Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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Toys in the Attic


Arkania, Underground Secret Facility
internal security footage

"What does this make it, a round dozen Charles? Don't get me wrong, the fact that you think we need this many is...."


The petite figure turned to the taller man, studying him silently for a moment. They stood before a bank of machines, pristine and new, the best that money could buy. Each crèche held an identical face, her face, waiting in quiet repose. In some ways it was eerie. To anyone else, it might have been.

"I was going to say 'thorough', actually. Six here. Five in the new facility your pet scientist Sasha is keeping on Gap Nine. One active. I've been impressed with her work, despite my initial misgivings. Alright then, you have my official buy in. You may keep this very impressive facility that I have paid for and..... all of these copies."

Charles Veers sketched a mock bow, a tight lipped smile on his face. His own visage was reflected over and over in the new chrome of the high tech lab machinery, the pair's faces echoed ad infinitum in the cold, sterile room. They were building eternity here, and that fact was not lost on either of them.

"Madame Director flatters me with her praise," he purred, and she shot him a look but otherwise said nothing. She never knew how to read him, how he would act at any given time. Every thing about the man was a mask, every tiny action, every word carefully considered. She knew him because she knew herself. But he was better at this act than she was.

And they both recognized it.

She didn't trust him. But they functioned together like a well oiled machine to keep the Empire running smoothly. And in other ways. Love? Hardly. But some things didn't need love.

It was inevitable that he noticed her stiffness and annoyance, and he laughed, closing the distance between them and taking her hand in his.

"Come now my dear," he whispered, leaning in against her ear. "There's no one here but us."

A ghost of a smile flickered across Xyra Sizhan's lips. He was right of course. There were just more of her than there was of him. She didn't know exactly what that meant in his mind, but internally it made her chuckle.

"Dance with me," he murmured as she turned to him.

"No," she said with a laugh that was anything but pleasant. "You dance with me."


Dozens of clones were created by ISB Director Xyra Sizhran and Charles Veers over a period of two years. They were created for two reasons. For Xyra, they were her back up- people who knew everything she did and who could be counted upon to act solely in her best interest and enact her plans within plans without hesitation or mistake. They could function within the complicated Xanatos Gambits she had balancing delicately at every moment, and she utilized them ruthlessly. For Charles, they were an ace in the hole. If Xyra, the lynch pin in a precarious Empire, were to fall (and her actions brought her in to danger again and again), he could activate one of her clones to take her place. The Empire need never be without her. But something went wrong. Charles, after all, was also just a man. At some point, both failed to resurface. For all of their plotting, for all of the sacrifices both were willing to make for their empire, they both failed where it mattered most.

They were mortal.


Arkania, present day

Charles Veers had hidden his private installation well. Generations of Imperial scientists and then simply treasure hunters had overlooked it.

Until now.

Some hint, some blip in the records, some piece of the puzzle finally fit together. A single man, investigating this long abandoned Imperial facility, were the first footsteps heard here in centuries. The first breath to stir the air since the last time Charles Veers had awakened one of his charges. While the facility on Gap Nine was eventually reclaimed by the jungle and fell to rot and ruin, the one on Arkania, the center of Imperial Science so long ago, was nearly frozen in time.

Some things, of course, couldn't help but change.

Banks of equipment, state of the art and new centuries ago were now broken and covered with a thick layer of dust. A few errant lights flickered here and there throughout the ghost facility. Not enough to light the way, but enough to remind those now treading the silent halls that electricity still flowed from somewhere. Enough that some of the doors were still locked.

Behind one of those locked doors, was a bay of clone crèches. As centuries had passed, one by one, they had failed, each one expiring without ever truly knowing life. But the very last crèche in the row, beneath an inch thick layer of dust, still glowed from within.

A green light flashed.

[member="Luca Thorne"]
The Admiralty
Codex Judge
Present Day

A sophisticated vacuum-sealed body suit kept the cold from clinging to his body and freezing him shut, but Thorne still managed to feel the ghost of residual frost surrounding him. It was his imagination more than anything else, every single sensor within his suit was in the green and the HUD didn't give him any pings that he was in imminent danger of hypothermia. But the imagination was a strong force and it kept him on his... toes.

He grunted as the frozen-shut door applied reverse pressure as he tried to throw it open.

