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Private Your Future Lies in Darkness

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Character
Rafeesh Rafeesh

Theed had a seedier side to it. Something less desirable than the picturesque grasslands surrounding it or the neo-classical architecture of it's more reputable districts. The world of Naboo had done well for itself. It's spaceports brought in all sorts of luxuries and sent resources to the galaxy at large.

Spaceports needed workers, though, and the various beings that lived on the upper crust turned their nose up at such menial work. Labourers of all sorts were often imported specifically for the task. They'd formed their own ghetto surrounding their places of work. A shadow Theed within the greater city.

It was near this place that the traitorous Muun had set up his business. A purported import and export firm, it rarely did either. Unless you counted imported spice credits and exported fear and pain. Obsidian Imports and Exports was as dark as it's namesake.

One late afternoon found said Muun returning from a 'business meeting'. A street gang leader had needed reminding of who truly was in charge. Argentum had done so, though the amount of terror he caused was in stark contrast to his unassuming appearance. Just another Muun in the paleo-fiduciary greens of his people, a protocol droid in tow.

His path brought him by a certain warehouse. Nothing remarkable about it with it's plain, utilitarian structure. It's gang of weary-looking labourers, humans few and far between. But he stopped all the same.

There was a presence in the Force here and his eyes shifted through the beings as he sought it out. He stood motionless in the shadow of the building across the street. Yes, there it was. A large Zabrak male, close to his own height and far more heavily built.

He studied him for many long moments. discerning what he could. There was a connection to the Force within him. But this Zabrak probably was unaware. Yet it was strong enough to warrant Argentum's interest.

The Muun crossed the street in long strides and approached a thickset human, one of the few here. He stood with his arms cross, observing the work. A foreman of some type, evidently.

"Excuse me, human, you are the foreman here?," said the alien without greeting.

The main turned his head and looked up at the long, thin alien before him. He scowled.

"Yeah, I am. And what do you want, eh? You lost or something Muun, 'cause there's no banks around here."

His tone was decidedly unfriendly but Argentum simply smiled thinly.

"Yes, there don't seem to be any. But I have questions about one of your workers."

The human looked at him like he was deranged.

"Look I don't have time-"

He was cut off by a long thin hand sweeping across his field of vision.

"Yes, you do have the time. And you will answer my questions."

The man blinked in confusion as he felt the compulsion to cooperate take hold. His scowl slipped into a blank expression.

"I-I have time. I'll answer your questions."

"Excellent," said the Muun "Tell me about the Zabrak. The big male."

A short time later, the Muun found himself near the larged, horned near-human. He stopped a short distance away from the male performing his labors.

"Rafeesh," Argentum called out to him "That is your name isn't it? I desire a few moments of your time."
 

Rafeesh

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Character
The day promised to be fairly ordinary for the Zabrak. There was the usual laundry list of crates and containers to be moved from one place to another. As was his tradition, Rafeesh carried the boxes too cumbersome for most of the other workers, but too compact for the regular lifts. It had been a management decision on efficiency, and Rafeesh had filled the gap with relative ease.

A day of such thankless work was all Rafeesh had to look forward too when something happened that broke the monotony of the day. The larger being lugged a particularly study crate, no doubt filled with materials he would prefer not to know about, from its place on a shelf when he caught sight of a tall person speaking with the foreman.

Musing to himself, the Zabrak occasionally grunted a word or phrase of his thoughts as he muscled the crates where they needed to go. Boss doesn't usually talk to people but his boss on the job. Sure as Sithspit he would chew one of us out if we took a chat right now.

He allowed his mind to wander, trying to guess what reason someone would bother an obviously busy supervisor. Maybe the guy was lost?

Stealing a glance over his shoulder, Rafeesh saw the man still there. Nope, directions wouldn't have taken that long.

Fighting the urge to stare, the near-human forced his eyes and hands to focus on his work. However, this did not stop his mind from considering the development. If nothing else, it gave him something to take his mind off the monotony.

