Starhounds

Quinn Corvin; epilogue
The After

Chandra’s second genocide was far less dramatic than the first.
Gren was dead, his brain liquified by his own lightsaber and the fear that had washed over him like desert winds. Quinn had tried to save him, but his power had knocked sand across the scoundrels vision, and in the end, he had been too late to shock him silent with stun fire.
Staci hadn’t even gotten close; Quinn had her down in seconds, and Madine wasn’t far behind. The committee that had joined them took the most trauma, but they hadn’t even made it to the waterline before it was over.
Quinn had to hear it all second hand; he had enough time to see the plasma blade of the lightsaber with its mysterious crystalline power ignite and explode inside the black column that was anything but a tomb.
A few other’s hadn’t made it, some technician put a knife in his eye, and a few illegal scavengers on the other side of the planet dunked their heads in antimatter sludge, incinerating them.
Less than 7 people were believed to have died.
The inquiry was a fiasco if there ever was one. They flew Quinn and the rest to Coruscant to stand before the new council in their shiny new chambers; the old edifice of the Imperial past had been ripped down like peeled paint, and the new sheen on the city world was reminiscent of some patriotic holo film where the young rebel finds the old alliance still alive in some forgotten heavenly corner of the galaxy.
They asked every question but the right ones; what was it? Who built it? How did it work, and the inevitable could we fix it.
Quinn just rolled his eyes and told them all that if he weren’t already an alcoholic, they would have driven him to it.
Madine was amazing. The general threw interference snow and metallic tinsel over everyones receptors; he buried the pieces, brainwashed those who knew anything; even hypnotized members of the committee so that the truth about Chandra would liquify like meting ice and fall into the wet grate of history like new polymer down a Nar Shaddaa span.
Gone forever.
The pieces of the device they scooped up with Quinn and the rest of them, and even Staci was amazed at how quickly the General had ordered the salvage thrown into the sun. Madine wasn’t a god fearing man, and the words took on a strange sort of power when he said them;
“This is not meant for us.”
When it all came crashing down; the inquiry, the official investigation, the detainment and the answers to just what had happened on Chandra both times; the Alliance must have known it was all a cover up.
Quinn and Madine hadn’t really tried all that hard to make their story believable; after all with nearly a billion sapients dead, there were bound to be some gaps in the story, loose ends and frayed threads where the lie had bitten off at the truth. But those in power also probably felt the same power that the two men felt; that everyone who had sailed off of Chandra that second time. A cold, this isn’t a question that needs asking, let alone answering, and besides, there was certainly zero evidence left to stitch the fragments of atrocity together.
So they gave up. File closed, a few billion lines of code among building sized data cores; effectively lost forever.
When Quinn woke up, he was under arrest. Fourteen days later, he accepted a medal in a private room at intelligence headquarters, a large bonus, and a congratulations from the New Republic; a thank you from a bunch of suits who had no idea why they were thanking these men and women.
Quinn didn’t mind, the cred chip was real enough.

