Author Topic: CC: Circle of Freedom  (Read 82451 times)

Offline Medivh

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Re: CC: Circle of Freedom
« Reply #165 on: June 13, 2023, 01:02:48 PM »
CORELLIAN SECTOR: Centerpoint Station

Adubell had lingered there until she held them both in her hands - the one piece, connected to her lightsaber, the second, a similarly shaped sphere had pierced through the wreckage, the mass of wires and metal.  Even as it moved from where its power had been harnessed since time before time, it's most obvious power still lingered, its gravitational pull causing loose durasteel to bend toward it as it sailed across the open space.

She felt that pull - that literal, gravitational pull, as it approached her hand, could feel herself falling toward it.  But she carried the other piece, and holding it out in front of her, the Centerpoint piece was suddenly neutralized.  It no longer was pulling things in.  it's power, so long channeled toward that one ability, was seeking out a new use.  Adubell grasped it in her free hand, feeling the surge of the Force through her, not unlike the way the Force had used her as a conduit for its power, reforming the new Coruscant in the ashes of the former world.  it had not occurred to her how the sith temple had been so strong, so concentrated in the force, and a smile crossed her grayish lips as the next piece of the puzzle came together in her mind.   She knew ...

The Force swirled around Adubell as she looked again at the vast desolate chamber.  She already knew the implications of what she had done - could sense the Republic soldiers and politicians stirring against Corellia and the Jedi.  The etheralis gave her a sight of what was transpiring, and with time and training, she would be able to foresee far into the future.  A goddess of the galaxy.  For now though, she was content to let the petty mortals slowly destroy themselves as she collected the rest of her prize. She made her way back to the doorway, purposefully moving in the direction of her ship.

But just before leaving, she took one look back, one final glance at that central chamber where so much power had been concealed and wielded for so long.

"Goodbye, Alexander"

She reached out, with the Centerpoint piece of the Etheralis, it's shimmering light clouding with a blackness within, then shooting outward toward the chamber.  The station shook as Adubell ensured the last evidence of what had been would never be found.

===========================

In orbit, even as the last of the Republic ships slipped away into hyperspace, the Corellian ships had their attention turned to the Centerpoint Station.

"We need to investigate - find out what happened to those republic scientists that they say were killed"
Several shuttles were already launching when the alarms began to sound.

"Sir!  the gravitational field around the station - it's fluctuating!"
"What?  How is that possible?"
"I don't know sir.  But the normal distortions - they seem to be fading away, and new spikes in gravity are appearing at the center."
"Pull all ships back!  All shuttles, return to the hangars. All capital ships, move out of range of the station!"

The orders came quickly, the shuttles heading toward the base making wide turns back toward their capital homes

The station itself began to tremor, visibly shaking in front of a background of stars.

"Sir, the station's structural integrity is failing - it's collapsing in on itself"

Even as the officer was reporting, the remnants of the station did just that - literally folding in on itself, the sound of screeching metal pounding and compacting on itself, over and over again.

And then, just as quickly as it began, it was over - where the wreckage had been, already a reduction of the original station's glory, was a mere fraction of the size, loose pieces of durasteel, so long held together by the gravity well, began floating out into deep space.  There was still a wreckage, to be sure, but there were no longer any remnant hallways, passages, or chambers.  In short, there was no longer a place to even investigate what had happened.

The Corellians stared long at the wreckage, and the lost hope of vindicating themselves against an ever more vengeful republic.  None even noticed as the small Siennar-fleet ship disappeared into the darkness of hyperspace.
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Medivh
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Offline Medivh

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Re: CC: Circle of Freedom
« Reply #166 on: June 28, 2023, 01:16:34 PM »
Chandaar: Republic Capital
 
Surface: Ambaril


The atmosphere in the senate is palpably tense.  The agenda for the day had but one matter - to address the allegation that Corellia had violated the Force User Registration Act, not to mention several other offenses.

Holograms showing video footage were floating at several points in the chamber, giving all senators - at least, all of those present - a good view.

It started out much like a horror film, footage from the research team onboard Centerpoint, encountering the cloaked figure, her condescending evil tone before the screen went black.

The voice heard, once again over audio

"Naughty naughty - you shouldn't be here."
"silly mortal.  the thing you are looking for - it belongs to me."

A break in the footage as Senator Braac made his way to the center podium to offer his own commentary.

"An analysis of the audio by RSB's Voice Recognition Specialists was able to match the voice to the fugitive jedi known as Nevylinn"
An image of Nevylinn, taken some five years earlier, filled the holo-screens.
"The analysis found that but for some distortions, there was over a 90% match between the audio and the jedi's voice.  Sadly, our research team on the station did not survive their encounter with the jedi."

The next set of videos now filled the screen, the security team that was sent in afterward.  Finding the bodies of all six researchers, slashed through, one officer grabbing a cylindrical object from the floor near one of the bodies.

"I think I've found something"

Carefully holding the cylinder vertically, he pressed an activation button near the center, a beam of green light jutting out of the metal cylinder.

"Sir - I think they were killed by ... a lightsaber".


Senator Braac continued, doing his best to remain stoic while he suppressed the glee he felt.
"Indeed, our forensic team concluded that all six were killed by lightsaber wounds.  And the murder weapon itself was indeed verified to be a jedi lightsaber."
No one mentioned that it made no sense for the killer to leave their weapon on scene - or that Nevylinn was known to carry a blue rather than green blade.  Such small inconsistencies had not entered the report.
"Every member of the senate has been sent a copy of the full forensic report from this incident, so they can review it for themselves.  And judge accordingly.

I will admit, even given my suspicions about Corellia, when I heard about the attack, I was shocked.  But it became clear, very quickly, that this was not merely the jedi hiding at the center of the galaxy's most deadly weapon. No.  The Corellians, at every level of their government and military were aiding the jedi.  And when we sought to secure that station, to investigate further.  Well, finally the ruse of Corellian compliance with Republic law fell away"

New audio and video splayed across the holo projector screens.

