Operation Eclipse: Ro
Bothan Assault Cruiser
Quejo sat comfortably in the Throne located on the Command Deck of the Shadow. Standing to his left was his Apprentice Anubis Wrath, House Envoy and Rollmaster. On the right, Orv Dessrx d'Tana, Aedile and trustworthy right hand man. Together they discussed a plot to destroy the Jedi of the Eclipse Station in finer detail.
Rising from the Chair, Quejo made his way to his personal Chambers, followed by his Aedile and Apprentice. They were quiet as they strode down the busy cooridor, their minds cut off from everything else but War. They were to prepare themselves and their House for the decimation of the Jedi, for secrets of the Order and Glory for Arcona.
The grotesque features of the Warlord were fearless as his emerald green eyes locked onto Anubis.
"Send word to Debric, I want Prophecy ready to deploy on my Command." Baritone echoed within the room as Anubis slowly nodded his head, the Valheru making his way to the Training Complex setup within the Cruiser, in which Debric was teaching his men loyalty, dedication, and pain.
"We need to notify the rest of the House." The Teltior spat.
"Now is not the time. We need to prepare the Summit before sending word to the rest of the House. I only want the Disciples of Qel-Droma to know of this plot. For now.." The Quaestor replied, his fingers twisting the braid of his goatee between his fingers. "We're already enroute to Eclipse, as far as the House is concerned, they believe this to be an ordinary Training Mission."
"When will they know?" The Teltior questioned.
"It would seem that some already do." Quejo snapped back, his mind opening up to his surroundings. He could feel that members of the Crew were already discussing what was going on. Once Quejo sent word to the Crew, to plot a course for Eclipse, rumors started to arise. Deep down inside some knew what the Warlord was up to while others were completely oblivious or full of doubt.
"What do you mean?" The Aedile replied.
"It seems there are some rats on board. All opposition will be met with carnage, do you agree?" The Warlord whispered to his Aedile. The Teltior just nod his head in compliance. "Then you know what to do. The people that rise against me shall be slain...Destroy the mutinous cowards who spread rumors and lies of War." He laughed.. "The true Warriors of Qel-Droma will know of my plot in due time. As for now, I must have a meeting with the Clan Summit. If I can gain their support then I know thing's will unfold quite nicely. If not...We could have a Civil War on our hands."
Anubis stepped outside the Quaestor’s Personal Quarters, his mind racing. The Hunter hadn’t seen a Jedi in years, forgetting what they even looked like. He let it slide for the time being, starting on his way to see the final Disciple of Qel-Droma, Debric Santhe d’Tana to inform his Battleteam of the on route course of the Bothan Attack Cruiser Shadow and what Drakai had been planning. Walking through the halls, Wrath could hear nothing but the whispers of the crew and Dark Jedi alike. The Valheru had half a mind to tell them off, but kept moving.
He made his way through the cruiser at a somewhat constant pace, stopping only at his own room, to get re-dressed in his formal Brotherhood Envoy robes, rather then his custom ones. It wasn’t long before he was back on his way, not losing any time on his way. As he neared the training session, the voices of six different people could be heard, all members of the Prophecy Phyle Battleteam. Walking up to the nearest door, Anubis opened it wide, walking into the large room that was held inside the doors.
The Envoy made his way into the center of the room, calling the d’Tana over while his team continued training. The two discussed the Quaestor’s plans, and how Debric should have the team prepped for anything that came their way. Santhe listened to the words of the Valheru, making sure that he understood everything that was about tot happen. Anubis told Debric to have the team prepared to launch on the Xyler’s command, knowing it best if it came from his mouth rather then his masters.
Anubis bowed, and stepped out of the room. He continued back towards the quarters of his master, but not before checking out the bridge for one more thing. He seemed to have misplaced his comm-link, and didn’t feel like forking out some cash for the required parts to make another one. As he walked onto the medium sized bridge, his ears were filled with the voices of the crew.
Wrath walked around the bridge, searching for the little headset that took him nearly a week to design and build. It was state of the arc technology, and would be pretty expensive if available in stores. The Valheru let out a small sigh, before he used the force with his eyes. He did it in a particular way, that the only organic object that was solid would be the headset. The Envoy looked around the room, glancing anyplace that might hold the comm-link.
