Log:Knights of Ren: Wroshyr Machine I
The short story: The KOR go to Kashyyyk to locate and destroy a cell of insurrectionists.
The long story:
The loss at Carida has been felt in echoes around the galaxy. Each blow to the First Order is a new rallying call to freedom fighters across the galaxy... and that call has been heard clearly on Kashyyyk.
Unrest began shortly after the First Order fleet's withdrawal from Caridan space. Anti-Order propaganda, protests that became riots, violence threatened and sometimes enacted against the limited on-world Order presence here. The Order responded the way it usually does, with a stranglehold and sanctions on space and trade - particularly bacta - rather than an Imperial-style on-planet domination, but the roots of the problem remain. There are insurrectionists here, there is a terrorist cell here, and it is past time to make an example.
Thus the Order decided to dispatch the most terrifying special-forces unit in their arsenal, black-clad combat monsters who destroy everything in their path, consummate professionals, elegant information-extracting and killing machines. But those guys were busy so they sent the KOR. Ha, ha.
The tree city of Rwookrrorro is near silent today as occupants stay in whatever shelters they call home; the city is crawling with troops in a way that it usually is not, and suspected terrorists have been rounded up and placed in a warehouse along with a translation droid. The Wookiees are on their knees, bound at the wrist and ankles, but despite this the droid looks like it's been bashed at least once. There are four of them, and intelligence suggests that one or more of them knows something about a Freedom Fighting cell housed deeper in the forest. The Knights are to determine the location of the cell and destroy it. Maybe some of these four here are innocent. Maybe all of them are guilty.
Nagorral: Pale fur, blind in one eye. Huge and angry.
Tarchiir: Near black fur, scars, amber colored eyes, normal size and angry.
Rathak: Reddish fur, brown eyes, already has an extensive arrest record, small (for a wookiee) and angry.
Kerriwar: Brown fur with a white streak, blue eyes, female and angry
"Damn Wookiees," Errod growls, not bothering to keep his disapproval of the furred race a secret. "Little better than beasts. Spent the last three generations in open rebellion, chafing under the yoke we are all called to bear." The black-clad hunter squats down in front of the reddish Wook, the smoke of his cig roiling out from his open mouth as he stares with naked contempt into the other primate's eyes. "You think you're better than the rest of us, is that it? Because some joke of evolution made your clumsy limbs too strong by half? And left your fumbling fingers good for little else but harsh labor."
Before the Wookiee can lunge at him, he straightens up, drawing in another smoky breath. "I'm not unsympathetic. We are all equally unfit for the task of existence. No matter how our deficiencies manifest themselves." A sniff as he looks down, not very far down, at the kneeling captives. "...do any of you understand Basic?" The thought comes late, and he glances over the quartet, seeking the light of affirmation in someone's eyes.
Marching his way across one of the rope bridges towards the detained beasts is Syrus, robes billowing about him and his deep hood concealing all but the glowing iris of his right eye. Having slipped away for a few days to take a 'sabbatical' (read: go do some good ol' archaeology), he seems in brighter spirits than usual as he comes to a stop before the mighty Wookiee warriors.
Unlike the grossly average and unspectacular Errod Zand, Syrus has command of all sorts of infernal magicks. It's because of this that he simply approaches Tarchiir and grasps at the Wookiee's head, setting tendrils of memory-recalling nefariousness to work.
"Intoxicating, is it not?"
The drippy, oozy voice of Sebek was right at home here amongst the humidity and the tall thick trees of the Wookiee homeworld. This was not his first visit. It would not be his last. He was clad in his raim of battle, the angry snarling helmet tucked under one arm, and had made a POINT of wearing The Pelt of Arrikkata on this sojourn. For the Wookiees must always be reminded that one of the mightiest of their number had been bested by he.
And what better reminder was a large, aged Ryyk Blade slung across his back? It seemed that Sebek of the Desert had taken more than just the skin of his greatest friend. Maybe that was why he was getting all those hostile looks. They did love their traditions.
"The taste of Wookiee anger is most divine," he was rambling, standing back from the group and soaking in the futile resistance that eminated from the quartet. "It was but sixty years ago that I visited this hunting ground. Those Who Hunt from yonder Trandosha ruled it then and rule it now. Their yoke shall never be shaken. Their fate is as beast of burden. It is what it will be." Sounding a lot like He Who Cares, buddy. "They listen. They understand. They do not speak. Their primitive skulls shall not permit it."
Imani is positioned near Errod as he starts his interrogation, helmet off and clipped to her hip. Her hands are on her hips, well one hip, the other is sort of resting on the helmet as she studies each Wookiee. "That's a good question," she remarks to Errod on whether or not they speak basic. "Maybe that droid can translate it for us?" She eyes the bashed droid skeptically. "If it still works." She steps over to the small droid, giving it a little nudge with the toe of her boot.
