2.02: Sapella – Conflict of Interests
DS Day 121-126
The Farstar was wrapping up things at Timbra Ott when it received its regular array of intel reports. (SeeIntel Reports: NR Intel Log 10) The Captain, knowing Sarne was still gathering his scattered forces, chose the most logical path. Sapella would be their first stop, followed by a trip to investigate the droid pod on Binaros, and then to Jangelle and whatever is concerning the Free Traders there. Timbra Ott was in the hands of B’Dorbeck and his Noble House Council delegation. The Farstar was given clearance to depart, and was soon on it’s way enroute to Sapella.
While enroute, Gorak was wrestling with indecision. He had received some disturbing information while on Timbra Ott. It was an offer from the Kathol Hutt, Chuborra. The Hutt was willing to pay a large sum of credits for a Darkstryder device, and offered Gorak an “offer he couldn’t refuse”. This told him that word has gotten out, and things were going to get just a little more complicated. The offer made things even more complicated.
Dr. Akenseh was concerned over another issue more closer to home. Back on Shintel, they picked up two Imperial guests that had Darkstryder spinal implants. These gentlemen had been under sedation since they left Shintel, the doctor insisting that he be allowed to keep them for study. The Doctor had a couple of stasis pods brought on board to better observe them with. These stasis pods slowed their metabolism greatly, putting them into a state of hibernation. With all the excitement lately, the doctor had nearly forgotten about them. His latest analysis showed that in their current state, the Darkstryder was spreading into their system, taking over other systems in their bodies. He re-adjusted the stasis field and began to supplement their immune system. The growth slowed. He made a report for the captain. He stressed that he had some concern for Dajus since the Captain told him that she had a similar but dormant implant.
They knew very little about Sapellan system, other then it was located in a sparse nebula. The Gas giant in the system was a failed proto-star that emitted a cloud of interference to all communication. The planet itself was caught in the early stages of an ice age. Their technology in most areas was behind by a few centuries, except in the area of in-system ships, weapons and droids. The Farstar planned to set up a subspace transmitter, as part of their gesture of peace to the Sapellan colony. They needed to be aware of the negotiations on Timbra Ott.
The Sapellan colony was established 30 or so years ago by a few Timbra Ott Clans. It was well known for it fruit crops, wines and brandies. The society had its own factions, and fragmentations, but these were more radical and diametrically different than the ones on Timbra Ott. Loh’Khar knew of six clans or houses, all resident along the equatorial region of the planet. These clans all had their own beliefs and social structures. Two were fanatical, and violent, led by barbarians and raiders. Neither liked each other, and hated the peaceful clans. The clan in power, Clan Tellurium, was lead by a man named Goradus, and was seeking to bring the clans together. The Clan unification on Timbra Ott would boost that effort, if they knew of it.
Sapella was part of a shared defense pact with Timbra Ott, and the force behind this pact was three Clone-war era Destroyers. These were reported to be currently in orbit around the gas giant, docked in the space station, under repairs. Due to the lack of technology and trained engineers, the repairs are taking much longer than it would normally. This would prove to be another opportunity for the Farstar to help.
The Farstar dropped out of hyperspace outside of the Sapellan system. The thin nebula wreaked havoc on her sensors, but enough data was coming through that they could spot the space station around the gas giant, and Sapella herself. The space station was a make-shift array of old ship’s hulls and prefab-modules from the Clone-war era, stuck together by whatever means the Sapellan engineers could find. Two destroyers were docked and under repairs. The third was missing. A security force of in-system fighters was on a direct vector towards them. They had the markings of one of the clans.
The Captain issued a warning, but the fighters were coming in at attack speed. She scrambled the fighters, and called for battle stations. Krudar, who was asleep in his turret, opened fire immediately. It wasn’t long after that sensors picked up another group of fighters heading towards them from around the other side of the gas giant. These proceeded to engage the first set of fighters. They had a different clan symbol.
The ensuing battle was a fury of blaster fire. The fighters proved to be effective, despite their age. Another group of fighters were launched from the space station. They did not engage anyone, however. They hailed the Farstar to follow them. They identified themselves as Clan Tellurium and were to escort them to their capitol city, Davanin on Sapella.
