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Restless Hearts

Author Topic: Restless Hearts  (Read 15985 times)

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2011, 07:51:15 pm »
 Chapter 11
Saying ‘I love you’ is not the words I want to hear from you.
It’s not that I want you not to say but,
If you only knew how easy it would be to show me how you feel.
‘More than words’ is all you have to do to make it real.
Then you wouldn’t have to say, that you love me.
‘Cause I’d already know.

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

1110 Hours, Tuesday
Theodorik lay in his bed, an uneasy feeling in his stomach.  He wanted to blame the food or alcohol from the previous night, but he knew that there was more to his pain than that.  The operation at hand played a small part in it, the risk of which was punctuated with the death of Gart Beza.  Largely on his mind was the uncertainty of his romantic situation, now that he finally had the time to contemplate it.  It seemed trivial, when compared with the backdrop of raging insurgent activity and the death of one of his fellow troopers.  But he was well prepared for the latter, well trained in the art of combat and well hardened to the reality of death.  It was the life part he had a hard time with.
For years he had tried to make Kamiko understand it, serving the Empire in the Stormtrooper Corps.  It wasn’t a job or a career to Theodorik, it was a calling.  Looking at the overall picture, no one would choose such a profession unless stimulated by some sense of duty.  Or the overwhelming urge to kill people, Theodorik thought, because there were individuals that joined for that purpose alone.  Fortunately, the Special Forces rarely saw that attitude penetrate its ranks.  The members of his unit were not averse to killing the enemy, but their desire to protect the innocent is what drove them.
The Scout Trooper had read and reread the holo-mail from Kamiko, and her sentiment seemed to come directly from the heart this time.  But there was one obstacle in the young man’s mind; the words in the letter were just that, words.  It made him think back to a song from his school days, it was funny now because he hadn’t contemplated the gravity of the song’s lyrics until now.  It was easy to say you loved someone; it was much harder to show them.  For a long time, he forgave her dismissive attitude toward his military career.  He would chalk it up to Kammi’s rough and tumble nature, her need to say what was on her mind, and never pretend to like something when she didn’t.  There were times that brutal honesty wasn’t refreshing, times when Theo had hoped for a little more understanding and less close minded mentality.
The irony of the Kammi situation was that she was a Firefighter and a Flight Paramedic.  How could she not understand the need to protect others? The Fire and Rescue Service was the epitome of honor and self sacrifice in the name of keeping others safe.  Maybe that was just the outward appearance, he reasoned.
Theodorik rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling of his prefabricated shelter, hands behind his head.  There were actually two women on his mind, the Corellian admitted to himself.  A large part of him was hopeful that he and Kammi could actually work. He was hopeful that their love was strong enough to span the distance that was bound to separate them when his mission on Naboo was completed.  But, there was a certain twi’lek to consider, one that he enjoyed spending time with.  The reality struck him suddenly, what was the future with Koyi? Was it worth jeopardizing his future with his Corellian cherry blossom?
“Damn it all,” he cursed aloud.
He knew what the right answer was, the one that was the fairest to everyone’s emotions now and in the future.  But it was the hardest thing to do, to break it off with a sweet young girl and mend fences with Kammi.  His best shot at a meaningful relationship was with his long time partner in crime, even more so now that she came to some kind of an epiphany regarding what he meant to her.
The young warrior sighed heavily; he was really enjoying himself with Koyi.  There was a part of him that wished he hadn’t found the love of his life before he really had a chance to sample some of the women the galaxy had to offer.   That was the part of Theodorik’s mind that was making the decisions at present.   It required the least amount of work as far as the relationship was concerned, he would show up, Koyi would be there looking gorgeous, and the two of them would have a good time.  The physical relationship was beyond amazing, which did make him feel guilty when he thought about Kammi.
“What can I do?” he said aloud, “I’m just that irresistible.”
He allowed himself a laugh.  The Stormtrooper admitted to himself that he was destined to be with Kamiko Sakura.  But, for the time being, spending time with Koyi made it easy to take his mind off of the mission.   In the interest of keeping his own mind sharp and stress free, he would continue on his present course.  If feelings were hurt or if opportunities were lost in the future, he would deal with it then, not now.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2011, 11:54:53 pm »
Command & Control Center

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

1335 Hours, Tuesday
Major Kassel looked at her chronometer just in time to realize she’d worked through lunch once again.  She huffed at the thought, stopping for a meal was out of the question today. All morning, the XO had been exchanging messages with the platoon commander of Field Base Acklay, the Task Force’s other launching point for long range patrols.  They hadn’t had the kind of hard contact that Baz Nitch had encountered, but the teams were finding clear sign of activity.  The Lieutenant running the base, Outlaw’s counterpart, felt they were zeroing in on several “hotspots”, clusters of activity that created a pattern.
Field Base Acklay’s platoon leader also reported that incursions with locals had halted.  There were no more attempts at sabotage, or hit and run attacks on Imperial assets in the area.  He was inclined to assume one of two things; the Rebels had left the area, or were changing tactics.  The report of Gungans moving supplies from Agent Vixen made her lean towards the latter.  The best news of the day came from her geospatial intelligence expert, Ensign Dunerunner.  There were a few abnormalities in the satellite imagery, all centered around one area.  A clearing exhibited signs of a large spacecraft landing and taking off, dating back a few weeks before Task Force Grim Reaper was established.
The Major was direct with her incredulity, but her GeoInt expert reassured her.  Ensign Dunerunner compared several clearings in Naboo’s Southern Hemisphere to the one in question.  She pointed toward the differences in the growth of the grass in the clearing.  It was obvious to the Ensign that large swathes of vegetation had been burned away by jet blast or hacked away by human hands.  The size of the Opposing Force (OpFor) was larger than anticipated, and there was the distinct possibility they had some serious firepower.  Jezebel’s space geek did have some more information reinforcing that notion, several mysterious clusters of underbrush that came from nowhere.
Comparing photos over the course of three weeks, there were a few breaks in the vegetation that were now overgrown.  Dunerunner noted that even in the lushest jungle, breaks in vegetation that exist for months or years don’t spontaneously begin to grow.  After looking at archival photographs, the Naval Officer opined the new undergrowth was an attempt to camouflage something.  Major Kassel could have just about thrown her arms around the Ensign and embraced her vigorously at that news.
Shortly after midday, the Major had also received the forensic report on Sergeant Beza’s armor.  There was residue from a type of explosive, the name of which Jezebel wasn’t about to try and pronounce, that was popular with the Rebel Army regulars.  She had all the information she needed, and presented it to the General and some other high ranking advisors in a holo-conference.  The General was impressed, and resisted the other advisors urges to saturate the area with resources.
“We have the people in place that we need,” he said confidently as he nodded toward Major Kassel’s holographic image.
His orders following the meeting were clear and concise, the words still echoing in her head.  Tell my brother to find that damned base.  That was the next order of business of course, to fill in Lieutenant Sturmwolke and 1st Sergeant Ravenheart and create an aggressive time table for long range patrols of their new target areas.  She would also have the pleasure of informing Outlaw that Sgt. Hammer Abstreiter was back to full duty and available for his next patrol.  So far, it looked promising to have boots on the ground in 48 hours.
Alliance Underground Headquarters

Gallo Mountains, Naboo

1500 hours, Tuesday
Captain Krieger had finally reached his boiling point with his Commander.  After a visit to the barracks he had noticed that his men were wearing some very identifiable Rebel Spec Ops gear.  He had gone through the trouble of acquiring some suitable outdoors attire that wouldn’t attract attention.  It should have arrived by Gungan Express ten days ago, but the soldiers indicated they were told to wear what they arrived with.  Kicking it up the chain of command, Captain Krieger discovered the order came directly from Major Lenard J. Fracking Monch.
The incensed Executive Officer stormed all the way down to Monch’s makeshift quarters to confront him. This was getting beyond ridiculous, he growled inwardly.  The Battalion Commander was pouring himself a drink, likely something alcoholic, reminding the Captain of an argument he had lost early in their deployment. 
“Lenard, what in Valorum’s ghost have you done?” he demanded.
“I thought we talked about this, Dale. I just have one drink in the afternoon and one before bed, it clears my head.”
The former Corellian law enforcement officer could no longer contain his fiery temper.
“Damn you to hell Lenard, what happened to the boots and clothes for my Spec Ops guys?”
“Oh, that’s what you’re down here all upset over? I had them leave that stuff in Lassay.  I needed the room for proton missiles for the T-3B’s.”
“You needed more missiles for the tanks? We only have two of them Major, how much ammunition are they supposed to carry? I’ve had my people traipsing all over the planet wearing gear that screams Alliance Special Operations!”
“Those two tanks are pivotal to my assault plan,” the Major stated cavalierly.
“I’m going to be honest, Dale,” he continued, “Your insubordination can no longer be ignored.”
Before the Captain could reply, Major Monch shouted for the pair of Sergeants that were his security detail.  They entered the room brandishing stun batons and headed directly for their XO.
“Wait a minute, what is this?” the Captain shouted as he reached for his pistol holster.
It was for naught however, as one of the security officers connected his baton with the Captain’s head, knocking him unconscious instantly.  The two men then dragged the Corellian away at the behest of their commander.
“Send for Lieutenant Burchenall,” he shouted after them, “And tell him he is the new Battalion XO.”
We’ve only got seven more days before we assault that weapons facility, he thought.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2011, 04:55:17 pm »
Lanky’s Tavern

