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A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...


STAR WARS
Light and Shadow

The SITH EMPIRE tightens its grip on the galaxy. The GALACTIC REPUBLIC and its Jedi defenders lie weakened and vulnerable after the Empire's successful military campaign.

THEVALARA, a Chiss SITH WARRIOR, who's had prior dealings with the HUTT CARTEL has arrived on NAR SHADDAA at the invitation of JAVVAXXA THE HUTT to discuss a business proposition.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the young Sith, a JEDI KNIGHT, named THAEREX AZALAERA, investigating the Sith Empire's involvement in the ALDERAAN CIVIL WAR has tracked Thevalara to Nal Hutta's largest moon and is closing in...
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Nar Shaddaa, also known as the Smuggler's Moon, was like Coruscant in that the entire surface was covered in a sprawling metropolis, but that's about where the similarities ended. Controlled by the Hutts, the moon was filthy, polluted, and infested with crime. Things illegal on most worlds were bought and sold on Nar Shaddaa and as a result it was a haven for smugglers, pirates, and criminals.

Thaerex stepped out of the hangar where he'd landed the Sentinel and began to make his way through the spaceport. With his cowl pulled up over his head, he wove his way through the crowd and headed over to the air taxi station.

"Vehicle pads are currently open for business." The taxi droid greeted in him digitally synthesized Basic.

"I need to get to the Industrial Sector," said Thaerex.

As soon as the words had left Thaerex's mouth, the taxi droid's photo-receptors began to pulse quickly, moments later a bright-yellow airspeeder pulled up to the vehicle pad. Thaerex recognized it as a Commuter model speeder, produced by the Czerka Corporation. The speeder's aggressive lines gave it a sporty look, but the vehicle was inexpensive enough that it had become a standard model for air taxis on several worlds. Thaerex climbed into the two-seater cockpit and put his hands on the controls. With a touch, the airspeeder rocketed away from the spaceport.

Thaerex had been tracking down this Sith for a while now. Even after months of investigation, he still knew very little. She was a Chiss and she'd played a significant part in the Alderaan Civil War. While neither the Republic nor the Empire officially had any troops on the ground, the involvement of both governments was present in the backing of rival houses. The Republic had supported House Organa, while the Empire had backed House Thul. But during the conflict, the Empire gained control of a Republic superweapon, the Death Mark. From what Thaerex had been able to gather, this Sith had been a member of the Imperial Strike Force that had attacked the Death Mark weapon facility on Alderaan, a direct violation of the Treaty of Coruscant.

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Theva hated this planet already. She’d barely stepped foot out of the speeder car, and she could already tell it was a shithole. It smells funny, it’s full of people and they all make too much noise, there are neon signs buzzing everywhere and everywhere she looked, some idiot was fighting some other idiot over something that is ultimately, completely insignificant to the war. Why she was here, she still didn’t know. She wasn’t a Force-damned diplomat, she was a Warrior, made for carving through adversaries on the battlefield, not having tea with a Hutt.

“Negotiate with the Hutt, they said,” she muttered angrily to herself as she stomped through the street and searched for the meeting place, “there’s nobody else that can go, they said.”
Of course, she very well couldn’t refuse an order from a Darth, and thus here she was. But she didn’t have to be happy about it.

The Hutt Cartels controlled this planet, along with most of the other moons orbiting their homeworld of Nal Hutta. And the fat slugs refused to pick a Force-damned side. They would much rather grow rich on spoils from both sides, even if that meant allowing ridiculous gangs of mercenaries undermine anything the Empire was trying to do here.
As long as she got to kill something eventually, she kept telling herself, then it would be worth it.

She ignored all the people staring at her, her red eyes scanning the crowds for someone who looked like the contact she was supposed to meet. She honed in on a man in mercenary’s armour, leaning against a doorframe as he subtly glanced her way, jerking his chin for her to follow, and disappeared down the hallway. The Chiss checked over each soldier, scanning through the crowd for anyone who might be following her, finding no-one, she crossed the street and slipped after him.

“Finally, you arrive.” the Hutt droned in the garbled, unelegant language that is Huttese. “I do not like to be kept waiting, Sith.”
“And I have a very itchy lightsaber hand.” Theva retorted, raising her chin at the slug and skewering him with her gaze, “So I would advise that you don’t anger me, Hutt. Speak quickly. I haven’t got all day.”

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Sithspawn! Rex thought to himself as he climbed out of the air taxi. Even the industrial sector is lit up with those garish neon holo-signs. Peering out over the crowds, he searched for the distinct, coral-looking, helmet his quarry was known for wearing. Failing to spot that, he searched again, this time looking for the distinct blue skin and hair that marked the Chiss species. While he managed to spot several blue-skinned beings in the crowd, there was not a Chiss among them.

"Lose someone?" a voice asked, in heavily accented Basic.

