AN: I don't own Naruto, or Star Wars
35 BBY – Current Year
Continued from the previous chapter
Nearly a week later
Piloting the new ship towards the Black Sun base on the volcanic planet was easy. The ash laden atmosphere wasn't hard to navigate given how many times Naruto had flown through it. Knowing what would happen once he arrived, that was the difficult part of his newest mission. Scanning the surface multiple times before he was satisfied with landing, Naruto moved into the caldera hiding the Black Sun facility and expertly landed on the platform. No weapons were powered up but they were still tracking his vessel, much to his annoyance. Moving down the lift from the cockpit to the main floor of the ship, the blonde looked to an old astromech droid sitting on a repulsorlift sled. It was silent because of the restraining bolt that was attached and because it had been powered down.
Looking to the other droid present, Naruto ordered, "There is chance that this droid may have nothing in it's memory banks. If something does happen, we will meet at the old Republic base. Keep the ship from being damaged," to which the droid nodded and proceeded out the hatch and down the extending ramp with the sled following right behind.
Scanning over the facility with his mask on, Naruto wasn't able to gather any more data than he could with the ship's scanners. 'Nothing will happen until I am inside and the droid has been looked over,' he told himself and walked confidently toward the main entrance, across the thin walkway that seemed impossible to span the distance that it did under even its own weight, let alone without someone walking over it with cargo.
Waves of heat appeared over the edges of the platform from the caldera below but the blonde focused on the fortress ahead of him. Before he even made it to the front entrance, the large door had opened for him which seemed ominous at best because of Narees penchant for faking maintenance issues in order to test his patience.
Stopping before the open door, Naruto did not feel anything like he had on Wayland. There was a feeling of danger but nothing as foreboding as there had been, so he moved inside a moment later.
Removing his mask as he exited the turbo lift and walked to the table, specifically to his usual seat across from where Narees sat, Naruto left the repulsorlift skid by the elevator. Moving life-signs were quickly felt and soon a door opened, with multiple sentient beings of different species rushing out and moving to the droid. They began examining it while it was still moving out of the room but Naruto paid no attention to them as he looked directly at Narees.
It was obvious given how it matched everything that Narees had said that he had brought the correct droid. Deciding to cut the tension in the room, Naruto quickly commented, "I see you finally have your new base in order. The front door works, the elevator works….should I be waiting for the lights to start flickering or for perhaps this chair to break?"
Narees smiled before also making a comment, "I see you have indeed brought a new ship with you. Tell me, what type is it?"
"Not sure, I never stopped to ask the person that I stole it from," Naruto responded and a small moment of silence elapsed before Narees, offered, "Since it will take a while to confirm the Will and work on the droid, perhaps a meal?"
"With guests?" Naruto quickly asked and Narees remained as unfazed as he could, trying not to let the blonde know that he had discovered something that the Iktotchi wanted to keep hidden. Naruto didn't bother looking to a certain wall of the room where he could tell that two individuals were watching from and merely accepted the offer of a meal while they waited.
"What do you make of him Mighella?" Alexi Garyn inquired as the pair looked through the false wall at the blonde sitting across from Narees at the long table. The Nightsister was quiet as she continued to inspect the young man, feeling out with the Force in order to determine anything about him.
"You said you needed to view him in person...in order to get a good read," the tall blonde commented when the tattooed woman took longer than he deemed acceptable.
"He is very difficult to read," the Nightsister responded in a slightly detached voice. "I am unable to determine much about him. He knows that we are here and is...curious. I believe he is much more powerful than what his appearance would suggest…..he is dangerous, a disturbance," she informed her employer before opening her eyes from the trance-like state she had been in and Alexi's eyes narrowed as he stared at the blonde before asking, "Dangerous...to me?"
"To everything," Mighella was quick to reply as she stopped trying to read the blonde and Alexi was sure that she was referring to the entire Black Sun organization when she said 'everything.'
Taking what she had said into consideration, Alexi examined the short blonde again, and with the aid of a few tools in the form of his datapad. He had viewed and then gone through a second time all of the recordings concerning Narees' contact with the blonde from Naboo but they only seemed to convey so much when it came to making a good observation and forming theories or opinions.
'I wonder what his actual species is?' questioned the Black Sun leader as he looked over the current readings that sensors were sending to his datapad and compared them to older readings. 'The last time he came there, he was a few inches taller,' he noted of the blonde and wondered what kind of shape-shifting ability the boy possessed or even how old he was. 'Perhaps he chooses this form to make himself seem innocent or weak,' he considered and smirked slightly at how often the ruse must have worked.
Very little escaped his notice, especially since he was so thorough, which was why something about the ship that the blonde had flown in and landed on the platform outside also had caught his interest. Something told him that he had seen the ship before but he couldn't currently place where he had seen it or if perhaps he had merely seen something similar in design. This was one of the reasons why he had Narees inquire about it but that only gave him more questions as Mighella informed him that the blonde was telling the truth, or as far as she could tell, when he mentioned stealing the ship.
Recently he had heard whispers of a meeting with Popara the Hutt between the blonde and the blonde's majordomo, a tall cloaked man, apparently from Mustafar. As a result, he became even more curious
about the young assassin, and those that worked either for him, with him, or that he possibly worked under. Several attempts had been made to get into the Naboo Castle to plant surveillance devices but it proved difficult.
No one was allowed into the castle that didn't currently live there. They did not hire any services or require any outside maintenance that such a building would normally need. With a self-sufficient building that had far more security systems and monitoring devices than likely any other building on Naboo, it was difficult for any of his operatives to gain access or even view without alerting someone inside.
'He has also hired a propulsion expert and she has seemingly disappeared to parts unknown. Yet another piece of a larger puzzle,' he mused as he looked over more of the compiled information about the blonde on his datapad. Acquiring information was not difficult, he had thousands of 'resources at his disposal but determining what to make from the information that came to him, that was both time consuming and speculative at the best of times. The information always fit together in some fashion.
The blonde before him was currently the most varied and unique puzzle he was looking at and despite having a great deal of information, he felt that he was still missing a great number of pieces making everything seem disjointed. 'For an assassin, he seems to be all over the place in terms of his activities. Establishing himself on Naboo with an alias. At any given moment, there was a substantial amount of encrypted data going to the Castle on Naboo,' and it made him wonder what was being sent in and why nothing of any substance was being sent out.
'But he also seems to be concentrating in the Moddell Sector or at least has a great interest in certain areas,' Alexi noted as he looked through reports sent from his operatives and as a result of different operations they had run together with the young man which had occurred or at least resulted in a trip to Sarafur, also known as Kunai's Tail III.
The blonde before him had numerous ships there and was seemingly building a small fleet, 'Is he going to attempt to take over the Sector? Hold it hostage or establish rule over it?' Alexi wondered with a smile because he wouldn't have cared that much if the backwater sector didn't have a single Republic outpost present. That would bring the Jedi in to investigate because while the Republic didn't care about the region, if something happened to the outpost, 'It will no doubt stir the hornets nest,' he thought but as quickly as he formed the idea, he dismissed it.
The blonde seemed smarter than thinking that an entire sector could be controlled with a simple pirate fleet. 'Maybe just an area of space with a pirate fleet with them raiding the other areas of the sector,' he thought, tapping into years of personal experience in such an illicit field but the data he was looking at did not back that up. 'Nothing like that has happened in the year since he started building up his small fleet. No attacks or raids that can be attributed to his group and no halt in what little commerce the area had by his fleet. In fact, they had policed the planet and even destroyed some pirates,' he realized and looking over simple observational statistics of Sarafur, he noted that in that year, the population had likely doubled and the intrinsic value of the planet had gone up substantially in terms of a permanent black market area or true shadow port.
'And just this morning….,' and Alexi stopped as he searched for the missive they had intercepted headed out from the Naboo Castle and brought it up on the datapad. 'The Moddell Sector Defense Force,' he read from the missive after scanning through several lines of text. It didn't exist, he had people check on it and most of what was mentioned did not exist or was an outright lie.
'What is he after in the Moddell Sector or at least, what is his fixation with it?' questioned the Underlord as he looked through the rest which he had browsed through earlier. 'I can find one bit of information that he may be from that area of space but nothing can confirm that,' he noted and continued to look for other connections.
Thinking to the sector in question, he couldn't figure out what was so important or could be that interesting about it. The Black Sun had all but ignored it up until that point. 'A minor gunrunning operation comprising primarily those organizations with fewer resources and man-power than Borvo,' he concluded and knew there was no real profit or threat from such small groups. 'And the piracy in that sector is a joke. A few small groups that are completely unorganized and can only thrive because of the remoteness and lack of ability to hunt them down,' he commented as he came back to what the blonde was trying to set up.
'He controls a small but unimportant shadow port in an unimportant system of an unimportant sector. There is no strategic value to that area of the Galaxy. Much of it is unnavigable because of the sheer amount of anomalies present there. How is that possibly worth all the effort and money he has put in?' he questioned as he looked over purchases that the blonde had made over the past year. 'And what would Popara have to do with that?' he thought as he tried to envision what a legitimate shipping magnate would have to do with the Moddell Sector. 'If he does have anything to do with it?' he acknowledged with a frown, knowing that such a particular puzzle piece may be completely separate from what he was currently looking at.
None of his spies or scouts could discern what would be of interest in the area. It had resources but nothing worthwhile. A proto-planetary disc that could be a lucrative mining operation, more than one gas giant that could have tibanna stores, both of these would require vast capital to get going. One of his scouts had determined that some kind of mining operation was being built there but hadn't been able to get close to the system without giving away his presence. 'Extensive long-range sensor sweeps, possibly military-grade equipment, covering the system,' he noted in the report by the scout and became more curious about what was going on there which warranted such systems.
Something was off with the pieces of the puzzle he was looking at. He could feel it. How could an area that up until a year previously he didn't care a bit about, be of such importance to the blonde sitting before him. 'I could just ask him,' he considered but that would be admitting that the entirety of resources of the Black Sun were simply unable to uncover anything of note that could explain what he wanted explained.
"I need more pieces," he admitted out loud and pondered about how to get more. What he really wanted was to plant a tracking device on the blonde. 'If he hadn't of purchased a new ship, we could have bought one for him,' he thought in hindsight, but on that note he summoned a soldier to put a tracking device on the ship currently on the facilities landing platform. It wasn't as good but it would have to do until he could gather something that would explain the enigma before him.
'If what Mighella is saying is true, and I have no reason to doubt her, then I should just be done with the blonde and make sure he cannot cause problems but that belies the fact that he is instrumental to my plans. I rarely encounter individuals as versatile or cunning as the boy before me. There are other assassins working with other Vigos on the same goal but they are no where near his level. Narees found an extremely proficient operative.
I'm not positive Mighella could defeat him without series injury if they fought and she is better than all of my other guards and soldiers, in addition to the special bodyguards of my Vigos. He's accomplished every mission assigned and with marginal resources provided which is more than I can say for the others who have either have marginal success or have gotten themselves killed. If he wasn't so dangerous and an unknown entity, I would be working to train him as my replacement,' the Underlord acknowledged and he decided to leave the facility before the blonde.
One last thought crept up in his mind as he walked out of the hidden viewing room, 'I would also love to know who trained him.'
Exiting hyperspace, Naruto looked to the scanners which were picking up the ship he was supposed to rendezvous with. It was quite a familiar looking vessel, considering it was his Marauder-class Corvette which had been captured in a previous mission. Moving in position to dock with the vessel, Naruto frowned at the fact that he might be losing the vessel.
Narees had been using the ship to spy on a rival syndicate but now apparently that mission was over and the ship would be used to ferry the droid he was bringing. Lowering the ship's cargo elevator, Naruto looked upon a few members of the fake crew who had come to take possession of the droid.
'They have no idea what Narees has in store for them,' he thought as he was greeted and the powered down astromech was given away. Apparently what happened to the droid after he delivered it, 'Wasn't my concern,' he thought as he recalled Narees' words. He however could easily see through what Narees was planning. In order to ensure that the droid was 'untainted', it had to be found by some of Jabba's clan members and in order to do that, they would need to acquire it without feeling that they had been led to find it or that it was a setup.
'So everyone aboard this ship is going to die when they are intercepted by hired mercenaries or bounty hunters under the employ of the Desilijic clan,' he surmised as the droid was turned over and he continued to stand at his ship cargo lift, lost in thought.
'Is this some kind of test?' he wondered, and then considered, 'Or perhaps it was tailored specifically to show me what happens to those that are no longer useful. Have these individuals angered Narees, or betrayed the Black Sun?' he wondered but he didn't have the answer to that question. The Iktotchi had an ability to use people to fullest or to eliminate possible threats in his organization and always made sure that others would take the blame.
'Perhaps they haven't done anything. Maybe this is simply to see what I am willing to give up or if I would object to using a ship I had been given as bait,' he thought and only came back to reality when one of the Black Sun was waving a hand and snapping his fingers in his face to get his attention.
"I said you can go now, we have a destination to deliver this thing to and a deadline," said one of the men as he shook his head, wondering if there was something wrong with the blonde.
"Not quite yet," Naruto answered back and he smiled slightly which unnerved the Black Sun operatives present in the hangar.
Sitting safely in his cloaked ship, Naruto watched as the battle ended and his ship was boarded. No sooner than it came out of hyperspace at its 'destination' than it was swiftly attacked by multiple ships laying in wait. Each had a different coloring or insignia indicating that they were likely hired mercenaries or a combination of hired help, probably by Jabba's father or other clan members, who apparently had been searching for the droid for some time.
The disabled ship was now drifting and the ship docked with it was just about to leave as it appeared that they had been successful in securing the droid. Waiting to see if the group of ships would finish the corvette off, he smirked when they moved away and then jumped into hyperspace to return the precious cargo to their employer.
Manning the controls, the blonde moved his ship into position to dock with his larger vessel and turned off the cloaking device once he was sure that no one else was in the area.
Stepping off his new ship on onto the corvette through the hatch, Naruto wasn't bothered by the superficial damage he saw in the corridors but was annoyed at the fact that it would take a good amount of time and money to fix the more severe damage done that scans had shown him.
'How long will it be until this happens to me or the others?' he wondered because his current arrangement with the Black Sun would not last forever, not from his viewpoint and certainly not from Narees'. 'Our goals are not the same. In fact I don't even know their goals, nor really mine for that matter. I'll either need to come up with a way to find them and take control from them….or just remain one step ahead,' he thought before mentally summoning those around him.
'There's work to do,' he said to the few bodies on the floor that he could see and the seemingly dead bodies suddenly started moving, rising from their fallen positions and their wounds miraculously reforming rather than healing. What little crimson blood turned to purple, soon evaporating to gas and returning to the 'injured' individual that it came from.
'At least once it gets repaired, I'll have a crew that knows how to operate it,' he thought as though he had only managed to catch the end of the battle, they had done an appreciable job fending off so many ships after unknowingly walking into a trap.
As the revived crew began fixing what they could, Naruto went back to his ship after surveying the damage and had already contacted his group to have a vessel come out and take the ship back to Sarafur. 'I still don't know what purpose this will ultimately serve,' he recognized as Narees hadn't mentioned what they were putting in the Will and what the outcome for the Desilijic clan would be.
Putting together what all the missions he had completed amounted to left the blonde wondering what plan the Black Sun had. He had been feigning allegiance to different sides, attacking large conglomerates in the guise of pirates and also attacking pirates in the guise of large conglomerates. 'Are they looking to start a larger conflict? Some kind of war between pirates and trading companies? One that they themselves could be a part of?,' he wondered as mixed in with the various pirate bases he attacked, there had been bases owned by the Black Sun. He had mock-attacked them but it was meant to include the Black Sun on the list of outlaw organizations which had been attacked.
