BAC Darkest Night
Cethgus stood in his armour looking out into hyperspace. He smiled at the thought of being home with something approaching relief. As the Darkest Night came out of hyperspace, Cethgus found himself viewing a fleet of ships surrounding Eldar. Their stance could only be described as an invasion. Cethgus looked to his left; standing in front of him. the Quaestor’s eyes scanned the screen. It was hard to believe that a mighty Clan like Arcona could be attacked in their home system twice in such a short time, but now was the time for them to retaliate and not just stand there. Sang was instantly being alerted to the current danger that was near them.
“Sir, we have an incoming enemy capital ship. It’s on a direct path with us, orders?” The officer spoke with a slightly elevated sign of panic in his voice.
“Let’s go and greet our foe, Lieutenant.” Sang’s voice was calm, calculating his next move.
It was clear to see these cruisers were old, even ancient if you wanted to go that far. Cethgus’ ears could easily make out the sound of alert sirens echoing across the ship; the crew would be going to their positions by now, as well as the hangar crew making ready the fighter squadrons that were housed within the Bothan Assault Cruiser. Turbolaser turrets would be prepared to open fire; men and women alike would hold this ship and keep her going till the very end.
“Cethgus, would you kindly inform our pilots that they will be needed after all.” Sanguinius then turned his full attention to the rapidly approaching cruiser.
The Anaxsi beckoned an officer to come beside him, “Commander Hoarth, prepare to send these droids to the scrapheap.”
The Bothan saluted, “It would be my pleasure, sir.” before turning to bark orders out over the hubbub of the squealing sirens.
“And will someone turn off those damn alarms?” Sanguinius muttered.
BAC Darkest Night
The pilots sprinted down the hangar bay, looking at the fighters that were held in position awaiting deployment. The pilots that were around were receiving instructions from their squadron leaders and were getting suited up ready to be deployed. The last of the proton bombs were being loaded onto the unit of K-Wings as the pilots clambered up into their seats on the fighter bombers. The XJ-Wings were prepared for departure as the first sounds of battle commenced between the two ships.
As the first squadron was launched from the hangar bay, it became obvious that the Arconans were fighting droids. The unmanned vulture droids instantly swarmed from the hangar of the enemy capital ship towards the squadrons that were being deployed by the Bothan Assault Cruiser. The Arconan fighters left the hangar to join the fray that was taking place, led by their CAG Commander.
As the K-Wings set off the hanger erupted with fire. Though stupid, the droids knew how to hit back. One of the launching bombers was brought down in sheets of flame halfway out of the hangar, causing the explosion to cripple the hangar bay at that moment in time, sending mechanics and hangar crew alike to clear the wreckage for the fighters that would need to land.
The CAG was already in the thick of things, the training that Arconan navy personnel were put through was being severely tested by the number of vulture droids inhabiting that small region of space. As the fighters ducked and dived against each other, the numbers of vulture droids slowly dropped as the superior training and snap-second judgement of a sentient pilot neutralised the numbers of inferior enemy craft. The area of space between the two engaging capital ships light up with lasers and explosions as they closed to firing range.
Gun Battery Number Two
BAC Darkest Night
Shells bounced onto the floor from the gun batteries as they targeted the opposing Capital Ship, from what could be seen the ship they faced had outdated shields and was simply no match for the BAC. As the two ships exchanged fire, it was becoming clear that the Darkest Night was simply punching holes through the ship, but it seemed intent on ignoring the massive impacts that rocked the very joints in the hull.
Instantly warning alarms began ringing throughout the gun battery, it was always a bad sign, as the men in the battery jumped out from their positions and headed straight for the door but it was already too late. A lucky shot ripped through the battery, exploding in the midst of the fleeing men and knocking a turret off its mount.
Water erupted from fire control sprinklers mounted on the ceiling, quickly putting out the fire. But not before the explosion had claimed the lives of eighteen naval ratings and three officers and put Battery number two out of commission.
BAC Darkest Night
As Sanguinius watched the explosions rip through the droid ship, he was bemused by the fact that the thing was still operational. With the destruction of the old cruiser’s life support and its continued existence, it left little doubt on the Anaxsi’s mind that the ship was being manned by anything other than clankers.
Commander Hoarth shouted across the bridge, alerting the pensive Prelate, “Sir, we have more enemy ships approaching us. We can not hold this position without support!”
“Brother, I believe that calling for aid wouldn’t hurt us.” Cethgus’ voice was cold and embittered as his hand squeezed Sanguinius’ shoulder blade in support of the Bothan’s advice.
“Oh and who would you have us beg for help? The Invicta is busy dealing with the intrusion over Selen, we have no help available to us.” Sang’s eyes glanced behind him to his Aedile.
