It was election time on Serenno, though from the way the bureaucracy moved you'd never know. Zarine had been scoping out this school, where most of the principles and deans from the various schools in the area would be gathering to vote on the next round of elections to the planetary school board. They came, they went, but accomplished almost nothing. It was almost as if they didn't really expect to accomplish anything, which was in fact the case. The elections were little more than a sham, an elaborate act put up to keep up the appearances of a fair and just election. The members of the board had already been selected, the right bribes and connections had already bought a lucky trio the prestigious positions they needed. All that was left was to act out their play, and that was what Zarine hoped to use against them.
She had, with the help of connections within the followers of the Eternal, identified two candidates who could make a run for the council positions, if the assumed winners were removed from contention. They were the only ones who had actually been participating in any sort of campaigning, so in an actual election they were sure shots to win. It was funny that she was going to rig an election by stopping someone else from rigging it.
So all they had to do was make sure there were fair elections. Which was why she had asked for help from within the ranks of the Eternal. She was working to set up something here that would aid them all, and a few had been more than happy to help out. She had found the information they needed, but had lacked the technical expertise to come up with the software needed to access the school's network to make sure there was a legitimate count. Oh and also rule out the cheaters from the election, just to be safe, and to hand out some justice. One of her companions was to arrive with a datadisk with the required information. All they would then have to do was somehow sneak into the mainframe and install their software.
She was of course in disguise, dressed as a secretary, wig on her head, makeup covering her appearance. But her accomplices would be able to find her, they knew what to look out for. And there was also the Force.
Ventrik arrived at the meetup point disguised as a personal bodyguard, he wore a formal black on black suit and had his hair tied up in a neat bun. Maintaining the long white stream of hair would be required to avoid standing out in a crowd, although his large height and build would see an end to that. Inside his jacket, tucked away safely in the unlikely case of an emergency, was his lightsaber. He had made sure that his jacket had been a little bit loose so that he could stow it away without making it obvious. The ominously black hilt would blend in with the dark outfit around it, removing the possibility of it being seen by a stray eye.
He did not physically look around, there was no need for that today. Feeling out through the force, Ventrik could sense the presence of the first companion, hidden in plain sight. He took his time before approaching her, looking around and noting anything out of the ordinary in the area. He was also looking for structural weaknesses and good spots to remain undetected for short instances of time.
Ventrik had accidentally forgotten to bring a datadisk with him, so he hoped that their other companion would be so kind as to bring one with them. He found himself thinking about his companions for this mission. He had met the organizer of the group, this Zarine. She was a short woman, looking as young as he was, although she was several years his elder. He hadn't failed to notice her unusually good looks either, although shaking his head he cleared his mind of such thoughts, Now isn't the time for any of that... He did not know who the second companion would be, however. He was beginning to meet many new people from the Sith Eternal, most of them, however, he felt better off not knowing. As long as this mystery partner isn't anything like those fools from Dxun, I'm sure this mission will go along just nicely... Ventrik cringed at the thought of the Dxun squad.
Finally, he decided to approach the pretty little "secretary". "Greetings ma'am, I am here looking for a friend of mine, she requested that I arrive as soon as possible. Would you be able to help me locate who I'm looking for?" He briefly flashed a wry smile at his fellow Eternal before returning to a more serious disposition.
When Ana got the call to help out her home planet of Serenno with its elections, as well as plant the insidious seeds for future corruption of the youth, she could hardly refuse. This planet was mired in bureaucratic issues of its own; elections were superficial and finalized before the people could even cast their votes and rarely did any of the officials fulfill their promises, if they made them at all. Still, the people believed in the efficacy of their vote, and so the cycle continued every year. Bribery, extortion, general corruption – the elections of home were as rooted in sin as they were in democracy.
That’s why, with the help of others within the cult, she would bring to power candidates who would be sympathetic to their cause. It was ironic; to ensure democracy, they needed to rig the election to prevent it from being rigged. Politics truly were an interesting game, to say the least.
Ana was dressed modestly. She wore a slim navy blazer with matching pants that ended just above the ankle and a baby blue blouse, conforming to what was generally acceptable for a member of the school board. She had a wig on, shifting her hair color from jet black to a nice medium brunette. She carried no weapons, nor did she feel the need to. This was a school, after all.
