Unification The Story


08-03-2009 03:07:17

The Shroud…the blanket of darkness that held within it the seat of the Dark Brotherhood, conquered by the unknown two years ago. The contrast between then and now was so disparate the comparison hardly seemed useful anymore. Everyone knew of the changes by now, and many still wanted to talk about it. But, for Anshar and the members of Clan Tarentum, the changes no longer mattered; what was done was done. The clan would do its part in this operation, proving its skill and loyalty again, though these had been proven many times over in the past.

Anshar Kahn Tarentae, Consul of Clan Tarentum, stood on the bridge of the Belarus class cruiser Phlegethon, the vessel captained by his closest friend and student, Dranik. Despite his status as Consul, Anshar let Oberst, Proconsul and Marshall, lead the military operations from the Star Destroyer Magnus Kaerner. Standard procedure dictated that the two primary clan leaders remained on different ships during conflict. Anshar focused on his gaze on the Shroud, the other ships from Clan Tarentum filling in his peripheral vision.

Once the guardians of the Shroud, Tarentum was the most familiar with the Shroud. Now her Elders would guide the clan through the twisted maze once again, leading them to unknown, and potentially non-existent, trophies. Then again, Tarentum’s definitions of trophies did not always mesh with what others may consider a trophy.
New ships filled the clan’s fleet, including the nice addition of the MC80 Renegade*. Brought into the clan’s fleet through harrowing circumstances, the vessel had been stripped and retrofitted, turning her into a giant bomb, albeit one armed with droid brain run turbolasers. Slaved to the Magnus Kaerner¸ the vessel would meet a glorious end in service of her new masters. Tarentum had spent the entire two years since the invasion gearing up for war, buying and outright stealing supplies.

“Commander, transmission from the MK,” reported Ailsa Cadran, the Phlegethon’s Executive Officer. “Marshall Oberst is transmitting final orders to all the ships. All Elders are in place.”

“Thank you,” said Dranik, keying the holo-transmission. He turned to Anshar who was serving as the ship’s Shroud navigator. Oberst’s image appeared before them.

“All vessels, we enter the Shroud on my mark. Stay in formation and rely on your assigned Elder for navigation. Because we do not know what we will encounter, we will not be dropping any nav-buoys.”

With that, the short and terse instructions ended. The engines of all the clan’s ships blazed to life, pushing the vessels into the torn blackness. Anshar stretched out with the Force, feeling the energy flow into him, as well as the strange feeling of the torn Shroud. Tuning out the clan members’ anxieties and hopes, Anshar focused solely on delivering his vessel to the navigational safety of the other side of the Shroud. The only thing he knew for certain was that uncertainty dictated the course of events.

*(OOC note, mainly to judge: Renegade approved by Sarin, with understanding/agreement we would not attempt to keep the vessel. Read the “Of the Past” run-on for full details)


08-03-2009 03:12:46

The remnants of other cosmos, a silhouette of lost planets. The theory didn't seem too far-fetched anymore in Aedile Ronovi Tavisaen's mind as she traversed the corridors of the Magnus Kaerner. The veins in her forehead were already pulsing from a combination of adrenaline and her amplified senses as she extended her Force feelers only to gain fragments of people's emotions and anxieties. She sighed. Being within the nebulous cloud was enough to make her unsteady, her knees wobbling as she passed each room where clan members assigned to the Tarentum army prepared.

Uncertainty guided her every step.

She knew that the rest of House Cestus was on the B/CR Reqiuem, her Quaestor and friend captaining it. Gladius had been assigned to the Cocytus, while Tridens was positioned on the Phlegethon. All of these ships were moving at sublight speed, weaving through ionized particles that held this strange cloak together over the Antei system. Slow, steady, unwavering in their resolve.

Ronovi entered a larger chamber and saw various fellow Dark Jedi on Oberst's military staff sitting by lockers, their heads raised almost in indignation and their weapons already on their person; she could vaguely sense her master, Doni Tzu, in another area of the ship. She moved past Major Huldrych, who clicked his mandibles at the non-insectile creature, and went to her assigned locker, opening it with a loud click. Her blasters and rifle were still there, though she was beginning to doubt how effective they would be now. How effective they would be against the sort of foe they were approaching. She placed a hand on the cold hilt of her lightsaber as she closed her locker.

Ronovi sat beside fellow Cestian Colonel Frey Gallandro, who kept his eyes closed as if he were meditating. She did not move, instead attempting to prepare her body and mind as the Magnus Kaerner dipped further into the Shroud, the steady channeling of the Force guiding it as she closed her eyes.

Uncertainty was all she could fathom.


On the Magnus Kaerner's bridge, Oberst eyed the transparisteel windows as he observed the Shroud's atmosphere. He could sense the thickness of it, as if it were attempting to impose its wrath on Tarentum's fleets as they moved cautiously through it. On his left stood Spears Tarentae, the Elder's eyes closed as he extended his mind through the Force, helping Captain Adien Corsair navigate the ship. On his right was Lieutenant Commander Stevenson, his face solemn as he watched everything through his newly revived body's eyes.* The Marshal was silent as he began to pace the bridge's floor, watching lights flicker on the consoles that Adien controlled.

"Anything picked up from the sensors?" he asked.

"Not yet," Adien replied. "We're attempting to detect any signs of Vong activity, but it's hard to pick up anything here."

"Anything threatening, and the Renegade can be put to use," muttered Oberst. He turned to Stevenson. "How are you faring?"

Stevenson raised an eyebrow. "I'm surprised you care for me so much all of a sudden."

"Don't accuse me of caring, that's not my forte. Isn't this your first time traveling the Shroud?"

"I can't deny that, but considering I've been through death itself, I think I can handle the anxiety."

Oberst nodded as he turned back toward the window. Even as a military expert, Oberst himself could not predict every factor of this war. It seemed irrational enough if they were to be expecting full Vong fleets - the Shroud would prove a hazard if they had to shift focus toward exterior conflict. Everything was balanced on a thin beam. It would be wise not to tip it.

He was severed from his thoughts when Adien sharply raised his head. "Hold it, hold it. I'm detecting something from the sensors."

Oberst and Stevenson approached the console as Adien pressed a few buttons to reveal a sensor screen. The signals were picking up something, a decent sized blip, and Oberst eyed it cautiously. He looked at Adien.

"Contact the Phlegethon immediately. We'll have to prepare all ships for interception."

Adien nodded as he turned to the comm controls, and Oberst furrowed his brow. It wouldn't be long before the Phlegethon picked up the signal, too.


"Phlegethon reporting," Dranik said as he activated the communication transmission.

"Magnus Kaerner reporting to Phlegethon. We've picked up something from the sensors. We should be approaching the target fifteen minutes from now."

"We've picked it up as well," answered Dranik as he eyed the screen, with the blip growing closer with each sweep of the sensor. "Assume defensive positions. Prepare to scan the target if you get close enough to identify it."

"Roger. Magnus Kaerner out."

Dranik broke the comm connection before adjusting the controls. Anshar stood silently behind him, concentrated in his navigation, as Officer Cadran looked noticeably shaken. This could be the first hurdle in a very dangerous obstacle course.

*(OOC Note: Lt. Commander Stevenson is a character from a past run-on, revived by Oberst using necromancy to better serve the clan. See "Of the Past" for details.)


08-03-2009 07:47:34

The Sith's boots cracked as he marched down the corridor of the Phlegethon, towards the CIC room. Archean was reading through the last of the fighter counts before he felt that something was not right in a section they had just passed through. His feelings were soon to be validated. Both ships had come across the same anomaly on their scanners and all hands were scurrying around trying to identify the blip.

“Have we found out what it is yet, Officer?” quizzed Archean, not even a second after coming through the doors.
“Not yet, Sir, we're preparing a scan now.” He pressed a few buttons on the console as others came over and watched the scanner curiously.

“Bridge to CIC, do you copy?” A voice crackled from the other side.
“CIC here.” replied one of the Officers.
“Master Consul wishes to know what you have found.”
“We're about to scan the target.” And with that, the scan began.

The screen zoomed over something large, the scanning mechanism moved from the back to the front of it, data transmitted the various information being gathered. A flurry of personnel assumed their stations as the data came in, quickly trying to get answers as to what that could be.

“CIC to Bridge, do you copy?”
“Bridge here, whats the status?” Asked Dranik as he keyed a few things into his console
“Sir...” The Officer began, his voice lower, visibly concerned at the news he was about to relay.


08-03-2009 10:03:02

“That’s not good…” Saitou muttered to the Executive Officer of the Reqiuem as the communications desk stopped glowing. The sensors picked up the blip of the unidentified ship, showing it as a yellow glowing dot.

“All gunners to battle-stations. Hostile in sight.” The XO’s curt voice reverberated throughout the ship. He looked up the live statistics that filled his datapad from the CDC.

A flurry of messages with probable builds of the unknown ship filtered through to him, along with effective piloting techniques for each. He conferred with the other officers and the lone unoccupied Dark Jedi on the bridge.

“We’ll maintain a safe distance until the scouting reports from the Magnus Kaernar’s fighters. From preliminary reports it displays characteristics of a cruiser analog. If it turns out to be one, then…”

Saitou grew weary of the conversation. The monotony of military orders held little interest for the Pontifex.
He shrugged as he looked at his apprentice. Kazarelth was doing a decent job of captaining the cruiser in tandem with the Elder. He always liked Bloodfyre, and had fallen into a rhythm with him, as the two minds seemingly fused into one.

He was more suited for such a conversation, captaining ships for quite some time now, Saitou thought as he saw the officers nodding heads slowly and departing.


The Magnus Kaerner's Ready Room was filled with pilots as they listened to their brief.

“This is a scouting mission. You are not to engage the enemy ship. Get as close as possible and-” The lieutenant’s face visibly crumpled as he saw the news on his datapad from the flagship's CIC. A few pilots quizzically looked at each other and awaited the completion of their brief.

“Uh… mission aborted. The Phlegethon reports that the unidentified ship is… dead.” He mumbled.

“Repeat, sir?”

“No signs of life were found – the ship is presumably debilitated. Nothing else has been said. Lt. Xayun’s squadron is to be at Ready 5. The Defender pilots are to stay here until we get the all-clear from the CIC. Dismissed.”


“What could cause this?” Saitou murmured to his fellow members from Cestus. Vai and his master stared out of the viewing ports at the silent, dead, ships. They were not destroyed, but the Phlegethon’s communications officer had struck the right word when he announced that the ship was “dead”. The Matalok cruiser passed by them silently. Not one of its lava-cannons spewed out flaming meteors at them. The coralskippers were forgotten in the hangar of the cruiser.
“Maybe the Shroud claimed them.” Sato quipped.
“Maybe something else destroyed them.”

The bridge was filled with a buzz of excitement at these new developments. Questions were raised, and a mini-senatorial session built up on the bridge. Although tension that had built up had reduced, a certain amount of nervousness still remained, grasping at the wayward green officer who had never seen the bioship abominations.
And such a wayward officer looked at the sensors that were suddenly filled with more yellow dots.

“S..ssir! More hostile contacts!” He practically screamed. A lull of silence followed a stormy session of orders being given and taken.
“The Phlegethon and the Magnus Kaerner both report these hostiles to be moving. These aren’t dead!” The communications officer shouted over the din.

Klaxons blared as the remaining Jedi looked out the viewports, trying to catch a glimpse of their enemy.


08-03-2009 15:59:05

The bridge of the Reqiuem was full of excitement as the contacts approached through the shroud. Vai looked out of the portal, noticing a large shadow in the distance surrounded by smaller shadows.

"Whatever it is, it’s big," commented Vai as he looked at his master.

Kazarelth had called red alert and everyone was on their toes for the approaching contact with the hostiles. The gunners were securely in their positions waiting for permission to commence firing.


Aboard the Magnus Kaerner similar actions were taking place as Captain Adien Corsair has placed the vessel on high alert. Crews from the various departments had taken their positions as the flagship of Clan Tarentum continued its passage through the shroud and closer toward the contacts. On the bridge, Oberst’s military staff had gathered, waiting for instructions. While Frey stood nearby and watched Oberst, Stevenson, and Adien work at the controls, Ronovi stood stoically beside her master Doni Tzu, her arms folded.

“Why don’t we send out Lt. Xayun’s squadron to check out the contacts?” questioned Huldrych, who was standing near the CIC.

“The Shroud,” said Oberst as he looked at the Verpine Hunter. “There is too much of a risk to send fighters out into it. It would severely hamper the fighter navigational systems.”

“We’ll need that fighter cover soon,” added in Doni, who had joined in the conversation.

“Then what are we going to do if they are hostiles?” asked Huldrych.

“Don’t worry about it,” snapped back Oberst. Knowing that it was not his place, Huldrych backed away from the CIC and stood beside his fellow staff members.

“Sir, we’re not detecting anything from the ships on long range sensors,” reported the XO at the CIC.

Oberst approached and said, “It’s hard to tell with the Shroud. It can cause readings to be incorrect and I’m not taking any chances.”

With a nod the XO turned and headed back to his position.

The Magnus Kaerner, guided by Spears Tarentae continued its cautious passage through the thickening shroud. The Marshall of Tarentum’s Armies continued to look out the portal at the partially defined image of the seemingly enemy vessels in the distance ready to give the command to commence firing

“Vong!” yelled the radar officer as he ran to the CIC.

“Sir, the vessels are of Vong design,” said the officer to the Captain. Adien informed Oberst, who directed him to send a message to the fleet.


On the bridge of the Phlegethon, the communications from Adien came through.

“All crews to your stations, red alert, Vong vessels detected,” Dranik commanded through the ships communications system.


In the CIC of the Cocytus, the message from the Magnus Kaerner also came through. The Captain of the vessel alerted his crew in a similar fashion that the other crews of the Tarentum fleet.


On the bridge of the Magnus Kaerner, the CDC officer alerted its Captain. “Targets in range!” Oberst was about to order all vessels to commence firing when the XO yelled something out.

“Wait a minute! They’re dying!”

“What do you mean, they’re dying?” commanded the Marshal.

“They have little or no power readings, no activity from the vessels,” added in the XO.

Oberst commanded that all gunners hold their fire. Near the CIC, Ronovi looked at Doni Tzu, who stared at the portal silently.

“What do you think happened to them?” she asked quietly, then watched as Doni Tzu’s yellow eyes met hers.

“It’s hard to say. One theory is that the Shroud claimed them, but…” and then silence between them, contemplating it.

As the Tarentum fleet got into visual range, the derelict Vong fleet consisted of one Miid Ro’ik Warship and seven I'Friil Ma-Nat corvettes along with some small vessels. All were disabled with minimal power.

“So, how are going to get past this mass of dying Vong vessels?” asked the XO. “We’ll just push ourselves through,” commented the Captain as he looked at Oberst.


08-03-2009 18:19:25

Aboard the Phlegethon, Dranik keyed in a transmission to the rest of the ship. "Everyone, this is Captain Dranik speaking. Gunners prepare firing solutions on targets. Everyone else, please stand by and wait for additional orders."

"Any orders from the Magnus Kaerner?" asked Cadran as Dranik switched off the comm to the ship and prepared communications to the other ships.

"I'm attempting to connect with Adien now," replied Dranik, eyeing the portal. "With the ships so close, we'll have to brush them off somehow."

"Blast them, that's what I say," said the XO. "Lob some turbolaser strikes at them."

Dranik thought about that before keying in some things on the control pad. "Well, let me see what the Kaerner has to say on it." Then speaking into the comm: "Phlegethon to Magnus Kaerner. Do you copy?"

"Loud and clear," came Adien's voice.

"Phlegethon is preparing to send turbolaser blasts to targets. We'll be looking for any responses due to strike alone."

"Roger. We're planning to give some of those smaller vessels a good shove. Our shields should hold up."

"Understood. Phlegethon out." Dranik returned to the ship's inner transmission. "Gunners, assume positions. Prepare to fire at designated target. Aim for corvettes only for now. We'll deal with the dying warship shortly."


From the Magnus Kaerner, Oberst watched as the bright beams of the turbolasers pierced through the thick Shroud toward the drifting Vong vessels. Ronovi stared wide-eyed as the beams struck their target and the corvettes appeared to spin out of control, chunks of its coral hull breaking away and drifting into space. The gunners of the Phlegethon busied themselves with removing said chunks from any collision, and one by one, the vessels were blown into an opposite direction, shoved away from the Tarentum fleets' route.

"Geez, they really are dying!" she uttered.

"Their weak maneuvering alone is proof of that," replied Oberst, and Ronovi saw a smirk form on his face. She had to admit, none of them were expecting this sort of welcome party. Adien moved some of the controls before turning to Oberst.

"Shields are fully up. We're just planning to nudge these guys, right?"

Oberst gave a curt nod as Spears, in his trance of navigation, helped Adien move the Magnus Kaerner through the Shroud toward the wavering smaller Vong vessels. Ronovi could see the Mii Ro'lk warship being blown apart in the peripheral edges of the ship's portal, watching as the turbolaser blasts ripped away pieces of its coral surface. No response from the other side. No communication. Ronovi even expected to hear cries, but nothing. It was as if everyone aboard was already in their graves.

Ronovi was startled as she watched the hull of the Magnus Kaerner press against one of the small vessels before they heard the explosion. Just by making contact with the shields, the smaller Vong ships burst into pieces, their ignited coral bulks shattering in the vision of the tinted glass of the bridge's portal. Sensing the levels of anxiety and worry spring up at the sight of the explosion, Adien keyed in the ship's transmission.

"Everyone, please remain calm. We have merely initiated a maneuver to remove the targets from our path. Please stay focused and wait for instructions."

"They can't all be dying," said Frey, furrowing his brow. "The strongest fleets should be the ones defending the Shroud, not the weaker ones."

Ronovi was silent as the staff pondered the next move, but for now, with the dying vessels being mostly out of the way, the way was clear for now. At the same time, however, she could sense the same presence she had felt since they had started their journey, the presence of other fleets behind them. Doni Tzu sighed mechanically before looking at Oberst.

"You think that the Dark Council fleets are right on our tail?" he asked.

Oberst nodded. "It would be a means for not having us retreat. If they're behind us, it's as if we're dogs being led on chains."

"What's your point?" Huldrych demanded sharply, and Ronovi glared at him to keep him quiet. Doni Tzu continued.

"I mean that we shouldn't have to fight our battles with the Arcanum and the Rending Hand possibly on our backs. Perhaps we can go a different route?"

Oberst smirked. "You can't seriously think that we can throw the council off of our path."

"Think about it. It's just us moving away from the pursuer. If they can track us, we're hindered in every move we make in an upcoming battle."

"Then what do you propose we do?" asked Stevenson. Oberst contemplated for a moment for looking at Adien and the lieutenant commander.

"Make transmissions to the entire fleet. We'll be attempting to move to the edges of the Shroud. As long as we can hover around the edge where Antei lies, we should have free outlets to pick our own battles if needed. Of course, we'll need to shut down some of our power emanations so we can't be seen."

"And where exactly are we going to 'hover,' Oberst?" asked Ronovi. "Wouldn't the Dark Council just track us down, anyway?"

"I recommend something a little difficult," said Doni Tzu. "Something like the Vrakely Energetic Rift."

"The Hell is that?" asked Ronovi.

"That's highly dangerous," Oberst said. "That rift is known for high intensity radiation that can cause some problems with the ship's sensors."

"Still," said Doni Tzu, "that radiation is high enough in dosages to upset the Dark Council's sensors as well, so they would not attempt to get too close."

"Still, we're risking running completely blind and having to rely completely on our charts and the Force," added Frey, raising an eyebrow. "Besides, you can't just slip away from the Dark Council's sight and not face consequences for it."

"We're not fleeing from this, are we?" replied Oberst. "Besides, I'd appreciate a little more breathing space myself."

"If we can stay steady in the rift," added Doni Tzu, "it shouldn't be difficult to throw the council off. We may risk running into a rogue planet or something, but if we're going to independently work, then we need to balance out the pros and cons."

Ronovi thought for a moment, then grinned. "I agree. If we can make the movements, we can take the risk."

"Always one for risk," Frey chuckled as Oberst turned to Adien.

"Transmit the information to all the ships and have them rig for silent running. We're making this adventure a little more interesting."


08-03-2009 22:53:18

Dranik stood on the bridge as the orders came through. Part of him couldn’t believe that Oberst was taking the fleet on this route, but the other part of Dranik fully understood the need for such an action. Tarentum was no shirking its duties by any stretch, and they would still arrive on time. However, the clan wanted to position itself as best it could so that, upon arriving at Antei, they could go where they needed. This even included possibly retreating.

Dranik glanced at Anshar, the Consul’s eyes still barely open as he helped guide the vessel towards the rift. With the sensors more fouled up than normal, this part of the Shroud provided the perfect cover to lose the Dark Council followers. From there, Dranik surmised that Oberst would likely try to position the clan’s fleet on the dark side of Lyspair in preparation for whatever actions came. It was the most advantageous spot in the system.

Watching the last of the once living Vong ships fade from view, Dranik nodded to Ailssa who gave the order for the vessel to move when their time came.

* * *

“Sir, the Tarentum forces are moving at the expected pace.” reported the sensor chief. Belcan Rofir, commander of the Arcanum, acknowledged the report, finding it amusing that his command now trailed the former Headmaster and his praetor. Rofir had been XO on the Mnemosyne before taking command of the Corra. With the Mnemosyne destroyed and the Corra scrapped, Rofir had taken the XO position on the Arcanum underneath Dranik. With Dranik’s departure, Rofir had been promoted by Headmaster Aabsdu to command of the vessel.

“Sir, the Vespera reports that Arcona is encountering some delays, but still appear to be moving along the safest path,” reported the comm. chief.

“Sir! Tarentum’s signal is diminishing; projected course appears to have been altered!”

“Where are they headed?” demanded Rofir.

“Unknown, sir. We’re barely keeping up with them in this soup as it is,” replied the sensor chief. “We have them turning only six degrees off their projected path, but the trail quickly dies out after that. They could be zig-zagging for all we know.” Rofir cursed silently to himself. They could risk following the Shroud’s gatekeepers, or they could continue along, hoping to reestablish contact with them. Of course, at that point, it would likely make the Arcanum fully visible to the Tarentum fleet, and the goal was to remain hidden.

“Damnit!” he huffed. “Follow their projected path, but increase speed until we can find their trail again. If we lose them, we’re going to pay for it.”

* * *

Dranik glanced again at Anshar. This time, Anshar spoke. “Something bothering you?” Perhaps it was the gift or curse of being a master to multi-task like this, but Dranik shook those thoughts away. He would learn soon enough one day.

“It’s just that Oberst seems quite certain that we’re being followed by Dark Council ships,” said Dranik.

“Oberst has worked with Sarin before,” said Anshar evenly. “Besides, I trust you noticed the Arcanum was present with the Eighth fleet, which is something very rare. We know the ship will not spearhead an attack, since it doesn't have a true task force.”

“Yeah,” replied Dranik. “Shadow Academy or not, the vessel is powerful. I can’t picture Sarin leaving it out of the attack. It is probably behind us somewhere, along with the support ships.”

“Well, whether it is there or not, we know conflict lies ahead,” said Anshar. “We assume the Vong will be awaiting, but we know that we cannot trust the other clans, either. Whether we are truly being followed, and for what purpose, we still have a responsibility to position ourselves as best we can. Let Oberst and his command staff theorize on what the Council is or is not doing with their own ships.”

Dranik did not respond. Whether they were being followed or not did not change the mission. And, such theories only fit in with Tarentum’s general attitude. The clan worked with the Dark Council, and indeed had seen members seated upon it, but when it came to war and conflict, the entire Brotherhood had different motivations and objectives, including the Dark Council. Even without definitive proof, Dranik had a feeling in his stomach that Oberst’s conjecture was accurate.

* * *

As the Tarentum ships moved in their formation towards their new destination, no one noticed the two lone corakskippers break off from the dead ships. Even upon close inspection, such things would have been disregarded. Twisted and corrupted by the radiation of the Shroud, it was a wonder the creatures and their pilots were still alive. The pilots knew they stood no chance against the overwhelming force that had slid by them, that had desecrated their ships and brethren, but these pilots would die a glorious death to honor the gods, and to slay at least a few more infidels before their departure from this realm.


09-03-2009 02:34:27

Brimstone made his way to the same area as the others on board the Cocytus. Not wanting to disturb them or seem to be a thorn in their sides. Brimstone watch as the fleet moved back and forth, away from the other ships. Apparently something must have gotten their attention that they had to break off from the rest of the fleet.

Months earlier, Brimstone was with the House of Gladius on a mission near here and after encountering Vong ground forces, he found himself accidentally left behind in the fight. He didn't understand it at first, feeling he was abandoned once again. He was able to escape with his life and hide on the planet till he made his way to a ship, scrapped mostly, but finally got his way back to the fleets.

But still, to this day, he still finds it hard to believe that he was given up on, or at least that's what he felt in his heart. He had hoped to one of these past weaks speak to he old master about it. But now wasn't the time. The Grand Master had ordered all clans into a possible full scale invasion to destroy the Vong and take back what was rightfully theirs.

The shroud was a mystery to the dark jedi knight. He tried to look up intel on it, to learn more of it, but most of the information was believed left behind when the brotherhood retreated years earlier. Until then, Brimstone stood silently and waited for his orders on what to do. He was ready and prepared to do what must be done when the time arised.


09-03-2009 06:34:32

Dranik looked at the information displayed before him before taking a small data pad from his pocket and pulling up some information on it and let a soft sigh escape his lips. The simple truth to the mater was that not knowing if the Arcanum was behind them or not was driving the Commander mad. He slowly walked over to Ailsa and handed her the pad. “Key that code in and confirm if it’s there or not,” he said in a low whisper, “then let me know what you find. It may not work; the codes could have been changed.”

Dranik walked away from Ailsa as she followed on her order before speaking. “The codes are valid and she is showing up as being there. I am plugging her transponder into the nav. map so we can keep tabs on it. Should I send this information to the Magnus Kaerner and the rest of the fleet Sir?”

“No, no one else needs those codes and I want you to forget that you ever saw them.” Dranik said before he looked at the display map in front of him with the locations of the Tarentum fleet marked and the location of the Arcanum now showing up. It amazed him to no end that no one had thought to change the codes for the ship since he had been its captain but at the same time, he was sort of glad that they hadn’t.


“Any contact with Tarentum?” Rofir asked but only received a shake of the head as an answer to the question. “Damn it. Someene pull up the library on the Shroud. Find out where they are going.”

A few people around the bridge of the Arcanum started pushing buttons on the console in front of them before one person piped up. “Sir their current course still takes them in the general direction of Anti, and they should still arrive on time short of something slowing them down.”

Rofir nodded and then spoke once more “Keep searching for them, if we don’t find them in the next few minutes we will need to send word to Lord Sarin and let him know that Tarentum has deviated from its original course.”

Sephiroth Kali

09-03-2009 11:48:05

A few small compartments comprised the living quarters of the Dark Jedi onboard the B/CR Phlegethon. Many of the lower echelon members of House Tridens were here, led by the Prelate, Dranik Tarentae.

Priest Sephiroth Kali stood in one of these compartments, watching his fellows from the shadows. Sephiroth's golden eyes slid over the room, scanning the mass. The Krath stood out from the other members, many wore combat attire, and were armed to the teeth. Sephiroth on the other hand wore his formal robes. He fingered the runed lining of his Scholar's robes extending his senses, reaching out to the Force. A few of the more astute of the Dark Jedi in the room turned their heads towards the Watcher, but quickly turned away at a glance from the golden pupils staring from the darkness. Kali stretched his senses out to the ship, and noticed that the ship had changed direction. He also noted with a smile, the tense emotions of the troops onboard, even fear wafted up from a few located on the ships bridge. Sephiroth settled back into his dark corner, content to watch, as usual, from the shadows.

The Priest felt someone move next to him and hid a small smile. "Restless, are we, my Apprentice?" Protector Zama shook his head. "Excited. I've been in battles, but...nothing on this scale. And yet, there has been little conflict" Sephiroth turned his head to his apprentice. "Be mindful Young One, all is not as it seems. Each current of Power has undercurrents. each life is connected. The past, present and future are all here, waiting for us to touch them. We must be patient. We must wait for our time to strike, and take back what is ours." Zama nodded his cloaked head.

"We will watch. For now..."


09-03-2009 13:06:41

Ronovi watched as Adien, Oberst, and Stevenson quietly worked, listening the clicks and beeps of the control console as Adien monitored the communication links. With the Shroud being composed of electromagnetic waves due to its ionization, Ronovi could only guess that they were taking care that the systems would not be disrupted. Adien keyed in access to the rest of the ships' navigations and looked at Oberst.

"Looks like the rest of the ships are following our lead," he said. "You think they found that the Dark Council fleets are really behind us?"

"It's not in my interest to know whether they know for certain or not," Oberst replied, beginning to pace again. And he was right; regardless of whether or not the Arcanum was really behind them, he wasn't going to ask for complete accuracy. They were carrying on with their plan, no matter what.

In their change of route, the Magnus Kaerner's power emanations had been drastically lowered, with the lights dimmer as well as the ship subsequently going a slightly slower speed. It would not be permanent; once the ships had suitably placed themselves in the Vrakely Energetic Rift, they would be able to power up again, even if their sensors would be muddled. Oberst turned to his staff.

"I'm dismissing all of you for now. If any other interference comes up, you'll receive further instructions," he said.

While Frey and Huldrych bowed and shuffled away from the bridge, Ronovi eyed her master as he practically glided across the floor when exiting. They walked down the corridors together, silent at first as the dimmed ship lights reflected on the blue surface of the Knight's eyepatch.

"I think you should return to your meditation," Doni Tzu said suddenly, his whisper amplified behind the metal mask covering his face, his yellow eyes glowing as he looked at his apprentice.

Ronovi hesitated for a moment, wondering if the dark robed figure before her merely wanted to be left alone. But she nodded. "Yes, master."

"Don't worry about me," Doni Tzu added, clearly sensing Ronovi's curiosity. "I've fought many wars before, even when not in this form. You, on the other hand...you'll need as much focus as you can get."

Ronovi smirked. "Statistics show that there's a higher chance of me getting slaughtered by Vong, don't they?"

"Never mind statistics for now," Doni Tzu said, and for a moment, the raspiness in his voice seemed to diminish. "I want you to be as prepared as you can be. So don't dwell on just how likely you could die."

"Understood, master." Then, after thinking for a moment, Ronovi looked at her master with a hopeful expression. "You'll help me out, won't you?"

"...You're my apprentice, but you're also my equal. I'll work with you as anyone would on a team."

Good enough, Ronovi thought as she nodded and bowed, raising her head to see Doni Tzu disappear down the ship's shadowy corridor. She directed herself back to the locker room, where she would let herself sink back into her meditative trance. All the while, of course, she thought of her fellow Tarenti, waiting on other ships for the real battle to begin.


Aboard the Cocytus, Executive Officer Scion Altera watched as his captain and master, Apollo, worked at the controls. Beside him was Telona Murrage, back from a sleep-like state and now guiding the ship through the Shroud toward the new destination of the rift. Frowning, he eyed the portal cautiously, taking time to sip from a flask that he carried in his robes.

"Anything from the other ships?" he asked, and Apollo shook his head.

"I'm guessing they're taking care with the communication links for now. We may as well not use them save for any more emergencies."

The older Dark Jedi Knight grinned. "False alarms is more like it, oddly enough. I never thought we'd wander into a spacial graveyard."

Apollo smirked at the idea. In all his time as a pilot, he had never seen anything like it himself. He had had his share of battles with Vong fleets before, but dead ones? Not as likely. He steered the ship as Telona's force channeling directed before noticing the sensors faintly acting up.

"What the Hell..." Apollo knew that the sensors, as they got closer to the rift, were not as efficient, so he eyed the weak signals cautiously. Scion approached him with a vague look of worry on his face.

"What's going on, Apollo?" he asked.

"I'm picking up something...not very well, but something. And it's not any ally ships."

"Then what is it?"

"I can't say for sure...but this time, it's coming from behind us."

They both eyed the sensors curiously, not seeing for now that it was the two distorted coralskippers whose inhabitants were ready for martyrdom.

Severon V

09-03-2009 14:40:45

Severon, awakened from sleep by a deep premonition, realized the danger coming towards the Cocytus hurried to the bridge to try to alert Apollo and the rest of the command staff. However, before he reached the bridge he felt a hand descend and grasp his shoulder.

"Where are you headed Protector? Don't you know that no one is allowed on the bridge at this time?"

Severon hazily thought about the events leading up to this moment. However, all he remembered was being asleep for a long period of time. Finally he said,"I have to reach the bridge! I think I know what is coming and I must tell Apollo!"

The figure just said, "I am afraid I cannot allow you access to the bridge. Return to you post at once Protector and do not disturb the Captain."

Severon walked away quietly, trying to think of a way to talk to Apollo, and tell him of his horrifying premonition.


09-03-2009 14:51:52

"Hold on." Telona whispered as she took complete control of the Cocytus.

The ship suddenly dipped at a drastic speed that threw anyone not hanging on to something to the metal grating. All lights except for the emergency lights blinked out as the struggling engines drained every drop of power afforded to them. It was a maneuver seen performed more with fighter pilots than with larger cruisers.

The effects this sudden change took on the Shroud was hard to see with the naked eye. The Elder could see it with her mind. A vortex with a lower density of partials formed in the mire. The movement of the partials in the Shroud was enough to send the strange small ships off their intended course.

"Fire." Telona whispered in a dreamy like voice and pointed towards the bulkhead.

In Apollo's mind a firing solution popped up. The engines were still struggling to repay the energy debt but there was enough to fire one turbolaser at half its normal power. The lights flickered again as the Quaestor put all his trust in his friend. The single energy bolt was released and within seconds came into contact with one of the corrupted ships. Half of it joined the Shroud and the other half impaled its companion.

Scion's racing heart returned to its normal pace as the Cocytus returned to its previous course. It glided by what was left of the coralskippers, allowing captain and crew a look at what could have been disastrous. Scion took a note of the location of the fighters just in case someone wished to return to study them. They were drawing too near the rift now to investigate further.

"I hate flying." Telona added in her dreamy whisper as she returned to her navigating duties.


09-03-2009 18:01:29

The sharp, cool air conditioned atmosphere of the bridge quivered with anticipation whilst the crew pits reeked of sweat and toil. The temperature on the bridge might be cool, feelings and nerves however were running hot. You could have awakened the Warlord from a coma on this bridge and he'd have been able to say under which circumstances the ship had found itself, training runs carried with them the hustle and bustle he saw before him but never did they exert this much upon the individuals present, war; now that was different, almost like walking through a thick fog, no tangible resistance but for the cold, trickling damp slithering down one's spine. This time, he could tell, the ship was gearing up for war.


On his long walk up from the pilots' ready room to the bridge Welshman had had much time to think, the war against the Yuuzhan Vong had started badly for the Brotherhood, admittedly the War had gone badly for the Galaxy as a whole but the Brotherhood had so little to begin with, the loss of their throne world and fleets had knocked them for six. The Brotherhood would never again be complacent this was true but Welshman could not help but feel that this assault, almost a year in the making, was a reflex action due to the loss of pride sustained due to the alien hordes. But who was he to reason why?

The door to the bridge swooshed open, the electromagnetic maelstrom of the Shroud and the equipment temporarily playing havoc with his optics. Waiting a few short seconds for the requisite filters to drop into place he strode in, subconsciously adjusting his fleet uniform, freshly starched the collar dug unceasingly into his neck. His polished boots threw back the dull shimmer of the light strips as his heels clicked on the polished durasteel hull.

“Apprentice, the task of captaining this weapon of war through the most treacherous space in the Galaxy seems to fit well with you.” The Erinos, had by now, reached Adien, the cloned body of Melkor who had died so tragically during the last Great Jedi War.

“Master. I draw some satisfaction from knowing I won't be the only one who needs cloning if I were to crash this ship into a Vong cruiser.” Smiled the Nabooite.

“Exactly.” The Warlord's ravaged face, nigh on Yuuzhan Vong-ish in its appearance, tugged into a smile. Turning away from his apprentice, Welshman glided towards arguably the most intimidating member of Tarentum, Field Marshal Oberst.

“I thought I'd dismissed my staff.” Stated Oberst, in a clipped precise tone.

“I came late to the party. I've been compiling the latest simulator results from our pilots in the anti-Vong tactic program. The results are promising. It isn't this I wish to talk with you about however.”

“You have information?”

“Rumour perhaps would be the word. Over the past few weeks I've been receiving word from my trade contacts in the Corporate Sector about something strange that happened on Caluula. Every Vong on the planet and in space died of some mysterious contagion. I saw some pictures taken from a smuggler vessel in orbit and it seems to match the lesions and welts visible on that cruiser we just vaped. More rumour has it that its a Galactic Federation sanctioned weapon, although both you and I know their stand on biological weapons. Force knows they kicked up enough of a stink when Ithor was seeded with them, even Borsk Fey'la wasn't this hypocritical.”

“If what you say is true then were in luck, I could only prove this by bringing on a sample and as of now that's not something I wish to contemplate. This could still be a trap.”

“Of course Field Marshal. If you'll excuse me Sir, I shall busy myself with paper work.”

Nodding to the Field Marshal Welshman located the nearest available terminal and opened a direct laser link to the Phlegethon .

“Get me the CAG. I need an update.”

Severon V

09-03-2009 18:10:53

Severon ran down the passage ways of the ship still thinking of a way to get to Apollo and the rest of the command staff. As he continued on, he saw members of Gladius struggling to recouperate after the correction in piloting by Telona. He was afraid he would be too late to warn the command staff.

As he rounded another corner, he felt a presence enter his mind. Instantly his minds security walls came up to stop the intruder. However, he recognized the presence as Telona's. He allowed her only far enough to deliver her messege."What do you need?" he asked.

"I need you to stop wasting you time Protector. I could feel you fear all the way up here. I am just letting you know that I have taken care of the problem." She responded.

Severon shook his head, silently cursing the fact that he had got so wound up. "I just wanted to help out was all. I feel useless here."

"Don't worry about it. If you really want to do something, than go get ready to fight when we need you to."

"Understood. Thanks maam."

The presence left from his mind as he entered his quarters. Staring out of the viewpoint into the Shroud he could barely see the outlines of the other cruisers.


09-03-2009 19:17:31

As the first day of the fleets' navigations progressed, it seemed as if all expectations of an eventful travel were shattered as they closed in on the rift in the Shroud. To many newcomers, it was like wandering in an endless tunnel that had no end and no given route. To those who had guarded the Shroud before, it was merely another field trip. However, the fact that every Vong fleet they had intercepted so far was dead or dying was an disorienting factor. Questions of every variety were beginning to arise: What could have caused this? Had someone reached Antei before the Brotherhood had? What was this force that had disrupted something as ravenous and powerful as the Vong, twisting and corrupting their own vessels and weapons?

Ronovi couldn't think about it for long. Her thoughts were beginning to mix together into a mental concoction that would prove dangerous toward her need for calm. The blood in her veins was beginning to rush at an alarming speed, and she could not settle on a simple stream of consciousness to keep her focus. In another moment, she tore herself away from the locker room, disappearing down the corridors and looking for a place to calm down. She ignored the various ship staff members as they moved about the corridors, the occasional officers conversing with one another on the recent ship's activity. A spare hold would do; in that empty, hollow space, she could think again.

The warrior inside her was beginning to act up, and she felt her fingers brush against the cold hilt of her saber again as she entered the small cargo hold. Instinctively she drew her weapon from her side and activated it, the blue blade hissing to life and casting a somber glow on the walls. Ronovi let her feet shift and her body succumb to an offensive Shii-Cho stance, feeling the stinging jolt of adrenaline again; the need to move around was like a drug to her, and she needed to strike at something, even if it were just air.

She directed a sharp slash with her lightsaber and spun around only to see its tip pointed between her master's eyes. Startled, she stepped back, the dying hiss of her saber caressing her ears as she deactivated it. There was silence between them for a brief moment, as if both were taking a breath before daring to speak.

"Where did you come from?" Ronovi finally blurted out, staring at the hooded figure before her.

"I thought I told you to meditate," replied Doni Tzu.

"I'm sorry. I couldn't concentrate."

"I understand. Carry on, then."

Ronovi raised an eyebrow at her master's words, hesitantly letting her lightsaber spring to life again. She parried against another invisible enemy before Doni Tzu's voice cut her off in mid-swing again.

"It's all terribly convenient, don't you think?"

"What are you talking about?" asked Ronovi, frowning.

"I mean whatever could be killing these Vong fleets," replied Doni Tzu, his long arms folded across his chest. "I'm starting to get the feeling that the Shroud itself couldn't have done this."

Ronovi smiled thinly. "I was wondering about that myself."

"The marks and scars on those dying ships..." Doni Tzu was pondering now, his breaths shallow behind his mask. "They were not a mere mutation. Something is poisoning the Vong, a toxin or a sickness, draining life from them like a leech. What it is, I can't say."

"Who could be behind it, though?"

"Whoever it is, I'm not trusting either way," said Doni Tzu. "And neither should you. I refuse to believe the Dark Council merely had us mobilize for a carnival act or a grand re-entrance."

"So where are you going with all of this?" Ronovi asked, frowning.

There was silence, and Doni Tzu sighed. "Nowhere, really. It's just something I want you to think about. Every good warrior must be a strategist, and therefore a theorist. Keep that in mind before you feel like you have to keep swinging that saber."

And with that Doni Tzu was gone again, performing his trick of agility on her as his robes billowed out behind his almost mass-less frame. Ronovi shook her head as she raised her lightsaber again; she knew where he was going with what he said, but there was no denying that she was very different from her master in many ways. She was the warrior and the diplomat; he was the strategist and the rebel. Ronovi twirled her lightsaber before lunging again, beginning her usual dance as she shut out the feelings and thoughts of everyone else on the Magnus Kaerner. Until she received further instructions, she wanted to be alone.

You do things your way, master, she thought, and I'll do things my way.


09-03-2009 20:19:37

Archean's com link began beeping as he was filling out paperwork in his quarters.

“Sir, Vice Admiral Welshman wishes to speak to you.” Crackled the voice on the other side.
“Sure, patch him through.” Replied the Sith.

A few seconds later, a familiar voice was heard over the link.

“Do some work, sithspit.”
“Hey, go stick your head up the back end of a bantha.” smirked Archean, trying to keep from bursting out in laughter. Welshman's bellow echoed throughout his room. “And how are you, old friend.” Archean continued.

“Not bad. I'm just sorting out some files, filling out paperwork. You know how it is.”

“Indeed.” Replied the Battle master

“What's your status, anyhow?” Asked Welshman, getting right down to business.

“Well, all fighters have been equipped with anti Vong weapons. The on board computers have been uploaded with the latest combat tactics”

Archean glanced at his schedule in his datapad

“Right now the fighter squadrons are currently being fueled and checked just in case they need to be deployed sooner than expected. Transports are ready and waiting. All pilots have completed 500 hours of requisite training in our simulators. I wanted them to have the superior knowledge of how to combat the Vong threat with regards to attacking tactics and evasive action.”

“Excellent, they should be well prepared for the fight.” Welshman stated.

“I'm heading to the Destroyer as soon as we leave the shroud. I'll meet you in your quarters.” Archean said, filing the last bit of information away.

“Oh, one more thing. I have some interesting information that happened on Caluula that you might be interested in. I'll fill you in when you arrive.” Welshman said.

Archean could hear some mumbling in the communication.

“Everything alright there, Welshman?” Queried the Human.

“...Yep, I just got more paper work to deal with. I better get going. I'll see you when you get here.”

“Alright, may the force be with you.”

“Likewise, my friend.” The link closed.

Archean pushed his seat back and stood up. The feeling of a ship traveling through the Shroud with the power of an Elder always had an interesting feeling about it. To Archean, it felt like he could take on the world on his own. The swirling effects of the force were amplified but Archean knew that that feeling was only temporary, as soon as the fleet leave the shroud, its business as usual.


10-03-2009 01:11:18

Archean’s emotions seemed to echo in the mind of Kazarelth Talismarr. In perfect harmonic communion with Sith Bloodfyre-Tarentae, the Priest lazily guided the cruiser through the Shroud, drinking in the sights of the Shroud. It was here that he had fought the Vong for the first time on his old corvette, the Creeping Death. A chilling remainder of that battle had sunk its roots into his brain, and every now and then flashes of that battle embodied themselves momentarily in the space ahead. Bloodfyre automatically calmed him with a light adjustment of his tendrils that surrounded Kazarelth’s mind.
Physical communication was forgotten between the two, why even among the Elders navigating the entire fleet as an entirely different world of communication suddenly became apparent between the ships. Navigation was fluid, after the initial sightings of the Vong ships, as Anshar needed only to send a wave of orders through the Force, and all ships followed his course.

Talismarr soon grew weary of absently pressing control switches and adjusting the rudder here and there. Keeping a part of his mind occupied in it, he turned his attention to his ship in general, and its crew in particular.
Morale seemed to be standing on a very high precipice. Teetering on the edge, it looked at the sheer drop below and, startled, was on the verge of taking a few steps back down.
Crewmembers assigned to work mechanically went about doing their jobs, while those not-assigned to anything were animatedly discussing the prospects of no battle with the Yuuzhan Vong. He stretched his tendrils further, dipping them into the minds of his Housemates, gathering soft impressions and sending them back in waves of organized data. They streamed towards him as packets of invisible light, and they all had one impression highlighted: confusion.

He turned to his friend, Sith. The inadvertent question escaped his mind. Sith flashed one of his rare smiles at the Omwati and spoke of all that he knew about poisons. All that one needed to produce such a poison was an organic sample and an understanding of biotechnology. Not unlike what was needed for some advanced Force Alchemy.
Talismarr thought over it, pausing to muse over a delightfully absurd pattern in the clouds ahead.
He had changed over the course of time from his first encounter with the Yuuzhan Vong. A scared Jedi Hunter then, he was, trying to dodge the weird ships that the Vong commanded. His countenance had grown rugged now, so had his control over the Force. The Reqiuem had served him well, and he knew her better than he had known the Creeping Death and he had started off with an immense confidence.

The last encounter with these aliens had resulted in finding one of his most precious possessions. Although it had strangely cut his vocal cord and left him almost mute, the charged crystal had enhanced some of his powers over illusion-creation. He did not plan to use it, however, knowing it would not do a thing to a Yuuzhan Vong warrior. Still, holding on to it gave him some feeling of protection. And knowing that very few members could control it gave him a great feeling of power. *

Saitou had the time to mull over what his apprentice was thinking. Although it amounted to eavesdropping - when he followed that tendril to its master’s mind and felt all those words that were exchanged between Bloodfyre and Kazarelth - Saitou dismissed any dregs of guilt by surmounting with the fact that if he had taught his student well, he would know that he was being spied upon.

Getting some barely useful (to him) data from the transportation sub-officer, he trudged up to the bridge, wanting to know what exactly the Sith Master meant when he said certain things regarding the Yuuzhan Vong, and the ways to defeat them without using brute force.
The Necromancers of Tarentum were always given some basic training in cell-structure and biochemical processes. Considering himself to be a permanent student of the world, Saitou was tempted to know more about the biological nature of the Jedi’s worst enemies, and how their functions and furtive cell-signalling procedures could enhance Tarentum’s sickly creations.
‘Welshman would know more’ he thought as he nodded to Vai. The rollmaster was engaged in the preliminaries of teaching able-minded Apprentices and Acolytes basic Force defense.
However unimportant these Apprentices, Novices, Acolytes and other inexperienced Journeymen were, nobody could be sure when a gem would pop out of these rough stones. Their own mettle was unknown to them, and under specific conditions they were as dangerous as a full-blown Dark Jedi Knight.
Saitou smirked as the thought came to him.

[* OOC note to judges: Refer to the Shattered Tears Run on. Specifically post #29 here: http://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/forum/i...opic=5500&st=20 ]


10-03-2009 03:00:38

Brimstone watched in awe at how well Mistress Telona was piloting the ship with Scion and Apollo working amongst themselves and the crew as the ships continued on their path. He only stood waiting for his orders. He didn't like standing by, much less being kept in the dark of their current mission.

Telona looked up once in a while at the room and happened to notice the chiss standing there. She had worked with him before when he was a guardian and knew he was ready for a fight.

"You look disturbed Brimstone" spoke Telona in Brimstone's mind.

Brimstone was caught off guard. "Yes, I am. I feel left out somehow and not having much to do, I was hoping someone here would give me some orders so I feel productive."

"Well, why don't you go find Protector Severon out in the halls. He is feeling the same way and being a new force user, I believe he could use some sparing or knowledge you have learned" she said to the dark jedi knight. "Plus it could help get you aquanted to some new faces that you have not offended." Brimstone could see that Telona was jabbing at him trying to lighten his mood.

"I understand, my mistress. I will go see if I can help and maybe learn something from him also."

"See even now you are learning that even the lower ranks among us can be a benefit. Have a good time."

Brimstone gave a nod to Telona and walked out of the bridge. As he left, he saw a couple of the crew standing around talking to amongst themselves. Brimstone walked up to them to see if they have seen Severon. After some mild chit-chat, Brimstone made his way down to the modified training areas, one's that were built in unused storerooms for lightsaber training since they could use the ones back at Antei.

Brimstone checked the first two and didn't see anyone in it, but opened the 3rd and found the protector working with his saber and a training droid. Not making any noise, he walked in and watched for a bit. Severon spared each flash of the blue stun beam away from him with his saber. The protector was gaining more skills each day.

"You know the Vong won't be using toys against us when we face them again" spoke the Chiss.

Severon unignited his blue blade and turned to Brimstone. "Do I know you?" he asked.

"Doubt it, but neither do I know of you. I think that is why Telona sent me to talk to you" Brimstone replied. "You are Alderaanian I take it?"

"Yes, how would you know may I ask?"

"We chiss spent many times in the system, studying our advesaries and allies to learn about people. Only was one can defeat one's enemy is to learn about them."

"You consider us enemies?" said Severon shocked. "You never met me."

"True, but I don't consider you specifically an enemy, as we are all one in this Brotherhood. I guess it just the way I was trained and raised in the military of the Chiss Ascendancy that my thoughts still think of others as, well, mediocre. I appologize if I have offended you" spoke back Brimstone.

Severon looked at him and stuck his hand out. "By the way, my name is Severon."

"Most people call me Brimstone. It is easier for them to say than my given Chiss name, Seabr'imsto'nedansr." Brimstone stuck out his hand and shock Severon's with a firm grasp. "I think we can learn much from each other to pass the time till we are ready to fight the vong, maybe even show you some tricks we chiss have learned in dealing with them."

"So you have fought them before?" ask the Protector.

"Yes, last time was a couple years ago before when the war started, and also when I was in the Ascendancy we had a war with them too. Plus not to mention a few months ago also we had a bit of a tussle, but that's a long story."

"Well, it looks like we have some time, Brimstone. Why don't we head to the mess hall and talk this over a meal?"

"Sounds good to me" spoke Brimstone as the two parted out the doors.


10-03-2009 03:54:13

Ronovi was growing restless again; even stabbing invisible foes wasn't enough to stop her from thinking about what to do next. With more than a day left, as hypothesized, for the journey, she as a military staff member did not have any assigned duties until Oberst required her service for the first possible strike. Sighing, Ronovi placed her lightsaber in its rightful place at her hip and left the cargo hold, sauntering down the corridors without much confidence in her steps.

Perhaps she could ask Oberst if there was anything else was needed of her. She hated to bother to Marshal in his work, but considering how most of the travelers on the Magnus Kaerner had been focusing physically and mentally like she had, she didn't know how else she could occupy herself once she felt like she couldn't do much else to prepare. She would have to take the risk of possibly bothering the Proconsul of her clan as she made her way to the bridge, passing several ship employees who glanced at her briefly before returning to their respective duties.

The clicks and whirs of the console as Adien operated him calmed Ronovi as she approached Oberst, his back turned to her as he kept his eyes on the portal where the shroud hung almost gloomily like a veil. She had never really spoken with Oberst one on one save for when he requested that she assist him with an act of necromancy, but other than that, nothing. She attempted to wet her tongue when he intervened into her thoughts with a sharp tone.

"I thought I dismissed everyone a while ago."

Ronovi swallowed, the palms of her hands growing moist as she rubbed them together. "Sorry, sir. I thought maybe I would check to see how everything's doing."

Oberst breathed sharply, and Ronovi could tell he was amused without looking at his face. "Someone else who doesn't know how to pass the time. Here. Come take a look at everything if you like."

Mildly surprised, Ronovi took a few steps forward and stood beside Oberst, her eyes flickering to look at his war-beaten face before watching Spears and Adien work together to move the ship. She observed them both silently, taking note while Adien appeared to move with the Elder as if reacting to thoughts woven into the Force, adjusting a control and pressing a button here and there at various intervals. She examined the two's movements keenly, fluid versus precise.

"You've never seen a ship navigated like this before, have you, Colonel Tavisaen?" asked Oberst, looking at the Dark Jedi Knight before him.

"No, sir."

"Tarentum was the Guardian of the Shroud, before the Vong came along. We Elders know this place inside out. Its hazards, its concentration, all cut down to each particle for us to recognize. It takes many years to perfect this sort of navigation. It requires the utmost concentration."

"I see," whispered Ronovi. Then, not helping herself, she added, "I wonder if I will ever be at this sort of level with the Force."

Oberst did not laugh, but he appeared to be mulling over the remark for a moment before speaking again. "Should you return to Yridia alive, I will introduce you to Master Zero."

Ronovi stuttered at this for a moment before recollecting yourself. "Really? You'd want me to?"

"I meant to emphasize the 'if', Colonel Tavisaen," Oberst replied, more cruelly than jokingly, and Ronovi could only nod at the words rather than take irrational offense to them. She was already aware of the consequences of venturing here; her travel to Samur had proven that even a Knight could be easily beaten down.

"Well, thank you, sir. I look forward to the meeting."

"Don't dwell on it," replied Oberst. "Now go back to your fellow military staff and discuss strategies with them. I want you all to have it on your minds when I call you back eventually."

"Yes, sir!" exclaimed Ronovi, instinctively bowing before departing. Leaving the Marshal behind, she could still sense the authority from him, and yet her intrigue about the meeting itself did not waver. Still, one simple task he had given her was enough to sate her hunger for some activity, at least for now.


10-03-2009 12:43:47

Aboard the Reqiuem, in one of the cargo holds, Cestus Rollmaster Vai Azexel is doing what he does best; teaching the journeymen under his watch. The journeymen had approached their Rollmaster on the bridge and asked him for guidance on force defense.

On the cold metal floor of the hold lay Acolyte Rathelm Canex, holding his stomach after failing to block a telekinetic stike produced by the firrerreon Jedi Hunter.

From the opposite corner of the room, Jedi Hunter Jaron Kai looked on; remembering these important but often painful courses in force defense.

“On your feet Canex, being able to defend yourself against force attacks is critical to your survival as a dark jedi” says Vai.

As Rathelm regained his composure, Vai continued on with the lesson to the lower ranked apprentices “remember the force is all around you, between the chairs your sitting on, between Rathelm and me. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, but when you’re ready you’ll be able to feel it.”

“Rathelm, are you ready?” questioned Vai to the Obelisk Acolyte. With a small bow, Rathelm answered “yes.”

Vai pushed out his right arm rapidly toward Rathelm and with that movement sent another strike in the Acolyte’s direction. Rathelm could sense the distortion of the force heading his way and attempted to block it. The Acolyte stepped back a few steps from the impact, however maintained his balance.

“Well done Rathelm” commented Vai. “You adapted well as you could for your skill level.”

Vai suddenly felt a disturbance in the force. By instinct Vai blocked a force strike coming from Jaron Kai’s direction. With a perplexed look on his face, Vai approached Ronovi’s apprentice. “So, you wish to duel Jaron” Vai said with a smile on his face. “You’re not all that powerful Vai, someone needs to show our fellow journeymen that you are just like them, a learner” answered back Jaron Kai with conviction.

The two Jedi Hunter’s walked to the center of the cargo hold as the other journeymen looked on in excitement.

“Your weapons Jaron?” questioned Vai. “Hand-to-Hand, can’t afford to kill you before we face the Vong” answered back Jaron with a sinister tone. “Rathelm, you must start this for us” Vai said in a serious tone.

The two combatants went into their respective stances as Rathelm approached. “Just don’t hurt each other too bad” said the Acolyte. Jaron and Vai looked each other in the eye as Rathelm dropped his arm and said “begin.”

From the passage ways of the Reqiuem then duel between Jaron & Vai could be heard. Each move Jaron made Vai countered and the same of his attacks. Force attacks were being blocked with ease and the two hunter’s were at a stalemate. However things changed as Vai performed an attack that only one truly with the force flowing through them could achieve, sweeping Jaron’s leg and then leaping through the force sending Jaron flying and then landing hard on the deck of the cargo bay.

“Enough” yelled Saitou as he entered the cargo hold. “You two need to save it for the Vong, they are our true challenge, not each other” finished the Krath Pontifex. Little did the two hunters know, that he had been watching them this entire time.