Heels digging into the snow, pushing down and finding resistance in the rocky underground still untouched by the frost. Eventually the grip allowed the soldier to leverage his strength and with an external groan the door's persistence gave way to Luca's efforts, a hiss of currents brushed past him as cold air forced itself through the opening and disappeared further down the facility. Luca stepped into the facility - flickering lights, ruined furniture strayed around and an eerie silence filled only by the hydraulic breathing of his power-suit and the steady pressure of his boots crunched against stray wreckage.

The integrated lights on his helmet were enabled once the soldier applied some pressure with his chin to the suit controls. It immediately bathed the room in flashy blue hues, shadows erasing themselves in the wake of the glare, before slowly creeping back up once Luca's gaze passed them towards the next angle.

Command had discovered records of one of their facilities on Arkania. 'Their' which meant that it was Imperial, not so much First Order in design, especially not on Arkania.

As far as Thorne knew there hadn't been any Imperial-affiliated governments so close to the Core in centuries.

His attention was drawn by one of the locked doors. Green light escaped the dirty grime of the stained transparisteel and tipped him off something interesting was beyond it. Command hadn't been able to figure out the scope of this facility, data banks too corrupted to give them anything more than coordinates, but even with those coordinates Thorne had been forced to track on foot through meters of snow and ice, until he accidentally tracked a glimpse of a tunnel escaping the surface of the snow.

An errant hand brushed the transparisteel, but most of the dirt was on the other side and it didn't assist him in finding out what was beyond the door.

Integrated cyberwarfare systems in his suit started to link up with the hardware of the door. Minutes passed as aggressive software battled against outdated, but still functional security protocols. Until eventually the doors slid open with another hiss, gas pouring out of ducts as the air condensed from the sudden shift in temperature.

"Curious." Luca mumbled to himself as he stepped on through and noticed the pods. "What do we have here?"
Beneath his fingers had been only cryptic letters Bank Shiv_21, words that meant nothing and less without their context.

The room beyond was only warm in comparison to the rest of the facility. Well above freezing, to keep the systems functioning, but certainly too chilly for someone without a coat- or a suit- to be comfortable.

Half a millennia ago, the facility within had been state of the art. Time had marched on, however. The banks of computers along the right hand wall were dust covered and sleeping. Already, the cold air pouring in behind [member="Luca Thorne"] was causing the barest threading of frost on the surface of the screens. Most of the system looked to be without power, but two still hummed softly. The last two at the end of the bank glowed with a faint green light. The second to last could not be urged to budge from it's screen, corrupted letters spelling out two, unintelligible words that flashed with a certain grim determination. A century ago, it had been the last to fail, the last to let go of it's ward. Even now, though unreadable, it still flashed it's mechanical apology for failure.

The very last, however, still scrolled corrupted commands across the screen.

Imp*8%4k-4cility 8749(87 Head Sci*^5*st S4sh4 C4l*b (M4rk 3)

Prim48)7 4uthorizat(%4 Dir*ctor Xy^4 3#izhr4n. Clonin1 B4nks to b* k*56 4t full c4pa76$2 of 12 4t 4ll tim*s. M4rks 6-18 in longt*rm st4sis 8%3-l 4ctiv4tion r*quir*d.


Prim48)7 4uthorizat(%4 Ch4rl*s V**r$. 4ctivate Shiv4 M4rk 6.

​4ctiv4t* Shiv4 M4rk 18? Y/N

Along the wall to the left were a dozen reclined pods. The light above all but one flashed red- or did not flash at all. The first was empty. But the second? It was occupied by the mummified corpse of a human, too long dead to discern much about the occupant. Each one beyond that told the same story writ with the same body- all the same size, all in the same repose.

Except the very last pod, across from the still active machine. The transparisteel was clouded, too foggy to see through. But that green light flashed, indicating that whatever was still in there was, at least, alive.
The Admiralty
Codex Judge
The soft hum of hardware filled the background of the room.

Every single action of the soldier spoke of caution and rigid attention.

His disruptor blaster was already out of its holster and silently aiming from one side of the room to the other, exploring corners with an integrated aim guidance system propelling forward a little red dot that brushed past concrete, metal and reflected against the transparisteel. Soon enough - once Luca was content that the room was empty - he pushed himself forward and entered the room in truth, while being accompanied by the insistent whirring of his power systems.

"Hmmm." The soldier hummed to himself as armored fingers brushed past the console.

Haptic feed vibrated back up his finger tips and made the metal sing for a soft moment. The pods gave him a hint, but it was the moderately corrupted text that sealed the idea in his head - cloning facility, imperial in origin, but who were they cloning and why would it happen out here?

