The Enemy Within Run-On
“Yes, your Excellency. I understand completely. I shall look into it immediately”.
The transmission suddenly cut off, the Justicar’s visage disappearing and replaced once more with the Arconan crest. A low growl began to emit from the throat of Arcona’s Consul, an ornate chair located at the other side of his office suddenly tore itself apart as the Arconae slowly bled his anger away.
Halcyon eased himself away from his desk, slowly rising to his feet and began to pace. His thoughts were a jumbled mess, his desk littered with pads detailing accusations thrown against Arcona, as well as certain crimes being committed against his Clan. As the Right Hand of Justice, he knew that Arcona was not the only one under attack from all sides. The entire Brotherhood seemed to have begun to split at the seams, a number of problems cropping up throughout.
His thoughts drifted to a familiar presence reaching his office door, his hand casually waving through the air, allowing the figure entrance.
“Enjoy your leave”, the Rokir asked, stopping to look at his Proconsul.
“It was…enjoyable”, the Spectran answered, a slightly lewd smile playing across his lips.
“Good, then you’re rested to handle these”.
Two pads flew from the desk, falling into Strategos’ hands. Halcyon watched as his own right-hand skimmed through both sets of information, seeing both surprise and anger skim his features.
“Looks like you’ve been busy”, the Krath said as he continued to read through the various details. “How much of this is true?”
“Everything against us happened. As for those we’re being blamed for...that’s a bit more complicated. Suffice it to say, it’s not all true”.
It was common knowledge that many Clans despised one another, with various forms of low-end sabotage common in dealings with one another. However, specific details pointing to another Clan were rare, and recently, such evidence has become surprisingly easy to find.
“Your orders?” the Pontifex asked, finally looking up from the information.
“I’m not liking this”, Halcyon answered as he sat back down. “Too many coincidences. Too many Clans are implicated. Every other Clan has become entangled in such issues. There’s obviously something else going on”.
Strategos nodded his agreement, a sudden thought leaping to his mind. “The incident with Taldryan and the sudden reversal of our position. You said you had gained certain information. Was this it?”
The Dark Jedi Master could only stare at the other man across from him, his emotionless gaze giving no hint of his thoughts.
“I will be meeting with Duga at location known only to us”, was the Sith’s only true answer. “I will be gone for a handful of days”.
The Krath sat down himself, his eyes questioning his Consul’s motives.
“I can handle myself, Strat, and I know you can handle the Clan in my absence. There is nothing overtly dangerous as of yet, but we’re still replacing our losses from battling Taldryan. Get in touch with the House Summits and military leaders. Have our space and ground forces fully manned and all crews active. I do not want full mobilization, but I want us ready to go to battle at a moment’s notice. I shall address the Clan when I return”.
Both Arconae strode out of the office, Halcyon heading to the lift as Strategos turned down another hall and made his way towards more familiar settings. Entering his own spacious office, the Pontifex quickly sat down and began contacting the leaders of Arcona and prepared for what seemed to be the inevitable.
Ma`ar sat the desk the previous Quaestor had furnished, the lavish surrounding made the Vurk ill to his stomach. The data pad lying on the desk light up and buzzed acknowledging the receipt of an incoming transmission.
“Ma`ar, report to Selen at once, I will give you specifics upon arrival.”
Ma`ar looked at his body guard, and nodded the Vurk rose from the chair, and strolled to the doorway, and entered the hallway.
“Master, where are you headed.” The young guardian spoke as he came upon the Vurk.
“My apprentice Odin, I am needed on Selen. Strategos has requested my presence. I need you to be prepared for anything this doesn’t smell right the entire Brotherhood is restless too restless for my tastes.” The Sith commanded as he walked to the lift.
Ma`ar and the robotic unit stood in the lift as it sped to the Hangar. Slowly the doors opened. The Hangar was a flurried of men and women as they scurried to ready all fighters and prepare for something.
Ma`ar hadn’t seen activity like this since the fighters were readied during the Arcona and Taldryan feud.
As Ma`ar and company made there way to the Shuttle, a flight attendant stopped nearby and asked, “Where to my lord.”
The Vurk snapped back and looked at the crew member and said, “Selen, now if that is all I will be on my way.”
As the pair loaded into the shuttle, the walkway closed. Ma`ar sat down in the Captains Chair and pressed several buttons. The shuttle communications panel came to life as Ma`ar sent a encoded message to Selen. “Tell Strategos that I am on my way…and prepare for my arrival. Ma`ar out.”
As the shuttle lifted off, Ma`ar made no hesitation and pressed full throttle forward, as the shuttle tore threw the Hangar and outdoors, the bodyguard looked at Ma`ar and said, “Very subtle, master.”
Ma`ar nodded and then plotted the course towards Selen.
As the stars flew by, a buzz at the communications panel erupted.
“Shuttle, what is your destination and cargo.”
“This is shuttle 3429; I have one passenger, and no cargo. In route towards Selen with a appointment with the Proconsul.” Ma`ar replied. The comm. was silent when a lone voice was heard.
“Welcome Ma`ar, fancy timing I would say. However your stunt at the Hangar on Eldar will probably have Halcyon himself very upset. But I will see you in due time.” Strategos end the conversation.
As the shuttle drew closer to Selen, the traffic in the system around the planet was maddening.
Ma`ar adjusted the COM link to pick up several different channels to see what the buzz was.
All that was over heard was a attack on Taldryan, and the other clans that were plotting.
Ma`ar knew that the clan had its fair share of enemies, however this time it seemed even the closest allies were not to be trusted.
Selen entered the view port, and the shuttle was descending downward through the clouds.
As the scanners were buzzing and chirping the ships were all around, it had seemed several people were leaving the clan headquarters.
The shuttle broke through the clouds with the Headquarters in sight.
“Selen HQ, this is shuttle 3429, I request clearance to land.” Ma`ar said into the COM link.
“Shuttle 3429, please hold as we verify your identity.” The voice said.
After several minutes of flybys, Ma`ar grew extremely impatient.
“3429, you are cleared to land on platform 22-b, Proconsul will be there to great you. Welcome home Ma`ar.” The raspy voice said.
Ma`ar entered the coordinates and swooped the shuttle downwards.
As the vurk landed the shuttle, a pair of armed guards, and a cloaked being walked out to the edge of the platform as the shuttle landed.
“Well, Fulton lets go see what the man wants.” Ma`ar said with a sneer.
Windos stirred slowly in his sleep couch, his head aching from the copious amounts of Ale consumed the previous night. Old habits die hard.
A harsh glow lit up the Zabrak’s small quarters, fumbling slightly he picked up his datapad and shook his head slowly after reading the message.
Rolling out of his cot and donning the robes he had slept in, Windos grabbed for his ornate staff. The Priest was a new transfer into Arcona and was still learning the layout of the Citadel. I took him several attempts and about half an hour, but eventually Windos stumbled upon Devani’s new office as Aedile of Galeres.
Bowing slightly, Windos entered the office and exchanged formalities with the human female. “I trust you have heard of the developments of late?” She asked eventually.
Windos tapped at the wooden shaft of his staff for a moment, “Nothing Mi’lady. I have been… preoccupied with my relocation.”
“Tension’s between the clans are high…”
“When aren’t they?” Windos interrupted.
“Let me speak!” Devani demanded. “Everyone seems to be accusing everyone, and we have been the targets of many actions, actions that of course require retribution. In one such incident, Quejo’s ship was damaged. I hate to do this to you, but I need you to make contact with Tarentum.”
Windos stopped tapping his staff and stared at Devani for a moment, then continued his random pattern of taps upon the wood. “What have my old brethren done?”
“I haven’t accused them of anything yet, but others in the house, and certainly the clan wish to make them fully responsible.”
“What have they done?” Windos repeated slowly.
“The device that damaged Quejo’s ship… It was a sensor probe we believe belonged to those Necromancers.”
Windos simply held his staff tight, turned on his heels and strode out of the office; he had a transmission to make.
An absentminded Ark strolled up the stairways to his room, his mind racing like a snowspeeder during the Battle of Hoth. For a while now, his meditations had yielded little success in deepening his connection with the Force, for the impending dangers, talks of betrayal, and unfound accusations had clouded his usually strong mind.
"Hey, watch it, Journeyman!" shouted a furious Protector, whom Ark had just bumped shoulders with. The Miraluka clattered to the floor, and the blaster in his black leather holster fell out and skidded across the floor.
"My bad," Ark replied grumpily. It was no use to deny it was his fault; he was too busy thinking about the imminent war to pay attention to the Protector's shuffling robes and clanking boots. But still! The Protector had been of a lower rank! That was no way to treat someone of more eminence!
Ark sighed as he got to his feet; the outraged Protector had merely walked off without helping a handicapped.
"Exploding scout droids, accused sabotage... this uneasy moment is brining out the worst in everyone," Ark sighed. "Plus, the Consul's absence multiplies the anxieties tenfold." Sensing where his blaster laid, Ark bent down and scooped it into his hands and holstered it. Acting more cautious, Ark started to pay more attention to approaching Dark Jedi. He was lucky he had rammed shoulders with a Protector; if he had done the same with an Equite or Elder, they'd have seized the moment to relieve their stress by frying the Jedi Hunter.
Continuing his way down to the kitchens for a drink, he sensed only one other person. Windos, who had seemed to be in a hurry to be get to someplace, had paid no heed to the Krath.
Koskian looked over the datapads scattered across his desk with sunken eyes. Ever since the attack on Quejo's ship he hadn't had much sleep. He did hate when solutions didn't present themselves neatly in this kind of situation. Sighing, he slouched back in his chair, surveying the monitors on the walls around him. Journeymen and Eqiutes made their way down corridors and passages throughout the base, the whole structure bustling with activity. And somehow he was responsible for keeping them safe.
“I need more information....none of this makes sense, a sensor probe blowing up? Who blows up sensor probes? Not even enough wreckage to determine if it was remote or proximity. We don't even know if it was a bloody accident or not.” he grumbled out loud. Reading another report about Clan wide panic from the loss of a patrol ship brought a grim chuckle out.
“As if Plagueis could hope to mount a successful attack on the Dajorra system, even an ambush of a patrol ship,” he muttered, the Exarch did not have a high opinion of their military might. The shadows attacking their owners was even more humorous, but did cause a problem. Only an Arconan, or former Arconan of high enough rank and power in Shadowcrafting could have performed such attacks. Chewing his lip idly, Kosk began running through arrival and departure logs from the various Arconan bases, and was disappointed once more. No reports of any ships headed to or from Plagueis space, so nobody had been cleared. No paper trail to follow there yet, he decided.
Rubbing his tired eyes, Kosk stood abruptly, walking out from behind his desk and out into the corridors of the Galeres base. Heading to the mess hall for a quick cup of caf, he rounded a corner, running into one of his own Troopers, both of them lost in thought. Collecting themselves from the floor after the inadvertent collision, Kosk had his first reason to smile all day.
“Ah, Alo Sel, where do you be heading?” he asked.
Selene merely nodded at him as she smoothed her robes down after the crash into the Exarch. As her blue eyes locked with his deep green stare, she wondered if he was up to the task of dealing with the security of the base and more so, if he had it in him to deal with Soulfire. A moody and unstable battle team at the best of times.