At the present, he couldn't' quite see what his missions would ultimately lead to, it seemed that direct conflict between corporations and pirates was what the Black Sun wanted, but he questioned how that would benefit them. Pushing those thoughts aside, he piloted the ship away from the corvette and set course back to Mustafar.
'Now I just have to sneak back to Mustafar and pick up Gatou,' the blonde thought as he engaged the hyperdrive and left the system he was in. 'Such a nice advantage, having a stealth ship,' he commented with a smirk.
Maya Koval (Homeworld of Ayrou)
Sitting in an interesting waiting room, Naruto glanced over to Gatou and found the man looking rather calm and content to wait for their meeting. The former shipping magnate had evidently been prepared for quite some time for a meeting and had brought more than one datapad with him. 'He even dressed up a little,' Naruto noted as Gatou was wearing something different than when they left from Mustafar. Naruto himself had taken to a slightly older henge of himself and added a Naboo Royal Guard uniform which technically was impersonating an officer but he didn't really care.
For his part in the plan, Naruto had been in contact with several people over the past month in order to determine who best on the planet to meat with. He eventually found that the person he likely needed to speak with first was but that person didn't seem to be in charge of security or any kind of officer.
'I'm not even sure they have a planetary security force,' he thought, comparing what he had seen since landing to everything he knew of Naboo and a few other planets. Getting bored, the blonde once again allowed his eyes to wander over the unique items in the room that adorned the walls while also searching for surveillance devices. 'I recall that Ayrou like to collect items which many would view as simple hording but which they feel is necessary because any one of those items could come in handy in coming years,' he processed as he looked over the various pieces of...art, and couldn't help but wonder how they would come in handy, or why they were even on the walls.
Part of the many groups of humanoids in the Galaxy, the Ayrou differed from normal humans because they had evolved from birds. Similar in size to humans, the Ayrou had only four fingers and instead of hair, they had distinctive plumage on their heads. So far, he had seen several tones of purple skin and varying shades of eye color, with no distinctive pupil, but merely the eye being a single solid color.
Hearing the opening of a door nearby, Naruto returned from his thoughts and observations to the waiting room. A tall, thin Ayrou female walked through the door and closed it quickly behind her. Walking over to the sitting pair, she kept her eyes directly on them before sitting down opposite them without saying anything.
Upon looking over to Gato and seeing the very expectant look, the woman merely said, "We will begin in just a few more moments." While she spoke in her native tongue and with a similar high pitched voice that they had heard from all the other Ayrou they had interacted with since arriving, the pair was able to understand exactly what was being said because of the translators that were present in their ears. They were devices that Naruto was thankful for remembering to acquire before arriving and also that the Ayrou, while not being able to speak Galactic Basic, were perfectly capable of understanding it.
The blonde quickly glanced at a chronograph, seeing that they still had five minutes before the start of the scheduled meeting. 'And apparently they are very punctual for start times,' he gathered but this gave him time to analyze the person before him.
She was keen eyed and inquisitive but also Naruto could tell that this person was highly intelligent and likely preemptively coming out to examine them before the meeting. 'She could have done that through surveillance but she chose to do it in person. These are dangerous combinations of actions and traits,' he recognized, remembering lessons concerning the type of people that Plagueis had always told him to watch out for or to keep an eye on. They could be useful but also problematic if their ultimate goals were lofty or they got greedy, "You could end up in a carefully laid trap, never realizing that the person was slowly walking you straight into it," he recalled were Plagueis' words so he stayed unconcerned by her behavior but in the back of his mind wondered if he was over-thinking things.
Paying slightly less attention to Gato than him, Naruto and the woman continued to observe each other making him become slightly impatient but never allowing those feelings to be conveyed. He thought perhaps he should introduce himself but it was Ayrou custom for her to begin introductions, which she wasn't, so they remained silent until close to the deadline. What kept Naruto from saying anything or having Gatou say anything was a strange feeling that he was getting. It was a sense of wrongness or that something was amiss but not because of danger to their well-being. Both the blonde and plumage bearing woman glanced at the rooms clock together as they saw that the seconds were only ticking away before the meeting and the woman stood before saying, "The Minister will see you now," and proceeded to walk to the door of the office.
The blonde remained seated for a moment as he realized that the woman before him was not the Minister he was schedule to meet but merely an aide. 'That was what I was misunderstanding. Did she just come out here to study me out of curiosity?' he wondered before taking the small protective case that was sitting next to his chair and the followed the woman through the open door and into the office.
There definitely wasn't enough time for her to inform the Minister of anything that she had noted while observing them, 'Ayrou aren't telepathic, so she was merely doing it to get her own opinion or us? Or is there something that I'm still missing?' the blonde questioned and found himself wondering what kind of person the Minister of Sectoral Affairs for the Ayrou was.
Entering the office, the pair saw more of the same collection that was in the waiting room, 'Although these pieces look to be a bit more expensive...maybe,' thought Naruto as the woman walked to take a seat beside an already seated individual. Looking over the arrangement, Naruto was slightly intrigued by the setup of the room as instead of desks or chairs, the Minister was seated in an arrangement that looked to have been built into the floor of the office.
While a desk existed, it was actually level with the floor surface and several short staircases led down to a circular seating area with more of bench seating. Moving down the staircase to reach the level of the minister, Naruto took a nearby seat and found it quite comfortable. It wasn't often that he entered a room and looked down upon the person inside but thinking more about the Ayrou, he supposed that it was similar to a nest of sorts and that the species evolved from a bird that made it's nest on the ground and not in a tree.
Once seated with the small case placed next to them, the Minister cleared his throat before speaking, "First, let us begin with introductions. I am the Minister of Sectoral Affairs, Kuusa, and this is the Deputy Minister, Tircee," he said in the trademark high pitched voice of the Ayrou while motioning to the woman they had met earlier, to which she nodded slightly but remained silent.
While Naruto now knew who the person was and found himself wondering what the duties of the Deputy Minister were, Gatou nodded back with a slight smirk before replying, "My name is Gatou, and I'm afraid I don't have any title save for businessman and entrepreneur, and this is…..," but he was interrupted by the Deputy Minister, "Menma Rudshar, I presume."
To his credit, Naruto gave only minor surprise at having his name already known. The meeting was setup with Gatou's name first and his merely included. Being singled out would normally be cause for alarm, save that he wasn't feeling any danger. 'That must be why she was looking at me more than Gatou,' the blond realized before replying, "That is correct, though I am curious how I have managed to become known before arriving."
His reply was not met with the response that he would have guessed. The Minister started a strange warbling cry before looking to the Deputy Minister who started sharing a similar utterance but softer. Confused as to what was happening, Gatou looked next to him at Naruto to find the blonde equally befuddled. The devices in their ears quickly notified them that they were not hearing any words but it merely told them 'Sounds of Laughter.'
Naruto would have been annoyed at being laughed at if he wasn't so confused by the circumstances and the noise being generated by the pair in front of him. The Force and the translation device were telling him that it was laughter but that was not what it sounded like to him. They were also experiencing other emotions besides joy or amusement. Waiting a few moments for things to settle down, and for some kind of explanation, Naruto feigned a look of curiosity and slight amusement, as if waiting for the punchline.
"You will have to excuse our laughter but you will understand soon enough. As part of my job as Minister of Sectoral Affairs, I deal with many different aspects of Maya Koval's interactions between other planets within the Sector. Several generations ago, this position absorbed several other positions which were then viewed as no longer necessary, which is why I have a Deputy Minister. One of these positions was Minister of Security which is why I was surprised a week ago when I started hearing about a message that had been sent from a planet that we normally don't have any dealings with or contact from. This was of course your planet, Naboo," the man said while looking directly at Naruto and the blonde was rather clueless about what was going on.
'What message? It couldn't have been my meeting message, I was quite vague about what it concerned,' the blonde kept thinking while he remained as calm as he could on the outside as the Minister held out a datapad which evidently contained the message he was referring to and continued speaking, "At the time I ignored it as a mistake but something about it had gotten in the hands of my colleagues. They were greatly interested by it and kept inquiring about the contents; whether or not I was spearheading such an initiative on my own and if I was forming a committee that they could join to receive updates on progress," he said and now he was holding the datapad a little firmer and it moved with his hand gestures while he talked.
Despite knowing that the Minister was becoming more agitated as the story went on, Naruto was still listening but once in a while his eyes would dart to the moving datapad. He really wanted to know what the message was.
"I tried convince them that the message must have been some kind of mistake but for some reason, they simply didn't believe me. Apparently thinking that I was waiting until making a formal announcement of what I intended. Going back to my work, I tried to forget it but it didn't stop there," the Ayrou Minister said and took a short break to catch his breathe as he had been talking quite fast. Not wanting to interrupt or say anything out loud, Naruto communicated to Gatou that he didn't quite know what was happening or about what the message was but they should try to play along.
"Soon a few of my constituents were sending in messages inquiring about a looming threat what measures I would be taking to combat it. And yesterday, the Prime Minister herself was questioning me about the message, which she had somehow gotten a hold of and was asking when I would provide more details, costs analysis, available resources, and put forth a formal proposition to the Ministry at the next meeting. She even mentioned whether I would involve the Sector Senate or form a committee and congratulated me on taking on such a bold endeavor. Before I could say anything, I was neck-deep in a project that I had never heard of and apparently well on my way to acquiring approval and sanctioning for something I ddin't know anything about. The only thing I could do at that time was to accept and it when I tried to figure out what was happening, that was when I got a message from you that you wanted to meet.
Hoping that you, the person who was obviously most involved with this and was requesting a meeting, could sort this all out. I of course agreed and scheduled it an hour before my meeting with the Ministry so that I could figure out what was going on from you," he said while pointing the hand holding the datapad at Naruto and the blonde was now completely lost.
Nothing in what the man had said to him was providing the information he required. Said Minister was quite exasperated by the end of the speech and his plumage had started raising on his head from its slicked back position where it had been before they sat down to speak. Even Gatou was looking at the blonde and Naruto was at a loss for words, 'What the hell do I respond with,' he said and found it incredibly difficult to stay calm and unfazed by everything that had been said to him.
Deciding to gamble it all, the blonde curtly replied, "Since we are evidently pressed for time, where would you like us to start, Minister?" Seeing that the man was calming slightly at the deception of his demand being met and information provided, Naruto waited for any clue that revealed something he could respond to.
"Well…," began the man as he finally set the datapad down and decided what he wanted an answer to first, "….first, I would like to know what the Moddell Sector Defense Force or Fleet…., or whatever it is being called is, because I have to explain something to the Ministry in….," and he looked at the nearest chronograph before continuing, "...less than an hour and I really don't feel like making a fool of myself. I have to inform them of the progress of an initiative that hasn't been approved, yet seemingly everyone is all ready to approve. Preposterous! You've put me in quite a difficult spot and if this is all some hoax or mistake, which I suspect that it is…..."
Despite the obvious threat at the uncompleted sentence, Naruto ignored it as his mind was currently focused on the one line out of all that Minister had said which was useful. 'A message was sent concerning myself and the Minister forming a defense fleet for the sector,' he realized and couldn't believe what was happening. Originally he was going there with little hope of success and planning to use Gatou as well as some 'influence' on the Minister into helping them but now the situation was completely different.
'We have a decided advantage and there is a demand for what I was hoping to talk about,' he realized as he recalled all that the Minister had said about the Prime Minister and various colleagues. 'How did this happen?' he questioned and thought briefly of his Master before he realized that he needed to start an explanation and that he needed to get Gatou on-board, however, before he could even start, the experienced shipping magnate had already taken the initiative.
"Perhaps I should start first, Minister," Gatou began and before anyone could object, he continued, "As I said before, my name is Gatou and I am looking to expand my business after some searching, have decided that the Moddell Sector is the perfect place."
Slightly surprised looks were given by the Ayrou in the room as it was one of the few times they had ever heard of anyone say that about their Sector. The most notable time being years before when the Republic decided to build an astrological research station on Ast Kikorie. Unaffected by their look, Gatou kept moving towards the point, "As such I had this young man scout many different areas in order to identify the various anomalies that the sector seems to have but also the areas of note. I was especially interested in three locations but that was where I hit a bit of snag," said the man and he waited for the unasked question by those present.
"Well, while the Sector is partly uncharted, there are the concerns that I've heard of piracy in the area," Gatou said and the Minister, who had been pulled into the conversation began to try and explain that piracy was not that big of an issue in the system but Gatou persisted, "In any case, I decided that instead of letting such an opportunity go to waste, I would perhaps fund a defensive fleet...not for my explicit use, mind you, but for the entire Sector. This seemed like a good idea to me but before starting up such a fleet, I thought it best to meet first.
It is not uncommon for a corporation to have defensive ships or a security force. I of course speak of the Trade Federation, Commerce Guild and various other much larger conglomerates. It would, however, be strange for me having just started out in the sector to immediately put together an armed force and would no doubt warrant questions as to what I would need for it. So I therefore decided to come here and propose as well as legitimize this force for, again, the use by the Sector and not just my own interests. Lest my actions be construed as aggressive or hostile. That would be completely contrary to what my intentions are," Gatou said with a laugh as he kept working to win them over as much as he could.
"I see," said the Minister and looking to Menma, Gatou spoke before he could say anything, "Menma is an old friend and quite a talented officer in the Naboo Security Forces but I requested his assistance because of his knowledge of the area and I know that he would be able to put together an impressive force with only moderate resources and capital.
You must understand that I have planning this meeting for quite some time but circumstances beyond my control," and he didn't need to stop for a pause for Naruto to know who he was talking about, "Have delayed me from starting the process and having a meeting with you. I am unknown in this sector at this point and I'm not even sure the Moddell Sector Senate would even allow me to speak should they even let me address the Senate. I apologize for such a missive arriving and causing such problems. I had thought to meet with you at least a few weeks ago, everything just….came together much faster than I thought and after many delays."
With his statement given, the pair from Mustafar and Naboo waited for the Ayrou to process all that had been said. Though the Moddell Sector had a Senate, they had no representation in the Galactic Republic Senate. Being the most advanced group in the system, the Ayrou the de facto leaders of the Sector with more influence in the Sector Senate than any other species or planet. What Gatou said was true and it made sense to come to the Ayrou first.
Naruto for his part was slightly surprised at Gatou, having underestimated the man and also never having seen him attend or provide any information at the various board meetings and other similar meetings he had during his career. He didn't know that the shipping magnate had started from a single vessel shipping company left to him in his teens by his deceased father to the being the richest man on a planet and having a fleet of large shipping vessels.
Trying to put together various questions that he now had, the Minister was having a difficult time wrapping his head around what he had just been told and wondering why? It was during this time that the Deputy Minister decided to ask the questions she had been putting together, "Are you incorporated in the Sector?"
"Not yet, Deputy Minister, I was hoping to take care of that today but had no idea that we had a one hour deadline to such an important meeting," Gatou informed her as he had no corporation on paper or digitally and so he was completely unknown in the Sector.
"Where else do you do business, then?" she quickly inquired and the other two males in the room simply watched the exchange. "I was mining in the Mustafar system but the Techno Union is making that increasingly difficult so I am switching my operation there to energy collecting, which the Techno Union does not have any claim in. Unfortunately I do not have any paperwork for the Mustafar Sector as my agreement was an oath with the Mustafarian people as they don't like contracts since the Techno Union made them sign a mining contract providing a monopoly on the planet. Mustafar is a volcanic world and has a great deal of geothermal energy which I could even start selling in the Moddell Sector," replied Gatou coolly as he looked forward to being asked questions and had prepared good responses.
"And what business do you intend to start in the Moddell Sector?" she asked, with everyone uncertain if she was satisfied with the previous answer or not. "I intend to begin with mining minerals and precious metals at first and then perhaps Tibanna gas after that," Gatou answered with a smirk and waited to see what she would ask next.
