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Dusty Moon, Gassy Planet [Arthos, Thyrian]

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Writer
Judgement made its way through Sith Space, the capital ship in Kyros' command holding a crew made up of her Bladeborn, the hangar filled with smaller transport ships and of course her own Vhailor.... Kyros wandered across the bridge, the entire crew of the ship completely, almost zealously, loyal to her. As the dusty moon came into view past the transparisteel window she called everyone to attention. "It's time to begin; work has been halted on the surface but this location is run by droids; things will be done swiftly and efficiently." Kyros had had enough with people pillaging the ore of Sector II, it was time to stockpile it and save it from wasting away on the back of some pirate or unworthy little sith.

Gesturing the crew on to their various locations in preparation for the descent Kyros herself ventured toward her two most loyal students. @[member='Thyrian Ashborn'] and @[member='Arthos Vynea']. "Let us go" she said, motioning them on toward the Vhailor. The command ship would be held by her Bladeborn Commander and a small legion of his men, not that she was worried about attack... No, this was her land, her territory. Kyros was not to be double crossed.
 

Arthos Vynea

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Character
The new awareness of the reality in which Arthos had entered was still settling in his mind, his role as an apprentice had been a secret, and a distant relationship even at that. Now the reality of the situation was all to clear to him as he observed the situation from his new vantage point. He had never believed he'd be the only apprentice of his Master's, but the sheer level of her influence shown in Bosph had been more then he expected. In his mind he was one of a few, but in reality he was one of many, a mere drop in the bucket. He had always been uncertain of his own position as an apprentice to his Master, and now that it was apparent how little she needed him, he felt even less secure in his position.

Now he stood with another of his Master's apprentices, another of the unknown member of her loyal army, and another threat to his own precarious place within the power structure. The Zabrak was garbed as always usual in heavy robes which hid his features, his force signature hidden deep inside of himself in a place that none but his Master knew to look. To all other eyes he was just a man as any other, one among the crowd.

@[member="Darth Kyros"]
 
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When she finally made it to the Vhailor the young woman gestured her Apprentice's onboard and glanced across to Skydd, her loyal little - or not so little - droid. "R1" she said, looking around for her Astromech. While waiting for the smaller droid to appear she set the ship in motion, leading it away from the Judgement to instead heading down to the planet below. Heading over to the integrated commlinks she pressed a single button. A mechanical voice responded, the commander of the droid miners below. "Ensure they are working to top effort, we will meet with you shortly."

The short reply on the other end of the comm was muffled before the link was cut off. She turned back to face her Apprentices, with a nod of her head. There was no one to hold off this time, the pair of them were here to observe. "We will be on the moon shortly." Then she stepped toward the cockpit, staring to Skydd. "You will oversee your fellow droids, alongside the commander."

@[member="Arthos Vynea"]
 

Jorus Merrill

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Character
Unlike the Bal'demnic operation, this time Silk Holdings had brought more materiel than could fit in a single Pathfinder-class. Huge Tempus Ardet bulk freighters, ubiquitous in this region of space, were already on station. Gromas had innumerable mining droids, and when @[member="Darth Kyros"] commanded them to go into overdrive, these bulk freighters would be ready and willing to take in as much unrefined ore as the entire planet's mines could produce.

In the Daragon, in high orbit, Jorus HoloCommed the Sith Lord.

"Your Grace, Merrill here. My transports are on-station."
 
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The other ships reached orbit shortly after she dispatched Vhailor, and moments after she finished comming the commanding droid another link came through. This time it was the familiar voice of one Merrill on the other end. "Hello, Captain, nice to see you here." The ship continued its descent towards the dusty moon below, the source of a large amount of Phrik. This required a lot more people on hand than before, it was good to see that Merrill had predicted as much.

"Meet me down at the surface, the Vhailor is almost there."

@[member="Jorus Merrill"]
 

Jorus Merrill

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Character
The Daragon was Pathfinder-class, basically the size of a small frigate. It touched down on a rocky outcropping nonetheless. The earth trembled beneath the bulk of the state-of-the-art ship. Jorus left his crew to their work and took a little Ubrikkian Q3-R landspeeder to the place where the Vhailor was to land. As the Sith Lord's personal transport settled down, he clambered from the caged speeder and walked forward through the grit to meet her at the airlock.

