Hsk Insurrection Run-on
1. No editing of posts after you have posted.
2. Ensure continuity, marks will be deducted for breaks in said continuity.
3. Use your character sheet for your character, marks will be decucted for a break in realism.
4. Do no post until the orders are set. Orders will be given once a week, beginning Sunday, July 5th and following every Sunday until the closing of the Event on August 6th.
This Thread will be re-opend on July 5th, 2009.
House Satal Keto:
Your orders are as follows:
Your former Quaestor, Alaris Jinn has begun to make claims on the Dark Tower and has begun to refer to himself as Consul. Exar Kun is planning to destroy his supporters. As a house, plan your defence from a much higher populated, House Exar Kun.
More orders to follow on July 12th.
Time to Think
It was a harsh, frozen world, a planet of icy temperatures and hellish conditions. Morroth, the farthest planet from Jusadih's star, Sigil, had long been a world reserved only for the condemned and the bankrupt. Its population, barely ten thousand people, consisted almost entirely of workers, soldiers, refugees, and prisoners within the local installations. It was a vicious place to live, a place whose twilight-strewn days made Hoth seem a paradise unto itself. It was also the home to Alpha Base and Beta Base, and yet another branch of the Jusadih Military Dictatorship.
Standing at the window of the office, the man gazed out into the vicious wind and the aerial blanket of snow that made up the current blizzard. As he watched the vicious temperatures ravage the outside, he made mental notes and calculations, thinking of new provisions for what he suspected was to come. His name was known to few within the system, military officials and generals who dealt with him via messages, holograms, and clever stand-ins and proxies. Few knew who he really was, or what motivated him.
Fewer still knew that this man was a disciple of the Sith.
Kal Vorrac sighed faintly as he considered everything running through his mind, making notes of every potential issue and possibility that came to him. He had spent nearly every one of the forty five years of his life in this way, calculating risks, taking precautions and ensuring fallbacks. As a Colonel of Intelligence and one of the more capable members within that branch, he either had access to all of the intel he needed, or knew how to get it. It was this that had caused him the deepest worry he had felt in some time. There was almost no intel to be found.
"Confusing," he said quietly to himself, the emerald eyes looking outward from his pale face seeming sunken beneath the cowl of his cloak. Gold patches flecked the eyes, and as he flexed his gloved hands to help their circulation, his mouth twisted in a distasteful grimace. The left hand still felt too alien, too foreign to him, its metallic workings not yet natural to him. So busy was his mind that he almost failed to detect the man coming down the hallway carrying a report before he entered. Almost was too close to a failure for Vorrac's taste, as it always had been.
"Milord," the man said, a term that Kal was fast growing tired of, "I've been gathering every news feed, military report, and other piece of information you needed. I-"
"You have come to tell me that the military garrisons everywhere were reassigned to Sigil 2, not simply our own," Vorrac began, his voice full of distaste for this worm of a subordinate, "a fact that I had learned of yesterday. Also, you have come to tell me that Proconsul Jinn continues to make claims on the Dark Tower, Consul Kaeth is still out of contact, and Quaestor Kavon has pledged our unwavering support to Alaris Jinn." The man stuttered for a few moments before nodding his head. He, and many others, knew of Kal's level of skill in gathering intelligence.
"Very astute, Milord," he said, though Kal picked up on the nervous undertone in his voice within moments, "Clearly, you have been busy. There is nothing new to report, so I-" again the man was cut off, this time with a choking sound coming from his throat as Kal's right hand raised and the man's throat closed.
"What you have failed to tell me is that House Exar Kun is readying itself for an offensive on us, to make us submit to Braecen's will or die. The military recall was to further the cause of a fairly bloodless coup, and the assault was to be carried out before anyone knew what had happened. You guard the secrets of your mind very poorly," the Sith said coldly, turning around, his eyes completing the change to a sulfuric golden hue as he embraced the Dark Side of the Force, "including the fact that House Exar Kun sent you here to feed me false intel so that Exar Kun's victory would be flawless."
The man's eyes widened to the point where they seemed about to fall out, and his hand fumbled at his waist for the blaster pistol holstered there. Even as he drew it and lifted it to fire, Vorrac's left hand came up, the Force again serving him as the bolts of the weapon hit the Sith's hand only to dissipate harmlessly across its gloved surface. A gesture from Kal pulled the weapon from the man's weak grip, and a sadistic grin crossed the pale skin of Vorrac's face as he watched the man choke out a death rattle and collapse on the floor, his face an odd shade of blue. The Warrior had no trouble in detecting the security detail as they rushed down the hallway, their alarmed minds marking them out as torches in a dark room to the Sith's Force-given senses.
The door slid open as they rushed inward, weapons at the ready. "Sir, we saw the shots fired on the security monitors. Are you alright?" Their vision soon turned to the floor, and a chorus of gasps left them as they saw the corpse.
"I am quite capable of defending myself," Kal said coldly, before waving his hand. "Arrange his disposal in the Mekduaa Valley." The soldiers, members of the small security detail assigned permanently to Alpha Base, nodded as the stunned expressions left their faces to be replaced by looks of cold resignation.
As they left, Kal waited until the door was closed before walking to the desk of the Quaestor, his steps slow and measured, as if the weight of his legs were slowing him. Taking a seat, he pressed a button on the desk, using the intercom system to communicate with all of Alpha Base at once.
"This is Aedile Vorrac, acting on behalf of the Quaestor," it was a lie, he knew, but Vivackus would see it as beneficial. "I want to see a full assessment of all weapons and munitions within the base, along with a roll call of all personnel, and I want it done yesterday. That is all."
The young sith spun around, her saber collided against the journeyman’s attack with a thunderous spark. As the Guardian pulled back for another attack he was thrown off his feet by a strike within the force, Cassandra grinned and deactivated her saber. She walked across the cold stone floor and helped the Kiffar up; she patted him on the shoulder whilst breathing heavily.
“You fight well Fang, your master has certainly taught you well” the girl said lightly.
The Guardian smiled but then his face twisted into a vision of confusion, his eyes over-watched a trooper come towards them in a hurry. The Knight turned to face him; sweat drooled down his face and seemed out of breath. Cassandra raised an eye brow in arrogance but then heard urgency within his voice.
“Ma’am….Sanguinius requires your assistance, its important …you get to him right away”
Cassandra sighed and pushed the trooper out of her way, she shouted back to him as she left the chamber with anger at the back of her throat. “This best be bloody important!”
The Gryffon prison felt colder that usual, its bitter atmosphere surrounded the lungs of the female Knight as she strolled through the glum hall ways. As she approached the Battle team leader’s office, her eyes ran over two guardsmen that stood broadly at the doorway. They looked fierce in their armour and powerful with their A280 Blast tech rifles by their side. She nodded her head to both of them in a manner of respect, the door whooshed open and she entered her commanders quarters anxious but angry at her summoning.
“You know, I can’t just be summoned like some dog by the way! Now what is so important you need my assistance with?” Cassandra ranted with no disregard.
The battle team leader grunted at her, he had been troubled enough trying to keep this place along with the morale of his team together. Turning to face her, his vision looked down upon her with justice.
“Watch this…” He said and then activated a holographic message.
Originally, this message was post to be for the Leader’s eyes only but he trusted Cassandra with its knowledge. Their House Aedile appeared, giving a brief of the situation at hand. You could tell by his voice he was furious but yet nervous. Kal went on about a roll call, full assessments of weaponry and then finally gave the truth about everything. An attack was coming and he needed Keto’s Vengeance help to mount the defences.
At first the girl wondered why anyone would want to attack, but then her wisdom turned to broken ties with their sister house, Exar Kun. Her mind went on, exploring thoughts of death and loss against their superior numbers.
“Now can you understand why I called you here Cassandra?” the fellow Knight asked.
The girl nodded as she kept her head low, she tried to smile but didn’t really know what to say. She looked up and let her tongue free to speak.
“So Sang….Any ideas?”
The windowsill and the window itself were ice cold, the unpredictable freezing weather outside the base batting at the base on the wretched planet. Morroth, it was cold, and it had harsh weather. Many storms would pass by, and be created nearly instantly, sending unpredictable sub-zero temperatures at those that lied in it's path. Sometimes, visibility would drop to near zero, leaving them vulnerable. Anubis had been staring to the exterior of the base from the the observation area, watching a heavy snowfall shroud their every viewpoint. It was extremely unpleasant, for the most part. The Knight had been pondering many things, including the rumors of how a former Aedile and Quaestor of House Satal Keto, and a former friend, Alaris Jinn, had risen to the position of Proconsul and in the absence of Braecen Kaeth, was declaring himself Consul.
The Sith had tried to ignore these accusations as much as possible, as to him they only appeared to be petty gossip of a fine Dark Jedi. That is, until he had started to doubt if they were false claims or not. Now he stood standing alone, only his thoughts and the harsh wind surrounding him until the intercom system flicked on.
"This is Aedile Vorrac, acting on behalf of the Quaestor. I want to see a full assessment of all weapons and munitions within the base, along with a roll call of all personnel, and I want it done yesterday. That is all."
The Lorrdian cracked his neck before turning, and proceeding towards the turbo lift. Not even beside it yet, he let the Force within him blossom a little and stretched out, pressing the 'call' button for the lift with telekinesis. It was great being Force Sensitive. He waited several moments for the lift to arrive, seemingly staring at the floor for several seconds. When the lift doors slid open, the Knight quietly stepped on, Pressing the button for his appropriate destination floor, he took the time to remove his right gauntlet, staring down at the black plated prosthetic beneath. Looking up to see with floor he was on, he quickly ran a finger over the titanium alloy before placing the gauntlet back on his forearm. When the lift doors slid open, the Ketoan proceeded down the corridor, boots clicking with every step. Proceeding up to the guarded door, the Knight regarded to two armed guards before he pressed the single button in the center of the door, allowing them to slide open.
Stepping into the room, the eyes if the Lorrdian quickly began scanning the room ruthlessly, looking for the tactician known as Kal Vorrac. Upon spotting the man behind the Quaestor's desk, he slowly proceeded up there, weary. No doubt the Warrior would be able to detect his sense of caution like he had before during the trip through the Shroud. Anubis bowed, as he usually did to the leaders of both the House and Clan. "What brings you here, Knight?" asked the cold, calculating voice of the fellow Sith. Anubis smirked beneath the black plated helmet of his armor, eyes trained on the man before him.
"I simply wish to know what is going on - specifically, why you are collecting manifests of the munitions, weapons, and even a list of personnel. The Aedile scowled.
"That's on a need to know basis, I'm afraid. I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out, given the loyalties of both Houses." The Knight hrmed to himself, considering the posibilites. He knew that Vorrac was toying with him, as if it was some kind of game. He wouldn't fall for it. He wouldn't get caught in this spider's web again. Nodding, he bowed again.
"Thank you, Aedile Vorrac. If you need anything, send me a comm." Kal nodded, the hood of his robe obscuring the eyes of the Warrior from his fellow Sith. Scowling behind the dark faceplate of his armor, Anubis turned and wallked towards the exit, curious to see what the other man in the room would do. He did nothing. Pressing the button on the door once more, it slid open and the black armoured man left the room. He was partially confused, but still considered all the options. He considered the loyalties of both Houses - one had pledged themselves to the self-proclaimed Consul Jinn, and the other to Consul Kaeth.
Anubis looked down at the small bar in his helmet's heads-up display, selecting to create a new file on the built in datapad - one of the only acceptable features of his armor - naming it takeover.txt on the equivalent of Notepad. He quickly jotted down several notes... before closing it and proceeding back towards the observation area. He had a general idea of several possibilities, but was unaware of what would actually happen. He just hoped that Alaris knew what he was doing - or this would be a reign, short lived.
*Beep, beep, beep*
‘Beep, beep, beep’, Mograine’s comlink sounded, blinking bright azure light and moved slowly on the desk, due to the vibration that came from it. A naked hand slowly rose from the sole figure in the room, a human male, who lied in his bed with his face turned to the wall. Suddenly, the comlink spun up into the air, and shot across the room, however as it reached the man’s hand, it landed softly; perfectly. The man slowly rolled around, facing the compact and chaotic room, he hadn’t cleaned it since before the War. He pushed a blinking green button on the comlink and raised it to his bearded face.
