2.05: Kathol Republic: Little Empires

DS Day 154-169

Where: Kathol Republic

Their purpose now was to find out what was harassing Free Traders in the space near Jangelle. Intelligence reports revealed that a large portion of space near Jangelle was occupied by a fragment government called the Kathol Republic. With the ship repaired at Sapella, and completely flushed of plant-creature residue; with the hydroponics refurbished and re-supplied, the Farstar set coarse for Jangelle.

Since the incident with Jessa, the Captain was feeling ill, and handed command over to her First Officer. She wasn’t sure, but she had a feeling that Dajus did more than just try to choke her. She remembered feeling an painful surge of something hitting her that seemed to have emanated from Jessa.

Reports were that the Free Traders were threatening to break the alliance with the New Republic. They gave no explanation, other than the official statement, “The New Republic should know.”. The Farstar knew now that the alliance with the Free Traders and Smugglers rested on their shoulders.

Enroute to Jangelle, the Farstar dropped out of hyperspace abruptly, as the automatic systems cut in in response to a distress call.

“This is the Free merchant ship Anabias Morrs. We are down to 10% power, 15% crew. We have been attacked by the New Republic raiders…”

Gorak, currently in command, made the decision (much against his nature) to attempt a rescue despite the mention of “New Republic raiders…”. The crew agreed, despite suspicions of a trap. Thyte set the sublight coarse to the point of origin.

The ship in jeopardy was badly damage, debris and bodies were trailing out many holes of the large bulk freighter. It was heavily modified, at one time, and looked like it had a small shuttle bay rigged to it. However, now the ship was scrap. The Farstar hailed the crippled ship.

“Oh, I see you are here to finish your comrades work. Go ahead, but he Free Traders of Kathol will declare war on the New Republic.”

It took some work, but they were convinced enough of the Farstar’s intentions that they let the assault shuttle to help crew off. Not long afterwards, a large group of armed freighters from the Free Traders Alliance arrived, and took control of the evacuation. The strongly suggested that the Farstar leave the area while they still had a chance.

Now it was evident that this was more than just a ghost ship attacking the Free Traders. Another ship was posing as a New Republic ship, calling itself the Lance of Endor, as they found out from the Free trader survivors. They originally suspected the ghost ship they encountered twice already, but they seem less malevolent than originally thought. This Lance of Endor was a Corellian Corvette as well, and was imposing Imperial-like taxes and restrictions on the Free traders, in the New Republic name, under “Governor Thane B’dorbeck’s order”. Perhaps more information would be available at Jangelle

They knew that Jangelle was a free trader world. It was a free port to anyone with a ship and a reason. It was reasonably well defended also. When the Farstar arrived, however, it was given special treatment. An group of well-armed freighters approached before they could enter orbit and politely asked them to leave.

The Farstar moved away from the planet and hid behind the next planet in the solar system. Gorak needed more information before going any further. Loh’khar volunteered to go down on planet and find out where the free traders had lost their ships. Meanwhile, the Farstar would attempt to contact any friendly free traders.

Gorak was looking over the latest intel reports. Chuborro had the nerve to put out bounties on the entire Farstar’s crew. A rather pricey one too. Interesting, considering Gorak and Chuborro’s history. First he hears that Chuborro wants a piece of Darkstryder for himself, and now he has turned on the Farstar. Through the years of fighting the Empire, the criminal underground was one of the things the Alliance could turn to. But of course, crime and law is always subjective, based on the laws of the current regime. So those groups that are now legitimate based on New Republic law, are allied, but those that are not, are turning on them. That’s gratitude for getting rid of the Empire. Of course, Gorak should be the one to talk. His business was legitimate when the Empire was in control. But when the market changes, a good business changes with it.

Gorak had an idea. He had to speak to the captain about it though.

**

“If there is no sign of Sarne for now, why not make a strike at Chuborro. Let’s hurt the ol’ worm.” Gorak stared at the ailing captain in her bunk. She was the only one that could make a decision like this. The idea seemed to put some color in her face.

“Sounds like a good job for some of the Night Terrors” She said.

If Rodians could smile, he would be from ear-stalk to ear-stalk. This was going to work . He decided to twist it further. “Why don’t we strike back at Sarne too. He has a ship pretending to be us, why not have the Night Terrors make Chuborro think it’s Imperials that are doing it to him.”