“You are in violation of Republic law! Stand down immediately!”
A swarm of clearly Corellian vessels seems to be growing around the three MC cruisers, as the corellian audio reply is played, conveniently staticky and leaving out key context.

“military action ... against ... you ... will therefore leave the system immediately ...”

The angle of the camera makes the Corellian fleet look more imposing, more aggressive.  How much editing was done was hard to say.  But it was a masterful presentation.

As the holo-projector deactivated, Senator Braac added in the last comments of his report.
"After we were forced to flee from Republic space.  We received reports of even more disturbing news.  The Corellians, desperate to hide any evidence against them, have finally destroyed what was left of Centerpoint Station.  The only evidence that exists is what we've shown you today, because Corellia has done their very best to prevent this body from knowing the truth.

That Corellia has violated the Force User Registration Act, serving as a refuge for the dangerous cult that is the jedi.
That Corellia is harboring their own senator Artemis Soldys, who stands accused of multiple egregious crimes, including treason against the Republic.
And Corellia is prepared to undermine the Republic by continuing to develop a strong military force.  Capable of threatening other member worlds of the Republic.

My colleagues - we cannot allow Corellia to go unchallenged or unpunished.  We cannot let them act with impunity.  We cannot let them kill innocent scientists, or defenders of this Republic, just so they can retain their hold on power.

I therefore move to open debate on Senate Bill 02368.  The bill has three key aspects:
First, stripping all worlds in the Corellian Sector of their voting privileges until such time as they are deemed in compliance with Republic law
Second, authorizing strict financial sanctions against the Corellian Sector, it's leadership, and any company that does business with the Corellian Sector
Third ..."
Senator Braac paused for a moment, the smile finally crossing his face.
"Given their civil authority's unwillingness to comply with the most basic of Republic laws, Third would be imposing a regional governor with direct control over the Corellian Sector, with the full authority of the Republic senate, and backed by Republic Security Forces.
And Fourth, a requirement for all Corellian naval and military forces to be decomissioned, and their ships confiscated by the Republic Navy"

There was no cheering when he finished speaking, but equally, there wasn't much in the way of opposition.  Since Senator Soldys had left the senate, law after law after law had slowly chipped away at any form of dissent.  While outside, protests were ongoing, and the Republic felt like it was teetering, here, in the senate itself, everything seemed orderly enough.

The vote to open debate passed by an overwhelming majority.  Discussion was already underway for closing in on Corellia.

The final vote would happen in a matter of days.

TBC




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Medivh
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Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Circle of Freedom
« Reply #167 on: August 11, 2023, 11:33:42 PM »
“Once you arrive, there’s only so far to fall
Ask how you got here, it gets hard to recall
Head for the door, it pulls you back in once more
Baby, once becomes once in a while.”


-Metric


Chandaar: Republic Capital

Surface: Serinus

The Menagerie is bustling.


So many parties to get to, so many places to be seen. It is packed to the rafters with literally the hottest people on the planet. Quinn Cavanaugh pushes back her icy blonde hair and pouts into a massive – and spotless - oval mirror as Quentin lounges nearby on a rather oddly shaped chaise. The Menagerie is filled with furniture more fit for a museum. All aesthetic, minimal comfort. Fitting, really. His glance slides her way again. She is beautiful. The most beautiful in all the lands or so the media is fond of saying. He has witnessed the power himself, the way in which others gravitate toward her, the envious and lascivious looks that find their way to her wherever she is.


She may appear unbothered by it all but she is dangerous in more ways than one.

 
Quinn is an asset of the Empire, one that can assume any role they need through the nanotech coursing through her veins. She has been so many different types of people that it is a wonder she even knows who she really is at all. If she even does. Sometimes it is difficult to tell. There is a void behind those sky-blue eyes, one that terrifies him only slightly less than the pulse of his attraction. He is the luckiest guy in the Republic with Quinn on his arm. His schoolmates jealously tease him about it endlessly. Not that he minds. To those that know him, he is just a horny student jock who managed to secure the affections of a gorgeous Republic model although Quentin is no slouch himself. That much he knows but it pales in comparison to Quinn’s radiance. He even gets off on the disguises she wears throughout her various assignments. It may alter perception in order to infiltrate but the physical expression of her is nearly divine in nature. However, in her personal life, she operates with an excruciating sluggishness that drives him insane.


“Almost ready?”


“Almost,” she murmurs, scrunching her face up. “My brows look weird. Don’t they look weird?”


“They look amazing, babe. I’m starving.”


She ignores him, still smoldering even in her casual selfishness, and sighs.


“I cannot believe the RSB thought Kinsa helped Janessa blow up the President. What a total riot!”


“Such a riot.”


With one heavy caveat.


Kinsa never let her borrow that necklace for the launch party. Quentin only told her she did. Acceptance of this statement was not even remotely challenged, regarded coolly even, as though it was obvious and inconsequential. The piece was sent to him with instructions to make sure Quinn made it as visible as possible. The launch party was conveniently high profile enough to make work so he proposed the accessory. A part of her almost seemed touched that he cared enough to suggest it and applauded his spectacular taste.


Kinsa Cavanaugh, a more recent Imperial acquisition, had a mission of her own. A mission that was unknown to him at the time yet she played her part in something far more devastating. He suspected they had help on the ground, that much he posited to Barrett, but not how he would play into it. This time, he was to provide the cover. The trick worked and cleared Kinsa of the RSB investigation into Janessa Kain’s alleged role in President Inganarre’s gruesome demise, redirecting the agents back to the path they need them to follow. The damage is already done – Janessa branded an instrument of the Jedi as she had been before. An easy target, they said. Knew it all along. She was already a murderer, despite the legal maneuverings of the now-slain Counselor Corinthos. Shot in cold blood by her own mind-controlled bff. It could be tragic but the poetry of it all is so much sweeter than that. Even now, Quentin does not have the whole picture, they make sure of that, but his efforts to destabilize the Republic from within while managing to pass uni exams is something he is proud of. It takes the sting out of losing Dahlia, however brief and fleeting. They spared him his almost-indiscretion and he takes great pride in sticking it to the RSB.


