Author Topic: CC: Corellian Birthright  (Read 39465 times)

Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #105 on: February 14, 2023, 11:04:07 PM »
“All these things into position
All these things we’ll one day swallow whole.”


-Radiohead


Corellian Sector

Drall

Surface: Undisclosed


It is in this solitude, neatly tucked away from the worlds raging beyond, even if only for a moment, they carve out space to reflect.

 
As the fallout of President Inganarre’s murder sweeps across the Republic, it all plays out on the Holo. The Senate begins to sharpen its focus on the alleged Jedi perpetrators and those who continue to aid and abet them. The condemnation out of Chandaar is swift with messaging even more aggressive. It is not surprising but profoundly shakes Nevylinn to the core. The anti-Jedi sentiment has reached a fever pitch with opinions pitting member system against member system. Senate meetings devolve into screaming matches fueled by hateful vitriol that defies even the most basic public decorum.

 
The Republic appears to be tearing itself apart from the inside out in real-time.


“This is unbearable.”


“Yes, but not unforeseeable.”


“Gemma is sure to find it gratifying,” Nevylinn murmurs softly, pulling the thin sheet closer to her. She is curled up in a carved stone alcove with her back against the wall. Pale, and a little shaky but the color has returned to her face. The ordeal nearly killed her which frays the very edges of her ideals. Mara stays on point.

 
“Gemma may be many things but she is not wrong. At least in this.”


Nevylinn’s face falls, “I can feel her hatred. It radiates off her and I fear she may be lost to us for good.”


That was likely true long ago but it would not be productive for her to confirm it now.

 
“As I have told you, there is another way,” Mara counters evenly. “Instead of the extremes, why not focus on the opportunities that can be found in the space between?”


“There is no space between.”


“Not seeing it does not mean it is not there. The prophecy has an agenda and there are forces at work that have, thus far, been successful in exploiting that. No one is as good or as evil as we believe them to be. There is a balance to be found, even if the Jedi teachings do not support that. Too far in either direction leads to catastrophe. Gemma is struggling with her feelings but the Jedi have forced her to just as Adubell has forced Dahlia to do the same. Everyone else aligns themselves based on the information – however manipulated – presented to them. It is only natural to make sense of the worlds we live in. They are confronting the very nature of their existence. I know what that is like. Are you really willing to risk losing another generation to this simply on principle?”


Nevylinn looks stricken, “If we abandon our principles, what else do we have left?”


“Perhaps the possibility of a future.”


The Jedi sits in silence to contemplate so Mara returns to her work, tinkering with the Infiltrators memory cube. With Gemma resting between bacta treatments, she considers the scattering of Persephone’s four children and how those genes did eventually cross paths – only now they know it was by design. The Voss-Ra has been working in the shadows to bring them together by any means necessary. The revelation that their predecessors paid the new Four a ghostly visit does not provide adequate consolation. She wonders what Karen told Dahlia. Would she have urged a bit of caution and perspective as she had displayed in those last days together or would she warn her that Gemma could not be trusted and must be destroyed? Revenge from beyond the grave. She hopes that Kimber’s presence brought Riley comfort and hope when she could not be there to provide it. The bonds between parent and child are not easily broken so she wonders what became of the child they took from Elle Greyson. It is too large a thread/threat for the Voss-Ra to leave unexplored, not when they are so close to their dark endgame.


She works meticulously but their Drall allies are curious and engage her about the unfolding drama surrounding The Four. It has apparently been a source of intense discussion and debate among them considering its impact on galactic affairs. Some they already know and documented, given the considerable coverage, Holo adaptations, and Kent Carlson’s unflinching narrative that Circe Prescott delivered in the wake of the Battle of Centerpoint. Mara finds herself filling in the gaps, adding detail and nuance that have long been locked away. It connects the Drall’s musings in ways they could not fathom. Unburdening herself stirs a relief she thought she could not feel. They propose an intimate Ta’shaar later to celebrate which she accepts.

 
The Infiltrator’s memory is another mystery to be solved. She plugs in and begins the journey into the mind of another, something she once was, and would still be if had not found a greater purpose. For the most part, the memories are what humanoids would call depressing – a neglected captive left in her solitude. Those who know of her existence are pulled in other directions and have little time for a threat they believe to have isolated. They should have known better. The Infiltrator plots out every method of escape, running through scenarios if variables were to shift in her favor. But the forgotten replica never gets the chance until a beautiful woman in a lab coat appears at the periphery of the room and approaches. That must be the late Doctor Cross. Her gait is steadfast, someone with a purpose, one likely placed there by Adubell’s scheming.

 
“What are you doing here?”


“Your sister sent me.”


An interesting take. The Infiltrator changes into a uniform to then slay the guards and escape with the Medical Director. They board a skiff and depart when the doctor asks for a favor. All traces of their movement are erased from the CorSec security cams, a wise move considering the questions her presence would raise. No one would be looking for someone they never knew existed in the first place. Acquiescence for the sake of self-preservation. They part ways shortly after but the Infiltrator keeps Veritaas’s datapad and uses it to worm her way through their files and schedules before destroying and discarding it. 
Why leave something to trace and track?

She finds her way to the Patten Ranch, reconstructed but empty. There is no one to make pay for what they did. No one but Adubell, who appears behind her, as if she knew this is exactly where she would go. Her blue-grey skin skimmers in the half-light of dusk and she offers the Infiltrator purpose in the chance at exacting revenge on those who imprisoned her, including Infiltrator-01. She could serve them all up on a plate, furthering the prophecy of eliminating two of The Four as well as everyone else who knows of the Infiltrator. To set her free. Everyone wins. All she would have to do is wait. The Infiltrator agrees and so Adubell gives her a holopad, charging supplies, and a place to stay hidden. And stay hidden she does until she is beamed a set of coordinates and a message. Lysette’s head and shoulders materialize above the circular pad, a deviously small smile visible beneath the scarlet hood.

 
“It is time.”


Mara pulls the plug and lets it fall to the floor.

 
“What is it?” Nevylinn calls behind her. “What did you see?”


Even here, on Corellia, they had been carefully positioned. Waiting for the right moment once the group dispersed as they inevitably would. Divide, then conquer. Adubell expertly capitalized on the Infiltrator’s directives and desire for freedom. If she is in it to claim the fulfillment of the prophecy for herself then she is using every available resource to gain the upper hand. They would need to stop Adubell if they have any chance of taking down everything else around her. It would come to that. The ultimate sacrifice she knows she must make.

 
“A conclusion.”


*


Corellia


Surface: Coronet City


With a tight timeline and Director Veritaas recovering from his brush with death, Riley, Cassidy, and Sixta work quickly to thwart the Republic's inspection. Riley is moved to active status with CorSec and the three are transitioned onto the task force overseeing the operation. His presence throws a larger public spotlight on the situation, increasing the visibility of the Republic’s actions. Della is able to procure the list of “randomly” selected sites Senator Braac demanded to be “searched” to ensure they are not hiding the “fugitive.” Through her intel and Circe’s (as Octavia's) trusted presence with their contacts, Cassidy and Sixta are able to keep the coast clear as instructed. They have moved most of the Jedi off-world with a few exceptions but the considerable liabilities for them and their world are ever present. 


Circe puts on a brave face but she is reeling from the news out of Chandaar. Janessa is gone and may have been responsible for this terrible thing that may push tensions over the edge. Now Kinsa is all that remains of their group, caught up in something larger than she may ever understand. Still, they must focus on the problem before them. Though the intention of the inspection was stated otherwise, they see right through them. The Republic is here for more than Senator Soldys and they were tipped off from the inside.
 
Their successes at the sites are only a small comfort.


The crucial part of the inspection they cannot influence is where data is concerned. They were careful but with so many requests for various datasets – including arrivals, departures, and ship manifests – it is only a matter of time before someone cross-references the right variables. Put it all together and have them dead to rights. Rights that have been twisted to the point where any remaining spark of hope that the Republic would rise above their past is now extinguished.

 
But they must play along – for now.


LG Sutton does her best to limit resistance to what has been outlined as part of their membership. Anything that would not further infringe on their sovereignty. Braac’s business here falls under the F.U.R.A., which he smugly points out whenever challenged, and feels entitles him to this violation. On several occasions, he alludes to their objections as being uncooperative which borders on non-compliance. Sutton politely but pointedly disagrees and requests the acting CorSec director to release the task force to aid in Braac’s efforts futile as she knows they will be.

 
As Circe returns to council offices with news of their efforts, the trio of young agents joins the primary contingent of the task force as they depart to meet Sutton and Braac. Riley grips an overhead support strap as the transport lifts off. He glances over at Cass and Six, grateful for their trust – if not in him then in what they are doing. They dip east, away from One CorSec Plaza. What scares him most is that there is no way of knowing if their internal allies can cover the People’s Council’s part in using their network to smuggle and harbor Jedi on and through Corellia. Their world has seen its share of horror.

