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Overkill (Star Wars/Worm)

Pretty sure we have a thread in the rants section of general for this kind of of ranting.
The story takes place in between episode 1 and 2, right? How close are we to the beginning of clone wars?
Can we please not have Overkill shut down over here for attracting negative attention from the Mods, we are but mere mortals whilst they are but dragons and we taste good when served crispy with ketchup.

Anyways, I am really looking forward to the coming parts of the story and what events Taylor brings about through her presence.
Can we please not have Overkill shut down over here for attracting negative attention from the Mods, we are but mere mortals whilst they are but dragons and we taste good when served crispy with ketchup.

Anyways, I am really looking forward to the coming parts of the story and what events Taylor brings about through her presence.

There are stories here where raping little girls into eternal servitude is seen as a matter of course. Casual racism is literally nothing in comparison.

Worst thing that can happen is this fic gets moved to the NSFW section because Taylor blew someone into a million pieces and had a swarm devour the remains. Or it doesn't update for a while and gets locked because of necromancy.
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Seventeen

Thirty-Seven minutes after the start of the Denon-Ryloth Hyperspace incident.

Skarsk felt the pirate ship docking with the Profits of Merchandising. It was just a small shiver running through the floor before the inertial dampeners came online and compensated for the motion. It was enough. "Are you all ready?" he hissed over his shoulder.

The slaves behind him were poorly clothed, underfed, tired from days or years spent on the wastelands of Tatooine and armed with blasters that had been scavenged from Hutt slavers. They were as ragtag a bunch as he had ever seen. And yet Darth Khepri still expected him to hold back an entire force of slavers with them. There was a weak chorus of 'yes,' and 'aye.'

There were battle droids too, twice as many as there were slaves and better equipped. He gave them about as much respect as they deserved, which was none. "You know who your targets are?" he asked them.

"Roger roger."

He spat on the steel grated floor and turned back around to face the direction the enemy would come from. The droids were all off to the left and right of the group, leaving the middle area open and clear. The idea was to draw fire away from the squishier slaves.

At least the woman and her droid had given him a few tricks.

They were stationed behind a row of containers welded to the ground, past a three way intersection through which the pirates would have to pass. The other way was blocked by a closed blast door while the door into the corridor they were in was wide open. He had a controller for the door stuck to his belt.

The Profits shivered again and he felt his ears pop. Clawed hands gripped his blaster rifle tighter. Soon.

The corridor the slavers and pirates would enter had crates and boxes moved into it. Cover for the enemy to use. An idea that felt horribly wrong to him, but perhaps made sense. All those boxes and crates were thin plasteel and empty besides. A lucky blaster bolt would burn right through and hit whomever hid behind it. A second would vaporize the box.

He growled as he heard distant boots clomping closer and shouted commands. Maybe if they were on land they could have rigged explosives, or used heavier ordonance, but that was suicide in a spacecraft.

He snapped back to attention as the first slaver appeared at the far end of the corridor, pointed their way, then snapped a shot at them. It hit the ceiling halfway.

At least, he reasoned as he ducked, both sides would be awful shots. "Keep your heads down, fools!" he barked. Then, in a lower voice, added, "Let the bastards come closer."

All the slaves dropped to the ground, but the battledroids were too dumb to react. One of them ate a blaster bolt in the head and clattered to the ground.

"Open fire!" he ordered.

Their call of "Roger roger," was drowned out by the whine of blasters.

Soon, the air was filled with blue and red bolts going back and forth, most missing, but a few taking out or glancing off their droids.

"Our turn," he said. "On three. One, two... three." He stood up with the rest and took in the scene.

There were a lot more than he had expected. At least forty, if not fifty pirates in sight, too cocky to use the cover provided as they took potshots at the droids. He picked out one slaver that looked more important than the rest and fried his head off with a well placed trio of shots before dropping to one knee. He felt a wash of heat over his head as a bolt zipped by.

Waiting a few seconds, he poked his head out. More slavers were coming at the end of the corridor.

The firefight intensified and he could feel the metal of his cover warming up. "Now," he said.

With a press of the button at his hip, the foot-thick blast doors just a pace away from their barricade began to close.

The return fire intensified as the doors shut, but there was nothing the pirates could do. They clanged shut with a boom.

A particularly stupid battledroid mistimed its fire, hit the wall, and burst apart when its bolt ricochetted into its head.

"Idiots," he grumbled even as the stuttacco rap-tap-tap of blasters on the other side sounded out.

He grinned and brought up his door controls. This had been the murderous droid's idea. Dishonourable, but effective.

With a press of a button, another blast door opened. This one in the corridor still filled with pirates. A blast door that lead to a junction to connect to a cargo container. One that was empty.

The whoosh of evacuating pressure was like music.

"Come, there is another ship trying to board us. We will kill them too," he said before tossing the door controls to one of the droids. "In two minutes, close the exterior blast door, then seal this room before entering that corridor. If the Hutt ship is still connected, board them."

"Roger roger."

This was going to be fun, he thought as he began to race across the ship.


Thirty-Nine minutes after the start of the Denon-Ryloth Hyperspace incident.

Trias had a feeling in the pit of his stomach that things were about to go horribly wrong. Just a niggling little seed of doubt, but one that he had learned to listen to over the course of his long career as a bounty hunter and pirate captain. "Any reports from the Thick Stick?" he asked.

The Beskar Mace had just completed its docking maneuvers, connecting it with one of the many entrance hatches along the Profits of Merchandising. It wasn't quite a sleeping mynock, but it was damned close to one. The Raider was hovering close by in case things went wrong, the Stinky was watching over the Republic ship and the Gut-Ripper was farther afield, slowly coming around.

The only other ship in the fleet he had taken command of, the Thick Stick, was docked on the other side of the Profits and unloading slavers into the cargo ship. Once it was secured from within with slavers and pirates from the Stick and the Mace, they would use the hauler to drag their bounty back to Tatooine.

It was a simple enough plan, and he expected it to go horribly wrong at any moment.

"Loss of atmosphere on the cargo ship!" one of his officers screamed across the bridge. "No, wait... just one section. Shit, we've got crew from the Stick jettisoned."

He sat straighter in his seat. "Was it accidental or are the slaves fighting back?" he asked.