In Davanin, the Farstar landed in a crude spaceport, in a field. The city of Davanin was large, but very low-tech. It was a sharp contrast to see a droid stoking a fire to warm the homes of its citizens. They were greeted by a delegation from the Clan Tellurium, and it’s ally, Clan Salmeur, made up of mostly humans.
Gorak seemed to recognize one. It was his old friend from the old business, Tangros Wantel. This man was an old rival and Gorak had a few words for him.
Dajus stared at one man she was sure couldn’t be real. His name was Walt Kamarus, an ex-Imperial that was supposed to be dead. She remembers the evidence, and Sarne’s fury when it came to light. No one would have survived with that much evidence against him. Kl’aal grunted as if in agreement to her thoughts. There was a strange look in his eye as he spotted the same man. It was the same look he had when his prey had gotten away.
The greetings were congenial and relatively tame. They didn’t appear to be the radical fanatics they were made out to be. In the council room, they were very receptive to the subspace communications array the New Republic was offering, as well as the engineering help they needed to repair the ships. Goradus explained that their world was in the midst of a war. The anarchist clans are seeking to wrest the power from the ruling clans, and seek to destroy the space station and the defense fleet.
The two violent clans actually sent a delegation, although they were just simply there for show. The two neutral clans, Clan Breg-Shetan and Clan Thacanald weren’t any help. They wallowed in their own isolationists ideologies, not caring what the other clans did. With a positive impressions made, the New Republic and the Farstar crew hoped to make alliance negotiation quick. Their ships were essential to the battle against Sarne.
Dajus took it upon herself to visit Kamarus that evening. She brought along a bottle of wine and two glasses. When a woman answered the door at Karamus’s residence, she deftly tossed the two glasses into the bushes. She asked for Councilman Karamus, who soon appeared afterwards. He was very cordial until his wife was out of ear shot. The conversation then turned to the subject at hand; why was he still alive, what is attacking the fleet forces, what did he think of Darkstryder. He was allusive and vague to all the questions, except for one.
“What is Darkstryder to you, Mr. Kamarus?”
He also mentioned in the conversation, a group known as the “Blue Cure”; a vigilante group that was working towards the same goals as the Farstar, but for their own purposes. He was concerned that the Farstar might cross paths with the Blue Cure, and the Blue Cure might not be very respective to the New Republic and their goals. He wasn’t sure who they worked for and what their motivations were, outside of collecting a bounty.
Back at the negotiations in a side discussion, Goradus asked a very difficult favor of the Captain; one that would never appear on any records. The two anarchist clans, Clan Heda led by Derek Medok, and Clan Virniant led by Jareem Orom, will not negotiate in anyway. There was only one way to deal with them; on their level.
“I see you have a Wraith in your group. They usually are the best kind of assassins. Perhaps, if the Wraith agrees, we can arrange for him to ….”
The Captain, once getting over the shock, shook her head. Kl’aal was hungry for a hunt, but not this kind. She dealt with it for several minutes before resolving that there was no other way. She called Kl’aal to the meeting room.
Gorak also spent the time well, visiting old friends. This friend was less than willing to chat and required some persuasion, Gorak-style. His friend apparently was double-dealing to get that offer from Chuborra. On top of that, he was involved in a plot to bomb the New Republic ship. Gorak “extracted” what he could of this plot, including the name of the agent that was going to deliver the bomb. How, was another story.
Their chat was very informative, and once it concluded, he left Tangros intact. However, he will not soon forget who Gorak is.
Kl’aal huddled in the shadows near the Kamarus house. He watched as Dajus had her conversation with him. As it finished, he watched Kamarus carefully to see if he was alerted to his presence. He seemed somewhat calm. Completely unaware that he was the prey of a hunt.
When it was all said and done, the blood was cleaned off the claws, and he deftly crept off in the night, he reveled in the feeling of a simple hunt. He was so simple, so easy. It was almost like he didn’t really mind dying. He didn’t have time to take care of the wife. He had to answer a page from the captain. He did stop to pick up a couple of discarded wine glasses.