How old was it? Which Imperial organization had been the cause for it? But all of those questions would have to be answered later, because already his HUD was blipping against him in its annoyance screech. Apparently the system was too fragile, slicing into it risked the chance of sending it all crashing down.

Bye bye only living clone.

Instead Thorne frowned and then sighed.

He had come here with a job to do and command would not accept 'the pod was giving me a bad feeling, so I left it behind. They never agreed towards erring to the side of caution sadly, but there wasn't much to be done about that now. Instead his finger hovered over the [N] letter for what seemed to be an eternity.





Thorne grunted and then switched to the Y, tapping it quickly before he could change his mind again. The soft hum turned to a violent tremor as ancient machines were forced back into existence and functionality, the lights out back in the main corridor flickered before dying completely.

But the pod... the pod flashed louder in color intensity.
Power trickled in to the system. It wasn't a lot, but it was more than it had seen in a century. Old background protocols, long dormant, click click whirled in the bowls of the machines. It would become obvious to the user, in a few minutes, that there was some active program, doing something in the background.

He'd hit Y, after all.

It started by updating hibernating brain tissue from the most recent data dump. The fact that it had been an era since that time didn't matter at all to the machine. Some of the data was corrupted. The system wasn't equipped to handle that. Ah well. It simply went along its merry way, overwriting the data regardless, doing unknown damage in the process. The system had not been designed to go this long without a keeper. Failsafe upon failsafe had shut down, never to restart too many years ago to count. The fact that this one subroutine remained at all was improbable beyond belief.

Did I say one?

Warmth flooded the cloning crèche. Somewhere, beneath the frosted glass, invisible to the interloper, a figure drew breath. It was hard to say how long it took, from the moment power trickled in to that first breath. Long minutes, surely. Though eyelids were closed, the movement of corneas could be seen beneath them, flickering like REM sleep as the ancient protocols updated the clone's memory, adding in the layer of 'new' over the existing 'old'. Now, all simply old.

She didn't know why she did it. She was barely aware that she was doing it at all. The action functioned more on the subconscious level. In truth, the clone was still dreaming, still updating.

But one hand reached up, from inside the crèche. Quietly, easy to miss except that everything else in this place was as silent as a grave came the faint pat of her palm against the inside of the dome. Finger tips curved against the transparisteel, the flattened impression a shadow from the outside of the fogged canopy.

The clone opened her eyes. Everything was blurry, a warm suffusion of a dull, reflected light. She blinked several times, trying to clear her vision, but without any success.

What was going on? Confusion reigned for now as she tried to sort through who she was and where she was. There were no imprinted memories ready for her upon waking. She couldn't grasp them, couldn't understand the jumble that was in her mind. After all, she'd technically only been alive for a few seconds.

At that moment, she didn't even know her name.

The system had been set up so that any time a clone was awakened, either Charles or Xyra would be there to greet it and explain. But not only were neither there, the crèche was still closed. Why was it closed, it should have opened on its own. As she tried to sort out the mess in her head she reached out blindly. Only this time, instead of touching softly, she banged, hard, on the inside of the curving dome.


Outside, the light flickered from green to orange as the crèche registered the failure in the canopy's latch system.

[member="Luca Thorne"]
The Admiralty
Codex Judge
His attention had still been squarely at the console.

Trying to make a sense out of the words popping up now that he had picked his route to hell, but all of that went away once the BANG sounded through the facility room and was followed up by another one. Insistent sounds echoing easily across the frost and neat of the clinical room. His blaster had already been aimed at the pod, before Luca realized what was happening. Seemed something was wrong with the latch system - he had assumed they would open by themselves in a melodramatic hiss of steam and condensation.

But seemed today wasn't the day for dramatic theatrics.

Careful feet picked their way through the room.

Every once in a while he shifted his look towards the other pods, first one empty and followed closely by increasingly more disturbing sights of decomposed bodies starving in their pods. First one was a skeleton, but the closer he came to the orange lights, the more the bodies started to resemble real human beings and it all told the tale of a facility slowly draining itself of its energy sources... to maintain at least one of these pods. Every single once in a while deactivating one in a precaution to preserve the rest of them.

Disturbing thought, to starve and die as the world moved around you and you were simply suspended in the void of nothingness.

Could have happened to him, if his Lord had been less attentive with him.