-

“Well well; if it isn’t the man of the hour.” Staci said as she walked up to the railing Quinn was leaning on.
“I guess that makes you what,the women of the hour?” He pulled the flask from his pocket and offered it to her. She shook her head no, then caught Quinn’s seriously? look in his eyes and took it, smiling.
It tasted good.
“So,” Staci winched at the alcoholic burn, “what’s next for a hero of the republic?”
“New Republic.”
“Quinn.”
He grinned. “What? You chose to stay, didn’t you? Might as well get the name right.” It came out sadder than he had intended.
“Yeah.” She said, looking down at the threaded lines of traffic crossing the steel jungle of Coruscant. “By the way, I don’t think I got to thank you for…”
“Shooting you?” He smirked, still looking away at the blazing sun cresting the horizon.
“Yeah…”
“Well, this is the first time, I think, that we’ve been alone since-”
“Don’t,” she stopped him. “Don’t um. Don’t say it.”
Quinn looked at her and pressed his eyebrows together. “It get’s better, Stace.”
“I know I didn’t even… It wasn’t, you know for very long at all so…”
“Hey,” Quinn touched her shoulder, “It’s okay.”
Staci trembled, the memory of the terror and sadness that had gripped her, welling up from the graveyard she had seen; the vengeful spirits of the lost and the wronged shambling down towards her to. To…
“I hear some of the eggheads are still in the psych ward.” Quinn cut through the memory and she was back.
“Yeah, they should be okay, or so says Madine.”
“How is old Crix?” Quinn took another short pull at the flask, and passed it to Staci without looking at her. “Any idea what he saw?”
“Who knows? You know Madine,” she took the flask, “always flat and close to the chest. He drinks more now, doesn’t think I know.”
“Well,” said Quinn lightly, “you have had to see though the best of disguises.”
Staci laughed, short and sharp; a laugh that wanted more humor than it had been given. They both lapsed into silence, and the drink passed back between them twice before Staci spoke.
“What. What was. It.”
Quinn drew in a deep sigh. Honestly, they didn’t know, not for sure; it had mechanical parts, Quinn had seen that much, but there was also some ancient sort of magic to it. A kind of mechanical symbiosis between living tissue and human achievement; like bad skin graft. When they had all gathered around it on The Reliances deck, cordoned off an in absolute secret, ready to launch it into the local star, they hadn’t even said anything; like no one wanted to accidentally find out what it was. But they were all of them, every single one soldiers, killers, and some even murderers. They didn’t need to ask, didn’t need to voice it; the knowledge was sloshing through them all like bad blood, infected puss that they needed to purge before the wound could heal.
It was a weapon.
If it was modern, it was secret tech, top of the line. If it was ancient, then it was dark side magic or something worse. There were ancient ruins on Chandra, and top secret Imperial basses. Maybe Tryn has stumbled across some new kind of weapon the Empire was developing, or even restoring. Maybe it was already there from a war fought so long ago nothing else remained.
Didn’t matter; the lightsaber had barely been able to turn it to slag, and lightsaber cores were second only to star fire.
Quinn shut his eyes, and shuddered at the vision of the black as night pieces drifting slowly through the dark to a fate he hoped they would find.
“Yeah.” Staci pulled him back. “Yeah, I don’t want to know either.”
“New topic,” he said, turning to face her. “I’m uh, I’m leaving; surprise surprise.”
She matched his position, and the setting star took its place between them, soft orange pools of light washing over the clean metallic surfaces of the balcony and gathering in tiny motes in their eyes.
“I figured.” She smiled. “Are you taking the Grave?
“Na,” Quinn waved an errant hand, “I gave it to Sammy.”
Stacy cocked an eyebrow at him.
“Okay okay,” he laughed, if not a little bitterly, “I stopped claiming ownership; same thing, right?”
“For you? That’s about as good as anyone can hope.” A shadow seemed to cross her face. “Are you, er. Are you going back? To the life, I mean.”
Quinn softened his features and raised his eyebrows. He hadn’t known the answer to that question. Madine had ensured that Quinn left the order with something of a medium sized fortune on his hands, but a quiet easy life was something that Quinn assumed he could never have. He had made a few mental calculations, a few old contacts and some investments that could roll the mint into something massive; all of which was almost completely illegal.
“No.” He said, and meant it.
Staci smiled, in her eyes as much as on her face. He couldn’t go back. Maybe it was the auto doc on Hellhaven, or maybe it was the years; everything he had been though since Staci had justifiably left him on that floating coffin of a space station all those lifetimes ago had taken him farther and farther from who he was. He had thought at the time, with absolute certainty, that he was becoming himself; an inevitable correction from the falsified human being he had tried to maintain with her while his true self rotted in apathy and self loathing.
But that wasn’t it. He was just running, like Mav had said. Running from something that had already got him.
Life is hard, simple as that.
The words rattled in his mind like broken bones.
“No.” He said again. “I mean, not yet.” A smile. “I think I’m going to go to Hellhaven. I mean, your dad has always had a place for me there.”
“I thought you said a quiet life was going to be the death of you? I thought Hellhaven was a prison?” Staci inched closer.
“It is it… I don’t know.” Quinn let his head fall as he leaned on the railing. “It’s just; I’m tired, Staci. I’m tired of the games and the whole thing. Maybe Hellhaven is a prison, maybe it’s a grave, maybe it’s just a stop along the way; I don’t know. But I think. I think it’s time for me to take a break.”
They were already close, and Quinn felt the moment building. “What about you?” he asked. “Are you going to stay here?”
She shrugged and closed her lips. “I guess. It’s good work. It’s. It’s what I know.”
“And Crash?” The tremble in his voice was not well masked.
“Ah, well, Crash and I have run our course, I think. He didn’t take to kindly to me leaving him out of Ch- of the last mission so. Yeah. He moved out two days ago.”
“Oh. Sorry.”
“No you’re not.” She grinned.
“No,” a laugh. “No I’m not at all. I could have had him killed, you know; I am a very rich man.”
“So I hear!”
They moved ccloser still. The moment was there, it was tumbling out of control.
Quinn didn’t do anything.
“You know, the old Quinn Corvin would have leaned in and kissed me by now…” They were inches apart.
“I know.” Quinn leaned in slightly, and then pulled back. “That’s because the old Quinn Corvin didn’t really respect what he had. I’m. I’m sorry, Staci. I’m really sorry.”
The surprise was smeared over her face like blood. Quinn leaned in again and kissed her on the cheek.
“You going to come visit me?” He said, hefting his bags, “before I get bored and starts subverting all the people who I just helped put into place?”
Staci turned to watch him go and leaned against the rail, silhouetting against the dying light.
“I might,” she smiled.
“It’s a great house, right on the lake, rivers and trees and all kinds of shit.” He was backing up, voice being lost in the high altitude winds.
“Quinn!” she was suddenly standing rigid. “I-“
“I know, Stace” he called out. “I know.”
Quinn turned and quickened his pace, and Staci lost him among the hulking ships that mounted the platform, like beats on a duracrte plain.