He finally found it, stashed into the pocket of a newer member, Aiko. Frustrated, the Rollmaster walked over the the Acolyte and pulled the headset from his pocket. Aiko turned, white as a ghost.
“Mind telling me what you were doing with my comm-link, Aiko?”
“If I ever catch you stealing from me or any other person on this ship, I will find and kill you. That’s a promise, Acolyte.”
Anubis left the bridge, feeling that he had accomplished something today. He returned to his master’s quarters, nearly running through the halls as he neared the place. As he entered, Quejo and Orv were still discussing certain things.
“It is done, master.”
“Very good, Anubis.”
Draco Maligo, clad in his black combat suit, went through another Makashi routine with his brand-new lightsaber. Though his primary focus was on the more mystical aspects of the Force, still when he let himself dissolve into the Force during saber practice he briefly obtained moments of bliss. Moments when he felt he was floating free of his body, totally in control, and aware of everything going on around him, including his opponent’s thoughts.
And during those times of unity with the Force he was certainly aware of the supernatural storm clouds moving in, bringing with them feelings of anger, strife and grief. The recently promoted Dark Jedi Knight glanced at the hatch where Anubis Wrath had just been speaking with Debric Santhe d’Tana, battle-team leader for Prophecy phyle. Yes, the storm was upon them, and soon all hell would break loose. Orders were being given, plots hatched, and the members of Qel-Droma were once again being thrown unto the breach.
But being a dark Jedi, Draco didn’t fear the coming storm. Periods of turmoil and strife benefited those who were aggressive and ambitious. It was part of the cycle of life. Maligo grew up on an orchard, and stopped fearing storms when but a child. The cycle of life needs the rain and the lightning to survive, the water and the flow of ions enabling growth. Just like wars brought out the best in a warrior, forcing him to learn what he is capable of, and bringing it out of the shadows for all to see.
Shadow Command Deck - 30 standard minutes prior
With Anubis set on his task and his Quaestor's sudden mention of rats amongst Qel-Droma, Orv cocked a brow. "Are you saying that-"
"No. Not Anubis. There are others." Quejo's tone was curt, his voice rising to irritation with the slight hint of urgent insanity that the Teltior could detect in the Warlord ever so rarely. "Find them!" The order came sharp, saliva flying from the man's mouth, his face constricting into anger...then relaxing once more. "Find them here. I want assurance that the betrayal I feel in the Force is accurate before I approach the Summit."
Orv nodded, "If you are correct-"
"I AM correct!" Quejo growled as he spun away from his Aedile to stare out the Command Deck viewport into the vastness of space.
Orv shot daggers at the Warlord's back as he glared. Steeling his voice, the humanoid replied cruelly, "When I find proof of your statements, I'll see to it personally that the deaths of the traitorous bastards are exacted slowly and painfully." Spinning to leave, he finished: "I will begin by running searches of our outgoing communications."
"Do it here. I want to know who it is as quickly as you find them."
Nodding, Orv pulled out the datapad he kept on him at all times, sat down and began sending commands to the data sifter droids and technicians he had at his disposal.
Command Deck - Present Time
"I have compiled a list of 3 likely sources of information leakage, Quejo," Orv looked up from his datapad. "If I am correct - and I believe I am - their communications were amateur at best. There may be more."
Quejo now sat behind his desk fiddling with the emitter of one of his saber hilts. His head shot up at Orv's words, his eyes wide with a mixture of rage and satisfaction. "Do tell, Aedile."
The Teltior keyed his datapad, and called up his first set of conclusive evidence. Before he could begin his report, the blast door to the Command Deck opened and Anubis strode through, a look of eagerness on his Valheru face.
Sergeant Debric Santhe d'Tana smacked his comlink against his desk in frustration, as the stupid thing hadn't been getting any reception for the past fifteen minutes. When all else fails, blunt force trauma usually works.
The comlink beeped as the red light changed to green. The Prophecy sergeant immediately switched to his squad channel.
"Gentlemen, I apologize of course if I've awoken your lazy asses, however we have a job to do. Meet me in twenty minutes in the squad ready room."
The squad sat in various chairs in the squad ready room looking at their sergeant. Debric looked back at his squad, if he could even call it a squad. Prophecy had taken the brunt of casualties during the past few encounters with the Yuuzhan Vong. Since the Dark Brotherhood, and Arcona especially, was spread thin, there were no reinforcements coming. Debric had to deal with what he had.
