Black Tempest: Stair Of Doto
Eye of The Abyss II
Commodore Sulaco was the first to recover; at the very least, he was the first one to react. "I want a full sensor sweep done of that battle station and any discernible garrison or forces." Lieutenant Commander Niles shook his head tersely as both Quaestors crowded around the main sensory holodisplay, peering anxiously at the read-out.
"No. Nothing. Just the Creeping Darkness..." Xathia's voice trailed off as her gaze lifted to the transparisteel viewpanel, staring directly at the Interdictor
-class as her mind quested outwards. Alyssa! She's there, onboard the space station. Alive, and...happy.
And then she felt the distinctly-familiar presence of...
Her thoughts were interrupted as Taigikori shook his head, eyes narrowing suspiciously as Rho stepped closer to the holopanel, the Nagai's wild mane shrouding his eyes in a dark curtain of hair as he scanned the tactical readout himself. "...It's not...no. This is not a battle station. No standing defenses at all." Rho spoke softly, but his voice carried clearly as Taigikori sneered dismissively.
"Rollmaster. No disrespect intended, but if you think someone would construct a station like that and not arm it with at the very least a perimeter security force and automated turrents, you're insane." Taigikori met Rho's gaze levelly, a tension crackling almost palpably in the air between them as they locked in staredown.
Kant interjected sharply and with his trademark Corellian brashness. "Look again, fellas. Rho's right. Looks to me like a backwater supply outpost. And who would
come looking for a fight out here?"
"They have hostages, too." Etah pointed out, the Sakiyan glancing over his shoulder idly as the bridge's turbolift opened, admitting a hooded figure shrouded in -
Zakath moved swiftly as the make and symbolism of the stranger's cloak registered, the Barabel's lightsaber buzzing angrily to life as he leapt forward, leveling the blade at the man's neck. Although the upper portion of his face was hidden by the cowl, the pale-skinned humanoid simply smiled, a razor-edged grin of malice as he simply stood there calmly, making no move or sound save a raspy chuckle.
The bridge again held it's collective breath, all eyes now fixed on the Shadesworn in their midst, held apparently at bay by the Barabel's threatening blade. Rho frowned as he recognized the man, despite....whatever he'd done to himself. Anger and irritation mingled with confusion as Rho began to stalk towards the cloaked man. "Talos, what the is this kriffing-"
Etah slammed his hand down on Rho's shoulder, shaking his head grimly as the Sakiyan's acute senses registered that although this man vestigially resembled Talos d'Tana biologically, he was no longer....there. "Rho. That's not Talos."
Shooting Etah an incredulous stare, the Nagai nonetheless stopped, reaching for his lightsaber as his eyes smoldered with fury. "What is this
The tactical officer tore his eyes from the mounting scene promising to explode into violence as his comm display flashed. "Commodore! We have an inbound HoloNet transmission - simulcast from Sashar aboard the Creeping Darkness
and Vorion aboard that...station."
" the Talos-thing intoned in a grating, guttural voice, "Is Neaera Installation. I suggest you answer the Clan Summit's inbound communique
." The creature lifted it's head, leering maniacally at Xathia with a razor-toothed maw, pale mottled skin, and eyes of bloodshine that burned feverishly-bright sunken into his skull. "I was promised a gourmet infant meal if you proved unreceptive to my diplomatic advances.
ISDII Eye of the Abyss II
The Shadesworn quietly stalked the corridors of the Shadow Clan's flagship, making his way up to the bridge, where the Clan leadership, or what remained of it, were gathered, as well as the key players that had aided the leadership.
Calmly walking past the Summit Guard Control station and onwards through the shiny hallways, he found the main turbo-lift and with a casual flick of his hand, the so-called traitor activated the lift.
They were all gathered there, every single leader, all huddled around the Main Sensory Display, their glances going between the holo-grams and the beautiful space station the monster observed, waiting in silence for someone to react.
Finally, after what seemed like an age, the party responded to his entrance, and in an instant, the Barabel Knight, Zakath, had his lightsaber at the ready, the crimson blade crackling in the dead silence.
Then...Rho d'Tana responded, the usual silky and deadly voice of the Nagai replaced with that of a voice of shock, anger, confusion, and sadness.
"Talos! What the kriff is going on here?" asked the Rollmaster, starting to advance to his 'brother'.
However, Etah d'Tana, the crazed Qel-Droman, stopped his family member in his tracks.
"Rho...that may look like Talos, but...it's not" whispered the Sakiyan, holding onto the Nagai's right shoulder.
By this time, Taigikori Aybara and Xathia both had their lightsaber hilts in their hands, but they remained inactive.
"Ah...the politicians move. Show that you have the power but don't use it unless needs be" thought the thing as he cocked his head to look at Xathia, the Omwati returning his glare.
Ignoring the buzzing energy blade and the Barabel all together, and that of the d'Tana's anguished expressions, the Shadesworn moved right into business.
"That station," the Talos-thing intoned in a grating, guttural voice, "Is Neaera Installation" explained the traitor, as the shrill signal of a holo-communication piereced the air.
"I suggest you answer the Clan Summit's inbound communique." The creature lifted it's head, leering maniacally at Xathia with a razor-toothed maw, pale mottled skin, and eyes of bloodshine that burned feverishly-bright sunken into his skull. "I was promised a gourmet infant meal if you proved unreceptive to my diplomatic advances." finished the Demon.
"You karking kree-!" started Xathia, the Omwati stalking towards the impassive monstrosity, only to be stopped by Taigikori.
"Xath...answer the call. You have more stake in this, so it should be you to answer their message. Don't lose control now. It's what they want!" soothed Taigikori, the Shadow Academy Praetor whispering fervently into his counter-parts ear.
Aybara felt Xathia relax a little and she nodded and then shrugged free of Taigkori's hold and walked stiffly to where the Holo-Net communications console was still singing it's shrill tune.
As the Galeres Leader pushed the accept key, the outbound field dividied into two and the hooded faces of Vorion and Sashar Arconae filled the area.
Vorion was the first to speak, and he gave a broad grin at the gathered ensemble of his Clan. "Good greetings, Summit. I do regret that I could not meet you personally, but I am sure you that you find my...emissary...to be most hospitable" goaded the Ubese.
As Xathia was composing a response, the slim Soulfire Sniper, Rho, sprinted towards the console, pushing the Quaestor out of the way.
"VORION!!! WHAT THE KRIFF DID YOU DO TO MY BROTHER!!!" he screamed, pounding on the console, as Etah and Kant moved to restrain him, while Zakath never moved his glance from the Demon, who hadn't moved a hair since he had arrived.
"I didn't do anything. It was...the Shadowlord who performed it, not I. Though I assure you, Talos d'Tana fully agreed to it" responded the Proconsul, a grim smile curling at the corner of his mouth.
By this time, the Demon had moved, walking slowly as not to alarm the demented Barabel, and made his way to the Commodore's seat, in the middle of the Command Deck, and in a move of granduer, sat himself in the chair, resting his hands on his kness as the conversation between the Shadesworn leader and the Summit continued.
"He's perfectly right, d'Tana" said the creature, speaking to Rho as the Nagai turned, allowing Taigikori and Xathia to resume negotations with the Consul and his apprentice. "Your brother, Talos d'Tana, put up no fight as he died and became a suitable host for me.
"But who ARE you?" inquired the seething Battlemaster.
"I? I am Umbra " responded Umbra, the Demon of the Abyssal Plain reclining in his throne and throwing back his hood.
Blue Mist Barracks
Tirano was lying down in his barracks trying to meditate, but he failed to achieve the state of mind he required. Something was not right, he could feel it. Talos, TALOS! It was Talos, something was wrong with him, it felt like him and at the same time it felt like something else, a more demonic presence. Something had gone very wrong, it just didn’t feel right, the force was warning him.
The young Krath Priest jumped from his bed and grabbed his lightsaber with the force. “JS!” he screamed at the comm, “we got a problem!” By the time Tirano was in the common room JS was waiting for him with two other Jedi. They joined forces and began to run towards the bridge without saying a word, by now JS knew what was happening, he had also felt the new Talos.
The four Jedi moved very swiftly through the crowded corridors, some people were astonished to see them running with no apparent reason. Suddenly JS’s comm buzzed, he took it out and saw Xathia’s face, she was transmitting a general message. “Do not worry comrades. For those who have felt the new presence onboard please remain calm, we have the situation under control.” Their race ended immediately, the blue mist members were breathing rapidly, they had ran half of the ship at full speed.
“That still doesn’t explain what has happened, sir” –Tirano was staring at JS.
“I know Tir, however we are under direct orders. I will try to figure out what has happened, I am as restless as you are about this matter. Take the others back to the barracks and wait for my orders, suit yourself up and be ready for battle.”
“Thank you sir, I shall be waiting for your orders.” – Tirano took off with the two other Blue Mist members, they walked slowly while JS continued to move towards the bridge.
Blue Mist Barracks
Tirano was ready to leave, he was tapping the hilt of his lightsaber rapidly, he was anxious, he could not be in peace while he knew one of his closest companions was possibly dead. A dark presence was onboard, an intriguing new competitor that was out there waiting, a new foe certainly. “This shall be interesting.”
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
As the human who used to be Talos d'Tana slowly moved to take the Commodore's chair, Zakath followed, never removing his gaze nor his lightsaber from the man's throat. The second the human stepped out of the turbolift, Zakath's senses went on full alert. Zakath wasn't a being who thought of himself as a hunter, even though he sometimes uttered phrases designed to encouraged the belief in others, but he was still a Barabel and therefore possessed the senses of one. The second Talos d'Tana entered onto the bridge, Zakath's senses, both physical and Force-wise, screamed out the fact that he wasn't completely human anymore. He smelt like a human and looked like a human, but he didn't feel like a human. And when Talos, or Umbra apparently, spoke, it swept away all doubts. Whatever the Dark Jedi Knight was, it wasn't fully human anymore.
The Barabel kept his gaze firmly fixed on the being calling himself Umbra as he listened in on the angry conversation that was taking place between Vorion and Xathia.
“You kriffing son of a-” Xathia's features were filled with rage as she glared at the Proconsul. “How dare you steal my b-”
“Calm yourself, Quaestor.” Vorion's calm voice rang with authority. “Everything was done for a reason, and the anger will serve you well. But senseless rage is wasted.”
“You stole my baby, and you expect me to be calm?!” Xathia hissed, her tone murderous.
“I expect you to act like a Dark Jedi.” Vorion replied, his eyes narrowing. “Do not disappoint. And your baby is alive and well. She has served her purpose, and will be returned to you once this is over. Until then, hold on to your rage, it will be better directed toward our enemies.”
Xathia took a deep breath and calmed herself. “Then tell me what's going on. What's the point of that station you're on?”
“This station is nothing more than a gateway, and the singularity that you see behind it is the fruition of a Krath ritual that will propel us right into the Dajorra System. The Yuuzhan Vong has possessed it for long enough, and it is time for us to retake what is rightfully ours.” Vorion's lips curled into a wicked smile. “Everything that has transpired was designed to whip up the clan into a fury, so that when we arrive in the Dajorra system, our enemies will be swept before us and utterly broken. Nothing will stop us now.”
Zakath nodded thoughtfully as Vorion spoke, the Proconsul's words filling in the gaps of Zakath's earlier reasoning. Everything now fitted into its proper place, and it appeared that this Umbra was an ally. Not a trustworthy one, but an ally nonetheless. His glowing violet eyes intensified even as he disengaged his lightsaber. The Barabel's harsh voice dropped into a rasping whisper that only the possessed human could hear. “Umbra, you are an ally... for now. But I will be watching you very carefully. Betray us, and I will gut you and defile your body. By the time I am finished, none will know what you looked like. Is that understood?”
“If that belief comforts you, then by means, hold onto it.” Umbra whispered back, a smirk on its lips. “And yes, your threat is understood.”
Satisfied, the Barabel turned and walked over to the fierce conversation that was taking place between the Summit members. It was time to figure out his own place in this undertaking.
Until now Aiorus had been kept apart from what happened, he was hearing what had happened with Xathia and with the intervention of this being known as Umbra, Van Trayus felt a mixture of anger and impotence.
Xathia feel the disturbance in his young apprentice, so she approached ti her aprentice while she interrupted the conversation she had with Vorion, "I know how you feel Aiorus," said the mistress, ", "but Xatia!" said Aiorus", " Can we expect this kind of things from our fellow Arconians?" " "where is the nobility of the warrior in this? "
"Relax Aiorus said the Quaestor, remember that we are servants of the dark side, that means that not always use the most orthodox way to achieve our goals" that is what happening now ".
Aiorus nodded but not very convinced, in that instant Xatia said "for now we will do what it takes for Arcona victory, later we will see what happens, I need you with youe eyes wide open to cover my back for if things get ugly I will need your help to succeed in this, whoever he turns to be our enemies.
At that moment Aiorus could not avoid looking that being now be known as Umbra, Van Trayus looked tightened him while he took strong his lightsaber, and a feeling of anger toured the Sith.
Xathia smiled and said "you know he is out of your league, plus he is an ally " what Aiorus responded "just for now ... just for now mistress ..."
Aiorus remained back of his mistress but close enought to help her un any way that could be necesary.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
Lavar watched the Talos/Umbra being out of the corner of one eye, right hand resting unconciously on the butt of his DL-44. Something about this... thing was severely affecting him, and he had to force himself to back off from his hair-trigger state, not wanting to precipitate untwoard events by shooting the "demon" in the head if he twitched wrong. Well, assuming that he could in the first place, remembering the speed he'd seen other, more powerful Dark Jedi moving at.
Lavar clenched his left fist, rotating the arm to try and get rid of the residual discomfort after he'd had the bone quick-fused. He hadn't wanted to spend the time letting the bone heal in bacta, so he'd had the EmDee droids simply set and fuse the bone, then used the Force to... well, force the arm to heal faster. It was still sore, but he simply ignored that as best he could.
The former bounty hunter glanced over the near-incomprehensible sensor readings coming from the anomaly, whatever it was. He'd never heard of any Krath ritual to open a portal in space from one part of the galaxy to another, though to be fair he'd been part of another Clan during his time as a Krath, as well as a simple Dark Jedi Knight and more focused on the practical aspects of his power than the mystical. And somehow the anomaly was giving off a sense of... familiarity, he supposed was the word, that tickled at him. And that didn't even begin to explain the feeling of rightness he got from the damn thing.
Lavar grimaced and stepped up behind his Quaestor. "I don't like this. These people have killed dozens of our personnel, and then hand us another one of our members, apparently dead and reanimated by a 'demon'? And then, oh, by the way, here's a way back to your home and the thousands - or millions - of Vong that are probably still there?" The sarcasm rolled in his voice in his last two statements, then the Corellian shook his head. "Even if this isn't a trap, Quaestor, this cannot be as simple as it is made to seem."
Even so, Lavar's eyes were drawn back to the singularity that dangled before them. "At the least, we should send probe droids through to determine what the situation is before plunging headlong and gambling the survival of our Clan against some wild hope that we can reclaim Dajorra from the Vong."
ISD-II Eye Of The Abyss II
Medical Bay 'C'
Arcturus' eyes opened slowly, the lines of white slowly forming shapes, then colours of the entire spectrum began to flood his vision like a kaleidoscope. It was incredibly disorientating, almost as if he were--
YOU WILL NEVER BE FREE OF ME.
The words rang through his mind like a thousand fireships, each word reverberating within the furthest reaches of his mind. For the briefest of moments, the Tetrarch could see Strategos' visage swimming before him, his pale skin and cold-blue eyes fixed intently on him, studying his moves like he had done not one hour ago. Setting his mind in line with the Force, Arcturus lurched forward and ordered the mania he was experiencing away from it. He registered his surroundings; the white, sterile medical bay. Beside him, he could see some unmarked medical droid fumbling with a small bacta tank, together with various implements. His body armour had been removed, his black tunic underneath was all that was left upon his shoulders, and of course, his curved-hilt lightsaber. The Tetrarch thumbed it idly, taking comfort in it's familiar presence. He studied it briefly for a moment, noting how worn it looked and all the torment and anguish it had meated out over the years. It would seem that more was to come.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
The Proconsul continued his speech to the gathered summit, pausing briefly for effect and to gather his own thoughts. The events were moving at a frightening speed; it would seem that their plan was coming to a beautiful fruition. Making his hands into a steeple, Vorion began again.
"Taigikori, your orders are to ready all available ground troops abaord this ship for invasion. You will act in conjunction with Quaestor Xathia, who has the double-duty of readying all armaments and munitions for aerial bombardment. The command of ground troops is to split evenly amongst your Tetrarchs, Squad Commanders and Flight Leaders. Once the portal to the Dajorra System is opened, you shall receive further instructions."
The HoloNet transmitter winked out of their sight, leaving the gathered Summit to begin their duties. Arcona, it seemed, was on the move.
Hangar 18, Tactical Assault Marines Rally Point
The corridors of the ship were wide and varied, together with the dimmed lighting that permeated the ship. Taigikori, together with his Aedile Legorii Kryotek, paced quickly towards one of the empty hangars. In the last few moments, the Quaestor had ordered all ground troops who were on active duty to ready themselves. Together with the House members of Qel-Droma, Taigikori knew what the score was. He had to get them into the mindset that no longer were they going to scurry across Hutt Space, or the Outer Rim Territories. They were going home. To the Dajorra System. Back to the Shroud. Aedile Kryotek followed behind his Quaestor as the doors the the eighteenth hangar slid open to reveal an impressive sight. Across the hangar, they stood. Lined up in perfect formation, the vast majority of the Dajorra Defence Force stood before them. Dressed in brilliant white armour like that of the famed ARC troopers, General Milner stood with stiff rigidness together with the gathered troops as Taigikori slowly moved forward to address them.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
Etah stepped around the bridge unconsciously moving as he would if he were in combat, feet squared off, knees bent, bent at the waist slightly and stepping carefully from his heel to the ball of his feet, feeling the ground through his feet. He stepped behind a thick bulkhead, unconsciously seeking cover and regarded the demon who masqueraded as Talos d'Tana, who at the moment was an ally, an ally of absolute necessity. The Sakiyan wondered idly why Talos would allow himself to die and become this creature and why Vorion would perpetrate this upon them all.
There was something that wasn't registering, something didn't fit, they didn't have all the pieces to this puzzle and thus the answer eluded him. One thought resonated and echoed through his mind; Talos was a fighter and would not knowingly die for any reason, without a fight. There was an angle here and Talos couldn't tell the family just what it was. The only answer was to sit back and watch events unfold, taking advantage of situations as they come. Interestingly, the young Sakiyan wasn't as ill-at-ease with the Demon as the others.
Keeping the Demon in his peripheral vision Etah d'Tana stepped into the bridges turbo-lift headed for the Hanger.
Tactical Assault Marines Rally Point
No longer a member of the House Galeres, Etah was none-the-less a soldier rather than a sailor and thus reported to Taigikori's muster. Stepping out of the lift and locating the platoon of Eldarian Rangers Sashar had given him command of some years ago. Standing in front of his platoon at a modified position of attention (head straight forward, feet shoulder-width apart, hands at the small of his back) he awaited further orders.
ISDII Eye of the Abyss II: Bridge
Umbra whipped back his hood and he gave a small grin at the assembled reactions. Talos d'Tana had always been a good looking Human male, young, but still having traits that made him sought after. However, this new visage, the Demon's Manifestation, had completely warped the Human.
