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The Insurgency: S2 #13 Respect and Remembrance. (Rank Up)
Okay, this episode took a lot longer to write than expected. Now, a bit of explaining is in order. Originally I had two episodes planned to post. Episode 11 which takes place before the December GC episode and would be my first build for the collective league which meant that the build after it would be rank up. So I wrote out this episode with the "War mage" rank in mind. But I ended up getting a bonus point for something which meant my next episode had to be a rank up thus requiring the respected marauder rank. (Why do I always have to be so helpful?) Luckly it only took a little rewriting to work it in so the resulting episode works in both of the ranks since storyline wise Jack is a member of the collective at this point in time due to the delayed league build. Anyways, Hope you enjoy, and i'll post the league build as soon as possible.
About this creation
Date: Friday December 27th 2097.
Location: Sal’ant Pi’row’s residence on Dulb.

Dushka groaned as her alarm clock went off. It had been two weeks since the attack on the spire, and thanks to collective medics her arm was healed from the incident. But even though her wounds were healed she was by no means recovered…

Dushka gazed up at the ceiling as she rolled over in the bed trying to ignore the buzzer until it went off on it's own. She probably should have been grateful that Jack had let her tag along with him and move into Sal’ant’s mansion on dulb where the War mage had relocated after the breakout at Karnon Prison. But she still felt as if he was hiding something. And all this “kindness” was just a ploy to manipulate them. She had seen it too many times before. It was one of the most basic techniques of being a con artist. One she had used several times herself. In fact she originally planned on robing Jack blind with that method but after all they had been through, as much as she hated to admit it, she had grown fond of the scoundrel.

Dushka: “Oh get a grip Dushka. He's just a stupid pirate.” she groaned to herself as she reached for the snooze button on the alarm clock only to find the clock to be moving out of her reach.

She quickly sat up and let out an aggravated sigh upon seeing Jack standing in the middle of her room holding the alarm clock in his hand.

Dushka: “Get out…” she groaned as she laid back down.

Jack: “Well that's a rude way to greet someone in the morning.” he replied jokingly.

Dushka: “I thought I locked the door…”

Jack: “You did.” He replied while gesturing to the alarm clock he had just made fly into his hand.

Dushka: “Stupid Collective Pirate…” she groaned as she covered her head with the blanket.

Jack: “Come on, you've been in bed for days now! Heck, You slept through Christmas!”

Dushka: “I'm not in the mood for holidays…”

Jack: “Alright, let's see if this works. Ra’tana foss ess'y hyin'ta?”

Suddenly the Blanket flies off the bed and into Jack's right hand.

Dushka: “Hey! What the 'ell did you just say?”

Jack: “Take her sleep protection. Or the closest thing to “take the blanket from sleepy head” in the collective language.”

Dushka: “Showoff…” she remarked whilst shaking her head.

Dushka got out of her bed watching as Jack put away the blanket and handed her a hairbrush using some of the various collective phrases and techniques he had learned.

Jack: “And for the record, I prefer the term Swashbuckler over pirate.”

Dushka chuckled at his response to her earlier mumbling. One thing was certain. He was a good listener, especially when she didn't want him to be.

Dushka: “You've certainly learned a lot…”

Jack: “I would hope so, I've been training with Sal’ant for months now.”

Dushka: “Are you sure you can actually trust him? I mean, he tried to kill you after all…”

Jack: “Says the woman who held me at gunpoint on two separate occasions.” he retorted jokingly.

Dushka: “Hey, that was back when I thought you were just a stuck up half witted bounty hunter who didn't have a clue what he was doing.

Jack: “Now you know that I'm a three fourth witted swashbuckler with a soft spot for damsels in distress who hasn't the slightest idea of what he's doing.”

Dushka: “Sorry Romeo, this Damsel is in no mood for your fairy tale junk.”

Jack: “Well then what about something more realistic? New Years Eve is only 4 days from now, and I've been wondering if you'd like to go out to dinner or something…”

Dushka: “Sorry, but like I said, I'm not in the mood for holidays”

Jack: “That's the best thing about it. It's not a holiday here! This system runs on Deltar 5’s calendar, which is a few days ahead of earth's.”

