Theela World Martial Arts Tournament! (Con't, Ask for entry before posting)

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Zasabi Ray
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Theela World Martial Arts Tournament! (Con't, Ask for entry before posting)

Post by Zasabi Ray » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:16 pm

Continued from the previous board
He had thought that fighting his grandmother was the most difficult challenge of his life. All of that knowledge and skill combined with a will strong enough to survive even death... she had been a powerful foe, to say the least.
Today, however, Zasabi learned that even unskilled foes could present a challenge should they be present in sufficient numbers.
If there was any hope in the theelin's heart that his foes would try to fight among each other as well as him, it faded soon after they stepped into the ring. They were hungry- hungry for a chance to humble him, hungry for a chance to avenge their loss, hungry for a chance at redemption.
Zasabi would have to pit his will against their hunger if he had any hope of coming out on top. Slipping one foot back into a slightly offset parallel position, he raised his hands in front of him, leveling them at the center of his chest with one behind the other.
(Begin Force Level 9 app)
The first three challengers advanced. One was the Nautolan he had faced earlier, a vicious snarl on his face. The second and third were a Cathar and a Chagrian respectively, the Cathar holding an open stance with her claws unfurled and the Chagrian with a reclined posture indicative of a primarily kick-based fighter. They looked to each other for a moment, as if determining how they would work together, before returning their attention to their target and charging.
The Nautolan dove toward Zasabi, seeking to spear him into a grapple. As deep in the Force as he was, he could see the strike coming from a mile away and responded by slapping his front hand down onto the brawny being's head. Gripping onto his head, he yanked himself over his back as an axe kick cut through the air behind him. He responded in kind, whipping his foot into the Chagrian before landing in a plank position.
He heard the Cathar's foot coming down overhead, forcing him to roll to one side to avoid the furry being's foot. The Force sang to him, and he swung his elbow hard into the Cathar's knee, disrupting her stance and forcing him to the ground. Putting both hands on the ground again, he swung his lower body into a knee that forced the Cathar to dig into her heels to keep from falling back.
A sharp discordant string echoed in his ears and he rolled away from the Cathar, watching as the Chagrian's foot attempted to catch him with another deadly crescent. He continued his roll into the blue-being's legs, knocking him off balance and prone.
Rising to his feet, he felt the Nautolian leaping forward behind him. Throwing his arms forward, he let loose with a mule kick that, based on the crunching sound he heard, left the being with a broken nose and orbital fracture. He drew his limbs in fast enough to avoid another kick from the Chagrian, using his elbows and knees to block the incoming strikes as fast as he could.
He suddenly realized he was moving too quickly, his Force enhanced senses leaving the kickboxer woefully slow in his eyes and almost leading to him getting hit by accident. His senses had matured, but his ability to use them in high pressure situations hadn't. He could do more than this.
Zasabi stepped into the next kick the Chagrian threw, catching it with one arm while using the other to deflect an incoming elbow. He swung the man down to the ground and forcibly shoved the his leg as far as he could, eliciting a scream before ending it with a single punch. A whisper in the Force led him to stand up into a shrug that caught the Cathar mid-slash, his jaw bones grinding together from the impact. He followed with a series of rapid-fire punches that left the feline gripping it's stomach before lashing out with one final kick that dropped him.
Turning to the remaining thirteen, he noticed their expressions, varying from impressed to frightened. Notably, the two cousins of his that had entered the competition sat back against the wall of the chamber, watching him with an amused eye. No doubt they intended to suss out his style before attempting to use their tricks on him.
Wiping a single droplet of sweat from his brow, Zasabi turned the motion into a taunt, gesturing for the rest to come.