Talos' lightly tanned skin had been altered to a extremely pale color, smooth and unblemished. Ancient tattoo's adorned the Demon's head, both from Arcona's most valuable texts and those known only to the inhabitants of the Shadow Plane. The markings were jet black, found under Umbra's eyes, down his neck, and two runic lines across his head, his military-style brown hair having been lost in the Ritual. The most noticeable feature of the Manifestation was the d'Tana's eyes. The DDF Officer once had a very attractive set of hazel colored eyes. Those were no more, being replaced by eyes of crimson, almost lacking pupils.
"Excellent. Now you understand our intentions and you have your orders. You are all strong individuals, so you will believe when I say this; The Shadesworn did it for your own good. Yes, some lives were lost, loyal Guardsmen and a few washout of Journeymen, but that has made us stronger! Now we are ready to face the Horned Ones, the sludge that chased you from your home" said Umbra, the Demon sitting straight in his chair as he looked to each of the leadership and the heroes of the Clan.
"What will you do, Demon?" asked Taigikori, the Quaestor taking a few steps towards his 'ally'.
"I am to oversee that you carry out the orders given to you by the Admiral, then I will return to Nearea Installation to give a full report to the Shade Warrior himself, as well as the rest of the Shadesworn" replied Umbra, rising from his throne and slowly replacing his hood, the shadows cast by the cowl obscuring his face.
Taigikori nodded and motioned to Etah d'Tana, who had taken up a position nearly behind Umbra, and also to Kant Lavar, the famous ex-bounty hunter wincing once with the pain of his arm, then dutifully followed his Quaestor from the Bridge.
Without so much as a nod, or a sneer for that matter, Xathia followed the departing Qel-Droman trio. This left the Barabel Zakath and Rho Ozrei d'Tana. The Demon walked slowly down the two steps of the Commodore's chair and strode towards the turbo-lift. Suddenly stopping, Umbra whirled about and presented a cylinder to the Sith Battlemaster, who had been following behind him.
"Your lightsaber, Rho. The Shade Warrior tasked me with its return as a token of goodwill between us once more" whispered Umbra, extending his hand and briefly making contact with the blue skin of the Nagi, to which the latter recoiled at the touch of the smooth, but cold skin of the Demon.
As the creature spun around again, the two Arconans saw a wicked black lightsaber hilt hanging from the utility belt wrapped around the tunic underneath the cloak, though the lightsaber was totally foreign, not bearing any resemblance to the one used by Talos d'Tana.
"Yes, I may be of the Abyss, but I am not so foolish to come here unarmed" thought Umbra, as he sensed the duo's surprise at glimpsing the weapon.
Hangar Bay 18
Umbra briskly strode through the ranks of the Tactical Assault Marines, nodding at their rank and file order, the armor they were wearing was nicely polished and their weapons were fully loaded. Giving his approval, he approached General Milner, the officer giving a small bow to the Demon.
"Your troops are well organized, General. They will make excellent allies in the war to come, their deeds rivaling those of our own, I do not doubt" praised Umbra. Milner was a long standing officer, but exceptional praise of his troopers had always been a weakness of his and he let a wide smile split his face.
"Thank you, Emissary" replied Milner, the human unsure of Umbra's title, knowing only that the Demon spoke presently for the Admiral, while Vorion was healing from his fight with Talos/Umbra and also planning the use of the Installation to get the Shadow Clan to Dajorra.
Umbra nodded and continued, as a LAAT/i swooped into the hangar, resting in a vacant landing bay, the arrival drawing the attention of Kant, Taigikori, and Etah, but not, to the Demon's satisfaction, Milners or his troops.
"Quaestor Aybara will now be your commander, as the senior ranking Sith here" finished the creature, nodding to Milner's farewell bow and nodding to the three Dark Jedi assembled in the hangar, and he made his way to the idling LAAT/i.
Nearea Installation: Conference Room
Umbra walked through the sliding doors of the Conference room, where Sashar Arconae and Vorion were seated in flo-form chairs, holo-maps of their current location, as well as hyperlanes leading to Dajorra playing in front of them.
Immediatly dropping to one knee, Umbra gave his report. "Everything is perfect, my Lords. The Summit trusts us once more, and we are Unified and ready to destroy the Horned Ones".
"Good work, Demon" replied Sashar, the Consul nodding to Umbra before returning his attention to the holo-maps.
"Indeed, Umbra. You have done well. Now go, your Creator and James Lucius requested your presence once your report was delivered" said Vorion, the Ubese giving a grin to the Abyssal Creature and also returning his gaze, first to the growing rift outside the station, then back to planning with Sashar, but by the time their conversation had resumed, Umbra was already gone.
(OOC: Famous? Since when? Why didn't I get that memo? )
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
Kant Lavar shifted underneath his light vest as he wore an outfit at once familiar and foriegn to him. His jacket and pants, made of sturdy ripstop material, were mottled in a simple camoflauge pattern not dissimilar from the ones the Rebels had used on Endor's forest moon decades ago. His omnipresent DL-44 was on his hip, and he carried his preferred long arm - an AXM-50 "blast and smash" blaster rifle with microgrenade launcher - in his gloved hands. A black vest, carrying communications, navigation, and other essential gear close to hand went over his jacket and sturdy combat boots completed the ensemble. Though the vest was designed to be lightweight, it utilized a layer of spider silk armor to provide a modicum of protection. A backpack carrying additional, less critical supplies could be clipped to the vest, so it could be ditched in a hurry, but right now the pack was stored in a pile along with other troops' gear, ready to be grabbed and loaded into cargo bays or carried by their owners during their approaches to their targets.
It was the same gear he usually operated in years ago, missing only his lightsaber. Lavar allowed the blaster rifle to dangle accross his chest as he paced the length of the hangar, walking past squad upon platoon of white-armored troops, seeking the other members of his house. A few other Qel-Dromans - including a couple he recognized as members of Prophecy Phyle - were standing in a loose formation to the side of the main door, separate from the mundane troops but ready for their Quaestor's command. Lavar joined the group, standing out somewhat in his combat gear and looking more a mercenary than a Dark Jedi. Still, Lavar knew what his strengths were and be damned the being who looked down on him for pretending he was something he wasn't. He didn't have a lightsaber, was still training to perform some of the feats that Knights or Elders took for granted on a daily basis, but he had been working hard also to regain and hone the skills he learned as what he'd been before he'd become a Dark Jedi - a bounty hunter, and a damned good one.
Lavar studied the ranks of Arconan ground troopers in their shiny white plastoid armor. Some, certianly, had been among those to escape from Dajorra with the clan. Others were new, recruited from mercenary units or other sources to fill slots left empty by losses to the Vong during the evacuation. All too few of those new recruits had yet to face anyone more threatening than their non-commissioned officers, and even Lavar could feel their brash confidence - overconfidence? - as they contemplated what was to come. Lavar doubted many of them knew exactly what was coming, but even on starships run by Dark Jedi, the rumor mill was as effective as one might expect, so it was likely they at least knew they were about to invade a Vong-held world, even if they didn't know exactly how they were getting there.
Soon, those same overconfident troops would load themselves willingly into their transports and armored vehicles, trusting in their comrades and their Dark Jedi overlords to protect them on their way down. Then the doors would open, ramps would descend, and many - perhaps most - of those troops, as well as their more experienced comrades, more than likely, would be killed by Vong weapons fire and blades. It was also more than possible that many Dark Jedi would fall in this bid to retake Dajorra, and that one former bounty hunter would be among the dead.
And Lavar found he had no issues with that. If his death here, today, was how he was destined to end, it would happen. Until that time came, though, Lavar knew he'd continue fighting, shooting until he ran out of ammunition, then using whatever weapons he could lay hands on, until the last Vong amphistaff struck, or living Vong weapon detonated its charge near him and tore him apart. That being said, Lavar didn't feel that he would die this day, nor any time soon. In fact, he felt as sure about that as he had about his success during his one-man assault on a Rebel starfighter base, lo those many years ago. And he had about the same equipment now as he did then, though his armor had been much more complex...
Lavar caught himself wondering how hard it would be to get and use a full set of armor complete with full-face helmet and jetpack, similar to what he'd had during the height of his Guild days, when Quaestor Taigikori Aybara entered the room. General Milner called his formation to attention, and the Arconans present also came to a posture of polite attentiveness, waiting for the Quaestor to speak and order the invasion force to take to their ships.
Hangar 18, Tactical Assault Marines Rally Point
Taigikori Aybara shifted his weight between his legs as he drew himself to full stature. The Quaestor, though not inexperienced in public speaking, disliked it. He was a Sith, after all, and knew in himself that he had no flair for language. He was, it seemed, a man of action and not words. Standing to his left, Aedile Legorii Kryotek clamped his hands behind his robes, his lightsaber rustling as he moved. The Sith Warrior cleared his throat, speaking at last.
"Troopers of Arcona. You face insurmountable odds. We face an enemy who would gladly kill himself to rid the galaxy of our kind. But know this, they have comfort in the fact that they have our planets. Today, we will rid them of that comfort." he uttered, gesturing to Legorii behind him.
Stepping forward and stiffening himself, the Aedile let out a thunderous roar.
The troopers replied with aplomb, their throaty cries echoing throughout the empty hangar.
Naera Installation - Conference Room
The Mandalorian Consul, Sashar, paced the fine conference table several times, his mood contemplative and reflective. His mind was filled with various thoughts, mostly on the casualty list for the Dajorran Incursion. Seated comfortably on one of the chairs, his Proconsul Vorion was reading through some readiness reports and awaiting confirmation on Taigikori's mustering aboard the Eye of the Abyss II. Leaning back against the smooth chair, Vorion's eyes half-closed in rembrance; back then, he was a Dark Jedi Knight. Young and impulsive, the newly-ordained Quaestor wanted to make his mark and fight against the murderous Vong. His body ached in memory as he felt the echoes of the Vong blades dug into his body, scalping flesh and carving lines across him. Without noticing it, the Proconsul's hands had clenched into tight fists, his teeth grinding in sheer anger. No. That was not the way of the Ubese. Theirs was a smoother, more calmer way of thinking. Indeed, Vorion was prone to acts of pure rage and malice, but always with forethought and with due application to set-out goals. Allowing himself a smile, the Proconsul keyed the communications relay and sent a simple message to the ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II.
KEYSTROKE LOG: PROCONSUL VORION, VICE-ADMIRAL OF THE DAJORRA DEFENCE FORCE /TO/ COMMODORE AMIK SULACO, XO OF EYE OF THE ABYSS II
COMMODORE SULACO, INITIATE PREPARATIONS FOR DISPERSAL OF CODENAME BLACK TEMPEST WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. BLACK TEMPEST TO BE USED ONLY UPON AUTHORISATION OF CLAN SUMMIT. FURTHER, BLACK TEMPEST IS TO PUT BEYOND USE ONCE RECLAMATION IS COMPLETE.
The Proconsul closed the relay and allowed the smile to continue for another moment or so, happy in the knowledge that revenge was finally within his grasp. It would appear, he thought, that his suffering was not in vain. A faint ping broke the relative silence between the Clan Summit. Looking over his shoulder, Sashar nodded for Vorion to accept the incoming transmission. It was Aedile Kryotek, no doubt reporting the readiness of their combined forces.
"Sir, the flagship is ready. 2nd & 3rd Tactical Assault Marines stand ready, together with 25th Skirmishing Infantry and 6th Heavy Infantry." Legorii announced, beginning the report with a slight bow of his head.
Vorion returned the nod, replying, "And our brothers? They, too, are ready?"
"Arcona Invicta, Vice Admiral." Legorii answered.
Hangar 4, 3rd Tactical Assault Rally Point
As Arcturus made his way through the ship, the Tetrarch could feel the adrenaline rush coming from the troopers. The comm-speaker had been barking orders for mustering points for the last twenty-five minutes, every so often followed up by further orders on what to appear at the point with. The Archpriest marvelled at the precision in which the infantry went about their business. He remembered during the previous Wars how sloppy and uncontrollable the non-Force sensitive elements of operations were. It seemed the current crop had moulded quite nicely into the Arconan military. Indeed, some of them, as was his understanding, were attempting to join the Shadow Academy and become fellow Dark Jedi. His headwound had healed perfectly, Arcturus seeing fit to discharge himself from med-bay and return to duty. It would have been ghastly if he'd missed out on this, he thought. Rounding a final corner, the Tetrarch waved a salute at one of the troopers standing to attention outside the fourth hangar of the ship. With a hiss, the double-doors opened to reveal the usual hum of activity that seemed to be a mainstay aboard the ship.
Directly ahead of him, Arcturus could see two LAAT/i ships being prepped for launch, the crewers fitting the usual assortment of rockets and laser cannons to the ship. His body armour, a gleaming mixture of white and faint purple, was now becoming more and more comfortable to him. His lightsaber was tucked behind his robe that flowed carelessly over his shoulders and down to his ankles, feeling no need to carry anything else. Just then, a trooper appeared in front of him. Arching an eyebrow at the intrusion, Arcturus opened his mouth to dismiss the trooper only to acknowledge his student, Marick. The young Protector was proving himself to be something of nuisance - that said, he'd received a direct order from Consul Sashar to take on the young Hapan. He'd always found Hapans to be incessantly boring, this one seemed somewhat different - nevertheless, he was beginning to be a nuisance. His enthusiasm, coupled with his boyish good looks, grated against the Archpriest's battle-hardened visage. No doubt, he thought, the young Protector had already considered the fact he wouldn't leave the Brotherhood without a vast array of scars.
"Sir, Protector Marick reporting for duty." he began, beaming brightly with that annoying enthusiasm of his.
Folding his arms, the Archpriest twisted his lips and nodded again.
The Protector looked out across the hangar, noting the amount of troopers that were there. With a quick estimate, Marick counted at least ninety troopers, perhaps more.
"There's eighty-eight, with twelve more to come." Arcturus snapped, looking away towards one of the LAAT/i being fitted with protection to enter atmosphere.
"Uhh... yes, Tetrarch." Marick replied.
Another trooper jogged up to the two Jedi, nodding at them both before removing his helmet.
"Wend, how are we fixed?" Arcturus asked with a smile as he unfolded his arms and slapping the commando trooper's shoulder.
"Looking pretty slick, Commander Xyler. We should be planet-side within the next hour-fifty." he replied, chuckling at Marick. "Who's this, another greenhorn for us to break in half?"
Arcturus let out a cackle and gestured to Marick. "This is Sashar's punishment for smashing up the rec-room during the Sabaac tournament. Wend Hilster, meet Marick. My student."
The broad commando trooper gave the Hapan a quick slap across the shoulder, before returning to the LAAT/i readying it for launch.
"Commander Xyler?" Marick asked, looking over at Arcturus.
"It's a ceremonial rank, nothing related to the Brotherhood proper. So don't get any ideas about calling yourself 'Commander'. You're still a student. And for the duration of this little soiree, you're going to sit quietly, take notes and not get me blasted." Arcturus replied.
ISD-II Eye Of The Abyss II
Commodore Sulaco read through Vorion's sparse comminque, giving it one last run-over before sliding the DataReader into the slot beside his command chair. The red-haired XO played with the whiskers on his sideburns as he gestured one of the runners stationed across from him. Leaning in, Sulaco muttered a few short orders before returning to his thoughts. A loud bleep-bleep rang out in the bridge.
"Priority signal from Naera Installation, sir. It's..."
Before the communications officer, could finish, an impressive visage appeared in front of Commodore Sulaco. Standing at almost seven feet and draped in the robes of a Dark Jedi Master, the Zabrak Shadowlord, Mejas Doto, coalesced before them. His faint-blue skin was aged from his many years and deeper knowledge of the Dark Side, such was his commitment to the Force that it was slowly beginning to ravage his very body. His voice was gutteral, rasping with arrogance and contempt.
"You will move the flagship towards the Naera Installation, hold pattern, then enter."
With a blip, the holo-projection zapped into nothingness. Sulaco's eyebrows furrowed. That one was always a bitter little--
The entire ship shuddered as outside, the ritual slowly began to take shape. Sulaco's eyes opened wider than they'd ever been. His time spent with the Dajorra Defence Force had meant that he was privy to the inner workings of the Dark Jedi of Arcona, but this was something entirely different. The station's hull began to gleam with a vibrant purple colour, as if there were sparks of electricity running through the cracks and towers that were littered across it's dull-grey hull. For the briefest of moments, the XO was fully convinced he saw a rip, a tear almost, in space. The Maw was covered in these phenomenon, but it seemed like... the Naera Installation had generated this one. He wondered why he hadn't noticed this before. It seemed completely unbelievable - the Naera Installation was forcing a hole inside the Maw. The ship shuddered yet again; below him, Sulaco could see the crewers running franctically between the terminals as the myriad of readouts spewed something completely unintelligble. Gripping the arms of his command chair, he stood slowly, the entire bridge now basking in the aura of the Naera Installation's energy. At five-second intervals, a blast of purple energy would coalesce and shoot forward into that... torn... part of space. Sulaco was completely agog at what he was saying. So marvellous it was, the Commodore almost felt the need to record it with the bridge's holo-projection.
MOVE THE FLAGSHIP IN.MOVE THE FLAGSHIP IN.MOVE THE FLAGSHIP IN.MOVE THE FLAGSHIP IN.MOVE THE FLAGSHIP IN.
His mind screamed the words, Doto's rasping voice grating behind Sulaco's eyes. Barking across at the helm, the XO shouted, "Move the ship in .20, towards the hole and prepare for battle. Sound alarm, all hands to battle stations! Give the transports ready signal once we're in!"
The cacophony of the bridge was so great, Sulaco was unsure whether his orders registered. With another shudder, the ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II began it's movement, the dagger pointed straight towards the purple-black hole that the installation had somehow materialised for them.
Tactical Assault Marines Rally Point
Etah looked about. He saw stone cold troopers and dangerous looking mercenaries present on the drill floor. He could tell the troopers from the mercs, from the high speed spec ops types. It was only the brainwashed and barely effective Troopers who stood dead at the position of attention. The mercs gaggled and smoked and some, like Etah's Ranger stood in a horseshoe around him. Squad leaders performed pre-combat equipment checks on the squad members as the Sakiyan reviewed the types of enemies they will be facing, their weapons and weak points. It was information that had been pounded into their heads again and again, but one more time didn't hurt.
“What are the three castes?” Etah asked his assembled troopers. “Priest's, Warriors and Shapers, we will mostly be facing warriors” one of the Rangers not performing PCI's answered. “Whats their primary weapon and what is its strengths?” the d'Tana asked his soldiers “The Amphistaff and its an organic anti-personnel weapon that is nearly indestructible, even verses the blade of a lightsaber” another Ranger answered. “Good, where are their weak points?” the Commander asked his platoon. “The axillary area where you can access the heart chamber, the thigh along the femoral artery, or anywhere else segments of their Vonduun Crab Armor joined” a squad leader finished with his PCI's responded.
Etah nodded again “Good, the main thing I want you to realize is that behind their staffs and beneath their armor, they are weak, they are fallible. They are defeat-able. Let's go out there and not be hero's, but lets get the damn job done!” he proclaimed to his Rangers. Of course they weren't run-of the mill soldiers that lined the cargo bay. They were trained thoroughly, they could handle missions and if Etah and all the squad leaders fell, they would still storm and take the hill. They had trained, they had practiced and the old mercenary was pretty damn sure they were well prepared for the coming storm.
