I studied Marion’s unconscious form after the Ithorian doctors were done with her. Kyrios had tortured her, likely both physically and mentally, she had been shot, stabbed and all manner of different things besides. And she had broken. She had leaked valuable intel that had nearly cost me the mission, my life as well as that of several other New Republic operatives. Not to mention the damage it might do if the information was sent off world.
This was different from Coruscant. There I had waved around my name, almost like a flag. Hell, I wanted Belikos to know I was there. It was exceedingly unlikely that anyone who had known me, anyone who read my files or heard of me would suspect me of treachery. It would be far more likely for him to suspect that another faction was actively working against him. That would force him to be more cautious, he would have to second guess alliances amongst the other imperial factions. It would slow him down. Now that my name was tied to the New Republic however, none of that would matter.
I did not hate the girl though, not really. Annoyed, angry, disappointed and a myriad of other minor emotions, of course, but it was not merely positive attachments that could be dangerous, negative ones could be just as harmful if not more so. Like it or not, she had reminded me of the dangers of getting too close to people. It seemed likely that it was due to bonds like that that caused Marion to abandon her squad and to reveal her secrets. It’s even possible, if there is any veracity in the rumors surrounding Lord Skywalker, that it was because of such bonds that the Empire fell. Likely mere hearsay but a cautionary tale nonetheless.
I had grown soft, and I had to refocus. There could be no emotion, no ignorance, no passion, no chaos if we were to achieve peace. I had to be detached from the Galaxy if I were to serve it.
That did not mean however that I intended to excuse Marion’s actions. She had proven herself unfit for this line of work. If she was unwilling to put her emotions aside, then she would continue to be a danger to those working alongside of her. I told her as much as she finally woke up. I explained what her actions had caused us, the deaths of the New Republic soldiers who had attacked their new base and at least in part, the damage she had caused me, personally.
She quietly accepted my statements and apologized but that wasn’t what I wanted from her, I wanted her commitment to something greater than herself or mere personal attachments. I updated her on the situation and then left her to attend to more important business.
Three days had passed since Marion’s rescue and I had spent most of that time debriefing high command on the various factions, key individuals as well as assisting in digging up information on family members, friends and other contacts of Banu Goshasp. Now I finally had to set my business in order and wrap up any loose ends. I met with Vendi one final time. I told her it was time for me to leave. For someone as Vendi, she did seem genuinely saddened by my departure. Again I was reminded of how easy it would be to simply start a life anew, but instead of indulging in useless what ifs, I continued outlining what was to be done with the cantina. For now I would let Meezot run it in my name. While discussing a new deal Vendi pointed out the dead Twi’lek girl. She had seen me talking to her after leaving her apartment and overheard some of our conversation. She seemed ro assume I had been the one who killed her. She was ready to use that suspicion as part of her bargaining chips for the new deal. She didn’t allow personal relationships to interfere with business, I respected that.
I doubted she would actually try and get my arrested and even if she did, there was nothing she could do prove either mine or Cheol-Su’s part in her death, even so I adjusted the rate somewhat in her favor as a sign of good faith and with that I left her, never return there again.
I returned to what was previously the Governor’s palace, now used as an improvised New Republic headquarters. There I spoke with general Etras, where he briefed me on the current situation. Stormforce had retreated to a crashed star destroyer. The ship was far too damaged for them to escape in, but it’s turrets were enough to keep any ground based invasion force at bay, at least until reinforcements arrived. By then, they would likely be able to disappear into the jungle and once again we would have to relaunch our efforts in tracking them down.
The suggested solution was a suicide mission. I along with another operative was to infiltrate the ship, accessing it through a vulnerability in its rear, posing as one of its crewmembers and install one of Doctor Slorren’s devices into the mainframe computer. That should deactivate the turrets and fry what remained of the ships electronics. Then presumably get shot and killed on the spot. It was perhaps not an ideal plan, but it was all we had.
To get inside we needed someone to guide me through the jungle and with options fairly limited, the obvious choice was Marion. I objected, pointing out that she was compromised, she had already displayed that she was unable to remove her own feelings for the sake of the mission, and her feelings towards Kyrios was not hard to notice. But alas there was no one else but he assured me that should she become a liability I was free to abandon her. And so I left to prepare.
