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Freighter Tilbuin (outbound from Reytha)
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Kastor Antilles
Cray


Joined: 14 Jun 2009
Posts: 417

 Post Posted: Thu, June 23rd 2011 03:09am    Post subject: Freighter Tilbuin (outbound from Reytha)
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Veins pounding, he bounded a short distance, hearing his beat echoing in his eardrums, echoing throughout the cold, dark space around him. One of hundreds, he knew; one of hundreds of corridors, one abandoned tunnel among the many laid out in a gargantuan array, interconnected, leading eventually to the pulsating, palpitating, warm heart of the hive. And just one stray ant could make the dead tunnels come to life.

The sweat absorbed into his clothes made him feel closer to the corridor, cooling his body until he felt like he was just part of the air, part of the artificial, piercing air around him. The very environment seemed to wick away his comfort, draining his being until he was nothing more than what was around him: a whisper, or not even that. Whispers would be consumed by the dank. He felt intrusive, daring to breathe and irritate the stagnate miasma around him.

But he was indeed an intruder.


He could feel the heat being transformed in the center of his body, the source of energy and strength fueling his movements. He was lucid, his consciousness—not his limbs—moving him forward, his mind a propeller which sailed his matter through the other matter around him. He felt his limbs as if they were only reminders: his fingers on his blaster, his feet briefly acquainting with the ground, his eyelids showering an unfamiliar film of warmth over his eyes.

His heartbeat was almost in sync with the methodical vibrations coursing through the ship beneath him, and those were the only sounds he heard. He could forget himself here, within the labyrinthine corridors in the godsforsaken corners of the gnarled freighter. He was silent, silent as the dead, his training polishing his every movement until he was nothing more than a wave passing through an ocean. Silent as the dead.


"Frak!"

His boot snagged a seam and Kastor Antilles' knee collided into one of the rusted exhaust pipes clawing from the floor, his blaster clattering to the floor. It hurt like hell. He looked over at the figure next to him. It accused him with a sharp, irate glare.

Kastor restrained the urge to reach down to rub his leg and instead growled voicelessly. "Watch that," he warned listlessly, met with another blast lancing out from the Death Stare. Greth Celchu quickly turned her eyes back into the dimensionless void in front of them, wordless as she moved swiftly past the wincing Kastor.

A minor snag, Kastor figured as he retrieved his blaster from the ground. He was satisfied with what they'd done so far. They were in the belly of a behemoth, an archaic cargo vessel. He had seen the bodies of these beasts littered throughout Mantell's wastes, capsized and torn apart, as long as New Coronet and twice as ugly. He'd assumed they were hundreds of years old, rotting since some engineer in the Old Republic had came to his senses and decommissioned the relics.

Now he was sure his assumption was wrong: this wreck of a ship had to be thousands of years old. The lasers on their infiltrator ship barely were required: the docking clamp nearly punched a hole in the weakened metal in the dorsal of the freighter. Greth had assured him not to underestimate the hulking ship, though; the areas of the vehicle that mattered were repaired and reinforced, strong enough to protect the precious cargo from all but the most determined, well-equipped enemies. Kastor bet the men unfortunate enough to be guarding that cargo were just as thick-skinned.

Fortunately, they weren't going anywhere near the cargo. The ship had launched from Reytha and was bound for Ryloth, carrying berries and grain in its massive refrigerated hangars, as well as livestock, some droids, some vehicles, and the obligatory sprinkling of illegal weapons and spice—that was assured, they sneaked into every shipment on these clunkers, Kastor knew—like every load this vessel had transported along its route for the past century. It was boring, unassuming cargo, barely worth the salary of the guards used to supervise it and the skeleton crew used to move it. The tiny complement of men and women on the ship was almost laughable compared to the size. Years ago, the datafile had said, these ships were loaded with men who actually used these abandoned service corridors, when valuable cargo brimmed from the ship. Now, improved droid technology and plummeting commodity prices had left large swathes of the design unnecessary and unoccupied; but, luckily for the NRI, refitting the ships wasn't worth the cost. It had let Kastor and Greth easily gain access to the ship. Their only worries were the occasional binary load lifter or the young crewmen unfortunate enough to become lost.

