Chapter 43: Arakh Krar

Aboard the Fensk, in the atmosphere of Centax 3

A Republic V-19 Torrent fighter swooped by the Fensk, causing the entire frigate to shake. It loomed into view in the centre of the cockpit window, growing smaller as it looped around for another flyby.

"Bothan vessel, permission to land has been denied," a human voice said angrily on the comm. "If you do not turn around immediately, we will open fire."

Vasa and Arakh both wore expressions of worry on their faces.

"They won't open fire," Asir growled reassuringly. "I sense nothing—"

"—You sense!" Vasa snarled in shock. "What, some kind of force mumbo jumbo? You think it is okay to just—"

"—Ma'am," Asir snarled back. "You said it yourself! We need to be down there ASAP. The Republic didn't shoot down a kriffing Hutt than landed right in the middle of their no-fly zone, they certainly are not about to shoot at us. Arakh?"

"Yes?" Arakh asked nervously.

"Why are you still here? Get ready!"

"Oh—OH!" he gasped in realisation. A few minutes earlier, when the Defel had decided to go invisible earlier in front of Vasa and the others, he merely wanted to show off. He had not intended for Asir to take that as a suggestion. "Yeah, I'll undress and get my things. Be ready in a sec!" he growled reassuringly, rubbing his fat fingers through Asir's golden mane. "You Bothans are so smart. Always coming up with a plan."

Vasa narrowed her eyes at the two of them, clearly drawing conclusions from Arakh's behaviour.

Asir giggled for a second, then yelped furiously when Arakh's thumb caught a knot. "THAT'S ENOUGH! GET READY!"

o.o.o.o.o

Trajan Kran

Centax 3

"Sir, there are bad ideas," Captain Spack groaned, "then there are absolutely terrible ideas. That is an absolutely terrible idea."

"I didn't say to just let Shiroh in," Trajan sighed. "I said let her in, and one negotiatior with ten armed guards. I will meet them in a room with ten of our people. Ten armed, the rest unarmed."

"And sir, that's a terrible idea," Spack repeated shaking his head in disbelief. The four other Clones in the jacuzzi room murmured in agreement.

"As a representative of the Manaan government, I agree with Trajan. We can't just shut down any possibility for negotiation," Kuril said firmly. No longer topless, the Selkath princess now wore a black gown covered in white and yellow dots resembling starlight.

Trajan did think it looked rather tacky on her purple skin gold… Gold would contrast so much better with your skin. But, he was grateful for her vote of confidence. "It's settled then. Two versus one Spack."

"It was never a vote!" the Clone exclaimed. "We have the advantage. If the Hutts attack, they are in the open on a road. Our forces are embedded all along the property's perimeter. Allowing ten of them in will greatly jeopardise—"

"—Spack, I believe princess outranks Captain," Trajan snarled in an almost Bothan accent. "So does the rank 'Trajan Kran,' now tell that Hutt our terms, or I will walk out there myself!"

"Very well sir, I will assemble a team of ten of my best men!"

"Your best men?!" Trajan laughed. "No, I am bringing my hit squad," he gestured to the six Squibs, blaster pistols so big in their tiny hands that they had to carry them like carbines. "I am also bringing Dima, Wizento. That leaves room for two of your men."

"You've—Dank Farrik you've got to be kriffing kidding me!" Spack yelled, gripping the back of his helmet in a panic.

Trajan leaned forward into the Clone's helmeted face and asked quietly "Do I look like I am kidding?"

o.o.o.o.o

Fyar Fey'lya

After an unexpected round of pleading, Fyar managed to convince Shiroh to take not just her, but Gnor, Winton, and Lukash in among her ten allotted armed guards. Now the four Bothans accompanied Shiroh, one human, three Niktos, a Trandoshan, and a Weequay, cautiously approaching the front door. Their boots clicked crisply on the permacrete drive leading up to the columns before the front door.

On either side of the path, armed Clones stood by, holding their blasters at the low ready.

Fyar's fur twitched in annoyance. She shouldn't have needed to argue at all with Shiroh. After all, the plan was not to actually get into combat with Trajan Kran's crew or the Republic. It was for Shiroh to pretend to strike a deal with Trajan, for Fyar to sell the two-faced human a suitcase full of powdered Ryll as a demonstration of her product from Thellus, and then for them to blow up the Ryll after they had vacated Dima's manor—And more importantly, after Trajan paid Shiroh double his bounty to end the standoff.