They are so good at chasing their own tails, especially now that Quinn took out Drakos to frame The Concealed. They are pulled in so many directions as they drown in the perils of the civil unrest they created. They are only scooching things along, a foregone conclusion to the tyrannous overtones of a Speaker consumed by paranoia and greed. The explosion, ensuing investigation, and now Corellia’s alleged traitorous acts are more messes they simply do not have the resources to focus on, which leaves the two intrepid agents the vessels through which th
e depths of the Republic’s treachery will be revealed. The tension is electric even in the gentle, evening breeze.

Chandaar’s vibes are definitely off.

They just need to drive the point home for the rest of the galaxy. He hopes to be rewarded for the efforts even though he knows it is far more likely that they will turn Quinn on him. A last fuck you from that grieving prick Barrett Trevaithan. There is a lot he does not know but takes some dark comfort in the fact that Barrett doesn't either. He gave Quinn the necklace to cover Kinsa but who loaded it up with a trigger and gave it to Kinsa to deliver to Janessa? If that is, in fact, how it happened. Has to be, otherwise what would be the point of covering it up? There are far too many unknowns and it is making Barrett nervous, not that he would ever admit it. Quentin's eyes focus on Quinn, a grounding force if she was not also a terrifying weapon. He wonders if she knows, somewhere, deep down, that she would one day wake up over his lifeless body. More time gone, another mark on the kill list. He gets hard thinking about how hot she would look when she overtook him. He smiles.

Quinn turns, batting her wide, infinitely vacant eyes, “What do you think?”


Her brows look exactly the same, meticulously manicured yet somehow still effortless.


“Perfect.”









-TBC
« Last Edit: September 01, 2023, 07:06:31 PM by Syren »
Syren

Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Circle of Freedom
« Reply #168 on: September 01, 2023, 11:52:53 PM »
“So what pray tell
Will save you now
Here comes that cold sunrise.”


-Low


Chandaar: Republic Capital

Surface: Ambaril

Agent Ollo is angry.


The connection was clear and the case solidifying before them until it all blew up in their faces. They pushed hard because the assumption was that Kinsa Cavanaugh would not be able to produce the necklace in question. There was no way she could if it was the trigger Janessa Kain used to assassinate President Inganarre. That was good work on Agent Vrent’s part, a testament to her dedication and observational skills. It is what makes her a good RSB agent. One of the only good ones left, it seems. Now they are right back where they started. Even though he does not believe it, Counselor Roan would have torn them apart since there was no way to prove they were one and the same. The necklace could not be simultaneously ash amongst a crime scene and fastened around the neck of a Republic model.


Vrent pulled the photage of the launch party and there it is, gleaming in stills of Quinn Cavanaugh draped across something or posing with someone. The vapid nature of that world irritates him. He sighs, running hands over his increasingly lined face. Etches of a life upholding the law. With their lead destroyed and their theory in tatters, they take a look at where they would most likely be able to expand and explore.


The credits.


The antiquities dealer was a start and it began with a ridiculously expensive old box. The evidence points to it being the mechanism of delivery and he still maintains that a timer would have been too unpredictable. Inganarre could be chatty and may have been ages before he returned although the explosion would have likely killed him anyway. The only way to be sure is to have him at ground zero and that suggests a trigger. The credits used to purchase the item are directly connected to Inganarre which is not surprising or unexpected. Everything about the procurement itself is legitimate, even innocuous, but those are the details worth exploring. The ones that would be overlooked as ordinary as he had hastily dismissed them to be when he initially reviewed the purchase order.


A bit of perspective and time allow them to revisit the transaction from a different angle.

 “What if someone arranged for it to be available?” Vrent posits on a particularly gloomy evening in the central station. Late, early, no one can tell at this hour. She is spent from the long nights but appears otherwise undeterred by the setback.


“The box?”


“Yes. The President had a particular penchant for these types of items as we came to find out. He was a collector. This was known to those within his circle although perhaps not widely. Enough to leverage, if needed.”


Ollo follows her train of thought, “So, someone with this knowledge made it both available and known to Inganarre to bolster his chances of going after it?”


“Would a serious collector pass up such an opportunity? It’s on the Holo, those insane auctions, trinkets from various eras and worlds going for hundreds of thousands of credits. You told me Anasaii Antiquities is a rather exclusive gallery with a roster of patrons comprised of the Republic elite. Someone at the gallery may have even given him a heads-up before it was officially announced.”


“Did you check-”


“Already done,” she says with a satisfied smile. “The gallery manager is feeling major guilt in what could have been an unwitting part in all this. Not that I confirmed anything but, given what the two of you discussed, she made her own assumptions. I simply used that to get beneath the surface.”


“Well done. She told him it was available?”


“She did. They had formed a rapport over the years, crossing paths at auctions and exchanging banter when he came to visit the gallery. She said she kept an eye out for items from the early-to-mid High Republic era and gave him the tip when it hit their inventory. Inganarre offered to purchase it outright and she arranged the transaction.”


Ollo frowns, “And the seller agreed? Just like that? Would they not have fetched a better price if they put it up for bid at auction?”


“Not necessarily as that would depend on interest, like anything else. Things are only as expensive as the demand allows but it is a little strange they would accept a first offer when you say it like that.”