But this ship was special. It was a civilian ship, but it had been infiltrated long before Kastor and Greth had cut into its bowels. There was a dreg onboard—a mercenary with connections to a criminal organization, the Chief had said. The ship was unassuming enough, traveling on a route and transporting goods that had probably not changed since the route was established. It was a perfect target for abuse.

Kastor heard the metallic clunks coming off to his left. He kicked his eyes towards Greth, his blue irises barely catching enough light to warn her. She moved closer to him, the two of them moving down another branch from the main corridor. After the sound of the droid passed into the depths of the ship, he risked the chance to look at the small screen on the underside of his forearm. The dim light almost blinded him, but the reading was clear: they were close now. For a brief moment, Greth's eyes connected with Kastor's, but they quickly turned away from each other: she began moving down the corridor. His eyes bounced back and lingered a moment too long, watching her black form until it melted into the shadow, allowing himself an unguarded look at her, the first in weeks, before he followed.

The last eight months had been difficult. His escape from his home and flight into Coruscant hadn't been met with an incredibly warm welcome by the New Republic, just as Greth had warned on the day they left. He remembered the day well: he'd seen the military headquarters on Coruscant before he'd even seen the skyline, brought straight to it by Greth's ship. They didn't even allow him into the meeting; he was part of the Resistance that had captured and nearly killed Greth, and that was all they cared about. When he finally did stand on the balcony of the building, gazing at the alien skyscape, he'd had no idea of his next move. With nowhere to go and turned away by the military, Kastor had felt entirely alone and out of place, regretting he'd ever left Ord Mantell. In Coronet he'd known every alley and street; he didn't even know if Coruscant had alleys and streets.

He knew he couldn't make it on Coruscant as a civilian, and he didn't, thanks to Greth. They'd played to his strengths: Greth had convinced her bosses to admit him as an Intelligence agent. And it was true, he had plenty of experience: who made a better spy than someone who had spent his life evading spies? But he'd started from square one, in basic training. On the whole, perhaps he'd lost more than he'd gained...

But now he was done and on his first real mission, with Greth, anyway. He trailed behind the woman as they neared the computer junction. The wires trailing along the wall were an apparent clue: the technology was far too new, even Kastor could tell, for a freighter so old. The hull may have readily submitted to their entry, but cracking the security system had taken longer than NRI's best slicers had estimated. Their mission now was to find hints of this shadow agent, this mercenary, and track him down. He could be anywhere in the ship.

Kastor brushed past Greth and felt the sudden, unpleasant tension in his arm, probably echoed underneath Greth's own suit. He clenched his body to avoid a second more of contact, awkwardly twitching towards the open corridor. Avoiding her eyes, he moved forward, past the dimly lit alcove, his boot splashing quietly in some oil. He held up his blaster, briefly shining the attached light down the corridor. Nothing.

Now it was time for Greth to show her expertise, he thought as he turned back around. He holstered his blaster into the holster springing from his dark clothing. Looking at the console a few inches from Greth's body, he waited. She waited. "What's the next move?" He forced out quietly, belabored.

Tag: Han
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Greth Celchu
Han


Joined: 11 Nov 2009
Posts: 11
Location: The Zombine

 Post Posted: Wed, June 29th 2011 10:22pm    Post subject:
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They were in a deep, dark tunnel - one of many that branched out and wound their way tirelessly around the dilapidated freighter. The overhead lighting winked in and out at random intervals, solidifying the fact that this hunk of junk was in desperate need of maintenance; it was a surprise it even had the willpower to still function properly. After all, they were essentially standing within a dark, empty husk, devoid of any kind of life. It was the perfect front for those individuals who didn't wish to be found. For those looking for a new way of life or for those looking for a way to exploit it for those that so desperately clung to it. Criminals. Pirates. Terrorists. They went by many names, but they all had the same goal in mind.

