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  #1  
Unread 27th of January, 2011, 11:59
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IC: Episode I: Manhunt

The Outer Rim was the perfect place for a spy to hide. None of the systems had any special love for the Republic and it was so remote that sending an entire fleet on a tip would have been impractical. However a practical solution provided itself soon after the need arose. A group of mercenaries had joined forces with two of the councilís top Jedi Knights. The Sith had invaded not only Kashyyk but the Jedi Order as well. The council asked that several of the Mercenaries be dispatched to Kashyyk to aid the efforts there. Meanwhile the rest were dispatched to the Sierra, a small vessel specifically designed for scouting and reconnaissance. On board the existing crew was ready for take off. They set out to hunt the Sith with only one clue: Ryloth the Sith would be on Ryloth.
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Unread 27th of January, 2011, 18:41
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Enni stood on the bridge of the Sierra, staring out through the pilot's window into the black void of space. The trip through hyperspace to the outer rim was a long journey, and she had many opportunities to be alone with her thoughts.

Images of those she had left behind in her past floated through her mind: Master Krell, her longtime friend Wraeth, her criminal father Enom, and the childhood memory of her mother Yanna. The past year chasing Darth Aurus' shadow had made her miss them - yes, even her father, who had died protecting her from her despicable half-brother Yotch. In the end, he'd proved himself capable of good, even though it could be argued it didn't make up for a lifetime of evil deeds.

She was in need of a familiar voice - someone with whom she could have an actual conversation. R9 was not much use for understanding human emotion, and Ariq had a habit of keeping his feelings to himself these days. The fact that she was a member of the mysterious Jedi Order had alienated her from the mercenaries hired out by the Republic for this mission as well. Enni felt very much alone.

Why fight your destiny? It is a lonely path you have chosen for yourself. And now you must travel it, Enni Seraf.

Wordlessly, Enni turned to leave the bridge and wander the lower deck. Ryloth could not come soon enough - too much time to think, too much loneliness, was making her restless. She needed a mystery to uncover - a spy to catch.
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Unread 28th of January, 2011, 02:47
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Ariq was one with the Force, even as he stood on the bridge of the Sierra. As senior Jedi on the mission, it was necessary for him to make himself available to Commander Ilyek.

The escalation of conflict with the Sith had placed the Sentinels on the front line, and Ariq was more in tune with the Force than he'd thought possible. And so he felt as Enni left, a swirl of emotion betraying her calm exterior.

Where Aurus' tainted use of the Force worried Ariq, it was more troubling that his words still haunted Enni. Enni had more attachments than was healthy for a Jedi. Her passion was a strength, but it was also an enormous flaw. And Aurus had cut deeply into it with his lies.

In normal circumstances, Enni would long since have been left to her own missions - but the Council had the same concerns as Ariq about her vulnerability to the Dark Side.

Ariq tracked Enni in the Force as she wandered, restlessly, through the bowels of the ship. She craved a person's comfort, where a Jedi needed only the Force. The Force was a Jedi's ally, and friend.

Then again, Enni had become more to him in the past year than just another Jedi, more even than another Shadow. She was his friend, his partner in his private war against the Sith...

He made his way through the ship towards her as if on a beeline, passing the captain the comm channel he was using that day in case of an emergency.

"Enni, what's the matter. You're even more distressed than usual, these days."
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Last edited by Krypton; 28th of January, 2011 at 03:05.
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Unread 28th of January, 2011, 10:02
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Instinctively, Enni shielded her thoughts as she sensed Ariq's approach, and stood waiting for him. He must have sensed her negative emotion from before. Perhaps he had mistaken it for a cry for help. Was it? Enni wondered. The force had given her strength. It had given her knowledge. Yet for every door it opened, its mysteries exposed many more undiscovered paths beyond. Wandering further and further down those paths had become her destiny, it seemed, yet every untrodded step she took brought her further from the woman she had once thought she would be.

Ariq finally reached the bottom of the stairs that transferred between the two upper decks, and she could see him now down the corridor, heading straight towards her. She cleared her mind, so as to not invite his senses into it. Like all Jedi, even herself admittedly - and doubly so for being a Shadow - Ariq had a tendency to stick his nose in other people's business - be they friend or foe.

He's just trying to be friendly, Enni. He'll give you advice if you seek it.

Enni blinked and quieted the unbidden voice inside her. Ariq approached and asked her what was the matter.