 
If they are not careful there may be more to come.


*


Corellia


Deep Space


Aboard the Asunder, Donovan Atrii (as CorSec Agent Theon) watches the MC-60’s drift in the distance with a profound sense of dread meditation has yet to quell completely. His passengers – the fugitive Senator Artemis Soldys and Twi’lek Jedi refugee Sirona – tend to communications and weapons respectively. The Asunder is reassigned from system patrol to Republic detail accompaniment around Centerpoint, courtesy of the Senator’s friends in high places. Theon’s credentials and cruiser provide the necessary cover for executing their shadow operation. 

 
They are here to keep watch and report out to their network should the Republic cross a line. By now, the Chiss superlaser would be mounted to one of their flagships as a last countermeasure.


Only if they crossed that line. Only to defend Corellia. This is what Soldys tells himself.

 
Using it would expel them from the system but there would be no going back after that. Corellia would be in open conflict with the Galactic Republic. From there, it would get messy. Very messy. Soldys wants to prevent that yet feels the sharp sting of inevitability building within him.

 
As they near the remnants of Centerpoint, old memories resurface. Time does not, as they say, heal all wounds. It is part of their history, what brought their Sector together, but it is also a terrifying weapon. Something they likely want to secure first. If restored, the Republic may be tempted to leverage it as means of control over them. Justify their actions as they have done with so many other atrocities committed against democracy. They have proven they are that desperate and he would not put it past Speaker Leeds and his allies to go after its lethal capabilities under the F.U.R.A.’s broad exceptions, especially now that President Inganarre no longer stands in their way.

 
They are on a true precipice now.

 
Sirona stirs at her station as tingles snake up her spine. The sensation turns to vibration which becomes a series of voices inside her head. They whisper. She calls on her training, steadying herself through the Force but they persist. So many emotions, coming in waves, bombard her psyche. The presences beyond, twisted amongst the wreckage, begin to cry out in anger and despair. A warning! She stands quickly, eyes fixed on the massive structure before them, which alerts Atrii and Soldys.

 
“Sirona?”


“What is it?”


They follow her eye line to Centerpoint and she gasps, breathless.


“There is darkness in that place. We cannot let it out.”










-TBC
Syren

Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #106 on: May 31, 2023, 07:00:01 PM »
“I’m so rough around the edges
My presence cuts like a knife
Yeah, I know I’m acting different
I say whatever is on my mind
But you never know what you might find
You never know what you might find
It’s a roll of the dice.”


-Tanlines


Corellia

Surface: Coronet City

There is an undercurrent of tension across Corellia.


Thankfully, Senator Braac’s search is going nowhere. They have turned up nothing so far. The CorSec agents assigned to him dutifully show him the way, clearing a path, and not reacting to the rising exasperation when they inevitably do not stumble upon the fugitive Senator Soldys hiding out in a den of conspiring Jedi – no doubt the double-whammy gotcha the obnoxiously smug Braac is hoping for. They know there is a deeper significance to the visit and attempt to maintain the sense of demure acquiescence and ruthless compliance the Republic has increasingly come to expect of their member systems.


Riley tries not the snicker but feels it serves him right – barging in here, to their system, demanding time and energy to aid a discriminatory crusade to punish them for not jumping on the authoritarian bandwagon. It is true, they are in the wrong. Legally speaking. Corellia agreed to abide by these laws as part of their admittance into the Republic. However, their wrongness is the right thing to do. They just can’t get caught. No problem, he thinks, so long as they are ushered out of here empty-handed.


After many hours zig-zagging across the capital city and beyond, the CorSec contingent returns a rather frustrated Senator Braac back to his squad and transport where LG Katelyn Sutton waits for them with arms folded calmly behind her. On the walk over to her, Braac gets a call. He takes it but the conversation is brief, hushed, and he clicks off before arriving within earshot. She forces a smile but there is no warmth behind it.


“Welcome back, Senator. I trust you were accommodated as expected.”


“Your deception runs deep, Sutton. You Corellian’s think you are so clever. Distracting me down here while you hide the real threat amongst your ruins.”


Concern quickly creases on her face, “What do you mean?”


“Do not play coy with me. Our people were attacked by the Jedi on Centerpoint, where you have been hiding them this whole time. I have all the confidence we will find Soldys there as well.”


Sutton takes this in stride, “How could that be true if the Republic has had access to the remains of the station for years? At least let me verify this information before anyone escalates-”


“No,” he cuts her off sharply, taking several steps back. “Many are dead, who knows how many could be next! Corellia is in violation of the FURA, of Republic law, and will be prosecuted accordingly.”


“Prosecuted?” Sutton says, her voice rising several octaves. “Senator, I think you may be getting ahead of yourself.”


“Senator Braac,” Riley says, stepping forward. “We can send a joint task force to investigate and clear this matter up now.”


The interruption is enough to break the intensity. Sutton nods, returning her gaze to the Senator.


“An excellent point, Agent Patten. Shall we defer to reason before a rush to judgment? I can have a team assembled quite quickly to assist.”


The Senator looks him over carefully, lost in thought, “Patten? I know you. You are one of…them.”


Behind him, Sixta tenses beside an already stiff Cassidy. Riley and his damn nobility walk right into the line of fire once again. Those wide, almost violet eyes. The button nose. It is one reminiscent of Braac’s youth as Kimber Patten’s face gazed out over the promenade on Coruscant when he was a teenager, now staring back at him through her son in a potentially traitorous exchange. Of course, he knows that face. Riley is one of four faces that has graced many Holo channels throughout their melodramatic lives – the secretive billionaire orphan - most recently linked to the horrific incident on Hesperidium that claimed nearly four thousand lives. In association with, of course – the Republic’s favorite target - Force users. The setup is too unfortunate to be scripted but plays out anyway. Cassidy reminds himself to breathe. Sixta swallows a sigh and waits for it to connect.


“You are one of The Four.”


“Yes,” he says evenly. “But those associations have no implications here. Corellia has been amenable to your requests and we wish to clarify any reports indicating otherwise. Please. Will you partner with us to civilly resolve this matter?”


Braac considers this and the silence that follows is excruciating. He glares into both of their faces and decides he does not believe either one of them.


“I decline.”


He and his squad swiftly return to their ships and neither Katelyn Sutton nor Riley Patten attempt to stop him. The transports rise from the platforms and arc up and away, taking with them any hope they had of successfully pulling off this farce. It is like watching their freedom slipping away from them, all their progress and sacrifice tossed aside for what is very clearly a setup. It is the outcome the Republic needs in order to justify whatever comes next. And Sutton will not stand for it. She pulls out her com and turns, speaking into it grimly as she relays the news.


“We need defensive action. Now.”


In orbit, the transports and support vessels return to the three MC-60’s before they begin to converge on Centerpoint. In response, Corellia’s own fleet appears to counter the move, something unanticipated and made evident through the sputtering response from the Republic's commanding officer.


“You are in violation of Republic law! Stand down immediately!”


The Corellian fleet swarms the system, outnumbering but not necessarily outgunning the Republic with one exception. Mounted on the underside of a cruiser is the stolen Chiss superlaser which, given the maneuverability of CEC vessels and the sheer volume present, could easily dispatch all three MC-60’s before being targeted and destroyed. This is not the primary deterrent, even if they did somehow spot and identify it. The FURA may give them use of all necessary methods to enforce the law but doing so now – an impulsive and reactionary move – would cost them the support they need to finally end their opposition once and for all.


Corellia responds, pointedly: “Accusations without investigation and any military action against it results in a violation of Corellia’s sovereignty. You deny us due process under our membership and will therefore leave the system immediately until this matter can be resolved through appropriate channels.”


There is a dreadful pause where it seems that all of the orbital space around Corellia holds its breath.


They are well within their rights to invoke this, deferring to the judicial system and network of investigations that prohibit such drastic action, regardless of how much they wish otherwise. Even Speaker Leeds knows he must follow the process or risk turning Corellia into a rallying cry for anyone who opposes the FURA and its applications.


One after the other, the Republic cruisers retreat into hyperspace.


For now.


On the Asunder, with an overcome Sirona and stunned Master Atrii framed behind him, Senator Artemis Soldys watches with a rising sense of dread.


It has begun.







-TBC
« Last Edit: June 01, 2023, 10:30:36 AM by Syren »
Syren

Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #107 on: June 29, 2023, 06:33:49 PM »
“Manifesting hope
Staring at my wall
Here’s the curtain call
Shows over I’ve got to go.”


-THALA


Corellia

Senator Artemis Soldys stares at what remains of Centerpoint.