Lake Varykino, Naboo

2240 Hours, Tuesday
It was another peaceful night on the walkway surrounding the lake.  The moons were casting their light onto the serene water, a sparkling view familiar now to Theodorik.  The handsome Corellian was accompanied by the accidental couple, Lolana and Melky.   A bond had emerged between the two, the rough mountain man from Corellia, and the innkeeper country girl from Naboo.  She was confident and direct with her feelings; he was more reserved and even slightly socially inept.  There was one thing that Melky did know for certain, however; he had strong feelings for the mocha skinned beauty. As he guided them along the lakeside path, Theo couldn’t help but smile for them.
The wooded landscape finally gave way to a cluster of buildings. The wall on which Theodorik and his date had become acquainted a week prior stretched out in either direction in front of the trio.  The Lieutenant and his escorts were early, but Theo was certain Kaece was already there.  Hammer, Doc, and Buzz were also already at Lanky’s, refusing to let their leader go into this endeavor alone.  The Stormtrooper Officer didn’t even consider not asking Melky, knowing how strongly the man felt for his new companion.  The team was in this together, as they were with everything.
Outlaw entered the bar first, right away spotting Doc and Kaece seated together in a booth by the wall, drinks in hand.  They were engaged in spirited conversation, as if they had known each other for years.  Buzz was seated at the far end of the bar, disconnected from the aforementioned pair, appearing to be engrossed in his own drink.  Hammer wasn’t immediately visible, but Outlaw was sure he was keeping his eye out for his unit.  The team leader made very brief eye contact with Buzz, who responded by scratching his left cheek subtly.
Recognizing the all clear signal, Outlaw looked behind him to the couple waiting in the doorway and offered a slight nod.  Melky cautiously entered with Lolana following close behind, the three new visitors all walked directly to Kaece’s booth.
“Hey guys, grab a seat,” Kaece graciously offered.
“Thank you,” Outlaw responded cheerfully, “I see you’ve met the Doctor.”
“Yeah, we identified each other right away. The guy at the bar too,” Kaece answered while throwing a thumb toward Buzz.
Theo finally noticed Hammer in the back of the alehouse, playing a table game with the regulars.  By appearances, his bounty hunter friend had failed to identify the Staff Sergeant looming in the background.  It made no difference either way, they weren’t there to watch Kaece; they were there to make sure it was safe for Lolana.  She was a feisty character, Outlaw had learned, insisting on meeting the man protecting her.   The group shuffled into the booth and introductions were quickly made.
“So, you are going to be my bodyguard, yes?” Lolana got right to the point.
“That’s correct Miss, I am sure Outlaw has given you some of my credentials,” the assassin for hire replied.
“I’m confident in your abilities if ‘Law is,” Milky cut in, “but please, take this more seriously than just some paycheck.”
It was an uncharacteristic comment for the mountaineer to make, but to his credit, Kaece remained unfazed by the demand.  Outlaw noted that his friend was his usual cool but casual self, choosing to react positively to the statement.
“Good sir, I know you have this young lady’s best interests at heart, let me reassure you, I do also.”
Milky sat back and relaxed his shoulders, releasing a sigh.  He set his left hand onto the table, which Lolana promptly took into her hands.
“Sorry, Kaece, I know we just met, and Outlaw says you’re the best man for this,” the scout trooper said apologetically.
Everyone at the table knew where the sudden burst of emotion was coming from.  Doctor Z had some contempt for the entire situation, citing it as a security risk, which he had voiced to Outlaw alone.  He noted that he would stand by his team despite his reservations, and he asked that his Lieutenant keep the conversation in confidence.  While Outlaw agreed with the security risk of Lolana and Milky’s relationship, there were other advantages to having a pair of eyes with the Ryltans family.  Cabod “Diablo” Nive was already facilitating the return of Ferran, Lolana’s father, to the position of Mayor.  Rumors were already being spread that he, Ferran Ryltans, has strong ties to the Empire, and he has their support as the leader of Lianorm.
“Kaece, tomorrow evening, the family tavern reopens,” Outlaw began, leaning forward, “You will meet up with Ferran in the early afternoon; present yourself as his new barkeep.  Diablo has already given him the low down on you and his family, who will ride into town with one of our teams.  They will stay for a few hours, but then fade into the background before the end of the night. My boss has not authorized any other assets to that village other than Diablo.”
“And this Diablo, he and I will be in contact?” Kaece asked.
“Yes, but not in the public eye, you are not there at my request, understand?”
“I know all too well,” he grinned.
“All the details and available intelligence that I can give you is right here on this,” Outlaw stated, producing a small chip-like device and sliding it to the bartender in disguise.
“Excellent, one final detail and then we have a deal,” Kaece added coyly.
“Your payment, I did not forget, my friend,” Outlaw laughed, “It will be transferred into whatever account you wish.”
The bounty hunter slid a information chip of his own across to the Stormtrooper Officer with a smile.
“Got it, half will be deposited at midnight, and half when this is over. You will give me that account number at a later time, as per our usual arrangement I am sure,” Outlaw stated casually.
“As per our usual arrangement, yes,” the other man replied equally nonchalant.
After a few more moments of forced small talk, the group decided to disband for the evening.  Earlier in the day, Outlaw had been briefed on the latest intelligence regarding the mission.  The long range patrols were going to be deeper into the harsh terrain and longer in duration.  It was going to be more taxing on the crews, as well as requiring more discipline for the time between patrols.  He had to tell his men all of this in the morning; he wanted to get them back to the camp as soon as he could. This was also going to be Milky’s last night with Lolana for quite a while.

I should probably spend some time with Koyi, Theodorik thought.  The thought came into his head more like an obligation than a wish.  All at once, he wondered if he would have rather spent the night with Kammi.  A soldier did his best not to contemplate his own mortality, but what sort of mess would he leave if he was killed? He took notice of the way Lolana and Melky did not cling to eachother the way Koyi had glued herself to him.  They were a comfortable distance apart, yet their eyes found each other's often.  The couple was as easy as breathing, much like he and Kammi had been in the early days.  His last good-bye with Kammi came flooding back into his memory as the group walked back to the parking garage.
It was a month before the Battle of Yavin.  Theodorik was about to deploy for the first time as a Scout Trooper Sergeant, on his way to join the 42nd Stormtrooper Legion in the Kwymar Sector.  They were standing together, at the starport in Tyrena.  When he closed his eyes, this was the vision of her that he saw. Her coal black hair was pulled back into a pony tail; her eyes engaged in their familiar game of hide and seek with her bangs.  She had a head band interlaced with the pink-white flowers from the Corellian cherry trees in her hair.
Words were difficult to come by that day for the young man; they had parted on less than good terms the last time he left Corellia.  The best he could do was promise the separation was temporary.  Kamiko believed in his words, and she smiled at him as he held her.
“Krie will get me stationed near whatever university you want to go to. Just let me know as soon as you can,” he assured her.
“Do you have to go to Kwymar right now? It’s so far away from me,” she asked.
“It’s far from any fighting, I will just be a peacekeeper there,” he lied; Kwymar was a sector in turmoil.
“Hurry home to me, I love you,” she said cheerfully.
The young Sergeant was hopeful that this good-bye was different than the last.  Kammi seemed accepting of his choice this time; at least she said she was.  He contemplated asking her to marry him on his next trip home, but as his deployment crawled by, and no letters came, he knew she wasn’t ready to be a soldier’s wife.  For his part, he hadn’t been able to come home once the Death Star was destroyed.  Three years later and several battles later, the young Corellian found himself at a crossroads.
Now that I've tried to talk to you,
and make you understand.
All you have to do is close your eyes,
and just reach out your hands.
And touch me,
hold me close, don't ever let me go.

More than words, is all I ever needed you to show,
Then you wouldn’t have to say, that you loved me.
‘Cause I’d already know.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #33 on: June 08, 2011, 03:30:10 pm »
Chapter 12
Well, my girl’s in the next room.
Sometimes I wish she was you.
I guess we never really moved on.
Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0148 Hours, Wednesday

The Imperial field base was much quieter than usual.  Rumors about new intelligence and an increased threat level had passed through the platoon, prompting the professional soldiers to bed down early.  The only exception to the silence of the encampment was the commotion in Theodorik’s mind.  He now lay on his back, staring at the ceiling in his shelter, sharing his bed with a soundly sleeping purple twi’lek.  It was another female that was dominating his thoughts at the moment, however.
Almost on cue, his data device began to chirp.  The young Corellian scrambled to silence the offending item, quickly taking note of the familiar incoming call’s comm number.  He rose, looking over his shoulder at the sleeping Nabooian girl in his bed.  Koyi’s resting form offered no evidence of being disturbed, so Theo moved carefully into the other room.  He stared at the device for a full five seconds, contemplating his next move, before he finally answered.
“Hello,” he said hoarsely.
At first he was met with only the sound of soft breathing, leaving him wondering if Kammi had been sleeping and accidentally activated the call.  He parted his lips to speak, but suddenly heard his own name breathed into the phone.
“Theo,” the voice whispered.
“Kammi, what’s wrong?” her beau asked, detecting sadness in her voice.
“I just wanted to hear your voice,” she answered, her own voice cracking.
Despite the distressed tone in her articulation, he couldn’t help but smile.
“It’s good to hear your voice babe,” he said, then after a long pause he added, “I miss you.”
“I miss you too,” she sniffled.
 “I know I said I would leave you alone until you were ready but …” her voice trailed off.
“It’s okay Kammi, I’m glad you called.  I wanted to talk to you anyway, forgive me if I have to whisper though.”
“You have company?” she asked cautiously.
“Yes,” he replied bashfully, “I’m sorry baby girl, are you mad at me?”
“No, no … I’m just glad to be able to talk to you,” she replied sincerely.
“Well, I wanted to talk to you because things are about to get serious around here.”
She shivered at the statement.  Things aren’t serious right now, she wondered.  The young couple talked for over an hour, mostly reminiscing on their days in Tyrena.  Theo did not offer any details about why or how things were going to get more serious. One theme did come across loud and clear from the young man to his longtime friend; I wanted to tell you I love you one last time in case I get killed.  She screwed her eyes shut, fighting back a floodgate of tears at the thought.  Kamiko had to accept the facts as they were, his job was dangerous and it was going to become more so. 

Finally, reluctantly, Theodorik and Kamiko said their goodbyes and ended the call.  The young man peeked into the bedroom to find Koyi had hardly moved an inch.  He crept into the room and slipped back into the bed to try and get some sleep.   As he sought a comfortable position, he looked over the young girl in the bed next to him.  She was such a sweet girl; he hated to break her heart.  It seemed like there was no way to avoid it now, unfortunately, he thought as he drifted to sleep.

Village of Lassay, Naboo

0715 Hours, Wednesday
The first thing Vixen took note of was the usual signs of a community’s early morning ritual weren’t present.   Not a soul stirred as she glided through the streets in her black hooded cloak.  It was early, but it wasn’t that early, she thought.  She had prepared her room the day before, sweeping for listening devices and creating a few traps for anyone that thought of dropping in on her.  Now she was out surveying her surroundings.
Captain Shellbee “Vixen” Belle was one of the finest field agents in Imperial Intelligence.  Her mission here in Lassay was to trace the supply line, both its origin and its destination.  Her first report regarding the Gungans loading the supply wagons was already some valuable intelligence.  It would give the long range patrols a place to start their search.  The beginning of the supply route was s different matter. The vendors of the goods were probably unknowing participants in the chain.  It was likely there was someone here in Lassay that was responsible for bringing the supplies in, and organizing everything on the Gungan wagons.   Her first task was to find this individual.
The Intelligence Officer pursed her lips as she cast her eyes on the stable at the end of the street.   Any beasts of burden used to move supply carts needed to fed and quartered, she reasoned.
“Hmm, let’s start there,” she said aloud.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2011, 06:34:02 pm »
Vixen adopted a casual gait as she strolled toward the stable. Despite appearances, she was far from casual, ever vigilant to an approaching threat.  She had a supernatural ability to monitor her surroundings; her senses seemed connected to her environment.  As she approached the stable, the Captain noticed that the stable boy was already scurrying around tending to the animals.
“Good morning,” she called out from a short distance, as not to startle the young man.
“Good morning ma’am,” the boy called back, looking up from his work.
“Where is everyone this morning?” she asked.
Immediately, Vixen noticed the stable was filled end to end with Kaadu and Falumpset.  There had only been a few animals when she had brought in her own on Monday evening.
“This isn’t much of a break of dawn kind of village, ma’am,” he sighed.
“Except for you,” Shellbee mused.
“Yep, ‘cept for me, and you too, I guess,” he chuckled.
“And me too,” she returned the laugh.
“I have more work than most today, anyways; all these beasts arrived a few hours ago.”
“Yeah, a guy who keeps a Falumpset in here came by last night and told me he needed the rest of the stable spots.  Good thing you had come in when you did, otherwise I’d have to turn you away.”
“No kidding, well good luck for me I suppose,” she replied casually, masking her intentions expertly.
“Yeah, it’s kind of strange that he brought in all of these creatures at such an early hour, considering this town mostly gets busy at night.”
“No kidding,” Shellbee replied as she tilted her head in interest.
“Yeah, it’s sort of been an after dark sort of town, especially lately. All the Gungans come and get their supplies right after supper and don’t stop until after midnight.”
Vixen had noticed a few Gungan carts being loaded on Monday evening; she finally realized the potential size of this supply line.
“That’s kind of strange, is it not?” the Intelligence Officer asked.
“I guess, they say it’s because it’s cooler at night, but I don’t buy it. I think it’s because they are bringing things out there that are illegal,” the boy offered.
“Wow, isn’t that something.  I guess that sort of thing is commonplace out here beyond the RSF’s reach.”
The young boy shrugged.
“I don’t pay attention; nobody gives me any trouble because my boss is pretty mean.”
“Is he some kind of gangster?” Vixen chuckled.
“Nah, he’s just known for busting people up who don’t pay or who try to give his business a hard time.”
“Well, then it’s a good thing that I paid in advance then,” she laughed.
The stable boy shook his head and laughed as well, moving his hair out of his eyes to get a better look at the friendly woman.  He grimaced as he wondered if he had said too much regarding the movements of the animals.  While his boss wasn’t involved in the smuggling, he always preached the protection of his customer’s privacy.  This woman came off as nothing but sweet, though he hadn’t forgotten how she handled the swoopers the day before yesterday.  He looked up at her once more, and looked into her blue-green eyes.
All at once, he decided she wasn’t a threat, and smiled at her.  She’s only a few years older than me, he realized.  The boy suddenly found himself smoothing his blonde hair into place with his hands.  That was when Vixen knew he would tell her anything she needed to know.
Theed, Naboo

