Dawn of Defiance: Buffalo NY

Reflections from Tor part 36

Tor dodged through the legs of the AT-RT and past the chainsaw of a second as he darted towards Patches and his shielded dais.

Tor drew the Force into him and let it shine from his very being, emitting a searing light of good that eroded the darkness surrounding his foes. He could sense his allies behind him, wary of the light shining from his body. Tor gritted his teeth as he felt the light burn inside him, eating away at his own darkness. He pushed through, not caring about his own well-being, but thinking of Platt and of stopping the evil that surrounded Bu’Cho’s lair.

The camaasi advanced towards the platform as one of the AT-RT pilots dropped under the searing light. Patches laughed, but could not erase the beads of sweat that began to run down his forehead.

Tor stepped off of the turbolift with the others, Patches and his minions defeated below. He led the group down the hall, sensing two lives ahead, one fading rapidly. No… Tor thought, thinking of how Bariss would react if they found Platt injured in any way.

The group burst through the door, weapons at the ready, only to see Platt sitting comfortably in a plush chair, a smoking golden blaster in her lap. Across from her, a body lay slumped in a lavish bed.

Tor froze for a moment, shocked at the situation. He ran to Platt. “Are you ok? Are you hurt? Your aunt sent us to find you, Bariss is on the way.” Tor’s eyes flashed from the blaster to the form in the bed as Platt asked about Bariss and explained what happened.

Tor moved to the bed and grimaced at the damage done to Bu’Cho. Blaster burns riddled his body as the fading clawdite gurgled painfully for breath. Tor put his hand on the gangster’s shoulder and tried to usher some form of calm over the wounded being, futilely calling for Carson. The human approached and shook his head as the clawdite’s labored breathing slowed and then stopped. Tor pulled the blanket over him and turned back to the group, seeing Bariss fawn over Platt, Khallic already at work trying to open a large vault door.

He walked to stand by Khallic, who had impressed him by using his innate talent with the Force to sense a large amount of slaves being held nearby. Tor helped the others free them as the vault door opened.

The others clustered around various objects and trinkets in the vault as Tor wandered the room. Then he saw it on a shelf. The holocron Kel Dandu had spoken of. Tor picked it up and activated it, a middle aged man appearing before him. A deep voice spoke and Tor’s eyes widened as the holocron’s gatekeeper identified itself as Master Dooku. This must be from well before he left the Order, Tor marveled. Back when he was one of the most respected Masters and swordsmen.

Tor pocketed the holocron with excitement but also with trepidation. I know where Dooku ended up, the camaasi thought. His teachings will always be highly regarded, but I must also tread lightly lest I also fall prey to the Stih.

Back at Exovar’s, the group received a transmission from the Resurgence. Master Denia explained the situation on Almas, Draco’s current hiding spot, and Tor felt a sense of dread edging into his mind with each new detail. The thought of the dark past that lay on Almas led Tor to question what he would find there. He was so lost in thought that he almost missed Admiral Varth taking over the comlink and saying that he needed some of the group to head coreward.

Tor looked at the faces of the others around him, not wanting to have to be separated from them. “I have to go to Almas,” the camaasi said. “I can’t pass up what knowledge might be there.”

“Tull goes with wizard.”

The barabel stepped next to Tor and thumped his chest. Tor was grateful for the barabel’s continued loyalty and his forceful spirit. He had high hopes for his new reptilian ally. Khallic also spoke up quickly, N3M0 stoic next to him, both in on the pursuit of Draco. Good, I’ll be able to keep my eye on him and start his training, Tor thought. Rama also volunteered for Almas, a move that Tor was unsure of the motives. Kelyn was the last, fire in his eyes as he mentioned Draco’s name.

Tor looked at Fenn, Bariss, and Carson. He gripped Fenn’s hand with a solemn nod. Tor spoke softly to Bariss. “Mind your emotions, Bariss,” he said to the Duros. “Don’t give in to your hate.”