They had captured two stormforce soldiers and I had an short conversation with one of them, giving a basic understanding of his speech patterns and mannerisms. I was given his uniform and Marion was given the other. After a quick debriefing with doctor Slorren where he gave me his device, I went to commission tools and weapons that I might need and before long me and Marion was onboard a small landspeeder, being dropped deep inside the jungle.
There was very little talk, no banter. I listened to Marion’s instructions, asked questions when necessary but other than that we moved in silence. The silence only enhanced the noises of the jungle and I could not wait to leave the place behind me. After walking for a good while, Marion arranged the canoe we had brought with us and we spent the rest of the trip paddling across the river. As the sun began to set, Marion steered the canoe in amongst the fallen off debris from the ship. Marion tied a rope around us and jumped across the debris towards land, but by doing so, stirred up the platforms behind her. For the first time so far I objected against Marion’s instructions favoring instead a under-barrel grapnel launcher that I had had installed for this mission. Sadly I couldn’t get a good purchase from where I stood so I ended up having to jump skip along the platforms anyway.
Marion began scaling the wall and after eventually finding a part of the ship that wouldn’t easily come off, I followed after her, into a fight with a group of bizarre, bird looking creatures spewing acid from their mouths. It seemed as though my failed grapple attempts had drawn their attention. We promptly shot them down and went further in. There were many more of the creatures nesting there and we drew the attention of a few more of them. After dispatching them, I found a path that would steer us clear of them and we hurried through it as more and more of them were beginning to take notice of us.
Finally inside the ship proper we soon encountered a few Stormforce guards, we split up and while Marion slipped away unnoticed, I drew their attention. I took on the role of the captured soldier, and first tried to explain my being there through reason, but noticing the temperature of the room, I redirected my story to instead a target more base emotion, fear. That was something both of the guards could understand and left me to be on my way without any further questioning.
I joined Marion and we steered towards the technician’s living quarters. We went inside and luckily there was only one person in the room. A woman resting her body and mind after what I could only assume a hard day’s work. I shot her, hid her in one of the beds and stripped down and put on one of the technician’s uniforms.
We continued to the control room, everything so far had been going well; all that was left was to get inside, place the device and get out. As the doors slid open, it immediately became clear that that plan was a failure, Kyrios Moto was there and immediately questioned our presence. We had to improvise, I gave the device to Marion and tried to buy her as much time as I could.
Unsurprisingly, I had barely begun concocting my lie when Kyrios shot me. He had had years to learn the names, speech patterns and dialects of everyone in his command. He even noticed Marion as she quietly made her way up towards the mainframe computer. Hopefully as he and the guards focused their attention on me, Marion could go for the computer. I saw Marion readying her rifle, fearing that she would once again get caught in her feelings I called out to her to finish the mission, and so she did. She put her rifle away and with an impressive leap swept up the ladder to the upper platform and in one quick motion, jammed the device into the mainframe.
Everything went dark, Slorren had lived up to his word and had truly turned off the power of the entire ship, the only light source being the blaster fire from the Stormtroopers inside. They were good, even in near total darkness they still found their mark. We were going to die.
Unless… The Stormtroopers were likely to lay down their lives for the cause, but I doubted that Kyrios would. Putting more confidence in my voice than I felt, I told him to stand down, he had lost. He could kill us, but that would mean his death as well, his best option was to come with us freely.
He barely wavered a second. He ordered his men to stand down and with a bright smile that never touched his eyes formally surrendered and swore loyalty to the New Republic. His smile grew wider however as he focused on me and informed me that he had already contacted the Shadow Council. Soon the Empire would know of my betrayal, soon my name would be worth nothing.
Then he turned to Marion, smiling brightly as he taunted her, daring her to shoot him. He admitted that he should have simply killed her, but emotional attachments had led him to this fate. Marion was visibly struggling with herself, but settled for merely clobbering him in the face with the butt of her gun. Against New Republic protocols, harming a surrendered foe, but Kyrios almost seemed pleased by it, seeing that he could still play with her. I called him down, these squabbles were not important.
The suicide mission had been an overwhelming success, we had disabled the ship and Calo Syd went on to lead the New Republic soldiers to an overwhelming victory against the confused and unprepared Stormtroopers. Kyrios Moto had surrendered and was all too willing in assisting the New Republic.
And Corran Sloane, agent of the Imperial Security Bureau, loyal member of the Commission for the Preservation of the New Order, was now a known traitor across the galaxy.