The Experiment

18 years after the Battle of Yavin...
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Endorenna
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The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:02 pm

Warning: This thread contains adult language and themes.



Ytan crouched in the cold shadows, her ears pricked slightly. Her eyes were closed; she was simply listening.

The noise of the ground-level of Coruscant was as familiar to her as the sound of her own breathing. The footsteps of the constantly changing crowd, the engines of the ships passing overhead in endless streams, the noises of the advertisements…everything was as it should be. Except for that—she heard a static voice. It wasn’t like the synthetic, irritatingly cheerful voices that every advertisement blared. It was the voice of a stormtrooper.

They were after her again. This was the fourth time in the past week. Why were they being so persistent? She hadn’t killed anyone important, just a smuggler. Since when did the Empire care about the death of an obscure criminal? This cat-and-mouse game made no sense, but she would be forced to continue playing her part in it.

The stormtroopers were closing in on her. She was crouching in a long, narrow alley. It had three ways out; the troopers were coming from the two obvious routes, the two ends of the alley. Behind her, another alley joined with the one she was in. It led to a narrow, winding maze of alleys. There were several exits out of the maze, but stormtroopers were probably guarding every one, waiting for her to come out. She’d have to leave the other way.

Ytan soundlessly rose to her feet and darted down the alley behind her.

Several minutes later, she slowed to a halt and listened. They were coming behind her, fanning out through the maze. She could hear their whispered orders, the static of their comlinks, their clanking footsteps. One of them uttered a soft imprecation—perhaps he’d accidentally kicked something. Stormtroopers seemed to do things like that a lot, something she attributed to the rumored narrow field of vision their helmets allowed. She listened for a few moments longer. Footsteps…footsteps…more footsteps. Damn, there were a lot of them!

Ytan glanced up. There was her escape route—a low fire escape against the side of an old apartment building. The ladder that had originally led to the ground was gone, but she’d scraped several fingerholds in the metal with an old drill. They weren’t noticeable—several firefights had occurred here during a gang war, and the blaster scoring concealed the marks. She could easily climb to the fire escape, go to her room on the fifth floor, and hide there until the stormtroopers left.

They were getting closer. The half-breed scrambled up the wall with practiced ease. Her plan was going perfectly. One, two three ladders and she was at the window. She slid it open and slipped into the darkened room, closing it behind her. There. Ytan placed her hands on her hips and smiled—she was safe. The troopers would find that the mouse had escaped the trap.

The cold barrel of a blaster pistol pressed against the back of her head. She stiffened imperceptibly. Someone had found her hiding place. The cold, filtered voice of a stormtrooper ordered, “Don’t move. You’re under arrest.”

Another stormtrooper—a stormtrooper in dark stealth armor—appeared in front of her and relieved her of the blaster pistol strapped to her hip. The slightest trace of a smile appeared on her face. He’d missed the dagger she always stowed against her right hip under her pants. In a few moments, he’d follow procedure and search her for more weapons. That would be the moment for her attack. It was risky to try anything without knowing exactly how many troopers there were—actually, it was risky attacking at all—but it was either that or go to an Imperial prison.

The trooper reached for her arms. He was about to put her hands above her head, she knew. It was now or never.

Ytan darted to the side; a stun bolt spat out of the blaster pistol that had been against her head and struck the trooper about to search her. He dropped to the floor, his cry of surprise cut off. The girl spun to face the other trooper. Her sharp amber eyes took in the room in an instant as her hand dropped and snatched her knife out of its hiding place. There were only two troopers in here, the stunned one and the one she was facing now. He was about to fire at her again—she could hear the slight squeak of the trigger being pulled back. Ytan literally flung herself to the side; the stun bolt barely missed her. She didn’t have time to incapacitate him. Murdering a stormtrooper was a serious offense, but the Empire was already coming after her full force. Another crime wouldn’t hurt anything. Ytan threw her knife at the trooper; it buried itself in his neck.

The stormtrooper fell dead. Ytan wasted no time retrieving both her knife and her blaster pistol from the Imperials. Now, to make her escape. If there were troopers in this room, there were probably more waiting for her on this floor of the building. She needed to get out another way.

Ytan quickly slipped back out the window onto the fire escape. She had to climb higher. The part-Cathar scrambled up the ladder as quickly as she could, then glanced in the window. She saw a light on in there—that room was occupied. The teenager clambered up to the next floor. Not a chance—she could see a family of Mirialins in there. She had to find another empty one to hide in and hope that the Imperials wouldn’t find her. It was her only chance.

Three floors further up, Ytan finally found an empty apartment. Its window was fastened shut, but that wasn’t a problem. She’d become adept at picking locks years ago. This was an archaic mechanism—it didn’t even have a simple shock system to discourage robbers. In fact, it was little more than a latch with a few buttons on it to make it look fancy.

Ytan slipped her knife under the window. That was another thing she couldn’t do in most places, but the quality of the lower floors of this building was astoundingly sub-standard. The latch was just a few millimeters too long for its placement. Anything from a sheet of flimsi to, say, a knife could fit between the window and its frame.

A quick swipe to the side unlatched the window. Ytan opened it and slipped into the dark apartment. She sniffed the air. This apartment was inhabited. The lights were all out, though, so the owner was either asleep or away. She remained motionless and listened carefully. There was no snoring or other tell-tale sounds of a sleeping sentient—for now, she was safe. Ytan closed the window and crept into a side room. It seemed to be the bathroom, but it was out of sight of the apartment’s door. If the resident came back, he wouldn’t be able to see her immediately. After he’d closed the door and taken several steps away from it, she could attack and incapacitate him before he could reach the door and sound an alarm.

Or she could just pull her blaster on him and tell him to sit down.
Last edited by Endorenna on Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:39 am

The sound of a door unlatching caught Ytan's attention and she immediately held her breath. The door to the room that she was in was creaked open just enough to allow her to peer through. In the next room she could see a dark figure entering the apartment but the figure had a cloak over its head and she couldn't make out any discernible features. It closed the door and took a few steps away, it’s back to her. Ytan crept up on the robed individual as silent as a panther just before the final lunge.

Nova froze when she heard the click of a blaster pistol being set to kill. Instinctively she held up her hands. "Fine way to greet someone," she said in a half sarcastic tone.

"Sit down," the intruder told her. Ytan still could not see her face but from her voice she could tell that the he she was expecting earlier was actually a she. The human mixed Cathar edged back towards the wall, away from her prisoner. The figure sitting across from her was indeed a woman and she had taken off her hood revealing her auburn mane and penetrating emerald gaze. The human looked up at her but made no move to attack.

"So what is it you plan to do with me now," she asked, "You haven't shot me yet so I'm guessing that you need me for something. A hostage, perhaps?"

Ytan remained silent. Nova leaned to the side pretending to peer through the door behind the Cathar. "The Storm Troopers outside they're after you, aren't they?"

The girl's face didn’t move, but her eyes seemed to flash something akin to surprise or annoyance. Nova smiled. "I thought so," she purred, "Well, it won't be long before they find you. They'll no doubt search this entire building from top to bottom. It'll be fun to see how far you're willing to go when they do."

Truth was Nova was merely toying with her. She had borrowed this apartment a few days before from its original owner. The man was only too happy to let her stay here for awhile but that was only because Nova had offered not to kill him if he did. The only reason she was interested in this place was because she had heard reports of a mix-breed Cathar running about and figured it had to be her mark. The fact that the Cathar had come to her was a stroke of pure luck. She wasn't working for the Imperials, though, so having them here at the same time presented a bit of a complication. Her employer would be--dismayed to say the least if Nova had allowed the experiment to slip through his grasp and the female bounty hunter was not in the business of disappointing her clients.

"So, should we play a game while we wait? Or did you have your heart set on a little quiet time," Nova asked while she continued to taunt her with that confident smile of hers. She had no weapons on her but she of course wouldn't need any. The Cathar needed a way out and all she had to do was present one to her then Ytan would be putty in her hands...

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:18 am

Ytan watched her prisoner coldly. Wouldn't she ever stop prattling? Of course the stormtroopers were after her. She was counting on them not searching every one of the thousands of apartments in this building--and, of course, missing this one. Still, she didn't want to get caught in here...she only had a hundred shots in her power pack, and going hand-to-hand with armed stormtroopers wasn't a situation she'd care to be in. She was running out of options. The first thing she needed to do, however, was shut that woman up before a stormtrooper heard her and investigated.

Ytan placed her finger against her lips and lifted her blaster a little higher. The meaning was clear; stop talking or I'll shoot you. She needed silence to think of a sure way out of this.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:42 pm

Much to Ytan's dismay the woman wasn't so easily intimidated. She understood perfectly what the Cathar had meant but she decided instead to ignore it. "I'm sorry, was I being too loud? I have a tendency to do that some times. Draws too much attention--but wait, that's just what you don't want, isn't it? I get confused some times. Do you mind if I use the 'fresher?"

