Star Wars

Ramikad

My standard form of writing applies.

" " - Spoken

' ' - Thoughts, usually in italics, as well.

( ) - Commentary. I'm a smartass. You should know what goes here. My smartass commentary. Usually funny, always interesting. Details and explanations, or my personal opinions, unfiltered.

Italics- Usually things of importence. Flashbacks and certain things are in italics to seperate them from the rest of the story.

Bold!- Things like this are things that just stand out. Usually pretty badass, or just really scary.

Underlined words are oddball parts; anything that stands out, but doesn't fall into the two above categories.

Things in this font are sometimes Author commentary, or truly profound statements.

Those things just below this line, are seperators. They seperate different sections. Simple, yes?

~~Badadumdunbum~~

"A Liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money." -G. Gordon Liddy

STOP

Go read Creen's KOTOR story, "Candle in the Dark." It's awesome, the best KOTOR story on this site, bar none. And he is currently working on the KOTOR 2 sequel, "Sundered," which is already looking pretty damn good.

~~Badadumdunbum~~

#2 Terrifying Taris

~~Badadumdunbum~~

"So LT, what's the plan?" Carth asked, having finished his food in record time.

Tisika looked between the two of them, asking, "You're putting him in charge?"

The veteran pilot nodded calmly, answering rather matter-of-factly. "Yes. He's an expert on guerrilla warfare, and he's survived being stranded on hostile planets under much worse conditions. If you would, Lieutenant?"

"Yes, sir." Alexander got to his feet, tapping away at the vambrace-mounted computer on the underside of his left forearm. "As I'm sure you're aware, the first thing we need to do is fully outline our goals, our mission, and get our priorities straight. Priority one; find and rendezvous with Bastila. Priority two; escape Taris and return to Republic-controlled space. In order to achieve these goals, the very first thing we need to do is to gather more intelligence."

Above his wrist appeared a hologram, depicting some kind of map. "This is a rough map of the immediate area, as well as what I could gather of the lower city below us. I've marked the locations of Sith checkpoints and patrol routes as best I can, but this is still very rough and subject to verification."

The Jedi knight whistled softly. The map was remarkably well-detailed, with landmarks, equipment shops, cantinas, patrol routes, roadblocks, checkpoints, escape pod crash sites, sniper hides, potential ambush and escape points... He may be strange, but Roidsworth is a consummate professional.

"To gather intel on Bastila's location, we'll need to head down into the lower city, since it appears that her escape pod landed someplace down in the undercity. After that, we'll need to infiltrate the Sith base to find out more about the planet-wide quarantine, and figure out how to get past it. But finding Bastila comes first, as we may be on a timetable. So, to get down to the lower city, we'll have to get through a Sith checkpoint, hence the uniforms I swiped. Security here on the surface is pretty lax, but once we get into the lower city, I'm confident things will be a bit more difficult with the gang wars going on." Having finished speaking, Alex deactivated the hologram while Carth stroked his chin, contemplating the information he'd received.

"Excellent work, Roidsworth." The Captain complimented, before musing, "Searching the lower city is still a dangerous gambit... But we don't have many options. When should we move out?"

Having anticipated this question, Alexander immediately answered, "Thank you, sir. I'd suggest we set out in about four standard hours, when it's dark out and the Sith are sending night patrols down into the lower city. Once we're down there, we can change out of the uniforms, seeing as we won't really stand out amongst the locals. Nobody here wants to help the Sith, and I hear the local swoop gangs take pot shots at them on a regular basis, so the disguises won't help us down there."

"Very well. We should all get some rest before heading out, then."

Alexander nodded, finally returning to the bed next to Raven, laying down and stretching out rather languidly.