Her heels clicked on the ground as she made her way through the crowd, clipboard in hand and datadisk in her jacket pocket. On the datadisk was all the information they needed to ensure this mission’s success, so it was imperative they get it to where it needed to go.
Spotting her companions took minimal effort, given that one of them looked horribly out of place for a public school. Standing over a foot-and-a-half taller than her, Ventrik in his all-black suit was like a beacon for their gathering, so she made her way towards him. She remembered him from Dxun, and he seemed just as oafish now as he did then, though he at least made an effort to clean up a bit this time. Men.
When she arrived, she took note of the other woman, smiling gently at her and nodding her head in greeting. She was vaguely aware of who she was and her affiliation, which made things easier than having to trawl through this school for the group. Her smile faded when she looked up at Ventrik, and she quirked an eyebrow quizzically. ”Attending a funeral after this?” she mocked, tracing her eyes up and down his body. Perhaps he was dressed like he was about to go take revenge for his dead dog, but hopefully with the two other women who looked like they knew what they were doing, things would go smoothly.
She extended a hand towards Zarine to shake. ”Lily Whiteplume,” she said cordially, ”School board member.” While she said this physically, she mentally projected her voice into her – hopefully – welcoming mind. Ana D’Amico, she said, The datadisk is in my pocket. As she said this, the bell rang, indicating the next hour’s class change. Students began pouring out of their classrooms, giving the trio rotten and confused looks. Several kids bumped into Ventrik and wiped their grubby hands on the back of his suit. One of these kids made a move to bump into him and place a wad of chewed up gum on the man’s back, clearly targeting him for looking like some kind of business executive or other big shot.
Zarine noticed the arrival of her first companion before she even spotted him, which was surprising given his imposing appearance. People around her, mostly students, had taken notice of him before she had and their pointed conversations and snickering drew his attention to him. As he smiled at her in greeting, she couldn't help but wonder how conspicuous they were going to be given the stark contrast between them, she probably looked like an Ewok next to him. And his choice of attire probably would't help much.
She was trying to decide what to say when their third companion arrived, her greeting to Ventrik giving Zarine the distinct impression that the two had some history. It wasn't the most friendly of greetings though, but still put her at ease. At least two of them had some sort of familiarity, that was better than three complete strangers working together to pull this off. Even if it was just a school, she was more than aware of the trouble kids could cause.
She reached out a hand to grasp Ana's proffered one, introducing herself as she did so. "Madam member," she replied with sufficient deference, falling into her role as well, "welcome. I am Martha Wayne from the registrar's office. I am to be your liaison for the day." She sensed her touch against her mind, getting the message and responding with a simple acknowledgement of understanding. Everything and everyone was in place, it was time to begin.
"This way." She said, turning towards the server room and intending to lead the way, but as they turned a kid came running down the corridor, probably late for a class, and crashed straight into Ventrik. Before any of them could react two brutish looking kids, probably the same age as they boy, came running up and helped him to his feet. He brushed them off, irritated and flushed. "Get off me, I'm fine."
He glared at them, looking down at both her and Ana, before turning to stare up at Ventrik with a scowl on his face. "Can't you see where you're going you big oaf?" He glared at him, completely indifferent to the fact that Ventrik was probably twice his size and thrice his mass. "Well, are you going to just stand there or are you going to apologize?"
Zarine, having just noticed the paper and gum on Ventrik's back, couldn't help but let out a chuckle, which of course was just the wrong thing to do. The pale faced boy turned on her at once, a grimace on her face. "Think this is funny do you?" He glanced at her badge, before letting out a snide laugh. "Martha? What sort of name is that? You're in trouble now Martha, my father will hear about this. Just you wait." With that he pulled out a comm unit and began calling someone, Zarine still trying to suppress her chuckle to think of an apt response to get rid of the brat and move on with their mission.