The Cathar gave her a look that clearly said no and gestured again for her to be quiet. Nova nodded this time and pretended to be silent for just a moment. Then she started patting her thighs out of rhythm and swinging her legs into the couch while she whistled quietly to herself. After a short while she looked up at Ytan and said, "Is this going to take long? I need to be heading to the starport soon. I have my own ship, you know? Not many people here do, but I managed to save up enough money to buy one. It's not much but it flies pretty well, I guess. I'm not much of an expert, though."

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:50 pm

Ytan barely restrained herself from springing forward and breaking the woman's jaw. That would shut her up. No, no--that was probably what the woman wanted, for Ytan to get too close. A blaster at that range was as much a danger to her as it would be to the prisoner. She couldn't let her temper get the best of her. The situation with this woman could be resolved without either of them getting killed if she would just listen and obey, but that was seeming less and less likely the more that woman talked. The teenager gritted her teeth and said quietly, calmly, "Shut. Up. Now. I don't give a damn about your ship."

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:51 pm

"Really," Nova asked with feigned surprise, "that's too bad. Oh well."

Then she stood and started to walk over to her bedroom. "Where are you going," the Cathar demanded and Nova turned to flash her that same self-confident smile.

"To change," she explained simply, "unless that's a problem."

Ytan's expression seemed to say that it was but that didn't deter Nova in the least. "Look, I know you're not going to shoot me and I'm not going to shoot you so why don't we try to be civil?"

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:25 pm

The corners of Ytan's mouth twitched with mirthless amusement. "You won't shoot me because you don't have a blaster, and if you have one hidden and try to shoot me, I promise that you'll be dead before you touch the handle. You also aren't going to change because I don't want you getting your hands on whatever weapon you have hidden in your clothing drawers. Sit. Now."

This woman had no sense whatsoever. Ytan didn't have to shoot her to kill her. She could do it silently by snapping the woman's neck. It was risky getting in that close, but it could be her only option. Besides that, it was just a stupid idea to argue with the person holding the blaster. She'd learned that when she was nine. Her scavenging companion of two days hadn't been respectful to the right person, and he'd gotten his head blown off. This woman was dangerously close to meeting a similar fate.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:57 pm

"I'll only be a moment," Nova said as she slipped into the other room. Ytan immediately started forward with the intent to carry out her plan and snap the woman's neck but the second she took a step forward the rug beneath her feet shifted just enough for her to lose her balance and fall. She stumbled backwards and her head bounced off the edge of a nearby table knocking her unconscious. When she woke up some time later it was to the strange woman from before leaning over her and dabbing her forehead with a damp cloth.

"That was some fall, wasn't it," Nova noted clinically, she had long ago changed her clothing into something more comfortable and had at some point carried Ytan to her bed. She had the Cathar's head propped up with a couple of pillows and a chair pulled up to the side of the bed. "It looks like you'll be fine, though, nothing worse than a bump on the head."

She dropped the cloth into a bowl half filled with water that she had sitting on the nightstand next to Ytan's blaster then she stood and started towards the door. "I'll make you something to eat, I'm sure you're probably hungry by now. Oh," she said suddenly as if remembering something and she turned to look back at Ytan, "those Storm Troopers were here a little while ago. They wanted to search the place so I let them in. A pity they didn't find what they were looking for, though. Oh well, I tried to help them but I guess I'm just no good at that. Anyway, I'll get you some food."

Then she turned and left the room, leaving a very surprised and puzzled Ytan lying peacefully on her bed...

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:46 pm

Ytan winced. Her head was killing her. There was something damp pressing against her forehead, then disappearing, then pressing again. She could almost drift back into darkness...

No! she ordered herself fiercely. You were being hunted, and you were--

Her eyes flew open, and she found herself staring at the blurry image of the woman she'd been holding prisoner. The woman said something in a non-threatening tone--at least, Ytan didn't think she was being threatening (she couldn't really be sure thanks to the dizzy spin the room seemed to be doing). The woman continued speaking, but Ytan could make sense of a little more of it this time. "...stormtroopers were here...search...pity they didn't find...tried to help them, but I'm...food." The former prisoner straightened and left Ytan's field of vision.

The teenager grimaced and forced herself to sit up. Her head spun for a few moments, but finally seemed to slow enough for her to see. She was sitting on a bed, and the woman had gone back into the rest of the apartment. Ytan glanced around. Her blaster was sitting on a washstand nearby; she grabbed it and stood up. The last thing she remembered before blacking out was falling backwards, flailing to catch something...and then she was here. Her head must have struck something. Why hadn't the woman turned her in? What was her motive? Going against the Empire was a serious crime, so there had to be some reason other than "Oh, I wanted to be nice to the person who was just holding me at gunpoint." The teenager's eyes narrowed, and she examined her options. She could try holding the woman hostage again, but there was no point since the stormtroopers were no longer here, or she could just leave, which would be the safest bet. The aroma from the kitchen reached her nostrils; her stomach started grumbling, but she pushed away that concern. She could get her own food.

Ytan holstered her blaster and walked out of the room. She faced the woman, her mouth set in a firm line. "My thanks for your help. Sorry I almost shot you. I'll be going now." The half-breed strode towards the door.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:27 pm

"Going? So soon," Nova asked in surprise, "but we barely even know each other. At least stay long enough for dinner, why don't you?"

"No," the girl replied and she reached for the button to open the door. When she pressed the switch nothing happened so she tried pressing it again and again and still nothing.

"It does that some times," Nova said as she walked over to her. She pressed the button to open the door and it slid open on command then she stood aside to let Ytan through. The teenager carefully slipped past her but she barely made it three steps though before Nova's voice stopped her in place.

"Those Imperials may have given up for the moment but they know you're here now and they won't stop until they find you. If you don't have a plan you'll be caught within a week. You need to get out of here, leave this place entirely. If you'll let me I can take you some place safe."

It was more direct than she typically preferred but the young girl had proven surprisingly resistant to her persuasions. That too must have been part of her genetic engineering. This job was quickly becoming more trouble than it was worth.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:53 pm

Ytan's eyes narrowed. Take her someplace safe? This was definitely a trap of some sort. No one was ever this nice without an ulterior motive. The woman wasn't working with the Imperials, but she could be working with someone even worse--slavers, for instance. She'd been chased by them a few times over the past few years. Rotting in an Imperial prison was one thing, but being drugged and sold as a pleasure slave was something else entirely. That had to be why the woman wanted Ytan to eat something--the food or drink was laced with drugs that would keep her under until the woman's husband arrived to take the new "merchandise" to a holding facility. She had vaguely smelled a man's cologne in that bathroom, so her hypothesis was reasonable. But why hadn't the woman drugged her while she was unconscious? Perhaps she'd woken up sooner than the woman had thought she would.

She had to get out of here now.

The girl didn't bother to glance back at the woman. "No. I'm leaving." She started walking again; it took restraint to not break into a run. Just a little way more, she told herself. Just a little further, and you'll be away from the woman.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:30 pm

Nova watched her leave for a moment then quietly slipped back into her apartment. Idiot, she mentally berrated herself, of course she wouldn't trust me right away. She pulled the long trench coat off the hook by the door and slipped it over her shoulders. Well, time to close up shop. The apartment had served its purpose and was no longer needed. By this time tomorrow it will have been like she was never here. She crossed the living room over to her bedroom and emptied her few meager belongings from her dresser drawers. Then she dumped them callously into a bag and threw the strap over her shoulder. Her blaster she holstered on her right thigh and her lightsaber she clipped to her belt just over her left hip then she pulled her coat tightly around herself and bound it with the leather sash at her waist.

She stepped over to the window and slid it open, stopping just long enough to take one last look at her "room." I'm sure the owner will be ecstatic to get this place back, she thought to herself, albeit with a hint of sarcasm. Truth was the place was a dump, but then again home was where the heart is or at least that's how the saying went. Nova never really believed in that, though, how could she? In one night her home and everyone she ever loved were violently taken away from her, slaughtered by people they had known for literally ages. These were good people, friends who would never dream of hurting a fly and then one night they just went berserk and starting killing people. Nova's family was among those caught in the cross fire as they tried to escape, they never even stood a chance.

A sudden moist feeling on her cheek alerted Nova to the fact that she'd been thinking about home again and she quickly wiped her eyes dry and turned back to the window. She had a fix on the Cathar now and it shouldn't be too hard to follow her. She'd have to be careful and keep her distance, though, by now Ytan was probably quite familiar with her scent. It would be a travesty to be caught upwind from her mark only to alert the girl to her presence.

