Veneum Nostrum: A Shadow’s Web Story Part 1

Starring:

Crimsèn Korayiv (formerly Crimsèn Hevilas)

Lord Aatrox/Casteil Acernoxus

Commander Allyn’grav’nost

Veno Nesstro

Part 1: Beneath the Surface

It starts with a message.

Very little escaped Commander Grav´s attention. It was what she was trained to do, what she lived to do. However, there was very little one could do being only one, and there was a limit to one´s attention that, if stretched, would only bring stress. Delegation needed to happen. Hence the holo-message that soon appeared on Crimsén’s datapad.

“Operative Crimsén. We both recently came into close contact with the operative Veno Nesstro, as we tried to unravel the mysteries of technology that presented themselves to us.

Part of me believes that you, much like I do, tries to look past the façade of simple, silent technician that he presents. There are very few people I trust, there are many that I do not bother, and there are those I truly do not believe to be showing who they really are. I have no idea why, there is no need for falsehood among the Shadow Web, but if that´s his game, so be it. We shall play it.

Were I in your position, I would have already started this, but I unfortunately have little time. So, since you were quite close to him recently, and had good contact with him, I pass this info along to you. Veno recently purchased a shipment of heavy sedatives and strong hunting equipment. The name of Lord Aatrox is also repeated many times on his personal datapad.

I am not your mentor, operative, but I can be your guide. Follow this thin thread and find the truth. I am sure all of us will be greatly rewarded when Veno stops pretending. Good hunting.”

The holo would stop shortly after displaying Commander Grav’s lingering gaze on the operative that watched her.

The ex-Cipher was too thrilled to get his new assignment: Finally something that involved what his skills as an ex-Cipher granted him: Infiltration, gathering information, and peaking behind the mask so many people wear. Furthermore, it would be away from his assignments that mixed personal and professional too well. He was happy- ecstatic even! Though a bit worried- He and Veno have spent time together. Who was he really with if not a simple mechanic? Is he perhaps trapped in working for this Lord Aatrox?

He did wonder, especially after seeing Veno’s swordsmanship, what hid behind the façade. A façade who’s picture from security camera compared to the mask seemed to match, but didn’t match. There are two threads he can go along: Learning more about the hunting equipment, or learning more about Lord Aatrox. Best thing would be to follow both threads, one as an agent of the Empire and the other as Veno’s friend.

The commander gave Crimsèn a head start: Attached to the message was a list of the type of sedative, a compound known as BB-44325AL commonly known as “Shock ‘N’ Awe” in Hutt Space. There was also a list of hunting supplies; heavy duty restraint wire, animal traps, and various knives as well. The knives specifically were designed to debone large creatures, and easily skin anything short of a Rancor.

Crimsèn reads over the list, as well as the key names: “Who is this Lord Aatrox?”

lord_aatrox_zpsc9oenw8gHe flies to Korriban’s archives and uses his former surname, Hevilas, to access the records. The name Lord Aatrox refers to a Sith Lord who during the conflict with the Dread Guard and the Revanites was known to interrogate and retrieve information. If no information was given, or even when it still was, the individuals always ended up becoming so brain addled that they hardly even remembered their name. Only one image of the lord was ever recovered, most recording devices seemed to have been disabled just before his arrival. The Commander had also been able to send a picture similar to the one in Korriban’s archives,  though it wasn’t much to go one.
If Lord Aatrox was fighting in the Dread Guards, and later fighting the Dread Masters, he would have visited Oricon at least once. Didn’t Oricon still have an Imperial Garrison? Brief check of his sources confirms there is but one needs special clearance to go there. Thankfully, Crimsèn has means: His brother, Darth Caedusios Hevilas.

Crimsèn got in touch with Darth Caedusios, his brother and official CO: “My Lord, I request permission to head to the planet Oricon. I believe I have a lead on Lord Hevilas’ findings.”

Darth Caedusios hologram looks at Crimsèn with a knit brow. “Oricon? Those planet is strong in the darkside. You may go, but perhaps I should send Qyâsika to ensure your safety mentally and physically?”

Crimsèn shakes his head. “I appreciate the offer, brolin, but this is something I should investigate personally. Someone along who is more accustomed to breaking down the door would not be helpful.”

