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Thread: [M] Star Wars: The Bureaucrats [Hannelore & Kach]

  1. #91
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    "Hmm." The sound of thought escaped her lips, Marienna began to pace along a narrow path. Each and every foot fall was exact and measured, never a tremble. "Isn't this quite the mystery, eh?" In the cool of the cave, underneath those lights which buzzed seemingly in rhythm with the generator, Marienna could feel at peace. No prying eyes. "If I were a devious terrorist..." Though Marienna understood full well that Corwin was close by, it didn't seem to stop her from talking to herself, or perhaps simply out loud. Trying to solve a problem, that was something she could be quite good at.

    As she spoke, she moved toward the rest of the empty containers and scanned them. "What would I do with everything but the frame of a speeder... and..." Marienna waited patiently for the inventory to populate and identify the item in detail on her hand held device "fertilizer." There was an obvious conclusion, a bomb of some kind... perhaps. Though that seemed almost a little too obvious. "Interesting." Marienna continued to pace. The way she carried herself now is the way she would in front of her most trusted droid. A way she had never really let humans or other life forms see before.

    "But why steal it? From us?" It was the latter half of the sentiment that seemed most salient. "The stuff is all over the planet, readily accessible. What benefit would that be? I mean... pissing off the Empire? Sure. But why..." It was in that moment she put something together, though it might not be correct. "The composition. Imported soil from the Empire is a more volatile compound than what is naturally produced here. Also, a box of dirt, you can hide things in a box of dirt..." Marienna stopped pacing and turned to Corwin.

    "They look like us, or they can. They can walk in and steal anything they want at almost any time, assuming they did a little bit of research... What if we can't stop this? Or predict this? Instinct says, they'll hit where it hurts, barq production. So the processing plant... destroying the fields themselves would be pointless as they still need to have something in the absence of Imperial control."

    Marienna sighed, and threw her hands up for a moment in mock defeat before resting them once more at her sides. "They wouldn't stand a chance taking on the outpost, they'd never survive."
    Second star to the right and straight on till morning.

  2. #92
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    Corwin clasped his hands behind his back while he watched Marienna pace, she moved so lightly. From her it was an unusual display; as precise and graceful as he had come to expect. He nodded, following her train of thought. "Perhaps another visit to the port is required, I have some more questions for Mr Syko."

    His smile grew as she mused, he was reminded of a play. The actor moving about on stage, speaking aloud their thoughts so the audience could hear.

    He was concerned by Marienna's open admission at how grim their situation was. Realizing his reservations mirrored her own, hearing them aloud from someone else unsettled him. It was nearly defeatism, but what could they do?

    "We must stop them." Corwin's voice was tinged with morose. "And we will. They are still flesh and blood, just like us. They don't have the numbers for a stand up fight, so they will slink around the shadows. We need to turn on the flood lights and remain vigilant..." His 'speech' ended abruptly with a sigh.
    "They are no different than any spy, I am sure Agent Cross will have some thoughts on counter-measures. In the meantime, we need to find those drives. They are our best lead on how things are moving on and off the planet."
    Corwin rubbed his face with his hand, the day had been a long one and they weren't much closer to a solution.

    He looked around the desolate room. "I think we are done here. Anything else you want to take a look at?" His boots crunched as he began making his way toward the entry tunnel.
    The final battle,
    Pain, suffering; overcome,
    by the united.


  3. #93
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    Marienna noted the particular fire with which Corwin had spoken, painted only, slightly, by the brush of sadness. He was right, of course, the numbers were not there, it was not a question of "if" the Gurlanin's would lose, but rather a question of "when." The Empire had seemingly infinite resources it could throw at the problem, and if that didn't work they would simply sacrifice the planet, much as they had her own home. If they could destroy Alderaan without question, they wouldn't hesitate to destroy this place, it meant nothing, not really.

    "I think I've done all I can here." Marienna spoke confidently, there really wasn't much else, they simply had to retrace their steps and revisit old contacts. Now, at least they had information, the most valuable commodity in the universe. As Corwin began to leave the tunnel, she followed in suit just behind him for a bit. "Agent Cross, eh?" Marienna shuddered as she moved, eventually settling in beside her colleague. "If I never saw her again it would be too soon." Perhaps the striking similarities between their own personalities were what confounded her, unsettled her so deeply.

    The eeriness of the darkness returned as the hum of the generator faded the further away they trod. The sound of the earth crunching beneath their boots broke up the silence where it fell. "I think we need rest, and quite possibly a strong drink." Marienna sighed softly, and took in the fresh air as they slowly ascended and left the world of darkness and schemes. "Everything will seem brighter in the morning." Marienna commented almost off handedly. "Or so my mother used to tell me."