“The Shadow can assist us, though from what I am seeing it shouldn't take that much to win this, but we need Socorra and Qel-Droma as much as they need us, we are one and under one banner.” Cethgus’ voice dripped with venom as he talked to Sang.
“You speak of that woman as if she has any love for this House?” The Prelate’s voice spiked slightly with anger, the tensions between the pair close to erupting in violence.
“And you speak like you would rather it be just us. Have you forgotten your place, or did she offend you that much it has finally driven you mad?” Cethgus allowed his hand to trace the hilt of his saber, as his cold eyes focused on his brother.
“You believe me mad, Master? You lecture me about forgetting my place? You forget yours!” Sanguinius jabbed Cethgus in the chest with his left index finger. “You dare to question me at a time like this?”
Cethgus knew right now at this one particular moment in time that he would seal their fate with his response. The wrong move would see the end of him and his student....not to mention the rest of the House. Stepping back slightly, the Exarch did the impossible as he put aside his pride. He lowered himself down to one knee, his hand coming across his chest as he bowed before his Quaestor. “Forgive me, I forgot my place. However I still feel we should ask for aid, my Lord.”
“My lord? You sycophantic bastard.” Sanguinius shouted at Cethgus. “You want your damn aid, ask that wretched woman for aid! I’ll be damned if I go crawling to her begging for help.”
Cethgus stood up and nodded before extricating himself towards the communication panel. The tension was still there, but right now he knew that they needed the help, and even if he had to swallow his pride to do so, he was willing to see that Galeres receive that assistance.
“Contact the Shadow.” Cethgus’ voice was dry as he glanced over towards Sanguinius.
“Ma’am, we have an incoming communication from the Darkest Night, requesting a word with you.” The officer turned to face the woman who was standing on the bridge, her arms folded in front of her as she simply nodded. Socorra wandered over to the comms panel and accepted the incoming transmission.
“Socorra, this is Cethgus on the Darkest Night, we are engaging an enemy above Eldar and request your assistance, do you copy?” Cethgus’ voice was being broken up by the attack that was taking place.
“We copy, we are on our way. Socorra over and out.” Socorra instantly turned from the comm panel and stared into the eyes of her XO. Looking at the man he knew what she was about to order him to do. “Get us there and do it as quickly as possible.”
As Socorra walked towards the briefing room, she knew that she needed to be swift in disseminating her orders. Making sure that they were prepared for whatever they faced would already be hard enough, but for Cethgus to be so candid in his worried appearance was worrisome. The Archpriestess thumbed her personal comlink, set to the channel reserved for the Qel-Droman summit. “Andrelious, Sai, Sceletus, briefing room now please.”
It wasn't long before the Qel-Droma summit was assembled and all standing in a dimly lit room, looking at each other wondering why their Quaestor had summoned them here. As she beckoned to them all to have a seat, the expression on her face told them all this was a serious matter.
“About five minutes ago, I received a communication from Cethgus on the Darkest Night, it seems Eldar and the Darkest Night are currently under a serious attack. They have requested our aid.” Her voice was soft though it had all the authority carried by the office of a Quaestor.
“We are on route now and will be arriving shortly, I am betting that what awaits us will be open conflict. Andrelious, I want Void Squadron and the rest of the fighters ready to launch as soon as we arrive, am I understood?” Socorra’s only recognition was a nod, before the Battleteam Leader stood up and took his leave, preparing his team would take time that this meeting would only consume.
“Sai, I need your team ready for deployment as soon as possible as well, I guess they want to go ground side if they need you, be ready to go.” Sai followed the same procedure as Andrelious, standing up he headed out to prepare his team. Leaving just Socorra and Scelestus in the room.
“Is it as bad as it appears?” Scelestus’ words were calm, his hands together and covering his mouth as his eyes looked at Socorra.
“Honestly, I hope not but we don't know till we get there.” Socorra spoke calmly to her Aedile, though they would soon find out when they arrived.
Fighter Squadron Briefing
Andrelious stood firmly with his hands behind his back, the seated members of Void were at the very front, behind them were the other pilots of the squadrons that the Shadow held in her hangar bay. As he stood there knowing that they were going to go into combat against the unknown it was his job to see that everyone made it home safe, and Andrelious had the years of experience telling him that situations like this always offered the greatest threat to that.
“Right, at this current moment in time, we are going to the aid of the Darkest Night which is currently in orbit over Eldar. I don’t know what we are going to find when we get there, or what awaits us, all I know is that we have to deploy as soon as we arrive.” His voice echoed around the room as the men and women serving on the Qel-Droma ship hung on his every word, though there was no other information on offer.
“That means that we have to be in our ships and ready to launch as quick as possible, so lets get a move on people! Good hunting!” His voice booming out as he looked at the fighter pilots.
