Recordings from the Holocron of Valerie Soung – Investigations

   Here we have another entry from Kira’s player, with some very minimal editing.

   Valerie Soung, Trayus Academy, Malachor V

   Leaping over the wall was the first unavoidable test of the security system this night. Either there would be scanners on the perimeter that would detect me or they wouldn’t. Once on the ground, I focused on my senses to see if I could pick up anything that might signal they know of my presence. The building here inside the wall was a solid structure about ten stories tall with no windows or doors save the front and rear entrances. Looks like they didn’t want anything to have an easy time getting in…. or out.

   Not sensing anything dangerous yet, I was left with a decision: front or back? Back door was the obvious and predictable angle of approach. The front door would be much more conspicuous but less likely to be trapped or heavily monitored. I couldn’t turn invisible or hide in plain sight, but with the stealth suit I could certainly be hard to detect. The lack of apparent cover around the entrance further helped with that as it made it easier on the stealth suit to blend in.

   Front door it is then.

   Taking care to ensure I didn’t put myself in a situation where the suit would really stand out, I made my way to the front door. Of course, the door was locked. I could probably slice the lock given time, but that would take time and probably alert the security system. Best to find another way in besides the door itself. The air curtain system looked promising. It certainly didn’t looked wired, and the main fan was definitely moving slowly enough that I could probably slide past. I took my time moving over to the wall and then levitating up it until I reached the ceiling. From there I “crawled” over to the vent and carefully pried it open enough to allow me to slide in.

   Screwing it back into position was not a good idea, but allowing it to hang open was also out of the question. I grabbed one of my plastic knives and used it to wedge the vent shut from the inside. That way I could open it back up in a hurry if I found myself trying to escape quickly. Above me lay the main fan that supplied volume for the air curtain. Since the doorway hadn’t been used recently, the fan was turning at a lazy coasting speed. I saw three options: wedge the fan in place, stop it momentarily, or time my leap through it.

   Wedging the fan would like trigger alarms in the control system and trigger maintenance routines and thus blowing my cover. Stopping it for a moment might or might not raise any alarms, and that depended on how paranoid the designers were about momentary faults. Well the Baramour are Sith after all. So that left timing the leap through it to pass. I disliked doing that because the more I used my ability the more likely any Force sensitive nearby might sense me. So I will have to try to do this without actively using my power.

   I watched the blades of the fan turning slowly, feeling the rhythm of the rotation. A little bit of passive precognition helped with the timing as I felt the moment come and stepped through the spinning blades with only an inch to spare. Yet another reason this suit is form fitting. Dresses tended to get caught in stuff while doing this sort of thing. Not that they aren’t useful for disguising kicks.

   From here the duct work branched off in several directions. It looked like the system was designed to funnel return air outside through the air curtain to keep circulation fresh. An amateur would crawl along the ducts all the way inside. That is why builders put so many sensors in the ducts to detect intruders these days. It would be far better to get into the hallways where I am likely to only face cameras and a few other minor things. After all, you can’t fill a corridor with sensors designed to pick up intruders in a heavily trafficked area without a lot of redundancy or a full time maintenance staff.

   The first vent to the lobby was right at my feet. Quietly laying down on the paneling, I peered through the vent. I could see a security guard watching a holographic display of the building tracking the location of maintenance droids and security guards. Sadly I couldn’t see much through the vent. I needed to get a closer look.

   Looking at the vent itself, I quickly confirmed the latch was on the other side much to my annoyance. Why can’t these things just lift up and fall into place? Probably to keep people like myself annoyed or out, I imagine. Moving the latch with the Force was the obvious option, with the obvious problems that entailed. Using a knife to pry the latch through the vent would also work, but that could make a lot of noise if it hadn’t been greased in a while.

   Looking at the mechanism itself though, it appeared like the latch held the vent in place using a set of tongue and groove ridges that slid into position. Bending the metal frame took more effort than I liked without tapping into my enhancement, but I was able to free the vent on three sides and pull it into the duct. That gave me a clear line of sight to the guard sitting at the security desk, if not the holo like I wanted.

   I pulled out the grapnel and tied it off to one of the support beams directly above the vent. The other end I connected to my suit harness and began to lower myself upside down into the lobby right beside the security guard’s desk. It was a simple matter to snap his neck. I then propped him up in a sleeping position.

   Now I had a clear view of the holo projection. Looked like there were security guards on each floor patrolling as well as a healthy stock of security droids stashed in various locations around the building. This display also neatly provided me with a layout of all the various sensor systems. Interestingly, while the system showed the interior of most of the building, it didn’t show the contents of a rather large room on the fifth floor. Right across the hallway from the freight elevator no less.