Rafeesh felt the gaze of someone on him, and he resisted the immediate urge to observe whoever it was. Instead, the Zabrak continued his labour as the being stepped near to him.

The voice that spoke was softer than he had expected. Nonetheless, it caused him to start just a bit. He flicked his eyes to see the newcomer, before replying as he strained to move a crate, really wishing he had a repulsor lift for this, "That's me. One sec'."

It was longer than a second, but it gave Rafeesh to gather his thoughts. What does this guy want with me? I don't owe any money; maybe he's looking for Helsip.

The container clattered loudly as he dropped it to the ground before turning to the visitor. Getting a good look of him, Rafeesh felt a small bit of surprise that he actually had to look up slightly. It was a novel reversal of his daily routine of talking down to everybody. Except for that Gen'dai, of course, he was a pretty chill guy though. This was nothing like a Gen'dai; indeed, Muun were practically the antithesis of the muscular entities.

Rafeesh clapped his hands and wiped then on his plainclothes before giving the stranger his full attention. "What is it you want with little old me? I hope this isn't about that nasty accident last month; I told the foreman the whole story..." Seeming to think a moment the Zabrak continued with a somewhat jittery tone, "That being, I wasn't here for it and have no idea what happened. No idea at all. Mr Uh...?"

Perhaps it sounded a little too flustered, maybe that was the point. Rafeesh wanted thinking room for this one, Muun were supposed to be pretty smart after all. If there was one thing Rafeesh had learned when dealing with people of the higher class, which this guy was most definitely a part of given his attire, it was to keep the talking on his end but keep the questioned aimed at them.

Darth Argentum Darth Argentum
 
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Character
Argentum listened to the Zabrak stammer out his answer. His expression remained neutral for the duration, allowing Rafeesh Rafeesh all the time he needed. The Muun took note of the discomfort of the other being. He smiled politely and shook his head gently in reply.

"No, I'm not here about last month," he told him "I'm here recruiting for my business."

"Your foreman tells me you're a hard worker. And it's clear you're strong."

He indicated the boxes with a long-fingered hand.

"Quite heavy, I imagine," he said "But, as I said, you have strength."

Argentum was not simply referring to the physical kind. Though the Zabrak wouldn't know that yet. He reached into the pocket of his dark green robe. In his hand, when it emerged, was a flimsiplast business card.

He extended his long arm and proffered the card.

"My business is called Obsidian Imports & Exports. It's not far from here, and you can find the address on this this evening. Show my protocol droid this card and it will let you in."

He indicated the robot still in the shadows across the street with a glance.

"And before you hesistate, Rafeesh, if you have what I'm looking for, I can reward you far better than this job ever could. As I said, come to my office this evening. We will speak further."

With that, he turned away and began to walk in long strides, his protocol droid following without prompting....
 

Rafeesh

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Character
The Muun was inscrutable, Rafeesh felt almost certain he was being studied. He allowed a sigh of relief to break as his visitor explained why he was here. The Zabrak gave a careful nod, but his grin revealed the pride he felt as the sentient before him spoke of the foreman's compliment.

Where is this going? Rafeesh could not have expected the business card. Indeed he accepted the piece of flimsiplast with dumbfounded silence. A muted nod of appreciation was his only indication of gratitude before he focused again on the Muun's long face.

As the tall being indicated his droid across the street, the marginally shorter Zabrak scanned the shadows and caught sight of the droid.

Rafeesh had the unsettling feeling that this stranger could read his thoughts. He had been about voice his reservations about the being's desire to hire him without any sort of formal process, but he decided to keep his mouth shut. Who couldn't use some more credits, especially nowadays? Theed was not a cheap place to live in; even the ghetto dwellers still had to pay premiums for food or shelters.

