Operation Eclipse - House Galeres Run-on Portion
The air was still and the darkness all-encompassing as Zandro Erinos, leader of House Galeres, sat on the floor of his dormitory with his legs folded and his senses stretched out. He rarely found time to meditate in recent times, and when he did he rarely enjoyed what he saw. Flashes of anger danger and darkness flitted through his visions, clouding his mind with doubt and a lack of comprehension which left the Battlemaster thoroughly annoyed.
It is coming...
Zandro’s mind was filled by an ethereal voice and he tried to concentrate on it, his concentration piqued and his senses tingling with a mixture of apprehension and worry.
Where there was once light, darkness is on its way. Where there was once Brotherhood, there will be battle. An Eclipse is coming...
Zandro’s eyes shot open at once and he was surprised to find his skin coated with a thin film of cold sweat. His mind was buzzing as he tried to comprehend the words he had just heard and why they seemed to fill him with so much resignation and opportunity. Mind still whirling as it attempted to find an explanation for the message, he reached for his commlink and clicked it over to his new Aedile’s frequency.
“Rho, meet me in my office ASAP please, I need your help with something.”
“...and that’s how the vision goes. Now, I’m not sure what it is but I want the House on full alert. I want to be prepared to move if anything happens. We don’t know what, but it’s coming.”
Rho nodded smartly and strode from the room, his task evident and his mind obviously focused just as Zandro’s had been. What was this Eclipse that was coming?
OOC: Okay guys, the basic storyline so far is that you are all around the Galeres base and you have just received/are soon to receive the ‘full alert’ order. What are you doing? It’s just general downtime, so just write as though it’s a normal day. Training, sleeping, eating, planning etc. Make it good guys, and I’ll be around to move the story along as and when.
Let’s do this Galeres!
Another spurt of blood spattered across Illian’s face as he twisted one of his gauntlets, buried deep within the man’s chest, a frozen scream distorting his victims face. Another small movement send even more vitae spraying out, though with less force, and Syn knew that the time for enjoyment was nearly over. This latest morsel was the owner of a gentlemen’s establishment, though that had hardly contributed to his current situation. Instead he had been chosen because no one would miss him, Illian already having been in trouble several times over killing carelessly within Galeres territory.
“So now our little game has to end. You have been such a good sport, all that screaming, all that bleeding… I almost wish we could start over.” The Dark Jedi spoke conversationally as he watched the life ebb out of the scrawny human. “Of course, the fun isn’t over yet. I believe you screamed out a name during your agony… a lover maybe? Perhaps even a wife…” As the last shred of energy left his victim he thought he saw one final emotion in his eyes, agony, or even sadness. Such was the way Syn like to see his conquests die; a completed cycle of despair, pain, and finally resigned fear and sadness.
He pulled his razor-sharp gauntlets free of the corpse, letting it fall to the floor. He dipped his tongue out tentatively to lick some of the red stain from his lips, closing his pulsating green eyes to savour the last moments of his favourite pastime. Soon he would have to dismember the corpse and take it to the burial ground with the rest, to be taken back into the earth that would in turn give him so many more mortals to taste. Slowly his senses, heightened through the force for maximum enjoyment, began to return to normal.
Just as he was about to begin cleaning up, a small beeping sounded from his coat, discarded to the side of the small apartment he owned in Eldar City, within easy range of his house’s home base. Glaring at the device, he answered briskly.
“What is it? I’m very busy right now!”
“Its your Quaestor Syn. Get back to base right now.” Zandro sounded tense, but Illian was hardly ready to give up his kill just yet.
“Master Zandro, if you could give me just a few more hours, I have to get rid of this…” He was cut off by Zandro before he could finish.
“I don’t want to know Hunter. Just get it cleaned up and get back here.” The communication ended, and Illian put away the device as he put on his coat. Looking down at the body, he pulled out a long knife and shrugged. Whatever his house wanted could wait just a little longer…
Dorn walked out of the lunch room with a full belly. He turned to the left and started walking towards his bed for a little rest. He had been doing some target practice nearly all day and wanted to rest a little before his next task. Hunt a few miles outside the city limits so he could feel a little more Rodian. Lucky for him the place he hunted was filled with creatures that also lived on Rodia.
He walked into his room to see a datapad on his cot. He picked it up. A note on it read:
Here is a new one for you. Might not want to try and get it destroyed, okay?
He just smiled and heard someone enter. He turned to see Caedes and Legorii standing there.
"Dorn, come on we are having a team meeting." Caedes said.
"Just recently thought of?" Dorn asked.
"Yes, but it is more of a House meeting. Just follow us." Legorii said. He continued. "Everyone else is there apparently, except for Illian who is doing what he usually does."
"He lives like a natural wild Rodian. Just living for the thrill of killing." Dorn said. "And that Rodian remains in me but very little since discovering the Force."
Dorn stopped and turned back into his room. "Don't want to forget anything just let me check and see if i have everything."
Legorii nodded to Dorn. He had just had lunch himself, going over plans with Caedes. They had been surprised when they had gotten the alert from Zandro, but not too anxious themselves. This was Galeres, they got alerts like this from time to time. They had quickly finished their lunch, a basic meal that they were accustomed to during their time in House Galeres. Legorii gathered up his weapons, holstering his A280 blaster rifle at a hip holster and sheathing his family katana over his back. The blade had served him well, but the time was drawing close that he would wield a lightsaber of his own. But it was not that day yet, and until then the katana would continue to rack up the kills for its master.
"Sergeant, should we seek out the rest of Blue Mist? If this alert turns out to be more than just a false alarm or a cursory thing, we should have the whole team assembled and ready for battle. We best serve the House by being prepared and dedicated, not by being spread out and milling around growing lax and fat."
Legorii chuckled, there was no chance that Blue Mist would grow fat. Sergeant Caedes Erebus was a demanding leader, and he kept his team in shape and ready for all the threats they would face, and even the threats they would not, like fighting their own brethren.
Caedes didnt crack a smile, his face stern as he stood up. "Yes Corporal, I see Dorn now." Together they headed off to meet the Rodian. After a brief exchange of words, he joined them. Apparently Illian was off again, hunting. Of course, that was how he brought honor to the team. They set off towards the barracks, in search of the rest of the team.
JS was likely to be in his room, as were Dathka and Raith. They set off at a brisk pace, not quite a jog but quicker than just a leisurely walk. Until they got a follow up report on this alarm, they couldnt rule out the possibility that it was a serious threat, endangering all of them or their objectives. The winding halls betrayed a few grave faces or bewildered glances, but it was silent. No hurried words, swearing, issuing of orders. Every member seemed to be going about their own business, daily business with an increased sense of urgency.
"Guys...you think this is serious? What is going on? A Vong follow up? I hope not, the Dark Brotherhood isn't prepared to deal with another threat after the last war. An internal threat, a rogue? I doubt it, we are more than capable of dealing with individual threats. What is this all about?"
Neither of Legorii's close friends replied at first. They just kind of stared off, maintaining the brisk pace but as silent as the rest of the House seemed to be. Then Dorn turned and shrugged. "I dont know Corporal. I guess we will just have to wait and see what the coming hours and days will bring."
Caedes sort of nodded absently, as they turned another corner. They were almost to the small barracks given to the battleteam, near the private rooms of the Corporal and Sergeant. Dorn was right, they would just have to wait and see what was to come.
Sorrow stood calmly, peacefully within the enclosed hydroponic garden. His senses absorbed all the sweet scents of the flowers as the pre-ventilated breeze stirred their petals. His hands held out from his sides caressed and felt the life stirring in the delicate leaves. The silky smooth surfaces called forth a memory of the one who had raised him and taught him how to survive within the world he now found himself.
He could almost hear her singing, her delicate voice was a strange accompaniment to the calm serenity of the garden in which he now found himself peacefully reminiscing. As the sweet memories of his time with her floated on the dew scented winds of his surroundings in a sort of harmony, so too, did the harsh memories of her death cradle the sting on his temple coupled with the thin drop of blood caressing his face.
A thin smile permeated through his mind but failed to pierce the surface of his solemn demeanor as the presence of his current attentions stepped forth from behind a tree within the garden. The tranquility of his thoughts crumbled briefly as a message came through audibly over the communicator.
*House Geleres is on high alert. All personnel report to HQ immediately.*
Holstering his DL-18 blaster, his thoughts now turned to other matters as he swept through the doors containing the garden, leaving nothing but sweet smells, pretty flowers and a corpse.
*I’d better check in and let them know I’ve arrived.* Was Sorrow’s only thought now that didn’t already encompass the new tasks ahead, the new lives he would take.
Sergeant Caedes Erebus stood with his Master Rho d'Tana and Quaestor of his House Galeres, Zandro Erinos. Caedes had been seeking out his Master and found him enroute to Zandro's dormitory so he had followed. "I am calling an emergency House Meeting. Rho, inform everyone and Caedes assemble your Battleteam. "Yes Quaestor" said Rho and Caedes in unison. Leaving the dormitory they parted their ways.
Caedes honed in on Legorii's Force Presence and found him in the mess hall, enjoying a medium-rare nerf steak, cup of caf and a bread roll. Caedes creapt up behind his Corporal and quickly swiped the roll from the new Guardian. "Hey!! You get your own you know" said Legorii, brining his head up to bear to see the theif. When he saw it was Caedes, he immiediatly apologized. "Sorry Legorii, we have buisness, plus there's a line" said Caedes gesturing to the mess' line. "I see...and what is our buisness?" asked Legorii, gathering the equipment he had put down. "We must assemble the Team" ordered Caedes, taking a bite out of the bread. "I see...Raith and JS are probably in their quarters or JS is out flying" put in Legorii. "Dorn and Illian?" he asked as he used the Force to swipe two more rolls from the line and handed one to his Corporal as repayment. "Ermm...I think you may have to take Dorn's bread as well" quipped Legorii. Sure enough, over in the corner of the mess was a Blue Mist Trooper, chowing down on two nerf steaks and a bowl of Garconian stew as well. Caedes looked impassive as he strode over to his hungry Trooper. Legorii chuckled as Dorn got up and left the hall just as Caedes neared him. "Most likely on his way back to his room for a nap" said Legorii as he neared his boss. "Just as well...we'll get him on his way. The duo caught Dorn as he was indeed preparing for a nap. "Come Dorn, we have a meeting" said Caedes, standing in his doorway, still munching on his stolen roll. "Just thought of?" asked Dorn. "Yes, but more of a House meeting" said Legorii. "Ok then, I'll grab my gear" said Dorn, fetching his blue helmet and his EE-2 from a side table. "Legorii, get Raith and then you, him and Dorn meet in the Grand Hall" ordered Caedes . "Yes sir. What are you going to do?" asked Legorii. "I'm going to get our flyboy and...Illian" replied the Sergeant, heading out the doors to the cool Eldar afternoon. First, Caedes went to the landing pad and sure enough, there was JS, high in the sky, doing a simulation with his A-9 Interceptor. The Erebus was in luck as the simulation was ending as Caedes neared the fighter. Caedes relayed the set of orders and JS took off towards the Grand Hall. Slowly, the wind whipping his cape, the Jedi Hunter turned towards Eldar City and steeled himself for the moments ahead. Using his Force enhanced speed, Sergeant Caedes Erebus went to retireve the last member of his Team.
