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Posted: Mar 23 2009, 08:36 PM
This human is stronger than the other once we have faced, brother. XingXin's thoughts echoed through their joint link. This sacred link, most rare among the Arians as a species, did more than just commune thoughts. It was the ultimate of melds at times; the ones sharing in it could be as one mind, one thought, or they could become separate as friends sharing in a shared joy. Currently the Zhu twins were operating separately, their thoughts and their wills were their own.
Yes, my sister, E'Ren thought back. But not so strong that he can resist the two of us.
E'XingXin nodded in her trance. She had been engaging the prisoner in a mock space combat; an illusion the human had developed to protect his mind. Although she had broken through his primary level and had gotten what he viewed as trivial information, he was still withholding what she prized most: the way back into the galaxy, the way to the supposed 'Mandalore'.
Stepping back out of the trance, she closed her eyes and began to chant. Her grandmother had taught her this spell first in her training. She opened herself to her brother and felt his mind touch hers. E'Ren had not been trained in the ways of Sorcery as Xing had been, but as soon as their minds melded it did not matter. Their minds one, the Zhu twins delved into the human's subconsciousness. Deep in their trance, neither noticed the prisoner's convulsions as the forced will from the Arian rulers was enforced upon his mind.
The illusion cracked and the information flowed over the twins' minds. Galaxy charts, some random schematics for ship parts including some brief glances at newer hyperdrives, all thinks that would assist them and their 'guizu lun zhe', if she chose that path. Backing down once more to gather strength, the twins made the final push.
They were two fighters to the human's one. The Arian twins followed him, shooting past his 'shields' to break into his ship and decimate it. Somehow though, the human launched another one of his 'drones' and caught E'Ren's ship full on. With the explosion of E'Ren's 'ship' came the pain and backlash of being forcibly ejected from the human's mind.
On the physical plane, E'XingXin awoke with a start and had to hustle to keep her brother from beheading the human prisoner. Lightsaber lit, she countered E'Ren's attack. The two sabers crossed and hissed above the prisoner's head, E'XingXin looked into her brother's hate filled eyes.
"Why do you stop me?" He demanded, "The human is useless now, we have what we need."
Xing shook her head, "No, brother. He has but another use. We might know what is in the galaxy, but we still yet do not know the way there."
E'Ren held his position a moment longer then stepped back, deactivating his lightsaber. "What are you suggesting then?"
Xing shut down her saber as well and called for one of her solders. He came in carrying a tray from which she picked up an item so small E'Ren had to step in close to see what it was.
"Ah, a tracking chip. Very well sister, shall I leave you to your work?"
E'XingXin nodded her assent. "If you would contact our 'friends' that we are willing to further our relationship, now would be a good time."
"As you wish."
Sighing, E'Xing took the needed scalpel from the still proffered tray and prodded the human with the toe of her boot. Satisfied that he wouldn't be putting up a fight, she crouched over him and inserted the scalpel into the middle of his back, just off the left side of the spine. Dabbing away the blood that oozed out the wound, Xing carefully inserted the chip under the human's skin. After using the scalpel to assure the chip was placed correctly she held a hand over the wound and summoned the Force to heal the flesh wound. To the common eye, the wound would not even show, the only evidence being the small tear in the human's flight suit.
Smiling over the still somewhat trembling human, Xing smiled. "Now you may run, human, but you cannot hide. Not for long."
Standing she strode out of the cell and ordered the guard to change more often. Also she comned Commander Jiang with a somewhat peculiar order but one that she knew would be followed. Jiang knew better than to defy her, even if he did not fully understand her plan.
Posted: Mar 26 2009, 06:37 PM
Member No.: 5
Joined: 31-October 08
The floor of the Arian cell stretched out before Jagged’s eyes, a gray, lifeless and cold surface. During his training for the Galactic Alliance, he had experienced a number of various pains and agonies, all for the purpose of helping him to prepare for anything should he be captured. He had experienced physical and mental exhaustion and pain unlike any he had ever experienced. And yet even then, it paled in comparison to the cruelty perpetrated against him by the Arian race. If Jagged ever managed to return to Alliance space, he’d be sure to mention that fact to his former drill instructors.