"So I am to assume you think I am distressed in general? Even if I was, I wouldn't be without good reason. The galaxy is divided, and the war with the Sith Empire is not going well for the Republic. We all have things to concern ourselves with." She turned away to the viewport and stared at the stars going by. After a while she spoke. "I was just thinking of old friends that either war or fate has taken. Also I have thought about the things Darth Aurus said, about my mother. I've searched my own feelings, Ariq. I know one thing to be true -- my mother was strong in the force. Beyond that, her fate is unclear to me. The force may be my guide, but always I have felt that she has been with me as well, and now that I have accepted the truth about her, I must know what really happened. For starters, why did she become involved with a man like my father? What was her history with the Jedi? and why have none of the masters who would have lived to oversee her training told me of her?"

Enni leaned against the railing.

"I feel now that even Master Krell knew of her," she continued. "I perceive that it was not chance or even unknown destiny that guided him to discover me. He must have known whose daughter I was. He never told me though. And now he can't. Nor can my father. Both of them are dead, and instead I am left with a mystery, Ariq, and I have no leads. That is what weighs on my mind, if you must know."

Last edited by AoM; 29th of January, 2011 at 14:51.
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Unread 29th of January, 2011, 03:36
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"One doesn't need to assume what the Force reveals, Enni." Ariq says with a smile, "As to your mother, it is possible she belonged to another Discipline of the Force. The Galaxy is wide, and the Jedi Code is not the best path to Balance for everyone."

Ariq knew it was best for him, and with the strength of Enni's emotions, the serenity of the Code was most certainly best for her, as well. But he had long been out of the Temple - Not Jedi was no longer equal to 'Wrong' in his eyes. Darkness was his enemy.

"Farik's bravery often warms my heart, and I honor his memory. But when we let attachments define our actions, even old ones, that is a path to Darkness. It is a weakness which gives your enemies a chink in the armor a true alliance with the Force gives you. Aurus knew this, Enni. The Sith knew this was your weakness, Enni."

Aric leaned onto the railing, looking out over the hangar as it bustled with activity, "It's impossible to forget that you have parents, Enni. But letting the mystery of your mother bind your thoughts in the way it so often does - that is a weakness Darkness will not feel shame at exploiting."

"Think carefully on why it is you continue to hunt Aurus. Is it the information he holds regarding your mother, or his darkness, which draws you?"

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Unread 29th of January, 2011, 14:38
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Ardana sat in the cargo hold atop one of the supply crates and growled, a low rumble from within her throat. Her armor sat nearby, even the scratches and gouges gleaming after she had polished it for the 14th time that week. Her weapon lay leaning against her crate, the venting around the barrel cleaned of all char and carbon scoring.

And she was, quite frankly, bored out of her mind. They didn't let her fire anywhere on this ship, even low powered bolts, so she couldn't practice her firing stance. Long years of traveling between planets had taught her how to manage time onboard a ship, but at least then she'd had fellow soldiers to talk and joke and eat with. These mercenaries weren't her unit yet, she was simply another old veteran that the War had dropped into their ranks, and they hadn't gone out of their way to make her feel welcome yet. Maybe they never would.

And Ryloth! She almost spat onto the deck at the mere thought of going back there. She had sworn when she left she would never go back unless ordered, and here she had volunteered to go with them. Volunteered! What had she been thinking?

Letting another growl escape her, she vaulted off the crate, leaving her weapon and armor where they were. Anyone stupid enough to touch them wouldn't be that stupid for very long if she caught them. Hands shoved into her jumpsuit's pockets she wondered out of the cargo hold and into the lower decks main hallway. She looked around and saw Enni talking with that other Jedi.

Well Jedi business was Jedi business, and Ardana had never really been keen on getting involved in it if she could avoid it. But she was REALLY bored. Even Jedi business would be a nice change of pace. Ardana grinned and started walking over, waving one arm in greeting. "Hey Enni, finally decided to get out of that bridge, eh?"
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Unread 29th of January, 2011, 14:50
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Enni gave Ariq a hard look.

"Feelings are not a weakness, Ariq. Nor are they a choice as some Jedi Masters would teach us. To regard them as such because they are exploitable is akin to saying one's own blood is a weakness, because some diseases exploit it to spread throughout our bodies. I will not apologize for my feelings. Nor will I push aside what I know in my heart to be true: my mother was a Jedi, or at least knew of the tradition. She wielded a light saber with discipline, not with anger."

Enni's words carried a weight of conviction that Ariq was unused to seeing in his young colleague. It was clear she had pondered long on her own feelings and had made up her mind about them. This stubbornness had come up several times during their travels, and while a testament to Enni's power of will, they were also an indication that debate would be pointless if taken on directly.