-

“Come in, lieutenant Willaims.” Madine said, not looking up from the small holodisplay. Williams moved in front of his desk rigidly, waiting the Generals pleasure.
“Have a seat.” Madine gestured to a chair, and then picked up his drink, sipping it and wincing.
“I have called you here,” he said, bringing his weary eyes to meed Williams, “to inform you that you are now in command of Squad 8.”
Crash’s eyes flickered. “But – I. Sir I thought Commander Garott-”
“Commander Garott is no longer apart of this outfit, commander Williams. She has transferred to – well, to another station.”
“But sir she would have, that is she-”
“ – Is no longer your concern, Crash. Do I have to mention how big of a step this is for you?” Madine sipped at his drink.
“No, no sir apologies sir.”
“Good. You can move into former commander Garott’s quarters as soon as possible. Do me a favor and make sure that all the things she has packed up in there go to her new adress; there is a transport docking at Lantana in a few days, the Lynx07 that will be going to her new location.”
“Yes sir, and what location would that be?”
Madine sighed and leaned back in his seat, the years wearing heavy on his tired frame. “Not that it matters. I was in love once, commander.”
“No sir I just-”
“My wife I abandon because I valued freedom of this galaxy above my own personal happiness. I made a sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice so that a higher cause could be served. Do you feel the same way?”
“I do, yes sir.”
“Good. Then see to it that Ms. Garott’s things are taken to Lantana tomorrow, placed on the Lynx07 and taken to her new home on Hellhaven.
“He- Hellhaven, sir?”
“Yes, commander. Hellhaven.”

end.