Shaking the thoughts away, Jagged pushed himself up from the floor, moving to a sitting position against one wall. His breathing came easier now as his mind dulled his memories of the past few hours. His captors had attempted to plunder his mind, stealing whatever secrets Jagged would release to them. Jagged knew he had failed in his task although not as spectacularly as he could have.
When it came to interrogation, Jagged erected three layers of defense in order to safeguard the knowledge he held. The Arians, using the mental shock of Chi’s death as a spear-head, had ripped through Jagged’s outer layer of defense, allowing them access to a wealth of trivial knowledge. The Arians seemed to be behind the galaxy so Jagged had tried to keep all information secret but in the end, he had to give some things up. The Arians had then assaulted his middle layer of defense. They had managed to break through momentarily there as well, giving them access to yet more information. Jagged had expelled them moments later and the interrogation had ended, leaving his core defenses, the very place that defined Jagged’s soul, had remained untouched, untarnished.
For now at least. Jagged was still a captive and at the Arian’s mercy.
Jagged looked up as a short scream echoed down the corridor before being cut short. He had been lying in the cell for an undetermined amount of time, waiting for something to happen. The cell was completely secure from the inside so Jagged had resigned himself to simply waiting. The quiet whirr of treads jerked Jagged back to the present, however, and he approached the bars carefully.
Around the edge rolled an N7 Astromech droid, colored black and green. A smile immediately broke across Jagged’s face as recognition dawned upon him. Last he had seen the droid, an Arian had been fixing a restraining bolt to Spectre before taking him away and locking him up, or so Jagged had presumed.
Spectre had been modified extensively by the Corellian Military, optimizing him for a number of military operations. As such, traditional restraining bolts affixed to his torso had no effect and Spectre could easily over-ride, as he must have if he escaped.
“Spectre!” Jagged exclaimed as Spectre’s dome turned to face him. “It’s about time you got here.”
Spectre flashed his operating light in a display of emotional response. “I came as soon as I could,” he said aloud. “Hold on one moment.” Spectre wheeled around and left Jagged’s sight, most likely accessing the guard terminal. Ten seconds after he left, the cell door unlocked and Jagged stepped into the empty hallway. Eyeing the Arian guard lying on the ground, Jagged raised an eyebrow at Spectre.
Spectre let out a short whistle, generally an indication of pride. “These beings react in the same manner as most humanoids when exposed to a high voltage of electrical current. He passed out.”
Jagged nodded happily, recovering the guard’s weapon. “Do you know where the Phoenix is?” he asked. Although they were one step closer to escape, Jagged and Spectre were still in the heart of enemy territory.
“I hacked into the Arian networks before I rescued you,” Spectre responded. “There security software is out of date compared to the galactic standard. The Phoenix is waiting at a nearby hangar bay for disassembly. This way.” Spectre activated his repulsorlift, levitating him above the ground and allowing him to keep up with Jagged as the two ran out of the detention dungeon.
Jagged leaned around a corner to survey the hangar bay beyond where the Phoneix sat on her landing pads, penned into the hangar by a force shield. A pair of Arians stood at the boarding ramp, weapons cradled in their arms. Jagged still found the species un-nerving, looking like some sort of humanoid-bat hybrid. Those species in the galaxy that had flying ancestors had mostly given up the ability to fly for the ability to use tools. As such, the Arians seemed to be an evolutionary anomaly in the Universe.
“Spectre,” Jagged said quietly. “Can you distract them long enough for me to shoot them?”
The astromech’s dome whirled around, the photoreceptor focusing on Jagged. “Are you crazy?” he asked.
Jagged Antilles shook his head sadly, even as a slight smile crept onto his face. “After today,” he said quietly. “I just don’t know.” He shook his head again, pulling himself back from the precipice of his own darkness. “Can you do it?”