As he witnessed who their companion would be, Ventrik sighed slightly, Ask and you shall receive I guess... Still, he preferred being stuck with the she-devil over those other two fools. Ana was definitely the lesser of three migraines from Dxun. Expecting her usual snarkiness, Ventrik did his best not to roll his eyes at her, "Considering the foul odor approaching me, I feel like the funeral has just arrived." He grinned as he said this, these back and forths with Ana were good distractions from other serious matters. He bore no ill-will toward her, the she-devil just made it hard to like her, "That's a nice wig you have there, it definitely matches the rust building up in your head."
As the bell rang, Ventrik prepared himself for the coming onslaught of idiotic teenagers. Although he wasn't much older than most of them, he despised their immaturity. It took all of his self-control to not react as they passed him, "accidentally" bumping into him. Had it not been for the importance of the mission, several parents would be contacting the school regarding the sudden disappearance of their children's limbs.
He calmly, albeit barely, followed Zarine along the corridor, walking slightly to the left of her. This proved itself to be a bad idea, as yet another snot-nosed brat appeared. Ventrik saw him coming but at this point, his patience had worn thin. He made himself large and slightly braced for the impact, suppressing a smile as this little twerp collided with him and fell to the floor. He heard several other children laugh as quickly walked past the group. Ventrik raised an eyebrow at the child as he spoke brashly, there was an obvious air of arrogance surrounding him. He felt this was a fine time to address the gum and paper at his back, grabbing both and stamping them on the child's head before he could speak into the comm unit. All three of the children were gobsmacked at this, they were clearly the bullies of the school and weren't used to being challenged like this.
Ventrik knew very well that the best way to deal with a bully was to return the favour in kind. He swiftly snatched the comm unit and waited for the child remove his new facial accessories before crushing it in front of him, "Oh my, I think I broke your toy, I guess I DO owe you an apology!" Ventrik chuckled with fake sympathy as the pale boy turned different shades of red. The hallway was empty aside from the group now, however, after a quick glance from Ventrik, the other two boys quickly ran off, mumbling something about being late to class. "That's it you dirty peasants, my father is going t-" He didn't get a chance to finish his sentence as Ventrik lifted him into the air with a single hand, his legs helplessly dangling two feet from the floor. "Your father isn't going to do a single thing because he's never going to hear about this." The boy was about to speak out again until he made contact with Ventrik's piercing white eyes, staring daggers at the bully, he choked on his words and simply nodded, defeated. With a smirk, Ventrik used his other hand to indicate towards Zarine, "Now YOU are going to apologize to our dear friend Martha here!" At this point, his eyes were filling with tears, looking down at his helpless feet, "I-I-I'm sorry m-miss Martha, it w-w-won't happen again..." Finally satisfied, Ventrik let the boy drop, he got up swiftly and ran away after his friends, tears now streaming down his face.
There's always a bigger fish... he thought to himself as he watched the boy running. Turning to the two ladies, Ventrik let out a grin, showing off his straight white teeth, "Well, I think that went rather well, don't you? Anyway, you were showing us the way I recall!" He indicated for Zarine to continue with the journey.[abox]
Ana rolled her eyes at Ventrik’s taunting riposte and began to trail alongside the faux secretary, trying to maintain a stiff posture befitting some stuffy member of the school board. Ventrik followed as well, a towering oaf lumbering alongside the two women to his right. They were certainly a sight in this high school. When they rounded the corner, some snot-nosed kid ran square into Ventrik and fell down, rising to his feet with visible indignation. His two goons caught up quickly, and soon it became a three-on-three standoff.
Zarine chuckled, which caused Ana to snicker. The little brat scowled and made her the target of her ire. While he threatened to call his father, Ana raised a hand to her mouth, coughing lightly to disguise the laughter. One of the boy’s goon friends behind him, a portly little kid with rosy cheeks and a near-perpetual sheen from sweat on his forehead, looked at her and frowned. ”Somethin’ funny to you?” he barked, ”This isn’t funny! The big idiot coulda broke his nose!” This, of course, only made Ana want to laugh even harder. It took considerable willpower to resist, but she kept her hand in front of her mouth to hide her smile.
Before either Zarine or Ana could defuse the situation, Ventrik, in all his meat-headed glory, decided it was time to bully a high school student. He planted the chewed wad of gum on his forehead and stunned the group before snatching his comm device and smashing it. While he assaulted this poor kid, Ana simply looked on in abject horror, her mouth open in shock. Occasionally she would glance at Zarine to ensure that they were both seeing this correctly before returning her gaze to the train wreck unfolding.