0725 Hours, Wednesday
Lord Sillum Lom awoke early as usual, preferring the stillness of the morning to the meetings and dinner parties that filled his evenings.  He quietly peeked into his daughter’s room, sighing as he noted her bed had not been slept in.  While he wasn’t completely pleased with the reason for her absence, he reasoned there were worse things she could be doing.  The rough Corellian would certainly keep her safe.
The Minister of the Interior set himself behind his desktop data terminal, hoping to get a head start on his day by sorting through some of his holo mail.  He noted the usual business as he navigated through several of the items, replying to a few, outright deleting others.  He brought his face into a bewildered expression when he reached a particular piece of mail.
Lord Lom,

In regards to the relief supplies you have been sending to Lassay and its surrounding areas, I have noticed that you have failed to use the proper electronic signatures on the last shipment.  Being that you and I have a long history, and the new electronic signature encryption is quite new, I saw no reason to deny the passage of the cargo. I do ask that you follow the new procedures for the next shipment, in order to ensure that all movements of goods in the name of the Ministry of the Interior are secure.

Very Respectfully,

Baba Rylee
Royal Transportation Authority
Sillum Lom sat upright in his chair.
“I didn’t authorize any relief to Lassay,” he said aloud.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2011, 04:36:44 pm »
Village of Lianorm, Naboo

1851 Hours, Wednesday
A crowd had gathered at the Ryltans family establishment, most were hopeful that the whispers of a reopening were more than just rumor.  The Lianormites were desperately in need of some good news, after being abandoned by the Crown.  Only a few kilometers from here, on the shores of the picturesque Lake Varykino, the rich and influential wined and dined, oblivious to the desperate existence of their “countrymen”.  They were victims of bureaucracy unfortunately; the Royal Security Forces were reluctant to be involved in the region because of the Empire.  The Empire on the other hand, had often made it clear to the local law enforcement, we are not a police force, upholding local laws continues to be your job. 
What ensued in the case of Lianorm were clashes between the RSF and the Imperial troops.  The Imperials had their mission, and often warned the RSF to stay out of their way. Meanwhile, the RSF resented the troops on their “turf”, and eventually the only solution was for the local cops to withdraw.  But the word on the street was that Ryltans had Imperial connections, and the Empire had a vested interest in his leadership of the area.  The dangerous looking individuals that took down Merkrit and his sons were in fact Special Forces Operatives.  They had taken the former warlord into custody, despite a scared twi’lek that insisted ghosts took Poppy in the middle of the night.
Ferran Ryltans emerged from the bar to the cheers of the assembled crowd, with a rather large fellow wearing a stern expression just to his right.  Ryltans introduced him as Mr. Black, the new bartender.  Of course, the crowd instantly began to surmise who he really was, bodyguard, hired mercenary, Imperial Stormtrooper in disguise, or a combination thereof.  The Mayor/Tavern owner purposely offered no details on the subject, only highlighting his ability to make over a thousand different drinks from across the galaxy.  “Mr. Black” aka Kaece only grinned and waved.
Before the gin joint could be officially opened, the crowd’s attention was drawn westward, to six Kaadu and their riders trotting down the thoroughfare.   A half dozen armed men rode towards the awaiting Mayor, three of the beasts carried passengers one observant onlooker pointed out.  Lolana, Mai Lee, and Kieren Ryltans occupied the rear seat of three of the mounted creatures.  The riders all dismounted a few meters from the crowd; the Ryltans children raced to their father and engulfed him in an embrace.
“Now that I have my little ones with me once again,” Ferran began.
“And my not so little one,” he nodded in Lolana’s direction, who wore a sheepish grin, feigning embarrassment, “I declare the Ryltans Family Bar and Restaurant officially reopened.”
As patrons filtered past her, Lolana exchanged looks with Kaece, who took note of her usual coy, easy smile.   The armed men remained away from the crowd, fanned out in defensive positions, but with decidedly unthreatening posture.  They dressed in the same loose fitting brown and green outfits the locals wore, complete with the large straw sun hats.  Eventually the Operatives became part of the background; no one even noticed when they rode out of town. 
Theed, Naboo

1920 Hours, Wednesday
An exasperated twi’lek nobleman sat at his desk, head perched in his right hand as he attempted to get some much needed answers.  The Royal Transportation Authority was far less than helpful, his longtime personal friend, Commissioner Rylee, had failed to answer any of his calls.  Rylee’s staff repeatedly told Lord Lom that he had not come to the office that day.  After leaving several messages on his personal communicator, Sillum Lom wondered if perhaps Rylee was setting him up.
Several other calls also went out that day from the Lom household, to just about anyone that would have any knowledge of relief supplies going to that region.  Everyone he had reached claimed ignorance.  He was able to get some information out of the Minister of Trade’s chief of staff.  Frolio Tossa’s top aide seemed to remember an executive order from the Queen for supplies to support the RSF in the Lassay Region.  The aide was pretty sure that Tossa and Lom’s signatures had both appeared on the request.  The Trade Minister had been involved because the bulk of the material was coming directly from Corellia, and needed his special approval to bypass the Royal Customs Service.  The problem was this, Lord Lom had never sponsored such a request, and now Tossa’s aide could not locate the document.
“I’m sure I’ve just misplaced it,” she reported, “I can have Lord Tossa comm you when he returns from his day trip.”
Lord Lom suddenly felt very uneasy.  Supplies were coming directly from Corellia, bypassing Customs and headed for a distressed area known for insurgent activity.   Now, everyone he was attempting to contact for answers was unavailable or unable to help.  He ended the call with the Trade Minister’s office and contemplated his next call.  He momentarily considered an RTA inspector that he knew, but this looked to be more far reaching than simple Customs fraud.  Lom removed a small holo-card from his desk and eyed the name, Captain Gavyn Sykes, Royal Security Forces, Counter Smuggling Operations.  The middle aged twi’lek took a massive deep breath before punching the accompanying number into his communicator.
A few rooms away, an 18 year old twi’lek had a dilemma of her own.  Koyi was very attracted to the young Corellian soldier that had courted her; he had shown her what had been missing from her sheltered life.  Now she knew she was destined for greater things, greater than the privileged daughter of a noble.  She also knew she could never be a military wife, at least not until she had tasted some more of what the galaxy had to offer.  The uncertainty of the whereabouts or welfare of her mate would prove to be too much.  Not to mention the prospect of being tied down to a military installation while she awaited his return. The irony was not lost on the young lady; the one who opened her eyes was now the one that she could never be with.
For her young age, she was quite perceptive, and she felt that Theo had come to the same conclusion.  Despite her young soldier’s penchant for spoiling her in the bedroom, she knew his heart lie elsewhere.  Clues were all around them, and she was not so dense as to overlook them just to continue to have exceptional sex.  In the end, that type of relationship could only end badly.  For Koyi, the final piece of evidence was the late night comm call.  While she heard not a word of the conversation, the mannerisms her boyfriend displayed during and after it had taken place spoke volumes.  The right thing to do was for all of them, Theo, she, and even the attractive firefighter from a few floors below, to follow their hearts.
And I, never want to say good bye
But girl you make it hard to be faithful,
With the lips of an angel.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2011, 10:14:11 pm »
Chapter 13

You don’t know how you took it,
You just know what you’ve got.
Oh Lordy you’ve been stealing,
From the thieves and you got caught.
Somewhere Northwest of Lassay, Naboo

2204 Hours, Wednesday
It was just after ten pm local time in the jungle, the surroundings were completely different than during the daylight hours.  Fortunately for 1st Sergeant Ravenheart, she and her team were much more comfortable moving at night.  To fill the gap left by the deceased member of her team, Outlaw had selected SSG “Krayt” A’Sardu, whose own team was incomplete due to illness and injury.  It was a simple conclusion for the Lieutenant to make, keep Krayt from sitting on the shelf as well as lend some experience to Slice’s team.  Outlaw also didn’t want Ravenheart and company to sit out much longer, it was the old adage about getting right back on the horse that threw you off.
Staff Sergeant A’Sardu toted along his C-M Reaper Sniper Rifle for this mission in addition to his usual trusty E-11 rifle.  He laid prone, elbows in the dirt, with hands on the grip of the Reaper, its bipod steadying the weapon on the soft ground.   The highly accomplished sniper was using his rifle scope to view a patch of vegetation that had been identified by the satellite geeks as having some importance.  Ravenheart was less than a meter away, in a similar posture, surveying the terrain in front of them.  Sgt Visk Chobrea was 20 meters away from the pair, eyes on the 9 O’clock position. From another 20 meters away, Cpl Firestone and Sgt Freedark covered the 3 O’clock and 6 O’clock positions respectively.
“Slice, take a look at this,” Krayt whispered suddenly.
Ravenheart repositioned her macro binoculars to focus in front of her.
“Follow that line of trees directly in front of you until you get to a brownish bush, it looks like it’s dead,” the scout directed, his squad leader hummed an acknowledgment.
“Okay, now go about ten degrees in front of that, you should see a large patch of vegetation, you have it Sarge?”
“Okay, I see it Krayt … wait … there is something metallic below it … are you seeing what I am seeing?”
“Looks like a couple of hover tanks,” Krayt whispered.
“You bet your ass it is, I have to call this in,” Slice replied.
Theed, Naboo

2300 Hours, Wednesday
Despite being an advisor to the Queen for many years, Lord Lom had never experienced a day quite this stressful.  He explained in great detail the entire situation to Captain Sykes, who promised to begin an investigation in the morning.  The Interior Minister noted that the RSF Captain was quite reassuring, though he warned Lom not to speak to anyone else on the matter until he had heard back from him.  Feeling like the case was in good hands, the nobleman thought some sleep was in order.  Lord Lom peeked into his daughter’s room to note that she was asleep in her bed.  A smile came to his face, the reason he wasn’t readily sure of, perhaps it was just the relief of having her spend the night where he knew she was safe.

