Uneasy Alliances Run-on
Rally Point Bravo
Phoenix emerged from the makeshift command tent in full battle dress armor, as if he intended on actually leading this charge himself on the front lines. Lucien followed closely behind the Emperor, similarly dressed. The bulky armor felt unnatural and unforgiving to the human ProConsul, yet he realized that it was a necessary evil. The Clan could not afford to lose their Summit in the middle of battle, no matter what the inconvenience. Lucien walked closely behind Phoenix as the Consul stepped up to the podium to address the assembled military.
"Warriors of the Royal Clan, we do not have much time, so I will get straight to the point. Consul Kaeth of Plagueis has requested our assistance in the Jusadih system. It seems as though they are having a bit of a problem with a Yuuzhan Vong incursion."
As soon as Phoenix uttered the evil two words, the entire crowd came to an utter silence. Those who had thought this only a training exercise were sorely mistaken. This was indeed the real deal. This newly reformed military of Scholae would face their first real battle test against the most formidable opponents in the galaxy or beyond.
"We leave at first light for Kapsina. Military commanders, you have your orders from the Grand Marshall. Begin boarding the ships in advance of inspection time to take place at 1500 hours this afternoon. That is all. DISMISSED!" The Emperor stepped down from the makeshift dais and nodded to Lucien, who then began to review the troops and speak to various commanders.
The troop transports were undergoing final inspection when Lucien finally made his way to the pre-staging area. Those soldiers and troopers who were overly eager were already gathered, awaiting their turn in line to begin boarding the transports for travel to the capital starships that they would use as transportation. The rumbles amongst the troops ceased when the Grand Marshall arrived to speak to Archangel, who was overseeing the final preparations for launch.
"We'll be ready to go on time, sir." Arch stated.
"Good, good. I do not expect any surprises, but then again, this is not a routine line of work we are in. Be prepared for anything and everything. Load the ships to the gills with supplies and ammunition. When all transports are green, inform me and begin the loading."
"Understood Grand Marshall." The Quaestor replied.
High Admiral Timbal was busier than he had been in quite some time. He was keeping track of the literally thousands of items that a Task Force required for extended combat operations.
He was also facing down the fear that he felt, mentally preparing himself for engaging the Yuuzhan Vong once again. He had faced them before during the Incursion, and found them to be fearsome warriors, despite their apparent non-attachment to the Force. He knew that they got away lucky last time, and who knew what kind of resources they would toss at his Task Force.
Taking a precious moment to look around at the members of his command staff on his Star Destroyer, the Fleet Command Ship Warspite, and knew that some of them would not survive. But try they must, even if the thought of helping Braecen’s clan turned Timbal’s stomach.
The Officer of the Deck interrupted his temporary musings with a status report. “Sir, we’re about three-quarters of the way done. We should be complete within the hour.”
Timbal growled, “That’s far too long. People,” he raised his voice so everyone on the bridge could hear him, his disapproval clear in his voice, “we were supposed to have already been ready for combat operations. Something is not right, and trust me, if you keep up these shenanigans, I won’t wait for the Yuuzhan Vong to nail your hides to their ships. I’ll do that myself and,” Timbal fairly shouted this in barely controlled rage, “I DAMN WELL WILL MAKE SURE IT’LL HURT FAR WORSE!”
He took a moment to calm down, the red mist clouding his eyes dissipating some. “Let it be clear people, the Warspite is going to war. I fully intend on coming back in one piece. Get your act together and just maybe you might also come out alive.”
He turned around and stalked away, going to find Thran and yell at him about his fighters taking too long to board the ship. He knew, however, from the looks on the faces of the command staff that they would re-double their efforts.
Timbal hoped that would be enough. In the meantime, he had to notify the Grand Marshal about their current state of readiness and he knew that there was more preparing to do right before they jumped out of here....
After Timbal had left the stand, Colonol Pertinax Yadar Mandalore issued orders to his legion to clean and calibrate their rifles for when the ship landed. As the Wookiee turned back to where he had left his saber to test it out, he noticed a shadow pull itself from the wall. As the light hit the shadow it revealed itself to be Krath Epis Timbal. As Yadar realized it was him he turned to his troops to call attention in the presence of a superior officer.
“How are things he Colonol?” Asked Timbal.
“The 72nd Legion are ready and willing for battle whenever need be Sir”, said Yadar, “Star's Protectorate Dismissed.” The Wookiee then walked forward to stand by his commander. “When are we set to land sir? The men are growing restless for a taste of battle against the Yuuzhan Vong.”
Timbal gave a simple reply, “We will land in due time then the men will be able to battle against them. That is all Yadar now get back to your preperations.”
The Provost of Numerals sat in his quarters alone thinking about the approaching battle. The main thing bothering young Melvin was he had no idea what was to come. He didn't fear combat, but at the same time he knew of the strength of the Arconan troops. 'Calm down' he said to himself, 'your a slicer. How much combat could you face?' Then he freaked out, what if it was a lot. What if... " Get up!" Lieutenant Pertinax Yadar was looking at him with anger and discust.
If he thought he was scared before he was terrified now. What would happen to him for slacking. "There is a lot of work to do, so no lallygagging," Yadar barked.
Melvin needed no more encouragement, he sprinted down the hall to go prepare for the oncoming battle. As he realized that he wasn't alone in this fear.
Timbal came back to the group and sent inspiration through every trooper in the room. He left no doubt in our minds untill he said, " Some of you will not survive, in every gain there is loss. But I know we can win!"
The Givin strengthened, despite the fear. And he knew many were doing the same, as the mood lightened the army prepared for a battle with dreams of heroism running wild in their imaginations. The Slicer then knew no matter what happened, he would be ready.
The battle team armour fitted around the curves and body shape of the proselyte of retribution, his strike team glared at him mysteriously as he urgently checked his equipment. Eludajae M’Nar was keen to bring her elite battle team to the fight; before the times of darkness they were there to guard the throne of Caliburnus and now they were to go to war with the evil that stood in their way.
“Flight leaders make sure all strike teams are prep, I need time to speak to Archangel”
Her calm and elegant voice filled the ears of the tarisian human, he stood from his chair and gazed at his companions. As he finally met the sparkling eyes of his former master, Impetus, a soft smile echoed from her cold pale yellow face.
“Ah how are we today Malaki ?” She said kindly
“Just a tad nervous, been some time since we tried to fight back against those ugly creatures….”
Impetus chuckled at the humans sound of humour but yet there was a haunting silence that surrounded the battle team members whilst they wait in the staging area. The Knight smirked and then he brought his DH-122 Sniper rifle to arm. He worked down its structure checking that each additional piece attached to this deadly weapon is there.
“Try to hit the enemy with that this time, you remember what happened last time?”
Malaki frowned his voice sound off eased by the stress and nerves brought down upon him.
“I try not to remember…Right well we best make sure we are prepared to leave at once, no doubt Arch would kill us all if we were late.”
The flight leaders went their different ways, checking on the other Souls of darkness members and on the new commando’s that had joined their ranks.
There were more pressing matters on the mind of Impetus M’Nar than the preparation of the task force of Souls of Darkness. In truth, she shouldn’t have even been on the ISD Warspite with the rest of the team, for the Lieutenant General commanded the Clan’s Spec-ops regiment, but there was no way she’d be without her wife Eludajae in a time of war. She had assigned her second in command, Colonel Soren, the job of leading the Praetorian Regiment into battle while she stayed with Souls of Darkness.
“Soren, how are things?” She said across a commlink to the human male, stationed on the Nebula Star Destroyer Excidium II. As much as she hated the prospect of another war, her voice was of her typical serene, soft, yet bright tone, it was hard for anyone to be miserable when talking to her.
“Everything’s fine, General.” Soren responded. While typically somewhat cold and reserved, the man was a tactical genius, and seemed to fit in well with his current role of leading the four thousand special operations troops that made up the Praetorian Regiment.
“Excellent. Just make sure you’re ready and primed for battle.”
“Already done, General. The troops are all already armed and assembled.”
“Perfect...” Impetus searched for more commands for him to undertake, but found nothing. Soren had already done everything. She had heard he was good when he was placed under her a few months earlier, but he had surpassed her expectations by a long way. “Good luck in the battle, and contact me ASAP if things start to go badly.”
“They won’t.” Soren said with quiet confidence. “And based on the stories I heard about you, you won’t need any help either.” Impetus smiled as she cut the connection short. She decided to try to raise the morale of the fellow Dark Jedi and commandos of Souls of Darkness with a few friendly chats while Eludajae spoke to Archangel.
It revolves around everyone, emanating from deep within one. It is the very essence
of life to take shelter in the dark, away from the rays of light that ay burn you or expose
you in ways you cannot comprehend. That is the way of the Yuuzhan Vong, to live in
darkness and in pain, away from the light that might show them wrong or right, darkness
devoured them, and due to it they do not know the Force.
A curse and a blessing….
A muttered curse was uttered under the Valheru’s breath as he pushed another comm.-link
away. Eludajae has been keen at trying to get Draken to come to her meeting with the rest
of the Souls of Darkness yet he did not wish to join in. He was always a solitary member and
so he should remain. He eyes himself in the glass window, eying over the stars that were laid
out in front of him. Suddenly a warmth was gliding over his shoulder, soft skin, a hand. He
turned to find Xathia behind him, one hand still upon his shoulder, the other on her swollen
“Draken…” Her voice sounded painful, and without a chance to finish the rest of her sentence
the Sith cut her off.
“I know…” He said softly, playing his hand on her abdomen, feeling their child stir a moment,
then laying in rest once more. It made the Equite smile, an emotion that was barren to him.
He moved his hand behind his back and took out his Lightwave Shield, the device that she
had constructed with love and passion while he was away. She took it in her hands and looked
into his eyes questioning. “Why…?”
“Be safe…” Was all he said in return before he gave her one final kiss and took off, only
bringing his sword and his mask, which he placed carefully over his face. The demonic features
a sign of that which dwelled within him. It had been several months since the fight at the
mysterious planet, the Star Forge planet, Lehon. He could utilize the Force once more, yet as a
cost Ylith had died and Draken had returned. It was strange and many people did not understand
any of it, they did not need to, all they needed to know was that Ylith had become Draken.
The Sith ventured through the hallways, silently, trying to find the rest of the Souls of Darkness.
He would rather be alone, rather fight alone and reflected this in his stature. Only his serpentine
eyes could betray his emotions and even there he was cold. As he saw the rest of his Battleteam
in the distance he moved close enough to be in hearing range but not close enough to get noticed
and leaned against the wall, closing his eyes a moment and taking in a few moments of rest before
everything changed, echoes of his Mistress, the Blind Dragon, echoing through his head.
You are power, use it! Or be devoured by it’s merciless jaws
Cethgus stood on the bridge of the Nebula Star Destroyer Excidium II, He and the Blades of Chaos were currently station on this magnificent war vessel. He had left one of his Lieutenant Colonels in charge of the 2nd Caina Regiment, his duties as Dark Paladin over weighed those as a Colonel. He looked out at the view screen, and knew that when war did come, he would enjoy every moment of it. Cethgus stood near the Consul on the bridge, knowing that is where he should be at these times, and waited for the war that was about to come. At that moment in time his comm device went off.
"Cethgus, just to let you know, Blades of Chaos is all here and ready to go" Hawks words buzzed around the bridge.
Cethgus picked the comm device from his belt to reply "Ok, Hawk just get the team and yourself some quarters, and make sure you are ready for anything"
Cethgus clipped his comm device back onto his belt and went back to looking around the bridge; he was still amazed at the size of the ship. As he stood watching he knew that he was sure that going to help Braecen's clan was a bad idea, but knew his place and stayed silent, just waiting until he was needed.
Antenora - Headquarters of House Acclivis Draco
The sky was rent asunder by the Majestic Heavy Cruiser Basilisk as it descended through the atmosphere for the first time in many years. The remaining legions stared in awe at the Kraken Regiment assembled in their most polished armor as they prepared to board their transport to glory. The Quaestor of house Acclivis Draco as well as his Aedile were present by hologram as the Roll Master assembled his personal Regiment with which he trained and worked on a daily basis when not administering the day to day of House Acclivis Draco. They nodded solemnly and all was silent before the hangar doors opened, the ramp lowered for the beginnings of their ascension.
The holograms vanished as Tra'an Reith whistled clearly and loudly across the tarmac, bringing every soldier with hearing distance to immediate attention. "Today we depart for victory. Make no mistake, we will return victorious. You are in your places because you are the best at what we do. We are the point of the spear that will pierce the heart of the Vong. We are the First to Land, the Last to Leave. We re the Kraken Regiment, and All Will Know Our Name!" His Force amplified voice carried across the vast compound and through the com systems to all those who watched. The response was three very loud, clear, and distinct cries of "Integrity, Excellence, Victory". Turning a smart about face, the Knight led his troops up the ramp in perfect synchronization.
At the tale end of the Regiment were a rag tag bunch of Guardians, Protectors, and one acolyte. They were here to observe and learn from the front lines, and perhaps even test themselves in a time of war. Should they survive such a test, they would be transformed and proven worthy to perhaps begin their trials towards Knighthood. They were wide eyed at the massive force assembled under just one Dark Knight, who had been given command because he had proven himself enough to earn the right to be Roll Master of Acclivis Draco. The troops still around were standing at attention, saluting the leaving warriors with wishes to join them.
Standing in plain view until the ramp retracted and that hatch closed, Tra'an Reith remained visible as the leader he was. "Dismissed", rang clearly out from the ship to return all the remaining troops to their duties.
The hatch sealed and his com unit rang. "Lifting in 30 seconds Knight Reith", came Captain Duval's voice from the other end, " and I don't care for being hijacked like this. Your men better not destroy my ship." The link closed curtly even as his men braced at the lift alarms generated throughout the cruiser. The wonderful Captain loved him personally, but was ever loyal to the Fleet commander and was not happy about playing delivery duty to a Regiment of Legionnaires. He suspected they'd be here complaints all the way to Jusadih because they weren't Marines.
The Knight strode forward towards the lift to his personal quarters as the Colonels squared away their legions and the smattering of Dark Jedi hopefuls until training could begin. The ship lifted smoothly, and was soon on its way to Rally Point Bravo to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet.
'Your doubts are justified!'
The mental voice intruded Cethgus' contemplation. He couldn't help taking a step back in surprise and looking around before he realized no one else noticed it. His first thought was that the presence constantly lurking within him was to blame, but then it had never spoken to him directly. There was one other possibility, though. "Niemand?" he whispered.
'Well, who else?' The Force spirit of the boy who had died in the Vong conflict was almost not visible, and Cethgus had to squint to see it at all. It seemed to stand next to his right elbow, looking at the view screen. 'What does Plagueis have to offer us? Let the Vong destroy them and then we can destroy the Vong.'
"We haven't been all that successful against the Vong last time," Cethgus hissed. "You died then, remember?"
Several heads turned to Cethgus, but not only had most of the Clan become used to Ceth's sometimes irrational behaviour, he had been seen talking to himself before. The Dark Paladin stared back with a frown, and people went on about their own business again.
'A minor setback,' the spirit responded, but it sounded bitter. 'In any case, they were driven off. But now the clan might make a grave mistake.'
Sighing, Cethgus took another step back and found an empty spot at one of the tactical stations. As he sat down, trying to look busy, he again remembered that Niemand had always had weird ideas about strategies and tactics. "Can't you just leave me alone and go wherever spirits usually go?"
'Unfortunately, I seem to be tied to you.' The mental voice of the dead boy actually sounded angry. Cethgus had always thought it was a joke for Niemand to attach his presence to him.
"So, can you find out where the enemy is? Give us information about Arcona? Anything like that?" Maybe the spirit would go away for a while if Ceth would find a good use for it.
'I already said I'm tied to you. Sneak into the enemy camp and I can help you find out.' The sarcasm was unmistakable.
'So he isn't only an obnoxious presence, he is also a useless presence,' the Dark Paladin thought.
'I heard that,' came the amused reply.
With another sigh, Cethgus got up and moved towards the lift. "If you are going to follow me around once more, we are going to have some rules here," he growled, startling a crew member into dropping some dura foils. "For one, do not interrupt me when I'm concentrating."
'Oh, sure, that is such a rare event I do not really have to worry about it happening, now, do I?'
Cethgus' face started heating and he found himself wishing the boy wasn't dead yet, so he could kill him himself. "I have a bad feeling about this,2 he told himself.
“Damnit” Archangel thought, as he surveyed a report he’d just been handed. It displayed the listings of personnel, along with various miscellaneous items, such as fuel reserves and ammo stores. The food and fuel were more than adequate, but ammunition, which was probably more important than the other two, was low. He signalled for his batman to come to him.
“Corporal, I want you to head over to the Adenn and have her captain raid Bastion Regimental headquarters on Ptolomea for ammunition. I don’t want to come back and find a single blaster clip in there. Understand?” he said, his voice deep with annoyance. He struck the men as a rather commanding and powerful figure, his size being to his advantage.
The batman nodded and saluted before rushing off with a pair of military police as escorts. Dodging around the ‘escaping’ batman, Eludajae came into his view.
“Ah, Colonel. Good to see you and your team are present and accounted for” he said, knowing what she was going to say before she could say it. He smiled at her slightly perturbed expression.
“Yes... well, we’re ready for deployment. We all have berths on the Warspite, and all our gear’s aboard.”
“Excellent. The Expeditionary Force is almost all aboard and I’ve just gotten the Adenn to get more ammunition for the fleet. Is there anything else?”
“Where do you want us when we deploy? You haven’t given us any orders” she said, casting her eyes around the small command centre.
“I want you with me at the command post, so I can use you as a flying company to plug the gaps.”
“But we aren’t a company... we’re an under strength battleteam”
“That’s the beauty of it. You’re faster and lighter than a company so easier to insert.”
“Understood, Marshal. I will pass the orders on for you. May the Force be with you”
“And you, Colonel”
Cern had managed to get the Team on a ship and stowed away without any major hassles. He left the team to their own devices for the moment because truthfully he was not much for the whole speech thing. The Banshee Brigade knew the destination and knew whom it was they were going to fight. It seemed pointless to try to tell them anything just yet. Eventually the team would be given a target and they would do the job, but until then they would enjoy the ride and stay loose.
Talking to the older members of the team had gained a great deal of advice on how to deal with the Vong, but Cern still had a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that wouldn’t go away. He chalked it up to his being nervous about his first real combat command and tried to relax the way Master Impetus had taught him. Well maybe not quite like Impetus would…the thought floated across his consciousness and a smile formed on his face.
The Iktotchi cleared his thoughts and opened himself to the Force. The power flowed into him and Cern tried to see the coming events but his mind became filled with a darkness he could not seem to penetrate. The Guardian sighed and turned his thoughts back to his Team. Worry crept into his mind and the Journeyman growled to himself in mild frustration. The action couldn’t come soon enough. Everything would become clear in the coming battles. It always did.
When the mind is stirred into chaos it may inherit strange features from it. Chaos
is within all of us, it feeds emotions when they are most weakened. Anger, sadness,
happiness, they are all but mere pawns within chaos’ grasp. It’s cold fingers silently
wrapping around it before poisoning it. It has been the main reason for demise in
most great masters of the Force. Control emotion too much and it plunges into chaos
when one’s heart is broken. Try to release your emotions and actually feed on chaos
has been reason for many demises as well, as chaos easily blinds someone from it’s
Chaos…a darkness bitter to even the most evil of spirits….
Stale air filled the lungs of the Valheru as he took a deep sigh, opening his eyes to see
the Souls of Darkness huddled together, talking about which move they should take next.
A grin emerged on his hidden face as he realized how foolish this all was. The Vong were
simple, either you defeated them by sheer force or they will throw themselves at you wave
after wave until their numbers are diminished and you are crippled enough to eventually
bleed to death.
He had encountered the Vong many times before, even up close, he knew how their religion
worked. It was all about self sacrifice, and to die in honour of Yun Yammka was the highest
honour one of the Yuuzhan Vong warriors could achieve. Their songs of combat often painted
by the vigour of their strength and the blood of those who were brave enough to oppose them.
The serpentine eyes of the Valheru moved to his left arm, where normally his shield would be.
Whilst fighting the Vong he found himself out of balance and such an obvious weakness was
something he could not use in close combat.
Eludajae moved back to her peers, giving the word that Surface Marshal Ligur Victae suggested
that the Souls of Darkness would be best of use in space combat. The Valheru chuckled at the
thought, he knew nothing of fighter craft, he choose not to, spending his time training his body
and mind rather than losing vital hours of training learning how to fly a coffin with a few turrets.
As no word was mentioned of a land based mission just yet, he decided to wait for a moment,
sitting down onto the steel floor and taking out his prized sword, Livion. He then took a cloth,
doused in Choiji Oil and covered the blade in a fine dust made from sharpening stones and
started to polish the blade. Sharpening it at the same time, a technique taught from the Shadow
Hand himself. As he polished the blade, his mind drifted off again, in silence, while his peers
remained unaware of his presence.
Colonel Pertinax Yadar Mandalore walked down the hall with all haste towards the ExF command station aboard the Warspite. He knocked on the door trying to find the Warrior. From within came a soft yet firm command, “Open the door to admit him.”A trooper stationed aboard the bridge opened the door. “Yeah what do you need?”
The Colonel walked onto the bridge and replied, “I need to speak with Marshall Archangel privately.” The Warrior stood up to follow the Wookiee to a room just outside the bridge.
“What do you need Yadar?” asked the Shaevalian.
Yadar replied, “Well sir I have never had this many lives in my hand and I don’t know whether or not these men under my command have any families. Arch, when you first had this many people under your command how did you handle it?
Archangel thought for a minute then replied, “Well son, this is what you do, get to know your company commanders, Yadar. They're your communications line between you and your troops. If you know them, and trust them, you'll be a more effective commander. And if they trust you, the entire operation goes smoothly. You'll see. Now get back down to your troops and meet your company commanders.”
“Thanks Arch.” Said Yadar as he walked out of the door back to where his Legion was stationed.
Koskian rubbed his eyes as he stood up. He had been pouring over data concerning the status of the 4th Expeditionary force for the last hour to determine the readiness of his division. A chuckle accompanied that thought, two years ago he was fighting tooth and nail against this Clan and now they gave him a bloody army. Shaking his head, he checked the numbers one more time, and was pleased. Leaving the quarters he'd been given on the ISD Warspite for the duration of travel, he wandered aimlessly for a while, keeping his ears open for the sound of the duty bar.
As he wandered, soldiers from the legions under him passed him, giving him uncertain looks. They had never even trained with this man, but he was to command them in battle. He was certain it helped that he wasn't wearing robes, just simply pants and button down shirt. Koskian shook his head again, wishing he had been given this position sooner so that his men would know him better. He wandered further, not really knowing the layout of the Destroyer, being that he was more accustomed to assault transports and the likes.
Soldiers were more common in the halls as he turned down another corridor, the uniforms a mix primarily of the infantry and assault troopers, and he saw a choke down the hall. Pushing his way through the ring of soldiers, he expected to find a brawl, but it had been far to quiet. Finally making his way through, he instead found that someone had dragged a table and some crates in, and acquired a bottle of corellian whiskey. Shaking his head with a grin he watched two men wavering on the crates, a line of empty shot glasses before them.
Another man poured more shots, and motioned the two soldiers to drink. One man downed it quickly, an infantryman from the 65th, but the other, an assault trooper from the 67th spilled his, and collapsed backwards onto the deck. Sighing, Koskian stepped forward and sat down on the crate. The raucous cheering and jeering of the passed out tank driver quickly quieted as the men realized who it was.
“Sir, I uhh, we'll uhh clean this up and head to bed,” stuttered out a Private from the 66th.
Koskian motioned to the man holding the whiskey, who hesitated a moment before realizing what the Commander wanted. Pouring him a shot, Koskian looked around and grinned.
“Lets see how many of you I can drink under the table before I feel like going to bed, eh?”
The soldiers let out a laugh as the first man sat down, and more shots were poured.
“Were gonna need a few more bottles, somebody go raid the duty bar, that's an order,” said Koskian with a smile, knocking back the first of many shots.
As the trooper stood to fetch some more liquor at his General’s command, Prajna stumbled into a wall, barely saving the almost empty bottle of Antakarian Fire Dancer held in one hand. “Whois dere!?! Git up ya maggot.” He began kicking the limp body of the soldier who had already collapsed.
The Cerean’s words slurred as he fell more than sat into a seat around the makeshift drinking table. “Sicko, you kru-unkin it yet?” The High Colonel felt his arm rap around the nervous soldier next to him.
Koskian force a laugh. “Now PJ, even at my worst I am better than your best. So what we got for rounds there, Peej?”
The pointed head flopped onto the crate, knocking a few poured shot glasses to the metal plating of the Warspite’s flooring. Glass shattered, and one of the more sober Lieutenants in the hall hurried to clean up the mess. As Koskian whaped the side of the large cranium firmly, he released an invisible wave of the Force, flushing much of the toxins from the alien’s mind.
Templar Berkana sat upright quickly and looked around disoriented. A round of chuckles erupted at the table, as Prajna silently met eyes with his superior. “So the Vong, you remember that scuffle we had back on Caina PJ?” The Sergeant at the table finished pouring new shots as the Primarch finished his question. Everyone took a round.
Glasses slammed on the table, and PJ nodded. “That one I saved your scrawny little backside from the clutches of death and saved the planet and the fate of the clan singlehandedly?”
Psyko d’Tana shook his head, remembering the full story. “Something like that, though your ego still precedes you I see.”
“You are not drunked enough yet penny whip. Shot!” Everyone took another stab as the liquid began to affect each soldier more. “Well we allz will be lucky if one in ten of our troopers survives, Cape`tin.” Everyone but the two Jedi took another shot at the fearful truth of that delivery. “I told them all the Vong were pusses and we mopped them last time,” Prajna recited grinning of his lies. “Still, I hope you and I can at least take a drink after this is over.”
The Lieutenant General of the 4th Expeditionary Forces Division saw the worried looks of his troops and tried to ease their worries. “I am sure we will all be there on the other side.” Everyone took another drink at that uneasy statement. Koskian began to chat with the troops as the Cerean Commander nodded off from too much drinking on one night.