Preparations were well underway when the LAAT/i carrying the Consul and Proconsul swept into the already busy Hangar and deposited the pair into the chaos. Taigikori moved away from the cluster of Officers surrounding him and seemed unsure for a second on how to greet the pair – they had abducted his wife, yet were still his Lords. He settled for a stiff, formal bow of the head.
“Lord Consul, welcome back.” He said, his voice blank – a conscious effort to remove any emotion.
“Taig, good work getting the men ready. Jendan is waiting for you on the Shadow, where I hope you’ll be taking up command for the upcoming battle.” Sashar said demurely, putting the Quaestor appreciatively on the shoulder.
“I’d prefer to fight with the troops, Lord Consul.” Taig objected, frowning.
“You’ll get your chance. For now, we need you in space keeping up morale in the ranks.” Vorion answered for the Consul as the pair headed directly for the bridge.
They were still wearing their Shadesworn robes when they arrived on the bridge, which drew a scowl from Sulaco but he wisely kept his opinions to himself. A quick survey of the bridge showed that the damage caused by Strategos had already been repaired and the officers were only shying from the Clan’s Summit slightly.
“Commodore. My apologies for the deception.” Sashar said gravelly, truly having to deceive an officer that had given so much to the clan already.
“Mine is not to wonder why, Lord Consul.” He replied, his lip twitching sardonically.
“Please set up a fleet wide communiqué.” He instructed, walking down the catwalk to the viewports, gazing out at the Station and the Stair of Doto beyond it.
“Ready when you are.” The Commodore replied a moment later.
Sashar Arconae, Consul of the Nomad Clan paused reflectively, blinking slowly then began talking, his voice clear, proud.
“My friends, we have all suffered at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong. For nearly three years, they have taken from us our very homes, driven us into exile, enslaved our friends, our neighbours, our Clansmen. No longer. Today, we’re taking back what’s ours. Today, we make our rivers run black with their blood. Shadow and Steel will break the tide of their frail organic biots. Fire and Force will obliterate their perversions of Nature herself. I want those crab-heads dead by the end of the day.” He finished in a snarl, his fist tightening on the guard rail.
Vorion continued on from where the Consul left off.“I will be commanding the naval forces, whilst the Consul leads the ground assault. The Eye of the Abyss will spearhead the entire fleet with the Light’s Lament, Broken Blade and Dark Artisan providing close support. A Fighter Screen for the flagship will be formed from the TIE Avenger Squadrons, whilst Bombard and Sin squadrons will assist the Last Light in long range support of the Flagship’s antagonists. Flanking the Abyss will be the Darkest Night and the Shadow, and the remaining TIE Interceptor squadrons from the rest of the fleet will form part of a larger fighter screen to protect the other vessels and LAAT/i drops. The Fighters will be led by Blue Mist Squadron. The K-Wing Squadrons will be providing air support for the ground forces, and Shade Squadron will in turn provide cover for the K-Wings.” He paused to take in breath, then plunged on handing out orders at a frightening rate. “Etah d’Tana – change of plan. You will go with Umbra on the Creeping Darkness to Sukhur and land the Interdictor. Hidden in the former Galeres base are 14000 troops that will need to be collected and shipped to Estle City. As the Creeping Darkness isn’t primarily a warship, she has been refitted to temporarily transport that many bodies. This, naturally, will take a while, so you will be arriving late on into the battle. The Majority of the ground battle will be in and around Estle City.”
Sashar took over. “The 6th Heavy Infantry will be accompanying me on the Valour’s Fall, similarly refitted to act as a troop transport for the duration of this battle. We, along with Prophecy Phyle will lead the vanguard for the attack, with the 3rd TAM brigade, as well as the 2nd DART brigade and the 25th Skirmishing Infantry will re-take Estle City. The 2nd TAM brigade, led by Soulfire Strike Team will focus on Giletta Spaceport. Legorii will be leading the troops of the Arcona Expeditionary Force to assault the Prisoner camp they established outside the city on what was once Torbai Garrison. We will be entering the system from the Maw side – a feat the Vong think is impossible, so this will be in every way an ambush. That, combined with the knowledge that we are fighting for our very homes and lives will give us every advantage we need to crush the crab boys. We depart in half an hour.”
The fleet wide communiqué ended to cheers erupting on the bridge. For three long years every single one of these crew members had been forced to live in space, knowing that their friends and families suffered and died at the hands of barbaric slavemasters. Now, they had their retribution. However, Sashar was not done. he glanced back to the Barabel watching the events transpire near the rear of the bridge and met his alien gaze unflinchingly.
"I have a request of you. See to it that Vorion comes to no harm; he's the future Consul of this clan and I do not want to have to train another."
Zakath nodded in response, his eyes glittering in a manner that wholly unnerved Sashar. He decided not to dwell on it.
The final half hour was a flurry of activity as the rest of the clan hurried to enact the Summit’s orders and in what seemed like the space of thirty seconds, the fleet was gathering into formation, ready to pass through the Stair of Doto and bring the war back to Dajorra.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
Zakath's eyes glowed purplish as he witnessed the activities of the bridge crew, the prelude for a glorious triumph for the entire Clan. He could sense the blood-lust, both in the air and in the Force. Driven and broken for three long years, the entire Clan, already goaded into a ferocious rage by the upper leadership, was spoiling for the opportunity to utterly destroy and annihilate their enemies. And now they were about to given the chance to. He smiled as his eyes swept past each crew member, noting the hungry wolfish expression on their faces. Even the non Force-sensitive was radiating an white-hot aura of anger, with the Force-sensitives' auras glowing blindingly hot within the Force. Tightly controlled anger was a sight to behold, he noted, the promises of bloodshed widening his already wicked smile.
And standing in the middle of it all was the Proconsul, his voice silent except to bark out orders whenever necessary. Zakath studied the visage of his current master that he was to protect during the coming battle. Clearly this was a man who didn't waste his time with words, he decided. It was rare to see such a person within the political structure of the Dark Brotherhood, let alone that of a Proconsul. The Force had whispered promises of destruction coming very soon, somehow tied to Vorion. Whatever that was to come, he was determined to witness it at the Proconsul's side.
“Zakath to Arcturus.” The Barabel hissed into his communicator.
“This is Arcturus. Where are you? We're about to load up.” The reply was snappish, much to Zakath's irritation.
“The Consul has ordered me to remain at the Proconsul's side during the battle.” Zakath replied, allowing a slightly gloating tone to leak through. “I am to protect him against any Vong incursion.”
The communicator was silent for a moment, and Zakath could feel the questioning and fuming consideration that his Tetrarch was going through. It brought a wicked smile to his lips. He knew that the Tetrarch was suspicious of his intentions already, and the fact that he was been given such an honor could but only add to the Tetrarch's anxiety.
“Very well.” Arcturus' voice replied finally. “Carry out your orders. But we will talk later, beast.”
“As you wish, Tetrarch.” Zakath's smile twisted into a scowl. Beast? Oh yes, when the time comes to kill him, I will do so swiftly and without mercy. His death will be quick but violent. This I swear. If I am a beast, then I shall be a deadly one.
With that, Zakath deposited the communicator into his belt pocket and stepped up to the Proconsul's side. It was time to find out how Vorion wanted him positioned during the battle. It would not do to be a bumbling bodyguard and always getting into his master's way. It would not do at all.
(OOC: This post was co-written by Vorion.)
Eye of the Abyss II
In Transit to the Dajorra System
Zakath hissed, his tail whipping with agitation as the sharp, acrid fumes rose from the opened propellant canister. Vorion promptly clapped the lid back in place, torquing the hydrospanner immediately. “Wonderful. I hope our enemies find it's fragrance as appealing as its effects...”
The Ubese chuckled in a low rasp as he stepped back, allowing a trio of hulking service droids to begin lifting the canisters and transporting them up to the hangar.
“..The substance from which the chemical odor emanated is just the activator agent. The real juice is in the red canisters, not the gray ones. When activated, the substance becomes colorless and odorless...And will cause retardation of the Vongforming growth...with luck. I'm afraid the bacterial agent is completely untested, and if it fails completely, I won't be the least bit surprised.”
Vorion's eyes glittered malevolently as he motioned for Zakath to follow him.
”Nevertheless. Worth the attempt, at any rate. We'll have them loaded up for aerosol dispersal once we're planetside.”
The turbolift sailed upwards as Vorion and Zakath made their way tediously through the tightly-packed hallways and the general pandemonium of soldiers preparing for imminent warfare. The Barabel vaguely recognized the area they entered as pertaining to research and development, although he'd never had clearance to enter, prior to being assigned to the Proconsul, who passed the security portal with an impatient wave of one hand as the doors whisked aside. Inside waited a brightly-lit engineering bay, and a petty officer – senior technician by his looks snapped to attention the moment the pair of Dark Jedi were noticed.
“Mylis. Are we coming along well?” Vorion inquired softly. The balding Eldarian nodded enthusiastically as he pointed to the contents of one table in an operating bay. Zakath saw what appeared to be a disassembled proton torpedo. “Good. Excellent! I have to get back topsides. Get those to the proper users.” The man Vorion had identified as Mylis looked crestfallen as Vorion called over his shoulder. “I'll have a closer look later. I'm eager to see how you've repacked the device!”. They left the engineering facilities at a brisk dash, and by the time the turbolift erupted onto the bridge to deposit the Proconsul and his appointed bodyguard in the eye of the storm as they sensed the collective bridge hold their breath. “Sulaco to the Abyss! 3 seconds for translation to realspace!” Sulaco called over the ship comm system.
This was it.
Hangar 4, 3rd Tactical Assault Rally Point
Celahir's eyes moved over the troopers as they carefully arranged themselves into their respective brigades. It was truly a sight to behold. Behind the young Jedi Hunter, his Tetrach, Arcturus Xyler appeared with his student in tow. The Archpriest's visage was stern, yet somehow receptive. To his left and right, he could see the troopers inspecting their gear and exchanging banter with one another. Good, keep the morale up. After all, it was going to be a hard slog trying to retake an entire system. Arcturus had huge experience in this field. He knew that reclamations or invasions never went swimmingly. He remembered back to when Arcona first took control of the Dajorra System. It was such a mad scramble, every House dashing for planets and resources before Mejas Doto stepped in to regulate the mining operations. A more simple time, Arcturus realised. Back then, the only thing to contend with was your fellow Dark Jedi's ambitions and their ability to follow through. Nowadays... these cursed Vong.
"Commander Xyler, we're ready for launch." Wend Hilster announced, with a quick nod. His head was covered by the familiar helmet that seemed incredibly like the old Clone Wars-era helmets. Remarkable, really, how Arcona valued and cherished the history of the galaxy.
"Good. There's been a change of plan. We're not going with you. Myself and Prophecy have to make a transfer to Valour's Fall. We're babysitting the Consul when he goes planet-side. Milner will be giving you your parameters - if not him, it'll probably come from Vorion."
Arcturus couldn't read Hilster's expression, no doubt it was probably a mixture of dismay and annoyance. The commando knew having a Jedi backing you up was a sure thing for saving hides. Nevertheless, orders were orders.
"Fair enough, Commander. We'll see you planet-side." Hilster replied, at last.
Saluting Marick and Arcturus, the commando turned and headed back to the assembled troopers. The Archpriest watched him leave, trying to forsee the future. His knowledge of the Dark Side was such that foresight was only achieved through deep meditation. The Tetrarch, in his earlier years, was nothing much of a philosopher - in fact, he'd always felt that Krath should rise above their stereotypes and not give in to the obvious choices; scholarly diplomats with no skill in war. Indeed, Arcturus felt sometimes that was the very reason why he never excelled in any great measure within the Order - because he was so unlike the rest of his brethern. With a deep inhale, he turned and face Marick and Celahir.
"Marick, Celahir - signal Kant Lavar and Andrelious. Tell them to meet us in Valour's Fall and hook up with the Consul's Guard. We're going in as the advance force." Arcturus ordered.
"What about Zakath?" Celahir asked, rolling his shoulder in an attempt to limber up.
"He's.... working on another mission. For now, it's us four. Move."
Vorion's ebony skin glistened in the glow of the viewports that surrounded him. The Proconsul scanned the viewports, the magnificent vista ahead of him whisking with life and stars. It was almost like a work of art. Of course, now was not the time to be enjoying it. With a nod to Commdore Sulaco, Vorion joined his hands into a contemplative steeple. Raising his head slightly, allowing the Shadesworn hood to fall down around his shoulders, he watched as the Arconan Fleet readied itself for her grim task.
"Eye Of The Abyss to all ships. Begin movement." Sulaco announced.
The flagship Imperial-II Star Destroyer moved first, her dagger-shaped hull covered with spindling energy coils as she navigated her way through the spatial anomaly. With a low thud and shudder, the viewports wiped clean to reveal the familiar sight. The Dajorra System. At long last, Vorion thought, our home. The bridge crew were already initiating long-range scans. For the moment, the Vong were unaware of the ship's presence. Of course, that was going to change. Within a few short minutes, the rest of the capital ships and transports whisked out of the hole and alinged themselves in the order designated, the mighty Eye Of The Abyss II leading the pack. Nestled over Selen was a rather large Vua'spar, together with a consigment of Yorik-et starfighters and several Yoriki-Akaga picket ships, the murderous Vong had no doubt completely terraformed the planet to their designs. Vorion's hand reached for the HoloNet communicator, issuing a fleet-wide message.
"All ships, hold pattern. We are launching starfighters and beginning assault." Vorion announced, with a nod to Sulaco.
The Commodore waved an order to one of the crewers below him. Ahead of the Proconsul, the vast array of starfighters began to litter his viewport. As ordered, Blue Mist was leading the raft of starfighters behind. Each of Blue Mist's complement was piloted by Arcona Dark Jedi. The heavily-modified A9 Interceptors were quick and easy to fly, allowing for superior piloting as opposed to sluggish reactions in battle; making them the perfect adversary to the Vong's crude starfighters.
Blue Mist - A9 Interceptor 'Agressor II'
JS' cockpit was neither stuffy nor sparse, simply the right amount of controls the experienced pilot wanted for this particular sortie. Curling his hands around the control-sticks, the Sith allowed himself a broad smile underneath his flight helmet as he threw the A9 into 360 spin before returning to formation.
"You had your fun, JS?" Tirano laughed, over the comm-frequency.
Snorting at Tirano's question, the Sith Warrior gingerly boosted power from the shields to the engines, allowing the Interceptor greater speed to close the distance. His targeting computer had yet to lock-on to the first Yorik-et; the distance had been calculated at roughly 1900 feet, it normally needed to be within 1550 in order to get an accurate lock. That said, JS could have easily loosened power from the engines to boost the sensor array. No point, he thought. The speed at which the fighter was moving meant he'd close the targeting distance within the next fifty seconds. Keying for communications, JS doled out the flight pattern.
"OK, everybody. I'm expecting a messy dogfight here. Pick your targets, but don't let them stray too far from the fight. If they go beyond the set-out markers, let them go. We can't afford losing cover so you can earn that Cluster of Fire, Tirano.."
His comm-link was filled with chuckles of laughter, together with the usual amount of berating for Tirano. Good, their morale was up - last thing he needed was a disillusioned squadron backing him up.
"...for the moment, focus on clearing out those fighters. The capitals will move into to fight off the Vua'spar. If anybody's near it, see if you can knock out any villips you find. This isn't our primary target, the objective is fighter suppression."
JS held his finger down on the comm-link, his breathing going out across Blue Mist.
"If some of you don't come back with us, I want you to know it's been an honour flying with you all. Arcona Invicta."
"Arcona Invicta." Tirano replied, followed by Raith, Androc and Dorn and the remaining members of Blue Mist.
His targeting computer squealed to life as the first Vong-fighter came into range. Clicking the weapons to concussion missiles, JS steadied himself and allowed the Force to wash over his body, the cold breeze of the Dark Side enhancing his movements as he moved the starfighter between the Yorik-et's fire. With the familiar scream JS had become so used to, he let loose two concussion missiles, the targeting computer splashing the distances on his HUD as he barrell-rolled the A9 to his left before steadying it with a quick turn of his wrists. Paydirt, he thought. The Yorik-et's hull began to cook and boil with the blast. Scratch one bandit, he thought with grim satisfaction.
AGV Valour's Fall
Sashar's shuttle had boarded succsessfully with the Agave-class picket ship before it had entered the spatial anomaly. With his trademark brisk jog, the Consul had already made half the journey to the command bridge. The ship's shotgun hypertransceivers were probably the most modern within the Dajorra Defence Force, and as such, were the most reliable. Granted, his testing prior to this ensured almost all transceivers were in working condition, he nevertheless preferred modernity over tried-and-tested. Odd, considering Mandalorians relished tradition and lore. Sashar, of course, was a massive contradiction, the least of which concerned tastes with regards to technology.
"Full status report." the Consul barked, as the doors whisked open to the bridge.
Yamato was an untested Captain, no doubt this was the first real action he'd seen since joining the DDF. Sashar's lips curled in anger as he stammered his way through the situation.
"Starfighters are launched, Lord... I mean, Your Worship... I mean, Exarch Sashar, sir." he replied.
Sashar folded his arms, paying close attention to the sensor readouts. No casualties so far, the Consul thought. Good, good.
"And the ship? What is her state? Are the Consul's Guard aboard? What about Prophecy? Has Commander Xyler reported in?" Sashar snapped, as he moved closer to the withering Captain Yamato.
The Consul stopped in his tracks, towering over the non-Force sensitive lackey. Sashar always liked to warm himself up by opening up his vocal chords.
"C-Commander Xyler's shuttle was following y-y-yours, General Sashar." Yamato replied, his voice now near gibberish due to his nervous traits.
Sashar suddenly became stiffened, his eyes closing gently in a slightly contemplative manner. No doubt, Yamato thought, this one was trying some sort of oddball-Jedi technique to find out where the others were. The captain secretly loathed these people. They were so... arrogant. It disgusted him how they'd managed to infiltrate every facet of their society. Now, it seem--
His vision suddenly darkened as Sashar's fist exploded across his face, almost causing the impish officer to black out with the pain. The entire left-side of his face seemed to burn and bubble with the connection of the punch. He'd never felt pain like it. It was incredible.
"When he gets here, tell him I want to see him. And do nothing without my express permission." Sashar snarled, his lightsaber gripped in the other hand. For a moment, Yamato considered the fact that the half-insane Consul would slice him open with it. He'd heard stories before of Darth Vader engaging ritualistically in murdering his officers. This one didn't seem too far off the mark.
ISD-II Eye Of The Abyss II
"Admiral Vorion, signal from Valour's Fall. Commander Xyler's shuttle has touched down and is preparing the advance force alongside General Sashar." Sulaco called, reading the message from his data-pad.
With a slight inclanation of his head, the Proconsul stood slowly from the chair nestled squarely in the middle of the bridge and paced out towards the viewport ahead of him. The design of the ISD-II Eye Of The Abyss II was virtually identical to that of every other Imperial Star Destroyer in the galaxy, save for the choice of lighting - dimmed throughout the ship. Some crewers had taken to calling the ship 'Gaslight Express'. Of course, they knew better than to mention it front of the Dark Jedi who saw fit to strut and stride across the bowels of the cityship. Vorion inspected the progress of the battle. It appeared that Blue Mist, together with help from the TIE Interceptors of the other squadrons were succeeding in holding down the fighters of the Yuuzhan Vong. Interesting. Vorion considered the probability of the Vua'spar entering the fracas. It seemed increasingly odd that it had yet to make any real moves against the flagship. Both Darkest Light and Shadow stood ready to offer fire support for her, yet so far, no shot had been fired in anger across her bow.
