SHIPS MESSAGEBOARD:

TO: ALL Sullast Star Crewmembers... AND, ALL Civilian Auxiliary Staff!
FROM: .LtCol. (Ret.) Calzer Herril, CAPTAIN, Sullast Star

ATTENTION! UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE! :

At the insistence of our GAR clients, for the duration of the voyage, ANY fraternizationbetween Sullast Star crew, and ANY GAR personnel... is hereby STRICTLY PROHIBITED! ANY Sullust Star personnel, found to be in violation of this policy, shall have their Sullust Star service contracts CANCELLED, IMMEDIATELY! And, ALSO... taken into GAR CUSTODY, for 'questioning'.

IN ADDITION, ... ALL authorized gatherings... of three personnel, or more (particularly, on the ENGINEERING levels), after 2200-MZT; are also hereby PROHIBITED!

STRICT COMPLIANCE with these new policies, WILL BE ENFORCED!

Again...until further notice,

LtCol. (Ret.) Herril, Captain

...

-'Cuir'- (39 standard hours after 'Sullust Star's departure from Kamino)

I know that my last entry was only a few, short hours ago... but, I have to write about what happened to me, just afterwards! If, for no other reason... just, to tell... SOMEBODY! (For some reason, I don't yet want my brothers to know...)

That, THIS WAS... without a doubt... THE GREATEST...(and STRANGEST!) NIGHT OF MY LIFE!

Okay... Now, I'm going to calmly document events... for future posterity.

After leaving Trey and Quay's room, I stood in the passageway outside my own cabin for a few, long minutes. Literally, shaking with anger!

When I had finally calmed down enough, I could think of no other way to deal with it all...constructively; than to writing it all down, here. So that maybe, I could use the process of re-telling things... to get a new perspective; until I could deal with it without going balls-out barvy on someone!

At worst, it might be a useful resource to have... in case further disciplinary action was forthcoming from tonight's 'unofficial-ship's-activities'. When I was done, I knew I couldn't sleep... and my tour on the bridge had already ended. I was in no hurry to report back to the Captain, anyways. If no one else had brought the blatant ship's rules violations, to Captain Herril... by the time I went back on duty; then, I decided... I would tell him myself. As much as I had to, anyway.

So, instead of going to bed... (or, getting Deuce cleaned-up, and out of the 'fresher... then, into his bunk!); I decided to go take a walk. Moving around always helps me think about things, for some reason.

But, as I meandered, lost in thought... around the 'Sullust Star'; I remembered the very last thing that Sgt. Vau had told me... just before he had 'tagged-on' my newly earned, sergeant's stripes (with, his gauntleted knuckles!)...

That, no matter what... I, am their sergeant...and thus, their commanding officer. And, that they will always be... MY... ultimate responsibility!

That was when I realized, that... tonight's incidents... were more about my failures as a leader; than about my men's failures as soldiers. (I still, believe this is the truth!)

But, anyways...That was pretty much what I was thinking... as I blindly explored the byways of this rather massive ship. Until... I looked around, and I found myself far below decks... somewhere. I walked around in a dimly-lit, durasteel maze... until I finally found a legible deck-marking. That's when I found out, that I was on one of the engineering levels.

I recalled Trey saying that the 'party' Deuce and Quay had gone to... had been down here. So, finding myself luckily in the area... I decided to look around for any evidence of such activities. Thinking perhaps, that some other troopers might still be laying about down there. Maybe, like Quay... in need of medical attention. Or, even better... some of the 'officers'... who had given my brother those stims.

Remembering the sight of him, didn't help my mood any! I began to furiously search every unlocked hatch that I could find. After checking one, non-particular passageway, after another... I entered yet another... rushing so much, that I almost walked right past a small storage-space hatch, at the beginning of the hall. Just as I started for the portal next to the half-hidden storeroom... I thought I heard... a female voice, scream! It had come from behind a small doorway, tucked away... behind a large support beam.

My first thought was to investigate... (not, out any sense of 'chivalry'... Like Quays' 'Lance Lightspeed'); but, because whoever had made that noise, might just be some 'stimmed-out' clones victim! Still wary of interrupting some officer, in the midst of disciplining a subordinate... I silently eased open the hatchway, to take only a hesitant peek inside...

