Oct 12 2013 12:20pm
Residence Block 42
A human male made his way briskly through the corridors leading to residence block 42. Judging by his obvious haste and uniform emblazoned with symbols of an Enclave officer, that he was on official business. The man entered a network of alleyways, which usually invited less reputable elements of society, and his heart rate went up a few beats.
Saeden Elos was an Enclave intelligence officer assigned with delivering mission data to one of the Enclave`s more independent operators, a Justicar by the name of Nebael. Saeden only knew what he had read in the Intel, that Nebael had previously operated as bounty hunter for the Hutt´s and that there wasn`t more to tell, the man was a ghost as far as the galaxy was concerned.
As Saeden turned the final corner to enter a dark alley, on entry he was confronted by a masked individual, coming face to face with a mask of metal. The man was clothed in a dark trench coat, which minimally revealed the armored frame underneath.The helmet hissed steadily, pulsating along with the Justicars breathing and the three lenses on his helmet fixated on the officer.
"Shit!" Saeden exclaimed as he stumbled back a few steps with his heart skipping a beat.
"Saeden Elos?" Nebael, the justicar inquired with a tinge of amusement in his voice.
The officer regained his composure and stood as tough he had been addressed by a superior officer demanding to know his rank. Nebael could not help, but cringe behind his mask.
"Yes sir, Saed..." Saeden began with a stern tone, but was cut off mid-introduction by the justicar.
"There`s no need for that." Nebael bluntly interjected to stop ever bothersome formalities, that the Enclave soldiers leveled at him every time he made an appearance.
This had become something of a pattern ever since Nebael had been recruited to serve Estro Sabrino`s bold new vision, The Free State Enclave. Plurga The Hutt had been directly responsible for the recruitment itself, his lofty promises of a place in the new order had seemed like a promising opportunity.
Nebael shook his head in amusement over the fact, that he had trusted a Hutt of all things, the very beings whose tyranny The Enclave sought to overthrow. Yet Nebael was cynic at best and had no delusions, that the rule perpetuated by the new regime was not a tyranny of different kind.
The pros however outweighed the cons and Nebael was quite happy with his new found position. It afforded him the operational freedom he had been accustomed to and the lofty paycheck didn`t hurt, albeit he was hardly in this for the momentary gains. Also there was a certain satisfaction in making the Hutts suffer as they had ever since the beginning of the Enclave wars.
Nebael motioned for Saeden to follow him and the duo approached an armored door at the side of the alleyway. Nebael inserted an access code and the door slid open revealing descending staircase, leading underground. The stairs led them to an underground room with comfortable living quarters, a quantity of military grade munitions and console. This place was but one of many safe houses set up to by the Enclave to serve the Justicar needs for secrecy and confidentiality.
"Here is the item" Saeden, who was clearly unnerved by the justicars presence and attitude, presented a datapad. Neither of them seemed to bother with the small talk, for different reasons all together however.
Nebael grabbed the datapad as he approached the console and immediately began skimming through it`s content`s. "You have been assigned to aid me for the duration of the mission? I assume you have read up on the task at hand?" The Justicar questioned the figidy officer.
"Yes si.. yes, I have orders to provide you with necessary intel gathering and decoding should you need it. We are presented with a potential defection from the Hutt organization. " Saeden said with a slightly calmer voice, his heart rate returning to normal.
"Cyden Kern." Nebael added, referring to the name of the potential defector as he took a seat by the console. The synapses in his brain almost made a connection, the name Kern`s name rang a bell. It was as tough someone had mentioned it to him before, but only as off-hand information or maybe he had thought it was nothing of consequence. He brushed the thought aside and consetrated on the present.
"Kern was a middle man in the Hutt organization until a few months ago and due to the untimely demise of his superiors, he inherited their responsibilities. Now he stands fifth in the pecking order of the entire organization with access to sizeable amount of wealth and power.... but recently we have heard through the grapevine, that he has not been happy with his position." Saeden explained as tough Nebael had actually requested a summary of the situation, but justicar was hardly paying any heed to the officer as he went through the mission briefing.
"He would not be the first one to do so." Nebael mused as he had been amongst the first to defect and aiding another to defect from the Hutt`s organization did not seem all that unappealing, if only to enrage the Hutt`s even more.
"No, but his current whereabouts are unknown. Our latest intel placed him on Ilos, but after a week we have been unable to get a confirmation on his current status or that he had actually left the planet. In fact he vanished." Saeden rambled on and still stood where he had entered the room, but most of his words were just background noise to Nebael, who inspected the details regarding their operations in the Ilos system.
"And the fact, that he hasn`t contacted us, leaves us with little doubt regarding his fate" Nebael reasoned, making a mental note, that Saeden was at least up to date on the situation. Unlike his last contact Saeden might be actually bearable and prove useful, tough the man`s insufferable military stiffness was starting to grate on his nerves.