All the while, Raven had been studying the armor and weapons that Roidsworth was carrying; his Commando carbine, the standard-issue heavy pistol on his hip, the knife on his left shoulder, the heavy besker plates mixed in with the plastoid parts of his armor, several grenades and pouches of all kinds on his equipment belt, as well as a short vibro-axe on his back. It looked like a Merr-Sonn tomahawk; expensive, but the company boasted that its melee weaponry can puncture personal shields with ease, while being able to directly block and parry lightsabers for extended periods of time without failure.

She also takes note of the pair of vibroblades on the back of his belt, hidden under his survival pack, along with a second, smaller blaster pistol, though it wasn't one she could identify. It wasn't Republic-issue, she was certain, and didn't look particularly special. But somehow, she could sense that it was just like the Lieutenant himself; inconspicuous, unassuming, dangerous... And stained with the blood of hundreds, if not thousands. The blood of the innocent; the blood of evil; the blood of friend and foe alike, spattered across its sleek black casing.

A weapon used to kill heroes and villains, embedded with the unspeakable bloodlust of those who came to wield it, regardless of whether it was used in the name of justice... Or genocide.

She wasn't entirely sure how she could tell, but Raven was certain that everyone who carried that weapon met with a tragic end.

"Something on your mind, Sergeant?" Alex asked, a casual smirk on his handsome face, apparently having noticed her lingering gaze. "I know I make this armor look good, but if you stare any harder, you're going to burn holes in it." To emphasize his point, he rapped his plated knuckles against the breastplate, which rang with a metallic clanking noise.

Definitely beskar then, and pretty thick, too, judging by the deep tone of the impact; she recognized the familiar sound from the war, and durasteel tends to make more of a tinny, annoying sound when armor plates connect. Breastplate, knuckles, forearms, codpiece, helmet... And it sounds like it's thicker than standard beskar'gam. That is a lot of scavenged Mandalorian iron, considering the stuff is heavy as hell, and a nightmare to work with. Not to mention, Mandalorians are very meticulous about retrieving the equipment of their fallen brothers, and are more than willing to fight to the last man to stop outsiders from acquiring Mandalorian armor.

Raven took all that in, processing that information in the blink of an eye before responding, "Couldn't help noticing your armor's not exactly as-issued. Beskar?"

He nodded, putting his hands under his head and getting comfortable. "Yup. During the war, I always felt as though we were at a significant disadvantage when it came to survivability compared to the Mandalorians, a fact easily attributed to their armor. You need heavy weaponry to get through it, or supernatural aim to hit weak points in the heat of battle. You could shoot a Mandalorian a hundred times, but if you only hit the plates, all you'd do was piss him off. I survived quite a few encounters that should've killed me, but I got lucky; a lot of my comrades didn't. So I got to thinking, why not level the playing field? Every chance we got, me and my squad scraped up whatever scrap beskar we could get our hands on, and spent weeks figuring out the best way to work with the stuff. The end product is damn tough, even held up against more than a few glancing lightsaber blows, but it's not as good as properly forged beskar'gam. Had to make it thicker to achieve the same level of protection, and the armor wound up being far heavier than we'd anticipated; so we had to compromise, using standard plastoid where the extra protection isn't needed to keep the weight down. It still weighs almost the same as a full suit of beskar'gam, and doesn't have the added benefit of being anywhere near as flexible. Say what you will of Mandalorians, but their armor is without equal."

With that, he closed his eyes, and was asleep in seconds. This was a talent unique to Commandos who, during training, are so sleep-deprived that they learn to fall asleep almost instantly, catching whatever sack time they possibly can.

You give a Commando a few extra hours to sleep, and he's happy as can be... But there is no better way to get him ready to kill something than by waking him up.

Raven wisely let the veteran sleep, and turned over to get a little rest herself before they moved out.

~~Badadumdunbum~~

A group of four individuals in Sith trooper armor exited the apartment building, nonchalantly marching onto the artificially-lit streets of Taris. As they went, Alexander quietly said, "Alright people, just act natural. The key to making a disguise work is to blend; act as if you belong here, and you'll be just fine. I know that armor's uncomfortable, Tisika, just try to bear with it until we get into the elevator."