The girl didn’t have much reason to like to her new Sergeant. He had come out of the blue to replace their previous lacklustre leader and she just knew his appointment was simply because of his favour with their Quaestor. Now she forced to “play nice” with a man that used “plastic sporks” to attack people. Her dislike for him didn’t stop her however from acknowledging him as her immediate superior and in charge of all her possible promotions and recognitions.
Selene grimaced at the new Sergeant who still had a lot to prove; gathering her breath before she gave him a quick update. “I’m trying to get hold of all the Soulfire members, but somehow we seem to all have gone off on our little missions right before this [Expletive Deleted] started.”
“Jeax is still on leave, I have no idea when he’ll be back. Kryd’r seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet. Malidir, Odin, Vendetta and Kieran I just need to find. I think Odin might be with his Master again. We need to be ready if we are needed. All of us, and for once Soulfire isn’t ready. The guys haven’t shown up for training missions. Jeax being on leave hasn’t helped, he was the one that made sure Kryd’r kept his act together. Vendetta has also been out of contact for the last couple of days.”
Eyeing the d’Tana she wondered if he had enough clout to pull off getting Odin free from that particularly sticky situation. “Sarge, can you talk to Ma’ar? See if he won’t give Odin to us this time? He never has an opportunity to do non-training related missions with us and we do need him. Losing Lucius was a big blow to us.”
She figured the nod from Kosk indicated his approval of the idea and she didn’t push it any further. Instead giving him a curt bow before leaving him. Probably to get the coffee she could see he definitely needed. That was another thing she didn’t approve of, his ability to consume alcohol in the most unseemly quantities. She had no reason to trust someone that could hardly pull himself out of bed in the mornings.
The girl mumbled to herself as she made her way to the training area, praying that Malidir or Kieran were in there and desperately hoping that they have more information on where the rest of the team had gotten to.
Xar rolled onto his side. Pain seared through his right arm as the medical droid inserted all sorts of instruments to asses the damage he had sustained. "It was a stupid idea." Xar cursed as he rolled back onto his back.
"Yes it was, and if you don't start being more careful I'm going to ban you from using the traning arena at all." The new Battleteam Leader of Bas-Tyra scolded.
"But you have to admit it was pretty cool. I had the whole Bas-Tyra weapons cache in my hands. If only my connection to the force was stronger." Xar then laid back an waited for his bacta drip.
--//<|Some time later|>\\--
Xar stopped and turned. "Are you talking to me?"
"Yeah, I've been told to get everyone in Bas-Tyra to report to Aldyn."
"Ah, ok. I'll be right there."
"I have called you here to inform you that we have a new mission statement as the battleteam Bas-Tyra. We will now be a "specialist" team if you will. I team suited to certain situations and used accordingly, you could say we will be somekind of a special ops group. It will be us that secure the win." Aldyn spoke with a smile. His new role suited him well and his companions respected him.
"Boss, why tell us now?" Xar enquired.
"Well, Ma`ar has just been told to report to the proconsul and after this recent run of little incidents we have had with the other clans I believe something is about to happen, perhaps the summit has gone to talk about the first move." Aldyn paused for a question. None came. "Just be ready."
The assembled group dispersed to prepare their mind and body. Xar was asked to stay behind. "Hey, don't go getting yourself dead too soon ok?" Aldyn joked, then left.
Devani leaned back in her chair wearily, rubbing the sweet beckoning of sleep from her eyes. Now was not the time to sleep, there was simply too much to do. It was just her luck that she would become Aedile just as the clans were becoming embroiled in suspicion, plots and strange happenings. She hadn’t even finished unpacking, much less gone through the back log of work. New to the house, she needed to study up on everything from members to procedures to even finding her way around the base as well as the a few things the previous Aedile had left on his rather hasty departure.
Shaking her head, Dev returned to the message she just received from Proconsul Strategos. Sending Windos to gather information seemed like a good idea, she only hoped it would pay off. What next? Tapping her fingers on the desk absentmindedly she stared off into the distance. A buzz at the door shook her from her reverie. Leaning forward she called out an, “Enter,” immediately sensing who the visitors were.
“Ahh, good you got my message then,” Devani nodded in welcome to Ktulu and Kosk, the Battleteam Leaders in House Galeres. “As you know, allegations are being thrown left and right among the Clans. Suspicions are rampant and the times are unstable. Halcyon has asked to make sure that Arcona is ready on a moment’s notice in case things spiral out of control. Now I know things have rather shaky since the Feud ended but it is absolutely imperative that Soulfire and Qel-Droma are ready. I know you are both capable leaders but do not fail Arcona.”
The two leaders nodded, mumbling together as they left the Aedile’s office, most likely about being pulled from whatever important duties that had been attending to when called to her office. Dev ignored it however; she needed to look in their eyes, to speak face to face because she wanted no misunderstandings. Musing silently to herself, she decided it was time to go visit Quejo.
Ktulu and Koskian walked out of the Aedile's office, Ktulu with his usual air of superiority, Kosk just looking tired.
“Wot do ya think of her, d'Tana, think she can actually do somethin' bout dis crisis?” asked the Krath as he began to walk down the corridor.
A smile spread over the Security Chief's face, “My Apprentice is most capable, Xyler, Quejo did well to pick her over some of the other options.....” This being said with a pointed look at the Krath next to him.
Ktulu snorted, walking away from the strange spork wielding Jedi. Kosk used to be much easier to prick with words, apparently the Obelisk had been spending more time studying then working out. It was almost....creepy.
Grunts and the sound of impact could be heard from down the hall the Exarch now walked, the sparring room at the end. Stopping at the entrance he watched Maldir, Selene, and Kieran sparring, a three way match of deadly grace. He knew little about any of these....children, he grimaced at that thought, but he had seen what they could do in the War with Taldryan, and knew they could handle themselves well. They were a team, and the team was sorely missing members right now. His earlier encounter with Selene had spoke volumes through the Force, the young Huntress unable to hide all of her emotions.
She doesn't trust me yet....after all the chaos we've had in the past few weeks I can't say I blame her. None of these kids know me, far as they can see I got this spot through politics. he thought grimly. Kosk had headed up Soulfire more times then he could count anymore, this wasn't politics, this was pride.
Stepping through the entrance, Kosk smirked, all three members of the battleteam stopping in unison to look at him.
“I....do not know when Jeax is returning to duty, guys, nor when Kryd'r is going to grace us with his presence once more. Vendetta I have on a mission away from Eldar, investigating some things that maybe of importance to us later. I do know though, that soon we are going to be called into action again. I want you guys to trust me, to trust my judgment When we enter combat.” he said, stressing the 'when' specifically instead of an 'if'.
The three continued to stare, faces passive and emotionless, before turning back as one to continue their sparring. Kosk shook his head and walked out, wondering what to do about this group of troopers.
Quejo roared as the medical droids popped his dislocated shoulder back into place, all the while curses aimed at Tarentum could be heard echoing down the hall. As the droids struggled to hold him down, Bandon pushed himself up and waved his hand sending one of the droids crashing into a nearby wall.
"I see you're in a good mood today." Devani said with a smile.
Quejo just snarled as he slipped his robes back on, his mind was set on war and destroying the clans that had a part in the failed assasination attempt.
"Get my shuttle ready." He demanded, pain still seen in his eyes.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to the Eye of the Abyss. Strat recently contacted me telling me that I have to get the fleet ready to go."
"And you're ok to go?"
"Dont question me. I'm the Sovreign Imperator of the Arconan fleet, I cant be bed ridden."
"So be it." was her faint reply as she turned to exit.
"Oh and Devani...."
"Make sure Soulfire and Qel Droma are ready to go."
"Already been taken care of." She smiled before making her way down the hallway.
"Greetings Ma'ar." The Spectran spoke, his eyes locking onto the Oriens Obscurum Quaestor. "Halc instructed me to give you your mission and I think you'll be extremely pleased with this assignment."
"Oh?" The Vurk smirked.
"We need you to "look into" Tarentum."
Ma'ar grinned from ear to ear. "Consider it done."
"Very well. I have Quejo headed to the Abyss. From there he will be taking care of base defense. As for the other members of Arcona I have no idea what's going on as of yet."
The Vurk nodded.
"Oh and Ma'ar, you may assemble a team to go with you if you wish it." Strat ended, his hand waving to dismiss his friend and fellow Arconan.
"Captain I've recieved word that Quejo's shuttle is arriving."
Just as the Lieutenant turned to walk out of the Command Center, the Communications console lit up.
"Eye of the Abyss.....We are arriving with the Sovreign Imperator of Clan Arcona....Requesting permission to dock."
"Of course, there is already a room cleared for him in.....Hangar bay E-16."
The doors of E-16 slowly rolled back as Quejo's personal shuttle made it's way through the hangar finally landing on the translucent flooring of his assigned docking bay.
The downward thrusters of the shuttles hissed and a loud bang was heard as the Shuttle made contact with the Abyss. A roar was then heard as the door of the Shuttle lowered, revealling the Quaestor of House Galeres. He was clothed in all black as usual, his black horns and facial tattoos striking fear in the newer recruits that lined up next to the Shuttle.
"M'lord." The Captain greeted with a bow. "We've been waiting for your arrival."
"At ease" The Imperator spoke, his black boots sparking an echo in the silent room as he stepped out of the Shuttle. "Inform the fleet to de-power their weaponry. We're going to do Ship on Ship engagements."
The Quaestor nodded as he proceeded to the Command Deck. His robes flowing behind him in the self created breeze.
Ma`ar walked away from Strategos knowing he was given a task he long sought for.
“Fulton, contact Archean, Odin, and Akhara. I want them prepped and ready and in the hangar on Eldar in one hour.” Ma`ar said.
With a nod, Fulton walked into the shuttle and proceeded to make the necessary arrangements.
As Ma`ar stood on the platform pondering of how to get into the Yridia system unnoticed and undetected.
Figuring that he would need his Infiltrator, with the cloaking abilities, he could make his way to the once lavish planet of Yridia IV, knowing Merlance had been nominated as the grant holder of the planet, that he would or could be able to swindle a deal with the Sith to gain some access to the castle or atleast force him to.
Fulton reemerged from the shuttle and made his way to the man he was charged with guarding.
“Master, they will be ready when we arrive, how do we plan to gain access to Tarentum’s force when its just us, this is suicide.” Fulton spoke as he was unaware of Ma`ar’s full intentions.
“Trust me, I have a plan but it will involve a lot of risk, and some outside help from the clan. Now let us be on our way.” The Vurk said as he strolled into the shuttle.
The rear platform ascended up to the shuttle, and the craft began its ascent.
Moments later the shuttle was away and heading back to Eldar. Mission in hand, and very pleased as Ma`ar for sometime had wanted the chance to get back at Tarentum, the clan he had recently left.
“Master, I do hope this isn’t personal. I mean that I know your feelings on the Tarentae, but remember that you have friends there as well. Welshman and Zekk would he highly disappointed if they knew of the treason you seek against their clan.” Fulton said, not knowing if Ma`ar would reply or even acknowledge the fact he had spoke to him
As the shuttle entered the atmosphere of Eldar, Ma`ar radioed the base, and gave his clearance, even before they asked for it. Fulton knew he would be pressed for time, and that Ma`ar had already changed his attitude and demeanor was different.
Clearly the stress of this mission was taking a toll against the Sith.