"Thank you for the offer. I'll think about it." It was not what the Muun wanted to hear, of that Rafeesh was confident, but it was the best he could offer without putting more thought into it. He only just realized the taller being had walked away and Rafeesh remained puzzled for quite some after he had started with his work again.

A few hours later, Rafeesh strode from the loading dock alongside the workers from his shift. The night shift was just walking in; both groups traded casual insults and jibes in their friendly rivalry. When it became apparent the Zabrak was not going to join his usual buddies in heading to the Dusty Shaak for a drink; there were customary goodbyes and the typical promises to catch up tomorrow.

At first, Rafeesh sauntered back towards his habitat, a tight affair barely worthy of being considered an apartment fit for an average human to live in, let alone a comparatively gargantuan Zabrak.

Suddenly, feeling something hard in his pocket, Rafeesh remembered the business card and his thoughts once more returned to the business offer. "What does he really want? Sure, I'm capable of some heavy lifting and yeah I'm a hard worker. But does it really warrant such a specific treatment..."

Mulling over the company a bit more, he fished the card out and stared at it, as if he could will it to answer his questions. "And why a Muun? Who wastes the class element on labourers? It almost felt like I was in the middle of one of those upper-class recruitment drives or something."

Laughter burst from a nearby tavern, the warm light filling the street as the sun began to fall. Reminded he had been given something of a timetable for the meeting he set off.

Sprinting as fast as he could, and occasionally asking for directions from a stander-by, Rafeesh found himself standing before an otherwise unassuming building. He would have walked past it, had he not been told directly which one it was. It really isn't that far. I think I might have passed it once or twice before...

The Zabrak found his way into the building and, discovering the protocol droid after a few moments; he held the card out. "I'm here to see the guy from before. Tall, like me, but skinny. Is he still in?"

Darth Argentum Darth Argentum
 
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"Yes," the sleek silver droid replied after scanning the card "He is. He's been expecting you."

The droid indicated for Rafeesh Rafeesh to follow behind.

"If you'll follow me, sir."

The visitor was taken up the back steps, avoiding the mostly empty warehouse itself. Up to the second level, towards a nondescript office. An astute being would note the lack of...anything, really. But the droid indicated the door with polite insistence.

Beyond it, Argentum could hear the coming of two. More importantly, he could sense the presence of one. An unrefined sensation though strong enough that it warranted notice. He waited behind his desk in his spartan office. The droid opened the door with the press of a button and gestured the tall Zabrak in.

"Come in, Rafeesh, and take a seat," he gestured to the single chair located before his desk.

He still hid behind his cloak of sorcery, his features very ordinary. The dark green clothes were still worn. Other than perhaps an emptier than usual warehouse, it was normal. But it was not.

"I'm pleased you joined me. Good help is hard to find," he told the Zabrak conversationally "But where are my manners. Would you care for any refreshment? Water...or perhaps something...stronger. We are past business hours."

He chuckled....
 

Rafeesh

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Character
Rafeesh followed the droid through the building; he wondered why they avoided the main steps. The Zabrak had a theory; Perhaps he doesn't want me in the working space until after a definite hire?

As the artificial leader guided him through the building, Rafeesh was struck by the emptiness of the space. He had not expected too many people, but there was an unusual emptiness of office supplies. It was not the standard cleanness of a workspace being put away after work hours. It was a simple lack of all the hallmarks of studios. The Zabrak wondered where the personnel were expected to work, maybe in the warehouse? It seemed like an effective way of saving money. Wonder what the rest of this space is used for though.

At last, he stood before the entryway, the droid ushered Rafeesh to enter, and for a moment, the large being stood still at the doorway. He felt uncertain, as if the simple act of stepping through the door would be akin to stepping into another world. His vacillation existed for only a moment before he pushed the thoughts aside. This is an opportunity. The galaxy doesn't hand them out all that often, if this guy is really looking for someone like me.

As he stepped into the room, Rafeesh gave a nod to the figure already in the room. Half expecting it to be somebody he didn't know, he was surprised to see the Muun in the same garment as before. The Zabrak accepted the proffered chair without a word.