What I saw, when I looked inside the small room was... a rather large-ish human-male, in a stained crewmembers jumpsuit-uniform... forcing himself, upon a frightened and battered alien female... who was defiantly trying to fend him off of her.

Instantly, I reclosed the door. Not out of cowardice, or fear... But, because... seeing that, there was not... in fact, any GAR troopers involved as both were wearing the same 'Sullust Star' utility clothing...

That, made... whatever... was going on; a matter for the ship's Captain... definitely not, a lonely GAR non-comms business!

As I struggled over what to do... inside my head... the voice of 'Mr Regulations', barked into my inner-ear... "March on, Trooper... his is not your duty, sergeant!"

Then, I 'heard' the voices of my brothers... yelling out to me, in reproach. "Oni... how could you not do something?!"

Behind me now, from beyond the durasteel door... came another, more frightened... cry for help. Still... I froze.

I stood there, like some kind of kriffing droid... torn; between what I thought was my duty... and, what my brothers would think of me... for abandoning someone in need. "Isn't that, also your duty?", they accused.

And then, lastly... another voice... this one, from some unknown quarter deep inside of me (perhaps, a remnant of Jango Fett...?); spoke up, plainly... and with firm finality.

"Oni... you will not, allow this to continue."

Halting my semi-step, I turned back to the storage room hatch... and yanked it wide open.

What I saw, more completely now... was that the female, was a young Twileck (from what I knew of alien growth rates, she looked to be in her early, to mid-twenties;) cowering in one of the small chambers corners. Opposite her, the hulking form of a human male... leering down at her. One of his meaty fists was still clenched, as a threat to the woman that more violence was eminent.
The light-blue skin around one of her eyes was rapidly purpling, and swelling up... sealing that eye shut. A thin trail of dark blue, was running down her cheek. Tears leaked down the other side of her azure face, flowing from her as yet, undamaged... wide and terrified, left eye.

The woman's good eye, turned towards the newly opened doorway... and thus, me... just before the brute before her, also realized... that someone new had just 'joined the party'. By the time he finally turned his attention from her, to me... I had already crossed the small room enough to come standing toe to toe with him. He looked at me in confusion, at first... as if he couldn't decided what type of insect I might be; then, he spat out at me.

"Well... what are you want, CLONE?"

Without even thinking, I answered him... by swinging my head down, directly into the sleemo's bulbous face! Hearing the expected, satisfying 'crunch'... of smashed cartilege and bone; I instinctively jabbed him in the throat with my left hand, and followed up by planting a savage front-kick... right to his unguarded mid-section. The blows sent him stumbling backwards wildly, and crashing into the pipe-covered bulkhead behind him. He was tougher than he looked, I'll give him that... because he remained standing. His eyes were watering, however... as he slumped over, gasping. And spitting bloody bone fragments from his swollen mouth, down into his collecting hand. Thick, red ocher dripped from between his fingers... the ship's artificial gravity, slowly pulling it in long strings, to pool on the floor.

He seethed in rage, as he returned to gaze up at me. "You-you!... You'll pay for this, you-you.. CLONE!" Droplets of crimson spewed from his busted lips, as he issued his threats. "I know all about you... you're FREAKS!", he swore savagely. "All cloned copies... of that barve, Jango Fett!", he accused.

For some reason, every time the scum spat out the word 'clone'... I flinched.

Slowly, he began to sneak his hand up the wall beside him... towards to comms activation switch.
Realizing this scum was trying to call for help, from some unknown quarter (perhaps, even 'unofficial')... so, I reached out, and grabbed him by his swelling face... pushing him down, all the way to the deck. Then, I began slowly... deliberately... driving the first two fingers of my hand, deep into his splitting nostrils. All the way to the middle-knuckles, just like I had been taught. The sleemo's legs started kicking in spasms, as his hands uselessly tried to pry him away from my grip. He howled like some kind of beast... louder, as I continued to apply pressure to his crumbling sinuses.
Sharply... again, 'Just Like Drill'; I hooked my thumb under his jawbone, pressing against the madible nerve there.
Bloody bubbles blew from around the sides of my palm, as he tried to scream... but, I now held his mouth too tightly shut.

With a savage sneer, I slowly closed my fist... around his en-captured muzzle. Like a power-assisted vice, crushing a un-ripened warra nut. Crunch and juicy, all the same time.