“Yes?” Mograine grunted, in a way that could immediately be identified as a man, who is still suffering from the aftermaths of last night’s intoxication.
"This is Aedile Vorrac, acting on behalf of the Quaestor. I want to see a full assessment of all weapons and munitions within the base, along with a roll call of all personnel, and I want it done yesterday. That is all.” said the voice of Mograine’s master, Kal, who also was the Aedile of House Satal Keto. The message was clearly an auto-sent sent to all of the house members’ comlinks. The half drunk and completely tired Mograine frowned. He knew of course that there was conflict going on between the Clan’s leaders, but this message that he’d just gotten told him that things had escalated. Had Alaris made his move?
The Dark Jedi Knight slowly stood up from bed, and spent the next couple minutes striding in circles in his quarters, in the newly recaptured Gryffon Prison. Then he decided that it was time for him to face this ‘conflict of leadership’ directly. He dressed himself in his long black conceal robe, which covered the light Marauder armor he’d taken after reaching his knighthood. The only visible equipment he had, was a DC-17 hand blaster, though he carried more weapons, concealed. Mograine took a mouthful of Corellian Whiskey, before leaving his quarters, in search for his Battleteam Leader, Sanguinius Tsucyra; in search for answers…
Kal once again was shaken from his strategic reverie as he felt a turbulent and distorted presence in the Force approaching. His first reaction was concern, bordering on alarm, but he realized that the being approaching was someone the Sith had been told he might expect. The door to the office slid open soundlessly, and the tall, ominous form of the notorious Archpriest swept into the room like a wraith, his richly-embroidered cloak of black silk clasped snug at his throat. Hints of rapidly-melting frost glittered on the Cyrene silk as Vorion made the Sith a respectful bow of the head.
"Aedile." Their unblinking gazes locked, and Kal's pale features split into an appraising smirk. "Ah, if it isn't Krath
himself!" Vorion let out a low, mirthless chuckle as he crossed the room and stopped at the desk, depositing a handheld holoprojector on the desk's polished surface with a soft click
"I made every personal effort possible to indirectly delay Braecen Kaeth before I left the Antei System, but I doubt it will make much difference; my fellow Magistrate, Impetus, has by now probably verified via the Shadow Academy travel logs that I departed Lyspair for the Jusadih System. She'll be sure that my efforts to interfere don't gain much traction." Vorion scowled and shivered slightly, his sepia eyes narrowing as he cinched the adjustable clasp of his cloak tighter. "And frankly, I can't much say I care for the weather here on Morroth, Aedile."
"With any luck, Vorion, our most august House shall have first pick of the more temperate climes our system has to offer." Kal murmured darkly as his gaze flickered to the inert holoprojector lying on Quaestor Kavon's desk. He knew the Krath was going somewhere with this; he also knew the madman just hated
to be interrupted, so he gestured for Vorion to continue. "Impetus, as I am sure you are already well aware, is a staunch supporter of the Kaeth regime. I assume that to be tactical data in the device."
Vorion waved a palm and the device sprung to life, rapidly flickering with holograms of seemingly-random people. "I have a gambit, actually. Contained herein is hundreds of hours of holovid of Kaeth; I was able to retrieve it from the Shadow Academy databanks. I daresay I would have incurred the Headmaster's displeasure, were he aware that I had absconded with this material, but I believe I have covered my tracks sufficiently."
Kal's emerald eyes blazed, narrowing as he met Vorion's cold and pitiless gaze again. He knew this man was a lunatic, and if he didn't see this leading somewhere rational soon, he was going to make it his priority to use the Archpriest as fodder when the inevitable conflict against the Kaeth's Kunian faction sparked. He didn't have time for the fanciful musing of madmen. This is sounding like a waste of time. Of precious time. Time we don't have.
The Sith kept his growing anger on a tight leash and allowed his subordinate to continue.
"With some creative editing of the footage, a forged edict from Kaeth could be transmitted. One reversing the order to proceed to Sigil 2, or even to continue but under the assumption that it's a drill of some sort. The Kunian forces could be diverted off-world or even out of system if so desired."
Vorion halted abruptly, allowing Kal's gaze to wander back down to the holoprojector, which now showed a recorded clip of a scowling Braecen Kaeth in speech. "As you can see, the options are rather flexible - assuming the execution is flawless
. I advise sending a highly-adept infiltrator to plant the falsified orders. As for the exact maneuver itself, I leave that up to you." A venomous expression twisted Vorion's dark features, and he seemed lost in his own thoughts for a moment. "I prefer not to expose myself via direct tactical involvement." The Archpriest said bitterly, vengeance dripping from every syllable.
Kal Vorrac stood slowly, his eyes never leaving the projector still playing a holographic crimson light-show on the desk. He reached out, and slid it into his palm, his face a carefully-arranged mask that revealed nothing of his thoughts. "Indeed. Thank you, Vorion. We shall keep this under consideration. I may just call on you for further strategic input."
Vorion bowed his head again, his features still largely obscured by the hood of his cloak and his thick, beaded dreads. "Of course, Aedile. I am at your service."
The Sith sank back into the chair behind the desk as the Archpriest departed the room as silently as he had arrived.
Fang Ao Tian
Fang powered down his lightsaber and reached for a towel, his eyes on the trooper who had delivered the message to Cassandra. The Human was watching the woman go, his gaze following the sway of her hips. Fang chuckled and tossed the towel away, knowing that a droid would eventually come along and pick it up.
"Eyes up, soldier," Fang said, smirking, "Any idea what's going on?"
The trooper cleared his throat, a blush rising to his cheeks. "No sir."
A deep sigh escape Fang's lungs. He glanced down at his lightsaber's hilt, then looked at the solider. "I'm going out," the Kiffar said, "If anyone needs me, I'll have my comlink on me."
"Are you leaving the planet, sir?" the soldier asked. He, like most of the garrison at Gryffon Prison, was familiar with the bounty hunter's comings and goings.
"No, just going to go play in the snow," Fang muttered, "I have a feeling this is going to be my last chance to do so."
The wind howled around him, swirling loose ice crystals into his mask. Fang grunted and kicked his boot's durasteel points into the glacier's ice. He turned his head and glanced over his shoulder, briefly eyeing the borrowed speeder he'd taken from Gryffon Prison.
"You okay down there, Servo?" Fang asked, adjusting his grip on an ice axe.
"Doing great, boss," the pilot droid replied, its voice sounding less than thrilled, "Not a whole lot to look at out here, though."
Fang snorted and swung the axe, its head digging into the ice. He pulled himself up and reached, his fingers grasping at a thin ledge. He planned to take a brief rest there, then continue to the top of the glacier. "Yeah, well, sorry about that," Fang said to the droid, "I don't think they had entertainment in mind when they designed this planet."
"Can't argue there," Servo said.
Fang pulled himself onto the ledge and put his ice axes aside. He looked out over the surface of Morroth and sympathized with the pilot droid. The entire planet was a study in monotony. Shades of white and gray dominated from equator to the poles. Tourism had never been a big trade on Morroth.
"Uh, boss?" Servo said, breaking into Fang's thoughts, "There's a message coming in. Want me to patch it through to your mask com?"
Fang snarled and reached for his utility belt. "No," he said, turning on his comlink, "Patch it through to my comlink."
"There's an imaging aspect to the message," Servo said, "Maybe your mask would be a better idea?"
In addition to keeping the wind out of his face, Fang's mask could also display holographic communications in a three dimensions. "No, frag 'em," Fang growled, "Whoever it is, they're messing with my alone time. Audio only."
A second later, Fang's comlink beeped to life. "Fang? Are you there?"
"I'm here, Sanguinius," Fang said, frowning. The last person he wanted to hear from was the commander of Keto's Vengeance.
"Fang, I need to you come back to Gryffon Prison. Something big is happening, and it's all hands."
"Right, I'll be there soon," Fang promised as he shut down his comlink. He stood and looked out at Morroth once more, trying to shake the feeling that something very bad was coming his way.
Cassandra stood in the Battle Team Leader’s office; she waited patiently as Sanginius called up on all of his members. She thought to herself how much damage her ties with their sister house would take, such as the friends she knew there including her Master. Staring towards the male Knight she let loose a sigh to release her stressed nerves, she listened as he finished his conversation with Fang and finally she was ready to speak.
“This war is too much of a riddle, but we need to protect all of those around us. Of course our Quaestor and Aedile will be looking towards us to lead this fight.” Cassandra voice was croaky as she spoke, but she was right in what she was saying.
“You’re right….we need a defence of two fronts, aerial and ground…” He replied pulling out an observation map of Morroth.
Cassandra watched him as he highlighted the trail between Outpost Zeta and Alpha Base; she knew already that this was a main area to set up a defence. She looked into the eyes of her Battle Team Leader, clearing reading what he had planned.
“What about the aerial front sir? We would need something to void off their drop ship’s….” Cassandra interrupted.
“I had already thought about that….I shall lead what pilots we have stationed here into the skies…I’m leaving you and the battle team including our few troopers to assist the forces at Outpost Zeta” Sanguinius stated back to her in a commanding tone.
“I understand…Losing that path would be a crucial failure in our defence…”
But before Cassandra could finish of what she was saying, a scruffy Knight burst through his office door. The male human’s robes were dirty and tattered, his facial hair was clearly unshaven and his personal hygiene was down in the dumps. Sangiunius looked at him most curious, knowing that he was not summoned to the battle team’s office.
“God what is that unlawful smell!” Cassandra grunted covered her nose trying to breathe fresh air.
The Battle Team leader laughed and looked towards Mograine, his left eye went down into a slight wink.
“So…What brings you here?”
Battle Team Leader Sanguinius Tsucyra's Office
The Sith took slow steps into the room, joining his fellow knights, who stood over at Sang’s desk. As he walked, he caught the grim look upon Cassandra El’sin’s face. It radiated of uneasiness and disgust. He was well aware of how he’d be presented to the others at the moment, but frankly, he didn’t care what they might think about him. His isolation since the war was his business, though, in this most extraordinary time of crisis, maybe he’d visit the shower.
“I got Kal’s—“, Mograine said before silencing himself. Kal was his master, but still their commanding Clan, or at this time, House officer. “I got the Aedile’s message, and I figured you might need my help”, he corrected himself, with a soft polite voice.
“I see…” Sang responded, followed instantaneously by a curious question, as Sang was aware of Mograine’s post-war state, “You sure that you are ready? I thought you to be in-active in both the military intelligence and jedi affairs”
Sang studied his friend thoroughly, and while doing so, Mograine kept his mask, not revealing any emotions, just as Kal had thought him during his apprenticeship. Teaching under the infamous Kal Vorrac had been just as much in the arts of deception, assassination and espionage as it had been in the teaching of the Force and lightsaber training. The Sith Knight’s mind flickered back to the war, where fellow dark jedi, friends, soldiers fell into the history, but most of all, the disturbing image of Kal getting sliced into bits by a blasted follower of Crask. Mograine’s mind was too absent to react to the battle teams leader’s words, and not until Sang poked his shoulder, did he snap out of the past. He nodded honestly to Sang, who returned the nod confident in his friend.
“Alright, go gather a small security team and go to Alpha Base, you’ll be protecting the Aedile. Contact me by comlink when you have arrived, 1st Lieutenant”, the battle team leader ordered.
10 minutes later…
Mograine pulled his hands out from the stream of water and swiftly ran them through his newly cut hair, making the inch-long hair go back into a thick wet mane. He lowered his hands again, putting them together to make a ‘cup’ of them, before filling the it with water. Mograine dipped his just shaved-face into the liquid to wake up completely. Before leaving for Alpha Base, he’d taken a shower and fixed himself up. Presenting himself as strong and without fractures was important for the men’s morale; one thing he’d learned in wartime. The Dark Jedi Knight dressed himself in a new pair of his black robes, and exited the restroom, heading for the shuttle where his men would be.