[member="Zee"] received no warning as suddenly a loud groaning sound of metal screeching and whining permeated through her pod. Only a moment later light started to flood her eyes as the door was abruptly ripped off its hinges and thrown to the side, in its stead she was welcomed to the visage of a helmet staring down at her with a slightly tilted view.

Almost as if the wearer was wondering if this had been a good idea.

"Presume you are Shiv...a?" Seemed the most likely use of that 4. Even if it seemed some strange slicer slang little boys exchanged when they thought they were being cool.
Something was wrong with the system. Even only half awake and groggy, she knew it. Cold was leaking in from somewhere. The air was getting thick, heavy, hard to breathe. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she subconsciously catalogued the systems going wrong. (If cold was leaking in, shouldn't fresh air be too?) But it didn't seem to matter. A survival mechanism, impossible to detangle from the original (even if the creators had wanted to) was kicking in.

Her fists hit the canopy again, but this time with more force. Not that it would matter. She knew that the canopy should have been opened from the outside by now. Thrashing, she tried to sit up, but the unit was too small. It wasn't made for moving around. Just for storage.

She blinked, trying to clear the haze from her eyes. She could see someone, just the barest shadow, through the cloudy transparisteel.


Her fist on the inside of the tomb hit so hard her knuckles started to bleed. The air was growing toxic in the crèche. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest as she tried to breath.


Frigid but breathable air came flooding in to the pod. She gasped, the cold searing her throat and lungs, but she drank the air in great, sucking breaths. The black nibbling at the edges of her vision receded, though her vision was still blurry, her thoughts still jumbled as she tried to scramble out of the pod. Weak and disoriented, she didn't catch the nuance of the head tilt above her. Even as he asked his question, she was already trying to get up and out of the pod, though her movements were stiff and jilted, uncoordinated. Before she could even fully stand, she was falling.

She felt strong hands on her arms, helping her, keeping her from planting face first into the floor.

Almost as soon as she hit the metal floor of the lab she started shivering. Scuttling backward she came up sharply against the base of the crèche, her bare back pressed against the pod she'd spent her entire life in.

Though her vision was blurry still, she already knew that too many things were desperately wrong. The gelid air, the darkness when she knew, somehow, that the lab should be bright. The grit of dust and dirt beneath her skin when the floor should be clean and sterile. The dead, stale smell of the air.

And the unfamiliar form and voice hovering over her. What had he asked her? The words slowly clicked into place, moving from an indecipherable wah wa wah wah? to something she could parse. The word 'shiva' triggered a cascade of stored memories, flooding in and filling her mind.

"M-must be," she croaked. Her teeth starting to chatter. She asked for the only person she could think of who was supposed to be there, who her memories were telling her to look for. "Wh-who are you? Wh-where's Ch-Charles? Wh-what h-happened?"

She had just woken up, after centuries in stasis. Clones weren't meant to decant over that incredible timeframe. She was trying, desperately, to fit what she was seeing in to the memories of what ought to be.

[member="Luca Thorne"]
The Admiralty
Codex Judge
There were certain things bred into him.

The capability to kill - most people recoiled from it, no matter how many times they had done it before, but Luca... there was no hesitation to be found within those eyes when the cause came - and to destroy. The urge to nurture wasn't part of his equation, so why his arms suddenly came up and caught her in the midst of her fall? It was a mystery to him, but it didn't prevent him from easing her down to the ground so he wasn't holding her.

Even now her stark nakedness was catching the sensors which were feeding it directly into his retina. He knew what sex was, knew the anatomy of both genders with practiced ease and could identify the feeling welling up inside of him now: it was lust and it was a desire that the clone extinguished as quickly as it popped up again.

She was cradling herself, pushing back against her former home and trying to contain her shivers.

There wasn't anything here to keep her warm, any textile or fabric long since destroyed... and that was a problem, because how was he supposed to get her out of here through that avalanche of frozen wind and snow? Before he could start working on a solution her voice whimpered out, answering his question with a psuedo-retort, before continuing with her own questions. Anyone else might have simply lied to her, to keep her contained or comfortable and at ease.

But Thorne was no politician or spy, he was a soldier first and foremost.

"Most likely dead, I don't have any hard data, but at least five centuries and prior to the Gulag Plague hit the Galaxy passed since you entered this pod."

Anyone else might have eased her into it.

But Luca was a warrior and saw no sense in sugar-coating the truth with half-truths and misdirection. She'd find out anyway, so there was no point in lying.
While the word Gulag tripped none of her mental cascade, it seemed entirely irrelevant considering the rest of it.