“Loh’Khar can find them armor and weapons typical for an Imperial mission. I will talk to Mayato. He should like this.”

Thus, Operation Chillweaver was born. Mayato eagerly accepted the mission.

*****

Jangelle was not a pleasant place for a curious Twi’lek. He returned with information, but at a high cost, as far as he was concerned. His dignity, his most prized possession.

He was able discern that the most recent attacks from the Lance were in the space between Jangelle and the Kathol Republic. The Kathol Republic was a small conglomeration of 10 or so planets. According to Loh’Khar’s information, the Kathol Republic was formed long ago by some refugees of the Old Republic. They had modeled their stellar government after the old Republic, thinking they could get it right. What worried Captain was what kind of fleet this little Empire had.

Enroute, the crew planned a trap for the lance, using the Muvon. The Farstar hung back, waiting for any signs of trouble. Some of the Night Terrors were use as crew. They waited…

Hours passed before they finally received a distress signal. But it wasn’t from the Muvon.

“This is the Kathol Republic Corvette Bravado III, calling any ship. Mayday mayday, we are under attack….” Then static.

“Set coarse. Recall the Muvon, and have them meet us there. Launch a patrol of X-wings, Gorjaye.” Gorak piped.

The origin of the message was not far. The Farstar reached the location in minutes with a short hyperspace jump. Before them was a ship, adrift in space, with another ship attempting to approach. It was another freighter, making a slow approach. A flash erupted from the side. An explosion ripped through its lower decks. Mines.

The second ship was drifting dangerously close to some asteroids nearby. The Farstar sent out reassuring messages while Gorjaye’s squadron shot a path to the first ship. The Muvon steered towards the other ship, hoping that it could use it’s cargo grapples to slow it tumble.

Samarion felt that stirring in hyperspace again “6 more on their way!”

General quarters was called, all stations were put on defensive alert. The Farstar positioned itself to defend the other ships. Six more Marauder Class Corvettes, old design, dropped out of hyperspace.

“In the name of the Kathol Republic, cease your attack and surrender!”

This took a bit of explaining to do, but once they were able to talk their fingers off the trigger, the Farstar agreed to accompany the fleet back to Kathol Republic space to stand trial. Once they pulled both ships into a stable position, and they were repaired enough to get them home, they set coarse for Dayark, capitol moon of the Kathol Republic.

*****

Dayark was one of the bread-baskets of the Kathol Republic. It was very fertile, but also very wet. Rain was a constant on this moon. The gas giant it orbited loomed in the sky.

They were brought to a waiting room in some government office. The décor was similar to old Republic, as they remembered, and the city was impressive.

Gorak formed the trial away team of mostly command crew. Dann Drugah was along for his expertise in… well, he was along for the ride. Loh’khar was there for his political prowess. Thyte was along to free his ship from impound. The remainder of the crew was left on board until the decision was made.

The Council meeting was long and political. There was obviously a lot of deep seeded factionalism in this political system. The President was an old female Ithorian, Chandra Hobat. She seemed to be the only level headed leader there. The rest were screaming for different wants and needs, all from the different worlds in the Kathol Republic. It was quite apparent that several generations of different species colonized the worlds of the area, despite the harsh conditions. Heavy gravity worlds, oceanic worlds, harsh atmospheric worlds; all the different worlds could be determined from just looking around the council room. They all were genetically altered in some subtle way, to adapt better to their worlds environment.

One representative, one Sho’Ban Do from a heavy gravity world they would later find out was named Pitann, caught Loh’Khar’s attention when a matter was brought up about his world. In the middle of the debate, another Senator, identified as Sal Olbeg by the Chairman, was questioning a new entertainment medium, droid gladiator games, on planet Pitann that has been endorsed by Senator Do. This seemed to be a strong concern of Senator Olbeg, who was summarily heckled out of the council room. The President was genuinely concerned, but feared Do’s faction enough to table the issue. Loh’khar made a mental note to utilize that in the future.

With Gorak and Thytes’ help. B’Dorbeck was able to present some evidence in their favor. However, the Council was not totally convinced. They tabled the issue for the time being, allowed the crew limited access to Dayark urban communities, while the ship and all craft within were impounded.

