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Author Topic: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)  (Read 6747 times)

Ceid Ankoun

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2013, 05:43:08 AM EST »

Sunder stepped up behind Ceid and spoke to the Elder in a low voice, but made no attempt to block the listeners. "My Lord, the Entity prides itself on its strategic vision, the vision that kept the family prosperous for longer than anyone remembers. But that pails in comparison to a strategist of the Duke's caliber. It would be a clear advantage to the Entity to accept their training. Many of the young operatives would benefit greatly. Hell, I aid in the long term strategic planning for the family, even I would jump at the chance to learn from the Heart." He hinted, and Ceid nodded.

The Elder then looked to the Duke and continued as he sat down at the opposite side of the Duke's desk. "Your skills are most impressive Duke Crystal, and no offense is taken. We were very clear from the biggining with Cymstar. Our arrangement is mutually beneficial, but built on a solid foundation, and that is mutual respect. So it is in the Entity's best interest for you to hold the Heart. But..." Ceid stopped for a few moments to make sure he had everyone's attention. He continued when he was satisfied that he did.

"We can not proceed any further until our alliance is set in stone... Everything we have done so far can be passed as humanitarian aid, something that no law can block, and no official armies will stand to stop. But, If we make a move against the Ulgos if it was necessary, it would be clear interference with internal Alderaanian matters. That is of course until the mutual defense treaty between us is signed..." Ceid raised his hand and Sunder approached and handed him a small sleek tablet.

Ceid put the tablet on the desk in front of the Duke and continued as the tablet's built-in holo projector began displaying the terms of the treaty. "It's very straight forward and no hidden loopholes. The Entity vows to aid in the restoration of your house and property, as well as your fleet. You have a rudimentary fleet, and it's a start. We will provide you with six state of the art battle cruisers and three interceptors to add to your fleet at a seventy percent discount and the pay will be on an installment plan of twenty years. Also, we will put one Justice Class Vessel on loan to you, it will follow your orders but it will be crewed by Entity personnel. We are not prepared to let that class out of our sites yet. It's a great deal, and as you well know, in politics, the strong controls the game. As for your security and trooper forces, we will train and fully supply them..." Ceid paused again. "In exchange, the Entity asks to freely operate from your territory, and ask for full protection by your forces for our operatives on Alderaan. A few terms about the exchange of medical and scientific research. And the final term, mutual defense of each other's territory when one asks for aid. And in the case of refusal to render military aid, this treaty is rendered void."

The Duke leaned back in his seat as he considered the full offer. Why are the Ankouns so...

"So interested in Alderaan?" Ceid continued the Duke's thought, as he latter slightly tilted his head asking how without using words. Ceid smiled and explained. "I am no strategist Duke Crystal, and I do not know men's hearts out of pure skill as you do, but the Force has recently seen fit to grant me a heightened ability in reading the thoughts of others whether I want to or not. But for strong minds like yours, I can not see much, but I still get surface thoughts clearly enough. And our interest in Alderaan goes back a few years, and our future plans in trade will bring us great wealth, more than what we have spent here by many degrees, and a great military benefit that I am sure you understand that I am not at liberty to discuss at the moment, but I assure you that it does not pose a threat to you or your planet."

Ceid looked back to Sunder. "Sub-director, what do we know of the Heart AI?" He asked.

"Our search virus returned something on that subject from the Organa System, but their System is most cleverly designed and we didn't get much, what we got was ignored because we didn't know what the AI was and it was outside our search parameters. I could double check, but, the Duke has good relations with the Organas, maybe he could find out faster if he went through his channels." Sunder reported.

"Duke Crystal." Ceid started. "If you sign the treaty, we will deal with the Ulgos via a joint operation with your forces while you inquire about the AI. Our forces will be at your disposal, but if you see it fit not to sign it, you can ask us to leave and we will comply without hard feelings. That choice is rightfully yours." Ceid stated clearly, without hidden agendas and with the respect that is deserved by a man like the Duke.
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CymStar

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2013, 02:15:49 PM EST »

In his many years as head of House Crystal and with his training at the Crystal Heart AI, Duke had become an earnest student of the keys to successful alliances.  None was more powerful than sizing the character of those with whom one would be in league.  Duke was quiet, silently studying Ceid while the Elder went over the terms of the treaty.  Suddenly, certainly, it was settled.  Duke had judged the man Ceid Ankoun to be decisive, effective, willing to fight to the bitter end to achieve his objectives.  Those were very nice, but many had those qualities.

It was rather the qualities Ceid had displayed in defeat or unguarded moments which taught Duke the most about his potential ally.  Ceid had fought the dark side and won, in overcoming the trap.  He had battled his friend at great personal pain and family chastisement during the war, but having concluded the war with Empty Night showed forgiveness and restoration to Judas and the Creeks.  He had embarked on the restoration of House Crystal, committing resources and people with little more than a promise from Duke.  These would be the qualities which could secure a lasting alliance, rather than the former.

Duke motioned for the tablet.  "I would have not hesitation to have or to help such an ally."  He signed the tablet with his signature.  He turned to the assembled members of the Crystal family.  "This day, I have signed a treaty with the Ankoun Entity.  This day, I pledge the loyalty of our house to the economic, military and cultural success of both our clans.  I demand that if there be any Crystal who disagrees with my decision, that they stand and state their disagreement."

The hallway was eerily silent for what seemed a long moment.  Then, spontaneously, the entire Crystal House roared in approval.  The inner chambers of the house were crushed under a deafening volume of cheers.  Duke, leaning over to speak to Ceid, had to shout over the din to be heard even next to each other. Duke clasped his friend on the shoulder and chuckled. "I think that they like you..."
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Ceid Ankoun

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2014, 03:59:54 PM EST »

The Joint Strike Force assembled in the CrystalStryder Estate. Military and Force Users from both organizations were ready for anything, but the plan did not involve an all out war... Not just yet.

They have agreed on a little subterfuge before initiating violence. The Duke spoke with his allies within the other Houses, securing their silence and insuring they stand aside in case things went south. The plan was for the Duke to enter the Ulgo Estate with a fully armed group of CrystalStryder Honor Guard in traditional attire at the time of the appointment with the Ulgo Rep. Diplomacy at its finest is exchanged visits and exchanging views. The Honor Guard would be bolstered by Ankoun personnel to keep up the appearance of a large military force under the Duke's command, as always, on Alderaan, appearances were everything. In the confusion, two Force Adapts, one Ankoun, one Crystal, would stealthily enter the estate and and delve deep into the Ulgo science facilities underground in search of the AI. If they find nothing, they would return and start the search again, if they find it, they attempt to liberate it. If they couldn't, The combined forces of the Crystal House and Ankoun Entity on Alderaan would then storm the already weakened Estate. Sunder would oversee the operation from the Control room.