“I suppose they could have been looking to offload it, if it was, in fact, niche enough. People have curious habits…and tastes. Something else though, the box had an inscription on it, something I did not recognize. It wasn’t basic.”


“Highly probable. The box was from somewhere in the Galactic Frontier. Inganarre was apparently fascinated by the adventure and exploration of the time. Something he and the gallery manager bonded over. I asked her to send over the specs. It should contain some images.”


She enters her credentials and taps on the console to scan through her messages then keys it up.


“Here it is. You were right, it is not a traditionally stunning piece but I guess it could be more sentimental.”


“I believe the word I used was hideous.”


“To each their own. Alright, let’s see, origins in the Rseik Sector. Valo system. Synopsis indicates it was built and gifted to the Republic when they designated the Bonbraks a protected species.”


“And the inscription?”


“Bonbreez, the Bonbraks native language.”


“What does it say?”


Vrents eyes widen slightly but they meet his with a knowing intensity.


“Translated to basic: Justice.”


Ollo folds his arms behind his head and leans back from the desk, asking her to work them backward through what they know.


  • The Republic President is dead along with everyone else in the compound.
  • Republic ambassador to the CSA schedules a meeting with him to settle a branding (see: profit) issue and speaks to a core Jedi tenant before a bomb detonates.
  • Aide delivers the box to the President’s office, twenty-four minutes before the start of that meeting.
  • A security agent bypasses scanning and allows the box into the compound.
  • Delivery driver makes the drop to the President’s compound but never returns to the gallery then winds up murdered.
  • An item that matches certain criteria appears in the Anasaii Antiquities inventory, The President is notified, and he then buys the antique box before it hits auction.
  • The box contains a message: Justice.


Justice. The Jedi phrase. Justice for the Jedi. It looks exactly like they used Kain to strike back at the Republic but the glaring intentionality is suspect since the necklace had a similarly breezy path to resolution then didn’t. The simplest answer to that question could be a misdirection of its own albeit one that would have taken considerable care and planning. Someone with intimate knowledge of the situation, players, and the patience to wait for the perfect alignment. The logistics, setup, and execution are staggering despite being a bit on the nose.


“Bullshit. I don’t buy it.”


They spend nearly two weeks down this hole, tapping their slicers and trading in long-forgotten favors. It is a messy business, trying to get to the truth but both are willing to go that distance. They are rewarded with the identity of the seller; Sonagraas, a holding company used to obtain the box. The shareholders in that company split off into several directions so they follow each one. A company here, a consortium there, they work their way down from largest to smallest in terms of ownership stake. The trail of credits seldom disappoints but this one leads them to a smattering of the galaxy’s most questionable operations. Each one deserves attention and they vet through them for patterns or people connected to their investigation.


One hit piques their interest.


Among the list of shareholders a small firm, Orestes, divested from Palace Arms five years ago that specializes in tactical explosives. Palace Arms. The once-Chiss owned CSA weapons manufacturer tied to the Bolerathon Tower bombing that killed Princess Dahlia Winton and the Baroness Gemma Masterton which was later acquired by their brother, Baron Dane Gellar. His namesake company, anyway. He drifts back to Vrent’s revenge theory but that still does not track for him. The Republic didn’t kill his sisters, the Chiss did, at least according to reports and testimony from Gellar himself. He would know where the blame lies. Gellar would not risk that large a client to multiple business ventures simply to exact retribution. He doubts the CEO, Reeves, would even let him consider it.


Ollo stews, returning to the crux of his argument: the Republic did not kill his sisters. He considers something, swiveling to face her on yet another late night.


“There have been several incidents blamed on the Jedi, most in direct conflict with their teaching and practices. The patchwork of evidence does not paint a whole picture. We need to look at the bombings allegedly involving them.”


“You think there is a common thread?”


“Worth a look.”


Terrorist activity is not typically found in the legacy of the Jedi. There are always exceptions, it seems, the whole light and dark thing. A lot of push-and-pull, turning, and falling. Bombings traditionally fall in highly organized syndicate or grassroots rebellion territory. The Jedi have been linked to a revived separatist fear, terminology, and propaganda but the past several years would be the first focused terrorist campaign of their order, at least from what he can tell. A prolonged and targeted attack on a Republic that turned on them again. With all their purported foresight, he would think they could see it coming.


Ollo returns to the first of these alleged attacks, the Inverness Park bombing that killed Circe Prescott. The case files are restricted as part of the still-ongoing investigation into Director Drakos’s murder so they have to go through some backchannels to gain access. It is worth it to find the detailed specs of the device used which he compares to the reports from the Inganarre bombing. Well, well, he thinks. It is a smaller version of the same type. Both types were ones made by Orestes. While the investigation into the Bolerathon Tower bombing was supposed to be a joint effort, considering Republic citizens also lost their lives, those details lie with Imperial Security. It is not a stretch to imagine they would also be a match or, at least, the same manufacturer. Procuring explosives of that nature within military channels would rouse too much suspicion. A more obscure approach would work best.

If the firm was divested from Palace Arms while under the ownership of Balthazar Nash, who did he divest it to? It was clearly not a core business unit yet one with the most potential for off-the-books destruction if not monitored as closely. The owner, which takes almost another week of work to locate, is a hedge fund. While not common - hedge funds traditionally used holding companies to purchase equity in a private company - they probe further to ascertain the firm that manages the fund which leads them to a subsidiary of Chandaar Prime Bank.


Another round of favors is finally able to produce their privileged client list and, at the top, is a name they did not expect.


Gil Leeds, Republic Speaker.


The Republic did not kill his sisters.


Unless they did.


