Honor Unbroken (Rakhuuun)
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Nov 10 2013 4:16pm
Karrrynwroo, Rakhuuun

The man teetered forward and smacked his head against the solid wood panelling of the building before slumping against the wall unconscious. Kitty Hawk grabbed the heel of the now unconscious man and pulled him towards her. A large hairy arboreal claw grabbed the other leg of the hapless guard. Together, the Jensaarai and the wookiee informant pulled the security guard nearly off the platform from which they dangled nearly a hundred meters above the ground. Tree cities. Who the hell builds their cities in trees like this? Oh wait...furball over here does...She smiled, though no-one could see her in the pervasive darkness of the night. By the Maker I love these guys so much, do all of the hard work for me...The almost auburn-furred wookiee, a nephew to a relatively unknown Serendivius officer, named Liakarra easily slung the guard across his back and pulled out a line of synthrope to bind their new captive. Kitty fished in their captive's pockets, first finding a pack of sabaac cards and wallet before finding the man's access badge. She took the wallet just for good measure. The wookiee quietly grumbled.

“Huaah maw wuwu agah?”

She shrugged, “Beats me. Hopefully a day from now he'll be all right. Hopefully...but I think we may have hit him a little too hard though...”

She couldn't really understand Shyriiwook, but her somewhat shared conscience with her fellow CSIS agent via the Force was enough for her to get the gist of his question. Liakarra growled in acknowledgment as he lashed the man to the underside of a support strut to the structure. Hawk nimbly slid up onto the platform where the guard stood just minutes before. She quietly pressed up against the wall of the structure and closed her eyes, focusing on all the sounds around her. A myriad of noises emanated from the thick Wroshyr forests surrounding the settlement, but the only thing she thought she heard as a pack of Tachs going through some trash on the closest landing pad's compactor. The lumbering wookiee clambered up the railing to join her. She let her fingers run down the side of the building, feeling its partially sanded texture, wore down by the elements of the wookiee colony world. Kitty slowly pressed up against it, feeling the general give of the thin material. The woman whipped out her vibrodagger and flipped the switch on, creating an almost unnoticeable humming sound before she stabbed it into the wall and slowly cut out a section for them to enter. The pair quietly entered the darkened room with Kitty in the lead. As she explored the office room, Liakarra quietly lashed the hewn out section of the wall back in place.

“Nothing here,” muttered the woman quietly.

The wookiee replied back in the melodic growls of Shyriiwook.

“Well, from the diagram, we should at least be in the right tower. Hold on, let me focus on something.”

Kitty sat down in one of the room's chairs, which felt almost uncomfortably roomy. But then again, it is designed for a wookiee...Closing her eyes, she let her mind separate from the confines of her body and drift into the flowing ebbs of the life energy around her. Her own mingled with that of the Tachs rummaging the garbage a couple hundred meters away, the multitude of other wookiees in the capital city, and with the dozens of guards patrolling the building. Each one felt slightly different and the glimpses of their thoughts sometimes threatened to overwhelm the bonds between the two of them, yet she quickly focused onto another beings thoughts, until she finally felt the one she was looking for. She grimaced as she felt the being's bonds hold him fast to a chair.

“He's not too far away,” slowly whispered the woman from Pelagon, “A couple of stories up from here.”

She probed onwards, trying to feel for other life forces around the wookiee captive. She finally found one, whose vision briefly flickered on the shaggy fur wookiee named Dryahab before wondering to a mosiac of the world's founding. Kitty continued her voyeurism into the guard's thoughts, trying to note any distinctions from the man's sight. Several stories above her, the guard involuntarily shuddered. His thoughts becoming increasingly introspective, as if searching for something inside him. Kitty quickly withdrew from the man's mind before he discovered her. The CSIS agent quickly shook her head, feeling rejuvenated in the return of her essence back to her body. Her blue eyes turned to those of titian-colored wookiee.

“I couldn't quite get an exact location, but he's being held in an office with a really ornate mosiac which seems to depict your world's founding. There was also a holo of a large flower with yellow petals and that kind of look liked tentacles coming out from the circle part...I think I've seen it before, a Syren plant? Anyways, any idea where that would be?”

