Major Kerrie Kiley sat at a nondescript
table in The Speakeasy, an upscale cantina that was once the center of
Black Sun activity on Brentaal. The Clawdite commando appeared to be a
young woman in her late twenties, with pudgy cheeks and strong facial
lines. Blue eyes stared straight ahead at her full drink, as her chin
was perched on folded hands that held her head aloft. Gone was her
Imperial uniform or any trace of rank ... instead she was wearing the
armorweave of her people that clung to her toned physique and flexed
when she shifted shape to accommodate necessary changes in shape and
size. She had given Valeria, a onetime colleague and sometimes rival, a
great deal of information to gather information on the Rebellion. Given
that she had received a comm transmission from her earlier in the day,
she was optimistic she had something wroth her time. The war against the
Rebellion in the Ringali Shell was going less than spectacular and any
information that would give them a victory was coveted.
Valeria had a wide grin on her face as
she entered the establishment, her hands folded like a little schoolgirl
behind her back. She was wearing her usual combination of Thinsuit
paired with leather jacket, her dual pistols holstered to her thighs.
Valeria would practically twirl her way over to the table, finally
sitting and straddling the chair facing Kerrie.
Kerrie sighed at Valeria and rolled her
eyes dramatically as she pulled her head off her hands and leaned
against the back of the booth. "Must you draw such attention to yourself
Valeria?" she asked, sounding quite disappointed. She felt as if every
man in the bar had looked at her on the way to the table and her
attempts at subterfuge were largely thrown out the window. "Well. Do you
have something for me?" she asked quietly, as she leaned forward across
the table. She brought a left hand up to the side of her durasteel blast
helmet to adjust it slightly as she waited for a reply. The thought of
all the men looking made her somewhat uncomfortable and she reached
reluctantly for the drink in an attempt to calm herself.
"Hey, I don't make them watch." Valeria
laughed softly as she pulled back the sleeve of her jacket and began to
tap on her wrist comlink. "Anyways, I got some information you might
find useful." She blew a tuft of gold streaked red hair out of her face
as she continued to work. "The location of a Rebel base in this sector.
I believe you told me you could arrange for my payment to be in time
with some Imperial technicians."
"I gave you enough credits to afford a
cloak or something nondescript," Kerrie was quick to point out as her
attention shifted to the news of a Rebel base. That was just the kind of
information that could turn the tide in this sector she thought to
herself, as she leaned forward across the table, her face hovering mere
inches away from Valeria's as she spoke. "If we find a base I assure you
the Empire would be more than willing to share its technical resources
with you..." she said, as she swallowed softly. "Now ... where is it?"
she asked softly, before pulling back to eagerly wait for a reply.
"Transferring the information to your
datapad now." She pressed a button as her wrist comlink sent the
information over. Valeria smiled as she looked over to Kerrie, her head
tilting slightly as she studied her in what must have seemed like an odd
way. "It's hard for me to find clothes that fit right. Hence.." She
gestured to the skintight bodysuit that she wore, the material made of
some kind of armorweave-reflec polymer.
Kerrie could not care less about Valeria
or her wardrobe selections now as her face descended into her datapad
eagerly. Her eyes scanned over it intently and they seemed to grow wider
at each moment. Her tongue slithered from her mouth as if she were a
serpent and ran over her lips as she imagined the destruction of the
Rebels in the base. "Oh yes ... this will be very useful," she said,
without breaking her glance at the datapad.
"Those Rebels are a slippery lot,
though, if I'm up on the latest Imperial propaganda. I'll keep trying to
get what information I can without them figuring me out." She used a
hand to flip back her hair behind her.
Kerrie had a 'hungry' look in her eyes
as she slipped the datapad back away and her breathing became a bit more
rapid. She was excited at the significance of what she had and her hand
returned to her drink and she began to consume it rapidly. "Looks like
I'm going to Ralltiir..." she said to herself, as gloved hands nervously
rubbed against one another. "Filthy planet. Filled with Rebels..." she
muttered, as she took another sip of her drink.
"You can't fool me, Kerrie. We both know
you've dealt with far worse." She smiled and shook her head, probably
wondering what had happened to the fellow criminal who had once rubbed
elbows with the scum of the galaxy. "But why are you following up on
this? Shouldn't the Empire be sending a task force?"
