Clan Run On - Broken Saber
“Sergeant, when do you think you’ll be likely to get me the hell out of here?” one of the VIPs called out, Torren was his name as Kieran recalled, the pain in the ass as Kieran had dubbed him.
“Jay, if he talks again sedate him,” he called out without turning his head, their situation had caused Kieran’s temper to fray somewhat. Soulfire were on what was supposed to be a simple VIP extraction of a surveillance team on Reecee but their little outing had been gate crashed by a Yuuzhan Vong invasion fleet with a penchant for orbital bombardment. They had reached their duties just as the fleet jumped in system and it had only taken several minutes before pandemonium broke lose. At first he had thought the invasion and the chaos that would ensue would help cover their extraction, after all with the hordes of ships taking off and the security distracted with policing the chaos, rioting, looting not forgetting to mention the prospect of certain death at the hands of the alien invaders yet he had been wrong.
The opening salvos had crippled the defences and then the plasma cannons turned towards the cities, buildings melted and crumbled with each blast and soon the cities began to look less like cities, just jumbles of broken durracrete laying a fine blanket from which the spires of still standing buildings grew out from. The squad had taken cover to ride out the blows, waiting instead for the cannons to fall silent to prevent the waves of troops transports they would be sending down from being hit by their own weapons.
“We’re in deep osik,” Zandro spoke over the squads shared channel having accompanied the squad that was almost at full strength, Sashar being the only one remaining behind in Dajorra.
“Agreed,” Kieran replied, “my counts over hundred.”
“I’m somewhere near that area too,” his brother replied gravely.
“I’m calling it then,” the Mandalorian replied turning back to look over his squad, “Mal, channel to Dajorra Control.”
Kieran pulled himself up from where he had been lying prone covering a section of the ruined street and moved back to the rear of the squad, Juda smartly moved up and replaced him. The Mandalorian moved into the view of the holonet transceiver Malidir had placed and took a deep breath.
Right here it is kids a teaser for what is to come .. the latest exciting adventure from the Arconans. From what you have read you understand that Soulfire has been sent on mission and that they have been pinned down.
Broken Saber is the code word for when one of our teams is caught with little hope of survival and it calls in all available support which is you lot. I’ll be moving the plot along here and there but there’s one thing I need to make clear .. under no circumstances are you to mention anything about the Skywalkers and co being on the planet at the same time, for all intensive purposes they don’t exist, forget about them, if you should choose to ignore this it will result in instant disqualification. Now there’ll be another post after this and then I’ll open the thing and give you some direction…
Brickwork and debris rained across the street as Kieran and Juda simultaneously moved towards the shattered window for a better look. For nearly forty-five minutes Soulfire and the VIP’s she had rescued had took shelter in an abandoned coffeine shop. Sunlight beamed through the two shattered windows that made the heavy dust that trembled from the dank ceiling more apparent.
“It’s like nobody knows where this di’kutla corridor is!” Malidir spat as he entered the cramped room, portable holo-net in hand as he slumped his large pack against a crooked table before continuing his protocol-blurb into the transceiver.
Kieran’s gaze shifted from his Mandalorian brother to the chaos that gradually crept closer, his jet-black Soulfire armour now tainted with dust and ash. “I want Rho in that top floor.” The Sergeant’s voice was as collected as ever, his ability to keep his mind was one of many reasons that made him the best choice for Soulfire’s leader. “You know what to do.”
Juda nodded his reply and shifted his shoulder causing his Lancer to slide into his hands.
“Rho, we’re up!”
Rho immediately stood to attention and tossed the rag he was previously using to wipe the dust from his scope behind him as he stormed over to the door where Juda had moved to.
“We’re setting you up in that building.” Juda said, his gaze following the nod he received before slapping Rho on the shoulder. The Nagai sniper set off into a dash for the building as Juda stepped out into the warmth of the sunlight, the butt of his rifle pressed firmly against his shoulder as he covered the Nagai.
Kieran watched as Rho reached the entrance to his destination and immediately dropped to a knee, ready to provide covering fire as Juda raced across the street. Zandro stood over the collection of VIP’s, easing their anxiety with Force Manipulation, the Jaig Eyes painted on his helmet spoke louder than words of his ability, and demanded respect.
Xar’Kahn stood by a broken coffeine-maker, tinkering with the valves before giving up and falling to a crouch, abruptly another blast broke their concentration before settling down again.
Juda and Rho ran up the stairs into their chosen room, as soon as the pair entered the dust filled room Juda unclipped the tripod from Rho’s backpack and smashed out the bottom section of the window pane before passing it to the Nagai.
Rho was set up in a matter of seconds and was already looking down his trusty scope as Juda unclipped Rho’s EPP-2 and propped it beside him.
“If I spot anyone enter from downstairs, I’ll give you a heads up.” Juda allowed himself a grin as he turned to return to Soulfire, “Happy shooting!”
*********====Eye of the Abyss II====*********
“My lord.” Sashar knelt in the darkness before the Zabrak Consul, the chambers oozing of dark energies.
“Yes?” Mejas hissed from his seated position, his slender fingers grasping tightly to his throne.
“We have received word from Soulfire-”
“What of it?” Mejas snapped, cutting off his Shadow apprentice.
“They have successfully recovered the VIP’s you requested, but are currently pinned down in a corridor-sectioned street, soon to meet with heavy Vong forces.” Sashar said, still hunched over in respect.
Mejas shifted in his throne, gesturing for the Proconsul to continue.
“I am requesting their evacuation, my Lord”
“And what is your definition of heavy Vong forces?” Mejas retorted,
“Well over the hundred mark, if we do not act soon, your elite will be wiped out” Sashar watched as Mejas stood from his throne, “And that is a definite.”
Mejas paused as he raised an eyebrow before continuing to pace toward the panoramic view of the Dajorra system. “Very well, you will gather the two houses and inform Captain Sulaco to set course.”
“Contact, eastern approach ... roving patrol, looks like an reconnaissance squad,” Rho spoke abruptly over the channel and the force tensed around them.
“Too soon,” Kieran muttered to himself, “they going building to building?” he asked.
“Negative, just looking in, the count’s at eight,” he replied.
“We can take them,” Malidir piped up from his position behind the counter covering the doorway.
“Undoubtedly but they’ll be missed,” Zandro quipped in.
“Rho keep me in the loop, everyone else hide,” Kieran moved away from the window he had been peering out of and gently dropped a table onto it’s side for him to duck behind. The remainder of the squad move around purposefully, ducking into shadows here, flattening themselves beside vending machines Kieran did not need to direct them, they had been trained well enough but their charges however did need monitoring. The Mandalorian reached out in the meld for the ever stoic Malidir and found him calm and focused, watching over the four humans cowering at his feet. His attention then turned to the VIPs themselves finding them as expected, pools of fear and anxiety as though they were vessels of energy for the dark side itself; they would break or bolt at any second.
“In your sites in 30 ticks Sarge,” Rho announced.
“Copy,” the reply went out.
“They’re on you, looking at the other side of the street .. pausing .. pausing .. now they’re checking the Caf out .. wait for it .. one’s coming over .. shall I take?” Rho’s voice filling his entire world.
“Negative he might pass,” he replied holding his breath momentarily until his concentration was suddenly broken by a flicker of movement caught in the corner of his visor.
“Osik,” he cried watching the man Torren’s head rise above the counter, “drop ‘em, VIPs bolted,” but before he’d finished the second part of the sentence he heard the round crash into the floor of the shop announcing the kill.
“Hard contact,” Rho shouted announcing the game was on.
Simultaneously the squad rose, their rifles finding their familiar homes in their shoulders where the proceeded to let loose with a chorus of soft whuffs of air. Kieran’s trio of rounds had excavated a sizable hole in his target’s head and before the lifeless alien had hit the floor his cross hairs moved over to the Vong that Juda was proceeding to pepper with blasts. The squad made short work of the group of warriors, caught unaware they stood little chance against Arcona’s elite marksmen.
“Jay, Xar, clear the street,” Kieran snapped, his rage beginning to boil.
He turned towards the counter to see Malidir standing with his boot planted on Torren’s back. A nod from the Mandalorian’s head and the Prelate dragged the whimpering man to his knees. Kieran’ black gloved hand reached up to find the release catch on the back of his helmet, he popped the catch then moved his hand round to his chin to pull it off. As it came over the top of his head his eyes locked with the man kneeling before him, he brought helmet flying round in a loop to clip him under his jaw snapping his head back and sending a trickle of blood out to mingle with the patchy beard he wore.
“You could have got us all killed,” he snapped, keeping his voice steady whilst he picked the now visibly distressed human up by the neck and slammed him not too gently into the back wall, “here’s how it plays out, I’m getting my boys home and that’s that, if you lot make that well that’s just a bonus but otherwise you’re now completely expendable,” he finished tossing him to Malidir.
“If he opens his mouth again put your rifle in it and keep squeezing,” Kieran ordered moving to the front of the shop to supervise the work in the street.
‘Come on Sash’ika…’
Right here’s the plan .. you are to write your character in receiving a communiqué from Sashar ordering you all to report to your respective stations which you are to make your way to (i.e. BAC Darkest Night for Galeres and BAC Shadow for Qel Droma). Once enough people have staked themselves we can really get cracking but as for now this is officially open…
The situation brought no joy to Prophecy Phyle’s sergeant, but it did slightly amuse him that the famous Soulfire was actually in over their heads to the point of requiring assistance for once.
It didn’t really matter to him that Soulfire was good, actually very good, at what they did. He felt no jealousy or anger towards them at all. After all, they were all Arconans, and in the end, that was all that mattered. Maybe a month ago, he would have made some sort of wisecrack that would surely have gotten him in trouble with his bosses, but that was neither here nor now. Now, Debric Santhe d’Tana was, for better or worse, responsible. He had to be, because now not only his life depended on it, but the lives of his squad mates.
Debric had arrived on the Bothan Assault Cruiser Shadow only an hour ago. He had seen to it that his squad got settled with the rest of Alpha Company in their shared quarters. Santhe had the opportunity to have his own quarters, but had decided to instead stay with his squad. He wanted to keep an eye on them and get to know them as a good sergeant should. The best way to do so would be to live with them.
Debric now stood in the ship’s docking bay, where his squad’s LAAT was being worked on by technicians. Soulfire Strike Team called theirs The Drexl after a creature native to Onderon. Debric had not come up with a name for his squad’s transport, but he was sure a name would come to him soon.
Debric left the docking bay with his bag over his shoulder. He still had not unpacked.