Snow crunched beneath the hard-soled boots of the Krath as she stepped from her ship to the hanger bay. Her gray eyes took in the grim sights in a quick glance as the small ship hissed shut behind her. A fur-lined cloak was draped across her shoulders, hiding her petite shape from the view of prying eyes as she slung the satchel over her shoulder.
So this is home, she mused distantly, even as she began walking toward the exit, soon leaving the snow drifts behind. A snow storm seemed imminent if the buffeting winds outside were any indication. She frowned with distaste but quickly smoothed her features into a mask as an aide came to meet her.
"Miss Q'jira?" his voice inquired, a slight edge to it.
"Indeed," she responded smoothly, her mind reaching out in a gentle probe to ascertain the source of the aide's agitation.
"Come with me, please. I'm to see to it that you get settled in." Without waiting for a response the aide turned heel, heading toward the exit.
Moving like a wraith through the frozen halls, Tirna Q'jira took note of every nuance. There was a decided air of tension to the whole facility. It was an unspecific tension, however, that left much to the imagine and few answers.
"Here are your quarters, Miss."
"Thank you," she stated absently as she slipped into the small quarters. They weren't much to speak of. A bed was in the corner, and there was a desk and a chair along with what seemed to be a closet. "Could you please see that the rest of my belongings are moved here?"
The aide put off an air of annoyance but none-the-less saluted and departed, the door sliding shut as he left, leaving the Hunter alone to her thoughts.
Letting her satchel slide from her shoulder to the bed she shrugged off her heavy cloak, settling onto the blankets and digging through her bag to pull out her portable terminal and powered the system up. She'd heard rumors of a possible coup within the Clan but had thought them nothing more than that. Now, given the tension in the air it seemed that there might be something more to them.
It was time to perform some... research.
House Exar Kun complex
Where is the little bastard? A cloaked and hooded figure carefully stepped around a corner, glancing to each side. Lost him, the figure cursed himself. He had been warned that the boy was clever and dangerous. That was what made him a Person of Interest to Clan intelligence. He was not well known, and in volatile times such as these, the unknowns needed to be 'collected' and 'studied'. He sighed and turned around to retrace his steps, hoping to find the boy somewhere behind him. He expected that to take longer.
"Why are you following me?" Primarch Denath Ciarus asked as the figure turned around.
"You're of no interest to me," the hooded figure sneered down at the four foot child. The boy raised a hand, throwing the figure into a wall with the Force. This was definitely the child he was looking for. Or a copycat twelve-year-old foxtrot-uniform loose on the base.
"Why are you following me?" Denath repeated. Ah, predictable silence. Reaching with the Force, Denath jerked back his hood and turned the man around. He wasn't familiar. "You will tell me what I want to know."
"Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on me!" the man spat. Denath removed a small knife from his belt, holding it up to catch the dim lighting of the corridors.
"Always come prepared." He threw the man into the opposite wall, then turned him around to face him. "You're obviously after something. What do you wish to know?"
"Quaestor Yzarc wishes to know what your intentions are in this coup." The boy released the man and slipped his knife away as he considered the question.
"I have little interest in politics." The intelligence operative rubbed his jaw, confident that it wasn't broken. As he thought, like any child, the boy seemed to like to play.
"Then Quaestor Yzarc would like to make you a most generous offer, in return for your help invading Morroth."
"Loyalty is neither bought or bargained."
"It'll be a slaughter," the operative continued. "We outnumber them almost two to one. You could stand to make a healthy profit here, with little effort on your part." He eyed the boy suspiciously, trying to gauge his response. A few moments passed as he considered it.
"Inform the Quaestor that I will participate in the battle on Morroth." There was a catch in his voice. "I'm not a politician, I'm a warrior, and right now joining Satal Keto is the more interesting fight. Tell him to send his best warriors. He'll need them." Denath flicked his hand, throwing the operative into the wall with a soft crunch. He slumped to the floor, and the boy pulled out a datapad, loading a basic map. He could have found the training room blind-folded; indeed, he had been on his way there when he noticed his fan club. The hangar, however, wasn't something he saw often.
1 Hour After Cethgus' Capture
"Report." The word was all that Vorrac had to say, his emerald eyes glinting as he looked at the tiny blue figure.
"Cethgus was attacked by Alaris," the figure said quickly, her voice hushed, her stance fearful that she may be discovered. "I didn't see who it was, but someone must have drugged him."
Kal nodded, his fingers coming together in a point as he thought over the circumstance. Exar Kun had been preparing a strike of sorts for some time, but intelligence gathered by several of the security personnel and even a few Jedi on the Kunian side had told him that the offensive would be more of a parley attempt, a decisive strike designed to make Satal Keto surrender. Cethgus Kuga, Clan Rollmaster, had been outspoken in his claims that Alaris could not hope to take over Plagueis. His opposition, along with his control over the younger members of the Clan, had made him an obvious obstacle in Jinn's path. Why would he have attacked the Rollmaster if he wanted control?
"There's, er, one more thing," the informant said. "As far as I can tell, Cethgus is being transported to Alpha Base. He's to be a Ketoan prisoner, Kal." The worry in the woman's voice was obvious.
Kal's icy mask nearly slipped as he took in this information, the final puzzle piece clicking into place. It all made sense. House Exar Kun was far too powerful for Satal Keto to hope to defeat them outright, especially with all military forces recalled. It seemed pointless, either a stalemate or a slaughter of Jedi, and neither side would be too eager to weaken itself. But, if Cethgus was a prisoner of HSK, Yzarc would find the need to attack sooner, more viciously, to free him.
"That clever little..." Vorrac mumbled, waving away the informant's confused look. "These security holograms were how old when you retrieved them?"
The woman looked around as if hearing something. "One hour. Kal, I need to get out of here. If I were to be caught..."
The Sith nodded. "That is all. Get back to Morroth, Aeshi. You'll be safer here." The Farghul nodded, the hologram flickering and disappearing.
Kal sighed for a moment before reaching out to press another button, relaying a command that was answered seconds later by another hologram. "Sir?"
"Anderson," Vorrac said calmly, eyes focused, "Present location of Alaris?"
"The Supreme Commander is currently on Shintera, Sir," the grim man said calmly, his voice cold. "Sending coordinates to your personal datapad now."
"Expect payment by oh-four-hundred, Kapsina time." Kal said, face twisting with distaste. The man nodded before his hologram flickered and disappeared.
Kal waited until the man completely vanished before grinning. Anderson would recieve no payment, as he would be dead one way or another before the time specified even happened. Thinking back to Alaris' power game, he came to an understanding of the man's plan. With both Houses battling, both would lose forces and strength. When it was all over, Cethgus would either be dead or surrounded with a weakened force. In that time, Alaris could consolidate his power base and could call back the entire military to do his bidding. To add to the incentive, Vivackus, the Quaestor of Satal Keto and Kal's greatest Apprentice, hated Cethgus Kuga. They'd had their debates, compounded by the less-than-secret event of Vivackus sleeping with Cethgus' wife.
"Of all Orders, and none, Jinn," the Sith mused, still grinning. "You are one to be wary of..."
All that was left to do was to ready himself for the coming storm, to put himself in the best possible position for gain. Pressing another button, he opened a channel to a maintenance droid, one he'd reprogrammed for his own uses. He hated the machines, but they served their purpose, and he quickly relayed the orders for the droid to prepare a shuttle for travel to Shintera before it would back itself into a corner, wipe its memory with service equipment and destroy itself.
"...But so am I."
* * *
3 Hours Before HEK Attack
Vivackus Kavon relayed orders quickly as he looked on those assembled. "Sanguinius, you and Keto's Vengeance are to join the bulk of our security near Cethgus. I want the prisoner protected."
Sang's grudging nod was all the young Sith needed to see, but he kept the Battleteam Leader in his view. Cethgus had been his Master, after all. Looking over to the man leaning against a nearby wall, artificial arm gleaming, Vivackus continued.
"Arcadian, you have your team readied?" Arcadian nodded, his face grim.
"Myself, along with Vorion, Tirna, and Denath," the pause in Arc's words was accented as he looked at the newcomer, still unsure of his place in this conflict, "Will go to Outpost Zeta. As requested, we are to booby-trap the Outpost, examine the size of the enemy's force, and deter them."
Viv nodded, then added to his orders. "If they're too much for you to handle, I want you to pull back to Alpha. We'll need everyone to defend this place as it is. Everyone else, we are on full combat alert. As soon as you hear anything come over the alarm system, I want everyone fresh and battle-ready. Get to it, people, we don't have the soldiers to fight for us this time!"
Everyone nodded and rushed off to carry out their orders. Ordinarily, Viv would have been more worried about insubordination or treachery from his own ranks, but not this time. His Master had trained him well to see from all angles, and at the moment, all angles pointed to one certainty. If House Satal Keto's forces did not band together, they would be destroyed or forced into submission under Exar Kun. All that truly unsettled him at the moment was Kal, his Master. The Sith had vanished, along with one of the shuttles in the hangar, and Vivackus didn't know where he was. Worse, he held no illusions toward the older Sith going for help. Kal was a creature of pure ambition, a calculating, ruthless man. While far from one of the more deadly Sith in existence, Kal was dangerous in his own way, and he would let everyone in Plagueis burn if it allowed him to rise to a higher station and new power. In Viv's mind, the Grand Master himself could die if he were to trust Kal and underestimate him.
"Sir?" Aeshi said, having recently returned to Alpha Base herself. "I have a request."
"Speak," Viv said, mildly annoyed. The quiet Farghul had never seemed overtly important in any of his plans.
"I'd like to be put on the group guarding Cethgus." The woman's face was odd, as if fearful and yet determined. "One more Force user guarding him would be a good idea."
Viv looked at Aeshi as if seeing her for the first time. She had always been a slicer, a thief, rather than a warrior. He nodded, and even as the woman rushed away, Viv couldn't shake the feeling that Kal had pushed things toward this outcome.
Mograine searched the halls for his Master; he took the responsibility on himself to remain by Kal’s side during the war. However it did not come to knowledge that by the time he had arrived, the Aedile had vanished from Alpha base. Looking for some reassurance of his Master’s, he reported to the Quaestor. He was hoping for some answers but instead was only turned away.
“Knight, as a member of Keto’s Vengeance I order you to report back to your leader with the rest of your Battleteam…We have no clue in your Master’s whereabouts…now if you please, I am rather busy.” Vivackus snapped at him.
Before the Sith could even say another word, the Quaestor had vanished again and it became easy to tell that he was in hurry. Mograine stood there in disbelief, he was loyal to Kal. But yet when he wanted to be there for his Master, it always seemed to collapse. Standing there anxiously, the Sith turned around and strolled down the wide corridor hoping to bump into the Battle-team once again.
Outside the main holding chamber
Respecting Kavon’s orders to the highest standard, Sanguinius stood alone for a moment away from the heavily armed guardsmen. He could feel his master’s distress within the force; it poisoned his mind taking hold of every thought with a different outcome. Fiddling out his com-link he contacted someone else first instead of his Battle-team members.
“Commander Yliat, I want you to remain in the system…have the Silent Scream move behind the moon Treyu, remain hidden there until I contact you again…that is all” The Knight said with new intentions invading his mind.
“Yes my lord…we will remain out of radio contact until further notice.” Yliat replied in the coldest of voices.
As the conversation was cut off, the members of his Keto’s Vengeance had arrived. Cassandra was first to enter as she was bewildered by the sudden change in orders, she had her mind set on battle not babysitting. It wasn’t until she stared into her Battleteam leader’s eyes; the female could feel the cold slumber of her Master’s presence. The Sith knight was then surrounded by the regular faces, Fang Ao Tian, Aeshi and many others who served under Sanguinius' leadership.
“This is madness! What has Vivackus got us into…that’s our Master Sang!” the girl snapped whilst the battleteam moved away amongst the other guardsmen.
Sanguinius sighed and took hold of the girls shoulder with judgment. “Cassandra…I understand…but together we follow our Quaestor’s orders, for now…Let us organise ourselves before the fireworks go off?”
