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Hunting Fear with the Fearless

Valik

Professor of Alchemy
Character
Valik, though normally focusing more on the material side of things, had an interesting project of the more biological side of alchemy. Such practices had tons of possibilities, crossing this species with that species to get that result, trying to figure out that thing. As he wasn't quite a master of it like he was materials, each exercise was a new opportunity to learn. Each Sithspawn studied was a way to learn the strength and mistakes of alchemists long past. Overall it was a promising field, but it had it's issues. Specifically procurement. Anything that wasn't a housepet had hoops to go through, and the abduction of sentients was altogether unappreciated by the majority of the galaxies cultures. Luckily through a conversation with Rave Merrill he was recommended a couple of workers who limitations. With a project in mind and very specific tools required he sent out a message to the two names he'd heard before, @[member="Maelion Liates"] and @[member="Moira Skaldi"].

I was recommended to you two by a young woman named Rave Merrill. I have a job that needs doing that breaks certain social conventions, and I'd heard you two had no reservations on valuing science over morals. I have the credits to pay you and have the talents and resources to pay you in other methods if you prefer. I need four simpler specimens procured and one much more difficult specimen procured, all alive. If you're interested I'd like to meet the two of you and further discuss business on the planet Kinooine, one galactic standard week from now.

-V

OOC: Was talking about this possible thread with Jorus and he said that y'all would be cool with me just starting a thread, and dropping Rave's name would help bridge us. If y'all have issues with something in how I started I'm perfectly fine with editing. Excited to thread with you two.
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Valik"], @[member="Maelion Liates"]

Moira and Maelion, officially known in business circles as Nalia Alderana and Anna Comnena, recently successful businesswomen and co-owners of Archangel, had been dealing with issues relating to their company's expansion. Logical consensus had been reached on the matter, now it was a question of suitable location, especially in the light of the interesting upheavals taking place in the Galaxy.

At this moment, as they were in their office on Corellia, naturally communicating purely electronically, the message from Valik reached them. Moira cocked her head to the side slightly, the placcid, stoic gaze scrutinising the message as she absorbed wqhat it said, and what it did not say, at the same time accessing what information she had stored in her databanks on their prospective business partner.

"He is known to me by reputation and through Velok and Ms. Merrill. Reportedly a significant number of the tech I acquired at Styx was designed by him. Suggest acceptance," she transmitted. Unbeknownst to Moira, she had actually already met the Sith master alchemist in person on Manaan, when they and a stormtrooper called Shank, who would make a fine candidate for processing, had faced a Jedi master with a degree in self-righteousness and an apparently impenetrable force shield before releasing the Zerek Strain into the air.

Long pianist fingers glided over the computerised interface as she relayed their response. "We thank you for approaching us and are interested in doing business with you. Terms and payment will be discussed on Kinooine. We shall be there in standard week." She also forwarded a suggestion for a location, namely a remote landing pad. Kinooine was a minor planet located in wild space, incidentally not that far from Gehenna, where the Protectorate had fought a great battle to wipe out the Bando Gora under the Alcori-Kerrigan regime. The pair would travel with the Lightbringer, a cloaked ship that would be invisible to detection, and would come prepared should their partner prove insincere. It was nothing personal, they just did not trust anyone but themselves.
 

Valik

Professor of Alchemy
Character
Valik received the message from the cyborgs, and was excited to see that they'd be meeting him at Kinooine. They'd even suggested a meeting place on world, which was fine with him. He picked the world, so it was only fair they got to pick which part of the world. Over the next few days he gathered his data, along with some hunting equipment, web rifles, stun grenades, tanquilizers. Typical stuff for a hunt really. He considered bringing spares, but he supposed if these two were recommended by Rave he'd likely not need to provide them with arms. The woman wasn't one to recommend help that wasn't worth it.

Once he had arranged the necessary supplies he took a ship over, landing at the recommended spot after sending a small message confirming the recommended location. The landing pad was remote, a good choice for discreet meetings like he though this one should be. He was the only one there, and pretty clearly armed, a saber at his belt, web rifle at his back, and various other hunting materials around his person. He'd be using them once they got on with their mission, and he figured it better to just be up front about it. If a saber scared them off they'd not be who he was looking for. For all he knew they could be cloaked out there, watching him, but as they were merely droids with no signature in the Force and he couldn't sense machinery there was no way for him to tell when or how he'd get there. So he waited patiently, as there was little else to do.

