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Okay, reposted an edited version of my earlier attempt. Kept a modified form of the Friendly-the-droid scene, cause...I like him, even if no one else does.
hey all,

I threw up a post last night a bit too quickly. It didnt really work so I took it down, apologies for cluttering the IC. Will replace with a better post later this week.
The Keep, Corridor X-13L


[REMOVE PERSONAGES FROM HANGAR-LEVEL CORRIDORS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. KINDLY REMOVE PERSONAGES CLASSIFIED NON-FLIGHT RELATED/NON-TECHNICAL STAFF OR RISK DISCIPLINARY ACTION. ADMIRAL XIMEN DEMANDS IT. COMPLY WITH DEMANDS OR RISK DISCIPLINARY MEASURES AND CONSIDERABLE PAIN]

Friendly, it seemed, was in a bad mood, if that was the word for it. The LOM droid who served as head of security on the Keep (for reasons completely inscrutable to anyone else on the ship besides the Admiral) was brandishing a sizzling shock-mace in one metallic fist and a data-slate in the other, on which bold runes declared he was acting on direct orders from the Bridge. His bulbous optics glowed red as he blared his directives at the gawping troopers and furious officers clustered in an dim alcove just off the main corridor, where they had been dicing and sharing a bottle of Corellian brandy. Behind the battered droid, several rust-flecked B-1 units stood at attention, armed with shock-maces and riot shields. Techs and pilots rushing back and form from the nearby hangar-bay ogled the scene as they passed by.

[NON-FLIGHT PERSONAGES TO REPLACE THEMSELVES TO ENGINEERING LEVEL 21. FLOODING HAS BEEN RESOLVED AND HABITABLE SPACES ARE BEING PREPARED TO RECEIVE YOUR BODIES]

"21?!" shouted a human commander, "You're sending us to the fuckin' swamp, Friendly? I lost fifte-"

[LOSSES ON ANAXES DEEMED WITHIN ACCEPTABLE CASUALTY MARGINS AND IRRELEVANT TO RELOCATION OF GROUND PERSONAGES FROM-]

"Acceptable?! I'm taking this right to Lieutenant Ensago, bug-bot," screamed the officer, "You and your seperatist freak of an Admiral can't keep stowing us like cargo."

One of his soldiers, a wookie, roared in agreement.

[ENSAGO WILL NOT SAVE YOU. REPORT TO NEW HABITAT OR BE PUNISHED APPROPRIATELY. OPERATIONS TOMORROW WILL LIKELY DECREASE YOUR SQUAD-NUMBERS AND MAKE HABITABLE SPACE MORE AVAILABLE]

The Keep, Bridge


"Why was I-zzzt-not informed of this sooner, Commander?" asked the Admiral, his crab-like throne clanking as it slowly carried him in a circle around Trist Axton, who was standing at attention, her face angular face a mask of blank professionalism.

"Intelligence did not identify the Lycurgus as a likely threat. We have reliable information that it is detailed to a detachment whose mandate is to uproot Imperial traitors and suppress domestic uprisings, not offensive operations."

"A-zzz-nd yet, I find my ship ambushed by a Star Destroyer which my databas-zzzt-es say does not exist, with no information on its commander, on an operation ordered by the same IntellIGENCE WHO TELL ME-" Ximen twisted down the dial on his pressure-suit, "-that that resistance is ex-zzz-pected to be minimal. And now I-zzz-also am ordered to steal another ship, and operational data I am given is-zzz-incomplete at best. Di-zzzz-spleasure is expressed, Commander Axton."

"I will relay your sentiments to Command, sir" said Axton.

"Zzz-see that you do, a-zzz-ssuming we do not all die after blundering into another fias-zzz-co tomorrow," said the Admiral, "And tell Genera-"

*Sir* one of the tactical droids interrupted, approaching the admiral and handing him a data-slate, *LOM-8347 reports outbreak of violence on Level x-13. Brawling with security droids.*

"The brig for all off-zzz-enders. I am not running a mercy-ward," said the Admiral, "Send reinforcements to clear out that corri-zz-dor. Have the offenders'-zzz-commander report to the Bridge."

Anaxes


"Well, Agent Zorn," said Pale, lowering himself into the shuttle's bucket-seat with a slight wince, "We found our Rebel spy. After five months, ten thousand tons of stolen cargo, two military disasters, and one cunning but-alas-imperfectly executed trap of my devising..."

He pulled a flask from the pocket of his overcoat, took a long swig, and offered it to Kae, who shook her head "...we located- and plugged- the Anaxes leak."