The Sith chuckled and nodded kindly, she looked around again staring at the heavily armed guards. Taking a notice of their weaponry, she felt as if she was under armed with only her Light-saber, an MWC Enforcer and a batch of Locust Knives. As she stood there herself, Cassandra could feel the distress leaking from her Master and his taint from the force echoed into her mind.
Sanguinius turned from his fellow student, he had been taught by the Rollmaster, they weren't just Master and Student. They were more than that, they were friends.They had fought side by side on Antei, and in their quest for the Mirror of Anor, Sanguinius had made his first kill as a Hunter by his Master's side. Now he was to be a faithful guard dog and guard his Master for his Quaestor. The Prodigy's loyalties were split, between his House and his Master and friend.
His left hand unconciously grasped the cool metallic hilt of his lightsaber, the saber reassuring the young Knight, as well as reminding the Anaxsi that he swore an oath of loyalty to the House first and foremost. He sighed and closed his eyes, his mind running through the memories of his time in the Dark Brotherhood, the experiences he had fought through. He knew that he hated Cethgus for the pain the Exarch had inflicted upon him, but the bond they had, with the strange friendship they came along with it, Sang knew that with that, he could not betray his Master. He would rather betray those who would betray his Master.
As the Anaxsi's eyes opened, they burned with a new fervour, he knew now what he must do. The Knight started to shout out orders, sending the first team of the now gaolers to their new charge.
"Watch him closely you kack-heads, make sure he doesn't get a chance to escape. If he does, i'll have your karking hide." Sanguinius barked in his best drill sergeant voice, "That is if he doesn't kill you first." That thought sobered the assembled troops and Dark Jedi as they walked off to their new assignment.
Anubis had never become fond of any of the Dark Jedi Knights that served in Keto's Vengeance, such as Cassandra and Mograine. In fact, Sanguinius was the only Knight that he even spoke to, on the team. The Obelisk was the only reason that he had even agreed to stay on the team, curious as to what he was capable of in the field of leadership - but the Lorrdian was not about to play guard dog to the man's master. Especially that swine among men.
As the group of several Dark Jedi, comprised Cassandra, Mograine, Anubis, Sangiunius, Strats and Killer moved down the corridor towards the holding cell, their boots clicking against the smooth floor beneath their feet, one of the men silently planned a detour. Annedu slowed his pace ever so slightly, falling from the middle of the group to the rear. Exactly what he wanted.
When the group made their final right, Anubis continued onward, strolling into a darkened corridor, the lights offline for servicing.. Closing his eyes for a moment as he proceeded directly ahead, he focused on using the Force to push the light from his body - effectively making him invisible while inside this corridor, the black armour helping to conceal him from any prying eyes. Perfectly executed.
The members of Keto's Vengeance reached their post, most of them checking over their equipment and preparing to guard the Kunian prisoner that was within the next room. Sanguinius was the first one to completely double check the weaponry that he had brought along - his lightsaber and two Westar 34 pistols, with two spare powerpacks safely secured to his belt in case he required ammunition.
And then he caught something out of the corner of his eye - Anubis was not with the group. That fool was not with the group. The Obelisk's temper flared for a moment, visibly pissed off that the Knight had disregarded direct orders, again. Swiftly reaching down to his comlink, the man removed the small piece of technology and secured it to his ear, pressing one of the several buttons on the surface on the other side of the ear bud.
COMM:Keto's Vengeance: "Anubis, where in the hell are you?"
By now, Anubis had safely made his way down a second corridor, and was nearing one of the main turbolifts within Alpha Base. In the past month, since the war's end, he had spent most of his free time getting to know the facility, it's secrets, and had an excellent way of getting around. You could say it was as if he had lived there for well over a year.
Anubis continued along, his mind beginning to wonder if the other members of Keto's Vengeance had noticed yet, that he was not with them. He grinned beneath his helmet. It wasn't the first time that he had done something like that, and disregarded several direct orders, but it had always felt good to do it. He believed that it gave him a nice sense of freedom.
And then there was that same old annoying red dot that was flashing up in the top right corner of his heads up display. By the position of the red dot, he was able to tell that it was on channel two, which he had coded into his helmet to be the direct channel for Keto's Vengeance. He was unsure if the had been discovered, but opened the channel anyways, and received Sanguinius' message. He replied.
COMM:Keto's Vengeance: "Nowhere special. Just taking a detour."
Sangiunius was patient. He knew, that eventually the Knight would reply to his message. When he actually recieved the message, however, he simply covered the mouthpiece on the unit, and spoke to the rest of the team.
"A member of our team has decided to make a little detour,which leaves us one short to guard Kuga. Cassandra, I want you and Mograine on either side of the door. Killer and Strats will accompany me to the armoury to grab two E-WEB cannons, and well set them up a few feet forward from the two Knights. We are effectively blocking off this corridor. It is likely that the Kunian members of Plagueis will try to rescue the prisoner. Strats, Killer, come accompany me."
Sanguinius turned, removing his hand from the speaker on the comlink and proceeding down the hall towards the nearest armoury.
COMM:Keto's Vengeance: "Anubis, I hope you get yourself killed."
It was only a few seconds before the reply came.
COMM:Keto's Vengeance: "Love you too, sweet cheeks."
COMM:Keto's Vengeance: "Hey. Hey Anubis. Eat a thermal."
Anubis strolled into the hanger, examining it. This was likely where the second team would be taking their team, to booby-trap that old outpost. He'd much rather be doing that, then playing guard dog to a man he would much rather torture and castrate. Sniffing for a moment, he continued to look around the hanger bay. Spotting the Calm Sea, the Sith made his way quietly over there.
The Calm Sea was a Starwind-class yacht that was owned by the clan, and stationed on the planet of Morroth. Currently. it was here at Alpha Base, and would most likely be used to transport the team of Dark Jedi heading to Outpost Zeta. Proceeding over to the battered craft, the Lorrdian stood near the lowered loading ramp and waited patiently for the arrival of the others. He was going with them - whether they liked it or not.
He knew that he would be able to lend a hand in booby trapping the outpost... and he'd even fly the craft. He was a decent pilot. The Knight continued to repeat in his head that he would not be left behind. canting his head to the side, for a moment, the Knight turned and proceeded up into the interior of the craft, looking specifically for the cockpit and, effectively, the pilots seat.
Once he had managed to discover his target, the Sith quickly sat down in the pilots seat and began typing on the nearby command console, attempting to slice the system. He had hardly any knowledge of slicing, but he had hoped that whatever passcode that had been set on the craft would be easily overridden. Of course.. the easiest way to do gain access would be to take it from the original pilot... but this was plenty more exciting.
After attempting several more times to gain access to the computer's flight controls and having failed, the Lorrdian simply... gave up, smacking the console once and getting up to leave... moving towards the ramp, once more. Back to waiting. They'll be here soon. Or better be.
Alpha Base, random corridor
Approximately one hour before HEK Attack
Already before he had met up with the rest of the battle team, Mograine had felt a disturbance in the Force, a disturbance that made him conclude before getting the facts that this situation was out of control, and when he had been served the news about the Rollmaster’s capture and the Aedile’s disappearance, the wrongness in their situation wasn’t getting any better. For each second that passed, Mograine could sense the others’ emotions and loyalties adjust as if being weighted on simple scales. The entire base stinks of potential treachery, the Sith stated in his mind. None were to be trusted…
Just before Sang left for the armory with Strats and Killer, Mograine protested “What by the Emperor’s black bones are we doing?” The battle team leader slowly turned, sending his trusted colleague and friend an interrogative look.
“We are acting on the behalf of our House’s interests”, Sanguinius said coldly, not breaking his eye contact with Mograine. His Sith counterpart’s face turned from one of frustration to a puzzled one.
“The House’s interests… And what exactly are they? Kidnapping our own Rollmaster?” Mograine asked sarcastically. The other
dark jedi beside Mograine and Sang, had halted their assignments in order to watch the discussion between the two prominent knights of Keto’s Vengeance.
“Of course you already know that Cethgus isn’t fond for Alaris, and having him on Braecen’s side… free, loose… is something we can’t afford... He's my master, 'I' know better than anyone”, the Obelisk answered. Mograine let out a not-so-happy chuckle.
“So you are arresting him because he supports Braecen?” Mograine inquired, and without giving Sang an opportunity to reply he admitted “I don’t support Alaris over Braecen”.
The numbers of eyes in the room all widened, and even some went chattering them between, but no one dared to say anything.
Sanguinius turned toward Mograine, and took slow steps toward Mograine, saying “Alaris is the true ruler of Plagueis, we can’t let our glory being stomped by the mongrel Braecen. The rule of Kaeth may have led to our ascension, but alas, to our despair. You, more than anyone, should know that after the war. Just by thinking the thoughts, which you have spoken of are treason”. Mograine just stood still, shaking his head in disbelief. “We are servants of the Force, not politicians. If it’s anyone who has the right to name a new consul it is the Grand Master Muz”, he roared, now his voice was dark and harsh after the discussion’s heat and both parts volume had increased for each argument, “… and by countermanding his choice of consul you are by all means doing mutiny and treason toward the Grand Master of the Brotherhood!” Sang’s face turned red with fury, and it even seemed as if the two friends were ready to jump at each other.
The battle team leader raised his point-finger, clearly to address a new argument, but the second before his angry voice left his mouth, the entire group could clearly hear the sound of a specific number of boots running through the corridors behind them. Sang held his mouth, and pointed at Strats and Killer, “E-webs, now!” he ordered with a whisper before looking at both Cassandra and Mograine, “We’ll go guard Cethgus, hopefully Anubis went to do something useful rather than take my advice”.
Cassandra ripped the hilt of her saber from her belt, the blade bursting to life as she watched Strats and Killer set up one of the two E-web blasters. Almost in disbelief that the enemy had already reached Alpha base, the young girl took care standing back. The other guardsman stormed backwards to be apart of the final defence, the Guardian manning the only set up E-web blaster was aiming into the darkness. Sanguinius activated his saber whilst the other members of his Battleteam gathered around in a defensive formation.
Figures approached out of the shadows, and young girl’s eyes widened as she saw the cylindrical hilts of lightsabers on some of their belts. With one E-web blaster ready to fire post haste, the tension of the moment became too much to take as Killer unleashed several bolts of energy in the direction of the unknown individuals approaching them. Suddenly the hall way was filled with the shriek of injury, the cries of pain and slaughter. Keto’s vengeance expected a battle cry to follow in reaction to the open fire, but instead they heard words that surprised them all.
"Friendly Fire! Stand down, you dim-wits!"
The young female Knight focused her vision, watching as the figures appeared to be a few Journeymen of the House and defence guardsmen. As they crept forwards, a female broke from from the main group and then turned her attention toward trying to mend the agony a young member was in. The blaster had hit him across the left shoulder, his robes were shining with a burning glow and his breath was weak.
Cassandra shook her head and was the first to step forwards. In the attitude she was already in, this made her day even worse. As she walked forwards, the girl slapped the Guardian across the back of the head.
"You know, sometimes Killer, I need what only you can provide… your absence." Sanguinius snapped in his typically sarcastic voice.
The men of the Battleteam looked curiously over at the men that appeared, each now easily visible bearing the marks of House Satal Keto.
"May I ask why the hell you are here? This corridor is off-limits!" Cassandra barked toward them.
"We understand, Ma’am. However, Lord Kavon sent us here. We come with medical supplies and were supposed reinforce you, though it looks like we may need time to deal with our wounded." One of the Force-deaf officers replied back with anxiety eating at the back of his throat.
"Very well then. Get a bloody move on, before I order my dim-witted Journeyman over here to take down another one of your men." Sanguinius growled.
Cassandra sighed, as she didn’t expect to watch the spook of friendly fire in a place like this. This event had left many affected; she could feel it leaking through the force. The panic and anxiety echoing from the Battleteam members' minds was palpable all around, but she could feel the waves of regret coming from Killer. As the Officer saluted at the Battleteam Leader’s command, they left some supplies behind and then carried their wounded in the direction of the Medical Bay .
