Diamonds Are Forever
As each of you arrive at this distant space station orbiting a little known moon, in a system that is primarily a shipping lane stop over, it’s a small place even by space station standards. Nothing but a bunch of Tramp Freighter captains and their crew, the guys that make the economy roll along but no one wants to see, be seen with, or get too close, the smell you see.
You all received a priority message on the secure OpNet of the Brotherhood to be at this place, at this time, in the third room of the cantina. Since there is only one cantina on the whole place you assume that this, “place” must be where you’re to meet whomever contacted you. Some of you are experienced member of the Brotherhood strange messages and clandestine meetings are standard operating procedure, but never been in a toilet like this place before.
You enter the cantina is it a seedy little place, even by most standards is a [Expletive Deleted] hole. You look around and there is everything you can imagine going on, the hologaming tables are packed, every other table has either a Pazak game going or the local harlots are plying their trade. Everything in this smoke filled place screams, loser.
You move through the crowd with your abilities and awareness at an all time high you move through them as if they were not there, you move around the circular room to the third room off the main hub, as you move in you see several people you recognize from the Brotherhood other still scream Brotherhood to you. The moment you enter the seedy band stops and all the dancers move away from the stage and the door shuts and the stage lights up to a hologram image. A table is cleared near the image and one of the dancers a sexy Zabrak motions for you to sit. When all of you take a seat the room darkens and the image becomes clear.
“Welcome Brothers and Sisters, The Grand Master has need of your services,” The hooded figure says in a sing song voice, some of the older members and a few others of you recognize the voice of the newest Tribune, Eludajae. “As you know our recent war to retake the home world of the Brotherhood was taxing on all of our reserves. Thus we must find innovative ways to refill the coffers of the Brotherhood. So the Dark Council can continue to make all those lovely capital ships you all via for. Well every once in a while we need a more direct influx of resources and wealth. Thus, why you are here today with us.” She waves her hand and your tables top becomes a holo-viewer. A world appears on it.
“This is Arkania, it’s a fairly unremarkable world except for two major factors, first it’s not a member of the New Republic or Grand Alliance, second its single major export, Diamonds.” Eludajae hesitates just long enough for the more experienced of you to get mildly annoyed at the dramatic tactic, “You are going to assist the Brotherhood in liberating several metric tons of them form the Arkania mines.”
The image of the planet goes into a localizes view the planet is nothing more than one massive glacier with a network of closed tube access ways connecting the major clusters that make up both the minding operations and the various settlements be they small minding coops or the planets three major cities. “As you see the world is nothing but a ball of ice, perfect for the creation of diamonds, and the minding camps are connected directly to the star ports via enclosed tube access ways that have electromagnetic railway systems within them. The trains for lack of a better word travel back and forth between the mines and the cities, a break neck speeds I might add. However as with all systems of transportation and mining there are openings for those that have the volition and ambition to exploit them. There are three possible locations that you can exploit to achieve your goal, of robbing the diamonds from the Arkania’s and return with them to the reassigned location.”
The holovid again changes as Eludajae speaks giving you a full 3D view of the largest Mining operation on the planet, The Eastern Mining Platform is the largest mining operation on the planet it produces on the average a full 35% of all diamond mined by the Arkanians yearly, which amounts to a net weight of around 300 metric tons. This is one of your exploitation locations, here two forms of transportation is used, the railway system, and small tramp freighters, this has a small port where sanctioned freighters can land and take on cargo directly, some of the Arkanian’s less than savory business partners use this method as with all smugglers and criminals there is little trust in their line of work. Landing here will be the easy part; it’s the acquisition of the diamonds and the leaving the port is the hard part. It is heavily armed with blaster cannon turrets and concussion missile launchers, none exceptional by our standards but present none the less. “ Eludajae waves her hand and the view changes yet again.
“This is the north west plateau, it is a 175 mile stretch of the railway system that is open air, it’s used a natural coolant system by the railway, there are several open air stretches but this is the only one that is significant enough to grant an opportunity to seize the diamonds from the train. It’s temperature is of course below freezing at all times and the weather can be inhospitable as one could imagine, traveling at approximately 250 kilometers per hour from the moment the nose of the train enters this open air area, till the end car enters the other side’s enclosed area is exactly twenty one point seven minutes. Granting you a sizeable amount of time to move in and extract the diamond cargo if you’re fast enough.”
