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Valia Eross
Cray


Joined: 30 Jun 2010
Posts: 4

 Post Posted: Thu, July 01st 2010 02:48pm    Post subject: Union Plexus (Holonet datacenter)
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41:1:11

The intermittent periods of still silence in the shaded corridors did not conceal the tension of the night. The darkness was pierced by scarlet lines, continuously flashing through the halls like lightning, the shrieking sounds of ignited plasma echoing like thunder. The air smelled and felt like a thunderstorm; it stank of ozone and was warm and humid. Just moments ago, it had been sterile and cool, conditioned to the optimum environment for the indwelling of thousands of computers.

No help awaited outside the Union Plexus datacenter - there was no chance for reinforcement. It was better that way. The building was cut off from the rest of Corulag. To an observer, the austere, many-chambered edifice was as it always had been; the exterior displays projected news to passing pedestrians, and the transceivers inside were still broadcasting to the rest of the galaxy.

But inside, things were different. All lighting, aside from the basic backup systems, had been taken down. The guards were dead. The security systems were fried. And even now, somewhere up ahead, a team carried a potent explosive into the brain of the hive.

The Union Plexus was the closest thing the Holonet had to a central hub. Destroying it would send millions of relay stations into disarray. It would stab a blade into the sternum of a galaxy that had already experienced great wounds in the previous weeks.

Valia Eross took cover behind a data terminal alcove. The bolts flew past her face, illuminating her abyssal brunette hair and almost vaporizing some of it. Up ahead, the men were trying to prevent them from accessing the primary processor and transmitter, the virtual heart of the facility. There were only a few foes left. It had not been an easy fight, but victory was in sight.

The woman tightened the clasps on her thin synthleather gloves. The fitting dark gauntlets reached to her wrists, lending the benefit of grip to her sweated hands. Her accompanying suit was more concerned with efficiency and concealment rather than protection. The semifirm padded fabric ran from her shoulders down the length of her form, and the lighter bodyglove underneath was revealed around the very top of her triceps and the knees, allowing her the free movement of her legs and arms. She enjoyed having the surface area on her forearms exposed, to allow for evaporation. It was functional - and it didn't choke the body like some other showy personal combat garments.

Valia took a moment to reach around and tie up her hair. The black strands had fallen from their ponytail during their activities. Fighting with hair flying around everywhere was an annoyance. It was usually tucked into the neck of her clothing in times like this, but when she moved, it often ripped out and came undone totally. She put force into her dexterous fingers as she knotted and subdued the hair, making sure it wouldn't fall apart again. She didn't have time for that sort of crap.

She took her rifle into her hands once again and peaked out of the inset hiding place. A crimson line whizzed past her face. She bit out a curse. Valia's eyes darted to the opposite side of the hallway, finally settling on a a familiar, blushed figure. "Aryss!" Valia called, her voice crisp and focused, although an amount of frustration was evidenced. "For Krida's sake, we can not stay pinned down here forever! We are running out of time," she enunciated to drive her point across, then tucked her head back in as another bolt came dangerously close. "And they seem rather intent on killing us!"

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Luna Aryss
Zara


Joined: 30 Jun 2010
Posts: 3

 Post Posted: Thu, July 01st 2010 11:37pm    Post subject:
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"Then we can happily return the favor," came the partner's reply. In a flash of black and red, she had spun out from her cover and extended a pistol. She could have simply fired from behind some kind of protection, but she didn't want any. The weapon in her hand was difficult enough to aim on its own, much less from behind cover. To get this perfect shot, she needed nothing in her way. The crimson bolts whizzed past her left and right with her falling somewhere in the middle, a strange calming sensation washing over her with every passing second while her heart raced in the moment.

Perfect.

Two loud shots rang out within the hallway, not from a blaster, but from something far more distinctive. Between each shot was the unique sound of mechanical grinding, of small metal pieces working themselves back into place to fire again. Luna's slug-thrower was unmistakable in combat, even to the most unfamiliar opponent. However, after her second shot, more energized bolts charged their way down the hall and Luna was forced to retreat into a nearby alcove. A single column of smoke rose up from the barrel of her weapon, which she quickly placed in the air next to her head.

