Great Jedi War Viii: Incursion


15-07-2007 16:15:49

Right of Supremacy Award Ceremony
Victory Star Destroyer Vae Victus
Dark Council Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

When the ceremony was done Consul Manesh Sadow had handed over the code cylinders of office to his successor, Macron Keibatsu, recently named Macron Sadow. Before heading to his shuttle back to the Covenant Manesh had first taken a moment to visit the Taldryan quarters and seal an alliance with Duga Arkarso. It had come as a surprise to many, not least most of the elder clansmen, but something had changed in Manesh over the last few days.

There were whispered rumours that since Xanos, now calling himself Darth Vexatus, had returned from Korriban he had convinced Manesh of his wild theories about the so called Far Outsiders. Fortunately, no one other than Manesh seemed to have been swallowed up by them. Still, nobody resented an alliance with Taldryan. It may have been based on the insane visions of a madman, but it would serve it's purpose – and when the time came, the Clan could use it to their advantage, and it would mean the end of Taldryan.

“So, any ideas on a Proconsul yet?” asked Ashia.
Macron smirked. It was the kind of delicious smirk only a sadist could do right. “I have a few ideas.”
“So long as it's a Krath,” said Ashia jokingly.

Captain's office

“We've been through all this before,” Lord Khyron was saying. “The Star Chamber does not sense anything. Your visions must be wrong.”
“So you question whether I even foresaw the clone?” replied Lord Vexatus.
“We question whether you foresaw anything,” said Lord Firefox. “How do you know these visions of yours aren't a thousand years away? Or even from the past? Antei has burned before. Perhaps that is what you saw.”
Vexatus sighed.
Lord Cotelin stood up. “Visions are always unclear, Xanos. We know that better than most.”
“Xanos is dead. My name is Vexatus.”
Jac shook his head. “My mistake. Just meditate on what we have said. There must be something you have missed.”

The meeting broke up and the Sith Lords all began to make their way back to their ships or the lower floors. Before emerging from the turbolift Vexatus felt a nearby stirring in the Force. Trevarus Caerick. The doors opened and the mad oracle of the Dark Brotherhood stood before him.

“Greetings, my apprentice,” said the Krath Master.
Vexatus snorted. “I stopped being that long ago, Master.”
Trevarus laughed. “You will always be my apprentice. Now, I hear rumours you have taken a new name.”
Trevarus shook his head. “Such silly Sith customs. Anyway, that is not why I am here. Tell me, how did your meeting with the Star Chamber go?”
Vexatus raised an eyebrow. “How did you...?”
Trevarus merely grinned.
“They didn't listen.”
“They never do. Why else would they need an oracle to see what they can not?”
Vexatus considered the point.
“So, tell me of these visions...”

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Captain Simonetti, a tall, muscular man with a prosthetic arm and a scar across most of the left side of his face strolled almost casually over to the comm station. “Report.”
“Sir, we've just lost contact with Orian,” replied the comm officer.
Simonetti mused over the thought for a moment. “Is the HoloNet down?”
“No, sir. All standard checks confirm green. We're just not getting any response.”
The captain inclined his head to gaze out the main viewport. “Can you think of any reason?”
The comm officer looked distinctly uncomfortable.
“Well?” probed Simonetti.
“Sir, it's almost as if they aren't responding. As if...” the comm officer trailed off.
“As if something has attacked them. Exactly my thoughts, ensign. Contact the new governor-general immediately.”

Victory Star Destroyer Vae Victus
Dark Council Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Macron groaned when the familiar beeping of his comm link sounded. This being Consul thing was going to take some getting used to.

“Governor Keibatsu here.”
“Captain Simonetti, sir,” said Simonetti, his voice noticeably unsettled. “Sir, I thought you may like to know we've lost contact with Orian.”
Macron played back what Simonetti had just said in his head. “Can you repeat that?”
“We've lost contact with Orian, sir. We don't have any more details yet.”
“I see. Contact me if you hear any more,” said Macron.
“Roger, sir. Simonetti out.”

Macron rubbed his forehead. Losing contact this close to the Shroud was not uncommon. The distortion was a problem they were all familiar with. He surmised Simonetti simply didn't understand the complexities of it. Returning to his conversation, Macron ordered another round of drinks.


“I see,” mused Trevarus. “And you say you have been having this same dream for, what, two years?”
“At least,” said Vexatus.
“This isn't good. I knew something was wrong ever since these Far Outsiders first appeared.”
Vexatus looked at his former master. “You know of them?”
Trevarus lowered his face. “No. And yes.”
The Sith Lord sighed. “Riddles. I should have known.” Vexatus expected Trevarus to smile, but he didn't.
“It was when I was serving the Grand Admiral, you remember.”
“When you were an Inquisitor, I know.”
“There is a place in the Unknown Regions. A place like no other. It exists but it does not feel.”
“And the relation between the two is...?” pressed Vexatus.
“That I do not know. All I know is you are right to fear them.”
Vexatus looked Trevarus in the eye. “That's it?”
Trevarus shrugged. “You expected a divination?”
The Falleen sighed. “So, you can't help either.”
“No,” said Trevarus impatiently, “but I do believe you.”
“At least Sarin is doing something. Even if I don't know what he's really up to.”
Trevarus smiled. “That's what you get for living like a hermit for a year, my apprentice.”


“What's going on?” called Quejo as he came running toward Macron and Ashia.
Ashia shrugged. “We don't know. The sirens just started to ring a few moments ago.”
“We're heading back to the Covenant right now,” said Macron.

Something was wrong. They could all feel it. Throughout the ship they could sense a sudden tension beginning to swell throughout the crew. The bridge rung out in the Force with unease. Throughout the cantina the celebrations came to an abrupt halt as people picked up their comm links and immediately after began rushing for the exits. In the distance, the sound of turbolaser batteries beginning to ring out could be heard echoing down the corridors.

Something had gone very wrong indeed.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

“Who are they?” barked Captain Nesh'ira'ka.
“Unclear, sir,” replied the lieutenant standing over the comm station. “They're not showing up on most of our main sensors.”
“Stang,” muttered Shirak under his breath. “How did they find us? Have you analysed their entry vector?”
The lieutenant shook his head. “No good, sir. Whatever kind of hyperspace technology they're using it's not showing any recognisable ion signatures. We can't backtrack it.”
Shirak cursed. “Is there anything you can tell me?”
“Only that their craft aren't anything I've ever seen before...well...” the ensign over by the tactical desk grew quiet.
The Chiss captain marched over to the tactical desk and looked down at him. “Well? What?”
“Well... have you seen any HoloNet footage of those aliens? Yunan Vong or something?”
“Yuuzhan,” corrected the comm officer.
“Yeah, them. Sir.”
Captain Shirak moved over to the viewport to get a better look at the enemy ships. They certainly weren't like anything he'd ever seen before. Not outside the Unknown Regions... his mind wandered back to the war with the Vagaari.
“Captain?” interrupted the tactical officer.
Shirak snapped back to the present. “Full shields. Launch fighters. And find out where the Governor-General is.”

Muurian Transport Keepsake
Dlarit Security Force Transport
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

“Can't this thing go any faster?” shouted Ashia from the rear of the main hold.

The Keepsake shot through space as fast as it's engines could push it. In the distance the alien battle group pressed forward, streams of rock and plasma surging out in all directions. The Keepsake shook as a flight of starfighters exploded nearby.

“That was too close,” said Horus.

Shinichi Endymiron K

15-07-2007 23:12:10

Starfighter Kiba-One
Kyataran Experimental Starfighter
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

The blackness of space gave him comfort. The sheer vastness of it all and the knowledge that out here, Shin’ichi Endymiron Keibatsu was completely alone somehow put his troubled mind at ease. He was putting the Kiba through another series of exercises and hoping that all the bugs had finally been worked out. The Krath allowed his mind to wander as muscle memory took control of the tiny vessel.

Hurtling through space like a meteorite the ship spun effortlessly and stopped abruptly to spin on its axis and take off into the direction from which it had just come. Shin’ichi spent several moments stopping, spinning, and then tearing off again sometimes in the opposite direction and sometimes from angles that would have taken other ships long moments to position into. The Keibatsu allowed himself a pleasing thought about his skill and the craft he piloted when the early warning system erupted.

The cockpit was awash in the strobe effect of the warning lights and the sirens were almost deafening. With celerity the pilot assessed their meaning fearing that some combination of critical systems had failed and that he would die in the coldness of space alone. The reality was much much worse.

From everywhere and at once thousands upon thousands of unidentified starfighters appeared. Knowing that to engage was suicide the Epic rotated once more on the axis of the ship and made all possible speed towards the amassed Dark Brotherhood fleet that lay before him.

”VSD Covenant, VSD Covenant, this is Kilo-One on rapid approach vector to your starboard side. Prepare hanger for hot landing, and for Sith sake identify unknown vessels on my six.” The harsh metallic sound of the Krath’s artificial voice crackled over the secure communications frequency of the Victory Star Destroyer Covenant, the Flagship of Clan Naga Sadow.

”Kilo-One, Kilo-One, this is Covenant Actual. Hanger is prepped for your arrival. Be advised that unknown hostiles on your six are Yuuzhan Vong starfighters.” Milliseconds passed as Shin’ichi processed what he had just heard.

”Copy that Covenant. Has Macro…Charlie-November-Sierra Actual arrived yet?”

The Captain of the vessel was caught somewhat off guard by the Krath’s statement.

”Negative Kilo-One he is enroute.”

Shin’ichi smiled, or at least displayed as much of a smile as his masked visage would allow.

”Copy that Covenant, I hereby assume command of the battlegroup.” Shin’ichi cut communications before any response could be sent and concentrated on landing with no tractor beams and moving several times above what safety protocols mandated.

Screaming into the hanger the Epis called every bit of Dark Side energy he could muster to stabilize the ship and put her down without damaging any of the fighters in the bay. With a metallic thud the ship landed and Shin’ichi jumped from the cockpit into a full sprint out of the hanger and towards the bridge. He grabbed the comlink on his belt and began issuing orders as he sped towards the command center of the Covenant.

Muurian Transport Keepsake
Dlarit Security Force Transport
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

He did what?! Ashia nearly screeched into the comm.

”He’s assumed command of the battlegroup in light of the Consul’s absence at this moment.” Came the voice of the Covenant’s communications officer.

Horus looked at his Quaestor and smiled slyly. ”Well…you did say you wanted a Krath as Proconsul.”

Ashia slumped in her seat as the shuttle made its final approach into the hanger.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

”Where’s the Dark Prophet!?”

”She been destroyed sir. Clan Taldryan has already been hit by these things.”

”And you’ve lost contact with Orian as well?”

”It would seem so sir. All attempts at contacting any of our assets in the Orian system have failed.”

”Then empty those hanger bays and get a fighter net up ASAP! Do we have orders from the Vae Victus?” Shin’ichi bellowed in his horrid synthetic voice as officers and crew moved at top speed to bring the ship and all its defenses to full readiness.

”Lord Ashen has ordered us to retreat into the shroud Lord Keibatsu.” Came the response from Captain Nesh'ira'ka. His red eyes seemed to glow with rage at being ordered to retreat.

”What of the rest of the leadership Captain, where are they?”

”Lady Ashia and Lord Horus landed moments ago, and Lords Macron, Quejo, and Nekura are enroute. Lord Xanos is also aboard but hasn’t showed himself since the crisis began”

The Keibatsu nodded solemnly and took the Public Address microphone from the wall. He took a deep breath, keyed the mic and spoke to the officers and crew of the VSD Covenant. ”Moments ago an alien fleet entered the system and began to systematically attack all ships of the Dark Brotherhood. The flagship of Clan Taldryan, our newest ally, has been completely destroyed.” He allowed the words to hang in the air before continuing. ”We are furthermore unable to raise any response from the Orian system. For all we know these…things have struck there as well.” Shin’ichi looked at the hardening faces of the bridge officers and as his sister-in-law Ashia came through the doors, her robes flowing and mind a mass of rage, confusion, and fear, Shin’ichi said the one thing that everyone needed to hear. ”As of this very moment…our only imperative…is war!” Slamming the mic back into place the Epis turned to face the new arrivals.


16-07-2007 08:54:23

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Captain Simonetti received word from the VSD Covenant, and patched through Lord Keibatsu. The Wandering Soul crew had heard Shin’ichi announcement. Simontti could only imagine what hell was raining down on the Orian system.

It was at that moment that Naga Sadow's Clan Envoy walked onto the Wandering Soul's bridge. He looked enraged, "This was not my idea of how I wanted to spend this day." Ashura Isradia commented. The Sith Warrior, like the rest of the Brotherhood, had been completely taken by surprise by this attack. Although Isradia wasnt the one to stand about and do nothing.

"Do we have a casualty report yet? And just how badly we have been hit?" The Envoy asked the Captain. "No yet, a full report is coming soon." The Near-Human looked around the bridge. He could feel the fear and disbelief from the bridge officers, along with many other of the crew, and the Journeymen aboard the cruiser.

"Our orders are to retreat into the Shroud, most likely to regroup and arrange for a counterstrike.” Simonetti commented, as he noticed Ashura's azure eyes peering at his staff. This Isradia was new, and came across more beast then man sometimes.

"Captain, I want you to patch me through to the Covenant. Get someone who on Summit level, I want a full detail of what happened. I also need you to find where Tsingtao and Imperial are currently located, and get them to contact me ASAP." Ash said.

Simonetti didnt take kindly to being ordered about by this man, he official didnt hold any authority here. "Are you telling me what to do, on my ship, on bridge?!?" The captain said angrily. "No," the Sith replied, "I'm asking you to do it. As if you dont I will KILL YOU! HAVE I MADE MYSELF PERFECTLY CLEAR ON THIS!!!"

It was obvious that Clan Envoy wasnt in the mood to deal with Simonetti’s antics. The Brotherhood was at war, and it was a war that Ashura intended to win. "Crystal," Simonetti replied, and ordered his comm officer to get in contact with the VSD Covenant at once.


16-07-2007 10:26:21

Private Quarters
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

“,” came Lord Sarin's voice over the ship's intercom, badly distorted by the Shroud.

Lord Vexatus stood staring out of the viewport of his quarters. Outside he could see the twisting shape of the Vong destroyer analog sailing over the Vae Victus, its rows of lava cannons raining down a constant stream of rock and plasma. The star destroyer was attempting to fight back, its turbolasers targeting what could at best be described as the Vong ship's bridge, at worst some kind of mouth. The Victus soon realised it was pointless as its fire seemed to bend and then simply disappear into nothingness.

“Gravitational fields,” murmured Vexatus to himself. He may not have been able to sense the Vong or their ships, but he could feel the distortion in space well enough. “Creative.”

The Sith Lord found himself amused. He almost wanted to just leave them all to burn.


Macron came charging through the turbolift doors, demanding a status report as he approached Captain Shirak and Epis Keibatsu.

“It doesn't look good, Governor,” said Shirak. “The rest of the fleet are reporting heavy losses. The Taldryan Naval Service is reporting the loss of it's Victory-class Star Destroyer already.”
“Stang,” swore Macron. He turned to Shin'ichi. “You've assumed command?”
Shin'ichi straightened up. “Yes, Governor.”
Macron considered it for a moment. “How would you like to be the new Adjutant General?”
Shin'ichi gave a slight nod. “It would be an honour, Governor.”
“Done,” said Macron. Though neither of them had said it in front of the Captain, they both knew what Macron really meant. “Well get to it commander.”
The new Proconsul snapped to attention, giving a quick salute. “At once, Governor.”

The Covenant's hull quaked under the onslaught of the Far-Outsider's weapons. It's belly had begun to unload fighters but they would do little good. There were literally hundreds, thousands of Vong ships swarming around the brotherhood fleet. Like some kind of insects, the Vong starfighters shot through the outlying screening vessels with no apparent regard for their own life. It was almost as if they wanted to die, as if they welcomed it.

Nebulon Frigate Foresight
Dlarit Security Force Frigate
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Sai Keibatsu stood watching Captain Jori issuing orders.

“Bring us alongside the Wandering Soul. We'll focus our fire power on the approaching corvette.”
“Corvette?” asked Sai.
Jori turned to look at him. She frowned. “Whatever that thing is. The medium sized one throwing plasma at us.” Jori turned back to the comm officer. “Get on with it. Contact Captain Simonetti.”

It was chaos. The same scene repeating itself on every bridge in the brotherhood fleet. Troubled deck officers, broken chains of command and, most of all, no idea how to engage the enemy. The Yuuzhan Vong had surprised the Dark Council, but not just the Dark Council, the Dlarit Security Force, the Kraken Battlegroup, the Taldryan Naval Service. It was chaos. The brotherhood had been exposed.

Sai began speaking to Jori again only to be cut off mid sentence.
“Kid, look out that window. There's a war going on out there. We don't have time for talk. Come back when you're Governor.”
Sai grit his teeth as he turned back to the viewport.

Yes, the brotherhood had been exposed to the Yuuzhan Vong. This was war. All of a sudden, everything the brotherhood had sought to build seemed to come crashing down around them. With the military chain of command standing in their way and unable to issue orders the Dark Jedi of the Dark Brotherhood felt alone and vulnerable. The end would not come in a blaze of glory, a glorious battle between light and dark, but in nothingness, consumed by the still death of the Yuuzhan Vong and the empty void they left in their wake.

Death came not just for the brotherhood, but for the very Force itself.

For the first time in their existence the brotherhood knew fear.

Nekura Manji

16-07-2007 11:15:45

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Single eye narrowing in fury, Epis Nekura Manji Keibatsu stared out of the bridge window at the Shroud, inching towards them. On either side of the Covenant Yuuzhan Vong ships swooped and whirled, shooting down the starfighters of Naga Sadow- killing, wounding, destroying. Trying to ignore them, the Epis focussed on the one thing that was certain, the one thing that he could count on in the midst of all this chaos- he was not about to die. Not just yet.

Suddenly a red light flashed on the command console to one side of him. Instantly it was answered, Captain Shirak slamming a fist down on the intercom to hear the message.

*bzzt* “This is Simonetti of the Wandering Soul, I have Envoy Ashura Isradia demanding to speak to someone at Summit level. Shirak, anyone there?

Glancing around, Shirak cursed silently. Macron and Shin’ichi were at the front of the bridge, formulating a battleplan and Quejo Drak’ai, the newly appointed Quaestor of Marka Ragnos, was not yet on the bridge. Glancing across at the scarred face of the Epis, Shirak gestured towards the console mildly.

Striding forwards, Manji pressed the button impatiently.

“This is Epis Nekura Manji Keibatsu, Aedile of Marka Ragnos. Put me through to Envoy Isradia.”


Seconds later Ashura’s voice rang through the intercom.

What the hell’s going on, Manji? And where are my Envoys?!

With a sigh, the Epis leaned forward, his good eye still staring out of the bridge window at the approaching Shroud.

“Relax, Ashura. We got attacked by Yuuzhan Vong. They’ve decimated the Brotherhood’s fleet. Our only option is to flee into the Shroud and hope they can’t follow. As for Tsingtao and Imperial, I don’t know where they are- they’re not on the bridge here.”

Looking back at Captain Shirak as the naval officer continued to manipulate his command console furiously, the Epis spoke quietly.

“Can you spare someone to try and find them?”

Nodding, Shirak beckoned a nearby ensign towards him and murmured the instructions, the man moving away at a speedy walk. Turning back to the intercom, Manji spoke again.

“We’ve sent someone to try and find them, but right now I wouldn’t worry about your Envoys. I’d worry about your own life, and the fate of the Clan. Hell, I’d worry about the fate of the Brotherhood itself, if I was you. This is no exercise, this is war.”

His emotions seemingly more under control, Ashura spoke again.

…affirmative. I’ll try and muster the warriors on the Wandering Soul, get them prepared for battle. Over and out.

Moving away from the intercom, Manji shook his head with a snarl. Everything was moving too quickly- all the power and might of the Brotherhood repelled with ease, in such a short space of time. Now they were being forced to flee from combat like worthless dogs. That thought did not sit well with the pride-filled Epis.

His glance turned to Macron and Shin’ichi, at the head of the bridge. A slight smile curved across his lips as he moved forwards to join them.

On second thoughts… we’re Keibatsu. These Yuuzhan Vong honestly think they can defeat us?

I look forward to seeing them try.

Macron Sadow

16-07-2007 13:29:07

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Gravity wells…” came the secure code stream from Xanos below decks. “Adjust your inertial compensators.

Macron frowned and rubbed his chin as he put the comlink down. The mad Sith Lord’s mutterings had proven to be true so far. “ Right. Shin, I remember something about these things called “Basals” or something from my Bothan contact. She was saying that the Alliance reported some sort of shield-stripper, or something. I say we fight at range,” stated the Consul. “And try adjusting the inertial compensators according to Vexatus.”

“Lord Vexatus? You sure he's..." The Krath's brow wrinkled in concern as he spoke.

"He was right so far," hissed the alchemist as he watched a Sadow fighter get incinerated by plasma on the viewscreen.

"Copy that,” replied the Adjutant General. “Well, if we have to retreat for now, let’s move back into the Shroud and establish a picket line with Taldryan,” he said while pointing at the holomap. “There should do.”

“Logical,” chuckled Macron as he sent the encrypted text to Consul Duga. “So unlike you,” he smiled.

“I’m quite logical,” Shin’ichi said disapprovingly while running a tactical simulation.“Especially when it comes to combat. You know that.”

“True. Ahh..I have confirmation from Taldryan. They have lost the Dark Prophet,” whispered Mononoke. He stood up from the small data screen. “Captain, move us into position.”

“Aye, aye Governor,” replied the officer as he touched the instrument bank. “Make your course oh-one-seven-niner,” he instructed the helm crew. “Move out at flank speed.”

The swarms of strange craft and fighters continued to duel around the Covenant. Manji stared at the viewscreen, teeth clenched. Two fighters were converging on one of the smaller enemy craft, and it appeared to slow as both Sadow ships opened fire on it. His single eye blinked. “Maybe they have a limit,” he wondered. “It’s hard to tell.”

Nero Pennant

16-07-2007 14:23:25

Journeymen's Quarters
Victory Star Destroyer "Covenant"
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

"No, no, no, no..." Came the muttered whispers from the Journeyman Nero Pennant. He'd only just gotten into the Brotherhood, having spent his life running from things. He was trapped here, on board a large ship facing an enemy so terrifying, it had shaken him to his very core.

He'd heard the chatter as all the crew that needed to be at a station; it was the Yuuzhan Vong. On his home planet of Alpharidies, where the Miraluka first came to existence, they had lived in fear of these creatures. Even the Elders spoke with fear in their voices as they spoke of the Yuuzhan Vong. And Nero was at this moment no different.

He'd heard that they do not have a connection to the Force, defying the Miraluka ability to 'see' the Force around someone. "How is that possible?" He wondered to himself as he sat in a corner, cowering in fear. His knees were practically part of his chin now, and he held his dagger out in front of him as if to protect himself.

People were milling all around him, needing to be somewhere to help with the defense of the Brotherhood. But while Nero had thought that he should be with them, his phobia had taken control, rooting him to the spot with fear.

"For the love of the Force, man, get up!" A crewman yelled at him, but it wasn't much use. Nero needed to find a way off the ship and preferably in the next system as soon as possible. All he had to concentrate on was keeping his cool enough to be able to head to the hangar bay.

It took ten minutes of supreme willpower on Nero's part to be able to shakily get on his feet. Still holding his dagger out in front of himself, he made his way to the door, and opened it slowly.

There was confusion and panic outside and people were running around. "Good," Nero muttered under his breath, "Maybe they'll keep the Vong occupied while I make my way to the hangar." He made sure he had everything he needed, then slipped out and began making his way down through the structure of the ship, hoping to see some chance of rescue.

Kaelin Ring

16-07-2007 15:43:27

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

“Dev! Get those engines online! You’re coming with me. Romcl Wabre, or whatever you call yourself, get into the Gunner seat. I’m copilot for this.”

Engines fired up all around them as Kaelin and Devani prepared his ARC-170 fighter for take off. The large Togorian could not stand still while he waited for the engines to warm up. Outside he felt another clan death. It could not have been more than an Initiate, but still. Every brotherhood loss was unacceptable and infuriating.

How could this happen? The most powerful beings in the Galaxy, able to feel a ripple in the Force from miles upon miles away taken by surprise! With no time to commit to absentmindedness, he swiveled in his chair and tested the cannons power and the torpedo supply. The Sith human sat down next to him. The engines were primed and ready. With one final check, the ARC lifted off, disappearing from the view of the hanger.

Outer space, near Shroud
Antei System, Shroud’s edge

Outside everything was in disarray. Brotherhood ships were being torn to pieces by ships that look quite literally like flying rocks. Perfectly aimed shots seemed to disappear near the ships, while a near constant stream of plasma was ejected by all of the rock ‘fighter’ ships. Slightly larger ships floated around as well, these issuing as many as five plasma streams as well. These the crews took to calling Cruisers, if one could call a shovel a teaspoon. The fighters seemed to detach from another ship that looked to contain several fishlike attachments.

As the casualties mounted, more of these odd ships began to arrive. They seemed to have hidden behind the giant floating moon that moved of its own accord, possibly using gravitational fields to propel itself about. Dozens of different ships appeared from behind it and the Brotherhood looked on in dismay. If they had been expecting an easy battle, they were reconsidering their assumptions.

By this time the VSD Covenant was a fourth of the way into the Shroud. Its fighters and other smaller ships either returned to the hanger or formed a rear guard. In the entire rear guard there was only one that was not a Dark Jedi.

Alien fighters streamed towards the Shroud. Many were attacked en-mass by the rear guard. Kaelin could be heard cheering quietly as his blaster shot ripped a hole into the foreign ship. From the hole a creature was sucked into the vacuum of space, his body imploding from the pressure. As the rearguard looked back, the last of the Covenant slipped into the Shroud. Wasting no time the Dlarit forces sped after them. If any of the attackers followed, they knew it not.


16-07-2007 17:40:26

Matalok Cruiser Analog Perfect Agony
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Commander Kol Amnan screeched in disgust. “The Jeedai escaped!”

The warrior who had reported the news to the Yuuzhan Vong commander withdrew his coufee and held it out to the Commander. “My life in payment to Yun-Yammka.” Without hesitation Commander Amnan grabbed hold of the coufee in and a single fluid motion slit the warrior's throat.

A second warrior who had been waiting in the open entrance sphincter nearby stepped forward. “Orders, my lord?”
“Bring me more Jeedai,” growled Amnan. He gestured to the corpse beside him. “Unless you wish to join him.”

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

“Sensors inoperable, commander,” said one of the ensigns at the tactical desk.
Shin'ichi scowled at him. “Does anything work?” The ensign merely shook his head. “I cannot work like this. What was Muz expecting we'd do?”
“Maybe he was hoping we'd fly into a moon and the Vong would follow,” said Macron. “It's what I'd do.”
Shin'ichi narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, well, not everyone is a madman, Mac.”

It was almost impossible to make anything out through the main viewport. The Shroud was as black as night, rendering all sensors inoperable, distorting shield systems and making any kind of visual identification impossible. The most Shin'ichi could make out were vague dark shapes moving in the distance.

“So, what are we meant to do now?” said Ashia.
“I guess we wait,” replied Shin'ichi. “Captain, maintain heading. If Muz said we go deeper into the Shroud, we go deeper into the Shroud.” We just better not hit anything, he thought to himself.

Yorik-trema Transport Analog Maw of Anguish
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

“Prepare for impact,” barked the subaltern.

The transport ship quaked as it collided with the infidel ship. The strange stellar phenomenon was making it impossible for the shaper's creations to see within it. Under his breath the subaltern cursed whatever foul and unholy abilities these Dark Side Jeedai were using to coordinate their forces.

Outside the mouth of the Yorik-trema made short work of the infidel vessel's plating, oozing acid strong enough to dissolve whatever shell encrusted the mechanical abomination. In a few moments the Yuuzhan Vong warriors felt the faint pop of air as the Yorik-trema re-pressurised, adjusting to accommodate the opening to the target vessel.

“We are through, warriors! For Yun-Yammka! Do-ro'ik vong pratte!” cried the subaltern.
Do-ro'ik vong pratte!” bellowed the warriors behind him as they surged through the Yorik-trema's mouth.

And woe to our enemies.

Nebulon Frigate Foresight
Dlarit Security Force Frigate
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

“Captain Jori,” shouted one of the deck officers, urgency filling his voice.
The female Zabrak wandered over. “Yes?”
The deck officer visibly gulped. “We have a breach.”
Jori raised an eyebrow. “Breach? What do you mean?”
“He means we've been boarded,” said Sai, approaching Captain Jori.
“What? How do you know that?” Sai didn't answer. Jori turned back to to the deck officer. “Well? Is he right?”
The officer swallowed again. “Yes,” he mumbled. “We appear to have a Vong boarding party on deck seven.”
Jori glanced at Sai, widening her eyes in disbelief. “Can you get me a visual?” she asked.
The officer nodded. With a few button presses he pulled up an image of about a dozen Yuuzhan Vong warriors cutting their way through the security personnel stationed at the breach.
“Sithspit,” spat Jori causing Sai to frown. “How are you with a weapon?” she asked him.
Sai looked at her with amusement. “You're asking a Keibatsu how he is with a weapon?”
Jori narrowed her eyes. “What? No matter,” she shook her head. “If you can use a blaster, get down there. We don't have enough men to spare. Most of the army personnel are on the Covenant.”
Sai smiled. “With pleasure.”

Deck 7

A Jeedai lay sprawled at the feet of one of the Yuuzhan Vong warriors, writhing as he tried to escape the hold of the blorash jelly.

Tchurokk Yun'tchilat!,” cried the subaltern.

Witness the will of the Gods!

“One of you, take him to the Yorik-trema, we will show him the Embrace of Pain when we return to the Perfect Agony!” ordered the subaltern. “The rest of you, follow me! Do-ro'ik vong pratte!”

Do-ro'ik vong pratte!”

Private Quarters
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Lives blinked out of existence. Dozens, sometimes hundreds in one go. The Sith Lord stared blankly out of the viewport. He could feel them, some of them, writhing in agony, presumably taken captive aboard one of the Far-Outsider's vessels. It was an effort not to take comfort in their pain. They were his brothers, his friends. But they had treated him like an outcast, this war, this chaos was what they deserved.

Through passion, I gain strength, he thought to himself. Yes, he would wait. He would let them Vong come. It was only right the brotherhood learned it's lesson. Learned to know fear once again.

“Fear is the path to the dark side,” he whispered. “How could they have been so arrogant to forget?”

The ship shuddered. He felt the tell tale flicker of live's being ended. Ah, he thought. So, the Yuuzhan Vong have finally arrived. The Covenant would witness the truth of their arrogance soon enough.

Shan Long

16-07-2007 19:58:09

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Private Meditation Room
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

The glass is shattering... Spiderwebs of crinkling veins coursed across the thick glass of his visions, he reached an hand out to sooth the impact, yet thousands of shards ripped through his flesh... cold... something was empty.

Outsiders. Far Outsiders. Flashes of blackness, no... not just of blackness.... but of sheer nothingness.... but red, glowing brightly in streaks of sable. He screamed, and his voice caught in his throat. Nothing. He panicked, feeling the dread passion of his other clawing blood-soaked mad to the foresight of his consciousness. No. Fury must be stayed, he searched for an answer, looking through every possibility. One line of inky Force drew his attention. It twisted, pusling with thousands of variations, each spinning off in a tangent of sealed fate, twisting then falling away dead. At the end of each, he saw his own death. Madness threatened to overtake him.

I never knew the name of that place. I knew not why the Great One had shown me this. He must have a reason. I told him what I felt.

Stars glitter through a clear canopy, he stands next to someone, staring at the bright pinpoints, or faded specks of dust across dark velvet. Mechanical structures taper off to a point somewhere far in the distance, a daggerlike menace of conquest. His eyes drift to the brilliant sphere of blue-green peace below, and feels something wrong. Thousands are screaming, dying mortal anguish. It is the cry of his mother in the dark. Rage and fear, ecstacy and hope well out of his being.
"Trevarus." A regally calm voice intones behind him.
The young man opens his eyes. He turns to face the voice, his eyes following the crisp white uniform of an Imperial Grand Admiral, contrasted by dark blue skin of an impossible strong chin, high cheekbones. His eyes settle into the glowing red orbs of a legend who was still a secret.
"What do you feel from that world?"
"Death, Admiral. That world is doomed."
"Quite right, Commander. What don't you feel?"
"There is a void in the Force, a sense of something more unnatural than even the deepest bowels of His Majesty's laboratories."
"Again, more astute than I should expect of one so experienced."
"They are the Eaters. The Galaxy, as the Republic, the Empire, even the Sith and the Jedi understand it, is about to be consumed."
"Why did you bring the Admonitor here? They'll find us."
"You need to see, Commander. You need to know fear."

I knew, but I never told them. We are the most widely travelled of the Way. Our vision has show us much, into the deepest levels of the Force. We raided a powerful place in the aftermath of the Eaters. They are the Destroyers of Worlds.

They have now come for us.

Who can stop them? They will eat our souls.

Yet, we have no soul.

Panting, the Master opened his eyes. All around him, the Force screamed its potent rage. So much suffering, anguish. It fueled a Rage in his soul unlike any he had felt before. The howling of Shan Long was a murmer in the night. It was a quiet storm, though. The chaos was eaten by a force... a presence... that had no presence.

He sensed fear, death, mortal terror. Yet there was no rhyme or reason. No method... there was nothing! He could feel nothing!

For a moment, the memory almost made sense to him.

He had to pierce the Shroud. He felt the cold tendrils of the Force all around him, screaming their ferocity.

Trevarus stood, sweat dripping onto the floor, his robes soaked with perspiration. He paused at the door to his chamber, composing himself with a series of exhalations. He sensed nothing out of the ordinary, even Shan Long had fallen into torpor.

Heavy boots thundered on the metal decking, the Master stalked his way through corridors. Junior officers stood back, allowing the insane legend to pass unchallenged. None voiced a word of protest outside the Sith Lord's private study. With a wave of his hand, the doors slid noiselessly open.

"Xanos." Trevarus said simply.

"What the hell happened to you, Trev?" The normally icy Falleen replied. He looked over the image of his former Master. His face was puffy red, indeed, a thin trickle of blood ran from the corner of the Mark of the Wanderer. His normally perfect hair was disheveled, a matted and plastered to his forehead. His bright eyes were bloodshot. Teethmarks gouged his lips, and his robes were soaked with sweat. Maybe blood, he couldn't tell against the black.

His single red eye fell on the Master's right hand, the amulet of Orian glowed crimson.

"...the Fragment of Ombus?"

Puzzled, Trevarus looked down, flexing his right hand.

"I don't know, Apprentice. Yet, we must seek answers."

"We?" Xanos said, hand reaching for his lightsaber against the inevitable onslaught

"You and I. You saw the fire. I felt the void. There is a riddle here, and we must discover it if we are to unravel it."

"Enough with the prattle. What do you want to do?"

"We must venture to Kalekka Tower."

"How did I know you were going to say that?"

"Rally the Clansmen there, we will be safe for the time being. Do you know what the Far Outsiders crave?"

"They crave subjugation. That is the fire. It is a subjugating fire." Xanos said, surprised at himself.

"Perhaps there is a bit more of the Krath in you, than previously realized, my Apprentice."

"Enough, old man." Xanos spat, "In your panic, you missed something important."


"They've already boarded."

"I have sensed nothing."

"Of course not. You aren't attuned to the workings of a capital starship. You're looking for a presence, when you should be looking for its shadow."

Scowling, Trevarus closed his eyes. He felt his awareness shift, from the deepest levels, to the most mundane. He immediately sensed something amiss. He heard the sounds of steel, fire, ruptured electrical lines. Something was there, the shadow as Xanos put it.

"Take me there, Apprentice."

"Follow me, Master"

Muttering ceaselessly under his breath, Trevarus followed Vexatus into the bowels of this mighty vessel. Ever more, he grew aware of fear. Crewmembers were being slaughtered. Everywhere, men fled for their lives, tumbling down corridors. Trevarus grew increasingly irritated, because he couldn't sense the root cause of this turmoil. Xanos opened a turbolift, and motioned inside. The Master followed. When the hatch slid open, he realized they were very near the maintenance bays. Fire had scorched a long swath of carbonized metal, bisected by a heavy blast-door. A lingering sense of apprehension flooded him.

The doors opened in layered series.

"Jeedai!" was the first word he heard.

What in the name of the seven hells was he seeing? Trevarus' eyes narrowed. He had never happened upon something so discordantly beautiful. Terrible to behold, the monster was easily a full half-meter taller than he. Its pale colored flesh stretched over angular jutting bones, resembled a rictus of death-visage. Strong limbed, he held the body of a dead tech in one outstretched arm. It gazed at him, ignoring the dead man. The body fell with a thump to the deck.

Trevarus stepped forward, stepping into the classic form of the Krili Variant. He snarled, holding his outstretched hands aloft. In a thunderclap of displaced air, his twin lightsabers appeared in either hand, igniting in a purple-black haze of unholy creation. He lunged forward, snarling his fury through bared teeth.

He skidded to a halt. In the space of a second, he found his left hand bleeding, the Amulet of Orian screaming a searing pain through his right hand. His lightsabers had been knocked out of his grasp.

"Brenzlit Jeedai!" It seemed to taunt him, casting a glob of what appeared to be a yellowish ooze at him.

Something prom,pted him.

Trevarus raised his right hand, palm extended outwward.

"CREO IGNEUM!" He shouted.

A wave of fire poured out of his hand, billowed a cloud of searing heat across the distance between himself and the.... abomination. Trevarus snarled, forcing more power through his hand, pulsing until the chords on his neck stood out, and a vessel on his forehead popped from exertion.

Finally, the black smoke cleared. Molten metal glowed brightly all around, lights had burst under the intense heat.

The creature was kneeling, arms held in front of its face, the solid black armor cracked and smoking fiendishly. It stood, snarling.

"Infidel. This suffering is but a taste."

Trevarus blinked rapidly. How could it survive such a blaze. He looked at the weapon the demon carried. It writhed sineously, like a trapped serpent. With a deft flick of its wrist, the weapon shot out. Trevarus distinctly saw something that looked like a mouth, roaring for the strike. He stepped to the side, reaching out again with the Amulet. Silver-white tendrils of metal snaked out across the distance at incredible speed, dozens of individual threads coiling and whipping about space.

"What heretic magic is this?" it asked

The tendrils lashed about its body, pinning the creature and its strange weapon. One massive hand reached for what appeared to be a knife, but Trevarus flexed his arm, and a tendril tightened, pinning the arm in place. He fueled his mad will through the Amulet, cracks appeared in the already scorched armor. The warrior seemed nonreactive to extraordinary pain. It seemed rather... to be pleased. Sighs of ecstasy seemed to surround its monstrous features. Trevarus gripped tighter, he heard something break. Bone, carapace, only the Force knew.

Xanos, had stood back amazed at the ensuing battle. He had seen his Master in combat before, but never truly appreciated the power of the most gifted Sorcerer the Brotherhood had ever known. He was actually defeating the wretched beast. That is... until the thing fell down and was still. Trevarus released his hold, the Amulet flowing back to his arm. The weapon the creature had been carrying continued to move of its own accord, and in a deft motion.... bit? Trevarus squarely on his right forearm. The Master screamed in anguish, his eyes rolled into his head, and the Mark fluttered open, glowing violently.

Xanos rushed over, the weapon had crumbled into some venomous looking ooze. Trevarus lay still, his mouth moving rapidly, as if speaking a straccato chant, though his body was rigidly cold.

Ashia Kagan

16-07-2007 22:59:40

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

The Krath Priestess froze for a moment in scanning the console in front of her. A pull on the Force sent a shudder through her.


She looked around the bridge for a moment, then grabbed a nearby officer.

"Have you seen, Lord Vexatus recently?"

"No, Governor. He hasn't been seen on the bridge in some time."

She let the officer go about his duties and stared out the view port. Another explosion erupted outside; scattering debris disappeared into the Shroud as yet another ship lost to the Yuuzhan Vong.

'I hope he's alright.' Another shudder through the Force went through her momentarily. He was engaged, that much she knew. A knot formed in her stomach.

Ashia turned and moved across the bridge at a rapid pace to where Shin'ichi and Macron stood in debate on their next move.

"I have to get to the Wandering Soul."

Both Keibatsu looked up at her, then at each other in astonishment. The look lasted but for a moment, then both said in unison, "Are you crazy!?"

"I'm not letting them take it without a fight! I should be on that ship!" The Nightsister screamed at her brother-in-laws.

"You'll get yourself killed just going from here to there! The idea is ludicrous!" Shin'ichi threw his hands up as he yelled back at her.

"Is that a direct order, Lt. Governor?" A silent thought passed between them. Macron looked from one to the other. The conversation that now ensued was between the twins and no other.

Shin sighed; he hated it when she did this.

"Fine. Go, but be careful! If you get yourself killed, I'll be very pissed!"

Ashia was already gone, waving her hand behind her at them as she made for the turbolift.

Making her way quickly and quietly to the hanager bay, she ran into one of the Journeymen. Acolyte Nero stood near the doorway and was poking his head around to see if the way was clear. She came up and stood right behind him.

A moment later Nero saw her her out of the corner of his eye and started. He swung around with the dagger in his hand ready to defend himself. She grabbed his arm quickly and bending it back, disarmed him without so much as a grunt.

The Journeyman stood there staring at her gapped jawed for a moment, massaging his sore shoulder.

"Sorry, I thought you were one of them."

"What are you doing here?" She demanded, an icy glare ripped through him like shards of glass.

He recognized her as one of the clan leaders but wasn't sure of her name. He straighten himself up and tried to get a grip on himself.

"I was on my way to the hanger to get off the ship."

"And go where? You wouldn't last five minutes out there in a fighter." The Krath Priestess rested her hand on the hilt of her saber, something she did absentmindedly.

"But the Vong have boarded the ship and I...? He started, his voice a bit wavering under the Queastor's stare.

"...and you would have gotten killed. You're coming with me. I'm heading to the Wandering Soul.

"And why aren't you going to be killed?" He asked shyly.

"Because I'm a Keibatsu, and we don't die easily." She smiled at him.


17-07-2007 07:17:51

Auxilary Hangar Two
Nebulon Frigate Foresight
Dlarit Security Force Frigate
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

The two Yuuhzan Vong Warriors entered the small hangar, their eyes studying their surroundings. “This area appears to be empty,” one observed looking around in distaste.
“It would be wise to survey it fully,” the other replied, “many of these Jeedai and their followers are without honour they will hide and we will find them.”
“You are correct in your reasoning,” the first said. He looked around him at the crates and loading machinery. The hanger was devoid of ships and appeared to be a supply bay. “I do not see anyone though. I will look over behind the boxes.”

He walked over to a mountain of them, clutching his ampistaff in one hand, keeping it solid and poking at the boxes with the end. He scowled. “The area is empty, there is no one here.” He turned suddenly as a whirr of machinery sounded above and watched as a loading crane above swung around, a ten foot long crate of machine components held in its magnetic pull.. He gripped his weapon watching it as it completed a wide arch. Suddenly realisation gripped him and he tensed as the magnetic device switched off and the crate tumbled. He leapt but it was too fast and too wide and with a crash and a slight sickening squelch the crate hit the metal floor.

The other Vong spun at the noise, growling slightly as it tensed ampistaff ready to strike. His colleague was obviously dead, but what had caused it.? He approached slowly, tensed to strike, and suddenly turned. A young man was stood some thirty foot away, dark hair and a grey uniform. He was watching the Vong calmly, his hands behind his back in a passive stance.
“Jeedai?” the Vong demanded, it’s staff raised.
The man shook his head. “Wrong,” he replied in a conversational tone, “I suppose you would call me a Siiith.”
“It does not matter,” the Warrior replied, “your methods are cowardly and contemptible, you will die.”
“That remains to be seen,” the man replied, “do you fight as well as you talk?”

The Vong growled and advanced. The man had a blaster pistol on one hip and a lightsaber on the other, and made no move towards either. He still had his hands behind his back and was studying the advancing enemy. The warrior paused. “Defend yourself heretic.”
“I am,” the man replied, studying the Vong as it advanced slowly again, edging closer to the twenty foot tall inert load lifter. The man drew a metal box from behind his back.
The Vong paused, “That is a weapon?”
“Of sorts,” the man said pointing it and pressing a button.
The Vong snarled in surprise as the load lifters arm extended and gripped its waist. The man pressed another button and the Yuuhzan Vong was lifted struggling and swearing from the hangar deck high into the air, slashing at the metallic grip of the lifter.

Malisane watched it impassively for a few seconds as it fought helplessly, then pressed the third button, and the Vong roared in estatic agony as the immense vice like grip tightened, and the Sith kept the button depressed, the metal crushing against the aliens strange armour as it batter its clawed hands at the technological beast it’s race despised. Finally there was a crunch and the Vong’s stopped moving and hung limp in the grip. Malisane pressed another button and it fell to the hangar deck with a thud.

He turned as Sai entered the bay and the Knight looked around. “Didn’t know you were down here Mal.”
The Battlemaster shrugged. “Wanted something useful to do. Been playing with them.”
Sai looked at the crushed warrior. “So I see. There will be more coming.”
Malisane nodded. “I think it’s just the two of us. We ought to be able to hold them back though. They’ve faced the over honourable and reluctant Jedi before, I don’t think they’ve got used to the differences between them and Sith yet. We ought to do well.”


17-07-2007 07:44:27

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Entering the Shroud

Meanwhile, on the Wandering Soul, Ashura was already gathering as many warriors as he could find. He was silently fuming that the Aedile of Marka Ragnos had almost insulted his intelligence. Of course this was war, however it was none the Sith Warrior had faced before. There was no fear, death was already known him, and he returned from it, anew and stronger than ever before, changed to his very core.

“Captain, I need you to locate Jade Serpents Battle Team, and Tetrach Sai Keibatsu.” The Sith said. “Let him know that I am looking for him.” Isradia then looked to the group of Journeymen that he had gathered. “Alright, listen up, for those of you who don’t know. The Yuuzhan Vong cannot be sensed, and our Force abilities cannot be used on them. Concentrate on affecting the environment around them, and boosting your own abilities. You may even live through this…”

The Clan Envoy glanced over at Simonetti, who looked back at him. They both silently nodded to each other. As each man had there own war to fight here. Without another word Ashura left the bridge with the small group of warriors he had gathered. The reek of fear was sickening to the Sith. Ashura himself had spent an odious childhood, one that had strengthened him, and continued to strengthen him. Depending if the Brotherhood survived this war, the unnatural human planned to teach the Journeymen what it meant to be Dark Jedi.

“Fear is the root of all weakness. Weakness is the core of all failings. Failing is simply unacceptable. Know this, Ash, as long as you draw breath, you must keep fear away. Turn your pain into strength. And make it your enemies who should be the ones to fear, to feel pain.”

“Yes father, I understand. I won’t fail you, ever.”

Now had come the time to truly put that into action. A life time of training, of pain, had finally come to the epic arrival of putting it into action. This was war… It was the day Ashura had prepared for since a boy.

“…Let’s go!”


17-07-2007 11:07:54

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Entering the Shroud

Raistlin awoke with an abrupt start. Warning klaxons were blaring noise and red lights were sweeping across his room. Stumbling around his rather spacious quarters, he quickly made his way over to desk in the left corner of his room, still not even able to see completely he mashed his fist on the holo-comm until it activated, showing the ship's log since he had been awake. Out of all the drivel, it only took one word to set him on a mission


The rest was irrelevant. He quickly through on clothes while calling out to his weapons through the Force, letting them glide toward him. Though he nearly missed his lightsaber his holsters came on smooth and within moments he busted out of his room, only to discover the two Black Guardsman usually stationed by his quarters were nowhere to be found.

"Did they really need my guard, too?" He said to nobody in particular as he broke into a run toward the turbolift. The pain in his chest made him slow down and come to a trot, and he winced in pain with every step. Through the Rite of Supremacy, Raistlin had been injured, one of the few times in his life he had been. The sheer onslaught of Jedi he had fought in combat had made those odds nearly unavoidable, and though he represented his Clan most honorably, His record, as well as the cracked left rib, two broken fingers and numerous contusions and bruises had left him sore, literally and figuratively.

Raistlin hit the turbolift and stopped for a second, unaware of where he was even going onboard. He quickly drew out to the Force, trying to sense any kind of hostile or unknown prescence, but could find none. He was even more puzzled by the fact that there seemed to be spots on the ship where the Force was blacked out, he couldn't sense a thing, almost as if he was in the middle of a pea soup fog, and then clarity again.

'Ysalamir?' He thought to himself as he found the familiar prescence of Malisane, apparently distressed in Auxillary hangar Two. Raist grabbed the lift and headed down. As he waited on the long descent he began to become more coherent, realizing the situation, he began to feel the blood boiling inside him.

Nobody will take the Foresight He kept repeating to himself. They would have to kill him first. And as the thousands upon thousands of enemies who Raistlin had defeated would tell you.... that is a nigh impossible task.

The doors of the turbolift swung open and he stepped out, dual lightsabers in hand. However, he wasn't prepared for what he saw in front of him. A hideously deformed creature, slightly shorter then he but with much more muscle stood in front of him brandishing what looked like some kind of snake-staff. As he walked out and ignited his blades the creature turned toward him, its twisted visage and broken nose looking hideous in the corridor. The staff's head looked toward him as well, tongue flicking out. "Jeedai...." it said, trailing off for a second before charging at him. Raist stuck his foot out, tripping the beast as he glided past him. As the creature got to a fetal position, Raist slammed both lightsabers into his back, only to see the alien stand, apparently unaffected.

He was in shock but had no time to ponder the situation as he began to backflip, the creature charged at him again, with tremendous speed. Raist was having difficulty putting space between himself and the alien invader, and as he came to the end of his movement, he saw the horror that was Auxillary Bay Two to his left. Dead bodies, debris, wrecked shuttle craft and some kind of alien looking vessel, the likes of which he had never seen before. In addition, he saw a familiar face, Malisane, fighting two of these creatures, though he looked like hee was having trouble with them.

Raist turned to face his attacker, the rage causing him to take deep breaths, which was hurting his damaged ribs. He drew on the Force, but found it incredibly difficult. Indeed, trying to read his attacked he drew nothing, no conscious thought, almost as if the creature didn't exist. But it did... and the crazed sweeping swings it was making with its staff were clearly indicative of that. He began to move Faster, his feet gliding across the ground as the creature's swings were simply a second too late no matter what he did, Raist dodged and slid around him, doing it with ease, but to the untrained eye, he appeared a blur, confusing the creature. As he slid away from a low strike and moved to the creature's side, he struck, jamming his green saber, deep into the soft fleshy side of the creature, letting it slide completely through him, skewering him as he crumpled to the ground. Just to be sure Raistlin decapitated the creature and its staff, wanting to ensure his defeat.

Pausing only a moment to breathe, Raist bolted into the main Hangar, ready to save both his longtime ally Malisane, and the Foresight from these invaders...... whoever they may be.

"FOR SADOW!!!!" He screamed, bringing both blades high and charging in.......


17-07-2007 12:04:19

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Quejo's ship roared into the hangar of the Covenant in a puff of smoke, shrieking and spitting sparks, forcing members of the crew to hose it down immediately. Leaping down from the cockpit was the Battlelord, his wartorn visage painted black with smoke.

"Get out of the way!" The Chev shouted, pushing his way through the crowd of flight deck technicians who were standing in awe. He needed to meet with the rest of the Summit, who by now, were probably having discouraging thoughts about the Chev who was already limping his way to the Bridge.

The doors to the bridge peeled back with a hiss as he strode in, pride still intact.

"Macron, Shin'ichi." The Chev greeted, clearing his throat before continuing. "Luckily I was able to hold my ship together long enough to make it here. They're cutting through us like we're nothing. Of course you already know that." He finished, his head slightly forming a quick bow as he stepped back next to Manji.

"Your orders?"

Macron Sadow

17-07-2007 13:31:14

VSD Covenant, Command Bridge
Dlarit Security Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

“We have boarders,” said the Sith with a grimace as he acknowledged Quejo. “Here, and here, on decks 7 and 13, as well as the personal quarters. I believe Trev and Xanos are engaged in some combat right now.” The alchemist looked concerned. “I feel almost nothing in the Force from the invaders. It’s almost like a void, although the two Elders are burning bright.”

Quejo, Manji and Shin’Ichi chuckled. “I almost feel sorry for the Vong bastards,” spat Manji as he regarded the view screen. “Almost.”

“Frack them,” replied Quejo with a snarl as more blown fighters illuminated the view screens. “Anyhow, what are my orders?”

“To lead House Marka Ragnos. We’d like to get you to the HMR Command ship. How damaged is your craft?” asked Shin’Ichi.

“She’s fairly well shot up,” replied the Chev. “However, the hangar bay techs are working on her right now.”

Mononoke spoke up. “In any case, we are moving further into the Shroud. Our recon patrols have found…”

Just then, a tremendous clang reverberated throughout the bridge of the Covenant. A puff of smoke, followed by a wrenching crash emanated from the side of the bridge near turbolift 5. A hole had been torn in the side of the command center, and several Vong warriors were piling through. Their hideous tattooed faces contorted into incomprehensible cries of battle as they brandished their strange weapons and attacked.

Several Dlarit line officers were slain by the invaders as the Dark Jedi ignited their lightsabers and howled their own cries of battle. Multi-colored flashes of red, orange, purple and argent ripped through the air. The strange warriors were proving to be tough, and their living staves spat green gobs of poison that tainted the air and flesh of the Sadow forces.

Manji, Quejo, and Shin’Ichi were all engaged in desperate personal combat with the fiends.

One glob smacked Macron across the face as he struggled with an imposing alien. The Armor Fist whined as his hand crushed the monster’s amphistaff head, but the creature was bearing down on him. The poison had little effect on the synthetic human, but he was about to get hurt by the creature grappling with him. A shout of rage ripped from the Consul’s throat as the power of the Dark Side washed over his body. “I HATE you!” he screamed.

Shinichi Endymiron K

17-07-2007 14:01:02

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

The Yuuzhan Vong raiding party had caught the bridge crew and their Dark Jedi master completely unawares. The scarred and tattooed visages of these harbingers of agony were enough to send some of the battle hardened Dlarit Security Force men into panicked disarray. Living weapons spat poison and bugs with razor sharp wings flew through the air killing whatever unfortunates got in their way.

The armored Consul of Clan Naga Sadow was trapped in a death struggle with one warrior. The two men, each refusing to surrender, and each hating the other with equal passion. It was a matter of technology versus bioengineering as the Yuuzhan Vong fought with biologically enhanced speed and strength and Macron relied upon the strength altering properties of his battle armor. His orange saber struggled to make a dent in the living armor of the Yuuzhan Vong, and conversely the alien could seemingly do nothing to subdue the now enraged Consul.

Elsewhere on the bridge two sabers of Amethyst and Silver batted aside the bladed insects being thrown as Shin’ichi and his brother Manji stood their ground against several of the invaders. The main power was cut to the bridge causing the illumination system to fail and emergency lights to come online bathing the bridge in a subdued reddish hue. The blades of the Dark Jedi, growling malevolently were held at the ready as the Yuuzhan Vong lost their patience and charged the brothers.

Working in tandem as the two had been trained to do the Keibatsu wove a delicate pattern around each other providing both defensive cover and offensive opportunities. Manji was the first to score a victory as he took the arm of one of the warriors who had strayed too close the Dark Jedi. Shin’ichi finished the job by taking the wounded soldier’s head enraging his comrades.

The Yuuzhan Vong thought they were controlling this fight, but slowly Manji and Shin’ichi had been guiding them towards where Macron struggled with the other lone combatant. In a heartbeat Manji increased the pace of his saber blade creating a defensive barrier and granting Shin’ichi enough time to send a battered terminal into the head of the Yuuzhan Vong grappling with Macron. The tattooed warrior stumbled a few paces, but it was enough to bring Macron into the defensive circle of his two adopted brothers. Now silver, orange, and violet spun around one another in a blossom of pain and death.

Only Quejo, his heliotropic blade moving swiftly in a desperate attempt to protect himself, remained outside the circle. By now the Yuuzhan Vong had figured out what the brothers had done and moved to cut off the lone Sith.


17-07-2007 14:44:29

Auxiliary Hangar Two, Seventh Deck
Nebulon Frigate Foresight
Dlarit Security Force Frigate
Antei System, Within the Shroud

There was wreckage and bodily detritus strewn all about the hangar, Rastlin and Malisane being chiefly responsible as they battled to repel the Yuuzhan Vong boarders. The Dark Jedi were accomplished warriors, to be sure, but outside of their ranks, they had not faced any as skilled as themselves. At least, they hadn’t until they had faced the likes of these misshapen invaders.

Strangely still and mutely observant stood Sai, taking in the scene before him, his alchemically altered eyes telling him more than any holo-briefing ever could. Up until now, Dlarit Corporation’s forces; no, the entirety of the Brotherhood, had been taken utterly by surprise and any moves they had made had, by and large, been reactionary. If the Dark Jedi were to retaliate, then credible intelligence must be gathered and relayed to the powers-that-be.

As Sai watched, Raistlin struggled with one of the sinewy warriors, trying to bring his verdant blade to bear as his opponent successfully parried strike after strike with his strange serpent-staff. A short distance away, Malisane was in the same predicament, his opposite having closed the distance to take away the Battlemaster’s advantage of his control over technology.

Both men were hard pressed, Sai noticed, but not in any real danger. Which is why when, Raistlin, after admonishing Sai to join in, the Knight replied in an almost conversational tone, "as soon as I’m finished," much to Raistlin's surprise.

It is well known that when a Force-user fights with their lightsaber, he or she draws upon the almost limitless depths of that power to both control their weapon and to assault their enemy, with a variety of attacks, both physical and mental. As Sai watched, both of his Brotherhood comrades were surrounded in the flows of the Dark, and the occasional tendril would lash out to attempt to smite one of the invaders. Strangely, instead of crushing its mind or throwing its body, the flow dissipated as an ineffectual mist around the deathly graceful warriors, who, in the meantime, were getting ever closer to striking the Darksiders with their grotesque weaponry. Only when, whether by instinct or design, did those flows turn totally inward did Raistlin and Malisane gain any sort of advantage, with the Dark Side quickening their movements and strengthening their sinews.

The exchange, and observation thereof, went on for a few more short moments, confirming all that Sai had first noticed, until a tense moment when one of the Vong warriors snapped his wrist and his once-rigid staff became as liquid lightning and wrapped itself around Raistlin's outstretched wrist on his 'saber arm, preventing him from defending himself. The Vong warrior hissed through sharpened teeth and began to draw a wicked-looking dagger from a sheath on his back and Raistlin struggled to free himself. Malisane, similarly occupied, was in no position to assist; the task fell to Sai.

Just as Raistlin's assailant's dagger had cleared its organic-looking sheath, Sai decided he'd seen enough. True, some sacrifices were to be made in the name of the Clan's gaining any tactical advantage, and many would even die. "Especially that insufferable Captain Jori," thought the Keibatsu, more serious than not even as he gave a wicked grin license to form. But not now, not here.

Sai reached Raistlin and his cerulean blade screeched to life, severing the alien's connection to his own bladed weapon at the wrist; the warrior's serpent-weapon reflexively released the Exarch, and he, in turn, took full advantage, sending his own blade upward and through the soft joint at the Yuuzhan Vong's armpit. A column of cobalt interrupted the warrior's nearly ecstatic cries as it invaded his misshapen maw.

Malisane had similarly dispatched his own enemy and joined his clanmates to stand over the smoldering corpse of the boarder. Sai relayed his position and findings to Ashura, with instructions to pass his intel on to the rest of the Serpents. The trio then exited the hangar to clear the rest of the deck.

At least, that was their hope.

Lanius Sin

17-07-2007 18:09:51

VSD Covenant, Muster-Station B-4
Dlarit Security Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Sin tore the smouldering acid-soaked cloak from around his shoulders and threw it to the ground in sheer rage. Only moments ago he was making his way toward hangar bay one when one of the vile creatures had ambushed him.

The Sith spat in sheer contempt at the outsider. “You DARE to oppose us!” he screamed. The very air around him seemed to retreat from his words. The audacity of the thing, he thought. His battle-team was no doubt fighting them in the vacuum of space without him. He seethed at the thought.

“You are nothing Jeedi,” hissed the chitin-clad abomination. “Your kind will be swept aside, even as you cower within your hiding places. Nothing escapes the wrath of the Yuuzantar!”

Fear and hate sharpened the Sith Warrior’s senses as he viewed the stance of the alien. It was completely devoid of the Force, but no matter. His Echani training, years ago imparted to him by his mother, showed him a weakness in his foe’s defences. It was overconfident, sure of its superiority and more importantly the thing stood very slightly off balance.

Without a moment’s thought, Sin called all his rage into one tremendous blast of force energy. The air ahead of him moving like a tempest of anger and contempt. To his amusement the creature yelped as it was lifted off of its feet and tumbled to the floor, followed by the sound of his disruptor-pistol discharge.

All that was left of the thing as the Sith made his way toward the command centre was a smell of burnt-ozone and the faint feeling in the back of his mind that this time he got lucky.


17-07-2007 19:12:59

Entrance Sphincter
Yorik-trema Transport Analog Maw of Anguish
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Outer Surface of the Nebulon Frigate Foresight

The Yuuzhan Vong warrior threw the unconscious Jeedai to the floor and proceeded to pour blorash jelly over his wrists and ankles. The amorphic lifeform latched itself around the brenzlit human's limbs before suctioning onto the surface of the living transport.

Vladek's eyes' shot open and his mouth issued a reflexive screen as he awoke to an intense burning sensation. He glanced around to find one of the aliens standing over him, it's amphistaff at the read, fanged head pointing down at him. Turning his head to focus on the source of the pain he saw his clothes in tatters and the gelatinous yellow substance coating his limbs, burning into his skin.

Vladek screamed as he tried to struggle free of the blorash jelly's grip.

“!” cried Vladek between gasps for air, his voice strained.

The Yuuzhan Vong warrior barred rows of sharp fang-like teeth at the helpless Jeedai, no doubt implants awarded him for success in battle. It's mouth formed what could at best be called some kind of grin.

“Infidel Jeedai, brenzlit Jeedai!” it mocked. Infidel Jedi! Weak Jedi!

The villip sitting in the corner of the transport began vibrating. The warrior stepped over and stroked the villip's eversion stoma. It inverted into the face of another member of the Yuuzhan Vong raiding party.

Belek tiu, commander??” said the first warrior, inclining his head slightly.

Command me.

The features on the villip's surface seemed to shift rapidly. It was obvious squad subaltern was under attack from the infidels. “Return to the Perfect Agony! We shall sacrifice our lives in service to the Slayer so you may return the captive Jeedai to the Supreme Commander.”

The warrior's face tightened. “But commander, I would gladly sacrifice my life...”

“No!” snapped the subaltern. “Return the Jeedai. Commander Amnan will decide your fate for fleeing.”

The warrior nodded. “Yes, commander. I shall instruct the Maw of Anguish to return to the Perfect Agony immediately.”

“Good,” replied the subaltern.

Rrush'hok ichnar vinim'hok!” cried the warrior before stroking the villip again, causing the creature to fold back to it's original state.

Die well, brave warrior!

The warrior turned to face the human infidel. “You shall return with me to the Perfect Agony. There we shall introduce you to the Embrace of Pain!”

Private Quarters
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Darth Vexatus dragged Trevarus Caerick's body through the doorway and gestured for the doors to lock behind him. The Krath Master's body had gone almost rigid and his skin was white and cold to the touch. His eyes were closed and visibly twitching under their lids and his mouth had clamped shut, long since falling silent. Only the Mark remained open, it's violet glow illuminating the Master's forehead.

Vexatus stared down at his former master. Reaching out with the Force he could sense Trev's life teetering on the edge. Whatever toxin the outsider's snakelike weapon had injected the Krath Master with, his life was fading fast. The Sith Lord could feel as individual cells winked out of existence, dying under the onslaught of the alien venom. What more, his sensory powers were useless, he could not feel the venom itself and, unable to focus, he could not detoxify it.

Trevarus Caerick was going to die...

Lightning enveloped the Sith Lord.

“Never again!”

A surge of Force energy erupted from his fingertips as the blue-white bolts wrapped around Trev, lifting him off the floor and holding him aloft in the center of the room. The Fragment of Ombus burst into a blinding amethyst light, slithers of alchemical silver lancing out, trying to strike the Sith Lord down, defend their master, only to glance off, deflected by the Force barrier he had surrounded himself with.

Memories of the Sith Lord's parents flooded through his mind. Of Maziel. Of Haxim. Of Falleen.

Of the galaxy wreathed in fire.

Vexatus screamed. He could feel his face exploding, cells bursting from over exertion, searing heat tearing through him as his body strained under the weight of the dark powers he was channelling through it, pushing himself further than ever in his life.

“ not...losing...anyone...else!” cried the Sith Lord.

The Mark exploded in light, illuminating the whole room in a magnificent shade of violet.

Trevarus Caerick's real eyes opened as his body convulsed, his mouth eliciting an agonising scream as the coils of lightning snaked their way down his throat, enveloping his body in a solid shield of Force energy.

Vexatus could feel it as his skin began to wither as seconds became years.

Unable to hold it any longer, Vexatus yielded, his legs giving way as his body crumpled to the floor. The wall of lightning ceased and Trev's body crashed out of the sky, smashing the Sith Lord's desk in two. The Mark closed, the Amulet of Orian withdrawing it's silvery tendrils.

Shan Long

17-07-2007 19:17:28

Private Quarters
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Molten ice poured through his veins, it was a presence of alien intrusion that his body had never experienced. His mind floated on the edges of consciousness. Images, feelings... all sensations seemed to meld into a singular focus. He had finally encountered something wholly outside of the Force. This single fact gave him an edge. Flames from the Amulet had damaged the beast, yet it had not died. It seemed to relish the pain. What of its weaponry? That staff had seemed alive, even unto the moment it bit him, the Amulet's strange protection did not seem to dunt its strike. He could not feel anything, he could not die. Yet, death approached. In the haze of the Mark, he saw his lifeline--a once pulsing band of utter blackness-- begin to fray, barest of threads holding onto his Will.

A voice screamed out of the darkness. It was familiar, powerful, a voice he had heard often over the decades. He felt vitality, energy, and another presence.... this one very familiar. It was another layer of this thoughts, not entirely his, and not the single-minded rage of Shan Long. It was the voice of Lord Orian.

His skin burned, that was his first awareness. He felt a mingling of energies tearing through his body, voices... a lingering trace of the Nameless Ones in his ravaged body. The unfelt presence of ice began to fade, and so did another voice.

He awoke, coughing, sputtering blood and other fluids from his mouth. After a few moments, he stood, still nauseous and weak. He touched the Dark Side, feeling vitality rushing back into his limbs.

He stared incredulous at Xanos. "You... saved my life."

"Xanos?" Trev repeated when he did not answer.

"Enough." the Sith Lord said.

He had aged, his skin taken a pallor of death. His once proud features had withered, wrinkled. Trevarus understood at once.

He retrieved his lightsaber from the floor, "Let's just get the rest of these bastards off this ship."

"Cry havoc, my friend." Trevarus said, clencing his right hand around his own lightsaber. He paused, something didn't feel right.

His lightsaber fell to the ground in a clattering of steel. He clutched his right hand at the wrist, with his black-gloved left hand. The once shimmering Amulet had taken on an unusual pallor. Its surfaced rippling and smoothing out into a fine network of interlocking plates. A form of the Amulet he had not seen for many years. The Fragment of Ombus did not shine, not even the luster of vibrancy that it normally displayed.

Tentatively, Trevarus withdrew the gauntlet from his hand. Vexatus stared at him, his single eye wide with wonder. The skin was pale white, withered, almost dead looking. The musculature of his forearm was almost childlike, soft yet ancient looking. He flexed, the bones creaked and popped audibly. He had not seen the flesh of his hand in almost fifteen years.

"How is that possible, Trev?" Xanos asked. "Not even Lord Cotelin was able to remove the Amulet from your hand."

It took a moment for Trevarus to comprehend what he was seeing. He thrust his hand back into the artifact he had carried for nearly a quarter of his life. It did not respond. He withdrew his hand again.

"I can feel nothing in this hand. I don't know how this could have happened." He reached out, summoning his lightsaber back to his grasp. It didn't twitch. He gestured with his left, and the hilt leapt into his hand. "As I said, I can feel nothing."

"Can you still fight?" Vexatus asked.

"We have a battle to win. I will slay every one of those bastards singlehandly."

Even the cold Falleen had to laugh. "Pun intended?"


17-07-2007 20:10:03

VAC Astronicus' Reach
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

The battered and scarred hulk of what had once been known as a Vibre-class Assault Cruiser drifted, tumbling end over end as it trailed behind the retreating Brotherhood forces. Like many ships this day, it too had succumbed to an aggressive attack by the outsiders. In fact, it still contained the wreckage of two of their boarding craft lodged in it's hull.

Astronicus Aurelius Sadow, descendant of the great Sith Lord Naga Sadow, lay helpless on the command deck in a puddle of blood. It seemed like the battle, that which had rendered the ship in the condition it was presently in, had taken place eons ago. Yet the recollection was fresh in his mind and no doubt would never leave, as if it had forever been seared into his memory.

-| Flashback |-

The Reach, along with the rest of the Clan's warships that had been present at the Rite of Supremacy award show, was retreating per their instructions into the Shroud. Astronicus sat in the command chair having taken charge upon the order for battle readiness. Ximeno Chal, the captain of the vessel, stood at his side ready to relay his orders.

The bridge was quiet as the loyal crew of Saraii, who had followed their master upon his departure from their homeworld of Sif, busied themselves with battle station readiness. Unlike the crews that comprised the rest of the Dlarit Security Force, who were oblivious to the fact that they were servants of Dark Jedi, the crew of the Reach knew full well who their master was and what power he possessed.

"Sir, I have two enemy contacts closing on us rapidly!" Reported the Sensors Officer.

"Increase to flanking speed." Ordered Ximeno in his cool and calm manner. "Divert all available power to the rear shields, direct turrets towards the stern and warm 'em up."

"Our weapons have had little or no effect on them yet, Ximeno. Ready the troops to repel boarding parties." Commanded Astronicus.

Despite the fact that no one can see inside the Shroud, despite the fact that the Reach is a covert operations ship shielded and made for stealth, the Yuuzhan Vong were coming straight at them and not waivering. Within moments a clang heard throughout the bulkheads of the ship, as well as felt.

The boarders came on relentlessly and ripped through the blaster-toting Saraii. As they made their way to the bridge however, they met their match in Dark Adept Astronicus Aurelius Sadow and Sith Warrior Ximeno Chal. Astronicus ignited his lightsaber, it's white light in stark contrast to the Vong's black Vonduun crab armor. Ximeno's red blade likewise showed the ferocity in his eyes. The two held their ground, Astronicus motioing with his had for the Vong to 'bring it on.'

The two Dark Jedi were sorely out-numbered, out-manueuvered and overwhelmed by the Vong. Despite their best efforts they stood no chance. Astronicus discovered a few chinks in their armor through trial and error, but it was too little too late. He looked over his shoulder to see Ximeno swing his arm wildly slitting the throat of his assailant. A smile formed on his face, but was immediately replace with shocked horror. Xim looked down, Astronicus' eyes followed and they saw the reason. An the sharp end of an amphistaff stuck through the Sith Warrior's chest. He fell to his knees and slid off the blade, lying motionlessly on the deck.

Astronicus erupted, igniting his second lightsaber he jabbed the blade into the throat of the Vong he had been fighting then in a swirling dervish he brought both blades to bear on the killer of his longtime friend. The Yuuzhan Vong warrior blocked his initial strike with the amphistaff and began to draw a coufee, but before he could bring it to bear he had the hilt of Astronicus' other saber in his face. He stumbled backwards and began to regain his footing, but by then Astronicus had the blades crisscrossed and scissored the foul non-force being's head off.

Astronicus, still in shock, began to curse and swear in ancient Sith at the headless corpse. He pounded his chest once, as a sign of victory when he felt a warm liquid running down his back. Reaching around he felt a rather damp spot followed by a hard bladed disc. He extracted it, it was a beetle of some sort, no doubt a Vong weapon (a Nang hul - thud bug). Astronicus had only just felt it, so he looked around the now quiet and empty bridge, but it wasn't so empty any longer. A squad of Yuuzhan Vong warriors stood in the doorway, three of them holding the bug like projectile biots. Taking aim they threw them, Astronicus deflected two of the three, but the other made it's way through and clipped him in the head. He fell like to the deck as if a graviton beam had lurched onto him. His sight began to fade and he fought against unconcisousness, but the wounds were to much and he blacked out.

| Present time |

The Reach continued to tumble through the Shroud, Astronicus could hear the voices of the Vong warriors in the distance as they searched for any survivors. His head ached, he had no idea how long he had been knocked out, but hopefully it hadn't been too long. He tried to move but could not. He look at his hands, they were covered in a formless gelatinous blob, yellowish in color, and it appeard to be holding his legs and feet down as well. He was wounded, immoblized and unarmed - his day couldn't get any worse, or could it?

Nero Pennant

17-07-2007 23:08:02

Victory Star Destroyer "Covenant"
Antei System

Nero was simultaneously overjoyed at seeing someone who didn't try to shake him out of his panic, and ashamed that someone had to do it. He did find that being in the presence of this woman made him feel better. He decided that it was her aura, the connection to the Force that Miraluka could see, that Nero felt comforted by most, not to mention the fact that a clan leader was speaking to him, even if it was condescending.

Her aura was magnificent; bright color whirling together. He could almost see what she was feeling, and had felt, though he knew that he couldn't, but it was the only way to describe it. She was a Quaestor, as well as a Krath Priestess. He'd heard about her, if only in rumors.

"If you don't die easily, maybe it'll rub off on me," Nero commented, "If we're going to go to the Wandering Soul, we'll have to take another route. This one has a certain feeling about it. There's nothing there."

"If there's nothing there, then why-" Ashia started saying, but Nero quickly interrupted her.

"I mean no disrespect, Priestess," Nero continued, "But there are a lot of Vong down that corridor, if you focus on the darkness of the area you'll find it marked with quite many patches where the Force doesn't exist. That is how you know there's either Ysalamiri or Vong around. Both of them trigger my phobia."

The Priestess nodded, "Very well, I know another way to get to the hangar," She said, turning herself around and starting to jog briskly down the hall opposite the one she had caught Nero peeking around, "So you're Obelisk, eh? Not much of one if you're scared of a little worm and a few masochists."

Nero was only 2 steps behind her, as he kept pace with Ashia, "My apologies. I shall work harder to overcome this." He said simply, keeping pace with her. Finally after a few moments, he said, "I am Nero Pennant, Acolyte. May I know your name, Priestess?"

"Ashia Keibatsu, now keep moving and shut up before they hear us!" The woman hissed as they kept moving.

Only a few rooms away from the hangar bay, Nero put his headband over his head and grimaced, as if he were in pain. "So many..." He muttered, unable to keep the fear out of his voice.

"I sense it too." Ashia whispered; there were Vong ahead.

They came upon a group of three Vong performing what could only be called a rite in a small hall just outside the hangar bay. They had several Acolytes and other Journeymen wrapped in barbed chains that seemed almost... alive.

"Jeedai," One of them hissed menacingly at the group.

"Kill the Jeedai!" Hissed another one, as one of the Acolytes whimpered.

"Kill them! Kill them! The Jeedai!"

As if with a thought, the chains began to circle and twist around the poor Journeymen, like a chainsaw cutting down trees. The chains tore through flesh and bone as if it were nothing. The screams of horror and pain filled the room, and much of the hallway.

Suddenly, they looked and saw two figures approaching them, and one of them reeked of fear; the Vong could taste it.

"JEEDAI!" They screamed as they readied their weapons and charged at the duo.

Shikyo Keibatsu

18-07-2007 02:40:33

Sith Infiltrator Adraelech
Enroute to VSD Covenant
Antei System

Shikyo could not believe his eyes. The Brotherhood fleet was engulfed in flames and the Sith was not around to help in the first place. He had left for Malachor a couple of weeks ago after multiple visions had haunted his dreams. He knew that House Marka Ragnos would be under excellent care with his former master at the helm. Now, he had left the graveyard of a planet just in time to see the ships of Naga Sadow still alive and still majorily intact.

The Sith began to make his way towards the Covenant, providing quick access codes to show he was friend and not another foe.

"Covenant, this is Alpha Six-Zero-Five-Niner, requesting immediate board of ship and assist in removing the threat."

"Alpha Six-Zero-Five-Niner, permission granted. We'll need all the help we can get!"

"Roger that."

Rurouni pulled in quickly yet timely into the hangar of the Star Destroyer. As soon as he landed, the Force was pulling him, almost guiding him towards something. Someone was in danger and needed assistance greatly. Grabbing his saber and snapping on the blade instantly, the Keibatsu turned towards his droids and bellowed out his last commands for the moment.

"Close the door and don't open it!"

Shikyo rushed down the hallways, watching as bodies of humans, Yuuzhan Vong, and other sentients layed about the floor like confetti at a celebration. Selective areas of the ship were lit, while others seemed to have fallen under darkness. Blood covered the walls and smear marks left an impression of an insane asylum instead of a Star Destroyer.

As he turned a corner, he saw the sillouette of two, massive beings slowly walking in the opposite direction and a group of unlucky Journeymen behind them. Then, Shikyo realized why the Force guided him there. Ashia stood in front of them with her saber drawn and an Acolyte behind her. The Yuuzhan Vong turned around to see the Battlemaster behind them. They roared out in a different language before crying out a single word.


The Sith smirked as the word crawled down his spine. With his scarlet blade signifying them of his intention, he spat his own insult towards them.

"Sith. Big difference, baka."

Nekura Manji

18-07-2007 04:39:40

Teeth clenched, Quejo struggled furiously against the odds. On every side of him Vong Amphistaffs flashed to and fro, trying to strike him down- with every ounce of skill he possessed, the Battlelord was able to fend them off, but his movements were purely defensive. Dark Jedi expect no help from others- Quejo was resigned to fighting, and possibly dying, alone.

The Epis had other ideas. In the defensive cluster of the three Keibatsu, Manji raised his voice above the whirring of lightsabre blades to draw Shin’ichi and Macron’s attention to Quejo. They responded with swift nods, and the cluster began to move. Only two Vong remained to menace them, the rest were converging on Quejo.

Somehow divining their intention with a swift glance back towards the bright scarlet of Quejo’s sabre, one of the Vong snarled and lunged forwards, intending to stop them. Moving smoothly, instinctively, the Keibatsu broke their circle, causing the alien to stagger forwards in surprise- into the centre of the three Dark Jedi. Three lightsabres flashed. Two hacked into the Vong’s body and one, Macron’s, slashed up through the warrior’s armpit and through its head from within.

The steaming corpse collapsed to the floor as the three Keibatsu formed up again, moving at the last Vong. Slightly disorientated by the sudden death of its foe, the Vong tried to recover with a snarl of defiance, only for Shin’ichi to drop to his knees and sweep the sabre through its legs fiercely. As it dropped to the ground, the wheel of the Keibatsu still turning, Manji planted his sabre down into the alien’s mouth and through the back of its head.

Swiftly, the three Keibatsu moved over to Quejo, still in their defensive cluster. Utilising the element of surprise, they crashed into the crowd of Vong surrounding the Battlelord, driving them away and pulling Quejo into the centre of the cluster to recover his breath. Straightening up, Quejo shouted his thanks, receiving a grin of acknowledgement from the Aedile. Then the Sith looked round at the Vong, his smile replaced with a disgusted frown. Deactivating his sabre, Quejo reached into the Dark Side and seized a nearby computer console, both hands raised as he put all his mental strength into yanking it towards the head of a nearby Vong. The screeches and taunts of the Vong filled their ears.

“Infidel Jeedai!”


18-07-2007 08:56:33

Corridor 9, Seventh Deck
Nebulon Frigate Foresight
Dlarit Security Force Frigate
Antei System, Within the Shroud

The Sith, the Krath and the Obelisk stood shoulder to shoulder in the tight corridor, slicing and stabbing with their lightsabers at anything that came near. For now the Vong had backed off, regrouping and no doubt planning the next assault against the the three Sadow fighters. They were tired now, even the Exarch’s face was red and his breathing was becoming laboured.

“We can’t hold out forever.” Malisane said quietly.
“Perfect place this can’t get behind us” Raistlin replied. He reached to his belt and took a flask, taking a deep belt of whatever liquor was inside. He shivered slightly then grinned, offering it to the Sith who declined. Sai took a swig then coughed, his eyes watering.
“What the hell is this stuff?” he asked hoarsely.
“Mixture of mine,” Raistlin replied, “puts fire in the blood.”
“It’s putting fire everywhere,” the Knight gasped.
The other two looked at the Battlemaster who appeared thoughtful. “What?” Sai asked.
“Two minutes.” Malisane said and turned and headed off behind them.

Raistlin cursed. “Where’s he going?”
“They’re back!” Sai said, his saber snapping into action as two more Vong charged down the corridor, footsteps growing behind them as more followed.
Raistlin cursed and attacked, Sai following as they fought once more, sabers slashing at the crab armour finding the gaps and scoring hits.
“Malisane!” Sai shouted as he deflected a close staff blow and sliced back at the wielder.
“If he’s gone I’ll kill him!” Raistlin cursed as he sliced down another Vong. More were coming down the corridor.

A minute later Malisane returned. “Where the hell have you been?” the Exarch demanded.
“Back off towards the door,” Malisane said hurriedly. As they did so he held up a flare and lit it, throwing it past his collegues towards the Vong. It landed on the deck and continued to burn, giving off smoke. The Vong paused and watched it curiously. A second later an alarm began to go off around them. “Run!” Malisane shouted, dragging Sai back as Raistlin followed, as liquid began to pour down on the corridor and the surprised Vong. A second later the corridor exploded, just as Malisane quickly shut the door behind them, white flames blasting along it and the ground lurched beneath their feet, throwing them to the ground.

Raistlin looked up at the Sith. “What the hell was that?”
“Bit of quick hydrospanner work, plumbed the fire sprinkler system into a fuel line,” the Sith replied, getting to his feet.
“You’re insane you could set the entire ship on fire!” Sai told him.
“No, the tank was almost exausted it ought to have cut out by now, and the secondary gas system will detect the fire and clear it out. Doubt anything’s alive in there though.”
Raistlin laughed, taking another swig of his liquor. “Nice.”


18-07-2007 15:32:01

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Entering the Shroud

Things were not going so well on the Wandering Soul, as the Vong were beating the crap out of the most of the crew and Journeymen. One of the alien brutes had speared a scared Novice through the heart and was gloating. It had been at that moment a broken consol collided into his head, smashing the Vong Warrior against the wall.

Ashura’s lightsaber hummed as the point of it pierced the fallen Vong’s head. “We can’t hold them off!” A Guardian shouted as he, and three of Journeymen, were firing their blasters at two advancing Yuuzhan Vong. “You keep fighting!” Warrior Isradia barked at them. The Sith used his telekinetic powers to lift up broken pieces of bladed weapons, and sent then hurtling into the two warriors that had the Journeymen pinned against the wall. However, this had diverted his attention from another Yuuzhan Vong that had arrived, and because he was unable to sense the vile thing, Ashura was unaware it was even there.

“Jeeed....*” The Vong had sought to attack the Sith Warrior from the behind, and he would have succeeded, if Prelate Ethran Sayre Isradia had not also turned up. The Obelisk had launched a surprise attack, which the Vong had not seen. The two briefly fought before Ethran skewered the disgusting creature with his odd bladed weapon.

“You know I could have taken him,” Ashura said to the fellow Isradia, to which Ethran replied, “Oh really, and here I thought I was just lending a helping hand?” Both men smiled as they shared a private joke between them. “We better see who is still able to fight. There is no doubt more Yuuzhan Vong.”

While Ethran checked on which of the Journeymen were still alive, Ashura had punched the intercom and shouted into it. “The Yuuzhan Vong has caused major casualties here. Requesting any back to be sent.”


18-07-2007 15:38:28

Outer space
Around VSD Covenant
Antei System, outside of Shroud

Hatred flowed through the Protector's blood, as Noktar watched the carnage through the viewport. His friends, his brothers, his true family was being slaughtered. And he was powerless to stop it. His shuttle, modified though it was, was not nearly powerful enough to take on even a single fighter. The most he could do was travel around to the damaged fighters and free the beings who were still alive from their metal coffins. But even that would have to end soon. His cargo bay couldn't hold many more pilots.

Noktar banked his ship hard right to avoid the incoming fireball that was a TIE fighter. "Anyone else out there needing assistance?" he keyed his comm. He was surprised at how calm his voice was. Almost as if none of this was affecting him. But it is affecting me. Though I am Falleen, though I try to live emotionless, it is impossible not to feel something for my brothers, he thought. He shook his head and waited for an answer over the comm. It never arrived.

"I thought I was done with these Vong!" he yelled at no one in particular. He noticed his skin color turning red, but he didn't care. Let everyone see how angry I am. I care not.

His comm crackled to life, issuing an order. Retreat, it said. Well, Noktar would oblige. He would not risk his life for nothing, when he knew this battle was lost. Moving his hands quickly, he turned his ship back towards the hanger of the Covenant.

Main Hanger Bay
VSD Covenant
Antei System, Outside of Shroud

Noktar quickly moved through the hanger bay, his senses barraged by the constant smoke and heat from the battle-scarred ships strewn about. He could almost feel his skin crack, which made him even angrier than before. He strode through the doorway and turned towards the nearest turbolift. He needed to get back to his quarters, to get his katana. He had been practicing as of late, and he was almost sure that he would need it soon. Just turn the corner, and....

The sight of the dead stopped him in his tracks. Bodies, torn, cut, and crushed were all throughout the corrider, almost all of them human. He glanced around and was thankful to see that the Vong had killed no one that he knew, but feared in the fact that it was only a matter of time before they did. Ahead of them, one Yuuzhan Vong Warrior, as he knew them to be called, lay dead against the door of Turbolift 5. Noktar's eyes squinted in concentration, then opened wide as he realized what had happened. The Bridge! he thought.

Running past the carnage in the hallway, he quickly called the turbolift, hoping to reach his quarters and his weapons before it was too late...


18-07-2007 16:08:30

VAC Astronicus' Reach
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Within the Shroud

Astronicus awoke to a brilliant white light overhead. His body ached, but was no longer constrained. He craned his head left and then right, sll he saw were white walls and medical equipment. Then out of the corner of his eye he noticed a man dressed in medical scrubs with a white lab coat standing over an operating table to his left. The man heard Astroniclus moving around and so began walking over to him. Astronicus opened his mouth but nothing resounded from his vocal chords.

"Take it easy, lay still, everything is going to be ok." Said the medical clad individual. "You've been through enough as it is."

Astroniclus could not move without hurting, but still mimicked an expression that would resemble confusion and questioning, as if asking How did I get here?

"Oh that, well I guess you could say that neither of us would be here now if it wasn't for this guy here and his buddy on the table." The medic patted the head of what looked like a demonized canine, though Astronicus knew him as Kren. Kren and his father, Xor, were pet Tuk'ata that he had acquired back on Yavin IV deep inside the Dark Temple on one of the Clan's past adventures.

The tuk'ata leaned it's head to the left, as if confused, and stared at his master. Astronicus had taken good care of the two since he'd adopted them and they had likewise devoted themselves to the descendant of their original master, Naga Sadow. Kren was the youngest and strongest, though impetuous at times he was loyal to Astronicus. Xor, though older, was the more intelligent one of the two by a landslide. Astronicus looked over his shoulder at the table where Xor layed, he was quiet and not moving save for shallow breaths. What happened to him? Astronicus gestured to Xor.

"Well, the two of them apparently took the intruders on the bridge by surprise, from the way they mangled those bodies up there I doubt they had much of a fight. But as they were bringing you down here they found a group of us being herded by the intruders. I think they intended to sacrifice us or something." The medic looked down, reliving those terrifying moments over in his head, then lifting his eyes he continued. "Anyhow, these two decided that you needed help and the only way to get it was to eliminate all of the baddies. The one on the table got cut up pretty bad, but he'll pull through, I've stitched him up and he's just resting now."

Astronicus cleared his throat and a small remnant of his voice returned. "Thank you." He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "How many survived?" He rasped.

"There are eight of us, the others are working on ship systems to get us up and running again. We have a fix on the Covenant thanks to a standardized tracking device, but the signal is very weak because of the Shroud's ionized particles." The medic walked back over to Xor and began to look over his bandages. "Needless to say, there are no more intruders on board and we've captured a few of their bio-organic technologies."

"Who is the highest ranking survivor?" Asked Astronicus, his voice hoarser than before.

"Our chief engineer, a chap by the name of Gaerick. Would you like me to have him come up here?" Asked the medic

Yes, that would be appreciated, Doctor… I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch your name?" Said Astronicus.

"Ristoph, my friends just call me Ris." He replied, "And I'm not a doctor, just an unlucky field medic who happened to be in the wrong place at the right time."


18-07-2007 17:05:55

FRG Foresight

Raistlin, Malisane and Sai made their way to the turbolift and found that at least that was still in order. Quickly they decided the best course of action would be to secure the bridge, since the hangar appeared at the very least, sealed off for the moment.

The turbolift quickly ascended, and Raist, shook the jug in his hand, changing the liquor inside it.

"Corellian Brandy, 500th Anniversary Edition.... smooth a silk," he said, downing a swig, and then quickly another. He passed it around, offering all the Jedi some, who both accepted, and smiled shortly afterwards. However, as the turbolift came to a halt they were unprepared with what they saw in front of them.

Several Vong had hijacked the bridge of the Foresight and were beginning to execute the bridge crew as well as smash the consoles with their staffs and fists. All of that activity came to a halt as the three jedi stepped through the turbolift, lightsabers ignited. All attention was on them.

The three of them stood back to back as the aliens closed around them, forming the three points of a triangle. From what Raistlin could see, the bridge crew had been herded and bound in a corner of the circular bridge, several of the consoles has been smashed, and sparks flew everywhere, indeed, part of the main viewport appeared offline, as well as several other ship functions. Immediately one of the aliens grabbed a female from out of the fray and held what appeared to be a long knife to her throat.

Raistlin immediately recognized the face. "Release the captain, and we will allow you to leave this ship. However if even one drop of blood is spilled, your lives are all forfeit." Raist spat, as the aliens looked at him before laughing.

"Surely you jest," said the hostage taker, though the speech was gutteral, it was still easy to decipher. "You are outnumbered here, and you will soon all share the same fate. Today is the day you meet the Gods Jeedai" He said before bringing the blade across Captain Jori's throat, decapitating her in one fell move.

Raist went wild, his blade in a flurry as two Vong closed on him to stop him. "STAND DOWN." The hostage taker said. "This one is mine alone."

The other two respectfully bowed down and Raistlin ran to his position. He could see he stood taller then the rest, and his arm had been replaced by some kind of bionic-crab-claw-looking thing that Raistlin could only guess at the origin of. "If you are the leader here," Raist said. "It is a shame your followers will have to watch you die a painful death."

The alien howled and immediately said "For the Vaa Dominion, this would be the highest honor. May you bring me to the heights of agony Jeedai, but you yourself surely, will die." He extended his staff and immediately the two went at it, Raist becoming a whirling dervish. Below them, Sai and Malisane were fighting against impossible odds, two Jedi, five Vong.

Raistlin knew he had to hurry, he needed to defeat this opponent fast to help his fellow brothers. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to be that easy. Whowever he was facing, Vaa Dominion? he wondered was surely a formidable foe. Raist could get no space with which to execute any type of attack, and was forced to be defensive or risk losing an appendage. The creature was tremendously powerful and fast, even more so then the previous one he faced, and he wondered exactly how strong these creatures could be at their peak. He executed a long parry maneuver, parrying the three swings from the staff, and flipping backwards dodging a spinning maneuver.

He needed to figure something out fast... or they were all doomed here.

Kaelin Ring

18-07-2007 17:22:26

VSD Covenant
Antei System, Shroud

The battle from the hangar to the barracks had been tough. Devani and Kaelin fought side by side nearly the entire way. It seemed that every corridor held at least one of the skeletal humans… Vong? Is that what they called them? Kaelin had refused to stop. After all, he hadn’t taken his saber with his to the awards ceremony. He’d fought every one of the bastards with tooth and claw. His hand-to-hand combat training had served him well as he tore through them. Oh, it was difficult. The staff-like snakes nearly took his head and arms off in several duels, but he’d survived thanks only to his speed and strength.

Against his fellow Dark Jedi, he’d been at a disadvantage. They’d thrown him around like a rag doll no matter his size or strength. Such things didn’t affect the force. In the first couple of engagements he’d watched Devani’s eyes bug out every time she tried that on the Vong. Here, he was in his element… and now he had his saber as well.

The cat-like Obelisk now strode down the corridor towards the lift, preparing to head towards the bridge, eyes feral and shining. A shudder shook the ship, but he ignored it. It happened every few minutes in any case. Fuses and wires can out of the walls at odd intervals, sure signs of battle. In fact, he was quite surprised that he’d not run into…


“Ya, Jedi. I know. You ignorant poor, poor bastards.”

With an angry shriek the two of the three Vong charged him. The two were young looking… comparatively. The third held back, a silent witness to the battle. With an unhinging roar of his own, the giant Togorian met them. He batted aside one, who hit the wall and then struggled to raise. The second he faced, his face twisted with rage. Kaelin unsheathed his claws, swiping at the young Vong’s face. Before the hand reached its intended target, the snake staff wrapped itself around his arm. It hissed at him and raised its head, preparing to strike. As the head came down, a sharp snap was heard and the staff untangled itself from his arm, a burn mark marring it coils. The light blue blade held before him, he side stepped, taking the head from the raising Vong. He’d made one mistake though; he’d left his back to the third Vong. A staff struck his head and he went down.

“Take him.” He knew no more.

VSD Covenant
Antei System, Shroud

All around the ship similar duels continued. Many were taken or killed. It was only the grouped Clans people who survived to carry on the fight. Dozens of Vong were going down now, and some of the ships began to retreat, taking their prizes with them, entering them into the Embrace of Pain.

Macron and his group struggled to form some order, forcing those they saw into effective battle groups to fend of the Vong intruders. It was surprising how the military order that had been natural before could fall to pieces so easily. Desperately, the leaders of Naga Sadow fought to reinstall that practice, all the while trying to plan how to recover their .

Shan Long

18-07-2007 18:25:03

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force destroyer
Hangar Bay
Shroud Interior, Antei System

He sensed great fear, more apprehension, death and chaos. Three of his fellows had died, horribly. He mourned for the loss of a Clansmen, but dismissed it almost as quickly. War was to cull the weak. Those who cannot stand a test, are doomed to nothingness in the Force.

Two others were about to meet a similar fate. He sensed that he should prevent this, potential that should not be wasted. Trevarus ignited a lightsaber in his left hand, silently cursing his withered right hand.

Vexatus followed suite, though he was prepared to fight in the classic Variant that Trevarus had taught him nany years before. Trevarus would have to modify his technique. They stepped through a series of blast doors, into a side corridor that ran the length of the hangar bays. What they saw, brought a grimace to each Elder's face. Three of the far outsiders stood advancing on Ashia Keibatsu, and an Apprentice Trevarus had never seen. The monsters stepped over the bodies of fallen Journeymen, the deaths he had sensed moments before.