*****

Brophar was still on-board the Muvon when things went down. The Farstar was captured, while the Kathol Republic fleet left the Muvon alone, thinking it another merchant ship. They followed inconspicuously, and bluffed there way into landing onto Dayark. As part of their deception, they agreed to register as a free trader open for business. While one of the Night Terrors did recon for the Farstar and its crew, Brophar and Mayato decided to play like merchants on leave, and got drunk.

*****

The next council meeting was scheduled for 45 hours from then, so much of the crew took a long deserved leave. After investigating a little further into matters, Loh’Khar assembled some of the crew, and proposed his idea to get the Farstar out.

“The president seems to be on a shaky pedestal at best. The factionalism is tearing her administration apart. One of the largest factions is lead by that Senator Do, and is one of the strongest opponents to the President. Sen. Sho’Ban Do is from the heavy G world, Pitann. Senator Do and his friends are involved in something that, for one, Senator Olbeg objects to. Perhaps we can gain support if we were to take out the Do with whatever issue Olbeg with him. It’s worth a look into. ”

Gorak saw the value in this, and agreed. He asked Kl’aal to assemble a group to check it out.

While waiting, Gorak received an odd message. It was from a female, who claimed to be a representative of Chuborro. This would not be the first time Chuborro had contacted him. A few times before, the crime boss had asked for favors or made offers to the Rodian. He had a feeling Chuborro was under the impression that Gorak was his
way into the Farstar crew. It was about time Gorak proved how wrong that assumption was. Their history may not have been the worst in the galaxy, but it was far from the best. Chuborro was always more an adversary than al ally, and this recent move has made him more an adversary than ever before. He agreed to meet the representative.

Samarion walked the streets of the strange city of Dayark, looking for food. He felt uncomfortable in this environment. This world was very controlled, all the game was raised in captivity. It was a farm world, which his race was not unfamiliar with, but not totally comfortable with. However, the rain was cool and soothing, which helped him deal with his high-metabolism.

There was also something oddly familiar about this world and it’s people to Samarion. They reminded him of what his family talked about when they talked about the old Republic before the collapse, before the Empire, before Palpatine. Some even looked familiar to him, to the holos he remembered. It was haunting, especially remembering the period when the old Republic, nearing it’s end, turned it’s back on his people. History has its way of repeating itself.

While mingling, he also noticed the strange looks he got from the people, not of fear or of curiosity, but of suspicion and deceit; of mistrust… as if they were hiding something. His instinct gnawed at him like a borrow-mite, telling him that it was more than a feeling. He remembered that these people were descendants of old Republic dissidents, perhaps maybe Union dissidents. This was something that would have to be looked into.

*****

uluala

The hotel he was summoned was lavish, and expensive. Gorak marveled at the extravagancy. He waited in the restaurant within, for this agent of Chuborro. When she arrived, he was shocked and amazed. She was beautiful, radiant, and alluring; everything Gorak wanted in a female,… and not even Rodian or human. She was a race Gorak had seen before, …Falleen? That was it. She was a Falleen. He didn’t know much about them, but now he hoped he could find out.

“Mr. Gorak, it is so nice to finally meet you…” She said sweetly. “Chuborro has talked about you often” He name was Uluala Dergan.

I bet it included a few choice curses in Huttese, he thought. “Thank You.” He bowed and kissed her hand. Quite uncharacteristic of himself, he thought. He liked his space. Something was making him want to share his space with her.

Their conversation was cordial until she got down to business. She was diplomatic but forceful. She was delivering Chuborro’s final offer; a deal that, if agreed upon, would include Uluala herself as Gorak’s personal assistant. He couldn’t tell if she liked that idea of not. His mind was in a daze. What was in this drink?

The time went by like hyperspace. Before he knew it, she was up and gone. He remembered little of the conversation, and didn’t remember if he agreed to anything. He remained in this daze for a few more hours afterward. Some of the conversation did return to him, but much of it was uncertain.

*****

Loh’Khar found Gorak wondering about in the
streets, as if dazed. He had news for the Rodian that couldn’t wait, no matter how much the Rodian had to drink.

“Acting Captain Khzam, I have my report of the Olbeg/Do situation.”

