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The Blazing Claw strikes again

- - - - - nicair claden pirates arrrrrrrrrrr

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#1
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

    The greatest teacher, failure is.

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“Filth, you will pay for your insolence.”

“Insolence! We are pirates! We don't even know what that means.”
― Darth Maul and Hondo Ohnaka
 
The term pirate referred to the variety of rogues that were scattered across the galaxy who would attack, rob or commandeer ships as they saw fit. While their actions were inherently illegal, the morals of various pirates varied considerably. Some were cutthroat brigands who were petty murderers or thieves, but others had a set of morals that prohibited killing the innocent, and generally restricted their actions to the rich. 
 
Other pirates, referred to as "privateers," operated under the sanction of governments or organisations like the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Privateers tended to hold themselves to a more ‘civilised’ standard than other pirates, and restricted their activities to specific targets. Most pirates were orphans or citizens that were unemployed because of either being uneducated or having a lust for adventure, riches or anarchy.
 
Indeed, on a few occasions, pirates have pulled through to help the galaxy as a whole.
 
The most identifiable symbol of the pirate was the Blazing Claw.
 
It was used for thousands of years and was glamorised in countless holovids. Over the centuries many variants of the Blazing Claw were used but the basic identity of the symbol remained—a claw or claws surrounded by flames.
 
Why was any of this relevant and why was Lilla interested? Because a gang of pirates had been hitting Republic Remnant space and intelligence suggested their next target was outside of their jurisdiction, but the Republic figured that striking sooner — rather than waiting for them to return — was the best policy. 
 
Antisoch was an odd choice for a pirate attack, Lilla thought. It was in the far outer rim for a start, in the Kalax system. Maybe it was a recruiting ground for the pirates? Lilla didn’t know, but she was expected to find out.
 
So, she dropped out of hyperspace and contemplated her next move. Head down to the surface of the planet — to the one city of note, Achirak — or remain here and scout for potential pirate signs.
 
 

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#2
Nicair Claden

Nicair Claden

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Nicair had heard wind of such a place as Antisoch. It was whispered in rumors and shady bars in the most decrepit places the galaxy had to offer. Few knew of its existence and fewer still could actually find it. Danger rested on the planet's surface, and it was waiting to be awoken. He had stowed away on a ship inhabited by a fairly important looking woman bound for the planet. What he did know of the planet was that any trek to even its system was more than likely to be a one way trip, he didn't want to waste the credits on a ship. In truth he wasn't entirely sure why he was taking the risk, all he knew was that something drew him there. Something old, something primal. Now was as good a time as any to make his presence known to his pilot, if they were going to die in the cold of space they may as well be acquainted.

 

"I'd prefer you take your hands off the controls. Don't want to make a sudden move and get blown to pieces."

 

All he could marginally hope for was that she was following her own leads and not on orders from above. The fewer people that know about the planet and its inhabitants the better.

 

Lilla Syrin


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

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"Hullcracker"

Beskar'gam

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#3
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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The Force was always a good indicator of potential trouble – and Lilla trusted it implicitly. But sometimes it was like a well-meaning friend – it made the sort of noises that suggested it wasn’t entirely happy with a situation, but failed to deliver any concrete evidence, or even let you know what – specifically – it was unhappy about.

 
Lilla had felt the warning signs but had not been able to place the exact nature of the issue – and had foolishly decided to assume it was to do with the upcoming mission. She had followed a lead, and in the interests of expediency and secrecy, had filed only a nominal report about her movements. As long as she reported in on a regular basis, no questions would be asked about her precise location.
 
But eventually, the gentle warning signs became more akin to a hammer blow to the head as Lilla sensed someone heading to the cockpit – it was his own thoughts and emotions that tipped her off, as opposed to anything specific the Force did. So, she put her mental barrier back up – for her own sake as much as her unexpected guest – and braced herself for his arrival.
 
