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Imperial Pardon

Posted on Thu Jun 10th, 2021 @ 8:36am by Reave & Kalen "Rex" Vickers & Thane & Bomoor Thort & Amare & Mentis

Chapter: Chapter VI: The Last Bastion
Location: Holding Cell, Unknown location, Ravelin, Bastion
Timeline: Evening (Day Two, Week Four)

The shimmering blue wall of light came down behind Mentis as he was escorted into the holding cell, once again stripped of his weapons and other personal belongings. His body still ached from his fight with Palidor and, for much of the journey, he had relied on Rex for support as he limped his way forwards, ever aware of the Imperial escort behind and in front.

He now found himself back in a holding cell with the familiar faces of Rex and Reave, now stripped of their possessions too (although the Jawa had made sure to keep hold of his wide-brimmed hat as usual), with Amare secluded away in the corner of the cell, seemingly deep in meditation.

Mentis turned around to face the troopers outside the cell, “How long are we being held here?” he questioned as firmly as he could muster, “I did as Tarses asked and defeated Palidor. Is his death not satisfactory enough for his Imperial mightiness?”

There was a muffled chuckle from inside the closest trooper’s sealed helmet, “You think you killed knight Palidor? Didn’t you know that was just a suit?”

“What?” the Rattataki said reflexively, squinting with confusion, “I could feel him inside that suit and I very clearly saw him explode.”

“Seems the boys in development were right,” the trooper continued with controlled mirth, “It is good enough to fool a Jedi. I don’t pretend to know how it works, but you just busted up a load of metal and wire, son. But you still put on a good show so don’t look so glum. We just need to hold you here until the Moffs’ figure out what to do with you.”

Mentis turned away and slumped down against the shield wall, feeling the slight tingle of energy repulsion against his skin, “I could have sworn…”

“Course, your Mando’ friend is another matter,” the soldier turned his back and took up his guard position, “We’re keeping him separate. He should never have come here.”

Amare stirred slightly, dressed only in the black athletic bra and tight shorts that she had pilfered from the female Bastion officer whom she had attacked during the escape from the research labs. Her bare shoulders could be seen, and the others could see the scar from the blaster shot she took on Quesh was completely gone. Bastion security had ordered her to surrender her electrum head tendril bands to prevent sensor errors in the medical scans of her body, but not without coming dangerously close to snapping the doctor's neck with the Force first. She was, after all, a budding anger- and pain-driven Sith, and submission to outsiders was not the way of her kind, especially when they demanded to take items away from her that had deep cultural meaning to her. However, she was wise to her limitations knowing that she wasn't powerful enough yet to deal with five blaster rifles aimed at her head at point-blank range without a lightsaber. There was also a white bandage patch over her right arm above the elbow joint where the infirmary nurse had performed a brachial blood draw for testing. She recalled her feeling amused when the doctor appeared baffled at what he saw under the microscope.

"What is this protein interlaced with the DNA?" the doctor had said aloud in confusion. "These cell structures encapsulating the midichlorians...resembles water, but...it isn't. This chemical substrate makes no sense. Just what exactly are you really, Miss Amare?"

"I am becoming something far beyond anything you and your science could possibly imagine," Amare had answered with a devilish smirk. A second later, she willed the blood sample to discharge its potential energy as a small electric burst, evaporating the sample, breaking the glass slide it was under, and shorting out the microscope in the process. She did the same to the small vial of her blood as well, denying Bastion the opportunity to pry into the secrets of the Azoth. "Your business with me has concluded, doctor. Take me to your leader, or imprison me, but do not waste more of my time with your pointless tests."

Upon being thrown into the stockade, Amare had almost a half-hour to herself in her cozy corner of the holding cell, contemplating recent events that took place going as far back as Mustafar, stirring upon feelings from memories that both pained and pleasured her, and realizing her growing potential as a Sith Apprentice. She had learned so much in such a short span of time, and still she was boundlessly eager to learn and grow even more in power, especially after the spiritual journey she experienced whilst dwelling within her chrysalis.

Amare began to levitate from her seated meditative position, visibly appearing peaceful, but inwardly seething with deep fury at her present incarceration.