There are...mixed emotions. Master Atrii had moved them out of range on command of the general but Soldys could not tear his eyes away from the situation. Everything that had happened there, everything it once stood for, collapsed in on itself. Gone. A hunk of scrap with pieces beginning to float away. Spiraling silently into space. The parallels are not lost on him. The Republic now has means to blame them further, a powerful demonstration of their alleged resistance. It is all unfolding exactly as they hoped it would and Corellia would again be a target for those looking to misconstrue their intentions and subjugate their will. Never again. Never. Again. He chokes back a profanity-laced outburst and finally looks away.


Sirona drops to the floor in a heap, the whispers assaulting her psyche abruptly cut off. Only silence remains. She heaves a sigh, pushing herself up and raising her eyes to the wreckage beyond the viewport.


“They stopped…”


“What did?”


“The voices…”


A piercing alarm cuts through the cabin, diverting attention away from Sirona’s ominous tone.


The ship is being hailed.


Atrii answers to find a rough but very-much-alive Elon Veritaas in full uniform. He is a welcome sight, and just in time. The CorSec Director, for his part, is holding himself together well given his ordeal. A sterile white bandage strip covers the stitched-up gash along his neck and when he speaks, his voice is raspy, barely above a whisper.


“Agent Theon,” he croaks, using his assumed identity. “I am glad to see you are intact up there. May I speak with your guest?”


He nods, stepping aside as Soldys moves into view.


“Hello, old friend. Welcome back.”


“Not back soon enough, it seems. I see things have taken a turn. Thoughts?”


Artemis does not mince words, “The Republic will use this to their advantage, painting us in the absolute worst light to try and damn us in the eyes of the rest of the member worlds. Not all will be swayed but some may. This is our tipping point, Elon. The point of no return, again. We need to counter this with a rebuttal, shifting the narrative as we figure out how best to navigate our way out of this mess without risking all our people as collateral damage.”


“I take it you have an idea."


“I do. They accused us of this crime, promptly retreated to their shuttles, and assumed offensive positions in a blatant attempt to deny us due process – and we responded with a warning. They did leave the system, as requested, but the station imploded immediately afterward. As the Republic were the last ones on board, it is entirely likely they sabotaged it and us by preventing any type of investigation into their claims.”


Veritaas considers this, “They can easily accuse us of the same. A cover-up. How would we present this information, considering the situation with our representation in the Senate?”

 
“We could send Sutton as an emissary with a small delegation. She was with Braac throughout most of his visit and is the closest to it. Even without voting power, she can speak to the events firsthand which would resonate with our allies and strengthen our own case if they bring this to the floor.”


“They will, and quickly. We need to move just as fast. I can coordinate things here with other agencies, drum up the support and pull together a plan.”


“No small feat and I am grateful for the support. I am just surprised the Republic would sacrifice their own research team to prove a point.”


“They didn’t,” Sirona says weakly behind them.


Atrii moves to help her to her feet but she waves him off, standing unsteadily but determined. Artemis turns to her.


“What do you mean?”


“It wasn’t the Republic. She was already there. Waiting for them.”


She?”


“The voices, so many voices, they told me she had come to let the darkness out, a darkness that had been there all along - before the station, before everything - and she did."


Sirona’s eyes are wide with terror.


"She took the darkness with her.”










-TBC
« Last Edit: June 30, 2023, 02:39:44 PM by Syren »
Syren

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #108 on: October 04, 2023, 01:35:24 PM »

Corellia

The last minute decision to have an ally in the senate speak on Corellia's behalf, instead of Corellia's lieutenant governor, had been Artemis.  He simply could not trust that Sutton would be released if allowed to speak on Chandaar.

He also had never expected that his colleague, from Mon Calimari, would be detained afterward.  If Corellia was going to pass the law, they needed help enforcing it. He knew the implications, and the truth was, the New Republic needed a source for fleets.

Mon Calimari had, almost immediately after the vote, made a statement declaring they would not assist in creating the enforcement fleet for Corellia, and would not provide the Republic navy any assistance until their senator was released from detention.

That meant the Republic would either need to find other fleet construction sources - such as the Empire - or take steps to forcibly take control of Mon Calimari's means of production.

At the very least, it gave Corellia some time to organize.

"Senator, we've gathered the planetary defense commands for the entire sector"

Artemis blinked as he turned from his thoughts to the commander beside him, offering a sad smile.

"I think we should stop referring to me as 'senator'.  I'm confident that the title no longer applies to me."
"So ... what title should we refer to you by, sir?"

"Title?"  That was a good question.  He had been Representative Soldys, and Senator Soldys for about fifteen years now;  before that, he had been a private, arguably a lieutenant.  His political positioning was largely due to his record as a hero, not an actual military rank.

"I suppose I'm a private citizen now."

If he was going to assist in the coordination of Corellia's Defenses though, he realized he would need to have some actual position - or perhaps he needed to step back entirely.  

He followed the commander to the meeting room, where the individual heads of each Corellian Sector planet's defense forces were gathered.  A few in person, a few by holograms.  Each world had started their own organization, and many were concerned even for the short trip away

Artemis took up the central position.

"You all know what's happened in the Republic, and their intentions toward Corellia.  You all are aware that we must be prepared.  We need to coordinate our efforts; we need to prevent the Republic from bringing their fleets here.  A defensive position, one that they cannot breach, will be our best strategy.  They want to avoid a war with Corellia; just as we want to deter them without a war with the Republic.  We need to hold out long enough for public support to turn in our favor.  However long that may be.  I have a plan for protecting our borders. It's risky, but if we accomplish it, we will be that much stronger in our defenses."

"We will need a commander to coordinate these efforts.  I nominate you, senator Soldys.  I nominate you as High Commander of the Corellian Sector Defense Fleet."
"I second that nomination.  Senator - Artemis - you have led our people with distinction, fairness, and bravery.  We stand with you."

Artemis shook his head

"the high commander of the Corellian Confederacy was a tyrant."
"but you will not be.  As you said, this is temporary.  You will lead us as you always have.  The governors can still run their politics.  But our military needs a leader, one who will unite us.  It needs to be you.  You will be our high commander."

Soldys let out a deep sigh, looking down at the floor as he thought to himself.  Finally he nodded.

"very well. I accept this nomination."
"All in favor of appointing Artemis Soldys as High Commander of the Corellian Sector Defense Force"
"Aye"
"Aye"
"Aye!"
"Yes"
"Aye"
Around the room, the vote was unanimous.

Artemis Soldys was now, officially, high commander.


TBC
([][:][][][DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
Medivh
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Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #109 on: October 12, 2023, 09:36:50 PM »
“Hunting high and low to seek revenge
Brand new moral code, got made reluctant renegade”


-Morcheeba


Corellian Sector

Drall

Surface: Undisclosed


Lady Gemma Masterton takes a long, slow breath and allows the Force to wash over her.


She feels it creep its way through her body like a rogue vine twisting beneath a garden of weary flesh. It soothes almost as much as it frustrates but, for now, in this moment, she calls upon it to bring a calm to the turbulent emotions coursing within. Her injuries were grievous, not fatal thanks to Mara’s intervention but the road to recovery requires more than a handful of dips in healing goo. There is much more than physical damage here, however grim and tangible. The traitor's saber scorched her skin and nearly severed her spine. A part of her wonders if that was a miscalculation or an intentional first strike in what would have been a series of injuries leading up to her gruesome death.

 
Quite clever, if Gemma allows herself to admit it through all the petty spite clinging to the edges of her perception. The galaxy already believes her dead so choosing to eliminate her first would not have drawn any unwanted attention. It would have simply m
ade those lies true.

Gemma has had a bit of time to unpack what Mara shared with them. Their origins in relation to the loop theory, a tumbling cycle of doom that nearly succeeded the last round. So close. If only Melanie had a bit more perspective. Dementat and Karen could have done some serious damage on the throne by now if things had gone differently. The Republic, in its current form, may not even exist if they had defeated the Corellian Confederation and crushed their fledgling movement. If Karen recognized the threat Melanie’s delusions truly were. Valerie was already a goner by then but it still left the question of what to do with Kimber. If she was injured and died in childbirth with Riley, would he have been raised by the Imperial Emperor and Empress? Patten a warlord or Moff, the blood of his enemies flecked across that button nose. But that would not have ended it. Not according to Mara’s account of the original prophecy. The child must not live. It is more likely Riley would have been murdered, a sacrifice for the Sith to rise again. So many little outcomes that shifted the course of a rather gruesome history.


A hop-skip to their current state.

Mara asked her what she knew about who she is and her reaction was…less than measured or considerate. A tiresome tirade no one was in the mood to hear. One thing is for certain, Gemma Masterton is no Jedi. She reflects on the last conversation with Nevylinn, a stunning admission from her even if she is still smarting over the consequences. There was an acceptance in Nevylinn’s tone. The stark realities of the Jedi’s failings laid bare before them all yet it is not enough to satiate that fury.