Suriea was chosen from the Entity Jedi to infiltrate the Ulgos, The Duke's first son was chosen to accompany her.

Before they left the Crystal Estate, the short, red haired, lightly clothed Ankoun spoke to the prince. "I am surprised someone of your station would be allowed to participate in such a risky field op. Your command structure is either too lax and careless, or your just that skilled." She said with a smile as she leaned on the door frame, while he had his back to her in the middle of the armory. She awaited his reply.
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CymStar

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2014, 11:28:48 PM EST »

Sunder finished briefing Ceid on the changes to the plan.  "So you see, my lord, that to replace an appearance by the Duke with the presence of his first son only, will add insult to the Ulgos.  This is in response to the Ulgo duplicity in their words to Duke Crystal when he questioned them about having returned everything which was taken."

Master Ceid Ankoun, newly elevated Elder of the Ankoun Force arm considered the information Sunder presented. He searched the force for some indication whether this was the right path to take. Yes, on this planet of arrogance, insinuation, subtlety, deception, illusion, in this environment the slight would be well-placed and effective. "I concur. Now, you said that was just part of the change?"

============================================================================

The female Zabrak walked into Port Hope looking to relax a little.  Things had been a little rough-shod since Ghanik had "disappeared" from the galaxy.  Profitable, but not the same tightly-wound precision team execution which occurred when he was present.  She continued walking towards the counter.

"Mirsh"

She froze, though not in such a way that anyone watching would have noticed anything unusual.  Slowly her hand moved down the lapel of her duster towards her blaster. "McTavish.  You're not still mad about those astrogation charts I lifted off your starship are you?" She tensed, mentally calculating the distance of the voice behind her, the time it would take to turn, draw and fire.  This was going to be complicated.

"You'd never make it, Mirsh, my blaster is already drawn. Please keep your hands where I can see them and turn around slowly." Deciding that discretion was the better part, she lifted her hands and turned slowly.  Mac put his foot on the seat of the chair and pushed it away from the table towards the Zabrak. "Please, sit down, join me.  Something to eat?  I'm buying."

Mirsh saw that Mac's statements were a bluff, his blaster was still holstered.  Well, no immediate danger and a free meal would certainly be welcome.  She was starved.  Not that she was poor, just busy.  "Nice piece of work,that", Mac continued. "I hadn't even missed those charts until last week.  That is exactly why I have a little proposition for you"

Mac and Mirsh ordered meals and as they both relaxed a bit started sharing stories of their exploits throughout the galaxy.  Not in the constantly growing exaggeration of people trying to better each other with bigger stories, but rather the talk of two exceptional professionals.  They shared tips and tricks each had learned in some of there tightest spots and methods of improved hyperdrive units to squeeze out the last bit of power, shields or speed.  By time they had finished sharing, the evening had progressed quite far.

"Mirsh, I haven't laughed so hard since I don't know when.  But it's time for business."  Mac proceeded to explain a new wrinkle in Duke's thinking.  Mac explained his family's return to Alderaan with the help of the Ankouns.  How the restoration of the estate was proceeding and the discovery of the stolen Crystal Heart and AI.  They already had a plan to retrieve the Crystal Heart from the Ulgos, but the AI was going to be more complicated.  "So you see, Mirsh, we are looking for someone not known in Alderaan political circles.  Someone who is not affiliated with either the Republic or the Empire. Someone whose loyalty we don't have to doubt and whose skill level we can trust.  Your one of the best."

"Nice words, Mac, but I still don't see quite where I fit in."

"We want you to take on a normal role for you - merchant.  We want you to go to each of the houses and trade.  While trading at the houses, we would like you to take your spare time and locate which house has the AI.  I've described it to you - it won't be anything you could walk out with, and we don't want to harm your reputation among the houses.  But if you can tell us which ouse has it, we can do the rest."

"And what are the terms on this contract?" Mirsh asked.

"They are flexible.  To the first order, getting into any of the houses of Alderaan would put you in close proximity to a wide array of riches, artifacts, jewelry.  Any of those you chose to liberate would be yours.  If you find that to be sufficient, then well.  Should you require an additional compensation, I'm sure we can discuss that.  We have just opened up the spaceport at our estate.  We would appreciate being the first and last place you trade during your visit."

=======================================================================

Agnost turned to Suriea and smiled.  "My skill, Suriea, is quite small compared to that of my father, or to Master Ankoun.  But you and I have different perceptions of the risk.  My family has been disgraced, our properties confiscated and destroyed, our wealth plundered and scattered.  From the Ulgos perspective we are weak and no threat.  From our perspective, we have nothing more to lose.  This allows me to be nearly reckless in my negotiations with the Ulgo representative, which will also take them by surprise.  So, you see, we have all the advantage.  The Ulgos know nothing about our alliance, may know little or nothing about the strength of our Ankoun supporters, and I am certain they do not yet know the degree of abandonment they own from the other Alderaan houses.  There are some houses which never liked the Ulgos anyway.  The others we have slowly been moving away from the Ulgos with increases in trade or academic exchange or threat from House Crystal.  The reality is, we may not even need to execute a forcible re-acquisition of the Crystal Heart.  They may just hand it over.  I doubt it, but it would be their mistake to do otherwise." 
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Ceid Ankoun

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2014, 05:04:51 PM EST »

"Hold on a second... negotiations? What negotiations?" Suriea touched her ear and activated her earpiece. She had turned it off after her briefing. She got tired of the constant chatter and wanted some peace. After getting an earfull from Sunder the moment he sensed her go online, she sighed. "Fine! Relax will ya!"

She turned off her earpience again. "Damn it, I was supposed to be infiltrating the Ulgo estate with you, now I am securing some meeting... Just great!" She complained as she approched Agnost and sat next to him. He seemed to tense up when she did, her slightly revealing cloths didn't help much. She wasn't indecent in anyway, but she was way too lightly clothed for a Jedi. "And the old man is coming! He kinda creeps me out." Agnost was puzzled, then she explained. "That man is old. VERY old, some people say he is over a hundred and fifty years old. And yet, no one know a lot about him save the older members of the Elders, and he holds no position within the Entity until this new Arm. His connection to the force seems none existant at times, and other times, he radiates Force energy... Anyways, no need to rant on about him." She stood and gracefully moved to the door. Then turned around. "I will be watching you out there Lord Crystal!" She said with a smile.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 11:14:51 AM EST by Master Ceid Ankoun »
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CymStar

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2014, 07:56:06 PM EST »

Agnost was surprised by Suriea in many ways.  In her youth, she seemed completely as ease, in whatever state she was in.  To some extent, she reminded Agnost of his own younger years - enthusiastic, ready, full of energy and wanting to engage the world, to conquer the evils in it.  She was fit in both mind and body, that was true.  Then there was the information she received on her earpiece.  Another change to the plan.