"I hope the money is worth all this trouble," she muttered quietly to herself as she dropped down onto the fire escape. As she made her way down the side of the building she kept track of Ytan's movement above her. Thankfully the apartment was relatively empty after the recent Imperial raid. Had the usual crowd of people been milling about keeping track of Ytan would have been nigh impossible. So much for easy. Now I'll have to find some other way to earn the girl's trust.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:10 pm

Coruscant... Imperial Center, at least, that’s what it was again, at this particular point in time. It didn't much matter who claimed ownership of the world, at least this far down the sky scrapers. Down here in the lower levels everyday was a struggle for survival. Eat or be eaten, or however that saying goes. The sentients that lived down this low were a jaded mixture of beings both human and non. That sort of thing seemed to lose its importance the lower you got down the levels. Some of the people were born down here and this was simply all they knew, others had fled to the lower levels to escape persecution up above, and a few were just here to prey off the weak before anyone else could.

Tsivoin wasn't really sure which one of those people he was. The grey skinned Zabrak with black markings couldn't remember back far enough to tell. He was just past his teen years if his guestimates were right. When he tried real hard, or sometimes real late at night when he thought he might even be dreaming, he could catch glimpses or vague memories of others of his kind. He liked to think that was his family, and sometimes he tried to sit down and remember more about them. He even scribbled down what details he could decipher in a small notepad of his. Just in case they could help later.

Either way, he'd been down here by himself for as long as he could remember. Tsivoin had grown up fast and grown up strong because of that. Eat or be eaten. He wasn't going to be some scavenger’s meal. By fate or luck he'd come across a local gang that took him in rather than trying to ransom him or sell him on the slave market. The rest was, as they say, history. The Bandits, that’s what they called themselves, they'd raised him up on the streets. Taught him how and when to fight, and where and when to run and hide. It wasn't a glamorous childhood, but he'd known no better, and he was better for it now, anyway.

Of course, as all things did, the Bandits came to an end. A rather violent, bloody end. Sometime between the fall of the Emperor and the rise of the Republic some opportunistic Hutt’s had moved into their sector of the lower levels and wiped them out so that they could set up their own mini-cartel instead. Tsivoin survived, but there wasn't anything left for him there. He'd gathered what belongings he had and set off on his own. A few years down the road he found his way into the lower level swoop racing scene and stuck around. It was fun, the bikes were fast, and it kept food in his belly and a roof over his head. Well, mostly. He still did a little fencing on the side, too. It was expensive to be a loner down in these parts.

Of course, the past few months had seen a change in that philosophy. Tensions had always been high in the upper levels and it regularly trickled down into the mid-levels as well. But rarely the hate for non-humans would reach all the way down to the lower levels and make itself known. It had done just that a few months back and it was safe to say that it changed Tsivoin's life, better or worse was yet to be seen.

~~~~
Two Months Ago, Lower Level Markets
~~~~

It was an especially wet and gloomy day in the under city as Tsivoin trudged down the walkway, the surplus leather boots that he wore scuffed along on the rough and wet permacrete as he shuffled through the throngs of sentients coming and going through the entrance to one of several marketplaces in this particular sector. He wore a pair of sturdy utility pants and a loose fitting thermal shirt; both were as black as any shadow cast down in these parts. Atop it all he had a tattered jacket that he'd had in his possession for longer than he could rightly remember. It had started out comically large on his youthful frame, but as he grew older he'd eventually filled it out properly.

The young Zabrak jockeyed through the crowd with a practiced ease, his violet colored eyes always alert and watching his surroundings for anything out of the ordinary as he went about shopping for foodstuffs. Today wasn't just gloomy and wet, though, and that was why he was especially tense. Something had felt wrong since the moment he'd left his tiny rundown apartment and every second that passed the sour feeling in his gut grew stronger and stronger.

The reason for his unease wasn't going to take much longer to present itself, as he was standing in a decently long line in front of a meat vendor the telltale sounds of an excited crowd perked his attention. He shot nervous glances around the immediate area and then located the disturbance at the very next kiosk over. Squinting to try to see better through the gloom he thought he could make out a small group of... Well they were human, he could tell that much. Far too ornately dressed and... Clean, to belong down this far. He thought to himself. There was an explanation for that, though. It simply meant that they must have been one of those that fell into the lower levels not by choice, but by necessity.

From the behavior and mannerisms that Tsivoin could see, they'd not done much acclimating to their new environment. Then he felt the crowd behind him start pushing forward. Tsivoin sighed softly. The last thing he wanted to do was move closer to the confrontation, but he couldn't fight against the momentum of the throng of beings behind him and soon he could hear the shouting clearly.

"Get back I said, Get Back!" one of the humans, female, was screeching. "She's a thief!"

Tsivoin couldn't see who she was yelling at, someone’s shoulder was in the way, but he could guess it wasn't another human.

The supposed offender said something back in defense that Tsivoin couldn't quite make out, and then from behind him another handful of humans pushed passed nearly knocking him to the ground as they went. These humans were different than the small family who had started this mess. They were dressed in ragged clothing and moved with a brazen confidence that set the Zabrak's nerves on fire. These people were trouble.

The apparent leader of this group stepped forward and sneered. "Well well, what do we have here, a lousy half-breed. Well, what do you have to say for yourself, freak?"

The crowd shifted slightly, allowing Tsivoin to see the accused. It was a teenage girl. She lifted her chin; her lip curled slightly, as if she were trying to resist baring her teeth. “I say you have no proof that I’m a thief. That bitch has been so busy trying not to let her pretty skirts touch the ground that half the people down here have probably picked her pockets.” Her yellow eyes gleamed with amusement. “Why, you might have even relieved her of a few credits yourself.”

The leader immediately threw a punch at her. The girl dodged back to avoid the stroke, then darted close to him again to plunge her elbow into his stomach. He, unprepared for the attack, doubled over with the air knocked out of him. The teenager was beside him in a moment; she clasped her fists together and smashed them down on his lower back. From his unbalanced position, he couldn’t keep from toppling over.

The other two humans were on her in an instant. The teenager spun to face the nearest one, tilting her head slightly so his first blow glanced off her jaw instead of hitting her full in the face. She kneed him in the groin and whirled to defend herself from the other one. His fist had been drawn back to deliver a punch to her kidneys; instead it caught her in the side. She choked on her own gasp. That instant’s delay was all the man needed to grab her arm. The girl cursed, half-turned, and kicked him in the stomach as hard as she could without being able to build up much momentum. He, however, had been prepared for it, so it barely fazed him. Her free hand raked down his face a moment later, leaving bloody scratches in its wake.

By this time, the leader had regained his feet. He caught her free arm from behind and jerked it back, snapping her away from the man she’d been fighting. The other man, who’d seemed to have recovered from his rather ignominious injury, hit her again—with much more success this time since both of his companions kept her from dodging.

"Frell." Tsivoin muttered to himself. He couldn't afford to get involved in this, but he knew better than to think he actually had a choice. Enough was enough, and no one else seemed to be about to take a stand. His violet eyes narrowed down to slits and he shoved his way out of the crowd and rushed the thug, catching his arm as he reared back for another strike and spinning him away from Ytan. He lodged his fist into the center of the mans chest which forced the air from his lungs and sent him staggering backwards.

Tsivoin followed after him landing a solid cross into the aggressors jaw and being rewarded with a sickening sounding crack. Although the shot did what it needed to do and incapacitated the attacker, the impact of his knuckles into the mans chin bone was enough to make the Zabrak pause and grab at his own hand. That was all the time the leader of the pack needed to shove Ytan over to his partner before coming up behind Tsivoin and grabbing him around the neck.

The mans arm tightened down around Tsivoin's neck and he began to grow short of breath. The young Zabrak growled in frustration and slammed his head backwards into the humans. The grip around his neck slackened and he stumbled out of it, half-dazed from the head butt. He staggered from one side to the other briefly, then turned and took off passed the stunned leader and towards Ytan and her captor.

If the situation hadn't been so dire, he might have stopped to laugh. The 'captor' was practically fighting for his life. This teen was certainly not helpless. As it was, he didn't have any more time to reflect on this. He shoved his way in between the two of them and knocked the man backwards before grabbing hold of Ytan's wrist firmly. "Come-on, lets get out of here" he muttered and took off through the crowd, battering the onlookers out of their way as they fled, leaving the three men to gather themselves, bruised and slashed from fists and claws.

He kept hold of her wrist and kept running until they were out of the market and up a pair of levels, then ducked into a stairway that was shadowed from buildings on either side. He let go of her wrist and leaned against the permacrete wall, catching his breath. "You ok?" he asked, bringing his violet eyes up to examine her appearance.