   Hmm. Storage perhaps? But why is it not part of the scanned layout?

   Lowering myself to the floor, I retracted the grapnel and wedged the vent back into place with a knife. It wouldn’t pass a close inspection, but I wasn’t expecting the guards to be looking that closely at a vent when they would have a dead guard on their hands.

   The hallways were monitored with visual sensors according to the holo system. But with the guard watching the visual dead, that shouldn’t pose an issue. The guards themselves may be equipped with a more versatile sensor pack though. Well, the next obstacle on this floor was the patroller wandering around. He was the most likely to find the one at the desk dead, so he needed to go as well.

   Spotting him on the holo, I moved to intercept him at the hallway junction so that I would come up behind him. Edging around the corner, I could tell he was bored and too relaxed. Treading lightly, I slipped up behind him and stuck a knife into his heart from behind. Muffling his scream, I lowered him to the ground and took off the goggles he was wearing over his eyes. Peering into them, they looked to be a standard thermal, visual, and ultra-violet suite. Visual and ultra-violet wouldn’t pose too much of an issue, but the thermal would pick me out or where I’ve been.

   Damn, this makes things more difficult.

   If they were smart, they would have had the guards outfitted with bio-monitors designed to alarm if the guard died or went unconscious. Luckily too many Sith equated that with actually caring for the minions. I drug his body to the restroom and shoved him into one of the stalls. Hopefully no one would notice him there for a while. With that guard disposed of, I took a quick look around. This floor mainly appeared to be offices and locker rooms for the staff. The administrator and doctor’s offices were not on this floor though. Probably on one of the floors above me.

   With that done, I climbed the stairs to the second floor. Looked like the designers went with an open floorplan on this floor filled with desks and massive computer systems. Bundles of fiber cable as thick as my arm were all over the floor connecting things and going to panels in the walls and floors. I could sense the guard patrolling was on the far side of the building making his rounds.

   Looking around, I couldn’t help but notice what was running on several of the computer displays. It looked like some sort of genetic sequencing software running comparisons between two genomes. I never studied genetics in much detail, but from what I could tell the two genomes were of highly divergent species at the very least. What was going on here? No matter. I did notice a pile of disks labeled as backups and pocketed them. Never know what I might find of interest on them.

   Ambushing the guard was another simple matter. This time I threw a knife down an aisle way and into his brain. I couldn’t risk him stumbling upon my heat trail and raising the alarm. Disposing of the body was another simple matter as it looked like with all the computer systems, the designers had installed a raised flooring to handle all the ventilation and cabling requirements. I pulled up one of the floor panels, dropped the body in, and then replaced the panel. With any luck, it would be days before anyone found him.

   Third floor was filled with more equipment. Much of this appeared to be genome assemblers, protein synthesizers and culture vats. Well this neatly explained how they might have contaminated the bacta used on my arm. They have enough equipment here to make the stuff in bulk if they wanted to. This certainly gives the Baramour the means to have helped Jurin sabotage my arm. Of course, given all this, the Baramour have the means to manufacture a new plague everyday indefinitely. It still doesn’t explain why the Baramour would break the neutrality agreements though.

   The guard on this floor seemed to be busy watching maintenance droids work on one of the culture vats that apparently had an accident of some sort. With him preoccupied, I decided to leave him alone. Besides, killing him in front of all those droids was asking for trouble I didn’t need.

   Fourth floor was where the administrator and doctor’s offices were located. Looked like all the offices had retinal scanners to open the doors. Some Varen have learned the art of cracking security systems like these using all sorts of technical expertise. Some even competed with each other on who could bypass the most difficult lock in the shortest time. I never had much aptitude for that sort of thing. I had my own, much simpler method for opening this kind of lock.

   I just needed the retina of someone who had clearance.

   The patrolling guard worked just nicely for this. It would have been a pain lugging his corpse around to each of the offices I wanted to open, so I just tore out one of his eyes and stuck it on a knife for conveniences sake. It took a moment to figure out I was holding the eye upside down, but flipping the knife fixed that.

   Nothing in any of the offices looked to be blatantly incriminating, which was to be expected. The datapads all wanted passwords to unlock. I had neither the time or the patience to try to crack those, so I started systematically removing the data cards from them and pocketing the cards and any disks I could find. Some of the Varen techs can play with the data cards to see what they can learn.

   Finally on the fifth floor, I could easily tell which room was the one I saw in the holo as it was directly across from the freight elevator and had a doorway large enough for bulk shipments. The door and surrounding walls all looked to be reinforced and magnetically sealed. Well that is odd to say the least. While some medical supplies are dangerous, none of them warrant building the equivalent of a bomb shelter on the fifth floor. What could they be hiding in there?