Rex turned to see who had addressed him and found himself face-to-face with a green skinned Rodian.

"You might say that," Rex confirmed. The Rodian looked him up and down.

"You a Sith?"

Rex scowled. He'd made somewhat of a controversial choice when he'd decided to use black cloth and dark-brown synth-leather to craft his Jedi robes, and this had been the result.

"I'm a Jedi," Rex corrected the Rodian, "and I'm looking for this person." He pulled out his holo from beneath his cloak and activated it. The Rodian studied the hologram for a moment and slowly nodded.

"Yeah," he said, "I saw someone like that, just a few moments ago too." The scowl that had come over Rex's face instantly vanished.

"Did you see where they went?"

"Well that depends," replied the Rodian slyly, holding out an empty hand. Rex's scowl returned. He understood, information in this case wasn't supposed to be given for free. He tucked his holo back beneath his cloak, then casually passed a hand in front of the Rodian's face.

"You don't want my money," Rex asserted. The sly expression on the Rodian's face faded away and his hand dropped back down to his side.

"I dont' want your money," the Rodian repeated.

"You want to tell me where they went," Rex continued, passing his hand in front of the Rodian again.

"I want to tell you where they went," the Rodian repeated, raising his hand and pointing over the crowds to an open doorway, flanked by two members of the Hutt Cartel Security Force.

"Thank you," said Rex, turning to go. "Oh," he stopped, "one more thing." He turned back to face the Rodian, and passed his hand in front of his vacant eyes for a third time. "You want to go home and rethink your life."

* * * *


Glancing innocuously down the hallway from a safe distance, Rex noted that it seemed to dead-end at a sealed blast door. Looking over the building's facade, he guessed it was probably the front of a small warehouse. Reaching out through the Force, he could sense the presence a powerful darkness, probably the Sith he was looking for. The situation felt almost like a trap. Checking to be sure that no one was watching, he made his way over to the side of the building and ducked into the narrow alley that separated it from the adjacent structures. With a series of Force-assisted leaps, he managed to bring himself up onto the roof of the warehouse.

Making his way stealthily over to one of the roof access hatches, he used the Force to open the lock and climbed inside. The warehouse was divided into two levels by a floor of metal grates, suspended above the base level. Various cargo containers were haphazardly stacked about on both levels, but Rex managed to find a path through them towards the sounds of a deep rumbling voice speaking in Huttese. He followed the voice to the front of the warehouse, where the second level ended about twenty meters shy of the front wall. Hiding in the shadows cast by the cargo crates, he saw the Sith conversing with a Hutt.
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Theva leaned one hand impatiently on the war table between them, the other still resting on her lightsaber at her belt.
“So?” she prompted when the Hutt still hadn't spoken. “What's the situation?”
“Your Empire has been arranging alliances with the gangs on this planet.” the Hutt declared, “I, Javvaxxa, am content to allow you to continue to do this, however there has been… Complications.”
Oh, this just kept getting better and better. Fighting to keep her composure, Theva hissed through her teeth.
“What sort of complications?!”
“Your agents’ meddling in the underworld has stirred up the anger of the Exchange. And this, the Hutt Cartel cannot allow.”

The Chiss cocked her head to one side.
“Are you threatening me, Hutt? I hope you know, that is not wise.”
You may be Force-resistant, but I can still kill you whenever I want.. The Hutt chuckled in amusement, waving his stubby arms back and forth.
“No no, if I were threatening you, Sith, you would know it. However, I AM offering you an ultimatum.”
She raised one brow at him, and said nothing. “The agents of your Empire have disturbed the natural order of things on this moon, and now Ukabi and the Exchange, our sworn enemies, are running rampant.” Javvaxxa’s large eyes swivelled to the Chiss in front of him, doing his best to try and intimidate her. “This is all your fault. You and your Empire. Fix it, or you will make an enemy of the Hutts.”

Theva snickered out loud, straightening her posture and raising her chin in defiance.
“I don’t take orders from slugs.” she sneered. “But, I will take a look at it. Not because you threatened me-” the Chiss’ expression took on a ghastly grin, “-but because I might actually get to kill something, finally. Where can I find this ‘Ukabi’?”
Javvaxxa laughed, loudly, loud enough for the Sith to let out an involuntary hiss of discomfort and abruptly shove away from the wartable.
“Do you think it is that simple? If it was, I would have done it already! The man cannot be killed!”
“He’s clearly not met the business end of a Sith’s lightsaber before.” Theva drawled, already growing bored of this. “Just tell me where he is, and I’ll go and kill him.”
“The Corellian Sector, last we knew. See to it that you do, or the next time that I see you I will have your head, Sith.” the Hutt rumbled, before slithering off to attend to some other nefarious businesses.