"Do you intend to strip mine planets in the Sector?" she then asked bluntly, and Gatou had the experience to seem slightly affronted by the question before answering, "Certainly not, I was hoping to mine the Kuna's Eye, a proto-planetary disc, so I couldn't possible affect any native or immigrated species and the majority of my other interests are on uninhabited planets or areas."
"Where do you intend to put your headquarters?" Tircee quickly asked just after her previous question was answered, "Well I was thinking either Annaj or Sarafur….oh...ahh Kuna's Tail III," he corrected himself after seeing their unfamiliarity with the first name he had given for the tidal locked planet.
"You must have a lot of capital in order to move your operation to this system and expect to start building a defense fleet at the same time?" she inquired and Gatou smirked at her insight before explaining, "I can't very well start a business in such isolated systems without some form of security but I don't expect to be able to pay for all of the areas I was looking to acquire, I was hoping to bargain for them," he revealed and the two Ayrou were interested in this but still had more questions.
Taking over the conversation from his Deputy Minister, Kuusa, finally formed together what he wanted answered, building off from where Tircee left off, "So you have no corporation, no interests in the Sector other than what you claim, no security fleet to present, and you expect me to go in front of the Ministry to present this information, before my peers and the Prime Minister?"
Gatou merely responded with a confident smile as Menma spoke up, "I don't recall either of us mentioning that we don't have a the beginnings of a defense fleet." Silence reigned over the room before one of the two Ayrou decided to ask, "And what vessels do you have?"
Taking out a small holoprojector, Naruto placed it on the table between them and then began going through a varied showing of different transport ships while explaining the number he had and various technical data about each ship because the majority of them had been heavily modified from the stock model. Near the end of the short presentation, the blonde reached the newly reacquired marauder-corvette which sparked quite a bit of interest, mostly because it was a ship that actual defense fleets had.
"How did you acquire this type of ship?" Tircee was quick to ask and Naruto, though reluctant to say it, explained, "It was badly damaged in an asteroid storm so it was easy to acquire given the damage, however that is mostly superficial as the majority of ships systems are intact and it should be operational within a month at the most."
The revelation was met with a typical response that he had been expecting. They were no longer as interested or surprised as they had been because they thought he was underplaying the damage to the ship, which was why he saved the best for last, "And finally we have acquired this ship," Naruto said as he switched to a view of the Hammerhead-class cruiser.
The new ship's statistics caused even more of stir among the pair as it was classified at a cruiser and not merely a corvette like the previous ship, being more than a hundred meters longer with slightly more fire power. "And this ship," Kuusa asked, wanting to know how they had managed to come by it.
"That is an interesting story," Gatou began as he took over the explanation, "Several millenia ago, this particular ship lost control over the planet Mustafar and landed on the surface with all crew perishing before being rescued. The constant volcanic activity covered the ship and preserved it so that a year ago, during a rather powerful eruption, it was unearthed and found. After that it was excavated out and repaired. It's currently ready for use, though it will need a larger crew than the other vessels," Gatou said as he glanced toward Menma who nodded that what was being said was correct.
"Do you intend to hire a crew?" Kuusa asked as he considered how expensive it would be because the few times they dealt with pirates that threatened the Sector, it was typically through hiring someone to take care of the problem, but that was for a single problem on a short-term basis.
"No, I intend to use what is already available in the area and turn them into a suitable defense force. Anyone can be trained and disciplined into a competent force," Naruto said right before Gatou added, "And any hiring to fill gaps would be something that I would pay for."
"Is this vessel legal to own and operate?" Tircee inquired and Gatou was actually clueless about that information but Naruto had done his research, "As a privately owned vessel, the legality would be questionable as it would be difficult to justify needing more firepower than any of the current Republic Judiciary Force ships possess, however, as a vessel of a Planetary Security Forces, it would be legal to operate because it was never decommissioned and we can submit evidence of it's discovery, claiming the vessel for the use of the Sector."
Though loath to admit it, it was likely illegal to personally own in most Sectors of the Republic and they would likely have to register it within the Sector in case anyone questioned it's existence. 'It would be hard to get by classifying it as a yacht, courier ship, or anything else other than a warship,' the blonde admitted and was hesitant to register the vessel with the Republic, 'But it could easily become a slight oversight on our part,' he thought while the others continued to look over the hologram of the ship.
"And the force as a whole, how exactly did you come by all of these vessels?" inquired Tircee as she was getting more and more curious about the pair that she had only met less than half an hour beforehand. They were working toward an interesting goal, but she was cautious to openly ask why they were working towards it and what made the Moddell Sector so interesting to them.
"While piracy does not affect Maya Koval very much, that is not necessarily the same for other areas of the Sector, correct?" he asked and the pair of Ayrou were hesitant to admit to this completely as it was not something they liked to think about. They received reports of piracy activity but since the Ayrou were not much of a traveling race and were not prone to violence, they were rarely affected or actively took action against it. The reports were considered by most to be a non-issue but not by everyone and it was common knowledge and practice that there were some hyperlanes or even jump-off points in the Sector that commerce and other vessels did their best to avoid.
"Over the past few months I have been working on Kuna's Tail III to rid the planet of these groups in order to create a staging area from which to base operations on. I have also been working on acquiring vessels and crews from locals that have grown tired of the constant threat. The majority of transport ships that I showed were acquired either through purchasing or captured after engaging in combat," he informed them and both were surprised to hear that.
"That...is impressive," admitted the Minister and the Deputy Minister concurred with a nod as they were both more assured by the pair before them having at least something for the meeting. "However," the Minister then began, "I may need a little bit more if I am to go before the Ministry and present this. You both may also be called forth to speak," he informed them and both Ibonihs natives nodded as they weren't necessarily prepared for that but didn't have a choice. It was also rather obvious that they were starting to get both Ayrou on their side.
"So you would need something more to show as progress of your new initiative?" inquired Gatou as he reiterated their words and the pair of Ministers confirmed that statement. Gatou for his part made a slight show of the situation and pondered for a second or two before turning to Menma and asking, "Do we have something like that?"
"Something that would show the progress of the initiative for the Ministry?" Naruto played along and Gatou nodded before Naruto admitted, "I believe we do."
Looking to the case that was still sitting next to him, and had been since the start of the meeting when he walked into the room with it, Naruto picked it up and set it on the table. Turning the case to the two curious Ayrou, he slowly undid the latches of the protective case and then did a slow reveal of the milky colored statue.
The pair of Ayrou had leaned forward in order to get a better look but neither was prepared for him to reveal the lost Tessent. A piercing squawk was emitted from both individuals and Naruto flinched slightly at the pain in his ears while Gatou jumped in his seat. While the short businessman tried to determine if his hearing was still alright, Naruto was incredibly focused as there was still something about the statue that he wanted answered. 'Was it just a lost statue or did it actually point to something else?' he still questioned as despite not being able to detect anything with rather sophisticated sensors and scans, perhaps the hunt for treasure had still managed to grab hold of him in some small fashion.
While Kuusa began to hyperventilate or whatever the equivalent was for the Ayrou, Naruto waited patiently to see their reactions when he had the chance to ask a few questions of his own. Having a much easier time dealing with the surprise of the famous statue sitting directly in front of her, Tircee motioned to the case and Naruto complied, sliding it over for her to get a better look.
Though she wanted to pick it up, the red-eyed Ayrou female refrained as she was hesitant to even touch it. So she merely examined ever exposed inch of the statue as it lay in the protective foam-like material of the case interior. It took nearly a full minute for Kuusa to recover enough that he was able to speak properly, "You…..where?" was all that he could get out.
Naruto quickly thought about his answer as he could have used many different explanations but primarily from two general categories, 'I could tell them that it was discovered on the Republic Station on Ast Kikorie, which there was likely evidence for and would likely infuriate them against the Republic but that may give too much information,' he realized with a slight glance to Deputy Minister Tircee, 'She's smart and could figure out that it was me on the station. The other option is to make up a story about finding it on Sarafur.
They aren't ready to hear about the Tessent being on Ast Kikorie, Naruto decided after a moment and replied to the pair, "While fighting on Kuna's Tail III we discovered this item in the possession of a now deceased warlord on the planet. I cannot confirm how he came about it," the blonde quickly lied and Kuusa, nodded slightly while his mind was elsewhere and he then looked to Tircee, saying, "We must call for an examiner."
The Deputy Minister agreed and moving from her seat and heading to the nearest comm system outside their area so as to not disturb the others with the call. The pair from Ibonihs waited for her to return to her seat before continuing and Naruto was confident that the Minister was befuddled enough so that he could ask what he had been waiting a year to ask.
"Seeing as we have answered all of your questions, perhaps you can answer one of ours?" Naruto asked and because they needed to wait for the examiner to arrive, Kuusa was fine with answering.
"I have heard many of the rumors that surround the Tessents and I was wondering if any of them were true? Perhaps this will point to another treasure and I would be hesitant to return it before having a closer look at it," Naruto said and he didn't need to be watching the Minister's reaction to know that the man was suddenly on edge. They still hadn't gotten any confirmation that the Tessent was real but what was real, was the Ayrou's reaction to what he was saying.
"You've heard far too many spacer tales associated with the Tessents. T-they're quite far fetched," Kuusa managed to say but Naruto already knew that his question had been answered, the real question now on his mind was, 'How did I miss it?'
Tircee tried to remain calm and unflustered at the question but found it difficult with Kuusa's poor ability to lie and deflect the question. 'She looks more annoyed at him than anything else at that moment,' Naruto noted before saying, "So what treasure does the Tessent point to?"
"I-I just told you…," Kuusa began before Naruto quickly closed the case and pulled the case back towards him, "WAIT!" said the man and Naruto wondered if he should remind the Minister that they had yet to verify its authenticity.
"There isn't a treasure, really," the man said and as he tried to figure out how to phrase the sentence and it was Tircee that intervened, "Decades ago, a religious movement became prominent in the Moddell Sector," and Kuusa wanted to stop her from proceeding but a look was all it took for the Minister to relent.
"This movement was viewed as a cult more than a religion but it gained many followers, including many of the Ayrou. The group was quite secretive though and managed to hide the location from everyone. As part of the group's beliefs, they discarded all of the material items that they possessed and gave away all of their money, moving to whatever planet their compound was built on and staying there," she informed the pair and Naruto was rather confused about
"It was during that time that one member of their group carved the Tessent and shortly afterward, the entire group disappeared for a time, never returning home to visit any relative and all communications were lost. Search parties were sent out and their temple was eventually uncovered...as were the bodies of all the followers. They had taken their own lives," she revealed and both Naruto and Gatou were a bit surprised by the news as neither was very familiar with cults.
"In response, their leader, who was unaccounted for after a thorough examination of bodies, was hunted down and unfortunately killed before he could provide detailed answers as to what happened. It was said, however, that the Tessent pointed to their lost belongings and it was in the leaders possession when he was found. While this may not seem significant to outsiders, the members of the group included some of the most influential artists and affluent people of Maya Koval. They had a great many important possessions of cultural significance and it is those that could be considered as treasure and if there was even a chance to find them and return them, then it would be investigated.
However, en-route to Maya Koval, the small ship transporting the Tessent disappeared and it was then that the great search began. A lie was made up to cover the truth and to protect the artifacts but that did not work as rumors became stories and soon most believed that a great treasure existed. Most of the Moddell Sector is still partially uncharted and with over two hundred uninhabited systems in just our small subsector it is incredibly difficult to try and find the location without the Tessent.
With incredibly slow hyperspace travel, astrological impedances, and the fact that we simply do not have the technology, ability, or necessity to map it out and so the 'treasure' as it could be referred has not been found," she finished and Naruto contemplated what he was being told, not because he questioned if it was truth or a lie, but because it made him consider something. 'Perhaps the reason why it was never returned is because the Director of the station was looking for the artifacts and couldn't figure it out either,' he considered as he thought back to the skyhook.
Seeing their concern over the object, Naruto relented and said, "While we will return the Tessent, I still believe there is something of a compensation in order," he stated and before he could get a response, Gatou said, "We don't need to negotiate over money. Especially since I happen to be looking into getting into the mining industry and currently have no claims or land in the Moddell Sector."
"We have yet to confirm if the Tessent is legitimate or not," Kuusa pointed out, but not because he was contesting that it was fake.
"We also don't have that much time before the Ministry meeting," Naruto said before glancing at his chronograph, "Less than thirty minutes. We're confident that it's real and seeing as we have some time before the meeting...," Naruto informed the Minister and left the ending of sentence open to interpretation, which drew a smirk from both Ayrou at the challenge being given.
"If this object were to turn out to be the missing Tessent," Kuusa began with interest in the negotiation and Gatou soon began smirking too. "What exactly would we have to offer for its return?" the Minister questioned and both Naruto and Gatou glanced at each other with Gatou taking the lead and blonde sitting back to watch for the moment.
"Well I would first have to point out that since it is being returned as part of our initiative and bargaining for it, that we couldn't possibly take all the credit for returning it. Someone else will likely have to….an individual person or perhaps a pair," Gatou began as he smiled at both the seated Ayrou, knowing that he made a very good start in negotiations by giving up the majority of the credit.
Naruto wasn't surprised by Gatou's starting tactic as that was one of the reasons he had brought the man. 'While I sit back and read them, he will bargain for everything that I want,' the blonde thought as he knew that because he favored conflict or violence over negotiation, that Gatou would be the better choice. Both of those traits were disliked by the Ayrou. To them, resorting to violence was akin to conceding an argument, so they adored negotiations and haggling, seeing it as the most sophisticated method of settling disputes or difficult situations.
While Gatou continued to go over what they had spent hours discussing before arriving and even in weeks past, the blonde let his mind wander a bit to think about what he had learned concerning the Ayrou. It troubled him or at least irked him that they had so little knowledge about their own Sector. It was true what Tircee had said but that would not have stopped him from taking every opportunity to map out the entire sector, specifically the hazards. He had basically already done so, though at great monetary cost.
'They also can't astronavigate to find better hyperlane routes,' he conceded and knew that he would have some work ahead of him. Mentally telling Gatou about his thought concerning hyperlanes and maps, he had the businessman add both to the mental list of negotiating ammunition. Providing them with new or safer hyperlanes would be invaluable toward helping commerce and expanding the system.
Grinning madly, Gatou looked down from the datapad for a second to find the blonde sitting in the lobby of the government building they were now in. Most people were walking passed the blonde and not paying attention to him but they didn't know that he would soon be speaking to all of them. Hard at work on a datapad and holoprojector, Gatou sat down across the blonde before trying to show him the datapad and saying proudly, "Gatou Incorporated," as he showed the digital certificate of incorporation for his new company.
Frowning as the blonde was busy and he barely got a, 'That's nice,' out of him, the corporation owner decided that the document mattered a lot more to him than Naruto, 'Or Menma,' he reminded himself as that was that the boy was being called now. Though it wasn't paper and not something he could physically hold or frame on a wall, it was proof that the blonde had come through on the promise, 'Took long enough. A whole year of waiting, and I only spent three minutes in line and thirty seconds filling out paperwork to finally get this,' the short man commented shaking his head back and forth before looking at Naruto and seeing him still working.
'Gatou Inc.,' he said to himself and was iffy about whether he liked it more than having incorporated spelled out. 'Eventually there will be subsidiary companies, one of which would be Gatou Shipping,' he told himself as the name always had the best ring to it in his opinion.
Getting slightly bored as they waited, Gatou looked over to see what Naruto was still working on before asking, "What are you up to?"
"I have to give a briefing at the meeting and have about….five minutes left to finish up everything," Naruto said without looking up from his work as he was focused on finishing it before they were called in. Likely they had a few more than five minutes as there was likely some kind of protocol to start off the meeting with and neither knew if they were first on whatever list needed to be discussed.
