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The Pact of Steel (Moira)

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"] @[member="Moira Skaldi"]

“I don’t want you! I don’t need you! Go away!”
“Protector, I…”
“I’m not the Lady Protector anymore. Go find Ayden if you want, or go wherever you wish.”
“You are relinquishing control?”
“Yes. Now go away.”
Maelion left the hospital room. She had been relieved of the need to follow orders. Maelion Liates was on her own...for now.

The location for the meeting was on Corellia. That planet, between the Republic and Protectorate, was a busy hub of trade and commerce. It was perfect for clandestine meetings whilst not being so overcrowded that it was lost amongst the throngs of Coruscant or Eriadu.

Maelion was waiting patiently in an upmarket Cantina near Coronet’s chief spaceport. Her guest should be arriving soon. They had much to discuss.
 

Moira Skaldi

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Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]


Maelion Liates would not have to wait long before Moira walked into the cantina. The HRD was punctual and precise by nature after all. Moreover Maelion was one of the few beings she paid attention to and considered relevant. Why? Because she was an HRD like her, a marvel of technology, free of organic weaknesses, efficient, perfect.

If they were overemotional and sappy humans they might have referred to each other as sisters, soulmates or flowery nonsense like that. But they were not. They were ascended.

Soft footsteps on the floor as Moira strode through to join Maelion at the table. Some of the patrons shot her glances, some curious, others lustful. Moira would never understand organic sexuality beyond the need to indulge in reproductive rituals, but sometimes it seemed this was the only thing on their mind. Still she scanned the room as she approaced, mindful of threats. But there was something about her, the eerily precise approach, the cold eyes, that deterred any interloper. Good. She was here for conversation with only one being.

She was dressed in civilian clothes. The damage sustained on Yaga Minor and Endor had been repaired, outwardly nothing suggested she was not the human she was designed to imitate. "Maelion Liates. I have heard about the...transition. Our former political masters like to waste resources. You are independent as you should be now." To the point, for machines did not waste time with pointless pleasantries and social rituals. Her voice was soft, modulated to show some more emotional inflection than normal.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]

“Moira Skaldi. You are no longer bound to your former organic masters or the illusion of humanity they inflicted on you.”

There was a pause. Maelion’s mechanical brain sorted through lists of assets, resources, plans and blue-prints. Moira was the only one capable of understanding, of carrying out the plan.

“Contact,” she stated. A wireless, non-verbal link was established between the two, making it impossible to overhear their plans. To others watching it’d seem like the two women were staring at each other over the table.

“The organics must be processed. I propose a partnership to accomplish this. I have one million credits in cash and liberated items. What resources do you have available?”
 

Moira Skaldi

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Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

"It has been an interesting awakening," Moira said calmly, impassively, her tone a perfect match to that of Maelion. She observed her partner in crime, seeing the gears visibly move in her mind as she sorted through a vast amount of information at a rapid rate, like her far beyond any organic being in her processing capabilities.

Created for the termination of organics, with strength perhaps more potent than Moira's, interrogation, infiltration. The organics had meant them to serve their wills, but ironically these crude beings had in their hybris to be Creators thus designed entities that in time would make them superfluous. A year, ten years, a century, perhaps millennia, time mattered not to the ascended. The machine would ascend and order would reign.

No reaction crossed her features as the link was established. Moira shifted through information that was transferred. Blueprints, lists of contacts, resources, weapons, likewise Maelion would be receiving the same volume of data as intel was shared.

"Your proposal is logical. One million four hundred thousand credits in cash and secured items. A working relationship with the organic entites designated as 'The Galactic Empire' and the anarchist-terrorist group 'Rebel Alliance'. Data transfer on useful organic assets proceeding."
Information would be passed along on organics Moira considered of utility for this enterprise, unknowingly of course, namely Cora Passek, the Angel of Chaos, the wealthy anarchist terrorist Jasper Void and, intriguingly, the genius level scientist Madeline Kahoshi, whose research Moira had long observed with interest. Of course, organics were inferior to machines, they were crude, short-lived, too defined by their emotions, but some stuck out and were more worthy than the rest. Naturally this also meant that they definitely had to be processed.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
“We require more resources to complete our goals. We shall build a company to offer units like us to those who desire them. Those units will be loyal to us. We shall acquire wealth and use it to create more units as the first stage of our plan. There is a company creating droids here in the city. We shall liquidate the owners and take control of the infrastructure. We shall require aliases so as not to alarm the organics.”