Kerrie smiled and nodded as she thought
back to some of her earlier days as an adventurer, which Valeria seemed
keen on living out forever. "I want a victory," she said, as she
clenched her fist and slammed it down on the table, shaking both of the
glasses. "I'm tired of sitting around watching other people stumble and
fail..." she said bitterly, revealing perhaps too much of the Empire's
inner workings and politics. She realized she had said too much and then
forced a smile onto her pouty lips as she attempted to shift the mood.
"You can bring enough to wipe out the
Rebels in force? Remember you'll only get one shot in this. You show up
there in a patrol craft and they'll cut and run." Her silver-blue eyes
continued to stare at Kerrie in that odd way. Apparently Valeria was
really having a hard time accepting her belonging to the Empire.
"I've cracked tougher nuts than a Rebel
base, Valeria," Kerrie boasted as the serving droid brought her a second
round. "I'll be using elite Storm Commandos and we'll make those Rebels
rue the day they defied the Emperor," she said, as she brought the glass
to her lips and delicately sipped at it. "I know what I'm doing," she
said confidently, as she put the glass aside and sized up the woman that
was sitting opposite her.
Valeria's lips pursed as she did her
best to sustain a laugh. When she realized how that might seem, she
winced and spoke in an apologetic way. "I'm sorry, its just...I'm really
surprised to see you feeling this strongly about this."
Kerrie looked at her quixotically as she
began her second drink. "What do you mean?" she pondered, as her head
tilted slightly like a confused animal. "You know I've always felt
strongly about my work..." she boasted. sounding remarkably confident in
the wake of fresh intelligence she had gathered from the woman.
"But about this? I mean, its...its a
government. Even if I thought the Rebels were out to make the best one
in the history of the galaxy, that's all it would be. You and me, we're
independents at heart." She grinned, showing off those pretty, prominent
white teeth. "Individuals. Why be down over something like this?"
Kerrie blinked as she looked at Valeria
and wondered what she was saying. "The Rebellion is out to make chaos.
Not a government, Valeria. You should be careful what you say in these
dangerous time..." she warned, as she moved to take another drink. "This
is my lot in life, Valeria. People rarely get to choose their own path
in life..." she explained, wondering what the other was getting at.
"Not to form a government, huh?
'Alliance to Restore the Republic' sounds awfully specific if you ask
me. But I'm not trying to defend the Rebellion, I'm just trying to say
that people like us don't need them." With a flick of her wrist a Sabacc
card appeared in her hand, and she displayed the face to her companion.
A skull looked out at her. "Heh. The demise card. Lousy, right?" Valeria
let the card linger there for a moment. "Emblematic of death." The
smuggler turned the card at a slight angle, and its changed to that of
the Star. It was such a convenient change of face that she must have
been using a skifter, a cheat card. "And now the Star. Faith, hope? Your
fate is still your own. You're not doomed to being what you are now any
more than you were doomed to being a bounty hunter when we used to tool
"The Republic destroyed my family.
Destroy my life.." Kerrie replied bitterly as her hand grasped the glass
and shook slightly. She was being overcome by past memories and turned
her attention to her drink like she had so many times before. "Well at
least when you get old and lose your dexterity you can get work as a
card reader..." she said, as she rolled her eyes in disbelief. She was
never one for such hokum she thought to herself as she considered where
she was in her life at the moment. "My fate has never been my own," she
conceded, as she thought over all of the dominant forces that been
overbearing in her life for as long as she could remember.
After the line about card reading,
Valeria smiled and nodded. "Now you understand me." She made the cards
disappeared back up her sleeves and then spoke, putting passion in her
voice. "We make our own fates every day. You can, too."
"The only thing thing I intend to make
are a bunch of dead Rebels on Ralltiir," Kerrie boasted as she
confidently took a another drink. An almost arrogant smile curled upon
her lips as she planned out in the operation in her head. Finally she
would have some good news to report to Governor Rodney and would
hopefully earn his respect, rather than another disciplinary action.
"Just think about what I said, won't
you?" She stood up from the chair she was straddling and spun it back
around to put it back in its proper place. "In the meantime, I've got to
see what more I can get for you. You know how to reach me with the
contact info for the technicians." With that Valeria would twirl around
and exit the establishment with the same flash as she had entered.
Kerrie was far too gone for Valeria's
words to have much meaning. The Clawdite had been consumed by years of
abuse, neglect, and hate and the only thing left in her soul was a lust
for vengeance she could never fill. Had she a normal upbringing she
might be married now, with children and a family of her own. But, fate
had a different plan for her ... and now she was nothing more than a
broken tool of an Imperial Grand Moff.