    But then she was no longer smiling, having returned to the world of those who watched her, the dour look returned to her face, her posture corrected. It was suddenly as though the veil had been raised. Or perhaps it was the talk of her mother, the memories of a woman she so seldom connected with, or perhaps further the idea that she simply no longer existed, only as bits of matter that now float through the endless void of space.
    Second star to the right and straight on till morning.

  4. #94
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    Corwin couldn't help but smirk at the mention of Agent Cross. From his point of view they were a lot more similar than they were different. They are both very driven, calculating women. He wondered if she had noticed. Perhaps she thought subconsciously they would be rivals.
    "It's funny to hear you say that. I am sure someone must have said that of you as well once."
    He knew people had, not in so many words, from her file. Marienna appeared to be quite skilled at finding carelessly placed toes to step on.

    He carried the grin through the darkness as they walked. He nodded, it had been a very long day, it was nearly midnight already.
    Corwin was not much of a drinker, though he did enjoy mellow beverages with colleagues socially. He would not turn down a night cap.
    He considered what Marienna's choice of spirit might be. Something strong and unpleasant he guessed.
    The remark caught him off guard. Perhaps it was for his benefit, an attempt to comfort him? Or maybe just recounting a fond memory? She had not mentioned her family without prodding before.
    He was surprised how fast she had warmed to him.

    Then he noticed her posture change, and it clicked; her shields had gone up. She was protecting herself; from everyone.
    He was trusted enough to see the real Marienna, not the hard fašade she presented to the machine she worked for.
    Corwin was humbled. He considered what to say.

    He was quiet as they made their way back to the speeder, nodding at troopers now searching the area and loading up to head back to base under harsh white lights. Climbing into the driver's seat he waited for Marienna to take her seat before starting the drives.
    The sky sparked to life as they left the quarry, the stars were breathtaking in the darkness. The cruised in silence, the night air cool as it rushed by as they chased the narrow beam of illumination from the front of the speeder. Their faces barely visible in the withering light of the instruments.

    The speeder began to slow and Corwin pulled it to the side of the road, still a good distance from their destination. He cut the drives as it coasted to a stop and suddenly there was only silence. Corwin faced forward and kept his hands on the controls.
    "I want you to know. I have your back." He finally stated. "We are on the same team."
    He did not know if that was what he should say, but it was the simple truth of the matter. In his few short years in Imperial Service, he had learned that was not always the case.
    The final battle,
    Pain, suffering; overcome,
    by the united.


  5. #95
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    The two rode on the speeder, with Marienna sitting behind Corwin, her arms moving to wrap around his waist, holding on to him not simply for support in a physical sense, but perhaps in an emotional one. It was a small moment of intimacy between the two. Something that could not be captured or truly described, just a moment in time. Corwin told her he had her back, and perhaps for the first time, she did not doubt it. He was someone who had yet to betray her, and while she may fixate on that, the notion that almost everyone betrayed her...she did not worry about when he would do so. The thought was a million miles away, only recalled if for just a second when he spoke.

    The speeder had come to a stop, and they remained there in the middle of the night on the road. There was a brief silence between them but it was not uncomfortable. At least not for Marienna. The sounds of nature swelled around them, and for the first time that day there was a calm that enveloped their world. The kind of calm that should be concerning, that spoke of a coming storm but not for her, not now. The moon hanging above provided precious little light, just enough to make out the features of the person standing before you.

    In a rare moment Marienna felt herself unguarded, and without the motion of the bike she pulled herself closer to Corwin and rested her chin upon his shoulder. "I know." She whispered, her lips just grazing his ear. "If we are destined to perish on this planet, I'll be glad I got to know you." That was Marienna, since the destruction of her home, her family, her faith in anything...there was darkness. She had long ago accepted that she would be killed, perhaps after the incident on Kashyyyk, perhaps that was how she had always been. Marienna lived and breathed in the darkness, but here was a source of light, uptight Imperial in the form of Corwin Fischer. But even for her, she would have never acknowledged prior that she was glad to have met someone, to have spent time in their company.
    Second star to the right and straight on till morning.

  6. #96
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    Those two words nearly whispered into his ear sent shivers down his spine.
    He felt his face heat and stomach tighten. She pressed against his back. What could he say to that? What should he say to that painfully heartfelt confession?
    "Thank you for saying so." He blurted doing his best to keep his voice steady and soft. "I feel the same way."
    His heart raced. It didn't feel like enough, a bucket of water splashed into the ocean.
    He kicked the speeder's drives back into life and they grunted plaintively. Twisting the throttle they speed off once more down the dark road toward whatever this planet held in store for them.