"You were tricked, Mentis," Amare calmly explained to him. "The presence you felt in Palidor's suit was using the Force to project their mind into it. It is known to both Sith and Jedi, but it's very risky." The sorceress gracefully stretched out her legs to touch the floor beneath her as she spoke and contentedly opened her eyes to the group as she stood up straight. "These Humans," she added, "are learning to fight those of us adept at using the Force. No doubt they're looking at footage and raw computer data of the battle as we speak. It makes one wonder why. What could be their goal to deploy such technology?"

To everyone's surprise, it was a quiet comment from an unusually stoic Rex that answered Amare's half-rhetorical question.

"Another war with the Rift Jedi," he said glumly from his own seated position, his head almost between his legs, and his hands resting atop his head as he glared at the sterile floor beneath them. A few seconds after making the comment, he looked back up at Amare and Mentis again, his expression weary. "They're making nice with GalactaWerks - the reason your pals dragged us out here - and those assholes haven't finished with the Outer Rim."

He now gestured lazily towards one of the white-clad stormtroopers who stood outside their cell. "Those bucket-headed goons wouldn't normally have any interest in fighting the Republic's space wizards, unless things really have changed that much. This is the Company again. Looking to ruin more lives. To kill ORA."

Rex scoffed, his manner that of a defeated man, and he let his head lower again. "We shouldn't have come out here. Playing magician with your mad buddies is all good and well, but this is all talk of kings and succession."

Rex's words were suddenly cut off as Reave threw himself heartily at the forcefield covering the portal to their cell, and he was promptly blown backwards towards the centre, a mighty fizz from the barrier preceding a series of high-pitched Jawa curses. Remarkably, the little sentient's hat remained attached and unscathed.

Amare grinned with amusement at Reave's spirited desire to be free. "I admire your passion, Mister Reave," Amare said once it became clear the Jawa wasn't about to give up so easily. "You set the example for all of us." Not wanting to see a warrior knocked down so indignantly from a valiant effort, she gently nudged the fierce little mercenary back up to his feet with a casual gesture of her hand with the Force and gazed at Rex, "People are often so wrapped up in words and feelings, but I would say that Reave here is the most powerful and strongest willed person in this room, if not the whole complex."

She continued as she stepped past the others and sauntered over to the shielded cell portal, "The future will belong to fighters like him, not bureaucrats and businessmen. When that time comes, a king must come forward to rule them all, to keep the warriors focused and the people productive. I believe that destiny begins here, in this very place. A time of reckoning is at hand."

"If Rex is right," Mentis sighed as he shuffled away from the energy field slightly; the repulsion from Reave's escape attempt clearly had become uncomfortable, "The only king of the galaxy will be whatever corporate slimeball sits at the head of GalactaWerks. While the rest of us fight over good and evil, someone just sits back and lines their pockets, waiting to dust off the throne once everyone else has finished killing themselves."

He shook his head, "But, then again, I haven't come all this way to start worrying about who sits at the top any more. What about where we are right now? Where were Thane and Bomoor during all of this?"

"Where indeed?" Amare turned to Mentis. "Thane is close--I can sense him--and his Ithorian brother is certain to be near to him as well. I'm very disappointed in you, Mentis. I thought you had a better view of the bigger picture. The 'king' I speak of is no wealthy capitalist coward. The only man worthy to rule is the one true Dark Lord of the Sith. He is coming, and all will bend the knee to him when that great day arrives, including your former master."

"I hope you're listening carefully, Mantis," Rex said, looking up at the Rattataki with woe-ridden eyes. "The voice of your allies. Their future. Yours, too, maybe."

Reave heaved himself up from the floor after another failure to effectively hurl himself through the artificial barrier, and was beginning to propel his little frame once more when he suddenly stopped short. The menacing, twinkling eyes that were hidden beneath his broad hat visibly narrowed as they locked onto something outside of the cell, and he muttered a few low chittering words.

The others looked up to where the Jawa was glaring. The primary doorway into the cell block had parted, revealing a selection of figures, two of which familiar: Thane and Bomoor. The two figures flanking them at either side were clad in the white plastoid armour of Bastion's stormtrooper corps, whilst a third figure, just a couple of steps ahead, wore a dark-green variant of the crisp officer's uniform they had seen a few of the unarmoured Imperials wearing.

Thane and Bomoor did not have the appearance of captives; they appeared supported, rather than observed, by their Imperial escort, and were both clothed in their usual fare, albeit both had opted for their more distinguished attire. Thane, for instance, wore his black zeyd-cloth cape, clasped with a metallic chain at the front. Their lightsabers were worn plainly on their belts, and they carried themselves with a very clear air of authority. A peculiar rank bar that held three green pips, not dissimilar to that of the officer leading their way, adorned the breasts of both former Jedi.