After getting back to his squad’s quarters ten minutes later, he took off his bag and plopped it down on the lower bunk nearest to the door. He nodded to his squad members before starting the tedious process of unpacking.
Debric didn’t really own much clothing. He had a few jumpsuits, a uniform, and his armor. What really made the pack heavy to lug around, however, was the weaponry. Over the last decade or so, Debric had collected various pieces of lethal weaponry from across the galaxy. The Sith decided to leave the weaponry in his bag for now. He would wait until he received further orders and mission details before choosing what he would take into combat. Debric strapped the bag closed and put it under his bunk. He then stretched out on his bunk and watched his squad get themselves ready for their first mission under the command of Debric Santhe d’Tana.
Legorii was lying back on the bed in the cabin, running his fingers through his hair. He was tired, but he had a lot of work to do soon. He hoped it wouldnt be too hard, but he would perform any duty laid upon him by the Quaestor of House Galeres to the best of his ability. He cast aside the holodisc he had watched, and rubbed his eyes. He had recently been promoted, and hadnt seen his Master since. It was a turbulent time, and Legorii was still learning. He needed Strategos by his side to guide him, but today he wasnt here at the moment. So he went to Caedes for guidance instead, to grow strong with his Blue Mist brethren.
Blue Mist Troopers all had their cabins together, and the Sergeant had his own. Legorii could probably have managed to locate a room of his own, but preferred to stay with his comrades. He had been through thick and thin with them, and intended to fight many more battles by their sides. He rubbed his eyes once more and swung his legs off the bunk, standing up. He got his armor on, he had heard Sashar's request. He looked around at Illian, Dathka, Qu, and JS. "Friend and comrades, are you aware of our mission today?" Legorii hadnt been fully briefed on the details by Sergeant Caedes yet, but he had the general points.
Without waiting for an answer, Legorii strapped his katana to his back and grabbed his A280 blaster rifle. Saluting briefly to JS and the others, he walked out the door to go to Sarge's cabin. It was just across the hall, since Caedes spent most of his time with his loyal Troopers. The Corporal knocked loudly, then waited patiently outside the door. His emotions were still in turmoil, a lot had happened in the past few days. But Legorii needed to remain strong.
The bridge of the Abyss was muted, as per tradition all lights aboard the mighty destroyer were down when the Consul was aboard, but Sashar still felt the glow from the consoles and workstations reassuring. The crew’s distinctive matt-black uniforms mad them harder to spot in the murk, but at the same time, he could feel the pride emanating from the still-green crew that they could wear the flagship’s custom uniform and patch. He smiled slightly, but quickly masked the expression as the Captain noticed and approached.
“Master Erinos.” He greeted gravely.
“Captain. The Consul has ordered that the flag move immediately to-“ A claxon cut him off and the two command officers heads swung around to the communications salon.
“Report!” Sulaco barked, and the chief comm. Officer hastily read a screen before turning to his Captain.
“A communiqué from theRending Hand. They’re engaging YV forces and are pinned down. They request immediate assistance form any Arcona forces nearby.”
“Captain, inform the Consu-“
“I heard, Sashar.” Mejas’s voice was a harbinger to him sweeping down the corridor, his black cloak caught on the air ever so slightly. Immediately the nearby crewmembers, including Sulaco and Sashar dropped to their knees. Mejas waved them up and stood a bare meter from the pair, his hooded, horned head towering over theirs.
“Captain. Ready my flagship for immediate combat. I want the Creeping Darkness and the Last Light with us as well. Sashar, take the two Cruisers and extract Soulfire as best you can.” His orders were clear, his voice low and rumbling. Once more, despite vehemently hating Mejas, he had to respect his ability to take charge in a crisis and lead from the front. A chopped off bow relieved him of being in the Consul’s presence, and he was off, jogging down the maze of corridors towards the hangar.
The Bridge of the Shadow was a riot of activity, and Sashar stood tapping his fingers restlessly on the guardrail, his back to the melee of officers darting about from station to station in an effort to instantly mobilise the Bothan Cruiser inside the hour. His brothers, brothers he’d renounced his loyalty to just weeks before were all in mortal danger. He should have been with them, should have been there to fight by their side, die by their side, but instead he’d opted to prove to the Shadow Lord that his fealty was indeed with Arcona, not the Erinos. He hated himself for it, but looking back through history, it was hard to find a Sith Lord without some self-loathing to drive that insatiable lust for power.
He’d sent out the call to arms just fifteen minutes ago, and already both houses were on board and ready for deployment, the larties carting the force users from the surface up to orbit with all the haste a death threat evoked.
Soon both Cruisers would be ready, and they’d be able to get underway. It was only whether or not Soulfire could last that long.
In Space Above Arconae Primus
Anubis sat at his desk, reading over a datapad containing the equipment aboard the Bothan Attack Cruiser. It was well equipped for battle. The Rollmaster motioned for a bottle of beer, drinking it quickly as he read over the reports. The Vong had devasted the brotherhood worse then anything before, and Wrath was going to die before he let anything happen to his friends again. The Valheru got to his feet, walking over to his equipment, equipping his belt around his waist. Anubis made his way to the bridge to greet his master, Quejo Drakai Xyler, who had just recently returned to the Shadow.
In Space Above Arconae Primus
Wrath walked onto the bridge, the consoles beeping with activity. The men aboard the bridge were restless, and would soon mobilize the Bothan Attack Cruiser. Suplies continued to board the vessel, packing as much weaponry and ammunition as possible. The LAAT/i availible to the Prophecy Phyle was being restocked, in case it needed to head out.
Anubis walked towards Sashar, bowing when he stopped.
"Master Erinos." The Equite nodded to the Hunter.
"Anubis," he began, "how have you been?"
The two made conversation for the next few minutes, before the communications officer approached them. It seemed as if Quejo had just arrived, and was on his way towards the bridge. Wrath and the Proconsul organized the men, as respect for the Quaestor. By the time the Xyler family patriarch had stepped onto the bridge, all of the officers were in line, and saluting. Drakai brought them to ease, as he moved towards the command console, where the House Rollmaster and Clan Proconsul stood.
"Hello apprentice, Sashar."
"Dark Greetings master Drakai. We are making the final preperations to mobilize the Shadow, as we speak. In a few minutes we should be ready for departure."
"Good. Have Debric keep the squad ready in case of emergency." The command officer strolled over to the three, telling them all preparations were complete.
"How is the Darkest Night coming along?"
"They have completed all preperations, and are waiting on us." Quejo nodded slightly.
"Alert the Darkest Night it's time to move out."
"Yes, masters." Hopefully they weren't to late to save Soulfire from death.
When Dorn had been on Rodia trying to relax and finally enjoy his leave after he had been in a battle on a remote planet and ended up almost killing himself. Suprisingly though only coming out with a cut off left arm to the elbow and entire right arm and leg. He got a message from Sashar about Soulfire being pinned down by the Yuzzhan. He had to take a double take at how Sashar had signed the message, as Proconsul. He was out enough to miss a bunch.
Later finding out he was moved to Galeres he got in his ship and headed for the Galeres BAC Darkest Night. On his way, while in meditation he was wondering who he would be teamed with, considering he was in no Battleteam at that moment. He didn't even know where everyone from the last Battleteam he was in had been moved to.
He concentrated closely on making sure he was prepared. Sword - check, E-11 Blaster Rifle - check, grenades - check. He was set. He just hoped thy wouldn't need him to be a sniper considering his sniper rifle had been shattered.
He arrived at the ship to see new faces and familiar ones. He was directed to a room that he would be sharing but he was told the other one hadn't shown up yet. He got unpacked but didn't pick a place to sleep just yet. He sat in the middle of the floor and started to finish up his meditation.
He wasn't but ten minutes into meditation when the door opened and his roomate walked in.
The Retribution drifted sowly within docking range of the Shadow, Illian preffering to remain aboard his own luxurious ship until absolutely necessary. The mission details scrolled in front of his narrowed emerald eyes as his mind worked feverishly to devise strategies and locate problems his Arconan brothers might encounter in a rescue attempt.
"Arconan vessel Retribution, the Shadow is preparing to jump to hyper-space soon and you are required to dock or clear the area." An armour-plated hand cut the message off lazily as the mad hunter allowed the ship's interface needle to insert into the back of his neck. His vision changed, merging with tactical data fed directly into his mind from the Retribution and at a thought the sleek vessel began docking procedures. Illian disengaged the interface and got up, dusting the shoulder pad of his Blue Mist armour and sliding the mono-ocular helmet over his head. Slinging his Nightsinger rifle Silence over his shoulder and strapping his training sabre to his hip he opened the bay doors just as the large vessel set down in the hanger of the Shadow.
Activating his communicator he transmitted a message to his Master Sashar.
"Im here Master. I have read the mission details and am ready for deployment." Finding Sashar's location using a nearby terminal, he set off at once to join up with the Pro-consul.
Xar’Kahn and Juda simultaneously reached out into the Force as they ran out into the street, hastily the ground before them cracked and screeched as the Soulfirian brother’s manipulated the earth to form a makeshift barricade. The two dived behind the Force-formed ridge and immediately switched to suppressive fire.
Along with Rho’s help, the six remaining Vong were soon took down. Juda stood from his cover and slapped the back of Xar’s helmet, “Look’s like we got a wriggler.”
The wriggler lay several meters away on his back, half of his neck blown off thanks to Rho’s Verpine. Juda approached after handing his Lancer rifle to Xar, cold sweat running down the back of his neck as he approached the fallen Vong Warrior.
“You speak basic?” Juda demanded as he stopped over the Vong, the creature’s eyes darting from the Mandalorian. “I’m not usually the prejudice type, but your species have had this coming along time.”
Juda’s fists clenched and suddenly he felt the hilt of his Soulfire-issued Lightsaber in hand, but couldn’t quite remember unhooking it from his belt. Even through the coolness of his suit, the air felt charged, thick with the tension of an upcoming storm that smothered the adolescent Mandalorian like a musty blanket.
“This-” Juda paused as he took out a syringe from his medical belt, “is going to make sure you remain conscience.”
Abruptly the Mandalorian straddled the bulky Vong and violently stabbed the syringe into it’s neck before expertly igniting his lightsaber, drowning the two in a cobalt glow. With a simple flick Juda plunged the lightsaber deep into the Vong’s gut sending a flash of static throughout the periphery as the blade met with armour.
Juda’s eyes pierced the Vong’s, their was no screams of pain, no writhing, no pleads of mercy, and as Juda extinguished his blade his gut felt heavy, memories of his cousin Bendak flooded his mind. The Mandalorian Bendak wasn’t the only thing Juda had lost since the Yuuzhan Vong had invaded.