"The only possibilities left seem to be that he was either killed by the Hutt`s or he gained shelter from someone on Ilos." Saeden ended the thought process and seemed to relax momentarily.
"We have a trustworthy resistance contact there, don`t we?" Nebael inquired as he noted, that particular fact was missing from the intel in the datapad. He immediately initiated a search for that particular information on the console.
"As with almost every hutt planet these days, yes. In true Hutt fashion the people of Ilos have been enslaved by the Hutt`s for the better part of their history. Although enslave they do enjoy more rights than most slave within the Hutt domain, but they are slaves none the less. Thus the number of cells is relatively few yet they give enough trouble for the Hutt`s to be considered a problem." Saeden again made an agonizing summary of the situation, which made Nebael feel like he was talking to a droid instead of a human.
"With weapons and supplies provided to them by The Enclave no doubt.... Good, you may go now. Return to your post, I will contact you when you are needed again." Nebael instructed as he tucked the datapad into his coat`s breast pocket and gestured towards the door.
Saeden seemed slightly baffled by the sudden dismissal, but seemed to regain his composure as the three lenses turned to face him and stared him down as, if he was an insect intruding upon the justicars peace and quiet. Saeden made an abrupt salute and disappeared the way he came, leaving Nebael to his own devices.
Nebael had already soaked up enough information, on the summary Saeden had provided and the details contained within the datapad, to formulate a plan of approach towards Ilos and a way to contact the rebels.
In times such as these, the Enclave employed a variety of the scum and criminal associated with the former regime, some of the being granted the `prestigious` title of free captain, thus granting them free hand in piracy and smuggling under the `lawful` gaze of The Enclave. One such individual frequented Nar Shaddaa and was former business associate of not only Nebael`s, but of The Consul himself.
Out of the destruction of the Union, Rac Fegal had also fled the chaos to start anew and returned to his smuggling roots. Nebael was already contacting the dug and preparations were well on their way to smuggle him into Ilos without detection. Hopefully he would be able to enter Ilos and leave Ilos with the defector without the Hutt`s ever knowing he was there.
Oct 14 2013 2:46pm
The Red Talon
The Red Talon was a Talon Escort Carrier, a product of the once `prestigious` conglomerate known as the Fegal Companies. This particular vessel had been commandeered by the former CEO to act as his new flagship and headquarters for his smuggling ring. Able to house a small army, the vessel served as an ideal base for Free Captain Rac Fegal and his band of smugglers.
The hallways bustled with smugglers, hauling cargo or taking a chance to relax aboard their newfound home. Nebael moved through the crowd, receiving a multitude of stares as he passed by. Right in front of him a sullustan smuggler pushed through the crowd, acting as a guide as they moved towards the captain`s quarters.
"Nebael." The short alien greeted the justicar as he entered the cabin, flanked by the sullustan.
"Fegal" Nebael returned the greeting in an almost courteous manner, all that was missing was a slight bow and it was as polite as he was going to get.
The dug seemed almost ludicrous walking through his cabin where almost every piece of furniture was designed for an ordinary humanoid. The short hind-legged alien was dwarfed practically by almost every sentient species in the galaxy, but that didn`t make him less vicious or dangerous. The former tycoon had returned to a life of smuggling and signed up with The Enclave just to spite the Hutt`s, formerly his primary business associates.
Anyone with prior dealings with Fegal would have described him as a vicious little pest, that didn`t let go once he got a hold of you. This made him one few individuals not intimidated by Nebael`s menacing or his attitude, on the contrary Fegal shared his loathing of formalities.
"Leave us" Fegal commanded as he climbed into his chair behind his work console table while Nebael sat on the chair in front of it. The sullustan slipped out of the room leaving the two to talk.
"I was able to acquire the items, on that list you sent me, from our mutual friend in the parliament. Quite the shipment, are you going to start a war?" Fegal sarcastically noted as he produced a bottle of corellian whiskey and a glass from underneath the table, their previous encounters had left the dug with the distinct impression the justicar prefered to drink alone.
"I believe the word you should be using is employer... but truth be told I`ve never actually met the man in person and no, just call it a... good will gesture from our esteemed government." Nebael corrected the dug, before letting out an uncharacteristic chuckle as he leaned back in his chair.
Rac stopped for a moment to process Nebael`s statement before continuing to fill the glass. "Well I have met Consul Sabrino and you two have something in common, always hiding something. Very mysterious about your intentions. Well... the difference being he doesn`t wear a helmet at all times and carry around an arsenal to wipe out a small village."
Nebael instinctively raised his left hand to his helmet and drummed the metal with his knuckles. "Professional reasons compel me to have it on at all times."