Her breath slows everything down around her, conjuring a deep quiet and a fleeting respite. In her grief, she acted out, withdrew, and misdirected much of the things she felt. She has been ungrateful, bratty even. Not her best character work over the past few years. The fallen could-have-been star throwing an epic, if not entirely trite, pity party. If Mara and Nevylinn’s interactions with her indicate anything it is that she has become her own stereotype, self-righteous and shrill. She calls it out in The Jedi but acts similarly about her own bullshit. The sting of her hypocrisy ripples down the wound on her back. Gemma tries to reframe it, take a step back from her own experience and resulting bias but stumbles back into a dark pragmatism that has, thus far, not really done them a whole lot of good. She always received such high praise for her self-awareness – a therapist mother not really helping there – but it has stunned her into seeing everything through a fatalistic lens.


The end end.


Gemma rises carefully and hefts her saber, running a finger along the scored hilt, testing its weight in both practical and existential ways. What does it mean to wield it? What does it even matter? They procured their crystals through chilling adventure but it was Melanie’s spirit who guided them through the construction. Arming them from the eternal whatever. Why bother if those defenses would not stop what is coming? Could she not see that from the other side? Or did she still clutch at a feeble hope from beyond the grave? But Melanie was not Jedi either. Neither she nor Gemma were brought up in the Jedi Temple. It fell long before they were ever around. They are not even really Bokken, or whatever they refer to as bastard Jedi. Someone taken up and trained after the fall. Then again, neither were Karen or Dahlia. Can one become a Sith if they were never a Jedi? Nothing to fall from, she contemplates dimly. They were all far too old to begin their training, already caught up and corrupted in the trappings of attachment and superficiality. Yet they had learned anyway; fought and suffered and persevered. Despite or in spite of, she is not quite certain.


Feels like the latter for her.

Could she tread both sides, use both light and dark as Mara had? She considers that the technological side of her could be what kept her from falling. Humanoids are not quite as stable, as evidenced by, well, everything ever. She rolls Mara’s words around in her head, trying to make sense of it. Dark impulses versus light, a careful balance that leads someone to make the “right” choices, if there ever were such things. Right is simply too subjective, a concept rendered meaningless through misappropriation and misuse. Impulse is something she understands.


Mara needs to fight for Riley, a sacred vow, the bond of family. In that way she and Mara are alike. As a prototype made using Valerie Gellar’s genetic material and the active legacy gene that coursed through her delightfully wicked veins, they both descend from the same single point: Persephone. Thoughts of Mara in this new light, dappled and delicate, flicker across Gemma’s mind. Those rough edges soften, if only momentarily. Given the context, she considers that this has always been about family. Well, families. Separated from the source, spread out amongst the galaxy, merging and mingling with others. Extinguishing this line or that in peripheral service of the prophecy’s fulfillment. A humbling power up for grabs if only it could be controlled and yet – and yet – it never fails to make a goddamn mess.


If Adubell, under the mistaken belief that she is the Daughter of Darkness instead of Dahlia, slays them all to take victory for herself, it would only begin another cycle. Those disparate genes would again cross paths through the Voss-Ra's calamitous influence to produce a new set of players that would eventually be forced into an exceedingly dangerous game against someone who can seemingly live forever. That means keeping Dahlia alive. Hopefully, that is not too difficult given she is also believed dead and in hiding. No doubt lying in wait to do something unnecessarily dramatic. It serves as a way for her to interweave Mara’s goals with their own. She may spare Riley by destroying Adubell with her blessed blade but she has to do it before she procures all four pieces of the Etheralis. Even then, it only solves part of their problem. She would fight for that at least but after the grey-skinned woman falls all bets are off.


She hopes she has given Dane enough time.


Gemma feels a twinge and realizes Mara is standing behind her, sensing her in a way she never has before.


“Am I interrupting?”


“Would it have stopped you?”


“No,” she replies distantly, tone absent any rancor. “Word from Atrii. It seems the former Senator is now High Commander of Corellian Sector defense.”


“How interesting given how things went with the last one.”


It is a cheeky parallel, given the reaction Soldys had to their contingency plan and means through which to accomplish it.


“The Republic will return soon and you must be ready. I have a feeling Adubell will use this to her advantage.”


I must be ready?” she asks, turning to face her. “What about you?”


Mara’s impenetrable gaze does not waver in the face of her audacity, “I am ready. She means to take Riley from us both and I know that is something we agree cannot happen.”


“Allies then? In our own ways. Nevylinn proposed the same, surprisingly enough.”


“So she told me. I am sure you have…thoughts.”


Gemma takes a moment and meets her eyes, “The most salient among them is that she may be right.”


It could be her imagination but she almost detects a smile pulling at the corners of Mara’s mouth. Could the unreasonable, traumatized girl be reasoned with? A promising prospect, if she could reconcile those conflicting emotions. Mara unclips and ignites her saber, twirling it around and in front of her to cast a yellow flicker in both of Gemma’s melancholic blue eyes. She and Nevylinn are both in recovery but their skills must remain sharp if they are to unite against a common enemy.


“Well then, let us see how right she is.”









-TBC
« Last Edit: October 17, 2023, 05:26:08 PM by Syren »
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Offline Medivh

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #110 on: October 23, 2023, 02:54:38 PM »
Corellian Sector

Drall

Surface: Undisclosed



The training has grown more and more intense as the days progress  Nevylinn, Mara, and Gemma playing out various scenarios, practicing one-on-one or two-on-one.  For them, it wasn't so much that the Republic had all but declared war on Corellia.  Technically, the three of them were not Corellians.  It wasn't their fight, and really, it was merely that Corellia had offered them some semblance of safety that brought them to the sector.  Well that, and of course, Riley.  Riley was Corellian, by blood, and by position; Mara and Gemma would fight to protect him, and Nevylinn would fight to protect the jedi.  But really, it wasn't who they were fighting for, but against that allowed them to put aside their very real philosophical differences. 
It was who they were fighting against.  The chaos coming from the Republic's decision had already started rippling across the galaxy.  All three suspected that Adubell and her allies had played some role in it; but there was beyond any doubt that Nevylinn's dark twin would use it to her advantage, to sow destruction, and claim even more power.

And so they trained. And trained. And trained.  really, only breaking to focus on the other key aspect of their preparations - healing.  The similiarities between the three of them were not lost, each having desperately needed to recover after the ordeals they had been through.  And, having put aside the larger philosophical debate of whether the Jedi were good, or moral - or for that matter, if any of them were - they began to rely on each other's skill, their joint force presence to aid in that healing.

And as the days past, they developed a working rapport, honing their skills, preparing for when they would face the looming threat that was seeking to attack when the shadows were longest.

The hum of Mara's blade as it clashed against Nevylinn's echoed, then she pulled back, swinging around in time to parry away Gemma's.  The two were on opposite sides of Mara, simulating a joint attack, a reflection of the reality that Adubell had already utilized her allies to make her assaults more one-sided.  Mara had initially been wielding her saber with both hands, but now As Nevylinn began to close in, she swapped her weapon to the left hand - one obvious benefit of being a machine was that she was naturally ambidextrous - pushing out through the force with her right to push Gemma backward.

Gemma landed firmly on her feet, an annoyed expression briefly crossing her face before her lips curled into a smile.  Reaching out, she latched onto the force, pulling at Mara's right leg just as Nevylinn was moving in for another stroke.  Mara tripped backwards, quickly rolling up into a squat position, her blade held horizontally oer her to block Nevylinn's blow. Gemma was already approaching again, hoping to catch Mara while she was in the more vulnerable position, but Mara pushed upward against Nevylinn's blade, giving herself the room she needed to stand and block as Gemma ...

A chime overhead paused the battle, and one by one, the three women deactivated their sabers and moved to the comm station.  With the push of a button, the bluish form of Artemis Soldys appeared.

"High Commander"
It was Gemma who spoke first, the sarcastic tone of her voice not lost on anyone.  Including the one she was addressing.  Artemis seemed to fidget under the title, as uncomfortable with it as anyone who knew Corellia's history.  he also was clearly in a hurry, getting straight to the point.

"I need to talk to Mara - in private"

Nevylinn nodded her head, stepping out of the room, Gemma following shortly behind.  Mara watched them step out before turning back to Artemis.

"What can I do for you ..."
"Please, Artemis is fine"
"Artemis .. what can I do for you?"


He paused for a moment before carrying on, as if weighing whether this was the best option.
"You used to be a representative of the Trade Federation.  One of its leaders, in fact."
"I suppose you could say that.  But there isn't much left of the Trade Federation, as I recall."
"I need some information about some of the Trade Federation technology that was sold to the Republic"

A blast from the past to be sure.  It had been years since the Trade Federation was even existent.  After the Wheel had disappeared, the Administrator murdered, the assets sold off on the market ... 