As they walked nearer to the front door a new worry crossed Fyar's mind. Will Shiroh fit? The closer the Hutt slid to the doorframe, the less plausible that seemed.

A Clone opened the front door for them, then stepped out of the way. Fyar had an urge to growl a polite thank you, but stifled it. If the Hutt isn't being polite to these Clones, you don't be polite to them.

Shiroh looked uneasily to either side of the doorframe, then sighed. Exhaling loudly, her body seemed to shrivel, just enough to squeeze through the door.

Lukash smiled, looking like he might laugh. Fyar flashed her teeth warningly as the Shiroh's guards began to file inside after the Hutt.

They silently walked into the house, ears perked up. Shiroh was able to inflate herself in the foyer, which was much wider than the doorframe. A door at the end of the hall opened, revealing a steamy-looking room with several ponds—no jacuzzis Fyar realised.

Fyar and the other Bothans began panting as they entered the next room. Shtak it's humid… The explosives might not even work in this environment. "Shiroh," she whispered urgently, "Shiroh!"

Standing a few meters from the door, in the centre of the room, were one Selkath, one Mon Calamari, six Squibs, a Twi'lek, two armoured Clones, and Trajan Kran himself. One of the Clones wore about an even mixture of red and white on his armour, the other was majority red.

"Greetings exalted one!" Trajan exclaimed enthusiastically, taking off his top hat. Each one of his entourage bowed politely as he introduced them them. "You already have met Dima and Wizento, I would like to introduce Spack, Rocker—Oh these Clones have such fun names you know, princess Kuril, Jaromar—"

"—I won't remember all of your Squibs even if you tell me their names, human," Shiroh grunted in Basic. "Do not waste my time. I am—"

"—Shiroh!" Fyar snarled urgently.

"What is it, you stupid little Bothan?!" Shiroh's voice boomed, echoing off the mostly transparisteel walls.

"I must say," Trajan said interestedly, "I am surprised by some of the company you keep, Shiroh."

Fyar gave a Spacer hand gesture for warmth, then panted dramatically to emphasise the humidity, then pointed to her suitcase.

"Oh," Shiroh chuckled. "That might not be necessary."

"What ever is that Bothan on about?" Trajan asked pointedly, then suddenly spoke in Bothese, "Pam Fyar, syu yeka kor Spaynet wu, erzli tona woka korn gilmat." ["The Spynet will kill you if you try anything."]

Fyar's fur fell flat as her eyes widened. What the hell!

"Trajan, I know you like to show off your smarts, but it is quite rude to speak Bothan when I don't," Shiroh huffed loudly.

"Apologies," Trajan said with a bow. "Fyar and I have met before you see—"

"—Oh I know all about that," Shiroh laughed. "Actually, the Ryll she is about to sell you has been laced with detonite."

"Has it been?!" Trajan hissed.

The Selkath, Kuril, shrieked in terror slipping behind the big fat Mon Calamari for shelter.

All six of Trajan's Squibs raised their blasters at her. The two Clones back away slightly. The redder armoured one Spack, Fyar thought, tapped on the side of his helmet.

Fyar's fur bristled. She was too furious to be afraid. "YOU KNOW GOOD DOUBLE-CROSSING—I SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO TRUST A HUTT!"

"No harm shall come to Fyar Fey'lya," Shiroh said, waving her hand dismissively to Trajan's crowd. "I have a dampening field on my necklace," she chuckled. "This Bothan is no threat."

No threat, Fyar scowled, growing even more livid. "What the kriff are you playing at, my Lord?!"

"Yes," Trajan said dramatically. "We would all like to know Shiroh! What are you playing at bringing some feral Fey in here to blow me up? Putting a five million credit bounty on my head! Landing here with a legion of underworld scum.

"Fyar, did you really think I would go to Centax 3 in the flesh to give Trajan Kran a bomb when he has Republic protection?" Shiroh asked rhetorically, before explaining in a wise tone. "I had intended for someone killing Trajan for five million, but you, my Bothan friend, made a very good point. Trajan is a forty-five minute flight away, and my way of dealing with him was both costly and lazy. I came here with you to send a message and strike a deal. I need people like you. People who can motivate me to do what needs to be done."

"Fyar," Winton pleaded, eyes wide in fear. "Shut the kriff up!"

