Why had he gotten a call to come to the jungle on the world Panatha? This question was something that Taji needed an answer to, to be honest. He had a frown on his face beneath the helmet of the armor he was wearing. A scowl formed on his face as he looked at the place. "Why would someone want me to meet them in the middle of this jungle?"asked Taji as he slashed weeds and limbs of trees with a Hard Light Scimitar. He was beginning to get annoyed with the jungle that he was cutting his way through.
"....." He had a scowl on his face now. The meeting with whoever better be important as Taji didn't want to deal with being scammed or lured here in the place. It was a good thing he came here with a large amount of equipment. After all he didn't want to deal with any stupidity, or be captured. It was a good thing Old Rusty was nearby should he need to escape in a hurry actually. A sigh, and he continued carving his way through the jungle. Why did someone want him here? He needed an answer to the mystery of what had brought him to this place.
Swatting one of the mosquitos that tried to sting him, Taji made a mental note for himself. He was going to make a sort of bug repellent for himself that he could use the next time he came to planets that had large amounts of flora like this. "Well," He said as he continued his path to where the meeting site would be. "This is getting ridiculous." He said, as he finished his path through the place. Finally he had arrived at the location where he'd wanted to be for the meeting.
Ingrid really hated the jungle planets, the only reason why she planned the meeting here because no one can connect it to her nor the Eternal Empire. She was already there at the meeting place, all she had to do was wait for the man. She hid her presence in the Force and also wore armor so others couldn't see her face. It may be well known in the Empire for her rank and position, but she did not reveal herself in such secret negotiations. Not even as Ingrid L'lerim was present, but as her alter ego as the Red Witch, or Valeria Ragal.
That was more than enough. She also watched the area through the Force, so she knew exactly when the man was near and where he was approaching. She sat on top of one of the trees so that she could not see, on the edge of a meadow in one of the jungle. So she heard what the man said when he arrived at the meeting place.
”If you can’t do that much for a contract, what can I expect from you?” she asked.
After her words Ingrid jumped off the tree, a few meters from the man. Ingrid deliberately did not use force this time, so it all seemed like a smooth military landing, not like a Force User did. After her arrival, Ingrid looked over the man and tried to assess her as best she could. She didn't reach for her weapons, just lingered calmly. She spoke a few seconds later, with her introduction.
”Welcome, I'm the representative of the Eternal Empire. Valeria Ragal, aka the Red Witch.” she held out her hand for a handshake.
Taji looked at her for a moment and then took her hand and shook it. "Alright," He said, as he looked at her. "So what did you want to talk about?" He asked as he looked at her. He had a smile on his face as he shook her hand. "Let me guess, you want some sort of complex gadget developed for you?" He asked as he looked at her for a moment. He was considering what she could possibly want from him. High tech gadget? Some sort of WMD? He wasn't going to make a weapon of mass destruction for her to use to be honest. Hopefully she wouldn't use the Force on him in the form of choke or any sort of fear based powers or pain based powers on him to be honest. He after all didn't want to have to fight a Jedi or Sith, if he was being honest.
He then asked her. "So, what's the purpose of the meeting?" He asked. Gear was something he genuinely enjoyed making to be honest. Some gadgets were more fun for him than others to make.
He sighed as he waited for her to reply. It was a good thing he was prepared for the chaos that she might cause. After all he had his bow and arrow and numerous pieces of equipment for his own use ready should he need them.
The man returned Ingrid’s handshake, although this was a necessary social expectation, the woman might have been happier if the other had rejected her. Since they did not know each other, they could never be safe enough. This planet was the home planet of Carnifex and Prazutis. This fact was also enough to make Ingrid careful, who knows what was here or what might surprise them. And the man seemed direct, very direct, she is not used to such negotiations. Fortunately it was hard to embarrass and shock her, Nelson didn’t succeed either.
”I see, discretion is not your strength. Luckily the director organized the meeting here in the middle of nowhere” she said.
Waited for the other to react to this, although she was not particularly interested in the answer. Maximum in terms of if the other is not interested in discretion, then there will be little point in further negotiation.
”The question is more, hypothetically, of course, that what could you offer to the Eternal Empire” she said.
This issue was the most important, like in a job interview, because that was actually it. Whether they will want to buy from him later or not, whether or not they are commissioned to make weapons. They were one of the great factions affecting the Galaxy, they could not work with amateurs, nor with those who would have jeopardized their plans. So Ingrid had to assess every possibility…
"Well, I do in fact happen to have something the Eternal Empire would like to have at their disposal," He reached into his duffelbag and pulled out what appeared to be an ordinary rifle at first glance. "This rifle can switch between material, stun bolts, and hard light rounds. Mind, as I'm not sure I trust the Eternal Empire yet, the ammunition is limited to nonlethals like I limit the ones I sell to others." He stated, as he looked at her. "500 Hard Light Rounds, and pocket dimensional drums for the rifle. I think you'll find despite it being non lethal the rifle packs a pretty good punch. The ammunition is also smart and can adjust it's trajectory should you need someone injured but alive."