"Anything I can do?" offered Gatou as he was feeling quite good at the moment and didn't have a problem offering help to anyone when he was in that kind of mood.
"What would investors, business partners or ministers want to hear when it comes to security issues?" Naruto said after briefly pausing his work to wait on the answer before continuing.
Inhaling, Gatou began, "State the problem, don't exaggerate too much as you can never be sure how gullible they are, especially when first meeting a group you aren't familiar wit. But you should make them fear what they don't know is out there. Anything can get worse if left unchecked. You need to present not how you plan to do things but how you will do things. They always feel more comfortable even if you only change the phrasing a bit. 'We will do this' trumps 'We could do this' at any board meeting," he said before adding the finisher, "Then give them something big that makes them feel safe and puts those fears to rest."
Naruto nodded as he took everything in and analyzed how he could incorporate it into what he had already written. 'I've outlined regular patrols of various jump-off points in the sector and already know many of the routes that pirates take..but something big?' he thought and wondered what he had that would count. 'A flagship for the initiative,' he decided and smirked as he started adding more about the cruiser that they had.
Taking the holographic image, he began manipulating it so that the ship would appear a bit different. Thinking of different symbols or insignia that he could use, he decided to go with something simple and added the Kuna Constellation to the side of the bridge and wrote down a note to rechristen the ship, 'Kuna's Horn.'
'That should work,' he thought and then added the future repair of a damaged marauder-class corvette as well as a few automated droid vessels that he had been looking into. 'Until the Defense Force is up and running, we'll rely on the forces that I have, calling them volunteers and start with the Kuna Constellation; moving out from there. Uniforms will be needed and I'll need commanders for ships. Perhaps it will be best to split up the entire fleet between Smoke Demon and normal Sentients that may want to join,' he considered and wondered if anyone would be taking inventory of the operation or not. Keeping so much off the books would likely be something for Gatou though.
'We should be able to hide a portion of the fleet,' he decided as Gatou's negotiation had gotten him all that he wanted.
"Seems you found a way to make something official before it was even created," Gatou commented as the last of the attendees of the meeting had already passed by them and they were the only ones left in the lobby. "It seems that way," was Naruto's brief response as he thought back to the message that the Minister kept talking about and which he eventually managed to look at.
'It was definitely Plagueis that wrote it and the received date was just after I left. Does he know what I am doing?' wondered the blonde as he considered whether the former Muun knew more about his activities than what was revealed at the meeting.
"Did you see the Minister after the meeting?" asked Gatou and Naruto came out of his thoughts, having completed the presentation but gotten a little lost by other matters.
"The last time I saw him, he was muttering about becoming a national hero which escalated in his mind to Prime Minister, Senator, and then Chancellor for the Sector. Despite the fact that both he and Tircee will be getting credit," commented Naruto and Gatou laughed before asking, "What do you think she'll get?"
"Probably his job, if not more," replied Naruto and Gatou laughed before saying, "At least we got what we wanted."
"Yes, we did," Naruto said in monotone as he recalled that the Minister was too stunned at the revealing of the Tessent to fully comprehend the long-term effects of what he was agreeing to or what the impact would be on the sector in exchange for returning the Tessent.
"You don't seem all that thrilled," commented the industrialist and Naruto recognized that Gatou was right. For some reason he found it hard to be thrilled at the accomplishment. 'Would it have been successful without that message,' he kept considering and the thought weighed on him but he decided to tell Gatou about the other thing that was bothering him.
"I still don't know how the statue points to the treasure," he admitted and Gatou looked at him before laughing while saying, "That's whats bugging you?" The laughter however stopped as the man considered something, "Was it actual treasure that we gave up?"
"No, they were telling the truth," he informed Gatou. "And it still bothers you that much?"
"Yes," Naruto admitted as he hid what was really bothering him with the lesser, "Chances are it is something simple that is easily identifiable to them but not to anyone else," Gaout informed him and Naruto had considered that but still couldn't determine what that something was.
"Ohhh….," Gatou suddenly exclaimed as he had an idea, "You should mention renting out the fleet in the presentation," he said to he blonde and Naruto gave him a questioning look before the man explained, "Are there not pirates in other, nearby sectors?"
Realizing what Gatou was telling him, Naruto added the statement to his list of notes and expanded upon it a little to hint at some kind of agreement with other nearby Sectors that would allow the fleet to expand it's range, 'What is the phrase,' the blonde struggled as he tried to come up with the wording he wanted, 'Field of influence, no...theater of operation,' he finally remembered and put that down so he would mention it.
'If that works then no one will think it strange if my ships are spotted in neighboring Sectors,' and on that thought he recalled that most vessels would have some kind of identifying markings, color scheme or symbol, so he immediately began thinking up a system or solution that could simply switch markings as easily as flipping a switch on all the ships in addition to transponder signals.
'And with that, my small raiding force becomes a sanctioned sector defense force,' he thought as he glanced over the notes once again to memorize each talking point and the information he needed to present for each.
'Once the sector is pacified of all outliers, then the bigger plans start,' he said and was finally able to get some feeling of success. Minutes earlier they had finished negotiating for the entire Kuna Constellation which had been the main bargaining point during the meeting, 'They didn't seem to care at all for the two Nebula that I wanted,' he recalled and knew that they should have cared or bothered to question why he wanted them so much. It was difficult to believe that Gatou Incorporated now owned the rights to a significant portion of the Sector but none of those areas were all that important at all to the Ayrou.
'If only they knew what's currently there and what will be there in the future,' the blonde thought as he remembered both astrological features in detail. The first was the Monsua Nebula which was massive in size and contained multiple stars, some of which would make good fuel for the Star Forge. The second was the Din Nebula which was much smaller but practically adjacent to the Monsua Nebular. Both contained significant radiation that was strong enough to make them hazards. The Din Nebula could even damage hyperdrives because of the pulsar formed after the systems sun went supernova. Unless special shielding was used, they were both dangerous to starships traveling in them and obfuscated sensor readings completely.
These concerns had not stopped him from investigating and what he found in the Din Nebula only made it more appealing to his future plans. 'It was worth the number of probes that I lost in order to get to this point,' he concluded and as Gatou stood, he realized that they were being called for.
"When they reveal the Tessent in the Ministry room, make sure to cover your ears," Naruto told the short man and Gatou was confused for only a second before he realized what the blonde was referring to.
Almost Three Months Later
Emerging from a darkened hallway, a small seeker-like droid hovered over the floor as it entered the trapezoidal doorway and examined the walls of the long room. The droid was as dark as the shadows in the room but soon a red glow emanated near the single photoreceptor. The glow projected a red, flat plane of energy that quickly began scanning over the walls and surfaces of the room. Recording the numerous runes written on the walls, the droid quickly finished its inspection and documentation of the room before going on to the next.
In an adjacent hallway, a similar droid was moving in the same fashion and it moved along as it approached a shadowy figure. Not stopping, the droid passed right through the shadow's torso as if it wasn't even there. Gray eyes ignored the droid in favor of examining the dim world around it with purpose. 'Nothing of much interest, again,' it thought with slight disappointment before walking on to another area that the droids had not gotten to yet.
The shadow moved down a hallway, looking at an area of ceiling that had collapsed before heading toward a source of light which turned out to be a balcony. Overlooking the rest of the stone city, the figure itself was a shadow and cast none on the floor of the balcony in what little sunlight wasn't obscured by the heavy storm clouds that never seemed to clear. 'Silence reigns here as well. Only the wind can be heard on Ziost anymore,' the figure spoke concerning the planet he was currently on.
The statement was completely true, after days of searching the main city and surroundings, there was nothing that could be heard, not a spirit and certainly not any kind of life. 'Everything is dead on this planet,' concluded the figure and he had scans as well as sample analysis to prove that statement. The frozen planet was beyond hope, 'Which makes me wonder what happened here,' he thought before deciding that he had wasted enough time and closing his eyes, he ended the technique.
A mile away, blue eyes opened and the blonde soon went to small controls on his gauntlet to command the probes to return to the ship, which he was currently sitting on. Sliding off the fuselage, the blonde moved to the end of the hangar bay and looked over the frozen city of New Adasta. He had stowed his ship in one of the still standing skyscrapers and branched out from there, looking at everything he could of the large city. Making use of the Force shadow and shadow clones, in addition to his small seekers, the blonde had scoured a large portion of the area.
Unfortunately, there was simply too much to see and that had been the case several times before as he simply couldn't examine an entire planet to find what he wanted. He had concentrated his search at the old ruins of a citadel near the outskirts of the city and even tried to find if a Sith Academy had once been on the planet. His only success so far in the days since he first landed was the discovery of an old Sith Empire military based just outside the city.
The base was apparently called the Orbital Defense Command Center and houses an office of the Ministry of Logistics. While even to him that had seemed like a pointless search, through digging into what files were uncorrupted by the passage of time, he had determined that the ministry was responsible for a large amount of operations of the Sith Empire, including military, planetary defense, system wide space traffic control and was even tied into the Imperial Intelligence with a whole satellite office located inside the complex. The amount of information that once moved through that building at one point was so vast that he couldn't possible try to copy all that was still stored in the memory banks. The majority of the files were encrypted and most were corrupted but the data he was able to copy should hold something of interest.
'I don't remember Plagueis mentioning anything cataclysmic happening on Ziost,' the blonde concluded as he thought back to his many lessons on the Sith Empire and that time of history. Either everyone had left Ziost, including even the likes of bacteria, 'Or something terrible happened here,' he believed and decided that there was no point in remaining any longer on the most recent failure to discover more about the dark-side.
Like other planets he had visited, Ziost had likely been picked clean centuries before and he was only able to find writings on the walls instead of artifacts or tomes. 'Where are the artifacts that were once here?' the blonde questioned as he considered many different possibilities. 'They could have been salvaged by the Sith Empire but that would suggest that they were taken somewhere else which I can't seem to find. The Jedi could have taken them but where would they put them? Plagueis informed me that the Jedi had few real artifacts. Does that mean that Sidious has the rest or were they simply destroyed over time?' he questioned and considered the last one being the most probable outcome of the various wars and other conflicts in the Galaxy.
'Where to next?' Naruto then considered as the last of the seekers moved into the cargo lift of the ship and he headed to hatch at the back of the craft. Of the places he had been, only a few in the Stygeon Caldera were left for him to visit, this included Korriban. Though he knew that Korriban was rather close to his current location, Naruto refrained from heading there for some reason and had decided to look at other worlds.
'Khar Delba is an icy tomb just like Ziost. Drummond Kaas has been taken over by the jungle and is home to a cult of dark-side users that I would rather not have to deal with. If I don't know where specifically to look, each is simply too big for me to search even with help. I could spend decades sifting through ruins on those planets and not find anything of note. I'm not left with much else to visit,' concluded the blonde as he headed to the cockpit and wordlessly passed the rust-colored droid. Many of the Sith-aligned worlds that he knew of had nothing left of the Sith Empire because they had been absorbed back into the Republic and no longer featured anything even related to the Sith.
'Perhaps the data from the memory banks at the base will help with that,' he thought as he powered up the ship and headed off the dead planet.
Outer Rim Territories
A few days later
Descending towards the icy planet, Naruto quickly sent out a specific signal and his landing vector was temporarily cleared of the atmospheric instabilities that the numerous volcanic vents on the planet caused. Making his landing, he headed toward a single valley rift on the icy planet, one of the few areas of the white sphere that was green. Moving passed the typical ionic disturbances and heavy snow, Naruto moved into the rift and the snow quickly turned to a light rain as the scenery changed to that of sparse jungle.
The once prison planet of the Infinite Empire still held numerous Rakatan ruins, many of which were buried under the solid ice and snow that had formed in the several millenia since Belsavis underwent an ice age. Some of the vaults, however, had been purposely placed near the still active volcanic vents and these areas retained the look that Belsavis once had, which was of a jungle planet.
Descending, the blonde headed straight for a large pairs of doors and once he was only a few meters off the ground, the sent another signal that caused the doors to open, which they did soundlessly before he had enough room to take the ship inside. The vault he had found was one of the few remaining that was intact enough to use.
Some were destroyed by either cave-ins or unknown circumstances while the prisoners which used to be housed in the various suspended animation vaults were all but gone. While exploring the area, he encountered the remains of various presumably sentient beings, although he couldn't identify them until he had asked Tantmatsu about the prisoners the Rakatan had confined to the planet's depths.
He learned of the Esh-kha, a species that the Rakatan had battled millenia previously and the last of which had been captured and stored in one or multiple areas of the facility. Although the remains of the equine species that had posed a threat to the Rakatan during their prime was disturbing enough there were other things on Belsavis which were still imprisoned and even more terrible, or so Tanmatsu had informed him.
The blonde had therefore decided to only explore certain areas and to never go into the lower vaults and keep them sealed. Landing the ship on an area which was made into a landing pad, Naruto exited the ship and looked over the vault that he had claimed as his own. The area he was looking at was primarily a cavern with only a single entrance that he had flown into. Stalactites and stalagmites had formed and a large pool of water had collected in one area of the cavern. The other areas had been empty until he had begun transforming them into training areas.
To mostly one side were the entrances to the a portion of the Rakatan facility which was built into the rock and extended into a cacophony of different passages and levels in many different directions. Primarily, the blonde had stayed in the control room of the vault and sealed off the passages by instigating a partial lockdown procedure which was originally meant to contain escapees. He didn't want any surprises during the night or to come back to after being away for a while.
Moving passed an area where he trained in lightsaber combat, and then his tinkering area, the blonde went into the facility so that he could grab fresh clothes and clean up.
Sitting in a portion of the geothermic heated pool inside the cavern, Naruto relaxed in water that was similar to a hot spring. He had used earth jutsu to craft the rock both under and around the water and make places to sit. At some point he had gotten carried away, making a variety of designs in the mud jutsu and decorated the area. Taking out a datapad, he blonde looked over all a schedule and list of items that needed to be done. 'The Foundry will finally have minimal operation starting soon,' he realized as the date had always been approaching but now he found himself slightly surprised that it was finally here.
'Once a single line of production is completed, the facility will build itself in months rather than years,' he remembered from the last report sent by the droid foreman in charge of construction. It was at that moment that he also realized that while the Foundry would be ready, his other plans would not.
'I still have not figured out a way to cure Tayuya,' he thought and everything about the Foundry's completion was soon forgotten. 'I also don't have a method of gathering the required resources to build the prototype Star Forge,' he recalled from mental list of unaccomplished tasks. While the Foundry was an amazing tool, it could not build a Star Forge for him. It was designed for droid manufacture or at the most small equipment and perhaps something as big as a starfighter.
The Foundry could be used to create a droid workforce and small equipment but ultimately he needed a great deal of different resources to build his prototype. 'The duraplast won't be that hard, but the rest…,' he thought as he looked over an extremely long list various materials and massive quantities that were required for such a massive undertaking. 'A good number of these items can't be found in the Kuna's Eye or even in the Moddell Sector,' he admitted as he recalled having surveyed for them, originally hoping that everything he required was in the sector.
'I have yet to solve that dilemma,' he recognized and moving to the next, he found that he still needed to construct a facility for the production of Kolto. 'Kabuto has confirmed that it will take a very long time if we just use pieces of Star Map,' he recalled and in the past few months, he had discovered a good place to build the secret facility, 'But I need equipment that I don't have and funds in order to procure that equipment.'
"Last but not least, I still have no idea what I intend to do with these manufacturing facilities, devices, and alternative to Bacta," he admitted to the cavernous space around him and he wasn't exactly whispering it either. Initially he had gone off of what Plagueis had said when the entered the Galaxy, that they should lay low and build up their resources. His current plans were based off that goal but had evolved and expanded greatly after he had found and taken the Rakatan computer he had named Tanmatsu.
