More machines than men

Jaina Terris

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Eadu
-Secret research facility-​

As Jaina's ship descended upon the platform the vessel was being met by two battle droids emerging from the insides of the station and onto the rainy platform. Just minutes ago the ship passed the security check and avoided multiple turrets mounted at the side of the mountains from shooting at it as Jaina used the access codes provided by the Sith Council. The droids approached the ship followed by an old man dressed in white and adorned by cybernetics around his body.


Hereck Gaan
Age:60
Member of the Sith Eternal
Scientist and researcher known for his exploits in the field of cybernetics and droid manufacturing​

Hereck slowly followed the droids as the two raised an arm, aiming their wrist mounted blasters at the now descending ramp of Jaina's ship. The Sith woman made her way down the ramp slowly, her form and face covered by her black robes, onto the rainy platform ahead. ''Identify yourself.'' Hereck commanded, his voice sounding old and gravely and with only a slight hint of mechanization underlying his words. ''Jaina Terris.'' the woman responded, her lip slightly curving in an almost friendly gesture ''On behalf of the Sith Council Hereck, the codes that allowed me to get passed your turrets being further proof.''

Hereck observed her for a moment before speaking to his two droids ''Lower your weapons, she checks out.'' The claim brought a further smile on her face and she greeted it with a mock semi bow as the droids lowered their arms and stood back. ''Apologies but a man can never be cautious enough, though your codes checked out I still needed some more concrete confirmation.'' he explained as Jaina walked down the platform and in between two droids ''Of course.'' she added.

Hereck turned a heel a made his way back towards the station ''Come, no need to stay here and get soaked.'' Jaina followed the old man as she was flanked by the two battle droids while Hereck was walking several feet in front of them. With his back turned he spoke again ''It's been a long time since the Council last contacted me, let alone sending someone to do so in person.'' Jaina eyed the two battle droids from beneath her hood before responding to Hereck ''A lot of things have went down, my guess is they need your services now more than ever.''

Hereck met her words almost instantly ''The attacks on Corucsant ? The systematic hunts of the Jedi ? Or perhaps the 'experiment' on Nar Shaada ? I know that which you speak of girl, just because I choose to recluse myself does not mean that I am not on top of things.'' The four of them had made it inside the station, the door closing behind them as the sound of rain finally stopped. Before them stretched out a wide hallway with a single direction leading towards another giant set of doors.
''Then you shouldn't be surprised that they are reaching out to you for your service at this time ?'' She asked the old man that was frankly more machine than man now. Hereck walked with a slight slump, he was around Jaina's height, dressed in a tight white garment of some sort that wrapped itself tightly around his neck-or what was left of it. The neck part of Hereck was donned with multiple cybernetics as well as his face. Multiple metallic tubes plates and circuits wrapped themselves around the old scientists face and his left arm, that was left sleeveless seemed to be fully cybernetic. She couldn't tell about his legs since they were covered with the white garment he wore and some large grey boots.

''Perhaps. I imagine they need some sort of reinforcements to their ranks, expecting some improvements and breakthroughs in my field that would give them the advantage.'' Hereck continued as the four made their way across the hallway and in front of the door leading to the next room. The door instantly opened as soon as Hereck approached and they were greeted by a wider, almost vacant room. ''I know they don't need droid reinforcements since that's not what this facility is for and I told them that the main project will take some time before it's ready, but the Sith were never a patient bunch.''

Inside this almost completely vacant room Jaina couldn't help but notice a number of security cams all around the rooms corners as well as four mounted turrets. Two were clinging to the wall in the far corners of the room, parallel to each other and the other two were mounted onto the ground directly bellow the first two. ''And aare you not.. Sith ?'' Jaina playfully asked, the slight smile never leaving her face. ''By denomination - Yes. By circumstance - Yes. But before all else I am a man of science.''

Hereck opened the door at the end of the room and finally turned towards Jaina and the two droids. ''And I am also not a fool.'' he said with clear confidence ''I know full well why the council sent you here. I had to make sure who was on the vessel in order to plan my next course of action, taking out a Council member and taking out a mere errand dog is simply not the same.'' It was clear now, without a shadow of a doubt - He was onto her task here.
 
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Jaina Terris

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-When Jaina first received the mission she was more than eager to get her assignment under way. It was her first official Sith mission and it seemed to be coming straight from the Council itself. Completing the task meant satisfying the ones on top which included Darth Vyrassu and further propelled the beginnings of her rise through the ranks and acknowledgement from the Sith's most important members. She knew not of Hereck prior to this mission, getting all the details on the old man through her briefing and holopads. Apparently Hereck was an old cybernetic enthusiast that worked for the Sith for years either upgrading existing droid models or building cybernetic replacements where they were needed. He was put in charge or a large project a few years ago and was granted funding and resources by the Council themselves. However not all things seemed to flow smoothly... There were a number of scientist and mad doctors within the Sith and a good deal of them seemed to follow the same trend - they all cared more about their machinations and experiments more than the actual Sith themselves, only using the Order as a means to an end. This was fine to a degree, as long as it did not become detrimental to the order in any way and this is where Hereck made his mistake...

Whether it was the hermit lifestyle he had led for a past few years that did a number on his judgement or was he perhaps always as arrogant and foolish, in any case Hereck made a great mistake of thinking he could double cross the Sith and play multiple sides. The word reached some of the council members of his 'bellow the counter' deals and associations with certain several independent crime faction groups. These dealings were done solely for his own sake, or more accurately for the sake of his experiments, in which Hereck presented a great danger to the Sith establishment. The man's almost well known disregard of anything but his own deluded ambitions led the Council to believe that he wouldn't stop at anything to further his goals, even if it meant leaking information about the Sith and working with other factions behind the Order's back.