Spectre took in the sight, his sensors quickly running over Jagged for any anatomical abnormality. Nothing presented itself other than the expected wounds from interrogation and torture except for a heightened state of anxiety. “I’ll do it,” he responded finally.
The astromech extended his treads and then rolled into the hangar, heading towards a terminal on the far side. As he reached the half way point to his destination, the Arians spotted him, calling out in their native language and raising their rifles.
The four people in the room now formed a triangle, with the Arian’s backs facing Jagged who quickly stepped out and took aim. He fired four times in quick succession, each of his shots flying true.
The first two ruby darts smashed into the first Arian, burning a hole in his back and causing him to pitch over to the floor. The second set of lasers hit the second Arian but they only burned holes in the wings, rendering them useless.
The Arian turned in pain and outrage towards Jagged and fired, sending Antilles skittering to the floor. Jagged dropped into a roll and then came up, firing at the Arian who retreated behind a stacked box for cover. Jagged charged, firing his blaster to cover his dash.
As he neared the box, Jagged’s plan crystallized in his mind. He’d drop to the ground again and slide around the edge of the box, catching the Arian unprepared. He immediately set about executing that idea, dropping to the ground and sliding on the pants of his flight suit. He rounded the box successfully, and pulled the trigger once more.
A low beeping sound was the only answer and Jagged realized that his covering fire had drained whatever ammunition he had remaining. The Arian, spying Jagged lying only a few feet away, dashed towards him, bringing a roundhouse kick with him.
Jagged rolled to avoid the blow then jumped to his feet, dropping into a simple fighting stance. The Arian, sensing a challenge, dropped his blaster, dropping into an unfamiliar stance of his own. Unfortunately, Jagged’s expertise had never rested in hand-to-hand combat and he didn’t look forward to the battle.
Even as Jagged was about to strike, an electronic scream echoed through the hangar bay and Spectre, repulsorlift engaged and powered for all it was worth, smashed into the Arian at mid-level. The Arian’s breath left him in a huff as Spectre’s durasteel dome smashed his ribs and lungs. Spectre, trying to bring his flight under control, slipped to the ground, scraping along the hangar floor until his repulsor finally regained control, slowing him and then righting him.
Jagged whistled in disbelief as Spectre rolled back towards him. “Wow…” was all he could say.
Spectre’s black exterior now featured a steel gray scrape across his side but his lights shone brightly. “I never want to do that again,” he muttered as he rolled up the Phoenix’s ramp.
Jagged followed him up, smiling. “I don’t blame you.” As the two reached the cockpit, the force shield at the edge of the hangar bay finally registered in Jagged’s mind. “Can you deactivate the shield from here?” he asked.
Spectre slipped into the special socket designed for him and turned his dome to answer. “You’re talking to me, remember?”
Jagged grinned. “Hurry it up then and let’s get out of here.”
The Phoenix slipped into the Arian atmosphere minutes later, her engines burning for all they were worth. Minutes after the vessel had left the atmosphere, two squadrons of Arian fighters gave chase, launching from some hidden base on the planet.
Jagged checked his sensors and nodded happily as it confirmed his hunch that the fighters wouldn’t be able to reach combat range before the Phoenix had made it’s escape from this Force-forsaken system. Lying in its path, however, was the Arian flagship, a behemoth of a warship.
“Transferring weapons power to shields,” Jagged said quietly. A capital ship that size could power shield that would simply laugh at anything the Phoenix might throw at it while still powering an alarming array of weapons.
Jagged danced his ship through the sheets of turbolaser fire, dropping into one evasive pattern before randomly switching it again as the Arians caught on. The Phoenix slipped over the warship’s lower hull, weaving in-between weapon emplacements and other protuberances from the hull.
Jagged and Spectre emerged on the other side of the ship, her shield’s flashing as the turbolasers once again came into range. A single blast smashed into the shields, causing the Phoenix’s generator to divert power.
“Shields at 50 percent,” Spectre reported aloud.
Jagged nodded dismissively. “No worries, we’re about to jump into hyperspace, an uninhabited system in Wild Space. Jagged pulled the lever and the Phoenix and its occupants disappeared from Arian Space.
