[The Collective] Chapter 3: The Hunt
The Lost Caverns
Outer Rim Territories
...“Are you sure we’re going the right way?”
Grot whipped his head around and sneered at his Human accomplice. Without halting their pace, he pointed a clawed finger at the small ravine that carried water down into the heart of the mountain.
“Yeah, I know, we’ve been following this ‘trail’ of your for hours. I thought your kind were supposed to be experts at hunting.”
“I thought your kind were supposed to be intelligent lifeforms,” Grot hissed his retort. “And yet...”
They stopped to glower at one another. To the much smaller Human's credit, Kordall did not so much as blink or balk as he stared right back up at the grizzly, towering Trandoshan. To be fair, the scrawny scoundrel had been pretty handy with those blasters he carried with him. He also seemed to be keeping up with the grueling pace that Grot had set. That was something, at least.
“It is not just the water,” Grot explained as his tongue flickered from his mouth with a reptilian lisp. “The air is still warm, but getting more moist, which means we are getting closer to to wherever the stream empties into. That’s where we find the prey.”
“Yeah, and according to the SAS, the artifact that we’re supposed to be retrieving is supposed to be in a shrine somewhere near an underground body of water. Do you think this is the right cavern? This would be the third planet we tried.”
Grot paused to consider the notion of being wrong in his deductions. He shook his head. No, he was not mistaken. They were getting closer. The Human just needed to be a bit more patient. So—in a simple gesture he had learned to placate most dimwitted soft-skins—Grot offered his water canteen to Vance as a token of peace so that they could continue forward.
Vance Kordall scratched at the side of his neck as he studied the canteen. His face scrunched up into a disgusted scowl, almost as if the very concept of being offered water was some kind of grave insult. He slung the canteen's strap over one shoulder and instead reached into his vest pocket to pull out a small, intricate looking flask. He thumbed the cap off and took a long, slow swig, before exhaling slowly. The freelancer fell in line behind the contracted Arconan, but Grot could not tell if the Human had adapted a drunken sway to his steps or a confident swagger with his strides. Perhaps it was both. Time would tell.
Within the Technocratic Guild, the Shikari Huntresses were hard to tell apart from one another. Their tan skin and identical yellow facial tattoos were shadowed by their equally long dreadlocks, but Kendra Icasta knew them all by their respective code-numbers thanks to her cybernetic eye that could overlay data in an augmented reality view.
“The Trandosian we’ve been following came this way,” Seven said, removing her hand from the ground.
Kendra scrunched her rounded, lightly freckled nose. “Smells like one, mixed with...brandy?”
“He’s traveling with another,” Seven continued. “Human male, lean, armed with two blaster pistols.” She paused and then added, “Yes, he was definitely carrying a flask.”
Kendra had always admired the Kiffar’s ability for what they called Psychometry. While she herself could not rely on some inherent mystic ability, Icasta had been trained to track down those that others had deemed untraceable. The Chiss woman had proven herself, time and again, and rose to her current station through blood and dedication to her craft. That was before Nancora, however, and her failure to apprehend the Dark Jedi Elder known as Dacien Victae. She had been humiliated, and to make matters worse, he now sat on the very Dark Council that defied the Collective their goal.
So Kendra did the same thing she always did whenever she failed—she drank and indulged in her base desires. Her depression lead her descending into a dark, downward spiral. It had taken a firm hand by a good friend that she did not deserve to finally shake her out of it. Kerwin Drake was a good man, and somehow found the strength to keep fighting despite the losses suffered on Nancora. Again, as she always did when she hit rock bottom, Kendra Icasta picked herself back up and reported for duty.
That was why she had been sent to this remote planet. This was her punishment. She would reclaim her honor and repair her wounded pride. She was the Huntress.
Written by: Marick Tyris
This will be the final chapter before the start of the Right of Supremacy (RoS). The goal with this fiction was to set up the events of the launch fiction, and to help motivate the fictional objectives that will be incorporated into the Week 1 Fiction Competitions. As I mentioned previously, this update will also be relevant for trivia style competition I will be running with Seraphol. So, even though I know it’s a lot of pages, please try and read the fiction. Thanks :).
- Marick is watching a lot of data and reports all at once. His desk is organized very specifically to make sure he can do this to his preference.
- Marick receives a call from Evant.
- The Regent explains that he’s talked the board into continuing with Marick’s concept for the Advanced Inquisitorius Network (AIN) by using multiple easy-to-produce IG-V55 Listener ships instead of larger capital ships that lacked redundancy and failover. Yes, the Voice works in IT.
- Marick realizes that someone has moved the items on his desk around. He has an idea who it is. There will be repercussions.
- Vance Kordall, a human smuggler/gunslinger who is currently working for the Shadow Academy Society.
- Grot, a Transohan from Clan Arcona
- Vance and Grot are exploring a cave on a remote planet. Vyr picked it, I made stuff up about it.
- They are looking for an artifact of power. Grot was paid for his reputation as a tracker and hunter. Kordall is a long because he actually enjoys working with the Shadow Academy more than the Combat Center where he originally had been hired.
- Grot admits that Kordall is useful, but the two are far from being friendly with one another.
- Kendra Icasta is also on the remote planet! Kendra is an Elder Huntress for the Technocratic Guild. She leads a group called the Shikari.
- Kendra’s team was tasked with tracking down a downed Brotherhood member on Nancora (the Phase II: Scenario prompt). The winning member entry, written by Bubba, featured Dacien surviving the crash and the Huntress’ capture. Kendra failed her mission, and after Nancora spent a lot of time drinking awa her problems.
- She is now on a mission to regain the trust of her superiors and to reclaim her personal sense of honor.
- The Kiffar Huntress’ are able to use their inherent species feat to better track Grot and Vance.
- Shit’s going to get real, yo.
- Grot and Vance find the cavern that holds the artifact they are hunting. They play lizard-snake-toad, the star wars equivalent of the classic rock-paper-scissors
- Grot wins by being ironic. Kordall goes to take the artifact, but Grot interrupts and says that they have company.
- Grot, excited by the concept of getting to fight a real challenge, sets a trap with Vance instead of trying to take the artifact and run. Silly Murder-lizard.
- Kendra and her squad make their way into the cavern. Kendra goes for the artifact. She detects Kordall, who has been drinking the whole time, by smell, and stops him from getting the jump on her.
- The Huntress next to Kendra is not as fortunate. She gets sniped by Grot’s slugthrower rifle. Boom, headshot.
- One of the Huntress goes after Grot. They tango.
- Kendra turns her attention to Kordall and her other remaining Huntress. She runs into a sonic imploder grenade thing. She’s knocked down.
- Kordall and Kendra enter a shootout. It may potentially be high noon. Hard to tell that far underground.
- Vance lands a shot on Kendra. He’s distracted, however, and is knocked out by the Huntress who recovered from the sonic blast from before.
- The Huntress grab Kendra, the artifact and start to retreat. They take Vance prisoner. Poor dude. Grot is “indisposded.” Sad face.
- Just kidding, Grot is not le dead. He was just sleeping. The murder lizard wakes up and realizes that he failed his mission. Fortunately, he was smart enough to place a tracker on both Vance and the enemy Huntress he fought.
- Grot sends the data to the Inq.
- To be continued...
Thank you for reading the update. That’s going to be it from me for a while. Vyr will be your guide as we embark together on this upcoming Vendetta.
If you are curious about what to look out for in the RoS, see my previous report. Otherwise? Good luck.