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T.I. S2 E11: Hunting Traitors (Rank-Up)
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A rank-up build for the Galactic Imperium.
About this creation

04 June, 2097
The Conduit Building, Ruins of Knightborn
“She WHAT?!”

Uek Ferris stood very still, a furious scowl fixed to his face. His hands were balled into fists and his eyes were so hard they could’ve been mistaken for diamonds. The young pilot before him wilted immediately, deflating like a popped balloon. Uek saw the pilot's eyes go dinner-plate wide, faintly heard his sharp intake of breath.

He was terrified. Even though Uek was miles away from the pilot in Tarhaven, and despite the comlink between them, the young man was dripping with fear.

Which, right now, was fine with Uek. The man would have no trouble telling him exactly what he needed to hear.

Pilot: “S-s-sir, she…she fled. Her entire crew was beaten when I got there…I-I was too late to do anything else.”

Uek rubbed his temple, taking in multiple deep breaths. The pilot waited with fearful eyes, and Uek wondered if the young man felt like a fool, talking to a blank com-link with a modulated voice. After a moment, he decided he didn’t care. He was far too angry at this point to worry about crud like that.

Uek: “Alright, alright. And you didn’t fire at them because?”
Pilot: “Erm…my-uh-my ship doesn’t have any weapons sir. I’m sorry! I know, I know what you’re going to say, but Ygrid wanted me to be inconspicuous. Weapons were…were a no-go. Her words sir! Please”

Uek: “Right…and these…attackers. How many were there? What weapons were they using? I know from Vohilla’s report that she had close to eighty men down there. How were they all defeated?”

The pilot frowned nervously, his eyes flitting from the screen, not wanting to focus on it.

Pilot: “Well….um…I only spoke to one of them. He was…he was older… I think. He had a mask over his mouth. But from the glance that I got, there couldn’t have been more than ten of them. May…maybe less sir.”

Uek: “So…less than ten people broke into Vohilla’s operation, beat up everyone, killed or scared off Vohilla herself, and stole my Osiillium? Is that what you’re saying?”
Pilot: “Um…Uh…Y-yes sir….”

Uek hit the mute button and stifled a scream. Damn it! Damn it all!! After the success of the neural implant, test subjects were being processed quicker than ever. But his Ossillium storage was running low. He needed that restock, needed it now. The dribs and drabs he was getting from various gangs would only keep the project going for so long…

And now? Now he had enemies. Uek didn’t like enemies. At least, not ones that he didn’t know about. Half the system was his enemy after all. The Archmage herself was his enemy.

But he knew where they all were. Knew who they were. This…this he didn’t like. Not one damn bit. Donavan and Brickton were bad enough, let alone an organised team that disappeared into the shadows when they'd finished with him.

Eventually, he forced himself to calm down, forced his brain to start thinking of ways to work around this issue. This would set him back months, a lot of months. He needed to come up with a resolution.

And fast.

Pilot: “Um…sir? What…what would you like me to do?”

Uek spun, the pilot temporarily forgotten as the cogs in his mind began to turn. What to do indeed. The man knew too much, of course he did. If all had gone well, he would’ve gotten his fat pay check. He would’ve kept quiet, maybe even maintained some loyalty to the Storm.

But Vohilla had failed, and this man was the only one who knew what had happened. If the word got out that the Storm had enemies…enemies that could infiltrate a carefully orchestrated and meticulously planned operation so easily… was a complication he could do without.

With one final deep breath, Uek let his facial features slacken and coaxed a smile onto his face. When he spoke, his words were soft; friendly, empathetic.

Uek: “Sorry about that. Bit of a com delay. Now, the first thing I’ve got to do is thank you.”
Pilot: “Um…thank…me?”

Uek: “Of course! Without you, I wouldn’t know anything about what went down! And regardless, you did your job. You flew the shuttle from Earth to Qoter. It was Vohilla’s job to make sure the Ossillium was on board. Know that I place no blame on you whatsoever.”
Pilot: “Oh! Well…thank you sir!”