As the rage built Juda tossed the lifeless hilt to one side and viciously executed a powerful twisting punch to the Vong’s neck, still, his eyes were the only signs of his vitality. Cursing Juda took to his feet and collected his lightsaber before taking the hilt of his combat knife and after a swift lash of his arm, the blade was imbedded up to the hilt in the Vong’s skull.
‘Better make track’s. Rho’s voice buzzed over the comm, ‘Eye spy another patrol coming our way.’
Juda picked up the pace to rejoin the others when Kieran grasped his shoulder, “I see Antei’s changing you.”
“Looks like rain.” Juda paused and held his hand out while looking to the skies with a grin.
There was no answer at Caedes door at first. Legorii sighed and turned away. He wandered down the hall, passing jogging military officers and other Dark Jedi. They carried weapons of their own; some blasters, others vibroblades and even katanas, and of course the few that carried lightsabers. Legorii's katana was tinged red from all the killing done on Cian, the dozens of Gwelio that had fallen to his blade. That had been his first solid combat experience with a team, and Blue Mist had been forged into a powerful team from the day they landed onwards. The inscription on the blade was still evident near the hilt. Speaking of the hilt, Legorii had wrapped it in black cloth strips for a better grip. He found his fingers slipping off of its ornate handle more often than he like to admit, so he hoped the cloth would provide for a better hold on his most valued tool on the battlefield. Legorii still wasnt sure what the mission was today, and Caedes had not told him.
The Corporal of Blue Mist wandered into a mess hall of sorts, nearly empty. There were a few scattered soldiers, but for the most part all were attending to their duties. They were en route to Reecee, and time was of the essence. There were still many preperations that the denizens of House Galeres had to deal with before arrival, and everyone was seeing to those preperations. Except Legorii. He had received no specific orders, but would follow them when they came. When Sergeant Caedes issued his commands, Legorii would execute them and lead Blue Mist to the best of his ability alongside Caedes. But those orders had not come yet.
Legorii took a seat at a vacant table in the mess hall, putting his helmet on the table beside him. Unsheathing his katana, he propped it against his chair and leaned back. Shaking his dark hair out of his eyes, he gazed up at the ceiling. What had happened on Cian had been confusing, and he wasnt sure what all to make of it. Blue Mist had performed so well, but Legorii still doubted himself. He needed to see Strategos, his Master, and discuss matters with him. Caedes had not provided clear answers, but it wasnt his fault. He didnt know the answers himself. Master Strategos would know, he knew the workings of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood very well. Strategos was a great Master to have, and Legorii would not exchange him for the Grand Master himself.
The BAC Darkest Night had jumped to hyperspace, they were definitely on their way to Reecee. Quaestor Zandro and Aedile Rho were on board somewhere, no doubt commanding and preparing House Galeres for a triumphant victory in the name of Clan Arcona. The BAC Shadow, companion to Darkest Night and ship of House Qel-Droma, was beside them carrying their comrades. Legorii wondered if the sergeant and corporal of Soulfire were under heavy fire at that moment, pinned down on Reecee awaiting the help of their Blue Mist comrades. As he felt this realization, the BAC could not travel any faster. Legorii wanted to help his fellow Galerans, but couldnt yet.
Where was Caedes, and why wasnt he making plans with his Corporal?
"Oh, sorry this is the wrong room. Hope I didn't disturb you Dorn." the man said.
"No, not really I'm just waiting to get there." Dorn told the man.
They saluted each other and the man turned back to the one beside him. "Follow me to your actual room. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Dorn applied some bacta to the area where the mechanized parts touched live skin and felt the sting doing it's job.
Everytime he was in meditation on a big ship like this he always hated when it went into hyperspace because his mind trailed the ship and when he came to it seemed almost always an hour after they arrived to the destination. So this time he was waiting until he felt the hyperdrive kick in.
Until then he sat and modified his E-11 around and somehow he had made the gun have a better zoom on the scope and actually have a silencer shot to it. He wrote down what he did for future access.
His comlink went off and someone's voice came over it. "Dorn, your new gun just arrived. Come to the hangar entrance to receive it."
"Okay, I'm on my way." He went to where he was told it was and knew exactly the gun it was. His Tenloss Disrupter Rifle got cut in half by an inexperienced Jedi Padawan in which he out-trained the poor man. But the Padawan's master got the best of him, causing him to get his new body parts.
This gun wasn't a Tenloss though, it was a SoroSuub X-45. He had shot this one before and nearly stole it. But considering he was in New Republic territory at the time he wanted to remain low so he kept the model name in his head for a time he would need to remember it.
As he went back to his room he decided to check over which weapons to take. He officially decided on his sword of course, his new X-45 for distance shots, his E-11 for closer battles, and of course it can't be complete without the best of all, grenades. He had five concussion, ten Cryo-Ban, 3 Thermal, and 5 original explosives. Deciding to leave his katana here for this mission he put it in its sheath and tucked behind his other bag that held his weapons for the mission. He then just picked a bed and dozed off into a dreamless world awaiting further orders from the Summit.
Bridge, Last Light, en route to Reecee
The bridge on the Last Light was muted with a tense atmosphere, no blinds had been erected to protect the crews from the monumental tasks that lay before them; it was no secret that not everyone would be coming home but the native Dajorran’s steadfast resolve shined out from each individual as the Proconsul cast his eye across his subordinates. Outside of the bridge and in the vicinity of space surrounding the Cruiser he could feel the armada around him, pin pricks of light in the force numbering in their thousands; the crews of the Bothan Assualt Cruisers were making ready for planet fall and the soldiers themselves, the thousand strong army that made up the clan’s expeditionary force were likewise making their preparations. The Marines going over their kit, the Air Assualt Infantry making sure the LAAT/is that ferried them to the surface were in good order and the Darts, Arcona’s elite non force users, cold calculating minds trained almost as rigorously as the Mandalorian’s from the clan from which Sashar first began his journey through warfare, and like the Jedi around him he was no stranger to it.
Each of the force user’s making up the party sent to rescue his brothers shone out, grim determination and hate for the enemy were fueling the dark forces around him; bolstering his internal reservoirs something for which he was thankful as no small amount of battle meditation would bring a victory to their hands today so he meditated. Sitting in the single deep seated chair that dominated the bridge, blind but still seeing, deaf to the world but still hearing; he was the centre of the force, the mortar that would hold them together, and if he crumbled then it would be his brothers that would fall.
Blue Mist Briefing Room, Darkest Night, en route to Reecee
Legorii sat there playing with the scar tissue topping the three parallel scars that daubed his cheek; a nervous habit, one which he had vowed to rid himself of when he’d taken the position of Corporal and something which he had yet to get around to. It wasn’t for want of trying, he suspected that the rigors of leadership and the mounting stress had a hand in it as whilst it was irritating it was times like these he valued it. The nervous habit was distracting him from his long wait and his long wait. His Sergeant had yet to appear and as of yet had offered no excuse for his absence. His faith in his leader was still intact, he knew he would appear; Legorii theorized he was still speaking with Sashar, ironing out the final points in the plan as with the absence of Zandro who had accompanied Soulfire on their mission communication between the summit had slowed, he hoped the delays would not continue on the battlefield, were time meant lives and lives meant defeat.
His head shot up as his wait ended…
“Better late than never Sarge!” he called out in greeting.
Right kids the ROs on again, sorry for the hold up but let’s get straight back into it .. here’s the story…
Momentarily the fleet will exit hyperspace and find Reecee blockaded by a fleet, our Warrior Gunships will punch a hole for the BACs to move into and deploy the houses, the Last Light will cover them and then swap places to deign deploying her troops if necessary… in the mean time stand to!
When we get to Reecee get to your drop ships people, you’ll be dirt side momentarily where you’ll be taking part in the plan Juda will describe in his posts (which will shortly follow mine) .. but a rough guide is that you, supported by the army will fight their way so many miles to Soulfire where you’ll set up a perimeter to secure the area and await extraction …
Caedes entered the Darkest Night’s briefing room in his usually collected manner and nodded in return to his Corporal. The dimly-lit room ushered down into silence as the Sergeant activated a small holo-projector that beamed an image of the planet Reecee before zooming into a birdseye view of the central city.
Caedes took a moment to acknowledge his team’s presence before beginning. The Blue Mist Sergeant ran briefings the same way, update briefing and Q&A.
“As you know, Soulfire, along with a handful of VIP’s are pinned down here.” Caedes paused to point to a position on the glowing projector. “The Vong are attacking from the north of this position and are slowly, but steadily working their way southbound towards our sister-team.”
“Along with the 2nd and 3rd Tactical Assault Marines Brigade, we are to land four miles to the north-west, moving our way towards the center of the invasion and act as a distraction of sorts, allowing the Qel-Droma teams time to assault the two central corridors of the city and create a perimeter until an extraction can be set up.”
“Expect heavy resistance.” Caedes stroked his jaw-line with his prosthetic hand that glistened under the artificial light as he turned to his team.
* * *
The BAC Shadow crept eerily through space, leading the way forward as Arcona’s forces followed suit toward the distant planet Reecee that looked like a marble against the black canvass of space. Inside Quejo Xyler debriefed his House of the upcoming events, confident in the stern faces of his men.
“As soon as we touch dirt I don’t want any mistakes, as long as we keep our heads I expect this mission to run smoothly.” The Quaestor continued, pulling an armoured vest over his chest. “We are not here for this planet or the civilians who occupy it, don’t let these things sidetrack you. Our mission today is to engage with the Vong along these two corridor strips that run a few miles in distance, once we have stormed the area and successfully rendezvoused with Soulfire, I will personally call in for extraction.”
Quejo allowed himself a sharp grin as he looked over his House from his raised platform. “This will be the hardest fight of your lives and it won’t be over in a matter of moments, stay focused, and let the shadows guide you, in Darkness.”
With that Quejo was led to the bridge by a supporting officer, leaving his House to prepare for the oncoming battle.
* * *
“Sarge!! I’m out!” Juda called from the ridge he took shelter behind, without taking his eyes from his scope Kieran unclipped a power pack and underarmed it towards his two-I-see. The greyish-toned skin of the Warrior Caste was dyed a greenish hue through the Sergeant’s scope and calmly the Mandalorian squeezed his trigger.
The Vong Warrior flinched slightly as the dart blew a perfect hole into it’s skull, dropping its sinister visage into an expressionless void as the dart’s point shattered a moment later, shredding ribbons from the inside out, blowing a chunk out of the back of it’s head, instantly dropping the Vong to the dusty ground.