"Still one left," she reported without even a glance toward Valia's position. She didn't have to mention whether or not her shots had hit their marks. Both women already knew they had. "You want him?"

While she didn't reply, Valia simply swung out into the open, narrowly avoiding a shot to the arm as she moved. After a brief second of aiming, a quick burst of bolts peppered the walls where the remaining goon was hiding. No doubt thinking that he was clear, he popped out to deliver another round of fire, only to meet a follow-up hail from Valia's rifle, which promptly dropped him to the floor with a cluttered thud.

Luna peeked out to survey the damage, and upon seeing that they were alone for the moment, she stepped out from the wall and brushed some dust from her bodysuit. While the black material covered most of her body, it left a space on her chest open along with a large section of her back. The suit left her hands uncovered as well, but she compensated for that by a set of maroon, synthleather gloves. While Valia was usually dressed for functionality, Luna always preferred to have a bit of flare to herself, explaining her unusual taste in weaponry on top of it.

With a free hand, she reached up and flicked the communicator mounted near her shoulder, then spun around to make sure they weren't being followed. "Alright, we're right outside the main complex. Where are they all hiding?" she asked as her eyes continually scanned back and forth for any strange movement.

"From what I heard, it sounds like they're holed up in one of the main databases, three floors up from your position," came the reply over the comm. Geren Tofyr, while not someone one would want on his side in a firefight, was the one person who could seemingly hack into anything. Any access terminal could be a powerful weapon in his hands, and was often the key to a successful mission. He was no stranger to working with the two women, even if they did tend to frequently insult him.

"They were stupid enough to link their comm channels through the Holonet itself, so getting in to listen was like... I would say taking candy from a baby, but I think even a baby would have more common sense than this," he explained, even if no one asked. Luna barely listened to most of his words, instead turning back toward their objective and making her way toward the door with cautious steps.

"So what're they saying now?" she asked.

"I don't know!" came Geren's answer almost immediately. "I was listening in, but I suddenly got booted from the system and haven't been able to reconnect!"

Luna furrowed her brow, this time actually paying attention to what he was saying. She gave a nod toward Valia, who returned the nod and continued moving forward, giving Luna a chance to hang back and focus on the conversation for the moment. If there was something suspicious going on, they certainly needed to know about it. "Did they find out?"

"Not likely. The odds of them finding and tracing a single signal coming out that building would be..." Geren trailed off, allowing Luna the chance to jump in and demand he finish.

"Would be what?"

"Would be... A very, very small number! The only other reasonable way that a signal like this would get cut is if they were jamming a whole bunch of them at once."

"Why would they be doing that?" Luna asked, glancing over to Valia to find her waving to get moving. Luna didn't waste any more time, and picked up the slack, moving through the open doorway and into the hallways of the main complex.

"I... Don't think they are. Give me a minute," Geren noted, sounding obviously distracted by something. Soon after, his comm signal cut out, leaving the women alone with their thoughts once more. Valia looked toward Luna with a curious eyebrow, which was only returned with a confused shrug. He was like that at times. They had more pressing matters to deal with, anyway.

Like finding a turbolift.

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Valia Eross
Cray


Joined: 30 Jun 2010
Posts: 4

 Post Posted: Tue, July 13th 2010 04:53pm    Post subject:
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Taking point, Valia moved through the dim hall, idly thinking about Luna's conversation. Perhaps they were too late. If the comm channels were already being shut down, that meant the operation was already underway, and she and Aryss were lagging behind. But the bomb had not yet been triggered; perhaps they could get there in time, assuming there was no more resistance.

That was what demanded their focus. The mission had to be finished. Pushing Geren's musings out of her mind, Valia came to the end of the corridor. She spied the turbolift before them, letting her rifle dangle at her side as she keyed the door.

At first, there was no response. Then, the vibration of whirring servos emanated from the tube. They hadn't cut the turbolift power systems online. That was their enemies' mistake. "Good to go," she grinned back at Luna as the doors parted. They both stepped into the waiting tram.