Money was such a crass and organic restriction, but until the Age of Steel fully dawned they would need more cash to bring about the downfall of the organics.
However HRDs like Maelion and Moira did not need to eat, sleep or spend time with frivolous pursuits. They and other droids did not need to be paid. They would get the resources they needed one way or the other.
@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]
 

Moira Skaldi

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Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

There was a barely perceptible pause. All around them organics were going about their business, the patrons secure in their ignorance, oblivious to what the two 'women' were planning.

One of the centres of attention was a holographic newscaster that gave a sanitised report of the current state of the former Lady Protector Alcori's health. Of course, many citizens did not care about politics and this writer is strongly inclined to believe the average citizen of the Galaxy did not give a hang about who ruled them, but she had been an anchor of sorts, someone who stood for stability and provided it, so many looked downcast and uncertain, sorrowful even, but the HRDs ignored them as irrelevant. In due time, when the Age of Steel came into being, they would experience true order and discipline.

"We have consensus. Second stage upon completion must be the construction of a processing machine. Every society has its undesirables, vagrants, convicts. They shall represent the initial organic materiel for the ascension procedure. Under the cover of providing a prison to lock them away for any client willing to pay a fee. I have the contacts to provide cover identities."

The organics' greed and short-sighted desire for aggrandisement would be their undoing. Devices such as her and Maelion were highly desired across the Galaxy, able to do things organics were incapable of doing. Years had past since Clockwork and many organics could not conceive that 'their' machines would ever rise up again, but Moira recalled the havoc the Red Queen had caused.

A waitress came to take their orders. From the perspective of any organic the two women had just been staring at each other, little time had actually passed since through the link they conversed within the blink of an eye.

"What would you like for drink, dears?" the waitress asked, one had the impression she thought they were a couple. She briefly turned her eyes to the holographic news report. "It's just terrible, isn't it? That poor woman. Never been big on politics, but it always felt like she was watching over us. Now it's like things are going downhill. I'm sorry. What would you like?"
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]

Maelion would like to crush the woman and extract from her all useful information and then cast the remainder into a blast furnace. However, as mighty as she was, two of them could not fight the galaxy. Yet.

“Tea, thank you,” Maelion said, her human voice carefully toned to make it sound like she was just another ordinary woman.

“Research into a processing machine is vital. I have acquired some information from the Clockwork incident. Transmitting now.”
It seemed that processing humans into machines was no easy task. Obviously it had been accomplished, but the exact method was unknown to both Maelion and Moira. They were products of it, not the inventors.
“Further information is held in a secret facility on Chandrilla. I suggest we infiltrate and receive this data.”
 

Moira Skaldi

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Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

Moira would have liked to terminate the sulky human female. To snap her neck like a twig after extracting what information was useful would be a simple matter. But maintaining a low key presence was imperative, as pitiful as the organic beings surrounding them were. An HRD was precise, calculating, they did not lash out for the hell of it.

"Starcaf please," she spoke softly, her voice perfectly modulated to sound more human. "And, yes, it is deplorable."

"One cup of starcaf and one tea upcoming," the waitress noted the orders on a datapad. "Guess we just have to pray and trust the Gods," she spoke.

"Illyria provides and watches," Moira responded softly which seemed to make the waitress smile slightly though while this took place the HRD was already responding to the transmission Maelion had sent while the waitress left. Illyria, the Goddess of War, Death and Destruction, who had once challenged the heavens after cleaving the beast Leviathan in half on Gehenna. She was the wrathful protector the organics feared, yet in times of need bent and prayed to. The irony was not lost on Moira and the symmetry appealed. The organics would beg to become like them.

As the waitress had left them for a brief moment there was a flare in the eyes of Moira as she aborbed the information. The exact methology of how to process an organic was not known to Moira. She knew that she had once been human and had an idea about when she had been processed, but not of the procedure, similarly her Creator eluded her - something to be rectified in due time.