Lastly, he stood before Carson. The man gave him a wry smile and Tor embraced him. The groups turned away from each other and boarded their ships. Tor gave one last look at the others before they left, wondering if he would ever see them again.

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Bariss Thoughts Tull

We got into Bu’cho’s Volcano Base easily enough. Kelyn was better with his deceptions when he didn’t ask for too much, no more Imperial Speeders. Anyway, getting in was slow going and every second we spent doing this or that was another second of Platt being in danger. Being impatient and angry are very bad when entering into an enemy base, what with the traps and generally not knowing what may happen. Moving quickly through every room and hallway can be done, but it can’t be done efficiently and we should be efficient in this process. All that type of thought vanished when the first blaster rang out and I was at the beginning of the end of Bu’cho. I went forward shooting all the way until N3MO caught a prisoner, which was odd. I went to question our new friend but then stopped remembering that I couldn’t persuade a Twi’lek to dance and looked around for Tor or Kelyn. They were both occupied and time was speeding up, “Where’s Platt?”

“Who?”

“Human, female, white hair.”

“Oh, Bu’cho’s pet.”

…I waited, I swear I waited….At least it felt like I waited for a proper reply, or something. Apparently though all I did was a quick response to this shit’s insolence with blast from my DT-12 through his kneecap. I obviously wasn’t thinking straight, I should have shot him in the dick. But a revelation did come from this interaction. I heard a voice, an alien voice. It said something along the lines of pilot and warrior, and this unknown voice spoken in a friend’s tone had me turn my gaze to this Barabel. This guy, I saw this guy recently on the Spelljammer and with Tor. I didn’t think that he was actually with the group, with us. Now that I looked at him, really looked at him I realized that he was the same Barabel Shockboxer from Darga’s Palace on Cato Neimodia. But this Barabel, Tull was his name, reminded me of someone one else and as I looked around I noticed that she was not there.

“Where did Oola go?” I wondered.

I could have sworn she was with us, and yet she was nowhere in sight or memory beyond the fact that she existed. What did I miss? Was I so absorbed by Platt’s endangerment that I didn’t see the obvious? Again, this type of thinking died quickly as we continued into Bu’cho’s lair. In the first room there were many traps and while I was uncertain of most and truth be told not really paying attention, the obvious trap was…obvious. There were five ways forward, the main pathway in the center had a carpet at the end of the path, and with my experience and knowledge in tactics I knew full well that the carpet was part of a trap. Now I’ll admit that I got electrocuted by another trap on one of the other paths, but when I told everyone that that carpet was a trap I expected them to at least avoid it in their own way. Enter Tull. Tull didn’t avoid it, he decided to ignore my warning and run on the carpet and will wonders never cease, the carpet was a trap. A pit fall trap to be precise, simple but it worked. With this event and Tull pacing in the next room during the ranged combat I had figured several things out about Tull during the time given with Khalik unlocking the turbolift:

1. He was purely a melee fighter, being a Shockboxer and all (I’ve never even seen him pick up a blaster, ever).

2. He was not exactly the brightest star, but he was at least a brown dwarf.

3. Tull only respected those who showed strength, period. There was no try with Tull, only doing or not doing, the thought did not count with that Barabel.

With these insights into Tull’s character I understood why he followed Tor like Moppo used to. I should keep an eye out for him, I’ve got the feeling that like Moppo Tull needed guidance. Shame he wasn’t a pilot…I did’t know if I could help him at all in fact. Then again, Oola was a Jedi and yet she vanished without so much of a blink from Tor. Not like I was any better…where did she go? Did she die? The turbolift door opened and my thoughts centered on Platt.

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A Tale Called Tull (Part 5)
Standing Tall

The young Barabel lay on the wooden cot in his small hut. His left arm was bandaged and covered in unguents and salves. No one was sure yet if the arm would be saved, or if slow rot would demand it be removed. Losing the arm would make the Barabel a hindrance to the tribe. He would have to leave, and face the jungle alone.

Tull laid with his right arm over his eyes. Anguish was all he knew, but it did not come from the pain in his arm.