Leaning back on the rock and putting his shoulders into the warm water, he closed his eyes and tried to envision different paths for him to take. The first and most obvious path was simply to create an army of droids and vessels through which to conquer the Galaxy. The Republic no longer had a Navy or Army and though numerous sectors had defense forces, they were limited in the size and capabilities of ships they were allowed to have.
'I could build thousands of Hammerhead-class cruisers and take over the Galaxy,' he considered and nearly laughed at the thought. From the history that Plagueis had spent a very long time explaining and teaching him, 'The Sith have failed time and time again to conquer the Galaxy over the course of thousands of years. And I'm not even a Sith,' he thought with disdain.
He also felt that the idea was rather ridiculous, not because he felt he couldn't accomplish what the Sith had failed to do but because he simply didn't want to conquer the Galaxy. Long ago he wanted to be Hokage of a single village with a small population, 'But to be the leader of an entire Galaxy,' he thought and couldn't imagine how many people that included, "Trillions?" he put forth but knew that the number was small compared to what the real number likely was.
'Why would I want to deal with that kind of mess and how could I possibly try to keep it together,' he considered as he thought about the aftermath of being the conqueror of the Republic. Taking the Republic by force would no doubt cause splintering or at least a resistance to his rule, 'Not to mention that the Jedi would not stand idly by.'
The second thought that came to him was to use the devices to become a very wealthy person or to influence the Galaxy in a way that he wanted. It wouldn't be hard but that option was certainly lacking anything of substance. 'And I can never seem to stop spending all the money I get,' he thought before moving on to the next possibility.
'To use those resources to save the Republic from the Sith,' he contemplated and recognized that it was a very odd thought which had spawned the notion. 'If I stop Sidious, that would likely make me some kind of hero or savior,' he had briefly considered and there was some truth in such a thought, 'Especially if the entire Jedi Order is unable to determine what Palpatine really is before it is too late.'
However, such a path begged the question, 'Do I want to be a hero?' It was difficult to decide if that was what he wanted or not. After throwing away his dream of being Hokage, the thought of being a hero had gone with it and he had only every considered it in relation to Konoha. The other problem was that from what Plagueis told him, the Republic was not what it once was and what would saving it really accomplish? Would it only fracture and dissolve or a portion secede from the rest and cause a war.
'To be the villain then, not the one hiding in the Senate, and bring the Republic to the brink of destruction,' he considered and thought about uniting the crumbling Republic and forcing them to change for the better. 'That would likely create an opening for Sidious to take advantage of,' he quickly realized and then questioned, 'Why would I want to be a jinchuuriki again,' alluding to the fact that being the villain of the Galaxy would be akin to being a human sacrifice as such a person.
Frustrated, he questioned, 'Then why am I working to such lengths to bring back the inventions of the Rakatan?' It took several moments before he came to answer which just popped into his head, 'Perhaps I still want the things that I wanted when I was five, which primarily included wanting to be acknowledged by others,' he thought and an image of Plagueis briefly appeared and then disappeared from his mind. 'I never did try very hard to hide what I was doing,' he recognized but was soon disturbed from his thoughts.
A sudden sound alerted him of an incoming message on the communicator which was sitting nearby with a towel from him to dry off with. 'Another message from Karin?' he wondered and quickly recalled that he had yet to respond to any of her previous messages, of which, she had sent at least one a week since he had left. 'Because I have no idea what to say to her,' he acknowledged and decided if that was the case or not.
Instead of Karin, the message was something a bit different, 'A sensor detection alert,' he recognized and sat up in the water as he tried to think back to how many of those he had set up in different areas and which one had been triggered. 'In Kuna's Eye, on the transceiver/booster stations for our feeds from Coruscant, and…,' the last one was the one that he took a moment to realize before remembering where it was, 'Seoul 5.'
Getting up out of the water, he took the towel to quickly dry off as he quickly moved to where his clothes and gear was while a variety of questions went through his head, 'Why would a ship be there?
Was it landing? Who would have gone to such a remote location?' and he stopped for a moment as he considered that it may have been Plagueis who had found the planet.
Trying to calm himself down on that thought, he inevitably questioned, 'What if it wasn't Plagueis?' Anyone could have found the planet, either by mistake or on purpose. With his clothes on, he once again passed by HK-47 and the droid remained silent, though it moved to get it's own weapons and prepare to leave.
Using his communicator, Naruto contacted the comm system of the prefabricated building but his hails went unanswered as he entered the ship and prepped for a quick takeoff. As he was flying down the wide cavern corridor and toward the heavy vault door, a message was returned but all he could hear was Shilaea's panicked voice and then nothing. Cursing, Naruto left the atmosphere at full speed and set the quickest coarse for Seoul 5.
Quadruple checking her translation, Shilaea became very frustrated before she was forced to calm herself down and then think things over again. Looking back to the engraving on the pedestal of the statue, she went over the sentence fragment once again. It had been a trying morning as she had finally made real headway into deciphering the language.
After receiving a single word of the language from Menma, which xenoarchaeologists had likely spent months or even years deciphering and she wondered how he had managed to acquire, she had figured out most of the language of the Seoularians but not completely. There were many letters that still alluded her which made reading the pedestal message quite problematic.
Glancing quickly at the cloaked figure of, if she was translating it correctly, Onrai, she wished the statue could talk provide some insight into whether she was correct or not before then returned to the pedestal deciphering. What she wasn't understanding was that it seemed to indicate that, 'press Onrai to learn more...doors,' or at least that was the gist of her rough translation.
'It sounds like some kind of cheesy prompt from a holomuseum exhibit,' she thought to herself with a frown and had no idea how the word 'doors' fit into that sentence. Once again, she beleived she was doing something wrong. Glancing over everything again, she realized that she had made a mistake and the sentence fragment could have been translated, '...to learn more, touch Onrai and doors..,' which was all that she managed to get with the still undecipherable parts.
Looking around at the square, she failed to see any doors in her immediate area and guessed that the sentence may said, 'And doors will open,' but couldn't be sure but quickly thought that perhaps she was taking it too literally, 'It could be that metaphorical doors will open,' she then thought and looking to the statue again, she quickly thought of something.
Despite looking at the statue nearly every morning for months, she had never physically touched it with her hands. The desire had been there several times but she had always stopped herself. The most she had done was remove a layer of moss which had been covering some of the statue and pedestal as well as clean it up a bit while following proper archaeological standards and protocols, which involved not touching the item and using non-invasive tools.
'I do have gloves,' she contemplated and taking out a pair from one of her pockets, she put them on and decided to test the theory. 'It couldn't hurt to just touch it once, could it?' she found herself asking as what little self control concerning proper procedure eroded away to allow her to finally do what she wanted.
Slowly reaching out, she aimed for a small portion of the statue's robe and touched the cool surface. Smiling slightly, she realized that nothing had immediately happened but wasn't that disappointed at having finally been able to touch the statue which she had longed stared at and contemplated, 'Oh well..,' she was saying to herself before an audible clank was heard which was swiftly followed by the sound of stone sliding against stone.
With her already porcelain skin going even whiter, her entire face turned to shock and horror as she stood completely still. 'YOU IDIOT!' she raged at herself and hoping whatever she had inadvertently done was fixable. Turning her head slowly to look at what had happened, she soon came face to face with a segment of street that was missing.
'I don't think I can fix that,' she admitted but as she looked at the hole, she realized that the floor was not collapsed but had seemingly dropped at one side, creating a ramp. Some of the stones had actually stayed parallel to the ground and a visible set of stairs had been created going down the middle of the ramp.
'Doors will open,' she repeated to herself from what she had guessed earlier and finally able to move, she thoroughly examined the new opening before even stepping foot inside. Moving back to her speeder bike to fetch the droid aid and her pack, she pulled out a glowrod before entering the ramp. 'I should be sending in a droid first. Or perhaps one of those survey probes that were leftover from the initial mapping of the city,' she knew but that did not do anything to halt her progress forward into the chamber. She was compelled to explore her discovery.
The ramp only moved one full level down and she found herself several meters underneath the street. No sooner than she had stepped foot into the corridor then a light had turned on. She jumped and nearly yelled before realizing that it was some kind of motion sensor and merely reacting to her presence rather that someone else turning them on. Some of the lights were powered but others were no longer functional and either flashing on and off or not turning on at all.
Slowly, the raven-haired propulsion expert proceeded down the hallway and noted all the power conduits along the walls, 'This level may be like a utility corridor and go through the entire city,' she concluded before seeing that the walkway opened up ahead. Standing in the entryway of the still darkened room, Shilaea brought her glowrod up as high as she could in order to shine as much light as possible into the room. It was hexagonal in shape with various instruments and equipment lining the walls but what had caught her attention was the centerpiece of the room which appeared to be some kind of control station. Several humming sounds and other noises of equipment operation were coming from the room and she hesitated.
'Is this a control room? Maybe for a reactor deeper underground?' she wondered to herself and considered leaving to come back with more equipment and scanners than what little she had in her pack. Taking out what devices she had brought, she first checked the room for radiation and other emissions but found it safe. There was definitely a power source nearby and the device she held seemed to indicate that it was directly ahead of her.
Inching her foot forward, she waited as the motion sensors in the room finally detected her and turned on the lights. The illumination showed her what she had already guessed, that the center of the room was some kind of control room but for what, she still didn't know. Taking everything in, she realized that a layer of dust covered almost everything in the room and that she herself was leaving footprints on the floor, proof that she was the first to enter the underground area in a very long time.
"Don't. Touch. Anything," she said out loud in order to try and remind herself and stave off hyperventilating which she felt perhaps she was headed towards.
Returning from the city hours later, Shilaea was in a daze and had nearly driven her speeder bike off the trail because she was so immersed in her own thoughts.
"It's so amazing," she repeated again out loud at the discovery that she had made. 'I'll be published in every xenoarchaeological related article in the galaxy,' she thought before correcting herself, 'Not just archeology but power generation as well.' However she was smart enough to realize that there were still a great deal of work, careful work, ahead of her in order to analyze the new discovery; the fact that she had correctly deciphered part of an extinct language being almost pushed out of her head.
Though a very technical person, her devices usually didn't have their own reactors, merely having connections so they could be attached or built with one. "I'll need a lot of supplies," she realized as she walked the distance to the prefabricated building, 'A multitude of different scanners will be needed to determine the composition and purpose of those crystals. Maybe they aren't just for control, maybe they produce the power,' she considered and stopped as the thought nearly overloaded her mind. Parking the speeder, she continued on a familiar and short walk in a daze.
Smiling, she increased her pace and was about to head through the decontamination doors when she realized that something was amiss. Coming to a complete stop, Shilaea looked to an unfamiliar ship that was parked nearby, behind her building. It was a luxury courier but that wasn't what had caused her to stop.
Inside, she could just make out the noise from the comm system notifying her that someone was calling but she barely registered it as she looked at the man standing in front of the ship. Cloaked in black and standing completely still, Fesvk Wefos stared directly at the startled propulsion designer.
It was immediately evident to Shilaea that something was terribly wrong. The smiling and charming face that she remembered was not what she was currently seeing. It was almost as if she was looking at a completely different person. There was soon a sinking feeling that took hold of her and she felt very cold. She wanted to run, far away at that moment but her feet would not move.
"I see your doing well, Shilaea," the now revealed Dark Jedi Karae Nalvas said in an even tone and with very little emotion on his face until he said her name with contempt. "'Having the opportunity of a lifetime,' was it?" he questioned mockingly as he started taking slow steps towards her and his visage turned into a sneer from what she could see beneath the cloak.
Nalvas recalled Shilaea using those words many times in the conversations with her parents and because they had been the same words she had used to describe his offer to her, the memories infuriated him more and he moved his hand out from beneath the cloak to reveal his lightsaber.
Though never personally seeing a lightsaber before, her mind recognized the device as a probably weapon and that she needed to run. Her heart beating was all that she could hear until the noise of the comm system inside the building reminded her that she could get help. Suddenly in motion, Shilaea fumbled with the control panel before rushing into the double-airlock system of the building and then initiating the decontamination sequence once she was completely inside.
Turning around, she noted a flash of blue through the transparasteel panels on the heavy doors and then saw a short cylinder of energy pierce the outer door and start cutting a hole. Backing away from the hatches, Shilaea nearly tripped over a chair before she remembered the comm system and raced to the room with the installed device. Seeing the messages she quickly started to respond to one before realizing that she didn't have time. Turning around to flee, she stopped as she saw the powered down security droids that were meant to protect her if a situation put her in danger.
'Oh yeah, this is definitely that kind of situation,' Shilaea thought as she activated the droids. While they powered up, she left the communication room as the inside hatch was about to be breached. Moving to her laboratory area, she again sealed herself inside a set of completely transparasteel decontamination doors and waited to see what would happen, hoping that the droids would be able to help her.
As the hatch to the building was forced inward and skidded across the floor after being cut apart, the cloaked figure stepped through and they looked at each other; one annoyed face to a scared one. Reacting quickly, the cloaked figure brandished the sword-like weapon as he deflected a blaster bolt which was headed directly at him.
Seeing the figure deflect more shots, Shilaea realized that the droids may not be enough. With Wefos momentarily was distracted, she searched around her small laboratory looking for anything she could use before stopping on the decontamination slot. It was meant to allow items to be placed in it from outside and then decontaminated for analysis inside the lab. Opening the door, she looked at the dimensions before determining that she could definitely make herself fit.
Several alerts and alarms went off from the control panel but she ignored them while forcing the outer hatch open and bypassing the safety features, then pushing herself through. Landing harshly on the rock ground outside, as it was a difficult squeeze, Shilaea got to her feet and quickly surveyed the situation.
'The ship,' her mind thought of and she moved to the small hangar that was attached with the facility. The hangar door opened for her and she looked at the small vessel that had been sitting for months, ready to use should she need it to take her to safety. Moving to the entrance of the small scout ship, Shilaea jumped back as a familiar blue energy blade pierced the nearby hatch to the facility. Looking between the ship and the blade, she realized that the vessel would not be ready to leave by the time the hatch was cut through.
She scrunched her face in disdain for the choice, but she couldn't make use of the ship at the moment. Running away from the hangar, she went to the speeder bike she had parked and got on. A quick glance to up to the facility and she could see her helper droid had been cut apart as well. Turning to the second speeder, she moved hers closer and grabbed the controls, activating the second vehicle and drove both at once.
Picking up speed and heading down the mountain, Shilaea strained to keep both vehicles steady until the right moment and she let go of the second speeder, sending it hurtling into a huge rock and continuing on from the explosion toward the city ahead of her where she could hide.
Automatically reactivating after a sudden power surge, the heads-up displays in the photoreceptors informed him of an unresponsive signal from his legs. Glancing down, the HK unit noted that he no longer had the majority of his legs. Checking the area for targets, he found none and continued checking over himself for damage. Aside from his legs, there was damage to the back of his head and his memory replayed him ducking a decapitating strike after his legs had been removed. His reaction to the attack had been partially unsuccessful and resulted in unknown damage.
Finished the systems check, he noted that his body could remain in its current state for a while, if he stayed stationary, but he realized that it wasn't an option. His programming required him to act in any way possible to defeat the threat. Turning to the comm systems, he spun himself on the ground and used his arms to pull himself to the equipment.
Pulling himself up off the floor enough to access the communication systems, he instantly noted the unanswered messages and responded to one.
An incoming message was instantly answered by Naruto and he paused for a second as he debated what to say and whom he might be speaking with. That question, however was never needed as a familiar droid's voice said, "Unit HK-S4 Report. Current status of this unit is Out-of-Action. Failure to terminate Meatbag. Request backup."