Five came this time- A bare-chested Aqualish with wrapped hands, a Trandoshan with a tightly controlled stance, a Klatoonian with clenched fists held in a wide stance, a human in a balanced stance, and a Gotal that appeared far too relaxed. They spread out, attempting to give each other enough room to fight without getting in each other's way. Zasabi simply waited, keeping his breathing even and measured.
The Trandoshan came first, thrusting dagger-like blows at Zasabi who batted them away before dragging the lizard by the arm into Klatoonian's forceful hammerblow. The two tangled into each other and Zasabi stepped past them, weaving past the Aqualish's fast fists before stepping into range of the human. The two sent a series of machinegun punches across Zasabi's body, each shot meeting either empty air or a block. No matter how fast they were, the Force guided his limbs into position and foiled them at every turn. Zasabi snagged the hand of one warrior, pulling them out of their rhythm and using their arm to defend against the other fighter.
Sudden pain flared across his midsection as the Gotal struck, sending him stumbling back. Having bought the others a moment, the five warriors took their stances again as Zasabi centered himself. He had gotten too focused. He needed to extend his awareness out to all five warriors.
He finally realized what Zorel had meant in that moment. It didn't truly matter how talented he was, or how technically brilliant he could be. He might have won this fight when he first arrived on this world. It was not enough to simply win now. He had to conquer, and he had to do it while melding the Force and his body.
They came, and he defended. Where before there were but two at a time, now there were five and they held back nothing.
An extended arm, a shift of weight, and he was up and over one fighter, using their shoulder as a lever. Before his feet touched the ground, he brought them up into the spine of his mount, springing off and sending them to the ground. Long legs flashing like lightning, the movements of his targets seemed almost as if intentionally designed to allow him to land kick after kick. Landing in a crouch, he rolled under a strike he couldn’t possibly have seen, slipping deeper into his trance. The fighters became a symphony, each instrument melding with the next. He had only to add his own to the melody.
A fist snapped out, whiplike and vicious and beautiful in it’s crackling buzz. His own hand parried, a harp dancing in the wind. A kick, like a bass drum meant to shake him to his bowels. A slide, as smooth as a violin’s bow, and he was past.
A single note, resounding in it’s finality.
He settled back into his body, opening his eyes for the first time in minutes. An assortment of bodies lay around him, some groaning in pain and others simply unconscious. There were only two individuals left standing.
“Let's make this a family affair, then,” Zasabi said aloud, resting his sight on the two cousins of his that had sat out the rest of the melee. He was pleased to see that they looked no more confident for having done so, but that didn’t mean that his victory was assured.
They advanced, movements completely in sync. Where one defended, the other struck. One went high, walking along the cage as if gravity had been suspended, and the other went low, lashing out with sweeps that nearly polished the stone with their speed and ferocity. They were using the Force to combine their efforts, and ordinarily this would make them unbeatable.
This was no ordinary occasion.
He leapt over a sweep, slipping past a falling axe kick and arriving past the two of them. Without turning, he let out a short jab, catching one cousin in the back of the head with a phantom strike, and reared back to let loose a bone-shattering horse kick at the other. Shifting to face the pair, he intercepted a flurry of blows, slapping them away before reaching out calmly to pluck one cousin by the ear, dragging them into the way of the other as they regained their balance.
Every time they attempted to synchronize themselves in the Force, he let loose a discordant note, shattering their bond and forcing them to begin again. He could read them like a conductor’s notes, and it showed.
He ducked a kick as simply as stepping under a low hanging branch, rising up and pulling the other cousin by the fist as if opening a door. A simple sweep followed by a strike to the head, a grab into a casual throw to the ground, and the fight was done.
(End Force Level 9 App)
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Re: Theela World Martial Arts Tournament! (Con't, Ask for entry before posting)