The shuttle touched down on the platform just outside the Hangar, knowing the flight crew would be giving the craft a once over, Ma`ar walked outward, and began a rapid pace towards his personal craft. The Sith Infiltrator had been prepped and readied.
As Archean, Odin Vaaj, and Akhara made there way into the Hangar to see Ma`ar standing in front of the shuttle looking over a few of the outside panels.
“Ma`ar, its good to see you.” Archean said as he walked towards his former master.
“Yes my friend, it is. I do hope your time away was fun. However we are charged with gaining some ground on Tarentum, their clan poses the worst threat to us, and Strategos feels it wise that I am the one to go.” Ma`ar added.
“Well then, let’s be on out way. I know we can get this done, however with the two others you have suggested, do you really wish to throw them into harms way?” Archean said, almost questioning the Battle Lords opinion of members he chose.
Ma`ar walked around the back of the craft followed by the rest. As they boarded the shuttle, Archean took one look around. The hangar was a buzz.
"Just remember that one time my old apprentice, you too were once like Odin, and Akhara. They may not be ready, but I would rather they be with us, then with someone else’s leadership that I don’t trust.” Ma`ar scoffed.
As the shuttle moved slowly out of the Hangar, Archean was prepared for the classic Ma`ar take off. But this time Ma`ar slowly maneuvered the shuttle out of the hangar and into the atmosphere.
“Archean, set course for Yridia IV, I will prep the two in back.” Ma`ar said as he swiveled his chair around and went in the back.
As Ma`ar went into the back room, the two apprentices were discussing the mission, or what they thought the mission to be.
“I will not give you specifics, but this is a bit different, I want to gain access to Tarentum’s main frame system, and Yridia IV is our best chance, do what you are told, and no one will get hurt. I mean to bring another on board, and he may not be too friendly about it. From there I will need you two to make sure he’s kept quiet and not a issue while me and Archean go to the HQ on the planets surface and get the necessary information I seek. The two of you will need to stay on the ship at all times, unless you are attacked.” Said The Vurk.
The two apprentices nodded and went about the business as Ma`ar made his way back to the cockpit.
“Coordinates are set, the cloaking device will engage just outside the system boundary of Yridia. I do hope this works.” Archean said as Ma`ar walked into the cockpit.
“Yes Merlance may not cooperate as I would hope he would, but that leverage is what we need.” Ma`ar said as he leaned back into the chair.
The shuttle disappeared into the black abyss of space heading towards the destination.
At that moment, it was as if Odin was thrown back in time. What was it exactly? He felt that his stomach turn again. Facing other Clans instead of Tarentum, to fight until the last drop of blood would be a spirit to him. Now he found himself stealthily facing his old planet, the planet where he entered the path of the Darkside at the first time. He took a deep breath, trying to clear the disturbance that he felt rising.
Akhara was staring at her fellow Apprentices in eagerness. She was totally new at the ground-related missions. The female Guardian moved her automatic chair closer to him.
“Uneasy? Nervous?” Kiddo asked when she saw Odin closed his eyes trying to calm his breath and heart beat.
“Nope. I am okay. I am so pleased that we are all gathered again,” Vaaj attempted to show a tough face.
“We?” asked Akhara.
“Yea. I've been missing such nice conversations with you since you chose to learn Krath mystiques.” replied the male Guardian.
“Not really.. Odin. Perhaps our path just did not cross... well, we are all headed to your old place, right?,” she said
“Yes. Our Master chose the Yridia IV as the destination. I am not quite sure, if he needs to get the main frame access, then Yridia II is the place. The main citadel is on that planet, under the ocean. But for the hyper exit window, the fourth planet would be safe enough since the station was not set there and seldom to be patrolled instead of passing-route between Yridia VI and II. Anyway, Master was the best fighter in Tarentum, hold the leadership position in Tridens awesomely. He was once... a Tarentae.” explained Vaaj
“So, that's probably the reason Strat wanted him to gain any information from that Clan,” said Akhara.
“I guess so,” said Odin giving a look to his master and Archean. They were sitting in their chairs quietly for a while, perhaps thinking to create the best pathway to succeed. The Guardian had no doubt at all of their capabilities. He has seen theirs, obviously, and this time was a great chance of learning to him, from the respectful leader and friends so far.
“But...I was a bit uncertain about our Master's order to stay at the ship when they are out doing the mission, penetrating the system. It is like... ah ... how could I miss it. This ship is a valuable device to transport and transmit the information we obtain. It is the perfect,” Vaaj shook his head.
Ma’ar smiled when heard the talk of the Guardians, before continuing to observe the position of the ship
“Position?” asked the Battle Lord.
“We are about to enter the hyperdrive” said the Sith Warrior
“Then engage” the Master ordered
The windows then filled with green horizontal rain stripes as the shuttle swallowed by the hyperspace travel velocity.
Scyrone sat in his quarters not knowing what to do. He knew war would be upon us and that it wasn’t gonna be exciting as he once thought. He had been in battle a few times before and had some experience worth using, but the problem was that he didn’t know where to use it. Bas-Tyra had no leader, thus it cannot go anywhere. And his Master, Quejo, seems to not have needed Scyrone at the moment (or maybe at all). Maybe, Scyrone thought, maybe I should try to contact my Master; he would know what to do.
Scyrone stood up and stepped over to the communication console he had in his room. He held down one button that was especially for contacting his Master.
“Master . . . Master can you hear me? If you cannot then I will leave this message for you.”
Scyrone cleared his throat for a message.
“Quejo, I am not in the knowledge of knowing what to do at this time. I know of what is happening of the accusations and things against us, but I don’t care about how much danger there is. If you need me, I will come as fast as I can to any location possible. So with that, I await your orders. Your Apprentice, Scyrone.”
Scyrone let go of the button. He paced the room waiting for his Master’s call or answer to his message, he would not want his Master to leave him there. Unless another situation came up or another time of need was to arise, the Obelisk Scyrone, would wait, but only if his patience wasn’t starting to run out.
The Ensign in the Galeres bay control tower looked at his screen quizzically. A blip had appeared on his screen, the identification being an atmospheric shuttle coming from the Dark Citadel, and had already transmitted its self as the transport of the Marshall, Pro-Consul Strategos Entar. What disturbed the young flight control officer was the short phantom signature that had appeared on his screen, and then disappeared. The mining equipment around the base had a habit of throwing pulses into the air and disrupting radar, but it still seemed to....coincidental, for the low frequency charge to appear the same time as the leader of Arcona's ground forces.
Shrugging off the feeling of dread, everyone was uptight after the Quaestor's TIE had been brought down for repairs, he turned to the comm station.
“Sir, incoming shuttle is carrying Lord Strategos, should we alert the Aedile of his presence?” he queried the Lieutenant.
“Lady Devani has already been informed, Ensign, you would do well to attend your duty and not ask foolish questions.” was his curt reply.
Shrugging, the Ensign turned back, having just missed the phantom blip's short reappearance while talking to his superior.
The small shuttle landed in a wooded area not far from the Galeres mining base, three figures dressed in matte black armor exited the vehicle. All were armed with ligthsabers, one with a pack on full of explosives, another had a sniper rifle slung across his shoulders. The other carried a sophisticated datapad, useful for slicing operations.
They all knew their targets, the sniper in particular. His target had just landed at the base, he thought with a grim smile. The three nodded to each other, and headed off into the woods towards the base.
A hollow tap echoed down the corridors of Arcona’s Citadel with Windos’ every second step as he thrust his staff into the cold floor. His mood quite obvious to the other Dark Jedi he passed and even the most unintelligent of non-force user could hazard an accurate guess
Abruptly the Priest turned into a comm room, his robes whipping at the air in his tail. The Zabrak stood before a terminal and entered figures, coordinates and access codes he had once been so accustomed to using. After a few moments a human visage appeared on a holopad.
“Welshman,” Windos offered with what could be passed as a bow.
“Windos, my old brother,” the Battlelord replied with a hidden snarl.
“I need information.”
“As does my clan… Krath.”
Windos grimaced slightly, “Perhaps we can come to an agreement.”
“I am not in the habit of making deals with traitors.”
The Zabrak’s eyes glowed for a moment and he slammed the tip of his staff into the floor. After taking a few moments to cool himself he spoke again, “are you missing any Sensor Probes?”
“Actually Windos, we are. And we would appreciate if you Arconan Scum to return…”
Windos cut the transmission before Tarentum’s Consul could finish his accusation and began drafting a report for his superiors. “The Tarenti… are up to something.”
Psyko walked down the halls, checking various rooms, looking around the base for different people as both his mind and body seemed to wander around, perhaps searching for something, maybe looking for someone, or even just looking for something to do as he thought.
Suddenly the Obelisk leaned to the side as a small rock flew past him, so close with such speed that it actually caused his hair to wave around. He smirked to himself and turned his head around so he could see out of the corner of his eye.
“Welcome back.” Spoke the Exarch
“Thanks, nice dodge.” Complimented the Krath
“Eh, the use of force was a nice little hint to move.”
“Figured you could use a warning, as I hear you’re the new boss.”
“Not any happier than the others I’m guess?”
“Well, I know you better, plus I kinda expected it to happen. Nadrin was a good person, but with all the things that kept popping up on him, leadership wasn’t meant to be his strong suit, at least not yet.” Stated the SoulFirian
“Glad to have someone in the team supporting me.”
“Just keep your eyes open, I may want a leadership position someday.” Spoke the enigma as he walked towards the new Sergeant.
“Maybe someday, but who knows.”
“So what else has been new around here? Anybody miss me?” Asked Jeax as he joined Psyko on his little walk.
The Galerian Apprentice was shoved up against the steel wall, a small tear escaping and running down her face as the assassin’s fingers pressed roughly into her cheeks and covered her mouth.
His cold eyes bore into her cruelly, “You may go to the shuttle AFTER you have finished your job and not a moment before! Or you will suffer a rather torturous death at my hands.”
He smiled then as if hoping that moment would come. A low chuckle erupts from his lips as he tosses her to the floor. “Do not fail me!”
Getting up hastily, she escapes the intruder’s gaze swiftly, hurrying through a maze of corridors until she arrives at Galeres’ communications room. Composing herself quickly, she opens the door and enters the room, nodding to the two men already on duty within the room.
“Here to relieve me Kora?” one man questions, surprised a little by her arrival, “A little early aren’t you?”
“Aye Mok’ta,” she nodded curtly. He didn’t need to be told twice, already through the door as she sat down in his place. The other man gazed at her silently almost suspiciously, before shaking his head and returning to his work.
Keeping an eye on him out of the corner of her eye, Kora worked quickly but as inconspicuously as possible, entering codes into the terminal before her with caution. A couple minutes later, having accomplished her task, she pulls out a strange device, hidden from her coworker’s sight and hits one button.
Allowing a brief smile, the Apprentice congratulates herself on successfully slicing the com-scan unit as well as other various security devices. The Dark Jedi assassins could now enter the base undetected by mechanical devices.
“The systems are down; I’m surprised the wench could actually accomplish it. Nice job on picking that one out but you may only kill her after you have completed your task, understand?” An eager nod answered his question, a smile playing across the fellow assassin’s lips.
“Good, now move out.”
Three dark figures separated, moving stealthily into the base, confident their mission would succeed.