Jaron recovered and regained her footing, bowing deeply to Vai before exiting the cargo hold. Vai returned the bow toward his fellow cestian and ally as he made his way back to the bridge.

Severon V

10-03-2009 14:19:02

As Severon walked with Brimstone to the mess hall, he continued to glance at the his lightsaber. Brimstone looked at him and only said, "What are you looking at Severon?"

Severon looked away from Brimstone's lightsaber with a shy glance and said, "Just your lightsaber. I was never able to build a real one and it is embarrassing."

Brimstone just looked at the young protector and saw himself for an instant, but the moment left. "Brimstone?" Severon asked.


"I was wondering, why a lightsaber?"


"I mean, why do we carry the lightsaber and why did we ever come up with it? I just want to know its history, if you're not too busy that is."


10-03-2009 16:00:25

Brimstone and Severon made their way to the mess hall. After grabing some food and taking their seats in the corner, they continued their talks.

"I believe that the lightsaber was mostly used for cerimonial purposes when they were first discovered and built" spoke the knight. "From what I have read, it wasn't till about 4,800 years ago that they were mostly used for combat. The jedi and sith both used them to replace traditional swords and bladed weaponry, especially since they were effective against armor than their predecesors."

"So it is mainly used more for traditional purposes than anything I take it?" replied Severon.

"Pretty much. I mean a blaster or sword mostly can't reflect a blaster shot as a lightsaber blade can, so it is a very good defensive weapon and other than the Vong's amphistaffs or cortosis weapons, nothing I have seen can compete with the ability of the lightsaber."

"Amphistaffs? You mean the Vong, same ones we are at war with, have technology to beat our lightsabers?" gasped the Protector.

"Not entirely. While yes they can withsatnd strikes from them, it is all how a Sith uses the saber and how well they know how to combat with one is how it functions. It isn't the weapon that makes the warrior, but the warrior that makes the weapon."

"But wouldn't just a blaster or rifle do better to take out the Vong from a distance than risking close combat wit them and their staffs?"

"Not really. They also possess a living crab armor that is highly resistant to lasers and projectiles. Except for a few "soft" spots in their armor, they are pretty much indestructable. Except for a few things we have learned about them, like what can kill their armor."

"There is something that can kill their armor? Then why don't we use it all the time?"

"Because the research is still being done about it. We found it out in the Chiss Ascendancy and used it for our war against them" spoke Brimstone as he reached for his pocket on his utility belt. He pulled out a small canister with a yellow substance in it. "This, my friend, is Baffor Pollen from the trees of Ithor. It basically acts as a virus to their crab armor and kills its hosts. It came in handy for me a couple years ago when this war started and now the higher-ups are using it to research as a posible weapon against the Vong."

The two of them continued to talk while Brimstone replaced the small canister back in his pouch. They continued to talk about lightsabers and the history of the Sith and Jedi.

(OOC the info on the lightsaber was found in the Star Wars Wiki Lightsaber History

Severon V

10-03-2009 17:43:46

Severon was fascinated by Brimstone’s knowledge on the Lightsaber. He looked again at the Chiss and knew that he was an ally. He turned and smiled at the Chiss.
Brimstone turned and said, “What are you smiling about?”

“I am glad that we have been able to talk together. It has been very interesting. I am glad we met.”

“Don’t thank me protector. It was Telona’s idea that I talk to you. She knew that you were as bored as I was.”

“Ok, I’ll make sure to give her my gratitude.”

“You do that.”

For the rest of the meal, they ate in silence.


10-03-2009 18:26:37

Magnus Kaerner

On the way back to the locker room to meet up with Huldrych and Frey, Ronovi found herself beginning to inspect the various parts of the ship with interest. Being a member of the ground forces, she had never had any experience flying save for piloting some freighter ships the occasional fighter, the latter being more for simulations and anything. Scanning the glossy metal walls as she departed from the command tower, she also became curious of the movements. The whole traveling through the Shroud interested her, as well as the naval operations themselves, and if they were to make their first strikes in the air, she wanted to at least offer something in terms of feedback or advice.

Turning the corner with her eyes on the floor, Ronovi was unaware of the tall, muscular figure approaching her until she nearly collided with him. She yelped and stumbled back, dropping her more serious countenance for a moment as she stared directly into the eyes of Welshman Erinos.

"Oh!" she stuttered, intimidated by the man's scarred face and his bulk despite her slightly superior height as an Epicanthix. "I'm so sorry!" She was apologizing a lot today; that wasn't a good sign.

Welshman furrowed his brow but maintained the same amused expression she had been given time and time again. "Someone was a little distracted," he said. "Where were you coming from, anyway?"

"Oh, the bridge just now. I was talking to Oberst, he was mentioning how we were navigating..." Ronovi wasn't aware of how she was rambling, and the look from Welshman made her mouth go dry and her face flush. "Um..."

"Have I met you before?" asked Welshman, arching one eyebrow. "You're the Aedile of House Cestus, aren't you?"

"Oh...um...yes. I'm sure I've seen you around the VSD Corsair, but I guess we never really formally met." Then, remembering who she was talking to, Ronovi swept herself into an awkward bow. "Knight Ronovi Tavisaen."

"I see. Welshman Erinos," Welshman replied, his voice precise and his words choppy as he introduced himself.

"Well, now the name sounds familiar. I'm sure I've seen you around in passing."

"Yes, I've seen you, too. Though right now I just finished up some paperwork and I'm just playing my part as task force commander for now. So I know Oberst, as well as your master Doni Tzu, very well."

Ronovi blinked. "How did you...?"

"I'd think you'd know how by now," Welshman smirked, before Ronovi felt his Force channels grow more accentuated for a brief moment.

"Oh. Right."

"Anyway, were you interested in naval combat or something?"

"Yes, actually," said Ronovi, her eyes brightening. "Doni Tzu's been able to teach me some basics, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to learn more."

"Where are you heading right now?" asked Welshman, his burly arms folded across his chest.

"To the locker room. That's where the rest of Oberst's staff is. Er, well, Huldrych and Frey. Doni Tzu's probably off doing his own thing."

"Doni Tzu's always been better when he's not coaxed into a group," said Welshman, grinning. Then, sighing, he said, "I have lots of free time, since nothing's really happening. If you escort me to the locker room, I can give the three of you a little tutorial on naval tactics. Then maybe you can offer something when we're closing in on Antei."

"That'd be great!"

"Excellent. Ready to go, then?"

Ronovi nodded before turning back down the corridor, listening to Welshman's footsteps as he followed her. She was already growing aware of Welshman's authority, as various pilots and ship officers passing by greeted him firmly and curtly. Still, it was good to meet someone also further up on the ladder who could help out.

I guess I've got a big opportunity to familiarize with my fellow Housemates and clanmates with this trip in the Shroud, she thought, and she laughed quietly to herself as she disappeared into the locker room with Welshman right behind her.


10-03-2009 19:05:05

The Shroud
B/CR Phlegethon
Mess Hall
ETA to Antei: 26hrs, 43m

“I swear I’m telling you the truth, Giovanni.” Szordryn said between the last few bites of his grilled nerf sandwich before giving a toothy smile to Giovanni, displaying chunks of the meal he just had. “I spoke to that cute signals girl, Milou, after she had finished her shift. Told me before giving me her personal comlink number, that the fleet had abandoned the route to Antei assigned to us by the Grand Master.”

“Alright, now I know you are lying to me on two accounts but whatever. There’s no way the Elders of the clan would agree to abandon the invasion of Antei. Darth Sarin has gotten too powerful, and he’s amassed too many ships for any clan to even think of challenging him or disregarding his rule. That’s why we agreed to it in the first place.” Giovanni snorted before slurping down the rest of his stew. “And as for Milou, I hope she did give you her number. You’ll find out what Xayun found down there.”

“What are talking about?” Szordryn whispered as he lend in closer to Giovanni, who smiled and did the same to whisper back.

“Ever see the porno, ‘The cat with two tails’?”

“No…That can’t be real, can it?” Szordryn whispered back before being interrupted by a loud bang on the end of their tables that shot both Tarenti upright in their seats.

“You knuckleheads haven’t finished yet?!” A fully shaved Ryn asked with a shout. “I let you go from training early to get some food before group meditation and you guys are still picking at your teeth.

“Sorry, Raiju.” Szordryn replied as he dropped his hand from his mouth and both of the two members of Yu stood to join their Sargeant as he moved to the exit of the mess hall.

Raiju shook his head as he led the other members of Yu to the meditation chambers. With the entire fleet heading to Antei to back up the Grand Master’s invasion, these two were the only ones available to help him prepare for their missions ahead as Dock, Evant, and Merlance all served their roles within the Tarentum fleet. A shame it was, Raiju felt, as he would solely be responsible for preparing these two for a war that could leave one or both of them dead.

As Raiju rounded one of the corners, Szordryn snapped his fingers to get Giovanni’s attention and motioned to Giovanni to ask their Battleteam leader about the topic they had just been discussing. Sighing before giving a quick cough to clear his thought, Giovanni quickly picked up his pace until he was walking beside the Ryn.

“Sarg, is it true what people are starting to say around the ship? Did Oberst and the Elders abandon the course to Antei?”

“Why in the name of the Sith King would they do that?” Raiju said as he stopped to look both his members in the face. When nothing but confused stares and shrugs answered him, the Ryn sighed. “You guys have got to stop listening to all the flyboys on this ship. Listen, I know about as much as you know. Only the flyboys are part of the battle meditation right now so that the Elders can commit more efforts to navigating our fleet through the shroud. If they did alter it was for a reason, but I assure you that we are still heading towards Antei.”

As both nodded their heads in agreement, Raiju smiled at their innocence. Their question had been concerning, but it wasn’t his concern. Raiju would be one of the ones heading to the planet with the armies of the dark throne as would both of these men. He did hope that it wasn’t true, but if they had then it was for the best of the clan and Raiju knew he would have to keep that mindset. In all honesty, he hoped they didn’t retake Antei and that Sarin’s fleet would be critically weakened if not destroyed so the clans would be more flexible under Sarin’s control. But more than anything, Raiju hoped to snag one of the Dark Throne’s artifacts for Tarentum while he was on the planet. But that would come later, for now it was time to meditate and explore the force‘s message. But before he could lead the others in this, Raiju needed something first to help his mental exploration.

“Listen guys, we’ll figure out everything in the meditation chambers. Before that though, I need to get something from my quarters. I want you guys to carry on to the chambers and I’ll be along shortly.” Raiju said as he turned away from them and causally started walking in the opposite direction. Before he was out of hearing, Szordryn quickly yelled to him.

“Hey, Raiju! Do you know anything about a girl named Milou?”

“You mean the one with the…” Raiju answered as he spun around and held his hand to his crotch with his index finger extended and wiggled it before turned back and carried one. Over his shoulder he yelled, “Why do you think Oberst baited Xayun into trying to hit that?”

As Szordryn’s jaw fell, Giovanni laughed and patted him in the stomach before leading his team mate to the meditation chambers.


10-03-2009 23:20:37

Rofir stood on the bridge of the Arcanum, leering with all his pent up anger at the hapless sensor technician. The fellow had tried everything in his power to boost the sensors, to get a better reading, to do something that would help them find Tarentum again. Not but fifteen minutes ago, an eternity in this nav-soup, his navigation chief had delivered the most likely location for Tarentum’s path: the Vrakely Energetic Rift.

“Sir, I think I may have something,” said the sensor tech. “It isn’t much, but we’re detecting some faint ionization, something that would not occur naturally. At least, not according to what information we were given.”


“And- oh, yes, it leads directly into the rift,” replied the technician. Rofir bit his lip. Already he was treading on dangerous ground in this following, since the Shroud moved at random. The Headmaster was doing his part to help guide the ship, but as they were following a relatively safe path, the concentration required was less that it might become were they to deviate from the path. Besides, as Rofir understood it, the Headmaster was not far enough progressed in his own studies navigate as skillfully as his predecessor could on Tarentum’s ships. At least, that is what he had heard. For all he knew, a blind Hutt could wallow through the Shroud just as good as any Headmaster past or present. Rofir tried not to dwell too much on the Force, something far beyond his grasp.

“Sir, what are your orders?” asked the XO.

“As much as I’d like to follow them, it won’t do us any good,” said Rofir. “Sensors don’t work in the Rift to begin with, and the safety of this vessel comes first. Continue along the original, ‘safe’ path as prescribed by the Headmaster. If we run into Tarentum later, then so be it.”

“Aye, sir,” said the XO. Rofir would report to Sarin the events that had occurred, and he would no doubt receive his own reprimand for losing them. But, he could only do so much, and so long as Tarentum arrived at Antei on time, Rofir doubted that the Grand Master would truly care. As it was, Rofir knew that Tarentum wouldn’t shirk its duties; he had worked with the current Consul for some time, and the clan would do its part . . . just, not as everyone expected they would.

* * *

Even as he guided the ship behind the others, Anshar could sense the boredom and frustration of those around him. He could not blame them; they had waited for this day, and undertaken many missions to prepare for this event. Even members who had not yet joined with them before the last war had responded to the preparation efforts. In one day, everyone would face the trials ahead and, perhaps, some would wish for the boredom again.


10-03-2009 23:45:49

Rotating his shoulder forward, then in reverse Apollo groaned a little. The pain was mild, but it was annoying. He had been sitting in an observation chair on the bridge for some time and now it seemed to be catching up with him. Standing, the Archpriest stretched and began to walk around the bridge in an attempt to get the old blood flowing. As he did so, he began to pace in a large circle around the room at a constant rhythm, something he had developed as a teenager and just couldn't seem to get rid of.

Are you going to do that all day? Telona suddenly asked. Though she pushed through the sense of annoyance through the Force, Apollo had always believed she secretly liked that little quirk of his. With a smirk on his face he turned to her from the opposite side of the bridge.

Maybe. he replied. She opened her right eye and looked at him for a moment. He smiled at her. She closed it and went back to piloting the ship.


Apollo chuckled softly, which drew the attention of his AED and Ship's XO Dark Jedi Knight Scion. Scion cocked his head ever so slightly and looked at his Master inquisitively. Apollo nodded to Telona then continued to pace the room. Scion rolled his eyes and went back to his sensor screen. He had always been good at solving problems, no matter if they dealt with duty rosters or fixing a solar panel in a TIE Fighter. If it was broke, Apollo was pretty sure Scion could fix it.

The captain of the B/CRS Cocytus made at least two more laps before standing beside Telona. He looked at his personal datapad as he reached for his 5th large cup of caf for the day only to find it missing. Glancing around the room he spotted his cup, silently being held captive against it's will in Telona's hand as she took a long sip. He shook his head and sat back down in the observation chair, caf-less.

"Apollo. I think I'm getting something in the sensors. Its faint, but close by." Scion said as he tried again to boost the signal strength beyond what it was spec ed for. A small blip appeared in front of the ship, just two degrees off it's present course. But before they could scan the object a young aide looked out the view port just in time to see it seemingly materialize out of nothing in front of her.

"There! Vong ship!" blurted the young woman. Apollo cursed himself for being caught off guard as well as for the little warning. Pressing a ship-wide comm button he looked at the small craft nearing his starship.

"General Quarters! All gunners to your stations! This is the Captain, this is not a drill!" Reaching for a small compartment near Telona's legs he pulled out a set of binoculars. No one seemed to care what he was doing amid the flurry of frantic activity raging around them. Everyone soon found their place or station and waited for an order, any order.

"Weapons! Get me a lock!" ordered Scion from just behind the officer's ear.

Apollo lifted the ancient piece of technology to his eyes and peered out at the new contact. Nothing seemed to be moving. It seemed just like the others they had passed.

"Transport-analog bearing 357 degrees. Range, two kilometers. Weapons are locked on the target sir!" Scion nodded then looked to Apollo.

"It's damaged." Apollo took another look at the small craft and spotted smaller objects that littered the space around it.

"Oh, my." Was all he could say before one of the objects impacted the shields at the bow and disintegrated.

"What was that?" Scion asked cautiously.

"Bodies.. hundreds of bodies." gripping tighter on the binoculars he finally lowered them. Swallowing at the anger building up inside of him, he finally added. "Some of them are human. Some of them are ours."

Scion's fist slammed violently into the arm rest at his station. Apollo turned to the communications officer.

"Open a channel to Marshal Oberst. He should probably know about this."


11-03-2009 00:59:06

Magnus Kaerner

"Marshal! We've just received a transmission from the Cocytus!"

Oberst breathed sharply through his nostrils and already had a feeling about what the report was. With the Cocytus in the lead of the rest of the fleets, he could only guess it was another random Vong ship detection. While it was good to keep everyone alert, the constant "Ah, calm...oh, look, a dead Vong ship! Ah, calm..." was beginning to become a royal pain. He preferred having to worry about attacking anything only when they had reached Antei.

Still, he turned to the XO with a typical glare. "Give me the summary."

The XO was pale, stammering. "Sir...there are apparently dead bodies suspended in the Shroud. They were about 2 or less kilometers away from the Cocytus when they were first discovered around another dead Vong ship."

"And? Are they in the way of our route?"

"Well...some of the bodies are making their way past the Cocytus now and approaching us on our port side. We should be passing them in a few minutes."

Oberst was silent as he turned back to the portal, and already the Cocytus ahead was brushing past the multitude of just discovered bodies. He could already sense that they were not freshly dead, but the sight of it was still something that would inconveniently turn some heads away from their work. He watched the frozen corpses bobbing in the spacial cavity as the ship passed and looked at the XO again, who was watching it all without saying a word.

"Ignore it and get back to work," was all Oberst said in reply before returning to his normal stance as Adien and Spears steered the ship. All three were not paying attention to the death that wove its way past the bow.


"So wait, you hold back your fighter squadrons until after the battle breaks out?"

Welshman chuckled at Frey's disbelief. He had spent some considerable time discussing basic flight techniques, more specifically to Ronovi as the others had more experience with the navy than she did, before the four decided that this sort of discussion was better on a full stomach. Now they were seated in the ship's mess hall - with Huldrych refusing to eat anything that wasn't in the rodent category and Ronovi picking at her plate of Berbersian crab while still enjoying her obligatory glass of Corellian whiskey - as the Warlord discussed things more along the lines of his personal experiences as as a pilot and Task Commander.

"I feel that the best way to prevent blue on blue casualties is through thinning out the enemy first," Welshman continued, as Frey turned back to his own dish. "You know, barrage them a bit with missiles or lasers to disrupt the formations. Best I can do to prevent any unnecessary deaths."

"But don't you think that's a little unorthodox?" Huldrych asked, his mandibles beginning to click as he searched for possible pests around the floor for him to devour.

"Orthodox and conventional have never been the proper way to win a fight, in my eyes," said Welshman. "If that were so, we'd still be using the old tactics the Empire used. Those were heavily flawed, even though their formations were pretty standard when I worked there. My job as commander is to make sure we enforce our techniques in battles efficiently. That's why I also sometimes allow the enemy fleet to make the initial move since it can throw off any advantage the opponent may have."

"I've heard you're quite the ace with a fighter, too," said Ronovi as she polished off a third of her glass's contents and gritted her teeth at the effects. Welshman eyed her with a humored expression before continuing.

"That's what people say, yes. But that's possibly because I was able to wipe out thirty coral skippers in a thirty-year-old TIE fighter simulacrum."

Frey nearly choked on his sausage at the remark, and Ronovi could only stare wide-eyed. "You're kidding."

"I wouldn't make it up. Always loved my TIEs. I used them in my early years, when I was still an Imperialist."

"I can't imagine what it could have been like fighting as a pilot for the Empire," Ronovi muttered as she lifted her glass to her lips, just to hear a ship employee cleaning up some tables nearby shriek as he stared out of the nearest viewport.

"What the Hell?! What happened?"

Ronovi spun around to look at what he was talking about to see various specks floating in the distance outside of the Kaerner. In the next moment, she was up, taking her glass with her as she left the group behind, though Huldrych felt it necessary to follow her to make sure the non-insect wasn't up to no good. As a cluster of viewers began to build and Ronovi approached the ship worker who had first seen it, her breath left her as she saw the various bodies of humanoids floating in space. Attempting to keep her composure as a Dark Jedi, she looked at the young busboy, who was breathing sharply with his eyes watering. She let the gaze of her eyepatch fall on his pale countenance.

"You don't have to see this. Go back to what you were doing before."

Hesitating at first, the young worker nodded before gathering his cleaning supplies and rushing from the mess hall. Huldrych watched him go before seeing the Knight keep her eyes locked as the bodies, seemingly hundreds of them, continued to drift. Not just Vong, but humans and humanoids. Possibly former members of the Brotherhood. All dead.

Huldrych watched curiously as Ronovi downed the rest of her whiskey, letting the burn of the alcohol kick in to keep herself from screaming.



"Stay locked on target," ordered Scion.

Apollo watched solemnly as the Cocytus pulled in close enough to the small Vong transport on its port side in order to make a full scan of its exterior. They had already passed a good amount of corpses, with some making their dramatic exit by collding against the ship's shields and disintegrating into the darkness of the Shroud. A few meters behind the transport, more bodies were present, and he could see many of them clearly without using his binoculars.

"Scanning..." Apollo then watched as the data came up at one of the sensor stations. "I see. Massive damage by explosive decompression."

"So what do you think happened?"

"Whatever's poisoning these things is what happened," replied Apollo, his voice thin. "The thing that's causing these ships to die was able to weaken one of the bulkheads enough to cause this kind of decompression. So every passenger got blown out of the thing while they suffered major lung trauma at the same time. No one stood a chance."

"So..." Scion hesitated. "Do you think those bodies belonged to..."

"Yes. As far as I'm concerned, they were prisoners from the last war we fought." Apollo looked noticeably shaken as he said this, looking at the results of the sensors. "Either they were used as sacrifices to the Vong gods, or they were being forced to help navigate the Shroud. Either way..."

"Either way...?"

Apollo shook his head. "Same result."

There was silence between the two Dark Jedi. Scion's brow furrowed under his graying hair, and he grabbed his flask and sipped from it again.

"Do you think we should let everyone see this, Apollo?" he asked hesitantly. "I mean, if the workers..."

"We'll make sure the workers stay focused," murmured Apollo. "As for our fellow Gladians, I'm sure news has already spread from the gunners by now. So I don't think we can help it."

"Human nature, then, to look?" Scion breathed.

Apollo nodded, though deep in the back of his mind he wondered if it would be any good for his House. He could already sense the energies of his fellow Dark Jedi building as they watched from the nearest viewport, as the decay of Brotherhood members they probably never knew floated by. Such was the inevitable consequence of war.


11-03-2009 16:10:41

Both of the men just were about to finished eating when there was a loud crash of dishes on the floor. As they turned to look, one of the service personnel was just staring out the viewport. Both of them got up to see what was all the commotion and walked over to him.

"What's wrong?" asked Severon.

"Out there look!" replied the dish handler.

Both Severon and Brimstone looked outside the viewport and saw lifeless bodies just floating beside the ship, frozen in time and death.

"Oh my god, are we being attacked?" asked Severon.

"I doubt it or alarms would have gone off" replied Brimstone. "These are prisoners of war. Looks like the Vong are done with their interogations of them and discarded them to here."

"Talk about savages. At least we are nice enough to place them bodies in a shallow grave after killing them."

"That's the vong for you. They are relentless. They don't care about life except their own and are really annoyed at people like us, the Force users. They see us as the bantha fodder of the universe. They hate us more because of our connection to the Force, since they don't have one their own to it."

Severon bent down to help the crewmember pick up the drop trays of dishes. Brimstone kep staring out the viewport. "This isn't really like them to not make these bodies part of their caste" thought the chiss to himself.


11-03-2009 17:13:33

Pacing back and forth aboard the Reqiuem, Vai looked out the portals at the decayed and frozen bodies of fallen brothers and sisters. Did he know them? No, but he knew they fought and gave their lives against an enemy that had no honor.

He was angry, not at the Vong, but himself. He let his frustration and anger toward the Vong affect his mind in a way that could have seriously injured a fellow Cestian. Ever since he first encountered them, he has desired revenge. Now, as the fleet approached closer to Antei, his desires to have his revenge burned to his soul.

As he continued to stare intensely out the portals, his master, Sato Tarantae approached. Vai could sense his master’s presence and turned to face him.

“Vai, why do you let this desire for vengeance to cloud your judgment?” questioned the Sith Battlemaster.

“Master, you know I have always wanted my revenge on those bastards” spoke Vai with a tone of conviction.

Sato looked the firrerreon in the eyes and said with a serious tone “Vengeance takes away from focus, and to beat this foe, focus is what you need.”

“Yes master” Vai said as he bowed his head.

“I want you to go meditate and clear your mind” said Sato, “I need you prepared for whats to come, and right now with your mindset; you’re dangerous.”

Vai bowed his hooded head at the former Quaestor of House Cestus and made his way to his bunk a few decks below the bridge.

Kneeling on the floor, Vai closed his eyes and began to meditate. This was often difficult for him as his past often came back to haunt him.

In his meditation Vai thought of his encounters with the Vong. The torture, the pain he had endured long ago; however, then the thoughts moved to the future and standing with his brothers and sisters on the surface of Antei, victorious.

Severon V

12-03-2009 13:57:41

Severon finished helping the crewman pick up the spilt dishes and turned to look back out the window. His face couldn’t hide the sickness welling up inside of him. “Uhh..Brimstone?” he said.

“What is it Severon?” Brimstone asked, not turning away from the window.

“I…I don’t know what to think of this anymore.”

“Don’t worry too much on this. They died for a cause, and you must continue it.”

“I know. I just never knew how bad it all was. I’ve seen combat, but…this is different.”

“Like I said, just don’t worry about it. Focus on the mission and immerse yourself in the Force.”

“Of course.”

Severon continued to look out the window and watched as the bodies floated by. He still couldn't believe that anyone had died.


12-03-2009 17:29:02

Like all casualties of war, the image of the destroyed vessel and its dead inhabitants would be remembered but passed by as the fleets continued at their monitored. The eyes of ship workers and younger Dark Jedi were on the spectacle until it disappeared behind, engulfed by the almost never ending shadows of the Shroud. A reminder of what had come and what could come, it would serve to be an example to many unexperienced warriors and fighters of just what they were up against.

Yet the fleets did not waver. The pilots and commanders of Tarentum had all seen it before, witnessed their allies killed or captured by their enemies. They were familiar with the grotesque faces of the Vong, the veracity of their fighting as they shot upon ship after ship in hopes of breaking through. They had all known failure and loss. The floating cemetery they passed was proof of that.

But now, as the first day of traveling began to draw to a close. Evening had fallen, activity had lowered, and some resigned themselves to rest or entertainment in order to clear their minds. Captains and navigators would not sleep, for it was their awareness that decided if they would make the journey, as each Tarentum ship finally pulled into, and settled, into the Vrakely Energetic Rift, testing their own mettle as their sensors confusedly responded to the increased level of radiation. They could handle it; it was a minimal obstacle as they reminded themselves of their next target of destination. No matter what, they were going for Antei.


Magnus Kaerner

Ronovi was one of several officers and Dark Jedi who did not relax for the evening. After leaving her plate of food and colleagues behind in the mess hall, she tried not to think about the cold, pale corpses that had drifted by in her vision. She sat at a terminal, fingers idly sifting through paperwork on her unit who commonly traveled with the Tarentum fleet even if they would have no place in the ground attack. To be make it even more tedious, with her division leader Frosty Tarentae on the Reqiuem,, she was doing the paperwork for the whole division and not just for her brigade.

She couldn't concentrate. Ronovi tried to press into the Force, the intricate balance of the planes to keep herself level-headed, and found herself waiting for someone to show up. She didn't expect anyone to react so quickly, but there he was, eventually standing behind her as she tried to work. Her face was stoic, but Ronovi did not dare look at him to show the strain behind her eyes.

"You like just coming to visit, don't you?" she said as she felt the presence of her master behind her.

"You've seen slaughter before, I'm sure," said Doni Tzu. "But not like what you saw tonight."

"I don't know what to think," Ronovi muttered, and she was lying. More likely that she had many thoughts and didn't know what to pick.

"This is war, Ronovi. This is the consequence of war. I've endured capture myself and made it out alive."

"Don't!" Ronovi suddenly exclaimed, as unwelcome memories of the first time she saw the Vong came back to her. "I have too much on my mind already. Please don't."

There was silence between them, and Doni Tzu moved to stand behind his apprentice, watching as she stared at the data sheets in front of her with unreading eyes. His breath rattled behind his mask as he watched her, and then Ronovi shuddered as she felt the almost ethereal hand of her master come down firmly on her shoulder.

"If you keep blocking everything out, you won't learn anything from it. This is why I told you to meditate. If you allow yourself to see the enemy rather than your worries, you'll be more prepared. Believe me."

With that hand on her shoulder, the pressure almost too much, Ronovi couldn't say anything but, "Go away."

"Excuse me?"

"I have work to do. Please leave me alone."

"But you must understand..."

"I understand!" Ronovi found herself yelling, and she found herself glaring into Doni Tzu's blazing eyes, her right fist clenched, her one real eye damp. "I just...need time to finish these papers. And then I'll..."

"Good." She felt as if a weight was lifted from her as Doni Tzu pulled his hand away, then watched as he turned to leave. "That time, I could tell you were being honest."

Ronovi waited until he had disappeared into the shadows of the corridor before turning back to her papers, the words once blurred coming into her focus as she tried to concentrate. She understood what Doni Tzu had said. She understood it all. But to be able to act on said understanding...that was something she needed to work on.

Ignoring the nagging voice in her head demanding sleep, Ronovi picked up her writing utensil and began to scribble notes as she flipped through the pages of various follow-ups on the Corps's Second Division. She was fine with a distraction that could last through the night.


12-03-2009 19:27:47

The Shroud
B/CR Phlegethon
ETA to Antei: 24hrs, 36m

The air was filled with the sounds of clanging dishes, pots and pans as the kitchen staff worked franticly to finish the last of their chores that had arrived with the recent shift change of the ship. Each of them knew of the coming battle and all of them felt just as anxious about it, if not more, as the Phlegethon grew closer to Antei; and Raiju had no doubt their desire to finish up quickly was brought on but the desire take in a few more hours of pleasure through whatever means interested them. With this thought in mind, the Ryn wondered how they must of felt; being dragged into a conflict that they would have no part in fighting in. But he did know that these people did the same thing as many others in the rest of the ship to get away from the anxiety of combat.

Most watched the latest hits on the holonet, others played cards, and several used the chance to make a move on the few attractive and many unattractive personnel on board the ship. But it was a select group of people that participated in more illegal forms of entertainment that interested Raiju, and while certainly the Captain and his superiors in the fleet knew of their existence, there was only a set few amongst the Dark Jedi who were aware of them and even fewer allowed into their environment. Raiju was one of these few, which was made possible only due to his addiction to gambling and his ever growing debt. But his time away from Tarentum over the past few months made him worry about the reception he’d get today. He just wished that they had some of the stuff that he left the other Yu members to go get, since he hadn’t been able to find the stuff he had hidden away in his room.

As the shaved Ryn dodged the staff as they worked busily around him, Raiju moved to the back of the kitchen where his bookie, Agnan, worked as head dishwasher. As the Obelisk moved through the door from the cooking area to the washing area, he was alerted to how cautious he should be acting by the glares he received from each member of Agnan’s team as he moved past them. Arriving at the back of the washing area, Raiju looked up at the tall, balding human that stood outside the storage area pretending to be working as he continue on without a pause. Three feet into the storage area, Raiju stopped and stood silent looking quietly at the small bothan that sat facing the doorway with six of his thugs surrounding him; all of whom were smoking stuff with a sticky smell.

“You look familiar, stranger.” Agnan snarled in between the puffs of smoke that he blew out his long nostrils. “There’s not too many Ryns that wander this kitchen and even fewer with that shaved look of yours. Was that an attempt to hide from my friends before your little tour to Plagueis, Raiju?”

“Of course not, Agnan.” Raiju snorted as he quickly grabbed a seat that sat beside the doorway before setting it backwards before Agnan and straddling it. “Oberst wouldn’t let me back on the ship to pay you without a new haircut. Didn‘t want people thinking the smell in the kitchen was the food they are serving.”

“So you have my money?” Agnan snapped, as he leaned forward on the shelf he was sitting on.

“I have something better than credits, Agnan.” Raiju laughed as he leaned back while holding onto the back of the chair with his hands. “I’m willing to offer you a chance at treasure, along with my personal services that will take care of retreiving it; of course. Sound peachy?”

“What kind of treasure could you possibly offer me, Raiju?” Agnan answered quickly while waving back one of his thugs that had moved forward to strike the careless Ryn.

“Well, what kind of treasure would you be interested in?” Raiju retorted with an open expression. “You know that this fleet is headed back to Antei, and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I will be one of the very, very few within this clan that makes it onto the surface since the Grand Master has ordered only me and my Jedi friends into the assault. There’s countless treasures down there locked away inside the temples and structures of the Dark Throne. And since you won’t be interested in the same ones that myself and this clan will be, I have no problem bringing a few things back for yourself in exchange for calling off my debt.”

“And you are sure you can provide me with something of value from the surface?” Agnan said after a long pause and a sigh before continuing after a quick nod and grin from the Ryn. “And what insurances do I have that you will?”

“Because, dead friend, in the future I’ll be coming to you again for the same supplies I am today and I therefore can’t afford to be in anything less than your good graces.” Raiju whispered after leaning in closer to Agnan over the back of the chair. After several moments of silence and a hard glare from Agnan into Raiju’s green eyes, Agnan answered with a nod to one of his thugs on his right.

“How much will you be needing?”

Severon V

13-03-2009 14:06:26

Severon finally turned away from the window. He knew that the dead would be remembered, in their clans and houses, forever. He said a soft farewell to the dead and turned to Brimstone. “Uh...Brimstone?”

“What do you want Severon?”

“Do you want to spar? I think someone of your skill will help me with my saber skills.”

“Fine. Just know that I am not an easy enemy. This will not be an easy match for you.”

“I know. I just need to learn before we encounter the Vong.”

“Of course. You have never faced a Vong, so I know why you ask.”

The two calmly walked to the saber training rooms. As they walked, Severon rubbed the smooth hilt of his armory saber. He knew in a matter of life or death it was virtually useless, but it made him feel better to have it.

They soon reached the sparring rooms and Severon took off his outer cloak showing his Obelisk blue robes. As he turned to look at Brimstone, he stared at the Chiss’ dark red Sith robes.

“Brimstone, how did you feel when you received your first saber.”

“Well, Severon, that is a long story.”

“Will you tell me?”

“Fine. It began somewhat like this…”


13-03-2009 15:55:32

The Shroud
B/CR Phlegethon
ETA to Antei: 24hrs, 36m

“How much can you get?” came the swift reply.
These unorthodox affairs might have seemed unusual on a warship to an observers eye, especially in the midst of the war, but these men were all employees or navy men serving the Clan. Their little 'on the side' business had happened on the old ships, and it was passed on with the new ships and would continue until all credits in the Universe would disappear.

“I guess we'll see each other after the war,” continued Raiju.
“I'll be here! Will you?” concluded Agnan with a sinister grin that caught Raiju off guard.

The Shroud
B/CR Requiem
Training Hall
ETA to Antei: 23hrs

Raw, Vulgar, Power.

That was all that Petty Officer Rae'Kwon could think as he opened the doors to the training hall, if it could be called that. The Training Hall looked like a slightly larger storage room, poorly lit in some areas, with melee weapons on a wall and some deactivated training droids on the other.

In the middle of the room was Obelisk Exarch Frosty Romanae Tarentae finishing off what seemed to be the last of the six droids that he battled.

The air was filled with sweat, burnt circuits and lot of rage. The crewman took one look at the 6.5 feet muscular Dashade. He was leaning on his Obelisk Fury now, only with his loin cloth on, covered in sweat and scared in some areas. His pectoral muscles were bulging out, his entire upper part enormous and bulky.

The Petty Office manage to take a glimpse of a bleeding cut, and he couldn't believe that the massive Dark Jedi was bleeding. He wanted to smile but he was stopped by the rows of white teeth grinning at him from the dark.

“S-S-S-Sir, Captain Kazarelth wants you on the bridge. H-H-He sent me... You weren't responding on your comlink.”
Frosty looked at the pile of flashing robes sitting on the floor. It was his comlink.

“I'll be there. Dismissed!” said the former Quaestor of Gladius in a deep voice that sounded like every noise was being filtered by his rows of teeth. Rae'Kwon was frozen for a second but jumped when he saw the Dashade's look.

Moments later, Frosty entered the bridge. He recognized everyone in there: There was the former Sith High Warrior Sith Bloodfyre, his Quaestor Kazarelth Talîsmarr and Rollmaster Vai Azexel, his former partner in Gladius Sato Tarentae and Pontifex Saitou.
His friend Sato, approached him with a bow.

“Why do you keep your comlink closed, especially considering your condition,” said Battlemaster referring to the Dashade's resistance to the Force.
“I was too busy training, I suppose” growled Frosty Romanae. “What's happening?”


13-03-2009 19:52:24

B/CR Requiem

A couple hours of meditation is what the Cestus Rollmaster needed before he went back to the bridge. His mind was focused and the anger that had caused lack of self-control had sided.

Things hadn’t changed much; Kazarelth was still at his post adjusting controls to keep up with minor course corrections Sith Master Bloodfyre was making, others were still monitoring the radar screens looking for any unknown contact to show.

Vai made his way over to the CIC, “anything going on?” questioned the firrerreon.

“Quiet as a tomb” answered back the relief XO.

Vai found it funny the choice of words the officer had used given the location the fleet had passed a just over an hour ago.

Walking to portal on the starboard side of the bridge, Vai could sense the tension of the crew as the busily did their duties. He could feel an echo in the force as the crew around him continued to discuss the honors that had witnessed.

Blocking them out, Vai looked at elder navigating the Requiem through the Shroud. He could barely sense the connection linking Bloodfyre to the other navigators as they coordinated the efforts.

Unable to reach further in, Vai turn his thoughts away from the connection and began to look out the portal as the nebula thickened.

“Vai, how was your meditation” questioned Sato as he came from behind. Turning, Vai bowed slightly to his master and answered “very good, I feel much more focused now.”

Sato stood beside the Jedi Hunter as they both peered out towards the Shroud. “You have done very well as my apprentice. You have learned much and adapted well over this past year.”

“Thank you master, you have been an excellent master and appreciate all you’ve taught me” responded Vai with confidence in his voice.

“This upcoming battle with be a trial for you Vai, however I know you will survive this and earn your place” finished Sato.

To the bridge came a large Dashade warrior, Frosty Romanae Tarentae.

Sato and Frosty exchanged greetings as Vai continued to look out the portal.


13-03-2009 22:10:19


"What's happening?" Kazarelth repeated, overhearing Frosty as he kept his eyes on the portal. "Nothing, really. Just the constant 'are we there yet' sense I'm getting from everyone on the ship."

"So...why ask me to come here?" Frosty asked.

"Just because I love see your very presence," Sato said teasingly, then chuckled and added, "I figured we should all be here for the final movement. It's just as well that some of us can stay alert, even if everyone else in Cestus can't."

"All the lower ranked members are getting pretty impatient," Saitou agreed, as Frosty shook his head. His lack of Force connection hindered him from sensing that.

"Still, it's been quiet for some time now," the Dashade said.

"The countless transmissions of dead Vong ships bugged me after a while," said Kazarelth. "I like this, actually. Nothing but darkness."

"Enjoy it while it lasts," Sato said, as he watched Vai stare silently out of the portal. He could sense that his apprentice was concentrated now, his anger having subsided. The Hunter eyed the shadows of the Shroud almost cautiously.

With the Reqiuem closing in behind the Magnus Kaerner which was moving closely beside the Cocytus, all of the pilots and Jedi on the ship had for now lost their vigilance. Ronovi was finishing up her paperwork; Brimstone had finished his anecdotes with Severon; talks of treasure, victory, and death had all but been reduced to whispers and finally, silence, save for the monotonous hum of the engines was almost overpowering as the night kept drifting by, a cloak upon everyone's thoughts.

Kazarelth silently kept his focus on the controls, while Bloodfyre silently navigated, his mind completely resistant to sleep. Frosty cleared his throat only to find that the others had resolved themselves to this tranquility. Everyone knew, of course, that it may not last for long.



The pull of the rift was fading as each part of Tarentum's fleets forced its way through it, the Force guiding them even though the sensors were more than disrupted. As Dranik watched the night dissipate and the second of their travels begin, he was more than gratified that they had at least passed one day without casualties. The happenings of the day before had been strange and unexpected, and no one thought some of the very gods of war they were meant to fight had already been vanquished.

Dranik could feel the dawn approaching when he suddenly heard the sensors coming slowly back to life, flashing at one of the stations. As he looked at Anshar, he saw that the Consul had become almost more alert even in his trance, and the Force channels around him seemed to intensify. He heard Anshar say something in a faint voice.

"I sense Antei. Get ready."

Dranik turned to the portal again and looked at the sensors. Even in the thick mist that the Shroud provided, the ship seemed to be picking up something from long range. It was as if they were able to penetrate through the Shroud and detect things outside of it. And that could mean one thing: they were on the very edge of it.

Dranik looked at Cadran with finality and ordered, "Prepare everything for the final push."


13-03-2009 23:16:29

We are nearing the end. The short message from Telona invaded Apollo's thoughts and the shallow meditation he was concentrating on. His eyes burst open and narrowed on the opposite wall. It was time. Rising he took a ragged breath and calmed himself. The storm of uncertainty he has been attempting to push deep inside him took yet another step closer to the surface.

Thank you. I will be there in a minute. was his reply to Telona, still on the bridge.

Looking around he located the comm unit on his desk and activated the ship-wide frequency. A shrill whistle permeated the entire ship, alerting all crew members that an announcement would soon follow. And indeed it did.

"My fellow Clansman and shipmates, this is the Captain. The time has come. The time of retribution and vengeance is at hand. We are nearing our destination and with it, the battle that will take us full circle. We escaped persecution the last time we were here. This time, we win or we die. There is no pulling back. There is no retreat. This is it. This is what you have been training for your entire lives. This battle will determine the fate of not just each man or woman standing beside you, but the fate of the entire Dark Brotherhood."

Apollo paused, flashes of the last several encounters he has had with the Yuuzhan Vong race through his mind like a slide show of death. Shaking his head, he pressed forward. He would deal with his own demons later.

"We are fighting for our right to survive. And I want each one of you to keep that thought in the back of your mind along with this next one. There is no tomorrow after this. And that makes us a very dangerous enemy. And the Vong will see just how dangerous we are this day! For the glory of Tarentum! For the Brotherhood!" Apollo paused as he began to hear cheers muffled by the thick bulkheads, but it was there. His entire goal was to rally his troops for the impending invasion. It appears, he has succeeded. He hit the button one last time.

"Battle Teams! Gather in your assembly areas. Ship's crew, Signal General Quarters and prepare for battle!"

Apollo released the button and sunk into his chair at his desk. The cheers outside his office and through the corridors of the entire ship had grown in intensity since he had begun his speech. Opening himself up to the Force, he could feel the determination and blood lust radiating from every level. From his most senior officers to the newest recruit. They were ready to fight, and willing to die. They will get their chance.

Lifting himself from his all too comfortable chair, he pushed demons within him back down to their proper place. Straightening out his uniform he walked gracefully onto the bridge and took stock of the crew. All in good spirits, even Scion and Telona. Though they were probably in good spirits due to the fact that the Cocytus was about to leave the Shroud. Even Apollo felt good about that.

Telona shot him a curious glance. He met her eyes and returned a small smile. He quickly turned away and towards Scion and looked over his shoulder at the gradual return of the sensors. Yet his emotions were threatening him once again. Did she know? Could she see his thoughts? Scion couldn't, at least not yet. Damn it.

"Here we go." Scion muttered as the three clansman awaited the return of the stars.


15-03-2009 02:10:53

His hold on the navigation released, Anshar took a deep breath as the Phlegethon broke through the last sheet of the Shroud. With but a few wispy strands left, the murky Shroud was replaced by the forever darkened Antei.

“All ships reporting in,” called the comm. officer. Anshar paid him little heed. Free of the Shroud, Anshar stretched out with the Force, drawing in everything that he could through this sense. The Dark Side of the Force that coalesced on Antei now fought pockets of the Light Side. Some were stronger than others, but all seemed to hold their will for now.

“Sir, Marshal Oberst is hailing.”

“Open the channel,” ordered Dranik. The holographic image of Oberst appeared on the command console.

“We’ve just received instructions from Sarin’s lackeys,” said Oberst bluntly. “Considering we were anticipating the Vong, and now we have Jedi and droids, I’d anticipate some hasty changes to the plan. I will transmit deployment orders directly to the other ships.”

“Understood,” said Anshar. The brief transmission cut off, and Anshar turned to leave the bridge. He would not lead his clan from the safety of the Phlegethon; he would take this fight to the enemy. The core of the enemy had only changed its attitude, but more remained the same than others thought. Droids were cold and efficient, without emotion or fatigue. The Vong had demonstrated these very same traits.

“Lieutenant Cadran, you have command,” said Dranik, quickly following Anshar off the bridge after receiving her acknowledgement. “No side trips to Lyspair, I see.”

“For the time being, no,” said Anshar. “For now, we will play this by Sarin’s rules. Besides, there isn’t much that can be done at the Shadow Academy without one of us, at least not easily.” Dranik only nodded. Since they had run the institution before and during the evacuation, the computer systems, if they still existed, would still be programmed the way they were when they left. Anshar continued as they turned the final corner to the transports awaiting them: “We will do our part to eliminate the threat on Antei. Then we will return to our second home.”

* * *

Explosions, lasers, and wind took turns buffeting the landing craft as Anshar rode down, with Dranik next to him. Both had sensed the deaths of a few members of the clan, but so far they had only been journeymen. “Landing in thirty!” came the call. Anshar readied himself for the coming onslaught; it had been quite some time since he had charged into battle like this.

A sudden deceleration and drop signaled their arrival, and Anshar and the others with him, including Dranik, hastily disembarked. Sabers ignited as the forces of Tarentum exited their transports, and they joined in the gigantic foray, blending seamlessly in with the forces of the Iron Throne. Of course, they all had the same goals and the same enemy. They knew not to attack each other, and that was sufficient understanding for the time being.

Already a good position had been established by the regular soldiers, and engineers hastily worked on their mission. Anshar and those that he led intended to ensure they finished it.


15-03-2009 02:14:40

With the door of the transport opening with a hiss, Ronovi found herself looking at the clusters of soldiers that made the unit of the Army of the Iron Throne that Tarentum would be part of. Flanked by Doni Tzu and with members of Oberst's staff trailing behind them, the Knight cautiously but as authoritatively as possible entered the fray, watching as soldiers and engineers shuffled by carrying out minor tasks. The darkness that pervaded Antei was pleasing to her, but it was disturbed in more ways than one. If it was true that they new enemy was the Jedi and not the Vong, Ronovi would have to think very differently about her strategy.

Igniting her lightsaber along with the others beside her - Doni Tzu had no sabers to activate - Ronovi blended in with the other soldiers save for the blue glow of her weapon and her blue eyepatch slightly obscured under her cloak's hood. She could see various others from Cestus and the clan's other houses nearby, some of the Journeymen having survived looking like they were very poorly adjusting to the sort of Dark power the planet pulsed with. She had sensed the agony and suffering of those who had not made it to the planet's surface, the charred fragments of their vessels carrying them away into as they went down in torrents of flames. Ronovi shut the dwindling voices out and watched as the soldiers hushed around her.

She made her way toward the front of the formation, which was beginning to maneuver itself into a semi-circle as the unit's commander approached Oberst. While the commander bowed, Oberst only curtly nodded, as the former began shouting out orders.

"All right, men, listen up! Marshal Oberst has informed me of the task that we have been given by the Dark Council! As Operation Spectral Giant, we are to prepare antiaircraft batteries in an attempt to defend those already on the front lines to the southeast! Any enemy ships will be shot down as ordered to prevent further casualties on our side! Orders clear?"

"Sir, yes, sir!" the unit chorused, and Ronovi smirked at their mechanical response as Anshar approached Oberst and the commander.

"Now I have been advised by the Marshal and the Consul to make sure that we prepare as sufficiently as possible, so I am assigning a distinct group of you to be equipped with shoulder mounted rocket launchers! Anyone left will prepare the defensive formation with as much back-up as possible while those assigned to launchers will maintain offensive positions! Are we all clear?"

"Sir, yes, sir!"

"Then get moving! Men to your stations! Arm yourselves properly!"

The commander finished his orders as those assigned for the offense moved to load themselves with heavy rocket launchers. As The group dispersed, Ronovi found herself moving along with some of her fellow Tarenti as they approached a beckoning Anshar, while other clan members moved to accompany the soldiers, engineers, and lower-ranked Journeymen who stayed behind as they prepared. Tearing her eyes away from the soldiers' arranging of their positions, Ronovi saw her fellow House Summit leaders, Equites, and Elders as Anshar cleared his throat.

"As you all can guess by now, some of us have more to deal with than setting up the batteries. I have assigned certain members of our clan to monitor the unit as well as some of our more inexperienced members, but Oberst and I have agreed that we must begin our work elsewhere. There are various items and equipment that are of interest to us, and our job is to make sure we find them and put them to our use. We must have every advantage to defeating the enemy, and equipment can be useful for setting up a command center for us to mobilize in."

Oberst continued, "We'll be establishing crash and debris sites and heading toward them. In doing so, we'll be heading toward the front lines, which most likely means our first obstacle will be droid infantry. Everyone arrange yourselves into suitable scouting groups now, based on rank, position, and experience and balance it out. Go."

Ronovi found herself still beside Doni Tzu as Gladians, Tridenians, and Cestians all grouped together, blending higher-level Journeymen with Equites and Elders into medium-sized units. She saw that Vai Azexel and Sato had approached her as well as her apprentice Jaron, and it seemed that the Houses, even in this time of war, still preferred to stick together. She watched as Anshar and Oberst nodded to each other, then plotted out their mental maps as they observed the dark lands before them. Then Oberst turned to Anshar with a furrowed brow.

"I'm sensing that something is moving north of here, and I'm sure I saw one ship crash about a good forty degree angle from there."

"I see something more to the northeast, too," Apollo suddenly intervened, and Ronovi saw that he was carrying those outdated binoculars with him and staring into them. "Looks like the wreckage is a good three kilometers away. Probably shot down by ally batteries a while ago."

"Our first steps, then," said Oberst, then turned to the adjusting groups and said, "Take a walk, everyone."

Ronovi bit her lip and tightly gripped the hilt of her lightsaber as her scouting group began to move toward the northern area where Oberst appeared to sense life. Doni Tzu's eyes blazed as he worked to keep his senses amplified, picking up where Oberst had left off. With fellow Tarenti beside her and others behind her working to set everything up for mobilization, Ronovi did her best to stay confident, especially as the cards had been played so differently than she imagined. Now, as she herself could even feel the resistance of light against dark in the distance, she smiled as she thought of the relevant saying, that they were certainly playing with more than a full deck.


15-03-2009 18:20:57

It always sent a thrill down his spine watching the long arcing flame-trails of armadas of troop transports scything down a planets gravity well ready to begin a war, even more breath taking was the sight of laser beams stabbing up from the surface to intercept the vulnerable vessels, watching with baited breath as a cannon zeroed in ever closer to a transport and then, in an instant, the ship and all its cargo; dozens of men or some of the mightiest armoured vehicles in the galaxy, would vanish into ions. Each loss echoed in the Force: a void where once had been presence but a void tinged with surprise. Locked within their holds and acceleration couches these people had no idea of the maelstrom that raged outside, the jinking of the crafts might have given something away but apparently not enough for their death found them completely unprepared. The temptation to reach within and tap the power of Necromancy and bind these embittered souls to his service was strong, his concentration however was needed elsewhere.

“Gunnery, provide support for transport wing kappa-aleph 9. They'll soon be needing it if that fresh squadron of droid fighters catch up with them.” Welshman ordered tearing his gaze from the forward viewports of the MK to face the crew pits. Turning back to face the vastness of space bracketing the dull, grey orb that was Antei and possibly the most important symbol in the galaxy for this disparate group of individuals and the lynchpin of their collective existence.

Reaching up with his right index finger Welshman flicked a switch on his optical visor that connected the device to the command and control network. Overlays popped up boxing friendly ships in green briefing the Warlord on names and short sit rep on each vessel's status, smaller red boxes darted up from the planet's surface to harry the Brotherhood fleets but soon vanished beneath lances of red and green energy. Data flowed into Welshman's mind; trajectories, landing zones and firing arcs allowing him to direct the fleet to its fullest capabilities.

“Admiral, casualty reports of the first wave are in and are well within operational parameters. Our forces have also established a beach head but are under attack. The Field Marshal has ordered a recon in force to secure a crash site in the hope of regaining materiel whilst the DC troops hold the perimeter alongside our Jedi.” Welshman's adjutant Kaelyn Fol stated. A two meter tall Givin with his species' uncanny ability for numbers had made him an ideal choice, allowing the more mundane tasks of logistics to be delegated to someone who seemed genetically programmed to handle them.

“Much obliged Commander. Inform the Field Marshal that orbital support will be awaiting his command.”

“Also our picket scouts have reached their locations and are running in stealth. Laser communication feeds are established and sensor resolution on the planet is estimated to be as high as 25cm, some areas within our sector are however heavily shielded.”

“Excellent, integrate their sensor feed into the CC net and pass the feed on to the DC flagship. Feed any developments directly to ground control. I have a feeling Oberst will need all the intel he can get.”

As the data from their scouts and the other Brotherhood vessels started filtering through into the Tarenti command network the vista before Welshman opened up with orders of magnitude more data, he felt almost God-like being able to see and know so much that was happening, the headache however soon began as the sheer scale of data began to overwhelm him. Needles of pain scored into his mind forcing him to dial down the command uplink to local scale only. It would suffice for the job.

“Kaelyn, get me Archean. I require his assistance in planning some fighter cover for subsequent transport launches.”

“Hold that Commander, I'm here. What can I do you for Welshy?” Archean was striding onto the bridge, cloak and hair billowing behind him.

“When did you get on board? I thought you were on the Phlegethon.”

“I was, took a transport and made my way here when we'd secured orbit. Easier to direct the traffic from up on high wouldn't you agree?”

“I do indeed. Nice to have you aboard. Now if you don't mind, Kaelyn here has a schedule to keep and we need your help to achieve that.”


15-03-2009 21:46:09

Adas, Antei
The Shadowlands
Tarentum FOB

Caught in an eternal twilight, the Shadowlands was known for its harsh climate. Even without stepping out of the transport into the wind, the temperature was chilly and the atmosphere felt thick when inhaled. With his avian-like bone structure, the extra gravity that the planet seemed to have was going to be a challenge to Raiju too. Noticing this, the Ryn smiled as he watched the landing deck of his transport folded down to touch the ground.

It had been a full day since his dealings with Agnan. After receiving the herbs that he had gone to Agnan for, Raiju had managed to hide away inside one of the refreshers onboard for several hours; smoking away a large portion of the supplies after successfully disabling the smoke detectors there. While he was suppose to have meet with the younger members of Yu to guide the group meditation, Raiju needed to meditate with some herbal assistance on the discussion he had with Agnan. The concept of death didn’t scare Raiju; all it meant for him was that he’d be off the hook for his gambling debts with Agnan. But it was the concept of dying without purpose that troubled Raiju, if he was to die here on Antei it wasn’t going to be in loyalty to the Iron Throne. It was going to be to Tarentum’s sole benefit.

Marching down the deck to the rocky terrain of Antei, Raiju stopped at the bottom and looked back to the others that had rode down to the ground with him. After he had finished his solo meditation, Raiju had dismissed the Yu members in the meditation chambers that day and had met with them and the rest of the Yu members several hours ago as the Tarentum fleet exited the Shroud. In total they had seven members; Szordryn, Giovanni, Evant, Dock, Odin, Merlance, and himself. All of which were standing up in the transport behind him and moving towards the exit in their own confident ways. They were all ready for combat, they just needed orders.

Looking around the Tarentum camp from the base of the deck, Raiju couldn’t see any of his fellow Dark Jedi or Tarenti to report to. Only the soldiers of the Iron Throne seemed to be present, and it made Raiju cautious to think of this place as “Tarentum’s”.

Moving away from the transport so the rest of the team could examine the environment, Raiju waved back to the group to hold there while he swiftly marched over to the nearest structure in sight. Before the Obelisk Sergeant was halfway to his destination, a soldier exited the structure and came running towards him before stopping short and saluting smartly.

“Templar Kang, the Tarentum Grand Marshall has orders for you.” The soldier quickly reported before summoning a small holo-projector from his belt and activating it. Raiju had made a quick note of the soldier’s wording, which further displayed the division between the forces on Antei as the soldier activated the device and a miniature Oberst stood before Raiju in the gloved hand.

“Orders have come down from the Grand Master,” Oberst began. “Tarentum and the soldiers that have been released to us by the Iron Throne are to set up Anti-Aircraft batteries before securing an area to the north-east for a command centre for the Brotherhood. At the moment, we have several scouting parties who have been sent out to retrieve some equipment in the downed dropships while the batteries are being set up and before we move towards securing the area for the command centre.”