"Alright gentlemen, here's the deal. Our lovely boss has decided to put us on stand-by, which means we need to be ready to deploy about fifteen minutes ago. I've taken the liberty of having some of the naval personnel load our weapons and equipment onto our transport, so there's no need to head back to your quarters. Be ready and at the transport in ten minutes. Dismissed."
Prophecy Phyle shuffled out of the ready room and headed towards the hangar. Debric took out his comlink and switched to a private channel.
"Quejo, Prophecy will be deployable in ten minutes. You mind filling me in on what the hell is going on?"
“What’s happening? I feel turmoil in the Force,” said the young woman. Sella Baktia, a new recruit from Jante, was a recent addition to Qel-Droma.
“Don’t worry about it. You should always be aware of your feelings, but don’t let them control your actions. Only Quejo knows what is going on, along with whomever he told. Our orders are to report to the shuttle, and we won’t know more until later.”
“I need to know.”
Draco looked over at the slender young woman. “You are new to the ways of the Force, and the ways of the Brotherhood. Whenever you gather a diverse group of talented and ambitious beings, there will always be deceit and treachery. I know Orv Dessrx has been checking communications logs. That means Quejo suspects there is a traitor in our midst, which also means a lockdown on information.”
“But no one can send a message while we’re in hyperspace,” Baktia said.
“Enough of the crew knew our destination before we left Selen’s gravity well. Someone could have sent a transmission then. The important thing is that we’re going into action very soon, and you need to focus.”
"Trecherous worms" Orv whispered to himself. It was apparent that he hated those who questioned Orders or started Rumors about thing's they knew nothing about. He had Orders to seek out and destroy the insubordinates. He had been checking Communications Logs for some time now and seemed to pin-point the location of three parties that were using the Communications System to Message one another. Hell, no one said that they were smart.
The Teltior smirked as he placed his hand on the door of the room in which he felt the presence of the vermin that attempted to cause division. Opening the door by punching in the required code on the door lock he was met with surprised faces.
"Master d'Tana!" One shouted in surprise. "What're you doing here?"
"I'm sorry, have I broken up a meeting?" The Teltior snarled, pulling the Hilt of his Lightsaber from his belt. The only thing heard after the snap-hiss of the activation were the screams of agony and pleading for mercy.
"It is done m'Lord" The Teltior spoke into his commlink, hovering over the mangled bodies of the three troublemakers.
"Very good." Quejo replied, trimming the controls of Legacy as he entered the Abyss.
Qel-Droma was recently informed that their Quaestor had departed for the Abyss. The Aedile, Orv, had been temporarily placed in charge of the Troops and was told to gather them all in the Hangar for the arrival of the Arconan Warlord.
As the Legacy re-entered the Hangar of the Shadow, quite some time later, everyone within stood at attention, the lower Class members and Flight Officers raising their arms to salute as the Xyler cut the Engines of his Ship and leapt out onto the floor with a Force assisted bound. His emerald eyes scanned the Members of his House as he proceeded towards Orv who had been standing with Anubis Wrath at a Podium fixated on a large platform. The Robes of the Warlord became trapped in the wake of a self-created breeze as he stormed up the stairs, his hands curling around the Podium as he took his place.
He looked out at the crowd of Sentients standing before him, waiting to find out what exactly was going on. They had heard that some of their own had been slain, the ones still alive were the ones who would of never thought about going against the will of their Quaestor, though, they were still unsure as to what the purpose of such a meeting was. So far, they could tell that Quejo was one to keep thing's to himself, especially things of this caliber.
Orv rose from a kneeling position as Debric Santhe d'Tana pumped his fist and roared along with the rest of his House. They were loyal to their House and it's Leaders, the Chant of 'Qel-Droma' seeming to shake the innards of the Shadow. Raising his hand to silence the masses, Quejo's face contorted with anger as he addressed each and every Qel-Droman.
