Sapphire Squadron Runon comp... 5th LvL Crescents for the winners.
Some time after the mysterious disappearance of a CNS deep space research team a coded distress call was intercepted by DJB sources. On receiving this information, the Dark Council has sent Sapphire Squadron to investigate.
After a long journey into unknown space, you find the signal to be emanating from a huge space craft of unrecognised origin. This seemingly abandoned structure gives you “a bad feeling about this”.
Commander Revenant was first to launch from the underbelly of the Sapphire Star. He punched his thrusters to full power and plummeted toward the huge alien structure.
“Revenant to Colonel Denori,” ordered the Commander, opening a comm channel to the bridge of the Sapphire Star. “Launch two wings of TIEs and instruct them to patrol the area. This is new space so we must proceed with utmost caution. Understand me?”
“Yes Sir,” Replied the tiny holographic image of the Chiss Colonel before it blinked out of existence.
The squadron flew in tight formation with the commander and before long they had found an area to dock. A bubble of energy formed by force field emitters would suit as their temporary landing pad and they set down inside….
The Deathshead shuddered slightly as it left hyperspace. Inside the modfied Firespray the Aedile sat at the controls, enjoying the feel of his new ship around him. No transport like the Platinum Heart, this ship, the choice of such bounty hunters as the Fetts, was a quick and deadly killer bristling with weapons. He guided the controls smoothly around in an arch, bringing the giant myserious craft into view as it filled his display.
Immediatley the communicator crackled. "Unidenitfied craft, this is patrol one Alpha, you will identify yourself." Malisane watched as two TIEs approached, sensing their weapons targeting him.
Malisane nodded. Revenant was bound to have posted patrols, he had followed procedures. "This is the the Aedile of Ludo Kressh, inbound to rendevue with Commander Revenant."
There was a pause. "Very well proceed Aedile."
Malisane thumbed the throttle, smoothly coming in towards Revenants artifical docking bubble.
"Malisane to Revenant over." he waited.
"Malisane, what are you doing here?" Malisane smiled. Revenant wasn't one for formaliiees, especially with one of his former squadron members.
"I thought you could use some assistance in that thing," Malisane replied with a grin,"got a little bored with filing reports."
"Very well," Revenant replied, "do you intend to take command?"
"This is your party Revenant," Malisane replied, "I'm just along to help I'll follow your lead."
"Very well Malisane you are cleared to land, nice ship by the way."
Malisane grinned and slowly angled the Deathshead around, before smoothly descending alongside the fighters of his former Squadron.
Sin was first out of his fighter, his boots hitting the floor with a thud as he jumped out of the cockpit. The interior of the ship was in a state of mild disrepair. Exposed power cables had been chewed through - Mynocks, he thought - and most of the lighting was damaged, save for few blinking strips. A functioning computer terminal stood beside a fully sealed blast door, which appeared to be the only exit.
"Any takers?" asked the Flight Leader. Xayun stepped forward, all smiles. Within a minute, the door hissed open. Xayun turned to spout some bragging comment, but was drowned out by the noise of a large Firespray landing beside their own ships. Exiting the vehicle was their Aedile, Malisane de Ath.
The pilots greeted the Knight, and Sin stepped forward.
"Here to relieve me of command, Mali?" he asked jokingly.
"Of course not, Sin. I'm here to help, not to hinder." the reply was met with a short laugh from the Flight Leader, who waved a hand in the direction of the open door. Both men lost their expressions of amusement, and took on looks of utter professionalism. Without another word, the squad moved deeper into the ship.
A last minute straggler had drifted into the local space. It was faintly seen on the scanners, and appeared to be a dead vessel. Two TIE interceptors were dispatched to verify it visually. The saw a heavily modified matte-black Starwing Assault Gunboat with red markings. As they approached, it flared into life, red lights blinking angrily on the hull.
“Identify yourself, Gunboat!” spoke one of the pilots over the comlink.
“This is call sign Interrogator,” replied the voice. The red paint bore the name “Silooth” on the hull of the Gunboat. Red Ludo Kressh markings completed the design.