Jaggged leaned back in his seat as he stared at the blue streaks of hyperspace. He had escaped, against all odds and expectations. Once Spectre had broken him out, it hadn’t been too difficult to escape but he wouldn’t say it had been easy either. Shaking his head, Jagged will the thoughts of Aria away. He could felt as if his captor’s were standing just behind him, waiting to pounce on his mind once more.
“Spectre,” Jagged said aloud. “Run a scan on the Phoenix for any anomalies. I want to make sure the Arians didn’t leave any presents for us.”
Spectre clicked in confirmation and then devoted his attention to running the scans while Jagged tried to rest his eyes.
A constant beeping awoke Jagged from his light slumber, and he quickly came alert, turning to Spectre. “Find anything?”
Spectre whistled confirmation. “I found evidence of tampering around the missile bay but there is no permanent damage and repairs should be very easy. I also detected two tracking devices.”
Jagged nodded, having expected the Arians would put some sort of back-up plan in place. “Where are they?” he asked.
“One was located near the hyperdrive and I took the liberty of disabling it while you were sleeping. The other…” Spectre paused for a moment, spending the time to run his words through his communications module once more. “Jagged, the other is in you.”
Jagged sat forward, alarmed. “What?” He almost couldn’t believe it but, in a strange way, it made sense. The Arians had demonstrated their desire for control so it was completely logical that they’d try and extend control over Jagged as well. “Can you disable it?” he asked quietly.
Spectre whistled in agreement once more. “I ran a more detailed scan while you were sleeping and the tracking device can be disabled and removed although the latter will require a trained professional. A short electrical burst should short out the device.”
“You’re going to electrocute me?” Jagged asked in disbelief.
Jagged sighed. “Let’s get it done before we get out of hyperspace then.”
Spectre and Jagged walked into the back of the ship and entered the small medical bay. Laying on the small bed, Jagged lay on his stomach. “Do it.”
Spectre extended one of his “arms,” pressing it against Jagged’s back under which the tracking device lay. Without any warning, he sent a current of electricity racing through Jagged’s body. The tracking device absorbed a large portion of the energy, causing the circuits inside to melt and fuse together. The rest of the current coursed through Jagged’s body as his nervous system flailed.
Jagged let loose a scream, not as a result of the electrical current but because of the memories that suddenly came rushing back. The feeling of energy pouring through his body mirrored what he had felt as the Arian, Chi, had been killed by the Arian leader. Jagged had experienced his death first hand and all he could see now was the laughing face of the Arian leaders as they killed, interrogated and destroyed all who stood in their way. In the few seconds it took for the electricity to dissipate, Jagged experienced Chi’s death and the resulting interrogation too many times to count.
Finally, he jolted up on the medical bed, breathing heavily and feeling sweat being to flow down him. He closed his eyes, breathing deeply and trying to stabilize his mind once more. He looked to his side to see Spectre staring at him with alarm.
“Are you alright?”
Jagged drew another raspy breath before answering. “Yeah…yeah I’m fine.” He wasn’t but this was a battle Jagged had to win on his own, just as he had faced the Arians alone. “Did you get it?”
“Good,” Jagged responded. “Let’s get back to the cockpit then.”
The Phoenix slipped out of hyperspace successfully in an uninhabited system in Wild Space. The system, unnamed, had been surveyed during the last two centuries and then left alone which made it a good rendezvous point for Jagged.
Jagged opened his mouth to ask Spectre where they should go next but the sensor console pinged for his attention. “I’m picking up a weak distress call,” Spectre said aloud. “Coming from an unknown system a few lightyears away. And it’s got a Jedi-signature to it.”
Jagged considered the information for a moment. He needed to lay low for a bit and while a distress call would seem to be a pour choice, Jagged doubted that the Arians would waste time looking somewhere they “knew” Jagged wouldn’t go, especially when they seemed to lack star charts of any kind
“Set a course then Spectre,” Jagged finally responded.
