From the private Journals of Irsin Rashos
13:10:122 ABY; Early Morning, on Skiff arriving in Taris
So it would seem my cover is finally blown. I received the following message from Grale on my Sith Dead drop account.
Saber Rashos, I have just reported to the Circle. I am told that you were given an assignment as well not long after myself, and yet you have apparently not reported in on your progress even once. This behavior does not bode well for you, and it reflects badly on me, as your former Master. Report in at once on your progress. -Master Grale
What I don’t understand is what is the need for such subterfuge? We saw each other, we fought each other. What value could there be in feigning ignorance of my activities? Something told me to reply however and so I replied:
Grale – Little has changed since I saw you on Wayland. -Irsin
Now I am here on Taris once again. I’m not sure if my experience here last time is contributing, but something is making my skin crawl. I feel like I’m being watched…
From the private Journals of Irsin Rashos
13:10:122 ABY; Evening, on Skiff docked in Taris
I spent the rest of today trying to gather information about the assassination, hoping it will lead me to Grale or someone he is tied to. I managed to discover that a group of mercs was hired to assault the senator…though it seems from the tapes we saw that any such thing was likely little more than a distraction for the true assault.
The key element I learned however is that it seems not all of the mercs were killed or arrested. At least 3 of them escaped. Perhaps if I can find out where they are I can find a way to get them to lead me to the one who hired them. Grale.
I find myself oddly pondering the situation with the Ren sisters. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to record my journals without assuming they were being overheard by that damnable ship…
It’s strange to feel part of something…greater again. I don’t think I’d realized how empty it felt to be a member of the Sith. There was very little you could do to feel comfortable about the man or woman next to you. Alliances were short lived and risky. The very concept of Murder – killing without justification doesn’t even exist. It means constant vigilance.
Realistically I should have seen Grale’s betrayal coming. Somehow he sat in a blind spot all these years.
And yet somehow, even though I have never let my guard down with the Ren twins…there is something, genuine about them. Q’ayla especially…it’s like reading an open book most of the time. The kind of honesty is something I am not well used to. I at first felt it was a weakness, among the Sith it would be without question…
I’m rambling. I guess I’m just trying to say….part of me desperately wants to trust them. A part of me I thought I successfully buried in a ditch, long ago. I think they want to trust me too. And that’s where it falls apart, because as soon as I realize that there’s a conditioned response in me that rises up, you can use that to your advantage, they can be manipulated to your ends. And I begin closing off again.
I hold no illusions of my own actions. I have no love of people, and very little qualms in doing what must be done to achieve my goals. But the idea of having people I could trust again…people I could rely on…it has a certain appeal.
I’m going to go to the bar where some of the mercs are known to hang out. Hopefully I can find one of them and learn more.
From the private Journals of Irsin Rashos
14:10:122 ABY; Near Dawn, on Skiff docked in Taris
Well…that was certainly interesting.
I found the Chiss and Twi’lek who had survived the merc mission to assassinate the senator. They were not at all what they seemed. It was obvious almost immediately that they were hard up for the cash and had accepted a job far below their normal skill-set.
Trasa and Desvin are an interesting study of Psychoses. Desvin seems utterly devoid of emotion, whether a side effect of the extensive cybernetic implants, or the other way around I’m not entirely sure. Trasa on the other hand is the definition of emotionally driven. She is sadistic, brutally efficient, and quite insane.
As such they make quite an interesting pair. Were I not already engaged in a situation that exposed me too much with the Jedi, I might consider enlisting them in one way or another. They would be very useful…and I can work with their…>ahem< quirks.
So I arrived in the bar and approached them. After assuring them of my credentials and validating my information, we began to discuss the situation. Apparently the leader of the sorry group of mercs (a Duros named Cei Baaks), was the only one with any direct contact with their employer. They too were looking for both the Duros and the employer, because they had evidently been setup as nothing more than a distraction, and as any good professional would feel, they were perturbed at the idea of not being properly informed of the task, nor to the presence of Jedi guards.
This meant we had a clearly common purpose in mind. So we formulated a plan in which we would trace the money trail from the Duros’ bar account back to the source of who was paying them. It was simple enough, all we needed was access to the bar accounts and my skills with the computer could do the rest.
No sooner had we finished deciding that however when Trasa stood up and stalked towards the barkeeper. I had been about to suggest that I could probably slice into the network from my portable terminal…but I thought it would be best to let this play out. So I remained in my seat and simply watched.
Trasa took the direct approach…not fairly elegant, but it often has its place. Most with any kind of backbone find that it turns rather flexible when staring down the barrel of a blaster. This barkeep however was either too stupid to recognize the threat that Trasa and Desvin posed, or honestly believed he had enough backup to defend himself.