Lukash and Gnor were slowly edging out of the room, back to the door.

So you just want to make me one of your crew. Your motivational speaker! "A deal?!" Fyar snarled lividly, spinning around the room like a cornered animal, panting in the humidity. "He was working with the police for years! How can you trust him?"

"Because all of this is now public knowledge," Shiroh chuckled deeply, pushing one of the Clone troopers playfully on the shoulder. "Trajan has senate oversight. Which means I have more dirt on him than you can possibly imagine. Now Trajan," she sighed, turning back to the human, "pay me ten million credits for the lost business, with a bit extra to pay my new Bothan friends. I will drop the bounty on your head immediately. From now on, we are partners."

"How agreeable," Trajan smiled. "Very well, Dima… Get this magnificent Hutt her money."

"Uh… Ah, yes sir," the Mon Calamari warbled, slipping out of the room.

Fyar's eyes darted around. She could not believe what was happening. While she was about to be millions of credits richer, she could not stand the prospect of being sidelined like this.

"Fyar," Gnor hissed, her own fur now twitching, "calm the hell down!"

Gulping, Fyar looked up to the hulking Hutt, then back to Trajan.

"She's right," Trajan muttered. "Fyar, calm down and we all walk out of this alive. Please."

Fyar's ears perked up as she heard a jingling noise. Dima emerged from a side door, now carrying a duffel back that sounded like it was filled with currency.

"Now, two million Hutt Pegats, will those cover 5 million credits?" Trajan asked the Hutt.

A bright smile flashed on Shiroh's face. "Trajan, you're spoiling me!"

"Huh," Fyar grunted aloud. Everyone gets out alive… Trajan's right… I need to just make everyone not alive! Fur dancing, the plump cream-furred Bothan took a step towards Shiroh, flashing a feral grin as plan fell to place in her head.

"What are you doing?" Shiroh warbled, looking down angrily at the Bothan who dared step between her and the Mon Calamari.

"Going for a ride," Fyar snarled, grabbing a blob of the Hutt's fat and kicking her stomach to make a toe grip. With her boot dug into Shiroh's chest, the Bothan reached her right hand up, gripping another blob of fat, then stepped up higher.

"AAAHH!" Shiroh screamed in pain and fury, grasping in vain at the deceptively nimble Bothan.

Winton, Lukash, and Gnor yelped in terror, running across the room towards the exit. Meanwhile, Shiroh's guards yelled in outrage, sprinting over to the Hutt's aid. In the commotion, one of the Clones grabbed Fyar's foot, trying to pull her down from the Hutt.

Snarling in defiance, Fyar reached her left hand up past Shiroh's open mouth, jamming her fingers into the Hutt's eye.

The Hutt wailed in agony, as Fyar stepped higher. Her boot slipped off in the Clone's armoured gloves, sending the Clone tumbling backwards onto the wet permacrete floor.

"THIS IS SPACK TO ALL UNITS!" the Clone screamed into his wristcomm. "WE HAVE A CODE 51! I SAY AGAIN WE HAVE A CODE 51! SECURITY TEAM TWO TO POSITION OSCAR!"

Fyar smiled triumphantly as her knee reached the Hutt's shoulder. Swinging her leg around the Hutt's neck, she used her momentum to leap upon Shiroh's head.

"GET OFF OF ME!" Shiroh screamed, one eye bloodshot and teary. "FOR THIS INSULT, I WILL MAKE YOU MY SLAVE! YOU WILL NOT EAT AGAIN UNTIL YOU GROW SO THIN—"

Fyar did not get to hear exactly how thin she was to become before being allowed food again. Seated atop Shiroh the Hutt, the Bothan aimed her blaster pistol down at Trajan Kran and pulled the trigger.

As the blasterbolt seared into the centre of his chest, Trajan's eyes opened wide in astonishment and fear. Whatever he thought Fyar was going to do next, this was not it. He fell to the ground screaming.

"TRAJAN!" a black furred Squib squealed, aiming his blaster right up at Fyar.

"NOOOOO!" Wizento yelled, his thick Twi'lek accent echoing off every wall as he pushed the Squib's blaster down. But it was too late.

Her plan worked perfectly. Ears folded down from the noise, the Bothan took cover behind Shiroh's head. The Hutt screamed as a single shot nailed her in the belly.