Agnost had gotten used to the fact that his father was back.  The layers upon layers of stratagem, the accounting of multiple possibilities, understanding it all in the light of the fact that the future was always in motion.  Agnost preferred the more direct approach.  But he understood the value of strategy.  Certainly, Duke Undara and Master Ankoun - with his force awareness - were considering all possibilities.  One thing was certain.  They planned to do this only once.  The Ulgos should ready themselves for retribution.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 10:07:56 AM EST by CymStar »
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CymStar

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2014, 09:54:31 PM EST »

McTavish had returned from Port Hope with the message that the Unnamed Contact would take the job.  UC was on the planet and operating.  The Duke and Sundar would work the Command Center.  Agnost would lead the party to the Ulgo mansion, in two columns.  One column would be dressed as Honor Guard to Agnost, as Prince Regent of House Crystal.  However, underneath the armor of the Honor Guard would be Master Ceid Ankoun and the Force Arm of the Ankoun Entity.  The second column would be the re-armed House Crystal security forces, led by Kandoo, Knac'ymr'uthra, Mithic and Elysiliandra.  Outfitted with the best armor Ankoun money could buy, trained by some of the toughest Bounty Hunters and Spec Ops soldiers the Crystals had opportunity to have collected in their journeys. Perhaps the numbers would not strike fear in anyone's heart, but to have an enemy underestimate the destructive power of these two columns would play right into the plan.

Now Agnost and the old man who had replaced Suriea walked in the front of the two columns.  Walking, versus using vehicles, would add to the mystery.  People all along the path, if they had any time on Alderaan at all, would recognize the banner of the House Crystal.  They would gossip and wonder what was gong on, how the house had returned.  Others would gather along the way to see the "parade".  Word would spread quickly, eventually reaching the ears of House Ulgo.  They would know the Crystals were coming, they would guess why and they would prepare.  And it wouldn't help them.

Perhaps their attention on the arrival of Agnost would mean that the Unnamed Contact would be able to pilfer the Crystal Heart without any interference.  Perhaps several other artifacts would go missing, all the while allowing the Crystals plausible deniability.  Perhaps the Ulgos would forget their manners and planet protocol and fire off a shot, in which case those involved would be destroyed mercilessly, demonstrating the power of the resurgent Crystals.  Perhaps the Ulgos would choose negotiation, not realizing how much advantage the Crystals had in Master Ceid's newly acquired telepathic force powers.

So it went. The crowds gathered.  The gossip started.  The parade went on.  More people came out.  Soon nobles started joining the crowds.  The crowds starting joining the parade, rather than just watching, swelling the numbers in the original party.  

On the outskirts of the Ulgo estate, Mickey, Cym'avignon and a team of Ankoun intelligence operatives stealthily made their way to the walls.  Some went over, some through gates by distraction, some through sewer pipes, air-handlers and delivery trucks.  McTavish's merchant men arrived with Ulgo deliveries on their flatbed speeders.  For anyone not part of Agnost's retinue, it seemed that gaining entry to the Ulgo estate was relatively simple.  By the time Agnost and company could be seen on the horizon, about 100 allies had made it into the Ulgo estate.  Conducting business, scouting buildings, replacing Ulgo guards, all waiting patiently for the call to liberate the Crystal Heart.
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CymStar

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2014, 12:26:09 PM EDT »

The column, with Agnost at its head, approached the gates of the Ulgo estate.  Though the crowd following had gotten quite large as the procession had made its long way to the Ulgos, as the column made the final approach to the gate, it seemed wise to the people following to begin to hang back of the main body.   By the time the column faced the gate, the column was just what had started out from the Crystal House.

The Lord of House Ulgo climbed to the top of the steps at the gate.  “Hold!”, he commanded.  The column came to a stop.  “What is your cause and who speaks for you?”

Agnost moved apart from the column and alone towards the gate.  He removed his hood to face the Lord of House Ulgo.  “I, Agnost CrystalStryder, seek a return of the Crystal Heart to its proper owner.”

“I am insulted”, stated Lord Ulgo.   “Where is your father?  It is totally unbecoming that he would not be here in person.”

“As it was improper for you to retain the Crystal Heart while letting it be known you had returned all to House Crystal.  There was no need for my father’s presence when dealing with an untrustworthy lesser house.  Now, please retrieve the Heart, return it to me and we will be on our way.  No harm needs to come to your people this day.” Agnost threatened.

“Really, Agnost is it?  Do you think that such reduced and under-armed forces as could possibly be assembled by your destitute father could persuade me to part with one of House Crystal’s unique treasures?  Look at you.  With your paltry band of make-believe Honor guards and militia.  Do you suppose that you strike fear in my heart with such an amusing show?  Guards – destroy this paltry rabble and send their heads back, asking for tribute”, Ulgo ordered.

Swiftly, guards raised the barrels of their blasters and took aim.  As each guard raised his blaster, a single shot rang out from somewhere on the high perimeter wall and a guard fell over.  One shot, one guard. Lord Ulgo’s color rose in his face and his rage was barely under control.  He turned and faced the disloyal persons on the wall.  “Traitors!,” he screamed.  “I’ll have you all hanged ignominiously for this!”

“I think not, Lord Ulgo”, replied Agnost evenly. “You see, they aren’t your men. Now, if you please, the Crystal Heart.”  Agnost allowed more menace to creep into his voice.  All this move, countermove, it was wearing on his patience.  He would rather just enter the estate, reduce it to rubble, take the Heart and return home.  But, no, father had dictated the method of madness and Agnost would control his emotions and see it through according to father’s plan.