How exactly the council got this information remained unknown to Jaina but her mission in any case was clear - To eliminate Hereck and his apprentice, find all the information about the groups he was associated with and leave as much of his work untouched as the Sith still had use for it.-

Present time​
Standing in the wide room adorned with cameras all over and staring at Hereck now it seemed the cat was out of the bag. The old man was aware that she was here to kill him and he carefully lured her into this 'death room' so to say...
 

Jaina Terris

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Hereck clicked the electronic device on his left wrist which made the turrets produce a humming sound as if to signal they were activated and non chalantly commanded the droids to deal with her. ''Execute the woman.''

To his surprise though the battle droids, instead of springing to action, slumped down as if they were shut down. Hereck wasn't the only one being careful, as soon as Jaina noticed the droids flanking her at every step she made sure to strap a disabler device on each of their backs, her great skills of cloaking her movement and the Force helping her do so without being noticed. And as Hereck clicked the device on his wrist Jaina activated a device of her own, triggering the disabler and stopping the droids in place. Knowing the two machines would not cause a threat if the conflict like this erupted the girl was able to fully concentrate on the four turrets that were coming to life now at Hereck's command.

She arched her back forward, both arms in front of her, fingers twisted and twitching as she tried to change the direction of the barrels just before the shots were fired. She aimed the two ceiling turrets downwards towards the other two and vice versa. The machines firing and destroying one another as the room was filled with smoke and sparks. Hereck had already closed and shut the door and was on the other side, making his way further into the facility.
Jaina covered her face with her arm, coughing slightly as the smoke cleared. Making another scan of the room with her eyes she made sure there was no more death traps in the vicinity. She approached the door and pondered for a second should she try and slice the command terminal that was to her side or brute force it open with her lightsaber. Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice.

''If you're wondering how you're gonna force it open...''
Hereck! The voice was echoing seemingly coming from many directions at once. She turned around the room noticing the voice was coming from speakers underneath the many cameras within the room. ''..worry not. I'll gladly do it for you.'' the old man said with what she could only assume was a smug smile on his face as she was more than certain that something was gonna come out from that other side of the door.

Jaina stepped back from the door as she heard metallic noises coming from the other side and crouched down maintaining herself on the tips of her feet as she reached for The Force around her.
 
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Jaina Terris

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As the door opened four battle droids armed with blaster rifles came charging inside the room but instead of firing instantly the machines stopped and seemed to be looking around the room for their target, blasters aimed. It was a square almost empty room with no place to hide and yet seemingly the assassin had disappeared from sight.

Force cloak was a technique that allowed the user to mask and conceal themselves within their surroundings even being able to avoid detection from mechanical devices. Though it worked best where there was either a crowd of people or more objects in the surroundings and while the user was at least ten meters away from any eye searching for them Jaina had remained completely still and had drawn on the Force to such an extend that the droids were unable to locate her as they entered even with less than ten meters apart between the Sith and the machines.

With such circumstances however it would only be a matter of time before one of them would eventually either be able to detect her or simply bumped into the woman and in a feat of great speed Jaina leaped from the tips of her toes, springing up from her crouching position and towards the droids as she became visible. The machines fired simultaneously at the spot where Jaina leaped from but the shots missed as the Sith was already mid air in between their formation. Dual crimson blades of her saberstaff ignited as she leaped towards her droid enemies in an arching motion and descended between them, driving her weapon in a circular, diagonal sweep around her axis.

She landed on her feet, bent over forward with her right leg sticking out as if she was kneeling, both of her arms stretched to their sides with her right arm holding the lightsaber. The descending strike she made met all her targets, one droid being cut through his weapon, arms and his torso being severed, other two diagonally cut from their head through their torsos and one beheaded. The machines all fell to the ground, sparks sizzling from their circuits and cauterized remains. She rose up to her feet and made her way through the now opened door into a different room, this one slightly more narrow but also brandishing cameras all over the corners.

''If you're going to continue to bombard me with mere droids I gotta disappoint you, I had training sessions more dangerous than your automaton protectors here.'' She said eyeing one of the cameras from beneath her hood as she made her way through the room, clearly taunting Hereck. Her saber was still ignited, she didn't know if a turret or a droid would jump out of somewhere and try to attack her again and she made concentrated effort to push her awareness further into The Force, into her surroundings trying to sense what lied ahead. Jaina moved with no sense of rush to her steps, she was quite sure that Hereck would not attempt to escape and simply leave all of his work and projects behind. That is why he tried so hard to kill her quickly. With Jaina dead and not reporting back the Sith would be delayed for a short time but giving Hereck enough time to pack anything he needed from the station and make his escape. So his priority of killing the Council's assassin was evident to both.

As she probed the facility through the Force Jaina wasn't trying to detect potential movement of machines that would come to attack her yet again but was instead looking for particular life signs. Hereck was quite an obvious presence in The Force and she could deduce that he was hauled off somewhere deeper in the facility but what she was looking for was not him...

Remembering the briefing from the mission Jaina knew of the existence of an apprentice that shared the project with Hereck. If anything he would be the one posing any actual threat if the droid attacks so far were anything to judge by.
 

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Hereck stood in a rounded room, shut down by large door and one half of the circular room covered with windows looking down to a factory track beneath. The room itself was suspended and was connected with the ground floor of the facility by an ascending ramp making it look more like an observatory of some sort. The inside of the room was mostly grey tinted walls and steel and it was filled with work benches and a large number of computer terminals. On one of the desks was a display screen showing Jaina dismantling the droid attackers she did before and making her way further through the station.

Hereck moved away from the screen to an adjacent terminal and clicked one of the devices on it. He spoke to the figure that appeared as a quarter sized hologram. ''Aslaan... the Council had sent an assassin to end our mission here and our lives with it. We must deal with the assailant and move quickly before they have time to track us. She is moving through the central line of the facility and towards the observatory, get on the ground floor quickly... I shall mount the Orb Droids to come and assist you. It is time for your beta testing.'' the old man said with a crooked smirk with the figure replying only with ''On my way.. master.''