The girl cast him a glance and replied brusquely, “A few bruises. That’s all.” Her nose was bleeding; she swiped the back of her hand across her mouth. The half-breed turned her eyes away from him and to her bloody hand. She barked out a short laugh. “I hope I left that big one a few scars. He’ll always be able to tell how a ‘freak’ girl half his size messed up his pretty face.”

Several moments later, she sighed heavily and looked up at him, a scowl on her face. “I suppose I should thank you.”

Tsivoin looked up from his bruised knuckles, his brow creasing as his left eyebrow lifted ever so slightly. He held the incredulous look for a few silent seconds before he shrugged his broad shoulders lazily and went back to rubbing at his knuckles.

"Suppose you're welcome, then." He replied.

The girl's scowl deepened, as if she were annoyed. “I was about to continue with a ‘thanks’, but never mind.”

Tsivoin couldn't help but chuckle a bit in reply as he slowly leaned back against the building behind him. "You've certainly got spunk. I'll give you that. Names Tsivoin, by the way." He trailed off into a grimace as he ran a hand over the bump on the back of his head. "Fella sure had a thick melon."

Her scowl changed to a thin smile. “Don’t worry. I’m sure your horns hurt him more than his skull hurt you.” She straightened a little. “I’ll be going now.” The teenager started away at run, only to stop and clutch her side involuntarily. Her jaw tightened visibly, and she slowed to a walk.

He watched her bolt with mild amusement, scoffing a bit before starting off at a lazy clip, intent to get home before anything else could happen to him... Then he saw her gait falter and the smirk dissolved into a concerned frown. He was two steps away from her when he took a mental pause and asked himself why the frell he was concerned. He could turn around right now and never see her again. This was Coruscant for crying out loud. She was trouble he didn't need. Yet he kept on walking anyway, coming up behind and then beside her and reaching out with both hands to slow her down and straighten her up.

"Hey, ease up a minute, you're hurt." he spoke softly.

The girl hissed back, “I’m fine! I just need to sit down for a minute!” She drew in a breath and gritted her teeth. “Just a few more bruises than I thought.” The teenager allowed him to help her straighten up, but didn’t slow down.

Tsivoin sighed a bit, but kept on walking with her. She was trying to be tough but as far as he was concerned she was being too tough for her own good. He glanced up at a way-marker to figure out just where they were at. "Listen those guys did a number on you, just slow down a bit. I've got a place not to far from here. You can rest up there for awhile." He told her.

The girl started to reply, but another spasm of pain cut her off. Reluctantly, she growled back, “Fine. Just for a little while.” Her amber eyes sharpened. She cast him a steely glare and purred, “Don't try anything while I'm there. I kill far better than I defend myself."
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:13 pm

Ytan decided to take an indirect route to the ground; she went up the elevator to the roof, then crossed over to one of the fire escapes and climbed down that way. It had been a long climb of over half a mile; fortunately, this was one of the shorter buildings on Coruscant. Now she was back on the ground...and she had to decide what to do.

The woman had been right; without a plan, she would be caught soon. The stormtroopers had the edge everywhere above ground, and she couldn't get off the planet without going through one of the Imperial security points. There was only one option: she had to go underground.

Ytan was standing beside a manhole in one of the innumerable alleys of Coruscant. This was where she had emerged from the sewer-like underground a few years ago. Now she was going back down. Her memory was good; she could find her way around down in the darkness with her eyes closed, but of course, she could see in the dark anyway. There was always the danger that the paths had changed since she'd left--but she would survive it. This was her only chance.

The half-breed glanced around; she didn't see anyone. She sniffed the air; no unusual smells. Ytan carefully pulled up the thin metal slab, took one more look around, and slipped into the darkness below.

She was clinging to a ladder now. It was only about thirty feet tall, if her memory served her. The girl let the manhole cover drop back into place, and she began descending. Back when she's escaped from this place, a gang had occupied the tunnels all around here. They were probably gone by now. No gang lasted more than a few years down here. She sniffed the air again and almost choked. There was one thing she'd forgotten--the smell of mildew, algae, rotten corpses, stagnant water--it pervaded the greater part of the sewers. It was hard to smell anything but that foul stench down here, so her eyes and ears would have to guide her.

Several minutes later, Ytan was walking swiftly through the tunnels. She needed to get away from her point of entry as soon as possible, just in case someone tracked her there. One corner of her mouth rose. She recognized this particular tunnel--this was where someone had attacked her while she was escaping. The memory of his blood spurting onto her face, flowing under her fingernails, warm and rich...it was a lovely shade of red, she remembered. She'd killed people since then, but none in quite so satisfying a way. She smiled to herself and closed her eyes, allowing herself to indulge in the memory. The pursuit afterwards had almost been the end of her, but it was worth it. After the man—no, it had been a teenager about the age she was now, actually—had grabbed her arm, she had bitten his hand to make him let go, then broken his leg and threw away his blaster. He’d tried to grab her again, so she had broken his other knee and dug her fingers into his throat. She hadn’t stopped at the skin, oh no. Her fingers had gone in deep and come back out, ripping away his life and his screams—

She wasn’t alone.

Ytan cursed herself inwardly. Dammit, she’d let herself be distracted! That was unacceptable! Her hand darted down to grab her blaster, but her fingers closed on empty air.

A cold metal blaster pressed into the small of her back. The breath of her captor was hot on her neck; he was right behind her. He smelled…he smelled like the sewers themselves. Still, she should have heard him, seen him, and felt him take her weapon. She had no excuse.

A male voice snapped, “Put your hands above your head and walk forward. Your blaster’s set to kill.”

Ytan slowly lifted her hands. So much for using her knife. She started walking forward as slowly as she thought she could get away with. Her head turned slightly. “I’m just passing through. Didn’t know this area was claimed. I’ll leave as—“

“Stop talking!” he hissed. The cold blade of a knife scraped across the back of right arm. “I recognize these marks.”

Ytan frowned for a moment. Marks? What—oh, those marks. She barely thought about the irregular brown streaks on her arms anymore. “What abou—“

“I said to stop talking!” The voice was filled with anger now. “Is that how you killed my brother? You got him off-guard and then murdered him?”

Her brow furrowed. “What—“

“Shut it or lose your tongue!”

Ytan scowled. When she got out of this, she was gonna give this guy exactly what he deserved. She’d killed lots of people. Which one would be this guy’s brother? The one she’d been thinking about a minute ago? Perhaps his brother had taken over that sentry duty. Strange that gang still existed. What bargaining power did she have?

None. None whatsoever.

Again, she cursed herself. Returning to this place was, quite possibly, the worst idea of her life. At this rate, it would be the last idea of her life, too. She knew how people died at the hands of gangs—she knew what that scum she’d killed during her escape had tried to do. This wasn’t how she planned to end her days.

There was light around the next bend in the tunnel. Ytan and her captor rounded the bend, and she saw eight men sitting around a fire—all human. They looked up, saw her, and stood.

Ytan’s captor shoved her into the light. A triumphant note rang in his voice. “Finally got her.”

One of the others, a middle-aged man missing one eye, crossed his arms and asked gruffly, “This the schutta that got your brother?”

“Yea. I told you she’d come back eventually. Tie her hands behind her back, and watch out for her claws. Remember what she did to Kale?”

The one-eyed man did so; the cord was pulled so tight around her wrists that it dug into her skin. Only then did she feel the blaster fall from her back. A hand grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. The half-breed lifted her chin slightly, wishing that she had time to congratulate herself. She’d been right about who his brother was—now she guessed that they’d been twin brothers, since this guy looked almost exactly like how she remembered the man four years ago—just a little older.

The look in his eyes told her one thing: she was out of options.

The one-eyed man in her peripheral vision grinned. “Care to do the honors?”

The young man glanced at him. “’Course. Here.” He tossed the other man the blaster and knife in his hands, then returned his hate-filled eyes to her. “Better check her for weapons first. The schutta got the drop on Kale—she must’ve had something hidden.”

Ytan desperately tried to think of a way out. She couldn’t attack without the others firing, She couldn’t run without being caught. She couldn’t reason with a vengeance-hungry human.

The young man had been running his hands down her slight form, searching for weapons. He came up with her knife and tossed it to the one-eyed man, then continued looking for more.

She had to try something, anything! Nothing could possibly make the situation worse than it was! Ytan put a grave, sincerely apologetic look on her face. “Listen, your brother attacked me. I had to defen—“

A hard slap across the face cut off her words and sent her sprawling to the ground. She tasted blood in her mouth. Ytan drew in a shuddering breath.

Out of options.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:14 pm

~~~~
Present time, outside of the Apt Complex
~~~~

Tsivoin had stopped racing for awhile, after taking Ytan in and looking after her as much as the stubborn teen would allow, he’d figured out that she was on the run, and it hadn’t taken very long to narrow down the suspects to the biggest, most obvious one, the Empire. After a few rocky weeks, the two managed to cultivate at least a shaky working trust between them. Things hadn’t been going so bad, and Tsivoin even started to realize that life was a little bit easier with someone else around to help shoulder the load.