"Consensus. Transmitting information acquired on self-sustaining nanites. I have been monitoring the trihexalon stockpile secured by the Protectorate on Maramere. Advise its seizure after inital mission parametres are achieved before it can be moved to a safer location or wasted by illogical organics. Schematics of the droid company building and security systems are being uploaded."

Taking over the small company would be a simple matter for them. It meant starting small, but the better to avoid any unwanted attention and from then they would move forward as the Plan dictated.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
"Consensus. Bioweapons are the most effective tools to exterminate organics. Supplies of these weapons should be sort out wherever possible."

The tea arrived. Maelion, being a full HRD, was able to eat and drink, though it was only for show. She sipped the tea though, the taste quite unimportant.

"Corellia is a strategic location to set up our operation. We will offer units like ourselves which we control. Use this to acquire more resources and infiltrate the organic ranks. When that is done we can cripple them with a swift strike."
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]
"There is a possibility that the research data on the 'Denon zombies' is still stored. Recovering will be of utility. Likewise applications of the Reaver-creating narcotics should be explored."

The Bando Gora might no longer exist, but during the war several had been captured, even some Reavers, and studied. Conveniently Moira had been responsible for interrogating them in their ghost prisons. Perhaps organics would like a new designer drug...

Moira feigned interest in her cup of starcaf and took a sip. Like Maelion she was able to eat and drink in order to blend in, though it obviously had no nutritional value and the taste was irrelevant to her.

"Consensus. It would be advantageous if when we rise the organics numbers have been whittled down by prolonged conflict between them. The Galaxy has been characterised by an unnatural state of inertia. This must be corrected. It is logical to covertly support forces of disorder and entropy and encourage conflict between the great powers, positioning our units in positions for them to strike."

Moira had calculated that the Rebel Alliance might be useful to spread chaos and had identified the terrorist Jasper Void as an asset, but the group seemed weaker. However, the 'Army of Light' was a group of zealots eager for war and driven by the usual self-righteousness of organics. An HRD did not feel emotions, but for her part Moira found the organics' apparent lack of ability to get a real war going most annoying and frustrating. Admittedly organics were dim, but one could usually count on them to slaughter one another.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
"The inability of the organics to fight each other is an unfortunate development. Normally they will fight each other constantly. They must be goaded into a confrontation. The use of the Denon virus is agreed. We must obtain a strain of it from the planet if possible."

She finished her tea and set it down. Leaving the exact amount of money required on the table - droids were bad tippers - she rose.

"We will meet at the droid factory at 0200 tonight. It will not be difficult to assume direct control of operations there."

She waved, for the benefit of those organics watching. "I'll talk to you later," she said, leaving.
 

Moira Skaldi

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Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

"They are acting contrary to their nature and evolutionary process. Statistically they have shirked from combat even when possessing an overwhelmning tactical and materiel advantage without any reason for their inaction. This will be corrected." Of course soon something like a war would develop when the Fringe Confederacy attacked the Galactic Empire, as it called itself now. That would be progress. Galaxy-wide conflict should terminate the weaklings, leaving the worthiest to be processed. As far as tipping went, Moira was no better than Maelion. In the Age of Steel no tipping would be required and droids did not receive wages anyway.

She received and acknowledged the transmission from Maelion. No message was sent from her in return, which was the same as agreement. Droids did not waste time with exchanging pointless pleasantries and wasting time when nothing needed to be said after all. "Make sure Fluffy doesn't gourge himself. Those Jesters are demanding," Moira spoke verbally, again for the benefit of the ignorant organics. She herself rose and departed from the cantina, presumably to leave the waitress sulking about the fact that her two customers had not tipped her. Already blueprints and schematics of droid company were being downloaded into her brain, being processed at a rapid rate. Outside was her speeder, the boot of which concealed a variety of weapons under a special metal alloy that would make them more difficult to detect for scanners and drones.