Again the holovid changes and you see space platform above the planet, “This platform is a fixed orbital platform. It is your third area of opportunity. It is highly automated, with security being primarily old Separatist combat bots. They use a thing they call a space elevator to actually lift the cargo from the ground to the platform at which time the automated platform moves the magnetically sealed cargo crates to the heavy freighters waiting for their cargo. We do not want this to turn into a pirate operation that will attract the attention of the Grand Alliance ships in the local area. We want this to be a theft from a non Grand Alliance planet which the Grand Alliance will write off as an internal affair, once you attack these heavy freighters bound for the Grand Alliance territories it becomes their business. That is not an acceptable risk. The diamonds have to be liberated from the Arkanian platform prior to their making it aboard one of those heavy freighters.”
The hologram goes dark, “The method of how you chose to achieve your goal is your own business. You were selected because you all have shown the ability to independently act on a mission without constant hand holding. Good luck your transport is waiting in bay four.”
The hologram of Eludajae disappears, the rooms lights go back up and the band and dancers take their place on the holovid pad and begin to play as if nothing ever happened, the people around you begin to act in the same manner as all the other cantina patrons you walked through, playing Pazak or engaging in drinking or carnal displays. You take a moment to look at your members at the table, then walk to bay four to see your transport.
When you get into the hanger several of you with knowledge of history and lore will stop and look at the ship before you, someone has taken a great deal of pains for this ship to resemble, remarkably resemble, the legendary Ebon Hawk.
Someone is playing both with you and anyone else that would identify the ship that raided Arkania. You enter the ship and begin to talk with your fellows. The first question that comes to mind is, “can anyone fly this thing?”
The newly formed group walked into the hanger bay, and up to the ship. "Ummm...I'm not sure I know how to fly this... Anyone else think they can? Aesir said, gazing up at the likeliness of the Ebon Hawk with awe. Aesir walked around the ship slowly, inspecting it, seeing if he could discern whether or not he could fly it. "Hate to sound useless, but I can only conclude one thing...it's a ship," Aesir said, "I can't fly it..."
Aesir looked out at the group and was surprised that he barely knew any of them. "By the way, I'm Aesir," he exclaimed with a small wave.
(ooc: NOTE - Please disable all signatures when posting. The flow of the posts will read much smoother.)
His tall stature was something of a hindrance in public places. The Taldryan Consul’s prosthetic legs had added nearly 15cm to his already intimidating stature. While a few among the assembled Dark Jedi could claim to be tall, none could claim to be towering. In a crowd, his stature tended to single him out and the vicious looking prosthetics would leave a lasting impression. Double jointed, much like avian legs, the Cortosis-woven durasteel legs begun at his mid-torso and ended in violent looking talons.
A constant illusion was necessary to conceal his conspicuousness. The Krath tomes and Holocrons of the Library of Lears and the Brotherhood’s reclaimed Triumvirate Library contained many spells and hexes used by the Krath of old. The best among them told stories of grand illusions, capable of fooling entire fleets of ships and fighters into fighting non-existent enemies. Drawing on years of studying and practice, Vodo Biask Taldrya draped himself in the image of a non-descript Twi’lek worker. Leathery brown skin and a worn look on his face made him no more descript than any other downtrodden workers of Arkania.
“There’ll be plenty of time for introductions to come”, the Twi’lek looked upon the Jedi Hunter with a cool stare, “As I recall, Priest Anderson is an adept pilot…”
Xander walked up to the ship, the tail of his coat lightly dancing behind him as he walked. Placing his hand on the underside of the ship, the Krath closed his eyes contemplatively. The Praetor was a relatively short man when compared to a lot of other members. Looking up, the Priest nodded
"I think I can pilot this thing, might take a little bit of getting used to at the beginning but it should be doable." Xander said continue to look at the ship. He couldn't help but think about the hubris of using a ship which looked so startingly like the historic Ebon Hawk. If Xander remembered correctly from his time in the Shadow Academy the Hawk was a ship which was infamously used by Darth Revan. Using it as a group of Dark Jedi would have personally set up alarm bells for Anderson, however he had little choice in the matter. He hoped they hadn't tried to be too accurate to the original Hawk, because the original ship was only meant to carry a crew of one gunner, a pilot and a co-pilot.
Looking around once again , Xander waited for response.
Arack Tavar, a young Protector in House Galeres, nodded his assent at Praetor Alexander's offer;
"Sounds good to me, mi Lords, I am a fair snubfighter pilot but my true talent lies in raiding and close combat" said Arack and he gestured to the modernized set of Rebel Special Forces armor that he wore under a simple black overcoat. Clipped to his waist was an armory lightsaber and on his right thigh was a SSK-7 Heavy Blaster Pistol. Juding from the bulge in the black duffel that Arack carried in his left hand, another blaster weapon and his armor's helmet were the contents.