Post by Zasabi Ray » Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:16 pm

The rest of the night had gone without much fanfare. Zorel Ray had proven his point, and with that the festivities had continued. As for Zasabi, he had another goal in mind.

Upon discovering his father and mother were Jedi, it had become a sort of mission to learn more about this part of his parent's life that he knew nothing about. It was, in part, what had drawn him here. Among the bits and pieces of information he had found was a description of his father's lightsaber. The accounts of his father suggested that not only was his demeanor as a Jedi uncommon, no doubt leading to his leaving the temple, but also his choice of weapon.

While the stereotype of a Force user was a lightsaber wielding robed warrior-monk, in truth this was a simplification borne of years of peace. When one was meant to be a calming influence on matters, walking in with a large weapon clearly meant for warfare was counterproductive. Still, the utility and subtlety of a lightsaber were hard to compete with.

When in times of conflict, however, other weapons were needed. The rise of conflicts prior to and during the Clone Wars had made that clear enough to Zemmel Ray, and when the time had come to make a lightsaber for himself, he chose an entirely idiosyncratic design based on both his upbringing and the history of Jedi Warriors. He took the blueprints for a lightspear and, with the assistance of more technically savvy apprentices, compressed the necessary components for the blade. Thus freed of the space needed for the circuitry of the blade, he separated the spear into three sections, connecting them through the use of a retractable durasteel cord. This cord could pull all three sections together into an interlocked lightspear, or loosen to allow the use of the spear as a three sectioned staff, allowing the use of all manner of techniques entirely separate from the traditional Jedi arts. It kept him alive until the time he and his wife left their blades behind to fake their deaths at the culmination of the war.

Zasabi had spent a great deal to find his father’s blade. It was in poor shape now, the years having taken their toll on it, but enough of it remained in one piece that he could piece together the basic design. Now, here, in his uncle’s workshop on Theela, he would make it his own

(Begin Lightspear app)
The first part was, while the most arduous, perhaps the simplest. Using a forge and droid assistance, he began forming the three sections of the lightspear. While a lightsaber could rely on simple durasteel or other such metals as it’s shell, doing so with a lightspear was foolishness- the increased length would only open itself up to being cut apart by other lightsaber wielding foes. As such, he needed a material that could stand up to lightsabers and blasters with equal impunity.

He needed Beskar.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t a Mandalorian, and they guarded their secrets with a fury that matched anyone else he had pissed off lately, so he had to settle for the second best thing- a cortosis-woven duramentium blend. It wasn’t as resilient as Beskar, sadly, but he could add a magnetic-field circuit that would help it come out of those encounters unscathed.

Forging the shell for the blade was an involved process- the middle of the blade was simple enough, but most of the ornamentation and weight had to be centralized around the ends of the spear to maintain the balance of the weapon. He had run the numbers enough to know how to distribute the weight, and once the shell had begun to cool his droids would begin shaving the metal to shape the design he had created. It was hot, dirty work, but he needed to be involved with every step of the process in order to properly attune the blade to him.

Hours later, six halves of the blade casing lay on a worktable, having been shaped and cooled. The metal gleamed, the wave-like pattern of the forging process evident on it’s polished exterior. The interior remained dull, awaiting the placement of the parts that would turn it from an ornament into a weapon.

Zasabi turned his attention to the cables that would join the three sections of the spear. They were made of mostly the same material as the exterior of the blade, the altered blend allowing them to be woven into cables that would allow them a good deal of flexibility while still remaining durable enough for use against an enemy blade. A number of techniques used the chains of a three section staff to pin the blade of an enemy while using the other section of the staff to attack, so a weak point there would be devastating. Additionally, the cables could be wound against fibers that would help conduct the magnetic shielding that would protect the rest of the haft. It remained the weakest point on the weapon by its very nature, but Zasabi could do no more to protect it.

The cables and their spooling mechanisms were fitted onto one end of the casings, droids welding the parts solidly into place. When extended, each cable reached a maximum length of half a foot, allowing a great deal of flexibility with his strikes in the sectional staff mode. He chose to forego a pressure-sensitive grip, instead employing a simple pair of buttons on both ends of the spear to retract or extend the chain.This would allow him to move his grip along the weapon wherever it was needed.The extension itself didn’t have much force behind it, but he considered that acceptable for how he intended to use the weapon.

When it came to the more technical aspects of the circuitry, Zasabi was out of his depth. He had worked some with explosives, certainly, but he was far from a bomb-maker, and the machinery needed to make this weapon work was beyond even that. It was sufficient for him to supervise as the droids threaded the cord that would conduct the magnetic field throughout the haft of the blade. It would have a significantly higher energy drain than a lightsaber, but so long as he didn’t fight for literally a day straight he would be fine. The main concern he had was the placement of the battery cells for the weapon- they were primarily contained in the center of the blade, powering both the magnetic shielding and the cables. Were someone able to land a blow strong enough or often enough to overpower the magnetic shielding and the cortosis weave, they could cut into the battery and set off a chain reaction that would destroy the center of the blade and potentially kill him and his attacker. Still, it was that or rely purely on the cortosis woven duramentium, which seemed just as dangerous a decision.

