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"Loracre Lies"

Sargent Sarena Kai woke the the hot and humid climate of the Tatooine desert, "Welcome back to the land of the living" came the vaguely familiar sound of her shuttle pilot. Sarena groaned as she clambered back to her feet against the bars of the rickety makeshift prison cell she appeared to be held in. As she surveyed her surroundings, nothing that they appeared to be in a tribal camp bordered some backwash settlement; her pilot recounted how they were shot down without warning while traversing the Dune Sea.

They were not granted much time to contemplate an escape attempt before their attention was drawn by the distinct sound of an Imperial siren wailing from the outpost below. This was soon followed by the clanking of walkers and battledroids maneuvering within the nearby outpost courtyard. Sarena and the pilot struggled to see what was transpiring, but when one of the walkers erupted in a fiery explosion, they did not have to second guess what had happened to it. This resulted in more battledroids emerging from sand traps the other side of their prison and making their way over to the courtyard. Sarena's keen instinct led her to duck as they appeared and started firing aimlessly in that direction, though her pilot was not sharp and got cut down by the droids blasters. As they passed and descended into the courtyard, Sarena looked back to the pilot with a heavy sigh before noticing that her cell had been damaged by the weapons fire and - with a little forceful encouragement - could be opened.

A brief scout of the immediate area led Sarena to the conclusion that the only viable way forwards was into the now deathly quiet courtyard. The trail of destroyed battledroids and smoldering walker wrecks emanated in a clear path from a room on the far corner. Seeing that the other rooms were also guarded by active turrets - save for the one that appeared to lead through to the rest of the outpost - she proceeded cautiously towards the room, peering inside to see what looked like a lab of some description; mostly a droid workshop - far more advanced than belonged in such a setting - and adorned with Imperial banners, the room also hosted a pair of biobeds and an array of kolto tanks. Only one of the beds was occupied, and one of the kolto tanks looked to have exploded recently, with blue kolto fluid still dripping from the broken glass front.

Investigating the remains of the lab whilst carefully stepping over destroyed droids and dead Imperial scientists, Sarena moved from one busted terminal to the next before managing to unlock a collection of scientific logs from something called project LAE. Discerning from these that the patient in the biobed still was one of two test subjects; seemingly the one referred to at 'Series: Alpha'. There was no sign of the Series: Beta, though that could be an explanation for the chaos. Seeing no other real option available, she picked up from a maintenance note in the logs that disrupting the nearby generator would break Alpha's stasis and so dug out a suitable piece of scrap material from the wrecks outside in the courtyard. Jamming it into the exposed generator turbine caused it to creak and groan painfully as smoke began to pour out before a sea of sparks flew from a panel on the far side.

Moving to observe the readout display on the biobed, Sarena saw the power levels dropping and the patient biosigns fluctuating. As the glass cover to the bed peeled open, the test subject began to stir as though waking from a deep sleep. Sitting up straight she blinked the world into existence and stared blankly at Sarena, "Who are you?" Sarena asked taking a cautious step backwards. Another blank faced blink came before a response, "Loracre Artificial Entity Series: Alpha" the subject replied in a flat and monotone voice. Sarena repeated her question to which the subject tilted her head and blinked again, seeming to process the request, "Loracre Artificial Entity Series: Alpha; Laesa. I am Laesa". The following minutes were filled with a somewhat awkward conversation as Sarena learned that Laesa was a genetically engineered force-sensitive; an Imperial experiment which apparently did not yield desirable results since she did not show signs of succumbing to their mental conditioning. This conversation also saw Laesa grow more animated with her facial expressions and her accent take on a distinctly more Republic sound as she seemed to learn from Sarena. Once it became apparent they the two shared a mutual need to escape what was now established as some sort of Imperial facility, they moved back into the courtyard where Laesa was able to comfortably take care of the turrets outside of the nearby armory by forcing them to fire on each other.

Emerging from the armory a short time later with a blaster rifle in her hands, and Laesa close behind with what Sarena saw as a poor choice of weapon in a pair of vibroswords slung off her back. The two set about exploring the rest of the courtyard and discovered the third guarded room was a holding cell; home to an angry looking Sith who was being poked and prodded by more scientists. Setting a plan into motion using a series of explosive devices they also found in the armory; they first lured some of the guards out of the link tunnel towards the prison cell before detonating a large explosion immediately above it; collapsing the room in on itself in a cloud of dust and sand. The Sith Lord soon burst through the rubble and charged through the outpost, carving a bloody path through all that he encountered. This afforded Sarena and Laesa the opportunity to progress closer to the hangar which they hoped would house a ship that they could escape in. But their exploration first led them to a large archive server.

From the server, they were able to determine that this place was a site for Imperial Intelligence which was indeed conducting research - not sanctioned by HQ - into growing mentally conditioned force sensitives. The Sith Lord they had just unleashed on the outpost was one Lord Averrus; apparently the source of the midichlorian-strong genes used in creating their prototypes. The source of the raw genetic material was apparently an unknowing young Intelligence operative who had been briefly assigned to the outpost shortly after recruitment - One Mischa Leveson-Scott. The ensuing discussion about Laesa's origins naturally led to one about her future, to which she could not give a definitive answer as she still sought to process all she had learned so far.

Moving on; they narrowly avoided a confrontation with Averrus when he burst back through into the courtyard. Whilst the two hid, the Sith Lord seemed to freeze in his bloodthirsty sprint as though sensing something nearby. After a moments hesitation he made the unusual move of backtracking and taking a different route out - giving their location a wider berth. Not wanting to look a gifthorse in the mouth, they made a quick stop by the operations centre before heading to the hangar where there was indeed a shuttle waiting for them to borrow. This was also guarded by an Imperial squadron, which Laesa was quick to despatch after learning form Sarena how to use her surroundings to the best advantage; as she force-controlled a parked hovertank to fire on the ceiling above the group; crushing most and leaving a couple of stragglers for her and Sarena to pick off.

Departing uneventfully from there, they were soon into a hyperspace jump to the nearest Republic base, where the conversation once again picked up about Laesa's future. As Sarena contentedly piloted the shuttle, Laesa stood over her shoulder, "So what will you do now?" she called back to Laesa, "That, is an interesting question..." she replied somewhat cryptically. What Sarena did not notice at this time was how Laesa's eyes took on a deep golden hue of corruption as she waved a hand across the back of Sarena's head, "You did well in rescuing this young padawan from the Imperial barracks. The Jedi Council should be most grateful". Sarena blinked as the force persuasion took effect and she replied, "We'll soon have you home to Tython. Do you think your Master survived?" Laesa's eyes settled back to a more natural deep brown, as she replied in a more youthful and sweetly upbeat tone, "I'm sure he did! If anyone could make it back alone, it is my Master! I, I should go meditate on all of this before we arrive. I'll be out back, yeah?"

Sarena nodded to the girl she now believed was a bright young Padawan as Laesa turned to exit the cockpit; her eyes flashing once more with that deep golden hue of corruption as a wry smirk formed across her face; contently satisfied that her escape was executed flawlessly....

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