One of the TIE’s signaled the base. “Umm, I think it’s… Macron,” he gulped.
“Well, clear him for landing then you idiot,” replied Revenant from his comlink aboard the unknown vessel. Minutes later, the Gunboat slid deftly into the open bay. The cockpit popped with a hiss of gases, and Mononoke stepped out.
“You guys partying without me?” he wondered as he giggled when he entered the command room off of the bay where everyone was. He passed Revenant a cigar.
"Interrogator, eh?" Revenant grinned at his friend. "Appropriate, wouldn't you say?" He drew his lightsaber, activated it, and lit his and Macron's cigars before shutting the weapon down and returning it to his belt.
The members of Sapphire Squadron, accompanied by Aedile de Ath, made their way through the wreckage of the ship. Thankfully, the hull was fairly intact. There were a few breaches is places and that was the first thing that struck Revenant as odd. Not the breaches themselves, but the fact that they had been sealed with particle shields. Why would a derelict craft have shields over the damage to the hull?
As they made their way through the darkened hallways, the flickering strobe of the malfunctioning glow panels casting eerie shadows, Revenant reached out with the Force - and what he felt caused him to recoil in surprise.
Noting his Commander's change in sense Acara Rayden drew colser. "You okay?" he whispered.
"Can't you feel the anguish of this place?" the Knight replied. Now that he was alerted to it, he found it impossible to cleanse the depths of despair that permeated the very structure of the vessel from his mind. Despair, pain, but with something of defiance underpinning it all. "I think this was once a dreadnought of some kind."
Malisane watched Revenant speaking in hushed tones with Acara. It made him uneasy to be left out of the loop. Why should they be keeping information from him? He was their Aedile! He was about to go over and demand an explanation when he had the realisation that perhaps they were trying to avoid being heard not by him, but by whoever - or whatever - was here with them. Besides, this was Sapphire Squadron's mission, Malisane was only here in a support capacity. But still! Hadn't he served with Revenant in this same squadron under Macron's command? And hadn't he served under Revenant himself, if only for a short time? And here his old 'friend' was holding out on him.
Sin struggled to contain an involuntary snarl as Acara and Revenant talked together. What were they discussing that wasn't for his ears? And why could Revenant tell Acara but not him? He was a Flight Leader as well. And on top of that, he and Revenant had been through too much for the Mandalore to keep secrets from him. Or so he thought. Well, words would be had. But that could wait 'til they were back at the Sapphire Star. Sin could act with professionalism, even if some people couldn't.
Xayun glanced around the hallways alertly, ready to counteract any threat to himself or the squadron. He looked around at the whispering between Rev and Acara, then felt the wave of animosity that rolled out from both Malisane and Sin. The Jedi Hunter shook his head, attributing it to nervers or hurt pride, but then felt something else.
We're a squadron, he thought, whatever it is, Revenant should tell it to all of us. Xayun shot a glare into the back of the Flight Commander, then approached Sin.
"Thinking Rev should share whatever it is he's talking about with everyone?" asked the JH. Sin nodded in reply.
"Same here. Doesn't do for a Commander to keep secrets from all but one FL." Xayun slowed, surveying the corridor they had entered. Something was wrong here. Normally he wouldn't even consider doubting Revenant, but now those thoughts had crept in. He mentally shook himself and followed on with the rest of the Squadron. There was something going on in this ship, but he couldn't for the life of him place what it was.
Revenant turned from his conversation with Acara. "Alright guys, time to move. Sin, Xayun, take point. Macron take the rear and watch our backs. Keep it quiet guys we don't know how stable the superstructure is."
They nodded and moved out of the docking area, heading into a dark metal corridor, Sin and Xayun using beam lights to give them a dim view of the corridor ahead. The feeling of nervousness and suspicioun was growing, they half watched each other, and half watched the dark metal surroundings.
The corridors wound around and they took left, then right, then left. Acara held a sensor in his hand, scanning the surroundings and plotting their cause. "Not getting any lifeforms." he reported.