It took about an hour to get to Illian Syn's apartment. He steeled himself once more and used the card that Illian had give him to open the door of the apartment. Blood spattered the floor and a rather puny and scrawny man's corpse lay in the corner. Syn himself was just putting on his Blue Mist armor, still immaculetly clean. "Afternoon Sarge" greeted Illian. "Afternoon Illian" said Caedes. "Here to bring me back to base I suppose?" asked Illian nonchantaly. "Yea...House meeting" reported the other Hunter. "I know, Zandro commed me, but I had to get cleaned up...and I just finished so we can go" said Illian cheerfully, just as he always was after a pleasing kill. "So we should" said Caedes turning and striding out the aparment door.
The pair of Hunters walked into the Grand Hall and met with his other Troopers. "Has the meeting started Corporal?" Caedes asked of his second. "Nothing yet sir" reported Legorii. "Good, it shan't be long" said Caedes, for he had worried that it would have started while he was retriving Illian. "We shall wait here Troops...this has to be important" ordered Caedes, taking a seat in the Hall.
As they stood in the hall, awaiting the arrival of their house summit to begin the emergency meeting, Illian looked around at the other members of Blue Mist standing near him. Caedes, his Sergeant in the team but his equal within the Brotherhood, was standing pensively, his yellow eyes fixed on some distant point as he flexed his cybernetic hand absently, no doubt already forming battle plans for Blue Mist based on whatever worst case scenario he could imagine as they waited. This was what made him the best candidate for team-leader, constant preparation, and even at his most nonchalant, Illian did not envy him the position.
Standing slightly off to Caede’s left was Legorii, the corporal of Blue Mist. The towering Anzat was fiercely loyal to his Sergeant and his team, and would one day make a fearsome adversary. Syn’s eyes narrowed slightly as he watched the large alien look around pensively, allowing himself to dwell on his team-mate’s misguided concept of his sadistic tendencies. He had over-heard the Anzat referring to Illian’s numerous kills as honourable, and he couldn’t be further from the truth. Perhaps he would have a chance to see first hand how depraved the broken Hunter’s mind really was when they found out why the meeting had been called.
Finally his gaze came to rest on Dorn, the Blue Mist Rodian. Since confronting the abuse he received from a Rodian crime lord during his first bout of madness he had lost a lot of the animosity towards the strange-looking aliens, but that didn’t mean he liked them. Dorn seemed alright however, brandishing a fancy sword in battle and more or less holding his own.
The rest of the troops gathered in the hall held little interest for Syn as slowly the good mood he was in soured with boredom. On a whim he flipped open his com-link and dialled a very familiar id code. Within seconds his brother’s face appeared, solemn and controlled as usual, only the small tilt of his eyebrow betraying his mood at seeing Illian after a long separation.
“Brother, you are needed. Seems like something has upset our Quaestor,” the mad Hunter crooned to the blue-eyed Guardian.
“Yes I know. I’m five minutes out.” The communicator went dead and Illian’s eyes began pulsating at anticipation of Sorrow’s arrival. It had been too long since they had been hunting together, and if the feeling in his gut was anything to go by, this was going to give them a prime chance.
“You don’t see that too often?” Kieran asked his brother who lay beside him in the cramped confines of the makeshift hide they had erected to conceal their position. They were part the way up a hill covered in a thicket of low lying bushes, offering them the perfect camouflage from which to take their marks. Juda lay beside him, garbed similarly in full Mandalorian battle armour, dressed for the occasion they were hunting their comrades. The schedule for the day had been completely devoted to a paired training exercise for the Soulfire platoon with the bonus prize being given to whatever pair bagged the ‘four-sees’ as they had colloquially dubbed force users in the typical military fashion that was rife in their culture.
“What do you mean?” Juda asked, without so much as a twitch of a muscle, he was frozen in position, the opaque view port of his helmet a hairsbreadth from the scope of the Lancer Projectile rifle.
“There’s Jarg,” Kieran replied pointing to a lone figure stalking through the riverbed that ran along the valley floor, mindful of his surroundings but still unaware of his impending doom, “but no Riila.”
“Check, and they’re rarely apart, you reckon she got tagged earlier and he made it?” he asked, of course the answer would have been easily discovered by increasing their force perception beyond the small confines of their chest. They had agreed to negate their force powers for the exercise as Kieran had wished to raise the bar for the ‘four-sees’ on this particular outing.
“Doubtful, that would have come in over the scanner,” the Sergeant replied, his eye flickering momentarily to the corner of his HUD to check his comm. feeds for activity, which remained resolutely silent as they had done for the previous three hours.
“You reckon he wan’t us to break cover don’t you?” asked his companion.
“It’s either that or they’re pulling a very gutsy baiting move- oh wait there’s Riila, up four-fourty left oh-thirty,” Kieran replied highlighting the sector on their field of view.
“Check,” Juda replied confirming he had the Mandalorian female in view, “she’s silhouetted on the ridge .. silly girl.”
“Got shot?” Kieran asked.
“Take on my mark,” Kieran replied settling into the shoulder stock on his own rifle. The ammunition had been changed to paint rounds without any adjustment needed for the rifle save to turn the plasma jets off allowing for easy use in training exercises. The crosshair painted onto his HUD settled momentarily over Jarg, rising and falling in time to his steps in order to find the perfect kill shot to the tip of the ear lobe, right through the armour and into the central nervous system to drop him silently in less than a second if it were loaded with live ammunition. His shot would have been perfect, a gift, which is why it worried him so much. His thoughts were just collecting when a rustle to their rear brought him from his trance.
“Afternoon Sarge,” a voice boomed out from behind them telling Kieran they had been made. He turned his head to see Maku and Loran the two Sergeants of Soulfire’s support squads beaming down at them.
“Shabla,” Kieran muttered knowing they'd been had.
“Check,” Juda agreed.
“So Jarg and Riila were bait? I didn’t mention anything about working together on this,” Kieran muttered absent mindedly.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Maku replied still beaming.
“So some of my father’s teachings got into your thick skull then Maku,” Kieran laughed holding his hand up to he pulled to his feet.
Kieran turned round to Juda to find why the normally quite boisterous squad member was silent.
“Priority transmission coming through,” Juda spoke from where he was kneeling, “Zandro wants you back, looks like with got a game big brother.”
“Right then kids, you heard the man, round ‘em up and tab back to HQ, suit up for deployment full kit,” Kieran snapped his order off quickly receiving a chorus of checks from the men surrounding him. He expended his presence suddenly in the force, absorbing the vibrant life of Eldar around him but seeking out the other other Force users in their squad, they had to be informed, time the force told him, was of the essence.
The tension was building palpably in the hall as the gathered Galerians waited to here why they were put on alert. It appeared that talk of a meeting had been the product of a grape vine, one nervous Arconan telling another that there must be some sort of formal address to justify the high alert. Somewhere along the line, the hall became the meeting place, and now every Galerian within range of the base was gathered in nerve-wracking suspense.
Illian sighed, playing with another of the modified bacta canisters he used to store his victims’ eyes. This one contained the fresh pair that had belonged to his latest toy, their irises clouded to a dull grey. Not his favourite set, but the only he had with him. The tense atmosphere of the room was lost on him, his broken mind already providing a myriad of distractions to absorb his concentration.
“Greetings Brother, nice trophies. Fresh?” The voice belonged to Rosh Sorrow Prototype, Illian’s blood-brother and oldest friend within the Brotherhood. Syn looked up, beaming, and held out the container for closer inspection.
“Just this morning. I was barely finished when I got the call. Come, I want to introduce you to some new friends.” The Hunter leapt up, eyes gleaming, and grabbed Sorrow by the shirt, dragging him over to where Caedes and Legorii were having a low conversation. The Blue Mist Sergeant looked up with a frown, nodding curtly to Illian and fixing Sorrow with a hard stare.
“Trooper,” he said as way of greeting, “who is this?” His eyes had not left Sorrow’s, the two locked in a stare that spoke volumes. Illian’s smile faded as he watched them both, his neon-pupils beginning to glow in irritation. Crossing his arms he began to tap his armoured boot impatiently.
Sorrow remained impassive, showing neither anger nor fear at Caede’s cold reception. Instead he took one measured step forward and held out his hand.
“I am Sorrow Prototype, Guardian of Arcona.” After a moment the Blue Mist Sergeant took it and smiled thinly.
“Well met Sorrow. I am Caedes, Hunter and Commander of Blue Mist. Come to sign up or just touring?” There was a challenge in the remark, but as usual Sorrow remained unperturbed.
“That all depends. My brother here enjoys being in the squad immensely, but then again what Syn finds enjoyable is usually far from pleasurable for most.” He watched as a slightly repulsed look passed across the Sergeant’s face, an indication that Caedes had experienced Illian’s depravities first hand. “Luckily I am not one of those people.”
Whilst the two chatted, Illian had been far away. Something had tugged at his awareness in the force, giving rise to the unique foresight his mental condition allowed. Twisted fragments of the future spun like pieces of a broken mirror across his vision, glimpses of what was yet to come jumbled together in a way that made Illian’s stomach lurch. Vertigo hit him like a tidal wave making the room spin, as the images he was hallucinating moved faster and faster. He closed his eyes to escape the vision, but the darkness of his mind only made it worse. In the back of his mind Torment was screaming as again the vortex of future-shards moved faster.
Just as he thought his mind had finally been destroyed under the strain of his illness, certain images exploded randomly from the force-infused hallucination, and in his madness he found he could link them together in bizarre patterns. Soon he could feel the vision beginning to unfold, as images of a ship he knew to be the Shadow exploding in a fiery ball, thousands of star fighters buzzing around it like flies. Then it was gone, replaced by hundreds of tiny figures locked in battle, glowing blades of rainbow hues lighting up a night sky as they clashed across a great plain.