"I'm not sure I'm really qualified to provide that information"
She didn't bother to mention that Corellia and the Trade Federation had been, effectively competitors at the time.  Water under the bridge, and how often did old enemies become allies.

"Look, Mara, I have a plan to protect Corellia - or at least, hold off an attack against Corellia.  But I cannot do it without your help."
"Every time I've tried defending Corellia, it's ended in disaster.  Right now, my fight is only to protect those I love. I'm not getting into a skirmish between Corellia and the Republic"

"Mara, for someone with a mind like yours, that was a remarkably naive statement.  You know that this rift with the Republic is something more than mere politics.  And I'm not asking you to fight with Corellia.  I'm just asking for information.  Me and my men will do the fighting. The defending.  And with any luck, we can hold off the Republic until some sanity comes back to the senate."

"Very well - what is it you need?"

Artemis pressed a few buttons, and in place of his image, was one of a small device that Mara was familiar with.

"Gravity Well Nets?"

Artemis' voice could still be heard in response.

"The Trade Federation invented these almost two generations ago - and then sold them to the Republic.  The Republic has used them to maintain control of their borders.  I have a plan to capture a number of nets, that sit on the edge of Corellian and Republic space."

Mara shook her head.

"The gravity well nets are designed to avoid capture.  Attempts to gain control of them will trigger a self-destruct mechanism"

"Exactly.  That's why I need your help.  I need to find a way to reprogram those nets, to gain control of them, without having them blow up."

"I'm not sure that can be done - The Trade Federation was really good at making its tech tamper proof"
"I was hoping that maybe you had the expertise to prove that their system isn't full proof."

Mara leaned forward looking over the hologram of the satelite-shaped object in front of her.
"It may take time.  But I'll see what I can do"

"Thank you."



TBC



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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #111 on: November 08, 2023, 09:31:26 AM »
Corellian Sector

Drall

Surface: Undisclosed



Mara sat in front of the holo-projector, a frown on her face as images flashed before her eyes.  Finding the general schematics of the gravity well net had been easy enough, having been preserved in her memory banks.  But figuring out how to mess with those schematics?  That would be much trickier.

The gravity well net predated her involvement with the Trade Federation.  In fact, it predated not only her existence, but that of her 'creator', PHAGE, when Medivh was still young, a flesh-and-blood viceroy, instead of the machine he later became.  In the wake of the collapse of the Empire, Medivh had brought the Trade Federation a great deal of prominence, territory - and enemies.  In Medivh's over-confidence, he had miscalculated, leading to a surprise attack that caused the destruction of a vast portion of the Trade Federation's fleet, a contraction of its territory, and nearly the desolution of the entire organization, both as a corporate entity and as a governing faction.

But Medivh learned from his mistakes.  Instead of focusing his energy on massive and expensive super ships, he developed a fleet of small but durable vessels.  Under 300 meters in length, but carrying the punch needed to regain strength.  And to ensure that no one would surprise the Federation with a direct attack on their territory again, he developed the gravity well nets.

The creation was essentially a platform. No room for personnel, or any comforts.  They had exactly two items onboard - a power source, and a gravity well projector.  By keeping the design slimmed down, they were cheap enough to produce in large quantities, and allowed him to create a net around Federation territory (hence the name).  However, Medivh had known that without an onboard security force to protect the devices, they would make easy prey for other factions to try and capture.  An ion cannon blast would disable, and boom, easy pickings.  So to safeguard the new technology, he had developed a failsafe.  Should the device ever lose power below a certain threshold, it would automatically trigger a self-destruct, making the platforms essentially capture proof.



The Republic had purchased hundreds of these devices from the Trade Federation, creating their own protected border, including between the Republic's main space and the Corellian Sector.

Now, Artemis was asking Mara to find a way to capture the uncapturable.  To short-circuit a system that was specifically designed to avoid being short-circuited.

A hiss from the door led Mara to look up as Nevylinn stepped through the opening.

"You've continued practicing with Gemma?"
Nevylinn nodded
"Her battle technique is certainly more aggressive. I think she likes taking out those feelings on me"
"Whatever works.  We all need the practice if we are going to be ready for what's coming"
"I worry about it.  All of that dark energy flowing through her."
"We've discussed this"
"I know, I know.  And I'm trying to see things the way you do.  I know that the rules of the jedi are not for everyone.  And Gemma continues to resent ... well, everything really.  But even accepting that a balance between dark and light may be ok ... I just don't feel a balance there.   I think the dark may be eclipsing the light."

Mara stood up, walking over to Nevylinn and putting a hand on her shoulder
"I believe Gemma is a good person.  And despite her anger, her intentions are good.  If they weren't I wouldn't let her anywhere near Riley"

Nevylinn let out a weak smile, nodding her head.
"Someday you'll tire of my over caution"
"Maybe.  But between your caution and Gemma's animosity, I think we make a nice balance.  Besides, that surge of dark power may be exactly what we need when the time comes"

Nevylinn was about to say something, when Mara took a step back, her eyes widening

"surge ..."
Nevylinn shook her head, a confused expression going on her face
"What is it?"

Mara turned, moving quickly back to the computer.
"The gravity well nets.  their self-destruct is triggered when their power goes down.  But what if ... what if instead of shutting down their power, we increased their power.  Plug them in to a high dose of energy, causing"

"a surge" 
Nevylinn nodded, walking up behind Mara as Mara started typing furiously on the pad

"The nets power regulator would sense the power surge, and then shutdown automatically, to ensure that the internal systems are not damage.  It wouldn't trigger the self-destruct.  Or at least, it shouldn't."

Mara continued typing away at the pad, the holo image adjusting as she ran through a simulation.
"THey would have to plug in to the external port, and be able to pump enough energy in without triggering any alarm systems.  But it is doable.  Then, once it has been shut down .. then we need to figure out how to actually gain control of it ...."

Nevylinn watched as Mara worked, nodding her head as she thought to herself

"A surge of power ... essentially confusing the enemy"

Mara nodded her head

"Something like that" 
Before looking up
"Why?"

Nevylinn smiled
"Oh, I just thought of another lesson for my next sparring match with Gemma"


TBC

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Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #112 on: November 16, 2023, 10:01:24 PM »
“Don’t the best of them bleed it out
While the rest of them peter out?
Truth of consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around.”


-Foo Fighters


Corellia

Surface: Coron
et

Riley, Riley, Riley.

Stepped in it again. What was he thinking, trying to smooth things over with the Senator? The shadow of his own legacy looms over anything he does. It would be easier if he kept his mouth shut and stayed out of the way. Let others handle it. This place is a part of him so he could never do that. He had been out of pocket long enough.


In CorSec headquarters, he trains with Veritaas instructing him from the sidelines. Knowing his spirit, keeping him out of the fray is a pipe dream. Best he is ready. The Director is moving more slowly than he once did but he is moving. The deep crimson gash along his throat serves as a painful reminder of his misplaced faith in seeing how things would play out. Trying to weaken CorSec with his death while using the ensuing chaos as a cover to free their captive Infiltrator is fairly clever, even if only one of those two goals had been achieved. He had slipped away to the prison beneath them, stared at the empty chamber, and buried two good men. The transgression now puts him at risk and so he focuses on guiding Riley through their combat protocols with an empathetic urgency.


He is best with a blaster in his hands. The bolts find their marks with refreshing accuracy. There is a frenetic energy between them, knowing the Republic is coming. So many things they could not say to one another in this place. Pressing matters, and all that. Moving quickly between targets, Riley feels the bite of guilt having asked his friends to run interference within their own agency. He hopes Corellia’s survival guides their path as it does his own. The fate of Centerpoint twists something inside him as his mind drifts to his mother, entombed among the collapsed ruins.


Kimber died for it so that Riley could save it.


What good is a loophole, he ponders, if not for this significant a purpose? He would die for it too, something edging ever closer to a guarantee should all else fail. He knows the others – Mara, Elon – would trade their lives for his in an instant. To prevent what is quickly becoming an inevitability. He has faith in them yet understands that the prophecy and the Voss-Ra have been operative for far too long for there not to be one or two surprises up their dingy, tattered sleeves. The effort expended on it, all the blood shed for it, is simply astounding. And so here Corellia is once again, a scapegoat and a target.


They would not stand for it.

He showers and parts ways with Veritaas for now, glancing past the statue of Valerie Gellar with the sun receding from a carved expression of determination on her nearly glowering face. Dane may be kind of a pill but the Gellar grit could come in handy right about now. They are all family anyway, right? He giggles to himself as he strolls up to his residence to meet Cassidy and Sixta. They needed to blow off some steam.