    The compound was illuminated by search lights as they arrived at the checkpoint. The sentries checked their identification and obviously exchanged a look even though their heads were covered by glistening white helmets before gesturing them through.
    Halting the speeder in the motor pool parking lot, the compound was tense; empty save for pairs of troopers on patrol moving in and out of sight around buildings.

    After Marienna had climbed off, Corwin followed suit, his face now visible, covered in fine dust from the trip was unfamiliar. The perennial smile had faded to nearly a stoic expression.
    "I think our formal report will keep 'til morning. Let's get some rest." He said a bit flatly.
    He gestured in the general direction of the barracks. "Shall we?"
    The final battle,
    Pain, suffering; overcome,
    by the united.


  7. #97
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    It was unusual for the base to be this quiet. Then again, what had been usual about the day? Really none of it. From attacks to interrogation and investigation. It almost felt like Marienna was living someone else's life, or perhaps viewing her own from outside her body. Perhaps it was easier simply to imagine that everyone had turned in for the night. They were the lone holdouts bar the few troopers conducting their patrols.

    It was clear from the loon on Corwin's face that the day had taken its toll on him. Unlike her, he was so emotive, so full of feeling. It was somewhat jarring to see him now so flat, looking so devoid of his normal joy. Perhaps this was what others found so terribly unsettling in her. When prompted to head toward the barracks, Marienna nodded and moved forward, she said nothing as they moved, her dark eyes darting about, taking stock, or perhaps regarding everything with a degree of suspicion, something which would not be unwarranted given recent events.

    As the pair approached their doors Marienna stopped and just looked at Corwin. She stood close to him, perhaps closer than was comfortable, or would normally be comfortable for her. She had a habit of keeping people at an arm's length. "You look tired." The traces of a smile set upon her face for a moment. Marienna removed her gloves and raising her right hand she rested it on his cheek. Her fingertips gently tracing along his cheek bone to wipe away the dust. "It will look better in the morning."

    The role of the optimist was not one she was particularly familiar with. Though perhaps it was worth noting that her definition of optimism was likely darker than that of others. "I suppose it will be a bit strange..." She trailed off for a moment, then allowed her hand to drop from his face. "I'm not used to this quiet at night. Not here." There was always noise, even in the dead of night. Machines whirring, gentle footfalls of various individuals as they did their work while the world slept. Marienna turned now and moved to face her door, a part of her wishing he would ask to stay, to spare her the loneliness and the horror of her memories of the day.

    Without much of a further thought the electronic lock released, the door hissed open and Marienna disappeared within. It wouldn't be long now before the Gurlanins were forced to drastic action. They had no place to hide save for in plain sight. Their position was inherently unsustainable. An attack was coming.
    Second star to the right and straight on till morning.

  8. #98
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    Corwin matched step beside her out of habit as their boots thuded a beat against the hard packed earth. Their path, by design or coincidence, didn't bring them close enough to acknowledge one of the patrols.
    Corwins feet ached, he was grateful for his well made boots; he was not used to being on his feet quite so much.

    Expecting a formal goodnight, he was not expecting Marienna to get quite so close.
    He was stunned. Her presence had an electrifying quality, that was not unpleasant, bit enough to make his hand stand on.

    He could smell her; the faint floral notes of her perfume, the dusty air of the road, hints of sweat dried under the stuffy gray tunic.
    He looked down into her face, lost in the moment as he savored her sent.

    Then Marienna smiled. A small, elusive thing, that could be gone in a flash.
    Corwin flinched as the words snapped him back to the hallway. He nodded, a tired smile spreading across his face.
    Was she getting soft on him? No, she always cared deeply, perhaps too deeply; for her droid friends, what people thought of her, what they might say if she didn't hide behind a mask.
    A pang of sadness at the though was brushed away by Marienna's caress.

    Who was this woman standing in front of him with an encouraging word?
    There was something different about her face. He scrutinized her.
    The eyes, her eyes were different. The cold lifeless gray was now a turbulent sky before a storm. A downpour of un-shed tears at the death of her homeworld, parents, friends, way of life and untold other tragedies he could only guess at.

    Marienna's words seemed hollow, far away, as he couldn't help be hypnotised by the turbulence raging behind her gray portals. He didn't realize her hand dropped to rest uncertainly in the grasp of the other at her waist.

    When she turned away his brain began to function once more, registering what had been said.
    At first it seemed an odd remark, especially for her. Perhaps there was something more there? Frozen with indecision, he watched Marienna's back as she stepped forward and the door clicked shut noisily behind her.