He sat, shifting slightly from time to time. When the Muun offered him a drink, Rafeesh opened his mouth to respond. After a moment it shut again, and he smiled somewhat sheepishly, before saying, "If you have any Correllian Ale... Otherwise,water is good."

Taking a moment to allow the embarrassment to subside before he plucked up the courage to ask, "I hope it's no offence, but who are you?"

Darth Argentum Darth Argentum
 
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The Muun gestured for his droid to get his guests beverage. The sleek automaton returned a few moments later, placing a glass in front of the Zabrak. It was the ale he'd requested. In the meantime, Argentum answered the question of his name.

"Beings call me Maro Dansk," he said with a mysterious smile "But what's in a name."

"I want to know more about you. Surely you're not from Naboo any more than I am."

"What brought you here, and more importantly, what do you wish to accomplish?"

He leaned forward and his voice became more intense.

"If you could do anything at all, what would you do. Would you want to rule the galaxy?"

He grinned as if making a jest. Yet the smile didn't reach his eyes. No, they were deadly serious.

Rafeesh Rafeesh
 

Rafeesh

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Rafeesh returned an uncertain nod to the droid as it came to deliver the drink. This is a weird interview.

The Zabrak felt quite disconcerted after the Muun gave a name. Rafeesh wondered if the way the other being spoke about it, so nonchalant, belied the importance of names to Maro. You already knew mine. Easy to claim something is unimportant when you have it, but the other side doesn't.

The questions that followed struck the shorter being as usual enough, until the final one. The most disturbing aspect was the mirthless smile. It was the first time Rafeesh had noticed the eyes on this one. What sort of being was this?

A tentative response left his parted lips; the look of shock was only thinly veiled on his face. "I mean... who doesn't want to run the galaxy?" He gave an experimental grin as he continued, "But what does that have to with being a loader? Hard enough to control the docks, let alone anything else." The previous questions had been flushed from his mind by the absurdness of the question and the frightening seriousness that this Muun appeared to be taking in it.

Darth Argentum Darth Argentum
 
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Argentum shook his head slowly.

"No, Rafeesh. Most beings say they want that. But they're not willing to do what is really necessary."

"But I repeat my questions to you," he said as he leaned back into his chair.

He steepled his long fingers.

"Where do you come from and what would you do were you to have the power?"

Rafeesh Rafeesh
 

Rafeesh

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Character
This guy is serious. Really serious.

"I'm from Iridonia, but don't really remember anything about it. Been planet-hopping since I was... five? Came to Naboo a few years ago, found work as a loader and that's about that." The Zabrak took a moment to consider the Muun's question more thoughtfully.

Leaning forward, he rubbed his chin, musing, "If I were to have the power to rule the galaxy? I think I'd want to learn everything there is to know about it at some point. To rule everything. Yeah, I'd go for that, if I had the ability I'd set things straight."

Darth Argentum Darth Argentum (Sorry wrong character, still me though!)
 
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Character
The answer was much more like what he wanted to hear. He nodded slowly, considering the words.

"Yes, an excellent answer," he said approvingly "Knowledge is powerful."

He smiled as he spoke, though it was still not friendly. Instead it was knowing.

"What if I told you that you could rule, Rafeesh?," Argentum asked "What if I told you there are ways for you to know what's even beyond science and philosophy."

The Muun seemed to gaze inwardly. As he spoke further, it seemed an abrupt shift in topics. Yet it was all connected.

"Most beings have heard of the Force. They know it through the Jedi or their enemies, the Sith. But they don't really know what it is."

"Its as far-removed from their lives as Tatooine is from Coruscant. At least, that's what they believe. The truth is: the Force is everywhere, driving the universe forward. Virtually everyone and everything are tied to it."

His gaze sharpened and his voice lost the wistful quality.