Tisika did her best to follow the Lieutenant's instructions, but couldn't help fidgeting just a bit, unsure as to how he'd noticed her discomfort. The appropriated Sith armor she had donned was... Chafing in the worst possible places, and that was aside from the unnerving breeze she felt through a horizontal two-inch slice in the body glove directly above her rear end, evidence of exactly how the Lieutenant acquired the armor, even if he didn't leave any blood on it. The other Commando, the force-sensitive one, had no such difficulties with her armor. Tisika figured it was because Raven was used to wearing hardened plastoid armor, either that, or Roidsworth was extra careful in acquiring a suit specifically for her.

As they marched, the Jedi knight had to consciously time her footsteps to match Raven's, and did her best to avoid stepping on the dark-haired woman's heels. "Shift your grip on your rifle, else everyone's going to know you've never held one before. Hold it like I do." Raven quietly chastised, carefully turning to look around so Tisika could see exactly how the Sergeant wanted her to carry the heavy weapon.

After adjusting the way she hefted the bulky and inelegant weapon, Alexander muttered, "Heads up, checkpoint's just ahead. Game faces, people."

Just as he said, less than twenty yards away was a large automatic door flanked by two Sith troopers on either side, and Tisika could feel the boredom radiating off of them. This would hopefully go smoothly, and she wouldn't need to use any mind tricks. Manipulating others tends to leave a bad taste in her mouth.

Roidsworth greeted the trooper on the right with a nod, and without even saying a word, the trooper turned and activated a console that had been hidden behind him, opening the large elevator door. "Good luck down there."

"Thanks," the Lieutenant grunted, stepping into the elevator as the rest of us piled in behind him.

When the door slid shut and the turbolift began to descend, Tisika let go of a breath she hadn't even noticed she'd been holding. Carth clapped a hand on her armored shoulder, remarking, "Relax, Jedi. We're in good hands." But his reassurances did little to ease her frayed nerves.

How could he be so easygoing, stranded on a hostile planet? And what did he mean by 'good hands?'

As if reading her mind, the Lieutenant casually said, "We'll be alright, Jedi. I've survived worse. Heh, this kinda reminds me of the time I spent trapped on Onderon... Fewer things trying to eat me, though. Say Sergeant, were you on Dxun?"

Raven nodded, answering, "Yeah, spent a good two weeks trudging through that hellhole. Spent almost half that time on my own, trying to regroup with my unit. That place was essentially one big frelling minefield."

Roidsworth nodded sagely. "I remember. General Surik absolutely despised mines, she said we lost a lot of Jedi to 'em. Heh, it was fun seeing the way she cleared a minefield, though. I'm pretty sure those Mandalorians were shitting themselves when it started raining land mines."

The Sergeant turned to stare at Alex, her voice filled with awe. "That was the General?! Haar'chak, I thought that was artillery. It's no wonder she was Revan's left hand."

"Yeah, she was pretty amazing... I'd give just about anything to have her here, right about now." As the Lieutenant finished speaking, Tisika could feel a hint of longing radiating off of him, as well as a mix of several other competing emotions. Respect, adoration, irritation, even love... Alex cared a great deal about the Exile. Tisika had still been a padawan at the time, but she had heard about it; Meetra Surik was the only Jedi who returned from the Mandalorian wars, but she returned a hollow shell of her former self.

The Jedi was pulled from her thoughts when the lift lurched to a stop, and the two Commandos readied their weapons. The door opened, and they both stepped out into a large hallway, each one checking their respective side of the elevator door before Alex took a knee and quietly said, "Area clear. Alright, time to ditch these deadman suits before anyone shows up." With that, both he and Raven pulled the durasteel day packs off their backs, setting them on the ground and quickly stripping out of the Sith armor with practiced efficiency before donning their own armor. They each had the undersuit from their own armor under the Sith body glove, making the process much easier. Tisika still did not know how they managed to tolerate that; the Sith armor was sweltering with nothing underneath, let alone with an extra layer.