"Fighting sir. We had a report from on the Profit about a barricade and some battle droids," the same officer said.

"Tell our own men to be careful. They're prepared for us. Cornered as they are they'll fight like enraged rancor." He glared at the display. Nothing was going on beyond that, except...

"Sir, those vulture droids are coming online!"

"Captain!" another call. "The Profits is bringing up partial shields. It's laser canons are aiming at out hull."

"Report from the Stinky sir, the Republic ship is warming up its engines and coming around it's... sir, the Republic ship is opening fire!"

"Captain, those Republic fighters near the waypoint are turning our way!"

Trias rammed a fist into his armrest and started thinking as quickly as he could. A dozen vulture droids was nothing to scoff at, but it was too little to be a real threat to his ship. The other ships in his fleet though might have difficulty with those numbers. They would have to take care of themselves for now.

The Republic fighters were little more than six Cloakshapes. Nothing to be worried about just yet. And they had a ways to travel.

No, his main focus had the be the ship his own was docked to, and the Republic CR70. Neither were well armed, but they were bigger threats all the same.

"Get targeting on that Republic ship. Contact the Raider and Gut-Ripper, tell them to chase that damned ship down. Recall the Stinky, it's too far from the rest of the fleet. Cancel our boarding action. I don't need that extra distraction."

He got a few ayes as his orders were relayed. He was almost content to sit back when he felt a slight tremor run across his ship.

"Sir, the Profit's laser canons are hitting our hull," his first mate said, voice too damned placid for someone announcing that they were being hit. "The emplacement is rather awkward, we can't hit it with any turbolasers. Any missile we use would impact us too. Should we aim the point defence guns at it?"

"Might as well," he grumbled. One smaller anti-pirate laser cannon emplacement wasn't going to do much against the shields on his Mace. "Tell the Thick Stick to get its shit together and get some men in that abomination. Shut that emplacement down, dammit."

"Aye sir," his First Mate said. "Sir, the Stinky is reporting difficulties."

He scoffed. "Put it on the screen."

The Stinky was an old DP20. Ugly as all sin, but armed to the gills and with shields well above its class. It was a ship built from the ground up to be a warship, not a retrofitted freighter or transport or a cushy little frigate like the Republic's CR70.

The holo switched to a view of the Stinky moving at a decent clip parallel to the Republic ship, blasts of laser fire were being exchanged from the two vessels and yet...

"Ion cannons," he said, recognizing the blue tint of the shots coming from the Republic ship.

In hindsight it made perfect sense. The Republic ship was a policing vessel. It wasn't made to stand up to sustained fire or destroy anything, it was made to incapacitate and hold enemy vessels. Of course it would have a full suite of ion weaponry instead of proper lasers.

For every uncannily aimed shot the DP20 took, the Republic ship took two, the weight of fire from the Stinky far surpassing what the CR70 could put out, but even as he watched, arcs of electric fire ran across the DP20's shields and its cannons shorted out, going quiet one by one.

When two of its four engines sputtered to a halt and its shields winked out, he knew it was over. The Republic frigate had taken a beating but its shields still held and it was circling around to finish the job.

He still held the advantage, still had more ships and more firepower, but suddenly things weren't looking so good.

"Sir, there was an explosion near our boarding ramps. We're... we're being boarded!"

Trais glowered at the holo. Clearly he had not charged enough for this expedition.


A huge thank-you to my Patreons for helping bounce ideas on the Discord and for encouraging me to post this monstrosity!
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Eighteen

Forty minutes after the start of the Denon-Ryloth Hyperspace incident.

Even after giving the order and having a good idea of what to expect, seeing the empty void of space filled with blue beams of light that rammed into the Hutt ship was startling.

Taylor gripped the rails holding her back from the bridge's window and watched as the tincan-like ship, the one HK-47 called a 'DP20', started to weave and duck away from their attack. It didn't do much good, with most of the shots hitting across the ship's hull.

She narrowed her eyes at the DP20. "HK, is there a bubble around that ship?"

"Affirmation: Indeed Master, that is the ship's shield. It is visible on account of our inadequate firepower. Had we a proper warship those shields would have been bypassed by now."

"So that's a thing," she said as she watched forks of lightning skitter across the DP20's surface. The pirate craft was beginning to move in earnest. Turrets sprouted out across the hull and started tracking them as they moved. Soon, the space between the two ships was filled with a veritable lightshow.

She flinched as the first impacts rocked their ship. The cascading ripple of a shield warped past the bridge window, calming her beating heart a little. "Can you give me an idea of what's going on?" she asked HK47.

"Concession: Very well, Master, seeing as how your plebeian organs are unable to even begin to comprehend the events transpiring around you, I will attempt to simplify things to a level where even you can understand." The droid's head turned towards the bridge, then back to her. "Simplification: Enemy ship go zap zap. We go boom boom. Therefore, we go zap zap first."

She sighed as the ship rocked underfoot. At least the crew, battle droids excluded, were taking things seriously. She saw a few of the ex-slaves looking up from their consoles to look her way once in a while, as if reassuring themselves that she was still watching them to make sure they behaved.

"Were you programmed to be so annoying?" she asked.

"Statement: I will have you know that I have perfected my social protocols over millennia of use."

The ship shook again and she turned to follow the action, but they had turned around at some point and she couldn't see their foe.

"Commentary: The enemy has launched concussion missiles at us."

"Damn," she said. She could guess what that meant.

"Reassurance: No need to fear, Master. Our point defence turrets are still fully operational. Enemy fire has been reduced by thirty-seven percent."

"We took out some of their guns?" she asked.

"Correction: This waste of resources is equipped with Ion weaponry. Its cannons are designed to fire ionized particles that disrupt delicate electronic components. Even through the enemy shields we are slowly rendering their vessel useless. Given the level of maintenance most pirates practice it will only be moments before our victory is assured."

Taylor watched as they rolled again and the DP20 came into view off to the side. One of its engines was trailing smoke, another had failed completely. Even if fewer hits were landing as it ducked and weaved, those that did caused cascades of blue lightning across the hull.

The guns scattered across its hull sputtered and the launchers flinging missiles that left white trails across space stopped firing. Soon the ship was drifting across space, the lights within flickering on and off, its engines dead and its shield completely gone.

"Assertion: One enemy vessel down, Master. Four more to go."