Fang Ao Tian
From the opposite side of the hanger, Fang watched the members of Keto's Vengeance stumble about. He stepped forward, his lightsaber hilt still hanging from his belt, and began to sarcastically applaud. Sanguinius turned and scowled at the Kiffar, and the rest of the battle team looked at him with curious expressions.
"Great leadership, as always," Fang said through a smirk, moving toward the leader in question, "You reacted with all the poise and authority of a little girl trapped in a burning building."
Sanguinius stalked toward, his lightsaber still active at his side. "I suppose you could do better?" he demanded, conscious of the stares of those under his command.
"I know I could," Fang replied, his smirk turning into a snarl, "Look at the way you all reacted. Killer, you should have known better than to fire before verifying who it is you're firing on."
At Killer's side, Cassandra wore a satisfied grin. When Fang's vivid eyes shifted from the Rattataki to her, he gave a slight shake of his head. "Don't look so pleased, Cassandra. You would have been shooting our side as well. Everyone saw you fire up your lightsaber."
Cassandra's expression fell, but the focus of the room was torn from her when Sanguinius moved closer to Fang. "Is there a purpose to this ill-timed tirade," the Human demanded, narrowing his eyes, "Are you berating us for a reason?"
Fang smiled and turned away from Sanguinius, glancing at each member of Keto's Vengeance in turn. "Think, my friends," he began, though none present were his friends, "Through the Force, you all should have been able to feel what I, the least experienced among you, could easily feel moments ago. There was no malice, no anger coming toward us."
Fang looked at Mograine, then back over his shoulder at Strats. "To abandon your intelligence, common sense, and training in the Dark Side will bury all of us and deliver Cethgus into the hands of our enemies." The Kiffar turned his head, taking in Killer, Cassandra, and her oddly bulky robes. "We must work together. We must become an actual team if we're going to see tomorrow."
He shook his head, conscious of the tension in the room and choosing his next words carefully. "To survive this and see Alaris Jinn lead Clan Plagueis, we must rely on the Force, on our feelings and training," Fang stepped close to Sanguinius and looked deeply into the Human's eyes, "We shouldn't rely on . . . inadequate leadership."
Sanguinius stared back at the bounty hunter, his lightsaber providing the only noise in the hanger. His stare never wavered, but neither did Fang's calm gaze. "Mograine and Cassandra," Fang said at last, "You two go with Sanguinius and guard the door to Kuga's cell. Strats and Killer, stay on the cannons. I'll be with the two of you."
For several moments, no one moved. Fang and Sanguinius continued to lock eyes, the Dark Side pulsing between them. Like a crystal snake, the Kiffar exuded a calm, controlled feeling of coiled malevolence, ready to strike if need be. On the other hand, Sanguinius seemed to be standing in the center of a localized hurricane of anger and hatred. It seemed as if the two would come to blows, each being waiting for the other to make the first move.
However, Sanguinius surprised everyone, Fang most of all, when he dropped his gaze first and looked at Cassandra and Mograine. "Do as he says," the Human mumbled, powering down his lightsaber and leading the way to the holding cell. The two Humans followed him, both glancing back at Fang in shock.
Standing still, Fang blinked and exhaled very slowly. He took a moment to reflect on what had just happened, knowing that the balance of power in Keto's Vengeance had just undergone a major shift. He smiled darkly at Sanguinius' back, then turned and looked at Killer and Strats. "Defend well, men. Together, we not only just live through this but bring glory to the team."
25 Minutes before HEK Attack
The Calm Sea decelerated as its landing gear unfurled beneath it, the blue glow of the engines sticking out as the snow began to fall around the ship a bit faster. A hiss and a release of compressed air signaled the exit ramp lowering, a stream of figures walking from its depths. Outfitted in winter gear, they looked remarkably similar to snowtroopers, though anyone who saw them use the sabers at their belts would know better. It was simply too cold to go anywhere without protection, especially at the beginning of a blizzard.
"Let's get to it," Arcadian said over the helmet comm-link, as shouting became increasingly useless with the wind intensifying. Besides, none of them wanted to be heard until they had to be. "Vorion, Denath, you two and the new kid with me. Tirna, you take that lot, start setting up those charges. Remember the schematics we went over in the ship. Let's move!"
The group split in two at that point, Tirna ordering around the five low-level Journeymen that had joined them, three of them too low of a rank to even have armory lightsabers. Arc hadn't bothered to learn their names, nor would he. If they proved important, he'd learn of them when they did something useful.
"Excuse me, Sir," the Journeyman with Arcadian said, seeming a little sheepish.
"What is it, noob?" Arc asked quickly, not having the patience for this kind of delay.
His senses picked up on what the new guy was going to say, however, moments before he and the two Equites with him dropped into combative stances. A rainbow of lightsaber blades sprang into existence, Arcadian's bright blue standing out beside Vorion's amethyst weapon and the yellow blade of Denath. The figure they all sensed took another few steps forward, his lightsaber in his hand but inactive as he tapped his helmet, a signal inquiring about their comm-links. Arcadian recognized the distinctive black armor of the man and nodded, his blade deactivating as he gave Anubis the proper hand signal and the Sith tuned his helmet's unit to the proper frequency.
"Anubis Annedu," the Lorrdian said casually, his stance disinterested. "I came to-"
"I know why you're here," Arcadian's voice was crisp and serious as it came through, his no-nonsense tone clear. "Clearly, defending our base of operations was beneath such a mighty Sith as you." The Templar motioned for Anubis to follow him. "You're with us. Let's move."
Within the Outpost itself, Tirna placed the bulky charge up against the ceiling, the magnetic device holding fast to the cold metal above it as she clumsily pressed a few buttons. A curse escaped the Krath's lips from within her comm-link, echoing noisily over the channel to all of her allies before she switched off the channel and swore again.
"This is Obelisk work..." she mumbled, finally getting the charge set up. Flicking back on her channel, she gave the response she was supposed to give. "Charges are set, sir," the lack of emphasis on the word sir was evident, "Ready to detonate."
There was a sound of hurried footsteps on the pathways around the Outpost, a noise nobody could hear until they were close to Zeta. The Journeymen within lifted their weapons for a moment before relaxing as Arcadian, Vorion, Denath, Anubis, and the Journeyman with them returned.
"Enemy on approach," the Templar said softly as they entered, crouching and signaling for the rest of the group to do so. "The new guy spotted them. They were trying to figure out paths past Zeta."
This brought grins to a few faces, the team knowing that aside from a few short trails the mountains around Zeta were impassible without flight. Arcadian motioned at the Journeymen gathered, ordering them to remove the stored E-webs of the outpost from their weather-protected casings, set them up, and man them. Ordering the Equites and Anubis into crouched positions behind strategic entry points, Arc looked at the man that had spotted the enemy and flicked his helmet controls, opening a private channel to him.
"Good eye, soldier," Arc said quickly. "What's your name?"
"Artemis," the Journeyman said quietly, matching Arc's own tone. "Artemis Alustriel."
Arc nodded, making a mental note to mention this man to those who trained the snipers on Sigil 2 after all of this was over.
Denath removed his thermal gloves, discarding them at his feet. He imagined he looked a little comical, in the tattered remains of a thermal suit. While he had managed to modify the pants and coat with his shiny new lightsaber, the gloves were just too big. Luckily, he had remembered to bring his own woolen gloves. He removed the helmet next, which had a tendency to slide around whenever he turned his head. His left hand slid down and gripped his Indictor lightsaber, which he made only a few days ago. The plan was to wait here until the first wave of Kunians approached, then the E-webs would start firing. Vorion, Anubis and Arcadian would join him in rushing the corridor, while Tirna lead the others out. She would detonate ten minutes after first engagement. The boy took a deep breath and released it slowly. His master, D'hak, had been an expert in guerrilla tactics and covert operations. Denath preferred a standing battle.
The clock started ticking. A dull whooshing echo signified the first E-web firing, no doubt at an advance group. Denath readied his lightsaber and made his way back to the main corridor.
The sound of footsteps and shouting approached as he drew near. He briefly hoped the other ambushers could handle themselves in the narrow main corridor inside the defensive wall of Outpost Zeta. Igniting his yellow blade, Denath rounded a corner and dived into the fray, cutting down the first person he saw. He flicked his lightsaber behind his head to clip someone's shoulder, then used a concentrated wave of Force energy to knock a few people out of his way. He took a few more swings as he approached the others, who had already charged out. The confused middle and rear of the Exar Kun column reacted to defend themselves, the younger ones attempting to use rifles and hold-outs while the scattered Jedi divided themselves between covering the frontline against the E-webs, and their ambushers. The boy rolled into someone's legs, tripping them up before rolling back and skewering them with his lightsaber. He felt the Force ripple around him as Vorion pushed the blaster-holders back. The Obelisk Primarch stood quickly, and finished off his wounded Guardian, then lunged towards the nearest lightsaber. He was parried, but he sidestepped the riposte, swinging his blade low. His opponent dodged too easily, and as his eyesight adjusted to the dim lighting, he recognised his opponent - Kaira Rohana. "You missed me?" he quipped ambiguously.
"Only by accident," she bit back as she tried to lunge. Denath began shuffling back, using the Force to strike down a nearby Protector who tried to sneak past her. He could block the corridor if he could hold this for a little while, he assured himself as he stepped back into a Soresu stance, trusting that the others might watch his back.
Vorion came out of seemingly nowhere, his dark cloak flapping as the young Ubese reached down and grabbed the silver hilt of his lightsaber from the folds of his robes. The Krath quickly ignited his lightsaber, his superior speed lending quite a great hand as he joined into the battle with Denath, amethyst blade swinging. The two Equites worked as one, attempting to fight off several opponents at once. Many were recognized as low level Equites such as Koga Kage and Kaira Rohana, as well as cannon fodder Journeyman.
Blaster fire reigned, engulfing most of the corridor. "Vorion! Where are the others?" called Denath, his lightsaber entering and leaving the forehead of a Jedi Hunter, who had come extremely close to driving his red bladed lightsaber straight through the young Primarch's chest.
"They're on their way! called back the former Arconan Proconsul, using his speed to the best of his ability in lack of physical strength. Denath let the Force blossom within him, unleashing a telekinetic wave that sent three or four of the attackers rearing backwards - just enough that he could come in and swipe near their midsections with his lightsaber. As if on cue, Arcadian arrived from the rear, putting on an incredible display of speed - almost enough to match that of Vorion - as he leaped into the air, lightsaber twirling.
All three of the Equites were in the fray now, attempting to do hold the line from the dozens of Kunian attackers that had been sent by Yzarc Kaeth. Without warning, a large panel of ceiling dropped falling onto an unsuspecting Novice. Anubis leaped through the hole, activating his acid-yellow lightsaber blade as he joined in. He never was one to miss a fight.
Coming face to face in a duel with the Krath Priestess Kaira Rohana, Arcadian focused all his energies on his abilities in lightsaber combat as he dropped down into the standard Makashi stance, usually a most suiting form when combating fellow Jedi. The Templar snarled, taking a large step forward as he brought the light blue blade of his lightsaber down on the Kunian, never slowing in his movement as he used the Force to add to his already fast speed.
Kaira reared back, having dropped into Soresu - as she had been trained far more in it's abilities - bringing the amethyst blade up to deflect Arcadian's from severing pieces of her body. While she had brought it up with a slightly slower speed then the Templar, her physical strength surpassed his, and just by the thickness of a lightsaber blade, had saved her from being singed from the bright glowing beams of Adegan energy.
Raising his foot with intense speed, the Obelisk warrior sent the booted foot directly for her chin, hoping that the blow would do some damage. Having used the Force to both increase his natural dexterity and physical strength, the foot quite easily slipped past the defenses of the Priest and hit it's mark, sending the thin woman backwards and into a wall. trying to keep herself in the game.
Arcadian froze for a moment, closing his eyes and quickly dropping the Force powers that he had raised just moments before, his affinity in the Force quite great, lashing out with his lightsaber. Instead of actually being anywhere near the confused woman, the Templar sent the blue-bladed lightsaber flying at the woman at an incredibly speed, sending the weapon directly into her throat. As if to speak her last words, the Krath priest mouthed the words 'I love you, Koga' silently. The nimble body of the craft fell to the ground with a thump, Arcadian retrieving his saber to help dispose of more advancing Journeyman with Denath by his side.