“Qel-Dromans!” The Warlord rallied, his deep baritone voice thundering within the Hangar…”I know that I have been operating in secrecy and it is time for me to inform you of what is going on. We ride to battle, War is upon us… However, our Opponents will be of a much different breed…” He barked. “I have defied the Summit…I have willingly gone against the command of our Superiors… Should I be caught, I’ll be tortured….The only thing about that is….No harm shall befall the TRUE Warriors of Arcona…Let us rise unchallenged…Let us burn those who oppose us…Let our actions give sight to the blind Summit!” He shouted…”The Jedi WILL fall and Arcona will look upon the Qel-Dromans as Gods!” He finished…
The members of Qel-Droma looked at one another, already questions began to arise within the crowd.
Though they were just informed on what was going on, the majority appeared to of still been confused. Puzzled looks crossed the faces of some, others looked on with eagerness, their thirst for blood making this idea seem like a brilliant one. Yet, some questioned it.
"Master, are we ready to fight a full scale War against the Jedi, We're still recovering from the Vong Invasion are we not?" Someone sounded, voicing their opinion and unwillingness to partake.
"The Jedi of Eclipse are either young or elderly. They will pose little threat to us, however, there are self proclaimed Watchmen who will see this attack and do whatever they can to stop it. Eclipse is not just a safe haven for those no longer part of the Order or those not yet in the Order, Knowledge and Artifacts can be found within it's vast Archives. There is much that we can learn from such an assault. My Vision is to decimate the Jedi of Eclipse and bring this Knowledge back to our Clan Summit. Much glory and honor can be achieved if we are successful with this Campaign." The Warlord added. "Dont question my Orders, just follow them. All Opposition in any form will be met with Carnage."
"Anubis...Ready the men, see to it that they are ready for what is to come." Quejo ordered, shifting his attention to Orv. "You and I have more to discuss."
Finishing the meeting, Quejo gave one last Order, pointing to Debric, waving him up to join the Conversation.
"You'll come with Orv and I, we need to go over Battleplans. Prophecy will be leading the attack so we'll need to make sure that everyone knows what they're supposed to be doing, as well as their Commander." He finished, making his way back to his Quarters.
Draco stood in a rank with the rest of Prophecy phyle, in front of the rest of the house and in front of the soldiers and naval personnel that listened to Quejo’s announcement. He could feel the gamut of emotions bleeding through the Force, from fear to blood lust and everything in between. That was the problem with large-scale actions, the Dark Jedi Knight thought, you had to rely on a group of beings, many of whom were only semi-motivated.
It might have made more sense, Draco reasoned, to have a strike team composed only of seasoned dark Jedi. Now, with all these non-Force users part of the attack group, the Jedi on Eclipse would surely know something was coming for them. Most of the members of the army and the fleet didn’t have the ability to restrain their feelings from leaking out into the Force. But with the overwhelming odds in their favor, the forces of Qel-Droma should do well.
After all, Skywalker set up Eclipse to hide his academy from the Vong and the Peace Brigade. He relied more on concealment than might to protect his valuable children and tutors. They would put up a fight, surely, but couldn’t match the power of what was to descend upon them.
Xehr walked into the hangar. Pathetic, he thought to himself. He was a recent arrival to Qel Droma. After having taken a lengthy sabbatical from his training at Clan Satal Keto to take care of some personal business, he had re-discovered his Dark brethren only to find his former clan in ruins. The Brotherhood recognised some semblance of Jedi training in him, returned him to his former rank of Protector, and placed him in his rival clan, Arcona. Someone high up had a sadistic sense of humour.
He had been given the freedom to choose his path once more, and this time opted to surrender himself to the teachings of the sword. A Krath Tetrarch in his former life, Xehr had become tired of studying the confounding teachings of Jedi long passed, and his bloodlust had grown. The Obelisk, he had come to realise, was the way to power. And with power, came truth.
However, he was not combat-ready yet. It had only been a few days since his arrival, and he had not integrated into this new 'clan', if you could even call it that. Like rabid dogs, the houses were fighting one another for selfish gain. Fools, he thought.
But he understood, and agreed with the Warlord. The Quaestor had made a decision to attack Eclipse, a gold-mine of knowledge and power, even though his house was reeling for a recent war with the parasitic Yuuzhan Vong. Arcona was in ruins, and the best way to recover was to baptise their new members in the fires of war. This would weed out the weak, and harden their clan.