Taylor nodded and spun on her heel to walk to the middle of the bridge. She went the long way around, trying to avoid getting anyone stuck in the grasp of her power if she could avoid it. There was a hovering display there on which she could see over-sized representations of every ship in the region. The largest pirate ship was still attached to the Profits of Merchandising, as was the transport vessel that had come with them. Small flashes between the two showed how the Profit's meager guns were slapping at the ship's shields.

The Vulture droids were moving around on a course to intercept one of the two frigates, the one nearest the ship she was on.

"HK-47, let's leave the area. We can't take on that big one, I don't think. It's got guns that are bigger than anything we have, and I don't doubt they would tear us apart if we got too close."

"Query: Master, while your observation is most astute, how would you suggest we eliminate this enemy?"

"We won't, not yet. Those other two," she said, pointing to the two other ships, "They look small enough that we could take them on like that DP20. Maybe. But probably not at the same time." She leaned forwards, hands gripping the edge of the console displaying the floating, semi-transparent images.

"HK, this was a tax ship, right?" she asked. "We should have an idea of what all the civilian ships in the area are carrying. Anything that might be useful?" She hoped that the sort of cargo manifest that existed on Earth was similar in deep space.

"Checking," HK-47 said. "Answer: Indeed Master, I have found one thing that might be useful." He gestured and one of the ships in the distance flashed a few times. "Answer: This cargo vessel, registration Besh-Osk-Osk-Mem 9817, is transporting 506,000,000,000 liters of liquid Tibanna gas."

"Tibanna gas?" Taylor repeated, trying the word out. "Is it dangerous?"

"Suggestion: It is highly explosive and used as a primary fuel in nearly all blaster-type weaponry across the galaxy. Let's blow it up, please."

Taylor narrowed her eyes. "How many people are aboard that ship?"

"Prevarication: It is likely that there are no sentient crew members," HK-47 said.

"Right," she replied. She watched the blips representing the pirates on their tail flashing a little closer as the holographic display refreshed. "HK, recall those Vulture droids. Get a few of them on the other side of that tanker. Set course to loop all the way around it. We'll see if they take the bait."


Forty-two minutes after the start of the Denon-Ryloth Hyperspace incident.

Sib Nark fretted, hands tangled with each other, back bent forwards like an overworked clerk's and sweat glands pouring out a sickly sweet mixture that smelled to any Neimoidian like desperation.

He would never have allowed himself that much loss of control before a group of subordinates, not in any other circumstance. This entire situation was so beyond the pale that he stopped giving a damn.

The other Neimoidians of his retinue were faring little better. Some sat and stared out of the bridge window at the massive curved shape of the Mon Calamari pirate vessel stuck to the Profits of Merchandising like a mynock on a power cord. One of his adjutants was screaming at a battle droid, demanding things of it that were far beyond its capabilities.

Sib Nark had installed himself in the captain's seat, as was his right, and had tried to look confident and assured. He reminded his subordinates that they had an entire army of droids, small as it may be, between them and any borders. That the slaves still aboard were armed as well as they could be, and wouldn't allow themselves to be taken without a fight. That the Jedi and her homicidal droid were on their side.

All words that he reminded himself of every minute, even as reports trickled through. The forces running into his ship were being stymied, for now, the laser cannons the Profits sported were still picking away at the pirate ship, the slaves had sustained few injuries and were still roaring for a fight.

All pretty things that wouldn't help him in the end.

He just had to hope that the Hutt would be reluctant to make enemies of the Trade Federation. He wasn't so important as to cause the Federation to back him up with this amount of trouble, but maybe the Hutts didn't know as much.

"Sir, the Republic ship is moving away from our local area," one of the nearest droids reported. Its voice sounded loud on the bridge, enough that it shut up the screaming adjutant.

"I see," Sib Nark said. "Where is it moving?" he asked. There was an uncomfortable weight settling in the pits of his stomachs.

The droid paused for a long moment, the screen before it flashing through three dozen readouts in as many seconds. "The ship is heading to the edge of the system on an escape vector. Two of the pirate vessels are chasing after it. Both are catching up. It will reach jump range in two minutes."

He leaned back into his seat, the shaking in his hands, the rumbling in his gut, all fading as he resigned himself to his faith. This was it. The moment where the Jedi, his only real hope, abandoned them.

He couldn't even blame her, not truly. Every Neimoidian knew when to cut their losses and run. It was a survival skill they valued greatly.

A single escort vessel, one probably maintained as well as all the other ships in the Republic, up against ten times its own tonnage in pirate warships. There was nothing anyone, not even a fabled Jedi, could do.

"We should arm ourselves," he said. The words were delivered without a quaver of fear or a hint of the resignation he felt, but he could see the colour drain in his subordinates' faces nonetheless. This was him telling them that they would soon need to fight.

They were bureaucrats, not combatants. That would not end well.

"The Republic ship's repulsorlifts are coming online. It is decelerating," the droid spoke.

"Why would it do that?" he asked it. There was a minuscule kernel of hope left.

"Unknown," the droid said. "It is passing within kilometers of a convoy of heavy freighters. It is possible it is using them as cover."

"Bring it up on the holo," he ordered. The same holo he had ordered shut when the number of enemies on it had seemed so daunting moments before.

The projector came online and quickly shifted to show the Republic ship spinning on its own axis to bring its engines in the direction it was still moving in, a rapid deceleration maneuver, he recognized. Instead of using its inertial dampeners to slow down and its repulsors to turn, the ship was using pure kinetic energy from its many engines.

"Verify if its hyperdrive is coming online," he demanded.

"Roger roger," the droid replied. It would be difficult to tell from so far away, but hyperdrives, especially ill maintained ones, tended to rob a ship of its computational power, which in turn had a negative impact on a ship's shields, engines and repulsor systems. Not enough to be obvious, but enough to detect. "Inconclusive," the droid returned.

"What is she doing?" he muttered, a hand rising to hold over his mouth as he narrowed his eyes on the screen.

The two other pirates ships were catching up, especially after the Republic ship slowed down as much as it did.

"Sir, the Republic ship is opening fire."

So, she was going to fight after all. Perhaps the run had been a ruse to make distance between her smaller ship and the one anchored to the Profits.

Then the lines representing outgoing fire hit the freighters.