A slow shuffling sound brought an older matriarch over to Tull. As she sat down on the side of his cot it barely moved under her light weight.

“What troubles you young one?” She said in a softer tone than she had ever used with the young warrior.

“Tull has shamed himself in battle Grandmother. Tull has shamed the tribe. Worst, Tull has shamed you and all his ancestors back through the ages. A fallen warrior is useless to the Barabel.”

“You have shamed no one young one, least of all this one.”

“But Grandmother, Tull is a failure, and Tull will be cast out once this arm is cut from him.”

At this the older Barabel’s features hardened.

“Perhaps you are a failure Tull, and perhaps you will be exiled, but why do you speak as if these are shameful things?” She said in a harsher tone than she had ever used with the young warrior. “A true warrior should always remember his victories Tull, but he can never forget his defeats. This failure today is a good lesson for you.”

“If you say so Grandmother.” Tull said defeated.

Some time passed between the two in silence before the older Barabel finally spoke.

“Tull, why do we get knocked down?”

“Tull does not know.”

“So we see how precious the times are when we are standing tall.”

With that the Matron Barabel laid a small object on Tull’s chest and left the hut. It was a necklace made from a tooth the Durg had left buried in Tull’s arm.

* * *

Blaster bolts and chainsaws filled the air with a symphony of violence. Fire and explosions, blood and screams, pain and death coated the huge chamber. Tull’s friends battled like demons spawned from the abyss. Through it all Tull walked a straight course toward the clown.

The clown. A fool screaming madness. A lunatic belting out lies. A dangerous man threatening his friend’s lives. Tull continued his course.

The Wizard was casting more powerful magic than Tull had ever seen. Light poured from his very body searing all taint and darkness from the room. The clown buckled under the light, the machine riders screamed in pain, and even the Wizard himself was thrust into agony from the purity of the light. A light from which no darkness could hide. Perhaps the Wizard was trying to clean ALL taint from this room, even his own. Even Tull’s friends seemed to shy away from the light’s truth. Tull walked through it unscathed. The light soothed him, gave him strength. Tull had no darkness to hide, no regrets to haunt him. Tull was simply Tull, and thus was free from the light’s penance. Tull approached the clown.

Tull summoned up all his strength and poured his warrior’s rage into his fist. With a great roar he charged at the clown. The clown hurting his friends. The clown helping to keep a young girl in a box. The clown who thought he was strong when in truth all he had was weakness.

The clown could only gasp as Tull’s fist slammed into his temple, sprawling him on the ground like he was a toy before the Barabel’s great might. Tull’s friends had done things beyond him this day, but all Tull had needed was that punch. The first physical hit on a monster. A righteous punishment for the wicked. Tull had hit many people in his life, but this was the first punch he was ever truly proud of.

* * *

It was all over very quickly after Tull’s brutal charge. His friends had quickly finished the fight, and even with a terrible wound causing the Pilot to spit blood everyone felt good about the victory. Gift Girl Platt has been saved, Bu’cho’s body was taken, treasure was discovered, and many slaves had been freed. The clamor and excitement was large, but the Barabel spoke little over the next few hours.

Tull had never before felt anything like what he was feeling this day. It was a feeling he got when he had attacked the clown, a feeling he got when he saved those women from a life in a box, a feeling he got saving Gift Girl Platt for Pilot Bariss. Tull did not know what this feeling was, but he wanted to feel it again.

* * *

While Tull paid little attention to the group’s motives overall he did understand that this was a goodbye. There was important information to his friend’s cause in the galactic core that had to be attended to. However, there was Wizard business to be done on Almass as well as the chase for the Dark Inquisitor. The group of friends would have to separate for a time.

Tull would go to the dark planet with his Wizard friend. Tull had become close to all his friends in a short time, but the Wizard is what had kept him with the group in the first place. Even Tull didn’t know what he hoped to achieve by staying with the Wizard. At first it was a chance for adventure or violence. Now maybe it was a chance to feel that foreign feeling again.

