Plagueis: Team 3
Callus Bo'Amar (4195)
Dacian Corsair (13768)
Vassago Shax (13811)
Zuser Whuloc (11347)
Kuro Kogarasu (7759)
IC: You are a member of an elite task force assigned to conduct a rapid entry raid in Xlopora City. Your team is tasked with recovering the the lost blade of Ferran, known as Revelation. Intelligence reporting indicates four distinct opposition Forces operating within Xlopora City.
1. One Sith Forces: The Sith Lord Esoteric has been identified by Taldyran reconnaissance teams. Esoteric is an unpredictable Sith Lord and has been connected to the death of multiple members of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood.
2. Unknown Imperial Forces: Arconan agents have reported multiple engagements with Storm Commandos and unidentified Imperial Storm Troopers. These unknown Imperial Forces appear to be coordinating their operation with the One Sith.
3. Sith Revenants and Ancient Sith Magic: Xlopora City is the seat of ancient Sith powers and is protected by unknown quantities of arcane wards and traps. Sith Zombies have been identified within the catacombs underneath the towered palace located in the center of the city. Shadow Academy Scholars have reported multiple deaths resulting from failed attempts to breach warded doorways and structures.
4. The Dark Brotherhood: The Dark Brotherhood is a fragmented organization designed to reward those who excel. Infighting, backstabbing, and treachery are acceptable tactics to achieve results. Dark Council reports indicate at least three skirmishes have occurred between opposition Clans and Houses.
The Sith Medium, Dantella Novae, has provided the Dark Council with a rough sketch of the chamber housing Revelation. She believes that a ritual, of some sort, will be required to gain access to the weapon. This ritual will require a significant cost from the team who discovers it.
This is a time sensitive operation that will conclude in 96 hours (16 real life days!) with the commencement of an orbital bombardment. Due to the short nature of the operation, your team will be limited to light infantry operations (no mechanized forces are to be deployed in Xlopora City). You may use any other equipment from your organization's order of battle.
OOC: The following links provide additional information.
Plot Update Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cZ1VFYjY3SElrMU0/edit?usp=sharing
Bosthirda Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cbmNOMURTM3R0R3M/edit?usp=sharing
Dantella Novae Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cY1piSHZJOHhlMEU/edit?usp=sharing
Welcome to the Dark Crusade Epilogue: Bosthirda, a Run-On Event.
The following rules are in effect:
This is a run-on event based on the most recent Dark Brotherhood Plot Update, Bosthirda Planet Document, and event hook placed at the beginning of each run on.
Sign-ups for the event will begin on 22 February 2014 and end at 2359 EST on 27 February 2014.
The Team Captain from each team will email their team name and team roster to Muz, Raken, and Sarin.
Teams will consist of no less than 5 members and no more than 7 members. Units may submit as many teams as they can field.
250 word minimum per post. No maximum word limit. A post under 250 words will not be considered in a participant’s 3 post total. If a player writes five entries, 3 over 250 words and 2 under, they will still be given credit for reaching the minimum post limit.
Each team member must post at least three times during the event. There is no maximum post limit, but members cannot post consecutively. A single member failing to post three times will result in their teams DQ and elimination from the top 3.
Edits may occur on a post until a follow on post has been made (follow on posts include "reserving" a space). Edits may only be made by the posts original author (as in, if you have Forum Administration Rights, you cannot edit another member’s work).
Members may reserve post, but no posts can occur until after the reserved post is written.
The event will be graded by Raken, Sarin, and Muz using a rubric that focuses on creativity, plot development, realism, and grammar.
The winning team will win the Run-On for their unit. A single Independent Unit can finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in this event. This is a nova producing event.
22-27 February Sign-Ups
28 February: Event Hook Published on all Team Threads (You can read the plot update and potentially divine your mission!)
28 February to 16 March: Members Post on the Forums! This event will be plugged into the Database, but will not conclude on the forums until 2359 EST on 16 March 2014!!!!!!!
Callus cast a glance at his chrono as the LAAT set his team down on the surface of Bosthirda, it read 95:43 a countdown to the planned orbital bombardment from orbit. It was also his deadline. The ship touched down with the lightest touch, the pilot was good he had avoided all but the most persistent enemy fire and secured Callus and his team a landing zone outside of Xlopora city. The crew compartment doors opened and the fading light of dusk shone into the dark cabin. The team from Clan Plagueis disembarked the shuttle and stepped onto the rocky, dusty surface of the barren world.
The Prelate checked his equipment. A DX-2 Disruptor pistol on his left hip, an EE-3 blaster carbine slung on his back, a DH-101 holdout blaster – favored by imperial scout troopers - at his right ankle, and of course against his right thigh was strapped his lightsaber. He snapped the clips on his light armor and pulled them tight, the armor wasn’t going to stop an assault blaster at close range but it could prolong his life a bit. His attire, along with the light armor was colored in varying shades of grey with white and black in a randomized camouflage pattern recommended for urban warfare.
His team was dressed similarly, outfitted for speed and lethality. Theirs was a mission of urgency to find an ancient relic belonging to the Trirumvate. Callus had taken the time to imagine the limitless power the object would bring the one who found it, and it excited him. Already his powers were stronger than he had ever been to augment them with a weapon of pure darkside energy. He would be unstoppable.
He spared a glance to his team, no faces he knew. Partly because he was getting old and most of the people he’d fought alongside with had met their ends. Partly because he had recently returned to the ranks of Clan Plagueis and none of these currently here had been there when last he roamed the halls Judasih, though no member of the clan found their feet on Judasih now. As such Callus didn’t know anything about the 5 others with him apart from their official dossiers. A human Acolyte named Vassago, shorter than Callus but thick with muscle but very untested. Dacian, a hapan Guardian of the Krath order, lithe and with long dark hair. A jumpy human called Zuser who seemed to teem with energy beneath his ancient mandalorian helmet. Kogerasu, a human about Callus’ height and build, with a menacing aura. Finally a blue skinned, red eyed Chiss, Brimstone.
Callus inhaled deeply and let it out sharply. Looking toward the dilapidated city his eyes fell on the massive spire in the center ring, most definitely their target. It wasn’t going to be easy to get there with ancient Sith magics abounding, an Imperial assault fleet in orbit, not to say anything of the other brotherhood forces that wouldn’t hesitate to cut them down. He didn't know which ones of his team would live to tell this tale, and if he was honest he didn’t care as long as he completed his objective.
“Let’s get moving, we’ve got quite the walk ahead of us.” Callus said shouldering his blaster carbine and moving towards the outer wall of the city.
He cast another glance at his chrono…
Vassago was the last out of the LAAT, his boots crunching onto the grey worthless rock that was Bosthirda. Glancing about him he could easily pick out the ruins of a city, it's shabby and dilapidated state masking the grandeur that once must have existed. To add to the misery was the water. Unnatural pools and even small meandering streams crisscrossed the landscape a sign that spring had come to this world. He had launched assaults on worlds before but they had all been living breathing civilisations with an army at his back. He was no commando, he even doubted if he had any real discernible connection with the force.
He let his fingers slide over the cool polished alloy of his E11 blaster rifle. It had been the first time since his capture on Ziost that he had been allowed a weapon. But it offered him some comfort. He didn't know much about the force or the machinations of Plagueis but he did know how to kill.
Glancing about him he took in the sight of his squad mates. All had some measure of experience at doing this, it was evident from their stance. Callus Bo'Amar, the squad leader was a tall and imposing man, clad in the fatigues for urban warfare, those cold, slate coloured eyes glancing at him, no doubt sizing up his usefulness.
It was an eternal shame for him to be saddled with his sworn enemies. It had seemed like only yesterday he was killing their kind before the disaster of Ziost. He let a finger slide towards the trigger, perhaps he may yet redeem himself. He let the fantasy take root in his thoughts, imagining himself slaughtering his enemies and then slipping through the lines to re-join his masters. A cruel smirk played across his features as he indulged in the possibilities. He noticed the blue skinned Chiss gaze at him with those burning crimson eyes, returning a knowing smirk of his own. He scowled and let his finger slide off the trigger. Maybe later he thought.