"Macron do you sense anything?" Revenant asked the former Quaestor.
"Nothing," Macron replied, "wait!" he said urgently, his face suddenly pale.
"What?" Malisane said spinning around.
Macron stood stock still. "I don't sense anything," he replied, "just us."
"So whats the problem?" Xayun said turning.
Macron looked to each of them. "I don't sense anything else," he replied, "not the fighters, not the Sapphire Star, nothing. I can't feel anything outside our immediate area."
"Me neither," Malisane said, suddenly realising. He glanced at Revenant and Acerbus who shook their heads.
Revenant raised his communicator. "Commander Revenant to base, over." He paused. "I repeat, Commander Revenant to Sapphire Star, over." He paused again.
Sin tried. "Flight Leader Sin to fighter wings, please respond, over."
They waited. "What the hell is going on out there?" Malisane demanded, "they couldn't have gone."
"Could be the superstructure blocking signals." Acara replied.
"And the force?" Macron demanded.
"Do we go back?" Xayun asked.
"No," Revenant replied glancing at them, "The force is still with us. We press on."
Mononoke smiled, wondering what had dislocated the Force so in this aging hulk. A most interesting conundrum, indeed. Whatever it was, it stopped transmissions of data and comlinks as well.
"Perhaps the active fields had something to do with it," pondered the alchemist out loud as they walked.
He personally felt no animosity, and cared not what petty squabbles the Squadron mates may have. It was refreshing to sit back and watch the others jockey for power. In fact, it was the Sith way. Each of them, Macron included, had their own schemes and machinations. Macron had no intentions of trying to lead, but rather to follow for once.
He stroked his saber hilt absent-mindedly. He could hardly wait to crush some life forms with the Force. It was interesting to watch people die. The insane Battlemaster wondered what this strange decrepit ship had in store for them.
The group continued through the ruined ship, boots ringing on the metal floors. A flicker of movement caught Revenant's eye and he glanced towards its source. The wall to their left was ruptured, metal bent outwards, as though from an internal explosion. The breach was covered by one of the many force fields that protected the hull integrity and the Dark Jedi could all see the patrolling TIE interceptors flying by outside.
It was strange - that Revenant could see the ships outside, but not feel them, and it created a surreal sensation. It was almost as if he was looking at a view screen.
Malisane suddenly spun towards the hull breach, his face lined with anxiety. "Something wrong?" asked the Sith Commander, casually.
"I heard something. Outside." the Aedile replied.
Of course you did, thought Revenant, there are maybe a dozen fighters patrolling out there. But he went over and checked anyway.
The two Knights craned over the breach, trying to peer out intothe inky blackness of space, blackness punctuated by innumerable pinpricks of starlight. And suddenly something raced past them. Malisane and Revenant both jumped backwards, startled, and nearly fell over each other. Whatever it was they had seen, it hadn't been a patrolling TIE. It was crawling along the hull, at a respectable speed.
"Did you see what it was?" asked Malisane.
"No," replied Revenant, "but it had tentacles, and lots of teeth."
Suddenly the rest of the group were trying to crowd round for a look when the air was split by a bone chilling screech, as of rusted metal being torn asunder.
The thirteen assembled members scattered as the ten-foot-long green beast tore through the weakened superstructure.
Macron's old commander instinct told him to take command. "Fall back!" He turned, glancing over his shoulder - and before he knew it, two beady red eyes were staring him straight in the face.
The creature floated through the hole it had created, revealing its wing and mass of tentacles at its rear. Macron instantly recognized the creature.
A Slivilith. Big. With teeth. Not good.
"Go, go, go!" Revenant, Macron, and Malisane led the group back up the hallway, seeking refuge from the massive green beast, and finding none.
The group of Dark Jedi were backed up against a bulkhead. The Slivilith had them cornered and they knew it. Sure it was big, and sharp, but it was slow and they had the Dark Side.