The ring sits in a box on the nightstand which he is quick to conceal by scooping it into a drawer. They are preoccupied but Riley redirects anyway, “And what of the investigation?”


Sixta makes a sour face, “No pleasantries? No refreshments? Some eccentric billionaire you turned out to be.”


“Help yourselves, there is pretty much anything you can think of. Droids keep it stocked.”


“Already on it,” Cassidy laughs, tossing him a bottle of ale. “Six?”


“Pass. I’m too wound up.”

“That’s kind of the point of drinking it.”


Riley cracks it open and taps the neck against Cassidy’s. She sighs, launching into it.


“Alright, so, despite the more, uh, immediate threat, Inspector Thekla left any Jedi connection out of the final report on the Kor Vella bombing. The evidence, scant as it may be, is suspicious but too convenient. Thekla knows that and is not about to give the Republic anything more they can use at this juncture.”


Cassidy clears his throat, “However, given Veritaas’s statement regarding his attack and the forensic evidence at the bombing, it implicates Doctor Cross as the perpetrator of both crimes.”


“They brought Veritaas in, of course, and he did not dispel Thekla’s suspicions but gave him enough to draw his own conclusions about a deeply disturbed woman who was traumatized by her ordeal which led to these ghastly events. The catch is that he still thinks Veritaas is foolish for not locking her down and debriefing before ever letting her near CorSec equipment and systems. I do not wish ill of the Director but his lapse in judgment here raises leadership concerns at very fundamental levels.”


“How much?”


Cassidy takes a hard swig, “Enough to raise an internal inquiry and investigation. That isn’t something we can prevent if that’s the course it takes.”


“Moreover, he is curious about you, Riley, and Veritaas’s connection to you. The presence of a potential trigger word or phrase, same as you said happened with Dane and his protector, provides a motive even if it was not her own. It also implies something deeper, more strategic. He believes you are hiding something. I think you are too.”


“Noted. How is this…good?”


“It cleared Della Avers, at least in the short-term, and we did what we could. A little gratitude goes a long way, Patten.”


He nods, “And I am grateful. So, so, grateful. Thank you both. I’ll flag it to Veritaas. He’ll think of something if and when the time comes.”


“He may not have to,” Cassidy quips. “Given our current predicament. Sounds like we may need all hands on deck.”


“I am hoping it doesn’t come to that.”


And for a moment, it becomes as it should be. Young friends catch up as they try to make sense of the world. They hang for a bit longer but as Cassidy and Sixta are heading for the door, a call comes through – unknown ID.

 
“I’ll catch you later, I’ve got to take this.”


Riley practically skips into his room, tapping on the projector. Gemma appears before him in a cloak and hood that conceals nearly her entire form. She glances up, revealing her face and he smiles.


“There you are.”


“Hi.”


“You look like you have a lot on your mind. How are you managing?”


“As well as can be expected. No one has strangled anyone…yet. Lots of training which, admittedly, is a welcome distraction. Soldys asked Mara to do something for him but she did not say what. If I am guessing; defense. We will need it. And you?”


“Productive, the People’s Council is spared for now. If he seeks defense of Corellia, I know Aunt Mara will guide him. She will help us if she can. I miss you.”


“Same, but there is something you should know…”


She recaps Lysette’s betrayal, the Infiltrator attack, and the resulting body count – carefully skirting around the extent of her injuries. So. They were being played all along. It hits him hard but he accepts that they knew their enemies would be both resourceful and vast. Then it occurs to him: does that mean they know about the contingency? They had been so careful around the others, keeping the Jedi away from that aspect of their plans. There is no telling what they know now. He voices as much to Gemma.


She pulls the cloak tighter around her, “I thought of that as well but do not believe it should deter us. We must remain steadfast if Adubell and the Voss-Ra cannot be stopped.”


“Yes,” he says. “But first, an idea. You remember that question I asked you?”


She grins, “Of course.”


“Then we elope. Something small but meaningful to us, I can arrange it. We will be together.”


“In the time we have. I remember.”


“Well, what do you think?”


She pushes aside a golden curl that falls across her face, “I think it is perfect. Talk soon. I love you.”

“I love you too.”


Beaming, Riley watches the image of Gemma fade only to be replaced by Sixta leaning against the archway with Cassidy skulking sheepishly beside her.


He gasps, taking a step back.


“You know I wasn’t entirely convinced,” she says evenly. “You did mope around maker knows where for the better part of a year but you returned without the kind of resolve that comes from such a loss. Everyone grieves differently, I guess. But you? You show up simultaneously preaching the gospel of restoring order to Corellia while evading any specifics about your little adventures acting like you still have something to lose. Someone to lose, to be precise. Gemma Masterton never died in that explosion.”


“No,” he whispers. “She didn’t.”


Cassidy groans, “That’s fucked up, man.”


“It wasn’t like that!”


“We’ve grieved because you grieved! We spent months here thinking you were off on some self-destructive spiral over losing Gemma Masterton while what? The People’s Council smuggles Jedi in and out of Corellia like it doesn’t mean we wouldn't end up exactly where we are right now? The Republic is coming with garrisons to exert control over us! We are on the precipice of war!”


“We swore to defy those in power to do what is right.”


“Clearly we have been doing that long before our little pact. You lied to us.”


“Who else?” Cassidy asks carefully, side-stepping both of them. “Who else made it out of the Bolerathon Tower?”


“Cass…”

Who, Riley?”


“Uh. Pretty much everyone except Ples. Trichelle, I heard, died later. She was injured in the crash.”


“Holy shit. What about the Imperials that were with you?”


“They…let us escape.”


“In exchange for what?” Sixta snips with an incredulous scoff, fingers instinctively stretching toward her blaster. He could be compromised after all and they are making the same mistake Veritaas made. Riley senses this is going south and shifts toward the appeal.


“At that moment? Three CSA heirs but Dane was right. They were in a much better position to negotiate with them than either Gemma or I but that is not the point. What happened then or after is not going to stop what is happening now. Some fates cannot be overcome with all the care, hope, and love in the worlds. We have a real fight with real enemies.”


Cassidy huffs, “You can’t honestly just gloss over that by waxing poetic all over your posh apartment!”


“Especially if these things are related and relevant which, I suspect with you, they are.”


“Subjectively speaking. This is not about evading accountability.”


"So not an apology, Riley. Also, it is total bullshit. No one wants to run around doing your little bidding. We know you, we can't know you, and that may be the biggest menace to us all."


He searches for words they can rally around. They are not wrong but now is not the time to argue correlation and causation. There is nothing either of them can do for him or Gemma in the end. As much as he wishes otherwise, their influence and path through these threats are not going to be resolved by further interference into an ancient and convoluted plot marking Masterton and Patten for certain doom. He appreciates that they would try, but their efforts are better spent elsewhere. He will have to let them go.


“The Empire needs the Republic to fall and they are going to use Corellia to do it. They didn’t find what they were looking for so they created a reason to move against us. Did you see the vids of Speaker Leeds on the Holo? That guy is off the rails! If they cross the line with us to enforce increasingly unpopular laws they will lose the support they need and the Empire will be primed to regain control. Corellia should never align with either faction if they conspire to commit genocide and subjugation so I need you two to get over whatever outrage you feel about not knowing a part of myself I would just as soon not share and focus on what we have to do.”


Sixta is livid over the smug point but Cassidy chimes in before she can chide him.


“And what are we doing to do?”


“We’re going to help save Corellia but first, I am going to marry Gemma Masterton.”










-TBC
« Last Edit: November 27, 2023, 10:53:04 PM by Syren »
Syren

Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #113 on: November 27, 2023, 10:51:16 PM »
“Do you see the sign on the skyline?
Space head omen girl
It’s raining blood and fire on your world
Born under a bad sign.”


TOMMA INTET


Corellia

Surface: Coronet City

Agent Sixta Belasiss considers Riley’s proclamation. They agreed to help him but that does not exempt him from suspicion. His flecked, violet eyes seem to search her face for an understanding and trust that she cannot quite conjure up at the moment. Would he turn on them as well? He lied and there is no telling what else he may be lying about. Cassidy, she can tell, desperately wants to accept him at his word. Some sort of shared male bond or whatever that does not take root in her. She snaps up her blaster and sets to stun, leveling it at the duplicitous Patten.


“I do not believe you.”


She fires once, sending Riley sprawling back against his massive (and rather well-made) bed. They watch in silence as he slumps forward onto the floor.


“Sixta! What the fuck?”


She holsters the blaster and glares at Agent Clay, “You read the statement. Doctor Cross reappeared without explanation and she damn near murdered Veritaas. By his own admission, there are similarities to other cases. Riley made the link as well. We need to take him to Inspector Thekla, and sort this out. Do not tell me you are buying this.”