Lilla removed her hands from the controls as requested. Given she hadn’t decided if she should remain out here in space or head down to the planet’s surface, it was scarcely a hardship.
 
“And what reason is there for me to have the pleasure of your company?” she asked. He could be anything really: one of the pirates, a member of a rival crew, someone who thought she was in league with the pirates, or even just someone who refused to pay the price of a ticket here – not that she could understand why anyone would choose to head to the planet.
 
Most importantly, none of the options that flashed through her mind were positive, and so she gently connected with the Force. If she had to throw up a Force Barrier, time would be of the essence. 
 

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#4
Nicair Claden

Nicair Claden

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"No reason that either of us will like I expect." She had the air of a Jedi about her, he could tell. That might not be the best thing once they got on the surface, if they got on the surface. Nicair was trying to think of a proper answer to explain why he had played stowaway, but he couldn't. There really wasn't any reason to come here. He was still surprised the place existed. In truth he wasn't that well armed. All he had were his tomahawk, his beskad, and a certain blaster that he had taken off of a pirate. The design of the piece he had never seen before and what it did. Well, best left to the imagination what it did. The tool was his starting point, he wanted more. The hushed whispers that were spoken when he showed anyone the weapon stoked the fires of his curiosity. Was that really why he was here? To get more weapons like the one on his hip? Not the pirates that seem to be using the planet as their headquarters?

 

"I'm not going to hurt you if that's what you're thinking. Once we- if we get on planet you're my only way off. If they haven't contacted you about why you're here they will soon. You better have a good answer. For both our sakes."

 

Lilla Syrin


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

Qf1uViN.pngQWukf80.pngXKqZSBU.pngW4K5leF.png

"Hullcracker"

Beskar'gam

Into_the_darkness_batman.jpg


#5
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla listened and remain still. She did not get the impression her passenger was trigger happy, but why take the risk. So, she remained sitting, with her back to him, and her hands in plain sight – well away from the ship’s controls.

 
She took the initial silence as her stowaway deciding how much to tell her. Or think of a set of demands of course. But terrorists and kidnappers tended to have these things worked out in advance. His appearance felt more opportunistic than that.
 
Lilla smiled, not that her visitor would see, unless he could see her reflection in the transparisteel in front of her – with the blackness of space beyond.
 
“I have zero interest in hurting you, by the way. Believe me, that’s not going to happen. And my health is less of a concern to me than yours is. So please tell me, who is going to contact me and why do I need a good answer? Your life may depend on the frankness of your answer.”
 

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#6
Nicair Claden

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"They'll kill us both if they don't like what you tell them. I don't personally have any experience with the inhabitants down there but what I've heard, they'll shoot first and never ask a question." He was antsy, always was in a spacecraft. So little control of where he was and where he was going. Not least of which was little control over who was going to blow him up. 

 

Lilla Syrin


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

Qf1uViN.pngQWukf80.pngXKqZSBU.pngW4K5leF.png

"Hullcracker"

Beskar'gam

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#7
Regor Kalanic

Regor Kalanic

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Regor was on the space station orbiting the planet. It wasn't very often that he personally oversaw the transfer of product but this time was a special occasion. The pirates that were supposed to be returning his credits had been siphoning a little off the top with each transaction. This just wouldn't do, and it was certainly not the way he did business. Regor was a wealthy man and held more power than the monarch- his people, the Sociph called their king Alark. It's literal translation was something along the lines of "target" or, "they who will be killed". Revolutions happened very frequently on Antisoch, but Regor? Regor was a constant. He supplied both sides and played the two against each other. A revolution couldn't happen without his designs, and everyone knew it. He didn't get to where he was by letting scum skim off the top.

 

Though, because he was the most important individual on the planet he liked to express his power through small ways. One of those ways was taking over the station and decided who would be allowed passage onto the planet and who wouldn't. The phrase "not allowed passage" on Antisoch was code for "blasted from the sky". Just like on the surface he held the lives of creatures in his hands, and he relished it.