"Commodore Sulaco - move the ship into firing range of the Vong capital ship. Signal Darkest Light and Shadow to covering patterns and await further instructions." Vorion ordered, stroking his chin thoughtfully.
Behind him, Taigikori appeared with a dutiful bow. The Quaestor was no doubt beginning to feel the annoyance of being left out of the major portions of battle. From the very beginning, he was hesitant to remain on the ship, preferring the visceral delights of fighting enemies face-to-face. This, it would seem, was not to be. Instead, Taigikori had been somewhat lumped with the duties of Fighter Command.
"Sir, Blue Mist reporting first casualties. Non-Force sensitive pilot, named Evolu-Zahn Miranagan. His wingman, Yiff Nokur, went down with him, as well." Taigikori announced.
Vorion said nothing, for the moment, studying the battle outside. "To be expected. They're not compared to Jedi pilots. Signal Tirano and JS. Tell them I want to start edging those Yorik-et fighters further away from the planet, and target the villip communications suite on the Vua'spar. We don't want five of them turning up and spoiling this for us."
Blue Mist - A9 Interceptor 'Aggressor II'
Jafits Skrumm's cockpit screamed wildly as the targeting system took another hit from a petulant Vong starfighter. Thankfully, the Sith Warrior had fitted redundant back-ups in cases where it took severe damage. He hadn't needed to break any of them out just yet, and of course, he always had the Force to rely upon if things got particularly nasty. The pilot loved flying amongst the stars; it was his natural habitat. He was already a decorated pilot before entering service as a Flight Leader for Blue Mist, showing immense courage during previous skirmishes for Arcona. His helmet bleeped annoyingly in his ear as the A9 swooped over a similar starfighter, most likely one of his own flight members.
"This is JS - what is it, Taig?" the pilot barked, hurling the A9 into yet another 360 spin, the bolts of energy whisking across his HUD.
"Vorion wants you and Tirano to start pushing them out of planetary orbit and knock out the comms for that Vua'spar. We're moving into land troopers and need the planetary orbit cleared for them." Taigikori replied quickly. The Quaestor knew how difficult it was to respond to orders in battle, especially one as highly charged as this.
"I'll do my best, can't promise anything yet on the villips!" Skrumm answered, darting across to blast out another Yorik-et on the tail of one of his pilots.
"You'll need to move quickly on the villips. If they get word out to other ships in the system, we're in deep trouble."
"Like we're not in enough as it is..." the pilot replied, sardonically.
ISDII Eye of the Abyss II
Dathka slowly regained consciousness and got to his feet. What the hell happened? He thought. I was talking to Talos and then nothing. Where is Talos? Only one thing could have happened. He and Talos were alone so… A look of anger quickly ran across the Zabrak’s face. I’ve got to warn the others, he thought as he hastily left the medical bay.
ISDII Eye of the Abyss II
Dathka stepped out of the elevator and walk into the command center. Just then he saw Vorion standing in front of the viewports wearing a black with gold laced cloak.
“What the hell” Dathka said in silent astonishment.
He quickly drew his saber and readied himself for an attack.
"Sir, Blue Mist reporting first casualties. Non-Force sensitive pilot, named Evolu-Zahn Miranagan. His wingman, Yiff Nokur, went down with him, as well." The voice of Taigikori could be heard.
"To be expected. They're not compared to Jedi pilots. Signal Tirano and JS. Tell them I want to start edging those Yorik-et fighters further away from the planet, and target the villip communications suite on the Vua'spar. We don't want five of them turning up and spoiling this for us.” Vorion answered back.
Just then Taigikori turned around to see Dathka standing in the doorway.
Dathka ignited his saber and got read for attack.
“Whats going on?” Dathka demanded. “Vorion is the bad guy and he’s here giving out orders. Whats up with that?
“Where have you been for the last couple hours? There have been a few changes in the last while.” Taig answered.
“A few? I would think going from hunting Vorion to taking orders from him is a lot of changes.”
“The actions of the Shadesworn were for the good of the clan. To weed out the weak so we would be ready to attack the vong. Everything they have done was for a reason.
Dathka, though still weary of what was going on turned off his light saber and replaced it to his belt.
“So where should I be in all this confusion?”
“Well since your team is already out in the space fight you mite as well stay on bridge and help with whatever we need,” Taigikori answered.
AC Darkest Night: Bridge
Chomping down on her lip, the Priestess was growling deep in her throat. Xathia was feeling the ragged edges of her irrationality, partially from the lack of alcohol the woman was deeply craving, but mostly stemming from her daughter's missing presence. A small flickering candle of guilt at taking her anger out on Bryna was nibbling at Xathia, but she was brushing it away. Her reaction was natural for a mother whose child had been taken from them, any parent would have acted in the way she had. The staff around her were busying themselves to quickly process the orders she had been barking out moments before, as her top lip snarled and the Quaestor stormed over to a crew member.
The human's pale features were losing what little colour they had to start with from the worry about her baby as her fists clenched into balls. The voices starting to take over her mind like a slow poison.
Imagine what he could be doing to Alyssa right now, brainwashing her so that she forgets you, and turns you into just another face. She won't associate with you being her mother anymore, she'll cry like she did with anyone else who held her. He'll do it just to watch you crumple and fail right in front of him, and he will drink in every second of your failings. Looks like you'll live up to your father's expectations after all.
Gritting her teeth, and storming back across the room, and up onto a raised platform, the Krath female could feel her body trying to shake in anger. Folding her arms across her stomach, a stony expression quickly spread across the Quaestor's face as she frowned, and silently stewed in her own thoughts, expelling a dark, stormy mood out as far as possible.
Umbra walked onto the Command Bridge of the Interdictor, still dressed in his Shadesworn robes. As he walked to the main viewport, he took a long gaze at the unfamiliar world of Selen.
"Not that you would have recognized it anyway, since Talos is dead and he was the one who lived in the system, while you thrashed around in the Plane" thought Umbra as he paced back towards the Commander's chair, similar to the one onboard the Eye of the Abyss II, only this one resembled more of a throne than anything else.
"A remnant of Shadesworn control, no doubt. Theatrics" pondered the Demon as he took his place on the seat, quickly finding the concealed control panel and keying a command to the skeleton crew that was operating the ship, the minimal crew being used so to keep the space ready for the secret army that waited on Sukhur.
"This is Commander Umbra to the Captain of the Bridge, report in at once" hissed the creature, and he grinned faintly as less than a minute later, a beautiful young woman walked onto the bridge, her ginger and blue hair hanging loosely at her sides. Emilie Lauraugina bowed to the Shadesworn and reported in to her new Commander.
"Captain Lauraugina of the Arconan Armed Forces reporting for duty, my Lord" she said, rising at the command of the Demon.
"Ah yes, Admiral Vorion sings of your beauty and capability, as did Talos d'Tana" replied Umbra, giving a smile to the woman.
"Thank you, my Lord, Admiral Vorion has been most kind to me, giving me this chance and I swear to you as I did to him, I will not fail" promised the Captain, her voice shaking with conviction.
"I know you won't...you have talent. I sense it" whispered Umbra and then switched into a more business tone. "Captain, is the ship prepped and ready for departure?"
"Nearly, sir, the Creeping will be ready within 3 minutes" reported Emilie.
"Good, is the skeleton crew accounted for?"
"Aye, my Lord, all of my crew reported in and is kept at skeleton level as requested" continued the woman.
"You know our destination, I have no doubt?" asked Umbra, the Demon looking through a hologram display of the ship's primary systems.
"Sukhur, sir" replied the officer.
"Indeed. Very good, Captain, you may resume your tasks, I will be in the Commander's Salon" finished Umbra as he rose from the throne and began to walk away from the bridge, before stopping and turning back to the gorgeous officer.
"And Emilie?" added Umbra.
"Has Lieutenant d'Tana arrived yet?" inquired Umbra, as he was to take his former-cousin with him to Sukhur.
"Negative, sir. The shuttle designated to him has not yet departed the flagship" replied Emilie, after glancing at her communications officer who gave a quick shake of his head.
"Thank you, Emilie. Carry on" ordered Umbra.
"Of course, sir"
"Typical of Etah to be late...very typical" thought the Demon as he walked into the Salon and activated a supply closet, where a suit of beautiful armor was stored, painted in the colors of the Shadesworn and crafted in the archaic design.
ISDII Eye of the Abyss II
Etah d'Tana roared and kicked a steel bin of rations over, the contents spilling onto the floor.
"HOW DARE SASHAR TAKE AWAY MY COMMAND?!?"
His Rangers remained impassive, though their Field Sergeant, Loch Lorien, took a cautious step towards the angry Sakiyan.
"Your command isn't fully stripped, sir. You still hold the rank of Lieutenant aboard the Interdictor" consoled Lorien.
"Yes...but ON A SHIP!!! I am a Ranger, a ground soldier! I should not be accompanying the shell of my former cousin on a pick up mission! I should be on Selen, fighting, sweating, and bleeding with you all...my men" raged the Templar.
"You have five minutes to get here and be prepared for hyperjump, Etah, or we leave without you and to the mercy of the Lord Consul. I'm sure he's anxious to test Milner's elite out" said Umbra through a Force-Link, cutting it before the Ranger could respond.
Etah huffed once more and snapped his long fingers and pointed to a Corporal in his Rangers. "You, come with me" he commanded, before spinning on his heel and stalking towards the waiting Larty.
"If I'm going to be made a errand-boy and a space-squid, you bet I'm taking a memento with me...but most importantly...I'm getting some answers from Umbra....." fumed Etah as the shuttle lifted off and sped towards the deceptivly crippled Shadesworn flagship.
Zandro’s throat was tight as looked at his team, his actions having previously split the Clan suddenly landing him back in charge of arguably the most dangerous beings in Arcona. He knew they would follow him through hell and high water, but treachery? That was a much less traversed land, and even he felt some trepidation before asking for their assistance.
They are the best, and that is why they are here. They understand the necessity of your actions, even if they don’t agree with them. Be calm, this is not a time for frayed nerves to puncture an otherwise life-changing speech.
“Soulfire, may i first apologise for my recent actions. I did this for the good of the Clan as a whole, and while I know some of you were...resentful of the extents I went to, believe me when I say it was not an easy decision. Cutting out those of you trust is never so easy, and when it is it will be a time where I wish to be cut down where I stand. Alas, this is not a time for apologies, but for explanation. We are enroute to our home; Dajorra. Whatever hate you feel for me is but a glimpse of what I hope you will inflict on the Vong. They have taken our homes, they have killed our kin and now it is they who will pay the blood price. In giving us the objective of Giletta Spaceport, it has been shown just how important a point it is. Whatever you feel for me, unleash it onto the Vong, because it is they who have committed the true crimes here. We stand united as one, the Sword of the Clan, and the unit who is known to be able to do anything that is set in front of us. Giletta will be freed, not because it is important to us personally, but because we have been given the mission of freeing it. To give Soulfire a mission is to ensure that it will be completed, no matter the cost. You are the men and women who can get it done, and I don’t give a Hutt’s backside what anyone says; I would trust every single one of you with my life on this mission. We will win and the Vong will be sent packing, end of story. I will command Soulfire proper and as always we will have Derik and Maku commanding Hukaatir and Prudii respectively. However, not only do we have the assistance of the 2nd TAM Division to aid with our attack on the spaceport, but the primary Soulfire team will be aided by some friends of mine from before my recent return from Qel-Droma; Deep Strike Squad Beta of Dark Orb. Like yourselves, these men and women were assembled to be a fighting machine and they will aid the main Soulfire team as we make our assault on the Spaceport. Should anything happen to me, Rho will take command of the primary Soulfire team as well as handling the group as a whole. We are more than the sum of our parts, and Giletta will fall to us.”
Zandro’s mind stretched out as the speech ended and the feelings in the LAAT/i seemed to be a mixture of hopeful anticipation and stony determination. They knew that if they found anyone they would be lucky, and Zandro shared a very similar hope, albeit one that was hidden from even the Consul of the Clan for the time.
“Open me a link to all of the transports that are loaded with the 2nd TAM Division.”
Zandro took a quick breath to ease his breathing before falling into yet another speech, once more an encouragement to his troops.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the 2nd TAM division, I come to you now as someone who regrets his actions, but not the reason for them. Today you may hate me, but tomorrow the one thing I hope that you remember is the hate you feel for your true enemy. Yuuzhan Vong have controlled your comrades, killed them and used them for their own ends. This ends today. Today is a new dawn on the story of Arcona, the day we reclaimed our Worlds from those who dared to defy us. You claim that the Shadesworn defied you, and I stand here before you as a member of that group who asks you a very simple question: To what end did we defy you? We, the most powerful members of the Clan. We, those who you would believe to choose to throw away your lives like some holoboard game. I stand before you as a member of the elite, an Arconae. I stand before you as a member of one of the greatest battleteams to grace the face of Arcona. However, this pales in comparison to the fact that I stand before you as an equal and, above all, a brother. I ask your forgiveness for the confusion caused by my misdirection but acknowledge that it was necessary. We needed to instil the fire inside you that treachery causes, and turn that fire towards the Vong. If you have as much anger as I keep hidden beneath my skin, you will settle for nothing less than total annihilation of our enemy. I have a loved one down there in those slave camps, and my crusade will not end before I kill all before me or I lie dying myself. You can stand beside me and triumph, or stand against me and block the hopes and dreams of those you once thought as your own. We will win today, with or without you, because Soulfire has been given the mission. If we must slay a thousand warriors each, the only way they can stop us is with death. All I ask of you is to stand with us and prove to those who would doubt Arcona’s power what it really means to stand against us, and how, when their time comes, they will fall as have those before them. I intend for Soulfire to be sung of for generations into the future and if you follow me, the legacy of the 2nd TAMs; The Krayt Dragons, will be too. That will live in people’s hearts, long after you are gone. Stand with me and stand for eternity or stand against me and fall like all those who would destroy everything you love. I leave the choice up to you but for one final question. Who is it, in your heart of hearts, who has really taken everything from you? Stand with me Krayts and I guarantee your legacy will live on.”
Zandro shook his head slightly and allowed the comforting feel of his shaking hair to dispel the fear one last time before he donned his helmet and turned towards his battleteam; a Sergeant once more.
“Buckets on boys and girls, eta 1 minute and counting.”
He waited for several tens of seconds before beginning a chant within his own helmet, the commlink transmitting to Soulfire, it’s support teams and the 2nd TAM Division.
“For Soulfire! For the Krayts! Aliit ori'shya tl'din!”
Family is more than Bloodline. Damn right. Every one of those TAMs is on my side, and I will not let any of them go lightly..
The LAAT/i landed and as the site of an unfamiliar spaceport swept into Zandro’s vision, the vision itself descended into darkness as he gave in to his baser animal instincts.
“Let’s F*$& some s£$& up Soulfire! CHARGE!”
AC Darkest Night: Bridge
Aiorus felt the sudden reaction of his mistress, hesitating a little he got closer to her, "Orders my mistress?" Then taking a violent turn, the Krath looked the young Sith, his eyes reflected a deep anger, suddenly the dark side flooded her with hatred and despair, Van Trayus felt a little afraid when he saw his mistress in that way. He had never felt so much anger coming from his mistress, the Sith could not even repeat the question, then began an uncomfortable silence between the two warriors.
The emerald eyes of Xathia projected all the hatred, Van Trayus felt almost injured about it, but thanks to the rebellious nature of the Sith, he was fighting internally to not look down at his mistress. The more he watched Xathia, Aiorus felt a very strong hatred filling his body slowly, Van Trayus did not understand was happening, just through the force he was connected with the feelings of Xathia.
"You will be under the command of Vorion, under his orders and do everything that he orders you to." Xathia said in a voice that was hoarse and deep, giving back immediately the back to the Jedi Hunter.
The Sith could not understand why at that moment his mistress had disengaged him, for a moment he felt betrayed and humiliated, anger took even more of the young Van Trayus, but his loyalty to his clan did step in, giving a short retreat as Aiorus thought that at the moment no matter where or who command him, the important thing was to achieve an absolute victory for the clan. The Hunter checked all their personal weapons at that time, noting that everything was in order in a quick scan of the room, and get close to where Vorion was, "Admiral Vorion, Jedi Hunter Aiorus Van Trayus, at your service, my master sent me to serve you, it will be an honor to serve by your command "
Admiral Vorion looked and make a gesture of approval, at that instant Van Trayus took a step back and waited for the Admiral's first orders.
Blue Mist – A9 Interceptor – Shadow
“Sir, I got three bastards in my tail!” Tirano was screaming at his comm-link while maneuvering in a very aggressive manner, laser bolts flew all around him. “Androc where are you?” he screamed desperately, laser had already scorched his left wing.
“I am going, be patient.” Andoc’s calm voice exasperated the veteran warrior who was trying to save his life.
While Tirano kept on spinning around with his ship, he noticed a Yorik-et flying towards one of the transport ships, Arcona could not afford to lose troops in this battle, the more that reached the ground the easier it would be to win the war.
“Commander I got a bastard going towards the transport ships! Can you cover them?”
“Thank you Tir, I got him.”
Suddenly the laser bolts stopped flying around him, he turned around to be certain and he saw that two of the ships had been destroyed, the last one was fleeing for his well being. Androc’s ships was speeding behind the last Yorik-et on the battlefield.
“Thank you Androc.”
“JS we are done here, any further orders. I am in a mood to kill a couple more suckers!” The comm.-channel closed and all of the remaining Blue Mist were positioning themselves behind their commander.
“Lord Vorion has ordered us to join the ground forces.”
In orbit around the planet Sukhur
Etah stepped on the bridge of the Creeping Darkness, a modified Interdictor class vessel. The Sakiyan had always admired Interdiction capabilities, kinda hard to close with and kill, capture or destroy your enemies if they just fly into hyper. The d’Tana stoic expression stood in contrast to the grimacing Demon. Trailing behind him as he walked were four of his Rangers.
“What is this?” the Demon hissed, his grin having formed into a scowl. “I thought you were relieved of your command Lieutenant” the creature spat condescendingly.
“Upon review of the specific verbiage used, I and my staff determined that our revered Lord Consul said no such thing” Etah said daring to smirk just a little.
“Well I’ll tell you wh!....” Shouted Umbra.
“Nothing!” Etah exclaimed cutting off the Demon, masquerading as the zombie of his brother. “You’ll tell me nothing beast. I care not your relationship with our most Revered Clan Summit or the strange robes you’re wearing. The Lord Consul’s directives were that you and I go to Sukhur, NOTHING MORE! No chain of command was established” the Sakiyan who himself resembled a sharp mouthed, pointy eared, black skinned, demon; finished, his voice as even tempered as he could manage.
“Very well” the zombie sat back on his false throne, his face betraying his defeat, “But this slight will not be forgotten and you will hear from your Summit” Umbra chastised the Sakiyan, his voice intending to lend gravity to the statement.