Fegal snorted loudly at the blatant lie before taking a sip of whiskey. Nebael turned in his chair, facing the window to their left and gazed outside as the ship jumped into hyperspace. Most people wouldn`t have dared ask the question and those that did, often found themselves on the wrong end of a blaster barrel. Being a faceless man had it`s advantages, but eventually brought it`s share of complications and Nebael felt slight tug of envy as he glanced at the dug enjoying his beverage.
The common perception and hence theory was, that he was disfigured or needed to wear the helmet in order to survive. On the other hand it was not all too uncommon for bounty hunters to exhibit such eccentric behavior. Those that bothered deducing any further beyond the obvious concluded, that Nebael had a specific reason to hide his face. Nebael by his very nature was not one to divulge sensitive information, a trait that had helped him earn the trust of the criminal underworld.
"I presume something major is happening on Ilos for you to be involved in it?" Fegal said, breaking the sudden silence and causing Nebael to snap from his thoughts.
"The mission is classified." Nebael retorted with a textbook answer without so much as glancing at the smuggler.
"And you think I`d sell you out to the Hutt`s, if I knew anything about it?" Fegal probed as tough the thought was feasible to begin with.
"If it suited your purpose... and you had a death wish." Nebael said with icy calm, making a subtle threat at Fegal not to involve himself in matters, that did not directly concern him. Behind his emotionless mask Nebael was smiling and his entire disposition made the dug uncomfortable.
"A routine run then." Fegal stated before finishing his drink, instinctively knowing not to push Nebael further on either subject. Nebael took pleasure in these moments, where from the beginning he instinctively knew that he had been misread or underestimated.
Oct 22 2013 8:18am
Ilosian Liberation Army encampment
Fegal proved to be as good a smuggler as Nebael had hoped, Fegal managed to slip onto Ilos using his personal modified Ghtroc 720 light freighter. They avoided the Hutt`s anti-air defenses with a few scratches and judging by the extent of the anti-air fire or lack there of, the resistance had been busy over the last couple of weeks.
Yet as with all resistance movements, the one on Ilos was hardly unified to begin with. You had the largest group, Ilosian Liberation Army, a presumptuous name at best considering how many others had used similar names. Then there were their rivals, True Ilosians. As if the name wasn`t any indication, the True Ilosians was solely compromised of the isolationist natives, whose main political goal was to remove all foreign influence from their planet.
Unsurprisingly The Enclave had less than admirable relations with the cell as where the ILA enjoyed open support from The Enclave, encouraging them to free themselves of the shackles of Hutt control. Naturally once the Hutt`s were driven off, they would be `free` to join The Free State Enclave.
Putting aside his personal cynicism regarding the plans of his government, Nebael was relieved, that on landing in the ILA encampment he received a calm, if not slightly guarded welcome. After all it was not every day the freedom fighters had an enclave justicar, armored head to toe hauling a shipment of weapons to level an entire village, dropping by unannounced.
At first there was a moment of brief confusion and pointing their blasters at the smugglers vessel, whose captain proved an asset in swaying the rebels into lowering their weapons due to his previous affiliation to the group. Moments later, in the camp command post, Nebael was well on his way understanding the situation on the ground. He was being brought up to speed by the ILA`s third in command, Jolei Sinon, human female, a former slave as most of the fighters in the encampment.
Sinon had short dark hair, tanned skin and slightly malnourished body common to those waging a guerilla war. Her face and sand colored clothing were covered with dirt, but her amazingly piercing gaze made Nebael suspect, that none of that bothered her. Like so many on Hutt enslaved worlds, she had enough of slavery and Hutt domination, she`d die before becoming a slave again.
"We are currently engaging the Hutt`s in this valley, hit and run mostly, but we are holding ground nonetheless. The valley is where the main bulk our forces are, this encampment is just guarding the flank making sure the Hutt`s don`t find their way through these mountain passes and get to our supply depot."
"As enlightening as all this is, you should forward this info to the Bureau of Special Affairs, I am not interested in your war." Nebael interjected bluntly with little regard for niceties.
Sinon dumbstruck by Nebael`s words, but hardly surprised. "Right.... so what can we do for you in exchange for the shipment?" Sinon asked with a forced smile on her face.
At least she was quick on the uptake, it might do wonders for Saeden to spend a few months in the trenches with these people Nebael mused to himself. He might have to assign Saeden as a liason officer to the ILA when he got around to it.
"I am here to extract Cyden Kern, he wants to defect. However he went off the grid about over a week ago and I was sent here to find him."
"That son of a bitch wants to defect!?" Sinon seemed shocked and her voice went up a few decibels, the sudden outburst didn`t go unnoticed and she lowered her voice. Obviously Kern was not an amicable fellow to say the least. Nebael did not push her on the matter, but felt the sudden need to look over Kern`s profile.