Close by, he saw Prophecy phyle preparing for battle. The jedi were suited up and initiating preflight checkups. Xehr did not mind staying on the ship to help conduct the battle, for though he knew glory lay on the battlefield, he was not a fool. He had only just received his training saber, and rather than jump into the battlefield without the faintest clue, he would bide his time and continue his training. Learn the ways of the Dark Side, learn the ways of the Force. Then, when he was ready, he would prove his worth.
As Prophecy moved into the transport, Xehr thought to himself one day. He headed back to the bridge to help the Warlord as best as he could.
PRT Xehr (Obelisk)/Qel-Droma of Arcona
Quejo clasped his hands together as he rested his elbows on his desk. He eyed the Teltior and Commander of Prophecy, hoping that they agreed with his Campaign. He wasnt second guessing himself, or the Disciples of Qel-Droma. However, he wasnt exactly sure on where they stood. The War was taking form, the Troops rallied and sent to various Shuttles docked within the Hangar of the Shadow. Yet, no one really expressed or spoke about what they were thinking. Would the Warriors of Qel-Droma honestly walk in to War blindly, or did they follow because they were loyal?
One couldnt stop questions from coming, through questions comes knowledge, a better understanding of the things surrounding you. The Warlord pondered the loyalties of his Men and respected their ambition, their courage, and their thirst for blood. As Quejo thought about the meaning of War, he couldnt help but feel an all too familiar presence drawing closer. As his instincts kicked in to overdrive a light on his Chair signaled the arrival of an un-welcomed guest.
“Hello Zandro, how nice of you to join us. Did your owners tell you to follow me?”
The scowl of the opposing Sith Quaestor was easy to see, as minimized as the transmission was.
“No Quejo, I came of my own free will. Stand down and do not bring destruction onto yourself and Arcona.”
“You? Free will? You don’t know the meaning of the word. Your outspoken older brother tells you to jump and you ask how high, so what makes me believe that you’re here on your own?”
Zandro’s previous scowl had transformed to anger, hate and then onto a twisted smile as his face seemed to change slightly.
“You are not the only one who thinks of glory at the expense of his life. Think of my reward if I bring you back alive.”
“Well, you will have to get me first. All cannons, open fire!”
The deep baritone voice of the Warlord thundered over the intercomm as he looked out of his viewport to watch the first shots lance out towards the Darkest Night.
"So it's begun...."The Warlord whispered to himself. "Debric, get to the Hangar, see to it that everyone is ready to launch. I'll send word when we're ready to depart."
Debric just nod his head in compliance before taking his leave. He had orders and would carry them out, for if he didnt, the consequences would most likely be painful. Claxons blared and the lights of Shadow flickered as Quejo and the Teltior strode down the Hall to the Command Deck. The two were able to see Fighters from the Darkest Night tear out of it's core, prepared for battle.
“Officer Dresll” Quejo barked, his focus quickly shifting to the Deck Officer.
“Sir” Snapped the reply.
“Send word to Commander Debric, I need Prophecy ready to engage any and all opposition.” The Officer saluted before giving orders to his subordinates. “Oh, and Dresll…” He turned. “Prep Legacy…Today she’ll spread her wings.”
The Officer nod in compliance before carrying out the orders of his Quaestor. The War had begun with a single shot and it was against Arcona. The Clan he had returned to, obtained another seat of power in, and started a full scale War against. It was truly ironic, though, the Warlord rarely acted logically. He was a Sith and while he was a keen tactician, he preferred to let thing’s happen as they were intended to. Not much thought involved, just a few simple gestures and commands to get what he wanted. The results would occur according to the destines of those involved….Quejo’s destiny was to once again become a member of the Clan Summit, and crush the Jedi who threatened the borders of Dajorra.
“If I may, fighting the Warriors of Galeres before meeting the Jedi on Eclipse isnt a wise strategy. Meeting with the Jedi and drawing Galeres to us would be much more logical.” The Teltior Aedile noted.
Quejo twisted the braid of his goatee between his fingers as he took his Aedile’s words to heart. He knew that he was right.
“And how do you propose I get to the Eclipse Station without Galeres noticing?” The Quaestor replied, considering the possibilities.
“Why wouldnt we want them to notice?” The Teltior replied with a question of his own.
“Sir…”The conversation was abruptly broken up by the Deck Officer. “Eclipse is dead ahead but we’re suffering damage. We can try to make a run for the Asteroid Field but we’ll need to break away from the Shadow if we’re to reach the surface.”