'One of the droids I left there,' Naruto realized and his mind was swimming with possibilities as to what had happened. "I am on my way but I need to know what is happening?" Naruto replied and the droid was quick to answer, "One Meatbag. Near-human and lightsaber wielding. Status of protected subject unknown."
The comm channel was silent for a moment as Naruto contemplated the situation. 'One person, near-human and with a lightsaber,' he realized and knew that it couldn't be Plagueis because he doubted the droid, which was made and first activated on Mustafar, would not recognize a Mustafarian or classify them as near-human instead of humanoid. 'Who the hell is there?' he wanted to know but realized he wouldn't get to as the building didn't have security holocams or any similar surveillance and monitoring systems that could get him an image.
"You must disable his ship," Naruto suddenly said over the channel and he knew the droid would be confused right before it stated, "Current status is Out-of-Action."
"I know you are not able to fight," Naruto replied in slight frustration as he tried to remain calm while knowing that he may be asking the impossible as only significant damage would cause an HK unit to classify itself as such while still being capable of speaking and operating a communications device. "But you must disable that ship. It will take me the better part of a day to get there and unless that ship is disabled, that enemy will get away."
When no response came back, Naruto closed his eyes briefly before saying, "I will fix you, better than before. You will be moved to a better assignment but you must disable whatever ship that...Meatbag brought there," he reiterated and waited.
On Seoul 5, the droid looked to the sensor system which was adjacent to the comm system and he noted that the arrival of a ship was logged and it touched down nearby the facility. A quick analysis of his situation and the task being asked concluded a high chance of failure to complete what its creator was asking.
"Current status is….Active," the droid replied before ending the message and letting itself down to the ground from the controls. Looking to the weapon storage crate nearby, the droid dragged itself to it. They were not provided with sufficient means or preparation to deal with such a threat as the lightsaber wielding Meatbag but now he only had to worry about a stationary ship.
Tipping the crate over, he ignored the other blaster rifles and pistols as he moved to remove the tray they were stacked on to get underneath. Hidden at the bottom of the crate was a compartment with other ordinance. Choosing one of the few explosives, he armed the weapon and magnetically attached it to his shoulder to free up his hands. Moving across the floor, the HK unit dragged itself toward the cut open decontamination entry hatches.
While the heads-up display connected to his photoreceptors warned of decreasing energy reserves and that prolonged movement would lead to shutdown, the droid ignored the warnings and pushed on. Moving outside the base took a great deal of effort but he made it to the rock ground. Scanning his surroundings for the second time since being assigned to the planet, the droid easily found the ship it was assigned to damage, however finding it was the easy part.
His display was telling him of imminent shut down and multiple system failures as he positioned himself for a throw and his photoreceptors were cutting out intermittently every few seconds. Switching to recording mode, he surveyed the target right before his photoreceptor shut down completely.
Now blind, the droid opened the short recording from his memory bank and remained still as it stopped the recording and analyzed the video capture to calculate a blind throw. Reaching back it grabbed the detonator and aimed according to targeting calculations from the recording and threw.
He was rewarded with a clank right before all his systems failed and he went offline, collapsing lifeless to the rocky ground. A second later, the explosive attached to the hull exploded disabled the ship.
When no further responses came from Seoul 5, Naruto was forced to assume that the droid had failed and tried to figure out what to do next. He had chosen Belsavis because of a general lack of interest that the Galaxy had for it but also for the proximity to other areas he was interested in. 'When I went there on a supply run two months ago, I never bothered to time the journey. Maybe I should have chosen something closer,' he considered before he went back to thinking about how someone had managed to find the planet and who that person may be.
Thinking back, he recalled that he had found a tracking device stuck to the hull of his ship over two months before, but at the time, 'I assumed it was Narees,' he remembered thinking and wondered if that was really the case. His thoughts then turned to any near-human that he knew which really only included one because the other was a Zabrak. 'Sidious,' he thought but something about that didn't make sense.
'I took off the device before going to Seoul 5,' he realized but then considered that perhaps Sidious had found the surveillance devices. Looking through his communications, he found that the last message from Karin was just over a week ago.
'Did something happen?' he suddenly considered and he found his world was suddenly spiraling in a similar fashion to the hyperspace window he was looking at through the view-port. 'Is Sidious now coming for me?' his mind then turned to Naboo and he wondered if he was being targeted in some fashion. 'Did he find the devices and trace their source?' he questioned and his thoughts quickly turned to his friends being tortured for information or killed.
However, something about that line of thought didn't add up. He had taken multiple precautions when routing the signals and if anything, the Sith Lord and Apprentice would be trying to track down the Star Jewel rather than tracing anything to the castle on Naboo. 'I also removed the tracking devices from this ship, I'm sure of it,' he concluded as he recalled having examined the vessel from top to bottom again after finding the small, likely Black Sun planted, tracking device months previously.
'So who the hell is on Seoul 5?' he then questioned and had no idea aside from assuming that it must have been a Jedi. He remembered Plagueis telling him that at any one time, there were only a handful of fallen or dark Jedi in the Galaxy, so the most likely individual was a Jedi, 'But then why did Shilaea sound so afraid?' he wanted to know but that would remain unanswered because he could not reach her and was hours away.
'Is she dead?' he then wondered but had no way of knowing. Turning in his chair, he moved it to the holoprojector in the center of the room and then brought up an image of the Galaxy. Looking at the distance between himself and the outer system, he wondered how long it would take and wished for a faster mode of transportation.
This reminded him of what he had found on Belsavis and he welcomed a momentary distraction because of the helplessness he was experiencing. 'A teleportation device,' he remembered, thinking back to the when he had managed to find one of the devices while exploring the catacombs connected to his vault on the icy planet.
He was forced to ask Tanmatsu what the device was because he wasn't sure and had great difficulty figuring it out. The computer informed him of it's usage as a teleportation device, moving items from one place in the vaults of Belsavis to another and even the fact that the device could transport off world, but not outside of the system.
The last part of that thought made him frown as although it was instantaneous transportation, there were limits to it. 'More than one limitation, too,' he recalled as while he could use the device to transport anything he wanted, he had not been able to completely understand how it worked. It either somehow disassembled what stepped on the pad into energy and sent it to a corresponding pad to be reassembled, 'Or it simply disintegrated what was on the pad and then recreated it at the opposite pad,' he contemplated and it was a strange concept to think that he could be destroyed and then recreated, exactly like he was, somewhere else. 'Or maybe not exactly how I was,' had been his thinking at the time and that statement still was in the forefront of his thoughts concerning the technology.
'I will never use that device to transport myself,' he recalled having concluded after Tanmatsu had also been unable to properly explain how the device worked.
It was on that thought, that Naruto considered another option, 'I could use a Force Shadow,' he realized and looking to the holographic image of the Seoul system, he wondered if he could really do it. Projecting a Force Shadow was only something that he had been using to explore a single planet and perhaps other areas in a single system. 'I've never used it as the Force Hounds of the Rakatan once did, and Tanmatsu was unable to tell me how far a Force Shadow could be projected. He merely said 'vast' distances but was never able to quantify that. Could I really project it across so many sectors and a significant portion of the Galaxy?' the blonde wondered and knowing that he had a great deal of time left before arriving, he decided that it would be worth trying.
Being dragged back to the prefabricated building and up the hill was exhausting for both of them. The speeder would have been faster but Nalvas knew that he could not trust that Shilaea would not try to jump off or injure both of them in-transit. Though the raven-haired scientist had managed to allude capture for quite a while, that had come to an end when he realized how important the city was to her and that threatening to damage or destroy it would make her surrender to him.
Shoving the woman down to the ground, he looked upon his ship and clenched both his fists as he surveyed the billowing smoke and damage done to the expensive courier. The sound he had heard from the city and the smoke could also be seen but he hadn't been completely sure what it was until they were close enough to tell that it had not been from the prefab building. There was gaping hole in the side of his ship and even without a great knowledge of starship mechanics, he could tell that the ship was no longer space worthy until such damage was fixed, 'And I have no way of fixing it,' he quickly realized which only made him more frustrated.
Looking to the culprit, one of the disabled droids, he picked up its damaged form with the Force and hurled it into the side of the building. The action failed to completely accomplish what he sought. It barely succeeding in curbing a portion of his anger but it had taken the smirk off Shilaea's face. The smirk had started upon seeing the ship but when the damaged droid flew into the wall next to her prone form as a result of some unseen force, that was enough to make her rethink such a look. She was definitely not used to seeing such abilities and was now even more scared of him than before. A brief moment elapsed when both looked at each other with contempt before he looked away and tried to determine what to do next.
'I could call for transport,' he thought as he had connections to a gang of pirates in the Cularin system that would help him, 'For a price, no doubt,' he knew but ended up dismissing that option for other reasons than monetary. The path he had taken to arrive at the system was not simple and he questioned whether anyone who he could call would be able to safely follow it.
It was at that moment and on that thought that he turned to look at Shilaea because there was something he wanted to know, "Is someone coming for you?" The words were laced with venom and were said with a commanding tone as well as with the use of the Force. Shilaea's face remained unchanged at the question but her mind was in turmoil at the fact that she had indeed sent for help, though Nalvas was unable to fully glean such thoughts from her.
"Is someone coming for you?" he repeated and she could feel him at the edges of her mind. She felt compelled to speak, a feeling which she attempted to push down even as it increased when the robed figure moved closer towards her. Reaching a hand out toward her but never touching her, Nalvas repeated the words again and despite trying to prevent divulging anything, the unknown ability caused her to admit with great reservation, "I...I don't know," if anything, just to make what she was feeling come to an end.
The probing force in her mind soon stopped trying to push it's way in, or at least that was how the propulsion expert would have described the intrusion and it left her shaken. 'I'll have time to get the rest of that information out of her later,' Nalvas decided as he concluded that Shilaea was uncertain if anyone was coming for her.
'I could use the communications device inside and force her to bring help,' he quickly thought but wondered how far away that help was from the isolated and obscure planet. 'I may be stuck waiting with her for days,' he concluded while pacing in the immediate area as he kept partial attention to make sure Shilaea didn't try to run again while thinking of his next move.
Recalling something he had seen and noted earlier, the Dark Jedi raised a hand toward the cuffs and pulled them towards him, eliciting a yelp out of Shilaea as her hands were suddenly yank forward from her sitting position. Taking a good grip on the cuffs, Nalvas pulled or partially dragged Shilaea for the first few seconds before she was able to get to her feet as the pair moved to the hangar where he had seen a starship earlier.
Standing to inspect the small vessel, Nalvas could feel that Shilaea was planning to attack but acted as if he didn't know in order to prevent her from closing off her mind to him. If she realized that he could anticipate such actions based on gleaning her most active thoughts, then she might figure out how to keep such thoughts more hidden and beyond his ability to probe thoughts. 'This should work,' he thought while looking over the small scout ship.
The vessel was designed for one person but not like a single seat starfighter. It was designed with more amenities and for a longer voyage. Before Shilaea could enact any of her plans, the tall blonde secretly pulled out a hypoinjector from beneath his robes and inserted it quickly into her neck. Shilaea was surprised by the action, unable to do anything to prevent the attack and slowly began losing consciousness as the injected substance took affect. In mere moments she stumbled slightly before collapsing to the ground.
'It will be a long trip,' Nalvas thought as he watched her fall to the ground before he went to the ship and began prepping it for flight. On most humanoids, the drug was effective for a day or more so he wouldn't have to be worried about her waking up for that period of time.
Entering the ship, the cloaked blonde found crampt quarters, with a small bed, extremely compact galley area and a simple refresher all behind the single seat cockpit. Initiating start-up of the vessel, he went back to collect Shilaea and deposit her on the bed before taking the pilot's seat. As systems completed checks and everything was finished, Nalvas started to take the ship out of the hangar when he realized that something was wrong.
He initially thought that he was piloting the ship out of the hangar but soon found that some kind of autopilot was engaged. The vessel was piloting itself over the city and then into the atmosphere. Trying to disable the feature and moving through several screens of menu options as well as trying to talk with the ships on-board computer proved futile however as the vessel had been programmed to lock out any attempt. Moving outside the atmosphere of the planet, Nalvas continued to try and disable the systems until he noticed that the vessel appeared to be preparing for a jump to hyperspace.
Turning to the small navcomputer, he found that it too was locked, having already been programmed to take the vessel to certain location or on a particular course. Cursing, he smashed his hands against the pilot's control panels a few times as the stars blurred and the ship entered the forming hyperspace window.
Opening fake eyes, the shadowy figure looked upon the barren ground and knew immediately that it was definitely not Seoul 5. The sun was not the right size and the landscape was completely different with a dust storm moving across what little he could see. Calming his mind and preparing to end the technique having finally been able to find a planet but failing to find the correct one, Naruto stopped as sensed something. Opening his eyes again, he looked upon a few members of a species that he was unfamiliar with.
Bipedal, the short creatures had strange dis-proportioned features with short but stout bodies but longer and thinner necks. Their head was topped with ridged protrusions in a line across the center of the skull and a strange mouth. Curious, he watched the odd species attempting to cultivate food but quickly realized that the area was terrible for anything to grow and what was growing did not look very healthy. 'The ground may be polluted,' he thought and watching he wondered where the planet was that he was currently viewing.
'It must be strong in the Force in order for me to have found it,' he concluded and decided that perhaps he would take a second look at the planet, if he was ever able to find it again. Memorizing all that he could about the visible moons, the visual appearance of the species, and where he 'felt' the planet may have been located, the blonde ended the technique and returned to his ship. Opening blue eyes, he stared at the hologram of the Galaxy before him and marked where he thought the planet was that he had visited, finding it quite far from where he needed to go and off from his current course. Pushing the thoughts of the previous planet aside, the blonde once again concentrated on finding Seoul 5.
It was possible that he was still simply too far away but he endeavored to keep trying. Imagining the planet that he wanted and grasping where it was located in the Galaxy as well as where it was in relation to his position, the blonde entered a state of mediation. Moving short distances with the technique was easy and required very little preparation but he quickly found that it was a long and more involved process when he needed to move further distances than just from place to place on a single planet.
Time passed as he continued to concentrate on the location he wanted and he eventually felt himself leave his body in the direction of his choosing. He traveled away from the ship, apparently instantly crossing through the boundary of hyperspace and real-space without even knowing it and moving faster across vast distances than his starship was capable to traveling. The planet he wanted was somewhere ahead of him but he had very little control over where he was going. It seemed the farther he tried to project himself, the more interference he found as he passed by untold systems and astrological objects.
Once in a while he would find his astral form pulled in other directions or even found resistance in one direction and was forced into another. Unable to completely control the projection or keep on the course he wanted, the blonde was pulled in a different another direction, slowly at first and then more pronounced as time passed. Having failed numerous times beforehand to stay the path he knew would lead to Seoul 5, rather than ending the technique and starting over again, Naruto decided to let himself be pulled as he had done previously. If he found what it was, he could possible move past what was pulling him, having already seen it. At least that was his current belief on the matter as he had very little instruction concerning how the technique was supposed to be used or if he was using it correctly.
Acknowledged that perhaps going to that location would make him continue going there as he had already been pulled there once, the blonde quickly realized that he was slowing and he stopped himself short of reaching his destination. Opening his eyes, Naruto looked upon an amazing sight. His form was seemingly floating, unhindered, in space. Before him, there was a large planet but not a whole planet like he was used to seeing. The world had been fractured into three massive pieces which were still held closely together, likely by gravity which kept them from moving far apart from each other.
Each portion had a violet sky or at least he thought it was violet having his sense of color significantly dulled using the ability. Thinking that perhaps he would investigate, Naruto stopped himself as he realized that he wasn't searching for unique planets. There was a single planet that he wanted, 'And this is certainly not it,' he thought before ending the technique and opening his real eyes back in the ships cockpit.