The sweeping intersectionality with Sonagraas begins to unfold. Sonagraas sold the box but it is owned, in part, by Orestes which was divested from Palace Arms to the Chandaar Prime subsidiary hedge fund. Masterton is a confirmed Force user associated with the Jedi, an association that led to her expulsion from the Republic. Prescott and Corinthos fought against his policies with public opinion and precedent. Would Leeds go that far? So many others lost their lives, collateral damage of FURA enforcement. How many Force users have died “resisting arrest” or “challenging” the RSB’s authority? The systematic extermination of Force users along with anyone else who aligned themselves with them, even under the cover of the FURA, would still constitute genocide.

Genocide. The word curdles in the air.


The alarm bells going off in his head are unbearable even though Vrent is quick to point out that does not directly tie him to anything. There are a lot of variables to consider, and inconsistencies that need to be sorted out. Kain, Cavanaugh, and Gellar most of all. Yet their findings don’t distance Leeds from it either. Ollo talks it through with Vrent.
It is not just that he is a client of the subsidiary that manages the fund but a primary investor in the fund itself. That would give him at least some control over what it invested in and when and potentially cast him as a facilitator. The overlap is too glaring to ignore and Ollo has seen enough to know that too many coincidences are seldom a coincidence at all. Inganarre was a known political rival to Leeds, one of many in various positions of power who challenged the FURA and its merits. Prescott, Masterton, Corinthos, Soldys - all eliminated or sidelined. One by one they fell, clearing a path to something darker than either of them could imagine.

Vrent gets there first.

“Inganarre would be the only one left in his way,” she breathes.


“That is the implication.”


She is quick to call in support, a force of habit despite their current predicament, but he grabs her arm as it hovers over the com.


“We first need to determine the scope which will then dictate our actions.”


“Ollo, we can’t sit on this! If the Speaker has conspired in any of these things, he has not only broken the truce but betrayed his people and office.”


His tone is stern, a warning, as he had done when the Kain news was leaked.


“Trust the wrong people and this dies with us. There would be no justice…for the Republic, the RSB, even the Jedi. We have to tread carefully, Vrent. All I am asking for is a little time. We need to be sure. Do you understand?”

She withdraws her hand, placing it on the desk, and nods.


“I understand.”









-TBC
« Last Edit: September 02, 2023, 09:50:39 PM by Syren »
Syren

Offline Medivh

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Re: CC: Circle of Freedom
« Reply #169 on: September 13, 2023, 02:08:06 PM »
Chandaar: Republic Capital
 
Surface: Ambaril


The vote was originally expected to be tumultuous. Loud protests, echoing those outside the senate building, inside by the strong voices of senators not believing the allegations, asking for more information, demanding impartiality.

But Speaker Gil Leeds would have nothing of it.  The few senators that did speak up had been heard, briefly, before being silenced.  Statements against the bill - like statements against FURA - were deemed a violation of protocol, and senator after senator was officially silenced.  Many were later detained.  Many more had done much of what Corellia had done.

They fled.

Dozens upon dozen of senate seats were empty, creating an eerie silence in a chamber normally filled with echoes and shouting.

Senator Braac was standing at the central platform, acting as speaker for the day. It was his bill after all.  And of late, Speaker Gil Leeds had been acting more and more in absentia, claiming illness.  Rumors had begun circulating, even among those senators that supported him, that the speaker seemed paranoid.  Afraid to leave his chambers, relying on aides and messengers to do his bidding.  Braac had played the scenario to his advantage, using their shared dislike of the Corellians, to put himself in a leadership position.

"Now bringing to the floor Senate Bill 02368.  Debate on this bill is officially closed, and we"

"Point of order.  I am invoking Senate Rule 550(a)(2)."  There was some surprise that anyone was speaking up.  Heads turned toward the senator from Mon Calimari.

"I'm sorry, senator.  Can you please refresh us on rule 550?" Braac had a smile stapled to his face, but his eyes were glowering, as the fish-like senator, with his bulbous eyes pressed a button to amplify his voice.

"We have heard the allegations from Senator Braac, we have seen the evidence he presented.  But we claim to be  a government of laws; of order.  If we are to pass these type of sanctions against a world - against an entire sector - we must do it according to the rules.  Rule 550(a)(2) states 'when criminal allegations are made against a member world, that world is entitled to present a defense to this body'"

Braac shook his head
"I appreciate your devotion the rules of order, Senator.  But look around - there is no one here from the Corellian Sector."
"And whose fault is that, Senator Braac?"

There were murmers starting to run through the chamber
"It is their own.  Senator Soldys was arrested and escaped.  If he was still on Chandaar, he would have been brought - from RSB's custody - and allowed to speak.  But he and the rest of the Corellian representation all fled.  Like the guilty cowards they are.  They have not even sent an envoy, or message to us.  They remain silent in this chamber"

"Actually, Senator Braac - you are mistaken"

The Mon Calimari stepped forward, inserting a disc into his control console.  A few moments later, a blue hologram appeared floating in the center of the chamber.  Artemis Soldys looking back at the chamber

"Greetings Senators - My colleagues in this experiment we call democracy.  For years now, there has been an ongoing tension between those that wish to protect freedoms, and those that wish to curtail it.  There has, and will always be debate on the merits of any given policy, but key in that is the underlying good faith in our fellows with whom we debate.  We believe that freedom includes allowing for disagreement and dissent.  And freedom cannot prevail when fear and greed are the basis for policy.  You have all known me as a champion of freedom; as one who opposed laws that targeted individuals for their innate abilities;  as one who opposed laws that targeted those who dissent.  For that, and for that alone, I have been branded a criminal and a traitor.  
That I am a criminal for opposing laws that should not exist - I concede my opposition.  But I am no traitor. I have spent my life fighting for freedom, for Corellia, and for the Republic. I have fought to keep our democracy strong. I am no traitor. I am a patriot.  And I say this despite Speaker Leeds unfounded claims against me.
It is time we end this cycle of paranoia.  It is time we return to the ideals that make our republic strong.  it is time th-"

The hologram shut off abruptly, two senate guards were escorting the Mon Calimari senator out of the chamber, handcuffed.