The largest shard he had seen yet stabilised and began to resolve, an image he knew would be the key, when he started to feel his meagre control of the force start to slip away. He howled in frustration as he was dragged back into the presence, the world spinning violently out of control once more. He felt a solid hand on his shoulder, lurching his vision back into the Galeres Hall. Nausea washed over him and before he knew it he was on his hands and knees looking at the contents of his stomach.
“What happened Syn?” The usually measured tone of his brother’s voice was cracked with a hint of concern as he bent over the fallen Hunter.
“Vision… battles… war… with…” Illian struggled to finish the sentence as he coughed up more bile. After a while the nausea receded and he shakily got to his feet, looking up to see most of Blue Mist and a large contingent of his fellow Galerians standing around, the violence of his outburst enough to attract a degree of attention. A large wolfish smile twisted his mouth and his eyes lit up like twin chemical suns, the final image leaving a residual name burnt into the broken Jedi’s mind. “…War with Qel-Droma!”
All around him the hall erupted into chaos. Arconans shouted and argued over whether or not the insane human could be relied upon, hotly debating the ability of the Summit to allow such a thing. In the middle of it all Sorrow and Syn shared a joyous smile, both minds thinking as one, madness and chaos blending with calm and methodical to reach one glorious thought.
Today they marched to war…
As the chaos in the hall erupted, there were two men entering who were both silent and unnoticed by all. Zandro and Rho walked along the side of the hall until they reached the podium, which they walked up to and from there surveyed their comrades. Zandro turned to his right hand with a wry grin as he spoke in a low tone.
“This should be fun. Try to gauge their reactions, I want to be able to analyse this after.”
Turning back to the assembled Dark Jedi, he saw that some had realised he had finally appeared and were either settling down or looking at him with something bordering suspicious anger. He gave the rest of the crowd several more seconds of uproar before he finally decided to bring the meeting to order.
“I see the news I am about to bring to you has been revealed. No matter, my words are still important and must still be obeyed.”
The words, amplified by the speaker system, were enough to silence the crowd to a person and bring their attention firmly upon their leader.
““Galeres, I come before you today, to inform you of our current mission. As some of you may know, Quejo has defied the Clan Summit and will be waging war upon the Jedi of Eclipse. Whether you think he’s right or wrong, we are to intercept the Shadow and bring the Quaestor back to the Clan Summit, alive. Ready your weapons men…War is upon us.”
Murmurs began to spread amongst the crowd and Zandro simply waited for the first question to actually be voiced.
“Why are we fighting them and not joining them?”
Before Zandro could respond however, one of his commanders spoke up for him.
“Fighting the Jedi is suicide, whether we are with or against Qel-Droma. If we can stop them before they get to the Jedi we can avert a very damaging conflict, as well as proving to the Clan Summit that we are truly the first House of Arcona.”
Zandro nodded his thanks at Caedes as the noise in the room failed to subside. One of the newer members spoke up, evidently confident of being hidden by the crowd.
“I’m not afraid of no stinking Jedi, i say we join our brothers!”
“Are you afraid of me?”
Zandro’s words were softly spoken but cut through the remaining conversation like a hot vibroblade through nerf milk. Silence reigned as Zandro gave the member a chance to speak, but no sound came forth and so he carried on, his voice quieter but no less powerful.
“Now here this. I know some of you may not agree, but it is not your decision to make. If we make the Jedi aware of us now we will all die. Every one of us will be wiped out and make no mistake about it. The Jedi may be a shell of their former glory, but we have seen that they never stop coming. Check your weapons, do your test runs and prepare for a fight. If I see any one of you not fighting at your fullest, I will kill you myself. Qel-Droma must be stopped for the good of Arcona and the Brotherhood as a whole.”
Zandro’s voice was slowly creeping louder as he attempted to stress the importance of catching their sister House.
“Commanders, you have new information on your datapads with which you can work out the ways you can best prepare for this threat. I am available if you need me, but contesting this decision will earn you nothing but a short trip to a body-bag. Assemble on the Darkest Night in the next 2 hours so that we can follow our brothers as soon as possible. Dismissed.”
Zandro strode from the hall, silence surrounding him as he headed to his office and the quiet bliss that his planned meditation would bring him before the conflict ahead.
Legorii watched silently as the Quaestor and Aedile of House Galeres informed them of their mission. He was loyal to his leaders, to an extent. The one member of the Brotherhood who would have his undying loyalty was his Master, Strategos Thanatos Entar Arconae. Sergeant Talos Annedu had his loyalty, but if he moved against the team, the Corporal would not hesitate to move against him. Quaestor Zandro Savric Erinos had his loyalty to the same extent, and would have it in this conflict because Legorii believed that the course of action to be taken was in fact the best option.
So as he listened to the soft commands of Zandro, spoken over the strange silence of the hall, Legorii felt the fire grow within him. How dare Quejo Drakai Xyler act against the Clan Summit and their fellow House, brothers turning against brothers in a foolish act of war. The Corporal of Blue Mist would wield his cold katana against those brothers, although he was not eager to do so. He would follow Zandro's orders to the best of his ability and help lead Blue Mist to do the same.
As the speech ended, Legorii turned to Talos. "Sergeant, what do you make of this? It seems that it is authentic, Quejo truly has turned against the Summit. I assume you will support our Quaestor throughout this ordeal? I know I will, that is where my allegiance lies, with the glory of House Galeres." Legorii's voice was low, it did not carry through the hall as all around Galerans broke into their own individual conversations.
Talos merely sighed. "Corporal, I do not know. Come, let us prepare the team for this intercept mission. I assume the A-9's are already on the BAC 'Darkest Night'?" Legorii nodded, replacing his helmet over his head. "Sarge, I am gonna go board our Bothan Assault Cruiser early, make sure the A-9's are all ready. I trust you will gather the team?"
Caedes grinned and then the two went their separate ways. Legorii jogged off down the hall, passing some grumbling Galerans. It seemed that the House was not happy with what was going on, in general. Many were close with their Qel-Droman brethren, so of course they would have reason to resist.
The Corporal noticed Illian Syn and a new Galeran together. Legorii had not spoken with Illian, but he decided to take the opportunity to anyways. "Illian, I trust the hunting went well?" Legorii chuckled and clapped Illian on the back. "I hope you aren't tired though, from the looks of things there is much more work to do. Well I will see you on the 'Darkest Night', come ready to follow orders without hesitation, because I have a feeling this will be a precision operation."
Turning away again, Legorii resumed his jog down the hall. In just a few moments he had gathered all of his needed supplies and boarded the cruiser. He was not the first on board; everybody else had at least 20 minutes since Zandro's speech to start boarding. Legorii made his way to the hangar, surveying the A-9 Vigilance interceptors.
There were seven A-9's, lined up in the far corner of the hangar. They were unmarked fighters, because part of Blue Mist's strategy was to strike quickly and surprisingly. A few well aimed strikes and then fading back proved to be a very efficient form of attack. Legorii methodically checked each interceptor for any flaws, to find that all were working well.
Legorii then made his way out of the hangar and into the main corridor. More Galerans were shuffling in, each in their groups and posses. Legorii did not like what he saw; it seemed that House Galeres had splintered into these small groups of like-minded individuals. In this way the House could never hope to be a unified force, unstoppable.
Dorn saw Legorii outside the hangar and noticed he was focused on the many groups filing into the ship. He walked over to the Corporal and put his hand on his shoulder to get his attention.
"Don't worry we will be fine working together, as different as we are we work together just as well as Soulfire so don't worry." Dorn told him, noticing the look on his face.
"Eh, as long as every works just as well as Soulfire and us, we should be perfectly fine." Legorii responded.
"Well, I'm going to get ready in the Blue Mist dorm room area. Oh and give everyone one of these, they might be useful." The Rodian said, handing Legorii a box of a dozen paralyzing grenades.
Legorii nodded and Dorn headed to sleep. He laid down on a cot and a little while later got a message on his datapad. Caedes, or Talos, had called a meeting for the team so that they could get prepared for what lied ahead. Many of the team were more of land fighters but would adjust. JScumm would have to show some of his abilities to the less trained fighters, like Dorn who knew basic manuevers that work against unskilled pilots but his Dark Jedi brethren he knew it would barely be enough for him to survive.
He got up after laying down for another few minutes and headed to where Caedes said to go.
Illian’s eyes widened in surprise as Legorii laid a hand on his shoulder, mentioning something about his earlier hunt. Most members of the Brotherhood avoided him, and physical contact was a rarity. Giving the Corporal a small smile, he inclined his head in response to the Anzat’s query of his physical state.
Once Legorii had moved off to check the team’s equipment Illian and Sorrow moved towards Caedes. The Sergeant was checking a data pad with a look of heavy concentration. Catching the human’s eye, Illian bowed shortly, motioning his brother to do the same.
“Sergeant, I want to request the Retribution be instated for this mission. It is my belief that if we load five of the A-Nines into my ship’s cargo bay, it will be possible to keep an extremely low profile when we jump ahead of the rest of the fleet. Retribution can deploy fast if need be, and its reflective camouflage will help in concealing any tactical retreat if necessary.” Caedes thought for a moment, examining his pad once more, before turning back to Illian.
“Agreed. I’ve seen you’re theoretical read-outs on the Retribution’s rapid deployment operations and it may be a good time to try it out in the field. Legorii, myself, Dorn and CC will take four of the slots in the ship and the last we will leave for Sorrow here. By the way,” he said looking at Rosh, “you will find a Blue Mist uniform and amour configuration in the Battle Team Dorms on the Darkest Night. Dismissed troopers, rendezvous on the cruiser in ten minutes.” The Blue Mist sergeant turned and walked away.
Syn and Sorrow made their way to the Retribution and, after receiving launch confirmation from Galeres ground control, jetted out into the night sky of Eldar towards the Bothan Assault Cruiser. In five minutes they were ready to dock, and in ten they were assembled in the Blue Mist dormitories, armed and armored and awaiting the final address from Caedes before they launched on a mission that would take them to blows against their own brothers.
Distantly Illian wondered with a little bit of sadistic glee, what Mejas would do if he found out about his two rogue houses.
Shortly after Zandro’s brief, Juda had made his way to Soulfire’s personal armoury. As the adolescent entered the narrow room the lights flickered on automatically, drowning the row of shelves and cabinets in a blanket of vivid artificial light.
Lancer rifles and EPP-2 flechettes lined one wall while various pistols, combat blades and armour attachments lined the other, and assorted grenades glinted under the light from their resting place in a lone cabinet against the far wall.