Uek: “Don’t worry about it. Just make sure you understand that you are not to blame for her mistakes, you just got caught up in them. Do you understand?”
Pilot: “Uh…yeah. I mean…yes sir!”
Uek: “Are you sure?”
Pilot: “Of course! It was her fault, not mine!”

Uek: “Exactly. Now, I want you to go to the corner of Oon and Bellmint Street, in Tarhaven. There’s an old restaurant there called ‘the Tornado’- “
Pilot: “Huh, fitting name.”
Uek: “Yeah... Now, head in there and tell the waiter you’d like a kiwi and dragon fruit platter, with olives. Got that?”
Pilot: “Alright. Kiwi and dragon fruit platter, with olives. Um...why?”

Uek: “It’s a coded message. The restaurant worker will know who you are and pay you. Thanks for the good work. I look forward to doing business with you again. Goodbye.”
Pilot: “Wow, yeah, thank you sir! And goodb- “

Uek hung up on the man, seeing his smiling face as he went on his merry way, thoughts of credits filling his imagination. A soft sigh escaped his lips as Uek dialled another number. The line was answered almost immediately.

Voice: “Afternoon. Who is this?”
Uek: “It’s me.”
Voice: “Ah, Mister Storm. Another one?”
Uek: “Yep. Expect him soon, he’s an eager one. Kiwi and dragon fruit, same as before.”
Voice: “Indeed. Another mole?”
Uek: “Nah, just knew too much. Expect your payment in a few days.”
Voice: “Mister Storm, you are too kind. Have a nice afternoon.”
Uek: “You too.”

The face faded and Uek sighed to himself. Well, one problem dealt with. Now then, what to do with Ygrid Vohilla…


Uek turned to face the door, all signs of anger and frustration gone instantly, forced down inside his gut. He stepped round his neatly organised desk and opened the door, revealing the woman beyond.

Commander Kendall Andreasson looked up from her data pad as Uek stepped out into the hallway. Her smile was welcoming, but edged with the professionalism her rank had drilled into her. 

Kendall: “Commander Ferris, how are you this afternoon?”
Uek: “Well, thank you fellow Commander. Yourself?”
Kendall: “As good as one can be, I suppose. These times still aren’t easy.”
Uek: “Couldn’t agree more. Please, come in. How goes the report?

Kendall nodded her head in appreciation as Uek held the door open for her, shutting it gently as she passed.  Her datapad beeped, and she responded with a few taps before dismissing the message.

She’d been here, in Knightborn, for over a month now, at the Imperium and the Collective’s request. Her report on the rebuilding of the city was going well, from what she’d told him. 

Still, it’d be a lie if he said he didn’t enjoy her company.

She sat down into one of the two arm chairs he had within the room. Uek honestly didn’t need that much space in an office, so he'd had to fill the room when what was left of the Knightborn government pushed him into it. He'd kept the room sparsely decorated, not wanting to show off much memorabilia. He wasn’t Solomon Cross after all.

Kendall: “Sorry Commander, the report’s doing well. I’ve got to say, pushing the reconstruction of the Ryoa Hotel was a good move on your part.”
Uek: “Well, the people here need somewhere to sleep. After all, most of their houses aren’t exactly liveable anymore.”
Kendall: “Indeed. Speaking of which, how goes repairing the remaining major sinkholes? Forty-three left, if I’m correct.”

Uek: “Thirty-nine, actually. After your suggestion, I’ve pressed the crews to fill the one near the old train station. Good call by the way. Some of the crew heard a gang or something fitting in the tunnels the other night. It’ll be good to get actual order back as quickly as possible.”
Kendall: “Well, you’ve certainly been doing your best Commander-”
Uek: “C’mon, Uek’s fine. Please. I’m more than my title.”

Kendall shook her head and Uek pulled on a friendly smile. He’d been asking her to use his name at every one of their meetings.  Still, he supposed he couldn’t beat a habit, or her professionalism. She met his eyes and his smile and spoke again, her voice slightly apologetic.