"Afternoon, Your Grace. Took a look at the setup from orbit. Your halt order's still goin' strong -- not a lot going on in these mines. Good indicator of loyalty, I s'pose. My transports have touched down at all of'em."
 
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When the Vhailor landed down on the planet she wandered down the ramp with her fellows in tow, and spotted Jorus waiting. "Captain" she said, with an inclination of her head. Smiling she inspected the surface. "Indeed, but they're droids - all programmed to follow my orders and mine alone." There was something to be said for having the control of a metal army. "I sent commands for the mines to be reactivated. Your own may participate when they're ready, we need to set up."

Crossing her arms she turned her head to look upon Skydd, Ashborn and Arthos. "You should each venture to points upon the planet, to oversee the procedures. Thyrian, Skydd, go together. Arthos, you stay with us."

@[member="Jorus Merrill"] @[member="Arthos Vynea"] @[member='Thyrian Ashborn']
 

Jorus Merrill

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Character
"I didn't bring droids, apart from load lifters. You've already got plenty; no point in muddying the works." Jorus scratched his chin absently, pondering. "What I do have is somethin' you might find useful apart from all this. There'll be a hyperspace reversion in about half an hour, once the mining gets into the swing o' things. Some friends of mine jacked a Lwhekk Aleph factory ship from the Fringe. Maybe six, seven hundred meters, shaped like a pregnant Hutt, and full of metal refineries. Yours if you want it, at market price, assumin' you can hook up with enough resources to keep it running. If not, I'm thinkin' we can strip out the refineries and cram'em into what I'm building for you. Or did you already have offsite refinery capacity?"
 
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She nodded her head to what was said, feeling somewhat glad. Kyros trusted the droids, she knew how efficiently they worked. "Then --" the ground shivered slightly as the droids finally began to work, "Well, there we go, off to work with the droids it seems." She smiled and stepped forward, gesturing for him to follow.

"Refineries... Useful. However a ship like this will be useless when we're done. I think stripping it down would prove best. I'll cover any additional expenses, too." There was no use in making this a sinking business proposal for him, truth be told Kyros quite liked the Captain. "Everything I currently have, minus a few things, will be useless soon enough." With what they had in mind, at least... It would be dangerous to have it any other way.

@[member="Jorus Merrill"]
 

Jorus Merrill

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Character
A faint smile graced his scarred lips. "Ain't that true enough," he said. "Stuff is useless sooner or later. Worst move I ever made was gettin' rich. Sometimes I think that's what made Alna disappear -- my wife. Been lookin' for her with every instinct, connection, and credit I have. She hated the rich life even more than I do. Salvager, shipwright, shoestring budget -- that's what she was -- that's what she's good at.

"But yeah. Locking down the galactic supply of phrik, that's an investment that'll work for a goodly while. If you want, and if you're willin' to really work for it, I might even be able to work up some phrik plating for the critical bits of that little ship o'yours."
 
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The smile disappeared at the mention of the lost wife, and she gazed right out across the moon's surface. "I'll keep an eye and an ear out for any mention of her if you like, Captain? It may trickle down the spiderweb, may not, but it's worth having an extra head out there." Biting her lip she ventured further out toward the mines. "Wealth is meaningless, objects too, but they're a means to an end I suppose."

"Hm, I think that's something worth investing in" she added, looking across to him, "I'd be happy with giving over the Vhailor for additions to be made upon it. And of course in the hands of two careful individuals this supply will last a long time. As with the Cortosis." Shrugging her shoulders she watched as droids zipped this way and that, container ships moving in ready to be filled as the first load of phrik could be seen moving across the conveyor belts and into storage containers.

@[member="Jorus Merrill"]
 

Arthos Vynea

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Character
Droids needed little attention, but his Master he could attend without issue, his eyes hidden behind a mask watched her consistently. Like the rarest gem in a collector's set, she couldn't be replaced if she decided to walk away, and he couldn't stop her from it either. As to this operation for securing the materials he wasn't sure of his role in it, of that he wasn't sure. He also wasn't about to question his Master's instructions though, either.

Instead as he waited as without conscious thought at this point he kept his force signature nearly invisible within himself. In truth he wondered if the other apprentices even knew he was an apprentice at times. If they didn't though there was no need to let them, secrets had their own kind of power. "Mine two is reading at full capacity, they're loading the ships now. Mine three is reading low output, but that due to low amounts of ore."