"Well you might wish you had come a bit sooner than you did, he might be dead for all we know...." Sinon sighed as she displayed a picture of Kern on the holotable, which unsurprisingly enough marked him as a high priority target. Poor Kern, seemed as tough everyone was after him.
"Last we knew he was still in command of the Hutt forces around here, did one of the other rebel groups get to him?" Nebael was baffled by the news.
"From what we know The Hutts themselves shot down his shuttle as he tried to escape the planet, but he crash landed into TI-territory and no one has heard from him since. I´ll assign you a guide, we have someone, who knows the terrain pretty well and should be able to keep you clear of any TI`s while you conduct your search. If my men do not return alive, I`ll hold you responsible."
Sinon said with a sour face, obviously she didn`t like this one bit, but she thought it wouldn`t do them any good to refuse the enclaves demands. That or she had an ulterior motive, acquiring Kern would certainly prove a valuable bargaining chip for any of the Ilosian resistance movements.
"Much obliged" Nebael thanked, but her sour expression made it seem more like she was being blackmailed into helping.
"Merox, Toras!" She beckoned to a pair of rebels admiring the newly arrived shipment of hardware.
The pair came running to the command post, an ilosian and a twilek, former slaves no doubt. The two glanced at each others nervously and then at their commander.
"You two get to show the justicar the country side, he wants to take a look at the shuttle the Hutt´s downed last week." Sinon ordered with a stern look on her face.
"But that`s TI-territory! Las..." The ilosian Merox protested.
"Exactly why I am sending you, you have more experience going into TI-territory than anyone. Besides worst comes to worst they`ll just give you a friendly warning and send you back." Sinon cut in before Merox could protest further.
"In a bodybag" Toras chimed in with a smirk on his face.
Merox punched the twilek in the shoulder as retaliation before staring suspiciously at Nebael, who returned the stare with icy calm. When it became apparent, that Nebael was going to win the staring contest Merox simply sighed and headed out of the tent with Toras at his heels.
"Understood, let`s go, we`ll be able to make it by morning, if we leave now." Merox grunted, expression his discomfort.
The journey would apparently have to be made on foot, considering the terrain speeders wouldn`t probably make it, but before they would get underway there was still something to do. Nebael reached for his helmet, activating a communication device, which allowed him to contact Saeden, who had been assigned as his support. The connection was poor at best and audio only, but it would have to suffice.
"Elos here." Saeden responded quickly.
"Saeden, what do we know of Kern`s personality and habits? The local rebels didn`t seem all that pleased to hear he was defecting to the enclave." Nebael inquired.
"From what we can tell Kern has... displayed some disturbing behavior towards the slaves under his rule. Torture, rape and summary executions with little remorse, quite the contrary he seems like one sadistic son of a bitch." Saeden`s words were mixed with static, but clear enough to make sense of.
"And why wasn`t this included in the briefing?" Nebael was starting to get irritated by the sudden incompetence of Saeden`s, failing to tell him something like this.
"Well... the information isn`t exactly verified, all of it comes from second hand sources and rumors, nothing concrete, but what you said seems to support the concept yet it could simply be that the locals see a boss like him as someone to hate." Saeden speculated with calm.
"I guess I`ll have to ask around a bit more then, Nebael out."
Nebael joined the rebels after the call, he glanced at both of them with a sense of trepidation and received silent stares from the duo. They were killers, through and through, and Nebael was starting to understand that they weren`t just sent to show him the way. Kern was too valuable, too important to ignore, even if it meant opposing the enclave.
Yet this whole mission was not about Kern per se, but about what Kern knew. Kern was high enough in the chain of command to be privy to intel, that could unravel several Hutt operations across the Hutt space. Information was valuable commodity and an organization such as the BSA thrived on acquiring sources such as these.
Nebael cringed inside his helmet as he followed the two rebels up the mountainous terrain, he only hoped that the ILA was being honest with him, otherwise he might have to dispatch his two `guides`. Back in the command tent Nebael had asked himself `Why hadn`t the ILA sent a team to capture Kern, if they knew where he crashed?`. They wouldn`t be afraid to tangle with a smaller faction of rebels, that was certain, not when the prize was capable of unraveling every Hutt secret on this planet.
The obvious conclusion was that the ILA had already sent a group to deal with the matter and they couldn`t just kill on a justicar without serious consequences. His instincts told him not to trust anything the rebels told him and that he was all alone on this one, every local faction was seeking to capture Kern for themselves.
Nebael suddenly felt regret joining the enclave, life as a hunter had been much more straightforward, black and white. No `allies` to watch out for, only him, his prey and anyone, who got in his way.