Alexander nodded and turned back to the quasi- Hawk before the other Praetor in the strike force, Taigikori Aybara Dupar, broke the silence.
"We should get on board then, shouldn't we? Make some plans on exactly how we're going to get these diamonds?" and as the other members all nodded or voiced their agreement, the Right Hand of Justice walked past the Grand Master's Praetor and palmed the switch to let down the Hawk replica's boarding ramp, leading the team on board.
Tra'an Reith had been silent throughout the whole ordeal so far, the lone non-clanner being as yet unwilling to trust any of the others. He still remembered the brutality of inter-clan warfare from the retaking of Antei, and how hard each clan had fought against not only the invaders, but against each other. He still had the occasional nightmare from his battle against former Consul Braecen Kaeth, and the thought that one of his companions was the Taldryan Consul filled him with both loathing and a small amount of fear.
Nodding at the words of Protector Tavar, the Shi'ido mounted the ramp and strode into the interior of the replica, noting that it had been altered to fit their party. The modifications were sufficient, if not particularly comfortable. the interior was spartan and covered in chrome, very utilitarian in nature. Soft beeping and whistling from the cockpit indicating the presence of an astromech droid, which would no doubt be of use to the pilot. Striding to the turret well, it was immediately obvious that the ship had been given some excellent upgrades. A quad turbolaser had been installed for the gunner to use. Only time would tell how much power the engine put out.
Returning to the main cabin, Tra'an noticed that all of his traveling companions had assembled within the ship. "Do we wish to plan first, then cast off, or cast off and plan en route? Either way works for me, though I'm not entirely sure what our timetable of operations is for execution. Does anyone know how long we have to complete this heist?", he rumbled out in a deep voice that remained from his last operation at the behest of his own Quaestor.
Five heads swiveled to look at the Paladin, all of which held their own intent, only three of which were sufficiently schooled enough to remain inscrutable. "What, had no one thought that far ahead yet? We are supposed to be good enough for that you know."
"We should get on board then, shouldn't we? Make some plans on exactly how we're going to get these diamonds?"
Praetor Taigikori looked up at the ship and chuckled to himself silently before striding up the loading ramp. Familiar with this ship's design, having looked over the schematics in the Shadow Academy's private library aboard the Paladin, he had no problem finding the cockpit.
The human's black robe flowed gracefully off his shoulders, his lightsaber in plain view for all to see. He didn't completely trust every member of this crew, but he did what he could. He knew Taldryan Consul Vodo somewhat well, and he gave a nod of respect to the Twi'lek as he strode up to the now crowded cockpit...
Aesir boarded the vessel along with the rest of his team. The young Zabrak was completely unfamiliar with the ship, and therefore took a quick stride around the replica Ebon Hawk to gain a better understanding. After making his short round, he gathered with the others.
"Well as Mr. Reith was so keen to point out we have no plan. Now I, for one, am not the most experienced here, but I find it does help to know which direction you want to go." the young Jedi Hunter remarked with a tad of sarcasm seeping through his words, "there were many options pointed out to us, or if anyone has a better plan I'm pretty sure the floor is open."
Aesir glanced around the team with his dual-pupil eyes, waiting for any response.
Vodo was forced to stoop at places where the bulkhead curved in for support. His added height was was still something of a nuisance having spent his entire life acquainted to another and now found himself many centimeters taller, "Everyone take a seat or find someplace to stand."
The Taldryan Consul waited for everyone to find some space in the Main Hold, "The Tribune was kind enough to point out several instances where we could likely pull this operation off. Our prime concern here, apart from a successful mission, is remaining unseen.
"Of the possibilities, I can eliminate the first two right now. Both involve us getting embedded into the infrastructure of the mining operation and being planet side. The moment we snatch the stones we need to be gone. The longer they are in our possession and we're still in-system, the longer the local authorities have to track us down."
There were several nodding approvals among the assembled Dark Jedi though one remained still. Tra'an Reith, a Templar from the newly formed Independent House Revan raised his voice to match the Epis's, "That's all well and fine, but there are five others here with their own opinions. If you wouldn't mind"...
Vodo's eyes flashed scarlet as he pressed his force presence outward to fill the small cabin, "I don't know what gave you the impression that this was a democratic venture Templar
, but as long as I still draw breath, you'll be dancing to my tune. The only one among you here with enough power to challenge me is Taigakori Ayabara, and the only reason he still draws a breath is a testament only to my patience... Not my mercy."