I judged it to be the latter when more than half the bar stood up from their places and drew weapons when I refused Trasa’s demand for information. I knew there was no longer any going back. If I was to have these two’s help in tracking down and verifying the information tied to the Duros, I’d need to back their play here. I knew it would get messy, and I hated messy. But loose ends are even worse. Too many in this place saw me with them, and I couldn’t afford to let another alias be compromised so quickly. As the tension in the room reached the breaking point I focused my inner self and slowed my perception of time, preparing for action.
So it was that I kept an eye on the barkeep, and when he made for the door, hoping his bar full of angry patrons would be enough of a distraction for Trasa and Desvin, I was ready. I sprang up from the booth I was still sitting in, and dashed after him, bowling him to the ground with a knee to the back. Once down I whipped my heavy pistol across his mouth hard, knocking him unconscious.
With that task done, I now took a quick stock of how the fight had progressed. Desvin was busy immolating anyone without sufficient armor, and Trasa was calmly dropping lowlifes and mercs with shots from her rifle. A couple of the hostiles appeared to have sufficient protection however, and so I targeted them first, lining up my pistol with the head of the nearest armored soldier and blew a hole straight through his head.
The rest of the battle proceeded largely the same way. And I helped in the grudgingly messy but necessary task of putting down the non-combatants as well. Too much mess for my taste by far, but the task was done, and we couldn’t afford for someone to decide to go to the authorities.
Trasa then began to interrogate the barkeep. It was fairly standard torture practice, breaking the fingers one by one. Harsh but effective. Not the sort of thing you do when you have time to get answers, it’s a tactic primarily good for quick answers to information the source is unlikely to defend too strongly. Once we got what we needed, Trasa killed him too, pinning him to the bar with a vibroblade and, I kid you not, a shudder of pleasure.
Now let me be clear, I have no problem with killing. Or even torture. These are things which are sometimes necessary, and the most effective way to accomplish a task. In truth it was liberating in a way to work with professionals who had no qualms about such things again. But rarely had I ever seen, even among the Sith, someone who took such carnal ecstasy from the experience. I judged then that Trasa was too much a wild card to be relied on. An interesting wild card, and one I could get a great deal of…amusement out of pointing at my foes and releasing her. But she was too unpredictable. Too much a creature of her own desires. I live in a world where my passion is a tool, an anvil against which the hammer of my will can strike against. It is at core a means to an end. She lives in a world where her passion is the end. It’s all there is, and as long as she can feed it, she will be sated.
We took the Duros’ account information and I began the preliminary hacking from thebar computer itself. It seemed a safer course of action. Not only did I not want to show these two how to find where I was staying, but if I happened to trip some kind of alarm as I began digging around, it would be easier to cover my tracks from here than from my personal terminal.
Thus I managed to trace the location of a ship which had been docked at the spaceport which was owned by the same person who had deposited a large sum of money in the Duros’ account. I tripped an alarm trying to get more information about the ship in the spacepot authority’s mainframe, but we would have enough time to vacate the premises before they could find us. I would do more research elsewhere. I ran a basic subroutine to remove my activity from the terminal’s logs, and then did a sweep to make sure there weren’t any cameras (hidden or otherwise) in the bar which could incriminate us.
We departed and continued to follow the trail. Ultimately we were able to track down the ships last know point of origin, and I was able to pull the flight plan from the computers. They had logged an official plan which would take them towards Telos. However, Grale was hardly so stupid. The source of the money was from Eriadu, so I was skeptical to say the least. We were thus able to follow the ship’s ion trail in space, and determine that the ship had in fact set out for the same direction as Eriadu, not Telos, once it had left the port.
Trasa and Desvin wanted to track down their Duros friend, and hopefully their outstanding pay, and I needed to check in with the Ren sisters before i follow this lead any further. Hopefully they are able to depart shortly, I don’t want to give Grale any more of a head start than he already has.
As I settled down to write a message to Q’ayla letting her know my status however, the following message arrive in my Sith Dead Drop.
Irsin, it is vitally important that I speak with you as quickly as possible. We have both been played for fools by a fellow Sith, I don’t know who. If, as I suspect, you believe I have done you a great wrong, I assure you it is a lie. I dare not say more, even encoded. Our best chance to overcome this enemy is to pool our efforts. Contact me and we shall arrange a meeting. -Master Vorman
I was completely at a loss….could it possibly be? Might it be someone else had pulled the wool over my eyes in this? Could Grale have possibly not betrayed me? The questions swirled in my head. Why would someone do that? And what did they have to gain by turning me against Grale?
After agonizing about the message for hours, about whether it was a trap, about why Grale would even bother with such an obvious trap, I decided to take a risk. I responded:
How do I know this isn’t a trap? -Irsin
I shook violently as I penned the message and closed my eyes as I hit send. If Grale wasn’t the one out there killing my mother and assassinating senators and seeking hidden caches of apparent Sith artifacts……then who was?