open palm. Purifying energy that hadn’t course through Mission in so long she’d almost forgotten it welled up inside her and burned out through her eyes. The furious expression on Dirk’s face began to wither as his opponent whom he had been sure was in her final moments suddenly loosed herself of the tether of his power as easily as if she’s shrugged off a cloak. Light blazed out through her eyes and washed over him, beginning to glow from her entire body. He was no longer held in place, but nor could he move.

“You’ve been corrupted by a thing you’ll never understand.” Mission said, leveling her hand toward him. “You’ll never be any safer than anyone in your path as long as it festers inside you.”

The light radiating from Mission intensified until it almost speared Dirk and threw him back against the wall of the tower again. He cried out in terror as a flameless fire scorched through his body and consumed his entire being for a single moment. Then it was gone. Dirk fell to the ground against the tower breathing heavily, and Mission staggered a step to one side before finding her footing. She could feel the radiance fading from her, but not the effect of it had left on him – or her. As she took a tentative step toward Dirk, he began to pant slowly, then faster as he sat on the ground, and he reached up to drag his fingers desperately through his hair.

“What hap-what’s going on? What – What did you do to me?!” As Mission watched, he began to pant even heavier and writhe as though he had suddenly become painfully claustrophobic.

“The darkness in the Force can’t corrupt you anymore – you’ll never touch it again.”

Dirk stared up at her with wide, terrified eyes. “…what have you-!” Mission’s tonfa cracked over the side of his head and cut off the rest of his sentence.
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:23 am

There was no more reason for the crew of the Picatinny to flee anymore, so they stuck around to finish refueling their ship and get a bite to eat while the station’s fabrication shop repaired their damaged airlock. Dirk had been tossed in a cell somewhere to await whatever passed for justice in Hutt Space. Mission knew the real justice had already been meted out against him. Anything else was secondary. Huilo and the rest of the crew didn’t say much as they ate their food, but they watched Mission with some mixture of awe and admiration while she wolfed down her food and then helped herself to some of Yubo’s. They’d all seen the final moments of the fight from the cockpit of the ship – seen the Force Light blaze out of her and consume the assassin. They didn’t fully understand it, but they didn’t need to. As far as they were concerned, they were in the company of the first Jedi they’d ever met, and that thrilled them enough. Mission felt differently. She knew she was no Jedi, and for some reason she knew it now more than ever, but she also knew that she had honored the legacy of those that had taught her, and those that had come before. She still felt lost – but hopeful now.

“Gentlemen,” Huilo said at last as Mission finished off his sandwich. “I think it’s about time we found ourselves some new work paths. I’ve had about as much of Hutt Space as I think I want for now… Any objections?”

All around, the crew shook their heads, including Mission as she wiped a smear of something off her lower lip.

“In that case, I’m thinking about checking out some job leads in the Wild Space territories. We’ve been needing to get out of this criminal hotbed for awhile now, and I think we’ve got a very important stop to make in that direction along the Hydian Way as it is.” He narrowed his eyes on Mission. “Sound good to you?”

Mission smiled softly. “No objection from me, Boss. I’m ready to go.”

Huilo nodded and rose from his table. “Alright then, settle up and get yourselves back to the ship lads. We’ve had our discount Mandalorian far too long already. It’s time to get her home.”
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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Re: SCD - The First Year

Post by Mission Koht » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:51 am

Epilogue

There was nowhere else to run. Every asset he’d accrued over years of labor and careful planning had been captured and frozen – there was nothing left for him to wield, and nowhere left for him to run – Bearden listened to the echoes of blaster fire and cries of shock and pain in the halls below; listened as the sounds of battle progressed up through the different corridors of his previously hidden complex and finally reached the doors of his personal suite. He was a rat in a trap, and he knew it – he didn’t even bother raising a blaster, even though those around him did so.

Everything had gone wrong for him and his clandestine empire two years ago. It had begun with one of his slaves escaping, then one of his most competent underlings disappearing, then things had simply spiraled. Before he knew it, there had been joint Republic-Mandalorian raids happening without warning in his key centers of operation. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that Salicia had been captured, or perhaps someone had gotten to her somehow, but whatever the avenue by which it had occurred, she had given them everything they needed to disintegrate his life’s work in about eighteen months. And now he sat quietly, resigned to his fate even as his more hopeful – or perhaps simply more ignorant – underlings clung to the blasters in their hands like lifelines in a maelstrom.

The sounds of battle swiftly ended, and suddenly there was a solid whump against the reinforced door leading into his suite. His heart pounded in time with the second thump, and the third, but when the sounds of attempted breech ceased, he rose from his chair as calmly as he could manage and moved to one side of the room. He knew what came next. As surely as he’d guessed it, no sooner had he settled himself against the side of a desk adjacent to the wall than the door, along all three hundred pounds of the durasteel and oak that composed it, explosed into the room and blew two of his security detail off their feet. The others leveled their blasters and he knew they would fire. Given another second to consider it.