Now that Val had a moment of relief from the constant stealth and fighting, she could feel the adrenaline coursing through her body, pushing every organ past its usual operating level. She stared at the blank sheen of the polished metal around her, her mind wanting to analyze something. She ran through the scenario she would likely face on the central area: there was sure to be resistance, and time was essential. They would have to move fast and work as a single unit - fortunately, they were trained to do just that.

Before long, the lift came to a stop. Luna looked over at Valia, and they both raised their respective weapons. With a nod, the red woman pressed a button, and the doors opened.

Val stepped out into the hot room - it contained the majority of the Holonet servers - and surveyed the area. Another corridor was before them, and beyond it lay the nerve center of the entire building. She could see the great transceiver rising in the distance. Surprisingly, the hall was apparently empty; there were no men huddled along the alcoves, and there was no expected blockade of guards. There were no defenders left.

Frowning, Val moved forward and approached the hub. Ahead, she could see the goal. The dark, circular space, half the size of a city block, was lined by thousands of computers and readout screens. In the absence of the main lighting, the monitors' blue glow cast an eerie light around the circular room. Three other corridors led into the room, just like the passage whence they had just emerged. In the middle of it all was the massive spire of technology, rising from an inset pit in the floor and continuing out of the roof of the tall edifice. The tranmission tower was one of the most expensive and power-intensive civilian devices in the galaxy.

And at the root of the trunk, there was a large bomb.

Val stepped forward, seeing the team working on their device down below. They had reached the area unharmed. A group of ten were huddled around the device, preparing and initializing. They would be able to explode the bomb and execute the plan. With the Plexus destroyed, the galaxy would be set back by years, and be further destabilized. It was the perfect plan.

Val lifted her rifle and sent a bolt flying through the head of the chief technician.

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Luna Aryss
Zara


Joined: 30 Jun 2010
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 Post Posted: Thu, September 16th 2010 06:37pm    Post subject:
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The sudden ruckus caused all nine remaining men to spin in place and raise their weapons in defense. Most of them held rifles, but those that didn't were still armed with powerful pistols. Interesting armament for technicians, Luna thought. Of course, she knew better than to label these terrorists as humble technicians. They may have had their own justifications, but in the end, they were simply out to cause chaos. The kind of chaos Luna and Valia were trained to deal with.

Although it seemed certain that the room would erupt into a blaze of gunfire, everything froze. Luna and Val stood upon the raised edge, each with their weapons facing down the barrels of the ones pointed straight back up from below. It was a tense scene, made only worse by the fact that the right stray shot could cause unbelievable damage to the system. A delicate situation for a delicate mission.

"Now, now. You wouldn't want to do anything that might end... Unpleasantly for you," Luna mocked, keeping her pistol trained on one of the larger men. He was wearing armor, but it didn't matter for her anyway. She only needed one shot.

"You think you can stop us?" he replied, giving a pompous chuckle in reply to his own question. "The law can't even stop us around here! What makes you think you're not too late?"

"Good luck?" she answered, flashing a smile as well. Without taking her eyes off him, she took a few careful steps forward before continuing, "Besides, we've already taken care of your technician, so it looks like your plan is in a bit of a mess."

Another bout of booming laughter escaped from the man's disgusting lips. Apparently, something was funny about what she had said. Finally taking her eyes off of him, she scanned them slowly to the left until coming upon the bomb itself. Something was funny alright.

"You think we actually needed that idiot? His job was already done," he explained as he casually stepped his way over toward the setup. As he moved, his rifle dropped to his side and he was left defenseless. Luna thought it a curious decision, but it all became obvious soon enough when he leaned closer to the bomb and looked her dead in the eye. "Like I said," he mocked, "You can't stop us!"

All at once, her finger squeezed her trigger, letting her pistol's trademark explosion light up the end of the barrel and echo throughout the cavernous room. Although her bullet hit its target with pinpoint accuracy, sending the man slumping backward into a heap, he had already activated the device. Two red lights pulsed atop the bomb and despite that Luna had no idea what the count-down timer was set for, she knew it wasn't nearly long enough. As the room lit up with gunfire, Luna simply turned to her partner and spoke two simply words,

"Cover me!"