“Beast, at the conclusion of this campaign, if the fate of my brother does not become clear, a slight will be the very last of your worries” Etah snarled back, the threat as obvious in his voice as it was in his words.
The demon who called himself Umbra scoffed and turned away but said no more. Etah for the time being tried not to worry about who or what the Demon was, or where Talos was. Instead he focused on more immediate concerns. Were he not with the demon he would have guessed moving him to pick up troops at Sukhur was to take him out of the fight and away from recognition for his combat and command prowess, in favor of one of his Consul favorites, probably a Erinos. But why would they also send their must trusted emissary? Unless they wanted to get him out of the way too or even more incredibly, they were actually relying on Etah and Umbra to lead these fourteen thousand troops to reinforce the DFF that will already be engaged in combat on Selen.
Shoving that as-yet unanswerable question aside Etah looked up through the main view port on the Bridge. In front of him he saw the world of Sukhur a planet he knew fairly well. During the last Great Jedi War, Etah as the ranking Dark Jedi left in the system and recently resigned Aedile of Galeres, led the remnants of the clan Arcona and the Dajorran Defense forces to that world of glassy oceans as news of the great battle near the Shroud began reaching Dajorra. They stayed there for a few weeks before the returning Arconan fleet picked them up and dropped them at various defensive positions. He chose to defend the Temple of Qel-Droma only retreating with Kent Lavar in tow, when it was obvious their cause was doomed to failure.
His four soldiers still flanked Etah, perhaps as some kind of show of muscle for the demon, who for his part was not amused or impressed. Another soldier bearing the rank of Corporal entered the bridge and scurried across the deck toward the Sakiyan Lieutenant. The man saluting Etah crisply and rendered a situation report “Contact has been made with the forces of Sukhur, they are now boarding. The process should take about one hour given best circumstances and then we can be on our way” Etah nodded and the Corporal took off in the other direction.
Etah turned to the demon and just glared at him, as the first of the fourteen thousand troops began boarding.
Orbit around Sukhur
T-10 minutes till boarding
"Send Lieutenant d'Tana to my temporary abode" said Umbra into the ship communicator. Reciving a confirmation that the Sakiyan was on his way, the Demon relaxed in the comfortable chair, this one standard issue and not resembling a throne as the bridge commander's chair did.
Mere minutes later, the Sakiyan stormed into the Demon's quarters, standing stock still before the reborn Talos, his Rangers still flanking him.
Umbra pondered what he was about to say for a moment, looking at the armored Templar and his escorts with his bloodsheen eyes. "Etah...I would like to apologize for snapping at you on the bridge. It was uncharacteristic of me to lose my cool like that and I ask for your forgiveness" stated Umbra quietly.
The shock was visible on Etah's face as he made a start towards the desk that the creature had seated himself at. "Talos?" he asked, his voice layered with hope.
Umbra began to nod, then shook his head. "Not quite..." whispered the Demon and Etah leaned forward as the creature was about to continue when the silky voice of Emilie broke in.
"Commander? The Interdictor has reached it's orbital hang and is ready to send down the dropships to collect the troopers at your command"
"Excellent...begin to send them down, but save transport Delta for Lieutenant d'Tana and I" replied the Vassal.
The Sakiyan eyed his brother's shell and waited for a due explanation, and Umbra finally spoke again.
"We must speak to the troops and encourage them. As to the fate of Talos, that comes with more time...after we reclaim our titles as Lords of Dajorra".
Etah nodded and followed the Shadesworn to the transport.
Former Galeres Base: Currently housing the Reserves
"Ah, yes, you must be Emissary Umbra, here on behalf of Lord Vorion" sneered a officer garbed in a black DDF uniform. His equally black hair was slicked back and his most prominent feature was his nose, which tapered into a point as sharp as a spear.
"I am. This is Templar d'Tana of the Krath House" hissed Umbra, immediatly having to restrain himself from snapping the officer's neck.
"Well, we are surely honored by your presence, but we are the elite, much more so than Milner's modern-ARC Troopers and we could have gotten to Selen ourselves. I am a officer of 16 years in the Defense Force and a Sergeant Major in the Imperial Remnant's Elite Guard before that, so I can handle everything involving the operation of the Creeping Darkness. Lieutenant Commander Niveel is the name" stated the pompous excuse for a military man.
Looking to his right, he could see Etah place his hand on the hilt of his curved lightsaber and a look of pure disgust cross his face. I feel the same way, Templar thought Umbra as he followed Niveel into the Grand Chamber of the former base, its walls knocked out and having been transformed into a massive parade ground. Filling up the entire parade area was the 14,000 troopers that were sure to reinforce the Arconan's presence on Selen and then Eldar and then so on till the entire Dajorra system was theirs once more.
The troopers were blacked armored, silver 'T' visors adorning their helmets. Entire platoons of troopers stood at perfect attention, all looking the same except for the colored marks that distinguished position, gold for officer grade, white for officer cadet, red for First Sergeant, green for Squad Leaders and blue for non-combat arms personnel.
Stepping to a raised dias, where the Galeres Summit would have presided over meetings, Umbra amplified his voice with a simple application of the Force.
"Troopers of Task Force 19! I am Umbra, commanding officer of this unit until told otherwise...Lieutenant Commander d'Tana here is my second-in-command" announced the Demon, smiling at both the troopers nods of agreement of the troopers and the start of surprise that Etah gave at his massive promotion.
"Not sure if I have the authority to do that or not, but the kark with it. Etah deserves it, it boosts morale, and mends bridges that were broken by this transformation. He'll understand when I tell him the truth...him if no one else. I'm also sure that Vorion and Sashar will understand and the worst thing they can do is take away his rank, which isn't much use in non-combat scenarios." thought Umbra, reassuring himself.
"I am not one for long speeches, but I will give a short one" began Umbra, spreading his hands out wide, the pale white skin protruding from the Shadesworn garment he wore.
"Behind your armor, you are Arconan; While you may not hold any Force-sensitivity in the slightest or you may not even have been born in the Dajorra system, know that by your service, your dedication, your loyalty, and your fealty, and your absolute conviction in destroying the desacrators, you have proven yourself worthy of taking on the mantle of not just being a soldier in a military force...but a ARCONAN TROOPER!! You are not just means to an ends, as you will find with the Galactic Alliance, the Imperial Remnant, or even other Clans within the Brotherhood, but you are our friends, our brothers and sisters, just as much as the Dark Jedi are! Each of you hold great import to the Clan, and we will never ask you to do anything that we ourselves would not do. I stand before you today as not just your general and lord, but as your brother and comrade. I would die for you, as you would die for me, or for Etah, or for Lords Sashar and Vorion, and Lady Xathia and Captain Aybara. Now I tender an offer to you...you are not slave-soldiers...we are not forcing you into service, but each and every one of you chooses to be here, chooses to don the armor of the Reclaimers (Task Force 19), chooses to raise your sword or fire your rifle. I so tender you this offer, here and now, for all 14,000 of you to hear. If anyone wants to leave now, you may go and with no ill-will bode towards you. Shuttles will come and pick you up at the end of the Reclaimation Campaign" said Umbra, pacing and speaking with such conviction that the Demon found himself short of breath at the conclusion of his offer.
A great grin broke over Umbra's face, as it did Etah's...for not a single Reclaimer moved. "Thank you, that is all. Starting with Aurek Battalion, you may board the Interdictor" finished the creature, frowning as the greasy haired Niveel stormed up to him, though he kept a short distance away from the Demon, as he had seen Umbra's hands and eyes during the Fist's speech and, though he mostly concealed it on the outside, had soiled his uniform and was absolutly petrified by the man...thing before him.
"Emissary...I of course appreciate your morale-boosting speech, but I must remind you that I am the commanding officer of the Reclaimers and hold the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Without approval from DDF Command, you cannot take away my position or promote a man to such a high position, since only one Lieutenant Commander can command this force.
"You're absolutly right, Niveel...however, you will find that I do not heed the word of Defense Command and have more faith in Lieutenant Commander Etah d'Tana than you. Goodbye, Commander" hissed Umbra, seeming to glide the short distance that remained between him and Niveel.
Suddenly, a thin tendril of shadow shot out of the Demon's outstreched hand, which had been raised faster than the human eye could catch, solidified and wrapped itself around Niveel's neck, snapping it and hurling the corpse across the Grand Chamber, a sickening 'crack' being heard as the body landed.
Turning back to Etah and his four-Ranger escort, Umbra walked over to him and placed a cold hand on the Sakiyan's right shoulder. "Load the Reclaimers and then see me when you are finished, Lieutenant Commander" ordered Umbra as the Vassal reboarded the Delta Transport and the transport carried the Shadesworn back to the Interdictor.
As Umbra sat in the co-pilots seat, he opened his thoughts to the Arconan meld.
"Excellent! Blue Mist has taken to the ground and Soulfire Strike Team has ambushed the Vong at Giletta! Hang in there, brothers, the Reclaimers will be there soon" thought Umbra as he greeted the current status of the campaign with much enthusiasm.
ISDII Eye of the Abyss II
The Ubese stood in front of his chair on the bridge, observing the "bee hive" before his eyes. The holograms flashed with a dozen lists indicating various positions of Arconan troops and the successfulness of the assault. Vorions eyes scanned every flash and every line of info with great interest.
"Interesting!" a voice came from behind him as he smelled a thick cloud of nicotine smoke.
"What is?" the Ubese replied not moving an inch.
"The way our little plan worked." Tyren returned. "Makes me wonder..."
"What? How we managed it all?"
"No, actually I had no doubts we'd manage. It meks me wonder how loyal these people will be to you if something were to happen. Say..."
"...a coup d'etat?" Vorion finished the humans question. "Are you telling me you're planning something, Tyren?" the Ubese turned to face his old master and ally. Tyren was still covered in his Shadesworn robes, ragged and torn in the battle with Arcturus and the Nagai.
Tyren pulled another breath of smoke "I could be." he replied childishly, exhaling the toxic fumes. Vorion smiled at the remark "Still, that's not why you're here."
"You never did like Arcona much did you?"
"I never liked any of the Clans. Bunch of rot filled holes. Everyones claims brotherhood and companionship while behind the facades of so called friendship, trust and honor they're all the same fly ridden rats aiming at each others back." he puleld another breath of smoke.
"You've given it some though." The Ubese replied with a smirk.
"I always do."
"So why ARE you here, except to molest me so."
Tyren yawned "I think you have a guess, I did'nt train you to be an idiot."
"You're wondering about the girl?"
"What's she to you?"
"Except my blood relative, not much I guess."
"Ah! So that's it. The old protector of the Atema bit."
"Indeed. You read me like a book."
"She'll come to no harm."
"She better not:"
"Is that a threat Priest."
"It's up to you, isn't it?" Tyren replied as a cold silence fell upon the bridge. Static could be felt in the air as both men stared at each other. Vorion turned his gaze first. "She'll come to no harm." he repeated and closed the matter with that.
Not saying a word Tyren exited the bridge, leaving a burnt cigarette on the floor behind him.
AC Darkest Night: Bridge
15 minutes later
A few officers jumped from their posts as the Shadesworn entered the bridge. Covered in his black, half torn cloak none could see his face. Xathia turned around with a puzzled expression on her face.
"What's this?" she asked her face turning to an infuriated mask.
"I've come to see you Quaestor." a familiar voice from inside the hood replied. What she saw at that moment chilled her bones. An emerald green, reptilian eye looked back at her. Her blood froze still, unable to move, her mind screamed one word.
Sorry if I foiled some devious plans with this post but i had to write sumtin. I want to be part of the fun too
(OOC: I deleted Tirano's second post because it could not be retconned. He has spoken with me and understands where he went wrong, so just a tip to the rest of you - you were all given orders, I suggest you stick to them =P)
Sashar grimaced, despite himself. He hated having to discipline the troops. Of all the people in the clan, he was the one that appreciated their sacrifice more than anyone. He never, ever disrespected the fighting men and women of Arcona’s armed forces, yet inexplicably he just laid out a veteran Captain that had three years ago saved Sashar, Mejas and Soulfire Strike Team’s lives in the evacuation of Dajorra. His peers viewed his self-classification as a Grey Jedi as a sign of compassion and of weakness, nevertheless, the ‘mundanes’ had unparalleled respect for him. He was the buffer between them and their former Consul, Mejas Doto. He was the one that stopped him spending their lives like decicreds. Not able to look at Yamato anymore, the feeling of shame overtaking him, the Consul turned to the viewport and watched as the once-nimble Picket sliced through the swirling maelstrom of space, her course an exaggerated sweep from one side of the flotilla to the other as the Fleet burst through the Stair of Doto and into the Dajorra system. A cursory sensor sweep revealed the majority of the Vong’s capital ships massing above Selen. Over the fleet frequency Vorion could be heard sounding out orders like a machine gun, all the while keeping his cool and not getting ruffled by the sight of a larger Vong force than had been expected. Shields were raised, guns charged, fighters launched.
“We’ve got the K-Wings forming up with us now and Shade squadron will be with us momentarily.” The helm officer reported.
“Good. We’ll punch a hole, the Larties can follow. Have them form up behind us. Also, request a squadron of the TIE Avengers to cover the first wave of landing craft.” The Consul ordered promptly, watching as the planet got bigger in the viewport. Above them, plasma crossed space to slam into augmented deflector shields and green turbolaser beams were devoured by hungry dovin basals and a swarm of Coralskippers leapt out with almost suicidal verve to meet the Arconan forces –
Only to slam into a wall of Interceptors, A-9 Vigilance Interceptors and TIE Avengers.
Sashar smiled in smug satisfaction. The fighter pilots had been excellently trained whilst they were in exile. The bio-weapons of the Vong would hold no advantage now – every single man and woman out there knew exactly what the coralskippers could and couldn’t do.
“[Last Light]firing.” The weapons officer on the fleet frequency reported, and a heavy stream of electric green blasts shot out from the rear of the Arconan formation, quickly overwhelming the dovin basals of the vua’spar interdictor hanging in orbit of Selen. Chunks of yorik coral were sublimed and the double-cone shape of the living craft was slowly turned less and less recognisable as the Abyss turned her attention to the Interdictor Analog.
“Entering atmosphere in ten seconds.” Called out the helmsman and Sashar instinctively grabbed the back of the nearest acceleration seat to steady himself.
A moment later the Valour’s Fall shuddered and the viewport turned a cherry red as the picket ship encountered her first taste of Selenian atmosphere in nearly three and a half years. It was then that the first shots of plasma started cutting into the formation as coralskippers finally caught on to the true threat. Shade squadron shimmered into existence as they dropped their cloaks and tore into the desperate coralskippers with reckless abandon – he could feel the joy the pilots felt as they cleaved through the completely unprepared defenders. The Stair of Doto truly had given them an incredible edge. All they needed now was to be able to hold onto it.
“Sir! Blue Mist Squadron is making ready to land!” The sensor officer reported and the Consul barked out a laugh of disbelief.
“Please tell me you’re kidding.” He said when he regained composure.
“Sorry, sir. They’re moving to land...on Sukhur.”
“How did those shabla pilots get all the way out there? It’s half way across the system! They’re supposed to be leading the fighters! Since when does ‘lead our fighter forces’ mean ‘land in the middle of nowhere and engage hostile forces for a tactically insignificant location?!” he raged, then closed his eyes, breathed through his nose a few times and visibly calmed himself in the force.
“Get me Vorion.” He said at last.
“[I know, I know, I saw it too.]” The Proconsul reported, resignation thick in his voice.
“Get them back in space and fighting or I’ll personally order Sukhur to be orbitally bombarded by the Creeping Darkness with them on the planet. This is a serious breakdown of discipline, and we won’t tolerate it.”
“[Understood, Lord Consul.]”
He calmed himself once more, letting his usual unaffected self sieze his personality, then turned to the Captain, wincing as he saw a black eye already forming.
“Captain, I wish you the best of luck getting the Fall onto the ground, hopefully without suiting action to her namesake. I’ll be in the airlock with Prophecy Phyle.”
“Yes, Lord Consul. Arcona Invicta.”
Blue Mist – A9 Interceptor – Shadow
“Damn that was a bit of a mistake” Tirano laughed nervously, “we got to make it up to summit, let’s take as many of those suckers as we can.”
“Shut up Tir!” JS was not in a very good mood. “Just concentrate on getting those ships.”
Tirano’s A9 Interceptor accelerated quickly to meet up with a group of Vong ships that were flying to enter the atmosphere, the ships were slightly larger and were escorted by a couple of Yorik-et ships. Tirano’s ship flanked them, he would not allow those transport ships to reach the planetary orbit, he had to please his Consul.
“Androc, I need some distraction for those ships, there is to many of them and the rest of squadron is busy! I will give you cover.” The comm.-ling buzzed as Androc grunted back to Krath Priest.
The diversion worked, five of the Yorik-et ships left their formation to take Androc’s ship out. They were quickly intercepted by laser bolts coming from non-sensitive members of the marines. Tirano took advantage of this tactical error and he fired against the unprotected transport ships, or that is what he thought they were, some of them managed to maneuver until their escorts fired back, while two of them exploded in flames and one of them lost control and began to spiral at full speed towards the planetary orbit.
Tirano made an aggressive flip backwards, stopping his ship completely before he began to fire against his persecutors, that were becoming quite annoying, thankfully the force was with him. After a momentary halt of the ships movements, he accelerated to pass in between two ships that crossed his line of fire. While targeting both of his lasers with 90 degree angles with the help of the force, Tirano managed to destroy both enemies in one run, a notable action that would not succeed twice against the astute enemies.
“Nice shot kid, keep it up and maybe the Consul won’t kill us.” JS laughed and ordered three non-sensitive pilots to pursue Tirano’s original target, that was very close to escaping Blue Mist’s claws.
BAC Darkest Night: Bridge
Xathia could feel her jaw begin to drop as his voice sank in. "What are you doing here?!" The Priestess screeched. "You abandoned us! You left me heavily pregnant after all those empty promises and you dare to show up!" The Quaestor slapped the male hard across the face, anger and fury seething out of every pore. "I refuse to even call you my husband any more!"
The Atema rubbed his cheek slightly, letting out what sounded like a 'heh' before lowering his hood. The familiarity of his face filled the Priestess's stomach with disgust as his reptilian eye swept in the detail of what was before him. Folding her arms, the female stood with an icy glare, inviting an explanation.
"I'm not who you think I am."
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't have you thrown off this ship right this instant." The female Krath snarled, glaring down the Priest before her.
"Because I'm not him." Tyren answered shortly. Confusion quickly set in upon the human's face as she tried to figure out quickly who it could be. "I killed Draken; there is no possibility of his return."
"Then who are you." The Galeres Quaestor questioned, her activated saber pointed towards his neck as the voices in her head began their quest to bring the female to her knees. Subconsciously, the female tried to convince herself that she could deal with this herself.
"It's Tyren Atema. I'm here to protect you and your child. I fought Draken and killed him, he can't return to harass you or kidnap Alyssa." Looking dubiously at the Priest, Xathia deactivated and lowered her saber, though she kept it in her hand. "Alyssa is my flesh and blood as well; I will see to it that no harm is brought to her, and neither to yourself."
"How do I know you aren't just Draken pretending to be Tyren?"
"I'm pretty sure Draken would immediately seek out Alyssa, not you. You know that as well as I do, Xath."