"All of the CaAAapTives have been tested and confirmed in their capacity to understand BaAAsic," the protocol droid serving as translator helpfully informs Errod, vocoder wavering here and there as it seems to have been damaged in whatever assault it suffered. "Although they may pretend otherwise, the testing has been aaAaaccurate and consistently indicates fluency."
Tarchiir roars ferociously at Syrus, straining against his binders and snapping toward the hand that so incautiously reached out! Restrained as he is, his range of motion isn't good enough to connect, but the message is sent. The other Wookiees start roaring as well, and the droid helpfully chimes in.
"Much of this speech has no literal equivalent in Galactic Basic, but the vocalizaaaAaations are meant to convey hostility toward your group and especially towards the Gentlebeing wearing the pelt aaaaAAaccessory." Thanks droid.
Malik Ren is here as well, always looking extra diminutive on a planet with doorways and furniture built for people who are 7 or 8 feet tall. He seems unimpressed, and reaches a hand toward Rathak. "Name the sympathizers," he suggests, and when the Wookiee shakes his head in refusal, Malik snaps his fingers. Terrible howls of pain follow, and Rathak slumps to the ground, howling!
Errod watches with a sort of dry disinterest as the others attempt to extract information from the captives through various arcane methods, puffing his cheeks out and crossing his arms over his chest. "What did I just say?" he mutters, rolling his eyes up towards heaven as his words are drowned out in a peal of Wookiee-roars. When it finally dies down a little, he moves towards the female, Karriwar, and squats down again. "Look. You want food. You want freedom. You want revenge. Probably on us. I understand, I feel the same about you. We're not so different, you and me. Though the absurdity of life has set us on opposing sides."
Over the backdrop of mental torment already being inflicted, he shrugs. "I can get you what you want. Some of it, anyway. Just give me some of what I want. Tell me where your leaders are. Not who; just where. Almost like you didn't tell me anything at all, isn't it? No names. They'd have time to get away... maybe." His eyes stare under hooded lids, resting his hands on his thighs. "Your choice... I know which one I'd make. The only one I could make. To stay alive."
With his own conciousness returning to the forefront, Syrus snaps back to reality (ope there goes gravity). A pair of fingers lift to press against his temple and he blinks a few times in quick succession, shaking off the genuinely unpleasant experience of digging around in someone's brain. "He's-" Syrus begins, before he's required to snap his other hand back. "I don't think he's associated with any factions. Just a generally angry fellow," Syrus explains, frowning at Tarchiir. "That, of course, makes you all together useless for our cause, doesn't it, Tarchiir?" Syrus asks, unclipping one of the lightsabers from his belt and looking the overly-aggressive Wookiee over.
"Is it not glorious? The inability to understand defeat? THIS," Sebek boomed out, positively drunk on the anger that he was consuming through unnatural avenues of the Force, "this is why you are prey for the truest of hunters! Those of Trandosha were right to subjugate you! Your will is IRON!"
It was probably the weirdest compliment he'd ever given.
The helmet tucked under Sebek's arm was placed over his head, his topknot forcing through its aperture before it sealed on his head. "Their cause speaks louder than their lives, He Who Cares," he spoke again, the distinctive buzzing of a Knight of Ren helmet deepening his already deep and accented voice, "and yet honour speaks louder than both."
The Falleen he gripped the hilt of the huge, unwieldly blade and drew it from his back, insulting every single seven foot tall furred individual in the city. "Speak and speak true, Those Who Resist." He pointed a taloned at the small Wookiee under the curse of He Who Leads and ended with, "Or your weakest will be the first to feed the blade of his ancestor."
Imani turns to look around at the others she arrived with, assessing their various abilities to talk to others. Were she anything less than fanatically devoted to the cause, she might have cause to doubt what she's doing here with these people. Luckily she is wholly devoted to their path, so she just rolls with it. "I'm not saying that it's a bad idea to resist, but you see what they can do," she motions to Malik, and then the Wookiee that was howling. "We would prefer to do this on more friendly terms." Would they? Evidence suggests otherwise. "If you just tell us what we need to know, you all can go on with your lives."
Malik's brown eyes cut over toward Syrus, listening inscrutably to his Knight's summary of the journey through Tarchiir's mind. "If he intends harm and if his mental state suggests a glorification of violence, kill him," he instructs. "Cut the head off the snake before it strikes; if it is coiled and ready then I will not suffer its venom later."
Rathak, writhing on the floor in the excruciating white-hot pain of dark-side power, is in no position to defy Sebek. When the Ryyk blade appears, Nagorral snarls an insult at Sebek that the droid translates as, "I will cut out your intestines, braid them into a rope, aaaAAaNd tie it into a noose from which I haaAAAng your worthless green body!" The droid adds, "Oh my," but it seems unlikely that Nagorral said that bit.