Dushka: “I dunno…”

Jack: “Wait, you're not still sore with me about the Tank escapade are you? I told you I had no idea the archmage had that many people with her.”

Dushka sighed and shook her head before responding to the concerned pirate.

Dushka: “Jack, it's not anything you've done, and it isn't about the stupid spire mess. I just can't shake the feeling Sal’ant is using you. It's like he's hiding his true plans from us. And I don't want you to get yourself killed! He already gotten you sent to prison, and the way that Marshal had it rigged if we didn't break you out you both would've been sent before Judge Gae Fiest and put to death! I couldn't let that happen. I've lost too many people I care about already...”

Jack: “A-ha! So you do have feelings for me!”

Dushka: “Alright, I admit it, I've enjoyed working with you these past few months. But I mean it about Sal’ant. He's up to something.”

Jack sighed as the smile left his face.

Jack: “If it makes you feel any better I've sensed it too. I plan on asking him later today. I just wanted to ask you about New Years first.”

Dushka: “Well, Let me know if you find out anything.”

Jack: “Only if I can tell you over dinner.” He replied determined to get an answer to his request.

Dushka: “Oh alright, But could we possibly go off world? I'd rather not have a dinner date here on dagobah.”

Jack laughed at Dushka’s surprisingly nerdy quip as he responded.

Jack: “Sure, how about we head to the capital for a few days, maybe catch a speeder race or something.”

Dushka: “Sounds good, but this time you're paying for the tickets.”

Jack: “I'll handle everything. Just be ready to leave first thing Tuesday morning. Now I better go talk with Sal'ant, love you Dushka!”

With that the pirate left the room quite pleased with himself having finally gotten his partner in crime to agree to a date.

Dushka: “I love you too Jack… Just be careful…”


An Imperial Research team is investigating the source of an odd radio interference the middle of the frozen wastes of Dracios and has stumbled upon the Ancient Collective preservation facility known as the ARK.”

Imperial scientist (in the white): Are you getting video of this Toth?”

Captain Toth (the man in front of the scientist): “Are you kidding? Of course I am! This is the biggest archaeological find of the century!”

Scientist: “Just keep the camera rolling and make sure nothing sneaks up on us. I've heard stories about ice monsters lurking this planet that’d eat a man just a quick as breathing…”

As the soldiers secured the area Toth and the Doctor examined the large green cryo-tank in the back of the room.

Toth: “Wow, look at the size of that thing. I wonder how long it's been on ice...”

Scientist: “From the look of this tech it's of Collective origin. But it predates the planet’s freezing.”

Toth: “Amazing…”

Scientist: “There's some writing on this panel here… Arrst enkaa ess'y…”

Immediately after the scientist spoke the ground began to shake and the tank opened with a loud hiss.

Toth: “What's happening?!”

Scientist: “It appears that was a command prompt for deactivating the preservation chamber.”

Toth: “What?! Ready your guns men!”

Scientist: “Calm down, these creatures are centuries old. There's no way it's survived this long…”

Much to the scientist’s surprise the creature turns towards the Imperials, extends its neck and glares directly at them.

Toth: “J-just back away slowly and maybe it won't see you…”

Suddenly the creature lets out a screeching noise that develops into an inhuman heavily modulated laugh. As it stands to its feet.

“Foolish biologicals…”

The creature stepped out of the chamber and unsheaths an ancient blaster of sorts

Creature: “It just makes hunting you that much easier…”

Scientist: “It speaks!”

Creature: “I'd hardly call your language “speaking.” Why do you think it's called “basic?” it's the lowest form of communication! The tongue of fools! I'd assumed it would've been eliminated after the fall of the collective…”

Toth: “Fall of the collective? They just got here back in 95…”

The creature turned its gaze to the imperial captain and let out a screech of anger before responding.

Creature: “You mean to tell me that they are still in existence?! And they've infected this system?!!

Toth: “If by infected you mean helped rebuild after a system wide civil war then yes. They have.”