Folding her arms again, the woman turned away slightly from the Atema, her mind working into overtime as to whether or not to trust him. Could she really believe his word that he wasn't Draken, and that her husband was dead? Looking back sideways at the Priest, the Quaestor chewed on the inside of her lip.
"I'll take your word for it, though you get no second chances. Alyssa's not here though." She said shortly, though as an afterthought as Tyren lit up a cigarette, and nodded before leaving the Priestess to sit in her own thoughts and come to terms with the acknowledgement that her husband was dead.
BAC Darkest Night: Bridge
The Quaestor stood up and looked at the Shadesworn. "How did he die?"
"How a king should? In his palace." he said "My single regret is that I had to kill my brother to kill the demon Draken who plagued his body like a parasite. I payed a high price to preserve the next generation." he said, moving his eye patch over his left eye.
"Why do you have that eye?" she asked. He could hear the suspicion in her voice.
"This eye was my brothers long before Draken took his body. Through me and this eye, Ylith lives on and watches over his loved ones."
"You really loved Ylith, didn't you?" Xathia asked.
"He was the only person I could trust. That's all there is to it." he replied, looking back at her. " Proconsul Vorion ensured me that no harm will come to Alyssa. While that alone is not enough for me to trust him, my threat is reason enough. A threat I aim to fulfill if anything should happen to the child. He knows this." he could feel Xath's worried motherly feeling loosen up a bit...just a bit.
He threw the cigarette on the floor and kneeled over a briefcase he carried with him. Unclipping his Shadesworn cloak it slid off his back onto the floor. Tyren puleld a grey cloak out of the briefcase and clipped it around his neck. It bore the Atema crest and a phoenix bird rising into it's crown. The Priest puleld the hood over his head and grinned.
"Now, what do you say we kill these bastards?"
Blue Mist – A9 Interceptor – Aggressor II
“Tirano we need reinforcements, the Vong are bringing in too many reinforcements.”
“I will talk to our Quaestor, to see what we can get.”
“Blue Mist form up behind me, I need you guys to phalanx against that formation of Yorik-ets that inbound towards ‘Eye of the Abyss II.’” JS slowed down and waited for his battle team to assemble behind him.
Blue Mist was formed in a perfect space phalanx of A9 ships, the modified ships turned on their engines and moved at full speed towards the Vong, who were trying to attack the ‘Eye of the Abyss II.’ The ships moved in unison thanks to the force which was guiding the Jedi to their goal, harmonically the lasers of all ships began to fire at the same time, creating a red wave of deadly shots that approached their target at full speed. JS felt that the force was guiding him, his orders were transmitted instantaneously, every move and reaction were transmitted to the rest of the team, they all moved in perfect coordination. After several turns, blaster bolts and evasions Blue Mist managed to divert the attack on the Abyss. However, the dogfight was on them now and if the reinforcements didn’t come quickly Blue Mist would be crashed under the wave of Yorik-ets that was approaching their position, the Vong had re-grouped.
Blue Mist – A9 Interceptor - Shadow
“My lady, we need backup immediately we are being overrun by the enemy.” –Tirano closed the comm-link waiting for his Quaestor to answer his request.
Xathia appeared in the comm.-link and she began to speak: “Tirano I have no ships available at the moment, you boys will have to handle it. Make those fighters count its all you've got. Good hunting.”
“Thank you mistress, we shall fulfill your wishes.”
Tirano opened the comm.-link once again: “JS we are alone, no reinforcements are available for us.”
“Damn it! I need you to outflank the main body of forces and then attack them from the back. Take Androc, Rusty and five non-sentient fighters.”
“Yes sir, one more thing our mistress informed me that it would be the only reinforcements we can get for now.” Tirano’s voice weakened for an instant, he knew that a few non-sensitive fighters would not be enough to win this battle, the humans were being overrun quickly.
“I know what you are thinking Tir, don’t worry we have seen worse. May darkness guide you.”
Tirano moved his fighter to catch up with the non-sensitive pilots and his two long time companions.
“Boys follow me! For ARCONA!” –Tirano tried to tranquilize the troopers, and he hoped it worked.
“ARCONA INVICTA!” –The unanimous scream of the entire company buzzed in his comm.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
Zakath had been watching the whole scene from near a crew pit near the turbolift and as soon as the Zabrak had disengaged his lightsaber, the Barabel's claws had stopped its drift toward his own blade. It would have been a shame to have sliced up the Jedi Hunter just on the verge of a promising career, he thought as he half-turned to regard the confused Jedi Hunter with interest.
“So where should I be during all this confusion?”
“Since your team is already out in spaceflight, you might as well stay on the bridge and help with whatever we need.” The Quaestor answered before returning to barking out orders to his section of the bridge crew.
“...Okay.” The Zabrak answered, the confusion still evident on his face.
Perhaps it was time to fill Dathka in on the details, Zakath decided as he walked up to join the Jedi Hunter. Tapping him on the shoulder, he was rewarded with a gasp that was quickly suppressed as the Jedi Hunter turned to behold him. Zakath merely grinned, his stitched up lips making his smile even more grotesque than it already was. He could sense the revulsion radiating from the creeped out Dathka, a sensation he had felt many times throughout his time in Arcona, so many times that it merely amused the Barabel now.
“Do not be disgusted by me, my little Jedi Hunter.” His raspy voice hissed out. “The things I do to myself is nothing compared to what the Yuuzhan Vong do to themselves.
“My apologizes, Zak-”
“Do not apologize.” The Barabel angrily rebuked him. “One of my little talents is feeling the emotions of others, and you wear your disgust of me on yourself like a cloak! I do not care for your opinion on my appearance, just as I don't care for yours. Right now, all I care is that you are properly informed for the task at hand.”
“Of course.” The Zabrak's voice went cold. “What do you wish to enlighten me with?”
“Much better.” Zakath's head nodded in approval. “I imagine that you're confused and furious as to what precisely is going on. The sum of the situation is this: The clan leadership drove us into a fury and then took us to our former home, to retake what is rightfully ours. The only deception involved was the betrayal itself. They had never betrayed Arcona, and they lead us now to retake our home. The anger of our being tricked and our anger of the Vong is fueling our command of the Dark Side and we are making use of it against the Vong, just as the Summit intended.”
“How do you know this?” Dathka asked, suspicion evident in his voice.
“I don't.” Zakath admitted easily. “But my theory does fit all the facts as I know them. And we are certainly fighting better today than we had in months.”
“I still don't like it.” Dathka replied, a sour look on his face.
“You aren't supposed to like it.” Zakath hissed, repressing the urge to smack the Jedi Hunter across the face. “You weren't intended to like it! You're supposed to make use of your feelings against our enemies! No more, no less!”
“And how am I supposed to do that when I'm stuck here?!” The Zabrak replied, his voice coming out in a angry hiss.
Before Zakath could reply, the bridge violently shook, nearly sending the crew members falling to the floor, but thanks to Zakath's command of the Force, his reaction was confined to a tight grin. “I think we're about to find out, my little Jedi Hunter.”
With that, Zakath spun around and made his way toward the Proconsul, Dathka following behind, a scathing look on his face. Zakath remained silent as a crew member ran up to the Proconsul, his uniform identifying him as a member of the security branch. “Lord Vorion, Security has reported that a Vong boarding party has breached the ship two decks below and appears to be headed toward the bridge. Security is setting up multiple lines of defense, but they report that they're going to need the assistance of the Arconan Dark Jedi in order to exterminate them completely.”
“What are your orders, Admiral?!” A man dressed in Jedi Hunter robes, excitedly said.
Zakath merely hissed in amusement as Vorion shot a sour look toward the Sith Jedi Hunter, Aiorus, if he remembered correctly. The Barabel did a half-bow, hiding his amusement in the process. “Indeed, my lord. What are your orders?”
One...two...one... Marick counted to himself, his one eye’s peripheral fixated on Arcturus Xyler’s boots while the other made sure he kept up with his master and didn't bump into anything. He had been given specific orders to remain exactly two steps back and one step away from the Archpriest at all times. Marick’s concentration lapsed momentarily as he failed to see his master come to a halt, promptly bumping into him. Biting his lip, the Hapan noble quickly scrambled to compose himself. Arcturus didn’t even turn his head, merely glared sidelong at his apprentice.
The other members of Prophecy Phyle--Kant Lavar, Celahir Erinos, and Andrelious J. Inahj--all shared a laugh at the expense of the newbie, but instantly silenced as the Tetrarch's gaze shifted back to them.
“Prophecy.” He said in a curt, strong voice. “Load up and get ready.” With that he turned on his heel, dismissing Marick offhandedly to attend to his own matters. The young hapan watched his master pace off before making his way into to the LAAT/i with his fellow battle team members.
The Protector was nervous, but didn’t show it. He had read enough about the Vong to know what they where up against, but knew that his inexperience in actual combat with them made them all the more dangerous. He had only been with Arcona for a few months, but felt a sense of pride in recovering a lost home world. He was excited, butterflies fluttering around in his stomach. This was his first mission with his team, and even though they treated him well enough, he knew that they viewed him as the weakest link. Marick grit his teeth at the thought of being a burden, running a check over his equipment.
He wore his typical battle attire; White, sleeveless robes left open to reveal a black, reenforced leather vest, matching blast dampening pants, and white combat boots. The best protected his entire chest, cutting off at the shoulders, and was tailored to allow maximum flexibility. Over the upper right part of vest, over the heart, a small emblem of a crescent moon with a knife through it was visible, embedded into the material. At his left hip rested his finely crafted phrick-forged short-rapier, it’s rounded hand-guard glistening. On his right hip he holstered his fathers BlasTech DL-44 pistol with modified hair trigger and motion sensitive scope. On the insides of his robes where lined a few choice grenades. Last but not least, he took comfort in the vibrodagger hidden in an ankle holster, as well as a second one hidden mechanically within his bracers. He was the only one without a lightsaber.
Shrugging off the thought, The Protector reached into the folds of his robes and pulled out a picture of a beautiful woman. He stared at it, thinking back to the “peaceful” times back home in the Hapes Cluster. Quickly sliding it back into his robes he found a seat in the LAAT/i and looked over at Kant Lavar, who nodded. Marick returned it and looked down into the ground, mentally preparing himself for the battle to come. He reached into his pocket and slid two little earbuds into his ears, taking out a small little device. He touched a few buttons and noise began to pump out from the earbuds. Barely audible to anyone else besides the Hapan Noble, hard, angry rifts coupled with screaming/yelling vocals blared into his ears. Exhaling slowly, Marick opened his eyes, ready to prove that he could be a valuable member of Prophecy Phyle.
Eye of the Abyss II
In Orbit over Selen
Vorion's response was immediate. “I want a localized visual. Now.” His tone was imperious, a clear directive with no room for compromise, and his irises began to swirl hypnotically as he surveyed the display the nearest officer smoothly bought onscreen. Zakath's nostrils flared as he quelled his growing unease at the subtle but distinct fashion in which the Force seemed to warp and distort around the Priest. It was...most unnatural, aberrant in some wholly-undefinable fashion that both repulsed and entranced. The Admiral watched impassively for only a moment, his deep violet eyes rippling with a sinister gleam. There were four short, stout Yuuzhan Vong warriors neatly slaughtering the security detail and fire team that had been dispatched to secure the hull breach.
“Dark Jedi!” Vorion's lightsaber was ignited before he even turned for the side portal into the deck hall, and he motioned impatiently for his comrades as the crewmen scrambled to move from the Ubese's path. “Come.” Dathka was the first to follow the Proconsul, grasping his saber hilt tightly in his fist as Aiorus fell in line, flanked swiftly by Zakath, the scarred Barabel bringing up the rear with his reptilian grin. Vorion called to the bridge crew as he departed, glowering angrily over his shoulder. “Maintain course! Continue to monitor the Valour's Fall. Space superiority will soon be ours!” The Abyss's auxiliary lights were dimmed as the often were when the Consul had occupied his place of honor, and the Proconsul noted this with savage delight.
Forty meters down an adjacent corridor the extragalactic commander raised a massive clawed fist as a signal to the three other Yuuzhan Vong warriors behind him. The Slayer coiled his amphistaff perplexedly, squinting into the unnatural darkness of the hallway. There has been a noise...
As if on cue, several small round canisters rolled around the corner, and commander of the Slayers immediately let loose a swift stream of venom from his amphistaff. The acid flew true, slagging the canisters and sending thick plumes of white smoke into the air.
It was Zakath who struck first, rising from a low crouch in the billowing smog cover to drive his lightsaber under the arm of an unsuspecting Slayer with preternatural grace as his rising lunge burned deep into the Yuuzhan Vong's chest. The Slayer's amphistaff reflexively reared up and raised it's hood even as the mortally-wounded Vong warrior staggered to his knees. Before the Barabel could blink the amphistaff sprayed another volley of it's potent neurotoxin aimed directly for his eyes.
A dark-skinned hand buffeted the air in front of them with a strong gust, blowing the stream of poison harmlessly away from Zakath – at the cost of dispersing their smokescreen, he realized Vorion had parted the air with a surgical application of the Force, pushing the venom - and it's source away from the exposed Barabel.
The remaining three Slayers roared with fury as their comrade fell flat, hemhorraging black blood across the riveted durasteel floor. Their living weapons coiled to strike as the four Dark Jedi raised their lightsabers and braced as the Slayers charged. “Steady!” Vorion roared as his buzzing blade swirled with motion, whipping towards their oncoming assailants.
Eye of the Abyss II
In Orbit over Selen
Dathka quickly fell in after Vorion coming around the left of the Ubese and countering one of the slayers attacks. Dathka tried many different combos before he realized that the slayer was much better of a duelist. Making him take a step back with every failed attack. He knew it was going to take much more than just his saber skills to for him to win."Wow i sure haven't faced one of these before," he thought.
Just then the slayers amphistaff reared up and countered Dathka’s attacks with a combo that sent Dathka into full defense. Coming unbelievably close to striking him. Dathka was forced to keep in full retreat.
But finally he jumped away from the creature to recover himself. He looked around to see Zakath Aiorus and Vorion dealing with the other two slayers. He had to handle this one himself. Only with the power of the force was he going to be able to beat this unsightly creature. He knelt down and drew on the force. Letting it envelope his very being and flow through him steadily. Just as he did the vong hissed back and ran toward him full force. But Dathka now drawing heavily on the force was ready and countered the oncoming attack with an intense upper cut combo. He had not been able to perform the combo before when his master had tried to teach it to him, but now that he was flowing with pure untarnished force power and was able to compete it with pin point accuracy.
The vong was forced to retreat to gain some ground but Dathka quickly followed suite. Not giving any head way to the vong. Dathka could tell that this was all coming to an end. The vong was bound to slip up and leave an opening somewhere and he had to be ready to strike at it. The Slayer fought as well as he could before Dathka realized a routine in his attacks. There was one small opening toward the end of one of his combos that could be expoided if used right. Dathka quickly threw himself in defense and let the vong move toward him just a bit. Just as the Vong came in with the last part of his number 1 used combo, Dathka spun around and brought his lightsaber down over his head and landed a perfect, force guided slice down the slayers chest. The vong froze just before Dathka came down with a massive force slam. Crushing his already lifeless body. Dathka flourished as he felt the power flow through him from the fresh kill.
AGV Valour's Fall
Approaching Estle City
LAAT/i in Hangar Bay
Lavar watched the Tetrarch's apprentice zone out, apparently listening to whatever music the young Hapan found inspiring. Lavar preferred to relax and rest his mind before a fight; not really meditating nor asleep but also definitely not mentally active. Though Lavar wasn't aware of the young noble's thoughts about being the "only one" without a lightsaber hanging off their belt, the former bounty hunter also was also keenly aware of his lack of a lightsaber. He almost unconsciously ran his hands over his tactical vest, patting each pocket to make sure that it contained its usual gadget, weapon add-on, or ammo. A series of small pouches at his belt contained a variety of offensive grenades for the MGL-1 microgrenade launcher on his blaster rifle, as well as a few more traditional thrown grenades, but these tended to be of the more... exotic variety. Glop grenades and stun grenades made up the majority of his thrown inventory, whereas the ones for his grenade launcher were mainly high explosive, fragmentation, and concussion grenades. He also had multiple charge packs for the DL-44 slung low on his right hip - the blaster pistol was powerful and accurate, but it paid for it by requiring more power per shot than almost any other blaster in the galaxy. The rest of his kit consisted of grapple lines, a set of small but powerful macrobinoculars, a breath mask, a couple of smaller detpacks, and assorted other goodies. In the pack on his back were some rations, water, and a fair first aid kit. Nothing he couldn't do without, but still handy stuff to have around.
Lavar rocked his blaster rifle back and forth, letting it rest on its muzzle in case of accidental discharge as the Valour's Fall plummeted through the atmosphere. He could hear the thunder of the ship's main cannons blasting a hole through the Vong as they approached Estle City. Lavar closed his eyes, trying to listen to everything around him without focusing on any one thing. Hull creaking, the thrum of turbolasers, an oh so faint snatch of music from Marick's ear pods, his own heartbeat, the creaking of battle harnesses stretching - all these flowed over him and through him in a relaxing chorus. At times it almost seemed like music itself, then it dissolved again into utter chaos. And underneath it all, Lavar felt the flowing pulse of emotions as the troops aboard the ship and in the larties and fighters around the corvette psyched themselves up to take back their homes from some of the most vile abominations the galaxy had seen yet.
Lavar felt a stirring and opened his eyes to see his Tetrarch and the Consul coming aboard, along with a handful of the Consul's Own guard. The Consul, still in his Shadesworn robes, looked around the compartment and nodded. The doors closed even as the pilot's voice crackled over the PA, warning his passengers to prepare for separation-
Lavar felt like his stomach was trying to rebel and keep his internal organs back in the corvette as the small craft fell away from its mothership. The thunder of laser and turbolaser was louder now, and the larty added its own music to the chorus with its chin cannons, composite beam turrets, and missile launchers. The ship rocked as weapons fire and winds alike sent shockwaves into the hull of the infantry transport. Lavar couldn't see much through the small slits on the side of the transport, but soon enough the LAAT/i was low over the deck and the pilot opened the side hatches. Lavar reslung his weapon across his chest, allowing him to keep it at the low-ready position even if his hands were busy. Blasted forests streamed past, and Lavar saw the other infantry and vehicle transports come alongside, weapons almost constantly firing at targets Lavar couldn't see. Quickly enough, the city came into view, and the transports dropped themselves to the ground to disgorge their cargoes. Arconan troopers - for all the world looking like they belonged in the Clone Wars - swarmed out, blasters up and spitting fire. Prophecy Phyle followed their Consul out of their transport. Marick drew a weapon in the corner of Lavar's field of view, but Lavar wasn't paying more attention to him than to know where he was and generally what he was doing.
The bounty hunter lifted his rifle. He was in a familiar place, now. He didn't let himself think, per se. Lavar became less a person and more a targeting computer, his arms instinctually bringing his rifle's sights in line with his targets - not people, not aliens, no more than simple targets to be eliminated. He didn't feel anger, pity, or fear - no, that wasn't quite right. He did feel those things, but he controlled his reactions to them as he would to a change in the wind - they were simply another way to maintain situational awareness. And now it was time to perform the tasks for which he'd been paid well in the past, and had trained to do once again, this time for a cause instead of simple money.