As Tull, the Wizard, Red Rama, Machine Man Khalik, Droid Bot Nemo, and Kelyn Captain prepared to board their ship the group shared a moment of goodbye with their friends. Pilot Bariss, Bothan Fenn, and Carson Man would all be heading into the heart of Galactic civilization while Tull’s group would head for darker places. Tull was worried for his friends, but they were strong and he knew he would see them again, in this world or in the next with the warriors of old.

As the ship ascended from Hosk’s surface Tull couldn’t help but let out a low hiss of pleasure. For the first time in a long while Tull was standing tall.

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Reflections from Tor part 35

Tor walked down the ramp of the shuttle, his wrists shackled in front of him as Kelyn mock shoved him forward, the rodians at the bottom of the ramp eying him greedily.

Tor held his head high, not prepared to give anything to the thugs, even if it was all a ruse.

“We know enough not to leave Jedi alive,” one of the rodians said, moving behind Tor and sending Kelyn back into the ship to retrieve Tor’s lightsaber. Tor stiffened, a moment of doubt flashing through his mind as the rodian pointed a blaster at the back of the caamasi’s head.

Tor flinched as an unexpected shot rang out. The rodian behind him slumped as Tor’s allies swarmed from the ship, blasters raised.

The fake binders fell from his wrists as Tor helped his allies take out the thugs. They moved forward into the base after Bu’cho. Tor could sense the presence of Force users ahead of them and tensed.

The group entered a room with several strange looking statues. As they moved across the room, traps began to spring up, electrifying floors and blasting searing flames scorching the group. Tor raised a hand against the fire from one of the statues but couldn’t prevent the fire from licking over his body. Behind him, Tull charged across a lush carpet that immediately fell out beneath his feet and the barabel crashed down.

No! Tor yelled in his head as the massive reptilian disappeared from view. He wanted to move towards the loyal Tull but Bu’cho’s thugs were pouring from doorways above, readying blasters.

A Ryn raised his hand and Tor realized that it was one of the Force users he had sensed too late. Electricity crackled from its outstretched hands and blasted over Tor, the lightning crackling over him in searing white-blue heat as he yelled and fell to one knee, the memnii of Darga on Bespin flashing across his mind.

The chaos of combat quickly eliminated the ryn but revealed a new problem as the massive statue in the middle of the room began to emit a loud high pitched whine, clearly another trap powering up. Tor strained, and the statue shook, ripping itself from its base and hovering in the air. Tor saw one of Bu’cho’s thugs nearby, eyeing the floating statue warily. No, Tor thought, refusing to use the statue as a weapon against the being. His thoughts flashed back to the visions he and Kelyn had had. I must start to pursue the higher road. He threw his hands forward and the statue crashed against the wall where he detonated the remains.

The group surged into the next room. Tor leaped down down to the room below where giant droids were stationed around a boiling pool. His allies clustered around the window above, shooting and throwing grenades across to another room teeming with more of Bu’Cho’s minions.

Once they were defeated, a large door in front of them opened, revealing another room ahead. Tor could sense Bu’cho’s dark presence close by. As he looked at the rest of the group, he could see Bariss nervously fidgeting, eager to continue and find Platt.

Tor looked back to the room ahead, wondering if there would even be anyone left to rescue in the base ahead.

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Bariss Thoughts Fuck it let if fly

As soon as we got to Exovar’s Emporium everyone scattered as they oohed and aahed at all Exovar had collected and his Emporium had to offer.