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Interlude IV, Part III of III
Interface

Nobody likes talking to a con man.
At least, nobody likes talking to a con man whom they are certain is a con man. The fact is, if they didn’t know, they would probably love talking to someone like Quinn because he would have been telling them everything they wanted to hear, and made it taste good. But here, they knew what Quinn was; furthermore they knew what he had become, and the tight lipped, official looking beings draped in standard leadership garb were trading glances across the room like a bad trip, and Quinn was losing what little calm he had left.
“You are mistaken, I think.”

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Interlude IV: Part II of III
Object Mapping

The first three days were the worst.
Quinn wouldn’t stop screaming when he wasn’t soaking in sedatives, and the only person he called out for was Staci. When she would go to him, he would cling to her like a drowning man, and mutter incoherent rabble about space and a man coming to find them.
None of it made any sense.

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Interlude IV: Part I of III
Broken

This ship is a grave.
hanging limply in orbit around a massive, dying sun on the very edges of the galactic disc, the metal hulk spun slowly and seemed deprived of all function and completley dead without power coursing through her.
“Is this it?”
The com crackled doubtfully through invisible sheets of radiation being thrown from the surface of the dying sun; a last violent attempt at sustained function, like a man drowning in acid.
She sighed. “Yes, this is it.”
Moving her slim finger over the scout crafts holo display brought a shock of bright LED light from the search strobes on the crafts bow, illuminating the impotent wreck of the silhouetted ship.

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Interlude III, Part III: Quinn Corvin
No Heaven

One of the many unique things about the Synotech Mass Stunner is it’s arc. The cone of stun blast that leaves the barrel has a decent range, and fills a half dozen meters at the end with neural dampening organic ionization. It consumes three power packs per shot, and it rarely leaves anyone standing.
I groaned awake, the soft foam beneath me sensing the shift and making room, anticipating where I was going like a lover.
One of the many unique things about Hellhaven is that things that are needed, basic things, are already there.
Always.

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Interlude III, Part II: Quinn Corvin
Bones of the Sky

‘Fucking tourists.’
The Gun and Grave banked sharply around a Glesian transport, the huge turbine engines shimmering the fabric of space with fatal radiation just visible on the Human spectrum.
When that thing got to even a half civilized stardock, warning flags would halt her, and warships would threaten to blast her out of heaven if she made atmo. That meant skyhook, fines and citations; repairs that the dozens inside her couldn’t afford.
Oh look, another one.
My lips sneered involuntarily.
The space around Hellhaven was thick with metal and fission core; the lamps of a thousand engines shimmering against the pale star scape, and blotching the huge window of the planet before us.
I switched on the datanet coms to try and get a feel for the ragged gypsy fleet that clung to Hellhaven like the bodies around Endor.

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Interlude III, Part I: Quinn Corvin
Spoils of War

It was Sa’Mi who reminded me that I wasn’t committing suicide.
‘Oh right the packs!’ His shrill voice squeed over the open coms. Honestly, with the mountian falling bellow us, and the tunnels filling with magma behind us, I just wanted to see the sky again, one last time.
The charge down those blood red corridors had been nothing short of madness, and the rush and the pain left me ragged. We tore through the place like a grenade through flesh, the edifice of dark side magic bleeding molten rock behind our entry wound.
Fill the air with laser, with frag, with detonite; just keep moving.
Then Dorn turns on a lightsaber; what must that have felt like? How often had they said it’s not like a Jedi is coming down here. Laughter, manic and cold, stopped dead with the activation of a blade.
More laser fire, more grenades, like a blaster bolt through the gut, tearing. Just keep moving.
And then I jumped. I didn’t really think, didn’t have any plan other than getting out of that horrible place.
Just keep moving.