Normally, it would be the military's job to handle such threats, what the NR liked to refer to as the 'big guns.' Those guys were used to raining fire and brimstone down on such threats, effectively wiping them from the galaxy without even batting an eye. It was thorough and quick - a method in which Greth would be thankful for right about now, but that's not what the big wigs back on Coruscant had wanted. Instead, they wanted answers. Something about this freighter had scared them, rattled them right to the core. This vessel wasn't just housing a simple terrorist organization or a ragtag group of pirates. It went much deeper than that and now that the NR had noticed their activities and labeled them as a real threat, it was time to take them out. Or rather, incarcerate their leader so the big wigs could have their fun breaking him and reducing him to a worthless heap of a human being.

Sometimes the galaxy wasn't fair and she hated it, but she was only a lowly minion, forced to carry out her duties with a smile and a nod as not to upset their false sense of balance. Where was the justice? The democracy that the NR so meticulously preached for decades? Things just weren't the same anymore, not since the signing of the Unification Treaty. They thought they were bettering the galaxy by advocating peace, but slowly, things were spiraling dangerously out of control. It was only a matter of time...

For now, however, Greth was stuck with a job to do. She would carry out this mission and she would get commended for a job well done...

That's when she heard the shuffling of feet, followed by a grunt issuing from behind her. Greth turned, issuing a stern glare as her eyes met those of her partner for this particular assignment, Kastor Antilles.

He had never been one to be light on his feet and so, when he tripped, she did not appear all that surprised. She viewed him as more than a bit clumsy when he tried too hard and she would reprimand him until he learned to relax; to go with the flow and disappear into his surroundings. But all in all, he was still learning...in more ways than one.

With his background in stealth and espionage on the fields of Mantell, he had been a prime candidate for the NRI's next pet project. Greth had stood behind him, funded his training and stuck by his side through several tight engagements. They had become an unstoppable force in the field...until things turned personal. Kastor had been neglected most of his young life growing up around New Coronet and so, when it came to expressing feelings and showing affection, he came up short. It had been a mistake and the fallout still had Fred reeling.

She shook her head angrily, trying to clear her thoughts of her inner most demons to focus on the mission. That's what was truly important - not Kastor.

Damn him. Damn him to all the hells there ever were.

"What's the next move?" he broke into the silence that surrounded them, distracting her momentarily as they approached a command terminal.

Greth scowled under tired brows, refusing to look at him as she thrust a hand into her carry-all and retrieved a datapad and a link to connect it to the terminal. "We hook up and try to locate this target of yours," she explained bitterly, struggling to control her emotions after being reminded of such a twisted time of her life.

Placing the link into the jack, she brought the datapad to life and began to type furiously into the keypad. The screen lit up to a nice shade of blue, displaying a complete three-dimensional layout of the freighter for them to follow. A single red line traversed through the empty corridors as she continued to type, homing in on a hidden signal a fair distance from their current position. After a moment, the end of the red line began to flash and soon, several ghostly white forms began to appear, indicating lifeforms deep within the bowels of the ship.

"There," Greth said evenly, pointing to the position on the screen. "All the lifeforms I was able to scan are concentrated in that one spot. It's a good bet that our target is hiding out among them."

Reaching back into the carry-all, she produced a second datapad and hooked it up to the first. She waited another moment for the data to filter and download before handing it off to Kastor.

"Don't lose that," she scolded mildly, finally turning to look at him straight on. "It contains a full layout of the freighter and highlights what routes you are to take to reach them. You're going to go and retrieve our prize and bring him back here." She hit a button on the terminal, bringing up another screen. "Now, not all those routes are safe and some may even be booby-trapped, so I'm going to stay right here and coach you through. That way you won't get yourself killed. Understand?"

She didn't voice it, but it was also an excuse to get him away from her for a while. She needed her space to concentrate and seeing Kastor's face again certainly wasn't helping.

Tag: Cray
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