The sounds of his muffled struggles, bounced around the metal-walled room. His hands, continued to impotently flail against my iron-grip... adding a wet, slapping sound... to the thumping sound created by his frantically kicking boots.

My breath came in heavy pants, as I looking in down in disgust at him then... my helpless prey. I don't know what came over me, but... my vision turned completely red! Like, I was looking through Sgt. Skirata's favored, Verpine night-vision scope!

The next thing I remember, was...

Looking down, into the dead man's eyes. His death-seizures had already stopped. And, I could no longer feel his useless attempts to get air, sucking wet, against the palm of my blood-slicked hand. I looked over, then... to the cowering Twileck female. Her eyes were still wide with terror. Only now, she was not staring at her former assailant... her big, shimmering, emerald eyes... were now solidly focused, on me.

I saw myself, then... reflected back, within her obviously horrified stare. And, for the first time in my life, I felt... ashamed.

My head hung, of it's own accord... forcing me to face what I had done. To see what kind of man, I really am.

Through my shimmering gaze, the cooling corpse of... technically... my superior officer. And, in whos' blood... I was now covered. He lay there, gazing blankly up at me... in evidence, of my complete failure as a soldier.

Suddenly, while I started down into the lifeless eyes of the man I had just murdered... contemplating the ramifications of my actions, and still struggling with the raw emotions of performing them... I felt a slight touch on my back. Instinctively, I spun to face my new attacker... Only, it was the woman... silently come, somehow... to stand over, and behind me.

"A-Are you... o-okay, now?", she asked... attempting to 'break the ice', I suppose.

"Yes, ma'am." I answered, automatically.

"Wh-Who are you?", she went on.

I noticed then, the ship's emblem... sewn onto her stained jumpsuit. "Ma'am, I am CT-3031... at your service."

"No..." she said, sadly. "Don't you have a real name?" she asked, shyly. "You do...", she inquired, politely. "...don't you? Have a name?"

That was personal. I suddenly felt the desire to lie about my name... or deny having one, at all. But then, she had just watched me kill someone with my bare hands... in cold-blood. It doesn't get much more personal than that, so... I stuttered, "M-m-my brothers call me... 'O-Oni', m-ma'am."

"Oni... hmm" she repeated smoothly. "I like that. It's... unique." she said, as she tentatively inched closer. As she did, I began to feel a new kind of emotion... slowly building within me.

"I'm called 'Alura'", she purred.

Again, I felt dizzy. Not knowing what else to do, I asked lamely... "Why was he hurting you, Alura? What did he want?"

She started up at me in frank amazement. "You mean, you don't know?"

I replied, honestly. "No, I don't."

She stared me in amazement for another moment longer. Then she seemed to have come to some important realization, and her eyes... and smile, soften.

Feeling suddenly, unaccountably, self-conscious... I added. "Was he... trying to rob you?"

"Oh yes..." she confirmed, turning back, and spitting on the mans corpse. "Yes, he was. He was trying to steal something from me, alright... something precious. Something not many Twilek girls, like me... ever get the luxury of refusing."

Not certain that I wanted to know what Twilek females held so 'precious'... or, why they weren't able to usually keep for themselves... I locked onto the subject that seemed safest for me to attempt to understand.

"Why?", I asked innocently. "Why can't Twilecks refuse?"

"Because, to most beings... especially to a hutt-une 'stim-pusher, like him", she spat on the dean man.. still prostrated upon the floor below.

(I looked down at him, and wondered... could this be the crewer who had given Quay the drugs? The thought that he indeed, might be... made me feel a little better about killing him. A hutt'une, indeed! As I appreciated her proper usage of Mando lingo, Alura went on;)

"To him... someone like me, isn't really a person.", she explained, her eyes burning with bound-up fury. "I'm just... 'property'."

Without realizing it, I dropped my eyes to my own, blood-stained hands... then heard myself whisper. "So am I."

Suddenly, I felt warm, salty tears began to gather along the rims of my eyelids... while my hands... trembled, uncontrollably.

Without my noticing... she moved closer. I attempted to regain control of myself, by focusing on my duty. "I-I... I, uh... h-have to report th-this...", I stuttered.

She moved closer, still. When, she brushed against me, panic shot through me...

"But, then... won't you get into trouble?", she inquired eanerstly.

