1.06: Strange Bedfellows

1.06: Strange Bedfellows

Dates: 9/18/1999

Chronicle Day 20-32:  1 yr. Pre-ANH

Location: Aleron, Daekun City

En-route to Vycynth’s Moon, Vilhon

The majority of the group met at the docked Caadrian’s Hope.  Not present was Baron Brendaron, who was still busy with the local government attempting to save his business on planet.  What little they got from his short communication told them that their seemed to be someone pushing him out of the Freeworlds because of his subtle anti-Imperial leanings.

The droid finally finished sorting through all the data.  Most of it was decoy data, aiding the actual encryption further.  The heart of the data was shipping routes to Noble convoys in the Cadriaan and Callipsa regions of this sector.   All were clearly marked for pirate attacks.  This data had the signature of the Guild Mining Auditor, Annora Calandra as verification.  This indicated Ms. Calandra was involved in some kind of arrangements to attack Cadriaan and Callipsa shipping.

However, Lady Ilm, along with someone else, were using these attacks to arrange for the untimely deaths of political opponents – opponents to Ilm’s benefactor, none other than Lord Alander Berellion  of House Mecetti.  Lord Berellion was CEO of Mecetti Millenium Industries, one of the house’s most prominent corporations and in some camps, believed to be the number two man to the High Lord.  It was clear that Lady Ilm was attempting to regain favor with the Mecetti court.

What wasn’t clear was why Calandra was arranging for the attacks in the first place.

Marks and Kragar found their ship on the list to be attacked.  The target was a Mecetti Lord which neither of them knew.

This was enough to prove Sandos’s innocence, but they had a feeling they needed more. They needed to follow Calandra and see where she goes.  Rex returned from his fact-finding mission to report on Calandra’s latest activities.

“She is booked passage to Vycynth, in the Barnaba province,   leaving in only a few hours.  I believe that is where this year’s Vor Cal Hunt is supposed to take place, a most honorable occasion.”

Pyre set in motion a plan to delay her flight and force her to re-arrange her travel plans so they both could share a flight together.  At the same time, he used his contacts to get an invitation as the Cadriaan House representative at the Vor Cal hunt.

The delay was in progress when he arrived at Calandra’s landing bay to meet her.  She was already there, watching as the repair droids fixed the ship she was going to take.  Pyre appeared sympathetic as she talked to a port worker who was trying to explain why her flight would be delayed indefinitely.

“My dear, I just so happened to know of another flight leaving here that’s not well known.  I can arrange a ticket for you, if you like.  You are going to the Vor Cal hunt like I am, correct?”  Pyre flashed his prize-winning smile.

She relinquished, realizing she had no choice and had to get there as soon as possible.  They took a taxi to the other star port.

****

Kragar had been delayed, investigating further into this mysterious figure who posed as a Jedi.  Apparently his contacts had heard of such a group, but knew very little.  He was assigned to find out what he could.

After getting the message to meet at Space Port Bay 65, the Pelagia Baronette caught Pyre leaving the Bay 73 with a familiar face. Confused, Kragar followed in another Taxi.  He immediately picked up the unmarked vehicle that pulled between him and Pyre’s Taxi.

****

Pyre was not stupid.  He knew they were being followed.  He tried to make idol conversation, using his psi-abilities to break down some other mental walls, while watching the unmarked car behind them.

When he saw the vehicle make its move and weapons pointing out windows, he grabbed her and dove to the floor. “DOWN!!!”

Blaster fire raked across the automated Taxi as it entered a public tunnel that lead to the spaceport.  The droid-driver was destroyed immediately.

****

Kragar watched as the gunmen showered the other taxi with blaster fire.   He remembered back to his teachings as he concentrated hard on one of the weapons barrels.

Trust in the Force young one, it will be your trusted friend or your worst enemy…

He touched the end of the rear-most barrel, reaching out with his strength.  It was as if it was in his own grip.

It is an extension of everything to you.  Use it wisely…

He pushed away from Pyre’s taxi.  The barrel lurched forward, the shooter suddenly surprised.  As the gun arched forward, the baffled shooter continued to fire, uncontrollably.   Blasts showered the inside of the unmarked vehicle.   The front passenger and the driver were both immediately hit.

One must have total control of one’s own strength.  Trust on the Force, it will guide you….

The attacking vehicle swerved and hit Pyre’s taxi, causing it to shift upward along the wall, repulsorlift acting as the glue holding the in a sideways position.   The unmarked vehicle swerved out-of-control into the opposite wall, giving Pyre’s Taxi room to right itself back on the main road.  Pyre was able to finally wretch control from the destroyed droid driver, and pull the Taxi to a stop.

Well, that didn’t go as planned….