“Yu will assist the Iron Throne forces and lead the Tarenti journeymen in defence of the batteries on the eastern front as they are set up and while we wait the scouting parties to return.” Oberst continued, “I’ll be assigning members of Gladius to the northern front and members of Cestus to the southern front as well. Once we mobilize to the north-east, I’ll contact you again.”

Raiju was quick to nod and salute the Grand Marshall before his transmission blinked out. Thanking the soldier before turning back to his battle team, Raiju broke into a run towards them. The ryn wasn’t even stopped before he started issuing orders.

“Alright, we’ve been tasked with assisting with defending the A-A batteries until further orders; so listen up.” Raiju yelled over the roar of the transport leaving. “You can see from the fire over there that the Iron Throne forces are attempting to hold that rig to the east there. Merlance, take Giovanni and support the southern line. Odin, you and Evant go support the northern troops. Dock, Szord and myself will hold the middle.”

“You’ll not only have Iron Throne soldiers to assist, but Oberst has kept the lower ranking journeymen here as well and we’ve been charged with babysitting some of them as well.” Raiju said gazing into each of their eyes. “Now quit standing here playing with your dicks like nervous kids, and get to your assignments.”

“Yes, Sarge.” The members of Yu answered.

Sephiroth Kali

16-03-2009 21:16:06

Adas, Antei
The Shadowlands
Tarentum AOR

Sephiroth Kali exited the troop transport that had deposited more of Tarentum's forces onto the desolate surface of Antei, his Apprentice Zama followed not far behind. Zama had been with the Brotherhood less than a year, and had never stepped foot on the Brotherhood Homeworld. Sephiroth watched the Protector take his first steps on the planet, squinting at the cold light of Antares. He didn't give his apprentice much time to get accustomed to it.

"Let's go. We have work to do." He said softly, stepping off his outer robes and revealing the gold tinted muscled form underneath, and his apprentice followed suit. Sephiroth quickly scanned the drop zone, taking note of supply points and other areas of interest. His golden eyes quickly were drawn to a bald Ryn streaking across the battlefield and stopping not far from the two dark Jedi, the small form barking orders to a group of scared looking novices. Sephiroth pointed and him and his apprentice jogged off to join the other group just as Raiju was finishing.

“Now quit standing here playing with your dicks like nervous kids, and get to your assignments.”

“Yes, Sarge.” The novices said.

"As eloquent as always, my friend." Sephiroth spoke, stopping at the Templar's side, Zama melted into the group of Journeymen, smartly realizing the two would be joining this force.

The two dark Jedi smiled briefly before clasping hands and almost as quickly drawing and ignighting their sabers.

Verdant green and violet blades shot out of cylinders in the two Equites hands and for a second the Journeymen thought the two were going to slaughter each other right then and there.

But now was not the time. The two Jedi turned just as a group of soldiers of the Iorn Throne began to head out, apparently towards a Anti-Aircraft battery. Some of the troops held salvage. A fresh barrage of fire was heard in the distance and the Journeymen ignited their sabers in response.

"I hope they don't kill themselves." Raiju whispered.

"If they do, i'm sure we can find a use for them." Sephiroth said softly.

Raiju looked up at the Human Watcher, not knowing if he was joking.

"Its time to move out". Sephiroth said, and the team rushed to join the forces of the Iorn Throne


17-03-2009 17:46:36

The initial confrontation had ended favorable to the forces of the Iron Throne, and the members of Tarentum had gallantly aided in the establishment of the command post. However, after a brief lull, the enemy made another assault, this time against the better fortified positions. Still, breaches could and did occur.
Before the clan could truly start on their search missions, the Tarenti had to briefly divert their attention. It meant more time to construct the batteries, but it was time well spent if it prevented the position from being overrun.

Anshar let the Force guide his movements as he unleashed his twin lightsaber blades against the battle droids. His mind told him he had received injuries, though minor at this time, but it served as a reminder that he was not invincible. It was, however, in this situation that the Force served Anshar better than most; the darkened conditions of the Shadow Lands did not agree with his eyes. A blaster bolt flew past Anshar’s ear, but he paid this one no heed. Somewhere, tucked under cover and out of sight, Dranik and his sniper rifle took droids out as effectively as a lightsaber.

“Sir, the breach has been sealed,” relayed one of the army commanders, clutching a blaster rifle in his one remaining useful hand; the other still attached but burned and mangled. “Command relays we have only sixty percent of the batteries up and running.” Anshar grimaced; based on the briefing, as well as Oberst’s own estimate, they needed at least eighty percent of the batteries operational for an effective defense. Anything less and the casualties would grow proportionally.

“Assuming they can hold these lines better, we’re clear for the recovery efforts,” said Oberst, coming up beside Anshar. Anshar turned to face his Proconsul. Oberst held his baton-saber in one hand, and bloody knuckles indicated that he had punched some of droids into oblivion. The groups had been assigned, and they would now head out from the main lines. It was dangerous, but it had to be done. Anshar only hoped they could recover enough equipment to make it worthwhile.

“A word, in private,” said Oberst. Anshar nodded and followed Oberst behind a damaged Chariot LAV. Anshar found Sith Bloodfyre, Saitou, and Kazarelth waiting for him. They had been on the last transport to touch down to the surface for Tarentum’s initial landing.

“I trust you’re having fun,” said Sith wryly.

“Always,” replied Anshar.

“En route to Antei, Saitou and I were talking,” said Sith. “And while we understand the goals here, we were going to use this opportunity to gather a few things for the clan. Specifically-” Anshar raised a hand to politely cut Bloodfyre off.

“I think I already know where you’re going with this,” said Anshar.

“Good,” said Sith. “Then we will be one our way. We’ll help clear the path of any droids, but we won’t be returning with any AA parts. We just wanted to make certain you were aware of what our plans were.”

“And I appreciate it,” said Anshar. “But, remain vigilant. There are Jedi here, and I sense something terribly wrong with this whole situation.”

“Of course,” replied Sith, leading his triumvirate from behind the LAV, leaving the two leaders of Tarentum behind. Meanwhile, after their scattering to seal the breach, the search groups from Tarentum reformed to find what they could and to return with it.

* * *

Technicians and engineers struggled under explosions and the sounds of laser fire to get the anti-aircraft batteries up and running. Over the din, none could hear the “whump” of a mortar, and none dared glance at the explosions in the sky. They only knew they were hit when burning metal fragments tore into them. As the dead fell, others raced to fill their position, or make up for the lost hands.


18-03-2009 01:25:26

Now we can really focus, thought Ronovi, massaging a few minor burns that she had received on her right shoulder after her group had suddenly been forced to help secure the most recent breach. While Vai and Jaron both looked only a little worse for wear than the Aedile did, they still remained determined, having assisted Ronovi in taking care of a small number of battle droids. Sato had done his part as well, while Doni Tzu, with no sabers to spare, had been responsible for most of their Force defenses.

It was a minor scuffle compared to what they would most likely face next, if there really were a good number of Jedi that had taken over Antei. Still, it was a challenge enough for Ronovi to confront two or three battle droids maximum with either a lightsaber or a blaster, even though she was trained as a warrior to fight. She still needed practice.

She knew that farther north was the Codet Prison, deep in one of the crevasses that lined the borders of Adas. She watched her master as he reached out with the Force, probing the darkness for whatever vessel that Oberst had reported was still holding life before. It did not appear to be successful.

"If there was anyone left on that ship," Doni Tzu finally uttered, turning toward the group that walked beside him, "chances are they were barely hanging on to begin with."

"Still, what makes Anshar and Oberst think we'll find anything intact to begin with?" asked Ronovi.

"It depends on how hard the ship landed," Sato interrupted. "If it just went up in flames, we're out of luck because everything from rations to corpses will have burned up. But we may as well check anyway."

"If anything, we can possibly find datapads still in one piece, if not target-seeking computers," added Vai. "Datapads could offer something in terms of information or tracking specific tactics that the aircraft we're defending from is using."

Ronovi sighed. She knew that the Gladians were headed at an angle toward the west, most likely led by their Quaestor, while other small groups scattered themselves toward where Oberst had said to see another ship land. Behind them, she could still vaguely sense the activities of her other Tarenti, as they alongside the unit worked more closely to seal off breaches in security while preparations were being made. As she looked ahead, however, something faintly glowing in the vast folds of dark shadows around them caught her eye.

"Hold on! I think we're getting close!"

She began to quicken her pace, though she could sense a warning from Doni Tzu being channeled to her while the others hurried to keep up. Ronovi began to smell smoke dwindling near what appeared be one of the borders near the crevasse, as well as recognize the flow as the fading flames of a crash site. As she closed in, she suddenly heard clicking whirring from above. Raising her eyes toward the dim sky, she could barely see Mark I variable vulture droids hovering in a good 500 meter radius above them.

A moment later, she could see the glowing eyes of several battle droids, most likely select infantry that had been picked to patrol the site and check for survivors, approach them at an increasing speed. She aggressively took up an open Shii-Cho stance, feet shoulder-width apart as she held her lightsaber at an angle in front of her face.

"Oh, for the love of..." she could hear Jaron say as she saw the rest of her party move into offensive positions while the small unit of B1 battle droids advanced.


18-03-2009 06:44:12

“We need air support asap, Arch.” declared Welshman.

“Understood.” Archean sat down and began assessing the situation. Many different sounds could be heard throughout the room. Sensors tracking the ships, data incoming from the troops down below. It had an almost hypnotic sound to it. This was the sound Archean almost had forgotten.

Have transports made their way to the planet, yet?” The Battlemaster quieried.

Before Welshman was able to answer, Officer Draya spoke up. “A few transports have launched and are almost at the planet surface. We're launching a few more now.”

“Alright, scramble a squadron of Tie Interceptors with strict orders to protect those transports from all incoming fire and enemy aircraft.” Archean ordered.

“Yes sir.” An officer turned back to his console and began keying in the data.

“As soon as they finish their escort, they may engage any enemy aircraft their come across.”

The Blind Swordmaster turned to Welshman. “Are we taking a beating down there?”

“We're not doing too badly at the moment. We've been hit harder before.” Welshman reassured him.

Archean nodded. He knew that it felt like he was missing a part of himself, not being with his comrades down below..

“I just want to get down there and fight, Welshman.” Archean clenched his fist

“Be patient. Right now your job is to instruct our fighters from here. Our frontline is doing their job. Leave it at that.” The Warlord's stern words echoed through the young Sith. Before moving back to his spot, Welshman put his hand on Archean's shoulder and nodded.

“Sit rep, Officer.” Ordered the Sith Warlord, walking back to his chair.


18-03-2009 12:51:38

“Repair status: Seventy-Two percent. The breach at Oh-Four-Zero has hostile contact with Vulture-droid covers. They need air support.” Draya replied instantaneously.

“Vulture-droids…” Archean grunted disgustedly, “Send Taelyn’s squadron in for those clankers, and assemble Alfar’s squadron at Ready-Five.”

Orders were transmitted and soon a stream of twelve TIE Avengers broke off the ISDII’s hangar and headed for the battle below.


Treeman’s herb?’ Kazarelth asked.

The three Dark Jedi had carefully maintained distance from every battle raging on the planet’s black surface. Distant explosions and flashes of light served as a volatile reminder of their environ. Sith Bloodfyre was leading the group, his night vision providing excellent visual recon of any survivors. He had chanced upon a ‘void’ in the Force, and was chasing it.

“We need a lot of it.” Saitou firmly rejected the idea. He was also thinking along the lines of a preservative for the flesh they wanted. Yuuzhan Vong flesh, preferably ‘freshly dead’.
The Necromancers wanted the plague.
The Watchers were an eccentric bunch. In the Clan of Life and Death, these miserable seekers of power could never resist the temptation of the addition of yet another plague to their list – everything from rat-bitten pestilence to cystic-fibrosis had a place.

Yet, this Consul-sponsored field trip was different.
They were here to find the exact nature of the plague that had struck the Children of the Yun-Yuuzhan and turned them into feverish, and now dead, props in the stage of the War. If this could be formed, and if a few gene-splices could achieve a similar effect to humans and humanoids, Tarentum could, and would achieve superiority.

And the lure of studying Yuuzhan Vong anatomy up-close was too great for these students of Necromantics.

So… we study them in-field. Blood, or, whatever, samples can be collected. Our apparatuses have enough liquid-preservatives to preserve whole blood for at least a month, haemolysis losses accounted for, of course.’ Talismarr’s excited whisper streamed through the area.

“That is, if the blood is human-like. We are dealing with aliens, my young apprentice.” Saitou chided his student.

“Hold.” Bloodfyre’s strong voice stopped them as well as his hand. In a quick relay of information with the other two minds behind him, Sith had conveyed most of the outlying area’s data into Kazarelth and Saitou’s minds.

“I see our Jedi friends are looking for the same thing.” Saitou remarked. His Force-aided eye could clearly see the white sheet of Jedi crouched over a dim object that seemed to have no existence. It would have been remarkable were it alive, the Pontifex knew. But the Yuuzhan Vong being was dead – unremarkably. A little more forceful Seeing revealed the usual battle-droids supplanted by super battle-droids defending the Force-sensitive beings.

‘I won’t mind taking one of them prisoner.’ Kazarelth grinned. His teal eyes glinted at the thought of torture.

“You’ll get whatever remains of him after Oberst finishes. And that’s not too much.” Sith’s emotionless voice reminded him.

“We charge. I lead.” Was all the Sith Master said before breaking into a run.


18-03-2009 21:22:08

Circuitry sparked at the feet of Ronovi as her saber cut through two battle droids that had engaged her. The grin on her face spoke volumes as the Dark Jedi Knight pierced the metal skin of the nearest droid with her lightsaber; sending its pain receptors into overload. With an eerie cybernetic groan, the battle droid’s head was removed with a quick lift of the Epicanthi's blue saber.

“Not bad” thought the Cestus Aedile as she watched another droid fall to her feet. She then glanced over at Sato who was deflecting laser bolts that were coming from the wreckage, providing a shield to the two journeymen behind him. Ronovi moved to assist the Sith Battlemaster.

The two Jedi Hunter's were fairing well. They had taking up sniping positions and were taking shots at the battle droids, keeping them pinned down behind the wreckage.

“Nice shooting” said Vai as Jaron made a good shot, blasting the head off one of the droids who had been firing at Sato.

The Dark Adept was playing with the droids as if they were toys, using the force to throw the battle droids into the ground; crushing their metal bodies with the force. A smirk came on Doni’s face as four droids charged him. The elder extended his hands, sending force lightning flowing through his fingers tips and impacting with the metallic skin of the droids; the B-1 Battle Droids screamed as they exploded.

The droids increased their rate of fire as Ronovi moved in to assist the Battlemaster. The two Cestians were compensating as best as they could as the droids came out from behind the wreckage. As the droids moved into the open, they suddenly stopped and were lifted in the air by an invisible force. Doni Tzu had the droids right where he wanted them as he pressed his hands together, sending droid crashing into droid in the air. A rain of smoldering circuits fell to the ground as the squad of Cestians made to the wreckage.

“It looks deserted” said Jaron as she approached the wreckage.

Ronovi looked at her apprentice and said “looks can be deceiving.”

Given the shape of the transport, the droids had been inside removing equipment when the Dark Jedi had arrived. Bodies of soldiers were strung out all through the various holds as the Cestians searched the wreckage. Sato noticed several crates of weapons were still intact and marked them for transport, as Vai made his way up to the cockpit.

The cockpit was a mess; a vulture droid had crashed right through the cockpit window, severing the head of the pilot. The droid was dead; however Vai used his mechanical skill and freed the memory core.

“This might be beneficial” Vai said as he put the memory core into his backpack.

Ronovi searched the outside of the transport. Ever since arriving she had felt a faint life form and was looking for it. Suddenly, the Epicanthix felt a hand on her foot and looked down to see a trooper. He was barely alive and was rambling something over and over. No one could make out what he was saying, even the Dark Adept.

Ronovi pulled out her communications device and contacted the forward outpost. Anshar received the call of what was found and dispatched two LAAT/I’s.

Two LAAT/I’s came in low and landed near the smoldering remains of the transport. Two squads debarked and entered the transport. They grabbed everything they could from the transport. Before the soldiers left, they brought the survivor aboard. There was no room for the Dark Jedi, and that was fine for the Cestians as they continued to search for more crashed transports.


19-03-2009 22:11:22

Anshar, who had remained at the base to help coordinate the clan efforts, watched the two LAATs fly off to assist in the recovery effort of Ronovi’s team. They had made good progress; indeed, they were moving far faster than had been anticipated. Anshar was certain his clan members would succeed at their task, at least to the best the conditions allowed. They could do little if the equipment was already destroyed or damaged beyond fixing.

His clan dispersed amongst different parts of the battlefield, Anshar reviewed the current situation in his head. Ronovi and her team of Doni, Sato, Vai, and Jaron had made it to the first crash site. Raiju, the Yu battleteam, Sephiroth, and Zama were helping to defend the established anti-aircraft batteries. Oberst had ordered remaining members of Gladius to help hold the northern positions, while Cestus took the southern guard. Only those members on search missions were elsewhere. Apollo and his team had the furthest route to travel, heading towards the site Apollo had spotted upon landing.

“Anshar,” said Oberst through the comm. Though the distance between them was not very great, their respective tasks in this battle made the distance seem much greater. “We’ve received information from Welshman on enemy positions, and we should be able to push the enemy back and begin to secure territory for Sarin’s central command site.”
“Where do you need me?” asked Anshar.

“It would be best for you to join with Gladius. The first phase of the plan calls for the northern positions to push out and provide a tempting target, appearing to be overextended. Cestus and the rear southern forces will then pull forward, running parallel to Gladius’s position. We will then trap the enemy in the middle.” Anshar pictured the movements in his head; not a pincer per se, the movements more closely resembled the actions of scissors, with the Cestus backed soldiers coming up from the “bottom” to provide the cutting edge.

“Understood,” said Anshar. “How many batteries will we have?”

“We’re looking at no more than 78% of the planned number,” replied Oberst flatly. While close to the minimum goal, it wasn’t quite there. Still, the Force and hand-held portable missile launchers could conceivably make up for the fewer batteries. Such were the fortunes of war.

The comm. cut off and Anshar immediately began to move to the forward positions reinforced by the members of Gladius. As he got about half way there, Anshar was suddenly stopped seemingly by the Force itself. An extremely rare vision from the Force entered Anshar’s mind. As the hidden scene played in his head, Ansahr remembered why he had gone to great lengths to avoid Force visions in the first place . . .

* * *
As the LAATs approached Ronovi’s team’s location, the Vulture droids previously hovering around the area turned their attention to the incoming craft. Intent on preventing them from reaching the Cestus’ team and the crash site, the Vultures moved into attack positions. Suddenly, lasers poured down from the sky, tearing into some of the droids and scattering the rest. Moments later, the Avengers released by Archean from orbit descended rapidly into the dimly lit area, juking right and left and tangling with the Vultures. This gave the LAATs the time and space to land and recover the equipment and lone survivor.

As the LAATs returned to the base, Ronovi and her team began to prepare for the next leg of their journey when Oberst came over the comm. “Understood,” said Ronovi after the terse instructions were delivered. Turning to her team, she briefed them about the plan. “Come on, we’ve got to rendezvous with Apollo’s team and go from there. Oberst will be contacting them.”

* * *
In the murky light of the Force induced vision, Anshar saw things which made little sense. As battle raged around him, Anshar saw himself dueling a Jedi in the darkness of some cave or building. The light from the lightsabers was all that illuminated the strange location, and such bright effects caused havoc with Anshar’s night blindness. Suddenly, Anshar’s royal blue lightsaber was extinguished, leaving only his purple bladed weapon. Dropping what remained of the royal’s hilt, Anshar lashed out with a great fury, driving the purple bladed lightsaber into his opponent’s torso. As the enemy crumpled to the ground, Anshar used his lightsaber to cast an eerie light on the face of the opponent. What he saw shocked him greatly . . .


20-03-2009 20:54:39

"Do you think we are out far enough?" Scion asked as he scanned the horizon with his thermal imager. He looked towards the rest of the group for an answer. Apollo, Dralin, Donos, and Telona rounded out the group. Telona looked into the distance before looking back towards the base camp, quite a distance away.

"Yes. The wreckage is just another twenty minutes by foot to the North." Telona closed her eyes for a moment, becoming perfectly still. After a few long seconds she opened them.

"I feel something watching us." she said slowly. Scion, Dralin and Donos turned to look at her. Apollo gazed off to the East and nodded.

"They are still a ways off I believe. We should be able to make the crash site and set up some sort of perimeter first before they close in." Turning to Scion he nodded to the squad-sized comm unit on his Aedile's shoulder.

"Report our position and tell them where we are headed. The back up troops should move accordingly." Scion nodded and began to call up the appropriate frequency as the group began to make their way towards the crash sight, just now coming into view on this dark world. They approached with caution. DJK Dralin taking the lead with Apollo and DA Telona right behind him. JH Donos was next while DJK Scion brought up the rear. Each member was on edge. Each one of them scanning the wreckage and the land around them. They were desperately looking for any sign of an attack or any wounded from the ship. They did not know what will happen from one moment to the next.

Slowly, they made their progress and finally came to the burned out wreckage. The stench of death hung in the air like an oppressive weight bearing down on the group. If any member of the team thought they were invincible, the sight of the bodies laying strewn across the landscape changed their minds.

Motioning to Donos, Apollo moved to the West side of the large transport. He pointed to a small rock outcropping just Southeast of the wreckage one hundred yards and tapped the sniper rifle slung on Donos' back.

"Get over to that outcropping and get ready for anything. Keep your thermal blanket on you to disguise your heat signature. Let us know when our un-invited guests get within 200 yards. Your our eyes Donos." The older man put a hand on the young Jedi Hunter's shoulder and gave him a knowing smile. The younger man nodded with a smile and took off towards the rocks with a purpose. He quickly set up his position with excellent field of fire and waited.

Turning to Telona, who was already beginning to rummage through the debris looking for anything she could salvage, he looked to Scion and Dralin.

"Ok you two. Start looking for any living members of the crew. If you do not find any, your top priority is any sensitive materials and anything that we can use. If you find something, place it behind the transport, away from the enemy's view if at all possible. Understood?" Both Knights replied affirmatively and began their task.

The team began their grisly job. Each one moving with care but also with haste. They knew there was a time limit to be had and they were doing their best to beat the clock. The Gladius team searched the wreckage as best they could, finding almost nothing of use to them. Twenty minutes had past when a soft burst of static from his ear piece caught his attention.

"Boss?" Donos asked, the Hunter's voice filled with a mix of excitement and dread.

"Go ahead." Apollo replied.

"Sir. I have enemy contact bearing 081 degrees from North. Unknown strength. Mostly droids but, sir, I see a humanoid with them, slightly behind. Rage is 500 meters and closing."

Apollo took a deep breath and nodded to no one in particular. "Alright, sit tight. Do not fire until I give you the order. Understood?"

"Yes, sir."

Scion was already relaying the information to Command when Apollo faced them. He looked at each one in turn and studied their faces. He smiled at them and nodded over his shoulder towards the advancing enemy.

"It's time to earn our stripes. Dralin I want you and Scion to try and pick off as many droids as you can before they get in close. Telona and I will take over once they do. You two watch our flanks and pick up any targets we can't. We hold until relieved, be it in life or in death. Do you understand me?" Apollo stared into the eyes of Scion and Dralin as they replied. "Yes Sir!"

The Gladius team arrayed themselves in a two line formation with Dralin and Scion a little further back into the wreckage while Telona and Apollo huddled behind a large piece of debris ten meters out. Donos began to check off ranges as the enemy approached.

"75 meters and closing!" the young man said in a distressed tone.



Doni and his team had been continuing on their course to meet up with the Gladius team under Apollo when the sky before them began to light up with red and blue blaster bolts from the wreckage. The bolts were now being returned with intensity from the droid forces sent to face them. The battle was heating up.

"Doni, I think the Consul's plan might be working." Vai stated as he lowered a set of imagers from his eyes and pointed behind the Cestus group. Several members turned to the South and more than a few of the younger members gasped. The ground itself seemed to move as perhaps hundreds of enemy droids were moving towards the apparent overstretched line a little more than a kilometer South of them.

"We need to double time Cestus. We don't want to be caught by ourselves against a force that strong." Doni again faced towards the wreckage ahead. He noted the two lightsabers now in use, one blue, one purple. Telona's and Apollo's, if he remembered correctly.

"Come, our brothers await!"


21-03-2009 15:43:51

The rush of adrenaline from the idea of another battle raged through Ronovi's veins as she activated her lightsaber, the blue blade piercing through the harsh darkness around her. As she looked upon the slowly dwindling cluster of droids as they were taken down one by one by the Gladians in sniping position, she saw how Apollo and Telona maneuvered almost choreographically, tearing down several of the enemy's unit with graceful swipes. Breathing sharply, she picked up speed as she raced toward the battle, the rest of her group on her tail.

"Jaron, Vai, see if you can find a good perimeter to shoot from behind! Sato, Doni, you know what to do," she said.

Sato grinned at Ronovi's implication before the three moved one way as the two Journeymen moved another. Closing in on the battle, Ronovi's lips curled into a satisfied smile as she saw the challenge ahead.


Donos kept his sniping position and Scion and Dralin maintained their fire on the droids as the enemy finally came in close enough proximity for Apollo and Telona to attack. While the Journeymen could do damage with lightsabers, they were more efficient picking off the enemy with their rifles and blasters as the Archpriest and Adept leapt into the fray. As they deflected blaster bolts before ripping the mechanical beasts apart into mosaics of broken nuts and bolts, Donos suddenly lowered his rifle as he suddenly detected movement coming from from the northwestern direction. Frowning, he turned to Scion and Dralin, who listened but didn't stop their offensive strikes.

"I think we've got company," he said, just before a good portion of the droids were suddenly slammed into the earth their parts scattering about as they were crushed by an unnatural weight.

Apollo and Telona only stopped briefly in their tactics to see the hooded Doni Tzu move toward the conflict, his hand still outstretched as dark power surged through his body. As his necromantic powers were not effective against droids, he was happy resorting to his amplified Force skills, as he suddenly shoved another chunk into Donos's sniping vision and the Journeyman took them out one by one. They also watched as Vai and Jaron raced to defensive positions in the wreckage, taking up their arms as blaster bolts from their side rained in on the enemy.

Leave it to Cestus to steal some of the fun, Apollo thought, amused as he swiftly beheaded a battle droid. From behind him, Sato and Ronovi had leapt in, dodging blaster bolts before working together to split droids into even halves. Ronovi deflected several shots before one droid's shot caught her in the left shoulderblade, and she grunted in pain before she felt the rage swell within her. She closed in on the offender, disabling its shooting arm before seeing Telona finish it off.

It was almost too easy, but as the dust of battle finally cleared, Apollo and Doni Tzu stood beside each other as the remainder of the droids fell to the ground, broken, sliced open, or crushed into fragments. As the smoke from the blaster shots wafted through the dark atmosphere from each droid's smoldering limbs, the Cestus and Gladius Journeymen moved away from their barriers toward the rest of the group. Apollo grinned as Telona approached him, followed by Sato and a wincing Ronovi as she pressed her hand against her wound.

"Need any medical aid?" Donos asked, referring to the kit he kept on him at all times. Ronovi shook her head.

"I'm fine. I've dealt with worse," she said, pointing at her eyepatch. Then, turning to the Gladians, she said, "Good thing we caught up with you. Oberst asked us to rendezvous with your team."

"How appropriate that you came just now," Telona said, and Apollo reached for his comm. He keyed in a code before Oberst's gravelly voice was heard.

"I'm a bit busy right now. What's going on?"

"Gladius and Cestus groups are together now. We're awaiting our next orders," said Apollo.

"I see. Anything found at the wreckage you were assigned."

"Negative. Nothing of value."

"Then report back to base immediately. We're moving for battle and I don't want any of our forces being useless."

"Understood," Apollo replied before breaking the connection.

"Vai did find that droids forces are moving at an alarming rate toward our set-up base," said Doni Tzu as the two groups clustered together.

"And if we're about a kilometer away, we better hurry! They'll be attacking any minute!" Ronovi gasped just before breaking off into a run.

"Ronovi, wait!" Sato barked before he and the others took off after her. Doni Tzu sighed as he followed. Ronovi may have been a good apprentice, but her hot-headedness had never seemed to cool down. Now as he moved alongside Apollo and Telona, he eyed them both as Apollo grinned at him.

"Let's see what damage we can cause on the frontlines, shall we?" he said.

Doni Tzu did not reply, only keeping his gaze on the target direction as the group sped its way back to the base.


21-03-2009 22:07:55

Oberst watched on the 3D holomap as the Iron Throne forces and Tarentum’s members followed their orders. At the moment, the Cestus backed groups were pushing onward, forming the lower part of the “scissors”- either destroying the enemy forces or pushing them back. The droids, however, were relentless, and they did not retreat or fall back easily. Still, everything was working out, and Oberst knew the clan would reach the rally point, as per the Grand Master’s instructions. While this battle was proof that the clans, especially Tarentum, could work with the Army of the Iron Throne, Oberst still wished he had his own forces under his direct command.

“Incoming!” came a yell. Casting a glance skyward, Oberst made out the shape of two Vulture droids descending towards the base. Already the AA batteries had turned their vicious fire on the threats, shredding the first one in no time. The second one flew through the debris, continuing its dive.
“Ignore them,” said Oberst. The army commander only nodded in reply before he began to bark orders sending his units on new maneuvers designed to both press the enemy harder and get them to the proper position as directed by the Grand Master.

* * *
Brimstone and Severon had been appointed to stay behind and help guard the AA batteries. Now that the enemy had been pushed back, and the clan and the army were moving to the northeast, they both prepared to move out. But, as the fortunes of war often did, circumstances changed. Abruptly, the AA batteries began to light up the sky. Craning their necks upwards, both Tarenti saw the two Vulture droids coming at the base.

“Suicide run?” asked Severon.

“I’m not so sure,” replied Brimstone. Droids weren’t living, but artificial intelligence wasn’t that bad. Unless they were being forcibly driven by a controller into the ground, the droid brains should have already altered their course. As the first one erupted into fragments, the second one continued its dive.

Whether through sheer luck or the odds, the second Vulture droid crashed full speed into the ground, the shockwaves radiating out. Strangely, there was no explosion or activity from the downed droid. Glancing at each other, Brimstone and Severon cautiously approached it, their hands on their lightsabers. As they approached, they passed by the limp bodies of soldiers tossed aside by the impact. Grimacing at the site, the two Tarenti came up to the dead droid. No movement of any kind came from it, even after a cautious tap by Severon’s foot.

“I think,” said Brimstone, “it ran out of power. These things only get like thirty-five minutes worth of fuel. Of course, I thought they self-destructed when they lost contact with control.”

“As old as these things are, I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t work,” said Severon. “That, or the controllers took that feature out. Either way, let’s make certain it can’t do anything else.” Brimstone nodded and the two Tarenti proceeded to quickly slice the key parts off with their lightsabers. They could not afford to be too careful.

* * *

Anshar watched as the army and the Tarenti continued their movement to the location of the Grand Master’s Central Command site. Just as they had been ordered, the area had been secured, and was now being reinforced. They had also set up most of the AA batteries as instructed. Unfortunately, the crash sites had yielded very little useful equipment, and the droid army had taken more out. As a result, the original AA numbers were reduced, which would mean extra work with hand-held missile launchers as well as combat air sorties from the assembled fleets above. Still, Anshar was confident that they would hold out. It was more a question of what was planned next, and when would the Jedi arrive on this front in particular.

Anshar’s thoughts drifted briefly to the trio of Bloodfyre, Saitou, and Kazarelth, who were off on their supporting mission. It could be a bust, or a gold mine, but Anshar would not know until he heard from them. The trio actually worried him, on about the same level as the strange vision he had had. Shaking his head of those thoughts, Anshar finally responded to the comm. call.

“Yes?” he inquired.

“Sir, new orders are coming in from the Grand Master,” replied a soldier’s voice.


22-03-2009 00:34:23

With the primary assault practically over with, Anshar surveyed the damage as he paced through the various lines of the army, his robes swishing around his ankles. Several soldiers of the Iron Throne had not survived the impact, as their blackened bodies were hauled away. Many others were injured, cradling arms or legs that barely stayed attached or intact from blaster shots or strikes. Anshar knew what Oberst would have to say about feeling any sympathy toward them, and he felt the same way. There was always the sacrifice of the weaker sheep to gain victory.

The Consul had held the comm silently in his hand as the soldier relayed the orders to him, and once the briefing was done, he ended the call without much of a word. He had given the information to the army's commander, who in turn simply rephrased his commands from before; preparing a landing zone, while not preparing an AA battery, still needed as organized of defense as possible. With many of the soldiers crippled or dead, however, some of the weight of defense was being shifted to the Tarenti, who patrolled the engineers and soldiers who shuffled around preparing the opportunity for reinforcements if needed.

The one thing that bothered Anshar the most, however, was the details of the communique, the terse words of the soldier as he dictated the orders to the Dark Jedi Master. Already his Force vision, albeit hindered by the darkness of the Shadow Lands, still nagged him, as he reached out with the Force as if attempting to grasp at the images further. He felt a familiar presence, something he felt was a vague memory in the back of his head, but he could not put a finger on what exactly it was.

But the other news would certainly cause unneeded tension in the clan. He knew that in order to keep all of Tarentum away from the idea of enforcing their grudges over the rest of the Brotherhood, he had to dispense the information he had given down some line; it was better to keep the grudges within with the orders of not acting on them against anyone else but the true enemy. Tarentum was not a clan to hold petty vendettas.

Still, as Anshar eyed Oberst relaying the information to whatever groups were still a good distance away before moving to where the set-up was beginning near the command center, Anshar could not help feeling slightly bitter. It was a habitual state for anyone, but he hated dealing with it, especially if it hurt his focus.

So close. Why does Plagueis have to be so close?


Still a good half kilometer away from the newly prepared center, the group of Gladians and Cestians stood quietly as they listened to Oberst's voice crackling once again on Apollo's comm. Jaron looked clearly agitated by the news, while Ronovi merely stood by her apprentice with a furrowed brow. She almost couldn't believe the proximity of it all.

"Understand, then," Oberst was saying, "that if you lay a finger on any members of Plagueis, you will face the consequences."

"Tempting still, but understood. Over and out," Apollo said with the terseness of an experienced pilot. Then, switching off the comm, he grinned almost painfully before facing the rest of his fellow Tarenti.

"So Plagueis is basically taking the brunt of most of the attacks?" asked Vai, a bit quizzically.

"From their northern post, apparently," said Apollo, "Just nearby."

Ronovi snorted as Jaron groaned irritatingly, and Doni Tzu could be seen shaking his head, his yellow eyes a bit dimmer than usual.

"I'd expect this sort of rivalry to come up, even Plagueis isn't exaclty our enemy. We've had some disagreements, but nothing major. And we were once allies."," he said, eyeing Jaron as he said this. She went quiet at his words, shaking her head as Ronovi placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at her master almost pleadingly.

"Can't we at least mess with them? C'mon!" she asked.

Ronovi laughed before removing a previously untouched flask from her robes. She needed some whiskey just about now as she unscrewed the cap and sipped. "We gotta follow the rules, Jaron. Besides, I wouldn't want you to waste your energy fretting about people from another clan. We just have to worry about Tarentum."

"Or," said Sato, a tone of cunning in his voice, "We could use Plagueis to the clan's advantage."

"You heard Oberst," said Ronovi. "He doesn't want us to -"

"No, I think I know what Sato's getting at," said Vai. "Remember when Saitou, Bloodfyre, and Kazarelth were talking on the Reqiuem before it landed?"

"I wasn't on the Reqiuem,, remember?" Ronovi reminded Vai.

"Well, I think they're doing this even now. They've been out looking for specimen to use for Tarentum's advantage. I'm guessing it's got to do with necromancy, and any Vong they can find."

Ronovi's eyebrows slowly shot up as she looked at the Gladians, who had already gotten the gist of Sato's implication much sooner. Telona had a small smile on her face as she looked at Apollo, who sighed.

"Perhaps a few casualties on their side would be of use to us, as long as they weren't done by us..." he said, as the group looked in the direction of where Plagueis was presumably set up. Perhaps Kazarelth, Saitou, and Bloodfyre were already on the trail, as Ronovi turned her head slightly to see the base close in the distance.

It couldn't hurt to pick up some things along the way.

Sith Bloodfyre

22-03-2009 02:57:35

The Jedi were not looking to study the downed Vong. Of course the Dark Siders could not have known that, could never have discovered yet that the Jedi, or whomever these Force-users were, were actually the ones seemingly responsible for the downfall of the invading Vong. The Force-users here with their battle droids were not many; in fact, there were only four of them. And in some ways, four Jedi with battle droids was such an archaic concept that it was almost laughable. An army of droids, such as had been dispatched by a clone army and the power of the Sith less than a century before had now bested the Vong, and could seemingly stand up to the might of a dark empire.

The Sith Master, the Krath Pontifex and the Krath Priest surged forward, seeking to catch the Force-users and their droid patrol off guard. Unfortunately, they were far from being unnoticed on the dark throne world of the present invaders.

"Arms! Stand at the ready!"

One of the Force-users' voices rang out, and all eyes shot forward as a trio of Dark Siders rushed forward to the offense. On mechanically-gifted arms, with speed brought only by the lightning-quick reflexes of programming and finely-tuned parts, nearly three dozen laser cannons on droids of various make began firing an incessant stream of gleaming death. Lightsabers sprang to life with the ever-familiar snap-hiss, sounding even above the blaring thunder of the droids blasters.

Jedi of the occupying sect brought their own weapons into life, gathering together towards the center of the mass of droids, allowing their mechanical servants to encircle them within a protective cocoon of blaster fire. As the protective shell of droid bodies tightened formation, they seemed to move with prearranged patterns, almost giving the appearance that such maneuvers had been rehearsed several times in the past. The Jedi and their droids gave a bit of ground, but it seemed rather apparent that they were trying to find a patch of ground more suited to their own defense to then turn the tide on the Dark Siders.

But these Jedi were invaders, with less claim on Antei than Tarentum perhaps possessed. True, the world was throne world to the Brotherhood as an entity, and though it belonged to the Dark Council and their Grand Master, or perhaps even more appropriately to the Star Chamber, the former Guardians of the Shroud were as familiar with Antei as the rest of the Brotherhood. And Sith Bloodfyre had spent time on the Dark Council as the last of the High Warriors. The life blood of Antei, the very spirit of the dark world, called out to the Sith Master to free it from the oppressive grasp of the Light Side. It was altogether ridiculous to assume that even Antei itself desired to entertain these unwelcome guests any longer.

"Saitou, on the right!"

"Watch your own right, apprentice!"

The two Krath were quite an adept fighting pair, having trained together not only as Master and Apprentice, but also presently as Housemates, with Kazarelth as head of Cestus and Saitou one of her faithful. The two moved together just as easily and fluidly as the Jedi and their droids.

The power of a Sith Master would prove to be the trump card, however.

Saitou and Kazarelth began to hold off the offense of the droids, easily forming a defensive wall of lightsaber blades and motions that deflected away all blaster fire from the Sith Master that may have potentially gone his way. Saitou and Kazarelth ducked or sidestepped when possible, but any and all shots that may have posed a danger to Bloodfyre were blocked or deflected back. With his safety assured by his brothers, Sith turned his attention to the horde of droids, and the fury of the Dark Side.

Every rock, every pebble, every ounce of being that was Antei was ingrained with the Force, and paid allegiance to the Dark Side. The power of a Sith Master was all that was required to reach out to the very bones of the dark world and call upon Antei's might to raise up from the firmament. A slow, almost unnoticed tremor began to nudge the ground. The nudge pressed back, only to be pressed again by the tendrils of the Dark Side. Antei slowly began to shake, a slight heave followed by a dip in the bedrock. The Jedi glanced back and forth between each other, but the droids paid no heed initially. The blaster fire continued until the first violent wave of motion buffeted the landscape, and droids slammed into each other or fell quickly to the earth.

The Jedi felt the power of the Dark Side, and knew immediately that they were standing against something they had neither the power or the preparation for.

"Fall back! Depart and regroup at Rendezvous Delta!"

"Stop them Saitou! We must take prisoners!"

But even then, at that point, the two Dark Siders that were defending the Sith Master began to fall victim to the now-frenzied rumbles that seemed to toss the landscape as though it were the ocean. Droids were flung meters away in groups of three or four. The Jedi were suddenly nowhere to be seen, perhaps flung off with their droids, perhaps borne away on wings of the Force, sped away to live and fight another battle, with the odds more stacked in their favor.

Saitou and Kazarelth planted themselves firmly to the ground by the might of the Force. The two were now as immovable as Bloodfyre seemed, his intent focus still upon the circle of ground where the Jedi had stood. As the seconds continued to pass by, the ground began to settle, with the great motions now slowing and easing up to mere nudges and slight twitches, and then finally into nothingness once again.

For a few moments, the three Dark Siders remained still, waiting to see if the Jedi would return. A few of the droids seemed intent on rejoining the battle, only to be lifted up and away from the field of battle through the Force powers of Saitou or Kazarelth, or even torn by the powerful grasp of the Dark Side called upon by the Shaevalian. Saitou glanced at Kazarelth, and then shook his head towards the Sith Master.

"You know, we really should have tried to capture at least one of them," Saitou commented. "I don't know what school of interrogation you attended, but earthquakes generally do not inspire people to spill their guts."

"Well, not in the way we were hoping, anyway," Kazarelth added.

Bloodfyre smirked slightly, barely noticed by either of them, but Saitou was pretty sure he had seen it. The three moved away from the scene of the fight quickly, and headed deeper into enemy territory, drawing closer to the Dark Hall where, Bloodfyre surmised, more of the freshest dead Yuuzhan Vong would likely be found. And, perhaps, one still knocking profoundly on death's door.

* * * * *

"We definitely weren't ready for that."

"Of course we were. I don't recall seeing any of us dead, or even wounded."

"We were supposed to test the enemy's strength. We didn't give them much of a test."

"We were able to witness something of their power. Now, we can provide a report to the others. Besides, it seems pretty obvious now that some of them may not go immediately towards tossing bolts of lightning like confetti, or trying to take our heads. Maybe we can use that to our advantage. Maybe it means they're trying to take this world with as little force as absolutely necessary."

"Maybe we can use their sentimental attachments to this world against them?"



23-03-2009 02:29:12

The number of Crask’s Jedi was small; far smaller than what the Dark Brotherhood brought to bear. However, what the group lacked in numbers was more than made up in quality, and Jorax Tuar was no exception to this rule. A former member of Skywalker’s New Jedi Order, Tuar had been recruited by Crask for a larger mission, for something outside of the current political structure of the galaxy.

In ancient times, Tuar might have been called a paladin; a holy warrior with a divine mission to destroy the darkness through blade and redemption. It mattered not what form of darkness existed, from mere piracy to the twisted evil that was the Sith Lords of past and present; all darkness fell eventually before the Light Side. Had he been a Jedi of the Old Republic, Tuar had no doubt he would have been a Jedi Guardian.

Tuar approved of Crask’s goal to convert the infidels that craved the embrace of the Dark Side. Taking one final breath and drawing on the Force, Tuar set out, accompanied by his own retinue of droids. They would join the battle and target the progressing command center, though only after he took a brief detour to explore the front lines.

If all went as planned, the center would be destroyed, and there would be no central command. As it was, the command site of the Dark Jedi held a presence that he only vaguely knew, but one that drew his attention nonetheless. And there were many around this presence, some ripe for conversion and others who did naught but stain the fabric of the universe. They would die.

* * *

Anshar watched through macrobinoculars as the Plagueis supported forces on Tarentum’s north-western front engaged the enemy. Tarentum would normally have been on the front lines, but they had been ordered to hold their current position with what Iron Throne forces remained. Reinforcements, specifically an armored column, were quickly approaching the clan’s current position, but they had not yet arrived. Behind Anshar, the AA batteries established by the clan pumped away, hoping to down the enemy craft as they attempted to destroy the command base even before it was grounded.

“Sir,” said an Iron Throne soldier. “We have another Jedi sighting.” Anshar turned his attention to the soldier, who promptly continued. “Currently he is engaging Clan Plagueis. Visual reports indicate a well built dark skinned man, with an orange lightsaber, and a cybernetic right arm.”

“Thank you,” replied Anshar dismissing the soldier. Anshar plied his memories, but he could not recall any names or locations, only that he felt he should recognize this person on his description alone. Regardless, it meant trouble. A true Jedi Master was now on the battlefield, and undoubtedly would make his way to Tarentum.


23-03-2009 05:12:20

After Brimstone and Severon made a quick disassemblement of the vulture droid, Brimstone went for the droids hard drive processor bank.

"What you doing Brimstone?" ask Severon.

"Doing what is standard operating proceedures. If we can get this core back to the higher ups, maybe they can find out who is controlling these things and how large their force is."

The two finished and hurried back to the AA batteries. Brimstone pulled out his charric rifle and looked towards the skies for more incoming droids. They didn't wait long as they cam raining their fire upon the land. Shortly afterwards, the fleet's tie interceptors were entered into the fray and obliterated the droids.

Everyone watched in disbelief that droids would go on suicide missions, ramming themselves into a couple of the TIE's. Droids weren't built to destroy themselves. Brimstone went up to one of the commanders with the data bank.

"Sir, here is one of their data banks we took out of the crashed droid. I think we could use it to study our enemy and see why these droids are acting un-droid like."

After giving the commander the item, Brimstone joined back up with Severon in the defense grid.


23-03-2009 13:17:15

The soldiers had no chance at redemption – they all had a streak of evil ingrained within. The younger they were, the more derelict their spirits were.
Tuar’s lightsaber cut through them like a hot knife through melting butter. He seemed to be invincible, deflecting a triplet of laser bolts with the sheer brawn his arms possessed, deflecting them to some more of the vile soldiers.
Yet, the minuscule void they left in the Force stung the Jedi Master. He was not a cruel man; just a holy warrior on the battlefield.
Suppressing the guilt with his own conviction of the Light, he pressed on.

The droids did not know morale, did not know fear. The soldiers did. The Plagueis military attaché, a Guardian, did. Clutching his armoury-‘saber in his hand, the boy cowered behind his soldiers, hiding from the griffin that had popped out from behind the droids.
It was only after a minute more of blazing action that his ‘shields’ were cut down, and he faced the majestic creature.

“You are afraid, young man.” His voice was soothing, peaceful.
“I am not… af--raid of you! I am a Dark Jedi of the Order of the Sith! I…” The Guardian faltered.

“This is a disease, fear is. I have the cure. Join me.” His words were not articulate, just simple plain truths. And the Guardian could sense them.

“I- wretched Jedi… you can’t convert me with your lies! I am a…” He faltered yet again.

“I am not lying. You know that.” His lips broke into a smile. Not shadowy one, not a twisted one. A plain, simple smile.

“You have a cure?” The Plagueian ventured.


“The ‘recruit’ is in the Phi-Alpha warzone. A boy, he has been tagged. He will be waiting. Tuar out.” Jorax was already quite a distance away from the dazed ex-Plagueis clansman. He was running to keep pace with his droids, victorious from yet another cleansing balm of a soul redeemed.

There were always more, though. And he ran to them.


“Understood. Bloodfyre out.” Sith’s comlink clicked shut. He looked at his companions earnestly.

“We go North.” He spoke.
“That is where the Plagueians are, Sith.”
“And that is where fresh Force user-bodies will be.” He smiled at the youngest of the group; the Priest was known for his ‘hobby’ of torturing spirits from the other world.

“And what about the alien bodies?” Saitou asked.

I am sure a few will litter the ground, master…’ Kazarelth replied, as they started off.

Severon V

23-03-2009 14:16:35

Severon watched the sky from he and Brimstone’s post. However, no more action approached them. The silence perturbed Severon and he shifted his stance constantly. Finally, he blurted out, “Where the @#$% is the action!!!”

Brimstone glanced curiously at the protector and said, “You just wait. It’ll come to us.”

Severon glared at the Chiss and grumbled, “Yeah right.”

“Come on Severon, you can’t just expect everything to be like your fantasies.”

“Alright. But I still hope something happens.”

“You might want to watch what you say.”


“It might happen in a way you didn’t want.”

Just then, something large loomed ahead and both Tarenti activated their sabers.


23-03-2009 15:04:13

There was bloodshed all around. Ronovi could sense that at least vaguely from Plagueis's front as the group made their way between Plagueis's front and the base. As the large group stopped to rest a bit from walking, she watched as Apollo raised his binoculars and used his Force senses to attempt to penetrate through the darkness.

"Looks like the army's preparing the landing zone for reinforcements to the west," he reported, as Doni Tzu focused his mind to the north.

"And it seems like Plagueis isn't having the best of days, either," Doni Tzu said.

"What do you mean?" asked Ronovi.

"I mean I can sense cries of anguish from a distance," replied the Adept, his yellow eyes scanning the shadows that reigned over the land. "The battle isn't without some sacrifice."

"You sense anyone nearby from our side?" asked Sato.

"Kazarelth and Saitou's presences are easier to spot than Bloodfyre's, but all three are approaching now. They'd best be careful." Then, without hesitation, Doni Tzu turned to the decently sized cluster of Gladians and Cestians. "At this point, I believe splitting up again would be more appropriate so we're not as easily spotted by the enemy. Perhaps some of us should move toward Plagueis while others of us move another way so both sides can survey the damage on certain parameters and report it back to the base. If their lines are being rattled, then Tarentum is in greater danger of being attacked."

"If it's more appropriate, Doni Tzu, as there are about five of us to each of our Houses, I'd say Gladius should move northeast while Cestus moves northwest," said Telona. Doni Tzu nodded at this; the two Houses were pretty balanced in terms of rank and strength - With one Jedi Hunter, two Dark Jedi Knights, one Equite, and one Elder, Gladius was fairly even with Cestus's proportions. As Gladius grouped together to discuss their next move, Doni Tzu turned to Ronovi, Vai, Jaron, and Sato and sighed deeply.

"Cestus, we'll be approaching more western side of Plagueis. Something tells me that's where it's been hit the hardest."


"Tuar will be approaching Tarentum soon. He's already moving quickly. He was able to break through a good chunk of the Plagueis assigned forces."

"Excellent. As for those three we found earlier?"

"They're not the only ones. There's a group of five heading over in the direction of where Tuar left off. With any luck, they can serve as a better practice than the others."

"Wait, we can't take down three Dark Jedi, but you expect us to approach five?"

"Their powers are more evenly distributed, from what I sense. Inexperience as well...there are younger Dark Jedi in this group, more easy to sway or overcome. I say take the risk."

"And what about Tuar? What's his motive?"

"If he can convert more of those Dark Jedi, we shouldn't have a problem. As for us...maybe we should follow his lead."

"Attempt to convert the group?"

"Convert them or punish them. Those are the only two options we have."


Something was getting closer. Anshar could sense that as the commander reported heavy casualties on Plagueis's side; while most of their lines held up, their northwesternmost flank had practically been torn apart by extreme force. And if the enemy was moving from the northwest, they would be able to spot Tarentum's base soon enough from the direction in which he was approaching.

The Consul rubbed his forehead with his fingers. He could already sense some of the Tarenti getting riled up, some even activating their lightsabers at any sound or vague burst or light or fire in the distance. With the batteries still taking down enemy craft as those securing the land zone prepared for the homestretch of completion, Anshar had a feeling that they would be facing trouble before the labor was done.

The image that he had been given of the Jedi still plagued him, and he reached out with the Force to see if he could sense him nearby. He could sense movement, at the very least, but the picture was still all he had. To open his memories, to unlock any secrets that his mind was hiding...that was what Anshar wanted the most.

"Consul," one soldier abruptly said, and Anshar turned sharply to face him. "We're seeing something in the distance. It doesn't look good."


The jagged earth of Adas felt unnatural against Ronovi's boots as she trekked alongside her group of Cestians freshly separated from Gladius. It felt good to be in a smaller group again, and the Epicanthix was more comfortable with the idea of being more hidden in the shadows without attracting much attention. She watched as Doni Tzu approached a nearby boulder where the group stopped to rest, and as Ronovi breathed, she could suddenly sense something out of place from the rest of Antei's dark setting.

Light. A pocket of light.

She looked at her apprentice, who was sitting beside Vai passing around a flask of water, and bit her lip. Ronovi knew that getting closer to Plagueis would provide some answers, but she grinned at the thought of Jaron possibly giving in to the temptation of finding a rival clan. But now as she felt the light swelling in the distance, she turned to face Doni Tzu and see if he was responding. He made no sound.

Moving toward the edge of the boulder, Ronovi peeked over its tip to see a dark blur in the distance, almost coinciding with the shadows had it not been for the faint red and blue glow of blaster bolts and lightsabers. Plagueis's main foundation was still holding up, though its forces seemed to shift about as if disoriented, at least to Ronovi's naked eye. She wished she had Apollo's binoculars to borrow.

The Obelisk suddenly felt her mind sway to another sense of light, only this time it was stronger...and heading a more western direction. Turning suddenly to the group, she was surprised to see that they were already on their feet. They had sensed it too as Doni Tzu stared at Ronovi.

"You might want to get back," he whispered, a tone of warning in his voice.

Ronovi blinked. "What?"


Ronovi threw herself to the ground as a sudden light from a blaster bolt erupted over the group, ripping a good chunk out of the boulder and leaving it in a jagged, crumbled mess of dust and stone shards. Ronovi opened her eyes to see a small group of Jedi and what looked like A-series droids approach them just before the blaster fire began again, and the ground seemed to shake below her with the power of the Force as she attempted to get to her feet. She caught a glimpse of Sato rushing at the target with his lightsaber, as she finally got to her knees and drew the hilt of her lightsaber out of her robes just as she saw the first clash against four very real Jedi with commando droids flanking them.

The pressure between the Force-users was evident in the atmosphere; Ronovi had hardly ever felt something like this before as she leapt her way toward the enemy, activating her saber with a snap-hiss. She intercepted one of the Jedi, whose green blade clashed violently with her blue blade as she closed in on him, but she was barely able to keep an offensive going when she felt a Force shove against her side, and she rolled to the ground again just as she saw Jaron and Vai propelled as well, as their attempts to blast the commando droids with their rifles was ineffective against its body armor. As a major scuffling ensued in an attempt to get orientation back, Ronovi grunted and pushed herself up with her hands just to be pushed down again...and felt the heat of a lightsaber blade against her naked throat as a large hand pulled her head back by her hair.

"Settle down. We're not afraid to kill you if we have to," a voice rang in her ears. Not threatening, not sinister, not even cruel...simply an cool, collected order from one of the four Jedi.


23-03-2009 17:09:11

Worst for wear from the force strike, Vai attempted to gain his footing and rejoin the fray when he saw his Aedile lying on the ground with a lightsaber at her throat. He had never faced such power before and knew the situation required great care. Jaron lay nearby him unconscious; her head had impacted with a rock.

Dodging the attack of a Zabrak Jedi Knight, Sato was evenly matched with the Jedi engaged with him, he could not divert his focus to assist Ronovi.

“Tell your forces to surrender” said the Jedi holding the hair of the Epicanthi, the Jedi said in a serious but calm tone to Ronovi.

“We never surrender” said Ronovi with conviction, “you Jedi think that you’re everything that is great, well your not.”

“You misunderstand us, like a child misunderstands what is right and wrong. We simply want peace in the galaxy, and you Sith are the destroyers of that peace” said the Jedi.


The Sith Master searched for his prey. They had eluded him once and who not escape thought Sith.

The trio of watchers continued the search through the torn fields of Adas, near the Plagieus lines. They had detected several things, but not what they were looking for. Those four Jedi who had escaped the earlier battle would soon know why they should fear the Sith.

Kazarelth was looking forward to torturing those Jedi. To make them scream and tell all their secrets. The thought of it put a small smile on his face which quickly vanished.

Suddenly Sith stopped and turned toward a fight in the distance. Without further hesitation, the Sith Master said “Jedi” and started moving at speed toward the fight.


The Yevethan Adept was doing well against the Jedi he was facing. Even without a saber, his force powers were causing the Jedi to fallback between attacks. Doni had not noticed the situation his apprentice was in as his focus was on defeating the Jedi who had attacked them. The Jedi fell back again and four droids took his place. This made the Dark Adept even angry as his lashed out with the force on the droids denting there armor skins until they were all crushed. The Jedi once again attacked Doni, attempting to bring his saber on the Sith; however he blasted the Jedi back with a wave of the force. Scared at the powers of the Dark Adept, the Jedi attempted to run. Holding his hand out, Doni began to constrict the airway of the Jedi, causing him to choke and then fall on the ground limp.


The Jedi whose saber was held at Ronovi’s throat turned when he sensed his allies doom. His grip tightened on his saber and his calm face went to one of anger. Looking at Epicanthi Knight, the Jedi said “you’ll pay for what has been done.”