Suddenly, there it was – the Crystal Heart.  Lord Ulgo had pulled it from some concealed fold in his robes and there it was. Brilliant, striking, the very view of it totally altered Agnost’s dark emotions.  Yes, he thought, this clearly is a piece worth fighting over.  Agnost was not sure why this one jewel should have power over his emotions, but clearly it did and it was powerful in its own right.
“You think, Agnost, son of Undara, that I would part with such a treasure because your father planned an excellent countermove?  For you, I have little or no regard, but I anticipated that your father would think more deeply on this matter.  I also have benefited from my study of the Heart.  Though I, temporarily, lack the AI tool to exploit it more fully, the Crystal itself teaches more than I had previously imagined.  Why should one family selfishly hold such a treasure to themselves, I ask?  I anticipated that you would eventually come for it and I anticipated that perhaps I would need additional support”, Ulgo droned on.

A shiver came over Agnost then, perhaps a memory of some event in the past.  A robed and hooded figure mounted the steps to stand beside Lord Ulgo. Dramatic, every step purposefully placed, the figure strode confidently to Ulgo’s side.  At the climatic step, the figure slowly reached up and with great dignity withdrew the hood of his robe from his head.

“Did you think I had forgotten you, boy?” Lord Olrac  questioned.  “you, who have been a pest ever since your treachery on Tatooine?  No, I didn't forget, and now Lord Ulgo has purchased my favor by delivering you to me.”

Agnost shivered, then, and fear crept unbidden into his chest.  Olrac reached forth his arm and lightning spewed forth towards Agnost. Slowed by his surprise, Agnost began to raise a force shield to protect him, but it would be too late.  He was going to suffer now, for his past indiscretions.   As the lightning was just ready to reach him, Agnost perceived a blur of motion and a lightsaber ignited in front of his body absorbing the terrific blast which Olrac had unleashed.

Agnost felt the rage begin to well up inside of Master Ceid Ankoun, felt it swell and then be mastered by Ceid as he wrestled the undesirable emotions back into their proper place. “I had not realized I would have the pleasure of settling old scores”, Ceid spat as he physically struggled to contain Olrac’s lightning blast.  The lightning relented.

“Ankoun!” Olrac observed, a mocking smile on his face. The air energized around Olrac, the people present began to feel tightness in their chests.  “You will not stop me from punishing this pathetic pup of a Sith.   Or are you really a Jedi now, Agnost?” curdled Olrac.  The very air elements delivered all the free electrons to Olrac and an incredible force of lightning leapt towards Agnost.  Better prepared the first son of House Crystal threw up his force barrier.  The lightning struck and as Agnost watched in amazement began to bend in against the force of Olrac’s attack!  True fear gripped the prince now as he watched the point of the attack press closer and closer to his chest.

The old man Ankoun stepped into the lightning blast, cupped his hands and drew the the tremendous force of that blast into his hands.  A bright blue sphere of enormous energy began to form there .  For what seemed like minutes, but must have been only seconds, the two powerful force users fought each other.  Some of the soldiers next to Olrac began to have lightning accumulate on their armor, burning the skin.  Lord Ulgo moved away to avoid collateral damage.  Then Olrac stopped the stroke and the old man unleashed the accumulated power at Lord Ulgo, and he was no more.  The Crystal Heart fell to the ground; a hushed silence fell over the crowd as they watched the existential ashes of the Lord of House Ulgo and the precious crystal fall to the steps of the gate.

Agnost was shocked.  Even Lord Olrac was surprised, and his demeanor of snide amusement gave way to curiosity.  Ceid leaned over to Agnost and whispered, “Don't ask. I do not command him, he follows by choice.”  Agnost directed one of his men to collect the crystal.

“No," Olrac snapped.  “This jewel will stay with this house, until I have further need of it.”  Olrac turned to the Zabrak sycophant standing nearby.  “Return this to the vault, slave!” he ordered.  The Zabrak leaned over, gingerly picked up the crystal and placed in securely in a padded sack.  Having so secured the stone, the Zabrak turned and shuffled towards the vault.  “I see that perhaps we will need to continue this discussion another day.  Until then, I have a brigade of soldiers on their way, you may wish to leave before they arrive,” Olrac stated.  He nodded to the old man, respect for a worthy foe.  Without taking his eyes off either Ankoun, Olrac carefully backed away from the clear space at the top of the steps.  His loyal guards fell in around him to prevent a clear shot being taken from an overly eager enemy.

The Zabrak continued to shuffle through the market towards the vault house.  As she passed a particular merchant, she set the bag down and picked up one which looked exactly like the first, but seemed lighter.   With a brief glance, Mirsh opened this new bag and satisfyingly admired the compilation of credits, jewels and assorted rarities which were contained inside.  She removed her outer robe, reversed it and put it back on, now looking more the interstellar merchant that she was.  “Mac”, she said, “a pleasure doing business with you.  I’ll let you know if I come across anything else which might interest you”.

“You’re the best, Mirsh.  There’s more where that came from, if you should find any loose AI machines around the planet.” Mac replied.

“You tease!” Mirsh answered.  “I suppose I’ll have to stick around now and find it for you.  A shame you can’t keep better track of your things!” she stated in mock alarm.   “I’ll be talking to you.  You were right.  Alderaan seems to be a very profitable planet.”

At the front gate, Agnost and his allies watched Olrac retreat back down the steps.  The small column turned back towards House Crystal and began the long walk back.  Around the walls, inside the armory, from the market place, Spec Ops troopers, agents and merchants began to shed their positions and disguises and egress the estate.  Slowly, person by person, they vanished into the afternoon or closed up shop early to travel to their next market.  Ceid wasn’t completely sure, as he walked beside Agnost in the returning column, but he thought he saw the young prince’s dour expression begin to form the corners of a smile.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 11:48:49 AM EDT by Master Ceid Ankoun »
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Ceid Ankoun

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2014, 11:45:28 AM EDT »

Much to learn. That was the old man's only thought as he perceived the force users around him. And Ceid, his so called 'Elder' included. Turab was almost a hundred and thirty years old. His unnaturally long life was a mystery. No one knew why and no one dared to ask. He had an unnerving presence. Turab has been uninvolved in Entity affairs for sixty years. He had grown tired of the consistent plotting and scheming, plays for power and control that the entity always thrived on. He didn't care for the politics, the technology, or the wealth of his family.

But his self imposed exile truly began when his greatest student betrayed the Entity so long ago... combine that with the drought in force sensitivity within the Ankoun blood line around the time, Turab found that he no longer appreciated his position within the Entity, and left... Sixty years ago, was the first time in history an Ah'geed resigns.

Of course none of the new generations knew who he was and what position he held. He liked it this way, he enjoyed the anonymity. This also meant that no one knew what he was capable of. In fact, no one knew anything about him save four people before the Empty War, the Ah'Geed Diab, General Nasi, Director Kirza, and the late Doctor Rabi.