"I'll distract it!" suggested Sin. "The rest of you, take it down." The Jedi Hunter raised his hand in a focussing gesture and let his awareness reach out and touch the Slivilith's mind. When he had a connection he seized and the beast directed its attention to him. Sin gestured towards a breach in the superstructure and the mass of tentacles suddenly found itself extremely curious about the nature of the wall. Revenant threw one of the blades strapped to his leg and it found its mark in the monster's right eye. Rearing up in pain, it let out a strangled sounding bellow, the deck shaking as it crashed back down.
Macron was already on top of it, his saber moving almost to fast to follow, severing the creature's tentacles one by one as they flailed around in an enraged attempt to ward off these strange prey.
With it's attention focussed on Macron, trying to find a way past his orange blade, the Slivilith hadn't even noticed Acara until he was within reach of its left eye. He plunged his blastsword into the beast's remaining good eye and triggered the blast mechanism. The Slivilith let out a sort of rasping yelp which was cut short as its brain exploded out the back of its skull.
Acara wiped the blood and ooze off his blade with his cloak, an expression of distaste etched on his countenance, then directed a grin towards the monster's still twitching remains. "Adumarians don't care how many teeth you have..."
Suddenly the ship lurched as if from an explosion. They heard no blast, but a shrill scream penetrated the air. Somebody was alive here. But were they friendly? Cautiously, they headed deeper into the ruined dreadnaught, seeking the source of that shriek.
Judas herd the blsck and measured it on his radar. It was off the chart what ever race it was it would be a powerful ally, or worse enemy. He waited for orders as he kept his hands near weapon controls.
"What now?" Malisane asked.
"Well we took care of that thing pretty easily." Acerbus said confidently, "no problem."
"Don't be to confident," Malisane replied, "there could be another fifty of them lurking around here somewhere."
"I doubt it," Macron disagreed, "but lets be careful, eh?"
"Come on we're moving out," Revenant said briskly, " Xayun, Sin, take point again. Keep your eyes peeled. Acerbus keep scanning."
"Still can't sense anything outside the immediate area," Macron pointed out.
"Well we'll still get some warning," Revenent replied, "let's move."
They set off, Sin and Xayun in front looking around cautiously their torch beams lighting the black corridors, with Malisane closely behind, Revenent leading the rest and Macron at the rear. They kept their hands near their weapons, all read for an attack that was bound to come.
Suddenly there was an immense creaking noise, a ripping sound that shook the corridor. "Stop!" Revenant barked. They paused for a minute, listening.
"Back!" Sin shouted, before with a twisting of metal a section of the floor gave way, sending Xayun and Sin tumbling into the darkness, Malisane fell and grasped the edge of the hole, his fingers straining. The floor shook again, and he hung on desperately.
"Malisane!" Acara shouted, coming forward.
"Back all of you, get back!" Malisane ordered as the floor creaked again, scrabbling at the edge trying to get a grip.
A second later his fingers slipped and he plunged into the darkness.
"Malisane!" Acara shouted again.
"Stop shouting," Macron said quietly, "you'll have the entire corridor down."
"Back off guys," Revenant agreed, "we'll trace our steps, there must be another way downwards." He turned and lead them back the way they had come.
Malisane opened his eyes to see Xayun looking down at him. "You ok?"
Malisane nodded, "Managed to slow myself down," he replied, "just a few bruises." He got to his feet slowly, checking that his saber still hung from his belt. He looked around, they were in a large chamber, and it was dark save for Sin's torch which he slowly shone around the chamber. They ceiling was dark and they could barely make out the hole they had fallen through.
"What's the plan?" Sin asked.
Malisane closed his eyes, his force senses working. "Can't sense Rev and the others, just the pai of you. Don't know why."
"So we keep going?" Xayun asked.
Malisane nodded, "Yeah, no point in staying here, lets keep going." The three Envoys headed for the door cautiously.
It can't be Amon Thought to himself. "I think I know what they are but its unlikly. K'reed told me about a ancient race called the Ssur. Theres a legend that they sing as they feed of magic untill the user dies or they proove themselves worthy to liv ein the time they have." Belur sighned back hopeing he wouldn;t get recfuled at while he hoped he was wrong.