@[member="Darth Kyros"]
 
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She glanced across to her Apprentice when he spoke, and nodded her head once. She was proud to see that even here, even now, he upheld the barriers she had taught him, the secondary persona in his mind, etc. "Keep a watch on it, the third mine has been used and abused a lot in recent years - before I locked it down." With a shrug of her shoulders she gestured him forward. Turning slightly she leant down to whisper into his ear, her breath hot against his skin.

"Tell me, how things are..." It had once again been a while since their last check-in... Truth be told she had new plans for the boy to carry out, but here wasn't the place to discuss them. Instead she had other things in mind. She leant back and brought her mind against his, making her presence known. She wanted their discussion to be mental - something Arthos currently did not know, but he would... It was the next step in their training, it would prove as useful as the other lessons.

@[member="Arthos Vynea"]
 

Arthos Vynea

Character
Character
The closeness of his Master had an unsettling effect deep within Arthos' mind, like water his thoughts ripped out with each breath against his skin. His mental barriers became more complex as he felt her presence against his mind, it was a touch he yearned for as it meant it was time to learn something, but he couldn't let her in yet. Breathing out silently the Zabrak pushed his thoughts down allowing them to join his own passion and the inner torrent of fiery winds which fueled his control of the Force. When he first touched it, the Force had twisted and slipped from his grip, like a cunning serpent not wanting to be contained. Now it obeyed his will though, he had no mercy for it, and slowly his mercy for all things were dying out of him.

She was different though, a foreign element when compared to the entire world, she had harnessed his fear, she taught him to wield his passions. He wouldn't allow her a space on the inside though either, so instead of dropping his defense he reached a portion of his awareness out towards her presence. Behind it though was still the maze, now surrounded by a sea of flying blades so anyone who attempted the bird trick to fly out would be shredded in his mental reality. She still might be able to break through, but there was no point in not attempting the effort.

His awareness felt like a single strand of hair flowing in a sea of fiery wind, the very air seconds from igniting beneath the passion of his hate, his fears... his desires. Slowly he allowed the single strand to move across the surface of her awareness not pushing in further, but merely making contact. Forming a single thought towards her he sent it through the strand, it was less words then a feeling of success, a feeling of victory. He'd meant it to fall into her mind as words, but it was a something, it was a step.

@[member="Darth Kyros"]
 
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So Arthos was no fool, it seemed. That was good – that he did not expose his mind to her was pleasing to see indeed, especially in the presence of another Force Sensitive. Although Arthos would not know that Jorus was such, of course, it still proved good to exercise caution. Even the slightest of slip in his mental controls could have asserted another to his sensitivity, and that would not do. Yet instead of speaking he brought about impressions, a good way to begin but not ideal. ‘Focus, Arthos, you have a mind which is used to direct your speech. Instead of permitting it to act verbally press it against your consciousness instead, make it known to yourself and myself within our minds where they touch… This is the next step in your training, do not fail me’.

The stakes were raised with those last four words, she knew, and a moment after communicating them she turned from him to focus on the ore which was being transported away. While it was true, some of the mines upon this moon had been used to excess over the millennia, there was still much Phrik left to claim, and she knew how effective these droids could be. From here things would turn risky, she knew, but it was worth it…

@[member="Arthos Vynea"] @[member="Jorus Merrill"]
 

Jorus Merrill

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Character
Jorus, meanwhile, had retired to the Daragon to continue his plans on behalf of what he called the Kyros contracts. One, of course, was the establishment of her immense base on the whole other end of the galaxy. Scale models, holographs, samples of building materials, and concept art littered the workspace he and his wife had shared.

But he set that to the side. He knew little about phrik, but the HoloNet and Alna's files offered significant insights into its uses. It was prohibitively expensive, normally reserved for personal armor or weapons of absolute terror. To have enough of it to actually armor a spacecraft -- that was something else entirely. Maybe something that had never been done before; the Darkness had blotted out a great deal. Then again, he and Alna had designed ships that made all manner of breakthroughs, firsts since the collapse of civilization.

The Vhailor was a small, fast vessel, a Veratus-class Imperial shuttle. Larger than most shuttles, smaller than a capital ship, this was the kind of ship or pinnace favored by Imperial officers and low-level Sith Lords.