When the ordeal was over and Ventrik successfully bullied kids both younger and vastly smaller than him, Ana turned and scowled, ready to rip him a new one. Luckily – or unluckily, given the situation – someone far more official came to the scene. A heavyset man, backed by a security guard, approached the group with the three brats in tow. His ID read that he was the PE teacher, and Ana’s hand rose to hide her face as she looked down, shaking her head in embarrassment and taking a step back to make sure she wasn’t associated with him.
”Excuse me?” the man said, ”Are you the idiot who beat up one of my students? What were you thinking, young man? And why are you dressed like that? Picture day isn’t for another week.” This man seemed to be under the impression that Ventrik was a student, maybe someone held back a year or two, who decided to bully some younger kids today in full view of everyone else. A sigh escaped Ana’s lips at the confrontation, realizing that what was to be a simple job was growing increasingly more difficult as this blatant idiocy unfolded. By now, a crowd of students gathered to watch this disruption in their daily routine, and a few pulled out their phones to record.
The teacher folded his arms across his chest and looked at the security guard who did the same, both men then turning their attention to Ventrik with their piercing, authoritative gazes. ”Actually, you can explain yourself in detention. Let’s go, young man.” While this went down, Ana probed Zarine’s mind, sending the simple message of, Server room now? in the hopes that Ventrik might actually defuse the situation, rather than make things worse. Worst case, he draws everyone’s attention while the two others sneak off to actually get the job done. Either way, things were going to hell in a handbasket pretty quickly.
Zarine wasn't sure what she had expected when she had asked for help from within the ranks of the Eternal's followers, but this was most definitely not it. The white haired giant had for whatever reason responded to the whole situation with what just a highschool bully by doing probably the worst thing possible. He had retaliated, in like.
But it seemed like the Force was with them today, because as bad as things might have become they still had an opportunity to salvage the mission. She heard Ana's voice within her head, and noticing the teacher's attention being fixed on Ventrik, quickly came to the conclusion that her suggestion was the right one. She might have questioned his ability to blend in, but his very conspicuousness might end up working in their favor. Ana and Zarine could blend in easily enough, but if all eyes were drawn to the tall Echani Legionnaire then they would be even harder to spot.
Let's go! She replied to Ana, before begining to walk once more, away from the confrontation and along a lightly longer but probably quieter path to the server room. If things went as she hoped they did with the PE teacher, Ventrik could keep the focus of those in the school on himself, and the two women could move with a little more freedom.
Try to keep him occupied, keep their focus on yourself till we handle the server room and return! She sent to Ventrik as she started picking up the pace, leading the way towards the server room. Once they were out of earshot of their colleague and the actual school officials, she spared a sideways glance at Ana, speaking as the walked.
"I haven't had much opportunity to work with others, you seem to know him from before. Is it always like this? Should I be preapared for the worst if I ask for help from within....the club?"
Ventrik was legitimately surprised when he witnessed the bully returning, he could have sworn that the boy's spirit was broken. He could tell, however, that the mission was about to get much more interesting. As the group neared their location, Ventrik put on a friendly smile, feigning happiness at seeing the bully and his friends returning. He waved innocently, "Oh good to see you again friends!" He suppressed a laugh at the sight of the teacher's face, he was almost purple with rage.
He noticed that the security guard was silently reading the situation as the teacher near exploded at Ventrik, the Legionnaire quickly observed his surroundings, most eyes were now on him due to the commotion that this teacher was causing. Thankfully, he could sense Zarine beginning to move, Well at least one of my companions is a quick thinker... he thought to himself as the teacher, a P.E teacher no less, continued his verbal onslaught. He relayed a message to his two little companions, I'll keep them distracted for as long as I can, the teacher is clearly a fool and won't be an issue. That security guard is a different matter though, he seems to be very perceptive. Keep an eye out.