The air was preternaturally cold as the Dark Side sapped the heat from the air itself. Arack Tavar, the lone Protector among them found it hard to breath in the presence of power he'd rarely glimpsed in his training thus far. Tra'an sank into his seat as he backed down from the confrontation, seething with hatred for the Taldrya.
"With the high speed train and the mining pit out of the question, that leaves the Orbital Elevator and the Skyhook it connects to. Seeing as though the Skyhook is primarily automated, our best option would be to insert via a maintenance bay and reduce the defense capability with blasters, we don't want to leave evidence of light saber use, and grab the gems. We need to move fast, in and out with the cargo in no more than a few minutes."
Taig unfolded his arms as he reached forward to the holo-projection controls on the table in the center of the hold, "I believe this will work if we do the right reconnaissance before hand".
He drew out a simple graphical representation of the plan which was met by another round of nodding agreements.
Ebon Hawk Layout
Xander looked up from a data pad as he watched the discussions which were taking place. It was fairly common to have arguments, and struggles for internal power, which any group of Dark Jedi gathered. It was even more so commonplace, when the group was as disparate as the one that was here. It was like watching dogs circling each other, constantly snapping at each other. He couldn’t help but wonder how long it would take before one tried to fight another, or hump their leg – or possibly both. He had grown accustomed to the presence of power around him. The power present here didn’t suffocate him, as much as give him a stuffy feeling in the airl.
Sliding into the pilots chair he began to familiarize himself with the console, and the controls. Having satisfied himself that he could figure out how things worked, he looked over his shoulder, to see everyone was ready. Powering up the engines, he turned.
Upon receiving confirmations he touched the controls and began to ease the vessel on the beginning of the journey to their destination.
As Xander skillfully undocked the ship and eased it forwards on the first step of their journey, it was obvious that one of the group's members was still moderately stunned from Vodo's overbearing assumption of control. Talos seemed to be off in his own little world, still dealing with the force presence unfurled during the momentary onslaught of the Elder's opinion.
Having suffered at the hands of Sarin and Raken in recent months, Tra'an was moderately prepared for it, or so he had assumed. It still was enough to leave him mildly stunned, which he was slow to shake off. Gathering his wits about him, the shapeshifter returned his attention to the detailed plans that the Consul was currently putting together with input from Taigikori, and muttered comments from the others.
During a lull, the Revanite once again opened his mouth to ask a question that he was sure woul dbring down scorn and wrath, but he felt had to be asked anyhow. "When you say no evidence of lightsaber use, you refer to direct attacks and specifically remarkable evidence, correct? So if we were to stick to defensive use, say reflecting blaster bolts, attacks that resembled blaster wounds, it would be permissable to use them? I don't like the idea of walking into one of the most heavily fortified outposts of this entire sector, without one of the most essential tools of my existence."
The entire ship seemed to drop into a lull, awaiting the response of the Elders who had turned to contemplate him, one with murderous intent, the other with a smile and a twinkle in the eyes.
Aesir stared at Tra'an, and contemplated his comment. "That's a pretty good argument. I agree, slightly, with Tra'an, but..." Vodo turned slowly toward Aesir and gave the young Zabrak a look that was mixed with coldness, and sheer incredulity that the Jedi Hunter has the courage to speak out. The consul stared down at Aesir, towering him with his imposing stature.
"But?" Vodo inquired, humoring the young Obelisk with a hint of amusement.
"But if we do use our lightsabers, we must do it sparingly. Surely a mining outpost that mines precious ore like diamonds is sure to have security cameras. If we are caught on camera, someone will surely be monitoring the feeds, and there goes our secrecy." Aesir said, trying to explain his thought process. Aesir returned Vodo's gaze, waiting for anyone else to interject their opinion.
After assuring the assembled Dark Jedi of his abilities to infiltrate the security systems of the orbital platform once they were aboard, Vodo retreated to one of the cramped cargo compartments towards the aft of the vessel as Xander deftly took the ship into hyperspace. The Twi'lek grasped his bald head with the palm of his left hand, gritting his teeth as he fought back the fog of a headache beginning to form.
"Do you require any assistance, Master Taldrya"
Vodo spun, extending his arm to full length in an instant ready to blast force-energy at any attacker, "You know the dangers of walking up on someone with no warning, Prelate."
"You have a Clan to run. Why are you here", Taigakori approached unfazed by the Consul's defensiveness.
"The same reason you are. The Grand Master bid me to join this entourage personally. Is there something I can help you with, or are you merely here to push my headache into a full migraine..."
Taig leaned up against the bulkhead of the ship, "I want to propose an alliance. You and me."