The creature hissed and then looked around the room at the different creatures from system 42.

Creature: “Tell me then… What became of Sebez Rakon… Of my home world. Were the mages successful in stopping the star?”

Scientist: “I'm afraid we don't know what you are talking about.”

Creature: “ANSWER ME YOU IDIOTIC INSECT!” The creature exclaimed getting angrier with every word the imperial said. “WHAT HAPPENED TO SYSTEM 42?!!!”

Scientist: “System 42? Is that where you're from?”

The Creature roared in frustration then began to speak

Creature: “Imbeciles! The people of this system are as mindless as when I came here!” the creature then tightened his grip on his weapon as he continued speaking. “But there is still something that you creatures are good for…”

Scientist: “And what exactly is that?”

Creature: “You make excellent appetisers…”

later back at Sal’ant Pi’row’s residence on Dulb...

Soon after, the sensors Sal’ant had put at the ARK’s entrance had alerted him of the Imperium’s discovery of his Ancestor’s secret. However since he had gone straight he was now preoccupied with his job as Toryn’s advisor and assisting the local government officials.

General Kyroth Brenrod: “And so, in accordance with subsection 5 of your contract you're required to accompany the senator on all out of system business trips.”

Sal’ant: “But she's just going to purchase a new shuttle!”

Kyroth: “This is more than a new shuttle, she's helping senator Snyat secure a deal with ROBKAT engineering about building a new shipyard in this system. She's merely acquiring a new shuttle in the process. And like I said, you are obligated to do it, if you have a matter that you need to handle I'm sure she'll gladly hear you out. Unless you're hiding something from us…”

Sal’ant: “Oh no, it's nothing my mages can't handle…”

Kyroth: “Good, now I have more important matters to attend to, If there is nothing more to discuss I'll leave you to get your affairs in order.”

Sal’ant: “No General, I have nothing more to say…”

Kyroth: “Good, The Senatorial ship will arrive to pick you up in ten minutes.
Brenrod out.”

Sal'ant smacked his head on the table in exhaustion.

Sal’ant: “I should've just stuck to Piracy… Back then the only interaction with government officials ended with them either quivering in fear or dead…”

Then the mage next to Sal'ant began to speak.

Mage: “M’lord, what shall I do about the imperium’s discovery of the ARK?”

Sal’ant: “Audax…” he replied addressing the mage by name. “You are my Chief Tactician are you not?”

Audax: “Yes M’lord. I've worked with you ever since the collective first came to these systems.”

Sal’ant: “Then why for heaven's sake can you not handle these Deja Damned Imperial lackeys yourself?!?!!”

Audax: “Because, it is your property. By law, only the war mage who owns the land can evict people from it.”

Sal’ant: “Sigh… Maybe it's time I appointed a second in command…”

At this point Sal’ant’s daughter Nara’n interjected.

Nara’n: “Well I know someone who would love a promotion.”

Sal’ant: “No, you aren't ready…”

Audax: “But sir, Nara’n has trained under my guidance for some time. She's more than qualified. “

Nara'n: “And not to mention the legal heir to your title. Maybe it's time you passed the torch?”

Sal’ant: “Alright, I suppose I don't have any other options…”

Suddenly Jack enters the room still in a good mood from earlier.

Jack: “Good morning everyone, I hope I'm not interrupting anything.”

Nara’n: “Yes actually, you-”

Sal’ant: “Nonsense! Your timing couldn't be better!” The War mage exclaimed interrupting his daughter.

Jack: “Great, because there is something I needed to ask you about…”

Sal’ant: “And I have a question for you as well…”

Jack: Oh, okay then, um, you go first…”

Sal’ant: “You've been training as my apprentice for the past 2 months now, Tell me, what have you mastered in that short amount of time?”

Jack: “Well I'm pretty good at commanding things and telling them to go from one place to another. But other than that I haven't gotten very far. I can't even make fire. Well, unless I just use a lighter or something…”

Sal’ant: “But you also show mental strength. A strong mind is a very valuable tool for a leader…”

Jack: “Leader? Oh, you mean leading my crew.”