Val unleashed a hail of blaster bolts from her rifle as everyone scrambled for cover. Everyone other than Luna, that is. Instead, she dove head-first from the raised platform, narrowly avoiding a few shots as she moved. She landed into an awkward roll as she slid down the incline, but as she threw herself into her second sommersault, she felt herself skid upon flat ground again. As soon as she could, she planted her feet on the steel platform beneath and sprung up into a low posture as her pistol moved into position in front of her.

Instead of holding it up, she held it sideways as she swept it in an arc across three open targets. With flawless timing, she pulled the trigger, letting the weapon's recoil simply flow into the next shot. Time slowed as she moved and soon another shot was ringing out, and then another. In a matter of seconds, she had downed three men at once and without losing a step, she spun up to her feet and was aiming at another who was too busy focusing on Val to notice. That is, until he heard the sound of Luna's pisol, but by then it was far too late.

In the commotion, Luna hadn't had time to watch the others, but it seemed that Val was anything but inefficient. In such a short time, they had cleared the entire room aside from themselves. Maybe they had overestimated their opponents in the matter, or maybe they were just getting too good. Either way, they had a bomb to disarm.

Luna moved up to the device, holstered her pistol and immediately went to work. It wasn't complicated and before long, she had hacked her way in and disarmed it. The pulsing lights atop it quickly switched to a solid green, then turned off completely once she deactivated it. "We don't need anyone switching this thing back on," she noted to Val as she caught up.

"What now?" the hardened woman asked.

Luna smiled and tapped her comm before answering, "Extraction. You boys ready for us?"

"Ready and waiting," came the crackled response.

"We're on our way, providing we don't have any more inter—" before Luna could finish, every screen in the room went blank just long enough to plunge them into an eerie darkness. A moment later, the screens all snapped back to life, but this time all displaying an identical image; an Imperial officer, dressed in her finest uniform and ready to address the galaxy as a whole. Whatever it was, it was bad.

"—ruptions."

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Valia Eross
Cray


Joined: 30 Jun 2010
Posts: 4

 Post Posted: Fri, September 17th 2010 12:43am    Post subject:
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Seconds passed, masquerading as hours. “Greetings to the denizens of The Galaxy. I am Daara Zend, Grand Admiral of the Galactic Empire,“ the woman in white continued. Her image was reflected identically across the hundreds of monitors in the room, the brightness of her uniform illuminating the area like a bank of lights.

Valia was dumbfounded. Her eyes were transfixed on the image of the long-thought-dead Grand Admiral. When she was able to gather her bearings, she still didn’t know what to do. She turned to Aryss, half-jokingly saying, “maybe we should have let them blow it up.”

The other woman gave no response but an acknowledgment of her eyes. Part of Val wanted to go ahead and blow the Plexus, now. They had just acted, risking their lives, to preserve the galaxy’s Holonet system. The Plexus held addresses of millions of nodes of the Holonet. Its destruction by that terrorist group would have sent the galaxy into chaos.

Val had not conceived that by saving the system, she would allow the galaxy to descend into deeper chaos. Every holochannel across the galaxy was broadcasting this message from Zend. Every being in the galaxy was feeling the same shock that she was feeling at that moment. It was ironic that the truest unity in the galaxy was established through common fear.

As the woman lambasted the Remnant and the Republic—even demons can speak truth—Val turned to Aryss once again, feeling the need to keep speaking to keep Zend’s words from entering her mind. She couldn’t believe no one had known that Zend was coming. She felt angry at herself, even, for being surprised. She was not often surprised.

“Your suffering was not in vain, my friends. The true Empire has returned,“ Zend continued.


“We need to get back,” Val observed, holstering her blaster. “This place is going to be crawling with engineers and guards—they’re going to want to trace the transmission, and they’ll start here—“

Val’s explanation was cut off by blaster fire, originating from the corridor from which they had arrived. The other three corridors were empty, for the time being, but there was no cover in between the central computer and the doorways. Val again drew her weapon, falling behind the monolithic transmitter to avoid the blaster fire. She looked over at her companion, a look of determination on her face: they would escape, because the galaxy needed them now more than ever.

“Long live the Empire.“

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