Ithorians are peace-keepers and lovers of nature. They believe in a Mother Goddess who takes care of them and their natural creations. They hate war. On the contrary, Luciferus “Scyrone” Leviathan, an Obelisk, fighting, crushing, hardened, but intelligent soldier, is an Ithorian. The Ithorians and the Vong share a few qualities. They both believe in nature and natural entities as being the highest priority in their lives and civilizations. They both believe that a society could function alone without technology. But one thing is for sure; to Scyrone, these things do not matter. Once Scyrone had seen the effects that the Vong had on his home world (a twisted, evil version of nature), the Dark Ithorian could not control his hate, anger, and rage for the Vong. With his small part in his own Clan’s victory over the Vong, he was prepared to push beyond his limit in the destruction of Plagueis’ system. For not only did he need to release his anger on the Vong, but he felt another need to help his friend, Braecen (the one whom helped his gain his Lightsaber), rid the Vong of his system. And so it began.
Luciferus Leviathan stood tall above his legion. The 69th Legion was named ‘The Fightin 69th’. All Luciferus thought was, “Lame,” drowning the words throughout his mind in a foreign Ithorian tongue. The Dark Jedi Knight wanted to kill the Vong and help his former friend, but how can he lead a Legion with a name that is so simple? The thoughts briskly flew in and out of his head and he started concentrating on battle plans . . . whatever and wherever this battle was. The Ithorian sat down while his troops prepared for battle. He looked over the roster of soldiers that he had in his grasp, checking strengths, weaknesses, decorated awards, education, etc. Not only that, but he started looking up his fellow Dark Jedi that were in the same Regiment as he was.
“The Fifth Strike Regiment,” spoke Luciferus to himself loudly, as though is sarcasm. He couldn’t help but laugh. “I need to remind myself to recommend name changes to Phoenix and Lucien when this is over.”
The Ithorian started rumbling words from the one side of his mouth, “Malaki, Gavan, and Yadar. All Dark Jedi Knights. All Colonels. What is needed to prepare?”
Luciferus thought for a few moments. The subject of names had already been abolished from his mind. Luciferus had told his legion to prepare for war. What did Luciferus need to do? He wore the same thing almost everyday; he always carried his Lightsaber around; he expected the worst out of everything, but always thought there was a positive direction to go in. Maybe he needed to talk. Luciferus decided to go and see if he can talk to the other Legion leaders about the war and what they are doing. Maybe that could help the Ithorian’s battle plans too. Plus, he heard Yadar was from a family with the name Mandalore. Maybe they could swap battle stories.
“Attention, soldiers! I am going for a speedious walk! Just do whatever you need to do to get ready.” Luciferus was leaving the massive room in the Warspite while shouting, “No drinking either! I don’t want my troops shooting rocks on the battlefield!”
They were rather beautiful, the stars, even in doppler shift. "Captain Duval, coming out in five...four...three...two...one... downshift successful. IFF coming in, Rally Point Bravo welcomes the MJHC Basilisk and the Kraken Regiment. Orders for us to dock alongside the NSD Excidium II." Brigadier General Tra'an Reith stood on the bridge, listening to the controlled chaos as his arrival at Rally Point Bravo was progressing. It had been a swift flight with no worries and no errors.
Turning to the Captain, he found he was expected as she was staring at him. "Excellent run Captain Duval. I compliment you and your crew on a most well kept ship." She nodded curtly and he turned on his heels, striding for the hatch. It would take them a while to coast to a stop beside the NSD and the rest of the fleet. In the mean time, he needed to be ready to go. He broke into a brisk trot, not for the first time wishing that he hadn't let Libra run off to the Outer Rim with no definite plans of coming back. He missed her.
It was mere minutes before he found himself in the hangar bay, his ship Stellar Vibrations already awake and waiting for launch. He found that odd, having not yet been on board to wake it. Moving swiftly over to the Chief Petty Officer in charge of the bay, he stopped just short of lifting the man by his throat. "Chief Petty Officer Vlask, why did you send someone aboard my personal ship without my express authorization?" The startled man looked back at him and cowered in fear for a second before standing up straight.
"General, It's not been opened since you left it, at least not by my personnel. I know your express orders are not to go within unless you expressly order it, Sir!" The taste of truth was on his words, which led Tra'an to wonder who was within. Only one other person had the access code to that ship, and she should have been far, far away. Opening the hatch to his ship with a remote, he bounded over and inside, letting the hatch slide shut behind him. Making his way to the bridge, he found the one person in the universe he wanted to see, sitting before him. "Libra...", the name escaped him as he basked in her beauty.
"Hello Lover," she responded, deftly lifting the ship up and out of the bay with ease. "I figured that it would be best if we had our reunion in private, and the darkness of space is about as quiet as it gets." She set the auto pilot for rendezvous with the rest of the fleet, then eased out of the pilot's seat. Jedi Hunter Libra Tzo, friend, lover, and until recently suspected dead in the outer rim. She moved towards him and folded herself into his arms, sharing a lingering kiss of souls missed. He smiled, and hefted her up in his arms, noticing she'd set the auto gravity at 30%.
He took her back to his cabin, the only one aboard this vessel, so it was fairly large as cabins go. "Where have you been my lovely?" He stroked her hair as he laid her down on the bed beside him, and listened as she spun a tale about the Vong.
The shuttle landed in the small bay of the ISD Warspite carrying Eludajae and the last of the SoD battle team marines with her. She walked out as the marines fanned out and she looked around and saw the whole of the 74th Legion at attention as she entered sigh. She smiled and was pleased that her Legions commanders were so efficiently aware of her presence.
She walked forward and her officers fell into line behind her the second in command of the Legion a Lt. Colonel Stalwart a career officer in the Royal Legions walked nearest to her. “Ma’am the 74th Legion is at full battle readiness, will we be performing ground operations with your battle team Souls of Darkness?”
“The battle team is on hold, all of my battle team has military commands they are responsible for. We may interact as a unit but will be doing so as commanders of our various Clan military assets,” she said in a matter of fact tone. She reached the podium in front of the 74th Legion and looked the troops over. Placed her hand on the podium and it identified her and the traditional whistle of a commander entering a ship goes off calling the troops into attention.
“A ten’hut!” yelled one of the officers behind her and the whole legion in unison moved to attention their boot hitting the bays floor at the same time giving an echo of their boots in unison as they did.
“By Order of Surface Marshal Archangel, and His Majesty Emperor Phoenix I formally take command of the 74th Legion.” Said Eludajae and she removed her hand and the record of taking official control of the legion flashed over to the War Councils High Command Center. Silver Forge Legion was now officially hers.
She smiled as the officers ordered the Legion to stand down and prepare for battle. In typical military fashion, e.g. screaming at the top of his lungs for the detachment to stand down, finally she moved with her officers into the ship proper. As they walked around a corner the snapped into a salute as general M’Nar came into view with a few people of her own. Eludajae smiled at her lover and wife and walked up to her.
“Good to see you General M’Nar,” she said causing Impetus to stop and look up, completely forgetting herself Impetus moved over to Eludajae and kissed her arms wrapping around her. Both detachments of officers behind the two M’Nar ladies began that little shuffle indicating they were desperately trying to maintain their military decorum as these two beautiful woman kissed and held the other in the middle of the Hallway.
The Lt.Colonel looked over at one of the SoD Marines and mouthed, “Is this normal?” to which the marine shrugged and mouthed, “You get used to it.” To which the Lt. Colonel mouthed “Wonderful.”
The two women parted lips and in a tone that made the Lt.Colonel clear his throat softly, “That was wonderful my wife.” Said Eludajae with a sly smile. To which Impetus smiled and replied, “Indeed Mistress wonderful,” making the Lt. Colonel squirm just a little more than he was already.
“Has the Surface Marshal spoken with you?” Impetus Asked.
“Yes our commands are going to be operating closely in this campaign it seems. Come walk with me.” Eludajae said to Impetus who slides her hand her Eludajae’s as they do. There discussion trails off into not just the war coming, but other things within the Clan and Brotherhood that could affect the outcome of the campaign ahead of them.
Asani Vosa made her way onto the Legion Command Post of the ISD-II Warspite. She was still getting used to her military uniform and even more so to her Lieutenant’s stripes. She was not accustomed to giving orders but would not find herself intimidated by the ship’s crew, comprised mostly of men.
Upon entering the command centre, Asani pursed her lips and held her head proud. She had long tired of hearing she was just a science officer or annalist and not a Caliburnus military officer in full. She knew there were other ways to serve the clan. That such ways were deemed unimportant was foolhardy and… well, it annoyed her.
“Ah, 1st Lieutenant Vosa. How do you like your new rank?” Surface Marshal Archangel asked her the second he laid eyes on her. He obviously liked how the military uniform enclosed her tender physique. “I’m still used to it, but that shouldn’t take long.” Asani retorted. “Excellent…” Archangel smiled. “There were some who objected, but I wanted you to fill the free position on my staff.” He said, and winked at her. Normally Asani would have appreciated the humour of Arch’s comment, but in her new position it made her a bit uncomfortable. Not that she would ever let it show.
The Marshal picked up on Asani’s feelings, however. He cleared his throat and shifted slightly in his seat. “Anyway, please take your station.” Asani walked over to a computer console next to the door that led to the Surface Marshal’s office. It was a multi-source console from which she could oversee all that happened and could report to Archangel if there was something worth reporting. Sitting at the console gave her a sense of security. All this power and knowledge at her fingertips, clear, manageable with complete interface. This is the order she preferred.
Malaki walked down the ramp of his transport vessel which had landed in another docking bay carved into the structure of the ISD Warspite. The soul of darkness commando’s followed behind him, and almost instantly they were all greeted by a proud salute from the men of the 70th legion. The knight stared into the awakening eyes of all the soldiers who stood tall and strong, his lips opened recovering the words “At ease” from the tip of his tongue. He turned back towards his commando’s knowing that they would now leave him to recover the last of the gear from the ship.
“Welcome to the ISD Warspite Colonel, the Titanium Force Zeta is ready for battle sir!” Uttered a recognisable female voice.
The krath smiled and found his way to the front of the legion, as he looked into the females sparkling eyes she stepped forwards out of line. Almost immediately the krath put his arms around her giving her a welcoming friendly hug.
“My god its nice to see you again Laela, I’m glad to see that they have put you in second of command” Malaki said letting her go from his arms.
She blushed with a sweet smile and then took her place by his side. Her voice seemed softer than before as she spoke into his ear. “It’s nice to see you back, everything has been prepped as you ordered and we are ready to fight at the front lines….”
But before she finished Malaki had already started to speak out loud. “By the order of Surface Marshal Archangel and our lord emperor Phoenix I am taking command of the 70th legion …. Any previous battlefront orders will be put on hold till further notice from my authorities is that clear Laela?”
Her face went glum; she couldn’t remember the boy she grew up on Taris with being so strong in power. As she nodded to the Knights request, he had already put his comlink on to catch up with any news from his battle team leader.
“I have arrived on the Warspite, any more current orders? …Hello? Eludajae? ” He continued to say until he heard a faint moan of lust and pleasure.
"They are at it again"…he thought and then cut off the contact. He looked at the men of the 70th legion again and then at the officers that had joined their ranks. Laela smiled as her eyes met his and an old friendship had been reborn. Then both of them broke into discussion talking away and catching up with one another as they walked through the crowded dock full with men eager to kill. Malaki had his hand on her shoulder, and stared at her remembering the good times back home on Taris. But then suddenly he felt her lips meet his in a kiss.
With a faint whisper the words from his mouth echoed out, “I’ve missed you…”
A feeling or more, an emotion? The body that speaks out to the mind that things are
out of order, or the mind that speaks to the body that something is out of place?
Nobody can really define what pain is as pain is defined by the simple way of being
there. It is there within every being and every soul, it is as universal as any other
emotion. It is the base of one of the oldest questions of life, why do we feel pain?
What is pain?
Pain is to know you’re alive…
As the rest of the Souls of Darkness went with the illustrious Eludajae, the Valheru
remained, not willing to become a pawn in the military, but rather being solitary,
alone. His mind was suddenly taken off his train of thought as a female figure stood
before him. His sight moved upwards to see the face of his wife staring down at him.
As usual one hand on her swollen abdomen, rubbing it gently, as if caressing the
child itself, something she seemed to do subconsciously.
“Why aren’t you with the others?” The Omwati asked, speaking of the Souls of Darkness
whom moved towards the hangar. The Valheru simply shrugged, his mask hiding his
mocking facial features. She shook her head and kneeled before him and gently
removed the mask off his face and placed her hand to it’s side, the warmth of her hand
seemingly paralyzing him on the spot.
“What do you fear my warrior?” She said, looking deep within his eyes, seeing blackness,
which sight was similar to a drop of ink in clear water, slowly creeping at the sides of his eyes.
“Darkness.” Was all the Sith said in return, before she gave him a short kiss.
“Do not fear that which gives you power my warrior. Our child will have much to learn from
“It is power I cannot control. I fear your fate.” He frowned, gritting his teeth for a moment,
trying to force his emotions inwards again as the blackness fed on them, creeping slowly over
the whites of his eyes.
The Krath took his hand and placed it gently upon her abdomen, which caused a stir within it,
a small foot, barely the size of his thumb, pushing hard against his hand, as if to reach her
father the child stirred. At the very moment her foot reached out to him the blackness slipped
back behind his eyes, calming him again. The Omwati then kissed him a moment and then
“I’ll be working with the medical staff doing minor chores and tend to the wounded, nothing
fancy and if something happens to me or our child I’ll be right where I need to be.” She said
and her comment made him smile for a moment. He rose from his seat and helped her stand
up as well and gave her one last kiss before she moved off towards the medical bay, his
Lightwave shield strapped onto her back, making him grin a moment.
Taking a deep breath the Valheru moved to the training bays, which were now barren due to the
fact all soldiers were called to their post, leaving a nice large open space for Draken to train in.
He placed his mask on a counter before unsheathing his sword and swinging it around his body,
some drops of oil dripping from the blade as his recent treatment left a thin layer of oil upon the
metal, which was now sliding off by the sheet force of the air inside the chamber. As the Sith
swung his sword to the side, it suddenly ringed as it hit what seemed to be a metal shaft. His
serpentine eyes moved to their corners to look over his shoulder, only to find Surface Marshal
Ligur Victae standing behind him, spear in hand smirking.
“Mind if I join you Draken?” He said with a smile, casual as always. The Valheru returned the
smile and walked for a moment, moving his arms and legs to loosen them up a bit before
swinging his sword to his side, the metal of the freshly polished O-katana shimmering in the
artificial light. In front of him Brent flailed his spear around his body, taking up a battle stance.
He stood slightly bent through his knees, one arm forward, open palm, seemingly inviting
Draken to strike first. His other arm was stretched backwards, the lower half of the spear running
along his arm to his back, while the tip of the blade was aiming backwards, seeming in perfect
Both men seemed to enjoy the atmosphere within the room. It was not a battle of will, a battle
of strength, no, it was a simple spar, teaching one another how to fight. It was a battle on par
with both sides. Draken pushed forwards, holding his sword with both hands while ‘Archangel’
swirled his spear above his head and brought it down, meeting the cold steel of the blade.
Their eyes locked a moment, both men smirking in delight as they pushed away from each other.
Metal rang throughout the hall, clinging harder and harder, often groans would follow as blood
was spilled, only minor wounds but enough to see whom had the upper hand, while seconds
later the tides were turned again. The two fought with their hearts, enjoying combat and
furthermore the rush of close combat and the dangers it might bring. Looking in your opponents
eyes and meet death.
Minutes later both men stared at each other again, both catching their breath and both evenly cut
up. Robes torn or simply cut, minor cuts dressing both men’s skin. It was a tie, none of the two
could deny such thing. Arch moved to the side and poured a few drinks and passed one of the to
the Valheru while they sat down for a moment, laughing at the damage they caused one another.
Suddenly the laughing ceased and Brent nudged with his head towards his head towards the mask
standing on the counter.
“What is the meaning behind that mask you wear all the time?” The Shaevalian said while taking a
sip from his drink. Draken closed his eyes for a moment, then moved his serpentine eyes towards
the mask. He felt silent for a moment as he was lost in thought. He smiled for a moment then eyed
the Sith Warrior.
“To hide my pain…”
Time passed in the darkness, though none would seemingly know it, hanging in the relative nothingness of interstellar space. Stellar Vibration eased aboard the NSD Excidium II and set down, to find the Brigadier General bolting out of the ship as if fire had been set to his rear. A lithe and yet lushly figured female followed, right behind him, seemingly oblivious to his hurry. Only their hands clasped together indicated that she went willingly. The lift opened for them and they shot aboard, even as it closed and rushed upwards. The bewildered human clung to him, smiling slyly at his mood. She had not seen him with such impatient joy and bounding energy in a long time.
As the lift eased onto the command deck, they shot forward again, quickly arriving at the Situation Room. Tra'an stopped, composed himself, and knocked in his usual pattern, indicating it was him. "Come", could be heard through the door and he rushed inside, dragging Libra with him. "Sir, I have important news, the kind that makes you believe the Force is with us." He was smiling from ear to ear as he turned to Libra and encouraged her to tell him by waving his hands and smiling. Easing close to him, she rested her head on his shoulder before turning to look at her former boss.
"Lucien, I was out working with a bunch of raiders in the Outer Rim, when we got word of a supply cache of New Republic origin that was in transport between one of their hidden bases. It was lightly defended, as it was traveling in secret, only two corvettes guarding the freighter. We wiped them out easily and the freighter had just a skeleton crew that was easily defeated by our boarding crew. When we cracked open the cargo bay I found my cut immediately." She smiled and looked away shyly, hiding her face in Tra'an's chest briefly.
Turning back to the Proconsul, she continued. "I have Two Metric Tons of Baffor Tree Pollen, and a small cache of generator crystals. I hastened back to Antenora with them, and hid inside Tra'an's ship intending to surprise him the next time he came up to take a break. Unfortunately he used the slave circuits to place it in the Basilisk's bay so I had to wait until he came to it recently." Tra'an smiled and chuckled softly at the look of shock on the Proconsul's face.
"Good News, yes?" spoke the General as he waited for a reply.
Koskian woke with a start, lifting his head quickly and immediately regretting it as the former night's festivities caught up with him. Groaning in pain as he buried his face in a pillow, he heard the holocom ding at him, notifying him of an incoming call. Blindly reaching out the d'Tana hit the receive button and let out a short, unpleasant “Whaat!?”
“Not the kind of response I usually get from a subordinate, General.”
Looking up, Koskian tried to focus his view on the short holo projected figure.
“Oh okay, can't really see to well yet.”
“I...see. I've gotten reports of you and your divisions....diversions last night. Impressive, to say the least, I didn't even know you could fit that many soldiers into the head without something going wrong.”
Koskian chuckled as flashes of what Archangel was referring to, and felt a pain flash through his head again. Groaning and clutching his skull for a moment, he brought his attention back to the holo-image.
“Ahem...do I have your attention, General?”
“Right, we have reason to suspect that some old comrades of yours might try and make an appearance, as we do not know who Plagueis sent their request for aid to.”
“Indeed. Do I have any reason to doubt you if this situation arises?”
“I left them for a reason, Marshall, if theres any justice in the 'verse, those reasons will wander into the way of my division should they try anything.”
A small smile could be seen tugging at the Marshall's face, before he nodded and shut off the comm. Koskian groaned and fell back into his bunk, rubbing his eyes as he tried to get back to sleep. Another ding came from his holo-com, this one indicating a message. Sitting up, he scanned this new arrival and felt a darkness grow inside.
'I will keep this short cousin. Hopefully we do not meet where we head to now. But know one thing. I did not have anything to do with the plan.' - R.
“Oh...crap,” muttered the Primarch as he looked around for his robes.
The Iktotchi had wandered the halls of the ship until he came a suitable workout area. He had put himself through the paces and done everything he could to clear his mind. Hours of meditation had left him no better off. Getting drunk might help, it seemed to be the method most of the soldiers he had come across were trying, but Cern wanted a clear head come the morning. Worry over the team and the coming battles would not leave the young Guardian. Having given up on the meditation efforts, the Commander of Dorimad Sol’s Banshee Brigade headed back to his temporary office.
Cern glanced at the message he found waiting upon his return to the office he was using. The Iktotchi sighed as he realized that upon arriving at the rally point, his Equates had gone to their assigned military posts. So, I am left with the Journeymen and little experience against these Vong outside of a simulator program. The Guardian sat down and went over the roster to make the necessary adjustments to Banshee Brigade. What else could he do but wait and worry. With another sigh, the Iktotchi reached for the bottle of scotch he brought and gave in to temptation.
Cern grunted as he poured the first shot. His comm. unit beeped quietly and he listened to the voice calling him to the command center. With a slight jolt of nerves, Cern got to his feet and headed out the door, the scotch sat, untouched.
Judecca hung lazily outside the viewport, like a Tatooine marble on a black velvet cloth. The War Council meeting had been brief and to the point. His emerald eyes gazed out into the cold depths of space before him, his thick arms crossed across his chest. His blood boiled with excitement, but he didn’t allow his outward appearance to show it. The troops would expect a cool headed commanding officer rather than a veteran thrilled to be getting back into the thick of things.
The duel with Draken had been... interesting, he thought diplomatically. The man had changed, though Archangel couldn’t really tell if it were better or worse than before. He hoped for the man’s sake, and the sake of his pregnant wife, that it was for the better.
There was a polite knock at the door. It angered him slightly, as it invaded his private thoughts.
“Enter, Lieutenant” he said, sensing the presence of his operations officer, First Lieutenant Asani Vosa. She entered soundlessly, her customary datapad in hand.
“Are my legions loaded, Lieutenant?” he said, his back still facing the new arrival. He watched her in the Force, as well as the Force signatures of the officers out in the command centre just beyond the door. Asani was fidgeting.
“Yes, sir. The 100th took a while to load for lack of space. We had to load a company onto the Indomitable. Our supplies are good and there should be no problems with ammunition once the Adenn returns.”
“Very good” he finally turned to face the woman.
Asani remained, looking almost expectant of her superior to talk again.
“Was there more, Lieutenant?” he asked, allowing a touch of annoyance to enter his voice. Talking with Kosk had not brightened his mood.
“The newly appointed leaders in the Expeditionary Force, sir. Some of them have been grumbling over lack of direction.”
“The Grand Marshal will see to that at his meeting. Have the officers report to Lucien's Situation Room, including Kosk.”
Sitting across from her wife as both of them go over the various aspects of making certain each of their respective cohorts of troops are handled. When the call comes in from the Surface Marshals office her adjutant Captain Syndoc takes the call from Asani as she is issuing the Surface Marshals orders for his command officers to make their way to the Grand Marshal ‘s Situation Room, “Colonel M’nar’s office, yes lieutenant, the Colonel is busy…”
“Look!” Eludajae said loudly at the holovid of the quartermaster, “I don’t give a damn about the other Legions; I have orders to have the 74th ready to land and engage the enemy. That does mean supplies and logistics need to be handled now.”
“I will pass your request…”
“I don’t make requests…”she leans close to the hologram of the man now finding himself loomed over, “I issue orders. DON’T, make me come down there. Have the supplies delivered in an hour or your day will become unpleasant.” Eludajae warned as she turned off the connection.
“Colonel?” Captain Syndoc spoke up.
“Yes Captain what is it?” Eludajae said with a tone telling everyone in the room that she is becoming annoyed.
“Umm…” looks at the view screen, “the Surface Marshals office is trying to contact you.” He quickly handed the portable view screen to her, with a narrowing eyed Asani on the other end that looked up and saw her mistress looking back at her. Her eyes opened and she immediately lowered her gaze. “Um…Mis…”clears her throat, “ Colonel, Ma’am…the Surface Marshal has issued orders for all commanders to make their way to the Grand Marshal’s Situation Room, immediately.” Asani said in a soft voice.
Eludajae smiled, “Tell the Surface Marshal that General M’nar and I will report as soon as possible.” She hesitated a moment and spoke again, “Congratulations on your appointment lieutenant, well done. There are those of us very proud of you, keep up the excellent performance.” The captain blinking with a look of…ok who are you and what did you do with the Colonel.
Eludajae flips the vid-screen to the captain and turns to regard Impetus. “Well its seems we are being summoned by Lucien,” she turns to the captain, “you showed some excellent crisis management there, get that quartermaster moving on our legions supplies. Don’t fail me captain.” All the captain was able to do is nod and sweat a little on his brow as the two ladies left the room.
“Really love, you’re going to scare the poor boy into impotency…perhaps you should give him a little break.” Impteus said with a smile.
Eludajae turned and smiled at Impetus, “You know general, it might be a little embarrassing for you to be seen spanked by your junior officer,” she turns to Impetus and smiles, “in public.”
Impetus just smiled and leaned in whispered something to Eludajae which made both of them laugh, Eludajae shakes her head as she leads Impetus off to the Grand Marshals Situation Room. “You probably would like it.”
They head off to the area where their ship will be connecting to the War Council for the meeting.
Ric sat looking over the readiness reports of the Marine forces he commanded. He was pleased that they were all up to speed and he was torn between wanting to see his force in action and worrying about them. He knew that they would make a good showing and do well in battle and that losses were inevitable, but he thought of the men he had trained with and what they meant to him.
It was not that long ago that he had been where they are, untried and untested. His first test had been years ago, so long he couldn't remember the enemy. His last test had been with Ektrosis of Taldryan, fighting the Vong near the Veil. He had felt something change in him during that battle. He'd lost a part of himself, some part of his soul that was now empty. After the final push, he'd left his home and family and went to possibly find that part of himself again. That was the past and this was the present. Serving with his new family had given him purpose.
Ric leaned back in his chair and thought of the battleteam he was a member of. It was light in the way of experience now that the eldest were serving in their assigned units. Cern was going to go into battle with the lower ranking members, ones who had not yet tasted the zealots fury that the Vong possessed.
"Get me my Sergeant Major," he called to his aide.
"Right away, Master," the man had been with him since he had become High General and leader of the Marine Corp. He knew enough to bring Ric drinks when he needed and quiet when he needed that. One thing that was for sure, he was very prompt, as the buzzer announced that his Sergeant Major had arrived.
"Sir, reporting as ordered," the Sergeant Major said, standing at attention.
"Get a small detachment of Recon Marines together, fully kitted and report to me. I have an assignment for them," Ric felt pride as the man saluted and left. He knew what men he was going to get, the best of his best.
"Your detachment is here, sir," the Sergeant Major reported exactly twenty three minutes later.