Ashia stood in the perfect elegence of a Master of the Makashi form, the Master admired the loose grip of her lightsaber, held ready for a deft strike, weight supported solidly on her right heel. This Zabrak was talented, he was correct.

The Apprentice sensed them first. He turned, looking back in his fear. Ashia too turned.

"Master Sadow, Lord Vexatus. Great timing."

"Fall back, Sister." Trevarus said. "We'll take them down together."

Ashia and the Apprentice made haste to where the two Elders stood waiting with their lightsabers. She looked down at his right hand. "Master Sadow... what happened?"

"They happened. I'll tell the tale later."

"How do we take them down, they're nothing in the Force."

"Creatively, Priestess," Vexatus replied. "Think outside the box, if I may."

Three Vong began to chant as they marched forward. One spoke to Trevarus directly

"Brenzlit Infidel. Bring us great pain, so that we may defeat you Jeedai"

"Their command of Basic is staggeringly juvenile." the nameless Apprentice said.

"What's your name, young one?" Trevarus asked.

"Acolyte Nero Pennant, House Marka Ragnos, Master."

"You are an Obelisk, no?"


"Well, I am pleased to see your courage, young one. I too was of House Marka Ragnos."

"Thank you, Master."

"Hold out your hand."

The Acolyte looked puzzled, his flame-red hair drifting a bit in whatever breeze. Trevarus closed his eyes for the space of a second, and a over-long hilted lightsaber appeared in his outstretched hand with a crack of displaced air. Nero studied the weapon intently, his grey eyes drinking in every detail of the elegant weapon. With a short hiss, the blade ignited, radiating deepest sapphire.

"That weapon was carried by a very powerful Master of the Obelisk Order, who died in combat against me. Bear it proudly, in whatever manner might save your life, Acolyte."

"I will fight, or die, Master."

"I will now grant you a measure of skill... close your eyes." Trevarus replaced his lightsaber to its hook on his belt. In his left hand a small porcelain jar appeared in the shape of a frog. Carefully, with his powerless right hand, he traced a mystic sigil on the Acolyte's forehead speaking a sentence long-known throughout the Brotherhood.

"Erus de machaera Ater..."

"Do you really think this necessary, Trev?"

"Every advantage we earn, will help us, Xanos."

Nero's face flushed, as new power flowed into his body. He stepped forward, his limbs moving through stances of ready forms unaccustomed to his limbs. Ataru, Soresu, event the more violent aspects of Dun Moch were apparent in his steps.

"What have you done?"

"Your power is equivalent to a talented Exarch of your Order, young one. Be careful with this gift, and remember what you face. You are not accustomed to such power, use it judiciously."

Four lightsabers flashed in the corridor, blocking an assault by three Amphistaffs. These weapons coiled about, rearing back for another strike as the Vong twisted their bodies in a parody of grace, their movements were brutal.

"Ashia, Nero, I want you to rip up the floor beneath their feet. Xanos and I will hold them back."

He looked at Vexatus, who nodded.

Trevarus flung both of his black-bladed lightsabers forward with a strong telekinetic grip, the torpid blade soaring from his belt and igniting midair. Xanos too, flung his forward. The two Elders stood back, their hands moving in a dervish of strike and feight, forcing the Vong down the corridor ten or twelve paces.

"Now!" Trevarus shouted.

Strain was evident in the faces of both Equite and Journeyman. Both knew what Trevarus wanted, and focused their will into the hard metal decking of the wide corridor. Metal screamed its protest, sparks from underlying wire flared and died, one small fire erupted. Through the harsh smell of burining plastic, they tore the flooring up sixteen paces before. The Vong sighed as sharp metal tore into their feet. Trevarus adjusted his focus slightly, bringing great sheets of metal up, flaying and tearing through the kinks in their armor, piercing flesh, wrapping around and twisting into six distinct traps of warped metal. Rendered immobile, one vong fell down into a twisted postion on his back, it tried to stand but could not. The others began to utter what seemed like curses in their native tongue.

One reached a hand out, as if to fling a weapon. Vexatus raised his hand, and a long beam of steel smacked its arm to the side. A small black weapon fell out of its hand.

In a stroke of inspirate, Nero repeated the feat on the final standing Vong, twisting even more decking around them, so that all three's arms were trapped.

Vexatus spoke over their streams of muttered curses in Basic and their own language. "Well, what do we do with three trapped Far Outsiders?"

"I don't know, " Trevarus replied. "But I want to know what's in that poison"

"Be careful, " Ashia said "We don't know what else they've got waiting for us.


18-07-2007 18:35:59

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Krel os'a hmi va ta!” spat one of the aliens.

The warrior who had just shouted, cursed, reared its head up and its eye seemed to dilate. A bubble of green liquid formed on the outside before shooting from the creature's eye at Vexatus. The Sith Lord dropped his shoto, angling the shorter lightsaber's blade to catch the viscous liquid.

The Falleen smiled. “Nice try,” he whispered darkly, almost pleasantly before casually plunging the head of his shoto into the creature's skull. The red blade burned clean through, stopping only when it reached the durasteel plating of the floor.

Nero turned to look at the Sith Lord. Vexatus could sense the unease behind the Journeyman's hollow eye sockets. He smiled. “Fear not. I only kill when I must, even if it means nothing to me to do so... I'm not insane like the good oracle here.” He paused, his voice now taking a much darker tone, “Through sacrifice, we gain strength,” he said, quoting part of the Sith Code.

The Sith Lord's eyes rested on Trevarus for a second. Vexatus still did not fully understand why he had saved the Master's life. The weak should be left to die, he thought silently. Perhaps it was the Force's will he should be saved? There is more of Xanos left in me than I realised. He would need to meditate on this later. He could not afford attachment, weakness. He was a Sith Lord now...

Phahg, Jeedai!”

The sound of the Yuuzhan Vong's cursing snapped Vexatus back out of his thoughts. He crouched, wanting to get a closer look at the nearest.

“Is that... wise?” questioned Ashia carefully.

The Falleen gave a mocking smile. “If either of these two had any tricks they'd have used them with the other already.” The two aliens continued to struggle against their makeshift shackles. “So, what have you got to say?”

“Kill me, or are you a coward, Jeedai?” spat the alien. “I do not fear death. Free me from the pain of living! Yun-Yammka will reward me a thousand fold for the infidels I have killed this day.”

Trevarus laughed. “Ah, I do love the religious ones,” he said. “Tell me, where are your Gods now, abominable one?”

The Yuuzhan Vong strained at his chains. “You dare insult the Gods? You will die, infidel, along with your galaxy, for the glory of the True Way!”

“He sounds like you, Master," said Vexatus drly.

“Enough prattle,” said Trev impatiently. “Hand me one of their staffs.”

Reaching carefully for one of the writhing black snakelike weapons, Vexatus grasped it by what could only be called its throat and held it up toward Trev. The Krath Master took hold and proceeded to danger the living weapon above the second Vong's head. Gripping tighter, a steady trickle of venom dripped out of the creatures mouth onto the alien's head.

The Yuuzhan Vong immediately began struggling harder than before. “Hu-carjen tok!” it cried painfully before rolling its shoulders, desperately trying to break free of its bonds.

“And here I was thinking they didn't fear death,” said Ashia.

The Vong immediately stopped screaming and turned its face to glare at the priestess. “I fear nothing!” it screamed. The alien arched its spine, pulling on its restraints. Pushing against them with all its might, the Yuuzhan Vong warrior tore its left arm free of the twisted girders, tearing its own fingers off in the process.

Vexatus quickly stood up, angling his lightsaber at the creatures throat, only to stop, amazed at the sight he was seeing unfold before his eyes. The creature was literally rubbing the broken stumps of its fingers against its face, an equally viscous liquid to the staff weapon's venom dripping from the wounds. He stared blankly for a moment as he fathomed what he was seeing before it dawned on him – it must have been an antidote of some kind.

“I think we found the answer to your question,” he said, turning to look at Trev.

Ashia looked repulsed. “You need to... rub that into your skin?”

“It wouldn't be the first time Trev's drank someone else's blood."

Trevarus Caerick snapped his lightsaber back to life, severing the creatures head before snapping another of its fingers off himself. Without hesitation he lifted it up, pouring the putrid looking liquid into his mouth. Ashia looked as if she could throw up. Nero seemed thankful for once he was blind.

“Are you... done?” said Ashia.

The remaining warrior ceased struggling on the floor. “You are strange Jeedai... you are almost Yuuzhan Vong...” it said slowly.

Trevarus Caerick laughed darkly before silencing the creature in one final, swift stroke.

Shan Long

18-07-2007 19:39:21

He shut down his lightsaber, and focused for a moment. Drawing familiar energies into his body, he quenched fire that seemed beyond all dispersion. He flexed his right hand, feeling power flowing into the site of his former injury. The fingers moved, slowly, remembering their former strength. Lost in his own thoughts, until he noticed the... presence... of the young one upon him

You do not see, young one... but your sight is far beyond.

I can almost see what you see, Master. the vast tangles of the Dark Side... as does the web of a spider... was a reply, a voice in the back of his mind.

Watch and listen, listen and watch, young one. Stay close to me, and I will show you the way into the limitless depths. For the moment, suffer yourself to survive to conclude this battle.

I will, Master

Trevarus' right hand was pale, yet fully functional again. He looked at Xanos

"Dare I?"

"You know you're going to anyway. As much as you, and everyone else curses that damned Amulet, you know you can't reliquish it."

"It a matter of responsiblity, my old Apprentice."

"Such is it to win the battle, my old Master."

The Krath Master reached under his robes and withdrew a satchel of heavy leather. Many had seen this device carried with him into many battles, few knew what it was. Opening the leather thongs that held it fast, he retrieved the Amulet of Orian. Though heavy, it was more like a glove of mail, set with hundreds of thousands of interlocking plates. Tentatively, he drew it over his right hand.

A scream loud and powerful ripped through the Force. Nero covered his ears, trying to drown out the anguish that ripped through the air, boiled over into the Dark Side. For a moment, it seemed that Trevarus' very face would erupt into a sea of fire. His voice carried long and far, even beyond the hull of the ship. Bright violet light shone from the Star of Ombus, as each plate melted into a shimmering, flowing glove of silk, it melted further, crawling up his arm, under his heavy clothing, lapping around his face and even into his mouth and over his eyes. The metal eddied and pulsed for a moment, then retreated almost as quickly as it had spread.

Trevarus opened his eyes, breathing heavily.

Ashia and Vexatus looked at him aghast.

"i guess we know how to get it off him later," Vexatus finally said.

"Look at his eyes."

Even Nero studied the face of the Elder through sightless eyes. Trevarus' face had gone distant, almost shadowed. Darkness crept across every feature, and his aura bubbled with rage.

"I've heard of Shan Long, yet I was never allowed to see him" Ashia said.

"Speak not his name. That which was chained, has broken free. Stand back, lest his attentions fall to you."

Xanos guided the two others to several meters away from the Master. Shan Long screamed his fury.

"We... we... are... a feast...."

The insane one leapt onto a wall, scurrying alone like a spider, leaping between walls as he followed some unforeseen path down the corridors. At one point, he paused, smashing a silver-fist into the upper decking and tearing down portions of the ceiling. He climbed into this new passage, and was gone from sight.

Vexatus watched them go. "Either he'll destroy the Far Outsiders, or they him. Either way, I am content."

Macron Sadow

18-07-2007 23:31:26

The heavy old computer console was flung by the Chev Battelord with all of his considerable Sadowite telekinetic might. Sparks flew and spat as the wiring burst when the bank was ripped from it’s mooring. It flew at the Vong warrior like a slow motion cannon shot as the Dark Jedi surrounded the last invader. Blazing slashes and stabs of the ripping energy blades drove into the soft fleshy plates of the crab armor, and the figure dropped to the floor and kicked for some time.

All was still on the bridge. Bodies of Vong and Dlarit forces littered the floor, their spilt bowels and gore intermingling on the floor. The stink of black alien blood and spilled electro-coolant wafted through the air. Dim red running lights competed with the blood-splashed emergency blinkers, lighting the area in a crimson haze. Crackling voices pleaded for help in different languages over the comlinks as system warnings bleated out across the blinking consoles.

The survivors looked around, assessing the situation. “ I now have command of the Covenant personally,” spat Macron as he toed a still-twitching Yuuzhan Vong body. He ran his orange blade through it’s eye socket with a plunging coup-de grace that burned into the deck beneath. “Most of the bridge crew is dead, but the Captain survived. Captain Shivak. Resume your command,” invited the Sith with a growl. “My Brethren. Let’s ameliorate this situation. We need as much operative capacity as possible. Give me our current status as I adjust these shields. That is an order, Captain.”

Shivak emerged from cover under the console, gripping a smoking blaster pistol and smiling. “I got one in the ah…. He’s neutralized. Let’s get on with this battle assessment.” The captain sat down at a readout console and began to work the system like his now-deceased crew. “Reports indicate fighting on several decks. Main power was disabled for some time, but we have backup now. I have casualty reports…” His voice died off. “Many have perished. 29% of systems offline. Generator near critical limit…”

Shin’Ichi nodded. “When we move from the Shroud, I will organize the defense of the system. Right now, I’ll put together a sweep of the decks. The Clone troopers will be useful. I’ll be in contact until we can get the security and maintenance crews into place safely.”

Manji smiled evilly. “I think I would enjoy some more personal combat. I volunteer for “cleaning” duty,” chuckled the Krath. “Of the most violent kind.” His fists clenched as he longed for the freedom of the battle-mind. “I want to test myself against the baka.”

Mononoke positioned himself in the command seat and began to manipulate the starship controls. The others looked at him strangely. “What? I took the course,” he guffawed. “I can drive. This may mean my death, but so be it. Quejo, let’s get you to your command ship. Shin, Master… boy that is weird to... May the Force be with you,” canted the alchemist as he focused on the controls. "And may the Dark Side wrap us in her black wings."

Kaelin Ring

18-07-2007 23:38:37

Unknown ship
Antei System, Shroud’s edge

Kaelin woke in a daze. He didn’t hear the usual hum of engines… that was the first thing that told him something was wrong. Then, after another moment, the battle came back to him. I shouldn’t have tried to take them all on. In truth he’d felt invincible. The lightsaber in his hand coupled with his enhanced sense of the force had made him overly aggressive. But the feel that had rebounded around the ship had been so… intense. Pain, hate, anger, fear… some of the most intense emotions of them all, excluding love, had been present, making him feel more alive than ever.

All of that was null now. He could feel nothing of his surroundings. Signifying how many of these Vong now were around him. He slowly opened his eyes, wincing as fire ignited in the back of his head. Everything was pitch black. Concentrating, the large Togorian brought things into focus. All around him sat devices for torture. Some came dangerously close to looking almost like machines, but on closer examination it was just coral slabs and the like.

Only after awhile of staring at everything around him, musing at what certain objects could do and why everything seemed upsidedown, he looked down. He’d simply assumed before that he was just really close to the ceiling but upon inspection of the device holding him, he found he was being held inverted. Then he became fully aware of his body, letting down his mental barriers. A wave of pain left him nauseous, and then another. Endlessly he was struck again and again with excruciating pain. The scream that tore itself from his throat brought his captors. They sneered down at him and laughed softly.

“Enjoying yourself, jeedi? Do you like meditating?”

Kaelin could not respond it seemed that his entire body was sheathed in molten energy and sweat. He could not speak, could barely breath in through the screams, although he was being held conscious. He knew not how, but each second felt worse than the last and he could not make it stop.

In the back of his mind he heard the maniacal laugh of the Other. He knew it was just schizophrenia, but sometimes he could swear the Other was real. Through the pain he tried to plead that the Other take over as he did in the spar against Macron, but it stoically refused and then laughed, retreating to the back of his mind once more. Hours upon hours of pain followed and Kaelin lost track of where he was… who he was. He sent out a silent prayer. Help me!


19-07-2007 06:07:46

Sai were backed into a corner of the bridge, one of the Vong had fallen to a through slash though a weak point in its armour but four of them still battled against them. They were getting desperate. Above Raistlin’s sword crashed against the staff of his opponent and though the Exarch seemed to be slowly gaining the advantage the warrior was still managing to block the Obelisks blows and stop him coming to the others assistance.

We're going to die Malisane thought to himself. It looked hopeless. Nearby the crew crouched behind their smashed terminals and watched the battle helplessly.
Next to him Sai's blade flicked back and forth, concentrating on defence parrying the attacks as they came in. Malisane was impressed by the Knights skill and resilience, if they survived the journeyman had a good career ahead of him.
That wasn't looking likely though, overwhelmed and cornered sooner or later a blow had to get through and once one fell the other did not have long left. Their survival required a miracle.

It happened, or at least a piece of immense good fortune. With a flash a console on the other side of the room exploded sending a fountain of sparks up, and the lights in the room flickered. One of the Vong cried out in surprise as it felt its feet leave the ground as it began to drift slowly upwards, followed by the one next to it.
"Gravity's gone!" Malisane shouted as he too felt himself rise up and drift across the room.
Sai blocked a wild slash of a Vong who was slowly moving away from him. "How does that help us?"
"We've got the force they haven't. Watch!" the Battlemaster replied. He reached out with his telekinesis and gently nudged the bulkhead next to him, sending his body drifting in a more controlled manner towards a free floating squirming Vong.

The warrior turned as he saw the Sith moving towards him and tried desperately to manoeuvre around against any supporting resistance and failed, before Malisane increased his velocity slightly, saber blade towards the enemies back and felt it resist for a second before slicing through the armour impaling the stricken Vong.
Sai was quick to follow propelling himself towards another, then an evil smile touched his face and he extended his arm, concentrating on a fallen chair and flicking it spinning towards the warrior, clipping his foot and sending him into a continuous helpless roll, flailing with its staff. Sai waited for the appropriate moment then sliced his lightsaber against the back of the creature’s neck half decapitating it.

Raistlin had also been quick on the uptake. Seeing the crew were clinging onto their terminals and were safe for now he'd dispatched his first opponent and was moving towards another, slicing at the warrior with a calm manner as it flailed at him.
There was one Vong left for the Sith and the Krath to fight. "We could use him alive." Malisane said coldly.
Sai smiled. "I've got an idea." He raised his arm again and sent a crate spinning towards the Vong, hitting him and redirecting him towards the top corner of the bridge.
"Left a bit." Malisane said as he sent the floating chair nearby to hit the Vong again redirecting him slightly.
After the tension of the battle and the relief at regaining the upper hand the two were laughing now. "I think we've invented a new game." he said as he sent a third heavy object smacking into the Vong. The warrior pushed away from the wall but the Sith and the Krath sent more items over. Finally Malisane took a fallen beam and jammed the warrior in place, wedging either end in the corner and causing the warrior to finally drop his staff.
Raistlin pushed himself over to them. "I think that’s enough of that," he said, "we need to restore gravity, then we can get that thing down. I want answers."

Syrus Korodin

19-07-2007 13:16:25

We must awaken. We can dream no longer.

The hum in his soul continued, unabated, a thousand voices hissing and whispering in distraught tones and myriad tongues. Here was his mind, bent and cruel and twisted, shapeless and deluded under the soft embrace of unconsciousness. Every voice, every thought, every concept and structure, all came forth from one point, infinite streams flowing from one imperfect source. Here he dreams.

One voice cuts through the din and turmoil. One voice is loud and insistent.


A vast hand reaches forth from the abyss, clutching at nothingness and stealing a handful of infinity. One brief, terrible second, and the hand retracts, taking with it every stream that was. Together again, sealed into the source, the emptiness is silent. The din is gone. Only the one voice continues its incessant call. He listens to it.

He opens his eyes.

A rush of confusing input assault his battered senses, and for a moment Dark Jedi Knight Shuang Long has not even the slightest recollection of how he ended up here, on the floor, soaked in blood and sweeat and even more foul liquids. He tries to rise, stumbles, and fall to the floor again as the flood of memories strikes him. The Sons of Sadow are at war. He remembers running down the corridor. He remembers flames reaching up to lick his brow, and he remembers the flash of light that sent him into darkness.

An explosive, perhaps? Something struck him and knocked him into the realm of unconsciousness. He was lucky to have been far enough away from the explosion to have sustained only minor injuries. He was even luckier that the Yuuzhan-Vong had not found his helpless form and kidnapped him. For that, at least, he would give up a thousand prayers to the Wanderer.

Still, there is a battle. His Clan is at war, and every ticking second condemns another friend and colleague to the gallows. He tries to rise again. A rush of vertigo overtakes him, and the Frost Dragon clings to the wall for dear life, doing everything he can to suppress the sick feeling of dread that suffused his form. His claws slide against the metal walls, screeching as he desperately tries to hold himself up.

For now, at least, he succeeds. The vertigo fades. At last, he assumes control of his body. But where to go? He racks his mind, searching for the best choice of action, and quickly decides that the Main Hangar would be the place to go. His own personal fighter craft, a heavily modified N-1 Starfighter, waits for him. The Twilight Shadow would easily be able to take him away from this ship if (and he doubted this very much) the Vong were able to overcome the defenses. The hangar also seemed a likely place to find other Sadows. There was always strength in numbers.

He begin to move, jogging slowly down the corridors, keeping all his senses open and aware of any disturbances in the force. He could feel the subtle changes in the fabric of the force that told him quite clearly of nearby clan mates. Up ahead he could sense a number of strange, pulsating nightmares, which he clearly recognized as Elders. He assumed that the only two who could possibly create such indentations in the force were Vexatus and Caerick, and Shuang knew that he would be far safer from the Vong if he could meet up with them.

Then, suddenly, he perceived a freezing emptiness in the force. Gooseflesh crept up his arms as he turned the corner, Coilbolt gripped firmly in his right hand. As soon as the monstrous Vong saw him it uttered a screech of such ethereal quality that even the normally collected Shuang felt a twinge of fear. What was this monstrosity that not even the all pervading force could penetrate? It was an aberration, a crime against nature and the Dark Side. It would die like all other things.

The creature hissed and screeched probably unleashing insults in its foreign tongue, or maybe simply too infuriated to speak the simple basic that it knew. Shuang had no need for the admonitions of such a worthless being. As the creature rushed at him (Infidel Jeedai!) he quickly raised his Coilbolt and fired twice. The projectiles, each moving approximately three times the speed of sound, struck the Vong's head mere milliseconds apart. Its head promptly exploded, splattering the walls with blood and brains. The wall behind it now resembled a piece of rather creative modern art, although not quite as colorful.

With his foe dispatched Shuang was once again ready to continue. He sent out an exploratory tendril of force, searching for any telltale absences, and could find none in his immediate vicinity. All he could feel was the blinding pulse of insane energy that he knew could belong to only one man.

"Master," he said, his voice hoarse, "Shan Long."

The Frost Dragon ran, his footsteps echoing, toward the chaos.


19-07-2007 14:42:12

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Entering the Shroud

“Stang, these Vong are serious fracking me off!” Ashura commented, as he, Ethran, and what surviving crew and Dark Jedi were left had band together.

“I am not getting anything from the bridge,” an engineer said as he banged on his communication device. “You wont, I do not sense anyone alive there. Yuuzhan Vong have already been there and killed them.” Ethran said, looking grimly at the crewman.

The situation had gone from bad to worse. The Wandering Soul had lost ¾ of its crew to the alien invaders, and whoever was left were fighting, dying, or in hiding. “T-This is hopeless,” said an Apprentice, one which Ashura noticed had only recently joined Naga Sadow. “Not hopeless, we just need to be creative.” The Clan Envoy replied.

“Oh, and you have something in mind, Ash?” Ethran asked as the group made there way down the damaged corridor. “Oh yeah, we had to engineering and set of the emergency fire decompression system,” A wicked grin on his face.

“B-But that would decompress the entire ship, killing everyone.” The young engineer commented. “Everyone that isn’t in engineering, which is where we will be,” Warrior Isradia said. The crewman looked shock. “But that is murder… what of the others.”

The Sith reached out and wrapped his hand around the engineers throat. “Sacrifices have to be made. And you’re going to help us do it… understand?”

The chocking young man nodded and Ashura released his grip. “Then let’s get going before we run into anymore of these bastards!”

~Do you think this will work, Ashura?~ Ethran’s mindvoice asked within the Warriors mind.

~It better, but if not atleast we will go out with a bang.~ Ashura replied, dry humour being apparent within his telepathy.

The group of survivors headed off towards engineering, they all knew this was a plan of pure desperation, and the chance of it working was pretty slim.


19-07-2007 17:02:18

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Darth Vexatus stared down the corridor, its bulkheads twisted and deformed around the three dead Yuuzhan Vong, it's ceiling shredded by the immense power of Shan Long. Nero stood, almost shaking. Ashia looked equally uneasy.

“Was that... was that Shan Long?” the priestess asked.

The Sith Lord nodded.

“Lord Vexatus, are you all right?” asked the Miraluka carefully, no doubt noticing the unease in the Sith Lord's Force signature, even if on the surface his face remained mostly calm.

Vexatus turned around to look at Nero. He could sense the powers of the Rite of Exaltation already beginning to fade, returning Nero to his natural Force-potential. He didn't answer.

“Lord Vexatus?” promoted Ashia, nudging him slightly with the Force, a little impatient and wanting to continue on.

He closed his eyes, reaching out with the Force. He could feel the chaos as if it was a burning star in the heart of the ship, surrounded by the tell tale nothingness of the Far Outsiders. He no longer knew what to fear most. He opened his eyes.

“That which we have witnessed must be undone,” he said, his voice unsettlingly icy.

Ashia shook her head slightly. “I don't understand, you mean Shan Long?”

“Yes. That... beast is no better than the aliens,” he answered.

“Shan Long? I thought he was on our side?”

Lord Vexatus laughed, though there was no amusement in his voice. “He should not exist. He is... an imbalance.”

Nero's head continued glancing behind him, desperate not to be caught by surprise. He was beginning to feel uneasy standing around doing nothing. “Not to be rude, masters, but can we get going? I don't like it here.”

Lord Vexatus looked at both of them. “Go,” he said to Ashia. “If he returns, you should thank Trevarus for saving you. I would have left you.”

Ashia looked at him for a moment, unsure how to take the Sith Lord's last comment. “What about you? Where are you going?”

“After Shan Long,” he said. “He is my responsibility. It is my fault he lives.”

Ashia looked confused.

Trevarus,” he said coldly. “I should have left him to die. My weakness has doomed this ship.” He paused. “I just hope he takes the Vong with him first.” With that Lord Vexatus took off down the corridor, tracing the route Shan Long had taken, leaping through the hole in the ceiling to the decks above.

Shan Long

19-07-2007 17:55:02

A singular focus of rage drove him forward. Almost half-heartedly, Trevarus watched the beast tear through metal plastic, following whatever impressions it gleaned from its blood-soaked haze of sight. In the abyss of reason, the Master watched as shards tore his clothing, his skin. Nothing matters to the Hunger. It was curious, however, that the Dragon had found the taste of the Far Outsiders blood so enticing. Trevarus drifted off into his own thoughts, powerless to control the Beast in its full rage...


Kaelin Ring awoke, his feet lashed firmly in a yellowish jelly. Pain seared his skull, and it required a few moments to sort out the source. He was being dragged by the hair. Out of the corners of his eyes, being dragged along the battle-hewn corridor, he saw dead soldiers and the marching feet of the three Vong that held him captive. Abruptly, his head was dropped, he heard the curses in their gutteral language, but could not see....!

He heard metal tearing, screaming as it was twisted out of its careful arrangments. He smelled smoke, burning hair, blood. He managed to scoot back along one wall, propping up his head, and leveraging the Force to raise him into a sitting position. What he saw, shocked him.

The Master Sadow, Trevarus, was tearing his way through the very floor. The silver-metal of his strange Amulet rippling and tearing great hunks of steel, flinging them out of his way. Lights began to flicker as power was disrupted to the corridor. Emergency lights flared, and in their red-haze he saw. Every member of Clan Naga Sadow had heard the legends of Shan Long, now he witnessed it.

Shan Long leapt forward, his eyes burning with violet lightning, his hands curled into claw-like mockeries of elegance. The Vong raised their weapons, shouting curses and insults, but the Master was so fast. He tackled the first intruder, and--to Ring's amazement-- began eating his flesh. The other two left their fellow in utter amazement, watching the monster devour one of their own while it struggled against him. Shan Long tore out its throat finally, finally ripping its head off with a single display of aggression. It raised the severed head, black blood dripping down as from a canteen.

"This infidel is beyond all pain. It fights like a beast, devouring."


One of the Vong struck at Shan with an Amphistaff. The weapon sliced a clean gash through its skin, while the Master raised its blood-soaked face and howled a rage. It leapt forward, tearing more of the decking with it, pieces of debris slammed against the Vong, who braced themselves against walls from the storm of steel. The Master snarled again, and lept, flipping high into the air, jumping off the ceiling, and smashing into one Vong with all of his weight. This beast too, toppled, falling into the gaping hole that was torn into the floor. Jagged steel punctured its armor, and it died impaled on broken scraps of floor.

The final Vong narrowed its eyes

"You fight as the Yuuzhan Vong, Infidel. Without fear."

"We are... fear..." The Beast replied in its gutteral gnashing voice.

Shan Long raised his hands, and tore a heavy blast door off out of its mounting. Six tons of solid steel raised with its telekinetic might. He hurled the broad end at the final standing Vong, who braced its shoulder against the heavy projectile. Instead, the door drove it down the long corridor, gaining speed in the Rage of the Beast. The door smashed flat against a far end of the corridor. The sound reverberated through the whole ship, a great shaking to the core of its structure. When the dust cleared, Vong blood pooled under the door as it settled into place.

Kaelin watched as the insane Master licked a swath of Vong-blood off its arm, and tore down the corridor, leaping between walls, until it disappeared around a bend.

"Need some help, Young One?"

"Lord Vexatus!" Kaelin exclaimed.

The Sith Lord held out his hand, and a simple crystal decanter appeared in his outstretch grip. He pulled the porcelain stop out of it, and spoke a few syllables.

"Care for a drink?"

Vexatus retrieved a little tool from his pocket, and took a long swig out of the bottle. Leaning over, he lit a small flame on the tool. Spitting out the alcohol in a flash of orange-blue flames seared the blorash off the other's feet. It seemed to sudder, recollecting itself in the face of the sudden shock. Vexatus slammed a heavy peice of steel on it. The bottle disappeared in another clap of displaced air.

"Shan Long was here, wasn't he?"

"How could you tell?" Vexatus chortled "The half-eaten corpse?"

"I've heard about Shan Long... but what the hell is he?"

"You're better off not knowing. Come, we have to find him"

Ashia Kagan

19-07-2007 22:25:52

Ashia watch as Vexatus disappeared, following the trail that Shan Long had left. She shook her head for a moment then turned away.

"Shouldn't we go help him?" The Rite of Exaltation had finally run it's course and the Acolyte was back. Nero had a worn look as if it had taken a lot out of him. He looked at her inquisitively.

"Lord Vexatus can handle it. I've had my own share of demons to deal with, I don't need anymore." Her thoughts drifted momentarily to the battle on Kyataru when Ashen had been loosed on to Eojin. The dark eyes of her husband changing ever so slightly; that laugh...

Nero watched as a shudder ran through the Priestess. She turned away and composed herself quickly as she moved through the hanger towards the ships. She sighed heavily and when she looked around at what was left on board. A few TIE Fighters and a couple of Interceptors. The Persephone sat where she had docked it, her own personal modified Z-95 Headhunter. She had a hyperdrive installed in it a year ago.

"Well, kiddo, take your pick, you want a Fighter or an Interceptor?"

The Acolyte stood in awe. He had flown the Fighters plenty in training maneuvers with his battle team, but had yet to fly an Interceptor.

"Interceptor. I've been wanting to fly one." A smile spread across his face.

Ashia nodded. "Ok, we take off, we get to the Wandering Soul. Nothing fancy, got it? I will not be responsible if you don't follow orders."

Nero gulped, his opaque eyes widening slightly. The Miraluka jumped as a ripple in the Force reached them. Ashia smiled slightly as she turned towards her brother-in-law.

Shikyo moved silently up beside them a smile of his own creasing his lips.

"A bit jumpy, eh Nero?" He cackled.

Shikyo turned to Ashia and raised his eyebrow. "What the frack was that back there?" He nodded back towards the ripped up flooring and the two dead Vong.

"Oh...that...Trevarus let Shan Long out. Lord Vexatus is tracking him now."

Shikyo looked sideways at his sister-in-law. "Is that wise?"

"Wise to be tracking him or wise that he let him out?"

"You have a point." He nodded then looked up at the Headhunter. "You aren't taking off, are you?"

"I have to get to the Wandering Soul. I should be commanding it." Shikyo saw the look in her eyes. He knew better then to argue with her.

"Be careful." He looked at Nero then and added, "You too."


19-07-2007 23:39:33

Bridge, Nebulon Frigate Foresight
Dlarit Corporation Frigate
Anteian Space, Deep Shroud

Raistlin floated over to an auxiliary panel, one of the few with functioning readouts after the fortuitous overload had turned the battle to the trio's favor. Pressing a few buttons, the remaining Dlarit line officers dropped unceremoniously to the deck as a semblance of artificial gravity was restored; the Dark Jedi, on the other hand, settled gracefully to the deck.

Only one stayed aloft; Malisane held the lone Yuuzhan Vong in a crushing telekinetic grip at the top of the beam he'd wedged in the corner earlier. Despite his precarious position, the Vong warrior spat curses at the Battlemaster, spittle flying from his rotten craw, defiant to the last.

Sai looked down at the nearly decapitated form of the Foresight's captain; Jori's eyes were frozen open, still unbelieving, still refusing to accept that her authority had been so viciously usurped. The remaining crew, still shaken, rose from the deck and drew around the Knight.

"Captain Jori's death was…regrettable," intoned Sai, giving the fallen Dlarit Corp officer a eulogy of sorts, his head cocked slightly askance in the traditional Korun way. Formalities done, and done, he reached within the Dark Side and sent out a localized pulse; Malisane and Raistlin, who both outranked the Knight, barely flinched, but the non-Force users on the bridge all fell to the deck once more as Sai wiped their minds clean of the events that just transpired. They had, after all, witnessed Dark Jedi, in all of their martial glory, lightsabers ablaze; the secrets of the Sadow were paramount and must be preserved.

Raistlin looked up from the terminal he'd commandeered. "I don't envy them the headache they'll have when they wake up," he said.

"They're better off than the good Captain," the Keibatsu reminded coolly.

Raistlin turned his attention back to his terminal. "All ship to ship comms are down. I don’t even know who the frell's still out there!"

His face suddenly fell as he gained clarity from the cold readout scrolling in front of him. "The Emperor's Shield…the Fading Song…the Mnemosyne…even the Dark Prophet! They’re gone! They’re all gone! By Sadow…"

Malisane spat over his shoulder as he interrupted, anger spicing his voice. "Sadow had nothing to do with this. It was…this," he nodded his head upwards at the still spitting Vong. "This, and his ilk."

Raistlin continued, struggling to compose himself as he worked feverishly at the terminal. "The Foresight's drifting through the Shroud...definitely no comms to speak of, but I can get the transponder to send out a homing beacon to get someone to pick us up."

Sai stepped over the body of Captain Jori to join Raistlin at the terminal. "What if this baka's friends hear our little message?"

"Won't matter," said Malisane, "because they're already here." The Battlemaster continued in a slightly wistful voice. "Besides, I can feel Vladek; at least, what's left of him. Kid's a fighter, though. He's aboard a 'frigate analog' that's latched onto one of ours. I can only assume that's the Foresight."

"Malisane's right," confirmed Raistlin, typing away. "And, I've got more great news! Their sloppy boarding job has compromised life support, so maybe we'll get lucky and get to go out fighting."

"Well, I propose we start with this one," said Malisane, and, clutching his fist, caused the pinned Yuuzhan Vong to impale himself on the beam and slide down, caught in the thrall of Darkness born telekinesis, the cold metal becoming slick with the alien's innards.

Malisane leaned in close to the mortally wounded warrior. "I'm going to say this very slowly, so that you'll be sure to understand: I can not wait to make slaves of your children and women; they'll beg me to clean rancor stalls, you fracking bastard. You all will pay dearly for what you've done this day."

Still defiant, the Vong warrior did the unthinkable, even in the face of death at the hands of the Battlemaster: he laughed. A wet, raspy, hitching noise, it was a laugh nonetheless.

And it was as cold as the vacuum that seeped unceasingly into the Foresight from a million tiny fissures in its war-racked hull.

Nero Pennant

20-07-2007 11:21:53

Nero was still shaking from the events that occurred over the last few hours. The effects of the Rite of Exaltation were wearing off, and the young Miraluka was both saddened by the loss of his temporary power, as well as elated. He'd read up a little on the Rite. It borrowed from one's future power, and if Nero could have that much power floating within him, he could one day attain it, perhaps go even further? The thought was intoxicating. He had feared it at first; the oncoming rush of power felt so right. He felt as though nothing could stop him, the power of an Exarch at his fingertips. The cold feel of a lightsaber in his hand. Then slowly the realization kicked in, and he felt the power being taken away from him, and he realized that when he next saw Trevarus again he would have to return the lightsaber to him. Perhaps Trevarus will be interested in a duel for the lightsaber when Nero reached the rank of Knight. Nero smiled at the thought.

Climbing into the Interceptor, he was glad to be getting off the Covenant, there wasn't much he could do here, especially considering he hadn't met a single Jedi of his rank who didn't get himself killed yet. Perhaps it was all going better on the Wandering Soul. With people as talented as Trevarus and Shan Long on board he hoped the situation here would be over soon. He knew it wasn't going to be, but it set his mind at ease, especially now that he felt quite lame and weak compared to the others. He'd have to get back at them for sneaking up on him constantly.

But for now he'd have to keep himself focused on getting from the Covenant to the Wandering Soul. By now most of the fighter traffic had gone down as many of the ships in the Brotherhood fleet were showing signs of boarding actions. It figured that a race of aliens bent on unleashing as much pain as possible wouldn't just try to destroy the ships; they come inside, eviscerate everyone they could, and then destroy the ships for being "Unclean".

"Are you done yet?!" Ashia asked over the intercom between her Z-95 Headhunter and his TIE Interceptor, obviously impatient and ready to get going.

"Please have patience, Priestess. I'm working as fast as I can," Nero half-muttered into his end of the commlink, as he closed the cockpit and finished warming up the engines and strapping himself in, "These TIEs are a real pain to get into."

"We've got company." Ashia muttered, and Nero knew it as well. A group of Vong had entered the hangar bay and were running to attack the two ships.

"Will your friend be alright?" Nero said.

"He's my brother-in-law. He'll be fine. The Vong will be begging for mercy by the time Shikyo will get done with them. We Keibatsu have a knack for being very hard to kill."

"I'll believe you." Came the Acolyte's reply, "Let's go then."

Both Jedi gunned their engines as Shikyo made his way further into the ship. Within minutes, both ships were streaming through the cold void of space and towards the Wandering Soul.

"Do you think that our destination has been boarded as well?" Nero asked, feeling weaker and more fearful from the remaining ebbs of the Rite fading away. Before, he'd felt less afraid of anything that doesn't have a Force signature. Now, those fears were starting to get worse, especially since the Rite was so powerful.

"It wouldn't surprise me," The Krath Priestess replied, her ship coasting away from enemy patrols while trying not to get too far away from their destination, "Sithspit. I knew I should've been on board that ship." She grumbled.

"Why would you say that?" It was a sympathetic reply from the Acolyte, one that might be seen as a sign of weakness on his part. But he owed the fact that he was still alive to this woman, and her family. He saw the ship coming close, they saw it too was damaged, rather heavily in some places.

Nero keyed the commlink to the bridge, opening a link to the Wandering Soul. "This is Acolyte Nero Pennant, accompanying Priestess Ashia Keibatsu, to the Wandering soul. Do you read, over?"

Syrus Korodin

20-07-2007 14:16:36

Footsteps echoing off the cold steel, Shuang continues his journey through the lifeless corridors. He encounters not even the slightest breath of life. The corpses that line the halls are the only testament to the life that once permeated the entire ship. He can hear in the distance the sound of combat, of explosions, and shrieks of the dying. Through the walls he hears strange dull clanging noises. A high pitched whine permeates the still air and small pinging noises reverberate through the walls. He can only wonder what is going on.

Inside him, the voices moan and scream. There is conflict of purpose within Shuang Long, and he struggles to resolve it even as he races down the halls at breakneck speed.

Where are you going?

To my master. I must help him.

He doesn't need your help. Save yourself. This ship is doomed.

That is why I must help him.

Help yourself. Keep your well being above all others. Forget him.

I cannot. It is my duty to my teacher. It is my duty to my friend.

He will kill you.

So be it!

An explosion, distant and barely audible, sends shivers through the metal hull. The lights go it in the corridor, and Shuang is plunged into darkness. He has no fear of the dark, but it impedes his progress. He stops his frantic running and immediately grips his lightsaber. It ignites with the usual hiss as a yellow glow beats back the darkness. There is no time for him to waste. He reaches out with the dark side, searching for the chaos, and finds it almost immediately. Shan Long's presence is very difficult to lose track of. Almost as difficult as ignoring a tornado devouring your house.

He tears off down the corridor hopping over the corpses. Less than a minute later his senses fail him. The dim light caused by his lightsaber is not enough for him, and he fails to notice the small pool of Vong blood in his path. He slips, falls, comes crashing down to the hard floor with a yelp of dismay. The saber's hum is silenced. He does not bother to turn it back on. There is enough light up ahead for him to see. Irritated, blood stained, and absurdly angry, he quickly leaps to his feet. His hate filled roar echoes through the halls.

His journey is not over. He feels that his master is near, but first he must find him. He slows his pace down a little, wary of any other obstacles that could send him crashing to a less than dignified fall, and continues trying to lock on to his master with the force. Like the tornado, it is both easy to see and ridiculously hard to lock on to. He feels his tendril of dark energy forced away with almost effortless ease. There is just enough of a connection to tell Shuang what direction he should be going in. He follows the directions that the dark side gives him, turning a corner and finding himself facing a line of elevators. He ignores them, turns another corner, and enters a large chamber filled with equipment and machinery.

“Jeedai! Infidel! Filth!”

Across from him he sees an entrance to another corridor. The silhouette of a tall Vong warrior meets his tired eyes. Behind him there are others. The Frost Dragon can see them readying their weapons, waiting for the order to attack. Shuang will not run from them. He will slay them all, each and every one, or die trying.

“Attack!” commands the tall one, “destroy the infidel jeedai!”

But the Krath is the quicker of the two. He aims with his coilbolt and empties the remainder of his clip into the Vong warrior. The sonic booms rip the air like a jagged claw, sending mighty reverberations throughout the ship. The Vong collapses, his armor shattered and his life stolen. A number of the Vong behind him rush forward to attack. The coilbolt and the ensuing shrapnel wounded some of the horrid creatures. Relentless, they charge forward, screaming their hatred of the jeedai all the way. Shuang quietly reloaded his coilbolt.

I told you you were going to die, the voice said snidely.


20-07-2007 14:21:20

Nebulon Frigate Foresight
Dlarit Corporation Frigate
Anteian Space, Deep Shroud

Corridor upon corridor of the frigate the trio raced, coated by the red flashes of the few systems alerts still operational, in a hurried urge to reach a spaceworthy vessel. The depressurization of the ship's interior was gradual and most of the time the floor and walls were covered by blood and gore, either red or black.

"We must get to the hangar." Malisane shouted, jumping another of those annoying amphistaves. "There must be some craft to take us to the Covenant." The sentence ended in almost a whisper, as the effort to draw the air was getting harder by the minute.

A hand interposed in Malisane's chest as to stop him. Hold your breath, Mal. We'll need every ounce of it until we are out. Raistlin projected his thoughts for the other two companions as he continued to sweep the area.

Where's everyone? Sai asked, his face in a frown of puzzlement. I sense no living thing or voids from here to... Wait, I got something. He started to move faster, signaling the other two to follow.

They rushed the remaining corridors, all around them the sounds of metal groaning against the unrelenting grip of the deep space. Small drafts of air becoming rather strong winds, small debris flying towards the luminous nothingness of the Shroud.

It's there. Sai pointed to the hangar door, still closed. Let me open this...

I wouldn't do it if I were ya. That's it, unless you're holding to something, y'know... A telepathic link came from the other side of the door, startling the three battle-weathered dark jedi. That bastard of a flying rock left a big hole in the hull where it bit.

Who's there? I demand an answer, now! Malisane inquired, trying to take the lead of the discussion in a heated way.

The reply came shortly after amidst the banging of gears cranking loose. No time for that, sir. Hope you're all tightly secure... A louder bang announced the event and the three looked desperately for some hold as the hangar door slid open, then bent away as the roaring wind came crashing against it, followed by a great number of corpses and loose metal parts.

"What the..." The wind was just too loud for any protests as they held tight for life, the Force binding them in place where strength alone would fail. The roaring diminished, then the bitting cold of void and the lack of air threatened them all. A piercing headache was a clear statement of their bodies starting to give in for to the presssure.

For a moment, Malisane tensed as he detected movement, someone on the other side of the door moving towards them. He hastened to his saber, but before he ignited it, a muffled voice echoed familiar enough as the creature approached.

"Hey fellas, you better try those on. It's quite unpleasant out there." The creature was inside one of the Dlarit security flight suits, which made visual recognition impossible, but the accent and something about that metallic sound through the helm's comm reminded Malisane of just one person.

Scithe?! What in the name of Lord Sadow are you doing here? The bluish tone of his skin almost going purple, Malisane stood as frozen.

"Hmm... Flight suit, sir?" The creature in flight suit extended one of his arms holding another of the vestments to Malisane, who watched as if not understanding for a moment just to be reminded again by his attempt of breath.

"How did you get here, Kresshian?" Raistlin was already finishing his suit as he took a deep, revigorating breath.

"To make a long story short, the fanatics gave me a ride here from Obsidian." Scithe snorted, like the information was something that made perfect sense.

"WHAT?!" Malisane jumped in the middle of the chat, his tone red hot. "How did you manage that?"

Scithe started, a bored note in his voice. "Not so short version: They attacked Obsidian. Fighter backup came and gone. They boarded us, got anyone they could with them, killed those they could not. They took off and bombarded the rest of the platform, then came here to join the main fleet."

"Did they capture you?" Raist asked, just to be sure.

"Yes." A quick reply, then Scithe rolled on his heels and started walking to one remaining vessel.

"And how did you get out of there?" Malisane asked, already afraid of the answer.

"Those guys need a better sensor scanner. They couldn't find the thermals I swallowed." Scithe scratched his throat through the canvas of the suit. "Nasty things to glob down, though. Kinda raspy. And I bet that embrace of pain thingie wasn't so tough as they said, not with a thermal in its face, I say. Too bad I was too close for my tastes when the thing did boom." The look of disbelief was unanimous. "The rest was easy. The bastards are so overconfident they sent almost everyone to board the Foresight. When someone got there to find out what was happening, I had already vanished. Ya know I'm good at vanishing... Then all I had to do was follow the blood trail to the entrance."

Scithe was already inside the vessel when he finished the debriefing, then turned to the motionless trio. "By the way, one of you could drive this thing off now, 'cause I'm kinda tired and I still want to get out of the ship before the bombardment begins."


20-07-2007 16:05:14

VAC Astronicus' Reach
Dlarit Corporation Cruiser
Anteian Space, Deep Shroud

The Vibre-class Assault Cruiser made it's way through the murky haze of the Shroud, smoke and gases spewing from breached portions of the hull and typically followed by sparks from electrical discharges. It was a wounded beast, but still functional. Astronicus had ordered the remaining survivors to repair it only as much as they needed to get them back to the safety of the Victory-class Star Destroyer Covenant.

He was now on the bridge himself attempting to guide them to their colleagues by focusing on the dark side energies of some of their more powerful members within the clan. He sensed Darth Vexatus and Trevarus Caerick, or what he assumed was Trevarus, and a few others not too far ahead of them. Upon leaving sickbay, which the field medic Ristopher had urged against considering his current condition, he wandered the halls looking for any Yuuzhan Vong interlopers still aboard. Upon clearing the ship he ordered the crew to split up into two teams, engineering and bridge.

They were close to the Covenant now, he could sense it, the only way they would know since this deep in the Shroud none of the sensors worked. Then a corner of the Star Destroyer could be seen through the haze. Switching a few controls he activated the grappling launchers, a particular element of the ship that went back to the days when the Empire used it as a privateer vessel. Triggering the grapples launched six lines to fly through space until they latched to the hull of their target.

Astronicus began to reel the lines back in, pulling the vessel ever closer to their destination. The spirits of the demoralized crew aboard the Reach jumped in excitement. Soon they would be in the safety and security of the flagship.

"All hands prepare for boarding," ordered Astronicus over the personal announcement system, "deploying boarding tunnel now." A flexible tube extended down from the under carriage of the Reach as it's landing struts lowered and touched down on the hull of the Covenant. The tube elongated until it was flush with the metal armor and within seconds of that two crew members were under way opening the ememrgency docking hatch on the larger ship. Atmosphere vented out at them and was soon normalized. On his command screen up on the bridge, Astronicus watched all of this take place.

"Docking complete, all hands prepare to abandon ship via the lower docking tube." Ordered Astronicus. He herded his people off the bridge and as they made their way off the ship he was sure to stretch out his senes through the Force one last time for anyone aboard they might have left behind. Assured of the fact that he had everyone off, Astronicus along with his two tuk'ata stepped into the tube and headed to the Covenant.


The ooglith masquer filled him with a pain that he willingly accepted. Pain was life and so there was no avoiding it or trying to escape it, so the scout would take as much as he could now in this life. The ooglith masquer disguised him as one of the infidels, a human, so well that he would not be discovered hidden amongst them as they abandoned one doomed infidel vessel and boarded another which would soon follow suit as Yun-Yammka wished.

As he walked by the leader of these infidels, a tall warrior whom his colleagues had taken down earlier, he noticed his pets. The canine like animals sneered at him and began to growl. But the warrior merely silenced them ushered him through the tube. Apparently those beasts could sense who he really was, he would have to eliminate them given the chance, if he did not team up with some warriors first. These beast were formidable though, they slayed his fellow warriors when they were about to kill the Jeedai. He would have to be cautious.


20-07-2007 16:20:55

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Shroud

Captain Simonetti and the bridge crew had held off the Yuuzhan Vong strike team that had fought there way onto the command centre of the Wandering Soul. It had been one bloody and messy battle, but in the end the crew had bottlenecked the Vong as they tried to storm them.

The wounded captain answered Nero’s communication, “Simonetti here, barely, receiving you. These fracking things have severely beaten the stang out of us. I’m not sure how were going to stop them?”

It was at that moment when internal communication from engineering blurted out, “anyone alive there, this is Crewman Hase in Engineering.” Simonetti grunted as he punched the intercom, “report crewman.”

“Sir, were going to be setting off the emergency fire decompressing system, to blow these aliens into space,” The crewman said, “Just for the record this is not my idea, and I see it as nothing more than murder.”

There was a sudden rustle of movement that could be heard over the intercom. “Give me that,” someone said, “Simonetti. You got two fracking minutes to seal off the bridge before I blow the atmosphere.” Ashura’s voice could be heard.

“Seal the bridge!” The man shouted, as two bridge officers started pressing buttons, and in moments the command deck was sealed. “This is murder Isradia, and I hope you burn in hell for this! I’ll be telling the Governer about this when she boards.”

“Been to hell and back again, Ashia is more than welcome to kick my arse for this, but I am saving our lives, at the cost of others. There is an old saying, the weak shall be cleansed, and only the strong will remain.” The Sith Warrior said from where he stood in engineering, next to the main computer terminal. “Let the cleansing begin.” And with that Ashura set off the decompression system.

Ashia and Nero, both from their fighters, watched as Yuuzhan Vong, crewman, and Dark Jedi were jettisoned into the cold vacuum of space. The Vong intruders were expelled from the Wandering Soul, although at the cost of many lives.

[[Recompression sequence engaged. Oxygen and pressure restored to unsealed compartments.]] The computer replied. “Murderer,” the engineer said as he wiped the blood off his bleeding lip, from where Ashura had punched him so the Sith could get to the intercom.

Back on the bridge, the captain didn’t have time to grieve for the lives that had been lost. There was still a lot of work to do, “open hanger bay, let’s give those two fighters cover fire.”


20-07-2007 18:13:15

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The Covenant shook from what Darth Vexatus could only guess was some kind of impact. Having felt the arrival of the Overlord moments after he figured it was the force of Astronicus' Reach docking.

Reaching out again Lord Vexatus focused on the inferno that could only be Shan Long. He could also feel lives blinking out of existence, the crazed Dark Jedi Master clearly showing no regard for friend or foe. He found it strange, normally he would welcome such veracity, after all the Dlarit Corp troops were expendable. But Shan Long was no prophet of truth, he had no great vision, no drive, no motivation, he was nothing but uncontrolled chaos and entropy. There was nothing admirable to be found in one who had sunk so far. The dark side was a tool to be used, in Shan Long's case, he was the tool being used.

Vexatus continued down the trail of carnage. Blood painted the walls and random body parts hung from light fixtures. It was a scene right out of Chaos itself and at the end the near demonic Master waited. He should never have saved Caerick's life.

Kaelin Ring followed behind the Sith Lord, looking visibly unsettled, occasionally glancing at Vexatus's features. He finally found the courage to ask. “Lord Vexatus?”

Darth Vexatus stopped, his two crimson blades still raised aggressively. “Yes?” he said, his voice steady but showing faint traces of impatience.

“Your face,” said Kaelin, being sure to keep his voice calm, “did something happen?”

Lord Vexatus's face remained blank but Kaelin felt a brief spark within the Force. “Caerick happened,” he answered evenly.

Kaelin looked confused. “He attacked you?”

“No. He nearly died.”

“Ah,” replied Kaelin, still not understanding.

“Let it just be a lesson to you what can happen when you walk this path too long.”

“I'm sorry, Lord Vexatus. I didn't mean any offence.”

The Sith Lord looked at him. “I know. The worst of it should only be temporary. I expect I will look better after a healing trance.”

Kaelin looked a little better. “Should we get going again?”

Vexatus reached out. Shan Long still burned brightly. “Yes, though I should go alone. You will be no match for it.”

Kaelin nodded, a shiver going down his spine as he reached out with the Force himself. “I understand. What should I do?”

“I'll escort you to the next working turbolift. It should take you to the bridge, I believe I can sense your Consul there. After that, you're on your own,” he said, his voice already turning distant as he reached out to locate the monster once more.

I'm coming, beast.

Shikyo Keibatsu

20-07-2007 19:38:26

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Shikyo looked around the area as the sights of blood, carnage, and gore consumed his senses. Scattered remains of Yuuzhan Vong and ship personnel littered the hallways of the Destroyer. The scarlet blade of his lightsaber continued to hum to him, providing some form of reassurance in this dark time.

As he entered a set of shadow-claddened corridors, the Keibatsu looked down the structer, catching the sight of silver and amethyst beams dance around towards the end. A soft sound of grunts and howls perked the Battlemaster's ears, causing him to rush down the corridor at top speed. As the Sith approached the action ahead, the sounds of lightsabers swinging hit a climatic end before they stopped abruptly.

Nekura and Shin'ichi stood on either end of a gargantuan Vong, holding their poses for a split second before watching the creature fall to the floor in a bloody mess. Manji chuckled at his deceased foe, slamming his foot into the alien's face. Looking up at his older brother, the Dokugan-ryu flashed a smirk at him.

"Compassion is not the virtue of a warrior."

Shin'ichi chuckled before nodding his head at his youngest brother's direction. Nekura turned around and smiled at the Sith.

"You missed all the fun, ototo."

Shikyo looked down at the mangled Vong, chuckling.

"So it seems. How's the situation here?"

Endymiron pushed the creature aside with the side of his foot, approaching the Battlemaster.

"This is the last one in the area. We were about to finish our sweep then return to the Bridge. You wanna tag along?"

The young Keibatsu smirked.

"I'm in."

Macron Sadow

20-07-2007 23:29:25

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

“Governor-General, we have been boarded… wait, scratch that. It’s the Astronicus’ Reach alongside.” Shivak carefully watched the readouts. “He’s boarding.

“Very well, we need all the help we can get. Send whatever we can spare to greet the Overlord with respect. I need a situation report from below decks.” A rush of dark power flickered at the edges of the Sith’s vision, cold and dark. “What the hell?” mumbled Macron.

He twiddled the dials, bringing into focus one of the security cameras on level three. It showed a crazed man, eating a Vong corpse amidst the shattered remains of a corridor. The man looked like Trevarus Caerick, but the look in his eyes was obscene. Mononoke watched, fascinated as the raving madman leapt up with a blaze of Force-enhanced speed down the corridor.

A switch of cameras caught the horrid encounter with more Vong. The shouting aliens brandished their weapons, and the killer swirled between them, tearing off limbs and gobbets of flesh with silvery fire. He slaked his hunger with their blood, and stalked off to find more.

The turbolift whined, and Kaelin Ring entered. He bowed quickly, and turned to the view screen. “That’s Shan Long,” spoke the Knight. “Lord Vexatus is tracking him right now. He might not only kill the Vong, but us as well.”

“Not good, apprentice,” hissed Macron. “Not good at all.” He thumbed the comlink. “Shin’Ichi, I need you guys up here stat. We have another problem.”

“Shin’Ichi here. What’s up?”

“I think Shan Long has gotten loose and developed a taste for gory giblets,” cackled the alchemist. “And Vong blood.”

“And that’s bad because…” wondered the Proconsul.

“He’s killing friend and foe alike,” replied Mononoke.

“I’m on my way with Manji and Shikyo,” came the reply. “Hang tight, and keep hold of the stick.”

“Copy that,” replied the Consul as he guided the Covenant past some debris.

Syrus Korodin

22-07-2007 12:36:48

Oh, how unpleasant it would be to die here! Alone, cold, forgotten, just another lifeless corpse to be entered into the logbooks. What a terrible thought.

Shuang-Long, formerly Syrus Korodin, thinks of a folder with his name on it. A small dark folder with his name emblazoned on its front. What shall they stamp on it when they find his mutilated and ruined corpse?


He takes aim with the calm precision. There is no tremble in his hand. There is no fear in his heart. He can feel the dark side pulsing, arcing through the air in arcane patterns and obscene images, invisible to the monstrous Vong that race toward him with such hatred in their hearts. If only they knew of the dark side. If only they knew of the beauty that filled one's soul and steadied one's hand. Then they could truly understand the difference between the jeedai and their new opponents.

Shuang Long decides to show them. The bright laser that served as his guide fell squarely on the grotesque face of the nearest Vong. With a giggle of insane glee, he fires. The gun is nearly silent, powered as it is by electricity. The Vong's face promptly transforms into something much like ground meat. He wonders if the sonic boom and the sight of their wounded comrade is enough to cause the remaining Vong to falter.

The creature sways on its feet, still screaming and raving, and Shuang finishes it with a clear shot to the forehead. He does not envy the janitor that will have to clean this mess up. The remaining Vong, regrettably, do not falter as he had hoped.

A thud bug whizzes through the air and Shuang just barely manages to duck out of the way. It clips his ear as it goes by, and for some reason this fills him with an incredible amount of rage. Silently he fires. One by one the approaching Vong are struck by his projectiles, but they do not stop. Thud bugs continue to race toward him.

He cannot dodge them all. This he knows.

Three more of the creatures join their fallen comrade in eternal slumber, their heads removed by the clean strike of a hypersonic bullet. Three remain.

Two particularly lanky monstrosities continue to run toward him, amphistaves at the ready, while the third remains near the main entrance, relentlessly throwing his thud bugs.

Shuang aims at this last one and pulls the trigger. There is a less than reassuring click followed by a juicy thud, punctuated by a number of sharp snapping noises. He has just enough time to notice the thud bug embedded in his rib cage, and wonders with much irritation how he is supposed to have his afternoon tea with such injuries. Indignation sweeps through him.

The Vong are upon him, but he is ready. The coilbolt is back in its holster and the lightsaber is out, shining like a miniature sun, dispelling some of the gloom. The sight of it fills him with a sense of renewed purpose, and the Frost Dragon wastes no time in calling the force to him.

He expects that he will die here, yes, but he will not make it easy for him. Casting one final contemptous glance at the thud bug throwing Vong, he crosses blades with the other two.

A whirlwind of utter hatred consumes him. He feels as though he is rising through the sky, propelled by the relentless force of his anger. He feels light and airy, as though he has no corporeal essence. Everything disappears in the face of the all-encompassing flow of the force.

His saber lances forward, a coiled and hidden snake, but the Vong is unencumbered by injury and easily parries. His partner strikes at the Frost Dragon, slicing a deep gash into his back. Shaung roars and swivels, striking his assailant hard with a headbutt. One of his horns shatters and lodges itself in the Vong's face. Blinded and confused, the creature stumbles into the shadows and is struck, ironically, by a stray thud bug.

Shuang wastes no time. A tendril of dark side energy leaps forward embracing a nearby computer console. He hurls it at the nearest Vong while simultaneously parrying the constant barrage of amphistaff blows. Every blow weakens him further, and the deep gash in his back is losing blood freely. The Vong disarms him with one lancing blow but it fails to notice the computer console sailing through the air. They collide with an enormous crash of glass and plastic components. The Vong makes no sound as it falls to the blood stained floor. Shuang falls upon the creature and tears its throat open with his claws. The warm blood on his hands makes him feel strangely elated.

The Vong at the end of the hall remains, waiting for him. Shuang is weaponless and exhausted, his saber somewhere on the floor and his coilbolt out of ammo.

Let them kill me, he thinks.

Shuang Long faints, but not before flashing a very rude farewell gesture.

Nero Pennant

23-07-2007 06:07:46

"What is that?" Nero spoke into the commlink of his TIE Interceptor.

"That," Explained the Krath Priestess Ashia Keibatsu from her personal Z-95 Headhunter, "Is the reason why a lot of people are going to get hurt when I get on board. In the meantime, head for the Hangar Bay that's opening and watch out for corpses."

Both Dark Jedi had to dodge the surprisingly vast amounts of corpses and debris that was being jettisoned out of various portholes and airlocks. Most of them were Vong, but a few of them were his fellow Dark Jedi. He tried to bank out of the way of an ill-fated Apprentice who kept challenging him in arm-wrestling contests, which he constantly refused. The Apprentice bounced harmlessly off the TIE's hull. "Just as well," Nero thought, "I was going to stick a dagger through his skull anyway."

After clearing the debris, getting to the hangar was easy. Going around the ship from inside was going to be something else entirely, at least for Nero. There were still some Vong left in the Hangar.

"No!" Nero nearly screamed into the commlink, the fear taken over anew.

He felt a soothing presence, not knowing it was Ashia projecting her power to do so. "Gotta stamp out that fear, else he'll never be Obelisk." She thought. "Listen to me, Nero. You are a Dark Jedi, but this is going to get you killed."

She could sense the young Miraluka ponder this, but sensed that the phobia was deep-seated. It'd require hours to get it out of him. "I... I'll try." He said, the quake in his voice still present. Nero would have to train this phobia out of him. He remembered that he can achieve greatness dwarfing all; he'd felt it when he was under the Rite of Exaltation.

Landing quickly inside the bay, Nero climbed out of the cockpit as fast as he could; the engine was still powering down, and the fear was almost over-powering but he kept it under control. He thought it through: He couldn't use the lightsaber given to him but he still had hand to hand and his dagger. He thought up another strategy, seeing a group of 5 Vong clustered beneath a large container containing spare fighter parts. The container was hanging inside one of the mechanical cranes, held in place by 2 loading arms. But he couldn't reach it, even if he used the Force to help him. Suddenly, a thought entered his mind, and to stop himself debating it in fear, he went for it, charging the group while Ashia had just gotten out.

A short distance before reaching the Vong, the Miraluka jumped into the air, towards the crate, concentrating to the Force guiding him as far as he could go. Then, Nero created a platform out of the Force (Level 2 Clan Force power) to give him a boost. The platform vanished as soon as Nero's foot left it, and he used the momentum, pushed once again by the Force to deftly reach the container. Igniting the saber with a *snap-hiss* he quickly, if very awkwardly due his total lack of control of the gravitational pull of the saber, managed to saw through one of the loading arms.

Grabbing onto the other loading arm, he watched as the container fell on top of the Vong. A scream, one of a terror that might be mistaken for rapture by the Vong ended suddenly as several tons of machine parts fell on them. It would be quite a mess to clean up.

Ashia ran up and shouted to Nero, "You realize those are valuable parts, right?"

"I know," Nero said, letting go of the loading arm and falling about halfway before he conjured another Force-platform to decrease his falling speed, finally dropping deftly to his feet, "But you have to admit, this is the most ass I've kicked all day."

Ashia crossed her arms, "You'll have to pay for any part that's damaged," She said, "Right now, we need to get to the bridge, I need to know who decided to try and jettison everything on my ship into space."


23-07-2007 08:57:39

Yorik-trema Transport Analog Maw of Anguish
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

The mouth of the great worm looking creature opened, exposing row upon row of barbed teeth to the elements within the coral formed area. Vladek struggled at his captors as they coaxed the blorash jelly away, the amorphous substance unravelling its phalanges from his wrists before slithering away to the new source of sustenance.

“Get up, brenzlit Jeedai,” barked the surviving Yuuzhan Vong who had accompanied him to the No Peace. Vladek remained stationary. The warrior straightened his amphistaff and cracked the hardened staff on the Sith's head, Vladek let out a whimper of pain reflexively. “I said get up!”

Vladek crawled to his feet, the pain of the blorash jelly's digestive juices still burning his wrists and ankles, he stepped forward with a limp on both sides. “You... will not... win,” he grunted.

The Yuuzhan Vong made as much of a smile as he could between his broken teeth. “Foolish infidel, we already have,” he spat back before poking the Sith out the transport worm's maw.

Miid Ro'ik Destroyer Analog No Peace
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Shroud's Edge

Vladek winced as he marched along in front of the Yuuzhan Vong warrior, pain spiking through his ankles with every step. He felt exhausted, broken. The scene before him was enough to horrify him. The floor was covered with bodies of other Dark Jedi who had no doubt fallen in battle and been returned here. Strange creatures chewed on their remains, devouring what was left, tearing at the flesh as if it were a treat. The sight sent a shiver down Vladek's spine, though he tried his best not to show it.

The warrior laughed softly. “Good, little Jeedai, be afraid. Fear is about the only thing which will see you through,” he whispered, his voice icily calm and menacing.

Vladek barely noticed anything else as the warrior marched him through the organic, the living ship's hallways, if they could be called that. Rooms were divided by muscular rings which constricted to close off access. Through the few rooms which were open, he saw row upon row of waiting warriors and images which would remained burned in his retinas, images of people being tortured, screaming their last breaths, of Yuuzhan Vong mutilating themselves, relishing in their own pain. Vladek nearly keeled over and vomited on more than one occasion, the sight simply too disgusting to comprehend.

“In here.” The warrior lead him inside a small chamber, off one of the main corridors, on the far side of the room a rack of some sort hung from the ceiling. The Sith could tell the device was vaguely humanoid shaped. When Vladek turned to the Yuuzhan Vong he could sense the sadistic longing in the creature's face.

“Stand there,” spat the Yuuzhan Vong, as he rubbed his palm on a depression in the coral wall.

Tentacles rolled out from behind the dangling cage, crawling from between holes, orange, pink and worm looking things. Vladek's eyes opened in fear as he felt the thick, pulsating tentacles wrap around him, tightening their grip before reeling him up in the air, dangling him in the air as if he were some kind of game which had recently been caught. Twisting, the tentacles swung the Sith around, hanging him upside down, before reeling themselves back in, slowly pulling Vladek into the longing embrace of the waiting rack.

Along his back, Vladek could sense as hundreds of small pores, like tiny spidery arms, imprinted themselves along his back, others reaching over, wrapping in front of him, layering his whole body in the tiny cyan coloured receptors.

The main tentacles holding him tightened, their grip beginning to feel uncomfortable around his still burning joints. More tentacles, these yellow and burning orange trailed out of the device's rear, wrapping around, embracing him, their pulsing yellow tips burning his skin as they sunk into his arms, legs, chest, head.

The Yuuzhan Vong warrior laughed. “How does it feel, Dark Jeedai, how does it feel to lose?”

Vladek had long since stopped struggling, realising almost as soon as the first tentacles had wrapped their arms around his that it was futile to resist. He raised his face, looking up from where his head hung close to the floor at the eyes of the alien warrior. It took all his remaining strength to summon enough power and spit directly into the creatures face. The warrior recoiled suddenly.

“Infidel!” it growled. “You think you know pain? This is just the beginning.”

Vladek tore his eyes of the warrior, letting his head hang low. He felt violated, more and more of the silvery blue pores covering his body. It was a struggle not to ask what was happening, but he refused to allow the alien the pleasure of knowing he was afraid.

The entrance sphincter dilated, another Yuuzhan Vong entering as it clenched shut again behind him. This one did not wear the onyx black armour of the others, his clothing was lighter and green, almost like fabric, though more like rotted flesh or leather hanging loosely from his body.

The Intendant looked down and Vladek and smiled. One of his eyes was missing, replaced with a dark, empty, blackish looking ball, the other was shifting colour, cycling between shades of red and orange repeatedly. His left arm was missing, cut off at the joint, a second joint had replaced it, ending in a savage looking claw, not less than a foot in length and evidently sharpened to a point. His right leg, also, was gone, replaced with a vicious looking talon.

As he scanned the new arrival, Vladek could not help but widen his eyes in fear.

“Well, well,” said the Intendant. “One of the brave and powerful Dark Jeedai. How does it feel, Jeedai, to hang in the loving warmth of the Embrace of Pain?”

It was the first time Vladek had realised since being strung up by the writhing tentacles that the device was actually warm, alive, a gentle heart beat throbbing through its leathery flesh. The thought he was now held in the grip of something alive sent shivers through his spine.

The Intendant snickered. His rainbow eye glaring down at the captive Sith. “Shall we begin?”

It took all Vladek's strength to say the words "You... will... lose..." and then everything went dark.

Pain shot through Vladek's very being and tears began to involuntarily build up in his eyes. Unable to hold it in, Vladek's mouth opened, releasing a blood curdling scream. The two aliens laughed loudly as Vladek continued to writhe, screaming in agony, his face contorting into a mask of pain.

Nekura Manji

23-07-2007 15:44:10

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Blood painted the walls a gruesome, dark shade of crimson. As one, Shin'ichi, Manji and Shikyo froze, staring around them at the devastation- it was not merely the emergency lighting that bathed the corridor in red, the mangled Yuuzhan Vong corpses scattered across the floor seemed to have been the major donors of gore. One corpse seemed to have been fixed to the top of the wall, somehow, possibly by the shattered length of bone that gouged out of it's chest and held it to the wall.

Opening his mouth slowly, Manji spoke.

"Dude... what the frack happened here?"

Leaning down to investigate one of the corpses, grimacing as his probing fingers found a ragged wound in the creature's throat, Shin'ichi straightened up.

"Search me. But whatever happened certainly helped us with getting rid of those bloody Vong."

Suddenly his commlink crackled. Snatching it up, Shin'ichi spoke affirmatively.

"Proconsol Keibatsu."

"Shin? It's Macron. Listen, I need you guys up on the bridge- there's very few Vong left alive on the ship and we need to work out just what the hell we're going to do next. And try and figure out some way of getting Vladek back from those bastards."

"Sure. Shin'ichi out."

Re-attaching the commlink to his belt, Shin'ichi glanced at the others, whose eyes were still fixated on the dripping corridor, and more specifically, the gaping hole in one wall through which it seemed the force of destruction had left.

"Guys, you heard him. Back to the bridge. Whatever caused all this, it's probably better if we meet it up there where we can defend ourselves more easily. If we really have to."

As they turned to leave, the Proconsul gave the blood-stained corridor one last, disturbed look, muttering to himself as he followed Manji and Shikyo to the nearest turbolift.

"...although I bloody hope we don't..."

Ashia Kagan

23-07-2007 21:15:19

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Shroud

The Keibatsu motioned for the Acolyte to follow and stay behind her. They entered the corridors and made their way towards the bridge. Oddly enough, there weren't that many bodies, most of which had gotten thrust out when the decompression system was set off.

The two moved through the corridors without any hindrance. The Krath reached out with the Force upon instinct, looking for pockets where the Force didn't exist.

There were a lot less then she imagined. She slunk down the halls without so much as a sound with Nero in her wake. Usually her thigh high boots echoed on the durasteel flooring but she used the Force to silent her footfalls.

Ashia rounded the corner to the bridge, the door groaned loudly but finally gave as she force it open with a wave of her hand. She strode into the command deck.

Captain Simonetti shouted from the chair he barely occupied as he struggled to stand and salute.

"Governor on board!"

The crewmen that were still alive, scrambled at the shout, moving to different stations about the command center.

"Captain Simmonetti! What the frell happened? Who ordered the decompression system to be set off?"

The glare that the fell from her azure eyes was enough to make him squirm. The Krath Priestess absentmindedly fingered her saber out of habit, the captain's eyes flicked it to briefly then back to the steel gaze of his commander.

"I did." Ashia turned abruptly on her heel, her long hair flowing around her ankles, to find a very battered Ashura standing in the doorway.

Isradia looked the worse for wear. His robes torn in places and his face smudged from battling with the Vong. It was a bit of a shook to see the halfbreed in such disarray. Always one to maintain a clean appearance, he looked out of place.

Her anger switched to the Sith Warrior instantly, leaving the Captain as he sank back into his chair for a moments respite. Her cerulean eyes lit as if on fire as strode across the bridge to where Isradia stood. The Sith looked at her, almost eye level as he wasn't much taller then she, a sneer gracing his lips. His alabaster skin and silvery hair gave her a shudder for a moment as old haunts threaten to re-emerge. She had nearly won that battle though and now wasn't the time to worry about old demons.

"Your actions have cost us many lives, Isradia. You had no right and no authorization to set off the decompression system! You will be brought before the Governor General and he will deal with you as he sees fit. I am now in command of the Wandering Soul. You have two options, either leave via airlock, or take orders from me! It's your choice, but mark my words, I will take your head if I have too!"

The cold the slipped out as she spoke hit the Warrior like ice and slide down his spine. A grin cracked his maw into an even wider grin as he watched her in fascination. He could see what the Deputy Grand Master saw in her. He didn't doubt that the Krath Priestess would try to take his head if she felt it necessary, there was even a part of him that saw her as a formidable foe. Maybe one day he'd have to test that, but now was not that day.

"My humble apologies, Mistress Ashia, but I was acting in the best interests of everyone on board this ship. Yes it cost us lives, but it saved lives too. We were being butchered."

He bowed slightly in a mocking way as he spoke to her, leering at her all the while.


24-07-2007 05:13:52

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Shroud

Ashia scowled and her eyes narrowed in on the Warrior. The Quaestor wasn’t going to let him get away with that, and slowly walked up so the two of them were inches apart. Her cold hard fury was very apparent on her face. The Priestess glanced over his shoulders, and her eyes went wide with shock.

Ashura turned sharply, falling for the woman ploy thinking that there were some Yuuzhan Vong warriors behind him, as he couldn’t sense them. No sooner had he become distracted, Ashia had lashed out with her right hand, her index and middle fingernails scratched Ashura on his left cheek, and caused two rather deep gashes on his face. “Don’t mock me again, Isradia.”

The Sith snarled, it was almost inhuman, and brought his right hand up to his wounded cheek to feel the damage. His distraction, and Ashia using the Force to counteract his ability to sense her attack, meant Ashura had been completely off guard. His first primal instinct was to strike her back, but reasoning and logic took over.

“You’re the boss, Governor.”

“You bet your arse I am, and don’t forget that, or next time I will make sure that the next time the decompression system goes off. You’ll be the first to have your brain explode inside your head.” Ashia commented before turning around and giving Simmonetti that glare before Ashura had arrived. “Captain, I want a situation report of everything that has happened. Are we still combat ready?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good,” the Zabrak replied, as she would take any good news at this point. “Helm, bring us along side the Covenant. Although don’t bring us too close, we don’t want those frelling aliens to get the better of us the next time they come around.”

“N-Next time,” the helmsman asked, “y-you mean i-it’s not over?”

A low dark chuckle could be heard from Ashura as he slowly further into the bridge. He glanced at Ashia for brief moment, and then replied to the young man. “This is far from over.” The Sith Warrior could see this as the start of a long bloody war that would engulf the entire Brotherhood for years to come, if a way to defeat the Yuuzhan Vong did not appear itself quickly.


24-07-2007 15:13:40

Antei System, Inside Shroud

What remained of the Dlarit Navy drifted silently through the sombre twilight of the Shroud. The Wandering Soul lurked near the rear, a faint trail of debris and the recently deceased following in its wake. The ship itself was battered, bruised, lifeless. The dead remains of several Yuuzhan Vong transport worms hung lifeless to the cruiser's hull. The surface was puckered with streaks and scorch marks, the durasteel plating torn and shredded beneath the heavy volleys of the alien weaponry, in places great chunks of rock, meteor and asteroid still lay indented in the hull, held only by the cold vacuum inside.

The Foresight drifted beside the strike cruiser, looking faintly better off. Inside lights flickered on and off and weapon emplacements swung randomly from side to side, unable to sense anything in the Shroud's dark expanse. The Covenant, fairing no better than the Soul, drifted lifeless, it's guns silent, it's lights dark. More Yorik-trema transports clung to the Star Destroyer's surface, a few still wriggling, their worm-like bodies not yet put to rest. Inside the monster did his work.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The corridor was illuminated in a haunting violet glow. Shan Long sat crouching over one of the fallen, devouring what little remained of the Far Outsider's already twisted and broken face. The mad Dark Jedi Master's face contorted in rage, long since driven mad by the thousands of nameless voices forever driving him to insanity.

Jeedai!” roared an approaching Yuuzhan Vong, screaming back down the corridor from which he had rounded.

Shan Long looked up from the body, blood soaking his once proud features. “We...must...feed...” His voice was guttural, instinctive, almost primal. He spoke as if his blood lust, his drive to murder was all he knew.

Perhaps it was.

Jeedai!” cried the warrior a second time, this time raising his staff, rolling his shoulder in one rapid motion, whipping the mouth of the snakelike weapon around for the kill. Shan Long merely grappled it, clasping the head of the alien creature between both palms, twisting, splitting, tearing before finally throwing the weapon's head back at it's raging master.

“We...kill...” Shan Long leapt, twisting in mid air, landing as if walking inverted along the ceiling. He rushed the alien before it could react, it's good eye still wide, unknowing, as its head tried to fathom what evil it bear witness to. This was no Jedi as this outside knew. It mattered little for Shan Long brought an end to the alien's worry, striking his hand through its neck, tearing through arteries as if finger were claw.

Others rounded the corner, amphistaff, coufee and biot raised high. Eyes widening, all three gazed unblinking at the unholy site before. As Shan Long turned his violet eyes to them, all three knew without knowing their time was drawing to an end. The enraged Krath Master dropped what little already didn't remain of the butchered warrior, turning, leaping, twisting as he sprung at the approaching warriors.

Acid, snake and insect flew at him in the air, lightning, saber and claw rose to meet them. Shan Long screamed a blood curdling scream as he charged the bewildered aliens, tearing at their crablike armour as bolts of white hot energy sprung from his skin. Before death came to them the aliens saw in his eyes, his glowing violet eyes, what approached them, one screamed, “You...Yun-Shuno...Shamed One...” The words were the creature's last before the burning hand of Shan Long tore through flesh, blood and bone.


Shan Long turned, releasing his gaze from the bloodied and bruised corpses which lay before him, blood still dripping from the still beating heart pulsing in his hands.

Lord Vexatus pointed his lightsaber at the twisted creature. “I said enough,” he called, this time much harder.

“We...we... remember...” roared Shan Long, releasing the heart from his fingers.

“Release him,” cried Vexatus. “Release him or I finish this.”

Shan Long stared with his three unblinking violet eyes at the Sith Lord. “We...feast...” His eyes flashed in anger, his uncontrolled rage turning savage at the unwelcome interruption.

“Shan Long.”

The beast's gaze intensified as it was addressed, clawing it's hands, raising to its feet as it remembered. “” It's voice seethed with fury.

“Yes,” responded Vexatus with unsettling calm.

Shan Long's hands rippled with energy. “” A bolt of blue-white lightning tore through the air, dissipating only as it reached Vexatus's blade. The Sith Lord lurched back from the impulse of the blast. “Not...sleep...again...”

“No.” Darth Vexatus began to close the ground between them. “No, Shan Long, you won't.”

What remained of the Krath Master frowned, his face a visible knot of anger and confusion. “No...sleep...” it said almost childlike, uncertain of the Sith Lord's words.

“No,” confirmed Vexatus. “This time you die.”

Shan Long's eyes burst with energy. The Mark opened, plunging the Krath Master ever deeper into his well of despair. Lightning snaked its way down the beast's arms, coiling his hands before he unleashed it, waves engulfing the Sith Lord.

Vexatus raised both arms, his twin blades spinning in near chaos as he sought to control the oncoming tide. The lightsabers were like conductors, drinking the blistering heat of the white hot energy.

Shan Long roared, his rage twisting metal, light and sound as it echoed down the hall. The bulwarks buckled, twisting back toward the Sith Lord, overhead the already blinking lights fell silent as the Master's voice reverberated, sending wave after wave of dark, mindless energy toward the oncoming enemy.

Lord Vexatus merely shrugged. “I am not afraid of the dark,” he called back, his voice carrying over the dark scream of the enraged creature. He continued, the stream of endless energy searching for the opening which wasn't there, failing to break the spinning blades of blood red energy.

The crazed Master relented, abandoning the arcing beam of lightning. He reared up, tearing at the air, as if gripping hold of the walls, pulling at nothing as the surface of the decking came free, closing around the Sith Lord to immobilise him. Lord Vexatus held both arms out, forcing back the twisting metal.

Shan Long screamed. They were no more than ten paces apart. The Master roared. “We...kill...” Rushing Vexatus, Shan Long tore at the Sith Lord's arms, not reaching, but waves of Force energy thrashing through the thrumming lightsabers. The weapons exploded, searing Vexatus's hands, their blades shutting down in a simultaneous whoosh.

Lord Vexatus screamed. Shan Long was upon him, hands turning to claws as Vexatus fell back, channelling what remained of his energy to his arms to hold the other's back. “Kill...”

Darth Vexatus glared at the Master's glowing eyes. He had no choice.

Lord Vexatus summoned the full strength of the Force to his lungs. “CAERICK!” The name echoed down the hall. The ship felt as if it itself quaked at the strength of the summons.

The Krath Master collapsed, his eye's closing as his muscles slackened. Lord Vexatus pushed him off.

Trevarus Caerick groaned. “Ugh...where am I?”

Lord Vexatus got to his feet. “Deck twelve,” he said, his voice cold.

“I don't remember...what happened?” said Trevarus, sounding rather disoriented. “My head is throbbing... it reminds me”

The Sith Lord nodded his head. “Yes, Shan Long got out," he said with utter contempt in his voice.

Trevarus sighed audibly. “I...I'm...”

“I don't care what you are,” said Vexatus icily. “It would have destroyed this ship.”

“I thought I had learned to cage him. It seems my near death experience released him,” replied Trevarus, smirking a little as he finished..

Lord Vexatus glowered at the Krath Master. “Do not mock me, Caerick. You have given me reason enough today to never save your life again.”

Trevarus laughed. “Does my apprentice feel ashamed at his act of sympathy?”

The Sith Lord dropped, his hand closing around the Krath Master's throat. “I do not want to see that abomination ever again. I thought I, and Lord Cotelin, made that clear two years ago.”

Trevarus sighed. “You know it doesn't work that way, Xanos.”

Vexatus narrowed his eyes but released his grip. “Just consider yourself lucky Shan Long almost killed me. I would not have woken you otherwise.”

Trevarus stood up, the two Elders staring at each other for a moment. The Krath shrugged. “I understand.”

Darth Vexatus looked at him for a few seconds longer. “Good. On the positive side, I believe the beast dealt with the last of our infestation problem.”

The Krath Master laughed, looking down before raising a wrist up to wipe the blood off his face with his robe. “So I gather. Anyway, shall we return to the bridge? I imagine they need some help navigating.”


24-07-2007 19:43:15

The Valheru walked down the corridor, a couple of crew nervously following, blasters in their hands and looking around them. Ylith was calmer but he still kept his hand close to the hilt of his saber.

A loud booming tone echoed around them, then the intercom cut in. "All Dlarit executive staff report to the bridge immediatley and repairs are taking place. Tbe threat has been contained for now and situation is yellow." The intercom ended.
"Executive staff," Ylith muttered to himself, "guess that means us. At least it looks like the fighting is over for now." He raised his voice. "Follow me the pair of you."

They walked along the corridor more confidently now, heading for one of the turbolifts. The Sith pressed the button and waited. The arrow illuminated pointed down. Ylith cursed. He would have to wait for the next one. "Take that lift back to your duty stations, I will wait."
"Yes sir." they chorused.
They watched the numeric display as the lift moved toward their floor, then the doors slid open, the crew walking in. Suddenly there was a squelch and a black pointed tip emmerged from the back of one of the crew. The second fell dead, his head rolling past the Valheru who drew his saber, leaping back as three Yuuhzan Vong left the lift, amphistaffs raised, and fanned out preparing to surround him. "The threat is contained?" he echoed to himself, "like hell it is."

One of the Vong moved, his staff whipping out aiming at Yliths head. The Sith leapt back bringing his saber up deflecting it. He spun smoothly to block a thrust. He backed off further as they approached him. He was in trouble and he knew it. He concentrated on his defence, fighting to remain calm letting the force guide him. A staff scored along his artificial arm as he pulled it away sending up a cloud of sparks. He leapt backwards, almost stumbling.

He focused on them, their evily grinning faces. This was it, he guessed. He heard footsteps running behind him, more of them. He'd go down fighting that was for sure.
Two of the warriors moved at once, and knowing he could only block one and the other would probably kill him. As the saber met the staff he heard a second clash, as a red saber parried and pushed away the other one, and the third Vong stepped back as another saber thrust towards him, this time the one on the defence.

Ylith felt a surge of relief. The odds had swung in their favour. The grim determined faces of the Sadow, the two former Quaestors and the Rollmaster stepped up to join them, the Vong cautiously starring back at them.
"What kept you guys?" Ylith asked.
"Had to fly over here," Malisane replied, "ships a mess from the outside."
"We got here in time to save your ass what more do you want?" Raistlin added.
"Shall we kill them now?" Scithe asked, grinning.
"Sounds good to me." Sai replied.

The five advanced, and attacked, sabers swinging. The Vong, outnumbered now but fearless, fought back. Ylith and Sai battered at the swirling staff of one, Scithe and Malisane sliced and thrust at another, and Raistlin attacked the third, pushing them back as their sabers found gaps in the defences and sliced at the tought crab armour. The Vong slowly retreated back to the turbolift, The Sith knew the outcome was inevitable now, it was just a matter of time. Confidence stirred them on and they pushed with renewed vigour, sensing each others movements even if they couldn't sense the Vong and working in harmony.

Sai blocked a hit then brought his saber around and up for an overhead cut. The feint worked. As the Vong raised it's amphistaff to block Ylith darted forward, saber slicing through the unprotected armour below its arm and it fell twitching to the floor. Next to them Malisane battered his opponents weapon off to the left, pinning it as Scithe thrust his saber into the snarling invaders face, and its vision exploded in light before it joined its companion. Raistlin, seeing the other enemies dead launched himself forward, knocking the staff back against the wall, then when the warrior tried to correct it the Exarch brought his saber around in an arch slicing through the creatures head sending the top half of its skull spinning away and its lower head spilling its contents like a boiled egg as it fell, making a messy puddle on the floor.

They studied the three corpses. "Now the enemy have been contained." Ylith spat.
"Come on no time we need to get to the bridge guess there's a meeting begining." Malisane replied.
"Yeah get a move on," Raistlin replied. They deactivate their sabers and walked forward to the lift.

Syrus Korodin

24-07-2007 22:41:58

Again in the deep silence, the Dragon waits. He cannot wake just yet. The pain in his body is deep and terrible, and he knows for sure that he requires help. Somewhere in the bleary delirium he realizes that he is hovering. This troubles him greatly. A feeling of danger pulsates through his core, tearing through him with stabbing blows.

Still, he cannot move. He feels himself trapped in the ebb and flow of the dark side, basking in the warmth of its embrace. He feels himself moving as if being slowly carried by a current, and he hears murmuring voices all around him. The voices speak of everything, but he will not listen. He must awaken. He must understand.

A ripping, tearing sound fills his being, echoing through the void in his mind. At once he is torn away from the flow. He is cold, but at the very least he knows he is both awake and alive. With a feeling of enormous, absurd deja vu, Shuang Long opens his eyes.

He is, indeed, floating. Around him a number of harried looking journeyman march, guiding his levitating sick bed. He opens his mouth to speak. All he can manage is a feeble croak. Pain lances through him from all his injuries, and the wound in his chest seems to pulse out of step with his heartbeat. For a moment he thinks he might vomit.

A young man beside him notices his predicament and quietly pours a measure of water into Shaung's waiting mouth. To him, no water has ever tasted better.

"What...happened?" he asks, still unsure of what was going on.

"We were cleaning up the remaining Vong presence on Deck Six when we found you. One of those monsters was tying you up, so we killed the bastard. I sent a message to my superiors and they told me to take you to the bridge." He paused, seeming to be deep in thought.

"Something wrong?" Shuang asked.

"You are Shaung Long, correct?"

"Yes. How did you know?"

"Your ID card. Rummaged through your pockets, sorry. Just needed to make sure."

"I need medical attention, I think."

"Yeah," said the man, chuckling darkly, "you're pretty banged up. You'll live, I think. I took some medical training, and your injuries can be mended. I don't know if we have the right equipment right now, but there are kits on the bridge."

"I should hope so," said the Frost Dragon, muttering darkly to himself as the small party reached their destination, "because dying is not a prospect I particularly relish."


25-07-2007 13:52:45

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Shimura stood silently with his humming saber in his left hand. The crumpled, decapitated bodies of odd looking aliens lay around him. Various spots on his robes were burned through do to a surprise attack of spitting venom. The red glow on the walls dimmed as the saber blade was extinguished. There were few who he knew were on board and even fewer knew that he was on board. Just how he liked it.

The Battlemaster stayed in his quarters at all time, and would have a Petty Officer bring him his meals. He had not participated in the RoS and instead chose to sit out during the ceremony, when all hell broke loose. Shimura needed to know who else was on board the ship and how many more invaders there were. It was time to show some Sadow might.

He felt some very strong presences in the area. Shan-Long and Darth Vexatus. The ship was in good hands with them onboard and any attempt of an alien boarding party would surely be thwarted. These aliens were incredibly strong though and matched the skill of the Zabrak himself.

He turned out of his quarters and into a wide corridor leading to the bridge and broke into a force assisted run. As he came to another hall a murmur came echoing his way as a unarmored alien stammered into his movement. Shimura had not anticipated the contact but managed to drop his shoulder just before impact. He bowled over the invader but both managed to get up at the same time.

“Feeeelthy Jeeeedaiii.”

“Up yours ya two bit pirate.” Shimura whirled his saber and ignited it at the same time, cleaving both legs and an arm from the trash talking alien.

“The bridge must stay secure.”


25-07-2007 15:26:45

Perfect Agony, Embrace of Pain

Vladek Solander struggled silently, in the cold grip of two Yuuzhan Vong warriors. As the trio approached what the Krath recognized as the Embrace of Pain, the legendary torture device, Vladek became severely agitated, screaming and biting to break free. The two skeleton like figures let out a terrible laugh as they forced the Dark Jedi Knight into the rack like device. Vladek screamed curses and threats at his captors, but they activated the hideous device, and Solander felt the pain spin throughout his entire body. Pain that ought to kill, but didn't. As tears around his eyes, the Krath looked or a way to kill himself. Seeing the broach that held his cloak in place, the Knight, now spilling tears relentlessly, ripped the broach off with his shuddering hands. Vladek's two captors, more interested in increasing the pain, than what the captured was doing, were oblivious, until Vladek thrust the broach down his throat, and choked at the two of them,

"I'm not dying your way. If i'm going to be damned, I want to be damned for what I really am."

With a final few chokes, Solander fell backwards, his breathing and heartbeat stopped. He was dead.

Shan Long

25-07-2007 16:35:19

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Walking and talking seemed almost alien to him at the moment. His body was bruised, chemical burns and odd lacerations covered his body. Something that felt like an electrical burn crossed his back. Taking a physical inventory was necessary after the Dragon screamed. He paused, looking at Vexatus.

"I imagine the Dragon has developed a taste for Vong flesh?"

Vexatus shrugged. "From the evidence, you devoured at least sixteen of them, as well as almost a dozen mundane support staff."

"I see." Trevarus took a deep breath, fighting waves of nausea. "I feel quite ill."

"You'll get over it."

"Anyway, we'll rally at the Bridge. Macron and Shin'ichi should be there by now. I'm curious to know what information we've gathered."

Vexatus shrugged. "We'll know soon enough. Is your head clear enough to assist me in navigating our vessels out of the Shroud?"

"Yes, a few moments of focus and my body should be sufficiently healed from... the encounter."

"Pity you couldn't just give him his own body too. Couldn't Chi-Long seperate your sarx in the same manner he did your soma?"

He stopped abruptly, his icy blue eyes tracing into the withered face of his old friend, ally, and Apprentice. "You have studied the Sargon Fragments?"

"Yes. Years ago. I was curious about your... shall we say... other half."

"I see. Well, if you comprehended Master Azurd's methodology.... Shan Long is as much me, as I him. We cannot be seperated."

They continued walking across Deck Twelve, rounding a particular corner, they paused to survey the devastation. Seven bodies had been strung along the walls, impaled on great spears of broken steel. One seemed to have been jammed into the wall itself, only two armored feet protruded. A human lay half-eaten on the floor, his body smoking, smoldering into ash. A powerful stence of decay had already filled the corridor. Yet what surprised them most was blood. So much, everywhere. Black vong blood, crimson human blood drying black. It seemed that the gray-white walls had been smeared on every surface. A trace of bootprints could be followed forward... even on the ceiling.

"Yes, it seems that you have taken after certain arachnid species, in your insanity, Trev."

"So it would seem. Shan Long did all of this."

"This is merely a sample. I doubt you'll be hungry for quite some time."

Passing through the carnage, they continued to discuss certain aspects of sorcery that had allowed the monster to be created. Finally, words seemed to fill the arena.

"What of our Clan, Xanos?" Trevarus asked.

"We need to find the survivors, and make our way out of the Shroud. We'll marshall what forces we have, and plan an effective counter-strike."

"Sounds reasonable. We can't remain on the Covenant. Its too far gone. We should gather on the surface until we know more. Our warriors are sufficiently talented to fight them, hand to hand... but our weapons are useless against them. The Eaters are blind to the Force, it cannot affect them in the slightest. Therefore, we are engaged in a battle of wits."

"Or teeth, as you have suitably demonstrated." Xanos sneered.

"What did he do, tear a new passage through the ceiling? My tunic and trousers are shredded."