"I hunt Aurus for many reasons," she continued, her tone reverting to a disquieting neutrality, given the heat of her previous words, "Not the least of which is that she is a threat to the Republic, and she must be stopped. I seek to bring light to where there is darkness, to reveal what is hidden. That is my destiny, such that I perceive it. If any darkness draws me, it is because I seek to unravel it. Is that not so very different from you, Ariq? Our task is to walk in darkness without becoming a part of it."

She folded her arms within her robes and gazed at him.

***

It was at that moment that Ardana, the Twi'lek soldier approached. Ardana was a fighter through and through, and her bravery had been impressed upon Enni when she was still a padawan under Master Krell.

"Yes, Ardana," Enni allowed a cool smile to show on her lips. "Sometimes meditation is not enough to pass the hours, and I do miss the occasional distraction. If Krell were still with us, he would have a Sabaac deck up one of his sleeves, and would be well on his way into our wallets."

Last edited by AoM; 29th of January, 2011 at 15:09.
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Unread 30th of January, 2011, 08:02
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"Yeah well, the joke would be on him this time since I'm broke." Ardana shook her at the memory that sprung up about the Bothan Jedi, then brushed one of her lekku off her shoulder. "Anyways, you should probably find a better time passer than staring into space. There's a reason they call it the 'Void' after all, not a whole lot to look at out there."

She glanced over at the dark skinned man next to them, giving him an appraising look up and down, then held out her hand. "Y'know, I don't think we've actually been introduced. Ardana Olan, Ex-Republic Army, and the toughest bitch you'll probably ever meet."
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Unread 30th of January, 2011, 12:01
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"The force is out there, but I'll not try to convince you of it," Enni added before Ardana turned her attentions to Ariq.

"How discourteous of me, this is Ariq Rimsen, a Jedi Knight and my senior in the Order."

She turned the rest of the introduction over to Ariq himself. She had the feeling Ariq and Ardana would get along fine, though probably by virtue of keeping their conversations short and sparse.
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Unread 31st of January, 2011, 02:28
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After cleaning and checking his gear for the third or fourth time, Tel decides that it is time to go check out his surroundings. He got a quick look around as he was escorted to his room but decided that he needed a better idea of what was going on and who else was with him on the ship.
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Unread 10th of February, 2011, 10:39
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Ariq took the twi'lek's hand with a smile that was surprisingly warm given his usually serene nature. "Ariq Rimsen, as my ever popular colleague has already revealed.". Ariq was happy that this was a friend through Krell - Krell had been a well respected Shadow, known for his good judgement of character.

"And you must be our token Twi'lek for a mission in Ryloth space, Ardana. Though not, it would seem," he indicated her tattooed body in an appreciate glance, "the sort the Council usually rustles up for a visit to a Friendly planet."

Ariq put aside his conversation with Enni until a more private time.
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Last edited by Krypton; 14th of February, 2011 at 11:40. Reason: I felt I missed a part here, but maybe not a part that'd change anything.
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Unread 10th of February, 2011, 16:01
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Ardana shook Ariq's hand firmly with no attempt at squeezing or crushing, being wary to not cut him with her claw-like nails. She returned his smile with a grin, wary of displaying her serrated teeth to someone who might take them the wrong way.

At the "token Twi'lek" comment however, her eyes narrowed, the grin faded, and her hand tensed noticeably before she let his go. "I'm not sure what sort of help you expected to be 'rustled' up Jedi," she said, sounding more than a little insulted. "But I'm not it. I wasn't ordered to go by anyone, especially your Jedi Council. I'll probably make your life harder just by stepping foot on that planet thanks to these," she gestured towards her tattooed lekku. "That going to be a problem?"
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Unread 10th of February, 2011, 21:53
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Enni stood there, not more than a few feet away, to the side and between the two. Her hands were still folded in her robes and to all outside view, she appeared calm but for her gaze at Ariq, which could have been read in numerous ways.

It was in truth a warning glance at her companion. She knew it was not her place to step in and interfere. Neither Ardana nor Ariq would have appreciated it. Besides which, Enni knew from what she had seen of Ardana during their first and last harrowing mission together, that the Force was protecting her for a destiny greater than perhaps even the Twi'lek knew, or cared to know. Such was Ardana's skill that she would not have thought it a certainty that Ariq could fully guard against the warrior's wrath.

She resolved not to step in unless Ariq refused to recognize and defuse the situation himself. He was a Shadow and could sense intentions well, she trusted he would use that gift and not force a confrontation with the soldier.
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Unread 14th of February, 2011, 11:47
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"I meant no offense, Ardana - I was merely referring to the way in which the Council often thinks Sentinel actions to non-human worlds ought to be run." Ariq defended with a headshake - he never had been good with women, of any species. "They generally feel a native will... simplify... operations."