In less than thirty seconds, both Commandos had completely changed over into their uniforms and returned to kneeling with their weapons at the ready.

Carth nudged her side. "That's our cue." He then began undoing the simple clasps that kept the armor plates in place.

Tisika began unbuckling her own, but didn't manage to do so as quickly as Carth, let alone the two Commandos. While she was struggling to remove the particularly obnoxious pauldrons, Roidsworth said, "Sergeant, give her a hand." He hadn't even looked back, but he could somehow tell that Tisika was having trouble.

"Aye-aye." Raven immediately stowed her weapon and got to her feet, quickly and efficiently stripping the armor plates and skintight body glove off of the Jedi knight, her gloved hands moving across her body with deft precision. Tisika did her best to fight the blush that crept up her cheeks, since she hadn't had anything to wear beneath the undersized Sith armor.

Suddenly, Roidsworth cursed. "Fierfek, someone's coming. Hurry it up!" He whispered harshly, sighting down his rifle and flicking off the safety.

Tisika swallowed drily, struggling into her leggings and robes as she cast her senses outward, searching for whoever it was that had caught the Lieutenant's attention. When she found them, she said, "There are six hostile individuals, though not specifically towards us... I think they're looking to fight each other." It was difficult to tell, there were so very many sentients around, packed into such a small area.

And just as she finished speaking, the roar of blaster fire filled the cramped thoroughfare.

~~Badadumdunbum~~

*Lieutenant Alexander Roidsworth*

"Aoniken, on me!" I ordered, getting to my feet and charging down the hallway, rifle at the ready.

Raven instantly drew her weapon and fell into step next to me, responding, "Sir!"

We got up to the edge of the hall where it split into a four-way intersection. I took the right and Raven took the left, each of us looking in the opposite direction. I caught sight of six individuals armed with melee weapons, only one of which had a blaster pistol on his hip; three Nikto fighting three others, those being a Rodian, an Aqualish and a human male. Judging from their hodgepodge fighting styles and lack of proper weaponry, they're all street thugs with no formal training whatsoever.

I glanced over to Raven, who shook her head. Nothing down the right-side hall, then. I held up one hand, flashing her the hand sign for SIX. She nodded and readied herself.

Getting into a contact with the local trash isn't exactly worth the ammo, not to mention it would be completely pointless, so I'd rather avoid it if possible. But if things don't go as planned... Better safe than sorry.

I flashed a few more handsigns to Raven.

READY FRAG. AWAIT COMMAND.

She nodded once more, pulling a golfball-sized object from her equipment belt. Those mini-frags are damned nice for room clearing, and easy enough to fabricate from cannabalized Czerka grenades if you can't get your hands on proper Merr-Sonn miniature grenades.

Anyway, after maybe twenty seconds, the brawl came to an end with the three Nikto as the victors; one of them was shouting something I didn't recognize. My visor picked up on what he'd said, translating it as "Beks will burn, Vulkars strongest!"

Vulkars and Beks? Hmph... Must be the local gangs. Regardless, I snapped my fingers and backed away as Raven chucked that grenade around the corner.

They never knew what hit them.

*...!*

My helmet deadened the explosion, but the shockwave was enough to rattle my teeth in such close quarters as I moved back up to the corner, rifle at the ready as I looked over the corpses. Raven was doing the same, and the moment we confirmed that they were dead, she reached up and started fiddling with her ears, grumbling, "Agh, my frelling ears are going to be ringing for days."

"Noted, I'll get you a hearing aid on our next shore leave."

Raven glanced towards me, cocking her head to the side and cupping a hand behind her ear. "WHAT?"

I couldn't help chuckling a bit. "Hah. Cover me, I'll see if those idiots had anything useful that survived."