Darth Caedusios crosses his arms and seems to be deep in thought. I bet he is wondering what Cipher Eight is up to…

“Alright,” Caedusios answers finally, “but Qyâsika’s ship will be in orbit. I will not take no precautions.”

Crimsèn bows, “As you wish, My Lord. Thank you.”

Caedusios cuts the call and then Crimsèn makes another call, but no answer so he leaves a message: “Hey, Veno! It’s Crimsèn. I am off to shoot some beasts on Drommund Kaas in the next few days. You should swing by Korriban’s space port- You’ll like the kills I bring back!”

He then cuts it and goes to prepare for Oricon. His shields and mental prowess needed to be as tight as possible. On Oricon, once Crimsèn was able to get there, he would be able to find only a few holo-videos that actually had Lord Aatrox in them.

The first video playback would be of the Sith in wearing the very same mask, with a black and burgundy set of robes, he paced around an Imperial who babbled on rapidly about such things of darkness, death, and illness falling upon his brother and sister.

NO NO NO! Lena! Kellan! I’m sorry! Don’t! Forgive me! Don’t!

The lengthy figure knelt down and whispered into the man’s ear for only a moment before speaking out just a bit louder.

Not dead, not yet, unless you help us find the remaining Dread Captains, and where they are hiding out. If not I’ll flay them sew their skins onto your own and make you devoir their flesh.

The video would continue on with both of them conversing, until the man was so driven by terror and grief that he broke down and gave out a list of names, which if search all listed KIA by various strike teams.

 

The second video would be of Lord Aatrox and another individual speaking, this woman was referred to as Neira multiple times. A Lethan Twilek who would eventually come to change her name when she attained her Lord title, renaming herself Maralith. She now was currently residing on Korriban but has been noted as missing since the second year of Zakuul occupation.

Crimsèn studied the holo-tapes. “Hmmmm… So about six feet, a bit muscular, and a voice well distorted by the mask. Cannot determine what species. Why would Veno talk to this Lord, nevermind get orders for him through his datapad,” Crim thinks on his ship out loud.

Crim could not tell since the mask distorted the voice. Wise tactic given the circumstances- He always wondered why his brother chose not to wear masks most of the time. Perhaps it made him more intimidating? Hard to say. Before leaving for Belsavis, Crimsèn made sure to stop by Korriban and hunt as his message to Veno promised he would. He could stay for a day, long enough for holocameras to show he was there.

He killed about 3 tukata. Since he hunted for their meat, not sport, he would not over do it. Tukata was one of his favourites as a child, and probably the few times he enjoyed drawing on his Force powers and using his training sword. However, no saber today. Just the darkside and precise shots.

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He gets one of Caedusios staff to come with him and take pictures. He sends them with a message to Veno with a simple message: “Rifle allows for easy and not-messy kills. Which of these babies do you want me to cook up?”

Once he was done butchering both carcasses, leaving some for Caedusios’ fortress and taking the rest, it was time to head to Belsavis. Thankfully, the Empire still has a garrison in the Dread Guard’s strongholds. Perhaps there it will have a bigger piece of the puzzle.

Speaking of which, Crim gets in touch with one of Intelligence’s few operatives who were sent to keep an eye on the academy. He’s still alive. “Etek,” Crim says when a tall Chiss with a lightsaber answers, “I need you to do one favour for me, old friend…”

Etek bows. “Of course, Crimsên. What can I do for you?”

Crim smiles and answers, “Research for me all you can about Lord Maralith. She’s a Lethan Twi’lek who became a Lord. She went MIA during the second year of Zakuul’s invasion. I bleive her pre-Lord name was Neira.”

Etek nods. “Done, give me 48 hours. It will take a bit of time to dig through intel’s old records.”

The call is cut and Crim leans back in his chair. “48 hours… I’ll be done with that area of Belsavis by then…”

Crimsèn would get no response from Veno; furthermore, Etek  only found that in the third year of Zakuul occupation that Lord Maralith was stationed on Belsavis and was overseeing a research facility that was flooded and now long gone. After such an event she withdrew every last cent she had from Imperial Banks, and then vanished it seems like into thin air, presumed dead. Naturally, Crimsèn dug up further but it seemed the more he search less and less turned up.

Crimsèn reads over the little information he has. He frowns and goes to look out the window of his ship. He thinks out loud: “Veno could be busy. He could be… Why do I get the feeling Veno knows I’m looking into him? I guess animal rights activists aren’t the only ones suspicious of hunting.”

