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The Hunt Begins Again

Julian Valentine

"I don't come cheap."
Character
-| Far Away |-

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Julian stirred from his sleep. The rain was coming down heavier than before. The bed was rock-hard. His eyes fluttered open and he smiled. A woman lay next to him, Cyrinity. Her naked back turned to him. Antecedent was alive, even at this time of night. He reached out with his hand to caress the woman, but his hand went through the flesh and reality set in. That wasn't Antecedent out the window, far below, nor was it really Cyrinity. As much as he wanted it to be, it would never be.

Valentine reached for his eyes and peeled the contacts from them, the visual display distorting then blacking out. He was laying on a rock, somewhere far from Antecedent on the planet Vjun. Overhead was a specialized armorweave tarp that was able to withstand the acidic rain of this dreadful planet. The downpour was deafening. He checked his datapad and it was midnight - time to move. He rose from the rock, gathering the sheets and rolling them up. He didn't like camping but if he was to approach Bast Castle he would need stealth. Best he travel on foot.

The bounty had indicated his target was at a base on Vjun, to the best of their knowledge. He would start his investigation there. Having traveled to Bitter End and discovering the few bases on Vjun, he began to check each one off. Bast Castle was the first on his list, the biggest and baddest of the few on this planet. He had marched on foot across the barren, rocky countryside. With help from locals he had traveled the acidic Bay of Tears and River Weeping by boat.

He was now an hour from Bast Castle. His week-long trek would end here, and if it proved useless he would be taken by freighter to the far side of the planet and begin another march to yet another fortress. Unfortunately for Ra'a'mah, Bast Castle would not know he was coming as he was covering his tracks from orbit with the crew of the Surrender and Paragon scrambling the ability of any radars from detecting his movements.

He finished packing up his campsite and got dressed, his iconic hammerhead helm worn. His mechanical legs could pick up a stride without effort from him, keeping him rested and ready despite all its work. So he ran through the rocky outcrops, a small flat two-track droid racing behind him with his luggage tied to the top of it. He ran for some time as Bast Castle loomed in front of him. Growing in size with every step he took. He was eager, keen, ready. His first hunt since he lost his legs.

The Hunt Begins Again.
 

Julian Valentine

"I don't come cheap."
Character
Bast Castle was now in full view, towering far above Julian Valentine. It looked impossible to infiltrate, but previous scans indicated few life-signs within the walls, almost abandoned compared to its ancient history. There was a door nearby but he knew not whether anyone was on the other side. He best check. He started by ordering the tracked droid back to a boulder and to wait there, shutting down non-critical systems. He carried his weapons on him, most of which were from Jaeger Solutions.

His eyes darted up the steep incline of the castle walls and he raised his left hand, a tiny ISR recon droid shot out from his MV-18 vambraces. He flipped his right wrist over and looked down at the wrist-mounted datapad there. He watched the livefeed as the droid entered a ventilation shaft and soared through the tight corridors and sharp corners. It was dark but the lights shining through grates on the floor of the ventilation shaft provided enough light. The droid came to a halt and slid through an opening of the shaft and entered the empty hallways of the vast castle.

The droid hovered quietly, its scanners checking for signs of personnel. None here. It flew back in the direction of Julian, retracing its movements from the ventilation shaft above but now in the halls of the castle. It came to a door, near Julian, hovered for a moment, landed on the ground and deactivated. The feed cut.

Valentine kept his eyes trained on his datapad as he now activated his Xayinas slicer droid, the hover of the droid buzzed louder than the recon and flew over to the door only ten meters away and began to slice into the scanning pad. Knowing there was no one on the other side provided comfort that he would not need to go in guns-blazing, but he wondered if this place was utterly abandoned. Perhaps a dead lead.

The scanner went from red to green as the slicer droid gained access, hydraulics hissed and the door slid open just long enough for Valentine to slip in. He fell to a knee and collected the recon droid, pinching it between his forefinger and thumb and attaching it back onto his vambrace to recharge. The slicer droid hovered over to Julians belt and re-attached itself.

The small devices looked harmless, and they were for the most part, but they provided the bounty hunter critical knowledge in his hunt. They were incredibly useful and he would make sure to give feedback to the Jaeger engineers. Perhaps he could request micro-blasters attached to it, nothing that could kill but certainly distract if needed.