The wookiee mumbled some almost incomprehensible sounds, but as Kitty dug into her ally's thoughts, it quickly coalesced into the image of the Elder's office. Are they idiots? Why keep a man, err, wookiee, locked up in his own office? Wouldn't you want to keep in somewhere that isn't his home turf? Unless they're planting a trap for us...this might be too easy...Liakarra growled some more, indicating that he knew the path to the office, from the main corridors. She hesitated. We're going to get detected if we do that, but at the same time, if we take too long and morning comes, there's no chance we'll be able to get him without any of us dying...Frowning, Hawk pulled out her comlink.

“One,” started Kitty, “you might want to get in position. We might need a quick extraction.”

“I'll be there shortly.”

She flicked the switch of the encrypted comlink off and slid it back into her belt. Her cerulean eyes turned to stare into those of Liakarra. Wordlessly, she drew her holdout blaster. The wookiee unslung his bowcaster and locked a magazine of quarrels into the weapon's chamber. The two quietly opened the door to the outside corridor and Kitty slid out to the right and the Wookiee turned out to the left. Neither of their sectors had any presence, so she quietly pulled the door shut and fell in behind the Wookiee. The alien's jog almost had the short woman sprinting.

They quickly rounded a corner onto yet another platform balcony that slowly spiraled up the side of the massive Wroshyrr tree's trunk. A guard at the edge of the platform turned to face the duo, but before he could act, Kitty shot the man with her holdout, stunning the slaver. But as they ran up the platform, Liakarra gave the stunned man a shove, sending him tumbling off the platform to silently plummet to his death. She winced. I get that wookiees hate slavers, but still...harsh...but there's no way I could include this in the report, he's done so much already. I couldn't hold this against him, could I? She shrugged her internal critic away and instead focused on the giant frame of the wookiee almost leaving her behind. They entered the hallway of the next level, where the wookiee promptly shot a guard in his midsection, the man began to scream, before Kitty silenced him with a stun blast. Well, there goes our element of surprise. She unpinned a concussion grenade from her belt, set in on proxy, and let it clatter to the ground behind her. Hopefully that'll buy us some time if we need it...
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Nov 13 2013 2:15am
She felt the explosion before she heard it; the concussion grenade below buckled and charred the very floorboards beneath her feet. Only sheer luck or some mystical force managed to keep her from falling. But while the Jensaarai and the few guards on the floor struggled to maintain their balance, Liakarra continued to be a organic tempest in motion. While Kitty couldn't quite make out the exact combination of the blows the Wookiee unleashed on the pair of men, she could be see both guards crumple to ground; their sweaty faces covered in purple and black marks. One even had the characteristic darkening splotches rise up from underneath his jaw and spreading underneath his jaw which signified a likely basilar skull fracture. She clamped her jaw shut. They'll have to get help from someone else because we don't have the time now. Liakarra rushed past his downed opponents into the office to struggle with the binders on the Elder. As he did so, Kitty quickly holstered her own holdout blaster, nearly depleted from the few brief fire fights they had run into, and picked up one of the wounded guard's rifles, a hefty BlasTech A280. A little large...but it'll have to do. She turned her head to the face the two Wookiees.

“How you doing back that, Liakarra?”

The almost bestial growls and howls of the auburn-furred wookiee almost deafened her already ringing ears. I guess I'll take that as an ok. She heard a cacaphony of voices begin to echo up the trunk of the massive Wroshyr tree. Oh just wonderful, one of the few times when I really, really don't want to see another human around...Kitty tapped a button on her comlink, summoning her extraction team to her location. She rushed over to the side of the room's window next to the mosiac, glancing down to see a riotous crowd of Wookies forming, pressing onwards towards the tree, along with many of the local slavers guild and their henchmen moving in to oppose their movement to the Elder Tree. The slavers broke out their stun clubs and blasters, readying to beat the crowd back. Kitty winced. That hardly looks like a fair fight below...She glanced at the two wookiees behind her. Elder Dryahab began to stretch his long-restrained arms while Liakarra loaded another clip of quarrels into his bowcaster. They're almost ready then. I'll have to give these people a little bit of a chance if I've got the opportunity...