Well, only thing Crimsèn can do for the moment is head to HQ. If he ran into Veno, they could he a conversation. If he didn’t, he can make the report and do some research into those hunting equipment Veno supposedly purchased for a Lord Aatrox. As his ship lands on Yavin and he makes way for the Shadow Webs’ HQ, he decides to satisfy some curiosity: “I will see what these tools can do with my own eyes.”

Nal Hutta is where most of the hunting equipment was purchased, the purchases were listed as such. 80 kilos of ‘Viper Wire’ which was electrified, 150 Kilos of plastic wrap, a twenty two centimeter hunting blade (no vibro generator attached,) and the sedatives known as ‘Shock N Awe.’ The store it was bought from was known as Rok’s Wrangler Emporium. Aside from that the place of delivery was Coruscant, to a sector known to be under the control of the Black Sun. The place of delivery was a section of apartment buildings in the lower sectors of Coruscant.

Crimsèn raises an eye ridge as he reads the items. Those are interesting toys- Lord Aatrox’s only know recording is of interrogation, yes? Would these tools be effective for it? Only one way to find out.

Crimsèn takes a shakey breath when he goes to make a call: He did not like torture due to being at its mercy one too many times. Yet, he was tracking down a Lord who contacted Veno about hunting tools, and is only seen in a holorecording for interrogation. Therefore, an experiment was required. A dark experiment. An experiment that was needed on Korriban.

He went to this store on Nal Hutta first, disguised as a Mandalorian. No one noticed when he came in, and he was able to acquire the same amount of equipment and tools that Lord Aatrox did. This time, though, Va’io would be the buyer. Crimsèn heads out of the store after paying for the items to be sent to Korriban courtesy of Darth Caedusios.

They would arrive in three days. Good timing, he decided, since it would give one of Caedusios’ inquisitors time to test them out and give feedback on whether they were effective or not. He sent them a message with these instructions: “Use these on the next one or two prisoners who prove stubborn. Since Darth Caedusios is still quashing up starters on Korriban, you will find use for them.”

Crimsèn then spends the rest of the day preparing for returning to his favourite part of Cipher work: Going behind enemy lines. Enemy lines that probably know his old means and tricks. He would need new ones; he knows Etek could help with those- Etek was Darth Caedusios newest intelligence officer. Perhaps the rest could be provided via the Shadow Web?

Report 1:

Lord Aatrox does not like the idea of being found. He has gone to great lengths to cover his tracks, yet he has slipped a bit in terms of who he makes purchases from and whether or not they can be tracked.

I was able to pull some information from the Imperial Garrison still on Oricon. He was a Sith Lord that arose during the war with the Dread Guards and the Dread Masters. He was known to interrogate prisoners with cameras turned off just before he arrives. I only managed to find one recording of him doing an interrogation: Ruthless is a mild way to explain his methods.

Another recording of him was with a Lord Maralith, formerly Neira. She disappeared during the third year of the Zakuul invasion. Her disappearance was deliberate on her part: She emptied out all the credits in her imperial bank after the research station on Belsavis she was at was flooded. Preliminary research suggests the research facility was lost, however, I request permission if the records are hidden in the Empire’s vaults somewhere.

Until permission is granted, I will follow the trail of purchases Veno made for Lord Aatrox. The items include 80 kilos of ‘Viper Wire’ which was electrified, 150 Kilos of plastic wrap, a twenty two centimeter hunting blade (no vibro generator attached,) and the sedatives known as ‘Shock N Awe. They were purchased on Hutta and then shipped to Black Sun Territory within Coruscant. With help from my own resources, I was able to duplicate the order and I have a means to test what these items can do. With this testing, I can learn what medical records and injuries to look for among Lord Aatrox’s next victims (or are these Veno’s next victims?).

I would like to investigate that area of the Black Sun. You know from my service records I have infiltrated Coruscant as Cipher Eight, and I can do so again from the Shadow Web. However, most of clearance codes and other security bypasses are most likely out of date, and using them again would arouse suspicion. Especially when I am going deep into Coruscant, and not just paying the surface a quick visit.

Conclusion of the Report: I request assistance in getting new paths into enemy territory. All I need are more up to date clearance codes and security checks. I can handle the rest from there.

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

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