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Episode 13
Vanguard

Summary: Part IV of the 24-hour game-a-thon! The heroes meet with Madine, this time on board the Home One. Their mission to Sullust is crucial and Madine has a plan: the rebels are beginning a “large-scale” operation against the Empire and need to draw forces away. As a result, they need to stage a diversion at a crucial Imperial base – Sullust fits that bill. Madine promises to organize a ruse at Sullust, where the heroes will be asked to slip in during the assault and take down the Temple. There will be no back-up, no rescue. Using an Imperial shuttle, the heroes arrive in the middle of a space battle and land / crash near the temple. Once inside they battled Dark Jedi, Royal Guards, Prophets and Shadow Guards. The temple began to collapse and fill with molten lava, with the heroes diving out of a window and plummeting into the city. They were rescued by two X-wings before sending the Gun and Grave towards the Rebel rally point – Endor.

XP: 5000?

Rewards: Three Kalidor Crescents, awarded to Sa’mi, Dorn and Quinn for their efforts. This is effectively official “hero status” for anyone in the Rebel Alliance.

Important Notes: Took place in the battle of Sullust! They partied on Endor! While taking part in the “fleet massing near Sullust,” the heroes struck a MAJOR blow to the Empire. With the Emperor dead and the Secret Order exposed to the Rebels, this one-two punch will cripple the mighty Empire. The heroes are, well, Heroes of the Alliance now. What they choose to do with that is up to them! One important note: the heroes have exposed themselves to the Secret Order. No mere bounty will suffice (although the Empire will certainly put one out for the G&G). The heroes should know they will be actively hunted by Imperial Forces as significant outlaw threats from here on out.

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Episode 12
Vanquisher

Summary: Part III of the 24-hour game. The crew dispatched some Mandalorians and a powerful battle droid left as a test for them, then met with Cordanis – a female Mandalorian who controlled a vast array of forces and who bears the title Mandalore the Vindicator. She informed them of the meaning behind the two symbols: the pin-wheel is the mark of the Secret Order of the Empire, a coalition of powerful beings who control galactic politics behind the scenes. Cordanis and Vyr were members in the early days – Vyr because of his need for Order and hatred of the Jedi, and Cordanis because she was a member of the Mandalorian warriors who aligned themselves with Palpatine. During the Clone Wars, the Mandalorians set upon one another and were destroyed from within. She took over leadership and remained aligned with the Empire but has sought to unite her people and now wants to pull away and leave the Empire. She will sell out the Secret Order if the heroes can take down her rival – the owner of the other symbol – a man called Dymos, who calls himself Mandalore the Vanquisher. The heroes travel to Malastare, infiltrate his mountain base, destroy his drug operations and execute him and his men. The heroes are rewarded with the location of a Secret Order Temple on Sullust.

XP: 5000?

Rewards:

Important Notes: The heroes liberated a Dug slave named Sargento who remains on the Grave. They also made contact with a Janahar Hutt called Barro, who helped the heroes by telling them about Sargento. He was impressed with their skill at dispatching Dymos. Thus the heroes have gained further influence within the Janahar Hutt Clan.

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Episode 11
Vindicator

Summary: Part II of the 24-hour game had the heroes traveling to the industrial nightmare of Eriadu. They made contact with a Mandalorian named Varn, who was willing to help them – if they could prove their beliefs and actions aligned with the Mandalorians. He sent them to a armorer, Majento, who tasked them with recovering a ship from an Imperial impound. Smugglers bringing supplies into the colony (mostly weapons and illegal mods for their armor) had been caught but the cargo had not been discovered. The heroes broke into the facility, stole the ship, blew the place to pieces and navigated through the trenches of the city back to a hidden garage. This gained them enough respect with Varn that he passed on the location and means to contact Cordanis in orbit above the planet. There, in a massive orbiting dry-dock, the heroes came face to face with the Crescent Ship, now identified as the Vindicator.

XP: 4500 (again, I’m not sure)

Important Notes: The heroes are now known to several high-ranking Mandalorians of Cordanis’ faction. Should they ever return to Eriadu they will be well met. Mandalorian Warriors who are associate with Cordanis or have heard the tale of their suicide-mission to steal back a ship from impound will treat them with respect.

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