Ric got up and left his office, going to the assembly area. They were standing in formation, looking ready to go. Ric walked the line to inspect each man and when he was satisfied, he took his post to address them.
"I am assigning you to a mission. You are report to Guardian Cern Unnos, the battleteam leader for Banshee Brigade. Follow his orders as you would follow mine. Serve with honor and win glory, not only for yourselves but for the Corps!" Ric knew that there would be no cheers, hurrahs, or outburst. The Recon Marines were the very image of discipline.
He turned command back over to the detachment commander and watched as they loaded into the waiting transport, feeling a mixture of loss and of jealousy that he wasn't going with them.
NSD Excidium II
“It is indeed good news. Stow the goods somewhere out of place. I get the feeling that we may use it sooner than later. That is all. Return to your preparations.” After the duo had left, Lucien glanced around the room he had occupied since the announcement of war.
Datapads littered the oblong table, carelessly strewn about the room. The Grand Marshal sat at the end of the cherrywood table, his head firmly planted in his hands, his elbows resting on the deep red surface. This was his thinking position and the one he felt most comfortable in. The Obelisk Proconsul was more attuned to actual action, not preparation and strategy. Those were problems better left for Krath scholars. Lucien, despite his Krath background, could not wrap his head around the logistics of such a large scale battle. He knew how to fight, and that was his strong suit. The politics and such were not.
Swiping his right arm in a wide motion, 15 or so datapads clattered to the floor. The Kaeth had simply had enough. Pushing his seat back with such force that it upended, the human stormed out of the darkened room, slamming the door behind him. Immediately, he made way for the bridge, for he could better direct the readiness than from the dungeon of the windowless sit room. On the way, the Grand Marshall informed the War Council to meet on the battle bridge, and await his arrival.
As the lift doors opened, Lucien looked upon a sea of officers, both commissioned and non-commissioned working as if ants building a new home. There was not one person on the command deck that was not eagerly prepping one thing or another in readiness for departure.
Striding to the front of the room, the Exarch observed his Consul peering out the forward display, as was normal tack. His personal protector, the Dark Paladin Cethgus, stood three steps behind him, appearing to jabber incessantly to himself. Lucien stopped near Cethgus and whispered into his ear, “talking to yourself is the first sign of insanity.”
“I swear, it’s not me. Niemand won’t leave me be. He insists on following me around EVERYWHERE!!!!” The Zabrak replied. Phoenix’s head immediately turned to see what was going on behind him.
“HA! Serves you right.” The Consul retorted. Then, under his breath, “at least it’s not me Nie is haunting.”
“Cethgus, you are relieved of your post. Prepare your Battleteam for combat. I will oversee protection of the Consul. Proceed to deck 11 and report when all is complete. Dismissed.” Lucien did not want or need a response. This was not up for debate, not that the Dark Paladin would have given Lucien much trouble. The pairing of Cethgus and Phoenix was a powderkeg waiting to explode and the less they were around each other, the better.
The Grand Marshal looked out the window, standing next to his Emperor, observing the final preparations. Turning to the communications officer, he issued a single command. “Open a channel to the Fleet.”
“Exalted Nobles and Members of the Royal Clan of Scholae, today we embark upon a journey fraught with impending dangers. We go to face an enemy of immense proportions with knowledge of battle and conquest unsurpassed in this galaxy. We were lucky to drive them back the last time, and with your continued dedication and loyalty to Scholae, we shall be lucky once more. Final preparations are being made and the Fleet will depart the Cocytus system within 30 minutes.”
"War Councilors and Task Force Leaders, I trust that all preparations have been made for the impending attack. From reports that we have been receiving from our intelligence units, the Vong have setup up a blockade on the trade routes into and out of Jusadih. Timbal, I will need you and Natth to divide the Fleet accordingly to cut off all escape routes." Just then, the central comm station buzzed, red lights flashing. This had to be important. They were at the pre-invasion point, where they would make final plans, and were under strict radio silence, including inter-ship transmissions.
15 Parsecs from Jusadih system
Pre-Invasion Staging Area
“Marshal! Long range scanners reveal a void in space near the Nimban system. Instructions?”
Son of a bitch! Lucien thought. How did they know?
Instantly, he paged Phoenix and relayed the message. The Consul responded in kind with Lucien.
“Take the Fleet to intercept. I will not allow the Vong to get behind us and attack us on two fronts. Relay the message to Consul Kaeth.”
“Understood Emperor. Changing route now.” Turning, to the nav/comm station, Lucien growled. "Get me Timbal, and push this Fleet to the hilt. Ready all squadrons. Tell Thran to put his big boy pants on, cause Hell's comin for us all."
Cethgus walked quickly down to where Robin Hawk and the rest of his battle team were. He muttered to Niemand all the way with a spike of anger in his voice. As he spoke to the ghost he knew there was nothing he could do about the kid. “Thanks, you drew unwanted attention to me, next time watch where and when you speak.”
“Awww, Cethy upset he got relieved of his post?” Niemand’s voice came across as the usual sarcastic kid, it was almost as if he was walking beside Cethgus and was just reading him like a book. Stopping suddenly in the corridor the Prelate looked to the faint outline of the old Dark Jedi Master. Who floated waiting for a response, as if trying to antagonize the younger member. Cethgus kept walking on just ignoring the annoying voice getting at him.
Walking to where the Blades of Chaos were on the ship, Cethgus opened the door and walked in looking at the few Blades that were left.. Times had been hard with the Blades moving up into positions he team was left with little members. The team stood up and saluted there commander, he returned the salute and sat down as they followed suit.
“Well, I have been told to get you guys ready for combat, I don’t know why I need to, your already ready in my eyes. We always are, but as it is we need to get ready.” He smirked as some of the Blades just yawned at his words, he felt that times of war were always pushing teams to more higher levels of achievement, but his Battleteam were already striving for the best all the time. He watched the team an nodded to them as they all walked out of the door and towards the and made sure that his team was in the best position at deck 11. Once there he looked at them and started to let them talk.
He swiftly interrupted them and decided now was the time to make a small speech to them, his team was made up of journey men, but he knew they were hard fighters and had earned their spot in the team. He voice echoed down the hallway, “Blades, I have fought with you before, and this battle will not be the last time either, bring hell to the enemies of the Clan.” He saw the team look at each other and decided to get in touch with some people.
Grabbing his comm he decided to check on the 3rd Strike Regiment first and opened a comm to the acting command, waiting a while he sighed as if this wasn’t taking long enough, finally he got through. “Yes Sir, what do you need?” the voice on the other end seemed stressed..
“Is everything fully prepared at your end, I hope my regiment is ready to do what is required of them Colonel” Cethgus spoke with a small threatening tone in his voice, he knew that if the regiment didn’t do what was required he would make sure they suffered for failing him when he was away.
“All is well, I must get back to preparing Sir” the comm turned off and he looked at his team and then got in touch with the Proconsul as ordered Blades of Chaos were ready and willing to do what was required.
“Lucien, we are ready” his voice still showed a bit of annoyance at Lucien’s orders but he knew that this was not the time or place to argue about it.
Koskian yawned as he sat in the crash seat in the back of one of the many shuttles flying amongst the fleet. He never had liked the feeling of flight outside of a cockpit, not being comfortable with not being able to see where he was going. And shuttles just felt like a beer can waiting to be crushed in his eyes. Several others were on board, no doubt headed to the same meeting he had been summoned to. The Primarch had no doubt the Marshall was...displeased with his etiquette earlier in the afternoon.
Closing his eyes, partially to think and partially to block out the lights of the shuttle that seemed intent to antagonize his now fading hangover. He let everything go, sinking further back in the Force and let his mind wander. This was a thing he did not do often anymore, having learned from previous mistakes that he simply didn't have the mental fortitude to 'keep it together', having been quite mad for his first few years in the Brotherhood. Reaching out, the Count felt for those he trusted most, immediately sensing his cousin aboard the Excidium II.
Anyone bothering to pay attention would have seen a twitch across the Obelisk's face as he felt the Emperor's mindset, both a feeling of excitement and restrained anger at dealing with such a petty task. But mostly the twitch was related to another sensation. Several others of his family were nearby, but he sensed a...fuzziness was the closest explanation he could think of. Focusing harder, it was like someone was trying to block their life signs.
Blinking as the shuttle made an alarming noise, apparently coming into dock, Koskian stood up, pondering the relevance of his cousins being shrouded, and the message that he was certain had come from Rho Ozrei d'Tana. He walked on, following the directions given to get to the situation room, and rolled all of this around in his mind.
A word that details all the emotions that drive us to do things way out of our
league. Be it suicidal or mere awkwardness. Strange feelings that drive a single
person mad beyond belief and quickly enough submerge it into the deepest
oceans of sadness.
What strange power they hold…
“Hold still damnit! Do you want to bleed even worse?!” The Omwati cursed as
she tried to bandage her husband. After the training duel with Brent he chose
to visit his wife, whom was working as a nurse at the medical center. Her swollen
abdomen almost too large to fit into the uniform.
“I leave you alone for one minute and you decide to cut yourself up! Why do you
always do these things to me?” Her sudden rage elapsed into a crying, tears flew
over her cheeks and she moved to a nurse who took her into her arms.
Blinking for a moment, the Valheru recomposed and stood up from his seat.
“You’re doing great my love. I am proud of you.”
The sobbing stopped, followed by a long ‘Awww…’ sound and a tight hug around his
waste. A sharp pain following that caused him to grit his teeth for a moment. Her
pregnancy the core of her hormones that seemed to wage their own war on sanity.
Yet even so he was glad to be around her, placing his hand once again upon her
“Where will you be going now?” She asked, looking into his serpentine eyes while
handing him his mask.
“I’ll go to Brent, see what he plans, things are feeling…off….for some reason.”
The Omwati moved behind her and placed the Ultima Bracelet onto his left arm.
“Take this…you’re going to need it.”
Aboard the NSD Excidium II
Tra'an Reith, newly promoted Brigadier General, Dark Jedi Knight, and Roll Master of House Acclivis Draco, was acting like a 15 year old teenage boy. He and Libra were running down the corridor, having been dismissed with ease. The war was shoved briefly from the Shi'ido's mind as the woman he loved kissed him while they waited for the lift to open and admit them. It was empty, which led to more kissing and childish behavior in public, at least until the doors opened on a very empty mess hall. He led Libra by the hand and let her go to pick up some food while he wandered over to Cethgus Zor El, someone he had only recently come to respect.
Sitting down next to the Obelisk Prelate, he clapped his hand on the shoulder of what had once been his mortal enemy. It had taken a long time to understand that Cethgus used his humor to defend himself when he was nervous or just plain confused, and it wasn't meant to be harmful. Cethgus tried hard to be the best he could be, even though other only saw him as a goof. Tra'an had recently taken time out of his work to try and teach the Prelate some social graces in exchange for fighting tips from the higher ranked Obelisk. "Hey buddy, what's got you so long in the face that I don't even get a greeting?"
A sigh issued forth from his normally merry companion, which indicated something was seriously troubling his friend. "Tra'an," the Zabrak turned to face him, "I need you to look after Kara for me. I'm going to be far from her this entire conflict. Even now she's aboard the Basilisk with Your Regiment, tooling up for war. I understand she's a Priestess now, but I still need you to remain near her. I want you to watch her back." This had the effect of eliciting a rare face of shock and complete surprise from the normally witty Dark Knight.
He took a minute to shake his head and make sure he had heard Cethgus correctly. "Are you sure you want Me to do it? Why not Kosk or one of the other Blades?" The shake of head he got in reply had him wondering even more.
"Tra'an, you took time out to befriend me even when others ridiculed and ignored me. You saw through the facade, and I trust you like I trust no one else, not even Thran. Besides, she'll never suspect you're doing it at my request, thinking it's just you being conscientious. I'll explain later. Please!" The tone of pleading from his friend was something he never expected to hear from the new Dark Paladin of Scholae.
"As you wish. As the Force is my witness, I shall do everything in my power to protect Kara Incendia Zor El from harm during this conflict," spoke Tra'an Reith. His hand clasped Cethgus, sealing their friendship in a new way, something deeper and more serious between them. Libra wandered over, wondering what it was that had provoked the animated discussion between these two very dissimilar men. She knelt behind Tra'an after placing their food on the table and nuzzled into his neck.
He smiled and turned to nuzzle her in return. The Knight turned to introduce her to Cethgus, only to see his cloak whispering through the doors as the Paladin left on his duties. Slightly non-plussed, he ate a quick lunch with his love before they hurried back to Stellar Vibrations to leave the Excidium II. They left to return to the MJHC Basilisk with a much more subdued General on the trip, his thoughts turning over and over with this new development. What in the world could have Cethgus so scared for Kara? This caused much shaking of his head as he continued to puzzle it out. Libra endured his silence by sleeping nestled against him as they traveled.
Stepping onto the deck of the Basilisk, a much older and wearier Knight stood before the assembled crew. "Chief Petty Officer, to me!" The man ran forward and started to kneel as if to make obeisance, only to be stopped. "Rise, do not fear. You did no wrong. I apologize for my behavior earlier. Please unload the cargo containers into secure storage, and continue about your duties." The man was flushed with color in gratitude and befuddlement. He had never received an apology from one of the 'saber wielding people before.
Kara stood at the far end of the bay, her eye raised at him, as if she knew. He waved and started over to check up on what he had missed, Libra beside him. It was going to be a long war.
The skyline of Judecca slowly disappeared as High Colonel Corin Sayden’s Exo-2 Airspeeder, The Nighthawk, quickly arose into the atmosphere above. Flanking him were several troop transports sporting the logo of their clan as well as their individual insignias.
Sith Warrior Corin Sayden conversed with their pilots as his craft arose higher and higher into space. “Screaming Eagles,” came his calm voice, “this is High Colonel Corin Sayden speaking.”
“Come in, High Colonel,” was the pilot’s reply.
“We are approaching Warspite, ready the troops for landing!”
Corin tuned his radio into another frequency. “D.F.A., come in!”
“I read you, Colonel!” The pilot answered.
“Bring the 66th to the starboard-side ports on Warspite and unload there. Keep your men in line until I join you. The 65th will join you shortly. Over and out!”
The dominating image of Warspite, the Imperial Star Destroyer grew larger as the aircrafts moved ever closer. As ordered by their High Colonel, Death From Above – the 66th Legion – separated themselves from Corin and his 65th Legion and was out of sight within seconds. Slowly the hanger ports of Warspite became visible as Corin and his troops approached the ISD.
Suddenly, a voice came through Corin’s comlink, “High Colonel,” it said, “this is Flight Control aboard ISD, Warspite. We have received word that you’re Quaestor requires your presence. I suggest you land in bay GF-09, for your convenience.”
Corin sighed as he wiped his brow. “Alright men of the 65th, change of plans!” He said to his Legions that followed him. “Meet up with the 66th Legion once you board. I’ll be along shortly. Over and out!”
There was a general reply of “yes sir”.
Changing courses, Corin raised his craft up several levels until his designated bay port was in sight. The Nighthawk slowly entered the port and came to a halt. The Sith Warrior removed himself from his craft and no sooner had he placed his foot on the landing dock was he confronted by an escort.
He greeted the Jedi with a salute and the words, “High Colonel,” the man stopped and eyed Corin’s cybernetic arm for a moment before continuing, “All leaders of the Task Forces have been summoned to Excidium II for breafing. Archangel requires you immediately.”
Corin nodded and wordlessly followed the escort.
Several durasteel corridors and turbolifts later and Sith Warrior Corin Sayden found himself face-to-face with his Quaestor, Brent “Archangel” Ligur Victae. Ever since he had taken up the mantel of Quaestor, Brent had shown great wisdom and strength in the face of difficulty. Still no Ras… Corin thought, remembering his long time friend and mentor and former Quaestor.
“Ah, Corin, you’re finally here!” Came the words from the Quaestor’s mouth, “I trust your Legions are well prepared?”
“More than ever, Brent,” Replied Corin
“You called for me?”
Brent nodded. “Yes, we are about to leave for Excidium II, the Emperor requires a meeting with the leaders of his Army.”
Corin nodded, “so I was told.”
“Ready to depart, Warrior?”
Corin smiled, “I am.”
After the Meeting…
And so, Corin followed along to Excidium II. There he met along with his comrades. Several hours passed during that meeting, and it wasn’t until later on that day that Corin was back in his ship, The Nighthawk. But it wasn’t for leisure. No. In the time of the meeting, the Yuuzhan Vong had formed a blockade outside of the Jusaidh system, and they planned to strike.
“All men to their stations!” came the message over the intercom.
Corin immediately contacted his Legions. “Legions 65th and 66th, I order you to stay put aboard Warspite. It looks like there's going to be trouble on the horizon, so we will need all the fighters on board for now. Send all your pilots out to me. I’ll send you a location so you can find me. Stay safe everyone, this might get hairy. Over and out!”
Cethgus went back to being with the Blades of Chaos as the men of the Excidium II busied themselves with doing something. The ship was suddenly noisy, and this was what Cethgus had been waiting for, the sounds of war. He was ready to start killing the scum that opposed Clan Scholae Palatinae. Standing there, he knew for certain that Kara would be safe in the hands of Tra`an. Smiling to himself, happy for once, the battle team looked at Cethgus as he approached them. Bringing himself up, he waited for any news on what was to be expected of the battle team.
“The Vong will hit us hard," he said, "we must be ready! We will push them out of this ship and turn them away like dogs, Understood Blades?” A lot of nods came from around the team. This was not enough for the Zabrak. "UNDERSTOOD?" he thundered. This produced a loud chorus of, "Yes Sir!". The team brought their Katanas in a circle, each one showing the name ‘House Dormiad Sol’. They smiled at each other before preparing themselves mentally for the battle that would be waged. The Vong were tough, but Cethgus knew that the team was prepared for this type of thing. They stood in the hallway waiting for the inevitable call to battle.
It was the first time that RevengeX had set foot on the Excidium II. With all honesty, he hadn’t truly felt comfortable standing by his Aedile, Timbal, as a Fleet Admiral rather than Quaestor. The relationship between the two was fairly interesting; RevengeX was Timbal’s superior as Quaestor, but Timbal was Revenge’s superior as High Admiral. It was confusing and occasionally created miscommunications between the two, which is why the Pontifex had attempted to avoid this.
The Pontifex strutted down the corridors towards the command bridge in his Dark Jedi robes, and he could simply feel that everything was going as planned… for now. He didn’t really understand Phoenix’s reasoning behind helping Clan Plagueis and Braecen Kaeth, a former Consul of Scholae Palatinae, but he had long learned that questioning his brother was the equivalent of attempting to persuade a bantha that supernatural deities exist in a parallel universe.
It was obvious that RevengeX had been less visible than most of his fellow leaders; he felt uneasy. Perhaps it was merely the shots he had privately taken earlier, but he thought that he had felt the void before they had even left; however, its presence seemed strange and dynamic, as though it didn’t quite know what it was doing. At moments, it was incredibly powerful and overwhelming, and at other times, it was weak and barely noticeable. From his previous experience with the Vong, he had never known anything that would be so unpredictable.
As one of the Clan’s most prominent leaders, the Krath was supposed to be contagiously motivated, and he usually was during times like these, but he couldn’t muster up his usually enthusiasm. He knew that it was lacking as he saw confused uniformed men and women look at him strangely for a millisecond before turning away. He could simply tell that he was giving off a negative aura. He tried to smile.
“What have you been doing?” grimaced Phoenix.
“Going insane,” answered Revenge in an atypical monotone.
The Sith arched an eyebrow, and then turned away to attend to more important matters.
"My soul, corrupted by vengeance
Hath endured torment, to find the end of the journey
In my own salvation
And your eternal slumber"
— Loveless, Act IV
Taking a deep breath the Valheru seemed to have loosened up, after having his wife at his side
he felt relieved as he needed to calm himself down again. His training with Brent was interesting to
say the least. They were equal in both fighting style as in strength, and Draken found it
amusing to fight with someone at his level, he enjoyed it, a natural bloodlust.
Suddenly images if his battle with Vexatus flashed before his eyes, memories that weren’t his,
yet were at the dawn of his rebirth. It struck him like a brick wall and he fell onto his knees,
holding his head, trying to scream but no sound escaped his lips, a blinding pain erupting at
the front of his head crawling to the back of it, like a worm eating its way through.
Images of that fateful day flashing before his mind…
The Falleen’s blood began to boil and his gaze fell across the greatest heretic of them all. His
hate poured out as he stared across at where Lord Keibatsu readied himself for a further attack,
the alchemist at his side. The pair breathed heavily, faces covered in sweat, clothes ripped and
scorched. Lightning crackled around Vexatus’s body as he readied himself for release. He would
at last bring this to an end. The Hand of the Star Chamber would be destroyed.
Vexatus began to draw the dark energies into him...
Behind him he suddenly heard a lightsaber snap-hiss to life. Before the Dark Lord could react he
felt fire burning through his ribs into his chest. He tried to scream but remembered he no longer
had a voice. The blade reached his heart.
A second later it was all over. He heard the blade retract with a sharp zzzp. Vexatus spun and his
eyes went wide in horror as he was faced with a ghost. The creature before him did not exist. Dead
to the Force. Mundane. Serpentine eyes stared back at him like a snake. Mocking him. Its lips
twisted into a cruel smile.
Vexatus stood motionless for a moment, staring down in bewilderment at the gaping hole through
his chest. He raised his hand to feel the smouldering wound imagining it must have been a trick.
It was an illusion. A dream. It had to be! His fingers rubbed the rim as pain rocketed through his
body. Excruciating. Nothing the Embrace had done to him compared to this. Distracted, the
neurotoxins had taken root. He felt his body begin to break down and his entire skin caught on fire.
He felt as if his face was going to melt.
The Falleen's gaze lifted back to the cold snake eyes staring back at him. The look of mild
amusement. The mocking grin. Rage erupted from Vexatus’s eyes. His palm thrust out and the
creature that should not have been was blasted back. The Dark Lord reached out and crushed
the insect before him with his will, obliterating the mundane object.
The mundane were like ants. This was impossible. He could not be defied!
Suddenly a second will rose to oppose him. Vexatus felt his mind being pushed back. Across
the chamber a burning light in the Force flashed into existence and the ghost returned into life.
Vexatus stared. How could this be? How could a mundane hold such power?
“I am the Scorpion.”
His mind flashed back, pain surging through it like an unstoppable current, blackness covering
the whites of his eyes, a broken voice echoed in the back of his mind, attempting to overthrow
the Valheru. He utilized the Force to surround him and oppress the raging spirit he fought to
control, it was a constant battle of will, a darkness that echoed through his entire being.
He rose up and shook his head a moment, the blackness fading back behind his eyes. Catching
his breath he fell to the floor again, on his knees, his sight fading. The memories were overwhelming,
almost overpowering him. It was at that moment in memory he was reborn and Ylith became what he was
now, only a fraction of the man he used to be, submerged into darkness and chaos.
He grabbed the railing and pulled himself up, some soldiers passing by trying to help him
as they noticed the Sith struggle, only to be slammed sideways. The Valheru walked off limping, often
sliding against the wall as the pain given to him still pulsed through his body. Lost in thought
he moved on.
“Mistress…the binds are breaking…”
The Flashback was written by DP Vexatus in a different Run On, all credit for that part goes to him.
Laela felt the cold hands of her human companion run down her smooth body, in the darkness of the knights quarters abroad the Warspite they kissed in a romantic passion way for one another. The 70th legion was left with the guidance of the Souls of darkness commandos whilst all the final preparations for battle were being sorted out with high expectations. Malaki had forgotten this love he could feel burning from his heart in his chest, but yet it was so rare to see both partners together. Suddenly Malaki sighed with annoyance as his comlink buzzed; he kissed the female softly on the lips and stood up to the darkness of the room to answer the call.
“Ah Colonel Malaki, I thought you weren’t going to pick up” Said the familiar voice of the ship’s Captain.
The knight moaned instead of laughing at the implied joke at his respect but he opened his moist lips that longed to be connected to his lovers to speak.
“Sorry sir, but I was without warning busy with personal business, now then what can I do to help you?”
“The Surface Marshal expects to see all commanders in the Grand Marshal’s Situation Room, straight away…be sure to arrive on time now, and make sure Laela is ok for me…..don’t worry son, I know she is there with you” Syndoc spoke with his little mocking toned voice.
Malaki sighed and would have said his thoughts out aloud what ranged from words such as pervert to freak, but yet he knew he couldn’t for the right reasons.
“Very well then, send word that I will be on my way…And yes captain I will be sure to ask Laela that” The krath replied immediately cutting off the conversation.
Laela stared up at him, and slowly drew her officer’s jacket over her open bare torso. The Flight leader face went glum knowing that his time with this beautiful lady would soon end; he kissed her on the lips for the last time and wandered into the vast halls of the Warpsite towards a transport to the NSD Excidium II.
As he past through the halls he spotted the medical bay in front of him and then the five month pregnant Omwati. He hadn’t spoken to her for some time, he knew in his head he had to see Lucien but yet this was more important to him.
“Xathia darling, it’s nice to see that you’re up and working…”
He could only hear her sucking on something, to him it instantly sounded rude. But as she turned around in her hands were some cherries and in the other a small bowl of fresh pure yoghurt.
“Dam it girl that has to be awkward situation ermm….I’ve lost count …”
As she gulped down her mouth full she said out loud that number of how many times they both had caught each other doing various strange events, “1256”
Both of the kraths broke in to laughter, Xathia craved and stuffed another cherry which had been dipped into yoghurt into her mouth.
“Ah Pregnancy cravings, most be annoying” Malaki chuckled as he dipped his own finger into the yoghurt and licked it.
Xathia smiled and knew it was some type of pregnancy fetish that she couldn’t break away from. But before she could even open her mouth to speak her fellow knight was already gone.
“Stupid idiot, he must be late for something again….” She said with a laugh.
In the hangar bay of the Excidium II, Rayne leaned her back against a shuttle, starring out into
space, her arms folded casually over her body as she waited for someone. She wore her black hood
over her face though her long white hair hung freely around it.
Her attention turned to the doors as her clanmates poured into the hangar, rushing to their ships
to hurry back to the Warspite. Her vivid aqua eyes watching for the one she was expecting. At
last, he arrives at the doors himself, conversing with to a Marine officer. She sensed he already
knew she was there and could feel him smile to himself.