Hereck cut the transmission and moved to one of the other terminals starting the docking protocols which would give commands to all the worker droids to prepare his ship and start storing some of the crates and containers previously prepared. It would take time to pack up all the necessary equipment though especially the machines that were being actively used.
 
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Jaina Terris

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Jaina made her way across the hallway, then another vacant room and across yet another hallway and nothing seemed to attack her yet. She made conscious effort to search for life within the facility but besides Hereck the only the thing she could detect was a small life sign somewhere on the lower levels of the facility. As she made her way across the last hallway it seemed as the life sign started moving upwards and in a straight line. An elevator of some sort ? But the 'signal' within The Force was so small and fleeting she had started to ask herself was Hereck's apprentice a Jawa or some other lowely tiny creature.

Reaching the end of the hallway the door opened and she was greeted with another room. This one however was different, it spread out to both left and right. The left side being a short, ten meter hallway and a large door like the ones she encountered before and the right side hallway seemed to spread quite longer and even curving to a side. In front of her was an elevator that seemed to be arriving on the floor at this moment. Jaina bent her knees and held out her saberstaff in front of her in a horizontal position as the elevator light turned green and the door started opening.

What she saw staggered the girl and even though most of her face was concealed her jaw slightly dropped as she gazed upon the man exiting the elevator. A cybernetic monstrosity emerged, easily 6.5 in height, fully wrapped in some sort of armor up to his literal nose only the upper part of the figure's face giving away any hint that he was human. Was this what was left of Hereck's apprentice ?


Aslaan
Apprentice to Hereck Gaan and the main test subject in his experiments
87% of his body cybernetically replaced and refitted​

The cybernetic apprentice held the hilt of his lightsaber in his left hand as he emerged out of the elevator. With a click the crimson blade was activated and he raised it above his head before bringing it down full strength towards Jaina.
 

Jaina Terris

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Even as she was stunned by the appearance of the monstrosity before her Jaina acted quickly meeting Aslaan's blade with her own angled so that the strike of the cyborg was redirected. She soon realized that she was extremely lucky that she had chosen that particular defensive maneuver as the strength behind Aslaan's strike was more than tremendous and if she had met the blade head on she was likely to be pummeled to death through her guard. He immediately transitioned into another strike as the first one was deflected and from the same position his blade had ended up in after the initial strike. This time trying a horizontal bisecting slash still holding the hilt of his blade with both of his mechanical hands.

Aware of the might behind the cybernetic warrior's attacks Jaina was sure that he would quite possibly break through both her and her block if she had attempted it and instead ducked down underneath the blade as his strike was thrown and slashed at an obvious opening -his shoulder. The blade of her saberstaff connected sending sparks sprinkling out as it connected with Aslaan's armor but instead of cutting through the blade bounced off leaving only a small burning dent within her enemy's arm. Aslaan made no sound that would indicate that he was in pain nor did he flinch instead the apprentice swung towards her again in a similar slicing manner as before which Jaina was able to dodge pivoting on her leg and getting some distance between the two.

Things were starting to click into place. The 'armor' of Hereck's apprentice, the feint life signs she detected earlier... All pointed out to the fact that most of this man's body and organs had been completely replaced by cybernetics to make him into this thing and the 'armor' that he was wearing was actually what he called his body now. Still it must have been damn expensive if it is able to resist saber strikes like that.

''What's the matter ? In awe of the Master's genius ?'' the apprentice spoke, mechanized gravely voice tinged with an underlying tone that was once probably a smooth human voice. The room echoed as Hereck joined him over the speakers ''True genius. What you'd try to achieve with decades of training and devotion to The Force I'd dwarf it with the power of technology, eliminating all the weaknesses of the flesh - a true leap in evolution.'' the scientist boasted over the speakers as Jaina and Aslaan exchanged a few more blows. Hereck was a fool, and an arrogant and misguided one at that. She couldn't think anything of him but as a deluded man that strayed from the true path. This was not power, delving into cybernetics and droids and fully and consciously rejecting both the Sith teachings and The Dark Side of the Force was an idiotic mistake in her eyes and the slight apprehensiveness she felt when she first looked upon Aslaan quickly faded and was replaced by stern confidence and burning passion. Confidence in her own ways and ideologies and the gleaming flaws and foolishness of Hereck's. She was not to be defeated by a crazy old hermit and his droid man who had abandoned the just teachings and true power in place of some lower values even going as far to be arrogant and dumb enough to mock them.

Jaina snarled through her teeth as she deflected one of Aslaan's strikes to the side. Throughout the whole exchange she was moving backwards through the shorter hallway and now she was nearing the door behind her. She was about to reach for The Force and push on the terminal to the side of the door to open it but to her surprise Hereck didn't even bother to shut it and the door opened as soon as the assassin got near to it. Looking slightly over her shoulder she noticed the room behind was much wider and had large windows to each of the sides. She leaped backwards calling on The Force to assist her jump and landed in the center of the room far away from the cybernetic apprentice that was still making his way through the hallway not bothering to rush his step.
 

Jaina Terris

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Jaina twirled her blade slowly from one side to the other as she watched Aslaan make his way across the short hallway towards the room she was in. She had begun to understand how the cyborg fights and operates. Most of his body was replaced by those cybernetics and they were either made of or reinforced by some sort of saber resistant material meaning the man essentially took no damage from otherwise lethal strikes and further more he felt no pain, no flinching, nothing to stop him from relentlessly attacking while disregarding his well being and defenses. The one exposed thing was the upper part of his face which he went out of his way to almost always be able to guard, favoring overhead stances and attack patters so as to always have his blade or arm nearby to stop a potential head hit.