"I don't unde--"

The Profits of Merchandising shook, the bridge going from the pale blue of a room lit only by monitors to a shocking white.

The windows onto the world beyond tried to polarize, but it wasn't fast enough.

Sib Nark brought his hands up to cover his face as a new star was born just within the sector.

As suddenly as it appeared the light faded and the Profits stabilized.

"Shields at ninety percent," one droid said.

"Rebooting sensors."

He did not need to wait for the holo to refresh to see what had happened. Out in space, some light seconds away, a ball of phosphorus white fire the size of a small moon was expanding across the system.

"She is mad," he said.


A huge thank-you to my Patreons for helping bounce ideas on the Discord and for encouraging me to post this monstrosity! An extra-big thank-you to Sammax and CrazySith for helping with this chapter in particular!
The projector came online and quickly shifted to show the Republic ship spinning on its own axis to bring its engines in the direction it was still moving in, a rapid deceleration maneuver, he recognized. Instead of using its inertial dampeners to slow down and its repulsors to turn, the ship was using pure kinetic energy from its many engine

Star Wars ( and all other space fantasy/sci-fi really) clearly needs more Expanse ;):D It's only the best depiction of space and science in TV sci-fi today
Khepri with HK-47 is about the most meme-worthy combo I can think of...
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Nineteen

Fifty-two minutes after the start of the Denon-Ryloth Hyperspace incident.

She felt a flinch, an impression of a warning that told her that she had to look away. She didn't know where the instinct came from, but she listened to it, turning around and walking away from the bridge window half a second before the bridge lit up as if someone had dropped a flashbang in the room.

The ship shook, screens fizzled and popped and sparks flew from some consoles. The ex-slaves in control screamed and jumped away, some tumbling over themselves in their haste to get away. The robots on the other hand remained cool even as screens went dark.

Then everything shut off. Pitch darkness, save for the burning light reigned, Screams filled the ship.

For a moment, as the blinding light from outside faded, Taylor felt herself floating into the air, feet lifted off the ground as gravity abandoned them. It returned a moment later, the lights flickering back on with an electric buzz.

"What happened?" she asked HK-47, sounding more calm than she felt.

"Conjecture: It seems that the process of creating a small supernova had an adverse reaction on our ship's electronic components. Statement: I haven't seen such a powerfully destructive explosion in some time. It warms my circuits to see such wanton destruction aimed at our mutual enemies, even if we were within the blast radius."

"Right," she said. "Tell the others to get the sensors or whatever back online. I don't like being blind out here. If we survived, then maybe our enemies did too. Oh, and HK-47, make sure to remind everyone that we haven't won yet."

"Statement: With pleasure, Master."


Trais leaned back into his command seat as he watched the space around the vast explosion slowly darken until all that remained were huge clouds of dangerously hot gases slowly dissipating into the void.

Of the two ships of his small ad-hoc fleet there was no sign. The only ship remaining other than his Beskar Mace was the Thick Brick and it was little more than a glorified freighter.

"Status of the boarding party?" he asked.

His second looked up from a datapad, face twisted into a displeased frown. "We lost the airlocks and the armory nearest that point of egress. We tried herding them into a killbox, but their leader didn't take the bait. They've been travelling in a straight line, blowing through every bulkhead and blast door on their path instead of going around."

"Either they're fools or they're brighter than I initially gave them credit for," Trais muttered. Judging by what was left of the Stinky, Gut-Ripper and Raider, it was probably safer to assume that they were smarter and better trained than the reports the Hutts gave him suggested.

These weren't slaves. Or if there were slaves amongst them, they were from Kashyk or Mandalore or some other planet where warriors were bred.

No. The more likely answer to how these enemies were putting up so much resistance was either the Force itself or they were trained soldiers or mercenaries to begin with, and he was never the sort to put any weight upon superstition.

"Comms," he asked, voice carrying across the bridge. "Get me a line to that Republic ship and the Profits. I want to speak to their captains. Connect me in my boardroom." In a lower voice, he muttered so that only his second heard. "Keep stalling the boarders. Leave them an open route back out of the ship. We're cutting our losses."

"Aye aye," the man said before retreating back.

Knees creaking as he stood, Trais got to his feet and pushed off his seat for the first time in hours. The boardroom was nearby, placed so that he could speak freely with his officers or with any commander he had business with. For that same reason it was a clean, professionally laid room. More spacious than he thought was wise aboard a spacecraft, but he wasn't going to complain, not when presenting the right image could be crucial.

The hypercom in the middle of the table flashed, announcing an incoming call. A few presses revealed that it was a three way holographic connection. And so quickly... perhaps his adversaries wanted to parley too.

He smoothed down the front of his jacket and made sure it sat well on his frame, then with a flick of his finger, he pressed the interface that would turn on the holocal system.

Two flickering holograms appeared then sharpened into focus. To his left was a half-sized Neimoidian floating on the desk, the height adjusted so that the captain wouldn't be looking up to him. To the right were two figures, a young Human woman and a protocol droid of a make and model that he didn't recognize.

"Hello," he said. "I am Trais, captain of the Beskar Mace."

"Greetings captain," the Neimoidian said. "I am Sib Nark, representative of the Trade Federation and captain of the Profits of Merchandising."

Trais grit his teeth. He was not aware that the damned Trade Federation had their fingers in this mess. It complicated things when the single largest member of the galaxy's largest trade consortium was an injured party. A bad move could lead to his ships being blacklisted in half the way stations of the galaxy.

He turned his attention to the other pair, the droid dutifully translating for the human woman before turning back towards the projector. "Salutations: My master greets you in kind, Captain Trais of the Beskar Mace. She wishes to inform you that you seem more respectable than the captain of the other three ships she annihilated this afternoon. Threat: Not that we would do the same to you."

"Does your master have a name, droid?" he asked.

The droid's head turned just a little. "Announcement: My master is Darth Khepri."

Trais stood just a little taller as a wash of something cold flash down his spine. The girl child looked away from her robotic assistant and stared into the projector as if locking eyes with him. "It is a pleasure to speak with you both, Captain Sib Nark... Darth Khepri." Trais licked his lips and tried to make his swallow look inconspicuous. "I wish to discuss a potential reprieve in this battle."

"A reprieve?" The Neimoidian said. "Please explain captain Trais."