Fyar stood up, shooting wildly down at the crowd of Squibs, then took cover again, crouching once again behind the Hutt's head.

This time, a rain of blasterfire seared through the Hutt's face. Fyar could smell the scent of ozone and burning pork as she slid down the Hutt's back like a slide.

One of the Niktos raised his blaster rifle, firing indiscriminately into the crowd of Squibs. Taking one casualty, the Squibs returned fire, melting the Nikto.

Smiling, Fyar ran across the room, fur billowing in the air as she dove for cover behind a bench. She panted excitedly as her body surged with adrenaline.

"GET BACK HERE!" Spack screamed, running after her with a pair of stun cuffs. A second later, he was caught in the crossfire between the Squibs and the Hutts, falling to the ground with his armour on fire in three places.

The Hutt, still alive much to Fyar's surprise, screamed "NOOOOO! NOBATA! NOBATAAAA! NOOOO!"

Not noticing her orders in the fog of war, her minions continued firing at the Squibs, now including Wizento and the Clones as targets.

The Selkath princess took cover behind a bench on the opposite side of the nearest jacuzzi from Fyar. She screamed as the blasterfire continued.

Lukash crouched down beside Fyar, snout open in shock as he shot at the Squibs. "THE KRIFF?!"

"SHOOT EVERYONE!" Fyar snarled excitedly, nailing one of the Hutt's guards in the back. "Except your parents of course."

Swearing under his breath, Lukash blasted the final Clone in the neck.

"Good shot!" Fyar snarled, shooting a violet Squib in the belly, then sending two blasts into Shiroh's final guard's back, the Trandoshan who she had spoken with on the flight over.

The Trandoshan fell to the ground, hissing in agony.

Fyar stood up, walking over to him as she looked around the room for any further armed opponents. Seeing none, she ended the Trandoshan with a ruthless blast to the head. "CHECK TO MAKE SURE TRAJAN IS DEAD!" she screamed. "THE HUTT TOO!"

Fur flat in fear, Winton and Gnor ran across the room, aiming their blasters down at Trajan.

"He's dead," Gnor muttered, then walked up to the Hutt, who was lying on her side. She kicked the Hutt on the side of her head, then added, "the Hutt's very dead. One of the Squibs is alive."

Fyar approached the Squib, looking into her pleading eyes. Those are the beggiest eyes I have ever seen, she pondered for a moment. But just a moment. With a squeeze of the trigger, Fyar executed the Squib with a blast to the head.

"What the hell?!" Winton snarled, grabbing Fyar's blaster.

"No witnesses!" Fyar yipped excitedly, feeling the biggest rush she had felt in her entire life.

"NO!" the Selkath shrieked, tears running down her face. "Please don't! I am—"

"—Oh yeah," Fyar growled excitedly, looking at the Selkath. "We keep the princess, Trajan's ten million and… Huh? Do you hear that noise?"

o.o.o.o.o

Arak Krar

Arakh yelped involuntarily as an explosion thundered from the Clone watchtower. Neither side noticed him. He looked back through the window at the four Bothans.

In every part of Dima's front yard, Republic and Hutt forces were in a fierce firefight. Sniper rifle shots echoed deafeningly from the manor's rooftop, blasting Shiroh's forces on the road with precision.

"Lime-green are you okay?" Asir growled worriedly. "Can you confirm that Trajan is dead."

"Affirmative," Arakh snarled, looking through the transparisteel to the four Bothans in the jacuzzi. "Trajan is delta echo. The Bothans have nabbed the fish-lady."

"Fish lady?" Asir asked. "What species?"

"I don't know," Arakh snarled, staring at the Bothans dragging a square-headed fish-lady, or more likely, a shark-lady, across the jacuzzi room. "Maybe she's a sharklady?"

"Hold position! Vasa, can we get some telemetry?"

A humming noise drew Arakh's attention. Turning around, he saw a probe droid now hovering beside him.

"That's a Selkath," Asir muttered into Arakh's line.

"All right, they have abducted a Selkath," Arakh growled, smacking his lips as if to taste how the word Selkath sounded. The Defel looked at the carnage with more scrutiny. He had never seen so many dead people in one place. Nor a dead Hutt for that matter. "Do we have an ID on the Selkath… They are leaving the room."

"Kriff everything!" Asir yelped. "Arakh, follow them. Incapacitate and rescue."