Gorak awakened from his stupor. He realized that Loh’Khar was speaking to him. The Olbeg/Do situation? Oh, yes.

“We have to meet with Olbeg. He’s willing to talk to us.”

*****

“Sho’Ban Do is a Hantarian Wart Weasel, and he should be removed from office. It so much like the time of our ancestors now.” Sal was an outspoken man, but an excellent host. His estate was lavish,, and well kept by the small army of droids. Olbeg was a genetically engineered human bred for like of wet Dayark. He was showing the Farstar entourage his estate when he went into the story about Pitann and Do’s plot. Slave was impressed with Olbeg droid population, as was Dann Drugah.

Olbeg wove a tale of deception, droid slavery and a plot to take out support for the current president. Pitann was engaging in a new form of entertainment; droid gladiator games. Aside from Olbeg obvious objections to this, he suspects that there is more to these games. Senator Do invites any droid manufacturer to challenge his droids in the ring. Droid manufacturers in the area use it to advertise their product. However, Olbeg also thinks that Do is using it to test his own army of droids to be used as a coup against the President. Olbeg has been investigate this possibility for the past 2 months, and has found someone on the inside on Pittann who was willing to give him the whole story. The problem was he didn’t have a way to get to her or get her off that planet. He needed someone unrelated to him to do the job.

The contact’s name Uta T’Cha and she was a droid tech. She was Do’s primary droid tech before her contract was terminated for unknown reasons. Since then, she was working in the arena as a droid repair tech and salvage crewman. The Rodian’s eyes lit up with recognition. Gorak told the group that he knew her from a long time ago…” A woman I sued to work with… in the old business.” As he thought back, he remembered something about Uta; she had a relationship with his former business partner, and was somewhat tired of the “old business”, which is why she no longer is employed by them.

Gorak agreed to do it if Olbeg could arrange passage to Pitann. Olbeg arranged for a ship with in the hour. It was a little cramped but it would do. Some free traders had stopped in looking for a new job, and Olbeg’s assistants were able to hire them. The ship was called the Muvon.

*****

Brophar found it humorous that he was getting money for totting around the same people he had been for the past 5 months. The departed from Dayark, after some troubles with customs. His passengers were disguised in order to leave this planet. Even though they were given free reign to travel, their ship was impounded and it was apparent that the Council did not intend on them leaving Dayark.

Pitann’s heavy gravity was easy for Kl’aal and Samarion to get accustomed too, but the rest were struggling. They checked the streets first to get an idea of where this contact was. Gorak found a way to her first, and talked to her before the rest were able to.

She was receptive of any deal Gorak had as long as it involved getting off the planet. She understood his delicate situation..

Less than an hour later, the remainder of the crew arrived once Gorak called them. They met Gorak in the droid fighting arena. As they walked trough the crown, they could hear the sounds of battle from the fight. Slave looked further to see two droids, customized and heavily modified, fighting each other like two animals. Barbaric. 2 droid that were never meant to fight, tearing at each other like beasts. Slave shook his head.

They found the droid tech in her shop. She told her story.

The droids were more than warriors for Do’s Army, they were covert assassins to act as both agricultural droids, and transform at a moments notice to assassins. The assassin protocols were to be undetectable, integrated into the agri-matrix so tight that no tech could find them. She wasn’t able to find a way to do it. The droids would go haywire, almost psychotic. Dual personalities would result, that would conflict each other, like opposing poles. She could not find a solution. Do fired her and sought outside help.

Outside help?

She didn’t know who for sure, but she did hear rumors of a name… the Qektoth. Many in the group stirred at the sound of that name.

Samarion remembered hearing tales of something or someone called the Qektoth. It was a name mentioned in the stories told by the Elders, about the times when the Union tried to clone the Kalvessan. The Qektoth. Were a group of scientists with a more twisted view of the cloning. They created monsters in comparison to the mundane cloners, who were also criminals in their own right. Before they could be captured by the Old Republic authorities, the escaped into the Wilds.

The rest had heard this name when some of the locals were talking about area threats. Their name has come up on occasion as something to worry about. The scourge of the Outback. Gorak remembered them from his “free trader” days, as did Loh’khar. Their name has been popping up related to many things dark and evil in this area of space. This was a foreboding omen. They were a conglomeration of radical scientist who colonized an area of space near there generations ago, during the Old Republic time. They were specialist in bio-technology and genetic manipulation, worse than the kind that the Kathol Republic was engaging in.