When the current Ah'geed - a child compared to him - asked the old master to rejoin the recreation of the Force Arm, he agreed with the condition that he would not lead it. It was simply a feeling, he felt it within the force, his place wasn't to lead the new generation after force sensitivity rose in the entity again, his destiny laid elsewhere.

On Alderaan, the children around him showed promise, but his initial thought came to mind again... much to learn.

The Sith was powerful, stronger than anyone here except himself. The old master has seen so much, done so much, fought so long and spent a lifetime in study and meditation. As he held back the Sith's powerful lightening with his hands, he noticed the fear in the air this particular Sith imposed on everyone present, but the old one didn't fear men.

Suddenly he felt a presence that was not there a moment ago, faint, far. Absolutely containing his thoughts and emotions, he searched for the source. He recognized it. He had not scened his old student, Mulgam, for many years until now... He was yet again humbled by the will of the force. He knew he still had a purpose, he knew his decision to join this boy's Force Arm was correct. This only raised more questions, but one thing was clear, his destiny was to stop the exile call Mulgam.

When the so called lord of the Ulgos moved away. It brought this thoughts back to the present. He knew the Sith wouldn't risk further hostility with what has been revealed in front of him, he was smarter than that. But the Ulgo wouldn't let things be. The moment the Entity party left. The Ulgo would declare war. So to preserve the peace, the lord must die. The moment the Sith stop the stream of lightening, the old one directed the build up at the Ulgo, and everyone watched him as he was vaporized... He didn't care what effects his methods had on people, at least he was convinced, he didn't see a reason to explain himself.

When they had returned, Turab, uninterested in the planning allowed the commanders to report. And he went to see the child called Sunder. Perhaps his surveillance could shed some more light on the presence he felt.
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CymStar

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2014, 02:13:26 PM EDT »

At House Crystal, Sunder was mentally exhausted, almost to the point of collapse.

"Pardon me, my lord Duke" began Sunder. "How do you keep all these variables in your mind, especially without the Crystal Heart and the AI?"

Duke Undara looked over at the young Sunder.  Undara looked weary but not exhausted.  Sunder's question brought a slight smile to his lips."Sunder, you are an excellent student and an enthusiastic mind.  But you have the wrong paradigm.  You are letting your quick mind rush too and fro, trying to corral each and every possibility.  Strategy works differently.  Strategy is more like raising a priceless gem to the light, and searching for imperfections.  One cannot eliminate the flaws in a gem and one can never eliminate imperfections in a plan.  But to correctly judge the value of either the gem or the strategem one must understand the flaws and how they affect the overall value of the item."

Sunder thought Duke's statement over, nodding his head, a if he was getting it.  But inside, he wasn't getting it at all.  He would never get this!

Undara laughed. "You are too harsh on yourself, Sunder.  You are more brilliant than you know and you will be a master.  But you must give yourself time"
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CymStar

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2014, 06:19:53 PM EDT »

It was Stryder who met Duke Undara and Sunder at the top of the stairs. "Forgive me, Duke Undara, but a pressing matter requires your attention at the front gate"

"What kind of 'pressing matter', Stryder?" Undara asked.  He looked at the trusted servant's quick glances between Sunder and himself. "Sunder is a loyal friend and an ally, Stryder.  There is no harm in sharing with Sunder present.  Continue" Undara instructed.

"At the front gate, my lord.  The Organa's have brought the Crystal Heart AI!"

The Duke's countenance grew darker.  It was not inconceivable that the Organas would speak kindly and support the return of House Crystal on the one hand, yet plan treachery towards the house on the other.  After all, this was Alderaan, where intrigue and counter-intrigue was the sport of the realm.  As Undara had just mentioned to Sunder, strategy was all about looking for the flaws in the gem.  Had Undara missed something which should have been obvious?  The three made there way to the front gate to greet the Organa delegation.  Another servant walked quickly up to Undara, whispered something in his ear and placed a small piece of paper in his hand.  The Crystal Heart is with McTavish and the Lord of House Ulgo is dead, read the note.

Sending written messages by small birds once had been very susceptible to interception and strategy give-aways.  But using a technology which was several centuries old seemed to work well in a time when everyone was working on spiking into the most recent advance.  Good to know, Undara thought.

The Duke's eyebrows moved up some, in spite of himself, when he saw the scene at the gate.  The Lord of House Organa, himself, was present with a significant coterie of servants and lesser nobles.  Very carefully packaged on a repulsor sled was the AI.  Covering every possible Organa was an ally of House Crystal,  a House Crystal guardsman, an Ankoun, or both, or all three.  Organa guardsmen were all standing down in the sights of a surprisingly strong Crystal house armed presence.

Lord Organa was sweating and nervous.  "Lord Organa" Undara greeted as he dipped his head slightly.  "To what do I owe the honor of your visit?"

Lord Organa cleared his throat and began."We have come into, umm, the possession of a machine which someone in our, err, household has, ahh, reason to believe is, that is , belongs to House Crystal.  Before anything unpleasant were to cause a, well, a misunderstanding between our houses, I thought it good to bring it to you as a way of saying how much we look forward to your re-establishment among the great houses of Alderaan"

"Ahh, I see" replied Undara.  "You have wrapped it very carefully, for which I am appreciative as it is a valuable relic of our House.  I will assume that all of the pieces are here?"

"I did take the liberty of having one of our technicians power it up and ensure that it was working..."

"Yes, I am sure that you did." Undara replied softly and with amusement.

The good lord of House Organa was really beginning to sweat now."I did want to inform you that after the diagnostics ran the machine informed us that one piece was missing.  I can assure you, however, that we will not stop looking until we have found it and I will personally look to the discipline of that careless person" Lord Organa assured Undara.

Undara laughed politely.  "That is very kind of you Haansad.  But your worry is unnecessary.  The particular piece I suspect the machine said is missing has been missing for some time.  Too bad, really, as the machine is not much more than a power hungry calculator without it.  if you should ever come across it, I would most appreciate its return, but you shouldn't worry that I will hold this against you.  I am certain that it was missing from a time quite before you happened to chance upon our missing dust collector.  Now, where are my manners?  Will you be joining us for a meal?"

Haansad looked relieved.  "Thank you, but no, Lord Undara.  We have heard troubling reports from House Ulgo and have some need to attend to that and other urgent matters back at House Organa.  Perhaps another time?"  Haansad clicked his heels together and offered a respectful bow of farewell. "By your leave, of course."