"I deem our obligations under Rule 550(a)(2) fulfilled.  I'm calling the vote"

There were still murmers going on through the chamber, and Senator Braac banged down on the gavel.

"Senators!  Do not let the oratory of that traitor fool you!  Corellia is too dangerous to be allowed to go unchecked.  They have weapons and ships that could destroy the Republic if we let them develop any further.  Let us resolve this issue now, get that sector under control.  And then we can have a more thoughtful discussion on whatever concerns you have"

The murmurs died down - slightly - but the vote was called, and when the talley came in, Bill 02368 passed.

The Republic would be sending a military fleet to Corellia, and establish a regional governor there.
For the sake of law and order.

TBC

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Medivh
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Offline Medivh

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Re: CC: Circle of Freedom
« Reply #170 on: October 04, 2023, 01:10:37 PM »
Chandaar: Republic Capital
 
Surface: Ambaril


Almost immediately after the vote passed, the criticism of it seemed to bulk up.  The last ditch effort from the Mon Calimari senator had given people hesitation, but in all honesty, it was his detention afterward that really stirred people up.

After all, in a fight against Corellia, with their ships and shipyards, the only way for the Republic to compete would be with Mon Calimari's support, and their own ship building infrastructure.  Alienating them would make the upcoming efforts that much harder, and possibly force the Republic to rely on the Empire for a fleet. Something that many still saw as problematic, even given the truce.

Speaker Gil Leeds took the vote as an opportunity to take a victory lap, scheduling a press-conference.  As the flashes of photography highlighted his appearance, the press noted the sunken eyes, and disheveled hair, and strange tremor in his hands.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!  Today is a historic day in the Republic!  Today, we are truly starting the processing of enforcing our laws, and our borders.  Today, we are showing that no one is above the law. That everyone, even senators, and even powerful worlds, must obey the Republic.  With the passage of -"

"Mr. Speaker! What about the claims that your office is behind the assassination of the president"

Leeds looked flustered as he was interrupted, looking into the audience.

"The many rumors surrounding that investigation are false, promulgated by the traitorous Corelli-"
"but what about the footage, linking RSB to the death of several prominent Republic critics?"

"Again, that footage is believed to be doctored, and-"

"But Mr. Speaker, there are reports that RSB was mistreating Senator Soldys when he was detained, unlawfully, and then the director was killed as part of a cover-up"

Leeds took in a deep breath, squeezing his hands into and out of a fist

"These conspiracy theories are false.  All of them are false!  Senator Soldys is a traitor, and his efforts to place blame on others will not be tolerated!"

"But Mr. Speaker - wasn't the senator unlawfully targeted to begin with?  Didn't Corellia have a right to voice its dissent?  Isn't that how democracy works?"

"I'll tell you how democracy works!"  Leeds was now shouting, his face turning red, gripping the lecturn with both hands as he stared out into the audience.

"We pass laws in the senate, and people obey.  If you don't obey, you are punished.  Corellia is full of traitors!  They are harboring jedi, who are enemies of the state.  There is no room for dissent when our republic is on the line!  I will not be taking any more of these ridiculous questions!  We will enforce the law!  We will not allow dissent to destroy our republic!"

The shouts from the reporters had suddenly stopped, leaving a strange, eerie silence in the midst of the Speaker's outburst.  He was looking out at the crowd from side to side, when he suddenly realized himself, shrinking back behind the lecturn.

"That will be all.  Good day"

And just as quickly as he arrived, he hurried out of the public's view.
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Medivh
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Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Circle of Freedom
« Reply #171 on: February 25, 2024, 07:04:58 PM »
“When the curtains call the time
Will we both go home alive?

It wasn't hard to realize
Love's the death of peace of mind."

-Bad Omens


Chandaar: Republic Capital

Surface: Ambaril

The press conference only serves to deepen their resolve.

Leeds is poised to risk the entire Republic to achieve his fanatical metric of security. He does not present like a man with nothing to hide. If anything, it seems to be consuming him alive. The unhinged performance with a rather alarming definition of their democracy makes it very clear they are no longer living in one. And so, with Vrent agreeing to hold off on reporting their findings, the agents continue to dig. From these efforts emerges confirmation.
The trail of credits, changing hands, weaving their way through this and that account, indicate it is more than a theory.

Ollo identifies payments moving between the hedge fund overseen by the Chandaar Prime subsidiary to Orestes on multiple occasions across the past five years. Vrent cross-references the dates to those of the bombings. Even without details from the Bolerathon Tower investigation, all three happen within a month of each incident. That aligns with the timeframe Sonagrass procured the box and it hit the Anasaii Antiquities inventory – a convergence.

The signatory authorizing these specific transfers? Gil Leeds.

So. The one person who would stand most to gain from such destruction filtered credits to an organization that produced the devices used in at least two of the bombings. Lives lost. The Jedi reviled and practically exterminated. Deep social unrest. Their head of state murdered. Teetering on the precipice of conflict with Corellia. Everything that has happened since Leeds transformed the Republic into a tyrannical hellscape barely clinging to the last vestiges of its power. A corrupted system that has failed the galaxy once again.


Vrent gasps and pulls the datacard, clutching it tightly as her eyes dart to Ollo’s.


“Yeah,” he mutters ominously. "We might not want to have that in anything official yet."


Neither is entirely surprised. Disappointed, perhaps, but more so for younger agent Vrent who still believed in the mission behind their agency. She is crushed by the implications but maintains a sense of duty.


“This is bigger than us. It is too important not to share.”


“I agree but it needs to find its way into the hands of someone we trust. RSB leadership is out; even after the death of Drakos there is no guarantee they are not compromised. They know we are chasing the credits so it will not be difficult to tell them we hit another dead end.”


“Right. Buy some time. The Concealed?”