The stormtrooper standing at the front of the cell, despite his face being obscured by his helmet, was obviously taken aback by this new group, and his grip on his rifle shifted slightly as they stopped in front of him. The female Human officer frowned at the trooper, who then quickly offered a salute to her, and then also to Thane and Bomoor.

"Captain," his half-synthesised voice greeted the woman, as he now recovered his poise. "Commissars," he added to the two foreigners, his gaze lingering a little longer on the Ithorian figure than Thane.

"By order of Grand Moff Tarses," the woman began in a very clipped voice, "these prisoners are to be released into the care of Commissars Thane and Thort. Any criminal proceedings will not be the concern of the Stormtrooper Corps and will be managed exclusively by the government's judicial system and enforcers."

The trooper did not question the explanation, any sense of concern for the situation entirely quelled in the face of authority. He nodded and confirmed his understanding, before turning to deactivate the security system for the cell.

"Please leave us," Thane instructed the officer and the other soldiers, not even deigning to directly look at the captain or her subordinates.

There was only the briefest of moments where muscles could be seen to be tensing around the woman's cheeks, but she was otherwise the picture of professionalism, and she quickly gestured to the armoured troopers to follow her.

"The security systems in this ward remain active, sirs. There are other prisoners in different cells and on other levels," she explained, as he levelled a brief glare towards Amare within the cell, "and we shall remain nearby... should you require support, sir."

"That won't be necessary," Thane replied, matching the terseness of the officer. "Thank you, Captain."

"Master..." Amare said bowing her head in deference and respect to her Lord's arrival. She felt considerably underdressed compared to the two former Jedi, but was less concerned about what little she had on compared to the intrigue that drew her eyes to the peculiar rank insignia she saw over their chests. "...Or should I say 'Commissar Thane'?"

With the officer and stormtroopers sufficiently far enough out of earshot, Thane's mien relaxed a little, although he still remained firmly in a business-like manner.

"A measured decision, taken by our new benefactor: Grand Moff Valavai Tarses," Thane explained, clearly inwardly satisfied at the remarkable development he was revealing to his erstwhile colleagues, even if he delivered it in a tone that indicated it was merely a professional report to a colleague. "A quasi-military political title, the Grand Moff can bestow it upon individuals he may need to operate in a somewhat extra-governmental fashion - as far as we can surmise."

The Sith looked back towards the doorway where the Imperials had just departed. "We speak, it seems, with some measure of the Grand Moff's authority, even if these disciples of a forgotten empire do not quite understand the rationale of their troubled leader - a leader we have agreed to assist in his efforts to free Bastion of its GalactaWerks infestation and to eliminate his political rivals. They are more or less one and the same." Despite a brief glance around, Thane made no mention of the missing Sev.

Rex had stood up with the arrival of the two Force users, who were in a decidedly more presentable fashion than any of them. He had look of suspicion about him, but he was clearly pleased that they were no longer behind any barriers.

"Gotta say," he began, surprise in his voice as he engaged in one of his rare addresses directly to Thane, "I'm impressed that you guys seem to have managed to fall into a pit of steaming rancor dung, yet come out smelling like blossom wine again." He glanced to Mentis with a raised eyebrow. "That universal magic at work, huh?" He shook his head. "They should bottle that kark up and sell it on street corners. Probably still end up being GalactaWerks..."

"Everyone gains something from this," Thane stated, not making it sound like a reply to Rex's commentary as he primarily addressed Amare, with some consideration given to Mentis. "The Grand Moff has a long memory and has a reverence for the true progenitors of the Old Empire that gave rise to Bastion: the Sith. I don't sense any treachery from the man; his position here is more tenuous than we would have expected, so I doubt he could truly afford to deceive us. He needs our help in uncovering GalactaWerks' role in this beskar trade Theon informed us of, and to determine the goals and ties between the Moff of this planet and the Company executive. He's no desire to wage another war with the Mandalorians; he has loftier goals, but it will all be for nought if a coup is staged against his rule before that can come to pass."