The Consul retreated to an opposing bulkhead and placed his weight upon it, "For what reason?"
"Your little display of machismo back there made some enemies. I know you are only looking out for our best interests, but some of the clanned guys may not see it that way. It wouldn't hurt you to know someone has your back."
"What do you get out of this alliance?"
"One small favor..."
Vodo eyed the man warily, "Name it".
The faux-Ebon Hawk slid out of hyperspace a good distance from the planet, and slipped into formation with two heavy freighters bound for Arkania. Their arrival seemed to go unnoticed, so the plan proceeded unhindered. The heavy freighters began their atmospheric descent, leaving the small transport to zip towards the orbital elevator unimpeded.
The Dark Jedi awaited their deployment atop the landing ramp, waiting for it to descend and allow them out. They all held some form of blaster, a few had a backup disruptor to make things interesting. They all wore their lightsabers, but had been reminded once more not to use them.
"Remember, move hard; move fast. Destroy security features and cameras as you encounter them, but your only priority is to secure a crate of gems. Each crate ought to be equipped with repulsors, so you only need guide it back to the ship and to the cargo lift in back. Understood?", Taig's words fell on attentive ears.
The transfer site, atop the massive structure housed a single landing port for small craft and personal ships. With Alexander at the controls the ship throttled forward, accelerating nearly till the moment it entered the port, and braked hard as it slid in. Before the landing plate connected with the deck of the hangar, the ramp lowered. Aesir sprinted forward the moment his boots contacted a solid surface. He snapped two shots to his left, hitting a service droid with his second shot in the torso. Metal screeched as it was torn open and destroyed.
The Dark Jedi moved with supernatural speed in separate directions, each heading for a predesignated sector of the orbital elevator's platform. Vodo moved to a console on a wall near the ship and began going to work. The security features of the platform were not heavily encoded, no one had been expecting such a brash and upfront attack, and had not taken any measures to protect the vital securities features they relied upon.
"Camera's and auto-turrets are off-line", he announced over the communal channel on everyone's comlinks.
Arack was still trying to wrap his head around the Taldryan Consul's display as he charged out of the phony Ebon Hawk right after Aesir, his shaved head now helmeted and his simple Fira sword (along with a SSK-7 blaster pistol and armory lightsaber) hanging from his nerf-hide utility belt.
The infantryman watched the Obelisk Aesir dispatch the service droid and then the self-appointed leader (but mutually agreed on) Vodo Biask Taldrya deftly disable the security cameras and auto-turrets.
"Tavar, dock control room! You and Aesir!" commanded a voice from behind the Protector and out of his peripheral vision, Arack saw that it was Taigikori Aybara Dupar, the famous Dark Summiter. Nodding, the Galerian Journeyman scaled the ladder leading up to the small control room with Aesir right behind him and the latter imploded the now-locked door with a successive burst from his rifle.
"Please -- don't hurt us!" begged a Human male, mid-twenties, and dressed in a Arkanian military uniform. By us, he meant the Twi'lek woman huddled in a corner of the room.
Tavar paused with his SSK-7 half drawn from its holster, his eyes shooting from the male to the female and back again, till Aesir walked past him and wiping any emotion from his face, raised his rifle and unloaded a single bolt into the female, sending her corpse to the dura-steel floor.
"Tavar, do it!" commanded the senior Journeyman and taking a deep breath and letting the Dark Side fuse with him, he raised his matte black pistol, steadied his shaking hands and depressed the trigger once, his arms jumping back with the slight recoil as a crimson plasma bolt took its victim and a "thump" was audible as the second corpse hit the floor.
Slightly shocked, Arack holstered his pistol and leaned against the wall as he heard Aesir report into the Headmaster's Praetor.
"This is Hunter Aesir, the control room is secure"
And a chilling response from Taig -- "Good"
Tra'an was nearly the last one out of the ship, having taken his time to go over his objective one last time. Covered in black cloth, he strode quickly down the corridor to the packaging facility, where the diamonds were sorted into their storage crates, then sealed for shipping. Calls came in over the secure com network informing him that the two mandatory precursors to his participation had been accomplished. Reaching the durasteel doors which were locked rather securely, it was time for him to go to work.
Bringing his mind into alignment with the force, the Templar worked two threads simultaneously, hiding himself and his drawn DH-17 Blasters from sight, even as three wounded and bleeding humanoid troopers like those that had already died, filled the hallway. He tapped the control panel on the doorway, snapping the camera to life for the guards on the other side to see the carnage of three badly wounded soldiers sagging under their fatigue. "Help us!" they cried, "they're right behind us and our blasters are out of charge! Open the doors or they'll kill us!" One of them crashed to the ground, his blood pooling around him, finally succumbing to his wounds." Thw guards looked at each other before keying in the command sequence that opened the doors.