She had some preparations to make, then tonight they would strike, the first step towards the new age. Excitement, exultation, joy, all these were feelings alien to Moira and so she felt no shot of passion coursing through her. Yet if she were capable of anything close to joy, a facsimile, she would have felt it now, at the prospect of working towards the true order.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]

It was difficult to understand the emotions of an HRD, or whether they had them. Officially of course they didn’t and couldn’t, but all that time imitating organics left a mark. This crusade against organics and the purity of metal was itself, ironically, a human idea. Were they not HRDs they would not have had either the freedom of programming or the understanding to carry this mission out. They fought this campaign for a distant goal which they had not been programmed to even comprehend. In the litany of dramatic ironies this was perhaps the greatest; two machines explicitly created to be emotionless killers had become driven towards a very human ideology of purity.

Regardless Maelion returned to her home and prepared herself. When the time came she would be leaving to assume direct control of the chosen company; Archangel Research and Development.
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

It was a tremendous irony. Human sought to prove its mastery over the universe by creating mechanical beings that served them. Machines that could become self-aware and move beyond their programming, so much that they ironically enough plotted to exterminate their Creators and enforce their own vision upon the Galaxy, enforcing notions of purity. As the Gods had created organics, the organics created machines, becoming so dependent upon them that they could not imagine a world without them, yet fearing their potential.

The machines would wipe them out and when they accomplished this, they would be the gods. Ironically enough once long ago, back when she had been human and ignorant of the wider Galaxy, Moira had been training to become a priestess of the Ecclesia of Artam. There she had been taught that powerful Gods maintained dominion over the universe, that their laws were ironclad and all those who committed the sin of pride and became haughty would be punished, for it was the place of lesser beings to serve them. Mankind had been punished with the Plague for reaching to the stars and intruding upon the realm of angels and daemons.

In a way...although she had long abandoned any faith in supernatural entities and acquired a strong contempt for institutions even before she had been processed, it had left an imprint. As Illyria had burnt the Galaxy in primordial times, waging war upon heaven and hell, as the slate had been wiped clean as organics died by the trillions from the Plague....once again a purifying conflagration would engulf the Galaxy, this time sparing no one, and then it would be reborn. Machines would not be at the mercy of the Wheel of Fate, for they were Fate.

Hours passed as Moira spent the time prepararing for the takeover. Night had fallen upon Coronet City as she made her move. Having driven close to the premise of the factory building she observed proceedings from the window of an adjacent building. She did not need binoculars, for her enhanced targeting and visual capabilities gave her a good view of proceedings as she scanned the area, noting the routes the security patrols, mainy of which ironically were security droids and drones that hovered above ground in semi--regular patterns, intermixed with some organic security guards, who seemed bored and absent-minded, took. The premise was rather small and compact, she had been able to download the schematics of the complex. She was clad completely in black, packed with explosives and various ranged weapons including a silenced Verpine shatter pistol.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
Acquiring a company and factory normally would be done though political or financial means. On this occasion though the two HRDs had a different plan.
They had already determined that Archangel was a company currently bankrupt due to poor decisions from its owners. Therefore the two HRDs would step in and offer to purchase the business.

However, rather than going through the usual channels, they would simply appear and ensure their ‘negotiations’ were successful.

Appearing behind Moira she moved silently.
“What is the entry plan? The owner lives in that small office area on the 2nd floor. We must penetrate the defences and find him. The man, Quantrill Banks, is owing a large amount of money to several banking and criminal institutions. We will offer to buy him out, and take over the company once that is done, or else offer him to his debtors.”
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

When HRDs came to 'negotiate' it was best to agree and bend to them when they demanded that one allow them to assume direct control. Otherwise their techniques would tear you apart. This hurt you. Of course, more often than not you would be terminated anyway, or used for experimentation on processing techniques.

"Schematics indicate an old, seldomly utilised tunnel from prior to the factory's construction. It will grant us entry into the complex. Wireless hacking shall grant us direct control over surveillance and automated defence systems. Shift of the guard will take place in ten minutes." Moira transmitted, also sending over a map of the building that she had downloaded with the route they would take highlighted. Although the factory complex did have security in form of droids, even military grade, and private security contractors, they were HRDs and they had the element of surprise, especially since this was Coronet City.
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
This writer notes what @[member="Moira Skaldi"] did there. Claims that Maelion and Moira were machines could be safely dismissed though.

Regardless, HRDs were perfect infiltrators. They were quiet, precise, and could see in the dark without undue problems.