Feeling drained, the blonde was seeing double for a second and had a brief moment in which he wondered whether he was really in the ship or still moving across space for a second before he decided that a break was in order. Looking at his chronograph, he was again surprised at how much time seemed to pass when he used the technique over such long distances. It seemed that only a few minutes had passed but in reality it had been the better part of an hour had he been moving across space.
Though it was a useful ship, the dark-side vessel had pour accommodations for crew members that weren't droids. The galley was simply non-existent and aside from the chairs in the cockpit area, there were no others spots to sit and relax unless he wanted to sit on the very stiff mattress that was his small bed. He found himself more often than not, having a meal in the pilot's chair and working on something to pass the time.
Getting something to eat which was simple to prepare, Naruto looked over a nearby stack of datapads so that he could have a distraction for the moment. The first item he looked at on the datapad held in one hand while he ate and drank with the other was the newest report concerning the construction of the Foundry. 'Thousands of droids per day,' he thought and was still dumbfounded at the number that was being projected for the total output of the manufacturing plant once completed. Mustafar was only able to create a handful of droids each day and soon he could create thousands.
'What will I do with them all?' he then questioned as he currently didn't have the means to use that many droids. Other projects were slowly progressing or halted until he had more access to resources. An idly thought of creating and stockpiling HK model assassin droids entered his mind but he quickly questioned where he would store them. 'Even if a portion of the total droids created in the Foundry are assassin droids, I won't have any space that is safe enough to store them all until I need to use them,' he decided and thought perhaps he would wait on the assassin droids, focusing more on labor droids or mining droids first.
Moving to another portion of the report, he read over the foreman droids assessment of the security of the facility and again frowned at the numbers and information. While the original Foundry was completely undefended, the blonde had wanted something very different for his facility. The problem however was acquiring the weapons. While he could possibly create small laser cannon turrets, the Foundry could not create larger and more powerful weapons that could ward of starships.
While he could buy such defenses, that may create a few red-flags if he went through normal channels and create an unhealthy interest by others in what he was doing if he went through illegal channels. 'I still have no idea if the Black Sun knows what I am doing or not. They haven't inquired or commented about anything yet,' he thought as he considered where to obtain the defenses that he needed. The syndicate was the easiest way to obtain what he wanted. Borvo mostly dealt with hand-held weapons and he wasn't sure if the Hutt wanted to attract attention to himself by trying to acquire something many times the scale he normally dealt in.
Minutes passed while reading and eating before he had finished the simple meal. Naruto set the current datapad back down among the rest and moved his chair back to the holoprojector to resume his forays across space.
'This could be promising,' believed the cloaked shadow as he surveyed the landscape. Turning around, he came face to face with the familiar Seoularian city and felt a little foolish at his earlier thought. He had spent hours getting to that point, likely because the planet no longer had a sentient population and therefore had lost most of its Force presence or he just needed more practice to hone his projection skills.
Pushing aside any feelings of success at finally finding the location he had been after, the shadow looked for the prefabricated facility and briefly closing his eyes, he opened them to find himself standing near the building.
The damage to the outer hatch was immediately evident as was the disabled droid that lay motionless nearby. HK-S4 was missing his legs and a slice out of his head which partially exposed wires and the circuitry of his droid brain. Turning to the item that shouldn't belong there, Naruto moved forward towards the damaged ship.
An external explosion was obvious and he glanced back at the disabled droid, realizing that it had managed to complete the assigned mission. Going back to analyzing the ship, he could not place it's design, having never seen something similar. It was sleek and some kind of luxurious courier or perhaps even a diplomatic ship. Aside from the hole and carbon scoring, everything else appeared in pristine order and to be well maintained. The vessel had no markings indicated it was of the Republic and likely privately owned, which along with the look of the ship, spoke of wealth and made it difficult to believe that the ship belonged to any of the Jedi.
'Would they have bought a new ship after I had left?' the shadowy figure questioned but decided that those he had left on Naboo were likely not in need of such an expensive new ship. 'Unless Plagueis needed to impress someone,' he quickly thought but looking over the damage to the hatch and seeing the lightsaber strikes, he knew that his former Master had not performed such sloppy and careless swings.
The Sith Lord was more surgical and precise, 'He would have to be injured in order to make such a mess,' he decided but that made things worse in his mind as he tried to imagine who else could have found Seoul 5 and gone there. 'And for what purpose?' he questioned and as he moved into the facility, his feet never physically touching any debris or making any sound on the floor.
'HK-S3,' he thought while looking to the cut apart droid and guessed that either the opponent was skilled at combat or the droids did not have enough time to prepare an attack to fight back. 'I also didn't equip them with weapons that are typically used to fight Jedi,' he noted as he glanced to the toppled over weapons locker. Moving to the central room with the comm system, he was unable to access controls but could tell that no further signals were sent with his equipment.
Gliding back into the main room of the facility, he quickly noted that the hangar door had been cut open and heading through the breached airlock, he entered the empty hangar. 'Someone took the ship,' he noted but it was not an observation; more a statement that had a significant meaning.
He had locked the ship's controls and coded the autopilot system to take any occupant that started up the ship on a previously plotted course to Sarafur. Recalling quickly his programing, he felt that his encryption may hold up to attempts to break it, 'And that path is so remote that even if they could gain access to the ship's controls, they would have a difficult time taking the ship anywhere but Sarafur,' he felt as he remembered that the tidal locked planet was the only destination and coordinates in the previously wiped navigational computer.
'Did Shilaea escape? Was she taken hostage, or….?' thought Naruto as he tried to determine what could have happened to the propulsion expert. Looking back to the damage done to the facility, he thought there was a chance that she was still alive. 'They must have come looking for me?' he initially believed but he again quickly questioned how someone could have found the coordinates or tracked him at any point to the planet. He had been careful, 'But somehow not careful enough.'
'I still don't completely understand, though. There are other places that I frequent much more often, which would make better locations for a surprise attack. I barely come here,' he thought and still could not explain who came all the way to Seoul and what their real purpose was.
He considered searching the city for Shilaea, thinking perhaps she had escaped but a part of him knew that if she hadn't left on the ship, then she was no longer alive. Any Sith would not leave a witness or would take them for further interrogation. 'I'm sorry, Shilaea,' the blonde thought before he ended the technique so he could get back to his ship and make a course correction.
Relief soon spread over Nalvas as the ship started a planned descent on the unknown planet. He had been concerned when communications from the ground arrived to identify his ship and purpose but the ship had sent some kind of pre-programmed signal before he could even think up a good lie. After that, everything had gone silent and the vessel was given permission to land at a portion of the spaceport that was quickly becoming larger in his viewport.
Everything was still running on auto-pilot but he was able to scan the surface and get an idea what he was dealing with. He could detect three cities beneath him that were a distance away from each other with various lifesigns for each. He was headed towards the largest of the three and other ships were arriving and departing at delayed intervals but there appeared to be at least frequent shipping or travelers and somewhere he could either steal or barter transport.
Muffled sounds behind him caused the Dark Jedi to amend his previous thought as it would be difficult to barter transport with the kind of cargo that he was taking with him. A tied up Shilaea was trying to get a view of where they were headed from the single bed in the ship's small cabin. She had felt the ship enter realspace and go into an atmosphere before slowing down for what she knew was a landing.
Nalvas had to gag her for the remainder of the trip after she had awoken from the sedative wearing off hours earlier and demanded to know answers to the very same questions she had asked while he dragged her up the mountain and back to his ship, 'Where are you taking me? Why are you doing this? What's wrong with you, you piece of…,' and other rants about him being crazy, a psychopath, and that he wasn't Fesvk Wefos but an imposter.
That had been before he revealed that she was correct, in a way, because he had never been that person. 'The real Wefos is at least 80lbs heavier than me, shorter, balder, and a real manager of Usable Resource Location, Recovery, and Development Corporation,' he had revealed to her which caused her some shock before he felt that she believed he was lying, to which he then informed her that Fevsk was not human and that if she bothered to look up who she was doing business with, then she could have easily found out he was an imposter.
He enjoyed ridiculing her over the fact that she was deceived by persona and charm that she believed everything he said. The revelation had caused Shilaea to go quiet for almost the remainder of the trip but he still used the gag to make sure that the further questions he knew her mind would form, could not be asked or even coherently uttered.
'Where is this planet?' Nalvas wanted to know as he tried again unsuccessfully to get into the ships navigational computer. Ideally, the best plan was to use the current ship to leave the plant after refueling, 'But only if the lockout lifts,' he thought with a deep inhale and short exhale to calm himself of the current problem while the ship touched down on the landing pad of the circular spaceport hangar.
Seeing that the ships systems were still all locked, despite a successful landing and restarting the ships system, Nalvas frowned deeply as he tried to keep himself from smashing the console before removing his harness moving to exit the vessel with Shilaea. 'I'll have to find something else,' he thought while moving out from the vessel and firmly holding Shilaea's arm. Looking to the cuffs on her hands, he wondered how best to proceed.
Moving across town with a handcuffed prisoner wasn't exactly a good way to remained unnoticed. 'Perhaps I can convince them that she is a bounty,' he quickly thought before deciding that would not work as he had no way of knowing if they would try to take the bounty from him. The area was likely well into the Outer-Rim and could be completely lawless.
As he quickly contemplated what to do next, Shilaea was waiting for any moment to take advantage of in order to flee and a sudden noise from somewhere inside the hanga caught both by surprise. The sound was metallic, like a heavy object falling and before Nalvas could figure out what it was, Shilaea had kicked him right between the legs. Releasing her arm from the sudden attack, Nalvas was unable to do anything but crumple to a kneeling position in pain for a moment. Running from the hangar as fast as he legs would carry her, Nalvas could not stop the propulsion expert before she exited and went out into the streets by the hangar.
Trying to stand and make chase, the Dark Jedi stopped as he felt a presence nearby. Looking to a shadowed area of the hangar, he managed to make out the outline of a figure in the darkness that was simply watching him silently. Getting into an impromptu fighting stance, Nalvas moved away slightly to provide a buffer between them as he waited for the figure to reveal itself and let him know what he was dealing with before he had to chase down his hostage.
The emerging figure was far shorter than the initial shadow suggested and he looked upon a blonde-haired, near-human teen. The boy looked at him curiously and Nalvas nearly laughed despite his pain as he had been almost worried. He did however feel something off about the situation and the boy through the Force. Looking more carefully, he noted several small blue glowing lights from some kind of technology that the boy was wearing on his arms, thighs and belt but also a sword handle that was just over his shoulder and holstered blaster. Smirking as he still didn't feel threatened and was amused by what must have been an attempt to intimidate him, that all changed when the shorter blonde moved his left hand out from just behind his back and the Dark Jedi noted the unactivated lightsaber that it held.
Taking out his own and moving to a stance as it seemed that the younger blonde was more than he seemed, Nalvas simply said, "You've made a serious error in judgment, getting in my way. You won't live to regret it."
"I was thinking something very similar," Naruto simply responded in an even tone before he ignited the lightsaber, which produced an orange blade with reddish core.
Stretching and moving around, a man exited the changing room of a small specialty cloth and tailor shop before examining his new uniform. Doro Bas looked himself over in one of the mirrors and took in the new look. The uniform was sharp but with dark and dull colors that did not stand out much. It was more functional than ceremonial, which he definitely liked and reaching for the leather jacket, he put that on and completed the look. An insignia patch on the jackets shoulder identified his new affiliation with the Moddell Sector Defense Force and both his uniform and jacket had rank identifiers which indicated his rank of Lieutenant but also the commanding officer of a starship.
'I look like a well dressed spacer,' he commented but couldn't complain any about the new uniform and boots he had been provided with. 'The heavy blaster pistol is a nice touch too,' he thought and looked around the shop before drawing the weapon as fast as he could from the holster and pointing it at the mirror to see how he looked. A small smirk quickly formed into a smile but then to slight embarrassment when he noted that the establishment owner was watching him. Putting the weapon away, he stopped to take in his own look, rather than the information. Running a hand over the side of his short hair, Doro carefully examined the grays that he now had.
It made him look more distinguished, at least that was what he told himself but they were well earned. Making his living on the streets before joining a smuggling crew in his early teens, he had quickly worked his way up to captain of the starship before the age of twenty. 'Didn't hurt that the previous captain was gunned down in a drunken brawl,' he quickly thought as he remembered the person that had mostly taught him how to run a ship and be a gunrunner, as well as teaching him how not to run a ship and lead a crew.
The gray hair, however, he felt was primarily a result from his over a decade of surviving on an uncharted planet in the Unknown Regions. There were quite a few predators that thought of him as prey. More than once had he been forced to stay inside the escape pod for hours, even upwards of a day or more while a hungry animal or pack of hungry animals waited just outside. There were even darker times too, periods when he contemplated if anyone would ever detect the distress signal and accepting that one way or another, he would likely die on that planet. 'Times that I would like to forget,' he thought before walking out of the little store and wandering the streets as he had time to kill.
That had all changed when a young blonde boy had shown up, and in his former ship no less. He wondered where the blonde came from but a part of him was just happy to be found so he didn't ask questions then, and still really hadn't. Put to work, for a brief period of time he was gunrunning again before he started making illegal shipments of minerals from Mustafar, a planet he had never heard of until he started working there. After that he had somehow been roped into the newly commissioned defense force. His knowledge of the Moddell Sector was likely behind it but also because he owed quite a debt to the blonde.
Along with several other former smugglers, there were a large number of 'Others' present in the force. These individuals were, 'Unnerving, creepy, and silent to the point that I can't recall any of them speaking,' he thought and resisted a slight shiver that went down his spine at the thought of the mercenaries that had been hired by the blonde. 'At least I think they're Mercs,' Doro thought as he wasn't sure what kind of training or indoctrination would produce such a group.
Glancing up to find himself at a busy intersection in what looked to be the market district, Doro, decided to head in a direction where the street was less crowded. 'Hopefully I won't get lost,' he commented as it had happened to him before. Despite so much time passing, when he first came back to Sarafur with the blonde when they made it a stopping point, he had been surprised to see that not much had changed in the years since he had last been there.
'But then in the past year…,' he remarked, as he thought about the changes since the blonde had essentially taken over the planet. Just one year had created more growth, change, and progress than in the previous two decades on Sarafur. It was still remarkable to him that the blonde was such a force of change for the three towns that despite still being seperated by a good distance, were now more connected than ever, 'And he's still just a kid. At that age I was stealing to get by and trying to get off my home planet anyway that I could.' Not to mention that the shorter man he had become acquainted with, Gatou, was also now working in the sector after forming a new corporation. 'With both of those two, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot more changes happened here in a even shorter amount of time,' he thought as he continued walking.
Now lost in thought, the former gunrunner did not see the human projectile that came around the corner and ran right into him. On his back and on the ground, with the wind knocked out of him, Doro could only wheeze as he looked down to see what had hit him.
Disoriented, Shilaea tried to get up before she noted that she was pressing down on someone that she had evidently run into. Moving herself up to see who it was, she came face to face with an officer of some kind, if the uniform was anything to go by. A moment elapsed when each just stared at the other before they realized what had happened.
It took a second longer for the propulsion expert to remember why it was that she was running through the unknown streets and noting the uniform that the man wore, she frantically said while sitting up, "You have to help me….this person..." but her sentence was disjointed as she was slightly out of breath from running and didn't know how best to describe the situation.
"Is someone trying to hold you against your will?" Doro asked seriously as noted the binders that the raven-haired woman still wore on her wrists. Though bewildered by the sudden encounter, he was able to take in her panicked look, her clenched hands on his uniformed shirt, and the dried blood from a split lip and slight bruising; realizing instantly that she needed help.