With a slight pause in his meticulous actions, the Jedi swung his lightsaber up and then began to swing for Ronovi’s torso. Without a thought, Vai grabbed his armory saber, ignited it with a snap-hiss and leapt in front of the Jedi; deflecting the saber with his.

The Jedi paused for a moment and then looked at the Firrerreon Dark Jedi and said “Foolish man, your no match for me and you will die for your interference.”

Vai realized what he had done, however it was too late now as he was engaged with a Jedi and he had to fight for his survival. Parrying the attacks of the Jedi, Vai could feel himself losing footing. The Jedi looked Vai is his eyes and said “I can feel your fear. Just give up and I’ll end this fast.” The Cestus Rollmaster was fighting for his life against the Jedi, dodging underneath attacks that would have decapitated him. Even as well as Vai was fighting he was outmatched fighting a seasoned Jedi. With a sudden flash, the Jedi sliced Vai just under his left eye and then cut the armory saber in Vai’s hand in half; leaving burns on the hunters arms and hands. The Jedi then threw Vai into the ground with the force.

The Jedi turned from the Jedi Hunter as if the head back towards Ronovi when the crimson blades of a dual-bladed lightsaber sent his arms flying. The Jedi screamed in horror as he looked at the smoldering stumps that were his arms and then collapsed from the pain.

“I want some alive” said Sith Master Bloodfyre as he engaged another of the Jedi.

Ronovi flipped back on her feet, brushing off the near fatal encounter with the Jedi. However in her mind she went through the events that had transpired. Igniting her saber, she moved in to assist Sato.


24-03-2009 01:18:59

Oberst watched through his own macrobinoculars as a breakthrough was achieved on Plagueis’ lines. He scowled, and looked over at Col. Thrall, who was also watching through his own pair of macrobinoculars.

“This could be a problem,” Oberst intoned lightly.

“Reinforcements are still one hour away,” Thrall offered.

“In twenty minutes, we’ll be running towards reinforcements.” The AA batteries continued to pound overhead as vulture druids continued to attempt to disrupt the LZ and command post. Oberst pulled out his communicator, “This is the Marshal, get me the CAG.”

“Sir!,” Thrall protested, “Your troops are not clear to land. Cease at once.”

Oberst arched a brow and regarded Thrall with amusement, “It’s a good thing I am not landing troops.”

“My Lord,” Archean’s voice crackled through the static and carried over the sound of the firing batteries.

“Divert Assault Blue and Green to seven west by twelve. Dump their ordnance on that column.”

“Sir, that would disrupt Plagueis as well,” Thrall began once more.

“They should have thought of that before they allowed the breakthrough to occur,” Oberst shot back, “My officers are out there, and they’re more useful to me than Plagueis.”

* * * * *

Oberst watched through his macrobinoculars as explosions kicked up dirt and debris. The lenses tinted to lessen the glare from the explosions, but white spots still temporarily developed in his vision. He watched parts of droids fly through the air and more than one organic body part, the clothing or armor attached on fire. The advance seemed to halt, with Plagueis being the first to recover from the explosion, dumping fire on the shocked enemy.

“See, Colonel, they recovered nicely.” Oberst put down his macrobinoculars and pulled a cigarette from his pocket. Putting the paper cylinder to his mouth and lighting it, he continued, “Minimal harm done.” Oberst took a long drag before checking on the position of the armor column.

Severon V

24-03-2009 18:37:41

Severon gaped as a massive armored tank droid pushed its way toward the batteries. Brimstone’s face tightened in concentration as he watched the droid. Severon looked at the Dark Jedi Knight and managed to stutter, “Uh….should I call for help?”

“Only if you think we can’t handle this.”

“Are you crazy Brimstone! That’s a friggin tank! There is no way we can even take on that thing!”

“Are you forgetting that with the force, size doesn’t matter?”

“No, but I still don’t think that we can take that thing on.”

“Then don’t. You can call for help, but I am going to do what I was told to do, which was to defend this site.”

Severon watched as Brimstone rushed toward the tank droid, lightsaber blazing. He pulled his comlink out of hi robe and as he ran after Brimstone he said, “ This is Protector Severon Vercingetorix and we have big trouble back at the batteries.”


24-03-2009 23:39:01

As Severon went for his comlink to call in reinforcements, Brimstone took off with his lightsaber out and in a full sprint. Brimstone recognized the tank droid as a NR-N99 Persuader-class droid enforcer. This droid wasn't here to break through the lines only, but to ram through the AA batteries and destroy everything in its path.

It opened fire with it heavy repeating blasters at the dark jedi. Brimstone sensed the incoming fire and parried away the blasts. He knew he couldn't just stand there and take a beating as he had to manuver himself into a frontal confrontation to destroy it.

Severon yelled in a request into his commlink, but the shots that weren't deflected by Brimstone, would make there way near him. He dropped the comlink and ignited his armory lightsaber. He knew he wasn't as seasoned as the Chiss was, but it was better than being a sitting target. With a short burst of speed, he caught up to Brimstone and they stood side by side, deflecting the shots the best they could.

"We can't hold this thing off for too long" said Severon in a terrified voice. "And I don't know if command got my message."

"We can take this droid if you do as I say" replied Brimstone. "These droids are not very manuverable but a straight shooters. you go to the left of it, and I will take the right. It can only follow one of us, preferably me, and I want you to get on its side and cut down its side tracks. One it is immobilized, then we can cut it apart."

They both took off in different directions at that second. Like clockwork, the droid continued to target Brimstone due to that it saw him as the first threat it encountered and calculated he was the highest threat risk. Brimstone pulled the Force into his muscles as he gained speed to outrun the targeting systems of blasters. The knight knew he had to hurry, because these weren't the only weapons they were considered to carry.

Severon made his way around to other side and leapt onto its outer tread cover. As he grabbed hold with one hand and prepared to cause damage with the saber, he got a sudden chill from the Force. He looked up just to see a slot open up on the side and 4 thermal detonators come tumbling out. Severon had no choice but to dive away from the droid to save his own life. He hit the ground in a tuck and roll and then got up in a full sprint. 20 seconds later, all 4 of the detonators exploded, leaving the landscape charred.

Brimstone saw this and lept for his side of the droid. Like it did with Severon, it tossed out 4 thermal detonators too, but Brimstone was prepared for it and grabbed them with the force and hurled them away from him. At the instance they exploded, Brimstone slamed the blade of his saber into the tread cover. A loud crack and sparks showered from below and the tread was severed and flung behind the tank.

Brimstone then turned his saber onto the the heavy blasters and lopped the 2 on its side. He then clampered up the side of the droid to work on the middle, main track. Brimstone then slammed his lightsaber into that track, and it shattered immediatly, cause the droid to stop dead in its tracks. With no manuverability, it was unable to turn to target back on its intentional target.

The droid opened all it side compartments and started to hurl more thermal detonators and concussion missiles. Brimstone could only slightly knock the missles off target with the Force so they wouldn't hit the AA batteries. The thermal detonators were too far away to do any damage to the AA's, but Brimstone knew he had to work fast at destroying this droid.

Using his saber again, he cut open the top of the main part of the droid and when it tossed more thermals out, Brimstone pulled them to himself and then threw them inside the opening. The Gladian then lept off the droid and made a run for cover. Shortly afterwards, the detonators went off and obliterated the droid, leaving only scrap metal littering the landscape.

Brimstone finally made his way back to the AA's where he met up with Severon. "And that's why I said we could take it ourselves" he said sternly to the Protector. "We didn't have time for to wait for reinforcements. That thing would had destroyed this and I don't want to be on the reporting end to Oberst or Anshar on our failure to defend this place."

The two took back up their defense positions for any more incoming droids. Minutes later a shuttle landed nearby and more commando troops came off, packing heavy artillery and shoulder mounted rocket launchers for any outher tanks that would show up.


25-03-2009 00:44:43

Tuar had tested the Dark Jedi on the front lines, and his resolve was only bolstered by what he had found. The powerful shunned protecting their weaker brethren, leaving them ripe for defeat, conversion, or death. It was, Tuar thought, a true waste. They failed to see that all could play some important role. How vain these Dark Siders were!

Now Tuar turned his attention to the site where the Dark Siders were landing their base equipment. Tuar’s only mission was to disrupt these efforts, and, of course, to slay or convert all who stood against him. Though he could even sense the different mentality of the Dark Siders at the landing site as compared to those at the front lines, Tuar felt confident that his engagements with the first line had told him enough about the group as a whole. One group was not that much different from another group.

“Master Jedi, mission profile has been updated,” reported a commando droid. “We are ready for action.”

“Good,” replied Tuar. “Proceed to your objectives.”

“Yes, sir,” replied the droid before it trotted away to join its team. Though similar in appearance to the regular B1 battle droids, the commando droids were better built and could handle a far greater variety of missions, and move about much more freely. They would disrupt the landing operations, or at least delay them long enough for the other forces to break through the front lines.

* * *
Anshar let the battle in the distance and the smaller fights nearby shed from his mind. Brimstone’s and Severon’s fight against something that supposedly no longer existed slipped away first, followed closely by Oberst’s thoughts and actions to stop the breach in the Plagueis supported lines. Last but not least, even the Jedi fighting his own clan members slipped from Anshar’s mind. Stretching out, Anshar sought out the Jedi seen fighting Plagueis. To Anshar’s surprise, the Jedi was waiting.

“So, you finally reach out to me,” the Jedi said telepathically. “I was waiting for one of you to do this, and I am quite pleased that it is you. Now I know the familiarity I sensed on this accursed world.”

“You’ll forgive me if the feeling is not mutual,” replied Anshar. He probed further, and though the Jedi was good, Anshar still glimpsed the commando droids preparing for their mission.

“Come, Dark Sider, and meet me,” said Tuar. “I do not recall your name, but I know we met. As I recall, you have in your possession a silver lightsaber with a purple blade. I know the history of that weapon. It was not yours to begin with.”

“Enough,” said Anshar, cutting the Jedi off. “I will meet you.” Anshar then severed the telepathic link, though he was quite certain that the Jedi was smiling as he did so. Reaching to his comm., Anshar called Dranik as the cacophony .

“Dranik, get a team together. There’s going to be an enemy commando raid soon, and you need to stop it.”

“And you know this how?” asked Dranik skeptically.

“You don’t want to know,” replied Anshar. “Just do it.” Anshar sighed to himself. This was not a confrontation he wanted, for it would not be on his terms. But, it was a chance to deal a blow to the enemy, and it was a chance he could not pass up. With any luck, Dranik and whomever he rounded up could stop the commandos. Looking back at the battle on the front lines, Anshar knew that there was a good chance for a flanking maneuver or a solid break at any time. Fortunately, Oberst would do what was needed to stop such things.


25-03-2009 01:33:38

The arrival of Kazarelth, Bloodfyre, and Saitou to help their fellow Cestians, to say the very least, was rather unexpected, but as Ronovi went to fight off the last of the two Jedi who weren't dead or crippled, she watched out of the corner of her eye Vai stumble to his feet, limping toward the still unconscious Jaron as his burned arms and hands dangled at his sides. With two Elders, three Equites, and a Dark Jedi Knight still fighting, it was definitely going to go the Cestians' way, even if the Jedi were adept in their strength and agility. She was able to parry off a blow from one of the Jedi before suddenly hearing the whistle of fighters above her head.

"What the..." she said, only hesitating for a moment before blocking the Jedi's swing of his saber, while Sato intercepted him from the side.

Above them, approximately six bombers, each flanked by two or so fighters, were moving at an alarming pace toward the Plagueis lines. The reaction was enormous as several explosives were dropped, and the rise of flames and smoke weren't enough as the earth shook beneath Ronovi's feet as the detonations spread out several meters in their radius of destruction. She was barely able to keep balance as she saw Kazarelth and Saitou easily disarm the Jedi and hack the hilt of his saber into even metal fragments. Bloodfyre was quick to subdue the weaponless warrior then, slamming him with the blunt end of his double bladed saber's hilt and knocking him out cold.

Sato and Ronovi knew what to do as they noticed Doni Tzu approaching from behind their enemy. With a decisive nod, they allowed the Elder to simply push the Jedi toward them, his feet nearly flying out beneath him as he lost his balance. Ronovi smirked before switching her saber to her left hand and clocking the disoriented Jedi with her right fist, sending him sprawling to the ground in an attempt to defend himself. Then, as Sato forced him to parry one of the Equite's blows, Ronovi gleefully raised her lightsaber and brought it down on the Jedi's right leg, severing his leg just below the knee.

The screams of pain from the Jedi was pleasing to Ronovi; she was glad to submit the Jedi to the pain they had threatened to give her as she deactivated her lightsaber and placed it back at her side. Now, as Doni, Sato, and she turned to face the others, they were surprised to see Bloodfyre, Kazarelth, and Saitou already moving to leave.

"Hey, hold on! Don't we at least get to thank you?" Ronovi asked, a bit teasingly, as Kazarelth turned and gave her a signature grin.

"Hate to fight and run, but Sith and Saitou and I have other plans. Considering that little stunt we just pulled on Plagueis with our squadrons, there should be plenty of bodies for the taking."

"What about the Jedi?" inquired Doni Tzu, eyeing the one dead and the three other wounded as they lay beside the broken masses of their droids.

"I'm sure you know what to do with them," Bloodfyre said, his expression stoic as he turned and began to run to where the ground was scorched from the air strike. Saitou and Kazarelth hurried after him, disappearing into the shadows as they ran. Ronovi went to check on the two Jedi Hunters as Doni and Sato approached the last two conscious but injured, and the firm glances they received amused them.

"Always the same, aren't you?" the armless Jedi demanded, scowling. "Dark Jedi, always doing their dirty tricks. You will pay for what you've d--"

"It's time for you to rest now," Doni Tzu said as he extended his hand toward the Jedi, and a little pressure from the Force was just enough to make the man drift into unconsciousness. He sighed at the more aggressive way Sato handled the other Jedi, knocking him out cold with the hilt of his lightsaber, before turning to Ronovi. "How are those two doing?"

Ronovi raised her head from checking Jaron's pulse and shrugged. "Jaron's going to need a bit of medical assistance; that blow to the head looks pretty bad. As for Vai..."

"I think some bacta would suffice," Vai grunted, gritting his teeth from the pain as his newly received scar glared from under his eye. Still, he got up and surveyed the damage the group had caused. "So, three Jedi for the taking. What do we do?"

"Nothing like a little questioning to perk them up after their nap," said Doni Tzu, and as she spoke, Ronovi could sense a hint of malice and implication for what the Elder was planning to do once the fun started.


Oberst's inspection of the armor column was a brief one as he kept his eyes away from the clearing smoke of his ordered strikes. Anshar was approaching him quickly, his face hardened as he parted ways with Dranik. Oberst arched an eyebrow as he faced his Consul.

"You have an update, I gather."

"The initial squadron attacks weren't enough," Anshar said calmly, his arms folded. "It was able to take out many of the forces that had broken through Plagueis's lines, and judging by how the bombs were dropped, many others retreated. But we still have an enemy approaching."

"Oh? What, exactly?"

"A Jedi," said Anshar, "guarded by a rather well-sized team of commando droids, from what I could sense. Seeing as they were the first to tear through Plagueis's lines, I'm not surprised that they were able to escape the explosions."

"I see. Want me to deal with them accordingly?" asked Oberst. He grinned at the sight of Anshar shaking his head.

"I've arranged for Dranik to set up an appropriate team so that he can intercept the droids. If they don't deal with the Jedi then, I suppose we'll have to deal with him if he gets close enough."

"It's amusing to see how one Jedi can evade our airstrikes, but I'm sure Dranik can hold up the best interests of the clan," replied Oberst. "So why are you telling me this?"

"I want you to maintain a good position with Interceptor Red," said Anshar. "See if any other enemies are able to find a breach in Plagueis's defenses. If needed, you may want to make some rounds again. We don't want to disrupt any progress in the landing site construction."

"I wouldn't put too much confidence in that happening any time soon," muttered Oberst, but Anshar was already departing, heading in the direction of the front lines again. Oberst sighed as he put out the dwindling stump of his cigarette, letting the ashes mingle with the dark, craggy earth. He was interested in seeing how this whole pandering to teams would turn out - after all, Gladius and Cestus had set out in search groups already and were yet to return with reports or findings. Still, the idea of an oncoming conflict pleased the Proconsul nonetheless.


"So let me run through this one more time," Sato said as he and Ronovi moved the three stunned Jedi against the charred remains of the boulder that had been blasted earlier; the corpse of the fourth Jedi lay untouched nearby. "What information are we trying to get from these Jedi again?"

Doni Tzu watched Vai weakly settle beside Jaron's still unconscious body before turning to Sato. "Simple. Anything based on their tactics. The sooner we learn of the Jedi's next strike, the sooner we can return to the base with the prisoners and the information."

"And you expect the three of us to haul everyone back?" Sato grumbled.

"Of course not. Gladius most likely is finishing up their rounds on one side of Plagueis, provided that they're unharmed from the bombs and any other Jedi who could be aimlessly wandering around, looking for Dark Siders to convert," replied Doni, an amused tone in his raspy voice. "Until I saw their ranks move forward, I was beginning to wonder how idiotic our enemy really could be."

"So you're saying we should send a transmission to Apollo and see if we can get Gladius over to help with the prisoners?" Ronovi reiterated.

Doni looked at her, his shoulders slightly slumped as if she had tired him. "Do you have to repeat the obvious, apprentice?"

"I'll see if I can connect with Apollo," said Ronovi, ignoring her master's usual but casual jab as she reached for her comm. While she began her transmission, Doni Tzu moved to one of the Jedi, lying motionless with his stump of a leg twisted under him, before using the Force to prod him awake.

"Nap time is over, Jedi," he whispered, then felt the malice build within him. After all, this would be an excellent exercise in his powers against minds feebler than his own.


25-03-2009 13:47:53

A soft, melodious tone permeated the air around Huldrych; the gentle crescendo of a string instrument from some far-flung world. Huldrych’s antennae swayed lethargically inside his strangely shaped helmet to the tempo of the music. The song would have been beautiful were it not for the cacophony of brutality flashing and erupting outside Huldrych’s viewport, only tens of kilometers away. Immediately before him the Doomsday hung in space, angled towards Antei as if it were a predator, waiting for the opportune moment to attack and kill its prey. The ship, Tarentum’s auxiliary carrier, paced the raging battle with the swarms of vulture droids at a good distance. It would not be joining in this time. Its job was to provide the ground forces with fighter support.

Huldrych’s squadron was formed tightly in a close support pattern, circling the hull of the Doomsday at regular intervals. The job assigned to the TIE Defenders had been incredibly droll. So much so that Huldrych couldn’t help but appreciate his squadron disobeying his orders and bringing along the arsenal of music now playing over the squadron’s secure communication channel. Aside from the occasional vulture droid wandering over to the Doomsday’s position for the fighters to overpower the small, one-ship task force had seen virtually no action since the onset of the battle. The fluidity of the music was only interrupted by the occasional yawn from Rapax 5, leader of gray flight, who was broadcasting the music.

A sharp, staccato voice came slicing violently through the music, startling the squadron out of their loll.
“Rapax Squadron,” Huldrych recognized the strong, Corellian accent of Archean immediately and knew something was up. “Move to grid reference 32,19,257 and provide escort cover for 2. Assault Squadron as they make their run on the planet bearing 7 west by 12.”

“Acknowledged, command,” replied the Verpine as he pulled his craft around in a slow right arc, giving the bomber squadron time to launch and form up. “Vorm up by flights, Fluid Vour Vormation. And turn zat crap off.”

Huldrych received a chorus of acknowledgements over his headset as the music cut out and his fighter came around, now directly facing the Doomsday’s launchbay and the bombers, forming up beneath her belly and beginning their descent towards the planet. The Verpine also observed Donos’ 3. Interceptor Squadron launching to replace the TIE Defenders as the Doomsday’s fighter support. Huldrych wondered to himself whether Donos was with them or on the planet below.
A loud, somewhat nasally voice with a strange Kuati accent erupted over Rapax Squadron’s private channel. “Good morning, throttle-jockeys,” came the voice of Lieutenant Commander Jaan Kiivit. “Sorry you boys got babysitting duty but I’m told it’s hot where we’re headed. Maybe you can put some scratches in that fresh paint of yours.” Huldrych had never been sure what to make of the man. He was unusually forward and boisterous for a human raised on such a populated world and often poked fun at the relative inexperience of Huldrych’s squadron. However, the Kuati was solid behind a stick and one of the most successful bomber pilots in the Brotherhood, let alone Tarentum’s Fleet; a real accomplishment for a non-Jedi.
“Zee pleasure is ours Jaan,” replied Huldrych. “Hopevully ve can keep your floating garbage cans intact.”

The TIE Defenders descended over the Scimitar Assault Bombers, assuming their escort positions and screaming towards the planet below.

The two squadrons pulled up in unison and raced towards the target at speeds only the TIE series could attain in atmosphere. Soaring over the ground behind the Brotherhood’s lines, the fighters faced virtually no resistance as any incoming Vulture droid patrols were smashed to bits by Tarentum’s heavy anti-aircraft batteries. However, as they passed the main line at fewer than 500 meters above the ground, the sky became thick with droid fighters and the only friendly anti-aircraft within range were the super-heavy batteries, taking inaccurate potshots from their positions behind the speeding TIEs.

“Huldrych, we’re cuttin’ left in 10 seconds to begin primary run on the target,” announced the Lieutenant Commander. The situation was precarious enough. Huldrych would have to split his squadron to cover both the rear of the bombers as they made their turn as well as the nose of the formation to power through any Vulture droids setting up for a head to head run on the bombers.

Huldrych’s guttural, yet chirping voice rang out over the squadron’s comm frequency at lightning speed, “Gray and Black Flights maintain present course and increase altitude for exactly 30 seconds after main formation has made its turn. Take a high escort position and engage any fighters dropping in behind the bombers and don’t get tied down in a persistent dogfight or you could get left behind.” The flight leaders acknowledged as Huldrych continued issuing orders. “Green Flight, form up on me.”

As the Scimitar Assault Bombers began their turn, made slower by the atmosphere, eight of the TIE Defenders continued their course but sharply increased their rate of ascent. The other four with Huldrych in the lead cut their turn tighter than the bombers and emerged at the triangle point of the formation.

Huldrych and his Green Flight shunted their shield power to full forward and set their quad lasers to single fire as they flew parallel to two massive lines of the opposing armies. Just ahead the no man’s land began to shrink until the two forces had actually collided, and that point was where they were headed.

As they screamed towards the target the massive flock of Vulture droids circling over the battlefield began to reform and position themselves to block the bombers from making their run.

The range between the two opposing groups of spacecraft diminished unbelievably quickly in the corner of Huldrych’s visor as they rushed to meet one another.

As the Vulture droids came within range of the leader TIE Defenders a hailstorm of various sorts of missiles, laser blasts, and the occasional projectile came screaming towards the formation. The fighter and bomber pilots juked and jinked their flightsticks rapidly in an attempt to avoid being torn apart.

The Defenders, however, retaliated with their own flurry of bright, luminescent green laser fire mixed in with the dozen or so concussion missiles the four fighters unleashed on various target locks. The concentrated fire from the defenders, while doing little real damage to the enemy’s numbers, was enough to break up their formation and carve a hole in their group large enough for the formation to burst through, including Black and Gray flights, tailing the bombers and eliminating Vulture droids attempting to drop in behind the bombers for an easy kill.

However, two of the bombers had fallen prey to what seemed to be buzz droids and they now sailed off lifelessly in opposite directions. One lucky enough to crash behind friendly lines and not explode, while the other plowed into the droid lines and exploded violently as its reactor went critical.

Huldrych watched from above as the bombers’ payload dropped on the colliding lines of soldiers as well as the following explosions, sending the droids into absolute chaos and doing a number on the Plagueis soldiers as well. Secretly, Huldrych wished they had missed the target and dumped the bombs on Plagueis’ main line. Next time perhaps.
“Much obliged, bugman,” came Kiivit’s voice over the comlink as his squadron began to head and left, back towards the friendly lines of the Brotherhood and the Doomsday.

“Green flight, ve’re moving to assist Black and Gray flights bevore heading skyvard. See you in ze lounge, Jaan.” The flight of Defenders broke right and turned 180 degrees back towards the massive dogfight now taking place between the eight TIE Defenders and what now amounted to well over 50 Vulture droids.


25-03-2009 16:49:28

Consciousness slowly returned to the Jedi. The cold grit of Antei's surface and the scent of battle wafting through the air were the first sensations brought to him. For the briefest half-awake moment the mind thought itself safe; at least, in that brief moment before the mind pieced together its last conscious memories and realized the horrible truth. He opened his eyes to see a sinister, wraith-like form standing over him. He closed his eyes once again, partially to steel himself in meditation against the onslaught of pain he knew would come, partially to shield himself from the thing standing in front of him.

"Gather around, my students," Doni Tzu gracefully beckoned to his uninjured comrades around him. Overhead fighters swarmed, turbolaser bolts flashed, and in the distance titanic explosions rocked the landscape, but in this tiny spot none of that really mattered. They were just a few, and the concerns of the commanders were so many.

The Dark Adept gestured to the helpless Jedi lying prostrate before him.

"How do you kill a Jedi?" his raspy voice inquired rhetorically, sensing the answers to come.

His apprentice, eager as always, was first to speak. Always like the young, he mused.

"Stab them with a lightsaber! Cut his head off!" she stated firmly, gesturing to her own saber at her hip.

A low, dry laugh rumbled from beneath the Adept's pallid mask. "That is one option. But tell me, what are you killing, the Jedi, or his body?" At this, the assembled Tarenti looked away, as the proverbial students not wishing to be called upon. Satisfied that his implication was made known, he turned back to the prisoner before him, pointing a steel-gauntleted finger.

"The body and the soul are two separate entities. Destroying the body is the cheap way - the quick way - to dispatch the soul. The soul however, retires to other realms," he stated, almost wistfully, as if he were signifying slightly more than the mechanics of what was to be done about the prisoner. "When we fight a Jedi we are not fighting a body," he continued, "we are fighting the will that is contained within it. If you wish to defeat a Jedi and claim total victory, you must vanquish the soul. There is no other way."

The Jedi before him was in deep meditation. The Dark Jedi of Tarentum looked on quizzically, not grasping the precise implication of the "lesson" being offered them. The percussion of a massive explosion some ways in the distance was carried to them by a sudden gust of wind, punctuating Doni Tzu's last statement and throwing a pale orange light over them.

Suddenly the Jedi's eyes flew open and he roared with bestial ferocity, leaping up to an impossible yet force-assisted footing. His own downed lightsaber flew to his hand as if guided by a powerful magnet and ignited in a split second. He lunged bodily at the Adept. "Die, you scum!" he screeched as the saber swung to his target and through... thin air. Landing face-first in the ashen dust, he rolled onto his back and reeled with disbelief. The Dark Jedi had gone... through him... somehow. Doni Tzu raised a hand, staving off attack from his fellow Tarenti.

"It is a small matter to affect the minds of the weak," he stated calmly, as his voluminous purple robes suddenly seemed to burst into hungry flames, licking at the Antei sky a few feet over his head.

The Jedi gasped with terror. "What sithspawned horror are you?!" he yelled in panic, thrashing his lightsaber uselessly towards his foe. "Stay back!"

"I will show you nightmares undreamed. See what planes worse than Death await you," the adept commanded, his hand reaching out again towards the Jedi. The flames enveloping his dread opponent quickly retreated and flowed down his body and into the ground where they took a sickly greenish hue, emanating in a circle away from him. The Jedi screeched as bony, rotting hands seemed to thrust upwards out of the desecrated ground, grasping his limbs and holding him tightly down to Antei's surface. The loathsome unliving construct which he so rightly feared stepped slowly towards him and he squirmed with unthinking terror as the survival instinct took over. His training was abandoned, his knowledge was abandoned, and the only the basest of animal drives overtook him as the shadow of Doni Tzu inched over his body.

The Adept looked at his captive audience, most of whom were watching in a sort of unbelieving revelry. "You will want to look away" he deadpanned. Most of them did.

The chaotic shrieks of the Jedi filled the battle-scarred air as the Adept leaned over him. "Tell Them what you have seen," he muttered in a low whisper. The silken, rustling robes of the Dark Jedi shifted in color, and suddenly seemed to become covered in hundreds of yawning, gaping mouths and eyes. The last cord of sanity twisted and snapped, and the Jedi began babbling nonsensically, twitching and screaming.

Doni Tzu hovered over the Jedi for a moment, assured that the effect was real, and withdrew his powers. He stepped on the Jedi's wrist, grasping the extinguished weapon.

"He will now answer any question you wish to ask," he casually shot back at the group, tossing the fallen Jedi's saber to his apprentice.


26-03-2009 00:20:35

Apollo stared at his comm unit for a second before replacing it on his belt. He just couldn't believe the Ceastan's luck. Not one, but four Jedi had engaged them, now they had three live captives. Apollo turned to his team and shook his head a bit before looking at them.

"It seems like Cestus has had a run of luck. They were engaged by four Jedi just minutes ago. Apparently with Sith Bloodfyre's sudden appearance, they defeated the enemy Jedi. They need out help to haul them back to Command."

"Are you serious?" Dralin asked, shaking his head.

"Quite." The QUA responded.

Apollo looked at Telona who was already checking her datapad for distance and an estimated arrival time.

"They are about five klicks Southwest of us. Half an hour at worst. But that's if we move it." Telona said as he pocketed her datapad.

Apollo nodded and looked around at Scion, Dralin and Donos as the violent flashes of war reflected off their faces. The group was kneeling in a small crater at the edge of the Plagueis Northern line, but well out of sight of anyone remotely nearby.

"Ok, we're going to move out to assist Cestus. We need to stay low and out of sight. Keep your eyes peeled for any droids and keep your senses on extreme alert for Jedi. They are apparently all over this area."

The teamed nodded their acknowledgement. Telona crept up to the edge of the crater and peered over, scanning the immediate area with her eyes as well as her very attuned senses. Unable to sense any danger, or at least no Jedi nearby she motioned for the team to follow. Scion quickly moved up to be on point while the rest spread out among the shallow dips and peaks in the terrain.

The roar of fighter aircraft was intense. The sky seemed to be ablaze with explosions and anti-aircraft fire. Other explosions from the battle raging in and around the Plagueis' lines was definitely intense. While there was no loved lost between the two clans, Apollo hoped they would be able to hold on. If anything, for his own clan's sake.

The hold signal brought Apollo back to the present. He cursed at himself for not paying closer attention to his immediate surroundings. The team knelt and crouched low as Apollo moved forward and knelt beside Scion. The Knight motioned to their 2 O'clock position. Pulling up his binoculars he peered in the direction Scion was indicating. Not seeing anything at first, he slowly scanned the horizon bit by bit until he seen movement, not more than two hundred yards. Patting Scion on the shoulder, a common gesture for a job well done, Apollo motioned to Telona, who joined them. Taking the binoculars herself she quickly scanned the area.

"Those don't appear to be the normal battle droids we have been facing." She whispered. Scion shook his head.

"Whatever they are, the seemed to be moving towards Plagueis Southern-most flank." replied Scion softly.

"I've got a bad feeling about this." Apollo added. Telona frowned at him before scanning directly in front of them, then back the other way.

"Our course seems clear. Move out Knight." Telona motioned to Scion. The only slightly younger man nodded to the Adept and continued his trek towards the current position the Cestus team was located. The rest of the team fell back into position and continued.

Telona looked at Apollo, who was keeping an eye on the new contacts to their right. Her brow furrowed. She could sense something, but only faintly. Not knowing where it was, or from what direction it was coming from, she kept her senses on heightened alert. It was almost as if they were being watched. And she hated to be watched.

Severon V

26-03-2009 14:01:51

Severon calmly stood at his post with his armory saber at the ready. He could still remember clearly the day he received the saber. He was young then, and far more inexperienced. Still, it wasn’t something to be taken lightly, especially by him. He pulled his eyes away from the fight overhead and looked at Brimstone. He still couldn’t believe how wise the Chiss was even if he was only a Dark Jedi Knight. He finally spoke, “Hey Brimstone, if you could have anything you could ever want, what would it be?”

Brimstone looked coolly at the young protector, “Why do you want to know?”

“Well, it’s just that…all my life I’ve wanted to be something important and…I dunno…I’ve just never felt as if I’ve accomplished that goal.”

“Ah Severon, you think too much. Relax and focus on something you enjoy.”

“Thanks. Brimstone, do you think anything else will happen?”

“I have no idea. But I would expect that command has everything covered. Just make sure you keep your head up and watch your surroundings.”

“Right.” Severon turned away from the knight and looked back up at the sky.


26-03-2009 18:03:34

Dranik eyed the group of volunteers he had gathered up wearily as they shambled their way from patrolling the armies or inspecting the constructs of the landing site. It would be much longer for the zone to be completed, much less allow space for reinforcements to finally arrive, and he was hoping that Anshar's orders would assist the clan in having their mission completed without any obstacles such as when they first starting setting up the AA batteries. Several members of Tridens had assembled in front of the Obelisk Prelate; unlike members of Cestus and Gladius, they prepared to stay back at the base and defend it rather than scatter about its perimeters. A few Gladians and Cestians had also joined. Therefore, the team so far was totaled at fifteen, very similar to strike teams that Dranik had been a part of earlier, when conflict had arrived in the Yridian system. He fended off the deja vu as he looked at his burgeoning team.

"All right, everyone, listen up. Our Consul has ordered us to take on a commando unit that is planning a raid on the landing site. We can't let that happen. Any chance of disruption must be warded off. Now, I'm expecting each of you to be fully prepared for an all-out strike on the enemies, and most likely our squadrons will be on the look-out as well.

"We will be moving to the northwest, as that's where our enemy is mostly coming from. While many other enemy forces have been warded off, Anshar has informed me that these are approaching at an alarming rate. So we must act now."

"Will the Consul be coming with us?" one Tridens Journeyman asked.

Dranik furrowed his brow. While his master had not informed him of much else besides his orders, he could still sense some sort of tension emanating from the Dark Jedi Master. The Shi'ido was not someone to force anything out of Anshar, but he was nonetheless curious. After a moment, he looked at the Journeyman, who waited patiently for his answer.

"I don't know what Anshar is planning to do...my guess is that he'll be staying here with the armies, working with your Proconsul and the Iron Throne's commander. Still, we'll be meeting up with him to confirm that the team has been set up before we begin our maneuver. Follow me."

Silently yet compliantly, the team shuffled behind Dranik as he passed several defense columns as soldiers not yet majorly injured still maintained firing positions along the base. He could already see Anshar up ahead, though the Master already seemed to be in another place. What he was contemplating, Dranik could only guess.


Ronovi stared down at the glossy hilt of the Jedi's lightsaber for a moment, attempting to avert her attention from the sights she had watched her master conjure just moments ago. Unlike others of her party, she had not turned away, and the imagery pierced her thoughts as she looked at her distorted reflection in the group's claimed trophy. Still not nearly as distorted as the bizarre silhouettes and flames that Doni Tzu had molded between his fingers, the screams of the Jedi echoing in the Epicanthix's ears.

Without saying a word, Ronovi handed the Jedi's saber to Sato before getting down on one knee beside the still writhing Jedi, unfinished words and sentences slipping from his garbled throat. She half expected him to foam at the mouth before she grabbed him by the hair and pulled him up to her eye level, similar to what his comrade had done to her before Bloodfyre had literally disarmed him.

She spoke in a low whisper. "Give me your name."

The expression on the Jedi's face was twisted as he seemed to freeze up, but slowly, the psychological effects of Doni's powers drifted through his mind, and his mouth opened slowly, the words slipping out of it surprisingly fluid and clear. "Hexus Strato."

"Who do you work for?"

"Omancor Crask."

"He's giving us stuff we already know, Ronovi," Sato said as he stood beside Vai, the latter ignoring the burns on his hands. "Be more specific."

Ronovi nodded before feeling the malice within her build, and she wrenched Strato's head back so that his bulging eyes stared straight into her browned, battered face. "Do you work directly under anyone?"

The words were slow as the Jedi slowly blinked and swallowed; the corrupted waves of Doni Tzu's influence still pulsed behind his eyes. "Only the cause."

"Is there anyone else besides you who's made it past Plagueis?"

"...There is another. He is getting closer. Closer to your friends than you think."

Ronovi's one remaining eye widened as she turned to face her allies. Her master did not seem surprised, nor did Sato, though Vai had raised his eyebrows at the remark. Furiously, she turned back to Strato, her teeth clenched. "Who is he? How close is he to the base?"

There was a hesitation, almost as if Ronovi's pent up anger was affecting the speed of the Jedi's reply. In a moment of panic and frustration, Ronovi struck Strato hard in the cheek, wanting to hear his jawbones crackle under her fist. "Damn it, answer me!"

"Ronovi, no!" Sato ordered. "It's no good if he can't talk after that."

Ignoring the reprimanding sting from Doni Tzu's glowing eyes, Ronovi solemnly watched as the Jedi appeared to smile weakly, as if that were the only cure out of his set madness and compliance. Then, he whispered to her, as if it was a great secret he was telling her. "He knows...your leader. Tuar will take care of everything. He will cure all of you of your disease."

"Is that why you all wished to conquer Antei?" demanded Ronovi.

Strato kept his grin, though his eyes appeared to water as if he was attempting to grasp at his human mindset again. Nothing, then: "The darkness here is a poison, and we have the antidote. Even if I am useless, our numbers are still strong. We will prevail. You will either repent...or..."

Then it seemed as if the psychological damage began to take its toll again, as he began to scream and twitch as Ronovi released him from his grip. As she backed up and watched him convulse on the dark earth, she felt a gentler Force coming from her side as Doni Tzu extended his hand, submitting the tormented Jedi back into a state of unconsciousness.

"I didn't think you'd be lenient with him," she said.

"I'm not. When he wakes up again, his mind will be completely gone," Doni replied stoically, as Sato clucked his tongue.

"Most likely what we've been told, everyone already knows," the Equite said. "The man is worthless. He was probably spoonfed his mission."

"What do we do, then?" asked Ronovi.

"Oh, I'm sure these three will still be of some use to us, even if this 'Strato' can't comply even with force." Doni Tzu finished his sentence with a long sigh, as if the powers he had enforced on his victim satisfied an appetite he had been harboring. He moved toward the other two Jedi, their unconscious, mangled forms crumpled together in a swollen heap.

The beeping from Ronovi's comm startled the group as she grabbed it. "Cestus reporting. What's going on?"

Apollo's voice crackled on the other end, calm but authoritative. "We're approaching your perimeters, but be on the look-out. We saw some enemy contacts moving past a Southern region of Plagueis's ranks."

"Understood. We still have the prisoners under our control," said Ronovi. "Just be here soon, okay?"

"Don't worry, Cestians. It's about time we joined in the fun, anyway."

Huh...fun may not be the right word, Ronovi thought, slightly amused as she ended the transmission and looked out into the dark shadows where the Plagueis conflict ahead still continued.


27-03-2009 13:24:49

Dranik led the team to meet up with Anshar, who patiently waited for them to arrive. Anshar turned to face the approaching group, but Dranik could already tell that his thoughts lay elsewhere. The lead of the mission was definitely up to him.

“All is ready?” asked Anshar. Dranik nodded. “Members of Tarentum, through the Force I glimpsed the mind of our enemy, and I saw a squad of commando style droids preparing to begin their mission. Undoubtedly, our base is the target. From what I could learn about these droids, they are more dangerous than your standard models, so you must exercise caution. And try to bring back something on them, something that might reveal the enemy’s strength or something.”

“Alright, let’s go,” said Dranik, knowing full well that Anshar had spoken all that he intended to say.

* * *

Anshar moved quickly after the group departed, his mind focused on the Jedi who made his presence easy to find. Some might consider it foolishness to go alone, even for a Krath Master. But, it was precisely for this reason that Anshar did go alone; he was confident in his abilities, and, more to the point, he sensed that this Jedi did not wish to fight, at least not at this time.
“Anshar!” cried a voice, stopping the Tarentum Consul in his tracks. It was a voice he recognized, and a voice he did not care to hear. “I didn’t think I’d find you out here.” Anshar turned to the voice.

“The feeling is mutual, Braecen,” replied Anshar. He could sense Braecen’s annoyance and anger.

“You owe us big time,” said the Plagueis Consul crossly, his still somewhat labored breathing indicating he had been fighting not too long ago. “I don’t appreciate having my own lines bombed by those behind us. Bad enough we’re protecting you guys to begin with.”

“Oberst did what had to be done,” replied Anshar coldly. “Last I checked, this was a war. Your mission was to stop breakthroughs, which Oberst had to do for you. It is a sheer matter of survival. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have something else to attend to.”

“Fine. Go, for now, but as you say, this is a war. When this is all over, I will be back to deal with this.”

“I look forward to it,” replied Anshar wryly.

* * *

Tuar watched through the nightvision enhanced macrobinoculrs, observing the battle. In the back of his mind, he could sense the approaching Master whom he had spoken to through the Force. He could not wait to convert the heretic, especially one so high along the sinful path.

“Master, a team has moved out to cut off Alpha squad,” reported a droid. “Beta squad awaits your orders.”

“Tell them they may commence with their operation immediately,” replied Tuar. While one squad lured more soldiers away, the other would wreak havoc on the landing site for this new base. Tuar had waited for most of the base to be assembled, hoping that the regular ground forces would be able to breakthrough. However, his back-up plan would ensure victory, and the more of the base that was established, the more lax the Dark Jedi would be.

A ping in the Force alerted Tuar to the proximity of the approaching Dark Jedi. Smiling to himself, Tuar laid the macrobinoculars down and made his way down the winding path to the cave where his commandos had previously been hidden.

* * *

Anshar approached the ever growing Force signature, finally glimpsing the Jedi in the dim light of the Shadowlands. The Jedi radiated with confidence and poise. Anshar approached to within a half dozen meters, and, at first, no one said anything. Finally, the Jedi grinned.

“I thought I recognized you,” he said. “You have changed, but not that much. And I see that you still carry that lightsaber that is not yours.” Anshar subconsciously reached down to the silver-hilted lightsaber. He had been given the weapon; he had never created it.

“And I remember you, vaguely,” said Anshar. “That robotic arm is rather unique.”

“Ah, good, then we both know when and where we knew each other. Now, tell me, will you renounce your dark ways and join us, or will you lay your life down on this festering rock?”

“I’m content with the way I am,” replied Anshar. “Besides, the Dark Side and the Light Side are simply labels for a complex subject. And I refuse to use them.”

“So, you try to straddle the fence between the Light and the Dark,” commented Jorax. “It is a shame really, for those in the middle are always the first to go. But, no matter. You have touched on the Dark Side of the Force, and you will not repent. You will die here, and your brethren shall soon fall after you.” Jorax ignited his brilliant orange blade and took a standard Ataru offensive stance. “May you have no regrets from this life.” With that, Tuar leapt into his attack, bringing his orange blade to bear. In two brilliant flashes, Anshar’s dual lightsabers sprang to life, purple and blue moving together.

As the battle raged across the planet, this microcosm of the battle went unnoticed to all by the most observant.


28-03-2009 03:07:51

The wind was starting to pick up. That was the last thing this group needed. Apollo shook his head and checked the motionless being on his shoulder. Still out cold. The rag-tag mix of Cestians and Gladians had meshed quite nicely since they started their trek back to their base. Glancing ahead, the silhouetted forms of DJK Dralin and JH Donos were quietly moving on in front of the main body, acting as an advanced scout for the group. Both armed with lightsabers and blasters, they would provide ample warning of any attack, if at all possible.

Immediately ahead of him was DJK Ronovi and JH Jaron, who was still feeling the effects of being knocked out earlier, leading the main body. Looking to his left, DJK Scion is holding another unconscious Jedi on his shoulder. Sato, whom is carrying the last of the Jedi, along with Telona and Vai followed close behind with Doni`Tzu bringing up the rear. All of them were moving as quickly, yet as quietly as they could. Their eyes both alert, yet exhausted. No one wanted to count how many hours, or perhaps days, they had been awake. More than one wished for nothing more than a hot shower and a long nap.

Apollo smiled at this. His mind began to wonder how many thousands or perhaps millions of soldiers that have come and gone through the millennia have often wanted the exact same thing for the exact same reason. It was a comforting thought that you were not the first, nor would you be the last to have such thoughts. Soldiers at war tended to miss the small perks of a normal life that seemed to be pushed to the wayside upon entering this type of life. Some feasted on it, others dreaded it. Everyone else just wanted to get by, day to day, month to month. But they all wondered, if they cared to admit it or not, was it their day to die? Or is it tomorrow? Even for the Dark Jedi scattered around him, Apollo knew this dark thought was somewhere in their mind. Whether it was a constant presence to them like the wind, or lay dormant, hidden deep within the psyche.

"Contact left." The report was sudden as it was soft. Hand signals were used from that point on. Ronovi pointed to the group's 10 O'clock position. She was relaying information from Dralin up ahead, he could see. Apollo gently laid his Jedi on the ground and, as low as he could, moved up to near Dralin's position. Pulling out his binoculars, he then scanned the indicated area.

Movement. Or what appeared to be movement. He could see figures in the distance, moving slowly towards the command center, but to Tarentum's far left. Apollo continued to scan and froze suddenly on one spot.

"What is it?" Dralin whispered.

Ignoring him, he turned to Doni, Sato and Telona and pointed in the same direction. As they peered in that direction, some with the naked eye some with aid of macronoculars, but they all seen what he had. A smaller group of droids advancing unchecked into Tarentum's lines, directly towards the command center. Apollo moved quietly back to the main group.

"We need to help." Ronovi whispered. A few of the Elders shook their head.

"We need to get these Jedi back to our lines and somewhere safe. Though with the looks of things I don't know where that is at the moment. I'm sure someone wants to get their hands on them. Maybe even Sarin." Telona looked at Doni, who nodded in agreement.

Apollo looked around and realized he was the official ranking member here, or at least as far as position goes. He sighed to himself and looked at the much more experienced Elders in front of him.

"Ok. We need to get the Jedi to the base and make sure they are either secure there or on the next shuttle out. That is our main priority." A few nods affirmed his orders.

"Next. If I wasn't mistaken, I seen two separate groups of droids one heading towards our command center. The other off to the Northern side. Anyone else see that?"

"Yeah, there are defiantly two groups." Sato confirmed.

"Alright. We need to make sure our people are ready for both." Apollo turned to Ronovi and pointed to the Jedi.

"You separate and take Scion and Donos to help carry the Jedi. Also Vai and Jaron are injured, they need to be looked after. Dralin will be with you too for backup. Head for the landing site. Other than the command center, that will be the most heavily defended area." Looking to the remaining members in front of him.

"The rest of us will move in head of Ronovi and either draw their fire or clear the way. But no matter what happens, we get them secure. Everyone understood?" Several members nodded, others began checking battery packs and other equipment.

Ronovi and her team hoisted the Jedi onto their shoulders and nodded to Apollo that they were ready. Looking to the Elders next to him he motioned his head towards the enemy.

"Let's move."


28-03-2009 21:02:54

It was a longer walk than Ronovi remembered as she felt cold sweat form on her brow. The weight of the handless Jedi that she had slung over her shoulders was getting to her, a burden she did not want to deal with it. Out of the corner of her eye, she could still see the darkened silhouettes of Apollo, Sato, Telona, and Doni Tzu as they moved in diagonal cut across the area, hoping to intercept the enemy before they touched the base. They would not make it on time.

The blurry outline of the base was hazy in Ronovi's vision, but to the west she could see the landing site, almost completely secured. She could sense that there were still gaps in its defense, and a good attack could leave it disrupted and useless for reinforcements. As she trekked her way through the shadows, feeling the strain and anxiety from Vai, Donos, and Jaron, she watched as Dralin made his way ahead of her with the braindead Strato on his back. Scion easily handled the third Jedi, and he smiled at the Epicanthix in an attempt to reassure her.

They had meant to draw fire from the enemy, but the unit appeared hellbent on attacking the base, and it did not seem to notice any part of the group approaching. They had done well to conceal themselves within the shadows, and Ronovi kept a good eye on the enemy's maneuvers from a distance as the rest of the group moved to throw off any obstructions they would face.

Had it been days since they arrived? Only hours? Ronovi couldn't tell anymore; all she knew was what she saw and heard. She only knew the grip of her lightsaber, the sting of blaster bolts against her shoulders, the heat of an enemy's weapon against her flesh. Now, as the base loomed closer, she could hear the shuffling of the Iron Throne's infantry men moved about the columns, attempting to make the final preparation. Even closer, and she could already sense the tone of malice coming from the Proconsul as he watched the remaining Tarenti eye the horizon where the enemy would arrive.

It was when the Journeymen and three Dark Jedi Knights finally reached the base when they suddenly watched the blazing of red and blue as the first blaster bolts were fired. Ronovi turned to see the incoming foe and could count about fifteen or so droids, all with high power and high frequency weapons. She turned to Vai, Jaron, and Donos, who looked on wearily as she let the Jedi slip from her shoulders.

"You three better get the Jedi to a safe place. Vai, Jaron, get some medical assistance. I'm sure you can help them out, too, Donos."

"So we get to take this threat on?" Dralin asked slyly as Ronovi scanned the base's set-up, sensing the growing fear of the other Journeymen and the determination of the higher-ups. Her eyes caught onto Oberst as the Marshal began to slowly move toward a defensive formation that the Iron Throne's soldiers and the Tarenti were forming. Smiling, she returned her lightsaber to her right hand, letting the blade burst to life as Dralin and Scion did the same to their sabers.

"I think we've earned the right to have a little fun," Ronovi said before beginning to hurry to help, with Dralin and Scion following her.


The danger was growing back at the base. Dranik could feel it within his mind as he pushed his team further toward the presumed raid, his muscles tensing with each step and flicker of his eyes. He almost regretted going in the first place, instead of protecting the base; however, Anshar had ordered them to do this in the best interest of the clan, and he was going to see the assignment to the end.

He watched as one Tridenian scurried toward one of the higher edges of the ground, using macronoculars to observe the landscape. As the rest of the team flanked the Tridens member, Dranik stared at the shadows intently, sensing only slight movement nearby.

"Do you see anything?" he asked, and the Tridenian shook his head. "Let me see." Taking the macronoculars, the Shi'ido peered into them, focusing his vision on each border and crevasse.

He could see several commando droids nearby, that he was sure of. What threw him off, however, was that the enemy squad barely moved. They seemed to only be waiting for them, and the glow of their red eyes told Dranik that they knew they were nearby. However, they made no initial move to engage the Jedi, not even firing a blaster bolt or moving in an assault formation. They merely waited.

"What the..." Dranik whispered as he lowered the macronoculars and handed them back to the Tridenian. Then, activating his lightsaber, he waved it in front of the darkness and expected a response. Nothing. He looked at the team.

"Get ready to move in, but be cautious. Something's not right."


Oberst was amused at the Jedi's attempt to inflict damage on the base, but he was aware that they could possibly achieve this. Even as the infantry attempted to take down the droids with their firepower, the enemies moved quickly, landing many accurate strikes and blowing away a significant part of the set-up defense. He turned to see Scion, Dralin, and Ronovi approach, their weapons drawn, before directing them toward the gap in defense.

"If they get any closer, we have no choice but to intercept them." He was interrupted by a sudden blast from his side, and he saw the the earth being ripped up around the group, throwing off people's shots as the droids kicked up the dirt with their shots to blind them. "Quickly, go."

The three Knights obeyed as already the Tarenti already looked prepared to break from the ranks and attempt to cut through the forces. Oberst would not allow it, however, nor would the Dark Council infantry's commander, if the droids continued to attack so aggressively. Already soldiers were being literally blown apart by the droids' blaster attacks. He knew that once they got close enough, they would resort to melee attacks, but until then, they would move to break everything apart if they did not act. Oberst felt his fists clench before he saw, from a distance, four figures emerge as if attempting to intercept the droids from the side.

In the next instance, Oberst felt Force power emanating from the side, as he saw three lightsabers burst to life in the distance as Apollo, Sato, and Telona swooped in on the enemy while Doni Tzu had his arms outstretched to propel his might in the Force. He smiled at the sheer audacity of the move, but if it worked, it would be good enough for those at the base.

Looking at the commander, who had already stepped in to partake in the defense, he channeled one thought into the Force for the Tarenti to hear:

Intercept them.


28-03-2009 23:12:05

The sight of such a physically strong opponent resorting to Ataru was puzzling, but Anshar had neither the time nor desire to question the tactics of his opponent. He only needed to defend against it. The highly kinetic strikes from Tuar darted and probed, aiming for holes in Anshar’s defense, holes he was not willing to give. The two agile warriors danced about the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, almost as quickly as it had begun, Tuar cut off his attacks, and backed away.

“Do you start preaching now?” asked Anshar sardonically.

“No, and I will end your existence soon enough. I would, however, ask that you tell me why you chose this path. Especially since you carry that weapon,” replied Tuar, pointing at the purple bladed lightsaber. “It certainly is not becoming of your dark path.”

“I’m not here to dwell on the past,” said Anshar. “Nor your ever so minor relation to it. This weapon did not come from any Jedi. And I have my own motivations for taking this path, motivations that you might consider wholly selfish.”

“Your aura is not dark, unlike this planet and your brethren, yet you use your emotions to fuel your actions,” replied Tuar. “I have witnessed firsthand the deprivations caused by such thoughts and actions. Greed, jealousy, and hatred have caused more than enough harm to this galaxy. I wish for a galaxy free of conflict amongst its inhabitants, who can unite against foes like the Yuuzhan Vong, or the Sith. I have already given one arm, and I will gladly give the rest of my body and spirit for my vision. Tell me, what do you fight for?”

“You are preaching,” commented Anshar snidely. “If you must know, years ago when we met briefly, I had a reason for following this path, for fighting as you put it. Now I see that I cannot accomplish that which I desired. Now I only seek to fulfill my roles here.” There was silence between the two for several moments.

“You lie,” said Tuar. “When the time comes, either on your deathbed or your conversion, you will admit to me what you fight for.” Tuar now assumed a new stance. “And I will await your answer with baited breath."

* * *

Dranik quickly returned his lightsaber to his belt, and he hoisted his sniper rifle. The glowing blade of a lightsaber had not caught any noticeable attention from the droids. Now it was time to see what would happen if he shot one of them. The shot was easily aligned, and easily taken. His cohort with the macrobinoculars was quick to report.

“Nothing,” he replied. “No movement.”

“Which can only mean- crap!” hissed Dranik. A suddenly rolling sound of metal on rock alerted Dranik just in time. “Take cover!” A small explosion erupted, and smoke billowed from the grenade that had come. The darkness of the Shadowlands was made far worse by the smoke. Dranik cursed to himself. He should have seen this coming; they should have been ready for it.

* * *

Whether the Jedi had intended the strike to be very effective, Oberst did not know. Or, perhaps everything had come together just right for the squad of fifteen commando droids to be swarmed by the remaining Tarenti. Regardless, the raid failed, save for the damaging of some superficial aspects of the various structures. Oberst only hoped that they could move away from this behind the lines activity, and move to the true fighting. Tarentum was ready for it.


30-03-2009 10:23:05

“Their reinforcements must be around the Du’sann.” Thrall definitively said. He saw the Tarenti coming back to Oberst, obviously flustered and a little dirty. Coughing a little, they waited for orders.

Oberst contemplated. The complex ridge had many areas of strategic influence. Four, at least dotted the ‘crest’ the boundary made. It was not long before a communiqué arrived for the marshal. He grunted when he looked at it and surveyed the area’s topography that was spread across his data-pad. Thrall peeked to take a look, but Oberst spoilt his play by telling them all that their attack zone, H-3, was named “Objective Ervix”.

“Plan of attack, sir?” Thrall asked.
“Same old.” Oberst replied distractedly, making a few calculations in his head as the contours of the terrain unravelled themselves on his device.

Behind him, the DC armour had made its way. The AT-TE column had come with the usual payload they needed for the mission – bunker busters. Almost as if Tarentum had asked for them to be delivered with those specifications. A smallish man jumped dropped out of the nearest Enforcer and made his way towards Thrall and the Dark Jedi.

“Captain Zione Cole of the Bravo Company at your service, sirs.” He said smartly. His vehicle looked untarnished, as did the man.

“Well, Captain, the Marshal and I were discussing the attack on Ervix. I am sure the HQ has briefed you already. Now he will re-brief you on the attack.” Thrall said, pointing at Oberst.


The commando-droids blasted everything they thought moved through the billowing fumes before they stopped.

“Go-check-the-area-out-corporal.” A deep-throated metallic voice ordered.

A hesitant clunk sounded from the droid’s legs as it entered the smoky region. Two shots rang out, and another one after a steely groan. The droid landed in a heap.

The leader looked. It would have blinked if it could, but it only repositioned the blaster on its hands slightly before planning out another way to cope up with the murky affair, while Dranik shook his head before mumbling about how he should have brought that Nightstinger instead.

He looked over towards his friend and master. Anshar was duelling with pride against the Jedi, but he could sense something else that stirred him on.