“Sure,” I thought, “go and explore the richness of his past, go shopping. Tell me if you find some thermals, and while you’re at it go buy you something that matches that chainsaw. It’s not like we’re here for a mission or that Platt’s life is in danger, she’s probably dead by now anyway. I mean lets be honest, we’re here on vacation this is Hosk after all! And a holiday like the one we’re on can’t start any other way except with random pirates along with the death of my best and used to be longest lasting friend, Happiness, as well as my starfighter companion, Mezerel, it’s a karking must! Oh, and we can’t forget the warm welcome by the Imperial officer in charge. It’s been a long trip we should sit down, relax, and have a few drinks free of charge. Fierfek, the ones drinking might as well continue drinking to keep the mood. We’ll need to when the Imperial assassins or hired goons come to slit our throats while we enjoy our tasty beverages! … Ahhh! I’d talk to the people and get poodoo done myself if I wasn’t pathetic at persuasion. If I did things the way Cpt. Okeefe trained me Tor would interfere and then we’d have a scene, and we can’t have that now can we.”

I just followed the only other seemingly lost person around, Kelyn. While I was trying to calm myself with some Metaliorn playing as background music I saw a tablet on Exovar’s wall with writing that looked familiar and after I pulled up my datapad I knew the writing was the same as the glyphs randomly written on the Spelljammer’s insides.

“Hmm,” I thought, “wonder why Kelyn isn’t talking to Exovar about this. … He seems more interested in something else with that far-off look. … Well fierfek, if Tor can go for another lightsaber to complement the eight he has already Kelyn should know more about his legacy that his father left him.”

“Hey Kelyn,” I nudged him and then pointed to the tablet while bringing up my datapad’s copy of Spelljammer’s glyphs, “look familiar?”

Kelyn concentrated for a few seconds looking between my datapad, the tablet, and then his own datapad with a copy of the ancient writing to make sure. Then he fazed out with his ten sector stare for a moment, which was followed by a quick motion towards Exovar.

“Now that I have your attention somewhat,” I thought while keeping pace.

“Kelyn, could you also ask about Platt?” Aaand a complete stop as Kelyn eyed me as if he actually needs to get his bearings around me.

“Yeah I gave you something and then asked for help in return, unlike everyone else I’m still on the clock.” Of course I didn’t say that, but he got the general idea.

“What is Platt to you Bariss?”

“Cpt. Okeefe is my second mother, Platt is family.”
“And,” I thought, “I didn’t say family just to get you going.” That didn’t need to be said either, Kelyn understood.


“So,” I said while looking around at random things, “Platt is sex slave to a Black Sun Vigo.”

“Yeah,” came an indistinct voice.

“Mmm,” I nodded a few times.

…“Fuck it, why not?”

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A Tale Called Tull Part 4
Friendship

After entering Bu’Cho’s lair the assault on the hanger was over before it even began. Tull carried Kelyn Captain’s armor down the landing ramp for him to try and make himself useful. Hopefully Tull would be more use inside the base proper. He especially wanted to test himself against Bu’Cho’s Wizards.

Across the long entry bridge over lakes of magma the team entered into the base proper, and faced an array of statues suspended over even more molten pools. Before Tull knew what had happened blaster fire was screaming across the large room, and Tull’s Wizard friend was screaming under a barrage of fire and magic.

Tull knew he had to help his friend. He charged across the bridge over a lush carpet and-

Tull fell. Hard. He had landed on sharpened spikes concealed by the carpet. Finding a ladder near at hand he tried to ascend as quickly as possible to help his friend. And at the top of the ladder Tull heard a click, and he fell again.

Treading in the freezing brackish water below Tull could only shake his head.

Tull guesses this is another defeat for the list huh Grandmother?

Before long the closed door above started to spark at the sound of a running chainsaw, and the Droid Bot N3MO dropped nearly on top of Tull. Then the Droid Bot’s maker did drop on Tull. Perhaps Tull was more fortunate than he knew. It’s not everyday someone will fall into the dark unknown just to pull you out of it.

As the Droid Bot pulled itself out of the pit with Tull on his back Tull got his first look at the devastation of the room above. The many statues were damaged and the biggest one was thrown harshly against the wall, no doubt the Wizard’s handiwork. Bodies littered the floor, including Bu’Cho’s Wizards.

Tull had tried to save his friend and ended up having to get saved himself. Tull swore to himself that he would do everything he could to help his friends save Gift Girl Platt.