Theva, however, paused. With the room now empty apart from herself, she could be almost SURE that she sensed another presence of some sort. Someone who was watching her. Her teeth bared in a snarl, Theva cast around the room, looking for anywhere that may be a hiding spot. She checked the ground level first, behind the door, behind the stacks of crates, her eyes moving from one end of the room to the other. She passed over Rex’s hiding spot twice, not quite catching his gaze, though she did squint as if unsure what she could see.
To the “empty room”, she called out.
“I know you are there. How long have you been following me?” the Chiss waited for an answer. One minute, then two, three…
When nothing came, she shrugged in annoyance to herself, and started for the door again.
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Rex remained motionless as the Sith scanned the room. A couple of times he thought she might've seen him, but he counted on the fact that his black robes and the shadow thrown over his face by his hood obscured him well enough. While the dark colors may have been the cause of people frequently misidentifying him, they also served their purpose in times such as this, when a lighter color might have given away his position.

"I know you are there." the Sith called out. "How long have you been following me?" Rex studied the Sith for a moment. Didn't appear to be looking at his hiding spot, so he was confident she had not seen him. However, she may have sensed his presence through the Force. Even so, he continued to remain still and silent. A minute passed...then another...and another... Finally, the Sith shrugged and turned to leave. Rex waited until she had entered the hallway before sneaking back to the roof access hatch.

From his vantage point on the roof, it was fairly easy to pick her out of the crowd. Her unique armor marked her and made some people steer clear, making the crowd flow around her like a rock in a stream. She seemed to be making her way over to the air taxi station. He made his way over to the edge overlooking the alley and dropped down, using the Force to cushion his fall. He pressed his way through the crowd and managed to reach the air taxi station just in time to see the Sith climb into one of the yellow Czerka-airspeeders and zoom off. Waiting a moment in case the Sith looked back to see if she was being followed, he stepped forward.

The droid attendant greeted him, "Welcome, please indicate an available travel route."

"I need a cab to the Corellian Sector."

* * * *


A few mind-tricked hustlers later, Thaerex found himself sitting against a durasteel wall opposite the entrance to the Chemical Refinement District. The Corellian Sector was known primarily for its casinos and trendy cafés. But, according to his sources, the Exchange ran a large spice refinement operation out of this district on the sector's lower levels. From his position he could monitor the entrance and wait for the Sith to arrive, given that there were still guards on duty, he assumed she hadn't already. What few people passed by likely assumed he was a vagrant or homeless and so he was able to maintain a low profile while he waited.
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The taxi ride to the Corellian Sector was relatively short, thank the Force. By the time she touched down on the transport landing pad, Theva was just itching to kill something. She would rather still be on Alderaan than here, at the rate things had been going. Thankfully, this sector was crawling with Exchange thugs, so she was likely to get her wish. As happened in most places that she travelled to, many of the civilians took one look at her attire, her stance, and the lightsaber on her hip, and abruptly scattered in the opposite direction. If she’d had the time, she might have chased some of them down just for the hell of it, but right now she had to focus on getting this stupid Hutt what he wanted.

It wasn’t difficult to find the spice processing plant, either. She had only to watch some of the thugs on the upper levels coming and going for a short while, to deduce that there was something of value on the more concealed lower level. When the next set came up, Theva leapt out at them and quickly dispatched them with the Force, commandeering the elevator platform as it dropped back down once more. As soon as she arrived in the lower level, she could smell the spice, anyone with a half-decent nose could have, and Theva liked to think hers was better than ‘half-decent’. It wasn’t too difficult to follow the smell, the Chiss was easily able to take cover behind one of the tall support pillars that stretched up to the walkways of the Sector above them, for the time being taking no notice of the Jedi shadowing her, as she was preoccupied with peering around at the guards outside of the spice plant.

Theva’s lightsaber activated with a snap-hiss, and she cleared the distance from the pillar to the doorway in a single leap, her weapon slicing the first guard clean through the middle and her free hand lashing out to grab the second by the skull with the Force, crushing it before he could even scream for help. Those who were inside the plant, however, had a bit more warning, between the sounds of the body (parts) hitting the floor, and the stench of burning flesh that clearly wafted through the doorway. As she entered the refinery, the Chiss flung her lightsaber across the room at a group of gunners, using the moment that her hand was free in order to press a button on her other gauntlet that would activate her personal shield, before she caught the hilt as it returned to her.

The next few salvos bounced right off the energy-deflecting shield that appeared as a shimmering purple forcefield around the Chiss Sith, while her lightsaber took care of the rest of the assailants, all bar one unlucky fellow, who found himself being grabbed by the throat and slammed into the nearest wall. She wasn’t done with this one yet, not by a long shot.