Juda picked at the welt-like scar under his left eye as he stepped deeper into the narrow armoury, his pallid complexion flashing under each individual light fixture until he reached for a silenced SSK-7 pistol and holstered it to his thigh.
Kieran soon joined his two-I-see in kitting up and unhooked a Lancer before checking the sights and slinging it across his shoulder as Juda sheathed a menacing-looking Vibrocombat knife across his armoured chest.
‘Gearing up’ was almost therapeutic, the steady clicking sound of various weapons being checked, the silence before battle. Juda bathed in the tension.
“Come to daddy!” Juda had failed to notice his comrade, Xar step into the room and reach for his prized possession; a PLX-2 portable missile launcher. The weapon almost suited the heavy handed Corellian as he shifted it onto his back without so much as a grunt.
Juda laid a hand on Kieran’s shoulder, “I’m gonna run to the med-bay and kit up.” Kieran acknowledged his brother with a nod and as Juda walked out of the door the Sergeant called out; “We’ll be in the hangar!”
Commander Talos Annedu finished doing flight checks on his A-9 Vigilance Interceptor, nicknamed the 'Shroud'. As Talos walked down the flight ladder he ducked into the Dorms of his Battleteam. There he saw Prototype contemplating the weaponry racks. "May I suggest the Force Lance and Verpine Assault rifle?" he asked, appearing over Sorrow's shoulder. "You may" said Sorrow, reaching for the weapons. Talos walked over to his locker and began withdrawing his Flight Suit. He sat down on a bench and shrugged the reinforced, midnight blue material over his head. "How long have you known Illian?" questioned the Valheru. "Long time, can't really remeber" answered Prototype, now equipping his own Flight Suit on, the crest of Blue Mist displayed on the front of the control panel. "You'll join us after this war is over correct?" asked Talos of the Guardian. "I believe I may, assuming I like this" Sorrow answered as he picked up his helmet and strode out the door. The Annedu quickly rose and picked up four personal belongings. His Blue Shroud, the Team award, his lightsaber, his comlink and a picture. Displayed on it were two smiling Valheru men, each looking almost identical, except one was slightly taller...and currently enrolled in House Qel-Droma. "May we not meet Brother" he whispered solemly, tucking the picture into a suit pocket. Clipping his lightsaber onto his belt, he checked his blaster and picked up his flight helmet, the blue helmet marked with red stripes signifying him as a Commander. He put the helm under his shoulder and walked out of the dorms.
--Hangar of Bothan Assault Cruiser 'Darkest Night'--
Talos strode across the shiny floor of the hangar towards his Battleteam. However the other Sergeant in Galeres, Kieran Kodiak Erinos, appeared. A sense of brotherhood came over him and he walked over to the Mandalorian. He clasped his gloved hand on Kieran's Neo-Crusader armor and said "Good luck out there". "Same to you Talos" replied the Mandalorian Commander, giving him a grin before placing his matching helmet on top of his head. Talos continued on his route and arrived at the the rest of Battleteams A-9s. "Flight checks all green?" he inquired of JS. "Yes Commander, crystal". "All weapons are refueled and thrusters up to max, we should be ready for whatever Qel-Droma throws at us" said Dathka Lukkel, appearing from under his own A-9. Legorii noticed that Talos flinched at the words 'Qel-Droma' and it puzzled him briefly. Then the Anzat realized and felt pity for his leader. This was the first battle that he and his Brother may meet in on opposite sides. Shaking those thoughts from his head, he clipped on his own Blue Shroud just as Talos turned and said to him. "Make sure Syn is ready with the Retribution. I'll meet you there with Zandro" he ordered. Legorii saluted and strode off. Talos also left the group in search of the Quaestor. Brotherhood would be needed in this coming Feud...this War...so it was best if Galeres all stuck together. As Talos Annedu pulled on his flight helmet and turned, casuing his cape to flur, he felt a shrouded Force-presence reach out and touch him, wishing him good luck. Talos knew it was his Brother, somewhere near Eclipse and he sent an equally shrouded presence back. Feeling just a bit better, Talos knew that Galeres would win this War...no matter the cost.
Illian allowed his gaze to drift lazily over the pre-flight read-outs being displayed across the tactical screen on the bridge of the Retribution. The five A-9’s Illian would be screening were locked in his cargo bay, their pilots ready for rapid deployment. Caedes had gone up to the bridge at Zandro’s request, leaving Legorii in charge of preparing the battle team for immediate action. It seemed that their Quaestor was eager to close with his Qel-Droman counterpart, no doubt wishing to curry favour with Mejas Doto.
The battle plan they had discussed briefly was simple enough; once the Retribution deployed, it would head directly towards the Shadow, using its advanced shields to absorb as much fire as possible before launching the A-9’s at a devastatingly close range. The remaining Interceptors would launch separately, providing fighter escort to the Retribution until it’s lethal payload was delivered. Simple enough, provided CC, Dorn, Legorii, Caedes and Sorrow were able to deploy safely. Despite the Retribution’s ability to expose the entire cargo bay for quick deployment, a lot would hinge on the pilots’ skills; launching five fighters from a confined area was going to be dangerous, but if successful it would devastate the Shadow’s defences, leaving her open to attack from the rest of the Galerian fleet.
Illian was about to activate his communicator to find out where Caedes was when the whole ship rocked, sending the mad Hunter sprawling forward onto the control panel. Moments later another impact shuddered through the ship, accompanied by the deep groan of stressed durasteel that always heralded turbo-laser fire. Eyes blazing, Syn got up and staggered to the door, being thrown into a bulkhead as yet another earthquake wracked the Darkest Night. Sparks erupted from several consoles in the cramped bridge of the Retribution as circuits were shaken loose and wires were torn from couplings.
Just as the Hunter reached the door it hissed open and Caedes came rushing in. Grabbing Illian as he went, he almost threw the insane journeyman into the pilot’s chair, yelling orders frantically into his communicator.
“Blue Mist, go to alert status black! We are green for launch; repeat all fighters launch, launch, launch!” He focussed on Illian, who was staring at his Sergeant with a raised eyebrow. “Quejo has engaged us. We are officially at war with our brothers. Get this ship into the air Syn, we need to divert that laser-fire away from the ‘Night!” Illian barely heard the last words as he engaged the neural link between his cerebral cortex and the Retribution’s computer, feeling the distant thrill as his shattered mind merged with the ship until they were one.
The Retribution lurched out it’s moorings in the docking bay of the ‘Night as Caedes left the bridge and made his way down to the hold and his waiting A-9. As he went he was unsettlingly aware of the faint peal of deranged laughter that echoed down the black corridors that marked Illian’s merge with the computer, the ship adjusting to suit its new psychotic personality.
He reached the cylindrical hangar that held the A-9’s, the ships packed tightly around the walls and roof. Securing his helmet, he thumped the control panel next to the door to activate the null-gravity state that would allow him to float up to his ship, hanging upside down from the centre of the roof. Instantly he rose from the floor, a feeling of weightlessness flowing though him. He kicked out towards his A-9 and secured himself in the cockpit, letting his hands slide lovingly over the controls, familiar and comforting to the Blue Mist Sergeant. Firing up the auxiliary engines he opened the comm.-channel to the rest of his battle team.
“This is it Troopers. It’s time to earn our place in the legend of Arcona, to forever imprint our name in the mind and hearts of our brothers and sisters.
As of now, we are at war with Qel-Droma. They have fired the first shot, and so now it is our right to retaliate in the glorious tradition of war!
No longer will Soul Fire be the sole elite of our clan, for we shall rise up in this time of bloodshed and chaos to bring honour and glory to Galeres! Do not fear death, only fear dishonour, as we bring the black veil of death to those who would stand before us! Ride forth brothers, and like the mist of our name bring swift and silent doom to the traitors of Qel-Droma!”
A chorus of solemn ‘affirmative’s filled the channel before radio silence was observed. By now the Retribution was at the launch window of the ‘Night, red beams tracing paths across the black space beyond as the cruiser exchanged fire with the Shadow. With a sickening lurch, the small freighter engaged its thrusters and dropped into the battle.
Illian’s lips moved, mouthing garbled words and phrases as the data from the computer washed through his mind. He was aware of everything around the ship, feeling every burning laser blast and experiencing every stomach-turning twist and dive in the disorienting vertigo of space. Around him he could feel his other Blue Mist team-mates covering his approach as he drove towards the Shadow with his deadly payload.
The maelstrom of conflict within Arcona had found its centre, and soon the clan’s blood would flow freely. Illian felt the exhilarating thrill of death, felt it lift the veil of insanity that obscured his vision. In the chaos he became whole again, and he would ride the experience out to the last.
In the hanger, the five pilots prepared to deploy, the battle screams of the ships computer echoing through their radios, filling them with a lust for the blood of their kinsmen.
The squad had assembled in the dimly lit armoury, all five of them. Zandro was leading the clan with Rho at his side, Sashar of course was on Selen now most blatantly aware of Qel Droma’s actions and Galeres’ plight, the right fight in Kieran’s view. Amongst them was a new girl; Simoree Fleury. Kieran glanced over to her as she clipped the chest piece of her armour round her torso. The meld felt slightly different with a new presence in it never the less Kieran knew there was lessons to be learned from being chucked in at the deep end, should she survive then she would have certainly proved her mettle.
Kieran picked up the last familiar piece of his armour and felt the same tingling sensation in his stomach he felt each and every time. Under the light of the work bench Kieran’s helmet had gleamed its silvery grey colour, now removed it had darkened considerably. He lifted it up and slid it onto his head, inhaling deeply as he did lost momentarily in the nostalgia of the moment, remembering all those battles before. He turned round to look briefly in the mirrored wall behind him, catching sight of his brother Juda as well and remembered what intimidating figures he hand his ner’vode cut in full Mandalorian battle armour.
‘Orders have changed,’ as Kieran had put it earlier on arrival aboard the Darkest Night. Facing both Jedi and their brothers who knew them so well was a monumental task and when facing such a thing Kieran was reverting to his traditional Mandalorian training; victory through overwhelming fire power.
“Soulfire, go for launch in ten,” Zandro’s voice crackled into the confines of his helmet.
“Check, assignment ner’vode?” he asked.
“Transferring to you now, I need Quejo alive Kieran, alive,” Zandro’s voice hammered the points home as the mission briefing began to flood across his helmet’s heads up display.
“Check Chief,” Kieran replied, absorbed in the writing scrawled across the horizon.
“Oh and Kier’dika,” Zandro added, switching to the affectionate pronunciation of his name, Mando’a , “come back alive.”