“So you’re telling me that he will -”
“Yes Captain. He will.” Thrall interjected angrily at Cole’s question. The briefing was over, but Cole was far from satisfied. Although the Sith Adept’s presence stopped him from asking questions, he had quite a few of them. He was questioning the colonel on the tactic employed by Tarentum – way beyond his mark. He watched as the Foxtrot-Uniforms climbed up the AT-TE’s, joining the troopers inside as “generals”.

“And who exactly will tell you exactly what and where the droid formations are?” he half-screeched.

“You will refrain from screaming, Captain.” Oberst’s unmelodious voice thundered.
“Yess.. sir.”
“We have three men around the area who can serve as excellent scouts.” He said before calling out orders.

Ronovi did not wait for the orders, immediately sitting inside Vehicle 3. She could see her House-mates follow in the other TE’s, while quite a few preferred to stay behind, guarding the base.
Apollo was not one of them, and coincidentally, he entered the same Vehicle that Ronovi was observing all of that from.

He was welcomed with a cold glare from the Knight.

“—Bloodfyre out.” Sith turned off the com-link between him and the central command, far south-west to him. He turned to see Kazarelth extracting and distilling some more blood from the fallen Jedi. There was an abnormal sense of glee that tightened the skeletal Omwati’s structure that was both disturbingly ugly and oddly satisfying.

Saitou checked and re-checked the containers while holding the tiny still for Talismarr. They had totalled three vials of pure midichlorian-only plasma from their scavenging. Though there was too much of Life-stuff here on the battlefield to be taken back home – such a waste. Yet the Necromancers toiled for the very best of what they could extract.

“Everything done here?” Bloodfyre asked. Saitou nodded as he stood up and Kazarelth carefully unscrewed the miniature apparatus and put it in an even smaller case and hid it inside his robes.

“We have been asked to provide ‘intelligence’ on the droid bases north-west of here. In this spot on sector H-3.” Bloodfyre showed the position on his datapad.

“This should be interesting…” Saitou said before placing the vials carefully inside his clothes and walking on.


31-03-2009 01:12:43

Apollo smiled at Ronovi and motioned for her to turn around. "As you were, Knight." Ronovi's eyes flashed with anger before narrowing. She slowly returned her gaze forward as the blood in her veins seems to be a mix of both fire and ice. She tried to compose herself, attempted to brush off the obvious rebuff. She looked down at her hand and seen how tightly it was clinching the armrest of her crewman's chair. She forcefully released the defenseless armrest and stretched her fingers out as wide as she could before attempting to relax.

Scion, observing the exchange between his master and Ronovi looked on inquisitively. Apollo rolled his eyes and shook his head silently. Scion shrugged it off and took his seat behind his QUA. The Bravo Company CO, Captain Cole was the last in. He shut and secured the hatch and made his way to the command chair and nodded to the pilot.

"Let's move, Sergeant. Heading 020 degrees."

"Yes, Sir!" replied the enlisted man, a shade over twenty with nothing less than barely controlled enthusiasm pulsing from every fiber of his being. The large AT-TE began moving on it's new heading. The CO turned to his comm crewman.

"Corporal, inform Lieutenant Mean and 2nd Platoon to assume lead. 1st Platoon will take our left flank, 3rd our right. Tell them to spread out more along our lines rather than away from them."

The crewman responded with an affirmative for his commander. Quickly relaying the information over the company's frequency, the orders was acknowledge by the Platoon Leaders quickly and carried out to their respective subordinates as well. Captain Cole turned to Apollo and nodded, which was respectfully returned. The fact that Captain Cole wasn't speaking to Ronovi as well just added fuel to the fire in her mind's eye.

"Charlie Company will be about 10 to 15 minutes behind us. Followed by Alpha and then HQ companies in regular intervals. We're first in." Sparing a quick glance out the view port, then to his commander's sensor screen, he looked back at Apollo.

"We shall be entering No Man's Land in ten minutes." Said Cole. The man turned back to the front as Apollo looked to Scion.

"You still have your comm unit?"

"Yeah. Never leave the base without it." Scion mused.

"Good, we're going to need it to inform Anshar of our status." he added.

"Don't forget Oberst." Ronovi said glancing back at the two Gladians. Ice ran through her blood when she heard Apollo chuckle.

"Oh, I'm sure you'll let him know everything Ronovi." Apollo sneered.

Scion's eyes widened a little as his master's abrasive tone, but it was not his place to say anything, not yet. He just hoped it wouldn't get out of hand. Not while they are on this forsaken planet. His master was usually cool under pressure and very careful of his words and actions. Something was wrong, something had gotten under his skin recently. His thought about when Ronovi left House Gladius for House Cestus very suddenly. Could his master still not have forgiven her for that? Did he still think she turned her back on Gladius for more power?

The Knight took a long breath before letting it out slowly. It's going to be a long ride. He mused to himself.


31-03-2009 02:02:00

The next half hour went by slowly, the AT-TE, commanded by Cole's steady hand, lumbered across the dark ridges of the Shadowlands as it made its way to the Du'sann Boundary. The 2nd Platoon was in the lead, while other AT-TEs were not far behind, forming a diamond shaped formation as they moved forward, slowly but definitely, each step done with militant finesse.

Ronovi was envious of it all. Seated in her crewman's chair, her fingers suddenly clutched the armrest again in a fierce deadlock, the blood draining from her whitening knuckles. She dared not look at Apollo, who she could sense was still slightly amused at how precisely his jab struck home. She could also sense his confidence, militant to the core, as he sat beside his apprentice, who stayed quiet with his jaw set behind his graying beard.

She knew Apollo would always be a better military commander than she'd most likely ever be. A Fleet Admiral of the Emperor's Hammer, a former pilot, a hero of the EH before the split. He had had to deal with tension and risk of losing his position, whether as a member of the Command Staff or the head of the EH's Internal Organization Bureau. He had known had to make tough decisions and sacrifices for the sake of those whom he was loyal to. A leader, a strategist, and an officer, right down to the core.

She also knew why he'd be frustrated with her, besides the fact that Oberst had been kind to her in terms of offering her a higher military rank when she had not nearly had contributed as much in terms of strategical or tactical knowledge as other members of Tarentum had. Her sudden departure from Gladius had not been well-received by many of her former House members, especially him. But she had done so in respect for the clan's needs. Yes, she could not deny her lust for power, but the opportunity was there to make Cestus stronger, more equipped for conflict and battle if needed. Ronovi remembered the words they exchanged in one joint mission later on, as she competed with him, traded off jabs and barbs that could have been avoided if she had taken the time to control her tongue. For a while now, she had been fine - working in a group of ten people that included Apollo was tolerable for her, especially with her master there to keep an eye on her.

Now Ronovi was in close enough proximity to the Quaestor for her to worry about the anger that was heating up her brow, making the veins in her forehead swell violently. But she wasn't going to cause problems this time. The risk was too great. And yet the temptation, as with anything that rage swallows up, was beginning to grow.

In a swift movement, Ronovi released her grip on the armrest and snatched her flask. She took a swig of Corellian whiskey, gritting her teeth as she returned the now half-empty bottle back into the folds of her robes. She was beginning to feel the effects as light-headedness took the place of her irritation, as she heard Apollo's voice sharply ringing in her ears.

"We better stop here."


The sight of the droid squad nearing the fifteen-member team was enough to make Dranik curse as he prepared his aim again. The smoke from the previous little tiff had cleared up, and now he was staring at a group of droids well-proportioned to the size of his own group. As lightsabers ignited and blasters were raised, Dranik thought quickly before approaching the leader of the squad.

The leader clicked and whirred as Dranik took a step, before its harsh warning rang out: "We-are-not-here-to-negotiate-Sith."

"Good," said Dranik, "because I'm not a diplomat."

He took fire again, blowing a good chunk out of one droid before turning back on the leader, which fired swiftly with its blaster. At once the Dark Jedi were in a semi-circular formation as the droids swarmed about them, and the Force was brimming from each of them. Dranik lowered his weapon, shifting it to his left hand, before drawing out the hilt of his saber again.

"I guess I can finally put this to use," he said as he launched himself at the leader droid, deflecting blaster bolts as he swooped in on his target.


The AT-TE lurched to a halt on unstable ground, and Ronovi audibly grunted at the stop. She could hear Apollo chuckling as the troopers moved about the vehicle, as Cole's voice came from the commander chair.

"What's going on?"

"I think the three of us should scout for you, in case we risk any collision with enemy points along the Boundary," replied Apollo, rising to his feet as two troopers moved to open the hatch for him.

"You know I can handle this vehicle very well."

"Not well enough if the droids are what we think they are," Apollo said as he exited the vehicle, Scion hot on his heels with Ronovi trailing after. He added, as the hatch closed, "We'll report everything back to you, captain."

"As you wish," came Cole's voice, almost weary in its response, as the hatch slid [Expletive Deleted] with a click-hiss as the three Dark Jedi looked on at the landscape around them. If they were accurate, Kazarelth, Saitou, and Bloodfyre were most likely farther South, working along the further most edges. However, it didn't hurt to do some scavenging of their own, as Apollo sauntered toward one slight rise in Adas's dark earth, his broad figure a sharp silhouette even in the darkness.

"Scion, I want you to keep your comm on and report everything back to Captain Cole. We'll improvise from here, just navigate the edges of this Du'sann Boundary," said Apollo. If it was close, he thought, as he heard Ronovi's voice behind him.

"What about me?" she demanded.

The Quaestor turned to the Epicanthix. "Well," he said, frowning, "you can use your eyes, too, can't you?"

Ronovi was silent as the trio began to move, their figures blending in with the shadows as they channeled the Force around them to sense any targets. The area was quieter than they expected, and Apollo could almost sense an air of disorientation and confusion as they moved. The AT-TEs slowly became small in their scope of vision, almost looking like toys from the distance they were taking.

Apollo grabbed his trusty binoculars as he scanned another slope. He was scoping about halfway across the landscape when he heard the faint hum of something nearby. Something hovering. Focusing on one spot, he could see a small dot approaching the area that the two Aediles and the Quaestor were starting to patrol. When it got close enough to identify, Apollo grinned as he lowered his binoculars and turned to look at Scion and Ronovi.

"Looks like we've got company. Anyone up for dealing with two droids on a STAP?"


31-03-2009 22:26:15

Anshar only vaguely noticed the proximity of Dranik and the others. Their battle must have brought them closer than expected, but Anshar cared little for that right now. For the time being, he was focused solely on countering the strong and aggressive attacks from Tuar. Tuar’s stance had changed dramatically from Ataru, but Anshar could not quite place this new style.

“You realize,” said Anshar, “that your own forces are now retreating. We are driving them back, and that battle around us draws your own noose even tighter.”

“Gloat all you wish, but I am fighting a divine battle,” replied Tuar confidently. “Nothing you can do to me will ever change that. Already I have converted some of your brethren, and I have slain others. If I die here, it shall not be in vain.” Tuar stepped up his attack, but Anshar simultaneously dropped his reliance on Soresu and turned to full-fledged Jar’Kai Niman. The two become rapid moving blurs, neither of them giving an inch in the fight. As they continued to fight each other, they moved deeper into the cave.

* * *

Oberst had moved forward with the mobile command center and he continued to watch the battle unfold. Serious progress was being made, and he had little doubt they would reach the Du’San Boundary without serious issue. Oberst could not help but smirk that they had finally been instructed to kill or capture enemy Jedi. Tarentum had already done that, though none of the ones they had caught or killed were worth much. Still, they were that many less Jedi to deal with. At the same time, more droids were arriving at the location of Dranik’s team in order to push back the encroaching Brotherhood forces.

* * *

As Dranik tore through the enemy droids, he found himself fighting alongside the Iron Throne forces now penetrating deeply into the lines. It seemed that Tarentum’s actions behind the lines, setting up the batteries and the command base, had proven most fruitful. Now Tarentum found itself on the front line, where many of the clan had long desired to be.
Casting a furtive glance at the cave where Anshar had disappeared, Dranik wanted to be there, but he knew he could not leave his current position. There were too many droids. Perhaps that had been the Jedi’s plan all along.

* * *
For the first time since this conflict had begun, Anshar found himself in real trouble. The cave, combined with the lightsabers, forced him more than ever to rely on the Force for vision in the dark. Now more than ever, Anshar cursed his genetics, and the night blindness it gave him. This meant a minute amount of concentration on using the Force to enhance his vision, and in this battle, every little thing counted.

Tuar suddenly leapt back, creating a fair amount of room between the two, but only for the briefest of moments. Tuar suddenly leapt forward, his orange blade in his left hand, striking out at Anshar. As Anshar moved to block it, Tuar’s right arm came swinging back in. From the robotic wrist, a lightsaber blade, perhaps no more than 25 centimeters long, appeared. In a clean slice, Tuar removed the top part of Anshar’s blue bladed lightsaber, rendering the weapon useless.

Anshar immediately dropped the destroyed weapon and lashed out in a furious strike, taking his remaining purple bladed lightsaber straight into the torso of Tuar, and pushing him to the ground. Standing up, Anshar reignited his blade and used its light to look at Tuar. To his shock and amazement, Tuar just grinned and then began to laugh. Suddenly it dawned on Anshar that he had had to re-ignite his blade.

“I trust,” said Tuar, “that you know what cortosis does to a lightsaber blade. I hope you can appreciate the irony that I found this in what I believe you call the Horeau region. My entire vest is lined with it.” Tuar rolled away and then leapt into an attack as if nothing had happened. As Anshar reverted to Soresu to deal with onslaught, his mind briefly drifted to the vision he had some time ago.

“Let your allies sweep us from the battlefield, for we shall still prevail in the end. For now, though, let you and me finish our fight,” said Tuar with great enthusiasm.


02-04-2009 01:48:49

"It's about time we find something." Ronovi stated as she drew her lightsaber, but did not ignite it. She took cover behind a small rocky outcropping with the others.

Together Apollo, Scion and Ronovi watched the STAP get closer to them as they peered to the left or right of the dark rocks. Once the droids were within thirty yards, Apollo placed his hand on Scion who did the same to Ronovi. The younger Knight tilted her head towards Scion, confused. Apollo was instructing them to hold position for a moment he explained in a whisper. The urge to sigh audibly was knee-jerk reaction, but she was able to control herself this time.

Waiting the extra two seconds was worth it. Apollo jumped out from behind the rock to stand almost directly in front of the STAP. With his left hand raised, Apollo summoned the dark energy around him and Force pushed the droids off their vehicle. The droids crashed to the ground and rolled before trying to get up as the STAP they were riding veered off to the right and shut down.

Scion was on the droid before they had a chance. His attack was as swift as it was accurate. The red blade a stark contrast to the black rock around them as it descended on the droids torso in a flash of light and sparks. The droid was caught at center mass and bisected. Scion reversed his turn to repeated the maneuver on the second droid but Ronovi beat him to it. The second droid had managed to struggle to it's feet. Her first strike took out it's legs, with the second catching it in the upper torso. It fell to the ground in pieces. The engagement was over in less than two seconds.

"Wow, that was fun." Ronovi said dryly. Stepping up next to Scion and then looking to Apollo.

"What's next?" She asked.

Apollo took a solid breath then smirked.

"How about you go over to the STAP and pull its memory banks. Maybe it will list everywhere it has been and if so, it might help us pinpoint the location of their forward operating bases." Responded the Gladius QUA. Scion nodded his approval of the logic.

"Why of course sir!" This time the woman's tone oozed with sarcasm. Apollo's jaw clenched before turning to Ronovi.

"Watch it, Knight." Came the stern warning.

Ronovi's back was turned as she headed over to the STAP. Her hand came up and waved him off as she muttered seemingly to herself. "Bitter old has-been."

Apollo had had enough. Turning to face her he gathered the Force around him and reached out with his left hand as his right produced his lightsaber. He seized Ronovi suddenly and quickly spun her as he pulled her towards him at lightning speed. His right hand, still with the disengaged lightsaber, crossed his body. At the very last second Apollo swung his lightsaber hilt back across, catching her in the temple and sending her sprawling to the ground at his feet. His purple blade then sprung to life as he pointed at the woman at his feet.

"You will learn respect! Even if I have to burn it in to you!"

Scion could not believe what he was seeing. His close friend of 25 years rarely reacts this way, and it had been a long time since it happened last. To his credit, Scion was quick with his blade as he shouted.

"Master! No!" He reached his hand out to Apollo who pushed him away quickly. The Quaestor's eyes were focused on Ronovi's. With a scream that could put fear into the hearts of many the young Knight rolled to her feet away from the menacing purple blade and ignited her own lightsaber.

"This ends here and now!" screamed the woman as she raised her lightsaber. Both opponents moved in.

The clash of the lightsabers between them was fierce. Each one believed the other was going die by their own hand. But that was something Scion could not tolerate. Not here, not now. Moving in quick Scion sliced upwards, breaking the two opponents apart before quickly Force pushing the two of them slightly farther back. He stepped in the middle of them and held up his hands.

"That's Enough!" he screamed at them both. "You are House Summits for frakkin sake! You are supposed to lead by example! And here you are acting like Novices!"

"This is between Ronovi and I Scion!" Apollo yelled before looking to the young Knight.

"I'm waiting.."


02-04-2009 03:58:00

Ronovi was half-tempted to take down Scion right then, to let his decapitated head spin on his shoulders so she could get to Apollo. She could still feel the deep gash in her head, throbbing, burning as her rage charged every nerve in her body. She kept her lightsaber raised, pointing it past the Aedile and toward the Krath Archpriest, her jaw set. She could taste her own blood as she bit down on her tongue. Apollo had already lowered his lightsaber, deactivating it and letting his arm drop to his side. Ronovi, however, did not falter.

"It's over, Ronovi," said Scion as he faced Ronovi, hoping the deep tone in his voice would calm her down. But she didn't move. Her words came out in choked spurts as she glared at the Gladius Quaestor.

"I looked up to you," she managed to say, the anger in her voice making her tone harsh but fragile. Apollo smiled thinly, painfully.

"You still do," he said, before turning his back and walking back to the rocky outcropping.

Scion kept his eyes on Ronovi; her hands still shaking from the quick but intense adrenaline rush. "Ronovi, " he said calmly. "It's ok. Put down your saber."

She looked at him for a moment, her eyes a mix of rage, pain, sadness, and a little shock. Slowly she lowered her saber before letting the blade disappear with a dying hiss. As calmly as she could, she nodded to Scion. He could now see the blood slowly trickling from her head wound, a dark rivulet against her black hair. She could only say five words and five alone.

"I'll be in the walker."

Then the Epicanthix, slowly but with a strong energy about her, moved off in the direction of the AT-TE. Scion moved over to his master, and sat down beside, pulling out his bottle of Scotch.

"Here. You look like you need this," he said, but Apollo shook his head and the Aedile returned the bottle to his robes. "What was that all about, anyway?"

"I don't know."

"You're still mad at her, aren't you? For what she did," Scion murmured. "But you've never done that before. Not here."

"I know, but..." Apollo hesitated, shaking his head. "She just...she was able to hit the right buttons this time. I've been able to keep my cool around her, but this time...I don't know, I just lost it." He looked at his apprentice as they sat in silence before smiling. "Thank you, my friend. I owe you one."

With that, he extended a hand to Scion, who happily took it as the Quaestor pulled him to his feet. After a reassuring pat on the back, Scion looked toward the spot where the STAP had fallen.

"Let's go take care of that STAP's data core. Never know what we could find," he said.

Apollo nodded, tucking his thoughts about Ronovi and their scuffle into the corner of his mind as he followed Scion toward the STAP. She had not sensed it coming. His anger was quicker than she ever would have guessed.


From the Platoon Leader's AT-TE of the 3rd Platoon, Frosty lowered his macronoculars contemplatively. He had been able to observe many of the happenings along the Boundary; several Tarentum volunteers were scattered about there, receiving reports from the "valiant trio" from time to time. Bloodfyre, Kazarelth, and Saitou had been able to scrounge through much of the terrain. Surprisingly, there wasn't much to report.

Frosty had never thought enemy formations could be so disorganized. Still, the Exarch pondered over the idea of finding another target, perhaps someone closer in strength to Jorax Tuar. He was uncertain of what had become of this notorious Jedi and his Consul, but as he watched various AT-TEs move almost sluggishly about in attempts to find things to shoot, he paid no mind to that little detail.

His thoughts were disrupted when he heard a crackle from the leader's command chair. "We're reporting some movement from closer to the west. Attempting to identify it."

Grabbing his macronoculars, Frosty raised them to see one figure moving quickly down the rocky borders of the Boundary. What he could also see were a few shadows darting about in the shadows, and he waited for the AT-TE to slow down before rising from his seat and moving to the hatch.

"Hold it, sir! What're you doing?" the captain demanded.

"I'm going to check something," Frosty said as he forced open the hatch and threw himself from the AT-TE, landing on one knee as his bulk seemed to shake the ground beneath him. After all, the Dashade was a warrior; he may as well put those skills to use in this war.


Ronovi couldn't help kicking something as she stormed across the dark land, her boots scraping up earth and rocks as she exerted her anger on the landscape. Ronovi was never one to cry; her anger did the work for her, burning the back of her eyes and constricting her throat as she attempted to retrace her steps back to Captain Cole's platoon. She still had the urge to turn around, to go back and swing her hilt across the back of Apollo's head and let him deal with the gaping wound. But she didn't. She had to keep moving.

The Knight couldn't think straight. She had tried everything to please her fellow Tarenti, in Gladius or in Cestus. But it seemed as if her connection with Apollo was only fraying at the most inopportune time. Ronovi had run her mouth off, however, and she had paid the price for underestimating the strength behind his fury. It was going to be a long recovery between them.

She had gone a few good yards before starting to wonder if she was going the right way. Seating herself on a smaller rock, she tried to focus her Force senses around her, seeing if she could detect anything. To her shock, she detected movement, and it seemed to get closer with each pulse in her vision.

Maybe it's Apollo and Scion. Maybe they're coming to find me. But Ronovi was already beginning to doubt that. She stood up, her now tattered cloak swinging about her ankles, and was able to sense more than just two types of movement. There were four. Some jerky, some actually rather smooth and graceful. Ronovi's hand instinctively went to her side.

"Who's there?" she shouted, just as her cybernetic eye caught the steady blue bolt of a blaster racing toward her.

Ronovi was down in a flash, hearing the shot tear into the ground as it kicked up dirt. It had just barely passed over her head when more shots were fired, as Ronovi let her saber fly into her hand as she activated it. She was able to deflect a few shots, with what little experience she had had so far with the Shii-Cho technique, before ducking behind a boulder and hearing a crisp, clear voice in the air. Sharp, refined, and starkly female.

"Stop shooting. I think we've found one."

With the firing subsiding, Ronovi slowly rose from behind the boulder and found herself facing two droids and what looked to be two Jedi. While one of them, a human, looked green, her young eyes glowing in excitement at the idea of an enemy as she brushed back a strand of red hair; the other, an Echani, stood out in the dark landscape. Dressed in the standard Jedi robes, she had a full head of white hair, her silver eyes practically glowing in the darkness around them. Ronovi let her saber fall at a slight angle at her side, staring at the small little group in front of her.

"So this is the best they can do around here," she muttered, just as the Echani approached her. Ronovi saw a slender silver hilt being twirled in the Jedi's long fingers.

"It's a shame there's only one of you so far," the Echani said. "The master said there'd be more."

"Can I take a shot at her, Master Ara?" the young girl piped up. "I've been dying to get my hands on a Dark Jedi."

"You stay back, Movan," said the Echani sternly. "I want to show you how it's done."

As Movan pouted beside the droids, the Jedi approached Ronovi before igniting her saber, a bright yellow blade springing from the hilt as she moved in a Makashi stance. Ronovi silently cursed; she was a duelist. Still, the Obelisk remembered her martial arts training and she felt her knees bend beneath her.

"You're one of Tuar's friends, aren't you?" she asked, her voice thin and cold against her ears. She heard Ara laugh, though it was not condescending but rather one of pure amusement.

"You seem to know his name well already. Perhaps he's doing his job." Then, with a twirl of her saber, the Echani suddenly lashed out at Ronovi. The Epicanthix was barely able to parry the move, and the Jedi only swung again, almost faster, as the blades of yellow and blue clashed together in a lock between them.

Ronovi was stunned at the Jedi's speed and precision. "Who are you, then?" she demanded. "Are you here to try to convert me, too?"

"Good guess," said Ara. "But who I am is not important."


"No. Not until I have you where I want you."

This was not what I had planned, Ronovi thought angrily as she wrenched her lightsaber from Ara's lock and lunged.


02-04-2009 11:04:49

Near the Jadan Pass, Du'San Boundry

Vai was restless sitting in the AT-TE waiting for something to happen. He had always been the one for action and sitting around was not his thing. What was going on outside was not to his knowledge as the Firrerreon Hunter looked at his fellow Cestians, the look of anticipation was on their faces. Attempting to focus himself, Vai found it hard as he looked at his scarred arms and hands; reminders of who he was facing. He felt like a foot soldier, his armory saber destroyed and a rifle and pistols on his person, yet he had a connection to the force that the soldier could never and that’s what separated the Dark Jedi from the soldiers of the Iron Throne. Suddenly there was an explosion at the side of the AT-TE and with an unsettling tip the large transport fell to one side.

“What the hell was that?” yelled the commander as he looked out one of the windows at the damage.

The pilot turned and looked at Platoon commander Lt. Tyer “I don’t know sir, but I can tell you that were not going anywhere; we’ve lost the front left leg.”

Knowing that his options were little, the Platoon Commander contacted the Bravo Company Commander “Captain Cole, this is Lt. Tyer. We have encountered a minefield, over.” After a slight pause, the voice of Captain Cole responded “Understand, deploy the foxtrot-uniform and soldiers, meet up with 2nd Platoon.”

Following orders, the soldiers and their officers debarked the armored confines of the AT-TE; the Dark Jedi on House Cestus were already outside awaiting them. “We are to meet up with 2nd” Lt. Tyer was not able to finish his orders as a blast passed through his head. As the Platoon Commander’s lifeless body hit the black dirt of Adas, one of the soldiers yelled “clankers.”

The flash of laser bolts lit up the side of the disabled AT-TE as a loosely put together platoon size unit of battle droids & SBDs engaged the Dark Jedi & soldiers. Using hand signals, the soldiers moved behind the armored hulk of the walker using it as a defensive position. The lightsabers of the members of House Cestus came to life as they moved into the engage to droids. Sato’s crimson saber was in the middle of the battle as he cut droids down as he knocked others around with the force. Vai propped his rifle against on of the walker legs as he picked off the droids as they grew closer. He thought to himself “finally, action” as he depressed the trigger on his rifle sending heavy bolts of energy toward another droids taking its head off.

The droids were drawing closer to the hulk of the AT-TE and the positions of the soldiers. Vai could hear some screams as soldiers behind him were getting hit by laser blasts. He knew he could do nothing other than keep firing with precision gained by the force.


02-04-2009 17:30:31

With effortless ease the Jedi sidestepped the lunge of her opponent, who tucked and rolled into the ground, lashing out horizontally at the feet of her enemy; a blow which similarly went unslaked by Jedi ankles. Leaping to her feet and twisting to face the Jedi, Ronovi was stunned to find Ara already on top of her with a flurry of attacks which forced her back into a hurried defensive stance that left her breathless, her heart racing. I can't keep this up for long...

Her assessment proved accurate half a second later when a deceptive stab from the Echani brought her lightsaber into a high defensive position. In the ages of time that seem to pass in personal combat, the Dark Jedi was able to perceive her mistake, and yet her muscles did not seem to comply with the desired correction. Her opponent had already leapt into the air, completing a powerful spin that brought the tip of her amber blade against the base of Ronovi's, knocking it lifelessly away into the charcoal dust of Antei. Stepping backwards once again, she raised her hands in a classic combat stance, though it was clear that further resistance would be futile.

The young padawan was first to elicit glee, clapping her hands excitedly with a bright smile.

"Excellent work master! She stands no chance against you!" she said happily.

The Echani, while restrained, was clearly pleased with herself as she pointed her saber towards the Tarenti.

"She was not bad, but without practice. With training, she could see new heights..." she stated openly, gazing intently at her Dark opponent for a response.

"End it, Jedi! You'll have nothing from me!" she shouted back in a commanding tone. Her bravado was a fascade, however, and she knew it. Maybe the Echani knew it. Her mind was desperately searching for a way out. Nowhere to run. The Jedi could cut her down in a second.

The woman chuckled softly. "Oh, fallen one. They are always so emotional, you see Movan?" she looked aside to her padawan, who was watching the interplay intensely.

"If a Dark one is to be cured," she began, focusing back on Ronovi, "they must be severed from their connection to the darkness. The dark side is like a drug that feeds them, and they cannot know the light until they step out of it." The Echani raised her lightsaber directly towards Ronovi's face, renewing her determination. The Epicanthrix thought she might have an opening when the Jedi closed her eyes, apparently entering a sort of meditation, but any thought of offense was whisked away when she started hearing the whispers. The voices of those she had killed. Those she had loved, and lost. They started as just whispers, but their volume was increasing. They were saying things... true things. Every muscle in her being seemed to cry out in agony and she dropped to the ground, hands clasped to her ears. The voices then had faces to associate with them. Then guilt... blame... it was all her fault. Her heart wrenched and she cried out to the vacant skies above.

As her desperate plea resounded to the atmosphere, another sound entered her awareness; but this one, unlike the others, did not seem to originate in her own head. A sort of reverse echo, getting closer... what fate was this that awaited her? With what seemed to be painful exertion she opened her one good eye at her assailant from the Light.

The Echani, focused on her conversion meditation, was unable to prepare for the assault. Only her young padawan gave a shout of warning. and that was too late as well. She pointed uncomprehendingly at something which seemed to step out of thin air some hundred meters away, and then leap forward - disappear again - reappear again sixty meters away - disappear again - ever closer - ever faster...

Doni Tzu Tarentae leapt out of the void of space some five meters away from the Jedi with a deafening roar and physically broadsided the Echani with a steel-gauntleted arm, sending her crashing forcefully into the ground. The padawan shrieked in distress and turned to run, but the Adept already felt the force swirl around her, and clenched it into a constrictor coil with his fist, then sent her hurling bodily into her droid guards with a flick of his wrist. The droids crumpled with their cumulative impact and the girl lay there, sobbing with pain.

"WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER?!" the raspy, low voice shouted to the fallen Ara, who was already scurrying up into a defensive stance, hurriedly trying to gather information on her attacker, and then looking to her apprentice, and then back to the Dark Adept. Her formerly hopeful convert was slowly regaining her strength, rising onto all fours and coughing loudly.

The shapely Jedi flicked her head back, throwing her hair out of her face, although her now dust-covered and disheveled appearance did not lend towards attractiveness. "Only what was best for her... why are you here to take that from her?" She raised her saber again in a defensive stance, wanting to see a bit more of her ethereal, masked opponent before she committed to another attack. So far he did not seem to have a lightsaber, which was a good sign.

The silken twilight robes of the Adept fluttered in the breeze as the cloud of dust he had disturbed drifted away from him. The bright yellow eyes behind the pallid metallic mask flashed with anger. "What I once was sacrificed everything it was to become what it is now" he hissed, gesturing to Ronovi who had managed to achieve her feet once again, though she swayed woozily. "She is the only link I have remaining to everything I once cared for. YOU WILL NOT TAKE HER FROM ME!" he screamed.

"I will have you both!" the Jedi taunted with a smirk, lunging forward. In a split second the Adept seemed to radiate with black malice, an outline of a previously humanoid skeleton glowing bright green beneath his robes. Hundreds of small rocks from the nearby surface levitated and then flashed with the same sickly, fungoid green before turning into a swarm of biting insects that circled the Jedi in mid-leap, biting and gnawing hungrily. She fell to the ground and convulsed for a moment, before the insects vanished.

"You cannot quench the light that easily, corrupted one!" the Jedi yelled, a powerful counterspell soaking up the Adept's malicious attack. A vicious diagonal stroke reached for him, though he simply vanished and reappeared behind the Jedi, kicking her to the ground. Ara brought her lightsaber up defensively as she rolled, a split second before the crackling of intense force lightning from the Adept's armored fingers bit into her arm. The saber seemed to soak up much of it, though it was still beyond painful for her. Hairline fractures of unholy energies seemed to crawl over the Adept's mask until he ceased the attack.

Ara leapt to her feet once again, and the two stood face to face - master against master. Each looked to their apprentices to ascertain their condition. Neither seemed very well off.

Doni Tzu laughed an insidious, sneering laugh. "You cannot win. Take your pet and go."

Ara returned the contemptuous look. "You have not beaten me yet, whatever thing you are."


02-04-2009 21:23:34

Apollo turned over the small computer core in his hand. He knew the droid rally points were close, but he hoped this small device would cut down on the searching.

"It shouldn't take long once I plug this into the computer in the AT-TE. There will be some basic encryption, but nothing I can't get through." Scion said as the two walked back to the AT-TE. A large flash of light got their attention to the East. The two could see an AT-TE of 3rd Platoon take a hit on one of it's forward legs.

"What was that?" Scion inquired. Apollo shrugged a bit.

"A mine?" Apollo guessed.

"Either way, they should be ok." Scion added, looking to the ground in front of him and suddenly becoming a lot more cautious. Picking up on Scion's anxiety Apollo nodded.

"Let's watch were we step from now on, shall w...." The sudden burst of weapons fire in the same direction was as intense as it was sudden. But the sheer ammount of fire pouring down on 3rd Platoon was a cause for concern. Dropping the data core into a pouch on his waist and securing the opening he grabbed the receiver for the comm unit on Scion's arm.

"Tarentum Command, this is QUA Apollo attached to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 12th Armored Regiment."

"We read you Quaestor, what is your situation?"

"We are located 10 kilometers South by Southwest of Cadei Prison. 3rd Platoon is under heavy fire. Requesting close air support at their location. Coordinates forthcoming." Scion was already sending the required information by the time Apollo finished speaking.

"Received Gladius. Mixed sortie of Interceptors and Bombers incoming. ETA, 2 mikes." The transmission ended abruptly. Apollo looked at Scion.

"Ok, relay the information to 3rd Platoon, tell them they have 2 minutes until air support arrives. And tell them to get low!"

The two of them began to move in the direction of 3rd Platoon while Scion relayed the information to one of the other AT-TEs who was returning fire when a flash of yellow and blue caught Apollo's attention. He recognized the blue blade. But not the yellow.

"Oh crap. Ronovi!" Scion yelled as both Gladians began to run in the direction of the fight.

Once the duo was closer, they could see Ronovi kneeling on the ground screaming while the Jedi woman stood over her. The Jedi looked like she was in some sort of trance state. Scion began to move until Apollo grabbed his arm and pointed to their right. A shadow figure seemed to appear and disappear out of thin air. The warning cries of the increasingly annoying second Jedi, apparently a padawan, made Apollo tense. But it seemed the Jedi was too focused. Doni 'Tzu caught her completely off guard. Scion smirked over at Apollo as the young padawan was thrown into the two droids standing guard over the encounter.

Apollo whispered to Scion, "Stay low and follow me."

Both men kept an eye on the encounter between Doni and the Jedi as they kept to the shadows, refusing to give away their position just yet. Finally, they were no more than ten meters from the padawan and the two droids. Apollo nodded to Ronovi.

"She is wounded, protect her if you have to, but get her out of danger." Ordered the Quaestor. His apprentice nodded and quietly moved closer to Ronovi, waiting until he last second to announce his presence in as small a way as he possibly could. The padawan continued to moan in pain in front of Apollo as one of the droids began to move as well.

It was time to act.

Moving quickly from the shadows his blade came to life with the soothing snap-hiss that would send chills down the spine of any normal being within the galaxy. But those here today were far from normal. The purple blade quickly sunk into the head of the droid struggling to climb to it's feet. It quickly fell to the ground as Apollo followed suit with the other droid, just in case. Looking down at the Jedi padawan below him, her bright blue eyes awash in terror as it followed his blade, he grinned. Apollo reached out with the Force and brought her discarded saber to his hand and quickly tucked it into his robes.

"Now, now little one. Don't be frightened." he said to her as her pain was slowly being replaced with doubt and fear.

"Don't you touch her!" Screamed the Jedi woman on the far side of Doni. The simple lightsaber battle and conversion she has for seen had gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Apollo gave his most menacing chuckle he could muster before looking down at his prize. To his astonishment, the young woman was reaching for one of the droids blasters that lay very close by. Quickly, Apollo brought his blade down and severed the padawan's arm at the shoulder. The blood curdling scream was as loud as thunder and just as forceful. The girl was reeling in pain as her master's eyes widened in terror.

"NO! MOVAN!" screamed the Jedi Master. With a new feeling of rage boiling inside her for the first time, she lashed out at her opponent. She had to save her padawan!

Giving forceful thrust towards Doni'Tzu, the Dark Adept deftly side stepped the attack. Grabbing the Jedi's hands at the wrist, Doni separated her left hand from the lightsaber's grip before grabbing her at the shoulder. Using his right hand, he folded over her right hand and quickly pulled the lightsaber hilt from her grasp with his left. A quick push on her back sent the Jedi Master stumbling forward.

Ronovi knew Doni, her master, very well. She had seen him practice physical hand to hand combat many times. Especially on her. So when she seen Doni begin this particular disarming move, she knew she only had seconds to act. Reaching out with the Force, she pulled the lightsaber from Scion's hand who had been standing near her. As the Jedi Master was stumbling toward her, she ignited the red blade and thrust forward. The blade impaled the Jedi in the lower left side of her torso. The shock on the woman's face and the scream that escaped her lips was pure joy for the Knight.

Slowly, Ronovi drew out the blade, but before she could finish off her attacker Scion grabbed her hand and reclaimed his blade. Flashing a scowl at Scion she soon felt Doni's hand on her shoulder as the Jedi dropped to her knees and rolled over, holding her wounded stomach.

"That's enough Ronovi. We have her." Doni said, nodding to his apprentice. Ronovi met his gaze and slowly nodded.

"Movan!" Screamed the Jedi Master again.

"Movan! Answer me!"

The Jedi slowly rolled on her stomach to look over at her apprentice, still writhing in pain. Softly, the padawan spoke.

"M.. Master! Do.. don't let them take me! Don.. don't give up!" Apollo looked up from the padawan, who was beginning to cry, and stared into the Jedi Master's eyes. He then address Doni directly.

"Doni. I do not think this one can be converted, and she does not know anything the Master does not know already. We have our prize."

"Finish it." Doni said. The realization dawned on the Jedi Master slowly. She looked up at Apollo in horror as he maintained eye contact with her. His blade twirled once in his right hand before being poised high above the padawan. He held his blade in place for a fraction of a second longer than he should have just to let the moment last that much longer for the Jedi. Then with lightning speed, he thrust the blade into the young woman's heart. A short scream was all that was heard as the young Jedi died mere meters in front of her master.

Before she could scream or move, a sharp strike on the back of her head left the Jedi Master out cold. Doni rose after the strike and nodded to Scion, who was tending to Ronovi's wounds. The Gladian passed his comm receiver to the Elder who punched in a code.

"Tarentum Command, this is Adept Doni'Tzu. We have a Foxtrot Uniform. Send us a dust-off. I'll be escorting her to the main LZ. Coordinates sent."

"Adept Tzu. Message received. Dust-off in route. ETA 5 mikes."

"Understood. Out." The Adept tossed the receiver back to Scion before looking down at his apprentice.

"Tell me what happened..."


02-04-2009 23:56:01

Within the blur of the battle, Frosty applauded himself for knowing where to look. The shadows he had detected from his AT-TE had brought him to the enemy, though he had been too late to warn the platoon of the minefield and the ultimate strike. Still, he had jumped into the fray with the blink of an eye, unleashing his brute power against the droids and ripping them apart with each swing of his lightsaber. The Dashade lumbered toward another battle droid and beheaded it swiftly before watching another being taken down by one of Vai's shots.

Frosty was beginning to wonder when the battle would finally slow down when out of the corner of his eye, he saw a squadron of fighters swoop into the fray, taking out more incoming droids. He could only hope they would not unintentionally take down their allies, and Frosty began to scan the battlefield that had emerged from the conflict. If there were any Jedi around, he knew they'd be his for the taking.


The chaos in her mind was dissipating, but Ronovi still could feel her thoughts attempt to reassort themselves, all dislocated from the Jedi's failed attempt to convert her. The voices had turned into whispers before fading from her conscience, and she held still, kneeling as Scion checked her for any more injuries before finally washing the dried blood from her earlier head wound with water from a canteen. He was just finishing off with a bandage when the group heard the screech of fighter engines as squadrons swooped in over the battle that had unfolded nearby.

"Huh. The air support came quicker than I thought," said Apollo, but his casual remark was unnoticed as he heard Ronovi's harsh, shallow breathes as she attempted to answer her master's question. Doni Tzu watched her as she tried to get a hold of her wits.

"Don't strain yourself, Ronovi," warned Scion, but Ronovi shook her head, her knees shaking beneath her.

"I...she tried to convert me." Her voice trembled noticeably, and what seemed like a mix of anger and confusion erupted from her throat. "That bitch tried to make me a Jedi!"

"I know, Ronovi, I know," said Doni Tzu.

"She...she told me I was taking in the Dark Side like a drug and she had to cut me off...I tried to fight her off...but it was too strong..." Ronovi felt her fingers move to her brow as she pressed her temples. "All the voices of the people I've killed in my life...they kept talking to me. Trying to get me to turn away..."

Apollo opened his mouth to speak, but his words dried up in his mouth as he watched, in shock, as Ronovi broke down for most likely the first time. As the Epicanthix shook with harsh sobs, the Archpriest watched as the Adept immediately swooped over to her, as Doni Tzu knelt beside her and placed his hands on her shoulders. Apollo had expected that any crying from Ronovi would've been almost pathetic, but all he could hear from it was genuine fear and frustration. This had, after all, been the closest shave that Ronovi had ever come by, and she lowered her head as the tears flowed down her face in narrow rivulets.

"I was helpless! I was so helpless!" she was choking out, as Doni Tzu quietly let her cry. "I hated it! I hated every minute of it!"

"You're not helpless, Ronovi," said Scion. "Not by a long shot."

"I won't be! Never again!"

It took Ronovi a little while longer to calm down, and Apollo watched it all, his thoughts racing even though his face was blank. He didn't know what to make from this at all; Ronovi was clearly someone who still needed at least a bit more care before she could be a truly powerful Dark Jedi, and he found opportunity in that. Still, the image of her raising her saber at all, her eyes blazing as she screamed at him...he shook it off as Doni Tzu moved back before extending the hand that gripped the smooth, curved hilt of Ara's saber.

"Your old saber is useless now. Take this."

"No..." whispered Ronovi, shaking her head as she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "You got it from her. It's your trophy."

"If it is, then think of it as a gift," insisted Doni Tzu. "You'll make use of it, anyway."

With some hesitation, Ronovi let her fingers close around the hilt as she brought the saber's yellow blade to life. The hilt felt marvellously lighter in her hands, though she was not as used to one-handed combat. Twirling it and getting an understanding of its grip and weight, Ronovi grinned before she deactivated the weapon and hooked it to her side. Her first Jedi trophy.

The sound of another engine above alerted the group of the medical LAAT/I that was now hovering above their heads. It landed a few good meters from them, just as two soldiers climbed out and approached the Jedi.

"I'll be going with the Jedi," said Doni Tzu as the soldiers quickly gathered up the crumpled Ara; the corpse of Movan lay silently beside them in the jagged ground.

"Maybe I should go with you," Ronovi said, but Doni waved her off.

"You need to stay with Scion and Apollo; they need numbers down there."

"But master..."

"I'll be back sooner than you think," Doni Tzu reminded his apprentice, and Ronovi found the strength to smile as he and the soldiers disappeared into the LAAT/I. The trio watched it depart into a haze of smoke that rose from the battlefield on the boundary, as they turned to see the silhouettes of their fellow Tarenti as they tore into presumably the strongest of these cluttered enemy points.

"C'mon," Apollo said. "This could be fun."


03-04-2009 12:15:18

The high-pitched roar of the Inceptors & Bombers coming into the strafe the enemy forces was a welcome sound as Vai continued blasting droids with his rifle. Watching his master moves in the distance, the Hunter was eager to be in melee range with him; yet he knew his place and firing his rifle was the most beneficial.

Nearby, the radio on the back of the squad leader squawked, “3rd Platoon, take cover, we’re beginning our attack run” called down the flight leader.

The section leader signaled his men to take cover as Vai concentrated for a moment and the telepathically warned his fellow Dark Jedi of the imminent attack. Sato turned a looked at Vai before force jumping out of the fray and landing next to his apprentice. Unfortunately for Frosty, do to his lack of force abilities, he did not receive the warning and continued fighting the droids.

The Cestus Rollmaster yelled “Frosty, get out of there” but the commotion of the battle was so loud the Obelisk Exarch did not hear the Firrerreon. The first bomb exploded mere meters from the Dashade warrior causing his skin to become bombarded by shrapnel of exploding droids. This was his warning as he hurriedly got himself under cover of the AT-TEs armored body.

“Frosty, you are either really brave or just crazy” said Sato in a joking tone. With a shrug of his shoulders, the Dashade just smiled back at the human and said “you know me, got to be in the middle of things until the end.”

Bright flashes and explosions rocked the ground around the disabled AT-TE and the sorties dropped their ordinances on the droids. The smell of vaporized transistors was in the air as the droids sparked and popped.

The flight leader came on the radio “hostiles in sector 38 have been neutralized, returning to base.” “Roger” said the squad leader “thanks for your support.”

“Ok men, get your gear together and let’s move. We are to meet up with 2nd platoon. Watch for mines, droids and any foxtrot-uniforms” ordered the section leader.

As the men readied their gear, one of the soldier’s said “we have contacts, approaching our position, bearing 340.’” The section leader pulled out his binoculars’ and looked at their group of three unknowns. “Could they be Jedi?” one of the sergeants asked. With a puzzled look on his face, the section leader said “I don’t know; POSITIONS.”


Ronovi was in bad shape, her will had been doubted for a moments by the Echani master. In her minded she was still going through random thoughts, how could I be so easily brought down by that Jedi? Her master had saved her, if it wasn’t for the Yevethan Dark Adept, she would have been converted and could be facing her own right now. The thoughts of this created frustration and anger with her.

The Gladuis Quaestor and his apprentice were walking in front of the Epicanthix, heading towards the site that 3rd Platoon was at. Apollo could sense the frustration and anger in the thoughts of the Cestus Aedile, though it wasn’t all that new to him. He had been feeling the anger and frustration from her for a while now, ever since she left Gladius. Yet, through this anger he could sense a change in her; a doubt in her abilities.

Suddenly Apollo stopped; he felt something was out of place. Looking at Scion and then at Ronovi, he pulled out his lightsaber and ignited it at the last moment; deflecting a blast coming from 3rd Platoon.

“Dammit, they think were the empty” yelled the Krath Archpriest. From all his time in war, this is one thing that could mess up any operation; friendly-fire incidents.

“Scion, get those bastards on the radio and tell them to stand down” said the Gladian QUA. The Knight was already on it, “3rd Platoon, hold your fire, you’re shooting at friendlies.” The weapon fire ended as fast as it began as Vai came on the radio, “Scion, that you?” called the Jedi Hunter. “Yes, what the hell are you guys doing? Shooting at us” barked back the Gladius Aedile. After a slight pause Vai came back on “If you were here a few minutes ago, you would understand our situation. Come on it, were secure here and moving to 2nd Platoon.”


Putting his electrobinocular’s to his eyes, Sith Master Bloodfyre looked at the droid compound near the edge of Cadei Prison. “They look organized down there, I see Battalion size unit of mixed battle droids and SBDs. It looks like they are waiting for us to make our move.” Turning to the Krath Pontifex, Bloodfyre said “Contact Oberst, let him know what we have found.” Saitou contacted Oberst and made him aware of what is awaiting the forces.

“Roger, sending in some bombers to take that compound out, stand by” said Oberst.

A few minutes later a squadron of bombers approached the Cadei Prison, they were armed with EMP bombs so not to destroy the important structures of Antei. As the bomber began their attack run and alert came up.

“Break right flight two, we’ve been locked on” said the squadron commander. From the compound several AAMs were launched and headed into the sky; targeted on the flight of bombers. Explosions light up the dark Antei sky as the missles hit their marks, erupting the bombers into balls of fire as they fell to the ground. The three Cestians watched the events transpire and knew there would be only one way in, on ground.

The remaining flight contacted the CAG, “Sir, target defended by AAM batteries, we’ve lost flight one…please advise.” and then static.


03-04-2009 15:03:54

Dreary ashen vistas rolled by as the LAAT cruised towards the Brotherhood rear lines. Doni Tzu stood in the rear of the vessel, accompanied by a few special forces soldiers who were clearly preoccupied with other things; guarding a Jedi was much easier when you had another Dark Jedi aboard. His vacant, formless eyes were fixed in the general direction of the captive Ara, who was stirring out of her forcefully induced slumber. She groaned painfully, trying to pull herself up onto her uninjured side. The black depths of unconsciousness faded from her mind and the world of daylight returned, albeit slowly. As the realizations of her final battle, the death of her apprentice, and her inevitable fate came back to her, she sobbed openly, weeping onto the cold metal floor of the transport.

The Adept studied the pitiable sight for a moment before speaking quietly.

"I am sorry." The statement was genuine.

Ara's reddened eyes looked up at the formless thing before her, almost uncomprehending.

"You monsters! You killed her!" she screamed in grief, spittle dripping to the floor as her cheeks reddened.

Doni Tzu sighed a low, mechanical sigh and looked away to the barren landscape flying past.

"Yes, we did. You would have defended her as I was defending my apprentice, who you were trying to take from me."

Ara started for a bit, biting her lip before railing back at her captor. "I wasn't going to kill her!"

The ghostlike Adept looked back at her in annoyance. "Kill, take away, there is no difference."

The wounded Jedi realized the futility of arguing with an apparition of evil and renewed her sorrow, her body convulsing as great sobs of pain, loss, and helplessness wracked her body. The Tarenti took pity on the wretch and spoke into her mind.

You will see her again.

I loved her, came the silent reply, interplayed between the two, victor and vanquished, unheard to all the others on the transport.

I raised her since she was an infant. I was like her mother. Now she is gone! What will I do?! I want to die! I failed her when she needed me most! I WANT TO DIE!

We all fail. We all fall. We all falter. Death is an end we must all face. There was nothing you could have done to save her.

Get out of my head you monster!

You will see her again. There is a life beyond this one, in other, Outer Spheres. In Oblivion.

Another round of sobbing followed as she wept onto the unrelenting, unfeeling steel of her flying cage, mucus and saliva dripping onto the floor as she abandoned all pretense. Her tears left wet tracks in her dirt-stained cheeks, and her disheveled snow-white hair, matted with dirt, took a blotchy gray hue as it fell over her face. The bandaged hole in her side screamed with pain, but it did not seem to matter. "Light have me, what am I doing here..." she whispered to the Antei winds.

The purple-robed wraith standing near her laughed quietly with a subtle, cynically resigned intonation.

"What indeed are we all doing here," he spoke softly, a gauntleted hand grasping a metal support as the transport rocked through some turbulence. "We are all fighting, dying, exerting every effort to reclaim this tiny speck of dirt in the stars. And when it is over, your side or my side will retain it, all for what?"

Ara blinked away her tears for a moment, the Adept's defeatism sounding hollowly against her grieving soul.

"The universe laughs at our futility. In the colossal depths of space, the infinite abyss whose depths can never be plumbed, what does all this mean? We are but tiny ants fighting over a vastly tiny anthill when compared to the uncounted, godlike entities who dwell in the gulf of space."

Ara looked up for a moment in confusion. "What... what are you?" she stammered. "What brought you here?"

"I am a servant of that whose name cannot safely be spoken. Rest assured, it is the singular nuclear Chaos who has stood guard since the beginning of time at the center of the universe. The Gate and the Gatekeeper to the Outer Sphere known as Oblivion."

"You... you said Movan is there? In Oblivion?" she queried, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"She is. Do you want to see her again?"

"Y... yes. She was all I ever had or cared for. I'll do anything to get her back."

Beneath his pale, featureless metallic mask, if he had a face that could smile, the Adept would have. How quickly the tables have turned...


03-04-2009 15:52:30

Sweat grew on Anshar’s brow at a steady rate as he and Tuar danced back and forth in the darkness illuminated by purple and orange. Finally, after a relentless barrage of thrusts, sweeps, and blows, Tuar backed off, putting a decent distance between the two.

“Tell me, are you ready to confess why you fight?” asked Tuar.

“And why do you care?” asked Anshar, irritated at the naïve preachy tone, but glad for the respite.

“You disdain the light, but do not embrace the darkness,” replied Tuar. “Yet here you are fighting for some rock that you do not control. Will your illustrious Grand Master not simply pat you on your head and send you back home until he needs you again? Or will he offer you something that perhaps you do not have?”

“You keep trying to get me to say something, to tell you what set me down the road that brought me here,” said Anshar. “It won’t work.” Before Tuar could say anything else, the there was a loud crash followed by two small explosions. Anshar and Tuar both dove in opposite directions as the cave ceiling began to collapse. Covering his head, Anshar felt some rubble striking his back and legs, but nothing big appeared to him.

After a few minutes, the last rocks fell down, bouncing off the pile already formed. Anshar finally moved, moving the small rocks and debris off of him. Nothing seemed broken, but there would undoubtedly be bruising. Looking around, Anshar saw that the ceiling was still intact, but many of the outcroppings had fallen. The collapse had build a low impromptu wall between the two combatants, but one could easily mount it if they so desired.

“It seems,” said Tuar, coughing, “that the Force has something else in store for us.” He coughed again, peaking Anshar’s curiosity. Peering over the wall, he used the small flashlight from his belt to look at Tuar. The Jedi was still alive, but his robotic right arm lay trapped under a good deal of rubble. There was blood coming from his head, though the wound did not appear to be that deep, at least from Anshar’s perspective. “So, do you now slay me? Given time, I will free myself, even if I must remove my own arm.”

“Given that your arm is already mechanical, I think you’ll survive,” said Anshar. “But no, I won’t kill you.” Anshar could sense the puzzlement from Tuar. “Let’s just say that, inadvertently, you did me an important favor a long time ago, and I’m repaying that debt.”

“But you claimed our past encounter was minor, did you not?”

“It was, and it still is. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a battle to finish.”

“So be it,” replied Tuar, remaining calm and in relatively good spirits. “I shall find you again one day, and we shall end this fight. I will help purify this galaxy one person at a time.”

“If I’m still around, then we’ll see. Just drop wanting to know why I fight,” replied Anshar. “You will never get an answer, and certainly never one that would satisfy you.”

* * *
As Anshar made his way out of the cave, surprised that more of it had not collapsed when the other section had, he found Dranik waiting for him. “You look like hell,” Dranik commented. “Missing a lightsaber, too.”

“Preachy Jedi have never sat well with me,” replied Anshar. “What’s the situation?”

“We’ve driven pretty far the past few hours. Most of us made it out of that ambush about the time the cavalry showed up” said Dranik. “There’s one enemy base left; fairly well defended, I might add. They shot up a good deal of bombers on a run. One of them plowed into the top of the cave where I assume you were just fighting.”

“Alright. Go one ahead of me; I’ll catch up,” said Anshar. “Don’t worry, I won’t be long.” Dranik did not reply, but instead shuffled away. He knew when Anshar was being serious. As Dranik disappeared behind the outcropping, Anshar turned his attention inward to himself. He could feel it; the looseness of it. Just as Talitha had warned him before Tarentum had even returned to Antei, the battle was having its toll on his body-spirit connection. Steadying himself, Anshar turned to rejoin his clan. If the time came and the last of the threads tore his spirit away from his body, then so be it.


04-04-2009 02:19:21

Sato stretched out his hand towards the three incoming Dark Jedi. Apollo shook it first then followed by Scion. Ronovi took her turn, though she seemed a bit distant, especially to Vai who was standing beside his master.

"Looks like you guys have been through a bit of fun here." Scion mused as he observed the massive droid casualties that lay strewn about the landscape. Sato grinned a little.

"Nothing a good strafing run can't cure." He responded jokingly. "Thanks for that."

"That's no problem. Glad to help." Replied the Gladius AED.

"Where did you guy's come from?" Vai inquired, looking at Ronovi's tattered uniform. The woman self consciously dusted off her clothing and adverted her eyes from the group. Apollo covered for her.

"We ran into a few Jedi. Captured the Master, killed the padawan." Apollo smirked a little and looked at Vai as he did. "Apprentices shouldn't talk so much, It get's them killed."

Scion and Apollo laughed as Vai seemed to shrink just a little before one of the men patted him on the shoulder. Sato nodded to the ridge line that is now only 9 kms away.

"We need to scout on ahead a little. I seen a few Vulture droids move towards the ridge line and disappeared. They might have a supply point there. Either way, it will be work looking at."

Apollo nodded to the damaged AT-TE behind them.

"And the walkers?"

"I have some engineers on their way to clear the mind field. If we spot anything, they should have a route cleared for the walkers to proceed. But until then, we're on our own." Sato nodded to the ridge.

"Shall we?"

"Just a moment." Apollo turned to the Platoon Leader.