Malidir dove to his knees behind Kieran and patted the Sergeant’s back, “Sarge, Forces are on their way.”
“Excellent” Kieran remarked pulling his trigger once more.
“But we need to make a move Sarge, there’s too many Vong coming our way, they know we're here!” Malidir shouted over the chaos. “What’s your plan?”
Legorii listened intently during the briefing, keeping his eyes on the projection at all times. The Vong seemed to have Soulfire pinned down pretty good, judging from the protection the Sarge was showing. The projection didnt portray the terrain very well, so the Corporal had no way of judging how long it would take to travel the four miles to set up their diversion, allowing Qel-Droma's teams to open the route to rescue Soulfire. The fact that Blue Mist would be serving as just a diversion angered the Corporal, why should Qel-Droma's teams get to have all the glory? But he said nothing, he would stay loyal to his Quaestor and his Clan. If Zandro and Rho wanted Blue Mist to perform this role, and Mejas wanted them to as well, then the Corporal would see to it that the job was done to the best of his ability and the ability of the team. The 2nd and 3rd Tactical Assault Brigades would be working closesly with Blue Mist, and Legorii hoped Caedes had arranged a meeting with their leaders before they landed.
Either way they would be met with heavy resistance, but needed to move quickly for the diversion to be efficient. For a slow moving diversion would be easily countered, and the setting up of the rescue corridor would be a failure. All of this was hinging on Blue Mist and the Tactical Assault Brigades working with them. Legorii's katana would have to serve him well today, as it had on Cian. Looking around to JS, Dathka, Illian, Qu, and Dorn, Legorii sincerely hoped that Blue Mist could live up to the challenge it would be facing today. All their weapons and supplies were ready, loaded onto their transports and landing vehicles. Legorii favored travelling light, he wanted the battleteam to stay light and swift. Being bogged down by lots of packs and weapons wouldnt give them much mobility. But then again, a long and drawn out operation would require the supplies, and Caedes was suggesting that this would not be a quick mission.
Qel-Droma's troops were no doubt being briefed by their Quaestor, ready to set up the corridors and prepare for the extraction. The Vong defenses, if the projection was accurately, could be split along those parallel lines quite simply. However, the Vong could not be beaten by pure force, so it would take precision and personal strength to overwhelm them. If the corridors were set up succesfully, and the diversion allowed some of the Yuuzhan Vong troops to be drawn away, the corridors would split up the enemy lines and prevent their joining. Separated, the Vong could be beaten with the power of Arcona and its members, otherwise they were in for a long and bloody haul.
"Sergeant, when precisely are we to be landing? And will we be meeting with the leaders of the 2nd and 3rd Tactical Assault Brigades, or are they depending on us to work blindly with them? I find it is always better to fight beside men you know and trust, not just men that you are told to trust and nothing more." Legorii's voice was loud enough for all of Blue Mist to hear, but not so that it was distracting the others being briefed in and around the BAC "Darkest Night's" briefing room.
Dorn was sitting in with Blue Mist. Not actually an official member just yet but he wanted to be acquainted with them as quickly as he could. Plus after coming back from another mission a new body wouldn't hurt. He had been on Reecee before but by the showing of the projection, it had changed a lot. With all his weapons strapped onto his back already, just minutes before, he was starting to get impatient and new that wouldn't help at all when trying to make the rescue corridor. Legorii spoke up and asked about the two marine divisions. When Dorn looked over he smiled when he saw a katana on Legorii's possession. He turned back to Caedes who then answered the question.
"I have already met the two leaders of the brigades and they know what is going on and wantd me to say that their intentions are to see that Soulfire is rescued and that is all. They will work with us but if we get into any trouble after the rescue they will be fighting to get off planet unless otherwise ordered." Caedes told his Corporal. He continued on his debriefing.
Dorn's datapad let off a silent beep and he checked it and saw that Caedes had left a message meant to be delayed. Dorn read that Caedes was just welcoming him on being allowed to join them. When Dorn looked back up Caedes was looking at him while still continuing. They nodded to each other and the Sergeant turned back to the projection. Dorn later got a message but it didn't say who but he knew. The message just plainly said: "Don't get killed out there, I want to do it." He knew it was a joke and then he heard Caedes say, "watch for any of their specialized weaponry."
Dorn mumbled to himself, "Vagh Rodiek."
"Exactly." Caedes said, looking right at the Rodian. "Like the Vagh Rodiek."
Dorn had seen a Vong transforming a friend of his into one of those and he hated them even more for it, he wanted revenge and causing a blow to them by doing this might just ease the grief for him a little bit more. Zoning out he thought of all those he knew who have been killed or transformed by the Vong and his face was starting to show the revenge as his frills stood even straighter the more he thought about it. But he remembered to stay cool so he started remembering his marksmanship exam that helped him to produce a better aimed shot on the enemy.
He was brought out of his own world by the two leaders of Blue Mist and had to apologize. Apparently all he missed was that of which he knew already, move fast and shoot to kill. They walked out with him beside them and he told them everything he saw that happened to his friend and why he had the revenge look upon him.
"I know you got a message from me. But who was the other?" Caedes asked.
"A friend that just disappeared it seems like." He told the two. "Where are we meeting?"
"The hangar. Bu it'll still be awhile, come back to Blue Mist's area and get to know us some more before we actually get into battle." Legorii told him.
Dorn nodded. He followed them to become familiar with his soon to be comrades nearly 24/7. He was starting to get hungry after not eating for almost a week he wanted food. So he told them he would get some food. He got all his favorite Rodian treats, which the others couldn't stand for some reason.
It's alright to put that bit in there right? I just wanted it to be a little less tense for a moment.
Sashar had transferred the flag to Last Light. The Majestic Heavy Cruiser was big, powerful and had the longest range of any craft in the Arcona Armed Forces, but it lacked any support ships, which meant he’d have to keep her at the rear of the fighting, lest he draw the attention of the coralskippers. The three gunships were slowing the operation down significantly, as their Hyperdrive was not up to scratch and as such the rest of his flotilla had reduced their speed, pacing the minted Warrior-class gunships with ease. However, even with the delay they had caused, there was only seconds now until reversion.
He sat in the command chair, the full tactical display waiting to be updated, drumming his fingers impatiently on the arm as the various officers, all natives of Dajorra, worked in preparation of the battle to come. On a whim, he tapped the comm unit.
“Have Illian Syn come to the bridge of the Last Light as soon as we decant – I want him with me on this operation; not with the Blue Mist.” He ordered.
The blue swirl of hyperspace drew his gaze, and the Mandalorian stared out of the forward viewports, letting the hypnotic lightshow carry his mind from the current scene for a moment. He let himself drift into the force, the tiny bubble of hyperspace his fleet was encased in cutting him off from the rest of the universe. He felt calm, ready, though deep down there were the subtle stirrings of uneasiness he’d acquired by seceding from the Erinos. The rest of the crew were just as he’d expect for a mostly green set of warriors and shipmen about to enter combat for the first time: excited, nervous, and without exception each of them held onto that hope, that mad hope that they’d live to see tomorrow. Nobody ever believed they could die.
“Ten seconds to reversion.” The navigation officer called out.
Sashar willed himself to look directly at the maelstrom of light before him, counting down the seconds in his head until with a shudder of movement, the Last Light. decanted.
Straight into hell.
A flight of coralskippers swerved abruptly, barely avoiding the bridge of the heavy cruiser and frantically let loose gouts of plasma which dug into the hull of the Last Light, her shields not yet raised.
“Raise Shields!” Sashar barked, rising swiftly from the command chair.
Reecee was in the distance, the Arcona fleet bearing down on her, however between Sashar and the planet (and his former friends) was a pitched, ugly battle. A pair of Mon Cal cruisers were valiantly trying to force off wave after wave of coralskippers, while a large Yuuzhan Vong destroyer took potshots at the pair from the distance. Starfighters and Coralskippers nipped too and fro between the melee, adding to the confusion and smaller corvettes danced a deadly ballet, letting loose a rainbow of colours in their weapons. The New Republic was trying to take back Reecee, only they’d come in light.
“Commander, de-activate our transponder and instruct every other ship with us to do the same. Now!” The Mandalorian barked.
The Commander, an aging Selenian named Terr who had previously commanded the Wrathraven before it was destroyed over Antei looked confused, but carried out the orders anyway. Instantly, the tactical displays beeped in alarm as the Arcona flotilla no longer broadcast their affiliation.
“If the New Republic see their own ships then they’ll assume we’re on their side and not try to engage us, likewise they’ll probably try to defend us. We may have just gained an ally. What is the status of the fleet?”
Terr looked down at his console and read out the reports slowly, making sure to check his information with the tac display.
“Shadow and Darkest Night are reporting in fully operational, though the Quaestor Xyler is questioning the IFF Transporder order. The Broken Blade and Dark Artisan are reporting in as fully operational, however the Light’s Lament impacted with a pair of coralskippers on decanting. She has suffered significant structural damage to her engine section.”
Sashar hissed in vexation.
“Order the Lament back to Dajorra, but not a direct route. Have her make a few micro-jumps first if the engines can take it.”
“Deploy our fighters. I want Silver Night, Shroud, Black Tide and Breach squadrons to form up as our fighter screen. No more Coralskippers smashing into us today.” This evoked a few chuckles from the bridge crew, and Sashar continued. “Dark Rain and Dark Sight squadrons are to accompany the Broken Blade and Dark Artisan to punch through that dirty melee down near Reecee’s upper atmo with the corvettes and that Frigate Analog.”
“And us, sir?”
“Let’s give the Scarheads something to worry about. Our long range cannons will open up on that Destroyer Analog. I want it worrying who the bigger threat is: us or the Mon Cals. Instruct the Shadow and the Darkest Night to move into skirmishing range with that pair of Gunship Analogs that’ll doubtlessly try to flank our gunships and make them coral flotsam.”
“Firing now.” The gunnery sergeant reported, and the deck shuddered as the Last Light’s longe range tubolsers spat green death at the Yuuzhan Vong Destroyer’s back end. Dovin Basal shields sprang up and absorbed a lot of the firepower, however with the split fire from both the Last Light and the two Mon Cal Cruisers, a fair few bot in from the latter – their miniature black holes simply couldn’t cope with the different directions of fire. Sashar grinned.
“Instruct our fighters to engage the coralskippers from different angles simultaneously. It seems those gravatic singularities can’t shields every direction at once.”
The comm officer stiffened.
“Sir! The Mon Cal Cruiser Riptide is hailing us!”