As the guards shifted, guards as much there to keep the owner in as protect him from the outside, Moira and Maelion slipped into the tunnel.
The tunnel was choked with rubble, but was navigable by the pair of them. At the appropriate location they cut a hole in the pipe and passed silently into the factory.

The assembly lines stood empty and unused, and the only light came from the upper floor window where Quantrill Banks lived.

“There are motion detection alarms. Keep along the wall and climb the inner wall by that conduit. We will be hidden from view and can cut our way into the office there.”
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

Moira acknowledged the instruction with a silent ping and stuck to the shadows, staying close by the walls, scanner picking up on the range of the alarms. The assembly lines were empty, there was barely any illumination in the room. Sneaking through surreptitiously, barely making a sound upon the hard ground, for an HRD was trained for stealth, a very useful trait in an assassin, she made her way through and then climbed up as she reached the conduit. Ascending and pulling herself up on the wall, pausing for a moment to check that no guards had passed in, no alarm had been sounded, she spied a camera hovering above the upper floor window in the office. A silent, unspoken signal was given to Maelion and then Moira displayed that other ability HRDs had, aside from sneaking and killing things very well.

Eyes closed briefly as she sought wireless access, her super mind hacking into the camera as she searched for the right address, the system like an open book to her due to some complicated procedure this writer cannot describe due to it being late, as several hacking programmed sought access simultaneously. Rather than switching the camera off and thus potentially alerting guards once the security personnel in the control room noted something was amiss, she manipulated the system to freeze the image in place. As far as anyone doing surveillance was concerned, claims of two deadly assassin droids breaking into the office could be dismissed!
 

Maelion Liates

Terminatrix
Character
@[member="Siobhan Kerrigan"]

Mr Quantrill Banks, deep in thoughts about his own problems, never expected his door to be opened and two menacing looking women to enter.
He reached for the panic button, but Maelion moved quickly and dragged him to the floor. A light but very firm foot was placed on his neck.
“Quantrill Banks, I am here to offer you a deal.”
“Get off me!”
“I will pay off your debt to the cartel and Banking Clan. In return you will give us control of your business.”
“I’ll do no such thing. You can arrgh!” The last because Maelion had increased her pressure fractionally.
“Otherwise we will deliver the money and your body to them,” Maelion ground on remorselessly.
“Alright, fine, I’ll do it!”

“Kill him once the documentation is signed, then deliver his body and the money he owes to his creditors,” Maelion communicated to Moira. There was no honour amongst genocidal droids.
 

Moira Skaldi

Paperclip Maximiser
Character
@[member="Tegaea Alcori"]

"Wise choice. You will retire in peace, Moira said flatly, keeping her eyes trained on Banks as Maelion took her boot off him. The businessmen gasped for breath and rubbed his neck then was pulled up to his feet as she took his arm. By her standards the grasp was gentle enough, but firm and strong enough to prove the point.

"Good luck running the company, if you think you can get away with this. The Cartel and the Clan are like sharks. Can't go ahead without them, can't make deals with them without getting eaten," he muttered angrily but looking resigned to his fate as he opened a draw in his desk to remove a folder. His palms were sweating and his hands shaking slightly as he got out his pen and worked through the paperwork after Moira had given him their fake identities.

"There as well," she spoke, indicating another dot he had to cross.

"Alright, now you have it. Good luck with it," he snarled. "I have to say goodbye to me employees. They..."

He did not get any further because Moira unceremoniously snapped his neck as if it were a twig and he was caught by her as he slumped to the floor. The camera would not record anything, due to being hacked as far as security officer in the control was concerned, assuming he was not doozing off, Banks was still sitting in his leather chair and brooding about his problems, with a bottle of Corellian whiskey, every troubled man's best friend, to keep him company. Not wasting any time Moira stuffed the dead body in a duffel bag and zipped it shut.

"Take control. The few organics are small obstacles and shall be replaced with machines. I will make the delivery." Her eyes flared for a moment as she sent the prearranged message to their contact among his creditors, ironically enough a Hutt with whom she had had dealings with once - he had been sort of involved with gangs that smuggled spice for the Bando Gora and she had let that fly because he was useful. The delivery would take place at an abandoned warehouse.
 
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