Cally McKnight

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Formative Years

Unlike many Duros, Cally McKnight was born in Year -19 on her home planet's surface instead of in the orbiting shipyards. Much of the planet's surface is uninhabitable after long-term destruction, pollution, and exploitation at the hands of the Galactic Empire.[1] While the majority of the Duros people were moved into shipyards and space colonies to continue their traditions of shipbuilding and commerce, those left on the surface were forced to do the dangerous jobs of keeping factories in the barely-inhabitable areas running, salvaging their former neighborhoods for scrap, and attending to the needs of the various Imperial divisions sent to the surface for training exercises. As a Class-C sentient, Duros are permitted to be enslaved by the Empire. Cally's parents were two of these such Duros. Both her parents worked recycling the homes of former residents, and scrapping it for use by the Imperial army. Cally started helping them at age five. They lived in a shabbily-repaired shack not too far from an Imperial barracks.

When Cally was eleven she started noticing strange behavior in her parents. Her mother had problems sleeping and her father would come back from work with more bruises and scratches than normal. Both of them would slip out at odd ours in the night, or go to work incredibly early or stay much later than required. After being denied straight answers, she decided to follow her mother early one morning. She watched as her mother dug carefully around a scrap piles behind their shack and pulled out a set of kinetic armor and hurriedly strapped it on, picked up a blaster, and ran off into the dawn. Cally followed at a distance as best she could.About two miles down the road she saw her mother meeting some others who looked familiar to her, and climbing on a barge with them. They were all in armor and had weapons. The barge quickly sped out of site, and Cally returned home and shortly went to work.

Her mother never came home that night. Her father refused to talk about it, but was obviously devastated as if he had little hope of her returning. Cally was sent to a family friend's house. Her father said he had to work late again. At the other house she found a smuggled subspace radio and began to put some pieces together. There reports of a raid on a supply convoy bringing newly produced weapons and medical supplies from a factory to a starport. Three raiders were reported captured, two killed. Hours later there were fresh reports coming in of an attack on a nearby detention facility. She wondered if her parents were in anyway involved. Her questions were answered when they arrived at the house Cally was staying at in the early hours of the morning. They were both injured, but very much alive, and the three of them returned to their house. Cally was instructed to gather her things quickly because they had to lave as soon as they could. Cally was confused, but did as she was told and the family crept into the wilderness. After walking for about an our they were met by three Duros; all three looked strong. They did not say much, and swiftly helped the family into the hold of a barge and ordered them to be as still and silent as they could. Their journey was cold, uncomfortable, and long. Young Cally tried to ask her parents questions, but was immediately quieted for the duration of the four-hour ride.

Duros Liberation Front

Cally came to learn that they were taken to the headquarters of the Duros Liberation Front, a network of nationalist guerrilla fighters dedicated to restoring autonomy to the Duros race and their homeworld. Here, her parents informed her that they had been involved for a few months and they would be staying here as long as they could. Their home, and all the people they knew there, were not safe anymore. The family lived in with the other fighters deep in the twisting ruins of the ancient Ranadaast library beneath the "old city" a good three or four layers below the surface. Growing up, Cally was told even more stories: stories about her people's past, their former freedom, prosperity, and glory; stories about the desolation of her planet; and the enslavement of her people. Against the wishes of her parents Cally volunteered to join a unit at age fifteen. She soon distinguished herself as loyal, resourceful, and an above-average marksman. Over the next few years she would climb the ranks to that of a major, and came to directly command several networks and cells on the outskirts of CorSec's capitol on Duro. Major McKnight attained her signature Imperial Munitions blaster after she personally lead the assassination of a senior officer visiting the planet and by the age of twenty-nine she was credited with the deaths of four Imperial officers and was counted as responsible for countless deaths and millions of credits worth of theft and destruction of Imperial property. Her main unit became infamous to the local security forces and high bounties were placed on each member's head. Convoy escorts became more and more heavily guarded. Armor on official speeders became thicker and many visitors of note insisted on traveling in ships instead of a speedier transit on the surface. Prey became rarer and more difficult to attack. While the DLF saw this as a victory, McKnight's unit was forced to move closer and closer into the city, meeting more and more organized resistance to their raids, and bringing them closer and closer to capture and death each time. In Year 14 after three such close calls, one where McKnight was actually stunned and had to be carried out to safety, she was ordered to transfer to the shipyards orbiting the planet and to lay low.

