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JL | Khaval & Rohani | "Head-Hunting"

Posted on 241709.20 @ 6:00pm by Rear Admiral Cintia Sha'mer

Mission: Reconciliation & Reconstruction [Fleet Plot]
Timeline: SD 241709.20

Someplace, somewhen…

"My Heads tell me they've found another one, Khaval," Rohani said, shaking his long hair back. The movement revealed two psi-blockers placed on his temples, always a safety measure when he was around norms or untrusted heads. Not that he didn't trust Khaval – often he didn't even need to scan her thoughts to know what she was thinking to the letter, so well did they know each other. But this ship was packed with people, and the constant strain of keeping everybody out without the blockers would be an enormous drain. "A strong one."

The smallest nod of his head sent the coordinates to their ship's computer.

Khaval lazily put down her mug, which was holding a brown hot liquid. "You could do this yourself, you know," she muttered. Uncrossing her legs, she reached for the button that would put her into contact with their people on the bridge of their ship. "You've received coordinates. Set course at once."

Quick acknowledgements came almost too fast to be humanly possible. Then again, the one at the helm had received the coordinates in his mind the moment they were routed through the ship's computer. Rohani and Khaval had made sure to set up their minds and ship in such a way that there was never any direct contact between Rohani and the other ones. That was to say, no direct contact when he didn't want it. For fun, he'd play with their minds from time to time, but never to run their ship.

Rohani shrugged lazily. "It's what we agreed on when we began," he said, sauntering over to the viewscreen. "I run the heads, you run the ship." He smiled his slow smile as he looked at Khaval with his pitch-black eyes. There was absolutely no emotion in those eyes, not a hint of smile, nor of anything else. "Or do you wish to change… our agreement?" He stretched like a cat, slow and with his full attention. Then he settled down into his chair and began the breathing exercises which initiated his meditation.

"I didn't say that," Khaval waved her hand in a dismissive gesture as she settled back on the couch, watching Rohani carefully. She'd been around telepaths most of her life, but few had been as powerful as Rohani. None of them, really. A long time ago, she'd fallen for that power. Now, the two of them shared a companionship that had grown over the years. They both felt fine with it. And yet, from time to time, he made sure she knew just who had fallen for whom. Now was apparently one of those times he found it necessary to remind her.

"Good," Rohani murmured, his attention already focused outwards. His black eyes unfocused after another deep breath, and with a swift motion he removed both blockers from his temples. His mind sped outwards, leaving the maddening cacophony of the ship behind.

Almost immediately he found what he was looking for, much to his surprise. The heads were right, this was an amazingly strong one, a beacon amidst the stars. Rohani immediately occluded himself, though he doubted the psi would have detected that brief glance: it was quite some distance away, preoccupied and almost unshielded. Open and unaware, just the way he liked it. Rohani smiled again. This would be easy picking.

"Give me details, Khaval," he said softly. "What kind of ship? Time to intercept?" He raised his hand, indicated with a lazy twist of his wrist all the questions he didn't need to ask aloud: How many on board? How far away? Course and speed?

Khaval grunted as she tapped once more into the ship's computer with a flick of her hand. "It's a small freighter. We'll intercept in six hours at current speed. If we increase speed, we can bring that back to four and a half hours. They'll enter a planetary system in just over five hours. Crew complement uncertain. The type of freighter suggest 20 or less. No affiliation registered," she droned. They'd done this so often before, that he didn't need to ask for her to know what he was looking for. Shortly, he'd give the final thumbs up or thumbs down, and the entire atmosphere on the ship would change in a heartbeat.

"Good, good," Rohani murmured, keeping his attention focused on the psi. Unusual mind, not one of the major telepathic races. Then again, freighters could hold just about anything. It was an element of surprise which added to the thrill of the chase. Would the psi fight back? Would it be interesting enough to add to the collection? Or would it be a waste of time and effort? Based on what he sensed thus far, it certainly had potential.

"Tell me more about that planetary system," he ordered. Again, he didn't need to add the rest of the questions: was it inhabited? If so, by whom or what? Were there bases, colonies, indigenous species?

"Four planets, one class M planet, uninhabited. System has no other designation than A-864. Often used by smugglers to load cargo from one ship to the next. Sensors are known to be funky due to the presence of a nebula. No records in ship logs reflect their detour there," Khaval continued, scrolling all the way to the bottom of the screen. "That's it."

"Aaahhh…" A long drawn-out sigh. Rohani felt the familiar tingle of excitement. "Go."