It took him about forty-five minutes of careful blueprint work before he realized that this was not the kind of ship amenable to aftermarket modifications of this scale. At which point he came to the conclusion that he would have to tell the Sith Master to retire her beloved ship. Instead, he went for something much newer. She probably wouldn't appreciate his design aesthetic, not with a track record of such ugly ships as the Tempus Ardet or the Washburn. So he went with a classic new freighter, the CEC YJX-1200. Unlike its predecessor, it had the specific guns to handle whatever could catch up with it.

And then he began figuring out how to plate it in phrik.
 

Arthos Vynea

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Character
As the words struck Arthos his rage passions ignited behind his barriers, and hidden from all even his Master. Slowly he had perfected his mental defenses practicing them everyday even during the hours of sleep he'd forced himself to hide his force signature within himself, and he dreamed now only of the force storm that echoed his mental defenses and kept them active. It was directed less at her then the others, but he had made his decisions and he would not lose his master. He knew he could find others now, and though they could not teach him of the Sith Code he knew it, and would continue to follow it even without her, but they could not offer him, her. He would grow in power, and either he would crush those who thought to steal her teachings away from him, or he would be forced to bend her to his will. For now he would learn, and he would obey as dutifully as he should but he would grow stronger, and he would not live in fear.

The fear was there though, and he funneled into his rage, and made it his strength, his power. Without opening a hole in his defense he thought his words at her, almost imprinting them on her mind as he spoke them into her own mind. [silver]It goes well, my Master, I have kept my secret close, and through constant vigilance none knows of my abilities or of your teachings. The Confederacy grows complacent though, I fear their influence may be dwindling into the shadows.[/color]
 
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And there it was, brushing against her consciousness, a voice as opposed to an impression. For once, perhaps it was due to the circumstances, she turned back to him with a smile upon her face, despite the news his words had held within. She knew the CIS wouldn't be lasting too long, but she also knew it had been worth the transferral, especially considering how poorly the Republic had been at the time. But all things could have a come around, and what she would ask of Arthos now might seem a little strange, all things considered.

Then you are to leave them and let it happen. Instead I want you to return to the Republic - it is stronger now, ever growing in influence; That is your destination. We gave them respite time and they clutched it with both hands. Even if this means assisting with the orchestration of attacks against the Empire - Do not break form. Do you understand?

Her eyes slid across his form, and for a fleeting moment her smile turned into something else, something softer, and it reached her eyes. But it did not last and the woman turned her attention back to the mining operation, the droids and the containers each working in unison. "Like clockwork" she murmured aloud, "Like a machine... It must run smoothly or not at all."

@[member="Arthos Vynea"] @[member="Jorus Merrill"]
 

Jorus Merrill

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Character
As some of the shiploads of phrik began to be sampled and processed by the recently arrived Lwhekk Aleph foundry ship, metallurgical reports began to filter through Jorus's HoloNet connection. The Imperial reserves were, naturally, very pure, but that almost wasn't ideal. The best way to work phrik was as a 95-99% alloy with other metals, to prevent things like temperature stress shear. And since phrik was so rare, its processing was still a bit of an inexact science. Tensile strength, for example, could vary a little from batch to batch, and that affected the shapes and locations of suitable surfaces on the new vessel.

Three options presented themselves. The first was straightforward enough, and intuitive: cut phrik plates to size, weld them to the exterior of the ship, done. The second involved tearing off the hull panels and replacing them with phrik duplicates. But neither of those options appealed to Jorus. The first way would leave the ship sluggish, useless for a personal transport. The second would take a very, very long time, and never be assured of duplicating CEC craftsmanship -- not to mention, phrik and durasteel had different stress matrices, causing any number of problems.

No, his first attempt would be the third way.

He was going to use electrolysis plating on an entire starship. A contact in Hutt Space ran a business plating starships and speeders with gold and other precious metals. Jorus resolved to see what could be done about electroplating a small starship with phrik.
 

Arthos Vynea

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Character
With a simple nod the Zabrak acknowledge his new orders, the Republic was on the rise, but it wasn't a place he wished to return to. It was irrelevant though and now he'd need to find a way to get back into the Republic he left in such a hurry. A light went off on the console as another message came through on mine number two into his comm link. "Master, mine number two is down to fifty percent capacity due to the lack of ore. Mine number number three is reading at completely empty on an industrial level, and mine number one is still running at full capacity. The bulk freighters will be three percent over capacity when the mines are emptied. I'd suggest moving all droid resources from mine three to mine one to increase production."
@[member="Darth Kyros"]
 
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