A pause was done by him. "This is one of the more recent developments I've made in the field of nonlethal ammunition / firepower. I've also got Smart bullets for Hand Guns modeled after the ones inside the rifle, should you wish a demonstration of that." He said, as he looked at her.
Ingrid didn't interrupt the man, but let him tell her what he wanted. Non-lethal weapons, really? She had a feeling that the man knew nothing about the Eternal Empire. They were the necessary evil, who will fight with the whole galaxy. If they are using non-lethal weapons on the training is that one thing, but on the battlefield, on war? It was almost a suicide, if someone knew their enemy. But the switching materials sounded well.
”I think the Empire would prefer deadly weapons to non-lethal weapons. The Eternal Empire fights real wars, not simulations, where they are of little use. They can be used great in a practice, but not in a sharp fight” she said with a cold voice.
Ingrid was also familiar with weapon and armor design, so she knew exactly what the other was talking about, what are the benefits of all this. But they didn’t really go far with non-lethal weapons. And she had to keep the interests of the Empire in mind, that was the most important thing.
”Still hypothetically, could you design a weapon that is good against both lightsabers and armor at the “same time”? Based on the switching materials…” she asked.
She hoped the other understood what she meant; bullets, physical ammunition against lightsabers that don't know what to do with it, and of course, the usual energy weapon, or blasters against armor. Of course the Empire had such a weapon, but it did no harm to know if this man was capable of such a thing. And again, non-lethal weapons.
”Smart bullets? It sounds interesting. I would be grateful if you could demonstrate all this” she said.
"So you would prefer Lethal Ammunition over Nonlethals?" asked Taji as he looked at her. Regrettably he was going to have to pay to what the customer desired. However he could make some adjustments so that the bullets wouldn't be an insta-kill on his opponent. "Yes, designing a weapon against Lightsabers and Armor would be an easy task." He stated, as he looked at her for a moment. "Child's play, in fact."
He gestured and one of his Dark Archers jumped out of the shadows. Taji shot them with the rifle, the Smart Bullets of the rifle hitting the knees, and shoulder as well as other non lethal spots on their body. He'd patch them up later with medical technology of his company was working on. "This is a demonstration of what the gun can do." He stated, as he looked at her. "I can design lethal weapons if you want, even if it isn't my personal preference." He said as he looked at her. "I've already got a weapon in the works, actually." He stated, as he looked at the individual.
"What do you think of the Smart Bullets?" He asked, as he looked at her for a moment.
”I know some bounty hunters prefer to use non-lethal ammunition. But I hope you understand that wars cannot be won with non-lethal weapons.” she said.
Of course, if someone wants a bloodless war, it is possible, but these were usually called putsch. And even in this case, the leaders were executed by an assassin each to avoid further bloodshed. The bounty hunters loved hunting, they often aimed to keep the victim alive. He watched as one of the man's men came and Nelson demonstrated the clever ammunition on him. Ingrid found it pretty impressive a sniper could use this kind of ammunition, but even plain soldiers could benefit greatly. But…
”If this is a problem for you to make a deadly weapon because it violates your principles, you don't have to. The Eternal Empire will not be forced to do that, but you must be aware that then, they will look for someone else instead of you. Since in such a case large sums of money and possible political influences are also actively involved.”
Ingrid knew it wasn't really that hard to design a gun like that, through her father, she also had quite a few talents in weapons and armor design. Let’s say the man’s attitude was interesting and respectable to Ingrid, especially if he stood by his principles. And attaches importance to its principles rather than money, as Ingrid did and did not seize power, but remained herself.
”Really impressive” she said. ”How did you program does it generally target only limbs or is it species-specific?”
"The weapon does not target limbs. Rather, it aims at non lethal spots on a target in order to incapacitate them without running the risk of murdering them on the spot." said Taji, as he looked at her. "Do you know why I prefer nonlethal ammunition? It is because I refuse to let my ammunition be used by the wrong people if say someone stole it from the Eternal Empire, and tried to go on a killing spree with it, mass murdering innocents, for example." He said as he looked at her. "There is enough of that with the ammunition and technology of other people ending up in the wrong hands."
"I must stand by my principles in this case. I only have made one that includes lethal ammunition, but given it to someone I trust explicitly not to use it unless there's no other choice in the matter." He said. "Even then, I've made a fail safe into that particular model so that he can't use that drum unless I specifically give him authorization to do so. I do understand wars can't be won for the most part with non lethal ammunition. Unless of course you use it to subdue the ones guarding the leader, capture said leader, make them surrender, and the war comes to an end. I refuse to let the galaxy get worse because of my innovations, and creations being misused. " He stated.