 

"That ship there, I don't recognize it. Hail them, I'll speak." The Sociph were a xenophobic people, they usually couldn't tell one faction's ship from the rest. What they could recognize were return customers. The ship looked expensive, and thus the inhabitant could be wealthy. The man running the coms turned to him and nodded. Show time.

 

"This is Regor Kalanic hailing unknown vessel. State your business or be destroyed." It was a bit of a cliche to phrase it like that. But it just rocked his jollies when he could say it.

 

Lilla Syrin


"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste."

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#8
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla’s uninvited guest was not much help — but the Jedi was not going to push matters. He was either paranoid or was stressed by the threat of what might happen.

 
Or both of course.
 
But before Lilla could understand which, they were hailed.
 
Lilla had to think fast. Her stowaway had raised the stakes but not provided any tangible help in dealing with what could be her last conversation. All she knew was that the plates chose this planet for a reason. And they weren’t local — it was more likely they were here for a hit, or to broker a deal. 
 
Fortunately the pirates — any pirates for that matter — had a bad reputation.
 
“I have information…about the pirates.” She was hoping it would be enough to pique interest, and sufficient to get someone talking for long enough for her to ascertain on what terms the locals were with the pirates. 
 
She turned her head and glanced at her guest, shrugging her shoulders, clearly seeking some sort of feedback.
 

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#9
Nicair Claden

Nicair Claden

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Nicair couldn't help but wince at her words. Almost on reflex his hands went to his weapons to provide him some form of comfort. That's when he remember the pistol he had taken off the corpse of a pirate crew. He had a name he didn't recognize and he struggled to remember it. He mouthed the words "Move" to the woman and took over at the coms.

 

"I have something you'll want to see. It's from.. Tor'e." He had little idea if he was pronouncing the word correctly. All he could really do was wait. He looked over at the woman and gave her a shrug of his own.

 

Lilla Syrin


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

Qf1uViN.pngQWukf80.pngXKqZSBU.pngW4K5leF.png

"Hullcracker"

Beskar'gam

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#10
Regor Kalanic

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Regor couldn't help but grin to himself. It was more of a sneer than anything.

 

"You hear that everyone? They know about the pirates." His laughter was deep and foreboding. The others joined in. He was about to give the order to destroy the ship when another voice chimed in from the ship. It was somewhat familiar and spoke of someone Regor knew. Tor'e was a pirate who would transport weapons and other materials to and from Antisoch. The man was a fool and was sure to get himself killed, but Regor needed certain things for his lifestyle, and better to use an idiot than a wiser man. All Tor'e needed was a specially designed pistol in exchange for his services. Tor'e wasn't his real name, in truth Regor had forgotten it within the first few moments of meeting the man. Tor'e was more of an insult than anything else, one the man had earned very quickly.

 

"You will board the station in dock 7. You will remain inside the ship until you are told to open the hatch where you will exit and stand on a yellow line. You are not to move once you reach that line. Do you understand? If you don't you will be killed." He didn't really care that Tor'e was dead, but he would need to know who had killed his glorified courier and attempt to work up some kind of deal for the things he needed. It was Tor'e Regor was expecting.

 

Lilla Syrin


"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste."

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#11
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla wondered how the conversation would develop. Accomplished Jedi Masters had been known to exert Force influence over considerable distances – as long as they could see someone, even on a view screen. But audio only? Lilla doubted it was even possible.

 
But at least her effort to start the conversation led them somewhere. It prompted her stowaway into action and he took over the comms, as Lilla moved across into the co-pilot’s seat. 
 
Tor’e? It was not a name she’d come across in her exploits so far.
 
A few moments passed, and their ship hadn’t been blown to smithereens. That was positive.
 
And then came the instruction to dock. Lilla raised an eyebrow and looked at the man now in the pilot’s seat. The name had evidently done the trick. Not that Lilla figured they were home and dry yet. In fact, she felt they were treading water – and with a heavy boot on the top of their heads.
 