Quejo just smiled and rose from his chair. The planet Eclipse was a safehaven for Children and the Old. There was much knowledge to be gained in such a place, though, getting to it was rather difficult considering the Field.
“This could be the perfect chance to draw Galeres to the surface m’lord.” The Teltior hissed.
“Very well, Dressl, set up a perimeter. You will be in charge of the Shadow until I return. Orv and I are going to draw the Warriors of Galeres to the surface of Eclipse. This War is going to be on the ground, no need to lose both Cruisers.” The Warlord snarled.
The Deck Officer saluted as the Quaestor and Aedile made their way to the Hangar. Orv boarded a Shuttle that was being loaded with supplies and footsoldiers while Quejo climbed the ladder leading to the cockpit of Legacy.
As the Warlord shot out of the Hangar he was followed by the Qel-Droman Fleet. Laser fire erupted around both Assault Cruisers as the Qel-Dromans fought their way into the Asteroid Field.
“Damn it all to hell!” Anubis yelled as he ran down a corridor in the BAC Shadow. He turned a corner, and continued running. The Qel-Droman fleet had already left, without him. He seemed to be mad at his master and Quaestor Quejo Drakai Xyler, the Disciples of Qel-Droma, and most of all with himself. He had promised himself that he wasn’t going to leave the Warlord’s side, and he had.
“Dressl!” the Valheru yelled into the comm-link.
“Yes, Rollmaster Anubis?”
“Give me remote access to the Striker I’s engines from my cybernetic arm!” there was a small pause, and then a reply.
“It is done, Rollmaster. Is there anything else that you require?”
“Yeah, just open the hanger doors the second I’m in the cockpit.” As he neared the elevator door, Wrath pushed the open one with the Force, using his abilities to make his life easier. The door opened just in time, as the Hunter barely slowed.
A second after the door closed once more, Anubis got down on a single knee and unlocked the brakes to the elevator, once again using the force. This was going to be one quick and hopefully survivable ride. The elevator instantly dropped, the forces of gravity pulling it to the bottom of the shaft.
Two thirds of the way down, the Annedu locked the brakes, a loud screeching sound filling the ears of the crew around the shaft, and the hanger. The massive object slowly started to stop. By the time it reached the bottom, the brakes had started to melt. He would surely pay for that when he returned. As the door opened, Anubis shot out of the elevator. He ran as fast as he could to his TIE Hunter, the Striker I, knowing that the fleet was getting farther and father away each passing minute.
Facing the cockpit, Wrath decided to jump into it, instead of slowing down and climbing up the ladder. He landed comfortably in the cockpit, and the hanger doors began to open. Closing the canopy as quickly as possible, he turned on the life support system. The last time the Striker I had flown, Anubis nearly destroyed it totally. This time it wasn’t going to happen. It had been outfitted with the best.
With the hanger doors wide open, the loud roar of the TIE’s engine could be heard. Anubis had set the accelerator a quarter of the way, and even then he blasted out of the hanger. Trying to avoid any blaster fire, as well as delivering any for the time being, Wrath made his way into the asteroid field. The last time he had flown in one, he had almost ripped off the fighter’s wing. It wasn’t going to happen, period.
When the fleet had come into view, it was inside a large clearing. Deciding it was time for fun, the Annedu brought the fighter up to half speed. The engines roared once more, and he was off, twice as fast. He estimated at his speed, it would still take a few minutes to reach the fleet. He didn’t know what could happen in that time, and he wasn’t about to take that precaution.
The Valheru continued to bring the fighter up to three quarters of the maximum speed, before engaging the sub-light drive. With a jolt, the TIE Hunter shot forward. Within ten seconds, he had met up with the fleet. Doing a series of flips and manoeuvres, he eventually met up with the head of the fleet, Quejo.
Disengaging the sub-light drive, Anubis sent out a transmission to the fleet.
“Attention Qel-Droma fleet, this is Rollmaster Anubis Annedu Wrath. Do you read me, Qel-Droma fleet?”
“Reading you loud and clear, Disciple of Qel-Droma,” came the cold and tainted voice of the Warlord.