"Yes. Apparently the lift music wasn't to your liking."

"Right." Trevarus raised his hand and opened the door to the bridge with a gesture. Both men stepped through, in their discussion they didn't notice the figure sitting with crossed arms in the Commander's chair.

"Trevarus, Lord Vexatus."

Trevarus' eyebrows peaked, then his eyes narrowed.

"Tron! You arrived safely. I'm pleased to see you again."

"And you as well, Trev." Tron stood. "What the hell are those things."

Macron smirked from behind a monitor. "Lunch."

"Seriously. I fought through hell to make it here. And we're not done yet." Tron walked over to another dead scope. "We're blind, we don't know how many of them chased us in. When was the last hail from the Wandering Soul?"

Vexatus shrugged. "Raistline is still there, Malisane has joined him. We haven't recieved word from either."

"Convenient. What's your plan, Trev?"

"I am merely here to observe, Tron. Macron and Vexatus are more suited for planning our defense. Yet, if we are to navigate the Shroud, you will definately need my assistance."

"Why is that?" Macron said. "We're travelling a well-known, well-charted path."

Trevarus narrowed his eyes, a glare at the Consul. "Probe the Dark Side, the Shroud is boiling with rage. Those well-plotted routes are merely a calm in the maelstrom. If you take this ship much deeper, it will be torn apart. I am not strong enough to guide all of our vessels. Therefore, Xanos, Tron, and I will be joining focus, or we must consolidate onto one vessel."

Macron Sadow

25-07-2007 18:57:45

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Macron closed his eyes, and felt the turmoil boiling within the nebula. The Dark Side was washing through the ether like waves upon a dark ocean. “ I see what you mean. That sounds reasonable,” replied Macron as he watched the functioning readouts. “Glad to have you folks up here. I think most of the intruders have been repelled from the corridors. I have reports of fires on a few decks, but our remaining droids and emergency crew are dealing with it,” said the alchemist.

“Consul, was the captain effective during the invasion?” asked the Overlord as he turned to regard Shivak. He already knew the answer by the man’s nervous darting eyes.

“He was an ineffectual coward,” replied Macron with a shrug. “He should have died with his crew. I would have executed him sooner but he has been useful until your arrival, my lords.”

“Then grant him the honor of following them in the line of duty. Then we return to our deliberations.” Astronicus nodded at Macron who giggled insanely.

Mononoke raised his unarmored fist and clenched his grip as his yellow eyes focused on the man. The captain gurgled, spitting black blood as his internal organs ruptured from the invisible crushing grip. Shivak slumped over the console, and was drug off by Kaelin to the garbage chute. Macron continued to titter and turned back to the environmental readouts. “Satisfying,” he mumbled as he began to go over the situation report from the med bays.

Xanos rolled his eyes and muttered something about children with new toys. “Now that you have finished with the fun, let’s get serious here,” chided Vexatus. “I have a plan for the defense of the fleet. Right now, our main priority to re-establish communications with the fleet and assess the damage. Then, we navigate through the Shroud and regroup,” canted the plotting Sith Lord.

The turbolift hissed open, and the party noticed the entry of Shin’Ichi and Manji. “Welcome to the party,” said Trevarus nonchalantly. The two Dark Jedi looked at him strangely, their hands on their weapons. Both looked ill at ease, and were covered with blood and other substances.

“I heard you were…” replied Nekura as his voice trailed off.

“Shan Long has been contained for now,” replied Caerick.


25-07-2007 20:11:48

Aboard the Fulcrums Blade in the Hanger of the VSD Covenant.

Near the Shroud of the Antei System

The YT-2400 stood in the Hanger. The personal vessel of Aries Taral Kyi Vorak. At the pilot seat in the cockpit he was going over the routine checklist as an inspection to make sure all systems were operationable. His mind thought back reflection of the past events. Just at the time of Second Darkness he was named the Champion of Clan Plagueis one that earned him respect not only among the members of Plagueis but of House Satal Keto and Battle Team Satal Victus. He remembered well the role he served in as a Flight Leader at the time under the command of Commander Wuntila. Yet it was then that a war within Plagueis between the Houses of Exar Kun and Satal Keto that he made the ultimate decision exhile. From here he remembered journeying to Lehon in self reflection and of seeking dark spirituality that he remembered the encounter with Darth Bane the apparition. That encounter annointed him as Aries Taral Kyi Vorak. The past he was free from and soon returned to later become part of the clan of exiles Naga Sadow. It was no loss to him as soon in journeying into House Ludo Kreesh that he soon came into the ranks of Battle Team Sapphire Squadron. Time came to the point that he soon became head of Sapphire Squadron soon afterwards. A position that he just been premoted to after the initial attack by the foreign aliens that came out of nowhere and assaulted the fleets.

Now here he was aboard the Fulcrums Blade in the Hanger of the VSD Covenant. He remembered the task he was assigned by who he was unsure of. The job simple when the time opened he was to have his YT-2400 ready at the time he was told for either one of two missions. One for the purpose of transporting comrades into any possible boarding operations in a counterstrike, or running supplies to the various ships that survived in the fleet. He knew that the rest of the Clan was going to be at the battlefront of the conflict, yet he knew his part was just as important. Afterall the Fulcrums Blade was indeed a fine Coriellian Transport to provide the best oppurtunity during battle to make its runs within the fleet or serve as a good boarding vessel.


25-07-2007 23:36:15

"Consolidate our forces." Ordered the Viceroy, "we can leave tracking beacons aboard the other ships to recover them at a later time. They're in no condition to fight the invaders anyhow. Give a reassemble order to the fleet, all personel are to transfer to the Covenant."

"As you wish my lord," replied the Governor-General, "We're having some issues with the comm frequencies, no doubt the Shroud has something to do with it."

"Very well. As soon as you do get communications I need to speak with Admiral Aramis Nestor at Dlarit Navy Command." Astronicus paced over to a nearby viewport, "We may not have much of a fleet left, but we'll need to have him organize what we have in the Orian system to defend it. Hopefully it's not too late."

"And the Astronicus' Reach? Do you want us to detatch it?" Asked Macron.

"The Reach is only a hundred meters long," Astronicus turned to face the gathered leaders of the Clan, "It can fit easily on the underside of this nine hundred meter destoryer. Speaking of which, we'll need a replacement for Captain Shivak."

Astronicus' pet tuk'ata sat each at one side of the bridge entry way.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The warrior's disgust of being surrounded by the infidel's technology. Their reliance on machines would be their undoing. The Yuuzhan Vong would conquer them with their biots. His ooglith masquer helped him gain access to this vessel, and now he would set about destroying it as per his final orders. None of these mystical Jeedai had even the slightest inclination that they had a sabotuer aboard. He laughed at their ignorance.

He was not familiar with their accursed technology, but assumed that the best way to take bring about their fall would be to destroy whatever it is that would be comparable to a yammosk. Without that they will be unable to command their other vessels and will be left helpless and alone when Nagto Mel and his warriors come for them. Whether he lives or dies he brings honor to Yun-Yammka.

From what he could gather, the location of their mechanical yammosk was located on their command bridge. As he made his way to this, he could see a group of the eldest of the Jeedai assembled and talking to one another. He would stand no chance against them on his own and without an amphistaff, but that was not his concern, he could flaunt his invisiblity, they would not see through his ooglith masquer. He began to walk towards the bridge.

As he made his way through the main entry way he heard a low guttural growl behind him on either side. He froze, not in fear, but in preparation to fight the beasts behind him. A coufee slid down his sleave, the tip resting in his palm. He would fight to the death and knew that more than likely he would not complete his mission, he only wished that Yun-Shuno would grant him forgiveness.

He sensed one of the beasts jump out of the corner of his eye. It leapt at his right side, the arm which held the coufee, the blade slid the rest of the way down and he swung it at the creature slicing it across the chest as it flew in the air at him. That was obviously their intention, they knew one would have to suffer or die so that the otehr could land a killing blow. As that thought occurred to him the younger more agile wrapped it's jaw around his throat.

"What the frak!?" Yelled Manji. "Tron your pets are attacking one of our own!"

The group of Dark Jedi looked at the attack, Astronicus rushed in to call off his tuk'ata. Kren had shredded a portion of the masquer's right arm and now the Yuuzhan Vong flesh beneath it was visible. Astronicus ignited one of his sabers and drove it through the heart of the pinned Vong. He felt it sink into the bridge floor and held it, the smell of burnt flesh rose from the corpse. With a gesture of his hand Kren backed away and walked over to his father Xor to look at his gash.

"Call a medic to the bridge to look after my tuk'ata." Ordered Astronicus, then turning and facing his comrades he took on a look all too unfamiliar, one of surprise and confusion. "They can mask their appearance to look like us, we cannot sense them in the Force, and we won't know we have an enemy amongst us until it could be too late. My tuk'ata can apparently smell or sense them somehow, but we need to increase security measures to ensure that any possible sabotuers cannot get to any vital areas. Macron can you study this creation of theirs that allows them to look like us, any information we can gleam about their technology will be of the utmost value."

Jinx Mortigena Mordachus

26-07-2007 01:49:18

"Another hour, that's all we would've needed to get the pressure stabilized! Don't they realize that?" Jinx laid a hand on the burly old chief's shoulder, and used a simple Force nudge to calm the man.

"Easy, Chief. We'll be back with a full salvage crew, once we get rid of these aliens." As long as they don't destroy everything just for the fun it. The call had gone out only minutes before to abandon the Foresight and the rest of the fleet, and consolidate aboard the flagship. Jinx, being a mere Apprentice less than 48 hours out of the Academy, didn't rate high enough to get a spot on the shuttle with the rest of the Naga Sadow Jedi, and had gotten aboard the nearest enlisted transport. They were now on final approach to the hangar of the Covenant, and from the cockpit, Jinx could easily see the extent of the damage the old warship had taken. "In the mean time, it looks like you'll have plenty to do."


"All arriving men, report to your division leaders for assignment. All arriving men, report to your division leaders for assignment." The hangar deck was just this side of mass confusion, as chunks of men from every ship in the Dlarit Fleet milled about trying to find wayward members and make their way into the belly of the Star Destroyer to begin getting it back into fighting trim. Jinx, dressed in a simple gray jumpsuit, threaded his way through the sea of humanity to reach the control booth.

"Excuse me, where is the Governor?" One of the deck officers, a Sub-Lieutenant by his rank badge, looked up from his data-screen.

"A Jedi, then? You should report to the bridge. Do you need an escort?"

"No, Lieutenant, I can find my way. Carry on." He made his way along the bulkhead to the nearest bank of turbolifts, and slid into the nearest open one ahead of two stormtroopers. The lift only took him up ten decks, where he had to switch over to another set of turbolifts that serviced the command tower. The corridor connecting the two banks reeked, both physically and in the Force. Dried blood was splattered so liberally that it looked as if the ship's captain had simply painted everything black. The taint of Dark Side energy was so omnipresent that it nearly sent the old human to his knees. He could only hope that as he regained his control of the force, he would be able to "tune out" most such psychic scars.

Here, there were matching holes punched through the deck and the overhead, extending for several decks. Enterprising repair crews had strung cables down through the holes, and were passing materials and shouting orders back and forth. Finally, Jinx was able to reach the turbolifts and continue up to the command deck. A Battlelord took notice of him waiting outside the bridge, and summoned him forward with a curt wave of the hand. With a start, Jinx realized that this was his Consul.

"Apprentice, take over the helm."

"I don't know where to go, Consul." The Sith's eyes flashed dangerously.

"No, I wouldn't expect you to. Take the helm, if you are capable-Lord Sadow will give you your heading." Jinx nodded, ashamed at his hesitation, and took control of the helm from the terrified crewman who seemed more than happy to get away from so many people who could kill him with mere thought.

Syrus Korodin

26-07-2007 09:17:23

The small party of Journeyman entered the bridge, guiding the levitating sick bed on which Shuang-Long reposed. The Knight looked even more pale than usual. His eyes had the strange, glazed look of someone in deep pain. He struggled to sit up in his bed, to hail his fellows, but was unable to rise more than a few inches before promptly crashing down with a grunt of pain. Every breath was a conflict in itself. Every palpitation of his heart sent a wave of pain crashing through him. Blood spurted out of the numerous holes in his lung whenever he tried to speak, a high pitched wheezing noise accompanying it.

He looked around the room, bleary eyed and approaching delirium, before settling upon the familiar image of his friend and Consul. Reaching out with his rapidly fraying connection to the force Shuang activated the repulsor units that propelled his bed. Slowly, tremulously, his sickbed hovered over to where the Consul was inspecting a corpse on the floor. Noticing the rather pervasive hum of the machine, the Consul turned to regard this new irritation.

"Hello Mac," said Shuang, smiling ever so slightly as a fine mist of blood sprayed out of his injured lung. "I don't mean to intrude, but I need some help. I'm pretty fraked up, it seems."

"You look it," said Macron, grinning in the creepy manner that was his trademark, somewhat preoccupied with his examination of the Vong device.

Shuang pointed at his injury, still bleeding freely, and turned away from his Consul to look up at the blindingly bright lights. His breathing now came in ragged gasps. Shuang no longer had the strength to turn and face his leader.

"Kindly get someone to patch me up a little," asked Shuang, coughing, "or I may cease to be of use to my Clan very soon."

Even through his pain and confusion he made every effort to speak in coherent sentences. The Frost Dragon prided himself on his eloquence, even in times of imminent danger. As he looked up at the bright lights he heard Macron say something, but all comprehension seemed to fade into oblivion. He felt vaguely out of place here, hovering on a sickbed when he should be helping his clan to defeat these unknown assailants, who even now were sending saboteurs into the ship. His weakness sickened him further, but there was nothing he could do.

Shinichi Endymiron K

26-07-2007 12:31:14

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

The stench of the burned Yuuzhan Vong flesh wafted into the air and assailed Shin’ichi’s senses. So like us, and yet so different. The thought came involuntarily to his mind as a memory was revived by the scent, a memory of his own flesh burning under the touch of a lightsaber, and he suppressed a cold shudder even as he began to speak with the synthetic tones that would forever be the legacy of that battle.

Shin’ichi moved to the tactical station of the bridge. “I believe that I’d be best suited for this station Viceroy, Governor-General.” He spoke to both of his superiors with a slight nod of his head, the artificial voice echoing hollowly in the steel encased chamber of the bridge. Taking several moments to assess the situation the Krath Epistle reported. “We’ve lost over half of our weapons systems, as well as a majority of our point defense hard points. We need to get everyone aboard as soon as possible.” Macron and Astronicus nodded gravely.

“What is the status of communications?” The Dark Lord known as Vexatus once the Sith’ari Xanos queried of the man seated at the comm. station. “Communications still inoperative sir. The shroud simply will not allow for conventional transmissions.” Caerick, slightly irritated at how much guidance the naval personnel required responded gruffly. “Then figure out how to send non-conventional transmissions you imbecile.” Macron giggled softly to himself, his madness reaching out and turning this grave situation into a macabre joke. The Keibatsu wondered how it was that his adopted brother was always capable of remaining light in such situations.

“Sir I just can’t seem to…” The voice of the officer was cut short as Macron severed his head and tossed the body to the deck. “I guess I’ll do it then.” He said with a slight laugh, and Shin’ichi was again reminded of the unpredictable nature of his Consul’s madness as his own cheeks rose in amusement. “Macron, as soon as you get communications to the other ships, advise them to set self destruct sequences. The Yuuzhan Vong will destroy any vessels we leave behind. We might as well do it for them, and take a few of them out in the process.” Manji counseled from another station.

The wave of anger and despair reached deep into the assembled Dark Jedi. They would be losing everything they had fought so hard to win in the past, but the sacrifice had to be made to keep from losing the legacy of Naga Sadow in the Orian system. Macron simply waved his hand in acknowledgement as the first static bursts left the Covenant’s transceivers.


26-07-2007 13:37:54

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Shroud

There was a lot of activity going on aboard the Wandering Soul; orders had come in from the Covenant. “Get everyone left alive aboard the Covenant ASAP!” The survivors were all together in the hanger bay, as they all boarded transports.

“I didn’t come here just to leave again!” Ashia said to the Simonetti, as the two of them oversaw the evacuation. “We have our orders, ma’am. We’re spread thin like this, better to regroup all in one spot.”

Ashura and Ethran boarded one of the transports, while Nero returned to his TIE. The Matriarch to the Keibatsu family was going to have a long talk with Mac and Shin when they got to the Covenant, as well as what to do with the troublesome Isradia.

“Alright, everyone, move out,” Simonetti shouted as he boarded one of the transports. Ash made her way back to her starfighter. The Wandering Soul would soon be adrift in the Shroud, alone, void of all life.

Wandering Soul Convoy

The transports and fighters left the Soul, the convoy of ships travelled in the darkness of the Shroud. Many of them wondering their fates, but now was not the time for such weak thoughts.

VSD Covenant loomed closer and closer. //This is Wandering Soul Convoy, T-minus two minutes until docking in hanger, request med teams to be present for injured personnel.//

//Convoy, this is Covenant command, med teams have been alerted and on route to hanger bay now. You are a go for docking, repeat, you are a go for docking.// The reply was garbled slightly due to the interference from the Shroud, but clear enough to be understood.


26-07-2007 14:30:59

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Lord Vexatus opened his mind to the Force. He visualised it as a weave of hundreds and thousands of interlocking points, an intricate network of loci, many glowing with the burning aurora of Force energy, symbolising life or latent power. Focusing his mind back toward the Shroud's edge he felt the frigid cold emptiness, the absence of life. The Far Outsiders were outside more than they could know.

Linking minds with Astronicus and Trevarus, the Sith Lord focused his thoughts on the black cloud before them, like a dark shadow blotting out the night sky. He felt his way through its reaches, sensing the heavy dust particles, lightning storms, rock and metal. Through it, he could see a vague corridor, a region of relative tranquillity within the churning maelstrom of dark energies.

Then he was on the bridge, gazing out of a large transparisteel viewport, seeing nothing but darkness.

“I believe this course will hold for a little longer,” he said, his voice still seemingly distant.

The Overlord inclined his head in agreement.

The Mark closed as Trevarus opened his eyes. “I agree.” He turned to the man seated in the helm next to the Consul. “Apprentice Mordachus, hold this course for now. It should suffice until everyone has transferred to the Covenant.”

Lord Vexatus turned from the viewport. “Just be prepared to change course quickly, the Shroud is... unstable.”

“I thought so also,” replied Astronicus. “It is angry.”

“It seeks to protect itself,” said Trevarus. “The Shroud is alive, in a sense. It knows these aliens are unwelcome.”

Vexatus nodded. “Then we should be prepared to alter heading at short notice. There is no guarantee this course will hold for long.” He turned to Macron and Jinx. “Make certain those still on the Soul and Foresight understand. If the Shroud closes around us, we will not be able to wait for them,” he said, the iciness in his voice betraying the fact he cared little for those who did not make it.

“Understood,” replied Jinx, looking a little uneasy. Macron already had wires strewn about his hands as he made haste to repair the communications system, trying to reroute power from other systems which were no longer needed in an effort to amplify the antenna array.

Trevarus tensed a little. “The Shroud thrashes in pain,” said the oracle distantly. “It does not like this incursion. It feels... violated.” Outside a flicker of lightning could be seen streaking through the nebulous clouds. “We do not have long. The chaos nears.”

Astronicus looked at Macron. “Any luck?” The Consul shook his head. “Well try and hurry, if we're to contact Admiral Nestor we shall have to do it before we get any deeper into the Shroud. I doubt communication will be possible the nearer we are to Antei.”

Trevarus nodded. “The Overlord is correct,” he said matter-of-factly, “communication from Antei without the proper equipment is impossible. It will be hard enough from here to restore communications with the Soul and Foresight.”

Vexatus looked around the room at the few remaining crewmen. “What do we plan to do about them?” he said blankly. “They know who we are.”

“I believe they will serve for now,” replied Trevarus. “They need us if they are to live through this.”

The Sith Lord narrowed his eyes. “They need us for now.” He lowered his voice. “I just hope everyone is prepared to do what is necessary when the time comes.”

Another bolt of lightning flashed past the viewport, this time much closer than the last. “Macron, are you done yet?” called Astronicus.

Nero Pennant

26-07-2007 14:54:35

Wandering Soul convoy

Nero sighed, the sound reverberating off the small confines of his TIE Interceptor. He'd spent all this time trying to get away from the Covenant, away from the Vong. It all seemed like a waste of time. He stayed close, watching his radar for anything unusual, though it wouldn't surprise Nero if the Vongs biological ships didn't register on it.

"At least," He thought, "It's been a journey worth remembering so far." He'd met the ruling faction of his clan. He'd been saved by the Matriarch of a family entirely dedicated to serving Clan Naga Sadow. He'd been given a lightsaber and a taste of his future power by another high-ranking, if unstable, dark Jedi master. In fact, besides the Apprentice he'd run over in his TIE on the way he hadn't seen a single low-ranking Jedi alive. He was unsure of what that meant, but at least being spoken to by name by some of these influential Jedi would do him some good.

"Fighters, give the transports cover while they board." Came one of the last orders from Simonetti, Commander of the Wandering Soul. He'd been forced to transfer to the Covenant as well. Nero knew slightly what he was going through, he didn't want to go either.

At least he would be able to find Nessa, now that all Naga Sadow personnel were to gather on board the Covenant. He'd also be able to find Master Trevarus, and hand him the lightsaber back. It'd be strange for an Acolyte to wield a lightsaber, never mind one that belonged to an Obelisk Elder.

Soon the transports had finished docking, and Nero queued up with the other fighters for clearance to land. Upon landing, as he was exiting the TIE, it's pilot, dressed in the shiny black of a fighter pilot, came up to him, helmet in hand and a face full of rage.

"How dare you steal my fighter?!" Came the disgruntled reply, followed by a sucker punch incoming. Using his knowledge of Klarin Chi, Nero dodged the blow as it came, grabbed the pilot by the wrist and using his own momentum threw him to the ground. He took one of his dagger and held the point over one of the pilots eyes, signaling clearly that the pilot had lost.

"I've just come back from being constantly surprised by the highest ranking Jedi in this fleet," Said the Acolyte calmly, "What makes you think you're so special?" There was no answer from the pilot, so Nero let him go, walking with the crowd towards the main part of the Star Destroyer, hoping to catch someone who could direct him further. As he walked he realized that his cavorting with Clan leaders might be over. Now they will all come together and decide what to do, an Acolyte had no right to join in such discussions.


26-07-2007 15:11:38

VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Corp Destroyer
Antei Sytem, The Shroud

"Why, Father? Why wait until now to tell me?" Noktar asked as he leaned closer to Fenda Jameki. The old Falleen was laying in his bed, slowly accepting the death that Noktar knew was coming even without his Force Powers. He closed his eyes and waited for some reason to utter out of his father's lips, but it never came. The silence in the room was all Noktar needed to know that his father had died. The constant memories of the hate that he had bore for his parent circled around his mind, and this new information that he had just learned increased that hate. He pounded his father's chest, angry at his circumstances. Why had he waited so long to tell him of his lover?

"What about him? Is he alive?"

It was almost unbearable. The never ending anger and hatred cut him to his very core. Now he knew. The reason he was different than all the others was ebbing through his mind, sinking in.

Noktar's eyes flew open. The room's lights were bright, brighter than he had remembered it. Then it came flooding back to him. The blackened room. The gutteral voice, spitting out Infidel. The hit to the back of his head.

He was laying on the floor, his back to the ceiling. Slowly, he moved his hands closer to him so he could push himself up. "He's fine, he was just knocked out," a voice behind him stated. He rolled over quickly and immediately regretted. Pain shot throughout his head and he grimaced.

"Whoa, slow down. Let me take a look at you first," a med tech said. Relief crossed Noktar's face as he realized he wasn't captured. He sat up slowly and took in his surroundings. He was still in his room, the katana dropped at his feet. Beyond that nothing was touched, though there was an addition of two halves of a Yuuzhan Vong laying in a bloody mess near the door. The med tech gave him some form of pill and he took it, immediately feeling better.

"What's going on? Did the Covenant escape?" he asked the medic as he stood up and brushed himself off.

"We're in the Shroud, beyond that I have no idea. I'm not a terminal. I just heal people. And you seem to be doing a helluva lot better, which means i have work elsewhere," the human answered before leaving the room.

Glancing at the chrono, Noktar figured that he had been out for a while now. He needed to find out whats going on. Grabbing the katana with his right hand, he quickly walked out the door, hoping to run into someone who could tell him what the hell to do.


26-07-2007 15:28:56

Deck Nine Bar
VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Corp Destroyer
Antei System The Shroud

Malisane entered the bar and looked around. Droids were slowly clearing the corpses away and the glass that littered the floor. He sauntered over behind the bar, his feet sticking to a combination of liquor and blood. Reaching down he searched until he found a bottle that wasn't broken, though the label was smudged. It didn't matter, it was a drink.

He hooked it under one arm and walked out, heading down the corridor until he found a crew quarters that was empty and tidy. With the number of dead on the vessel there were plenty to choose from. He clicked the door shut, lay back on the bed and pulled the cork out with his teeth, spitting it into the corner and took a long drink. It was good stuff, slipped down his throat like honey then warmed the stomach.

He turned and glanced out of the porthole. Out of the corner of it he could make out the Foresight flying to the starboard and rear of the flagship. In a while it would be gone, destroyed to stop it falling into enemy hands by it's masters who had served on it. He thought back to the missions they had used it for. Yavin IV, Mustafar, Kangaras, Jaginos, and the Clan's invasion of Antei. And in less than an hour it would be burning in space. What had gone so wrong?

He took another swig, and let out an explosive sigh. He wanted to be home, on Kangaras sat in the courtyard of the Keep amongst the bushes and fountains, or on the balcony of Marakith looking out over the bustling city of Seng Karash and the citizens he governed over for so long. Would he see them again? Were they safe or had they too fallen to the invaders. Would he ever find out?

He raised the bottle again then looked in suprise as only a few drops fell out. He let it drop to the floor and shut his eyes. He could sense the crew around him, and the bright beacons on the bridge of the Summit and the Sons and their Overlord. He didn't quite feel one of them as much now as he had as Aedile or Quaestor, like a spare part in the decision making process. Soon there would be more Vong to fight and that is where he would feel comfortable, until then he could let them get on with it. Slowly his eyes began to close and he fell into sleep.

Shan Long

26-07-2007 17:29:29

"Preparations are necessary, yet the task will be completed." Trevarus said to Xanos, as Tron and Macron began studying the various controls for the vessel. In truth, Trevarus had been watching the deck crews rather intently. He lazily raised an arm, and a high-backed chair slid across the floor with an audible screech of metal. Every activity halted. Even Astronicus' paused, watching the madman blatantly summon arts of the Force. Trevarus sat down, his back facing the high viewports that looked out into the turmoil of the Shroud. Despite his obvious injuries, and the state of his clothing, he sat as a King, the gangway over the crew pits stretched out before him. A small bottle appeared in his hand, cracking in displaced air, as did a small glass tumbler filled with ice. He poured a measure of deep amber liquid over the ice, almost filling the glass to the brim. When the bottle had vanished, he raised the glass to his nose, smelling the delicate aromas for a moment, taking a hard swallow.

"I'll never get the taste of their blood out of my mouth." he said, almost to himself.

Vexatus watched all of this with an icy calm, but finally said: "Do you really think this is the most appropriate time for a drink?"

"Why not. Would you care for a glass?" He said, cheerfully.

"No, thank you."

Trevarus smiled visibly, but the effect was more chilling than inviting. One man from the crew pit cleared his throat loudly.

"You wished to speak, young man?" Trevarus asked, his penetrating gaze on the obviously enraged officer.

"I--I have nothing to say."

"On the contrary, I believe you have quite a bit to say. Why don't you come up here, so that you might speak more freely?" The Master offered no room for discussion in his voice

"The ship..."

"Will wait. This is ever so important." Trevarus raised his free hand, and across the bridge, the man stiffened, his neck craning upwards, features hardening against intense pain. The officer stood, his body a moving parody, walking as if he had no knees, arms planted firmly at his sides. He climbed to the upper deck of the bridge, marching until he stood a meter or so from where Trevarus sat. The Master released his grip on the man, who fell gasping to his knees.

"Would you care for a drink?"


"Oh, come now. This is an excellent scotch, six hundred years in the cask. Exceptionally mellow."

From his bottle, Trevarus poured the man a shot, neat, into another glass. Stilly, the man reached out and took it, throwing it back in one gulp. Frowning, Trevarus filled another for him.

"This is to be savored. Enjoy it, while you still are able."

Shaking, the officer took the glass and simply held it.

"What is your name?"

"Ensign Brenton Lamiera."

"Eminence. You shall address me as Eminence. Such is the proper deference for one of your station, to mine."

"Yes, Eminence. I'm sorry."

"Do not lie."

Lamiera said nothing, he slowly took another drink.

"Quite nice, is it not?"

"Yes, Eminence, thanks."

"Now, Ensign, what discussion of such grave importance between your fellow tactical officers, should distract you from your duties to the operation of this warship?"

"He freakin' killed that guy with his hand. The Governor-General! Popped his heart like a toy."

"This disturbs you?"

Low murmers had begun to filter amongst the other crew, watching the insane man torture their fellow. Trevarus ignored their discontent, observing the face of this pitiful human kneeling before him. Contempt filled every fiber of his being.

"We are loyal soldiers, not dogs put to death."

"Eminence," Trevarus reminded him, Lameria's spine curling unnaturally, as he screamed.

"What makes you think you're not a mere animal, Ensign"

"E-e-eminence... You are evil. We will not serve butchers and crazy bastards."

"Oh, I don't believe that's a decision you really are equipped to make."

Trevarus drained his glass, which vanished again. He stood, looking down into the prone officer's eyes. Sweat collected on the man's forehead. He searched for rage, malice, but finding neither, he drove his will into the deepest levels of the man's mind. He tore through the fabric of thought, emotion, ripping and twisting sensations, impressions, memories and worries. He tore out every possible capacity for free thought. He found a scant decade of training lingering, he left this, reinforcing the sense of duty with a drive to nothing more than his standing orders.

Dumbly, Lamiera stood and shambled back to his station and began relaying information to those nearby in a voice devoid of any personality.

He scanned the eyes of the remaining crew.

"You are mere vessels to my will. We, of the Order are your Masters, commanders... indeed we are the gods of your very existence. Your life and death hang in the mere balance of our single command. You shall carry out your orders, you shall obey your Commanders. Mine is the power to destroy you, and I shall use it."

One man stood, afraid, retrieving his blaster. He managed two shots. Calmly, Trevarus raised his hand, the silver of the Amulet flowing over his fingertips. The blaster bolts seemed to flow into the metal, as water, shimmering on the surface of his arm. Trevarus splayed his fingers, and the man was raised in the air, held by invisible strings.

His screams tore through the air, impassioned horrors of a brutal death. Ashes began to fleck from his skin, a fire erupted from his mouth. After a few moments, naught remained but a fine coating of ash on the floor below his former place.

"Who else would dare defy me?" Trevarus thundered.

Nekura Manji

26-07-2007 17:48:56

Another flash of lightning crisscrossed the sky before the viewpoint of the Covenant. Slowly, the ship crept through the Shroud, a child tip-toeing around an angry and unstable parent. And not just the Dark Jedi on the bridge of the Covenant could feel the sense of malevolence inherent in the Shroud- even the remaining crew members looked around uneasily, feeling something disturbing in the air- more disturbing than their unease and hatred of their treatment at the hands of Trevarus and the other Dark Jedi.

At his station, Manji looked up at the viewport, his one eye narrowing as he stared out at the space before the ship. A trickle of sweat began to ooze down his forehead- the Epis could keep his cool whilst engaged in the largest of battles, but this was a situation beyond his control. If the immense Dark Side power contained in the Shroud decided to lash out at the Covenant in anger despite the efforts of Trevarus, Vexatus and Astronicus, there was nothing he could do, nobody he could raise his sabre against.

Grunting angrily, the Epis tapped a key on his console to open the commlink to the hangar bay of the Covenant.

"Hangar Command, respond."

A crackle of static was followed by a smart response.

"Hangar Command here, Bridge."

"Have all the survivors from the Wandering Soul and the Foresight have boarded yet?"

"Not yet, sir- there's still several transports to dock."

Falling silent, Manji raised his gaze back to the viewpoint before speaking once more.

"Get them to hurry up somehow. Bridge out."

Tapping the button again, Manji cut off the half-hearted protest from the other end of the commlink, his mind rushing from his duties momentarily to the transports still outside the belly of the Covenant. Dark Jedi he might be, but he still wanted as many warriors of Sadow to survive as possible... in order to fuel the desire for revenge that beat within his blackened heart.

The Epis' lips opened once more, his mouth curling into a sneer as he muttered the clichéd words to himself.

"I've got a bad feeling about this..."

Macron Sadow

26-07-2007 20:18:30

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Macron immediately took a drink from his flask when Manji-sama uttered the ineffable words. “Communications re-routed, gentlemen. I have also dispatched Arakyd Viper type probe droids in drop shells with hyperdrives. They will get out of the Shroud on their own and jump to the Orian System and Kangaras with our news.”

He nodded at Shin’Ichi. "Adjutant General, the Sith security droids I brought have been activated and are now under your command.” Mononoke punched controls on his wrist datapad. “They are… a bit testy and prone to violence. They may be a match for a lesser Vong in a one-on-one combat situation. However, the chemical sensors they employ should be sufficient for the Overlord’s request. They can sniff exudations at the parts per-trillion level at almost 300 meters…”

“Copy,” replied the Proconsul. “How were things in the medbay when you dropped in?”

“Fine, I think Shuang Long had been badly hurt. My apprentice was there as well, Noktar Jameki. There were others, but the staff seem to be doing well,” said Mononoke.

Astronicus smiled, a rare event during this brutal conflict. “We don’t need the details. Excellent. Now, if you would please finish your examination of the Vong corpse. Nekura, continue your work with the docking bays. That will be of prime import, ensuring our remaining people survive.”

“Yes, my lord.” Macron turned to the bridge crew and smiled grimly. “Look people, stop your incessant puling. You wonder why I executed the Captain? He left the rest of you to die like mongrel curs. He hid under his chair like a coward and utterly failed you all as a leader. Would you want someone like that in command? I think not. Honestly, we are not your enemy here. We risked our lives and fought for your survival, or else you would be dead or worse by now. The Vong, and weaklings like Shivak are your enemies; let’s get that clear. Now, get this situation into a compliant mode.”

The alchemist stalked to the corner where the body lay, and opened a case of instruments. Two IT-3 type droids drifted over from the ready room. “Kaelin, would you give us a hand here?” The Knight grabbed a foot of the corpse, and the two dragged it unceremoniously into the ready room. “If you would, begin a biochemical scan, regimen beta twelve niner. I’ll be right back.”

Macron stepped back onto the bridge as the door whooshed shut on the gory scene of droids and a Knight manipulating the body. “Your Eminence,” said the alchemist as he bowed. “Please allow me attend to those wounds.”

“You have the requisite skills? “ queried the reclining Master. “Ah yes, I feel that you do,” he said as he closed his eyes. “No mutations.”

“Yes, my lord,” replied the alchemist as he opened his medical kit. “We’ll have you patched in a jiffy.”

Lord Vexatus continued to ponder the Shroud and it’s mysteries…


26-07-2007 22:05:04

Deck Nine Bar
VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Corp Destroyer
Antei System, The Shroud

The Rollmaster stepped inside the bar, barely flinching at the smell of death and spilt liquors. Looking around, his gaze took in the droids busying themselves about the space, and the dark liquid that collected in reflective puddles on the deck. He did not stoop to retrieve a bottle; no, he was here, acting in the best capacity his title could afford, considering the circumstances. Taking account of the able-bodied that remained, he was here to collect his latest find.

Malisane still reclined in what Sai assumed was drunken repose near a viewport, a non-descript bottle near his feet. Striding over, the Keibatsu went to rouse his former Quaestor…

…and found he had to suddenly defend himself against a snarling Battlemaster, who was not so drunk as the Knight supposed, lashing out with a crimson blade and murderous glare. Only his own cerulean blade, his knowledge of Soresu’s defensive vectors, and the relatively small space of the bar, saved the Rollmaster from a premature end.

Mal!” shouted Sai, simultaneously projecting the Battlemaster’s name on an ethereal current of the Dark.

Malisane stopped his assault, straightening and deactivating his ‘saber. “I guess I’m a bit on edge.”

“Understandable,” Sai replied, extinguishing his own weapon. “Come, we’re going to the bridge.”

“Why? I’m not on the Summit.”

“No, but you are needed. You’ve lead in a capacity. We’re at each other’s throats,” Sai said, eyeing the cylinder at Malisane’s hip. “Further, if we’re smart, we’ll take wise council from wherever it comes, title or no.”

Malisane gave an easy smile; the logic was undeniable. “Ok, Rollmaster; let’s go.”

Turbolift to Bridge
VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Corp Destroyer
Antei System, The Shroud

The lift ascended to the tune of thrumming machinery as the Dark Jedi within attempted to bide the wait in peace. Still, Malisane and Sai fidgeted within the cramped space as restless children, muscles still alive with the Dark Side and adrenaline, their very teeth electric with the exertion of battle.

In the stillness of the lift, the warriors’ ears still rang with the hum of lightsabers, the grunts of men, and the alien screeches of the dying invaders. Malisane reflected on the past few hours. Never before had he come across a race so bent on destruction, so dead to the Force, so resistant to their technology. As he watched Sai replace the power-pack in his ‘saber, he fingered his own. Usually, an enemy they would deploy their elegant weapons against would fall as grain before the scythe; these strange invaders were all but amused at the Dark Jedi’s attempts to strike them down, even unto death. The Battlemaster voiced his concerns aloud.

“Have you ever seen anything like them?” Malisane asked, knowing that he wasn’t the only one with the invaders heavy on his mind.

The returned silence was all he needed for confirmation to the negative; as far flung as both of their origins were, neither of them had ever faced a foe such as the strange and misbegotten invaders.

As cold realization fell heavily within the lift, the one who was probably best prepared for it was Sai. He was afflicted with a strange neurosis, such as all of his family; where most of the Keibatsu were prone to fits of rage and malicious destruction, Sai was the polar opposite. As if a physical manifestation of his distance in relation to the family main, his neurosis would surface as a detachment – quite literal, in word and deed, as Sai would be cut off from emotion, empathy, and nearly everything that made him human. What remained was a cold and calculating machine, and all who fell under his tripartite gaze would often be stunned as the man acted as needs demanded, and that, with often brutal results for both friend and foe alike.

Though fully in the throes of this latest “episode”, Sai’s mind drifted back to the Foresight, and the hapless Captain Jori, whose sightless eyes still bored into those who’d witnessed her execution. Sai was confident that the act of attrition by the invaders would be enough to galvanize at least those few Jedi to realize that the invaders were far from a trifle, and that the Brotherhood must be committed to the same level of action, lest they be found wanting, and their own eyes would gaze, just as Captain Jori’s, upon the emptiness of Infinity.

The lift pressed ever onward, and Malisane found himself thinking just as he did when he was in a formal leadership position. They would need answers to the myriad of questions that arose with the alien invasion, and the War Council would be just the body to provide them.

Just as the lift reached the bridge, Malisane’s heart was clutched by a deep foreboding a split second before the doors opened. His thoughts strayed to the Deputy Grand Master of the Brotherhood, the mighty Jedi Master Muz Keibatsu Sadow, one of the few in the Brotherhood who might be able to lead them out of the darkness, just as the Covenant plowed through the Shroud. If the tremor in the Force regarding the Deputy Grand was correct, Malisane surmised that things would get a lot worse for them before they got better.


27-07-2007 08:56:22

Deck Nine
VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, within the Shroud

Noktar’s thoughts swirled around his mind, trying to dissect what had happened while he was gone. He kept focusing on the dead Vong in his room, wondering how the hell it had been ‘taken care of.’ Surely someone had gotten the jump on it before the creature could take him to the Embrace of Pain. If they ever got through this, Noktar knew that he owed a few drinks to whoever that was.

His thoughts about the Embrace changed his demeanor. He had run into the Vong before, during his short leave from the Brotherhood. They were already attacking his homeworld, though it wasn’t as bad as this. Maybe half of the force that lay outside the Shroud was constantly bombarding Falleen, and Noktar had seen what these creatures could do. It was not his wish to see them taking more of his comrades, or himself for that matter, away to be tortured.

The comlink in his robes beeped, waking him from his memories. He quickly reached into his robes and pulled out the little device. Not even bothering to check who it was, he said, “What is your wish, my master.”

“What, no ‘Hello? It’s good to hear that you’re alive?’ Ah, but I forgot. You’re always too serious for that sort of thing,” the voice of Macron singed through the air. “Oh well. I have something that you might want to see apprentice.”

“And what would that be, my master?”

“Let’s just say that it’ll teach you a few things about our enemies and about me.”

“Ah, finally going to reveal a little about you to me, master?”

A cackling laugh issued across the comm. “Just what I do, Noktar. If you want a family story, you’re going to have to wait. Meet me in the ready room, near the bridge. Mac out.”

Noktar sighed before putting the comlink away. What the hell could be in the ready room? If it’s another Vong, I want nothing to do with it. And if it’s Macron we’re talking about, than it’s probably a Vong based on that fact. Shaking his head, he made his way to the lift.

Ready Room
VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, within the Shroud

Kaelin calmly guided the bioscanner over the dead Vong. He was pained at having to do something of this nature, when all that he wanted was blood. But what better way to understand his prey, than to study their functions? His hunt could wait if it meant more killing.

The door to the ready room opened. Noktar saw the Togorian leaning over the dead Vong and was immediately disappointed. He had gotten his hopes up that maybe Macron would give him a new weapon or some kind of armor like his. Instead, he was to be witness to what looked like an autopsy.

Noktar calmly looked at the Togorian, noting the lightsaber clipped to his belt, before speaking. “I am Noktar Jameki, Macron’s student,” he said with a bow. “And who might you be?”

The Togorian merely sneered at the Falleen’s gesture of good faith. “Kaelin,” the Knight said before going back to his scan. Noktar smirked at the beast and shook his head. Figures. Macron sticks me in a room with an animal.

The door behind him opened at that moment and Macron stepped through. The madman’s eyes were a little more gleeful than the Protector was used to, but other than that, he still looked like the same old Mac. Noktar smiled and bowed his head at his master, thankful that he had remembered him with his experiments.

“It looks like you’ve already met Kaelin, so let’s get right to it,” the Battlelord said. “I have been given the job of finding out what the frakk these things are made of. And since I know you have had experience with them, I’m inviting you to help me in any way that you can.”

Noktar grinned again and said, “It would be my honor, my master.”

“And how many times must you say ‘my master’ before you start calling me by my name?”

“At least once more, my master”

Macron rolled his eyes and turned to Kaelin. “Is the scan complete?”

“Almost. This one is eager to this underway. Though this one believes that the Protector is not worthy to be here,” the cat said with a growl.

“Don’t worry, he is here at my request. Let’s just get this started,” Macron said as he grabbed a vibro-knife and flicked it on. With much anticipation, Noktar watched as Macron made the first incision….

Syrus Korodin

27-07-2007 10:44:17

It sounded like the clatter of cutlery to him, the sound of knives and scalpels scraping against each other, against his bones. The droids around him continued their work as quietly as possible, trying to make little noise with which to disturb the remaining crew, even though they were no longer on the bridge.

Shuang had been carted off to a small side room not too far away where droids could safely tend to his injuries. It felt a little awkward being here, alone except for two constantly whirring droids picking and prodding at his injuries. He had had his wound anesthetized so that he felt no pain, and now it was just a matter of time before he was sufficiently patched up. Soon he would be able to rejoin the war effort.

He sat in the relative silence, listening to the droids doing their work, wondering vaguely about just how much this should be hurting. The feeling of pressure was still quite evident, and he could feel the blood trickling down onto his prone arms from the gaping wound in his chest. The thud bug had done quite a bit of damager, the droids had informed, but had died on impact, still embedded in his ribcage. The droids also informed that they had removed it, and for this he was glad.

As the last few minutes of his emergency surgery elapsed, Shuang Long decided to relax himself and dive into the chaotic ocean of the dark side. He closed his eyes and relaxed, ignoring the machines and his own injuries as he tried to glean even a superficial fragment of knowledge from the relentless darkness. He extended his perception, unraveled the dark coils of his mind, and immediately felt deep echoes of pain and chaos.

Around him, many of his fellows writhed in pain, sending out rolling waves of their own suffering into the fabric of the universe. Fear, shock, confusion, emanated from the direction of the bridge, calmed somewhat by the wisdom and leadership that the Elders exuded.

Even Macron’s presence, crazy as he was, remained calm in the light of the entire trauma his clan had just suffered. Shuang thought him a man with enviable qualities, for he knew that many others would have long since broken under stress.

Outside the Shroud resisted every attempt at penetration, and he did not tempt it further. If Elders had trouble navigating their way through the chaotic mess of debris and electromagnetic fields, what luck could he have? Despite his talents and his Master’s teachings, he was still a mere Knight.

“Surgery complete, Master Long,” chirped one of the Droids, abruptly waking him from his reverie.

He opened his eyes and was momentarily blinded by the ceiling lights. Groaning, the Frost Dragon managed to lever himself up onto one elbow, where he glared at the beeping machines.

“Kindly give me a status report, machine.”
“Thud bug removed,” said the brighter of the two, painted in gold for some reason, “and rib fractures sealed and restored with temporary binding adhesive. Internal injuries to left lung include lacerations and punctures, both of which were sealed. Further surgery required to fully correct damaged lung.”

“Is further surgery urgent? What is my combat-readiness status?”

“Not urgent. Combat ready, but not recommended.”

“Fantastic,” he said, grinning.

And with that he calmly dismounted the table and strolled away, returning to the bridge. As he entered he immediately noticed a blemish on the usually spotless deck. He peered curiously at the pile of ash, quirking an eyebrow. It didn’t take him very long to notice angry Trev, standing at a table near a bottle of what looked like excellent scotch. Knowing Trev, it had to be excellent something, for he was not a man of bad taste.

Walking forward to his Master, Shuang favored him with a slight bow of respect.

“Master,” he said, “might I have some scotch?”

“Feel free,” said Trev, still glaring with fury at the contemptible fools who even now trembled under his gaze. Shuang quietly nicked the bottle and poured himself a measure.

“I’ll take this,” he said, giving the small glass a little shake, “and for the time being I will do the job of the man that I assume you, erm, disintegrated. It doesn’t do us any good to lose pawns, and I can probably do his job better anyway.”

Jinx Mortigena Mordachus

27-07-2007 15:51:56

"Come left two points, and down five, and get back up to full speed sharply, Apprentice." Jinx' fingers flew over the controls, maneuvering the big ship around a cluster of rocks nimble as an Ortolan ballerina. As the turn completed and he brought the engines back up to maximum thrust, a faint tremor ran through the deckplates, the feel of a ship alive.

"Turn complete, Lord Vexatus, and at full military power." The Sith Lord nodded sharply and bent back to conversing with the Clan Overlord and Shan Long. Jinx ran his eyes over the consoles nearby, tentatively reaching out in the Force to observe the minds of the crewmen at work there. So light was his touch in the Fore that he almost missed it. A malignant sense of unease, somewhere ahead. He looked for the other Dark Jedi, hoping they had sensed it as well.

If they had, there was no sign. The Elders remained conversing, the various Knights and Journeymen focused on their assigned tasks. Working quickly, he brought up the sensor display, which proved unreadable through the hash and distortion of the Shroud. Leaving his console, the old man clambered up the ladder to the viewports. Ahead and above their flight path, another cluster of asteroids spun and tumbled through the void. Strangely enough, none collided...

"Weapons, fire on those rocks! Scramble the fighters, all personnel to battle stations!" He used the Force to jump back down to the helm and began tapping furiously at the controls, turning the Covenant to bring more guns to bear and dropping speed to simplify targetting solutions. Spears of argent fire were already beginning to lash out from turbolasers as Vexatus yelled down at him.

"What in the vermillion hells of the Sith are you doing?!" Jinx pointed out the viewport, where the laser fire was disappearing into the Shroud.

"Those aren't asteroids." The first fighters and interceptors were beginning to come around the hull, flying in pairs and trios, too few by far. The Vong ships were turning now, three smallish warships and a bigger ship that was at least a quarter of the length of the Covenant. Their strange shields were up, stopping the laser blasts several dozen meters short of their targets, and they were beginning to return fire. Jinx noticed that as they passed the shields, the plasma balls they used in lieu of turbolasers would refract onto totally different paths, almost as if they were being guided...or diverted... "Lord Vexatus!"

"What now?"

"Can you sense their shields through the Force?" The Sith looked back out into the Shroud, and his eyes narrowed.

"Yessssss..." He reached out with his mind, and found an Interceptor making a run on one of the smaller warships. As their black-hole shields bloomed and moved to protect the ship, he caught hold of the singularity and pushed, speeding up the move greatly. The ship tried to reassert control and stop the shifting pattern of the shields, but the power of the Prophet was too great and the edge of the singularity came around grazed the hull. Jinx watched in fascination as the ship came apart, sliding into the hole it had itself created. The bridge crew cheered, and after a short conference, all three Elders found new singularities and began wreaking havoc among the enemy.

"Sir?" Jinx turned to see one of the crewmen from the sensor station standing beside him. "Where are the fighters?"

"What do you mean?"

"The little asteroid fighters-there were thousands of them when they first attacked, but none here." Jinx replayed the battle in his mind, and realized the man was right. They hadn't launched any fighters...with a sense of foreboding, he ordered the sensors punched up to full gain.

"Lords Sadow, can we navigate back out of the Shroud from here?" Tron finished his destruction of one of the small warships, and looked back into the pit with a glare of annoyance.

"We could, but we must rendezvous with the rest of the Clans inside the Shroud."

"With all due respect, sir, we won't make it." Jinx caused the sensor display to be projected up on one of the side viewports. "Their flagship is ahead of us already, with most of their fighters. They can either come about and destroy us, or wait until we're all through and destroy us then. If we turn now, we could jump away and buy some time to come up with a better strategy." He held the Viceroy's gaze, knowing he was probably signing his death warrant.

"Your orders, Lord Sadow?"

Shan Long

27-07-2007 18:46:59

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Alien vessels closed in on the crippled warship, and survivors from the Wandering Soul and Foresight had not yet reached rendevous. The time grew near for a decisive action. Space battle disgusted the old Warrior. He had slain hundreds in his decades, yet not a single one from the helm of a starship. He sat back in his chair, closing his eyes against all distraction. Something needed to be done, and now.

"Xanos, Tron." He finally said.

Both men turned their attention to Trevarus. "I have a plan."

He placed a hand on Shaung-Longs shoulder. "Apprentice to Shan Long, how familiar are you with tractor-beam controls?"

"I have some experience, Master Sadow."

"Excelllent. As I understand it, our dilemma comes not from a malfunctioning of the tractor beams, but from their actual tracking scanners?"

"Yes." Shaung replied. "The beams themselves function, but the sensors do not."

"Are you sufficiently skilled, to track a sensor beam, against guidance from say... a non-conventional tracking sensor?"

"I believe I could manage that."

"Excellent." He turned back to the other two Elders. "Our solution is simple. I am going to seek out the presence of the straggling transports in the Force. Shaung will use his talents to lock multiple beams onto each transport. We'll pull them into the docking bay, while closing the ventral-bay blast shields. We lack sufficient time to properly dock... so we load the ships and slam the doors. Once that is complete, we'll be making a short jump into Hyperspace"

"Are you insane? Even you know its madness to travel the Shroud in Hyperspace. The mass-shadows will tear this ship apart," Vexatus said calmly.

"I agree with Xanos. What's this your're talking Trev? Impossible, and even if we pull it off... the risk is too great." Astronicus said, quietly.

"Powerful focus will be required. You two are sufficiently talented to sense mass-shadows, through the Force. You will latch onto my essence. I will use my talents to overtake every officer on this ship. Intense concentration will be required to maintain this control. While I meditate.. you two will guide my attentions. I will establish a link that will serve as a guidewire through the Storms."

"You're insane." Tron growled.

"Yet, its our best option. We have less than five minutes before the Far Outsiders will have us in range of their mass-generators." Vexatus conceded.

"Then it is done." Trevarus said. "Shuang, take your seat. Do you understand the principle of what I ask of you?"

"Yes, I think so. I'm going to operate several tractor beams at once, locking onto the ships that you guide me to."

"Precisely. Take your seat."

Shuang Long sat down at the technical station, attuning his mind to the controls, feeling out the relays and coordinating his senses to operate. He probed circuits and relays, nerve bundles tracing through sockets and ports. Traces of the computers programming overlaid his senses, he could almost feel electrons pulsing in his blood. At the same time, he began to feel the powerful darkness of the Master's own aura creeping into his visions. He began to see numbers scrolling in a deep void, pulsing and flowing through calm areas, avoiding chaos.

"Seven locks acquired, transfer in point three minutes."

Tron stood over a computer, ready to lock the ventral blast doors.

"Now" Trevarus said, without opening his eyes.

Tron closed the doors. "Hangar crews report seven badly damaged transports secured." He looked at Shin`ichi. "Adjutant-General, see to the crews of those transports, and go with the medical teams. Make sure our Brothers are accounted for."

"Yes, Lord Sadow."

Next he turned back to Trev. "What do we do now?"

"I will overlay my mind with the entire crew. I will act as the singular operation of this warship. I will use my powers to open your minds, to mind. Through me, you will use Astrogation to pilot us through Hyperspace. Do not speak to me, rather feed your impressions and directions into my own, and I shall respond accordingly."

"You're going into a Battle Meditation?" Vexatus asked.

"Exactly. I will require the most intensive concentration."

Trevarus resumed his seat aft of the pit crews. Similarly, Tron sat in the Commander's chair, while Vexatus merely stood. The Mark opened, and Trevarus dived into the immense tangles of the Weavery.

To the mundane observer, the scene would have been unsettling. All at once, the entire crew of th bustling bridge fell silent. After a moment, they began to move in surreal parodies of life. None seemed to breath, they did not speak. Yet each action was performed and completed with not extraneous movement. Sweat beaded on Trevarus' forehead, an unnatural violet glow from the Mark filled the air, obscuring nearly all other lights.

Through the tangled lines, Trevarus connected himself to each crew member, completely overtaking thier bodies. Finally, he broke his own Thread into two distinct patterns, unweaving the strings of his consciousness and Will into two equal bands. He found the lines connecting him to Tron and Xanos, weaving his own tangles into their own. He wove a complex pattern of strings and pulsing interconnections between himself and the other two Elders, melding their consciousness into a singular focus. Each could see and feel every thought, every memory, between each other. Slowly, impressions and commands began to filter through the Weave. Trevarus established one final link, bonding as many of their interconnections to every influence leading back to Antei. Visions and possibilities showed him every possible outcome of this venture, yet he supressed all, driving every facet of his focus on that singular destination.

Almost as if in a dream, he felt the shift into Hyperspace, and the Force exploded. The energies that fueled the immense Shroud drove a maelstrom if inconceivable chaos. Immersed in pure Rage, Trevarus struggled to maintain the connection. Tron and Xanos each in turn drove their focus into his Will, guiding him as he drove the ship forward.

Almost as quickly as the ship had jumped, it reverted to subspace. Life on the bridge paused, the air seemed thick with impossible cold. Slowly, officers began to shake thier heads, some bleeding out of ruptured eardrums. At least two lay dead from the powerful overlay of their energies.

Vexatus opened his eyes, casting his gaze to Tron, who seemed in shock of what had just happened. Far outside the viewports, the Shroud raged violently as ever.

Finally, Trevarus opened his eyes. He felt drained, wiping a trickle of blood that had dripped from the corner of his Mark.

"I have one hell of a headache" Astronicus said.

"What happened?" Vexatus asked.

"I know not, replied Trevarus, "There seemed to be an anomaly that caused us to revert early.

Ashia Kagan

27-07-2007 20:04:39

Ashia worked to get the transports from the Foresight and the Wandering Soul docked. The Priestess sighed heavily as more an more came in injured, a few near death.

Suddenly, Shin'ichi's voice pierced her thoughts.

'Lord Trevarus is locating all the transports, they're locking on them with multiple beams and bringing them in now. Get everyone to safety! I'm on my way with medical teams.'

The Nightsister's eyes went wide. Captain Simonetti noticed and looked around suddenly, expecting the worse.

She picked up the communicator and clicked on the com system for the hanger bay.

"All personnel, please exit the hanger bay immediately for multiple transport docking. All personnel, exit the hanger bay immediately."

The sirens turned on and people dashed for safety, some barely making it as ship after ship came into the docking ports.

Ashia went to help the ones coming off the transports that were worse off. Some of them from her own house. She had her alchemy bag with her and shot bacta into most of them, treating burns with other things that she had learned from Macron. The crazy Sith had shown her a lot and right now it was coming in handy.

She felt Shin's presence as he entered the bay, several medics in his wake. He came up behind her as she turned towards him. His eyes lit with what could only be a smile at seeing her. He was glad to see she was ok.

'I'm sorry about the Soul.' He said to her silently.

'Me too, I just got command of it and loose it immediately.' Her face fell, she had spent a lot of time recently on board that ship and had come to really love it. Now it was floating aimlessly in the Shroud with no one on board.

'What's going on? Are we being attacked?'

Shin shook his head, 'Trev is going to mentally link up to everyone and use Astrogation to pilot the ship and make the jump to Hyperspace.'

'What? With in the Shroud? Is he insane!?' Ashia screamed inside his head. Just then Captain Simonetti approached them and bowing slightly as looked from one to the other.

"My apologies, Governor, but what's going on?"

Shin spoke up, the vocoder that synthesized his voice sounding anything but human.

"Captain Simonetti, you have served the Dlarit Corp for a long time now and..."

"...your service has been greatly appreciated. It will not go unnoticed, nor will it go unrewarded if..." Ashia finished his sentence.

" don't ask too many questions." Shin's vocoder finished as he nodded his head in the captains direction.

Captain Simonetti looked from one to the other as they spoke. Finally he nodded, getting the hint and took his leave. He shook his head a bit as he walked away going back to his duties. He never understood how the two of them did that.


28-07-2007 02:34:36

The Fulcrums Blade
Hanger onboard the VSD Covenant

After finalizing the sequencing on the Fulcrums Blade Aries overheard a call in on the channel. It was coming from an officer on the Bridge.

"Commander Aries I have been given orders by Consul Macron that he needs you to immediately take your vessel out into the Shroud and handle a search and rescue operation."

Aries seemed a little bewildered by the order. The last order was preparation for a boarding operation in a counter strike or a possible supply run to one of the other ships in the fleet. But when the order came from the bridge of a possible search and rescue this changed the entire perspective. There was a sense of frustration as he took a deep breath before speaking again.

"Fulcrums Blade to Bridge I need to ask why the change in mission priority?"

There was a bit of static for a moment before then what seemed to be a change in either communication or command the voice was unexpected from then what he was hearing.

"Bridge to Fulcrums Blade this is Consul Macron I am personally asking that you immediately take your vessel and launch immediately to search for any survivors."

Aries raised an eyebrow if it was from Consul Macron there was no argueing with command then. But if it was true from the rumors he heard about the Vong attack then there was no need to consider question such a request. Immediately he went ahead beginning the start up sequence in firing up the engines. This was the first time however he took his YT-2400 into the Shroud. However with just installing atmospheric senors into the YT-2400 it might give him hope of navigating somewhat in the Shroud without getting struck by a bolt of energy. Still either was senors could got haywire in a void like the Shroud.

"This is the Fulcrums Blade preparing to depart to perform search and rescue, I can't guarantee anything but I will go ahead and proceed as you ask Consul Macron."

Over the commlink just before the YT-2400 lifted off the docking bay and the landing skids retracted into their compartments another call came in.

"Fulcrums Blade this is Macron again while your out on the search and rescue I have one priority that needs to be tended to. I want you to find whatever intelligence you can gather either from this foe that has attacked us or of the other clans in the area."

Aries took another deep breath as he muttered under his lips.

"Great intelligence gathering as well as search and rescue and this was why I was appointed to command Sapphire Squadron. Schudda!"

There was a harsh tone over the commlink coming from Consul Macron.

"What was that I heard Commander Aries?"

He shook his head knowing his Clan Consul caught him in overhearing a comment that he was making then decided to return and answer his commlink.

"Nothing Consul Macron just frustrated with the events unfolding right now. I will do as you requested Fulcrums Blade out."

It was after cutting off the commlink that then the YT-2400 launched into the Shroud as ordered. All Aries could do now was hope he could find whatever vessel in the Shroud that was intact and board it to find any other survivors or if there was an intelligence to gather then board quickly and leave like hell to return to the Covenant. He knew the Fulcrums Blade was fast enough to manuever in any fight but in the risk to find survivors or get intel then he hoped at least he would have some support with him on the vessel in performing an operation as such. Yet this was an everyday job he had to do, and all without the help of his organization too as well. Still in the back of his mind he had hoped if the need arrise that they needed to contract some shady fellows he knew of the resources. But that was just a daydream he thought. Out here in the Shroud, it was just the Brotherhood at each others throats and at the same time too a foe far more powerful than they ever have dreamed of. And at the worst of it all he was requested to find some spec of dna, or left over junk perhaps that he could bring back for them so they could examine later for them.


28-07-2007 05:33:41

VSD Covenant

Raist toyed around with the device in his hand as he waited for the turbolift to arrive. He knew that the Foresight had taken tremendous damage, and he absolutely hated the idea of leaving her here, in the Shroud. If the Vong stumbled across her in the weakened state it was in, they'd outright destroy the ship, and Raist would not allow that. Most of its crew had been evacuated, and the few techs, soldiers, and skeleton crew members onboard were there by Raist's personal request. With the death of Captain Jori, he had told them his plan, and that he was the temporary commander of the vessel. Before leaving, he had made sure that the system that the ship had in place for so long was working, and then took off in his Shinnyuasha Prototype before docking with the Covenant. Now, as the turbolift arrived and he stepped inside, he pushed the button in his hand, and the turbolift began to ascend.

"One of the few things Urias did right..........." Raist thought, referring to the pirate captain of the Foresight before its reclamation by Naga Sadow forces. The reason it had taken Raist so long to track down even, was that Urias, the paranoid pirate he was, had a set of emergency nav coordinates built into the hyperdrive, and had them run in a random order. It was a simple system and only able to store five, though the remote device Raist had in his hand was only able to be programmed to one set location, Raist knew it would be fine. The turbolift came to a halt and he stepped out onto the bridge. His presence was, for the moment unnoticed, as the bridge crew appeared to be in a flurry of movement, all eyes focused on the FRG Foresight. Raist could see it on the main viewport, turning slightly, and then, winking out into hyperspace. The spot he had picked was literally, in the middle of nowhere, parsecs away from any star systems, starbases, trade routes, and close to the unknown regions of space. The spot Raist selected was directly in the middle of the route from Dagobah to Hoth, a route no traveller in their right mind would take, and within a day or so the ship would be in good hands anyway, or so he thought.

As the bustle died down, all attention turned to and was transfixed on him. Raist smiled upon seeing his old friends Goatham and Trevarus, the Oracle, whom he had accompanied on many dangerous missions as the Oracle's personal bodyguard. Indeed, some of his training, exotic weapons and experiences he would never forget came from those times he was asked to accompany the wizened Jedi. Consul Macron also stood on the bridge, though he didn't notice Raist immediately, as he was deep in conversation with numerous sources. Both Goatham and Trev greeted him warmly, and as Raist noted the glasses, and saw Trev's bottle, he smiled. Without saying another word, since they were all Jedi after all, Trev poured him a glass of his favorite liquor, Corellian Brandy, 150th Anniversary Edition, and gave it to him.

"Now now, i'm not gonna drink this by myself," Raist said, smirking as Trev began pouring out glasses for himself and much of the bridge crew. Once they had recieved their drinks, Raist raised his glass in toast. "To those who did not make it today, their sacrifice was made so that we could live. They will be honored as high as can be, and their deaths were not in vain. They will be avenged." With that they all downed their drinks, and Raist made his way to the comm unit. Seeing who he was, the DSF commsman, someone he didn't recognize but who obviously recognized him, immediately sat up.

Raist quickly realized the holonet was down, and the Shroud was surely wreaking havoc on the transmissions. Still, Raist sent an encoded broaband message to his target, and within a few minutes of him relaxing, he received an uplink on the same frequency.

"Raist buddy.... its ............... hear you. Me and Julian were just........... Its been a ...... time." Than Angel, his longtime friend said, breaking up due to the Shroud.

"Good old friend, my apologies about not getting out to Corporate Space.... things have been hectic. We were just hit hard by Vong... and to be honest, I'm in need of your assistance." Raist said, begrudingly.

"Of course Raist................. need to come out to Kai-Tan when.................. done. U, me and Julian have some catching up to do............ be surprised." Than said.

"Well this is the deal. One of our ships got slammed hard. She's still intact structurally, minor stress fractures along the hull and most of her systems are shot. She's gonna need an escort and a repair team, as she's only got a skeleton crew onboard. Can you guys spare anything?" Raist asked, almost assured what the answer would be.

"For you, no problem................ 2 Gunships and a Corvette along with.................. craft, some Transports and a full repair crew..................... need anything else, should we?" Than asked.

"No that seems fine, though you're cutting out. I'll send the coordinates to you now, she's literally gonna be in the middle of nowhere." Raist said smirking as he sent the coordinates.

"You weren't kidding.................... out there, should have her.................. within 4 days or so. If you need...................... stop out when its all done." Than said, the disturbance on the signal getting worse and worse.

"Thanks Than, I appreciate. Listen the signal here is terrible, i'm gonna cut out, When we get to a better location we'll be in touch. I owe you one, Raist out." Raist said, closing the signal before it was lost, and leaning back in the chair. The Foresight at least, would be safe, As for them, who knew? The Exarch got up, explained the situation to Goatham and Macron, and then left the bridge. He was about to push in a button for his ship, but he suddenly realized how tired he was. His adrenaline had been going and he quickly realized it had been close to 30 hours since he had slept. He punched in a button for rooms, and made his way to the spacious guest quarters reserved for VIPs. Within a few minutes, he had knocked out, in a massive bed, knowing he would be safe here, for the time being.


28-07-2007 21:36:02

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Captain Simonetti did what he could here and there, acting as an assistant to Ashia, but he really had no assignment. He had just left his current one, back on board the Wandering Soul. Despite this, he intended to serve the Dlarit Corporation for what he was trained and payed to do. He reported to the bridge, not sure who to report to, technically his direct superior would be the captain of the Covenant. Word had spread already what had happened to him, so he would need to find one of the governors and let them know he was ready and willing to serve. He approached a tall figure clad in a cross between stormtrooper armor and Jedi robes with a long cape. The man was staring out the viewport, but from his demeanor Simonetti could tell he was of some importance.

"Pardon me, sir." Stated Simonetti, "Captain Araic Simonetti reporting for duty."

"Captain Simonetti?" The figure turned and gazed at the naval officer, Simonetti immediately snapping to attention. "Commander of the Wandering Soul?"

"Yes, Viceroy." Simonetti bowed his head slightly in respect to the master of the Dlarit Corporation.

"I believe we have a duty for you." Astronicus said, looking out amongst the crew - who up to this point had merely been following the orders of their Dark Jedi masters. "Congratulations on your promotion Captain, the Covenant is yours."

Simonetti gulped. At least on the Wandering Soul he didn't have to worry too much of a Dark Jedi killing him for incompetence, but he'd heard what had become of just a few bridge crewmembers. He was reluctant to thank the Viceroy, he didn't know if it was really a promotion. He simply nodded his thanks, eyes closed and hoping he could outlast his predecessor.

"Do not fret, Simonetti, public executions will no longer take place on this vessel for officers that don't meet the desired level of my compatriots. I am the Viceroy of the Dlarit Corporation and you and your fellows are my employees. I tend to feel responsible for your welfare." Astronicus walked over to the command chair and sat down, pressing a button and activating the personal announcement system.

"Attention all hands. This is the Viceroy speaking" He paused, collecting the his thoughts and contemplating how to word what he must say. "I know we've all been through something tremendous just now. The invaders, Far Outsiders, Yuuzhan Vong - whatever you wish to call them - have brutally massacred our friends. For many of you, serving the Dlarit Corporation was just that, a corporation with a paycheck for you.

"But now things have changed. Word has spread throughout the ship, you know our true identities, what we really are. But has that changed your assignments in any way? Has it really changed how the Dlarit Corporation should be viewed? No. You will continue in your duties, there will be no more executions - except for traitors. Stay loyal to the Corporation and we will stay loyal to you. Everything we promised you and your families will be. But now we must rally all of our forces, not to just defend ourselves, but our homes back in the Orian system as well. As I speak no doubt our forces there are being taxed by these monsters. To make our success be possible and effective, I am hereby promoting and installing Captain Araic Simonetti as Line Captain of the VSD Covenant immediately. That is all."

Turning to the newly appointed Captain, Astronicus - with his hands clasped firmly behind at the small of his back - began directing orders and life amongst the bridge came unfrozen and returned to the militaristic precision it once held before the battle. Simonetti relayed what needed to be and began to size up his newly acquired crew. Some of the officers had transfered over with him from the Soul, but most had been assigned to different areas of the ship, only a few had replaced bridge officers and so he had to find out what type of men he had. The ship carried a typical crew of five thousand two hundred. Some of those had died during the boarding, but with the influx of the Foresight, Wandering Soul and the Astronicu' Reach's surviving crews the number of personnell was higher.

They all had assignments, however, and would do them to the best of their abilities. Astronicus had no doubt in his mind that tensions between the Dark Jedi and Dlarit Corporation employees would be higher than it should, but his assurance that none would be killed by his fellow Dark Jedi theoretically should calm them. The next twenty four hours would be the worst.

Kaelin Ring

28-07-2007 22:32:23

Ready Room
VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, within the Shroud

Kaelin simply ignored the young man that Macron had adopted. Seems like he’ll take anyone these days, that one looks too high and mighty. He continued to act stupid; it never hurt to hold something back around a potential enemy. So many consider me handicapped. No, it is not time for challenges. Too much is at stake already. The giant feline focused on what was happening.

Macron’s cuts were smooth and precise. It did not take long for him to open up the chest cavity and dozens of places that the Knight had not seen. Still, he watched as organs and the like were removed. This would be a long day…

VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Within the Shroud

All around the ship clean-up was being taken care of efficiently. Some Vong were still alive, albeit severely damaged. These were either killed or taken for information and then killed. Dead Vong were placed in the compactor, until their bodies had filled it. Then they were compacted, the people who were placed on that duty had troubles keeping from flinching at the wet sound of bodies being crushed with immense pressure.

For those interrogating the Vong, they were having a hard time of it. It seemed that the love they carried for pain went deep. They tried everything they knew, but the only information that was forthcoming was the threat of dominance and the size of a fleet that wasn’t entirely reliable. Some would storm out of the rooms being used in frustration, only to come back and find the Vong trying to purify themselves, even while still on the ship.

Stretcher bearers were no carting people to their rooms, all of the space in the infirmary was taken. The cries of the wounded and dying permeated throughout the ship, causing many breakdowns among those who could not ignore it. The losses among the regular crew and soldiers were appalling. The dead, including the Dark Jedi, were being taken to special ships, given some directions and a last check over and then launched out.

All in all, the workers had become almost mechanical. Of course, everyone had to avoid the droids, who were rushing around doing repairs on just about everything. Some of the older members of the brotherhood were in their rooms, meditating, preparing for the next attack. Some members were sparring, and some were caught staring as if across a great distance, only to snap back into consciousness after a few minutes. The first battle had been tough, and losses were great, but even as the death tolls were coming in, they began to receive random messages that assured those still alive that the Brotherhood had survived.

Shinichi Endymiron K

28-07-2007 23:20:16

Hanger Bay – Medical Triage Center
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside The Shroud

“Proconsul Keibatsu.” The comlink crackled to life. “If you’re done tending to those in the hanger I’ve a task for you.” Macron’s familiar voice echoed in the hanger bay. “I serve at your pleasure Governor-General.” Shin’ichi spoke. “Drop the formalities Shin. You heard the Overlord’s message to the crew. Now head back to the bridge and bring Ashia with you. “We’re on our way.”

Ashia tilted her head and looked at Shin’ichi as he rose. She knew to follow him and follow she did.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside The Shroud

“What’s going on Shin?” The Epistle turned to face his sister-in-law and spoke. “Macron has an assignment for us I assume. What it is I cannot say.”

Sated for the moment the Priestess merely nodded her head as they rode the rest of the way to the bridge in silence.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Shin’ichi and Ashia stepped out of the turbolift and walked in step to the Captain’s Ready Room where Macron and his underlings were conducting a makeshift autopsy. “You wanted to see us?” Shin’ichi spoke plainly. The Consul looked up and nodded his head. “I’ve activated the droids Shin. Take control of them. Set guards for Ashia, Quejo, and Tron. Use the rest to sweep the ship for any other enemy survivors or possible infiltrators. Their olfactory senses have been set to detect the distinct Yuuzhan Vong scents as Tron’s pets did. They should be effective up to three-hundred meters.”

The Consul returned to his work. The madman did enjoy a good medical experiment, but Ashia was not satisfied to be stuck doing nothing with a droid watching her back. “If it’s all the same I’m going with him Mac.” She spoke up.

Macron looked up once again. “Yes fine, just don’t die. Remember the Clan lives as long as we live.” With that he returned to his work and the two Keibatsu went about with theirs.

Droid Storage Center
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside The Shroud

With a team of security officers assembled Shin’ichi and Ashia assigned each to a three man hunter-killer droid squad and sent them to scour the ship.

“Remember, survival is paramount, but we need all the intelligence we can gather on these aliens.” Ashia spoke to the assembled officers. “Bring back alive as many as you can.”

The droids fidgeted with their weapons, and Shin’ichi swore that they were chaffing at the idea of keeping anything alive. Pushing the thought aside he and Ashia moved out with their own squads into the belly of the Covenant.


28-07-2007 23:53:27

Deck 13
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The ooglith masquer slid on to the lone Vong, sending liquid fire through his pores as the disguise became complete. Donning some non-descript clothing, he quickly left the room he’d commandeered, making sure to conceal both his wicked make-shift blade within the folds of his coat and the corpse of the space’s hapless previous occupant.

His mission was singular in purpose, deadly simple in concept. He was to make his way to a sensitive part of the ship, and kill as many as he could. What his brethren had in brute strength and savagery, he had in intelligence and cunning. Which is why, when he got to the turbolift, he didn’t head for the Bridge as one might expect; instead, he pressed the button that would take him to Engineering.

As the contraption took him deeper within the bowels of the ship, the Vong let his disgust for the technology be assuaged by the deliciousness of his machinations; the Co-ordinators, he surmised, would be most pleased. If all went well, they might even grant him time with the Embraced.

Just before the turbolift arrived at Main Engineering it made an unscheduled stop at the deck above the heart of the mighty warship. Fortunately, the two Dlarit Corporation enlisted men entered and took little notice of the Vong, the ooglith masquer performing beautifully.

Unfortunately, they had turned their backs to the disguised would-be saboteur. Had the two men looked a moment longer at the strange man in the lift, their lives would’ve been saved. As it was, the last thing they saw was their own arterial spray arcing onto the closing doors of the lift.

The Vong gave silent thanks to Yun-Yammka as he wiped his blade clean on one of the corpse’s jacket. Soon, he’d bring the warship to a grinding halt, and his bretheren would be able to pick it apart, as scavengers to carrion.

Nero Pennant

29-07-2007 13:44:46

VSD Covenant,
Inside the Shroud,
Deck 17

Nero walked among the dead, the dying, and the living like a ghost. He had nothing to do. He watched as medical teams scrambled to tend to all the wounded, each crying out as if they were the most in need, but the teams couldn't keep up. All the living could do was comfort their friends, their loved ones, in their final moments.

Nero walked past a technician who was trying to fix a power-cable that had ruptured, sending sparks flying that fizzled out on the blood-slick deck of the Star Destroyer. Observing from a safe distance, he watched.

"Can I help you?" The technician said exasperatedly, his nerves frayed from the stress. Nero calmly shook his head, and walked away.

"We're being slaughtered." Nero muttered out loud as he came upon a group of fellow Journeymen, most of them below his rank. They seemed even more lost than he was; at least Nero knew they couldn't do anything from here. He walked up to them, focusing on one who seemed to be the center of attention, thinking her to be the leader. She was wearing Acolyte robes, smeared with blood, and fire glinting in her eye. She noticed the other Acolyte walking up, contempt in her features as she gazed at his near-pristine cloak.

"Well, boys, seems we got a coward here," She said, putting her hands on her sides as she glared at Nero, now having the other Journeymen behind her doing the same. "Any reason you're not hurt? You're no Knight. I've seen you," She sneered contemptuously, "You're an Acolyte, so why aren't you either hurt or dead?" Then her gaze fell to the lightsaber in his hand. Her features paled, left speechless.

"It's not mine," Nero explained calmly and quickly, putting the lightsaber away in his cloak, "I've been traveling with Mistress Ashia, as well as Masters Trevarus and Vexatus. That's why I'm not hurt. Trust me when I say I've been doing my part. Now I need something from you." He finished, meaning the last part to the collected masses of soon-to-be Jedi.

The group muttered amongst themselves, clearly unsure of what to make of the surprisingly calm and collected Miraluka. "What do you want?" The leader said, her hands still not leaving her sides.

"They'll attack again," Nero explained, "We all know that. But we need to organize something as a defense. Getting into pockets of resistance is only going to make sure that we all die before this is over. Can you get into contact with other Journeymen and have them rally in key points? Then we can wave them."

"Wave them?" Came the question from a young boy.

"Yes," Nero replied, "One group takes on a group of Vong, guiding them to another group lying in wait, then the first group gets out of the way and the Vong get attacked by a fresh group. Hit and run tactics. We can wear them down over time. But we'll need a lot of us to do it, got it?" He said.

The group nodded, moving out to discuss amongst themselves where the Vong would likely hit, and discussing plans to counter those points.

VSD Covenant,
Inside the Shroud,

Life couldn't get any stranger, or worse, for Captain Simonetti. He'd just been promoted to be Captain of the Covenant, and had thought he would lose his life for failure. Instead, he'd been promoted, and given an assurance that he would not die at the hands of the Jedi. He still had a barely functioning ship under his command, and limited options.

"Captain!" Came the cry of an officer watching a screen, "We've got readings in Engineering! The ships engines are starting to shut down, sir! At this rate we're going to be sitting ducks!"

The Captain turned to Astronicus for a moment, nodding to him before turning around and barking orders through a commlink. "Get teams down there now! I want whoever is shutting the engines down to be ground into dust and I want technicians down there immediately to fix the engines. And by immediately I mean yesterday!"

VSD Covenant,
Inside the Shroud,
Deck 17

Nero was helping set up key points when he saw the flurry of activity heading down the decks. "What's going on?" He called out to a running soldier. "Enemy, at the engines." He said simply, more focused on getting to his destination than to chat.

Nero's heart sank. Moving over to a pile of dead soldiers, Nero picked up two commlinks and tossed one to the woman in charge that he was talking to earlier. "Tell me later where you've set up those points. Anyone gives you trouble, refer them to me." The woman nodded, turning around to direct the resistance in case of another attack.

Running down the halls, he found the technician who was working on the ruptured power cable and grabbed him by the shoulder, "We're going down to the engines, I have a feeling they're going to give out."

The technician turned, face pale, "Vong?" He said, his mind numb with fear for the Far-outsiders.

"Maybe, but that doesn't change the fact that you're coming with me. I'll watch your back, now let's go!" Nero said as he raised the man to his feet and raced with him to the next turbolift to take them down to where the action was.


29-07-2007 15:32:01

Miid Ro'ik Destroyer Analog No Peace
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Shroud's Edge

Supreme Commander Nagto Mel looked furious as he approached the villip choir, gently stroking the organic biots. The leathery plants inverted, revealing the face of Commander Kol Amnan.

The villip shifted, the image of Kol Amnan's face dropping beneath the Supreme Commander's gaze. “Command me, my lord.”

“Prepare your fleet to enter the anomaly,” instructed Nagto.

The villip lifted, facing Nagto. “It will be done, my lord.” He waited a moment. “Is there more, my lord?”

Nagto Mel looked deep into the face of Kol Amnan on the surface of the villip. “Yes,” he whispered, his voice cold as ice. “Have your voxyn ready. This time we take no one alive. Kill them all.”

Kol Amnan's torn lips curved into a smile. “It will be done, my lord.”

Nagto stroked the villip choir again, causing Kol Amnan's face to disappear as the plant inverted back to its original circular form.

Matalok Cruiser Analog Perfect Agony
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Shroud's Edge

“Move the fleet to enter the anomaly,” barked Commander Kol Amnan. Across the command chamber warriors and subalterns hurried to issue orders to the various troops still aboard the Perfect Agony.

Kol strode out the main chamber, stroking a recess in the wall to close the sphincter behind him into his private quarters. He approached the villip atop the coral ledge in the corner. It inverted into the shape of a heavily mutilated Yuuzhan Vong, his face torn beyond recognition and both eyes replaced with biots which shifted colour. “Yakun Esh.”

The twisted looking priest inclined his head. “Yes, Commander. How may I serve?”

Kol Amnan looked at the face on the villip as if about to devour it. “Prepare the voxyn,” ordered Kol. A malevolent smile crossed his face. The time for taking captives was over. The Commander had waited long for the order to crush these Dark Jeedai and the voxyn would see that that.

Yakun Esh gave a slight nod. “It will be done, Commander.”

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The Wandering Soul hung isolated in space, like a single white dot amidst an empty black sea. Where the Foresight and Covenant had rested now there was only more of the abyss, nothingness replaced with nothingness. Wandering alone it would be but a matter of time before the lone soul found rest eternal.

In the distance, hundreds of tiny white specks began to appear.

Antei System, Somewhere in the Shroud

The Foresight came crashing out of hyperspace, shuddering to a complete halt as the twisting pathways shifted, dragging the frigate out of lightspeed. With no crew left to speak of, and no Force user to guide it, the Dlarit Corporation frigate's engines came to an abrupt stop. The ship started to drift idly through the Shroud as thousands of tiny rocks peppered the hull. Outside, the ship drifted aimlessly, its engines silent as it floated through the Shroud cold and lifeless. Not a single light shone from the inside.

The fate of the Foresight lie in the hands of the Force. Silent and invisible the ship would sleep, whether it was to survive the storms would now rest with the will of the Shroud.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The Covenant had lurched as its brief trip into hyperspace came to an abrupt end. Across the bridge people stumbled, some falling to their feet as the inertial compensators struggled to contain the sudden jarring burst of impulse.

“What the hell happened?” Lord Vexatus had barked, having narrowly avoided being throw into the main viewport.

After the viceroy's speech to the crew the three Elders had withdraw to the captain's quarters behind the main bridge, uncertain what had happened. The Shroud had shifted suddenly and without notice. Something had gone seriously wrong.

Astronicus did not look pleased. “So what happened? Trev, you spoke of an anomaly? Your Force trickery almost got us blown up.” The viceroy's voice softened a little. “We need to keep the crew on our side, we can't afford a mutiny right now.”

Darth Vexatus's lips curved into a slight smile at the idea. Astronicus's eyes flashed. “Xanos, I don't know what happened to you on Korriban, but snap out of it. We can't afford to be reckless.”

The Sith Lord resumed his normal neutral poise. “As you wish,” said the Falleen. “For now.”

Astronicus flashed him another look but decided it was better not to pursue the point further. “So, Trev?” repeated Tron.

The Krath Master closed his eyes, reaching out to touch the churning maelstrom that was the Shroud. “I sense anger. Fury,” his voice was distant. “Rage. The Shroud moves as if to seal itself.”

Lord Vexatus had also closed his eyes. “I sense the same. The Shroud is reshaping itself, closing off all normal routes. It is becoming more violent than ever I remember it.”

Trevarus nodded, the Mark closing as his eyes opened. “It seems my student and I are in agreement.”

The Overlord reached out himself before addressing the two Elders again. “Do you have any idea what it means?”

Vexatus brushed back his hair. “Isn't it obvious? What happens when an infection grows? The body focuses on removing it.”

Tron looked at him. “You mean those... Yuuzhan Vong have entered the Shroud? What were those ships who boarded us then?”

Darth Vexatus rose, straightening his back. “The ships we encountered before, they were nothing but scouts. Transports and raiding craft. It would seem their main fleet has finally decided to enter the fray.”

“Then we have work to do,” said Tron. “I trust I can count on both of you not to... upset the crew again?”

Trevarus looked disappointed. He sighed. “If it must be done, I suppose I can show the mundane a level of mercy for the time being.”


Vexatus flinched a little at the name. “Of course. Unlike Trev, I intend to leave them be until we need to... fix their memories.”

Strike Cruiser Wandering Soul
Dlarit Security Force Cruiser
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Warning sirens sounded throughout the empty halls of the Wandering Soul. The cruiser shook from the impact of light fire as flights of coralskippers descended on it, raining rock and plasma, hammering at its remaining shields. An explosion rocked through the strike cruiser as part of its aft module broke away. It exploded, the inferno incinerating several coralskippers. The rest turned, resuming their attack on the main body of the ship's hull.

In the distance, a wide grey shape looking something like a small moon blinked into existence. The Perfect Agony immediately began manoeuvring into firing range. Giant lances of burning plasma began pouring from the new arrival, burrowing through the strike cruiser's shields, incinerating vast sections of the ship. Another volley cracked the bridge section from its spine, sending it spiralling into the dark void.

The coralskippers began pulling back, retreating toward the cruiser analog before a final flash of burning heat crashed into the Wandering Soul, splitting the vessel asunder. The two halves began to drift apart before the reactor went critical, incinerating what remained in a blistering fireball that consumed the coralskippers that had failed to pull back in time.

The Wandering Soul was gone.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

“The engines have just died?” asked Astronicus.

Macron nodded. “Just now, we've lost our sublight drives completely.”

“This is not good,” said Tron. “We think the main Yuuzhan Vong fleet has entered the Shroud. We can't afford to sit here motionless. We're still a good day or more away from Antei.”

Tron turned his head to look at Trevarus. “Do you still believe Antei is our best option?”

The Krath Master nodded. “If the Far Outsiders have entered the Shroud itself we cannot retreat now. But if we can get to Kalekka Tower we may be able to hold them off until something else presents itself.”

“I do not like it, but I agree,” replied Lord Vexatus, reaching out with the Force as if to divine their destination. “Antei is our safest option.”

Tron nodded. He turned to the engineering station. “Get a move on. We need those engines fixed.”


29-07-2007 16:17:17

TIE Defender FORCAP Element
Clan Naga Sadow
VSD Covenant, Supporting
Somewhere in the Shroud

Sai and his wingman’s relief arrived just as klaxons began to ring in the Tetrarch’s cockpit. Though a pilot with nominal skill, he yoked his TIE Defender violently 180 degrees to scream back towards the Covenant in a move that would’ve done his Master proud. His wingman was hard pressed to duplicate the maneuver, but was granted understanding by Sai’s hastily flashed comm laser message.

Covenant is D.I.W.*...return at all speed!”

Sai coaxed every ounce of power out of the crafts twin ion engines, causing the inertial dampeners to blare warnings in protest as they were pushed to their limits. The Keibatsu ignored them as the Covenant, eerily stately in the murkiness of the Shroud, suddenly began to fill his craft’s viewport. Still a day out from Antei, there was no reason for the warship to stop. Something was, indeed, very, very wrong.

Communications issues being what they were, Sai would have to hand-carry his data on the newly arrived mysterious capital ship, ion register and all, directly to the Bridge. Just deployed, now newly returned. The Clan was truly getting its worth out of the Knight today. Sai shook off the fatigue which threatened to seize his limbs and sighed deeply, and brought the TIE Defender into the docking bay hot, his wingman on his heels.

Main Engineering
VSD Covenant
Antei Space, Deep Shroud

The Vong saboteur literally shook with delight, drenched in the blood of the Dlarit Corporation’s engineers who had once been responsible for keeping the powerplant of the mighty warship operational. Now, they were fulfilling their duty as sacrifices to his people’s greater glory. Spittle ran from his misshapen maw as he greedily watched the readouts spell the death knell of the engines.

Then, his fingers began to dance across the life-support controls. It would only be a matter of time.

Unless, of course, the Gods saw fit to deliver him unto the Jeedai. Even still, the full extent of his work would be long in discovery. He nearly laughed at the thought of these blasphemers, darting to and fro, nearly knocking each other down in confusion. Then, he thought of their impotence, even with all of their supposed power, in the face of the Final Way.

At this, he did laugh.

* Dead In the Water

Macron Sadow

29-07-2007 17:52:05

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Macron entered and then exited the ready room a few minutes later. Several IT-3 droids drifted out after him, to hang about in the air. Oddly, the lead IT-3 known as Blinky drifted over to Master Caerick and purred softly. Mononoke shrugged and shook his head, as the droid often behaved in an almost feline manner. And it apparently liked Trevarus.

“Gentlebeings, we have an answer,” Mac cackled. “The subject has been thoroughly examined. The tissues appear to be of an unusual makeup, with proteinoids ranging in the seventh series of…” Behind him, Kaelin rolled his eyes and Noktar gave a curt cough.

Macron turned to them and frowned. “Right. Look, I have the data. I have isolated the pheromones that they exude, as does their gear. All the droids have been updated, and the information has been given to the sensor teams.”

“Good work, Governor General. I’d like you to go and look at the engines- we aren’t getting a response from the repair crews down there,” stated the Overlord. “And no more killing the crew.”

“Yes, my liege. I got carried away. It’s the Shroud and my own frustration affecting my usually cheery demeanor.” Macron sighed and looked at Shin’Ichi, Manji and Ashia. “We most likely have an infiltration problem,” he growled. “These cork-knockers just never stop. You guys are the experts here.”

The group chuckled at Macron’s self-description. “You are as cheery as a Wookie with a bad case of sand-ticks,” noted Lord Vexatus with a wry smirk.

“That’s admirable that they are persistent, except we are at war with them,” snarled Manji. “Let’s go clear out the bugs.” Shin and Ashia picked up their weapons, smiling as they imagined the lesson in Krath tactics and stealth they were going to give the intruder. Silent death would walk the corridors of the Covenant this day.

“Alright then, I’ll take an engineering detail and some droids down to the engine bay. I should hopefully be able to handle any issues… wait.“ Macron carefully looked at his students, noting the tension in their frames. Perhaps it would be good to give them something- or someone to vent on. Noktar, Kaelin, come with me also. You want to learn about the Dark Side? You may get your chance.” The apprentices nodded solemnly, with Kaelin giving the Falleen a sharp glance.


29-07-2007 20:15:47

Malisane calmly got to his feet, checking his saber and blaster were buckled safely on his belt. He watched the lift door close behind the Consul and his apprentices then headed over to the lift.
"Where are you going?" Shin'Ichi demanded.
"This way," the Battlemaster replied calmly.
"Macron said we were to stay here," the Pro Consul replied.
"Didn't hear my name mentioned, anyway I need to stretch my legs. There's enough of you up here to manage whatever comes."
"Macron can manage on his own."
Malisane shrugged. "If thats the case I'll just have a wander down there, keep myself to myself and get some excerise." He looked at Shin'Ichi. "You going to stop me?"
The Pro Consul studied the Battlemaster then shrugged. "No do whatever you like."
Malisane nodded and headed to the lift. He checked the lift terminal seeing what floor the three had gone then selected the one above. He pressed the button and watched the assembled leaders until the door closed.

Once he reached his floor he stepped out. He closed his eyes. He could sense the Sith and the engineering crew moving ahead a level below. He knelt down on the floor and ignited his saber, slicing the lock on the hatch then pulled it open, dropping down into it and closed the hatch behind him. The space was about a metre high and housed the wiring and pipework that ran beneath one corridor and above another. On his hands and knees he began to scurry quickly along following Macron and his party. He could sense they were moving at a fairly steady pace and he had no trouble keeping the distance down to about thirty feet behind them. If there were no problems then fine, if they had some sort of trouble he wanted to be able to drop down and support from a position a potential enemy wasn't expecting.

Syrus Korodin

29-07-2007 21:28:50

Sitting quietly at the controls of a number of the Covenant's systems, the Frost Dragon was at peace. He could hear them muttering around, scrabbling to and fro, speaking in hushed tones of invaders and infiltrations. On his little readout a scale image of the Covenant flickered up at him, the sublight drives flashing red. Red, for danger. Red, because the ship was worse than dead if it could not move.

Quietly, almost carelessly, he tapped a few touch sensitive buttons on the screen. Abruptly it changed into a technical readout of the onboard ship defenses. He lowered the size of that screen and opened another file, displaying the security camera readout in the engineering bay.

"How troublesome," he murmured, looking with distate at the corpses strewn about with reckless abandon. He hit another switch and the camera angle shifted, giving him a clear view of the perpetrator.

"In times of war," he said, as quiet as a sigh, "we must not fear."

This time he really did sigh, continuing to manipulate a plethora of touch sensitive mechanisms. He wondered why no one had realized that engineering bay was a prime location for sabotage. Contemplating this, Shuang Long beckoned to his Master.

"Master Sadow," he inquired, eyebrows slightly raised, "could I have your counsel for a moment?"

"Of course, Apprentice," Trevarus said, "but do make it worth it."

"Of course, Master. Now kindly glance at this readout," Shuang said, pointing at the flickering screen before him. "From what I can tell based on my nice view from the security camera, we have an intruder. He has, as you already know, deactivated the sublight drives. Naturally, as I am in control of a bridge computer terminal, I have access to multiple overrides. It would be undue to allow engineers the ability to simply stop us dead."

"Yes. Can you override now, or is there something else?"

"Well, the intruder in question is busily trying to override our life support system. If this occurs we will be in significant trouble. Thankfully this system can only be deactivated fully from the Bridge, unless the Vong is able to fully hack his way into the network. This is possible, but will take him at a minimum fifteen minutes."

"I understand, Apprentice. You can stop him from doing this?"

"I believe so, Master. I was well trained in computer manipulation and with the help of some of Dlarit's employees," he motioned to the fellows on either side of his computer terminal, who clearly had been listening in, "I could be able to stop the Vong and, perhaps, frustrate the beast enough for a crew to arrive to take care of the monstrosity. From engineering it will be far easier to reactivate the drives."

"Excellent. Carry on, and feel free to utilize the assistance of three commoners," he sneered, "in your endeavour."

"One more thing, Master."

Shuang's fingers deftly flew over the touch sensitive holographic keyboard, causing the flickering screen to change at a rate sufficient to induce epileptic seizure. An image of the Covenant appeared in miniature scale, with small dots traversing the corridors. Shuang tapped a spot, muttered something to the computer, and the image zoomed in immediately.

"There is a life form tracker module in this ship, allowing us to detect living things in just about any location on board. I quietly ordered the computer to do a search for erratic behavior. That is, lone figures or groups displaying behavior that does not correlate with other staff and dark jedi on board. I detected the engineering bay intruder too late. There is one individual here, moving down corridor A9 on Deck 6. It appears to be approaching the armory."

He tapped another button, and a security camera view swam into clarity, crackling ever so slightly. As a lone figure approached an open doorway, Shuang pressed a small green button and the door sealed itself.

"Excuse me sir in corridor A9, Deck 6, kindly give me your name and ID number," he said through the Covenant's intercom system.