If he had some refined technique with the blade he failed to show it, instead opting on linear and direct unrelenting assaults relying on his ability to take hits without reprecusions and focusing only on attack and throwing any semblance of a technique out the window. At the moment he moved slowly through the corridor but that was likely due to his confidence in this fight rather than his inability to move faster. Though not being sluggish or slow the cyborg was still a far cry from a fast fighter and that was the biggest edge the speed based Jaina had over him in this bout.

As she assessed all the factors surrounding the battle she heard a buzzing sound coming from the hallway and behind Aslaan. Two flying Orb Droids had moved passed the cyborg and made their way into the room. They both fired from the glowing part in the center of their bodies but the Sith was quick and efficient in deflecting the bolts to the side, her dedicated training of the Soresu Form having granted her the ability to deal with overwhelming assaults with minimal movement and maximum efficiency the Orb Droid's somewhat slow blasts seemed like a joke. The two droids hovered around the room as they fired closing in on Jaina when suddenly a long metallic appendage, similar to scorpion tail, stretched out from behind one of the droid's backs, going under his body and striking at Jaina in a sweeping motion.

Her reflexes saving her life as she jumped to the side and rolled over dodging the unexpected strike. Not taking her eyes of either of her opponents as she dodged she noticed the other droid release the same appendage towards her in a piercing motion. Jaina side stepped the attack and struck the tail with her blade but only seemed to barely scratch the surface of the droid weapon as her blade bounced off of it. ''Great! Same material as the apprentice!'' she thought to herself. She made sure to try and keep Aslaan in sight as she engaged the droids but he seemed to stand on the entrance of the room and not advancing further. Dodging two more lashing tail strikes from the Orb Droids she noticed the machines subtly retreat backwards. Her instincts kicking in she turned her attention to Aslaan immediately.

Aslan stood at the entrance of the room, saber held in one arm and his other one extended forward towards Jaina. Was it an attack with the Force ? No she hadn't felt anything of the sort but instead noticed a compartment detach and open on the man's wrist revealing a small mounted rocket. Her eyes locked onto the weapon and widened underneath her hood.

Though she seemed surprised, and to an extend she sure was, she was not unprepared. Not moving an inch before the rocket started to detach from the man's wrist Jaina waited patinently for a split second that seemed like an eternity. At the exact moment of the missile launching she leaped sideways towards one of the large windows pushing violently with The Force in order to break the glass telekinetically sooner than with her body. The window indeed shattered sending it's broken pieces outside but at the same time the missile had crashed into a wall that was behind Jaina before she jumped away an caused a rather big but localized explosion. The force of the detonation further pushing Jaina away out of the window as she was mid jump.
 

Jaina Terris

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Plummeting down from the window propelled even further by the force of the explosion Jaina managed to make the 10 - 15 meter fall with a relative success. She called upon the Force once again to try and slow her fall and landed into a sideways roll on the concrete trying her best to augment her body with The Force as best as she could. She rolled a couple of meters and ended on her knees and with her breath heavy. It seemed that she landed on a landing platform similar to the one she arrived to with her ship only this one was apparently placed on the lateral side of the facility. There was no ship on the platform but there were several groups of crates scattered around it. Just like the first platform this one also had a large door at the end of it leading inside the facility.

Above the door was the round room she had ejected herself from previously and looking up she saw the two Orb Droids appear through the broken window and start their descent towards her. The droids didn't waste time and started firing instantly at Jaina's position as they descended. She got off her knees and with a flick of her finger her saberstaff was once again ignited. Again fending the droid's blaster bolt to the side with ease she continued to deflect them sideways until the two Orb Droids had made it down the platform she was standing on. Deciding now was the right time and range Jaina met the next couple of their bolts with her blade but this time making a dedicated effort to deflect the bolts back at her assailants. One for each droid the bolts flew through the air and just before meeting the black dome that was the body of the droids they dissipated in a flash of light as if they were stopped by something.

''Ray shields!'' she instantly realized her mind quickly scraping up a rough image of the enemy based on what little facts she had gathered. The tail like appendages were certainly not protected by any shields as was demonstrated when she struck one just moments before. They were however made out of the same material as whatever coated Aslaan's cybernetics and were resistant to her saber strikes. She had deflected the bolts back to the two droids hoping to just stagger and off balance the machines as she assumed they must have been made from that same material but seeing the ray shields just now proved that wasn't the case. For whatever reason Hereck didn't coat the droid's bodies with the same material, perhaps it was rare or expensive or perhaps it didn't configure well with something regarding the droid design, she did not know but she was sure as hell glad that wasn't the case. Hereck only made their tails with that same material as he intended them to be used at a mid range and possibly against lightsabers while he donned the bodies of the Orb Droids with protective ray shields to avoid them getting destroyed by their own deflected shots.

-Which meant that underneath those shields they were vulnerable.-

Jaina twisted the hilt of her saberstaff splitting it into two separate lightsabers, holding both in a reverse grip as the staff hilt dismantled. She swung her arms and threw the sabers towards the droids, retracting their blades before she sent her weapons flying. Immediately after the Sith leaped forward and rolled dodging the incoming blaster bolts from the droids. The two hilts flew through the air and neared the droids round bodies. What transpired next might have lasted for only a fraction of a second but it was akin to a quickdraw showdown, something some rouge gunsligers on some back end lawless planet might practice. The Orb Droid's 'eyes' glowed indicating that the blaster bolt was incoming as the hilts of Jaina's weapons neared their two targets.

It came down to this.
The speed of the executed moves.
Would the droid fire first ?
Or would Jaina successfully hit it before it does.