"Bridge. Increase speed to maximum warp," Khaval spoke curtly. She felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Her skin tingled with the knowledge of telepathic activity flying all through the ship. She was the only one not affected by it. All telepaths around her were currently flooded by Rohani by the most horrible images he could come up with, drowning their own thoughts and tasks, and directing their mind to the only outcome it saw: capturing the freighter. Killing everyone but the one marked with a big fluorescent marker that stood out in their mind. She heard a scream coming from the bowels of their ship. Another mind giving out. Perhaps it could be salvaged. Perhaps it couldn't. The most valuable ones were force-blocked anyway.

Oh, it was so easy to feed the frenzy, to keep them on the peak of their performance. Rohani smiled as part of his mind and conscious withdrew to the ship, feeling the combined minds shift and surge around him like a sea, and he was the storm whipping up the waves. He played them like a master musician would play its instrument, only this instrument was more complex and more rewarding than anything else could ever be. It was a delicate balancing act to maintain this level of mental stimuli for hours and still keep enough in reserve to let them go all-out the moment they would actually attack, but it was a balancing act he knew of old, and loved.

And on the other side, the psi had still absolutely no idea they were coming. Travelling in warp from here to there, not a care in the world… Oh, just the way he liked it. He let his body relax in his chair, and waited.

Four hours later, Khaval made her way back into what was designated as Rohani's office. She'd done her tour of the ship, patrolling all areas to get a feel of what was going on. The one mind was lost. Their doctor hadn't been able to bring him back out of the frenzy he'd driven himself into. A pity. It had been a promising mind. It had been with them for only a few months. During all the attacks they'd executed in the mean time, he'd proven most valuable. His body wasn't suited to be part of the physical assault, but there were more minds they needed. Supporting and leading the charge from their own ship. He'd excelled at that. No more. A pity. All the others seemed to be doing well under their balancing act. A few skirmishes had erupted amongst the more peaceful species - their mind unaccustomed to the onslaught of violence. Nothing out of the ordinary. "It's time," she simply spoke.

"I know…" With his mind still spread out over both the ship and – behind its occlusion – the psi outside, Rohani had been keeping track of the rapidly decreasing distance between the two. The planetary system, and potential safety, was too far away for the freighter.

He rose and walked over to the viewscreen again, not really watching the display. He saw everything much clearer with his mind. "Synch with me. Forcing them out of warp in ten. Nine. Eight." He thrust the full power of his mind outside, and pushed.

Khaval didn't have much synching to do right there and right then. It was like an orchestra that had been directed to action. Rohani had a direct link to the ship, and the heads in turn had direct contact with the ship. It's not like they had any choice. At the count of zero, the freighter tumbled out of control, lost its warp field and continued its tumble in normal space. Their own ship easily matched the maneuvers, the chorus of minds steadying both ships in their mindscape. Before the people on the freighter realised what was going on, Khaval had already transported a contingent of their physical psy's over and the battle had begun. Their shields had never been raised. No call for help had been sent out. And all Khaval had had to do so far, was push the transporter controls.

Their orders were simple, as always. Blanket and subdue the psi, kill all norms. The heads began their work as soon as they materialised. The psi on the freighter managed to get one choked, bubbling scream out before collapsing, blood streaming her nose. Rohani watched through the eyes of his heads and gave a slight nod of approval. The psi was out, and would be for several hours, but the mindtone hadn't changed: no mental damage done. No lasting damage, at least. One of his heads placed the blockers on the psi's head, so that if she came to unexpectedly – it had happened in the past – she would still be locked inside.

The norms were dispatched, quickly and efficiently. The heads moved through the ship, locating all norms with ease and killing them. Most of the heads used weapons, a few others used their minds. Rohani watched and was proud.

Beaming everyone back to their own ship, Khaval's usefulness had been minimal. She didn't care though. This routine worked for all of them, including her. Well, it did for Rohani and her. The others didn't really have much of a choice. She still didn't care. Heads weren't good for anything else, as far as she was concerned.

Moments later, two heads dragged their new capture in between them. They dropped her unceremoniously on the floor of the office and left without another word, undoubtedly instructed by Rohani to do so.

Lifting the unconscious woman's chin for a moment, careful to avoid the blood that had poured from her nose, Khaval nodded to Rohani. "She'll be an excellent addition."

"Oh yes," Rohani said, strolling over to examine exhibit A on the floor. Only two of his heads had remained behind on the freighter, for the mopping up: examining cargo and computer contents, stripping the ship of what was useful, then they'd steer the ship itself into the sun. The old freighter was not really fit for anything else. Rohani kept track of the mopping up with only a small portion of his attention, the rest was focused on the unconscious psi in front of him. He smiled his lazy smile, looking more cat-like than ever: a cat regarding a stunned mouse. "I look forward to breaking her."

Khaval, Organisation Operation and Logistics
played by Indi Hawk

Rohani, Organisation Head
played by Cintia Sha'mer


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