While Kaira's battle with Arcadian had been in progress, Koga and Anubis had gotten into their own little duel. The two had never gotten along, which made it perfect cliche for them to face each other. The two yellow blades of the Plagueian's danced about, Anubis preferring to use the form which he had mastered in, and had only really trained in - Makashi. Koga was switching between both Shii-Cho and Soresu, not too proficient in either lightsaber form. Both had let the anger flow between them, engaged in a grueling battle.
The two were both fairly evenly matched in terms of speed, and were perfectly matched in brute strength. All they had to do was fight until Tirna gave the go-ahead to drop out and lure them further into the outpost. It wasn't until Koga had noticed the lifeless body of Kaira on the floor of the corridor, that the situation changed. "No!" exclaimed the Templar, calling upon the Force now to try and beat back the Dark Jedi Knight.
He succeeded, landing a stab into Anubis' left shoulder, removing the blade of Adegan energy from the man before spinning around and roundhouse kicking him to the floor. He turned without thinking, immediately proceeding over to the corpse of the Priest. He held her tightly, silently speaking mumbling her name into her hair as he let anger, hate, and malice build up within him.
The Templar ignored the battle around him, and more importantly, the rising body of the Dark Jedi Knight that he had knocked to the floor several moments before. Anubis had dropped his lightsaber when he was roundhouse kicked by the Obelisk, removing one of his DC-15s blaster pistols and cracking his neck. Raising it to the Kunian, he pulled the trigger once and watched as a blast of energy raced towards the man.
As if the Force had suddenly blossomed with him, Koga called his lightsaber to his hand, dropping the body of the woman he loved and activating the acid-yellow blade just in time to deflect the bolt of red energy away from him. Crying out, Koga raced towards the Sith that stood before him, lightsaber raised. Using the Force, Anubis predicted the attack that was to come. Precognition was such a useful ability in times like these.
As Koga brought his weapon from side to side - aiming at Anubis' midsection, the Dark Jedi Knight shifted slightly to the side and backwards - just enough to allow the man to pass by him - reaching around the the front of his chest and hitting him in the back of the head, sending the two to the ground. The Sith landed on top of the man, immediately dropping the blaster in his hand as he grabbed the head of the Templar and began brutally smashing it against the ground violently in an attempt to knock the deranged Kunian out of consciousness.
While the battle had been largely going on, Vorion had now faced several opponents and allowed them to fall to the ground once his lightsaber had passed through them, his speed giving them the upper hand. The cold, calculating Ubese knew that they would only last for a short amount of time, and tried to make the best of it so that Tirna could evacuate. That was, until, the large hulking form of a blood-red Nautolan came within his vicinity.
Quejo Drakai, Sith Warlord and a full born brute came swinging in, the emerald blade of his lightsaber mirroring the master of Shii-Cho as he used his brute strength to beat the Archpriest back. With several Equites dead, Denath, Arcadian, and Anubis joined in to help, the Dark Jedi Knight in the group immediately recognizing the large man as his master.
"Quejo Xyler!" Anubis called, lashing out towards the large man before him, unaware that the Nautolan had dropped the Xyler name. The Warlord had been using the Force to continually boost his natural speed, and was easily able to block the blow from the man below him. "Well, well, well. I always knew that I'd run into you... traitor." the man threw his apprentice backwards, causing him to loose his balance and fall to the floor.
The body of Quejo Drakai, a famed Warlord and apparent member of Exar Kun, lay lifeless on the floor, covered in large lightsaber gashes. A few of his tentacles were severed, spread across the floor. The battle itself was intense, the man nearly killing his former apprentice and Arcadian. Both were fairly injured, and were healing their wounds through the Force. Vorion and Denath continued to fight off the members of Exar Kun, waiting for the signal from Tirna before they could fall back, luring them deeper into the outpost so that they could detonate the charges that had been set. They needed the signal, first...
Keto’s Vengeance stood alone in the darkening hallway that lay directly in front of the holding chamber in which the Clan Rollmaster was held captive. Although they lurked deep in the main structure of Alpha base, each could hear the thunderous engines of Drop ships and Star-fighters. Cassandra held out her mind, staring into the door that separated her and the Zabrak. From inside came a heavy crash and a furious growl of anger and rage. Sanguinius looked around, smirking as his master’s presence came to be very much alive.
“Looks like its awake!” Killer grunted as he heard the furious bangs from inside the chamber.
“This is mad…if Cethgus is awake already then why hasn’t our dear Quaestor come to join us! All of this is a waste of our time, when we could be out there fighting Exar Kun off!” Mograine snapped into the thin air that they breathed into their lungs.
But before anyone else could reply, they could hear the Battle-team Leader’s comlink bleep away in his ear. Sanguinius sighed as he fiddled with the device to open up the communicational ability.
“Sir, Arcadian’s team ….has inter…cepted…..enemy …forces….they …are preparing to blow….outpost...Zeta” Before the solider on the other end of the line could finish, everything turned to static and then silence.
“Oh lovely…our communications are being jammed…”
Tirna watched as Artemis led the last men out of the Outpost; she looked down to her timer noticing that only two minutes remained from the ten she was given. Reaching for her comlink, the Krath fiddled with it until it working for her to speak.
Artemis looked at her as she seemed to look very frustrated; reaching out to her the Protector placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Let hope they heard it…”
Both of the Journeymen looked up into the white sky, watching as drop-ships whooshed through the cold frosting air. Taking a moment to think, they could see the direction they were taking. Exar Kun would be at Alpha base faster than they expected.
Cassandra leaned against the wall, her eyes wandered over to Fang. As she smiled, a rumble shook the main structure of the base. Everyone turned their heads at one another, knowing that the enemy had reached them. The Knight knew where they would be heading; she knew they had to slow them down before they could reach her Master. Before she could open her cold lips to speak an alarm sparked to life with an impacting voice.
Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Sector 2 Main Hangar bay
“This is where the fun begins” Sang chuckled.
As he finished, Fang stood broad shouldered and tall he looked more frustrated than ever. Cassandra could feel his urgency and heard blaster shots being fired from the levels above them. Taking a nod towards him, she stepped probably to her feet clutching her saber within her hand.
Above them, a LAAT/I Drop ship broke past the aerial defences and landed within Alpha base’s main hangar. The few men in there fought for their lives but most ran away, as several Equites appeared dangerously armed. Yzarc jumped out, followed by Impetus M’nar, Ood Bnar and several journeymen. With their small strike force attacking the main route to the base and now here within its walls, Alpha base would soon fall into their hands.
Fang Ao Tian
Near Cethgus' Holding Cell
Fang sighed and removed his lightsaber hilt from his belt. He glanced at Mograine, Cassandra, and Sanguinius, all three standing nearest the door to Cethgus' cell, then shifted his gaze to Strats and Killer. The latter pair had their e-web cannons ready for travel and quick deployment. Aeshi stood apart from the rest, covering her ears to block out the piercing sound of the alarm.
Still, despite the incessant alarm, approaching footsteps could be heard. Smirking, Fang looked at two other men, both emerging from deeper within Alpha Base. Only one of those two men, Alex d'Tana, was a part of Keto's Vengeance, but the other, Wuntila, was certainly a welcome addition to the base's defenses.
"Where did these two come from?" Sanguinius shouted to be heard over the alarm, glaring at Fang.
"Let's just say I owe them one," Fang replied with a shrug, then thought, 'Assuming we all live for them to someday cash in.'
Wuntila stepped closer, his posture perfect and clothes immaculate. "Everything is accounted for, sir," the hybrid said in a low voice, intended only for Fang and Alex, "House Exar Kun will find little of use to them in Alpha Base."
Fang nodded, knowing that the addition of these two Dark Jedi had just consolidated his authority. After savoring the feeling for a second, the Kiffar looked at Alex and nodding respectfully. "Thank you both for coming," he said, "Every lightsaber we can muster is appreciated."
The group looked up again as the alarm suddenly cut off. Fang briefly wondered if that was a good sign or a bad one. "Mograine, Cassandra, Sanguinius, you three stay behind and guard Cethgus," Fang repeated for the benefit of those who hadn't been present or hadn't been paying attention, "The rest of you are with me. If things start to go bad in the hanger, we'll fall back to this position. Understood?"
Everyone nodded, though the trio that was being ordered to stand guard looked less than thrilled. Without further delay, Fang turned and led Strats Grimm, Killer, Wuntila, Alex d'Tana, and Aeshi toward the hanger. The Kiffar kept his head raised, his shoulders back, and his steps strong. He knew very well that he could be leading these five to their deaths, not to mention his own, but he strode on, fear staking no claim on his heart.
Near the Main Hanger
The five Dark Jedi strode through the corridor, one last turning of the way bringing them very near the main hanger. Moments before rounding the final corridor, four other Dark Jedi stepped out in front of them. Both groups looked slightly surprised to see each other, and for a moment, the two groups merely stared at each other.
Fang recognized three of the Dark Jedi, absently noting them to be the upper Journeymen of House Exar Kun. Mehrunes Dagon and Maol Nor Lexu stood behind the other two, lightsabers already blazing. At the fore of the group stood Ralph Vundu, and the fourth and final member of the group stood glaring at Aeshi.
"Jaecyn," the Farghul growled, her own lightsaber erupting to life. She pushed past Fang, her weapon meeting the lightsaber of her former lover. As Alex's purple blade hissed to life, the Human strode forward. Both Ralph and Maol raised their weapons and charged, knowing that neither was skilled enough to take him in one-on-one combat but hoping they could be more effective in tandem.
Fang glanced over his shoulder, giving the other three Dark Jedi a meaningful look. "You three, get into the hanger. We'll take care of things here!" Wuntila, Strats, and Killer moved to obey the order, the members of Keto's Vengeance still carrying their e-web cannons. Just as they passed by Fang, he was pressed into battle by Mehrunes.
Lightsabers flashed and bodies danced through the random and violent art of combat. Blaster fire could be heard from the hanger beyond, but in the wide hall, neither side could gain a clear advantage.
"This is great," Fang sarcastically grunted, his lightsaber locked with Mehrunes'. The much stronger Human shoved Fang away, but the Kiffar came back with a quick diagonal cut. Mehrunes deflected the blow and spun backwards, he free hand rising. Fang began to close on his opponent but found his left leg suddenly unresponsive.
Fang instinctively looked down at the offending limb, his face set into a grimace, when he suddenly became aware of Mehrunes' lightsaber arcing down at his head. Fang tried to raise his lightsaber to block but knew it was a futile gesture. His mind filled with anger, anger at dying such a worthless death in a conflict he cared little for -
- when suddenly Mehrunes' entire body jerked sideways, slamming into the hallway. Fang turned his head and looked at Mograine, the old Human walking down the hall.
"Defying orders?" Fang asked with a grateful smile, shaking his leg to regain feeling.
Mograine's lips formed around the slightest of grins, and he started to reply. His first word was cut off, however, by the bodies of Wuntila, Strats, and Killer suddenly flying into the hall. They crashed into Alex and Ralph, both Dark Jedi caught unprepared by the sudden onslaught of flesh. As if this were a signal, Jaecyn and Maol withdrew, running back to the hanger. Seconds later, Ralph and Mehrunes followed.
"That was unexpected," Aeshi remarked, helping Strats get to his feet. Killer and Wuntila rose as well, both shaky on their feet.
"Report," Fang ordered, suddenly having a very bad feeling about this.
Wuntila moved forward, a hand over his ribs. "Impetus, Yzarc, and Ood are all out there. They were too much for us to handle."
Fang looked at Alex, knowing the Krath to easily be the most powerful among the group. He could order d'Tana to stay behind and hold off the three equites, but even if the Human followed the order, it was likely a death sentence. He briefly considered it, even to the point of telling Strats and Killer to stay behind with him. Fang had never liked those two, and they wouldn't be missed. Still, it would likely be a useless gesture, buying them more than they really needed.