He walked toward the shuttle Rayne was leaning against and she moved closer to him until they
"Hello, Surface Marshal" she spoke professionally to her husband.
"Hello, Commander. We have to hurry back to the Warspite." Archangel responded with the same tone
and motioned her to the shuttle.
"Understood, sir" Rayne said with a slight bow to her superior and headed up the ramp as he
followed soon after.
Upon entering, Rayne pulled back her hood and takes a seat as her husband spoke to the pilot.
"Pilot, I want us to return back to the Warspite immediately"
Archangel then made is way to his seat next to his wife, and wrapped his arm across her seat.
Rayne looked up into his pallid white eyes. She sensed something was troubling him already, even
before he entered the hangar.
"Something's wrong, Brent" she said, more of a statement than a question.
"We're in danger, so I want you in my command center" Archangel said direct to the point. His
eyes looking into hers.
Rayne averted her eyes for just a moment, thinking of what danger it could be, then looked back
up at him again.
"What would you have me do?" she inquired.
"Take your place as Flight Operations Officer"
"Very well... Surface Marshal" she said with a mock tease and a soft smile
Archangel curled his lips lightly and nodded. He then looked out the veiwing port as the Warspite
The shuttle made its way into the Warspite hangar bay. The bright lights brightening up, causing
Rayne's eyes to squint to the adjustment. With a gentle rock, they landed. Archangel looked at
Rayne once again, enjoying the moment of peace beside her. She smiled again.
"Let's go" he spoke firmly as he finally stood, offering his hand to hers politely. Rayne
accepted and stood up.
Archangel was the first one off the shuttle. Rayne followed and walked alongside him as they made
their way to the Command Center.
Impetus, throughout all of the preparations, had remained aboard the Warspite with Eludajae. She would be too nervous to be anywhere other than her wife’s side throughout the duration of the war. While logic and her brain told her that Eludajae could handle herself perfectly well, and that the General would be better off with her Praetorian Regiment, her heart told her not to be anywhere she couldn’t see her.
Making the most of the time of peace before the war, the M’Nars shared a loving kiss against the wall of a private room aboard the Warspite. Having already made the preparations they needed to make, and reported them to the appropriate people, there wasn’t a lot else for them to do with what both of them knew would be the last days of peace they were granted before what could be weeks of war.
Unfortunately, however, things didn’t quite go according to plan, and the romantic setting before the hellbreak of war was marred by pointless comm calls from the M’Nars’ subordinates.
“Don’t call me Korin.” Impetus interrupted the voice she didn’t recognise, assuming it was some private from her regiment. “I prefer M’Nar, or even just Impie. I've never been one for formalities.”
“My apologies, General, but why is Colonel Soren leading us? We were looking forward to seeing you General.”
Me or my chest? Impetus thought, but spared the trooper the awkward question, opting for another one. “Have you not listened to Soren?” The man stammered a little. “Obviously not.” It was clear to her why he hadn’t listened. “Seems the gateway to your attention is large breasts and a low cut dress. You’ll get to see me after the war. Close up. With a whip. And it will not be pleasant. Now get back to work, Soren is a highly competent commander and deserves your full attention.”
Eludajae smiled. “And you said I was scary.”
“I have little patience for those who interrupt my time with you, Mistress.”
Just as they began to kiss again, there was another bleeping of a comm device. This time it was Eludajae’s turn.
“Colonel M’Nar, this is Corporal Perez.”
“What is it Corporal?” Beneath her impatience was a menacing and threatening undertone.
This one stammered a bit too before adopting the ‘turn tail and run’ approach to the situation. “It’s not import…” He was cut off there.
“Now pet, perhaps this time we’ll be uninterrupted.” Eludajae said, kissing Impetus up against the wall again.
As the battle team stood there, they knew that this would be a time where they had to prove there selves once more. And each member kept looking at each other after some form of reassurance as they waited patiently. It was the Paladin who decided now was the best time to start talking to them. He knew that if they stood there and stayed silent their nerves would just keep building which wasn’t something he planned on letting them do. Knowing that they knew nothing about there sergeant he decided to enlighten his team members about his past and smiled.
“You know, the first time I ever saw a battle was with my brother, we used to fight in Arena battles together” his tone was one that spoke more of respect of his brother.
“Where is your brother Cethgus?” Robin’s voice as always sounded eager to know more information.
“He died, slain by my side and now I accept that his death brought me to where I am today” the Prelate’s eyes looked as if he was seeing to that fight in which his brother had died.
“I am sor.....” Hawks voice was cut of quickly.
“Don’t be, he died and I was soon found, a sexy Twi’lek collected me after the fight and showed me the way into the brotherhood” Most of the team knew that Cethgus was referring to his Master Impetus.
“Then when I started training, you guys wouldn’t believe how useless I was, I couldn’t hold a sword properly” a couple of the teams members looked around at each other.
“Ha I don’t believe that for a second Ceth” Melvin’s voice brought a smile across the Prelates lips, his team were feeling less nerves and the Obelisk kept the talk going.
“I have killed troopers in our clan, a long time ago and when I returned to our clans home planet I was charged for my actions.” The team looked blankly at each other but continued to listen as if now intrigued by what had happened to the Iridonian.
“I was banished from the Clan compound for several months, but it was not that verdict that was the brutal one. Impetus soon caught hold of me, and I still never forget the brutal grilling she gave me for that” a small shiver went down the Obelisk’s spine.
“I couldn’t see Impetus like that” Robin Hawk as like most members were not around when Impetus used to be a killer, sometimes he would have been able to see the fury behind his Master. But knew that he would leave it there, Hawk didn’t need to know about Impetus any more.
“I then became a Battle Team Leader, and here I am today, your sergeant and a Prelate. But if one thing has chance, you are like my family and we will stand strong against the Vong”
The prelates voice echoed around he corridor.
Picking up his comm device the Obelisk decided to see how the 3rd Strike Regiment were getting on at this current time.
“Colonel come in” there was a slight buzzing noise from over the comm unit before finally a voice came in on the other end.
“I am here Sir, what is it that I can do for you” the Prelate smirked knowing that they had to do their job with out there command this time.
“I am making sure that you are ok and that my Regiment is ready to get into the fight when it happens?” He spoke with a slight tone of anticipation.
“We....are nearly ready sir” the colonel’s voice showed a sign of regret as he said those words.
“Nearly isn’t good enough, do I have to find myself someone who is able to lead the damn 3rd Strike Regiment properly, or will you not fail me again Colonel?” His voice gave of the treat quite clearly to the colonel. He expected his regiment to be fully prepared by now.
“We will be ready as soon as possible commander” this time it the voice came back to Cethgus slightly stronger.
“Good, Cethgus out” as he clipped the comm unit back onto his belt he started to talk to the members of his battle team again as they stood there waiting.
Cethgus suddenly realized that he did want to check on someone grabbing his comm device he smiled wondering if he really should interrupt but he knew Imp would be only slightly annoyed with him. “Master, are you there?”
Cern read the message from Blade and raised his eyes to the detachment of Marines that stood at attention before him. They stood, fully prepped for war and looking as if they could eat the Vong for breakfast lunch and dinner. The five other members of his battle team eyed the group with a mix of awe, respect and what Cern could only read as anger. Do these fools want to get mad because Ric sent me some marines to make sure we live through this? Do they really want to find insult when all Blade wanted was to help? The thought passed through his mind in a flash. What the team wanted to feel didn’t matter, what Cern would let them believe was something else.
“I will have to thank Ric for his quick response to my request.” Cern watched the anger and resentment he had seen in some of the team flow away in an instant. He could almost see the thoughts running through Reiden’s head. If the Commander wanted these men, he must have a reason. Cern’s own thoughts were interrupted by the voice over the comm. Phoenix. When the Emperor finished, Cern ran his eyes over the now much larger unit he would lead in the coming battles.
“You heard the Emperor. Make sure you are ready. Do not fail me…do not fail the Clan. Dismissed!” Cern finished with a hard edge to his voice. He almost smiled when the Marines saluted and the Journeymen followed suit almost by instinct. This is good. If Banshee Brigade does nothing more than imitate theses Marines, they should live through this war. With that thought, Cern left the room.
He had done everything he could. His own equipment was ready, the team was ready, and now re enforced. I really do have to thank Ric for that. It could mean the difference between life and death for the team, and me. Cern now had to wait. This was the worst part of any battle Cern had been a part of. The long wait for action, when worry and doubt began to eat at you, to tear down everything you knew about yourself and your abilities. He wandered the decks of the ship, looking for answers to his questions and concerns. Cern knew he wasn’t too afraid of death, but leading others into a battle was different. The responsibility of the lives of others weighed heavily on the Guardian’s spirit.
Flight Officer Deiag yawned, covering his mouth as he superstitiously watched for his commanding officer. Sitting before his communications console, he glanced over towards his comrade and friend, Ensign Grid, one of the half dozen or so weapon technicians on the bridge of the Warspite. Grid was twirling a stylus about and not even trying to hide his own yawn. The crew had been on alert status for the better part of four hours, and so far nothing was happening.
“Hear about the 4th?” asked Grid suddenly, at least trying to keep his voice low.
“The ones who got absolutely tanked?”
“Yeah, bet those kids would be fun to hang out with.”
“Those 'kids' are ground pounders, they'd probably spit in your face over hanging out with us.”
“Says you, just gotta know how to talk to them.”
“Right, like your mouth doesn't get you in enough trouble up here with your so-called peers.”
Both men jumped as they heard someone clearing their throat, and didn't even bother looking up to see Lieutenant Erer standing above them. Going back to staring intently at their screens and arbitrarily hitting buttons or flipping switches. A few moments passed before Grid coyly glanced up to see the Lieutenant's current position, before returning to his conversation.
“Creepy bastard doesn't make a sound when he walks eh?”
“Damn't, I know you don't care but I plan on getting promoted eventually!” growled out Deiag, trying to keep his voice down while still conveying anger.
“Oh come on, what will getting promoted get you except closer to the front of the ship?”
“It'll put one or two seats in between you and me for one.”
“That hurts mate. Seriously, I'm wounded!”
“I'll believe that when I get to see it, the closest you'll get to a wound is a knock to the chin for trying to rub shoulders with infantry.”
“Whatever. I just want something to shoot at soon....,” growled Grid, his demeanor changing as he glared at the screen before him.
Alert for four hours, and besides knowing where they were going, and the likelihood that a Vong fleet waited for them, nobody had been told much. So the two sat in silence and waited. Silence for a while, anyways.
“What are we doing here again?” asked Grid, the question breaking the quiet.
Deiag put his head in his hands and groaned, trying to block his friend out.
He sat cross-legged in his new quarters aboard the ISD Warspite. Deep in meditation the Commander of the 73rd legion tried to gain insight into the upcoming battles. It was not to be though the fog of war shrouded his visions. The dark Jedi lacked the proper skill to see through the maze of options and outcomes that war projects. Yet with practice came greater skill. After a time he meditated on things he could control.
He focused now on his emotions. Through Passion, I gain strength. It was a basic fundamental of the Sith code. Passion fueled his ability to use the force, Likewise the force seemed to fuel his passion. It was a glorious and endless cycle, one that he now fully intended to fuel through his meditations.
He had faced both these enemies before. Both the Vong forces and Clan Arcona had caused untold death and misery for those around him. In the Invasion of the Vong Korvyn had been forced to watch. Unable to do anything in the space battle He watched helplessly as the Brotherhoods forces were mercilessly slaughtered. He had lost friends in that massacre. He had carried soldiers to the Infirmary only to watch the life he so desperately tried to save flee from them.
It had caused him great pain. Now though it stirred up one solitary desire in him, one that fueled him like no other; Revenge. The Vong could be beaten, he knew it and so did every other member of the Brotherhood. Now they just had to act upon it. Even now he felt the flicker of the Force rising in him soon he would build it up into a roaring fire
The Clan Arcona was another story. Deep in the Shroud crippled and fleeing the forces of the Vong the Arcona warships fired upon what was left of the Tarentum fleet. Ambushed and outnumbered the fleet fired back and eventually staved off the attack. Once again Korvyn had been helpless in the onslaught. He knew his time for Revenge would come upon them as well. Now was the time to prepare.
Rising from his meditative state Korvyn begin preparing physically for combat. His armor was in superb condition. It was your standard shadow trooper armor with a few various modifications mostly cosmetic. The ones that were not, allowed him to stash and hid various sized daggers and blades. He had quit wearing the helmet years ago and instead wore a black cloak with his hood pulled up over his head. His saber was clipped to belt along with a Bryar pistol in a hip holster.
Heading out his door he was met by his XO. Korvyn knew he had been there waiting but he had other preparations to attend to first. Most notably was securing a stash of whiskey for the coming campaign. The two strode down the corridors in unison they’re boots echoing with each step.
All of a sudden, explosions rocked the Fleet.
“Report!” Phoenix yelled.
“We’ve been shot at Emperor. I count 9 vessels off the starboard bow.”
“Identify!” The Consul yelled back.
“Attempting sir. Markings appear to be consistent with Clan Arcona, sir!”
“Return fire. Order all lines to follow suit. Those bastards will pay for their interference. Launch all squadrons. Once all squadrons have scrambled, batten this ship down. No openings, is that understood?”
“Roger that, sir!”
Lucien and the War Council scurried from the battle bridge to the main deck to see the commotion. Thran, nodding in the affirmative, set out immediately to the main hangar bay. The Black Aces would lead this space battle, with their Marshal at the helm.
Archangel was the next one off the bridge, headed for his Expeditionary Forces. Attack Plan Delta had been initiated by the Grand Marshal, calling for the dropping of the enemy shields followed closely by boarding parties of both Marines and Stormtroopers. Ric Hunter was seen running from the bridge, chattering on his commlink the entire time, presumably to give orders to his sub-commanders.
The assault had begun in earnest. Now the members of the Royal Clan would be able to show their mettle in non-simulated battle against an enemy that possessed the ability to tear them limb from limb if necessary.
The Grand Marshal looked to his Emperor for guidance in this time of strife.
“We were hornswaggled Phoenix. Arcona played us for fools. We must now rest our hopes on those that we have trained to lead and hope that our training has proved sufficient. May the Dark Side guide us.”
Just as Impetus was about to rudely cut off Cethgus, the third person to interrupt her during what should have been a peaceful moment between the M’Nars, she herself was interrupted by the call from the Consul that spread throughout every ship in the clan fleet. The fires of war had found the clan prematurely in the shape of an Arconan ambush.
If it wasn’t someone’s subordinate, it was war. Impetus thought she’d never get a moment of peace and quiet without getting interrupted by someone or something. It took a few seconds for the annoyance to go away before she realised the seriousness of the situation. They were under attack. She painfully broke the kiss with Eludajae as if her neck had to break through iron bar to separate their lips. As much as it hurt to be forced away from her Mistress’ loving embrace like that, there were things she had to do.
NSD Excidium II
Hangar bay housing the Praetorian Regiment
Colonel Soren was almost thrown to the ground by the force of the blasts to the Excidium. There was a frenzy of frantic footwork as the whole regiment tried to keep their balance aboard the shaking ship. Four thousand spec-ops troops all in a state of confused panic. This would be the hardest task the young human tactician had ever faced. He was made second in command for his strategy, not to lead! Although he had recently discovered he had more of a knack for it than he realised. They didn’t respect him as much as they did Impetus, but then he didn’t have about ten titles after his name. Soren was a patient man, and had faith that the team would come to respect him after they all came out of this war alive.
“Everyone back on your feet!” Soren called above the crowd. Just as he was about to tell them to stay calm, there was no order for any change of plan, his commlink started to bleep.
“Soren, are you ok?” Impetus spoke quickly, but her voice somehow still had the typical serene tone to it.
“I’m fine, General, and so are the regiment.” Soren responded. “Do you still want them to prepare for battle with the Yuuzhan Vong?”
“No, Soren, we have bigger threats right now. I want you to infiltrate the Arconan Flagship, the Eye of the Abyss. I care not how you do it, you’re a better strategist than I.”
“Seems simple enough.” He brushed his long black hair out of his eyes in what must have been two seconds of thought at most. “Get four TIE Hunter squadrons to launch a fake attack, trigger their defences, lure them away while a single squadron of Skipray Blastboats land in their hangar, I’ll be with them. Should only use a legion and we’ll have three more remaining on the Excidium.” His response seemed almost instant and shocked Impetus with its level of detail.
“Sounds like it should work. Contact High Admiral Timbal requesting permission to use the ships.”
Ric left the bridge in a hurry, he knew that time was a factor in getting out of this ambush. The longer that they were here, the more damage that the filthy Arconan scum would do. He called Sergeant Major Heller, his top ranking Non-Commissioned officer and got him running to get the other troopers moving.
Ric knew that the troopers were spoiling for a fight, although they had been expecting to go against the Vong. In some ways this was a relief to Ric. The Vong were the greatest threat the galaxy had ever seen and they would have been in trouble had it been them. With the Arconan scum being the aggressor it would make it somewhat easier, as they could be seen in the Force unlike the Vong.
The turbolift door opened and the Sergeant Major was there waiting with the rest of his gear and the senior Marine commanders onboard the ship.
"We have been ambushed by the lowdown filthy Arconan scum. I want platoons stationed in all sensitive areas of the ship as well as ready for any offensive action we can get into," Ric watched as one of the commanders took out his comlink and broke his unit up to follow his orders. "I will be in the hanger with the assault forces in the event we get the chance to free one of those poor ships and give it to a more deserving crew."
Ric looked at Heller and saw the man smile. He was looking forward to the action and Ric felt the same way...
The observation lounge on the command deck on board the Majestic Heavy cruiser was silent as Tra'an Reith stood staring out into the deepest darkness that had ever assaulted his eyes. The room was lit by sparsely placed diodes meant to mimic candles and the light they gave off. He had given up his personal quarters to Kara Incendia Zor-El so that she might have those befitting her station, and taken over this place as his sanctuary. It was more befitting the fact that he spent most of his time since returning to the Basilisk in silent meditation with the Force about the coming conflict. The weight of the lives of his men, and more importantly the Order of the Dragon, had aged him far more than he would have suspected.
The black and dark azure silks ruffled softly in the breeze from the ventilation of the room, muffling the sound of movement. Libra, dressed in his chosen colors, moved quietly towards him, embracing his side and staring out the with him. She had shaved her head in one of the few moments when he let himself be distracted by the paperwork aspect of the mission at hand. An entire regiment was straining the resources of the Heavy Cruiser, despite their working as auxiliary crew and performing other useful functions aboard ship. They had taxed the vessel to maximum capacity and only the extra oxygen filters and the small garden that he had loaded on board along with the men, had saved them from running out far too soon.
The men were pleased as punch to spend their hours working on tasks other than drilling for battle, the regular crew pleased to spend time supervising and instructing, everyone rotating every few days rather happily. And yet he couldn't escape the nagging feeling of doubt and worry that plagued him. Cethgus was not a pessimist, ever. He was always the happy go lucky prankster that had somehow earned an elevated status that had others questioning Phoenix's sanity. Tra'an knew better, saw through the facade, and yet for Cethgus to ask such a favor, spoke volumes about the situation. It was so unusual as to worry the Obelisk whether of not Cethgus had received a premonition. Such things were rare in their Order, but not unheard of.
Only the ever efficient Libra, light of his life and custodian of his soul kept him from simply breaking down in worry. She kept him from being bothered by trivialities, and always kept him on task for the important things. Their rare and private moments like this, in which their communication was silent, not even using the Force, kept him strong. Tra'an's entire body shivered in a shudder that ran so deep as to send fresh worry through him. The door chime rang, indicating that it had indeed been a warning. Facing still the darkness, having reached beyond the door with the Force, he smiled softly. "Come in Kara."
The Krath glided in, having not bothered to cloak herself from him, seeing no need to do so. She sat on one of the pillows provided for the purpose. Efficient as ever, the Tetrarch of Ebon Cloak laid down the datapad disclosing the readiness of her charges. It was an important and sometimes hazardous task to help train the Journeymen below the rank of Dark Knight, and she had taken to it so very well. A small chuckle could be heard to escape the Roll Master as he turned and sank down onto his own pillow. The ever silent Libra laid down next to him, her head on his lap and a ghost of a smile tracing her lips.
"My friend," he started, "I thank you for taking the time to come and see me personally. It is my wish that You and Ebon Cloak travel with me when we eventually land on Jusadih. I'd prefer to have you close at hand where I know I can call on you should I need you. Having only half of the Order to augment my Regiment, I need every available hand I can have. What say You?" A small smile ghosted his lips as he stroked Libra's cheek absent mindedly.
The Zabrak smiled her own ferocious grin. It was enough that he understood her hatred of being cooped up constantly with the Journeymen so often, having been one of her charges himself so recently. Having offered her what she had often complained about not getting, it was Tra'an suspicion that she would jump at the opportunity. "But of course Roll Master. I welcome the chance to meet battle head on, as I'm sure do the Young Ones. We will avidly seek to prove ourselves against the Foe."
It was at this time that Lucien's message finally reached the Basilisk, standing station farther from the fleet than most of the other ships due to its need for range to operate properly. The void having collapsed as Arcona revealed itself, the Basilisk was clanging for war. He and Kara scrambled for the bridge, Libra staying behind to change. They were there only minutes later as Captain Duval started to paint the targets for firing. She ranged on the Eye of the Abyss first, their flanking position giving a clear shot.
It was about this time that Libra slid into the bridge, sidling up beside him. The first shot went clearly through the interviening space, slamming into the shields of the strike cruiser. It wasn't a penetrating shot, but it was a clear hit, causing the shields to flare yellow. Captain Duval recieved an incoming communication from Fleet Admiral Timbal. "Duval, hold off on engaging the Eye of the Abyss. We have a strike mission underway. I repeat, until you recieve clearance, do not engage the Eye of the Abyss." Timbal's image snapped off, and Duval shifted targets, the moment of opportunity gone as fighters streaked towards the strike cruiser.
Koskian glared out the viewports of the Excidium II as the Arconan fleet materialized from the void. All the sensations flooded him for a moment as the shroud was lifted, emotions ran rampant as the Arconans finally were allowed to attack after days of laying in wait. He could sense the excitement of several of his own family on board those ships, and sighed as he realized some recruitment might be order by the end of the day.
Fixated for a moment, the General shook himself and realized he had never made it back to the Warspite after the meeting...that and his own personal ship was on board the other vessel. A tone went through as the crew was alerted to the Excidium going into lockdown. Groaning, Koskian realized he was stuck on board a ship he had no authority on, and had no ability to fight enemy ships.
Sighing, he leaned against the wall next to one of the durasteel ports, and watched as space lit up with lasers and engine trails.
“Multiple squadrons on your vector Captain, advise falling back to the fleet for better coverage,” said Flight Officer Deiag, watching his screens and relaying commands from on high.
“Yeah...come a little closer you little gundark loving bastards...,” he could hear Ensign Grid muttering.
Glancing over at his friend's screen, he saw a large number of red blips moving quickly across the display, and multiple crosshairs working to lock on. An occasional green light would flash, where Grid would stab a button on his console and green death was fired from a bank of anti fighter laser cannons positioned on the forward starboard section of the Destroyer's bow. Looking out the forward ports of the bridge, he saw several explosions in that area, and heard Grid laughing to himself.
“God I love this game!”
“It's not a game you psychopath, now pay attention.”
Grid giggled a bit as he continued working his own special sort of magic, blowing fighters out of the sky. Deiag shook his head, knowing that despite his comrade's oddities and less then formal etiquette, when it came to shooting things, Grid was among the best. If he only had the intelligence to behave outside of battle, the Ensign would easily have his own weapons command. But Grid knew this, and half of his antics were intended to keep him on the bridge of the Excidium II.
Orders were shouted out and relayed through the various channels, Deiag inculded.
“Captain Toulit, I suggest you fall back, your outnumbered three to one in that sector, move to join with your wing!” he practically shouted into the comm, getting frustrated with the lack of response.
“Oh comeon...those flyboys can't do a damn thing right, “ growled Grid, as he redirected his weapons towards the squadron in question.
“Negative Excidium, were to covered up, we move, we die,” came back over the comm. “Send back up damn't!”
“Negative Commander, I've got nothing to send you,” stated one of the flight control officers stated.
Grid smiled as he punched a few buttons, and a sudden yell from one of his comrades as the Ensign manged to commandeer another starboard battery. Algorithms flashed across his screen, lock ons began occurring, and Grid grinned sadistically.
Captain Toulit banked hard, avoiding fire from a pair of A-9 Vigilance Interceptors. Gritting her teeth, she glanced at the status of her own squadron, most of which was taking damage in the hellish fight they had found themselves in. Another hard turn lined her up on the tail of another Interceptor, and she pulled the firing stud on her control to send another Arconan to death.
“Damn't Excidium, we need backup or a miracle, otherwise you can hang up the Saberhawks banner!”
“One miracle coming up, Captain,” said an unfamiliar voice.
The entire space around her seemed to light up green as laser fire from the Destroyer tore through the ships fighting in the area. At least a third of the ships that had been boxing her squadron in had been vaporized, and another volley came roaring through space, destroying more of them. Grinning, she dispatched orders to eliminate the stragglers and then return to the Excidium for refit.
“Ensign Grid, your relieved of your post for the duration of this battle, you'll be escorted to the brig where you'll await punishment until this is over!” shouted the First Lieutenant of tactical.
Grid shrugged, shot a smile at his friend in communications, stood up and put his hands up. Several crew members clapped in approval as the weapons officer was taken off the bridge, Deiag laughed a little as they sorted out the mess Grid had made. Several officers in Flight Control sighed as they went back to checking the status of their squadrons.
The foundation of many battles, raging within us is a fire that destroys all our
dreams and hopes for the sake of fighting. Fighting against the one who tries
to control you, fighting against that which wants to imprison you and use you
for your own gains.
I remember when I was branded that nickname. The battle of Selen, every
memory I have from that incident burned into my mind.
Irony has found me yet again.
The entire vessel shook as it was bombarded by plasma emissions from the various
turbo-lasers aimed at it. The Valheru cursed underneath his breath as he grabbed
hold onto a ledge just in time. Underneath his bandages he started to bleed again.
Xathia was skilled in bandaging him seeming how he always returned to her bloodied
and wrecked. Her skill in the matter became so obvious it made some nurses chuckle,
quickly silenced by his wife’s raging hormones as she often changed from a caring wife
to a nightmare worse than the Vong themselves.