@[member="Moira Skaldi"] @[member="Maelion Liates"]
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Valik"] @[member="Moira Skaldi"]

(Apologies for the delay. Things have been chaotic.)

Not far away a small camera was recording Valik’s movements, having been placed there by the pair’s minions the day before. High above in orbit Maelion could see that Valik was indeed alone and not planning to betray them.
So the two of them headed to a shuttle and headed down to the planet whilst the Lightbringer took cover on a nearby desolate moon to await instructions.

As the shuttle came down to land Maelion and Moira, Anna and Nalia as they would be known to Valik, emerged.
They were dressed in vaguely uniform-like outfits with weapons slung. That their guest had a lightsabre was irrelevant. Both had fought and killed Force users before, but it would be unlikely to come to that.

“Mr V?” Maelion asked patiently.
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Maelion Liates"], @[member="Valik"]

((The Order of the Torch's crack literacy 'workshop' team shall show mercy)

Recon concluded and having found that their business partner true to his word - if one betrayed, one did so wisely, after all - the killer droids descended down the landing ramp of their shuttle. Moira had spent the time in the interim prior to the trip well, gathering the sparse intel on the planet, arming herself with equipment, as seen by the small arsenal of weapons she had slung. Naturally these included the inevitable MK1 bolter, not a weapon designed for hunting, but terribly efficient at blowing apart interlopers, along with stun grenades, one of those shiny web rifles that she had liberated from Styx, a Czerka headbanger in a duffel bag.

Lifeless but interested blue eyes scanned before them, electronic transmission to Maelion confirming that it was indeed just the three of them, giving Valik a polite nod of acknowledgement. She noted the lightsabre and knew how dangerous the weapon was, but it did not intimidate her. She had killed forcers before, and recently done plenty of business with Sith. A small probe droid, a spherical construct reminiscent of the one a Zabrak Sith Lord with the phenomenal ability to survive being cut in half and falling down a bottomless pit had used on Tatooine, was also stored on the shuttle; it would be most useful for finding prey and came with an integrated blaster pistol and taser device delivering electrical shocks.
"Nalia, a pleasure meeting you," she said smoothly. There was a chance force enhanced senses might discern certain...abnormalities that would hint they were far less human than their perfect exterior might indicate, especially if he knew them from Rave. For in the Force they would register as dead, void of any presence inside the mystical energy field; their movements just a bit too precise, calculated. However, that was not relevant. What was relevant was business.
 

Valik

Professor of Alchemy
Character
@[member="Maelion Liates"] @[member="Moira Skaldi"]

(It's all good. Life happens, glad things are slowing down a bit for you.)

Valik was joined soon enough by two women who seemed unnaturally . . . cold. An exertion of his senses told him that at least the black-haired woman wasn't what she seemed. Perrhaps Vong, or a very advanced infiltration droid. With the blond woman's armaments as well as their metallic shuttle he could tell they weren't Vong, or at least not the typical Vong, so the next guess was an infiltration. Very, very interesting. He wonder if Rave knew. She probably did, and that might have been the cause of her recommendation. He felt a desire to explore under the synth-flesh, examine the programming and hardware, discover their creator, but restrained himself. Regardless of how the two beings before him came to be he needed help, as the job he needed done couldn't very well be done alone. Well, he might have been able to complete it, but he'd rather not take that chance, and the opportunity to find good help was always a bonus. Never knew when a good couple of connections could come in handy.

"Yes. Name's Valik, as I'm guessing you already know. I'll get straight down to business if the two of you don't mind it. I require four subjects, alive, for study that can't be obtained through usual channels. The first three are simple, a male and female quarren, both matured and a nautolan with functioning headtails." He said, true to his word, not a terribly difficult job, and not one he couldn't do himself, but if he was hiring them already why not have them gather other supplies? He brought out a couple of datapads and handed them to the two women, each the specifications of the species mentioned prior, but also data on the fourth specimen he needed to obtain.