Paul Luz and the Move to Avance

She moved about the various shipyards and space colonies for the better part of six months, recruiting fighters to move to the surface, organizing saboteur groups for those building Imperial ships, and defending her fellow Duros against the brutality of the CorSec guards and Stormtroopers. She was able to stay anonymous and undetected, but again it became harder and harder for her to move about freely. Discouraged, she believed she would never be able to help her people find liberty or make a difference herself. It seemed like the Empire and its cronies had a permanent hold on her home and her people. It was around this time that she met a Mr. Paul Luz, a large and unsightly Baragwin who stuck out like a sore thumb among the short, humanoid Duros. He, too, attracted the attention of the guards and also seemed to hate such attention. One evening in a tavern she began talking to Paul and was astounded to know that he was a friend of Mark Antioch. Antioch was a founding member of the Duros High House, and was a rising advocate for the Duros cause abroad. Cally had admired the High House, even if they had different ways of trying to make life better for their people. The two, Paul and Cally, became close friends, and Cally listened intently as Paul told her his story and frustrations with his current state. He couldn't find a job that didn't produce death, and wanted to go far from the war and any conflict he could. Cally, selfishly relishing in the luck of having befriended an expert weaponsmith, tried to convince him that his skills could still be his best asset. Together thy sorted through options until a clear solution presented it self, and it was back with Mr. Antioch! Mark worked for the company Golan Technologies, a weapon-making company that catered exclusively to the hunter and sportsman, not the soldier. Paul was very grateful for her help and left to find a ticket to the Yushan Sector where he could look for employment. Not wanting to continue a more or less solitary life having to remain anonymous, Cally took the opportunity to travel with Paul and seek employment at Golan as well. He found work in sales and management, and she took a position with starport security.

Counter Poaching Division

Cally McKnight used her time to be as productive in as many ways as possible, never forgetting her first and strongest passion: freedom for the Duros people. She began networking with the different Duros employees she met, helped many Duros find work at Golan, and her abilities to aid the cause only increased as she climbed in rank. She sent all her savings back to the DLF, and used some of her pay to hire smugglers to take some of the surplus weapons back to her friends and family on the surface of Duro. She felt guilty, but knew it was what she had to do. Her friendship with Paul grew, and with his trusting disposition she was able to keep her secrets hid. More and more shipments of blaster pistols, armor, rifles, even some explosives and heavy weapons made their way from the warehouses of Golan to the Duro system, courtesy of Cally McKnight.

Her job changed one evening when she received an unexpected visit from Paul. In the year they had been with Golan she had been promoted to manage the security of the capitol city, Genesis, and Paul had worked his way up to being a Co-Director of the company. Paul informed her that a team of researchers and students from a local university had been slaughtered by a band of poachers earlier that day. Attacks like these had been growing, but never with causalities, let alone this many. As part of Golan's official response Paul was organizing a special Counter-Poaching Division (CPD) of the Golan security. This would be a specialist unit that would patrol the wildernesses, engage poachers, and disrupt their networks and operations. Paul said he knew Cally had never had that kind of leadership before, but he felt confident that she could handle it and offered her the job. She felt guilty. Paul had no idea that she had indeed managed just that sort of thing even on a grander scale. She had told him that she had been a construction slave on Duro. However, she readily excepted and soon grew the Division beyond all expectations but her own. The Division dramatically shrunk the presence of poachers and criminals throughout the whole Bhuna Sound System. Cally oversaw the auctions of confiscated goods and supplies, and rigged most of the larger auctions so that holding companies from the DLF won. The Division under Cally's leadership also saw an increase in Duros recruits, many of whom suspiciously would take their leave in long blocks together and return to Duros. Again, she was conflicted and guilty of using Paul's favor and trust, and Golan's resources to train and support DLF fighters, but she saw little choice when she was able to live in safety and her family and friends still lived in danger and fear. What made it worse was that as Paul took many trips to Duros on scholarly matters he also became enraged at the conditions there he became more and more disgusted at the treatment of the Duros but Cally could never tell him what she had been doing, and pretended not to know much about the mysterious raids he heard about on the news there. Her friendship with Paul was important for many reasons, and she did not think it could whether the truth.