In the private council chamber, the captain seemed to wait an eternity. While waiting for the wraith, she heard from Dr, Akenseh and Gorak. They had some distressing news. She assigned Gorak to stop the bomb, and Akenseh to continue his research on Darkstryder.
Kl’aal finally walked in with an odd grin on his face. She explained the situation, and a flame in Kl’aal’s leaped from a dark place inside of him. It was as if he was resurrected. He understood the assignment. Kill the fanatical clan leaders. The Captain assigned Mavia to help.
Thyte was pacing the deck with strong concern. It had been over 3 months since they had started this adventure, faced alien creatures, political back stabbing and a torpedo sphere, but he had never doubted his crew’s loyalty. At least not to the point of mutiny. Now he has heard rumors that someone is drumming up mutinous sentiment. Someone was plotting to either jump ship or take the ship over, he wasn’t sure which. But he was going to find out. He made an appointment with Dann Drugah, and began programming his own plan to use the droids as supplemental security drones. He didn’t want to alarm anyone, just investigate, so he didn’t tell the captain.
Dann was very thorough in his work, and soon a network of recording devices was set up through out the droid population of the Farstar. The data was being routed to a specific place in memory only Thyte knew about. It didn’t take long to get a suspect.
Gammer was drunk again when they approached him. A man named Smithrun interrupted a good cup of Breldian brew, talking about his displeasure with the captain. This didn’t seem to strange, since he himself had some misgivings. But the more and more he listened, the more and more he realized this guy was serious. He followed along, agreeing when he thought it was appropriate, while trying to get through the innuendoes and hints he was laying, to get to what exactly he was saying. When Smithrun got up and left, Gammer sat and thought. Through the cloud of a hangover, he really didn’t know what to make of what Smithrun had said, and he really didn’t know what side he was on. But he knew one thing, and that was something was to happen in Storage Bay 3 in less than 20 hours, and he was invited.
Thyte reviewed the recording he had gathered for that day. His droid-snooping program, with a little help from Dann Drugah, proved to be quite useful. From it, he determined that there was a group plotting, and they were going to meet in Storage Bay 3 in less then 15 hours. HE was going to join them, but not for the same reasons.
As he closed out of that particular area of memory, he noticed a strange fluctuation in memory, as if someone else was trying to access his program. He ran a quick analysis program and determined it was a high level command stream, command-level security. Only the Captain had that level security, or someone who was damn good at slicing. He closed and logged out of his network session, and sat while he thought. Either way, he could be in big trouble.
The negotiations with the clans in power were going well, however the two radical clans were not giving in. They would not make peace no matter what concession was given. The Captain had never met someone so unreasonable. In a dark corner of her mind, she hoped that the death of their leaders would loosen them up a little, but she had her doubts. It did appear that all the unity and resolve revolved around the ideology and leadership of their leaders. They had an almost religious faithfulness to their leaders. This is how martyrs were made, however, and the last thing they needed was a martyr.
She had already sent her engineers to the space station and the sub-space transmitter was set up. Despite the interference from the gas giant, they were able to get through to Timbra Ott. The Timbra Ott clans encouraged unification and promised to send a delegation as proof of their success on Timbra Ott. B’Dorbeck was also to accompany them.
The Captain sat in her cabin, fuming over new information that she had discovered with a little help from Loh’Khar. Months ago, she had asked Loh’Khar to set up a inconspicuous security net of holo-cams through out the ship. He was to do it very low-key and unnoticeable. Surprisingly, it was done in a matter of weeks. However, now, she had noticed that several sections of those camera were down. On top of that, Loh’Khar informed her that someone else had set of their own network of holo-cams, installed in all the droids on the ship. At the same time, Loh’khar conveniently divulged his suspicions of a possible mutiny.
Kaiya sat staring at her comp-screen, watching the droid- holo-cam data stream through. It was being re-routed to a very secret place in memory, with a very good security program set up around it. She had to use her command-over-ride to get through it. There was no evidence of who set all this up.
Kl’aal had been in and out of the most vile places in this planet, in order to find the leaders of these clans. Mavia was also somewhat disturbed by the murkiness of the Sapellan underground, and that was saying something. They sat in a in-system freighter, in the cargo hold, with no heat. Condensation from the systems life support was dripping on them like a cold rain.