He clenched his left hand into a fist, the Ultima Bracelet strapped nicely in place. The
Omwati forced him to take it, saying he would need it soon enough. She might have a
Right before him a deep thud rang throughout the hallway, followed by the screeching
sounds of metal being cut from the outside. They were boarding, Vong? Or something
else? He moved towards the sound and stood before it, allowing fifteen meters between
him and the breach. Men were sitting down behind him, guns at the ready, appearantly
they knew more than he did.
“What of our foe?” The Valheru said to the man next to him, who reloaded and answered.
His eyes widened a moment, it could not be. Why would they attack us, why now? He shook
his head and moved his left arm forward. He pushed a button so the two folded arms
were released quickly and powered up, invisible currents moving around them. He moved
his right hand behind his back and took an arrow like metal object and switched it on with a
simple squeeze at the tail, before pulling it back from it’s bow. Invisible resistance easy to
follow as the arms of the bow bent slightly backwards as the arrow was pulled.
Smoke erupted from the opening, a tactic often used with breach ins like these. Men started
to fire and the Arconans fired back, both sides seemed slightly hesitant it seemed. The
Valheru released his first arrow, hearing a loud thud followed by a scream. Arrow followed arrow
as the Valheru fired his energy weapon as fast as he could. The Arconans started to pour out
of the hole and started to move too close for comfort.
Pressing another button, the arms of his bow retracted and his shield was activated. Parrying
a few blaster bolts in time while another hit him right in his shoulder. His eyes widened, it wasn’t
an ordinary shot, nor was it from an ordinary person.
“What have you done to Ylith?!” Roared from the other side and Draken jumped backwards,
just in time to evade an incoming saber blade. Deactivating his shield and quick-drawing his
own saber, he parried the other blade, looking upon his foe.
The pleasant order of things, as Asani had enjoyed them early, was all but vanished. All sorts of orders and requests came through her console. Yet, like a storm pouring over a steady ocean, Asani handled them with as much care and precision as she could.
“I’m sorry, Commander, but the Surface Marshal isn’t here right now.” Vosa was looking up at a man whom had introduced himself as Commander Folan, a middle-aged man apparently in charge of a weapons cache on board the Warspite.
“If this is some omitted attempt to avoid telling me he is to busy to see me…” Folan bellowed. Asani stood up from her seat and looked the taller man in his eyes. “I assure you, it is not!”
Folan looked at her for a while. “You have some fire in you, Lieutenant.” Asani rolled her eyes at him and sighed. “Pardon me, Commander, but I must attend to my duties. I’m sure the Surface Marshal will return any moment now. Folan frowned and turned on his heel to walk away. It was moments like these that Asani wished to be surrounded by friends. She wondered where Arch was, right now. She wondered if Ludy and Impie were all right. For a moment, an overwhelming feeling of dread grabbed her throat. She could loose them all… But as quickly as it had come, it went away. Replaced by a monumental feeling of pride and respect for her friends.
She relaxed and sat back in her chair. “No, they’ll be all right! I just know it…”
Malaki watched the thunderous space battle from a viewing window along the vast hallway which would return him to the 70th legion; the Warspite shook violently as it came under heavy fire. The Knight had his saber ready to activate if needed, he swiftly ran down the hall listening to the echoing screams of bombardment throughout the ships hull. Everything seemed to be so loud, even the klaxon raged through his head.
“Malaki…..Are you there?” Laela seemed to of shouted across her comlink.
The Krath staggered across the hallway, he could hear blaster shots coming from close by. His comlink buzzed with an awakening reinsurance from the battle, but the line was faint as there was some type of interference.
“Im here…. Laela, get the troops ready for any enemy encounters….have a perimeter set up around our staging area….”
Malaki tried to continue his orders but the line went dead, as he turned his head he could see that his Souls of Darkness commando’s were stood behind him. They looked fierce stood broadly in their armour, each with weapons for a different advantage.
“Sir! Contact with the enemy has been made on the upper level; assistance is required…what are your orders?” One of them said with a tone of anxiety.
The Flight leader stopped to think for a second everything seemed to be happening at once, he knew that both Impetus and her lover could handle their own situations but he had no clue about any other of his battle team members. There was a thud against the side of the ISD Warspite as it took another shot from a turbo laser to its hull, Malaki and his men staggered as the ship shook from the impact. He held out his light saber and activated its yellow deadly blade; everyone smirked at the knight’s power with his weapon.
“Prepare for combat, lock and load!” The Knight ordered as his team moved to the nearest elevator.
As the Tarisian and his commando’s reached the next level it may have seemed they entered a battle field, gun shots could be heard everywhere, echoing throughout the Warspite’s structure. He saw a squad of guard’s taking fire, along with the sounds of a saber duel close by. The commando’s had already took place behind cover and had started to unleash hell with their blasters.
As more men flooded out of the breach Malaki had taken his saber and used it to parry several blast shots heading towards him. An Arconan swiftly ran through the flood of men, Malaki dodged the blade as he attack viscously down at his neck. Using his saber he struck out at his foe’s chest letting the burning blade crush through his flesh. The Arconan dropped to the floor with his last faint breath letting loose out of his lungs; Malaki held his saber tighter and then saw two Dark Jedi in front of him with saber’s pointed at one another.
“Draken!” The Knight said as he recognised the Souls of Darkness member.
Black Aces Squadron
“Black Aces, this is Ace Leader. Assume strike formation Bravo and ready all weapons systems. Concentrate fire on the shield generator. After the generator has been destroyed, it’s a free for all. Anyone with more kills than me gets a free hour at Big Daddy’s on me. Let’s grease this pig.” The twelve TIE Defenders of the Black Aces Squadron fanned out into a modified V formation, with the High Marshal at the front, leading the way.
The distance between the Black Aces, who launched from the ISDII Warspite, and the Eye of the Abyss was so minimal that the Aces barely had time to move into formation before they were engaged by Nightshade Squadron, launched from the Eye of the Abyss. Regardless of the surrounding dogfights that ensued, Thran kept his eyes on the target, ignoring all those around him. He was of a singular mind. Destroy the shield generator to make way for the Scimitars.
This was known simply as Plan Alpha, and served the TIE Corps well in the past, at least in training and simulations. The elites would knock out the shields, and the Scimitars and Skiprays would come along and completely demolish the capital ship. The Plan had a 85% success rate, odds that Phoenix and Thran would take any day of the week. Thran had just locked onto the generator when he saw Ace 4 explode off his port side. The explosion rocked Thran’s Defender so much that the torpedo lock was lost, sending the Marshal on a collision course with the Star Destroyer. Quickly turning his focus back to the mission at hand, Thran came face to face with the broad side of a Star Destroyer with but a few seconds to pull up before crashing headlong into the Arconan vessel.
Lucien observed the entire situation unfolding and breathed a sigh of relief as he watched his War Councilor narrowly escape death. Turning to Phoenix, he spoke very quietly. "This will be a true test of our will and might."
Ric clipped the comlink back onto his belt. He checked to make sure that his weapons were all where they were supposed to be and looked at the others in his boat. He saw nothing to indicate fear on any one of them. The impenetrable helmets they all wore made sure of that. In an odd thought, he saw why the Emperor had chosen the armor that the troopers wore. It did have an eerie effect on people.
"Gear up, we are launching as soon as we get clearance. I want to own a Carrack Cruiser before this day is over," Ric could feel the mix of excitement and fear coming from his men. He knew that some of them would be dead shortly and he felt a small pang of guilt at the thought.
His comlink beeped and he answered the call. He talked in hushed tones for several minutes and them rehooked the device to his belt once more. Ric moved to the cockpit of the transport and got the pilots attention.
"Gents, our target is the Nighthawk. We are going to be going in hot so be ready for a warm welcome," Ric waited until the assault shuttle had launched and made his way back into the troop bay to check on the rest of his force. The men were chomping at the bit to go. They would get their wish before too long. For some it would be a short wait, for others it would take an eternity and for some, it would be there last.
“Lieutenant Vosa…” a young man called out. “What is it, ensign?” Vosa replied. “You asked me to inform you when the Surface Marshal returned to the ship, ma’am.”
“Yes, so…?” Vosa said, slightly annoyed.
“The Surface Marshal has returned to the ship, ma’am!” The young man sounded very enthusiastic.
Asani smiled at him for a second. “You’re a real asset to this crew, ensign. Have the 8th on stand by!” The Guardian keyed a command line into her console. “Vosa to flight deck, has the Marshal arrived yet?”
“Yes ma’am, he just came in.” a voice on the other side of the comm. said.
With some quick finger movements, Asani switched to a Arch’s personal comm. “Vosa to Marshal Victae.”
Arch had just set down and was climbing out of his transport, accompanied by Rayne, who raised an eyebrow at the familiarity in the Lieutenant’s voice. “What is it, Lieutenant?”
“Marshal, there has been a breach. The 70th Legion is engaging the enemy forces and Black Aces squadron has taken for the enemy fleet.”
“Damn!” Arch bellowed. “I will need a strike team.”
“Yes, sir.” Vosa replied in a calm voice. “With Brigadier General Xathia in her…” she hesitated. “weakened state, I will release the 8th Strike Regiment to your disposal.”
“Excellent work, Lieutenant!” Arch said with a broad smile, and again Rayne’s brow arched.
Asani relaxed in her seat again. She was really coming in to her own, up here. The battle was just getting started, but Asani felt more confident then ever.
Timbal wasn’t aware that he was frowning. At the moment his thoughts pretty much contained a slew of uninterrupted curses, some of them pretty vile and potent, and some made up on the spot. The object of his rage, of course, was the audacity of Arcona and their attempt to ambush his Clans’ Fleet. Well, if they wanted a fight, he would certainly give them one.
The first ranging shots were being exchanged, and a call came through the Communications Officer. “Sir, the Grand Marshal is ordering the execution of Plan Alpha.”
“Comms, confirm receipt and execution of Plan Alpha. Sensors, make sure we’ve got all cap ships accounted for per the last known order of battle for these bastards. Flight, ensure that Thran is aware that you’re standing by to coordinate all starfighter assets.”
With that, Timbal looked at the sensor readings on the combat board. As far as he could tell, all of Arconas’ fleet was present, and they were shooting to kill. Interestingly enough, they weren’t seriously engaging the Excidium as yet, mainly content to barrage it with ion cannon fire. That, of course, could mean only one thing: They had plans for the Excidium.
“Sir, Sensors here, it’s confirmed, the entire Arconan fleet is accounted for.”
With that last bit of information, Timbal was free to act per Plan Alpha. Taking a deep breath, he started to give orders.
“Helm, move us to screen the Excidium from the Abyss. We’ll take the fire meant for them.” He saw the Majestic-class Heavy Cruiser Basilisk jump the gun a bit and started to engage the Abyss, which was typical of Captain Duval, but not according to the plan. “Comms, get me the Basilik.”
“Basilik online, sir.”
“Duval, hold off on engaging the Eye of the Abyss. We have a strike mission underway. I repeat, until you receive clearance, do not engage the Eye of the Abyss.” Timbal killed the connection, and took a precious few more seconds to run the variables in his head. Yes, that should work. A call of “Incoming enemy torpedoes!” helped Timbal make up his mind. “Tactical!”
“Advise the Excidium to backstop any of those Warrior-class gunships and that picket that are out there, I don’t want them flanking us. Advise the Indomitable, Adenn, and Basilisk that I want those Bothan Assault Cruisers wiped out, and yesterday. Advise the Fury that they’re the gatekeeper, they’re to engage any enemy forces intending to flank us or pull off any funny business. Guns!”
A tremendous wallop shook the ship hard, and he knew that it was the remnants of the torpedoes that were announced earlier. He didn’t let that slow him down, though.
“Guns, engage their Majestic, but as soon as the shields for the Abyss are down, engage it with all available ion cannons. We want that ship. Tactical, advise the Excidium to assist with the Majestic if they can spare the weapons, and advise them of the ion cannon order as well.”
A chorus of acknowledgment orders followed, but Timbal simply requested, “Damage report?”
“Sir, we got hit with a small spread of proton torps. The shields held, sir, but we’re expecting those Bothan Assault Cruisers to launch another volley pretty soon.”
The High Admiral nodded. “Aye, keep me informed.”
His Communications Officer turned about. “Sir, I have a Colonel Soren from the Praetorian Regiment on your commlink.”
“Thanks,” Timbal said as he picked up his commlink. “Timbal, go.”
“Sir, this is Colonel Soren, current CO of the Praetorian Regiment. We’re ready to board whatever transport you give us to assault the enemy command ship.”
Timbal frowned a bit, “Where’s Impetus? She’s supposed to be commanding the Regiment.”
“She had to, ah, attend to other duties, sir.”
Timbal’s anger flared, but he smoothed it out. “Ok, Colonel, she can explain later. Feel free to board the Gammas and Delta X-9’s, as many as you need. Make sure to make haste, the shields should be coming down momentarily. I’ll advise Thran to provide escort.”
“Thank you, sir, Soren out.”
“Tactical, advise Thran that we need an escort for the strike team, have him detail it.”
Timbal looked back at the combat board. Everything was progressing nicely, despite the element of surprise that they initially had. Let’s just see if we can keep it this way, Timbal thought to himself....
"Comms, I need orders!" Rang the voice of Captain Duval.
"Orders coming in now Ma'am!" rang back the voice of the comms officer on station. "The Admiral advises that he wants the Bothan Assault Cruisers gone yesterday."
"Acknowledge receipt of orders and that we are engaging the assault cruisers. Tactical, range on the cruiser currently targeting the Warspite, I want them too busy to target the Admiral's ship!"
"Ma'am!" came the chorus from the bridge officers as they shifted to their orders. Tra'an left the bridge to retreat to his quarters. The basilisk was far enough out that they wouldn't see any boarding action, and the ship was locked down tighter than a bride the night before her wedding. They were going nowhere fast. Kara left to see to the members of Ebon Cloak and ensure that they would be ready for the upcoming conflict on Jusadih. Had he bothered to pay more attention, he would have grabbed a ride on a ship that could handle his regiment, and be involved in the conflict.
As it was, Tra'an was back to watching the fight from afar through his viewport, meditating and waiting for fulfillment. Calling the Force, he lost himself in the darkness, letting it fill him, for the Force was all.
Libra stood aside, practicing forms, working on her technique, meditating in her own way, as she exercised her mind on the possibilities of the coming fight. Krath to the core, she was already planning strategy after strategy for any possible engagement, her body moving to the forms so as to free her mind. She did not hesitate, spinning through through blow and counterblow, the audio recorder taking her voice and turning it into detailed schematics. Her voice rang clearly throughout the ocmpartment, and yet Tra'an just floated in the Lotus position, lost in the vast darkness.
With a clank, the assault shuttle latched onto the underbelly of the Carrack Cruiser Nighthawk. The mag locks were secured and the breach explosives were attached to the hull. It wouldn't take much to blow a hole into the interior of the cruiser.
Ric waited patiently while the demolitions expert of his Marine Strike force prepared to set off the charges. Once he had them all placed and armed, he looked at his commander for the go ahead. Ric nodded, signaling it was time to do the deed.
With a muffled thump, the charges cut through into the small TIE fighter servicing area. The Carrack carried five TIEs on external racks and Ric had chosen this spot to gain easy access to the pilots ready room. Ric waited as the point men entered the ship with their weapons set on stun. It had been decided that they would only use stun to minimize damage to the ship.
Ric entered the room and saw that there were three casualties laid out on the deck. It looked like they had died by concussion and not from weapons fire.
Using hand signals, Ric sent the rest of his teams into the other areas of the ship to seize it. He took his personal team, including the Sergeant Major, and headed towards the bridge. It went well until they approached the mess area of the ship. It was there that the Arconans had decided to make their stand. They had blockaded themselves and were going to wage an active defense of the area.
Ric took cover as his men began to return fire. He called up the schematics on his datapad and looked for another way around. He looked at the man who had set the charges on the hull and had an idea. He waved him over.
"Trooper, how much explosives do you have?" Ric asked.
"General, I have enough to crack a Star Destroyer in half," he opened his armored bag to show Ric. Ric smiled, he was ready to try his plan.
"Alright, this is what I want you to do..."
The sound of blaster fired died down to nothing and the Arconan crew inched forward to see what was going on. They found three dead troopers, lying where they fell. The lead Arconan knelt by one of the bodies and went to take off his helmet. It was about that time that the charge went off and sent shrapnel flying down the hallway.
The Marines flooded out of the side corridors and charged into the disarray that was now the Arconan defenses. Ric led the charge with his lightsaber flashing and blaster firing. Heller was right behind him, sending stun blast after stun blast into Arconan crewers.
Once the ambush had been pacified, Ric looked over the enemy, bound before him. These men were not troopers but regular crew members. He wondered what was going on as most ships in battle had at least some troops on board to repel boarders and for ship to ship assaults. Something was going on here and he was going to find out what.
"Sergeant Major, lets head for the bridge," Ric picked up his rifle and headed for the upper levels...
Soren felt a little useless after Timbal had told him to use the transports. He was supposed to be the team’s strategist, and he had given a bunch of slow and sluggish transports while he left the thinking to someone else. Nonetheless, he was looking forward to being able to use his creative mind while aboard the Eye of the Abyss. He could hardly complain about his situation. Impetus had left him the entire Praetorian Regiment to use at his will. He already had plans for the infiltration, knowing the layout of an Imperial Star Destroyer, but plans were never satisfying until they worked.
“Emperor’s Children shall follow me.” Soren’s quiet voice was amplified by a microphone. He never was any good at shouting. “I’ll only need one legion for this. The rest of you patrol the ship. “Hands of Palpatine, guard the bridge. Blades of the Emperor, will stay around the hangar bay and Fearless ones will stay somewhere in the middle. If any units become under fire, they shall inform Major Langarth immediately and receive support from the Fearless Ones. Emperor’s Children, into the Delta X-9 and Gamma Class Transports, everyone else in your positions. Our destination is the Eye of the Abyss hangar bay. Stay close together, and the TIE Corps will provide us with support. Now let’s move, and get in there while the shields are down.”
Within seconds, the Emperor’s Children Legion had manned their ships, and set out towards the Eye of the Abyss.
“8th Strike, on your feet” he shouted as he stood before the assembled might of the 8th Strike Regiment of the Expeditionary Force. He nodded as they saluted to him and returned the gesture. The executive officer, Major Horton Nash, stood at attention beside him.
“Major Nash, readiness?” he asked, turning to the Major, as he clasped his hands behind his back.
“Full strength and ready, sir. Your orders?”
“Ready your men and have Icarus and the Lava Dogs report to the hangar under your command. I want that area locked down as tight as possible. If you see an Arconan Jedi, contact me. Have Sunburst establish a cordon around engineering. The Crimson Fists will stay with me as a flying Legion to fill the gaps in the defence. Understood?”
“Yes, sir. Consider it done” Major Nash said and saluted before turning to his subordinates. Archangel smiled and turned to his wife. He pulled her to him and stroked her back.
“You’re welcome to accompany me or go to the safety of the command centre. It’s your choice”
“I’m with you, sweetie” she replied before pulling a set of torso armour from the rack and donned it. He smiled, his body already armoured in his old Souls of Darkness armour, repainted in red and white.
“Yes , sir?”
Klaxons were ringing and people were reporting to battle stations. Rex looked around and lead his platoon to Engineering, where his platoon would join the Company that was assigned to defend it.
A few minutes later, information came down from the bridge that they were out of range for a ship boarding, but they would be assisting in disabling or destroying the enemy. His men went to a lower state of alertness and started talking.
Rex was talking to his second in command when the deck rumbled and he and a couple of other soldiers were thrown into a bulkhead.
The Basilisk had just taken a direct hit with a volley of torpedoes. While most of it had splashed off of the shield, it had caused a power surge and overloaded it, allowing a torpedo to make it to the hull.
All of a sudden, there was a change of scenery in Engineering. What was once normal as can be in the middle of the battle suddenly became loud and urgent as engineers were running around and trying to get shields operational again.
Rex got up off the ground and listened in on an Engineer having a conversation. The thing that caught his ear was shields would be back up in 3 minutes. In battle, 3 minutes could be an eternity.
Standing in the small hallway, the team knew that it was now they would taste their first battle in this war. Blades of Chaos had very few members and the Obelisk knew this. He decided that no matter what the outcome would be, his team was ready to accept the challenge. He heard a small sound beside him and as his eyes followed were the sound was coming from, he saw no-one there and a small smirk came across his lips. Cethgus knew that even in times of war his old freind was beside him, and though he couldn't do anything it was still ammuzing to find the Dark Jedi Master beside him
"You still following me then?" Cethgus asked Niemand. Some of the crew just thought he was talking to himself, others looked at him wondering what was going on.
"Unfortunatly I am, Obelisk." A small sarcastic voice came across to the Cethgus.
"You know, you could make yourself useful." Clearly, by the Obelisk's tone he was mocking the ghost.
There was a quite pause in which time the Prelate contuined to look at his team, and nodded, knowing that they could do something useful. He decided that the best option was to patrol the ship instead of just standing there making themselves look pretty.
A whirlwind of feelings crashed upon our person. It is that which we cannot hide
from no matter how hard we try. It is said to believe to bring the greatest of
leaders down onto their knees and rose mere farmers into war hero’s.
Emotions…perhaps the most powerful tool a Force wielder might contain.
Draken paid little attention to Malaki and rather cursed his present than anything
else. It was simply another sheep to look after, blind and reckless to all that happens.
He forced Tyren onto a distance, evading a Force Push emanating from his twin’s hand.
The two brothers fought fiercely like arch enemies, seeming to both enjoy it and to
despise it simultaneously. Tyren cornered Draken and before Malaki was there to help him,
it was Draken himself that pushed him out of the way.
The Knight stood confused as he wiped some blood from his lip. It only took him a moment
to realize that it was more than any ordinary battle. Dark Brotherhood teachings state that
Jedi, Dark Side or Light Side, honour two forms of battle. A battle for power, and a battle for
honour. The latter of the two may never be intervened by anyone, for the honour of the one
you are trying to help is at stake, a cost higher than anything.
While Malaki started to focus on the troopers pouring in instead, Draken fought on with Tyren,
the fight had become more fierce over time and suddenly, something shifted drastically.
The Valheru forced his twin to a distance, then raised his hand to his mask, which had cracked
slightly due to Tyren’s attacks. He passed his hand down over his face, blackness covering his
eyes with a sickening yellow piercing it. Words escaped from him that shook the Krath to the core.
As Draken had tapped into Ylith’s power he de-ignited his saber and drew his sword, the metal
shimmering in the artificial light. Around them blasters were fired and men were shouting and
running about. It was almost a slow motion compared to the pace their battle went on. Tyren
moved into attack and Draken simply moved his sword to one side and closed his eyes for a
moment, concentrating, drawing on the Force.
Powers unseen were unleashed before Tyren’s eyes. As Draken opened his eyes in a flash
and slashed horizontally forward, it first seemed like a mere mockery of the Arconan. It was
only a second later when Tyren was slammed back by a shockwave, a force push.
The Arconan’s eyes widened, a Force Push emanating from the sword itself?
Tyren forced himself forwards to meet his brother, again attempting to attack him but was forced
back with another Force Push from the sword, though this time, Draken followed, slashing a full
gash into Tyren’s armour, his chest severely damaged by it as chunks were sent flying.
How swift thy poison.
Cern watched through the cockpit window as the transport left the hanger bay. He had almost had to resort to the Jedi powers at his command to convince the Flight Deck Officer to allow his team to take the transport, but a timely communication from the bridge had saved him the effort. Now he had the “pleasure” of letting someone else fly him to an Arconan ship.
“That one, Pilot. I want that one.” The Iktotchi’s voice was like gravel in a pan. His nerves were stretched taut but he maintained a calm that surprised even him. The pilot adjusted the flight path towards an unsuspecting Arconan cruiser and as the view changed, Cern recognized his own Quaestor’s markings as the Black Aces swept towards the Arconan flagship.
The transport rocked with some nearby blaster fire, but the pilot was good. A trio of enemy ships turned towards the shuttle and Cern wished he had asked for something in the way of an escort, but he new the fighters would be busy and had accepted the risk. Now it looked as though he had made a mistake. The co-pilot made an unidentifiable noise as the ships arced towards the transport, but blaster fire lanced out from the Scholae fleet and the ships disappeared in a brilliant explosion.
“Looks like I owe someone a drink.” Cern almost chuckled at his good fortune.
“How do you know whom to buy for sir?” the pilot asked as he flew over the cruiser. The Gunner launched a couple missiles and blew the sensor dish out of the transport’s way as the pilot dropped down onto the top of the cruiser.
“After that display, any ship’s gunner will do nicely.” The Iktotchi turned back to the troops in the shuttle and strapped on his helmet. The sound of the mag locks engaging echoed through the hull. The Marines Demolitions man had already moved to place the breach charges.
“Banshee, lets give the Arconan’s something to talk about.” The sound of the breach explosion was muffled to the Iktotchi. “I want this ship and I want it as intact as we can manage please. Watch your backs and keep your minds sharp.” Cern ignited his lighsaber and dropped through the hole. The corridor was filled with smoke and no enemy could be seen, Cern moved a little way down the corridor. The Marines began to drop in and take up covering positions.
"Get your lazy behinds moving, NOW!"
The marines of the Royal Clan made their way through the ship, not slow by any means, but it was obviously not fast enough for the small but stocky figure rushing them on. The stomping of feet was steady, and there was not a hint of confusion about the troops, but Templar Voldemort was everything but satisfied. For the last few days, all he had done was going through specs for the upcoming conflict, not only for his own men but also for several other commanders who had been assigned doing other things. He suspected this was because he had been AWOL for a while following the disappearance of his mother. But in any case, he was back now, and just in time to kick some Arconan behinds. At least he hoped that was how it would turn out, and not the other way round.
The marines reached the level where the enemy was expected to be, and immediately fanned out to the spots assigned to them. This was routine, done many times during training, yet the situation was totally diffetent in a crisis situation.
High General Hunter's orders had been clear enough, but the trouble was that there were mosre sensitive areas in any given ship than Voldemort liked to be responsible for. There were many ways to sabotage a ship - he knew because he had done it before.
"Status, Alpha?" he whispered, although none on the outside would be able to hear their conversations while their helmets were closed.