Kendall: “Sorry. Uek, you’ve honesty been doing the best that someone could do in your situation. I’m honestly amazed that the street gangs haven’t pulled the place apart by now.”
Uek: “Knightborn’s military was, and still is, one of the best in the world. I mean, have you seen the shock troops in battle?”
Kendall: “Can’t argue with that. Well, if you wouldn’t mind, May I speak on another matter. The world runs on paperwork, doesn’t matter what planet you’re on.”
Uek: “Very true.”
Kendall: “Alright, could I ask you a few questions about the new housing developments on 53rd and-“

Uek’s datapad buzzed and he smiled and rolled his eyes as he opened it. Kendall nodded and paused, letting him read the message. Uek kept his face still, not letting any rogue emotions show. It was a single message, through a private server. Havock.

‘Subject 154 is ready for the implant. Ossillium in 15 minutes. You good?’

His fingers tapped a quick reply as he rose from his chair and met Kendall’s eyes. She stood as well, rubbing her neck as she did. The aches of another long day were already beginning to take their toll.

Uek: “Sorry, I might have to call our meeting short today. The Governor wants a word about something I don’t actually know off the top of my head. And of course, no one else is available to help me track said unknown information down. Feel free to stay if you’d like, I should only be twenty minutes.”

Kendall: “All good Commander. I’ll see you then. I’ve got a few calls to make myself.”
Uek: “Wish it wasn’t the case, hey?”
Kendall: “Absolutely.”
Uek: “Well then, I’ll be back. See you soon.”
Kendall: “No problem.”

Uek nodded and strolled out of the room, the small light of hope building inside him. Maybe 154 was the one. Without the Ossillium, he really hoped it was. He didn’t have the resources to keep testing forever.

For the first time, his project was on the clock.

Commander Kendall Andreasson dropped the smile the instant Uek had left the room, pausing the recording on her datapad and sending it straight to Eris and Jay. She sighed loudly and rubbed her neck again. Why did Uek have to be this good at his job? She couldn’t lie to herself, couldn’t say that he hadn’t cleaned up Knightborn as best he could.

Because he had. And few others alive could’ve done a better job.

If she didn’t know that something was off, she might not have suspected a thing. But Eris had asked her for a favour, asked for information, for…anything useful to help nail Ferris to the wall.

But he was clean. He was almost too clean. She’d heard snippets, of course, little things that went against the image the Imperium saw. But there was nothing concrete. Nothing was ever sufficient.

Damn, but he was good.

Her comlink began to vibrate and she answered promptly, stepping out of the office and into the corner of the corridor, where she knew there weren’t any audio recorders that could pick her up.

A face lit up before her, revealing Eris Arathorn, Archmage of the Collective. She wore her look of concern brilliantly well.

Eris: “Commander, what do you make of this?”
Andreasson: “Well, judging by the few words I got on the tail end of the call, he seemed…upset, then overly positive.”
Eris: “Obviously. But about what?”

Andreasson: “I’m still not sure. But it was the second call that got my attention. Nothing incriminating, he’s still too good for that. But…it sounded like he was arranging a hit on someone.”
Eris: “Agreed. Anything new to report? Where is he now?”

Andreasson: “Gone. He said he’s speaking to the Governor, which he obviously isn’t. But other than that, I’m not sure.”
Eris: “Ok…ok. So, someone somewhere is no longer breathing. This is getting dangerous, Kendall. I appreciate the help but…”

Andreasson: “I’m fine Archmage. He’s…something else, like you said in the briefing, and I want to help put him down for good. Whatever he’s up to, I’ll find the proof we need.”
Eris: “As long as you’re sure Commander.”

Andreasson: “I’ve never been surer, Eris…”

Andreasson: “…I want to see this mother burn.”

15 June, 2097
Somewhere East of Regentis
Tomas Brock had decided that he was sick of Qoter. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the city, or even the people. No, he was sick of it because it was too damn easy to hide here. Sure, it was easy to hide anywhere if you knew how, but Qoter took ‘easy’ to a whole new level.

Every metre was filled with steel and stone. Every turn held alleys or doors that could lead to a hundred dead ends where anyone could spend the rest of their days. And no matter where the trio went, that was all they got. 

Dead ends.

Of course, it was only Tomas that felt the urgency of their mission. His companions simply didn’t share his drive. As they walked down the quiet street, he took the pair in again. Grim, moving like liquid shadow, clad in fine clothes with a scythe on his back, and Bones, his chuckle cutting through the breeze as he laughed at his own joke. 