Finally, it was time for the blade itself. He had no need to search out crystals for the blade, thankfully- the ones he had used in the paired blades he had used before would serve perfectly fine. He regarded them briefly before placing them within the small forge needed to fuse the crystals together into a proper focusing crystal. They had a strange history- once shards of crystals taken from the valley of the Jedi themselves, they had been used in a mad scientist’s experiment to replicate the results of the Imperial Reborn project. They had worked, to an extent- rather than granting Zasabi the near instant skill other Reborn had attained with the technique, it had instead merely awakened his nascent sensitivity to the Force. He had gone on to use the crystals in his lightsabers, seeing that they were already tied to his destiny. For many long years he had wielded two blades- one dark, one light. Now, who could say what his future held?

He placed the crystals on a small tray, sliding them into the forge. The intense heat had to be matched by his will, or the crystals would shatter.

Sinking deep into the Force, he reached out to the crystals. He could sense their opposition to each other- somehow, they had grown to encompass the duality and conflict that had consumed his life. On the one hand, he had tried to live the life of an ascetic Shadow monk, learning the teachings of Sekot and following them as best as he could alone. On the other hand, he had lived a life of luxury, an idly rich war profiteer who bounty hunted for sport and entertainment. And yet, this was also not all he was. He also was a soldier, fighting for corporations that he held no loyalty to save for the man that directed them. He was a hunter, seeking out prey for greater and greater challenge. He was a spy, selling his loyalty as needed to survive. He was a gangster, feeding off of others to support himself. He was a fool, gathering power and resources only to squander them on lost causes.

He was an orphan, lost and alone in a city world that demanded he crush others to survive.

These were all aspects of who he was, past and present. They had all shaped him, and to state that the hunter or the monk were the only parts of his life he would carry forward was to ignore all that had created him. He was a flawed man, a composite made of shards of pain, hardship, and cruelty as well as hope and compassion. Those pieces, like these crystals, would need to be fused together into the man he would spend the rest of his life trying to be, and in the effort, becoming.

The forge flashed, brighter than the flames it held. A ripple shot out through the Force, like the sound barrier being pierced. He pulled out the tray, but he already knew what it would hold.

A single, shining silver gem sat before him. It quaked with unexplored potential.

His face cracked into a smile. He just might be worthy after all.
(End Lightspear App)

* * * * *

It was complete.

Standing at a full length that reached from Zasabi’s feet to the tip of his head, the spear was a marvel of simple aesthetics. The shaft was a simple, solid rod of black metal. Starting below the hilt and spiraling down to the bottom were the names of all ten generations of the Ray clan, almost invisible to the eye due to the dark tint of the blade. He would feel them every time he took hold of the spear.

Zasabi’s eyes settled on the pommel of the spear. Claws swept up out of the shaft, gripping a sphere emblazoned with the Ray clan`s emblem. He had decided, early on, to honor the memory of his father and those who had come before him with the blade. It was a risk, to be certain- such a distinctive weapon meant anyone who saw the blade and lived to tell the tale could potentially identify him. Still, it was important to him to carry the legacy of his family proudly.

Finally, the tip of the spear. The hilt was a stylized krayt dragon, all snarls and viciousness. The blade, were he successful, would emerge from within it’s mouth like the burning breath some locals claimed the eldest of their kind could create. It was necessary to add weight to the hilt to counterbalance the weight of the pommel, lest he throw himself off. He didn’t know how the blade of the lightsaber itself would handle, but he had time to discover that assuming that it didn’t explode upon ignition.

The theelin shook his head. He was stalling. He just had to turn it on and get it over with.

He flicked the switch.

Brilliant silver light emerged from the mouth of the Krayt Dragon, shining vibrantly and filling the workshop with it’s glow. The inside of it gleamed with a darkness that accentuated the edges of the lightspear’s blade.

For a time, Zasabi studied the blade as if looking for some augury of the future. Shutting off the blade, he loosened the cables and began to fold the spear up to a more portable size. Whatever the future held, he would cut a path for himself with this blade.
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Re: Theela World Martial Arts Tournament! (Con't, Ask for entry before posting)

Post by Zasabi Ray » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:21 pm

"Fight!"