Five centuries.

Five hundred years.

It was a good thing she was already sitting.

Fingers gripped her upper arms, digging in hard enough to leave bruises, but she didn't let go. Her vision was still blurred, which, considering how long she'd been in stasis was no surprise. The surprise was that she was even here at all, and she knew it. The woman looked up, squinting, trying to will her eyes to function properly.

The clone tried to stand up again. She slid back down against the crèche, vaguely annoyed that her muscles weren't following instructions. She should be fine after being brought out of stasis (so her memories told her). Perhaps not to full combat strength, but able to walk on her own. Every clone before her could. Of course, they hadn't been meant to wait this long.

But her mind flickered though every detail, cataloguing subconsciously. But she was having a hard time keeping it all in focus at that moment. What was wrong with her?

Five hundred years.

Though her vision was still hazy, she turned her head slowly, almost painfully. Squinting down the row of darkened pods. She couldn't see many details, but she didn't need to- it was obvious that each one was dark. Empty. Cold.

"The others-" she said, clenching her teeth to keep them from chattering. "Activated? Or dead?"

All of them, every one, was imprinted clearly with certain things. Pertinent memories. Combat techniques. A host of useful mental tools and skills..... but not the least of those imprints was the simple fact of who they were and what their purpose was. Tools, but important ones, able to think clearly and fend for themselves, to take order, yes, loyal, but also to give orders if needed. She knew she was a clone. That knowledge had been preserved- a necessary evil to be certain the clones could be more easily handled. After all, they were never meant to believe themselves to be the original. And it made the chance of psychosis less if there was never an existential who am I crisis to juggle. They knew exactly who they were, and how they fit in to the grand scheme of Xyra and Charles' machinations.

Charles Veers. Xyra Sizrhan.

"The Empire.... gone?"

Over 500 years.

There was nothing in her conditioning that could prepare her for this. Nothing that allowed her to properly-

There was no properly here.

She blinked very slowly. As if it would accomplish something other than a momentary darkness. But then, she'd had enough of darkness.

The Empire, her empire was gone. 500 years? Everyone she had ever known was dead. Every action ever taken by the original, every plan laid down, they were dust, just as surely as the grit beneath her feet.

The alternative was that she had been abandoned here. She and the others.

While it seemed unlikely..... she hoped that was the case, rather than what she suspected.

[member="Luca Thorne"]
The Admiralty
Codex Judge
His attention slipped away from her once Luca realized [member="Zee"] was as much in the dark about this entire thing as he was.

Instead sensory equipment were scanning the room in a patient and methodical fashion. If there was one thing that this room needed, it was a place where they were keeping clothing of some kind to... cover the naked body of the clone popping out, it seemed only logical in this particular situation. While she was struggling to contain herself, struggling to make sense of this entirely new concept thrust on top of her, Thorne wandered over to one particular side of the room.

The wall there seemed entirely the same as the walls on the other side of the room, but passive sensors indicated there were mechanisms in place.

Frozen shut and power dead a long time ago.

"Dead." Luca responded over his shoulder, before shrugging. "First pod was empty though, so maybe one of them managed to be released."

But who knew how long ago that was? He balled his fingers into a fist and then rammed it into the wall, immediately causing the metal to screech and dent inwards. Finger tips dug through the weakened integrity and ripped off the decorative material that separated the compartment from the room.

Inside were clothes - more like a hospital gown with the butt exposed and all, where the logic was in that? Who knew.

He took out one of them and threw it at Xyra.

"Put it on, before you freeze to death."

Thorne didn't respond to her last question. Seemed a stupid one, after five centuries and the facility destroyed it seemed fairly obvious the Empire she was thinking of was long gone by now.
Ask an obvious question, get an obvious answer.

Five hundred years.

All dead.

Without looking up, she caught the scrap of cloth he tossed at her. If it was surprising to him, given her current state, it was a blessing to her. She hadn't, in truth, lost everything. It would take time to regain, time to rebuild (if that's what she wanted to do), but in that moment, her body at least obeyed her. And that wasn't nothing.

And then, suddenly, she laughed. A full throated, head thrown back laugh that denoted either insanity or damnation. It wasn't clear which.

"Charles you bastard," she managed to get out, laughter still bubbling, uncontrollably from some deep font within her.

She pounded her fist, just once, on the lifeless pod behind her, but it was impossible to tell if it was with anger or mirth.