Ollo frowns, “Turning this place into a vigilante state will only lead to greater harm. It needs to be less controversial.”


“That rules out the Empire,” Vrent chuffs.


“They would have an advantage in all this and therefore should never be trusted.”


“Copy that. What about Mon Cal? They could be the ones to talk Leeds down, not escalate the situation. If we are talking about noncontroversial options.”


“Could work but might be viewed as overtly partisan. I hear they are a grounding force in the Senate. A pragmatic balance. The Republic’s list of political enemies is diverse yet they have a reputation for integrity. Others may finally listen.”


Vrent tosses the datacard to Ollo, “One can hope. You hold onto that. Keep it safe until we can arrange a meeting with the Mon Cal delegation. The Senator is a good place to start.

“You alright?”


“No,” she says. “I was hoping he was…better than that. That we were better than that.”


“Damn shame. On all accounts. Let’s call it a night. I’ll reach out to some folks, and see what I can do.”


She offers a weary smile on the way out, “You’re one of the good ones, Ollo.”


“I’m glad someone thinks so.”


*


An hour later Vrent’s comlink bleeps from the nightstand.


She had only just drifted off to sleep and groans at the noise. It’s Ollo on the line, speaking quickly in his low, gravel tones. His contacts came through and arranged for a discreet meeting with someone from within the Mon Cal delegation - but they must meet tonight. He sends details and cuts out. Her frustration gives way to suspicion. Ollo has been in law enforcement a long time and he's got a long list of associates. She knows to trust his judgment and this feels rushed. It could mean Mon Cal is also looking for a way to stop Leeds from bringing the Republic down around them. For reference, Vrent does a spot check of the coordinates against the city map: Five Points. That close to the border of Serinus is a mixed bag, ripe for redevelopment, which means it's transitionary, naturally less dense. Still, this cannot be their burden to carry alone. They would need allies for this to be made public.

Sighing, she grabs her belt, boots, and blaster and heads for the door.


*


Real change comes with risks, some more calculated than others.

Ollo clicks off and pulls on his jacket when he spots the man in the corner of his apartment. A novice move, not checking a room – even his own – when there is this much on the line. His hand is at his weapon in an instant but the man calmly issues a command.


“Don’t.”


“What do you want?” Ollo barks, assessing the situation; the distance between him and the hallway, the blaster trained on him, knowing he’d never make it to the door. “Tell me your business here.”


The man shifts in the light and Ollo squints, “You look…familiar.”


“I guess I just have one of those faces,” Quentin Swire says as he steps out of the shadows. “But don’t worry, Agent Ollo, you will never see it again.”









-TBC

« Last Edit: February 25, 2024, 07:18:52 PM by Syren »
Syren

Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Circle of Freedom
« Reply #172 on: March 17, 2024, 05:43:37 PM »
“Now that the truth is just a rule that you can bend
You crack the whip, shape-shift and trick the past again.”


-Metric


Chandaar: Republic Capital

Surface: Ambaril
  
Cadranel Hills

The party is certainly hip but in the most generic way.


Kinsa is only present because Quinn dragged her to it which predictably begins with a slew of photo ops when they arrive. To be fair, they look spectacular. Those stylists Escara Wu sent over really do know their shit. What was this event even for again? Oh, right, the city has been thrown into chaos yet a moderately successful, mostly unproblematic actor/singer on a real streak still found time to launch a new line of liquor. Because of course, she thinks, sipping a drink plucked from atop a seemingly lethargic service droid. Admittedly, the cocktail is pretty tasty which is…annoying.


Since her brush with the law, she’s kept as low a profile as someone like her can. She met with some producers and expressed interest in a few choice complex roles. Murmurs were exchanged, a handshake or two, people telling other people they would be in touch. She’s been smart with her career which has paid off but not without a price. Little do they know she is playing the most challenging role yet – her own life! She hasn’t lost any time since but is still no closer to understanding how Janessa wound up being the central figure in a capital murder investigation. Worse still, Selene hasn’t tried to make contact which could mean she is either not as useful to them as they thought or she is being brushed off. Either way, Kinsa is convinced Selene is mad at her.


Kezlan Roan is here, fresh off a dismissal for a rather bankable Holoplex star after allegations of bad behavior on set led to threats of litigation. He spots them and heads over, once he is done mugging for the cams, of course. Kinsa introduces him to Quinn even though they’ve met briefly before, but Quinn acts as though she has never seen this individual before in her life. It is truly a talent to be that aloof and, even better, too pretty to be mad at for long. 


Mercifully, Quinn excuses herself to a gorgeous group of hammered models and leaves Roan to entertain her.

“Worn any suspicious jewelry lately?”


“Hilarious.”


“Too soon? Forgive a counselor's poor attempt at humor.”


“It wasn’t so bad even though I am not sure whether that insults your Bothan side or your human side more.”


“Not sure you’re ready to see my Bothan side, Miss Cavanaugh.”


She laughs, “Oh, cheeky! That’s the first time I’ve genuinely smiled all night so thank you.”


“Of course. What’s the matter, are you not feeling the pretentious vibes?”


“It’s complicated.”


“With you, I have no doubt, but why attend? You don’t seem like the kind of woman who does anything you don’t want to do.”


“I wish,” Kinsa mutters, taking another sip. “But I could ask you the same question. Why are you even here? A booze launch doesn’t seem like your thing.”


He shrugs, “Need to establish a presence and relationships with the potential client base even though that makes it sound sleazy. You know how these things go; gotta be seen, blah, blah, blah. However, I am not that guy.”


“Says all guys.”


Roan arches a thick, furry blonde brow, “Not a fan of hybrids?”


“Not a fan of men in general, really. Species has nothing to do with it.”


“Fair enough. Friends, then?”


“Can you deal with it?”


“I’m an excellent wingman.”