Both wore masked helmets nearly everywhere, and they were yet to remove them in Tomas’ company.

He scratched his neck and tapped the pistol strapped beneath his clothes. Originally, he was perfectly content to wear the fake police uniform everywhere, but once they’d got to Qoter he’d quickly removed it. Against the armour of the Imperium, he’d deemed it laughable to wear, and any element of disguise was all but lost. 

Besides, his new clothes were infinitely more comfortable, and these days he needed any advantage he could get. After a stream of failures, he was beginning to get desperate again.
Up ahead, Grim paused to check his datapad. It was impossibly slim and tiny, as well as jet black. Everything the man owned seemed to be black. He zoomed in on the map that was displayed there and nodded at Bones. 

Tomas sighed as he was ignored once again. The time where he would’ve brought this up had long passed. Grim was as distant as they came. If he didn’t need to acknowledge something, then he simply wouldn’t.

Bones met his nod and turned to face the door to their left. It was all dull, faded metal, matching the faded walls around it. Bones stepped up and knocked a few times, making out a little drum beat before waiting for a response. When none came, he spoke.

Bones: “Miss Donovan, Mr Michaels. If you’re in there, would you awfully mind coming out with your hands up? It’d save us all a lot of trouble and, honestly, after the chase you’ve led us through, entirely justified. How about it?”

Tomas: “Doesn’t look like anyone’s home.”
Bones: “Didn’t think so. Worth a shot though. Alright, Grim? Would you do the honours?”
Grim: “With pleasure.”

Grim stepped up and, without missing a stride, slammed his foot into the door. The rusted lock rattled under the force and came apart before Grim’s boot had hit the ground again.

Grim stepped through the door into the darkened room, Bones only a second behind. Tomas glanced inside before taking position at the door, looking out over the street. He saw a cop in the distance, but didn’t worry too much. It was only if he got close that he’d call the others.

He knew the drill by now.

A yawn escaped his lips and he realised how tired he was. Grim and Bones rarely spent money on decent hotels or apartments, and even then, they seemed to sleep for far too few hours. And they were always on the hunt, always on the job. Tomas had thought he had been a master of trailing a target. How quickly he’d been proven wrong.

Nearby, a man strode up, dressed well but clearly on some form of substance. His hair was trimmed short and his limbs were long. He stumbled on his own feet and glanced up at Tomas, his gaze lingering with an odd look.

Tomas glared back, letting the hardness of his scowl fill the addict’s vision, letting the frustrated vengeance he kept bubbling inside him seep through the cracks that were his eyes.

Still, it had little effect on the addict, who strode up and began to speak, his words both quick, yet slurred.

Man: “Heeey baaaby ….what ya up to tonight.”
Tomas: “None of your business.”
Man: “Aww, but…but I want to make it my business! I’m so bored…and well, you’re… kindaaaa cute!”
Tomas: “Right. Get out of here, before I’ve got to start breaking things.”
Man: “C’mon…c..c’mon. What if I take ya to dinnaaaar? Would you let meeeee know about your business then?”

Tomas sighed as the homosexual sauntered closer with a stupid grin from ear to ear. The gun was already out of his holster, ready if need be. But the idiot clearly was too far gone to think clearly. He didn’t deserve death….unless, of course, he wanted a fight.

A fight Tomas would be more than happy to oblige.

Tomas: “For one, I’m not gay. And second, my business is my own. Leave. Now.”
Man: “Wellll…f..for one, have you ever tried it? I meeeean, I know this may seem foooorward, but…I think I- “
Tomas: “What part of LEAVE don’t you understand?”
Man: “Ummmmm, the leeeave part?”

Tomas had had enough. He pushed the man back.


The addict tumbled over like a drunken gymnast, cursed audibly, and hit the ground, causing a few looks from distant passers-by.

Tomas repeated the statement and resumed observing the area, keeping an eye on the cop in the distance. But, in his peripherals, he saw the man drag himself to his feet and fumble with his pocket. 