Sal’ant: “Actually I had something bigger in mind…”

Nara’n: “Father, don't-”

Sal’ant: “Brickton? What I'm about to do is possibly the unorthodox thing I've ever done, but then again, I never was one for following the collective customs. I hereby give you the rank of War mage in the Pi'row clan.”

Jack: “Wait, What?!” the pirate replied in pure shock and confusion “I'm not even a mage yet!”

Sal’ant: “Let me explain. You will not have all the authority of a true collective war mage. Just the authority over my mages while I am not here. You see, my current position as Toryn’s advisor has caused me to be unable to maintain my other duties.

Jack: “And you want me to be your majordomo while you're away? Shouldn't someone else be doing this?”

Sal'ant: “This is more than just overseeing the house. A crisis has arisen in the form of an Imperial squad trespassing onto an area of draicos under my protection.”

Jack: “Dracios? That's the ice planet right?”

Sal'ant: “Correct.”

Jack: “That answers my question then…”

Sal’ant: “Explain.”

Jack: “Now don't take this the wrong way but recently Dushka and I have both had the feeling that you're not exactly being…”

Sal’ant: “Honest?”

Jack: “Yeah, and every time I'd try to focus on what you were hiding I would just see ice. Ice and a massive solar storm…”

The War mage smiled upon hearing what his apprentice had seen.

Sal’ant: “There is no doubt about it then, you are clearly meant for this job. On dracios is an ancient collective preservation facility filled with the last remaining creatures from system 42. The planets of which were scorched by an explosion from the system’s star.”

Jack: “System 42? Isn't that's where the Beast from the Arena came from?”

Sal’ant: “Yes, The Screamhowler is one of less powerful beasts in the vault.”

Jack: “Less powerful?! You mean there are stronger things in there?!”

Sal’ant: In earthling terms the screamhowler is but an antelope compared to the elephants and tyrannosaurs that lay deeper inside the vault.”

Jack: “Then we can’t let the Imperium or Aurelia get their hands on those things! They'd use them as weapons and the systems would be in ruins!”

Sal'ant: “Exactly, we must protect the ARK at all costs, but we must also keep our ties with the government. The senatorial shuttle will be here any minute now, I will be accompanying Toryn to Qoter on business and won't return here for at least two months.”

Nara’n: “Brickton, why don't you get Father's bags for him and take them out to the hangar bay?” the young mage requested clearly trying to get Jack out of the room. “I have some things I need to ask father regarding your promotion”

Jack: “uh okay, I'll be back in a few minutes then…”

With that Jack dashed out of the room to fetch his teacher's luggage.

Immediately after Jack had left the other mages began to let their opinions of Sal'ant's idea be known…

Nara’n: “Have you gone mad?! Choosing your half witted apprentice over your own Daughter?!”

Sal'ant: “Last I recall it was you who suggested I make him my apprentice in the first place…”

Audax: “but he’s nowhere near experienced enough! You heard him yourself, he can't even create fire! He hasn't even had basic training!”

Sal’ant: “But he's already mastered some advanced techniques on his own! He can move objects around with just a whisper!”

Audax: “So he can do housework, big deal, he is still not qualified to lead a squad of mages to the ARK!”

Sal’ant: “Indeed, that is why he won’t be leaving the planet…”

Date: Monday December 30th 2097.
Location: The ARK

Audax and a pair of mages walked through the halls of the ARK until they found the remains of the Imperium’s squad.

Audax: “This is worse than I thought…” The old mage stated as he pulled out his comlink.

Audax: “Brickton? Are you there?” He inquired with a frantic tone in his voice as a fuzzy image of jack appeared on the holo projector.

Jack: “I’m here, The signal is a bit sketchy though, did you find the Imps?”

Audax: “What’s left of them, all we found were ripped pieces of armor.” he stated as he turned the comlink to where jack could see the bits of metal and fabric that lay scattered on the floor.