Now inside Bast Castle, Julian unholstered a HG-54 verpine shatter handcannon and proceeded down the corridors. The recon droid would need to recharge before he sent it flying down these paths again to look for any datapads or computers. For now he would look himself, slower but more reliable. His feet were louder than normal, but he wasn't too concerned about stealth at this point. Was anyone even home? Hopefully.
 

Julian Valentine

"I don't come cheap."
Character
Julian Valentine had been walking around for awhile now, almost aimlessly. It was a vast castle, as Darth Vader had wanted it. A fortress truly capable of holding its own in a siege. Without all the military personnel here it was a ghost town. The recon droid had recharged sufficiently and the bounty hunter raised his left hand again and activated it. With orders given to seek out a hanger, he wouldn't need to observe the livefeed. It would ping him if it found anything, good or bad. The miniscule droid darted down the hall and began its search, quickly out of sight as it turned left at an intersection of corridors.

Valentine approached and followed where the droid had gone. It wasn't long before the droid pinged him about the hanger, a door, and a lifesign on the other side. Julian broke into a jog, checking the safety of the razer net at his hip, the stun grenades were available on his belt, and that his handcannon was fully loaded. When he arrived the recon droid hovered back to him and parked itself back on the Jaeger vambrace on his left wrist. The slicer on his belt chirped awake and flew to the door, hacking the identification swipe for the door and allowing him access to the hanger beyond.

Once he walked in he found a single man there, perhaps caught by surprise that when the door opened it was not any other personnel of Bast Castle, but an armed-to-the-teeth bounty hunter. Valentine dropped his gun back into its holster and took out the razer net and fired, all in the blink of an eye. He wasn't here to kill whoever this was, he was here for Ra'a'mah, and this person certainly wasn't it. He needed him alive for questioning. The razer net would do just well in that, then he could access the hanger terminal. As the net exploded outwards, towards the man from Bast Castle, the slicer droid zoomed off towards the nearby terminal. Already attempting to gain access.
 

Julian Valentine

"I don't come cheap."
Character
The razer net did it's job. The man was talking but he wasn't answering Julians question. Torture never worked and it wasn't his style unless he knew someone deserved it. He didn't know this man, but he'd keep him in the net nonetheless. So long as he didn't move it wouldn't hurt him. The slicer droid beeped and deactivated next to the terminal. It's battery was low but the terminal had been accessed. "It doesn't matter if you don't know where she is now," Valentine said as he moved over to the terminal.

His hands glided across the controls as he activated his commlink, "Valentine to Surrender, I want you above Bast Castle within the hour, and Paragon, I'm going to open up the hanger for your landing. Come immediately." The Surrender was an old prison ship from the days of the Lords of the Fringe. It proved invaluable to Julian as a bounty hunter. He would use it to restrain any other personnel on Bast Castle and take them with him to find Ra'a'mah, and they could travel with her once he had her.

The terminal registered a personal freighter, a YT-1300. It had departed Bast Castle some time ago. Perhaps she had caught wind of the bounty on her head. Valentine gathered the info on the ship, specs and production number as well as registration. It was Ra'a'mah's. With that knowledge alone he could track her across the galaxy, so long as she wasn't aware just who was following her. "I've got a number on her ship, Paragon, Yee, run the numbers on the Holonet and our database, find me that ship."

It was only minutes before the Paragon came to land in the hanger and a small retinue of Julians own personnel departed the vessel. A young kid, maybe fifteen, but not older than sixteen, was busy on a datapad. "Yee, what've we got?" Valentine asked and the kid looked up, "I'm tracking any spaceports she's visited, it won't be long until I've got something for you." Valentine smiled and gave the kid a tussle of his hair. Strange behavior from a bounty hunter who had an innocent man bound up in a razer net not ten meters away.

His attention turned to his Human Replica Droid, "Search the Castle, Willow, capture anyone else still here and we'll bring them to the Surrender." Valentine looked back at the Bast Castle hanger just before he boarded his own ship to track his target down, "Run and hide, Ra'a'mah, I'm coming for you."
 
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