The lone figure turned, mouthing furiously, and the recorders in the nearby camera relayed his message clearly.

"Filty Jeedai heretic scum! Filth! Unclean!"

Shuang smiled faintly at his master before turning to rifle through some digital records.

"No, Master, we do not appear to have a Filty Jeedai Heretic in our roster anywhere. Perhaps a new recruit?"

Trevarus nodded curtly, deposited a small bottle of vodka beside his Apprentice, and turned to the other Elders with a flourish.

"Intruder on Deck 6, corridor A9!" he roared, and the bridge erupted with echoing roars of irritation and confusion.


29-07-2007 21:48:49

Main Engineering
VSD Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, within the Shroud

The small team of engineers seemed to huddle behind the trio of Dark Jedi walking calmly through the corridor. Bodies were strewn everywhere, a few of them twitching and gasping before succumbing to their deaths. The vision was enough to cause Noktar to flinch in disgust. Why can’t these beasts use blasters like every other civilized race? he thought while stepping over a pool of blood. Then I would stare at cauterized blaster wounds, not torn flesh.

Kaelin seemed to notice Noktar’s discomfort, a small grin appearing on his cat-like face. “Is the Protector nervous? Does the Falleen fear for the Falleen’s life?” he taunted. Noktar sneered back at the Knight, eager to let him know just who’s life he should be thinking about.

“Enough. Settle your differences later,” Macron exclaimed, barely glancing back at the two. “We’re close and I don’t need you fighting between each other.”

“Of course, my master. Please forgive me,” Noktar replied, still sneering at Kaelin.

“Again with the master thing…”

Noktar noticed Kaelin shaking his head. It wasn’t like he was aiming to please Macron, he just wanted to keep his good standing. He had left Macron for a good six months, without any news of his life whatsoever. And when he came back, Macron simply took him under his wing again. Does he really see that much potential in me? Or is he just waiting for this escapade to finish before he punishes me? Noktar shuddered at the thought of what his master could do to him for punishment, especially with his vast knowledge of Alchemy. He didn’t want to become one of his pet experiments and cease to become himself.

He shook his head and looked at Macron. The back of his red battle suit shined brightly under the lighting, mesmerizing Noktar. It reminded him of his own garments, rich in detail and beautiful. If there was one thing Noktar had a weakness for, it was fine clothing, and his master seemed to have the same problem.

Macron felt a peering gaze through the back of his head, and he glanced at his student. The Falleen was studying his armor with great interest before noticing his gaze and quickly looking away. He grinned devilishly as an idea popped into his head.

“Hey Noktar, how would you-“

“Wait up!” a voice shouted from behind them. The engineers all gave a short yell, tense as they were, and scrambled forward. The three Sith turned, looked at the source of the voice, and immediately relaxed at the sight of a two humans running towards them.

The two men slowed to a stop before the others, and it was then that they recognized the robes of an Acolyte on one of them. His eyes seemed to look, yet not see, the pupils gone for some reason. Macron and Kaelin seemed not to notice or care, yet it sent another shudder throughout Noktar.

“And you are?” Macron said as he raised an eyebrow.

“I’m Nero. You guys looking for the Vong?” he asked.

“As a matter of fact, yes,” Noktar chimed in. “Care to join us?”

“That’s why I’m….” and Nero broke away, his eyes searching past them in confusion. The tech beside him, however, widened his eyes and moaned in fear.

The trio turned around, expecting the worst. They were not disappointed, as they saw a black armored Vong slice his weapon into the group of engineers. Three of the men were decapitated, the other’s reflexes being just enough to save them from immediate death as they ran back from where they came. Blood flew from their bodies, spraying the Vong and making him that much more horrifying.

Noktar quickly drew his katana, but it seemed laughably weak compared to the sharp noise of his fellow’s lightsabers screaming to life. The creature snapped his head in their direction, anger filling his face.

Jeedai Infidels!!! Come and be cleansed for Yun-Yammka!” he screamed before flailing his amphistaff at them. The four of them ducked, narrowly avoiding the sharpened weapon. Kaelin and Macron immediately threw themselves at the assailent, while Noktar took a few steps back. Gripping his katana tightly, he charged in at the Vong.

Nero merely stood in fear. His eyes kept searching for the thing he couldn’t see, the aura’s of his companions seeming to fight an emptiness and driving it back. I can’t do it! he thought. I can’t hit what I can’t see. He’ll destroy me… He looked at the three again. One of them had stepped back and was looking back at him. And though Nero couldn’t see his eyes or his face, he could almost see the imploring look he was giving him.

Noktar saw Nero shake his head and reach into his robes. Pulling out a cylindrical object, he ran full speed at them, eager to prove he was worth a damn. Noktar gave him a tightlipped grin and turned to face the Vong again.

A sickening crunch was all he heard as pain erupted in his head. The room swam around him and he barely felt himself hit the ground. Darkness surrounded him, though he knew the lights were burning brightly. He saw the face of his father in front of him, and thought it very strange that he should see him in a place like this. “Hello, Father,” he muttered. “I thought you were dead.” It was the last thing he said before he blacked out.

Nero Pennant

30-07-2007 00:28:17

"Think carefully," Nero thought to himself as he began to cover the distance between himself and the void he could see in front of him, "One wrong move and you die, remember that." He cast a quick glance back, finding some comfort in what he saw with his sightless eyes. The bright beacon of the Knight, Kaelin, and raging inferno that was his Consul, Macron, gave him some hope that he wasn't going to die just yet.

Nero darted past the other Journeyman, Noktar, who was lashed hard by the far-outsider, falling backwards like a ragdoll, his earthen-tone robes fluttering. "Get him back! I'll keep him busy a few moments!" Nero shouted as he increased his speed to a full sprint, mostly to avoid himself doubting and faltering in his step. It was now or never; no guts, no glory.

Nero thought about using the lightsaber he was carrying, but decided against it as he leapt into the air, the Vong bringing his amphistaff around for another lash, this time directed at Nero. He'd probably lose the lightsaber as he didn't know how to use it properly yet, and possibly damage the engines, and no one needed that.

Concentrating a moment, Nero created a platform at chest height, using it to leap high in the air, above the Vong. Unsheathing his dagger he clenched it in both hands, ready to strike downwards. "Die!" Nero shouted as he came in for the strike.

The Far-outsider had other plans. He'd seen the move coming, and had feinted the lash with the amphistaff. Instead, it had swung it back to straighten it, creating a spear, one that he was pointing directly at Nero. Nero cursed his weakness, allowing himself to be in a position he couldn't defend himself from. The death from above was about to be killed, his momentum and position in the air allowing no room for dodging.

"[I will cleanse you, Filth! DIE!]" The creature screamed as he lunged upwards. Nero brought his left hand down in motion with the lunge, pushing the spear away just enough that it didn't impale him, but the sharp thorns on the side raked up the inside of his arm, creating nasty gashes, and barely missing becoming lodged in Nero's armpit.

Nero fell to the floor screaming in horrible agony. He'd never experienced pain like this before. Crumpling into a heap before the Vong's feet, he thought with every fiber of his being he was going to die.

His fear was not realized however. Though the Vong brought the other end of the spear down towards Nero's chest, he was suddenly ripped away, carried by the Force at tremendous speed. He flew across the room and landed rather hard near the other Journeyman who'd come to his aid earlier, now lying prostrate next to Nero.

"Kid," said Macron, his arm still outstretched from flinging Nero out of danger, "Don't be a hero." The Knight looked at Nero, a wry smile spreading across his face, smug with his ability. "Be a good little Acolyte and take care of the Protector. We'll handle this trash."

Nodding sluggishly, Nero slowly got to his feet, half-crawling over to where Noktar lay. He checked the Falleen over, though he didn't know anything about medicine besides that the wounds Noktar had gotten were less severe than his own. The Falleen had a nasty gash across the chest, but by some miracle of the Force had escaped having his chest cleaved in two. He'd feel it for the rest of the battle, if he ever woke up, but it would not kill him.

Weak from the shock of the pain, Nero crouched near his charge to avoid fainting. Clutching a dagger in his right hand, he cradled his near-useless left in his lap. He'd follow orders, he wouldn't let the Vong past him, though he had full confidence in his Consul's ability, especially when bolstered by a Dark Jedi Knight.


30-07-2007 08:48:27

The Consul slashed wildly against the intruder, crimson blade meeting thin air where a fraction of second before the creature stood. Nimble and furious, the Vong jumped and ducked in quick sucessions, his own weapon threatening the dark jedi's advance.

The tight corridors of the engineering proved to be quite a nuisance to Macron and Kaelin as they tried to flank the infiiltrator with little success. The creature pressed on, never turning his attention from any of them. He would bid his time and wear off the heretics' patience.

Macron was well aware of these tactics and did his best to move the combat to a wider ground where he could maneuver, but Kaelin was not so experienced and pursued the assailant. The outsider's wicked grin widened with glee as he blocked a violent downward slash from the knight, following with a kick in the chest that sent the togorian crashing on the alchemist.

Legs tensed as the Vong prepared for jump, but before he could manage to launch himself, a very loud thud was heard and the creature lost its balance and fell to the floor, dizziness mingling with pleasure as his head exploded in pain.

The infiltrator straightened and fumbled around, his visage finding a strange metallic instrument marred by his own blood. Then he turned back and saw another presence, a tall figure in gray clothing of the Dlarit flight suit, a large metal case hanging from one hand, another metal instrument at the other, flying lazily as the figure juggled with it.

The Vong frothed with hatred and roared menaingly to the new arrival, the response a mere wave of hand as if saying goodbye. Puzzlement quickly replaced by realization shook the Vong, but not soon enough as the crimson blade surged through the bak of his head and popped out from one eye socket, sealing his fate.

The creature crumbled to the ground as the image of the Consul came into view behind it. The figure in flight suit calmly detached the helmet as he walked forward.

"Anyone called the mechanic?" The figure revealed to be Scithe, who was kneeling down to reach the bloodied hidrospanner beside the corpse.


30-07-2007 17:54:45

Antei System, Inside Shroud

The A-vek liluunu carrier Righteous Fire rumbled through darkspace as it travelled through the anomaly. There was something not quite right about the anomaly, the yammosk was having trouble directing the dovin basals, but it will not enough to slow the Yuuzhan Vong. Unlike the inferior technology of the infidels and the heretics, the yammosk could think, it could adapt. The anomaly was but a minor annoyance to the war coordinator.

In front of the Righteous Fire travelled an I'Friil Ma-Nat assault craft and an Uumufalh escort, both no larger than the infidel corvettes. They would travel ahead, dropping out of darkspace first, luring the infidels in, enticing them to attack at which point the Righteous Fire would descend on them, raining holy fire on the Jeedai heretics.

Behind them followed the Heretic's Bane, a medium sized frigate. Aptly named, it would be the death of these Dark Jeedai. Loaded with its cargo of deadly voxyn, the Heretic's Bane would travel behind the infidels, drop out of darkspace and deploy the voxyn unnoticed.

Yun-Yammka and Yun-Harla would be pleased. It was a plan worthy of Yun-Yuuzhan himself.

A-vek liluunu Carrier Analog Righteous Fire
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Within the warmth of his pulsating cognition hood Subcommander Drathul Amnan could perceive gravitational variations throughout nearby space, tell tale signs of enemy presence. He had welcomed the order from Supreme Commander Nagto Mel, the Yuuzhan Vong fleet had been sat waiting on the edge of the anomaly for two days too long. The Supreme Commander should have issued the order to enter at the start.

For as welcome as the order to enter had been, Drathul Amnan was displeased with the Supreme Commander. He was sure his brother Kol would be thinking the same. When these Dark Jeedai heretics were dealt with, Drathul had told himself that he would be sure to use the Supreme Commander's failure against him. Domain Mel would be shamed and have to beg Yun-Shuno for redemption and the Supreme Overlord would bestow the glory of this victory on Domain Amnan.

Yes, Drathul had told himself, he would be the new Warleader, he would use this victory to assure his rise to Supreme Commander. Yun-Yammka was surely with him this day.

The Yuuzhan Vong Subcommander stroked the cognition hood, encouraging it to release itself from his head and rise back to its compartment above the command seat. Drathul Amnan rubbed the villip beside him, causing it to invert into the face of Drosh Nar, the Righteous Fire's resident Seer and member of the priest caste who was currently onboard the Heretic's Bane.

Drosh Nar inclined his head respectfully. “Belek tiu, Subcommander”

Drathul inspected the priest's face. It was heavily torn and tattooed. Drosh appeared to have a new implant since the last time he had seen him. No doubt the priest had rewarded himself for the victories the Yuuzhan Vong had already had in the initial skirmish. Perhaps he had even been successful in interrogating one of the Jeedai prisoners, Drathul did not bother to ask, he knew Drosh would be keeping the information secret for the Supreme Commander.

“Seer, are the voxyn prepared?” inquired Drathul.

“The last are being loaded as we speak, Subcommander. The Jeedai infidels will witness the will of the Gods this day,” said the priest with relish.

“I trust the Gods are will us?” asked Drathul, though the question was rhetorical. The Gods were always with Drathul Amnan.

The Seer nodded. “Yun-Yammka will reward us for the blood of the infidels already spilt, Subcommander.”

Drathul smiled hungrily. “Excellent. I shall leave you to your work, Seer. The heretics will regret crossing the Yuuzhan Vong.”

“Indeed, Subcommander, indeed,” replied Drosh. “Taan Yun-forqana zhoi.”

Do-ro'ik vong pratte,” said Drathul, quoting the warrior caste battle cry in response to the priest's own. He stroked the villip again, causing it to revert to its original shape.

The Subcommander leaned back in his chair. Yes, Yun-Yammka was indeed with Drathul Amnan. He closed his eyes, reaching out to stroke the cognition hood again.

Ro'ik chuun m'arh Frigate Analog Heretic's Bane
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The image of Subcommander Drathul Amnan inverted as the villip returned to its original pod like form. The Seer Drosh Nar laughed silently to himself. His ability to play the Subcommander surprised even him. The Dark Jeedai he had had the pleasure of interrogating had proven a worthy sacrifice to Yun-Harla, the Trickster. Indeed, Drosh was very good at tricking Drathul Amnan. Warriors were ever so easy to fool.

The sphincter to Drosh Nar's chamber dilated and Executor Eshin Shul stepped through. Eshin wore the green cloak of an Intendant and her left eye was replaced with a disguised plaeryin bol. Drosh inclined his head slightly as she approached, though fell short of outright bowing.

“Executor Shul,” greeted Drosh.

“Seer Nar,” said Eshin in reply. “Any news from Subcommander Amnan?”

Drosh shook his head slightly. “We will reach the Jeedai heretics shortly. Have the warriors finished loading the last of the voxyn onto the yorik-ta?” The Seer referred to the black yorik coral escape craft, large enough to house a dovin basal but small enough to be near impossible to see and, most importantly, invisible to the inferior infidel technology.

The Executor nodded. “Yes, the Jeedai will not be prepared for them.”

“Good,” whispered Drosh Nar. “Does the Subaltern understand our mission? I would not want him to think it better to take the Heretic's Bane into battle directly.”

Eshin Shul laughed. There was no love lost between the intendant and warrior castes either. “I believe the Subaltern understands his orders. Subcommander Amnan was quite clear the Heretic's Bane is not to engage the infidels directly.”

“Excellent. Yun-Harla is truly with us.”

Shan Long

30-07-2007 19:26:15

Detestable machines. Trevarus stared at the droid for a moment, wondering if its programming had allowed it to understand the precise nature of his hatred of droids. Yet, perhaps this machine would be of use.


The droid tittered and made a glow growling sound, much as a domestic feline might.

"So it responds to its name. Syrus, are you still tracking that Outsider on deck Six?"

"Yes, Master Caerick. Moving aft."


"Syrus, come with me."

Trevarus seemed to quiet, as if considering his next movements carefully. Eyes seemed to shift nervously around him, expecting him to lash out, despite the Overlord's order. He would comply, for now. But at the end, perhaps he would simply kill every last soul on this ship. The Master moved towards the Bridge blast doors, pushing them open with a wave of his hand. His will, was the Force. At the end of it all, he would command the very fabric of existence. What of a few mundanes before his greater design? They too, were tools.

Perhaps the Overlord had become complacent in his years away from the paths of the Final Way.

No doubt the Outsiders would bring new understanding to the nature of the Force. It was now his task to find, to understand... and to bring about the fall of one such being. He must study it, ever so carefully. He could not directly impose his Will upon these strange beings, calling themselves Yuuzhan Vong. Perhaps Maeda would understand his curiosity.

There must be some link between these two forms of existence. He suspected it might be something as simple as a belief. These creatures are devoted... but to what? What end? They have passion and bloodlust. How to break a being who knows only an existence of pain?

He suspected he already knew the answer, and it followed the two Jedi as a devoted pet down the corridors.

Knowing that the abomination was drawing near, Trevarus shifted his attentions.

"Syrus, when we draw near, I want you to activate the defensive ray-shields. Trap it in position within the corridor."

"Yes, master."

Finally, they spotted it, rounding a corner. It did not seem to notice their appearance, and Trevarus pulled Syrus back. He gestured to a computer terminal. Nodding, Syrus began to issue commands into the terminals. Ahead, they heard violent cursing and peals of energy as the beast realized it had been caged. Calmly, Trevarus rounded the corner, Syrus on his heels.

"infidel! I shall not be held by your blasphemous shields. Yun-Yammka shall honor me for destroying you."

"Silence, abomination. I have slain many of your kind, and consumed your flesh. You do not frighten me."

"Then raise your infidel weapons, Jeedai! Prove your worth before the Yuuzhan Vong."

"I do not require petty exclamations of my power, Abomination. You shall soon find a new avenue of pain at my hands."

"I fear no pain. I shall die gloriously."

"Oh no, you shall not die. Rather, you shall beg for death a thousands times... and yet live still."

Trevarus raised his right hand, and thousands of tendrils of silver began to flow out of the Amulet, twisting and writhing into a coarse net of metal. they wrapped around the Outsider, securing it tightly, as fine spiderweb wrapped around a dead fly. It was rendered motionless.

Ray shields finally dropped, and Trevarus began walking along, his right hand trailing behind, like a man dragging a heavy sack. Whistling a merry tune, he made his way to the medical bays, believing Macron would be there to assist him. A skilled alchemist was always a valued assistant to torture.

Macron Sadow

30-07-2007 21:12:38

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Engineering Decks
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

“Hello Scithe,” chuckled Macron as his senses tingled. Whatever was stalking them was not Vong. He nodded, looking up at a port in the ceiling and igniting his lightsaber. A figure dropped down into the room from overhead. Macron shut off the tangerine colored blade and smiled. “Malisane, excellent,” canted the alchemist as he greeted his old friend. Kaelin deactivated his own blade and stood at the alert, sniffing the air coming from down the hatchway.

Noktar was still prone, but emitted a groan of returning consciousness as Nero administered a spray-flesh patch and bacta injection from his medkit. Regulations admonished that they should be carried, but many of the older members ignored these statutes. This was unfortunate.

“How is he, Nero?” asked the Consul with concern.

“Wounded, but he’ll be fine. He was lucky,” came the reply.

“Whew. Would you please take him to the medbay? I am counting on you Nero,” requested Mononoke.

Pennant nodded, walked down the corridor and retrieved a repulsor-sled. He was soon loading the wounded Falleen onto the sled with Kaelin’s aid. Noktar had fought against the invaders directly even though out-classed, and that was something the Togorian respected. They walked down the corridor toward the turbolift, eyes searching the shadows and weapons ready.

“Why are you folks down here?” asked Malisane as he leaned against the bulkhead. “Certainly not for the fresh air.”

“We lost the main engine,” replied Macron as Scithe nodded.

“I noticed that on my way in,” he chuckled. “Not good, you know. I think we can fix it.”

Malisane spoke up. “I served on one of these once. I remember the basic grid circuits,” he said as he removed a loose panel. “Pass me that… ugh. Maybe the other hydrospanner, perhaps.”

Macron’s comlink crackled to life. “Mononoke, will you be available for an examination? I have a most interesting interviewee, and Blinky seems to agree.” came the voice of Master Trevarus. In the background screams and grunts that could only come from an alien throat resounded, punctuated by warbling sounds, sizzling noises and the hum of a repulsor coil. “We’ll see you in medbay 6.” Off limits to normal personnel, Medbay 6 was technically part of the Information Bureau.

The Consul’s yellow eyes almost seemed to brighten. He licked his black lips slowly and smiled at the other two, a short giggle escaping his lips as he got a distant look on his face. “I see we are in good hands. Keep your eyes open. I think my particular skills are needed elsewhere at the moment.” The Sith turned on his heel and strode away purposefully as Malisane winced. He giggled softly to himself as he walked, deep in thought.

“Poor bastard,” Malisane commented as he and Scithe set about the complicated repair.

“Did you mean the Vong, or Macron?” queried Scithe as he picked up a laser welder.


- - -

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Intelligence Medbay 6
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

The doors opened with a whoosh as the armored soles of Macron’s boots clicked on the cold durasteel floor. The air was clean, but smelled of chemicals and antiseptics faintly. Cold blue light lit the area, as sterile and inorganic as the rest of the chamber. Screams, curses, and groans in a strange alien tongue filled the air, punctuated with the occasional snarled Basic. Macron calmly selected a kit from his satchel, put on a slick duraplast apron and walked toward the gurney that the Vong was clamped into. His face was freshly painted in a frigtening Sith pattern that meshed with his tattoos.

Stout hydraulic clamps held the Vong's struggling body tightly. Master Trevarus stood over the creature, probing it’s sinus cavities with a silvery extension from the Amulet. The greyskin screamed again as a line of black blood drooled from punctured olfactory tissue. The IT-3 droid was hovering over the top of the Vong’s head, a pulsing syringe cable nailed deep into the thing’s spine. Clamps and forceps moved about on the scalp, opening a gaping hole in the creature’s flesh that showed promising bits of skull. Macron smiled menacingly, flashing sharp metallic teeth grafts. Trevarus nodded grimly, the two of them sharing a mutual unstated purpose in this impending symphony of agony. The performance was about to begin, and the audience was cativated.

Macron activated a nearby recording droid, and reached for the Vong’s eyeballs with a pair of glinting drill-tongs. He began to artistically remove one with a whirr of the tiny motors as he smiled. “Been looking forward to this on a live subject,” he tittered. The wildly rolling eye came out on a long ropy string of bloody nerve tissue to drop in a nearby bucket with a splattery plop. “Interesting,” mumbled the madman coolly as the screams started back up the register. "I hear you are expert torturers. Let me show you how we do this the Sith way in a spirit of cultural exchange, you bastard," he growled in anger as he wrenched at a tooth and dropped it with a clattter into the refuse basket.

“You will tell us everything,” hissed Trevarus Caerick as he leaned in close to the hissing creature’s ugly face. The line of silver flashed as it emerged from the now-empty eye socket, reaming out a bloody hole. “Everything.” At that instant, a labor droid approached bearing cybernetic limbs, sheets of synthetic tissue, and obscene artificial organs. Blinky came closer, and began to extend a set of cutting shears slowly as it purred soothingly and proffered an artificial eye. The Vong’s remaining slitted green eye grew wide, and it screamed in earnest at the approaching blasphemy that was about to be performed upon it’s body.

Unclean! rang the scream of a warrior’s voice in the empty echoing room as the medical droids closed the rustling curtains on the operating stage. The figures loomed over the thrashing shadow on the gurney, phantoms upon the makeshift silver screen. A howl of lament wailed forth from the struggling child of Yuuzhan-Tar. I am...unclean! Arrrgggghhhh!

Nero Pennant

30-07-2007 23:31:54

Nero pressed a button on the sled and with a whir it came to life, floating at waist level in the air, the wounded Falleen lying on it, slowly regaining consciousness. Nero winced as he stood up, having used the majority of his medkit on Noktar. "Thank the Sith this thing doesn't need much guidance." Nero muttered, keeping his left arms relaxed as he guided the sled slowly towards the turbolift.

Pressing a button to call the lift, Nero looked down and saw that he was leaving a trail of blood. Shrugging off his cloak, he saw his arm was in pretty bad shape; The wound looked sickly, possibly infected, only an examination would be able to tell. It didn't hurt much for a wound that big, which made Nero wonder. After loading the sled into the lift, he created a tourniquet out of the bottom part of his cloak, tying it tightly around his shoulder, till the pain had stopped and a somewhat peasant throbbing occurred in his shoulder, the bleeding stopped.

After getting out of the turbolift on the main medical deck, he motioned to one of the attendants, "Help me with this," He said, "We fought the Vong in Engineering, we both got cut up pretty bad." He said, his arm suddenly registering more and more pain, shocking Nero. "What the?" He said, holding his arm and jerking from the pain. "Help... me..." He said through gritted teeth as he stoically tried to fight past the rising pain while passing the threshold of the medical center, where doctors were already waiting for both Nero and Noktar. Glancing at his arm, Nero noticed that there were several bulges on the inside of his arm. Nero looked closer, fighting past the pain that was starting to consume every fiber of his being.

His eyes went wide with shock as the registration came in of what was happening to him. Those bulges were moving! Nero's pain threshold had now been completely left in the dust, and the scream of sheer pain came straight from Nero's gut, long and loud, filling the room and those next to it as it all became too much for the young Miraluka and a pleasant darkness took over.

Nero woke up with a start, sitting up and looking at his arm again. It was a mess; spilt bacta everywhere, along with multiple incisions that were stitched up again.

"Good, you're awake," The doctor said as he moved to Nero's bed, "We found all the larva that were nesting in your arm. They were feeding on it. We've got them all, and you're going to be alright. Your friend got lucky though; any more forced and that amphistaff would've ripped him in half."

Nero sighed of relief, relaxing now that he was in a safe location. This was quickly shattered when he heard a blood-curdling scream of sheer terror, it was distant, but still clearly audible. "Unclean! Uncleaaaarrrrrggghhh!"

"What is that?" Nero asked,

"We don't ask questions about that. That's a classified medbay, it sounds like they got one alive." The doctor replied, clearly shaken by it, "Get some rest, you should be up and about in a few hours, but don't test that arm too much."


31-07-2007 03:49:04

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Deck Four
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

"Dark Jedi Filth!!!" Screamed four crewmen as they fired blast after blast at the two Saber wielders, they had not taken the Viceroy's announcement well. Petty Officer Williams felt betrayed by the Dlarit Corporation, and had convinced three of the enlisted crewman who served under him to help rally the crew to stage a coup.

However, they did not expect to bump into two Dark Jedi so soon, who had been on their way to Engineering to find the Vong saboteur. One of the enlisted panicked and started firing, and considering that he opened fire on Ashura Isradia and Ethran Isradia. He was pretty much good as done for.

Red and blue lightsaber blades twilled around as they deflected the laser bolts. "I thought we were fighting the Yuuzhan Vong, not ourselves." Ethran commented as his lightsaber sent the blast back towards one of the enlisted crewman, very nearly hitting him.

"I guess they didnt like the news of Dark Jedi being among them," Ashura replied to his fellow Isradia, "so what are we going to do, kill them?" As neither two had yet to put too much effort.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud


Simonetti turned to the junior office and said, "what is it Ensign?"

"Sir, weapons fire has been reported on deck four. It's Williams."

"Who?" Simonetti had yet to learn the names of all the crew that served aboard.

"Sir, he is a Petty Officer. He and three other enlisted crewmen have opened fire on two Da...err...two Jedi, who are currently defending themselves."

"Stang! Do you know who they are?"

"They're on the monitor now, sir. The security camera in that section is still operational." The Ensign replied.

The new captain of the Covenant walked up to the young mans stations and looked into the security monitor. "Ah, wonderful, it's *him* again..." as he was going on about Ashura "...I shall handle this."

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Deck Four
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

//Williams, this is Captain Simonetti, as you have heard I am the new commanding officer of this ship. I order you to stand down. These gentlemen will not hesitate to kill you and your three accomplices. Stand down, now!//

Simonetti's voice rang throughout that section, as his voice boomed over the speakers. "Will all due respect, *sir*, you can go to Hell!!!" The Pretty Officer shouted at the security camera, before shooting it.

There was a long pause over the speakers, during that time Ashura and Ethran simply defended themselves, not taking any hostile action just yet.

Finally Simonetti's voice rang out again. //So be it, gentleman. Effective immediately, all four of you are fired.// The two Isradias, who had been playing nice up to this point knew what that meant. The gloves were allowed to come off.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Deck Four
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

There screams could be heard over the speakers, as although the camera was destroyed, communication to that deck had not been. The poor Ensign had gone completely white with fear. "Dont worry son, they had it coming to them. Traitors won’t be tolerated. Just remember to stay true to the company, and it will stay true to you." The captain said.

The white faced junior office nodded weakly, as he listened to the last of the screams, before silence was rang out. He knew that Williams and the other three were dead.


31-07-2007 13:29:32

Admiral's Bridge
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Darth Vexatus sat alone in the admiral's bridge which was situated the deck below the main bridge. It was deserted but for the sentry droid now stationed at the turbolift entrance. The Sith Lord was cross legged in the center of the room meditating, listening to the subtle voices which represented the ebbs in the Shroud.

The storm was getting closer.

Vexatus stood up, straightening his robes down and brushing his long tail of hair back behind his head. He could feel... relish in the decks below. The others must have found their intruder. In the Force he could still hear the echoes of the cries of the hundreds who had been silenced. It was as if the Force itself continued to cry out where it had been wounded. He was sure Trevarus must be drinking in its pain.

He still did not understand why he had saved the Master's life. Perhaps it was the Force's will. He found the idea ironic. The Force choosing to save the man who would try to dominate it? He no longer needed the sorcerer, so why did he continue to spare him? He will strengthen himself through sacrifice. Why then was he not yet prepared to cast aside his inferiors? The answer continued to elude him.

In the depths of space he felt a sudden shift, jerking him out of his thoughts. The Force had changed. It was more the shadow of something else but it was there. The cold emptiness. It flew through the Shroud like a dagger as if it was nothing more than a light mist.

The Far Outsiders were coming.

I'Friil Ma-Nat Corvette Analog Will of the Gods
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud, Darkspace

Subcommander Drathul Amnan's face took shape on the surface of the villip. “Have you arrived?”

Subaltern Neira Tor bowed his head respectfully before he answered. “We shall be exiting darkspace shortly, my lord,” he said, his voice betraying his eagerness for battle. The Will of the Gods had yet to engage the Dark Jeedai heretics directly.

Drathul Amnan's eyes bored into Neira Tor. “You understand your mission?” said the Subcommander. He did not want there to be any mistakes. The honour of Domain Amnan rested on this victory.

“Yes, my lord. We will engage the infidels until the Heretic's Bane has completed its mission. Then we shall cover the Righteous Fire until it has withdrawn.” There was not a fraction of fear in the Subaltern's voice. The Yuuzhan Vong welcomed death. Neira Tor knew the odds were not in his favour but his death would be a worthy one. The Will of the Gods would fulfil its mission. Yun-Yammka would praise Neira Tor in the afterlife.

Drathul Amnan would have smiled at the Subaltern's devotion if he was not so focused this moment on the mission himself. “Good,” was all the Subcommander said, “see to it that it is so.”

Do-ro'ik vong pratte,” said Neira Tor.

Uumufalh Gunship Analog Hammer of Glory
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud, Darkspace

Drathul Amnan's face disappeared as the villip reverted to its natural form. Subaltern Kadlah Ruuq smiled as she turned back to her cognition hood. The Dark Jeedai would suffer at the hands of the voxyn. The thought brought a smile to the Subaltern's twisted face.

It would not be long now. Together the Will of the Gods and Hammer of Glory would fall out of darkspace and descend on the infidel ship. Once the Righteous Fire arrived the heretics would not notice the arrival of the Heretic's Bane. Kadlah Ruuq began to laugh inside the hold of her cognition hood. The voxyn would teach these Dark Jeedai the true meaning of pain.

Nothing could stop the Children of Yun-Yuuzhan now.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The Covenant continued to drift idly through space. The engineers had estimated it would take another thirty minutes to repair the damage the Yuuzhan Vong infiltrator had done to the drive system.

Captain Araic Simonetti was beginning to feel more uncomfortable than he had so far, if such a thing was even possible. They were sitting ducks, the Wandering Soul had surely been destroyed by now he thought, it would not be long before the Yuuzhan Vong realised they had been tricked. The Captain had no doubt they wouldn't be happy about it, either.

“Engineering,” called Simonetti. “Any word on the engines yet?”

The ensign shook his head.

Simonetti spun back to the viewport. He really didn't like this. The Shroud was... wrong. It was too silent. He was sure it was making the whole crew uneasy. It was as if they were hanging in the silent grip of death. He had no doubt it wasn't helping the tension between them and their new Dark Jedi masters. It was probably the first time many of them had even seen a lightsaber.

Captain Simonetti had decided it was better not to think about what would happen to them if they made it back home. He had no doubt it would involve some form of so called Jedi mind trick. He felt disgusted at the idea these people could mess with someone's mind. At the same time, Simonetti figured he wouldn't miss the events of the last few days if he never had to think about them again. Perhaps it was for the best after all.

The doors to the turbolift opened and the red skinned Falleen strode out. His face was still withered and looked as if he hadn't slept in days. On second thought, Simonetti realised he probably hadn't slept in days either. He felt a cold shiver go down his spine as Lord Vexatus approached. He had decided earlier it was probably best not to annoy the one even the other Dark Jedi addressed as lord. He noticed the rest of the crew looked similarly uneasy as the Falleen strode across the deck.

Darth Vexatus smiled. “Captain,” he said in greeting. His voice was dry, Simonetti had realised it was always dry, as if this one felt nothing about anything. It disturbed him even more than the one who had set the other poor ensign on fire, at least he could predict a madman to be mad.

“My lord,” said Simonetti with a slight bow.

“I see everyone has run off to the medbay,” said Vexatus with a wry smile as he looked around finding Macron and most of the other Dark Jedi had left. “Has engineering reported anything yet?”

Simonetti shook his head. “They estimate it at another half an hour, my lord.”

Lord Vexatus flicked his eyes across the engineering desk. “I see.” He closed his eyes, reaching out to touch the Shroud again. Simonetti hated it when they did that, he didn't know whether to walk away or stand there looking dumbstruck. He relaxed when the Falleen opened his eyes again only a few seconds later. “I believe the men will need to prepare for battle stations soon,” said Vexatus, still seeming largely unaffected by it all.

Simonetti decided he really didn't like this one. He knew it was just probably some Falleen trait but he thought there was something wrong with someone who could give an order to prepare for combat and not seem to care one way or the other. “We're not detecting anything on our scanners,” said the Captain carefully.

“You won't,” said Vexatus, his voice suddenly turning a lot colder. It sent another shiver down Simonetti's spine.

The Captain decided it was best not to argue the point further. “Very well, my lord. If you say so.” He turned to the tactical desk. “You heard the...” he paused for a second, not quite knowing what to say, he decided to just keep things simple “...boss. Power up the weapons and divert engine power to shields, it's not like we're going anywhere for a while anyway.” Simonetti turned back to engineering. “And get me those engines back. We're sitting ducks out here.”


31-07-2007 14:35:07

Malisane closed the hatch and took a deep breath. "Alright, that ought to do it. Give it a minute to warm up and I think we're underway again."
"You sure?" Scithe said.
"Of course, I know what I'm doing." Malisane replied. "Tell the captain to bring it slowly up to full power slowly, and emphasise the word slowly."
Scithe nodded. "Alright." He spoke into his comunicator. "Engineering to bridge. We're good to go down here, bring the power up to full strength slowly, repeat slowly, and we'll monitor it down here."
"Acknowledged," Captain Simonetti replied.

Malisane strolled over to the display and watched the bars slowly begin to rise.
"This had better work." Scithe said quietly.
"It will," the other Sith said confidently, watching the display as the bars rose further. The satisfying hum from the engine began to sound louder. "Am I good?" he asked.
"Seems alright," Scithe said grudgingly.
"Another thirty seconds and we'll have seventy percent power thats not bad for a patch up job."

Suddenly the bars began to flash. "Should it be doing that?" Scithe asked.
Malisane didn't reply, he just began to press buttons hurriedly, his fingers moving quickly over the controls.
Schite looked over across the engine bay where the noise was becoming tremendously loud. "Can you get it under control?"
As an alarm burst out begining to drown out even the engine noise Malisane backed away from the terminal. He turned to the other Battlemaster. "Out!" he mouthed hurriedly, before running for the door, his fellow Sith behind. As they ran smoke began to fill the chamber, and a nauseating feeling began to steal over them.

They were through the door a second later, and Malisane hit a button on the wall activating a force shield over the closing doors. He fell to his knees gasping, followed by Scithe. He took a deep breath, and spoke into his communicator. "Bridge switch the damge engines off before the entire ship blows up!"
They sat on the floor gasping for air as the engine noise died and went quiet. A second later the sounds of the air vents could be heard through the door.
Scithe looked furiously at the other Sith. "You said," he gasped, "you knew what you were doing!"
"Probably just a minor error," Malisane replied, "radiation ought to clear in about ten minutes then we can have another go."

Nero Pennant

31-07-2007 20:40:21


Nero woke up with a start, sitting up on the slab in the med-bay that he and Noktar were lying on. He looked around, everything was the same. He'd been waking up periodically when the shrill cries of the Vong that was captured and being interrogated filled what seemed to be the entire deck. Nero didn't blame him; Being stuck in a room on the business end of the Clan leaders' rage didn't strike him as a great way to ensure a long life.

But this time, he woke up because of something different. It was quiet. The Vong had stopped screaming and shouting curses. The eerie silence washed over everything like a fog, suppressing the whirrs and hums of the machinery inside the bay. Nero looked to Noktar, who's eyes were open, staring at the ceiling.

"How long you been awake?" Nero asked, testing his wounded arm a little, wincing at the jab of pain.

"An hour or so," The Falleen replied curtly, "I was awake when that thing stopped screaming. It's been dead-quiet ever since."

Nero nodded, "Thank you, by the way."

"What for? If I heard correctly, you treated me and took me here."

"Not that," The Acolyte replied, "You gave me a chance to not be a coward."

The Falleen eyed the Miraluka quizzically, "Whatever you say, man."

Classified Med-Bay

The Vong, once so furious and righteous in his anger towards the Jeedai, had fallen quite far for one so mighty. He drifted in and out of consciousness, and each time he opened his eyes a little more life drained out of them. He'd even stopped screaming curses. Consul Macron looked over his and Trevarus' handiwork one last time before he would relay the information he'd managed to squeeze out of the Vong.

"It took a few hours, but we got what needed." Macron muttered to Trevarus, who was still walking back and forth between the bacta tank that the Vong's remains were floating in, and a display that was taking readouts from the various tubes, large and small, that connected the Vong infiltrator to the machines. The Vong had been reduced to almost nothing.

First, they'd removed his eye, and replaced it with a fake, unclean, mechanical eye, then plugged something into that that pierced straight through it, into it's brain, taking fluid and tissue samples. When he began to struggle too much in the face of the desecration of his own body, something only he and the high warriors had a right to do, they cut off his extremities, replacing them with crude imitations. More tubes were inserted, tissue samples from all parts of his body taken, and gradually, it all became too much. The Vong wanted to forget this ever happened to him, slowly passing into unconsciousness.

It was at those points, which occurred more frequently the further the two powerful Jedi went into their interrogation, that they applied generous amounts of electricity to him, keeping him awake and in mental and physical anguish, forced to watch as his hated enemies slowly carved him to pieces.

Even Macron got tired of the Vong's screams later on; so he had the droids sedate the Vong, then remove most of the Vong's vital organs, except the lungs. Macron was hoping for a special treat on that account. Unable to sustain life on it's own, the body was loaded into the bacta in which he now resided.

"Alright, we're going to the bridge. But let's wake him up first." Macron said, grinning devilishly at Trevarus. Depressing a button, chemicals began pumping into the Vong warrior. Slowly opening his remaining eye, he took a split second to survey his surroundings, then himself. His eye went wide.

"This is gonna be good," Macron said, relishing the moments to come.

The Vong screamed. He screamed at being reduced to a torso in a bacta tank, with almost nothing left of his body. Of course, the sound didn't travel much beyond the walls of the room; the liquid inside made the Vong's predicament only seem worse, as he realized that the fluid had filled his lungs for a while now. The Vong screamed and screamed, but the only ones who heard it's gurgling cries of anguish was Macron and Trevarus, and neither were particularly merciful individuals.

Macron produced an ear-to-ear grin, looking at Trevarus, "Now we can go."

Covenant's Bridge

Consul Macron and Master Trevarus entered the room, commanding the attention of all in the room. "We've got some bad news." The Consul said, his voice grave as his boots clamped along the deck.

The Dark Prophet, Lord Vexatus and Captain Simonetti looked up almost simultaneously, both of them looking haggard and tired, but determined. "What is it, Macron?" Xanos asked.

"We've got a fleet heading our way. At least 3 ships, maybe more. The Vong also mentioned voxyn." Trevarus replied.

"Then we're in for the duration." Captain Simonetti muttered as he turned and spoke into the commlink. "Engineering, where are my engines?!"


01-08-2007 15:57:06

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Malisane's voice appeared on the comm channel. “We're having a bit of a delay down here. Might be another ten or twenty minutes. We've got the engineers working on it right now.”

“Frack,” cursed Simonetti. “Okay, Simonetti out.” He turned back to Macron who was smiling manically as always, the danger not seeming to phase him at all. “Well, you heard him Governor, we had better get ready for battle.” The Captain flashed the Falleen a brief glance. He had been right after all.

Simonetti turned back around to the main crew. “Men, we have more of those aliens coming after us and they'll be here any moment. The engines are also still out and may be off-line for a few more minutes. I want everyone on full alert, all pilots to their stations. We've made it this far, we're not going down without a fight.”

There was a collective cheer as the Captain turned back to the group of Dark Jedi. For the time being everyone was back on the same side again, Dark Jedi and Dlarit Corporation employees alike, united against the Yuuzhan Vong.

Shin'ichi gave him a crisp nod of approval. “Good job, Captain. With luck, you'll get to keep your job once this is over.”

Lord Vexatus stood staring out of the viewport, his eyes closed. He felt the sudden shift in the Shroud.

His eyes darted open. “They're coming.”

I'Friil Ma-Nat Corvette Analog Will of the Gods
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Subaltern Neira Tor stared at the blinking blaze bugs which had formed into a roughly pyramidal shape. It was hanging motionless in space. Neira Tor's lips curved into a delicious smile.

He'd found them.

Jeedai sighted!” barked the Subaltern. He stroked his cognition hood, freeing him from its confines. Neira Tor turned back to the main command chamber, running to issue more orders to his crew.

Uumufalh Gunship Analog Hammer of Glory
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The Hammer of Glory dropped out of darkspace a few seconds later than the Will of the Gods.

Kadlah Ruuq stared at the blaze bug display before her. The Will of the Gods was already manoeuvring to engage the heretic ship at close range. Kadlah Ruuq smiled. Though she welcomed death, she took pleasure in knowing Neira Tor would draw most of the fire. If she survived, perhaps Kadlah Ruuq would be given a true command of her own.

Kadlah Ruuq turned to face the rest of the crew. “Glory to the Children of Yun-Yuuzhan! Do-ro'ik vong pratte!”

A great holler sounded throughout the chamber, echoing down the corridor as others throughout the ship joined in. “Do-ro'ik vong pratte!”

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Two blue unevenly shaped objects appeared on the hologram in the center of the room and began moving in the Covenant's direction. The first one to appear was the larger of the two at around three hundred meters, the second was at about half that size. The latter seemed to make up for the lack of size with a higher concentration of weapons protrusions. Both shapes changed to red after the few seconds it took for one of the tactical crew to designate them as hostiles.

“And so it begins,” whispered Captain Simonetti. “Fighter control, launch all fighters!”

The battle for survival was on.

Ashia Kagan

01-08-2007 23:09:33

Ashia slide through the corridors as silent as a shadow. The hunter-killer droid sweeping ahead of her and the two officers in her wake.

Both were a bit shaken still. They walked rigidly with their blasters out, jumping at every corner.

One was an Ensign from the Wandering Soul. When the groups were formed, he had readily volunteered to be on hers.

"Ensign Chekov, you seem a bit nervous? Are you sure you are prepared for what we may find?"

The Ensign straighten up as his name was spoken by the darksider. Knowing what she was now made things seem bit better considering their circumstances. He had been on the bridge of the Wandering Soul when they had been over run by the Vong.

"Aye, Governor. I am with you til the end."

The droid entered a vacant room, the officer's recreation room. Tables and chairs had been overturned, bottles smashed behind the bar. The pool table seemed to have suffered the least amount of damage.

It scanned the room then exited and proceeded down the hall. No sooner had it turned the corner then it's warning signal went off.

A single Vong warrior roared at the noise the metallic creature gave off, lunging at it with all his strength.

Which wasn't much. The creature had a broken leg that prohibited him from moving very fast.

He howled garishly as the droid attacked. It's weapons poised to take him out at a moments notice.

Ensign Chekov went white. He had seen enough of these creatures to last him a lifetime. He raised his blaster up in defense, but froze there.

The droid became more aggressive. It's attacks had driven the Vong to the floor as he struggled to defend against the technological device that threaten his very existence.

"Enough!" Ashia bellowed as she raised her hand. The droid flew back into the wall and landed with a thud.

She approached the greyskin as he lay crumbled and on the brink of death.

"Dwi, kane a bar!" he spat at her. His eyes darken as he stared at her. Black blood oozed from his wounds.

She shook her head and pulled out a syringe and stuck it in his arm before he could react. The drug coursed through his veins and quickly sedated him. Clamping on the vibrocuffs as a precautionary measure, she flipped open her commlink and radioed, Macron.

"I've got a live one on level two outside the officer's rec room. Send someone to retrieve it. He's sedated...for now."

"Will do, Ash. Nice work." came the reply before she clicked it off.

She looked down at the still form then went to attend the droid.

"Damn droid, hell bent on killing everything." She finished checking it and sent it on it's way as the rest of the team followed.


02-08-2007 03:59:13

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Fighters Hanger Bay
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Alarms of flashing red blazed, as the noise level raised among the fury of pilots rushing to their fighters. [[ALL PILOTS REPORT TO COMBAT READYNESS... ALL PILOTS REPORT TO COMBAT READYNESS. WE HAVE INCOMING... REPEAT... WE HAVE INCOMING... THIS IS NOT A DRILL... THIS IS NOT A DRILL!]] The loud voice bellowed over the speakers.

"Spast! Why do we have to go through this every time?" One of the combat pilots asked as he pulled on his helmet. "You know the drill, Red Two. It is not likely to change. Now get to your fighter."

"Understood, Red Leader," said Red Two as he dashed off to fighter. "Red Three, Red Four, Red Five, remember to stay close this time. We lost Red Six because broke formation... I dont want to lose any more of you. Now get to your fighters." Red leader said.

The three pilots replied in union, "Yes, sir," and sprinted to their TIE’s. The Weaving Howlers of Death Squadron finally manned all TIE Interceptors. Other squadrons were also doing the same.

//This is Fighter control to all squadron leaders, report status?//

There was a brief moment of static over internal communication.

//Red leader, standing by...//

//Blue leader, standing by...//

//Green leader, standing by...//

//Gold leader, standing by...//

//Squadron leaders, this is Fighter control, targets have been identified. You are weapons free. Good hunting.//

The fury of starfighters begun shooting out of the hanger bay, however something horrific happened, over a quarter of the fighters became exploding as they took off.


Somewhere on the Covenant

A Yuuzhan Vong saboteur gloated to himself as he heard the voice being shouted over the vile and unholy mechanical monstrosity. It seemed the biochemical compound he used to sabotage the heretics metal flying machines had now taken effect. Yun-Yuuzhan be praised...these heretics will soon meet their end.


02-08-2007 09:28:04

Uumufalh Gunship Analog Hammer of Glory
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Kadlah Ruuq roared with laughter as flames erupted from the base of the heretic warship. Their infiltrators had done well. A number of smaller craft still piled out of the vessel's belly but Kadlah Ruuq knew the infidel's spirit must have been broken.

How could they hope to resist when the Yuuzhan Vong continued to walk among them in secret?

Kadlah Ruuq smiled to herself. She imagined Yun-Yammka was smiling on her too.

The Hammer of Glory had moved into flanking position behind the Will of the Gods. The smaller of the two ships, it rested in the larger's shadow as it's rows of yaret-kors lit up and began spitting hundreds of fiery balls of molten rock at the heretic ship. The blaze bugs which had arranged themselves to provide Kadlah Ruuq with a visual display of the battle flashed brightly signalling explosions on the ship's surface.

Though the infidels stood no chance, their feeble propulsion system still inoperable, Kadlah Ruuq felt a pang of disappointment knowing this was all a feint. She sighed, hoping when the Righteous Fire arrived Drathul Amnan would see there was no need to cater to the intendants' convoluted voxyn plans.

I'Friil Ma-Nat Corvette Analog Will of the Gods
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Neira Tor watched as the Hammer of Glory spewed fiery plasma from its relative safety behind the Will of the Gods. Kadlah Ruuq's lack of courage to engage the heretics head on did not impress him. Should he survive this he had told himself he would see to it she was shamed for her cowardice.

Right now it did not matter. Neira Tor had a mission and the Will of the Gods would stick to it. From within his cognition hood he quietly whispered directly to the brain of the ship, instructing it to manoeuvre beneath the infidel vessel and unleash the firepower of its yaret-kors directly into the ship's belly.

Neira Tor smiled, although to most it would have appeared more like a grimace. Kadlah Ruuq was clearly sticking directly to their orders. Neira Tor shook his head. Not only a coward but uncreative too. No matter, thought Neira Tor, if Kadlah Ruuq did not want to share it, he would simply have to claim this victory for himself.

Yun-Yammka had provided him with this opportunity and Neira Tor would take it. He pushed thoughts of the Righteous Fire, Heretic's Bane and voxyn out of his mind. His mission was to ensure the death of the Jeedai and Neira Tor would do just that.

Do-ro'ik vong pratte!
Woe to the enemies of the Yuuzhan Vong.

The Will of the Gods fired and explosions rocked the base of the heretic ship.

Neira Tor had no desire for this attack to be a mere feint.

Syrus Korodin

02-08-2007 13:35:48

The hangar bay was empty and cold, filled only with stale air and the not entirely unpleasant smell that is a mix of spent fuel propellant, oil, and numerous other chemicals used to treat fighter craft.

Shuang knew that many of the fighter craft had been sabotaged, and that some squadrons had been reduced to as little as fifty percent capacity. Luckily the act of sabotage had not acted on his ship. His ship, the Twilight Shadow, had been quietly stored in a far corner of the hangar, protected as always by its onboard systems. Any intruder would have been turned away in a hurry once they encountered the ship’s ability to emit pulses of paralyzing electrical energy.

As he approached his fighter craft, calm and collected despite the wailing klaxons and the booming commands from the intercom, he pondered whether he was leaving Covenant for the last time. Would the great Star Destroyer, veteran of battles galore, heave its last breath today and die in the depths of the cosmos? Would they all die at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong? Would spare parts and scarred fragments of hull tell the tale of the untimely demise of Clan Naga Sadow?

“Heirs to the Empire,” he whispers to himself, a faint smile flitting across his face.

As he approaches the Twilight Shadow he notices that it is humming. He forgets just how seriously he has altered the original composition of this Naboo N-1, going so far as to change the engines and the weapons systems completely. He even gave it a fantastic new paint job replacing the yellow and silver with black and red. He had poured countless credits into the upgrades that went into this ship, and now is the perfect time to test them.

“Password,” the ship demands in its synthetic voice, the onboard artificial intelligence seeking verification of this new intruder’s identity through the cameras in its hull.

“Delicious Soufflé,” Shuang says, sighing audibly.

“Yes,” says the ship, and all at once it is quiet in the hangar once more. The cockpit silently opens, beckoning Shuang to take his place as rightful owner and pilot. He does.

Holographic displays flicker into life around him, flashing dozens of vibrant messages of varying degrees of urgency.

“Ship,” he asks, his tone urgent, “are we quite ready for takeoff?”


He summons a holographic keyboard display, punches in a few commands, and all at once the Twilight Shadow is alive. The engines purr as they idle, waiting for the command to roar into life. The Frost Dragon commands the craft to leave the safety of the hangar and enter the void of space, and the ship wastes no time in obeying him.

Outside the scene is of violent battle, the Shadow just barely avoiding a strike from a plasma ball as it slips out of the hangar. The ship leaving a brilliant blue afterglow behind it from its overpowered engines.

“Switch fifty percent more power to engines, Shadow,” he said to his ship, “let’s catch up with Red Group.”

“Red Leader,” he said, activating the comlink, “this is Shuang Long requesting permission to join formation!”

“Permission granted, Shuang.”

“Understood, Red leader. Approaching Red Group and moving in to position.”

Seeing the enormous Vong ships filling his viewport he was, for some strange reason, filled with a deep sense of giddiness.

“We look pretty screwed, huh?”

“Affirmative,” responded the Twilight Shadow, issuing a tinkling mechanical laugh as it spoke.

“Good,” the Frost Dragon said, grinning from ear to ear.

Shan Long

02-08-2007 15:45:45

Kalekka Tower
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Du'San Boundary, Antei System

Several hundred meters below the barren, weather beaten stone of the Patik Mesa, lights filled a deep black gloom with the flick of a switch. One craft was illuminated in the white lights. The Corellian CR90 Corvette named Sanguinus. Maeda didn't know why Trevarus owned such a vessel. He wished the Prima had left his old Lambda-class shuttle... but had seen him fly off for the Regatta in it. Not even the Nighthawk, Trev's trusty old freighter was around.

Sighing, Maeda walked over to the crew lounge, on the far side of the hangar. A simple sign on the door read: "Upper levels, looking for food. Back in thirty minutes. Time: 13:45"

Maeda cursed, smashing down the door with an enraged fist. Seated around a small table, six or seven crewers held cold sandwhiches and amber bottles to lips, stunned into paralysis.

"I want the Sanguinus ready to go in thirty minutes, or every single one of you will die."

"Who are you?"

"Master Maeda. You will fly this ship, into the Shroud, so I can find Master Sadow. This is not a suggestion. Where is Zara?"

"She's on the bridge, still, Master."

"Then get off your kriffing lazy asses, and prep the ship."

"Yes sir."

Maeda smiled vaguely, watching the terrified men scuttle off like insects. He wasn't in any hurry, especially knowing what he was going into. So much violence permeated the Force. Even from this place, he could feel the wrath of the Shroud.

An entry ramp had been lowered. He climbed upward, walking down the long corridor that led from Engineering to the main flight deck. A stunningly beautiful woman was bent over a large datapad. Her black hair cascaded over her shoulders, pinned into a tail with a silver clip. Perhaps mid thirties, she'd kept a curvy figure, but good muscle tone could be seen through her simple uniform.

Christine Zara had been Trev's personal pilot for nearly a decade. She commanded his Corvette with unerring loyalty to the eccentric Master, keeping it ready for his extensive travels. He often used it as a mobile base of operations, despite his notorious hatred of large starships.

"Captain Zara", Maeda said with a flourishing bow. "How good to see you again."

"Hello Kem." She looked up, stunning him with crystal-clear blue eyes, accenting her swarthy skin tone, and high aquilline nose. "Why are you here?"

"I need you to take me into the Shroud. Trevarus has called for my assistance, and this ship, specifically."

"Does it have something to do with the battle at the Regatta?"

"Yes. The Fleet is roted. The Yuuzhan Vong are attacking. No-one from the Brotherhood has seen them before. Do you remember when we went to Kerlon?"

Blood rushed from her cheeks. "I'd like to forget. Trevarus still doesn't know about that."

With a wash of her sable hair, she turned away quickly and sat down at the pilot's chair. The bridge for the ship was surprisingly small, it had been heavily modified to run with the bare minimum of staff.

She picked punched a few keys on the console "Eosara, Zara here."

"Copy Zara. What do you need."

"I need three squads from the Cohort, I'm about to go into combat."

"What!" Eosara shouted over the link. "Who the hell ordered you in?"

"Maeda showed up with orders from Master Trevarus."

"That little sack of... he never said anything to me."

"Sorry E. Nothing personal... I'll try to bring him back alive for a good beating."

"Please do. Tower out."

"You sure did piss off Eosara," Christine said, still checking the ship's readouts. "I called for extra personel to man the batteries. They should be boarding now."

"Then let's get the hell out of here."

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside Shroud, Antei System

He opened his eyes again.

"Maeda is coming, Xanos. With my Corvette."

A flicker of hatred wafted from the Sith Lord. "You realize, I will kill him at first opportune moment."

"Yes. However, I will prevent that. He has seen the Vong in combat. He was aboard the Sanguinus two months ago, at Corellia during combat. He never told me about it."

"So the crew of your ship have already fought the Far Outsiders. How convenient."

"Don't worry. Maeda will be punished for taking my ship into combat, and failing to tell me."

"You won't get the chance, Caerick."

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Antei System, entering the Shroud

Maeda shifted his mind into a deeper reach of the Dark Side. Fluttering open on his forehead, the Mark began to glow with its familiar violet light. Probing the Weavery, he searched for particular patterns. Finding these lines were easy, following them would be more difficult.

He touched his presence to the warm glow of Christine Zara, filling her thoughts with direction as they entered the Shroud. Maeda was immersed in a hurricane of rage. The Shroud barely tolerated his presence, seeking to expell all from its attempts at distilled chaos. He felt the glimmers of its ancient awareness, tugging at pulling at his mind. Childlike awareness, seeking only its own gratification and survival.

They were perhaps thirty minutes from the embattled Covenant.


02-08-2007 16:56:19

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The Star Destroyer shook under the impact of another wave of plasma. Captain Simonetti knew it would only be a matter of minutes before the shields gave way. Time was running out. He punched the controls for the comm link to the engineering deck.

“Engineering, report!” Simonetti's voice was strained. He had already lost one ship. The future was looking grim for the Covenant along with it. The Captain pushed the thought out of his mind. “I said report!”

A more cheerful sounding voice responded. “Easy, Captain. We can't talk while on our backs underneath the hyperdrive.” There was a slight bang followed by a curse, then another voice continued. “As Scithe said, it's hard to work and talk,” said Malisane.

Captain Simonetti scowled, not that either of them would be able to see it. “Report?” he repeated. He knew the two Dark Jedi would be far from pleased from being addressed like the rest of the crew, but in the middle of a war zone as far as the Captain was concerned they were the crew.

A loud sigh could be heard over the speakers. “We're almost there, Captain,” said Malisane. “I say give us another five minutes. The radiation cleared out faster than we expected, so it shouldn't take long now. I think I know what I did wrong last time.”

Simonetti could have sworn but he knew with the Governor General hovering over his shoulder it wouldn't be particularly prudent. “Well, try and make it quick, I don't know how much longer we can hold out up here... or down there.”

I'Friil Ma-Nat Corvette Analog Will of the Gods
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Neira Tor cackled with laughter as another explosion rocked the underside of the heretics flagship. He knew their defensive shielding system could not last much longer. The smaller ships buzzed around the Yuuzhan Vong corvettes like sparkbees unable to penetrate their dovin basals.

Neira Tor smiled. The great technology of the infidels had failed. The Righteous Fire would arrive shortly. There was surely no hope left for the hallowed Dark Jeedai. Where was their precious Force now?

The Subaltern let out another burst of laughter. He hadn't felt this alive in weeks. The Supreme Overlord would be pleased. Yun-Yammka would win this day.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

“Frack,” spat Malisane as the Covenant lurched from another explosion. He lost his grip on the wrench he was holding and it went spinning off under the hyperdrive unit. “When this is done, remind me to tell someone we need a better hyperdrive,” he said to Scithe.

Scithe laughed. “Sure thing, boss.”

“I'm not your boss,” said Malisane a bit miffed.

Scithe shrugged. “Whatever you say, boss.”

Malisane shook his head and crawled under the unit to try and retrieve his wrench.

A-vek liluunu Carrier Analog Righteous Fire
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud, Darkspace

Subcommander Drathul Amnan stared at the face of Subaltern Neira Tor on the surface of the villip. “How fares the battle?”

“The Dark Jeedai remain incapable of penetrating our dovin basals, my lord. Their technology is inferior even to that of the other Jeedai,” said Neira Tor.

Drathul Amnan's remained unblinking. This mission was too important to allow the Subaltern to compromise it. “I trust the mission is proceeding as planned? Have the heretics fallen for the bait?”

“They have launched a full attack on us, my lord. Their ship is currently immobile. Our infiltrators appear to have achieved more than we had hoped.”

Drathul Amnan finally allowed himself a smile. “Good. I shall be arriving shortly. The Heretic's Bane will follow in my wake, the infidels will be unable to detect it through the anomaly.”

Neira Tor looked momentarily uncertain. Drathul Amnan noticed it. “Are you troubled, Subaltern Tor?”

Neira Tor shook his head briskly. “No, my lord. I only thought that... with the infidels incapacitated perhaps we should simply deliver the killing blow.”

Drathul Amnan didn't answer. He simply looked at Neira Tor. He had thought much the same thing upon hearing the Jeedai ship was immobile. It did not matter. It was too late to alter the plan now. “Supreme Commander Nagto Mel has made our orders clear, Subaltern. We are to deliver the voxyn.”

Neira Tor nodded, though there was an obvious sense of reluctance. “Understood, my lord.”

Drathul Amnan stroked his villip. Neira Tor was brave, he would give him that. He too had sensed the stench of Yun-Harla on this mission but as he had said, it was too late to change things now. The mission would proceed.

Drathul Amnan looked at the blaze bugs dancing in the space before him. The Righteous Fire would be arriving soon, very soon.

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Antei System, Inside Shroud, Hyperspace

Maeda stared out the main viewport. There should have been starlines but within the darkness of the Shroud there was only a cold void. The Sanguinus was pushing its engines as fast as they could go. Trevarus had summoned them, it was urgent, and they would make haste. The corvette could traverse the Shroud quicker than the cumbersome Star Destroyer, Maeda had the benefit of a fresh set of hyperspace routes from the main uplink to the Dark Hall.

With hope it would only be another fifteen minutes before they arrived. Maeda thought they had better still be alive when he got there. He had no desire to fight the Yuuzhan Vong again for no reason.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

“We've done it!” cried Malisane's voice over the comm link.

Simonetti rushed over to the engineering station. “Can you repeat that? Done what?” he called, his voice frantic with anticipation.

“The engines,” this time it was Scithe. “They should be operational again. A couple of engineers got fried, some didn't make it out of the chamber before the radiation kicked off again, but you should be able to get some power out of them again.”

The subtly didn't escape Simonetti's notice. “Some?”

“Well...” Malisane sounded a little uneasy. “The sublight engines should be fine. There might still be a slight problem with the hyperdrive. If I were you, I wouldn't push it too hard. Might need some time to warm up too, a cold start wouldn't be good in it's condition.”

Simonetti could have throttled them both had they not been Dark Jedi. He sighed. “Very well, thank you both,” he barely managed to get out the last three words. “We owe you owe lives, I expect.”

One of the ensigns over by the tactical desk jumped out of his seat looking as if he'd just seen a ghost. Simonetti rushed over. “What now?” he spat. He was not in the mood for more bad news, not when escape seemed to be in their grasp. The ensign didn't answer, he was just pointing at the new shape coming into view on the holographic display. Simonetti turned to look at it, his own eye's widening a little.

“Sir, sir!” barked one of the other ensigns. “More bogeys incoming!”

Simonetti didn't respond. The new ship was much larger than the first pair. It was practically the size of the Covenant itself and it was moving... fast. No, thought Simonetti, it wasn't the main ship moving... a giant swarm of smaller ships had already discharged from the main mother ship. The display beside the main hologram was counting tens, then hundreds.

“Get us moving, now!” barked Simonetti. “I want the hyperdrive ready as soon as possible! Get us out of here!”

Outside the Righteous Fire began moving into position, hundreds of coralskippers already charging toward the Covenant. Simonetti felt as if this was it...

Shan Long

02-08-2007 17:44:27

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Lifetimes seemed to pass in moments. Every breathe of laser fire, plasma flares and the roar of ships engines pulsed between death and life. The beleagured Covenant, once a proud and mighty sign of both the wealth of Clan Naga Sadow, and the Dlarit Corporation, was crumbling away.

Slowly, against all odds, the four emergency sublight drives flared to life, with a blue-white ion flow. Three main drives, situated horizontally across the stern pulsed with weaker life, almost flickering. The battle raged on.

Through his viewport, Captain Simmonetti watched coralskippers unleashing hell upon the failing shields. Nothing seemed to fend them off, their weapons ineffective against obscure, organic technology.

What he saw next, amazed even him.

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

"We're six minutes from reversion, Kem." Zara said.

"Get your weapons crews ready. Do you still have the presets Stacia programmed into the turbolasers?" The Master replied.

"Yes. But we're gonna be facing hell, tryin' to fight inside this goddamned force storm. I can almost feel it, with you inside my head."

"Feels good, doesn't it?"

"We're about to die, and you still find time to flirt."

Maeda focused intently, feeling that the final leg was about to close. On his impression, Zara pulled the motivator throttle, and the blue-white of Hyperspace reverted in a streak of stars.

Into hell itself.

"Fire at will." Maeda roared into the comlink. "Remember, fire scattered bursts from your turbolasers. You have to confuse their shields, otherwise they simply meld."

Trevarus had heavily modified his corvette, adding three more dual turbolaser cannons and a series of anti-starfighter laser cannons both dorsal and ventral. Red and green fire lanced out of the ship, focusing prisms set to randomly scatter the bursts of fire, splaying against the Vong warships.

Against all odds, they seemed to be making headway. Several of the alien fighters erupted in a flash of vermillion fire. Zara deftly manuvered the ship around, to the forward docking bays. The Astronicus Read could be seen, battered and broken.

"We've got connection, the airlocks and sealing now."

"I'll go, you get back out there and try not to get killed."

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Vessel
Inside Shroud, Antei System

Surreal was the only description of the carnage he saw. Maeda stalked through the corridors of the Covenant, his emerald lightsaber held firmly in hand, its light shining through passages lit only by emergency lumas. Dead bodies were everywhere, including several of what he presumed were the Vong. He bent over to study one corpse

Having only encountered them in space combat, he was curious. This one seemed to have been partially eaten. Then he remembered Shan Long

"Sweet gods of the Force, what a monster."

After passing endless scenes of carnage, he finally made it to the bridge. The doors stood open, and Trevarus looked at him.

Maeda walked in, smiled faintly.

Out of the corner of his mind, Trevarus felt something flash. In a snap-crack of displaced air, a dagger appeared in his hand. He looked around, and saw Vexatus standing off to the side, out of sight.

"Xanos, I asked you to maintain calm."

"He will die, Trevarus. By my hand."

"I'm standing right here, Goat." Maeda said, turning "You can talk right to me, if mommy lets you talk to strangers."

Even Trevarus was amazed at the display of rage that billowed out from his former Apprentice. He truely appreciated in the next moment, what his Apprentice had become. As quickly as the rage passed, the Sith Lord calmed.

"The words of a dying man have no place in the halls of discourse. Isn't that what you've often told me, Trevarus?

"A paraphrase, to be certain."

He turned to Maeda. "What do you know about these things?"

Macron Sadow

02-08-2007 19:49:36

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Vessel
Inside Shroud, Antei System

“Tell them to fire a series of low-powered bursts followed and interspersed with regular erratic shots. My sources in the Alliance call that ‘stutter-fire’,” relied Maeda. “And have them work in groups.”

Trevarus nodded and looked quizzically at Xanos. The Falleen maintained a cold air, issuing the orders over the combat channels as Simonetti co-coordinated. The Sith way was to use every resource to achieve your goals, even using your mortal foes coldly. He would deal with Maeda later, in a most personal way. Falleen had long memories. They would "talk" soon.

Copy that, this is Ashura,” came the warbling reply from outside. “Orders received, Teams Red, Gold, Blue, Green, these are your new orders…

Simonetti keyed the com. “Good hunting, Ashura.” He switched frequencies. “Engineering- what is our Hyperdrive status?”

This is… Sear…. Muchak. …drive….working, but not… limited speed.” The message was rife with pops and hisses.

Engines up,” came Malisane’s crackly voice on channel two. “Scithe is ….working…stability issue right now.” [pop zzzt poppp't zzzzz]

The captain frowned. “Seems those rads are still breaking up communications somewhat.” He continued to dwell over the readouts, issuing barked orders into the com as he touched the displays. The lights from the combat map turned from blue to red as the Vong continued to pound the Covenant with plasma.

Trevarus smiled. “It is the Shroud. It is angry…. So much pent up hatred. Time for the rain," he said while percieving the wandering paths of energy. "Lord Vexatus. I think it may be time for a storm.”

The Falleen gestured, raising his fist in an old Sith genuflection. "Let us begin." He looked pointedly at Macron, catching the fellow Sith's yellow eyes in his own steely gaze. His purpose was clear- Macron was to protect the concentrating Elders. The unspoken thoughts passed bewtween the Sith Lord and the lesser Sith Acolyte like the ionic lightning that permeated the Shroud. The Consul's visage tightened, his Sith tattoos becoming distorted with a devilish grimace as he returned the Elder's gaze.

Astronicus stood up, walking over to Xanos and Trevarus as they looked at each other and smiled. It was time to show the true power of Sadow. "Force Storm," said the Overlord as he centered himself. "Let us show them the Final Way." The Dark Side was strong in this place now, both from the concentrated will and the atrocities perpertrated here. A feeling of anticipation and cold gripped the sensitives on the bridge.

The Sith Lord, Master Caerick, and the Clan Overlord all closed their eyes and began to center themselves in the swirling sea of dark energy that pervaded the Shroud. Each began to pull invisible lines of probability, twisting and turning the seething morass in the vicinity to their own nefarious ends . A Force Storm was brewing, and the Sadow Elders took the lead as their mastery of Telekinetics began to truly show. Pure hatred and anger whipped the aether as their potent wills chanelled the Force.

“Lord Sadow, what are your orders?” asked Simonetti as Macron stepped up next to him.

Macron winced. “Don’t call me that. I am no Lord- not yet,” he hissed menacingly between clenched teeth. “Governor General will suffice Captain. Adjust the gravity and inertial compensators to focus a few feet outside the vessel. That will prevent any further shield stripping,” he said analytically. “Prepare for boarders and Voxyn - it is inevitable. Alert all security teams.” Mononoke flicked the comswitch. “Manji, Shin, Ashia… summon the Black Guard. And may the Dark Path rise before you.”

Master Khem-Shu Maeda strode up near Macron. “I don’t know you,” he frowned as he looked the alchemist over. “You bear the markings and manner of a Sith.” The Master could sense the power in the Battlelord, and instantly knew he was not yet of true Elder calibre. He turned back to the readouts haughtily. The Equite was a small fish in this pond.

Macron looked at him intently, not trusting this strange Dark Jedi as he seethed with repressed anger. “Indeed,” the madman chuckled evilly as he switched comm channels. “Noktar, wounded or not - I need you. Contact Kaelin and Nero immediately, and examine that latest capture in Lab 6. Ashia has it below decks. I have given you the proper clearance. Have fun- the droid will be there to assist.” He stood back up and crossed his armored arms, watching Maeda intently. “But I know of you,” he whispered softly to himself. "Oh yes."

Shinichi Endymiron K

02-08-2007 23:23:57

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Vessel
Deck Seven
Inside Shroud, Antei System

The lights flickered as Shin’ichi’s boots rang off the metal floor of the corridor. The clatter of the Sith War Droids echoed behind him and the fear practically radiated off the Dlarit Marine Officer at his side. The Clan was in serious jeopardy. Its flagship lay in disrepair, its fleet was crippled and scattered, and now the survivors were being hunted down by the Yuuzhan Vong and their Voxyn. The word alone sent a shiver up the spine of the Adjutant-General. He had heard rumors from the core of terrible beasts that hunted down Jedi and slaughtered them near effortlessly, and at the time had rejoiced in the thought; he never believed that these beasts would be beset upon him and his brethren.

Now in the dark he heard a low growl from somewhere in the distance. The droids perked up, their sensors active and tracking. ”One Voxyn twelve meters ahead.” One of the droids reported without prompting. He sensed it in the Force even before the droid’s sensors. Pulling out his comlink the Epis relayed his position to Ashia and prayed silently that she would arrive with backup before the beast was upon him. Silently he motioned to the Marine and along with the three droids set up a defensive firing line behind some debris in the hallway. He hoped the droids and Marine would be able to buy him enough time for help to arrive, he knew that alone the Voxyn would carve him to shreds Dark Side or not, and then its presence in the force was gone.

The muzzle of the Verpine Shatter Gun rested in a niche upon the fallen metal and Shin’ichi took a long slow breath. It’s not dead. he thought to himself. No one has reported killing anything and there’s no comm. traffic. If they can mask their Force presence then we’re really… The thought was gone in an instant as a four meter long horror lunged right for him. The Keibatsu fired one shot after the other to seemingly little effect an abandoning his rifle he ignited the amethyst lightsaber that had served him so faithfully these many years.

The droids fired steady, no sign of fear. The Marine Officer was already dead; a large gash on his chest from the tail of the Voxyn that now stalked Shin’ichi. Without warning the creature emitted a howl that pierced his mind and blew the auditory circuits of the droids causing them to shudder and fall to the floor useless. The Voxyn looked at the lone Dark Jedi and leapt for him. The Keibatsu sent a shard of debris into its side which sent the monster into the bulkhead to the left but seemed to have little other effect other than to slow it down, and annoy it.

Light reflected dully off the black-green scales of the animal as it opened its mouth and spewed forth a vile acid that cut through every fragment of debris that Shin’ichi sent to block the spray. Leaping backwards he placed himself out of range and sent more rubbish at the creature. Nimbly the Voxyn charged at him avoiding every missile that came its way. The great maw that was its mouth opened wide as if to engulf the Epis in one mighty gnash of its teeth. On instinct he brought the saber before him and enhancing his strength and speed swung with all possibly celerity and might.

The beast rolled onto its side and came up quickly, smoke rolled from its durasteel hard hide, but Shin’ichi was still alive, and alive was good enough for now. The best charged again when it was hit by several blaster rounds causing it to stop and turn its massive head towards the new threat. Standing defiantly Ashia directed her assault team to fire with her own blade of amethyst pointed at the Voxyn.

“Glad you could make it” Shin’ichi spoke through their force bond.

“Am I fashionably late?” His sister quipped.

In response the Epis seized upon the beast’s confusion and sent several more debris shards at it before leaping over the creature to land behind it. Intending to land on the creature and pierce it with his saber the Keibatsu abandoned that plan upon witnessing a series of spinal protrusions upon the back of the beast, no doubt crafted to prevent just the maneuver he was planning. Only his stout armor saved him from the blow of the Voxyn’s tail as he was sent into the opposite bulkhead.

The fiend broke into a charge before Shin’ichi hit the ground and was barreling right for Ashia. Blaster shots hit and had no effect upon the enraged creature yet Ashia stood her ground, strong and proud. Shin’ichi eyes snapped open as he felt her hidden panic and was gripped with rage. Summoning the Force to him he ripped a section of the ceiling above the Voxyn and sent it hurtling down upon the creature. With a sickening slice and crunch the beast’s head was severed and its body stumbled and fell to the floor a moment later.

Slowly the Epis began to walk towards his sister, a look of relief upon her face, a look of satisfaction upon his, when the droids at Ashia’s side suddenly began blaring warnings. A slow mist began to form around the body of the Voxyn as its blood evaporated into some form of vapor, and the Marine Officer at her side collapsed into a convulsing ball.


03-08-2007 09:48:07

Antei System, Inside Shroud

The Heretic's Bane drifted silently in the shadow of the Righteous Fire, a handful of tiny black spheres of yorik coral floating almost peacefully away into the dark cloud of the anomaly. The first had already been launched, the instant the Righteous Fire and Heretic's Bane had reverted from darkspace.

The Ro'ik chuun m'arh frigate was careful not to deploy more than one every few minutes. Amidst the random debris of the anomaly, none would notice the tiny yorik-ta as they drifted through the battle. The Jeedai would surely think them nothing more than debris, blasted from the surface of the great Yuuzhan Vong warships.

The voxyn had been deployed. The end of the Dark Jeedai was at hand.

Ro'ik chuun m'arh Frigate Analog Heretic's Bane
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Executor Eshin Shul stood with the Seer, Drosh Nar, watching the voxyn filled yorik-ta drift across the blaze bug display. They were represented by just a single blaze bug, too small and insignificant to demand anything more. They danced slowly, gradually floating toward the much larger mass of flashing red bugs which represented the infidels' command ship.

Eshin Shul imagined the first of the voxyn would already have boarded. The shapers had engineered the yorik-ta specially. They had been fitted with a special acid spray. With the heretics' shields weakened, the yorik-ta would burn through the vessel's hull without difficulty.

Eshin imagined some of the voxyn would fall. The yorik-ta did not possess the brain to navigate within anymore than a few hundred meters. Those voxyn which were unfortunate enough to board the ship in an open area would surely be hunted down and slain before they could carry out their mission.

No matter, no matter. The voxyn were designed to stalk their prey. Those few which made it aboard safely and securely would surely go into hiding. Eshin Shul smiled. She had trained them well. Her pets would wait until the tell tale vibrations as the ship entered darkspace, or as the infidels called it, hyperspace. Then they would emerge, delivering their claws into the enemy simultaneously. Beside her, Drosh Nar looked equally pleased, the priest was grinning eagerly at the blaze bug display.

Eshin Shul laughed softly. She knew Yun-Harla would be laughing too. This was truly a work of the Trickster God herself. The Jeedai would be unprepared for what awaited them.

Eshin Shul heard the Subaltern issuing the order to withdraw to darkspace. The Heretic's Bane had accomplished it's mission. They could now pursue the remaining infidels deeper into the anomaly.

A-vek liluunu Carrier Analog Righteous Fire
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The face of the Seer, Drosh Nar, formed on the surface of the villip when Drathul Amnan stroked it. “Report?” instructed the Subcommander. He was in no mood for idle conversation.

Drosh Nar looked pleased with himself. “The voxyn have been successfully deployed, my lord. We count a good dozen or more made their way aboard the heretics' ship.”

Drathul Amnan allowed himself a smile at last. They had succeeded. The Jeedai were surely doomed. “Very good, Seer Nar. We shall follow you into darkspace shortly. I trust the Heretic's Bane has already made the jump?”

The villip rotated, mimicking the nod of Drosh Nar's head. “We are in darkspace now, my lord.”

“Excellent. Yun-Yammka be praised. Woe to our enemies, Seer.” Drathul Amnan reached out to the villip again, inviting it to revert to its original form. The voxyn had been planted. The Jeedai ship was as good as dead.

Drathul Amnan turned back to the other warriors in the command chamber. “Do-ro'ik vong pratte, my warriors! Do-ro'ik vong pratte!”

"Do-ro'ik vong pratte!" The war cry echoed down the halls, filling the Righteous Fire as it began to make the preparations to enter darkspace. The Gods were with them. It was time to head deeper into the anomaly. These infidels were finished. Drathul Amnan would take his task force deeper and deal with the rest of the heretics. He would still yet win favour with the Supreme Overlord himself.

Yun-Harla was truly the Trickster Goddess. The infidels would surely think themselves victorious for having chased the Righteous Fire off. Drathul Amnan would have liked to remain and finish the Dark Jeedai ship personally but he accepted it would achieve nothing more than they already had. Eshin Shul had eventually convinced him of that. The infidels were as good as dead from the moment the first yorik-ta burned through their hull. He smiled. They could reach the center of the anomaly within a few more hours. There Drathul Amnan was sure he would find the remaining infidels.

Yun-Harla may not have understood the honour of battle in the same way as Yun-Yammka but she would ultimately yield more blood for the Slayer God. He had been forced to miss out on the glorious conquest of the new Yuuzhan'tar. He would not sit here wasting time dealing with one already doomed heretic vessel and miss out on the battle at the heart of the anomaly. It was one of the rare occassions he was glad to have been convinced otherwise by an intendant.

Drathul Amnan smiled as he issued the order to manoeuvre into position to head back into darkspace.

Do-ro'ik vong pratte, he whispered to himself.


04-08-2007 01:41:34

Near the VSD Covenant
Within the Shroud

The A-9 Vigilance Interceptor squadron banked to port and rolled around aft to begin their approach vector on the nearby Vong ship. Their targeting sensors were having difficulty acquiring and so the commander had ordered his pilots to go to manual. As they came within weapons range a cloud of enemy fighters appeared, falling from above, looking like an avalanche.

"Designate enemy targets as Rock 1 - Rock 12." Ordered Crim Taalith, commander of the squadron and a Captain within the Dlarit Navy. Flight one will take Rocks 1-6, Flight 2 take 7-12."

They only had eight A-9 Vigilance Interceptors and so it had been deemed by the powers that be to make it tow flights of four fighers each. His lieutenant, Dav Synt, lead flight two. Flight one made their targets first and began the "stutter-fire" method as per orders from the Covenant. It appeared to work, so far. Rocks 1 and 3 erupted into fragments as the lasers ripped them apart hitting in random areas faster than the dovin basals could react.

The coralskippers tried to regroup, but the two flights made sure to not allow that. One of the Vong ships, though similar to the coralskippers, had a tail and as the pilots studied it they began to notice it was "bleeding" something off of that. Before flight two's pilots could discern what they were looking at, it was upon them.

The grutchin carrier had released a swarm and the lithe grutchin were hungry. Attatching themselves to the hulls of the A-9 Vigilance Interceptors they began secreting their acid and eating whatever they saw. Two of the A-9s were flying close in formation and thought the best option would be to try and scrape the creatures off of each other. This worked at first, but the grutchin were too many.

"Stang! They've got something like a cross between verpine and mynocks attacking flight two." Yelled Captain Taalith, "Ignore the fighers, we have to take out those bugs before they come after us. Ace Three and Four, target that fighter with the tail, Two and I wiill go bug hunting. Join us when you're done."

Meanwhile, aboard the VSD Covenant...

It could smell it's prey, it was drawn to them, it had been bred for this very purpose. The Voxyn rushed down the hallway in search of Jedi. it's nose and eyes darting left and right as it followed a sense that it more or less felt through the force than actually picked up with olfactories or sight. It raced through the hallway, any unfortunate crew members that got in its way were stabbed by it's venomous tail or spat acid upon. It would not rest, not until it had gorged itself with the Jedi it so desired.


04-08-2007 13:18:13

Antei System, Inside Shroud

The Shroud flashed with uncontrolled fury as explosions lit up the twisting ether. Lightning sparked in the all consuming clouds as the battle raged between the forces of the Yuuzhan Vong and the Dlarit Security Force. The battle had looked as if all hope was in vain, the Far Outsiders had arrived in their hundreds, coralskippers pouring forth like a ravenous swarm, engulfing the Dlarit Star Destroyer and devouring its shields.

Then they had stopped. Turning away. As quickly as it had began coralskippers began to peel back, withdrawing to their mother ship, the gargantuan Yuuzhan Vong carrier which was nearly a match for the Covenant itself. Then it had gone. Blinking back into darkspace.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

“What's going on?” called Araic Simonetti. He was looking as lost and confused as the rest. His heart was pounding. When the carrier ship had arrived he had felt it was all over... then it just left. Leaving them. Had they won?

“It just turned and left, Captain,” called back one of the ensigns at the tactical desk sounding equally confused. “Do you think we spooked them?”

Simonetti shook his head. “No. I don't understand. We were sitting ducks against three capital ships. Why wouldn't they just destroy us? Isn't that what these people do?” The ensign shrugged. Simonetti turned to Macron looking at him as if hoping for an answer. “Orders... Governor General?” He was careful not to address him as lord this time.

“Is the hyperdrive operational yet?”

Simonetti glanced at the engineering team who shook their heads. “No, Governor.”

“Then we continue the attack. Maybe we can take out one of the smaller ones before they all pull back.”

The turbolift doors parted and Shin'ichi came charging into the bridge. Macron turned to him, looking at his torn and shredded clothing. He noticed a slight burn on the Krath's face, it reminded him of the effects of acid on the skin. “Shin, what's going on?”

“Voxyn,” said Shin'ichi, still breathing heavily. “We killed one and it... sort of dissolved.”


“When it died it's body started dissolving, giving off some kind of mist. The gas killed one of my marines.”

“Not good,” said Macron. “Did the mist get into the air vents?”

Shin'ichi shrugged. “I don't know. We got out of there before any of the rest of us breathed it in.”

“Frack,” cursed Macron. He turned to Simonetti. “Captain? How many gas masks do we have aboard?”

“We should have a couple of thousand, Governor. Enough for a skeleton crew and some of the troops.”

“I guess we should be thankful the Vong dealt with most of the crew already then,” said Macron. Simonetti was unable to avoid shooting the Governor General a glare. “Have everyone issued with gas masks on the double. If that gas has gotten into the vents we could all be ending up like the Adjutant General's squad.”

“I'll see to it at once, Governor,” said Simonetti as he walked off.

“Shin,” said Macron, turning back to his Proconsul. “Any idea how these things got aboard? Did they bring them along with the troops on those space slugs things earlier?”

“I haven't seen any signs of them before now. They must have come onboard when the battlegroup arrived.” He paused. “Wait, what happened to that cruiser? The big one?”

“Gone. It pulled out almost as soon as it arrived.”

“Fierfek. They must have boarded us without us noticing,” replied Shin'ichi.

Macron nodded. “I was thinking the same thing. They loaded us full, then left. Do you think you can hunt the rest down?”

Shin'ichi grinned. “I'm a Keibatsu. Of course I'll hunt the things down.”

Admiral's Bridge
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The three Elders stood, their eyes closed, a circle of dark energy surrounding them, binding them, rippling through the air as it sparked. Darth Vexatus stood in their center, channelling the power of the dark side flowing through all three of them, drawing on it and focusing it into the embodiment of pure darkness brewing out in the mists of the Shroud.

“Touch the dark side. The dark side is one. Indivisible,” the Falleen chanted the words of Sith lore, words used in ages past by the Sith Lords of old. The ritual intensified, drawing on each of the three. “Let the dark side surround you. Engulf you. Devour you.”

The strain began to show, beads of sweat began to swell on their faces as lightning began to crackle in the air and sparks flew from some of the electronic interfaces left undamaged by the alien attack. “Do you feel the power of the dark side?” The Sith Lords words grew increasingly distant, his voice echoing off the walls as if coming from a place beyond. “Yes, as one.”

“Do you feel invincible? Invulnerable? Immortal?”

“Are you ready to crush these aliens?”

The Sith Lord released his grip, freeing the writhing torrent of dark power. It surged out the room, burning with intensity as it seared through the viewport, bursting into the cold, dark vacuum.

Lightning cracked as it poured out of the Star Destroyer's bridge, an inferno of heat and flame, tearing through the Shroud, unleashing its unchained fury on the alien invaders. As if recognising one of its own, the Shroud erupted in rage, its own dark energies rushing forth, joining with the blazing storm as lightning rolled over the remaining Yuuzhan Vong ships, devouring them, consuming them, destroying them.

The pair of Yuuzhan Vong corvettes exploded in a fiery blaze. The coralskippers that had been too slow to return to the Righteous Fire being caught up in the inferno. Explosions rocked the Shroud, rippling through the empty void. The sound of gunfire was drowned out until finally there was silence as the storm dissipated.

Inside, the three Elders collapsed in exhaustion as the sapphire blue of an emergency shield flashed into existence, sealing the shattered viewport. Seconds passed, then minutes, then time became nothing but another forgotten constant.

Darth Vexatus was the first to pull himself back to his feet, staggering slightly as if the intensity of the ritual had nearly sucked the life from him. His face looked even more withered, beads of sweat dripping from his skin. He took a few more moments to regain himself fully.

Vexatus sighed. “I'm going to be in a healing trance for days to fix this,” he said, dabbing at his still burning skin.

Trevarus got up and laughed, though it sounded somewhat strained. “Always the vain one,” he chided jokingly. The Krath Master stared at his apprentice in silent amazement, still somewhat taken aback by what they had all just done. They had conjured a Form storm, a Force storm. Even he had never managed that, not even with all the powers of the Amulet of Orian.

Tron managed to reel himself to his feet, still looking noticeably drained. “What was that? How did we do that?” he said, sounding as astonished as Trev looked.

Vexatus managed a smile, though it hurt to move his face too much. “It's called a Force Meld. I channelled your powers, together we summoned the storm.” He managed to widen his smile, his features taken on a somewhat malevolent look. “We worked as one. The dark side is always strongest as one.”

Tron looked at him, still astounded by what they had done. Trevarus narrowed his eyes slightly, picking up on the subtly behind his apprentice's words. One, he thought, you have no need for any of us anymore, do you Xanos? The words troubled him, but not as much as they pleased him. Trevarus finally realised how far his apprentice had progressed. He had trained him well. There was only room for one Master of the Force. As there should be, he thought, his own lips turning into a slight smile.

“So,” said Vexatus, finally regaining some of his composure. “I suppose we should return to the main bridge. No doubt the rest will be wondering what just happened.”

Trevarus laughed. "No doubt. We did probably just destroy half their fighters in the process," he added with a wry smile, though Tron was not amused.

The Overlord grabbed the Oracle's shoulder, spinning him around. "Do not joke about my men, Trev," he said, looking furious. He turned to look at both of them. "Both of you, we need to make sure the crew realise why this had to be done. I promised them we wouldn't cause anymore unnecessary death."

Trev looked as if he was about to attack the Overlord, but Vexatus stepped forward and put an arm in front of him, jesturing him back. "Calm, Master. Tron is right. We need them," for now he added silently, nudging the Krath Master with the Force to be sure he understood. "Even you can't fly a Star Destroyer by yourself."

Trev sighed. "I suppose. For now," he said reluctantly. "Very well, after you."

Shan Long

04-08-2007 14:38:34

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Admiral's Bridge
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Trevarus closed his eyes. He required a moment to reflect. Vexatus' art had nearly drained him, he felt weary. His imagination is a suitable refuge for him, it was boundless and vast, he had trained himself in the counsel of ancient sages, and could even live in his endless visions for months at a time. His memory was a vast palace, even more grand than the one he had constructed on Antei. He stepped into the Entrace Hall of his memory-palace, breathing in clean scents of texture and color. His mind was well ordered, and he could find anything in mere moments of reflect. Each level of his memory was arranged by rough chronology, early memories attached to decorations and objects displayed in the Entrance Hall. He walked past tapestries and pedastles, his boots making no sound on the smooth, white marble floors. A hand traced a lightsaber displayed on a wooden pedastle, below a richly woven killim weave tapestry, intricately woven with fine silk threads to relive the story of his first meething with Kiln Tobasa. A flash of emerald green flared through his memory, and he moved on. Though the lightsaber had long been destroyed, its memory of his father was not of immediate concern.

Instead, he walked farther for what seemed a lifetime. Through a high series of archways, he stepped out onto the Atrium, where he relived memories of those he had trained. Promienetly displayed was a small leather-bound tome of seeming ill importance. He picked up the book and opened it.

"...and through his own lust for power, Master Azurd was destroyed by his own students. Thank you."

He had been observing the lecture for almost four hours. It was poised, polished, and completely absurd. Although, the young Sith seemed perfectly sure of his conclusions and insights. For all intents and purposes, he was, Trevarus reflected. He knew no better. The crowd had dispersed, and the Falleen in green robes collected his notes.

"Jedi Hunter Xanos Zorrixor." Trevarus said.

Shock radiated from the Hunter as he bowed deeply. "I did not notice your arrival, your Honor." He had never been personally addressed by the Consul of his Clan before."

"Your successes in Sapphire Squadron have brought our Clan honor, young one, and I wished to observe your scholastic abilities for myself. Your lecture was insightful, well observed and researched, and totally false."

"I don't understand, your Honor."

"That is the root of the issue, is it not? You will go to the Krath library, and bring me a newly researched biography of Master Tio Azurd. At midnight, you will present it to me in my office."

"It took me six weeks to prepare!" Xanos said, flustered.

"Irregardless, you shall find the necessary material in the volumes stored as the Maqette Archives. At midnight, and you shall address me as 'Master'. Do you understand?"

"Yes--yes Master."

"Very good."

Trevarus watched robed figure walk away, fading out as if a ghost from the Atrium. He placed the book back on its pedastel, and reflected further with his hand on the book.

"...Master Azurd, in his compilation of research into the bizzare Homunculi, observed that the addiction of Tuk'ata blood allowed for very deep manipulation of the resulting servitor's flesh. He was eventually slain by--"

"You may stop there, young one. Follow me." Trevarus walked towards the back of his dark office, through a door that opened into a narrow, unlit passage. It led to a single door that opened into an extremely brightly lit, very clean laboratory of some kind. Various books and racks of strange bottles filled with unholy substances lined shelves. On one central table, a dead Tuk'ata lay bleeding. It seemed that Trevarus had opened every vein in its body, it being slowly exsanguinated into a small silver basin.

"You're conducting experiments with Homunculi? That's an etremely advanced art... what of the Elders when they find out?" Xanos had asked.

"Who would stop me?"

Trevarus opened his eyes, looking quickly between Xanos and Astronicus. He pressed a button on a nearby control panel. "Maeda, what do you know about these Voxyn, creatures?"

"Not much. Stacia described them to me once, she was especially terrified of them, and you know it takes a lot to scare her. They were apparently created to slay Jedi. Think a maotiger, with Force attunement for hunting Jedi, though they are insensible in the Force."

"I don't believe that. If its connected to the Force, it may be detected through it."

"That's what I would think too. Perhaps some art of the Wanderer, Prima?"

"I will think about it. In the meantime, send Macron up here."


Trevarus reached under his heavy cloak, and opened his leather satchel. From it, he withdrew seven phials, roughly the size of a small medicinal tablet, stopped with a tiny cork.

"You're insane Trev, don't even think about it..." Astronicus said, realzing what Trevarus intended to to.

Trevarus closed his hand around the phials, and looked Astronicus directly in the eyes. "Overlord, I care nothing for this ship or your corporation. I have, and shall continue to obey your wishes, out of mere expediency. You are my Father in Naga Sadow, yet if you wish to debate the matter, my lightsaber shall make proper retort. Do not presume to patronize me."

For a second, Tron flashes a hand to his lightsaber, but Vexatus caught him. Instead, he stormed out of the Admiral's Bridge, rage billowing behind him.

"That was exceedingly rude, Trevarus" Vexatus said.

"I don't care. I am ill-prepared to fight unknown beasts, or have you fogotten the results of transferring Force?"

"No, but those things are like Shan Long, they kill indiscriminately."

"I have methods of controlling them, yet inform the crewers to abandon decks where Voxyn have been sighted. That should reduce the casualities caused by the Ternikh."

With that, Trevarus smashed the phials on the floor. Seven wide pools of steaming black ichor spread out on the polished deck. From each, long fingered hands with wickedly long talons slowly began to emerge from within. They grasped the deck, struggling to climb out of whatever Hell they had been summoned from. They gradually took form, pulling the stains of black with them. Seven being finally stood, stretching. Their small heads seemed to be wide gaping mouths and bulbous green eyes, slitted red like a serpent's. Their skin was patchy green-gray scales, covering long sinewy muscles. So too, they seemed to be all arm and leg, standing a meter tall. One reared back its head, releasing a screeching wail through nine-centimeter fangs, mouths seeming to stretch even wider than their overlarge heads.