Nov 1 2013 8:29pm
The journey to the crash site proved less eventful than Nebael had imagined, save for the occasional wildlife, they did not see anyone else during their trip. Nebael lingered behind the two rebels, keeping an eye on both of them and making sure neither of them could get the jump on him. Nebael was half-expecting the duo to turn on him, but nothing of the kind happened. The twilek occasionally nervously glanced back at Nebael while the ilosian quietly lead the way.
Along the journey the Ilosian occasionally distanced himself from the two others and seemed to be talking on his comm with someone, Sinon no doubt. This only confirmed what Nebael had been suspecting, he was being led into an ambush or he was simply being distracted by being taken to the crash site. Nebael pondered whether he should have ended the charade on confirmation of his suspicions, but decided it might be better to play along a while longer.
After a day of traveling they reached the crash site, they stopped at a ridge over looking the shuttle remains, surveying the area for any movement. Nebael used his helmet`s lens to zoom in on the wreckage, the shuttle was surprisingly intact, which improved Kern`s odds of survival.
No sign of Kern tough, which meant he either left the scene or had been taken as a prisoner. Upon closer inspection the ground had been darkened by blaster shots yet there was no sign of any bodies, as tough a fire fight had occurred yet no bodies or equipment had been left behind. Then again the local rebels might have cleaned those up themselves, there was very little to go on here, save for the duo standing to his left.
"Let`s have a closer look." Nebael commanded as he glanced at the two rebels, who exchanged nervous looks.
"This is TI-territory, I`d rather not risk getting pinned down there. We would have very little cover and the high ground around here would allow our opponents to pick us off one by one." Merox protested his disapproval whilst staring back at the justicar.
Nebael chuckled out loud at the response he received, which only served to unnerve to his `compatriots`. "And I was under the impression your commander sent you to kill me when I turned my back, after all the ILA wants Kern as much as everyone else, right?"
"That would be quite the assumption." Merox growled back, doing little to hide his hostility.
"Merox!" Toras interjected, trying to contain the situation.
"Shut up! We don`t answer to him. We`ve done what was asked of us." Merox silenced his more timid partner, only reinforcing Nebael`s perception as to which of them would prove more useful to him alive.
"Then your not very useful to me anymore, are you?" Nebael said, tilting his head and dropping right hand to his blaster holster.
"You think you`ll find Kern without the ILA?" Merox asked with a hint of disbelief and fear in his voice.
"No, not really, but your friend ought to tell me all I need to know." Nebael said, smirking behind his helmet as he drew his blaster.
Nebael and Merox drew their weapons approximately at the same time, Nebael dropped to one knee as a blaster bolt scratched his armored shoulder. Nebael ignored the sudden jolt in his shoulder and fired a burst, piercing the Ilosians torso with two of the shots. The twilek, who had tried to avoid a conflict, had managed to draw his blaster and aimed at Nebael.
Nebael recklessly dove forward with blaster fire scraping his helmet, even taking off a small chunk of metal. He tackled the twilek to the ground, before the alien could do anymore harm, and drew a force pike from his coat. He disarmed the alien by pinning Toras`s hand with the force pike and sending a current through the twilek. Standing over the rebel, Nebael placed his left foot on Toras`s right hand fingers and stepped on them with his full weight.
The crackling of finger bones caused the twilek to scream in agony. The fingers would serve as a warning for future disobedience and payback for the earlier blaster fire, Nebael`s head was still ringing from the shot, that had damaged his helmet. As the twilek yelped in pain, Nebael knelt beside the pitiful creature.
"What do you know about Kern?" Nebael demanded as he grabbed Toras by the collar.
"You sonnova..." Toras`s insult was interrupted by a swift stab of the force pike, electrocuting his body.
"Kern." Nebael said again, adamant the rebel knew more than he was letting on.
"Go to..." The twilek was once again interrupted by a sudden jolt of electricity.
Nebael sighed as the rebel whined in the ground and changed the pike`s setting to maximum. He brought the pike before the twilek`s eyes, teasing at poking Toras`s eyes.
"You probably have an idea what this does, cuts through bone, flesh and metal. So from here on out, you refuse to answer me or your answer does not please me, I`ll start cutting you into little pieces, and the worst part?
The wound cauterizes so you won`t bleed out immediately either." Nebael explained with glee as he waved the weapon in the air in cutting motions.
Suddenly the threat of an excruciatingly lengthy death seemed to have less appeal and Toras knew by Nebael`s filtered, metallic voice the justicar wouldn`t hesitate to go through with his threats. Nebael did not prefer to torture people for information, usually it was a very inefficient and time consuming affair, even tough there was a certain satisfaction in making people squirm. The ringing in Nebael`s ears began to subside as the twilek nodded with an exasperated look on his face.
"We... the commander sent a team to investigate the crash, at the time we didn`t know who was on board. Our team got here at the same time as TI`s, but neither side got Kern, he managed to slip away in the confusion just as the Hutt`s showed up."