"The last specimen however, will be significantly more difficult. A large, tentacled sithspawn of legend known as the Piscator, said to increase in strength by absorbing the fear of it's prey. Details on the extents of it's ability are varied and inconclusive, but absorbing fear is the common theme. It is rumored to live in Alluvia in the Elrood System, and I need it alive, and without major organ damage for study. Rave Merrill described you two as fearless, and that's why you were selected. I can assure you I have credits, although I can pay in other methods if necessary. Is this acceptable?"
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Valik"] @[member="Moira Skaldi"]

Maelion tilted her head to the side. Fearless indeed! Rave could not have chosen two better people. It was not that they arrogantly denied feeling fear, it was that they were physically incapable of it. Fear, like joy, sorrow and envy were all organic emotions, and though they could be simulated by the HRDs, they did not feel them for real.

“Where would you like the creatures delivered? Our ship has holding cells for the Quarren and Nautolan, but where do you wish us to deposit such a vast creature as the Piscator?”

Already her processors were churning, aiming to find out as much about their prey as possible. The Piscator was badly described, and there were few records of it. The normal organics however would be relatively simple.

“We will accept 50,000 credits for the first three specimens. For the Piscator, we will request a fee commensurate with its difficulty to subjugate. The cost will be at least 10 million credits. If this is acceptable we shall leave at once. Are you coming with us?”
 

Valik

Professor of Alchemy
Character
@[member="Maelion Liates"] @[member="Moira Skaldi"][SIZE=8pt][/SIZE]

Valik looked at the darker haired woman he suspected not to be a woman at all as she made her terms. 10 Million was a chunk, but he could pay it with Valicore Engineering sales, not to mention his split of the Holocron Auction money. It was likely a better deal than he could get anywhere else as well.[SIZE=8pt][/SIZE]

"That is acceptable. I don't particularly care to observe the simple captures, I'm sure you'll not need any assistance in that." And it’s better not to risk public exposure. He thought to himself, more a precaution than a fear. “But the Piscator I do wish to see. Fighting in it’s own way is study, if you know what to look for. I’ll provide a vessel to extract the Piscator when we take it, and you could provide the rest of the specimens afterwards. Do you prefer to hunt it now and come with the aquatics later, or to meet in Alluvia for the big hunt later? In either way I’d be happy to pay the two shipments as they come, unless you prefer some other method.”[SIZE=8pt][/SIZE]
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Valik"], @[member="Maelion Liates"]

Moira looked something close to intrigued when Valik described the creature he required, the Piscator. As much as organics were inferior in general and Sith so often resembled a band of jackals, she could appreciate their talent at creating monstrosities able to strike terror into the hearts of their fellow organics and devour them. However, intel on the creature was sparse, annoying, but that also made the game more interesting. As for fear, like other emotions it had been burnt ouf ot them when they died and were reborn in the processing machine. The irony was, of course, that they would never have been able to act as independent agents if they were not closer to the humans they so disdained.

"We will capture the aquatics first, then travel to Alluvia and hunt the Piscator," Moira responded even as her processors churned, searching for information on their prey, scouring both her databanks and the net. The Quarren and Nautolan would be easily subdued, securing them that part of the deal, then they would have time for the Sithpsawn.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Valik"] @[member="Moira Skaldi"]

Maelion nodded. “We will require one week to acquire the aquatics. Then we will meet you above Alluvia and we can hunt the Piscator.”
With the terms accepted she turned and headed back towards their ship.

To Moira, over secure wireless channels she communicated her plan. “We should acquire these aquatics from amongst those who will not be missed. Suggest Nar Shaddaa as a destination for this acquisition. Quarren are relatively common there, as are Nautolan.”
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Valik"], @[member="Maelion Liates"]

Moira received the nonverbal message and a nonauditory ping signalled assent. "Consensus. The recent conflicts have contributed to a flood of fugitives on the Smuggler's Moon. I know a camp in the Refugee Sector. We will find our the necessary organic materiel there." Nar Shaddaa might be under the 'benevolent' rule of the Republic, after an invasion that had resulted in a great deal of destruction, but in spite of that business continued as normal on the moon. Black Sun had been kicked out - or had it, for criminal organisations flourished best when they were not ruling planets - the Hutts were back in.

Not that the Butcher of Contruum was surprised or making moral judgement. That was so inefficient. With that the shuttle ascended up into the skies and then left the atmosphere of the planet, eventually docking on board the still cloaked Lightbringer. There was a ripple in space, then their vessel was gone, having jumped into hyperspace, its destination Nar Shaddaa.
 

