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  1. #51
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    An explosive device? She had been expecting something along the lines of the "illegal" blasters that had been planted among the boxes - not a weapon of indiscriminate destruction. How many more surprises were there in the hold? Neva didn't have to wave the villagers back as the ones nearest had already backed away, leaving her standing with the Mahrs.

    "If someone is trying to start a war, they may have done more to ensure the success of their mission. Can you use the Force to find other 'problem packages'?"

    Of course, if that would be too much of a strain, they'd simply have to move slower while they opened each case to check the contents. That sounded more time consuming and dangerous than she would like.

    "We may have to move the ship further away, dump the contents, then sort it to minimize the potential impact on the survivors. I really don't like this."
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #52
    Siralai Mahr



    "I can," Siralai said. "It will take time, but I think it's worth the delay it will cause. Better to discover anything amiss now than to find more unexpected... surprises... later."

    And a bomb would have been an unpleasant surprise indeed. Siralai was hesitant to suggest moving the ship in case there was another bomb somewhere in the hold - who knew what entering the planet's atmosphere had shaken loose? Better to move slowly and avoid disturbing the contents of the containers as much as possible.

    "Rossi, you can help me." Like most Sith Purebloods, Rossi was adept with the Force. Siralai was convinced that with guidance, her newly adopted daughter would wield her power for the light side - and the only way to learn that was practice, so Siralai did not hesitate to encourage the girl to use her skills. "Trystan and Neva, can you keep the crowd at bay in the meantime?"

    Not that it took much to keep the wary settlers at a safe distance. The residents watched cautiously, surprised to see what looked like a Jedi and a Sith working in unison as they scoured the packages with their Force-honed mental senses.

    It was an effort. Beads of sweat stood out on Rossi's brow. Siralai showed the strain less, but she was pale and determined, utterly focused. Time slipped by - how much time, neither of them could have said, intent as they were on their work - and Rossi's hand brushed a small box that made her recoil.

    She passed it to Siralai, who laid an open palm on the surface, then opened the lid. It appeared to be full of hypodermics of ordinary medicines, antibiotics and pain relievers.

    "Tainted," Siralai said with a slight frown. "Deliberately poisoned, if I don't miss my guess. So the bomb goes off. The survivors treated the wounded. And then..."

    It was devious, she thought. Even worse than just killing people with an explosion. Giving people hope, only to rip it away.

    "This was planned carefully. And whoever did it has access to resources. I don't know what to make of it, Neva," the former Jedi admitted.

    The other cargo that the manifest indicated for the Imperial colony was clean from tampering. But the cargo for the Republic colony...

    "It's exactly the same thing," Siralai said. "Another bomb, and more poisoned medicine. Whoever this was... either they aren't on either side and we have an unknown player, or they're willing to attack their own people to achieve their ends. That makes them very dangerous. We need to figure this out quickly, or we may not be able to prevent bloodshed on their next attempt."

    And if they had gone this far, Siralai thought, a next attempt was sure to come.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #53
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Neva didn't have much trouble keeping the townsfolk in place, but she found she was drawn to the scene. The Force. If she was truly honest with herself, she was curious - no matter how she protested disinterest in the primary users of the Force. Neva found herself practically beside Rossi and Siralai when the tainted medicines were revealed. It was too awful - and too convoluted. Two sets of bombs. Two sets of poison. It made no sense...unless whoever did it didn't have a side.

    As a neutral party herself, Neva didn't generally consider 'not having a side' to be particularly dangerous...until now. While she avoided participating, this party was playing both sides. Not good.

    "At least we know which supplies are safe now. We can finish passing these out and get over to the Republic colony with the rest. If we can finish before whoever it is finds out that we've thwarted their plans, we should at least have some time to prepare for whatever might come next." She paused, and glanced over at Siralai. "That is, whoever it is seems invested...I assume this isn't a one-shot deal. Who would start something like this without having some sort of endgame in mind?"

    She motioned to the settlers to come forward once more, and again the line was formed to move goods toward the safe zone. These poor people had suffered enough at the hands of nature...who gave anyone the right to make their lives any worse?

  4. #54
    Siralai Mahr



    "I think I might have an inkling," Siralai said cautiously in a low voice. "But I'd rather speak about it privately. I don't wish to alarm anyone."

    Night was starting to fall planetside, and it would be too risky to try to visit the other colony not knowing what lay in the dark on an unknown world. They would be better off camping here till morning. That meant they had some time to talk, and when they had a spare moment, Siralai resumed her conversation with Neva away from unnecessary listeners. It wasn't that Siralai feared hostility from the Imperial colonists, not after their donation of supplies - but the colonists might be very worried by what she had to say.

    "I think that this may be tied to the Senate in some way. Truth be told, I've been wondering that ever since we were stopped by that blockade. For the blockade to be there in the first place was odd, as we discussed at the time - there was no reason to seal off a natural disaster site on a relatively unimportant planet. It worried me that the Senate had ordered it. And now, using the Force, what I sensed led credence to my concern."

    If she had been a Jedi Master, Siralai might have been able to offer more to go on... but she had only recently become a Knight when she left the Order to marry Trystan. She had not had time to hone all the skills that would be needed to make such a deduction by use of the Force alone. Still, she could sense a connection.

    "If so, the why of it follows naturally. Someone is not content with this fragile truce. Someone wants to return us to open war. And that person is willing to damage the Republic as well as the Empire to achieve it."

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