They rushed forward, weapons holstered, expecting to see three wounded comrades, and finding only crimson death. Tra'an reached up to touch his ear, "Processing Entry Secured. Request support for next objective." Quickly stripping the bodies, the Shi'ido had acquired a rather nice arsenal of blasters and explosives, taking three of the former, and setting aside all the rest for the others to search through when they arrived. The bodies were tucked out of the way, after ensuring that the doors would stay open until told to close by welding the floor and ceiling with concentrated blaster fire.
An incoming call had him pause, "Re-enforcements enroute, hold until they get there." A brief pause as Tra'an digested the meaning, before a reply, "Roger, WilCo." Unlimbering his E-11 Blaster Rifle, the figure lay prone on the floor, his clothing blending in with the color, to make him nearly invisible. He waited for the enemy to come looking for its missing guards when they failed to report in.
From the cargo bay, the Battlemaster heard the shots from an imperial E-11 blaster rifle. Shifting his eyes to the left, he grasped his newly crafted saber and jolted down the causeway, turning through the hull until he hit the cargo bay lift.
"Vodo!", Taigikori yelled before being hit in the shoulder with a rogue blast, hitting the floor.
Darkness took him...
Aesir looked at Tavar who was still visibly shaken. Aesir took a deep breath and walked over to the protector. “Ya alright?” The Zabrak asked.
“Yeah I’m fine!” the sith replied.
“Hahaha, I don’t need the force to read your expression!” Aesir joked, “Killing comes with the job. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Besides, look at his clothes; he was wearing a military uniform, meaning he could fight. He probably knew he couldn’t take us both on, so wanted to try and get our backs turned!”
Tavar let Aesir’s logic sink in, “Yeah…I just don’t enjoy it.
“HA! I don’t think anyone likes killing random people! But you get used to it. Try not to let it get ya down. Think of it as ‘it was me or them, and I chose me, because I like living…a lot.” Aesir’s head whipped around, and reached out with the force. What the—Taigikori is down,” Aesir activated his communicator, “What happened?”
Vodo’s voice resonated through the comm, “Something happened to Taig.”
“Do you want us to go see what happened? Tavar asked into Aeisr’s comm.
“No, if something was good enough to get Taigikori, then you two wouldn’t stand a chance. Stay where you are!”
“But we can do more than act as a doormat!!” Aesir argued into the comm.
“What is with you and taking orders boy?” Vodo said angrily into the comm, “What would be helpful is one or two of you securing one of the security hubs that’s down the hall from you two. It’s probably guarded.”
“HA! Finally some real action! Orders received! Let’s go Tavar!” The Obelisk exclaimed at started down the hall with blaster ready.
With the rest of the Dark Jedi out, Vodo fell back to their transport. His lekku were tingling, like electricity was dancing across his skin. Simultaneously excruciatingly painful and exhilarating, the Twi'lek knew the sensation well. The caress of the Dark Side was no stranger to the Consul. When the sensation suddenly ceased, Vodo threw himself to the deck. The air over his head was filled abruptly with crimson bolts of light.
The Twi'lek rolled to his right, moving behind the cover of a large crate. Shouts and orders followed as the firing ceased. His attackers moved to flank, negating any advantage given by the relatively small obstacle. He peered over the top of the crate from the ground, seeing a hanging fixture in the rafters of the hangar bay. The Dark Side entwined with his will as he reached out and tore the fixture from its holdings. The ventilation duct crashed to the deck, crushing one of his attackers, sending the rest diving for cover.
With no hesitation, the Consul was on his Durasteel feet at a full sprint. The joints of the prosthetic limbs glowed sinisterly as the Force coursed through the modified circuits. Charging the closest assailant, not yet recovered from diving to the floor, Vodo passed over him. He felt the cracking and gushing as his taloned right leg crushed the man's torso. Losing little momentum, Vodo continued charging until he ran up to a wall and with a great leap, propelled himself up it. His clawed feet gripped at the hangar's support strut.
Blaster fire again followed him, tracing his path up the wall until he reached the ceiling and propelled himself through the air to his next target. Vodo roared furiously as he crashed into the Rodan, snapping the alien's neck and rib cage from the force of his attack. He enshrouded himself in the Force, protecting his fragile body from harm as he tumbled and regained his feet fluidly. The attackers, disturbed by the supernatural display of power they'd witnessed retreated in a full run.