“Let’s get moving, we’ve got quite the walk ahead of us.” Callus barked.
In unison they moved out. Quickly darting between the rubble strewn landscape, weapons raised and at the ready. Debris lay everywhere, buildings that must once have housed families and businesses lay broken and rent, moss and other foliage had sprung up in the gaps, no doubt fed by the incessant dripping of water that even now flowed off surfaces and trickled down walls. There was something wrong about the place, the sharp angles and coldness but above all it was the absolute stillness.
The skies had turned an ugly colour, Vassago was certain it would rain. But what concerned him more than the downpour was the ominous dagger shaped objects that hung in the sky. He could discern little details but he could see the unmistakable sign of fighters, belching forth like clouds of flies. And far off he could hear the muted thud of artillery and the dull shriek of blaster fire.
Far Outskirts of Xlopora City
Zuser walked near the edge of the group, his DL-44 heavy blaster pistol strapped to his right thigh, fully loaded. His lightsaber clipped to his belt on his left side and tilted at a diagonal angle, the beam emitter pointing behind him. The young human’s eyes kept flicking skywards to gaze at the fearsome dagger-shaped Star Destroyers looming in the skies. He exhaled quietly to himself, as he lowered his gaze back to the horizon, surveying the broken, grey, mountainous terrain around them and the ruined city that lay in the far distance before them. His bag-bandolier combo was empty, save for a small supply of grenades, and the bandolier was packed with spare ammo clips for his DL-44. He kept it mostly empty in the event he found things to take back with him or as a means of storage.
The group’s formation of sorts broke as they climbed over a series of destroyed buildings, maybe once it was an outpost. Everyone in the group climbed over the collapsed structure in their own way. However, in a burst of pure, raw energy, the young, hyperactive Knight leapt up onto a straight and narrow ledge that was about, and hunched down slightly before traversing it. The journeymen with them did double takes when they noticed the hyperactive Knight above them. At the end of the ledge, he dropped back down, landing with his knees bent as if he was going to spring. He smiled to himself, having enjoyed the burst of energy, albeit short, as he rejoined the group, which had again resumed its loose formation.
“That felt good.” He muttered to himself, his smile almost audible through his Mandalorian helmet. He felt eyes on him and he looked over to see Callus staring at him. His grin was almost palpable through the T-visor of his helmet as he gave a two-fingered salute. It was almost hard to believe that this human could turn into a force to be reckoned with in the pilot seat of a star ship. Zuser’s voice came through the Mandalorian helmet, almost radiating hyperactivity. “So! How much farther until we get to Xlopora City?”
Callus sighed before responding to the hyperactive Knight of the group.
“About 5 more miles, Whuloc.”
Zuser nodded and looked ahead once again at their destination. His eyes flicked back up to the darkening sky, looking back at the Star Destroyers looming above the planet.
Callus looked at his chrono again. They were getting closer to their objective. All six members of team coconuts, their call sign from the summit, was not making good time. Each rubbled building had to be checked for possible ambush and enemy troops. Kuro was bringing up the rear guard. Dacian, a Guardian, stayed close to Callus. Brimstone and Vassago, the Acolyte and least experienced of the group, were in the middle of the pack. Zuser, with the darkside of the planet affecting and enhancing his abilities, was acting as a scout.
As they continued their way towards their final destination, Brimstone was talking to Vassago. "I know you hate being with us, even after fighting against us" spoke the Chiss.
"You saw that didn't ya?" the former One Sith replied. "I easily could have killed our fearless leader."
"I know you would have tried, but then I or the others would had to kill you. I don't know what your old alliance did to you, or what the summit saw in you when you were rescued..."
"Rescued? Ha!. More like captured and enslaved" interrupted the Acolyte.
"You two be quiet back there" retorted Callus.
Brim gave him a glare and continued, but lowered his voice. "Look, right now you are part of this Clan. While you may not like it, we are a cohesive unit. Eventually, and hopefully, you will accept us as your new Order, if not family."
"We'll see, blue one" Vass said with a smirk.
The group continued as they made their way roughly. The city was looming ahead. It had been run down and uninhabited for a while from what they could see. Time was of the essence. The ancient Sith relic was their prize. The other Clans and Houses were all gunning for the same thing. Plagueis was the shining star of the Crusade. And for their rewards, they were reunited as a Clan.
Zuser was up ahead and stopped, waving a cease signal back at the group, which they all took cover and held their positions.
The Aedile of House Karness Muur, Callus, tapped his comm link on his headset. "What's the problem Zuser?"
"We have an Imperial attachment of about eight troops. All carrying heavy repeaters, standard issue clothing, one of captain ranking from what I see" replied the Mando.
The Sith Warrior, Brimstone overheard the conversation and rage erupted in his eyes as memories flowed in.
12 hours earlier on the KSD Transcendant
"All batteries cease fire" Dacien ordered. "Open up all channels and hail the enemy Star Destroyers."
Brimstone looked at his Proconsul with an evil stare. "What!, You're wanting to discuss with them? They destroyed the Predominant!" The Chiss was furious and steaming as he continued, "I want them dead. I want their fleet dead. I want to urinate on their ashes."
"Brimstone, relieve yourself from the deck, that's an order" chimed in Montresor, the Clan's Consul.
Kuro pulled the Chiss away. "Don't worry bud, you'll get your revenge" he said calmly.
Brimstone grabbed Vassago by his shoulder. "Come with me, and follow my lead." The two walked past the others and headed towards the Imperials. As the Chiss handed over his rifle to Vass he told him "act as if I am your prisoner, and tell them you're with One Sith intelligence." Vass acknowledged as they preceeded. They both made their way to the platoon, which had alerted them to their presence. The eight troopers aimed their weapons at the two Plaguisans.
"Who are you?" barked the captain.
"I caught this Plagueisan. I am with One Sith Intelligence" spoke up the Acolyte.
"There's no such thing as One Sith Intelligence" replied the captain.
Brimstone, with his hands above his head, smiled. "Exactly!" At that same time, with the Force, he force shoved all eight with a powerful kinetic blast, hurtling them off their feet
Callus and the rest of the group watched the sudden attack. "Stang!" muttered Dacian as the others open fired upon the Imperials. Brimstone and Vassago attacked with martial arts expertise as the others laid suppression fire. in what seemed like minutes, took only seconds to kill all, but the captain of the squad. Brimstone grabbed him by his throat. "Now, you will give us your frequencies to your comrades and your check-in times, or so help me, I will feed your intestines to the vacuum of outer space."
"Awh, come on Brimmy or else I do believe the poor Captain will wet his trousers," Dacian stepped to the Plagueian Admiral's side, his taut form looming over the Imperial's position as the well built Chiss had him pinned to the ground. He crouched and placed his face so close to the Imperial their noses touched and with a hushed voice spoke critically, "Now please accommodate my big blue friend here because after you and your little One Sith buddies went out and blew up his favorite ship, he's been raving nonstop about how he's going to rip someone's head off. Right now it looks like with a little pressure he could make yours pop right off of your shoulders."
Dacian stood back up and with his best shit-eating grin winked at their poor Captain. Brimstone grunted with indifference with a slight side glance towards Dacian, "Now, Captain, before I make good my threat and make you watch as I pull your intestines out from your belly button inch by inch."
The Captain's face contorted as he spit into Brimstone's face. The Chiss' confident look turned sour as his eyes flashed and his grip on the Captain's neck tightened with the intent to murder. "We don't have the time for this!"
Dacian rushed to the aggravated Chiss and pulled him off the Captain, "Brimstone, let's try a more subtle touch here, shall we?"