Jack: “Looks like they let one of the critters loose. One that doesn't leave leftovers…”

Audax: “Indeed, there's no bones, skin, not even any blood left on the ground.”

Jack: “Well that's unsettling…”

Audax: “That's not all, the armor has impact marks from an ancient design of Collective blaster as well as claw marks. And the creature appears to have taken the Juggernauts’ weapons as well.”

Jack: “So, it likes guns… You're making me very appreciative of my not being there Audax.”

Audax: “Consider yourself lucky boy. We're going to check the other rooms and then head back, any objections?”

Jack: “No, just get out of there as fast as possible, we don't know if the creature is still somewhere in the vault. Brickton out.”

Jack rubbed his forehead in exasperation at what he just saw.

Jack “Great, a Trigger happy Collective Chupacabra. How the heck am I going to fix this mess?” he asked himself as he pondered on what actions to take.

Jack: “sigh, maybe Phil has some ideas…”

Jack pulled out his comlink, dialed Phil’s number and soon a hologram of his “Imperial Amigo” appeared.

Phil Rider: “Hello? Who is this?”

Jack: “Hey Falco, how ya doing?”

Phil: “Jack? Looks like I'm not the only one who's still wearing their pajamas.” the Imperial Pilot Quipped pointing out Jack's Collective robes. “Anyway, I'm doing alright all things considered, the leg is still broken but they gave me a brace that helps relieve the pain. How's goes the Jedi training?”

Jack: “Going pretty good actually, and thankfully Dulb is pretty similar to Alabama in the climate department. But I've got a problem on my hands thanks to my promotion.”

Phil: “I know how that is…” he stated as he was reminded of his promotion back in October. “So you're a mage now right?”

Jack: “War Mage.”

Phil: “Wow, straight from Padawan to Jedi Master eh? I don't exactly see how that's a problem.”

Jack: “Sigh, is threepio in the room with you?”

Phil: “Yeah, why?”

Jack: “Get him to shut down and then Promise me you won't tell any of your Imperium pals what I am about to tell you. It is top secret information…”

Jack describes the situation to Phil and he is concerned by the information.

Phil: “Man, we just can't get a break can we?”

Jack: “Apparently not, If it were you in this situation, what would you do?”

Phil Thought about it for a minute and then replied.

Phil: “Well I'd probably just report it to my superiors.”

Jack: “That's the problem, my superior is somewhere between here and Qoter on an escort mission or something.”

Phil: “Not all the superiors. System 55 is a collective run system right?”

Jack: “Right.”

Phil: “And the Archmage usually appoints a “Lord mage” to rule over it right?

Jack: “Normally. But there's no lord mage in this system. Just senators- wait a second! Helia Val’ard, the head of the Senate is part of the collective! She must be the representative!”

Phil: “Well there you go, anything else I can help you with?”

Jack: “Yeah actually, You've had a couple of relationships in the past right?”

Phil: “I've met a couple of girls back when I was working with the talons if that's what you mean.”

Jack: “Any advice on how to tell a girl how you feel about her?”

Phil: “Uh, I think Val'ard is a bit too far out of your league Jack.”

Jack: “No no, I'm talking about Dushka, I convinced her to go out with me tomorrow night and I don't want to screw it up. Any tips?”

Phil: “Sorry kid, I'm not an expert on women. And if you managed to get her to agree to a date with a guy like you, you're clearly on the right track.”

Jack: “Right, thanks anyway Falco.”

Phil: “Anytime Jack, Anytime.”

Jack ended the call and looked at the Dulbian flag hanging on the wall behind him and it occurred to him that having ties to the government meant he didn't have to face problems this big alone. Then again, it was a collective run system. Which meant Vall'ard could turn him in for his involvement in the Spire attack. No, This time he was going to be honest, he'd tell The Senator everything…

“It sounds Risky…”

Jack turned around in the direction of the voice to find Dushka standing at the end of the table wearing a lavender evening gown with her trench coat over it.

Dushka: “But it’ll be worth it…”

Jack: "How much did you hear?”

Dushka: “Enough to know that we’ll be stopping by the senate on our way to the race track.”