Rathak gasps, struggling, and Kerriwar is getting worried. She bares her fangs nervously, watching her companions, before her blue eyed gaze returns to Errod. "Guarantee my family's safety," she makes a plea through the translator, rumbling her demand. Her eyes flicker to Imani too, desperate. "Guarantee my children won't be hurt, and I'll tell you what you waAAaant to know."
She is the first to break, and although Tarchiir and Nagorral are roaring various forms of desperate NO, her fall paves the way for Rathak. "Nagorral is one of them," he rasps through the translator, frightened and hurt.
"That's the /whole species,/" Errod replies to Malik's instructions in an exasperated, raspy grumble, gloved fingers smoothing over the inverted horseshoe of his mustache and pinching together at the point of his chin. He puts out a hand towards the other Knights as the female breaks and intel begins to be shared, a sort of glum, resigned smile spreading across his vaguely-wrinkled features. "Now see, that's something I can work with. She's saving your lives," he announces to the other Wookiees, a statement that will play less-well if Syrus promptly skewers one of them, and Errod pops another cig in the corner of his mouth, lighting it up as he stands.
"Not that they're worth much. Not that these leaders of yours are worth any more. What do you care about them if you're dead in the dirt? If you're not alive to fight for your glorious 'cause', if you can call it that. Now keep talking. My kind don't much appreciate half-answers." Smoke trails out every which way while he speaks.
"Understood," Syrus answers back to Malik, sliding the activation switch of his leather-bound saber and snapping the crimson blade to life. Thankfully, for Errod's sake, Syrus doesn't skewer the stout and resilient Nagorral. Instead it's more of a series of wild flailings at Tarchiir that the Wookiee narrowly manages to avoid by crawling backwards and away from the Kiffar, until he's backed himself against the wall and is catching a lightsaber blade through the shoulder that slices through most of his more important organs and the wall behind him. Syrus, slowing his breathing, stands up straight, deactivates his saber, and moves to stand back. "Most of your lives."
It was going well. It was going so well. And then suddenly He Who Learns happened, and Sebek lost it.
"Are the contents of your brain casing a vacuous chasm? Were you taught civil interaction by Rodians?! Truly you are blessed by the gods of stupidity!" The giant Ryyk held by the less-giant Falleen turned now to point at He Who Learns. The mask hid his snarling, furious expression, but to be fair the mask itself was a good rendering of it. "Behold the fool, who with impertinence betrays us! He Who Resists shall remain such! Defied is our chance to meet He Who Breaks!"
It definitely wasn't the smartest approach to this topic of discourse, but when had Sebek ever been smart about things?
"Sebek." Malik's tone is calm and patient, but that can be dangerous with this one. "The command was mine. I suggest you focus on the task at hand, and if you would like to tell me later that the content of /my/ head is a vacuous chasm, it will be my pleasure to discuss this with you." There is a lot of implied threat in the word 'discuss', although the tone remains quite civil.
With Tarchiir in pieces, three Wookiee captives are left: Rathak, Kerriwar, and the defiant Nagorral, who is still snarling. Rathak seems dazed, and Kerriwar is quaking, seeming to fear retribution from Nagorral at this point as much as from the KOR. Both she and Rathak have betrayed the cause, and Nagorral seems like he'd take their heads off first if he were unbound. "Guarantee my family's safe passage off Kashyyyk, and I'll answer your questions." Kerriwar's rumbling is low, defeated, but the droid translates it cheerfully, warble and all.
Malik nods his assent at Errod, agreement that he can promise this as well as ask his questions, and toward the other two Wookiees and Syrus/Sebek, he suggests, "Extract what you can." Methods unspecified.
The screech and stench of burning, dying Wookiee disrupts Errod's mental victory lap, and he lets out a smoky sigh, dropping his cig to the woody floor and grinding it out under the toe of his boot. "If only all problems were solved as easily," he murmurs in gravelly voice, casting a pointed look towards the Kiffar, but after a brief moment pinching the bridge of his nose and over the noise of Sebek's protestations, and Malik's counter-protestations, he nods to Kerriwar. "You have a guarantee. It goes without saying this includes protection from your kinsman by species, there, as well. Now tell me where the leaders are. Tell me who is leading your people towards an ever-heavier yoke."
Sebek's outburst draws nothing more than a grin from the be-hooded Syrus. He really must be in a good mood today. The saber is clipped back onto his belt and he looks over to Nagorral for a moment before his attention is drawn by Errod. The rest of the Knights seem to have it well in-hand for now, so he'll just stand-by.
[Sebek] A crack formed.