His decision made, Fang looked around the group and nodded. "Alright everyone, now is where we fall back. We'll be better off with Cassandra and Sanguinius at our sides. Let's move!"
The group rushed down the hallway, heading back the way they had come. In the back of his mind, Fang was glad that the secondary hanger had apparently gone undisturbed. A shuttle lay in wait there, Fang's pilot droid keeping the engines warm.
Already before reaching the holding cells, the members of the dark jedi group had felt the disturbance in the Force. Trouble had reached the detention quarters. On the floor, in between the Ketoan soldiers or rather parts of Keton soldiers, who obviously had come in contact with enemy dark jedi, Sanguinus and Cassandre sat still, and just stared into the concrete wall. None of the fallen soldiers moved, and the presence of death was evident.
The group was shocked by the sight, and the look on both Sang and Cass’s face told more than enough of what that had just happened. Wuntila, who immediately ran to the holding cell, which cell door had been opened with force by a lightsaber, stated “The Rollmaster has escaped”. There were a series of sighs from the frustrated group.
Whatever advantages they might have, were now null. “How did it happen?” Fang asked puzzled, and was returned with an ironic scoff from Sang. “That’s the best part, we don’t know… Suddenly we were thrown into the wall, and the next thing that happened was that Yzarc and Cethgus left the cell. All of the guards who arrived after you left became cannon fodder of course…”, his voice trailed off as Cassandra’s outburst “Cethgus… he just… smiled at us… bastard”. The group of dark jedi might not understand why it had been ‘the best part’, but clearly it was an apprentice-to-master thing.
The silence was then broken by Alex d’Tana’s curiosity “Why didn’t they just kill you?” Mograine chuckled, “Isn’t that obvious? You all must have realized that this isn’t a conflict between men and women on opposite factions, but a conflict between colleagues, allies and more important, between friends”. The group nodded in agreement. Cassandra and Sang rose to their feet gradually, clearly still in pain after getting thrown into the permacrete wall by Yzarc. “Where did they go anyway? If they planned on escaping, wouldn’t they pass you guys?” Sang asked with a worried intonation in his voice. Surprisingly, it was the silent Killer that replied on his inquiry “The Quaestor, he’s still here…” Sanguinius was already running down the corridor, “Let’s move!” he yelled.
Minutes later, the members of Keto’s Vengeance stormed out of the turbolift into the Quaestor’s Office, weapons raised. However, their search for the Rollmaster, Kunian Quaestor and Vivackus was in vain, the office was empty. “Fierfek!” the snarl came from the Battleteam Leader, clearly getting more hopeless of the situation. “They probably left for Kapsina, since Alaris is their only remaining threat”, Mograine suggested. Fang turned to the Battleteam leader “I have a shuttle ready in the hangar, should I tell the droid to fire the engine?” The Obelisk didn’t hesitate before nodding, “Yes, do that. We’ll leave at once!”
Fang Ao Tian
Fang Ao Tian sat on an uncomfortable bench between Aeshi and Strats, trying to ignore the feeling of dread that had taken up residence in his stomach. Though he didn't feel like Keto's Vengeance had truly failed at guarding Cethgus, he did feel House Exar Kun had just gained some sort of upper hand.
"Are you wounded, boss?" asked a familiar voice, speaking in a coded mixture of Basic and broken Falleen.
Fang smirked, looking at the little red, white, and black pilot droid hovering before him. "I'm fine," he responded, noting that the rest of the team seemed absorbed in their own thoughts and meditations, "I hope I can still say that when the day is over."
The droid, Servo, swiveled his head and looked off to the side. 'Looked' was a questionable term, though, since the droid didn't have typical photoreceptors. After a momentary pause, Servo looked back at its caretaker. "I hope so too. You're the only one who knows how to maintain me."
"Vali doesn't?" Fang asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I meant among this rabble," Servo said dryly, then floated back toward the cockpit.
Fang snorted and leaned back, closing his eyes. He thought about his lady love, a Zeltron currently staying somewhere out in Wild Space. Fang missed her intensely, and to rush headlong into Kapsina's dangers only emphasized the time they'd spent apart.
He could do little about whatever would happen at Kapsina, but Fang clenched his teeth and reminded himself of his duty to House Satal Keto. They would see Alaris sitting on the throne, ruling over the clan, and the Force have pity on anyone who thought otherwise.
Still, Fang made a mental note to stay behind the meatshields known as Sanguinius Tsucyra, Killer, Wuntila, and Strats Grimm.
The shuttles engines roared to life and soon rose off the metallic flooring that covered the hangar bay; it zipped off through the skies breaking a trial through the falling snow. Cassandra looked out on of its view points, watching as the forces of Exar Kun rampaged into Alpha Base. The ruins of Out post Zeta lay waste in flames, she was sure her home wouldn’t be the same upon their return. Passing through the atmosphere covering Morroth, the shuttle broke into the shadows of space and then it twisted around them opening up into the warp of hyperspace.
In the mean time, the female Knight took care of the gash on her forehead. As she wiped away the essence of blood, her mind jolted back to Kuga’s escape. Cassandra could remember the cold eyes of Yzarc; she was waiting as he dealt with the few guardsmen that remained. But then it all seemed to go blurred, she knew she was smashed backwards and then Cethgus charging past her. The last thing she could recall was Sanguinius laying out cold close to the Holding cell’s door frame.
The girl sat there, letting her mind wander for a moment. New ideas popped into her head, she looked over to her Battle team leader as if she knew at heart he had done a dirty deed. Before she could act here, the vessel dropped out of hyperspace and passed into the shadows of Kapsina.
“Servo! Take us directly to the Dark Tower. If something is going down, its there” Fang shouted to his pilot droid.
The monotone voice screeched back, but not many could make out its voice as the shuttle zoomed through the bitter skies. Soon the magnificent home of Clan Plagueis blurred into vision, the Dark Tower was surrounded by many other vessels most likely here to defend Alaris. Fang’s shuttle shot through its last approach and finally began to slow down to land, Cassandra stood up waiting with her saber already drawn.
Finally the craft lowered down into one of the Tower’s many hangars, the Battle team were quick down its loading ramp ready to enter the fray once again.
“Fang, Take the battle team to the Throne room…I have other things to deal with” Cassandra said and activated her light sapphire saber.
She could hear him grumble sound words, but she was too focused on her Battle team leader. She watched his moves, feeling his guilt and treachery.
“Sanguinius, you traitor! You let him out… It’s all too simple…the best part…ha! That’s your betrayal” the female Knight shrieked out.
Fang tried his best to move the team forwards, but even he couldn’t help but watch as the two Knights confronted each other. He looked around, watching as his Battle Team Leader activated his own saber. Knowing it was time to make a move, he led the rest of the battle team into the shadows of the Dark Tower.
“Oh dear, am I really that easy to read? Cassandra…it was in my best intentions to see Cethgus free…” Sang replied in an arrogant tone.
“Best intentions…For god sake…Half of Morroth lay in ruins and that was in your best intentions…you’re nothing but a coward and traitor!” the girl snapped back raising her saber ready to attack.
Sanguinius stood broad shouldered and strong, keeping his weapon low ready in case he needed it. Looking towards his fellow student to his master, he opened his lips as he finally let loose his words.
“Then you are a fool Cassandra…for only an idiot like you would believe that”
Before the Battle team leader could finish his words, the young girl jumped forwards lashing furiously towards him with her saber. The two blades clashed together with a thunderous roar, Cassandra danced around the fellow knight japing her saber forwards with every move. Suddenly Sanguinius growled out in pain, stumbling backward staring upon several gashes that cut across his torso.
The young girl was smirking whilst gripping her saber tighter, she felt ready to strike down the traitor that stood in front of her. As she raised her saber, a begging voice ran through her ears as Aeshi appeared out of the shadows in the Hangar.
“Cassandra …Stop this at once!”
Fang Ao Tian
Fang smirked and ignited his lightsaber, leading the rest of the battle team through the halls of the Dark Tower. Fanning out behind him in a V formation was Alex d'Tana, Killer, and Strats Grimm on the left and Mograine and Wuntila on the right. All had their weapons in hand, the hum of multiple lightsabers nearly as prevalent as the feeling of battle lust that hung heavy in the air.
"Boss," said a small, distant voice, drawing Fang's attention to his comlink, "There are three Dark Jedi outside the shuttle. Should I blast them?"
Alex chuckled behind Fang, and the Kiffar smiled himself as he thumbed the com. "No, but protect yourself. I don't know what's going on there, but be ready to run."
"Understood," Servo replied.
Fang replaced the comlink on his belt and slowed down, the sounds of battle reaching their ears now. They could hear blasters discharging, lightsabers burning through the air, and above that, shouts of warning and screams of pain. Each Dark Jedi could could feel the swirling turmoil, the chaos, of the battle in the Force. Fang took a deep breath and glanced behind him, quickly looking into the eyes of each being following him. He saw eagerness, stoicism, and on Killer's face, a touch of nervousness.
"Fight well," was all Fang said, his voice a little softer than usual. A few of the men nodded, and Fang led the way into the fray, blue lightsaber leading the way.
Dark Tower: Hallway leading to the Throne Room
Chaos. The corridors of the Dark Tower were in total chaos. Alaris’s rebellion had turned the normally peaceful tower into a warzone.Blistering blaster bolts flashed through, illuminating the hallway as they were directed at one and another from either side. Various types of grenades also detonated on either side; frag grenades ripping through the ranks of both Alaris and Braecen’s loyalists, concussion grenades erupting into a brilliant flash of silver, letting out a tremendous bang that shook the room, clearly staggering most of the individuals, whom were in the hallway. Mograine opened his eyes again. He’d by his fast force reflexes enclosed them the moment the last of the metallic cylinder of the concussion grenades had detonated, his vision blurry, but still, quite functional. However, he had not been able to protect his ears as well as he had with his eyes, and they rang violently, and the sounds of the surrounding battle were about non-existent to his hearing. Slowly, it returned, and he could now hear the turmoil of battle around him, as well as he could now see it all clearly.
Mograine twitched, as he heard the sounds of lightsabers clashing together and battering blaster bolts back at the shooters from all around him. Dark Jedi from both sides were both standing in their own line protecting their soldiers from incoming fire, or at the front, leading their assaults. Strats Grimm and Alex d’Tana, who both were experienced dark jedi, could evidently take care of themselves without too many problems, and they were both assaulting the enemies from both sides, Alex, from the left, while Strats, came from right. In the middle, both Wuntila and Killer, a couple of newcomers as far as Mograine had noticed, stood battering back a wall of red laser together, both were inexperienced and unsure about their own potential, so neither were even actually doing any progress in the battle besides covering a fair amount of blaster fire for the HSK soldiers behind them. While some of the members of Keto’s Vengeance had taken the roles at both defense and attack, Guardian Fang had chosen to run back to the main line of the HSK soldiers, giving them orders of where to concentrate fire, as well as battering a blaster bolt now and then as they came too close.
Mograine himself, had yet to engage any enemies yet, as he had just used his athletic skills and pure strength to just slip past both allied and enemy troops, avoiding blaster bolts, as well as dashing into a enemy’s face with his own skull when gaining too much of their focus. He had just noticed that the bang of the concussion grenade had dazed the main line formation of the HEK loyalist soldiers, and that this was the moment of opportunity to break through.
For each meter he closed into the line, the more of the enemies’ eyes were directed at him, followed by their reaction, which Mograine didn’t even need a precognitive sense in the Force to see; attacks directed at him. Increasing his speed slightly, he went from fast pacing to a full sprint, dead ahead toward a soldier standing approximately five meters in front of the enemy line formation.