Sillum Lom padded slowly down the hall to the room he shared with his wife of nearly twenty years, when something caught his eye.  He turned to his right, toward the rooftop terrace, where he swore he had spotted some movement.  It was probably nothing; he admonished himself as he looked out the sliding glass doors, not seeing anything out of place.  He took a deep breath.
“I’m just being paranoid,” he said softly.
Suddenly, a loud ding announced the arrival of building’s elevator in the first level foyer.
“What in the hell?” exclaimed the diplomat as he spun around 180 degrees.
That was when Lord Sillum Lom’s breath caught in his throat.  A pair of armed figures in black fatigues and black masks bore down the hallway directly at him.  An astonished Lom attempted to turn back toward the terrace, when the glass behind him slid open, revealing another armed individual.
“What’s going on? Daddy, help me!” screamed Koyi from the other room.
“Baby!” shouted Lord Lom.
Similar muffled pleas for help could be heard from his own bedroom, as the trio of interlopers closed in on him quietly.  He watched in horror as his wife and daughter were brought out into the hallway by two separate pairs of armed intruders.
“What have I done?” Sillum Lom tearfully asked.
1st Sergeant Ravenheart reported her findings to Major Kassel at the CNC, and even uploaded several photographic images to her information center.  The patrol painstakingly combed the area, quietly and carefully, in search of any other information.  They confirmed that it was in fact a hide site for six T2-B Hover Tanks, fully armed and fueled.  Slice’s men were very cautious, wary of possible booby traps or motion sensors.  Unless the Alliance was extremely stupid, their base was probably very nearby.
When the patrol was satisfied with their survey of the area, they pulled back into a safe position to await orders from Command.  Within three minutes, the orders came from Major Kassel.  Place a tiny tracking device on the tanks and leave the area, leave no trace you were ever there.  It was clear to Slice and company that this was clearly a small part of a much bigger picture.  Major Jezebel could not take the chance at destroying the tanks, and alert the Rebels that the Task Force was on to them.  There was a much larger force out there, and the Empire needed to know where it was and what its intentions were.
Slice relayed the plan to her squad, who offered no objection.  After Hawkbat placed all four of his tracking devices, each on one of the tanks, the squad withdrew from the area.  Two of the tanks escaped an electronic monitoring device, but it was the best Chobrea could do.  He lost a substantial amount of his electronic “toys” when he detonated his ruck-sack on an enemy.  The squad had a second objective to complete now.
 Lord Lom dropped to his knees as the masked figures closed in on him, he felt them hovering over him now.  He was barely cognoscente of the unmasked man who was now stepping out of the elevator into the foyer.  Lom closed his eyes, noting that the muffled cries from his wife and daughter had now ceased.  He took a deep breath and raised his eyes, expecting to see the muzzle of a weapon pressed into his face.  Instead, he saw a gloved hand, reaching out to him.
“Come with me, Lord Lom,” spoke the robotic sounding voice.
A puzzled Lord Lom saw that his family was standing upright in the hallway of his apartment; guarded by the figures that he had assumed were there to kill them.  A familiar face emerged at the top of the stairs, the unmasked man from the elevator.
“Skip?” asked the shocked diplomat.
“Lord Lom, I apologize for all of this,” Skip replied cavalierly.
“What is the meaning of all of this?” demanded the perplexed royal advisor.
“My Lord, we have to get you and your family out of here, right now. But first, I suppose the least I can do is introduce myself,” the apparent faux doorman supplied.
“That would be a start,” Lom replied weakly.
“I am Drenan Novastriker, that’s Master Sergeant Drenan Novastriker of Corellian Security,” the undercover security officer revealed.
“Corellian Security? Is this in relation to the supplies? Sergeant, I assure you, I know nothing about those supplies,” Sillum Lom asserted.
“Its Master Sergeant and I know you didn’t my Lord, now you have to come with me right away, I will explain when we are safe.”
The armed security detail quickly ushered the Lom family downstairs and into a waiting speeder truck, and whisked them off into the night.  When Captain Sykes and company arrived 20 minutes later, the residents of the penthouse apartment were long gone.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2011, 11:56:03 pm »
Lassay, Naboo

2345 Hours, Wednesday
It had been a fruitful day for Agent Vixen, splitting her time between the stable and local cantina.  She had been given a name by the stable boy, Deel Pohar, as the man responsible for all of the late night movement.  Shellbee had tracked him down at the town’s only eatery, where she monitored him from a distance.  Just after lunch, Vixen sent a message to Jezebel on the man in question, and reported that she had a source of information within the village.
After some more flirting and questioning the ranch hand, a power nap, and a shower, Vixen received her reply from her Commander.  Deel Pohar was an alias, but the picture of the man closely matched a former RSF agent turned rogue named Sa-Vin Grifke.  Sa-Vin had disappeared only a few months ago after some questionable activities put him on the radar for Internal Affairs.  He was suddenly transferred to Lassay just before the RSF withdrew its people from there.  When the orders were given for that entire garrison to relocate to Keren, he never reported.  He was named a person of interest to the RSF, but currently, he wasn’t wanted for any crimes.
Now, at this late hour, Captain Belle watched as Deel Pohar/Sa-Vin Grifke left his modest home to attend to the latest shipment of supplies.  She followed him to another medium sized building, a large roll down door dominating its front. It was here that a Royal Transportation Authority speeder truck met Pohar.  The smuggler rolled open the large door, and several Gungans emerged, making quick work of unloading the speeder truck.  Pohar handed the driver something, and he turned and hopped into the driver’s seat of the truck, and sped off into the night.
Vixen sent an image of the speeder truck, including a close-up shot of its registration number, back to Major Kassel.  Deel Pohar made some sort of signal to the Gungans, who then made their way off into the night, in the direction of the stable.  It looked like they were going to move supplies tonight, and Agent Vixen would make sure they were tracked.
Imperial Garrison, Theed

0021 Hours, Thursday
The family of twi’lek sat in comfortable chairs in what had been a Colonel’s office until an hour ago.  Master Sergeant Novastriker was given use of the room to sequester the family in relative comfort, to assure them they were not in any kind of trouble.  The Garrison Colonel had initially protested the maneuver, until he received a direct call from Special Forces Command.  Apparently whomever he had spoken to had persuaded him that it was a good career move to allow CorSec access to his facility.
“Now that you are all reasonably comfortable, let me do some explaining,” Novastriker began.
“I am with Corellian Security’s Smuggling Interdiction Agency, going on almost 25 years in fact.”
“Good for you,” Koyi interrupted.
“A few months ago,” the Master Sergeant continued, ignoring the young girl, “one of our informants tipped us off in regards to a smuggling operation.”
“Smuggling items on and off of Corellia is not especially newsworthy, except this stuff was military hardware; I am talking serious fire power.  Most of the stuff was getting sent there disguised as mining equipment.  A local entrepreneur was rumored to be connected, but his tracks were covered very well.  Follow me so far?”
“Yes,” Lord Lom sighed, “I am waiting to hear the part that required you to break into my home this evening.”
“Right, very well.  What made it so difficult to track down the equipment was the speed at which it was moved.  It was becoming obvious it was not being stored for use on Corellia at all; it was just being used as a distribution point.  We directed our search here because the entrepreneur had made several visits here in the months prior; in fact, he had been seen with several dignitaries in public.”
Sillum Lom’s mind began to race, Corellian entrepreneur, frequent visits to Naboo, seen with many members of the Royal Court.  A name suddenly came to his lips as he closed his eyes.
“Vantiss,” he breathed.
“Yes, Lord Lom, Vantiss. I was sent undercover to track your business dealings, your movements, and the like.  Because you and he had several dealings, and we had to find out if and how he was getting the weapons onto Naboo.”
“I assure you, all of my dealings with him were legitimate!” Sillum shrieked.
“They may have been, but he and someone in the Royal Court have been using you to deliver supplies to terrorists in the Lassay region.”
Suddenly, Novastriker had Koyi’s attention. Before she could speak, the CorSec officer read the expression on her face.
“You, young lady, inadvertently helped get this case the proper amount of attention from the Imperial authorities.  When you had your Daddy look into the location of the Stormtrooper field base, it drew all sorts of attention from a lot of important people.”
He paused, arching his eyebrow at the young twi’lek.
“That’s when the Imperials started keeping tabs on all of you as well.”
Command & Control Center

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0135 Hours, Thursday
The makeshift command center was buzzing with activity, with a total of five people occupying the meager space.  Information had been streaming in from all sources, and the intelligence operators were expertly assembling it all.  Both long range patrols, a team from Field Base Acklay and Ravenheart’s team, had reported finding equipment at the sites in question.  Ensign Dunerunner wore a smug expression when her suspicions were confirmed.
Agent Vixen had nailed down the middle man in Lassay, and simply by flirting with a talkative stable boy.  She had also provided some intelligence involving a delivery vehicle, which Outlaw and company was currently en route to intercept.  Vixen would also place a tracking device somewhere with the supply caravan about to leave Lassay, hopefully leading to the Rebel base.
Major Kassel had also received a call from an Inspector from CorSec’s Smuggling Interdiction Agency, explaining that they had a break in a major case. He stated that the day’s event’s had yielded information that she would find useful.  Of course, Mastermind had already informed her of the Lom family being taken into protective custody. It was in fact a Stormtrooper Special Forces Detachment dressed as and RSF Tactical Entry Team that pulled off the operation.  General Sturmwolke had been vague on how it pertained to Operation Ghost Viper, but also added that the murder of an RTA Commissioner might be involved.  Jezebel was glad that Outlaw had vacated the camp before the news came in about his girlfriend and her parents; added stress right now was not needed.
The Intelligence Officer was running a tight operation at the moment, but she was on edge, almost nervous.  The amount of the Task Force’s resources currently committed was bordering on dangerous.  Gunships were poised to support the various operatives in the field, but not enough.  There were just enough infantry Lartys available to extract the long range patrols. Outlaw’s team was forced to take one of the back-ups, and they were going to be flying in as a single craft, without any immediate support.  The current Quick Reaction Force on stand-by was actually a pair of long range teams that were slated for insertion less than 24 hours from now.  The side effect of pushing this operation at such a rapid pace was the breaking down of the equipment and personnel, and it was threatening to get worse.
“Major, there is an encrypted message marked urgent for you. I am downloading it to your secure data device,” one of Jezebel’s aides said.
“Very good,” the Major replied, knowing already who the sender was.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2011, 12:37:11 am »
Somewhere Over “Roadway 1”, Naboo