"It is a powerful thing, indeed the most power of all things. With it you can bring down starships and conjure storms of such power that they will forever scar the lands. Some can read the thoughts of others or heal grievous wounds that would otherwise kill."

"You can do virtually anything if you know how. Even stave off death itself, it's said."

The Muun pointed a finger at Rafeesh Rafeesh and locked eyes with him.

"You hadn't known until this day, but such power is within your grasp. You have the Force in you and I can show you the way."
 

Rafeesh

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Character
The words came quickly for the Zabrak, inundating his mind with information. It took him a moment to catch up. Science and philosophy? What sort of power is this?

He took a sip of the ale, turning the burning sensation to refocus on the Muun across from him. At this point, it appeared he was speaking somewhat to himself now. The Force. He recalled some worker nattering on about the Force and its connection to every living being. It had been a wasted effort as far as Rafeesh was concerned. He agreed with Maro's assertion about most beings viewing the Force as some far off thing. He certainly had.

Then there was a change in Maro's voice, as he focused once more on the present. Rafeesh wondered what he had been thinking of, what pasts he might have recalled as he spoke before. But these thoughts were pushed aside by the injection of powers truly beyond anything he had considered possible.

It took every fibre of his being not to jolt when the taller being sitting across from him suddenly pointed. He could not help but speak in surprise, "I-I have the Force? How come I didn't know before?"

Although there were questions, in the Zabrak's heart he already had his answer. If this person could teach him to harness the Force, then Rafeesh would readily follow.

Darth Argentum Darth Argentum
 
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Character
"You were not aware of it," he answered simply.

He looked down, and almost imperceptibly, a change took place. When next he looked up there sat another. Not the mask of Maro Dansk, the ordinary Muun. There sat Darth Argentum.

His skin was pale and cold as the grave. His eyes glowed a malevolent yellow from dark caverns. Argentum looked near to the point of death. But he was not dying, no, he WAS death.

"As I told you, Rafeesh Rafeesh , I can teach you."

His voice was soft, sharply contrasting with the monster who sat in the chair. Argentum gestured to himself.

"And I will. If you can prove yourself worth my time."

The long-fingered hand suddenly thrust forward. The Zabrak would feel like the hand of a titan seized him and threw him back into the wall behind him. Then he hand began to press him, slow and agonizing. His ribs would be creaking and breathing was rapidly becoming a struggle.

Argentum knew that feeling of total fear as one's vision tunneled. The raw desperation. For his own Master had done this to him years before. To see if he was worth the effort.

Because if the Zabrak didn't have the will to lash out, he'd die. But he could. Fear, rage...all of these things he could use to save himself. He had to desire to live.

"Will you fight back, Rafeesh?," Argentum asked with a sneer "Or will you die. Will you show strength or will you be crushed like a pathetic worm!"
 

Rafeesh

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Character
Surely I would have known. Isn't it one of those things you feel?

His thoughts shifted quite suddenly at the unexpected alteration in the Muun's appearance. The cadaverous features left him speechless, and he barely registered Argentum's statement before he was gripped in the vice-like grasp of an unseen force.

Rafeesh's mind raced at his new predicament. The pressure slowly building up in his ribs, feeling them groan under the unflinching force. He must have the wrong man! I do not have the Force! His mouth opened, but there was no air for him to articulate his thoughts. A spluttering gasp was all that escaped, before his maw clamped shut again, realizing he had no hope of breathing in. Maybe if I hold out, maybe if I wait he'll realize his mistake.

The Zabrak tried to resist the steady crushing, squirming slightly as if it might relieve the pain. Then came Argentum's taunt. Rafeesh recognized the reality of his situation. This guy's insane... and I am going to die. As he felt the adrenaline pumping through his system, a pounding in his head like a rancor was stomping through it, Rafeesh felt fear. He was doomed, and there was no way out.