The sniper moved silently towards the predetermined vantage point that overlooked the base and with practised ease leapt up into one of the trees, from which he could easily see where the shuttle had landed. Removing the sniper rifle from his shoulder he checked the weapon was still in perfect working condition before raising it to his shoulder and activating the scope. After a few quick calibration checks he aimed the weapon towards the shuttle and waited for his target to show itself.
As he watched the shuttle’s boarding ramp lower he reached out with the Force and checked on the progress of the other two, but as he did so he was sure he sensed another person off to his left although the Force-signature disappeared a split second later. Not wanting to take any chances the sniper swivelled round and aimed through the scope in that direction, slowly moving it left and right, hunting for movement.
Some distance away Kandos dropped back behind the boulder so he wouldn’t be spotted, he was sure that whoever was out there hadn’t got a fix on his location as he had been suppressing his Force-signature from the second he had sensed the other Force user.
The Priest moved around to his right, past a tree, and raised his A280 so he could scope-out whoever was out there.
“So much for a simple patrol.” He mused to himself.
The sniper had a sudden feeling that he was being hunted, which was very rare for him. He quickly moved around the other side of the tree, being careful not to break any branches. Quickly he raised his weapon and looked down towards the Galeres base, it seemed that something had caused a delay and his target had not yet left the shuttle.
Knowing he had to concentrate he checked to his left again and saw no movement once more. One final check with the Force showed up nothing more than some local wildlife so he went back to his primary mission.
By this time the Priest had stealthily moved around behind the sniper and taken up a firing position. When the crosshair of his scope sat right in the middle of the assassin’s head Kandos stopped suppressing his Force-signature. The shocked sniper looked round just in time to see the flash of the blaster rifle firing before the shot hit him in the head and knocked him out of the tree.
“Got ya.” Kandos muttered as he ran, as quietly as possible, to where the corpse had fallen.
After a quick check of the body the Priest had found little apart from a Lightsaber and a few other items, one of which was a micro-comm link. Know this would likely mean there were others Kandos reached out through the Force and found Devani.
“Devani, it seems we have a problem.”
Artificial light blared all around him as he casually strolled through the open-market, the various denizens of the galaxy going to and fro. Nar Shaddaa, the Smuggler’s Moon, was only a short jump from the Dajorra System, and the perfect place for two people to meet in seclusion.
In more civilian attire, the Dark Jedi Master allowed his senses to roam, picking up only stray thoughts of murder, but none directed at him. Slipping into a seemingly random booth, Halcyon leaned his head against the seat, his emerald hair falling across his face as he waved down a wandering server and ordered a local ale.
On cue another form slipped into the booth, the tousled blonde hair and piercing blue eyes a stark contrast to the Elder.
“Duga”, the Arconae spoke in hushed tones.
“Halcyon”, the Taldryan Consul answered back, making himself more comfortable as well. “Looks like circumstances have pushed our hand”.
“Looks like they have”, the Sith agreed, waving off the server as he grabbed the mug of ale and took a sip. “I have the message ready to be sent out through the comm. unit. Officially, it’s only a non-aggression pact”.
“Of course”, the Taldrya answered, the slightest of smirks tugging at his lips. “They information I’ve gathered is already sent to your ship. I’ve received your files as well”.
“Good, good. It’s been a couple days already and I need to get back to my Clan. Keep in contact”.
Duga nodded before slipping back out and blending back into the crowd. The Rokir rubbed at his goatee idly, finishing his drink before throwing a few credits on the table and casually walking out himself
= = | o | = =
“Welcome back”, he heard the Proconsul announce from his office door, the Spectran taking a seat opposite his leader.
“Glad to see you’ve managed to keep the Clan in one piece while I’ve been gone. Interesting reports I’ve been reading too”.
Strategos nodded absently, his mind wandering slightly to the incident two days before. A trio of assassins had managed to infiltrate the mining facility on Eldar as he had visited the Galeres base. The Priest, Kandos, had alerted the base to the threat, taking out one of the three who had managed to get past the initial defences.
“Still got two of them alive it seems”, Halcyon continued, knocking the Pontifex out of his slight reverie.
“Two very unresponsive prisoners as well. They’re low-level darksiders, but we can’t place their Clan. Looks like someone has become smart and is actually covering their tracks. And have you looked at the DB public communications? I thought you were only meeting with Duga”.
“I was”, the Rokir answered with a hard stare. “I have never spoken with anyone in Plagueis. They’re trying to get Tarentum to attack us apparently and being quite blatant about it”.
The Entar nodded absently, and began opening his mouth to inform the Consul of the mission undertaken by Ma`ar and others before he was interrupted by someone screaming over the Consuls comm. unit.
Master we ha....att..rs on Arco…P…mus…request im…iate assi..ce…..
The crackling message finally went dead, both Summit already getting the message out to the fleet. The Dajorra System was under attack.
The Infiltrator had been in hyperspace for sometime, when Odin came into the cockpit.
“Master, I am puzzled with why we must stay on the ship while you and Master Archean are about with the mission.” Odin said with a puzzling look.
“Odin, what I am planning on doing is taking a grant holder, and keep him quiet. As you know Merlance isn’t the only person on the planet. DJM Spears is also on the planet, which is where we need to be silent, and not make a big scene. If Merlance will not go along, then he will be considered a prisoner of war.” Ma`ar spoke as he kept a eye on the navigation panel.
With that Odin walked back into the rear room, and sat back down. Akhara was puzzled and looked at Odin, “Don’t ask.” Odin replied as he noticed the look from Akhara.
The navigational erupted with a series of beeps and chirps.
“The Cloaking device is enabling, I’m guessing we are just outside of the Yridia sector.” Archean said as he turned to the panel.
“Deep scanning is on, and I am jamming all communications from Yridia IV this way they will not be sending anything we don’t want them to.” Ma`ar said as he flipped a series of switches and kept a close eye as the ship crept close and closer to Yridia IV.
“Disengage the hyper drive, I don’t need this ship flagging up on any radars with a heat signature, the cloaking device will do its job fine, once we slow her down a bit.” Ma`ar said with a slight breath.
The shuttle came out of Hyper drive near Yridia IV, the planet was home to three Tarentae, with one owning a few favors to Ma`ar.
“Lets descend the ship right in the area of the Acropolis, I don’t want to make a scene so two Dark Jedi Masters will know we are here. With communications knocked out, I need Odin to monitor the channel to make sure no other craft enter the area, I will nee Akhara to help also. Archean I need you and Fulton to come with me. Merlance may not want to come along, so we will do it by little or no force as possible. You will find some tranquilizer darts in the back, load them up and be ready, if he bolts or anything tag him with one of those and he will go down rather quickly.” The Vurk said to the two in the cockpit.
As the shuttle made its descent downwards, the clouds were thick. As the dawning of a new day came about the shuttle landed the only area was 200 meters away from the only buildings around. However the scanner didn’t pick up any life forms in the area.
“Prep your gear and let’s be on our way.” The Battle lord commanded and he walked out of the cockpit.
“Akhara, Odin I need you two to stay here and keep an eye on the scanners, and open channels. I don’t want any surprises.” Ma`ar said as he walked past his apprentice.
With the ramp lowering to the planets surface, Ma`ar and Archean ventured outside and scanned the horizon.
“Looks clear to me, but if the scanners are not showing life forms around here, then where can Merlance be?” Archean spoke as he watched the horizon.
“Well it’s not saying he isn’t underground. The tunnels are all over this place, so just keep a eye out, and remember that if we happen upon Merlance let’s not make any hasty decisions, let him make them first.” Ma`ar replied.
While in the mess hall Rich heard the footsteps of many people which seemed unusual for the time of night. So Rich got up from his chair and began walking to the door.
“What is it?” A Novice Sith asked.
“Shh, Shh.” Rich replied as he walked around to the galley.
As the Novice Sith got up to look out the window he turned his back to the door and a Sith assassin snuck in to put two blaster bolts in the back of the Sith. When Rich moved out from behind the galley and grabbed the assassins blaster hand and twisted it behind him in a police hold.
“You picked the wrong base, bub. “ Rich tolled the assassin
When all of a sudden one of the younger Sith in the base was startled by another Sith assassin sneaking into her room. Sent out a force scream that caused every one in the base to be woken up and alerted to the presence of an enemy. The scream startled Rich and caused him to loosen his grasp on his foe. The assassin then brought his blaster up and held the trigger down forcing the Novice to duck so he would not be hit by the blasts. The assassin then broke free of Riches grasp and elbowed Rich in the face.
More and more Sith are starting to fight all around the base then the screaming abruptly stops. The assassin had silenced her once and for all by putting three blaster bolts through the hart. The base security system was then activated and every last Dark Jedi grabbed a blaster or a vibro blade and started fighting. Alerts were going off allover the base now.
Rich was then thrown into one of the tables moving it a couple inches as the assassin pulled a vibro shiv from his belt and rushed Rich giving him just enough time to bring his hands up and grab the assassins arm to stop the full force of the blow. The assassin brought the shiv down cutting Richs face just slightly missing his eye. With that Rich let his claws slide from under his skin exposing the three five inch blades that sought out from his nickels. Rich then used the table to help shove the assassin into the wall and brought his claws right into the assassins chest. With that over and more in the base Rich looked over to the Novice.
“Lets go to work.” Rich said as he grabbed the blaster rifle off the assassin he had just killed and gave it to the Novice.
The dingy kitchen was devoid of any sound as Ark slowly sipped his cup of ale. He got up from his stool and walked over to the counter to pour yet another cup. News of assassins in the Galerian base had reached his ears earlier. Coupled with a muffled, but audible, rifle shot outside, Ark could put two and two together.
"Madness," muttered Ark to no one in particular. He grasped at a bottle of brandy with the Force [TE] and poured it into the cup of ale, mixing the two drinks. He downed the odd substance in a single gulp and teetered to his feet. The day was growing late and he could not afford to pass out from alcohol poisoning.
The scholar stumbled out of the kitchen. The reeking of his breath could knock out a rancor.
I better get going, thought Ark. With all this commotion, no doubt the battleteam members will be called somewhere...
The Miraluka trudged to the main foyer. There, he pulled up a chair and sat down. One of the summits may be returning soon, so he may as well stay put and wait for assignments.
Devani was mad. Anybody within fifty meters who was Force sensitive could tell she was mad. Quejo Bandon had left her in charge of the Galeres base in his absence, and somebody had just tried to assassinate the Pro Consul on his inspection visit. She stomped down the halls of the base, coming to a closed blast door. Punching her code in furiously, the door opened, revealing a distraught looking Koskian standing behind his desk, blaster pistol in a shoulder holster as he yelled at a pair of Arconan regular soldiers.
“You were in charge of monitoring ALL incoming and outgoing shuttle traffic, and you let a blasted team of ASSASSINS get through and land without a sound!” he roared at the Lieutenant. The young officer swallowed the lump in his throat, sensing his death was nearby. Glancing at the Ensign, he tried to figure some way to put this off on the younger officer.
“Oh no, I have the holo-cam logs from the flight tower, Lieutenant, I'm holding both of you responsible.” growled the d'Tana. Pulling his pistol out, Kosk shot the Ensign in the forehead, the smoking body dropping to the floor of his office. Now visibly shivering, the Lieutenant closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable.
“I have been informed that you are to live, Lieutenant, but are to be demoted to Corporal, as well as taking up the Radar duty that the young Ensign here was responsible for, now GO!” he shouted.