0150 Hours, Thursday

“Things are starting to get interesting around here, eh Doc?” Milky shouted over the hum of the Larty engine.
Doctor Z turned and offered him a toothy smile.
“Yeah Milk, just like old times,” he shouted back.
The venerable Larty had delivered the Lancers to many battles over the last three years.  It was a robust craft, serving the Empire since before the days of the Clone Wars.  The ship was a welcome sight for the Clone Troopers, bringing much needed reinforcements, food, medical supplies, or just a much needed ride home.  The troopers affectionately coined the craft’s nickname, and crews grew quite attached to them.
Currently the old war horse was used sparingly in the Imperial Army, being replaced by the Imperial Dropship Transport (IDT) and the Multi Altitude Assault Transport (MAAT).  But it found new life within the Special Forces, being easily modified and much easier to maintain than the new transports.  Ship mechanics would often speak about the good old Larty with reverie, harkening back to a simpler time with less technology to go awry.
“What are we looking for ‘Law?” asked Buzz over his shoulder.
“A speeder truck, it should be pretty simple to find out here at this hour,” Outlaw answered.
Historically, the infantry transport was capable of carrying up to thirty troops and a pair of door gunners.  The Special Operations variants flown by the 160th SOAR held considerably less. In theory it could now carry nineteen, but fifteen fully laden SF operators was often a tight fit.  It was common for them to carry a single trooper lance, five operators, and the ship’s crew into battle.  The sacrificed crew room was the price of more powerful engines, larger fuel cells, and enhanced armor plating.  The SO-LAAT/I could stay in battle longer, and protect its occupants more easily.
“Lieutenant, I have located the speeder truck, 3 kilometers south, heading toward Lassay at a high rate of speed,” reported the ship’s co-pilot.
“Very well, we need to slow him down some, swoop in and light off the tree line a few hundred meters in front of him,” Outlaw ordered.
“Roger that!” came the reply from the cockpit, “hold on boys.”
The Larty turned to the south, picking up speed, then banked hard around until it was flying directly over the roadway.  The truck was still cruising northbound, its driver now wondering what the racket was behind him.  He focused on his rear view screen, which was pointed at the road behind him, and revealed nothing.  Suddenly, both sides of the road before him erupted in flames.
“What the frack?!” he screamed, bringing the repulsor craft to a rapid halt.
The driver gripped the steering yoke with both hands, breathing heavily.  The trees on either side of the roadway, a few hundred yards in front of him, were completely in flames.  He momentarily considered turning around and going back toward Lassay, but that would create a host of problems.  This was the only way back to Lianorm, and then to points north.  His boss and his girlfriend both expected him at a certain time tonight, and doubling back would risk raising suspicions with both of them.  No, he would continue forward, between the rows of flames.  There is plenty of room for the truck, I can make it, he thought.
As he was about to ease the truck forward however, he heard a low roar above his head.  Slowly hovering into position on the road in front of him, was a wicked looking air craft.
“What the …” stammered the truck driver, his body frozen in place.
Almost on cue, several armed figures leapt out of the sides of the craft, and advanced on the truck, weapons trained on him.  Still too petrified to move, the driver realized they were calling out to him as they slowly closed the distance between them.  Before his body could react, his door was being ripped open, and he was on the ground next to his delivery speeder.  Suddenly, it became apparent what was occurring, this had to do with his clandestine runs down to Lassay.  He only hoped that these dangerous fellows screaming at him were local law enforcement, and not rival pirates, or worse, imperials.
“Cuff him, throw a bag over his head, and throw him in the Larty,” shouted Outlaw.
The RTA driver had never heard of a Larty, so he was praying to the spirits that it was not some kind of torture device.  Suddenly, the lights went out, the aforementioned bag draped over his head.  The crooked delivery man did his best to follow what was going on, as best he could tell, he was aboard the flying machine.  I do hope this thing is the Larty, he thought.
He felt himself being sat upright, an uneasy feeling building in his stomach as the craft began to ascend.
“I hope you aren’t wasting your time thinking of excuses for what you did,” shot an angry voice, just inches from his face.
“What … wait … who are you?” he stammered through the fabric of the bag.
“We’re your worst nightmare,” shot another voice, from farther away, and then the first voice spoke up again.
“You were taking money from the wrong people, tough guy,” chided Outlaw.
The captured driver swallowed hard.
“I would just throw you out into the jungle if I could,” Buzz spat at the man.
“Me too,” Outlaw agreed, “But after Jezebel gets done with him, he’ll wish we did.”
The blinded and handcuffed man attempted to speak, but Outlaw shushed him.
“Quiet! Best thing for you to do, is to answer every question she has for you, and don’t concoct some ridiculous story, just tell the truth.”
The hooded man nodded and offered a muffled whimper of acknowledgement. It really wasn’t fair, Outlaw thought.  The guy was just a pawn, nowhere near a professional.  The Lieutenant was pretty sure he would have already cooperated without hesitation; he just wanted to make sure.
He gave Milky a smile, who responded with his own amused visage.  Too easy, Outlaw said to himself.

Village of Lassay, Naboo

0215 Hours, Thursday
Deel Pohar sat perched on the bar stool casually; eyeing the sultry brunette seated only a few places away.  He was having an amazing string of good luck lately, in both business and with the ladies.  The former law enforcement officer had now moved eleven shipments of illicit goods to the Gungans.  Other people might shudder at some of the cargo, heavy weapons, tank ammunition, etc, but Pohar didn’t lose a minute of sleep over it.  His new life was all about the credits, and he now had more than knew what to do with.  The smuggler turned to face the brunette again, this time making eye contact.
Pohar/Grifke motioned for the woman to occupy the empty stool to his left, she responded with an arched eyebrow.  The ruffian’s sly smile grew larger as he motioned to her again, come here and sit by me, he mouthed.  This time the woman obliged, slowly rising from her seat and sexily slinking to sit next to man.  Shellbee easily glided into place next to him, offering a coy come-hither smile.  The unaware thug returned the smile and placed his hand on the intelligence officer’s arm.
“I’m Deel, welcome to Lassay,” he greeted her smoothly.
“I’m Miss Belle, and thank you,” she answered.
“So, what are the chances of you and me spending some time together tonight?” the man asked next.
“Oh, I think they are very good,” replied the undercover agent slyly.
Hold me …
Thrill me …
Kiss me … Kill me!

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2011, 11:41:45 pm »

Chapter 14
The path that I’m walking, I must go alone.
I must take the baby steps ‘till I’m full grown, full grown.
Fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay.
Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0240 Hours, Thursday
The Imperial landing craft flared out into a slow hover and carefully descended onto the small landing pad.  Other than the dark sky, there was little indication that it was nearly 3 in the morning local time.  Crews were busy replenishing fuel and ammo in the Lartys, and making last minute adjustments before picking up 1st Sergeant Ravenheart’s team.
Lieutenant Outlaw Sturmwolke noticed Major Jezebel waiting for him, along with her security detail, and a very serious looking Warrant Officer.  They were going to question the delivery truck driver right now, it appeared.  As soon as he was physically able, the Stormtrooper Lieutenant was off of the craft, heading towards Major Kassel.  Outlaw was interested in some news on the other operators that were downrange this morning.  As he briskly walked to the Major, her security detail raced to the Larty to nab the prisoner they’d hauled in.
“Lieutenant, I have some news for you,” Jezebel began as Outlaw grew near.
“Okay, that sounds ominous, what’s the news?” the Stormtrooper replied.
“Your girlfriend, she is in protective custody in Theed,” Major Kassel managed not to sound smug.
“Kamiko is in protective custody? For what?” he stammered.
“Kamiko, ha … no … Koyi Lom, the twi’lek, she is being held at the Imperial Garrison in Theed,” Major Kassel reported, amused.
“Why is she being held?” Outlaw asked, relieved and confused all at once.
“Her father is tied to a smuggling ring it seems,” she paused for effect, “the same smuggling ring that was arming our Rebel enemies in the swamps.”
“Fracking terrific,” he cursed, “so, why are you telling me this?”
“I’m not heartless Theo, I am sure she needs to see a friendly face,” Major Kassel offered, “and I would have bet you’d want to see her too. But, it seems you haven’t lost those feelings for that Corellian girl …”
“Okay, enough, Melyssa,” he huffed, exhaling through his nose; “I’m going to Theed then, is that the plan?”
Major Melyssa Kassel was momentarily stunned by the use of her first name by the Lieutenant. He had only referred to her as Major or Jezebel since her short affair with a member of his team had ended.  She had initially been very close to the teams as the 220th was first organized.  Outlaw felt she was too close, and when he found out a man on his squad was bedding the Major; he became quite vocal in his opposition.  The man on his squad broke off the relationship at his Lieutenant’s request.  This was when the Major began to pry into the Outlaw’s personal life. 
“Yes, go to Theed.  They are refueling your bird and you are to go and find out how the Loms are involved,” she finally answered.
The Scout trooper remained standing in front of the Major, in silence, enjoying her discomfort.  He knew he hadn’t called her by her first name since the incident on Lok with his squadmate.  All of his troopers were instructed not to fraternize with the members of the intelligence officers. The chilling of the personal relationship included referring to the Major by her rank or title, and not her first name as she had requested of the troopers.  An intervention by his brother Krienz, a Colonel and the platoon’s CO at the time, had prevented disaster.  The order to refrain from fraternization of the two units was ultimately relaxed, but Major Kassel had distanced herself from the teams after that.  She did continue to ask the operators to call her by her first name, but Outlaw never would.
“I will be seeing to the questioning of this delivery truck driver, as you were Lieutenant,” she stated through pursed lips.
“Aye Aye Major,” Outlaw replied, swinging his arm briskly into a tight salute.
The junior officer held the salute until the Major returned it, and then he turned on his heels and strode towards the Larty.
“Damn that man,” Major Kassel sighed angrily, turning to tend to her own duties.
Imperial Garrison, Theed

0318 Hours, Thursday
The lights were low in the garrison commander’s office.  A pair of couches served as the beds for Lord Lom and his wife, about as comfortable as Imperial office furniture could be.  A roll away bed had been mustered for Koyi, only slightly more suitable than her parents current sleeping arrangements.  Ironically, her father insisted she have the actual bed, and she was the only one who could not fall asleep.  She had sent a barrage of messages to Theodorik, all unanswered.
“Can’t sleep?”
Koyi heard the soft voice, just above a whisper, and leapt up to her feet.  Standing in the doorway was Theodorik, all 6’2” of his rugged frame.  His face was cast in shadow, a light from behind him reaching into the room, giving him a spectral appearance.
“Theo,” the twi’lek sighed.
Koyi realized that she was relieved to see him, to see that he was not harmed.  It was an emotion she hadn’t allowed herself to think about this night.  She sighed deeply, admitting to herself that the biggest reason she could not be a military wife, was being in the dark.  She was surprised to see him, glad he was okay, but not knowing when he would rush out again, and for how long; that was too much.
“I’ve been sending you messages all night.  We sort of got into some trouble,” she breathed, purposely not rising to meet him.
“Sorry for that, my personal device is back at the base,” he replied softly.
She closed her eyes and nodded.  Tears began to stream down her face as she attempted to explain her feelings to the trooper.
“Theo, I don’t think I can do this anymore, you and me, us … I mean …” she said finally.
A definitive lump formed in Theodorik’s throat, as ego took charge of his body before common sense could.  He breathing became uneven, and words failed him as he took a step into the room.  He glanced at the sleeping Lord and Lady, and then back to the eighteen year old, wearing a hurt face.
“Let’s go out here,” he gestured.
She nodded and complied, softly gliding across the floor and into the outer room.  Theo exhaled heavily, watching her go, when a thought entered his head.  You weren’t going to marry this girl, this is for the best.
 “I know,” he sighed.
“What’s that?” the young girl asked, turning back to face him.
Theo shook his head, “I know. Koyi, it’s for the best.  It doesn’t make it easy. But you are right.”
“Spirits, that’s the truth, just kissing you, holding you, I am going to miss that,” she admitted.
“But I’m only eighteen, and you’ve made me realize that I can do so much more with my life,” she continued.
“Yeah, I can’t ask you to wait around until I return.  You should see as much of this galaxy as you can,” he chuckled.
“Theodorik, you have opened my eyes in so many ways.  The times we had together,” she paused, closing her eyes and inhaling sharply, “those thoughts will keep me warm at night, knowing that there are men like you in the galaxy.”
The Stormtrooper’s face crinkled into a smile, warmth building in his cheeks.  A single tear rolled down his right cheek, which Koyi promptly wiped away.
“That means a lot to me, that you think of me that way,” he supplied.
“You are a true hero, Theo. And I know that your heart belongs to another, even if I could be with you, you aren’t mine to have,” this time Koyi shed a single teardrop.
“I guess I am pretty transparent when it comes to that, and you know … her …” his voice trailed off.
“I know, Theo.  I knew when I saw your face in the elevator that night.  Twi’leks read body language better than anyone,” she laughed gently.
“I’m glad we had this time together, as short as it was,” he smiled.
“It was short, wasn’t it? It seemed longer, but I guess when you think about it, huh …” she laughed.
“It was long enough,” he joined her laughter.
“Koyi, I won’t forget you, and hell, why are we talking like this? This isn’t goodbye,” he put on a faux stern expression.
“Not goodbye,” she agreed, nodding.
“I’m going to miss the way your le’ku shake when you nod your head …”
She suddenly bounded into him, and enveloped him in a massive hug.
“Please be careful, and please keep in touch.  Tell that fire chick that she better take care of you, I know where she lives.”
Theodorik and Koyi held that embrace for a few moments, and then the two parted, both literally and figuratively.  The twi’lek was finally able to sleep a few minutes later, her mind at ease.  As he made his way to the elevator, Theodorik kicked himself for not asking about her father or the raid on their pent house.
He admonished his reflection in the polished silver doors, “Women really do knock you off your game, don’t they?”