Tomas: “For Pete’s sake, get out of here man.”
Man: “Hannnnng on baby….I got somethinggggg.”

In a flash, he moved his arm, revealing a knife beneath his loose-fitting clothes. It caught the air, glinted briefly, and slammed into the house wall a millimetre from Tomas’ head.

He flinched away, raising his gun as he did, but the man was already upon him, knocking the pistol from his hands. Tomas cried out in shock as the cool steel slipped away, but he was drawn back into the moment as the man spun behind him and pressed a knife to his throat.

Tomas glimpsed his eyes, red-rimmed and wild. Warm fear began to fill his belly and he stopped himself from swallowing to avoid the blade.

Man: “Seee? That wasn’t so hard? Noowww, why don’t yoooou come back home? With me? I waaant to get to know you, baaaaby.”
Tomas: “Back off freak! Back the heck off!”
Man: “Ooor what? You’ll shoooot me? Ha! Good luck with thaattt!”

Tomas moved as best he could, struggling to free himself. But the man’s grip was surprisingly strong, as was the hand that held the knife.

He flung his head back, trying to catch the man out, but the addict merely moved his head backward and Tomas ended up driving his skull into the man’s sharp chin. He grunted in pain whilst the addict began laughing.

Man: “Ooooh, nice try! Buuuut I’m too good for that! C’mon baby, let’s goooo for re-“
Bones: “Oh, I’d let him go if I were you.”

Tomas rolled his eyes forward, glimpsing the pair emerge from the house like kings from a chariot. Bones cocked his head slightly as Grim deactivated the magnet that kept his scythe strapped to his back and swung the weapon like a toy. Intimidation personified.

It certainly had the desired effect. The addict let go remarkably quickly, tripping and landing on his back side, his knife dropping to the ground. A few smaller throwing weapons fell out as he went. Tomas took the opportunity to step back and grab his gun, but he didn’t really have too.

The addict was already half cowering, his eyes even wider than they were before. But what came out of his mouth confused the lot of them.

Man: “How are you here?! You….you guys can’t be here!”
Bones: “Wait…what? You know us?”
Man: “Of course! Anyeee Core agennnt knows about you guys.”
Grim: “Core Agent? Let me see your face.”

The addict raised his eyes and Tomas could feel Grim tracing the lines of his face, taking in his build, letting his memory do the work for him. Eventually, Grim stepped back and spoke, his modulator deepening every word.

Grim: “Agent Bend. Mind explaining to me why you’re interrupting our business?”
Bend: “I’m soooo soooo sorry, Mr. Grim sir…I didn’t know yoou were here!”
Grim: “So you do this for fun then?”
Bend: “Well…I…I…when the Core broke apart…We’ve all got to do something!”
Bones: “Right, and in your case, that ‘something’ is assault and addiction. Sounds like a blast.”
Tomas: “It wasn’t. Can I hit him now?”
Bones: “Why not?”

Tomas strode forward and drove his fist into the man’s gut. He didn’t move this time, his eyes still focused on the pair behind him. Bend wheezed and crumbled, cradling his body like an injured animal. His parched lips parted and he started muttering to himself, almost incoherently.

Tomas stepped back and turned to face the others, greeted by their mask faces.

Tomas: “Did you find anything?”
Bones: “Unfortunately not. Just the same as the other places. All dusted and cleaned, nothing to really lead on.”
Tomas: “Any ideas?”

Grim: “Well, at a guess I’d say they’re travelling somewhere by shuttle, not foot. We know they stayed here only briefly, probably a stop before moving on. I’ll need to hack into the shuttle network to find out where they went.”
Tomas: “Of course.”
Bones: “But we’ll still need their-oh, wait up. Our friend’s back in action.

Tomas turned and his eyes flew open as Bend slowly got to his feet, his hands crackling with a bright energy. His muttering had gotten louder, and his smile was impossibly wide. Tomas raised his gun as his ears recognised a few words.

Collective words.