Kitty shoved the barrel of the weapon through the window's pane, creating a small shower of glass shards to lazily tumble onto the ground below. She let the barrel drop onto one of the now exposed slats to support the long barrel, tilted it downward towards the riot controllers, and began to rapidly tap the trigger, rapidly peppering the advancing slavers below with blaster fire. The first couple of shots hit the slaver group in the back, and while Kitty wasn't sure of how many she had hit, she knew from the howls and screams below that at least a few had hit their mark. Quickly scanning through the blaster's scope, she noticed one man with a crater in the back of his head lying still on the ground. That one's a goner...She felt a little twinge of regret at the kill, yet new blaster fire coming back up towards her quickly parted those thoughts from her mind. Hawk jerked the weapon from the window and let another concussion grenade fall from the window and gently arc towards the rear of the slaver group. But she didn't wait for it to explode. Instead, the woman jogged after the pair of Wookiees. Dryahab picked up another A280 from the other guard who remained crumpled up outside his doorway. Kitty glanced at the man's hazel eyes, ringed in black marks. She shuddered. I saw things through those eyes. Eyes that won't likely see much of anything else every again...But she jogged past the man, trailing in the pair of Wookiees' steps. The trio busted through another door and jolted up another circling ramp to the building's observation platform that pulled double duty as a small landing pad.

Hawk glanced at the white outlines sketched on the platform. It's a little small for a Centaur, but we'll have to make it work. She looked up only to the massive foliage of the Wroshyr tree suffused in moonlights continue to tower over them. The CSIS agent had better luck looking around her, as the wookiees had carefully kept the sides pruned over the centuries to present an impressive panorama of their capital to visitors and simply to enjoy themselves. Liakarra and Dryahab had taken the opportunity of the view afforded them to take potsthots at the slavers below. Yet with the darkness of night cloaking all of them, she could see very of the effects they wrought on the conflict below. Glancing outwards, she could only little now fuzzy outlines of things except for some distant housing lights and various flashes from the riot occuring below. Yet she stared past the shades of the sights near her, instead looking for the tell-tale moving lights of their transport. She heard the ship's whine before she saw the boxy craft abruptly swing past a branch to hover just off the landing platform. The doors whirled open, and Liakarra began to pull Dryahab towards the Confederate ship.

But the elder Wookiee rebuffed the younger auburn-furred wookiee and howled loudly, continuing to fire on the slavers below. A chorus of voices echoed up the ramp as if to answer the elder's defiant challenge. Oh crap...She swiveled to face the ramp and immediately began to pull the trigger on her acquired rifle, sending burst after burst of ruby red blaster fire into the ranks of the investigating guards. One of the transports upper weapons turrets came into join, firing brilliant bolts of green into the entrance of the deck, incinerating the walls and guards hiding behind them to drive the slavers back down the ramp and to the lower levels of the Elder Tree. Hawk spared a glance at the pair of wookiees. Liakarra was now attempting to physically pull the other wookiee away, yet his efforts had little success; Dryahab still towered over the edge of the platform, strafing the slaver enforcers with one of their own weapons.

Lowering her weapon to a low ready position, the lithe blonde woman attempted to submerge her own consciousness in the Force and drift to merge in the Elder's mind. Yet as she attempted to enter, the chaos and righteous wrath nearly overwhelmed her. Hawk pulled her consciousness back. His rage is beyond my abilities.... She flipped a switch on her blaster, raised it up again, and fired upon the Elder. The bursts of stun bolts took the wookiee down, allowing Liakarra to drag the now unconscious wookie on his back. Kitty edge backwards to the transport, keeping her rifle trained on the entrance, yet none of the guards attempted to rally back to attack the Confederate interlopers. After the wookiees had hopped on board, the native of Pelagon jumped onboard with her new souvenir blaster rifle, and the Confederates sped away into the early morning, leaving the Slaver's Guild without their prize hostage.
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Nov 13 2013 5:05pm
Several days later...