"Go, my children. Hunt, and I shall guide you. Hunt, and be victorious."

Screeching, they bounded across the room, through the door opening as Macron stepped through. They nearly toppled him over, but he leapt to the side as they bounded between walls and down the corridors of the Star Destroyer.

"WHAT the hell were those?" Macron asked.

"They are called the Ternikh. Trevarus calls them his children, amusing, no?"

"You're warped, Master, even more than I thought." Macron said, his voice tinged with subtle admiration.

"Keibatsu, kneel before me." Trevarus said.

The Consul looked a little perplexed, but knelt anyway. "Sith Battlelord Mononoke Sadow, thou hast read the Scrolls of the Forgotten?"

Now he was really puzzled. "You said I was years away from the Mark!"

"Answer me," Trevarus said.

"I have studied the Mysteries from the three mouths of Azhi Daka, and pondered the riddles of the Seven Enigmas."

"And whence shalt thy go forth from this place?"

"To roaming and wandering the worlds."

"Then for all of thine days, bear this Mark with thee, that none shall harry thine passage, or lay hand upon thee. Bear the Mark of the Nameless Apprentice, the one who Wanders beyond the shadows, that thou shalt follow the mysteries even unto the consummation of thine Path."

With a small clap, a simple blade of broken, jagged obsidian appeared in Trevarus' hand. He carved the eye in the middle of Macron's forehead, and rubbed in a measure of an oily, coal-black substance. Macron began to scream, he screamed so loud that even Vexatus winced. When he stopped, he closed his eyes, and opened his Mark for the firt time, appearing as a bloody red orb, it blinked twice and closed, a line of blood running down his foread hand nose.

"Go forth, Erro, and seek the deepest mysteries." Trevarus finally said.

"What is thine command, my Prima?" Macron asked.

"Go with my Ternikh, follow them, and see they harm none but their quarry. Use your new sight, to seek some way of tracking these alien creatures. I shall rest, and follow you shortly.

"As you command." Macron turned, and ran out the door, hurrying to catch to the fast monsters.

Vexatus looked at Trevarus: "You are really weird."

Ashia Kagan

04-08-2007 18:12:43

Shin'ichi's eyes went wide. He grabbed his sister and sprinted down the hall away from the toxic vapor; the droids following in their wake.

They rounded the corner, only to come to an abrupt halt. Another Voxyn stood in their path. The two darksiders froze as the beast bared it's teeth. They had no where to go.

'You got any ideas? Shin's thoughts drifted toward her. The droids took up position and started firing. Blaster bolts exploded all around them, affecting no damage.

The hideous beast snarled at the assault, enraging it further is started to charge.

Shin'ichi reached out with the Force, grabbing a section of the ceiling. Acting quickly, he went with what worked and pulled it down on the Voxyn.

His timing was slightly off and the debris crashed in front of the beast who leapt on top of it. It perched at top the wreckage and let loose a terrible howl disabling the rest of the droids.

Ashia acted quickly, summoning the Force to her will, manipulated the debris under the animals feet. The metal bended and transformed to her desire, creaking and moaning in protest.

It molded itself quickly around the animals legs and tail completely incapacitating it and climbed up around the head and shoulders.

A screech of protest emitted from the beast as it struggled to free itself of the carnage that had over taken it. Soon there was nothing left.

Nice. But you forgot one thing.. Shin's voice echoed in her mind. The Nightsister raised an eyebrow in confusion as she looked toward the beast. Spittle fell from it's jaws, hissing on the durasteel and melting right through it.

The two looked to one another then quickly bounded over the debris as the Voxyn's jaws snapped at their heels. They took off running down the corridor, not waiting for it to free itself further.


04-08-2007 19:06:31

Deck Twelve, Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Lieutenant Keelis paused at the corner, holding up his hand to halt his squad, then sanked his gun around the corner and looked in the angled scope. Without even placing any of his body around the corner he had a full visual of the hallway to his left.

"I have a hostile at the far end of corridor seventy three, deck twelve." He whispered into his throat mic. "Burn I want you to roll out and lay down some fire for me. Tank you'll fall in behind him and drop the bastard."

"Copy that LT." Replied Kor 'Burn' Flare. Burn driopped to a knee then dove and roll out into the hallway intersection, brought his gun about and opened fire at the distant object down the hall.

Vac 'Tank' Brombel, a large Seprosian and the heavy weapons gunner for the squad, held his breath and then jumped out into the hall. Burn's attack had provoked the voxyn and it was charging. Tank leveled his MiniMag PTL missile launcher and fired. The voxyn jumped to dodge, but the missle impacted on the wall and vaped the rear half of the creature. Burn and Lieutenant Keelis finished off the writhing mass of flesh that survived.

"Bridge, Squad Delta Three, we've found and eradicated one voxyn." Signaled Keelis, "Commencing to next sector."

Bridge, VSD Covenant

"Captain, Marine squads have reproted killing two voxyn." Ensign Mantero informed Simonetti.

"And how many have we lost to these beasts?" Questioned Simonetti.

Mantero paused, knowning that Simonetti showed just as much angst as any of the Dark Jedi masters. "We've lost six squads, sir."

"Captain!" The voice of the Sensors Officer, Lieutenant Xeth, shouted over the bridge. If this had been a typical military vessel it would not be tolerated and Simonetti would deal with the matter later. "Sir, someone is..." Simonetti gave the young lieutenant a gaze that made him halt in md sentence until he came over to the crew pit.

"Yes, lieutenant, you have something to report?" Asked Simonetti, staring down into the crew pit and giving his most imposing stance.

"Sir, all sensons on Decks six and seven have gone off-line." Said Xeth, his voice quiter now. "We have nothing, no visual, audio or sensors of any kind."

Turning on the heel of his boot Astronicus strode over to the sensor crew pit, his pet tuk'ata following close behind him. "You have something of a situation it would seem, Captain?"

"Yes m'lord. We've lost all contact with decks six and seven." Simonetti looked the Sith in the eyes and continued. "I've lost too many men already to these... voxyn! I need help sir."

"I'll see what we can do." Replied Astronicus, he turned yet again, this time striding over to the command center. "Governor-General, I need a team of Dark Jedi that can accompany me to decks six and seven for some pest extermination."

Macron Sadow

04-08-2007 20:15:46

Deck Five, Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

“….for some pest extermination,” came the Overlord’s voice. Macron looked about, having lost visual contact with the Ternikh creatures Trevarus had summoned on this deck. He could still feel them in the Force as cold blots, however. Somehow, his senses seemed more clarified than normal. “Deck Seven,” came the final bit of the transmission.

“Yes, Overlord. As you command. Governor Ashia and Adjutant-General Shin’Ichi are on assignment, I will see to this matter personally. I will rendezvous with you at the bottom of the command turbolift, deck seven.” He keyed his link again, this time to a different set of frequencies. “Master Manji, Kaelin, meet me at the deck Seven command turbolift. Overlord’s orders,” he added as an afterthought.

He stepped onto a repulsor car and sent it hurtling through the darkness toward the rendezvous. It would not do to keep the Overlord waiting. He giggled softly as the durasteel corridor whizzed past, saluting the Dlarit personnel he encountered. The sight of an armored madman standing proudly on a flying transport car made them all look at each other in amusement.

Behind him in the darkness, the creatures followed. No one saw them.

- - -

Intelligence Medbay 6, Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Noktar, Kaelin, and Nero continued their examination of the Vong captive as Macron’s voice came through the com speaker. Although they had resorted to harsh interrogation, the scene was unlike the earlier performance of agony that had graced this venue. Nero could still feel the dark stain upon the Force with his Miraluka senses.

All three of them had gaped at the greyskin torso floating in the tank that gibbered and rolled it’s remaining slitted eye at them wildly. Bubbles floated up from it, but no sound came forth. A crude “Do Not Disturb” sign had been taped to the glass, almost as an afterthought. “Stang,” said Kaelin as he peered closely into the cold glass. “Bad day, that one had.”

Noktar chuckled dryly. “He is still having it, it would seem.” His particular humor escaped the Togorian, but Nero smiled a little.

“I am glad for once that I do not see as you,” replied Nero. “But the residue of what happened here is vile.”

Noktar and Kaelin looked at him, each with an understanding in their eyes that Nero could not see. Noktar spoke first. “Be glad that wasn’t you. Don’t fool yourself, the Governor General is a bit…”

“Loose in head,” finished Kaelin in his feline dialect. “Be you careful around him. And Master Trevarus is plain mean.” The Knight stood and left the room, moving to rendezvous with his Master as ordered. Noktar and Nero continued the interrogation.

Syrus Korodin

05-08-2007 13:57:56

The Twilight Shadow spun through space, crippled and useless, paralyzed by the same flow of monstrous energy that that Elders had summoned to destroy the Vong. A mere trickle from the flow, the meanest wave of sparking energy, had been enough to penetrate the Shadow's shield and hull and, it seemed, permanently fry the electronics.

The Vong had been unable to destroy the resilient ship, the upgraded shields surviving several glancing blows from the plasma projectiles. How ironic that a force storm would be the end of him, probably conjured with the help of his own master!

Only the core computer of the ship survived. It was rather useless because the core, at this point, could do little else but chat and make tasteless jokes.

“What do you suppose we should do, Shadow?” the Frost Dragon asked, frantically trying to summon a holographic display through a constant stream of punches to the cockpit computer.

“I don’t know. Care for a latte?"

“Thanks,” Shuang said, his sarcasm caustic and abrasive, “but that would be an unnecessary waste of power. Use the backup generator and try to get this thing started, eh?”

“Trying. Systems not responding.”

Shuang swore and turned away from the single glowing bulb on his console, indicating that Shadow's AI was still online and waiting. He looked at the Covenant, floating serenely through the darkness of space, and wondered how long he would have to float before the great ship disappeared from view. Even now, slowly but surely, the Covenant was swiftly fading, obscured by the undulating currents and debris of the shroud.

But he would not let terror grip his heart with its icy tendrils, paralyzing him just like the arcane energies had his ship.

If he were to die he would die on his own terms, thank you very much, and Lord Darth damn everyone else.

If he were to die here, alone in space, at least he had been able to take down some of the Vong fighters. At last he had managed something for Clan Naga Sadow, despite being a mere Knight.

The news about “stutter-fire” had saved his life, and quite possibly saved the Covenant from being forced to bear the brunt of the Coralskipper swarm. Finally the pilots of the clan could do something to stop the abnormal, organic technology. The Vong had lost many pilots today in battle. He hoped they would lose plenty more in the coming battles.

“Boss,” Shadow said in his synthetic, mechanical tones, “I have good news.”

“Well?” asked Shuang, glancing cautiously at the small red light on his console, “What is it? Did I just save a tremendous amount of money of my spacecraft insurance by switching to Sienar?”

“Haha. You are so clever. It is beyond me how you come up with such jokes.” If a sighing program had been installed into the Shadow’s core, it probably would have made use of it at that point. “The systems are not fried, merely temporarily unresponsive. The nanomachinery recovered first and have made progress in restarting the other systems. Shall I set a course for the Covenant?”

“I would hope so. I’ve been sitting here long enough contemplating my death, for Darth’s sake. Come to think of it, I’m rather lucky the Vong retreated. We’re sitting ducks out here.”

“Yes, I suppose,” said the ship, rather disinterestedly.

All at once the console flared into life, a bright and inviting sight that filled Shuang with joy. He quickly set to work on a number of newly active displays, leaving the engine work to the AI while he busily set about checking the ship for damage. There was some damage done to the left side radial engine, and the shields were only functioning at half capacity.

Overall, he had been lucky to escape alive, let alone with such minor damage.

The Covenant came into view again, filling the small viewport of the Twilight Shadow with its enormous bulk. After sending in the landing codes and being cleared for entry into the Hangar, Shuang carefully maneuvered his ship inside. He guided it back into its special corner and let it however there, tethered to the floor.

“Protect yourself, ship,” he commanded, and the ship promptly engaged its anti-theft systems. Once again the electric hum filled the air.

Static flared out of his comlink, irritatingly loud. He unclipped it from his belt and adjusted the settings. Voices materialized from out of the static, disjointed and barely understandable.

“…deck 7…we’ve got…don’t know…dead”

“Oh really?” whispered Shuang, a chill creeping up his spine.

Another burst of static and the voices were gone, but he had heard the last uttered word.

“Voxyn?” he said to himself, the term at once familiar and alien.

As if his words had summoned the bioengineered nightmare, a lone voxyn came scrambling into the hangar, hissing and spluttering.

“I leave the ship for one goddamn hour,” he muttered, removing his coilbolt from its holster.


06-08-2007 11:47:33

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

They had all heard rumours of the infamous voxyn, the Jedi killers. Some twisted merger of alien and native species, deliberately bred into the ultimate hunter of Force-sensitives. The stories varied from tale to tale but the the general message remained the same: when there were voxyn Jedi died.

The massive bestial hounds had ten legs, a long, poison tipped tail, their teeth carried a venom so toxic there was no known antidote. The stories spoke of them unleashing a deafening roar so agonising it could momentarily incapacitate its prey, even able to overload electronics with its bark. They were said to be able to spit acid, so potent it would burn through flesh in an instant.

The worst were the stories of those who had managed to kill one, its body dissolving under the toxicity of its own blood which quickly turned to poisonous, acidic vapour.

However it was not the voxyn that concerned Darth Vexatus.

“You know I hate those things, Trev,” he said.

The Krath Master smiled deviously. “I know,” he said cynically.

Vexatus shook his head.

They spoke of the Ternikh, creatures birthed from the darkest techniques of ancient alchemy. Trevarus had named them after a demon of Corellian legend, though in truth they were more like twisted homunculi made in his own warped image, the embodiment of the Krath Master's own inner darkness. Even though they were more illusion than flesh, shadows of life, they were no less real or dangerous, their claws as sharp as they appeared.

The Sith Lord considered them an abomination.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Araic Simonetti had scarcely believed what he had seen. The kinetic storm which had raged from the bridge of the Star Destroyer and swooped down on their enemies had been like some kind of dream. He did not know how it had happened, only that it had saved their lives.

Only to be plunged straight back into danger.

These vicious beasts now prowling the ship were worse than the aliens they had dealt with the first day of this madness. The aliens were predictable, they charged headlong into battle, screaming their twisted war cries. Simonetti did not like this new danger. It was primal, instinctive. They lurked in the shadows, luring their prey into the open.

The Captain was sure these random attacks were not as random as they seemed. There was some kind of method to them, he just couldn't put his finger on it. It was as if they were goading everyone. Simonetti imagined one of the bestial dogs dropping out of an air vent in the ceiling, slaughtering the whole bridge in seconds. The thought made him cringe. He prayed these beasts were not as intelligent as the rumours made out.

The turbolift doors swung open. Simonetti sighed again. It was the madman and the Falleen. He was sure one of them must have had something to do with those... things that had come tearing through the bridge a few minutes earlier. They had been the worst thing so far, vile, hideous looking monsters. They had sent the whole bridge crew into panic before scurrying off out of sight to the lower decks.

Astronicus shot Trevarus a glare as he approached but stopped short of saying anything. The bridge crew could do without witnessing another confrontation between the two Dark Jedi.

“Tarentum,” said Vexatus as he approached. He and Trevarus had been discussing at length what must await them when they arrived at Antei on their way back to the bridge in the turbolift. They had agreed the loss of their hyperdrive would mean they would arrive behind most of the other Clans, the Guardians of the Shroud for certain. “Antei. They will seize the jewel of the Dark Council Dominion and rule what survives this tribulation. And if not them, you can be sure Taldryan or Arcona, given the chances, would do the same.”

“If anything does survive,” said the Overlord.

“We cannot take that chance,” said the Sith Lord. “Once they have control of Antei, we will face then not one, but two enemies: one entrenched at our backs like a sand tick, the other stalking our open flank. What Clan tarries too long between these adversaries will soon not resemble a Clan at all.”

The words rung hollow, Trevarus knew this, his apprentice had little concern for the fate of the Clan or anyone else for that matter, himself included. Still, he understood his point, the Clan was still of use to them, for a time. “Better to face the enemy you know than the one you don't, eh, old friend?”

Vexatus nodded. “Yes, and on terrain of our choosing.” He paused. “If we can get our hyperdrive operational again, Tarentum will not reach Antei but hours ahead of us. We may catch them unprepared as they deploy their forces to defend it.”

The Overlord considered the Sith Lord's counsel. It was true that if one of the other Clans gained control of Antei their survival today would mean little in the face of the battles to come. It was certain then. They needed to make haste to Antei and swiftly. The Clan's future would be decided there. “Captain,” Astronicus called over his shoulder. “set course for Antei as soon as the hyperdrive is operational again. Best speed, if you please.”

“Aye, my lord. Anything else?” replied Simonetti.

“Summon my planners. There is a war waiting for us.”

Lord Vexatus smiled. “I am glad we all understand what must be done. The Clans will surely all assemble at Antei. There the brotherhood will make its stand,” he paused, his features did not move but there was a flicker of anger behind his eyes, “We have all already seen how naïve and foolish the other Clans can be.”

His mind wandered back to the chaos three days earlier when the Far Outsiders had first arrived on the outskirts of the Shroud. Clans taking pot shots at one another, hoping to score lucky against their long time adversaries. Lord Vexatus had found it deplorable. He had wanted to watch the brotherhood burn for its arrogance, its lack of vision.

One there should be, no more, no less.

I am that One.

Trevarus's words shook him out of his thoughts. “Indeed we have, my old apprentice.”

Vexatus headed back to the turbolift with the Krath Master. He waited to speak until the doors shut behind them. “Do you think they bought it?”

“I believe so.” He sighed, there was a look of almost regret on his face. “We just need to reach Kalekka Tower. My life's work is there. The aliens can have Antei for all I care. We just need what is contained in Kalekka.”

The Sith Lord studied his old master for a long moment. There was a tension on Trevarus's face he had never seen before. He was troubled. “That is why this ship is still needed, Master.” The word rolled off his tongue out of habit.

Trevarus sighed. “I know,” he said impatiently. “My patience is just getting thin. I cannot be expected to pander to their every whim.”

Vexatus's features took on a darker look. “It seems your near death experience has had an affect on you,” he said mockingly. "Have you finally come to accept your own mortality?"

The Krath shot him a glance as if he was about to tear out his former apprentice's throat. There was a brief flash of violet rage behind his eyes. “I'm just... concerned.”

Vexatus nodded. “I know. There is no harm in being cautious. You know as well as I that if they had only listened this could all have been avoided.”

Nero Pennant

06-08-2007 17:49:00

Nero watched the retreating back of Kaelin, glad to not have to look at the glaring hole in the Force suspended in liquid in front of him. Meanwhile the taller and heavier Falleen walked over to a set of cabinets, opening them to rummage inside.

"The Governor he's talking about is Ashia, right?" Nero asked, resigning himself to look upon the abomination that was no doubt bubbling curses at him, "She seems nice enough."

"Everyone's nice enough until they get pissed off," Noktar replied, still rummaging through the medical equipment in the cabinets, "combine that with the power of the Dark Side, and with their mastery of it, and I don't even wanna tell you how painfully you'll die."

"Kinda like this thing over here," The Miraluka replied, "What exactly are we supposed to ask it? It can barely speak."

"Oh, I've figured that out, there's a little communicator lodged in it's throat somewhere, just press that button over there and you can hear him."

Nero nodded, walking over briskly and depressing a button on the side of the tube. "Filthy Jeedai! When this is over we will meet again in the presence of the Gods, and you won't even be able to earn the privilege of attending to me as my servant! Releas-" The Vong was cut off in mid-sentence as Nero switched it off, visibly shivering in disgust.

"Right, what do we have here?" Noktar said, ignoring the Vong in the tube, "Yo! Check this out," he said, pulling out two boxes. "This one contains an extreme painkiller, probably to keep the 'patient' going even while under extreme pain. And this one seems to contain some kind of nanomachine that helps with cybernetic implants. So you ask the questions, and if he's not cooperative, then he'll die very, very slowly of becoming a machine, and he won't feel a thing."

Nero nodded, a predatory smile creeping on his face for the first time in days. Clicking the button again he spoke clearly to the alien in the tank. "Here's how it goes; I ask you a question, and you answer it. Else my friend here will make you into a machine that we can use to our evil 'Jeedai' purposes. Maybe we'll make you into a toaster or something mundane. Either way, you're going to tell me what I need to know or you'll be wishing you were with your Gods."

The Vong looked startled, almost...scared, though it's warrior pride no doubt forced it down. "You'll never get anything out of me."

"Tell me about the Voxyn. How many are on the ship? Maybe we'll turn you into a fridge. You'll be keeping my drinks cool for a long time."

"There are too many of them for you to do anything about. They were smuggled aboard, and they are hunting you."

"Tell us something we don't know," Noktar said, slowly feeding the tubes, one by one, into the machine. "Tell us now, or you'll become my footstool for eternity."

"Unclean filthy Jeedai! You're nothing but filth in the eyes of our Gods, and you shall be treated accordingly. You'll meet them very soon. I was not the only Yuuzhan Vong on this ship. There are others who calculated that this might happen. They're going to make sure that if you kill one of the Voxyn that the deadly gas it emits from it's blood, that it will spread through the ship like fiiiire." It said with relish.

"This is pointless," Nero said, "I'll flip you for who gets to take our new robotic friend after the war is over. Mechanize him."

The Vong's scream of impotent fear consumed it as Noktar's fingers flew over the dials, setting the Vong up for a long, tedious, and extensive surgical procedure. Only it's brain would remain.

"They're going to mess around with the airducts, make sure they can't close." Nero said, briskly walking to to the nearest communicator, keying the bridge.

"Captain Simonetti," Came the crackled reply from the Captain, sounding tired from the last few days of fighting.

"Captain," Nero started, "This is Acolyte Nero Pennant, we have troubling news."

"I don't need anymore bad news," The Captain said.

"Sorry sir," Nero replied, "The Vong gave us more information. There are more saboteurs aboard. They're trying to break into the ventilation system to make sure that if gas is released that it can't be blocked by anything and spread throughout the ship. Have teams check everywhere."

"Haven't got the manpower to do that, son," Simonetti replied, "Go down and do it for me, I'll see if I can get a team to support you, but don't count on it."

"Will do, si-" Nero's reply was washed away in an ear-bleeding primal scream, making Nero drop the communicator and cover his ears. Noktar was doing the same as the scream lasted for a full minute.

"Voxyn," Noktar said, "We better get out of here and find those saboteurs, else we're dead meat."

The large form of a Voxyn appeared at the window of the room. "We better get out of here now!" Nero yelled as he began sprinting towards the door, his heart beating wildly in his chest from sheer terror.

Shan Long

06-08-2007 19:03:20

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

A piercing wail followed them through the corridors, their primitive intellects driving them towards the smell of blood. The Ternikh are born of Shan-Long's soul, and remember his cravings. They crave vong blood, seeking it with the same tenacity as the blood-lusting Elder. Leaping between walls, barreling over crew members desperate to stay out of their way, they hunted.

Nero ran crazed from the monster that chased him, and ran straight into the path of the Ternikh. The Acolyte fell face first, tumbling on the hard deck as the demons screeched past him. Rolling over, he watched, amazed

Three of the little Homunculi leapt as high in the air, slashing down with their claws. Scaled flesh tore out in great gouts before their talons. The Voyxn whipped out with its tail, spewing acid from its fanged jaws. Nothing phased the Ternikh. There is only one way to destroy them, and the Voxyn had no means of crushing them, save toppling over on one.

In short order, the Vong Jedi killer dissolved into a noxious pool of spewing poison. This is when Nero had the good sense to scramble to his feet, and flee.

Thankfully, the Ternikh went the opposite direction.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Trevarus yawned. "Walk with me, Xanos. I'm going down to the Sanguinus to change, and rest a bit. We are not needed here."

Maeda piqued: "Trev what of those beasts in the lower levels?"

"Either they kill us, or they don't. Either way, I'm not concerned. However, the smell of dried blood is an immediate concern I wish to address." Trevarus replied.

Before any other protests could be voiced, Xanos and Trevarus stepped off the bridge, walking the short distance to another turbolift. They didn't speak until well out of earshot of anyone else.

"I'm growing tired of this game, Xanos. Don't you agree?"

"What are you thinking."

"I'm very concerned about the Far Outsiders encroachment upon the Antei System. They will devour anything in their path... and I should not suffer to see Antei invaded, and pressed into a situation to defending Kalekka with my own hands."

"You and your books. Damn the lot of them." Xanos replied.

"You've never complained, reading them, my Apprentice."

"I am curious... why are you so agitated suddenly. Earlier, you seemed eager to study the Yuuzhan Vong. What's changed?"

"Unlike you, I have learned to clearly distinguish my visions. These beasts will make it through the Shroud, if they haven't already. I want to get a jump start on them. I'll enflame the Boundary, if I have to."

The Hangar bay seemed deserted. They slowly climbed the ramp into the Sanguinus. Cristine Zara met the two at the ramp.

"Its been awhile, Trev. How are you?"

"i'm tired, covered in blood and who knows what the [Expletive Deleted F-word] else. Tell me you didn't clean out my cabin since your last trip?"

"No sir, I believe you'll find whatever you left still in there."

"Great. Would you make me a cup of tea, while I shower and change?"

"No sweat."


07-08-2007 00:48:00

Day Four
Dlarit Naval Command, Sepros
Orian System

The Admiral paced around the command center, hands clasped firmly behind his back. It had been four days and they had still heard nothing from anyone of authority within the Corporation. Neither the Viceroy, the Governor-General nor the Adjutant General had commed in. He was also displeased that none of the command officers aboard the Dlarit Navy starships had reported in, not even telling their current coordinates.

In fact, he hadn't heard any news from anyone lately outside of the command center, it was almost a communications blackout. This did not bode well, in reality Aramis felt that something was afoot but did not want to put any false apprehension or anxiety upon his staff. An increased security measure might not hurt, as long as it didn't send the wrong message.

"Leftenant," Aramis said as he spun on his heel and faced his communications officer, "I want to add more squadrons to system patrols and increase the frequency of their trips outbound."

"Yes sir." Lieutenant Gregori Zin replied, acknowledging the order. "Might I ask, sir, is there any particular reason?"

Aramis stared the young man in the eye. He was a bright kid, fresh out of the university and looking to get some experience with a corporate navy before looking for a real career. If only you felt the trepidation that I sense at our leaders not calling us, lad. "One must not be laxed in times of peace and quiet, Leftenant, we must be ever vigilant and never let down our guard. I'm merely looking to highten our pilots senses and give them something productive to do." He was lying through his teeth, from a certain point of view, but what he told Zin was also true in a sense.

Dlarit Army Command
Sepros, Orian System

Major General Arkady Ullys sat in his office chair looking over paperwork that should be cared for by an underling, but he always found it a pleasure to look over squad reports to see how his enlisted and commisioned men got along by way of their reports. An older human nearing the end of his career, Ullys was content with how his army ran and the level of advancement they had made since his being appointed it's chief of staff.

Under his direction the Dlarit Army had begun to incorporate techniques popular amongst some of the smaller planets in the Outer Rim but not as well known in the Core. They weren't in holovids, but that didn't mean they weren't effective. His men were some of the best trained and had proven it time after time. Why in the annual corporate competition where the Navy's best and the Army's best took one another on, his men always triumphed over Nestor's marines.

And they weren't encumbered by bulky armor like the Empire's stormtroopers. They did have some armor, a protective chest plate with accompanying shoulder pad guards and shin guards for their legs, but other than that they relied on their force shields and combat helmets for protection. Their force shields were a work of brilliance. They came out of Dlarit Technologies' labs and were used only by Dlarit Corp. personnel. It was basically an armband that could project a force field in the shape of a circle with a one meter diameter and could repel any projectiles or blaster bolts. Of course it used a lot of energy, so the troops only used them when they absuolutely had to.

As he perused over a report by Delta Squad he heard the all too familiar beep of an incoming holo-transmission. He reached over without even looking and activated the holo-display. A blue minute version of Admiral Aramis Nestor appeared within the display pad. Nestor out ranked Ullys, simply because he had been here longer and had more opportunities to shine.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything important, General." Spoke the figurine sized Nestor from the corner of the desk. "But I need to speak to you about security measures."

"Ya ya." Said Ullys, his eyes still on the squad report. He made a waving motion with his hand, as if to dismiss the Nestor. "I've already read your reports, Admiral, and seen that you've increased security throughout the system. What do you need of me?"

"With all of the Governors away and the Viceroy with them, I am technically in command, therefore do to a communications blackout I am seeing to the safety of the Dlarit Corporation and need your assistance in doing so." Aramis paused, he would have to win over the General in order to have the cooperation of his soldiers. "For the better interests of the Dlarit Corporation, I need your army to help with increased security. Do I have your support?"

"You aren't planning a coup or anything, are you?" Asked the General in his thick accent with a laugh at the end. "Of course you have the Army's support, my old friend, besides you out rank me - you could just order me to cooperate." The General's wry smile gave away that he was joking about the last part.

"Very well, we will go to a heightend level of security until the Governors return and take charge once again." Aramis looked off to his left and nodded at what was more than likely a junior officer who didn't know not to bother the Admiral during holo-transmissions. "I would like to arrange a meeting of our staffs to coordinate security efforts, please arrange with your people to do this at 1300 hours. Nestor out."

The holo-figure disappeared as quickly as it had arrived and the General's office was left with the silence that permeated it for the better part of his time here on Sepros. He was only two years away from retirement, he hoped he wouldn't have any bumps along the way that would hurt his pension.


07-08-2007 03:11:13

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Sai stood nervously behind the crate, hearing the sounds of blaster fire from ahead. He glanced at the squad of uniformed marines that crouched nearby, rifles held armed and loaded, then around him at the large hangar bay. "Malisane, remind me again why you mainly operate in these places?"
The Battlemaster looked over at him and shrugged. "Partly because there's always plenty of resources available, and partly because they tend to draw enemies to them like moths to a candle. Can you think of anywhere better?"

The Knight nodded. "I guess so. Though I think as far as plans go though this time you've taken too big a gamble. What happens if this doesn't work as you expect?"
"We die," Malisane replied calmly, "however in theory it ought to work."
"In theory?" the Rollmaster repeated.
"Yeah. Obviouisly I didn't have time to have a practice run, there is a war on."
Sai looked at him. "You're enjoying this aren't you?"
Malisane nodded. "The action part yes, after years of responsibilty in the Summit and the Envoys it's fun just battling against an enemy you can face directly. The only part I don't like is the waiting and discussion in between. After these Voxyn are dead I might see what state the bar is in again."

Sai shook his head in disbelief. It was possible the former Quaestor was loosing it. Still it didn't matter now. The sounds of blaster fire and retreating footsteps are just ahead. "Alright get ready."
Malisane gripped his blaster rifle. The door ahead slid open and half a dozen marines backed through, firing as they did so. "Over here!" Malisane shouted. "Give them cover."
As the marines turned and ran towards them two creatures burst through the door, huge slavering, scuttling on their ten legs, their fanged maws open and snarling.
"Open fire!" Sai shouted, and the marines and Malisane aimed at each voxyn shot after shot bouncing harmlessley off them. The creatures advanced quickly, chasing the fleeing marines.
"Now!" Malisane shouted at the men on the gantry above.

Sai glanced up at the two technitions who were turning the valves in front of them quickly. A second later with a burst of freezing stream the liquid gas poured into the hanger, dousing the voxyn and spilling across the floor, hundreds of degrees below freezing. The voxyn initially fought for grip on the floor, then slowly began to struggle as their limbs began to stick to the liquid and their bodies began to freeze, the cold spreading and crystalising their flesh muscles and organs. Several of the less lucky marines were also frozen in place, but a couple more managed to reach Malisane and Sai.

The Voxyn's movements were slowing rapidly struggling to move against the freezing death, their brains failing to understand what was happening to them. The two Sith and their marines watched in fascination as the mighty creatures rapidly crystalised into two ice statues. Then the room was still, the flow of the liquid abated.
Malisane smiled grimly. "Fire!" he shouted. Once more blaster bolts hit the helpless freezing creatures, and cracks began to appear in their flesh. More blasts hit them as the cracks began to grow. More and more steam began to rise off them as the liquid gas began to boil into the air, clouding their view. Suddenly with an explosion of flesh the two creatures shattered into chunks of frozen flesh.
Sai grinned. "Sorry I doubted you."
Malisane shrugged. "To be honest I wasn't sure it was going to work. Glad it did."


07-08-2007 03:36:48

Covenant Starfighter Squadrons
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

The modified P-38 starfighter flew along side the TIE’s, Ashura had chosen this fighter for a reason, even if it meant having to be cramped inside it. The Porax-38 had acute sensors to help get a better lock on its targets, strong shields to take more hits, and twin laser cannons to blast the Vong into oblivion.

He weaved in and out of the Vong fighters as the two forces collided together in a rain of fire.

//Execute plan Alpha//

All Covenant starfighters all began firing series of low-powered bursts followed and interspersed with regular erratic shots. Ashura joined in as he tapped the trigger, and watched the constant stream of bolts fly out

The ‘stutter-fire’ tore into the multiple enemy fighters, however the sheer volume of Yuuzhan Vong outnumbered them still.

//This Gold leader to Bandit… I don’t know much longer we can hold them off… there is just too many of them!//

The Sith snarled, he was having to trust his reflexes then the Force as he just could sense the Yuuzhan attacks. Ashura quickly replied to the squadron leader.

//Our orders stand, Gold leader. Keep fighting//

However Isradia knew it was only a matter of time before the Yuuzhan Vong overpowered them completely. Ashura attempted to contact the Covenant.

//Bridge, come in, request update on the hyperdrive… how long before the Covenant can jump? There is too many out here to hold them off for much longer. The kinetic storm beat into them good, but they still outnumber us here. Requesting a tactical withdraw of all teams back to the Covenant before the jump, or there may not be anything left of us out here.//


07-08-2007 11:12:29

Antei System, Inside Shroud

In the empty vacuum of space outside the Covenant the remaining Yuuzhan Vong coralskippers which had managed to escape the clutches of the horrific storm of Force energy made manifest danced a melee of death with the surviving forces of the Dlarit Corporation task force.

Despite the lull in the storm, however, inside they knew it would be but a matter of time before the aliens realised something had gone wrong, neither of their two corvettes making it back to the main fleet to report of their success.

The hyperdrive had to get operational again and fast.

Inside, however, not all were as concerned with the fate of the Dlarit Security Force...

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
External Docking Station
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The hangar was relatively empty but for the handful of private shuttles not partaking in the dogfight outside. The Sanguinus was secured to the hull of the Covenant by a docking arm. Directly behind it sat the Astronicus' Reach, secured by a similar aperture, neither ship being quite small enough to fit within the Star Destroyer's internal hangar.

Trevarus Caerick emerged from the refresher, his clothing no longer bearing the stains of blood he had been carrying around for the past two days. He looked no less anxious than before. Zara gestured him to the table where she had prepared something for him to eat.

After sitting down, Trevarus downed the cup of tea in one go. He hadn't had anything to drink in over a day and the Force Meld had drained him. Zara took the cup and left to refill it.

“Such luxuries you indulge yourself with, Master,” said Vexatus who was standing at one of the viewports.

Trevarus let out a slight guffaw. “This from the noble viscount?” He laughed.

Vexatus turned around to face him. “So,” he said with a slight pause, "once you have secured your precious holocron, are we leaving or do you intend to stay and watch the fireworks?”

Trevarus looked up from the table. “While I am sure it would be... thrilling to watch the brotherhood combust, I believe it would be more prudent if we made haste.”

Vexatus began to speak but he was interrupted by a blood curdling scream that caused Zara to drop the pitcher she was carrying back in with a slight scream. “What was that?” cried the Captain.

“Voxyn,” said Vexatus dryly. “I think your snack will have to wait, Trev.”

The Krath swore as he got to his feet. A crack of displaced air signalled he was ready to go, lightsabers at the ready.

They headed off back down the docking arm into the main ship, the airlock sealing behind them.


07-08-2007 22:58:02

Aboard the Yt-2400 The Fulcrums Blade
The Shroud in the Antei System

A YT-2400 hualed through the hostile voids of the Shroud. Small mist of ionic and plasma energy bleeded from the hull of the YT-2400 in small patchs. Behind the YT-2400 four Coral Skippers pursued it firing its volcano cannons at the Coriellian Transport. The shields on the YT-2400 flashed each time as the magma pounded against the ditanium armor plating. The YT-2400 manuvered within the Shroud with an extreme evasive action pitching and rolling as it squeezed through the narrow spacing of the floating asteroids. With precision the Coral Skippers followed in uniform formation single file. As one Vong fighter rolled and manuvered pursueing the YT-2400 the other moved in the same fashion much like the extension of a serpant.

Onboard Aries was at the controls desperately trying to loose the Vong fighters. Just earlier he remembered after leaving the Hanger Bay of the VSD Covenant with two priorities. The first was to find any survivors and return them to the Covenant. The second was to try to find any intelligence on the foe they faced. For some time he left the Shroud seeking any oppurtunity to see if he could find any transponder code that matched the ships that belonged to Naga Sadow. The mission almost seemed hopeless but luck turned in favor for him. Out drifting and abandoned was Vibre-Class Crimson Angel. The assault cruiser showed no signs of life as it appeared drifting like a carcass after being fed. But even in darkness there is oppurtunity. It was only after boarding the vessel did he take time in recording information on the holocam and recording all findings into the commlink for audio record. During his recon did he come across several Apprentices. They were youngbloods but somehow still alive. Apparently they took time to hide in the cargo holds and luckly using the force to sense their presense was he able to find them and get them to board. But the best was yet to come while they were being pursued by a Vong Warrior a colum possibly from a support beam fell and landed on the Vong soldier killing him. This stroke of luck gave him the oppurtunity to take the corpse back and later have the clan study it for information. Yet it was during the departure from the Crimson Angel did a small patrol group spot them and pursue them bombarding the transport.

As he was manning the pilot chair one of the apprentices approached him,

"Commander Aries their catching up quickly and I don't think the armor plating is going to hold this vessel much longer."

Sweat drew down his forehead both from nerves and the heat of the moment glancing over his shoulder he responded to the young survivor,

"You know how to shoot?"

The young apprentice or novice didn't know what to say as Aries repeated his question in a sharper tone after all they were getting shot at and right now he needed an answer,

"Well I had some practice in the simulations as a gunner but that was for a Lamada Shuttle."

Aries muttered under his tongue biting the bullet about wanting to give him the old drill in nerves of steel. But right now the shields were barely holding and soon the titanium hull would be bulkling.

"Well now is the time to test those skills out boy I have no time for you past records get your friend up there and lay down a volley now!"

The Acolyte and Novice made their way to the turrets on the YT-2400 he prayed that the Dymek heavy dual laser cannons both on the dorsil and the ventrical sides of the freightor would be enough to at least slow or do some damage to those flying coral craft. Desperatly he activated the commlink searching the channel to make contact with the VSD Covenant. Another Apprentice rushed to his side asking what he could do. Aries gave a simple response,

"Get to the shield generator kid and see if you can keep it working a little longer til I can get this craft to board!"

Even though he knew the passengers were rookies never seeing the first day of combat ever and on top of things this was a transport. Still it felt like commanding a battle cruiser. Between hearing the laser turrets firing and the vibration of the ship he concentrated searching the signal and manuvering the vessel. Activating the atmospheric sensors it allowed him a layout of electrical discharges from the Shroud. Knowing of their predictable surge it allowed him to get caught in one of those energy discharges and have problems with the vessel. A beep came through as he looked and the communications was able to be established with the VDS Covenant,

"VSD Covenant this is the Fulcrums Blade I repeat this is the Fulcrums Blade. I am being pursued by enemy fighters I need fire support and request to make an emergency landing. I repeat I have survivors onboard and an enemy corpse for medical examination I need to make an emergency landing. This is a priority one call........ I am Commander Aries Taral-Kyi Vorak of Sapphire Squadron sent on a mission of grave importance by Consul Macron. I need fire support and permission to make an emergency landing! Do you copy?"

Shan Long

08-08-2007 16:37:56

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Main Hangar Bay
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Even a quick bite to eat had energized the Elder. Long months spent in the field, often at great mortal peril, had trained him to fight hard on very little. He had dressed for battle. A sleevless black tunic, loose trousers, and his weathered boots, bearing signs of battle. Despite the immediate conflict, he drew the essence of the Force into himself, feeding on its cold energies, refreshing and revitalizing him against the battles behind, and what was to the fore.

Master and Apprentice stood side by side, each carrying their lightsabers in the infamous stance of the Kirili Variant.

Total chaos was before them. A lone Warrior was surrounded by five or six humans, defending against heavy weapons fire from a battallion of the Dlarit Security Force. The Vong seemed to be holding his own, shrugging off blaster fire, and slowly taking down humans one by one.

"Reminds me of Kormanal, eh Xanos?" Trevarus said, igniting his lightsabers.

"Except we actually have lightsabers this time." Vexatus replied, brandishing his own weapons.

"True." Trevarus said, laughing. Considering the battle, Trevarus adjusted his stance, taking the familiar form of Vapaad, even shifting his second blade to full length, uttering a battle cry, the Master charged forward.

Abruptly, he tripped, barely maintaining his balance. Cursing, he glared at his Apprentice, who was half-heartedly surpressing a laugh.

"Pay attention, Trev. Look at this battle, something isn't right."

Trevarus gazed at the scene on the far side of the Hangar. It appeared that the humans he saw around the Vong warrior were actually fighting with the Abomination, not against it.

"More spies, as it would seem. Vong wearing human faces. How is this obscenity possible."

"Speaks the man with monsters that he calls children." Xanos quipped.

"We've run out of time for jokes. We need to leave, and that'll be impossible without the Hangar support staff."

"So let's go clear the way."

Both warriors charged forward, lightsabers flashing in the bright lights. Halfway across the distance, the Vong and his disguised fellows noticed the charging Elders.

"Jeedai! Glory to Yun-Yammka! Bring us honor and death!"

Blaster fire died as soldiers retreated before the storm of the powerful warriors. Trevarus' obscene black cored lightsabers flashed violet against the rigid amphistaff of the lead warrior. Almost as quickly, Xanos had cut the ooglith masquer from two of the lesser warriors. The disguise penetrated, it was easy to see the dead-looking Vong flesh beneath. Vexatus nodded at Trevarus, who understood. Without armor, the spies were almost defenseless.

Trevarus broke off from his grapple with the armored Vong warrior. Drawing the Force through his body, he leapt unnaturally high, twirling into a a backflip, landing foot first. Aggressively, the Masters charged, each lightsaber working in broad arcs, moving with the swiftness of the Force. Four of the Vong fell into smoking hunks of flesh to the battle marred deck.

Leave that one alive, Xanos. I want to question him.

Vexatus nodded at his former Master, understanding. He averted his eyes, looking off to the main passage to the hangars. Trevarus ignored the remaining Vong for a moment, and studied this new development.

"How... inelegant..." was Trevarus' only response to his first sighting of the Voyxn.

They seemed to be all jaws and teeth. Great slavering maws opened and closed, revealing their purple black tongues, dripping with some kind of brown saliva. The slowly advanced on nearly a dozen strong legs, muscles rippling under brown-black scales, glittering in the light.

"They're ugly alright. And deadly."

The Vong warrior erupted into something that sounded like laughter, several meters behind them. "The Shapers created your death, Brenzlit Jeedai. Glory to Yal Phaath!"

"Oh, do shut up, Abmonination." Trevarus snapped, turning his head to the Vong.

Raising a hand to his lips, Trevarus let out a long whistle between two fingers. "Come, come my children!" Trevarus crouched down, then jumped, launching himself high into the hangar. From six or seven meters, he hovered over the battle. Xanos followed him.

"We're no more safe up here, Trev." The Falleen said.


After a few moments, the Ternikh bounded into the Hangar. From his vantage point, Trevarus watched them leap across the deck, scuttling around on long-taloned limbs. The Voxyn reared their heads back, the most deafening screech issued from their maws. Trevarus closed his eyes against the pain, willing himself to ignore his senses. The Ternikh did not have ears to rupture, they did not care.

Seven of the little Homunculi danced forward. They stood at level with the meter-tall Voyxn, and began to slash and tear at their steel-hard scales. Shrieks of tore flesh began to peal around the room.

"I wonder how I might contain one of those beasts, for further study?" Trevarus asked.

"Good question. Yet you have to take it alive, we've seen what happens when they die."

"I'll consider that. My Ternikh seem to have the Voxyn occupied... shall we address the remaining two warriors?"

"With pleasure."

Trevarus and Vexatus circled the hangar once, then dropped to the ground. Both reverted to Kirili, arcing lightsabers against the proud armored warrior. Its amphistaff effectively parrying swift strikes from either blade, although it seemed on the defensive against two combatants.

In one final decisive strike, Trevarus held the beast pinned between his two lightsabers, and Vexatus severed its head at the top of its jaw. Lifeless, it fell to the ground.

The single remaining Vong was defenseless. It seemed to beg for death. Granting its wish, Trevarus decided to seek answers elsewhere. His lightsaber peirced its unarmored flesh, sweeping through it twice, again crumbling to the ground in several lifeless mounds.

His Ternikh still fought admirably. As the Vong warrior fell, they managed to fell one of the Voyxn, it fell dissolving into fell poison.

"That's going to be our problem," Xanos said. Yet another beast fell, it too fading into poison.

"Not if we still the air..." Trevarus said.

"Interesting idea." Xanos replied. Trevarus knelt to the ground, touching his will to the External Force, Vexatus joined him. Together they slowly began to siphon energy from all around them, drawing heat from the very metal of the floor, from the air, from all around. As they built energy, the more rapidly they collected it. Several moments later, water vapor had condensed into a light fall of snow, the floor was frozen and slick with ice. Both men stood, Xanos using the stolen energy to keep his blood warm against his reptilian heritage. Trevarus' breath fogged warm. All seven of the Ternikh, and the single remaining Voxyn were frozen solid, standing as icy statues in a parody of combat.

"I think that ought to render their aersol poisons ineffective."

"Possibly, yet we should not linger here. Let's retreat to the Sanguinus, and have the air from the hangar vented. Hopefully the frozen monstrosities are dead."

"One should hope so."

They walked back over to the airlock for the docking arm that reached out to his Corvette. What they saw, dismayed them.

In the course of the battle, one of the Voxyn had vomited a large quanity of its acidic saliva onto the controls and frame for the airlock door. A careful examination revealed how extensive the damage actually was. They would need to force the doors open, rendering the airlock ineffective. They had no way of returning to Trevarus' ship.

"Well damn!" Trevarus cursed.


08-08-2007 18:47:51

Main Hangar Bay
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The airlock was completely ruined. The acid had melted right through the main locking mechanism. It looked as if it was already barely holding together, the wrong move and it would rupture, potentially opening the two ships to vacuum. The Covenant could probably survive it by locking down the hangar but it was likely force of the sudden shift in pressure would risk tearing the Sanguinus in two.

There was a crack of air as a comm link appeared in Trevarus's hand. “Zara?”

“Trev, what's going on? The airlock readings went screwy a few minutes ago,” came the soft voice of Captain Christine Zara.

“The damn aliens wrecked the door,” growled Trevarus. “We can't get back through.”

“We could send a team through in evac suits, they could fix the door. Might take a while though.”

Trevarus cursed. “No, no. We don't have time for that. Where's Ain? Did he get across?”

“No, he hung back when he heard the fighting.”

“Dammit. Right, we'll have to work something else out. I'll be in touch.” There was another crack of air as he made the comm link disappear and turned to Vexatus. “Well, do you have any ideas?”

The Sith Lord looked similarly irritated. They were now stuck on the Covenant and going nowhere. It would be but a matter of hours before the Yuuzhan Vong arrived at Antei. They had to either get off this ship or get it moving. “We could go across outside, but we'd have to cut through into the airlock, which could rupture the hull.”

Trevarus shook his head. “No, I'm not doing that. There's no point the Sanguinus being dead in the water too. There must be something else.”

In a rare show of emotion Vexatus gave a wry smile. “We could fix the hyperdrive ourselves.”

Trevarus shot him a look as if he had just suggested they turn back to the light. “What are you suggesting?” he said contemptuously.

“Well, Ain could guide us through it. He's probably more qualified than any of the engineers left onboard. Most of them got vaped when they let the radiation slip in.”

Trevarus looked at his hands, rubbing them as if imagining them covered in dirt.

“I know you've just had a shower but if it gets us out of here sooner, it'll get you to your precious archives in Kalekka sooner,” said Vexatus cynically. Despite his noble upbringing, the Falleen had always displayed an greater affinity for technology than his former Master. He had always found the Krath's reluctance to get his hands dirty amusing.

Trevarus sighed audibly. He knew he was right. “Alright, alright,” said Trevarus impatiently. “Lead the way. Let's get this bucket moving again.”

The two Elders headed off down one of the side corridors toward the engineering deck leaving behind a bloodbath of severed limbs and body parts. The remaining Dlarit Army personnel scurried out of their way as they approached, their eyes burning with hate. Neither Elder was used to being inconvenienced.

Behind them, the great shadowy form lurked in the shadows, silently following them.

Shan Long

08-08-2007 18:49:57

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Engineering Corridor
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

For several heartbeats, they walked down the dismal corridor of the mighty warship. Trevarus was unfamiliar with the workings of such large starships, he generally spent travel aboard them in a stateroom, or on the bridge. He'd never been this deep into the engineering sections of any ship before.

The usual trappings of comfort disappeared the further they walked. Lights became even more harse and institutional, dozens of droids scuttled around on various missions. Although, signs of battle were everywhere. Sparking computer terminals spoke of power surges, the smell of smoke and burning blood lingered in air recirculated a dozen times.

"We're being followed," Xanos said driely

Both men turned, the a Voxyn stood snarling in a few meters behind them.

"I don't have time for this." Trevarus said, immensely irritated.

He raised his right hand, mouthing a few syllables on his lips. Fire erupted from the Amulet of Orian, a thick washing wave of fire that swept down the narrow corridor with the force of a storm surge of water. After several seconds, the flames cleared. Walls, decking, ceilings, scorched black. No trace remained of the beast.

"If anyone else gets in my way..." Trevarus started muttering under his breath.

"Right through here, Trev." Xanos said, between one breathe of Trevarus' muttering. "The hyperdrive rooms should be right around..."

He was cut off by a pair of guards. "The Viceroy has ordered the technical areas sealed."

Surprisingly, Trevarus maintained his calm, ignoring the guards. "Xanos, did I ever show you the way to burn a mundane from the inside out?"

"No, actually. I've always wondered how you do that."

The two men spoke quietly together for a few moments, gesturing, Xanos nodded finally.

"I see."

The icy Falleen raised one arm, blue-red lightning arced off his fingertips across both men standing at attention. They began to scream, their words cut off shortly as their bodies crumbled into fine white ash.

"Very useful." Xanos said.

"Astronicus will not be pleased." Mused the Krath Master.

"Since when do you care?"

"I respect my Overlord very much. However, I'd throw him to the Krin if it meant getting off this damn ship."

"Did you ever manage to hunt one of those monsters down?"

"Yes. I had a lovely rug made from its hide. You ought to see it some time." He paused. "When we make it to Kalekka."

"If, you mean."

"No... when. My vision tells me that I will fight, and possibily die, defending my home."

"You didn't see me there, did you?" Vexatus asked, amusement lingering.

"Let's get this damn ship running again." Trevarus said, ignoring his question


08-08-2007 19:24:12

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Vexatus strode inside the main engineering room. A number of technicians turned to look at him, their eyes widening at the smoking bodies behind them. Most of them stood motionless but one ran for one of the other exits, urgently trying to open the alarm casing beside the door.

The Sith Lord rose his hand. Bolts of white-hot energy arced at the man's bright orange containment suit. A few moments later the suit crumpled, empty inside. The other technicians started to run.

“Unless you wish to meet the same fate, I suggest you stay where you are,” said the Falleen, his voice harsh and commanding. “We are not here to harm you.” He shot Trevarus an icy glance to ensure he understood his meaning, then smirked. “However, we will if you get in our way. Who is in charge of the hyperdrive repairs?”

One of the technicians shakily rose his hand. “That... that would be my lord,” he mumbled, stuttering the whole way.

Vexatus turned and gave the man a warm smile. “Good. Your name,” he paused glancing at the man's suit, “Chief Petty Officer?”

“Marick, my lord,” he said, still stuttering. “Jym Marick.”

“Excellent.” Vexatus turned to look at Trevarus. “Trev, can you get your man on the line?”

There was a crack of displaced air as the comm link reappeared. “Zara?” said Trevarus.

“Yes, Trev?” replied Christine Zara.

“Can you get Ain? We're in the hyperdrive room now. He can guide some of the techs through the process.”

There was the faint sound of inhalation. “Do you think that will work, Trev? I mean, it's not quite the same as if he was standing there.”

There was another crack and a video camera appeared in the Krath Master's other hand. Placing it on one of the work benches in front of him he keyed a few buttons. “There, are you receiving that?”

Zara chuckled. “Yes, got you. I'll go get Ain. Be back in a minute.”

A moment passed before there was a slight crackle of static. “Ain Gide here, you needed me Trev?” came a much gruffer voice.

“Yes, I need you to guide these people through fixing the hyperdrive.”

There was a slight gasp. “Uhh... Trev,” said Ain, sounding slightly taken aback. “It's not quite the same, I know we're all in a hurry and all, but if I do this wrong it...”

Trevarus's eyes flashed violet. “Don't argue, just do it.”

“Right. You're the boss,” said Ain. “Okay, who am I talking to?” he said, directing his voice at the others.

“Chief Petty Officer Jym Marick, sir,” said the senior technician, still sounding at unease, though faintly more confident than before. Most of them were still staring at the crumpled containment suit.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Araic Simonetti walked slowly over to the man he had long called sir but whom he now understood was something much more entirely. Nevertheless, he still felt he could trust this one, the Viceroy being one of the few of the Dark Jedi who seemed to be genuinely concerned about the ordinary crew's safety.

“Viceroy?” said Simonetti in his crisp military voice.

“Yes, Captain?”

“We've lost contact with the men stationed outside the hyperdrive room. No response for the last half an hour,” replied the Captain, being careful how he worded the bad news. He had heard too many rumours of what Darth Vader had done to officers under his command. Though the corpse had been removed since the day before, thoughts of the Covenant's previous Captain still haunted him.

Astronicus's eyes burned with a fiery rage making it hard for Simonetti to read what the Viceroy was thinking.

“Open a channel,” said the Overlord finally.

“Aye, sir,” said Simonetti, gesturing the communications desk. He nodded at the Viceroy when it was ready.

“This is Astronicus Dlarit, Viceroy of the Dlarit Corporation, is everything okay down there?”

There was a slight pause before an all too familiar voice came over the comm link. “I can assure you everything is fine, Overlord,” said Trevarus, sounding both impatient and amused.

Astronicus narrowed his eyes. This time Simonetti could tell he was not pleased. “Trevarus, do not tell me you have killed more of my men. Did I not give you explicit orders they were not to be harmed?”

“With all due respect, they challenged us first,” said Trevarus. “But, no, I did not kill them.”

A much icier voice came over the comm link. “That would have been me.”

“What? Xanos?” Astronicus's voice rose, he was growing increasingly annoyed. “Why?”

The Overlord could not see the Sith Lord shrug. “They were in the way," he said coldly. "Anyway, it is of little consequence. We almost have the hyperdrive operational.”

Astronicus looked to Simonetti in search of answers. The Captain simply shook his head. The Overlord wasn't sure what else to say. “We'll discuss this later.” He paused, still taken aback by the recent developments. “Contact us if the hyperdrive becomes operational again.”

Astronicus walked off lost in his own thoughts. One. The word came back to haunt him. Do you really think so little of us, Xanos? thought the Overlord quietly. He sighed, shaking his head. Like Master, like apprentice. So Xanos too had fallen? How many more would this war cost them?

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

“I don't think he was too pleased,” said Vexatus with an impassionate shrug.

Trevarus laughed. Despite being hard at work on the hyperdrive by now, a couple of the engineers glanced at him briefly before continuing with their work. “He'll be grateful once it's done,” he said brusquely. He paused for a moment then smiled slightly. “Anyway, I'm impressed. I didn't realise you had it in you.”

The Sith Lord glanced sideways at him. “Had what?”

“Indifference,” said Trevarus slightly amused. “You always talk about it but then you hold me back.”

Vexatus shook his head. “I kill when I must,” he said harshly. “You kill for fun.”

The Krath Master shrugged then turned back to the engineers. “How much longer? I want to be off this worthless bucket before the outsiders are setting up tourist resorts on Antei.”

“We're just finishing up now, my lord,” said the Chief Petty Officer.

A few more minutes passed before Jym Marick crawled out from under the vast device. “We're done. It should be operational again, provided the instructions your engineer gave us were correct. We'll have to clear the room first before we try,” he paused, realising it wasn't obvious why, then added, “because of the radiation.”

“Ah,” said Trevarus. “Very well, after you Xanos.” The Sith Lord left the chamber, closely followed by Trevarus. As soon as the Krath Master had exited, he swung around and gestured with his hand, sealing the door shut. Behind it, Jym Marick stared through the viewport, his eyes widening in shock. With another gesture, Trevarus hit the controls beside the door, sealing the room and instructing the hyperdrive to reboot.

Vexatus turned around, a look of confusion crossing his face. “What are you doing?”

Fun,” said Trevarus bitterly. Behind him, the hyperdrive chamber began to glow, the radiation raising the temperature several thousand degrees. Through the viewport he could make out the sight of several technicians as they lie writhing in agony on the flaw.

That is precisely what I was talking about,” said Vexatus, shaking his head in utter disgust. “What happens now if the hyperdrive doesn't work?”

“Then we would have arrived at Antei too late anyway,” said Trevarus, as if his former apprentice had asked a pointless question.

The Sith Lord shook his head. “Tron will kill you,” he said. Despite his words, his voice betrayed the fact he didn't seem to care one way or the other.

“He can try, my old apprentice, he can try.” Trevarus surveyed the instrument panels on the wall. “Can you understand these?”

Vexatus nodded. “Yes. You're lucky, the hyperdrive appears to be working again.”

Trevarus laughed. “Of course. I told you I knew I would be at Antei in time.”

The Sith Lord scowled. “Your overconfidence in your visions will be the end of you one day, Master.”

Shan Long

08-08-2007 20:34:43

Victory Class Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Two men strode through the doors of the Bridge, fury following them in a wake of dread. All activity ceased. Trevarus gazed around the room, none would meet his eyes. Cowards all, he thought. Xanos failed to realize that the death of a mundane was insignificant to him. His was the greatest purpose of all... his will was the Final Way. Exitus acta probat. The guards needed to die... although even he would admit that he killed the technical team simply to spite Tron, to demonstrate the necessity of his purpose. Fear of death cowed most mortal men into submission, and Trevarus considered himself a master of such fear.

And indeed, the rage billowing from the Overlord was enough to redden the faces, and downcast the eyes of all nearby.

"You have brutally slaughtered my men. Despite repairing the hyperdrive, you have brought this vessel to the edge of mutiny. My men trust me with their lives, and you toy with them as a feline does it ball of string..."

"Are you almost finished, Overlord?" Trevarus said, his voice deadly serious, littered with contempt.

"I swear Trevarus, if you lay hands on one more of my men, you shall answer directly to me."

"You do not scare me, Astronicus. Though I bear your name, your purpose is nothing compared to my will. This vessel is a means to an end. If getting back to Antei before the Vong means that I destroy every soul on this ship, I will do it."

He gazed over at Brenton Lamiera. "That man is still a wretch. Do not think I will not turn my Eye upon you, Overlord."

"Enough, Trevarus. You've said what you must. Are you going to guide the way?" Vexatus asked, "Or lecture us all night?"

Trevarus sat on the cold deck, thoughts of fire and blood flowing out into the Shroud. It boiled and fumed, threatening to sear his soul in its simmering wrath. He reached out again, finding the familiar paths of Astronicus' and Vexatus' minds. He pushed and pulled, extracting and issuing information from the two. In a moment, he felt the Force shimmering as the ship successfully made the leap into Hyperspace.


08-08-2007 23:28:07

The Fulcrums Blade
Inside the Shroud near the
Antei System

The four Coral Skippers pursued quickly behind the YT-2400. As seem hope was lost a blast was heard behind one of the Apprentices remarking,

"Commander I got one of them!"

Aries gave a cocky remark to remind them of their place,

"Good kid now don't let your ego go to your brain or we will all end up dead."

As the YT-2400 hualed close the the VSD the sensors started to act crazy. Aries began to curse under his tongue.

"Schudda their the doors aren't opening."

One of the apprentices ran forward to the cockpit. Looking to Aries he seemed a bit confused and stumped as well his only option was to inquire on the situation,

"That's bad right?"

Finally getting annoyed Aries grabbed the apprentice by the collar then yanking him close to look eye to eye with the youngblood,

"That means if the airlock is closed we're dead now get back to doing something useful."

The ship vibrated again as one of the cannons from the Coral Skipper fired as the alarm went off alerting a leak on the ship.

"Check the cargo hold see if there is a leak and seal that pipe."

With luck at least there was power and life support. But Aries worst fears was that the leak was for the life support system itself. As the YT-2400 another explosion was heard in space apparently luckly it was one of the Coral Skippers. Aries hollared to the gunners,

"Did one of you mynocks hit one of those wampas with a lucky shot?"

The gunner hollared back to Aries giving him an answer,

"Commander one of the ionic discharges from the Shroud destroyed one of our pursueors."

Aries rolled his eyes in sarcasism about the fact that the second fighter was destroyed due to natural reasons at least now only two were left. It was now inches that they were from as the ship came by them luckly the airlock opened for a brief second. Before the doors closed a net like device popped up from the hanger floor as Aries fired the repulsorlift as the landing skids popped out and suddenly skidding on the hanger deck. The netting stretched as it catching the bow of the transport. In moments it came to a hault as Aries took a deep breath then looked to the others as he heard the airlock shut. At least now the fighters were out of the picture and the other issue now was getting to the bridge. He could hear fighting in the Hanger as his eyes were going yellow the anger and passion fueling him. Grabbing a Honing Laser Sword, and a Litch Blade he looked in almost a demonic state to the apprentices.

"To arms boys today you learn your first lesson in blood! For the Brotherhood!"

The ramp opened on the YT-2400 as Aries charged out in fury assaulting the Vong Warriors and Voxyn as well in a surprise attack with the apprentices following behind the fight was savage as there was the attitude of battle and honor in the eyes of the Jedi Hunter. As one of the Vong knocked Aries to the ground Aries got up and soon felt his right arm severed. Screaming in pain he grabbed the Litch Blade and dove at the Vong Warrior as the Vongs own bio like dagger scarred at Aries eye and in turn Aries lunged the Litch Blade into the vongs throat. The apprentices now rushed as also several hanger staff as well asking to assist Aries.

"Get Macron and tell him I have survivors and a corpse onboard for autopsy for intelligence gathering."

The apprentices rushing with Aries to help him to the medical room.

Macron Sadow

08-08-2007 23:59:17

Macron rocketed down the dark hall on his repulsor-cart. Although the lights were low and dim, the Sith felt confident in his own Force-enhanced senses. Although one could not sense the Vong or Voxyn directly, the key lay in enhancing one’s own abilities. “Look within for power…” mused the alchemist. “Fitting. It is the Sith way.”

His com opened in silent mode, the characters scrolling across the internal helmet display in bloody red cuneiform characters. “Aries landing, needs medical assist…” read the text. “Hyperdrive operational, but the Shroud stops us from jumping. Ashura requests landing/recall. Simonetti out.” Mac nodded to himself, admiring the man’s guts sunder fire. “Hard to imagine a cruddier situation,” he chuckled. “That man is good.” His reply was swift, urging them to get Aries to an uncompromised med bay. Ashura would have to stay on CAP patrol…. Even though they were being shot up badly. War was hell.

His vehicle slowed to a halt, the repulsors coils winding down in pitch as it settled. There was no life to be seen here on deck six. Quiet drips of fluids from blast-ruptured lines slid down the walls here and there. It seemed warmer than normal, almost as if the cooling system was having difficulties. Macron examined a readout bank, keying in his personal clearance code. “Hmm, cooling damaged on deck eight,” wondered the madman. The tracking system showed Malisane and Sai in that area. Mac grinned a ghastly grin, and stopped worrying about deck eight.

The turbolift whined open behind him, and Manji and Kaelin stepped out. The kimono of his master swirled about, showing burn marks and bloodstains. Mac looked puzzled. Manji shrugged, there being no need to explain the lack of personal time to waste cleaning one’s robes in this time of war.

The Togorian next to him looked about, sniffing the air with his feline nostrils. “Near, they are,” stated the cat-man. Kaelin removed his saber from his belt and fingered the switch, igniting the brilliant blade.

Manji looked about, peering into the darkness with his good eye. “Not bad, Kaelin. I see why you taught him now,” he said to Macron with a smile. “Even if you were lazy yourself.”

“I was a bad student, true,” replied Mac as he read the sensor readouts scrolling across his internal heads-up display. The helm of the battlesuit contained a sophisticated sensor suite. Macron never trusted anything entirely, not even the Force. And in this case, the technology proved fruitful. “Always have back up,” he giggled under his breath. “I have motion contact, some 80 meters away,” he indicated with a finger. Mac reached down into the cab of the sled and removed a Ssi-Ruuk made thermal-detonator launcher. “Courtesy of the Sepros mines.”

Manji raised an eyebrow. “That’s…unusual for you,” he smirked. He steadied his breath and prepared to seek zanshin as he found his footing. “No matter. Time to dance.”

“Sith adapt. Any tool to get the job done,” giggled Mac as he shouldered the launcher. “This puppy can hit a sand-tick in the balls at a klick.” A thin cable connected the processor in the launcher to Mac’s helm port. Data began to scroll in a different stream as the computers interfaced.

“They don’t have…” said Kaelin with a frown. Both Dark Jedi groaned at the joke, the light moment preceding the upcoming fight.

“Fifty meters, closing fast, I suggest you duck,” chuckled the Sith as Manji’s argent blade added to Kaelin’s turquoise light. “Stand by. Fire!” The launcher thumped as three silver balls sailed toward the Voxyn. They could not see it clearly yet, but that mattered little to the unforgiving area-effect weapons. Actinic light flared from the Baradium bombs as the trebled whoosh and bangs ripped forth. A glop shell followed right after…


09-08-2007 01:44:28

Kren followed his father down the hallway, nose twitching wildly as he hunted their prey. The Tuk'ata were equal if not slightly larger than the Voxyn. But the size of the prey never mattered, all his life he had hunted and he had killed the small and the large. Of course he hadn't had anything large for sometime, the endless ages that they were locked in the tomb had given them very little to chase after.

It was his current master's long dead descendent, Naga Sadow, who had sealed them in there. But he was their master and so now his child from many generations was their master as well. Their bulk made traversing the corridors feel like going down a narrow tunnel, but that only added to the hunt. For most of his life he was a guardian of a tomb, now he was the Sith Hound that he was meant to be.

The Force-sensitive Tuk'ata, or Sith hounds, were used for hundreds if not thousands of years to guard the tombs of the Dark Lords of the Sith on Korriban. Many were sealed inside the tombs much like his father and himself, their immortality being the only thing to truly keep them alive - the vermin merely added flavor to what they had to guard.

They were getting closer, he could sense it by the fear that grappled nearby humans and the stench of the Voxyn grew stronger the closer they neared. Xor stopped and turned his head back to address his son.

// Now prepare yourself, my son. // Ordered Xor as he growled the words in the ancient Sith language. He looked forward again, eyes intent on something ahead. // These are no mere prey we stalk. Their breath and spit burns, while their blood boils. Kill, but do not bite deep into their flesh. //

// I follow your lead, father. // Growled back Kren.

Xor was still sore from there previous encounters with the beasts' masters. He had been slashed open several times, but his thick hide provided a measure of protection. His son was obviously in a better physical condition than he, but lacked the experience of a true hunt. Master Sadow had used his Sith alchemy to create creatures of monstrous size back on Yavin, he had slew several of them himself, but Kren had never the chance to prove his worth before they were sealed in the tomb.

He crept forward into a doorway, his head barely peering through. Inside was a large room with many tables and injured or dead human bodies. In one corner he saw the creature, it had pursued one that was with the Force back up against the wall. She was young, as he understood it and was barely keeping the creature at bay. The room was expansive enough that he would be able to launch himself and grapple it from behind. He reared back on his haunches and then sprung forward, his powerful legs projecting him through the air.

Claws extended, he wrapped his forward paws around the beast's sides. It snapped it's head back, grazing his skin and ripping away some of the short haired fur. They danced, jumping and bucking in circles as the Voxyn attempted time after time to throw him off. It kept reaching back to get a bite out of him, it's breath wreaking of death and the smell of something burning. It was so preoccupied that it didn't notice Kren waltz in. With a swipe of his massive right paw he snapped the creatures head back, a loud cracking sound followed as the head came back around and went limp.

Xor jumped off the creature as it's flesh started to steam. Holes began to appear and it's blood oozed out as the body began to sag and turn into a pool of the boiling steaming liquid. The smell burnt the tip of his nose, making Xor take several steps back, hissing and growling and the dead creature for leaving such a vile carcass after death.

Kren too did not like the smell, with a shrug of his head toward the exit the two left the room. They could here the young Sith girl scream for them, they could not understand her for she did not speak the ancient language like their master, and so they kept walking. It still rattled Xor, so he looked back to see what she wanted. What he saw was an incompetent. She had fallen to her knees and was choking on the gas exuded from the Voxyn's corpse. She soon stopped breathing and fell face first into the liquid pool of acid.

His master had not ordered him to rescue, he and Kren were told to hunt down the Voxyn beasts and that is what they would do. The young Sith's fate was her own fault for not knowing better. Xor saw Kren lift his head as his nose picked up a new scent. The younger Tuk'ata took off in a rush, now invigorated to hunt these things. Xor followed his son, eager to kill some as well.

Tuk'ata at Wookiepedia


09-08-2007 03:31:57

Victory Class Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Deck Nine
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

No! The heretics have fixed their mechanical monstrosity the Yuuzhan Vong thought to himself, as he walked down the corridor. He was disguised as human and dressed as a Dlarit security officer; Lieutenant Mart Brand.

Brand was a sleeper agent. He had arrived months before and was the Yuuzhan Vong’s principle agent aboard. His had been order to help the humans and these Dark Jeedai until the nonbelievers reached the heart of the Brotherhood… this planet called Antei.

“OK men, weapons ready,” said Brand to his team of humans. Oh how he hated this, clinging the artificial weapon in his hands, the absence of life unsettled him. Two Voyxn turned the corner, and the Vong’s heart jumped with joy, yet it pained him to realise he would have to open fire on Voyxn.

The Dlarit human’s started firing their weapons, and Mart found it hard to stop himself from almost attacking the team for the ungodly act. “Sir, why aren’t you shooting them?” One of the weak human’s asked.

Brand had no choice, he had to wait till this metal monster reached Antei before he could put his plans into action. He joined the team, as opened fire on the Voxyn, purposely aiming to miss them.

The Voxyn, however, didn’t appear to be stopping, and in one swift jump attacked the humans, ripping and tearing them to death. They ignored the Yuuzhan Vong sleeper who simply stood to one side and watched the death with a smile on his face. He then did the unthinkable, but it had to be done. Mart ran to the intercom and shouted in, “this is Lt. Brand, and my team is being murdered here by those…things… request back up ASAP!"

Nekura Manji

09-08-2007 09:04:31

As the aftermath of Macron's barrage faded away Manji and Kaelin launched into a charge, sabres flashing as they pounded down the corridor towards the Voxyn. An answering screech floated from the beasts, but it was faint- the Voxyn had been caught off guard and injured by Macron's attack.

Suddenly, the Epis' feet left the floor as he leapt into the air, sabre blurring with movement. Silver slashed down at one of the Voxyn's face as it looked up with a loud snarl, forked tongue flapping out of it's mouth. Aiming his attack precisely, the Epis swept the silver blade across, cleaving the tongue in two as the Voxyn reared back, preparing to attack. A strangled screech ripped from the creature's throat as the severed length of it's tongue dropped to the floor, steam pouring from the cauterised wound. Manji danced back nimbly, his eyes widening as the steam took on a distinctly unpleasant hue, almost toxic-looking.

"Damn things don't die easily, huh?"

To the other side of the corridor, Kaelin moved with an equal grace and speed, his own turquoise blade flashing as he harried the other Voxyn. The creature reared back on it's hind legs and opened it's mouth, about to emit an ear-crushing screech that would render Macron, Kaelin and Manji helpless.

Capitalising on the sudden opening, Kaelin lashed out with his sabre, the blade struggling to hack messily through the hard scales on one of the creature's forepaws. As Kaelin snarled and put all his strength behind the blade, it ripped through, another burst of steam gushing from the wound and transforming upon contact with the air.

As Manji and Kaelin moved back slightly, Macron striding forward with his own orange sabre ignited, the two Voxyn swiftly recovered, their wounds closing up almost unnaturally. A grunt of surprise left Manji's lips as he stared at the beasts.

"Huh. Fast healing rate."

Chuckling, Macron fingered another couple of grenades in his belt, his eyes locked on the gaping maws of the Voxyn.

"Yeah. I think we're going to have to get... creative."

Shinichi Endymiron K

09-08-2007 14:07:05

A glimmer of fear touched their minds as Ashia and Shin’ichi raced through the halls of the Victory Class Star Destroyer. Once again they hunted for Vong and Voxyn within their own vessel. The rage of the two summit members was amplified as they fed off of each other. Somehow, someway they had forged a Force-Bond several months back and now each was unable to hide even their most vexing thoughts from the other. Much to the chagrin of both Keibatsu the other members of their family began referring to them as ‘the twins’, and now as they tracked their enemies through the Covenant both felt the trepidation come from the minds of Manji and Macron.

Calling upon the Dark Side they raced even faster towards the source of their joint anxiety and rounding a corner were confronted with two Voxyn and three lightsabers illuminating the darkness. Silver, orange and aquamarine cast a strange if interesting glow in the cramped hallways. The Voxyn sensing the new arrivals turned and snarled at the Proconsul and Quaestor. In unison two blades of amethyst growled into life, their angry rumble emulating the aggressive feelings of the five Dark Jedi now assembled. “It would seem that we’ve arrived just in time” quipped the lone female Keibatsu. Shin’ichi merely tipped his head by way of agreement; Manji and Macron released the small measure of fear and allowed the fury to join with them. Kaelin, the only one present to not be of the Keibatsu smiled happily at the arrival of his friends.

The Voxyn with the severed tongue charged for Ashia and Shin’ichi, the other made for Kaelin no doubt sensing his smaller measure of power compared to the rest of the assembled Sadowites. Leaping in the air the Keibatsu ‘twins’ landed to either side of the beast and attempted to take it legs, the hide even there proved too tough for a single saber stroke to handle. As the creature rounded on Shin’ichi, Ashia sent a section of armor plating flying into its side. The beast howled in rage and agony as it rolled harmlessly to the side. Flipping up in an instant it made for Shin’ichi once again.

Seizing the same piece of debris Ashia sent it flying over the creature and then utilizing their bond both Keibatsu hurtled it down upon the unsuspecting animal with the force to cleave it in twain. The forward half of the beast continued its charge until collapsing less than half a meter before the Proconsul it finally died. The blood instantly began to dissolve and poison the air, the ‘twins’ had to quickly utilize a special breathing technique they had been taught long ago in their initial trainings at the Shadow Academy.

Meanwhile Macron and Manji standing to either side of Kaelin began to launch projectiles at the beast that was attempting to run him down. Small metal shards, bolts, sections of glass, and anything that was lying about was being hurled at the creature in an effort to stop or at least slow it down. Macron knew what he had to do to stop the beast. The virus was in a vial upon the bandolier across his chest. He had to make the beast ingest it. In an instant he sent his thoughts to Manji and Kaelin.

Kaelin burst into a charge running full tilt at the beast by way of an acknowledgement. As the two closed upon one another the young Knight called upon the force and leapt over the head of the animal. As the Voxyn jumped to catch its prey in the air it was slammed backwards by a metal crate being rammed into its underside by Manji. Opening its gaping maw to howl in impotent rage a glass tube shattered above and liquid dropped into the throat of the beast. Calling upon the force Macron sent the vial into the air and shattered it at the proper and precise moment.

The virus began to attack the Voxyn on a genetic level and the beast soon found itself unable to walk let alone attack. It died a convulsing mass of flesh upon the cold steel floor. As the five Dark Jedi gathered it was Shin’ichi who spoke first.

“I’ve had enough of being hunted on our own flagship.” His metallic voice rang out in the corridor.

“What can we do but repel these beasts?” Kaelin asked of the Keibatsu.

Ashia spoke next. “There are five other clans in the shroud…”

“…why not use them as a shield against this threat.” Shin’ichi finished her sentence.

Macron looked at them both. “What are you suggesting?” he asked thoughtfully.

In unison the ‘twins’ replied with a single word. “Tarentum.”


09-08-2007 17:32:37

“My friend, it’s been a pleasure.”

Sai reflected on the words Malisane spoke to him just before the Battlemaster reentered the Covenant’s bar and the Knight sped down the corridor in search of his family. True, his own blood and the political predilections of Malisane had often placed them at opposing ends when it came to the Clan’s direction; still Sai had to smile as he thought about the unifying bonds of battle, and how minds and hearts could be altered with the capriciousness of circumstance. For his part, Sai was glad that he could witness Malisane’s quickening in the heat of battle against the Vong, the Battlemaster’s burning out imminent, as it were. On the other hand, Malisane, freed from the bonds of political maneuvering, had begun to change his views towards the family with his experiences with the Keibatsu Knight. The change was infinitesimal, yes, but it was a change, nonetheless.

Indeed, with the clasping of forearms and locked eyes, the two Dark Jedi had forged an unspoken bond. They would not soon forget the role one another had played in their mutual survival; whenever their paths would cross, Sai and Malisane could now count on each other’s shared support. Should Clan Naga Sadow survive this threat, that is.

Sai now rounded a bend just as he received a message via personal commlink from a Lt. Brand, somewhere on a lower deck. The Knight was just about to respond when his tripartite eyes alit upon a most welcome sight.

Almost as one, the four members of the Keibatsu who, along with Kaelin, had gathered in the corridor, turned to face their wayward cousin.

Ashia spoke first. “Ah, the Prodigal has returned!” She affected an easy mien as Sai approached. With the Knight’s arrival, things certainly had changed. Four Keibatsu were more than a match for anything; five made things almost unfair. “How are my ‘Serpents’?” the Nightsister continued, inquiring after her erstwhile Battleteam. Though she was now Quaestor, it was her concern for all things Sadow that had endeared those that she commanded to her.

The ‘Serpents’ are fine, cousin,” Sai chided her with a grin while stressing the non-possessive, reminding her with his tone that there was a reason he was, among other things in the Clan’s infrastructure, named by her to be her replacement as Tetrarch. “Scattered, but fine.”

Macron, Manji, and Shin’ichi closed in, the latter giving easy smiles and words of welcome. Only Shin leaned in close, his eyes hard. “Apprentice,” he uttered the single word, metallic sibilance heavy with command.

“Master,” Sai returned, squaring fully upon the Proconsul.

Shin leaned in close; he had no desire to embarrass his apprentice in front of Kaelin, but he had to say what plagued him since he plumbed their Master/Student bond to see what he had been up to over the last couple of days.

“Be mindful of the company you keep,” he admonished. Breathing deeply, Sai drew himself up to his full height, which just about matched Shin’s, considering the Knight’s wild hair. Sai knew of whom Shin spoke.

“That’s something we can discuss, Master. Trust that I do, and know that I’m glad to rejoin my teacher…and cousins,” he added, returning their smiles.

Respectful confidence bolstered both Sai’s voice and his bond with Shin. The Epis regarded his Apprentice, who had come so far since he’d taken the Korun in. Satisfied, he decided to let the matter lie, for the moment.

Suddenly, a thought occurred to Macron. Here, in the depths of the beleaguered Covenant, idled a better part of the Clan’s leadership: The Con, Procon, a Quaestor, Aedile, and the Rollmaster. All it would take was a pair of swift voxyn, or, Sadow forbid, a Dlarit Corporation employee who chafed under the yoke of servitude with a spare thermal detonator…he let the thought die with a giggle.

“Uh oh, Mac’s thinking of death again,” laughed Manji.

“Yes, but for who?” rejoined Ashia.


09-08-2007 23:05:04

Aboard the VSD Covenant
Uncompromised Medical Bay
The Shroud Antei System

The medical staff hurried quickly of the body of Aries Taral Kyi Vorak. The bay doors hissed opened as they rushed him inside. He was carried on a make shift stretcher. One of the medical doctors hurried along as to rush before the hanger staff and apprentices,

"What in the blazes is going on here!"

A hanger staff member approached forward to answer the medical doctors question,

"This man encountered a foe and lost his right arm and right eye as well. He needs immediate medical attention."

The medical officer hesitated for a moment he looked around the medical room seeing already it was occupied with other patients and at the same time they had to close off one section to perform an autopsy on a dead Vong to report information back to Macron. The medical officer studied his wounds for a moment both the arm and the eye as well. He called for a medical droid as it made it's way over then and took several samples of blood and tissue for to be examined. The doctor then looked to the rest of the members,

"He can be saved but there are too many in the medical room it may take a while."

A female voice came over the commlink. Her voice sharp and with determination to make the point clear is she had to appear and make an example of this medical officer,

"Doctor as of right now this patient is priority one! If he dies I will make sure personally you will answer for your actions with a deathwish. Do I make myself clear?"

The medical officer swallowed one gulp before speaking. He could feel his nerves locked by her tone of comment. Looking back to the patient then to the commlink,

"He can be saved but he needs immediate attention the Bacta Tank won't do he needs surgery and implants."

The voice came over the commlink clarifing her demands,

"I hope you do for your sake doctor. For this one is important to Sapphire Squadron."

The doctor then felt nervous reliesing that his patient Aries himself and if he injured him then he would have to answer to his Master and the Consul as well for his actions. As they rushed the body to an operating room he looked to the crowd that followed him,

"His right eye is dead the only thing I can do at this time is bolt a metal eyepatch to his skull to cover the wound. As far as his arm is concerned. The only thing I can do is possibly transplant a cadaver arm to his body and see how it responds to his bio readings."

The apprentices and novices that were with him on the YT-2400 felt to inquire exactly what cadaver arm could he use and why,

"Doctor why not a cybernetic arm?"

"All of our cybernetic prostetics were lost in the other room that was torn in the fighting. So apparently this is the only option I have.

"And what kind of cadaver arm do you expect to use on him?"

The doctor felt unsure since there was no other option. Surprisiingly there was one fresh corpse that still had tissue that could serve the purpose of the transplant even though it was the only option.

"Unless anyone objects I feel the best choice is that one from the on he brought back with from the mission. It's really the only choice we have. After the surgery time in the Bacta Tank."

The group fell silent at the medical officers decision. Aries had just became an attempted experiment to save his life.


10-08-2007 06:47:53

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The three Elders stood at the front of the bridge, their eyes blank as they stared in unison out the main viewport into the empty nothingness of the Shroud. The usual blue-white starlines of hyperspace were noticeably absent as the Star Destroyer flew through the rift the Elders were projecting before the ship, replaced with the ever present darkness of the Shroud.

If it were actually possible to see inside the Shroud in realspace one would have watched the shadow of a bubble pierce its way through the ionised dust as a steady trail of debris was pushed out of its path. In its wake the Shroud would have closed again, its vast energy storms crying out in defiance of the intrusion.

Every so often the bubble changed course, avoiding one of the greater mass shadows formed from an asteroid or a large chunk of debris from a previous battle. It would have been suicide for a normal man but these were no ordinary men, they were Dark Jedi of the highest class.

The ship shuddered as it reverted back to realspace again, repositioning for another change in projection. The three Elders took a step back, using the brief pause to recollect their thoughts. Araic Simonetti wandered over, amazed, yet curious how they were traversing what amounted to a nebula field at such vast speeds.

“My lords?”

Astronicus turned around first, the madman and the Falleen holding their gaze on the absence outside.

“Yes, Captain?” said Astronicus, his voice far more inviting than most of the others.

“May I ask how you are doing this? ” He gestured out the viewport. “The navigating. It should be suicide. Our readings are going off the charts. With all due respect, for all intents and purposes, we should be dead.”

Astronicus opened his mouth to answer but the Falleen spoke first.

“Just as mass projects gravitational fields in realspace so too are there mass shadows in hyperspace. I assume you know this much already,” he said with a pause. When Simonetti did not protest he continued. “A normal crew could not traverse more than a few thousand kilometers before colliding with one of the larger mass shadows. We are able to perceive these shadows through the Force, sense them, plan for them.” He paused before finishing. “The Force can foresee much further than a navicomputer.”

Captain Araic Simonetti considered the point for a moment. “So, you're saying you guide the ship through the debris?”

The Falleen turned, nodding. “Yes. Though that is not all. We also maintain a rift in front of the ship, almost like a plough, enabling the ship to travel without the dust clouds shredding its hull the moment it reverts to realspace. The mass shadow of a fragment of dust may be too small to affect a ship in hyperspace, but it would fly right through our shields the moment we reverted to realspace. It does, after all, take a few seconds to slow the ship back down to a complete halt.”

Most of the nearby bridge crew were looking completely confused but the Captain continued to nod, running the explanation past his basic understanding of starship physics. “I suppose that would make sense,” he said slowly, though one point still confused him. “Assuming we are travelling at lightspeed, surely we should have arrived by now?” he asked, careful not to annoy the Dark Jedi.

The Falleen shook his head. “No, it's not quite that simple. You see, the mass shadows also act as a dampener, slowing the ship's passage through hyperspace. The mass shadows, while not large enough to damage the ship, provide enough resistance to substantially slow our passage through the Shroud. Unlike in open vacuum, here our acceleration is not infinite, there is a finite limit to how fast we can travel.”

Araic Simonetti nodded again. “So, it's like travelling through a planetary atmosphere? The mass shadows act like air molecules, slowing the aircraft and preventing it from achieving terminal velocity?”

Lord Vexatus nodded. “Yes, exactly like that,” he said, faintly impressed. “The Shroud is like a great stellar atmosphere, making it impossible for us to actually achieve lightspeed. In reality, we are probably only travelling at a fraction of the speed, despite being in hyperspace. It would perhaps be more prudent to say all we are doing is using the hyperdrive to propel us through realspace much faster than at ordinary sublight speeds.”

Captain Simonetti frowned. “So, the ship is in hyperspace, but not travelling at lightspeed?” he said sounding slightly confused.

The Falleen nodded again. “Something like that. The exact nature of the Shroud is unknown but the properties it exhibits amount to a slowdown of what we would normally express as lightspeed. In actual fact, we do not reach lightspeed, we merely mimic the effects of hyperspace to travel through the Shroud faster. It would perhaps be true to say we in truth do not enter hyperspace as we normally know it, but exist in a state of limbo between the two dimensions.” He paused, smiling slightly. “Before you ask why we do not simply travel under sublight conditions, I doubt you would want to navigate the ship through the debris in realspace while travelling at a fifth of the speed of light, if indeed the shields could sustain it.”

Simonetti widened his eyes at the thought. “No,” he said shaking his head. “I imagine making the course adjustments in time would be rather,” he paused before continuing, “challenging to say the least.”

Vexatus smiled. “Indeed. Hyperspace allows us to avoid the troubles of minor objects. The mass shadow of a small stone is no danger, however, of course, we still have to look out for moons and other large objects posing a large enough risk of dragging us out of hyperspace. It would do us no good to revert inside a moon.”

Trevarus turned around, yawning loudly. “Are you done with the science lecture, Xanos?” he said dryly.

The Sith Lord shrugged. “I was merely explaining to the Captain, here,” he sighed. “There is seldom else to do while waiting for the ship to adjust course between jumps.”

Trevarus inclined his head slightly. “True. I had forgotten how sluggish taking a Star Destroyer through the Shroud can be. There are too few paths wide enough to accommodate it. I much prefer using the Sanguinus,” he said with a sigh.

“How much longer do you think it will take?” asked Astronicus, his eyes firmly fixed on Xanos, not wanting to so much as look upon the Krath Master right now. Even so, there was still a slight sourness in his eye while looking at Xanos, at Darth Vexatus. His time on Korriban had changed him.

“I imagine the best part of a day,” said Vexatus. “Not knowing how far we made it during that first failed jump, it is hard to say exactly how much further we have to travel.” He turned to Trevarus. “Did you ever conclude what happened with that?”

“Do you remember the holes in the gravitational field when the Yuuzhan Vong first arrived?”

The Sith Lord thought back, recalling the odd sensations he had of unnatural fluctuations. One of the benefits of being a master of telekinetics meant being more in tune with the Living Force than most. “I do not recall thinking much of it at the time. Now that we are more familiar with their shielding, you think it was something to do with them?”

Trevarus nodded. “Kem told me as much. The aliens apparently make use of devices which generate artificial mass shadows, like an interdiction field. We must have flown too close to one.”

Vexatus ran his memory back. The facts appeared to add up. The hyperdrive had fired up but they had almost immediately come crashing back into realspace, the jump lasting no more than a few seconds. He briefly stretched out with the Force to their present surroundings. “I do not sense any now.”

“Nor do I,” said Trevarus distantly. “I assume they just laid them at the outskirts, hoping to seal us within the Shroud and prevent our escape.”

There was a beep from one of the devices clipped to Captain Simonetti's belt. “My lords,” he said with a pause, waiting to make sure they did not intend to continue their conversation further. “The necessary course adjustments are complete.”

“Excellent,” said Astronicus. “Make sure everyone is ready for the next microjump.”

Syrus Korodin

10-08-2007 14:29:46

Some days were simply terrible. There was no way around that indomitable fact.

In the past twenty-four hours Shuang had been stabbed, slashed, nearly vaporized, attacked by aliens, forced to drift hopelessly through space, struck with plasma, attacked by a voxyn, and even missed his afternoon tea.

Hell, he never missed his afternoon tea. Never.

The most humiliating had been the voxyn, of course. Lacking the fantastic power of higher ranked warriors he had been forced to rely on his coilbolt exclusively. After emptying a clip of shells into the monstrosity he had fled into the safety of his starfighter, sitting in the cockpit and waiting for the creature to go away.

For all its power and bioengineered strength, the voxyn could not eat through the shield of the Twilight Shadow. It tried, of course, but the Shadow’s malicious AI quickly diverted all energy to the hull, charging it with enough electrical energy to power a small city.

Needless to say, the voxyn was quickly incapacitated. It remained on the ground beside the ship, unconscious, snoring thunderously.

Shuang was too frightened of the thing to just step out and kill it, so instead he slowly hovered the ship over its prone form and landed on it. After a sickening crunch the creature was dead, and goddamn did it smell. If his computer had not alerted him to that whole poison gas thing, his terrible day might just have taken the added step that brings a terrible day to “worst day ever”.

After that unpleasant ordeal he decided to return to his post on the bridge, and perhaps lend his navigational duties to the captain. Entering the bridge he quickly found the console he had been using before, locating it thanks to the pile of ash Trev had conveniently deposited near there to mark the end of the previous occupant. He sat down at the console and reached forward to activate the terminal.

Almost immediately a voice began to scream through his comlink.

“… request back up ASAP!"

“Oh?” said Shuang into his own comlink, linking it to the incoming frequency, “and who might you be?”

“Lieutenant Brand, sir!

“What deck?”

“Nine, sir. Please, send backup!”

“Oh, alright.”

With an almost careless flick he turned on the main computer terminal, turning on all cameras on deck nine, instructing the computer to search for movement. A second later he was confronted with a scene of absolute carnage, corpses scattered everywhere, voxyn slashing and tearing.

And off to the side, watching with an expression of utmost glee, was Lieutenant Brand.

“Oh dear,” muttered Shuang, slowly rising from his seat. He fiddled with his comlink again.

“Sending backup, Lieutenant. Stay where you are, please.”

The Frost Dragon quietly sidled up beside the captain, silent and unassuming.

“Captain,” he whispered into Simonetti’s ear, causing him to jolt, “I’m going to take care of an intruder on deck nine. Do excuse me.”

“Of…of course,” said the Captain, genuinely frightened by the creepy dark jedi.

Without a word Shuang left the bridge again, coilbolt in hand, ready to “help” the good Lieutenant.

Macron Sadow

10-08-2007 16:10:59

"Backup…" came the voice from the helmet link as Mac touched his faceplate. He looked fondly at the thermal detonator in his hand, and put it away with a sigh. The pretty colors would have to wait.

"Sending…" repeated the Frost Dragon's voice. Macron reached out with his senses, feeling the anticipation in Shuang's essence. Another voice from the Bridge came: “Simonetti… short hyperjumps. Elders… navigating.” The ship gave a slight lurch right as the message ended.

"Dren, we have another situation on deck 9," he canted through his vocabulator. "In any case, it's not good for all of us to be in one place. Someone needs to be on personal Voxyn duty here, Tron's orders. I need some of you to go help Aries in the med bay… he may not make it," said Mac. Even though his face was covered, the frown was implied in his voice.

"I'm on the Deck 9 issue. I'll meet Shaung on the way," spoke the ruthlessly efficient Shin'Ichi. He shouldered his gear, checking the Verpine Shatter Rifle carefully. “I’ll be with you in our thoughts,” came his mental contact with Ashia. She looked pointedly at him and inclined her head subtly, the promise of carnage glinting behind her Nightsister eyes.

"Ashia and Manji, can you deal with clearing this deck?” asked the Sith Battlelord. He continued to touch the temple of his helm as he checked the Ssi-Ruu projectile launcher back into the repulsor car. He still had four detonators left, and one of them was stuffed with an unstable isotope found only in slight amounts under Sepros. The Last Breath Mine produced the baradium 93, and it was quite powerful. Powerful enough to kill a Voxyn for certain, but dangerous to the wielders and anyone nearby.

A quiet giggle erupted from his lips. “We might die in the Shroud anyway. Perhaps the detonator would have been more merciful. But Sith are not merciful… especially not to themselves,” he thought as he turned his covered face back toward the group and stowed his saber blade. He handed the orange-sized metal globe to Sai with a chuckle. “Umm. This is a good one. Be careful.” Sai looked him, winced, and hooked it into his belt pouch.

“Of course, you baka,” chuckled Manji. “I was bashing filth like these “Voxyn” while you were still wearing clone diapers.” Mononoke’s eyes flashed yellow at the mention of his parentage, and then dimmed.

Ashia smiled at the joke, nodding her head in the affirmative. “I’d like to see Aries taken care of. If you can help, that would be appreciated, Mac.”

“Taken care of?” asked Macron as he raised his Armor Fist clad hand and flexed it quizzically. His voice betrayed his curiosity, with a hint of regret. "Terminated?"

“Not like that,” chuckled Sai with a gleaming grin. “She means helped, big brother.”

“Oh,” said the alchemist disappointedly as his voice faded off. “I see. Yes, I can help him. I was hoping to have a little more fun fighting…but the duty of seeing to my brethren comes first, I suppose. And I can have a little fun with Aries, heh heh.” He nodded, stepping back aboard his repulsor car with Kaelin and zooming off with a bow. “Congratulations, Pontifex!” he shouted over the vocoder as he left, the voice receding with distance.