Brimstone begrudgingly retreated from his role as interrogator. Dacian crouched down onto the Captain with his knee digging into the man's collar bone, "What's your name, Imperial?"
"I am addressed as Captain Kraken," the man replied with a tone void of any emotion, his face stoic as he defied a group of powerful Dark Jedi that had just wiped out his unit before deciding to use him as their tool for infiltrating the city.
"I have served the One Sith for many decorated tours of duty and am merely one of the many officers who command their units like this one-"
"-like this one was, you mean." Dacian corrected with a tone dripping off honey and a little aid from the force to encourage the maladjusted man, "And my, such servitude is far too complex for me to conceive. You must be very important, and someone so important would surely have the means to provide us with the current location of your comrades and how to keep in touch with them, right?"
"Of course, all of the information is on this datapad." Dacian allowed the Imperial to reach towards his satchel but stopped midway and opened the bag himself. Indeed, there was a datapad within. Dacian grabbed it and tossed it behind him towards Brimstone. The Captain's face flushed red, "I-I, w-what? What dark magic was that you damn Sith?"
"Shut up you kriffing tool!"
Dacian snapped the downed Imperials' neck and turned to Brimstone, "Well, there's your damn reports for each of the squads in this city and who knows what else, happy now?"
"No," Brimstone replied as he accessed the datapad's contents and studied them with scrutiny, "You took too long."
Dacian went to make a cutting remark but managed to catch himself. "You're right, we need to move on."
So they did, returning to their original roles as Brimstone continued to dissect the information the datapad contained, his analytical mind attempting to formulate stratagems and lead them along the route of least resistance. They each had their strengths and weaknesses, the six of them. However, they were the 'C'-team -- not 'C' for crack, but coconut -- and compared to the other teams Plagueis had fielded, were the most apt to fail. Perhaps their advance into the dark unknown of Xlopora City was to thin out dissent as much as it was designed to thin their own numbers. Surely the rest of his team didn't have foolhardy imaginations of actually succeeding in ascertaining this blade.
But these six coconuts had no intention of being "thinned". They had gleaned the future if they achieved this objective and the possibilities of conquest seemed endless. A better existence for them, for Plagueis, and all without this One Sith antagonizing the Dark Jedi Brotherhood as a whole, distracting Clan Plagueis from their duties at home. But these thoughts were ones best kept buried for the Force directed their movements and could, with ease, pull such inclinations from a mind and use them to its advantage. This whole city reeked of such dark notions and even someone as inept as a Guardian could feel the nuances of the dark energies and their potential for destruction.
Not even a mile past the city limits of Xlopora, Kuro decides to give the push forward that he knows they need. Making his way from the rear to the front of the line, he received several confused looks. Dacian looked over to Kuro as he walked passed. “what are you..?” His sentence was cut short due to Kuro had passed the range of his voice. Kogarasu then passed up Brimstone, Kuro just gave him an evil glare and continued forward. Zuser knew better than to say anything so he just kept facing forward as Kuro walked past. Kuro didn't know much about Vassago but already didn't like him, which is not saying much since he really didn't like much of anyone. Kuro then approached the Captain. The leader of the squad. Callus Bo`Amar. Kuro walked right past him, shoulder checking him on the way. The broad shoulder of the Prelate made Bo`Amar skip a step and stumble.
“Team! hold up.” Callus barked. Kuro stopped with his back to the Captain, eyes squinted in anger, trying his best to contain the animal inside. Calm yourself youngone, you will need all the assistance you can get, here. I have foreseen it. Kogarasu’s internal mentor, Ludo Kressh advising him to be patient.
“Come..here...now!” Callus ordered. Kuro turned around, his eyes were starting to get the blood coating over them but have stopped half way. Kuro walked up and was mere inches from his leaders face. “what?” Kuro said in a deep, scruffy, sarcastic tone.
“What was the meaning up that? Kuro you must have some serious……” Kuros glare and deep growling interrupted his train of thought and made him remember a man you once worked close with many years ago. “...Koga?...Koga Kage?” Callus asked. “Now you remember me...If we did not need each other to accomplish this mission, I would make sure you never forgot me again” Kuro said in a growl as his eyes slowly went back to normal. “Im sorry man, with everyones identity changing and its been so long, you clearly have something different about you now than you did back then..I'm glad you're on our side” Callus said as Kuro turned around and looked forward. A large skyline could be seen not too much further than where they were currently. “Save it, we will have our talk later. Right now, I don't appreciate that fact that my home..”Kuro said in a painful but determined tone. “..thinks that we are a distraction or a team to thats only capable of a C class mission. All of us together will prove them wrong. We will do this mission but we will do so much more that we will refered as the Spearhead of the clan.”
Callus nodded and took command of the squad. “Kuro is right, We need to push forward, cut down anything in our way and retrieve the Revelation. Kuro, return to the rear and..” Once again, Kuro’s glare interrupted his sentence. “well maybe would be good to have you at the front..” Kuro, with a grin knowing that out of the whole group, Zuser and Callus knows what Kuro is and what he is capable of, turned back around and the whole group made their way into the heart of the city.
“ok, 3 of you take one side of the street, the other 2 come with me. Keep your heads on a swivel and use the force to stay aware of the surroundings.” Callus ordered. The street was wide, six lanes occupied the main street into the city square in which the team had covered by their formation. As they got closer to the square, more and more buildings of many different sizes started to clutter the scenery. Stores and eateries were the main attraction within the square where as apartments and offices were the tallest buildings visible in the area and overlooked the center of the city square.
“Well, we are here..wherever here is” Vassago said.
“we are in the Xlopora city square, were you not paying attention?” Brimstone said in a sarcastic tone.
“Shut up and scan the area, I don't like this, I get the feeling that we were lured here” Callus said
Kuro stood next to a large ornate fountain that was in the center of the commons area, looking up and scanning the perimeter and only seeing stone, steel and glass that made up the buildings. Looking back to the group behind him, he said “I sense several life forms but cannot pinpoint…” Kuro was cut off by a quickly increasing hissing sound.
“Rocket!...Rocket!” Zuser yelled out as a rocket zipped by and detonated on a parked speeder. Shooting chunks of metal and fire at the group, everyone took cover under a covered walkway. Blaster fire erupted from all around them, they were in the center of the square, all buildings were now occupied by enemy raining blaster fire, thermal detonators and rockets down on them.
“Stay under the walkway and watch your feet., Try to get to that store” Kuro growled as the group followed the veterans lead. Eyes solid red, veins bulging out, Kuros Berserkr form had initiated and he ran threw the weakened stone wall that led into the store. “didnt mean to take command there sir..”he said to Callus. “but master Korresh wouldn't let me stay put”
“thats fine this time, but while we are here, remember your place” Callus ordered. Kuro nodded as he holstered his dual Westars. “Lets just combine our force and pull these buildings down? I mean the planet itself will help boost our strength” Although he didn't like him much, Brimstone had a point. “Blue boy here has a decent idea” Kuro said.
As Kuro was about to start focusing, he felt himself feeling weak, and it increased more and more in seconds. “what the frag? whats…..” Kuro was confused. Everyone were have the same effects. Callus looked one of the blown out windows, small pieces of stone and sparks splashing by his face. “Just what I thought, Yalsimiri.” Callus said as he ducked down in time for a thermal detonator exploded just outside the hole. “Who do you think is out there? the One Sith troops like earlier?” Dacian asked. The random explosions and continuous blaster fire that had the group pinned down, muffled the man's question but Callus was able to understand him. “No bout The Dark Brotherhood is responsible for the Yalsimiri but they don't have this sort of firepower, it must be a rogue Imperial force” the commander said.
Heavily outnumbered, outgunned and now their force powers are hindered by many Yalsimiri surrounding them. The six skilled and talented dark Jedi will have their skills tested as they try to find a way out and accomplish their mission before the aerial bombardment arrives.