"Copy that. Who is it?" Arakh growled, ears perked up. Strange orders… Trajan is dead.

"That is Kuril, Duchess of Rivazorn."

"Duchess…" Arakh whispered to himself, once again tasting a new word. "All right, on it! I will save the sharklady and incapacitate the others." He reached down to his transparisteel belt, gripping his invisible bludgeon.

o.o.o.o.o

"Oh my…" Asir's voice growled worriedly. "The Republic is sending in the cavalry. We are relocating to—"

—A supersonic boom cut through the sky, momentarily deafening the Defel.

"Can you say again?!" Arakh whisper-yelled, walking along a sidewalk through an orchard. "Where are you relocating to?"

"Stand by," Asir sighed.

Several LAATs lowered down through the clouds, promptly firing their laser beam turrets, zapping those unfortunate enough to be targeted like insects. Arakh looked to his right, hearing grass rustling.

Two Weequays were sprinting as quickly as they could, yelling as an LAAT closed in.

"DROP YOUR WEAPONS!" a Clone voice boomed from a loudspeaker. "DROP YOUR WEAPONS AND GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!"

The Weequays continued running, disregarding the command completely. After a few steps, they screamed as a red laser beam swiped across them.

Arakh winced, feeling the heat from the blast even twenty meters away. Kriff, I hope the GAR didn't kill the princess! Eyes open wider in worry, the Defel jogged faster through the orchard, following a smelly fish scent. That's got to be them, he thought, sniffing the air deeply and catching a whiff of Bothan. The only Bothans here are those… Those Feys.

The sidewalk turned right sharply at a tall hedge, before finally ending in a vast permacrete speeder lot. There they are, Arakh smiled to himself. "Lime-Green to Fensk, I have eyes on them and the Selkath. They're at a speeder lot." His ears perked up as he walked closer, listening in on their argument.

"How do you know he even parked here?" Fyar snarled, spinning angrily to Winton.

"It's the only parking lot," Winton grunted, pressing the unlock button on a speeder key remote. "And I took that Twi'lek's keys. Unless he didn't park here."

"What brand is the speeder?" Lukash asked.

"Doesn't say… Oh… Look!" Winton yipped, walking down a row of speeders to a giant speeder van. "It's this one."

"If you let me go," Kuril whimpered as she walked towards the van, "my family will pay very well for my safety. You don't need to take me."

"That's the idea," Fyar growled. "Why would they pay us if you are let go?"

Arakh lurked closer, gripping his bludgeon firmly.

"Because…" Kuril sighed lamely. "Well, what if they don't pay?"

"I guess I have a job for a gal like you on Thellus then," Fyar snorted, gripping Kuril's snout firmly, eying the Selkath's tendrils as if inspecting merchandise. "It pays well."

Kuril gulped, sniffling.

"Pays well... Shtak this is heavy," Lukash yelped, dragging the duffel bag of credits on the pavement. "It feels like… It's gotten ten times heavier!"

The invisible Defel smirked deviously, now with his foot on one end of the bag.

Lukash grabbed the handle with two hands, snarling as he tugged it. "This is so... Weird," he panted.

"Get in the van!" Fyar snarled to Kuril, letting go of her face and opening the passenger door.

Kuril reluctantly stepped into the van, allowing Fyar to shut the door behind her.

"All right, let me—Kriff! This is heavy!" Fyar gasped, gripping one of the side handles. "One end just won't get off the ground. This… How can this be? THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!"

"Nųkįz ęrz-nųkhsmųrzęsk zą." ["It is not impossible,"] Arakh snarled in Bothese, swinging his bludgeon into her arm.

Arm crunching, Fyar stooped over, shrieking.

Swinging the bludgeon at the back of her legs, Arakh snarled as the Bothan was sent tumbling onto her back.

Lukash let go of the bag, yelping as the invisible Defel drove the bludgeon into his chest. He collapsed to the ground groaning alongside his aunt.

The speeder van's doors opened. Winton and Gnor came out, blasters raised.

["SOMETHING IS INVISIBLE!"] Lukash yelped.

Arakh snarled, swinging the bludgeon into the side of Lukash's snout, sending a long canine tooth rolling on the permacrete.