The ramp of the shuttle swung closed with a hiss, cutting off the noise of the bustling landing pad, enclosing the Colonel and his protege in the humming quiet of the spacecraft.

"Who was it?" asked Zorn. She was a woman in her late twenties, slim, with dark hair and skin, her mouth set in what seemed like a permanent grimace. She wore the lightly armored gray tunic of an ISB Agent.

"The lieutenant, or rather, the lieutenant's boyfriend," said Pale with a sigh, "Apparently Commander Uled was a bit chatty after-hours, and his lover was feeding the information he gleaned in the bedroom off-world. Boyfriend disappeared just before the rebs raided. I have Agent Xenyg tracking him down."

"Should have sent me," said Zorn, "I can track a rebel agent faster than Xenyg's team."

Pale smiled as he lit a cigarra, "I need your talents elsewhere. We have bigger bantha to hunt than Officer Pillowtalk's bedmate."

"Always the mistresses of one bureaucrat or another," said Zorn, shaking her head, "Makes you wonder what they teach at rebel training camps."

"This time it wasn't a mistress," replied the Colonel, exhaling a cloud of smoke, "So I appreciate Lieutenant Uled introducing at least that much variety into my otherwise dreary existence, which is why he isn't facing a firing squad."

"Feeling merciful?"

"You know what these Academy-cadet types fear more than blasters or prison camps?" asked Pale, "Demotion. I'm serious. He'll serve as a more effective example to the others in a trooper's uniform than if I'd hung him from the comms tower and left his body for the birds."

"Never wound an enemy you can kill," said Kae.

"Pithy, very pithy, Agent Zorn, if lifted word-for-word from ISB training manuals. I prefer the old Jedi mantra: Love blinds, desire binds," said Pale, and Zorn's jaw clenched almost imperceptibly, "That's why the first place you always check for info leaks is the CO's bedroom, and why stripping a man of his sole ambition can send a clearer message than shooting him."

"Your wisdom, as always, is..." said Zorn, eyes rolling.

"Under-appreciated," said Pale, taking another drink from his flask, "You've much still to learn, padawan."

"You know, I could probably get you arrested for jokes like that."

"I doubt it. I'm one of the ones they send to make those arrests, and I'm miles ahead of my colleagues where it counts," said Pale, tapping his temple.

"With some notable exceptions, Colonel," said Zorn, with the smallest hint of a smile.

Anaxes Orbital Command Center

Present Day...


Through swirling currents of smoke and snow, Lieutenant Uled watched the shuttle approach, circling the landing pad like some great, black bird of prey, its dark wings folding up along its sides as though preparing to swoop down on Uled and the troopers assembled behind him.

He stood at attention, ignoring as best he could wind that bit right through his uniform, and the overpowering reek of burning gas and melted ferrocrete. He envied the Stormtoopers around him, in their sealed armor, breathing warm, recycled air.

The raid had hit his facility, hard, and though most of the fires were by now under control, smoke and ash hung over the base like a shroud. The occasional break in the dark pall revealed an altogether more disturbing sight: the vast arrow-head shadow of a Star Destroyer, suspended beneath the grey skies, blocking out the pale winter sun.

Uled wondered for the thousandth time if he was about to meet the end of his career or the end of his life, and could not be sure which idea terrified him more.

The shuttle landed, the exit ramp dropping in a gust of hydraulic exhaust, and down they came, a squad of Stormtroopers first, then the black-uniformed agents of the Imperial Security Bureau.

The Colonel descended last, the tails of his dark coat billowing out behind him, his collar upturned against the wind. He was a tall man with graying, slightly unkempt hair swept back from a high forehead. The left side of his face was a patchwork of burns, and he wore a metal patch over his eye. An unlit cigarra hung from the corner of his mouth, and the pistol at his hip was far heavier than the standard officer's model.

"You Uled?" he said, approaching the lieutenant. The Colonel spoke in a gutter drawl from the Outer Rim- nothing like the clipped Coruscanti affectation universal among the Imperial officer caste. His accent shocked Uled, who managed stunned blink and a half-hearted salute.

"Yes sir, Lieutenant Uled, sir, I am the, ah, commander of this facility."

"Colonel Pale, ISB. Rebs hit you boys pretty hard down here," said the Colonel, shielding his cigarra from the wind as he lit it, "Lose anything important?"

"Ah, the comms array, sir, the refueling depot for the ground units, and two turbo laser batteries sir."

"Databases still intact?"

"Databases, sir?"

"Communications logs, ship manifests, that sort've thing?"

"Err, yes, yes sir."