“Ok, well, no, not entirely but why would he tell us if not to help us put together a pattern?”


“A pattern he is following. I want to save Corellia too but he is a walking plot hole. Do you want to wind up bleeding out on a floor after he is triggered by some sociopath Force user?”


Cassidy shakes his head, “Of course not but let’s not go leaping to conclusions.”


Leaping? Thekla’s rationale for leaving any Jedi-related insinuation out of the Kor Vella report does not change the fact that evidence of such involvement exists. There was forensics that substantiated involvement.”


“Conveniently placed for us to find along with wiped security vid drives.”


“Fair enough but the fact remains - we do not know where Riley was for all that time. Clearly, it was not mourning Gemma. He is asking a lot of us without giving much in return.”


“You think Gemma Masterton is involved in this as well?”


“She is a known Force user formally and publicly exiled from the Republic. Implies motive.”


“Riley would never turn on us or Corellia.”


“No one is saying he did,” Sixta counters. “If Cross and the others were conditioned into sleepers then what is to say Riley is not being used to undermine any response Corellia has to the Republic’s allegations? He put himself on Senator Braac’s radar and you heard him. The Empire would benefit most from a Republic implosion and what better way to ensure that than bait them into a bloody and contentious conflict that finally fractures the tenuous support of crucial member systems. I am not saying I disagree with the assessment but his presence here, now, after all this time is pretty convenient too. Corellian lives would be lost, Cass.”


Cassidy’s eyes drop to Riley’s body. They may not have known each other as kids but Riley has been a good friend and they had trained side-by-side at the CorSec Academy, even as sporadic as his participation had been. They had forged something together, the three of them, when all the others thought them odd and off-putting. He must serve and protect their citizens even if it is sometimes from themselves.


“Lives are going to be lost anyway, Six. You know that. But I do see your point. We have Thekla debrief him but we need to keep it quiet. He’s one of us and the last thing anyone wants is one of The Four making headlines out of Corellia right now. Agreed?”


“Agreed.”


*


One CorSec Plaza has several secure rooms for informants. Riley wakes up in one, groggy and growing more surly by the microsecond. Thankfully, he is not restrained. The sharp lights overhead do not help matters as a face swirls into focus. He looks serious but not angry which does not calm him the way he hoped it would.


“I’m Inspector Claes Thekla. I am glad we can finally meet although I wish it were under better circumstances.”


“Wha…what circumstances? Sixta, did you…shoot me?”


“I did, yes. Pay attention, Patten and you can clear this up once and for all.”


Riley’s brows pull inward, “I can only speak to Director Veritaas.”


“I am afraid that is not possible,” Thekla says coolly, approaching the table. “As of about twenty minutes ago, Elon Veritaas has been suspended from duty and put on administrative leave pending investigation.”


“Why?”


“He broke protocol which resulted in a breach of CorSec systems, a near-successful attempt on his life, and the deaths of several children. A rather compelling reason why Veritaas may need some time away now that he has been cleared by medical. For now, I’d like to know what you have been up to. Your presence was unaccounted for much longer than most agents, even ones in the special reserve unit Veritaas strangely has you in. It must be nice to have friends in high places.”


Riley struggles to keep a neutral tone, “I know you are just doing your job but if you really believed I was a threat, you would have snatched me up the moment I entered the system.”


“There was no reason to do so at that time. However, now we need additional clarification.”


“What do you already know?”


“Only what your fellow agents reported. That you were gone for a considerable amount of time and, given the recently uncovered links between other seemingly mysterious disappearances and subsequent events, your explanation or lack thereof could be a sign we need to take a more cautious approach. Would you disagree with that statement?”


“No."


Cassidy and Sixta stand flanking Thekla at a distance, expressions placid as they look past him. They apparently didn’t tell him everything which bodes well but he would need to think quickly. Thekla leans forward.


“Excellent. Let’s start with who you were with. Was it the Jedi?”


Riley’s eyes slide away from his to the wall. Thekla’s jaw tightens.


“Agent Patten, I do not have to remind you how dangerous this particular implication could be. There is already evidence of Jedi activity on Corellia after the FURA went into effect. The Republic has suspected this all along and if someone within our ranks has been providing unsanctioned assistance in violation of our charter as a member-”


“Then what? You are on board with genocide so long as it doesn’t ruffle any Republic feathers?”


“That is not what I said. Do not make this political.”


“Everything is political! What do you think got us here?”


Thekla turns, asking for the room before taking a moment to collect his thoughts.


“You got heart and I admire that but remember we are on the same side. Corellia must survive but you have to understand what kind of position this puts us in. Two of the three others who were missing are now dead and seemingly tied to a variety of high crimes across the galaxy. You told Agents Belasiss and Clay that the third individual was triggered by a phrase that turned them violent. That also appears to be the case here with Doctor Cross. You can see our dilemma.”


“Not sure I do.”


“Alright, Agent Patten. The theory is that they were all taken and sent back to do something potentially destabilizing, leveraging the trust in those around them to operate undetected until they were triggered. I do not believe we have evidence linking Kain’s involvement in the Republic to what happened here or in the Corporate Sector but proximity and similarity do seem to point in that direction, especially after you confirmed she was sent to look for Prescott in the first place. Then there is you – returning to Corellia after Cross failed to kill Veritaas.”


“You think I am dangerous?”


“I think you know more than you told your friends.”


He nods, attempting to maintain the illusion of their deniability, “You are right about that.”


“Where were you?”


“The Unknown Regions,” Riley replies as casually as possible, reaching for one of the many truths among all the lies.


“Were you now? That seems…unwise considering the risks. You could have been stuck out there forever if the legends are to be believed. What were you doing there?”


“Procuring means of Corellian defense."


The words, chosen carefully, land on Thekla. He had read up on the son of Kimber Patten. So much of his history was left undocumented, leaving only the superficial threads of an orphan trying to find his way with all the money in the worlds. That would normally be enough to write him off as a spoiled punk but his public profile, the persistent rumors, his stint with CorSec and his ties to Veritaas paint a more complex picture. This is not the first time he has been away which leads Thekla to believe these were not entirely unplanned.


“Can you elaborate on that?”


“To the extent I am able,” he says, vaguely ominous. “Look, there is a legitimate reason for my secrecy and it has nothing to do with brainwashing or bombings. I appreciate Belasiss and Clay’s concern and would have done the same but not all CorSec agents operate exclusively within this system. We have other interests.”


Thekla frowns, “I have heard stories of special ops, yes. Are you saying-”


“I am saying we need to be able to defend ourselves if it comes to it. That is what Sucellus is.”


“Sucellus?”


He shrugs, “That is all I can say. For now. Without Veritaas.”


In truth, the reserve unit Veritaas created as his cover is much more than it seems. Something the Director embedded with exactly this type of flexibility. No one could put anything going on behind the scenes into general CorSec case files. His “unit” – overseen by the Director, when not conducting domestic CorSec operations – was assigned “missions” under the moniker Sucellus, used to officially explain his absences. He thought it was overkill back in the day but it is coming in clutch at the moment.


Thekla pulls out his datapad, taps in the search, and is met with the most frustrating sound of denial. It cannot be. His connections really do go all the way to the top. This is well above Thekla's pay grade and not something he would be able to pursue further, at least not without authorization. He glances at Riley and then back at his datapad.


Project Sucellus: Classified






-TBC
« Last Edit: December 01, 2023, 03:01:37 PM by Syren »
Syren

Offline Medivh

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #114 on: December 01, 2023, 12:49:49 PM »
Corellian Sector

Drall

Surface: Undisclosed


"How do we know this will work?"

Artemis Soldys' blue holo projection was full sized as Mara was talking through the schematics of her plan.

"The technology demands that this would work."
"And it won't trigger the self-destruct?"

Mara shook her head.
"The Trade Federation was thorough - but it never occurred to them that someone would pump electricity into the system.  They were worried someone would use ion cannons to capture the unmanned nets."
"And then, after they are disabled.  We can just tug them where we need to, and gain control?"

"There is one minor complication on that front.  You're going to need me to join you on the mission."
"What?  Why"

Mara typed in a few keys and a new diagram scrolled on the screen.

"The nets have an anti-transfer lock on them.  It's built into the programming.  That way, even if they get sold to a third party, like they were to the Republic, they can't be resold, and resold, and resold to an enemy of the Trade Federation.  It was actually indicated in the sale contract.  Once the Republic was sold these nets, no one else would be able to activate or deactivate them.  At least, not without Federation permission.

There is a built-in code that allows the Federation to go in and reset the system.  It can only be triggered once the system is powered down, but once it is, we can go in and reset the command codes, giving you the access you want."

"Why can't you just provide me with the reset code?"