"Lieutenant, does any of your squads carry any mortars?" The lieutenant seemed puzzled by the odd request but nodded.

"No, but I do know we have several Companies of the 2nd Infantry Battalion behind us." He responded.

"Good. Well, can you contact your CO and see if we can get one of their Weapons Squads to join us? I would appreciate it. We might need the heavy fire support if we find what I expect we will find."

"Just a moment." The LT commed the Company CO, who OKed the request and passed it on to other Company Commander. After a few moments of waiting the lieutenant turned back to Apollo

"Ok, request approved. Weapons squad of 1st Platoon, Charlie Company is coming with us. They are in a APC heading this way."

"Thanks LT. Tell their CO we'll keep them safe."

The group waited until the Weapons squad, 1st Platoon joined up with them. Then they set out. Sato was in the lead this time followed by Vai. Next came Weapons, followed by Ronvoi, Scion, Apollo, Frosty and the 1st section of 3rd Platoon from the AT-TEs. The make-shift group was in a single file line as they marched, not taking the chance with the mines. Sato was leading which gave the group advanced warning for any that lay in their path. It was smooth going for the first six kilometers until the group came upon a small valley, something they failed to see when observing the ridge line from the walkers.

Sato, Scion and Apollo moved up on their stomachs as the rest of the group took a knee. Apollo pulled out his binoculars and viewed the area in front of them. The valley in front of them seemed about two kilometers wide and at least a hundred meters deep in the center and it was only a kilometer away from the ridge line.

"Well, there you go." Sato mused as he gazed down at the large droid rally point.

"I thought Bloodfyre reported a droid forward operating base near Codei Prison?" Scion asked the other two beside him.

"He did. But apparently, there is another one." Apollo muttered, still trying to estimate the enemy strength at hand. Scion shot him a 'oh you think?' look before looking back at their mixed group.

"I'm not sure we can handle this." Scion offered as he looked at the droids and half a dozen Jedi below. Apollo shook his head as he estimated the enemy strength at two mixed battalion's woth.

"Nope, but I have a fantastic idea." The three Dark Jedi crawled back down to their group, who then huddled around them.

"So what's this plan Apollo?" Sato asked finally.

"Simple. Scion just informed me that the Engineers have identified the minefield and have it almost completely cleared save for a few pockets on the far Eastern sections." Apollo turned to the Platoon Leader of 3rd Platoon. "Is that correct?"

"Yes. Bravo Company's AT-TEs are just about to move this way, followed by 1st and 2nd Battalions, 41st Infantry for the close in fighting. But we also have Troops A and B from the 6th Squadron, 9th Reconnaissance group. They are moving up in AT-STs. All together, a pretty formidable force." Apollo nodded his approval.

"Ok, this is going to be the classic Hammer & Anvil move." The Quaestor grinned, knowing he was in his element again. The group listened intently as he laid out his plan.


"Ok, Sir. Coordinates locked in and awaiting your instructions." Lt. Winters said on the bridge of the B/CR Cocytus in orbit around Adas. Apollo checked to make sure Bravo Company's AT-TEs were in position as well as the Recon Group's AT-STs. He was quite surprised when he learned that AT-TEs of Charlie Company of the 1st Armor Battalion began to line up in between Bravo Company's units. The Quaestor was also relieved that other Tarentum members have joined the growing forces around him.

Surveying the scene around them, Apollo checked to make sure everything was in place. Both 1st and 2nd Infantry Battalions were on either side of the valley with their Weapons squads in prime firing positions. The two squadrons of air support were in a holding pattern 10 kilometers away and the Cocytus was waiting in orbit. Everything was in place. He looked over to Ronovi, whom he had given the job of forward observer for the field artillery units. He seen she had apparently thrown herself into this new role. The sadness in her face and in her body posture was absent, at least for now.

It was time

"Commence Bombardment." Apollo ordered into the comm.

Both seconds between his command and the arrival of the first salvo seemed to pass very slowly, but once it hit, time seemed to be in overdrive. The droids below scattered and moved away from the fiery rain of red death from above. Many of the faster droid units began to move to the edge of valley with the rest following suit. Soon half of the remaining droids were over the edge of the valley and moving South, directly towards he Army's ground forces.

"2nd assault, fire!" Apollo shouted into the comm.

The tremendous thunder of so many cannons firing at once was deafening, but extremely colorful to watch. A total of two companies worth of AT-TEs were engaging the droid forces, who were now starting to return fire. The last of the droid forces to crest the lip of the valley where the ground troops and the Jedi. Apollo could almost swear Ronovi grinned as she continue to guide incoming fire for the AT-TEs. The Cocytus ceased firing at this point. Apollo was ready for his final assault to begin.

"1st and 2nd Battalions, engage!"

Weapons squads from each platoon of each infantry company in both battalions began to fire with their heavy blaster cannons and mortars. The V-shape ambush erupted in both incoming and outgoing fire. It was like the entire world lit up around them. Blaster bolts of many different colors criss-crossing the air all around them. Screams of the dying and wounded filled the air just as frequently. The best way to describe it was controlled chaos.

It was at this point the air assault would start to pick targets of opportunity. Most of these would be the larger droid vehicles. But if they managed to snag a Jedi in the process, no one would care. It would only be a matter of time before the Jedi close the distance between them and the infantry units. They are most effective in close quarters, but Apollo and the other Dark Jedi with 1st Battalion were ready. He just hoped the other Tarenti with 2nd Battalion was just as so.

It was going to be a long night.


04-04-2009 22:53:14

"We're attacking two bases?"

Bloodfyre's voice was cool and calm through the comlink as the Marshal received the news. Oberst was already aware that Anshar was on the move - as well as Dranik with his team, since they had been able to deal with the droid squad - but to hear that an attack was carried out on a rallying point and an air strike had been made as far as the Codei Prison was almost too unorthodox even for him. He listened to the former Consul as he replied.

"We're getting the feeling that attempting to penetrate the Codei Prison's defenses may stretch our forces and pull us from our actual objective."

"All right, then focus on the enemy rally point that Apollo's already commenced," commanded Oberst.

"That's all well and good, but I can't imagine you would just want to leave the Codei base the way it is," said Bloodfyre, a slightly amused tone in his voice.

Oberst furrowed his brow as he assessed the situation. The Codei Prison was not the clan's priority for now, and the real priority was being undertaken with a big chunk of the battalion. Still, they would need back-up, and it would be strategically sound to make some movement toward the location where Objective Ervix lay. Oberst moved the comlink close to his mouth, a smirk dancing on his lips as he made his decision.

"Neutralize the base near Codei."

"Is this what I think it is?" asked Bloodfyre, but he didn't have to. He already could sense what Oberst had in mind.

"Prepare more air strikes with the remaining squadrons we have, and if you've got artillery, use it. When we've wrapped up the previous assignment given to us, we'll send infantry to clean everything else up."

"Understood. I'll carry out the report to the CAG and to the platoon commanders."

"Good. Keep them aware."

The two broke off the communication between them as Oberst watched what remaining DC armour work to keep the centre and the landing site stable. From what he could tell, it was about time the Dark Jedi of Tarentum moved away from simply protecting battlements. Eyeing the leftover Dark Jedi who still patrolled the batteries or the other parameters of the base, he issued one order:

"Tarenti, prepare for mobilization. We're going to the Boundary."


The harsh, dark silhouettes of the night cloaked the battle that occasionally lit up with the fire of the battalions against the enemy, as well as the blinding beams of energy penetrating through flesh or bolt. A bloodbath on the horizon, a massacre against the dark Anteian skies. And while either side wasn't letting up, both sides were taking hits.

Beside the giants of AT-TEs and AT-STs who riddled each target with gaping holes, whether in its formation or its bodies, the Dark Jedi and soldiers of Tarentum and the Iron Throne were cutting into the swollen belly of the enemy lines. The Jedi had finally come to cross with them, moving into close quarters as the bulk of their unit exploded in flames and plumes of smoke that grew with the stench of death. This was the Dark Jedi's chance, as their melee weapons were drawn and they charged into the fray with the rage yet the determination of a well-limbed monster. Apollo led the way, his lightsaber slicing through each target as if they were merely slabs of meat; and others, soldiers and Dark Jedi, let bolts and Force powers work to crush what remaining droid defense approached.

Ara's saber fit the curve of Ronovi's hand perfectly, and her face within the glow of its yellow blade was frightening to those who stared at it. With Sato and Frosty flanking her, she worked with the Equites to tear the fabric of the resistance, while the duelist weapon in her fingers danced in its deadly choreography before so very gracefully lopping up one unfortunate Jedi's head. Ronovi was not ashamed to look now; her near-conversion had made her hungry, and her appetite lay in the victory.

Then, as the final denouement of the battle approached, the amplified sense of arriving help was approaching. Dark Jedi who had not first approached the boundary were almost trampling it underfoot, their rage crescendoing as they raced over to join in the fray. It was about time they came, and now Ronovi turned her eyes from the battle momentarily to see Oberst approaching slowly, defying the quick entry of his escorted teams. The red blade glowed from his saber crafted from his war baton, his left palm extended as he towered over many others. This was the Marshal at what he was best at; he would make the enemy a sea of blood.

With a deafening roar, Oberst channeled all of his strength in his first move, the blade of his saber becoming a web of movement as he took down one enemy after another, pushing through them as if he were swimming through water. Ronovi, despite her awe at the Marshal's pure, brute strength, brought her focus back as she moved alongside Apollo while two remaining Jedi without missing limbs approached them. In one brief moment, they looked at each other. Pure understanding of the matter at hand that took no words.

In one duet-like movement, the Quaestor and Aedile launched themselves at the Jedi, splitting them into even halves as their lightsabers criss-crossed in the still air. Beside them, Oberst had moved to the appropriate pounding of the last droids with his fist, the blood streaming from his knuckles as he kept his lightsaber in its deadly dance.

Nothing but the hellish fires of death and destruction reigned in this chaos of battle. Nothing seen but the gray smoke from blaster bolts hitting targets, the sporadic colors of lightsabers as they mingled with sinews and muscles, wires and metal. Nothing heard but the howls of those who wished for one more chance, one more try, and then...silence.

The field looked like a junkyard, strewn with the metal parts of the droid that lay in pattern with the corpses of the Jedi who had tried to face the wrath of Tarentum. Alongside those were many bodies of Tarenti Journeymen as well as others who had done their all for Tarentum and had not lived to brag about it; the Dark Jedi could not escape their own sea of casualties. It was a mosaic of annihilation reaching around the dark earth, and as the night stretched out its last remaining shadows on the Tarenti before the darkness seemed to lift, all heads turned when they heard the click of a comlink.

There stood Oberst and Anshar, who had stepped out of a sea of ruin, his hair matted and chest heaving as his remaining lightsaber hung from his hand; he, too, had done his part in the final strike. Oberst, with a bloodied hand, began his transmission, as Dranik also appeared beside them, his face marked with slight burns from throwing himself into the range of enemy fire. Then...

"Marshal Oberst reporting. We've cleared away the last enemy rally point. What are your next orders?"


05-04-2009 01:45:34

Oberst’s question surprised Anshar, as the Marshall was not always one to ask so simply, especially for orders. Still, even Oberst saw there was a plan here, and all he needed to do was make adjustments to it as he saw fit. The Marshall had established a rapport with the Iron Throne commanders, making things much easier during the operations.

“Orders are to proceed to Objective Kouhun on the north side of Mount Ashfire,” came the reply as clan leaders and army officers assembled in an impromptu meeting. “Intelligence indicates that there are enemy observation posts scattered across the mountain. These are to be neutralized.”

“Any details yet on these posts?” inquired Oberst.

“Yes, sir,” came the reply. “Though seemingly scattered, the posts are placed so as to provide cover for a wide areas, but overlapping each other. Two of the ten posts are dedicated to air-space observation, and sit at opposite ends of the observation chain.”

“Good,” replied Oberst. “Anything else?”

“Once the posts are neutralized, we are to establish one firebase, or more as is required or desirable, for operations against Codei Prison.”

“Thank you,” said Oberst, keying the comm. off before turning to address the clan leaders assembled around him, as well as the army officers. “Alright, we have ten observation posts to neutralize, two of which are dedicated for air-space observation. As we take them out, try not to destroy them completely. We’ve got set up a firebase or two, and we don’t need to waste time building something we could just have easily taken.” A chorus of replies acknowledged Oberst’s instructions, and commands soon began to be given as units formed up.

* * *

As the teams began assembling, Anshar stood off to the side. To outsiders, it would appear that he had totally relinquished his leadership of the clan to Oberst. And, for military matters, Anshar had done just that. However, he was still the Consul, and he knew the clan still looked to him for leadership. At the same time, Anshar himself knew that a time was rapidly approaching where Oberst would have to take his place.

Anshar closed his eyes and drew upon the Force, reaching down into his spirit, and feeling the tattered threads that connected his body and spirit. It was something Talitha had taught him to do, and it was something that served him well. But the exertions of battle had worn the threads faster than ever before, just as Talitha had warned that such things would. Few in the clan had noticed their Consul’s increased time spent at his villa, away from the clan and the Brotherhood, and even fewer had noticed the Consul’s unwillingness to undertake any more missions after the Renegade incident. He had been able to pass it off as simply preparing for the coming war, though he had never known an exact time and date for the attack.
Anshar looked up at the sky of Antei. He finally acknowledged to himself what he had tried to prevent, and had just tried to deny again. No matter the outcome of this battle, no matter how much more, or how little, he fought, there was only one inescapable conclusion: he would not make it through this war.


06-04-2009 19:30:27


The howling winds of Antei kicked up a fine dust in the faces of the Tarenti as they awaited orders. They didn’t mind; war had taught them that there were much harsher conditions in battle. Some walked around and tried to find anything from the remains of the droid encampment, while others used the time to meditate to clear their minds before the next task was set before them. Each of them knew that things would get harder and that losses would happen.

With their orders from Oberst, the houses began to split into units made of Dark Jedi and a platoon of soldiers from the 2/41st Infantry Battalion. Having to capture and possibly destroy ten observation posts would take teamwork from both forces.

“Elols, Raiju and Cypha, you three will be teamed with the Alpha Company 1st Platoon,” said the Marshal as he directed each soldier and Tarenti. "Apollo, you Scion and Ronovi will be working with the Alpha Company 2nd Platoon. Telona, Brimstone and Severon; I want you to work with 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company. Frosty, Sato and Vai; you will be with the Bravo Company 1st Platoon."

Oberst watched as the final groups formed before saying, “You know what we're here to do. Now go do it.” And with that, the Dark Jedi disappeared into the AT-TEs and APCs waiting nearby. The heavy legs of the lead AT-TEs began to move as they carried the forces of Tarentum and the Iron Throne across the barren Shadowlands.


AT-TE Bravo1, In transit

Vai was sitting next to Sato as he finely tuned the scope on his rifle. He remembered that the last time he was riding in one of these, they hit a mine, and he hoped that wouldn't happen again.

Sato turned to his apprentice and said, “Stop fidgeting and relax. You’ll need your focus for the upcoming battle.”

Vai had felt almost edgy; the war was affecting him more than he thought. He needed to meditate, but he could not calm his mind down long enough to focus. He wanted the war to be over so he could focus on other things, but this was not the time as he let the surroundings overwhelm him.

Severon V

07-04-2009 13:48:40

AT-TE Alpha3, in transit

Severon and Brimstone sat quietly as the AT-TE rocked along. Both were glad to be away from the batteries, but didn’t know exactly what to say. So, they sat quietly. Telona just watched the two journeymen and shifted. Severon’s eyes wandered along the commandos who were in the AT-TE, wondering how they felt. From his untrained force abilities, he could tell that they were calm. Severon pulled out his datapad and decided to study up on his history, hoping his brain might help him in battle.

Brimstone looked over the protector’s shoulder and watched him, since he could think of nothing else to do. Before long, the two Tarenti were engaged in a trivia battle, passing the time by learning from one another. Telona glanced at them every once in a while, but made sure to monitor the AT-TE’s progress and keep an eye on communications.

Although the two journeymen seemed to be enjoying themselves, they couldn’t help but feel the side effects of the war. Severon was jumpier than he usually was and Brimstone was less calm and jittery. Telona knew that the war would affect them, but she pitied the two. Although they would never know what she had been through, she felt a connection to their pain. She turned away from them and continued to monitor everything.


07-04-2009 18:40:17

Brimstone continued to pass time with Severon as Telona continued to monitor the AT-TEs progress. Brimstone was getting tired of sitting and stood up to walk over to the mistress. As he got nearby, she felt his presence and talked to him inside his mind.

“So what are we on our way to do this time, Mistress?” asked Brimstone.

“From what I heard, we are to go after observation posts along the north side of Mount Ashfire” she replied without removing her attention to the task at hand.

“Any intelligence of what we are facing?”

“Mostly droids but there might be a jedi master and his apprentice too. If so, I will deal with the master and you two the apprentice.”

“Do you think Severon will be ready for a lightsaber battle? He is still relatively new to the combat sort of thing. I mean, its one thing to fight a droid, but to fight someone that uses the Force and lightsaber is different than grenades and blasters.”

“You two will do fine. Once the apprentice is dealt with, the master will be easy because they spend too much emotion on their learners and once those ties are cut, they lose all emotion.”

“Then that's when we kill the master right?”

“No, that's when we capture them. Orders are to capture the Jedi generals if we run into any and bring them in for interrogation. I think the Grand Master is either going to convert them or make examples of them to the jedi of the universe that we are a force to be reckoned with.”

“Interesting. Why not capture the apprentice then too cause they would be easier to turn to our side I would think.”

“While it would be easy to turn them, they are part of the connection to their master and they give each other strength. If his or her master ever escaped, they would hunt for their apprentice and us.”

Brimstone understood now why the Brotherhood never took other masters or jedi padawans. It was smart to not have any open loose ends in the conflict with the jedi to leave them any chance to prevail in the Sith's war with them. He thanked Telona for the information and went back to sit down by Severon. Severon looked at him and asked what was up. Brimstone explained what they were getting ready to do and about the possibility of jedi involved. The mentioning of the jedi made the nervousness in Severon jump tenfold. Brimstone just told him to be calm and let the Force guide him in his actions.

Severon looked at the troops sitting across from him and now envied them more that they could remain so calm. “I guess it is all part of being a warrior” thought the protector to himself.


07-04-2009 19:40:16

The armored vehicles were beginning to split in route by now; while the observation posts were apparently overlapping, it was good to maintain space between the troops so as not to draw fire to one definite spot. Whatever AT-TEs that had not been crippled or destroyed from the previous fight shambled further west, where the looming silhouette of Mt. Ashfire awaited them. The Alpha Company 1st Platoon was in the lead, followed by the Alpha Company 2nd Platoon, where Apollo, Scion, and Ronovi sat quietly in their AT-TE as APCs rolled beside them.

It was clear that every bit of the soldiers' mentalities were strained; Ronovi could sense that as she drifted in and out of meditation. She worried about Doni Tzu, wondering if he was still in the LAAT/I with that Jedi bitch or making his way over to them; with his ethereal shape, he had the advantage of traveling quickly wherever he wished. The Adept would not have desired to have his apprentice worry, but in the end, she couldn't help it. She rested her chin on the knuckles of her right hand as her eyes flickered over to Scion and Apollo.

While Scion looked straight ahead, most likely using his Force senses to observe their surroundings, Ronovi was surprised to see Apollo with his eyes closed, quietly meditating. She expected him to suddenly open his eyes as she looked at him, maybe add a snappy remark, but he said nothing. She felt no hostility from him...at least, not nearly as strong as she had felt so many hours ago. Or had it been days? She couldn't tell anymore.

Attempting to move back into her trance-like state, Ronovi was distracted by the captain's voice from the command chair. He had slowed down the AT-TE, on account of the platoon in front of them slowing down as well. She turned her head to see Apollo shifting out of his meditation, awaking slowly and methodically almost as if he were waking up from a nap.

"Got a target?" he asked the captain of the AT-TE, who grunted a affirmative.

"First observation post within the next kilometer, sixty degrees north of our location."

"What've you got?"

"1st Platoon is attempting to identify compound. We can already identify another post nearby, closely linked. We're waiting for our next orders."

Apollo smiled, and Ronovi knew he was thinking about engaging the enemy again. He had taken on a leader position earlier as if it were natural for him; he was a born military commander. She held her breath as the Quaestor caught her looking at him, but to her surprise, his reply was calm and almost gentle.

"Ready to lock and load again, Ronovi?" he asked.

Ronovi didn't know how to respond, instead nodding as the AT-TE slowly shuffled forward. He could hear the humming of the vehicle's communication transmission as the captain received orders. Then, turning his head to face those inside the vehicle, he said:

"Affirmative to engage the enemy. We're getting mostly commando droids and a few detections of Force-sensitives. Air forces are currently approaching the area as well."

"This'll be fun," Scion grinned, as the AT-TEs picked up speed and charged toward their target.


08-04-2009 05:12:20

The 3rd Platoon At-TE started to pick up speed. Everyone became aware that 1st platoon found the first observation post and everyone was ordered to assault the post. Severon started to sweat nervously at the sudden speed-up of the APC. The troopers started to lock and load their rifles and blasters, checking their armor to make sure they were in uniform and ready.

"Hey, you wouldn't happen to have any spare suits around?" asked Brimstone.

"Yes sir, we always keep spare pieces to replace damaged armor to keep the troops on the constant move" replied the corporal.

"Good." Brimstone looked over at Severon. "Sev, go grab yourself a uniform and slap it on. It will help you out some against the droids and protect you, understand?"

"Yeah!" replied Severon as he got up to go to the back.

"Sir shouldn't you use one too. I have seen you with a rifle and you would be a use with us" asked the corporal.

"I will be along side with you, but I rely on the Force to protect me and guide me and you to decimating the droids. Make sure you have your spare power packs and blasters ready" the chiss replied.

Telona was looking out the viewport behind the drivers watching 1st platoon in the lead. Brimstone mentally asked her if she could sense any jedi. Telona replied that she was unsure since they weren't close enough.

Brimstone pulled out his charric rifle and set the switch to kill and then looked at his charric blaster, checking its power cell. Severon came back with most of the uniform on, but it was uneasy for him being in a uniform like that. The corporal got up and helped him adjust the armor to fit more securely. Then they all took their place next to the side hatches, ready for deployment once they arrived.

"You got your saber right?" asked Brimstone.

"Umm, i couldn't find a spot on this to put it" Severon replied.

"Let me see it." Brimstone took Severon's lightsaber, seeing it didn't have a proper clip being an armory saber, he took off the hook and replaced it with a different, magnetic type one and handed it back. Severon placed it on his hip and it secured itself to the metal snaps on the utility belt. "There ya go. When we get done with this war, we gotta get you working soon hopefully to your own saber."

"That's if we live" replied the protector.

Brimstone smiled.


08-04-2009 17:15:45

Oberst and Anshar watched the progress of the Tarentum reinforced platoons and the small mobile holo-display. “First Alpha is branching off,” came the report through the small transmitter. “ETA for Alpha 2’s split is three minutes.”

“No resistance, so far,” commented Anshar.

“Either they threw all their forces to the front lines, or they’re waiting to spring a trap,” said Oberst. “Still, I’m getting the sense that these Jedi have something planned, something that the droids and these observation posts have nothing to do with.”

“It does seem strange,” agreed Anshar. “There is no Jedi fleet, yet the Vong ships were all dead.”

“And the size of the Vong invasion force would have been sufficient to destroy the droid army,” commented Oberst.

“I’ll be right back,” said Anshar. “I’m going to see what I can find out.” Oberst only nodded as Anshar left the holo-display. He did not have to go far, hailing down one of the few remaining Chariot Light Assault Vehicles used by the army commanders. “I need to contact the fleet.” The army commander begrudgingly acquiesced to the demand without protest. He was irritated, but with his forces having not yet encountered any enemies on their current route, so he could spare a brief moment for the Foxtrot-Uniform.

Anshar sat at the communications center, transmitting a priority message to the one ship in the fleet he knew the best, the Arcanum. A brief debate with the communication’s chief, whom Anshar did not recognize from his days as Headmaster, and Anshar soon found himself face to face with the current Headmaster, Aabsdu.

“I’m pretty busy, Anshar,” said Aabsdu. “Crask was throwing rocks at us not to long ago.”

“I don’t plan to take up a lot of your time, unless you want to stand around and say you’re pretty busy,” replied Anshar. “I’d be more than happy to trade positions with you.”

“As I recall, the last time the Academy fleet was in battle, you lost the flagship,” commented Aabsdu. To anyone overhearing the conversation, it might seem like the two were at each other’s throats most of the time. But, the two had worked together for some time, and they had developed a rapport. “Anyway, what can I do for you?”

“You were patched in with Sarin’s conversation with the Jedi, weren’t you?” Aabsdu nodded. “Good. Why don’t you tell me about it?” Aabsdu’s brow furrowed as he recalled the conversation.

“There wasn’t much said, to be honest. This Crask fellow said something about Sarin being a link in a chain, and needing to break the chain now so certain events would not come about,” said Aabsdu. “He threatened to make the battle for Antei similar to the battles between Kaan and Hoth.” Aabsdu paused. “Of course, we all know how that turned out.” This time it was Anshar’s turn to nod quietly in reply.

“Anything else you can tell me about him?” asked Anshar. Aabsdu shrugged.

“I really didn’t see that much,” he replied. “But, I’d bet Lyspair that, deep down, he’s your typical religious zealot. He’ll sacrifice everyone and everything around him to achieve his goal, but he’ll keep himself alive.”

“Alright,” said Anshar, knowing that Aabsdu knew nothing else. “Just remember, when this is all over, I’ll be coming back for my job.”

“I know,” replied the Headmaster. “Good luck.” The communication ended and Anshar got out of the Chariot. As he made his way back towards the holo-map, he couldn’t help but wonder just what the Jedi were up to. If killing the Brotherhood was all they sought to do, there was plenty of ways to do that. Anshar shuddered at the idea of a thought bomb, or a mass shadow generator being used. Supposedly, the knowledge of those things was long since gone, but then again, Skywalker was supposedly the leader of the Jedi and there were no other sects.

Specialized weaponry, Force inspired or not, was not the only way to go. Simple atomic bombs could get the job done just as effectively; whoever wasn’t killed in the blast was sure to die from the radiation. Biological and chemical weapons were another possibility. Anshar shook the thoughts from his head. They couldn’t do anything at this point. For now, the only thing they could do was to move ahead towards their objectives, and to beat the enemy to the punch. At the very least, Anshar was certain that the droids, the bases, and the observation posts were all part of one huge distraction, masking the real intentions of their masters. The question of what they hid bugged Anshar to no end.

As he approached the map, he heard the report of two of the observation posts being taken out already with minimal resistance. One was one of the air-space posts. The platoons were spread out now, continuing their trek towards their various targets, and to keep an eye out for any enemy forces.


08-04-2009 21:32:57

Southern slope of Mt. Ashfire – 1400 hours

“Target, bearing 030, range 800 meters; prepare to fire,” commanded Captain Zione Cole as he watched two STAPs come into visual range.

Within the AT-TE, The troopers of 1st Platoon, Bravo Company were ready to fight and die if it need be for the Iron Throne. Their leader, Lieutenant Raz Sholar was a veteran; even at the age of 25 he had seen many things and lost his share of men in battle. He made sure his men were ready, down to the lowest private, because in the heat of battle everyone must pull their weight or the entire platoon fails and that wasn’t an option.

The large armored transport had huddled down besides a large rock, letting the paint camouflage blend in with the surroundings; in the red and orange light of Mount Ashfire, it wasn’t hard for even a tank to visually hide its presence.

Looking into the targeting scope, the 1/12 Armor, Bravo Company commander held up his hand to give the signal for ready to his gunner. The large mass-driver cannon pointed through a firing sequence towards the STAPs as they approached closer.

“400 meters,” said the commander; he knew that he would need to take out both STAPs if the element of surprise to remain. Frosty looked out the portal, where he could see the dull shine of the STAPs as they quickly approached the AT-TE. In his mind he wished he were out there right now smashing droids with his large Dashade hands, but it wasn’t the time and he needed to leave the destruction to the captain for now.

Tension was visibly on the face of Captain Cole for a moment before he dropped his hand and said, “Fire.”

The side of the AT-TE lit up as its heavy frame shifted to one side as the large mass-driver cannon fired a round at the STAPs. In the distance an explosion shook the ground as the metallic shell connected with its target sending pieces of the droids flying through the air.

“Scratch two,” said the commander as he turned away from the targeting scope and sat back down. “Let's hope we can get to the deployment zone without any more surprises.”

“Nah, let's just hope the Observation posts didn’t see that explosion,” said Sato as he looked straight at the captain.

“Well, if they did, then it’s too late now and we need to keep moving. Corporal, move ahead slowly, if you please” said the Company Commander.

As the AT-TE started moving, Cole took a map out of his pocket and reviewed position report and figured out when his AT-TEs & APCs would arrive at the designated deployment zone.

“Looks like we’ll be at the DZ in an hour and forty minutes,” said Zione Cole.


Alpha Company, Eastern slope of Mt. Ashfire

Alpha Company of AT-TEs was moving at a good pace, they knew they were coming in range of three more Observation posts and the time was approaching where the Company would once again split and head toward their individual targets. Captain Travar Masaque went over a deployment strategy with the Platoon commanders through the commlinks in their armored vehicles.

“Gentlemen, I’ve received congratulations from Colonel Charr for having successfully taking down those two observation posts; ground observation post Bantha and the airspace observation post Carrion. Now its time hunt for more,” said the Alpha Company Commander.

“Lt. Pfihle, you will take your platoon towards the observation post marked Bubo and eliminate or capture that post.” said the Company commander.

“Yes sir,” verified the Platoon Commander.

“3rd Platoon, you are tasked with securing the observation post Mynock,” commanded Captain Masaque.

“Understood” replied back Lt. Olion.

“I will be leading 1st Platoon towards the airspace observation post Rasp,” said Masaque.

"Any questions, lieutenants?”

“No, sir,” replied the two other commanders.

"All right, then," said Masaque, "Deploy now."

The AT-TEs of the three independent Platoons turned off to intercept their next targets.


Southern slope of Mt. Ashfire – 1600 hours

“Go, go, go!” called out Lt. Sholar as he ordered his platoon out the back of the AT-TE. The men of 1st Platoon Bravo were ready to take down the observation post Wampa that was 4 clicks north of their position.

As the soldiers made ready, Vai was sitting inside the AT-TE even though it was like an oven; most of its power systems had been turned off to conserve power for the next phase of the operation. The Hunter had found time to close his eyes and meditate, something that had been hard for him to do since landing on the surface of Antei. The Firrereoan let the Force pass through him as they strengthen his connection to the force and he thought about events, times and places he had been in his life. The moments brought his mind peace and a clear thought process.

“Sir, Colonel Sato has asked for you,” said Sergeant Ratec, leader of the 2nd Squad. Vai stirred in his meditation but didn’t open his eyes.
“Sir," said the Squad Leader again. The Jedi Hunter opened his eyes; they were black as the Antei sky and were filled with malice.

“How dare you disturb me while I am meditating. Do you know how hard it is to meditate in the middle of war?” said Vai with conviction in his voice and anger in each syllable.

“Not my call, sir. I have my orders” replied the human sergeant, before he turned and exited the door of the AT-TE.

Wearing a suit of Kraytskin armor he had acquired from the soldiers, Vai exited the AT-TE and headed toward his master who standing on a ridge in the distance.

“You summoned me, Sato?” asked Vai with a grin upon his face that was hidden by the armored helmet.

Sato pointed down into a deep ravine. He couldn’t make out anything at first, but when Vai let the force enhance his vision he saw the remains of several Vong soldiers rotting. The initial sight brought a smile to Vai, but then he began to think of what could have happened to them and what he and the rest of the Brotherhood would face if a similar weapon were unleashed against them.

Sato turned and looked at Vai. “I wish Bloodfyre was here to gather samples so we knew what happened to them.”

Knowing that he wasn’t alone in his thinking, Vai nodded his head at Sato and said, “Me too.”

Lt. Sholar approached the two foxtrot-uniforms from behind, “Sirs, it's time, my men are ready to storm the observation posts with your support.”

Sato turned from the ravine and faced the officer, his robes blowing is the hot winds, as he replied. “Very well commander, lets go.”

The officer saluted and went back toward his men. “Form up, men,” said the Platoon Commander, “Okay, we all know why we are here...the out post must be taken out at all costs. You all know your duty and I don’t need to go over it. Move out!"

The Platoon began to move out, splitting into two columns with a foxtrot-uniform on point. Frosty went with column one and Sato with column two. Vai took up a position with the troopers of the second column with his rifle in his hands, ready to pick-off any droids that got in its sight.

Severon V

09-04-2009 13:55:46

Telona, Brimstone, Severon, and the rest of 3rd Platoon, continued on towards their assigned target. Their AT-TE continued on at its fast pace bringing the Tarenti and commandos closer to the inevitable battle. Severon knew that compared to what he had experienced at the batteries, this would be rough. He shifted in the uniform, still uncomfortable without the familiar lightness of his robes. He had hoped to have been able to wear his cloak, but knew that Brimstone’s advice would come in handy.

3rd Platoon’s AT-TE soon came within sight of their assigned target post. As the AT-TE slowed, Severon’s heart jumped into his throat. Brimstone noticed the protector’s nervousness and said, “You need to calm down.”

“I trying,” Severon managed to get out. Severon’s hands rolled into fists as his anticipation soared. He could see the post and was ready to fight. Behind him, the commandos fiddled with their weapons, running again though the thorough check that they had been drilled through during training. As the AT-TE slowed to a stop and Telona rose to give orders, all the protector was thinking was, “This will be one hell of a battle!”


09-04-2009 15:37:12

The atmosphere was split open with AT-TE gunfire as the 2nd Platoon touched on the border of the observation post marked Bubo. Ronovi remained fast in her seat, her hands gripping the armrests as she could already smell the thick smoke from outside the walker. Outside, she could sense whatever set-up had been made being torn about, though not completely obliterated. Her chest rose and fell steadily, waiting for the hatch beside them to open so the soldiers could begin the official siege.

The first strike did not last long, and Lt. Pfihle directed the men to form up as the hatch slammed open, the red haze of air from outside enveloping their senses as they moved out of the back of the AT-TE. The three Dark Jedi were the last to exit, moving slowly compared to the insect-like scurrying of the soldiers and they moved into position. Ronovi watched as the small post glowed with an orange hue as some of its makeshift "watchtowers" blazed from the AT-TE's gunfire, but already she could detect that enough droids were still around to put up a decent fight.

Snatching her lightsaber from her side, Ronovi kept it deactivated as she, Scion, and Apollo approached the frontlines as the soldiers keep their guns at the ready, waiting for the platoon commander's orders. As the twisted silhouettes of battle droids thumped into view, only one word was spoken:


Ronovi could feel her heart attempt to escape its cage, but she did not let the others see her mix of fear and excitement as the red-hot blaster bolts erupted from both sides. She cursed herself for leaving her rifle behind at the set-up command centre, having lent it to her apprentice; all thoughts of Jaron's well-being slipped from her, however, as she saw Apollo and Scion moving toward their ally's flank. She felt like there was nothing she could do but follow.

"When the first major round of fire slows down, we cut into the droids from an angle," Apollo was saying to Scion as Ronovi approached them. They, too, had their lightsabers in their hands, though deactivated just like Ronovi's. "Think of it as our own little counterstrike."

"So we're going to be the heroes, aren't we?" Ronovi cut in, though she attempted to make her statement jokingly.

Apollo watched her calmly, and without any coldness in his tone but instead genuine honesty, claimed, "Heroes die, remember?"

So anti-hero it is, Ronovi thought as the three Dark Jedi moved to a position where they were concealed by the shadows of Antei, with the distant glow of Mt. Ashfire only lighting up their faces from time to time. When the right time came, they would emerge from their red and black hideout with the smell of death on their robes.


Oberst was impressed as he continued to look at the holo-map. Two other posts had been taken out, albeit with more resistance than the previous two. If the posts, after all, were all overlapping, the amount of time to engage them was cut, making this a rapid-fire kind of mission.

Still, the Marshal kept his previous suspicions up as he monitored each platoon, seeing that the 2nd platoon was now engaged at post Bubo. His belief that there was more to this little rendezvous to observation posts stayed strong; after all, it wasn't logical to have observation near the back of the entire battlefield, rather than toward the actual main frontlines.

With one eye on Anshar, he asked one simple question: "So?"

Anshar was silent before speaking. "How possible would you think it'd be for these Jedi to have some secret weapon against us?"

"What kind of secret weapon are we talking about? The thought bomb kind or the simple military strategy kind?"

"Both. All of them," replied the Consul. "Aabsdu said that Crask thought Sarin was part of a chain that needed to be broken, and that he was threatening a battle as epic as the kind that occurred thousands of years ago."

"So this little Jedi sect may have more tricks than we think," said Oberst. "And I can safely say I'm not surprised. These are not Skywalker's followers, Anshar. These are a different kind of Jedi."

"Something about it all is a bit disorienting, if you ask me," said Anshar. "I mean, their leader seems to have powers that weren't just taught by the Jedi Order, from what I can gather from my conversation with Aabsdu."

Oberst didn't think about those kind of surprises; if Crask was actually a little dancing demon, he couldn't care less, so long as the little dancing demon was taken care of. Looking at Anshar, the Proconsul couldn't help but notice that his fellow Clan Summit was already a bit disoriented. The way Anshar was holding himself was different than before, as if with each word he spoke, he was resigning himself to some sort of fate. One didn't need a good set of Force senses to figure that one out.

On the holo-map, Oberst could see that the 3rd Platoon had engaged against the observation post Mynock. He smiled at the idea of each post being broken down like earth, crumbling away, if only to see the real motive behind the fortifications.


10-04-2009 06:05:51

3rd platoon open fire on outpost Mynock. The AT-TE open fire first, then Telona, Brimstone, Severon, and the soldiers hurried out of the APC to help with the assault. Droids on ground and on STAPs were attacking back in force.

Brimstone with his charric rifle, took cover behind one of the rocks and open fire, hitting each droid with precision. Other soldiers followed his lead and continued to use boulders as protection for their assault. Severon and Telona were together with their lightsabers out, deflecting incoming fire with a squad behind them as they went up the right side of the outpost with Brimstone and his squad taking the left. The third squad was taking up the middle with the AT-TE firing from behind them into the outpost itself, trying to level it.

The assault seemed to go on forever. Luckily for 3rd Platoon, they weren't taking any damages and the AT-TE was holding its own. It continued to pour in the firepower into the building as it was crumbling. Droids kept coming out, hell bent on what appeared as a suicide mission just to get away from the outpost.

As Telona and Severon were engaged, Severon asked if she could sense any jedi. Telona reassured him that she felt no presence of force-sensitives, but that something just didn't feel right with the way the droids were just allowing them to be easily killed.

Brimstone's rifle power supply finally gave out, a drawback at using it on full kill mode. Tossing it aside, he pulled out his lightsaber and suggested the squad follow his lead. The formed behind him in a wedge pattern and Brimstone took the lead, deflecting incoming blaster shots as his men continued to pick off the droid stragglers.

It took them an hour to finally reach the outpost and search and destroy the remaining droids. No humanoids or jedi were found among the rubble or corpses. The AT-TE made its way up to the south landing zone and turned away to face any possible retaliatory strikes.

“This was too easy” suggested Brimstone to Telona. “There should have been more of a force or a longer standoff for such a secured location.”

“I was feeling the same thing” Telona relied.”Brimstone, you and Severon go with the squad and search for any underground shelters. We will secure up here and look for any data that we can secure for information.”

“Roger that” said Severon and Brimstone in unison. The both looked at each other and smiled. “Jinx, you owe me a correlian ale” retorted Severon.

As they searched for any underground bunkers, they happened to find one that was blown open and had debris on it. Using the Force, both of the dark jedi lifted and moved the debris away. The squad leader took the point and entered first, followed by a few others then the two tarentai and the rest of the squad. The made their way through chambers where they encountered a few droids and toke them out. They finally made it to a final room and killed four more droids. As Brimstone began to look, he noticed a flashing light on the console.

“What is that?” asked Severon.

“I don't know, Sergeant, can you tap into this and see what it is. Maybe the last droids tried to send out a transmission of our attack” replied Brimstone.

The sergeant yanked open the cover to the droid jack and proceeded to hot wire to gain access. Soon the monitors turned themselves back on and a countdown on the screen showed 1 minute 17 seconds.

“Oh Kriffen, its on self-destruct. This place is going to blow” yelled the sergeant.

“EVERYBODY RUN!” yelled Brimstone as he yanked out a comm link and started to run. “TELONA? TELONA? DO YOU HEAR ME?”

Telona replied back. “Yeah what's going on? We got red lights going on out here.”

“It's a trap. There is a self-destruct. We got less than a minute to get out.”

“Telona stood in shock then yelled at her troops. “FALL BACK. IT IS A TRAP!”

They all took off as fast as they could to get out of there. The AT-TE started moving away with its hatch opened as some of the troops dived in for cover. Telona made sure her troops got out and with a burst of speed, made a run for it.

Brimstone and Severon and their squad made it out of the shelter. As they were running, Brimstone felt a sudden surge in the Force behind him and lashed out at his squad and Severon, using the force to throw them to the side and out of harms way.


The place lit up like a fireworks show, sending Brimstone hurtling in the air. The outpost exploded and sent chunks of metal and debris flying in all locations. Brimstone landed awkwardly and if it wasn't for the fact that the explosion knocked him out, he would have died on impact, instead his limp body just was flung like a rag doll and he hit the ground hard.

After the debris finally stop raining down on them, Telona ordered the troops to find any survivors that didn't make it out. Severon ran up to her, with a limp from being hurled by Brimstone's Force push.

“Mistress Telona, Brimstone was still in there. He used the force to push us out of the way from the blast.”

“Sith-Spit! Everyone, pan out and look for Brimstone” yelled Telona.

It didn't take long for a trooper to find the chiss. He was unconscious and bleeding from his head and had a large piece of shrapnel in his right thigh. The soldier applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding around the wound and commed Telona that a medic was needed.

Telona and Severon came over quickly and Telona immediate accessed the situation. She then got on the comm and called for an evacuation ship. Then she went to work, using her healing powers to slow the bleeding and induced Brimstone into a coma.

“Is he going to live?” asked Severon.

“He will survive as long as the transport gets here” she replied. “You will now get on hand experience learning on how to heal and stop the flow of blood.”

Both of them laid their hands on Brimstone and concentrated on controlling the flow of blood loss.


Oberst watched the holo-map and suddenly saw the explosion of outpost Mynock. He looked over at Anshar as the both had a sudden chill along their spines

“Did I just see what happened?” spoke Anshar.

“It looks like the jedi set the outposts to self-destruct. I don't know how many we lost with 3rd Platoon, but we need to get another platoon over there immediately and along with medivacs for the injured if they survived” replied Oberst. "I don't want any more of our force-users being captured and converted to the jedi's moronic and radical cause."

A lieutenant came running up on them and stopped and held a salute, waiting for return. Oberst gave a salute back. “What's the report?” he asked

“Sir, 3rd platoon has called in for a immediate medivac. A few troopers and a Foxtrot-Uniform of ours was severely injured from the explosion. They report that the outpost was rigged with a self-destruct” reported Lt. Shorkange.

“Did they say who was the injured jedi was?” asked Anshar.

“No sir. Telona I believe was who called it in and said to hurry or he will die on the scene” replied the Lieutenant.

"Alert the other platoons to keep an eye out for other bombs at the other outposts" commanded Oberst.

"Yes Sir!" the Lieutenant replied as he snapped a salute.

Severon V

10-04-2009 18:13:30

Severon concentrated hard on healing Brimstone and stopping the blood flow. He could feel Telona also pulsing, trying to get the blood to stop. Severon knew in the back of his mind that if he stopped and looked at Brimstone, no matter how hard he tried, he would cry over his comrade’s form. So he kept his eyes closed, and the force concentrated.

Only a few moments later, the protector and the Adept heard the roar of the medical dropship landing. The commandos around them rushed to get the others aboard. Telona communicated to Severon through the force, “Can you hold him stable while I get things orchestrated here?”

“I can try mistress.”

“No you cannot try, you must. If you can’t then you need to help the team.”

“I can do it.”

“I’m counting on you Severon.”

“I won’t let you down.”

Telona stopped concentrating on Brimstone and rushed to help the med crew get all of their gear out to operate. Severon continued to hold back the bleeding but tears started to fall. He knew he was breaking down, but he held on. He held on for his ally, his friend. Telona and the med team rushed over and the Adept knelt beside Severon. “The crew is here now protector, you can stop.”

“I don’t want to. I don’t want to let go.”

“Severon, you’ve only known him for less than a month. I appreciate your willingness but you have to let the med team do their job. He won’t servive if you don’t.”

“Alright. But I won’t like it.”

Severon let up on his concentration and then broke down completely. Telona just comforted him for and while, and the commandos shook their heads. Telona knew that the war affected some people strongly, and she understood what the protector was going through. He was young and while he had tasted some battle as a bounty hunter, it was never like this.


11-04-2009 04:16:24

Outpost Bubo

The heat of the battle was actually physically noticeable to Ronovi as she stayed in her hiding spot with Apollo and Scion beside her. The DC soldiers were putting up a good fight against the droids; they were obviously well trained, their faces stoic even though most likely they were screaming mentally as they were swallowed in the rank smoke from the blaster fire. Yet even as the platoon was adequate in defense, they were being pushed by the multitudes of battle droids as the mechanical beasts attempted to obliterate them. The troops were slowly, but surely, falling back, moving slightly left of the three Dark Jedi at a sharp angle.

To Ronovi's surprise, she began to think strategically, and she knew that Scion and Apollo were already doing the same; after all, they hadn't been members of the Emperor's Hammer for nothing. With the troops at an angle left of where the three were situated, the droids' backs would be turned on them as they were toward the right of the field. And considering they had moved uphill, a downward strike on a force angled away from them was an easy target.

Observing the area of the post around her, Ronovi could see that a gun emplacement was nearby, already dealing a good amount of damage to the platoon as it was armed by a single battle droid. She turned her head to see the Gladius Quaestor reach into his robes and extract from them three thermal detonators, one of which he handed to Scion and another to Ronovi.

"All right, when we get close enough, lob these at the droids. Once we're able to rip a good chunk of them apart, Scion, you and I will go engage them head-on," Apollo commanded. Scion nodded in reply, his grip on his saber firm as Ronovi speculated he most likely was eager to use it again. Before she could say anything about her role already, Apollo was looking at her.

"Ronovi, I'm giving you the task of manning that heavy repeating blaster over there. It'll be good to get some gunfire from the rear."

"You're kidding. You're counting on me to take down these guys with that?"

"Trust me, I'm sure you'll enjoy it," Apollo said, smirking. "Just put what you learned in marksmanship to the test."

The smoke was rising higher above their heads as the troops were being pushed back. Ronovi could count the seconds before they moved, her mouth dry as she clutched the detonator. Three. Two. One.

"Now!" Apollo ordered as he leapt from the three's hiding spot, letting the detonator fly from his hand.

With Scion and Ronovi following suit, the three watched as the explosives erupted into a glaring swirl of flames as they ate away at the droids. If mechanical beings could feel shock, they would have, as some reeled about before collapsing to the ground in a tornado of ash, sparks, and fire. The platoon intercepted the opportunity quickly, as Scion and Apollo let the blades of their sabers spring to life as they leapt into the fray.

"Ronovi, get to that gun!" Apollo shouted just before he disappeared into the mess of scattered droids as they attempted to go back into formation.

"Yes, sir!" Ronovi called, much to her surprise; she had never she would call a man who had recently clubbed her over the head "sir."

Nonetheless, the Epicanthix moved with undeniable speed as she broke away from the main battle, moving to where the droid sprayed blaster fire onto the soldiers from the fixed heavy blaster. She attempted to approach stealthily, moving from the side before sprinting toward the droid. It had little time to respond, turning the blaster just enough to have a few bolts rebound from the yellow blade of Ronovi's lightsaber before she rolled to the side just behind the gun emplacement. With one swift movement her saber, she removed the droid's legs before rising over its mangled body and splitting it in half with a definite slash.

It had been too easy, but one droid was one droid as Ronovi seized control of the gun. As she made the first shots, she felt a sudden recoil to it that just made her adrenaline reach a peak it had possibly never reached before. With all her rage bubbling within her, she let out a loud roar, half out of fury and half out of sheer delight at the slaughter, as she pumped definite bolts of energy into the enemy forces. She could already sense Apollo's response to her wildness, most likely one of "Really? Are you really that into it?" but all she could do was ignore it as she also became part of the machine she was operating, marking each target and taking it down with a rapid-fire stream of blaster bolts.

Nearby, Apollo and Scion were doing their job, cutting into each droid while dodging gunfire from both sides. Apollo moved with power, bringing down one droid through beheading while gutting another with his saber. Scion moved more slowly, but his aggression was still there although subdued. Together, they made an incredible duo, the Force channeled between them surging at their enemies and throwing them back before the Quaestor and Aedile went in for the kill. They were, after all, from the House of the Sword; it was natural for them to be masters of the blade in battle.

And just as this maelstrom of fighting had begun, it died down just as any storm would to a meager zephyr. With the metal carcasses of the droids strewn about their makeshift buildings that still smoldered with flames, one squad of soldiers that had not met Oblivion moved quickly to secure the area. Ronovi left the fixed gun smoking behind her as she approached Scion and Apollo, both not even looking miffed though their chests rose and fall with heavy breaths as they steadied themselves.

"Had a good time?" Ronovi asked as she faced her two fellow Tarenti, and they looked at her with some satisfaction, albeit some weariness, on their faces.

"If we're lucky, the next post we take on won't be so rough," Apollo said as he saw one soldier approach them and Lieutenant Pfithle, who was nursing a bloodied arm as he too walked up to the trio. "What, got any news?"

"The area is secure, sir. We've also just received a transmission updating us on everything else."

"What's the status of the others?" asked Pfithle.

"Well, it looks like Alpha Company, 1st Platoon has secured outpost Rasp. 3rd Platoon attempted to pass Mynock, but they've suffered casualties."

"What? How?"

"High explosive detonated in its core. Several were wounded."

"Sounds like a bail-out method for the Jedi," muttered Ronovi. "Are they really getting that desperate?"

"It's serious nonetheless. I'd recommend an inspection of this post just to be sure it isn't rigged with anything that could blow us sky high," said Apollo, looking at Pfithle who nodded in agreement.

"We'll have our squad secure all parts of the post just to be sure. In the meantime, the rest of our platoon should be moving on to our next assignment. I'm sure Masaque will have our next orders."

"Good, so now we'll just have to -"

Apollo was cut off as the ground suddenly kicked from shells showering upon them from overhead. Ronovi yelped as she moved out of the way from the spray of mortar, watching Scion drag himself from the fire as well. As soldiers reacted wildly to the attack, moving into defensive positions again, the attack ended just as quickly as it had started, and Pfithle emerged with his face slightly bloodied.

"All right, that's enough! Looks like we've got company from a post just one kilometer away from us."

"What was that? Did they shoot mortar at us?" Ronovi demanded as she rose shakily to her feet. Scion seemed unharmed, and Ronovi too had avoided the shells, but she heard a faint cough as the Quaestor staggered into view.

"From the looks of it, they're planning to take a bite out of us first before we strike," uttered Apollo as he stumbled slightly as he walked.

Ronovi's eyes widened at the sight of the Archpriest; he had not been so lucky in avoiding the mortar shrapnel, as it had torn a good part out of his left arm as well as embedded itself into his ear. While not incredibly deep wounds, they bleeded a good amount as Apollo attempted to steady himself as Scion approached.

"Apollo, did you need medical attention?" he asked, and Ronovi was amazed and a bit confused by how calm the Aedile was. Can't you see the guy's bleeding? Help him?

"It's nothing," Apollo wheezed, grinning despite the obvious pain. "Nothing I can't manage." Then, turning to Pfithle, he said, "Judging from this, we've got no choice; we're taking out that post."

"I intend to do just that," Pfithle growled as with a sudden barking of orders he directed the troops into formation again as some of them disappeared back into the AT-TE walker.

As Scion and Ronovi moved beside Apollo, Ronovi watched as Scion looked at Apollo's wounds and still spoke with great casualness to his Quaestor. To the Obelisk's surprise, she had actually been concerned rather than reveling in the man's misfortunes; she at least expected to be indifferent to them. Nonetheless, this was a strange feeling, but she put it in the back of her mind as they moved into the AT-TE where Apollo would simply bandage his wounds. A leader was obligated to this sort of thing, after all.

With the 2nd Platoon moving toward what appeared to be one of two remaining observation posts - not including post Wampa, which was being overtaken steadily by Bravo Company, 1st Platoon - it seemed as if this specific operation was nearly complete. Still, Tarentum's share of casualties was rising, as more speculation to how things were set-up continued with higher-up officials. People would feel the effects of this war, even if they made it out alive.


11-04-2009 21:32:14

“Given time, I will free myself, even if I must remove my own arm.”

Tuar’s words echoed in his mind as he clambered out of the cave, his lightsaber clutched in his one remaining hand. Crushed beneath the rocks, his robotic arm remained behind. He would replace it when this was all over, but for now, Tuar had only one goal in mind: he would find and defeat his previous opponent. Nothing else mattered to him at this point; Master Crask had often said that Tuar’s single-mindedness could cloud his judgment, but he didn’t care. Tuar’s purpose in life was not to get caught in the big picture. He dealt with the here and now, directly with the heretics and infidels. As Tuar made his way across the broken landscape, with pieces of metal from the crashed bomber, he heard the whine of an approaching speeder of some sort. He ignited his orange lightsaber to draw attention to himself. Sure enough, a skiff soon pulled up. The soldiers of the Iron Throne looked at Tuar with suspicion, and weapons were already levied at him from the pilot and his gunner.

“Relax, comrades,” he said turning off his lightsaber and using the Force to add to his influence. “I merely seek to rejoin my clan. They must have thought I was dead.”

“What clan is that?” asked the pilot.

“Plagueis,” replied Tuar, recalling the first clan he had engaged, and where he had converted at least one young member.

“Can’t really help you there,” said the pilot. “We’re heading to Mount Ashfire to help Tarentum set up a fire base.”

“That will be fine,” said Tuar. “I can join them for now, and link back up with my clan later. All that matters is that we retake what is ours, right?”

“If you say so,” replied the pilot. Though he had heard that the clans sometimes fought each other, he brushed the thought away. He had more important things to attend to. “Fine, hop on.” Tuar grinned and leapt up on the skiff with only a slight aid from the Force. As the skiff picked up speed, Tuar recalled something that Master Skywalker had once relayed to him, supposedly a lesson from the great Obi-wan Kenobi: "The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded." Whether or not Kenobi had ever said it did not make it any less true.

* * *

Something, actually two things , did not sit well with Anshar. One was far more personal, and not something that the members of the clan needed to worry about at this time. The other was the relative ease with which the observation posts were being taken out. To be sure, the droids had put up a fight, and at least one had been booby trapped to ensure maximum damage against the attackers. There were casualties, but not nearly as many as there could have been had there been effective defenses for the observation posts. Anshar could only wonder what was awaiting them in the prison. Even if the clan was not headed there, and the orders had not yet come down for that, there was little doubt the Jedi could be hiding in there, ready to pounce at the most opportune time.

“The final observation posts have fallen,” came the report to Oberst, shaking Anshar out of his thoughts.

“And the construction on the firebases?” asked Oberst.

“Proceeding well,” came the reply. “We’re awaiting the final delivery of parts for base three, but they should be here any minute. The original parts were destroyed.” As if on cue, the skiff appeared on the scanner. Suddenly, from the direction of the skiff, there was a crash, and its pulse locator kicked on, indicating it was damaged, and not moving.

“Send a squad to investigate!” ordered the Iron Throne ground commander.

“I’ll go with them,” said Anshar. “Something isn’t right.” In quick order, the six man squad set out with the Krath Master in tow. Oberst watched as Anshar walked away, as if he was walking towards some momentous. All Oberst could do was scowl. Now was not the time for the Consul to grow contemplative; that should be done before and after the war, but never during.

* * *
Tuar watched from behind the outcropping as the six soldiers of the Iron Throne army combed through the wreckage. Their compatriots were already dead, and the equipment was strewn across the land. But what caught Tuar’s attention most was the appearance of Anshar, his previous opponent. He had expected he would need to do more to draw him out. The Force smiled on Tuar again.

Without a sound, for Tuar never understood battle cries, Tuar leapt from his perch, lashing out at the nearest soldier, decapitating him with his orange blade. He then threw his lightsaber in a wide arc, guiding it with the Force, and catching three more soldiers with it. Running to meet it halfway through its trajectory, Tuar caught the weapon in time to deflect a hastily fired blaster bolt into another soldier. The final soldier tried to fire again, but Tuar was upon him in a flash, driving his blade through the heart. He then turned to face Anshar.
“I told you I would free myself,” he said. Without further word, he attacked, his orange blade meeting with Anshar’s lone purple blade.