“Wait! Just… stop. It’s over you fools.”

He watched with resentful resignation as a group of five Mandalorians hustled into the room and began relieving his men of their blasters, then as a sixth armor-clad figure walked into the room and moved straight for him. It was a woman, shorter than the others, and in armor that seemed Mandalorian at a glance, but when he glanced across the others, he realized that it wasn’t. At least not in the traditional fashion. She leveled her rifle at him and motioned him forward.

“Come forward, hands out. Don’t try anything subtle.”

Bearden raised his hands slowly into view and walked to the center of the room till he stood only a handful of paces away from the woman holding her rifle on him. “It seems you’ve finally run me to the end of the maze. Now what? Are you going to execute me?”

“If that’s what the tribunal decides, then yes.”

“The tribunal?” Bearden regarded her uncertainly. “I’m not aware of any tribunal fit to try me. I’m a citizen of the Galactic Republic-“

“-whose crimes have been brought before the senate for dispensation of justice by the sovereign clans of the Mando’ade.”

Bearden crossed his arms and stared down the barrel of her rifle, suddenly feeling he might have a way out. “On what grounds? I’ve never had any dealings with the Mandalorians. You’ve no grounds to pursue any supposed justice against me.”

“On the grounds of testament by the daughter of Mandalore Koht, whom you held in slavery for nearly a year, which was collaborated by a member of your own inner circle.” The helmet of the woman standing before him separated into two pieces, and the faceplate dropped away to reveal a face he couldn’t forget even if he’d wanted to. His sudden burst of hope faded as quickly as it had appeared… Mandalore’s daughter.

“You… it was always you, wasn’t it?”

The girl shook her head, and his mind recalled the ember-red hair she undoubtedly had tucked away under her helmet. “No, it wasn’t me. It was you, Bearden. You stepped on too many good people trying to get what you wanted for yourself.”

“And you’ve done nothing different in your quest for revenge!” Bearden spat back. “Do you know the Republic task force sacked my home on Christophsis in the middle of the night? Did you even stop to think about what that would mean for the people there that took care of you?”

The girl smiled patiently at him, and it made his skin burn. “I was there, unlike you. It was a very calm thing. You may be happy to know Varden is still with Anise – she hasn’t defaulted on any commitment she ever made to you. But now she can take care of him freely.”

A thousand curses raged in Bearden’s mind. He wanted spew them on her and pray that they melted her into nothing. He also wanted to thank her for the life of his son, and he knew then that she’d shown more concern for Varden’s wellbeing than he had. He hated her for that as well. “Alright then, Joan. You’ve played your game and won. I’m at your mercy.”

The girl reached down and removed an object from her belt as she slung her rifle, an object he knew to have been in his home at the time of the republic raid. It made a snap-hiss sound and a crimson blade burst forth out of it.

“My name is Mission, and I’m not responsible for your fate. You shaped that with your own hands. Now move out.”

***
Mission followed Bearden out of the complex with her saber drawn, walking back down the halls she’d fought her way up only a moment ago with the team of warriors from clans Koht and Spar. It was a mess, but thanks to the agreement between the senate and the mandalorian tribunal, not one she’d have to clean up. She watched with a degree of satisfaction as a beskar-clad pilot shoved him into a speeder and closed the hatch behind him.

As she watched the crime lord’s final taxi ride race off into the distance, her mother came up beside her and grasped her forearm gently.

“That takes care of that.” Leyana observed, preferring to speak mando’a in that moment rather than common. Mission glanced back at her and smiled.

“Yeah. End of an era, I suppose.”

“What will you do now? This has kind of been your passion project ever since we got you back.”

Mission remembered the moment she’d first laid eyes on her mother and sisters again. Nine years it had been since she’d been whisked away to the Nexus world, and at the moment she saw them, the first thing her mind punctuated was that her father Erril was missing from his wife’s side. It wasn’t a thought she’d been able to shake since.

“I’m going to find dad. I’m going to find all of them.”

Leyana nodded solemnly and let go of her arm. “If I can help in any way, let me know.”

Mission smiled into her mother’s blue eyes. “I will.”

As her mother and the other Mandalorians made their way back to the larger ship they’d arrived in, Mission made her way to a Firespray cruiser with a dingy maroon paint job and boarded it. Climbing into the cockpit, she settled back onto pilot seat and stared up out of the viewport, a smile still lingering on her lips. She had a very great mystery to unravel now, and she had no idea how long it would take, but that was alright. The Force was her ally, and she knew she would succeed.
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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