The noise of chairs and people moving filled the room as the pilots began sprinting out towards their fighters knowing that they had to saddle up in seconds. Last out of the room were the members of Void Squadron. Moving quickly down the corridor into the Hangar, the fighters and bombers were laid out ready for them to get into, the deck crew always prepared for a quick launch. Andrelious was last out moving quickly through the throng, his shoulder slammed into a another, almost knocking the person over. He turned to see who he had collided with and saw a woman standing before him.
He recognised one of the newer members of the House, a female by the name of Nath Voth. Not bothering to apologize, his eyes fell upon a second member, Zakath. He only grunted before following the rest of the pilots. When he arrived, he found most of them already in the cockpits of their fighters with the canopies shut as they began to run the pre-flight checks. Following his team’s example, he jumped into his Stealth X and began to run the pre-flight checks.
Shadow Gate Briefing
Sai casually strolled in, knowing that he had to be sure that his team was up for the job, though he didn’t doubt for a second that they wouldn't be. Sai’s gaze passed from member to member as he glanced around, nodding to each of them in turn. Standard Shadow Gate operating procedure meant that each Gatekeeper had to be up to date on all available information in order to be at maximum effectiveness in the field.
“As you can see from your data pads, it’s simple enough. We are going to be assisting Galeres when they require boots on the ground.” his voice loud enough so everyone was able to hear.
Jaek sat next to Fet'ai'narun, the two of them studying the datapad that their Battleteam Leader had given them. As the team studied their orders, it seemed that they would have a while before they were able to begin the ground assault, but that didn’t change much.They were yet to know much about the enemy and didn’t know what to expect, no-one liked the situation that they were going into.
Without saying another word, Sai left the team knowing that they were expected to be at the hangar when the time came.But for now it was up to them how they prepared, leaving the Battleteam in the briefing room, it would soon be apparent what was expected of them when they arrived in system.
“We are coming out of hyperspace now.” The XO informed his Quaestor. As the ship slowed down, the scene of what was truly happening became swiftly apparent.
Socorra allowed her eyes to take in the whole view, instantly she picked up on the BAC Darkest Night. Smoke bellowed from one of her turrets as well as the hangar, but what she saw beside the ship summed it up, the fighters still brutally engaged in combat beside the wreckage of a split in half Capital ship, it seemed that the BAC had managed to get out of the fight with only a few cuts and bruises nothing that would last permanently.
Void Squadron and the rest of the fighters on the BAC Shadow instantly deployed themselves from the hangar to engage in the battle It seemed that they had arrived right on time as three more of the old capital ships had already detached themselves from the fleet and were on their way to meet the new threat as well as the original one.
“Bring us up against the enemy ships, I don't want to give these intruders an inch of leeway.” Her voice echoed as the orders were carried out, and in the nick of time as both of the Arconan vessels formed up together, the fighters based on the Shadow came to the assistance of the Galerean fighters still engaged in the dogfighting as the destruction of more vulture droids could be seen in the vast tableau of space.
It would seem that the fight for Eldar had only just begun. Now it was their chance to take back what was rightfully theirs from those that dared attack not only House Galeres, but Clan Arcona as well.
Nath Voth walked swiftly down the corridor, her head buried in a datapad; not an uncommon sight since her arrival. She was aware of Zakath’s presence, since they had both walked together to the briefing. The footfalls of her flat soled boots were drowned by the march of Void Squadron members, and she briefly she noted them out of her peripheral vision but paid them no heed.
Her attention shifted back to her Datapad. Tapping a button she brought up the next article, however, she collided solidly with something hard. Instinct took over and she slid her foot back to stabilize her balance. She quivered momentarily, as though the smallest tap could have toppled her over, before regaining her footing once more. Her head snapped out of the Datapad, eyes narrowing in mild annoyance for a moment before calming once more and looking down.
The male looked up at her for a moment and recognition dawned in her mind. She knew of him from listening to conversations in the mess hall, and reaching back she plucked the name from her mind. Andrelious J. Inahj, Commander of Void Squadron.
She had heard tales of his battle with Zakath, and the fact that he wasn’t shit out of Zakath’s arse was mildly impressive considering his generic appearance. Underestimating him would be a tactical error, and one she was certain he had used to his advantage before now. Their meeting was brief, however, as he glanced at Zakath, grunted and proceeded on his way down to the hanger. Nath glanced over her shoulder for a moment following his journey before turning and continuing on to her own destination.
Entering the briefing room she took up a position leaning against a wall, awaiting Tsainetomo’s arrival with information on the upcoming mission. She passed the time by once more delving into her Datapad. On Tsainetomo’s arrival she immediately stepped forward, extracting a Datapad from him to inspect the contents. Stepping back once more she listened silently to the meager scraps of information he provided, passing the pad to the closest person once she has finished with it. She certainly did not return his nod as she has gone back to her own pad.