"Though granted, now I have to ask," he spread his hands in a placating gesture, "exactly how would your tattoos make touching down on Ryloth harder for our mission, should it require that action?" Ariq was quickly beginning to regret not reading that refresher on Twi'lek culture, and resolved to do so at the first opportunity, or to ask R9 to explain to him exactly where he'd messed this scenario up.
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Unread 16th of February, 2011, 12:35
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Ardana smiled at Ariq, this time making no attempt to hide her teeth. The smile, while not meant to intimidate or frighten, could best be described as "chilly".

"Ariq, I got these before you were probably even born, almost before the arrival of the Sith, so I've lived with them for a very long time now." She folded her arms across her chest and her smile faded as her eyes glazed over lost in memories for a moment. Then her eyes snapped back into focus on the dark-skinned Jedi and she shook her head, feeling disgust and resignation over the matter. "Everything you need to know about them is in my Republic file, and that droid can probably tell you too. As for me, I've been done talking about them for over 20 years now."

Ardana glanced back over to Enni, then back to Ariq. "Of a more immediate concern, what is the plan once we get to Ryloth? We're looking for a spy so I've been told, but do we know what they look like? What species they are? Gender, name, anything? Cause let me tell you, Ryloth may be part of the Republic but the the natives won't go out of their way to help us, even if I wasn't with you. Not without some hefty bribing at least." Ardana shook her head again. "And don't expect me to be of much use with the local culture or anything. I've been off-planet too long to be helpful in that regard."
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Unread 28th of February, 2011, 14:26
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"Well, at least I'll be along to help smooth over any social difficulties we may encounter. And then we can all become wanted criminals, and join the lovely miss Ardana in being chased out of every civilized portion of the planet." The metallic twang of R9LD's voice came from around the corner, followed shortly thereafter by the droid himself.

He was clearly as sarcastic as the first time Enni had met him, or perhaps more so. He was certainly behaving worse than when they left Nar Shaddaa. Then it had seemed like he might be making progress towards becoming less angry and cynical. He even seemed to be making friends with that Cathar, Nessa.

Of course then she went missing. And to make matters infinitely worse, so had Wraeth. Maybe Ariq and certainly Enni weren't taking this well, but they couldn't be taking this as hardly as R9, his lack of normal organic emotions notwithstanding. For 2 days, he'd simply shut himself in a room, on low power, and refused to acknowledge anybody's existence (easy for a droid - no unconscious motions to bother about). Then he'd spent weeks raging and demanding that every effort be made to locate his master.

And of course, such efforts were made. But Wraeth couldn't be found, and ultimately, Enni and Ariq of course had their own duties to the Jedi order to attend to. R9, Realizing that he would not be able to locate the Wookie on his own, and (though he probably wouldn't even admit it to himself) loathe to leave the only two other beings in the Galaxy he might call friends, the only two who could understand his anguish, decided to join the sentinels on their missions amidst the galaxy. He was always on the alert for news of Wraeth, but, well...

At any rate, here was R9LD, out and talking to people for the first time since this trip started. "So, what particular crime are those tattoos to warn us of? I'm afraid I don't have a very in-depth knowledge of Twi'lek ritualistic justice." ...and apparently intent on causing offense with his speech.
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Unread 1st of March, 2011, 12:12
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"Apparently your audio sensors aren't working right," Ardana said as she glanced over at the abusive droid. Annoyance was plain in her voice, and her lekku twitched a couple of times to convey that. She wondered if the droid actually did understand what her tattoos meant or not. Probably, in which case it was just toying with her. "Or your memory is starting to leak, cause I've already said I'm done talking about these. As for Twi'lek justice, it's pretty simple as I recall, so even a hodgepodge piece of machinery like you should be able to remember them."

She held up a clawed hand and raised an orange finger. "For minor crimes, like insulting someone powerful enough to beat you senseless or stealing from a peasant, you usually pay a fine. You can't pay, then you basically go into local slavery, working in the mines until someone powerful enough feels you've worked off your debt."

She held up another clawed finger. "More serious crimes, like theft from someone powerful, they'll either imprison you or sell your body. Alive or dead, whichever they can get the most for." She held up a third finger. "Major crimes, like treason or murder, they usually exile you into the Bright Lands to either die from heat exhaustion, all the nasty beasts that live out there, or of thirst. Sometimes they'll feel merciful though and they'll just execute you. That doesn't happen too often though."