The Corporal scurried out in terror, barely saluting the Aedile on his way past. Devani's eyes were on fire as she walked towards the Security Chief.
“Master Koskian....this attack looks VERY bad on both you and I, and while the tower crew may take the brunt, if we don't have results before Quejo gets back, both of us are going to have a bad day.” she said.
“So....do I have permission to...indulge?” asked the Exarch, a devious grin spreading across his face.
“Yes, find out who they are, who sent them, and who shut down the security grid to let them enter the base, I want that traitor,” snarled the Aedile, looking for blood in this embarrassment.
“As you wish, my Lady” was the simple reply, Kosk already preoccupied with various methods running through his head.
Gavin d'Tana Dahl was fighting for his life, he was uncertain how many of the shadowy figures were prowling about him, but he knew they meant to kill him.
Lashing out with his scarlet blade, a dark clothed figure dropped, cut in half. Spinning on his heel the Prelate knocked several shurkien out of the air, twisting his blade back and stabbing behind him, he could smell the burning ozone of flesh and the sound of another ninja dropping. Blade still spinning back to a ready position, he turned to see another ninja armed with a katana attacking.
Only one opening presented itself during the fierce duel that followed, and it was not an option Gavin would usually take, but he was tired of fighting. Stepping forward into his foe's attack, he felt the sword blade enter his gut, passing through his stomach and out his back. Sliding up the razor sharp blade, he swung his lightsaber, the last thing on the assassin's face was a look of surprise before his head was severed. Gavin collapsed, the life blood flowing out him.
Waking with a start, Gavin looked around, noting the needle still hanging out of his arm.
“Bloody...gotta quit skimming that Garcornian spice out of the mining stocks.....” he muttered, pulling the needle out. Pure concentrated, refined and liquefied, Garcornian spice was the highest grade spice that they had managed to make at the Galeres base. And it was turning a nice profit. It also had the affect of causing massive hallucinations on Force users, and Gavin was very much knowledgeable in that.
Gaining his feet, the Prelate put on his robes and found his comlink chirping for attention.
“Hello....” “Gavin, it's Kosk, come down to the holding cells, it's time to have a bit of fun” came the voice over the com.
A grin on his face now, Gavin hurried out the door.
After their master left, Odin kept observing the scanners and the monitor with with two contacts as the Battlelord and Warrior. Keeping track of time, Odin noticed that twenty minutes had passed since their last contact. Akhara, who was very anxious to do something in instead of watching the dot figures, broke the silence.
"Odin. Don't you feel rather bored? Our master has been away for more than three hours and we just keep sitting here."
The male Guardian gazed at his fellow saying nothing. The smooth beeps from the scanners attracted his attention rather than to answer the question.
"Somebody has come to the Acropolis," Vaaj muttered as he magnified the view,"That isn't the ship Merlance usually uses to come home, as far as I know. My suspicions are also verified by this database…The location is very near to the Masters’ last site."
Akhara looked at the monitor instantly and stated the same thought as her fellow Apprentice,” Perhaps the DJM…We should inform our Master."
The flight member's fingers moved to touch some buttons, ensuring the secured channel was still being obtained.
“Shadow Base to Shadow One… do you copy?” said Odin.
Stillness. No answer retrieved from Ma’ar.
“Shadow One…do you read?” The male Guardian restated the contact.
The Apprentices tried to enhance the communication channel, pushing some buttons and switches.
“Shadow Base to Shadow One… do you read?”
“The communication line is blocked or unreachable” message was shown on the monitor.
“Are the guys closing the line? Master did not mention that he would be doing that. Blocked or unreachable…This ship-cloaking device is reducing the communication line capacity and the sensors. We can’t uncloak the shuttle so we'll need a transmitter to see whether the problem is the distance or not…Too bad we didn't bring any automated probe droids. We must place and set them by ourselves,” said Kiddo.
“But that means we have to go outside,Akhara.Our master has ordered us to stay in the ship. We cannot do that! Remember, the Tarentis are tricky,” Odin said quickly when he saw the woman picking up a transmitter , the assembled parts and a short range comlink.
“I am not going to stay long on the ground, Odin. Our master doesn’t like surprises, we must keep him updated. Besides, 50 meters range is not too far. I’ll be back as soon as possible,” The female Guardian winked at Vaaj and ran towards the ship's exit door.
“Bah… women! Always difficult to understand…,” the man mumbled to himself. He watched his friend through the ship's window as she ran to the south, then squatting to bury the apparatus behind a huge rock.
“G2 to Base. How’s the line?” Akhara radioed.
“Move it more to the east. Yes… Okay...Clear,” Odin answered as he saw the message “The communication line established” appeared.
“Shadow Base to Shadow One… Do you copy?” said Vaaj.
“Shadow One copies, “ The Master replied.
“Radar showed a life form reaching your last known coordinates ten minutes ago. It was not the target, probably the other owner. A com disruption prevented us from contacting you immediately but was overcome after G2 set the transmitter.” The Apprentice reported.
“Setting the transmitter? I told you to stay in the Base, G1! Call back G2 immediately!”
The male Guardian could sense the anger behind those words and directly called his mate through comlink, “G2, return to base immediately! Shadow One’s order.”
Akhara did not reply. The female Guardian just stood her back to the ship direction, facing instead the backside of the rock.
“G2, return to base immediately! That was Shadow 1’s command,” he reiterated urgently
Odin felt something was wrong. He grabbed the tranquilizer darts and a blaster pistol just in case. His sword, a strange anniversary gift from his adoptive father, was strapped across his back. He pushed the button again to communicate with his master.
“G2 was not responding. Probably stunned. I'm going to check out.”
He didn’t wait for an answer, running to the door. Because of the cloak around the ship, it looked like Vaaj came out from a big hole in the rocky ground. Leaping out he ran fast on the ramp approaching Akhara’s quickly.
“Akhara…Come back to the ship. Our master has….” The Soulfire Strike Team member did not continue his words as he looked at a black robe figure that stood behind the rock.
“Halt, Jedi!” A voice yelled of to his right.
The two equites sat in silence; with there discussion finished they had both drawn the same conclusions - the Dark Covenant are at work here.
Khobai and Mejas had resided in Clan Arcona for longer than most. They had both lead Arcona in GJW's and they had both been involved in the banal politics that is required of a Dark Council member. They knew how the guts of the Brotherhood work, they had both witnessed it and Mejas had even fallen victim to it. As members of Arcona, could they could only refect on what they knew and how things might progress. It would be a waiting game for sure.
"We cannot even try to guess the motivation for the Covenant's manipulations on this instance, it is pointless. Master Goatham released news of the weaknesses of the Justicar office and their inability to cope, but provided no answers or direction. It is a facade, I do ot trust it. I do not believe this was a reflection of his inability to lead, just political manouevring." rasped the Dark Jedi Master, his words as coarse and dangerous sounding as the shark like teeth they passed through as he spoke.
"Agreed," replied Khobai,"but the Council will do nothing to interfere or alleviate the tension between the Clan's if it works against there aims. We must deal with this as a Clan, if only to ensure we do not fall folly to some secret agenda the Chamber has against Arcona."
"Those are bold words Wrathraven. You do not really think they mean to end Arcona's tenure? You do not think they would go as far as to eradicate our Clan?" barked Mejas.
"I do not know Doto, but I do know that the political spew from the Dark Covenant is reforming this Brotherhood like never before. Our roll is low, our Clan is damaged after the recent war with Taldryan and the other Clans only grow stronger. We must consider it a possibilty." said Khobai.
The Zabrak rose from his chair, his patience for talking almost completely used up. "Khobai, you must use your contacts within Antei to source anything of use to us. Your guardsmen are loyal and sharp. Find out what you can and inform me of any news."
"And while I am acting as your servant, what may I ask will you be doing Mejas?" retorted Khobai, his lips drawn tight and sneering while the dry, sarcastic tone of his voice alerted the Dark Jedi Master to his friends unhappiness of being ordered about by some old Consul.
Mejas lifted his right arm, his sleeves dropping to reveal the gauntleted wrist and hand. The Force Gauntlets were all too familiar to the Commander of the Guard and as Force Lightning crackled around the raised appendage, Mejas's eyes burned yellow with the Dark Side of the Force. "I wish to speak with the Clan summits, starting with Koskian and our guests."
"Koskian knows no more than you or I, Doto. You have not been gone for so long that you cannot remember the structure of our Clan!" snapped Khobai.
"Adept, for someone of your ability, you still lack the true mastery of the Force. Koskian is soon to interrogate our recent visitors. Gavin Dahl is about to join them and unfortunately they're both so wasted on varying substances, neither will truly appreciate what our guests have to say." replied Mejas.
"You're as sick as ever Zabrak. They aren't toys, if you get involved you may have your fun, but ensure you do not compromise there information for your own lust of inducing suffering."
"I will allow Koskian to extract as much as he can, then when he fails I'll devour the information as it bursts forth from his body in screams of terror." hissed Mejas. "Embrace the Darkness Wrathraven. We shall speak again soon."
With that, Khobai exited the room as the Dark Jedi Master dissolved into the darkness of the shadows in the far corner. Mejas would not be long in reaching the interrogation chambers, and when he arrived, the whole Clan would know. The screams would be heard throughout the stronghold and the overwhelming despair of the captors would feed the Clansmens spirits in the hours ahead.
Whatever was happening, Arcona would not fall easily, not with the brethren of this Clan.
There is no peace, there is only passion . . .
To make peace there must be war . . .
Conflict is unavoidable for everyone . . .
Scyrone had echoed the words of his Master in his mind. The Obelisk had been in deep thought for hours, trying to misguide his impatience. The Guardian awaited a response, and if it did not come then he would think harder. His thoughts had immediately broken when his commlink had ringed. A message from his Master had come. Scyrone jumped out of his bed and reached over to his commlink with such enthusiasm that he tripped over his own leg and fell onto the floor.
“DAMMIT!” the Guardian shouted as he slowly stood up, gripping his aching arms.
The Guardian then slumped his hand onto the commlink, pulled it close to his mouth, and said, “Yea?”
“My APPRENTICE,” said Quejo with a half excited, half serious tone, “I know you are a little angered that you were sortof not given any orders by me, but I can make it up to you.”
“Really? Because I felt that if I had to not think of it any longer I would eventually go mentally insane not knowing what to do,” responded the Guardian sarcastically.
“Well, I have a small transport on the way. It will bring you to my coordinates. By be careful not to let anyone follow you. And if someone does, lose them.” Said Quejo with total seriousness.
“Yes, Master, I will be there as soon as possible, with no stragglers behind me, Scy out.”
“See-you Apprentice,” as Quejo clicked off his commlink.
Finally something to do, thought Scyrone. He quickly put on his armor, sheathed his Katana, put on his belt with his commlink slipped in it, grabbed a few other random items, and left the room, heading to the shuttle bay.
As he made his way down into the interrogation chambers Prelate Gavin Dahl could not help but wonder why the hell this was all happening. Nothing seemed to make any sense. Admittedly he was still under the influence of the spice....he struggled to pull himself into the here and now as he could feel himself slipping back into the drug induced dream. It would not do to be mid-hallucination while attempting to extract information from the prisioners. He rounded the last corner and found himself face to face with Koskian.