Valik

Professor of Alchemy
Character
@[member="Moira Skaldi"] @[member="Maelion Liates"]

"Excellent" Valik said to the two as they confirmed their plans, before heading off as Valik did the same, heading into his small ship and heading back to his laboratories in Fringe Territory, to make preparations as well as acquire the necessary funding for payment. Not too terribly difficult but tedious to acquire, as Valik didn't keep a large bank account but rather several small ones under different aliases, and as such many trips had to be made to different worlds to acquire the total sum of 10,000,050 credits they required. Before he made his journeys however he put in a requisition to use one of the Fringes Tempus Arden Bulk Freighters, a massive and slow vessel that was probably one of the few things he could get to manage fitting the beast. Upon returning to his main lab after completing all of his banking errands he found the freighter waiting for him, then took a day to change transponder codes to something neutral, and headed out for Alluvia, to meet with the two lovely ladies he'd met earlier. Once this acquisition was completed he'd have all the tools he needed and the completion of his project would be a mere few days of alchemy away.

(So, I don't know if y'all want to RP out the capturing of the fishies or not, but if you do go ahead and do it and @me when you're done. If not, we can just say you got them and keep going. Thanks guys.)
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Valik"], @[member="Maelion Liates"]

((We are fine with handwaving))

So our intrepid humanitarian, genocidal assassin droids travelled to Nar Shaddaa, wretched hive of scum and villainy. Well, many planets laid claim to that title. Coruscant could probably be considered one as well, but hid its dark side behind glitter and clean roads.

In the Refugee Sector, after having made it clear to a few local gangsters that messing with them was not wise - by breaking their arms - they found their quarry. There were a great many fish people to choose from, the detritus of the brutal war that had been fought between the Holy Jedi Republic and the Sith Empire.


One, the Nautolan, a dancer, was found in a cantina, a male and a female Quarren on the streets - the two tentacled ones has been brother and sister, recently escaped from a Sith concentration camp, now trying to get enough money to buy passage from Nar Shaddaa. All three succumbed to tranquiliser darts and were carted off on a speeder into the darkness of the night. No one bothered to help, no one asked any questions because this was Nar Shaddaa, the gaping maw of the rim that claimed so many in the past and would do so again.

So it was in a short duration of time that the Lightbringer, with its aquatic cargo safely sealed away in orderly cells and sedated, burst out of hyperspace in the orbit of Alluvia.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Valik"] @[member="Moira Skaldi"]
The capture had been quite easily accomplished. The prisoners were now secured inside the detention cells on board the Lightbringer. Sadly they would not be processed yet. Their deal with Valik would enable the processing of more in the long term...so they stayed their hand. The prisoners were fed regularly, but were kept completely locked down.

As they appeared from hyperspace above Alluuvia they saw they had arrived first.
"Keep us uncloaked. This planet is not inhabited by anything other than miners. Scanners to maximum to detect Valik's approach."
They were prepared for danger though. The cloak was ready to be raised, and shields were up.
 

Valik

Professor of Alchemy
Character
@[member="Maelion Liates"] @[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]

A week later Valik got out of hyperspace in a Tempus Arden Bulk freighter. Massive in scale compared to most non-military vessels it was the best choice to store and transport a beast such as he wished to. It was that or gut a pocket carrier, and gutting a pocket carrier would have been a lot less discreet than he was hoping for. As he dropped out of hyperspace he detected another ship, larger than the shuttle he'd seen the two appear from before. He supposed it could have been the 'mothership' to the shuttle, in which it might have been the hunters he was looking for. This planet was most a mining world, he doubted anyone would simply be orbiting it for nothing. Might as well send a transmission, see if they're who he was meeting.

"This is Spacer V-50K making a landing path to coordinates 10-4-9-8-7. Hoping to make a million down here, though I don't think it'll be made at the mines." He said, a simple docking transmission, but one that would be overheard and fairly easily interpreted by the right people. Making his way down to the planet he landed with little issue near what scanners indicated to be a large tunnel system. He figured such a beast, if it existed, would be hidden in the least mined caverns, or at the least the ones with the highest fatality rate. He waited outside armed with web rifle, stun grenades, and light bounty hunter's suit of armor. It was light, cheap, but most importantly had a helmet with night vision and thermal imaging. Next to his feet he placed a small box, densely filled with 50 thousand credits. They'd completed the task, and he wasn't opposed to putting his money where his mouth was. After all, any doubts and the average bounty hunter would probably flake, although he didn't think these women to be average any standpoint.
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Valik"], @[member="Maelion Liates"]

These would be among the very few prisoners of the Lightbringer who would not experience the processing machine and be ascended to a superior form of existence. Moira had been observing transmissions and picked up on Valik's signal, the scanners of their vessel noting the approach of his bulk freighter as it emerged from the depths of hyperspace. It was easy enough to decipher the real meaning of the message and so after retrieving their 'guests' - well-fed and without any physical harm done to them, after all HRDs were not cruel, just uncaring and indifferent - she and Maelion took the shuttle down to the surface of the planet, following the coordinates.