La Galissonière-class Star Destroyer Shield of Soroya, Rakhuuun System

The white wedge of the starship plodded through the void, dimly lit by the starlight of distant stars light years away. The forest world of Rakhuuun ahead blocked out the system's sun from shining upon the Confederate vessel. Captain Joris of Soroya stared out the vessel's bridge viewport, taking some relish in how steady his helmsman had been in keeping their slow craft directly aligned with the orbiting planet. A glint of Imperial gray began to bisect of the world. Joris calmly walked over to his command chair and pulled up a holo of the distant vessel.

“Imperial-class,” muttered his second in command, glancing up from his station to his superior, “just as expected.”

“Which one?”

Supreme General Fossk had several Imperial-class Star Destroyers in commission. Most had been kept fairly up to date, but his captains had developed a reputation for modifying their vessels, partially to improve combat performance, and partially to simply be unique enough to stand out from each other. Their reputations and actions were well-known in the Sector that CSIS had easily been able to make some impressively detailed dossiers about their personalities, a possible advantage if the conflict came to blows. The other Soroyan paused for a second.

“It would appear to be the Dragon's Head.”

Joris let his jaw slacken a little. The captain of that particular vessel was known to be compotent enough, but with a little flare for the dramatic, which may have been why Fossk had chosen to field it to repress the riots that had unfolded across Rakhuuun after Elder Dryahab's escape. As for the ship itself, CSIS had been thus far unable to completely confirm accounts of its modifications, though it could reliably guessed that these included multiple concussion missile launchers in the bow of the vessel, Captain Lenex's so-called “dragon breath”. His XO cleared his throat.

“There are other ships present,” noted Halyl, “roughly medium cruiser class analogues based on size.”

Joris frowned, “If they have already broken the grounds of our basis for negotiations, we'll need to prepare the whole ship for battle. Notify the rest of the fleet about the situation. I am going to talk to Ambassador Lélestine about this development.”

“There is no need,” replied the woman, stepping up from the crewpit below.

She flashed a knowing grin to the officer. Ambassador Céa Lélestine reminded the captain of an ant; the tiny middle-aged woman quickly paced up to the captain's console, her beady turquiose eyes pouring over its display as she twiddled her thick locks of chestnut hair with her finger tips. Behind here, a pair of wookies and a blonde woman slightly larger than the ambassador trailed in her steps. Céa spared a glance at the Wookiees.

“Fossk has his slaver ships in orbit around the planet as well,” notified the woman, “I am not sure if this is an intentional violation of our agreement, or he's trying to get a rise out of either of you. Lieutenant Gambis, could you get me a line with what's his name, Captain Lenex? Thank you.”

Joris joined the negotiating team as they approached the communication's terminal on the Confederate star destroyer. The holo-projector whirled to life with a spinning representation of the Unitas crest of the Confederation before fading to a lean man dressed in an Imperial-style uniform. His moss-green eyes stared out at the Confederates with the faintest trace of disgust. The man leaned in closer.

“Ambassador Lélestine,” noted the man, “and the rest of the Confederation's delegation, I presume?”

Céa forced a smile upon her face, “You presume correctly sir. How are you this fine day?”

“Well enough,” replied the man, pulling away from the holo-camera, “but I suppose we are not here to exchange sundry small talk now. Our negotiators are currently leaving the vessel for the space station as we speak. Shall I inform them that you will be there shortly, madam?”

“I regret to say that we will not negotiate unless everyone complies with the pre-existing conditions that we already agreed upon.”

Leaning in to the holo-camera, Captain Lenex's eyes flared, “You break loose a prisoner, create small rebellions, and somehow expect us to follow norms of your culture now? Really madam? I regret to inform you that these additional ships are currently necessary to keep the Wookiees in check right now...”

Céa frowned and turned to Captain Joris, “Call the rest of our fleet in.”

The Soroyan nodded and departed the group.

Céa turned her tiny blue eyes upon the man, “As soon as the rest of our fleet arrives, we will depart for the station as previously agreed upon. But if Supreme General Fossk thinks he can overwrite any more of previous conditions, he will may find us less than cooperative.”

“Duly noted,” spat out the distant captain, cutting the signal short.

“Well that went well,” muttered Kitty.