"Nothing yet, Sir." Karachi, the reconn guy and new addition, was obviously disappointed. Voldemort suposed he would have prefered to enter an enemy ship. He couldn't blame him. But this was as important.
All seemed fine, the enemy not even close to them, yet there was something in the Force that made things appear not to be quite right.
"Silence before the storm," mumbled Karachi. He was right. A moment later, a vague, dull sound could be heard from outside the ship. "Looks like they are trying to board," Karachi said in a grim voice. "Action time."
Cethgus' behind was itching, something he knew happened when there was trouble ahead or when he had accidently sat down in poison ivy. As there was no ivy here, it had to be the first option.
'A bag of action coming up, eh?' Niemand's mental voice actually sounded frustrated. Probably because there was no way for the ghost to grab a saber and join in the fun.
"Listen, either stop bothering me or find out how do be useful in your current state," the Obelisk growled, loud enough for everyone close to him to hear. Realizing what he was doing, he tried to put on a reassuring grin, but it rather came over as the grimace of death. "Don't worry, everyone, we are the best of the best, so what's to lose?"
"Our lives, for one," someone mumbled.
At the intersection of the corridor, Cethgus noticed something was slightly amiss. At first sight, everything seemed normal and quiet. Still, the Zabrakh signaled for his team to halt. He could smell a trap.
'Literally?' Niemand mocked. 'So what does a trap smell like?'
"Like Phoenix' room at midnight," Ceth answered, ignoring the stares from everyone. Then he noticed what had irritated him. The yellow signs usually indicating directions to several areas of the ship including the armory had been deactivated - no one would let the enemy know where they had to go, of course, even if you were sure the enemy knew anyway - but the small emergency light above those signs at the intersection was off as well. And it had clearly been broken.
'How does that equal a trap?' Niemand wanted to know.
"I'm not sure, but why don't you move your substance-less behind and check it out for us, would ya?" Ceth snorted. "You can't be THAT bound to me to refuse, and asides, what else are you good for if you cannot even do some scouting for us?"
To Ceth, it seemed Niemand was pouting when he felt the presence of the ghost leave. He was not totally sure Nie would do what he had asked, but then, the spirit didn't like intruders either. "Now we wait," he whispered to his team.
"For what?" Melvin asked. The Givin looked enough like a ghost himself to make Ceth want to smack him right then.
"For a Dark Smokey Jedi Master Boy Annoyance to tell us what's ahead," Ceth grinned.
"Has that been who you keep talking to? Why don't we see him, then?" Melvin obviously doubted Ceth's story - and maybe his sanity.
"Because I'm special," the Obelisk grinned, and this time he didn't even look scary while doing it.
The shudder in the ships woke him from his trance, dropping him onto his feet from where he'd been floating. Trusting his instincts, Tra'an raced for the bridge, his companion only feet behind him as he skidded around the corner and into the command area proper. "Someone shut those GODDAMN KLAXONS OFF!" came the yell from captain Duval as she tried to listen to damage reports from her officers. They cut out in the bridge less than a second later.
"Ma'am, gunnery reports only one direct hit in the last bunch, but it landed square on one of the main power couplings. That mixed with the surge from the shield absorbing the rest of the volley overloaded the primary generator. It'll take another 3 minutes for it to finish resetting." Captain Duval stared at her damage control officer for less than a second before turning to face the door, obviously already in motion to walk somewhere. She stopped at seeing Tra'an standing there in blue Trooper Armor, adorned with the Regimental patch.
"Can you get us out of this?" She asked, hoping that the Dark Knight could pull some miracle out of his bag of many tricks. The Jedi didn't even bother to answer her, walking over to the Con, and placing his hand on it. He closed his eyes as the Gunnery officer spoke up.
"Ma'am, it's coming full bore. I'm tracking five incoming volleys of torpedoes, and we just don't have the guns for that many." The worry in his voice was evident, and everyone stared quietly at the knight, wondering what he was going to do. He placed his hands on the console and pushed the lever to jump them into hyperdrive, pulling it back almost immediately. They were 200 miles directly astern, and it would take about five minutes for the Arconan fleet to reacquire their signal.
Libra caught him as he slumped, the Instinctive Astrogation taking a lot out of him. It was one of the few powers he had never spent much time working on. She carried him back to his room, the entire bridge silent as they contemplated the feat he had just unleashed.
Captain Duval wasn't having it. "Get your asses in GEAR! I want those shields up and this ship ready to re-engage in combat!" The bridge returned to life as normal, even as no one forgot that their lives had been saved by yet another oddity,
Koskian gripped the arms of his crash chair tightly as the pilot in front of him tore through another hard roll. Suddenly all the work, persuasion, and threats he had done in the last hour seemed to be a bad idea. It had been extremely hard to get the shuttle pilot to agree to ferry him from the Excidium to the Warspite during a massive battle, but after a few words, and most notably, a strange leer from Koskian accompanied by a “I can kill you with my mind,” comment, he had gained transport.
Now he was certain that the pilot was punishing him for the threats by making the ride as rocky as possible. If it weren't for the occasional flash of a laser passing them, he would have been certain that they weren't anywhere near the fighting. Closing his eyes as the pilot through the ship into another barrel roll, Koskian felt his stomach turning.
“What the...that's not one of ours!” shouted the pilot suddenly, his face almost pressed against the cockpit's transparent canopy.
Koskian glanced out in the same direction, and noted an assault ship of some sort attaching itself to the hull of the Warspite. Cursing loudly, he kicked the back of the pilot's chair.
“Get me on board NOW damn't, thats a boarding crew!” he roared.
“Yes sir!” the pilot replied, suddenly much more cooperative.
Not waiting for any kind of clearance, the shuttle flashed into the hangar bay, landing roughly. The ramp was barely down before Koskian scrambled out and started running in the direction he had seen the boarders landing, trying to pull his comlink out of his pocket at the same time.
“Commander...commander....whoever is in charge of the 65th Legion, come in NOW!” he shouted into the comlink.
“This is Captain Koler of Company B, current ranking officer for the Screaming Eagles on board the Warspite, who is this?”
“Lieutenant General d'Tana, Captain. We've got boarders coming, I want you to move the Legion to critical areas. Two companies from the 65th to the Bridge, the other two to engineering. Send one company from the 66th to the reactor, one to the hangar, and the other two are to wait near the most central turbolift station they can find,” Koskian was panting by the time he was done issuing orders.
“Sir, yes sir!” came the curt reply.
“About time somebody had their poodoo together,” grumbled the Primarch as he ran down the corridors.
Ensign Grid dragged his feet as the security officers pushed him along towards the brig. He had only saved half a squadron, what was the big deal? And now he was gonna get court martialed for it. Dragging his feet would only slow the inevitable at this point. The Ensign was a little disappointed that the officers hadn't even bothered cuffing him, apparently the little bridge officer wasn't considered dangerous.
Strange sounds came through the bulkhead, Grid mentally placed himself on a map of the ship and realized they were near the surface of the hull. Pausing as more noises came through, the Officers almost kept walking, before turning around and giving him an odd look, as more noises came through. Suddenly the world turned bright, as if the sun had just exploded, and the air was filled with noises, or more specifically, would have been if it weren't for the extreme ringing sound filling Grid's ears.
Shaking his head, he looked at where the bulkhead had been, and saw a gaping hole with large men with guns coming through. Dark armored figures dropped down, boots slamming on to the deck. The first few down swept the area with their rifles, quickly blasting one of the guards as they tried to stand. Grid lay very, very still as he watched, trying not to draw attention.
One of them looked down, noticing the still breathing bridge officer, and leveled his rifle at the smaller man. Grid went wide eye, staring down the barrel and felt his mouth go dry. Suddenly a piece of the bulkhead that had been demolished in the blast flew through the soldier, knocking him back into two of his fellows. Shaking now, Grid looked up to see a man in dark clothes running down the hall with an ecstatic grin on his face, and a molten lightsaber in hand.
The man laughed as he cut down another soldier, before deflecting a blast back at another boarder. Flinging more items at the Arconan troops with the Force, the saber wielding maniac, as Grid was referring to him in his mind, was doing quite a number on them. Blaster fire came down the hall as ship security reported to the scene, cutting down what was left of the invaders.
Shutting down the saber, the Jedi looked down at the still visibly freaked out Ensign Grid. Putting out a hand, he helped the weapon tech up, and brushed off the front of his uniform. Grid met eyes with the man briefly, noticing a gleam of madness in the green orbs.
“I...yeah, thanks, I think.”
“You think? What kind of answer is that?”
“I don't know, a nervous one?”
The man laughed at this and threw his arm over the Ensign's shoulders, “Your coming with me, I'm gonna buy you a drink when this is done. Oh, I'm Kosk, Commander of the 4th Regiment on board here.”
Grid got a stupid grin on his face as he realized the amount of 'in your face' he was going to be able to shout at his friend Deiag.
The engineers were making a bigger fuss about something besides the shields. They had patched it up and it was running up to par.
Information had already leaked down the grapevine that the Jedi Knight had saved the ship from incoming torpedoes, using the force to perform a short jump.
He had questions about where he was to be located after they were to disembark. The General was the Rollmaster and the keeper of the young journeymen in his house. He ordered his platoon to stay put and put his second in command, a First Sergeant by the name of Saul Slade.
Rex rode the turbolift to the Command Deck. He got off and headed towards the Observation Room. He found a group of soldiers standing guard.
"Sergeant, what are your orders?"
The sergeant took a look at Rex, identified him as an officer and a Jedi and gave a crisp salute.
"Sir, to stand guard. The General does not wish to be disturbed, Sir!"
"Sergeant, I have to talk to the General. Can you arrange that?"
"Im sorry Sir, but you will have to wait. Ill pass up the request, but I cannot guarantee anything, Sir."
Rex nodded and leaned up against a wall.
“Then I shall wait here, Sergeant.”
The fighting all around the hangar was very ordered on both sides of the battle. Unfortunately, two different set ups of order plus the will to kill no matter what made for some impressive chaos.
Zhendak, a Zabrak with too big a mouth and too small a brain but a good fighter, appeared out of nowhere next to Voldemort. "Karachi says we are ready for the big bang now."
Supressing a sigh the Obelisk decied not to remind the guy of the simple fact that their helmet communication systems did not need him to pop up next to him every time he had something to say. "Alright, then. Make sure to lure them into believing we want to set a trap for them in the corridor." Voldemort's blaster short at another Arconan marine, with the same bad result as the last few times. Their equipment was at least as good as theirs, if not slightly better. Probably a lot better, although Voldemort would not admit it when asked.
"Yes, sir. Are we going to call in reinforcements?"
"No." What did the guy think? Karachi's idea would take care of the problem, and besides, what would everyone else think if they wouldn't be able to handle things themselves. "Back to position," he hissed when the Zabrak didn't move right away.
Arcona had broken through at two places - a hole in the hull close to the hangar and a larger one leading into the hangar itself from right next to the hangar doors. The one in the hangar was rather small, and they had sealed it themselves again. which was why Voldemort's team had not noticed them at first and only battled the ones coming in from the transport. Until someone had started to fire at them from behind.
Voldemort still was not sure what happened to the hangar crew, but he couldn't pay much attention to that. 7 of his men were dead, and they had only nailed 5 of the Arconans, not even to mention the sheer mass of them coming in. And while their fighters were not as trained as CSP's, they made up for it with very good equipment.
The CSP team moved slowly back towards the hangar, making it appear as if they were running, two of them even faking limps. "I'm set," Karachi's voice came over the helmet.
"Great. Any sign of the hangar crew?"
"Only of two of them, sir. And while they aren't quite dead yet, they look beyond help."
"Poodoo. Well, we are better off not having to worry about rescuing anyone. Tell the Alpha team prepare the controls." He paused for a moment. "The scum did leave some of theirs in control, didn't they?"
"Ya, they did." a faint chuckle came from Karachi." But Alpha team didn't leave much of them. They were rather surprised, it seemed, when they popped up from seemingly nowhere."
The open hangar doors were now right behind Voldemort. "Start jamming their frequencies."
"Done," Karachi chuckled. The man was definitely too cheerful in battle.
"Now!" Voldemort ordered everyone else. A second later a swooshing sound could be heard where his team was seemingly retreating into the hangar. The good old flamethrower was still useful.
"Hurry up, sir" Karachi sounded worried. "They'll notice they are jammed and will suspect a trap if they can't reach their comrades now dying in the hangar."
The first smoke grenades joined the thermos and others. It would not do if the Arconans saw them hiding. Zhendrak was the last to disappear through the hangar doors, right behind Voldemort.
The Obelisk Templar started running together with everyone else. Those not in the shelter of the vent system or the protected control room would share the fate of their enemies. "I need to do more workout," Voldemort groaned as he reached the vent shaft some distance from the doors. Zhendrak was still firing out of the doors. Didn't the idiot realize he'd be dead in a moment if he'd not move?
Not able to follow the thought anymore, Voldemort climbed into the shaft, followed by several others. The last thing he saw from the hangar as he turned was the Zabrak throwing several types of grenades at their enemies who had followed him inside. The smoke grenades among them concealed CSP's plans very well. The ones coming from the now doomed Zabrak, the Obelisk now realized, were the only reason the Arconans were not already retreating. "Seems we underestimated the amount of smoke needed," someone said.
A moment later, the vent was closed and the OK reports from all but the Zabrak came in. A moment later, the emergency doors from the hangar to the corridor closed with a sreech and a bang. And then the doors to space opened without an activated force field.
“Medic!” came the shouts as Archangel made his way through the smoke and haze. Troopers bodies were sprawled on the deck, sporting an array of insignia and two different sets of colours. Black blaster scores pitted the bulkheads and the armour of the fallen. The fumes choked the injured as orderlies and medics clambered over the bodies on the floor to reach them.
Archangel ‘s rebreather was working overtime to clean and filter the air around him into breathable air for him. His eyes stung with the fumes and his ears were full of yelling sergeants and dying screams. He lead a platoon from the Crimson Fists A Company, one of the still full strength units left in the Legion, though it’s leader had been promoted to fill the recently vacant Company Commander position. The Captain who had held the position was now one of countless cadavers lining the morgue of the Warspite.
“Sergeant Hoorn, to the front” he said over the commlink, summoning the Platoon Sergeant to his side. The short, stocky form of the Sergeant pushed passed his men.
“Yes, sir?” he said, ducking slightly as a blast of laser struck a bulkhead nearby.
“Have your men take up positions on the walkway and cover me. I will take on the Arconan assault.”
“Are you sure that is wise, sir? Perhaps I could have two of my men with you to assist you?”
“No thank you, Sergeant. They would only get in my way, I’m afraid.”
“Understood” the Sergeant replied before Archangel heard the little click of the Sergeant switching to the platoon channel. He smiled and pulled his spear out of its cradle on his back and stepped forward. A volley of blaster fire scored the corridor around him. The Arconans had taken up a position across the Engineering Centre.
Archangel grinned and charged forward, his body tilted forward under the axis of fire. He swept an Arconan sergeant across the abdomen, slicing him open through his armour. The man screamed in agony and collapsed, just as another armoured figure replaced him on the battleline.
“Platoon, open fire!” Archangel shouted into the commlink as he ducked away from a vibroblade. The platoon opened fire with their E-11 Blaster Rifles, as well as a T-21 Repeating Rifle the platoon had been equipped with. The withering hail of blaster fire cut through the ranks of the advancing Arconan infantry. The Platoon Sergeant whooped with blood-glee.
“Saber sighted!” came the call from one of the Platoon Corporals. Archangel looked up to see a pale green skinned Rodian in Arconan drab organizing the men around him. In his hand he held a yellow bladed lightsaber. His large black eyes turned to him, the Force suddenly flooded with panic and alarm.
Archangel grinned, and stabbed his spear into the deck, before drawing his lightsaber. This would be fun.
Asani’s eyes scanned the monitors of her station. Distress calls were coming in, ship to ship communications were so erratic, they sounded like gibberish. Asani took a last glance at the personal message she had received from General Eludajae. A knot formed in her stomach and a lump nestled in her throat as she read the words on last time.
With a quick button combination and a deep sigh, Asani erased the message for ever. There was no love left in her, only hate, fear and despair.
She sprung from her chair and bellowed at some crewmen. “Gentlemen, I asked for a report on the entire database assimilation. Now, where is it?”
One of the men looked up nervous. “I’m sorry ma’am, I haven’t finished it yet. Please be patient.”
“Patient?” Asani spat as she jumped over her console and walked toward the man. She grabbed his hair and slammed his head on the point of his own work station. Asani could hear the gasps of the crew around her as she watched the insolent crewman fall to the deck with a deep gash in his forehead. Pointing out two other crewmen, she commanded. “You, take him to the infirmary. You, finish what he started. I want that report in fifteen minutes!”
The men rushed to comply. Something had changed Asani, from within. Her demeanour was all but pleasant and she could feel the anger boiling to the surface. It would not be long before she would have an outburst like this again. Then again, she was a Sith. Time to show a little aggression.
Koskian and the Ensign ran down a corridor, heading towards where the most recent alerts of boarding were coming from. The Primarch had to admit, having somebody who knew where they were going. But so far the man had been next to useless in a fight, apparently not used to personal combat on any level. Passing a door marked 'turbolaser battery maintenance', Grid skidded to a halt. Koskian stopped, looking back at him, and saw the look of calculation, then delight, on the Ensign's face.
“Ummm, intruders need to be killed, Grid, what are you doing?”
“I need to get in here, but none of my access codes will work, crap,” muttered the Ensign.
A bright flash filled the Ensign's view as Koskian's saber cut through the lock in the center of the door, allowing it to open. Grinning, Grid dashed in, noting that there were no maintenance people in the chamber.
“What are we doing, kid?”
“Simple, I can gain access to the weapon systems from down here, and nail a boarding craft or two from point blank range.”
“It's technical, just gimme....two minutes, two minutes and I'll have control of this battery taken away from the bridge crew!”
“Won't you get in trouble for that, Ensign?”
“I was on my way to the brig when you saved my hide, who cares if I get in more trouble?”
“Right, blow stuff up then...” muttered Koskian, watching with a befuddled expression as the officer went about his work.
Grid spent a few moments at a computer console, muttering curses under his breath as he dealt with systems he hadn't accessed since he had made it onto the bridge crew. Finally he punched his fist up into the air and made a 'woohoo' sound, before going back to work. Grinning, he looked up at a large screen that was against a bulkhead that showed the current heat status and loads of the battery he had gained access to. Rerouting some commands, the screen suddenly flashed to show what the turbolasers were pointed at.
“Now for the fun,” he said with a grin, looking at the Obelisk, who had noticed the change on the screen. Grid was intent on his screen, searching for a suitable target, and his eyes narrowed in on what appeared to be a transport headed for the hangar bay area.
“Watch what I can do...heh, bye Arconan,” he muttered to himself, locking the half dozen turbolasers he had 'acquired' onto the transport, and looked up to see it appear on the screen as the turrets tracked it. Pressing another button, green death lanced out, burning holes right through the narrow transport and spewing air and armored bodies into space.
“Wow, why can't you do that when were fighting people in the hallway?” asked Koskian, grinning at the display of carnage. Grid was already smiling to himself and looking for another target, back in his element.
Chaos was king. Timbal knew this better than most, especially within a major space battle. However, to him he knew instinctively where every ship was, and their status, and the status of all enemy ships. The starfighter battle was of secondary concern, as Timbal only really kept track of any squadrons that could put the hurt on his capital ships via proton torpedoes.
Apparently, though, the Arconans weren’t happy with the Warspite blocking line of sight to the Scholae flagship. Timbal actually felt, through the Force, the concentration of firepower being generated then unleashed from the Abyss, and make its’ way over to his ship. Worse, the formidable warship had used every battery that it had available against his ship in a ferocious broadside.
The Warspite shuddered hard. “Rotate the ship, show them our ventral shields! Damage report!” Timbal managed to blurt out, smoke from some nearby circuitry that had been fried in his lungs.
“Front dorsal shields at minimal power, forward hull armor at fifty percent! Minor shock damage all over the ship. She’s responding, though.”
Timbal saw his wounded ship turning and knew that the move also brought the Excidium back into the fight, but he was about to brace himself for another volley that he knew was coming from the Abyss. Screw that, he thought to himself, I’m not giving up without a fight.
“Tactical, tell the Excidium to fire everything at the Abyss. Guns! Give me everything against that frakkin’ ship!”
Before they could respond, the sensors officer called out, “Sir, shields on the Abyss are down!”
Comms chimed in as well. "Confirmed by starfighter command!"
“Belay that last command, Tactical, Guns, all ion cannon on the Abyss, now!”
Another wave of turbolaser and ion cannon fire from the Abyss wreaked havoc on the Warspite, knocking down the ventral forward shields altogether but otherwise causing little damage.
However, between the Warspite and the Excidium sheets of blue fire erupted, with over thirty ion cannons savaging the now-unprotected enemy flagship. They had targeted the enemy turbolaser batteries and for the most part shut them down.
The Abyss apparently had had enough, and was moving out of formation. The enemy Majestic-class cruiser moved quickly into place, giving covering fire, mainly shooting at the Excidium, since it was the one now in the lead and charging forward.
“Sir, Comms here. The Praetorian Legion reports successful dock, expecting hull breach in fifteen seconds.”
Timbal nodded. He was busy looking at his tactical board. Apparently the Bothan Assault Cruisers had targeted the Basilik and forced it to withdraw. The Indomitable and Adenn were both making them pay for their success, and they were moving to cover the withdrawal that the Abyss was attempting.
Timbal looked at the status of the Excidium II. On the outside their shields were still strong, and no damage reported, but he did see a note from their Tactical Operations Officer that they were being boarded. Timbal suppressed the flash of alarm with the next update saying that the boarding team was being contained. Timbal would just have to trust Phoenix in their internal defense against the interlopers.
“Sir, Comms. There is a message being transmitted from the Excidium. It’s coded, sir.”
Timbal was about to order the ECM package to be turned on, but a sudden feeling against that action. He felt the familiar Force presence of Angelo Dante making that suggestion to him, and said, “Disregard that, Comms. It’s good to go.”
A few more moments passed by, and then Comms spoke up again. “Sir, a broadcast from the Abyss in the clear. It’s ordering a cease fire.”
Timbal frowned. He expected the Arconans to get desperate and charge in with everything, and they were winning the starfighter battle as well. “Any idea who gave the order?”
The Intelligence Officer spoke up. “Sir, running the voice through our database now. Sir, we have a ninety-eight percent certainty that it was from Consul Doto via voice print analysis.”
Timbal nodded, “Comms, order a cease-fire as well to the Fleet. Inform the Consul.”
Timbal wondered what they were up to now....
Cern watched as the Marines and his Journeymen swept down the corridor. A few scared Arconan crewmembers offered no resistance, but the Iktotchi knew that wouldn’t last. The team was rapidly heading for the bridge and Cern was waiting to find the center of resistance. He doubted greatly that the Arconans would wait till he got within sight of the bridge, but the team had infiltrated deep into the ship at this point and had found no one. The voice of the Marine Sergeant came through his helmet comm. unit with a crackle of static.
“Enemy defensive position at the next intersection. Sir, they have decent cover, this will not be easy.” The Sergeant was all business and as Cern moved up to have a look, several blaster bolts pinged harmlessly off the bulkheads from the Arconan positions. His team held their fire for the moment, preferring to save the ammo for sure shots.
Cern stood down the hall from the Arconans and waited for some sort of plan to pop into his head. A rather zealous Arconan defender popped up and fired several shots at the Guardian. Cern ignited his blade and deflected the shots harmlessly away. There was a shout from the Arconan position followed by a sudden flurry of activity.
“I got a bad feeling about this…” The Iktotchi’s voice was steady, but the Marine Sergeant heard the concern in Cern’s voice. Down the hall, Cern saw a solitary figure step out from behind the makeshift defenses the ships crew had put up. An electric blue lightsaber blade snapped into existence and the figure started down the hall.
“Sergeant, back your team up until I am finished here, Banshee Team, go with them and wait for the outcome.” The Guardian didn’t look back as the sounds of the Marines falling back filtered through his helmet. He barely heard the hum of his own blade as he raised it in salute to the Arconan Jedi.
Cern watched as a second figured stepped from behind the wall. This one trotted up to the slowly advancing Jedi and seemed to be speaking to him. The Jedi paused and Cern almost jumped through the roof when a Journeyman grabbed his shoulder.
“The transport radioed and said something about a cease fire on the fleet channels sir!” Cern turned and looked at the Marine Sergeant. The man was nodding at him and Cern switched his comm. unit to the fleet channel. After listening to the order twice, Cern turned towards the Arconan with the blue saber and watched him deactivate his lightsaber. Cern switched his own off but before he could turn away, the Jedi removed his helmet.
“Another time, perhaps.” The voice held no regret, rather it hinted at hope. Cern removed his own helmet and gave a slight bow to the Arconan Jedi.
“The honour would be mine, Sir.” With those words, each man walked back to their respective troops and began the search for more information about the sudden cease-fire.
The Basilisk was moving back into formation, having come out none worse for the wear after the engagement, having seen no boarding action and relatively light combat after the brief microjump.
Tra'an returned to consciousness about twenty minutes after the cease fire was called. Libra was sitting next to him, having remained by his side to care for him as his body recovered from the strain he had put it under. The coma had been a particularly deep one, and had restored him to full status. A knock sounded on the door and waited for his acknowledgment as he finished dressing in his combat armor for the landside engagement on Jusadih that he expected within the day. "Come," rang his voice. The door opened to admit Captain Duval, and behind her slid in Acolyte Brannigan.
The Knight chuckled softly as he nodded to Captain Duval. "Status?"
"Green and then some. That little jump you did really shook up my engineers and they've been tearing apart one engine at a time to check them. If nothing else, by the time we're ready to leave, the engines will be cleaner than they have been since we last were in spacedock. The crew extends their thanks for your efforts." Nodding to him, she stepped clear of Rex, making sure that he wouldn't be able to hide behind her if he needed to.
"Well Rex, I assume you've come to find out what you'll be doing when we land. Seeing as how you're now in charge of four of my best squads and will be in the front of the vanguard for the re-taking of Jusadih." A small chuckle escaped from him at the pale sight of his apprentice and the idea of really being right in the thick of it. "I have it on good authority that Tyno will be Marshalling the ground forces for one last time, so I can pass all the strategizing back to him where it belongs."