"I would happily produce non lethal ammunition of a custom variety for the Eternal Empire that I think would be more.... your speed." Pain inducing ammunition was easy to make after all. Maybe he could even create darts that contained Horror for the eternal empire. "You know, I've recently started work on a more effective means of war prevention that is non lethal, but still quite terrifying to have used on people." He stated, as he looked at her.
"Though, I'm only selling that to select customers I explicitly trust and I'm not sure how I feel about the Eternal Empire yet." He sighed, as he looked at her. "However, since I didn't walk into an ambush, you've moved the Eternal Empire one step closer to gaining my trust."
She received only half an answer, so Nelson wanted to keep his secrets to himself. There was no problem with that, if they – the Eternal Empire – get it from this ammunition, their scientists will take it to pieces anyway. To make it more efficient, after all, that was the job of the military industry and military engineers, to always go ahead with improvements. But the other part,
”It's just paranoia. It is much more expedient and easier to steal from independent companies and suppliers than from a fully militarized state.” she said. ”Otherwise, this is true of any weapon, any non-lethal weapon can be easily converted to lethal. If you have such concerns... I don't understand what you're looking for and doing in the military industry.”
She looked at the man with interest – although it was not visible because of the helmet – Ingrid was really curious about it all, and she did not investigate the half-answer anymore. She couldn't really decide for now what the man was expecting, she could have looked pretty much like the non-lethal weapons from the Jedi. But considering that the Jedi are worse than the Sith, because of their idealism… And the forces on the Light Side also use ordinary weapons to destroy their enemies.
”Do you seriously think there is nothing worse than these? Don’t be so naïve. Have you seen a war at all? When a single person destroys cities to the ground with one thought? Or do they consume a planet with a "thought"? Or… they are just destroying the enemy with weapons of mass destruction bombs, or they summon horrors from the Netherworld. And these were only recently, for example, in Wayland.” she said. ”In a world where you do not want to put a lethal weapon in someone's hand, you sentence that person to death.”
She paused for only a moment, then continued:
”Don’t get me wrong, I respect your decision if you stand by your principles. I certainly believe that there are customers who would buy such weapons and ammunition. But the leadership of the Eternal Empire cannot send its men to the slaughterhouse. The Empire fights opponents against whom this alone is not enough. I hope you understand this.” she said.
Ingrid was also pleased with the evasive answers for the man listed great opportunities. Which could also be created by Sith alchemy so he gave the ideas to the woman, which their alchemists and wizards could use. She could not have wished for more than that.
”Of course, I understand your concerns, as do my superiors. Thus, if you took the opportunity, I am happy to extend an invitation to the Eternal Empire for you, to get to know the Empire and its people. Which one can be used at any time if you wish.” she offered this.
"I will take you up on the offer to visit the Eternal Empire,"He said, as he looked at her for a moment. He'd make them a custom weapon though it would have a contingency so he couldn't get killed or attacked by the weapon. This development would be something that he could override just in case he needed to. He looked at her. "And I do understand the Eternal Empire wouldn't want non lethal weaponry. I do have one rifle that I could offer you for the Eternal Empire to use." He said, as he looked at her for a moment. He then reached into his duffel-bag and pulled out a rifle from it. The rifle was a black one with green circuitry lines on it. "This rifle, mind you will not be something I will sell to everyone." He stated, as he looked at her. "Feel free to test it on the trees." He said, as he handed her the rifle.
She wanted a lethal weapon? He'd give her one but it would also include non lethal options within it, as well. "This is a rifle that includes both my Smart Ammunition and also a lethal set of bullets. Mind, I've got a fail-safe I can use on it. I don't think it's ready for mass distribution yet personally, though if your Empire will only buy a lethal weapon this is the best my company will produce at present." He said, as he looked at her. "I will not sell it to the Eternal Empire until my examination of the Empire is complete though."
Ingrid just slowly nodded at the man's answer. If she wanted to win the man's trust for later, it was all a necessary step, an invitation to the Empire. But it was another question what the man would think if he was there. True it was no longer her business there; Ingrid's only job was to assess the threats. Representatives of the army, or perhaps the emperor himself would continue the discussion in person with Nelson, if the discussion took place.
She watched in silence as Nelson pulled out a sniper rifle, as these could not be particularly attacked and fought in close combat, so the woman was not worried for a moment that maybe the man would want to demonstrate it on her.
”You honor me Mr. Nelson, but I can't accept it. I am just a delegate, nothing more. I’m not part of the Eternal Empire’s High Command, or the Court. But I take the opportunity if you have already offered it to me.” she said. ”Although I would be happy if you could demonstrate it. You aroused my interest.”