"Certainly, Haansad, don't allow me to keep you from important matters.  Thank you for your house warming gift.  May you travel in safety and business be profitable."  Undara gave a slight nod of his head and the Crystal guardsmen lowered their weapons and escorted the visitors out.

"Did you catch all of that, Sunder?" Undara said to his eager student.  'Two things to remember for your training. One, news always travels faster than technology can deliver it.  I don't know how that happens, but I am no longer surprised by it.  And two, sometimes the gem becomes more valuable when you strike the shatterpoint."  Undara no longer looked weary, in fact, he was nearly beaming.  After giving some instructions concerning the AI to his technicians, he turned to Sunder.  "All this thinking and we haven't even come up for breathing...I am starved!  Shall we take a break for Dinner, Sunder?"
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 10:45:16 PM EDT by CymStar »
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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2014, 11:54:48 PM EDT »

After the meal, Undara and Sunder went at the task of getting the AI installed in the war room.  It was pleasing for the Duke to see everyone working in harmony and enjoyment.  Each Crystal technician had an Ankoun technician, scientist, or military liaison at his or her side.  There was a spirit of intensity as they wrok around the clock, in shifts, to get the AI completely refreshed and installed.  Sunder, with the authorization of Ceid had selected some specific elements of Ankoun technology and science which the data suggested would improve the function.  Technicians of both clans, who had been traveling around the galaxy during the war between republic and Sith found many other enhancements which could be made to the AIs housing, electronics, power supplies, internal defense mechanism and analysis algorithms.

Dawn was just beginning to lighten the eastern rooms and the shifts were getting ready to change again.  Undara, who was personally overseeing the AI installation and Sunder, who was not going to let anything which he might need to know later escape his attention, were both nearing the end of their endurance.  Though there had been no lack of any necessity, though the house staff had seen to their every need, the work was grueling, the drive to finish relentless.  Throughout every team, ownership to get the AI functioning was shared.  No team member, whether Crystal or Ankoun allowed personal weariness to distract or interfere with the task before him or her.

Agnost had returned from his mission to the Ulgos, had eaten, then retired to his chambers.  He would need to meditate on the mental block he had developed any time he encountered Olrac.  That little turn as Olrac's pet torture project had really screwed up his mind.  It would take time to find the mental lagbolts and undo them.

McTavish had returned with the Crystal Heart. After learning that the AI had been returned, he contacted Mirsh to let her know she was released from her contract.  Mirsh laughed and told Mac that Alderaan has been sooooo profitable that she would probably kick around the planet a little longer.  To which Mac offered Guest accommodations at House Crystal if she needed a base of operations.

With the AI finally installed, and after some deserved rest time, Undara examined the Crystal Heart.  He was not surprised that Olrac had installed a tracking device on the crystal and removed it.  Something still did not sit right with the Duke, however.  The discovery had been too simple and Olrac was not a simple man.  Meditate on the  question as he might, Undara could find nothing in the force to lead him to any other conclusion but that the tracker was Olrac's last attempt at payback to the Crystal family.

Undara and Sudner took the Heart to the AI, powered the AI up and installed the crystal.  The Duke was impressed with how much faster and more powerful the AI had become with the enhancements the many team members had included in the re-install.  After the AI had performed it diagnostics and self defense routines, it began the diagnostic routine on the Heart.  Most of the results came back satisfactory, until sector 527 of the crystal was examined.  The error code pointed to a breakdown in the crystal lattice structure of that sector.  Undara instructed the AI to examine in greater detail. The AI went to work and further isolated the error to sector 527 hex 416 lattice 64.  It analyzed the cause of the lattice fault and specified that it was caused by a thing.  Undara instructed the AI to increase magnification.  A tracker!

"Blast", Undara muttered.  In spite of himself, he hoisted the heart out of the AI and before Sunder's wide-eyed and frantic gaze Undara released his anger and crushed the Heart crystal to dust.

"What was that for!" Sunder exclaimed. "Ceid said the Ai would not work with out the crystal!  Have you lost your mind?"

"Point three on your list of things to remember, Sunder" Undara explained, still struggling to get his anger under control.  "With the crystal lattice structure compromised the gem had all the practical power of chewing gum!  Now, if you will excuse me, I think I need to walk this off and think it through."  Undara brushed past Sunder and stormed towards the atrium.

Turab was alone under the ancient tree in the atrium.  There is hope for that one.  He is a little more mature then his children, more settled.  He is not far from beginning to understand what the force has to offer.  Agnost - too frightened.  It will take that one some time to order his thinking.  Slowly, Turab considered each of the members of the Ankoun force arm.  For each one he would suggest to Ceid a training regimen which would mature the individual more quickly.  Exchange their enthusiasm for a deep understanding of the power the force contains and the responsibility using such force requires.  He considered the clues which the force had delivered to him so far on this mission concerning Mulgam.  Was Mulgam in league with this Olrac?  Turab's thoughts were suddenly distracted by a presence.

He stirred from his place and walked towards the presence he felt.  This was an interesting entity. The entity had recently become powerful, had taken a step function forward in understanding the force.  Force energy was literally radiating out from the essence of the person.  Turab saw her entering the gate - her footsteps light and confident.

The somber Duke emerged from the war building, something wrong there.  He has wrapped himself in dark energy.  Undara strode strongly towards the gate, as if in a hurry to get away.  Head down, quick, strong steps, he did not notice his collision course until it was too late.  He pushed the girl away from him and Turab felt as if Undara was preparing a blistering attack.  Then the Duke looked up and confronted the girl and his dark energy dissipated as fog in the middle morning. Turab lost interest as the crowd began to gather and the noise level grew.  But he would watch those two.  Parts of a whole in some way.  He would meditate on this.