Rex swallowed again as he imagined fighting alongside this alien chainsaw that strove every day to embody what an Obelisk was supposed to be. The Roll Master had taken him under his wing from the beginning and often trained and sparred with the young man, only 19, and tried to teach him the necessary lessons that had not been covered in the Shadow Academy. Libra, as almost always when with other people, stood at his right shoulder, silent and observant. The Krath would begin training with the boy shortly to accustomed him to her different way of doing things.
If Rex was to become his apprentice, he would have to become accustomed to being trained in many different things from his Master and his Master's chosen. Such things would help broaden and accelerate his development. "Return to your men, and return them to the Hangar Bay. They had best be ready to leave the ship almost immediately upon arrival at Jusadih, and for a hard landing." Rex opened his mouth and shut it again. This was not the way he had expected to be greeted, certainly not treated.
Of course Tra'an was definitely the exception and not the rule when it came to Dark Jedi.
Koskian leaned back in the chair he had claimed near the corner of the duty bar of the Warspite. Ensign Grid sat across from him, grinning widely as the waitress poured more drinks for the two men and the several 'dancers' they had convinced to sit with them. Toasting, the merry makers downed their shots and turned to the beers. Several armed men stood before the table, glaring at Koskian and Grid.
“Whats the problem, man, the fights over, sit down and have a drink!” shouted Koskian, grinning widely.
“The problem...is that the man with you was supposed to be in the brig four hours ago. And you aided him in the illegal commandeering of ship equipment during combat,” growled the security officer, a Sergeant by his stripes, “I've been ordered to take him, and you, in, Sir.”
“Oh comeon, it was a fight, I made ships go BOOM!” said Grid with a stupid grin, before throwing his arms up, one holding a beer, and screaming, “BOOOOOOOOOM!” before descending into drunken laughter. One of the dancers tried to wipe the beer off her chest before one of her friends leaned in and began licking her clean. All four men, the Jedi, Ensign, and security guards gave pause at this, transfixed for a moment.
“Ahem, ummm,” started one of the guards, “right, both of you, are coming with us. You will be charged and....and...,” the guard stuttered as a large shadow loomed over him.
Koskian began to giggle as he manipulated the area around the officer, causing the light to slowly vanish, enveloping him in darkness. Laughter could be heard around the table, the girls enjoying the looks on the guards faces, Grid just glad the Obelisk wasn't after him. Finally Kosk got tired of the game, dismissed the darkness, and got a very serious look on his face.
“Look, friend, I could...I could,” and the serious look cracked as the drunken Primarch grinned widely, “I could kill you with my mind, ha ha ha. Now why don't you run off pal, were BUSY!”
Grid looked over at him with concern as the General continued to laugh. Drunk or not, the older man seemed to be slowly moving towards...madness. And possibly not the fun kind, Grid realized, wondering how long he should hang around the Primarch. Downing another round of shots, the two men turned to look at the guards again.
“Right, we'll find you two after your passed out, and toss you in the brig, hmm?” said the smirking guard, thinking in the long run.
“Bugger off before I separate your head from it's resting place, and watch it float away from all the hot air filling it, “ growled Koskian, sipping his beer and pulling one of the dancers closer to him.
Grid wandered off several hours later, very, very inebriated. It came swiftly, the sudden thwack of a stun baton to his back taking him down. The two security guards pulled him up, and one tossed him over a shoulder. Laughing to each other they made their way to the brig.
Koskian groaned and shifted on his bunk, noting that more weight was on it then usual. Looking to his left he grinned at the twi'lek dancer laying peacefully asleep next to him. Turning to his right, he froze as he noticed the partially clad Wookie dancer, also very asleep. A slight whimper ran through him as he crawled out of the bunk, quickly and quietly clothing himself before gathering his comlink and sidearms and shooting out the door.
A few corridors down, head throbbing from the celebratory drinking the night before, he keyed on his comlink, looking for status updates from his Legion commanders.
“65th and 66th are ready to move, Lieutenant General, we suffered minor casualties during the fight,” reported High Colonel Corin, his report short and to the point.
“67th is prepped and ready to move when we reach Jusadih, sir,” came Colonel Korbin's answer.
“68th is bored. And ready to fight,” growled Colonel Laurus, obviously chafing under the lack of combat.
“Good, all commanders stand by and be ready for the assault. And be wary of any Arconan tricks,” spoke Koskian, and nearly crapped himself from laughter as a mutter of reply was heard.
“Yeah, you'd know wouldn't ya...” came the voice, either Korbin or Corin, and Koskian didn't feel any need to press the issue, simply shutting off the comlink.
Just a few meters down the left corridor Niemand saw the reason for the broken emergency light. A grenade - he couldn't tell what type, things that went boom had never been on his list of special interests - obviously had not exploded. come to think of it, it didn't look like it was supposed to explode, exactly. A smoke grenade maybe? But who would throw a grenade at an emergency light without a reason? Except Ceth, of course, the Obelisk had done worse things before.
So someone had been trying to confuse them and then pick them off one by one. Floating back towards the battleteam, going straight through the wall in the process, Niemand wished he could finally learn to manipulate matter in some way or the other.
When he reached the point where he had left Cethgus, everyone was gone. Instead, remnant sounds of fighting drifted through the corridors, and from where Nie just came from came a loud bang. A few minutes later, all was quiet again.
"Just great," the ghost growled. "Maybe he planned to get rid of me all the time. But I can easily find him..."
A young Protector passing by, carrying a wounded marine, looked up in alarm at his voice, but didn't seem to see the ghost. Niemand barely stopped himself from laughing. So finally someone else but Ceth could hear him. Maybe he was getting better at this after all.
"What are you staring at?" The voice of Dakari sounded across the hallway. "Get moving, Protector. And everyone else, listen up, we have a cease fire, it seems."
Niemand now noticed several more marines and low ranked CSP Sith and Obelisk following Dakari. As the young protector hurried on, Dakari went right through Niemand, then stopped for a second as if listening before he moved on. No, Miemand was not getting much better at this being-a-ghost thing. With a mental sigh, he concentrated and relocated to wherever Cethgus was.
He came out in the middle of confusion among the remains of a battle. "Cease fire? What do you mean cease fire?" Cethgus just snorted. "We've just made some important prisoners..."
"Which are obviously being returned to Arcona, sir." The Guardian giving the news didn't look happy.
Cethgus waved him away, and then turned towards his team. "Figures. I think I'll never figure out why such decisions are made."
"And that's why you are not in a summit position," Niemand said drily.
Cethgus jumped a little. He had obviously hoped to be rid of the ghost by now. "As if you have been," he growled. "Right, so what do we do next, oh great ghost of miracles?"
"Do I detect a little bit of sarcasm there, Ceth? I am amazed you understand the concept. As to what our next course of action is, why don't you ask your superiors and act accordingly?"
Not sure if he had been insulted or not, Ceth frowned and did as Niemand had suggested. The rest of the Blades of Chaos looked at each other, still not very convinced Cethgus was not just losing it. But then, some were convinced he had already lost it during the first Vong encounters.
"So what do they want us to do now?" Melvin asked.
Ceth's face was one of misery and humiliation. "We've been ordered to help clean up. Seems we were the only ones asking for a new assignment. Anyone else seems to be taking a break."
Grumbling to themselves, the battleteam followed Ceth as he started to assis the ship's crew in clearing away the reminders of the battle. "So, what does this make him?" Melvin growled, pointing at Ceth's back. "Stupid or just naive? Or maybe both?"
Raiden didn't agree. "Actually, I think he just listened to a ghost."
Timbal was somewhat confused, and definitely angry and annoyed. People had shot at his Fleet, and no one was going to die because of it. It was especially annoying and infuriating because it was Arcona that had been doing the shooting, and because he knew their own fleet was on the ropes. Hell, a few more minutes and they would have taken captured their flagship, and eliminated the others.
The cease-fire command seriously put a crimp on the plans to wipe out the most annoying of Clans, but he reluctantly put trust into what Phoenix was doing. He better, anyway, Timbal thought bitterly to himself, or else he might just have some words with him otherwise.
Currently the combined fleets were busy doing some last minute repairs, and basically consolidating their assets. The tasks were almost done, and the last of the transports had just completed their docking operations, and the snubfighter combat patrols were about to come in. Once everyone was docked, they could finally head on out of here.
“Flight Ops, sir. All fighters report docked and ready.”
Timbal nodded. “Comms, inform the Consul and the combined Fleets that we’re ready to jump. Transmit the rendezvous coordinates as well.”
Timbal waited a few minutes while everything was done, then nodded as he got confirmation of readiness from the combined Fleets and from Phoenix. “Helm, Comms, transmit our jumping mark. On three, two, one, mark.”
With that, the stars elongated and flashed together, and the Fleets entered hyperspace.
“Helm, sir. Coming up on the rendezvous point in ten seconds.”
“Thank you, Helm. Sensors, I want a complete scan of the area the instant we arrive. Flight Ops, launch the ready starfighter patrol when we get out. Tactical, confirm the arrival of all Fleet elements. Guns, get ready to shoot, we have no idea of what to expect when we arrive.”
Another chorus of ayes followed, and then the countdown was given.
“Reversion to real space in three, two, one, mark.”
The glowing tunnel dissolved into the elongated lines, then into individual stars.
“Sensors, sir, scanning the area.”
“Tactical, sir. Looks like everyone is here, sir. Confirming now… Confirmed, all Fleet assets are good to go.”
“Flight Ops, sir. Confirmed starfighter combat patrol launch from all capable vessels.”
Timbal nodded, proud of the marked increase in efficiency that the crew was employing. Real combat does that to people, he knew.
“Ok, what do we have, Sensors?”
“Running a confirmation now, sir, but looks like we’ve got a Star Destroyer analog, a cruiser analog, and a slave ship. Coralskipper presence is minimal, only forty. They’re all at fifty klicks, roughly our level. Looks like the coralskippers are turning to engage, only about half of them though.”
Timbal nodded, but he frowned. Where was the massed Yuuzhan Vong threat that Braecen had ranted about? Where was the Plagueis Fleet? From their official order of battle, they should have easily been able to fight off the current threat. At least their platform was up and running and operational, but then again the platform was really removed from the area of operations. It was surprising that the Yuuzhan Vong hadn’t attacked it as yet, considering their zealous desire to destroy all technology.
"Ok, launch all troop transports, make sure that the Expeditionary Force gets a fighter escort so they can assist Plagueis ground forces. If things are quiet, that will make their deployment to the planet far easier. Tell 'em Marshal Victae sends his regards." Timbal tried to sound flippant, but he still worried, though.
“Sensor’s sir. Confirmed all enemy ships, nothing else has come up. Their own capital ships are not responding, and the coralskippers that are moving are just setting up an outer screen.”
Timbal really didn’t like this at all. Something was fishy. The Yuuzhan Vong that he knew, no matter what their numbers, would have immediately started for their Fleet to engage and destroy. “Comms, cross-deck our information with the ships of the combined Fleets. Advise the Consul that we’re requesting orders.”
Timbal waited for a few minutes, in which time his Communications Officer notified him that there was an encrypted channel opened between the Excidium II and the ground forces below them. Timbal knew that had to be Phoenix demanding to know what the hell was going on here.
The communications traffic ended, and a second or two afterwards, a movement out in the star field caught his eye.
“Sensors, sir! Incoming ships, look to be Yuuzhan Vong in origin!”
“What kind of ships?” Timbal asked, a mounting sense of dread beginning to form in him. If he could actually see a ship dropping in from hyperspace at this range….
“Sir, we have a Kor Chokk type ship that has entered.”
The dread crystallized in Timbal’s gut. “Refresh my memory. What are they analogous to?”
He knew the answer, but wanted to hear it anyway. “Sir, that’s analogous to a Super Star Destroyer.”
The bridge went really quiet at those words. It was shattered moments later. “Sensors, sir. The ship is launching coralskippers, and the previous enemy force is also launching more as well.”
Timbal gritted his teeth. A trap it was, with such hideous firepower they wouldn’t last long.
“Sensors, sir! More incoming ships, behind us, close aboard!”
Timbal reflexively ordered, “Guns, engage the new arrivals! Tactical-“
“Sir,” the Sensors Officer cut in, “They’re not organic ships! IFF shows them as the Plagueis fleet!”
“Belay that previous order, Guns!” Timbal shouted, a bit more relieved.
“Comms, sir, incoming message in the clear! Bringing it up!”
“-Plagueis Fleet to Brotherhood forces! We’ve been engaging that monster in a running battle for the past several hours! We’ve managed to hurt it some, but it’s still operational. We haven’t sustained many casualties, but we’ve got to take that thing out!”
Timbal felt a ray of hope. The Plagueis fleet included a Firefox-class carrier and an ISD II like his own Warspite, in addition to two Victory II-class Star Destroyers and a corvette. They might just have a chance....
"You want me to do WHAT?" Ric roared into the comlink. He was seated in the captains chair on the bridge of the Nighthawk. His team kept the lowly Arconan Scum under guard as he answered the call that had come through on the fleet channel. "After all we did to get this tub and now you want me to give it back?"
"Roger that, sir," the com tech on the other end of the line repeated. "Orders are to cease all actions and return to the Excidium."
"What if I like it here and want to keep this as a trophy?" Ric was still in a state about having to give up his prize.
"Which part of get your collective asses back here did you not get?" this voice belonged to Lucien and he was getting angry.
"Alright, alright. Geez, can I just get a sovenier out of the deal anyways? Just something to remember my visit here when I am old and grey? Maybe not, this Arconan scum isn't really worth much anyways. Roget that Lord, order understood and will comply," Ric looked that the marines standing with him on the bridge and was glad he couldn't see the looks on their faces. He clipped the comlink back to his helmet and shook his head.
"Alright boys, you heard the man. Gear up and head back to our ship. We'll let this rabble deal with the mess," Ric watched as the men filed out of the room and placed a seismic charge in the captains chair. He looked at the second officer and motioned him over.
"This charge is linked to a dead mans switch. I am holding the detonator and will release it if any of my men are molested by any of you Arconans as we leave. Be aware that the device has anti-tamper safeties so if you even look at it hard it will go off. Is that clear?" The man turned pale, nodded and looked as far away from the device as he could. Ric left the bridge and followed his troopers back down to the lower side of the ship.
As he entered the shuttle, Sergeant Major Heller reported that they had lost seven marines in the assault and had recovered all the bodies for proper burial later. He also reported that there had been some action on the command ship and from what he gathered, an Arconan battleteam had made some sort of trouble there.
Hearing that set Ric off. Arconans were not to be trusted as they were all liars and backstabbers. He looked at the remote detonator in his hand and decided to just let it go. He imagined the suprise on the bridge as it stopped beeping and the green light turned to red. Then when the sparks started to boil out of it and it popped sending small sparkles into the confined space. The fear he felt from that direction said that his party popper had been effective, both as an insurance policy and a distraction.
"Clear this heap and get us back home. I want to find out what the hell is going on," Ric ordered. He wanted answers and knew just the man to give them to him...
The body of the commander laid on the floor, clearly out cold there was no sign of the sergeant coming around any time soon. His comm. Device was going off but the voice was talking to itself as the Obelisk lay there unable to do anything. It was the ghost that found him first, just looking down at Cethgus, Niemand smirked at the Zabrak, and knew that he could do with some help, though it was tempting to leave his ass there on the metal floor. He knew that in the long run the Paladin would be of some use.
“Damn fool, I knew this would happen to you” Niemand looked at the body and sighed.
Leaning down the ghost, reached out with the force to Cethgus, and tried to make sure that he was actually going to be alright first of all, that was something of a small relief, but then a wave of annoyance came over the Dark Jedi Master, that he had allowed this to happen to himself. Niemand then went back to trying to get this Zabrak back up onto his feet. Using the force he noticed that the Obelisk’s eyes started to slowly open up.
Koskian gritted his teeth as the land craft lifted off. Never being a fan of flying as a passenger, he tried not to let his discomfort show through to the soldiers lining the walls of the craft around him. He was leading these men into battle and they didn't need to know their commander had issues with something as simple as an atmospheric drop. A platoon from the 65th was on board with him, his guard once they hit planetside.
From the reports that had been filtering in about the Vong fleet over the planet, Koskian wasn't sure they'd even make it down. The Warspite had assigned a squadron to escort the 4th Regiments drop ships down, but that didn't mean a few coral skippers wouldn't get lucky and vaporize a ship full of infantrymen. Touching the helmet covering his head, the only real piece of armor outside of the stormtrooper style chest plate painted dark green, he keyed on the comm unit he had installed in it.
“Pilot, whats the status of my troop's ships?” he queried.
“One of the assault landers is lagging a bit sir, but so far everyone is in formation. We've been given a drop point, just east of where Plagueis ground troops are expected to encounter the Vong forces. So far we've got no company, but there is a cruiser analog between us and the ground,” replied the pilot.
Grimacing at the news of the assault lander, it was carrying at least three of the 68th's AT-AT walkers, and they would be invaluable in the coming battle. The Primarch closed his eyes and focused on the life signs ahead of the landing craft, noting the voids of nothingness in the Force and then rich world below.
'It all seems so close...we just have to pass the Cruiser craft without getting demolished...' he thought to himself.
Fighters from the Warspite were in a vicious dogfight with skippers from the Vong fleet, and the ISD II itself let out a massive salvo as it's various groups of landing crafts moved out past the cruiser. The 4th wasn't alone in this fight, Koskian knew, but no group had been given the same landing point probably, to better encircle the enemy force. Holding his breath as the ships passed, Koskian was convinced that the ship he was on was going to be vaporized in a sudden shot of molten rock, and dying without being able to fight back scared the Obelisk in a way he would never admit.
A sudden cheer was heard from the cockpit, the door opening and the co-pilot sticking his head back.
“Were past the enemy ships, ETA to landing is 10 minutes!” he shouted joyfully before closing the door again.
Koskian listened to his own troops let out a sigh of relief, and let out the breath he was holding as well. Now the fun part started, he thought with a grin.
"I just wish it was done with yet." Karachi's helmet shook, and he was likely to show the sour expression his comrades usually saw him with when they were waiting for battle. He had said this phrase at least 20 times since their arrival on the surface. Everyone else was about ready to snap at him, which was also not uncommon.
Voldemort turned to Karachi and was about to tell the man to shut up when the signal came over their helmets comm unit. The AT-ATs had been deployed and they were supposed to encounter the enemy soon now. Voldemort himself was not too happy about having to be the snap for the trap, as he called it. With his men, waiting for anything was not a good set up, and not only because of Karachi. They had missed out the last few training sessions due to small scale pirate and rebel hunting, and now were more than ready for action.
"Remember," he told them all for at least the 20th time - he guessed they were about ready to snap at him, too - "wait until you could almost touch them."
The ravine they were hiding around was not an obvious trap, it was not deep enough and there was hardly any vegetation around. Everyone was hiding in holes they had dug and covered with a sensor fooling (so they hoped anyway) foil. It was not comfortable but it would have to do.
"Sir, I think I can hear the first sounds of fighting," someone said.
Voldemort had noticed it before with his Force enhanced senses. Finally, the action would come to them. He did not waste a thought to how many of his group would still be there when it was over.
"Why am I hanging several inches above the floor?" Cethgus mumbled. "Just why to weird things happen to me all the time? The Zabrak tried to wake up and remember what had happened. There had been those stupid, no good Arconans and... then nothing.
'I suppose I could drop you,' Niemand giggled - giggled! - it Ceth's mind. The nerve of that ghost. Before Ceth could complain about that though, he found himself on the ground again, barely able to balance himself. For a moment he was tempted to shut at the dead kind, but he knew it would not help any. "What happened?" he asked instead. "Arcona scum betraying us again?"
'Of course.' Niemand seemed to be sad that he had not been here. 'I was a bit too late to show them what it means to betray CSP.'
"Yeah you... wait a sec, how come you could all of a sudden lift me??" When Ceth had seen the Force spirit last, he had been unable to influence the living world much aside of a shifted pencil or two.
'Maybe I finally got angry enough. Right then, so what do you want to do now?' Hanging in mid air in a meditation pose, the ghost looked decidedly like the wise ass he had been in life.
"See if I can find any Arconans, what else? Or rather, any battle. I need some piece of the action." Then he remembered something. "I need to find the rest of my team. And you'll help me with it."
For the first time, Niemand did not seem to have any objections.
After the scramble abroad the ISD Warspite the Knight had returned to the 70th legions staging area, he had only found men injured but some were ready to press on for another attack. He stared around at his men and then laid his eyes over Laela; she held her arm close to her body and then moved the over down to her stomach.
“You’ve been hurt! What happened?” Malaki said as he pushed past the men standing over her.
There was no reply for her as she lay there injured, but then her eyes lightened up and her mouth felt dry as she spoke.
“Im sorry…they flanked us, we tried….” She spoke softly but then moaned in agony as she tried to sit up.
Malaki cursed under his breath knowing that he would have to take the Titanium Force Zeta alone to battle on the fields of Kapsina within Jusadih System. The remainder of his men grinned at the thought of battle; they stood broadly with their weapons at by their side waiting for the Colonel’s command.
“Dam it, get the injured to the medical bay I have friends there who will help…Men prepare for battle as far as I know the 5th strike regiments are on the front line!”
The transport to take the legion powered its engine as the men slowly boarded it, Malaki took one last look at his love then he took the last step onto the ship and the doors shut behind him with a whoosh.
“One transport to the planet surface right up Colonel, access the flight path I don’t want our ship to be shot down by enemy craft.” The ship’s Captain said as they took off deep into the darkness of battle heading towards the planets surface.
"Looks like we have a small Vong corvette analog trying to do an end around. I want to cause it trouble and possibly own it. Gear up, wheels up in ten minutes," Ric finished the briefing. His troopers had spent the last few hours refitting after the battle to capture the Arconan ship. He walked up the ramp to the assault shuttle and watched his Marine troopers strap in to their battle seats.
They had done well in the first mission and would be expected to do it again and again. Over all he had only lost a few troopers in the assault and overall they had performed well. Ric took his seat near the pilots station and donned his headset, listening in to the command chatter and adding bits here and there.
The Assault shuttle lifted off the deck and made its way towards the small Vong ship. They had a small fighter force acting as a screen for the five shuttles that made up the assault force. Ric could feel the presence of his Quaestor, Thran, out there some where as well as more familiar people like Dante and Korvyn. He couldn't tell exactly where they were but that they were alive and in action.
The pilots scanned the exterior of the ship for an opening to land in or dock with. The pilot motioned for Ric to speak with him.
"Sir, I cannot find a place to attach or dock. What do you want me to do?" he asked.
"Get up enough speed and punch through the outer hull. The skin on these ships is made up of a specialized Yorik Coral and should produce a seal around any intrusion and break in them," Ric hoped that he was correct or the small ships could very well splatter against the hull and kill all aboard.
"Roger that, Sir," the pilot picked up speed and set course to punch through somewhere amidships and low. It seemed like a good spot and on a normal ship would be near the cargo holds.
"Brace for Impact!" Ric yelled over the roar of the engines. "First stick, ready to hit the door as we lock. Second stick, follow them out!"
The shuttle smashed through the hull of the Vong vessel with a bone jarring crunch. Ric was up and slapping the hatch release button before they had stopped completely and was out. He rolled into a low fighting position with his saber ignited and lighting the room. From what he could tell it looked like some sort of crews quarters but lacked the usual features.
The Marines filed out and set up a perimeter around the ship and then looked to Ric. He nodded and gave the go signal...
Koskian breathed deeply as he surveyed the burned ground around him, the AT-ATs of the 68th had annihilated the first group of Vong they had encountered since landing, the flanking attack working wonderfully. Dozens of dead soldiers were scattered across the burnt ground, only skirmishers, but Vong regardless.
“They didn't even bother putting up a real defense over here, did they sir?” asked a Lieutenant from the 65th.
“No way they coulda known we were coming, soldier,” replied the Lieutenant General with a grin, before turning to his commanders, “Mount back up, were rolling on. Last scouting flight said they're less then two klicks to the west. Plagueis troops are about to engage them, were going to...lend a hand,” said the Primarch with a grimace.
Twenty minutes of rumbling later, the 4th Strike Regiment got to see a large force of Vong soldiers arrayed against the armored troops of Plagueis. Koskian growled, standing at the hatch of one of the many personnel carriers of the 67th, looking over at the men under his command. The carrier rumbled to a halt, and the hatch dropped. Thumbing his lightsaber to life, Koskian roared and charged out, not waiting to see if his men followed.
Two hours later, it was over. More Palatine troops had come in from the west, and between the two divisions and the entire Plagueis army, the Vong had been utterly crushed. Then the confusing commands came down from the fleet to attack those they had come to aide.
“What the hell?” asked the comm officer, looking at Koskian, who looked equaling confused, before the thunderous roars of trubolasers firing at his temporary encampment. Looking out, they saw the Plagueis troops marching on them.
“Okay. This is...bad,” muttered Koskian.
The 70th Legion stood still as they unloaded out of their transport, men cried as soon as they came under attack. Yuuzhan vong warriors that bore the deities of their for-fathers charged across the open battle field plains, Malaki stared down at the first ranks of his men several cried in pain as they were struck down by razor bugs.
“Move out and gather a perimeter….!” The Knight ordered
“Colonel, Yuzzhan Vong activity sighted ahead, looks like they’ve spotted us”
The Krath gave the order to rank up in firing squads; he looked out the distance and could see the fierce creatures roaring their echoing deathly cries. His Soul of darkness commandos stood proudly behind the flight leader, rattle blaster fire flew out of their rifles towards the nearest targets. Thudding sounds blew into the Krath’s ears as many men squealed and moaned as they were struck by an alien bug.
“Dam it! Where are our reinforcements? Communication officer for god sake find out where our back up is”
Malaki screamed as he could see the full details of each Vong warrior’s armed with their brutal amphistaffs. The transport vanished as it took off into the gloomy skies; the knight drew his saber and activated its cunning golden blade ready to defend himself against any attack. He could hear the thunderous foot prints of men blundering forwards to where he stood; as he turned around he could see more proud men of the 5th strike regiment as well as Plagueis soldiers.
But before anyone could open their mouths to say men screamed as Yuzzhan vong were close enough to strike in combat. Their Amphistaffs stood straight like pikes but coldly met the weapons of the Titanium Force Zeta, Malaki growled with fury and brought his saber back to his stance. Blaster fire was being thrown everywhere, but wasn’t as worse as the cries of pain and agony from both men and Vong. The Knight cried out with a war cry and charge furiously towards the nearest alien monster.