The bully from before remained silent throughout the rant, looking at his feet in both fear and shame. His two friends were grinning smugly though, revelling in what they believed to be a new student being taught his place. ”Actually, you can explain yourself in detention. Let’s go, young man.” As he said this, the P.E teacher began to turn around to lead Ventrik back down the hallway that he had come from. Ventrik realised that he would turn around and see the two ladies quickly fleeing the scene, so he had to think fast. "Oh umm sorry sir!" The P.E teacher halted and turned back to face the giant Echani, "I was unaware that I had broken any rules!" The teacher looked dumbfounded, "In what galaxy do you think that it is acceptable for one student to assault another you idiot?!?!" Ignoring the insult, Ventrik continued calmly, "Apologies but I'm an exchange student, I hail from the plant of Eshan, on my planet when one student challenges another to single combat, it is the custom to accept."
As expected, this gained the interest of the moderately overweight teacher, the man looked as if he deliberately joined the students in physical sports to prove his superiority. "Oh is that so then?" He looked over to one of the bully's friends, "Rusty, you didn't tell me that this was a friendly competition!" The boy paled as Ventrik's eyes fixed on him, That explains it then, our primary bully wasn't the one who squealed, it was the cronies... With a smirk, Ventrik winked at Rusty, who paled further, If all goes as expected, I'll just have to get you back for this... "O-oh Mr G-Gilbert..." The boy stammered as he attempted to form words, "I didn't r-r-realise tha-" Bored, the teacher turned back to Ventrik, "I have an idea, all of you follow me to the gym, now." He began to stride down a different hallway. Grinning, Ventrik followed him alongside the three boys, who decided it best to keep some distance away from him. The security guard followed behind, Ventrik could sense him looking around, he had clearly noticed the disappearance of the other two.
Ana snuck away with Zarine while Ventrik was busy with… whatever it was he was being roped into. She was glad that, even though he stood out like a sore thumb, he was able to draw all the attention away from them for the time being. For a moment, she thought that he had blown this whole operation out of the water by beating up a student, but it was thus far working towards their advantage. She hoped it remained that way. The two women hurried along, their shoes clicking quietly on the floor tiles as the two “officials” made their way to the server room.
After a quick walk, the buzz of activity from class change was over, and now it was only the two women in the hall. Every now and then a roaming member of the staff and faculty could be seen, otherwise everyone was off doing their jobs to keep the school running or preparing for the election. She hadn’t ever been in a public school like this, since she was homeschooled in secret, so the way this place operated fascinated her. She was glad for her more elite schooling but wondered how much more mundane her life would have been if she was enrolled in a program here. As they walked, she pondered the question of how many students here could feel the call of the Force but would go their entire lives with their potential unrealized. It seemed almost criminal, but, hopefully, their influence on this world would prevent that tragedy from occurring in the future.
Zarine cast a glance her way and Ana returned it in kind, shrugging listlessly as they strolled down the halls. ”Sometimes, yes,” she admitted, ”There are some in the club who are woefully useless at times.” She smiled warmly as they passed by a teacher who barely even acknowledged their presence before continuing her line of thought. ”But they serve in their own right. Everyone has a purpose, after all,” she remarked before halting at a junction in the hall. She turned to Zarine and raised her eyebrows and inclined her head towards the server room up ahead, ”The rest of us produce more… fruitful results.” She smiled blithely, then turned her attention to the sever room.
Ahead was their target, but, as fate would have it, it was guarded on both sides of the door. Well, guarded was a strong term; two school resource officers conversed in front of the doorway, blocking their way in. Ana frowned somewhat, then looked at Zarine. ”Ready to put your wiles to the test?” she proposed, then turned and began walking towards the guards.
Zarine nodded in response to Ana's words. What she spoke rang through with what Zarine had herself experienced in her own line of work on Serenno. It wasn't too surprising to see that things were no different on the the grander scale of things. There were different tools at your disposal, it was simply a matter of putting them to the right use. The good and the bad.
Coming to a stop besides Ana, she observed the guards for a moment, preparing herself as Ana called out to them. As the approached the two men, who had now turned to look at them after Ana's call, Zarine pulled up the identification that she had procured from a local forgerer. It identified her as an employee at the registrar's office.