Time seemed to slow around Callus as he registered the rockets rushing towards him. He saw an abandoned building to his right and made a break for it, not before grabbing Dacian by the shoulder and pulling him out of the blast range. The explosion was still forceful enough to lift them off their feet and launch them through the air about 10 meters.
The air was heavy around them as Callus tried to recover his balance, his ears were ringing and his vision was blurry, he felt blood trickling down from his brow. He saw Dacian face down on the ground a few feet away and across the street he could vaguely register the others scrambling for cover. Over the ringing in his ears he could hear someone calling out to him from a distance, but getting steadily closer.
"Callus they have us pinned down from the two buildings to the east and south." Came Zuser's voice over the comlink in Callus' left ear. Suddenly he'd regained his senses and was ready for action.
"Yeah its a kill box." Callus confirmed via comlink.
"We can't pinpoint them, something isn't right. They shouldn't have been able to sneak up on us like that." Zuser explained. Callus reached out into the force and confirmed his own thoughts. In the buildings from where they were getting pelted now by blaster fire were dead bubbles surrounding several upper floors. Bubbles where the force couldn't reach. Yslamiri Callus spat, someone had done their homework, and equipped their forces appropriately. He reached out to his right and placed his hand on Dacian's shoulder, who was now sitting with his back against the wall.
"Can you move?" Callus asked, Dacian responded with a nod of his head AMD rose into a crouch. Callus tapped the comlink, "We're moving to you, covering fire would be nice." Callus edged close to the corner of the building that was serving as cover from the barrage. The rest of the team was behind a similar building across the street. "Alright," Callus coughed looking over his shoulder at Dacian, "don't stop just run. Ready?" He held up three fingers and counted down. 3... 2... 1... When he closed his fist he yelled out "GO!" He and Dacian burst from their cover like rockets from a cannon.
Instantly fire rained down on them like the holy wrath of god himself. Either by the force or pure dumb luck the shots missed their marks. Three yards from safety one of their harassers got lucky. A blaster bolt struck Callus on the left shoulder blade sending him spinning off of his feet into cover.
Callus crashed hard into Brimstone taking both men off their feet and onto the decrepit pavement. Callus groaned and rolled to his stomach, a deep cough produced a quantity to dark blood from his mouth. He pushed himself to his knees and unclipped the buckles keeping his armor on and slid it off of over his head. "Well," he asked the group as he could feel their eyes on him, "how bad is it?"
"I think you'll live." Vassago said, "That is if you quit trying to blue milk it," Callus had to chuckle at that as he gingerly got to his feet.
"Looks like we are caught between a hutt and a sarlacc pit here, anyone have any ideas for a miracle?" They all looked from one to the other and then Callus followed Kuro's eyeline to the sky above them. The ever present buzz of shuttles flying by overhead was barely audible over the constant blaster fire.
"We could always try a Starkiller," Kuro said with a sarcastic grin
Amid the din of ceaseless blaster fire and the roaring over head came another, more troubling sound.
“Take cover!” yelled Callus above the cacophony.
Vassago had little more than registered the barked order when an invisible force had tossed him bodily into the air landing hard upon the rubble strewn ground. Dazed and confused he managed to stagger to his feet, his senses spinning and a tone ringing in his ear. The muted world quickly came into sharp focus and with it the fury of battle. A mere few paces from where he stood had appeared a large crater, smoking slightly and blackened from the explosive force.
His senses though dimmed from the sudden shock were not long in doubt as his old combat training sped into action. Gripping his rifle he quickly threw himself back first into the remains of a nearby wall. Carefully he leaned around from his cover to take better stock of the situation, he was rewarded with a sudden barrage of blaster fire from a nearby building. He quickly snapped his head back, narrowly escaping a shot to the head. Instead kicking up dust and stone, hissing slightly on impact.
Then he felt it, a slight tickle on his hands. He looked down to see tiny little droplets on his skin. Only a few at first but soon joined by others. In an almost mercurial fashion they began to coalesce, forming larger bubbles that began to meander down his pale hands before dropping off and onto the ground below. Another new enemy had joined the fray, rain!
The ugly mood on the ground, matched by the ugliness in the skies above had finally begun to unleash it's fury on the invaders below. The wind too began to pick up in vigour, the unpredictable spring season had added to the already growing misery of their situation. Vassago took another cautious peep around his crumbling wall, this time he was not rewarded with a round to the head, their fire was directed elsewhere. A single loan figure in camouflaged grey and white armour was sprinting full pelt into the enemy position, his crimson blade illuminated, his skin almost a luminescent blue.
He'd hated the Brotherhood since being dragged to Plagueis in chains, he believed with almost fanatical certainty of their worthlessness. And yet, here, on this miserable little world one of his sworn enemies was even now facing down a large and entrenched enemy. Gripping his E11 he darted out from cover, firing off a few shots from the hip. Though his shots easily missed they did have the desired effect. Their attention momentarily diverted gave Brimstone just the amount of breathing room he needed, sprinting the last few yards he was amongst them, his crimson blade a red blur under his assault. He fell upon them with all his fury, the executioner dealing out judgement upon the obsidian coloured armour of their attackers. One lost an arm, another was impaled, a back swipe dispatched another. If it weren't for Vassago's own combat discipline he'd have watched dumb struck at the violence unleashed. Instead he fell into a crouch, aiming through the sights on his rifle he squeezed off a few shots, one struck one of the hapless troopers snapping his head back before falling to the ground. Another hit through the torso before a final shot dispatched him. By then it was all over.
A dozen of the black clad troopers lay dead, some missing limbs, others sporting vicious slashes in their now rent armour. It was an impressive sight. The blue skinned Brimstone just flashed a smile, his red eyes almost sinister amid the carnage. He lowered his rifle slowly. “Not bad.” he uttered, the edge of contempt in his voice. But in truth he had to admire the Chiss.
Brimstone didn't wait to utter a response but instead marched over to a nearby trooper. He had literally lost his head, though where Vassago wasn't quite sure. With little ceremony Brimstone kicked the unfortunate victim onto his front to reveal a curious sight. A lizard, little more than half a meter in height was clutching tightly onto some sort of frame. A sickly green in colour it seemed completely inert amidst the carnage that lay about it.
“Kill it.” Brimstone stated coldly.
Two shots and the lizard was dead.
“Ysalamir.” Brimstone said, answering the question that hung in his thoughts.
“Any second now.” He continued.
Then he heard it, the sound of a shuttle coming in for landing. Though what lunatic would even attempt such a thing amidst a war zone he could only guess. Gazing up at those slate grey skies, blinking out the water from the rain that continued to fall from above, he saw coming into view a shuttle. It was bucking violently as though caught in a terrible gale. Though the wind had indeed picked up it was certainly nothing to trouble a shuttle. It's engines roared, the great ion engines glowing against the darkening skies. Suddenly it seemed to launch itself, though not back into the skies. With a roar it collided into a series of crumbling structures, the source of much of the ambushers fire and exploded. In a blinding white light that burned retinas and with a noise that could rupture ear drums the enemy were gone. All that remained was burning debris and what remained of the fuselage.
The clatter of a battery pack hitting the ground accompanies Zuser’s slight panting as he reloads his DL-44. This was his second of the mission. He felt sweat on his forehead under his helmet, forcing him to remove his Mandalorian helmet and allowing the chance to wipe the sweat off his forehead, showing how young he really was to the group. He felt eyes him and turned to see Dacian and Callus staring at the long horizontal scar running under his right eye. He grinned back at them.
“Long story short, I got captured back when I was a Guardian and I was tortured for information. This was one of the lovely little gifts I got from the event.” His casual attitude about the scar and how he received it may have been unnerving to some, especially considering how young he was. Dacian shuddered slightly and shook his head before going back to his own thoughts. Callus’ gaze lingered for just a moment longer and nodded slightly at the young Knight before checking the mission chrono again. Callus looked ahead, the group catching their breath around him.
“We need to keep moving. Let’s find some higher ground and get a better view of the city.”