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2011, 05:21:54 pm »
Village of Lassay, Naboo

0404 Hours, Thursday
Don’t kill him unless you absolutely have to.
Vixen twisted her face into a distraught expression as she looked into the refresher room mirror.  The message was slightly disappointing, but the spy understood.  As much as Captain Belle would enjoy leaving Naboo littered with Rebel corpses, it wasn’t practical.  The mission required that she bring Pohar in to be questioned, and then probably turned over to the RSF.  Her personal recordings of him while they talked at the bar were enough to convict him of high treason.  She tucked her hair back behind her ears and splashed water onto her face.
“Bragging idiot,” she said aloud.
Pohar was currently sleeping off the tranquilizer that Shellbee had slipped him.  He would awake in a jail cell at the field base, surrounded by a few people who wished to make his acquaintance.  Vixen had already sprung her Kaadu from the stable, and placed several tracking devices on the caravan vehicles.  She was now preparing to carry her prisoner off to rendezvous with a drop ship.  Major Kassel informed her that the ship was part of another mission, but could pick her up just before dawn, assuming all went well with its previous pick-up.
After confirming the street was clear, Agent Vixen carried the unconscious man to the waiting pack animal, and slung him irreverently over the saddle.  Satisfied that her baggage was sufficiently covered, she led the creature north toward her pick-up point.  The risk was palpable, being alone in the swamps with her “cargo”.  The Captain armed herself with a pair of KYD-21 pistols, but was counting on the pre-dawn hour to be her best defense.
“My work here is done,” she sighed.
Command & Control Center

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0415 Hours, Thursday
The makeshift command post had reached a level of somewhat calm, as the field operations began to wind down.  The speeder truck driver was being questioned by Agent Wraith; at last report, he was spilling his guts without hesitation.  Outlaw’s team had returned, as well as the other long range patrol from Field Base Acklay.  Remaining was Ravenheart’s team, who were on to the second phase of their mission, and Captain Belle plus one.  Major Kassel’s nervous stomach had subsided, and she finally relaxed her posture.
The command staff had much more information regarding the supply chain now, which was now effectively ended.  Outlaw was meeting with a CorSec officer in the morning to discuss the movement of the hardware to Naboo.  The missing links were the Trade Minister and his son, Heemo, both never returning from their trip from the day before.  CorSec had promised some answers, including a name from the Corellian side of the smuggling operation.
“Major, you might be interested in this,” interrupted a technician.
“What?” she asked, sounding more than a little annoyed.
“The supply caravan, they initially moved northwest toward our target area, but they’ve just turned due southwest.”
“They’re moving away from the target area?”
“Yes ma’am, same speed, but all of the tracking devices are now headed southwest.”
“Okay,” Jezebel was now on her feet, “Track them closely, keep me posted.”
The Intelligence Officer looked at her data device, now resting on the table.  The mission orders for the two LRRP teams were on the screen, centering on the today’s findings and the previous satellite imagery.  The blonde woman exhaled through pursed lips; she had hoped the teams tomorrow would be able to finally find the Rebel headquarters.  The supplies did not take the route that everyone had surmised they would take; the mission orders would have to be changed.
“Major, one more thing,” the tech announced.
“Yes, Specialist Gestaad,” she huffed.
“1st Sergeant Ravenheart’s team has been picked up, she is reporting that they did not observe any supply movement.”
“That confirms what the tracking devices are telling us, anything else?” she asked.
“There were signs of a path, coming from Lassay and heading northwest, but it had been days or longer since it saw any movement.”
Major Kassel’s brain was nearing shutdown, there was a surplus of information coming into her head and she couldn’t handle all of it.  Did the Rebels move their HQ in the last week?  Were there multiple bases out there?  She had one asset left to utilize, one that she normally did not trust.  Major Kassel’s hand was forced, her resources were spread thin, and the equipment and personnel would begin to show sign of fatigue soon enough.  She would send an aerial probe droid to follow the supplies they were tracking.
“Get the Theed Stormtrooper Garrison’s watch officer on my holo screen,” she demanded.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #41 on: July 08, 2011, 02:43:51 am »
North of Lassay, Naboo

0500 Hours, Thursday
The modified infantry transport lifted off the ground, its passengers sat in silence as they looked over the Imperial spy.  Captain Shellbee “Vixen” Belle wore a smug expression, and she looked rather refreshed considering the hour.  1st Sergeant “Slice” Ravenheart noted the subdued smuggler lying on the deck, bound at the hands and feet, with a black cloth over his head.  The non-commissioned officer rolled her eyes and scoffed.  They sent that little girl to bring in a prisoner, she thought, Intelligence must be out of their minds.
Sergeant Visk “Hawkbat” Chobrea rested his head against the back wall of the Larty, eyes transfixed on the intelligence officer.  He kept his expression neutral, trying not to let his amusement show.  The energetic looking brunette could have been a fashion model or an actress, he noted.  He nearly laughed out loud when he looked at the grin plastered on her face, but managed to limit it to a smirk.  It was clear from her body language that the 1st Sergeant was not impressed with the young field agent.
The entire long range patrol was looking forward to some much needed and well deserved sleep.  Their mission had yielded valuable information, and just like in most cases with a long range recon team, they may never know how valuable.  As they sped toward the field base, the Commanding Major of the operation was already asleep.  An aerial reconnaissance droid would be over a new area of interest within two hours.  Morning would hopefully bring some answers.
Command & Control Center

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0708 Hours, Thursday
Major Melyssa “Jezebel” Kassel sat in the Command Center alone, her entire staff now asleep in their shelters.  The commissioned officer had taken a refreshing two and a half hour power nap of her own, and was glad for it.  At 0800, two technicians were coming in to man the CNC, members of her staff that she had held in reserve so she had fresh operators for the daylight hours.  Until they reported to their consoles, Major Kassel would take care of all of the CNC’s duties.
Currently, the task was a simple one.  Only one aircraft was not at its base, and that was Theodorik’s Larty.  The rest of the personnel, the technicians, shooters, medical staff, etc, were secure.  Only one intelligence officer was in the field now, the twi’lek named Cabod Nive.  His latest information was that of a quiet return to office for Mayor Ferran Ryltans in Lianorm.  The only actual work was tracking the supply carts and watching the video of the aerial reconnaissance probe.  The probe was mere minutes away from arriving above the carts, several thousand feet overhead, out of reach of all but the most sophisticated radars.
“Theed Station to Field Base Baz Nitch,” crackled the terrestrial radio.
“Go ahead Theed,” Melyssa replied.
“Visual feed should be available for the aerial droid, you have a delay of about 15 seconds, but otherwise it should be good to go.”
“Roger that Theed, I am looking for a circular hover at the coordinates which I am sending you now.”
Melyssa raced to a different console and transmitted the coordinates, then raced back to her view screen, which was now showing the view of the aerial droid.
“Marvelous,” she said, watching the droid hover 80,000 feet above Naboo.
The camera on the droid spotted what looked like movement through the jungle below, the operator in Theed instinctively zoomed in.
“Whoa, I lost signal,” reported the droid pilot.
On her view screen, Major Kassel could see a round object rapidly come into view, until the screen went black.  She could hear angry shouts through her headphones, as Theed Station was not pleased at the loss of the equipment.  Looking up, the intelligence officer also noticed the tracking devices had ceased transmitting a location.
“Frack, they know we are onto them,” she muttered.

Imperial Garrison, Theed

0738 Hours, Thursday
An uncomfortable twi’lek couple sat at the Garrison Commander’s conference table, opposite a pair of serious looking Special Forces Stormtroopers.
“I know none of us slept well,” Outlaw began, “so I will keep this short and to the point.”
The First Lieutenant noted that the Lom’s daughter, Koyi, his most recent ex-girlfriend, had not come down to the conference room.  While she hadn’t been requested, the young man figured she was as hungry for answers as anyone else was.  Perhaps she was taking the break-up a little harder than she let on.  It wasn’t high on the concern list currently, however, so Outlaw pressed on.
“Let me tell you what I know, you fill in the blanks, deal?”
“Yes, that is acceptable,” replied the Interior Minister.
It was a slightly surreal experience for the young Lieutenant, questioning the couple that he met under far different circumstances.  Now it was Lord Lom’s turn to be uncomfortable, and Outlaw was the one with all the answers.
“Some heavy equipment arrives from Corellia, shipped from a Mr. Vantiss.  It bypasses customs, and is sent directly to RTA.  Corellian Security has pretty good evidence that Trade Minister Tossa allowed this.  Someone, quite possibly under Tossa’s direction, or even he himself, was using your electronic signature to send the equipment to Lassay.”
Outlaw paused as Lord Lom grew wide eyed.  The expression on his face told the soldier that Lord Tossa had been a trusted ally of Lom’s, and never would have suspected him of foul play.
“Corellian Security was actually investigating both of you, but on a hunch, Master Sergeant Novastriker had RTA change all the electronic signatures, and add a verification code to the process.”
“Skip thought we were innocent,” Lady Lom softly interjected.
“Correct, and that’s when everything came crashing down for Tossa, who is now missing by the way.”
The Lom’s immediately looked relieved, now realizing they were not in any real trouble now.  Outlaw took note of the way Lord Lom grasped his wife’s shoulders reassuringly.  That was when a uniformed crewman burst into the room.
“Lieutenant, you’ve gotta come down to the Command Center, right away,” he shouted.
“What the hell … okay … wait a damn second …” Outlaw held his index finger up to the man, a scowl forming on his face.
Outlaw exhaled hard as the man stepped out into the hallway.  Turning to the Lord and Lady, a tired smile formed on his face. He didn’t notice the door had been left open by the crewman.
“Lord and Lady Lom, I am sorry you had to be mixed up in this ordeal.  I also wish that things between your daughter and I could be different.  Koyi will always have a special place in my heart, but she is at an age where she needs to find her own way.  My destiny is with the Empire. Hers, well, who knows?  I hope you let her spread her wings and find herself. She is a wonderful girl.  Now, I am afraid this is the last time I will speak to either of you. So I must thank you for your hospitality and wish you well.  Master Segeant Novastriker will likely take over the questioning, I don't see any point in continuing myself.  I just wanted to shed some light on this situation that we are in.  I figured I owed you at least that much.  If someday, we do cross paths again, I hope that it will be as friends.”
Outlaw stretched out his hand to the twi’lek, who now wore a slightly amused visage.
“Theo, or should I say, Lieutenant,” he said with a wink, “You are a very honorable young man, I wish you well also.  And believe me, my wife and I know what a gem our daughter is.  I thank you for bringing out the best in her.”
The two men rose and reached across the table and grasped hands.  Outlaw offered a smile and a slight wave to the female twi’lek to Lord Lom’s side. She returned the smile and winked, reminding the trooper where Koyi’s looks came from.  The human took a deep breath and joined the nervous man in the hallway.  A muffled “What?” could be heard as they hurried down the hallway toward the elevator.  Outlaw hadn’t noticed a younger purple twi’lek hiding in the shadows across the hallway from the conference room.
“I wonder Theo, what would have been if you and I met at a different time, in a different place,” Koyi whispered.
Someday, Koyi Lom would find her place in the galaxy and someone to share it with.  Until then, she had the memories of her first love, the gallant Stormtrooper, Theodorik Sturmwolke.
I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you.
It's personal, myself and I,
We've got some straightenin' out to do.
And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket,
But I've got to get a move on with my life.
It's time to be a big girl now,
And big girls don't cry.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #42 on: July 12, 2011, 03:14:54 am »
Chapter 15

Oh my life is changing every day,
in every possible way.
Though my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems.
Never quite as it seems.