~~Badadumdunbum~~

"I still can't believe that chakaar had a Blastech... Bastard must've pulled it off a dead Marine." Raven grumbled, sucking down a fruity cocktail she'd paid for with one of the dead Nikto's credit chits.

Raven and I had entered a local cantina and spent the last few minutes poking around, looking for any information we could learn about Bastila. None of the locals gave us so much as a second glance, so it would seem they either don't recognize Republic Commando armor, or they simply don't care.

Having ascertained this, I sent Carth the all-clear signal, and he entered the cantina with the Jedi on his coattails, a new-to-him jacket covering the top half of his uniform. He and Tisika walked over to the opposite side of the bar, taking a seat in an unoccupied booth, nonchalant as can be.

Everything seemed to be business as usual, until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a Rodian harassing a young twi'lek urchin. Standing up from the table we'd commandeered, I quietly told Raven, "Sit tight, don't shoot anyone unless I give the word."

She nodded once, casually shifting in her seat to get a better view of the establishment as I meandered over to where the Rodian was threatening the foul-mouthed child. I casually clapped a hand to the bug-like alien's shoulder, remarking, "Hey, there you are! I've ben looking all over for you, kid." The urchin shot me a quizzical look as the Rodian spun around to face me.

Having seen my armor and the number of weapons on my person, the bug-like alien took a step back, no longer eager to get involved. "Bar no place for small children, look out better for little girl."

"Ah, you know how it is with kids. One moment they're right there, and the next, they're long gone. It's still safer in here than for her to be wandering around, the Beks and Vulkars are shooting at each other all the time, not to mention the Sith harassing everyone. Thanks for finding her, mate."

With that, the alien wandered off, and the child finally asked, "Who the hell are you? I didn't need your help!"

Ah, one of those types. Kid thinks she's all grown up. Should make this much easier, though. "I figured, but I wanted to ask for your help. You seem like you've got an ear to the ground, heard anything about the escape pods that crash landed a few days ago?"

The kid blinked owlishly. "Oh. You're a Republic soldier, then?"

I nodded. "Yup, a Commando, actually. One of my friends was in an escape pod that crashed in the undercity, and I've been trying to find her before the Sith do. Heard anything about that?"

"Yeah, but you're too late. The Vulkars got to all the escape pods that crashed into the lower city and the undercity. But I do know someone who can help you!" The kid's mood suddenly shifted, and I could tell I wasn't going to like how this played out. "My name's Mission Vao. Hey, Big Z!"

At the sound of her voice, a wookie on the other side of the cantina grumbled back, "Not now, Mission! I just got my food."

Mission pouted, hands on her hips as she said, "Aw, come on. You could stand to drop a few kilos, anyway."

...This is not going the way I'd planned.

~~Badadumdunbum~~

Roidsworth and Raven followed the twi'lek urchin and the wookie out of the cantina, leaving Carth and Tisika behind. The Lieutenant had sent Carth a flash code message on his communicator, telling him to wait in the cantina for another fifteen minutes before leaving, promising to send an updated map with a new rendezvous location by then. He'd also told the Captain to consider both the Lieutenant and the Sergeant KIA if he didn't send an update within the hour.

Thankfully, less than ten minutes later, Roidsworth called Carth on the comm. "Good news and bad news, Skipper."

Carth sighed. "Good news first, please. Haven't heard any in days."

"We've stumbled onto the local resistance, and they've provided us with intel on priority one."

Having heard this, the Captain downed what was left of his drink in one swallow before asking, "And the bad news?"

"Our Princess is in another castle."

A moment later, Cath received an encrypted flash code message on his communicator, which took a minute for him to decrypt and read before responding. "So, she's being held. By a swoop gang." The sheer disbelief in Carth's monotone voice was complimented quite nicely by his deadpan expression. "Un -frelling-believable... Good work, Alexander. We'll meet up with you in a few."