"Because it isn't just a code.  It requires a hardware-software-biometric combination to reset the codes.  Again, a failsafe so somebody couldn't steal the codes.  Only the highest ranking Federation officials ever had the required combination.  Including me.  My biometrics will need to be present in order to activate the reset."

"Your administrator was quite the paranoid individual"

Mara scoffed

"Medivh was, and he passed that on to each of his successors.  It's how he survived long after people thought he was dead.  But in the end, it didn't help - The Trade Federation was dissolved, and the last administrator was murdered.  But at least I can help you out with your mission."

Artemis nodded, letting out a sigh.

"Alright.  I guess you'll join us.  We should meet up in person to coordinate -"

There was a beeping on another line, and Mara watched as Artemis tapped a button, a frown crossing his face.

"What is it?"
"Apparently, internal Corellian politics are still alive and well, despite our predicament"
"What happened?"
"It looks like ongoing CorSec investigations have led to Director Veritass being put on administrative leave and ... oh great"
"What is it now?"

Artemis looked up at Mara, the look on his face making it clear he didn't want to tell her what he had learned.

"Well ... you know, in my role, I've been given access to essentially all internal, classified CorSec information, including investigation dispatches."
"Yes ..."
"It seems that Riley was brought in for questioning. by Inspector Thekla"

"WHAT?"

TBC
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Medivh
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Offline Syren

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #115 on: December 09, 2023, 08:39:56 PM »
“I could give you petty rhymes
Of worlds that I contrived
They’re in my sleep, my dreams, I speak them
Slow so you can read
And not stand back and stare and fear
Foolish devouring things.”


-Purity Ring


Corellia

Surface: Coronet City

Inspector Thekla exits the interview room and nods to the agents.


“Agent Patten will undergo a full psych evaluation and, if cleared, resume his duties. For now. The two of you will escort him.”


Riley appears behind him, “Thank you, Inspector.”


“Be warned. The situation with Veritaas is very serious. He put this entire agency at risk so your secrets may only be safe for so long.”


“Understood.”


“Do not go too far. We may need to speak again soon.”


Riley begins to walk down the corridor with Cassidy and Sixta falling into step beside him. He is only a little pissed he wound up here but cannot really hold a grudge. He wouldn’t trust him either if he were them but they must if their focus is to remain where it needs to be. Not really doing a great job of convincing them so far. There is no telling what the Republic will try when they inevitably return. The entitled manner in which Senator Braac conducted his sham investigation only indicates they would operate aggressively if ever allowed back on the surface of their world. If Soldys sought out Aunt Mara’s assistance then he hopes it would be enough for them to never have to find out. However, he knows forces are working behind each action and reaction so they must be prepared to fight for their home and their lives.


“What did the Inspector mean by secrets?”


“It’s classified.”


Her features pinch reflexively, skeptical, “Really? If you were conducting classified CorSec business, why not just say that?”


“Would that have made you any less suspicious?”


“Perhaps not,” Sixta admits with a silken smirk. “It would have given us a better frame of reference. The only reason you are being sent to psych without an armed detail is likely because Thekla confirmed this so congrats, you have cover for your intentional ambiguity. Not that I don't think you are digging yourself a deeper hole. It also does not change what we heard.”


Overheard, as in eavesdrop like a bunch of creeps.”


“Not really in a position to point fingers,” Cassidy says. “Not after that.”


“Fair, but why didn’t you tell him about Gemma?”


“We got enough problems right now. The important thing is to make sure you are not a danger – to us or others. We are not going to apologize for that.”


“I wouldn’t ask you to. I get it, and I am fully willing to validate it through proper channels.”


“That might be difficult for them to do with the Director's suspension and let's be clear - he did that to himself. His questionable judgment casts doubt on anything one might be doing for him. Leadership may want to review his decisions to make sure they still align with CorSec's mission."


"He's right. Now you respect protocol? What about the recent events your rather ominous fiancé shared? Violence involving Force users, loss of life on our soil? That is…such a flagrant violation it defies logic. You and Veritaas are playing it rather loose for those claiming to have Corellia’s security in mind. Are you telling us those events fall under the same blanket mission classification?”

“It is an unfortunate byproduct of it. I told you it is complicated.”


“Got that but what about the new players? Who or what is the Voss-Ra?


“Uh, ancient shape-shifting, Force-wielding sorcerers.”


“Mm…and Adubell?”


“A ruthless, genetically modified, seemingly invincible Sith hybrid-clone. Or something.”


“Holy fuck, Riley. Seriously?”


Sixta rounds a corner and presses two fingers against the bridge of her nose but keeps her voice low, “Sith in the mix too? Swell. You are literally killing me, Patten. What are we supposed to do with this information? Even if someone believes either one of those descriptions – both of which are insane, by the way – how are we supposed to fight that?”


“They are not your battles to fight. Others are working on it. That’s the point. We need to focus here. Getting caught up in what I was doing and with whom is not going to stop the Republic from returning with greater numbers and even more sinister intent. The disinformation plaguing the Jedi has always been a manufactured ploy to conjure up policy to counter it. They are not perfect, not even close, but some mean to help us. Those who want the galaxy to be a place of peace, as much as anything this vast can be. I choose to trust them to do that as they trust in us to protect them from unjust persecution.”


The group traverses through medical and crosses into psych, as silence falls over them until they arrive at the counselor’s door. Cassidy knows his history is dark and complex, dark enough to make the things he says probable even if they are both confusing and horrifying. Sixta knows the same but a part of her wishes he was not part of something so seemingly portentous and potentially destructive.


If he is not compromised, could he instead be a harbinger? The son of beloved, conflicted Patten, nephew of austere hero Gellar – as the ever-bold and dramatic retellings go - returns to herald their downfall. The cursed prince of Corellia. Someone should write a play. These thoughts chill her to the core and, despite not doubting his intentions, questions whether or not his efforts could realistically spare them from ruin. She pushes out a breath slowly, turning to him.


“Are you saying that because you believe it or because you are in love with one?”


Riley pauses before heading inside, “Both.”









-TBC
Syren

Offline Medivh

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Re: CC: Corellian Birthright
« Reply #116 on: February 09, 2024, 11:41:30 AM »

Corellia

Surface: Coronet City

Inspector Thekla's frustration at his lack of access shows on his face as he again tries to access the file.

Project Sucellus: Classified

He wasn't actually expecting a different answer, but somehow he kept making the attempts.  It seemed only the Director himself could provide access, something he would be less inclined to do now that he had been placed on leave.

Thekla's thoughts are interrupted by a chime at his door, and he stands to open it.

There, standing before him, the spitting image of Corellian hero Valerie Gellar, with a face of hardened determination.
"Where's Riley?"
The voice was a asking a question, but the threat behind it was unmistakable.
"Who ... who are you?"Thekla takes a step back, his hand moving to the holster on his side, ready to pull it out.

"No - stop that - both of you"
From behind the Gellar look alike, none other then Artemis Soldys came forward.
"Inspector, we are not here to harm you or threaten you"
Even as Artemis directed his comments at Inspector Thekla, his gaze was turned to the woman, who glared back at him before her face softened.
Only then did Artemis turn to face the inspector.
"This is Mara Tacofer.  She is Riley Patten's aunt and guardian - or at least, she was before he became an adult.  Ms. Tacofer is assisting Corellia in its defensive maneuvers"
The Inspector looked from one to the other, a concerned look on his face.
"You mean ... against the Republic?"
"The Republic - for one.  But Corellia is facing many dangers, as is the galaxy as a whole.  Mara here, and Riley Patten, are both assisting in ensuring Corellia remains free."
"But ... what about the investigation?  the attack on the Director, on CorSec?  the explosion ..."
Artemis looked over at Mara, then back at Thekla.
"You've known of me for a while now, Thekla.  You know I have stood up for the Corellian Sector my entire life.  That is where my loyalties have always lied.  And that's where they stay.  Are you loyal to Corellia, Thekla?"

The question caught him off-guard.  Yes, he knew of the trouble in the Republic, but he never thought that Corellia and the Republic would be facing against each other, not withstanding what he had been hearing.

"Yes sir"
"Our operation has been keeping at arms-length from CorSec and the other civilian institutions. If everything goes bad for us, they could maintain plausible deniability.  I can tell you everything you want to know, Thekla.  Answer every one of your questions about what Riley is doing and why.  But if I do, you lose that plausible deniabilty.  You would be implicated.  Labeled, like me, a traitor to the Republic.  But on the other hand, it will explain why the Director needs to be returned to duty, and Riley Patten needs to be free - and free of surveillance.
So, Inspector, are you ready to be on the inside?"
Again, Thekla's gaze turned from Mara to Soldys, back and forth, before he finally nodded his head.

"Yes sir"

"Alrigh. then you had better sit down"
TBC
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