She laid in the course and flicked the ship onto autopilot. “Now, tell me all you know before I have to make up any more feeble lies,” she said. “Then I can fill you in on any blanks you have – but I suspect you’ve got more of the picture than I have.”
 

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#12
Nicair Claden

Nicair Claden

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"Right. I don't know much. Nothing concrete. I know that old captains talk about this place in hushed whispers because they're afraid something or someone will hear them. I know they've taken their crews down to the surface and some of them simply vanished while the inhabitants give smiles to chill the souls of the rest. And from what I can tell if you or I don't play this right we will die and nothing, not your Force, not my armor, and not even your Republic will be enough to stop them." It had been a long while since Nicair had said so much in such a short amount of time. Something set him on edge about this place.

 

Lilla Syrin


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

Qf1uViN.pngQWukf80.pngXKqZSBU.pngW4K5leF.png

"Hullcracker"

Beskar'gam

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#13
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla listened patiently. Her stowaway’s words were compelling and she did not doubt every word he uttered was true.

 
But his download lacked anything Lilla could use once they docked.
 
“Specifics,” LIlla asked, “I need specifics. A name, a place, a shipment. Anything to make them think we know more than we do. Because that way, we can’t so easily be discarded.” 
 

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#14
Nicair Claden

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"Tor'e was a pirate on the way here. I checked his starchart when it docked. Whole course was planned out. Had the rough coordinates in place ahead of time. Couple of his crew has weapons similar to the one on my hip but less patched together. There were some empty crates with writing I'd never seen before. Something used to be in them and nobody cared enough to drop them off or close them again. Probably stolen I'd imagine. Dropped off quickly maybe. The men were fools. Anything to add?"

 

Lilla Syrin


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

Qf1uViN.pngQWukf80.pngXKqZSBU.pngW4K5leF.png

"Hullcracker"

Beskar'gam

Into_the_darkness_batman.jpg


#15
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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“No, other than the pirates have been hitting Republic Remnant space. This seemed to be an odd next stop. I can only surmise they saw their booty as being valuable here. Maybe they stole to order.”

 
“And given blasters are ten a credit, what is so special about these ones? Maybe that’s the clue we need to look at. We’ll be docking in a few minutes, so we don’t have much time."
 
Did Lilla trust the man? No. But that didn’t mean she automatically distrusted. At the moment, he probably needed her, but she would be wary if that variable changed. He came across as a survivor – and they tended to have but one objective – staying alive at all costs.
 

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#16
Nicair Claden

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"I don't know. But apparently whatever was in those crates was worth coming back empty handed for. Haven't used the one I have to see what it can do. If things go out of our favor we'll know the answer before the end. When we get there, keep as calm as possible. I think I know the kind of being we'll be dealing with. Or a variant." Nicair ran a quick scan of his armors system to make sure everything was functioning. Blasting his way to a few more minutes of life might be entirely what's needed.

 

Lilla Syrin


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

Qf1uViN.pngQWukf80.pngXKqZSBU.pngW4K5leF.png

"Hullcracker"

Beskar'gam

Into_the_darkness_batman.jpg


#17
Regor Kalanic

Regor Kalanic

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He was a large individual compared to the other Sociph around him, even in their armor he stood a few inches taller and had much more mass than they. He stood out in a crowd, and he wouldn't have it any other way. As he had learned at a young age, body placement was everything. He always stood in front of the station guards whenever he would meet anyone here. The distance was increased when Tor'e was around. The human didn't pose any threat to him. It signified he felt superior to those with weapons and armor and was completely comfortable distancing himself from his protection. His own personal guard weren't here as he hadn't expected this little meeting. He was fairly sure he wouldn't need them anyway.