Theed, Naboo

0800 Hours, Thursday
The modest apartment was dimly lit, the thick curtains still drawn to block the daylight.  Kamiko was a night person as far back as she could remember, preferring artificial light to natural.  She was sitting in her favorite oversized chair, gripping a hot mug of caf tightly.  Theodorik had given her the mug years before, right about the time he had gotten her addicted to the hot beverage.   The young brunette held the cup at arm’s length and inspected the graphic on the side.  It read, “Give Baby Some Sugar”, a nod to her taste for the sweetener.
The mug was a gift, and until this morning, had been tucked away in her closet.  Marcus would have a temper tantrum if he saw it, the bottom was marked “To Little K, Love Sturmy”.  Last night, she was struck by the inclination to dig it out, and now she was enjoying a hot mug of sweet memory.
She thought back to how her and Theo were always very casual together, especially when they were in the company of others.  He wasn’t much for public affection, aside from the occasional hand holding.  To most onlookers, they were just really good friends, enjoying food, music, and sarcasm together.   When they looked at each other, and when their eyes met, that was the betrayer.  Only recently did Kammi appreciate the love that Theo held for her in his eyes.
Kammi slowly took a sip from the mug, noting it was still extremely hot on her lips.  She raised an impish eyebrow and her face formed a smirk.  She was suddenly thinking of something else that was hot on her alluring lips.
“Boy, what I wouldn’t give for a hot glass of you right now,” she said aloud.
He was surprisingly gentle with her when they were alone, a detail she had never shared with anyone.  The handsome Stormtrooper had been her first, and took such special care of her that she cried when their first lovemaking session had ended.  Behind closed doors, the boy was such a contrast from his “street” persona.  His tenderness was something that none of her other lovers had ever been able to match.
The musical tone of her doorbell abruptly ended her daydream.  Kammi bolted upright and deposited the mug on her end table, spilling some of the liquid.
“Nuts,” she muttered, “Who the heck could this be?”
She trotted to the door, holding her hip length robe closed. Clearing her throat, she thumbed the button for the intercom.
“Hello, who is it?” she asked groggily.
“This is Captain Sykes of Royal Security Forces,” responded a gruff voice.
Kamiko tightened her face, confused.
“Can you show me some ID?” she asked, switching on her view screen.
A middle aged man was outside, wearing a long brown trench coat.  He reached inside and produced a flat holo card, then held it up in the camera’s view.
Gavin Sykes
Royal Security Forces
Investigations Division
Kammi shrugged, tied her robe, and depressed a button on the keypad in front of her, opening the door.  She figured that anyone that had gotten past Skip was legitimate, and he started his shift an hour ago.
South of Theed, Naboo

0840 Hours, Thursday

“You still haven’t told us where we are going!” Corporal “Milky” Berran shouted over the Larty’s engines.
“I am not one hundred percent sure yet, Milk.  Just like I told you, there is some activity south of Lassay that caught the Major’s attention,” Outlaw shouted back.
“Why is Imperial Intelligence always so vague?” chimed in Sergeant “Buzz” Candro.
“Wish I knew, Buzzy, I just do what I’m told,” Outlaw shrugged.
The pilot held up his hand and waved, drawing Outlaw’s attention, and then pointed to his ears, indicating the scout leader should put on his headphones.
“What is it?” Outlaw asked as he stuck his head into the bulky ear coverings.
“You may want to check in with your base station. I was getting some unusual sounding radio traffic about 90 seconds ago, and now I am getting static. I’ve got a strong feeling that we are getting jammed.”
“Jammed? Are you serious?” asked the Lieutenant.
“Yes, and I think my radar is also being jammed,” replied the pilot.
In the background, one of the men noted seeing smoke in the distance.  Outlaw removed the headphones and plunked his armored helmet over his head, and attempted to contact the CNC by terrestrial radio, but was met with static.  Just then, his information center received a message.  The squad leader removed his headphones and shouted to the men aboard the air speeder.
“Something’s going on guys; you better get ready to slug it out with some Rebels.”
The men momentarily exchanged confused looks, and then went about checking their gear.  Outlaw opened the message.
“Brigade sized? Frack, that’s something like 9,000 troops,” he said aloud.
“Brigade sized? What the frack is going on ‘Law?” interjected Staff Sergeant “Hammer” Abstreiter.
“We’ve got major problems,” Outlaw said, exhaling through his mouth heavily.
He grabbed for his headphones again, forwarding the message to his squad.  Outlaw then alerted the pilot of the intended destination.
“Guys, check your info centers,” the Lieutenant ordered.
Command & Control Center

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0858 Hours, Thursday
A small feeling of relief washed over Major Melyssa Kassel when she read Outlaw’s reply.  Got it covered was all it said.  Two large military transports were sent from Keren to evacuate Lianorm, as it appeared the enemy force had intentions of capturing it.  The long range team that the Major had tried to insert into the area had turned around after taking a rocket to the tail.  All passengers and crew were unscathed, but the pilot was forced to put the craft down about 4 kilometers south of Lianorm.
The LRRP’s aboard the doomed Larty reported around 2500 mechanized vehicles of many different types before the terrestrial communications network (TCN) went silent.  The Major assumed the logical course of action for the stranded troopers was to head to Lianorm.
“Major, I’ve almost isolated the jamming frequency; we should have the TCN back shortly.  In the meantime, the SatCom satellite is being repositioned,” explained Specialist Gestaad.
“Good,” she replied; the Intelligence Officer did not like being blind.
The Major took a deep breath.  A huge invasion force coming out of nowhere, she thought, they are going to have my head for this.  After the long range team was hit by the rocket, the commissioned officer reached out to the Theed Stormtrooper Garrison.  The Colonel readied four battalions of Stormtroopers, and ordered them to Baz Nitch.  He himself, and a small command staff, were also headed to the Field Base to command the operation.
With the expansion of the Galactic Civil War, the planet now quartered only the I Corps of the 3rd Imperial Army of Naboo, the rest of her troops were elsewhere.  While the I Corps boasted 48,000 troops, they were spread out across the planet, and could take up to 72 hours to assemble.  For now, the Colonel was relying on the 31st Air Assault Battlegroup, 10,000 troopers, 500 repulsorcraft, and 106 heavy tanks.  The entire Battlegroup was in orbit around the planet, on board I Corps' transport ship.  Initial elements of the highly mobile force would be on the ground within the hour.
“Spirits help me,” sighed the Major.
Alliance Underground Headquarters

Gallo Mountains, Naboo

0902 hours, Thursday
There was a noticeable commotion throughout the underground base; Captain Krieger could sense it even from his dim jail cell. Despite the rattle of keys at his heavy wooden door, he remained still. A frantic Lieutenant Burchenall rushed into the holding area.
“Krieger, I need your help,” blurted out his replacement.
“What?” the Corellian replied, his voice devoid of emotion.
“It’s the Gungans; they’ve started the attack early!”

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #43 on: July 12, 2011, 06:28:42 pm »
Command & Control Center

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0911 Hours, Thursday
“Something just occurred to me, Gestaad,” Major Kassel mentioned as she stood abruptly, “any movement on the tracking devices on the tanks?”
“The devices placed by the recon patrols? No ma’am, no movement at all.”
The Major wondered, were they decoys?  Then another idea altogether formed.
“We have TCN yet?” she asked.
“No Ma’am, but the satellite has been repositioned,” reported another technician, “the 31st’s Ground Support Wing is reporting heavy losses.”
“Already?” came the Major’s shocked reply.
An Imperial Army Corps Ground Support Wing was 40 aircraft deep, including a dozen TIE bombers.  The Empire was throwing combat elements haphazardly at the enemy, and they were paying the price for it.  The Major needed to talk to the Stormtrooper Colonel before they lost anymore assets.
“What’s the Stormtrooper Colonel’s name?” demanded the Major gruffly.
“Colonel Waynright, his shuttle took off moments ago, should be here in a matter of minutes,” shouted a Comm operator.
 “I need a link-up with that shuttle, I mean, right the hell now.”
Lianorm, Naboo

0915 Hours, Thursday
The approach to Lianorm gave the troopers a much different view than the last time they cast eyes on her.  To the south, the smoke and haze of battle was all the Imperials needed to know about the fate of Lassay.
“Mother fracker, do you see that?” shouted Milky.
A TIE bomber lay just west of the city, its flaming wreckage plowed halfway into the soil.
“Great,” sighed Hammer, “we’re going to get fracking smoked.”
“Okay, this doesn’t look good, but let’s do our thing and get the frack out of here,” Outlaw shouted, attempting to steady his crew.
Suddenly a rocket trail could be seen coming at them from the south.
“Hey! Hey! Incoming rocket, do you see it?!?” screamed Milky into his headphones.
“What? … A What? … I have nothing on the screen,” responded the pilot, “Oh frell, there it is … Frack me, I have no countermeasures.  This one is going to hit us.”
The pilot banked hard to the left, trying to put the massive armored bottom of the craft toward the incoming projectile.  All of the inhabitants of the crew compartment were thrown to the left hard. A scream of pain came from the port side door gunner as several troopers crashed into him.  The Larty’s motor began to struggle against the impossible maneuver, the pilot gritting his teeth as he forced the yoke with both hands.
The air speeder lurched violently forward as the rocket exploded meters below its tail.  The concussion from the blast caused the tail to twist and tore the starboard wing completely off.  They were 200 feet in the air and losing altitude rapidly.
“I’ve still got maneuvering thrusters, we ain’t dead yet,” reassured the pilot, calm demeanor unchanged.
The pilot was using his forward maneuvering thrusters to counter their rapid decent.  Outlaw felt the craft begin to slow slightly, and his visions of a spectacular fiery crash were replaced with a slower and less dramatic crash. Probably kill us anyway, he sighed.
“We are still going to hit hard, clip into something!” shouted the pilot, a tinge of urgency finally creeping into his voice. 
 The men occupying the compartment each quickly clipped their web gear into one of the many snap hooks throughout the cabin.  The Lieutenant knew his aircraft well; he knew that if the pilot did not strike the ground nose first, none of them had a chance.  Outlaw closed his eyes and took a deep breath; it was in the pilots hands now.
Alliance Underground Headquarters

Gallo Mountains, Naboo

0918 hours, Thursday
Captain Krieger allowed the Lieutenant, his replacement, to explain the situation at hand fully.  The first phase of the attack, the Gungan charge on Lassay and Lianorm, had been initiated early.  The Alliance’s forces were not fully in position for their part of the invasion, but it looked like it was now or never.  The Corellian saw his chance to make a move.
“I am certain the Spec Ops troops are prepared for their part of the attack.  It’s just a matter of the armor and mechanized infantry being ready,” replied Krieger.
Lieutenant Burchenall sighed heavily, “I am glad to hear you say that, you don’t mind if I keep this meeting a secret, do you?”
“As far as I know, you were never here,” he replied, reaching his hand out to the XO, “Hey, in this cell or not, we are still on the same team.”
“I am glad you feel that way, sir,” Burchenall replied, grasping the Captain’s hand, “I will see about getting you out of here.”
Captain Dale Krieger knew it was a lie, but put a warm smile on his face anyway.
“I’ve gotta go, thanks again Captain,” the rebel Lieutenant announced, turning on his heels and striding out of the room.
Moments later, the wooden door was again slammed shut and locked from the outside.
Command & Control Center