“It will get better,” replied the ambassador, “I ensure you all. I do not think the Supreme General counted on us bringing our own reinforcements.”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Nov 14 2013 5:41pm
Space Station Jowdrrl, in orbit via Rakhuuun

The four quietly strode through the corridors of the station, with Ambassador Lélistine and Dryahab walking as a lead pair, closely conversing with the aid of the diplomat's datapad. Liakarra and Kitty silently trailed in their wake. Liakarra kept his eyes forward, looking for threats or signs of a possible ambush. Still, the wookiee grabbed and held her hand as she mentally left their presence. Kitty let her mind flow to the Force and reached into the collective consciousness of those onboard the station. To the Jensaarai, the ambience of tension was nearly palpatable as the walls around her. Most of the trading station's occupants shuttered themselves away in their shops and quarters, almost leaving the impression to the Confederate group that they were the only ones onboard the circular structure. Her mind flitted from the enterprising mind of a Ithorian merchant and fell out among those of a group of bored guards. Seeing through their eyes, she make out they weren't stormtroopers and obviously not the station's own security droids.

Instead, they were slaver guards like those she and Liakarra had faced only days ago. She felt a twinge of regret, and almost instantly regretted feeling it, as the guard's mind she shadowed began introspectively looking for the source of that emotion. She let her mind drift forwards a little more, finally finding her target: Fossk's delegates. The steely mind which she encountered began repeating talking points and began thinking of possible rebuttals to Ambassador Lélestine's comments. That will be useful...but I sense his presence getting strong...we must be almost there...The man began searching for that the origin of that thought. The woman's consciousness drifted among his mind, latching onto various memories that crept at his consciousness, and focusing her thoughts on them, in turn drawing his own consciousness onto them before slipping away back into her own body. That was a little too close... She withdrew hand from Liakarra's grasp.

The doors in front of them whisked open to reveal a room seemingly plastered in wood paneling with several plants and small trees, holo-filled windows, and scented air freshers that all suggested they were on Rakhuuun itself. A small table dominated the room, where a man wearing a crisply starched uniform stood. Kitty was unsure of the rank plaque system that Fossk used, but judging by the many blue and red squares, he was obviously one of the most senior officials in Fossk's dominion. The man's dark eyes peered out of his neatly trimmed ash gray, and Kitty felt like she was under a predator's appraising gaze.

“Welcome aboard, Ambassador Céa Lélestine, and Miss Gwenaëlle, diplomat in training, I presume?” stated the man, offering a hand to the two woman, “I am Tribune Achilon of the Trax Sector Judicial Authority.”

Dryahab growled a special greeting of his own, which the man promptly ignored. Instead, the warlord's man gestured for all four to take a seat across from him. Kitty noticed another man saunter into the room from the other side. He confused her. For the man did not where any noticeable uniform at all, but aside from the blaster holstered at his side, he could have passed as a businessman or officer worker on any number of planets. The new man forced a smile and sat down.

“Excuse madams, I am Mr. Garnarr of Trax Collective Services.”

She felt her heart grow cold. He's representing the slavers. Such an innunocous corporate name for something so blatantly evil. Hawk forced a polite smile across her face. The Jensaarai felt the anger rise up inside of Dryahab at the man's mere presence. She mentally reminded the wookiee of that anger and returned her focus to the Céa's introductions of their own group.

“...and last, but not least, Liakarra, bodyguard to the Elder of Rakhuuun,” informed the petite woman, “I would like to take this opportunity, before we get much further into our discussions, that the Confederation has declared the Rakhuuun system to be under blockade until the end of discussions as per international laws.”

Garnarr frowned, “That's tantamount to a declaration of war...”

“Not if it's a Confederation world,” reminded Kitty, “which would have made this declaration a little more simple if that had had a chance to formally ratify it before your incursion.”

“A mute point,” rebutted the Tribune, “considering that the world is not a formal part of the Confederation. I understand that Elder Dryahab here has now had a chance to sign it, but he did not do so on the council's floor itself with public witness, which renders that line of reasoning invalid.”

“The system is under blockade,” reaffirmed the woman, “and if you or Mr. Garnarr or any other one of your people tries to break, you will be in for a fight. Supreme General Fossk certainly doesn't need any more enemies, does he? Or to the rebellions and revolts running up and down the Randon Run or the Trax Sector not enough for him? I'm sure even a small galactic government like the Confederation will not pose much of a challenge if such a war would occur right now.”