"I believe that my side of this battle has suffered enough overall loses that continued fighting would only aggravate our situation. By that same token, we still have enough material, personnel and fervour to complete our task, though it would be with greater loses. At this moment, I suspect is likely that if pushed what remains of my fleet would be more than capable of accomplishing our main objective. A retreat, on the other hand, would allow me to regroup and reassess my mission parameters."

"And you wish for us to give you this opportunity? If the costs of this raid of yours have outweighed its profits, why would you continue?" Sib Nark asked.

"Assessment: You are a coward," the droid said. "Qualification: So you have lost some meatbags and a few ships barely worthy of the name. That is not a reason to turn tail and run. Encouragement: Please stay in your current position and heading. My master and I will soon attempt to board your ship through the expedient method of ramming. Once this is accomplished the final assessment of who will win this battle can be made in close quarters."

"No," the Neimoidian said. "Ramming his ship would damage the Profits. Please, tell Darth Khepri not to do such a thing, I implore you."

Trais had, in his youth, enjoyed hiking in the mountainous trails of his homeworld. On occasion he would have to scale sharp mountain faces when the paths her took grew too steep. A few times, in his eagerness to reach the top, he almost fell. That sensation, of the world dropping out from under him and his mind reeling as it tried to find something, anything, to grip onto, assailed him again.

Outwardly, all this meant was that he shifted slightly to one side. "Would you risk your crew and your ship for the mere chance to root us out?" he asked while looking at Darth Khepri's hologram.

The droid translated again.

The woman shifted, legs going shoulder-width apart and arms crossing under her chest. "Query: Would it be possible for you to allow those boarding your vessel and no doubt making a mess of your internals to retreat? My Master, in her infinite kindness, wishes to make sure that her ill-trained slave warriors survive this encounter."

"That would be acceptable," he said.

The droid and its master returned to discuss between each other, which left the Neimoidian to speak. Trais was only passingly familiar with the species, and their reputation for cowardice outside of mercantile efforts didn't seem to be serving him well at the moment as the alien was clenching his fists as if incensed. "Captain Trais, I demand to know why you would assault a Trade Federation vessel on official business."

"I'm a contract working for the Hutt cartels," Trais explained. "You merely had a bounty placed upon your cargo."

"My cargo is made up of freed slaves. What you are doing is piracy!"

"Not in this sector. I have a waiver from the Hutt that allows me to board and reappropriate any cargo that does not appear on your official manifest. If you wish to complain, do so to the Hutts."

"This is ludicrous," Sib Nark said. "Who will pay reparations for the losses we have suffered!"

"Suggestion: Stop speaking." The droid said and the Neimoidian shut its mouth with a click. "Statement: My Master, in her infinite kindness, has taken pity upon you and has decided to not ram into your ship and near-lightspeeds in order to board and kill your entire crew with nothing but her bare hands and the force. Disappointed Tangent: I do dislike her empathy, it is one of her greatest faults." The droid shifted. "Statement: We will communicate with our boarding teams and have them withdraw all organic members. The droids accompanying them will be left behind as a form of insurance. Once the team has been removed, you will decouple from the Profits and jump out of the sector. Any deviations from this path will lead to our all out-assault on your ship. Suggestion: Please deviate from the path."

"I see," Trais said. "Consider it done then. We will expect your boarders to exit as quickly and efficiently as they can. It was a pleasure speaking with you, Captain Sib Nark, Darth Khepri. It is always a joy to meet civilised adversaries." He reached towards the holoprojector. "Good bye."

With a press, the two holograms winked out and he was left alone in the board room. He had to act quickly, to prepare his crew for the maneuvers they would be going through in a few moments, but there was time for that later.

He pressed the comms again, this time to address his officers. "Save the recording of our last transmission, I will need to present it to our clients. Attach all the navigational data of the encounter to it as well."

The entire mission was a failure of the highest order, but that didn't mean it would prevent him from finding future opportunities.

And he would be keeping an ear out for the exploits of this Darth Khepri.


More of a calm-down before the end of this arc.
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But then we don't get the hilarious mistranslations from HK. He's pretty much the instigator of all these events and hilariously HALPing Taylor in his own murder bot happy way.

I have to agree, I mean HK-47 is looking out for Taylor to make sure that she escalates in the direction her wants he to go. He's very HalPful
She felt a flinch, an impression of a warning that told her that she had to look away. She didn't know where the instinct came from, but she listened to it, turning around and walking away from the bridge window half a second before the bridge lit up as if someone had dropped a flashbang in the room
That's weird. Did someone change their mind on the Force thing? :V
"Prevarication: It is likely that there are no sentient crew members," HK-47 said.

It took me a while to realize this meant that he was stating a falsehood. On the one hand I wonder how he would know a word that Taylor doesn't, but on the other hand I don't mind it for the sake of the plot and just being funny in general.
it certainly seems like she got a Force Warning there if nothing else

Her shard is probably basting itself in new force related data, it's something that suffuses the Star Wars galaxy at the very least, so it picking up on something and sending her a Halpful "DOOODGE", isn't exactly out of the ordinary.

This is of course conjecture but the thought of her shard becoming a force user has me giggling at the chaos that's going to come from it.
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty

The Falleen homeworld was pretty enough, he supposed. A greenish ball, perched in empty space with a pair of small moons hovering around it and countless orbital stations dotting the sky all around it.

The aliens of the world were a strange lot, at once ready to kneel to their kings and queens but also fiercely liberal and open. They were not as numerous as some other species, and were distrusted in many sectors for their penchants towards social manipulations, but they were nonetheless useful allies.

Their home system alone was in the perfect position to act as a bulwark against future Republic advances. Advances that he knew would be coming soon. War was on the horizon and coming fast, the Force sang about the inevitable conflict and escalation, a constant thrum to anyone with the wits to listen that the entire Galaxy was about to be pitched into a conflict unlike any it had seen before.

"Count Dooku?"

The Count turned, arms still folded in the small of his back and posture straight. The Neimoidian that had addressed him was a well placed member of the Trade Federation, the sort of person used to a certain level of subservience, and yet here he was, bowing to Dooku.

"Yes?" the Count asked.

"The Profits of Merchandising has arrived in-system, as well as another ship. It is Republic, my lord."