"Yes…," she managed to get out, "..and he may be coming this way," she told him with urgency while looking down at him and then back and forth around her as she tried to see if Nalvas was following her. Looking up at the frantic woman, Doro remained calm as he too briefly looked around before he eventually pointed out, "I can't really do anything about it while pinned on the ground."
"Huh," was Shilaea's surprised response as she looked back down at the person she had run into. It was then that she noted that she was still straddling him, essentially keeping him from getting up and even pinning one of his arms with her leg. Doro smiled slightly at her realization and showed a hint of amusement at her sudden embarrassment.
Naruto was incredibly tired, having not slept for over a day while making all Force Shadows to determine what was going on before then making all the necessary minor course corrections so he could arrive at Sarafur as fast as possible and get their before the scout ship. Despite this, he currently found himself wide awake and alert at the prospect of the upcoming fight.
Studying his opponent carefully, Naruto adopted a similar Niman stance to his opponent and remained unfazed by the surprised feeling and look that the taller blonde showed at him knowing the more advanced forms of that style. He also deactivated the chakra shielding with his chakra control alone, but left the device active so he could reactivate it if needed.
Naruto wanted to know what the man favored in terms of fighting style, how fast he was, 'Will he under or overestimate me? Perhaps he will hold back in the beginning in order to see how skilled I am. Lightsaber combat only, or will he also use them in combination with Force Techniques?' These questions however would slowly be answered over the course of the fight and while he kept them in mind, Naruto focused more on the person before him.
Knowing that this was his first real fight in lightsaber combat, the blonde was kept in mind that he should not underestimate his opponent until he knew more. Despite sparring with Plagueis countless times and even finding and refurbishing old training droids from various Sith locations, he remained on the defensive while analyzing everything that the Dark Jedi did. Nalvas, therefore attacked first with slow attacks to test his defenses, guard, and reactions. The smug look, let Naruto know that he was successful in deceiving the Dark Jedi into thinking that he only possessed the ability of a normal human his age.
Deciding to start making more powerful strikes and go on the attack, Naruto hoped that the Dark Jedi was holding back. Striking back faster than he had showed before, the blonde unleashed a powerful strike that took the arrogant look off his opponent's face and nearly caused the man to stumble backwards. Pushing his assault, Naruto gained momentum and began striking and slashing faster than before.
Nalvas, being pushed back, was unable to comprehend how the shorter blonde had suddenly and completely turned the fight on him. It was inconceivable that he could be losing any ground to someone so young. Pushing back, Nalvas stopped toying with his opponent and swung with all his strength, attempting to gain the upper-hand. At the edge of the hangar, the fight came to a slight standstill before Naruto decided to stop using Niman and switch to something different.
Moving swiftly to the hangar wall, the teen jumped of the wall, spinning in the air and using the spin to attack his opponent from above before landing and continuing the moment to strike at the midsection, then spinning around to attack the legs. Nalvas used a Force Jump to get away from the sudden Ataru style attacks and flipped in the air before landing on top of the nose of the small scout ship.
Naruto contemplated throwing his lightsaber at the jumping figure but allowed the taller man to land as he was curious to see what his opponent would do next. Turning off his lightsaber, Nalvas extended his hands and Naruto knew exactly what was coming next, drawing his word to block the Force Lightning that emanated from his opponent's hands.
Nalvas was shocked that the black and red sword seemed to be absorbing his most powerful attack and Naruto used the moment to send his lightsaber spinning in an arc at his opponent. The lightsaber spun just outside of Nalvas' narrowed view but the former Jedi was able to jump out of the way as the orange blade cut through and removed a part of the vessels nose where he had been standing.
Landing nearby, Nalvas turned to find the blonde nearly upon him, moving at surprising speed. Sending out a Force Push, Naruto was unable to avoid it but managed to partially block it, skidding back on the floor as he used chakra to keep himself stuck. Leaving a two meter long streak mark from his shoes, Naruto recalled his still spinning lightsaber and easily caught it before preparing for his next attack.
Knowing that he was outclassed in terms of basic fighting, Nalvas hooked his lightsaber back on his belt and pulled both hands back, intent on sending out a much more powerful Force Push.
Recognizing that it was better to confront such an attack than try to dodge, Naruto sheathed his sword quickly and formed a Kinetite. He had learned from fighting with Plagueis that the attack could be deflected with a Force Push but had determined through experimentation that if he made it unstable, it would explode upon impacting the Force push.
Throwing the attack as Nalvas thrust both palms forward, resulting kinetic explosion pushed Naruto further back but sent the taller blonde hurtling backwards into cargo containers.
"How did you get those off so fast?" Shilaea quickly asked as they continued retracing her steps along the path that she had run. "You didn't even have a key," she further commented as the binders had been easily removed by Doro and then attached to his utility belt just in case he needed them later.
"An old trick…..I learned," Doro answered hesitantly and with little explanation when he found that Shilaea really wanted to know how he had done it. It was something he had discovered out of necessity and after numerous attempts, not because anyone had taught him how to do it.
"And you're sure it's this way?" the uniformed man asked to change the subject and Shilaea took a moment to recall her frantic run, closing her eyes as she stopped to remember anything that stood out before nodding and they continue. Crime had gone down considerably on Sarafur but it was the Outer Rim and anything could happen. He was a little surprised that someone would try to kidnap people in broad daylight until he recalled the planet that they were on and glanced to the unchanging sky briefly. 'Although it's hard to think that someone in this area wouldn't know who owns the planet and wouldn't at least be a little afraid of them,' he considered, not knowing the full details of her circumstances or journey.
"How many are we talking about?" Doro then asked and Shilaea responded, "Just one," to which Doro was thankful as he had no idea if he was dealing with an actual kidnapper or perhaps slavers, who usually traveled in groups and could be heavily armed.
"But he's incredibly dangerous and deranged," she added and that admission caused Doro to slow as he had enough experience in facing off against armed enemies to know that the more information he had, the better his chances of survival were.
"Dangerous and deranged?" Doro repeated, not because he wondered what she meant. In his book, there were all different kinds of crazy but it helped to know which he might go up against. He had encountered people that were deemed 'crazy' but he had brief encounters with others that were a completely different classification all to themselves.
Struggling to describe what she had just said, Shilaea eventually just blurted out, "I get this terribly cold feeling when I looked at him. Like he was a completely different person." The description gave Doro a cold chill as he had experienced something similar years before but he needed more than that. "What kind of weapons does he have? Just a blaster or something?" he asked as he looked around the alley they were in, now slightly worried about encountered the kidnapper.
"He has some kind of energy sword that can cut through duraplast and deflect blaster bolts. I saw him tear apart two battle droids with ease using it…..and he can pick things up and throw them without touching them," she added while nodding and Doro paled as she talked before then glancing to his heavy blaster pistol and frowning while thinking that it wasn't enough.
'What have I gotten myself into? You had to help a pretty face?' he chastised himself and taking out his comm device, decided it was a good time to call for backup. A quick response from a metallic and emotionless voice that simply said, "That situation is being handled. Do not approach landing site nine."
The reply was a command and Doro looked at the communicator and then back to Shilaea before deciding that it would probably be best to take her to a clinic and get checked out. If someone already knew about the incident and was handling it, there wasn't really a need for him to get involved, 'Especially with those psychopathic droids,' he thought as he had recognized the standard voice tone used for the droids that Menma employed.
"They have no idea what he is capable of," Shilaea quickly said as a terrible feeling of foreboding and guilt washed over her. "Let me speak to them," she demanded but Doro tried to reason before trying to snatch his communicator, which Doro prevented her from doing.
"Look…," Doro said trying to reason with her, "They said they were handling it."
"Who are they? And who are you for that matter? Are you planetary security?" she said as she didn't like the idea of people dying at the hands of Nalvas while she waited to see what happened.
"Sector Defense Force," he responded before revealing, "And my name is Doro,"
"Well...Doro, I am still going back to that hangar. I may not be able to fight but I will try to do something," she declared before moving around him and resisted the attempt made by him to grab her arm before hurriedly making her way back. She was not about to let anyone die because of her, even if she was not really responsible for what Nalvas did.
Watching her move away, many thoughts went through Doro's head, 'She doesn't even have a weapon. Why do I care? The situation may be taken care of by the time she gets there,' and a few more moments passed before Doro cursed and followed after her.
Slowly walking to the downed foe, Naruto remained calm and aware of his surroundings as the fight was not over. He recognized that it would be at that moment, should everything be reversed, that he would be either making a last ditch effort to win or looking for a moment to make an escape. 'Now will likely be the time that he starts employing something that I have never seen, or this fight will simply end,' the blonde thought right as he started feeling something powerful coming from the cloaked man.
There was a sudden oppressive feeling that screamed of pure hatred and Naruto quickly dodged when the crates that were still surrounding the downed enemy were propelled away from him in all directions. The one that came closest to him, smashed into the side of the vessel's fuselage and not only dented the hull of the craft but broke open the heavy metal crate.
Now standing, Nalvas was radiating with rage and Naruto was intrigued but on guard as a second later, the tall blonde looked at him and charged with Force Speed. Jumping back, Naruto blocked several blows as he let himself be pushed back. The intensity of the person before him was different, 'Now he seems to be almost afflicted with rage and charging like a bezerker,' Naruto thought and noted that his opponent could not calm down but was also being empowered by the emotions to an extreme degree.
'He's faster than before,' the blonde realized and he decided to wait on making a counter attack because he had the feeling that the technique was only a temporary amplification or boost.
'Stronger too,' Naruto added as they were now almost even in strength as the technique had more than doubled anything he had experienced earlier during the fight.
Possibly the biggest change were the eyes, which were earlier yellowish but were now both a sulfuric yellow and the white around the iris was reddened, possibly from extreme strain or overexertion but Naruto wasn't sure. Whether uncontrollable or not, the taller blonde was also yelling or almost screaming as they fought and Naruto wondered how much pain the man was in.
Not even a minute elapsed before the shorter blonde noted a slowing of his frenzied attacker. The taller cloaked figure's strength and speed had peaked earlier and were now waning, 'He also looks fatigued,' Naruto noted as now the man appeared to be out of breath and with a sheen of sweat on his face as the technique quickly faded and took a toll.
Seeing that the fight was over and that he would likely learn nothing else, Naruto moved in to end it as he proceeded to inflict a debilitating blow rather than a mortal one and would follow it up with a move to cut off the man's sword hand. As the blonde managed to nearly knock the man's lightsaber out of his hand and prepared his next strike to sever the hand, Nalvas responded by making a strange movement with his free hand which briefly called Naruto's attention to it, thinking it was an attack.
This however was Nalvas' intended plan and a powerfully bright light instantly was produced from that hand which caused Naruto's entire vision to go white. Realizing the peril he was in, Naruto lept back and he could heard the sound of his opponents lightsaber cut through where he had just been. Panicked and responding to everything he could hear, the first few seconds of blindness where by far the worst as Naruto had never actually been blinded before. He also found himself disoriented unable to determine where his opponent was and could only imagine what the taller blonde was doing, whether planning a strike or preparing to the use the Force.
'I have been trained for this situation,' Naruto repeated in his head as he tried to gain control of his emotions and calm himself. Quickly he recalled the few times that Plagueis had forced him to wear a blindfold while training, 'Or made me wear that stupid helmet with the blast shield,' he recalled and everything came back to him. 'I have other senses besides sight and they are honed,' he suddenly said to himself as he realized that he could tell exactly where his opponent was by sound alone or by using his ability to sense life-signs if he only calmed his mind.
In a better state of mind, Naruto quickly reacted to block an incoming slash and kept moving as he put distance between himself and his opponent. Ignoring the sounds of his own breathing and heartbeat, Naruto focused on what he could hear of his opponent. Nalvas was breathing more heavily from the exhaustion of his earlier technique and it was easy to hear now that he could remain calm.
'I still have my shield,' Naruto suddenly remembered and he quickly activated it, no longer concerned about losing chakra if the battle was prolonged or the device interfering with the duel. Though he dodged the next strike, Naruto could feel that the shield has deflected part of it, despite knowing that he had dodged the strike enough to prevent any injury.
'A little longer,' Naruto thought as he analyzed the sounds that his opponent was making progress in knowing what was coming. 'I need to keep him on the offensive with his lightsaber,' Naruto also realized as he didn't have a way to know if Nalvas was using a Force power until it would have been too late to identify so he quickly went on a brief attack before back-peddling a bit and goading his opponent to strike back.
The exchanges became more frequent as Naruto was slowly becoming more accustomed to his current state. Nalvas however knew this and wanted to end the fight as soon as he could so he faked a strike and followed up with a powerful Force Push.
Hitting hard against the wall of the hangar, Naruto dropped his sword which did not go unnoticed by his opponent and before he could locate it or pull it back into his hand, the shorter blonde was being hit by an attack that had failed earlier. The Force Lightning struck his shield and was partially absorbed by the device. In pain, Naruto began using his lightsaber to try and block the attack which was proving more successful as seconds passed.
Closing in, Nalvas continued his assault with the lightning as he slowly planned where to drive his lightsaber once he was within range. The shorter blonde appeared to be using some kind of shielding device, which he had never seen before but he knew that it could not keep up with his attack and would fail eventually, right when he was within range for a stab.
Feeling his opponent slowly diminishing the distance between them, Naruto waited as he felt the shield heating up but he was doing much better at deflecting or absorbing the attacks with his lightsaber. Waiting for the right moment, he faked the failure of shield and lured Nalvas in.
Dodging the stab, Naruto responded with a powerful punch to what he thought was his opponents lower abdomen side and ducked under a swing before catching Nalvas' wrist when the man tried for a downward strike. Allowing his own wrist to be grabbed, Naruto instead went for a swift kick to his foes pelvis, right near where he had just punched and when he felt the taller man lose his stance and balance, Naruto spun both of them to push Nalvas into the hangar wall.
Struggling, the older blonde was bewildered by the fact that he was still being physically over-powered and he struggled to keep the orange lightsaber from moving closer to him. Strangely, he could feel a heat coming from it and noted a drip of what looked like lava come off the blade, falling to the ground and sizzling on the hangar floor.
Trying to psychically strike his opponent proved futile and he was forced to watch as the orange blade came closer and closer to the wrist of his hand holding his own weapon. Shaking because of strain and impending amputation, Nalvas screamed as the blade slowly cut through his forearm and he could no longer feel his hand. Still holding the lightsaber, Naruto allowed the hand to fall to the ground before he used his free hand to deliver a series of devastating blows to his opponent. Deactivating the blade, Naruto made sure Nalvas would not be waking up for a while by using the stun feature on his lightsaber which was cannibalized from a Force Pike and installed with the two vibroblades at the tip above where the blade emitter was. The taller blonde convulsed before crumpling to the ground unconscious.
Stepping back, Naruto breathed in both relief and slight fatigue as he tried to make sure through the Force that his opponent was indeed unconscious and not going to get back up. Though he could have killed the taller blonde, he wanted answers that could not be obtained unless he kept the man alive. The whiteness which had filled his vision was beginning to fade, which he was thankful for as before that point, he had no idea if the technique was temporary or not.
'Was I overconfident?' he questioned as he thought back to the fight. He had tried not to underestimate his opponent in the beginning but at some point during the fight, he had been more interested in seeing new Force abilities than ending the fight or ensuring his own safety. 'How careless,' he thought in hindsight, although he had also never heard of a Jedi or Sith being able to use a technique to blind others. 'Was it even a Force Technique?' he then thought and contemplated that perhaps the man had some kind of device hidden or attached to the gloved hand which he had not seen.
'There will be plenty of time to find out,' the victorious blonde quickly thought before calling for HK so that they could detain the prison.