12-04-2009 00:47:53

Codei Prison. An inferno of all infernos for those who angered the Brotherhood. Its tales perhaps were more garish and disturbingly grandiose than its own structure, albeit it was already fairly new compared to the other architecture that pierced the lands of Antei. It had its own share of horrors: Torture methods contrived only by madmen, but simultaneously geniuses. Researches conducted to make the "finest" of mutations. Experiments. Probing. All perfect symbols of the sort of ambition the Dark Jedi had.

What the Jedi could want with it was either nothing or everything; if there were any survivors, they could pose a threat if they had been one of the many specimen that were left behind. The Jedi may have wished to use such torture victims and prisoners against the Brotherhood, and that was a threat to be pondered. Nonetheless, with Antei deserted for so long, it was difficult to say if the energy fields that had once defended the demonic prison still held against the flames that spewed from Mt. Ashfire like dragon's breath. Still, if orders had been given, it had to be there, and perhaps defended by some sort of garrison if anything. How many troops would be guarding it, some couldn't even hypothesize; it all came down to the prison's possible significance in the entire crimson fabric of this war.

Even with troops perhaps being minimal around the prison, the forces that Tarentum led were already stretching thin; despite the simplicity of overtaking the observation posts, casualties were multiple, and those not deft enough in defense or the Force now lay with their bodies slowly being swallowed up the shadows that hung around Adas like a heavy curtain. But those who remained were steadfast in every resolve to finish things. If anything, Codei Prison was the final frontier, the last hurdle before this large obstacle course could be completed.

In one observation post that now lay decadent against the body strewn field, Ronovi, Apollo, and Scion paced about the area, moving about the maze of scattered limbs and droid parts that led its own distorted path back to those who had survived. Lt. Pfithle of the 2nd Platoon had already been dealt some of the worst of injuries, his right ear completely gone as well as most of his right hand, his flesh burnt and charred as if it had been cooked. Apollo had bandaged up easily from the first mortar strike, and he had been easily been able to avoid the rest; Scion and Ronovi had their own share of injuries, as Ronovi cupped her chin while blood from her jawline trickled from where a decently sized chunk of shrapnel had hit her as she intercepted the enemy.

Pfithle paid no attention to his wounds, and neither did the Dark Jedi; they were accustomed to it by now, having been soldiers or warriors in one way or another. War, to many, was not new, but rather a newly paved way for them to see what else they could escape from at least partially intact. The lieutenant commander of the platoon held a comlink in his left hand, listening to the crackle of his higher-up's voice as it repeated orders given from the Marshall. The prison was an open target; the firebase would serve as adequate defense should the Dark Jedi intercept their target, with the base itself providing artillery support for the troops.

"We've been ordered to group up with the remaining platoons and direct our attention to the prison itself," said Pfithle. "All of Tarentum and the Iron Throne troops will assemble at proper points around Mt. Ashfire, in good proximity from the firebase and enough proximity so the volcano proves the least of threats. There, they will wait for orders from the Marshall to commence the infiltration of the facility."

"We won't necessarily be able to avoid that thing's wrath, it's good to have some staging ground," Apollo replied, but Ronovi could sense he was in agreement with the strategy laid out. "Will a squad be left behind here as with the other post?"

"We'll try to keep the men here as minimal as possible. We need every soldier we can offer."

"Excellent. So this is all-out raid, then."

"I wouldn't hope for anything less," Pfithle said, and Apollo smiled. Military leaders desired no limits.

As the remaining men of the Alpha Company 2nd Platoon reassembled, Ronovi extended her senses around her, letting her Force vision attempt to pierce the darkness. If not anything else, she could sense movement; the rest of her clan was already setting out, their forces never slowing as they approached their designated starting point. Those air forces that remained were also moving steadily, concealed as they drifted through the atmosphere, standing by, however, as bombardment was not an option. This was no race, but Ronovi felt the urge to run even as she slipped back into the AT-TE with Apollo and Scion behind her. Besides, even with the silhouette of Mt. Ashfire and Codei in front of the forces, Ronovi knew that only when Oberst gave the word would they pierce whatever garrison or body of troops surrounded the prison.

Tarentum was already feeling the effects of this war, and how they would emerge from it was unclear. Those unworthy of Lord Khyron's rescue still lay in the ruins of their own failed victories, and those who had seen mercy still would most likely not be a part of this fight. Ronovi was grateful to be there to the end as she let Scion clean her face wound with water from a flask, and she knew she had her own trophies to take away with her if she survived. This was the final stretch, and she would be there for it even if fate did not allow her to return to Yridia.


Oberst would not go with the troops first thing. It had been his way many times to be at the frontlines, clearing many of the enemy away before other soldiers had the chance. However, the Marshall's focus was elsewhere, in the direction of where Anshar had disappeared with the six men from the Iron Throne. He did not believe they would provide good defense for any peril bigger than a droid strike, and even if the Consul was a strong warrior, he, too, could be in danger.

He had sensed the disorientation in Anshar, the motives cloaked behind the Krath Master's stern brow. Even if the Proconsul could not begin to fathom Anshar's own reasonings for what he did or what he expected, there was still the aura of disorientation that he had given off. That could never be avoided, Dark Jedi or not; any other person, however, would have just said he was distracted by the effects of the war. But this was not just war that touched on Anshar. Oberst knew there was more, much more. Of what, he could not say.

He had never been a strong believer in Force reliance, but Oberst allowed his Force senses to settle where Anshar could possibly be. The returning feeling he got was chaos. He had given out his orders; now Oberst would have to deal with bigger things. With his uniform cold with perspiration, the Marshal moved briskly across the Adas landscape away from the previous base set-up near Ervix; even with his bulk, he moved as any Sith would, stealthily and with malice that was heavy in delivery but light in travel.

As he closed in, Oberst could already detect that Anshar was not alone. The effects of fighting could weigh heavily on one's senses, and even without the Force, they could imagine it happening close by. Oberst picked up his speed, his hand brushing across his baton that served as the hilt of his lightsaber. He thought of nothing less than finding the Consul and dealing a beautiful blow to whatever enemy lay in his wake.


14-04-2009 01:32:49

With the same speed and tenacity with which he took out the soldiers, Tuar leapt at Anshar, skillfully brandishing his blade. The blades clashed, ricocheting off each other with ever increasing speed as the two danced over the field, side stepping bodies and blasters. However, as before, Anshar found himself at the disadvantage; Tuar gave no pause in the battle, and Anshar was already weakening with each blow. He could feel his spirit tugging more and more violently. Yet, he had no choice. If he was to gain an advantage, or even make things more equal, he had to resort to the Force.

Anshar leapt back from a strike, using the Force to propel himself backwards and through the air about two feet off the ground. As his long controlled fall continued, Anshar stretched out his hand and let loose a torrent of lightning. Or, at least, it should have been a torrent. A physically and mentally painful ‘snap’ let only a short burst of lightning fly out. As his feet touched the ground, Anshar’s attempt to control his landing failed utterly, and he bounced and rolled to a stop. Tuar, who had easily avoided the misfired lightning, was on Anshar in an instant, slashing downward, and having his blade blocked barely in time. With all the strength he could muster, Anshar pushed Tuar back and rolled to his feet. Standing up, Anshar felt disoriented and his vision seemed to become very distant, as if he were travelling backwards through a telescope. It was a slow process, but it felt very familiar to Anshar. He had been through it once before, though far more violently than this time.

“Do you see now what the Dark Side brings?” asked Tuar. “You grow weaker no matter how much knowledge you have obtained. It is truly a pity, for had you come with me earlier, I could have saved you.”

Anshar could barely hear Tuar, and what little he could hear made little sense to him. Tuar’s preaching had never meant anything to begin with, and now it meant that much less.
In his hazy, blurred, and decreasing vision, Anshar saw the orange blade come at him. Whether through instinct or with his last willful movement of his body, Anshar raised his purple blade to counter the blow, but Tuar easily swatted it out of the way before driving his lightsaber through Anshar’s solar plexus. Anshar’s body reacted to the blow as a puppet without strings, collapsing. The body fell to the ground, defeated, with the now deactivated lightsaber in hand. But the spirit remained alive, and free from the confines of a body.

As Anshar’s spirit tried to orient itself in its restored status of quasi-living, one thought came to mind: Talitha had been right.


14-04-2009 03:43:05

Oberst heard the clashing of sabers ahead. As he drew closer, the familiar whiz and hum, became distinct. The smell of ozone assaulted his nostrils, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up as the air around became charged with electricity. His booted foot found traction on the rocky, blasted terrain of Antei. The baton in his hand grew heavy in anticipation. The sound of fighting drew closer as he circled around a large boulder jutting from the ground.

He noticed the scorched vehicles, the broken bodies, the smell of burning plastics and rubber. All of it served as fresh landmarks on the battlefield of a barren waste. The smell of iron and blood, charred flesh, the sound of sabers clashing served to drive him forward with determination.

Oberst turned the corner and saw. The orange blade of the Jedi pierced Anshar’s abdominal cavity, slicing through flesh and bone and sinew with the ease of a knife through soft butter. He watched a Prince of the Realm go down, and he saw red. Reaching out with the Force in one slick movement, a blaster flew into his outstretched hand. In the next moment, a single shot from the blaster buried itself in the back of the Jedi’s head. The one armed Jedi jerked forward, before starting his descent down to the ground. Oberst moved forward, blaster outstretched, firing at the fallen body as he closed the distance.

The blaster was discarded as Oberst moved forward. With an easy motion, he pulled a communicator out of his belt and spoke, “I need a medical evacuation immediately on my position. Human male down, cauterized lacerations to the abdominal cavity.” Oberst kneeled next to Anshar’s body, “Patient is not breathing and is non-responsive.”

* * * * *

The ambulance sped off, as Oberst rattled instructions into his communicator, “I want a shuttle awaiting us for immediate evac. I need a trauma team on that shuttle and a trauma surgeon.” One of the field medics applied compression as Oberst ran an IV line into Anshar’s arm.

“Evac is on the way, Marshal,” a voice on the other end of the communicator responded, “ETA is 20 minutes, with trauma team.”

Oberst shifted his bulk in the ambulance searching for a syringe and epinephrine to administer through the mainline, “Understood! Marshal out!”

* * * * *

Oberst stared curiously at the lightsaber in his hand. Not his, but Anshar’s. The shuttle had departed already for the Magnus Kaerner. The trauma team briefed, and already working on the Consul as it took off.

His gaze strayed upwards, at the edifice before him. Codei Prison. He had walked the halls of the Prison, interrogating prisoners and captives once before. Ages before, upon his return to the Brotherhood. Speaking to no one, he barked out, “Take it down.” Soldiers and Tarenti moved forward in teams and fireteams.


15-04-2009 00:50:23

The enemy defense, compared to the sort of numbers Tarentum had been faced with, were an absolute pushover. Even without the firebase providing artillery support, Tarentum was able to push through the troops as if they were a deck of cards. AT-TE fire wiped out most of any scattered droids about the ramparts of the prison, and the rest were taken care of as soldiers and Dark Jedi alike propelled themselves from the hatches of their vehicles, brandishing their weapons.

Out of the corner of her eye, Ronovi saw that Oberst had caught up to the Tarentum and DC forces...alone. He barely moved save for striding forward and clearing away any enemy that approached him, as Ronovi, Apollo, and Scion struck home with their sabers, the blades cutting through the mechanical beasts as if they were simply water. Nearby, Frosty, Sato, and Vai were taking care of any forces near the borders of their poorly set up garrison, while Tridenians such as Elols and Raiju attacked the sides. All of this under the eye of the volcano, which attempted to spew its fiery wrath upon the troops, even able to ignite vehicles that had strayed too far from the staging grounds of the battle.

All in all, though, an effortless battle for the clan, with or without their injuries.

Without another word, Oberst scaled the ramparts of the prison, walking them as he surveyed the boundaries of the prison. It seemed that their repulsor energy generators still worked, albeit feebly, but it was clear that the Marshal was merely checking for any inner movement, if any possible troops had infiltrated the prison. Even if he could not see anyone, he had his own theories, and he moved toward the Tarenti as they clustered together in the wrecked field, waiting for instructions as Mt. Ashfire roared behind them. Ronovi could not help but notice how he held two lightsabers in his hand, one not looking like his own.

"All right, I need a small team to do some investigating in the prison. I doubt there will be any survivors, but there may be enemies patrolling the control room. Explore the prison, report any findings, and see if we can maintain a grip on the building."

"So no prisoners, you think?" asked Vai, and Oberst nodded.

"If the Vong are what we know them to be, any prisoners would've been brutally killed, if not tortured. Still, we need to act fast if we want to take hold of the prison in time." The Marshal looked around the group, picking out the best subordinates for the mission, as he directed each Dark Jedi to a position.

"Apollo, Scion, Raiju, Vai, Frosty, and Ronovi. I want you all to go into the prison. The rest of you, keep a defense parameter around the exterior with the troops. Elols, see if you can contact Bloodfyre, Saitou, and Kazarelth and see where they're situated. It's about time they reunited with us."

As each Dark Jedi nodded to the orders, the Marshal disappeared without a word into the clusters of military forces that remained. Ronovi watched him leave with a furrowed brow, as the two lightsabers stayed tightly gripped in his fists. There was something Oberst wasn't telling them, and from Ronovi's best guess, it had to do with Anshar.

Still, she didn't have much time to think as she and her search team headed through the entrance of the prison, practically torn apart from the last war as the doors barely held against them. Five lightsabers soon lit up the area of the Hellish place (as Vai was stuck with his rifle), as the six Dark Jedi disappeared into the harsh glow of the notorious chambers of Codei.


Pain. Nothing but physical and mental pain. Her fingers may as well have been claws as she scraped at the dark walls of the prison. She dragged herself along the corridors, her hair matted over her eyes, bony knees shaking and threatening to give out beneath her if she moved too fast.

Pain. Sharp, profound pain.

It was a wonder she was still alive. Years of prison, then hiding from those Vong monsters, had become weights upon her mind. A weak accomplice, brain riddled with the trauma of experimentation. She had been worthless. Weak. Nothing but an accomplice to a power-hungry man whose bones now lay beneath the Dune Sea of Tatooine. Yet she had been the one to survive. She had been the one to endure in hermitage, within these chambers, solitarily confined to this sick shelter.

It was a comfort, really, to be clinging to life. A disturbing comfort, in fact. She did not know how long she could handle all of this before her mind completely disintegrated, her sense of logic lost as it was already waning. This was why the Brotherhood must have stuck her here in this Hell, rather than give her the sweet execution given to her brother and his other conspirators. And now, a deal given by the ones she least expected. Stay out of the way, they had said, and we'll give you Antei once we're done with it.

Yes. She reveled in the idea, grinning as she pressed herself against the wall, her shoulders aching as the pain came back. Stubborn pain. She was tempted to avenge him, anyway; his death would not be in vain. After all, if he could not have Antei, she could.

As she crept her way toward the control room, she could hear movement. Subtle, but it was there. Lurking around. It had to be something malicious. She pulled her weight forward, her breaths coming out in short hisses. Each step toward a target seemed to make her grow stronger, however, the pain less. She could walk easier, perhaps as her anger and wrath grew.

After all, to Sun Vail, a kill for Antei was a kill for Bane.


The central control room's defense wasn't much of a hassle - in the dim glow of the lighting, now almost fizzling out due to a lack of care and attendance, the small team was able to cut into the motley crew of guards easily. Vai was able to make a few good shots with his rifle, knocking down two battle droids, as the others cleaved through the other grunts with their lightsabers. With mechanical bodies sprawled on the floor, Apollo moved to the control panels to observe them.

"All energy sources down, but they must still be able to function if maintained properly," said Apollo as he turned back to the group. Frosty grunted irritably.

"If there's nothing here, just report it. I figure Oberst was right about no one being alive."

"Still can't hurt to take a look around," said Scion, as he looked at Ronovi, but she was turned away, her remaining eye narrowed as she seemed to stare into the darkness of the next corridor. "Ronovi, something wrong?"

"I don't know..." she muttered, and Frosty and Apollo stepped over to her. Apollo frowned as he extended his Force senses.

"No, I got something, too," he said, and he raised his lightsaber, its blade casting an eerie glow on the hallway. Nothing in close proximity.

"What's wrong, you think?" asked Vai.

"I think," Ronovi whispered, and she knew Apollo was in agreement, "that something in here is still alive."


15-04-2009 20:37:02

The crimson glow of Mt. Ashfire brought shadowed reliefs a new dimension as AT-TEs rested in their base. Within one of the AT-TEs sat Tlaloc Elols, Quaestor of House Tridens, as he attempted to reach Bloodfyre and his team on the long range transmitter. Oberst had told him to find them and get them grouped with the rest of Tarentum’s forces, which was the easy part. The challenge could well be what he would have to go through to complete his task. They had been on their secret missions from the clan summit and last contact had them in the vicinity, yet that had not reported in two days.

“Sith, this is Tridens, over,” said the Bothan Knight in the microphone. Only static replied. Elols sent out a message again; the same static returned.

Tlalc thought for a moment that his master could be ignoring the message; however. in the middle of a war that wouldn’t be his way...well, just maybe. Turning towards the tank commander, Captain Masaque, Elols queried if the communications array was working properly.

“All systems are working, sir,” answered the Alpha Company Commander.

Elols began thinking that something could have happened to them; however, at the same time, he knew that it couldn’t be true. Something was amiss, and the Tridens Leader would get to the bottom of it.


8 clicks NE of Codei Prison

The thin framed Omwati looked upon the carefully laid trap that the three watchers had constructed. To the naked eye, it seemed to be a pile of thick branches, yet to those who knew the skills it was a deadly trap. They had been stalking their precious prey for days now, attempting to learn its secrets, yet they had been unable to get close enough to acquire them. This trap would be the answer; at least, the trio hoped it would work. Saitou was lying on top of the ridge across from Kazarelth, ready as his apprentice was to activate the trap. Their communication devices were turned off so as not to alert the wounded and dying Jedi who were camped nearby them.

Further down from the two Kraths, the powerful Sith Master approached his targets with tenacity as he came up from behind the Jedi party. Sith Bloodfyre knew this was what the clan needed; these Jedi could have the answers the clan sought. He could kill the Jedi. yes, but the Dark Jedi Master wanted their bodies and any secrets they may have before sending them into Oblivion. Bloodfyre approached the group of three Jedi and got their attention. The lightsaber of one of the Jedi came to life as the others were incapable of such an action.

“Who goes there?” demanded one of the Jedi as he slowly approached the Sith Master.

Bloodfyre backed away into the shadows, not letting the Jedi see his face. He would draw this one from his team and then do as he wished with them. The Zabrak moved quickly but cautiously toward the large cloaked man standing before him. Bloodfyre let the Jedi come closer and closer, and when he was in range, the Dark Jedi Master used his Dark Side abilities and took over the mind of the weak Jedi. The Jedi stopped in his tracks and dropped his saber. The remaining Jedi were in shock and began to flee down a narrow path.

“Come on, Alexas, we need to go, now!” said a wounded human Jedi to his dying padawan.

In a weak and wheezing voice, the padawan said, “Master, go. I cannot make it.”

As the human looked on, Bloodfyre sent lightning through the dying body of the Jedi padawan causing his heart to stop. The padawan’s master screamed when he felt the young boy's presence leave as he ran down the path, away from the Sith Master, unknowing that he was walking into a trap. It lay ahead, yet the Jedi was focused on escaping the Dark Jedi Master and walked right into it. Using the Force, Saitou and Kazarelth sprung the trap sending the Jedi impacting with spikes made out of the wood. The Jedi screamed as the spikes pierced his legs and lower body. Bloodfyre approached the captured Jedi Knight and used the Force to rend him unconscious.

“Excellent, two specimens,” said Bloodfyre as he looked at Saitou and Kazarelth as they approached.

With a click of a switch, Bloodfyre’s communicator came to life. “Anshar, this Bloodfyre. We have our specimens and need transport over to where you guys are.”

No response came from the communicator, which Bloodfyre felt was a bit odd. He was about to contact Anshar again when Elols came through.

“Bloodfyre, Saitou, Kazarelth! Come on guys, answer!” said the Bothan.
“This is Bloodfyre, over. What do you need, Elols?” answered the Sith Master.

Elols replied to the Shaevalian, “Orders from Oberst. Meet up with Tarenti forces at Codei Prison.”

“Understood,” said Bloodfyre, “Tell Oberst we have the specimen that Anshar and he wanted and we need a pick-up.”

“Roger that, I’ll inform Oberst,” answered Tlaloc.

“Tlaloc, where is Anshar?” queried Bloodfyre.

“He’s not here, and Oberst isn’t saying anything,” answered back the Knight.

Sith knew something was wrong, something was out of place when it came to Anshar. A few moment later Elols came back on and alerted Bloodfyre and his team of Watchers that the transport was on the way.


Inside Codei Prison

Apollo held his violet saber high in his stance as he made his way along one of the corridors of Codei Prison with the rest of the team behind him, Vai taking up the rear. Something was here, yet they could not see it, only sensing the presence of a being nearby. Codei Prison was a place of mystery, where unspoken experiments had taken place that was designed to explore how far the body, mind and spirit could be pushed and how far the breaking point was.

“What could it be?” asked Vai from the back.

“With this place and its secrets, I really not sure. We need to ready for anything,” said Raiju.

Little did the team know that they were being stalked by a creature that was once one of them. The being's mind had been tortured and broken time and time again, a punishment for betraying the Brotherhood. She, like the other prisoners who had already died, had been used used as a live sample to test some of the Brotherhood’s darkest secrets. Her body had not done well either, as the torture on her mind had caused her body to deform in places. She was a walking experiment and a survivor of some of the worst the Brotherhood had to offer. She crawled her way along an opposing corridor, keeping track of the invaders. They would be the first to pay for what had happened to her brother.

The group of Tarenti turned down a corridor, their weapons glowing along the steel halls as they approached what their senses told them was there. A trickle of sweat dripped down the side of Vai’s face; he was nervous. He was the only Tarenti without a lightsaber, and boy, how badly he wanted to have one in his hands right now! His armory saber had been destroyed earlier in the invasion and he was left with his trusty rifle that had served him well.

Suddenly, the group stopped as they heard faint noises from above; they all felt the disturbance. They weren’t sure where the noise was coming from and spread out to investigate. Vai was sent down a short dark corridor, where he couldn’t see. From above, the being struck, driving down upon Vai. The impact broke the Hunter’s right shoulder as his body couldn’t compensate for the unforeseen attact. Vai screamed from the pain as his right arm went limp and throbbed from the shattered bone. With fast moves, the female stalker hit the Ferreoan in the face, sending his head against the wall. Blood began to flow from the Cestian's right ear. It happened so fast that the other members couldn’t react quickly enough as they found the broken and bleeding Journeyman lying unconscious on the cold metal floor; his rifle was missing.


16-04-2009 22:17:56

Sun Vail retreated with her new prize. Long had she relished taking personal vengeance against her enemies. Tarentum had turned their back on her and her brother. Her brother was dead and she had been banished to this hell hole; she saw now that their claims of solidarity quickly fell to the wayside when the Grand Master and his lackeys decreed something. Tarentum, the lapdogs of the Dark Council.

A blow here would kill the proverbial two birds with one stone. And Sun Vail knew how she would do it. Her strike had unleashed her own anger and spite, and she would yet do more. But, for now, her kingdom had been invaded once again, and she needed to rally her peons to do her bidding. They no longer bore resentment against the Brotherhood, for Sun Vail had slowly but surely wiped away their aggression and anger, replacing it with blind loyalty to her. Or, at least, the lowly lab tech she had seduced had altered their minds through direct manipulation as well as aggressive mental breaking and reconditioning. She had had the knowledge from her own studies, but the lab tech had the access to do it all. Perhaps that was why the scientists had been complaining of a lack of results. When the Vong had attacked and entered the prison, Sun Vail had to sacrifice most of her peons. But, three had survived with her. They were her best and strongest: emotionless, oblivious to pain, loyal . . . and deadly.

As Sun Vail entered the brightly lit lab room, she could see her peons roaming about aimlessly in a room. No, peons was not the right word . . . children was much more appropriate. Either way, she was the queen, and they would sacrifice themselves for whatever cause she desired. In the end, though, all they were truly doing was buying her some time. Since her release and agreement with the Jedi, she had feverishly worked on something that would rewrite Antei’s history. A genetic plague of epic proportions would sweep the entire planet, carried high into the atmosphere through Mt. Ashfire. Even the extreme heat could not kill this disease.

She only needed a little more time to finish the coding. Then a quick trip through an abandoned tunnel to Mt. Ashfire, and she would doom the entire planet, and every Jedi and Sith on it.

* * *

Anshar’s mind still functioned in his new form. It was a form of existence if the number of holocrons and Force spirits were any indication. However, the biggest difference was that Anshar had not died. True, his body had been seriously damaged, and perhaps even fatally, but his spirit had already left his body.

Talitha had warned him that this would happen. She had protested his going to Antei in the first place, but he had gone anyway. Even before he had really given it thought, Anshar had resigned himself to this. Perhaps he had hoped the battle would have ended sooner; certainly the Jedi and the droids had been unexpected, and the duels with Tuar had taxed his Force usage. Anshar shook the thoughts out. Now was not the time to dwell on this. The last time he had been in this state, Talitha had warned him that it could become permanent unless he got back into his body quickly. But, there was no real way for him to get back into it; he simply did not have the knowledge. Talitha had done it the last time.

Perhaps this execrable existence was meant to be. In a way, it was essentially immortality. On the other hand, he could not interact with the physical world, nor continuing working on what he had worked on. Again, Anshar shook the thoughts from his head. He would deal with his fate later; for now, he needed to see if he could help the clan in any way. Somehow, he doubted it; things were in Oberst’s hands now.

* * *

Throughout Codei Prison, the lights flashed and died, turning the once eerily pristine white walls dark throughout much of the prison. Only Sun Vail’s lab remained brightly lit. She smiled to herself as her children began to hunt.


17-04-2009 00:30:15

With the group having broken up merely to race back to find Vai unconscious, Ronovi was being to feel her heart reverberate in her chest as Scion knelt beside the bleeding Journeyman. He nodded slowly in reassurance that the Cestian Rollmaster would be okay, but if that thing that had attacked Vai was still around, the group had to maintain vigilance. Then, as the lights suddenly shut off and cast the group in darkness, they resorted to activating their sabers so they could at least see each other's faces.

"We need to get him out of here," Ronovi muttered in the darkness, but she could see Apollo and others shake their heads in the glow of their weapons' blades.

"Too risky for anything of us to take him out of here; with the lights out, we'll need to stay together in case whatever attacked Vai strikes again," said Apollo, and Raiju from nearby nodded in approval.

"Scion, use your comm to contact Oberst. See if he can get anyone into the prison so they can help Vai. We can't just stand here for long."

Scion quickly dialed a transmission to Oberst as Ronovi scanned the dimmed room. Nothing but the colors of their sabers were around, and they sparcely brightened the white walls, washing them in eerie scattered hues. As Scion's voice faded from her mind as he spoke to Oberst, Ronovi attempted to channel her Force senses through the corridors in hopes of finding whatever was the culprit behind the strike.

Whatever it was, it was not alone.


Oberst listened to Scion's request stoically from outside the prison. The defense around the perimeters was good, while Elols had maintained communications with the trio of Cestians and sent a transport to fetch them. Still, the idea of sending men in to help one Rollmaster was bothering him.

"Tell me, will these people merely go in there to fetch this one Dark Jedi?" he demanded.

"We may as well put some of our forces to use; aren't they just defending out there, sir? And with the lights out here, we'll need some back-up, anyway."

"Yes, but..."

"Maybe some people who can do a simple search and rescue, get them to maintain the control room. Our group will continue our investigations in the deeper parts of the prison. There shouldn't be any danger if we're able to lure whatever's in here over to us."

Oberst contemplated this before slowly nodding; with the circumstances, it wouldn't hurt, and Vai had proved himself to Lord Khyron as a worthy ally of the clan. "All right, I'll send some people in. But this better not cost us anything."

"We're counting on that, sir," said Scion.

The Proconsul shut off the transmission silently before turning to see a few Tarentum members pacing the borders of the defensive set-up, where APCs sat in case any other forces approached. Better to send cannon fodder in if needed, he thought, as he approached the Dark Jedi standing calmly with their blasters and sabers. One Acolyte, Brin Chaser, turned his head to see the Marshal, and he saluted to him fluidly as the others followed suit.

"All of you can stop patrolling now. There's a certain Vai Azexel who is injured in the Codei Prison, and I need some good, fast men to get him in a safe place," said Oberst. "I want you all to assume control of the control room, get the Dark Jedi in a safe position, and maintain communications with the search team already inside. In the control room, you should be able to investigate the main power source, see how the lights went out. Any questions?" Then, at the shake of heads: "Good. If you did have questions, I'd be thoroughly disappointed. Move in, men."


With Vai taken care of, the five remaining cautiously made their way down the dark corridors, holding up their sabers like slender lanterns guiding their way. Apollo and Raiju took the lead, using their Force vision to help the others move, while Ronovi, Scion, and Frosty took up the rear, with Frosty serving as good back-up due to his bulk and strength. It was difficult to move steathily, but the whole eerieness of the place was enough to make them all breathe slowly, their feet moving quietly against the floor. They could already see a door up ahead, and with one hand, Apollo slowly pushed it open.

The room was dark like the others, and it appeared to be a small testing room. Forgotten chemistry equipment scattered the tables as Raiju waved his lightsaber over the surroundings, casting them in a dim glow. Test tubes and mazes of glass pipes criss-crossed on the various lab tables, and nearby, an operating table, clean and smooth as if just maintained, shone in the light of the Tarenti's weapons.

Ronovi swore she could hear breathing, and not just from her allies, too. It was a different kind of breathing, low but harsh, sucking in air as if through dry, parched lips. She looked at her fellow Tarenti to see if they had noticed; they were already patrolling the room meticulously, their knees bent and shoulders slanted as they assumed defensive positions. There was a lulling silence for a time, and then:

"Come out, wherever you are," Ronovi heard Frosty whisper through his dense amount of teeth.

The response was astonishing, as in the yellow light of her saber Ronovi saw a tall, gaunt figure leap over one of the tables littered with medical equipment as it launched itself at the waiting Dashade. It appeared that it had some sort of blunt weapon, but Ronovi couldn't see what it was as Frosty deftly swung his lightsaber at the enemy before shoving it against the table, letting it impact with several test tubes as pieces of glass flew into the air. In the next instant, Ronovi heard the shouts from Scion and Raiju as two other silhouettes lunge from the shadows of the room, striking at the Dark Jedi with agile swings of their arms and what looked like iron bars, perhaps framing ripped from the walls of the prison.

As one of the beings, which Ronovi could tell looked slightly deformed but amazingly powerful, swept the shards of glass from its arms as if they were nothing but dust, and suddenly drew what looked like a mildly damaged blaster from its side. Frosty fiercely deflected the bolts as the enemy fired, and as he moved closer to his enemy, Ronovi could see the face of a man in the glow of the Dashade's blade; male, at least, but strangely different and inhuman. Blank. Staring. Like a droid carrying out orders.

Suddenly realizing that she was not meant to just stand around and watch, Ronovi swooped in to help Scion as one of the attackers swung an iron bar at his head. He was able to avoid the blow by jerking his saber upward, letting the saber slice the bar in half as its two halves glowed from the heat of his blade. He cursed at the idea of giving this minion two weapons, but Ronovi used a Force shove to slam it into an opposite door. To her surprise, the impact forced the door open, letting a thin shaft of light spill in from what appeared to be a lit room down the wall.

Apollo had seen it, too, and his voice echoed off the walls as he spoke. "There's something else nearby! Scion, Raiju, Frosty, you stay here and take care of these bastards! I'm going to go investigate."

"What about me?" Ronovi couldn't help demanding as she saw Raiju suddenly cut into one of the minions, lopping off one of his hands. The tone in Apollo's voice in reply was surprisingly not condescending, but mostly firm as if ordering.

"Ronovi, you come with me."

It took a moment for the words to register before Ronovi threw herself through the open doorway, ducking from a swipe from the recovering foe as she and Apollo disappeared from the dark room. She knew that her allies they had left behind could handle these things - blasters and iron cudgels wouldn't last long against sabers and the Force. But what were those things? How were they alive? And why had they attacked the Dark Jedi so quickly, without saying a word?

Ronovi could only guess the sort of consequences that experimentation and engineering had done to those almost humanoid minions as they fought. They were not zombies, nor drones; they had carried out each strike with precision and skill, and with absolute dedication. The answer had to be nearby, as she and Apollo raced down the corridor, their lightsabers activated as their footsteps echoed across the walls as the light grew brighter and brighter.

But even with all this bizarre stuff happening in the most bizarre of prisons, Ronovi could not help but be more surprised by something that probably seemed more trivial: she and Apollo were working together, without so much as a barb between them. This was going to be very interesting.


Within her small, secluded lab, Sun Vail hunched over her work at the complex computers that were set up in the room, watching the images spin as she put in data. To see the graphics move on the screen was absolute bliss as she managed the codes, watching the numbers change with each input of data.

The plague would be unstoppable once she pressed the appropriate key. She could already envision what would happen, a chain of cause and effects. With the code entered, the pathogen could be released. Scientists would call her foolish, even mad, but it would work. It had to work. For Bane. For her. For Antei.

Sun Vail was putting in the last of the treasured data, she could suddenly hear dull footsteps outside the room. Impossible! How had her peons failed in eliminating the threat? She could feel the pain coming back with her anxiety. Pain. Damn pain! Her head was heavy. But no matter. She could run; the tunnel was just nearby, dug out by her and those she had seduced to help her. The source of the pathogen could be unlocked near the mouth of the volcano, with or without the code being complete.

Even so, she mashed some of the keys on the computer in a panic before hearing the footsteps grow louder. She could not stay; pushing herself to her feet, Sun Vail raced to the opposite door, flinging it open and disappearing into the darkness of the crudely paved tunnel. The door slammed behind her just as Ronovi and Apollo entered, looking around as the ceiling lights washed over them. With no one in the room, the two Dark Jedi deactivated their sabers.

"Why is this room lit when the rest of the prison's dark?" Ronovi asked, but Apollo wasn't listening. He had moved to one of the computers in the lab, which was set up sparsely with abandoned equipment. His brows furrowed as he stared at the screen.

"Ronovi, look at this."

The Knight hesitated before moving to the screen, which glowed a harsh light as she looked at the strange, deformed images on the screen. Below them was harsh, white lettering, a sequence of numbers, symbols, and letters in strict lines. Apollo raised his head to look at Ronovi, clearly looking bewildered and a bit suspicious.

"Do you understand any of this?" he asked.

Ronovi looked. All she could see were the strings of white text, the flicker of the screen as each bizarre graphic of what looked like genetic structures faded in and out. They glared at her harshly, attempting to intimidate her. But whoever had written this must have either been blindfolded or out of his or her mind.

Glaring back at the Quaestor and Aedile was nothing but a block of unintelligible codes. Nothing but mad, nonsensical gibberish.


17-04-2009 01:57:04

Brin Chaser flicked the safety of his service pistol nervously, as his aging personal datapad loaded a basic schematic of Codei Prison. The Acolyte had been given an important responsibility and time was of the essence. Brin had never entered Codei Prison before, and it was a truth for which he was incredibly grateful.

Powered by the geothermal energy of Mount Ashfire, the prison was a self-sustaining monstrosity with a short but brutal history. Between the rumored experiments of Brotherhood alchemists and the Yuuzhan Vong infestation, it would have been unlikely that any prisoner trapped within those walls could ever get back out.

The battered durasteel panels that once formed the gates of the dreaded prison had been cast away, proof-positive of the potency of the Tarenti team already inside. Now, one of them needed help. Brin tried not to let his nervousness show, but in this company – that was always going to be a difficult task. Brin’s team consisted of two more experienced Journeymen, along with a small squad of hardened soldiers - survivors from the earlier actions taken against Crask’s observation posts.

All of them carried the evidence of action in scars, burns, ripped uniforms and tattered cloaks. Brin’s own Krath soldier uniform was pocked with sweat and dirt, but the ex-pilot had seen no fighting so far. Brin tried not to wonder about the dead warrior he had replaced.

Taking his now sweating hand off his blaster, Brin tried to busy himself with the readouts streaming in on his ‘pad. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see two of the fire team, preparing a collapsible stretcher.

“How much longer?” the Team Leader growled at him, an aged Corporal clutching his blaster rifle.
“Thirty seconds” Brin responded. He hadn’t had the chance to learn the names of the people around him, he wondered if his fellow Tarenti Journeymen had taken the time to try.

Probably not today he reasoned. A battle this frenetic doesn’t lend itself to familiarity.

One of the two looked at him, face impassive. “You’ll be taking the lead with the map, we’ll cover the rear.”

The Acolyte nodded at his superior, and then gestured at the Corporal. “Glow rod please.” Brin caught the cylinder and felt the heft of the thing. Its weight felt reassuring in his hand. Checking his chrono, Brin stubbornly counted away the seconds. It had only been three minutes since the order had come from Marshal Oberst to find their compatriot Vai – but it felt like hours.

Blissfully, the datapad beeped at him.

“It’s ready.” Brin stated, sounding much more confident than he felt. The location of the Control Room was now clearly marked and a small sequence of shifting lines sketched the optimum path.

Datapad in one hand, glowrod in the other, Brin led the fire team into the prison at a jog. In these circumstances, caution was a poor cousin to speed. If something in this prison could incapacitate a Dark Jedi in the presence of allies, Brin did not like his chances. The glowrod he carried was standard issue, with a range of ten metres. In this environment of shadowy corridors and right-angles, it wasn’t enough.

Fortunately, the Fireteam had more resources to call on than a Glowstick. Once the Corporal called the squad to a quick stop, Brin and his dark-side brothers extended their senses outwards, trying to locate the search team.

When Brin had attempted to sense a force presence in training, he had to struggle to make out a glimmer of potential from the other Initiates. Their force potential presented a dull ember in Brin’s perception. This time, Brin swore loudly as he covered his eyes, the combined powers of the dispersed search team inside seeming to set his eyeballs on fire from the inside.

The team leader grabbed him by the shoulder as the rest of the group looked around nervously, weapons at the ready. One of the more experienced dark-siders could barely hide his disgust. Brin pointed down a corridor that seemed identical to the two next to it, and within minutes they had found Vai’s body, parked up against the wall.

Two of the soldiers quickly assembled their stretcher and roughly dumped the unconscious Vai on top.

“Be careful!” Brin hissed, never taking his eyes from the corridor ahead. All of them could hear the muffled sounds of blaster fire, but mercifully – it was coming from the opposite direction, away from the prison entrance. Taking a moment to ensure Vai was stable, one of the darksiders tapped a stretcher bearer and the Dark Jedi was lifted gently off the ground.

The Corporal nodded at Brin, before waggling his fingers at his team. As one, they moved efficiently towards the front gate in perfect lockstep, leaving Brin to wonder if they’d actually needed him at all.

Frowning, Brin oriented himself with the datapad and made his way towards the central control room, the two Journeymen close behind – sabers in hand.


17-04-2009 12:05:25

The search & rescue operation had been successful so far which brought a measure of relief to Brin Chaser’s mind. He was still nervous as he took point guiding the squad and his fellow journeymen through the dark corridor of the prison. Glancing at his dimly lit datapad, the Gladian noticed that the next left would lead towards the door to the control room. He paused for a moment before turning towards the squad leader.

“I’m going to send some troopers ahead to check it out” said the Corporal. All Brin could do was nod his head at the squad leader.

The Corporal turned and pointed at two of his troopers. With their weapons held low, they single filed down the hall with the remaining team following closer behind. Fortunately for the team, there was nothing ahead as they entered the control room.

“Clear” called out the lead trooper, indicating that no hostiles were in the room.

Illuminated in a reddish hue, the Control Room had gone to backup power that allowed the team to see outlines of controls, yet not being able to clearly read them. Brin feverishly began to study the various controls in the room as the squad shut the door to the control room and stood guard. Nothing made any sense to the Acolyte, he was a pilot, not an engineer thought the man.


As Brin and the remaining troopers made their way into the control room; Vai was being carried through the front gate of the prison and toward the line of army forces. He was barely conscious as pain surged throughout his body; his head throbbed as did his right arm. The warm air surrounding Mt. Ashfire was actually soothing to the Ferrereon as he was being carried towards a waiting medical team on the other side of the bridge.

As he was set down on the ground a little hard, Vai felt something on the side of his head flop down. Putting his hand up to touch the side of his head, it was quickly pulled back down by one of the medical team, he knew something was wrong.

The unknown assailant had damaged him bad and he was lucky to be alive. An anger grew inside of him, he wanted revenge, but in his current state it would be suicide. For now he resided to let his Aedile take the pleasure of some vengence on the attacker.

He could barely hear the voices around him they were more like mumbles, though he noticed Oberst standing nearby looking on. With a nod of the Marshal’s head, Vai was loaded into a transport and taken away from the prison for treatment at the firebase.


Minutes passed that felt like hours to everyone as Brin finally found the controls. With a click, the rumble of the generators came up and the lights in the facility began to flicker. The Acolyte clicked a few more switches and the lights in areas began to turn on.

“There, we have lights again” said Brin with a smile on his face as he turned towards his team.

“Well, what’s next” asked the Acolyte, looking for answers from the army personnel standing nearby.

“We wait for orders” snapped back the Corporal as he sat at the control panel looking at the cameras.


17-04-2009 20:41:44

Sun Vail hurriedly through the tunnel, more than once stopping to turn back and see if she was being followed. Maybe, she hoped, the Sith wouldn’t try to stop her, seeing that this would benefit them as well. After all, she would be cleansing Antei of the Jedi, and every Sith wanted to kill the Jedi. She knew that her brother had always wanted to kill Jedi. Yes, the Jedi would be gone before they could betray her just like Tarentum had.

As she stopped once more, she was temporarily disoriented when all the mining lights suddenly came back on. They shouldn’t be on, she thought to herself. She had shut the lights off. And yet, they were back on. No, there was only one thing to do: she had to shut the lights off again somehow, but there was no access down this tunnel. She would have to go back.

Suddenly, she heard two voices in the distance, but definitely back up the tunnel. Clutching the pathogen tubes in her hand, Sun Vail turned and fled back towards the volcano. The darkness would come nonetheless.

* * *
Severon peered at the computer screen, watching the power come back on through the prison. He had heard that the prison was a horrible place, but from what he could tell, it was better lit than anything else on Antei. Maybe that was part of the horrid nature of the place: it was so out of place in the darkness that was Antei, and the minds of those who ran the prison. Brimstone would have made such an observation, probably coupled with an offbeat joke about it. Something then caught Severon’s eye.

On the screen, a message flashed about a power fluctuation in the sector where Ronovi, Apollo, and the others were. The computer prompted for a response. Severon selected the option to provide details, and a floor plan popped up, showing electrical power being drained. Red arrows highlighted where the power was flowing; it wasn’t a lot, hardly noticeable by anyone actually in that area, but the computer insisted on an action. Severon chose to ignore it, but then grabbed the comm. off his belt.

“Apollo, this is Severon, do you copy?” Brin and the soldiers looked at him, but Severon ignored them. A small static burst and Apollo’s voice came through.

“I’m here,” he said. “What are you doing?”

“Right now, I’m in the central control room. But, the computer is warning me about some power draining,” replied Severon. “It is kind of small, but the power is being drained in the direction of Mount Ashfire.”

“Probably has something to do with this tunnel we just found,” said Apollo. “Ronovi and I are going to check this out. I need you to do two things. First, there’s a computer down here with some weird formulas and other crap on it. We can’t make sense of it. Try to access it up there and see what you can figure out.”

“I’m not a scientist,” replied Severon.

“Then send it onto Oberst,” shot back Apollo.

“And the second thing?”

“Do a thorough scan of the prison for anything alive,” said Apollo. “We encountered some nasty looking guys; while I’m sure Frosty and the others can handle them, I don’t want any more surprises.”

“Understood,” replied Severon. The comm. cut off, and Severon immediately went to work to pull up the data Apollo had mentioned. The computer system at the prison was good and well connected, and Severon found it easily enough. The seemingly scrambled text scrolled over the screen, but Severon couldn’t understand it. As he looked at it, his mind drifted to wondering why the Vong had left the technology intact. Perhaps they had never really made it this far, or gone in the prison at all.

“Hey, Sev, what’s going on?” asked Brin, shaking Severon out of his thoughts.

“We’ve got to send this to Oberst,” he said.

* * *

Anshar hovered above the battlefield. He could see the Tarentum supported forces arrayed around the prison, but he knew they couldn’t see him. Not even the Force users could; on the Renegade, he had needed Talitha’s help to become visible to them. There was really nothing he could do for them; there were no unfriendly Force spirits to combat here, and the clan seemed to be moving quite well without him. Of course, there could be the assumption that Oberst simply hadn’t told anyone what happened, and they assumed Anshar was off doing Consular things to support them. Even if they knew the truth, could they consider him dead? Anshar did not even know where he stood in that regard.


18-04-2009 02:12:36

The salty, dead alkaline soil did not mix well with the ash and nitrates spewed by the nearby volcano. It made each breath feel like the breather was running a marathon, even while remaining still. Oberst envied the troops their masks, with the filters. He continued to observe the transition of Codei Prison from prison to makeshift fortress. Troops continued to stream in on foot and vehicles, and drops of supplies and prefab structures were made. He saw artillery brought up from the rear and made suggestions to battalion commanders about proper placement for the upcoming push.

“Sir,” Oberst’s comlink chirped to life, Severon’s voice cutting sharply through the din of wind and movement of man and machine. “We have something you may want to see.”

Oberst calmly thumbed his comlink on, “Then bring it up.”

“Uh,” Severon started cautiously, “It looks like genetic data. At least that’s what we’re guessing all these A’s, G’s, C’s and T’s mean.”

His interest piqued, Oberst began making long strides to a nearby transport, “Understood. Begin transmitting information on my signal. I need a terminal.”

“Yes, sir.”

* * * * *

Oberst watched the steady stream of data on the terminal in front of him, “Are you seeing this?”

The voice of the Magnus Kaerner’s senior medical officer, Commander Lindgren, came through, “I am. The genome is compact, pointing to a virus. Not sure what type.”

“Cross reference with our database and the one at the Asylum,” Oberst coolly offered.

Dry sarcasm was returned to Oberst, “No, I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you for suggesting it. I have only been a physician for over thirty years, Marshal. Perhaps next you’d like to lecture me on how to properly intubate a collapsed airway?”

“The leads on this thing look familiar, like something we’ve worked on recently,” Oberst started scrolling through the notes that were also uploaded trying to find out what they were dealing with, “If this thing is hot, I’m going to evac the entire Clan. Retaking Antei be damned.”

“Candorian Plague.”

Oberst sucked in a sharp breath, “Why is Candorian Plague being researched openly at a prison? There are no safeties.”

“I don’t know, but this looks different,” Lindgren continued, “Something just isn’t right.”

“You’ve got half an hour, Doctor, before I pull the plug on this entire operation. Marshal out.” Oberst stood and made his way out of the transport, grabbing a nearby trooper, “Where’s the control room for the prison?”

The trooper pointed, and Oberst made his way to the control room.

* * * * *

The two journeymen continued to watch the screen as more power was siphoned off to one part of the prison. There was no way for them to know where anyone was in the prison as the biosensors malfunctioned as power was drawn. They turned quickly as the large main doors opened and Oberst walked through.

“Is that all of the data you were able to forward,” he sharply demanded.

“Yes,” Brin responded, “That’s all that Apollo had.”

“Get out of here, make your way outside. If you can find them, grab masks. You’re going to need them.”

“Sir?,” Severon inquired.

“Just do it,” Oberst ordered as he took a seat before one of the terminals and tried to key on the prison’s PA system. The two made their way out of the control room as Oberst’s comlink chirped to life again.

“Marshal,” Dr. Lindgren began, “The virus is inert.”

“How so?”

“There are no accessory proteins in the viral envelope. There’s no way for the viral-RNA to reverse transcribe itself and replicate.”

Oberst swore mentally and exhaled, “Understood, Doctor. And doctor, keep that information just between us.”


“Tarentum gains a bargaining chip if we’re the only ones with a vaccine to this disease, don’t we?”

He could hear Lindgren’s smile as she understood his suggestion, “Understood, Marshal. Magnus Kaerner out.”

Whoever designed this, their folly would be a boon for Tarentum. While the virus was inert, it wasn’t useless. Keeping the inert data could go a long way for developing a vaccine for one of the Galaxy’s most deadly viruses and weapons. Oberst started to erase all data from the prison's systems about the virus and the work done on it.


18-04-2009 05:18:23

"I have bad feeling about this." Apollo groaned as he looked around the room. Ronovi bit back the urge to roll her eyes at the man.

"And why is that?" She asked, searching over some datapads left on a white table.

"We're in the middle of some sort of lab in the prison where we know the Brotherhood has done some really nasty stuff, and apparently now has roaming freaks of nature jumping out of dark corners at you. What do you think?" said the Quaestor turning towards her.

"Oh. Right. I hadn't though about it like that. Not that I wanted to. Thanks Apollo. " Ronovi shook the thoughts from her mind as she continued to search the room.

He began to smile when he suddenly jerked his head to one side and held up his hand for her to stop what she was doing. Slowly turning to his right he could hear a very soft rumbling sound, something like scraping of gravel or loose rock. The sound appeared to be coming from behind a doorl on the far wall. Apollo moves over and pushes the door open. A tunnel.

"Bingo." Flipping his comm unit to life Apollo sends a quick message to Scion on the clan's comm channel. "This is Apollo, found a tunnel leading off from the lab here. Looks like someone was here recently. Ronovi and I are investigating."

Without waiting for a response he climbed in, his lightsaber in his hand but deactivated. He turned to Ronovi and nodded down the tunnel.

"Let's go, you have my six." And with that, he began moving down the rocky, dark tunnel. Without having any other choice, Ronovi followed him. The sulfur odor instantly assaulting her senses as the pair began to make progress in their pursuit of, well whoever last used this tunnel.


Sun Vail could feel the heat of the volcano on her tattered skin. She knew she was close. She knew that revenge was finally at hand! She could imagine the triumph! The sight of Tarentum's sick faces as her wondrous virus splashes over them. Finally, her brother could rest in peace knowing he was avenged. She didn't have far to go now. She could feel the exertion take it's toll from her weakened body. Damn those people that made her this way! She will make them pay dearly.

Sun Vail began to laugh softly to herself as she continued her journey towards the volcano. Soon, her laughter grew quite loud as her mind began to fill of thoughts for the future. Thoughts of the future on her Antei.


Laughter? Apollo shook his head, wondering if the heat and smell was finally playing tricks on his mind. But no, there it was. Laughter. Evil laughter was the best way to describe it. He looked back at Ronovi, who could hear it as well. She shrugged at him as they both continued on, this time just a little faster than they had been previously.

Finally, they could see their target, if the woman could be called such. She was frail and deformed. Her dark hair matted and unkept. She seemed to have a nervous shake to her body, like it was straining to hold itself upright. She was standing on a wide metal ledge overlooking the lava pit down below.

Whoever she was, she was possibly the cause of their problems at the prison, and Apollo intended to find out what was going on and who she was. Suddenly, the woman whirled around and shot a blaster bolt towards them, missing Apollo's head by six inches. He couldn't have imagined the woman moving that fast a few seconds prior. He cursed at himself for not being ready for the bolt. In a flash he was on the ledge a good 20 feet from her, his lightsaber ignited and at the ready. He could hear Ronovi's lightsaber come to life beside his.

Finally, he took a good look at the woman in front of him... and he almost dropped his lightsaber.

"Oh holy..." Apollo uttered as he could not believe his eyes. Ronovi furrowed her brow at Apollo's comment, apparently not up to speed.

"Sun Vail. Fancy meeting you here." He said, tightening his grip on his saber.


18-04-2009 06:11:52

Ronovi stared in puzzlement at Apollo for his remark, then at the gaunt, gnarled woman in front of them. While she held the rifle still on the offensive, she noticed two small test tubes clenched under her right arm. She seemed ready to fire again when Apollo extended his hand, yanking the firearm out of her grip as if she had barely been holding onto it. Her physical weakness showed, though Ronovi could sense the disturbed thoughts in the girl's head.

"I didn't think any of you Tarentum cowards would recognize me," said Sun Vail, her voice thin and hoarse. Ronovi arched an eyebrow and looked at Apollo.

"You know this girl?"

"Of course. Sun Vail, brother of Bane." Apollo was solemn as he spoke, his lightsaber still pointed directly at Sun Vail's head.

"Bane? You mean the guy who tried to take over the Brotherhood and got executed for it?"

"That power belonged to him! He almost had it!" screeched Sun Vail, and the sound was grating on Ronovi's ears. "And you fools left him to die. Well, now I can finally avenge him and finish what he started!"

It was unbelievable how fervently Sun Vail was raving, and Ronovi kept her lightsaber raised as she took a step toward her. In a flash, Sun Vail was near the ledge where the lava boiled menacingly beneath them, now holding a test tube in each fist.

"Don't try to stop me. If you try to kill me, I'll drop these into the lava. If you don't, I'll still drop them."

"What exactly are you trying to do here, Sun Vail?" demanded Apollo, his voice cool and with a slight tone of amusement as he watched the woman stare at him with mad, bulging eyes.

"I am doing exactly what Bane should have done...get rid of every Dark Jedi who stood in his way!" Sun Vail exclaimed. "In these test tubes is your own undoing, your own demise. Soon every Dark Jedi and Jedi on Antei will feel the wrath of my disease!"

"Disease?" Ronovi repeated. "So it was you who put those codes into the computer!"

"I was hoping you wouldn't find that," snarled Sun Vail. "I thought my children would be able to deal with you before you got the chance to find me. Pity that you two will be the first to die by this plague."

"Children? You mean those things we fought in another part of the prison?" asked Apollo.

"My, you ask a lot of questions. Yes, those would be mine. My own gift of loyal subjects from one of the labtechs here before he died. They were taught only to serve me. It's a shame they failed miserably to take care of you. I'll just have to kill everyone myself!"

"So you're going to wipe out an entire planet's population because of your brother? I have to say, that's a pretty nasty solution to a problem," Ronovi remarked.

"Shut up!" shrieked Sun Vail. "I've already said enough. Now you will both be not only witnesses to, but also victims of one of the most epic massacres known in the entire galaxy!"

"We'll kill you before you get the chance!" Apollo responded, and he and Ronovi charged, their lightsabers spinning as they launched themselves at Sun Vail. Despite her experimental oddities, she was still agile and leapt away, as Ronovi and Apollo cut into thin air, leaving burn marks on the metal where the woman had once been. Apollo had launched himself full speed at her, and in doing so he knocked the commlink out of his robes, where it landed lifelessly on the ground and shut off.

The prisoner was darting about the tunnel as if to confuse the two Tarenti or pull them away from the ledge, and Ronovi and Apollo moved from different sides to intercept her. Ronovi almost directly hit, but a shift of Sun Vail's feet to the left only allowed the Epicanthix's blade to singe the rags that hung about the woman's bony shoulders. Apollo was even closer, but his blade missed her throat by just a hair as the woman bounded back to the ledge almost on all fours. She was animalistic in her movements - instinctive, reflexive. Ronovi almost expected her to bare her teeth.

Ronovi cursed as the sister of Bane lifted herself onto the metal beam that separated the ledge from the lava. As if in slow motion, Sun Vail turned away from the two Dark Jedi and with arms outspread let the test tubes slip from her fingers. They disappeared into the lava, swallowed by its folds of liquid fire, eating at the pathogen as steam rose from their landing place. Ronovi and Apollo were silent, wide-eyed, waiting for something to happen. Perhaps for the effects to start now, or for the volcano to respond.

Silence overtook them. If this disease were for real, even without the volcano erupting, the effects would take its toll on at least Apollo and Ronovi. If the pathogen was carried in the steam and vapors of the lava, they would be the first casualties of Sun Vail's revenge. All they could do was wait, with Sun Vail's sinister, crazed smile staying as she expected results.

With their hearts still, they waited. And waited.



It had been unbeknownst to Apollo that he had left his commlink on after ending his transmission to Scion, and every word of the three's conversation were heard by the entire clan before the scuffle cut the transmission. As Severon and Brin moved to put on their masks, they were startled to hear Sun Vail's piercing voices on any comm nearby, including that of Oberst's as he worked in the control room. He cursed mentally; this was not what he had had in mind. Although the woman had not given specifics, it had been unnecessary for the conversation to be communicated to everyone in close enough proximity.

Oberst could already sense the tension outside. No panic, but tension. Pity that it would be useless. As far as he was concerned, everyone would now know the failure of this Sun Vail. He never thought he'd have to hear the name again, after Bane had had his way with the Brotherhood holonet programs.

It was perhaps one of the most notorious acts of revenge he had known since the attack the clan had faced on the ''Renegade.'' At the same time, it was one of the most useless. For in just a few moments, Sun Vail would realize that, in her attempts to avenge her brother, she had completely and utterly failed.