Zuser once again placed his Mandalorian helmet on his head and nodded his acknowledgement as well as the rest.
“Well let’s get moving then,” Brimstone replied.
About 30 minutes and a couple more skirmishes with Imperial squads later, the group was huddled up in a run down building, tending to any injuries and reloading their weapons. Zuser, however, was not present in the group. He was sent up to the top of the building to get a better view of the area. Being the scout of the group, it was unsurprising he was the one chosen for the task. He didn’t quite trust the elevators at the moment and instead opted for the stairs, quickly climbing the stairs up to the roof of the 10 story building.
Five minutes later, the hyperactive Knight surveyed the horizon, his breathing slightly audible through his Mandalorian helmet. Given that they were still in hostile territory, he was crouched in the shadows of an AC unit. He commed down to the group via his helmet once he saw where they needed to go.
“This is Zuser. I’ve reached the top of the building. I have the palace in sight. Judging distance to be, at most, 3 1/2 miles to the city center.”
The voice of Callus came through the helmet’s internal comm.
“Good work, Zuser. Come on back and we’ll head out.”
“Roger that. On my way back down.”
Palace of Xlopora City
Zuser peered out at the palace from behind a large chunk of rubble, his hand resting on his holstered DL-44, as the team approached quietly behind him. Callus looked ahead at the massive structure before addressing the hyperactive Obelisk. “Zuser, report.”
Zuser didn’t move from his spot, keeping his keen eyes on the entrance to the palace. “It looks like someone may have beaten us here, sir. Not sure who, though.”
“Good work, Zuser. Ok team, let’s get in there.”
With Zuser in the front acting as scout, the team moved to the entrance of the palace.
The Plagueians had made their way to the south side of the fortress. Bodies laid on the ground everywhere. Imperials, One Sith, and Brotherhood forces alike. Craters from mortars and scorch marks on walls showed the intensity of the battles. Callus, the coconut leader, peered around to take an action account of the carnage.
"So far I see that Arconia and Taldryan was amongst the idiots of the frontal assault" he chimed.
"Well, that negates going knocking on the door and telling them they won a million credits from the Coruscant Clearing House sweepstakes" said Kuro sarcastically. Dacian and Zuser both chuckled.
"I think we need to plan this entry differently" retorted Brimstone.
"How so, Brim?" replied Callus.
"From the data pad, I discern three entrances to catacombs that are not heavily guarded. If we were to go in teams of two, we can sneak in unnoticed instead of a large group and meet up inside" replied the Chiss.
"Vassago, you were once a One Sith, what do you think? " asked the team leader.
"Perfect. I can now work on killing each of you and One Sith gets the blame" thought Vassago before he could answer. "Yeah, that would work. They're looking for large assaults and not infiltration by single people."
"Then that's what we'll do" replied Callus. "I'll take Dacian to alpha location. Kuro and Zuser go to location bravo. Brim and Vass, you got the third location. Keep communication to simple coded clicks. We'll meet up inside. I have 53 hrs and 22 minutes left till bombarding commences."
They all agree and head out in the darkness, searching for the catacombs.
Northwest catacombs entrance
Brimstone and Vassago had made their ways past the traps of the secret entrance of the underground lair. "This reminds me of the Kessel mines" whispered Vassago. 'Hope we don't find and crystal spiders."
"I doubt it. They're not native here" replied Brimstone.
"Well, neither were those lizards" the Acolyte retorted.
The Chiss studied the data from the imperial pad. Directions pointed they were going in the correct way to the sanitation area where the garbage was incinerated.
As Brimstone rounded a corner into darkness, Vassago decided this was his chance to kill the Plagueian. He lifted his rifle towards the Chiss back and fired four shots. He heard an audible thump as his intended victim hit the ground. He cautiously made he way to the Sith Warrior and kicked his body, but there was no movement. "One down, four to go " he said out loud. Vassago then left to find the others.
30 minutes later
Brimstone awakened from hitting his head on the stone floor. His back was aching where one of his assassin's shots hit him in the left shoulder. Using the Force, he dulled the pain and slowly mended his wound. "I will kill that traitor " he thought as anger filled his soul.
At same time, team one with Callus and Dacian, we're coming up to a junction when a hurried and panic Vassago ran into them. "Where's Brim? " demanded Callus.
"We got ambushed. We took heavy fire from imperial forces. He tried to deflect the volleys but it was too much. He yelled for me to hightail out of there " he said gasping for breath.
"We need to group up now " retorted Dacian.
"I agree " replied Callus as he chimed team two with the emergency code. It would take another twenty minutes before all five were together. As they discussed their next move while shorthanded, a vibration was felt in Callus's wrist as his chrom went off. He looked at it and only three words was displayed.
Where is Vassago.
Callus looked at the Acolyte and knew something was wrong. He then typed back.
He now knew the former One Sith was a traitor, but not how far was his treachery. Another message came through.
Five minutes passed as Callus had the team regrouped and quickly downed some rations when he felt a powerful tremor in the Force. Kuro felt it too as he looked at his direction. Before they both could say anything, a blue blur at high speed came hurtling into the group's epicenter and straight into an unbeknownst Vassago that was squatting down, knocking him on his hindquarters and both tumbling over. The Chiss proceeded to pulverize the Human with unrelenting ferocity as he was wailing on him from head to toe. Dacian and Zuser tried to pull Brimstone off, but they both got telekinetically hurtled off. Kuro grabbed and pulled Brim off of the bloody Vass, which allowed the assaulted to attack back. They both scuffled like two rancors on a fresh carcass. Both Callus and Kuro then pulled them both apart.
"Let me at him " yelled the Chiss. "K'tah tried killing me."
"You liar" yelled back Vassago.
Brimstone jerked himself free of Kuro's grasp and attacked again. "I'm going to kill you traitor! "
Now it took all four other members of squad Coconuts to pull them apart. Callus and Kuro had Brimstone while the others held back the Acolyte.
"If he wants me dead, so be it. He's hated me since finding out I once was the enemy. "
"I've got a better idea than death for you.....and it'll be much more severe" calmly spoke Callus. "Meet your new master."
Brimstone suddenly smiled as Vassago turned white as a Hoth landscape. "You can't do that! I would rather have death."
"I am Aedile of Karness Muur and have every right to do so. And being you are part of the Apostles of Syn and Brimstone is your executive officer, and the fact you lied and failed to kill him, what better way to punish you than to make your intended victim become your master" retorted Callus.
"I concur at this arraignment" chimed in the others in unison.
"Nooooooo! " yelled Vassago.
Brimstone was released and walked over to his new apprentice, grabbing him by his collar. In the coldest and a threatening manner, spoke to Vassago, "I am going to enjoy this. I will break you. I will torture you. And eventually, if you survive, I will make you a Plagueian. Your existence and your life are mine."
Vassago gulped hard as his new master forcefully shoved him against the catacomb's wall.
Brimstone held Vassago firmly against the stone and mortar wall, his blue face showing a hint of pale on the cheeks. Dacian leaned in towards Callus and spoke softly, "It looks like Brimstone's about to kiss him..."
The team leader sighed and glanced at the Krath Guardian with thinly veiled disgust. He had about enough of this midday drama -- it reminded him of the soap operas that Alderaanian housewives were privy to watch. This was his operation and he wasn't about to let it fail. "Alright team, no more sideshows. This palace is not just extravagant, but well fortified in addition to the immense amounts of powerful sorcery that permeate within and throughout this whole area. Sith sorcery can create many unintended byproducts, even many years later, so be weary. I'm here to get a sword, not to babysit."
With that last part he glanced at the Journeyman with unbridled scrutiny. Dacian met the stare with a steely look, hoping to portray himself as strong. Sure, he was a planet staring down a sector, but that didn't stop him. He had something to prove, and Callus was his best opportunity right now. So the team continued to where Callus and Dacian had found a part of the outer wall that snared the massively proportioned palace. Calling some aid from the force, the two guided the remaining chunks that barred their path. They heard Brimstone pipe from the back, "So you guys found this while we all split up? Huh, maybe I should have just went with you two..."