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0920 Hours, Thursday
“Colonel, we need a more coordinated response, this is only the first phase of a much larger attack,” pleaded Major Kassel.
So far, her satellite video conference was not going well with Colonel Waynright.
“Major, with all due respect, you are an intelligence officer; you have no experience with large scale battles.  I am confident that the Air Wing has wiped out much of the opposing force; a few Stormtrooper Battalions should mop them up easily,” replied the Colonel, still smarting from the loss of his office the evening before.
“You might want to talk to Theed on the SatCom, that Air Wing received 80% losses on their first sortie.”
“What are you talking about?” asked the Colonel, now thoroughly confused.
The Stormtrooper CO could be seen speaking with someone off camera, he then turned back to face the image of Major Kassel.
“I can’t confirm that information, but we are having electronics and communications failure of major proportions over here,” he began, then after a long pause, “when we touch down, you and I will pool our resources and try and figure out what we are up against here.”
Like a good commander, he didn’t pull the trigger on a major operational order until all sources were considered.  He had not heard back from the Air Wing, so he did not have confirmation of their success or failure.
“Thank you sir, it is my position that we are dealing with a two pronged attack.  I have strong intelligence indicating a large force located north and west of the current invasion.  We need to address some of its possible targets when you arrive.”
“Very good, we arrive in less than five minutes,” the Colonel answered, maintaining his professional tone.
For a moment, the Major wondered if she was right about a secondary force and an additional potentially more valuable target.  Right or wrong, they had a hell of a fight on their hands.

Offline Theodorik

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Re: Restless Hearts
« Reply #44 on: July 17, 2011, 01:46:08 am »
Theed, Naboo

0930 Hours, Thursday
Kamiko settled back into her chair, the RSF investigator moving on to the next contestant on “What Happened to the Loms?”  The brunette could not offer Captain Sykes any information; her odd hours meant that she rarely saw the regal family from the penthouse.  Of course, there was the time she saw Koyi in the elevator with Theo, but Kammi did her best to forget that.  Part of her wondered if the twi’lek family’s hasty exit from the building was due to the operation the Lieutenant was running.
At first, Kammi resisted the urge to call Theo and ask him what was going on. What if he hadn’t heard that Koyi and family were missing?  She didn’t want to be the one to give him that sort of news.  After a few moments of self debate, she decided the best course of action was to call him.  She picked her comm device up off of the table and punched in his number.
The connection took much longer than usual, she noticed, and then suddenly, a long, loud tone filled her ear.
“What the hell?” she exclaimed tearing the device away from her head.
She ended the call and tried the number again, this time receiving the “number is not available” recording.
“That’s unusual,” she shrugged, “guess I will just send him a message.”

Call me when you can, it’s important.


That should do the trick, she thought.
Lianorm, Naboo

0935 Hours, Thursday
Kaece Murran had found himself in precarious positions before, but this was something new to add to the resume.  Aircraft continued to buzz overhead, punctuated by what had to be the occasional crash of one of the crafts.  What looked like an entire mechanized infantry brigade was bearing down on the village, and he was suddenly transformed from bodyguard into evacuation coordinator.  One military transport had already departed with several villagers, and the second was nearing capacity. 
“Where are all these people coming from?” scowled Murran as he herded a couple and their children aboard the transport.
Mayor Ryltans directed another family onto the craft.
“This is the last of them,” he shouted as he ushered them in, “Kieren and Mai Lee are already on board, Lolana, get in!”
“Oh no, Dad, did anyone fetch Lady Taisia?” Lolana screamed back.
Lady Taisia was one of the longest residents of the village, but could not get around on her own.  She relied on the villagers to take care of her, which they gladly did.  In their haste to make a retreat, it seemed no one had gone to check on her.  Kaece’s first inclination was to leave the old lady, but the sense of urgency in Lolana’s liquid brown eyes changed his mind immediately.
Ferran turned to the transport ship and grabbed one of the crewmen by the wrist.
“I need three minutes, do not leave until we get back,” he begged the man.
“Three minutes,” replied the crewman, “No more.”
The Mayor knew it was futile to argue that his daughter stay while he and Kaece went for the old woman.  They did not have the precious time to spare debating the point, so they all ran down the street to Taisia’s humble dwelling.
“It’s the third one on the left, right there!” shouted Lolana, pointing to the village elder’s residence.
Kaece broke into an all out sprint toward the home, noting that a humanoid form began to slowly emerge from the structure.
“Young man, what is the meaning of all of this commotion?” Lady Taisia called out.
Suddenly, appearing at the end of the street was a pair of armored land speeders.  The gun turret from one of them swiveled in Kaece’s direction.
“Get back in the house!” he shouted, running at a track star’s pace.
In one impressive motion, the bounty hunter scooped up the diminutive old woman, and bounded into the front entrance to her home.  With as much care as the situation allowed, he dumped her onto a worn looking couch and then made his way back to the door.  Before he could peer outside, the streets were ablaze with gunfire; and Kaece got a sick feeling in his stomach.  He withdrew a pair of pistols and took a look out of the front window.
The Mayor and his daughter were across the street, tightly clinging to the side of a stone staircase.  So far, it looked like the infantry vehicle had not seen any of them, and after another 20 seconds of wild blaster fire, the turret ceased its operation.  The turret gunner had lost sight of the man on the street, so the squad leader ordered his troops to dismount and find him.
The transports were Arrow-23’s, actually developed for civilian all terrain use, but recently modified by the Alliance for military use.  Kaece watched as five well armed troops began to exit the vehicle, no doubt to try and locate him.  The hired gun took a second look at the humanoid forms filling the street.
“Gungans?” he said bewilderedly.
He took a deep breath, holding both pistols at the ready.  If he timed it right, he could take several of them out, and they wouldn’t know what hit them.  All he needed was the right moment to strike.  That was when the Imperial transport lifted off and rocketed into the sky.
“Ah frack,” he muttered looking at his chronometer.
“Wow, they actually waited four minutes,” he laughed.
Command & Control Center

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

0935 Hours, Thursday
The Stormtrooper Garrison’s command staff had displaced all of Major Kassel’s people save one, Specialist Gestaad.  He was so deep in electronic signals and satellite link ups that the Colonel’s technicians dared not interrupt him.   It was apparent that the incoming force was employing some kind of pulse weapon that disrupted electronic equipment.  Terrestrial communications had now improved to sporadic, radar systems had not come back online yet.  The TIE pilots that had not gone down in the swamps reported failure of several of their electrical systems.
Major Kassel and Colonel Waynright stood over a table top with holograms representing the assets they had in the field.  The Major’s look was more troubled than her Stormtrooper counterpart, no doubt from years of being in this very position.  The older officer pointed to Lianorm on the map.
“It appears the enemy is intent on occupying Lianorm.  My best guess is that Keren is the next target,” the Stormtrooper Colonel suggested.
“Here are my thoughts Colonel, we have evidence of another force in this area right here,” Melyssa began while pointing to the map, “The two major targets in that region are the Weapons Development Facility, and the Royal Lake Retreat.”
“I see. I should tell you then, that I had ordered the 133rd Infantry Regiment to prepare to move out to reinforce Keren.  Their Regimental Commander estimated four hours until they were ready.”
“Sir, you have to trust me on this one, I think that the Weapons facility is the real target.”
“Ma’am, I will trust your intelligence, especially since you have clusters of armored vehicles marked in several locations.”
Melyssa responded with a nod.
“Now, the Lake Retreat on the other hand, is extremely vulnerable, but the surrounding terrain will make an attack by the mechanized vehicles unlikely,” stated the Major.
“The first elements of the 31st are landing northwest of Lianorm, to hopefully stop the advance of the Rebels.  I don’t have any rapid force to commit there, and I still have to consider the retaking of Lianorm and Lassay.”
Specialist Zehrmatt Gestaad suddenly slammed his headphones onto the console in front of him and cursed loudly.
“Ma’am, the terrestrial network is still giving me trouble, but I think I just copied a transmission from Royal Security, the Lake Retreat has been captured by some kind of Special Operations element,” he huffed angrily.
Lianorm, Naboo

0941 Hours, Thursday
Kaece Murran took a deep breath and took another look at the dismounted infantrymen.  He had to form some kind of plan, both to eliminate the Gungans and to get his gang out of the hostile city.
“One thing at a time, Kaece, just take these suckers out first,” he whispered to himself.
He lined up the lead infantryman in his pistol sights, hoping he could get off enough rounds to get them all before they returned fire.
“Okay, just walk a little further,” he whispered, Lady Taisia remained silent on the floor behind him, puzzled.
The turret of the other Arrow-23 suddenly whirled around in the opposite direction and began to fire.  The dismounted Gungans froze for a moment, and then were sent flying as the Arrow-23 that was firing exploded into a fireball.  Showtime, thought Kaece. Blaster bolts filled the air as Kaece began to fire on the stunned troopers.
The first Arrow responded by swiveling its turret around in the same direction as the now exploded one.  Before it could fire, however, a smoke canister was deposited somewhere near its rear door, obscuring the entire end of the street.  Kaece decided it was a good time to move the woman, and unceremoniously grabbed her up onto his shoulder and dashed through the front door.
“What’s going on?” asked Lolana as she met her body guard in the street.
“The damned Gungans are attacking, but I think someone is fighting back,” he shouted, “come on; let’s get the hell out of here.”
From within the smoke, a loud bang could be heard, followed by a pair of weapons discharging.  Kaece and company ducked at the noise.
“Wait, Kaece, look!” shouted Mayor Ryltans.
The trio turned, with Lady Taisia still hoisted over the bodyguard’s shoulder, to see several armed figures come out of the smoke.  One of them pulled off his helmet and began to run towards the group.
“Lolana!” Melky shouted.
“Melky? Melky, what the hell are you doing out here?” cried the brown haired beauty as he took her into his arms.
Hammer, Doc, Outlaw, Buzz, and a crewman from the Larty emerged from the smoke.  Hammer had what looked like a man in a pilot’s outfit slung over his shoulder.
“No time to explain, we have to move,” shouted Outlaw.
 The sudden emotion of the situation was too much for Lolana to bear.  Suddenly, the wise cracking tough girl melted into her rescuer, sobbing uncontrollably.  Everything had come crashing down on her at that moment.
"Lolana, it’s okay, I am here. Everything is going to be okay now," Milky reassured her.
"For fracks sake Melky, we don't have time for this," scolded Outlaw.
"I know Law, I've got it covered," he shot back angrily.
The girl's crying eased slightly as Melky stroked her hair.   
"I thought we were dead," she managed to say through her tears.
Corporal Berran wiped her tears, looked into her eyes and thought for a moment.  He was trying to think of something to say that wasn't cliché, or sounded like it came from a fictional story, but he failed.  Shaking his head and fighting back his own tears, he took a deep breath and said the first thing that came into his mind.
"Nothing is gonna happen to you, Lolana, not as long as I am here."
Lolana smiled at the statement, no matter how trite the line may have been, she knew it came from his heart. 
Now I tell you openly
You have my heart so don’t hurt me
For what I couldn’t find
Talk to me amazing mind
So understanding and so kind
You’re everything to me