"How good of you to join me." Koskian muttered dryly, the look on his face belying his eagerness to begin the interrogation. It seemed like hours since he'd roused Gavin and he was anxious to get started. The thought of inflicting pain upon the assassin had almost sent him rushing alone into the room. Only protocol and that incident when he was a Jedi Hunter had held him at bay. He inwardly chuckled as he thought back to how impetious he had been in his younger years. So eager to get started he often would forget to mentally prepare himself. It was a shame that all fledgling Jedi went through the same period of impulsive and irrational behavior. So much of their first few years was lost to just reigning in their desire to attack first and sort out the data later. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. Now was not the time to lapse into memories. He looked once again at Gavin who stood looking expectant. He gestured towards the door and their waiting captives.
"Shall we?" he asked a knowing smile crossing his face.
"Master Doto will be joining us shortly. If we are to be allowed any.....fun.....we should get started. We're not to damage the prisioners minds in any way." Gavin said. His eyes held a devious glint. He could feel the Force wrapping itself around Koskian and followed suit. "After you." he said.
2 Dark Jedi, one Exarch, one Prelate, strode into the room cloaked fully in the Force....
The Arconan's entered the small, dank cell to find both prisoners locked down with electro-magnet retention gear. The Dark Jedi's faces were covered as they approached their captives and the heavy durasteel door slammed shut behind them as they stopped a few feet in front of them.
"You are WASTING your time!" bellowed the male assassin, "We will tell you nothing and there is nothing we can....eeeeeeeuuuugggghhh!"
Before the sullen male could finish his rant, Gavin Dahl had slammed his open palm straight into the throat of the captive. Gavin felt the impac crush the windpipe and, holding his palm in place, his teeth could be seen in the shadowy void where his face belonged, as he restricted the assassins airways.
"Enough." instructed Koskian.
The assassin coughed and spluttered as Gavin released his palm. Spitting blood across the room at the feet of the Prelate, he could only stare intently as he awaited the interrogation to begin.
"You are too quick to tell me you have nothing to say. You lie. There is much you can tell me. Things you don't believe are relevant. Things you have never told another living being." spoke Koskian as he paced backwards and forwards acrss the room. "I will know everything about you, everything you have ever done, everyone you have ever known and finally - why you are held here before me awaiting your end."
Gavin grabbed the hair of the female assassin, ramming his face within microns of her face. As he spoke his flem covered her face and the visceral core of his words stung her face as they were spoken: "We have medi-droids and bacta tanks, we have the knowledge of the Force. We will sustain your essence to the point where you no longer know whether you are alive or dead. We will devour your soul, abuse your very being and destroy your mind - once we have extracted what we need."
As he finished speaking, Gavin slammed his hand into the left knee of the restrained female. A violent screa burst from the captive as she looked down to see a barbed dagger protruding from her leg.
Gavin squatted low, rubbing her legs with one hand as he twisted the blade with the other.
Koskian remained in positon, staring at the male assassin, the captives fear and hatred all too apparent to the Exarch. "You are lost my son and nobody will find you. No man, no God, no easy death. You are mine until the end and your suffering will only strengthen my existance."
The blood oozed from the females leg as Gavin's twisting motions opened the wound wider and wider. At the height of her pain the female passed out into unconsciousness, only to be healed in her "rested" state and re-awoken by the right hook of the Prelate.
"Prelate Dahl, hold for now. We should begin our discussions with our guests..."
Kosk was in heaven, fighting back to show the huge smile on his face. He had learned a lot since his foul up as a Hunter, that botched interrogation with a Taldryan soldier leading to a firm beating at his Master Tuojas' hands. Silently checking himself, Kosk inventoried the options he and his brother Gavin had available to them. A simmering brazier of hot coals rested in one corner, tongs next to it, various sharp objects laid on the table before him as well. Glancing up at the water drip system above the restrained and neuralized captives, he smiled.
Opening the drip above the male assassin's head, he watched the water drop slowly onto his forehead, beading slightly before running off the sides. Picking up a small scalpel from the table, he cut away the light shirt that covered his victims torso, and proceeded to cut open his abdomen, a shallow cut. Cutting at the skin some more, Kosk peeled it back, bringing a scream of excruciating pain from his 'patient'.
Glancing over, he saw Gavin doing much the same, though simply tearing at the females clothes with the Force. Fabric was going everywhere, and the woman was blushing furiously in anger as more of her pale skin was exposed to the Prelate's hungry eyes. Kosk shook his head, turning back to his charge.
“Now then....you will tell me exactly what I want to know.” he said, matter of fact like.
“Go kiss a bantha, Sith, I'm not telling you a damned thing!” shouted the man.
Eyes wide in anger, Kosk lashed out with his bare hand, shoving it into the hole he had cut in the mans flesh to grasp the prisoner's kidney. Squeezing hard, the mans eyes rolled back, mouth open in a scream without sound. Releasing his grip, Kosk withdrew his hand, watching the man pant in agony as he regained himself.
“That, was for calling me a Sith, fool, now then.....who in Galeres was helping you? Who shut down the security grid for you?” queried the calm looking Obelisk.
“Piss off,” growled the man. Once again the man screamed in pain, this time Kosk barely twitching a finger as he used the Force to compact the man's intestines before ripping them through the gaping hole in his abdomen. Another twitch sent the corded organ wrapping around the man's neck, pulling it up before catching on one of the many hooks in ceiling. Hands still restrained, the man gasped for air as he was suffocated by his intestines, face turning red from asphyxiation.
“Now...are you willing to cooperate, peon?” asked Kosk, a serene smile on his face now.
The man glared at him through eyes turning red, the blood in his brain being forced out almost, his ears began to bleed as well. Shaking his head still, the man apparently ready to die instead of giving up his co-conspirator. A sudden look of terror and confusion crossed his face as his mind was forcibly invaded. From the shadowed corner of the room, Mejas Doto appeared, hand outstretched and eyes narrowed at the prisoner.
“You were going to kill him before he told the secrets of his soul, Koskian, I'm disappointed.” said the dangerous Zabrak.
“I've learned a lot, Doto, I could have healed him back....though it appears whatever YOU did has killed him.” sneered Koskian.
“Ah...but I have learned the name of our betrayer, and learned another important piece of information,” said the now deviously smiling Master.
“And that would be....?” quired Gavin, taking a moment away from his meticulous cutting on the imprisoned female's chest and stomach.
Mejas smiled, pointing at the woman.
“She was in charge of this party, not the man killed, nor the one captured.”
All eyes in the small room turned to her, the lone living assassin felt a cold dread creep up her spine. "I'll talk! I'LL TALK!" she screamed, knowing full well the limited information she knew would at best buy her a quick and painless death. The Force command that had been hardwired into her mind was weak, performed by an untrained hand and was easily broken by the pain the woman had endured. She was horrified by the sight of her companion, eviscerated and strangled with his own intestines. She wanted no part of that. With a determination she did not feel she lifted her eyes towards Dark Jedi Master Mejas Doto. "I'll tell you everything," she said with a quaver in her voice, "just dont let them do that....to me."
"My team was contacted by a member of your Brotherhood on Ord Mantell. Galeres base was named as the prime location to contact and eliminate our primary target. An Apprentice named Kora Enta'Lawak was our contact here on Eldar. We were to contact her via tight beam comlink transmissions once wed achieved landfall. She gave us the times and locations for our best attempts at primary target ProConsul Strategos. We chose today and planned our attack accordingly. We contacted Apprentice Enta'Lawak when we were within 1m. She lowered base defences and we made our move."
"And this is all you know?" asked Mejas. "You know i could tear the information from your mind and leave you a shell of a being." His eyes seemed to bore into her very soul and she knew there was nothing kept secret from him. She cringed and nodded. She was shivering now from the cold and her overall fatigue. Although she was scared beyond anything her training had preparred her for she refused to look away from the dark hate she saw radiating from the Dark Jedi Masters eyes.
"I will inform Aedila Maharet of this most disturbing turn of events." said Mejas, turning slowly and heading for the door. He paused just before reached the doorway and half turned, "I'll leave her to you mates."
Dark Jedi Master Mejas Doto closed the door as he left. A thin smile spread across his face as he heard the woman's cries of rage and terror at the betrayl she had suffered. He wrapped himself in her hate as he departed down the hallway. The coming days would reveal many deep secrets, and Mejas had the feeling many things would be changed forever by the outcome.
Odin swiveled around to see Sith Battle master Merlance standing there with two guards armed with pikes.
“I mean you no harm sir, I am lost, and my ship is in need of repairs and I’m looking for my master.” Odin stuttered in his best attempt to throw the Sith off.
“Nice try, Jedi. I keep good track of all ships that enter the area, why don’t you tell your master to come out, I know he’s around here someplace. Actually I can look if you want.” Merlance said, keeping a eye on the apprentice.
Out of the bushes came two cloaked figures, one much taller spoke, “Merlance, glad to see you have met my apprentice. I do hope he was of no bother to you.” Ma`ar said
The group soon discussed why they were their and left it as Training. Ma`ar, Archean, and Odin walked back to the shuttle.
“Odin, when I give you a order to stay at the shuttle, stay at the shuttle. Whether or not I have a open COM link is a different story.” Ma’ar snapped at his apprentice
“I’m sorry master, I will not let you down again.” Odin said with a slight bit of defeat.
“Its not that, What if that would have been someone that was more interested in shooting first and asking questions later, then what?” Ma`ar snapped back.
As the group made way to the shuttles back entry ramp, Akhara made he way to the group.
“Masters, We are being recalled to Arcona, mission is cancelled, Halcyon himself sent word, just minutes ago that all outward missions are to be cancelled and craft and personnel are to return to Selen.” Akhara said.
“OK then, I was hoping that the meeting with Merlance would sweeten the stakes for the night time ops, but I guess. Archean fire up the converters, and lets get this boat underway. Set course for Selen.” Ma`ar said as he went into the side room, and dropped off some gear.
The shuttle had left the Yridia IV system, just as it entered cloaked.
“Coordinates entered, and the navigational computer is ready for hyper drive engagement.” Archean said as he seen Ma`ar enter the cockpit.
“Ok, I’m ready, engage when ready.” Ma`ar replied.
Archean touched a few buttons and the brilliant white stars turned to Bluish streaks.
The shuttle took some time to make its way across the other clan’s systems, but the ship was quiet, Ma`ar had taken a leave and went into the back to rest. Archean kept watch on the consoles of the ship.
Akhara and Odin continued with getting to know each other, and do some random lessons as the trip went by.
The ship manually went out of hyper drive indicating it was just nearing the Dajorra system home to Arcona. Just as…….
Alarms sounded, the controls were alive, proximity sensors went off, and a collision alert sounded.
“MA`AR, COME TO THE COCKPIT IMMEDIATELY!!!” Archean screamed into the air.
Ma`ar rose to the sounds of sirens, the ship had been violently rocked from one side to the other; it was like the ship had entered a asteroid field.
“What’s going on?” Ma`ar said as he entered the cockpit after being thrown from side to side of the hall way.
“We are under fire, master Two ships one port one off the bow. Heavy damage has already been taken, I’ve hailed the two ships but no word, I’ve asked for ID numbers, of the ships to find out who they are. They know this is the Tribunes ship, and with the DC and GMRG backing us why would they attack this vessel.” Archean said with a puzzling look.