 

The ship entered the dock through the shielding and he heaved a thick sigh. He wasn't sure if they could see him or not, but he wanted to make himself appear even larger than he was. His cardiovascular and respiratory system were strong, he could hold his breath for some time before he needed to breath. It was a useful trick when working with gasses. His hands were behind his back as the landing procedures engaged.


"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste."

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#18
Lilla Syrin

Lilla Syrin

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Lilla nodded as she listened. “It does not appear we are going into this meeting with firm information that merits keeping us alive. I suspect it is the unknown that we have in our favour. We know a little, and they don’t know how much that little is.”

 
“So, let’s keep our cards close to our chests and see what we can pick up on to strengthen our case.”
 
The ship made all the appropriate noises to suggest they were being automatically docked and Lilla grabbed her cloak and put it on. She debated keeping her saber hidden – or in plain view. Both had merits and demerits, so she opted to keep it visible. A Jedi was who she was, so there was limited point in pretending otherwise. She did not believe she would scare their host into compliance – but perhaps they would trust her words if they were aware of her calling.
 
“Well,” she said, as the ship settled and they headed to the cargo bay and exit ramp – “There’s no going back now.”
 
And then the ramp lowered.
 

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#19
Regor Kalanic

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The two individuals that exited the ship couldn't have been more different. The male was a few inches taller than the female. While her attire spoke of elegance and grace, his aura was that of brutality and an almost wild nature. She walked with a careful and measured gait. His, though forceful and direct, showed that he knew how to be light on his feet. The two both had clear marks of identification on their person. The woman carried with her the weapon of a galactic order that Regor had studied on but couldn't place the name. I "lightblade" or something along those lines was what he believed it was called. A mark of status and respect to some, and vehemence to others. The male's T visor was easy to identify. Regor had been drawn to the Mandalorians since he had read of them. They valued something called "honor". It wasn't a word his people had a name for. To his understanding it was something completely unnecessary and at times a hindrance. He made a note to at least ask them about their chosen fields. For his own benefit.

 

"My first questions will be to the male of your party as the weapon on his belt is the reason you are both still alive. While I am asking these questions the female is not to speak. If she does silence her. Understand?" The words were as much to his own guards as to the two gathered. He didn't even wait to hear their response. "Now, how did you get that? I don't recommend lying." His accent was become clearer the more he spoke. It was a rougher tone, favored the consonants and put less emphasis on vowels. The t's and "k" sounds were sharper than common basic. He gave them both a smile before focusing on the male. "And one more thing, remove your helmet. I want to see your face." Another test of these new cultures he had found.

 

Lilla Syrin


"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste."

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#20
Nicair Claden

Nicair Claden

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He hesitated for the smallest of moments before placing his hands on and subsequently removing his helmet. Now that his eyes and face could be seen he did everything he could to keep them focused on the man standing across from him. He was large and muscular underneath what Nicair assumed to be some sort of business or noble attire. He didn't recognize it from anything he had seen before. But the eyes, he'd seen eyes like that before. They were the eyes of a killer. The thing that put him on edge the most, however? Everywhere he looked he saw the same thing. The man across from him looked hungry, it made him slightly uneasy.

 

"I took it from the corpse of a pirate named Tor'e. I stole aboard his ship and killed his crew. I thought they would have valuables aboard but they didn't. Just empty crates." What he said caused the man to raise an eyebrow and tilt his head. Nicair had always felt like a predator amongst prey most anywhere he went. He had looked at more than a few individuals like that. He didn't like the roles being reversed. Nicair kept his gaze fixed and his hands at his sides, ready to reach for a weapon at a moments notice. The man seemed to chew the inside of his cheek and shifted his gaze to the woman. Nicair noticed that they hadn't actually been introduced. Shame they might die without even learning the other's name.


"What have you become when even nightmares fear you?"

Qf1uViN.pngQWukf80.pngXKqZSBU.pngW4K5leF.png

"Hullcracker"

Beskar'gam

Into_the_darkness_batman.jpg