She draped her right lekku over her shoulder, letting it hang loosely so everyone get a good look at the intricate inking and scarring running its length. "In all cases they tattoo both the lekku in Ryl with a description of the crime so everyone will know that they're a criminal. Scarring is only done in serious offenses, so there is no way to hide what the criminal did, even if they manage to get rid of the tattoos."

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Unread 2nd of March, 2011, 15:28
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Ariq needed all of the serenity the Force brought him to keep from laughing out loud in incredulous shock at R9's... arrival.

Ariq reached to Enni in the Force, he needed to know what Ardana's crime had been, if they were long in Ryl space.

"If you'll excuse me, Ardana, R9... I believe it's time we attempted to locate our target. I'll be on the bridge."

On the bridge, Ariq strode to the Captain, "Captain, I need a background search on one Ardana Olan, in particular her activities in this Sector."
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Unread 7th of March, 2011, 12:32
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Enni did not feel the mirth that her fellow knight had for R9's brash entrance. She had dealt with the droid for longer, and knew that its personality drive had been altered since Wraeth was lost. And as for Ardana, she knew there was a strong reason that the Twi-lek did not like talking about the past. In a way, her deliberate exposition on Ryloth's criminal punishment was a defense mechanism, designed to not answer the question while at the same time displace her anger from the questioners to her past.

It was a haunted beginning, and she did not like it.

"I think I prefer the scar on your shoulder, Ardana,"
Enni said solemnly. "It's a shame it isn't visible when you're wearing your armor - or that its meaning is hidden to only a few - but that one marks you as a hero of the Republic, and a protector of inexperienced Jedi padawans. You wear your scars well."

Sensing Ariq's projection of the force, she nodded and followed shortly after he excused himself. She let him discover Ardana's records on his own however.
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Unread 14th of March, 2011, 22:51
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The ship had no formal captain since the ship was so small. However the computer had taken the name captain since it felt that that every ship needed it's captain. It responded to Ariq sorry Holonet access disabled. Perhaps on the return trip you'll be able to discover more.

The computer then said, "We'll be Dropping out of hyperspace in five minutes. Be ready to start scanning the system."
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Unread 21st of March, 2011, 17:14
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Ardana waved Enni's words away, though a grin momentarily showed on her face. "Only because I've lived with most of them for so long. I just haven't figured out how to incorporate the shoulder one yet."

After the two Jedi left, she turned back to the droid, looking it up an down for several moments, as if evaluating it. When the announcement came about their imminent reversion to Realspace her lekku twitched in the Twi'lek equivalent of a shrug. "Guess I better get dressed. You might wanna see about being more polite if we land. The natives probably won't be as nice as me towards a droid with an attitude."

With that Ardana went back towards the cargo hold and began putting her armor on, a ritual she could do in her sleep. Maybe she'd get a little lucky and they'd find that spy and there would be some guards for her to shoot. Or maybe, if she was really lucky, they wouldn't have to land on Ryloth at all. She could dream, at least.
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Unread 26th of March, 2011, 17:15
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The five minutes passed slowly but soon enough the ship dropped out of hyperspace to prepare to scan for the spy. The republic said that the spy had been ahead of them at every turn so they were to expect an ambush and bring the spy back alive.
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Unread 31st of March, 2011, 01:58
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Ariq grabbed the comm station and began issuing the orders for people to assume their battle stations, finishing with "...R9, please report to the bridge." (OOC: I don't know what sort of weapons stations this ship has, but I assume Tel and Ardana would be assigned to them?)

He turned, then, to Enni. "The controls are yours, Enni. Dropping out of Hyperspace in 4, 3, 2..."
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Unread 1st of April, 2011, 21:33
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AoM
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Enni nodded and silently took the controls, easing into the pilots station with practiced competency.

"Engaging manual controls," she said as they dropped out of hyperspace and the beams of solid starlight focused back into their normal pinpoints on the canvas of space. The flightstick firmly in her grasp, the transport ship was a bit bulkier than the starfighters that she had trained in, but it handled decently for what it was. She scanned the vicinity for other ships immediately after comping out of the jump.
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Unread 7th of April, 2011, 14:14
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Ardana swore as she hopped one footed out of the cargo hold, pulled the last strap for her armored boot on. Combat alarms always seemed to sound when you were getting dressed or eating.

She hopped into the ladder for the top and bottom gunwale and slid down to the bottom turret, her armor not hindering her in the slightest. She pulled the headset on and gripped the firing controls as she calibrated the sights. "Ardana here, bottom gun manned."

Seeing the lines of Hyperspace recede into the pinpricks of stars she began scanning the space around her visually.
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