Through some help from some of Analia’s contacts, they were able to find out that the two leaders were planning a secret summit to form an alliance. They were preparing for a major offensive, which would be started by the destruction of the Farstar. One very handy item was that Mavia was able to contact resistance groups with in the ranks of the two clans, with the help of Analia’s contacts. For a few cases of blasters, they were willing to help in the assassinations, and make sure that no evidence was found. They were also willing to take control of the clans and redirect them to a position more friendly to the other clans.
Kl’aal and Mavia huddled now, deep in the freighter’s belly, attempting to keep warm, while awaiting their destination. Their destination was on the gas giant moons, in an abandoned mining facility. Once there, they would infiltrate and find the targets. Mavia would take care of guards and any unfortunate soul that strayed into their path, while Kl’aal would hit the primary targets before the actual meeting was to occur. They expected problems, but in the end, the prey would be dead.
The news hit the council like a asteroid. The next morning, reports came back that the two heads of the anarchist clans were dead, assassinated by an unknown killer. The bodies were not examined thoroughly, because resistance factions with in their own ranks took the bodies and burned them. The radicals clans began to dissolve internally, and this motivated the neutral clans to act in favor of the peace talks.
Thyte followed the drunken Soccorran to Bay 3, the next day. He never would have suspected this old man to be a trouble maker, but then again, he didn’t know him well. As he watched, Gammer walked into the bay full of storage cases and equipment, and waited a few moments. Nothing happened. Gammer then left, shrugging. Thyte waited a few moments longer, then left to his quarters. Something just wasn’t right about this.
Gammer Firdaaz was frustrated, and suspicious. He wasted his time to try and check something out, and they don’t even bother to show up. He wasn’t sure of his motivations when he want into Bay 3, but he was sure now. Maybe it was the Sapellan Glacier Brandy he had this morning, but he felt more resolved than ever before. He stopped by Gorak’s office, and dropped off a datapad. He was going to cover his own ass, regardless who else goes down for this. With that done, he turned towards the galley… no wait, it’s this way now… damn refits… it’s so a man can’t get a stiff drink with out getting lost around here. Getting lost should be left to after having a few stiff drinks.
Thyte walked away after he say Gammer go down the same hall as Gorak’s office. He wasn’t sure what to make of all this, but he was sure that it was time that he told the captain something. She had been irritable ever since they had arrived on this world, and he expected she wouldn’t take things well, even if his intentions were good.
“YOU DID WHAT!!!!” As expected, the Captain did not take it well.
She couldn’t believe that Thyte, of all people, went behind her back. She had found out about the droid surveillance set up a while now, and Loh’Khar conveniently supplied her with other information that made the whole situation look suspicious. She didn’t know who she was more mad it. As she fumed, she realized that she was more mad at Loh’khar. The evidence was all circumstantial, but it appeared that Loh’Khar was trying to manipulate the crew into a mutiny. She had plans for that little tentacle-head.
As she was dismissing Thyte, a ring came to her door, and the familiar voice came through the comlink. ” Captain, it is Loh’Khar. I have some news for you…” Of course he did.
As the Twi’lek strolled in, Thyte moved to leave. The Captain gave Thyte a glance that meant he was not dismissed. “Captain, I was able to get the weapons that were requested, and a large assortment of ammunition. Since blasters are going to be a problem in the Rift, I thought perhaps we would require a variety of ammo types. As for our food supply, I was able to replenish some of the hydroponics needs, and have a food stores increased to about 80%…” He rolled off a series of supplies he had recently acquired, including many things he tried to make sound like he went above and beyond to get. Odd timing, this Twi’lek.
Realizing she couldn’t possibly reprimand him with the evidence she had, without risking his much needed services, she dismissed them both.
Once they left, she got a message from the Sapellan Clan Council. They wished to visit the Farstar, and see the “wonder of the New Republic”. She, of course, didn’t like it, but she agreed. Minutes later, she alerted Gorak. He had 20 hours to find that bomber.