Locked into his socket, Spectre couldn’t move but he did turn his dome to stare at Jagged. “Are you mad? Why would we go out of our way to rescue some Jedi when that’d certainly put us back on the map for the Arians to find. We can find some port nearby when we refuel and we can direct someone from there; no need to do it ourselves.”
“We’re going Spectre,” Jagged said aloud. “I’m not about to ignore a cry for help, not right now.” Jagged wasn’t quite sure why he was insistent on heading to this system but something it felt like the right thing to do. And after escaping from such a “not-right” race, Jagged didn’t feel inclined to imitate them in anyway.
The Phoenix slipped into hyperspace once more, this time towards a planet that Jagged would come to know as Ilum.
Weapon(s): SP-44 Heavy Pistol, vibro knife
Droid(s): Spectre, N7 Astromech
Current Status: Rishi Maze
Posted: Apr 4 2009, 11:19 AM
E'Ren and E'XingXin were pouring over the implications of the intelligence they had obtained from the prisoner when they heard the sound.
It was an inhuman sound, like nothing the pair had ever heard. It was not alive, nor was it like any Chiss, Arian or even ancient Sith technology on the planet.
What had the human done?
The twins rushed out into the corridor. As they became distinctly aware of the severity of the disturbance, the Fabric guided them toward the disruption. E'Ren had expected they'd be nearing the detention area, but as they turned into a wide open area, the Regents found themselves in the last place E'Ren had expected the prisoner to be able to make it to: the hangar!
"Your skill in the healing arts must be improving greatly, my sister," E'Ren said to the woman beside him. "If he made it this far on his own power."
Xing only shook her head, as she walked farther into the hangar. The general had focused in on something that E'Ren's politically oriented mind had dismissed almost before glancing at it: the carnage. There were two bodies on the ground, one dead, and one injured and unconscious.
"He had help," E'XingXin said softly. "His droid."
E'Ren noted his sister's emotions. She was upset by the death of the soldier; his sister had always had a soft spot for her followers. He briefly considered using one of the more powerful techniques he had learned, but dismissed it. Even if he could pull it off, there was more benefit in leaving the human alive than killing him.
Xing sensed much of her brother's feelings, and his conclusion, and her quills bristled. "He killed him, E'Ren," she said, anger filling her voice. "The human killed him."
"Yes, my sister, but the plan does not change." E'Ren was wary; it was not a good idea for one to stand up against his sister. No more than it was a good idea for one to stand up against him. "He is of more use to us alive than dead."
E'Ren's twin sister drew her hand back, her talons tensed to draw blood. The Commander in Chief's wings flapped, and her tail rattled quietly. She looked into her brother's eyes, and hesitated.
"We will find him, XiXi," The Warlord assured her. "He will pay." The words sounded so much like those he would say to his nobles, but both of the Zhu twins could feel the true difference in them. When Zhu E'Ren spoke to his sister, he was honest.
"You're right, DiDi," she said, composing herself. She folded up her wings, and looked toward the sky.
The normally cruel and merciless warlord put an arm around his sister's shoulder. Arian physiology was not made for much in the way of physical contact- spikes on their arms made sure of that, and the unusual way they were born did much to remove the physical need most mammals felt. Still, E'XingXin took comfort in what, for their people, was a very affectionate gesture.
She sighed, a gesture that took place more on the pores of her scalp than her mouth. The damned humans could not come to Aria without destroying something.
Maybe today would be their last chance to visit. The thought brought a toothy smile to her face.
Posted: Apr 8 2009, 11:01 PM
Xing looked on as her fighters chased the Human out of the system. Her gaze grew cold as the ship winked out of normal space and into hyperspace. She nodded at her brother's statement and added her own sentiments.
"The droid, Didi..." She said with threat dripping from her voice. "We assumed that it was worthless. We underestimated it. And if it wasn't for that meddling droid, we'd have succeeded and not have had to resort to our back up plan."
E'Ren nodded his assent. "Still, with what you foresaw sister, I wonder why you would bother planting the tracking chip. You know the human will disable it."