There was a moment of deep concentration that seemed longer than it was for Jaina, everything went almost silent. Not completely but muffled and turned into background noise certainly. All she could hear was the droid's eye that served as a blaster heat up as it was about to release it's shot and the dull sound off her spinning hilts as they were cutting through the air. And all she could see with clear focus were the hilts flying and the shapes of the droid's bodies.

She snapped her thumb and middle finger of her right hand together as the sounds and images of her surroundings came back to her. As soon as her fingers met both of her hilts ignited, now positioned inches in front and to the side of the droids, and pierced the two floating machines straight down the middle before cutting them in two. The sparking remains of the Orb Droids plummeted to the ground as Jaina grabbed both of her returning weapons. Still the danger was far from over. She immediately looked up towards the room the droids came from and saw the mechanical monstrosity that was Aslaan fly through the air as he jumped down onto the landing platform she was occupying.
 

Jaina Terris

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The metal feet struck the ground forming cracks in the concrete beneath them as Aslaan landed on the platform. Pointing his blade straight towards Jaina he spoke through the mechanical mask covering the lower half of his face. ''You caused enough damage assassin. This ends now.'' The two speakers on the side of the large door behind Aslaan the ones leading off of the landing platform and into the facility produced a loud static noise before stabilizing and Hereck's voice echoed again. ''Perhaps this is for the best. Though the Orb Droids are expensive to make and replace she actually proved smart and skilled enough to defeat them, I was certain they'd be the end of her before you.'' Hereck spoke, the last part of the sentence sounding as if he was mumbling to himself, thinking out loud. ''In any case.'' he continued ''This will make your victory over her even more meaningful and will further prove the true genius of our work here.''
There was a moment of silence filled with only the sound of pouring rain as the drops slammed against the landing platform before Hereck spoke again.
''Go Aslaan. Finish her! And we shall resume our work in peace...''

The cyborg charged at Jaina and she did just the same. Both screaming as they did though Jaina's roar as menacing as it was sounded much more human than the distorted mechanical sound that came from Aslaan. He swung diagonally from his upper right side to his lower left in a cleaving motion, holding onto the hilt with both of his hands. Jaina mirrored the maneuver swinging from her upper left side, both of her lightsabers parallel and next to each other as she did. She met his blade with her own two before Aslaan could strike her and deflected the attack to the side. With a large opening now presented as Aslaan's chest and head were exposed, his blade redirected sideways Jaina attempted to strike the cyborg but took great measure not to overextend for this attack noting the cyborg's immunity to pain and immediate counter attack capabilities. The other issue was the fact that she wasn't currently in full range and the height of her opponent made it even more difficult to strike at his head before being killed by Aslaan's inevitable second strike. Instead Jaina rotated in place by a full 360 degrees, her arms stretched out to the sides, scraping his chest with the tip of one of her lightsaber's blades as Aslaan pulled slightly back and at the same time pulled his lightsaber for a diagonal slash. Jaia wasn't fully done with her rotation maneuver and was around a 240 degree angle when the blade of her opponent came towards her abbdomen.

Predicting such a simple line of attack she used the momentum of her pivot and struck the tip of his blade with the lightsaber she held in her right hand once again redirecting Aslaan to the side as she finished her rotation. The momentum of his swing and her deflection strike aiding it even throwing the cyborg just slightly to the side. Aslaan planned to use the momentum to his advantage and let it spin him in place as he now tried rotating 360 degrees around his axis and delivering another bisecting slash. At the same time Jaina transitioned her own finished previous rotation into another one but this time stepping back as she spun gracefully. Aslaan's strike met only air as Jaina created some distance between the two. The cyborg was relentless though and he instantly went on to another attack swinging from left to right and doing so in succession as he tried to shorten the distance between them. Some strikes Jaina deflected and redirected and others she dodged though she realized that every time she did meet his blade the power of his blows was pressuring her too much that the next strike she almost always had to evade not wanting to risk letting him bludgeon her with his greater strength.

Aslaan swung from an overhead position down to his left with a distorted scream. Jaina ducked down, as fast as a lightning bolt and raised her right arm attempting to strike at the side of his head. Before she could do so Aslaan let go of the grip on his saber with his right hand and plunged it into Jaina's face, hitting her side. The impact caused her to be thrown back and the sharp pain in her face blinded her for a moment. She fell on her back, still maintaining the grip on both of her weapons and heard the cyborg making his way towards her. Instinctively she rolled back from her downed position onto her feet in a crouching position, still staggering, as the blade of her enemy missed her, slashing at the concrete floor she was laying on just a second before. Squinting her right eye as she was struck in her cheek bone Jaina relied on her other good eye as her vision was finally getting back. Blurry but she could make out shapes, and in such a straight forward battle and with such a large enemy she was faster than it was acceptable. Aslaan's blade came for her again and this time Jaina jumped back from her crouching position dodging the slash before jumping backwards once again to create distance as her senses finally came back to her.

The woman snarled in anger at the cyborg with her right cheek already starting to bruise and show signs of trauma. It was quite possible that the cyborg's strike partially fractured her cheek bone. Aslaan seemed to smile with his eyes pleased that he was getting to the assassin finally before starting his attack yet again.
 

Jaina Terris

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They charged each other once again.

Exchanging strikes at close quarters Jaina jumped, flipped and rotated every strike or two as she tried to generate enough momentum to meed Aslaan's blade or dodge it. Amidst the exchange of blows Aslaan swung his blade horizontally, as he had the habit of doing, to bisect Jaina, a maneuver she ducked down under. Instantly Aslaan brought his blade back same direction as it came for the previous strike but aimed more downwards than before as if he had anticipated her choice of evasion from the start. Still in the crouching position as she ducked down the first attack Jaina cartwheeled over the incoming blade in a display of simultaneous grace and power, Aslaan's blade missing her body parts by inches and with a sound of a saber cutting through she landed on her feet.