“We will acknowledge the blockade,” replied the Tribune slowly, “and none of our ships will attempt to break it. But realize that this is not because your Confederation intimidates us, nor because of any proper legal standing, but because we remain committed to finding a peaceful solution to this...quandary.”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Nov 17 2013 5:46pm
Ambassador Lélestine and Tribune Achilon finally agreed upon a mutual exit strategy for the General's star destroyer, with the Confederation agreeing not to harm it unless it attacked them first. That had seemed to put Tribune Achilon in a better mood, or it would have, had Mr. Ganarr constantly interrupted the following conversations with objections or alternative propositions which neither Ambassador Lélestine or Tribune Achilon seem particularly inclined to follow. Finally, the judicial official spoke forcefully.

“Mr. Ganarr, do shut up. You have spoken a few too many times out of turn. Need I remind you of your station here...”

The businessman turned to glare at Tribune Achilon, “I think it's a legitimate proposition. But worry not, I will not bother you again.”

With those words, the businessman drew a concealed blaster and simply shot Fossk's official several times straight in the chest. Kitty thrust the ambassador back and put herself in front of Ambassador Lélestine. Liakarra had acted to do the same, except Dryahab had taken the opportunity to flip the table towards the Mr. Ganarr. The slaver simply laughed, summoning his heavily armed guards waiting outside the room with a click of a button on his comlink.

“Let's face it, you're not here to negotiate with General Fossk or his men. Your business is with us, the Collective,” muttered the man, “whatever the good Tribune would have had you believe. So, let's try this again: two thousand credits a head, and you have them go free, and so do we, of course, with no harm done to anyone else. That's a bargain of a price, don't you think?”

Céa could only stutter, “You just killed a man. Supreme General Fossk's man...”

“His usefulness if over, as is his leader's,” replied Garnarr nonchalantly, “and what good are people when they don't have a use any more? You know what I thought was funny, he seemed to think that you all would actually buy into his concept of an honorable deal. But really, what is honor? Honor's one of those little things that give people a hold of you. Do something wrong, and now they have something to damage of yours that you hold dear. Do something right, and now they have a way of positively reinforcing what they want from you. Honor is priceless, and that's why I'm not interested in. Money is. How much for your citizens' lives?”

“So you're extorting us.”

“It can get worse,” advised the jacketed man, walking among his fellow slavers, “we could take you with us, and in fact, I think we will, assuming that you don't make a deal with me. What do you think? Liakarroo, Liakarra, whatever your name is, could be turned into a very nice rug. Sorry Mr. Elder guy, I don't really like the color of your fur, and you're too old to be of any real use to me, I suppose I'd have to get real creative to find a good use for you. And well, my diplomats, I don't think it takes too much of an imagination to see what would happen to you...”

“You'd never get away with it.”

“I'm not getting away from it one way or the other,” replied Ganarr, “everyone has masters. If you do not manage to kill me, my masters will. And I'd be willing to bet they'd put me through far worse than you ever could. Maybe even hurt other people besides me simply for failing. But you're not any better either. You're all slaves to your own little things, Dryahababa her is a slave to his people, Liakarra a slave to them, and you two ladies, well, I'd be willing to bet that you couldn't simply not show up to work one day without getting in some trouble, assuming they haven't gotten you to buy into their world, which I would really, really doubt. We're all slaves in this room. So let's talk.”

Kitty's blue eyes bore into the man's, “And how do we know you'd keep your deal then, if we somehow do have the credits that interest you? Because you have no chain of honor to trust...”

“Because you'll have to,” replied the slaver, “because otherwise, I'll just call up the Dragon's Head, show them some pictures, and with you all busy fighting an ISD, most of my ships will probably get away with a lot of wookiees to sell. You don't have a choice.”

Keep him talking. I have an idea...