Dacian heard Vassago mutter an expletive under his breath. The Guardian grinned with amusement. As they climbed through the tight space Dacian noticed a small squad of Imperial troopers that Callus faced away, about the same time they noticed them.
"Halt!" came the stern voice of whom Dacian guessed was the squad leader. He sighed, wondering why such a foolish command would even be given the time of day. Surely this trooper knew that the group before him was sure to be trouble. Dacian put his hands up and stopped, smiling as he turned to the rest of the team as they all joined him on this side of the wall. The whole time Callus continued to walk forward towards the Imperials.
The squad leader seemed baffled. "What are you...?"
Callus turned towards Dacian with a look of defiance... and then...
... kicked the closest Imperial in the groin. The blow was powerful enough to momentarily lift the soldier from the ground, clutching at the boot between his legs and groaning a sigh of revulsion and agony. Callus turned before the man even hit the ground, hand reaching out between him and the second trooper and seizing his weapon. It slipped from the soldier’s hand before he could pull the trigger, flying through the air for a second before being seized along the barrel by Callus’s strong hand. The handle found his other hand and the weapon then found itself swung into the face of the second guard, striking him directly on the bridge of the nose.
Brimstone chuckled and shook his head as the second guard collapsed. His face was a cloud of blood, nose shattered from the weapon’s hard edge. Brimstone, for his part, kicked the first guard in the shoulder, knocking him backwards into the wall they had just climbed from behind, flesh of his face shuddering with the skull on stone impact, understanding of the world around disappearing as he slipped from consciousness and slid down to the stoned ground beneath their feet. Dacian, who up this point had grown jealous at his lack of involvement grabbed the gun of Brimstone's victim, clearing the chamber to shake off some of the blood, and then raised the weapon in the air, firing several shots right past Callus into the final soldier.
Vassago, Kuro, Zuser and Brimstone walked up to Callus and inspected his handiwork in dispatching the unit. "Nicely done."
Callus grunted in reply and then once more reminded them, "We're against time here and we don't know how many more distractions we're going to face. Let's go."
They continued immediately until Callus glanced back once more. The scowl on his face was visible to everyone as they all glanced to where he was in unison. "Where's Dacian?"
The Guardian was missing. There was no reason why, all of the Imperials -- the only threats tangible -- were dispatched, and he had just been there, firing off the shots that killed the final soldier. Callus growled as he glanced at each of his team member's faces. "Damnit, where is that little bastard?"
Kuro shook his head in shame. “Well he knows the mission, we don't have the time to sit here, lets keep moving” Kuro waved the rest of the team down the nearest passageway. The tunnels that lead underground from the palace was set up as a maze to help confuse any intruders and it worked. The Plagian team felt as if they were walking in circles.
“ok hold up men” Callus ordered. “Look around, the ancients were secretive but they used clues to help their own to navigate ceremonial chambers” The walls were solid stone, smooth with little decoration. The floor, also in stone, but had decorative panels every few feet. The panels were mostly the same symbols except for one passageway. “Whats this symbol?” Brimstone asked, but before he got an answer he recognized it from intel reports.
“This is the way!” the Chiss exclaimed. “It symbolizes the Blade of Ferran, we must follow it” The team, with not much else to go on this moment, agreed and followed the trail. Staying in the passageway with the symbols, the team started to notice remains of people who must of figured out the secret and tried to get the sword.
After several minutes of following the passageway, fighting off several small units of imperial troops with the occasional rogue dark jedi, The team had found the end of the line. A large circular room with one entrance and exit in it. Where they were standing. A figured stood near a large ornate stone door. Sealed by a large ornate lock. As the team got closer they saw it was Dacian. “Hey fellas, I think I found the entrance into the holding chamber” Dacain points at the large lock, “but there is no key hold, how does this door open?”
“I think the more important question is, where did you run off too?” Brimstone barked. “it doesn't matter, we found him, lets get in there, grab the damn thing and get off this planet before we all get blown to bits” Callus ordered. “This must be the Sacrifice required we read about” Kuro said.
As the team was investigating the door, Sounds of moaning started to echo through the large room, moaning and rustling in the walls was followed by a loud stone on stone grinding sound. A large slab of stone slid out of the top of the only open doorway which is now blocked.
“great” Vassago said “but what is that aweful moaning and rustling noise in the walls?” Brimstone and Callus examined the chamber door and lock while Dacain, Vassago, Zuser and Kuro investigated the noise in the walls. “Hey!, I think I figured it out!” Callus called out but the excitement quickly changed to fear when hundreds of hands busted out of columns of the walls.
The room quickly began to fill up with what appeared to be living dead, reanimated jedi. “These...things.” Zuser said in a cautious manner. “yes. They are ancient sith and jedi, Followers of One Sith” Callus said . “no doubt a security feature” Kuro said as he and the team readied their blasters and sabers for a nightmarish fight.
Zuser’s eyes flicked all over the place as he shot snap shot after snap shot at the zombies. He would have thrown thermal grenades, but that would risk a possible cave in. No, grenades would not be used unless they were escaping and he could throw them behind them as they ran. But they weren’t running at the moment. He was bunkered down behind the large dais-like structure in the room, using it as cover. He quickly realized that his shots weren’t killing them, even a shot to the base of the neck only seemed to divert it’s attention.
My shots are useless!
The very thought terrified the young Knight more so than he already was. In a moment of desperation, Zuser shot a zombie dead in the forehead and he watched it stumble, it’s eyes seeming to have gone dead as it stood in place. He blinked and flinched slightly when Brimstone came up hacked it’s head off with his crimson blade. The hyperactive Obelisk started getting a pattern going once he managed to calm himself down. He would shoot a zombie in the head and someone else would hack it’s head off. He ducked down behind the dais as he reloaded. He was in the middle of putting the clip in when he paused and he felt his blood run cold when he realized something.
He never heard the empty clip hit the floor. He always heard them hit the floor.
The T-visor of his Mandalorian helmet slowly tilted up a bit, and he saw the empty clip he dropped floating in the air not 6 inches from him. The young Knight’s eyes widened in fear before he felt his body leave the floor. With a cry of panic, Zuser was lifted from the floor, caught in the telekinesis of the head zombie. The head zombie then proceeded to make the poor Obelisk fly around the room. He didn’t dare ignite his lightsaber for fear of accidentally cutting someone on his team. He somehow managed to holster his DL-44 after the initial grab.
Vassago could taste copper, it filled his mouth and began dribbled down his ruined jaw. His tongue danced about his gums to assess the damage feeling a tooth rock with every light press. Brimstone, that blue skinned freak had done a good number on him. His greatest fury however was reserved for himself, he had failed and proved wholly weak when presented with a golden opportunity which had now gone begging. Had it not been for the brutal conflict that erupted about them he was sure a bigger beating would have been in the offing.
And now in this maze like complex, dark and moist he found himself with the reanimated dead. At first he simply fell to one knee and began firing off careful measured shots from his rifle. The eyes were vacant, the flesh had become putrefied and their stench was almost as arresting as their appearance. Each weapon discharge should have been a killing shot but save for knocking them to their feet or staggering them they continued to advance. Vassago quietly cursed under his breath, his day seemed to continue to take a darker turn.
Then he felt it, a hand upon on his face. Slimy and clammy but cold as ice. It sent shivers through to his spine whilst the stench prodded at his gag reflexes. He parried the creatures hand away with the butt of his rifle and dived at it. It's expression remained as vacant as all the others, skin shrivelled and what little remained of its clothing were mere tatters, devoured over the course of hundreds or even thousands of years. He didn't let the horrific sight paralyse him for long, using his rifle as a crude bludgeon. All his fury and frustration exploding within him as he continued to bring his rifle down upon the creatures face. Bone cracked, puss and other organic matter splattering his hate contorted features. Still it moved, refusing with every hate filled smash of Vassago's weapon to die.