"Gentlemen," she said politely, trying to appear coy, avoiding eye contact with either of them, "this is Miss Whiteplume from the school board. She is here for the inspection, could you please lead us in and start the walk-around?" The words were appropriately punctuated with uhhs and umms, each accompanied by a nervous glance towards Ana, Zarine doing her best to appear to be little more than a scared employee who didn't want to disappoint a superior, a superior she was positively terrified off.
She leaned in to the guard closer to her as he stepped up to inspect her identification, whispering so only he could hear. "Please hurry up, one of the students already pissed her off and she's ready to bite off my head." He glanced away from the card and towards her as she spoke, and the moment their eyes locked she touched him through the Force. Words began whispering in his ear, telling him to trust her, to do her a favor, to let them in. She pressed it in, gently but firmly, and after a few dumbfounded blinks he held her card out for her to take back.
"Ahh, yes. The inspections. Yes. This way."
Zarine would have smiled, if not for the other guard speaking up at that very moment.
"Wait, what's this about an inspection? I wasn't told about any inspection. Did you know about this Zacks?"
Zarine pressed on the man's mind, finding it easier to handle the confusion now that she knew his name, and glanced at Ana, gesturing with a twitch of the eye towards the other man. His question was making Zacks question her manipulation, and Zarine didn't want to test if it would last.
Ana approached the guards and halted, glancing between the two of them, then down at her clipboard. For a moment, there was only silence between the four of them, then she cast an irritated glance towards her “secretary.” She began introductions, and things were going swimmingly. The guards were, naturally, quite confused, and that made their minds more susceptible to mental manipulation and coercion. Zarine played the part of nervous underling well, and the entire time Ana maintained an air of authority and irritation, almost as if her time was being wasted just by standing here in this spot.
Zarine had the first guard wrapped around her finger, and it seemed like this was going to go off without a hitch until the second guard spoke up and threw a wrench in their plans. Ana frowned, both to maintain her appearance as a pissed-off official, and because she expected this man to just go along with their plan.
”Yes,” she interrupted, causing him to glance her way, ”The inspection. You should have been notified that I was coming. Do I need to inform your supervisor that you obstructed official business?” While she spoke, she sent a needle into the man’s mind, forcing her will upon his. He resisted – mostly out of confusion – but it did not last, and she broke down his barriers with little effort. For a moment, he stared at her bemusedly before opening his mouth and nodding. ”Ohhhh, the inspection…” he said, trying to remember about an event that would never occur, ”It- it must have slipped my mind, ma’am. Sorry, let’s go in.”
She cast Zarine a glance, shook her head, and waited for the guards to open the door and lead the way. As they entered the server room, she began looking around for where to insert the datadisk. The guards were mostly silent other than their banter between each other, allowing Ana and Zarine a modicum of privacy to glance around for their goal. As the “inspection” continued, Ana located where she needed to go, but the guards were leading them away from it.
I need you to occupy them. she sent to Zarine, nodding her head towards the two guards.
Zarine appreciated that Ana was this quick on getting into character, working with someone willing and capable of improvising made this so much easier. As she dealt with the second guard's interruption, Zarine kept an eye on the one she had under her touch and followed the group into the server room.
Once inside she felt Ana's touch, she sent back an acknowledging pulse in the Force before stepping forward and getting to to work. "Should we begin?" She asked, drawing the attention of the two men towards herself, pulling out some papers from the folder she was carrying and fumbling with them before raising her eyes to catch the attention of the guard she had tricked earlier. "Could you help me with, I need to pull out the right form. Just hold this for a minute." She held out the few papers she had already pulled out for him to hold, but as he stepped forward she gave his leg gentle tug with the Force, just enough to make him trip and come crashing down on top of her.
With both of them a tangled mess on the floor, the other guard's eyes were also drawn to them, giving Ana moments to slip away unnoticed. Now all Zarine had to make sure they didn't notice she was gone. As the guard tried to get back up, she hit his foot again, sending him crashing to the floor once more. Taking the pain and discomfort she felt from having a literal mountain drop on top of her, she let it fuel the Force as she touched them both with the Force and gave them not an instruction of any sort but a simple pulse of concern.