    The thunder of Corwin's heartbeat filled his ears, he lowered a hand that he hadn't realized had been extended towards Marienna.
    What had just happened?
    He stood in the hall for a time, listening to his heartbeat steadily slow to it's normal rythum.
    Should he have stopped her? What should be have said?
    It was very quiet.
    Corwin finally turned and entered his room. Kicking off his boots, he began undressing. The air in his room was stuffy, but the thought of a shape shifter crawling in through the open window persuaded him to tough it out.
    Laying on his bed in the darkness, he stared at the ceiling, languishing in the deafening silence of the room. He lay there for nearly an hour before he cursed and sat up on his bed, talking out his comm unit. He keyed it too live and a moment later his sister answered.
    "Captain Fischer, how was your day?"

    ***

    It was early in the morning, but not unusually so when a forceful knock came from the room to Marienna door.
    "It's me." Corwin's voice came from the other side, just loud enough to be heard through the thin wooden door.

    When the door opened, a rather serious looking Corwin stood impatiently with a helmeted trooper.
    "There is something you need to see. I had it sent to our office."
    He stood to the side and gestured for her to lead the way. He didn't wait for an answer.
    The final battle,
    Pain, suffering; overcome,
    by the united.


  9. #99
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    The moment the door sealed behind her Marienna let out a deep sigh, perhaps of relief. The day was done. All of the tragedy was behind her. It seemed almost blissful simply to think it was over, and that the day she had was at long last in her shadow. Nothing more could happen, or so she reasoned, and therefore it was time to breathe, to take stock. Her back hit the door behind her and slowly she slid down the cool surface until she had reached the floor beneath her. Another sigh cast out from the depths of her lungs. Marienna could fall asleep here, on this spot and think nothing of it. For a few moments she allowed the events of the day to replay in her mind, almost like a projector.

    Her palms rested flat on the floor, she pushed herself upward back into a standing position, yet another sigh, one which encompassed all of her strain escaped her. Slowly, almost painfully Marienna worked finger tip by finger tip to remove the gloves from her hands and allowed the fabric to fall to the floor. Marienna's fingers worked to undo the clasps and buttons of her uniform, once more allowing it to slide off of her delicate frame. Her body lumbered forward into the small washroom, with a few taps on a screen hot water began to fall from the shower head and Marienna immersed herself.

    Steam quickly filled the room, the heat of the water soothed aching muscle but did little for an unquiet mind. Marienna's dark eyes were cast downward, simply watching the water circle at the drain, eventually going down. The water ran dark at first, dark with the dust and soot that had made it's way between the layers of her uniform and her flesh. When soap and hot water had washed away the day, Marienna stepped out, wrapping herself in an old robe she had often brought with her, she couldn't remember where it had come from. She dragged her body to her bed and allowed it the freedom required to collapse, wrapping herself messily in the bed clothing. Sleep was difficult to come by for her, even on the best of days. Today was far from the best of days.

    Her memory was filled with a familiar pain, the pain of loss, of her homeworld, of her colleagues here on this planet, of her beloved droid KV. It was almost too much to carry. Slowly Marienna began to drift into the abyss that sleep brough, a welcome reprieve. Her final thoughts that she would not be able to recall in the morning were of Corwin, a brief feeling of hope and then blessedly nothing.

    When morning dawned, Marienna awoke and paid little mind to what meager threads she could pull from her dreams. She dared venture they were rather unpleasant as was so often the case. She had just finished donning her uniform when there was a knock at the door, the phrase "It's me" and little else. Me, must have meant Corwin, it sounded enough like him. But it felt odd, something wrong about it. He had never before interrupted her in her quarters. Nor would he use such a particular turn of phrase.

    When the door opened she was surprised, not to see Corwin, he had, after all announced himself in a way. But rather it was the look on his face, it was foreign to her. She had seen him serious, he always had a sort of furrowed brow that screamed how deeply in thought he was. This was something else. Marienna did, however, as she was told, not truly thinking upon it. The Lieutenant stepped into the hallway and turned toward the direction of their office. "This quite unusual." Marienna remarked, thinking a bit more on the subject. "I would have been there shortly, what could be so important you felt the need to collect me?" In fact, most days Marienna would have been in the office before Corwin. Simply because she was awake and work occupied her time nicely. "Perhaps yesterday took a greater toll on your than I had thought." Marienna felt unsure, something was wrong here. Something had to be wrong here. He was cold, Corwin was never cold, in fact, usually quite the opposite.
    Second star to the right and straight on till morning.

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