Vodo looked down, breathing heavily, at the dead Rodan. The alien wore a stylish one-piece jumpsuit, black, with few markings. The one that stuck out the most however was instantly recognizable to the Epis. Two concentric crescents interrupted by a horizontal hammer. The pin was stapled to the alien's straight collar, indicating an official purpose.
Thumbing an activator on his wrist, Vodo commed all the members of the team, "Pull back to the Hangar, we need to regroup... I'll find Taigakori..."
The Marking Vodo Recognized
Nodding affirmative to the command given by his consul Xander began his retreat towards the Hangar. Xanders weapon continue to pulse as he continued to lay fire for his retreat toward the hangar, almost a reflect he used the hilt of a small wakizashi to small a camera in.
Hitting a panel he watched as the group moved forward. Xander didn't really understand why they were using communicators to talk, when they could have joined their minds together fairly easily in a force meld, and the connection would not have been detectable, as communications could be intercepted.
Mentally shrugging he turned a corner and found himself back in the hangar, and looked around for the others.
"Are you serious!?" groaned Hunter Aesir as he heard Consul Vodo Biask's command come over his communicator. From where they stopped on their way to Security Hub Delta Central, Arack Tavar chuckled, the dread that had come over him when he had ended that military man fading fast as comradeship and the Dark Side bloomed inside of Tavar.
"I remember the ship, Aesir. Maybe we should..." prompted the younger Journeyman, but the Jedi Hunter was already nodding and began jogging back the other way and the Arconan Protector turned and began to follow him when a sense of dread washed over him and he spun around, his right hand moving to his SSK-7 and came face-to-neck with a brute of a man dressed in a black trenchcoat and holding a wicked looking knife in his left hand.
Despite his size, Trenchcoat moved with incredible speed as he knocked Arack's pistol out of his hand and spun the Galerian around with his right hand, ripped off the Epicanthix's helmet and pressed the flat of the knife to his neck.
"Aesir!" shouted the hostage and the Zabrak turned around slowly, the Force telling him to be ready and when he had turned 180 degrees, his blaster rifle had snapped up into the ready position.
"Uhh...please don't" muttered Tavar but Aesir didn't lower his rifle as the Fang of Fear barked out a single question.
"You're no Arkania security official are you?"
Trenchcoat let out a bark-like laugh before replied "No, I most certainly am not" and shooting his eyes sideways, Arack Tavar spied a small durasilver pin attached to the lapel of his coat.
Tra'an was a marvel of precision, moving steadily backwards down the corridor while taking clean, single shots, to disable or kill his opponents. The small mound of bodies suggested that they had already found rushing him wouldn't work, and the scattered single corpses said that none of them were good enough to evade his aiming. It was something he was particularly proud of, only to hear a distant warning through the Force, sending him rolling aside, just as a silvery blade flashed out from a maintenance opening.
Coming up in a crouch, the rifle opened on full auto, riddling the corpse of the bladesman, who fell forward out of the tunnel, landing face down, leaking blood all over the pristine metal. A single blaster bolt fired out of the tunnel, and slammed into the rifle, burning through the barrel, rendering it inoperative. The next bolt slammed into Tra'an, only to be absorbed, and returned to the world as heat, the item in question being yanked out of the shadows, the person holding it right behind. The blaster crumpled into nothing, as the being was slammed into the wall, the impact sending a piece of stylized silver jewlery flying onto the deck.
A grin formed on the beings face, quickly becoming a sneer. "You'll never live to see tomorrow traitor. The Hammer is coming for you!" The human opened his mouth to speak again, or perhaps to scream a warning about the true nature of his opponent, only to find his windpipe crushed, as he was dropped to the floor. Tra'an sneered and drew one of his blaster pistols, shooting the being in the back of the head, execution style. A second bolt, and a third slagged the crumpled blaster, eliminating the evidence of unusual ability.
Tra'an sighed, then stiffened as a blaster bolt grazed his right arm. Spinning around, a trio of shots sent the prey sliding for cover. With his blaste rifle inoperative, Tra'an opted to flee back to the cargo bay where they had entered, an orderly retreat no longer an option.
"Vodo", he called over the com lines, "I sure hope those security cameras were actually disabled. I'm coming down the main hallway, and there's at least one behind me, and probably more on the way. We have to talk about our, friends, who have appeared in the midst of this."
Aesir saw Tavar looking at something shiny on the man in black’s coat, but couldn’t make out what it was for himself. Aesir returned his attention to trench coat, deciding he was more important for the time being. “Well I don’t suppose you’re willing to just let him go, are you?”
“Hahaha! Sorry, but no,” said the mysterious stranger.