As he disconnected, the Jedi knight sitting opposite from him muttered darkly, "Princess?"

Carth chuckled. "We can't know for certain that our communications are secure, so we can't use proper names over the comm. Heh, plus the LT has a sense of humor. Come on, let's catch up with them."

It took the two of them less than ten minutes to follow Roidsworth's directions to a disguised warehouse belonging to a local swoop gang known as the Hidden Beks; a gang that was apart of the Tarisian resistance during the Mandalorian Wars.

Upon being let in by the men guarding the door, Carth was met by the Sergeant, who saluted him. "This way, sir. You'll want to hear everything from the man in charge."

She led him through the warehouse to a door near the back, through which was a small office. Upon entering, Carth was met by an older man with dark skin and prosthetic eyes, a twi'lek woman in her mid-thirties with a harsh expression, along with the Lieutenant and that young twi'lek urchin from the cantina.

The older man inclined his head respectfully, introducing himself. "My name is Gadon Thek. I lead the Hidden Beks. As I'm sure your companion has told you, almost all of us are veterans of the Mandalorian occupation. We need your help."

Carth immediately knew he wasn't going to like what he was about to hear. "Carth Onasi. Frankly, from where I'm standing, it's the other way around. There aren't any reinforcements coming for us, so my people and I are stuck here for the time being. And one of my officers is currently being held by the Black Vulkars. Our mission is critical to the Republic war effort, so rescuing her is my top priority. After that, we'll need to find a way to escape the planet and return to Republic-controlled space."

Gadon stroked his chin, idly drumming his fingers on his desk as he pondered how to reply. The old man finally responded, "If the Republic isn't even bothering to try to rescue a man of your reputation... There isn't much I can do to help you, Captain. I don't have the men to assault the Beks head-on, their base is too well-fortified."

Lieutenant Roidsworth stepped forward, asking, "Do you know the location of their base?"

The old man nodded, his stony-faced Twi'lek bodyguard giving him a hard stare. "I do, but trying to march right in would be suicidal. Any frontal assault would be cut down by their automated defenses before even getting inside."

The heavily-armored redhead shrugged. "Using the front door isn't really my style, anyway." As he said this, in the corner of the room, Sergeant Raven Aoniken could be seen rolling her eyes.

Carth quirked a brow, wondering what Alex was implying. "What're you suggesting, Lieutenant?"

Even with a full helmet hiding his face, Carth could tell that Roidsworth had a macabre grin on his handsome face as he said, "Not suggesting anything, sir. Infiltrating their base would be extremely dangerous, it would practically amount to a suicide mission. Kinda reminds me of the POW rescue operations I led during the Mandalorian wars." Just as he finished speaking, Tisika froze, a cold sweat pouring down the back of her neck. She could barely breathe, the sudden bloodlust in the air was so strong. The stench of blood and rot and death filled her lungs, it took everything she had to keep herself from gagging.

Not noticing the Jedi's reaction, the Captain smirked, responding, "I see. Do whatever you feel is necessary to get the Commander back safely, you have license to improvise."

Alex snapped to attention and saluted. "Thank you, sir. Sergeant!"

Raven snapped to attention. "Sir!"

"I'm going to go kill some fuckers. You want in?"

She, too, had that disturbing grin on her face. "OORAH! Ready and willing!" With that, the two of them scurried out of the room, grinning like children on Christmas morning.

Gadon Thek quirked a brow, asking, "Commandos?"

Carth nodded once. "Yeah, veterans of the Mandalorian Wars. You won't have to worry about the Vulkars for much longer."

Tisika shuddered, no longer paralyzed by the bloodlust she'd felt rolling off of the two soldiers. "...I almost feel sorry for them."

~~Badadumdunbum~~

Reference include, but are not limited to: Candle in the Dark by Creen, Starship Troopers(The Book), Generation Kill,