This 'Tarses' needs our help to deal with the most powerful company in the galaxy...I wonder if Thane...if Serus is plotting to exploit this to his advantage, Amare thought. Hmm, Bomoor looks like he's fully on board with this, but I'm not so sure. I'll have to keep an eye on him.

“We have been briefed on the entirety of the known GalactaWerks presence on Bastion,” Bomoor nodded towards the dishevelled group, “Activities in this sector are being led by one Executive Morthart, with a lot of the day-to-day activities being undertaken by a cyborg-man known as Superintendent Mosquith. It would appear that there is division among the senior Imperials as to GalactaWerks involvement but, without further action against the company, they are likely to sway the ruling council into inciting another Mandalorian War, which will likely benefit nobody but GW.”

The Ithorian gestured to himself and Thane, “I know an Imperial alliance was not hat we came here for, but Thane and I believe we can trust Tarses, at least for the time being, and have convinced him to extend his good graces to yourselves on the condition that we all work to strengthen his position against his enemies, who happen to also be our enemies.”

Mentis stood up, “I don’t mean to doubt your assessment of the man, but our experience of this Tarses was to make us fight for our lives like caged rats. He had me facing off against some remote-operated suit and he seemed more interested in testing his fancy technology than making friends.”

"We saw your fight," Thane said to Mentis, "and heard of yours, Amare. I don't doubt that the exhibition of our skill-sets has secured the show of faith Tarses has put in us, but it has also made our presence on Bastion very public. I don't doubt that this has set into motion a chain of events precipitating a dramatic event; this Executive Morthart will know of our presence, at the very least, and may force their hand. It would be better if we were also measured in our own efforts. A discreet approach to seeking out any truth to this beskar business, for instance."

Without directly saying it, Thane's reference to/volunteering of Rex was certainly not discreet.

"You want me to cosy up with Imps?" Rex queried, eyes widened. He looked to both Amare and Mentis, possibly for support, before looking back to Thane and Bomoor. "That seems... I mean, I'm a smuggler from the ass-end of nowhere, better at hustling cards and sneaking credit chits than this spy stuff." He then threw a thumb towards Reave. "And little man here is about as subtle as your fashion sense!"

"Think of it as an opportunity to broaden your...marketability," Amare said almost seductively to the smuggler from the iconic world of the twin suns. "I saw the glee in your eyes when you found that loot on Quesh and the bounty rewards wired to your account. Now think of how much more you could make as a man-of-mystery for the very wealthy people of this world. The rewards could be greater than you can imagine."

“These Imperials are not as wary of outsiders as you might imagine,” Bomoor added, “They have, of course, opened their doors to GalactaWerks, after all, and I’m sure you will find plenty of card tables where there are as many credits to be made as secrets to be exchanged.”

Mentis sighed quietly, accepting that his position with his new former-Jedi Masters was not to question the wisdom of their decisions, particularly when there seemed to be little other way they were going to escape their Imperial prison, “I can vouch for Rex’s ability at the card table. It is, of course, where I first met him. But would you allow me to accompany him in case things turn sour with any sore losers at the Sabaac table?”

With a glance over towards Thane, Bomoor answered, “That seems possible, Mentis, if you can avoid the kind of trouble we saw on Naboo. But, for now, we have been given permission to return to our ship. It will be the safest place to plan our activities and give you all a chance to recover. Any remaining confiscated possessions should have been returned there.”

“That is something, at least,” Mentis was visibly relieved, “What about your Mandalorian friend? He was not brought here with us?”

“His release…” Bomoor frowned, “May take longer to secure. Even Tarses could not find a way to allow a Mandalorian free reign on Bastion soil. While we are here, he is likely to remain their prisoner.”

"When this is dealt with," Amare said, none too concerned about Sev, "I intend to petition this Moff Tarses for a reward in beskar. I yearn to craft a new lightsaber. In the meantime, I can try to spy on these GW reps, get in close, position myself to handle them...'quietly', if so ordered."

She was developing a fondness for corporate espionage and assassination. She hoped Serus would give her the word to carve up a few GW suits in the hope that the look of terror on their faces would match the one on Yaxley's right before her untimely end. Fear, as she was discovering, had the palpable effect of slaking the grim thirst of the dark side of the Force quite nicely. The greater the terror around her, the more confident and powerful Amare felt.

"When this is dealt with, apprentice," Thane said, now turning from the cell to lead the group away, their time in this facility at its end, "a slither of beskar will be the least of our rewards."

 

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