“No problem ner’vode,” he replied, warmed by his half brother's concern, ‘Aliit ori’shya taldin – family is more than blood.”
“Ke’shush,” he spat out in his old parade ground voice, shocking himself at the amount of Mandalorian that poured out of him when he donned the armour. The squad snapt to attention as he desired, with the new girl a little slow on the uptake, probably still getting to grips with the amount of Mando’a they threw around. He checked them over briefly to establish an idea of how long they’d take to make ready and found they were a lot further on then he had imagined. Juda was finished, as like Kieran could still put on his Mandalorian armour faster than his normal squad suit.
“Crate’s up in nine and a half, and like I said orders have changed, we’re taking the Assault Marines and the Air Assault planet side and establishing a landing zone, we’ll be in direct command of the troops on the ground,” he paused for a moment glancing at the briefing a final time before continuing, “once the el-zees up we’re to form a battle line and hold for orders, don’t ask why just play along.”
“We engaging Light-sticks?” Mal piped up using the squad’s colloquial term for Light sided Jedi.
“When fired upon yes .. I’m not gonna bat an eye lid at odd pot shot or beheading but don’t draw us into a fight we can’t win, we’re here for our objectives not Quejo’s,” he finished pausing again to see if anyone wanted further clarification before he continued. “The Drexl’s loaded and ready to go, so Jay help Sim with the last bit of her kit and then we’re out.”
As Kieran and his team prepared for planet fall, the battle raged on around the Shadow and the Darkest Night. Swarms of TIE’s from both of the cruisers’ bays engaged in a chaotic melee as Qel-Droman and Galerian pilots fought for the honour of their clans.
An explosion erupted off to the left of Illian’s vision as he navigated the maelstrom that lay between his ship and the Shadow. So far he had attempted three passes at the large Qel-Droman ship, but each time its turbo-batteries had kept him just beyond deployment reach of the Blue Mist A-9s in his cargo bay. Already the Retribution’s computer was registering several sub-systems in the red, and a quick diagnostic showed the shields at forty percent. If they were going to disable the Shadow and prevent Quejo’s mad assault on the Jedi, this would be their last chance.
Another explosion, this time closer, spurred Illian into action. Darting upwards he used his starboard laser battery to cut through a TIE while the Retribution used the other five turrets to take out a wing of TIE Bombers that were attempting to cut them off. In the pilot’s seat of the freighter, Illian’s prone form twitched, his eyes open but vacant as he continued his merge with the ship’s computer through the neural link into his cerebral cortex. He mouthed the word ‘thrust’, the ship responding before he had even finished, sending them into a spiralling dive towards the rear of the Shadow. Green lasers streaked the damaged vessel drawing a pained cry from the mad Hunter as he felt the burning as if it were his own body.
Suddenly they were clear of the fighter cloud and for a moment there was complete calm, nothing but the sound of taxed engines and his own ragged breathing reaching Illian’s ears as he watched through sensor-enhanced vision as the Shadow loomed across his visual scope. Then they were within the range of the defence turrets’ targeting computers, more neon death streaking across the Retribution as it made its final run.
Spinning and darting, the deceptively agile ship danced through the crossfire, getting closer and closer to its release point until… as one, both Illian and the Retribution sent the message across the comm. channel, the ship’s feminine robotic monotone and Syn’s hysterical cry speaking in perfect unison to the Blue Mist pilots.
“Deployment zone reached! All fighters green for launch! Repeat all fighters launch NOW!”
*Deployment zone reached. All fighters green for launch. Repeat all fighters launch now.*
As the Retribution moved through the hailstorm of laser fire, the entire rear half of the sleek black freighter began to shift. Plates from the sides and top of the vessel began to fold back, opening out like petals on a flower to reveal the five dormant A-9s. Up ahead the engines of the Shadow blazed as the cruiser manoeuvred, presenting the brave souls of Blue Mist with their target.
Caedes remained in focus as the lights from the battle outside flooded into the dark bay, waiting for the Retribution’s canopy to be completely retracted before engaging his engines. Letting the force guide his actions, he was aware of the other four pilots moving as well, the five Interceptors drifting outwards before engaging their thrusters, jetting out of the cargo bay in a spiral. The defence batteries were still locked onto the Retribution, and so the Blue Mist attack squad remained unharmed as they joined formation with Caedes as they began their attack run towards the engines of the Shadow.
*Blue three and four cover our approach, blue two and five stay on me.* Caedes spoke evenly, knowing that his team would already be moving into position. They had gone over and over the plan since loading into the Darkest Night and knew it backwards.
*Blue three breaking to engage turrets four-o-clock,*
*Blue four, I’ve got eyes on three break-away TIEs, moving to intercept.*
The three remaining interceptors streaked towards the engines as crossfire from the turrets, having now caught up with the new threat, blazed across their canopies.
Meanwhile the Retribution, injured and limping on half power flew towards Eclipse. Syn had disengaged from the computer once the pain had gotten too much for even him, and now attempted to fix the auxiliary power supply to the engines. Torment was babbling incoherently and his eyes were blurred from the involuntary tears that had filled his dry eyes after not blinking for such a long time. Shaking his head, he tried again to re-join the power coupling that would bypass one of the shattered circuits and re-power his engines, but his gauntlets were not made for such delicate work. Swearing, he threw down the pathetically tiny hydro-spanner to the floor and slumped down against the wall, eyes glowing in frustration.
His navigational drives had been blown as well, and a lucky shot from one of the Shadow’s cannons had knocked out his manoeuvring thrusters as he had escaped from the battle. Blue Mist could handle themselves at this point, and provided they disabled the Qel-Droman cruiser’s engines, Quejo would be going nowhere without Soulfire knowing about it. By the looks of it, Illian might hit planet side before any of the traitors did anyway.
Getting up and adjusting his helmet he activated the communicator that would get him a direct scrambled feed to Kieran aboard the Darkest Night.
*This is Blue six, codename Bitterblossom. Going black, repeat going black, ETA five minutes.* The code for a ship crashing on Eclipse had been decided as ‘black’, a last minute addition between Kieran and Caedes.
On the Drexl, Kieran smashed a gloved fist into the wall. All of a sudden his very precise mission had an unexpected and unwanted twist: a downed Galerian on a hostile planet. Squeezing his frustration out of his mind, and thus out of the meld, he calmly addressed Illian.
*Affirmative Bitterblossom, activate your transponder once you are in full darkness. Remain stationary at all costs. Out.*
Illian smiled as he processed Kieran’s orders. Don’t move once he hit Eclipse, and wait for a pick-up. Looking out of the view-port on the bridge he watched as the planet came closer and closer, and wondered distantly if his beloved ship would survive this run. It had become his home, and he had many fond memories of being on-board, from torturing new-republic spies to killing and maiming traders. The blood of his victims stained the ship from end to end and being here always made the mad Hunter feel content.
Illian Syn gripped the back of the pilot chair and stared at the approaching planet, a lunatic smile spread across his face as his eyes glowed with anticipation of what was yet to come.
----1 hour ago; Retribution Bridge;
Talos Annedu and Zandro Savric Erinos walked side by side, nearing the Retribution. Just then, the force struck Talos as a warning just as a blossom of light erupted and the Darkest Night rocked. Then, alarm klaxons went off and Talos could faintly hear his Quaestor vividly cursing in Mandalorian before breaking into a hectic run with his Commander close at his heels. The pair broke off, Talos heading for the bridge and Zandro going for his starcraft in the hangar of Illians ship. Meanwhile Illian was striding over to the door leading out of the bridge when his leader came striding in. Not even halting a step, the Sith used the force and dragged Illian to the command console, throwing him against the seat and whiping out his comlink. "Retribution Squadron! The BAC Shadow has attacked, get to the ship and man your A-9s!" the Valheru screamed into the link. Talos quickly nodded to Syn and took the door on his left, into the hangar of his fellow Hunters flagship. He thumped the anti-grav pad and floated up into the air and used the force to guide him over to his red-striped A-9 Vigilance Interceptor. Popping the hatch, the young Galereian settled himself onto his pilots couch and placed his equally red-striped flight helmet on, the red visor now obscuring his red eyes. In the force, he felt the presence of the rest of the Retribution Squadron similary settle into their respective craft. The Retribution Squadron had been aptly named since the fighters would be deploying from the Retribution. Then, the flagship moved up and jettisoned into space....
----Present Time; Space War with BAC Shadow;
Commander Talos cursed in Mandalorian as Kieran patched him through a link to see that Bitterblossom had gone black. Talos switched to squadron channel and Legorii chimed in "Sir! Encountering heavy resistence if we keep on a straight path! Request permission to break off into wing pairs. Wing pairs were two pilots from a squadron that split off. "Permission granted Corporal!" seethed Talos as he sent his A-9 into a barrel role and fired his forward cannons. Four bolts of bright blue energy seared out and the Valheru felt another life wink out as they hit the fueslage of a TIE Interceptor. "Iniate Wing Pairs...NOW!!" ordered the Sith, breaking off with Zandro while Dorn and Legorii headed off in the opposite direction. Sorrow flew straight ahead, getting a clear path as two sets of Qel-Dromians banked off with the wing pairs. Still on Squadron channel, Annedu quickly asked for a status update. "Report Troopers" he barked as he dodged another attack. "Wing Pair Bravo, Legorii and Dorn, taking them out over" the pair chimed. Before Talos chimed in, he hear a rather vivid warcry come from Zandro as he fired two concussion missles, taking out a turret on the Shadow. "Wing Pair Alpha, we are clear, one auto-turret disabled" he reported. Continuing he said "Form up back into Retribution Squadron, I'll take point, we are going for the Shield Generator of the Shadow". Getting all confirmations, Retribution Squadron formed up and flew high into space and then in syncronized order, dipped down gracefully, so that anyone watching this would think it was more of a dance...except that it was in war. The A-9s completed their dip and flew low to the Shadow, blazing the Shield Generator but doing minimal damage. "This is no good Retribution, head back to the field of battle" ordered the Quaestor. The Squadron acknowledged and the the Interceptors rejoined with their brethern, Dathka, JS, Raith and Sorrow. Just then a private comm came over Talos' headset from Kieran. Talos quickly accepted it and listened in...