Jack smiled and then walked over to Dushka and placed one hand on her shoulder and held her hand with the other before replying.

Jack: “No, It can wait until afterwards, Spending time with you is more important to me than anything in the entire system. Besides, that critter is probably dead from frostbite already. There's nothing to worry about…”


Somewhere just outside of Dracios’ orbit an Imperium Research Freighter known as “The Norfair” makes its way towards the asteroid field.

But it's not Imperials who are flying it…

Inside the ship’s cargo hold a bizarre alien android fiddles with a mess of parts lying on the table in front of him.

Droid: “I told him we shouldn't have put these drones in cryo…”

Suddenly a screeching robotic yell echoes throughout the ship causing the droid to jump back in shock.


Droid: “I'm in the cargo hold Captain.”

The mysterious creature from the ARK soon enters the room and the droid turns to face him.

Creature: “Grelot, what is your status on rebuilding the drones?”

Grelot the droid: “Not very well Captain Grytlock, we were in that vault for longer than anticipated and the drones had begun to dissolve… We'll need to find more metal before I can finish them.”

Grytlock groaned in disgust and exasperation at his first mate’s report.

Grytlock: “Where exactly do you expect to find alloy strong enough in this pathetic system?”

The droid scuttled towards his Captain before answering the question.

Grelot: “Like I said Captain, we were in there longer than anticipated. The system has changed dramatically. The planet the natives called Tolterros was destroyed a few decades ago and left behind a large amount of metal ore in asteroids that are just waiting to be retrieved.”

Grytlock hissed and then began to laugh as he responded to the droid.

Grytlock: “My friend, you are forgetting that we're pirates, everything is just waiting for us to retrieve it. There's nothing the collective holds that the Sebezians cannot take away. The end of the Archmages’ reign is nigh. And they will burn in the fires of Deja's Torment for what they did to our people… Every last one of them…”

Date: Wednesday January 1st 2098
Location: Deltar 5.

Jack: “Well, that was interesting…” he stated as he and Dushka walked out of the raceway

Dushka: “I hear it's more fun if you bet on the race.”

Jack: “I'm not much of a gambler…”

Dushka: “Oh really? Says the guy who launched us in an escape pod at a collective ship.”

Jack: “Okay, so maybe I am a gambler, but in that case I certainly hit the jackpot when I let you tag along.

Dushka: “trusting an Aurelian deserter from Chicago who could backstab you at any point. Yeah, that was quite a gamble.”

Jack: “Chicago? I thought you said you were from Detroit.”

Dushka: “Uh, I am…” she replied nervously. “I lived in Chicago until I was 10…”

Jack: “Oh. Well then we should go to your old neighborhood some time. I'd love to see where you grew up.”

Dushka: “Er, trust me, you don't want to go there. It's a rough place.”

Jack: “I'll take my chances…” he stated as he looked at his partner’s bright blue eyes that seemed to pierce through his soul. “Dushka, you're the most beautiful girl I've ever met, and I want to know more about you…”

Dushka: “Oh knock it off Jack, I get it, you like me, but we all have our secrets. what makes people interesting…”

Jack: “I guess, but if we ever end up in the area I expect a tour.”

Dushka laughed at the pirate's determination.

Dushka: “Oh alright, but I doubt we'll ever go there in our line of work.”

Jack: “Hey, you never know, life is just full of surprises…”

“indeed it is.”

Suddenly a thug who clearly has had a lot of cybernetic enhancements leaps out from behind the corner and aims his pistol.

Thug: “Now put ya hands up or I'm gonna give you a surprise you won't like...”

Jack chuckled slightly at the crook’s “threat” and then responded.

Jack: “Oh really, I'd hardly consider shooting us a surprise. It's what you expect from these sort of confrontations. Now this is a surprise. Rasille ret!”

On Jack's command the crook's pistol crumples into a twisted mess of metal.

Jack: “See, much more interesting…”

Thug: “Oh crap…”

Jack grabs the crook by the neck and lifts him into the air slightly as he chokes him.