Then, on his way back to the apartment, he saw patrol after patrol of Stormtroopers. The chill running up his spine was all the proof he needed to make the logical jump. They were here for Ytan. A frown worked its way slowly across his features. He could only hope that she’d managed to evade them. He waited in the shadows and watched as they swept the area and the building. It was a long wait, but eventually the troopers vacated the area, and to Tsivoin’s relief they left empty handed.

Once he felt it was safe he double timed it to the flat that he’d been sharing with Ytan, but the place was empty. He grabbed up his weapons and a stack of spare credits, and then posted up near the edge of the district. If she knew they were after him, he had no doubt she’d bolt. For whatever reason he didn’t feel right turning the other direction and forgetting about her. Hours passed, but his patience paid off. He caught a glimpse of her on the run and started to trail her at a safe distance. She was headed down. He wasn’t quite sure why, but she’d always come off like she felt safer the lower down on the planet she was.

She led him on an irregular and zigzagged course to the under-city sewers. He had to admit he was impressed. The teen certainly knew how to evade capture and pursuit. It was only because of Tsivoin’s intimate knowledge of the area that he managed to keep up with her at all. Then he watched on as she disappeared down into the sewer system. That was dangerous territory. It definitely wasn’t someplace to go by yourself.

With a deep breath and a last minute check of his equipment, he ducked into an alternate sewer entrance and descended into the smelly rotten depths of Coruscant’s underbelly. His boots hit the ground and he scanned from left to right. Light was scarce down here, most of it coming from bioluminescent fungi and creatures. He’d have to watch his step. Tsivoin moved forward slowly, taking care to not make any unneeded noise to draw any attention to him. The shiver that had been working up his spine had spread out to most of his nerve clusters now. He could feel the danger around him and knew that something bad was about to happen.

He stopped suddenly and reached down to his hip, the palm of his hand landing on the reassuring metal of his blaster pistols grip. He could hear a ruckus up ahead. It could just be a random group of under city dwellers, or it could be what his gut told him it was… Ytan in trouble.

He yanked the pistol out of his belt and bent down to pick up a nearby rock. Then he stalked his way around the corner and saw the source of the flickering light. It was a fire… near it he counted just short of a dozen humans. An under city gang, no doubt. As he watched Ytan being struck to the ground his violet eyes flared up with hardly controlled rage. He sucked in a deep breath and chucked the rock up over their heads so that it made a racket and caused them to turn to investigate the other direction.

The Zabrak didn’t hesitate. His finger tightened down on the trigger of his blaster pistol as he swept the barrel along their ranks. His element of surprise now expired, he crouched down and started scrambling to his left looking for any sort of cover and hoping Ytan would be able to stay out of harms way…
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:10 pm

Ytan’s jaw stiffened, and she closed her eyes. She only had seconds, and nothing to do in those seconds that could spare her the pain, the…death. Death was something she’d never really thought…well, she’d known that she would die eventually, of course, but…but not like this. Not like this.

Something clattered in the far side of the sewer. Her eyes sprang open, immediately trying to discern the cause and how to use it to escape. Every one of her captors had looked towards the sound. She glanced at the weapons in One-eye’s hands. If only she could reach her knife!

Blaster fire poured into them from the direction opposite the sound. One-eye fell first; a few others that she hadn’t really paid attention to followed his kind example. Ytan’s eyes flared up again. Someone must have been tracking her, and frankly, she would even welcome a stormtrooper at that moment. One-eye’s corpse had dropped the weapons only a couple feet away from her—and the unsheathed knife that the young man had been using was almost within reach.

The blaster fire had stopped now, but the five remaining men’s attention was focused on the darkness, not on her. Even the young man (who had, unfortunately, thrown himself to the ground at the first sound of blasterfire), wasn’t paying attention to her. Perfect.

Ytan rolled over on her back and gripped the uneven floor with her tied hands. Carefully, she edged herself closer to the knife. There; she had it. The men were all firing into the darkness now—hopefully, they wouldn’t hit whoever had attacked them before she could get loose. She would have to sit up to cut this cord without stabbing herself in the back.

The half-breed managed to sit up; the man who had been behind her had stepped past her to get a better look into the darkness. She braced the end of the knife against the hard ground and started sawing at the tough cord. Her wrists were getting sliced by the blade, but it didn’t matter—that would be the least of her worries if she couldn’t free herself.

A minute later, the blaster fire had fallen silent. Two more men had fallen. The rest were trying desperately to see through the thick blackness that surrounded them. The cord slipped off of Ytan’s badly cut wrists. There, she was free! Her gleaming eyes turned to backs of her captors. Time for payback.

Ytan positioned herself in a crouch and reached for one of the blaster pistols on the ground beside her. Any sudden movement, and one of the thugs might see her in his peripheral vision…

The young man turned around and saw her. Ytan froze; his blaster was pointed directly at her. He covered the distance between them in two strides, keeping his pistol trained on her head.

Another sound echoed in the darkness; whether it was Ytan’s rescuer or a vrelt wandering around, it saved her. She brought her arm smashing back into the young man’s legs. He fell forwards with a shout of surprise, but his pistol was already going off. The shot went wild and killed one of the last two men. Ytan dove for the pistol on the ground and came up with it. One quick shot, and the other one was down.

The young man was leaping to his feet. Ytan glared at him, her desperation turning into rage. Her blaster pistol came up and fired three times. He never regained his feet.

Ytan spat on the body contemptuously. She should have shown him what she’d done to his brother—the first-hand experience he couldn’t have lived to tell anyone about.

Enough! He was dead! There were more pressing matters, like the someone out in the darkness. Who was he, and why was he here?

Ytan darted to the side of the sewer pipe and pressed herself against it. “Who’s there?”

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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:16 pm

Tsivoin paused a moment to catch his breath, his back was pressed up against something metal, but in the darkness he couldn't discern what it actually was. The grey skinned Zabrak kept the blaster pistol in his hand and set to kill. He'd seen the last of the thugs go down, but that didn't mean they didn't have more friends lurking about in the shadows. He could feel the surge of adrenaline dying down and his body shook slightly in the aftermath.

"Who's there?" Ytan called out.

He shoved off the cover he'd been using and held his hands out by his sides non-threateningly. "It's Tsiv." he replied. "Don't shoot me."
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:23 pm

Ytan's eyes narrowed. Tsiv? What was he doing down here? She'd left him back in the apartment this morning. What if this was a trap? But--how would anyone know that Tsiv was helping her? The half-breed peered into the darkness. She could see well enough, despite the glare from the fire. There--a figure in the black. Ytan studied it intently. The figure did look like Tsiv, and he'd certainly sounded like Tsiv. For some reason, she was inclined to think that it actually was Tsiv. If it wasn't, she could just shoot him and leave, after all.

The girl leveled her pistol at the figure and replied evenly, "Step into the light. I want to see you clearly."

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:52 pm

The sewers, Nova grumbled quietly to herself, why'd it have to be the sewers? She understood the reasoning behind going underground but she still hated the idea of it. Still, there was nothing she could do about it. Ytan went underground so now she was going underground as well. When she took a step towards the manhole cover, though, she felt the presence of someone else and slipped back into the shadows. A Zabrak, about the same age as the mix-breed, slid open the manhole cover and climbed underground after Ytan. This piqued Nova's interest, not many people would go into the sewers on their own unless they needed to. That meant either this kid was in trouble or he was after Ytan, but for what reason? A friend perhaps? Or competition? She didn't like the idea that someone else could be after her payday. Nova wasn't the type that liked to share.

She waited a few moments longer before walking over to the manhole and slipping underground. The Zabrak had headed down the sewer in the direction Ytan had gone before Nova had lost her. She didn't know him well enough to really feel his presence in the Force but he was the only life signature around so it wasn't like it was too difficult to track him. He led her down one tunnel after another until finally he stopped, drew his pistol and leaned over slightly to pick up a rock. Nova had seen enough, so the boy was after her payday after all. She debated trying to subdue him but decided instead to observe him just a moment longer. A rash action now could prove costly, she would rather not have to harm the poor girl to get her to come back to her ship. Her employer's were rather strict on that part. Alive and unharmed, she thought with a half-cocked smile, not likely what with the way this girl goes from trouble to trouble like its running out of style.

The boy edged closer to a wide open area and ducked down. Nova couldn't see what was in the room beyond but she could hear voices and feel Ytan's presence again. The girl had gotten herself mixed up with someone else now and from the sounds of things they weren't too happy to see her. Now was the time for her to act but the moment she took a step forward the boy reached back with the rock and chucked it into the other room. Nova swore under her breath and ducked back around the corner. Immediately after throwing the rock the boy drew a bead on the first thug and opened fire. Nova couldn't see what he was shooting at but she could sense at least half a dozen men in there maybe more.