The Count raised one eyebrow.

"Ah, it is a smaller vessel, merely a patrol craft. Its identification marks it as being stolen some small time ago, my lord."

Dooku nodded slowly and moved away from the screen overlooking Falleen. "Very well. Have both ships dock. Raise the alert level and inform my guards to be on stand-by. When will the diplomats be arriving?" he asked.

"They are on their way already. They should be here within minutes. I shall also inform the medical staff, the slaves will need tending before they can be returned to the Falleen government."

Dooku nodded and waved the attendant away.

By all rights he should not have been here. The folding of the Falleen kingdom into the Confederacy was a sure thing already. Any number of functionaries could have signed the proper papers and shook the right hands to get everything moving.

But he was here himself nonetheless.

Darth Khepri.

The human girl was either ignorant, misappropriating such a name, or a fool to take a Sith title which she did not deserve. Either way he would learn soon enough.

He moved with the patience of a man that knew he would arrive at his destination neither too early nor too late.

The capital ship he was aboard was a huge, ostentatious affair, one of the larger variants of the Confederacy's prized Lucrehulks. A vessel large enough to hold half a dozen smaller capital scale ships, as evidenced by the lumbering form of the Profits of Merchandising slipping into a berth with the jerky, precise motions of a ship under robotic control.

He rather loathed the reliance on machinery of his Separatists, but it fulfilled a need that organics could not.

A twinge in the Force had him looking up as a second ship slid through the forcefields, narrowly avoided a gantry crane, then spun around to point its nose back out of the exit with a speed that was just a hair short of being reckless.

A slight twist of the Force kept the worst of the dust being kicked his way away from him and his pristine outfit. It wouldn't do to appear dirty in front of his lessers.

Diplomats, journalists and dozens of hangers on moved behind him, held back by a cordon of battle droids in resplendent armour. This entire venture was a farce, of course. A show for the masses of the planet below to show them that the Confederacy was on their side, that they were willing to help the poor souls who found themselves in dire straits.

A few of them approached him, but a nudge with the Force was enough to have them leave him alone. Something was coming, not just a threat, but a moment that could change things. What Master Windu would have called a vergence, though perhaps not a large one.

His narrowed eyes focused on the Republic ship even as the Profits of Merchandising started to empty its cargo.

Dozens of slaves, escorted by a few well-worn battledroids, walked out of a lowered ramp and moved towards the waiting medical professionals. Some had signs of injuries, recent injury. Others though looked to be in good health.

It was unfortunate that not all of them were Falleen, though there were enough that green skin was in the majority. It would have made a nicer message for the populace of the system had every slave been of their race, but this was fine too, it showed that they were not below saving everyone.

A Neimoidian with an escort of assistants and a single Trandoshan moved with alacrity next to the free slaves, his robes swirling around him as he moved first towards the crowd near Dooku, then after a pause, turned towards the Republic patrol craft.

His attention snapped that way too, and he wasn't the only one.

A girl was walking down the ramp of the Republic ship. She wore a simple, Republic issue officer's uniform with a heavy pilot's jacket tossed over it. It was almost enough to hide the crude mechanical arm held by her side. Next to her was a rusting wreck of a robot, a protocol droid at first glance, but one carrying half its weight in blasters, pistols and what looked like a starfighter canon.

She was armed. Two pistols on hip holsters, another tucked under an armpit and if he had to guess a holdout near the small of her back. No lightsaber that he could see, but he wouldn't have been surprised to see one.

She looked, to the untrained eyes of those around him, like a bounty hunter. And yet the Force rippled around her, teasing and testing and cautiously proding as if the very essence of the universe was curious about this child. He had never quite seen or sensed anything like it.

The girl paused by the entrance of the stolen ship, looked around carefully, then nodded to something her robot companion said.

Twin rows of Republic soldiers and navy personnel walked out of the ship, all of them walking in step with each other, their hands tied together before their waists with ship repair tape. The entire group moved at a slow, relaxed pace across the floor of the hanger towards the gathered crowds.

"We need battledroids to secure those prisoners," Dooku said. Having captured Republic personnel would be an issue, but they could be returned as a show of good faith. After they had been asked a few pointed questions.

He didn't wait for his orders to be followed. With a twitch of his shoulder to loosen his cape he moved forwards, two magnaguard droids following right behind him.

Dooku was nearing the girl when the Force warned him of danger. He paused, but saw nothing. The girl had stopped, hands, both organic and robotic still empty. Her droid was still armed, but not aiming anything his way. He began to move again when he was warned once more.

It seemed that approaching her was dangerous, greatly so. Interesting.

"Hello," he began. "I am Count Dooku of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. You must be Darth Khepri, I presume."

The droid turned towards the girl and spoke a few lines, his name and the name of the Confederacy among them. So she didn't speak Basic or was pretending to be ignorant.

"Greetings: My master salutes you, Count Dooku of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. She also wishes to extend her gratitude for your warm welcome. It is almost enjoyable to not be greeted by blaster fire."

Dooku had the impression that the last comment wasn't from the girl.

"Indeed," he said. "There are certain formalities that I should follow, but before that, does your master wish to rid herself of these prisoners?"

The droid conferred with his master again. "Statement: This is acceptable. Once they are removed from my Master's surroundings they will regain control of their feeble meat-based nervous systems."

Dooku raised one eyebrow, but he still gestured a contingent of battlefroids forwards. There were protocols in place for taking care of prisoners and pirates, and a few members of his staff had good heads on their shoulders. They would care for the Republicans.

He watched, carefully, as the soldiers stumbled and tripped, all of them at exactly the same place. Some of them took the opportunity to start fighting, and others hunched forwards or began limping from that point on.

Dooku was always going to be quick to admit that, with the Force being such a limitless and powerful thing, there were probably decades worth of learning that he had missed over his long career. But complete nervous system control of another, or of so many organics, was entire new to him. "Interesting," he said.

"Statement: Darth Khepri is a master with many interesting quirks and talents, most of them hideously violent." The droid shifted, then paused. "Addendum: Most of them can be used for the purposes of creating or ending conflicts. She occasionally chooses the less optimal route of negotiating and suing for peace. I prefer permanent solutions to temporary problems."