Jack: “Now, even an idiot could recognize collective robes and know better than to try and rob us. So I presume that someone hired you to do this. So unless you want me to apply my gun trick to your arms I recommend telling me who it was who hired you…”

“I did…”

Jack dropped the crook (who quickly ran off) and turned in the direction of the voice to see a familiar face…

Anna’ran Pi’row: “Hello Brickton, Lady Evazorn, it's been awhile…”

Jack rolled his eyes as the Collective assassin approached them.

Jack: “Well, at least you managed to get the hairstyle right this time.”

Anna’ran: “Excuse me?”

Jack: “Oh come on Nara, I know it's you. Take off the mask.”

Anna’ran: “Fine…’

The mage removes her mask revealing a the face of a woman who has been through many close scrapes with scars and cut marks beside her mouth and on her face.

Anna’ran: “Still think I'm Nara?”

Jack: “No, sorry about that. It's good to see you again Anna’ran.”

Anna’ran: “Likewise, I apologize for that ruffian’s behavior. He was supposed to find you, not mug you. But I suppose that confirms the rumors about you becoming My Uncle's apprentice to be true… But I wasn't hired to find you for us to catch up, I was hired to give you this…”

Anna’ran pulls out a small piece of paper and passes it to Jack.

Anna’ran: “Looks like you've become quite respected among the marauder community…”

Jack examined the note and grinned as he read it.

Dushka: “What does it say?”

Jack: “Remember my “hostile negotiations” with Ryger on Halloween that landed him life in prison? Looks like it caught the attention of a crime lord who's more my style. Volodar Besadii. Head of the Besadii Syndicate.”

Anna’ran: “I wouldn't exactly call it a Syndicate. It's more of an organization. Most of his dealings are entirely legal, aiding in the location and protection of new asteroid mines. He wishes to discuss a certain business matter with you on his mining station in the Husk Asteroid field. I suggest you do your best to arrive there as soon as possible, Mr Besadii doesn't take kindly to late responses…”

Dushka: “Understood, we’ll head out first thing in the morning. Come on Jack, we have a dinner reservation to keep…”

Anna’ran: “Wait, I almost forgot, there's something I'd like to give you.”

Anna’ran hands Jack a cylinder shaped object that appears to be hilt of a sword.

Anna’ran: “Consider it an early birthday gift and my way of thanking you for getting my uncle back on the right path…”

Jack: “Uh, thanks… Quite the elaborate handle for a flashlight- wait a second, Is this what I think it is?!”

Jack presses the button on the hilt and a large blue plasma blade appears.

Jack: “Ha ha! Yes! Best birthday present ever!” he exclaims as he begins to swing the sword around causing Anna’ran to panic.

Anna’ran: “Warra Gaxan!”

Much to Jack's disappointment the blade deactivates at Anna’ran’s command.

Anna’ran: “Watch what you're doing! You're swinging it around like a cutlass! Plasma blades are very dangerous weapons that take skill and practice. I'm sure you'll soon master it but until then, I recommend not activating it in a crowded area.”

Dushka: “Maybe it's best that I hold onto it for now…” she states as she grabs the weapon from her companion.

Anna’ran: “Good idea Evazorn… Perhaps you can show him how to use it properly?”

Dushka: “Perhaps, I mean, we really should be going now. It was nice to see you again Miss Pi’row. Now come on Jack we don't want to be late…”

As they parted ways with Anna’ran Dushka examined the plasma sword more closely.

Dushka: “She misspelled your name in the Inscription. It says Ja’k Brykton.

Jack: “Close enough. what was about you being able to show me how to use it properly?”

Dushka: “I fiddled with one of these back during the collective war. But swords were never really my thing. Anyways, I assume we'll be leaving for Husk first thing tomorrow?”

Jack: “Not quite, there's one thing I still need to address before we leave… I just hope it doesn't land me behind bars…”

Date: Thursday January 2nd 2098.
Location: Deltar 5

Prime Minister Vall’ard frowned as she listened to the Qoterian governor's speech from the day before announcing that the “registration act” had been made law. A law she made sure the neighboring system's rulers knew she has no intentions of enforcing.