"I..can't breathe!" She squeezed out in a panicked voice, "Get him off me, please!" The other guard rushed forward, helping his friend up, before reaching down to catch her hands with surprising gentleness to help her to her feet.
"Are you okay miss?" He said after having helped her to her feet and taken her to a nearby seat. There was obvious concern in his voice, and also fear. Fear of losing his job by messing up an inspection by injuring the inspection officer. "Can we get you anything? Water? Or take you to the nurse?"
By now a minute or so would have passed since Ana would have slipped away. Zarine would continue to try and keep the men distracted, keeping them engaged in conversation with assurances that she was okay and brushing away apologies they kept on repeating. All the while hoping that Ana was able to find what she needed and hadn't run into any obstacles, because any moment now she expected one of the guards to stop fussing over her and notice that Ana wasn't there with them.
Mr Gilbert could not stop boasting as he led the boys down hallway after hallway. He would reminisce over the 'countless fights he had won as a student back in his day. Ventrik was almost willing to jeopardize the mission by cutting the fool's head off but restrained himself as strongly as he could. Although his eyes remained fixed to his front, he would constantly sense the location of the trailing security guard, thankfully he remained behind the group and showed no signs of leaving them. "and then I put the little pipsqueak in a headlock so well that he passed out in seconds, hah! You should have seen his parents' faces after that. So what if he was five years younger than me? Anyway, so then I kicked this girl in the- Oh look we've finally arrived!" Ventrik sighed in relief as the overbearing boasting was finally over, this man was clearly scum and would one day be dealt with.
Mr Gilbert ushered the group into what appeared to be a small gymnasium. There were several large wrestling mats throughout it and with a quick inspection, Ventrik could not help but let out a smile, Everything is going according to plan... The old fool was easy to read and he had fallen for the Legionnaire's trick. Mr Gilbert turned to Ventrik, "Alright new kid, time to put your money where your mouth is! You challenged the kids to combat right? Which one?" He could feel the three boys pale as they finally realised what was happening. The one named Rusty almost squealed as he spoke up, "Wait! What? Isn't fighting against the school rul-" He was immediately silenced by a stare from Mr Gilbert. "Well actually Mr Gilbert, I challenged all three of them." Ventrik's lie was flawless, he was pleasantly surprised to see that even the security guard became interested in the development.
As the three stooges began to protest to their teacher, Ventrik walked over to a corner and removed his jacket. He ensured that the lightsaber was snugly hidden away within it as he placed it down. Walking back to the others, he began rolling up his sleeves in anticipation, This is going to be fun. Their cries had all been in vain, however, and after a single loud roar from Mr Gilbert, the three of them took their places opposite Ventrik on one of the wrestling mats. "Ok, to win, you need to either make your opponent submit or render them unable to continue fighting. Other than that, no rules!" This man was an animal without honour. Although Ventrik had initiated the proceedings, he was surprised at the bloodlust displayed by this "teacher".
Regardless, he knew what he needed to do. As the three boys charged him in unison, Ventrik shifted his position to receive the onslaught.
Ana folded her arms across her chest as her assistant began fumbling with the proper paperwork. One of the guards glanced at her, then at Zarine, nodding and smiling in acknowledgement of her irritation, a gesture that Ana returned with a disinterested half-second glare. As soon as Zarine’s man stepped forward and tripped, Ana backed away somewhat, both putting distance between her and the guards, as well as allowing Zarine to occupy their attention fully. When she was certain that both guards were occupied – and this was easy once the second guard rushed over to try and help – she slinked away.
Finding the mainframe was simple enough. Once she was there, she spared a glance over her shoulder to ensure she wasn’t being watched before beginning her work. She slid the datadisk out of her pocket and connected it, beginning the process of uploading the “rigged” election results. She silently urged it to speed up, and, after about a half-minute or so, it concluded its replacement of the original rigged results. She smiled to herself and pocketed the disk, turning around to return to Zarine and her little ordeal.
Ana cleared her throat from behind the two guards, startling them and causing them to whip their heads around to look at the diminutive woman. ”Are you done being dramatic?” she hissed at Zarine, narrowing her eyes at the ditzy assistant. A scowl had made its way to her face, and she looked every bit the irritated official. The guards glanced at each other, then at Zarine, then back to Ana. ”It was our fault, ma’am,” one said. ”Uh… yes ma’am, it was entirely my fault. I… don’t know what happened. I just fell on her,” the other said as his face grew more and more red by the second.