Calandra was exasperated.  She stormed off, using her comlink to call for another Taxi.  Pyre got into Kragar’s as it pulled up.

“Bad first date?”  Kragar joked.

“Naaaah, she’ll be back.  She wants me.” Pyre chuckled back.

****

Pyre and Kragar swung by a designated place to pick up Marks, and the Droid, who were returning from another fact finding mission.  From there they moved on towards the space port.

As they did, several more repulsor-vehicles, this time with Imperial markings on them, pulled up.  Suddenly, the droid was taking them in another direction.  On this world, like many others, public droid drivers always had a remote override frequency that only Imperials and local authorities could access.  The group had no control over this.  They could only wait and see where this ride was taking them.

The convoy turned off onto a route that only lead one way… to the Imperial Garrison.

****

Pulling into the Garrison, the group saw the incredible military power of the Empire on display. They were escorted from the repulsor-vehicles to the command head quarters of the main complex.  Set in a deep cavern of dark iron, the entire exhibition was quite ominous.

Their turbolift took them to the upper command levels of the Imperial command center.  They were surrounded by white armor and black weaponry, all pristine and shiny.  When the doors opened, they were lead down a  hall to a secured door.  As the door opened, they were escorted to a plush waiting room.

Hours later, an adjoining door opened, and beyond it, they could see a black cloaked individual some recognized as Grand Inquisitor Tremayne, one of the Emperor many higher minions.  With him was another man, dressed in elaborate court clothing of a Tapani Lord.  This man walked into the room after exchanging a few more words with Tremayne.

“I apologize for keeping you waiting.  A lords work is never done.  Did you have a good ride over, I hope those Imperial oafs didn’t startle you too much.”

The group was angry for being kept, being forced to miss their flight, and for being dragged out to an Imperial Garrison.  They were in no mood for small talk.

“Who are you?” Pyre said matter-of-fact-ly.

“Oh, I apologize.” He almost seemed hurt thy didn’t know. “I am Lord Alander Berellion, of House Mecetti, and CEO of Mecetti Millenium Enterprises.  I see you have an interest in my former associate, Lady Ilm.”

A cold wave seemed to wash over the room.

“You!  Your the one behind her actions.”

“Yes, but I was only taking advantage of a greater plot that has now gotten my attention.  I want to know why the sweet Lady had to die.  And I want it stopped.”

A pause throughout the room signaled Berellion that they wanted something in return, ” And I will then give you the man named Sandos.”

The group looked at each other.  Pyre spoke up “Just like that?”

“Just like that.  He will be returned to you safe and sound.   You have my word on it.”

The group sat in the uncomfortable silence for several moments.  Here they sat, with  a House Mecetti Lord, some say is the second in line to take the High Lordship of Mecetti, once Leobund dies.  Arguably the number 2 man in Mecetti want their help in foiling a plot that they have very little interest in.

If they refuse, there was no guarantee they would leave this garrison fortress alive.

Baron Pyre’s Guide to the Tapani Sector

Lesson one: When dealing with Mecetti, if you think you have them figured out, your wrong.

Lesson two: Never take a Mecetti at face value.

Despite this… “OK, it’s a deal…”  They peered at Pyre, who had spoken.  The one man who has spent his life driving hard bargains, persuading each side to compromise, agreed with little argument.

“Then I will keep in touch. You are on your own, and we never met.”  He said nonchalantly, as if it was a standard part of his business.

They left with all eyes still on Pyre.

****

The liner they had arranged awaited them.  Berellion apparently had delayed it, using the accident at the other liner as evidence of terrorist activity on Aleron.  So the ship, fully loaded with passengers,  was put through a very scrutinous security check.  The group arrived just as it was finishing up.

Pyre boarded and searched for Calandra.  For their inconvenience, the passengers were given free drinks during the security check.  Calandra had indulged in this gift a bit too much. Alcohol makes my job so much easier, Pyre thought.

By the time the ship was in high orbit, awaiting hyper jump clearance, Pyre had Calandra eating out of his hand.

All part of his plan.

A few days into the trip, however, something happened that wasn’t part of his plan.

While Pyre was out wining and dining Calandra, a knock at the his cabin awoke his room mate, Marks. A woman he had never seen before stood in the doorway.   She was obviously nobility, with the Cadriaan crest dawning her courtly gown.

“I seek Baron Pyre of the Pyre Family of House Cadriaan.  Is he in?” addressing Marks as if he were a servant.

“No, he is….ummm…. out.”

“Then please tell him his fiancé has arrived.”

Marks paused …. fiancé?… “Yes, my lady.”

She departed with a snobbish smirk, obvious upset she had to talk with a commoner.

Pyre was not going to be happy.

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