Aslaan stood firmly, both feet planted onto the ground, lightsaber held with both of his hands and positioned vertically towards the ground in a 90 degree angle. He was completely still yet if one was to look up the cyborgs body from the ground up everything seemed to be in perfect order. That is... until they'd turn their eyes up to gaze at the tall man's face. The upper part of Aslaan's head was completely gone, only a cauterized surface sparking around it's edges that melted together with the face mask that covered the lower part of his face. Jaina's cartwheel maneuver was not just a mere dodge as the woman was able to drive one of her two lightsaber's blades through the exposed part of Aslaan's head, cutting it off clean.

Jaina held one of her sabers in front of her and the other to her side, back bent over forward a bit as she circled around Aslaan's motionless body being cautious not to turn her back if some sort of self destruct mechanism activated or an integrated computer took control over it or something. Looking at him like this, with the only part revealing him as a human severed he looked like an armor standing displayed at a shop, his arms still firmly fixed on his hilt and the lightsaber ignited. Assured that there would be no more of the cybernetic apprentice and with her paranoia subsiding a bit Jaina retracted both of her lightsaber's blades and made his way back inside the facility, placing the dorsal part of her wrist on her hurt cheek bone as if to check the damage she was meet with a sharp warm pain spreading through her face that she had followed with a pained hiss through her teeth.
 

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She entered the station once again, water dripping from her soaked robes as she eyed the floor she was on. Similarly to the previous layout of rooms and hallways this lateral entrance to the facility seemed to uphold the same architectural notions and the interior was barely different with more cameras on the corners of the room. ''Don't have much to say after I broke your toy ?'' Jaina said in a monotone possibly due to still lingering anger and frustration from the previous fight and her injury as she looked up to one of the cameras. There was no response from the speakers and she decided to move further inside regardless assuming she'd take the same elevator Aslaan used to get one floor up and back on the route towards wherever Herreck was hauled off.

Inside the observatory Hereck looked upon the camera feed from the platform outside, his other still human arm holding onto his chin as his eyes narrowly followed the ongoing fight between Jaina and his apprentice. It took him a moment after Jaina's cartwheel slicing maneuver landed before realizing that the fight was indeed over and his eyes wrinkled and a vein bulged on his forehead, even one of his cybernetic eye implants opening and closing as if it was blinking rapidly in frustration. Still Hereck remained silent in his frustration and turned to another terminal. As he walked over to the computer he pondered on his next course of action. Truly he had placed all his bets on Aslaan killing the assassin and now that plan was out of the picture. Getting away to a landing platform wasn't an option either since there was only one route from the observatory and he was bound to bump into her on the way there and besides he wasn't too keen on leaving all his work and research just like that. He had heard Jaina's taunt directed towards him as he prepared another squad of droids on his work terminal. Making his way back to the desk that held screens with multiple camera feeds Hereck pressed and held a button on the desk and spoke into a device protruding from it.

''Not half bad girl but Aslaan was still in his testing phase.'' he spoke calmly, referring to his apprentice as if he was a project of some sort. ''And on top of that he wasn't particulary skilled in combat, no doubt that if the enhancements were made on a different subject the results would have been... different.'' he thought for a second, could there be a way to sway the girl's mind ? It was unlikely, she seemed the archaic Sith type, the ones he'd butted heads so many times over and over. Still he could have use for her one way or the other, especially now that Aslaan was dead.

Herreck picked up a small comm device and attached it to a cybernetic plate on his cheek then made his way over to a work bench on the other side of the room. ''There is still time to change your choices. I'm a man of science, a reasonable man, I don't need to kill you for any other reason other than you trying to kill me, Aslaan wasn't my only means of protection. Do you understand what I'm saying.'' he spoke into the comm device attached to his cheek as he dismounted a joint in the cybernetic forearm of his left hand. Jaina's response came rather quickly ''What's this ? Now you're trying to beg your way out of this ? Please.. I was gonna say how genuinely surprised I was to how you took the death of your apprentice and what seemed to be your 'masterpiece' since I really expected you to go into some deluded hysteric frenzy but this is just pathetic Hereck.''

Hereck chuckled stiffly at Jaina's remark ''Suit yourself girl. You can work with me willingly or forcefully...'' perhaps he was indeed still somewhat deluding himself that he could come out on top from this confrontation and didn't want to face the truth or perhaps he truly believed that he'd be able to deal with the assassin even after his cybernetic apprentice fell. As he spoke over the comm Hereck was now mounting what seemed to be a miniaturized arm cannon onto his left cybernetic arm in place of his usual prosthetic and was finishing attaching the final joints and wires.
 

Jaina Terris

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Making her way to the elevator Jaina took it up one floor and existed in the same area where had first encountered Aslaan. Taking the long curving hallway the woman was on the right path straight to the observatory where Hereck was hauled off in. Reaching the end of it she found herself in a rounded room, on the far end of it a door that was in the process of opening up and a ramp leading to the only entrance to the observatory. As her awareness was spread forward through The Force in order to locate Hereck and navigate her way through the facility Jaina was also able to pick up on some activity behind the door. More droids she was certain. Making it to the end of the room with a huge leap Jaina landed in a crouching position in front of the opening doors. Conjoining the two of her hilts together into a single longer one she propelled herself forward like a missile in a rotating manner. The droid fired at her previous position but the Sith's own exceeding speed combined with the needed augmentation by The Force was far too great for the machine's computer to properly follow and process and as they fired at a spot she no longer occupied Jaina ignited her saberstaff, rotating it around her already rotating body in a blurring flurishes of crimson light and literally cut her way through the four droids.