Finally, with chest heaving with exhaustion he contemptuously discarded his rifle and wrenched free his dagger. Gripping the few strands of hair that remained on its ruined face he sliced and sawed at its neck, bellowing with rage he savagely yanked free it's head before the thing finally stopped moving. Satisfied he stood up and spat at the corpse. Only then he became aware of his surroundings. The chamber had erupted into chaos with every member of the team fighting off more of these bizarre and terror inducing creatures.
Something caught his eye, the sight of Zuser dangling helplessly in the air, his shrieks of terror coming out with an almost mechanical tone from the helm he wore. He couldn't get a good look at the thing that seemed to be directing the assault. All he knew was he had just about enough of this bloody place, the cold, the wet, the brotherhood, everything. Clenching the hilt of his blade so hard his knuckles turned white he sprinted directly at the abomination, he collided with the force of a freight train, slamming the creature to the ground with an audible crunch. Vassago had lost all sense of control now. He stabbed and slashed at it, not much caring if he was killing or wounding the creature. He felt the blade give, snapping in two with the blade stuck comically out of an eye socket. In frustration he threw the hilt at it which bounced harmlessly off its skeletal features.
With nothing better to hand he used his bare fists, punching with all the force he could muster. First his right fist, then his left. The squelching sound of flesh turning to the sound of bone breaking. The creature for its part didn't lie quietly and accept it's fate. It flailed and clawed, twice catching his cheek causing the wound to bleed profusely, he felt nothing. Adrenaline and something more primeval had replaced any sensation of pain. But exhaustion finally began to take its toll and the thing managed to shove him off, hurtling him through the air with surprising force before landing heavily on his back momentarily winding him. The thing rose with eerie speed and a vengeful look, a look that was cut short. A column of blinding light removing the things head before hitting the ground with a muted thud, it's body soon following. Standing atop it was Callus, a look of disdain and irritation painting his features.
Darkness falls across the land, The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood, To terrorize your neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found, Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell, And rot inside a corpse's shell
The foulest stench is in the air, The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb, Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive, Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist, The evil of the thriller
- Vincent Price 1982, Thriller -
The battle was growing with intensity. The Plagueians were facing countless scores of undead that their only mission was to protect the Sword of Ferran. The Sith relic that the Brotherhood wanted to claim for themselves. One Sith wanted it because it was entrenched with the Dark Side and gave it wielder and extra oomph in power. The Imperials wanted it to have the leverage against One Sith. Arcona, Talydran, and the other Houses and Clans wanted it to unseat Plagueis as the top Clan.
Brimstone saw Vassago hunched over and tired from his latest fight with a undead. He walked over, using his lightsaber, hacked off the lower leg of the dead and proceeded to "skin" it down to its bone. Afterwards, he tossed it to Vassago. "Here, club the next one to death. You need to Adapt when all else fails." The journeyman just looked at the Chiss in disgust. "Yes, Master" he said with a sarcastic tone.
As it looked, even though outnumbered, they were making way and dwindling the numbers of the undead. Then another familiar "snap-hiss" showed up as one of the zombies had apparently arrived to help kill the group. Brimstone looked over at Kuro, who's back was turned to him, and yelled "Yo, K! Hulk up bud, got a toy incoming." The Sith Warrior made little work to disarming the new combatant and then with the Force, hurtled the undead towards Kuro, who in turn grabbed him and with all his strength, threw the creature towards the chamber's door with such power and velocity, it blew the door off its hinges. "Everyone inside!" yelled Callus.
As they made their way inside the chamber, there sat the object of everyone's desire. The Sword of Ferran was floating in the air surrounded by a small magna-shield. "You three!" yelled Callus as he pointed at the rookies of team Coconuts, "Keep them at bay. We're going to try to figure this out."
The three of them, Callus, Brimstone, and Kuro, searched the room for some sort of secret compartment to deactivate the force field. They even tried using their lightsabers to slice at the junctions, but to no avail.
"This has me stumped" snorted Kuro. "Didn't the operation orders state a sacrifice was needed to get the sword?"
"I believe so, and unless someone here wants to die for this, we need to figure out another way to get it" replied Callus, "Brim you got any ideas in that calculating mind of yours?"
The Chiss looked at the data pad he had confiscated earlier. "If memory serves me correct, the only one that can wield it must be Ferran himself...." Brimstone paused, and then a smirk crept on his face, "or ..... his descendants."
"How are we going to find a relative of a long dead Elder?" retorted Callus.
"We dont need to. They're already here" Brim replied as he looked towards the other three that were fighting the horde. "Those zombies are his heir. Yo!, Guys, let one in."
The three of Vassago, Zuser, and Dacian gave the Chiss a wary look of concern. Then they grabbed one of the Zombies and chucked the creature in the room and went back to defensive mode. The three Plagueians looked down at the undead as it coward before the awe of the weapon that he was to protect.
"So ask him to hand it to us, smart ass" retorted Kuro.
"I have something different in mind" replied Brimstone as he stooped down, rolled up a sleeve on his combat suit, and thrusted his forearm in front of the creature. "Bite me!" he yelled. The creature didn't understand, but he clamped down on the Chiss's arm. Brimstone yelled out as teeth sank into flesh and muscle. "Now kill it!" he yelled. Callus cleanly lopped off the creature's head, narrowly missing Brim's arm. The head released it grasp from the arm and dropped.
"Why the hell did you do that?" yelled Callus.
"Because if they are the descendants of Farren, then their DNA is his" he replied as he ripped off a cloth from his outfit, wrapping it around the wound. "Now I have their DNA and I am now related, if it all works out." Brimstone stood up, blood dripping from his wound on his left arm, and walked over to the floating Sith Relic. He then cautiously reached towards it. "Here goes nothing" he sarcastically replied.
The magna-shield at first repulsed the Chiss's advancement, then minutes later, Brimstone was inside. He grasp with his injured hand, the hilt of the weapon, and the magna-shields immediately dropped. Callus and Kuro looked at him. "I knew you were good for something, if not stupidity, my blue friend" replied Kuro.
Brimstone felt the Dark Side course through his veins. The weapon was light as a feather, but the power instilled within was trying to corrupt him. "We need to get back to the fleet as soon as possible. I don't know how long I can fight its control. I can feel its energy trying to envelop my brain and my conscious" replied Brimstone.
He then walked over to the entryway, and pointed the sword and the horde of undead. "Listen to me now. Plagueis controls what you sought to protect. You will give us a clear path and let us through, or I will shatter this sword and your beliefs in Farren will die with him and this sword."
In what could be construed as a miracle, the zombies all stopped their attacking and started kneeling. Brimstone looked at Callus "How much time do we have till we're turned to rubble?"
Callus looked at his chrono. "2 hrs and 3 minutes."
"Kriffen great!" replied the three journeymen in unison.
Brimstone could feel the decay begin in his arm from where the zombie had bitten him. If he didn't get back to the fleet, it would eventually take over him. The last thing he wanted to be was a zombie. He knew he had to see what the healers could do, or if anything from his journals about his captivity with the Vong years earlier would shed any light.
A low rumble shook the antechamber they resided in. Callus's face twisted into a look of chagrin. "Well, leave it to the Grandmaster to be overly time efficient..."
Dacian glanced from Callus to Brimstone who was clutching his arm with agony emphasized by his gesticulations. "What does that mean?"
Brimstone's sullen look said enough, "They're going to bring this house down around us."
The broken ground all around the temple was freshly turned with the impact of explosive shells and orbital fire. Black, cracked earth was punctured with smoking craters, giving the landscape an alien and surreal feel. The already darkened motif of the gargantuan temple was only enhanced by the smoky wreath that now surrounded it, the latest bombs flashing bright under the carpeting fog.