“Fierfek.” Sashar swore in irritation, but composed himself. He shrugged off his outer grey robe, throwing it haphazardly towards the command chair and approached the communications salon. Put him on, close up on my face and shoulders – show as little of the interior of this ship as possible.”
“This is Commodore Brant of the Lor Pelek. You look like you could use a hand, captain.” Sashar said dryly. A large bulbous fish-like salmon face greeted him.
“^This is Captain Tyfren of the Riptide. Your assessment would prove correct. Your ships are NR design, but do not bear our markings.” It was both a statement and a challenge in a gravelly, salty voice. Sashar had always liked the Mon Calamari for getting straight to the point.
“We’re a side branch of NRI. As far as the rest of the military are concerned, we don’t exist. However, we have business on Reecee, some of our agents were stranded and we’re here to extract them. If helping you crack some coral will allow us to extract our men faster, then all the better.”
“Quite. Let’s get to work, shall we?” Tyfren replied and Sashar smiled. The Mon Cal wasn’t stupid – they were in a losing battle before, but now the ‘Lor Pelek had turned up with reinforcements, they could just about drive the Vong off.
The comm clicked off and Sashar turned around to see the bridge crew grinning at him – improvisation wasn’t usually the calling card of a dark side warrior.
“Scan the area for any trace of the Valour’s Fall and ready the landing teams – we’re going to have our work cut out.”
Dorn looked out the hangar as the ships of certain squadrons were leaving to join the battle. He looked over at a marine he had just met. Even though just meeting him he had seemed to have become friends with him quickly. After asking his name he was surprised that he would easily remember due to it being the same as a friend, Joey. The marine had also served under Ismak in the Empire, shortly after Dorn had left.
"Joey, how was Ismak when you were in the Empire? A little easy to piss off?" Dorn asked.
The marine looked at him. "Very easily. I left after a month and have been here since. My E-11 has been very trusty."
So I did leave a mark. Hope I can help us leave another one here. Dorn thought to himself. He walked to a turret station just down the hallway from the hangar and hopped into the first one he found. He helped to cover the fighters leaving the ship. He shot down a coralskipper and then noticed a shot coming his way. He got out right as the shot hit and ruined part of the turret. He decided to just go to the hangar and wait until drop time. He didn't want to be beat up before then. As he stepped into the hangar he heard a voice over the ship's intercom saying the New Republic Mon Calamari ships were willing to cooperate thanks to Sashar doing some quick thinking.
The hangar erupted into more talk and then another wave of fighters left the ship to fight.
Two guards stood at the door of Illian’s Temporary quarters on the Last Light, fidgeting nervously and fingering their rifles. The senior of the pair addressed the Hunter as he played with what looked like a pair of eye-balls preserved in an old bacta canister, a dead look on his face.
“Apologies sir, but Lord Sashar has requested your presence on the bridge immediately,” he managed to stammer as he pulled out a copy of the order from his uniform. With preternatural speed the insane Jedi was on his feet and in a few quick strides stood face to face with the soldier. Audibly gulping the man held out the data-sheet, even whimpering slightly when one of Illian’s savage gauntlets swiped the device out of his hand. For a moment Syn’s eyes seemed to shine as his gaze lingered on the man’s throat, but then as if called by an invisible master, he turned away to examine his prize, eyes dead once more.
“Thank you sergeant. I will be there soon.” With that he picked up his helmet and strode out of the room.
* * *
The subtle hiss of hydraulics heralded the Hunter’s arrival on the bridge as the electronic doors slid open. At first everything seemed normal; ensigns and other assorted crewmen were milling around the central command station at which his master was currently seated. Then his eyes widened as he took in the scene through the view ports.
“By all the dark lords of the sith… what a beautiful sight!” A passing gunner eyed him warily before resuming his post.
Illian wandered up the boardwalk to where Sashar was watching the unfolding chaos of the space battle with growing concern as one of the New Republic ships took a critical hit to its bow, the mammoth cruiser listing slowly as tiny Coral-Skippers buzzed around it like flies on a beached whale.
“Syn, analysis of the battle. NOW!” The Mandalore barked at his apprentice, causing Illian to snap his full attention to the battle. Like a broken clock, the shattered gears of the Hunter’s mind spun as he allowed his insanity to make sense of the chaos before him.
“The New Republic is lost here, and they will not find their way to any other destination but death. They have lost hyper drive capabilities else they would have gone to get their friends by now. The only thing left for them is to cover our approach. If I were you, I would feed them a false battle plan, an all out charge to the planet using the broadside guns of the disabled ship to scatter the Vong blockade. When they start their approach, wait until the Vong respond before plotting a jump into Reecee’s upper atmo. We deploy forces for the ground war, and then thrust back up towards the rear of the Vong counter attack, taking out as many as possible before moving back to the Arconan fleet-line.” Sashar looked down at his unusual apprentice, eyebrow raised. Illian simply shrugged. “Of course that would result in extensive losses to both sides.”
“Sir! The Destroyer is moving away from the blockade! They’re obtaining target-lock on the Last Light!” Sashar nodded to the navigator and re-focussed his gaze on the battle. It was time to make a decision.
Legorii stood beside Caedes, looking at the team. Caedes turned to Legorii and spoke again. "Yes, I spoke in depth with the leaders of the Brigades. They are good men, but they harbor no particular love for us. Blue Mist is still relatively unknown, and we cant depend on the Brigades to help us with this diversion. We will not depend on them, and I am sure they will not depend on us. But we must work with them for the success of the overall mission and the rescuing of Soulfire." The Sergeant then checked his weapons. He was ready. Surely BAC Darkest Night was soon to arrive at Reecee, they had been in hyperspace for a while. Legorii felt good too, he had his katana on his back and it felt good. He was ready to create the diversion Arcona needed to save Soulfire from where they had been beaten by the Yuuzhan Vong, ready to do anything he could to help rescue his beloved brethren. Kieran, Juda, Xar'Kahn, Malidir, and whoever else was trapped down there. Glancing around, the Corporal noticed that Illian wasn't there. He glanced at Caedes, who recognized his thoughts.
"Yes Corporal, Illian was personally requested to work with Proconsul Sashar today. We will all miss the support and help he gives in combat and otherwise, but I am sure Dorn is quite capable to take his place." The Sergeant smiled at Dorn and Legorii nodded his agreement. Aside from Illian's absence, Blue Mist was complete and ready for action. They were becoming more well known in Arcona, their recent work on Cian a testament to that. But they needed to become an elite crew of House Galeres. Under Caedes leadership, Legorii was sure they would get there. But they needed their members to be loyal and dedicated to improving the battleteam, and needed each member to be a representation of the greatness of House Galeres and Clan Arcona all over the galaxy.
The Corporal believed that it was definitely possible. It would take time and they would have to gain the trust of every member of both Galeres and Arcona. But it was possible. And the next step that would be taken was their mission to help save Soulfire from the mess they had gotten into. Slumping down into a chair in the briefing room, Legorii ran his fingers through his hair. Looking at the helmet he held in his hand, he noticed something he hadn't before. Maybe it explained why the shower had been bloody this morning, and why his head was pounding and throbbing.
The leftern top of the helmet was dented. A crack ran down the black visor. This was strange, Legorii didn't recall being hit over the head. It must have been last night, before they had left for Reecee. Who within Arcona would feel the need to attack Legorii from behind, to the degree that he is knocked unconscious? Legorii did not know, but he wanted to find out. It would have to wait though, they had to save Soulfire first. Then he would find out who had attacked him, and why.
Until then, he would have to deal with the headache.
Bridge, Last Light, In Orbit Above Reecee
The plan had been ratified and an instant later the fleet lurched into hyperspace for less than a second, reappearing with the enemy wall at their backs and leaving the New Republic attack wave to break against it. The Arconan batteries came to bear and fired upon the invaders not to save they pseudo allies in the battle but still to soothe the wounds left open from the Yuuzhan Vong’s grab at Antei.
“Order the ground forces out and get me a channel to Soulfire,” Sashar nodded to his apprentice. He watched his apprentice turn before returning his gaze to the holoprojector before him.
The Mon Calamari Cruisers were putting up a valiant fight despite the odds, between them they were chipping away at the nose section of a destroyer analogue soon to become nothing but yorrik asteroids. The flotilla of other minor ships could be seen swarming around the great behemoths, exchanging fire here and there whilst moving to cover vectors of attack, the two bodies of ships pulsed and writhed before the Exarch’s eyes. The Arconan fleet rested near the planet, the last light and the squadron of Warrior Class Gunships took the higher orbit, their guns belting out at the smaller craft breaking off from the Yuuzhan Vong fleet to engage them. The Last Light held a similar position using her turbolaser in unison to pulverize the incoming vessels through overwhelming fire power, covering the Bothan Assualt Cruiser’s as they delivered their cargo.
“Channel open Master,” Illian appeared at his side once more.
“Kieran?” he asked feverously, having received little in the way of news from them on arrival in the system.
“Better be important,” his brother replied, his voice strained as though pronouncing each word was a chore, “busy down here.”
“We’re in system, sitrep,” he replied, keeping it brief.
“Under heavy assault, we’re completely pinned down your boys better get here quick otherwise they shouldn’t bother,” Kieran replied quickly.
“Can you patch us into the squad’s channel?” he asked, “save the status updates.”
“Will do, Kieran out,” his brother finished off quickly leaving Sashar a few moments to dwell on what was happening before the voices of his old squad mates filled his ears.
“Check, one down.”
“Osik, squad coming round – blast bugs incoming!”
“Rho fire check?”
“Negative, no sight.”
“Jay move round, Xar front and center, PLEX that hole.”
“Two making a break for it.”
“Mal 'saber out!”
The Proconsul did not need images to play out the story of his kinsmen’s plight, each of their voices painted its own story and even without the force he could see them fighting, he wished he had been with them on this one.
Mex’s Café, City Quadrant 4, Reecee
The grey concrete walls of the Café were now decorated in a plethora of coloured juices and potted marks making it look more like a work of art than the make shift bunker they had turned it into. Soulfire’s preparations had been thin and hurried, mounds of rubble lay piled in the street before them aiming to channel their enemy into a killing field. Larger blocks lay pinned in the windows, and still larger lay out before them providing screens for the Arconan’s to cover and fire from. Yet despite their preperations, intensive training and the force they were fighting a loosing battle and it was evident. Kieran’s armour’s self repairing function had long since been depleted and he now sported a nasty gash in his forearm after being ‘as quick as a nearly-dead person’ (as his training instructor used to put it) in avoiding a thudbug.