The Lightbringer remained in space, out of range of whatever primitive sensors the sparsely populated mining world might have, and with a crew of droids and HRDs ready to act if needed. Soon the shuttle had touched down upon the ground and the landing ramp lowered, Moira and Maelion emerging. The three aquatic prisoners were heavily sedated and cuffed, though physically intact. Moira had brought a Czerka headbanger, stun grenades and tranquilisiers with her, coming fully armed for the hunt as it warranted.

She approached the Sith master as she stepped out, eyes briefly falling on the small box, which she presumed contained their payment for acquiring the aquatics. "Mr. Valik, a pleasure meeting you once more. As discussed, we have acquired the aquatics for your purposes and are ready to hunt the Sithspawn. I take you the agreed sum of credits," she spoke softly.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Moira Skaldi"] @[member="Valik"]

Walking behind the prisoners, Maelion led them to stand beside Valik. When the Nautolan tried to plead his case and beg for mercy Maelion applied a taser to the creature until it stopped protesting and started screaming. With utter indifference she let the creature be and returned to Nalia.
“They are undamaged, as you can see. Do you have the location of the target creature?”
The captive Nautolan might argue about the undamaged part, but Maelion cared not even an iota for its opinions.

Behind her the other two HRDs in their posse retired to the shuttle which they would keep ready to go at a moment’s notice in case a swift pickup was needed.
 

Valik

Professor of Alchemy
Character
@[member="Maelion Liates"] @[member="Moira Skaldi"]

Valik smiled as the two came with what he wanted. They were both well armed, with the blonde having a sonic weapon and the other demonstrating her skill with a taser. "A cave about a hundred meters west of here is the only one on the planet without a longterm mining operation. There are reports of various companies attempting to start mining operations, but none of them last more than two months before abandoning it, and all have extensive casualty reports. I'd wager it's the best place to start." He said, fairly confident he'd find his prey. He picked up the brief case next to and opened, revealing the hard cash inside.

"Fifty thousand, as promised." He said, before closing it and handing it to the blonde. "Let me just secure the cargo and we'll be off." He said, before taking the trio of test subjects into his ship and into their holding cells. After a couple of minutes he was back, and ready to get on the move.

"Shall we then?" He said, not wasting time, and headed west, to the cave in the distance, but not out of site.
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Maelion Liates"], @[member="Valik"]

"Yes, we shall capture the creature," Moira said blandly after having examined the brief case and found that it contained the fifty thousand credits as agreed. One of the HRDs who formed part of their posse - even the Age of Steel followed the age-old rule that all droids are equal, but some are more equal than others! - had taken the case with the money and carried it into the shuttle. As for the captives, she was, you probably guessed it, indifferent to them and their whining. Archangel did not have such a thing as a Complaints Department because it was a waste of resources!

Checking her Czerka headbanger, a weapon ideally suited for the big game hunt and capture they had in mind, she gave Maelion and Valik a nod and advanced, cold eyes and sensors scanning the area as they moved towards the cave, alert to any movement or sound as they advanced. Somewhere out there their prey lay, a creature that thrived and fed on fear, which made them perfect to hunt it.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Moira Skaldi"] @[member="Valik"]

The Archangel complaints department was even smaller than their ‘ethical development committee’, which was pretty damn small!

Creeping into the cave they could see the signs of the ill-fated expeditions Valik had mentioned. Abandoned equipment lay everywhere. There were even some bones, though what had caused them to be there was another question entirely.
Down and down they went into the cave. Maelion and Moira’s eyes were good at low light, but in this stygian abyss even they needed some illumination, so faint glowrods provided enough light for them to navigate. Valik, being a Force user, presumably had his own methods.

It was as they came to a large interior area, with the drip and splash of water below that they felt a rumbling and a distant, terrible growl….
 
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