She has not yet taken over the rifle, she raised her eyebrow behind her mask so the man couldn't see it. Non-lethal sniper rifle? She simply considered this a physical impossibility for several reasons. She had a feeling Nelson wanted to make her look like an idiot. Fortunately, however, Ingrid was at home in physics, very much so. And from this she also knew that what the man was saying could not be realized. And if so, it made no sense to call the rifle a sniper rifle.
”A sniper rifle, from whatever distance it is used, is deadly only because of the speed and range of the impact, whatever you shoot. How did you break the laws of physics?” she asked. ”I fully understand, but I wouldn’t have the opportunity to bid either in the name of the Eternal Empire.”
"Remember the Smart Ammunition I created?"He asked, as he looked at her for a moment. "It would automatically adjust in order to not kill the person it is fired at. The rifle also comes with a lethal option should the need to use such level of force be needed." He stated, as he looked at her for a moment. He aimed the rifle at one of the trees and fired the rifle. The tree would explode as Taji had hit it in it's sweet spot, causing it to explode apart. He then looked at her again. "And alright, I'll explore the Eternal Empire, and then if my search of it turns out nothing objectionable I may consider selling the rifle to the Eternal Empire." He stated, as he looked at her. He would send them the rifle if the Eternal Empire passed his test. If they were anything like the world of Denon though, well... he wouldn't sell them to say the least.
”Yes, I do! But this is not an answer” she said. ”For if one chooses a non-lethal function, the projectile will not reach as long as necessary, and if it reaches and hits the right points, the force of the impact tears off the limb. Unless it slows down prematurely, which also makes it risky whether or not the ammunition reaches its target. I am familiar with weapon design and excellent in physics, that is why I say that it is physically impossible what you said. That is why the High Command sent me to negotiate with you.”
She didn't like the half information, or if someone want to look stupid her. That's why she was curious about the answers. And of course now she was really interested in the operation of this ammunition. For the second half of the sentence she just nodded and then watched the demonstration. The devastation was greater than she expected, Ingrid expected an "average" sniper rifle, but this was much greater in terms of destruction. The woman is known to such people, who will like this weapon. She also found it impressive, but she knew she would never use this weapon on the battlefield.
She preferred to consider fighting an art; she preferred simpler but more practical weapons, this is why she also used simple vibroblades for assassination and not a lightsaber, if she does it up close from a distance she had her well-used weapon. She nodded contentedly as the man stated that he was visiting the Eternal Empire. The right people will surely be happy with this news when she will submit her report.
”I'm glad to hear, I bet my superiors will think the same!” she said. ”Do you also deal with melee weapons? There, potentially non-lethal weapons may also be of interest, in addition to deadly ones.”
"Actually, I do deal with a Hard Light Weapon." He said, pulling out what appeared to be a Calvary Sword handle from his belt. A blade of hard light appeared out of it when he activated. "This is a weapon I made similar to a Lightsaber but is better in some ways." He admitted, as he showed her the weapon that he offered her. He looked at the individual for a moment. She was certainly... enthusiastic. "It employs Hard Light Technology of my own design that I've created for the express purpose in using it as a weapon, and in other technologies as well."
"I am going to be working on a unique line of Vibro-blades sold only by Nelson Prototyping." He stated, as he looked at her.
"The Hard Light can be used both lethally, and non lethally if wielded correctly. I myself prefer non lethal, mind you." He said. He smiled at her for a moment. "So, would I have to have a Tour Guide when I visited the Eternal Empire, or allowed to explore everywhere, or what would be the restrictions on such?"
It explained so much, Ingrid nodded at the man's response. She met with the hard light before, but she had only read about it, there was no such widespread technology yet, and like with any other technology, the hard light had many strengths and weaknesses too. But there was definitely an opportunity in it. She also watched the new weapon the other took out to show her. Better than a lightsaber? It sounds interesting.
”I never used a lightsaber in my life, because I’m not a Force sensitive or user, but I know a bit about their operating principle. What do you mean under "better in some ways"?” she was curious.
She was sure the man had great PR texts, but Ingrid preferred reality and not exaggerated speech and advertising. Hard light technology, again. She nodded again at the answer. Thus, weapons can be used as both lethal and non-lethal. Maybe better than a lightsaber to mean you don't need to use Force? Lightsaber was hard enough to use without force, she didn't argue with that.
”Light swords can be both deadly and non-lethal. But i think you know that.” she said. ”I suggest the better way is that it can be used without Force. Right?”
The next question was already related to the visit. Luckily she didn't have to think about it, because she knew immediately the answer to what to say to the man. After all, it was already part of his job.
”To places that can be visited by anyone, you can go alone, for everything else, it is advisable to have a tour guide assigned to you.” she said.