“Noooooww, let’s you and I have a little chat, shall we?” Theva purred, kicking his blaster across the room until it thunked heavily against the opposite wall, well out of his reach. She kept her lightsaber in a loose guarded stance, just in case someone else came rushing in because of all the noise she had been causing. “Where is your boss, this Ukabi character?”
“I-I don’t know, I sw-swear!” the guard insisted, scrabbling frantically at his own neck in a futile attempt to escape the invisible chokehold. She gave an over-exaggerated sigh, drawing her arm back enough to pull him away from the wall again, only to slam him straight back into it with enough power to knock the wind out of him this time.

“Let me make this very clear, I’m going to ask the questions, and every time I don’t like your answer, I’m going to cut something off.” the Chiss tilted her head to one side, in the same cold, predatory way that a Nexu would size up its prey before ending its moments in this life, and gave him a sickly sweet smile. “And you are not going to like where I will start, my friend.”

The guard let out an amusingly effeminate scream, his terrified gaze sweeping to her lightsaber as he did the best to cross his legs.
“Alright, alright!!! He-He’s around here, miss, he j-just said not to t-tell anyone! I c-could, I could call him r-right now!”
This time, she dropped him, only to allow him to dial on his communicator, and foolishly assuming that watching all of his associates die by her hand would mean he wouldn’t think to feed her a bold-faced lie.

Moments after he fired off the message, Theva realised her mistake as many, many more footsteps - far too many for her to fight alone, and already half-drained from fighting previously - sounded the arrival of a large squad of reinforcements.
“K'et bah ch'a searoten'i! (Son of a bitch!)” she snarled angrily in Cheunh, sharply twisting her wrist until the offending man’s neck cracked, before she hefted her lightsaber and braced herself for a really difficult fight out of here.
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Thaerex heard the sickening CRACK from inside the room and felt the disturbance in the Force that told him the Sith had killed again. He could hear the angry humming of her crimson saber. Behind him he could hear the sounds of approaching footsteps, too many for the Sith to take on alone, and he needed her alive. As he stepped over yet another corpse sporting scorched saber wounds, he ignited his violet blade and stepped over the threshold.

There, standing amidst the carnage, was the Sith. She stood with her lightsaber ready, though he very much doubted that she'd expected him to be the first one through the door.

"Hello there." Rex extended a greeting, careful to watch for any sudden movements on the Sith's part.
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The Chiss raised her head as she heard the unmistakable sound of another lightsaber activating, her eyes locking onto Thaerex, though she didn’t attack immediately. Instead, the Sith looked him over carefully, before her gaze travelled slowly back to his face.
“Hello to you, too.” she answered eventually, her saber dropping from attack stance, back to guarded as she tilted her head to one side. The way he was dressed, the colour of his saber...it was a reasonable conclusion to assume, as the inhabitants of the planet had done, that he was a fellow Sith. “Did they send you here to help?” Theva gestured around her at the carnage of the room. “If so, you’re a little late.”

An amused grin painted her features next, followed up with a chuckle. “Or are you the cleanup crew?” She peered over his shoulder warily, the footsteps were getting quicker, and louder.
“Either way, I think we should run, yes?”
She hated running from a fight, but even Theva wasn’t stupid enough to trap herself in a battle she knew they wouldn’t be able to win.
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Thaerex raised a quizzical eyebrow. Her reaction was entirely not what he had expected. However as she continued, he realized quickly what had likely happened, and suppressed the scowl that usually followed someone mistaking him for a Sith. In this case, her mistaking his identity would probably work in his favor, which meant, for the time being, he had a role to play.

"Ladies first?" he asked, lowering his saber and stepping aside. "Though it does seem you've had plenty of 'fun' already."

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“Well aren’t you the gentleman?” Theva snickered, stowing her saber back on her belt, she gestured for him to follow and brushed past him, exploding into a run almost immediately upon leaving the doorway. The Chiss took the next couple of corners in no more than six or seven strides and then skidded into a crouch in a crawlspace between a large stack of supply crates, where she waited for Thaerex to join her, and listened to the Exchange muscle arguing back and forth amongst themselves about where the Sith had gone.

Theva held her breath, frantically drawing her finger across her throat and praying the man would do the same, as they listened to the soldiers thundering past them on their search. When the footsteps receded, the Sith straightened herself up again and offered him a hand to help him to his feet, too.
“They’re gone, I think. But better not to stick around and find out-”
As she stepped out from their refuge place, however, Theva heard the unmistakable sound of the safety snapping off on several other blasters, and sucked in a sharp breath. Slowly, she raised her eyes and found herself staring right down the barrel of a Rhodian’s blaster, the Hutt Cartel emblem blazoned on his armour.

“Vah viz vizehn ch'at cart lassin't ch'ah!” (You’ve got to be kidding me!) she snarled, once again reverting back to her native tongue - it seemed to be a habit of hers when under great stress, almost as if her brain forgot how Basic was supposed to work - as she glanced back over her shoulder at Thaerex. “Suggestions?”
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