Major Shifts and Changes

Captain Cally McKnight became highly respected and decorated within Golan. Her trainees and lieutenants had grown into commanding officers of different CPD forces. She continued her financial and material support of the DLF and volunteered to personally escort Paul on all his visits to Duros, usually with compartments of their ship laden with ammunition and supplies. A another year into her service, however, rumors began to spread as to the fate of the Coaltion, and Golan with it. Golan had been on the rocks for a while, having to pair down to a more specific role within the Coalition. Paul was ordered to halt sales and to simply stockpile weapons and supplies. Whether for future sale or for use by the Avance Security Force he did not know, and it troubled him. Cally, of course, welcomed the change of pace for her own motivations. The Coalition on a whole was still reeling from the Galactic Recession and no one knew for sure how long it would take or what it would take to turn the economy and moral around. Paul soon told her in confidence about something he had come across in the newsroom: a merge with the Trade Federation. The story was soon verified, but it was followed swiftly by a declaration from the House Vigihan leadership which owned Golan and governed their space that Golan would not be participating in the merge but would instead join in with a few other companies and local governments to form the Kingdom of Elysia. As the government took shape under King Arklari Clise it soon became apparent that Golan would be called upon to outfit the new army as quickly as possible and the CPD would be looked to to be the foundation of such a force. Paul, disgusted by the turn of events which conflicted his morals and reasons for joining Golan left. Cally, seeing another opportunity to increase her power and thus her ability to underwrite her people's freedom chose to part ways with Paul and remain a subject of the King. She remained an officer in the force for ten months before resigning to return to her homeworld. Rumors were spreading about shipments of weapons going missing, and Cally knew that it would be traced back to her in a matter of time. When she arrived back on surface, she learned that the unit her parents were in had undertaken a siege of a power generator complex as a diversion to a routine raid on some barracks, but somehow the plan had gotten out and the entire team was killed in an ambush. Cally was devastated and resolved never again to leave her people to their struggle. She would be in the center of it once again and until either the Imperials left or she died. Cally was soon given command of several raiding units and assigned to run strikes simultaneous with more precise raids as distractions. The hopes were that her tactics and MO might be recognized and serve as a red herring. Eventually the DLF, knowing her connections in the wider galaxy, also appointed her as an adviser to the acquisitions board - the division that was responsible for acquiring weaponry and supplies and smuggling to Duro.

Cally McKnight was captured in a raid. She caused a diversion to allow more in her team to escape when she was stunned, taken into Imperial custody, ruthlessly interrogated, and sentenced to death. The leaders of the DLF decided against a rescue operation, garnering harsh criticism from within. It was their belief that the execution of an agent who was beloved by the civilians would spark outrage, and then the DLF could arm the enraged populace and lead the entire population in a swift revolt. They were also concerned after finding out the Cally was helping procure weapons and supplies illegally, setting them up for retaliation from major corporations and governments that they would later want to have relations with once they won their independence back. If Cally had to be dismissed, it was best to use her dismissal as a contribution to the cause. Several rogue agents recruited outside assistance to rescue her for execution. Following the rescue McKnight and the rogue agents fled the DLF and decided to use their self-imposed exile to recruit diaspora Duros, train them, and send them back to join the DLF. This army-in-exile is called The Viridux.

Cally's personal ship is an Eta-5 fighter called The Vengeance, which she uses for quicker, stealthier, or more personal trips where her larger Arquitens Light Cruiser would be unable to go, or be overkill. Assisting her is an R-3 Astromech unit named "Buck" (short for 'Bucket of Bolts') which Cally helped rebuild some parts scavenged from Imperial warehouses and scrap yards. Buck makes use of Imperial starcharts and hyperlane maps stored in his programming. Cally believes the hardware for his processing systems might have come from a unit which served on a Star Destoryer, since the droid has some knowledge of Imperial Naval tactics, but she cannot be certain.

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