Sai spoke first as the groups compared stories and information from different parts of the ship. “He’s really strange,” he mused. "My eyes are still this way from his venom potion."

“Kind of hard to work with sometimes, but his heart is in the right place,” added Shin’Ichi.

“In which jar?” quipped Ashia as they all chuckled.

They laid out their battleplan carefully. Sai looked back and forth between them, punching in data on a datapad. Manji laid out a map as Shin'Ichi pointed at different attack and travel routes. Ashia knew the lore of the ship well, and added some hidden passages of her own. These Krath were perfect for this extermination-with-prejudice job.


10-08-2007 20:41:09

Malisane entered the bar once more and sighed. The destruction was worse now, obviously a voxyn had rampaged through here recently, and the tables and chairs were smashed or crushed. Broken glass and liquor stained the floor, and a beer pump spewed out its precious fluid slowly diluting the thicker liquid.

He slowly picked his way through the mess, watching his step to avoid slipping and falling. He looked behind the bar to find the same. Was there a drink anywhere around here. Then he spied the cold store with its heavy sealed metal door. Optimistically he wandered over and found it battered and warped. He pressed the mechanism and nothing happened.He struggled with the manual release for a second then let go of it. He frowned, then reached for his lightsaber and ignited it, then slowly sliced down through the hinges, before with a kick of his foot the door collapsed into the room with a clang and he stepped inside.

Immediatley his saber snapped up in an instictive defensive parry, catching the whip like amphistaff that crackled through the cold misty air towards him. "What the?" he asked before he managed to bring his saber down to block a second strike. The Yuhzaan Vong gripped the now solid staff and swung it around, the Sith blocking once more and flicked a low strike that caused the alien warrior to step backwards and stumble, the Battlemaster pressing his attack against it. The Vong raised the staff to block a third strike and backed off.

"How long have you been hiding in here?" Malisane asked.
"The Yuuzhan Vong do not hide Jeedai." the warrior snarled, raising his staff threateningly.
"So let me guess," the Sith said with a grin, "you came in here for a look around and got yourself stuck when the door closed?" he laughed. "I guess you're not the brains of your unit."
The warrior snarled and attacked again, Malisane blocking the arching staff and pushed the weapon back again.
"You will die for your impudence Jeedai."
Malisane shook his head. "I think not," He reached out with the force and gripped the nearby stack of metal shelves, heavy with supplies and bottles, and pulled it, taking a step back as he did so.

The Vong roared as the shelves hit him, loosing his balance as it pushed him down, before the contents smashed into its armour, not hurting him but pinning him further. He pushed against it but had no leverage with his arms and legs pinned. His face was pressed against the cold metal floor as he strained. Malisane walked calmly over, selected a heavy metal crate full of vegetables, and with a smile brought it down on the Vongs exposed head The alien warriors lights went out and he was still.

A few minutes later Malisane was sat on an upturned crate, sipping from a bottle of liquor he had found. He reached for another bottle, this one full of water, and unceremoniously poured it over the creature's head. It regained consiousness, spitting and snarling. Malisane smiled and took a swig. "Back with us?" he asked. The Vong ignored him. "I'll take that as you trying to think of an answer." He studied the trapped alien. "I'm glad we had a chance to have this conversation," he said quietly, "one way or another your people have caused myself and my Clan a lot of inconvienience the last few days."

The Vong was still silent. Malisane continued. "So, what's going to happen now is to make up for that we're going to sit here and you're going to tell me all about it. What your people's plans are, their numbers, where else they were heading for?" He glanced at the Vong. "I understand you're only a footsoldier but they must have told you something, and I suggest you start thinking of something you can tell me."
"Your attempt at threats will not work on me Jeedai."
Malisane frowned, "Have I threatened you?" he asked curiously. "I could do of course. I have a good friend called Macron who has all sorts of exotic techniques to use in these situations. Very unpleasant stuff, personally I don't like to think about that kind of thing, makes my stomach turn, especially surrounded by all this food," He took another swig. "Me I'm more practical. Start cutting things off, thats the trick, plain, classic, simple, usually gets people thinking about what they could loose next."
He looked down at the Vong. "But you're a big tough Vong warrior, you're not afraid of that stuff, hell for all I know you enjoy it."

He took another swig. "So what could I do with you? Well it seems to me that warriors are all about pride, you can take the pain and the pressure but you don't like to feel helpless, you don't like to feel like you've lost. I can understand that none of us do. If I were in your place stuck there I'd be seething by now." He sat thoughtfully, taking another sip.
"You know, I grew up on a place called Coruscant, I gather you guys conquered it a while ago. Don't blame you, that life's beyond me now, hell give me a fleet I'd have conquered the place myself. But it was a good time back then, lots of fun. Remember one particular game we used to play at festivals. They'd get this big round paper ball full of sweets and we'd take it in turns blindfold to hit it with a stick until it burst. Great fun."
He glanced at the Vong. "That might be entertaining now. Our medics could seperate that thick head of yours from the rest of you, carefully leave you alive. Then we could take you home and suspend you from the ceiling by a hook and take it in turns to knock you back and forth, see if we can crack that head of yours. Bit of a silly game but after a few drinks you tend to do that kind of thing. Compared with some of our games its practically sensible."

The Vong was still silent. "And the rest of the time you could just hang there for our amusement and a lesson to journeymen. You could be alive like that for years, decades even." He finished the bottle. "Anyway I've got stuff to be getting on with and it's getting cold in here. I'll come back to see you later. That weapon of yours is nicely our of the way, you have no idea how much trouble I took moving it without touching it physically or with the force but it killed a few minutes. Have a think about your options."
He got to his feet and walked out, pressing a button which erected an emergency forcefield where the door had been. With a glance behind him he wandered off to find the rest of the Clan.


10-08-2007 23:26:45

Aboard the VSD Covenant
Uncompromised Medical Bay
The Shroud Antei System

The body floated suspended in the Bacta Tank. His mind lost in the state of conciousness and instead drifted elsewhere. Unaware of where he was all he could see was blackness as though a great shroud encaged him. There was no consideration if he thought he was dead or not. Or if perhaps he was in a dream instead the mind of Aries just simplied drifted. For a time later his vision was blurred there was a sinsation of confusion then panic trying to set in. Yet as his vision began to clear soon then came the sense of loss of awareness. For as the blur began to slowly reveal the curtains of fade back his vision became sharp and attune but the location was confusing. As Aries looked around for a moment he was not onboard the VSD Covenant. Instead he was on Dathomir or was he? At first the clarity of being on the Covenant was clear as day but then as he looked around it almost became then a lost memory. Looking over a rocky cliff edge through the dark horizon of the wild untamed world he could hear the beast primative and untamed in the background. The territorial call of the Rancor. But if was soon as he turned around he heard a familar voice,

"Miss me so soon my love?"

He seemed confused then looking around as he looked back at the woman standing before him,

"I killed you long ago how is it that you live?"

A simple laugh came over her sweet lips as she licked them raising a seductive eyebrow then walking up close to him,

"The question should be are you really dead Arias Vorak or am I just a figment of your dark desires. Even in the back of your mind lies deeper passions."

Aries felt frustrated this woman who once loved him who betrayed him tampering with his thoughts then later in a moment in time to resurface. But the thought crossed him was he dead? Was this some dark hell he arrived in. Or instead a dark underworld one where instead darkness being nothing it was the purgatory of temptation and every desire. All becoming question in his Sith mind. He circled her for a moment then inquire to her,

"You died Yalena you gave yourself to the Nightsisters and in turn then try to use what we had as a weapon against me.

All the woman could do was roar loudly with a laugh as though a hidden trueth she knew well and was kept secret from him. The wind blew on the cliff edge as she looked around for a moment then pointed to him speaking,

"Did I remember what the elder of the Singing Mountain Clan said about you. This one bares the mark of death when he walks, surely the path of the darkside is with him. And now look at you Arias. Or Aries Taral Kyi Vorak either way it does not matter already the darkside remains with you and forever it will lets just say I helped in your path."

A fury of rage built in him as he charged at her somehow finding a Litch Blade on her as he lunged at her but as soon as he struck the blade passed through with what appeared as an apparition. He seemed shocked by her presense then as wildly she laughed then began to speak to him,

"What was the saying of the Sith there is no peace only passion? Keep in mind Aries your heart will always be the master over you as well as your downfall. Even now the master you serve you eyes above her albaster skin so tempting. Like me she can see your heart and the hidden trueth. Passion may be an emotion to empower but it is also an emotion that can be decieved. Unless of course that you desire her Aries as you did me. but as always death walks with you."

Laughing wildly at him he screamed in rage as soon then his arm began to be thrown in reflex impacting something hard then hearing a crack noise as if pressure building against it. In that moment before coming aware he hears and explosion of pressure as glass breaking and then a great flow of liquid pouring outward onto a surface. In this flow he falls onto a hard surface. Finally becoming aware he looks around frantic as he hears footsteps approaching him unsure of who it is. Anticipating the sound he reachs out with what he thinks is his normal right arm and grabs the being by the throat and hoist him to the wall. Confused he cannot understand why he can only see with one eye as he looks to person he is holding by the throat was the medical officer. Security tried to pry Aries off as it could show in his eye total glare of yellow and red as rage in the darkside. Dropping the medical officer then he looked to his right arm feeling stronger than ever then looking to the medical officer as he looked frightened at Aries. Only one thing he could say to the medical officer with a tone of dark madness yet savageness,

"You did well doctor......... you did well!"

Ashia Kagan

11-08-2007 00:02:43

Shin'ichi nodded to his sister, a silent thought past between them. He bid them well in his own way, then proceeded to Deck 9. Manji watched him go for a moment then turned to Ashia.

"So, this Force bond you guys have. It's seems to have gotten stronger, no?"

Ash nodded. "Ever since Kyataru and his fight with..."

She trailed off. None of them really wanted his name said allowed. Manji nodded, not expecting her to finish and continued trying to lighten the mood.

"So, you guys are just able to talk better telepathically now? He looked at her quizzically, trying to avoid the uncomfortable thoughts that none of them wanted to remember right now.

Most of the family didn't understand the Force bond. Heck, the twins themselves didn't understand it most times.

"That's part of it, but it's more then that. No matter where I am, he's there. I can hear every thought, feel every emotion and he mine. Even from light years away.

Whether one of us is hurt, pissed or scared, the other feels it as if it was happening to them. It's all one thought."

"So that's how you are able to finish each others sentences."

She nodded. "We pretty much move as one these days, even when we are physically apart."

"Doesn't that make certain things...awkward?" Manji referred to her and Muz.

Ashia smiled at that. "We can put up 'shields' if we have too, it just takes a lot of concentration and it's hard to keep them going for any real length of time. We tried that for awhile when it first started, but it's like tunning out apart of your own mind. It makes you feel...lost within yourself."

Manji nodded at her respectfully. The whole family spoke to each other telepathically all the time. They used it in battle constantly, it's what gave them the edge their enemies never had. But this was something wholly different.

The mention of Muz made her thoughts drift. She had tried hard not to thinking too much of him, to wonder how he was faring. It was Muz after all and if anyone

could survive this it was him. She had tried concentrating on her duties as Quaestor. She had a house to look after after all. But now she allowed herself to think about him. She reached out with the Force to try and sense him, but found nothing.

Ashia gulped. She hoped that meant he was too far away...and safe.

'I'm sure he's fine sister. The Vong won't know what to do with him anyways if they cross his path.'

Sai looked up at her then. He too had his own bond with Shin'ichi as one would with their master. Every once in awhile it was as though he had the same type of connection with Ashia. His master would telepathically tell him something, but then her mental 'voice' would chime in finishing the thought.

Just then he picked up Shin's mental voice and looked to his cousin as he pieced together what had been silently said.


11-08-2007 16:28:20

Victory Class Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Deck Nine
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

The Cathar Dark Jedi walked the hallways of Deck Nine and observed the carnage that was left behind. In the distance he could hear screaming and the ever present sounds of battle. The bodies of fallen troops littered the corridor, some of them bleeding from grevious wounds or merely from the ears. It was known that the Voxyn had a sonic attack that was devestating. The Cathar rolled his ears back at the thought of his eardrums bursting.

A Krath Priest serving House Marka Ragnos, StarLion had seen his share of battles and the death that came with it, but here he saw a whole new kind of destruction. Here not only did the bodies of mundanes lay, but those of his brethren as well. The sounds of battle intensefied and drew nearer. But his attention was else where. He heard a rattling in the wall, in the opposite direction of the battle between Voxyn and Dark Jedi.

Knowing his brothers could handle it, he strode down the corridor towards the rattling. It sounded like something was in the ventilation behind the wall. His keen feline eye sight spotted what was amiss. Hanging jaggedly from it's last remaining screw was a vent cover, torn and bent but allowing something to enter into the shaft. The shaft itself was good sized, no doubt dating back to when the ship was first built and air scrubbers needed larger air flow vents to circulate fresh, breathable air on a ship this big.

StarLion peered inside, the stench of a foul creature eminated out. Then as he looked in the vent he saw a pair of eyes staring back at him. At first he thought they were merely his own reflecting off the shiny metal surface, but then they narrowed and he could hear a low menacing growl. The Cathar Jedi stepped back and with his right hand ignited his purple lightsaber behind his back, the fur on his neck standing up.

The creature, a Yuuzhan Vong Bissop, leapt forward with it's mouth wide and claws extended. A reptillian hound used by the Vong to hunt down prey, this particular one must have become seperated from it's master or he was killed and it was now hunting on it's own. StarLion was ready and brought his saber around, the tip scraping the floor as he brought it up to bear and slashed the bissop's chest.

The reptile roared as the blade slit it's flesh, like a hot knife to butter, and sunk through finally severing the spine. The creature fell through the air, StarLion ducking and rolling on his left shoulder to avoid it's attack. It hit the ground with a thump. Thrashing about like a wild kowakian monkey-lizard, the bissop could no long use it's rear legs and spun about while it applied pressure to the forward limbs. Blood and guts and snot oozed out of the creature, it's life ending but the bissop would not give up so easily and still snapped at StarLion. He could think of nothing better to do than end it's miserable life. Spinning his saber about, he drove it down into the skull and twisted, the bissop went completely limp and silent.


11-08-2007 18:45:25

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Captain Araic Simonetti stood toward the rear of the bridge talking to one of the other crewmen. The ability for the three Dark Jedi to stand transfixed at the front of the bridge had begun to disturb him after the first hour. By the second he was beginning to wonder what was going on inside their minds.

“It sends a cold shiver up my spine too, Captain,” said the officer he was speaking to. “It's unnatural.”

Simonetti looked slightly at unease. He was sure they were speaking too softly for the three Dark Jedi to overhear and they were no doubt lost in thought as they guided the ship through the Shroud. Yet, still, he had no idea as to the limit of their powers. For all he knew they could hear his every word.

The ceiling creaked.

Simonetti jerked his head upwards. “What was that?”

Officer Brennan moved his head slowly looking up at the ceiling. “I... don't know.”

The two men's interest in the Dark Jedi was gone, replaced with a sudden, terrifying fear at what was making noises above them. The ceiling creaked again. There was a shake in one of the ventilation shafts.

“There! The shaft!” cried Brennan.

“I saw it, I saw it,” Simonetti said hastily. There was terror in his voice. He had heard of this before. He had been thinking it only hours earlier.

“What the...!” cried one of the comm officers as the ceiling opened. Pipes and wires fell out of the air. Riding atop them was a giant bestial shape, descending, falling atop the ensign. The technician screamed out in terror. Hands flailed in panic as the other crewmen jumped out of their chairs, startled, scurrying out of the way.

“Alarm!” cried the Captain, his voice laced with fear. “Sound the alarm! Voxyn!”

The sirens sounded. Red flashing lights filled the bridge.

The voxyn roared defiantly. It's piercing wail penetrating to the bone. Simonetti found himself frozen. His ears rung with pain, he was certain one of them had burst. Around him crewmen cried for help, massive claws cleaving through flesh as others were drowned in a torrent of bile and venom.

The creature's cry woke the Elders from their work.

“What the hell?” cried the Overlord, igniting his saber almost instantly as he turned to engage the creature. He tried approaching but could not get near. The chaos was too thick, crewmen running in panic. The voxyn had fallen into the lower deck, without cutting through the surviving few Astronicus could not get close.

“Everybody, get to cover. Get out of the lower deck,” barked Astronicus. “Move! Get back, I need room to fight it.”

Trevarus stood bemused. He glanced sideways at his old apprentice. “Not planning to fight, Xanos?”

The Sith Lord turned to him. “Fear is a lesson we all must learn,” said Vexatus blankly.

The Overlord ignited his lightsaber and began to advance on the growling creature. Two more crewmen had already fallen to its claws. Another had been drowned in a toxic mist that had burned right down to the bone.

“Come here,” cried Astronicus, waving his lightsaber at the voxyn. It did not seem to notice, too enraptured in its mindless chaos, claws tearing through another member of the crew. The Overlord sprung, hoping to land atop the creature and end this with one quick blow to the head.

“I don't think so,” whispered Trevarus. Raising his hand the Krath Master sent a blast of Force energy at the Overlord. It flung him across the room, sending him crashing into the turbolift doors at the other end.

Astronicus collapsed unconscious.

Vexatus glanced at Trevarus. “Was that... wise?” he asked indifferently.

Trevarus turned to his old apprentice. “Fear is a lesson we all must learn," he replied with a malicious smile.

The voxyn continued to tear through the remaining crew. Captain Simonetti pounded at the turbolift doors but they refused to open. Astronicus's saber had torn through the lock. Brennan looked terrified. He screamed into his comm link for help as behind him the voxyn screamed out again.

“I did not realise their bark was as bad as their bite,” said Trevarus, sounding as if he was analysing a holo documentary.

“I had heard rumours,” replied Darth Vexatus, still standing at the front of the bridge.

One of the crew who had managed to climb out of the lower deck rushed at the Elders. His face a mixture of pure terror and blind rage. “What are you two doing?!” cried the officer. “Help us! Help us! Do something!”

Trevarus glanced at the man then smiled. “I am doing something. I am watching you die.”

The man's face twisted into fury. His hand dived for his blaster. Before it could make it half way the Krath Master struck, his lightsaber flashing into existence, the man's head rolling off to the side. Around the room faces turned to look at him, no longer knowing what to fear most.

“Bastards!” screamed Brenner. His blaster erupted in several shots. Trevarus deflected them effortlessly into the surviving members of the crew. He sent the final bolt flying through Brenner's head.

The voxyn leapt from the lower quarters finally turning its attention on the man with the glowing blade. It's tail reared back before flying at the Krath Master. One flick of his wrist was all it took, the tip of the creature's tail flying off into the distance.

There was a second snap-hiss as Darth Vexatus readied his saber. “Shall we?”

The two Elders flung themselves into the air, dropping down on either side of the beast. Their sabers tore through the voxyn's legs, poisonous vapour escaping it as almost in sequence the two Masters spun backwards, diving away.

As the gas rose into the air, the voxyn cried out in defiance. It began to crawl toward Trevarus atop the stumps that remained of its legs. It's head reeled back, belching a wave of acid but Trevarus rolled sideways long before it came near.

“Gas,” said Vexatus, already reaching out with the Force. The two Masters quickly condensed the air around them, rapidly cooling the room, crystallising what remained of the creature's feet. The air clouded before turning to tiny crystals of ice which fell to the ground.

Vexatus leapt again at the creature, plunging his lightsaber through the voxyn's writhing skull. The creature's body convulsed then fell silent.

“Back,” instructed Trevarus as he raised the arm encased in silver. Vexatus spun backwards, leaping back to the viewport. Flame erupted from the amulet, incinerating what remained of the beast before it could turn to vapour.

Their lightsabers disappeared in a twin snap-hiss and crack of displaced air.

The few surviving crew sat huddled beneath their chairs, as scared of the Elders as of the monstrous beast. Araic Simonetti sat crouching over Astronicus Sadow, rapidly opening an emergency medkit. The Captain pulsed with fear.

Ashia Kagan

11-08-2007 19:43:09

"I'm sure he's fine, cousin." Ashia turned to Sai and nodded to him.

"We'd better get going, those Voxyn aren't going to kill themselves." Manji broke the silence, a slight grin creasing his visage.

Ashia's thoughts returned to the present. He was right, they needed to worry about the clan right now. She looked around for a moment then motioned the other two to follower her. Moving up the corridor a ways, she removed a panel on the wall revealing a keypad. She quickly punched in a code and a hidden door slide open next to it, revealing a concealed corridor.

Sai raised an eyebrow as she replaced the panel, completely hiding it once again.

"Nice." he quipped. "Where does this lead?"

"To one of the conferences rooms, I believe." She lead the way in, the door sliding shut automatically behind them. The three Keibatsu crept their way along the dimly lit hallway to door at the other end.

A shrill scream eminanted from the other side. One of the Voxyn was surely in the room and it had sensed the Force users. They stopped outside the door,

gathering themselves for the coming storm. Suddenly a loud thud, hit the door. The Voxyn inside screamed again in agony as it desperately tried to get at the Force


"So how should we do this? It'll come barreling out as soon as that door opens." Ashia piqued as another loud thud it the durasteel door on the other side.

Sai looked to his arsenal. He picked out a thermal detonator and looked at his companions.

"If we can figure out a way to get that thing out here and us in there, we could set this off and shut the door. The blast in this small a space would certainly take it


"But how do we do that without getting killed ourselves?" Ashia looked to the door as the Voxyn continued to throw itself at the other side and shriek terribly.

Manji withdrew his saber and ignited it. Sai and Ashia exchanged a look then followed suit. The caliginous corridor was suddenly a lite as an amethyst, cerulean and silver hazy filled the small space. Without word, Manji stepped forward, an audible hiss resounded is the door slide open.

Sai's tripartite eyes went wide as the lumbering beast launched itself at them. The three fighters ducked as the agitated animal was moving too quickly and bounded

over them in its attempt to reach the Force users.

Manji's lightsaber came up, clipping the beast's fore paw as he rolled underneath it. The animal's body hit the floor with a loud thud and slide a few meters. The

entire motion seemingly in slow motion as spun back up onto his feet.

"Go!" Manji yelled as all three dove into the room. Sai released thermal detonator flinging it into the corridor after the beast before the door slide shut. Ashia leapt

to her feet and grabbed at a couple of the overturned tables and several chairs with the Force, throwing them at the wall they had just emerged from barricading it further.

The three moved across the room rapidly putting as much distance as they could between themselves and the hidden corridor. A moment later a loud report sounded from inside the wall. Shaking the whole area. Afterwards, no other sounds could be heard inside the walls.

Shan Long

11-08-2007 19:52:43

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

"What the hell did you do to him?!" Simonetti shouted, forgetting whom exactly he was addressing.

"I believe you meant, "What the hell did you do to him, Eminence." Trevarus said, driely.

""Whatever." The Captain said, defiant in his rage.

"You are quite fortunate that the Overlord wants you left alive, specifically, Captain Simonetti." Lord Vexatus said, as much to the Captain as to Trevarus. The Master seemed to take the hint.

"Stand back," Trevarus said, crouching over the form of the fallen Overlord. Touching his hand to the base of Astronicus' neck, he willed the Elder back to consciousness.

"What the hell happened?" Tron asked, shaking his head groggily.

"You were struck by flying debris, Tron." Trevarus said, though several noticed a slight waving of the fingers on his right hand...

"Flying debris... right" Tron said, his voice almost distant. The Overlord's eyes focused on details of carnage. Survivors of the Voxyn attack had finally climbed out from places of relative safety. Though the beast was dead, the cowered in fear of the terrible wrath Master Trevarus had visited upon those who had attempted to harm him.

"That one let the monster kill us! He stood back, and did nothing!" One crewer shouted.

"Did I give you permission to speak?" Vexatus asked, holding out his hand. "You will be silent, or I shall grant eternal silence to you."

The man sputtered and coughed, but held his voice when Vexatus released him. Other deck officers attempted to return to normal function, calling for teams to evacuate the corpses of slain men.

Trevarus wiped a fleck of blood of his bare arm. "I found a way to stop them. Its time to end this foolish game of hunt and hunter. You and I are going to cleanse this ship, Xanos."

"Oh? How do you propose we do that?"

"Shan Long."

"Oh no you don't!" Vexatus shouted. "I'll not see that beast unchained again."

"Relax, my Apprentice. He will be amenable to my requests." Trevarus said, his grin almost feral, stretching across his face. The Master was highly amused at Vexatus' hatred of his spirit-brother.

"You'd better start explaining yourself, Caerick." Vexatus said, his lightsabers openly hefted, if unignited.

"Shan Long. Wake up." Trevarus said, almost dreamily. "Shan Long, I said wake up!"

Simonetti started to move closer to a bank of explosive devices situated along one wall. Be damned if he would see the beast that had ravaged this ship two days ago, loose yet again. Vexatus glared at him, and again with a small motion of his hand, Simonetti was still. A moment later he blinked rapidly, looking wildly around the room.

"What the hell happened?" He shouted.

"Ah, the stress of the battle caused temporary amnesia... that is to be expected from a mere mundane... no matter how courageous." Vexatus said, his voice almost soothing.

"Shan Long!" Trevarus shouted one more time.

We... we slumber... why... why have we been awoken...?

The voice seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere. Astonished, Vexatus looked around the room, from every corner, almost as if he expected to see the wild-eyed menace lurking under a stray console.

"Shan Long, you must awaken. Stay your rage... for the blood will come to you, if you stay your fury." Trevarus said, his voice pendantic. Vexatus had the impression that Trevarus was speaking to a very small child.

We are awoken... we hunger...

"And we shall give you blood, Shan Long. As much blood as you crave. How do you sense them? The Voids?"

We smell them... we... we smell them as rancid smoke... and we crave blood....

"And I offer you the chance to hunt, Shan Long. Stay your rage, and you may have all the blood you desire." Trevarus said finally.

The face of the Master darkened, taking on an unwholesome appearance. The Master's eyes began to glow brilliant violet, the Mark of the Wanderer fading until it could almost not be seen. Shan Long licked his lips. At the moment of the transition, Maeda walked back into the bridge. He dropped the datapad to the deck with an astonished clatter. He immediately ignited his twin lightsabers, flashing emerald light in the dim light.

"No bloody damn way. There's no way Trev would allow Shan Long out again."

"For the moment, it is calm." Vexatus said, astonished. It appeared that he was correct. As he always suspected, Trevarus was more in control of his aspect of his personality than he revealed. This alone did not surprise Vexatus. Trevarus was just as insane as his counterpart.

All drafts seemed to still for a moment, vibrations thrumming slowed to a mere buzz. No sound, no heat, as if the presence of Shan Long had absorbed all warmth from the bridge. Slowly, Vexatus became aware of a slight shimmering in the air, looking past the shade, he observed the form of Trevarus Caerick, standing to Shan Long's left. Transparent and faded, but there. Standing like a hologram transmitted through a bad connection.

Shan Long! Guide the Lord Vexatus to the Abominations. Together, you and he shall claim their blood. Cleanse this warship of their stain, that you may again sleep in your rage. The ghost of Trevarus' voice was faded, hard to hear. Yet, there he was, speaking. Rage flashed across Vexatus features, but he was careful to remain calm, lest his own anger spark the Beast to malicious homicide.

"Trevarus, you and I will be having a very long conversation when this is over." Vexatus said, his voice calm.

"We need not seek... for... for they... they shall come... before us..." Shan Long said. His eyes glowing violence, it was impossible to discern emotion.

"What does he mean?" Maeda asked.

"I'm not sure." Vexatus replied. The Ghost of Trevarus Caerick was silent.

Shan Long began to run, breaking into nearly impossible speed. Vexatus and Maeda both ignited their lightsabers to follow the beast.

"Come! Come! We... they wait for us!" Shan Long cried out, far ahead.


11-08-2007 20:40:29

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

The voxyn walked ahead of the two Dlarit troopers, amphistaffs in hand. They followed closely, allowing the creature's Force senses to guide it toward their next prey. They laughed as the Jeedai's infidel slaves ran in circles, running to escape the voxyn's teeth. However the creature was not interested in the mundane. It hunted the Dark Jeedai and it could sense many of them close.

The voxyn halted. Pausing. It's head jerked up as it shook, growling and clawing at the floor. The creature cried out, its piercing wail shattering the lights above. It began to bound into the air, reaching out and scratching at the ceiling. It's tail darting around manically.

The human cloaked Yuuzhan Vong warrior stared in confusion at the pounding beast. “What is it doing?” he hissed.

The other warrior lowered his amphistaff, cracking its head on the beasts back, trying to bring it under control. The voxyn turned, its whip piercing the warrior. Lifting him up, it tossed the warrior aside, his broken corpse sliding across the floor.

The remaining warrior took a step back, distancing himself from the enraged beast. The voxyn turned, bounding off down the corridor. The warrior shoved his hand into a pocket of the infidel clothing. He withdrew a villip, urgently stroking it to life. The biot inverted, revealing the face of another human.

The face on the villip looked troubled. “Yes, subaltern?”

“The voxyn, they are enraged,” spoke the subaltern. “We have lost control of them.”

The villip gave the impression of the spy nodding his head. “I believe I know why, my lord.”

“Well?” spat the subaltern. There was no room for patience.

“The heretic monstrosity, the one with many eyes that slew many of our number, he has returned,” said the warrior, his voice betraying his unease. “The one that resembles Yun-Shuno. He has awoken.”

The subaltern's eyes widened. “The Shamed Jeedai has returned?”

The villip mimicked a nod again. “Yes. I am certain it is the avatar of the Shamed God.”

The subaltern's face creased into anger. “Yun-Shuno seeks to test us,” he said, his voice contemptuous. “We shall show him the true might of Yun-Yammka. We shall prove our honour.”

“Yes, subaltern. We shall prove we are not Shamed.”

“Inform the others. We shall hunt this avatar of Yun-Shuno. We shall slay him and prove our devotion to the True Way. I shall not be made to kneel before Yun-Shuno and beg for redemption.”


11-08-2007 23:16:34

With the report of the explosion still ringing in their ears, the Dark Trio passed through the conference room to come to a closed hatch. Ashia began to punch in an access code when Manji asked her, “Where to now?”

“Another conference room,” replied the Nightsister. “This one’s a lot larger, has a nice long table. On the other side, there’s a main corridor where we ought to be able to get our bearings.”

“Is it me, or do we have a fondness for meetings? It’s amazing we get anything done around here,” Manji quipped, referring to the Star Destroyer’s plethora of conference spaces.

Sai and Ashia let the question go unanswered as the hatch slid open, the proper codes entered and accepted. The Keibatsu Matriarch’s intel was correct; this particular space did have a long, polished table as its centerpiece, indicating the room’s probable use as an “official” room, used to impress dignitaries of other Clans and the like. What her intel did not include were the two Yuuzhan Vong voxyn wranglers and their clearly agitated charge, thrashing and writhing on its leash. The beast was plainly agitated by the reappearance of the “Shamed Jeedai” somewhere on the ship, and it took all of the two Vong’s combined strength to keep it under some semblance of control.

Luckily, the Keibatsu went unnoticed on the far side of the room, and they took in the scene, strategizing as to how best cross the room and get to the corridor.

Sai looked at the invaders and sighed, “I wish I had another one of those detonators.”

Manji chuckled a bit louder than he anticipated and caught the attention of the two Vong and the voxyn, and they in turn stared at the infidels who seemed to have no fear in the face of their presence. One of the warriors began to hurl a curse at the trio when Ashia held up a slender hand and interrupted, “We’ll be with you in a minute. We’re just trying to figure something out here, and would really appreciate if you wouldn’t get in the way.”

The Vong were taken aback by the sharp-tongued female Jeedai, disbelief writ large upon their disfigured and scarred faces. In response, they loosed the leashes of their deadly pet and began to file down either side of the conference table, newly produced amphistaffs hissing in anticipation of battle.

The Keibatsu drenched themselves in the Dark Side and shared a thought; it was not as complicated as Battle Meditation, but their familial heritage afforded them the appearance of the same technique. Ashia and Manji both took the opposing route of the Vong, which left the voxyn to Sai, who’d leapt up onto the table to face down the slavering beast at the far end that bounded up on the table’s other side. The polished surface of the plane afforded the voxyn no easy purchase until it figured out how to dig its talons into the surface, and a triumphant look, if it could be called that, came into the beast’s eye.

“I really wish I had another one of those detonators,” Sai emphasized once more.

“Enough talk, cousin,” Manji said. “There’s a corridor awaiting us.”

The Vong were warriors, that much was certain; one could tell by the practiced way they stalked the two that approached them, taking measured steps forward. Unfortunately for them, the Dark Trio had faced enough of them over the past few days that their technique had been laid bare. Those of the Krath Order were typically not known for warrior prowess; the Keibatsu were the exception to the rule.

Ashia reached her foe first; she held her violet blade in the relaxed lethality of Makashi as the Vong raised his amphistaff and made as if to batter her into the deck itself. Ashia simply inhaled, and fluidly relieved the Vong’s wrists of the encumbrances of their hands as the living amphistaff dropped to the floor to then be impaled on her lightsaber’s purple point. The warrior looked at his cauterized stumps and yelled in defiance at the lithe woman and made as if to eat her alive; Ashia obliged him as best she could by jamming her ‘saber into his screaming maw and out the back of his head. As the corpse dropped, she continued forward towards the hatch.

Meanwhile, the sight of his comrade’s demise had given the other Vong pause, and he sized up the still form of Manji. Noting the eyepatch, the warrior’s training took over, and he swung his weapon towards Manji’s “blind” side. He might as well have knelt in defeat, for all the good that did him.

Manji had been fighting with one eye seemingly for as long as he could remember, and that, quite well. Instinct took hold of Manji’s body and, in the classic form of his homeworld’s sword style, the Epis ignited his saber, found the weak point in the armpit of the Vong’s armor, dropped to one knee and did the same at the groin juncture, then stood and sliced through the Vong’s head at the line of its misbegotten mouth, finally replacing his hilt at his belt. He did all this in the space of two seconds, and well before the Vong even knew that it was dead.

Sai never took his focus off of the gnashing jaws of the beast at the far end of the polished table, but he did notice Manji’s technique with a detachment that belied the serious of the situation before him. Even as the voxyn bounded towards him, he made a mental note to ask the Dokugan-ryu to take him on as a Student of the Blade later on.

The voxyn was used to its prey fleeing from it in terror, so when Sai instead ran towards it, the beast was momentarily confused as it leapt at the human, its hunter’s timing disrupted. It was even more confused as it watched its prey with the bright cerulean blade slide on the polished surface beneath its airborne body, reaching up to sting and burn its tender underbelly with the column of light.

The pain enraged the voxyn to the point of gross inelegance and it landed with a thud on the other side of the table, careening onto the floor and getting momentarily tangled within its many legs. Sai had meanwhile regained his footing and sliced the table 'twain with his lightsaber.

If the Vong had shown coordination before, the Keibatsu seemed to be three parts of the same deadly body and mind as the next events played themselves out. Sai leapt into the air on Force-assisted legs back towards the newly risen voxyn, who reared its hideous form up on its hind legs to catch the spinning and tumbling morsel that approached. Were it not so eager for the kill, it might have noticed Manji and Ashia seizing the severed half of the conference table with unseen hands and telekinetically hurling it to slam violently into the exposed belly of the beast, pinning it to the bulkhead as its spine snapped with a sickening crunch.

Sai landed on the suspended table and thrust his lightsaber into its eye with finality, the cobalt energy chewing its way effortlessly through the organ, the socket that housed it, and ultimately into its brain with the hissing of steam and an accompanying screech of the dying monstrosity.

The Knight backflipped off of the table just as Manji and Ashia released their hold upon it, all three racing towards the hatch that was their initial destination before the toxin born of its blood could invade their lungs and do what the amphistaff and razor sharp teeth could not.

Ashia, Sai, and finally Manji went through the hatch into the corridor. Before the hatch sealed them from the rapidly approaching poisonous cloud, Manji gave a disgusted utterance:

“Fracking meetings. It’s amazing we can get anything done around here.”

Shinichi Endymiron K

12-08-2007 00:09:45

Shin’ichi had had enough. He had just got done saying that this endless Vong hunt was driving him to the brink and here he was once again about to take out another of those filthy alien beasts. It was bad enough that for the sake of the Dark Brotherhood he had to deal with the myriad of non-human species in this galaxy, but to have these disgusting Yuuzhan Vong from another galaxy with their biological weapons and ships and their total rejection of technology invading ‘his’ galaxy had really spilled his blue milk. The near-humans of this galaxy were of course fine, Zabrak, Chiss and the like he could deal with just fine, hell there were Zabrak in his family. But he would be damned to the abyss if he was going to let these muck peddlers conquer ‘his’ ship let alone ‘his’ galaxy.

Slowly and carefully he removed the Verpine Shatter Gun from his shoulder. His lightsaber had proved ineffective in the past, and there were only so many times he could remove sections of wall and ceiling before the ship became destabilized, so it was up to the slug thrower and his skills as an expert marksman. Gotta go for the eye. he thought. That’s the only place their blasted armor plated hide isn’t covering.

His comlink crackled to life with the voice of Shuang Long. “I hear you’re backing me up on this Shin’ichi.” If Shin’ichi had a lip he would’ve curled it, instead his artificial voice responded in its typical cold manner. “You heard wrong. You’re backing me up.” The words made it evident that there was to be no debate on the issue and Shuang spoke up with a tidbit of information for his Proconsul. “You should know that the good Lieutenant we’re going to ‘rescue’ is a masqued Yuuzhan Vong.” The Keibatsu checked his rifle once again. “Thank you for the information. Take a position a few meters down the hall, I’ll be there shortly.” The dragon acknowledged and the comlink went silent.

Making his way slowly towards the room with the Voxyn Shin’ichi hid in the shadows and beckoned to Shuang Long to approach from the other side. As he did the beast sensed the younger Dark Jedi and made to attack him. Bolting from the room the beast abruptly fell to the floor face first a fine mist rising from its right eye socket. Shock registered on the face of the dragon as he neither heard nor saw anything strike the Voxyn.

A youngish looking Dlarit Naval Lieutenant stuck his head out of the corridor and spoke in perfect basic. “i…is anyone out” The magnetically propelled projectile that landed square in the center of his face was the only answer he received. As the Yuuzhan Vong pretender fell to the floor the ooglith masquer slid from him to form a puddle on the deck. Shin’ichi stood from his position in the darkness and motioned for Shuang Long to move out away from the fume emitting Voxyn corpse and its dead handler before heading out to rejoin Macron on the bridge of the Covenant. It was time to end this little game and send a message to some old 'friends'. Naga Sadow was now under new management.


12-08-2007 15:22:04

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud

Ashura Isradia couldn’t believe the bad fortune that seemed to have befallen him. He, like many others of the fighters, had made it back to the Covenant before it entered hyperspace, but he was now having to fight against a voxyn that was tearing the few remaining pilots that survived the battle with the Yuuzhan Vong fighters, to death.

The voxyn had been hiding in the ventilation system when they landed, the foul thing sensed Ashura’s Force ability and struck from its hiding place. The unfortunate souls between the voxyn and the Sith Warrior had no chance of survival.

Isradia was using the Force to hurl whatever was laying around the hanger bay at the voxyn. He had not sensed it, due to the void in the Force. He was now relaying on his brute strength, fighting skills, and survival instant to stand toe-to-toe with the voxyn.

Ashura’s crimson lightsaber swung around, using the Shii-Cho lightsaber form to hold the creature back. It was pure instinct of a life time of endurance and quick thinking that kept the voxyn from landing any blows. His childhood had been an odious training regime of endurance, strength, and keen thinking. It had been something he continued even when he had been a Jedi Apprentice, and a Jedi Knight. It perhaps was this hateful experience in his childhood which he continued to draw upon that led him down the Dark Side. Not that he was complaining, he had become stronger, and was still becoming stronger.

This battle with the voxyn would prove that he didn’t need to the Force to win a fight. The Force was but a powerful tool for him to use. Ashura couldn’t sense what it was going to do next, and knew it all depended on skill now. He was not going to loss this fight. He was a predator, and this voxyn (unknowingly) was his prey.

Shan Long

12-08-2007 18:54:27

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Deck Twelve
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Shin'ichi vested his flashing lightsaber, and the Voxyn howled to raise all the hells. Abruptly, the Beast turned tail and ran down the corridor, howling as if on the chase.

"What just happened?" Shin'Ichi wondered aloud.

Deck Nine

Ashura stood, dumbfounded as the Voxyn reared back up on its hind legs, escaping back into the ventilation shaft.


Its screaming could be heard even through the bacta-enriched solution that surrounded the deformed beast. "Yun-Shuno has come to test the Children. I have been shamed! The Shamed One had returned!"

"What the hell is it talking about?" Nero asked himself, quietly.


The scene might have been out of a doomsday prophecy. Fourteen Voxyn stood snarling at the door. Maeda and Vexatus had followed the most insane of all to the deepest parts of the ship. Shan Long had claimed the Vong would find him, and he would feast. It seemed the Dragon was more lucid than he ever realized. Perhaps Trev's confidence in this aspect of his personality had been solid, afterall.

It seemed that these were the final invaders. Excepting the one trapped, of course. Seven Dlairt Security Personnel stood by, including Vexatus noticed, Lt. Brand, who had made the distress call hours earlier.

"Brenzlit, Heretic, Infidel. The assembled chanted. We have come to show our worthiness against Yun-Shuno. We shall not fall from the True Path. We are Strong. All Glory to Yun-Yummoka"

"They never stop, do they?" The pale, transparent form of Trevarus asked.

"It would seem not." Vexatus replied. Maeda stood by with his lightsabers ignited, Shan Long several meters ahead, between the Elders and the assembled body of the Yuuzhan Vong and their pet hunter-beasts.

"We... we shall end this... we shall... feast... your souls..." Shan Long said his eyes distant and glowing even more violently purple.

Much to the surprise of all, Shan Long held out his hands, and in thunderclaps of displaced air, Trevaus' lightsabers appeared there.

"We... we are Thunder... hear our rage... tremble.... and die...." The Thunder Dragon said, before arcing his blades, held at full length in each hand, into a full attack posture.

"I don't know who to help," Maeda said.

"Call Christine, and make sure she has the Sanguinus prepped for a quick evacutation. Once Shan Long has cleansed these final Abominations, I am leaving." Trevarus said.

Maeda retrieved his commlink, and dialed the main frequency for the Sanguinus. Zara answered Maeda's call. "Kem, we're almost done with the airlock repairs. Are you going to be long?"

"No," Maeda said. Five of the Voxyn had already been destroyed. Shan Long ignored their toxic blood-fumes, it would seem. "Maybe another ten minutes or so." He put the commlink away.

Shan Long danced, the Force flowing around him in a storm of such violence that it seemed to all that he was the very embodiment of his name. Moving so fast, he seemed to flicker from place to place, resembling a starship reverting to, or jumping from subspace.

"Is that the form... what does he call it...?" Maeda asked

"Long Shan Zhi." Vexatus completed his sentence. "Lord Chi Long was a Master of that form, and it seems that Shan Long's claim of Mastery is well founded."

Trevarus remained silent in his ghost-state. But he watched the Thunder Dragon kill with unbridled efficiency. Each time he struck, it seemed that the Vong, and indeed the Voxyn had no clear idea where he was, or where he was going. And each time he appeared, another one fell.

Finally, Shan Long decapitated the last spy wearing an ooglith masquer. The Dragon held its severed head by a dangling bit of viscera. Holding it high, he drank down the last of its blood, before throwing the head away and howling with a fury that shook the very Force.

"I need to act quickly" Trevarus said.

Maeda and Vexatus stood by as Trevarus walked toward the place where Shan Long stood, they held their lightsabers in a strong defensive posture, in case Shan Long's rage should fly forth again.

Trevarus walked into his body, and for a moment it seemed that Shan Long began to convulse. Finally, the light faded from his eyes, and the Mark of the Wanderer became more clear on the Master's forehead. His bright blue eyes shined with insight and insanity.

"I hate the taste of their blood." He said.

"We're sure that was the last of them?" Maeda asked.

Trevarus nodded. "Shan Long confirms that there are no more abominations aboard the Covenant. My own observations confirm this. Reach out, those strange absences are gone... the Shadows as Xanos called them."

"For once, it seems your "brother" was useful, Trevarus." Vexatus growled.

"As such... let's get the hell out of here." Trevarus said, smiling widely.


13-08-2007 02:44:55

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Inside the Shroud, Antei System

Astronicus surveyed the what was left of the bridge crew as they worked wearily at their posts. The men had been working for far too long with little if any sleep, addicted to stims by now. Astronicus knew he looked no better - even his slumber, though induced by flying debris, was only momentary. Turning on his right heel he walked over to the command station where Captain Simonetti was looking intently at a screen.

"Captain," addressed the Overlord, "I believe we have a moment to catch our breaths. Therefore, I want you to recommense shift changes as personel become available, and that goes for yourself. Once we get to Antei things are going to get worse."

"Worse? I beg your pardon, sir, but I don't see how it could get any worse than it is already." Replied Simonetti, the lack of sleep and the nightmare he was currently living had obviously taxed him to his limits.

"Follow my orders, Captain, and we may just make it through this alive." With that said Astronicus turned and entered the Captain's ready room.

He slumped down in the command chair behind the lavish desk. Rustling in his robes he found the small black pouch he always carried with him. He opened it and dumped a small three sided triangular pyramid into his hand. It had been a gift from his master upon his creating Clan Naga Sadow. With a concetrated effort and nudge of the Force the small holocron came to life. A miniaturized version of his master appeared in holo-image format, the Dark Jedi Prophet not looking as intimidating as Tron had remembered him in real life.

"Master Yoni, I seek knowledge and guidance for what awaits me." Implored Astronicus the holocron keeper. "We face an enemy absent in the Force, they carry weapons that can resist the burning strike of lightsabers and are ruthless pain-craving warmongers. What must I learn to become strong enough to defeat them?"

"A perplexing situation." Replied the gravely mechanical voice that was Yoni's but at the same time not. The holocron would mimic his voice, but the mechanics of it would always frak it up some. "You are a powerful Dark Jedi, my student, you always have been. Master Khyron commented on it many times during our meetings with the Star Chamber. It matters not what rank others see you at, your power is extremely strong, you need only apply it fully. As for these creatures, in dealing with things absent from the Force there is little that can be done except to apply their strengths as their weakness. You must use their own technology against them, become inventive as to how their absence is a boon to your knowledge of the Force. If they love pain, then give them pain - let it over take them."

"Intriguing." Said Astronicus, his thoughts on the matter had never really focused on anything but considering what their weaknesses could be. "I believe I understand, thank you Master." Astronicus reached over to the nearby console and paged Simonetti, a moment later the Captain's face appeared on the screen. "Captain, find out if we have and Yuuzhan Vong bodies onboard that are wearing armor that is still intact, if so have it brought to me at once."

"As you wish my lord." Replied the Captain and the screen went blank. Yes Tron would use the enemies own technology against them. He would defeat them and rise to the power that Yoni and Grand Master Khyron had instructed him in.

Nero Pennant

13-08-2007 08:22:25

Star Destroyer Covenant
Classified Medbay
Taking place during Shan Long's return

Nero cursed himself again. It seemed that this war would consume the Brotherhood. It seemed that it would take him it; a mere Acolyte, swept along with the scores of other, weaker, Jedi who couldn't stand in the face of the Vong. Nero paced in the medical bay where he had taken to hiding after having been chased along what he thought was the length of the Star Destroyer. Chased by merciless warriors, and terrible creatures that defied the Force itself.

He grimaced. The only safe place he'd found was here; hiding with an incapacitated Vong in a bacta tube. It's remaining eye fixed upon him as the medical machinery slowly was still turning the Vong into a machine. Slumping down along a wall, Nero gripped Master Beriss' lightsaber tightly, his sightless eyes sensing the malevolence coming from the enemy.

He extended his senses as far as he could, and noticed something strange. There was a sense of normalcy in the Force; besides the abomination inside the tank, he could feel no vacuums in the Force. It seemed there was some hope after all.

"Jeedai," The Vong suddenly said, it's voice soft, but still raspy and unpleasant, "You have failed, you have lost."

"I'd be quiet if I were you," Nero said, his anger spilling over suddenly as he stood and walked towards the alien, activating the lightsaber and waving it menacingly at it. It laughed.

"I am dead already, filthy from your Jeedai ways, but I shall be avenged! Yun-Shuno has come to test the Children. I have been shamed! The Shamed One had returned!"

"What the hell is it talking about?!" Nero said, unable to control his rage and taking control of the surgical equipment, manipulating the arms of the machine to not so much turn the Vong warrior into a machine but to tear it to pieces and worry about the consequences later. Nero cackled manically as the life drained out of the Vong until there was nothing left.

And then he felt it. Even someone as unused to the Force as he was could feel the sheer rage flowing over the Force, whispering but one name; Shan Long. Nero turned to make sure the door was securely locked. Then he looked upon the security cameras to find the one called Shan-Long slaughtering what was left of the Vong. Nero had the displeasure of having met Shan Long before; he'd barely escaped with his life.

Nero paced the room nervously, waiting for the enormous feeling of dread to subside. Then, as the minutes dragged on, the Captain communicated over the ship's speakers. "The Vong are no longer on board the ship, we have repelled them."

Nero could hear the cheers all around, but he didn't move until Shan Long had been caged again. Once he felt none of his malevolence in the Force, he opened the door and went to the place he'd come to realize made his Clan infamous; the bar.

Syrus Korodin

13-08-2007 11:43:47

For the entirety of his time in Naga Sadow he had more or less disliked Shin’ichi. He had never been able to find any common ground with the Keibatsu, and found him to be both pretentious and irritating.

After their first combat operation together he was forced to admit that Shin, at the very least, had style.

It had come as somewhat of a surprise to Shuang when he noticed that Shin’s weapon, the Verpine Shatter Gun, was almost identical in basic premise to his Coilbolt. Such weapons were hard to come by, and he had respect for anyone tenacious enough to acquire one and take the time to master it.

He had seen very few people able to effectively utilize a magnetically propelled launcher, and was therefore quite impressed by his Proconsul’s marksmanship. Impressed enough, in fact, to change his mind a little about his nature. Somehow, Shin had gained the respect of the recalcitrant Shuang, whether he wanted it or not.

Walking down the corridors, now decked with the usual festive decorations of corpses, blood stains, and debris, he could not help but feel a strange tremor in the force. The force itself was always full of tremors and aftershocks, but this was different.

“Oh dear,” Shuang whispered, more to himself than to the Keibatsu by his side, “it seems like brother Long has returned.”

Shin said nothing, preferring to walk in silence. As they walked they could both feel the explosive undulations of the force as Shan Long literally shredded the remaining Vong and Voxyn. After a relatively short time it faded, but the presence of the insane master remained in the air, hovering like a sickly taint. It made Shuang feel somewhat queasy, but he did his best to hide that emotion from his Proconsul.

Though the ship had been cleansed and the intruders purged, still he did not feel safe. An awkward silence hung in the air, still and strange. The force itself became still and cold, as if rebelling from the trauma inflicted upon it by the Elders.

The Vong may have been gone for now, but the scent of danger was strong and true. They were definitely not out of the fire yet.


13-08-2007 17:45:18

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System, Inside Shroud


For the minutes the battle had lasted Shan Long had become the Force. His dance had drowned out the will as his hunger, his lust became it. Gone was the will of the Force, arrived had come the will of the Thunder Dragon. He had danced like a storm of death, his sabers, black as a night sky, had torn through amphistaff, scale, bone and flesh. His dance had consumed the aliens, consumed them in the power of darkness.

In those few moments he had become the Force itself, an embodiment of its destructive power, thundering his way across the hangars, obliterating what remained of the outsiders.

Then gone was Shan Long as the mad one returned.


In the background Astronicus could sense the maelstrom that was Shan Long but it was not what drove him now. His mind was back in the Shroud, guiding the ship through the last stretch that remained before they arrived at Antei.

Araic Simonetti was fixed on the monitor, watching the chaos in the decks below. His mouth hung open. He was no longer even afraid. He simply watched in astonishment as the Force poured through the Dark Jedi he had come to hate as he slew alien after alien.

Then it had ended. No stranger than when it began the insane Dark Jedi seemed to revert back to his former composure, brushing aside the spilled blood as if it was a mild inconvenience. Simonetti shook his head in awe. He hated him, he feared him, but at the same time he could not help but admire, almost even respect him. The ship was secure.

The Overlord turned around as the ship slid back into realspace, the absence of the Shroud being replaced with a planet rapidly approaching in the distance.


They had arrived.

The Overlord dropped out of his meditation and swung around, gesturing Simonetti over. “Have all survivors report to battle stations.”

Simonetti nodded. “Aye, sir. Your orders to engage?”

Astronicus shook his head. “Not yet. I want the surviving fighters ready to launch, but we will wait and see what unfolds first.” He pointed to the holo display in the center of the room. Hundreds of red dots were appearing, fighters of known design. Larger ships, Star Destroyers and various cruisers hung behind, close to the planet's orbit. Off in the distance were the roughly edged shapes of the Yuuzhan Vong warships. Swarms of thousands of much smaller ships engulfing the entire scene.

It was not the aliens who concerned him. It was the ships made of iron and steel. Fighting each other.

“They're...attacking each other?” asked Simonetti, unable to believe what he was seeing. “Aren't they all on the same side?”

The Overlord grimaced as he too took in the display, but unlike Simonetti, Astronicus had expected this was what he would find. The Clans were at war. “They fight for control of the planet. I'm afraid old rivalries are not easily forgotten between many of them. There is little love lost between many of us.”

Simonetti looked at him. He knew the Viceroy would not tell him everything about their organisation, that he would not openly betray the fact every ship before him on the holo display contained other Dark Jedi, but he could read between the lines. The Captain nodded. “I understand, sir. We leave them to destroy each other.”

Astronicus smiled at the man. He understood. “You've been well trained, Captain. We do exactly that. Let our enemies destroy each other.”

“Aye sir,” replied Simonetti, looking pleased for the first time in days. Turning around, he started to give orders to the surviving crewmen to move to battle stations.

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
External Docking Station

Christine Zara gave a slight nod as Trevarus Caerick stepped through the repaired airlock. It had been repaired during the hours they had had in transit as they crossed the remaining distance to Antei.

“Trev...” she looked shocked, “what happened to you?”

Trevarus Caerick was soaked from head to toe in blood. “I let Shan Long out. The aliens are dead now.”

Zara blinked. “You let him out? Trev...” she sounded worried.

“Forget about it. I'm fine,” he said, sounding tense. “Prep the ship for departure. We're going down to the surface.”

Zara jerked. “Surface? We're going down there?” she said, pointing through the viewport at the inferno in the skies above Antei. It was like a scene from the end of the world. Perhaps it was. Everyone attempting to settle old scores before death claimed them, before the brotherhood expired forever.

“Yes,” was all the Krath Master said. His resolve to recover his private relics all that drove him. He would not lose his work to the abominations. This would not be the end.

Zara needed no more telling, she knew Trevarus too well. She turned, heading to the bridge to prepare the ship for immediate launch.

“Xanos? Kem?” asked Trevarus, turning to the two men behind him. “If you want to turn back, do it now.”

Maeda smirked. “Me? Back out of a fight?” he grunted. “You know me better than that, Trev. Let's give the bastards hell.”

Vexatus narrowed his eyes on the vulgarity of the man beside him. He shook his head in bemusement. He would never understand how his former Master tolerated Maeda's presence.

Trevarus looked at him. “Well? Xanos?” he sounded impatient.

Vexatus looked at him blankly. “I wouldn't miss it for the world,” he said bitterly. His voice seemed to come from somewhere else. Though his face did not betray what he was feeling, his words burned with the fury masked behind them. “I want to see Antei burn.” He sounded ravenous, like life had led to this moment, as if the next few hours would bring him the answers, the vindication he desired. The Sith Lord wanted to be here to witness the truth of the Star Chamber's lies.

Trevarus studied him for a moment. In the last few days even he, who had known his old apprentice for so many years, had come to appreciate the true magnitude of the Sith Lord's power. “Very well,” he said evenly. Much as the fate of Antei did not concern him, part of Trevarus still hoped his apprentice was wrong, that Kalekka would not be destroyed. He would worry about it later. “Get yourselves strapped in, this could be a bumpy ride.”


“What?” barked Astronicus. “Leaving? On who's authority?”

Simonetti shook his head. “Their own, it would seem, sir,” he kept his voice still but he was shaking inside. He hadn't seen the Viceroy this angry.

Their own?” Astronicus cried.

The Captain shrugged. “I think they may have done one of those mind trick things on the hangar crew.”

The Overlord didn't respond but Simonetti could see the daggers behind his eyes.

Forget them. It changes nothing. We will let the Yuuzhan Vong and the other fleets destroy themselves.” He turned, storming over to stare out the viewport.

They had lied to him.

They had deceived him.

This had all been a trick. Caerick and Vexatus had manipulated the whole Clan into coming here to serve their own ends. They could have been far away from here by now. Instead they were at Antei, at the feet of the other Clans and the Yuuzhan Vong, both of whom wanted to destroy them.

They had been led face first into the eye of the storm.

The Overlord was furious. Two of his first Sons had betrayed him.

They were now stuck here. Caught in the confusion unfolding before them. The other Clans would seek to seize Antei exactly as Caerick and Vexatus had told him, that much was not a lie. However, they would all be destroyed in the process, consumed in the flames of the Yuuzhan Vong war machine.

Now Clan Naga Sadow was trapped in the center of it and its two greatest Elders had fled leaving the rest of them to their fate. Their false concern for the fate of Antei exposed for the lie it was... and he, Astronicus Sadow, had fallen for it.

Lightning blasted from the Dark Side Adept's fingertips, blowing a hole in one of the nearby displays.

If they survived this he would see to it they paid for their betrayal.

Astronicus turned to look at Captain Simonetti. “Yes sir?” asked the Captain, his voice still openly careful, the blind rage in the Overlord's eyes apparent for all to see.

“Destroy them,” he said, his voice eerily quiet.

“What?” Simonetti opened his eyes feeling confused. “Who?”

“The Sanguinus. Blast it out of the void.”

“Sir...?” the Captain was shocked. As much as he hated the insane Dark Jedi aboard that ship, the man had saved them, destroyed the Yuuzhan Vong left aboard the ship. He had been horrified by the way they had repaired the engines, but he was still forced to accept without their help they would surely still be hanging in the middle of the nebula, having probably been destroyed several hours before. It pained him, but he had to know before he could bring himself to give the order. He would not become as evil as they were. “Aren't they our allies?”

“No," was all the Overlord said.

“They did destroy the Vong, sir,” said Simonetti so slowly he barely spoke.

Astronicus glared at him. His eyes were red, burning with fire. “Are you questioning an order, Captain?”

“No,” said Simonetti quickly. “Very well, sir. I'll give the order immediately.” He paused, feeling as if this war had cost him everything, now even his very soul. Flicking his comm link, Araic Simonetti gave the order to fire.

“All crew, the Sanguinus is hereby designated hostile, I repeat hostile. Shoot to kill.” Simonetti shut the comm link off, feeling as if he had just betrayed everything he stood for.

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Approaching Antei

“What the...?” shouted Zara as the warning klaxons erupted in her ears. Her eyes scanned the displays urgently. She was sure there were no enemy ships present... her mouth fell open. “No way.” She jerked her head around, “Trev!” she cried at the top of her voice. “Trev!”

The Krath Master came running. “What?” he barked, in no mood for further complications.

Christine Zara pointed her finger uneasily at the display.

Trevarus Caerick's eyes opened wide. “What the hell?” he roared. “That rankweed sucker!”

“Trev?” said Zara shaking. “What do I do?”

“Full power to engines,” he said, seething with anger but resolute. He would not be defied. “We'll handle this.”

The Krath Master hurried back to the lounge. “Xanos! Kem!” The two other Masters looked over. “We need a defensive shield. Now!”

Kem-Shu Maeda frowned. “Why?”

“That,” growled Trevarus, pointing through the viewport at the Victory-class Star Destroyer Covenant.

“What?” said Vexatus sounding dismayed. “Did you lose your mind?”

“No,” spat Trevarus. “I think Tron's pissed at us leaving them to die.”

“Ah,” said the Sith Lord slowly, realisation dawning on him. Reaching out he could feel the Overlord's rage burning in the Force. “Well then...”

His sentence was cut off as the corvette shook, it's shields shimmering at the impact of turbolaser fire from the Star Destroyer behind. “Kark it!” cursed Trevarus. He turned to his old apprentice. “Can you do that Force Meld thing again?”

“Of course,” said the Sith Lord, his eyes rolling back in his head as he took on a distinctly distant appearance. His voice went frigid. Lord Vexatus reached out, linking minds we the other Elders. “We are as one...

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Approaching Antei

Astronicus Sadow glared at the corvette as it shot out of range of the Star Destroyer's turbolasers. He could feel the magnitude of the three Elders' presence pressing upon the Force as it was focused into one spot, intensifying it far beyond the realms of normal possibility. The last lasers ricocheted off, harmlessly bouncing into space.

“Damn them,” hissed the Overlord.

Simonetti looked at him, uncertain what to say. “We're better off without them, sir,” he said, though he was unsure anymore who he was better off with. He just wanted this hell to be over. “We need to focus on surviving this.”

Astronicus looked down, inhaling deeply. “Yes,” he agreed. “We've been lured into this trap. Now we need to make our way out. There's no point us focusing on those two.”

The Captain nodded, smilingly faintly. “Exactly, sir,” he said sounding slightly more pleased. He paused, remembering something from earlier, though it had been forgotten in the chaos of the last few minutes. “Sir, about that Yuuzhan Vong armour. We were able to recover a pair of intact suits from the hangar. I've had them transported to the medlab.”

Nekura Manji

15-08-2007 17:20:38

Bursting out of the turbolift onto the command deck of the Covenant, Manji strode across the floor, ignoring the Elders and the remaining personnel rushing back and forth. Approaching the front viewscreen, the Epis stared out at the space battle unfolding before his eyes with a touch of manic anger. He did not seem aware of the other Dark Jedi as he spoke, almost to himself.

"What the frack are they doing? Why are they fighting each other?"

Behind him, Simonetti spoke into the commlink again.

"I repeat, the Sanguinus has been designated hostile. Shoot to kill."

Whirling round, Manji moved forward in several swift strides, grabbing the captain by the throat.

"Cancel that order, captain!"

A raised voice snapped Manji's head towards the Overlord of the Clan, Tron's eyes alighting on the Epis.

"I gave the order, Nekura. Do you wish to defy me?"

For a moment Manji stared at the Overlord with hatred burning in his eyes, Simonetti writhing in his grip. Then common sense overtook the burning rage in his veins as he lowered the captain back to the floor.

" No, I don't. But you'll answer for this one day, Tron. I swear it."

Turning back to the viewscreen, the Epis glanced at the space battle between the Brotherhood cruisers with a disgusted snarl. Kimono whirling about him, the Epis moved back into the turbolift and tapped in a code, heading down to the hangar to prepare a ship and join the battle. His eyes narrowed as he stared at the wall of the turbolift, fury filling his mind. Nothing angered the Epis more than betrayal, and the one thing he wanted right now was to avenge the death of his brother by destroying those Yuuzhan Vong scum.

The Brotherhood had no time to waste destroying itself with such a great threat lurking behind it.


15-08-2007 18:56:11

Command Bridge
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Approaching Antei

The battle raged on outside the viewport between the Clans of the Brotherhood, an institution that Astronicus had devoted himself to for many years now. Similarly a battle raged on inside the Covenant between members of his Clan. They sided with him or against him over his decision to fire on the back stabbing traitors fleeing in the Corellian Corvette. Had they made their intentions clear to him and not used him, thinking him a simpleton, he may have spared them at this time. But the Clan had to know that there was no defying the destiny of Naga Sadow, by there leaving at a time when it most needed them they had turned their backs on not only the Clan but Astronicus as well.

For now though the Clan was scattered and bruised, he would have to find a safe haven to recover before allowing the current situation of mass destruction outside to distract him. In the distance he could see "The Ascendant Moon," Atrophos, a small brown orb in an elliptical orbit of Antei. The facilities there were no doubt lightly manned, if at all right now. They were safe and the moon would provide some protection for the ship while it made repairs. It would serve as a shelter for now until they could make it back to the Orian system.

"Captain, take us into a low orbit of Atrophos, the small brown moon out there - the night side preferrably." Ordered Astronicus, "There we will make repairs to the Covenant and the Reach. Also, see if any of your techs can slice into the Antei communications center and get us a line to Sepros."

"As you wish my lord." Acknowledged Simonetti, now confident that they would soon be out of this nightmare.

"And Captain," Added Astronicus, "have the Governor-General come to the Admiral's office, I need to speak with him. You have the bridge Captain Simonetti." With that Astronicus turned, his cape billowing in his wake, and entered the privacy of the Admiral's office. It was a mock imitation of the Captain's but was rarely used by an admiral, more the office of the Governor-General or whatever dignitary was aboard.

Sitting down in the chair behind the fancy Coruscanti desk that accentuated the room, Astronicus accessed the external communications network and entered an address. He only hoped his master was still on Antei, Yoni was known for his wanderings and could be anywhere, more than likely he was at the Star Chamber's hall. The console beeped and announced a connection with the given address. Astronicus activated the holo-display and the small holographic form of Master Yoni appeared, though with a bit of static interference.

"Ah my most esteemed pupil comes looking for me at this the Brotherhood's most dire hour." Intoned Yoni, his voice not concealing the sarcasm. "And what pray tell do you want from me, Astronicus?"

"Master, the Brotherhood is falling apart, the Clans attack each other even now as the enemy approaches orbit of Antei." Informed Astronicus.

"Yes, this I am aware of pupil. But that cannot be the only reason you have looked me up after all of these years." Rasped Yoni, he was beginning to sound impatient, obviously he too was dealing with a situation of sorts. "The Star Chamber does not see it necessary to intervene at this time, a thinning of the weak and harvesting of the strongest Dark Jedi or something, Paladin's words."

"Master, my Clan's ship is damaged and in need of repairs, we have located a harbor to make such, but I have contacted you in hopes that you might advise me in these our darkest hours." Implored Astronicus. "And… perhaps guide us to a stronghold here in the Antei system where we may take our leave of the nonsensical bloodshed that is overtaking the skies above the Throne world."

"You act… most cunningly, my young apprentice. Yes, let them ravage themselves and watch over your own Clan, and then in the end it will be you who rises triumphant." Yoni began to laugh with sheer delight at how menacing his most apt pupil had become, almost like Khyron himself. "I cannot direct you to the safest stronghold in system, but make your way to the Grand Master's Royal Guard training grounds on Atrophos, it extends for over eight hundred meters into the moon. If you need a safe haven then that is where you must go."

"Thank you, master. I shall take my leave of you now, but perhaps when this is all over and everything is done and said we shall meet again to reminesce about the past." Astronicus said, with a wave of his hand the transmission ended. So his master had the same idea as he, soon the Brotherhod would be strong as the weak links were exterminated. At that time the Emissary of the Brotherhood, the Dark Jedi who had been granted command over all the Clans at one time by Grand Master Cotelin, he - Astronicus Aurelius Sadow - would rise again and take command of a great force of the darkest Jedi to ever walk this galaxy.


15-08-2007 19:17:02

A-vek liluunu Carrier Analog Righteous Fire
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup
Approaching Antei

Subcommander Drathul Amnan narrowed his eyes in anger at the shape being formed by the blaze bugs. It had the look of a triangular prism, lumbering slowly, as if wounded. Moments earlier a much smaller rectangular shape had jettisoned from its hull, the larger prism firing on it until it escaped out of range, angling towards the surface of the heretic planet.

What,” cried Drathul Amnan, tearing his eyes away from the blaze bugs to glare at one of the subalterns standing around, “is that?”

The subaltern surveyed the blaze bugs, talking into his cognition hood, speaking with the ship itself to provoke a response. A few moments later he turned back to the Subcommander. “Without a doubt it is the ship we left behind in the anomaly, my lord.”

Drathul Amnan screamed with rage. He had felt something was wrong when the Will of the Gods and the Hammer of Glory had not returned. Something had gone wrong. But this? Failure? Had Yun-Yammka abandoned him? Had they not followed the priest's clear advice? Had he not told them the Gods were with them?

“How?” spat the Subcommander. “How could they have escaped?”

The subaltern looked at Drathul Amnan unblinking. He had no answer.

Drathul Amnan tore his eyes of the subaltern. It was not his fault. He knew but one to blame for this mistake. No... there were two. He stormed back to his command throne, stroking his villip choir to life. The central villip inverted, forming in to the face of Drosh Nar.

“My lord,” greeted the Seer with a slight bow of his head. “How may I serve?”

“Your life,” said Drathul Amnan.

Drosh Nar frowned. “My lord?” he asked in confusion.

“The infidels we left in the anomaly have survived, Seer Nar.”

“Ah,” responded the Seer slowly, thinking quickly. “Subaltern Neira Tor always was troublesome, my lord,” he said, referring to the commander of the Will of the Gods, “his failure does not reflect on your own worthiness in the eyes of the Gods.”

Drathul Amnan glared at the Seer. “My worthiness?” he asked, mocking the Seer. “It was not my plan to leave the heretics to their fate. That was your plan, Drosh Nar. If any are Shamed here, it is you.”

Through the villip Drosh Nar looked straight into the face of Drathul Amnan. “What are you implying?” hissed the Seer.

“I am implying you have failed, Seer,” said Drathul Amnan, his voice darkening. “Your failure has Shamed us all. I may be no priest but I know the Gods will be satisfied with your life in payment.”

Drosh Nar's face didn't move. He did not fear the Gods. Even still... how, he wondered, could the will of Yun-Harla have gone so wrong?

“Executor Shul,” said Drathul Amnan, a second villip opening beside the first to form into the face of the Yuuzhan Vong Executor.

“Yes, my lord?” asked Eshin Shul, looking bitter but noticably uneasy.

“Yun-Yammka demands the life of Drosh Nar. In payment for his failures.”

Eshin Shul's eyes widened, looking uncertain. Eshin Shul had collaborated with Drosh Nar with the voxyn plan. If Drathul Amnan was taking his life... she shook her head, it made no difference. “Very well, my lord.”

Across the villip choir Drathul Amnan could hear the sounds of Drosh Nar as he screamed, Eshin Shul running him through with her coufee. As his life ebbed away, his screaming face inverted again, returning the villip to its ordinary form.

“It is done, my lord,” said Eshin Shul, returning her attention to the villip.

“Good. Be it a lesson to you, Eshin Shul, what happens to those who fail Yun-Yammka,” said Drathul Amnan, his eyes boring into Eshin Shul even across space and through her villip.

Eshin Shul understood the subtly behind the Subcommander's words. “I shall remember, my lord.”

Drathul Amnan stared at her for a few more moments. “Instruct the Heretic's Bane's commander to engage the infidels. You, Eshin Shul, shall prove your worth in battle, unless you wish to end up like the Seer.”

Closing the villip, Drathul Amnan turned back to the rest of the command crew aboard the Righteous Fire. Through his twisted and mutilated features could be seen a look that appeared equal parts burning anger and perverse pleasure. Drathul Amnan was furious at the Seer and Executor for their failure, but at the same time part of him was pleased to witness the servants of Yun-Harla getting what they deserved.

He knew they should never have pursued a plan of the Trickster's design.

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Approaching Antei

“I would really rather not have to do that again,” said Darth Vexatus, still breathing heavily after being forced to perform another Force Meld.

Trevarus looked at him, his own face soaked in a mixture of blood and sweat. He smirked. “Not feeling tired already are you, my old apprentice?”

The Sith Lord shot him a look which could have melted a Star Destroyer's hull.

Maeda burst out laughing, despite still puffing himself. “Aww,” he said sarcastically. “You two should get a room.”

Both Elders glared at him before the three hauled themselves to their feet. Through the viewport they could see flashes of turbolaser fire in the distance, intermixed with explosions on both sides of the battle. It appeared the other Clans were losing ground fast, ships blinking out of existence as more and more Yuuzhan Vong cruisers arrived through the Shroud.

“It doesn't look good out there,” said Maeda. “I take it your vision showed you getting back from Kalekka, right, Trev? Not just standing around picking flowers down there?”

Vexatus shook his head in contempt but Trevarus merely smiled. “If you're asking whether we'll make it back alive, you're asking the wrong question, Kem.”

Maeda guffawed. “Right, forgot. Trev never dies. Stupid Amulet.”

Trevarus laughed. Darth Vexatus continued to shake his head.

“So, how do you plan to get past the blockade?” asked the Sith Lord.

The Krath Master looked at him. “I was hoping you might...”

Lord Vexatus cut him off. “Another one?” he asked sourly.

“Do you have a better idea, Xanos?” said Trevarus impatiently. He was still deeply concerned about recovering his archives before the Yuuzhan Vong made it through.

The Sith Lord sighed. “Fine,” he said bitterly. “I just hope you realise how much I don't like being inside your head.”

Maeda burst out laughing. “Don't go thinking I like you inside mine either, bud.”

The Falleen stared at him. He really could not stand how crass the man was. Maeda was the opposite of Trevarus, instead of being stuck up he was a complete simpleton. Vexatus had never had any time for simpletons. They were like those unable to touch the Force, mundane, ignorant, unable to perceive and appreciate the full picture. He still did not understand why Trevarus kept the man around.

“Something on your mind?” grunted Maeda, blatantly challenging the Sith Lord to a fight.

Vexatus shook his head and turned back to Trevarus. “Let me know when you want me to initiate the meld again. I believe it will be harder to break through the blockade than it was simply outrunning the Covenant.”

Shinichi Endymiron K

15-08-2007 19:46:27

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System

“All crew, the Sanguinus is hereby designated hostile, I repeat hostile. Shoot to kill.” The voice of the Overlord of Clan Naga Sadow resonated throughout the ship.

The Proconsul lifted his head and looked briefly Shuang-Long.

“Keep searching for infiltrators, I shall go to the Bridge and determine our next course of action.” With that the Krath broke into a run and disappeared around the corner. As he raced to the turbolift that would take him to the bridge he sent a thought to both his sister and apprentice assuring them that he was not in jeopardy. The force-bonds would have most definitely alerted them to his heightened state of awareness and he did not wish for them to be more on edge than they no doubt already were.

Do not be concerned. I am fine.

Shin’ichi entered the turbolift and prayed that the machine was still working. Over half the ship’s systems had been damaged in their recent flight into the shroud, and it would take far too long to reach the bridge if the lift was not functioning. To his relief the indicator lit up and the Turbolift began to move, but only to stop one level up. The Keibatsu took hold of lightsaber and awaited some threat to come through the doors, but as the doors opened Macron entered.

“You’re even more on edge than usual.” He quipped as the turbolift began moving again.

“Why are we firing on the Sanguinus” the Proconsul’s artificial voice echoed in the cramped chamber.

“I suspect we’re about to find out.” The Consul responded before the turbolift doors opened to the bridge.

The two men stepped out together and approached the Overlord. “Viceroy, why has the Sanguinus been designated a hostile target?”

“Trevarus and Xanos have led us into this catastrophe and now they have fled presumably to that infernal tower of theirs.” The Overlord’s words hit like a hammer to the heart of the Proconsul. Trevarus and Xanos had betrayed them and left them for dead. The rage welled up and burned like an inferno as he did an about face and began to march from the bridge.

“Where are you going Adjutant-General?” Macron asked of his brother.

Turning his head slightly, eyes blazing with the Dark Side his metallic voice rang out on the bridge. “To hunt.”

Macron Sadow

15-08-2007 21:05:26

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Admiral's Office
Antei System

Macron watched Shin’Ichi go. This next black cup was his to drink alone, as Consul. Those whom he could hide behind, or fight with had gone. It was not something he relished, but it had to be done. He had to know.

The Consul’s thoughts rambled as they usually did, remembering the fun he had just had with Syrus. The arm stolen from the Vong captive had grafted nicely, although the eye was too far-gone to use. The arm still retained the crab armor that grew from it’s bones, a grisly sight. A chuckle escaped his lips as he pondered the ungainly melding. The video unit in the tank with the previously mechanized Vong had been trained upon the operation, and the captive could see his own arm had been melded with technology and the body of an infidel. The violation had continued, much to the Sith's pleasure. Macron smiled.

Macron turned back to the Overlord. “Astronicus… do you really think it was wise to fire on them?” He studied the readouts on his helm heads up view, noting that all systems were at 100% and the Orbalisk venom was flowing strongly in his veins. He had come prepared, as any good Sith would.

“Are you questioning me?” asked the Viceroy as he stood from the command chair.

Macron giggled. “Yes, I am,” he said with a strong voice. His yellow eyes met the eyes of the Adept as he peered at him intently. There was no fear in his voice. He followed the will of the Dark Side. He intended to challenge Astronicus, and see if he was indeed fit to lead. Such were the old traditions. This issue would have to be settled by a duel.

“I see,” said the Overlord as he steepled his fingers. “That is a problem.” His own frame belied a tense readiness, for he knew of the unpredictability of the Governor General. And his own nature as a Sith was ever present in the background, urging him to revel in violence. He would not let his Clan fall, even in these dissolute times.

“It is my duty to question actions that may not benefit my Clan,” stated the mad alchemist. “Although they left, the Dark Side may have had reasons of it’s own to push them thus. They are no more betrayers than you are for firing on them.”

Astronicus stood up in anger, his fingers reaching for his lightsaber hilt. “You are calling me… a betrayer? That cannot be tolerated.”

“I am,” taunted the Consul as he pulled out his own unlit hilt and raised the Armor Fist before him in a classic Dun Moch gesture. “It is in the nature of the Sith to betray.”
The crack of igniting lightsabers filled the room. The two Sith would test their mettle against each other in the ancient way. Silver flashed upon orange and Mandalorian steel as they struggled.

Ashia Kagan

15-08-2007 22:45:31

Ashia watched Manji go. The three Keibatsu had left their duties flushing out the Voxyn and rushed to the command deck the moment they heard Tron's order to fire on the Sanguinus.

The massive tremor in the Force from the Overlord's rage was enough to rattle them as it were.

The Quaestor looked over at Tron who just shook his head and sighed before returning his gaze to look out the viewport at the battle raging beyond.

"We shouldn't be fighting amongst ourselves at a time like this."

Tron's voice floated on her skin like a whisper. She watched as another explosion lit the sky off the starboard bow.

Ashia quietly slipped into the turbolift and followed after Manji. She had to try and reason with him. If that were possible.

Manji was finishing his preflight check on his starfighter. The Krath Priestess entered the hanger and approached the ship without so much as a sound. She stood and watched him for a moment trying to determine the best course of action.

"Speak, Little Kagan. I haven't got time to ponder the world's problems let alone wait for you to decide how your going to admonish me."

The Zabrak looked hard on him as the words spilled from his tongue. His back was still to her but he glanced over his shoulder once, a sneer falling across his visage.

"Trev and Xanos betrayed us, leaving us for dead and you threaten Tron? What the frell is wrong with you?"

Manji turned on her then, looking hard at her.

"What's wrong with me? They betray us, yes! But Tron giving the order to fire upon them is just as much betrayal as them leaving us!"

The fire in him lit his eye as his anger bit down on her like teeth. She had seen people run in terror from the Dokugan-Ryu's rage, but Ashia stood her ground, her own umbrage building, ready to spew forth at any moment.

The two glared at each other, tempers rising very quickly, ready to crash into one another like a tidal wave of vexation.

Suddenly, the Nightsister stopped; her anger faded from her face washing away any animosity that it held a moment ago. This was not part of her. Always more calm and relaxed, the Nightsister didn't anger quickly, especially when it came to the family. When her wrath burned it was for a good reason and usually because someone or something had threaten her family or clan. She had realized she was channeling more of Shin'ichi's personality then her own just then. The Abomination usually shot first and asked questions later and seemed at most times to have been bred to kill.

Manji looked at her confused, but he waited for her say something.

"We should not be fighting each other, we should be uniting against the Vong."

Her azure eyes looked on him calmly now, no hint of the hostility that had been only moments before.

He relaxed some but still looked at her sideways.

"We don't know what's become of Muz. He could be dead for all we know. I'm not going to sit here and play puppet on the whims of the elders of this clan."

Ashia stopped at the mention of her husband, a solemn look filled her eyes. Manji stopped when he realized what he had just said.

He grabbed his sake bottle and took a swig then handed the bottle out to her. She looked at it for a moment before taking it and taking a drought of the rice wine herself.

She handed it back and as he stood and stared at her for a moment in silence.

"I'm sure he's ok, Little Kagan." He tried to sound reassuring but it was hard when he wasn't sure himself.

She nodded to him. "You be careful out there." She turned on her heel and left the hanger.


15-08-2007 22:52:47

What remained of the men and women who made up the Covenant’s fighter compliment darted to and fro within the Star Destroyer’s main hangar, trying their best to make their craft ready for battle as the massive ship limped towards the moon of Atrophos. It was not an easy task, considering their numbers had taken heavy losses at both Vong invaders and infiltrators alike, and the capital ship seemed to imitate the sorry state of the crew that manned her, trying its best to avoid notice while gamely marshalling its remaining strength.

Sai, datapad in one hand, closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose with the other as he stood before one such decimated wing of pilots, taking roll as the Clan’s Rollmaster should. He was doing his best to take stock of both material and personnel alike, as the Clan Summit would need an accurate count of what of their force remained; in Sai’s analytical mind, that only translated to just how many were being sent to slaughter, when that time came. He had just received his master’s mental “reassurance”, but the sentiment behind the thought betrayed Shin’s true state, and the agitation had bored into his brain like an auger.

He would not trivialize the power at his command for something as simple as relieving himself of a headache. The Keibatsu had a strong feeling that he would need every ounce of his reserves in the days to come. As Sai attempted to shake off the sensation, one of the pilots, his nerves clearly frayed, lost all military decorum and broke ranks, taking a few hesitant steps away from the massive hangar’s opening, the field of vision filled with the dying ships of the Brotherhood, the only indication that they were safe from the same a steady blue glow around the perimeter of the port that was the tell-tale sign of shielding.

Without taking his hand away from the bridge of his nose, Sai roared, “Pilot: take one more step, and I’ll burn you down where you stand!”

The pilot, whether from fear or from Sai’s command of the Dark Side, found that his muscles had suddenly seized and his egress, obediently halted. After a heartbeat, he snapped back to attention, finding his place in ranks.

Manji, his preflight checks complete, witnessed Sai’s admonishment and strode over. “Why so glum, cousin?” he asked, clapping a strong hand on the Knight’s shoulder. Though seething inside, Manji knew that he must tamp down the fires of his rage in front of these pilots, at least for now. A time and place for everything, after all.

“Ah, Manji…where to start?” Sai began in a hoarse whisper, his tripartite eyes flashing. “For every man I count, at least three more are missing or dead. Nearly a third of this ship and its war material are either missing or inaccessible, Shin’s just given me the migraine of the century, and to top it all off,” he leaned in close to Manji conspiratorially, “the word ‘round the campfire is that Mac’s just challenged the Overlord.” As damaged as the ship was, news still traveled at sublight speed when powered by wagging tongues.

Manji gave a knowing smile. “So, he’s made his play,” he said, more to himself than to his cousin. He grasped both of Sai’s shoulders, locking him with a gaze, remembering the calming effect his chat with Ashia had upon him.

“To address the first of your points, none of that is your fault, so quit obsessing about it. Shin’s going to be Shin, you of all people aboard this ship should know that.”

Sai took a calming breath as he heeded the wise council of his cousin. Manji continued.

“And as for Mac…” Manji’s voice trailed off as he searched for the right words.

“He fights so the rest of us won’t have to. And, just between you and me,” now it was Manji’s turn to lean in with the weight of conspiracy on his shoulders. “I hope the madman burns his eyes out!”

The two shared a quick laugh while the pilots Sai had been counting shifted nervously. Manji quickly regained his composure. “Seriously, better the two of them up there,” he jerked his head towards the Covenant’s bridge, “than the rest of us in here.”

A sudden and silent blossom of light outside the hangar’s shield that heralded the death of a nameless Brotherhood vessel commanded the Keibatsu warriors' attention, and they both were soberly minded of the deadly, and final, alternative should the clan be unable to heal itself.


16-08-2007 05:15:07

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System

Malisane walked idly down the corridor in a relaxed manner, the immediate threat appeared to have died out for now and they had a respite. Recent events had been interesting but he wasn't overly concerned. He'd watched with detached interest as the two Sons of Sadow, Darth Vexatus and Trevarus Caderick had made their extravagent exit, and now frenzied reports were coming over the communicator suggesting that the Consul was engaged in a physical battle for power with the Overlord of the Sons. Malisane wasn't particularly concerned by either of these events. The way he perceived it, in his time in the Clan he had served under four Consuls and six Pro Consuls. The individuals changed but to the Sith it was survival of the Clan that mattered. As for the Sons of Sadow they were a distant group of older members who kept themselves to themselves and Malisane had little contact with them, their affairs were none of his business.

He had more pressing concerns. He deactivated the forcefield and stepped cautiously into the cold store, hand on the saber hilt at his waist. He was not expecting any trouble but it paid to be cautious. Through the slight mist he could make out the still figure of the Yuuzhan Vong Warrior on the floor under the shelving. "Still with us?" he asked. The was no response. He kicked the figure who grunted. "Good."
"If you expect me to talk you are a fool." the warrior told him.
"Are you sure?" Malisane asked. "I don't want it to be said later I hadn't given you every opportunity to co-operate."
"You will die a slow death." the Vong told him.
"I'll take that as a no. Very well." He picked a box up and once more smashed it down onto the head of the Vong. He studied the figure for a second then gave him a second blow for good measure. "Alright he's all yours."
A second later a team of medical droids entered the store and after lifting the metal shelving with apparent ease, hoisted the warrior onto a floating stretcher, before guiding it out.

A short while later he stood in one of the medical bays watching as the droids made marks around the warrior's neck area.
"You are sure you can do this without killing him?" he asked.
"We have studied the aliens physiology," the droid replied, "and yes there is a ninety percent chance of success. We can supply the brain with an artificial oxygen supply and preserve his life functions."
"Does he have to remain unconsious?" Malisane asked. He was not usually a cruel man unlike many of his fellows, but his patience had been tried.
"It would be easier if the brain was not under stress during the procedure. It would also be easier if you refrained from giving him any more blows to the head area."
Malisane nodded. "Very well. Proceed."


16-08-2007 05:15:47

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System

"We shouldn't be fighting amongst ourselves at a time like this." Astronicus said, his voice calm and decisive. He noticed Ashia Kagan was watching him and Macron dueling. Their sabers were locked and their eyes fixed on one anothers, looking for each other to make the slightest mistake. She slipped away in the nearest turbo lift leaving the two to fight it out alone. Astronicus wasn't about to give in and surrender, but he could not afford to kill Macron either. First, the clan woujld not look upon him as they once had if he were to do that, Macron was beloved and an inspirational leader. Second, the clan needed stability at this very moment, infighting would only be a boon to their enemies - whether they be Yuuzhan Vong or Dark Jedi of the other clans. And finally, Astronicus would need every last member of the crew, which included the Dark Jedi of Clan Naga Sadow, to make sure they made it out of this alive.

"Mac, I don't wish to fight you, but I will defend myself." Astronicus took one step back with his left foot, holding his right side up high to hold back Macron's saber and with his left hand ignited his twin lightsaber bringing it up high. "The clan needs to see us united at this time, not acting like those petty clans out there that should be fighting the Vong side by side. Old traditions be damned, I am a Sith but not blind so as to follow the old ways, we need to change to survive the coming days.

"Yes, it was probably not the best thing to fire on the Sanguinus. Hell, even Simonetti questioned me." Astronicus back away even more now and began to lower his gluard slightly. "It was a moment of rage and anger at their actions, I hold them in high regard, though they could be more forth coming to what they had in mind. No doubt we shall settle matters later. Right now though we need to care for the clan. You are the Consul, I leave it in your care, I must step aside and let you lead. Too many have seen me look weak and unable to handle matters as of late. Simonetti told me all that happened on the brdige when that Voxyn attacked and how I came to be unconscious."

Astronicus deactivated both sabers and re-sheathed them in his robes. Macron merely stood there gazing at him, not as the Overlord, not as the Viceroy, but as Astronicus Aurelius Sadow a Dark Side Adept who had neglected the clan and now all of a sudden was attempting to take command again. But at this very moment he had surrendered and was leaving himself open. Macron drew back his own lightsaber, ready to strike down the older Dark Jedi but a though occurred to him. What would happen if only one of us did leave this room? What would the clan say or think? What if I struck down Tron? The crew would no longer feel protected or have the confidence that he evokes into them that we will survive. And were he to kill me he would be seen as a traitor, willing to do whatever it takes to save his own hide. No we cannot be divided, we shouldn't be fighting amognst ourselves.

"Very well Tron, we shall see this battle at another time, for now we will make sure that we do not become just another list of casualties in this war." Macron stated, then with a chuckle in his voice and a broad grin on his face he said, "Besides, I just got made a Son of Sadow, it wouldn't look to do if I were to commit fratricide and kill my fellow Sadow."

The two walked out onto the bridge, Astronicus let Macron take the lead. Macron stood beside the command chair and gestured for Astronicus to take a seat in it, an act of showing the crew and everyone around that he showed respect and honor to the Overlord. But though he would sit in the seat, Astronicus would let Macron take command and give the orders now.

"Captain, have we entered orbit yet?" Questioned the alchemist.

"We are just now, my lord." Replied a startled and confused Simonetti, he expected the Viceroy to be giving orders over the Governor-General. "But it may be a moot point, it appears a ship from the Yuuzhan Vong task force has broken off and is enroute to our location."

"Once we have assumed a stable orbit launch all fighters and bring all defense systems online." Ordered Macron, then with a sideways glance to Astronicus he sighed and took on a somber tone as he gave the next orders to Simonetti. "Also, detatch the Astronicus Reach, it will only be a burden to us at this point and we don't have the man power to crew it. Should we survive, we shall recover it later."

Simonetti turned and began barking orders to the crew, making sure the madman's orderes were followed lest someone should lose their life. Despite the Viceroy's assurance, it seemed crew members were killed on a whim by Dark Jedi left and right, without the slightest sign of action by him. It would not bode well, for indeed most of the crew would more than likely give their notice once back home in the Orian system.

Events were coming to a boil, onboard, outside and within Simonetti himself. If things continued as they were, he could not guarantee that the Dark Jedi, let alone his crew, would survive the day. Looking out the viewport he could see the ships of what were apparently factions within this organization fighting each other, leaving no doubt in his mind that they were all mad and sought nothing but dominance over one another. Madness! Insanity! How the hell did he get wrapped up in it all?


16-08-2007 12:43:06

CR90 Corvette Sanginus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Approaching Antei

“We're coming up on the blockade,” said Zara to the assembled Elders standing in the bridge.

Darth Vexatus stood with his eyes transfixed on the ships before them. The Venator-class Star Destroyer Katarn hung in Antei's orbit, trading fire with ships belonging to the Kraken Battlegroup of Clan Tarentum and the incoming vessels of the Yuuzhan Vong.

“Pathetic fools,” said Lord Vexatus acidly. “Even as death descends on them they concern themselves with their petty rivalries.”

Trevarus Caerick shook his head. “You know what they're like, Xanos.”

The Sith Lord shrugged. “I know. One would just think as the Far Outsiders fell upon them that they would put aside their meaningless differences and recognise they all exist to serve the Final Way.”

Trevarus looked out at the ships smiling. “They do serve the Final Way. They serve to screen our own mission. Their lives are given so that ours may survive.”

Lord Vexatus took on a darker look. “Indeed. Perhaps there is still some value in the brotherhood after all. It's death will be our victory.”

Christine Zara turned to look at them. “Uhh... Trev, we have a problem.”


“There's a starfighter incoming on our six. It must have come from the Covenant.”

Darth Vexatus sighed. “Fools, all of them.”

Trevarus looked at the holographic display. “It's only one fighter.” He shrugged. “We're entering the blockade anyway, we've got bigger worries right now. Xanos, are you ready?”

The Sith Lord nodded. “Both of you, free your minds. This is going to require more work.”

“Just make sure you're not in my head any longer than you need to be,” grunted Maeda.

“The feelings mutual,” said Vexatus contemptuously. “Open yourselves to the Force. Let the dark side flow through you. Embrace it. Become one with it. Visualise the wholeness of the universe. As one.”

Fire erupted from the corvette as it approached the blockade. A squadron of Actis-class interceptors broke apart to evade. Two moved too slowly, the turbolasers incinerating them even before they had realised what was happening.

In the distance a squadron of V-wings turned to intercept, angling toward the Sanginus. In the bridge missile lock warning sirens blasted into her ears as Christine Zara shunted the corvette into evasive manoeuvres.

The starfighters fired but the combined force of the Elders quickly nudged their weapons back at them. Their telekinetic attack hit one of the missiles so hard it swung back, circling around, its heat sensors re-targeting the craft from which it had been launched. The interceptor exploded in a cloud of fire and smoke.

“Nice work guys,” called Zara, but none of them answered.

The squadron of Actis-class interceptors had swung back. No longer taken by surprise, the ships broke off into a number of pairs, angling toward the corvette before their laser cannons began bumping fire into the ships shields.

The Sanginus's shields were holding but were still badly hurt from the impact of the Covenant's opening turbolaser barrage. Reaching out, the Elders pushed out with the Force around them, the incoming laser fire deflecting harmlessly off the ship.

Mouth not opening, the voice of Lord Vexatus echoed through Zara's ears, sounding as if it had come from nowhere and everywhere at once. Target and destroy. Zara found her hands moving without thinking it, the turbolasers erupting and all around them starfighters bursting in balls of flame.

In the Force the Elders could feel lives blinking out of existence, the sensation driving them, fuelling them, as more and more starfighters exploded.

The skies of Antei approached as the corvette lurched heavily, the impact of crashing through the atmosphere at such speeds sending the three Elders colliding into the front viewport. The momentary jolt of impulse broke them out of their trance but the starfighters were all already falling back, leaving the corvette to continue on to the surface unchallenged.

“Dammit,” spat Maeda, moving his fingers away from his forehead and finding them covered in blood. “That hurt.”

Lord Vexatus pulled himself to his feet, noticeably sluggish. “Not the result I wanted,” he said uneasily, “but a result nonetheless.”

Trevarus Caerick smiled, the silvery tendrils of the Amulet of Orian snaking back into his hand. It had apparently shielded his fall.

Maeda grunted. “Damn Amulet.”

Shinichi Endymiron K

16-08-2007 13:04:55

The Kiba Class Starfighter made its way swiftly from the Victory Class Star Destroyer Covenant in pursuit of the traitors to Clan Naga Sadow. Rage boiled within Shin’ichi and he knew he took a big risk in following the three Elders to Antei, but he had to know why they had abandoned the Clan and what they were after. Besides with Macron and Astronicus battling on the bridge there was little he could do until their tensions were resolved.

Arrayed before the corvette that he followed were the remnants of the Taldryan and Tarentum battle groups exchanging fire, their starfighters hunting each other like enraged fireflies. The Proconsul puzzled at how the Sanguinus would make its way through unmolested by either side of that conflict. The turbolasers of the corvette opened up incinerating several fighters as a slew of Actis Interceptors came right for it and for him. The Keibatsu’s mind exploded in pain as he felt the dark energies flow from the Elders and towards the minds of the enemy pilots. The laser blasts arced form the corvette cutting a swath through and providing a clear path to the planet below.