"You unimaginable bastard."

Zee laughed until she wheezed, and then wheezed until her eyes watered, oblivious to whatever strange looks she might be getting. Finally, slowly, shakily but surely, she stood, using the crèche to support her. Head hanging, she spoke again, her tone tired but calm and lucid. Still tight with cold, but no longer shaking.

"Thank you. Toss another one and I'll use it to cover my ass. There's a suit up room next door, if we can get into it, with something less ridiculous. Assuming the things in it made it through the passage of time."

She used the second gown more as a robe when he tossed it. Her vision was slowly clearing- far more slowly than she'd like. When she was as reasonably dressed as was possible, given the circumstances, she finally looked back up at the armored figure.

"Who are you?"

[member="Luca Thorne"]
The Admiralty
Codex Judge

He wasn't a stranger to reality-induced hysteria.

Best thing one could do was to just let her ride the wave and have her calm down in the end of it. That is how he managed to get through it when he first popped out of the pod, that was how his brothers and sisters got through when they got out of the pod, if there was one way to describe Carach's teaching style... affectionate care wasn't one of them. Those too weak to survive or whose mind was too fragile were simply discarded.

The ones worthy though? The ones that surpassed his expectations and kept on trucking despite everything? The Sith Lord had always been, if not kind, then at least mindful of their sacrifices.

"Take your time." He mumbled softly to himself through her hysterical laughter, while studying the remnants of the facility in some greater detail. "Not like we are in the middle of a snowstorm threatening to bury us all."

Eventually Xyra got a grip of herself and requested an additional gown.

Apparently it didn't cover the ass-region? That seemed strange, but who knew with these scientists. They were probably all perverted because of all the experiments and got off on checking out asses of their subjects. Besides, Luca had seen this particular ass and if there was one thing he could reaffirm....

...could gorram bounce a credit chit off that ass.

"Thorne." The retort came after she collected herself off the floor, wrapped the gown around her as a make-shift skirt and tried to keep herself steady. "I am with the First Order."

Head cocked before Luca shrugged.

"Imperial - restoring order and law around Wild Space."
Zee paused for a heartbeat beside the nearest crèche. Only for a moment. She stared down at the mummified remains within, hand clutching the gown she'd wrapped around her like a cloak. Eyes traveled the length of her clone sibling. No. Not sibling. Of herself. That was her in there. Dead long enough to be nothing but bone and scant sinew holding it all in place. This must be hell. It couldn't be any place else. This was her, not merely another copy of her. She was already dead, nothing but bones and dust. And this was hell. This was retribution for the wrongs she'd done, as she always knew one day would come.


Turning away, she continued her passage. She didn't say a word to [member="Luca Thorne"] about any of it.

The room they were in was cold- but the hallway? Even colder. She flinched momentarily before gingerly placing her bare feet on the floor, feeling the gritty sensation of ice crystals for a scant breath before they melted beneath the balls of her feet. The clone led the way to the next room, but stopped, frowning when the door didn't open.

Right. Five hundred years.

"Wild space? Then what are you doing here on Arkania?"

She stepped aside, nodding to the door. It was where she needed to be, and it seemed a safe assumption that he could do something about it.
The Admiralty
Codex Judge
The walking armor did not notice her inner-turmoil.

The crunch of the ice beneath boots and small warm feet occupied him, the way the metal groaned as his hand kept the door open for [member="Zee"] as she walked through it, the logistics of carrying a bare-assed lady through a snowstorm to his ship. Optics took in the facility once again: ruined, parts of the decor wasted away after so many centuries and only some systems still operating under emergency conservation protocols, it was a wonder that the creche had still been operational after all these centuries.

It spoke of high-tech imperial construction that it lasted for so long.

"We came across a cache of old Imperial tech." The retort came from afar as he studied the scans the internal systems fed him. Somewhere in between being abandoned and slowly decaying the wiring to the door had been compromised, he could clearly see where the breakline had occurred, but that wasn't something that helped them in the now.

No way to hack this.

Luca frowned, before gesturing for her to move a few steps back.

"Among them an ancient mainframe, our engineers managed to slice into it and we got this location." He repositioned his footing, letting himself crouch through his knees and finding purchase on the icy underground. His chin came down and that told the suit to transfer power from scans to the hydraulics that powered the cruxes all across his body.