"Stupid boy," she muttered under her breath. Figures the first thing he'd do is resort to violence, Nova found that such a waste. She wasn't at all opposed to killing people when she needed to but she preferred instead to handle things diplomatically. Of course her version of diplomatic meant tricking people into giving her the things she wants. Attacking eight people out of the blue, though, was reckless no matter who you were. Nova herself could pull it off but not even she would risk it so callously.

Fortunately the boy's gamble worked out well in the end. She was too far away to help Ytan or even see what was happening with her but the girl was still alive and that was enough for Nova. She didn't immediately step out of her hiding spot though and chose instead to wait quietly to see what happens next. The boy didn't seem intent on shooting Ytan or moving in to capture her and instead held his hands out at arm's length as he stepped out into the open. Nova could hear them talking just up ahead but their voices seemed to echo off every surface down here which made it difficult to understand what they were saying. They seemed to know each other, though, which was a relief to Nova. It meant the boy wasn't a competitor after all. Quietly she edged closer to them while keeping to the shadows. Showing herself now would only make Ytan suspicious of her even more. No, Nova would have to follow them unseen just a bit longer until another opportunity presented itself.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:18 am

He smirked a bit but did as he was told, making sure to keep the blaster pistol out to his side but ready just in case he needed it. He stepped forward slowly and deliberately, rounding the corner of his shield and then forward into the flickering glow of the fire.

Ytan studied his face carefully for several long moments, then lowered her pistol. She took a step closer to him. "You seem to have a habit of saving me. What are you doing down here?"

"I could ask you the same thing." he replied matter-of-factly, then gestured up and behind him vaguely. "Saw all the unfriendly folks in the white suits while I was on my way home this afternoon, put one and two together, figured they were after you." he shrugged a bit and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "Now that they've been there, my place isn't exactly safe anymore, and I reckoned you might need a hand."

The girl pursed her lips slightly. "No. I've lived here for years. I only got caught this time 'cuz I went soft for a minute. I won't let that happen again. Not like I have any other good memories to dwell on, anyway. Go back to the surface, Tzi. Once the Imps stop looking for me, I'll come back and try to find you." She frowned, as if she'd suddenly remembered something distateful. "Thanks for your help."

A light frown cast a shadow over Tsivoin's features and his brow dropped low over his eyes. "You're not getting it, Ytan. They may not have gotten you this time, but they aren't completely inept. They'll have run the registry on the apartment by now. My holo is probably pinned up on some squadroom's wall right next to yours. What do I have to go back up to?" he replied with a helpless shrug of his shoulders.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:54 am

Ytan scowled. He did have a point. They'd been waiting for her in the apartment itself, so they had to know she'd been staying with him. Damn it all! She didn't want to have to drag along extra weight! She could hide herself far more easily than she could hide both of them! The half-breed abruptly knelt and picked up her knife. There--at least he couldn't see her face while she consented to let him some along. As much as she didn't want him...well, he had saved her--twice--and he'd taken her in after her ribs had been broken. Besides that, he was in a spot because of her. She'd always managed to keep her troubles centered on herself before, but now that they were actually affecting someone else, she wasn't about to make that person handle it on their own. Besides, she reasoned, if she offended him, he might go to the Imperials and tell them where she was. Ytan tried to make her voice matter-of-fact as she replied, "I suppose you better come along, then. You been down here before?"

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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:21 am

Tsivoin took a step backwards as she knelt down to retrieve her knife and glanced around the immediate area while she responded. When she finally looked back up towards him he shook his head slightly. "Not since I was a runt." he replied, holding his blaster toting hand out at about waist height.

Ytan said flatly, "Guess I'm the guide. No light down here for a ways. Just follow me." She stood up and briskly strode down the tunnel, keeping her eyes peeled for any other enemies. "If you hear anything, tell me. Might be our next meal running past."

Tsiv knelt down and quickly relieved some of the recently deceased of their weaponry, then hustled after Ytan.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." - C. S. Lewis

"And for one last instance, I'm Human again." - Sergeant Ghost

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:21 am

Ytan walked through the sewers, her ears pricked for any signs of danger. There was an intersection a mile or so further that served as a hub for those confined to this dark place; from there, she and Tsiv could head to the place she’d usually lived before she escaped. Having both her and Tsiv in that unused sewage tank would be tight, but doable. Before she’d escaped the sewers, she had made sure that the opening was perfectly concealed. If all was as she left it, the small tube—the only access to the tank—would still be concealed, and the only occupants would be a few vrelts. If they wasn't the case…well, they’d handle that when it came up.

Up ahead, she heard something. It was static—and a voice. Her heart sank. It wasn’t just a voice—it was a filtered voice. Stormtroopers.

The girl paused, held up her hand for Tziv to stop, and closed her eyes, listening. She scowled. There were ten or twelve troopers. This would be difficult. There was no place to hide in this area, so they’d have to get rid of the troopers the old-fashioned way. At least she wouldn’t need to just disable them. She’d already killed one stormtrooper, so a few more wouldn’t matter.

They were close now, just around the bend. The light from their glowsticks shone brightly in the darkness. Ytan grabbed Tsiv’s arm and darted to the side of the tunnel. She let go of him and drew her blaster. Hopefully he’d have the sense to do the same.
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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:49 am

Tsivoin crouched down against the side of the tunnel as he pondered their newest predicament. He saw Ytan draw her blaster and began to do the same, and then he saw the streaks from the glow rods. He couldn't gather an accurate count but there were clearly far too many of them. He caught his lower lip between his teeth in thought. They needed a plan, a way out... and one that didn't include charging in blasters firing. Storm troopers weren't sewer thugs, he and the girl might have been able to take out a few of them but their squad mates would riddle them with holes before they had time to think twice.

He shook his head quickly and re-holstered his pistol. He could see the first of the troopers now rounding the corner and could feel the tension in the sewer reaching a boiling point. Just as Ytan started to take aim he reached over and batted down her shooting arm. "We don't have a chance against that many." he whispered tersely. "We'll have to find another way."

Ytan glared at him and hissed back fiercely, "There is no other way!"

“Just stay back, try to stay out of sight.” He hissed back and then shot to his feet and out into the middle of the sewer. He headed off in the direction of the troopers at a decent clip and just as the first line of their formation turned down the corridor he found himself crashing into them.

He feigned shock and surprise for a moment as he struggled in the tangle of limbs and blaster rifles. Eventually pulling himself back upright by the shoulder armor of one of the troopers.

“Halt, identify yourself!” one of the troopers barked.

Tsiv was breathing heavily as he removed his hands from the trooper and backed up a step, placing himself just a bit further between them and Ytan. He’d stopped their movement, at the very least. Only the first line had crossed the bend before they’d all come to a halt. “Thank goodness you’re here.” He exclaimed. “Some underhanded coward just took off this way with my stuff; bastard sucker punched me and took off with my bag. You must have just missed seeing him. Come-on if we hurry we can still get him.”

He was running off of pure adrenaline at this point… Tsivoin had never been so close to so many Storm Troopers before and he didn’t have any clue what his hair-brained scheme was going to accomplish, but for some reason he felt certain that things were going to work out… somehow.
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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:44 pm

"Nice try, kid, but we haven't see anyone come this way at all," the storm trooper replied, "You got a name, boy?"

Tzi was about to answer when one of the other storm troopers tapped the commander on his shoulder. There was some deliberation between them that Tzi couldn't really make out and then the lead storm trooper raised his gun and pointed it directly at the Zabrak. "On your knees, hands in the air!"

Tzi resisted the urge to swear and did exactly as he was asked. Then the commander turned back to look at the rest of his unit. "Search the area, find the girl."

"That won't be necessary," a new voice interrupted and Nova finally revealed herself. She walked confidently over to the storm troopers showing no signs of fear and deliberately placed herself between Tzi and the Imperials.

The storm trooper looked at her, his head tilted to the side in a manner of confusion. "What exactly do you mean by that, girl?"

"What I mean is you're not going to find anyone. This boy was here alone."

"And just who are you supposed to be?"

Nova shrugged, "No one in particular. I just happened to be passing through."

"Down here?"

"Yeah, why not?"

The trooper considered that a moment then turned back to his second in command. "Arrest her too, she could be an accomplice."

"You're not going to arrest me," Nova said calmly and the trooper looked back at her.

"What makes you so sure of that?"

"I won't let you."

"Would you rather I shot you instead?"

Nova couldn't help but smile. "Oh would you? That would be so much fun."