"Father!" Tintagel squealed.  "I have brought special gifts for the family from Dantooine."  From her belt she detached her pouch, laid a velvet cloth on the stone bench nearby and laid out exquisite quality gems.  As Tintagel brought them out, she laid them in a specific pattern - first A Fire Crystal.  Then an Ice Crystal about a quarter-circle clockwise.  Then a Snowflake Crystal, another quarter off and lastly at the nine o'clock position a Star Crystal.  It occurred to Undara, then, that Tintagel had laid these out in birth order of  the children.  Agnost - Fire.  McTavish - Ice.  Tintagel - Snowflake.  And Cymstar - Star.  There was something there, but it was beyond what Undara could grasp as he fought with the conflicting emotions of all his children and he being reunited at a reborn Crystal House.  And also with the emotions that came with not knowing where is wife, Lady Crystal was, or whether she was even alive.  She had been hit when Undara had been forced to surrender during the Imperial attack on Alderaan so long ago.  Undara negotiated the freedom for his men and went with his imperial captors to Korriban.  But Stryder had mentioned nothing about Lady Crystal.  So Undara continued his fight between hope and despair.  Then, Tintagel slowly drew out of the bag two near-perfect Crystal Heart gems and placed them at the center of the circle.  For today, hope would win out...
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 12:00:02 AM EDT by CymStar »
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CymStar

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2014, 03:31:44 PM EDT »

For the next several days, there was general levity at the House Crystal.  All the children were around the table.  Eating, laughing, sharing stories of heroic deeds and tales of survival in a post-imperial invaded galaxy.  Over the days, as he watched them together, Undara finally felt the first stirrings that all of this had been worth it.  Especially with Tintagel's discovery of the Crystal Cavern on Dantooine and the vision-inspired tie to the Crystal family.  Undara had assigned Stryder to the task of scouring whatever archives remained and to acquire others as needed to trace the facts backwards in time and see if the vision was an insight into history, or only a vision of a girl under extreme duress.

Of course, none of them were going by their given names anymore.  Who could blame them?  After all, they were not the same persons they were before the invasion.  Force users all, with the exception of McTavish.  But he was force sensitive and time would tell how he would integrate the force into his life.  So lost in thought was Undara, that he failed to hear Kandoo walk up behind him.

"I would have thought that you would have been happier" Kandoo stated softly.  "With the return of your family, the recovery of your lands and many artifacts.  Yet you seem forlorn, distracted"

"You are insightful, my young cybernetic ally" Duke replied. "But we did not recover everything and we have not recovered everyone".

"You are thinking of your wife, then?" Kandoo continued.

It truly was a good day when he had saved the teenage Kandoo from the Imperial assault on Tatooine.  Clearly, the young boy had matured, blossomed and yet was balanced in how he managed his sensitivity to people's needs with the grim realities of galactic warfare.  Duke had no doubt that at the appropriate time, this soldier could and would be ruthless, aggressive and victorious.  Yet, here he was, able to discern the one note which was out of tune to the chorus.  And it wasn't, Duke concluded, just explained by the excellent cybernetic work which the esteemed doctor had performed in saving Kandoo's life.  No, cybernetics would not give Kandoo the big heart housed in that equally large body.

"I am, Kandoo, I am.  And will probably continue to dwell on her until I can confirm that she is either living or dead and where her allegiance now lies, if living.  But you were seeking me out?  Is something the matter?" Undara asked.

"No, sir.  But you said that you wanted to be informed when Master Ankoun's ship was ready to depart."

"I did, Kandoo.  Indeed, I did" Undara called a servant and sent him off to alert the children.  The Duke and Kandoo walked in quiet conversation to the newly christened Crystal Spaceport, at the edge of the estate.  As the pair approached Master Ceid Ankoun's ship, Ceid raised a hand in greeting.  Undara could feel the warmth in Ceid's greeting and allowed it to roll over him, refreshing his spirit and  lifting his attitude.  The three of them boarded the vessel and Undara was pleased to see a second copy of the AI installed in the "warroom" of the ship.  The Ankoun scientific team had spent long weeks turning the schematics of the Heart AI into cohesive plans, acquiring sometimes rare parts and rarer materials.  What could not be bought needed to be crafted and the Ankouns had reached deep into their numbers to find highly skilled technicians with sufficient cunning to take a piece of paper and create  a part to a machine they had never seen nor worked on.  But there it was.  "It is time to flip the switch, Sunder?"

Sunder gave a polite nod and signaled to the technician at the power switch.  The technician flipped the switch and the new AI smoothly came to life. "One can always tell the quality of the craftsman by the lack of imperfections in their work" Undara said. "My compliments to your team on an impressive construction of a very complicated device.  It seems to me that it lacks only one thing." Undara took two steps and without asking permission, slipped something from his robe and plugged it into the new AI.  Shock and surprise registered throughout the ship.  Sunder rushed to the AI to remove the item, in a panic, but Undara restrained him.  Ceid was a curious mixture of elation and sadness.  Naoko placed her hand on Ceid's arm as he prepared to protest.

Ceid took the hint and tempered his protest with a question. "Surely, Undara, you have some price in mind?  I am astonished that you would part with a Heart Crystal so rashly.  Especially one which the lovely Tintagel had given to you..." Ceid thought for a moment.  There was a thought there, at the very edges of his perception, elusive - frustratingly so.  Then shock overran his thoughts as he captured the perception and examined it.  "...to represent your wife!  Undara, I cannot accept this!"

A tired and weary Undara turned to face his ally.  "And yet, Master Ankoun, it appears that you must.  As Sunder will confirm, once the Crystal is placed in the AI, they are paired.  Your unit is complete.  Sunder is young and scattered in his thinking, but he has great promise and practice will organize his thoughts." Undara again was wrestling with his emotions. So much time with the force, so much power, and yet he still could not control his emotions. A harder edge crept into his voice,"As to price, Master Ankoun, I would have information.  I need to know if my wife still exists or if I should mourn her passing.  I need to have this information and I will have it"

Despite himself, Ceid's anger level rose.  Who was this person to so aggressively challenge the Ankouns?  The very same Ankouns, Ceid thought to himself, who have just lavished an untallied amount of credits to resurrect this bankrupt and ungrateful house?  Again, Naoko's hand on his arm.  It was Naoko who spoke this time as Ceid removed his emotions from the path to boil they were on. "You must love her deeply, still, Undara.  Your gift to the Ankoun's will not be wasted, or abused.  If we come across any information, we will surely send you word"

Naoko's words were like a soothing balm.  Undara absorbed the compassion of her words and in the force understood her intent.  He had not realized that he had closed his eyes while he had been wrestling his emotions to a more peaceful place.  When he opened his eyes, there were looking into Naoko's own.  She was crying.

Nor, had he noticed the arrival of his children.  Now, there were touches of consolation from Cymstar and Tintagel in addition to the empathy Naoko was pouring into him.  Yes, well that had a selfish outburst.  It wasn't like Ceid and Naoko had not had their own challenges.  Of course, they would understand his hurt.  His words had been rash and careless.  So much for the "master of strategy".