“Im not entirely sure, but the one off the Bow looks rather like one of the DC attack ships, see those markings off the port side, but I haven’t seen that specific marking before. The ships computer will have the attackers recorded, and if we make it out of this one we can find out who and why they are doing this.” Ma`ar said.
“Inbound craft Ma`ar, off of port side, coming in hot and fast looks like Oriens Obscurum patrol. Now let’s get out of here. The two craft are bugging out. Look’s like we do get to find out now.” Archean said with a smile, as he went to the back to check on the two apprentices.
“Welcome Home Ma`ar, you have the all clear, our scanners picked up the two craft out here, and then your shuttle showed up, is it capable of flight still, or do you need a repair crew?” The voice said over the COM link.
“Im good to go, the thrusters are working, however the ship will need some major repairs when I arrive on Selen, send word to Halc of this attack, and that I am on my way. Ma`ar out.”
Windos took several days to finish his report, taking the time to pick each word carefully. He even replayed a recording of the transmission several times over, watching for subtle hints in his old Consul’s visage. Finally, the Zabrak decided it was ready and transmitted the report to Aedile Devani.
The clocked figure swiftly stood and left his quarters, turning his COM link off and sliding it inside the fold of his robes. His destination was Galeres’ Meditation room; he had much to think on, and the faint screams rolling down the corridors could only aid in his meditation.
Devani looked up from the piles of documents before her, taking an opportunity to actually take in her office of scarlet with hints of black trim. Her once orderly wooden desk was now covered in swells of parchment and datapads.
The traitor within her house was all that she could think of, it managed to block the rest of the work upon her desk from her mind as she awaited what information could be extracted from the prisoners.
A soft chime pulled Devani from her musings; her personal datapad had light with the receipt of Windos’ overdue report. Leaning back in her chair, she began reading.
Windos could sense a rage building up from within Devani’s office. He couldn’t tell its source, but he assumed that the human had just read the document. Slowly the Priest stood, with a tiny smirk on his face; he started towards the epicentre of the rage.
Gavin and Koskian walked down the hall of the Journeyman quarters, moving with purpose towards room number 49. The Apprentice Kora was inside, with at least one other Novice that they could sense. That was the name given up by the assassin, who after they had raped her mind for all information available, had done some mental tweaking. She would make a fine profit for the House when they sold her at the slave market later.
Stopping at the door, Kosk and Gavin glanced at each other. Kosk nodded, then keyed the door open, overriding the pathetic lock-code the Apprentice had tried to use to keep it shut from intruders. The door whooshed open, and the two d'Tanas walked in.
“What the hell, who are you!?” yelled the young Apprentice female, jumping to her feet.
“Sit your ass down,” growled Kosk, walking to the other side of the room, blaster drawn from his shoulder holster.
Kora sat down, looking in fear at her friend. Gavin walked slowly up to the Apprentice, also with blaster in hand. A slight shift in the shadows nearby let the two d'Tanas know that Mejas was present and watching. He was probably going to enjoy this.
“Do you know who we are? Were associates of an old friend of the Clan, lets call him...Mr. Big, if you like. Now Mr. Big don't like what you've been doing around here, you've been causing problems.”
“Uhh, I...I haven't done anything!” yelled Kora.
“Bantha poodoo, bitch, you been trying to screw people in this Clan sweet cheeks, and we don't like that. Do we Kosk?” said Gavin.
“Nope, we don't like that one bit,” replied the Exarch.
“Now wait a second, guys, uhhh, let me explain. I didn't have a choice in this, they made me do it, I...Uhh, what's your name? I know he's Kosk, but who are you?” said Kora.
“My name ain't important, ho, now I got a question....you know our Pro-Consul, who you almost got killed?”
Kora nods hesitantly.
“What's he look like?”
“What? You speak Basic!?” yelled Gavin
“Say What one more time you little nerfherder, say What one more Sithspawn time!” shouts the irate Prelate.
Kora's mouth moves silently, trying to decide what to say.
“Basic, do you speak it?”
“Then what does Strategos LOOK LIKE?”
Gavin lifts his blaster, and fires a burning red bolt of energy into the Apprentice's shoulder. Kora screams in pain, her Novice friend tries to stand up but is knocked back down by Koskian, shaking his head at the young Jedi.
“Now what does Strategos look like?” he asked again, anger apparent in his voice.
“And he's uhh got blue eyes!”
“Does he look like a gundark?”
Gavin lifts his blaster again, firing another bolt into the womans left shoulder. Kora screams out in pain, falling to the ground.
“Wait wait, let me explain” pleaded the Apprentice. “We didn't have a choice, the orders came from higher up, milady told me to arrange the security for the assassins, I didn't know the target, I swear I didn't....” A strange look passes her face, shaking her head as if something unwarranted had just come to mind. Mejas smiled from his shadowy spot, the name of the child's master in his possession now. A slight mental message passed from him to Kosk and Gavin.
“I swear, I didn't know, I was just...” Kora started, before Gavin pointed his blaster again, firing three bolts into the Novice's chest. Kora's eyes widened, realizing she was not making it out of this alive.
“Oh I'm sorry, did I break your concentration....let me ask you something....have you ever heard of something called the Bible? No? Not a surprise, archaic and useless book, but it does have one part that I did like...” said Gavin.
"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."
With that, both d'Tanas lift there blasters, and fire on the traitorous Apprentice until their weapons threaten to overheat.
[15 years ago] <--- cuz like pulp fictionis out of sequence ands hit so [Expletive Deleted F-word]
"ARRR! Thar be whales! Space whales!" growled the pirate captain. his rum colored beard was encrusted with food particles. stink lines could be seen visibly emanating from the man... like he hadnt showered in months. His teeth were all rotted too, save for a few gold teeth, it was surprising that the man hadnt pried them out yet to pay for booze and hookers.
"Yar kill them space whales" shouted the captain "man yer harpoons ya worthless jabberin..." the pirate captain's irate babbling was cut off. The pirate captain stood there dumbfounded. he stumbled two or three steps forward then staggered to his knees... his head rolled off... rolled down the poopdecl and off into space... there was surprisingly little blood... but what blood there was was now pooling on the deck. better swab that [Expletive Deleted].
"NINJAS!" shouted one of the pirate crew shooting off his flintlock. A lead ball smashed through one the Ninja's chest... the soft ball flattened and broke apart into fragments... ripping through the ninja's abdomen like bacteria attacking a neonatal intenstive care infant. The ninja dropped dead on the deck of the ship... twitching violently for several seconds... then exploding in a cloud of smoke and disappearing.
The pirates fought fiercely... they swashbuckled the ninjas... but hooks and peglegs were no match for flipping out and decapitation. The Ninjas quickly siezed control of the ship. Some of the pirates tried abandoning ship by leaping off into space... but they were murdered by ninja stars richocheting around space at random.
A few moments later the entire ship was immersed in cloud of smoke... and the ninjas were gone. As if they had never been there. As if a battle had never occured, save for the evidence of decapitated corpses...
[still 15 years ago]
"Oh boy the circus is in town!" shouted the little boy "mommy mommy can I go to the circus!?"
The boy's mother smiled "sure khobai! we can go to the circus if you want"
"I want to see the lions and the clowns and the lions"
Khobai's sister punch him in the head "yer a [Expletive Deleted F-word]ing retard"
"Ow sis what'd you do that for?" asked Khobai
"Hey stop that!" scolded khobai's mom with a frown. Suddenly then a ninja star smashed through the window and split her skull in half. Blood splattered all over the kitchen cabinets and the floor. Blood sprayed all over Khobai and his sister... Their mother dropped to the floor dead. Khobai was traumatized for life... but he still wanted to go to the circus.
Khobai poked his mom. Her face was cold and expressionless. Her hair was matted in blood which was already starting to encrust and turn dark black. There was a glinting metal object protruding from her head. Khobai reached out to grab it... but pulled his finger back. The razor jag of protruding ninja star had sliced open his finger. Khobai began to cry.
Khobai's sister punch him in the head "quit being a pussy Khobai moms dead. be a man and deal with it. And NO! you cant go to the [Expletive Deleted F-word]ing circus now."
Khobai awoke startled. He had the dream again. The dream of his mother's brutal murder by ninjas. It still haunted him. He never discovered who the ninjas were or why the murdered his mother. But maybe the ninjas that recently attacked Arcona had something to do with it... Khobai was determined to find out... maybe he could find some clues at the circus.
Mejas sat in a room shrouded in darkness. A single holo-bulb hung in the air in the centre of the square quarters, cascading shadows across the walls and floor like sheets of the darkest, purest silks. Mejas's chambers on Galeres rivalled the House summits for space. As a former Consul, the foudner of the Dajorra system, one of the first Tenebrous Arconae, and the most powerful Elder in the Clan it was easy to see why the Zabrak's needs were well maintained.
A knock came at the door, to which the Consl Emeritus could only grunt at in repsonse. The left and right hands of Arcona's "Mr. Big" entered the chambers. They were silent in there entrance, but clearly proud of their recent accomplishments, so, stood waiting for their praise.
The Zabrak did not speak and he did not move.
Gavin surveyed the room. He was always intrigued at how Mejas lived. At the start of his reign as Consul the chambers on both Coronoda Prime and Selen were ridiculously large, well organised, minimalist, industrially furnished workspaces. The Zabrak's grand collection of Brotherhood rewards were on display for all to see and the Dark Jedi Master took great pride in how his chambers and position were viewed.
However, towards the end of his tenure, Gavin remembers being told by JaM3z how Mejas had locked himself in his chambers, which were then barren, devoid of personal belongings or furnishings apart from the Zabrak's durasteel desk, chair and the accursed Abyssal Tome.
Since completely dedicating himself to the path of Shadow Crafting, Mejas had never been more different; he became subdued, more focused, but equally more brutal and devastating when those actions were required. The Zabrak now lived in squalor. Not filth or dirt - but chaos. The rigid organisation and arrangement were gone from Mejas's life. The room was askew with all forms of objects, there was not a clear surface in sight and the with all the clutter the room seemed more mystical and chlostrophobic than ever.
"We have finished as you instructed." announced Koskian, "The traitor has been tortured and executed."
Still nothing was said by the former Consul, sitting at his desk, slouched over maps of star systems and flicking between a list of communiques on his holo-screen.
"How does her information effect us Master Doto?" asked Gavin.
The Zabrak stirred, then looked up at the newest extensions of himself. "Palpatine had many hands," thought Mejas, "I too have my own."
Looking at Gavin he could see Chaos, then glancing at Koskian he could see Terror.
"May the darkness reward you for what you have done here today. Terror and Chaos are the keys to our success. You are my keys and now it is time to prepare the lock for opening." rasped Mejas.
"We have much work to do in order to unravel the web of deceipt that lies before us. I want you to return to Arconae Primuus and prepare Soulfire for duty. You will be accompanying me eon a reconnaisance mission." said Mejas, rising to his feet as he sent a communique to the hangar bay, instructing the engineers to prepare his ship for departure.
"Very well Master Doto, but where will you be going?" queried Koskian, "Do you wish one of us to accompany you?"
The Zabrak smiled as he made his way towards his left and right hands, Terror and Chaos. "You must listen to my words, Terror and Chaos are the keys to our success. One without the other leads to nothingess. Gavin must remain with you Koskian, as for me, I shall be travelling to my Tarentum estate on Yridia IV. I have requested the company of the closest thing I have to a Master in order to end this Covenants treachery."