Sniffing the air furiously, Winton whispered in Basic, pointing his blaster in the direction of the breeze. "I smell a—"

—Arakh nailed the bottom of his jaw with an uppercut, then swiped at Gnor's legs, knocking her to the ground. "You can surrender," he growled, picking up Winton's blaster. "Or at least just lay there."

"Who are you?!" Fyar yelped, fur pressed tightly into her body. "You smell a bit like a Bothan. I am obliged to inform you, under the Republic Convention on Diplomatic Relations, that I have Diplomatic Immunity! You cannot arrest me!"

"Lime-green to Fensk," Arakh growled into his transparisteel headset. "I have incapacitated the targets. Fyar Fey'lya is saying she has 'diplomatic immunity.' What does that mean?"

"Wait!" Fyar gasped to the sky, looking around in a panic. "How do you know my name?"

"Diplomatic immunity… Shtak," Asir snarled into the comm. "If we leave her, the Republic won't be able to arrest her. She'll be expelled, and there'll be so many diplomatic—It'll be hell. We have no choice. Kill her. Kill Fyar then meet us at the summit of Green Mountain."

"Copy that," Arakh grunted, aiming the blaster pistol at her head. "Fyar, you know how Trajan said the Spynet would kill you if you killed him? Well, yeah. That." He squeezed the trigger, erasing a corner of Fyar's head. Promptly walking away to the door of the speeder van, escaping the smell of burning fur, the Defel did not look back to verify the kill. Yikes blasters are brutal weapons.

Winton sobbed, trembling on the ground.

Arakh walked past him, then stood there. "You three are way better off without her, you know? Especially in jail, someone like Fyar will just get you all killed."

At that, he sat down in the driver's seat, closing the door as he stepped in.

"Who—Who's there?!" Kuril whimpered, looking around the front of the van.

"I'm rescuing you. Voila!" The light rippled for a moment then, before Kuril's eyes, a naked brown furred Defel whisked into existence.

The Selkath gasped in shock, rubbing her eyes in disbelief. "I don't understand… What?!"

"I'm a Defel," Arakh shrugged, gripping the steering wheel, lifting the speeder off the ground. "Being a Defel is confusing to me, too, believe me. But that doesn't matter. We're going to Green Mountain. Oh yeah," he noted, seeing in the rearview mirror that she wasn't wearing her seatbelt. "Fasten your seat belt."

o.o.o.o.o

"You did really well," Asir said with a sad smile, gripping Arakh's hand.

"This is a catastrophe," Vasa lamented.

Arakh smiled happily, ignoring Vasa's pessimism. The three of them now stood in the hallway leading to the cockpit, looking back into the lounge.

Kuril was sitting across from Yintri Mi'lya at a desk, speaking into a microphone as she was being debriefed. With all of the chaos on the ground, the Fensk had left the Coruscant system completely undisturbed.

"Yeah, today was really successful," Arakh growled proudly. "We rescued an important Selkath." Who cares about Trajan in the grand scheme of things anyways?

Unable to take it anymore, Vasa exhaled angrily, bashing Arakh's shoulder as she walked past.

"What's wrong with her?" he asked Asir, ears perked up. Closing his beady red eyes, he added excitedly. "We're getting to see Manaan!"

Asir bit her lower lip, looking more worried than ever.

Sensing something was troubling her, Arakh growled worriedly, "we're not going to have to kill Kuril are we?"

"Oh no," Asir sighed, "it has nothing to do with Manaan or Kuril."

Arakh gazed his beady red eyes up at the ceiling, deep in thought, wracking his brain for something else which could be troubling the Bothans. Vasa said this is a catastrophe... Oh yeah. Trajan. "Trajan?" he asked, ears perked up.

"Yes," Asir grunted, rolling her eyes. "Trajan Kran is dead."

For a moment, the Defel smiled contentedly to himself, glad at having figured it out for himself. Then he gasped and swore aloud, realising how many more difficulties the blowback from his death would present. Returning Kuril to Manaan was just the tip of the iceberg. The Spynet's top asset in the criminal underworld was dead, and they had risked exposing themselves trying to save him. Whatever the Spynet was planning for Murkhana… What if the Republic spotted us on the moon over their capital planet? We weren't exactly welcome there. Do we even have the access to transfer another consciousness into a body like Trajan's?

"Now you understand," Asir said consolingly, placing an arm on his shoulder.

"It's… It's all…" Arakh croaked, snout hanging open. "It's over. Completely wrecked."