Zasabi sized up his opponent, a thin lanky Pau'an dressed in surprisingly little compared to all of the holos he had seen of the rest of their species. Then again, all he knew about the Pau'an could barely fill a pamphlet, so perhaps he shouldn't be surprised.

The first match of the real tournament had begun, and while Zasabi had made his way through the preliminaries without much issue, he knew that this was going to be a challenge.

He just hadn't known how much of one it would prove to be.

He tested his foes defenses with a sliding jab, smoothly slipping a strike at the gaunt giant's head. A skeletal hand slapped at his arm, a strange prickling sensation spreading across his arm in the place of pain. Stepping back, Zasabi realized that his guard had begun to droop a bit without him noticing. Am I getting sloppy already?

That was when the Pau'an chose to strike. Stepping in with a single raised hand, fingers outstretched, they slipped past Zasabi's drooping left hand and slid their long fingers toward Zasabi's forehead. Realizing the danger too late, Zasabi slipped back, but the Pau'an's fingers were already beginning to graze his head.

Fire erupted along his nerve endings, giving him a migraine headache in moments. The Theelin almost stumbled but managed to dodge the next few thrusts, leaping away nearly ten feet and landing by the edge of the arena. Content to watch with slitted eyes, the Pau'an let out a positively serpentine smile.

Some sort of nerve damaging technique, Zasabi considered, Doesn't require much force either. Can't say I've ever seen this technique before.

Grimacing, Zasabi tried to shake feeling back into his arm. I'm in trouble here...
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Re: Theela World Martial Arts Tournament! (Con't, Ask for entry before posting)

Post by Zasabi Ray » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:04 pm

Five Years Earlier

“So why am I here again?” a frustrated Zasabi asked as he adjusted the collar of his suit. It was a modern cut, all the rage in the Corporate Sector from what his tailor told him. It didn’t make it any less uncomfortable.

“Sir,” began his assistant, a wiry rodian with slim hologlasses that allowed access to his datapad at a moment’s notice. The tone of resignation was barely obscured. “As you know, the Red Comet Industries buyout of Umbra Obre Mining corp is set to finalize at the end of the month, pending approval from the appropriate regulatory agencies. As a condition of the buyout, however, the board of directors of Umbra Obre asked that you meet with them personally at their headquarters.”

“I guess the Obre in Umbra Obre stands for Obredaan, huh?” Zasabi mused, looking past the transparasteel shuttle windows into the clouded swamps below. “Wonder why they never moved from this place. Can’t be good for infrastructure.”

“According to data from analysts, during the Clone Wars period there was some product mined from this planet important enough for the Separatists to attempt to seize the planet from the Republic. They were fended off, but nothing of note occurred afterward.”

One green eyebrow lifted slightly, a sign of hope being kindled in Zasabi’s heart that perhaps there would be some secrets worth discovering on this business trip. Perhaps this journey wouldn’t be quite as boring as he thought it would.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next two days did their best to stamp out what little hope Zasabi had hidden away. The eldest of the Umbra Obre executives apparently considered him a minor celebrity due to his escapades with the Corporate Sector, having determined that their proximity to the battles of the Clone Wars somehow made them comrades in arms. They couldn’t have been more unctuous and ingratiating, but Zasabi knew a good impression was key to greasing the deal, and so he indulged their thirst for war stories that might as well have been ancient history as far as he was concerned.

There was one thing he couldn’t deny, however; The board of directors were better at handling their liquor than damn near every gangster he had drank with growing up. Nearly every one of these celebratory meetings involved an open bar with a variety that suggested to Zasabi that he needed to have his chamberlain reach out to this company’s caterers. It took an active use of the Force to keep himself remotely sober, and even then he found himself feeling a buzz by the end of the second day.
The last party of the day (He hoped) took place in a formal restaurant. Glass encased the dining room, surrounding the diners in the murky waters of Obredaan. Marine life of all stripes gracefully drifted by, apparently having been chosen for their peaceful coexistence as none of them had the look of a predator.