Landing again with her back hunched over she looked over her shoulder confirming that indeed she had gotten all of the droids. Four were dismantled some of them falling off the ramp and others only having the parts of their bodies that were cut off by the Sith's weapon fall. Jaina looked up the ascending ramp that led towards the door of the observatory. On the corners above the door laid two security cameras. She brought her right hand up and clenched her fist slowly which ripped out both of the security cameras out of their joints and pulled them down the large fall beneath the ramp. With no more cameras in sight in the room Hereck had no way of monitoring her next action and she made her way up to the door. Jaina took a second to think and then went over to the opening terminal that was at the side of the large door. She reached her left hand out gently, the one in which the saberstaff was now held in and the weapon levitated out of her hand and to the center of the door. With a sharp flick of the wrist the saber stabbed into the large metal door starting to carve it's way through the middle.

However the concentration she exerted for this maneuver was minimal, just enough so that she could levitate the saber, and the movement of it as it carved through the door was equally conservative, moving only up and down. The reason behind this was that her true purpose lied elsewhere as it would soon be clear as Jaina clicked the button on the terminal and started to slice it to force the door open that way. She knew that Hereck would be waiting for her inside in one way or the other, perhaps turrets pointed at her or even more droids and the levitating saber maneuver was there to hide her true location and reveal the nature of his attack.
 

Jaina Terris

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Though she was never too tech savvy, having a slightly above average general knowledge in droid functions and repairs, Jaina was always quite skilled with slicing. Hereck's terminal had seemed to be nothing special and the code encryption locking the gate cracked quickly as the woman forced it open.

Inside of the room Hereck stood almost at the far end after he noticed his security feed go static. Seconds after he would see the tip of the crimson blade stick through the door that separated him and the assassin as it began to carve through it. Now more confident than ever before since Aslaan was killed he brought his left hand, that was now effectively a cannon, up and took aim at the door. The weapon produced a continuous sign that was a mixture of a hum and buzzing noises as it prepared to fire. He was certain that as soon as Jaina forced the door open he would have a clear shot at her position. The door started to open but it was a bit prematurely as the saber was yet to cut through it properly. The saber blade itself disappearing from sight as if it was retracted when the door started to open. Confused a bit Hereck still knew he had to react quickly and perhaps out of the desperation and fear of the assassin's previously displayed speed he fired the weapon that was not his left arm.

A giant laser bolt hit the ground in front of the observatory as the door opened and another soon followed causing a screen of smoke to engulf the area around the door. Jaina crouched down with her back against the wall and twisted her head to the side to shield her self as the shots fired at nothing. The power behind the blasts seemed to be enough to take a rancor down or even properly damage a ship, what the hell was that ? She once again gathered The Force around her then let it blend with her very being as she performed another display of the Force Cloak technique. Just like before with the droids it didn't need to work forever or be executed to perfection, the smoke screen largely obscured her already and she only needed to get into a better position and inside the room.

Fully cloaked within The Force and to the naked eye Jaina made her way through the now open door engulfed in the smoke screen and upon entering the room rolled over sideways and out of the smoke. As she did so her eyes noticed Hereck now standing in the middle of the room and donning the arm cannon thing. He would have only noticed her when her roll ended and she was already in a crouching stance with one hand stretching outwards sending her saberstaff flying towards the scientist in rotation.

Hereck instinctively tried to step back and brought his left hand up in front of his face trying to guard as the weapon collided with it. The mechanical left hand was severed slightly bellow the elbow joint and it and the cannon interconnected with it tumbled to the ground. Though he felt no pain from the dismembering Hereck staggered back as he was already disbalanced even before the blade had made contact with him. Staggering back at the soles of his heels he extended his right arm, the organic one towards a work bench a couple of meters to his side. The many electrical devices and tools that lied on the bench rustled and were knocked over as The Force pulled the hilt of his lightsaber from the bench and into his outstretched hand.

Jaina's weapon boomeranged back into her hands while Hereck gathered his own. It had probably been some time since the old techno hermit utilized his Sith weapon. Opting not to leap over to cover her distance since the observatory's ceiling was much lower than in the other rooms Jaina instead approached Hereck with a running step stopping only a few feet away when she was in striking range. The old man regained his footing a second after his saber landed in his hand. He ignited the weapon instantly and met the now already incoming Jaina striking at her blade with his own.
 

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The two blades bounced off of each other. As Jaina's initial blade was falling back she brought the blade on the other side of her saberstaff striking horizontally at Hereck's left side. The old man deflected the strike as he pivoted on one leg and centered himself so that the blade was now striking not at his side but at his front. Immediately after her attack was parried she transitioned into another one crouching down and bringing the other blade in a low sweeping motion at Hereck's feet. The old man once again swatted it away with a sweep from his upper left side to his lower right all the while retreating backwards to gain some distance from the eager assassin.

Hereck as he himself worded it quite often was a man of science and in Jaina's words deluded and misguided. As such he had long abandoned any training or progression of his combat skills or Force abilities and instead focused all of his time and energy on his research and experiments, opting to use their results as a means to defend themselves rather than the traditional tools the Sith practiced. As such his blade work was nothing but rudimentalry, if he had some more advanced skills in his youth they have surely rusted away with the course of time and now with his cybernetic apprentice dead and his cannon weapon outmaneuvered and out of the picture all he had to fall back on was a textbook surface level application of Makashi with glaring holes in his technique and one arm missing.