Lavar sighted in on his first target - a charging, screaming Vong soldier, armed with an amphistaff - and squeezed the trigger. His blaster bolts drilled into the target's unarmored face, dropping him. Lavar selected his next target, let out half a breath, and squeezed the trigger again, sending a burst of fire stitching across the warrior's torso and right thigh. Both torso shots were ablated by the vonduun crab armor the Vong wore, but the third shot drilled into a flex point and into the flesh beneath, tripping up the warrior as he closed to melee range of the Dark Jedi. A lightsaber finished the job, but Lavar was only peripherally aware of it as he continued selecting and servicing his targets. As the lightsaber-armed Dark Jedi began to advance, closing to melee range with the main body of Vong ahead of them, Lavar and Marick both stayed somewhat behind - enough not to get caught in the close-quarters fight but enough to help out if needed - and concentrated their efforts on Vong forces amongst the buildings, well outside lightsaber range. Several Vong were leaping from an apartment building, and Lavar waved at a squad of troopers that had been coming up behind the Dark Jedi. Lavar pointed at the building's door with his hand, then aimed and fired a high-explosive grenade at the doors, blasting them from their frames and into the building itself. The Arconan troops entered the building, rifles blinking, and Lavar quickly slipped another grenade, this one a frag grenade, into his launcher before jogging the short distance to catch up with the others.
Hyperspace, in route to Selen
Etah stood in the bridge forward and to the left of Umbra, who stood near the center of the bridge. The Troops had been mustered, reviewed and then loaded. A much different Army than the one that had gaggled in the Cargo bay in the Eye of the Abyss II, this Army more than professional, looked nearly mythical. It was as if from the depths of some powerful holocron a Corps springing forth from one of the ancient Sith Empires. The Reclaimers smooth ebon armor matched the smooth ebon color of his Sakiyan skin, making the Obelisk Templar feel as if one of them. But he wasn’t he knew he was just along for the ride.
The Templar’s platoon of Eldarian Rangers stood out of the pack like a sore thumb, wearing the white Clone Trooper armor of the main Army. At this point Etah didn’t even know what role they would play as this all seems to be orchestrated by the Arconae. If it was clear the Creeping Darkness were to be boarded when they arrived in system he planned on leaving them to protect the Creeping Darkness, if not when they hit ground he would keep them back as a strategic reserve and let the Reclaimers operate as they had been designed to. His Ranger’s wouldn’t care; none of them were glory hogs. As long as they survived and got fed they would be content, though at this point nether was really planned.
The Sakiyan reflected on this moment as he knew it might very well be his last. He was a soldier and a Dark Jedi, but none so far had been able to defeat the Vong or drive them off. They seemed to be an unstoppable force, sweeping through the Galaxy and destroying everything as they went. But Etah would rather die fighting an un-winnable fight than to skulk through the shadows, quivering in terror and many felt this way. For any other clan this bold feat would be unthinkable because many of their Dark Jedi were cowards with no loyalty or honor. But Arconan had soldiers, though not less- dogmatic as the average grunt, were loyal and if not honorable, they had pride, too much pride to continue to allow the Vong to occupy their home-system.
As the Creeping Darkness shuttered through hyperspace Etah gazed at the creature resembling his brother and he couldn’t help to begin to wonder about him. The demon called Umbra resembled his brother but it was as if he was some kind of zombie, or re-animated Sith corpse. There were times the creature totally foreign, as if he were some kind of disembodied demon who had hijacked Talos’s body. Then there were moments he was certain the demon was Talos, only with a paler skin tone and some kind of inscriptions on his skin, possibly a Vampire of some kind. If Umbra was merely a parasite and his brother remained in his body, then those times when he seemed like Talos, his brother would have said something.
Etah paced only a few steps and then turned back to his original spot. He shook head too full of thought and then refocused on his mind on the he had questions concerning Talos and Umbra. The creature seemed to have an unshakable confidence in Etah, which was strange since Umbra had been sent from the clan summit, a summit none-to-fond of the Obelisk Templar. Of course all of it could be explained away as some kind of act. Machiavellian plots were abundant among the clan of shadows and were nothing new. There also remained the possibility that this person was a mere imitation of Talos and the real Talos d’Tana remained alive somewhere.
Lost in thought, a trooper’s boots thudded on the deck of the bridge and echoed through Etah’s Sakiyan ears, breaking him from his reverie. It was the same Corporal who had previously spoke it him. Though not a squad leader which was a few ranks higher than him, he was assigned to liaison between Etah and the squad leaders when the Sakiyan was busy elsewhere. Due to his studies in the Dark Side, his affiliation with the Shadow Academy and his activates within the d’Tana family that was the rule rather than the exception.
“Sit Rep Corporal” Etah quarried.
“All fifty of us are bedded down for the night in the separate quarters you provided us, our weapons and gear is cleaned and ready to go at a moments notice. All personnel and sensitive items present” the Corporal listed off in a monotone voice.
“I am serious about having no-contact with the Reclaimers. Umbra said this was a must but said he could not explain way. That’s why we found you separate quarters. I mean it, keep to yourself” the Sakiyan cautioned.
“That’ll be no problem Lieutenant, they creep us out” the Corporal replied candidly.
Umbra suddenly behind them hissed “That’s Lieutenant Commander, Corporal. Not Lieutenant Commander in the sense of the Naval Rank which is an Army Major but as a Lieutenant to the Commander which is me, or possibly Commander in lieu of, if I fall in battle.”
“Ohh, uh, Yes sir” the Corporal stuttered suddenly afraid and worried the creature heard his comments about the Reclaimers. “The Squad Leaders were asking for an ETA” the Corporal managed to ask, hoping to change the subject.
“Tell them the ETA; is too damn long, and get some shut eye. I’ll wake you prior to our arrival. The DFF has already made contact, Arconan’s are dying and they’re gonna need you fully rested to back them up” Etah responded coming eye to eye with Umbra as the Corporal scurried off the bridge. “If he only knew the fate of brave mice” he commented quizzically toward the demon.
It was always the same. The ship rocked as another plasma blast hit the forward shields and a few of the troops in the compartment with him exchanged nervous glances. Prophecy Phyle were displaying the usual idiosyncrasies Sashar would expect from a force sensitive team. The Hapan was getting in the zone with music, Lavar was re-checking his gear and generally ‘switching off’ his mind, Sashar’s own adopted little brother Celahir had his little routine – rubbing his thumb over the wooden carved totem hanging from a black necklace. Dimly in the back of his mind, he was aware of Soulfire Strike Team, the Consul’s old unit, connecting together in a Force Meld and psyching up, ready to take Giletta Spaceport so they could eventually get the Creeping Darkness onto the ground and disgorge the 14000 reserve troops that had been waiting on Sukhur. For a moment, he reached out in the force, brushing his mind against the meld, letting them know he was watching, then turned his attention inward. He needed to check his gear.
Underneath the Shadesworn cloak was his own Mandalorian Armor – a set of matte grey beskar plates that had seen better days. About his waist was a belt festooned with pouches containing high tension wire, hydration tablets, a complete medical kit (at the small of his back), explosive tape, a multi-tool, a spare comlink and a spare energy cell for his lightsaber. In terms of armament, he’d chosen a 434 Deathhammer pistol modified by his own hand to fire non-lethal stun blasts that overloaded all senses in most humanoid species and left them a twitching mass on the floor, as well as his lightsaber kad’ika and an E-19 Carbine given to him by one of his 12 guardsmen. His pride of the piece was the custom designed helmet – a cross-visored, spiked item with the jaig eyes proudly painted on, gleaming in the muted lighting of the airlock. It looked extremely menacing, even to him and offered one hell of a mean headbutt, with the short, brutal spikes running up from the ‘nose’ across the forehead and up to the crown of the head.
“20 seconds!” shouted the deck officer and there was a wave of tension as the sounds from the other side of the airlock door changed from a distant murmur of explosion to the whistle of missiles peppering the intended drop zone for the Valour’s Fall – doubtlessly from the picket ships’ Corvette Escort. The airlock door slid open and the Arconans were greeted with the sight of Estle City on fire. The skies above Estle were buzzing with K-Wings and coralskippers. All around the mayhem Larties touched down throughout the city, surrounding the spaceport and huge organic miniature volcanoes spat out firey gouts of plasma at the dogfight happening over the city in an effort to drive off the Arconans. It wasn’t working. The K-wings had trained for this endlessly – they knew exactly where to drop their payloads and soon the majority of the anti-air emplacements.
Then they were down. The Valour’s Fall hit the dirt with bone-jarring force that nearly toppled Marick, bringing him quickly from his reverie. Prophecy led the initial charge, flanked by troops from the 6th Heavy Infantry – the Consul’s Guard. Sashar was amazed that the fledgling team, who had not really seen action with each other as a team yet could work so cohesively. They immediately set to work breaching the nearest burned out structure – one that looked like it had been converted into a barracks complex.
“Let’s not get left behind, eh?” the Consul muttered as he slid on his helmet and force jumped from the Corvette into the street. Already the 6th Heavy Infantry were erected a temporary roadblock a little way down the street with a pair of shielded E-Web Cannons and a mortar emplacement, but they’d never get it erected in time, as more and more Vong were pouring from a converted barracks building half a block away. His 12 guardsmen were a few seconds behind him and immediately encircled him in a protective screen, their E-19 carbines singing out blue death with precision headshots to any opportunistic Vong that realised Sashar was a force user from the lightsaber dangling from his belt.
“Colonel! I Set up two mortar positions further back and bring down the far barracks building!” Sashar shouted into his helmet comlink, and Colonel Rect nodded in understanding. He turned to his troops and started barking out orders. War was loud. Above the bellowed orders of the Arconan officers were the constant barks of blasters, the subsonic thumps of grenades exploding, the screamed curses of the Vong as they charged, the hiss and snap of amphistaffs, the pealed shouts of downed troops, the crunch of masonry as the mortars set to work bringing down buildings with many, many Vong still inside. The helmet muted a lot of this down, but it was still deafening, still disorientating.
A prompting from the force brought Sashar’s head up, staring into the war-riddled sky. It was twilight, and the sun was casting a beautiful ochre glow over the city and framed within the sublime sunset were a squadron of Larties, their course set on Giletta Spaceport. The Consul flinched despite himself as one LAAT/i took a blast from one of the plasma emplacements directly in the cockpit and immediately started to lose altitude. The impact jarred several troopers from the open hatches and they screamed as they fell to their doom.
Instinct took over. The Force flooded into Sashar’s legs as he launched himself into the air. The Falling TAM commando was caught in a high tackle in mid air as the Consul slammed into him and a quarter-second later the pair smashed through an already gutted window on the 1st floor of what was once a book store.
“What’s your name trooper?” Sashar asked as he rolled up onto one knee, his E-19 up and sweeping the room.
“Sergeant J’gotay, sir. One of Major Malay’s officers.” A young voice replied shakily as he got to his feet and raised his own rifle.
“That wasn’t Malay’s Larty was it?” Sashar asked, concern evident. He’d served with Major Malay extensively over the years.
“No, sir-“ He was cut off as a guttural shout came from the door. A Yuuzhan Vong warrior clad only in a loincloth stood framed their, coufee in hand. He charged the pair, but was cut down instantly.
“Lieutenant, We could use some extra guns.” Sashar muttered into his helmet comlink, hoping that the 12 Guardsmen assigned to protect him would start breaching the building, as he didn’t like his chances.
More vong, alerted by the scream of their dead comrade rushed into the room, all in various states of undress. They’d clearly been awoken by the invasion and were in the process of ‘gearing up’ when Sashar and J’gotay had broken in, and now were eager to end the threat that had presented itself behind their lines.
The Shade Warrior didn’t bother trying to find cover, he simply crossed the room in three short steps and shoulder barged a book case into the door, partially blocking the entryway at chest height. Then, as the Vong on the other side started trying to shift the obstacle, he raised the E-19 to head height and sprayed fire into their numbers. The sergeant, not wanting to be left behind, raised his rifle up and fired a grenade underneath the toppled bookcase, into the legs of the vong. The explosion knocked Sashar back a pace, but his armor protected him from the worst of the blast. The same could not be said for the warriors on the other side, most of whom were now a fine black mist.
“Kandosii.” Sashar commented idly as he grabbed the book case in the force and knocked it aside.
“Sorry, sir?” the Sergeant asked, glancing back out of the window at the pitched fight going on in the street below.
“Never mind.” The Consul muttered, proceeding down the corridor to the stairwell. There were strobes of light flashing below and a moment later a voice called up “Lord Consul! Are you all right?”
“I’m fine. Let’s get back to the main fight, shall we?” He responded to his Guardsmen.
There were about seventy of them, all in all. They were spread throughout a ragtag collection of about thirty fighters and gunships. Each one was clad in Mandalorian Armor, each one armed to the teeth, and each one intent on taking back their home. Arconae Primus, once the location of the Venku Range, housed all seventy of the Mandalorians of the Erinos Clan. Like Arcona, when the crab boys had moved in, the Mandos had had to disappear pretty sharpish rather than try and fight them off. The situation had changed. Archean Erinos Tarentae led the charge in his own fighter as they screamed towards the surface. Their objective – kill every last Vong on the planet and secure the Venku Range, most notably the Quarry and the Erinos Homestead. He’d relish the fight – his blade had been gathering dust for far too long, so he was grateful to his brothers to allow him a stab at the vong and a chance to get his own back.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
In Orbit over Selen
As the second Slayer fell to Dathka's blade, Zakath's lips twisted into a demonic smile as his eyes glowed violet, its fiery being reflected in the suddenly frightened eyes of the Slayer he was currently fighting. He could not feel the emotions of the Vong he was fighting, empty holes in the Force through they were, but he didn't have to. Their facial expressions told him enough.
“You will fail, and your gods will be displeased.” He rasped out as he steadily forced the Vong back. “I wonder what fate they will have in store for you...”
Before the Yuuzhan Vong could react to the Barabel's taunt, a blade suddenly cleaved into its shoulder, slicing savagely downwards, nearly splitting it half, much to Zakath's savage delight. As the Vong toppled to the floor, the face of Aiorus Van Trayus was revealed, reveling in the slaughter of battle. Despite himself, Zakath's smile flashed back. “Well done, my little Jedi Hunter. We'll make a Knight out of you yet.”
The Dark Jedi Knight and two Jedi Hunters turned to see Vorion beheading the last of the Vong, his blade sending the head flying backwards. As the last of the invaders fell, the fire team sent to seal the hull breach ran forward, ignoring the four Dark Jedi in their attempt to prevent the damage from spreading. The four ignored the people rushing forward as they began to turn and walk to the turbolift.
“That's taken care of.” Dathka spat as he disengaged his standard issue lightsaaber.
“I don't think so.” Zakath hissed as they crowded onto the turbolift, sending it flying upward toward the bridge. “That was entirely too easy.”
“I sense you are right.” Vorion murmured as he tightened his grip on his lightsaber, his eyes glowing again. “Brace yourselves.”
The turbolift door opened into a bloody scene of slaughter as the Dark Jedi spilled onto the bridge. The Vong hissed in fury as they turned from their grisly work to behold the unexpected visitors.
“It never is easy.” Zakath's tongue ran across his razor sharp teeth as he ignited his crimson blade.
OOC: I apologize for the short post, but I felt it was time to get our little part of the story moving again, and someone else wanted to post, so this should give the RO a kick in the pants as far as our little part of it goes.
Suddenly two more Vongs appeared,
Aiorus found the perfect opportunity to use what he had learned from his mistress, and with a gesture of his lightsaber, the Sith said "Admiral, we will take care of this if you agree”, with a mocking smile Vorion replied "Let's see what you are able to do "
In that instant, Zakath and Aiorus were in front of two Vongs, observing that they were eager to start the battle. Van Trayus without warning launched a ferocious attack with his lightsaber, which was abruptly stopped by the Vong with his amphistaff. The two warriors had their arms forced down for a few seconds, as if the Vong were enjoying the moment when suddenly the enemy warrior of Van Trayus pushed back. The Vong hit the Sith violently in the stomach without warning, which launched Aiorus on the floor, but with the Jedi Hunter's knowledge of the force he recovered quickly.
While Dathka and Zakath were fighting and Vorion was observing, waiting to intervene in the event that one of the Arconans had problems, Aiorus launched an angry attack against the Vong Warrior that he had beaten every attempted lightsaber attack that had been blocked by the detainee Vong's amphistaff. Van Trayus understood that he would need more than his weapon to defeat this enemy.
Trying to concentrate in the force, Aiorus shut down his lightsaber, and hastily took his position of attack. The Warrior Vong seemed to understand what was going on and kept his weapon in a defensive stance, Van Trayus launched several attacks against the invader, but the Vong seemed capable of stopping all the attacks from the Sith. In response the Warrior launched an attack against the Jedi Hunter and this time hit the Sith's face, staggering back a few steps back, Aiorus was kindled resentment and anger from within him.
Dathka was close to where Aiorus was, and ready to assist his companion, but Van Trayus with a sign to the Krath said it was fine and would continue fighting the Vong by himself.
Aiorus realized that there was a little blood dripping from his lips, which did irritate him, but this time something had changed, as the Sith launched an attack, full of fury and hatred, while throwing blows the male could clearly see the defects in the defense of the Vong. The wrath of the Sith to their attacks become more orderly and efficient as Van Trayus began to flow the dark side of force into himself, changing his gestures, his aura became dark, while his attacks began to cause damage to his opponent. Suddenly, he began to beat the Vong with several hits, aiming most of them to the head, causing the loss of balance of the Vong while it fell to the floor.
Seeking to re-join the fight, the Vong was still dizzy from the attack by the Sith so it costs rise, while slowly incorporating his ideas, the Sith found the perfect opportunity to finish the fight, Van Trayus with the help of the force took a leap toward the Vong's back with his lightsaber active and dealt an accurate blow Van Trayus hit the Vong's head whilst his body fell lifeless to the floor.
"You took too long," Dathka said.
Aiorus replied "Well I was having some fun".
"We better hurry and move there are more enemies on board.” Dathka added, snarling a little.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
In Orbit over Selen
While still feeding off the power of his last kill in the corridors, Dathka quickly moved in and out of the chaos on the bridge. His lighter saber moved with the skill and accuracy of a well trained dualist.
He had killed almost 4 vong warriors before he noticed Aiorus having trouble with his opponent. Dathka slowly moved closer to him to offer some help. But as soon as Aiorus saw him, he signaled him that he was ok and didn’t need help. So Dathka turned to the next vong who would fall victim to him rage.
Dathka was pulling up memories of when his master betrayed him in the vault a couple days before. Of the friends he had lost when the vong had first invaded. Of the time when he was outcast from his family on Iridonia. Things that would fuel his rage.
Before he knew it, he was totally given over to his hatred and was focusing all his energy on the one vong. The vong didn’t have a chance. He tried hard to break Dathka’s defense but soon lost the fight. But Dathka didn’t realize that he was soon loosing focus at the task at hand. He had become enveloped in his rage and emotions and was lashing out at anything that was in his way. Just as he finished one more of the vong, Zakath jumped in right next to him to finish off the last vong. But Dathka like if possessed by rage turned and attacked Zakath. Zakath was barely able to block the unexpected attack. He unleashed a furious attack on the surprised barabel.
Several months before….
Aboard the BAC Darkest Night
Lightersaber training room
“You must learn to control your rage Dathka,” Zandro said. “You have to ability to hurt those whom you don’t want to if you let yourself loose control.”