Tomas: “What the heck happened to you?”
Bend: “Aw, maaa boy’s curious! Didn’t you knowww about the chosen?! During the war, the Collective gave us giiifts, pooowerful gifts!”
Grim: “Ah. This explains it.”
Bend: “Explains what?”
Grim: “The Bend I knew wasn’t this idiot you see before you. You never got proper Collective training. Your so called ‘gifts’ have melted your mind.”
Bones: “Yeah. What he said. How about we all calm down? Otherwise, I’ll have to resort to…other means.”

Bend paused, like he was going to reconsider, but his smile grew again, and he raised his hands with a flourish, his eyes crazy. Tomas tensed, but Bones gently angled his gun to the ground as he stepped forward.

Behind him, Grim put his scythe away.

Bend began to laugh uncontrollably as the energy built, but confusion flourished as Bones walked directly up to him like this was something he saw every other day.

Bones clenched his fists loosely, letting his middle knuckle extend slightly higher than the rest of his fingers, and Tomas saw his limbs slacken, getting ready to dodge if need be.

Bend screamed and went to speak the word that would probably kill them all, but he never got the chance. Bones dodged around his extended arms and his hands began to move.

All Tomas registered was a blur of motion as his companion went to work.
Howls of pain filled the night as Bend’s hands dropped, his arms suddenly unable to move. Bones struck the addict’s sternum, his elbow, his temples and his neck, before stepping back and tapping his forehead lightly.

Bend fell backward, a stunned expression on his face as his body tried to register the amount of pressure points that had been struck in an instant. Eventually, it gave up and Bend collapsed on the ground, his whole body shaking.

Bones stepped back and dusted off his gloved hands, admiring his handiwork. Tomas stood very still as he took in what had happened, but he wasn’t in shock. He’d seen the pair fight before, but every time they did… it was even more remarkable than the last. Still, at least he hadn’t killed him.

Tomas had seen his fair share of that too.

Bones: “Well, I’m all for reunions but, I gotta say, didn’t really enjoy that one.”
Grim: “Agreed. Oh well, his loss. Let’s go.”

And without another word the pair turned and walked back the way they’d come, leaving Tomas time to scowl at the addict before following on.


 I like it 
  November 24, 2017
Excellent episode, you continue to build the depth in your story, with lots of interesting plot threads - looking forward to seeing them all come together!
 I like it 
  November 6, 2017
Even a man of Uek's talents can't possibly keep it up much longer... superb episode!
Werewolff Studios
 I like it 
Jack Brickton
  November 2, 2017
Huh, I can't believe I forgot to comment on this. Anyway, Spectacular episode Wolff! I really like the build for Uek's office and Commander Andreasson is quite interesting to say the least. And of course more of Grim and Bones is always enjoyable. And Agent Bend was a VERY interesting character. It's nice to see someone expand on what happened to the people who didn't learn to control their collective powers.
 I made it 
  October 29, 2017
Quoting --R.K. Blast-- Yup, good stuff! I enjoyed seeing Uek again and the inclusion of Andreasson and Eris. I love it when people's stories tie together! I must say, I was expecting something more to come from Bend at the end. (hey, it rhymes!) He was just a bit of a random inclusion. But still, good stuff! Your points have been added! --Blast--
Thanks R.K. Yeah, it feels good to finally have Andreasson on board and watching Uek's back. Oh, and about Bend...yeah, I'm not done with him yet. He'll be back.
 I made it 
  October 29, 2017
Quoting Captain Kenbo Nice one! Liked seeing more of Uek
Thanks Kenbo!
 I made it 
  October 29, 2017
Quoting Traykar Pawfoot Cool Episode as always, I really liked the parts where Uek is taking with the Pilot. As always, I look forwards to seeing the next part.
Cheers Traykar! Next part should be coming up soon!
 I like it 
  October 29, 2017
Yup, good stuff! I enjoyed seeing Uek again and the inclusion of Andreasson and Eris. I love it when people's stories tie together! I must say, I was expecting something more to come from Bend at the end. (hey, it rhymes!) He was just a bit of a random inclusion. But still, good stuff! Your points have been added! --Blast--
 I like it 
  October 29, 2017
Nice one! Liked seeing more of Uek
 I like it 
  October 29, 2017
Cool Episode as always, I really liked the parts where Uek is taking with the Pilot. As always, I look forwards to seeing the next part.
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