The air around the spacecraft was very heavy and the silence oppressive.  Around the corner of the ship, Mithic loudly slapped an armored gauntlet against the bulkhead.  "Yea, well, that's one thing you can count on - the Ankoun's always pay.  Now, are you Ankouns just going stand around or are you going to move this bucket of bolts and its very expensive, fancy calculator off this dock, so I can get my ship outfitted?"
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Ceid Ankoun

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Re: Crystal Glory(Closed RP)
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2014, 07:54:36 AM EDT »

Ceid and Sunder stood on the bridge of the diplomatic shuttle in the new Crystal House space port, with many crew members scurrying about, preparing the shuttle for lift off. Ceid was happy, thanks to this new space port, he never had to see that Organa basterd again, the one who rudely greeted them when they first arrived on the planet.

The crew prepared for the return to the Entity Special Battle Cruiser, the Arzone, a heavily shielded and armed vessel specially designed for the transport of Elders. The Arzone had the course back to Corellia already plotted and the FTL jump vector calculated. It simply awaited the arrival of the Elder, and it, along with the rest of the Entity vessels would return home.

"How goes the arming of the Crystal forces Sub-Director?" Ceid asked.

"Done Sir. Twelve cashes and armouries were created in the estate and around the Crystal grounds. All filled with Entity weaponry of all kinds, and the best in armour technology. The training of their forces however is no longer necessary. They have a skilled pool of personnel to pick from, and they decided to implement their own training regiments and organization. That is better for us, having an independent strong ally is more strategic then a copycat." Sunder reported.

"Good." Comfirmed Ceid as he agreed with the Sub-Director. "And what of the ships?" Ceid queried further.

"The total price of the vessels was calculated, reduced by seventy persent, and an installment plan spanning twenty years was created as per the agreement. The first payment was made this morning, and here..." Sunder presented the Elder a holopad and continued. "... are the transfer orders of six battle cruisers and three interceptors. Awaiting your approval before having their registry codes changed to the Crystal House ownership." Sunder replied.

"Again, good work..." Ceid said as he took the pad and approved the transfer orders. These new state of the art ships combined with the Crystals' existing - newly repaired - fleet made for a force to be reckoned with. "Also, have the Justis Five and its Crew contact the Duke and report for duty. Justice Five is a Crystal Vessel until recalled for emergencies." Ceid told Sunder and the Sub-Director nodded.

"But the Justice class is a powerful weapon. Are we sure this is wise?" Sunder asked and Ceid smiled in responce. And then Sunder continued. "I know, I know. They are allies and plus its crew are Entity. But it's my job to ask Sir."

Ceid nodded and handed the pad to Sunder. Then the Sub-Director got closer to Ceid and whispered his final report, as to be discrete with the news since they stood before the busy crew. "Ceid, I calculated the profit that will be generated from the trade deals with the Crystals and the other houses over the next twenty years." He said, tapped the holopad a few times and showed Ceid the figure.

Ceid's eyes widened at the number in surprise.  "I knew it would be profitable, but didn't expect these kinds of numbers." Ceid said then looked at Sunder. "So this is why the Elders were interested in Alderaan. This will cover our financial losses from the Empty War quickly enough." Ceid then concludes.

"One thing to be said about a planet full of wealthy houses all concerned with glamour and luxury... they spend a lot of money just to out due each other. Then they do it again." Sunder joked and smiled.

"Indeed!" Ceid chuckled then continued. "Things are going well. Even the Military Arm got what they want..."

"My lord?" Sunder asked.

"Well, Empty Night has their one time Mandalorian Fleet. Devesta ting if use properly. Crippling even. This treaty ensures 8the aid of the Crystal fleet, not as much of a power house, but a consistant pillar of deffence and assault. The peace with the Night surprisingly lasted longer than any expected when this plan was set, but we are going through with it just in case. Though I expect further hostilities with the Night to be highly unlikely." Ceid shared a glimpse of the Military Arm's plan in a hushed tone.

"The one time fleet?..." Sunder concider ed. "So that's why your giving the Crystals a Justice class... if the Justice fleet was destroyed by Mando Mammoth, the Night would be out of tricks, and we would have a reserve until the new class is out." Sunder concluded and Ceid nodded. Sunder then smiled. "Smart, but some how, I don't see tha..."

Just then the old man walked into the bridge, every step seemed to echo as his slow, methodical movements showed a warriors mentality of conserving energy and efficiency. He wore his usual black robes that completely covered a thick combat armour with the hood covering his eyes and most of his face.  And his hands were balled together and hidden in the long sleeves. Only his nose, lips and his long white beard were seen.

He stood before the two highly ranked Ankouns, who looked a little  intimidated by him, especially after Ceid found out who this man was from the other Elders after his display on the planet. "Master Turab. We are honoured." Ceid started the traditional Entity salute, but was interupted.

"Don't do that boy." The old man spoke softly and Ceid complied. The old man was com fertable in his anonymity. Ceid understood that.

"What can we do for you?" Ceid asked.

"The scans." The old one said, then looked to Sunder. "Did you find anything?"

Ceid looked to Sunder and the spook seemed uncomfortable at first, then he answered. "Yes actually, orbital surveillance picked this footage up from the roof of the Ulgo estate." Sunder said then moved to the holo projector and loaded the holo vid. Every one watch and saw from a bird's eye view the final moments of the Ulgo incident. Just before the Sith stopped his lightening attack, a figure appeared out of thin air on the roof of the estate overlooking the battle. The tall bulky masked figure dressed head to toe in a black Deep Reconnaissance suit remained for a few seconds, then vanished again. A few seconds later the battle was over.

"What was that?"Ceid asked.

"An old friend." Turab answered before turning around and leaving the bridge.

Ceid watched the old man leave, and then he spoke. "Whatever that means..." It was strange, Ceid's new mind reading abilities could only pick up the counting of numbers from the old one, with every number spoken in a different galactic language. What a mind... he thought.

"Well, I guess I will vfind out eventually. Time to go home." He said in a cheery tone.

"Actually my Lord..." Sunder started. "I have a request to make, I would like to stay here. Just for a while... I should oversee the transfer of the ships and train their new crews, also the Duke could use my expertise in..."

"It's that Crystal woman isn't it?" Ceid interrupted with a smile. It was obvious. Sunder's thoughts were filled with her.

No use denying it, Sunder nodded with a slight smile. "I don't know if there is something there, but, we've been spending some time together and... I'd like to find out if there is..."

"Permission granted Sub-Director. Represent us well." Ceid said with a kind look in his eyes.

"Yes my lord!" Sunder said, almost excited, then he put his hand over his heart and bowed his head, then walked away.

When Sunder was off the shuttle, Ceid truly thought that he was hoeing to miss the spook. Shaking the thoughts from his head, he turned around and gave the order. "Helm! Take us home."
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