“But how do I learn master?”
“You must through all your rage and anger maintain a certain amount of control and only let loose if the time is right. You have much untapped power within you and you must have control when you give yourself over to it totally. If you don’t there will be consequences that will hurt more than just you.”
“Like who else besides me?”
“Your friends, allies, people who don’t deserve your wrath.”
“I will learn master, teach and I will listen.”
Dathka was using everything he had learned to fight the barabel. But the Zakath was somewhat able to keep Dathka at bay.
“Dathka stop it’s me,” Zakath kept yelling.
But to no avail.
Just then Vorion came and took over for Zakath. Vorion was able to quickly change to tide of things. He didn’t fight for very long before he came around and force pushed Dathka against the wall. As Dathka recovered Vorion used a Stasis attack that made Dathka’s body fall to the ground stunned. Dathka’s mind slowly returned to him and the realization of what he had done came to light.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
In orbit around Selen
Zakath's blade had swiftly beheaded the last of the Vong warriors when suddenly his senses tingled. He pulled back his lightsaber just in the nick of time, as another lightsaber crashed into it. What? Zakath thought as he beheld a furious Dathka Zhar-Khon whipping his lightsaber at him in a fury, clearly lost in his rage. He hissed as he shifted into a Makashi defensive sequence, Dathka's wild uncoordinated blows being picked off one by one by Zakath's lightsaber before stabilizing into somewhat more coordinated Shii-Cho attacks.
“Dathka, stop! Its me!” The Barabel warned, his lightsaber flicking forward to smash another another incoming attack.
That's it. He dies. By my own blade. Zakath's eyes glowed as he moved onto the offensive, his crimson blade arcing forward to smash into Dathka's lightsaber, initiating an attack sequence that had the potential to smoothly flow into decapitating his opponent's hands. But before he could complete it, Vorion intervened.
The Krath Priest smoothly inserted himself into the battle, his lightsaber flicking forward to intercept Zakath's blade and pushing him away. Turning his attention to Dathka, Vorion quickly started an attack sequence that sent the Zabrak reeling backwards, desperately trying to fend off the superior swordsman's blows.
“Enough.” Vorion hissed as he raised a hand.
Zakath moved forward even as Vorion lifted up Dathka, the Force energy being expended pulsating around the trio. With one sharp gesture, Vorion sent the Zabrak flying sharply backward to crash into a wall, sending the Jedi Hunter slumping into the ground. Before he could recover, the Ubese's hands jerked again, immobilizing the Zabrak in a stasis hold before turning toward Zakath.
“He attacked you.” Vorion stated calmly. “He is yours to punish, but do not kill him. He may yet be of use to us.”
“As you command, my Lord.” Zakath's eyes was radiating in a sinister violet glow even as his lightsaber was returned to his belt, only to be replaced by a razor-sharp knife that glinted wickedly in the dim light.
“You attacked me today, Iridonian.” The Barabel hissed as he knelt next to Dathka. “Your lack of control is an insult to our Order. I expect better out of our little Krath brethren. Losing control is something I can see out of our Sith and Obelisk brothers, but a Krath? Inexcusable.”
Zakath gripped one of Dathka's limp arms, jerking it upward. “I will be watching you very carefully from this day forward, Iridonian. As long as you are of use to us, we will keep you. But when that is no longer the case...”
His blade swung downward and repeatedly ripped into the Zabrak's flesh, sending sprays of hot blood welling out of his arm, some of it splashing on Zakath's gleeful face. His tongue darted out to lick up some of the blood, sending a blissful look even as Dathka howled in pain and fury. Zakath's face only revealed his amusement at the Zabrak's pain.
“When that is no longer the case, you will see your bowels spill out of you, and my blade at your throat.” The Barabel's demonic face smiled broadly. “Is that understood?”
Zakath smile shrunk just a little as Dathka didn't respond, raising his knife again. “I will not ask again. Is. That. Understood?”
“It is.” Dathka croaked out.
“Good.” Zakath released the arm and returned his blade to his belt before rising. “Lord Vorion, I believe that he has been sufficiently punished, and that a visit to the medical bay is in store for our little Iridonian. What are your orders, Proconsul?”
BAC Darkest Night
"Security breach! Intruder alert!" the onboard computer issued.
"Like clockwork." Tyren said with a grin. "Ensing!" he spoke to the officer on the sensor panel. "Were is the breach."
"Hallway 075, sir. Near hangar 01." the younger man said as Tyren nodded.
"Night team, report in." he said in to his comlink.
"This is Night team 01. Ready for orders sir." a voice from the other side replied.
"Protocol Alpha-Foxtrot-Seven." Tyren spoke an order.
"Understood, sir. We'll be there."
He turned to Xathia and the other Dark Jedi on the bridge "Shall we?" The Quaestor smiled and walked of the bridge, saber in hand, followed by Tyren and the others.
BAC Darkest Night
The battle was already at its peak. As a row of bodies lay behind the Vong, the bestial aliens pushed the defenders into the hangar.
"Keep it up. Hold the line." a sergeant yelled out an order.
"Suppressing fire!" another followed as the soldier next to him fell from a head wound.
F#@k! This is bad. We'll be dead in a few minutes at this rate. the sergeant thought gritting his teeth.
He heard he large blast doors behind him open. He feared the worst as he turned around, only to see a shock-wave of raw Force energy hit the Vong on the opposite side, the flying debris hit the Vong and sent them flying to the next wall. Four Dark Jedi walked in.
A smile shone on the mans face.
"Keep firing, we got reinforcements."
Tyren moved forward, lightsaber in one, comlink in other hand. "Everyone ready?"
"Yes, sir! Ready and able."
"SOLDIERS!" he yelled "PULL BACK!" Xathia grabbed his shoulder "What're you doing?" her eyes turned to slits not approving of his action as they had the Vong surprised and vulnerable. Now would be the perfect time o strike.
As the soldiers moved back towards cover obeying a direct order, Tyren spoke into the comlink, never moing his eyes from Xathia's.
"Fire!" a brief silence settled on the room disrupted by several shock-waves on the Vong positions a moment later. Six heavily armored and armed commandos bearing Synergy insignia stood on the catwalks above the group and rained hell on the Vong with their W-90 concussion rifles.
Tyren smiled as he saw the Vong thrown around the hangar like rag dolls, helpless in front of the power of the standard issue concussion rifle.
"Such a simple weapon, yet so effective." a smirk adorned his face.
"What is this?" Xathia asked
"My team was on the ship all the time."
Xathia let out a grumble.
"Cease fire!" he ordered into the comlink as he ran toward his adversaries, saber active and ready. Followed by Xathia and the two younglings he jumped high above the crates that were used for cover and landed not 20 feet from the first warrior. As he saw acidic substances flying at them he slammed his fist on the floor, creating a protective barrier around his comrades. The Lightwave barrier gauntlet worked perfectly, even after so much time of inactivity. The acid slammed on the shield and fizzled it. Before the first warrior could fire again he found a saber running through his chest and neck. Tyren jumped onto the next one and his saber locked with the beasts amphistaff.
"Kill 'em all." Xathia yelled as she ran towards her target.
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
In orbit around Selen
The stasis wore off and Dathka slowly regained movement of his body. The pain he felt from his arm was excruciating. He reached out with the force and clotted up the blood so he wouldn’t bleed out. Then he slowly rose to his feet.
He looked over to see Zakath and Vorion talking, but he could not hear them. The shame for what he had done closed his mind so that he couldn’t hear anything. Before they could notice him, he silently made his way out into the hall and down the turbo lift.
What happened, he thought to himself. I attacked an ally!
He thought intently on what had gone wrong. The force had totally engulfed him to where he lost power over his judgment and will. Master Zandro told me this could happen.
Just then the turbo lift stopped on the third floor and he stumbled his way toward the med-bay.
Dathka lay on the table while the med-droid stitched up the gashes in his arm. His thoughts were focused trying to figure out what had thrown him over the top. He replayed the events that had happened over and over. Intently looking over every detail.
“We are trained to use memories and thoughts to fuel the rage of fighting. But how could he have pulled up so many that it made him loose his sense of Judgment for the task at hand. And when someone had tried to stop him he couldn’t hear or heed to their warning. And it had ended in such a bad way. Making an ally and enemy.” He thought. Dathka tried desperately to figure out how to fix the situation but he kept hitting a blank.
“I could talk to Master Zandro, but he isn’t here and I probably won’t see him for quite awhile.” His mind was drawing a blank.
Just then Aiorus walked in.
“What happened to you back there?” he asked his friend.
“I lost it, I was trying so hard to do well, that I became engulfed in my rage and wasn’t able to control it.”
“Wow, are you ok other then the cuts Zakath gave you?”
“Yes, Cuts will heal but the scar that I have caused between me and Zakath will live on.”
“What are you going to do now?” Aiorus asked.
“I don’t know. My master isn’t here and so I don’t really know who to talk to. I’ve lost Talos which was the only other one I could have talked to about this.”
“Well the only thing you can do is go on,” Aiorus told him. “You are a Dark Jedi that has much ability in the force. You just have to use it in the right way.”
“Your lack of control is an insult to our Order. I expect better out of our little Krath brethren” those words rang violently in the Zabrak’s ears.
Dathka looked over at the med-droid that had just finished sewing up his arm.
Through Strength I gain power, through power I gain Victory he said to himself.
“No I will not give up! I have the power to control myself and I will not let it happen again! I am not a small anything. I will show the summit that I am useful. And can’t be disregarded like a weakling. I AM STRONG!”
With that he got up, and with a swift stride the two of them made their way back to the Bridge turbo lift……….
ISD-II Eye of the Abyss II
In orbit around Selen
When Aiorus came with Dathka to the bidge and met directly with Zakath, he looked the warriors with living hatred and rancor, Dathka tried to say something but Zakath, gave them his back and walked away from where they were.
Aiorus perceived the pessimism in Dathka, for what the Sith got closer where his comrade arconian was and said to Zakath " I really doubt that you have never committed a mistake of which you feel sorrow or Repentance or feel penitent Zakath, it is true that Dathka did not act as a krath, in fact it was looking like a Sith for my, but not because of it he stops being your brother of order, do not forget it, in moments like these the loyalty is what counts, not the mistakes "
Zakath react looking coldly and venomously to Van Trayus, the Sith, simply moved back with a mocking laugh and got closer over where Dathka was.
" I do not believe that this will be so Seriously, he is just mad " Aiorus said
" I hope so " Dathka answered.
“ you will have time to fix this later, what matter ow is Arcona, you just have to be worry now to Keep strong and noble” Aiorus said while he slowly approached where Vorion was
Lord Vorion, what now?
The entire planet, it seemed, was caked in ash and dust. It had entered every crevice that Arcturus could see as Lavar, Marick and Celahir fought their way into the blown-out complex. His rifle seemed to become an extension of himself, the carbine spitting out red bolts every few seconds, felling Yuuzhan Vong was difficult enough; one simply had to aim directly at their face and oftentimes, the result wasn't pretty. One of the cursed Vong staffs swung over Arcturus' head as he crouched down to avoid it. Snapping up to his feet, the Tetrarch's rifle-butt shot forward into the Vong's face. In it's alien language, the massive Vong cursed as he tumbled onto his back, the sheer force of the strike knocking him off balance. With learned ease, Arcturus' boot came down swiftly on the Vong's neck, his rifle pointed straight into it's face as he squeezed down on the trigger. The Archpriest's rifle blinked out four bolts into the Yuuzhan Vong's face. Looking down, Arcturus examined the burn-holes that were freshly steaming upwards. There were only a small number of species that the Tetrarch enjoyed killing. He wasn't, in any shape or form, xenophobic - but there were certain species that, when defeated, added more taste to his victory. The Yuuzhan Vong were chief among them. He craved that feeling of empowerment from killing them. It nurtured every facet of his being. They were so... self-important. He took enormous amounts of pleasure in fighting them, and had in the past, made a habit of scalping downed Yuuzhan Vong. This one, however, he would leave untouched. Prophecy moved with purpose and intent, clearing out room after room. Arcturus followed them slowly, watching them dispatch the enemy with skill and quality - it was a joy to watch.
"Prophecy! Hold!" Arcturus roared over the cacophony of blaster bolts and Vong cursing.
The Jedi stopped, each of them lowering the rifles, safe in the fact that they'd cleared out the complex.
"We're planetside, men. You all owe Arcona one hundred Vong heads. We need to ID our dispersement location. Get to it!"
The 6th Heavy Infantry had secured the entire circle of buildings where they had touched down. So far, it seemed, the plan Sashar had worked out was going according to plan. Arcturus walked out of the bombed-out complex to find the sun was beginning to set on Estle City. The glorious sun was setting across a burning skyline, the true extent of the Yuuzhan Vong's invasion becoming clear. Their cruelty was going to suprassed today, Arcturus decided. Valour's Fall was idling in the main square as four troopers walked down from the gangplank, carrying a large canister with various biohazard markings on it. Laser-etched across the left side of it, obviously hand-written, was the words, "Vorion's Delight". Marick squinted his eyes to read it, smirking at the words.
"What's that?" Celahir asked, as he pulled off his helmet to look at it more carefully.
"That's how we're going to wipe the Yuuzhan Vong off the face of Selen." Arcturus answered, gesturing to the canister.
"Trooper, get me a repulsor-lift for that thing. We're going to be opening it up on top of this building." he continued.
The noise of battle was beginning to become more and more distant as the troopers fought further and further into the city. It was uplifting, truly uplifting, to watch the DDF at work - the K-Wings littered the sky with blaster bolts and concussion missiles, blotting out the sun with their hardware. The canister was moved inside the building complex Prophecy had cleaned out, the troopers covering it as if it were pure aurodium. Within a matter of minutes, the biological agent codenamed Black Tempest was released. It's physical appearance was that of dried ice, smoe-like in it's dispersement. The agent was whispy and light, but with the strengthening winds that covered the planet, it soon developed into a fog. Once the chemicals of the agent hit oxygen, it would begin to replicate itself immediately, layering the entire area with an exceptionally dense mist. Arcturus' HUD display whisked out readings of it as it began to cover the entire roof-top. Thankfully, the dosage was such that it was entirely harmless to humanoid species, as evidenced by the helmet's HUD display winking out a green light. Pulling off his combat helmet, Arcturus smiled with satisfaction at the canister. Black Tempest was working. Within a matter of hours, all of Estle City would be covered in fog and mist as the properties of the agent took hold. Then, Prophecy's real objective could truly begin - killing Yuuzhan Vong without mercy and without hesitation.
IND Creeping Darkness
In Orbit of Selen
Etah stood in the hanger, outside of the Imperial Landing Craft that would transport him, Umbra and his fifty rangers to the surface. Among the modifications made on this ship for the Reclaimers were several large drop ships located throughout the Interdictor, which they were now boarding. They were designed to safely transport all 17,000 troops to the surface. With these troops in play, they should be able to overrun already battered Yuu’zhan Vong positions and achieve significant gains for Arcona.
The Sakiyan still stood amongst the hanger full of black garbed Reclaimers, still wearing the white Storm Clone armor that his Eldarian Rangers and the main portion of Arconan’s assaulting ground force wore. He tugged at his two extra power cells located on a drop down holster which could be used in his rifle or his lightsaber before he was satisfied that they were secure. Etah tapped the two extra gas canisters he had on a drop down holster strapped to his right hip. He reasoned this was the time to double check his own equipment.
Etah’s left hand grazed the C1 Personal Comlink he kept in a pouch while he bent down and stroked the Scout Blaster Pistol holstered in his left boot and a sharp metal sliver he forged through advanced meditation techniques, in his right boot. Satisfied his equipment was in place he grabbed his EE-3 Carbine Rifle and slung it over his torso in an assault sling that left it to rest in the low ready. The Obelisk Templar seemed to be in more of a command position than a combat one, but he saw no reason to prepare for the worst.
The Equate spun around, observing his own platoon that like him was standing outside of the Imperial Landing Craft. He continued to scan across the room, observing the many Reclaimers strung across this hanger, that represented only a percentage of the fighting force that was also mustered outside of their transports and awaiting final word, in hangers all across the ship. It was a moment that hung in the air, the gravity of the events happening on the world below making it feel as if it was hours. In truth it was not but minutes.
They were all waiting on word from the Summit to deploy and to get word from the Soulfire Strike Force which had been tasked with securing their landing site. Umbra stepped slowly and deliberately out of the Imperial Landing Craft he had spent the last several minutes using as a makeshift communications terminal in preparations for planet fall. He looked around at those gathered in his immediate vicinity. His elaborate Shadesworn robes, his resemblance to Talos and strange appearance made the scene strange on many levels
The Demon with the aid of the force made his voice heard across the ship. “I have made contact with Soulfire. They have secured our landing site and they delivered orders from the Summit to deploy. SP Time is one half hours hence, RP is planet fall. Now it is time to do or die gentlemen. You have very nice looking armor, very ferocious weapons. You have been trained more extensively than perhaps any force in the Galaxy. But it is all for not if our brothers continue to fall and the Vong continue to occupy our homes.” He spoke, just a tad more eloquently than Talos would have. “Arcona Invicta” the demon finished, merely stating, rather than yelling it. His allusion was clear, it was not the time for words or bravado, but the time for action.
“You heard the man!” Etah yelled, his voice echoing across the ship. “Load Up! You have Two Niner Mikes!” the old mercenary virtually growled. Having grown weary of ships long ago he longed to feel the open air, even if it was filled with blaster bolts and the ground under his feet, even if it thudded with the heavy footfalls of Vong Warriors. Most of all the Sakiyan wanted to act, instead of think, talk or dream. This night the twisted and famously raving mad Templar would dine on unbelievably vast reserves of . . . . sea food, monstrous crabs to be exact.
Archean's fighter hurtled towards the planet, followed closely by the transports containing the Mandalorian's that had volunteered for this mission. The objective was simple: Eradicate every last Vong on Arconae Primus and take back whats rightfully Arcona's.
This was Archean's first trip to Arconae Primus, having been in Arcona for a short period of time previously, he didn't venture out much.
“Ner’vod, we're coming into the atmosphere now.” Crackled the speaker.
“Copy that. Let’s find a safe place to land.”
The fighter and transport swooped around a very green, forest part of the planet.
“Here should do.” Archean slowly landed his fighter, as did the transport next to him. The hatch flung open and Archean jumped out, his boots squelched as he hit the ground. It was wet, but the view was very beautiful. The blast doors on the transport whooshed open and the Erinos commandos filed out. The blind Swordmaster moved to where the soldiers were constructing a makeshift base
“How far from the Venku range are we?” Asked the Sith as he scanned the surroundings.
“5 clicks west of here.” The human nodded.
“Alright, Squad A, come with me, we're going to suss out the quarry. Squad B, I want you to Recon the Erinos Homestead, tell me what you see, I want to know what we're dealing with and how many.”
“Yes sir!” Exclaimed the Mandalorian clad in faded blue armor.
Archean held his hand in front of him, palm side down. His saber rushed towards his hand and he gave one final check on it. He reached out with force to try and feel something, but there wasn't much.
“Ugh, the Vong haven't suddenly become force sensitive. I guess we'll have to do it the old fashioned way.” Archean snickered.
His lieutenant, Atin, shuffled over to Archean.
“We're ready. Awaiting your call.”
“Excellent. Oya! Let’s hunt.”