“Where are those bloody reinforcements?!?” He could here someone shout faintly.
Across the plains of the battlefield towards the north east of the 70th legions precision stood the men of 3rd Regiment along with its commander, Cethgus Zor-El. Together they had the advantage against the Vong, At-At’s and vast amount of fire power stood before them and the enemy as they pushed forwards.
“Sir, we have picked up a faint distress call to the south…” The communication officer said as he evaded the shuddering sounds of a thud bug.
The Zabrak eyes looked up into an awakening spirit, “Who’s ID is it?” he asked in reply.
There was a pause for a second a moment of silence against the blaster fire echoing out from snarls and cries.
“The 70th Legion, Commanded by the Krath Knight Malaki”
Cethgus sighed and shook his head knowing he had the right answer in his head and then slowly spoke out loud.
“Then we shall answer his call!”
Malaki cried and howled in pain as he felt the sharp cursing edge to an Amphistaff slash against his torso. His lightsaber crashed against its unearthly structure of the creature’s weapon, he feared for the worst knowing the only weakness against the monster was deep under its natural tough strong armour. Many men had already fallen and yet no aid had come yet, the Knight had tried his best to reach out for the force calling for aid in a spiritual manner.
But even before he could cry he had to avoid another deadly strike for a beastly Vong, it took him by surprise and felt the creature’s weapon strike into leg. The human cried in agony and struck out furiously with his saber however barely scratched into its horrid flesh and body. Malaki growled as another furious attack from one more creature behind him lashed out, he called back for the force aiding his agility. He tried his best to evade the attack but failed as he was struck against his left side.
The Knight cried and dropped to his knees in agony, he looked up into the eyes of the repulsive creature that was ready to kill with an overhead strike. The Krath’s eyes shut tightly waiting for his death, but only awakened to the pain from the Yuuzhan vong warrior as he fell to the floor dead with a locust throwing knife pierced into his flesh beneath his arm. Malaki stood back up with his saber and stared into the eye’s of one of his commando’s, but it fell into the look of shame and loss as he watched an Amphistaff pierce out of his chest killing him instantly.
“Nnnnoooo!” The Knight screamed and took off charging towards the creature that slaughtered his guardian.
As Malaki took the first look at what had killed him, he had only realised that it had to be the toughest, beastly and ghastly looking Vong in the battle field, meaning that he had laid eyes upon the Warmaster of this band of monsters. He dodged past a Razor bug as it was flung at him and struck another sharp living bug away with his saber, and then the human was in reach for close combat.
The fearsome one had his Amphistaff stood straight and broad like a sword and lashed out with all its strength at the Tarisian. It crashed against the yellow blade of the saber with a thunderous crackle; Malaki gritted his teeth as he felt an incredible strain in his hands as he tried to fight back against the creature’s power. The flight leader backed away, dodging another stunning strike. He could feel fear cloud his emotion, and let out a tear as he knew his end was coming closer than he believed.
The Warmaster grabbed hold tightly around Malaki’s left arm, crushing his bones forcing him to drop his saber. He tried to pull out his MWC enforcer from his belt, but failed to reach it as he was lifted off the ground by his throat. Malaki coughed and was choking against the creature’s grip. His eye’s darted around for help and then he spotted a Zabrak along with many firing squads that bore the mark of our clan.
“Cethgus…..” He said silently against his breath.
Then he cried in agony, moaning in pain as the Warmaster dug his weapon straight through his torso. The human’s blood ran down out of the wound, his vision went faint and his heart shook with its last beats. As the creature throw his body to the ground he looked death in its eyes, blood drooled out of the wound and he could barely see the Obelisk Zabrak fiercely attacked back at the Warmaster in cold hearted revenge.
But all of that was too late; no one was quick enough to save the human. Malaki let go of his last breath and the final thump from his heart echoed out through the battlefield, everything around him went clouded and dark as his life past on to the spirit world.
It was more the effects of surprise and rage that killed the enemy, not Ceth's skill, but it dd not matter. What mattered was that the creature who had killed Malaki was now dead as well. It did not make Cethgus feel any better, though.
"I am too late." Cethgus dropped to his knees, crying out in fury. It had not taken him that long to get here, as a transport had been waiting for him, readied by those of his battleteam who had not wated to go to the surface without him. Yet, he felt as if he was too late all his life. anytime it mattered... noticing too late the Arconans were still up to something, now being too late to help Malaki. And it had been like that before, too. For a moment, he expected to feel the presence of Niemand, almost hoped that the annoying spirit would be there to have some way to save Malaki. He had seen Niemand's ghost do something similar before. But of course, there was nothing. When it counted, the silly child spirit was always gone. He could still feel him around somewhere, but not ready to talk to him.
Pushing the thought of his comrade aside, he jumped up, fury distorting his face. His hate would be the fuel for his personal war against the abominations attacking Brotherhood territory.
Malaki viewed all this as if through a veil. Not knowing why, he had just been gripped by a powerful presence, and wherever his soul had been going to upon his dead, it seemed it would have to wait.
"You aren't ready to go yet, brother."
The voice - could it be called a voice if there was no sound? - was familiar, and Malaki recognized Niemand, looking as if he was alive. Maybe that was because he now, too, was dead. "what do you mean?"
"We both have some revenging to do, and help them to win a battle. Are you ready to do that before we move on?"
"Revenge..." Malaki didn't have to think on that. "Revenge is the onyl thing left, is that it?"
"Something like that, but don't make me turn philosophical. Come with me." Niemand reached out and touched him as he would have as a living person, and Malaki could feel the touch. The scenery changed around him, and he realized he had somehow been transported somewhere. "This is cool. Can we always do that?"
"Yeah, if you learn how. But I fear you will not be in this state long enough."
Back at the battlefield, Cethgus noticed, for the first time in months, that he could not feel niemand at all.
Thanks to a significant amount of pressure from Lucien, transports had dispatched at the last minute to retrieve the Kraken Regiment from the Basilisk, as it was to be tasked with Fleet Support in orbit. The damned pilots had turned out to be cowards and refused to perform a combat landing, putting the Krakens about a klick from the battle, which had royally pissed off their leader, leaving the lead pilot headless. Thanks to a rather reckless boarding maneuver from Blade, the corvette analog that had been harassing landing parties was quickly distracted by other more, pressing concerns.
The battle tide had turned with the destruction of the 70th Legion and the Death of Dark Jedi Knight Malaki. The vong had broken through the line of battle and the War Master was wreaking havoc. Such was the scene when the Kraken Regiment came Double Timing over the nearby ridge. "Krakens to Battle!" came the cry from Tra'an Reith's throat, and was answered by a roar from 4000 of the very best Scholae Palatinae had to offer. The commotion was enough to momentarily freeze the battle as all the Dark Jedi in the newly arrived Line of Battle lit their sabers.
The cry of "Jeedai!" came from the vong as they turned to meet this new threat head on, leaving themselves caught on a two front war. With a wordless cry, the Brotherhood forces rushed down the ridge line with speed and anger, the Vong rushing up with hatred and pride. The two lines clashed as the Kraken Regiment as one laid into the opposing forces with Vibroswords re-enforced with Havod and Laminium to help them stand up to the tough fighting conditions against Vong Amphistaves. A squad of Impetus M'nar's Praetorian Regiment remained upon the ridge top sniping targets of opportunity and covering the backside of the Krakens.
Dark Knight Reith was in rather fine form as he and his chosen youngster, with the help of Kara Zor-El tore through rank after rank of slaves. They quickly parted as two Vong Warriors emerged to contest the advance of the "Jeedai". Kara and Tra'an grinned to each other, engaging with the two warriors and opening their backsides up so that Rex and the Troopers could participate. With sword wielding troopers taking out the backside of these Vong, there was really no contest, and they went down swiftly.
It was about then that things started to change.
Kara and Tra'an broke through into an area that was empty except for one towering Vong that ha to be the War Master of this particular bunch. It was not long before Cethgus burst through the other side of the fray, having come to revenge Malaki's death. Tra'an spread out and the three of them moved forward together, seeking Harmony of motion through the Force. Together they engaged the massive brute in a battle for supremacy on the field, and were quickly joined by members of the Order of the Dragon that had been intermixed with the Kraken Regiment. Soon enough, the War Master was covered in wounds and yet still on his feet and moving, no matter how much damage was dealt.
Exodius had been forced to withdraw after his left arm was severally damage from a glancing blow, and Gavan had been knocked out. Laurus and Tra'an finally brought the beast down by getting two times blows in to hamstring the bastard where his Vonduun Crab armor had been chipped away into nothingness by countless lightsaber blows. Two quick thrusts later and the being was headless as each had slid their saber into the gaps in the armor on each side of the neck and twisted.
It was not enough though, as the Amphistaff had a life of its own, and struck out for Tra'an, scoring a solid blow on his right leg and crippling it. Exodius and Laurus brought their sabers down together and sliced the head from the things, leaving the body to writhe around, even as a combat medic bound the wound shut. The Dark Jedi stood for a few brief moments in the space at the middle of the battle, bound together in solidarity at having avenged one of their own with the death of the very being that had killed him. Cethgus and Kara stayed behind to defend Tra'an, as he was stuck there until the battle ended, his right leg unresponsive and unable to hold his weight.
The battle was quickly resumed, but the tide had turned again, and this time there was no doubt that it was for the last time.
“Oh crap oh crap oh crap,” muttered the Ensign, shifting about in the uncomfortable stormtrooper armor he had 'borrowed' when a power fluctuation had dropped the field in his cell of the brig. Figuring that waiting around for punishment was a bad idea, Grid had made his way to the armory, which was oddly empty when a battle was raging around the Warspite. Some how he had thought putting on armor was a good idea, probably for protection and for a disguise.
But he was a bit short of a stormtrooper, and the helmet felt incredibly confining as he tried to keep up with the rest of his 'squad' on the surface of Kaspina. A group of Jedi were fighting ahead of him against a monstrosity of a Vong, people were crying out things about a 'Warmaster', apparently the beast was it. Holding his rifle awkwardly, the Ensign shot at the strange reptilian like creatures that were attacking the troopers of Scholae, quickly realizing that firing a gun was a bit different from setting targets for his turbolasers.
A quick trial and error of aiming lead the Ensign to realize the same basic principles were there, shoot where you think the enemy is going to be, not where they are. Having always been good at this, Grid stopped running, brought the rifle stock up to his shoulder as he'd seen some of the troopers do, and began tracking targets. For some reason the laughter of the Jedi he'd gotten drunk with two nights ago was filling his head as he began snapping off shots, taking out Chazrach with ease as he realized just how easy it was to shoot somebody.
Laughing aloud now, Grid began walking and shooting his way towards the battlefield, hoping that by killing off a few dozen slaves, he could avoid a court martial for stealing the armor...and the commandeering of the turbolasers...and avoiding arrest...and then realized maybe he'd be better off if one of the Vong killed him down here. Shrugging off this downer of a thought, he went back to shooting.
As the battle went on around them, Voldemort and his men had retired towards the edge of the battlefield, driven by the Vong who had more power than they had believed. Half of his group was wounded, himself included. To heal the gash in his leg, he would have needed some peace and quiet as he had never learned to use the Force that way under pressure.
Just when he led the ones not too badly wounded back into the fray, he saw Malaki fall and Cethgus go on a rampage a moment later. Then his attention was taken from the destruction of the 70th towards a single stormie who barked out a mad sounding laugh and started laying it on the Vong. A good shot, he was, but something was a bit odd about him. But before the Obelisk could follow that train of thought, something searched past him and hit Karachi on the head.
One of those stupid bugs, he realized as Karachi fell down unconscious. At least voldemort hoped he was only unconscious. "Change of plans," he barked into his helmet's comm. "We'll do what they will not expect us to do."
"And that would be, sir?" a confused combatant asked.
"Voldemort pointed to a group of rocks standing close to where Tra'an just went down. "Death from above," he explained.
"Ooh I like that," someone else laughed. but it was the desperate laughter of someone aware that he was going to die in a short time.
His team turned around, seemingly running from the battle what would sure anger several people. Behind a rise, the remaining 7 of his group neared the large boulders. On a hand signal, they short their grappling hooks and quickly went up. Then it took them just a moment to orient themselves.
"There." Voldemort pointed towards where Tra'an was. "I don't want to see us losing yet another Dark Jedi." Even with Ceth and Kara trying to protect the fallen comrade, Voldemort thought they could use some more help.
His group didn't take that the wrong way, they all knew they were more expendable than any Force user. Just before they were going down, Taela, the only female in his group, touched his shoulder and pointed to their right. "Sir, I believe this is a better target."
Voldemort turned his head in surprise, then nodded agreement. "Very good. Everyone, we are going to take out that thing over there."
His group looked to the Rakamat, and while they didn't know the name for it, they knew it spelled death. "Everyone has to die, I suppose," one of the older men said.
"Ready? Get going." Voldemort counted to 10 until the large creature was almost on the same level and height with them, then he jumped over. He was easily able to hold his balance with the Force, but the others had some difficulty as the beast was moving rather quickly. "This is going to be interesting," the Obelisk mumbled to himself. "Maybe today is a good day to die."
"Before I forget to ask - where in the name of the force are we?" Malaki's ghost looked around - at least that was what he thought he did. In fact it was like looking everywhere at once, which was utterly confusing to him. After a moment, he deducted that he should be able to control this by imagining he still had eyes, but it was not easy and he wondered how Niemand did not seem to be bothered by this.
They seemed to be standing in a large weird shaped room, almost round in nature but not quite, and if it was not due to his changed senses, the shape of the room seemed to adjust every now and then. It would have caused him a headache if he would still have had a head.
"We're in the Vong warship, the large thing you've seen and said you'd rather die than go there," Niemand said drily. "Yeah I heard that, even if you didn't see me then. You're dead now so i thought i should bring you along."
"On the Vong... wait, what are we doing here?" Malaki followed Niemand, but he didn't know how he managed that. His presence just seemed to follow the boy spirit to the middle of the room. A large, ugly black something was sitting in the middle of the room on some strange conception that looked decidedly alive. From what Malaki knew of the Vong, it most likely was.
"Destroying their ship." Niemand mentioned this as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
"Just how are we... I know, you will tell me, right?" Malaki noticed he was half standing inside the weird being and hastily moved out, although it did not seem to make a difference.
"Gravity. It all comes down to gravity." Niemand's mental laugh was every bit as annoying as it had been in life. "I could not have done it alone. but with your help, we will bring this baby down. Fun, isn't it?"
Malaki thought for a moment. "At least I'm dead already, so I am less likely to regret this. OK, tell me what to do..."
Cethgus felt the anger running through every part of his body, as his saber slammed against resistance. His wife at his side, her saber aiming true as they tried to hold their ground against the Vong. It wasn't long before they were being forced backwards. The 3^rd Strike Regiment fighting alongside their commander, orders were being barked along the lines, at the front protecting their injured comrade were the two Zor-El's. Cethgus slashed out at the Vong, but was blocked. He knew that they had to pull back. He barked an order to his men "Pull Tra`an out of here, and fall back, make a new line to keep these bastards at bay"
It was obeyed instantly as 3 men hauled Tra`an out of the fight. The legion moved backwards and formed a new line, and engaged the Vong again. This regiment wasn't about to give up at the final fight. Cethgus moved his arm across and pushed Kara back behind him and started to back away making sure that nothing could happen to his wife. The Vong pushed forward their weapons clashing against sabers. A couple of yells of pain could be heard as thud bugs were launched at the 3^rd Strike Regiment
Cethgus decided that they had given enough ground and started to hold them there, his saber rammed into the neck of a Vong, bringing the warrior down, only to find another Vong punching out, slamming his fist against the Brigidar generals jaw, stunning Cethgus for a moment before the Obelisk attacked back slightly annoyed that he just let that happen. Pain sunk into his body still, even though the fight was raging on, he felt the loss of his old friend, and also the loss of the Ghost, which the Obelisk Prelate enjoyed. The fight continued with brutal fighting on either sides from the Vong and the 3^rd Strike Regiment, Tra`an now safe behind the Regiment's lines.
The spirits stood still as they stared at each other eyes, Malaki felt his presence lifted into a different type of existence. His eyes darted across the unearthly naturally fused ship and new that everything around him could become a vortex of hell with the right amount of power. Niemand finally open his little ghostly mouth speaking in his childish voice.
“Well, it’s hard to explain …it takes a lot of energy but with enough power”
The Ghost of the Knight sighed knowing that the other spirit to him was just talking gibberish.
“Wait hang on….Say everything you just said in a language I can understand?”
Malaki said as he shook his head, but as he stooped he could feel the hand of Niemand rest upon his spiritual body.
“Why don’t I just show you…?”
Everything around them seemed to fall deep into something else; the living force grew stronger and wiser drawing the two spirits together. Malaki felt the two bodies being absorbed together, he felt a lot different as if he his spirit had grew stronger. As he searched his mind for any answer’s on what had happened, he found the other undiscovered half of him.
What the hell just happened! I like being one person…
The two ghost’s had been formed into one spirit and had been given much more strength in all to do with the force. Within his mind stood both him and Niemand and it all seemed to be untrue as the boy spoke.
Oh nothing much, just a bit of this and that some merging nothing serious…
As the team was on the Vong walker, Voldemort noticed Ceth and his wife taking care of the Tra’an problem by removing him from the immediate danger. Nonetheless, this Rakamat proved a real danger. It was probably the only thing still holding ground for the Vong at this location. With some wquick hand movements, voldemort pointed to where his men were supposed to fix the explosives, then he took his gun and started shooting the enemy from up there. Any enemy firing back at them would not have to take care not to hit their own walker.
Of ourse they had been noticed, and a group of reptoids was already moving towards them. “Hurry up with the bang-bang,“ Voldemort urged.
“All explosives set,“ came the reply.
A few more shots, then the reptoids were close enough to climb up. Voldemort signaled to get off, and everyone but him used their grappling hooks to get down, using the closest boulders as they could not penetrate the skin of the beast. Voldemort was still standing there, aiming at the reptoids, trying to take out more of them. Then he finally jumped over to the rocks with the aide of the Force when they were almost all up. Just in time, he took cover behind the rocks, then the explosives went off. Some goey substance flew above his head, and the Obelisk hoped that it was not only the reptoids, that they had also damaged the Rakamat.
It was a long fight to what the Vong considered the bridge. They had taken losses as well as injuries on the way and it was only getting worse. Ric began to weigh the cost versus reward in continuing the assault.
He was down to almost forty five percent strength and that was counting the walking wounded. He'd sent many of his troopers back along the line to the assault shuttles to be cared for by the medics.
He shut down his saber during one of the infrequent lulls in combat and looked for his second in command, Sergeant Major Heller. He waved him over and began to plan. They could leave some explosives and then retreat back to the ship, taking this craft out of the fight or they could continue on. It was apparent that they now lacked the manpower to finish the assault but still had the esprit de corps of the men.
"Alright troopers, listen up. We are going to fall back to the shuttles and get the hell out of here," he watched the expressions on his men and was proud that they didn't show any anger nor disappointment for this decision. "I need the demolitions guys to stay with me and the rest follow the Sergeant Major. Get moving and I'll see you on the shuttle."
The demolitions troopers began to unload their stuff and get it ready to place. Ric had been on the crashed remains of other ships like this one and had a plan to deal with it. He would take the men back down towards the place where the shuttle docked and make their way a little more aft of there. He was going to blow up the organism that controlled the dovin basal.
As they covered the retreat, they ran into fewer and fewer Vong soldiers. It was a testament to their skill that they had killed so many of them. He would tell the survivors of what he saw when he got back, if he did at this point.
They cut their way through the last membrane type hatch that the Vong seemed to prefer and entered a small chamber. This chamber held vats of some sort of fluid, a pale sickly green. They were what controlled the dovin basals much like a hydraulic line controlled some of the surfaces on older model ships.
"Place your charges and lets get out of here," Ric watched the corridor as they went to work. Something in the direction of his ship caught his attention and he went to investigate.
Out of the corner of his eye he caught the flash of an ampstaff and ducked to the side, igniting his saber and trying to parry the blow. The Vong who was attached to the other end of the staff stepped into the corridor and began to attack. Ric tries to defend against every blow but without his sense of warning, it was difficult. Suddenly, he felt an intense pain stabbing through his back and coming exiting the front of his chest. Ric could feel his lungs filling with blood and cursed himself for not paying more attention to his situational awareness.
He looked into the eyes of the Vong warrior standing over him. The man said something that he could vaguely make out but he did recognize the word "Jeedai". As he raised his ampstaff to finish off the fallen Sith Warrior, blaster bolts flashed from down the corridor cutting down the Vong warriors and saving their commander.
Ric felt himself being picked up and carried by two of the demo guys. They hustled him back to the shuttle and got him in with almost twenty seconds to go before the timers were to blow.
As they strapped him into a medical capsule, he saw Heller giving the order to launch and get us away. He then hears him order to make best speed to the Excidium and let them know we were coming in hot and with lots of wounded.
The last thing Ric felt was a small, sharp stabbing pain in his upper arm and then blackness overcame him...
Tra'an was laying on the ground when his comm unit beeped at him. "Libra to Tra'an, package on it's way. Sorry about the delay but these damned people are going crazy looking for someone named Grid. Apparently he was last seen in the brig and has gone missing. Detonation in Thirty Seconds. Come back safely." He chuckled softly and activated his nasal rebreathers, having found that he was mildly irritated by the baffor powder. He didn't bother warning his people, they didn't need the distractions.
Rex had finally managed to bring the Kraken Regiment around, and with the help of the remains of the 70th, the Vong were encircled. A sonic boom passed above and the Shi'ido looked up into the sky, and smiled. A bright yellow cloud was drifting down to the surface of Kapsina, carrying with it Death, for anything Vong. The baffor powder disbursed into the atmosphere and was carried on atmospheric currents all over the main continent, even as it landed at his location.
The vong immediately felt the effects, armor locking up, weapons unable to function, the very air the breathed causing death and damnation. Just that it was over. The men cheered as Tra'an was helped to his feet and given a dead and rigid amphistaff to use as a walking stick. It was over, at least here on the ground.
Niemalaki hovered over the dovin basal, feeling into the Force. The gravity field surrounding the thing was floating around them, although for a while they did not truly notice. The sensation of being one was overwhelming for both sides.
Then the Niemand part of them started to touch the gravity field with their minds. The Malaki part quickly joined in, and from that moment on, any sense of individuality was gone. Their joined power and understanding of the Force together with their disembodied state enabled them to see the big picture of existence. Gravity bend to the Force and thus to their will just as easily as any solid thing had done in their lifetime. And somehow, through gravity, they were able to communicate with the dovin basal. With this one, and then one after the other with the others on the organic vessel.
Understanding came quickly, although it seemed to take a long time. Time seemed to flow totally different now, in fact, Niemalaki could not have explained it, did not even realize it completely, but it seemed time itself reacted to their power. Eventually, there was success. The dovin basals seemed in agreement, changing their gravity waves.
Then there was everything, and nothing. Niemalaki could see the galaxy as a whole. For a while there, it held on to the vague sensation of being something other than a part of it all, and then the unified mind let go. The knowledge it had went back to it’s source, the universe. Eventually, someone would gain access to the knowledge again, but Niemalaki ceased to exist.
Timbal was just about to give new orders when the science officer called out for everyone’s attention. “Sir, we have strange readings from their command ship.“ The screen now showed the large Kor Chokk, hanging in space, hardly moving. The readings Timbal saw pointed towards a large gravity fluctuation. “What in the name of all that’s powerful are they planning?“ Timbal wanted to know.
“I do not think it is planned, Sir. Actually, I believe it is...“
On screen, the Vong ship seemed to compress for a moment, and then it seemed to shrink very fast. A wink of an eye later, it was not there anymore.
“...gone,“ the science officer finished his sentence in awe.
“What has just happened? Did what I think happened just happen?“ mumbled Timbal. If he was not completely mistaken, the ship had just been swallowed by their own black holes they generated. “Sensors!“ he barked.
“Sensor readings indicate several small objects moving away from where the Vong ship has vanished,“ the answer came.
Timbal nodded. Just as he had thought. Just what it was that had made the Vong ship basically swallow itself, they would likely never know. Which unfortunately meant they would not be able to replicate it.
“The Vong are retreating, sir,“ the comm officer reported. “And someone with the nick Archangel seems to be quite angry that the final victory is now taken from him. He sdays he just got the upper hand despite some losses.“
Again, Timbal nodded. He had not expected otherwise. One strange victory, if it could be called one. As for the other troubles, only time would tell. And right now, Timbal was not patient enough to appreciate the fact.
THE END of this part of the story
The Grand Marshal watched the action from the bridge of the Excidium II, quizzical as to why the Kor Chokk would simply disappear like that. However, he was more pressed by the unprovoked attack on his ships by his former Consul and brother. Scholae had come to defend them, and now they were outright attacking the Royal Clan.
Salvos were fired back and forth from the capital ships in space as well as the infantry on the ground. Neither Clan was giving an ounce of ground to the other. Troopers were falling left and right, sacrificing themselves to the cause. Both Clans had since lost a good deal of starfighters as well and any continuation of this battle would likely see both Clans crippled and limping.
Lucien was trying to plan on what to do next, continue the fight or negotiate a truce when the sensors officer yelled out.
“Massive fleet at 6 o’clock!”
“Send IFF transmission immediately. Determine threat level.” The Proconsul responded.
“Aye, sir.” A few seconds passed. “Response is friendly Brotherhood vessels sir.”
Just then, the blue washed visage of the Shadow Hand appeared before Lucien.
“All Combatants from Scholae Palatinae and Plagueis, stand down immediately or be destroyed. Arcona fleet, remain in system until further instructed. Braecen, Phoenix, and Mejas…Report to the Nightfall immediately. Shuttles and Escorts are in-bound. Resistance is futile.”
Lucien looked to Phoenix, who shrugged his shoulders. There was little that the beleagured fleet of Scholae could do against even just the Nightfall, let alone the cadre of capital ships that accompanied her. Lucien turned to the comm officer.
“Relay this message: Scholae will lay down their arms and agree to the truce, so long as the Dark Council will investigate and punish those who would betray the trust of another of the Brotherhood in an effort to destroy two entire Clans.”
END OF RUN-ON