"Where is he now?" Nebael demanded, bringing the weapon closer to the twilek.
"There`s... an abandoned outpost, a few clicks north of here... That`s where I`d head, if I was being chased, caverns, a lot of places to hide." Toras grinned with a pained look on his face.
Nebael didn`t know whether the twilek was lying or not, but it was all he had to go on. Nebael did a quick scan of the maps he had available to him, there was a group of buildings built at the shadow of a mountain, seemed the twilek wasn`t stupid enough to lie. Nebael contacted Elos, the feed hadn`t improved since the last time and did little to improve the situation.
"Your situation?" Elos said with a monotone voice.
"The ILA is going after Kern and trying to keep him for themselves, I can`t say I am surprised. Yet I have a lead on Kern`s current whereabouts so tell Fegal to prep for extraction and be ready when I call." Nebael said as he stepped away from the twilek, letting rebel go free. Toras however didn`t seem all that grateful, Nebael figured it had more to do with the dead Ilosian than the broken fingers.
"Any other problems we should be aware of?" Elos asked with apprehension.
"Yes, I suggest we keep the ILA on a short leash from here on out or start doing business with someone else entirely. I had to kill one of their trackers and wound another severely" Nebael stated as he suddenly activated the force pike again and swung it in a horizontal arc, cleanly chopping off Toras`s right leg. Nebael turned off the comm just as the screaming started.
The twilek rolled on the ground screaming as the smell of burning flesh filled the air, Nebael proceeded to strip the twilek and the dead Ilosian of their comm units, weapons and other munitions. He destroyed the comm units and threw the rest down the ridge before turning back to Toras on the ground.
"Your best bet will be to pray for rescue or..." Nebael said as he glanced down the ridge. "Fetch yourself a weapon with whatever strength you have left and hold out as long as you can.... On a side note tough, I might not be familiar with how the wildlife act on this miserable piece of dirt, but back home the scavengers are just waiting to feast on a good, plump carcass.
So, if I were you, I`d just shoot myself, that`s what most folk in your situation would do... Then again those xenophobic locals might find you first with all of this screaming and I think you know better than I what they`ll do to you... Have fun."
Nebael explained as he folded the force pike into his coat and walked away, he could hear Toras`s screaming bloody vengeance, acting out of emotional stress until he ran out of breath. After a hundred meters, a quiet whimpering sound echoed from the ridge as Nebael head towards the outpost.
Some part of Nebael hoped the poor sod shot himself before anything got to him yet the ILA finding him alive would be infinitely more amusing.
Nov 4 2013 4:58pm
Abadoned Outpost Delta
When Nebael caught sight of the outpost and immediately he felt like his day was only going to get worse. The Hutt`s had beat him to the outpost, which only proved that Kern was or had been here. The charred remains of a few rebel fighters scattered across the outskirts were another indication, that he was on the right track.
Nebael zoomed his vision in on the Hutts and made scan of the perimeter so that he might plot his course of action. Two speeders, at least a dozen thugs and two turrets guarding the perimeter. There was no telling however how many thugs were inside the base or the caverns, two maybe three times the amount outside. The Hutts were certainly not playing around, they had deployed a large search party with heavy weaponry and this one might not be the only one.
Before Nebael could even stop to weigh his options, the sound of laser fire filled the air and the Hutt`s turned towards the base. The attacker as it turned out came from within the base rather than outside, a group of rebels burst out of the base using the barricades along the base walls as cover.
Nebael zoomed in on the rebels and immediately recognized them as ILA fighters. Presented with an opening Nebael sprung from his hiding place and accelerated in a sprint across the rocky terrain with blasters both hands. The Hutt`s only noticed him when he was ten meters away from them, by then Nebael had the chance to fire a salvo of blaster fire at them. He took down three thugs as he slid across the ground into the cover of the first speeder and surveyed his surroundings.
The thugs were baffled by the sudden attack and seemingly hoped the turrets would even out the sudden losses as the took cover. Nebael peeked behind the speeder at the turret closest to him and drew a thermal detonator, which he slid underneath the speeder towards the turret. As the turret blew apart in a spectacular fashion Nebael again sprang into action. He ran along the right side of the perimeter, firing his blasters indiscriminately at anything, that moved.
Nebael reached the base entrance, which had been left unguarded as a result of the fighting and rushed inside, letting the hutts and the ILA sort themselves out. Nebael searched the hallways and rooms of the base with haste for Kern. Upon reaching the center of the base he found three ILA soldiers standing guard with a scarred human on his knee`s, his hands behind his head. Cyden Kern certainly seemed to have seen better days, his clothes were dirty and his face seemed swollen. The rebels had taken great care in taking him alive.