Still, they were here, and that was something. They had holed the VIPs up in back room of the Café leaving them without guard as Kieran needed all the weapons he could get. The squad now stood outside the café, jumping out from their barricades to snap shots off at warriors as they moved to hurl thud bugs or ran in for the charge. They worked together, one popping out to take a target whilst locating another for the next person to hit. The battle meld and their com channel were alive with chatter but time was running out.
Right guys, planetfall…
You’ll be landing in LAAT/i s so secure the landing zone for our forces (ie fight off some vong when you land) and then make headway for Soulfire…
Oh and have fun!
Caedes examined Legorii's helmet and attempted to patch it up as best he could. The end result was the scratch painted over with red paint and the scratch rubbed out as best as possible. Handing it back to Legorii, the Corporal donned it and gave him a 'thumbs up' sign, indicating it worked fairly well. It concerned the other Galerian Sergeant that someone deemed it neccesary to attack a relatively unknown Battleteams second-in-command. The field-link in his gauntlet 'buzzed' off and Caedes answered the summons. The Sergeant saw a helmeted pilot and he said "Sergeant Caedes, the LAAT/i to take Blue Mist planetside is green, awaiting your arrival" . "Copy that, we are on our way" responded Caedes. "Blue Mist, report to the LAAT/i and strap in...we are on our way!" ordered Caedes. The faint 'click-clack' of combat boots on the floor of the ship reached him as he approached the dropship. Heaving himself aboard, he strapped himself into the craft and motioned for the pilot, acknowledging that his Battleteam was ready. The LAAT/i lifted off and proceded to hurl planetward.
The LAAT/i broke into the atmosphere and shot to a hover and off-loaded the Jedi of Blue Mist. The Team had not gone far before Caedes heard JS yell "Vong and Thud-Bugs!". Motioning for his Team to draw weapons, Caedes turned his head towards the point of origin of JS' yell. Five Yuuzhann Vong were making their way towards the newly arrived Battleteam. "Its even odds" muttered the Sergeant, drawing his Verpine Assault Rifle.
"Legorii! Report on your side!" ordered Caedes. The fight had broken the Team into two squads, one on the right flank and the other on the opposite. "Our Vong are...down!" announced the Corporal, holding a Vong head to indicate his point. "Good work Corporal...and feel free to pack the head as a souviener" quipped the Sergeant. Falling back into his battle-hard mood, he motioned for his Battleteam to begin a sweep of the relative area. "You know the objective boys" said Caedes. "Clear the way for Soulfire!" chanted his Troopers. "Thats right my boys..lets not let them down" finished off the Sergeant.
Corporal Legorii and Sergeant Caedes stood inside the LAAT/i that had been assigned to Blue Mist, the rest of the battleteam standing around them. They all had their weapons out, mostly blaster rifles as they fired down upon the Vong troops while they landed. On the ground, they would switch to melee weapons to engage the Vong warriors in hand to hand combat, but for now they were reserved to taking shots at the Vong below while the pilot set them down. Flying alongside their LAAT/i were the gunships transporting the 2nd and 3rd Tactical Assault Brigades. Sergeant Caedes did not so much as glance over at the men they would be fighting beside in the coming moments, and the rest of Blue Mist followed his example. They were not friends, they were hardly allies. They were two fighting forces that had the misfortune to be trapped into depending on each other to provide a distraction for the liberation of Soulfire.
Slowly the LAAT/i circled around, and when they were but three feet above the ground the Corporal and the rest of the crew jumped out. Legorii heard JS give a shout, but he didnt hear the specifics. Legorii drew his katana, splitting off to engage a Vong warrior. This time the Corporal was quick, his katana darting up and into the Vong's tender flesh right away. It was surprising, the Vong were rumored to be deadly warriors. Then he felt a Vong slam into him, knocking him off his feet. Blue Mist's two squads were fighting off a few warriors, but werent having too much trouble. The supporting fire from the Assault Brigades was a huge help.
It wasnt long before Legorii held the Vong head up in triumph as Caedes finished off his opponent. The landing site was temporarily clear, at least in a small radius. Now, he would await Sergeant Caedes orders. He knew time was crucial if they were to rescue Soulfire, but they needed to coordinate their moves so that everything happened perfectly. The distraction had to be good, and it had to be timed well. They would probably wait from further orders from Zandro, but until then Legorii would help Blue Mist secure the site.
They had finally landed and after the short little skirmish Dorn had a chance to look up and see the space battle and the marine dropships starting to come down. As the first group landed the leader came over and started talking to Caedes as they started their long trek to save Soulfire.
"Be careful, be aware of Thud-Bugs and the amphistaves, and attack from range as much as possible due to their strength in close combat." Dorn heard the marine say to his team. They had traveled longer than they thought so far without trouble. But they knew it would start easy.
They saw some movement and Dorn got his X-45 out and ran a little ahead and looked through the scope and saw a few Yuuzhan Vong warriors guardinga tent, probably crawling with other warriors. He told Caedes and within seconds the new Battleteam was ready quicker than expected. Trading out his sniper for the E-11 on his thigh he was yet again itching for close combat but here he didn't want to be too close though. He turned to Caedes and Legorii, he would finally see how they were in combat.
"Dorn get your rifle out and shoot at them to get their attention. We dont want them to have too much of a chance to reach us." Caedes told him. He got his X-45 back out and looked into the scope. He saw the eyeball of the one as clearly as if it was just a couple inches away from his face. With the dot in the middle of his scope staying within the head he put his finger on the trigger and pulled. He felt the kick and that shot made him a little more confident as a sniper. He put the gun back and got his E-11 off of the ground and starting the fight with the rest of Blue Mist. As they slowly advanced more and more Yuuzhan Vong appeared and it was getting them into a tight situation because it slowed them down.
Dorn peered to his right from behind his cover and saw a house with a window to shoot from. Not a sniper's spot but it seemed like a better place to use for cover. Plus buildings would be best used whenever possible. Dorn motioned it to Caedes. He looked at JS who told him he was willing to make the run. Dorn was going to help cover and then run over to the one across from it. JS dashed for the door and made it by seconds as a shot hit just a few centimeters away from his head. It was Dorn's turn. He took a peek and fired a couple times. Nodded at JS and ran. He got to the door and started shooting. Him and JS were ready to cover the others moving forward.
Illian stood by his master’s side, his face twisted into a surprised grin. He hadn’t expected that they would actually go for his idea. Being insane had its draw backs at times, one of which being a tendency for people to ignore almost everything he said.
He watched as the LAAT/I containing his Blue Mist brethren jetted to the surface of the planet, and he wondered absently if they would survive the landing. A small frown found its way to his face as he contemplated what it was they would need to do once they had deployed: secure the landing zone for the larger ground units to deploy before moving zone by zone through the city, clearing Vong until they reached Soulfire. A very typical military rescue operation.
At the back of his mind Torment muttered something about missing all the fun, causing Illian to turn quickly to face his Master.
“You know, if we hurry I can get the Retribution’s auto-pilot to infiltrate past the primary LZ. I can place us three clicks from Soulfire’s position. Behind enemy lines…” Sashar glanced across at his unstable apprentice. Syn was almost hopping with excitement, and he couldn’t help but give the idea some serious thought. With Blue Mist and the 2nd and 3rd providing a very convincing distraction to the main hostiles in the mission area, it would be easy for the Retribution to provide the actual extraction. At the very worse they would be a good plan B.
Sashar rose, eyes narrowed, and faced his student.
“Very well. I don’t like sitting looking at this tactical display anyway, not when my brothers are down there. We will give your idea a try, but Syn,” he warned, “if you lose it down there and risk our position, I’ll kill you before the Vong even smell you. Clear?”
“As Angel’s tears Master. Shall we?” Receiving a nod, Illian turned and led Sashar back through the ship to the Retribution. Firing up the main engines, he allowed the neuro-interface to connect, letting the ships mammoth computer take the commands straight from his mind, doing the necessary calculations as it went. Soon they were out of the ‘Light’s hanger, jetting through the blackness towards Reecee’s upper atmosphere.
Sashar examined his surroundings as they descended, seeing first hand the contradictory environment in which Illian was constantly submerged. The interior of the ship was exceptionally beautiful; with black satin cloth flowing over dark polished steel, yet something about it all set the veteran dark-user’s nerves on end. There were patches of steel darker and duller than the rest scattered across every surface, and the satin seemed to be stained. There was a smell in the air, sharp and metallic, that gently tugged at the back of Sashar’s throat as the black vessel coasted noiselessly towards the programmed landing zone, the outer skin of the ship reflecting the surrounding landscape to create a semi-efficient chameleon camouflage for the Retribution.
As they neared the ground, Illian disconnected and left his holographic co-pilot Ret in charge of the landing sequence. Sliding his blue helmet over his silver hair he looked across at his Master, who now eyed him cautiously.
“Is something wrong Master Sashar?” The Hunter spoke as he checked his gear, slinging his rifle over his shoulder and strapping a bandolier of small seemingly empty pouches across his chest. Sashar gave his apprentice a hard stare before shaking his head and seeing to his own gear.
Soon the pair were ready to disembark, armed and armoured in enemy territory, the lives of their brothers and clansmen at stake, and the rushing chaotic promise in the pits of their stomachs of adrenaline to come.
Sergeant Caedes motioned for his Troopers to spread out in a classical 'fan' formation. There was one less since Sashar had requested that Illian land with him. Motioning for his Troopers to crouch, another medium-sized party of Vong apperead. "Thermals out" he spoke quitetly into his gaunlet commlink. Caedes rose quietly and chucked the dura-steel coated ball at the center of the Vong incursion, just as six others followed suite. The detonators blew sky high and temporarily blinded the Yuuzhan enemies. "Go go go!" shouted Caedes, withdrawing his Ryyk blade and leaping into the middle of the fray. "Sir the Brigades are reportig we are to close knit to fire" shouted Legorii over the din of combat. "Well...we have to do it on our own!" responded Caedes. "Oomf!" said Caedes as he was punched in the gut by a Vong. Even through his armor he went sailing back and landed in the dirt. A Vong came down on him immiediatly. Caedes rolled out from underneath him and planted a stickie on his neck. "Everyone move!!" he ordered, diving behind a fallen tree. The Vong exploded, catching two more in its wake. "Half down, hal--2 to go" Caedes said to himself, correcting himself when he saw Dathka plant a blasterbolt in ones head. "Sir...this is JS, I got another" JS reported. The Obelisk looked over to see his Sith pilot bring his lightsaber through a Yuuzhans head, its red blade glowing. "Nicely done JS, I finished off the last one" reported Legorii. "Excellent work Team, lets move on and get Soulfire outta there" ordered Caedes, motioning for his Troopers to continue.