"Is that so?" Count Dooku asked. He felt at the droid and... almost raised an eyebrow at how the Force caressed the old thing. The machine was at once ancient and not, a strange echo following it in the Force. A dark echo.

And to think that such an interesting specimen would find its way to the side of another, equally interesting person. "Shall we adjourn to a conference room? I am quite certain that there is much your master and I should discuss."


A huge thank-you to my Patreons for helping bounce ideas on the Discord and for encouraging me to post this monstrosity! An extra-big thank-you to Sammax and CrazySith for helping with this chapter in particular!

More... eventually!
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I'm very interested to see where this is going. I wonder if little ole Taylor could actually use the force? The force flows through living things right? Well she is technically connected to a GIANT living thing...so maybe? Could be interesting.
This clearly reads as a set-up chapter for the interesting parts but Dooku's perspective was actively fun to read. He even seems to split his mental reference of himself between being Dooku and Count Dooku based on how personal his interactions are.
I'm very interested to see where this is going. I wonder if little ole Taylor could actually use the force? The force flows through living things right? Well she is technically connected to a GIANT living thing...so maybe? Could be interesting.

People in the Star Wars 'verse use the Force through a symbiotic bond with Midiclorians. It's unlikely that Taylor has these as apparently what you start off with is all you get or force sensitives wouldn't be so rare.

Also Dooku sensed the Force prodding at Taylor like it had no idea what she was so she's probably the only living thing in the universe with no Midiclorians at all.
People in the Star Wars 'verse use the Force through a symbiotic bond with Midiclorians. It's unlikely that Taylor has these as apparently what you start off with is all you get or force sensitives wouldn't be so rare.

Also Dooku sensed the Force prodding at Taylor like it had no idea what she was so she's probably the only living thing in the universe with no Midiclorians at all.

Midiclorians were a mistake.

I treat them as a symbiotic lifeform that feeds off the Force and happens to like living inside people. Like a neat rather innocent bacteria. No more no less. They can still indicate Force sensitivity (more midiclorians being attracted to more sensitive people) but that's about it. The other explanation makes... well, it's space magic so it doesn't need to make sense to begin with, but Midiclorians are kinda silly.
apparently what you start off with is all you get or force sensitives wouldn't be so rare.

Mother Talzin was not a natural force sensitive. She used ancient magic to claw her way to a position and power where she could go toe toe with Mace mother fucking Windu, and Darth fucking Maul treated her with a lot of respect.

I'm assuming there's a number of other ways to become a force sensitive being, it's a big galaxy after all, but they're all probably hideously rare.
Midiclorians were a mistake.

I treat them as a symbiotic lifeform that feeds off the Force and happens to like living inside people. Like a neat rather innocent bacteria. No more no less. They can still indicate Force sensitivity (more midiclorians being attracted to more sensitive people) but that's about it. The other explanation makes... well, it's space magic so it doesn't need to make sense to begin with, but Midiclorians are kinda silly.
I prefer thinking of them as a force consuming parasite from Korriban, since the creatures from that world could feed directly off force energy.
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-One

"That was something," Xarly said. He was leaning back in the cantina bench, arms folded behind his head as he stretched his legs out under the table.

"Something? That's all you have to say about it?" Qarry asked. She was nursing a drink, something orange that bubbled in a tall glass.

Skarsk Nek eyed the two Falleen for a moment and returned to cutting into his meat. The food onboard the Trade Federation flagship was leagues better than anything he had eaten in some time, and he wasn't about to miss the opportunity. Having a fully stocked cantina onboard a ship was a waste, but then again, this was more of a diplomatic vessel than one built for combat. He supposed that some dignitaries would appreciate the luxury, and he was certainly profiting from it now.

"Yeah, something," Xarly said. "Like, this is the kind of stuff I'll be able to tell my kids about, you know?"

"You're assuming someone will sleep with you and I think that's a very bold assumption to make," the female Falleen said. She sipped at her drink while her partner acted flustered.

Skarsk finished chewing on his bite and looked down at the rest of his steak. He was growing increasingly sure that it was actual meat, from a dead animal, as opposed to recombinant proteins. Truly there was no limits to the waste aboard this vessel.

"What about you, lizard man, what're you going to do now?"

Skarsk looked up from his inspection to see the two Falleen looking at him with interest. "What do you mean?" he asked.

Xarly gestured all around them. "I mean, this. We're done. We won. Fought against all the odds in the galaxy and came out on top."

"Wow, you do not know how odds work."

"Shut up. What I mean is, we made it. Now what? You know. Like, I guess I could go back to work as a ship's navigator now. But it'll be so... flat."

"The only thing flat around here will be your pulse if you tell me to shut up again," Qarry growled and the boy winced away from her. "But the idiot is right. I don't think I could go back to just... work again."

Skarsk shrugged one shoulder. "My contract is complete. I will find another."

"Another that's as exciting as the last one?" Xarly asked. There was a familiar spark of interest in his eyes.

"Few of the missions I have taken were so... exciting, as you put it," Skarsk admitted. "That might be for the best."

"Ah, but wouldn't you rather stick around?"

"Xarly," Qarry said. "What are you on about?"

"I mean Khepri's not just going to sit back and retire. People like her are always in the thick of things. I... kind of want to be near that too. Make a name for myself, explore the darker reaches of the galaxy and blow up the monsters hiding there. And, you know, be the hero all the space babes wanna cuddle with."

That last part earned him an elbow to the ribs courtesy of Qarry. "Nerf herder."

Skarsk hissed with laughter before shoving another piece of meat into his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. The couple across from him were fighting in their strange mating ritual, but he could ignore that easily enough.

Xarly's words repeated themselves in his mind. To explore, to make a name for himself, to fight and adventure. Things that made his blood boil and his mind wander, things that his Trandoshan heritage demanded that he try.

The voyage to Tatooine had been a dull affair, but the return, the battles in space, those had awakened his hunger for action, for the hunt.

He wanted more.

"We should join her," he said.

It shut the two up, both looking across the table to him was he cut another strip of meat and began tearing into it.

"Join her? Khepri?" Xarly said. A smile blossomed across his face. "Yeah! I'd be down for that."

"You absolute moron," Qarry said. "She's not the type who would hire an imbecile like you."

"Maybe not, but no one who doesn't know her would join her crew, not after the stories spread, which means there's plenty of room for someone like me."