The majority of the room was taken up by the Umbra Obre party, as if word had gone out beforehand to warn off the local upper crust that the executives on the loose. Collars were loosened, faces were flushed, and all manner of beverages were flowing into the gullets of businessmen doing their best impression of a desert-stranded traveler who’d just found an oasis. It was a scene Zasabi was used to, although perhaps not to this degree.

“So I turned the blaster on him and said ‘Frank… You’re Fired!’ before unloading the clip.”
Uproarious laughter answered the conclusion of his story. It was patently false- he hadn’t even been on world for the incident- but the businessmen ate it up like peanuts. This wasn’t the first time Zasabi had to entertain gawking civilians with inflated ideas of what wartime escapades meant. He didn’t value those memories much- even for someone like him who enjoyed combat and the feeling of putting his life on the line, war was nothing to be celebrated, especially when working for the Corporate Sector.

As the laughter died down, Zasabi turned his eyes to the CFO, a Nemoidian with looser lips than the others in his retinue. “So, why is it that you have your headquarters here? I haven’t heard of much product coming out of here- I have to imagine transportation fees to go to offworld mines has got to raise the overhead some.”

The Nemodian chuckled, sipping from a pink frothy beverage with what appeared to be some manner of wriggling worm swimming across the bottom of his cup. “Ah, well, Obredaan used to be our primary mine years ago. After the rise of the Empire, though, we had difficulty with… labor sourcing on-world, so we shifted our focus to other products. That’s actua-”

Another board member grabbed hold of the Nemoidian’s shoulder, digging into the flesh such that the CFO yelped. “It is a part of our past we don’t look to often,” intoned the Twilek, one lekku twitching in annoyance. “We prefer to look to the future- particularly to this merger.”

The Twilek released her companion and rose, bringing out a small metal tine to tap the edge of her glass. “With that in mind, I think it is appropriate that we offer our congratulations and appreciation to our honored guest for the effective and generous negotiations between our respective companies. Umbra Obre has a long history, and it is only fitting that we join ties with a new, up-and-coming group of entrepreneurs and offer the weight of our experience while benefiting from the innovation and energy of a new generation.”

Something about this deal was starting to feel suspicious. An odd tone filled the air, one that took Zasabi almost too long to separate from his discomfort.

Danger

Rising quickly, the flash of his lightsaber leapt out and created a burning white crescent in front of the executive. A nearby bowl of food shattered as the knife, sharp and wicked and glowing cherry red, embedded itself into the rich wood of the table. A moment of silence passed before the inebriated patrons responded in shock.

Zasabi’s eyes rested on what had moments before been a patron. Their holoshroud flickered and revealed a humanoid with dingy red armor and a rounded helm. Several other patrons also dropped their shroud, revealing five total assassins each armed with a variety of melee weaponry.

Odd, Zasabi considered as he positioned himself where he could see the majority of the strange warriors. Blasters would have been more reliable. Are they concerned about breaking the glass?

“Jedi,” uttered a harsh, synthesized voice. “This is not your concern. We seek vengeance for our ancestors, who were wronged by these cowards. Leave and you will go unharmed.”

Zasabi raised an eyebrow. “Not a Jedi, and also it is my business. These cowards are my business partners, and we haven’t signed on the dotted line yet. I don’t know your grievance, but I’ll offer you the same deal- leave, and I won’t harm you.”

“You have signed your death sentence,” intoned the being. “Fighting Jedi is a speciality of the Jin’Ha.”

With this, one assassin to the left charged at Zasabi, vibroblade raised. He wasn’t sure what they had in mind, as a lightsaber would carve through most melee weapons with ease. Still, he raised the saber to defend himself, watching the vibroblade descend...and defy expectation entirely by remaining in one piece as it sizzled against the incandescent white light of his blade.

The assassin was not as astonished as Zasabi was, whipping around with a small knife held at his hip to strike at the theelin’s throat as his vibroblade pinned the lightsaber. The Shadow intercepted him with an empty hand, fingers splayed as a wave of invisible force froze the knife inches from his neck. The assassin’s fist trembled with exertion as he tried to push past it, but Zasabi’s will was absolute.