"Take her," the trooper said with a wave to one of his subordinates. The man took a step forward but his foot slipped on something and he tumbled over backwards into the others. Another trooper tried to come forward and he too slipped and fell onto his back.

Nova seemed shocked and surprised by the display. "Are you alright," she asked them in concern, "I hope no one was hurt, these pipes can be pretty slippery."

The leader was unfazed by the woman's antics and leveled his blaster at her. "On your knees!"

"What for?"

"On your knees or I'll shoot," he repeated.

"And if I don't," she took a step forward and the trooper squeezed the trigger only to be answered with a click rather than a discharge of his weapon. "Did you leave the safety on? You silly man, you'll never shoot anyone like that."

The trooper quickly checked his gun and disengaged the safety on it and as soon as he did that the power pack fell out of his rifle. Swearing under his breath he tried to reach for it and he too slipped on something and fell. Nova just stood over him with her hands on her hips lightly shaking her head. "Today just isn't your day is it, Commander? You and your men should probably go now before things get even more embarrassing."

The trooper just stared up at her in disbelief then he quickly gathered up his power pack and ordered the others to retreat. Nova had waited until they disappeared down an adjoining pipeline before she turned to look at Tzi. "That was a pretty foolish thing you just did," she told him plaintively, "but just out of curiosity how were planning on escaping after they arrested you?"

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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:00 pm

Tsiv pulled himself back up to his feet and let out the breath he'd been painfully aware of holding. He didn't know how the frell things had worked out, but somehow he'd known that they would. The Zabrak turned to face the stranger and cocked his head to the side.

"Who's asking?"
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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:13 pm

"A friend," Nova said simply.

Tzi crossed his arms over his chest and gave her a hard look though he knew there was a chance she wouldn't be able to see it in this dim light. "That's not good enough."

"Well then, you can call me Nova."

"Alright," Tzi replied, albeit a bit skeptically, "Why are you here, Nova?"

She just shrugged. "Concern, mostly. The girl I was helping left my apartment in such a hurry I was worried for her. I didn't think I'd run into storm troopers down here, though, that's something of a surprise. You haven't seen a girl around, have you? I sort of lost track of her. These tunnels are so confusing down here it's like a maze."

She was of course lying. She knew Ytan was just a little ways back the way they had come hiding from the storm troopers, but neither of these two needed to know that she knew that and keeping certain things a secret often helped out in the long run.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:19 pm

Ytan cursed as Tsiv ran up to the stormtroopers. Did the fool actually think that would help? Now she couldn't shoot at the stormtroopers for fear of them shooting him! She licked her dry lips and aimed her blaster at the lead stormtrooper. Tsiv had brought his fate upon himself. She didn't want him to die, but she wouldn't give up her freedom for him.

The stormtroopers talked for a minute, the one of them aimed his rifle at Tsiv and ordered him to kneel. The Zabrak did so. Ytan sighted down the barrel of her pistol. There--one pull of the trigger and the stormtrooper commander would be missing his head. Tsiv would probably lose his an instant later--she would hold off as long as she could.

A female human walked out of the shadows and into the stormtroopers. Ytan frowned. That was strange--she hadn't noticed the woman until just now. The lady talked to the rather clumsy commander for a minute; he and the rest of the stormtroopers simply left, leaving Tsiv behind.

Ytan's eyes narrowed. That woman...looked familiar. The half-breed sniffed the air. She smelled the sewers, of course, the rot, the decay, the waste...there was another smell. She sniffed again. That was the smell of...

Oh, damn.

The slaver woman.

Ytan aimed her pistol at the woman's head. What was she doing down here? Ytan had been so careful to not leave a trail! Could the woman have put some sort of homing device on her while she was unconscious? That was certainly possible. Still, she hadn't felt any unusual weight on her clothing, and earlier, when the thug was searching her for weapons, he hadn't found anything but her knife.

The half-breed crouched slightly lower and waited, listening intently to the woman's conversation with Tsiv. She said that her name was Nova, that she was worried about the girl who'd been in her apartment...common lie, not even a clever one...but what else? There had to be come indication of why she had followed a stranger into one of the most dangerous parts of Coruscant!

"You haven't seen a girl around, have you?"

Silentl, Ytan promised herself that if he told this Nova her name, she would kill Nova...then teach Tsiv a painful lesson, though not a lethal one.
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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:27 pm

Nova could feel Ytan's presence drawing nearer. The girl was quite skilled at remaining undetected, she doubted the Zabrak in front of her even noticed that she had moved. When she felt the girl aiming her pistol at her, though, she decided she better do something before she ended up with an extra hole in her head. A sudden whisper of a sound next to Ytan's ear was enough to spook her for a moment. Her head whipped around in the direction of the sound and instinctively she took a step backwards. That's when her foot slipped and she stumbled out into the open.

"Oh there you are," Nova said with genuine delight, "I was looking all over for you! You're not hurt anywhere, are you?"

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:12 pm

Meanwhile, back on the surface...

The storm trooper squad commander was the last to emerge from the sewer onto the street. When he was clear of the interference caused from underground electronics the first thing he did was flip on his communicator and contact HQ. "TK-847, reporting in."

"Roger that, TK-847, any sign of the target?"

"Negative, Sir, but we did find the boy she was staying with."

"And," the man on the other end said, his tone clearly implying that he expected more.

"And there were some complications," the trooper replied reluctantly. He wished he could say the boy simply got away but what actually happened was far more embarrassing.

"Complications? Such as?"

The trooper shifted his weight unnervingly. "There was a woman, but not the one that we're searching for. She, um... Helped the boy to escape."

"How?"

"I'm not sure," he answered truthfully. He didn't know how the woman had done it but he knew in his gut that she had done something to them. "I'm sending over a picture of her face now," he said, pressing the transmit button on his personal datapad. A progress bar appeared and quickly filled up then he put the device back into the pocket on his belt.

There was a moment of silence on the other end as HQ was receiving the file and then finally the man spoke up. "I'm having our people run a scan on her now. While they're doing that you need to get back down there and find that boy."

"And what about the woman?"

"Shoot her," the officer replied and then he cut the transmission.

The trooper's gaze dropped down towards the E-11 rifle he carried in his other hand. I'm not sure I can, he grumbled quietly to himself...

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:29 pm

Ytan cursed yet again. What was that? She never slipped like that, but it had happened twice in one day--both around that woman. The half-breed brought her pistol to bear on the woman's head again and snapped harshly, "Back off! Why are you following me! Don't give me that 'I wanted to make sure you were all right' garbage, either, 'cuz I'm not stupid enough to believe that anyone would come down here out of the goodness of her heart!" She glanced at Tsiv for a moment and added, "Not for someone who tried to kill her, at least."
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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:04 pm

Nova watched her carefully but her expression never changed. She still wore that infuriatingly confident smirk she had back when Ytan was holding her at gun point in her own apartment. "You don't trust people too well, do you," she noted clinically, "I suppose its for the best. Trusting too easily is unhealthy for people like us."

"Us?" Ytan repeated simultaneously confused and annoyed that the woman would dare compare herself to them.

"People on the run, of course," Nova explained with a shrug. "You don't think I've always lived down here, do you? I used to have a family on the surface, my dad, brothers and I would always spend our nights gazing out at the city from my father's penthouse."

Neither Tzi nor Ytan were that interested in a history lesson, but the Zabrak decided to indulge her anyway. "What happened to them," he asked curiously, though whether or not he believed her story it was difficult for Nova to say.

"Business, so to speak. My father was an influential man in a multi-billion credit company. One day the company accused him of embezzling and then had him shot for 'resisting arrest.' My two older brothers were labeled as accomplices and taken to prison, I only managed to escape because I was not home at the time. When I heard about what had happened I hid, fearing that my father's employers would come for me as well. So, I came down here and tried to find some work. I hoped one day I could afford to buy a ship and get away from this place. I worked hard for two years, living off a meager paycheck and working several jobs just to make it through. Every payday I would save what little I could until that day when I could buy a ship and fly away from here. That dream finally came true today but when I came home to gather my things, well--there was someone waiting for me, a young girl," she allowed herself a small smile then looked directly at Ytan, "You would not believe how relieved I was when I realized you weren't sent to kill me."

Ytan ignored the look and still kept the blaster leveled at her head. "That still doesn't explain why you followed me," she replied and Nova could tell that she was trying very hard not to believe her story.

"You're right, it doesn't," the bounty hunter agreed with a shrug, "I guess I must have felt sympathy for you, running away for your life. It wasn't that long ago I was in a similar position," she stopped then and laughed lightly to herself, "I guess I still am in that position. My father's enemies never gave up looking for me and until I leave this planet... Well, I guess you could say that I'm still running for my life too."