"This is Caedes Erebus, Sergeant of Blue Mist, we have approached our designated point of redenazous with the Brigades. Awaiting further orders" the Sergeant spoke into the field link. "Acknowledged Sergeant Erebus. Hold current position" spoke a voice, most likely a monitor from the BAC Darkest Night. "Blue Mist copy...over and out!" replied Caedes, shutting off the field link.
As wave after wave of the Vong enemy kept coming they saw a ship go over their heads and it looked like towards Soulfire's position. It had the Arconan symbol so Dorn hoped it wasn't seen by the enemy.
"We are to hold our position." Caedes said.
"Are the Yuuzhan more interested in us now?" Dorn asked. Everyone still fighting off the waves of the enemy.
"It seems like it and tha ship was going for Soulfire so it shouldn't be too much longer but we still need to hold." Caedes said, puasing to get a quick shot off. "position until otherwise told so." He took aim at another and shot it in the head, resulting in instant if not painful death.
Dorn stepped out of the building and pulled out one of his concussion grenades. He threw it and saw the explosion knock back even them a little. He decided to wait to use another. Getting his E-11 out again he turned to look down and alleyway only to see a big as.s Vong headed their way. He got behind cover but the muscular Vong just picked up Dorn's cover and threw it aside. Caedes and Legorii pulled out their swords, and JS his lightsaber. The three got the Vong's attention and tried to fight it off. It was too fast for them. Dorn got out his sword and started to attack as well when he finally got to his feet. He slashed it at the ankle and it turned to him while in a warcry.
JS, Legorii, and Caedes all stabbed him at the same time and he couldnt react because he was attacking Dorn. A few seconds later he fell to the ground, dead. Then another ten seconds later it seemed the entire Vong forces heard the warcry because now they would seem to be needing rescue unless the Brigades joined in. But until then they would have their hands full.
Blue Mist was still in its fan, a line of warriors holding out against the relentless Vong. The Yuuzhan Vong tide was numerous, and now that they had turned some of their attention from the brigades, Blue Mist was in trouble. Legorii hoped the Brigades would help them out, but their mission was to create the distraction, not save the Blue Mist troopers. The Corporal gritted his teeth, they didnt need the Brigades' help. Glancing around, twirling his katana once more, Legorii tried to grasp the severity of their situation.
"Sergeant Caedes! We need cover, we need a place were they can only come at us one at a time! Because right now all they have to do is get behind us or press our outer edges and the entire line will break, and we will be ruthlessly slaughtered. Not to mention the distraction will fail, and many Arconans will die." The Corporal saw JS kill another warrior as Dorn and Dathka doubled up on another one. Blue Mist was fighting hard, but their fall was inevitable unless they turned the tables on their fierce enemies.
The Corporal wondered what the Brigades were doing, since the pressure on them by the Vong had lessened. He hoped their were mustering to flank the Vong, but more practically he figured they were marching to the point where they would launch the distraction. Legorii knew they were short on time, and he wouldnt hold it against the Brigades if they decided their mission was more valuable than their allies. Legorii hollered another war cry before he charged a Vong, engaging him. The Vong was strong, he easily threw Legorii off. The Corporal stumbled back, just as the Vong swung at him. Legorii ducked under the blow, sliding to the left. The Vong compensated, blocking Legorii's katana. This was a skilled warrior, and the two were fairly evenly matched.
Caedes Erebus finally decided he had enough. Enough of these spiky headed bastards beating back his Battleteams defenses. Caedes threw down his sword and pulled out two sticky gernades. "Blue Mist fall back, Corporal get them to cover in the outhouse!" ordered Caedes. Taking the grenades in both hands, the Sergeant ran towards the Vong. As the Vong noticed him and rushed him, Caedes called upon the Force and flipped over the Vongs head and threw the gernades. The pair sailed and sunk into the flesh of the Warrior Legorii had been battling. Landing on his feet, the Sergeant sprinted towards the outhouse where his Team had redenavoused and hit the detonator, the grenades exploding, catching two more Vong. "It seems that explosives are the way to easily kill these bastards! Legorii, take Dathka, Brigan and Dorn and set up a grenade line, in a high vantage point. "Yes sir! What about JS?" acknowledged Legorii. "He's coming with me" said the Sergeant, reaching into his pack and pulling out a cylindarical object. "A lightsaber! You finished!" exclaimed Legorii and JS in unison. "Yes...JS with me" Caedes said, thumbing the switch and activating the weapon, its silver blade illuminating the outhouse. "Good luck Corporal" said Caedes and he and JS dissapered back into the Vong fray.
The two warriors sprinted back into the fray, their blades humming. Just then Caedes heard a whistle and looked up as the rest of his Battleteam appeared on the branches above him, grenade launchers, c-40o2s, in hand and firing at the Vong assemblage. Caedes gave a thumbs up a sign to his crimson-armored and turned back to the battle. JS and Caedes went back to back and their blades were a weave of red and silver, Caedes' mere Shii-Cho still proving against the Vongese. Caedes swept with his lightsaber, decapitating a Vong and turned to see JS impale another. "Nicely done JS" complimented the Heragan. "Thanks...not to shotty yourself" responded JS. Just then two massive Vong appeared and hefted the two Jedi off the ground. "Fierfek!" cursed Caedes, his lightsaber dropping from his hand. "Don't worry Sarge...I got it" commed Dathka. Just when Caedes was about to ask him what he meant, a single blue bolt of energy appeared and took out the Yuuzhan. Caedes was dropped to the ground and rolled, using the Force to signle his weapon back to his hand. Dathka followed suite by placing a plasma in JS' attackers head and JS quickly finished off the Vong alongside Caedes and the Battleteam. "This is Corporal, we are reporting clear" commed Legorii. "Copy that...make camp and await further orders" ordered Caedes. "And good work out there" he complimented. "You too sir" responded Legorii. "Come JS, we must clear an area and await orders concering our mutual...friends" said Caedes, referring to Soulfire.
While Blue Mist and the 2nd and 3rd brigades battles the Vong on two separate fronts, two lone dark-jedi made their way quietly though the urban streets towards Soulfire's position.
Sashar stopped suddenly, eyes narrowed and focussed on a structure ahead that appeared to be some form of recreational facility. Illian, only a few steps behind, froze in response. Flexing his beloved gauntlets, he glanced around for any sign of enemy patrols. Since they had started to get close to the main battle more and more of the vile aliens had appeared in scout groups. Luckily the pair had not been spotted so far, but it was only a matter of time.
"What grabs your eye-balls Master?" Illian whispered when it became apparent that the Mandalorian was not going to move.
"Up there, in the that building... can you feel that?" Sashar's voice sounded strained, as if he were using all his concentration elsewhere. Puzzled, Illian stretched his mind towards the point where his mentor's eyes seemed to be stuck, only to feel... nothing. A very large area of nothing. Seconds later understanding dawned on him and a smile found its way onto his lips.
"It seems as though we may be standing on a Hornets' nest Master..." Sashar looked around sharply, giving his unstable apprentice a hard stare.
"You'd best hope that isnt a Vong command post Illian. The idea is to get Soulfire to a suitable extraction point for your ship to reach *without* attracting too much attention."
"True enough, but what about after the extraction? We then need to divert attention away from the diversion units to ensure an... efficient retreat. A few bombs here and there, maybe some fire and death from above, and these stupid technophobes will be sent into complete chaos." As he spoke, Illian's eyes began to burn with green fire as the apprehension of impending bloodshed began to make him giddily excited.
"Alright, that we will have to leave up to Kieran. This extraction will still be a part of his mission to rescue those VIPs, so if he says no then we leave, got it?" He watched a scowl replace the earlier joy on the Hunter's face, as Illian muttered inaudibly, his gauntlets flexing involuntarily. "Got it Syn?" The Veteran Obelisk didnt raise the volume of his voice, instead infusing it with the force causing his apprentice to stiffen slightly as his mind was force fed the idea.
"Got it Master. I will do as... Kieran... says." Sashar nodded contentedly and turned back to the structure.
"For now we're going to have to work out a way of getting through that as quickly as possible. We cant afford a detour at this point. If i know the Vong, they will be hitting out forces hard. If we are going to pull this off it has to be soon." With that the two were off again, barely shadows across the street as they noiselessly weaved towards their mission goal.
Rho d’Tana; Soulfire’s sharpshooter knelt at the window, his Verpine rifle positioned at the perfect vantage point, his face a mask of concentration as the steady recoil numbed his shoulder after every perfect shot. The street below was a hive of activity, strewn with the bodies of fallen Vong warriors and the rubble of now blown out buildings.
Soulfire were outnumbered, giving all they had to hold their position until either reinforcements came to their rescue or until Kieran gave the order to retreat to another plan. Rho’s Nagai ears perked as the familiar ’ping’ rang out from his rifle and the sizzling power pack ejected automatically, bouncing against the floor.
His slender hand reached into one of the many pockets strewn across his chest and pulled out a fresh pack, pausing suddenly, Rho shifted on his feet and gently placed the power pack on the window ledge and reached for his EPP-2 that Juda had previously propped against the wall beside him.
Without uttering a breath the Nagai Sith moved from his position into the corner of the room as he heard two pairs of heavy footsteps stalking up the stairwell.
“Jorhaa’ir!” Rho called out as he silently cocked the carbine, abruptly the footsteps paused momentarily before continuing to the Nagai’s makeshift sniping tower. “Jorhaa’ir!” Rho repeated and after a second silence the Sith Warrior knew it wasn’t one of his Mandalorian comrades that wished to join him.
As the door was suddenly kicked in a heavily-built Vong burst into the room, his gaze shooting toward the unmanned Verpine rifle that was set up across the room. Rho didn’t give the warrior a chance to gasp as he squeezed the trigger and laced the Vong’s face with burning hot plasma before each individual disk exploded, decapitating the warrior caste before he knew what had happened.
Taking to his feet, Rho cocked his EPP-2 once more and aimed from his hip toward the open door, waiting for the second intruder to enter only to find three buzzing insects soar into the room and latch onto the opposite wall. Rho’s eyes widened as he dropped to his knees and covered his head with his forearms as the Thud bugs detonated.
The Corporal glanced around him. The initial Vong counterattack had been beaten back, but they were hardy warriors and surely more was to come. Motioning for the remaining members of Blue Mist to join him, Legorii unfurled a scroll of paper and laid it on the ground. He drew out a thin pen and knelt on the ground before the paper. Dathka and Qu stood behind the Corporal, Dorn and Raith in front of him. "Men, Caedes and JS are on their way to make contact with Soulfire and the Brigades to best coordinate our diversion. I am giving us two objectives: to establish a defense that we can stand against another Vong affront while we await the proper time, and to get in touch with other teams we are to work with to get this diversion working."