The hand moved back, inch by inch, finally giving Zasabi enough room to lash out with a force empowered front kick that doubled the Jin’Ha over and sent him rolling away. Seeing that it would take more than a single warrior to best Zasabi, the two other silent Jin’Ha readied their weapons and advanced.

This wasn’t enough to give Zasabi pause. He had been surprised by the durability of the weapons, yes, but he had been able to tell from the first exchange that if they were all roughly equal in skill, he would still win out. Simply put, he had more horsepower than the four of them combined. To demonstrate, he ignited the second of his lightsabers, extending them outward to establish a perimeter around himself. The rest of the crowd had began to huddle under tables, leaving only Zasabi and the assassins standing.

The first advanced with an overhead swing, their heavy vibroaxe whirring toward Zasabi’s skull. He slipped the weapon to the side, spinning as he did so to parry a pair of sword strikes from the second red-armored foe. Stepping inside of the first foe’s reach, he suddenly shifted the direction of his spin and leaned his shoulder into the assassin. With Zasabi’s leg having snaked its way behind the Jin’Ha, the movement toppled the assassin into a table, flipping it onto it’s side and sending the businessmen scattering in every direction.

Not pausing to check on the foe behind him, Zasabi seized the table with the Force and, kneeling, flung it over his head. He heard the thud of the other warrior meeting the table violently and rose menacingly over the the supine remnant. The armor was durable, but it did nothing to stop the series of kicks he unleashed from concussing the assassin into unconsciousness.

Raising his eyes again to the one who had spoken, Zasabi gestured with the saber in an unmistakable challenge.

The last Jin’Ha pulled a long vibrosword from his back, activating it with a menacing hum. It was difficult to look at, the speed at which it was vibrating giving it an almost hazy look. Worse, it was longer than Zasabi’s blades, which meant that his foe had the advantage of reach.

The two sized each other up for a moment, the helm of the assassin reflecting Zasabi’s cocky expression. When it began, it was almost too quick for onlookers to make sense of it. A swipe, leaving no evidence of its passage but the crackle of the air. A thrust, leaving the shining traces of white and black light in the air. A quick advance, a parry and repartee, a settling of stances. For each strike, a hundred bouts were fought in their minds.

The leader of the assassins was skilled, but Zasabi had gotten a grasp of his style. Within seconds he had disarmed his foe, leaving the long vibroblade impaled in a nearby couch. Another step, a lunge, and his saber flew unerringly toward the warrior’s chest. A medallion dangled there, almost a targeting reticle for the strike that would end the duel.

Upon touching the amulet, the burning radiance of Zasabi’s black blade faded from existence. The surprise shattered Zasabi’s combat sense, leaving him open for the small blade the Jin’Ha dug into his belly.

“You Jedi… always overconfident.” The synthesized voice held the distinct note of victory. He knew that Zasabi was too close to use his second lightsaber effectively, and as long as he maintained his hold long enough for the wound to bleed him out, Zasabi would be utterly helpless.

“I told you,” Zasabi hissed through gritted teeth. “I’m not a Jedi.”

His right hand loosened, dropping the lightsaber. Before it hit the ground, he had straightened out his arm, feeling the click of his holdout pistol sliding into place. Before the Jin’Ha leader could react, Zasabi pulled the blaster pistol against the armored head of his foe and pulled the trigger.

Holdout blasters carried little charge, but a point black series of shots against anything other than Beskar meant that even the few shots it carried were enough. The Jin’Ha slumped to the floor, lifeless, as the hole in his helmet steamed.

Stumbling away, Zasabi reached to his side with a hand. The wound was deep, but with medical attention he would survive. As his retinue began to rise, Zasabi leveled a weary glance at them.

“Anyone here know a doctor?”


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Light. A smooth, sterile white ceiling. The clutter of medical instruments that made the room feel almost claustrophobic and yet organized.

He had been in many hospital rooms, over the years. Somehow, every culture managed to make them look the same.

“I’m happy to see you’re on the road to recovery.”

Zasabi craned his neck down, noticing for the first time that he had company. The pale blue skin of the Twilek board member stood out against her dark suit, her expression as bland and unreadable as it had been during the ill-fated dinner party.

“How long have I been out?” he croaked. His throat was raw- they had likely had to intubate him at one point which suggested the damage had been more severe than he had anticipated.