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:01 pm

Ytan's blaster didn't waver. Did this woman actually think she would believe her? That heart-rending story was, in all likelihood, a fabrication meant to draw upon her own sympathies. The half-breed was a little different from most of her class, though--she didn't want the pity or help of a better-off person, and a soft story didn't move her feelings. She'd only accepted Tsi's help because she could not run from her enemies as quickly as usual, and she'd kept her blaster ready at all times for the first three weeks after that. There was absolutely no reason for her to trust Nova, so she did not intend to. This was one of those times when she needed to simply speak her mind. Ytan said sharply, "I'm used to running. I don't need your help, and I don't want your pity. Leave me alone. Go." She jerked the tip of her blaster slightly to the side meaningfully. "Now."
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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:39 pm

Nova resisted the urge to ground her teeth together in frustration. She didn't want to have to do this but the girl was leaving her no other choice. If the sob story wouldn't move her heart then Nova would have to resort to the only thing that could. Tzi was the closest so she started with him, she grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him towards her relinquishing him of one of his weapons as she simultaneously slipped behind him. Ytan's blaster went off at the same time but the woman was surprisingly quick and her first shot missed. She tried to line up for a second shot but Nova was right in front of her, hand on her arm.

She forced her aim upward towards the ceiling and a second shot went off, burning its way through the pipe. That didn't faze Nova, however, and she brought the girl's arm back down behind her, twisted her about and relieved her of her weapon in that same motion. Then she turned and had both pistols pointed at Ytan and Tzi. "Ah, ah, ah," she said as Tzi was reaching for another weapon. "Touch one of those and you and your friend won't be walking so much."

Ytan was furious but there was nothing she could do. Somehow the woman had gotten the upper hand on her. "What is it you want," she demanded.

"Me," Nova asked, pretending to consider that, "Oh, I don't know. A million credits, maybe? Or a nice shiny new bike."

Then she did the strangest thing. She flipped both blasters over and tossed them onto the ground in front of the two teenagers. "Or maybe I just want you to trust me," she finally said, looking pointedly at Ytan. "Whatever it is you think I want from you I'd have it already if I wanted it. All I'm trying to do is help, that's it."

Ytan was about to answer when Nova suddenly held up a hand to silence her. She listened intently for a moment then gestured for them to pick up their weapons. "Looks like our time's up, our friends from earlier are on their way back..."

**********

"Sir, we have her," one of the techs cried out as she waved the lieutenant over. He stood behind her, hands clasped at the small of his back as he gazed down over her shoulder at the information scrolling across her screen. His brow furrowed deeper and his frown creased the lines on his forehead as he read. Finally he straightened up, a number of questions going through his mind but all of them being overridden by one important command.

"Contact Central Command and let them know we have a rogue Jedi running loose on Coruscant. Alert all of our teams as well to this new threat, I want that woman apprehended immediately."

"Yes, Sir," the tech replied and she tapped a few keys on her console, "Sir, it appears she arrived a week ago aboard a ship registered as Cloudrunner. It's birthed in a starport on the lower east side of Imperial City."

The lieutenant nodded. "Good, have it impounded. She's not getting off this planet with our cargo."

Then he turned and headed out of the room towards his office. A Jedi on Coruscant was the last sort of complication he would have expected. If she was here to rescue the experiment well then she would be sorely disappointed. The bowels Coruscant would become her tomb if she tried to stand in their way...

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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:58 pm

Ytan glared at the woman and crouched to pick up her blaster, not taking her eyes off of Nova. Pity the woman hadn't continued threatening them for another fifteen seconds or so--she'd been slipping her hand down to get her knife. A quick throw would've embedded it in Nova's throat, and she wouldn't have bothered Ytan again. She despised being taken by surprise. It was...strange. She'd felt like she couldn't move. She'd seen Nova coming at her, but she hadn't been able to...to dodge, or block, or aim the blaster properly. This was not her day, and it didn't look like it would get any better.

The half-breed snatched both blasters from the ground and tossed one to Tsiv. Quickly, she checked her own--it was still functional. Ytan again fixed her eyes on Nova; her chin rose slightly. "All right," she said stiffly. "You have my trust--until the stormtroopers are dead. Then you can help me by leaving me alone. If you're really running for your life like you say, then all you're doing by staying near me is bringing your ghosts down on my head, and I don't want your troubles." The girl turned away from her and darted to the side of the pipe again. It was the perfect position for her. She would have two or three clear shots at the troopers before they could shine their light on her, and by then she expected them to be concerned with Tsiv and Nova as well. The corners of her mouth curled up. Perhaps one of the troopers would get close enough for her to execute him by hand--that would be quite satisfying after all the trouble the Imperials had given her over the past couple months.
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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:09 pm

"Are you daft, girl," Nova exclaimed, sensing the Cathar's intentions. She grabbed her by the arm and turned her the other way, urging her forward with a firm hand on her back. "We fight we die, we run we live and I'd rather like to keep living so let's go!"

She wasn't about to kill twelve storm troopers in cold blood if she didn't have to. She was in enough trouble with the Empire as it was for interfering with their arrest not once but twice. Even then she still hadn't committed murder, worse she'd get is probably a slap on the wrist. This girl was a heartbeat away from turning her into a fugitive and that was the sort of trouble Nova could do without.

She glanced back over her shoulder at Tzi. "Come on," she shouted at him and then she gave Ytan a hearty shove that started her running in the opposite direction from where the Imperials were coming from.

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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:46 pm

Tsiv was busy cursing himself for letting Nova get the jump on him, though he still wasn't sure how the frell she'd done it. He shook his head a bit and caught the blaster that Ytan had tossed him. He gave it a breif check and then hardly stopped his eyes from rolling as the half-breed once again set up shop and prepared to draw down on much larger group of Imperial Troopers. But then Nova interjected and he let out a silent sigh, glad that he wouldn't have to get in her way again this time. Tsivoin didn't need much encouraging and took off at a light jog behind the two young women.

"Do we have a plan here?" He asked, loud enough to carry over their footsteps. "Or is this just cardio?"
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Re: The Experiment

Post by Endorenna » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:59 pm

Ytan felt Nova's hand close on her arm; it took the greatest restraint to keep from whipping around and striking the woman across the face with her blaster. They wouldn't necessarily die with the three of them there--but there was no time to argue. She glared at Nova yet again, but allowed herself to be shoved down the sewer. Once they had escaped those Imps, she was getting away from this unsettling woman as soon as possible, just as she had stated previously.

At that moment, Tsiv asked the very question on Ytan's mind: "Do we have a plan here?"

Ytan glanced back at him and slowed slightly--there, now she was between Nova and Tsiv. She smirked at Nova's back and added, "Yea, I'm a little curious myself. I know these sewers like the back of hand, and there's nothing around here but more sewer. No place to hide."
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Re: The Experiment

Post by Pryde » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:08 pm

"We head back to the surface," Nova told them flatly, "These tunnels are like a maze but we can't hide here forever. The Imperials will come down with sensor suites and root us out. It wouldn't be too hard to find three life signatures in a place where there shouldn't be any."

"But if we head back to the surface won't we just get captured anyway," Tsiv asked her.

Nova just shook her head. "There are plenty of ways to hide that aren't quite so smelly. We'll head back up, change our clothes and mingle with the crowd. That will get the Imperials off our backs for awhile."

She looked back over her shoulder then and gave Ytan a quick once over. "You'll need a pair of gloves and something to wear over your eyes," she told her then her gaze shifted over to Tsiv, "And you could use a hood."

Then she turned her eyes forward again and kept running. "We'll be fine on the upper levels where there are more people," she assured them, "The Imperials will have a harder time tracking us up there. So long as you two can keep quiet and blend in, that is."

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Re: The Experiment

Post by VagueDurin » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:01 am

"We'll be fine on the upper levels where there are more people. The Imperials will have a harder time tracking us up there. So long as you two can keep quiet and blend in, that is."

Tsiv barely managed to bite down on the snarl that was rising up in his throat. By people she meant humans, and by blending in she meant that Ytan and he ought to be pretending to be human. His pace slowed down just a touch as he rolled time back inside of his mind’s eye. The Zabrak started combing over Nova’s arrival, her actions, and her stories with blunt suspicion. He didn’t trust her. Human’s in general couldn’t be trusted, he’d learned that young, but her especially. There was something about Nova that just set him on edge… made him uneasy.

And now she wanted to lead them up into the human-centric upper-levels of Coruscant with her. That was her big plan to help them evade capture? To remove them from this danger and plant them right in the middle of the populace that felt that their very existence was an insult?

Something wasn’t right, but Tsivoin didn’t have any better idea’s and with a squad of troopers hot on their trail down here it wasn’t the time to speak up if he didn’t have another solution. In the end he simply resigned to keep a very close eye on Nova as the trio continued on. He refused to be caught off guard when she inevitably turned on them…
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