Out of that fog swept Dacian, marching from the open gate of the Temple. Behind him marched the highly capable, highly damaged remainder of the team, the picture of stoicism that went beyond sanity. The Dark Brotherhood, the Plagueians, the various wounds and now severed limbs that adorned them, and even Brimstone's indoctrinated army of zombies all could be seen emerging from the mists of war.
When he was a boy in the Hapan courts, Dacian had enjoyed horror productions. Holo-dramas of the most bizarre and gruesome sort were his joy and he had watched them all. Nightdream on Alm St, Jazon, Tuesday the 12th and so on. He’d seen them all but the ones that he loved the most, the ones he remembered to this very day, were the Zombie holo-vids. He loved to watch the dead rise from their graves and feed on the living. It amused him as a boy, scared his adopted sisters and terrorized his mother. He loved it.
There was something about seeing the ghastly terrors up close that almost made him develop a warm in his nethers though. Torn, broken and rearranged, was the body of what, presumably, had once been a female. He knew this only because of her body which, though matted in blood and gore, still retained enough of its shape that he could tell. Her head was split at the jaw, looking as though it had been cleaved by a sword or axe. Ribs protruded from her flesh at places impossible and the inner-workings of her body had, somehow, become the outer-workings. Dacian shuddered as Brimstone cackled and commanded the army to go forth and destroy all of the Clan's enemies, "Rip them limb from limb and devour their intestines!"
Kuro chuckled as the Chiss did some tough talk for a guy who was holding his arm in pain.
Running through the various hallways, they came across a large winding staircase leading up. the height of the staircase appeared to go to a opening to the roof of the temple. a small light that could be a window lit up the top landing platform. “Up there! we can call for our exfil. from here!” Callus ordered as he took charge up the steps.
Hoards of the undead continued to follow “dont waste your time with them, we hit the staircase, we can pop a few and make them trip over one another, maybe slow them down some” Kuro said as he and the rest of the team ascend to the roof.
The team stopped in a small open area, just a few meters from where there shuttle is waiting. “We need to take care of his arm, sir” Zuser said. “i….i got...got thisss” Brimstone speech is getting slurred and drawn out.
Brimstone was thumbing through some holonotes and mumbling to himself. “I dont think he is going to make it” Vassago mentioned. The slowly pale turning Chiss barked “I have studied the cures before, I know how to handle….handle…”Brimstone started to stutter. “oh forget this” Kuro said as he pulled out and ignited his saber. “Wait, you cant…”Brimstone started to state his displeasure for the idea but Kuro did not allow him to. Kuro reached out and gripped the collar of Brimstones uniform and pulling him close, practically chest to chest with the large veteran. “Listen, I dont care if you do know a cure, you will not make it to exfil, The arm needs to go now” Kuro growled.
Before the Chiss could defend himself, Kuro stuck the yellow blade of his saber under his left armpit and in a quick downward swipe, removed the infected arm at the elbow. The infected appendage made a thud on the ground as the wound is quickly cartized. Callus’s quick, and shocked reaction allowed him to bring Brimstone a bacta soaked bandage.
Brimstone and his training helped him call upon what little force available to help ease pain and heal and concentrate enough to keep moving. The planet was going to get leveled rather the team was there or not, they preferred the latter.
The team rushed out to the roof of the platform, still suffering from the use of the Yalsimri, Kuro, Callus and Zuser used their combined strength to cave in the doorway enough to halt or at the lease slow down any of the pursuing dead. “Should buy us time but where is our shuttle?” Vassago asked. Kuro and Callus anxiously scanned the skyline and the only thing that could be seen are large laser bolts zipping through the atmosphere and into the ground. The main run of the bombardment is quickly approaching.
Callus scornfully gazed at his chronometer as the seconds counted down until the surface of this planet would get a makeover and they would be vaporized if they didn’t get out of range.
“NO YOU KRIFFING HUTT! ON TOP OF THE SPIRE!” Callus yelled into his comlink at the pilot of their shuttle. A static filled reply came into his ear “Zone..*Static*… hot can’t…*static*… location.”
“WHERE IS THE PILOT THAT DROPPED US OFF? HE AT LEAST KNEW HOW TO FLY!” Callus reached into his ear and ripped the comlink from it and threw it to the ground. “Well boys, looks like we’re on our own here.” He said stepping to the center of the platform, “Our ride isn’t coming for us,” the Exarch said bending down and picking up Brimstone’s necrotic arm, “fortunately Brim has volunteered to lend us a hand.”
There was a bit of somber laughter as Callus tossed the useless appendage off of the landing pad and it tumbled down below. Callus inhaled deeply, feeling the warm air flow into his lungs, ‘Peace is a lie, there is only Passion’ the words rose to the forefront of his mind as he exhaled and saw the rubble begin to shift and the first glimpse of a dead hand reach through towards them.
Through passion, I gain Strength Callus reached out to the rubble pile in the force and launched it through the air off of the landing pad sending several of the living dead with it.
Through Strength, I gain Power Callus clenched his left fist and in the blink of an eye he extended his arm and splayed his fingers out and unleashed a wave of pure concentrated force energy manifested as lightning at the sith undead. The bolts struck several of them sending them staggering back, one bolt even struck one of the creatures in the eye causing it to seize and collapse. The beasts seemed to hesitate as Callus’ hand found his lightsaber, the cool metal focusing him as he unclipped the weapon and activated it. The drone of the blade drew the attention of the creatures and the moved to attack the Exarch.
Through Power, I gain Victory Callus began nearly effortlessly with an upward diagonal strike cleaving one of the zombies from hip to shoulder, followed by a back handed strike that took one of the creatures off at the neck. Then a series of strikes removing the shoulders and legs of another. Callus had become a conduit for the darkside his endless rage allowing him to channel the force with ease. Each strike was a combination of conscious action and pure guidance from the force as he mowed down the horde. Callus moved his weapon in a wide arc, as a pure connection between himself and the force his weapon channeled his own energy and created a shockwave that launched a handful of the creatures off of the platform. The horde had thinned but Callus wasn’t done. He battled the creatures back into the stairwell taking on 4 or 5 at a time.
Through Victory, my chains are broken Callus let out a guttural roar and sent a torrent of force energy into the stairwell taking waves and waves of the creatures off of their feet and sending them into the darkness.
“Callus…” A voice came from a great distance, the Obelisk was breathing heavily and sweat was pouring from his brow as he stood, blade low by his side
“Callus…” The voice came again, closer now, as the Exarch dropped to one knee and deactivated his blade, trying to overcome the fatigue that was wracking his body.
“Callus!” The voice insisted and he obliged by turning his head. What he saw couldn’t be real, he must have been bitten and didn’t realize it now he was hallucinating.
“COME ON DAMNIT!” Callus looked and saw Zuser shouting at him from the door of a hovering shuttle. He couldn’t believe his eyes he stood slowly and began walking towards the open door. “HURRY WE HAVE TO GO!” The shuttle rose higher off of the ground as Callus reached into the force again begging for a last ounce of strength. He began a jog, that became a run and lept catching the edge of the door and holding on with what energy he had left as the others hauled him on board.
“The Force shall free me.” Callus said as he lay on the deck of the landing shuttle as it ripped through the atmosphere of Bosthirda. Callus pulled himself into one of the jump seats and took a sip of the water offered to him. He looked around the cabin and his eyes fell on the chiss, still gripping Ferran’s blade in his remaining arm. Callus let out a breath and crossed the cabin to the sith. “Give it to me.” The red eyed alien raised an eyebrow at the Obelisk and was about to protest when Callus bashed him over the head with the hilt of his lightsaber rendering him unconscious. The blade clattered to the floor and Callus gathered it up and returned to his seat. He looked around the cabin again and saw eyes on him. “What? Like you wanted him to get a bigger ego?” Laughter filled the cabin as they docked with the NSD Preeminence.