When it became apparent that the meeting was finally over she left promptly. This time she did not read and walk at the same time, content that she now had a purpose and a destination. she went immediately to the hangar, her shoes click slightly as she walked alone, her plain black garb shifting silently in her wake.
Her black eyes wandered the hangar curiously as she took in her surroundings. The pilots all looked so busy. It almost made her envious that she did not have such purpose for the moment. Her presence unobtrusive, she chose to observe from a distance but still let her presence be known to those taking note of their surroundings. As she observed she easily spotted the man that bumped into her earlier, watching silently as the Commander finished up his pre-flight checks.
“Thiz one noticed that you have run into Andreliouz.”
Zakath smiled a toothy grin as Nath blinked and turned her glance into his direction, inclining her head respectfully.
“Yes, master,” She returned her gaze back to the distant form of Andrelious. “He doesn't seem like much despite being a Battlelord, but...”
“But...?” Zakath prompted her.
“But he managed to survive fighting you in single combat for quite some time, from what I've heard. So logically, he has a lot of power to stand against you for so long.” Nath finished, bracing against a potential outburst from her master.
It didn't come.
Zakath gazed across the hangar at Andrelious, his eyes beginning to glow a deep violet. Sensing the stare, Andrelious glanced up and scowled back at him before returning to his work, pointedly ignoring the Barabel, which only elicited a harsh chuckle from Zakath.
“Listening to the storiez that people spread, I see,” He spoke finally, his lips curving up into a serpent's grin as he returned his gaze to Nath. “You are correct to be cautiouz of him. Despite the fact that thiz one had defeated him in single combat, it does not make him weak for one such as you. He doez have considerable power, and not will hesitate to use it if he choosez.”
“Not just the stories.” Nath corrected quietly. “I’ve read up on the two of you and cut out all the crap that the story-tellers just adore to add onto the facts.”
Zakath stared at the Zabrak female for a long moment before hissing out a long sigh accompanied by a roll of his eyes. “You’ll do very nicely teaching in some schoolroom. But your information gathering skillz iz noted.”
Nath merely smirked slightly before returning her gaze to Andrelious, who was by now finishing up his work. “Will he consider me an enemy?”
“Who knowz?” The Barabel shrugged, crossing his arms, his tail flicking to and fro as he considered the question. “You are human enough for him to consider you... acceptable.”
“Acceptable?” Nath asked, a quizzical look appearing on her face. “What do you mean, acceptable?”
“He hatez anyone who doesn't look... hew-mon enough, “Zakath hissed softly, purposely putting an alien accent on his pronunciation of the word human. “You would be considered human enough. Of course you are associated with thiz one, so... he won't like you on sight.”
“Why did you let him live?” Nath asked suddenly, her dark eyes meeting the violet glow of Zakath's.
The Barabel merely barked out a laugh at the point-blank question. “To humiliate him. No more, no lezz. For now, we are bound by Clan to serve together... for now.”
“I don't think even those ties would last forever,” Nath bluntly said. “You two will come to blows again, I can just feel it.”
Zakath merely grinned. “Then thiz one will enjoy hunting him down.”
Void did not usually operate out of the Bothan Assault Cruiser Shadow. They had only been transferred over for a quick wargame against Galeres. As it happened, the wargame never saw the light of day. Instead, Eldar had come under attack.
“Void are hardly going to be needed for this operation.” Andrelious observed, talking to his newest member, K’tana. “Watch out for that Zakath. He cannot be trusted,” the Battlelord continued, noticing his nemesis conversing with another female – one he understood to be the Barabel’s apprentice.
“I’ll take your word for it, sir.” K’tana answered, unconvinced by her Commander’s distrust. Inahj was no simpleton; he sensed the uncertainty and stared at the Twi’lek, annoyed.
“Worry yourself with the mission ahead.” Inahj hissed.
“Yes, sir!” the Protector responded, clambering into her fighter. The sortie was going to be her first mission. The young Twi’lek had literally been assigned to the squadron only minutes before, thanks to her own master, Templar Jaek.
The first fighters from Void began to launch. Usually Andrelious was among the first to launch, but today he was not even in the cockpit as Damon Tye, the squadron’s second in command, launched. Instead he checked a small knapsack he was carrying. Inside were 2 thermal detonators, a glop grenade and one of his E-11s. He had also kept his lightsaber attached to its clip, though it was rare for the Sith to be too far from his weapon. With Zakath around, the Battlelord was glad that the crimson bladed saber was within reach.
Leaping into his fighter with an enthusiasm that belied his age, Andrelious launched. Today was the day that he would re-write Void Squadron’s manual.