Skarsk began to reconsider his latest revelation. Travelling the galaxy to right wrongs and murder villains was all well and good, but not if he had to spend that time with idiots of Xarly's calibre.


Taylor lowered herself into the seat carefully. It was plush, soft, and swivelled on a well-oiled mechanism that had just enough resistance on it to make it feel luxurious. It was the same as everything else in the ship.

Up until then, her view of life in space, as strange as that was already, was quite simple. Sure, there were spaceships with strange artificial gravity, talking robots, and the ability to go faster than light, but all of this was with a sort of... cobbled together aesthetic.

The magic of space travel was there, sure, but it was made mundane. The ships were mass produced and ill maintained, they reminded her more of her dad's old pickup than of the sleek starships she had imagined humanity taking to the stars.

The room Count Dooku brought her too went in the opposite direction. It was huge, huge in a ship where every inch was probably valuable. There were fishtanks against one wall, the fish within already under her control. Another wall was filled with a window that gave them a gorgeous view of a green jewel of a planet hanging in space and slowly rotating below them.

HK47 clunked over to her side, standing just a step behind her like a towering guard. He stuck out in the room like a sore thumb. "HK47," she began, making sure all the while not to meet the eyes of the man sitting at the other end of the table. The fact that he was still out of her range said much about the size of the piece of furniture. It was also made from a single piece of wood. "Do try and be accurate today. I don't mind your little games but this is important."

"Astonishment: Master, I am both surprised that you noticed my prevarications and hurt that you would accuse me of such."

Taylor snorted. "Yeah, yeah. I'm scary, but people don't usually start shaking at the knees when I ask for the washroom. Now, translate properly and I'll see if we can find someone to fix you up a bit later, you're starting to squeak when you walk."

"Comment: All the better to warn the meatbags that I am approaching to kill them."

She shook her head and after making sure that that had been HK47'sw last quip, sat up and met Count Dooku's eyes.

"I have some questions," the older gentleman said, his words immediately translated by her droid friend. "If you do not mind me asking them, of course."

"I am your guest here," Taylor said. "By all means ask away."

The Count nodded. "Very well then. Let me begin first by thanking you. The freeing of slaves, any slaves, is admirable, but those you saved from captivity were of the Falleen, the race that inhabit this system. The Confederation of Independent systems have been negotiating with them for some time and the release of so many of their copatriots from slavery is a great victory. In these troubled times such good news ought to be cherished and heroic actions rewarded."

"You're welcome, I suppose. Though I was only just doing what I thought was right."

"Indeed. Even if that is the case, you have my sincere thanks." He moved his arms onto the table, elbows resting on its surface while his fingers interwove themselves before his jaw. "Now, you have done the Confederation a favour by assisting our allies. What can we do for you?"

Taylor hesitated to answer. She didn't know what she wanted, not really. Helping people was well and good but she had done it for selfish reasons too. That, and the man sitting across from her was shrewd, his eyes calculating. She didn't doubt that her answer would be dissected and analysed. "I only wish to help," she said. "If that means cultivating a reputation as a saver of slaves then that's only for the best."

The Count hummed. "You held off an assault by some pirates, which while noteworthy isn't uncommon. You also captured a Republic vessel in doing so. A corrupt one, if the reports I've read were correct. Do you know much about the state of the galaxy?"

"Assume that I know very little," Taylor said.

She felt his eyes on her before he nodded and leaned back into his throne-like chair. She would have judged him for the seat, except hers was the same. "The Republic was a good idea. A system by which a central government could distribute assistance and aid to millions of systems and where grievances could be aired out before the senate in order to keep the galaxy safe and secure. But it has failed. Systems such as this one," he gestured to the planet outside. "Have been left to solve their own problems without aid while the Republic still demands exorbitant taxes from them. Corruption is rife, and issues such as the Hutt slave trade are left unchecked because the Senators at the top don't care enough to try and stop them."

Taylor nodded. "It sounds like most empires and large governments," she said.

"Indeed," Dooku agreed easily. "In recent times things have grown only more contentious. The Republic's bias becomes more obvious by the day. Anyone that isn't from a core world race is considered a second class citizen. Issues on mid-rim worlds are ignored. The Galaxy is fracturing and the Republic is doing nothing about it. That is why the Confederacy of Independent Systems has come to be."

"You're a rebellion?" she asked.

"No, not a rebellion. That implies unlawful action. We are a group of worlds from across the galaxy who wish to break off from the machinations of the Republic. We have ill-will towards the old establishment, yes, but not so much as to want to fight them. We merely have ideological differences that have proven irreconcilable."

Taylor frowned a little. It sounded as if they just wanted to be left alone, but she doubted any large group would just let part of itself drift off without doing something about it. She was also going to have to find another source of information. For all she knew Dooku was lying to her, though doing so about things that should be so easy to research would be foolish.

"This Confederacy of yours, what are its goals, beyond separating from the Republic?" she asked.

"Peace, security, and the ability to assist each other more fairly. The Republic's blatant corruption has left entire civilisations to flounder as they are besieged by pirates and rebellions and civil wars. The Republic refuses, or is incapable, of helping. We want to change that, to pool our resources and lend assistance to as many worlds that require it as we can. Our motives aren't all altruistic, I won't hide it, we also wish to avoid the ludicrous taxation of the Republic and some of the corporate laws must be changed if we are to prosper."

Taylor raised a hand as soon as he was done. "Alright. Let's say you've convinced me that you're the good guys," she said. "Where do I come in? I'm just someone who got caught up in a bit of trouble that ended up assisting you a little."

Dooku smiled, it was surprisingly grandfatherly. "Ah, but Darth Khepri, you are an opportunity. The Hutts are not the only threat we face. Piracy, both legal and not, is a vast threat to our fledgling Confederacy. If you are so inclined, I think I would want to hire your services as something of a... contractor to rid us of adversaries that put us at risk. Mostly pirates and slavers for now. Though this may change if the Republic takes a more adversarial stance against us."

"That's a lot of trust you're putting in me," Taylor said.

"A little trust," Dooku admitted. "But if ever there was a time to take risks it is now."


Dooku is a blabbermouth.

I think there's a bit more talking that needs to be done, but you can kind of see the direction in which this is going. Privateer Taylor! Woo~

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