She chortles lightly, touching her nearly empty glass against his, “Well, then, let’s rustle us up another round.”


*


Lower Downtown


Agent Ollo knows it’s over but that doesn’t stop him from trying.


He kicks the cluttered ottoman beside him, startling his assassin enough for him to lunge for the hall. Quentin corrects quickly, firing a shot through Ollo’s knee. The blast is nearly silent, indicating modifications that belie a professional job. Someone hired and sent. That is telling in and of itself yet someone not only knew what they found but that they were looking for it in the first place. Given the timeline, he would venture to guess someone was waiting for it.


The older agent growls, stumbling forward as he pulls his weapon free of its holster. He manages to twist around on the way down but Quentin lands a kick at his wrist that snaps it cleanly and the blaster spirals away from him. He lands hard on his back with a hateful grimace.


Quentin looms over him, “The Empire thanks you for your service.”


Now he knows where he recognizes him from. He and Vrent had spent hours sifting through an inordinate amount of photage investigating the Cavanaugh lead. The boy had been in several stills and linked to Kinsa’s sister, Quinn. Had they all been operating on Imperial orders?


Ollo’s face softens as he realizes, far too late, that they want this outcome and would use the RSB to facilitate it. His death would further bury a man they hoped could be stopped before he destroyed everything they stood for and worked to build. His procedural brain continues whirling even now over a futile course correction that would likely never come. 
Not in his lifetime.

The truce is a lie. It had always been a lie. 


As skeptical as he was over the whole thing, the obviousness of the deception stings worse in those last fleeting seconds.

“Fuck your Empire,” he spits out.


Two shots to the head and Ollo is still.


Quentin holsters his weapon and searches the agent until he finds what he is looking for. The datacard. He slips it into the inner pocket of his jacket and rises from Ollo’s blackened, ruined face. He confirms he has the package and then sets about ransacking the small flat, collecting anything deemed valuable but half-assing it enough to set exactly the stage they want. The next RSB scandal to mutilate any last shreds of their authority and reputation.


A shame to waste such talent, Quentin thinks darkly.


Good law enforcement is hard to find.


*


Five Points/Serinus border


Agent Vrent arrives sooner than she expected.


The lateness of the hour aided in her ability to navigate to her destination without much interference. That is, in this case, a partially constructed residence tower among rows of abandoned warehouses waiting to be snapped up on the cheap. According to records, investors opposed to the ruthless application of the FURA pulled out and left the fate of the project in question. It is not an uncommon situation, as stories on the Holo continue to illustrate. It is not good business when potential tenants occupying a place in the capital city could be detained or worse at any moment. Ambaril is not what one would call a desirable place to live these days.


She sighs but a glow halfway up the building catches her attention. Unclipping her holster, she enters cautiously, passing the empty lift shaft to the open stairwell. Vrent is grateful she is in shape as she finally emerges on the thirtieth floor where she counted she saw the light. Only now, it is moving.


“Ollo?”


Only the wind whipping through the floor answers along with what almost sounds like the clicking of heels. It floats in the air and then disappears. Across the unfinished floor, in the distance, the glimmering radiance of The Menagerie. She shudders, keenly aware of how exposed she is up here. Something doesn’t feel quite right yet she is driven to expose the corruption within the Republic and so she pulls her blaster and follows the light. It seems to be several rooms ahead, obscured by the varying degrees of completed construction. After nearly a full circle, the light stops. Vrent steps into what would be the floor lobby to find a glowlamp sitting in front of the darkened lift shaft.


Retrieving it, she strains to hear anything.


The clicking sound returns – this time louder, distinct, closer - so she whirls around to see a stoic Quinn Cavanaugh casually appear in the lobby and close the distance between them with an uncomfortable speed. The strange incongruence of her materialization here, at this exact place, is why she does not raise her weapon.


It is her final mistake.


As Vrent opens her mouth to speak, Quinn lifts a toned leg from beneath the slit of her gown and kicks a heel into the center of her chest. The agent hits the back of the cool duracrete shaft hard, catching one last glimpse of the model's blank, beautiful face before she plummets silently into the blackness below.


At the bottom of the stairs, holding the glowlamp in front of her, Quinn pulls up the hem of her dress and steps between widening rivers of blood streaming from the open shaft and out into the night.


*


Cadranel Hills


It is way too late, or super early, but no one really cares at this point at any party.


Kezlan Roan has been remarkably good company for the evening. They dance among minor celebrities and make wagers on who they think will make it. He repels some of the more unsavory industry characters which allows her the space to breathe. In return, she helps him entertain relationship prospects, ranking them by career compatibility and potential to wind up needing legal counsel. He is impressed by the thoroughness of the assessment and makes a mental note to initiate a conversation with the top three. They are considering calling it a night when Quinn emerges from behind a table of leering promotion assistants.


“Quinn! Where have you been?”


“I don’t know,” she says distantly, glancing around at the waning scene. “This place is tired. We should totally bail.”


Roan is making eyes at the number two pick but Kinsa frowns sharply and lowers her voice.


“You don’t know?”


“It’s always such a blur, babes! Now, let's cruise."


Roan walks them to their transport, a Vectra-branded hoverlimo to ensure safe delivery. Quinn’s contract comes with so many perks.


“Thank you for a lovely evening, Kez.”


Roan smiles as she slides in beside her sister, “Anytime, Miss Cavanaugh.”


They ride in silence for a while, Kinsa tipsy and spun from the evening while Quinn crosses her legs and pouts out the window. Despite everything, she is glad she came. She needed a bit of fun tonight. Beams of light wash over them in rectangular bars which draws Kinsa’s eyes to something that causes her to tense suddenly. She has to look again to be sure but a thick knot of dread twists in her stomach. There is something on Quinn’s shoe.


A dash of wet crimson on a silver heel.









-TBC
Syren