V-Wings came at the corvette and met the same fate as the Interceptors. All around life was being extinguished and Shin’ichi couldn’t help but be caught up in the thrill that death provided. Warning sirens erupted as a few surviving fighters noticed him in the wake of the Sanguinus. Still stunned from the mental attack of the elders the pilots of Taldryan were no match for the Krath and his Kiba. Executing flawless turns and spins the Keibatsu made short work of those few pilots who survived the assault of the elders and made once again to follow the traitors to the surface of Antei.

Syrus Korodin

16-08-2007 13:33:27

Standing on the bridge of the Covenant, quietly staring off into the churning chaos of the cosmos, he watched the battle continue. Lances of bright energy streaked into the dark, either fading with distance or colliding with monstrous flashes against shield and ship. Explosions split the fabric of space. Bright flashes of light left flickering afterimages on his retina. Magnesium fires burned for the barest second, snuffed out by the emptiness, still hot enough to peel back hull plating, stripping the flesh from the bone.

“Children,” he said, his voice an uncertain tremolo of shock and indignation, a whisper so faint it may well have been drowned out by the faint sounds of the ventilation system.

“All of them, children.”

He had lived for over a century, and had seen things that not even his master could claim to have seen. He had served aboard capital ships and frigates in battle, risking his life for ideas and concepts, standing on the hair thin boundary that separates life and death.

But this…how could he make sense of this?

He had listened to the exchange between Macron and Tron, disobeying his Proconsul and instead following him to the bridge. He knew many things now that he did not know before, would not have known had he not defied orders.

His brotherhood had shattered into six jagged fragments, and each sought to shatter the other further. And even his own shard, the one he felt to be the strongest of all, was showing signs of duress. His own clan was faced with internal strife.

How pathetic that even now, in the face of their most terrible enemy yet, they could not band together. His master and that fool Vexatus had manipulated the clan into coming here, into this death trap.

But the force was eternal, unrelenting. The force was cyclical in nature. Betrayal merits further betrayal. They would receive their due punishment in time. Shuang would wait until they reached precious Kalekka.

He would override every goddamn computer on this ship, if only to teach them one lesson. If only to let fire rain from the skies, to let the orbital bombardment shred their hopes and dreams.

What bitter irony it would be for Master Caerick! To arrive at long last to Kalekka, only to be wiped off the face of the universe! Yes.



16-08-2007 14:31:33

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow

The Sanguinus shot through the blackened skies of Antei as fast as its engines could carry it. The three Elders stood recovering their strength as Christine Zara managed the last stretch of the journey. Bolts of lightning and cracks of thunder filled the sky as they approached the Du'san Boundary.

Positioned on a ledge above the Jadan Pass sat Kalekka Tower, home to the boundary's baron. Its white spire stretched into the sky, into the heart of the deadly ion storms that ran around the circumference of the planet. In a sea of endless black Kalekka Tower was a shining beacon of light to those who knew no better.

Trevarus Caerick gazed out with longing at his home as the corvette approached, weaving past the bolts of lightning that escaped the confines of the Du'san Boundary itself.

“Finally,” breathed the Krath Master to himself.

Darth Vexatus frowned at him. “That isn't attachment I sense in you, is it, Trev?”

Trevarus glanced sideways at him but didn't answer. His anxiety had worsened the closer they got to Kalekka. The nightmare unravelling in the skies above Antei was making it impossible to ignore the sense of dread creeping up inside him in relation to his apprentice's visions. Antei looked certain to fall.

With an uneasy thud, Zara set the corvette down outside the main entrance to the spire.

Kalekka Tower
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Antei, Du'san Boundary, Jadan Pass

A large, powerful looking man stood waiting outside the entrance to Kalekka Tower. He was dressed in semi-military attire, a blaster hung at his waist, along with various other knives and tools. His face looked like death.

He was not a man to piss off and right now he was seriously pissed off.

Stepping down the ramp, Trevarus looked up at the man and greeted him.

“What the hell are you up to, Trev?” shouted Eosara, the seneschal of Kalekka Tower and Trevarus's personal bodyguard. “Don't tell me you came here to rescue me.” The man looked thoroughly disgusted at the thought of his master coming to save him. His loyalty had long been to his duty, not himself.

Trevarus shook his head. “No, nothing like that. I came to retrieve Legion.”

Eosara's face softened slightly in understanding. The master had come to retrieve his holocron. He glanced at the others standing alongside the Krath Master on the ramp. “Zara. Maeda. Xanos,” he greeted, nodding to each in turn. He gestured them all forward. “Well, I suppose we better get inside. The sooner you go and get Legion, the sooner all of us can get the hell out of here.”

In orbit the forces of Taldryan and Tarentum tore into each other. The Katarn and Corsair duelled to the death even as hundreds of coralskippers swarmed them already and the vast warships of the Yuuzhan Vong approached in the distance. The surviving forces from many of the other Clans had joined the battle. It was like watching insects picking over the remains of a rotting corpse.

Even from the surface it was possible to make out the distance explosions. The sky looked as if it was on fire, the wreckage of hundreds of ships burning up as they fell through the atmosphere.

“And so Antei burns,” whispered Darth Vexatus, more to himself than the others as he followed Eosara through to the atrium, “bear witness to the failure of the Star Chamber.”

Shan Long

16-08-2007 14:51:48

Kalekka Tower, Grand Foyer
Du'San Boundary, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

"There's no place like home," Trevarus said.

"I've always wondered, Trev..." Maeda began, "What is it with you and the Boundary? You seem to be the only one that understands it... like the Shroud. I refuse to believe its coincidence that you live in the middle of that hellish storm."

The Master smiled, evenly, a few gleaming white teeth revealed. "The Shroud and the Boundary are one, Secunda, the Essence unites every facet of the Construct. Perhaps if you understood the nature of Command, you might understand the nature of Chaos." Trevarus looked far away.

"Eosara, call for dinner to be served in the Emerald Room." Trevarus finnally said.

"What? Why not just do what we need to, and leave?" Vexatus asked, incredulous

"I need a kriffing drink... and I believe Kelly has a particulary excellent menu prepared for this evening."

"You got to be kidding Trev, you're thinking about food?" Maeda asked.

"Actually, it makes perfect sense, Maeda." Vexatus replied. "There's no advantage in rushing at the moment... here on the surface we're safe for a day or two. If we are required to fight, we will need to take every opportunity to rest, recuperate, and restore our intellects to the highest of capacity."

"I couldn't have said it better myself, Xanos." Trev said.

"Still.. what the hell are we waiting for?" Maeda asked.

"What about that fighter tailing us?" Maeda asked.

"If it can fly through the Storm... well then... EVA will take care of it. I suspect that Shin'ichi Keibatsu means to avenge us to the Overlord." Trevarus said.

"EVA?", Vexatus asked.

"Eosara and I are not often in the Tower. During our absence, the central computer monitors and defends all functions of the Tower." Trevarus replied after a moment, his eyes tracing the heavy beams that held up the high stone of the Tower.

"I see," said Vexatus. "Ah, the indulgences of Kalekka... I haven't been here in quite some time."

Outside Kalekka Tower
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Inside the Du'San Boundary, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

Juking his fighter hard to the left, Shin'ichi narrowly avoided the spray of rock from a particularly violent burst of lightning against the side of the canyon wall. He had never attempted to fly into the Boundary, knowing it full well to be suicide. He would die, if it allowed him to throttle Trevarus for his treachery.

He followed the deep stone walls of the Jadan Pass, realizing finally why it was always taken on foot. Even within the shelter of the Canyon, the storms raged with enough force to make flying through a raging blockade seem like child's play. Still, he was not one for cowardice. He'd never been to Kalekka Tower, but almost every Dark Jedi who spends time on Antei knows where it is. Maps are provided to travellers, so they might seek shelter from the storms when business requires them to traverse the Boundary without leaving atmosphere. He consulted his ships computer.

It should be just ahead.

Shin'ichi pulled back on the stick with all of his might, raging upward in a very steep climb. Ears popping from the sudden change of air pressure, he released a small measure of power to allow himself to remain conscious against blood loss to his head. With all due speed, his fighter roared out of the canyon's mouth.

He could not see the full body of the Tower, he knew it stretched nearly six kilometers above him. It was slender, elegantly curved, its black stone walls seemed to shrug off every lightning bolt that struck it. Screaming his rage, Shin'ichi pulsed the weapons on his fighter, releasing a barrage of light turbolaser fire. Like the lightning, the Tower absorbed the incoming laser fire like a sponge.

Frustrated, he released a proton torpedo. "Come out and fight me Caerick!" He screamed into his comlink.

"Unidentified Fighter." A cold, metallic, but cloying feminine voice answered. "Stand down immediately, or I shall take aggressive action."

"Send him out! Send Caerick out!"

A flash of laser light ripped out of a hidden turret on the Tower, destroying the blazing torpedo in a flash of vermillion fire.

"Unidentified Fighter. I offer you thirty seconds to stand down. I shall engage in thirty seconds."

Shin'ichi had the impression he was talking to a computer. He shouted more commands at it, before a blue-white blast from an ion cannon disabled his craft. It fell three hundred meters to the ground, creating a wide furrow in dead soil.

Kalekka Tower, Emerald Room
Du'San Boundary, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

Vexatus, Maeda, and Trevarus sat back in high chairs. The long mahogany table sat roughly sixty, yet only three of its seats were filled at the moment. Trevarus sat at the head, Vexatus and Maeda to either side of him. The Sith Lord looked annoyed, picking at the delicate entree of waterfowl crusted with Corellian sansradish and manorange sauce. Maeda was on his seventh glass of wine. Three waiters in crisp white tuxedos stepped forward, clearing away unused plates and glasses, refilling glasses of the dry white wine as appropriate.

"Waiter, please summon Master Iverson for me." Trevarus said, admiring the subtle nuance of the wine, playfully accentuating the delicate savory citrus of the entree.

"At once, Master." His waiter disappeared for a moment, and returned with the Sommlier, dressed in neat, clean black tuxedo, a green linen draped over his shoulder.

"You asked for me, Master Trevarus?" Andrew said, bowing deeply at the waist.

"I am delightfully impressed with the evening's faire. This sauvignon blanc... where did you find it?"

"Chef Tom brought twenty cases in last week. She declared it one of the finest produced by the vinters of Koros Major. When I sampled it, I agreed. It has been added to the flight menus for tonight at the Amicus Club, and another tasting of shellfish for next month."

"Excellent." Trevarus said, draining his glass. "Very good, Andrew, thank you." Trevarus pulled the napkin off his lap, draping it over his plate. he raised his hand slightly, and a waiter brought him a glass of amber brandy and a cigar.

"Gentlemen... its time we spoke candidly." Trevarus said, pausing to properly light his long, black cigar.

"What do you mean, Trevarus?" Vexatus asked.

"Right. You've gotten us drunk, so what's the deal... are we gonna die to save your precious Tower?"

"I should certainly not expect that," Trevarus said cooly, a thin line of smoke drifting from between his lips. "Rather, I have brought you here to assist me."

"Assist you in what," Vexatus questioned. "I understand your requirements of the Legion crystals... but what other nonsense will you offer us?"

"Power, my friends. Command... we stand at the brink of the extermination of the Brotherhood. I have foreseen that we shall survive... in what state, or health, I have no idea. What I ask of you... is to fight by my side... that the Final Way will not beforgotten in the storm. Even the Yuuzhan Vong shall fall in the Consummation... when all life shall be extinguished."

"Life... extinguished... you seek Apotheosis, Trevarus." Vexatus said.

"In a manner of speaking... yes my Apprentice."


16-08-2007 18:27:33

Kalekka Tower, Emerald Room
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Antei, Du'san Boundary, Jadan Pass
Domain of the Dark Council

“Life... extinguished... you seek apotheosis, Trevarus,” Vexatus said.

“In a manner of speaking... yes, my apprentice.”

The Sith Lord swallowed his tongue. Trevarus surely must have understood by now that Vexatus believed he was the One spoken of in the prophecies, the Sith'ari. The thought of a Krath cultist, a mere shadow of a true Sith, bringing about the Final Way was almost laughable. Fortunately, the Falleen knew better than to betray his thoughts openly.

“So,” Maeda said sounding only mildly interested in the present conversation, “when are we going to get searching for these crystals?”

Darth Vexatus glanced at the jewel encrusted chrono situated on the far wall. He had welcomed news of a break, having not eaten in several days, but he had not planned for this level of extravagance. They had been sat there for almost an hour. Trevarus may have been able to sit and savour the wine, but the Sith Lord wanted to get moving.

“As much as I hate to say it, I concur with Maeda,” said the Falleen. “We need to get moving.”

Trevarus put down his glass and looked at them both. He appeared almost offended by the thought of abandoning their meal early. “I have a full dinner planned,” the Master said slowly, “you're not going to leave after the first course? We still have dessert.”

Vexatus allowed his thoughts to invade Trevarus's mind.

“That,” said the Sith Lord darkly, “is what awaits us if we linger here.”

There was an unease in Trevarus's eyes that Vexatus had never seen before. He had never allowed anyone to view exactly what was contained in his visions before. There was a sense of realisation dawning on Trevarus's features, as if any doubts he may once have had regarding his apprentice's visions had just vanished.

“I see,” Trevarus said, sounding slightly tense. “I believe we had better get going.”

Maeda narrowed his eyes, not fully understanding what had happened. “What did you see?”

“I see fire,” said Trevarus, his eyes glazing over as they did during his own visions, “I see darkness not of our design. It is a second darkness, an absence. I see Antei consumed.” He blinked a few times as his eyes came back into focus. “I see Antei devoured.”

“Eaters of worlds, is that not what you said?” the Sith Lord said bitterly.

Trevarus ignored the question. “I need to speak with Eosara,” said the Master as he stood up. “Xanos, Kem, can you two see to collecting the Legion crystals?”

“Of course,” said the Sith Lord.

“Good. I'll meet you in the foyer in an hour. There's one last thing I'll need both of you to help me with.”

Kalekka Tower, Seneschal's Quarters
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Antei, Du'san Boundary, Jadan Pass
Domain of the Dark Council

Eosara looked up from his desk as Trevarus Caerick stepped into the room. “Ah, Trev, I was just about to come and find you.”

The Master narrowed his eyes. “Find me?”

“Yes, it seems thanks to EVA the ship following you has crash landed somewhere nearby. Do you want me to send out a few members of the Obsidian Cohort to deal with it?”

“No,” said Trevarus, waving his hand dismissively, “the pilot will come to us.”

“Ah,” said Eosara, “friend of yours then.”

“Yes, nobody to worry about. Just someone who wants us dead.”

“Do they ever want it any other way?”

Trevarus didn't laugh. The images of Antei on fire had been burned into the back of his head. He was no longer in the mood for jokes. “I need you to oversee the evacuation of Kalekka.”

“I was wondering when you'd wake up to what was going on,” Eosara said. The man was not scared of Trevarus. Despite not being one himself, Force-users didn't scare him. He was Captain of the Obsidian Cohort for a reason. He didn't have room for fear. “If I didn't know it already, I'd have thought you'd gone mad when you asked me to see to dinner.”

Trevarus sighed but ignored Eosara. He wasn't going to argue. “Have everyone evacuated to the Hapes Cluster.”

Eosara raised his eyebrows. “The pretty boys?” he shrugged. “I'll have everyone sent over to Irad Acquisitions and Holdings. They should be able to find shelter there.”

“Be sure to get out of here yourself,” Trevarus said. “Nobody is going to want to be here in a few days.”

Trevarus wandered out of the office, images of Antei still clouding his mind.

Macron Sadow

16-08-2007 19:37:33

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System

Macron looked at the stars, noting the moving rocks that crossed their glittering points. The Vong were nearing. “Persistent karking bastards, aren’t they?” he chuckled. Things were getting tight, as the ship had already taken a horrendous beating. He worried about the safety of his charges, and his own tenuous grasp on sanity. The tussle with Astronicus had let them both blow off steam, and settled matters. Now it was time for teamwork, and to show the Vong pigs what it meant to face Clan Naga Sadow in battle.

“Raise shields, prime all weapons arrays… get engineering on the weapon and protection systems stat. All fighters are to work in tandem, use stutter shots, and baradium shadow torps,” he ordered. “Slave the Reach to land on the moon surface on auto-pilot. Prepare to give those Vong bastards what for.” Macron looked at Astronicus, respect glittering in his eyes. He was truly glad not to be dead, although that had been a very real possibility. “My Lord…”

The Viceroy nodded with an approving smile. This particular detail was one he actually enjoyed, now that he and the Consul had found common ground. “You have my consent.” He knew full well that the alchemist loved his Clan, and only the dark rage at being frustrated by their mutual foes had made him act savagely. “Execute order 46.”

“Captain Simonetti,” canted the Sith as he turned to face the crew. The Captain looked at him, doing his best to hide the fear and resent in his eyes. “You are hereby promoted on the field of battle to Rear Admiral, with the all appropriate honors and compensation. Your service is exemplary, and your crew fights with true ferocity.” Simonetti did a double take, hardly believing what he was hearing. Perhaps the “Dark Jedi” had hearts after all.

Macron handed a datapad to the newly elevated officer. “These crew have also achieved glory in the time of duress. See that they are elevated. And don’t fear that any of you will be executed. Only traitors will be, per the articles of conflict. All of us this day fight for our very survival, and those we cherish. Our prime goal is survival, and the return to our homes and loved ones. Carry on,” ordered the Governor General. Only a few noticed him wince as he mentioned loved ones. Macron had none, and lived a lonely existence.

Mac crossed his arms, and monitored the data streams. This Clan would survive, even if he had to die fighting himself in order to achieve victory. “Get me a channel to the other Consuls,” he ordered. “Now.” The madness had to stop, or they would all be as hornets before the killing frost. The Brotherhood would wither and die unless something changed, and the madman was not afraid to try.

Rear Admiral Simonetti spoke up. "Governor General, we are being jammed."


16-08-2007 21:38:28

Kalekka Tower, Observatory
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Antei, Du'san Boundary, Jadan Pass
Domain of the Dark Council

There was a tremor in the Force, a calling. It was a single voice crying out in ferocity, dominating all senses. It echoed, lingering, its anger palpable even at such vast distances. It spoke one word, demanding all to heed its command.


Alone the word was meaningless but its source made its meaning clear.

Lord Vexatus reached out in the Force, calling to Trevarus in the lower levels of Kalekka Tower. Master.

I heard it, came the reply.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer


The word threw Macron out of what he was doing. To his side he saw the Overlord grasping at his forehead as the voice pounded through his mind too. It repeated again and again and again.

Macron knew at once the source of the call.

In the distance a quintet of warships had dropped out of hyperspace, appearing on the edge of the Shroud. Four daggers surrounded the much larger trident. No sooner than they had entered the battlefield did the ships begin unleashing a massive volley of turbolaser fire on the Yuuzhan Vong armada. Hundreds of starfighters discharged from the ships' hangers.

It was the Autarch.

The Dark Lord had returned.

Autarch-class Battleship Autarch
Dark Council Strike Fleet
Approaching Antei

The Dark Lord of the Sith stood looking out at the chaos unravelling above Antei.

He had summoned his full strength to send out the rallying call to the Clans of the Brotherhood, demanding them to put an end to their infighting. He could see some of the ships breaking away from Antei's orbit, turning to engage the Yuuzhan Vong. However just as many continued to attack one another.

Lord Sarin had touched the minds of every member of the Brotherhood but too many were lost in their own battle melds, their minds unresponsive to his touch. Unable to communicate via normal channels through the Vong jamming devices he could not contact them directly.

He was unable to command.

The Dark Lord opened his eyes. “I need a way through the enemy jamming.”

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

“The Dark Lord has returned,” whispered Macron in amazement. “I thought he had fled.”

Astronicus turned in his chair to survey the holographic display of the battle above Antei. Little had changed. “It appears his call went unheeded. He must have been unable to touch the minds of those fighting.”

Macron giggled, looking at the new arrivals. “He has brought a number of ships.”

Astronicus shrugged. “I imagine it will make little difference. Even five destroyers will only succeed in holding the Yuuzhan Vong forces back for a time. There are too many.”

Macron turned back to the newly promoted Rear Admiral Simonetti. “Admiral, are you at least able to get me a channel to the Autarch? I need to speak with the Dark Lord.”

Simonetti's eyes opened wide at the mention of Dark Lord. Macron could see the flicker of fear behind them. “I'm afraid the jamming is too strong, sir, even for direct burst transmissions.”

Astronicus sighed. “The jamming explains why we could not make contact with Orian while inside the Shroud. I had put it down to the Shroud itself but I knew it was strange to have no communications at all.”

"Then we are truly on our own," Macron said.

Kalekka Tower, Observatory
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Antei, Du'san Boundary, Jadan Pass
Domain of the Dark Council

His actions puzzle me, said Darth Vexatus through the Force.

He returns when he should flee, came Trevarus's harsh response, it seems he is too much of a coward even to stand by his decision to run away.

They had both been surprised by the Dark Lord's apparent willingness to sacrifice his Shadow Hand and the Clans for his own survival four days ago. It was not a decision usually seen among members of the Star Chamber. Most clung to Antei, too afraid to let it go. His decision to return now confused them both.

I had wondered if he had foreseen what the others had not, said Lord Vexatus thoughtfully. I wonder, what was the purpose of this new fleet of his? Was he trying to prevent this?

The Sith Lord sensed a pang of hostility through the Force from his old Master.

It is irrelevant, my apprentice. He wields the power but still he failed. Do or do not, there is no try, said Trevarus. He is as unworthy of power as the rest. He and his Star Chamber have lost.

Lord Vexatus looked up into the skies above the Du'san Boundary, into the heart of the ion storms.

Then Antei will burn, he turned away, a grim look of satisfaction on his face, and I will be right.

Shan Long

17-08-2007 13:49:41

Kalekka Tower, Crimson Room
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Du'san Boundary, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

It would be impossible to understand his motives, observing Trevarus from outside. Yet, watching Eosara coordinate the evactuation teams unsettled him, everyone could see that. Ten years ago, this place had been...summoned... from Sif. Ten years before that, Trevarus had overseen its construction in the mountains north of Juraas Kur called the "Dragon's Teeth". Stones from Niruan had been quarried and shipped. He had selected them carefully, utilizing that rock for its invulnerability to turbolaser fire, as much for its purely aesthetic appeal. He had destroyed the trees that grew over the carrion-fields of Runculo, harvesting the massive beams that now served as an impressive record of his learning, and even of his mastery of Death. Perhaps it was regression, Vexatus alone might understand. Twenty years ago, he had been on the brink of true understanding. Trevarus was extremely attached to his home, perhaps he felt as much love for this Tower as any place. Kalekka Tower was a record of his process.

Unlike Vexatus, Trevarus did not believe in outright results.

"Trev, one of these days you're going to look back and wonder why you spent so much time searching for questions, when you already commanded the answers." The man then known as Xanos Zorrixor had said, "It is as they say, god is in the details."

"Your god, perhaps, my Apprentice. My god... my god is in the process."

Even his selection of Apprentices narrowed into his approach to process. He looked for talent, yes... but moreso... vision. Trevarus required those with vision to see his ends, to truly understand what is was he offered. In the end, the Force would shift, and all ends would finally conclude. The man whose vision saw into every detail of the Essential Construct, would then be the voice of the Command. That was his goal... too see all, that all might be commanded.

Trevarus could not afford the luxury of study right now. From out of nowhere, Eosara had summoned nearly a thousand workmen. They moved with startling efficiency. Hundreds of millions of texts were already loaded onto transports. His large vault, sealed with a ward unknown to all had been breached so that secrets he hid from even the Dark Lord might be preserved. Another half-hour, and the staff would depart for a corporate holding on Hapes.

It was obvious to any that Trevarus was very wealthy. Any number of front holding and acquisitions corporations covered his assets, and provided him with material wealth. He counted three universities as covers for his scattered archaeological expeditions and ancient sites. Hundreds of planetary "preservation" socieities allowed him unfettered access to nearly any historical place of power. Yet, he was rarely interested in the minute workings. Instead, funds were available when required, his staff was extremely well paid, and his equipment maintained. Trevarus knew that Eosara took an annual bonus of several times his annual salary, without directly telling him. One pasty-voiced accountant had told him of the transactions, hoping to push Eosara out of the way. Trevarus had killed the man instead. Eosara was worth so much more than mere money. He was the brawn when required, the brain that allowed Trevarus to see to his own ends, and the impetus of reality when Trevarus required a subtle reminder.

It was all about to end.

Trevarus had commanded Eosara to coordinate the evacuation, knowing that the man would have done it anyway. Where Trevarus was not concerned with the hundred or so men and women that kept Kalekka Tower operating, Eosara knew each and every one personally. He would see to their safety first, even before the safety of his Master's precious collections.

A blip on his communicator brought him back to reality.

"Trevarus, all of the transports are loaded. We're departing now."

"Every one, every thing, is safe?" Trevarus asked.

"Yes, Trev. Although, Kaldex Shipping is charging us enough to buy an Imperial-class Destroyer. They say its too dangerous to take seventeen ships through the battle, and the Shroud."

"I don't care. Pay them whatever, and give their executives more on top. I gave you the Oraculus Crystal... you still have it?"

"Yes. Although, I'm still not certain about it."

"Well, just slave it into the navigation computers as I directed. It will allow your ship to traverse the backwaters of the Shroud. Don't take the main hyperspace corridors, traverse the Rimward side if you need. But report to me once you've made it to Gallinore. Do not alert the Queen Mother to your arrival, be as discreet as possible."

"I know, Trev."

"Once this is over... we'll regroup and decide the future."

"Of course, Trev."

"Eosara... take care of yourself."

"And you too, Master Trevarus."

Apprehension flooded back into Trevarus as the communicator cracked out of space, disappearing from his hand. He flexed his right hand, pulsing his rage and frustration into his hands until flames danced around his fist.

"WHY!" He shouted.

"You know the answer to that, Trev." Vexatus said quietly, behind him. He held out his right and, balancing a small silver serving tray with sixteen small pyramids arrayed on its polished surface. The pyramids sparkled and radiated various colored light. One even seemed to shimmer black.

"You have all sixteen, I see."

"I had to ask Eosara for the black one... what is it, another Obtene crystal?"

"Yes. That's the core of the main holocron. You retrieved it from the Vault?"

"It was fortunate that Eosara opened it before having it loaded onto the transport. Otherwise, it might be halfway to the Consortium before you noticed it was gone."

"Indeed." Trevarus said, taking the tray from him. He sat down on the floor in the formerly opulent room. All of the furniture had been taken away. Priceless works of art, gone... he didn't even have a bottle of brandy left. Slowly, he arranged the crystals according to a pattern that that made no sense to Vexatus, who watched him work with the tiny crystals. After a moment, he placed the black crystal in the center of the mass, and bands of shadow traced between the seams. Assembled, it looked like a normal Sith holocron. Trevarus placed this in his leather satchel, under the heavy coat he now wore.

"So are we leaving now?" Asked Maeda, who had just walked into the room.

"No. We have to wait a few more minutes... Shin'ichi should have managed to infiltrate the Tower by then. Once he's safely inside, I'll enact the final Gamma Protocol... which will totally destroy the Jadan Pass."

"What do you mean, Trev?" Vexatus looked extremely surprised at this revelation.

"I foresaw a time, many years ago, when the Tower would come under attack. The Gamma Protocol is the final extreme. Eosara set a series of charges along the Jadan Pass. Essetially, the whole of the mountains west of here will be leveled along the entire Pass. It will be impassable. Thus, the only way to reach Kalekka, will be on foot, through the Mountains."

"That would be suicide." Maeda said.

"Especially once I enflame the Boundary." Trevarus said, "Come with me."

Kalekka Tower, Observatory
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Du'san Boundary, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

Lightning flashed green and blue every few seconds. Trevarus could feel the rage of the Boundary, even from inside the safety of his home. He placed a hand on the door, which seemed to have no seam, handle, or hinge. A silver plate began to glow a faint violet, a band of light parted the wood, revealing the frame, as the door slowly swung noiselessly open. The three Elders stepped out into a wide walkway, that circled around a central platform. The Observatory was a high dome of thick glass, supported by a network of steel girders that intersected in obscure fractal patterns.

They walked around, finally up a series of steps, to the raised middle. The floor was black marble polished to a mirror shine, with no tracings or design anywhere on its surface. The floor carried absolutely no blemish. This was extremely important to Trevarus' sorcery.

Standing in the center, Trevarus withdrew the Legion crystal.

"Exposito," he said over it.

Shimmering light interpersed with shadows began to coalesce out of the holocron. It expanded out, and upward, until a massive cloud of roughly spheroid vapor became visible, filling much of the open space high above their heads.

"What sort of madness is this, Trevarus Caerick?" Vexatus asked, watching amazed as hundreds of mouths began to form in the vapor. "I've never seen such a gatekeeper."

Maeda laughed. "That's what I said, the first time that bastard made me open it. Did you know he uses fairy tales for passwords?"

"That doesn't surprise me so much. Most of what he says is as absurd as childish gibberish."

Trevarus ignored them both. "Legion, release the Crystal of Tears."

Three hundred and thirty-three mouths spoke in a cacophony of noise. "We must hear the Elegy of the Damned to remember the Cystal."

Dawn of Fire, Day of Blood
Great is the world He has created
Trembling before his Throne
I honor the name of Him
Who grants life, and claims death
Before Him, I am broken
Cast into eternal damnation
Never to know the light of peace

The Legion form began to scream, the sound terrible and terrifying to all. Even Vexatus found the sound chilling, wondering how Trevarus had created such a monstrosity of a holocron.

Slowly, the Crystals of the Legion Crystal began to seperate, forming into a pattern that roughly corresponded to their position in the original crystal. Lightning flashed betweeen them, finally from the apex of the formation, a black bolt of shadow struck Trevarus' right hand. When the flash cleared, a large blue crystal was glowing brightly in his hand, shimmering against the silver of his amulet. The Legion crystal reformed, then fell blank as Legion trailed back into the holocron. Trevarus took it in his left hand, and placed it back under his coat carefully.

"This is the Crystal of Tears." Trevarus said. "Inside, I trapped the spirits of seven Dark Jedi, and seven Jedi. The Tarentae were most gracious in providing their assistance."

"Why do you need it now?" Vexatus asked.

"Offering a soul sacrifice to the Boundary will increase its rage ten-thousand fold. These storms, will seem as a mere trickle of rain compared to the fury that will rage from these tortured souls."

Closing his eyes, Trevarus began to chant. After a moment, he stopped. The storms seemed to have intensified beyond all belief.

"E liberatio, cruciatus sprituus. Ad liberatus furor ad tempestus!" As Trevarus spoke the final words, he smashed the blue-glowing crystal in his right hand. Streaks of blue light slashed through the air in a jagged array of flashing color. Each Elder felt the pure rage of their release, having been imprisoned in a hell of obscene design. Outside, it seemed as if all hell had broken loose. The howling of the winds sounded even through the thick stone of the Tower. Indeed, the Tower itself began to shake, and sway against the rage. The entire Observatory was constantly lit by strobing flashes of lightning that struck the Tower, hundreds of thousands of strikes a minute.

"Amazing...." Maeda said, looking out into the storm. "Are you sure we're safe here?"

"Reasonably." Trevarus said. "Now, for the final ritual." The Master held out his right hand, and a knife with an emerald shimmering blade appeared in his hand. He studied his Emerald Dagger for a moment. "Kem, Xanos... call for your Daggers as well."

Both men looked puzzled, but did as they were told. "I have two, as you know... do you require both?"

"No, one will suffice for the Grand Emanation of the Emerald Daggers."

Vexatus snarled. "There is no way I will assist you in performing the Emanation. That is direct defiance to the Dark Lord of the Sith. His rage will be boundless."

"I don't care, Xanos. The Emanation will rally the Clans. We are doing what the Dark Lord should have done himself. I don't care what fleet he's brought back to save his Throneworld, he should have unified the Clans from the very beginning. If I must cast the Emanation without his consent, or without the presence of the Dark Council... so be it."

Vexatus hefted his dagger, indifference clouding features. "Where did you get an Emerald Dagger?" He asked Maeda.

"Sector Admiral Astatine awarded it, along with the Grand Order of the Emperor, for my services on Andevia." The Master replied.

"Oh right... I heard the Sword of Astatine was brilliant against Jedi Master DeMarn... you chanted her to death, as I recall."

"Something like that, Goatham... I was a Master long before either you."

"Must be convenient... fornicating your way up the ranks."

"Enough bickering" Trevarus said. "Let us begin."

"The Emanation requires Thirteen Elders. We are only three." Vexatus said.

"I am capable of overcoming that particular requirement through the Wanderer's sight." Trevarus said, reaching into his leather satchel again, withdrawing a small decanter filled with a black substance.

"And we spill the blood of our foes, as the blood of our allies is spilled." Trevarus said, withdrawing the stopper and spreading the Vong blood onto the polished marble. He walked around, hunched over, tracing a delicate pattern of interconnected circles, lines and mystic sigils around and between himself, Vexatus, and Maeda.

Standing in his place, he closed his eyes, and opened the Mark of the Wanderer, which began to glow with violent intensity.

As the storms raged across the boundary, growing even more hellish with each passing moment, the Elders chanted. Holding their Emerald bladed daggers outward, towards the upper reaches of the skies beyond, they began to glow with brilliant green fire.

"Send forth our warning, cry forth the fire of battle!" Trevarus shouted.

Bands of green light erupted between the Elders, glowing ever more intense, reverberating between the lines of blood traced onto the marble, around their feet, and finally up their bodies and through the Daggers they held aloft. In the howling of the Boundary, the sound of their energy pouring forth erupted a massive pillar of fire out of the Observatory, and into the space beyond.

The Beacon of War had been sent.

Their ceremonial weapons disappeared, as each recovered their energies.

"I've never actually participated in that," Maeda said. "I almost feel like a Dark Councilor."

"Don't get used to it, Maeda." Vexatus said. "It'll never happen for you.

"EVA." Trevarus said. "Initiate Gamma Protocal Seven."

"Authorization Code, Master Trevarus?" The metallic, feminine voice answered him.

"Zero-four-two-six-one-nine-eight-three" Trevarus responded.

"Gamma Protocol Seven initiated. Charges shall detonate in thirty minutes." EVA replied.

"Come, we've no time to lose" Trevarus said, breaking into a run from the Observatory

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System
Domain of the Dark Council

Macron Goura felt something strange wash over him. He looked up from his computer terminal, eyes focusing on the world of Antei far distant. Around the world, a belt of flashing green seemed to have erupted, and from this, a pillar of green fire flashed like knife stuck into a whole capara fruit.

"Who set the Grand Emanation?" Tron asked.

"The what?" Macron asked

"You've probably never heard of it, the Grand Emanation of the Emerald Daggers... its a very ancient ritual, I've only seen it performed once. the Dark Council performs it under the direction of the Dark Lord of the Sith. The Beacon, as it is called, is supposed to be a war-rally against a threat to the Brotherhood.

"Sarin is on the Autarch... and kriffing hells... the Dark Council isn't on Antei. Who performed it?"

"I think we know why Trevarus, Lord Vexatus, and Maeda were in such a hurry to leave."

Tron gazed out at the pillar of fire, wondering if the ancient rallying cry would slow the determination of the other Clans to wipe each other out of the void. Against it all, somehow he doubted it.

Shinichi Endymiron K

17-08-2007 16:06:50

Fire burned in his skull as the Dark Energies of Antei seemed to coalesce into a demonic vergence. Shin’ichi struggled to remain conscious that he may continue to observe the three masters at their work. In the time it had taken the Proconsul to make his way through the Jaden Pass and into the tower they had emptied it of all its artifacts and research materials. His quest for power may have failed, but he still quested for vengeance and vengeance he would have.

As the masters concluded their blasphemous rites and emerged from the observatory, masking his presence no longer the Pontifex made himself known as he became a shining beacon in the force. His voice boomed, amplified with the power of the Dark Side and echoing off the obsidian walls as he spoke.

“Dark Jedi Master Trevarus Caerick also-known-as Shan-Long, Darth Vexatus you who were once known as Xanos Xorrixor…I have come to pass the Overlord’s judgment upon you. You have defied your Overlord and betrayed your Clan, the punishment is death. Submit.”

Trevarus looked up at the Pontifex standing on a ledge overlooking their position and smiled. “Come down from there boy before you hurt yourself.”

Enraged at the demeaning tone of the betrayer Shin’ichi leapt from the ledge and ignited his saber staff, the crimson blades emerging with a crack and a hiss before settling into a low growl. It seemed as if the weapon was mirroring the emotions of its owner.

No sooner had the Proconsul’s boots hit the floor then a blast of force lightning nearly took him off his feet. Trevarus unleashed another flare of unholy energy yet the Keibatsu held his ground absorbing the power with his lightsaber. The blast that sent him flying into a pillar however came from Darth Vexatus and seemed amplified ten fold. The Falleen sent another wave to make certain that the Krath was momentarily out of the fight and then Trevarus approached, Maeda held his saber in his hand, ready but not ignited.

The Krath Master looked down upon the fallen Dark Jedi and spoke. “You fool of a Darksider. We did not betray the Clan, we came to do what the Dark Lord himself should have done.”

Coughing through his vocabulator, the noise sounding like a failing engine, the Pontifex looked at Trevarus his eyes red with hatred. “What could you possibly do that the Dark Lord has not considered? What would you accomplish that is beyond his power?”

At this all three of the masters smiled malevolently.


17-08-2007 16:32:03

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System
Domain of the Dark Council

Ashura thought back on the lucky escape he had with the voyxn, he had heard what had happened from on of the remaining crew members he had passed on his way back to the bridge.

He walked out of the turbolift onto the bridge to see the Beacon of War, the Grand Emanation out of the view port. The Sith listened in to the conversation between the Consul and Overlord, as he stood next to the newly promoted Rear-Admiral.

“I see you’re still alive,” said Simonetti quietly to the Warrior, not to disturb the General-Governer and Viceroy.

“That I am, Captain,” the Dark Jedi responded to the man, ignoring the tone in the human’s voice.

“Actually, it’s Rear-Admiral, I’ve been promoted,” replied Simonetti, as he had survived the hell with not only the hostile aliens, but had proved his worth in combat.

“Congratulations, lets hope you live long enough to enjoy your new rank,” said Ashura dryly, and walked closer up the window, gazing into space.

The Dark Lord has returned, yet the Vong are still out there, as well as the other Clans, Ashura thought to himself, The time has come to see if the Brotherhood will untie? Either way… the final battle is coming. I have been waiting for the ultimate test of my skills. I shall finally have a change to prove my worth in combat.

Isradia felt like this was simply the calm before the storm, the final preparations before the last showdown with the Yuuzhan Vong. The end was coming…but for whom?


17-08-2007 17:35:56

Kalekka Tower, Observatory
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Antei, Du'san Boundary, Jadan Pass
Domain of the Dark Council

“What could you possibly do that the Dark Lord has not considered? What would you accomplish that is beyond his power?”

Trevarus Caerick smiled widely, his eyes gleaming with satisfaction. “Why, everything, of course."

“The Grand Emanation of the Emerald Daggers,” said Darth Vexatus as if the answer should have been obvious, “is the rallying call of the followers of the Final Way.”

Shin'ichi looked at the Falleen, his eyes narrowing in confusion. “The what?”

The Falleen smiled but there was no warmth in his face. “I confess, the name is misleading,” he glanced at Trevarus, “you have the good oracle here to thank for that.”

The kneeling Pontifex continued to look at them, rage still burning in his eyes. The knowledge these three had attempted something reserved for the Dark Lord himself only made their betrayal worse. Did these three Elders truly believe their vision surpassed that of the Dark Council's? Even the Star Chamber's?

“The Grand Emanation,” said Trevarus, interrupting the Pontifex's thoughts, “is a channelling, a storm.”

Shin'ichi blinked. “That was a Force storm?”

“A green one,” said Maeda. Lord Vexatus glanced at him shaking his head. The man had a habit of stating the obvious and managing to make himself sound stupid.

“As Kem so... eloquently put it,” continued Trevarus, “yes, it was, in effect, a storm directed to the skies to rally the others.”

“So that's why you came here?” said Shin'ichi incredulously.

“Yes,” Vexatus lied. They had come here for no such reason. Still, it was not wise to stoke the flames anymore than necessary. The Force had presented them with a solution and the Overlord would be unable to hold their actions against them now. “The Dark Lord fled when he should have rallied the Clans before it was too late. His arrival now is meaningless if Antei still falls.”

Trevarus smiled at his apprentice in understanding. The irony was not lost on him. They had been branded betrayers but would be hailed as saviours. The Falleen truly had the gift of the silver tongue. “As my apprentice said, we were merely seeking to stave off destruction. I admit I also had the additional motivation of wanting to make sure my staff were evacuated safely before the Far Outsiders could land.”

Shin'ichi stared at them as he added things up in his head. He frowned. “So why didn't you just saying something? Instead you let the Overlord think you had abandoned ship.”

Trevarus shrugged. “It would seem, as usual, decisions are easier made in hindsight.”

The Pontifex looked at them, his eyes darting from one to the other as he weighed up their story. He was certain they were lying but had no way of knowing for sure. For now he would have to accept their story. He comforted himself in the belief their lies would be their undoing one day.

“Alright,” said Shin'ichi reluctantly as he got to his feet, “can you at least stop pointing that thing at me?” He gestured at Maeda's lightsaber, still aimed at his throat.

The Dark Jedi Master grunted then shrugged, clipping the weapon back on his belt.

Shin'ichi stood up. “So, are you planning to head back now?”

“Yes,” said Trevarus. “We were just about to leave.” He glanced at the chrono on the wall. “In fact, we have about twenty minutes left to vacate the Jadan Pass.”

Kalekka Tower, Grand Foyer
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Antei, Du'san Boundary, Jadan Pass
Domain of the Dark Council

Trevarus held out a hand to Vexatus, gesturing him to wait. “Go on ahead,” he said to Shin'ichi, “My apologies about the damage to your starfighter, I'm sure it will have recovered from the ion blast by now.”

“Don't mention it,” said the Pontifex, though he was still sour about the whole affair. “Do you mind if I follow the Sanginus out?”

Trevarus grinned. “I'm certain you'll need to. Navigating alone through Jadan Pass will be practically impossible now the boundary has been inflamed.”

Vexatus waited until Shin'ichi had left. “What is it now, Trev?” said the Sith Lord impatiently. “I thought we didn't have much time.”

“Do you sense that?” asked the Krath Master.

The Falleen closed his eyes, reaching out to the Force around. In the center of the boundary it was difficult to make things out clearly but the familiar sensation nearing the surface was impossible to miss.

“The Dark Lord comes to Antei,” said the Falleen. He added cynically, “I told you he wouldn't be pleased.”

“You just didn't want to do it,” said Maeda mockingly. He mimicked the Falleen's voice. “Stop Trev! The Dark Lord will kill us Trev!”

Vexatus's lightsaber was on the Krath Master's throat faster than he could draw breath. “I suggest,” the Sith Lord whispered so quietly he could barely be heard over the crackling of the candles throughout the hall, “you learn a level of respect, Kem-Shu Maeda. My patience with you is wearing thin.”

Maeda curled his lip, his eyes boring into the Falleen. He muttered something under his breath before taking a step back. “Whatever.”

“If you had let me finish, you would know I care nothing for the Dark Lord's concerns.”

“You seemed pretty worried earlier,” snapped Maeda, unmoved by the Sith Lord's threats.

The Falleen shook his head in contempt. “My concern was in our own flight from this planet. It will be hard enough to get past the Far Outsiders. We do not need the Autarch firing on us as well.” He paused, looking at the man in disgust. “I care nothing for the Star Chamber's thoughts on the matter.”

“I understand,” said Trevarus, “perhaps it was a momentary weakness on my part to care about the fate of the Brotherhood, however, there was reason in my madness.”

“Isn't there always?” Maeda said sarcastically.

Trevarus shook his head slightly. “The purpose of the Grand Emanation was to help secure our escape. As you said, Xanos, it was difficult enough breaking through the blockade before. The battle will have gotten much worse by now.”

The Sith Lord considered his point. “That is true, united the Clans will provide more of a distraction.”


“I only hope it was worth it,” said Vexatus, closing his eyes as he reached out in the Force again. “I fear, however, it may have made little difference.”

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

Rear Admiral Simonetti gazed at the hologram. The Yuuzhan Vong ship was nearing Atrophos. It would be upon them in minutes. They would have to hope their repairs were sufficient.

He looked at the ships still fighting in orbit above the planet. His mind wandered back to the burst of green light. He had overheard the Viceroy and Governor-General talking about it. It was apparently some signal designed to rally the Dark Jedi together.

Simonetti let out a laugh. If it had worked he couldn't see it.

A few ships had broken off but most were still tearing into each other. The Admiral found himself wondering how anyone could be so naive. Did they not realise their deaths were upon them? The Yuuzhan Vong were slowly closing around them, soon they would encompass the whole planet and there would be no escape.

"I know how you feel, Admiral," said the Viceroy as he approached, obviously reading the Rear Admiral's face. "Even after the Dark Lord's call and the Beacon of War they continue to fight amongst themselves." The man shook his head.

Simonneti flinched again at the mention of Dark Lord. It seemed this close to the end the Dark Jedi had stopped worrying about guarding their secrets. "I don't understand, sir. Why do they fight?"

Astronicus shrugged. "Why does any man fight, Admiral?" said the Viceroy, shaking his head. "They all desire power."

Shan Long

18-08-2007 21:16:20

Kalekka Tower, Sub-Level 23A
Private Residence of Trevarus Sadow
Du'san Boundary, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

Fifteen minutes to go. Trevarus checked a small chronometer, against the master time of the Tower.

"We're running short of time. EVA will not terminate the Gamma Protocol, under any circumstance." Trevarus said, looking at the others. "You have mere moments to escape."

"Wait... what are you going to do?" Vexatus asked, his eyes revealing curiosity clouded by suspicion.

"I... will explain later. That chill running down your spine, Xanos? I feel it too. Yet, you know what it means, we've both felt it before."

"You're about to be summoned before the Star Chamber"

Trevarus smiled maliciously, "I'll offer them no such luxury. Instead... I shall crash the party, so to speak."

"You're suicidal now. You cannot cross the Boundary, and the Pass is about to be destroyed. How to you intend to leave?"

"I am Baron of the Boundary, Xanos... do you really think I've not prepared several alternatives?"

"Whatever," Maeda said. "I'm leaving, right now. Either you're with me, or you're dead."

Vexatus, Maeda, and Shin'ichi watched Trevarus disappear through a small door, that locked solid behind him. The small room had only three doors: One for the turbolift, into the Grand Foyer a kilometer through stone above them, one that they hadn't even seen until Trevarus walked through it, and another out into the open air of the Jadan Pass. The Sanguinus would be waiting for them there.

"Make all haste," Xanos said, "...if Trevarus makes it back alive, he will find his own way back to the Covenant."

Kalekka Tower: Dolin Pass
Private Residence of Trevarus Caerick
Du'san Boundary, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

The lock clicked home behind him, and Trevarus found himself in a room he'd never thought he would ever visit after constructing it. Total blackness surrounded him, yet he was not uneasy. He waved a hand, and six torches flared to life, illuminating stone roughly hewn into the bedrock of the Kazak Plateau, a solid kilometer beneath the surface, and the Foundation of the Tower. He approached on section of rock that seemed, somehow different from the rest. Revealing his left wrist, pulling back his glove, he carved a small incision using a blade formed of the Amulet. He squeezed blood out of the wound, and smeared a broad swath of it across the stone.

Immediately, the stone crumbled into dust. He stepped through the archway. As far as the eyes could see, torches began to gutter to life in succession down the tunnel. His eyes lighted upon a small speeder. Traversing the Dolin Pass would take a mere hour. In five minutes, he would be far enough away to avoid the worst of the tectonic impacts from the Gamma Protocol.

Jumping on the vehicle, it roared to life. As he rocketed away, he muttered a silent prayer for the safety of his home.

Hall of Immortals
Lorimar Mesa, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

His hands were shaking as he shut down the speeder. Trevarus was still recovering from the severe earthquake that had followed the execution of the Gamma Protocol. Only quick thinking had saved him from death as a small section of his escape tunnel collapsed. He had pushed his senses to their limits when the shaking had stopped. He sensed that the Tower still stood proud. He felt the glimmering of the ghosts that haunted the Tower's stones. His home had survived the first storm.

He had never known such relief in his life.

Trevarus had never visited the Shrine erected to honor him in the Hall of Immortals. Though he had been promoted to Dark Jedi Master before it, by Lord Cotelin himself, he had never turned to study the statue, or its inscriptions. Hubris and pride had their limits, even for him. Yet, here he now was... directly behind it.

Years before, even before the construction of the Hall of Immortals, Trevarus had constructed the Dolin Pass to reach from the deepest basement of Kalekka Tower, eastbound across the Boundary, yet a thousand meters below it. A hundred workers has labored for six months to carve the passageway between the Tower and Lorimar Mesa. None had survived. When Trevarus had learned of the location of the proposed Hall of Immortals... he had carefully arranged to have his own shrine constructed over the exit of the Pass, yet never having used it.

Once again, he sliced his wrist and smeared the blood on a particular spot in the stone wall. Behind him, the torches extinguished, and rather than the door crumbling... he simply walked through it.

Trevarus found himself beneath a giant statue of himself. Carved from hard granite, a single undying brazier burned at his feet. He looked at the image towering many meters over him. He felt like the statue, cold, immense, eternal. He wondered if a scholar of the Dark Side, dozens of milennia in the future would unearth this site, and decipher his teachings and legacy from the documents carved into the stone monument.

The thought greatly amused him.

His shrine was foremost in the Hall of Immortals, because it had been constructed there first. He did not study the other Immortals raised behind him, nor did he ever intend to. Trevarus knew all of them, he had studied along side them, fought many of them, and yet he still considered himself the master of all. That perhaps was his greatest folly.

He was indeed the Herald of the Final Way, because he alone understood the true path of the Seven Souls. The watered down information he provided to the other Elders, and even to the Grand Masters was nothing compared to the cold insights he had gleaned from the deepest reaches of the ancient history of the Force. He knew what the Consummation was. If his Masters suspected his motives... he would undoubtedly be destroyed.

How then... to confront the wrath of the Dark Lord, and his Star Chamber, without suffering death?

Almost immediately, Trevarus knew the answer. He had lectured Nero Pennant not even twenty-four hours before about the true nature of Command. If he was to survive the wrath of those more powerful than him, he must show them how to fear loss.

He must reveal a measure of his true insight.

Turning, he left the Hall of Immortals and began the slow walk to the Dark Hall.

Dark Hall: Entrance Hall
Temple of the Dark Lord of the Sith
Antei, Valley of the Lost
Domain of the Dark Council

The Dark Hall was silent, devoid of all life. Trevarus was unchallenged as he pushed open the massive black doors from the outside. He stepped into the Entrance hall, sensing absolutely nothing. Not even the usual array of the Grand Master's Royal Guard were to be seen. Everyone had fled.

Still... Trevarus sensed a certain something guiding him forward. He walked across the hall, bypassing the Promenade, and taking a secret series of stairs behind a tapestry. The tunnel was unlit, and after a moment, he opened another door into the corridor of the Offices of the Dark Council.

None stood outside the Office of the Grand Master. Breathing deeply, Trevarus pushed open the doors, and stepped into the black. He walked forward a few score paces, feeling the dread energies surrounding him. The familiar void of deep space filled with glittered specks of stars, moons, planets. He walked deeper, until in faint silvery light, he found eleven thrones arrayed on a central stone dais. Nine of the seats were filled with figures seated in heavy cowls that hid their features. He felt almost overwhelmed by the sheer presence of their power in the Dark Side. Yet, steeling himself, he refused to be humbled. Although, he decided it would be prudent to show ceremonial respect.

Master Sadow bowed deeply, genuflecting, then touching his forehead to the cool stone floor.

"From whence have you come, unbidden to this place, Master Trevarus Caerick?" The wise voice of Lord Jedgar Paladin asked, his voice brimming with vengeance.

"And for what purpose have you imposed yourself upon my most sacred throne?" Lord Sarin asked. "Tell me now, Master Caerick, why I should not slay you for impertinence."

"My Lords, I make Appeal to the Covenant between the Brethren of the Final Way, and the Dark Lord of the Sith, and demand redress of Greivance against the Iron Throne. I henceforth charge that the Grand Master of the Brotherhood is guilty of the coward's sin, and furthermore--"

"Enough!" Shouted Lord Khyron. "Long have we suffered your arrogance, Master Caerick, and long have we ignored the dangerous waters you tread, valuing your insights, and the clarity of your vision. Cease this attack now, or I shall kill you myself."

"I beg the Lord Khyron to lay hands upon me." Trevarus said, defiant.

Khyron stood, lightning flashing in his hands. He struck out at Trevarus, who stood with arms spread wide, welcoming the Dark Lord's assault. An aura of violent energy seemed to pass around the master, as if he was protected by a shield.

"What art of the Force is this?" Firefox asked quietly. "The Master Caerick, despite his arrogance, is not powerful enough to resist the strength of Lord Khyron."

"Ah, but he is..." Paladin said rightly. "He has--"

"Called for the Binding of the Accuser." Trevarus said. "I have levied a grievance against the Grand Master with the next highest Authority, that being the Star Chamber. I invoked the most sacred texts of the Covenant. Until my grievance has been answered, I am protected from the wrath of even the Grand Masters against my life, if that is to silence me"

"I remember you..." Master Yoni said, from his place. "You were a proud Son of my own greatest Apprentice. Long have your Overlord and I discussed your achievements, and your blind hubris."

"How odd, Master Yoni. I do not recall your presence when the mighty Seven cast of the yoke of the Empire." Trevarus replied, his voice brimming with rage.

"That is enough." Said Lord Paladin. "You have invoked the Covenant, and filed Petition for Redress. What do you charge?"

"My Lords, I submit that Grand Master Sarin has neglected his duty to the Brethren, placing all at risk, by fleeing aboard his Flagship at the first sign of the Far Outsiders. While many of my Brothers, fought and died, the Grand Master fled. He only returned when the safety of his vessel, and his person was secured by the addition of four more warships to his Armada."

"Is this why you and your errant Apprentice invoked one of the most sacred Rites known to the Brotherhood, acting in defiance of Tradition, and even of the Dark Lord's decree?" Asked Lord Justin Stryker

"That is an accurate assesment, my Lord." Trevarus replied, and continued. "Lord Vexatus and I risked great danger to ourselves, and to our Clansmen, abandoning them in the middle of a great battle. A battle that our presence within, could have saved many lives. We vetured to the Throneworld of the Dark Lord of the Sith, and initiated the Beacon of War, by performing the Grand Emanation of the Emerald Daggers, as an attempt to rally the Clans to a united front. The Dark Lord himself, from the beginning should have exercised control over his own forces, marshalling the repelling blow against the strange aliens."

Once more, Trevarus paused, saving his most potent charge for last: "The Dark Lord even disregarded the life of his own First Apprentice, my Brother in Sadow, and Clansmen. The Master Muz Keibatsu. He sacrificed him to the Far Outsiders, that his own life might be spared."

Lord Sarin stared at the kneeling Master, his eyes blazing with fury even deeper than Shan Long's. "Who is to say all that has come to pass, was not by our design?"

"I do not believe that the Star Chamber orchestrated this fiasco. I was aboard the Covenant when the Far Outsiders first appeared... and I felt your fear, my Lord. You are guilty of cowardice, and I shall see that all know it. If you kill me, you shall make me a martyr, and victim to your personal assault of the sacred Covenant. If you kill me, the Brotherhood shall rise up against you for an act of extreme cowardice: destroying the man who revealed your weakness"

"And how do you plan to walk out of this place alive?" Sarin asked.

"Simple... there is a lingering trace of my presence in Lord Vexatus, Astronicus Sadow, and Kem-Shu Maeda. Through the Force Meld... our minds were linked in such a way... that I have shown them all that transpired. Remember my Lord... I was here for the reconstruction of this place. Its secrets are known to me. You will have to kill all four of us, especially before they spread the tale of your cowardice beyond their own minds."

"I swear to the deepest hells of the Dark Side, Trevarus Caerick, I will see your destruction." Lord Sarin spat. "Flee, before we assembled break our oath out of simple spite."

The most insane Master in all the Brotherhood stood, turning his back on the Star Chamber. "Lord Vexatus was right... and I lied to you... the Star Chamber is impotent..."

Before he heard the replies, if any, Trevarus was back in the Dark Hall proper.

You're in serious trouble, Trev...
Vexatus said through the Force. I find it impossible to believe that you could be that noble.

You heard it all then? Trevarus replied

Yes, came replies from Tron and Maeda.... Vexatus said nothing.

Trevarus stole a fighter from the Hangar of the Dark Hall. Without a second thought, he flew into the battle. He and his Apprentice... would speak more openly in a few minutes.

Ashia Kagan

18-08-2007 23:39:46

Shin’ichi’s anger at the traitors washed over her like a hot wave. The Krath Priestess took a deep breath and tried to calm herself and her brother. Her calm demeanor washed over him as well. He spoke to Trevarus Caerick instead of acting on instinct as he usually did.

She heard everything the Son of Sadow had told her brother…she still didn’t trust him. Trev’s only goal was self imposed. She bid her brother to be wary.

Ashia made her way back to the bridge. The repairs were under way and they were facing the immediate threat of a Vong ship that was approaching rapidly. She paced back and forth in the turbolift feeling a bit helpless at the moment. The Nightsister wasn’t used to not having control over a situation and it didn’t sit well with her.

The bridge was a flurry of activity. She moved around gathering bits of data here and there as more and more reports came in. The Autarch had arrived and the battle was unfolding at a faster pace.

One of the Ensigns approached her cautiously, his face was white as a ghost and his expression was of stone. He handed her a datapad then stood by silently while she looked at it.

The Keibatsu looked over the report scanning it quickly with her eyes. It was a recent listing from the Rollmaster’s office of those that had been reported captured. Her azure eyes floated quickly over the list then stopped suddenly.

Ashia’s legs collapsed out from underneath her. Several of the crew members rushed to her aid as they helped her into a chair. All she could do was stare at the datapad.

DJK Sanjuro Keibatsu - Captured/presumed dead


19-08-2007 00:06:35

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

Secrets. We all have them, we all like to hear them, and we all know how dangerous they can be. And yet, dangerous is too subtle of a word, destructive is more appropriate for the conversation between the Star Chamber and Trev that Astronicus had heard. If he were to inform the Clan of this revelation, word would spread and all trust in the Dark Council would fade. Anarchy would rule the Brotherhood. The battle raging above Antei between the Clans would be but a pebble falling ahead of an avalanche. Solidity was needed to defeat their new enemy. Sarin failed at that. The Grand Emanation of the Emerald Daggers had failed at that. Something had to be done to unite the clans agains the Yuuzhan Vong, if that was possible. Perhaps survival of the fittest is what was meant to happen, if so then let them kill one another, Clan Naga Sadow would walk on their ashes.

To that end, Astronicus could think only of one goal to have his brethren focus on: Protect the Clan at all costs. Make whatever sacrifice was needed, kill whomever you needed, but the Clan must survive so as to be the foremeost of the Brotherhood's . Too many had died from the clan already, as of now Astronicus was determined not to let one more fall at the hands of their enemies. Rising from the command chair he walked to the front of the bridge, turned on his heel so as to face the entire crew assembled there.

"Admiral, I intend to address the crew of the Covenant at once." Ordered the Overlord. Simonetti nodded acknowledgement and had a crewman take up a communicator that would be tied into the personal announcement system so that all aboard could hear him.

"This is the Viceroy for those of you who serve the Dlarit Navy, for those of you of Clan Naga Sadow this is your Overlord speaking. We have been wounded. Wounded, but not killed, and as such we are a dangerous animal. Now we have had time to lick our wounds, they have barely healed, but I intend to no longer look for safety. I mean to put you in harm's way. We are at the end of the road here folks. We have Antei to our back and the Yuuzhan Vong knocking at our door, the other Dark Jedi clans be damned. If they wish to kill each other, then so be it, we know what our mission is. We know what is on the line and who we are fighting for. You can only take so many beatings before you turn on your oppressor and say, 'No more!' This ends here and now.

"A Yuuzhan Vong ship approaches. It no doubt out guns us. It no doubt has more starfighters than us. And it no doubt is in a hell of a lot better shape than we are." He paused, hoping the next few words would invigorate everyone aboard. "But you know what we have that they don't? We have the best collection of Dark Jedi and the finest trained crew in this damned system. This day was meant to be the day of all our deaths; and many were appointed as sheep to the slaughter, but unforseen occurences do not always allow appointments to take place at the time designated.

The Yuuzhan Vong know that they will have to break us at this point or lose the war. If we can stand up to them, all of the Brotherhood may be free and the life of Clan Naga Sadow may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole galaxy, including the Brotherhood of Dark Jedi and the Dlarit Corporation, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted sadistic madmen. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if Clan Naga Sadow and the Dlarit Corporation last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

Astronicus stood there, looking over the faces of everyone on the bridge listening, knowning the looks he recieved were echoed on the faces of everyone aboard. The moment of silence that followed was so brief you could almost say it never existed as a loud roar of applause engulfed the bridge. It lasted for a few minutes until Admiral Simonetti felt it was time to put the words to action.

"You heard the Viceroy, to arms!" Simonetti shouted, "All hands battle stations. Launch all fighters, prepare to engage. Shields to maximum. Prime all guns. Give 'em hell boys!"

Ro'ik chuun m'arh Frigate Analog Heretic's Bane
Yuuzhan Vong Battlegroup

The flat, ovoid stone, from which protruded a number of spindly, branch-like appendages moved ever forward towards the moon that the infidels accursed metal starship had hid behind. Executor Eshin Shul was not afraid of death or the pain it would bring, but rather looked forward to it, it was said that was when you felt the most you could ever desire. But right now death was far from her mind, right now all she wanted to do was find those infidels and send enough burning magma to leave no witness to their encounter. She was not a warrior, a member of the Intendant caste, yet she knew the necessity of a swift direct battle.

"Executor, forgive this one, but I have unsettling news." Reported one of her Attnedants, his name escaped her for the time, it wasn't important anyway.

"Well? Out with it!" She demanded, her temper was razor thin like an amphistaff no thanks to the situation, bad news could not dull it's sharpness. "What could possibly make the Gods frown down us?"

"I am uncertain of that Executor, but I must inform you that the infidel star cruiser is no longer on the dark side of the moon." The Attendant knelt and lowered his head, revealing his bare neck waiting for a blow to follow. He stayed knelt for a moment longer, still waiting, yet no blow came.

"I shall spare you, for now, but tell me where it is if it is not on the dark side of the moon?" Eshin Shul said between grated teeth.

"It has appeared on the otherside and is now behind us." Relayed the servant.

"You fool!" Eshin Shul lashed out and chopped him on his neck, a snap and crack could be heard loudly as the limp body fell to the ground. "You blather about while our enemies sneak behind us? Subaltern I want all thirty yaret-kors to target and fire upon them, now!"

"As you wish, Executor." Replied the subaltern in command of the Heretic's Bane. He was no fool like her Attendant whom had not seen the face of battle. He was a veteran and would perform his duties to the Gods' delight. Though not all thirty could actually target and fire upon the enemy analog, it would not be wise to infuriate the Executor any further and so he complied.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

"All fighters target the enemy frigate's weapons." Ordered Simonetti over the communications channel. "Bombers are to target her engines. Let's blow it out of the sky." Then turning he walked over to the gunnery pit, "Lieutenant fire everything we've got. Concentrate fire on those devices that deflect our weapons, once those are down she'll stand no chance against us."

Astronicus had resumed his place in the command chair, this time though his eyes were not intently focused on anyone or anything but closed. He was deep in concentration, perfecting the art of battle meditation, directing his forces and even projecting false images for the Vong to attack. It taxed him, but he was more than capable of the task, everyone aboard the Covenant had a mission and his was no different.


19-08-2007 09:49:12

Gamma-class Assault Shuttle
Grand Master's Transport
Entering Antei upper-atmosphere

The Justicar put a hand on the Grand Master's shoulder to steady him as he fell out of his trance.

He had been here when the Dark Lord had gone into meditation, projecting his presence into the astral room known as the Star Chamber inside the Dark Hall on the surface many miles below. He had needed to discuss what to do with the other Sith Lords, had needed to search for another way, any other way before going through with the Baraata Option. Lord Sarin had hoped, prayed the Star Chamber would be able to provide guidance, to provide him with answers he had missed.

It could not have come to this.

Then without warning there had been a sudden shift in the Force as the Dark Lord's unease had erupted into anger before his eyes had opened, his mental presence returning to his physical body.

“What is it?” Kir Katarn asked, concerned.

“That arrogant di'kut!” raged Sarin.

The Justicar narrowed his eyes not understanding. “My lord?”

“That kath hound Caerick and his apprentice,” spat the Dark Lord.

"What happened?”

Lord Sarin recounted what had happened within the Star Chamber in the Dark Hall. How Trevarus Caerick had strode in, interrupting the council of the Sith Lords. How at such vast distances he had rendered their projections unable to challenge him by invoking the Binding of the Accuser.

Sarin slammed an armoured fist into the wall.

“Forget him,” said Kir. “He and his apprentice have turned their backs on the Star Chamber. They understand the Rule of One as being only about themselves. I often wonder if either of them ever had any loyalty to the Star Chamber. To the Covenant. To you."

The Dark Lord didn't move. He continued to glare blankly at the wall.

The Justicar thought it wise to change the subject. “Did the Star Chamber have any suggestions?”

Lord Sarin shook his head. “The Star Chamber was in agreement,” he said with a long sigh. He took a deep breath. “We must execute the Baraata Option.”

“Then it is done,” said Kir, finally saying what they had all been thinking. “Antei is lost.”

Sarin did not hear him, his mind was elsewhere. Lord Vexatus was right, Caerick had said. The words would haunt him until the end of his days. This could have been prevented.

The Dark Lord slammed another fist into the wall. One day the pair of them would pay.

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Exiting Antei upper-atmosphere

Christine Zara's mouth hung open as one of the largest ships she had ever seen appeared on the display. It was almost the size of an Executor-class Star Dreadnought. This battle was most certainly lost.

“Guys?” called Zara.

“I see it,” said Darth Vexatus. In all this he had somehow managed to stay unnervingly calm. It was starting to unsettle Zara but she put it down to just being a Falleen thing. The Sith Lord continued, “fortunately it won't be troubling us for a while. Let's just get to Atrophos and get out of here. I have little desire to ever set foot on Antei again.”

“Then it's really over,” said Maeda, sounding surprisingly thoughtful for a change, “you really foresaw the end.”

“Don't think just because I'm not Marked I lack sight,” said Vexatus. “I'm called a prophet for a reason.”

Maeda grunted. “Don't go thinking it means I like you.”

“Let's just get out of here,” sighed the Sith Lord. “Zara, do you have a reading on Trev yet?”

“No, I lost him when he went into the Dark Hall,” she sounded anxious. “Why did he go there anyway?”

Darth Vexatus's face curled into a haunting smile. “To prove who was right.”

The Sith Lord turned and wandered off back into the lounge, breaking into laughter as he went.

And so Antei burns.

I-7 Howlrunner Guardian 4
Antei lower-atmosphere

Trevarus Caerick cursed as the starfighter shunted at his use of the controls. He had never enjoying flying. It was not that he couldn't, simply that he found it crude and inconvenient. He far preferred the comfort of a larger transport, something in which he could stretch his legs.

Guardian 4 shot through Antei's atmosphere as fast as its antiquated engines could handle. It was not a particularly old ship but like most of the Dark Council's navy was in dire need of a service. Trevarus had cringed at the scraping noise the cockpit had elicited as he had forced it open.

The Rebellion had been better resourced than this.

Still, it would do, and Guardian 4 was gaining the the Sanguinus. He hoped he would catch up with it before the corvette reached Atrophos. He could feel the tension in the rest of the Clan. The Yuuzhan Vong must have moved to engage the Covenant. He had no desire to be caught up in a dogfight.

Nekura Manji

19-08-2007 14:42:29

The great belly of the VSD Covenant seemed to swell open as swarms of fighters poured from within, almost reflecting the biological nature of the ship bearing down upon them; wasps pouring from their hive, defending their home. Within a few seconds the foremost fighters opened fire, a blaze of red energy scorching from their cannons towards the hull of the Yuuzhan Vong ship.

As if in response the maw of the Heretic's Bane disgorged an even bigger swarm of organic-looking fighters, their own cannons blasting towards the ships of the Dark Jedi. Each charge broke apart as the fighters split off into small squadrons, ducking and wheeling through the abyss in a mirror of the battle around and above Antei. The guns of the Covenant opened fire as well, Simonetti marching back and forth across the bridge, shouting orders. The strange, glowing devices on the Heretic's Bane, those that seemed to repel the Covenant's weapons, came under a hailstorm of fire as the Victory-class Star Destroyer unleashed everything she had.

Amidst the maelstrom of fighters, Manji yanked his Interceptor round in a tight curve, desperately trying to lose the Vong ship which had latched onto him. Several blasts gushed from the Vong's cannons as Manji threw his ship into a barrel roll, the shots winging uselessly past him. As the Epis righted his ship, he spotted his opportunity.

Before him and slightly to the right of his ship, a hapless TIE Fighter fell out of the atmosphere, flames gushing from it's crippled, one-winged frame. Without hesitation, the Epis snatched the Dark Side of the Force, grasping the broken fighter with as many tendrils of telekinetic energy as he could command. Gritting his teeth, the Epis let out a roar as he pulled the fighter straight back towards his cockpit, throwing his ship into a sudden, steep dive as he did so.

Glancing back over his shoulder quickly, Manji cackled in amused pleasure as the wreckage of the TIE smashed head-on into the Yuuzhan Vong ship, both falling from the sky in a tangled, flaming mess of debris. Breathing heavily, sweat leaking down his brow from the exertion, the Epis pulled his Interceptor back up and continued to head towards the Heretic's Bane, dodging and diving through the battle, his cannons occasionally spitting out energy at Yuuzhan Vong ships that crossed his path.

Soon the Epis joined a cloud of TIE Fighters and Interceptors buzzing around the Heretic's Bane, barely avoiding the barrage of fire from the thirty yaret-kors dotted across the biologically-manipulated hull as they laid down their own hail of fire on the weapons. As Manji dived past two fiery projectiles from the yaret-kors and opened fire, several other fighters joined him, the combined power of their cannons prompting the yaret-kor to explode messily, lava splashing over the hull.

Cheers filtered through the Epis' intercom as he grinned, bringing his fighter round to target another weapon. The influence of Tron's battle meditation seeped into the Epis' mind, filling him with the desire to see these Vong burn.

Shan Long

19-08-2007 17:56:05

I-7 Howlrunner Guardian 4
Low orbit, Antei
Domain of the Dark Council

"Droid, what is your designation?"

A twittering series of beeps and chimes were translated across the fighter's computer readout. Trevarus glanced at the text printed, cursing himself for selecting such an antiqued craft

"Very well, "Junior". Redirect all power from weapons systems, shields, into forward thrusters. We have mere moments to catch up to the Sanguinus."

Chirping, the droid obeyed his commands, but another series of text scrolled across. "Yes, I am aware that there is a battle going on. I will be the weapon... do as I say and get us to the ship I desginated with all possible speed."

Trevarus truly despised piloting. He felt ill at east inside a hulk of metal moving at speeds approaching the speeds of light. Mastery of the earth, stone, the swift blade of a lightsaber. The glint of despair in a fallen' enemies eye the mark of a true warrior.

"Junior, patch me a line to the Sanguinus. I must arrange a rendevous... this is impossible." He listened and read, "What do you mean all communications lines are being jammed?"

Xanos... I'm moments away...

Trevarus, you need to speed up, it seems that you've been identified.

What? Oh shavit!

Pulling back hard on the controls, Trevarus depressed the fire button. A series of red laser blasts flared out of the turrets on the small fighter. His shots splayed against the shields of one Defender class TIE-Intercepter. He had ordered power redirected, and it had been. His weapons were useless.

It would seem the Dark Lord was serious about his threats. Xanos said to him.

And I too, my Apprentice... Focusing his will, Trevarus reached out into his rage. As it shunted left, the lead fighter in the flight erupted into a blossoming fireball. A flash of blue light told him of the death of a powerful Jedi behind the stick

Ask Christine if the shuttle bay is still clear.... I have the Sanguinus in visual range.

CR 90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Approaching Atrophos, Antei System
Domain of the Dark Council

"Captain Zara, is the shuttle bay clear?"

The captain checked her terminal status indictators. "Ahhh... yes."

"Open the exterior blast-doors, immediately. Trevarus' fighter is being chased by powerful Sith fighters." Vexatus said.

Through the flight deck's canopy, Vexatus watched the small form of an old I-7 Howlrunner class fighter streaking forward at break-neck speeds. Close behind, three more TIE Defenders were closing in, green laser light flashing into the void. He clenched a railing until his knuckles were white.

Why did he even care?

Because I have not yet conquered him... Vexatus surprised himself. He had not completely conquered his former Master, and therefore had not completely proven his own Mastery.

Two there should be, no more; no less... One who embody, power... the other to crave it

When he overcame Trevarus Caerick... he would be the One Ruler.

Looking none the worse for the wear, Trevarus entered the flight deck of the Sanguinus. He looked around, smiling at Xanos briefly

"Are you pleased, my Apprentice?"

"You may call it such, if you wish."


19-08-2007 19:34:33

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
Approaching Atrophos

Darth Vexatus followed Trevarus through into the bridge. The Master greeted Christine Zara with a nod.

“I was worried you wouldn't make it back,” said Zara.

“The universe wouldn't be so kind,” muttered Maeda.

“It would seem the Far Outsiders' have finally engaged the Covenant,” said Vexatus, inspecting the holographic display of the battle around Atrophos.

The Ascendant Moon was still largely being ignored, the Clans and the aliens clashing in the skies above Antei itself. It was almost as if the Clans were deliberately remaining in orbit above the Dark Hall, hopeful, perhaps, that they would claim their prize once all challengers had fallen. Lord Vexatus found it pitiful. Even on the brink of oblivion still they remained blind.

Suddenly the speakers crackled to life as a familiar voice sounded over the airwaves.

It was Lord Sarin, the Dark Lord of the Sith.

“Brethren. We have failed, but in the providence of darkness, failure often proves an omen. There will be no counter-attack. Those of you who have heard the rumours of a new fleet, have heard correctly. But this fleet is not yet ready nor, I fear, are we ready or equal to the task of destroying this foe. You have fought the enemy well. Unfortunately, you have fought each other better.”

“The Final Way will continue, albeit in a new form. We will learn the lessons given here and grow stronger or die. That is the way of the Force. Consuls, you are directed to execute the Baraata Option immediately. I say again, execute the Baraata Option.”

“As Grand Master of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood, I hereby order a full retreat from the Antei system. We are leaving, gentlemen, and if you have vessels in proximity to Antei, get clear of the Autarch. End transmission.”

There was another burst of static before the speakers fell silent.

Trevarus Caerick and Darth Vexatus stood in silence looking out at Antei for several minutes.

Finally, the Sith Lord shook his head. “And so the Star Chamber's failure is complete. Instead of attempting to rally the Clans together, they flee with their tail between their legs.”

“It is like you predicted all along, Xanos. The Star Chamber is impotent. Even now, they do not try and excercise the Grand Emanation themselves. They think like dirt generals, not Sith Lords," Trevarus said bitterly. "They have the whole power of the dark side at their command and all they do is retreat. The dark side destroyed this system, yet now we abandon it to mere aliens."

The Krath Master shook his head. "It is time we were going, Xanos. There is nothing left for us here."

The Sith Lord nodded. “I'm just glad I was here to witness it for myself." He paused, looking Trevarus straight in the eye. "It confirms everything you ever taught me. Many are weak, one is strong." Pausing again, he took another glance at the holo display. "We just have the small problem of the cruiser between us and the Covenant,” said Vexatus thoughtfully.

“Do you have a plan, my apprentice?” asked Trevarus.

“It would seem another Force Meld is in order,” he paused, considering their options carefully, “however this time I believe we should try something deeper.”

“What?” interrupted Maeda. “Don't go thinking I want you poking around in my head even more than you did last time.”

The Falleen ignored him. “I want everyone to link minds. Not just us. The whole Clan.”

“Battle meditation?” Trevarus prompted.

“No,” Vexatus shook his head slightly, “something greater,” he gave a wry smile, "as many we are weak, as one..."

The Sith Lord closed his eyes, his voice becoming distant, as if speaking directly into their minds.

We are as one...

Kyataran Fighter Kiba
Personal Fighter of Shin'ichi Keibatsu
Approaching Atrophos

We are as one...

Shin'ichi was still tailing the Sanguinus when he heard the voice of Darth Vexatus fill his mind. He felt the Elder pulling at his thoughts, dragging him into semi-consciousness as he allowed himself to be immersed in the Force Meld. His mind, his thoughts, become one with the others.

Allowing the Force to guide him, the Krath Pontifex spun the Kyataran fighter into the thick of the battle.

TIE Defender Nemesis 9
Dlarit Security Force Fighter

We are as one...

Manji clutched at his forehead as the sound of Darth Vexatus, Trevarus Irad Caerick, Kem-Shu Maeda, Shin'ichi Endymiron Keibatsu and dozens of other voices began to pound through his head. His fighter dived randomly for a brief moment as he lost control, reassembling his thoughts. He felt the strength of many other Dark Jedi now pulsing through his veins.

He twisted his interceptor in a circle, plunging it back into the heart of the storm.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

We are as one...

Astronicus allowed himself to be absorbed into the Force Meld spanning the forces of Clan Naga Sadow. He heard the voices of the other Elders guiding the battle, adding his own battle meditation to theirs. Their voices became one sound in the ears of the hundreds of warriors now fighting in the name of the Clan and Corporation.

Beside him Macron too had begun moving with renewed resolve, his hands moving with unnatural swiftness as he directed the battle from the head of the bridge. The Consul's eyes burned with all the others, red rings of fire encircling them.

Even among the crew, the fire burned. Araic Simonetti's eyes shone red as his actions became more intuitive than cognitive. He stared ahead at the holographic display with unnatural resolve, barking orders at the crewmen spread throughout the bridge.

The Covenant continued its unified attack on the Yuuzhan Vong frigate now engaging it at point-blank range. It's starfighters moving with unnatural grace, circling and destroying countless Yuuzhan Vong coralskippers even as more continued to pour forth from the Heretic's Bane's belly.

Nero Pennant

19-08-2007 21:42:34

Nero had watched as the crews of the fighters assembled and took their fighters into the blackness of space. He didn't have the combat expertise, nor the ship required to join them. He didn't want to either.

The Great Jedi War had left him shaken and disturbed; in only a few short days he had witnessed horrific acts of depravity and violence, and watched helplessly as the passion and madness of the Dark Side ravaged those who followed it. He thought of Trevarus Caerick; the Master who had entrusted him with the lightsaber of the very foe he killed to attain the power he enjoyed.

But then, as he watched the Sanguinus move away from the Fleet, towards Antei, he was puzzled. When he heard the communication that the ship on which Caerick was on was declared a hostile target, he was even more puzzled, and felt betrayed, for some reason. He couldn't place it. He knew that Caerick was only interested in his own goals, his ideals and vision, and nothing else. He'd known since the Master had even instructed the young Acolyte in the creed that he had come to believe. "If I know everything, then everything is mine to command." He spun the thought around in his head, thinking back to the Rite of Exaltation that Trevarus had performed on him. He'd never felt so in control, even in the presence of three extremely powerful members of his clan. Every movement was natural, as if practiced for years. He felt that he knew everything.

He'd felt strange ripples in the Force as word spread around that the leader of the Star Chamber was involved in this conflict somehow, and his ship was sighted just beyond Antei. Nero couldn't help but wonder if Master Trevarus and his ill-titled 'apprentice', Darth Vexatus, were involved somehow.

Moving to a nearby viewport, he watched the battle as it progressed, the various colors of lasers zipping around against the backdrop of the Shroud. He'd never felt less in control in his life.

We are as one...

The cerebral intruder shocked Nero, but he quickly calmed himself as he'd heard the voice once before, when he was watching the terrible, vicious Shan Long emerge for the first time. It was the voice of the one who had told him to be silent, lest Shan Long visit his wrath upon him; Vexatus.

He'd felt something strange, a feeling he knew as hope, though he dismissed it quickly. He realized what it really was; a chance to learn, a chance to know, and a chance to command whatever he could muster. Walking quickly to his quarters, he felt a wave of power as many other voices joined with Darth Vexatus, including Master Caerick. He wondered if the Master would cross paths with him again. Nero knew no one better to pump for information first. He would learn everything he knew, and use to further his own powers. He would do so with every Master of the Dark Side, and he would command in all things.

The thought comforted him as he sat cross-legged on his bunk, grasping the lightsaber tightly with both hands, and giving in to the voices, adding his power to theirs, hoping that it might make the difference between death, or bittersweet victory.

We are as one... I join you, Darth Vexatus and Master Caerick... I join you all to crush these beasts!

Syrus Korodin

19-08-2007 23:46:36

"Tell me of red," the blind man asked his friend.

What does the friend say? How does he explain the quality and texture of red? How does he explain the inexplicable perfection in the rich red of blood, the light color of a tomato, the crimson glow of a raging sun? Is it possible at all to explain such a thing? Shuang-Long didn't think so. He felt as he had never felt before, and knew that he would never be able to explain the feeling to anyone. It was as unique and perfect as the color red, known only to those who have encountered it.

The dark side ceased its frantic writhing, slowing into a uniform flow of energy. The simple willpower of the elders was powerful enough to alter the flow of the dark side. The energy shifted and bent, the current changing direction almost instantaneously. Though Shuang could not see this, he knew that this was so.

Thousands of connections exploded within the weavery, infinite probabilities inflated infinitely until they suddenly popped, as fragile as bubbles on the merciless breeze. Every pop was a violent tremor, a reverberation that shook the core of the universe. Infinite worlds were born only to die moments later. When the silence descended, the shaking subsided, there was but one path for the Clan to follow. Though Shuang could not see this, he knew that this was so.

The force is a circle, a great sequence of metaphors and dreams, a poem such as those that he writes and enjoys. He felt that he understood, though perhaps he simply deluded himself. It was so easy to fall into delusion when faced with collapse and ruin.

Alas, Antei fell. The brotherhood itself cracked and shattered, unable to bear the brunt of the Yuuzhan Vong attack. The Dark Lord's message had reached his ears as well, and though there was a hint of hope in his message the final product spoke of collapse. We have failed, the message said, and so the Final Way dies with us.

The clans fought to escape. Even as the heavy shroud fell over him, enveloping him in the force meld, he remembered. Lucidity stayed with him, although just barely, as his instincts took over. He remembered the words.

We are as one...

"Yes," Shuang whispered to himself, "I suppose."

He fell into the dream, the sacred illusion, and gave his talent to the collective consciousness. The clan lived as a pulsating hive, each member bearing singular intent. Never had they been this strong. Never had he felt this much like a god.

Together as one they represented the full power of the Final Way. They were the harbingers of the true victory of the dark side. They were everything that the jedi feared and that the Yuuzhan Vong had learned to fear.

The will of the force slipped into his joints. His ship moved as if on its own accord, the AI computer acting in perfect tandem with the Zabrak pilot. Elegant spins and turns, dangerous spirals and insane strikes, all became commonplace and simplistic to him. It was as though all boundaries had at last collapsed. He was the force incarnate, and his wrath was pure.

The blasters fired as they had been programmed to, raining hell in irregular patterns upon the invaders. One by one their fighters shattered and ignited, the briefest of flares igniting the darkness before fading, each and every one a swiftly blooming flower.

Proton torpedoes roared through space, blue contrails effervescing faintly. More explosions met his hungry eyes. The fighters of Clan Naga Sadow were as vicious wasps, striking and withdrawing, dealing damage and avoiding the riposte. The maelstrom swept through the Vong forces. At last, the fearless felt fear.


20-08-2007 03:24:54

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

"Forward shields at forty three percent." Said a crewman over his shoulder, "We cannot take much more of this pounding, sir."

"We'll make due, ensign." Assured the newly promoted Rear Admiral Araic Simonetti. Then turning to another command station he gave further orders, "Weapons, continue with a full bombardment from all laser cannons and turbolasers."

"Sir, I do not believe it makes much difference, their shielding devices are sucking up most of what we fire at them." Responded the Weapons Officer.

"It does not matter, they are merely a diversion while the Jedi guide the missles we launch at the true targets and occupy their strange shielding systems." Countered Simonetti with a smirk on his face. Finally, afer all they had gone through, they were now working as one and achieving results in their fight against the true enemy.

The Batte
Open space, in orbit of Atrophos

The missles launched from the hulking warship, but as there targeting systems began to engage they changed course no longer being guided by a programmed destination or by sensors of any sort by the power of the Force. The Dark Jedi now controlled them with their very thoughts, for them it was like flying a fighter craft, a weave here and a dodge there. The missles, infinetly smaller than a starfighter but more manueverable and faster, were easy to control and evade the incoming buring magma blasts from the frigate analog.

As they came closer and closer to their targets they began to flow with a rhythm, like fish swimming up river against the current. Several made contact with the yaret-kor plasma cannons. Bits and pieces erputed here and there across the surface of the Yuuzhan Vong's Ro'ik chuun m'arh class frigate. Other missles collided with the dovin basals that repelled the energy that constantly bombarded from the Covenant. Not only were they a form of shielding, but they were also propulsion systems, leaving the ship dead in space. Soon all of the dovin basals were gone or being so overtaxed that they were unable to keep the barrage from infilicting serious damage to the vessel. Yorik coral flung from the hull as if being chipped away by a mighty hammer.

Ro'ik chuun m'arh Frigate Analong Heretic's Bane

Executor Eshin Shul could not believe her eyes. She ripped the cognition hood from her head and looked at the blaze bugs. Her ship was being over swarmed and despite the totality of the Yuuzhan Vong's presence in this system, she was losing. Rather, her shamed underlings were, she was not a tactician nor a warrior. The pitiful warriors assigned to this vessel of war were to blame, perhaps she would get away with her life if she were to make her escape now while all were preoccupied.

The Heretic's Bane rocked again and again, Eshin almost losing her footing as she made her way down the corridor leading away from the command chamber. The vessel had lost all of it's weapons, there was no propulsion, and their coralskippers were exhausted and being depleted. The rest of the fleet was concerned with the other Dark Jeedai over the main planet, the destruction of the Heretic's Bane would go unnoticed. Only one thought continued to repeat itself within her head.

I hate these blasted Jeedai!


20-08-2007 08:29:00

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

Malisane stood tapping at the control terminal in a controlled frenzy. Due to the engineering crew having been reduced to half the recognised bare minimum he had been dragged away from the operation on his Vong prisoner to take charge, the previous Engineering Chief and his deputy having succumbed to a voxyn. He was concerned, the drain on the weapons and shields was getting severe. He was trying to wrestle more power from wherever he could find it. Around him the rest of the staff were doing likewise, controlling the reactor levels and repairing systems.

“Engineering this is the Captain we need more power to the shields!.” Simonetti’s voice snapped over the communicator.
“We’re doing the best we can,” the Sith snapped back, “if you’ve got two voxyn and a giant wheel stored somewhere I’ll set up a dynamo!”
Petty Officer Rodriguez, the remaining NCO in the section turned to him. “Sir, we need to draw power from none essential systems.”
“I’m trying,” Malisane replied, “we’re pared to the bone already and we’re focusing everything we’ve got on engines, weapons and shields. We can’t draw any more from the reactor she’s overloaded, if I give her anymore she’ll blow.”

Malisane stared at the display, shields were now down to thirty five percent. It was getting desperate. He clicked the communicator. “Simonetti listen up. Clear all personnel from none essential areas, quarters, the supply bays, even the infirmary. I’m cutting life support and gravity to those sections in two minutes. Anyone who can’t move by then you’ll have to leave.””
There was a paused. “Very well.”
Malisane waited, watching the displays. The captains voice came back. “Alright those that could move have moved.”
“Do it.” Malisane ordered.
Rodriguez tapped a few buttons, and on the diagram of the ship above several sections now glowed red.
Malisane studied the displays. “Shields up to fifty five percent, that ought to hold us a bit longer.”
The Petty Officer nodded. “I hope so, I don’t know what we can cut next.”

Nekura Manji

20-08-2007 14:52:33


We are...

We are as one...

"We are as one!"

The words ripped in a shout from his lips as his hands tightened around the controls of the ship, pulling the interceptor round in another tight circle to avoid several flaming rocks spat from the yaret-kor of the yorik-et that pursued him. As the creation pursued Manji, it's dovin basal fully engaged in propelling it through space, the Epis suddenly yanked his controls upwards, pulling the Interceptor into a tight loop-the-loop which placed him behind the Vong craft, his lasers igniting in a blaze of red light that devoured the coralskipper, the dovin basal still engaged with propulsion.

Burning wreckage fell from the sky as Manji turned back towards the Heretic's Bane, cannons blazing. Suddenly, another voice appeared in his mind, a voice with a different timbre than the combined shouts of every other member of Naga Sadow.

Manji, how's it going?

The Epis' head whipped round to see Shin'ichi's Kiba-class fighter fall in beside him, the Keibatsu saluting him curtly inside the cockpit. Grinning widely, Manji sent a telepathic thought of his own back.

Pretty good. You joining us for some Vong-butchering?

In response Shin'ichi threw his ship into a dive towards the surface of the Heretic's Bane below them, targeting a yaret-kor that turned towards them, bulging in preparation to spit flaming rocks up at them. Joining him, Manji strafed past one projectile, his own lasers raking the skin of the living weapon. His mind focussed solely on victory, choosing to ignore the shameful message from the Dark Lord that had crackled through his intercom moments before the power of Clan Naga Sadow filled his mind.

Gritting his teeth as he pulled his interceptor back up, spiralling away from another magma-clad rock, Manji let out a roar.

"I refuse to run! I refuse to die!"


20-08-2007 18:28:53

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

Araic Simonetti rushed over to the holographic display. In the center of the largest formation of Yuuzhan Vong ships what he could only ascertain was their flagship broke apart. The ensign who had alerted him was as shocked as he was. There was no sign of an attack on the ship. Nobody was in range to have attacked it.

It has simply torn itself apart.

“Direct hit!” cried one of the other ensigns.

The Rear Admiral swung around, his still burning eyes opening wide in disbelief. Surely he had heard that wrong? “Can you repeat that?”

“Sir, direct hit!” called the ensign again, his face beaming with delight. “We just incinerated their port side!”

Simonetti couldn't believe what he was hearing. Was the battle turning? How were they penetrating their defences? “How is that possible? Aren't their shields still absorbing our fire?”

The ensign shook his head. “Not anymore. Most of them don't seem to know where we're attacking from.”

“I'm getting reports from our pilots,” said one of the other ensigns, this time over at the fighter control desk. “He's saying their shields are going funny." The ensign paused, looking amused. "He says it's like watching someone drunk trying to aim.”

Battle of Antei

The Sanguinus plunged into the heart of the fire storm surrounding the Covenant. Guided with supernatural precision, the corvette's turbolasers lit up unleashing multiple volleys of fire upon the Heretic's Bane. The Yuuzhan Vong ship's dovin basals were starting to fail, the sheer volume of incoming projectiles overloading the frigate's defences. The tide was turning, what had begun as the hunter was rapidly becoming the prey.

Christine Zara spun the Sanguinus around, flipping the ship back toward the frigate to unleash another volley. This time the corvette's missile banks erupting, waves of proton torpedoes charging toward the enemy ship. Through subtle nudges in the Force the missiles were pushed off course, soaring past the already overtaxed dovin basals, detonating and sending chunks of yorik coral flying off into the empty void.

Even as the Sanguinus shot away it's missile banks turned, targeted strikes shooting off in its wake back toward the ro'ik chuun m'arh frigate. There was another series of pushes in the Force that came from no one in particular, there were no longer names and faces, there was only one. One Clan, one Force. All were were one. Fractions of a second before they impacted, the missiles' trajectories shunted together, all erupting at the same point.

The explosion sent shock waves through the Heretic's Bane, a whole section of the ship breaking away. Yuuzhan Vong warriors began to spill out, their last cries going unheard in the void. From ruptures along the edge of the ship liquid began to pour out, as if bleeding from an open wound.

Ro'ik chuun m'arh Frigate Analog Heretic's Bane

Eshin Shul dived through the sphincter as it sealed shut behind her. There was a rush of air as the Heretic's Bane sought to re-pressurise the deck, the passage on the other side of the sphincter now floating somewhere in space. The Executor had barely made it through before the coldness of the vacuum had gotten her. Even now she still felt stiff, shivering as warmth flooded into the room.

Filthy Jeedai! That attack had almost killed her.

The Executor did not understand what was happening. How were the dovin basals now failing, as her voxyn had failed before? It was impossible! She had outwitted countless Jeedai in the past, her voxyn had been the death of dozens. During the attack on the Jeedai base in the Yavin system she had watched as many had been devoured. She had rejoiced as their temple was crushed and destroyed.

What was happening? What had changed?

These Jeedai were not like any she had experienced before. They killed without mercy. They wielded powers unlike any her attendants had seen before. They fought with a passion she knew only from the warrior caste. It was as if they were living servitors of the slayer.

She could not have failed. She was not a Shamed One. Not yet.

Survival was still within her grasp. The warriors may not have understood, but Eshin Shul was not so foolish as to throw her own life away in vain. The Executor continued running, charging through the remaining corridors of the rapidly deteriorating vessel.

The hangar was not far now. If only she could make it there before one of the warriors tried something foolish. Hopefully their loyalty to Domain Amnan would ensure they didn't throw away their lives the same way as that fool of a Warleader Nagto Mel.

Eshin Shul had not believed her eyes as she had watched the No Peace breaking apart, taking the yammosk with it. It was then the battle had turned. It had been impossible enough when the Jeedai ships had suddenly begun attacking with unnatural precision, the loss of the war coordinator had seen the Yuuzhan Vong attack collapse.

Eshin Shul was sure only the presence of the Supreme Overlord himself was holding the battle together.

Macron Sadow

20-08-2007 19:44:06

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

One mind…one Force,” echoed the madman’s thoughts. He settled into the cockpit of the Nachzerer dropping the cover. His armor was a comfort against the unknowns of space. The com came to life as his fingers tapped pre-flight controls. “Governor General, are you sure this is wise?” The question was an echo of the very same one he has asked the Overlord himself before. There was a hint of amusement in Astronicus’ voice.

“My lord. Perhaps not,” came the chuckled reply. “However, this ship was made to hit hard and fast. We need all the fly-boys we can get right now. And I am itching to try her out in real combat.”

“Copy that, Mononoke. I have the bridge with the Admiral. Give them hell, and May the Dark Side be with you,” came the crackling reply from the Viceroy. The punch of acceleration hit as Macron shoved the controls forward. The strange ship rocketed from the belly of the Covenant, turning to the side and sweeping in a roll as it passed over the bridge.

Rear Admiral Simonetti looked on with fascination. “My Lord,” he commented. “What the hell was that thing? I have never seen that design before.”

“You wouldn’t have,” commented the Overlord dryly. “It’s one of his little toys.”