“Only a day,” replied the executive. She pulled out a small folder of documents and passed them to Zasabi. It took only a short glance to verify that it was a detailing of the procedures that had gone into saving his life. “The surgeons were surprised at the speed with which you healed after the procedure. I suspect this is not uncommon”
Zasabi offered a cool smile. While he had his limitations with the Force, he had grown powerful enough in it that it did not take conscious effort to accelerate his healing to a limited degree.

The response he gave seemed to be enough. The Twilek nodded once, as if verifying something for herself, and then settled into her chair. “I suspect you’ve some questions about the group that attacked us. I also suspect that you’ll motion to end the buyout if we don’t offer some answers to those questions.”

Zasabi kept quiet.

She let out a small sigh. “The Umbra Obre company has a long history, but it’s current incarnation is a relatively recent invention. It used to be majority owned by the natives of this planet, a species known as the Jin’Ha. Long ago, they reached out to a mining conglomerate and bartered their way into a majority share with the knowledge of a potent resource in this world.”

She pulled out a small disk of stone. It was clearly the amulet the leader of the Jin’Ha assassins had been carrying. He could see now that it was shaped to resemble the world as it was visible from orbit.

“The resource is known as cortosis. It’s rarity is only matched by the difficulty in retrieving it- in its natural state it produces an energy field that repulses energy based mining tools, forcing a reliance on physical excavation. Exposure to the dust of it can lead to a wasting disease that kills extremely rapidly. Even droids do not last long while mining the material.”

She placed the disk on a small tray between them. “As an alloy, and as a composite, it is second only to Mandalorian Beskar. Even the smallest percentage of it can offer metal a resistance to energy weapons such that they can fend off lightsabers, and the more pure the composite is, the greater the effect. When it nears full purity, the material can create a feedback loop that disables lightsabers and other such weaponry for a time.”

Her eyes shifted from the medallion to Zasabi. “I’m sure you can understand why this would be useful in a galaxy where the dominant forces often wielded Jedi as a club to enforce obedience.”

Zasabi remained silent. If this resource was as capable as she claimed, it was no surprise that there were so many older Vibro-weapons in existence despite the proliferation of lightsaber weaponry during the many wars between the Jedi and the Sith.

“The Jin’Ha held what amounted to a monopoly on this resource for a long time, even as recently as the Clone Wars. After the rise of the Empire, however, it came to light that the reserves of the mineral were running low. To find new veins would require the full scale excavation of the planet, likely leaving it inhospitable to life.”

“The Jin’Ha refused to comply with the Empire’s demands, but by then they were far from the only owners of the company. They were muscled out in a corporate takeover enforced by the Empire, leading to the current incarnation of the Umbra Obre corporation. In response, the Jin’Ha waged a campaign of guerilla warfare upon the Empire, sealing shut the tunnel systems necessary for the expansion of mining operations on this world but also suffering incredible losses. Even after the company gave up on the possibility of Cortosis mining, the locals continued to hold their grudge against us.”

Silence filled the room. For a span of moments, Zasabi held his gaze on the amulet before him. Such a small token, and yet it symbolized a bloody history.

He set the amulet down, locking eyes with the twilek. “The merger will continue as planned. I see no reason for this incident to interrupt our plans.”

The executive nodded, too composed to show any relief she may have felt. “Once you have recovered completely, I will see to it that the proper documents make their way to you.”

She left without further pleasantries, once again filling the room with silence.

Zasabi closed his eyes for a moment, considering his options. Pulling out a datapad, he began to tap away at the screen.

Due to the investiture of resources into the buyout of Umbra Obre, I believe it is important that we seal the deal. Once we do, we should pull out whatever resources they have invested in Obredaan proper and reallocate them as is appropriate. The situation on this planet is a credit sink, and following whatever visions of their glory days in the past is going to drive us into the same crisis that led them to be bought out by us in the first place.

Having completed his message, he sent it to his assistant to distribute to the appropriate members of the Red Comet board. Laying back into the cushions of his bed, he lifted the amulet up before him once again.

“I suspect I’ll find a use for you,” he mused. “Something of this kind of value doesn’t deserve to sit in my trophy room.”
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