Céa began to barter with the “businessman”. As she did so, Kitty let her consciousness drift into the currents of the Force, her blue eyes focusing on one of the guards situated just behind Ganarr. Her mind reached out and strained against a sliver of metal near him. Finally, she wretched out the little metal piece and slowly lowered it to the ground with only the slightest of sound. The Jensaarai quickly redirected her consciousness to the thoughts of her allies: Drop to the ground! As they dropped, the fragmentation grenade, still on the guard's webbing, exploded. The slavers flew outward in a blossom from the shockwave with shrapnel rapidly expanding with them. Covering her ears, she felt her body hit the metal deck and nearly regretted doing so. It's like the wind got knocked out of me, but at least the table took the brunt of the damage for us. Clambering up on her knees, the Jensaarai peered out of the side of the table top to peer out at the carnage she had wrought. None of the slavers moved, which didn't surprise her given their proximity to the explosion. The concussive force had lifted the body of Tribune Achilon and moved it more than a few meters. Well, great negotiations, guys, just great, now everyone's about to die...The other Confederates scrambled onto their feet.

Stumbling around more than an alcoholic drunk, Céa clasped her earrs and moaned. She didn't cover her ears...but then again, I guess this is first time being near an active explosion too...but she'll be all right. Her cerulean eyes darted over to the pair of wookiees. Liakarra looked relatively unharmed, but Dryahab had several small streams of blood oozing off his furry back. I guess he didn't get down quick enough, or he didn't get enough cover.

“So this is just great...” muttered the Jensaarai, walking over to Tribue Achilon's body.

I wish I could think of a better way of doing this, but there's no time. She snatched up the fallen man's comlink from his belt. Watching the two wookiees settle Ambassador Lélestine in a chair, Kitty tapped a button.

“Captain Lenex?”

“One moment,” answered a distant voice.

Captain Lenex's voice came back loud and clear, “Captain Lenex here. How are the negotiations proceeding, Tribune?”

She cleared her voice, “Captain Lenex, this is Miss Gwenaëlle of the Confederation's delegation. I regret to inform you of Tribue Achilon's death. We outed Mr. Ganarr as a rebel agent, as part of a peace offering by the Confederation. When his true loyalties were exposed, Ganarr shot Tribune Achilon, but the Tribune managed to snatch a grenade off of one of Ganarr's men, and detonate it, killing them both as well as Ganarr's rebel henchmen. Tribune Achilon died with his honor unbroken. We are ever in his debt.”

Now will he buy it? People believe what they want to believe, what sounds good to them, right? The silence emanating from the comlink terrorized her. She paced over to the table and set up an overturned chair to sit on. Finally, Lenex's voice came back strong over the comlink.

“You'll have to forgive me if that seems somewhat unbelievable, but such treachery, while commonplace these days, is still unusual. Do not touch anything near their bodies, or move them. It is a crime scene now. If we found out that you are lying to us, this will mean war.”

“Understood Captain.”



Several Days Later...

Karrrynwroo, Rakhuuun

“I'd call that luck.”

Kitty let a smile creep across her face and patted the other Jensaarai on the back. The two CSIS agents walked up the spiraling ramp around the Wroshyr tree, the same one she had fought on slightly over a week ago. Fossk's men and the slavers had left mere days before, after finding no evidence to conflict with Kitty's account of the story. Two things had saved their story, the first being any evidence that the Confederation delegation had been involved with the fighting. The latter was a datapad found on Ganarr's body. After breaking through several encryption on it, Fossk's men had discovered files alluding to Ganarr's plan to doublecross Fossk. After that discovery had been made, Captain Lenex and the Dragon's Head had joined with the Confederate fleet in seizing the slaver transports, with the Confederates taking their new citizens back to the world. In exchange, Fossk kept the transports for his fleet before departing the system, leaving the wookiees of Rakhuuun free to legally ratify their treaty joining the Confederation. Hawk shrugged.

“Maybe it was a bit of luck,” admitted the woman, “but it worked well enough that no-one else got hurt.”

“But you lied,” replied the other Jensaarai, eying her suspiciously, “and you don't even bat an eye. Doesn't that worry you? We may not believe in the light or dark sides of the Force as zealously as the Jedi do, but I worry this will lead you down a darker path.”

She barked a light laugh, “A darker path than what? Hundreds dying because I didn't lie? I think this is the path set before me, and I will take it...”