As he neared, the soldier raised his rifle at Mograine, and when seemingly the Dark Jedi Knight was about to make a jump at him, he fired a burst of green bolts. Yet, they did not hit the dark jedi, who boldly had feigned a jump, rather ducking under the soldier’s aim. The bolts just spat through empty air to hit the ceiling some meters down the hallway, damaging nothing else than this fine fortress’ interior. It had all happened so fast, too fast for an ordinary person to process, and before the soldier could frown in confusion, the dark jedi jumped up so close to him that he easily grabbed the barrel of the soldier’s blaster rifle, shoving it down to the ground. The soldier struggled to pull it up again, but failed in attempt to cope with Mograine’s muscular built body and experience in hand-to-hand combat. If there was one true thing that Mograine had learned during his apprenticeship under Kal Vorrac, it was how to really end a fight quickly, in which the sole purpose of the fight was to just finish your enemy quickly and head on. Mograine kept his left arm at the opponent’s barrel, while in the speed of blinking shot his right arm elbow up in the man’s face. The face cracked upon impact, blood spilling out. The man shrieked in pain, letting go of the rifle to clutch his now crimson face that were dripping viciously. Mograine grinned, dropping the blaster rifle to the ground, as he sprang into the screaming soldier. He grabbed him by his shoulders, and sent him spinning around, to face his comrades instead of Mograine, who was digging his left hand fingers into his trapezius muscle at the shoulder-neck region to have a firm grip on his enemy. Mograine pulled the DC-17 hand blaster he carried, and placed his gun-hand lightly behind the soldier’s shoulder blades while moving forward.
The surrounding enemies, at least the ones who didn’t stand with their back faced to where Mograine stood, where all aware of the situation close to their line, and soldiers from either sides lined up to fire a barrage at the Ketoan with a friendly hostage of theirs, but before any of them got to fire as much as a stun bolt, the hostage taker turned to the line facing left of him, pressing his finger at the trigger eagerly. A series of well aimed blue bolt hit the three soldiers directly in the head. Simultaneously as the men fell to the ground, Mograine spun around again, dragging with him his human shield. The man he held then met a sudden death by a barrage of blaster fire from the group who’d lined up at his initial right side. The stupidity of his enemies amused Mograine. Unworthy. He pushed the dead body ahead, and as the corpse were falling forward, Mograine raised his hand forward. The dead man was then taken on by an invisible and fairly powerful pulse that threw it forward right into the small line of men that had killed him, making them all fall off their feet.
The Sith cocked a smile, which was drawn away by a green flash that went right by his eyes, so close that the skin at his nose turned red by the scorching heat. Mograine fell to a ducking posture, then sprang forward at the main line formation, who by now realized the threat that Mograine was to them. They fired away. Emptying their clips at the rapidly approaching dark jedi, but he proven them a challenge to hit as he burst forward with the help of the Force, ducking and dodging each of the incoming spray of scorching laser.
When only about a meter left between Mograine and the line formation, he pressed himself up into a force imbued leap, somersaulting forward. He landed his feet right into the face of an unlucky soldier, who was sent flying into the next room. Mograine landed perfectly on the ground, kneeling, and quickly before letting his enemies adjust to the sudden change of formation, he pulled a metallic cylinder out from his dark robe. He ran his thumb down on the activation box, and there was a crack-hiss as the emerald blade emerged out of nothing.
This was perhaps the first time openly he had used a lightsaber since the War, before that had been in private training sessions, while studying his expertise in lightsaber combat.
He twirled around as he rose to his feet, sending the gleaming blade in a perfect vertical arc around. It hit one soldier directly at the stomach region, cleaving him in two, followed by a halt. He sensed an imminent danger from the closest soldier on the opposite side of the man he’d just severed in half, and he elegantly rolled his body around into a spin, drawing his blade with him, in a lowered position. Just as the soldier was about to fire, the weapon was sliced in two by Mograine’s lightsaber, stopping the coming attack from occurring. The Sith completed his 360 degree spin at the direction of his first victim, but before moving forward at his next prey, he shot his left leg backwards into the soldier, whose weapon he had just destroyed. The soldier, clearly a woman, whimpered as she easily was pushed back into her fellow soldiers.
Mograine continued his rampage as he easily stepped forward, sending his blade into a fluidity of light and precise cuts and strokes. He held his blade in one hand, letting the force guide his attacks to be quick and lethal, there was no need to utilize unnecessary strength against ranged opponents, who could not do anything else but to throw themselves out of his wake to save their own skin.
Dark Tower: Hangar Bay
The Guardian kept creeping forward so that she stood between the Knights, her hand wrapping around her own saber. However, she felt reluctant to activate its blade. Aeshi glanced backwards, looking into her friend’s anxious eyes; she did this to show her friendship to Sanguinius in a striking move to protect him. Cassandra growled towards the Journeymen, feeling insulted by the others' bond and how they would show it in desperation to save each others' lives.
“Get out of my way feline!” The Sith snapped towards the half-farghul.
“No Cassandra…my place is here between you and him” the young Krath barked back as she slowly tightened her grip around her lightsaber.
The female Knight snarled, as her breathing became heavier and eyes narrowed with frustration and rage.
“I said…get out of my way!”
As Cassandra finished shouting, she danced forward with her blade ready to strike down whoever stood in her way. Aeshi fiddled with her saber hilt so that its blade was activated. She spun and tried her best to parry away the incoming attack. The two sabers clashed together, but already the Knight moved her blade away and began slashing furiously with a flurry of attacks. The Guardian had never been forced to move so fast in order to protect her life; in the back of her mind lurked the realization that Sanguinius was not helping her.
She parried away a jab and then watched, horrified, as Cassandra’s weapon sliced her saber in half. Aeshi started to back away, but even this Sith’s wrath was too much for her to control. The Knight reared back and hurled her lightsaber through the air and watched as it pierced into the half-human’s torso. Aeshi's cries echoed throughout the hangar as the saber wove pain and agony through her body. Her vision fading, Aeshi looked over her shoulder, hoping to see Sanguinius. However, as images blurred before her eyes, she saw no one.
Cassandra looked at the Guardian and realised what she had just done. Without thinking about the action, she held out her hand and recalled her weapon, ripping it from the Journeyman’s chest. Aeshi's body collapsed to the ground with a muffled thump. Standing over the corpse, Cassandra stared down at her former teammate for a few seconds, almost regretting the hybrid's loss.
With a final dismissive grunt, Cassandra looked up, her eyes searching for the traitor she intended to kill. Unfortunately, he was no where to be seen. The Sith deactivated her saber and threw it to the floor, and then her ears picked up the shouts of a droid. She looked up to see Servo fly out of the back of the shuttle as if tossed. Before she could react to the oddly comical sight, Cassandra watched the battle team's shuttle lift off. Reaching out in the force she could feel Sanguinius within, his guilty and cowardly conscious standing out quite easily. As she watched the ship pull out of the hangar, Cassandra knew that one day he would return much stronger than she could imagine.
Hallway outside the throne room
Fang watched as Mograine continued to cut down the Exar Kun forces, impressed as the Knight slammed his saber through another rival and then into another. The Guardian grunted in pain as a blaster shot past his defence and burned into his right thigh. He staggered backward, placing a hand over the wound as a shadow fell over him. Looking up, he saw Alex d’Ttana covering him, knocking away a series of blaster bolts. Fang took the moment of safety to utilize the Force and heal the wound. He straightened and readied his lightsaber for a charge. That charge was halted before it began, the Kiffar stumbling into the path of an Equite.
A yellow-skinned Twi’lek easily fluttered the blade to the side with her own saber, watching in amusement as the young journeyman backed away from her. He knew her as his master's wife, Impetus, and wondered if she was here to defend the name of Braecen. Before he could think much more about it, Impetus raised a hand and, using the Force, shoved Fang away from her.
When he stood again, Fang realized that the fight had begun to turn against them as more supporters of Exar Kun had entered the fray. D’Tana had moved forwards so that he was the one fighting off the dangerous Krath that brought reinforcements. The other journeymen fought side by side, trying their best to push back the enemy.
Impetus dove forwards in between the members of Keto’s Vengeance; she used the force to throw the only Equite away before he could retaliate. Fang tried his best to evade the Twi’leks attacks, though he panicked as her saber slashed through his robes missing his flesh by inches. His eyes darted to Artemis; the Protector remained alone against the Krath and felt the strain of battle weakening him. As Fang charged forwards to aid his fellow Journeyman, Artemis shrieked out in agony whilst his body had already dropped limp.
“Artemis!” Fang shouted out as the Twi’lek ripped out her saber from the Protector’s stomach.
But before he went was in range to attack, everyone stopped for one second to hear a wail of agony echo from the throne room.
Many of the combatants had frozen. Even Fang, an experienced bounty hunter, didn’t know what to do. It wasn't until his eyes shifted to the opening doors to the throne room. In that moment, Fang knew this war would be over sooner than he had originally believed. Vivackus stormed out, his face still bared the scars of the beating he had taken from the Clan Rollmaster. To his side came Arion, whose smile filled his facial expression.
“Stop this madness!” Vivackus shouted, ensuring that his voice was heard over the few remaining skirmishes.
“Your dear Braecen is finished, "Arion said, his voice weary but proud, "I present myself as the new Proconsul. I hope to see you all serve well under the name of our new Consul, Alaris Jinn.”
The sound of sabers deactivating shot through the hallway. Fang powered down his saber, too, and moved closer to his newfound battle team. Vivackus stormed forward through the gathered warriors, and for the first time, the Guardian was able to look at his wounds. The Quaestor looked battered, his nose broken and scars forming a map on his body.
“So . . . what now?” Killer asked, hoping to see more action.
“We move on, go home” Fang replied, his voice soft and distracted.
“What of our fallen?” Mograine asked, his vision looking down towards the body of Artemis.
“No, we must move on…if it is that important then I am sure Vivackus shall deal with it” Fang replied anxiously waiting to leave.
Cassandra was down on her knees, cradling the body of Aeshi, knowing she had done wrong. She placed her hand upon the wound that scarred the half-human’s chest, hoping to heal it but knew that such an act was beyond her ability. Servo hovered near, staying silent as he surveyed the scratches marring his red paint. Cassandra ignored the pilot droid, though, her thoughts and feelings consumed with anger and regret.
The Sith slowly stood up, feeling a tear leak down her cheek. She turned around as the door to the hangar swished open and the members of Keto’s Vengeance appeared. Cassandra took a look down at Aeshi’s lifeless body and knew it was best to let her death go.
“Where is the shuttle?” Fang slowly asked, looking between his droid and Cassandra.
“To be honest, probably half way across the galaxy by now. Sanguinius stole it,” Cassandra replied as she picked up her saber.
“I tried to sabotage the shuttle, but I didn't have time,” Servo said, still taking inventory of his damage.
Fang sighed and noted the scratches, wondering exactly how many credits that was going to cost.
“Aeshi! What happened? What happened to her?” Mograine cried as he ran up to her body.
He stared at the round wound that dug deep into her torso, and even then he knew she was gone. The battle team looked at the Sith Knight, hoping to for her to volunteer answers, but many could read Cassandra’s heart clearly. Another tear crawled down her face, and as she was about to open her mouth to explain, Kal appeared in the doorway.
“Aeshi’s sacrifice shall not be in vain. Her life was well-lived and her spirit shall live on. For now, Keto’s Vengeance, it is time we return to Morroth,” the Aedile said in a peaceful tone, hoping not to cause more confrontation.
The Battle team grouped together, Mograine carrying the body of the half-Farghul as they followed Kal to another hangar. Awaiting their arrival was their Quaestor and the few members of Satal Keto still remaining in the Dark Tower. Two medical officers retrieved Aeshi’s corpse and Cassandra took one last look at the friend she had struck down in her rage.
Kal stood next to Vivackus; both were speaking in a deep conversation. Soon each of the battle team members could over hear them, listening to them as they spoke.
“We will have suffered losses higher than I expected and the loss of two members here shall have an impact on our power, Vivackus,” Kal said watching as his House members slowly started to board their vessel.
“Do not worry Aedile, it is the damage to Morroth we should be more concerned about. Now, my friend, it is time we make our leave.”
As the Quaestor finished speaking he strolled up the loading ramp to the shuttle, followed by his Aedile and then the remaining members of the House. Cassandra sat apart from the others, her mind wandering to where Satal Keto would go onto now. She thought about Aeshi and then to the fellow student that trained with her. Looking up to the skies, she wondered where the coward had run off to. Before her mind wandered too far, she heard the voice of the vessel’s pilot.
“Next stop, Morroth!”