Sebek was silent in response to He Who Leads, giant unwieldy cumbersome sword pointing still at He Who Learns. It didn't take a Force-sensitive to see the anger rolling off him. The occasional twitch did that well enough. The silence lasted a moment, or an eternity, but not infinitely. "Yes," Sebek said, his voice sounding as calm and contented as though he'd just eaten a She Who Admonishes special Spicy Beef and Rice bowl. "We shall."
Now Sebek lowered the blade and turned to regard the 'terrorist'. He Who Resists. The big wookiee. "Recognize that your attempts to honour your predecessor," he nodded towards the pelt across his shoulders, his voice quiet and deep and oozing with something hostile, "is as doomed as your insurrection. You could never be as exalted as he. But a pariah? Yes. Slain by Ryyk?" The Falleen held up the sword of shame and looked upon it. "Avoidable. If you speak and speak truth. Fail, and your name becomes anathema."
"There aaaAAARre no leaders, only a collective," Kerriwar answers Errod through the droid. "There are very few of us and no one in the city knows who or where they are. The collective headquarters are very deep in the forest, near the old Czerka baAAaaASE, the ruins down there where the light does not reach."
Nagorral has known pain in this life, evidenced by whatever hardship blinded his eye. Even in the face of Rathak's pain-induced confessions and Tarchiir's death by evil sorcerous weapon and Kerriwar's last ditch attempt to save her family -- even in the face of a psycho wearing and wielding the evidence of cruelty and horror to his people, Nagorral will not break! He meets Sebek's gaze unflinching, unbroken, and snarls a low growl.
"You will die a small death with no glory," he informs the Falleen, although he's still bound and tied. "You die the death of a weakling and a coward, you will die the death of a fattened sacrifice, a servant, a slave. You are nothing, and you will be forgotten."
Malik exhales an annoyed sigh through his nose at this, and studies Nagorral intently, with a focus that suggests supernatural nonsense is afoot. Messing with people's heads doesn't seem to bother him as much as it did Syrus, and after a moment he blinks. "He is one of them and there is some kind of base in a no doubt completely mephitic forest involved. That's all I can tell."
"We got what we came for, kill them if you'd like," Errod shrugs at Nagorral, "but leave the female alive. More punishment to live with what she did than if we kill her here. Though I should warn you our guarantees have limits," he remarks to the Wookiee, receding from the forefront of the interrogation now that the intel is secure.
"It seems like he's got a pretty good read on you already," Syrus says, echoing the Wookiee's sentiment while he looks over at the Falleen. "Great judge of character," the Kiffar says before he moves to talk to Malik. "I think that's as much confirmation as we need. Do we know where the old Czerka base is?" he asks the leader, before he looks back to Nagorral.
Sebek sighed. It was a rattling thing, from the confines of the helmet. He wasn't mad. He was just disappointed. He gave the insurgent a look, turned his head to listen to He Who Cares, and nodded.
The Ryyk Blade came down like a hammer across the back of He Who Resists, scoring a deep wound across the spine. He was aiming for crippling, but the Ryyk was blunt from disuse. The second strike was to the leg, crushing flesh and fur and bone and all sorts of goodness needed to walk.
"Unlike I," oozed the Falleen, wiping the Wookiee's blood from the blade with his sleeve (what was it with Sebek getting blood on his sleeves), "you shall live to see the disgrace brought upon you. Felled by a heretic holding a sacred blade. Your name shall live on in song and stand as warning against aimless pride." Finally, the big chopping weapon was returned clunkily to its sheathe on his back. He lifted his head to the droid and said, "Record his state. Transmit it to my datapad."
Imani is standing back, watching and letting everyone else do the work for now. There are more than enough hands and voices at play here, so for the time being she's content to observe the questioning. And executions.
Nagorral faces the blade bravely, but he's bound and tied and up against a Knight of Ren -- it was bound to go poorly for him here. He grunts as the first strike hits, bearing it as best he can, and falls when the second hits, defiant to the end but unconscious now. And defenseless, of course, if Sebek was inclined to finish the job and get himself another pelt.
Malik presses a button on some sort of device on his wrist, and two stormtroopers appear. "Dispose of the body," he instructs them, "The wounded one, dump him in the forest with the body of the other... if he dies, he dies. Send the other male and the female to our associates on Kessel after she identifies the correct persons to receive transport off Kashyyyk." Rathak and Kerriwar both roar unhappiness at this, and Malik chides, "I can't have you scampering off to issue warnings, can I?"
Syrus asked if they know where the Czerka base is, and Malik nods, "We do, although..." A sigh. "Wookiees build high in the Wroshyr trees for a reason, and that base is abandoned for a reason. Gather supplies, all of you, we leave in an hour." He turns to go, and this time even the droid seems to know there's no point to translate the keening of the soon to be slaves.
Perhaps pain is universal, anyhow.