It was over in a flash: he crouched even lower, tension almost snapping in his body as the armor charged, before his leg swept up and kicked the door in. Metal groaned, screeched as intense pressure made it collapse inward and blew it out of its hinges. The internal structure above the doorpost rumbled for a brief moment as it resettled itself into a new, precarious balance, before calming down again.

"Go look."

He turned and left her to her devices, that would give her the opportunity to switch out from robes to suits, if there was anything there after all these centuries.
Old. Ancient.

She gave him a small nod and stepped into the room- a glorified supply closet in truth. A dozen lockers, each with a number on them. Not that it mattered anymore which one she drew from. Imprinted, as thoroughly as anything else, was the numeral '18', and without really thinking about it, she reached out to palm that locker open.

There was, of course, no power.

Making a disgusted sound deep in her throat, she tried each of the other caches. Finally, one swung open when her fingers pulled on the handle- unlocked. The locker labeled '6'. It didn't surprise her that most of it was empty. But one thing she could say for Charles and Xyra.... they were thorough. Small inconsistencies, small enough to be inconsequential, had led to differing preferences in the clones. Here at least, Six had left several unwanted items behind.

Fingers worked the latch on a slender case, flipping it open. Hold out blaster. The tibanna gas had long ago leaked out, but that could be remedied. Their preferred rifle and carbine were gone. Setting the case down and tucking the blaster beneath one arm, she started shuffling through the bottom of the locker. The fabric of the clothing left behind was brittle and ephemeral- the coveralls, meant to be tough and durable, crumbled at her touch.

"Those two just thought they were so clever," she muttered to herself. "Well, they didn't plan for this now, did they?"

The boots at the very bottom were stiff, and she confirmed when she pulled them on that it was painfully so. Still, better boots that would strip the skin from her ankles over frost bite. The former would heal faster anyway. A few more odds and ends procured and she came stomping back out of the room, pulling a poncho of some sort over the rest.

She looked ridiculous. She didn't particularly care. It was better than freezing to death- though she wasn't about to go traipsing farther through the snow in this get up than necessary. It was still going to be *deeply* unpleasant and she knew it.

"Did you get everything you came for?"

[member="Luca Thorne"]
The Admiralty
Codex Judge
The wait and silence were pleasant companions as Bishop wandered the facility.

There wasn't much to see.

The room with the clone creches had been thoroughly explored and unless he found himself interested in used-up fabrics there wasn't anything of interest there. Another locker was already being explored by [member="Zee"] and then there was the third room, locked away and hidden by large bulkhead doors. Metal and steel and iron will holding it all together, but before Bishop could find himself excited he stepped up to it. Behind the faded out transparisteel all that was seen was ice and snow. Intense pressure and structural integrity collapsing had caused the roof to come down on the third room.

What could it possibly have been?

The doors suggested something important, perhaps even the main mainframes that would have assisted them in figuring out the entire purpose of this facility or even allowed them to discover other facilities like it throughout the Galaxy.

It was not meant to be.

Bishop scowled against the reflection of his cold helmet, before turning his back on the shut door and the cut-off possibilities behind it. By that time Zee had already shown herself resourceful... if slightly comical by the hang of the coat across her slim posture. No chuckle or grin came forward from Luca though, because the man knew little of humor and this did not seem the time to find comedy in the utilitarian.

"Yes." Luca responded after a moment of allowed inspection. She seemed to be as close as possible to covered, there wasn't much more there could be done, unless the man was willing to give her his armor.

He was not.

"What do I call you? Shiva is an alias."

His attention had already slipped from her meager form and followed the lines of the corridor, wondering if there were anymore rooms hidden away by secret compartments of mechanisms. It did not seem to be likely and his passive scanners did not show anything. It was possible to enable his active arrays, but they would need his suit, if they were to survive the storm outside.

Better to let it lay now and send in a strike team for clean-up duty once they were back.
She seemed utterly unconcerned by her current appearance- she wasn't, after all. Necessity required certain things, and there was no need to be self conscious about something that was going to keep you alive. She looked past him, through the transparisteel windows and out into the whirling caved in embankment. Her eyes were distant for a moment, as she wrestled with the overwhelming mental image of the room as it ought to be- computer banks and gleaming chrome. The two images clashed for several heartbeats before, slowly, the old one faded grudgingly. It lurked, and she suspected it always would.

Every where she looked, it was like that. The imprinted memories of the facility jarring painfully with the reality before her.