"Good. As of this moment, your facility is under the command of the Imperial Security Bureau. You are to order all personnel- including your troopers- to surrender their weapons to my men and report to the main briefing hall by 0200. Anyone who can't make it without a damned good excuse, we hunt down like an animal. You are relieved of command for the duration of my stay on Anaxes, Lieutenant."

"Sir, I... we managed to destroy the rebel-"

"I don't give a wookie's ass about the rebels," said the Colonel, "If I cared about that lizard-fucker Ximen and his rag-tag gaggle of pirates, I'd be chasing them instead of standing here in the cold with you. Exactly fifty people were authorized to know about the frigate the rebels tried to lift, and all of them work in this facility. You have a leak, Lieutenant."

Uled opened his mouth to reply, but the Colonel held up a gloved hand as he exhaled a cloud of bluish, spicy-smelling smoke. Behind him, Uled could see landers streaming down from the Destroyer. The first to touch down disgorged ISB stormtroopers, who fanned out in combat formation. There were a few bright blue flashes, as the ISB troops stunned anyone in their way.

"Your sidearm, Lieutenant," said Pale, holding out his hand, "and then I'll need your override codes to the facility."

Admiral Ximen
Bridge of The Keep, After the Briefing


*Commander on deck* announced the tactical droid, as the Admiral, perched precipitously atop an clawed mechno-chair, clanked into the bridge, his voluminous blue robes spilling out from the heavy metal frame of his pressure suit.

"rePORT-buzzzt-" demanded Ximen as he futzed with the voice-dials arrayed across his gleaming breastplate, "SYSTEms status."

His chair lurched to the center of the command platform, then froze and settled under his weight with a slow hydraulic hiss. Around him, B-1 pilot models hunched over terminals, beeping quietly as they monitored the Keep's subsystems and the asteroid field in which she lay hidden from Imperial sensors.

*Aft turbo-laser batteries assessed at 37% capacity, deemed not fully recoverable in the absence of repair facilities.* the t-model replied, approaching the admiral with a data-slate, *gas-leak in engineering located and repaired. Keep assessed mission-ready despite sub-optimal offensive systems. Lightning Squadron has requested additional hangar space in-*

"Gr-zzzzzt-anted," said Ximen, with the wave of a black-gloved hand, "Inform Major Sovv that he has my -zzzt- backing in whatever he re-zzzt-quires. Send LOM-8347 to remove any excess ground personnel from the h-zzt-ngers. What of the Imperials?"

*TIE forces continue to sweep the debris cluster* replied the t-series, as a holo-display of the asteroid field flickered into life in front of the admiral, with red indicators of enemy fighter locations, all distant from the Keep's position, *Mynock Squadron in position to intercept/ambush any enemy scouts that breach detection radius.*

"Acceptable. The likelihood of our discovery?"

*15%*

"Analysis."

*Enemy employing standard Imperial search-destroy formations. No detected deviations. At current rate, enemy would breach Keep's detection radius in 7 months. Correction: 8.4 months. Two TIE units just destroyed by asteroid impact. 10% chance of discovery, contingent entirely on change in Imperial search procedure.*

Admiral Ximen's beady eyes watched from behind round goggles as two red pin-points disappeared from the holo-display.

"-zzzt-fools," he said in his mechanical croak, to no one in particular, "squandering their chance to catch us."

*Quite agreed, Admiral.* replied the droid.

Ximen sat back in his chair. Behind his mask, a lipless mouth was curled into a frown. The clumsiness of his hunters was typical of the Imperial Navy, inept as it tended to be in anything but open engagements between ships of the line.

At Anaxes, however, they had been anything but clumsy. Their ambush had been near perfect, failing to destory the Keep only due to the skill of the Rebel ship's fighter screen. One well-placed ion torpedo had been the difference between life and death.

Ximen doubted that whomever had organized the Anaxes trap was bothering to command the pursuit.

"Have you completed your analysis of the Anaxes engagment?" he asked the droid.

*Yes, Admiral.*

"You may proceed."

*Victory-class cruisers Stalwart and Firestorm identified. Engagement histories being uploaded to your data-slate now.*

"What of the Destroyer?"

*Transmission intercepts identified it as the ISD-Lycurgus.*

"Her command-zzzt-er?"

*The databanks to which I have access only indicate that the Lycurgus is not a garrison ship, nor does it appear in our roster of Imperial capital-class vessels.*

Ximen pressed the tips of his long, gloved fingers together. "Perturbing. Ask Commander Axton to report to the Bridge. Perhaps Alliance Intelligence knows more than-zzzzt-they care to enter into our databanks. It will not do for us to ignore an Imperial who knows how to lay a competent ambush-zzzt."
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