----Present Time; [Drexl LAAT/i];
Juda Erinos quickly approached his Sergeant from aboard the Drexl. "Sir, Bitterblossoms beacon has been activated" the Medic reported. "Copy that, E.T.A?" Kieran inquired, his voice coming out slightly more metallic from within his Neo-Crusader helmet. "Sir we have an E.T.A of about five minutes to planetside but we have a flight of Qel-Droma blocking us off" he reported gravely. "Got it Brother" the Erinos Sergeant acknowledged. Stepping to the back of his LAAT/i, Kieran quickly commed his fellow Battleteam Leader. "Talos, it's Kieran. Bitterblossom has activated its beacon and we are 5 minutes till planetside, but we have a enemy flight in our way, can you take them out?" he asked, already knowing the answer. "Copy, send us coordinates and we'll be en-route" he chimed back. Kieran listed off the coordinates and Talos bid him farewell and turned his comm back to Squadron. The newest Soulfire Trooper, the Apprentice, looked out one of the viewports as the five blue A-9s flew past, thier laser-turrets creating a pattern of blue plasma, intermixed with fiery explosions as the Galereian Calvary beat down the Qel-Dromaian oppressors. Kieran saw one Interceptor break off and head back towards the 'Night' with a flaming right wing. Kieran knew that techies aboard his House's capital ship would have that Blue Mist Trooper, who was revealed to be Dorn, the Rodian, back into the fray within moments. Kierans helmet came alive with the news from Talos. "Kieran, threat dispatched, your clear for planetisde retriveal of Bitterblossom" came the Valherus deep voice. "Copy, heading towards beacon now" answered the Mandaloria Commander. "Affirmative and thanks" said Talos, then ending the link. The Troopers of Soulfire heard the whine of engines as the Retribution Squadron flew over, under and to the sides of the LAAT/i and back to the fray. This battle was just getting started...the War hadn't even come yet...
Kieran's knees bent slightly to absorb the sharp jolt that shook their LAAT/i announcing that they were entering Eclipse's atmosphere. The squad's channel was silent and had been that way for the many minutes since they had drifted away from the main engagement, Kieran had a wide band channel open as well, playing off to the right hand side of his helmet. For some this would be a distraction but Kieran had long since developed the knack of listening but ignoring it only dipping in and out of the conversations when information of value popped up. He knew full well he could let the communication analyser built into his suit take care of that but he believed that on a subconscious level a lot of the information sifted in.
"Main batteries target the hangar bay entrance they're still spilling fighters..."
"On your six Talos," he picked out Dorn's vocie.
"Copy, rolling," the Blue Mist Commander replied.
"In sights and ... dead," the reply came.
"Clear and proceeding on..."
Kieran tuned back out again and returned his focus to his team. He was standing with Juda and the knew girl whilst they were surrounded by a platoon of Assault Marines. It had been a long time since The Drexl had ferried other combatants than the Soulfire platoon itself, but they were spread out throughout the first wave to the planet. Kieran knew putting all his eggs in one basket would have been suicide when facing a two fronted attack from Force users not to mention the fact he wanted to spread the good fighters through the ranks as his speculation was it would be a long hard fight to victory. He turned to Tak, the Lieutenant in charge of the Platoon he'd assigned to them and slapped the man playfully on the shoulder and recieved a meak grin in response; he knew the odds as well as Kieran, they hadn't trained stupid troops.
"Come on Tak, you're riding with Soulfire" he grinned from behind the menacing T-Visor, the dark red Jaig Eyes painted in add further menace and telling tales of a victorious past, "we always win, and we always come back alive."
"Yes Lord Sergeant," he replied humbly.
Devout, fearing, the Dajorran populations followed them blindly and worshipped the ground they trod on. They made good soldiers, strong and intelligent with a strict code of honour and Kieran could not help feel sorry for what could be such a proud people but then he reminded himself of the pride they took in fighting for their Dark Jedi Lords. It was a mark of honour they held high, service to the Shadow Lords reaped unequivocal benefits on Selen or Eldar.
"Dirt side in one," the pilot called out and the deck lighting went amber almost at the same time as the composite beam turrets let rip, "hot LZ, hot LZ."
"Standing room?" Kieran asked enquiring how far they were off the ground.
"Fifteen feet and dropping," the reply came.
"Open hatches, drop down protocol!," he slammed the activator and the doors slid back into their housing in seconds, at this height his armour would easily absorb the impact without the aid of the force and likewise, the suits the Assault Marines wore had been designed with just such events in mind.
Kieran leapt into the breach screaming jump at the top of his lungs, he sung in the air momentarily and as he began to drop he caught site of the landscape. They were landing on a valley floor through which ran a small river. The Qel Dromans had landed in a valley to the east of their position with a similar stream running through it which further upstream forked with the other. The plan which Kieran had formulated in the few minutes he had had to prepare aboard their cruiser was to make their way up river to the fork where they establish a perimeter. There they would divert the Jedi advance into the Qel Droman's all the while pecking at their lines from the side hoping to work their way into the main mass to either kill their Commander or in the even he is present capture Quejo. Daring and almost suicidal it was the best he could do given the situation, Galeres was by no means fighting this on favourable terms. Standing in between him and their objective were what looked like a guard garrison. No doubt now the alarm had been raised and the small division he could detect within the compound ahead would soon be joined by more soldiers, armour and force users.
Kieran looked down to see the grassy plain below him rising quickly and a moment later his knees bent slightly and he broke instantaneously into a run, his Lancer had swung round into his hands and the tell tale blue darts had begun to spit out the end; Kieran had just entered his element.
The last thing Illian could remember feeling was falling. His ship hit atmo without any nav-guidance, spiralling into a freefall towards the planet surface as sensor alerts and impact warning alarms went off all around the dark Jedi. The last thing he remembered seeing was a beautiful valley rising up to meet him before everything went dark.
The sound of artillery penetrated Illian Syn’s subconscious, dragging him in and out of lucidity with its distantly rhythmic pounding. He was vaguely aware of the sound moving closer, but felt strangely blasé about the destruction heading his way, slipping easily back into a deep comatose sleep.
With a mind shattering blast, one of the mortar shells raining through the valley exploded mere meters away from the downed Retribution. Illian’s eyes flared open and he sat up with a jolt, growling as excruciating pain flooded his temples. There was quite a lot of blood on the floor and oddly enough for the dark ship’s interior, most of it seemed to be his. In fact all of it seemed to be his.
Getting up slowly, he surveyed the bridge, seeing the extensive damage the crash had inflicted on his beloved ship. Some systems seemed to be functioning, a fact probably owed to the Retribution’s little avatar Ret, no doubt working furiously to heal her broken body. The poor thing would be in so much pain, and Illian could not face the merge with the computer to see if she was okay.
From the bridge he headed towards the cargo bay where he kept a spare speeder. Whatever shelled his ship just then was most likely one of three things: a Galeres misfire, a Jedi warning, or a Qel-Droman attempt at his life. Either one meant he needed to leave immediately and try and meet up with the Galerian ground forces that had landed during the final attack run on the Shadow. He hoped his brother was amongst them.
The speeder was still in tact, though the durasteel crate in which it was stored had taken a beating. The whole hanger in fact had taken the worst of the damage, with panels from its retractable walls bent like broken bones or gone completely, letting in the light from the weapons-fire outside. Kicking away its casing, Illian mounted up, sending a remote request to the computer to open the small exit ramp to the left of the main hanger. After several minutes the hatchway began to groan, opening slowly under the inadequate power of the almost depleted fuel cells aboard the freighter. As soon as the ramp was low enough, the mad Hunter gunned forward, ducking as he sped out into the Eclipsian night.
Kieran had ordered him to stay put, but he knew it would only be a matter of time before the Jedi or the Qel-Dromans found him, and with Soulfire spread out amongst the regular military units, it could be a while before evacuation even made it into priority orders. Activating his helmet’s navigational functions, he determined that he had drifted twelve clicks from the Galerian LZ. Marking mentally the location of his ship he send one final order to Ret.
“Ret my sweet, activate active camouflage and re-route all sub-systems into powering it until I return.” The acknowledgement he received was weak and without a personality matrix powering it, so weak was the computer, but it was an acknowledgement non-the-less. It was time to join this war the best way he knew how: Up close, personal, and very, very physical. His gauntleted hands clenched involuntarily harder on the speeder-bike’s handles as his eyes shone out behind the tinted visor of his armour.
As he sped across the valley he saw more explosions off to his right that lit the sky with orange fire. Bringing his bike to a halt, Illian magnified the area through his visor. Beneath his helmet, the mad Hunter’s eyes narrowed as he saw the unmistakeable markings of Qel-Droma on several Laat/i transports descending rapidly to the ground. Cursing he booted his speeder back into action, heading towards the originally designated LZ for Arconan forces.
Activating his communicator, he sent a message to Talos.
“This is Bitterblos… oh to the hells with it, this is Syn. The Retribution is down, and I have visual on Qel-Droman forces planet side. I advise immediate Blue Mist re-deployment, repeat Qel-Droma has reached the surface!”
“We know Blue Six, Zandro has just ordered the squad down to there position. Relaying rendezvous co-ordinates now.” The cool tones of the Sergeant’s voice came through the transmitter just as the left side of his visor displayed a map of the area with several navigation markers leading him north.
“Affirmative lead. Proceeding now.” For the first time since the crash, Torment’s familiar hysterical tones flared up in Illian’s mind.
“*Well look who has become the good little soldier. Our ship is wrecked, we are on a very hostile planet with nothing but me and your stupid gloves for weapons, and we are heading straight into the very centre of the maelstrom. You are weaker than I thought…*” Illian smiled to himself as the spirit trailed off into grumbling curses.
“Death doesn’t hold any fear for me blade. It seems you are the only weak one here! I relish the chance to be torn limb from limb, to see my own blood stain the floor for once!” Throwing back his head, the broken Obelisk howled his laughter to the sky.
Within minutes he was within visual range of the battle field, the tell-tail rainbow flashes of sabre-battles mixing with the fiery glow of ordinance and laser fire as Jedi, both light and dark, mixed with regular infantry in a grand melee of destruction. Laser bolts whipped past Illian’s head as he continued to surge forward towards the carnage, every ounce of his being fuelled by adrenaline and the rhythmic pounding of the force that flooded his body.
“We have visual on you Blue Six. Proceed on your current heading and provide fast-attack support to Zandro’s main force.” Illian spared a brief glance upward as his compatriots from Blue Mist streaked the sky above in their battered A-9’s, bearing down on several fighters that had just scrambled from the Jedi Station.
Switching his communicator from battle channel to closed transmission he twisted the accelerator on his bike and aimed towards a group of Qel-Dromans that were approaching the main Arconan battle line. Swinging out of his seat he used his heightened sense of balance to steer the speeder-bike with one hand, leaning out one side with his usually-coiled barbed chain trailing from his other spiked gauntlet. The troopers were without any force guidance and never saw him coming, only being alerted to his presence as the cruel ‘whip’ caught their flank, tearing armour and flesh as the bike exploded through their unit. Blood spattered across Illian’s helmet as he continued through the battle at insane speeds, lashing out with his chain as he avoided the crossfire from both sides.