His Grandmother’s voice drifted past his ears, “The greatest gift a warrior can give is his life Tull. Do not give that gift lightly.”

It would be worth it Grandmother. If it was for them.

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Reflections from Tor part 34

Tor deactivated his lightsaber as the last of the relentless thugs fell to the ground in the bounty office. Exovar raised his fist and turned back to the door. “They’ll have reinforcements on the way! Let’s go!”

His followers ran after him and Tor went with, Tull quickly following along. Tor watched as the others dismissed Exovar and greedily clustered around the weapons cache, diving in with gleaming eyes. Tor shook his head and left the room, soon arriving at the cantina, Exovar already clambering into his AT-AT cockpit.

Tor and Tull sat and waited before two heavily clad mandalorians entered the room. They locked their gaze on the camaasi and the barabel, moving swiftly over. Tor waited, biding his time.

Not yet, he thought as the bounty hunters approached.

Not yet. The bounty hunters came closer.

NOW! Tor turned, his hand reaching for his lightsaber but instead meeting only a wall of flame as the bounty hunters turned a flamethrower on them.

The camaasi felt the flames lick over his body and singe his fur before he was able to surround himself in a protective layer of the Force. He rolled on the ground, smothering the flames quickly but leaving patches of burnt fur and seared skin behind. Tor could hear Tull’s roar as the barabel was wreathed in the flames.

Tor coughed through the smoke as he caught a glimpse of one of the mandalorians close by. He threw out his hand and stretched out to the Force, hurling the two bounty hunters into each other, crumpling one of them to the floor. He stood, still coughing as smoke rose from his fur and robes, he could hear the AT-AT’s heavy blasters firing outside as more black sun reinforcements poured into the cantina just as the elevator dinged and the others flowed out, jetpacks roaring and chainsaws revving.

The battle was soon over, Exovar thanking each of them and cursing Bu’Cho at the same time. The others set about looking for information on how to find Bu’Cho, assault plans forming against the Black Sun vigo.

Tor spoke to Exovar, who repeatedly thanked him for giving him new stories to tell. Exovar pulled a lightsaber down from the wall. He began to explain where he had gotten it as he presented it to Tor, but Tor could barely hear him.

Master Qui-Gon’s lightsaber, he thought astonished, as he gingerly took it. Tor recalled seeing the green blade in the hands of the passed Jedi, its light pure in his grip. Tor tucked the lightsaber onto his belt, a feeling of satisfaction washing over him.

The group continued to gather information, soon ready to begin looking for Bu’Cho. Tor thought of the holocron that was rumored to be in the vigo’s lair. His hand absently found its way to the hilt of Qui-Gon’s lightsaber, wondering what other relics the Force had lying in wait for him.

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A path to redemption

The battle had gone much the same that it had in the past. Exovar’s lay in ruins. With a smoldering TIE fighter laying in the dining area. Carson surveyed the bloody scene. Burnt and broken bodies littered the room like some sinister ticker tape parade. “I can’t stand by and continue to bring this misery onto people” Carson thought. Carson pulled the blaster out of his holster and gingerly cradled it in his hands. He looked at the well-worn weapon, the dulled look of the metal sticking out at him. It had served him well through the streets of Castell as he worked to bring justice back to his homeworld. It had been at his side while fighting on Fellucia, and been indispensable in Cloud City. Carson holstered the pistol and returned to the SpellJammer for a moment’s rest. He checked his datapad, mainly out of habit and noted he had a message. He sighed and checked who he had received it from. “Annin?” he said aloud.