Grey-green eyes blinked and she refocused on the armored man- honestly, she assumed it was a man. She hadn't seen his face, and the voice came through the filter of the helmet in a way that could have been a deliberate distortion. Still, she didn't think she was wrong.

"I was number Eighteen," she said, her voice quiet but not soft. "We were meant to be activated as.... support modules. Unless the original, or whoever was in her place at the time, was gone."

It meant that, if she wanted it, she was entitled to the name. The real name. She could be Xyra Sizhran if she wanted to be.

She looked around the broken down facility. Yes, she could be Xyra Sizhran. Director of abandoned facilities, snow, and bones.

It did not particularly appeal.

"You can call me Zee," she said finally. "It's as good as anything else."

[member="Luca Thorne"]
The Admiralty
Codex Judge

There were more questions, of course.

Who was the original? What was her purpose within this ancient Empire? Why was it that she had need of so many clones? Back-up models suggests that there had been plans, contingencies, some kind of overarching strategy that was too old and far for him to see in the now. But sadly Thorne didn't have the time to ask them, at least not in this particular moment.

His eyes caught the subtle movements.

Leg twitching as she attempted to keep it straight and keep herself up, but faltering in the face of the cold currents cutting past her form. Even covered there were gaps, points where she was bit by gaseous ice and more. Feet trying to steady as the friction of artificial leather brushed and rubbed against exposed skin, he knew then that by the end of this her feet would be raw and bloody.

It would not be pretty.

Thorne frowned at that.

"I should carry you." He finally responded, before looking past her and towards the exit. There was no judgement in that professional, if distorted voice, he was a man who looked at the situation as it was. Command needed this one in one piece and if she killed herself trying to drag herself out of this cold hellhole, then that would be on his ass and he liked his ass where it was presently.

"It's the prudent course."

The addition was made almost absent-mindedly, before Thorne looked back to her.
She was weak and she knew it. In truth it was mostly willpower keeping her upright in this moment. Staring out at the swirling snow, Zee was not looking forward to the fight to the ship she assumed was somewhere out there. Even under normal circumstances, she knew that the first steps after coming out of the crèche was supposed to be rest. A slow build to full functionality over a span of weeks. But after 500 years? She could feel the quiver in her knees (more than that), and it irritated her- but she also understood the why.

So there wasn't hesitation when she responded with a curt nod to his suggestion.

Even if everything had gone according to plan, she ought to be resting right now. She would work her way up to full strength in time, but expecting her body to do what she knew it was capable of at top condition right now wasn't a realistic expectation.

Securing the holdout blaster as he lifted her into his arms was a reflex. It was at the moment useless to her- and would probably turn out to be hideously outdated anyway, even if it could be repaired. But having it there was a small comfort that she barely admitted to herself, let alone to anyone else. It was *hers*. Not simply by virtue of having it in one of the clones' lockers, but it was hers. The 22T4 model hold-out blaster, this one in her hands, had been assigned to number Six. Zee didn't know why she hadn't taken it with her, but she appreciated it now. The one technically assigned to her was still trapped in the locker. But Six had been her. They weren't siblings. They were each other. It was a remnant, a reminder. Something where the memories in her head didn't jar with the sights right in front of her. It was a little thing, in truth, but she had no intention of losing it in the snow.

"Ready when you are, big guy."

[member="Luca Thorne"]
The Admiralty
Codex Judge
Once the nod was relayed Luca did not hesitate.

Large arms scooped her up and locked her into a firm embrace where most of his body mess sheltered her. There was a tension within him as his instincts told him to go now, but instead Thorne patiently waited for her to finish securing her gear. Once that was done he grunted and started to walk. Mechanical servo-drivers whirred as most of her weight was transferred over to him. She wasn't heavy, in fact, she felt like a feather in his hands.

But once he was running in meters thick snow decks, through howling sharp winds and gathering up freezing rain against his visor it would be a different question. Already there was a subtle shift within his metabolism - he had a few energy bars before exiting his ship, but nothing since then.

The comedown was still hours away.

That did not make him any more comfortable sadly.

Within a few minutes they had left the underground facility behind. Light started to glow at the far end of the tunnel, which was followed by the sharp hisssss of the wind blowing in. The tunnel guided it forward right against the large man struggling outward. Once again he pressed down with his chin.

Suddenly the pressure lifted itself once power was transferred from passive and active sensory equipment towards the enhancement of strength.

"Don't fall asleep." The exterior audio-feed hummed close to her ear, but at this point he would have a difficult time understanding her.

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