There was very little second guessing at that point, Nebael fired both of his weapons and killed two of the rebels. The third turned to face the attacker, but to Nebael`s surprise was thwarted by Kern, who grabbed a rifle from a dead rebel and fired on his captor at point blank range. Kern wasn`t done tough, he fired four more times for good measure as tough to enact some misbegotten vengeance on his captor.
Nebael approached Kern with a measure of apprehension, the overkill hadn`t improved Nebael`s image of the man.
"Cyden Kern?" Nebael inquired with his blaster aimed at Kern.
"Yes, who.... wait aren`t you that bounty hunter from Tatooine?" Kern inquired as tough they had met before.
"Nebael, I am with the Enclave these days and I was sent to extract you. Come, I have a ship ready pick us up on a moments notice." Nebael introduced himself as he lowered his weapon.
"About damn time, I`ve been dodging these bastards for days now. They finally managed to pin me down here in the caverns after my shuttle crashed..." Kern expressed his anger and disgust towards his captors by spitting on the newest corpse.
Nebael did not comment, simply shrugged indifferently at the display and headed for the entrance with Kern on his heels.
"I have to say I wasn`t expecting to see you do The Enclaves dirty work, but I guess that just goes to show how bad things have gotten for the Hutts. When people like you even start changing sides, it`s no wonder they lost Nar Shaddaa and Hutta." Kern commented as they headed for the entrance.
"People like me? You make it sound like I`m known for my loyalty." Nebael was already starting to regret saving the man.
"Better than most bounty hunters anyway..." Kern chuckled.
"That isn`t saying much..." Nebael glanced over his shoulder at Kern and stumbled on a realization, but before he could elaborate the sound of people approaching encouraged the duo to hasten their escape.
Nebael had not recalled Kern by his name, but the notable scar on the man`s face beckoned him to remember. They had indeed met once on Tatooine, Kern had been at the employ of the hutts under a chiss named Bavo, a man whose life Nebael had ended on the orders of Plurga the Hutt.
Luckily Kern wouldn`t have felt any anger towards Nebael even, if he knew Nebael had been behind his predecessors demise. In fact Kern had filled Bavo`s seat in the organization, thus in a way Kern owed Nebael more than he knew.
Nebael contacted Fegal through his comms unit and broadcast his coordinates to the smuggler.
"I need immediate extraction, come in with weapons hot, there is some trash you`ll need to clear before we can get out of here."
Nebael said as he arrived at the entrance, where the battle was still on going and unfortunately the sound of pursuers from within the base drew ever closer. Nebael glanced at Kern, hoping he would pull through until Fegal arrived. Nebael moved to the barricades outside and opened fire on the rebels, catching them off guard as they fired at the hutts. Nebael ruthlessly gunned down five rebels as he walked towards them. Kern seemed to be holding his own as he kept the rebels inside the base at bay while screaming complex insults at them.
As easy as ambushing the rebels outside had been, Nebael had to take cover as the hutts concentrated their fire on him and he could feel the barricade against his back beginning to heat from the constant stream of blaster fire. Nebael grabbed another thermal detonator from his belt and threw it in a wide arc from behind the barricade. The hutts however were able to clear the area before sustaining any more losses and the turret was keeping Nebael pinned down.
The sudden screech of a freighter engine roared across the base as Helios, Fegal`s vessel plunged through the clouds into view. A barrage of turret fire from the freighter scoured the area before the base, effectively sending the remaining Hutts into disarray and destroying their remaining turret.
"Kern! Move out!"
Nebael roared at the top of his lungs, but the lowlife had already taken a head start before Nebael had managed to end his sentence. Nebael grunted as he vaulted over the barricade and ran after Kern while the rebels reoccupied the barricade. The rebels fired on the two escapees and Nebael fired back as he ran away, half way facing the base. The rebels concentrated fire on Nebael and the blaster fire tore his coat apart, even directly penetrating through his right hand armor, disabling the hand in the process.
"Son of a bitch!"
Nebael cursed vehemently as he dropped his blaster, but before he could try to use other, a torrent of fire from the freighter suppressed the rebels. The freighter landed before the base and lowered it`s ramp, Kern was the first to reach it and Nebael came some meters behind with a fresh blaster burn on his side. Luckily only the one on his right had penetrated his armor, searing the flesh on his arm. Nebael scaled the ramp with exhaustion. As the ramp closed back up, Nebael turned to take a look at the hapless rebels taking cover behind the barricades as their prize slipped through their fingers.
He looked at Kern, who was practically laughing with relief at his miraculous rescue and wondered whether this scum deserved to be saved like this. Shrugging off his own personal misgivings about Kern, Nebael headed for the med bay. Fegal greeted him in the hallway, but he passed the dug without so much as a word.