"Indeed, but we do have a starting point." E'XingXin replied. To her brothers inquisitive look she continued, "I trust you made contact with our friends? Good."
E'Ren looked at his sister oddly, this was a side he had only seen once before. It was the same determined, focused and to one that did not know her frightening look and attitude that presented itself when the Mandalorians invaded. It was a strength that showed what Xing was truly made of. It made him proud to watch his sister blossom into the trained warrior that brought honor to their family and their species.
E'XingXin took out her comn and spoke with Commander Jiang. As she did so, a primal smile spread across her face. It piqued E'Ren's curiosity and he cocked his head at his sister. She looked fairly victorious as she broke the news in a quiet voice.
"The human has given us far more than he has realized, my brother. We have a vector into a bigger world. Now is the time to advance our plans. Now, my brother, we have a way to fight back."
This time it was E'Ren who shared the predator's smile. He knew his faith in his sister was not misplaced. "You planned for the human to flee."
"Yes, he was far to stubborn to outrightly give us the information we wanted. However, he underestimated us in the information he gave us." Xing explained to Commander Jiang, "Information he viewed as minor was more than enough to collaborate with Lady Katanra's information. Combined with the hyperspace vector you captured we now have a way to pay an 'encouraging' visit to our allies."
Jiang bowed to E'XingXin, "As you command, wo de Zhu. Will we be away long?"
Xing shook her head, "I will be gone as long as it requires, but my brother and myself will visit privately with our friend until our agreement is reached." She smiled wryly, "I think the humans and any others are in for a nasty surprise if they decide to visit make a return."
Jiang nodded, "The Elite are most resourceful. I'm sure they could manage."
"I wouldn't trust in any other people to supervise in my absence."
"Sister, you're sure this is the wise course?" E'Ren inquired as he strapped himself into the rear seat in his sister's fighter. "We both know what revealing our existence could do here."
"Yes, I am aware of the consequences DiDi. I am also aware of the benefits. Grandmother gave me some very detailed instructions." She went on, "We are not contacting any of their higher castes, we are dealing with a lesser clan. One that Grandmother set things up for us to deal with a long time ago."
E'XingXin launched her ship and reflected to herself. And I'm sure they'll be so happy to see us cash in on that favor that they owe.
A few months later...
The Zhu twins walked alongside their ally as they surveyed the progress on the Harper's Way. Xing surveyed the workers as they showed her engineers what upgrades were being made and how to maintain the new systems. She knew that it would take quite a bit more work, but her people caught on quickly. Once they were back home things were going to move very quickly.
The meeting with their ally had not gone smoothly at first, but then once the Zhu twins made their offer their host was very willing to listen. An obtuse individual, but also an astute one. His ideals not quite that of his people, but it allowed for a very lucrative deal to be made. She would train a few of his personal guard and he would arrange for her best to learn about the new tech that the rest of the galaxy was using.
The training had gone poorly for his troops at first, Xing's standards were exacting and left no room for error. Adding in the factor that Xing was of another species that the fighters had never seen before, the stress had proved to be almost too much. But the ones that survived became a par above any of the rest.
The time came for the farewells and promises of partnership. This part was E'Ren's specialty and he plied his craft well. Xing nodded her respect for their ally along with a few words of her own about said promises. The required politics out of the way, the Zhu twins took their leave. It had been their first trip outside the Arian system and they were eager to return home.
Zhu E'XingXin couldn't help but poke at her brother as they returned in system. The site of the ancient ship yards up and waiting for their return was more than enough to make her smug. The retention of the Elite after the twins' ascension to the throne had been a source of contention in the past.
E'Ren fluttered his wings at his sisters teasing but shared her appreciation of her guards' efforts. He knew with his sisters and his own encouragement the adaptations and upgrades would take less time than was projected. Most of the Arians wanted revenge and would follow their leader's efforts to obtain it, whatever it may cost.
It was the Arian way.
((OOC: Credit due to Jag for the Scooby homage ))
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