Jaina barely felt challenged as she fought Hereck, she had already made several attempts at his exposed left side and would quickly follow striking at a different side and angle, her weapon allowing her to perform such maneuvers far more quicker and with great ease. The old man would probably tire out sooner rather than later or would simply not be quick enough to defend against one of these attacks but before that could even take place Hereck had given her a new opening. Swatting one of her blades to the side and managing to step back far enough to dodge a slice the old man thought that an opportunity presented itself probably out of desperation and lunged a stabbing motion forward aimed at Jaina's chest. The attack was well telegraphed and Jaina was simply far too fast to be hit by it even if it was more covert. The assassin arched her back backwards in a display of incredible agility as Hereck's blade missed the target, Jaina effectively matrixing under the blade. He had come at the end of his reach as he reached forward to stab the girl and before he had time to properly retract his blade Jaina separated the hilt of her weapon once again in two separate hilts, both now held in a reverse grip in her hands and from her arched position twisted the wrist of her right hand cutting off Hereck's arm at the elbow. The old man yelled out a distorted semi mechanical scream of pain that was cut short as the assassin's back bounced back and she dropped to a knee bringing the saber held in her left hand over to Hereck's right leg, cutting through it decisively. The old man fell to his side in pain as sparks sprinkled out of his severed leg revealing it too be another cybernetic replacement.

Jaina stood over Hereck's downed body as his face twisted in pain from losing his only organic hand he had left, her lightsaber's blades retracting and the hilts themselves pulling back within the sleeves of her robes by an invisible force. ''You foul witch!'' Hereck shouted after a series of unintelligable profanities. ''Eeeh..'' Jaina's face cringed as if signaling uncertainty ''Not yet, but soon hopefully.'' the girl added with a hint of a smile, her tone almost jokingly relaxed. Before he could spout any more of his anger at her she raised both of her hands in front of her and above his body, fingers twisted and curled and let out a short burst of Force Lightning.

The stream of lightning energy hit Hereck as his face started to light up. All sorts of lights around his cybernetics blinking on and off and sparks signaling the failure of the systems as his face shook, open mouthed with a look of distant despair in his eyes. If the cybernetic replacements he had installed could be called eyes. She quickly stopped her attack leaving the downed body of Hereck smoking as the man faintly groaned, this time no mechanization to his voice and sounding old and frail. ''Yy--you...'' he tried to murmur something at her. ''I- I can't see... You.. d-damned...''. Jaina fried his cybernetics in case Hereck had some way of communicating with the systems or droids from his own facial implants. She made her way over to one of the terminals and took a seat, Hereck's maimed body lying to his side and with his back facing Jaina as he had no strength to roll over and no eyes to see. ''You're still alive, I'd be thankful in your place Hereck. All damage you've sustained to your cybernetics is repairable and the loss of your real arm.... well considering what I've seen from everything here today you won't really mind replacing that with a prosthetic too.'' she calmly explained as she looked over the old man's body while sitting with her back bent forward in the terminal chair.
 
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Jaina Terris

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There was a moment of pause neither her or Hereck saying anything which served as a sign that the old man was listening. She spoke again in a calm reassuring manner, her voice almost a warm whisper ''Listen, there's no need to end you here. I'd be a fool to think that there was no use in you. The Sith don't need to know you're alive but they would require the other end of my mission to be complete.'' There seemed to be an air of genuine truthfulness to her tone. ''I need to get them all the information about the people you've been working with. Give me the codes to your terminal Hereck.'' no sound came from the old man but she was sure he was still breathing which meant that he refused to believe her. ''It can be sliced you know. Maybe not by me but surely someone within the order could do it, you're not the only tech guy the Sith have.'' she said trying to reassure him that keeping the codes to himself wouldn't change anything and making it even more likely that she was indeed telling the truth.

Again there were a few moments of dead silence before the old man faintly spoke up ''T3-48I892 008-E78''. Jaina turned towards the terminal and punched in the codes. It seemed to be working. She accessed the file databank as well as the com link logs and punched in the same codes. The machine beeped with a pleasant sound again as the word 'Access granted - Welcome - Master Hereck' flashed across the screen. She could barely contain the smile and it poured all over her face. She got up from her chair and moved over to Hereck's side, crouching down to be closer to the blinded old man. ''There..'' he said, his voice as frail and gaspy as ever ''Now get me up and call for a repair droid.'' The smile from before never left Jaina's face but Hereck couldn't tell, only realizing it when the woman spoke again, this time her tone severely different and sounding much more like her usual self ''Yeah.. that won't be happening Hereck, I was just to lazy to try and slice it myself and frankly didn't want to wait for anyone else to come and 'assist' me with something I am fully capable of doing myself.'' Hereck's tired face twisted into an expression of anger, his teeth clenched as he was about to probably spit some more venom at the young assassin but was cut short. One of Jaina's hilts flew from out of her sleeve and into the woman's extended palm she swiped in a circular motion, igniting the weapon as she did so and cut through the old man's semi mechanical throat.
 

Jaina Terris

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Getting up from the now deceased body of Hereck Jaina moved back at the seat next to the terminal. She filtered through a couple of searches of his recent communications and as the loading started she glanced over the top of the terminal, through the observatory window and onto the assembly track down bellow. There were several droid types being either repaired or assembled down there most of them static and the machinery around them switched off except three particular ones. One of the assembly tracks held three Orb Droids and the machines around them were working to have their tails attached to them. A quick thought passed through Jaina's head realizing how lucky she was these weren't quite operational yet. Dealing with two of these and Aslaan she was obviously capable of but five of them at once was a different story altogether. A smile that hinted intrigue curved across her face as she got up from the terminal and over to another one that was directly connected to the assembly line. She punched in the codes again and learned that the same terminal seemed to be in charge of the droid's remote programmings. ''Well he has no more use of them... and these little buggers could certainly prove to be a valuable asset.

She tampered with the console some more readjusting the droid programming protocol and redirecting the commands to her personal comm link. The process would take some short time so she moved back to the first terminal to check upon the files that finished loading up. One name stood out the most out of the communication files and was the most frequent. Clicking on it an image popped up of a corpulent middle aged Zabrak


Typho Waldas
Current head of the Waldas House one of the governing houses within the Crymorah Syndicate
Location of broadcast: Carratos​
 
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