Ana sighed and shook her head. ”Doesn’t matter. I’ve seen what I needed to see,” she said grumpily, unfolding her arms and stepping forward between the two guards towards Zarine. ”Come on, we’re leaving,” she ordered. With that, she began walking out and away from the server room, leaving the two guards behind them momentarily confused before they began to follow. When they were out, she continued storming forward until they were around the corner and out of earshot.
”Bit theatrical,” she commented with a grin, her mood taking a full-180, ”Surprised you didn’t break something. He was a big guy.” After a while, she paused, looked around, and fixed her gaze on Zarine.
Zarine suppressed a smile and acted sufficiency chastised as Ana showed up started taking control of the situation. She had them walking out of the server room soon after, having declared the inspection complete. Much to the fearful disappointment of the two men, who were now wondering what the report would say about them. Through it all Zarine was diminished and ashamed, her eyes plastered to the floor to avoid catching the eye of her seemingly disapproving superior.
Once out of earshot though she couldn't hold it in any longer and broke into a hearty laugh, that quickly changed into a chuckle as she recalled where they were and reeled herself in. "That's not the first time I've tricked bigger men and women with that ploy, they rarely notice you're picking their pockets and swiping documents if they're too busy apologizing." She replied with a grin, pointing towards the far end of the corridor, where she thought the gymnasium was and probably where their third companion had ended up from what little they had heard while leaving him behind. "After a half dozen times you learn just how to fall so that it looked bad without actually hurting yourself."
Sure enough the gym was where they found Ventrik, but the sight that greeted them as they opened the door left Zarine stunned. The white haired man had somehow managed to get himself into a sports match of some sort with the three students and the gym teacher was just standing there watching.
"Mr. GIlbert!" She called out, her voice loud and authoritative, "what is going on here? Is this how you punish your students?" She didn't give him an opportunity to speak as she charged into the gymnasium and grabbed Ventrik's arm mid-scuffle, and started dragging him back towards the door. "Let's go, to the principal's office." She hoped that Ventrik would not resist and play along as the sooner they got out the better. As she passed the PE teacher she gave him a stern look that actually made him take a step back. After playing the timid secretary earlier, she was having fun letting lose for a few moments. "You take care of these three and get them back to class. Now!"
As stern as her voice was he didn't even stop to think on who she was and just scrambled to act. He was probably used to dealing with mothers who had too much control in the school's affairs and made his life hell on a regular basis, better to just let them be. He probably just thought he was some deranged mother name Karen or something.
"We're done," she whispered to Ventrik as they started walking towards Ana, "time to get out of here. Nothing to clean up here, right?"
Ventrik braced as the three bullies lunged at him. As he expected, their strikes were sluggish and unorganised. They would attempt to fool him with little dummies and feints, however, his experiences with battling against actual warriors kept him ahead of their every move.
The one known as Rusty was throwing haymakers in every direction, hoping to strike the Echani by using the pure number of attacks. Most of the strikes swung well wide of the mark, the rare accurate ones required Ventrik to at least block or deflect them. The other two boys were hopeless though. Ventrik merely toyed with the two as they attempted to gain the upper hand. He didn’t throw a single strike to begin with, instead he chose to let them tire with their own recklessness.
This did not take long, when the three could barely raise their fists anymore, Ventrik decided to strike. Ignoring Rusty briefly, he pushed the other two out of the ring with ease, unable to stop him in their weakened states. After this, he turned to Rusty and began the onslaught that he had promised the student. Using quick jabs, Ventrik targeted his lower body, choosing to ignore his face. After a few strikes, the boy clearly knew he was done. With a single sweep of his legs, Ventrik dropped him on his back and placed a foot on his chest.
As Mr Gilbert began applauding and laughing, the two women entered the room. As Zarine was lambasting the teacher, Ventrik collected his belongings and put his jacket back on. He smiled briefly when he was informed of the mission’s success and followed them out of the room.