18-04-2009 15:07:38

The sound of sizzling that his emerald blade always made while cutting through flesh, always activated three warnings in the Obelisk Paladin’s mind during the midst of combat. First thing always, he mentally prepared himself for the smell that followed. With few exceptions, and those falling to either extreme of the scale, no matter what species fell underneath his blade; the smell that resonated from the action always impacted deeply into the Ryn’s large nostrils and no matter what the other Tarentum said, it certainly didn’t smell like chicken.

The second and third things the Templar always prepared himself for was the dead sound of meat smacking onto the floor, as happened this time with a large portion of the prisoners forearm, and the screams of pain that followed. As the limb of the prisoner fell to the ground with his iron weapon still clucked tight in hand, only one of the sounds rang out as the forearm smacked the metallic floor with a wet thud. Curiously, instead of the screams that should have followed as he was prepared for; only an angry roar bellowed out of the creature’s mouth.

With little light in the room to allow his eyes to see the emotion in the creature, Raiju relied on the force to probe the mind of the creature and inform him on the creature’s attitude. As was expected from any creature that was brought to this hellish place before the Vong Invasion, the creature’s mind was nothing more than mush to the Templar. Repeatedly broken before the obvious experiments had taken place upon its body, Raiju’s thoughts encountered little resistance as his spirit sank deep into the creature as the creature had no mental defences left in it. Searching around in the creature’s head, Raiju found no emotion nor thought left in the creature; just a primitive loyalty to some master unknown to Raiju.

No emotion. No fear. No pain it seems either. Raiju made a mental note as he held the creature back with the tip of his emerald lightsaber. It’ll be interesting to see how this was done.

Checking the mental note to the back of his mind for the moment, Raiju pointed his lightsaber away from the creature into a defensive guard; allowing the prisoner the chance to take the offensive. The creature didn’t move like a normal humanoid. Hunched over, with its remaining arm dangling to the ground, it awkwardly slid sideways around the Templar. Again, with the lights out Raiju found himself relying on the force to track its movements and it was what gave the Templar the knowledge of when the creature would attack. Lunging forward with a hiss, the creature went low to swipe at Raiju’s feet.

The boney, frail arm of the creature moved with impressive speed, but struck nothing but air as the Ryn drew himself back outside its reach. With ease, the Templar swiped towards the ground in front of himself as well; casting another cloud of foul smell into his nostrils as his lightsaber’s blade cut through the other arm of the creature. Failing to pause with the strike, Raiju allowed his body to continue with the momentum of the strike and spin himself around before powerfully stepping forward towards the armless creature and swiping his blade through its neck. As the now lifeless head fell to the ground with the body to create a large clank upon the metallic floor of the room; Raiju turned his attention to the others.

To Raiju’s left Scion’s red blade was burning through the chest of the second creature as his sadist laugh echoed over the creature’s shoulder. However, to Raiju’s right; Frosty was still engaged with the creature slowly taken his time as he casually held his orange bladed lightsaber in only one hand by his side as if tainting it.

Raiju wasn’t impressed by the other Obelisk's display, arrogant and time consuming it was. Reaching out with the force, the Ryn called upon one of two of his Obelisk force powers and felt his mind wrap an invisible wire around the prisoner; pulling its limbs together and bounding it tighter and tighter. As he pulled tighter and tighter on the wire, Raiju watched as the creature fell over onto the ground and struggled with the force-wire that bound it. Leaping forward with his emerald blade risen high above his head; Raiju landed within a few feet of the creature and sank his blade straight through the chest and arms of the defenceless creature as a snarl came from the lips of the Sith Warrior.

“That was my kill, Raiju!” Frosty hissed. “What kind of Obelisk steals another Obelisk's kill?”

“I wouldn’t have, if you had actually seemed to have been engaged in the fight.” Raiju snapped back with a grin, “Looked to me like you were turning into a Sith, being arrogant in a fight is what will cost them dominance in the Final Way remember. I was just reminding you of your path.”

“Fool, you have no idea-” Frosty began to counter while walking up to Raiju coming to stand face to face with him before Scion cut him off.

“Neither of you have any idea what still remains in this place,” Scion calmly cut in, “You really want to stand here arguing while Apollo and Ronovi have gone ahead?”

As Scion’s words fell silent, the darkness lifted as the lights suddenly flickered on above them.

“Seems like they have a large head start on us.” Scion said looking up at the lights. Without a pause the trio began to move towards the door and hallway that Apollo and Ronovi had exited through. Coming into what seemed like a lab room, the trio looked around before Scion pointed to a tunnel upon the other side.

“I sense Apollo down there.” He said quickly moving towards it with Frosty following; however, Raiju paused to look at the computer screens that had been left there. Numerous streams of data followed over the screen that Raiju couldn’t make sense off, but toggling out of the current running program; Raiju smiled as he came across various files and folders of the prisoner records saved on the server files.

“Raiju, you coming?” Frosty stopped to call as Scion disappeared down the tunnel.

“In a minute!” Raiju yelled before muttering to myself. “By the end of today Sarin will have gotten his spoils, and Tarentum has already gotten their spoils on the battlefield. Time for Raiju and the Corsairs, to get theirs. And I know Welshy will like to hear about that prisoner I cut down.”

As Raiju copy and pasted all the prisoner data files that existed on the computer to a removable disc that sat in the computer, Raiju kept flicking through the files until he hit something he wasn’t expecting. Pausing a moment to check the files accuracy, Raiju franticly looked about the desk for another disc and exchange it with the one already in the computer. Clicking the file to save to the disc before deleting it and wiping its exist from the server; Raiju smiled as he pocketed both discs before running to catch up with Frosty and Scion.

Agnan, I told you I'd find treasure down here for you. And this might be enough to settle a lifetime of debt. The Ryn thought to himself as he disappeared down the tunnel.


18-04-2009 18:58:53

The victorious grin on Sun Vail's battered face was beginning to fade as she stared at Apollo and Ronovi. They only stared back expectantly now as the time had passed, whittled away by the blade of tension around them. The woman's mouth opened and closed, and she began to splutter. Her fists clenched and unclenched.

It couldn't be. Why was nothing happening?

"Were you expecting something to happen?" asked Apollo, finally breaking the silence; he had sensed the anxiety within the broken woman.

"You're...you're not mutating. You're not dying!"

"Now I think I know why that coding was hard to understand," said Ronovi, a small smirk dancing on her lips as she looked at the Gladius Quaestor. "Isn't that right, Apollo?"

"It takes more than just the coding of the RNA to make a genetic pathogen work, Sun Vail," said Apollo. "I always knew you were an experimenter, but you were never a scientist."

But Sun Vail wasn't listening to them; they could tell as she let her fingers wind around her thick hair, pulling at it as if it would fix everything that had gone wrong for her. The following scream that erupted from her throat was almost enough to make their ears ring, and Ronovi and Apollo wondered if others could hear the sound erupting like lava from Mt. Ashfire. Sun Vail began to sob bitterly, half out of anger, half out of sheer disbelief.

"No! I couldn't have failed! I will not fail!" she was howling as Ronovi looked at Apollo.

"Think we should take her in her questioning, Apollo?" she asked.

"Don't see the harm in it. Oberst and Anshar may want to know what they can do with whatever she conceived. If they haven't figured it out already."

With that statement, the Tarenti raised their sabers, but Sun Vail was already scampering from the ledge, retrieving the rifle that had been knocked from her hands earlier. She began to fire from the side, and Apollo easily deflected most of the blaster bolts while Ronovi handled those that had dodged Apollo's dexterous swipes. Sun Vail was already backing away from them, toward the tunnel's entrance, holding her weapon at the ready.

"You won't lay a hand on me, Tarentum scum," she hissed. "I'll find a way out of this prison, and I'll have something better in store for all of you. Antei will be mine!"

Is she for real? Ronovi thought just as she felt the presences of her fellow Tarenti as Scion, Raiju, and Frosty burst into the tunnel. The multiple colors of their sabers lit up the area as they brandished their weapons at the fleeing Sun Vail, who stopped and backed up only to see Apollo and Ronovi approaching her from behind. She flinched at the sight of so many sabers, all pointed at her as Raiju spoke.

"Sun Vail, is it?" he asked, and even though the woman did not reply, he didn't need an answer. "Sun Vail, you are under arrest for treachery to the Brotherhood. Again, might I add."

"NO!" Sun Vail screeched, pointing a crooked finger at the Ryn. "I won't be arrested. I won't be locked up again. Not here. Not in this horrid prison!"

"Should have thought of that before you helped your brother," growled Frosty as he looked ready to decapitate the girl right where she knelt.

"I won't go back! Look at me! LOOK AT ME!" Sun Vail desperately gestured at her hunched form, her weathered features. "This is what the Brotherhood has done to me! I can't take any more of it! Just kill me if you have to!"

"I think," Apollo said, his voice thin, "that it would be too lenient of a punishment for you. Put the rifle down, Sun Vail."


"I can just take it from you, if you'd like that instead."

Moving slowly and shuddering as she did so, Sun Vail, with a look of defeat on her visage, let the weapon drop to the floor of the tunnel with a clatter. Apollo nodded at Ronovi to seize her, and Ronovi deactivated her saber so she could approach the prisoner and grab her arms. The others watched, their sabers pointed at Sun Vail to make sure she didn't move.

It didn't stop Sun Vail, for as Ronovi reached over to grab her wrist, the girl furiously seized Ronovi's exposed arm and sank her teeth into the flesh just above the Epicanthix's left elbow. Ronovi let out a sharp yelp as the Dark Jedi were just distracted long enough for Sun Vail to throw herself between the space that Ronovi had left beside Apollo, racing back toward the ledge. In a flash, the Tarenti were upon her as she climbed the metal rail, their lightsabers raised.

"Don't be rash, Sun Vail," Scion ordered, but it was too late for that. Sun Vail let a smirk of victory emerge again on her face.

"You won't have the pleasure of seeing me defeated by your hands," she whispered, and with that, she loosened her footing on the rail and let herself tumble from the ledge.

Ronovi, with the bite turning black and blue on her arm, leapt out to stop the prisoner, but the others already knew that it was too late as the bent, shaken body of Sun Vail disappeared into the molten mouth of Mt. Ashfire, swallowed up by the flames as she let out one last harsh stream of laughter before her voice was stripped away. The sister of Bane was dead, her flesh destroyed by the pit of inferno below the Dark Jedi. The Cestus Aedile, shaking her head, fell to one knee and stared at the abyss of magma, as Scion moved to check her arm.

"Think it'll cause any side effects, from what was done to her?" she asked, and Scion shook his head.

"The worst you should expect is infection. We'll get medics to clean and dress that wound for you," said the Gladius Aedile. He then looked at Frosty, Raiju, and Apollo, who stared back solemnly, but with no defeat apparent in their eyes. "Well, that didn't amount to much, did it?"

"On the contrary," said Raiju, suddenly smiling thinly, "this may be very good for Tarentum. So, shall we check the rest of the prison?"

"As long as we don't have any peons or crazy sisters of fallen Dark Jedi to deal with," replied Frosty, grinning hideously.

Apollo retrieved his commlink and placed it back into his robes, leading the group out of the tunnel. Ronovi walked beside him, and one look of acknowledgment was exchanged between them. They had been lucky to be in the midst of Codei's action, two witnesses to one of the most flawed evil plans most likely known to the clan. And now, they would most likely be able to report the best results.

Being an anti-hero wasn't too bad, after all.


The tension of those outside the prison was subsiding as Oberst received the report from Apollo, as the Quaestor informed him that there were no other signs on life in the area. No enemies, no crazy prisoners, no brainwashed minions. The main drama was over.

"Understood. I'll have the commanders send soldiers in to secure the interior of the prison. All of you head back outside, and any wounded can be tended to by the medivacs nearby."

The Marshal ended the transmission in silence, as Severon and Brin slowly pulled off their gas masks and let the cold air of Antei wash over them. There was nothing to fear from the words of a madwoman, and Sun Vail's death would not prove any hindrance to the clan now. The nuisance of Bane was finally over, the revenge ruined by the avenger herself. What Oberst would do with the information he had gotten from her experiments, no one else had to know.

As the five Dark Jedi exited the prison, Ronovi's arm heavily bandaged by some gauze that Scion carried with him, they moved with curt nods to the Proconsul before they settled down outside. They had done their work for Tarentum; the prison was secure. Oberst furrowed his brow as the DC commanders led the soldiers into the control room to keep watch over the power sources of Codei, and the Marshal took another cigarette and lit it, letting the spirals of smoke mesh with the dim lighting around him. Anshar would be pleased with the success of the clan...wherever he was now.


19-04-2009 23:26:16

Oberst watched silently as the clan and the Iron Throne forces moved about. They had slowed down noticeably, as the threat of the Jedi and the their droids was so greatly reduced that, to many, it seemed as if rest could finally come to them. There was still some artillery fire off in the distance, and, if outside of the prison, one could still see Brotherhood fighters making passes over the terrain, occasionally peppering an area with laser fire. They were, undoubtedly, simply firing at shadows, or targeting something just for fun.

At the edge of the prison’s plateau, a shuttle, recently landed, opened its mouth-like hatch, and three members of Tarentum descended down the ramp. Bloodfyre, flanked by Saitou and Kazarelth, had a path cleared for them. The Iron Throne soldiers paid little heed to them, simply acknowledging them as other Force users. Tarentum’s members, however, watched in silence as the trio disappeared into the prison. Few had seen or heard from the trio since their sudden departure, and many could only guess at what they had been doing. Some preferred not to even let their minds drift that far.

* * *

Oberst showed no reaction when the three Watchers entered the control room, but his gaze met Bloodfyre’s. Without a word and only a curt nod, Oberst led the trio out of the control room and down to the warden’s office. Dranik was already there, waiting for them. Once everyone was in, Dranik closed the door. Before anyone else could speak, Bloodfyre stated the one question that had been on his mind since the completion of their special mission.

“Where is Anshar?” he asked pointedly. To his surprise, Oberst merely shrugged.

“I have a body and a lightsaber,” said the Proconsul, placing the weapon on the broken desk. “But, there’s something missing, and I believe Dranik is better suited to explain that. After all, he seems to be the only one in the clan who was fully aware of the situation from the start.”

“I trust you all remember the incident on board the Renegade,” said Dranik. “And, more to the point, Anshar’s spirit being forced out of his body by Adamu.”

“Yes, and Talitha helped him get it back, and restored him,” said Bloodfyre.

“You didn’t know about the permanent side effects, though,” replied Dranik. “Talitha couldn’t reattach Anshar’s spirit completely. She even warned him that it would eventually reach the point where it would break away forever.” Bloodfyre reflected on this, and his own observations. True, Anshar had not said anything about it, and this should not have surprised anyone. However, Bloodfyre as a Master and friend of the Consul had noticed the difference since the Renegade. Anshar had stopped using the Force so much, and he had spent more time at his private estate than ever before. He had not taken a student in some time, and that was not something he did. Whatever his own motivations for following this path, Anshar had always been a teacher.

“So, what now?” asked Kazarelth. “Is Anshar dead?”

“Not really,” replied Dranik. “But, he may as well be. His spirit will grow accustomed to being out of his body, or so Talitha said. The longer he remains outside it, the harder it will become to reattach things. And right now, I don’t think anyone here can do that. Only Talitha can handle this, and she’s still back on Yridia. She warned him not to come.”

“So, Anshar chose to come and help retake Antei, even though Tarentum has no great interest in it, and knowing full well that it could cost him his life?” asked Saitou.

“Admittedly, we thought we’d be facing the Vong,” replied Dranik. “But Anshar was insistent on keeping his promise to Sarin that Tarentum would play its part. I’m not sure what he intended to get out of it personally.”

“For now,” said Oberst, “I want to keep this quiet. I only brought you three in on this because you might have had some theories regarding this situation. This isn’t exactly a Death Dealer situation.”

“So, I guess you’re in charge of the clan, then,” said Bloodfyre, looking at Oberst. “Whether or not we can get Anshar back, I will convene the Tarentae upon our return to Yridia.”


20-04-2009 16:40:55

Ronovi emerged from the evac shakily. The medics had treated the bite to the best of their ability, but it didn't do much for her comfort. She'd have to wait until she returned to Yridia to get it really looked at and healed. For now, she settled with the throbbing pain in her arm where Sun Vail's teeth had broken the skin.

Shuffling toward the soldiers that remained outside, the Epicanthix watched as armored troops, though slowly, moved together in order to make a jagged fortification in a rocky outcropping of Antei. Ronovi could tell that they were preparing for any possible counterattack, but from the way things looked, that wasn't going to be much of a worry. All around her, she could sense a feeling of calm, a feeling of slowing heartbeats and deeper breaths from the many fighters around her.

Tarentum had not been too much of a contributor to any of the main action that had most likely unfolded, far beyond Ronovi's scope of vision where the Dark Hall lay in Adas. Still, it had done what the orders required; it was not always common for the clan to follow orders directly, normally finding loopholes for its own benefit or the Brotherhood's. But in truth, this had been the strangest of wars, if not one of the bloodiest, from what Ronovi could tell. Even if many allies she knew had not died, they had been injured, while others had been crushed into Oblivion with their names ground into dust, unremembered.

Ronovi sat down on a small rock near the defensive outcropping of soldiers and watched troops weave together as those not weary or seriously hurt kept their rifles at their shoulders. She remembered the flask in her robes and drew it out, but the remaining whiskey in it was warm and unsavory. She didn't touch it. Instead, she let her Force senses wander over the deep, dark sands of Adas, stretching out toward the horizon as the day moved sluggishly along around her.

Where had Doni Tzu gone? He had not returned, as he had promised to her. Whether he was with the female Jedi, or whether something else had happened to him, Ronovi could not tell. Her Force vision still could not go too far of a radius, and from what she could sense, her master was not there. Nothing but silence on the other end. No words channeled to her in the Force. No reminders. Nothing.

It was with this occurrence that Ronovi knew that the time was coming for her to end her apprenticeship with Doni. This war, whether she didn't feel like it had, was changing her. The idea of the light nearly attacking her had proven her to still be vulnerable, but it was a kind of vulnerability that could not be helped by mentorship. The Knight was already making a mental decision; she would have to become an independent Dark Jedi. She could not fasten herself to links such as her family, or friends, or mentors. It only weakened her. She knew that better than anyone else who had witnessed her flaws.

She was pulled out of her thoughts when she heard footsteps behind her, and she turned to see Apollo approaching her, looking weary, but satisfied. Ronovi watched as he passed where she was sitting, and no words were exchanged between them. No drawing of wits or weapons. No commentary. Nothing. Just the presence of the two Tarenti watching the drawing of the curtain to this conflict. Just the acknowledgment of each other's existence.

Apollo silently moved toward the border, approaching one of the DC commanders as if to converse with him about the latest events. Ronovi didn't mind. She would wait for her next orders, or possibly for someone to speak with her, or possibly her master or Oberst or Anshar, wherever he was, giving her news on what was happening or what was going on.

She could wait a while for that.


20-04-2009 21:15:30

1800 hours

Could it be the storms of war, or could it be the throbbing in his right arm? Vai could not tell, but he knew that his nerves were rattled. Laying prone and at the mercy of the doctor’s at the firebase was not how the Firrerreon had imagined the end of his action in the fields of Antei. Cuts, burns and bruises bore the signs of where the Jedi Hunter had been and what he had witnessed. He was a changed man; his mind was hardened by battle as was his resolve.

So this is what it means to be a veteran Vai thought to himself, to carry the memories of battles, the bloodshed and the death of those on both sides of the conflict.

Looking at the wounded & dying soldiers around him; Vai could sense their pain. Feelings of compassion for them entered his tired mind, yet his darkside training had taught him that this compassion was a sign of weakness and could be exploited. He buried these feelings and looked within himself. His spirit wanted revenge, he wanted to find the one who had hunt him and watch it burn in the fire of his hate. Watch them die slowly, in agony. Yet, here he was, out of action.

One of the army doctor’s approached the Hunter and then pointed at Vai and said, “get the foxtrot uniform prepped for surgery” and then turned to head back in the surgery tent. The Hunter never liked doctors as the last time they left a nasty scar on his left leg, yet he resolved himself in that he wanted to keep his ear and get his shoulder healing. Vai was carried into the tent and the door was slid shut.


1930 hours

The sands of Mt. Ashfire whirled themselves past the makeshift medical center setup to handle the wounded of the war. Troopers walked in tight formation around the perimeter of the firebase, they looked wary of the war as the casualties did, yet they maintained their order. A bright light flew overhead as another transport arrived with more supplies. Though his eyes were closed, the light found itself way into Vai’s dark pupils, causing the Hunter to stir. This had been the Firrerreons chance to get some rest in days and the transport had ruined it, Vai was annoyed, yet it wasn’t the pilots fault.

Swinging his legs off his bed, Vai found that a lot of the pain from his shoulder had subsided. The muscles in his arm were still sore, but the joint felt almost new; it should as the doctors had informed him that the joint needed to be replaced. Unlike his shoulder, the Hunters ear wasn’t as easy to repair and a third needed to be removed. Vai felt fortunate as he looked at some of the other casualties as they were missing limbs.

Standing, Vai started walking towards the command post when a weak bloody hand grabbed his leg. The Firrerreon paused for a moment and then looked down to see one of his houses newest journeymen bleeding to death lying on a gurney. Vai felt naked, unable to help one of his own. He knelt down beside the shaking man and felt his life slip away; war was hell and the Hunter was ready for it to be over.

Severon V

21-04-2009 14:03:14

1930 hours

Severon walked calmly around the makeshift medcenter, his limp gone. He was still worried about Brimstone, but didn’t have the time to go and see him for he was waiting for the official report. He walked over to Brin and stood next to him looking up at Mt. Ashfire.

“War unsettles you doesn’t it Brin?” he asked calmly.

“Yea, but it does that to everyone. With all the experience in my life, I still am unsettled.”

“This was my first real war. I’ve seen bloodshed before, but never like this. I feel… so alone on the inside.”

“It’ll pass my friend.”

“You know Brin, for an acolyte, you seem very wise in the ways of the world.”

“Ha…you could say that I guess.”

Brin fell silent, and Severon turned back to the swirling sands. His heart was tormented inside his chest, but he was relieved to know that it seemed to be wrapping up. However, he had no idea as to whether it was or not. Command had just ordered all of them to regroup so he had no idea what was going on. But he was glad to finally be able to stand his ground and not worry about any surprise attacks. He pulled up his hood and walked off towards the tent were Brimstone lay.


22-04-2009 01:12:53

In the aftermath of the Codei Operation, Brin and his two journeyman compatriots had found themselves with little to do. The first, an Alderaani Protector called Severon, had taken his leave after a short discussion – looking to find his friend Brimstone.

Brin certainly didn’t feel as wise as his words to the Protector might have suggested.

He’d always had a way with words, but the churning in his stomach wasn’t that of a hardened warrior. Fighting on the ground was an extremely uncomfortable experience. The Acolyte and his remaining journeyman settled themselves on the ground against some packing crates, Brin hoping that the rest would settle his stomach and his thoughts.

Haha, Brin’s inner voice chuckled at him - you didn’t even *fight* anyone and you’ve turned to Bantha Butter!

It just wasn’t the same Brin reasoned back, pulling out a ration bar from one of his pockets. He’d been a pilot for most of his years, and when flying, you shot down ships, not pilots. The men in his previous squadrons had taken great pride in sketching the shapes of their defeated foes on the sides of their fighters. Slightly less pride with the less effective Y-Wings and Z-95’s perhaps, but every kill was a victory.

While no two engagements were the same, the flying characteristics of the ships lent them something akin to a personality – which made it all the easier to distance them from the grisly nature of their work. Brin doubted that any of his previous Navy comrades would have been quite so keen as to sketch bloated heads, bodies with missing limbs and vacuum suits on their hulls.

“Brin?” his remaining journeyman companion purred at him. The Acolyte paused, his chain of thought derailed. It was the first time his companion (Brin couldn’t bring himself to call these people comrades yet) had spoken, and Brin didn’t know whether to be more surprised by her vocalisation than by the fact that the voice was Female.

Brin’s trousers stirred. Well, ask a stupid question-

“That’s what they call you, isn’t it?” the female Journeyman continued, not pausing to respect Brin’s rambling internal monologue. Brin felt seventeen again as he nodded dumbly.

Under her cowl, Guardian Chaaron Mar seethed. She was doing her best to maintain a pleasant demeanor, yet because of this Acolyte’s thick-headedness she couldn’t help but think of what his effeminate head would look like, arcing gracefully over the prison compound.

His poor attempt at a Force sense inside Codei had aggravated her immensely. His girlish cursing could have led to an ambush, or worse. It rankled her no end that she was fearful of an enemy attack. Another impulse to crush.

Her fingers tightened around her Saber, enjoying its rough texture. The ruby-red blade was a beautiful thing, and if she swung hard enough at the right point…

Brin noted Chaaron’s bright eyes gazing hungrily at his neck and decided he had best advance the conversation.

“I – uh” Brin stammered, belatedly remembering that he hadn’t re-engaged the safety on his blaster. Pushing himself up slightly against his packing crate, he moved his ration bar to his weaker, left hand.

“What can I do for you?” Brin asked nonchalantly, forcing a confidence he didn’t feel. His left leg was bouncing slightly. He stopped it, crossing it with his right.

Chaaron removed her cowl, and Brin saw Lekku. Halcyon and Ebon Lekku. That was odd. Brin took a bite from his ration bar, savouring the flavoured protein – along with the opportunity to do anything besides fixate on why this exotic Twi’lek was staring at him.

“I’m hungry” Chaaron stated flatly, edging closer.
“I guessed as much” Brin squeaked.
“I want your ration bar” Chaaron intoned quietly, edging closer again.
“You want – oh!” Brin made to throw the unfinished bar to her - and felt the slightest of force presences brush past his. His distracted mind was suddenly locked on an image of his half-finished ration! She was using Persuasion! That bitch!

Brin furrowed his brow. He wasn’t some defenseless green-horn pushover. Brin hesitated. Was he?

Well, she’s not getting *this* ration bar! He resolved testily, searching for a solution. He found one, feeling quite proud of himself for his cunning.

Brin stuffed the remnants of his ration into his mouth. It was then he realised that he couldn’t swallow it all before she could get to him. He didn’t dare chew.

Chaaron’s nostrils flared, but Brin pulled a spare bar from one of his suits’ internal pockets and without thinking twice, threw it to her. Brin’s own bar had helped settle his stomach, but it hadn’t done much for his nerves.

There, he reasoned. I won. He’d ‘borrowed’ the second bar from the landing craft pilot, thinking that he’d need all the energy he could get. He’d get new rations upon returning to the fleet. Brin forced himself to start chewing through the immense blob of foodstuff, still lodged in his mouth.

Victory! Chaaron thought, tearing the wrapping from her prize, its protective foil making a fresh crackling sound. But something wasn’t right. Chaaron realised belatedly that she didn’t know he had a spare ration. That was odd.

I wanted *that* one she thought, glancing quickly at Brin’s now empty hands, before focusing on her food, taking a substantial bite. A few short feet away, Brin tried not to notice the sharpness of her teeth.

It had been awhile since Chaaron had the chance to eat - and the campaign had been hard. The sensation of finally having some form of protein pass down her throat was almost enough to make her lekku twitch, as a small smile sneaked onto her features, unnoticed.

This one is as gullible as a gundark Chaaron reasoned, but she wouldn’t begrudge him giving her the Guardian’s first decent meal in days. He had at least thought far enough ahead to bring extra supplies, so perhaps this one could be useful. Chaaron decided to keep her visible contempt for this human in check - for now.

The pair sat in silence, mildly confused, until they heard the familiar whirring of shuttle engines, carrying more materials for the fortifications. As the pair rose to guide the ship down, it dawned on Brin that he hadn’t thought about the battle since meeting his ration-bar nemesis. We'll take the small victories Brin concluded, waving his hands - before pausing to consider some small point.

“What was your name again?” Brin called out under the increasing sound of repulsor-lift activation. The Twi’lek pointed at her ears and shrugged, grinning. Brin stuffed his tongue in his cheek and resumed guiding the shuttle, the power of the repulsors acting as a primal force, blowing away his worries.


22-04-2009 20:17:01

The cries of the wounded and dying have not changed since he first seen the phenomenon known as war so many years ago as a young man. His first real battle was at the Battle of Hoth. It wasn't much of a battle for a fighter pilot, but he had a habit of monitoring the Army channels just in case a close air support request came in. But as he held formation with his Flight Leader in high atmosphere, he heard his first screams of agony and suffering in his headset. Below, the first AT-AT had been taken down by the enemy's tow cables. And quickly thereafter, it was attacked where it's armor was thin and exploded. Apollo never found out why the mic was keyed, but he heard the voices of the crew and commander as they were burned alive, trapped within their walker, which had utlimately became their tomb.

The pain and utter horror of those screams haunted him for weeks after. It had taken him a lot to get over the thought of it, but once he had It had never bothered him again. So now, as he stands on a ridge near Codei Prison, the moans and cries from the battalion aid station beside him wash over deaf ears. While he feels their pain through the Force, it does not affect him. His face remains emotionless, or at least neutral to the scene displayed around him. Columns of troopers solidifying their positions around the prison while Tarentum's Dark Jedi regroup at the forward command post.

Sliding a hand through his crew cut black hair, his hand came away wet with perspiration. He wiped his hand on his pants leg and grabbed his canteen for a needed drink, only to find a blaster hole through the container instead of water. He blinked for a moment before remembering the skirmish with the crazy lady. Bitch.

Dropping the canteen to the ground, he pulled out his datapad and tapped on the current roster for House Gladius. It had been updated to account for those wounded and for those dead. He had lost a large batch of new recruits at the defense of the surface-to-air missile batteries. He had also lost his Battle Team Leader in one of the initial attacks. He was apparently in a coma, but the Doctors onboard the MK were quite confident of a full recovery, and soon. Some good news anyway. Still, he lost half of his House to death or serious injury. He needed to think about his leadership skills, and soon. If the war isn't over soon he might not have a House left to lead.

Reaching back to his second canteen he pulled it from its holster and shook it, confirming the presence of the water inside before pouring half the contents on his face and head before drinking the rest. He shook his head and took a deep breath and turned around, only to find Ronovi staring at him. She looked away once he faced her. He moved to stand near the young Aedile.

"Good work in the prison. You handled yourself well. Especially since this is your first major war and all." He said, looking at transports carrying away the wounded to the fleet above.

"You too." the Cestian AED said, attempting to find the right words for the moment. "You do good work with your saber." she added then quickly shut her eyes and began to chastise herself as soon as the words left her mouth.

Hades smirked a bit.

"Thanks." He knew the two had a lot of catching up to do, but he now knew they had the time to do it. He nodded towards Vai in the distance as his expression turned serious.

"The war isn't quite over. We need to regroup and be ready for a final push or for any operations. So you should probably tend to your House. I have no idea where your QUA has been, but right now your the leader your people can see. Go make sure they are doing alright and see how combat effective your House is. I need to do the same with mine."

Ronovi nodded and rose to her feet and surveyed the faces around her.

"This is going to be one hell of a story." She said as she stretched a bit. "I'll see you later Apollo."

She then turned and began walking towards a group of wounded Ceastians near the aid station. He grinned and turned towards Scion and closed the distance between the two.

"Okay Scion, lets get our House in order and combat ready." Said the only slightly younger man. Scion grinned and nodded to his old friend.

"Roger that."


22-04-2009 22:23:51

The battered and bloodied faces of Cestian Journeymen and Equites alike peered up at Ronovi as she made her way toward them. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Vai hunched over a dying journeyman; the Rollmaster's ear still stayed fragmented, but he was focused on staying beside the warrior. With this war past, Ronovi would have to get used to letting House members who had not survived pass, and Vai would have to learn it, too. She directed a simple stream of Force communication to the Hunter.

Get over here.

Vai slowly raised his head to see the Aedile standing a few yards away from him, her tattered cloak weaving around her legs as her cut and bruised face shone through the shadows. He approached her as the two faced the group of wounded Cestians, and Ronovi nodded curtly before speaking. She would have to pick up the slack, as Kazarelth was off with the others.

"As you all know, the worst is over. And you've all been fortunate to endure it. But this war may not quite be over, and even if you may be in pain, I know most of you will still have to take a stand. A transport back to the Reqiuem will be arranged for some of you, as you will prove incapable of maintaining defense with your injuries. But the rest of you must stay here and keep guard."

The various grunts of complaint rattled Ronovi's ears, and she put up a hand to silence them. "This is war, Cestus. Like it or not, you are soldiers for the cause of the Brotherhood. I've seen warriors with missing limbs still put up a fight. You can at least deal with this."

Then, turning to Vai, Ronovi let her vision settle briefly on the prison. It was only just now that she was beginning to understand just how of much of a miracle it was that Codei had stayed intact throughout this war. Places for punishment always seemed to stand the longest.

"Vai, I want you to monitor everyone. Be sure to pick the weakest from the better suited and bring the former to one of the transports nearby. If Kazarelth shows up, just let him know what you're doing."

Without another word, Ronovi turned on her heels and left the Cestus group, brushing back several Journeymen and soldiers who were either moving toward the fortified defense formations or racing for the transports waiting for them closer to the firebase's core. More and more Dark Jedi were returning to the clan fleets, and Ronovi didn't blame them for it. The flames of war were hot and licked their faces with sharp tongues, and to move away from the burning feeling was tempting. Still, the Aedile was not running away from the fires; the fact that she had not been severely injured for once in battle was a symbol of that.

But she felt that her work, for now, was done, and she would prove more useful above the ground. Even if Ronovi did not show it, exhaustion was taking its toll on her muscles. The sinews in her legs and arms felt tender, and it was difficult for her to move without much pain. Her mind was still unsettled from her near conversion, and in truth, she didn't think the feeling would ever go away. Leave it to the light to muddle her thought process.

Moving toward the conglomeration of shuttles which silver hulls glowed in the hovering mist around Antei, Ronovi approached one of the pilots that stood outside one of the vessels. Vai would take care of the House for now, and Kazarelth would return soon to help as best as he could. The pilot was young and fresh-faced, and he saluted as Ronovi approached him.

"What can I do for you, colonel?"

Ronovi raised her eyes toward the darkened Antei skies as the day slipped by. She could sense the winding down of everything around her, a present but unsteady calm. She still could not sense her master.

"Take me back to the Magnus Kaerner."


Kazarelth, Bloodfyre, and Saitou left the prison in silence, pondering what they had been told. With Oberst temporarily in charge, all they attempted to hypothesize was what would happen to Anshar now. The Watchers had their minds set on the Keepers, those who they devoted their work to, yet they were in Yridia, far from Antei. If Anshar could find a way to connect with them, there could still be hope. But there was always the chance that any attempts for him to get back into his body would fail.

But despite all that, the trio shone with an aura of satisfaction at their own work. They had found their share of bodies, even if not necessarily of the Vong, and their contents would prove useful to them. It was always the Necromancers' way to find new sources of energy and life for them to use. Tarentum would profit from it.

The Quaestor, former Consul, and Pontifex approached the Cestus group where Vai directed injured members. He was already planting stronger members toward defensive positions, and the Rollmaster turned to see the trio with a thin smile.

"I'm glad you showed up. I'll be taking the wounded back to the Reqiuem. May as well keep the others in check."

"Oh, we'll manage," said Kazarelth, his Force-amplified voice implying that he was impressed by how much Vai had worked. "Where's Ronovi?"

"I don't know. She headed off somewhere."

She's probably worn out from everything, thought Kazarelth as he smirked. He had been through a war before, one much more tragic than this one. And he had endured. Ronovi had time to realize this.

Still, he moved to the Cestians with Bloodfyre and Saitou, his powers as Quaestor taken into account again. It was about time the three had settled during this conflict.


23-04-2009 15:56:43

The wind of Antei was strong as it flowed across the mounds and mountains of the battle torn planet and caressed the bodies of those that had harmed its rocky crust. Grasping at everything in its path, the gusting air quickly drew out the heat of those that were leaving this dimension while piercing the clothing of those standing over them; touching them with its chilly embrace. All those dead, dying, or trying to aid them were all wrapped into the wind’s grip and passed over everyone part of them body; as if the planet itself was trying to become familiarize with the returning power that attempted to bend everything in its path to its will.

Moving over the exterior of the Codei prison, into the plains surrounding it and over the cliffs back into the shadowlands; the wind continued its journey over all land as it travelled back the path that Tarentum had just forcefully marched down. However, as it left the Tarentum camp to make its journey, the gusts of air came across a sole individual standing away from the fortifications on top of their very own mound rock and dirt. Playfully pulling at the robes that hung from the individual, the wind travelled through the garments of the lone individual before continuing on its merry way.

As his clothing fell back into their original place, the Ryn bearing them inhaled deeply as he focused his mind on clearing his troubles. However, the attempt seemed wasted; fore as soon as he exhaled, they returned with force. Causing the Ryn to sweat due to his weakened state from days spent in combat, beckoning on the force for clarity failed ease the troubled Obelisk as well. For the past several hours, the Obelisk Templar had spent his time in isolation reflecting on the resulting events of the clan’s participation in the Grand Master’s war. And as the concerns flooded back into his mind he was forced to reflect on them once again.

Everyone had known that assisting Sarin in his conquest was going to have its price, and this cost was expected to balance the outstanding debt that Tarentum had with Sarin. Through combat, Tarenti and the clan’s fleet were both expected to give their life for the cause; not in loyalty to Sarin but rather in loyalty to the Sith King and freeing his followers from the debt of the Iron Throne. However, once Raiju Kang had exited the prison that he and the several others were sent into; the Obelisk picked up on a disturbance as he looked around upon the death that surrounded him.

A Paladin of the Obelisk Order, Raiju was in the class unique to the order that focused on skilled practice of the force amongst combat and this enlightenment had opened the Ryn’s eyes to aspects of the force outside of combat as well through association. Before the war, the Obelisk had made use of the force as a tool but now through the fires of combat it had transformed into something more. And whatever this new found sense of the force had developed into in Raiju, it was no second nature to him and warned him of the state of the clan.

Too many of those surrounding him while he exited the prison had seemed to have had their path to darkness distorted. Too many felt remorse over the passing of other Jedi, too many strived for powers of healing, and too many felt negatively towards the concept of war. And the feelings he had sensed in the clan concerned him.

Maybe this conflict with the light isn’t over, Raiju thought to himself. Maybe with our interaction with these heretics has resulted in a tainting of our own, and if that were true the real conflict with the light is only beginning.

"Or maybe I have just taken another step closer to darkness with my enlightenment." Raiju chuckled aloud, "I just hope I don't end up like Oberst!"

Sighing to himself from concern as a new breeze washed over him and carried away his laugh, the Obelisk finally felt a sense of calm for his concerns as he saw the first transports back to the Tarenti fleet lift off from the camp before he.

“Whatever weakened state Tarentum may be in, that is a concern for tomorrow.” Raiju said as he pulled out one of the two discs sitting in his pocket. “Today, my concern is Agnan; and if I don’t get this treasure to him soon, then my real problem for tomorrow will be finding a new supplier.”

Tucking the disc into the breast pocket of his robes, Raiju lept off mound onto the rocky terrain below. Kicking up dust as he marched towards the nearest entrance to the Tarenti encampment, the Obelisk hurried to catch the first transport back to the Phlegethon.


24-04-2009 11:07:56

Brimstone sat in the medical tent with the other injured soldiers, but instead of resting, he was meditating. He requested no more surgeries. He wanted to use the Force and the healing techniques he had learned from Telona years earlier to heal his body. It was because Telona had told him only a dark jedi, in-tuned with his own body and injuries, is more stronger as a warrior and a Sith.

He ignored everyone that came near him. They looked at him like he was stupid cause he was just another foxtrot-uniform to them, but he was a Chiss and wasn't going to let his pride escape him by letting others tend to him. Besides they had non-force users to deal with.

As he meditated, the picture of Anshar, his old master, came into his vision. But this time, he seemed transparent instead of solid. Anshar said nothing to him as if unable to speak. Brimstone tried to speak to him, but he simply vanished.

Severon came into the tent and had no problem finding Brimstone. The fact that he was the only blue-skinned humanoid there was a dead giveaway.

“Hey Brim, what you doing” Severon calmly asked.

“I am meditating and healing my injuries” the Chiss replied. “I sense you made it out alive and in one piece I see?”

“Yeah, thanks to you. You save my butt out there. I wanted to thank you, but the medivacs took off with you because you were injured and unconscious.”

“I was aware of what was happening, so I placed myself in an animated state as soon as I landed. I knew I was in trouble, but I had to make sure you and the others lived.”

Severon took a seat in the cot next to Brimstone. The Dark Jedi Knight finally opened his eyes.

“So did we finally win this god forsaken war?” he calmly asked.

“I don't know if we did, but you should have seen Oberst and Ronovi and Scion and the others. They were just amazing with their poise despite the odds” replied Severon.

“That's good. Now that we have Antei back for the Brotherhood, we can go back to Yridia and you can find a master to train you.”

Severon sat for a few seconds before he said “What about you Brim, you could be my master?”

“I don't believe so. I think you need to be an Elder or Master already to take on a disciple” replied Brimstone. “You should talk to my old master, Master Anshar, about it.”

“I don't think I can. No one has seen or heard from him for a while” replied Severon.

Brimstone wasn't surprised by the news as he has seen his old master take off before to do something else. “Then he is probably helping clean up the mess the Jedi left us. If he decides to take you, he will find you.”

The two then got up and walked out of the medical tent, Brimstone with a noticeable limp, to head out to the other platoon's of soldiers and Brotherhood members. Some were headed to shuttles to take them back to their command posts and others that were more severely injured would be taken back to the medical frigates up above Antei.

The two continued walking to try to find other Tarentum members and to get word on what their next orders were to be.


24-04-2009 14:47:25

The sultry heat from Mt. Ashfire carried by the Anteian winds blew across the face of the Firrerreon warrior as he watched his Quaestor and companions take charge of the defense of the firebase. The rumbling volcano brought upon a dark orange glow onto the medical center. It brought a stinging heat to the wounded, which caused exposed cuts to burn as microscopic particles of dust and fine ash blew through the winds and impacted themselves.

Amongst this scene stood a leader of Cestus, providing direction of where personnel should go. The Rollmaster took this task serious, like all tasks assigned to him; he would not fail his Aedile. He walked to each member of his house and looked at there condition, working with the medical staff to determine if they were strong enough to defend the base, or if they needed to be evacuated.

“Talon, are you well enough to help defend the base?” queried the Hunter to one of the Equites who had been hurt when the AT-TE he was in hit a mine. He had received a laceration on his right leg; however the medical staff had stopped the bleeding and stitched him up.

Standing up tall, the Human looked at the Jedi Hunter and said “yes, where do you need me.”

Pointing towards the line of defense, Vai sent the Obelisk Templar to reinforce the northern line.

Within his mind, Vai knew what the other reason for his order from Ronovi was, to keep his mind off the dying. He needed reconcile that in war people die and there was nothing he could do other than honor them by continuing to move forward. It wasn’t easy, especially when he came upon dying members. Looking at the medical staff with a stern look on his face, the Hunter said “make sure they don’t die in pain.” The medical staff dispersed amongst the dying and upped their painkillers.

“Where is that shuttle?” queried the Cestus Rollmaster as he turned to a Lieutenant who had been assisting the Firrerreon.

“The Requiem reports the shuttle departed 20 minutes ago and should be arriving soon” said the young officer.

Vai was ready to get back to the Corsair and relax before the humbling task of figuring what the house had lost during the war. This was the hardest part of war, dealing with the losses and determining how much it could affect the house and the clan as a whole.

The Rollmaster had done a great job separating the strong from the weak. Those strong enough manned the defense and the others were grouped together as they waited for the shuttle to arrive. Vai knew his time on Antei was over as he would go up with the wounded.

“Sir, the shuttle is inbound” said one of the soldiers to their commander as he pointed to the sky.

The shuttle flew over the encampment slow and banked hard to come down on the landing platform. Its loading ramp dropped down and its engines went to standby. Noticing the shuttle was ready, Vai gave the signal and the wounded began to be brought aboard. Some tears were on the faces on some of the journeymen, they were ready to leave this place.

Vai was the last to board, making sure no one wounded was left behind. Taking his seat in the front of the transport, the Rollmaster gave the signal to the pilot to depart. The engines hummed to life as the shuttle slowly lifted off the surface of Antei. Vai looked out the window at the prison and was relieved to be leaving this place. Taking his seat, Vai closed his eyes and meditated, the war was over for him and he was content with this.

Minutes later, Vai felt the shuttle land in the hanger bay of the Requiem. As the crew made their way aboard the transport and got the wounded off, Vai made his way through the corridors and entered the bridge. It was quiet, with only a few of the crew doing housekeeping operations. They paused for a moment, noticing the torn and scarred Hunter before returning to their duties. Taking his place, Vai looked out the portal he was looking out of at the start of the operation and took personal inventory of how much the war had changed him.


25-04-2009 03:38:38

Mission Accomplished.

That was what Apollo was thinking as he looked upon those moving in and out of Codei Prison. The last bastion of resistance in Tarentum's Area of Operations was firmly in hands of the soldiers from the Iron Throne. After a more in depth search of the facility lead to the discovery of a majority of the prison population being alive was quite amazing. That was something no one was expecting.

There had been a lot of things happen that Apollo didn't expect. His survival for one. And the fact that a good portion of the clan was alive and in decent shape surprised him. If the question of if he would have believed if that was possible before departing on this mission, he would have firmly answer no. But that was before the change in battle plans. Before they knew the Vong were dead and droids had taken their place. Before that crazy Jedi Master appeared.

Ironically, the Brotherhood's rumor mill (which apparently had not suffered any damage at the hand of the enemy) was that the old Jedi was actually an old Sith. Apollo was fully amazed at that piece of news as were many in the clan except Oberst, of course. The Marshal really wasn't phased by much of anything anymore. Not that he was much in the beginning either. That fact was quite evident as Apollo observed Oberst walking through the rows of wounded and while trying to get back to his OP the Marshal stepped between two wounded Tarenti and then he kicked one of the men's hand out of the way. The Gladius Quaestor just shook his head with a smirk. In all the years he has known the man, he has never changed one bit.

Looking out over the vast stretches of rock and dust, he could see Clan Plagius to Tarentum's East doing the same thing they were. Caring for their casualties and starting to evac their people out. That thought brought up another. Reaching for his comlink, he punched in the code for the Cocytus. The Communications Officer answered the query quickly.

"This is the Cocytus."

"Ensign, this is Apollo. Give me a Sit Rep of the ship." He said as he moved out of the way for a repuslor cart moving wounded.

"Yes sir. One moment please." Said the female officer on duty. "Transmitting."

"Received. Wait one." Apollo ordered as he scanned the damage list for his ship. Damn. He thought as he looked over the casualty list.

"One hundred and twenty dead and half of our turbolaser batteries damaged and inoperable?"

"Yes, sir. We took a small asteroid hit earlier, but the Super Star Destroyer that came out of the Shroud was quite a shock. We tried to assist the larger craft where able, but we took a beating. But we gave it back too, sir." She replied with a little bit of enthusiasm. That made Apollo smile. It's officers and crew like her that make his love the military life.

"Understood. I'll be sending the XO up soon. Apollo out." Switching off his comm he scanned the immediate area before seeing his Aedile giving directions to a few Gladius members.

"Scion!" Apollo called out as he moved over to him. The Sith turned to face his QUA and captain of his ship in the Tarentum Military.

"Yeah? What's up?" He asked. Apollo handed him the datapad with the transmission from the Cocytus.

"Damn." He said upon reading.

"Yeah, my thoughts exactly. I need you on the next shuttle out. Get back to the ship and see if you can speed anything up. Also, if you can get the Holonet relay access and see if you can get a message to the Aegis Platform and put in the first request for repairs. Let's see if we can beat the others in."

Scion smirked and saluted.

"Aye, aye sir." Apollo rolled his eyes at that.

"Get out of here old man." He added. Scion laughed and made his way to the nearby LZ.

Turning around and gazing once more to the dust and rocky surface around him, Apollo took a second to contemplate the whole war and all that has happened since it started. He thanked whatever deity that would listen, that they did not have to fight the Vong on this forsaken world. He could only imagine what kind of war this would have been if that had happened. And how many more of his clan would be laying about on the ground. Possibly himself included, if the planet had been filled with those warriors.

But it wasn't. And the war, Apollo was sure, turned out quite differently than he believed. He couldn't help but smile at the good fortunes that been bestowed on the clan from the Force. But he was quite ready for this war to be over. He had served his time in Hell too many times to count.

Gathering his thoughts he addressed the Gladians that were close by. He instructed them to make their way to the LZ for a transport up to the fleet. He was volunteering to stay behind to help oversee security of the Firebase and the Prison. He would leave when Oberst or Anshar, wherever he was, ordered him to go. Moving to an OP on the southern end of the firebase, he retrieved his binoculars and began to stand watch.


25-04-2009 06:04:33

Together, Brin and Chaaron watched the faces of Brotherhood personnel making their way to the first evacuation shuttle. The vessel’s hull was pitted and scored, but it didn’t show any recent signs of battle damage, which boded well for a safe flight home.

The Acolyte wished he could say the same about the condition of his compatriots.

Burn victims and other casualties of the campaign were either shuffling up the entry ramp, or being carried aboard by their healthier comrades as a few of the remaining Tarenti looked out over the battlements – wary of any last-ditch attack.

Brin gave the pilot a hand gesture with his fingers, wishing him a safe flight. The pilot responded by pulling a ration bar from his pocket and dragging his thumb across his neck. Both grinned before the pilot turned his attention to his pre-flight checks. An attack seemed unlikely at this stage, but it wasn’t wise to keep any ship sitting exposed for too long, particularly on the ground. Brin hadn’t seen many friendly fighters in atmosphere since joining the battle and being stuck on foot made him nervous. Brin wasn’t trained for this. If only it was as simple as shooting ships.

Brin shook his head. After this, he’d never look at those ships as empty again.

Waving Chaaron away, onto the shuttle – he looked for another familiar face. The firebase they had established was small, but built to the terrain. Scampering past pockets of soldiers taking the chance to eat, or sneak a few seconds of rest, Brin picked out the familiar force presence of his old friend Apollo, staking out an Observation Point.

Hustling up to his Quaestor’s position, Brin clapped his hand on his friend’s shoulder. Apollo kept his binoculars up for a few more seconds, before turning to the Acolyte.

“Brin? Didn’t you hear my order to leave?”
“No sir, I was unloading the shuttle at the LZ – do I have your permission?”
“Go for it” Apollo chuckled, “But first, you should know you’ve been promoted”
Brin blinked.
“Promoted?” He repeated dumbly.
“I’ve got no idea what for” the Arch Priest started, “It’s not like you actually managed to kill anything…”
Brin grinned. “Maybe I’m getting a bit too good at taking orders”
Apollo’s cheshire counter-grin made Brin shiver. “Is this coming from the Grunt about to miss his evac shuttle?”

Brin decided not to push his luck.

“I’ll see you in space, Apollo”
“Not if I see you first, Protector”

Brin saluted and began to make his way back to the Evacuation ship.


25-04-2009 16:45:27

From below, the jagged outcroppings in the Anteian landscape did not say goodbye to the transport that drifted toward the hangar bay of the Magnus Kaerner. Nothing but the moving silhouettes below as other shuttles zipped by, carrying others who were fortunate to have survived the chaos. The worst was over. The calm was just beginning. But not without a price.

Ronovi happily accepted the floor of the Kaerner beneath her boots. Solid. Defined. Supportive. She felt unnaturally warm in the overhanging lights of the vessel, the soft hum of the engines beneath her. No more dust kicked up, no eyes attempting to convert her. For now, she was safe.

But only for now. And who knew how Tarentum would be able to recover, how much they had lost. Anshar's whereabouts were unknown; that she knew for sure. At least unknown to all but a select few. She could guess that Oberst knew what had happened. But not a word to anyone who was not in his circle of trust. In Tarentum's order of trust.

Ronovi traversed the corridors of the Magnus Kaerner with well executed steps, steps she had to concentrate on. She was physically and mentally exhausted; her arms were heavy, the bite swollen beneath the gauze. Her arm could very well have imprinted teeth marks for the rest of her life. Another battle scar, as the last of her adrenaline drained from her body, as if through every open orifice or pore that allowed it to seep away.

She had changed in this war, but despite it all, she could not help but feel that she was back to where she started. Nothing but that feeling of utmost uncertainty. The future had not been made clearer to her, nor the effects of her work on that dark soil that lay far below. She could only return to the locker room with a suspended belief that things had been done, but how things would be now still blurred in her mind. Not even her grip on the Force could help that.

She could already sense Welshman near the bridge, Adien keeping his position on the main controls, Spears preparing to guide them again. Everyone still worked, scurrying about. War, to them, never had a chance to rest.

Ronovi began to meditate. It was the best she could do now for the calm finally took back its throne. Not peace. No, peace had no place here. But calm, yes. Lingering calm.

Where Anshar was now; where Doni Tzu had gone; what would happen to Tarentum, to the Brotherhood...nothing but questions with no clear answer to the Knight. Nothing but the fierce call of "Never again" to the light. That light that would peek through the dark curtains again if it wanted to.

Uncertainty was still all she could fathom.


25-04-2009 22:34:56


Oberst stood on the bridge of the Magnus Kaerner, observing the remaining Tarentum ships arriving in system. The clan had returned to Yridia, leaving the war torn Dark Hall and Antei behind. It was, Oberst reflected, an unenviable position that the new Grand Master found himself in. At least Oberst could say that his own rise in command was better off. Though not yet officially recognized, Oberst was the de facto Consul of Clan Tarentum after Anshar’s disappearance during the fighting on Antei. Of course, only a small handful of people knew what had happened, and immediately upon arriving in system, Dranik, as Anshar’s closest friend, had sought out the ageless Keeper Talitha. Dranik had yet to report back on the situation.

“All ships present and accounted for,” reported Adien, captain of the Star Destroyer. Oberst nodded an acknowledgement. Though battered, Tarentum’s fleet had come through the fight intact, save for the remotely controlled Renegade. Anshar’s original intention had been to use the MC80 cruiser, captured on a mission prior to the war, as a giant battering ram. The Jedi Super Star Destroyer had demolished the ship, but Oberst did not doubt that losing the ship had saved the rest of Tarentum’s ships.

“Sir, there’s a priority word message from the Grand Chamberlain.” Oberst brought up the message on a private screen next to him, reading what he already knew was coming. Bloodfyre was calling for a meeting of the Tarentae to discuss the future of the clan, including the Consulship. The clan’s path would be determined by this group now.
“Have my shuttle ready for departure in ten minutes,” Oberst ordered, wondering what success, if any, Dranik was having with Talitha.

* * *

It was the pain in his chest that first brought Anshar to the realization that he was back in his body. He recalled, vaguely, being run through with a lightsaber. However, just before then, his spirit had broken free from his body, exactly as Talitha had warned that it could. As he slowly opened his eyes, Anshar acknowledged to himself that he shouldn’t be here; nor could he remember how he got here. Looking around, Anshar found that he was in his bedroom in his private manor, lying on his bed. In a corner sat Dranik. His steely gaze boring into Anshar. Before Anshar could ask, Dranik raised a hand and cut him off.

“Oberst preserved your body and had the doctors fix it, though the fact that it seemed dead confused the doctors,” he said. “Now, with that out of the way, come with me. You should be able to walk.” Anshar slowly got out of bed, his entire body still feeling very foreign to him. It was even worse than before. Anshar followed Dranik down the hall to the only guest bedroom in the manor. Dranik opened the door, and the two entered the dimly lit room. Outside, Anshar could hear the rain begin to come down.

“Dranik, is that you?” asked a small voice, barely above a whisper.

“Yes,” replied the Shi’do. “And Anshar is with me. Your operation succeeded.”

“Anshar,” whispered Talitha, “you fool. You stupid, stupid fool. I told you not to go to Antei; not to fight. It will take me awhile to recover from this. This was the most taxing thing I have done, and it cannot be done again.”

“I’m going to find a way to reverse my condition,” said Anshar. “But, why even bother calling me back? I made my decision.”

“Because they are coming,” replied Talitha. “You promised to protect me, but now you are a target, too. You have touched immortality.”

“Just who are they?” asked Anshar, annoyed at the lecture.

“They go by many names: Death, Hunters, Reapers, and so much more. The Keepers seek to balance life and death, the Hunters seek only to destroy it. They loath restoring life, and yours and my immortality is an abomination to them.”

“Then why bring me back?” repeated Anshar. “The clan could have protected you, and I would not have brought more attention to the clan.”

“I did so because Tel’Ratha and Shade ordered me to do it,” replied Talitha. “They are not done with this clan. It is too late to undo this alliance you have with them. They will help you, but at a high price. I can only follow as a Keeper.”

“I thought you don’t remember being a Keeper,” said Anshar.

“That does not mean I cannot accept what I am. I do know that with each step that brings me closer to finding my king, the Hunters are one step closer to us. Make no mistake, my guardian, Death like you have never seen or felt shall soon visit you and your clan. Your fight on Antei shall seem like child’s play. This is the price you will pay for our help, and for our knowledge.”