An unauthorized kill was ceratinly not going to look good on my record... but, I still hoped the fact that this man was a criminal, and was assaulting a crewmember... would help things to go in my favor. She must have read in my face, however... what I knew, deep inside my chances would likely be.

Alura turned and leaned down, removing a small dagger from within the dead mans waistband. Then, without any word spoken... she very deliberately, slid its edge across his neck; creating a gash that crossed his entire throat... coating his posthumously-borrowed blade with his own thickening, cooling blood.

Afterwards, she dropped the knife beside the lifeless body... then straightened, to face me again.

"There... now, I did it." She stated simply. "I killed him, not you."

I couldn't understand why, this stranger... would risk her own life to protect mine! Protecting my brothers was all I had ever been trained to do. And, Alura... was definately NOT, one of them!

"But, why would you try to protect me?" I asked, totally confused.

"Because you protected me! Thats how the galaxy works, Oni...", she explained, simply. "At least," she amended, "that's how it should work."

"Isn't that how it works?", I asked, all innocence.

"No." She admitted, sadly... as if, she understood that she might actually be 'breaking bad news' to me.

"Unfortunately, it usually doesn't.", she completed. I remained thankfully silent, so she went on. "I used to belong to a Hutt, named 'Kag'lar the Slim'. Although, he definitely wasn't 'slim'... even by Hutt standards!" She giggled, despite the pain it must have caused to her split lip. I simply gazed in wonder at her, thinking... "how could she hold fold memories... for a Hutt? Her former master, no less...!"

To fill what felt suddenly like empty air-space, I awkwardly managed. "I-I've heard Hutt's are cruel..."

"Most are...", she confirmed, albeit... still brightly. "But," she amended, "Kag'lar wasn't especially so. He rather despised those of his own kind, like _... whom he calls 'nothing more than sadistic fiends'."

I thought of my recent Kaminoan, 'owners'... and wondered about the Jedi. My next, 'masters'.

"I used to 'belong' to real monsters..." I surprisingly heard myself admitting to this, a complete stranger. "I don't really know anything, about the one's I belong to, now."

She placed her hand on-top of mine, then... and, I felt a tingle, run up my arm! It made me even more unsteady, the longer her touch remained.
I could feel the heat of her... 'closeness'. It made me feel as I had only once before... while gazing up at one of Sgt. Skirata's barvy 'Nulls', as he climbed up, up, up... then, nimbly swung from... the hugh, vaulted support beams... that ran dizzyingly high above Tapico City.

'Alura' then, cast me a shrewd-looking gaze, as if... assessing my worth. "If the galaxy were really a 'just' place... then," she stated, seemingly confident now... about, something. (And, looking at me... in a way that didn't help my 'condition', at all!)

Before I could manage any kind of response, however... she reached back, behind her... and deactivated the rooms lights.

As I stood stuttering, and swallowing... trying desperately to clear my mind; in the absolute darkness of the small storage area... Alura, placed her soft fingers... delicately over my trembling lips.

She leaned in close against me, then... "Shhhh..." she whispered, softly into my ear.

Through the dizzying haze, and resounding rushing of blood through my ears...(as well as to... other parts); I heard the un-zipping noise of Aluras' tarnished coveralls.

Utterly flushed, and feeling more uncertain of myself than ever before, I barely managed to stutter... "I-I.. we... umm... I sh-shouldn't be here..."

"Umm-hmmm..." she purred, while she continued to unwrap herself. "I mean," I tried again, to say. "Is... I-I.. I don't b-b-belong here.

"I think, we are exactly, where we ... belong, Oni..." she challenged me. My breaths were coming too fast now, and too shallow... for me to mount a respond. My knees weakened beneath me, when she wrapped her slim arms around me. Suddenly, to my amazement... I began to feel, 'stirrings'... in parts of my anatomy that I had thought, until then... purely utilitarian!

"I-I m-mean.. umm. h-here, b-be-low d-decks-s..."

Ignoring my feeble protest, she reached her hand up... and slowly ran her long, soft fingers... through my short, dark hair. Then, her hot breath... slid alluringly across my neck, and sending shivers up my spine... as she whispered.

"Tonight, Oni", she proposed, invitingly... while pressing her warm, soft body ever closer. "Lets decide, that we 'belong' only..."

She brushed her soft, moist lips against mine... then...

"To each other."

(On second thought, I've decided to keep what happened next, for myself... and Alura's access... ONLY!)