Helia: “I don't see how Eris stands these people. It’s like they're asking for another war with the Collective…” she stated as she noticed the red light flashing on her console.

Helia: “Yes Gaylia?” she inquired wondering why her secretary didn't just come to the door.

Gaylia: “A War Mage from Dulb is here to see you.”

Helia: “War mage? I thought Sal'ant went with Senator Toryn to Qoter.”

Gaylia: “This is his apprentice, he's standing in for his master while he's away.”

Helia: “I see, Tell him to come back later. I am in no mood for Sal’ant’s affairs this morning…”

Gaylia: “Of course. You'll have to come back later Mr Brickton..”

Helia: “Wait, did you say Brickton? As in Jack Brickton?”

Gaylia: “Yes, I was just informing him that he'd have to come back later to discuss his Master's affairs with you-”

Helia: “Why didn't you tell me it was him? Send the young man in!”

Jack walked into the office and shook hands with The Prime Minister as she greeted him.

Helia: “Captain Brickton, Nice to see you again, I had no idea you were a member of the Collective.”

Jack: “Not many people do, I've been trying to keep a low profile recently…”

Helia: “So what brings you to my office this morning? Some of Sal'ant’s affairs I presume.”

Jack: “Actually, I'm coming here on my own accord…” the young mage replied. “Recently Sal'ant and I have been involved in some “secretive operations” and one of them has gotten out of hand…”

Helia: “What sort of operations?”

Jack sighed before scanning the room for listening devices.

Helia: “Brickton, I promise not to tell anyone what you've done. Your secrets are safe with me...” the Lord Mage replied in attempt to calm the nervous pirate in front of her.

Jack: “Okay, but promise me that Sal'ant and I won't be imprisoned for this-”

Helia: “Goodness Young man, you make it sound like you attacked the archmage herself!” she replied with a chuckle in response to Jack's overly serious expression

Jack looked back at helia with a slow nod and a gaze that made helia realize her joke was exactly what he had done.

Helia: “Sigh, start at the beginning Brickton… And you better have a damn good excuse…”

During the next few hours Jack talked with Helia and exposed everything. The run in with Ti’yit and the Klinge, the prison break, the attack on the Spire, and especially about the ARK.

Helia: “So there is a vault of creatures from system 42 under the ice of dracios?”

Jack: “And the Imperium let one of them loose. We have to protect the ARK from those who seek to use it as a weapon. It would mess with the balance of the systems!”

Helia: “Brickton, I thank you for your honesty, but this is a very serious matter and as Lord Mage of this system I'm afraid I must report you and this incident to the Archmage…”

Helia reached over and pressed the button on her console and spoke to her secretary.

Helia: “Gaylia? Cancel my appointments for today.”

Gaylia: “Of course, anything else?”

Helia: “Get Lady Arathon on the com-line and tell her it is urgent.” she stated before ending the call to her secretary. “For your sake Brickton, I pray Eris is in a forgiving mood…”

To be continued...


 I like it 
  March 17, 2018
Good episode! Although I must say I'm a bit confused about Jack's progression to becoming a War Mage etc. Also, I don't know when System 55 became a Collective ruled system? Because it was discovered AFTER System 54 (hence the numbering.) It already had an established government etc but The Collective had never been there until it became a playable system. Anyway, your points have been added! --Blast--
 I like it 
  March 17, 2018
Fantastic! I like the lore building here. Keep it up!;)
 I like it 
  March 14, 2018
Downright awesome stuff mate! Loved the dialogue and the lore-building throughout! The Collective backstory that you're building here is incredibly well done! Looking forward to reading more!
 I like it 
  March 14, 2018
Hey it's been a while! But a fantastic episode with lots of stuff going on. I liked the banter in the beginning
  March 13, 2018
Oh boy. Jack may have just bitten off more then he can chew here. Either way, nicely done! The story was very interesting, and I'm intrigued by this new droid. He looks like trouble. I can't wait to see what you do next!
By Jack Brickton
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