Acara Rayden looked round at Amon with confusion showing in his features. He had not understood a word of what had been said by his fellow Sapphire member.
"What on Adumar do you mean?" The Flight Leaders eyes flashed as suspision welled up inside him. "The Adumari may have been isolated from the rest of the galaxy for a very long time but i am really sure thats no form of basic i've ever heard. Explain yourself before I decide to use my own methodsof finding out where you learned this," With a gentle wave of his hand the Jedi Hunter pinned Amon against a bulkhead with the Force. "I am NOT willing to have a repeat of the incident with the Jagredites!"
Sin, Malisane and Xayun moved on through the darkness until they reached what appeared to be yet another dead end.
“It looks like we have to find another way back to the others,” proclaimed Xayun in a hushed tone, mindful of the ever-present danger that could lurk around every corner. “This place is like a maze, nothing but dead ends and doors leading to more dead ends.” He shone his torch around to get a better look at the ceiling. Strange glyphs that perhaps once served as a source of illumination could be made out in the dim glow.
Malisane sighed. “Were getting nowhere fast,” said the Knight Adjutant as he studied his small data-pad and made a note of this particular set of runes.
“Any ideas?” He asked, securing the device in a belt pouch.
Sin was already feeling around the walls for a control panel or a service hatch. He had removed one of his gloves and was slowly tracing his fingers over the cold black substance.
“Hmm,” he mused. “This level is surprisingly devoid of computer interfaces. It’s rather unusual but perhaps we are going about this the wrong way. Stand back.”
The half Echani reached for his lightsaber, ignited the red blade and made his attempt to cut at the wall. Sparks flew from the obsidian material as he moved the hilt until suddenly the saber shut off with a flash, almost blinding the envoys.
For a moment all was pitch black. A feeling of cold made the hairs on the back of Sin’s neck stand on end. Then as his sight returned he began to make out the faces of his companions. Xayun had a look of awe on his face, as if the Courascanti Raiders had finally won the championship, and Malisane looked grim and as still as the crystal lakes on corellia……….
Amon was pinned to the almost smileing. "Rayden, you can calm down K'reed whom I said gave me the information is my Jagredite wife, not thats any of your business or do I haft to follow your orders for you are not a flight leader 'SIR' you rank adove me in the Brotherhood means nothing to me. Also remember basic is not my first language." Belur was still smileing he liked he wasn't trusted."I simply said that the things we herd could be lethal to us due to legends that may be true."
"Really? Not a flight Leader?" A smile was on Acara's face as he observed Amon pinned against the wall. "When last I looked I believe that was my rank. Unless of course you were planning to challange me, but then again Commander Revenant may not choose you as my replacement if you did." A slight edge slipped into the tone of Rayden's voice as he continued, "As I AM a flight leader YOU do have to follow my orders but if you are willing to defy them I believe both the way of the Sith and the Ways of Adumari are quite similar in their methods of resolving the problem."
Acara consentrated for a moment and made another movement of his hand sending Amon sliding along the floor for a short moment before he halted. Acara brought his hand over to his right waist, a movement which both realesed Amon and left Rayden with his hand resting on the hilt of his Blastsword.
Acara no longer had a smile on his face as he next spoke. "I doubt the commander will interfere if you take this much further, seen as how you seem to be challanging me." Acara drew his Blastsword activating it and leveling it to point at the floored Flight member, "Well if you are.... I accept by one. Now Flight MEMBER I suggest you think about your next move carefully."
"I don't like this," Malisane said quietly, "we could be anywhere now."
Xayun tried his communicator again. "This is Xayun to Revenant, come in over." He waited a few seconds, "Xayun to Macron can you hear me?" He shrugged. "Still nothing."
Sin looked at the other two Knights. "Where are they?"
Malisane shrugged. "They could be anywhere. I still can't feel anyone except the pair of you. In theory they shouldn't be much further than a hundred metres we didn't fall that far, but no sign of them."