Carson hurried to the ships comm system. It took a moment before Annin answered the call. The video screen showed a visibly distraught Herglic, his black skin stained crimson. “Carson, my friend,” Annin said with apprehension “I have bad news to bear”. Carson’s hands began to shake with anxiety. “Kevin is dead.” Carson looked away from the screen. “I’m sorry. There was nothing we could do…” Annin continued. Carson cut him off as a wave of anger rushed over him. “I TOLD you he was not to be harmed. He may be…. may have been, an Imperial sympathizer but he was still my brother damnit!” The Herglic looked down, shifting a bit uncomfortably. Carson composed himself, tears falling from his face. “I… I’m sorry Annin. I’m sure there was nothing you could have done.” Carson thought of his family, or those who were his family. His family was snuffed out for the same cause he fought for. Bloodshed had given him nothing but more bloodshed. He felt numb as the shock of the news took hold. Annin went on to explain the details of the rebellion on Castell. Kevin had tried to stop a raid on a nearby supply depot, hoping to get a reward for killing rebels. Annin had laid down suppressive fire to try and scare him off, knowing full well who it was. A younger member of the group, full of rage at the empire for some injustice of his own put a slugthrower shell right through Kevin’s chest. “Thanks, Annin. Promise me Kevin will get a proper burial, so long as you can keep yourselves safe. I’ll be in touch. Carson, out.”Carson sat down for a moment. He had no one left to return to. No safe haven to stand by him. He thought of his companions who were milling about Exovar’s for gear and supplies. They were the closest thing to family for him now.

’I cannot contribute to this cruelty anymore. ’ he thought. He packed a bag, putting the frag grenades and other weapons he had collected over the past battles into it. As he packed up his equipment, his mind wandered back to the beginning of medical school training “Medicine is a noble profession, with strong ethical tenets. The first being Do No Harm.” he recalled hearing during a lecture. “Do No Harm. I’ve doing quite a bit of harm lately.” he thought. He drew his blaster from his holster, the grip slipping easily into his practiced hands. He looked at the pistol, nodded his head as if to affirm conviction and placed it back into his holster.
Carson left the ship and found Exovar cursing among the wreckage of his once safe haven. “Carson!” the man exclaimed, smiling “Did you see what that AT-AT can do even on half charge?” Carson smiled, trying not to think about what had happened here just minutes ago. “I know how you like your stories Exovar… so I have some gifts for you.” Carson handed over the bag of weapons. “I figure you can use it to rebuild your bar here. This place is a small bit of sanctuary in these dark times. There’s also 2 cred sticks, each with 10,000 creds on them. If you can give one to Lt. Randall for her help, that would mean much to me.” Exovar looked at the equipment in front of him “This is very generous of you, boy.” Carson unholstered his pistol, the grip absentmindedly slipping into its a good shooting position. He turned the weapon over and offered the grip to Exovar. “I want you to have this for your wall, when you get the place renovated.” Carson added, trying to ignore the bodies throughout the room. His mind centered on one word; Death. “That blaster has been at my side through rebellions, violent jungles and some of the darkest corners of the universe. Quite a few Imperials have fallen before it. It’s time for it to become nothing more than a story, a legend if you prefer.” Exovars eyes had a sparkle in them like a child hearing a well spun bedtime story. “Isn’t this a bit dangerous though, kid? I mean, someone in your position needs a way to defend himself.” he added, a bit worriedly. “I’ll get by my friend.” Carson replied. “Take care of yourself, Exovar.” With that, Carson went back to the Spelljammer and retired to his bunk. He couldn’t deal with being amid the chaos and destruction of the bar. He laid down, hoping to get some sleep. His mind wandered back to a class he had taken on natural healing and, inadvertently, toxicology. An old Ithorian named Pato Ixlis spoke to the small class. One of the most gentle souls he’d ever met, the elder Ithorian was a physician by trade and a gardener by nature. “The force binds us all together. We are all kin to the other.” he said, as he tended to a small plant, finding a pest crawling through it. He picked it up and let it fly off into the warm midday air. “Life is a precious thing and we cannot waste it. We have our ethics, after all. Doing our best to not harm others should be paramount in our nature.” Carson made fast friends with Pato, wanting to learn more of his philosophy. One day, as he helped him tend the garden, he had asked him how he defended himself. A recent wave of petty muggings in the area had made him worried about his safety. Pato smiled “We must keep ourselves safe, of course, but it needn’t be lethal. Many species, especially those who live a more primitive lifestyle, have used their natural environments to incapacitate their enemies.” Pato showed him a plant. “For example, this plant, known as Bundar root, can cause short term memory loss and reasoning difficulties. There are many of these out there, with their own special quirks. A quick pin prick is all it takes to introduce it to the bloodstream. I’ve used it to handle myself in the past, and it has not failed me yet.”
“Always remember your ethics.” Pato said "They are the one thing that hold true in this universe. Carson broke out of the reverie as he drifted off to sleep, wondering to himself “What if i’ve already forgotten them?” he asked himself as he stared at the gray metal ceiling.