Approaching another unit of Qel-Dromans that were advancing towards his Quaestor’s position he noticed something different about the sergeant. Too late Illian saw the spark of red emerging from the soldier’s left hand as the newly ignited sabre arced up to cut his bike in half. Diving backwards he flipped in the air, barely landing on his feet as his opponent strode forward to finish him off. Cursing his luck, he fell back into a shadow fist stance and flexed his gauntlets, waiting for the Qel-Droman warrior to strike. Just as the blade was poised to end Illian’s life, its wielder stopped, head snapping round to survey the battle-field. With lightening speed the sabre went from death strike to defence as a hail of blue rounds peppered the surrounding area. Taking his cue from the Soulfirian suppressive fire Illian dove into the dirt, causing his assailant to turn for one fatal second. The Qel-Droman’s head seemed to collapse, as one expertly placed round punched through his head, temple to temple.
Leaping up, Illian said a silent prayer to Rho (even if it wasn’t his handiwork) and launched himself back into the fray, a war cry curling his lips into a snarl beneath his sinister mono-ocular helmet.
Unbeknownst to anyone else but his Sergeant; Kieran Kodiak Erinos, Malidir Trepidus Erinos had been sent on a brief assignment, with his primary objective to eliminate a portion of the enemy orbital platforms. Recalled just in the nick of time to assist with the efforts of his House and their ground campaign, he did as he was instructed, maintaining comm. silence throughout. Speeding towards the battlefield in his heavily modified TIE Interceptor and maintaining a constant watch on his threat board, the Prelate goosed the throttle yet again and increased speed. Malidir watched the Eclipsian landscape fly by ever faster as he set his controls to an automatic subroutine that would carry the craft towards its target even after he alighted.
“Attention all Galeran personnel on Eclipse. Black Seven is inbound, and on target for the western-most anti-aircraft emplacements. Be advised, stand clear of these enemy assets and I’ll see you all soon. Malidir out.” The Prelate fired a few quad-linked bursts of laser fire at the closest target, and prepared to blow the top hatch and eject as necessary. The press of a single button would accomplish both the ejection and the establishment of the auto-flight protocol.
As additional laser fire poured forth from the nearby guns, Malidir knew that the time for his exit was fast growing nigh. Setting his craft’s flight into a tight corkscrew that would hopefully assist in evading incoming fire, he waited until the proper moment, when his altitude was low enough and his orientation was advantageous for his exit. Depressing the flashing red and yellow button, the bearded Galeran braced himself as the top hatch was explosively blown out and his seat was jettisoned upwards.
Malidir detached his restraining straps and executed a near perfect backwards somersault, freeing himself from the flight chair and allowing him to perform a roll into a crouching position. Sloughing off his now-unnecessary flight gear and helmet, the Dark Jedi took a quick look around at the carnage taking place on this field of battle.
Without wasting any more time with considering the repercussions, Malidir ran forward and leapt, taking out the closest enemy with a dropkick. After quickly climbing to his feet and surveying the situation, he flicked his blue-bladed saber to life and swept it in a wide defensive arc, ensuring that he would at least have a moment to prepare for the remainder of the nearby forces. In the blink of an eye, two other aggressors were put down – both from nasty saber cuts – with a third rendered lifeless by way of reflected blaster bolts.
While Malidir had received advance word that Quejo was not to be harmed in this engagement; that was no assurance that he would be spared. The Prelate was in the mood for killing, and he was also not inclined to be overly discerning as to who fell prey to his violent ministrations.
The Valheru Commander clicked off the com line and signaled for his Battleteam to form up. "Blue Mist we are going topside, lethal force will be used...lets go kick some [shebs]!" he commed. With a chorus of confirmations comeing up, Talos Annedu led the spiraling A-9s down towards the surface of Eclipse. The Feud would be decided here and now....
The compressed 'clik' of the his helmet sliding into place always seemed to calm Talos before a large confrontation. The sounds of war and dying men seem to come from all directions. Legorii, the huge Anzati second, clambered up to him from his vantage point, a small berm about a meter from where the A-9s lay hidden in some underbrush. Legorii saluted and the just rising dawn sun gleamed off his Battleteam Assault Armor, a different style then what they wore in space. It was midnight blue and, since Talos had an affinity for past Sith Lords, it was styled in a distinct Sith Trooper style from when Darth Revan was Dark Lord of the Sith. "Sir, Dathka and Raith show no signs of enemy movement to the south and Knight Syns beacon went off somewhere to the north-east" the Anzati reported. "Right [Leg'ika], do we have anything else to go on?" the Valhery inquired. "Not much sir but the proximity of Syns beacon is also close to a Soulfire Support Squad and Malidir Erinos and they are both sending strong signals" Legorii added. "Good work, gather the men we will head towards Mal's beacon, recover Syn, kick Qel-Droman ass and then go home" he said, giving a undetecable grin due to his helmet. Talos crouched down and gathered his weapon belt. "Prax, check. Beskad, check" he listed off, attaching his two favorite weapons to the belt and then strapped the belt around his waist. Off in the distance he heard Legorii bring his men to attention.
Talos fanned out his Troopers and they took cover as a Qel-Droman S&D (Search and Destroy) troup came through. Silently and with practice, Talos managed to unsheath his beskad, the Mandalorian Iron Saber, quietly and hold it at the ready. He motioned for the others to draw similar weapons and all his men drew bladed weapons of some kind, except for JS, who could activate his lightsaber at a moments notice and any earlier would give away his position. As the group, a squad of five, reached Talos's location, he swung his beskad hard with one hand and felt it imbed in one scouts neck. Months of practice had toughened up Annedu's muscles so he effortlessly pulled free his beskad and swept it around to meet what he could only assume was the squads leader, seeing as he was swinging a orange lightsaber. Talos blocked and then feinted and chopped off on of the leaders legs and then his head. Talos looked over and saw Legorii and JS each take care of their respective opponent but then heard a muffled groan as Dathka had the wind punched out of him and then slammed up against a tree by a brute of a scout. The Sith spun and without thinking threw his saber at the enemy, just as Dathka regained control and switched places with the Qel-Droman. The saber made a 'sliik' sounds as it embedded itself in the tree trunk, the unfortunate brute sandwiched between hilt and trunk. "Target down, same here, yep affirmitve, ha ha, that guy bled!" these were the affirmations that his Team had taken care of the patrol. Talos strode over to the tree and firmly placed one of his beskar boots on the trunk and heaved, the saber finally coming lose. "Alright guys, lets get Syn...hate for him to die before he gets Knighted" said Legorii, taking point as Talos had asked him to. Quietly, and still practining his Mando'a, he said "Osik!! My beskad is all dirty!!" he said mocking like. Peering around at the dissapering forms of his brothers-in-arms, he bent down and wiped the beskad on the robe of the fallen leader, then jogged to re-join his Battleteam. The final`e to this war was going to be anything but mundane....
The cleft respirator of Illian’s modified clone-era helmet was clogged with dirt and blood as the exhausted Hunter cleaved his way through another ‘Droman trooper, his breath coming in ragged gasps after the seemingly endless hours of brutal combat that raged on the surface of Eclipse.
Swinging up with his claw-like gauntlets he knocked the helmet off another soldier, ducking through several blaster-bolts as the man tried fruitlessly to hit the evasive Galerian, before bringing his other fist palm-first into his opponents face. Illian was already spinning to find his next target before the man had hit the floor, his face a bloody mess of flesh and bone.
“Sir, target neutralised, we’re clear to continue. What are your orders?” A voice crackled through Syn’s radio. He turned to face the speaker, the sergeant of a Galerian TAC squad he had linked up with during an earlier assault on a Qel-Droman heavy-weapons placement. They had immediately looked to the force-user for leadership in the chaos of the battle.
“Form up,” he growled, “and lay down suppression fire for that fire team.” He pointed across to another tactical unit a few hundred meters away that was taking a heavy beating from a more secured Qel-Droman position.
“Roger lead. You heard the man, get some fire down th…” the sergeant was cut off as a laser bolt blew through his chest plate, blowing cauterized flesh across Illian’s visor. Swearing, he wiped it off and grabbed the nearest soldier by the front of his armour and pulled him close.
“Congratulations Sergeant, you’ve just been promoted. You have you’re orders.”
“Y’yes sir. Men, asses to the floor and provide that support fire!” The company obeyed immediately, hitting the dirt and sending a barrage of fire towards the Qel-Dromans. Return fire began almost immediately, a blast clipping Illian’s shoulder pad and making him drop to a squat as he fired several inaccurate blasts back with a salvaged E-11.
“This is Blue six to Blue Lead, Talos where in the name of the dark lords are you?”
“Blue Lead to six, we are inbound. Mist has gone to the Dirt. Hold your position.”
“Whatever you say Lead,” Illian spat into the communicator as several more laser-blasts flew by his head, “It’s not like we are under fire here…” he stopped to fire several more shots that missed his target by a mile, wishing he had spent a little more time at the Academy shooting range.
“Hold the attitude Syn. We are approaching your six. Give me some cover-fire when we break stealth.”
“Affirmative Lead. Target change troopers, cover the rear on my mark!” He hit the Sergeant in the back and pointed at the breaking forms of Blue Mist as they emerged from concealment on the left flank of Qel-Droma’s position. As one they darted across the battle-field in a wedge formation, a variety of blades slicing through any opposition while one sabre-bearer (who had to be JS) led the charge, deflecting fire that came there way.
By now Illian’s team was down to a dozen men, with a couple more taking critical damage as a shell detonated just behind the squad’s position. As Talos and the battle team made it to the small rise Illian darted forward and grabbed his Sergeant and threw him to the floor as a newly concentrated barrage of fire rained down on their position.
“We have to get the hell out of here; I am useless at this range! We need to close on that rise,” he spat, pointing towards the now heavily entrenched hill that was serving as Qel-Droma’s flank-guard, while their main force surged towards the Jedi station. Such was the strength of the vantage-point that a majority of Galerian forces were held up trying to pass it.
“Agreed. These yours?” Talos pointed at the now-seven remaining men of Illian’s command as the mad Hunter nodded. “Good. Tell them to concentrate all fire on the eastern side of that hill. Legorii, see if we can co-ordinate some light air support as well.”