   Cutting through the door before morning would be nigh impossible with the tools I had with me. The wall didn’t look any easier. The doorway itself looked to be sealed with an electronic locking mechanism looking for a hand print and retinal scan. I had reached the conclusion of trying the guard’s hand and eye to see if they would work when the guard came around the corner.

   Not one to waste the opportunity, I sliced his throat before he could call for help. Once he was done dying, I picked him up and held his head to the retinal scanner while placing his hand on the palm scanner. The large door opened with a hiss as the pressure equalized. I walked in while tossing the corpse aside and began to look around the room.

   The room was not filled with crates and racks of medical supplies like I had anticipated. Instead, the room was filled with row upon row of tanks filled with a glowing blue fluid reminiscent of bacta tanks. Curiosity got the better of me and I proceeded further inside for a closer look. The door closed behind me with a quiet creak. Looked like each of the tanks was filled with some sort of creature and no two were quite the same. Some seemed to be no older than an embryo, while others looked to be fully grown adults. Strange thing was that I was unable to identify the species.

   This one in particular was huge, nearly three meters in height. Two legs and four arms all powerfully built, and black skin that looked to have more in common with chitin or armor than flesh. Eyes were a bit odd too, with two eyes more of the human fashion and another pair looking somewhat insectoid beneath them.

   Looking at each of the tanks in turn, I couldn’t recognize any of them. I thought I could recognize elements of some species in some of the creatures, but none of them matched completely with anything I’ve seen or heard of before. It was almost like these were all hybrids of some sort.

(Intercom) Do you like our handiwork?

   Damn, have I been detected or is there someone else in here that he’s talking to?

(Intercom) Don’t bother trying to hide. You stand out quite nicely on thermal imaging. Quite nicely indeed. Now will you kindly identify yourself and surrender or shall we move straight to the termination process?

   I saw no need to volunteer any more information than I had to. Plus I hadn’t given up on escaping either. I started sliding back to the door I come through in the hopes that I could break line of sight that way. Just as I was about to press the button to open the doorway, I was knocked off my feet as a sudden force came out of nowhere and hit me in the chest. Next thing I was on the floor wet and aware of something large stomping towards me.

   I rolled to the side and back onto my feet as a large black foot slammed into the floor where I was a moment ago. I found myself face to face with the large four armed creature I saw before, now loosed from it’s tank.

(Intercom) I don’t recall giving you the option of escape. However, if you really wish to fight the inevitable, then please, I am in need of a benchmark test of my latest chimera. Pity it had to be against such a weak Sith such as yourself.

   Chimera? I thought they were myths or something. Was this thing a hybrid between two different species then?

   I didn’t have any time to ponder as the chimera swung at me with one of it’s fist and connected with my right temple. That sent me flying several meters before I was able to right myself and land on my feet. By the time my vision cleared again, the thing was on top of me again launching another punch at my head. Tapping into the Force to enhance my speed, I barely managed to dodge that attack only to completely miss the opposing underarm hit me in the stomach. That flung me into another tank cracking the glass but not breaking it. Air came in gasps as my lungs struggled to refill.

   Whatever was going on, this chimera’s strength and speed was immense. I could barely keep up pulling on my full Force power. Our strength and speed might have been about the same, but this thing definitely had the size advantage, and in a battle like this, that was all that mattered.

   It charged again with all four fists raised. I rolled to the side and flung my feet out in a move designed to trip it into the tank. My timing was good, but the sheer strength and momentum of that charge overwhelmed that trip and caused it to only stumble instead. I flipped on it’s back, wrapped my legs around it’s torso and got the chimera into a headlock as I tried to snap it’s neck. It used two arms to peel off my attempts to break it’s neck and another two arms to grab one of my legs and fling me at the door.

   My head hit the door first and the impact momentarily made my vision go white. My Force power was too focused on trying to keep me conscious and moving to be able to predict where it would strike next, but I didn’t need that to know exactly what it was doing next. Not really sure of my orientation, but certain I had to move now, I rolled in a somersault and then went flat against the floor as the chimera sailed overhead into the door and rung it like a bell.

   My vision returning and once again on my feet, I saw that the chimera had torn the door loose from the frame from the sheer momentum of the impact. The chimera itself was busily trying to dig itself out from under the remains of the doorway. Not being stupid enough to continue the fight, I made a run for it out into the hallway.