The Shadow rocked with minor explosions as the fight continued with Galares' Darkest Night. Both ships' shields were still holding, though if they kept fighting it wouldn't stay that way for long. The Warlord had departed for Eclipse along with most of the other Jedi of Qel Droma, leaving Xehr and a few others behind. Dressl and his crew were busy conducting the battle from the bridge, and Xehr found himself alone in the public rear meditation chamber.
He could see the battle rage around him from here, the transparisteel arches of the cabin allowed an extended view of space. By using the Force, he could sense the individual battle pieces. He took a deep breath and let his hatred take him, let the Force envelop him. Then it all became clearer: Proton Torpedoes flew past him, Turbolasers lanced out with their deadly rays of destruction, tractor beams and ion cannons disabled their enemies and reeled them in. In the distance, he could even feel the snubfighters engaged in a deadly dance to the death. What he could not tell yet was which side was winning. Time to change that. He walked out of the hall and headed towards the elevators. He passed a pair of technicians tending to one of the lifts. Apparently, somehow the breaks had malfunctioned and melted. Strange.
Xehr headed towards the starboard batteries. He pulled out his comlink and keyed the bridge.
"Captain Dressl, this is Xehr. I'm taking manual control of starboard cannons 3 through 6, and torpedo tubes 1 through 3. Keep heavy duty lasers on Darkest Night."
Turbolasers were not meant for targetting small, agile snubfighters, but he knew what he was doing. Xehr closed his eyes for a minute and felt the sentient presence in the snubfighters. They were not Force users, and would prove easy targets. There were four pilots in range of his turrets flying in formation. He allowed the targeting computer to track the movements of the fighters, and used the Force to make manual adjustments on each turret. Training turrets 3 and 4 on his prey, he lead the target and let loose a barrage of light energy. Twin bursts emanated from the turrets. One missed the targets completely as they took evasive action, but the other splashed a fighter and disintergrated it, leaving nothing but space debris.
The others put up more of a fight, dodging this way and that, but were no match for the Force. Ten minutes, a few salvos and a couple torpedoes later, he had 6 confirmed fighter kills.
Xehr snorted, is this all they've got? The Shadow rocked with another explosion.
The beings of Prophecy phyle sat together in the shuttle as it sped toward their destiny on Eclipse. They all knew that the forces of Galeres had intercepted them, and that in addition to fighting the Jedi they would also have to fight their brethren. To some it mattered, to some not. They were trained as warriors, and though some doubted the wisdom of the Quaestor they would do their duty and fight the battle that now could not be avoided.
While laser cannons blasted warships, the shuttle pilot wove his way through the multicolored streaks of light that daubed the black velvet of space. Heavy warships sluggishly traded heavy blows while smaller ships danced and cavorted in a cotillion of death. Many beings from both Houses would die today, and much equipment would be destroyed. But that was the nature of the dark side. Betrayal was the nature of the Sith.
The Force was full of the usual emotions of battle, terror, rage and sorrow. Draco Maligo drank in a full measure of the feelings. Unlike the Jedi, the Krath wasn’t afraid of strong emotions, and refused to hide from them. For to reject them meant that one gave power to them over one’s self, and became a slave to fear. A fact that no Jedi would ever admit to.
From time to time the Force showed a glimmer of the future to the young Almanian, but not now. When Draco tried to peer into the near future all he saw was turmoil with no definition, a smorgasbord of disjointed images, a crazy quilt of conflicting scenes. But despite the lack of foresight, Maligo didn’t fear. He wasn’t reluctant to use the full power of the Force, unlike the Jedi, who limited themselves with their philosophy and crippled themselves with their self-righteous morality.
Unlike some of his colleagues, Draco wasn’t a warrior. He certainly wasn’t a diplomat, and wasn’t a leader. He was a killer. A stone-cold killer. He had no compassion about dispatching a being to become one with the Force. That was not to say that he was particularly bloodthirsty. He wasn’t. Maligo preferred to manipulate living beings, and only resorted to execution when there was a clear need for it.
And that was what was needed now. It wasn’t war to go against the elderly and the immature, it was murder. There were no semantics about it. But the Jedi were a threat, and the best way to disarm the threat was to destroy the next generation of Skywalker’s disciples before they could mature and do harm. Eliminate the academy and its instructors, its students and support staff. Beings, though infinitely numerous in the galaxy, only rarely demonstrated control of the Force. And those few were irreplaceable.