"So what do we do?" Sin asked.
"Your guess is as good as mine." the Aedile replied, "just keep exploring. Keep your sabers ready we don't know whats in here with us."
There was a creaking sound and the floor shuddered. "I don't think this place is stable." Xayun pointed out.
"Me neither," Sin replied, "what do we do if the entire structure disintergrates around us?"
"Die," Malisane said quietly, "come on there's no sense worrying we can't do anything."
Slowly the three envoys picked their way along the corridor.
"Anyway back to 'important' conversation" Amon said knowing his tone would anger Rayden but not careing at the moment."The Ssur ,if i have connected the dots correctly, can kill force-wielding individuals. We need to be careful not even I 'a Krath' know what we are dealing with."
Revenant whirled on his heel and snarled at Judas and Acara. "If you two don't stop this senseless bickering right now I will pluck your still beating hearts from your chests!" This was unbelievable. Lost in a hollowed out shell of an unknown dreadnaught with some anonymous, well something anyway, they seemed to be cust off from the Force, with the exception of their immediate vicinity and these two were squabbling like brats with a new toy. With a sigh Revenant found himself almost wishing that Acara wasn't quite so Adumarian in nature. And Judas should have known better than to challenge and Adumari.
Out of the corner of his eye the Commander spotted something sitting in a corner. Something which, as a Mandalore, he recognised all too well. He hurried over and picked it up, showing it to the others, throwing a meaningful glance at Acara. It was an elongated skull, yellowed with age and adorned with two massive tusks beside the upper jaw. "Does anybody else recognise this?"
Acara frowned at the Commander. "Umm, it looks like a mythosaur skull." And he was correct. It was a massive beast, whose skull had been adopted as the symbol for the Mandalorian crest. This was bad. Very bad.
OOC: Umm, I'm not sure if I can join this or not, but do you guys mind if I do? (Bit late to join in though
A small, battered ARC-170 floated in space, just outside of Corellia's space lanes. If one looked close enough through the cockpit, they could see an angrily gesturing pilot, who was more likely to be arguing with his R2 unit.
"Fine, how in Sandru's Nine Hells was I supposed to know that firing up THOSE sensors would fry THAT?!" Zaknafein yelled at his R2 unit, kindly named "Scrap-pile". "Anyway, I told you to FIX IT!!!"
The droid beeped and screeched at him, then jacked back into the ship's systems to repair what the Chiss had broken. Again.
As the droid's prognosis scrolled across the in-cockpit screen, Mandalore reverted back to his native tongue, tapping various solutions into yet another small screen. He glared at the other screen, waited, then flipped a switch. And-
"NO! NO! TURN IT OFF!!!! 'Pile! I said put the YELLOW wire HERE and the RED wire THERE!!!"
Pile removed the now useless wires, simply tossing them into space, and replaced them according to Zaknafein's directions.
Now try it.
The droid whistled.
The Chiss flipped the same switch, and when nothing exploded into sparks, flipped another, and another until the cockpit fairly hummed with activity.
"OK, I think that's got it. Are you sure
you fixed the comm relays?"
Another garbled beep.
"You'd better hope so."
Zak's gloved hand pressed down on a red button, then flipped yet another switch, this one green. He waited until the dim row of lights lit up, then removed his hands. Mandalore tapped his helmet, then switched the frequency to match the one Rev had last given him. Out of pure impulse, he also decided to try the comlink frequency all Mandalores had. He could only hope Rev or one of the Mandalores with him still carried one.
"Hey, commander, I'm sorry about the delays. It seems I had to serve some jail time on some dirtball of a planet, and Scrap-Pile hasn't been helping. I go to fire up systems he was supposed to have fixed months ago, and I wind up frying half of the wiring in my ship."
He waited 30 seconds, then tried again. After a few tries he though he heard something, faint, but strongly garbled.
"Whoever you are, switch your frequency to Alpha, Omega, 66. I repeat, switch your frequency to Alpha, Omega, 66."