_ _ _

Modified Transport
Battle of Atrophos

Macron felt the mark on his forehead throb. He winced, the mark almost seeming to open in his mind. His perceptions altered, becoming clearer, sharper, more…hungry. There were lives out there to take, and he headed right for the Heretic’s Bane. A mad cackle escaped his lips a Vong body bounced off the armor on his forequarter. The frozen, decompressed body shattered from the impact, black crystals of frozen Vong blood spinning off into the void. “Beautiful,” he mumbled as he pulled up the targeting computers.

You see that?” came the mental telepathic message from Nekura to Shin’Ichi.

I sure as hell did,” came the reply. Flares of light burst from the Kiba as it annihilated another coral skipper, Manji having pulled it’s attention away with a juke and dodge maneuver.

What the hell is that thing? It’s not Vong… to big to be a starfighter,” responded Manji. “Too fast for a transport. Look at that armor… my sensors put it’s shield rating at 300 units? Good lord.”

It’s the Nachzerer, Macron’s new toy. Let’s go give him some cover, and see if his boasts about the thing are true. I’m skeptical, but…” Shin’ichi’s mental contact trailed off. “I heard it’s mostly all engine, guns, and armor.”

Roger,” came the Krath. “Time to hurt these scumbags even more. Mac, we are coming up on your six.”

Copy that,” came the alchemist’s mental contact. “Engaging weapons systems. Let's slaughter the bastards.”

The Kiba and Interceptor formed right and left, one covering high and one low as the black beetle-like ship sped at the Vong warship. Double Turbolasers slid from recessed ports and opened fire, two quadlasers followed them, and a stream of missiles erupted from beside them.

“Take that, you fracking kark hounds,” muttered Macron as he licked his lips and savored the thought of their pain. Soon, the buzz droids would work their way into the structure and deliver the knockout punch of an Alpha Red and Violator gas cocktail. He truly wished he could watch them twitch and die as their faces slid from their disgusting grey-skinned heads. Blasts of plasma began to rip around the gunship as he maneuvered.


20-08-2007 22:43:13

Ro'ik chuun m'arh Frigate Analog Heretic's Bane

Eshin Shul raced through the surviving passageways inside the Heretic's Bane. Even now she could see parts of the ship beginning to wither and die. Where there should have been tightly sealed sphincters there were flaccid and loose openings. No longer responsive to touch, Eshin Shul was forced to tear through several with her coufee. Walls were already crumbling away, trickles of black blood pouring from some of the wounds in the biots lining the yorik coral.

The Heretic's Bane was dying. Eshin Shul had to get out fast.

When the Executor finally reached the hangar she quickly made her way to a waiting yorik-vec. She would far have preferred a yorik-et, right now she valued discreteness more than anything else, but the assault pod would have to do.

The yorik-vec was roughly the size of a small freighter, bolstering several yaret-kors. It was normally used to deploy warriors into battle, Eshin Shul found it faintly ironic it would now serve to enable an intendant to escape. There was nothing left for her on the Heretic's Bane other than death, and she wasn't as vain or as blind as the warriors. She would survive.

As chunks of yorik coral began to fall from the sealing the yorik-vec began to pull away, heading for the exit sphincter. It was torn and shredded, no doubt victim to one of the Jeedai's 'inferior' weapons. Eshin Shul found her race's overconfidence almost laughable. Defeat had brought a humility uncommon to her people.

The yorik-vec roared out of the hangar, bursting into the center of the battle. Yorik-ets swarmed around her, continuing their feeble attack against the Jeedai. Eshin Shul wondered how they could be so blind. Could the warriors inside the yorik-ets not see their defeat? They threw themselves vainly against the heretic ship and her defenders, when they could have fled back to the main battlegroup and achieve some measure of success.

No, thought Eshin Shul, they could not. The the Supreme Overlord himself, Shimrra Jamaane, was here. There would be no fleeing. Cowards were certain to be executed. Eshin Shul finally understood why Nagto Mel had taken his own life. There was no mercy before the foot of the Dread Lord and his Elite.

As the yorik-vec shot away, scarcely escaping the notice of the Jeedai, Eshin Shul could see the Heretic's Bane faltering behind her. It's dovin basals were beginning to collapse as the infidels and heretics broke through her defences, incinerating whole chunks of the once mighty warship. As its dovin basals gave way, so did its propulsion, the ship beginning to drift motionless in space.

However even ow the Jeedai did not withdraw their attack. Like wounded animals they attacked without mercy and little regard for their own lives. They sought they Heretic's Bane's death. It would be an empty victory, Eshin Shul knew, for they and their planet would surely fall before the might of the Torrent of Enmity and her battlegroup.

Even still, there was something to be respected in their actions. They fought like Yuuzhan Vong.

Eshin Shul's yorik-vec shot away from the planet, heading out into deep space, back toward the cloud of the anomaly. There was nothing to be gained in remaining here. Eshin Shul would earn death if she remained. Whether it be at the hand of Drathul Amnan or the Dread Lord himself, it did not matter. Death was all that awaited her should she return.

Perhaps it was what she deserved? Had the Gods abandoned her? Eshin Shul did not care. Her faith in the Gods had left her when Drathul Amnan had executed Drosh Nar. The Seer had been as loyal a servant of the Gods as ever Eshin Shul had known. His death at the will of Yun-Yammka had been the last betrayal Eshin Shul could bare. If the Gods had abandoned her, they had abandoned her people too. This conquest had been one great failure after another. After the failure with the voxyn it seemed even the Trickster herself had abandoned her. No, there was nothing left for Eshin Shul here.

As the yorik-vec reached the outskirts of one of the main pathways Shimrra's fleet had taken through the anomaly Eshin Shul ordered the ship to enter darkspace. As the yorik-vec disappeared it did not even occur to her she was now a Shamed One. All that mattered was freedom.


21-08-2007 03:45:53

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

Araic Simonetti laughed slightly, the Heretic's Bane, the Yuuzhan Vong huge ship was done for. “Sir, reports are coming in from our pilots, the whole thing is breaking up,” An ensign reported, “it’s over!”

“It’s far from over,” the Overlord said, “there are still more Vong out there, blocking us from escaping Antei.”

“My Lord,” Ashura said to Tron, as he was helping out on the bridge, “if we are to make it past any blockade the Vong have formed, then we need to find the weakest point, and fight out way through.”

“That will cost lives,” said the Rear-Admiral.

“It has already been costing us lives, how many of us have to die for the rest of us to survive. We’re on the verge of extinction…survival of the fittest!” replied Isradia hotly. “We all have lost friends here…I have not seen my fellow Isradian brother since I returned onto the Covenant after leading those fighters against the Vong. Ethran could be dead for all I know!”

“Ashura,” the Viceroy said as he stood up, “that is enough, we have all lost friends during the past week. I suggest you attend to your duties Envoy, and find out just how many Clansmen have survived.”

The Sith Warrior clenched his fists, but bowed and replied, “Yes my Lord”. He then walked off the bridge to find out who out who was still alive, who were missing in action/presumed deceased, and who were confirmed killing in action.

Tron then looked at Simonetti. “Admiral, I want all fighters accounted for, I want to know what weapons we have left, and I want options on best tactical scenarios to evade the Vong long enough to jump into hyperspace.”

Nekura Manji

21-08-2007 06:11:02

As the voice of Clan Naga Sadow echoed in their heads, the gunners onboard the Covenant moved even faster, victory in their sights. The Heretic's Bane listed almost helplessly in space, chunks of it's hull detaching from the living organism and floating away. Only a few of it's yaret-kor continued to fire, but then sporadically, as if nothing was directing them and they merely lashed out at whatever was in sight.

Forming into a triangular formation, Manji and Shin'ichi flanked Macron's Nachzerer as the three Keibatsu surged towards the dying Heretic's Bane once more. Shouting in triumph, the three opened fire with every weapon at their disposal, a stream of laser-fire ripping into the Vong ship with much more impact than they had previously had, the hull tearing apart beneath their weapons, almost screaming in pain. Revenge was theirs- despite having been fighting a losing battle almost constantly for the last week, the three Dark Jedi now felt redemption. While they were being ordered to retreat, and the Vong had ostensibly won, their nose had been definitely been bloodied by the determination of Clan Naga Sadow.

As the three ships burst away from the Heretic's Bane, the Covenant's guns opened fire one more time, as much power as could safely be diverted bursting from the turbolasers and missiles pouring from the launchers. With an almost concussive force the Heretic's Bane burst apart, the millions of fragments of now-dead flesh that had made up the ship disintegrating into the atmosphere. A huge cheer rose in the heads of every member of the Clan, accompanied by a feeling of victory sorely needed.

We are as one! The Heirs to the Empire!

Glancing across at Macron and Shin'ichi, Manji raised a thumb with a wide grin.

Back to the Covenant, chaps?

Nodding back, Macron and Shin'ichi gunned their ships forward and back towards the Covenant. Following them, Manji felt his smile fade slightly- as the warm glow of victory faded away, the harsh glare of cold reality returned. They had destroyed the major ship blocking their path, but other Vong ships still prevented them from falling back to Orian.

Nevertheless, Manji felt another involuntary, sardonic grin cross his face.

We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, huh?


21-08-2007 08:46:53

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
Flagship of Trevarus Sadow
External Docking Station
Victory Star Destroyer Covenant

The Sanguinus shook as the docking arm swung round, clamping it tightly to the Star Destroyer's hull. The airlock extended, attaching to the corvette's hull. There was a rush of air as the pressures equalised.

Christine Zara waited for all the safety checks to flash an acknowledgement before turning her head around. “We're attached,” said the Captain, “you can go on across.”

Trevarus turned and headed to the lounge. “Christine says we're attached,” he said, gesturing the other two Elders to the airlock. Kem-Shu Maeda and Darth Vexatus stood up and headed for the exit.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

Araic Simonetti felt as if his head was spinning. Whatever the Dark Jedi had done it had reinvigorated the crew, if temporarily. Now, however, they were all looking like he was. Drained and exhausted. The Rear Admiral was uncertain what to think. It was as if he was going to be sucked dry. As if his life was going to be taken from his very veins.

And yet, they had survived. He was no less pleased at having had the Dark Jedi digging through his mind but at least, for now, it had brought them some measure of safety.

Oh no, sighed Simonetti as the madman and the Falleen entered the bridge. He was just starting to hope they might have been killed during the fighting. It was just his luck they would still be alive too.

Astronicus Aurelius Sadow turned from the central viewport and looked at the two arrivals. There was a flash of anger behind his eyes but he restrained what bitterness he may have felt. Caerick and Vexatus had dragged them out here, manipulated them into coming to Antei, conspired to retrieve their own artefacts and icons and to make one last mockery of the Star Chamber before its fall.

They could have been home in the Orian system by now. They could have been safe. None of this should have happened. This bloodshed could all have been avoided.

The Overlord should have had them executed.

Yet, the two Elders had also tried to save them. The Grand Emanation, as failed as it was, as clearly more an act of defiance against the Iron Throne than a true display of concern, had tried to rally the Clans together against this threat. It was more than the Star Chamber had attempted at any rate. Furthermore, without the Sith Lord's Force Meld Astronicus was sure they would all be dead already. The other Elders had added their meditation to his own, strengthening the Clan enough to allow it to beat back the invader's frigate.

This war had already cost them too many. Too few survived. The Overlord could not allow for a complete split within his Clan's ranks. As deceitful and treacherous as Caerick and his apprentice were, they had saved them, even if, Astronicus was sure, they had only done so to achieve just this, to force his hand right now. As much as it pained him to do so, he knew he could not have them killed. Too many would believe their story, that they had done all this for the "greater good". He could not allow that. He would not allow the two traitors to have the pleasure of tearing his Clan in two.

The Overlord forced a smile. He would have to tolerate their continued presence. For now. If they could play him for a fool, perhaps he too could make use of them. They were the ones destined to fall, after all, for he was the true Heir of Sadow, the Dark Lord himself had said so. Perhaps, for now, the Overlord would continue to humour their delusions of grandeur, for ultimately all would knee again in Sadow's name at the dawn of the new Sith Empire.

“Welcome back,” said Astronicus evenly, though where was clear resentment behind the words.

“Tron,” said Trevarus, a wide smile, laced with sarcasm, forming across his face.

Lord Vexatus merely nodded an acknowledgement.

The three Elders did not speak more of what had happened. There would be another day, another time to settle old scores. This was not it. Already too much blood had been shed in the name of petty rivalries.

Still, Astronicus promised himself that, one day, they would pay. The blood of every Disciple of Sadow killed today was on their hands. Their whole involvement in this war had been a sham.

Yes, one day, they would pay.

The Overlord just hoped he would be alive to see it. They were still stuck and the Yuuzhan Vong guarded every exit from Antei. It would surely require a miracle to escape this chaos.


21-08-2007 09:19:02

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Combat Information Center
Tactical Station Six

From his station in Tactical Command, and fully immersed in the depths of the Force Meld, Sai could see everything unfolding before him as an intricate tapestry woven by the gods themselves. Were he not also fully in the throes of his particular neurosis of extreme detachment, the implications of those events might have shattered his war-weary mind. Instead, he was able to observe everything without subjectivity, as some Dark Chronicler tasked with reporting the proceedings for posterity.

On his viewscreen, the Rollmaster was able to see the varied blips of his clanmates in their fighters, and he relayed pertinent combat information and instructions to their astromechs and AI’s, so the mechanics of the machinery could perform in perfect harmony with the ethereal bond that the Elder had placed upon all of them. He saw them fully in the midst of their bloodlust, not caring that the primary threat that was the Heretic’s Bane was all but destroyed, venting their collective frustration on the same’s disarrayed fighter complement, engaging them without mercy. A distant part of Sai’s mind took note of a smaller piece of the embattled analog break away and vector off away from the battle; the Knight relayed the information to the Bridge, to be filed for analysis after the day was done. It might be important, after all.

Turning his attention back to the display, Sai picked out his three family members in their craft as they dispatched the occasional coralskipper as it crossed their vector back to the Covenant. His computer told him that they were safe, all systems functional. Not so for his cousin, the Nightsister. The Force Meld brought him Ashia's emotions on an ebon wave, wracking him with a measure of grief and disbelief as she replayed his report over and over as a broken holo-loop. “Sanjuro Keibatsu, Knight – Missing/Presumed Dead.”

Not his fault, went the paraphrasing of Manji’s advice in Sai’s mind. He concentrated on the tactical display, and found a droplet of blood marring its surface as he looked on the blips that represented the Yuuzhan Vong fleet that blocked any escape. He wiped it away only to see it replaced. Sai brought a hand to his nose, and pulled it away wet and sticky, dark with his own blood. The Keibatsu surmised that the Force Meld was taking its toll on his taxed frame, and his detached mind quickly shuffled that thought to the rear. You can rest when you’re dead. Strangely, it sounded like his Master's voice, carrying the growling electronic timbre of Shin'ichi's vocabulator.

Suddenly, his tripartite eyes went wide as his display gave him more information. There was the Dark Lord’s very own flagship, the Autarch, and it was doing something quite unexpected. He’d heard the pronouncement Sarin broadcasted, but he wasn’t prepared, even in his emotionless state, to see the Iron Throne put his words into actions as such. He relayed the information to the Bridge; if Sai was seeing what he thought he was, the Autarch might be moving to give them the opening they needed.

Shinichi Endymiron K

21-08-2007 10:00:28

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Hanger Deck

The landing claws extended from the base of the Kiba as she gently touched down upon the hanger deck. Manji’s TIE Interceptor was gripped by the docking clamps and Macron’s atrocity of a ship made a landing of its own beside the Kiba. The three Keibatsu made their exits, Manji walking along the platform that ran across the TIE docking stations, Macron and Shin’ichi moving along the deck below towards the turbolift that would bring them to their brother and then to the bridge of the Victory Class Star Destroyer Covenant.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

The three brothers began the ride up in silence contemplating their latest victory, yet each could feel lives being snuffed out aboard the ship and elsewhere as battle continued. Tapping into the terminal at his side Macron called up a status report.

“They’re shutting life support and gravity to all non-essential portions of the ship.

Manji gritted his teeth. “Guess that means if you don’t get out soon enough that you don’t get out.” Unnecessary loss of life was always difficult for the One-Eyed Dragon to accept and even now in this crisis it raised his ire.

“These losses are necessary brother.” Shin’ichi's metallic voice sounded forth from the vocabulator that lay beneath the black veil upon his face. “Some die so that more can live. Remember they are tools to be used by us Manji. These are common people. They do not represent the Final Way; they are not even noble creations of the Dark Side like our own Nihiligenia. Do no mourn them, but instead allow their deaths to energize you.”

"And what of the death of our nephew?"

Manji got the last word in as the three fell silent continuing their ascent towards the bridge.

Nekura Manji

21-08-2007 13:36:02

The whirring of servos was all that could be heard- an uncomfortable silence filled the turbolift as each of the three Keibatsu struggled with their own thoughts.

Manji stared at his hands, clenched by his sides. He had grown accustomed to his family being whole, intact- like an unchanging behemoth, a rock that was not eroded by the tides of time. He had become used to having the warmth and friendship of his family around him; it had taken a long time for him to reach this stage, after having been severed from his family many years previously. It had been a long road of discovery, beginning when he was still a Journeyman and Muz transferred into House Marka Ragnos, the two swiftly becoming friends.

Now, as far as the Epis knew, Muz was dead- as was his son, Manji's nephew, Sanjuro. Helpless rage spilled up inside the One-Eyed Dragon, his fists clenching even tighter, knuckles whitening. There had been nothing he could do for either relative of his- that was what gnawed at him the most. He had not even had the chance to fight alongside them and stop them from being killed. Suddenly Manji lost his temper, a fist smashing into the wall of the turbolift with a loud, metallic sound. His forehead banging against the wall, the Epis felt as if he was consumed by the anger, a red mist before his eyes. He wanted to see one of the Vong alive, so that he could tear the beast limb from limb and relieve his fury.

He was not used to running from any enemy. Manji's way was to attack head-on, and if that didn't work, to keep fighting until it did. He was not one for subtle battle tactics- if it moved, you could ram a blade or a lightsabre into it. He especially did not like the idea of an enemy stronger than all the might of the Dark Side, an enemy which had tossed the Brotherhood aside like children.

One day I will avenge you, brother, nephew. I will bring the heads of those who did this to your graves.

Straightening up, Manji cleared his throat noisily and leant back against the wall, trying to assume his usual nonchalant posture. The rage still burnt inside him, but it was kept under tight rein- mindless fury would not see Sanjuro and Muz avenged.

The lift whirred ever upwards through the bowels of the Covenant, heading for the bridge.


21-08-2007 13:59:22

After a heartbeat, Macron consulted the terminal once more. “It says here that our nephew is either dead or presumed captured; nothing conclusive.”

“Well then, I say we get something conclusive,” suggested Manji with more than a touch of impatience in his tone.

“Already on it,” Shin’ichi grumbled, simultaneously plucking the thin thread that connected his and his apprentice’s psyches.


Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Combat Information Center
Tactical Station Six

Sai could barely concentrate on reading his screen, so great was his fatigue. He had been doing his duty in helping to coordinate the battle, but as the minutes stretched on, his mind began to wander.

As detached as he attempted to be in amassing the casualty numbers of the Clan, one name stuck out, burned into his brain.

Sanjuro Keibatsu.

As Rollmaster, he’d done his best in keeping track of the comings, goings, and dyings of the membership so that the Summit would have a fair account of their battle strength at all times. As the boy’s Tetrarch, it fell to him to know precisely where he was for that self-same report; the swift and sudden brutality of the Vong had scattered the Jade Serpents and did not afford Sai the time to compile the report less hastily. Such was the nature of war.

Still, he couldn’t get over the fact that he simply hadn’t known for sure what the fate of his cousin was. During the Force Meld, Ashia’s grief at reading his report had nearly overwhelmed him. It was as if the repetition of the name had given the Nightsister’s emotion a homing beacon to bear in on, and that it did, and with a vengeance.

Now, Sai was aware of his Master’s voice in his head, hammering as upon an anvil.

Find him.

Sai needn’t question who Shin’ichi meant; he grabbed the nearest tech and sat him down at his terminal.

“I’ve an errand to run. I consider myself relieved.”

The Keibatsu turned his back and left the Combat Information Center, along with a very confused tech, at his heels.

Striding down the corridor, Sai made for one of the holds that had been converted into storage for the dead. Droids continued to police the decks of the Covenant, hauling corpses of Sadowites and Vong alike to the designated areas; the Knight had no interest in the bodies of their invaders. They could be jettisoned into the void, for all he cared. Now, his focus was on one face and one alone, and he vowed he would search every single Sadowite corpse until he found his cousin.

Entering the first space, Sai stooped to the body nearest him and began the grisly task of cataloguing its facial features. As the details began to burn themselves into his psyche, he felt emotion once again melting away, his neurosis rising again to the fore. Sai, in searching for his relative, would ensure that someone would remember the fallen, in form if not in sentiment.

Outside, the battle raged on.


21-08-2007 14:35:06

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

“What is it doing?” whispered Araic Simonetti as he approached the viewport. He had watched on the holographic display as the flagship of the one the Dark Jedi called the Dark Lord had broken away from its escort. The Autarch, as he had heard them refer to it, had begun moving toward the main Yuuzhan Vong dreadnought. The Admiral was sure the Autarch didn't stand a chance. It was large, he did not question that, but the Yuuzhan Vong ship was larger, much larger.

The Viceroy shook his head. “I do not know,” said Astronicus. “I do not sense the Dark Lord onboard.”

Though the word still unsettled him Simonetti did not flinch at the mention of Dark Lord. They stood in silence, together with the madman and the Falleen, looking out as the Autarch began to close on the much greater dreadnought.

The Autarch was making its move. Araic Simonetti only prayed it would be the right one.

Kor Chokk Grand Cruiser Torrent of Enmity
Supreme Overlord Strike Fleet

The custom built, one of a kind, obsidian hulled flagship of the Anteian Navy, the Autarch-class battleship Autarch, fired up its engines as it began to close on the Kor Chokk Grand Cruiser Torrent of Enmity. The Autarch did not fight, its reactor was being pushed into overdrive solely to drive the battleship forward, its massive ion drives burning brightly in its wake.

Realising the approaching threat, the Torrent of Enmity began unleashing wave upon wave of fire from its hundreds of yaret-kors. Parts of the surface of the Autarch began to burn up but it kept coming. Swarms of coralskippers descended on it, blowing whole chunks of the mighty battleship apart, yet still it carried onward.

Inside his cognition hood, Supreme Overlord Shimrra Jamaane swung his head around, staring out through the 'eyes' of the ship, looking upon the dark trident of the heretic battleship. The Dread Lord looked on as the ship passed inside the Torrent of Enmity's firing arc. The Autarch was sustaining massive damage, parts of its hull were breaking off into space, but still it kept coming. Many of the yaret-kors were now unable to target it, but many more continued to pelter it with heavy rays of plasma.

Yet still it kept coming.

Realisation dawning, Shimrra cried out at the brain of the Torrent of Enmity. “Don't let it–”

Too late.

The Dread Lord's words were drowned out as his body exploded in waves of agony. Every sensory organ crying out in pain as through the barbs of the cognition hood he experienced what the Torrent of Enmity experienced. His body shaking as he listened to the ship's cries for help.

The Autarch collided with the Kor Chokk with a massive explosion. It's twin forks drove deep into the yorik coral of the Torrent of Enmity. Pieces of the grand cruiser broke off as the heretic flagship impaled itself on the Yuuzhan Vong dreadnought. The Autarch buckled as its engines drove it into the alien flagship, driving it deeper and deeper until finally the ship's engines spluttered and died, unable to move it any further.

Shimrra tore the cognition hood off his skull, its barbs tearing through his own flesh. The Supreme Overlord cried out in rage.

In the corner of the room his court jester, Onimi, sat, rocking slowly, quietly laughing to himself.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

“Unbelievable,” said several members of the surviving bridge crew at the same time.

Araic Simonetti had not believed what he was seeing as the Autarch drove itself like a dagger into the flesh of the enemy command ship. The Rear Admiral broke into laughter. “That'll teach those bastards!”

Astronicus Sadow looked on at the sight of the Autarch impaled on the Yuuzhan Vong dreadnought. Despite its mammoth size, the Yuuzhan Vong ship had sustained terrible damage as the Autarch had torn through it's surface. Massive chunks of the enemy flagship had broken off.

“It would seem,” said the Overlord, turning to look coldly at the other two Elders, “the Dark Lord has not abandoned us after all.”

“He sacrifices his flagship,” spat Trevarus Caerick, “to achieve wha–“

Darth Vexatus raised a hand, beckoning his former Master to stop. “Master,” said the Sith Lord harshly.

Trevarus shot his apprentice a glare, though despite the Krath Master's wish to further humiliate the actions of the Star Chamber he understood his apprentice's point. Not now. The Star Chamber's minor victory now would not undo the damage they had endured from their inaction in the days before. Few would trust their vision again and there was no need to press the point and cause further alienation from the Clan... they might yet still have their uses. The mad oracle turned back to the events unfolding in the skies above Antei.

The Yuuzhan Vong fleet was falling back, surrounding the alien flagship. Even those guarding the exit corridors back into the depths of the Shroud had withdrawn, clustering around the enemy dreadnought. It was as if they were pulling back to defend her, like insects drawn to their wounded queen.

“They've given us an opening!” called Araic Simonetti from behind them. The man was looking straight at Astronicus. “Viceroy, permission to withdraw?”

“Permission granted, Admiral.” Astronicus felt no remorse as he gave the order to retreat. They should never have been part of this war to begin with. Right now, the Overlord only cared about the survival of his Clan, the Star Chamber and the Dark Council could worry about Antei themselves.

Simonetti turned back to the deck crew, smiling widely. He, too, had little interest in the fate of a planet he had never heard of until five days ago.

“You heard the Viceroy! Recall all ships, move to the nearest exit vector and let's get the hell out of here!”

Nekura Manji

21-08-2007 16:13:30

The ion drives of the Covenant blazed even brighter as the ship glided through space, banking slowly towards the nearest exit vector into the Shroud. It's guns still fired, picking off those coralskippers which were still flying back towards the Torrent of Enmity. They fell from the atmosphere, disintegrating into hundreds of pieces that rained down around the Covenant as she moved onwards.

The turbolift doors shot open at the rear of the bridge, Macron, Manji and Shin'ichi striding out and towards the command deck. Macron's voice rose over the wondering voices of the bridge crew and the few remaining Dark Jedi on the bridge.

"How are we all doing, fellas?"

Behind him, Shin'ichi suddenly skidded to a halt, his eyes fixing upon Trevarus and Vexatus. In a split second they narrowed dangerously and the Proconsul's hand shot to his sabre-staff, only for Manji to grab his arm forcefully, his eyes burning into Shin'ichi's. A vein in the Krath's forehead twitched fiercely, the hatred in his eyes almost belied by the coolness of his robotic voice.

"Traitors! You dare to return here?"

Still holding Shin'ichi's arm, Manji raised his own voice.

"This is not the time, Shin. We still need to get everybody out of this system alive, remember?"

As Shin'ichi hesitated, his knuckles whitening around the hilt of his sabre-staff, Astronicus added his own voice; his words quiet, but carrying through the bridge.

"There will be a reckoning one day, faithful Disciple of Sadow. Until that day comes..."

The Overlord's voice was enough to quench Shin'ichi's anger, the Proconsul straightening up and releasing his sabre. Ignoring the sarcastic smirk of Trevarus, the Krath moved forwards to join Macron at the command console, speaking quietly to Simonetti. Exhaling heavily, Manji moved to one side of the command deck, staring out of the main viewscreen. He could almost feel the tension in the air... it would be good to get back to Tarthos and let things cool down.


21-08-2007 17:01:10

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer

Malisane turned to the Petty Officer. "Things stable here?"
Rodriguez nodded. "Yes we can hold it together."
"Good I'll be back later if needed. Restore power to the medical bay that won't affect the levels much." He turned and left the engineering bay. Outside it was crowded with crewmen, the order to vacate quarters had forced many out into the corridors. Once in hyperspace back to Orion they ought to be able to rescind that. He headed off to the medical bay.

Inside the two droids were hard at work. "How are you doing?"
"We had to isolate the subject on backup supplies when the life support cut off, but he's ready." one replied.
Malisane nodded eagerly. "Show me."
He was taken to the corner of the room where a large glass jar sat on a pedestal. Inside floating in a liquid was the head of the Vong. bubbles floating around him and tubes attacked to the temples and neck boring into the flesh.
"He's unconsious," the Sith pointed out.
"We thought it was better until you decided what to do with him." the droid replied.
Malisane nodded. He looked into the face of the enemy. "My friend I have great plans for you when I return to Kangaras."

The droids looked at him impassively. "What do you want us to do with him?"
"Nothing for now, just keep anyone else away from him I don't want interference or anyone to come up with hair brained revenge ideas." He thought for a minute. "Where's the body?"
We have it in the refrigeration unit," the droid replied, "it is dead naturally, but the armour covering it appears to be alive. The power shutdown didn't effect storage again it has a seperate backup supply."
Malisane nodded. "I have no use for it I'm not a scientist.. Keep it there for now, Send a message to the Consul informing him of its existance and say its all his. Macron might find it interesting to study, maybe even find a way of replicating it."
"As you wish." the droid replied.
Malisane took a final look at the jar with the live Vong head. "I guess I'd better get to the bridge and find out what the situation is." He turned and left.

Syrus Korodin

22-08-2007 10:48:39

The Frost Dragon did not quite know what to expect when he saw the Autarch approaching the enormous Vong flagship. He wondered vaguely if it was trying a last ditch attack, and was quite positive that it would fail. The Vong ship was just too big, its armor most likely too thick to be penetrated by anything other than a superlaser. What madness was the Grand Master planning now, at the very end?

Then the Autarch's engines flared blue and white for the last time, chunks of debris peeling off its hull as it charged forward. The collision was simply epic, the twin forks of the Autarch penetrating deep into the hull of the Vong ship. Debris scattered everywhere as both ships sustained massive damage.

But the Autarch was dead, and the Vong ship was not. He could see it trundling along, awkward and confused, probably blinded by its own pain. At the very least Sarin had granted them room to escape. Now was the time to leave this darth-forsaken planet.

Instinctively he rolled his ship to the right, avoiding a stream of plasma from a Coralskipper. He locked on to it as it flew past him. His finger hovered over the trigger. As the craft began to grow smaller and smaller so too did Shuang's resolve. He would not waste a missile on this pathetic Vong craft. Let it see what its leaders had become. Let it suffer knowing that the jeedai had prevailed today.

"Take me home," he whispered to his ship, and the AI duly responded, turning the fighter toward the Covenant. A minute later they were in the hangar. The force meld had worn off, and he felt exhausted beyond possible description. He hopped out of the cockpit, glad to be back.

Before leaving to the bridge, he turned and fondly patted the scarred and pitted hull of the Twilight Shadow.

"You did good today," he muttered.

"You too, I guess," the ship's droid brain responded.


22-08-2007 13:31:01

Aboard the YT-2400 Fulcrums Blade
Preparing to launch out of Hanger on the VSD Covenant

The Sapphire Squadron Leader sat in the cockpit of his YT-2400. He examined his new arm for a moment. Apparently in the lapse where the attempted Vong arm in the medical room did suffice however his body began rejecting it. Instead doctors had to work urgently in putting something where his right arm was. The operation was painful considering no sedative at the time but every moment he felt pain ne allowed rage to course through him. Ah rage the one feeling he adored it empowered him, allowed him to become strengthened even more. During the operation they were able thanks in part to Macron in assisting with developing a limb for him. Through Mechu-Deru they were able to combine both living tissue, and cybernetic parts into something that appeared more as a limb meant as not just an extension but a weapon as well. Aries could remember as the energy surge to his forearm, then the crunching sound as the metal somehow in the operation was binding to the severed stump. The rage that flowed through the almost torture before then as organic flesh tissue both being graphed and as if it was alive wrapping and binding to the metal and stump. The energy was both burning from use of the darkside and of the medical lasers cauldering his flesh. It was upon this that in looking now at the limb he had ridged, almost metallically alive, and his hand a combination of both tissue and metal coordinating with one another in unison that his right arm appeared as one gothical metallic gauntlet.

He could overhear the commotion onboard the commlink bringing him back to reality from the reflection of the torturious rebirth he adorned in the medical bay and now sitting in his YT-2400. The commlink came in as a command officer came speaking in from the bridge relaying information to him,

"Commander Vorak you have clearance to leave now. Command is allowing 4 XG-1 Starwings considering we need all other craft to assist in other operations."

He grumbled to himself for a moment before then deciding it best to respond back anyway. After all this was a desperate counterstrike he was involving in before the VSD Covenant got away. Several members were assisting some from Sapphire Squadron at least one or two in the assault already. But right now his obligation was to provide an assault to knock out some of those Vong Carriers. That was priority but second to defending the Covenant. He accessed his comlink before then responding back to command,

"Fulcums Blade to Command, preparing to start up launch sequence and ETA will be in few seconds. I am especting that I will not be alone in this matter like I was when trying to rescue some members off the Crimson Angel."

He heard a pause of silence from the officer. Then static came in and a response was finally given.

"Commander Vorak, command assures there will be those fighters to assist you."

Aries cut off the commlink. Again he was risking his own precious vessel. But still it was for the cause. If the Vong managed to try to defeat the Covenant or get to her he knew all hell would be unleashed. But he also remembered well this was a war with fire vs fire. In his mind the Vong were tempering with hot steel and when tempering enough the blade would turn on the Vong very quickly. He punched in the launch sequence on the console as the engines began to hum right now. The consoles lighting up and the scanners and senors peering into the exterior revealing on the console what was out there. Aries took a deep breath he knew the first time he paid with an arm and an eye. But now his anger and rage seeped fueling him with determination he would have his pleasure of hell before the Vong. As the YT-2400 lifted the engines lightened with glare. The skids fell into their compartments and closed. THe repuslorlifts were holding it into a hover before then the engines firing and launching the Fulcrums Blade into the void of space. It was at the launch he heard immediately 4 other craft launch in sequence with him. The mission was simple fly in enough then and launch a barriage into one of the Vong Carriers and incinerate it that it might force the Brain Vessel to change of thought thinking that the fleet was under a surprise flank attack.

Shan Long

22-08-2007 14:58:43

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Atrophos, Antei System
Private Quarters

The door slid noiselessly open, the two Elders walked into Vexatus' meditation room. Neither spoke, yet there was a sense of immense dread hanging in the air. Each man took a seat, in sturdy, lightly padded chairs on either side of a small desk.

"So it ends..." Trevarus said, "...I am not finished with Antei."

"You have seen what the Eaters do to conquered worlds, Trevarus... remember your visions of Zonoma Sekot." Vexatus replied.

"Yet, I sense something... a tangled possibility. Between the noise: the screams of dying, and the crackling of burnt flesh... a thread of hope twists between shadows. Something promising... perhaps even of renewal." The Krath's eyes were glazed over, looking far out into the stars from the small port. The mighty warship was leaving Atrophos' gravity well.

"Are you finished with the riddle?"

"I fear the riddle has just opened, my Apprentice."

"That's all fine and good... have you heard from Eosara?"

"No... I sus--" Trevarus was cut off by the entrance of another figure into Vexatus' chambers. Both men stood, surprised. Immediately, both men bowed deeply to the cold deck, realizing who there visitor was.

"Lady Morrigan, how have you honored us with your presence?" Trevarus asked, as she motioned them to rise.

Vexatus was stunned. He had never met the most beautiful woman in all of the galaxy, though Trevarus had spoken of her with such reverence, and humility, that even now... he understood what his Master had spoken of. Long black hair spilled over slender shoulders, framing a face that was ageless, yet wise. Black eyes set deep, her cheekbones high over ghostly white skin.

"Greetings, Trev." Morrigan said. "Eosara sends word, that the operation was successful." She said, handing him a small scroll.

"How did you...?" Trevarus stammered.

Morrigan merely smiled.

"I suppose that answers your question, Trevarus." Vexatus said, his eyes never leaving the face of the woman. He reached under his desk, and withdrew a bottle given to him by the Master many years before. He had saved it, not knowing why, though finally understanding.

Save your most beautiful, your most precious, for death, my Apprentice.

"Would my lady cary for a drink?" Vexatus asked.

"Yes, thank you Lord Vexatus." Morrigan said, accepting a small tumbler of the darkly amber whisky.

"Now... words have come to me... of your appearance before the Star Chamber, Trev." Morrigan said, "I've come to ask your rationale myself. The time for secrets is over."

"As you wish, my Lady." Trevarus said, his lips trembling before Death as he began to tell the story....


22-08-2007 19:42:43

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Antei System

“They've given us an opening!” called Araic Simonetti from behind them. The man was looking straight at Astronicus. “Viceroy, permission to withdraw?”

“Permission granted, Admiral.” Astronicus felt no remorse as he gave the order to retreat. They should never have been part of this war to begin with. Right now, the Overlord only cared about the survival of his Clan, the Star Chamber and the Dark Council could worry about Antei themselves.

Simonetti turned back to the deck crew, smiling widely. He, too, had little interest in the fate of a planet he had never heard of until five days ago.

“You heard the Viceroy! Recall all ships, move to the nearest exit vector and let's get the hell out of here!”

Those words seemed like a lifetime ago. Trevarus and Vexatus had left the bridge since then and everyone was back to work at thier menial duties. This nightmare was finally about over and soon they would arrive back at Orian where they could mount a more prepared and organized defense against these invaders. Antei may have fallen, but the forces of Naga Sadow would not allow them to burn their sacred portion of the galaxy. The Covenant made it's way past the debris of space wreckage, firing here and there at interlopers and would be suicide coralskippers.

Within moments they would be beyond the Yuuzhan Vong's reach and entering hyperspace. The destruction of the original Vong command ship along with the Autarch's ramming of the larger command ship, had thrown the enemy into a frenzied state of confusion and none were blocking the exit vectors. The Covenant's engines roared as it made it's way to the edge of the Shroud and then finally entered hyperspace. All of those congregating on the bridge of the Victory-class Star Destroyer let out a simultanous sigh of relief.

"Governor-General, you have the bridge, I'll be in my quarters." Ordered the Lord of Sadow. "I am not to be disturbed until we have reverted to real-space again in the Orian system."

"Understood, Viceroy." Replied the Clan's Consul. Then turning to Simonetti he began to give orders. "Admiral, begin assigning crews to the task of repairing our ship, it would not be proper for us to return to the homeworld with a completely bruised and bloodied ship."

"Aye, sir." The Admiral acknowledged and began tasking his officers with clean up and repair duties.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Private Quarters of the Viceroy

Locking the door from the inside to make sure none should disturb him, Astronicus lowered the lighting and stepped over to the private holo-transmitter. It messages were encoded several times over to ensure secrecy and thanks to the recent advancements in technological developement it could not be detected or intercepted, but you wouldn't expect anything less from the Star Chamber. Activating the comm, Astronicus took a knee on the pad and bowed his head in reverance to his masters. It was not the entire Star Chamber, rather only three of it's members whom's features appeared. He knew who they were, despite the fact that the hoods they wore covered their identities, for he had been serving all three for quite sometime.

"Masters, I am reporting to confirm that all is proceeding as you have foreseen." Said the Overlord of Naga Sadow. "The events unfolded just as you said they would and Sarin has set himself up for what will be his undoing."

"Excellent," responded the center hooded figure, Lord Khyron, "you have done well our apprentice. Soon the Brotherhood will be brought to its knees and we can again cleanse it of the ineffectual pond scum that bog us down. It will be rebuilt as the next coming of the Sith Empire and only those strong enough to resist and survive our most troubling enemy will become the foundation of what is to come."

"And there shall be a place of prominence in it for yourself, Lord Sadow." Astronicus liked how Lord Stryker referred to him with the honor that Khyron had granted him so long ago. Stryker continued, "We will need those that are both strong and influential to take this battered Brotherhood to the next stage of developement and assure that it will be strong."

"I shall do as you ask of me, my masters." Replied Astronicus, his head still bowed. "You but have to merely show me the way."

"In due time, my apprentice, in due time." Spoke the master and benevolent friend of Astronicus, Master Yoni. "For now, simply act as you have been, lead them but show no inkling of knowing what is truly responsible for thie recent turn of events. We shall communicate with you later when we wish you to proceed with the next phase, until then may the Dark Side guide you."

The images blinked out of existence and left Astronicus kneeling on the holo-pad. He rose and turned to face the view portal in his quarters. As long as his masters kept to their word then there would be nothing to stop the rise of the Sith Empire once and again for all times, and he would be there to help herald it in to a galaxy broken and bleeding, looking for a hope of survival against this great enemy.


22-08-2007 19:47:30

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Private Quarters of Darth Vexatus

As the Covenant made its jump to hyperspace Trevarus Caerick recounted the story of what had happened during the past six days.

He explained how he and his apprentice had convinced the Overlord to take the Clan to Antei rather than withdraw to the Orian system right away. How, despite knowing from Vexatus's visions what fate awaited Antei, they had played upon the danger should one of the other Clans claim it's secrets for themselves. How they had manipulated the Clan to enable Trevarus to recover his holocron, Legion, and his other archives. Ultimately, how they had performed the Grand Emanation to try and humiliate the Dark Lord, acting in the defence of Antei when all he could do was flee before returning to signal its defeat.

During all this, Darth Vexatus found himself strangely transfixed by Lady Morrigan, as if her sheer beauty could hold his attention for hours, Trevarus's story becoming more of a distant dream.

Finally the Krath Master finished.

Morrigan studied him for a few moments after he had finished, her face still glowing in the dim light. “I see.”

“Was there anything else, my lady?” asked Trevarus.

Morrigan shook her head. She returned her glass tumbler to Vexatus. “That is all I wished to know.”

The enigmatic figure inclined her head slightly, before turning and drifting ever so slowly, gracefully out the door.

It took a few seconds before Vexatus shook his head briskly, snapping himself back to reality. Morrigan had somehow managed to completely eclipse his waking thoughts. He turned to Trevarus, his eyes glowing with frustration. The Falleen disliked not being in control. “I think you had better explain.”

Trevarus glanced at him but his gaze remained firmly fixed on the doorway. “As I have explained in the past, my apprentice, Lady Morrigan is an enigma. Much like Okemi, she has transcended mortal life. It is difficult to truly put into words what she has become.”

“I see.” Vexatus paused, considering his next thought carefully. “Apotheosis.”

“Perhaps,” Trevarus turned from the doorway and smiled, “or perhaps not.”

The Sith Lord scowled. “You know I hate your riddles.”

The Krath Master laughed.

The two did not speak of Lady Morrigan again. Trevarus turned back, gazing longingly at the doorway through which she had left. Vexatus turned, staring out into the hypnotic blue and white of hyperspace as the Covenant headed away from Antei, perhaps for the very last time.

His thoughts drifted to Antei's fall. He had come to Antei to implore the Star Chamber to see reason. Instead they had turned their backs and only confirmed his fears that they had lost their vision. He had come to try and prevent the fall of Antei but left celebrating its loss. The Sith Lord had no regrets about being proven right. To him Antei was but a symbol they could live without.

His mind wandered back to Morrigan and of what she truly was. Trevarus spoke of her as if she was some sort of mythical figure, an avatar of the darkness itself. The Sith Lord did not believe it. He figured it was no surprise a Corellian with all their archaic beliefs was more open to such concepts than he was. The Falleen did not believe in entities superior than themselves.

Still, there was something to Lady Morrigan, something more than the captivating exterior she allowed the world to see. Perhaps she truly did represent what he and Trevarus were searching for, power beyond power, immortality itself. The Sith Lord shook his head. Right now it did not matter. Their quest to Antei had been successful, even if much of the Clan now called for their heads. He imagined the Star Chamber too must be wishing for their end, no longer willing to tolerate their heresy now the truth of their loyalties was in the open for all to see. He relished the knowledge they could do nothing, not without the truth of their inaction becoming known.

The thought brought a smile to his face as he closed his eyes and allowed his mind to drift off into the depths of the Force.

Ashia Kagan

22-08-2007 22:16:52

Ashia moved as if in a fog. She had been vaguely aware of the Force Meld, but the shock of the news still grasped her heart in a vice like grip, threatening to never let go.

She went about her duties on auto pilot, floating around the bridge, responding to questions, giving orders, checking the continuous stream of intel that poured in without being aware of it.

At one point her brother, Shin'ichi, had spoken to her through their Force bond. If she had responded, she wasn't aware of it or of what she said; so thick was the fog in her head.

Manji, Macron and Shin'ichi entered the bridge. Macron approached her and made her stop what she was doing and sat her down. He looked closely at her for a moment, then produced a vial of some sort of putrid stuff. Opening the vial, he held it beneath her nose for a moment.

The Nightsister blinked rapidly a few times then pulled back in disgust as her eyes began to water.

"What the frell is that?" She wrinkled her nose as she lifted her hand to ward off the stench.

"Wombat urine. One of the most foul smells there is." The crazy Sith grinned showing a row of cracked teeth and giggle inanely.

Manji lifted an eyebrow. "Why do you carry Wombat urine? No, wait...I don't want to know."

Macron cackled again then looked at his sister-in-law. Ashia stood up and straighten her robes. Her long auburn hair was still in the braids she usually wore for battle. She moved a couple of the them over her shoulder so they hung down the back of her warcoat, ending at the heels of her boots then looked at each of her brother-in-laws in turn.

"I'll...I'll be ok. I think I just need to go lie down." The Nightsister's voice was quieter then usually as she moved towards the turbolift. Macron just shook his head.

Shini'ichi's voice entered her mentally again. 'Sister, we will find him, all hope is not lost.'

Macron Sadow

22-08-2007 22:49:18

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer


Macron watched her go with sadness. It was heart wrenching to see the damage wrought upon the mighty Clan Naga Sadow by the invaders. Families destroyed and torn apart, homes burned, lives lost. Normally he was a fan of destruction, but this was far too crude for that. Destruction with a purpose was an art, but this havoc was thuggery on a huge scale. “Vong bastards,” he mumbled.

The readouts indicated normal values at the ship entered hyperspace. Given the damage she had suffered it was unsure how long the trip would take. Certainly they were not moving at flank speed, rather, a cautious creeping. Reports from engineering crews flashed across the screen as they worked on the damage. Although they were talented and driven, many had been lost during the fighting and things went slowly.

The bridge had quieted down, the crew performing their duties well. Everyone lacked sleep, uniforms were smelly and stained from long shifts, but the entire group seemed more melded. They had all faced annihilation together and lived. That tended to bring a certain sense of shared fate.

Admiral Simonetti handed a stack of data cards to the Governor General, who gave him a formal salute.

Macron had utmost respect for the able leader. “Thank you Admiral,” he replied firmly.

Simonetti smiled, and returned the gesture. He was thinking of his earlier sense of alienation, feeling it lessen as the respect they felt was made known. Besides, the commission, benefits, and estate he had just received did not hurt matters, either.

Macron returned to his console, delivering the order to move up one hyperspace rank. “Gentlebeings, We are at Xray 6-,” he commented. “Take her to 5.” It would still be a long trip.

Shin’Ichi stood nearby, handling the tactical readouts and sensors along with Manji. Malisane worked the power systems suplly controls deftly. More power rose from the engines to feed the hyperdrive, and the Covenant moved a little faster. Many were lost in their thoughts as they hurtled through hyperspace.

Syrus Korodin

22-08-2007 23:46:37

I saw the first mirror
Shatter before me
I saw the shattered
Rise as one

Alas, the cracks
Sacred lines of separation
Mark us, eternal
Sorrow is our fate

There was a perfect silence then. For the dreamer who sat in solitude, silence was all that was necessary. After days upon days of almost ceaseless conflict, even an insane man grows tired of the sounds of screams and battle. He needed time to ruminate, and with the battle over it seemed that that time had come at last.

He sat cross legged on his meditation mat, a faint smile on his face, pleasantly humming a tune. His mind was a whirling mess of jumbled images and thoughts, bits of song and poetry, and endless questions. It seemed to him, then, that far too much information had been pummeled into his head for him to handle. He was just a man, after all.

He was a mere Knight. Who was he to ponder the whims and prophecies of beings far greater than he? What right did he have to assess the barest nuances?

He supposed that he had none. He supposed that he had all the right.

He would never believe the story Vexatus and his Master had concocted. He harbored no delusions concerning their intentions on Antei. They had never cared for their brotherhood or their clan. If anything, Shuang suspected that Trev had merely wanted to move his goods before the inevitable destruction of Antei. There were numerous priceless objects inside Kalekka.

Deep hatred bubbled within him at the thought of their betrayal. Almost immediately, it subsided. If he were in their place he knew full well that he would do just the same. The double standard filled him with a deep sense of mirth, and a renewed understanding of the cruelty of life.

Then where did his loyalties lie? He pondered this, abandoning his pathetic attempts at meditation. To his brotherhood, he felt loyal. He would not betray his brotherhood, unless his Clan was at stake. He would not betray his clan, unless his master's life was at stake.

He would not betray his master, unless his own life was at stake. And for what would he betray himself, abandon his own life? For the Final Way? For loved ones?

He supposed that, at the end of the line, his loyalty was to himself. The Final Way was not worth furthering if he died in the process. His master, his clan, his brotherhood, they could all burn for all he cared. As long as he survived, all was well. As long as the culmination of the Final Way was within him, all was well.

Yet, wasn't that the same mentality that had brought about such strife to the brotherhood? Was it not the innate selfishness of the dark jedi that had brought them so low, abandoning brotherhood, clan, and countryman, all in the name of desire and personal victory?

He supposed it was. He supposed that he did not care. Such was the path of the force. Though the many Elders around him claimed that they bent the force to their will, he knew that they were simply blinded by their illusion.

In reality, all things are on their natural path. When one things diverts another, it does not change the natural path of that which was diverted. When the Elder twists the force, bends it to his will, he fulfills the will of the force. It's will is to be willed.

Such madness! Such confusion! His clan was lucky to be alive, albeit scattered and wounded, nearly cornered and shot like some pathetic beast. But they had survived. They would continue their quest, and would hopefully rise again as the true heirs to the empire.

Shuang leaned back a little, relaxing and stretching his legs, moving out of the meditative position. He stretched his arms and yawned, the exhaustion of many days' combat finally sinking in. He reached over to a small table near his bed and casually flipped open the lid on a small box of cigars.

He reached into the box and recovered the last cigar. He brought it to his mouth before reaching out again and busily searching the box for the lighter he knew was there. He found it underneath a mound of discarded wrappers.

He unwrapped and ignited the cigar, pausing to closely scrutinize it in the dim light of his quarters. It was to his liking. He inhaled deeply, enjoying the flavors that filled his mouth and lungs, exotic and unique. The taste reminded him of a battle long ago, the scent igniting his memory, providing a flood of imagery for him to savor.

He had rarely smoked before becoming apprenticed to Trev. After, though, he had picked up the habit and quickly discovered that it was quite pleasant, provided the product was of true quality.

He simply sat back and let the smoke fill his quarters, bluish haze descending upon him, clinging to his clothes and belongings. What glory it is to know a pleasure again after nearly losing it forever! A quote from his old master, many years ago when he had been young, came to his mind, unbidden.

That we should know pain, my apprentice, is only so that we can learn from it and appreciate the myriad pleasures of life to an even greater extent. Come to me one day, when you have cheated death or suffered great pain, and tell me how good it feels to take a breath, to start the day anew.

Tell me.

Nekura Manji

23-08-2007 06:34:13

His hands gliding unthinkingly over the controls, trained to the point where he could do his duties without thinking about them, Manji stared blankly out of the front viewscreen. Even as he had begun to recover from his own fury at Sanjuro's death, Ashia's face had brought it right back to him. The Epis' teeth drew back in a snarl as he grew more and more agitated, then he snapped and wheeled away from the console, grabbing a nearby member of the bridge crew and ordering him to the console. Shin'ichi and Macron looked up as the Epis strode away, calling back to them.

"I'm going to check on Ashia. And Sai, while I'm at it."

They nodded a sad acquiesence and turned back to their own consoles, Manji striding into the turbolift forcefully. As it shot down into the bowels of the Covenant, the Epis stared straight ahead, wondering where to go first. It would perhaps be more beneficial to check on Sai first- Shin'ichi had mentioned that his Apprentice was checking the bodies in the storage hold that had become a morgue to try and make sure that Sanjuro was not amongst them.

The doors glided open and Manji moved out, heading for the hold. As he walked in, Sai looked up with a touch of surprise that faded as he recognised the Epis' flowing kimono. Kneeling down beside the Knight as he dropped a shroud back over the face of a Sadowite corpse, Manji spoke quietly.


A glint in his tripartite eyes, Sai shook his head.

"Nope. Could be good news, but I haven't checked every single body yet."

Gesturing to a row of blanket-covered bodies on the right side of the hold, Sai lowered his head. A friendly pat on the shoulder was Manji's response as he straightened up and moved towards the bodies.

"Come on, I'll help. I want to go up and make sure Ashia's alright with the news that at least her son isn't in here."

Lifting a shroud, Manji lowered his head, feeling slightly guilty- he should not feel relief upon looking at a dead face, not even relief that the face did not belong to Sanjuro. Bowing his head, the Epis raised one hand in a prayer from his homeworld, muttering under his breath.

"Namu Amida Butsu, brave warrior."

Lowering the shroud, he sighed heavily and moved on to the next corpse.

Shan Long

23-08-2007 13:29:51

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Private Quarters
Enroute to Orian System
Domain of Clan Naga Sadow

Wisdom is recognizance of what questions lead to... more questions. Often, the scope of an answer is only as important as the number of inquires possible from all outcomes. Intertwining possibilities, overreaching consequences, eluding knots... these are the questions the Wanderer posed to those who follow him. The Mark of the Wanderer allows for the perception of interconnections, that even more connections might be realized.

For all his years, Trevarus had studied the intricate tracing his Third Sight revealed, he hadn't learned anything new. Slowly, he came to realize that there was nothing original, that everything had been done before. Every passing season was the revelation of life, death, murder, hope, or another atrocity between the warring souls that draw breath.

Lady Morrigan was waiting for him... somewhere. He had understood this. Why she had decided to appear before Xanos, he hadn't the slightnest clue. She was an enigma, someone he had met--or rather, been allowed to meet, several decades before. Xanos would have many questions... and like Trevarus... he would have to learn to ask more questions, to truly understand.


"I will be constructing a new home on Sepros, Xanos... perhaps you would join me for the surveying expeditions?" Trevarus finally said.

"Another phallic edifice?" Vexatus finally answered.

"No... something tells me that I have lost the Tower... it cannot be replaced."

"Why not?"

"Because it must stand until I understand a decision..."

"Riddles again...?"

"Always, my Apprentice." Trevarus said, laughing. "I'll send a courier when I've made the arrangements."

"Fine. I may or may not be around." Vexatus had not turned from the viewport, or his contemplation of Hyperspace. He remained silent, and still did not turn to watch his former Master leaving his chambers. Isolation is a consolation greatly prized by the cold Falleen.

Trevarus walked briskly across the decks of the Covenant. He would finish this journey aboard the Sanguinus. Eosara would be waiting for word on Gallinore... perhaps he would venture to the Constortium himself. He clutched the scroll Morrigan had delivered to him, musing.

The aftermath of battle left a tinge of cupric blood lingering about recycled air. Shan Long whispered something, unintelligable... Trevarus strained his hearing to perceive the words

Seasons yearnings cravings
Dust, grass, salted sweat
Mother washing our feet
After contests between children
Youth is indifference
We see... we see a mirror
Standing before an ancient face
Yet which is reflected
What do we see?

The Thunder Dragon was dreaming. Endless riddles plagued the Krath Master... and he never grew tired of seeking their conclusions. Contests between children? Even he smiled at the allusion. Trevarus held dim memories of his Corellian childhood, he barely remembered his father and mother. At the end of the day... this was the time for washing. The game was done, stories would be told... and sleep would pass the endless nights.

Whooshing air accompanied him from the airlock, blowing his cloak open as he stepped into the white corridors of his Flagship. He needed a shower, and perhaps a cold glass of beer.

Yes, that would round out the affair nicely, granting him time to consider consequences.

Lady Morrigan was sitting at the small table in his cabin, reading a scattered sheaf of his notes with interest. She smiled at him as he stepped into the room.

"You have failed to teach your Apprentice the finesse of visions, Trev." She said, placing the parchments face down, in a liquid smooth gesture of elegance. Trevarus watched her black laquered nails slide across the honey-cream leaf, darker than her skin.

"Xanos is finding his own way through the looking glass, my Lady." Trevarus said, bowing low. "You surprised us with your presence."

"I spoke to Jedgar about your recent appearances before the Star Chamber... You unknowingly had a hand in revealing the duplicity of Justinian... I wished to hear your insights about the tale..." The Lady Morrigan smiled, her supple lips curling over sharp white teeth. "This truly was an epic conflict, Trev. Manipulations within deceit, lies and courage within cowardice and betrayal. After a moment, one was required to keep a score-card to track the points. You are children on the tente-square."

"I did what was necessary, my Lady." Trevarus reached into a small cooler, and withdrew a bottle of ale, frosting cold in the cool cabin. "My accommodations are lacking, my Lady... but perhaps I could offer you a glass of Ishirian Pale?"

"That would be lovely, Trevarus." She replied. Trevarus popped the stopper with a small tool, and poured her beer into a glass. It seemed somehow boorish, to offer such a woman something as simple as beer. She took the glass, sipping it delicately.

"You always have excellent taste, Trev."

"Thank you, my Lady."

She set the glass down on the table. "You never told me explicitly why you tipped your hand, in forcing Clan Naga Sadow's warships back to Antei. Surely it wasn't for something as trifling as a few books or bottles of brandy?"

"No... although the security of my staff and belongings was extremely important... I felt a certain duty to my Clansmen."

"Oh?" She asked, taking another draught of beer.

"Complacency has plagued the Brotherhood, even before the Exodus... but moreso afterwards. The lessons of the Nameless Ones never taught them anything... they ignored the outwards signs of their hubris. I manipulated the Clan, in my own fashion, to see if it was strong enough to survive."

"And what is your conclusion?"

"I am proud of my Clan, and I will sing the praises of my Brothers. They fought nobly. I had long suspected that my Clan had fallen the way of the Star Chamber... into a circle of effete wretches... but I was surprised at their tenacity." Trevarus had said the words with such animated passion, that Lady Morrigan's eyes had begun to shimmer.

She traced a strand of black hair out of her eyes with a deft motion. "I imagine you will construct a new monument to your imaginations of glory and grandiosity?"

Trevarus laughed... the Lady knew him probably even better than he knew himself. "Yes... the Star Chamber has forgotten the one it named their Oracle... I will construct my residence on Sepros, to be closer to my Brothers... that I might show them to see, as I see."

"Kalekka Tower still stands, Trevarus... I suspect you will even walk through its halls again, someday... possibly even soon. Yet, when you return, you shall see it for what it truly is: a monument to your arrogance. I know the end of what you see, Son of Alaerus... you must learn to abandon attachments, if you are to become the end."

The Lady rose, her glass standing empty. "Perhaps I will visit your new Temple to yourself when it completed... for now... walk in triumph, Trev."

Morrigan kissed him lightly on the cheek, then departed... her radiance seemed to leave the room dark, cold. Trevarus spent the longest of hours considering what she had told him.

After a fashion, a small communicator appeared in his hand with a crack. He dialed...

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Approaching the Orian System
Domain of Clan Naga Sadow

Macron Goura frowned as he retrieved his chirping communicator. He had programmed it to make a sound like a bird's song when Trevarus called him. He giggled briefly and his own good humor, and answered the call.

"Master Trevarus, what can I do for you?"

"Mononoke... please send Syrus Korodin and Nero Pennant to me, down on the Sanguinus. I'll be taking my Apprentices with me to Gallinore... I might not return them to you for several months."

"Fine... but it any of them come back with an extra mouth, six ears, or damnable amulets... I'll make you scrub out the toilets in the bar... for a month"

"Whatever... Until I return... you shall begin your first steps along the Wanderer's Path. In a quiet time, still your mind, open your Eye to what is beyond. You shall begin to see the interconnections of all that surrounds you. I shall test your Sight, when I return."

"As you command, Prima."

Macron blinked rapidly as the comlink slid back into his pocket. The Consul of Clan Naga Sadow stood tall, strong. He gazed across the deck of his Flagship, his eyes following the flow of men an material. He began to sense a presence... almost a voice... calling to him out of the darkness. Trevarus often spoke of such voices... Macron was already insane. He welcomed the intrusion for the chance to play yet another prank on an unsuspecting universe.


23-08-2007 17:58:30

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Enroute to the Orian System

The Falleen stood staring into the vast blue sea outside the viewport.

Four years had passed since Xanos had first awoken to images of fire and death. For four years he tried to prevent it, to find another way. His heart had stung when the dreams had first become reality. When Antei had burned two years ago the failure had pierced him to the core. His elevation to Sith Lord had been hollow recompense considering.

The loss of Falleen had struck the final blow. Xanos had ceased to be. In his place had arisen Vexatus, the dragon coiled around his heart. He had lost everything, including his very sense of self. Vexatus became the emptiness, the drumming in the darkness. Though the birth of Vexatus brought with it a modicum of peace, there was still one final trace of Xanos left inside. It was that which led him to Antei three weeks earlier to seek a final audience with the Star Chamber. Antei was still the adoptive home, the final attachment he could not willingly cast aside.

The coming of the Yuuzhan Vong brought with it the end. The fall of Antei, much as it would have pained Xanos, was the last sacrifice needed to bring Vexatus into true being, the war snuffing out the last remaining candle of his soul. During the past six days the last shackles of humanity had disappeared as he became one with the irrevocable finality of the darkness within.

Vexatus had claimed victory from the jaws of Xanos's defeat. The man was gone, only the ideal remained. He would seek to make the universe whole again. Not for the brotherhood, nor the clan, nor even Xanos himself, but for the ideal of one. He was that ideal, that one. From out of chaos there will be order. That was the message of the Final Way. From the chaos of war Vexatus had been born. He knew now his mission was to search for that last shatterpoint, that place from which he could finally undo what was and make order out of chaos.

Vexatus turned and headed for his sleeping quarters knowing for the first time in four years he could rest.


23-08-2007 21:41:27

Sai left the last morgue onboard the Covenant, rubbing his eyes exhaustedly. Manji followed close behind and as his kimono cleared the threshold, the hatch slid shut with the vacuum pressurized sound of mechanized finality.

“I am…grateful for your help, cousin.” Sai uttered the words resignedly, clearly distraught. He had spent the better part of the day searching the morgue spaces, four in total, and looked into every sightless eye of all the accounted Sadow dead as he searched for his missing blood-relative.

Manji wanted to say something, anything, to assuage the Knight, but no words would come. This was a burden Sai would bear for a long time coming, and one he would have to choose to shoulder no more in his own reckoning. As a side effect of his grisly vigil, he would carry the stench of death with him long after any sense of normalcy had returned to the Clan.

“I’ll go and check on Ashia now,” the Dokugan-ryu uttered. “She’ll be relieved to know our search was fruitless.”

“Was it, Manji?” Sai asked. “We only know that Sanjuro is not here,” he finished, the unspoken implication that his corpse could be floating around in the airless detritus surrounding Antei, or worse, trapped upon an organic abomination of a Vong analog, his mind ripe for the Breaking.

“Still, cousin, it’s something. We know more than we did yesterday,” Manji said. He continued.

“I sense you will not rest until you are satisfied. You truly are of the Family. Perhaps I shall join you on this quest for answers, when we are afforded the opportunity.”

“I…would be grateful, cousin.” Sai allowed a small measure of hope to enter his heart.

As he turned to leave, Manji uttered more. “On a slightly related note, earlier, when we were in battle, I noticed…flaws in your technique. I have decided that, one day soon, I shall call for you. The path I shall put you on will be arduous; the training, brutal. Should you survive, you needn’t worry about flawed ‘saberwork anymore.” He flashed a wicked grin and left the stunned Knight to call on his sister-in-law.

Sai regained his composure quickly; training with Manji, though intimidating, would be a bridge he’d have to cross when he came to it. In the meantime, he still had one more task to complete.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Private Quarters, Rollmaster

Sai sat at a terminal, its baleful glow the only illumination in the office. The Knight composed his thoughts, thinking of the future. Though the Clan had suffered and nearly been driven to extinction, they had survived. That meant that they would need to try to regain their capital gains, that through the Dlarit Corporation. As long as the Overlord survived, so would Clan Naga Sadow’s need for a public face. It would not do to appear ungrateful and callous to those who’d the dead had left behind. Besides, he thought without a trace of irony, the public would need to send them more of their sons, for the greater glory. Always, for the greater glory.

He laid his hands upon the keyboard, shut his eyes and began to type:

Dearest Friends of the Dlarit Corporation:

More than you know, you have contributed to the glory and greatness of our Concern by sending us your most precious commodity, your son, to serve. Your son has always worked with the best of intentions for the Dlarit Corporation, and his efforts have done nothing but taken our vast interests to the loftiest of heights.

In the face of a vulgar and most offensive invasion, he has, sadly, fallen, to serve us, and return to you, no more. He was nothing but an inspiration to those that served with him, and we truly regret his loss, and grieve for you and yours.

You shall be recompensed, materially, for his outstanding service. The thoughts of the Dlarit Corporation are with you.


Sai Na’Ashar Keibatsu
VP of Administration

Sai sat back, satisfied. Though impersonal, the secrecy of the Clan had demanded a bit of detachment through its acknowledgement of any of the events of the past week. The Rollmaster had done his duty to those families who’s dead had lain in the morgues, their faces etched into his mind’s eye as vibrantly as the sadness that would no doubt be taking hold in the letter’s recipient’s hearts. Still, the job had to be done; questions would flood the corporate offices, but this was a small step towards answering them.

He looked at his ring, the Signet of The Winds, the one he had commissioned upon taking command of his Phyle. Perhaps for the last time, he removed it from his finger, and laid it reverently upon his desk.

As if prompted, Shin’ichi entered the Rollmaster’s office at that precise moment.

Shinichi Endymiron K

23-08-2007 22:08:19

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Private Quarters, Quaestor of House Ludo Kressh

Before Manji even approached the door Ashia could sense the trepidation rolling off of him like mist after the rains on a hot summer day. Her brother-in-law’s own negativity added to her own grief and despair and when he hit the chime to request entry she refused to answer. For several minutes he tried fruitlessly to gain entrance and speak with her, but she would have none of it. Her husband had gone missing early in the invasion. No sense of him could be detected and yet there was no clear sense that he was dead either. For all she knew, Muz was dead adrift in the shroud or a prisoner of the Yuuzhan Vong undergoing gods knows what sort of torture at their maniacal hands. Now her son was missing and presumed dead by the clan.

The last report had him fighting in the defense of the Covenant, but since the last wave had been beaten off there had been no word. Ashia’s grief over the loss of her husband was compounded now by the loss of her son and she did not want to hear anyone’s patronizing words of hope. The chime sounded again and again she ignored it until, defeated, Manji walked off.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Personal Quarters, Rollmaster

Shin’ichi clutched at his head as if it had been struck by a hammer. Dropping to one knee his throat gurgled in an attempt to restrain a cry of agonizing pain. The eyes of the Rollmaster widened in shock as he flung himself from the desk where he sat to land at his master’s side. Shin’ichi looked at the Dark Jedi Knight, his eyes burning yellow and red with the hatred in the way of the Dark Jedi. His breath sounded metallic as it came from the vocabulator set in his veil and every muscle was tense as if ready for battle. Sai was afraid that Shin’ichi had given over his mind to Abomination and would destroy them both in his rage, yet he stayed by his master’s side and attempted to assuage his agony. Slowly the pain faded, and the Pontifex’s eyes returned to their normal shade of deep blue. Slowly he spoke in the now routine artificial tone.

“Ashia…in pain…Muz lost…now Sanjuro gone forever” he looked into the eyes of his apprentice. “What do you know Na’Ashar?”

Lowering his head Sai spoke barely a whisper “He is not aboard the Covenant either among the living or in her morgues.”

“Then he is truly lost.”

Sai only nodded his own rage and grief threatening to take hold of the man who prided himself on his ability to maintain cold detachment. The far outsiders had claimed much from his clan, but it seemed that by nature of their talents and abilities that their enemies had sought them out among the thousands of assembled Dark Jedi in the whole of the Dark Brotherhood.

“I must go to my ‘twin’ now apprentice lest we lose her as well.” The Pontifex stood and clasped a hand upon the shoulder of his cousin. “I fear that even if these alien scum are driven from Antei, our part in their machinations will not be over for some time.”

Sai looked hard at his friend and mentor. It was as if the man plucked the very thoughts from his mind. Considering their bond as Master and Apprentice, he probably had. Removing his hand turning to leave Shin’ichi cast one last look at his cousin. “For what it’s worth now I was coming to speak with you about your leadership of the Phyle.” The pause was almost maddening for the Dark Knight. “Exemplary.”

Shin’ichi walked out of the room, his gait that of a man near defeat, his armor was rattling against itself, his boots ringing hard on the cold steel floor, and the cloak at his back rustling quietly as he moved away.


24-08-2007 00:16:07


The Pontifex’s pronouncement filled the office with a damning silence, palpable and overpowering. Though it was rare praise from the man Sai called Master, it spoke of, in the Knight’s mind, of worth that he failed to see. He was, after all, his own worst critic.

Events over the past week had conspired to steal his focus; still, a small corner of his mind had roiled with the turbulence of self-assessment. He had long been the proponent of the ideal that the Phyle was the integral part of an efficient battle force. A small team was more than manageable; well-managed teams strengthened a House, solid Houses bolstered a Clan, and so on up the chain. Yet, at the end of the day, his Serpents were scattered, only communicating sparsely, and if they were a reflection of him, barely surviving. Sai prided himself on training his Phyle to be pro-active. That, of course, was before the Vong invasion.

Now, it seemed as if he was reacting; stumbling, reeling, and unsure of himself. Worse, one of his own blood, one that the Shadow Hand himself had entrusted to him to watch over, was missing, or worse. During the recent Rite, the same man who’d just said he was ‘exemplary’ had assured him that if anything were to happen to Sanjuro, then it would be he, not Sai, that would bear the brunt of Muz and Ashia’s wrath. A noble sentiment, to be sure, but it wasn’t Shin’ichi’s charge. Sai was Tetrarch, not Shin. It was his sin to atone for, not his Master’s.

Still, what was done, was done, and Done. The only thing to do was to rectify the situation. Sai would find his cousin. But, before that, there were other things to consider.

He looked on his ring that lay on the desk. He had it crafted in a moment of hubris, out of pride and arrogance. Now, after all that had transpired, he had to ask himself, was he truly deserving of it, and the leadership that he meant it to represent? Sai would wrestle with that question for the remainder of the trip, wherever that was.

The Keibatsu stood alone in his office, a silent sentry in the dark. He grasped his ring with two fingers and absently spun it on his desk, as a coin. Before it could rattle to a stop, he bade the Dark Side to continue its revolution, perpetual and contained, a small gold sphere that whirled in the blackness like the questions that tumbled in the Knight’s mind.

Ashia Kagan

25-08-2007 00:48:39

Ashia felt Manji give up and move off. She let out a deep sigh and stared out the window as the stars zipped by. Reaching out with the Force she tried to sense Muz, pick up…anything, she could. The void of space yielded nothing though.

She looked at her comlink then. Surely Kaine would know…something. She sighed again, hyperspace travel would bar communications. It was a lost cause, for now.

And Sanjuro was still missing.

Sai had searched the entire ship. Though the family was thankful he was not found among the dead, it afforded little comfort.

At that moment she broke. Tears blurred her vision and carved wet paths as they slide down her cheeks and off her chin. The Nightsister, who never faltered, never gave in, always fought, let down her guard and let out her emotions.

The tears came steadily and she did nothing to stop them. Her grief took her over, sending through her a continuous torrent of despair and anguish.

Not knowing was worse.

Her pain turned to anger as she screamed out. The Vong had taken much from her. Her Clan was in turmoil, many of them were dead…or missing. Her family...

The animosity built in her like a heat, rising to the surface, threatening to explode at any moment.

And explode it did. Ashia let ever ounce of despair and anger and frustration out and punched the wall. Her fist hit, the Force accelerating it and a large indentation warped the dursteel where her knuckles had connected.

The door chimed again, this time it was Shin’ichi. She had known it was him long before he approached the door.

“Enter.” Was all she said as she stood there with her fist still against the indent she had planted.

Shin’ichi stood and stared at her quietly.

Shinichi Endymiron K

25-08-2007 10:18:17

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Private Quarters, Quaestor of House Ludo Kressh

Entering the room Shin’ichi looked at his sister-in-law and then at the indentation in the bulkhead and nodded. He made his way to the desk that she stood near and seated himself in the comfortable nerf hide chair reserved for its owner, the Quaestor. He looked up his blue eyes meeting hers. Her pain had hit him like a saber to the chest and no words needed to be spoken for the Pontifex to know exactly what Ashia was thinking and feeling. The force bond between them made it difficult under controlled circumstances for them to hide their feelings from one another; in a time like this it was impossible.

They remained motionless like that for a time. Ashia standing, her rage and grief rolling off her in such a torrent that Shin’ichi was amazed that no one could sense it, and he seated in the posh comfort of the chair his mind cold as tempered steel and his eyes locked with hers. Outside the swirled and warped pattern of hyperspace flowed continuously past the Covenant and still they remained without movement. It was said that between them an entire conversation could be spoken with a simple nod or gesture, here in complete silence and without motion the Keibatsu twins spoke volumes.

Ashia’s fury and anguish was mirrored in Shin’ichi. Where she had lost a husband and a son he had lost his brother, his master, and the legacy of his family. Emotion turned into resolve. Whatever course the war took, wherever it would take them they would not be stopped and darkness help those that stood in their way.

There in the stillness Ashia broke the silence.

“We shall…”

And Shin’ichi didn’t miss a beat in finishing the sentence.

“…find them.”


25-08-2007 11:28:18

Silence ruled over the now forgotten confines of corridors and battlements, the atmosphere and gravitation redirected to the vital areas of the ship. Debris, small pieces of equipment and even body parts floated idly. Among them, a larger body drifted lazily in a spin roll. as he passed, the surroundings reflected along the blast shield of his helm as if nothing could get his attention.

Scithe liked it, the calm emptiness, the solitude. It helped him put his mind in place, giving him a different perspective to his problems, past and present. Now he just missed the vastness of space, more accostumed to do his little escapades at the void around the Obsidian. But there he stood, trying to think nothing, and still thoughts jumped from shadowy corners and floated in his mind as much as the debris around.

Lots of lives lost in violence and fear. It seemed as always that despite the path he followed, this was always the final result. For those who died, he cared nothing. Afterall, this is a battleship and they were soldiers. This is what was supposed to happen in any conflict. He could not help but feel a little sad about the families that would receive just another pompous letter of how proud and brave they sons and husbands were. There was no pride when the enemy sees the fear in one's eyes while they gut you dead. As for the ones he called fellow clansmen, it is always about them. Death comes seeking for them as if in retribution for his choice to tread the dark ways, like a raging storm that consumes everything they touch. For the most part, the galaxy was better without them.

But this time one thing changed. Those Vong came and applied in the Brotherhood such a blow like none it was suffered before. Many of its own now lie dead or running like cowards. The rest of them, still blinded by his foolishness and overconfidence, at each other's throats while the Far Outsiders close around them in a deadly grip. If it was for the Brotherhood, and each one of the clans, to survive, they would have to learn from this.

Someone asked once why he spent so much time with "lower" people. Scithe couldn't answer for sure then, but now he saw it clearly. Their capacity for survival as a team is impressive, even among powerful enemies both inside and outside. They had what was needed to adapt and come out with their lives, even if some of them had to die in the process. It was clear as crystal, the dark jedi would come and go, the Vong would strike and be driven away, but they will remain.

All that was left now was a simple question: would he still live among the powerful or embrace a simpler life? That answer will have to wait at least the end of this journey.


25-08-2007 15:51:10

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Star System MPFD460742, near Sith Space

Space opened as the Victory I-class Star Destroyer Covenant burst out of hyperspace, decelerating rapidly as it approached the empty star system. They had stopped off at a lone system located on the outskirts of Sith Space, midway along the stretch between the Antei and Orian systems.

The journey had so far taken the better part of a day. The Covenant's hyperdrive had been badly damaged during its first failed jump several days earlier, victim to one of the Yuuzhan Vong's interdiction mines. Travel to Antei had taken days, rather than hours, and the journey home to Orian was looking to take much the same. It would normally have taken an hour or two at most between the two systems for both were located on the edge of the old Sith Empire. With only the backup hyperdrive operational, they were all looking at closer to two, maybe three days at best.

The Covenant drifted sluggishly through system MPFD460742. If one could have looked upon it from a distance, it would have seemed like a mirror image of the crew inside. Injured, damaged, broken. The Covenant was wounded, as was its crew, all had suffered painfully at the hands of the alien invaders.

Davin Olar, Vladek Solander, Sanjuro Keibatsu, Nesh'iva'ka...

Many had lost their lives or disappeared while fighting. Many of those who had died had done so at the hand of the people they once called friends, comrades, brothers-in-arms. This war had brought out the worst in people. Lies within deceit, deceit within lies. With the spectre of death lurking above, all that had mattered was preservation.

The Sons of Sadow had been torn in two, as had their corporation. The Star Chamber, Dark Lord, Shadow Hand, all had been rend asunder. Loyalties had been cast aside in place of survival. Many had perverted the situation, manipulated it to their own gain, at the cost of lives, hundreds, thousands of lives. The crew of the Nebulon-B escort frigate Foresight, the Strike-class medium cruiser Wandering Soul and the Vibre-class assault cruisers Astronicus' Reach and Crimson Angel. Even much of the Covenant itself. Thousands of lives ended, their blood spilt in the name of Yun-Yuuzhan and the True Way.

It had all been for nothing...

For sixteen long years the brotherhood had grown, matured, nurtured. Eight years ago it had risen up, cast aside the shackles of servitude, declared its independence. All to be undone, destroyed by those who did not even exist within the Force. The Sith had been rebuilt, only to be destroyed once again.


The Viceroy stood as he watched the survivors loading bodies into makeshift coffins. It was far from a pleasant sight. Many had seen much better days, their remains a horror to look upon. The Yuuzhan Vong were worse than butchers, they had taken pride in the suffering of those they had captured alive, mutilating them, torturing them. It was a challenge with some for the Viceroy even to look, but he insisted.

Astronicus would have liked to give the men a proper burial. Too many were being forced to sleep forever in battered caskets and broken containers. Unfortunately it would have to make do. The morgue had been filled in the first few hours of fighting, and the medlab had to remain clear to allow the wounded to recover in peace. It was distressing, but the dead had to be dealt with.

Still, it brought the Viceroy a measure of pride. Throughout the hangar Dark Jedi stood side-by-side with personnel from the Dlarit Corporation, honouring the fallen all the same, many of them their own. In one corner he saw Ashia. She was no longer in tears, having seemingly come to a painful acceptance of what had happened. Beside her he saw much of her family, many of them comforting her, though they too all looked equally solemn.

The Keibatsus had suffered more than most, Sanjuro lost, presumed dead and Muz still missing. They had heard nothing from Antei since they had first jumped into hyperspace, fleeing the chaos as fast as their damaged engines could push them. The Adjutant-General, Shin'ichi, had requested leave as soon as they got back to Orian. He and Ashia wanted to go searching for their lost family. Though he would need the Adjutant's services when they returned, Astronicus had been unable to find it in him to refuse them. He knew the importance of family himself all to well.

“It looks grim,” said the Governor-General as he approached. The man was uncharacteristically sober for a change, without a flicker of madness in his eyes.

The two had taken up weapons against each other the day before. Like most of the war, it had all been a painful misunderstanding. Lies within lies. It was the message which sounded wherever the Viceroy looked. He had forgiven Macron for his indiscretion. He had lost too many Sons to this war already.

“We will rebuild,” said Astronicus finally. He truly meant it. The Sons of Sadow had seen defeat on more than one occasion. Even if it took them another five thousand years, they would rebuild. It just saddened him that it had all come to this.

It should have been avoided. He had known from Lord Khyron what fate would befall Antei, but he had allowed Lord Vexatus and Master Caerick to manipulate him. Had he followed his first instincts, sounded the retreat from the very start and left Antei to its fate, none of this would have happened. Instead many of his clansmen lay dead along with more than half of his military. The Viceroy still wished for the heads of the two who had caused all this. It infuriated him that he could do nothing, lest more lives be lost.

It upset Astronicus how many those two had corrupted with their lies. Though they had put aside their differences, Macron now bore the mark of his loyalties on his forehead. He wondered how many more he could afford to lose. The Miraluka, Nero Pennant, was supposedly leaving with Trevarus once they arrived back at the Orian system. The Viceroy prayed the gifted Acolyte was not another he would lose from this war.

Things were starting to take shape in the makeshift mausoleum. Coffins of various shapes and sizes littered the hangar, whatever sheets or blankets people had found draped across them in solemn respect. It would be a long service, Astronicus was sure, but it was the least they could do for those who had given their lives so that those who remained could escape. They were Dark Jedi but they were still people too. His minded wandered to the tomb of his ancestor, Naga Sadow, within the Valley of the Dark Lords on Korriban. He would have liked to have given them all something similar. He had resolved himself to erect a monument in their memory once they arrived back.

The newly promoted Rear Admiral Araic Simonetti had finished with lifting one of the coffins when he wandered over to the Governor and his Viceroy. He saluted. “Sirs.” After Astronicus had gestured the man to relax, the Admiral hunched over looking truly exhausted. “This was a nice touch, sir.” He smiled, truly meaning what he said. Despite how much the last few days had taught Simonetti to hate most of the Dark Jedi, he had grown to like the Viceroy.

“Thank you, Admiral. I only hope they think so too,” said Astronicus, waving a hand around the room at the rest of the crew, still busy at work as they prepared for the impromptu funeral.

Simonetti grinned. “Permission to speak freely, sir?”

“Go ahead.”

“You really don't know how much you mean to them,” said the Admiral, his voice trembling a bit as he betrayed his own appreciation. “If it weren't for you, most of us would probably be dead.”

Astronicus didn't reply but he knew what Simonetti meant. Tensions between Dark Jedi and the crew had nearly cost them their lives. He had fought to stave off mutiny on more than one occasion. It had no doubt been the first time many of the crew had seen a lightsaber, it had been no surprise their reaction to learning the true nature of their masters had been negative.

He could not bring himself to tell Simonetti what was going to happen later. It was one of the things about being Sith he knew the Admiral would not understand. Their secret was all they had. If it became public, Orian would suffer a fate much like Antei, whether at the hand of the Yuuzhan Vong, the Republic, the Jedi or whomever else. The clan had enough enemies without inviting more. Much as it pained him, Astronicus knew they would have to wipe the memories of the crew. He had convinced himself it would be for the best. The horror of the last few days would not be missed.

CR90 Corvette Sanguinus
External Docking Arm

Darth Vexatus was examining one of the paintings on the wall. He could not make out what it was other than some abstract modern work. It was some kind of swirl of red and blue, interwoven into a careful mosaic centrepiece. The Falleen assumed there was some logic to it but it escaped him. He didn't much care for art. The sheer knowledge this particular work would surely have cost several thousand credits bewildered him. “Are you going to be attending the funeral, Master?”

Kem-Shu Maeda answered first. “Funeral? Trev?” The man grunted a laugh. “He causes funerals. He doesn't attend them.”

Trevarus Caerick ignored the other man. “I will be.” He shot Maeda a sarcastic grin. “I believe it is important to keep up appearances.” The Master turned back to his other apprentices, the two of whom were currently sparing. Nero Pennant possessed a great deal of untapped potential. The other, Shaung-Long, burned with a similar kind of fire to Shan-Long, though the Frost Dragon was far more methodical compared to the blind rage of the Lightning Dragon. Nero fought with the lightsaber Trevarus had provided him when they had first met. Despite his rank, the Acolyte had learned much in the past six days.

“I trust you are still leaving once we are back?”

Trevarus glanced at his old apprentice. The Falleen was now looking at a painting of two figures. One held a shield, the other a raised sword. There was a caption beneath it which read 'The Eternal Battle'. Trevarus smiled. “The Eternal Battle, circa twelve-hundred bee-bee-why. Artist unknown. It depicts the endless struggle between light and dark.” He paused for a moment to let Vexatus study the picture before answering his question. “As for when we get back, I plan to take my apprentices with me still, yes. I don't know how long I will be away. I need to find a place to relocate now Kalekka is lost, it is a waste to leave all my works hauled up in the Hapan Cluster under lock and key.”

Kor Chokk Grand Cruiser Torrent of Enmity
Supreme Overlord Strike Fleet

Subcommander Drathul Amnan knelt before the massive form of the Shimrra Jamaane, Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong. In his hand the Dread Lord held his Scepter of Power, the great snake floating at Drathul's side as Shimrra tapped it against either shoulder.

“Domain Amnan has done well,” said Shimrra, his voice almost painful in Drathul's ears. “Rise, Commander Drathul.”

The newly promoted Commander got to his feet, examining his newly grafted claw with much satisfaction. In the corner, the Master Shaper who had performed the ritual still lurked, her own eyes catching Drathul's as he glanced around the room briefly before returning his attention to the Supreme Overlord.

Though Shimrra was pleased, his face looked tense. He spoke slowly, his words overpowering Drathul's mind. “What of the Shamed One, Eshin Shul?”

The Commander involuntarily flinched, though the Dread Lord did not see it. In the corner of the room Drathul could see Shimrra's jester, Onimi laughing at him. He shot the filthy Shamed One a scowl. Though he would never question his judgment, he did not understand why the Supreme Overlord kept the worthless creature around. “My lord,” began the Commander, considering his next words carefully, “I regret to report she escaped during the battle.”

There was a flash of displeasure behind Shimrra's eyes but the Supreme Overlord did not move. Onimi began laughing, this time catching the attention of even the shaper, though Shimrra himself did not look around. “You stand here because of the success of Domain Amnan,” said Shimrra. “Do not mistake this for the success of Drathul Amnan, Commander.”

Drathul slowly nodded, masking a gulp as he did so. “I understand, my lord. I shall make finding her my priority.”

Shimrra's torn lips curled into a smile, exposing a row of crooked and sharpened teeth. “See that it is so, Commander, see that it is so.”

Drathul inclined his head in respect as he backed out of the throne room.

Victory Star Destroyer Covenant
Dlarit Security Force Destroyer
Star System MPFD460742, near Sith Space

The crew of the Covenant were assembled in the hangar, along with the members of Clan Naga Sadow. There were a few faces not present, either those who were now gone forever and resting in the coffins laid throughout the deck, or those in the medbay and unfit to move.

There were a few faces who had not been seen for some days. Ylith Atema stood alongside Raistlin Majerus who was helping support him. The Battlemaster had been injured during the first attack, only the careful timing of some of the Dlarit Army troopers had saved him from being dragged back to one of the Yuuzhan Vong ships like some of the others to experience the Embrace of Pain. Ylith was still having trouble walking, his feet having been badly burned from blorash jelly. He was clutching at the frame of his new arm which had not yet been given its synthflesh casing.

There were many similar scenes throughout the hangar. Many of the ordinary crewmen had suffered the worst, several of them sporting all manner of cybernetic replacements. Even among the other Dark Jedi, a few had endured permanent injury, be it through combat or otherwise. Along one side, Arias Vorak was standing with the few surviving members of his squadron, sporting his new arm. Lord Vexatus, standing at the rear of the gathering alongside Masters Caerick and Maeda, looked distinctly unlike he had a week before. His face was withered, the result of delving too deep in the dark side to fight off the Yuuzhan Vong, though it was somewhat better than it had looked a few days earlier.

In the center of the hangar bay, the Viceroy, Astronicus Dlarit-Sadow, moved to the top of the central podium and ushered the assembled crowd to be silent. The corporation employees fell quiet almost instantly, though a few of the Dark Jedi continued talking for a few moments as they finished their own conversations first. After the hangar had fallen silent Astronicus waited a few moments before beginning.

“We are here to commemorate all those who have given their lives in the past six days so that we all may be here today. I have been Viceroy of the Dlarit Corporation for twenty years. Never before has our humble mining guild suffered such a tragic loss. I have many fond memories of serving with many of those whom we commend forever into the netherworld of the Force this day.

“Captain Nesh'iva'ka of the Saraii. Many of you worked with him since your first day with the corporation.” The line drew a hushed response from several of the Dark Jedi, not least the Governor-General who had personally disciplined the Captain for his cowardice. Nevertheless, Astronicus felt it important to pay tribute to the names the regular men would recognise. There would be time for more private requiems for those Dark Jedi who had lost loved ones once they returned to Orian. The Viceroy did not wish to dwell too long on the secret that even now ate away at the minds of his loyal troops. “Shivak, as he was known to most, was an exceptional and hard working officer who rose to the rank of Captain after years of hard work and dedication. It is testament to his service that he became the first Captain of this Star Destroyer.”

Astronicus allowed the crewmen gathered around the room time to dwell on their memories of the Captain, good or bad, for several minutes before he continued. He read through the names of several other officers, ranging from the other Captains no longer with them, to an Ensign who had died most painfully at the hands of one of the Yuuzhan Vong boarding parties. The Viceroy felt it best to show his sympathy for all, not just the officers who sat on the bridge.

“Lastly,” the Viceroy allowed his eyes to fall on several of the Dark Jedi, lingering for a few moments on the Keibatsu clan of Ashia, Nekura, Sai and Shin'ichi, “Lastly,” he repeated, “I want us all to pray for the safe return of those still missing in action. Davin Olar, Vladek Solander and Muz and Sanjuro Keibatsu.” Astronicus could see tears welling up in Ashia's eyes as he mentioned her partner and son's names. The Viceroy forced a comforting smile. “I am confident those not with us today are safe and well. I hope our prayers today help carry them on their way and allow us to be reunited again.”

The Viceroy ended his eulogy, allowing a deathly silence to fall on the hangar bar, broken only by the muffled whimpers of several of the crew and the occasional clansman. After allowing several minutes of silence, Astronicus nodded to Macron who pressed a button on the console beside him. Row upon row of caskets began moving through the assembled crowd, moving slowly toward the energy shield covering the main opening out into space. One by one the caskets were slowly lifted up by the mechanical docking arms and carried out into space, where they were then released, to drift toward the nearby star.

Not a single soul moved or spoke. In silence they all stood, watching as the caskets were released into space. Finally, after almost fifteen minutes, the final coffin was let go, drifting ever so gradually toward its final resting point in the star's heart.

“We commend the departed to the star,” said Astronicus, “so that life may return from whence it was forged. May they live forever in its rays of light and hope.”

The hangar now half empty, the crowds began to break up. Many wandered off in each others arms, supporting each other, tears still raining down their cheeks. It was not just the Dark Jedi who had lost loved ones. Many of the regular crew had lost brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, husbands and wives. The corporation had never been particular about who it enlisted. If they could hold a gun, it had taken them. It had been necessary considering the state of things after the Exodus. Only now was the price of such choices becoming known.

Only Astronicus, Macron and Vexatus remained once the last of the crew had left. The Keibatsus had withdrawn to the communications wing, desperate for any word on Sanjuro or Muz. Trevarus had left with Maeda, taking Shaung-Long and Nero with him back to the Sanguinus. It would probably be the last anyone saw of the quartet for several weeks, if not months. Most of the rest of the clan had returned to their normal business.

“Overlord,” said the Falleen, inclining his head in respect as he approached the others.

Astronicus looked at him. He had still not forgiven Vexatus for having caused all this. The Overlord's voice was bitter when he spoke, “What do you want, Xanos?”

“I wanted to ask what the plan is now that Antei has fallen.” The Falleen looked at them both coldly. “Now that the Star Chamber has been broken, is our loyalty still with them or are we to go it alone?”

“Is that all you care about?” spat Astronicus, days of bent up anger flooding out. “Control?”

Vexatus grinned at him wryly. “Is that not what we all care about, Heir of Sadow?” the Falleen's voice was laced with contempt and sarcasm.

Astronicus stared at him for what could have been minutes. “I care about the Sith Empire, about bringing order to the galaxy, about achieving what the Sith have long sought to achieve. I want a galaxy left for when that day comes, you and your Master seem content to rule over a wasteland,” he said finally.

“Sacrifices are necessary."

Astronicus caught Vexatus off guard as he blasted the Falleen with a shot of lightning, sending him toppling to his knees. “Not when they are my men!” shouted the Overlord.

Vexatus got up, brushing the dust off his robes. He stared at the other man, his skin shifting deathly black as his face contorted. “Pray,” whispered the Falleen finally, his voice unnervingly quiet, “that when that day comes, your beloved allies on the Star Chamber remember you.”

He turned, beginning to walk away. After he was halfway to the door, Vexatus glanced back. His face looked like thunder. “I fear, however, that you have been played as much as the rest of us. The Star Chamber cares about no one.” The contempt in the Falleen's voice was palpable as he left, stepping through the doors.

After a couple of minutes Macron turned to look at Astronicus. “What did he mean? Allies?”

The Overlord jerked his head and stared at him, rage welling up inside his head. How could they possibly have known? “I've no idea,” said Astronicus, “he must be listening to his mad Master.”

Macron studied the Overlord as he wandered off.

In his mind, Astronicus replayed Vexatus's final words. I fear that you have been played as much as the rest of us. He clenched and unclenched his fists repeatedly as he considered it. Could Khyron truly have used him the same as the Star Chamber used everyone? If the Sith King had been willing to decieve the rest of the Star Chamber to ruin the Dark Lord...

No. Astronicus shook his head, casting aside the thought. Vexatus was trying to manipulate him again, to sew seeds of distrust. It would not work, he was not disloyal. He had faith in his friends, in his clan, in his Sons, in the corporation. He allowed himself a smile at the thought as he stepped through into one of the turbolifts, determined to get some rest.

Communications Room


The quality of the message was terrible but as the words came through Ashia, Manji, Sai and Shin'ichi all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Tears spilt down Ashia's face as Manji let out a holler of success.

“He made it,” said Manji, patting Ashia on the shoulder.

She was still upset, there was still no word of Sanjuro, but news of Muz's safe return was as welcome as any. The past few days had seen little in the way of good news. They would take whatever they could.

“We'll find him,” said Shin'ichi, steadying Ashia as he took hold of her other shoulder, “we'll find him.”

They all stood, still huddled around the communications desk. They would remain there all night if they had to. Until news came or they could get aboard a ship of their own and go looking, they would not rest.

Throughout the room there was a stillness in the air as the rest of the crew looked at the Keibatsu quartet. Despite still harbouring ill feelings toward many of the Dark Jedi, most of them looked on in unspoken sympathy, realisation of the similarities they all had dawning on them as much as it had dawned on many of the Dark Jedi in the last few days.

They were all one. One clan. One corporation. They all fought for the same cause, the same goal. This war had shown them all why that was. They would grow stronger from it, learn from it. As Astronicus had said, in death there was still hope. The Yuuzhan Vong had taken Antei, but they had not destroyed the clan and they would never take the Orian system without a fight.

The galaxy may have been faltering, but the Sons of Sadow would fight on, the Sith Empire would be reborn. For they were the power, the one true Heirs of the Empire and they would survive.

The Covenant lurched as it made its last jump into hyperspace toward its final destination. Home.

The End