Nebael entered the medbay and closed the door shut, Kern wasn`t going to be needing it anyway. Nebael checked the room for surveillance and shut off the feed from a camera before sitting down on the single bed in the medbay. He removed his helmet and took a long breath of fresh air before beginning to address his wound.
He could only hope, that whatever intel Kern would divulge would lead to far more straightforward operations where he didn`t have to save people from the folly of their own blunders. Otherwise he would have Kern`s head on a plate just because he felt like it.
Nebael sat quietly in the dark chamber, staring at the stars passing by and took a sip of whiskey he had plundered from Fegal`s private stash. For once he had chosen to take the time to relax, wearing full battle armor for more than 24 hours tended to get on your nerves. The helmet rested on the table in front of him with it`s lenses dim and lifeless.
The wound in his arm still ached despite the patch job on it and overall his mood could have been better. Sulking alone in the dark and getting hammered wasn`t probably going to change any of that, but sharing a bottle with someone would cause him problems of untold proportions. Namely because they would see his face, his identity was the only closely guarded secret he had.
The secret, the one thing ensuring his long-term survival. Anyone, who could figure out his identity would become a threat even, if they meant him no harm. Why? Because people talked, they couldn`t just help themselves, but sell out everyone else. Kern being the case in point. Thus even if a hint of the truth got out into the galaxy, someone out there would connect the dots and find the people from his past. A prospect Nebael would opt to postpone indefinitely
He had died once, but that trick could only fool people once.
Nov 13 2013 12:30pm
Hangar Bay 2
Nebael still couldn`t get over the fact, that every damn soldier addressed him as `sir`. He might stopped to explain the fact, if there were not hundreds of them passing him in the hallways. Nebael stretched his neck as he ascended in the elevator to the docking bay. Perhaps I should issue an announcement on the holonews? He mused with the thought, which in and of itself seemed too ridiculous to even consider.
He snapped out of his thoughts as the elevator doors slid open, revealing a hangar bay and a ship. Nebael took a few ,steps outside the elevator and stopped to marvel at his new craft with pride. The AEG-77 Vigo, was a gunship with two laser cannons mounted at the front and six turrets scattered around the ship. Naturally more weaponry had been commissioned by Nebael, for example the installation of missile launchers.
Aside from the weaponry, there was little remarkable about the ship. It was a model actually commissioned by the Black Sun, to serve as transport and protector of their convoys. It was certainly far more spacious than his former vessel, but the ships operation had a catch, he needed crew members. Certain posts could be easily filled with droids, but certain necessities had to be met. Nebael glanced to his right, at a ragtag group of four officers and crooks.
Nebael for one did not feel comfortable letting a droid steer his ship. That`s why it only seemed appropriate he acquired someone with a recommendations, Max Jodon was a human smuggler Nebael hired from the free captains to act as the pilot. Joeran, a twilek would serve as the ships communications officer, and Linnes, a femala devaronian, another smuggler would be the ships navigator. Fourth was another human, Ulek, fresh out of the academy to serve as the ships mechanic.
The rest of the ship would be automated to fit Nebael`s needs and he very much preferred it, that way, the only doubt was how dependable the crew would prove. Nebael approached the group quietly, only Urek snapped a salute and Nebael immediately made a mental note of that.
"No need for that ensign." Nebael said, sounding slightly irritated. His arrival caught everyone`s attention finally and they looked at him with trepidation, not knowing what to expect.
"I am glad to see you all got my invites and decided to show up, the money is good if you are doubtful." The latest remark was directed at the two smugglers. "I am Nebael, a Justicar working for the Free State Enclave and that ship, Janus, is my ship. You are to be it`s crew."
"So... according to the the message you sent us, all we have to do is operate the ship?" Jodon inquired, doubtful everything was as it seemed.
"And do everything else I might require of you, I might need intel and support on the ground." Nebael said as tough his job description was well known knowledge.
"So we hunt people, is that it?" Linnes asked doubtfully, apparently knowing Nebael by his reputation.
"Depends" Nebael said quizzically.
"On what?" Jodon insisted.
"On whatever we are ordered to do, but if you feel uncomfortable with that, I can always ask Fegal to recommend someone else." Nebael had forgotten how petty smugglers could be from time to time, the aforementioned smuggler being a prime example.
There was a brief pause in the conversation, which was ended by the twilek, who grabbed his belongings.
"I`m fine with that as long as the money is good."
The smugglers nodded in agreement, the ensign hadn`t said a word and didn`t seem to have a problem with his assignment. The crew glanced at Nebael, who didn`t say a word, and headed for the ship.
Nebael smiled behind his helmet as he walked after them, he couldn`t force these people onboard, but it was a high risk, high reward situation for them. How many chances like these would these people ever get? For all they knew, they could keep on slaving for the Enclave, and the Free Captains until they went insane.