What would they have to do with droid construction?

“Perhaps the planned on used organics to stabilize the robopsychology of the protocol matrix.”said Dann Drugah. “It would be the only way to keep things stabilized. Imperial technology corporations have been trying for the perfect integrations for years. It was rumored that the Emperor had accomplished it to some degree, but the process also involved some old Sith ritual now lost. A perfect organic integration has yet to be accomplished.”

The group blinked twice as they stared at the normally quiet droid tech. There was a long pause. Drugah smiled slightly “What?”

“That could be it.” Uta T’Cha said. “Make sense.” She looked impressed with the Farstar droid tech. “Sho’Ban Do’s plan is to integrate these droids into the regular population of agriculture droids, and assassinate key figures in the support structure of the President, and frame others. Sho’Ban planned to pre-program them with this mission and expected them to act on it with no contact with him or his supporters. Then he would slowly stage a coup.”

This had an all too familiar ring to them, except replace bio-technology-enhanced droids with clones.

“Ladies and Gentlemen…”, Kl’aal growled from the shadows near the entryway of the droid repair shop.”We have company, and it’s not your local G’Daran Make Up and Grooming Girls either.”

Six humanoid figures, slightly taller than human-norm, and a little more hunched, walked into the large doorway of the droid repair shop. They wore long draping cloaks, with wide brimmed hats, and their faces were obscured by the shadows. Something around their arm grew out of the cloaks, as if one arm just swelled up. It extended out beyond the cloak, and appeared to be some kind of grotesque clawed device. Energy leaps from the “finger-tips” of the claw. Definitely not friendly.

The group scattered through the small shop, behind boxes, behind droids, and towards the back of the shop. Slave protected Uta T’Cha. Balls of energy leaped from the clawed-weapons, towards the scattering group. The blasts shattered against the walls and floors leaving little more than a burn mark. The crew fired back with a hailstorm of blaster fire. Loh’Khar, the ever coward, along with Dann Drugah made a dive for cover in the back room. Drugah was caught in the midsection by one of the energy balls, in a fraction of a second was no longer. His clothes dropped to the ground, smoking. Loh’Khar stared at the pile in horror.

Samarion’s solid hits didn’t seem to effect them, but after several landed square in the chest, they started having the desired effect. The crowd of arena patrons had already scattered, some caught in the crossfire. The newcomers were slinging the energy balls like they were playing some kind of sport, the claw-like thing some kind of glove.

“They are Qektoth. Terminators.” screamed Uta, under the weight of Slave. Gorak was there too, being protected by the ex-Law droid. When they heard no response, they realized Slave had been hit too, his controls and matrix completely ionized.

Several of the assailants had fallen, and the two remaining were falling back. Kl’aal made his move to give chase as Samarion took down one more. The last ran off into the cowering crowd, after turning his weapon on the bodies of his comrades. They were immediately disintegrated.

Kl’aal deftly ran after the escaping Qek. The humanoid dropped his cloak when he rounded and corner, and suddenly it seemed he turned dark. Kl’aal blinked to kick in his night-vision, and saw the humanoid as if he had the same abilities as his species did. But he still appeared human. He also seemed to gain incredible speed. Soon he was gone, way out of range for Kl’aal to shoot or run. It was as if the heavy gravity didn’t effect him at all.

*****

“The Qek know that I know. They want me dead, or worse. Perhaps part of their hive mind or whatever they have. You have to get me away from here, off this world. I will tell you anything, everything I know. Sho’ban will fry for what I know.” They were already on their way to the Muvon.

The return trip was filled with the details of whatelse she knew, and before long, she was telling it to the Council. The president was impressed, and along with other infortmation dug up by Bifzik and his crew of techies, they were able to convince the Kathol Republic that the Farstar was not responsible for thee attacks and theat someone was posing as an New Republic ship. Now all they had to do was convince the free traders of that.

They agreed that this Lance of Endor had to be hunted down. Since any sign of Sarne was nonexistant, the Farstar was going on a hunting trip.

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