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“So, why are we going to Imperial Intelligence again”, asked Mako curiously.
It was a cold rainy night on Dromund Kass and the Citadel was once again bustling with activity. Azra and Mako had come to Dromund Kass seeking information about an agent named Cipher 0. It had been about a month of the agent sending encrypted messages to her warning her about a danger before it occurred. She had been saved many times by the agent through the messages, but wanted to know; who was Cipher 0?
Azra shook her head and replied,” I already told you that they are the only ones who can help me find Cipher 0 and right now that creep may already be watching us”.
“And you think that they are just going to hand that information over to you willingly”.
“I have some favors to pull”, replied Azra.
Mako sighed and looked out the speeder window admiring the bright lights of the city. Azra stared dreadfully at the Citadel remembering her Sith training and the horrors she experienced in the halls of the Sith Sanctum. Azra hoped the Sith weren’t interfering with Intelligence.
Azra shook away the thoughts and parked her speeder by Imperial Intelligence Headquarters. The building looked different, calmer than usual. It had been some time since she had been inside or had seen her former fiancé, Ardon, but she knew not that much could have changed.
Azra and Mako went into the building remembering the security measures that Intelligence had. If anyone asked Azra what she was doing she would simply pull out her former lightsaber and walk past. Azra and Mako continued down the corridor looking for a receptionist, but something disturbing occurred to her.
The halls of Intelligence were empty.
“This place looks abandoned”, said Mako confused.
“Why”, asked Azra continuing down the corridor.
Azra and Mako delved deeper into the former headquarters and then stumbled upon a closed room, the sounds of voices could be heard on the other side.
“Put Watcher 3 down”, echoed a voice defiantly.
Azra was surprised to hear Ardon’s voice through the wall. She continued to listen intently.
“The Cipher agent. You defeated the traitor Jadus and the fools in the SIS my masters acknowledge your service,” said a voice that sounded Kellesh,” But, you serve Intelligence no longer. By order of the Dark Council Intelligence is dissolved and you will be assigned to a war time unit or deserving Sith Lords.”
“With all due respect Operations is needed not more than ever”, said Ardon tension slight in his voice.
“The war does not go well, whatever the official word. The Ministry of War must have resources and Intelligence fails to do its part”, said the Kellesh,” We have heard rumors of corruption, agents chasing conspiracy theories, a brain dead Keeper…. We must butcher the beast for its meat”, exclaimed the Kellesh.
Ardon replied inquisitively,” You said deserving Sith Lords”.
“Intelligence has served Baras and Sangus before and they will now”, said the Kellesh.
Suddenly the buzzing of the holocommunicator went off and the voice of a trooper echoed,” We found the alien outside a cantina my lord, bringing her in now”.
“I was on a break. What’s the deal”, asked a voice.
Azra could tell it was Kaliyo Djanis talking. Ardon had told her once he had recruited her into Intelligence.
“Intelligence may overlook her past…But, she is an anarchist and traitor to the Empire”, said the Kellesh almost delightfully,” She will be interrogated and judged”.
Kaliyo burst into an uncontrollable rage,” I will kill you, you get me. I will kill you!”
Ardon protested even toned though Azra knew that he was burning with hatred,” Kaliyo’s work has been exemplary and we have put far worse on the pay roll”.
“The decision was not mine, “replied the Kellesh,” Unless you plan to slaughter the entire Citadel…Don’t test me”.
Finally, Ardon let his defiance and his anger become obvious in his voice,” You and I know what this is about. You want my team at half strength so be it. But, if you so much lay a finger on Kaliyo I will make sure you pay, Lord Razor.”
Lord Razor replied slightly surprised by Ardon’s outburst,” You have no one I want”.
Then there were only footsteps, the sound of boots clapping the floor. Suddenly, Kaliyo burst into another outburst and the sound of more footsteps echoed through the room.
After a moment of silence the Lord Razor spoke,” The rest of your team may remain intact. You will be transferred to my command by special request to Corellia. Together we will drown the Republic in blood”.
Azra and Mako looked at each other in surprise and swiftly moved away from the door. Out came a Sith Lord wearing red clad armor with a long draping cape. He was indeed a Kellesh.
“Sort of like us and Tormen”, said Mako silently.
Azra answered,” I hate Sith”.
“You’re not the only one”, replied Mako.
One by one people exited the room along with Watcher 3 who was clutching his side. Only Ardon never came out. Azra and Mako entered the room to find Ardon standing in the middle of it alone.
“Hey”, said Azra taking off her helmet.
“Azra”, asked Ardon curiously,” What are you doing here”.
“I came for information”, said Azra,” But, looks like they took it all”.
“I suppose they did”, replied Ardon.
“Maybe I can get something up still”, said Mako heading to a nearby computer.
Azra and Ardon stood awkwardly in the center of the abandoned room waiting for someone to say something.
“I’m sorry about what happened Ardon”, said Azra sympathetically.
“Ardon”, muttered Ardon,” I haven’t been called that in a long time”.
“Oh yeah. Designations”, said Azra shyly,” Should I start calling you Cipher 9”.
“No”, answered Ardon,”That was my job description not my identity”.
Azra nodded looking into Ardon’s deep brown eyes. It had been a long time since Azra had broken up with Ardon and a longer time since they had a conversation like this one. It reminded her that deep inside she loved Ardon but allegiances denied that to her.
“So, what was the information you wanted”, asked Ardon curiously.
Azra asked,” Do you know who Cipher 0 is?”
“No I don’t”, said Ardon thoughtful,” But, I have heard the designation before. A rouge agent I think. Have you encountered him?”
“No not exactly”, answered Azra,” But, I want to”.
Suddenly, Azra’s holocommunicator beeped and she picked it up to answer the call.
“Is this Azra Eternity”, asked a voice. The figure in the holo looked heavily built wearing thick black armor and a hood and mask. Azra knew that it was Cipher 0 though.
“Where are you? Actually, more importantly who are you?”
“Meet me on the top floor of Headquarters”, said Cipher 0 shortly.
Azra was about to ask another question but Cipher 0 hung up.
“Looks like you have a meeting to get to”, said Ardon turning away from Azra.
“Finally,” said Azra heading towards the exit,” Mako let’s go.”
Mako scurried over to Azra not bothering to shut off the computer.
Azra looked back at Ardon who was looking back at her with a quiet sadness in his eyes.
“Be careful out there Azra”, said Ardon sadly,” I hope I see you again”.
Azra replied a little embarrassed for leaving him so soon,” I hope so too Ardon”.
Then Ardon said something that cut through Azra like a knife, “I love you”.
Azra turned around to face the door, hesitating to move forward. Only then did she realize she was crying and she wiped the tears silently away making sure he didn’t see them.
“We should go now”, whispered Mako leading Azra out the door.
Azra and Mako stood outside the room silent for a moment. Mako broke the silence saying,” I’ve never seen you cry before. You must have really had something for him”.
“I guess”, replied Azra wiping another tear,” Let’s go Mako.”
With that Azra and Mako headed towards the turbolifts silent the whole ride up.