   I had barely made the turn into the stairwell when a piece of the door flew down the hall not inches from my arm. Whatever this thing was, it could see me well enough to try and hit me at range. Not even bothering to run down the stairs, I jumped over the railing and fell the four flights of stairs to the ground floor. Hitting the ground, I made a mad dash to the main entrance. The sound of a crash behind me told me the chimera had followed me down the stairwell. I had a mere ten seconds at best to get out the door and into the open before it cornered me.

   Running into the lobby, past the dead guard at the desk, I pulled out the lightsaber and made quick work of the door. That got me out into the open of the grounds where I was less likely to be cornered by that monstrosity. I briefly considered trying to use the opportunity to stop and kill the creature, but I didn’t know how much longer I had until more Baramour showed up to hunt me down. If I was lucky, minutes, if not, they were likely already here.

   So I picked a direction and leapt over the wall. Continuing my run from there, I made a straight run for the cluster of buildings that was the advanced class dorms. Inevitably there was some bunch of idiots out at this hour stirring up mischief and I hoped to use them as a distraction. My intuition paid off as there were two large groups out in the plaza posturing and probably getting ready for a status fight. I ran right to the center where the two ring leaders were about to face off and jumped over them and into one of the crowds.

   The ring leaders could sense my presence but couldn’t see me, on the other hand, they could also sense the chimera coming up behind them as they turned to face it and ignored me only for the ring leaders to get trampled in it’s wake. That neatly stirred up the rest of the bunch to pull out their lightsabers and attack the chimera trying to find me. I did my best to keep the chimera distracted as the various Sith tried to hack at it through the thick chitin hide.

   A good number of them died before they finally managed to kill the damned thing. It looks like too many of them were too dependent on being faster and stronger than their opponents to fight back effectively. Still, through sheer force of numbers and the superior power of lightsabers against that armor plating, they managed to finally kill it. About half of them were dead or needed serious medical attention. That was disconcerting to see one creature do.

   Amazingly, one of the ring leaders was still alive after that slaughter.

(Leader) I can’t see you, but I can sense you. Whoever you are, you better be grateful for us cleaning up your mess here.

   I ignored him and quietly walked away. Breathing was still a bit hard, and I suspect a few ribs may have been cracked. I also probably had bruises and maybe even a concussion. Surpressing my Force abilities only seemed to make things worse as I grew dizzy, my vision blurred, breathing became hard, and I was having trouble walking. I guess I am going to have to lean on my powers until I get to a doctor. I checked myself over looking for any signs of tracers or cuts that might have left blood dna evidence behind before being satisfied. I went and found my bike where I had stashed it and rode home after disengaging the camoflauge.

   Father was waiting for me outside the house when I pulled in.

(Father) I take it you were part of that ruckus over at the medical building?

(Valerie) Are they already accusing me?

(Father) No, they apparently couldn’t identify the intruder and are asking for our cooperation in this matter.

(Valerie) Well that is good.

(Father) Before I begin lecturing you about the political consequences of what you’ve done, may I ask why you did it?

(Valerie) I have reason to suspect the Baramour are not as neutral as they maintain. But I couldn’t prove that based on what I had.

(Father) So you went looking for evidence. Did you find what you were looking for?

(Valerie) No, but I think I may have found something better. Looks like the Baramour are running experiments trying to create anti-Sith bioweapons. I think it might all be on these disks and cards I grabbed.

(Father) Any chance that this could be traced back to us?

(Valerie) No, I took all the usual precautions, about all they would have on me is a thermographic profile of me through the suit.

(Father) Well, that should mask things considerably. All they should be able to get is rough height and weight estimates. Not enough to make a match.

(Valerie) Father, I need to see the doctor, I am having trouble functioning without my Force powers.

   I had meant for him to let me be so I could see the doctor myself, but was astonished to find myself picked up and carried to medical. The doctor did determine that I had three broken ribs and a concussion, but that with treatment I should be fully functional again in a day. The doctor started the treatments and put me to sleep.

   This time I dreamed about trying to sort all the mail going to Coruscant faster than it arrived. The magnitude of the task was an overwhelming feeling.

   I woke up in the Varen medical bay a cold sweat. The doctor was there along with Thelos.

(Thelos) Ah good, you have awoken my Lady. I am pleased to see this. I wish I could say you could rest some more, but your Father has requested your presence the moment you awoke.

(Valerie) Things have not gone well while I was asleep then?

(Thelos) No my Lady, the corpse of the creature you killed and the data you retrieved have blown the lid wide open on a number of Baramour plots. War between the Sith factions is likely.

   Suddenly I heard Father’s voice from behind me near the door.

(Father) Indeed, we must act quickly if we are to keep things from getting out of hand. Get dressed, I have a mission for you and Kira. I shall explain once you get to the garden.

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