“On my mark we charge. Wait for it…” Talos watched the sky as three damaged but functional TIE’s swept in from the west. “Wait for it… and.. CHARGE!” Blue Mist leapt off the ground and darted across the scarred terrain as a brief but devastating hail of laser-fire tore one side of the Qel-Droman position to shreds.
As they ran Illian discarded the useless E-11, and spread his gauntlets wide, his voice combining with the rest of his Battle Team as they closed with their Aconan brothers.
When Aticus returned to the Galares base to report his mission a success he came to found the many of the forces there were already on the move. A mixture of disappointment and anger mixed over him. He had been sent on a scouting mission on information retrieval on HQD. Hurrying to his quarters the Battlemaster almost began undressing in the hallway when he heard a female's voice from behind him.
"Sir are you the guy people call Battlemaster Khaos?" asked a Galeres Docking Officer. Aticus turned and looked at her with only the thought of his brothers being in battle without him. "Yeah I am, what do you want?" he replied. The young lady was in her mid twenties and rather attractive, but Aticus ignored these feats as his mind was far away from where he was standing.
"Yes sir, I have a message for you to await communication from either the Aedile or the Quaestor. You are to remain here as a standby until called upon. If anything turns up I will contact you ASAP." said the D.O before turning and walking off. This only further angered tested Khaos but he knew his Quaestor well and trusted his decisions. He decided to go get prepared either way.
After showering Aticus placed on customized sith battle armor. After his armor, he reached under his bed and retrieved a black suitcase. Inside was a fully custom built sniper rifle with supplies to aid it in accomplishing it mission. The final piece added was his saber which he clipped on to the top of his left forearm with the handle facing down his arm. This allowed his to draw his saber into a faster attacking stance from ranged, or melee combat.
Now ready, Aticus was over-joyed to hear the D.O's voice over his ear piece. "Battlemaster Kashu we have your orders."
((OOC: Well seems like you guys got things going and I don't like just barging in so if someone BTL or up would request me somewhere so I can leave the base that would be cool.
Khaos quickly sprinted over to the D.O and looked at her oddly when his supposed 'orders' was a live comlink. "Hello, you are Sith Battlemaster Khaos?" asked a gravely voice, probably so because of a helmet Khaos thought. "That is correct and who are you?" the Battlemaster replied. "I am Sith Commander Talos Annedu Xyler and I have orders for you to get to Eclipse as fast as you can lock onto the cooridnates that will be coming after this transmission" said Talos, the 'pew pew' of laserfire audible behind him. "I copy that Commander, I will be there within the day" said Khaos, already seneding a text to the Hangard Staff to ready his starfighter. "Good to know Khaos, hope we are still around when you get there" joked Talos, though his words had an underlying seriousness to them. "Me too Commander" said Khaos quietly.
As with all wars, it was eerily quiet to a seasoned war veteran though men were fighting in front of him. It was always quiet in a charge, though Talos knew that when his side would meet with the Qel-Dromans, it would be all noise again, screams, blaster discharges, the 'vzzm' of lightsabers, the whole bloody lot. Talos was in his beskar and he was leading the charge, his Battleteam behind and their support squad, seven men that Illian Syn had met up with, spread out amognst them. Talos saw the wide field, the Qel-Dromans meeting his charge, the fire platform that would end this war if they could put the standard of Galeres on it and rip down the 'Droman' one. Talos always felt omnipotent at these times, like he was outside his own body but still making it work. His arm reached high above his head and he brandished his beskad, the Mandalorian iron saber. Then as Talos took in a good vantage point to the leftern flank of the field, he 'zipped' back into his body and broke off motioning for his men to continue the charge. It was still quiet though. Talos breathed in hard and pumped up the berm and...used the force to leap off of it into the crowd of rushing Qels just as Legorii and the rest of the men collided with them, swords and lightsaber flying, bolts of energy zipping past. Talos flew high above the battlefield and he angled the beskad down and angled himself to bring his full weight, plus his beskar armor on the heads of as many as he could. So he did; Commander Talos Annedu collided with what looked like atleast a Dark Jedi Knight, needless to say he did not survive, no one could from a 135 pound man wearing stanging beskar armor. Then...it got noisy...really noisy. Talos had landed on top of the former Knight like a bolo-ball player and immiediatly dodged a saber swing and got up to his feet and brought himself into a basic Mando fighting pose with the beskad, circling around. Talos struck out at one quickly and was blocked but instead of going back for the same opponent, he flipped the saber backwards and shoved it into a passing Qel. The force prickled in him as he saw a thermal detonator fly towards him. He ran and dived into a trench as dirt flew up were he was previously standing. Then a man, Qel-Droman of course, rushed Talos and used a huge club and batted Talos beskar helmet off him. Just then Talos heard a terrifying sound that was relieving to him and only six others in the entire Brotherhood. "AYAYAYAYYAAYAYAYAYYIIIII" screamed a newly Knighted Dark Jedi as he sprinted, apparently holding no weapon and jumped straight at the Commanders attacker. Illian Syn, Dark Jedi Knight, stuck his clawed gauntlets into the mans face. "Thanks Ill" said Talos, looking around for his helmet but not finding he and Illian charged out into the thick of it. "No problem Commander" intoned Illian as he swept his gauntlets across another enemies face. "Oh stang Ill! Use it! You know you want to!" quipped the newest Xyler. Oddly even though Talos had not talked to Syn much, he always felt that he could be frank with him and joke with him, especially in battle. Illian grinned and said "Stang sir! I have been waiting to long!". Dark Jedi Knight Illian Syn pulled his brand new lightsaber off his belt and activated it, its beam spurting into life. "Alright, Jet-Trooper?" inquired Illian, referring to a brand new tactic that he himself had suggested. "Sure" said the Mandalorian. Killing another enemy, Talos quickly sheathed his beskad and cupped his beskar-clad hands. Illian kicked a warrior in the groin and used his gauntlet to decapitate him. Backing up, time seemed to slow down as Talos and Illian both fell into their element. "You'll forgive me for leaving you sir?" he quipped. "Permission granted Trooper" agreed the Commander, his face split into a wide grin. Illian sprinted and stepped up into Talos' cupped hand and Talos, using his own strength and force powers, threw him up into the air at an angle and the Dark Knight became a missile of madness, his laugh echoing across the sky. Talos immiediatly snapped back and looked in horror as he saw three 'Droman Knights' surrond Raith and his Corporal, Legorii. "OYA!!! YOU SHEBS OFF MY MEN!!" Talos screamed as he drew his Prax Arms rifle and fired three consecutive bolts, killing one man and Talos threw a locust knife, killing another. Legorii nodded at his boss and using his massive body he slammed into the third as Raith came down on him, slicing him repetivily with his vibro-blade, his own warcry of 'ha ha ha' almost as audible as Illians who was now only visible by the tip of his lightsaber, it never ceasing to move. "Legorii, Raith, Dathka! Form up on me!" he screamed and he led his three men through the fray and they all used the Force to leap onto the fire platform, this element seeminly forgotten but now had really started packing a punch against Galereian reinforcements. As the quad of Troopers ran up the catwalks, killing heavily, Talos felt a horrible feeling in the force. He halted his Troopers and he turned to his Anzati best friend. "Legorii, take these det-packs and blow this thing to hell and take as many Qel shebs as you can" he said, handing a package of det-packs to his Corporal. Legorii took them and shouldered them and Talos only said a few simple words to the rest. "Men, I have a different battle to fight now, listen to Legorii and if I am not out, he is in charge" he said, trying to put them at ease with a smile. Legorii, the good man that he was, called Dathka and Raith to attention and they all saluted him. "At ease, NOW GO!!!" he shouted. The trio sprinted off and Dathka turned around as Talos reached into one of his pouches and pulled out his lightsaber. Then Talos Annedu Xyler vanished around the corner.
Talos rounded the corner just as another man did. For a few moments that felt like eternity, they just stared at each other then the newcomer broke the silence. "Brother...seems your vision came true" he said, his voice oddly like Talos' own. "It seems it did...Anubis" he said coldly. The other man merely nodded and took off his outer robe and hood, revealing Anubis Annedu Xyler, Talos dear Brother and close friend. Talos continued "Lets get this osik over with shall we" he said. "Indeed". The two brother ignited their respective lightsaber, two beams of red appearing. "Y'know we are technically not allowed to use these yet" the Commander said. "Its war Talos, rules change for now" the Qel-Droma Rollmaster said and lunged. Talos blocked wiht a Form I parry and the two brothers battled all the way down the catwalks and up another set. As the duo battled they moved up to the AA battery and Talos heard a faint voice "Damn it Raith its the stanging blue wire!" yelled Dathka and he spared a glance and saw his men trying to hoook up the det-packs to the battery. Legorii looked up and saw the two men fighting and went for his A280A rifle but Talos nodded impercepitably "No". Legorii frowned but agreed and went back to his task. "Come on brother!! I thought you could do better!" quipped Anubis. "Hey Anbu its the stanging beskar y'know" Talos answered. Then...a noise like hell came down...it was the AA battery, its det-packs had done their jobs and Talos saw the figures of his three Trooper vault over the edge. "Damn Legorii! That cost the Summit a good sum" joked the Qel Jedi Hunter. Then another noise came but this one was more softer. A starfighter had dropped in and it was carrying a single Head-banger bomb. The bomb dropped and the whol Fire Platform seemed to shake. Then it collapsed....
Sith Battlemaster Khaos dropped the Head-banger and watched as the Fire Platform started to crumble. "Heh, I did have a use" he said then turned his ship and headed back towards the 'Darkest Night'.
The Anzati Corporal, Legorii, watched in dismay as the Fire Platform crumbled to the ground. "Osik!" he murmered and then gave himself a small grin. He was already like his Commander, using Mandalorian curses. Legorii gathered his Team and they allowed themselves a moment of mourning for thier lost Commander.
Talos Annedu Xyler stirred under the rubble and used the force to propulse it off him. He gathered his lightsaber and beskad which lay discarded a few feet away and sheathed the saber and put the Dark Jedi weapon back into a pouch, not to draw it again till he was a Knight. Anubis, his brother, was nowhere in sight so Talos hobbled towards the Blue Mist TO.
"Well men, Talos Annedu Xyler, our Sith Commander, is presumed dead tonight from the collapse of the Qel-Droman Fire Station" said Legorii, looking over Dathka, Raith, Illian, Dorn and JS. "Oya Leg'ika! Your not that lucky" came a raspy voice. Hobbling towards them was Commander Talos Xyler. "Sir!" exclaimed Legorii. "Hush men...lets go back home" he said as a LAAT/i bore down on their position. For Blue Mist, the Feud was over but not the action....