Gammer left the Galley a happy man. He had won big in a Sabacc game, and that hadn’t happened since he was sober…when was that? Smithrun was there, and he lost a nice case of Sapellan Moutainberry Wine. He was to pick it up from the docks in about 15 hours. Some guy was supposed to drop it off, a guy named Brasington. Things were looking up. For Gammer, 15 hours would go by like 15 years, where liquor was concerned.
Gorak was stumped. Nothing was coming up about who the bomber would be. He knew that it would have to be an inside job. All the resupplying was being checked, and Loh’Khar was being strangely cooperative with that effort. Gorak didn’t trust that alien, not one ion.
Sitting in his cabin/office, he noticed a datapad on his desk he didn’t put there. It had a message on it from Gammer Firdaaz. Interesting…
The docks were wet and cold. Gammer hugged himself against the cool ocean breeze. He had left just as the Farstar was finishing up preparation for the delegation the next morning. The ships was being cleaned up and storage areas packed full so that the planned “tour” hallways were free from all debris.
Gammer thought back to Smithrun and how he was taken so easily,… perhaps too easily. It was Smithrun who invited him in. It did seem like Smithrun wanted to lose. Well, Gammer didn’t care, as long as he got his wine. He also thought about Bay 3. He had almost forgotten about it, until Smithrun brought it up during one the game breaks. Apparently, the meeting was postponed, because they were worried someone was on to them. However, he hinted that things will change soon, and those who were unhappy with the leadership will have their day. Gammer shrugged it off, and took another drink.
The cold air awakened him from his stupor. He heard something in the shadows. A man walked out with a repuslor-lift dolly. This was it.
Suddenly, he heard the swift shuffling a boots on the ground, as Gorak and SLAVE came running towards them. The delivery man disappeared, leaving his load behind. “Don’t move, Gammer. That’s not what you think it is.”
When it was all said and done, Gorak was right, the cases were filled with explosives. It was odd timing that Loh’Khar was able to inform one of Gorak’s men of this meeting just at the right time. Gorak knew a name of the agent that would deliver the bomb but never knew what he looked like. Somehow, Loh’Khar did, and was able to deliver a holo to one of his Gorak’s men just before the delivery.
While they scanned the box, suddenly the scanners picked up an energy surge… damn, remote failsafe… it was going to blow. They scattered. Slave grabbed the box and hefted in into the ocean, and dived in as far away as he could.
While the Planetary Clan Council was still arriving, a large explosion on the outskirts of the city was detected by the Farstar passive sensors. A general alert was sounded and security moved the Council members to a safer area of the ship. Adrimetrum rushed to the bridge to investigate.
Thyte reported that Gorak was last reported in the area of the explosion, investigating the bomb threat. Captain knew this wasn’t a coincidence. She sent Kl’aal out to investigate and pick up any bodies.
When the wraith returned, he had brought along three unconscious bodies. Doc Akenseh set out to healing the humans, while Dann Drugah worked hard to bring SLAVE back on-line.
Gammer was relieved of any suspicion because of the note he had passed to Gorak, alerting of his activities. The Doc did order some time for him to “dry up”. This man Smithrun, brought on-board when Loh’Khar recruited crew from the Pembric group, was immediately apprehended and questioned. The captain left the interrogation when SLAVE began to shoot out the mans fingers. A few hours later, the man was dead,… by his own hand, so they said. Further checking turned up nothing on the man. He was given a military burial.
Kaiya, while the ship was prepping for departure, thought for a moment about Smithrun. He had an odd way about him. The guard had given him a cigarra, against orders, and didn’t remember doing it. Gorak was concerned he had some mental abilities, which is why SLAVE did the interrogating. She looked at the droid’s report and own video accounting of the interrogation incident. With incredible deftness, Smithrun was able to grab SLAVE’s blaster-arm and pull it away from his hand, and to his head, just before the droid fired. Why?
What was so important that he would kill himself for it? Who was he protecting? Who was he so loyal too? This mutiny rumor was turning into more than just back-hall talk. A man killed himself over it, to protect it. Who has that power here? And why? Why would one want to influence someone so much, to start a fanatical mutiny against her? This didn’t seem right, didn’t seem rational. But then again, what was rational in the Kathol Sector.