The fear swiftly turned into indignation as he shifted the blame of his current predicament on the man across from him. Who is he to kill people as he wishes? Why should I suffer for his mistakes? He felt hot anger burning through him as he stared at those glowing eyes of his antagonist. Will I fight? Hah, you know I can't.

Rafeesh prepared himself, trying to come to terms with his life. Then as a searing pain began to spread up his chest, perhaps his bones were collapsing or perhaps it was a presage of something else, the Zabrak felt something else. Fury, a deep loathing of that deadened face. Even as he imagined crushing the frail form of this opponent in a fistfight, a strength seemed to flow into his being. Pinned against a wall, he felt as if the feelings welling up within him were another person, something seeking to harness his mind and body to its alien will. In that moment, Rafeesh smashed a curled fist into the metal wall behind him, in his pained state, he could not tell what resulted from the action.

Though his eyes were darkening, his sight beginning to fail, Rafeesh could see the withered face of Argentum as clearly as if he stood but a foot away. At some thought or command from beyond his conscious, he lashed out with his right fist, suddenly spreading out as if to rake his opponent with invisible claws. He willed his left hand to do likewise, but it remained still, a single point of calm in the midst of his agony. Unexpectedly the hand whipped of its own accord as if delayed in response. But rather than attempt some flailing motion, the hand seemed to jab at the metal wall behind him, before flicking forward stretching towards the Muun sitting with his smug sneer. A strange sensation filled his movements, Rafeesh couldn't have explained it at the time, but he was sure something was shifting around him. Maybe it was a trick of the mind as his final breaths began to leave, his oxygen-deprived mind clouded by what emotions remained at the end of all things.

Darth Argentum Darth Argentum
 
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Character
Rafeesh Rafeesh struck out at him with the Force in his desperation. Argentum was prepared for it, indeed he'd hoped for that exact thing. Though he deflected it, he let go of the Zabrak and allowed him to slump down to the floor. He was genuinely pleased as he smiled, allowing the other being to collect himself.

The Muun was aware of the mess all around him but it didn't matter. More important was the willingness to fight Rafeesh had shown. Argentum knew that the Dark Side could be instinctively drawn upon during such times as Rafeesh had experienced just then. But not all would do so, fearing it.

"You have done well, Rafeesh," he Muun told him "Consider that your first lesson. Nothing worthwhile comes without struggle. Progress comes through conflict, peace is stagnation."

"What's more, you must understand that when you fight, you must do so with the ferocity and focus of one dying. Anything less will lead to defeat and destruction."

He allowed these words to sink in for a few moments, knowing the Zabrak's vision would be swimming. His hearts would be hammering, greedily sucking up the oxygen around him. All in the business of staying alive. But that biological imperative wasn't enough for a Sith.

"While you rest, you will learn yet more," he told his student with hands folded behind his back "You will learn the Code of the Sith. For that is what I am and that is, if you are worthy, what you will become."

"Peace is a lie," he began solemly "There is only Passion. Through Passion I gain Strength, through Strength, I gain Victory. Through Victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall set me free."
 

Rafeesh

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Character
The grip released and Rafeesh fell to the floor with a dull thud. Exhausted, he was barely cognizant of his aches and the the burning in his lungs. His heartbeat thundered in his ears as he began to feel his appendages as oxygen was drawn to every suffocating part of his body.

The words floated through his mind seemingly several seconds after they had already been spoken. Struggle, growth. Fight with Death. He felt his addled mind fighting desperately to stay focused on Argentum.

He tried to speak, but the words were barely gasps as his body overrode his desire to speak in its need to breathe. I ought to kill you! What sort of rest is this?!

Yet, as the Muun continued, Rafeesh remained as silent as he could to hear what was to be said. A realization dawned on him, He can still kill me if he wants.

He endeavored to show his understanding. Spitting out the words through a recalcitrant mouth he attempted to recite the code, "Peace i- lie. Pas-sion to Stren-gth. Strength- Victory... Chains broken. Force- free."

Darth Argentum Darth Argentum
 
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