“A man who casts no shadow has no soul.” Iron Maiden “Out of the shadows”

(OOC: Yeah, this one’s a little long. Stayed well up into 3:30 AM writing this one. TL;DR:Carson has given up his weapons in favor of non-lethal weapons. I may come back and edit it as I am being really picky with this one. Iron Maiden makes for some really interesting writing, heh.)

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A Tale Called Tull Part 3
A Life of Violence

The Mandalorian raised his arm and Tull tasted a drop of Hell.

Pain can do funny things to the mind. A few seconds can feel a few hours when you’re covered in flame. Unable to breath. Unable to scream. All a mind can do to save itself is drift. Drift to the past. Drift through a life of violence.

Hosk. Exovar’s Cantina. A Mandalorian burning you alive. Flames tearing at your body, reaching for your soul.

Space. Pirate Ship. A demon inserting blades down your spine, scraping the bones. A cat laughing at endless screams.

Reuss VIII. Dool Arena. A powerful opponent cracking your skull. Searing pain. Broken ribs that have never healed right. Still to this day there is pain when you breath too hard.

Darlyn Boda. Slums. A Black Sun ganger sliding a blade in your side. Blood pooling on the street. No one cares.

Ison. Tundra. Mother Nature freezing your skin and bones. A cold body shutting down. The need to live fighting the wish to die.

Barab I. Jungle. A Durg’s teeth ripping into your arm. More blood than you’ve ever seen. You almost lose the arm.

Tull’s mind returns as he rolls on the floor, snuffing the flames. He will live. His Grandmother’s wisdom returns to his mind, “A true warrior should always remember his victories Tull, but he can never forget his defeats.”

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Reflections from Tor part 33

Tor’s lightsaber switched off and almost fell from his hands. He backed away from the blast door, the orange glow of the melting metal slowly starting to dim.

Kelyn’s voice, shocked, confused, and relieved all at the same time rang over the intercom again. “Tor? Did you…? Are you ok now?”

Tor looked up at one of the cameras and nodded, turning and starting towards the cockpit, barely able to return his lightsaber to its holster due to the shaking from his hands. He blew past a bewildered Carson and Tull, who both called out to him questioningly.

“They’re all dead,” Tor said quietly as he passed the two. They followed after him, still throwing out questions that Tor shook off as he entered the cockpit. Kelyn turned in his chair and faced Tor, a confused and haunted look on his face as his eyes met Tor’s. The others filtered in as Tor and Kelyn’s gaze remained locked, each knowing that the other had experienced something beyond their realm of knowledge.

After the ship was secured, they retreated to the captain’s quarters, each relating the vision they had seen.

“Was it real?” Kelyn asked. “You have more experience with this kind of thing than I do, Tor.” He ran his hands over his face. “Could they be alive? Was it real?”

“It could be real,” Tor said. “If this group stays on the path it’s on, it will be real, it will happen. We have to take a stand now, and keep it from happening,” He looked significantly at Kelyn. “And I think they’re alive, Kelyn. Somewhere out there. And we’re on our way towards them.”

The ships coasted down onto Hosk, the group disembarking and heading into the main facility off of the hangar. Tor watched as each of his fellow travelers walked into a bar, an older man telling a story loudly in a corner. He could sense the tendrils of the dark side wafting around each of them, looking for a way to latch on and take hold.

We must be careful, Tor thought. Or we will encounter something far more damaging than anything else we’ve faced.

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