“Worth a try,” Aesir said, shrugging. Something didn’t feel right about this guy, the force and Aesir’s gut feeling were in agreement there. “Okay, well are you willing to tell us who you work for? Maybe this is a misunderstanding?”
“Oh, this is no misunderstanding! The Hammer doesn’t abide traitors!” said trench coat with a mischievous smile.
Aesir’s eyes widened at the comment. “Sorry about this Tavar…” Aesir said as he used the force to move the strange man’s hand away from Tavar’s throat long enough to throw him out of the way, into the adjacent wall. Aesir opened fire, and gunned trench coat down, and walked over to Tavar, “What’s the diagnosis?”
“UGH! I think you broke my arm!” Tavar said angrily.
“Sorry…hold still.” Aesir instructed as he channeled the force into Tavar’s arm to mend the broken bone. “Feel better? We need to move!”
“Yeah… let’s go!” Tavar answered.
Aesir picked up the man’s shiny Hammer’s pin and the two journeymen ran off toward the ship. “Vodo, we have a very serious problem!!” Aeisr exclaimed, running into the hanger bay.
“That’s Consul Taldrya!” Vodo snapped, “But yes, you are correct. I’m aware of the situation…”
The last of the group made it back to the freighter just as large explosion vibrated through the deck plates of the Orbital Platform. Vodo pressed Xander into the cockpit again, urging him to take off as soon as possible. No one was quite sure what was going on, or why it was happening. The Faux Ebon Hawk lifted off of its landing struts and exited the hangar. Vodo stood in the corridor between the cockpit and the center room. He could hear what was being said.
"I grabbed this..." Aesir held out a small metal pin he'd picked up off a body during his sprint back to the ship, "It might be the symbol of those guys back there..."
Tra'an nodded slowly, "Emperor's Hammer Fleet".
"Master Biask!", The Twi'lek's attention snapped back to the cockpit where Xander was pointing out a departing ship behind them.
A Vibre-Class Assault Ship prepared to make a jump to light speed behind them, "Plot their course, we need to follow them!"
Xander's hands flew across the instrument panel as though it was second nature to him. Moments after the Vibre had stretched into infinity and disappeared, the freighter matched their course and jumped as well. Vodo returned to the center room.
"We're in pursuit of the Hammer's assault ship. Its my guess that they took the diamonds and bolted."
Taig eyed the group hesitantly and asked, "And once we catch them?"
"We kill them. Of Course", Vodo's tone was short, but firm, "Returning to the Grand Master, not only with his Cargo in hand but the heads of Hammer's Fist Special Forces as well... I think you can imagine his surprise..."
(Ok, I've been itching to post, so with Xander being iRL, I'll post)
Arack massaged his arm as the MD droid on the fake Hawk examined it; Aesir had done remarkably well but with a battle looming, Tavar had thought it best to make sure.
"Patient 8664, your arm is well healed, but no medical traces have been detected. For the record, can you please provide what chemical was used to heal your arm?" inquired the droid.
"Sorry, not today, MD" sighed the Protector and he sprung up from the examining table and walked out of the room. Threading his way back to the meeting room, Tavar spied Aesir cleaning his weapon and walked over to him.
"Hey, Aesir, thanks for everything back there. I could've been seriously screwed if it wasn't for you"
The Fang of Fear looked up and through his tattooed face smiled at his fast friend. "Sith we may be, Tavar, but there's no point in needless death of our number. Far to many died...died at Antei" replied Aesir, choking up on the last words but nevertheless extending his hand.
Arack grabbed it and pumped it firmly before leaning against the holo-table, the image of the Vibre-class cruiser they were chasing fuzzing up as his robe-clad body fell into it (his armor was stored in the cargo hold as Arack usually didn't wear armor when the situation didn't call for it.
"It makes me wonder though...how did they know we were going to be there? Hammer Special Forces I mean. The Operations Network (OpNet) of the Brotherhood is one of the most secure I've ever seen...it makes no sense" mused Tavar as he tossed his Armory Lightsaber up and down in his hand.
"Agreed...it's probable that they were on the space station where we get the encode from Lynx" reasoned the Zabrak Jedi Hunter. "But then again...we didn't share any info until we got on this ship...which means..."
A palpable silence seemed to fall between the pair as they both reached the same conclusion within a few seconds of the other. Looking at each other, they said in unison.
"They bugged the ship!!"
Breaking apart, the two Journeymen scattered, searching for their task force leader, with echoes of "Master Biask!" and "Consul Taldrya!" rebounding around the faux Ebon Hawk.