Legorii took a moment to look around, before drawing some abstract lines on the parchment. "This is our current location. As you can see we can hold off Vong indefinitely from the front, but if they get even a couple warriors around or flanks we will be pinned and sitting ducks. So here the prime goal will be to keep escape routes open, to fall back and not get in the same predicament as Soulfire." Legorii scribbled some more lines. Then he stood up for a second and dusted himself off. He looked around him, searching for some way to improvise a defense. He pointed to the corpses of the few dead Vong. "Pile them up to the east, use them as cover."
Then the Corporal turned to the rubble of a speederbike. "Get the engine out, look for some fuel. Maybe we could rig it up to blow when we light a fuse. Convenient if we are falling back. Gut the whole thing, give us some parts to work with." Legorii was thinking fast, on his feet, looking for a way to make this work. He was in freefall, completely improvising everything. Sergeant Caedes had not issued specific orders, not really any orders at all. But one thing Legorii knew is that they could not move to try and take a building. None of them were structurally sound, blown apart and unstable. It would also paint a target across their chests, to be roped down into a set position. Not good on a mission like this.
At first no one moved. Then Dathka, shuddering, went over to the corpse and began dragging them up against the wall of a collapsed building. Raith and Qu went over and began taking the bike apart, while Dorn stood beside Legorii. "What do you think Dorn? We dont have any supplies to work with...this is going to be entirely improvised. Hmm...Dathka, check those bodies for weapons!" Dathka nodded and went back to hauling the corpses, patting them down as he did so. It was under five minutes when Blue Mist convened once more.
Dathka laid before Legorii his findings. A broken vibroblade, jagged and bloodied. Legorii took the hilt in his hands, pondering. Then he put it back down and picked up the next item recovered. A semi-automatic rifle, with a single clip left. The next: a strip of leather. Legorii handed it to Qu. "Qu, hook it up to the rifle, behind the bodies. Tie the leather around the trigger, and stick the gun in a dead Vong's hand. You know, just to mix em up. When I give the order, pull the string. Nice and simple that way."
Meanwhile, the communication array had been rigged. A few rifles had been taken apart, some buildings looted, and a speederbike gutted. They had also added some crucial elements that had been packed, but the array was still pathetic looking. As it was switched on, a terrible screeching was hear. Raith kicked it, and the screeching stopped. Now all they could hear was a faint buzzing. Raith immediately set to tuning it, trying to pick up some Arconan transmissions.
Turning back to the items, Legorii's comm beeped. It was Caedes. "Sergeant, status update! I am here with the rest of Blue Mist, and we are improvising defensive plans to the best of our ability. Temporary, of course. We have also improvised a communication array to try and either intercept enemy communications or get fellow transmissions. Have you any information on when this diversion is to begin?"
It was the sharp crunch of chitin-plated boots that caused both Dark Jedi to spin around, dropping to the floor like shadows as the unit of Vong came around the corner of the building they were using as cover.
Sashar Kodiak Erinos’ jaw tightened and his eyes narrowed slightly as the warriors approached his and Illian’s position, his hand moving slowly to his sabre-hilt. A strange sensation began to tickle his skin, a kind of static energy in the air that caused his hairs to stand on end, signalling his apprentice was drawing power from his mystical gauntlets. The Pro-Consul glanced sideways briefly, seeing the young Hunter’s eyes were shut, hiding the glow of his eyes as he submerged himself in the force.
The lead Vong stopped suddenly, his beady eyes darting around warily, his hand shooting up in the air to stop the troops behind him. A warrior behind barked something alien to the leader who growled a response, causing the unit to fan out and begin to search the area. Cursing under his breath, the Prelate turned back to his apprentice and, speaking low and quickly, outlined the new plan.
“It seems we may have to fight after all. On my signal you will break for Soulfire. When you get there, tell them the plan and bring them towards that HQ Hub we encountered. They have demolitions experts that we may be able to use.” He paused for a moment, watching a little smile flicker on Illian’s lips. Shooting out a fist, the obelisk grabbed the Hunter’s neck and drew him close enough that he could almost see the mad-man’s face through his visor. “Do you understand my orders Illian?”
At first there was no response, but then Illian’s lids slid open revealing two luminescent orbs that shone through the tinted plate that covered his eyes, basking both him and his Master in a toxic green glow.
“Like they were my own thoughts Sashar. Though I would best hurry… I think they have seen us.” Illian smiled and the Pro-Consul ignited his sabre, spun around and stabbed it into a Vong Warrior’s neck just as it gave the cry to alert its brethren to the Jedis’ position. It fell to the floor, blood spilling from its mouth, still reaching for its targets. As Sashar moved forward to engage the rest, Illian finished the dying Vong with a savage kick before moving to his Master’s side.
“I told you to RUN you fool! We need support, not stupidity! NOW MOVE!” His orange blade darted out to sever another head, being met by the Warrior’s rigid Amphistaff. The creature suddenly became supple, coiling around Sashar’s blade and lashing out viciously at the Veteran Obelisk’s arm. De-activating his sabre he spun, causing the ‘Staff to lose its grip, re-activating it just as he turned the full three-sixty degrees. The Vong stood motionless for a moment before the top half of his head fell to the floor, the rest of his body following swiftly.
Illian grabbed something from his belt and threw it a few meters forward, into the on-coming Vong. He nodded to Sashar before darting off towards Soulfire’s position, allowing himself a small smile as he heard the tell-tale boom-puff of one of his brother’s smoke grenades go off. Hopefully Sashar could use the cover, and Illian had made some modifications to the device himself. After sampling part of a Vong heart he had found during the last campaign, he discovered a toxin that could rapidly increase or decrease their heart rate for a few moments, causing little harm but heavy disorientation. The smoke was of course laced with it.
As he darted from shadow to shadow he broke radio silence to contact Blue Mist, coding his message carefully.
“Blue Mist this is Syn. I have been separated from the unit and am currently cut off. A *diversion* would be of use *now*!” He put extreme emphasis on the two words he wanted his Squad Leader Caedes to acknowledge. Satisfied he put on an extra burst of speed, seeing the plaza his Arconan brethren were trapped in ahead, only half a click away.
Dorn started thinking on his feet as well. "Maybe some trip mines well hidden might be of some help?" He said looking at Legorii with some trips he had found in his hand.
"Find a good place to put them and hope they will be successful." Legorii told the trooper.
"He set them up and moved toward Dathka when he heard some footsteps. He turned and saw a Vong heading their way. He dashed behind some cover and pulled his E-11 out and waited till everyone else was ready. He peeked out took just one shot but was too late as one of the trips he set blew the Vong clear into the air.
He heard something from the comm that Raith had set up. He dashed over to him. Looked at Legorii for approval to talk. He found out through the slightly broken up message that it was Illian. He helped Raith to get it clearer.
"Diversion would be extremely great now guys!" they heard Illian say.
Dorn got the mic for it. "Illlian, we are kind of pinned right now. Not like Soulfire but getting there. Caedes has left and is headed..." An explosion went off. "your way." He concluded.
"Okay. Just do as much of a diversion as you can it would help us and Caedes to get these guys out so we can too."
Dorn put the mic down and ran to Legorii as they were now under fire again. One Vong wasn't getting hit and he reached them and right as Dorn pulled out a thermal he remembered the second of the three trips he laid. The Vong hit it but continuted on. Limping but still going. The last one would have to do it or the thermal was thrown. The warrior hit the trip and went down. He drew his Amphistaff but was dead in seconds as everyone threw some type of grenade in which all the explosions did an InstaGib on what was left of the Vong.
"Illian said he wanted a diversion as he has visual contact on Soulfire. He cant reach them due to no diversion to open up a way for the elites to get to him for extraction." Dorn told Legorii. He called everyone over.
"Okay guys we will have to make a run towards Soulfire and try and cause the greatest diversion ever, explosions and shooting is all that we need. We see Illian ignore him but still avoid shooting too close to him so as to not risk a friendly fire accident. Understood?" Legorii said looking at them and getting a positive nod from them all. He got up and so did they. They started there trek and hopefully successful last attempt at a great diversion.
“W…re kinda pin…now. Not like…but…there….Caedes…your way!”
The message crackled in Illian’s headset as he sprinted through the broken street towards a ruined tower, earlier from which he had seen the vapour trails of Rho’s sniper rifle raining death down onto the Vong oppressors in the street below. The battle did not seem to be going well, with the second story sniper vantage point now nothing but rubble, no doubt the result of an explosion Illian had noted earlier. There was no sign of Rho, or any of the other Soulfireans, but the sounds of battle could be heard hot and heavy just the other side of the tower.
Just as Illian was about to call to see what Caedes’ status was something impacted into his helmet, sending the lightly built Hunter flying forwards, ears ringing. The world blurred and Illian could taste blood at the back of his throat as he fought to regain his senses. He rolled onto his back to see a large Vong, half its face torn to shreds from shrapnel wounds, bearing down on him. Utilising his small frame and quick reflexes he kicked out, using the force to land on his feet just as his adversary swung a mighty fist towards his head. Vachinoi and Nochinoi embraced in a cross guard which absorbed most of the impact but caused the mad Hunter to slide backwards slightly.
At first the Warrior seemed confused, its primitive understanding of the effect of hitting a creature as small as Illian with its large fist not able to absorb the shielding effects of the gauntlets fast enough; the creature recovered and attempted to swing again, only to swipe the empty air in front of it.
“Not…good…enough…TRY HARDER!” Came Illian’s enraged scream from somewhere to the left of the Vong, on its blind side. Spinning, it roared in anger as a small explosion impacted into its carapace armour. Soon the air around it began to thicken and its heart began to speed up and slow down making the beast dizzy, sending it stumbling through the smoke. With its one good eye it looked up to see a demon soaring through the cursed fog towards him, green fire billowing out of a hellish blue visor.
Illian sent his razor gauntlets exploding into the warriors head, allowing a moment to soak in the blood and gore, living again in the rapture clarity of death. Then the killing time was over, and crouched in the billowing smoke he spoke to Soulfire over a short-wave scrambled channel.
“Syn to Soulfire: Am ready for emergency assistance. Prepare the VIP’s and clear a landing zone. ETA on the Retribution is thirty minutes. Caedes and JS are en-route. I’m prepped and ready to bleed these pathetic creatures: Awaiting confirmation. Out.”