Gavin looked puzzled, he knew more about Mejas than most and he knew that in all his years he remained in the Brotherhood, he was never formally accepted as an apprentice by anyone - almost completely due to his quite extraordinary, visceral, personal qualities.
"I will be meeting with Master Mandaala."
"HOLY [Expletive Deleted F-word]ING SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!" blurted Gavin, unable to hold in his shock.
Mejas turned his heard sharply, not smiling, but something approving in his look. "I served as the Herald's Praetor for longer than any other. He is a greater sabre weilder than even I, and we have things to discuss and arrange. Nobody can know of our meeting. I trust you will see to that." said Mejas.
"Of course." assured Koskian. "We will contact you when Soulfire are ready to deploy. We should be looking to rendezvous in about 10 hours time. Will that allow you time to meet Master Mandaala then begin the next phaseof our plan?" asked the Exarch.
"It should suffice." said Mejas. "I will contact you with details shortly, for now, Embrace the Darkness." hissed Mejas, his body evaporating into a dark mist, then slowly meldign with the dark shadows around the room.
"I guess we should be on our way then Kosk." stated Gavin.
"Yes, I think we need to prepare for something big here Gavin. There's something Mejas isn't telling us, but if he is meeting Master Mandaala, it must be important..."
As he headed for his quarters Prelate Gavin d'Tana Dahl pondered the new title bestowed upon him by Master Doto. Chaos. He liked the sound of that and inwardly smiled. If it was chaos Master Doto wanted, it was Chaos he would get. He keyed his code into the kaypad outside his door and the the door ascended noiselessly. He stepped into the room that had been his on and off for over half a decade. He wasted no time and collected the things he would need for his next assignment. Before he left he pulled out his comlink dialed in a frequency known only by the Elders of Clan Arcona, double clicked and waited. Almost instantly a gravelly voice, barely audible, responded.
"You have something to report?" the voice queried. "I have no time for idle discussions."
"Yes, Master," Gavin replied. "Master Doto has uncovered unsettling news as to who initiated the attacks against us. He has informed myself and Exarch Koskian that we are to leave immediately and ready SoulFire Brigade for mobilization. As of yet he has not revealed any new information to us. He has gone to his private estate on Yridia IV for...." at the thought of revealing his true Masters plans Gavin balked, "meditation and reflection. He said he must use this time to determine the best course of action." The silence that echoed back from the comlink was unsettling and for a brief instant Gavin feared he had not cloaked his thoughts in time to keep Mejas true mission to Yridia Iv hidden.
"Indeed," the voice responded after what seemed like minutes. "You will follow Master Doto's orders. You will report any new findings to me. And Gavin...." there was a short pause, "serve Arcona well....and I may see my way to finding you a new set of robes. In Darkness....Halcyon, out."
The link went dead and Gavin exited into the hallway. He once more keyed in a special frequency and double clicked. Instantly he recieved a reply.
"I am here my Master." came Malidir's voice. The eagerness in his voice barely contained. "What would you have me do?"
"We are leaving for Arconae Primus. Ready yourself for immediate departure. Meet me in the shuttle bay." He almost closed the connection but gave one last order before he did "Malidir, i hope you've been studying those techniques I've been trying to teach you. You're going to need them."
Exarch Koskian d'Tana Arconae walked into the command center of Galeres base. His eyes found Aedile Maharet and he made his way towards her. He could still feel echos of her earlier rage swirling around her in the Force. She turned to him suddenly.
"I hope its good news you're bringing me." she started in a barely controlled rage but Koskian cut her off with a wave of his hand.
"The assassins and tratiors have been dealt with. Prelate Dahl and myself have been given new orders and are departing immediately for Arconae Primus. You are to stay here and monitor all defences. Do not fail Galeres again or it may be your last mistake, and do not fail me Apprentice. We will be leaving the Preist Jeax and Guardian Kieran here and at your disposal. SoulFire Brigade has been called for immediate mobilization and it will be necessary for Knight Selene and Guardian Malidir to accompany us to Arconae Primus. You have 2 complete trooper squads and a flight of TIE Defenders here to serve you. Use the resources provided you and keep me personally informed of your situation."
As he turned to leave Jedi Hunter Devani Maharet had the urge to stop him. She felt ill preparred for the task at hand and wanted the council of her Master. She Knew she had failed Galeres greatly today and in some ways feared she could never again gain the respect of the House. She watched him move away without a word and tried to mask her insecurities. As he exited the command center she turned back to the base commander and began planning their defensive positions.
Koskian entered the hallway and smiled. She was learning.
The cold, blackness of space, both comforted and agitated Mejas Doto. He revelled in the nihilistic nothingness of the galaxy, especially towards the outer rim, but feared an area where shadows could not exist.
Seated in his shuttle, the Dark Jedi Master felt secure with his pilot; Karesh had first been appointed during the Zabrak’s first reign as Quaestor of Qel-Droma many years ago. Mejas had selected the five finest pilots of the Clan, as nominated by Proconsul Khobai Wrathraven, and forced them to dog fight above Coronoda Prime until only 3 of them remained. When the three survivors landed they were then forced to duel until only one remained. Throughout the whole affair there was only one spectator – and Mejas Doto revelled in the destruction Karesh had caused to his adversaries. He was the right man for the job – and to date he has remained loyal to the Zabrak’s appointment, even rejecting secondment to pilot Consul Halcyon and Proconsul Strategos around.
The Zabrak’s cabin was far more compact than his chambers, but equally in disarray. Sitting at his desk, Mejas motioned with his hand as the lights on the door keypad flashed and beeped. The room was secured and Mejas was ready to contact Prophet Mandaala.
The holo-projector buzzed and churned as the binary transmission code was processed. Within a few minutes the seal of Kaine Mandaala was rotating in three dimensions as the Zabrak waited for his old friend to answer. Mejas wondered how Kaine would respond to his request. He knew that Mandaala was loyal to the Iron Throne and dedicated to the survival of the Brotherhood, in the same breath he was committed to no Clan, his old home being dissolved before Mejas had even arrived in the Brotherhood. While Kaine lacked any reasons to support Arcona, he was committed to his friends and Mejas had served Kaine unwaveringly, their union outliving any other Brotherhood office to date. It was time to reaffirm their connection; it was time for the Prophet Mandaala and Master Doto to once again convene.
The holo-projector bleeped and the seal of Mandaala dissolved to reveal a robed being seated in ornately carved obsidian throne, with a large obsidian desk in front of him. “Master Doto,” began Kaine, “I have been expecting your contact.” sneered Kaine. “Our link has not dulled as the months have passed, and your powers seem only to strengthen.”
“Dark greetings Prophet Mandaala. Indeed, I am glad that you have been aware of my concerns.” Rasped Mejas, his coarse, gravely tones barely audible. “I request your council and support my old guide.”
Kaine laughed, the sinister tone of his cacophony entertaining Mejas as he sat and watched the holo-image of his mentor. “You never could bring yourself to refer to me as your Master.”
“Only the once Prophet Mandaala, during out duel. You taught me more than most, but you know, better than any other, I am my own Master and would only grow to destroy anyone who accepted me as their padawan.” Hissed Mejas.
“Indeed Mejas, you almost fell foul of the Justicar on several occasions. You were lucky that there were those of us on the Council who could see into your essence… if we hadn’t – we would not be having this discussion now.” Replied Kaine.
“Will you support what you fought hard to protect all that time ago. Meet with me Kaine, I know it is rare for you to leave Raltiir, I would never ask it of you without good reason.”
Mejas paused as Kaine absorbed his words. “I may be forced to confront members of the Council, one small group we had more than our fair share of conflict with.”
“I do not see the connection Doto.” Snapped the Dark Jedi Prophet.
“I believe the attacks on Arcona were organised by Arania Lawakiro. My interrogations lead to this information, it can only mean one…..” Mejas was quickly interrupted as he spoke.
“Kaiann.” growled the former Herald, his eyes flashing with fury, as he spoke the name of his old Dark Council nemesis.
“Indeed. It appears that the Lord Hegemn’s witch has acted out his will. I have battled Arania before and she is worthy adversary. I may need some support, especially if the Council are backing her.” Stated Mejas.
“I will depart immediately. I shall see you on Yridia IV as soon as possible. Leave your mind open to me my Praetor, we must stay bonded at all times. I will support your defence but I cannot openly attack the Council, it may jeopardise the integrity of the Iron Throne – however we shall discuss that soon.” Instructed Kaine.
“Agreed. I shall see you soon Prophet Mandaala. May the Darkness guard you on your journey to Yridia VI.” With that the holo-projector shut down and Mejas sat back in his chair. Prophet Mandaala would be a huge strength for the Arcona defence and the Lord Hegemon’s office would be forced to sit up and pay attention with the arrival of two of the most reveared Dark Jedi in the Brotherhood.
Things were starting to move forward. It would not be long until Chaos and Terror reigned down upon Arcona’s attackers. For Mejas, it could not be soon enough…
Guardian Vendetta Pendragon's TIE Phantom came gracefully down on powered reupolsors, landing gently in the upper hangar bay of the Galeres Eldar base. He had received orders en route to landing to upload his mission report to a datapad immediately. Unhooking his harness, Vendetta pulled himself from the TIE's cockpit, landing on the floor with nary a sound to look up at his approaching sergeant.
“Master d'Tana....I've just returned from ..” started the Guardian, before being cut off by the Exarch.
“Your datapad has the mission report on it, yes?” he asked, Vendetta nodded in response. “Then give it to this Novice, he's to take the report directly to lady Devani, and don't bother peeling that flight suit off yet, Guardian, your flying a shuttle today.”
Taken aback slightly at the fact that he was getting some more flight time today, the pilot of Soulfire took in his superior's appearance finally. The Obelisk was wearing a dark green jumpsuit, his name on one side of his chest, Soulfire on the other side. Shoulder armor set atop his frame, and gauntlets with various attachments to the wrist were there as well. These were parts of the Soulfire uniform devised by a former commander, based off Mandalorian design. Kosk had no use for bulky armor though, and had taken the bracers, complete with rocket launcher and other with a built in blaster, and the gauntlets for hand protection instead. Leaving the rest of the armor behind, his agility was unimpeded.
Hanging from his belt was the Exarch's lightsaber, as well as a shotgun strapped into the holster on his back. Two bandoleers ran crossways across his chest, filled with sporks of all things. Looking past the Obelisk, Vendetta saw his teammates, Malidir and Selene entering the hanger bay, as well as another older man, closer to the sarge's age.
“Were headed to Arconae Primus, Vendetta, get your gear from your Phantom and meet us at the shuttle in five minutes, were on a schedule here. Somebody has attacked the archaeological site there and were to find survivors and any possible trace of the attackers, now move!” shouted the Obelisk.
Malidir stretched out his weary muscles and worked his trusty katana around in graceful arcs as he readied himself for the battles sure to come. After receiving word from his new Master that his services would be required – if not necessary – in the days to come, he knew that surety of form and power would be needed from him. As he repeatedly recited parts of the Dark Jedi Code, at least one of his fellow Soulfire members started to become a bit concerned.
“What are you doing, Malidir?”
“I’m gearing up for battle, Selene. Just because I don’t have a pretty new lightsaber like you doesn’t mean that I can’t factor into the upcoming conflicts.”
“I never insinuated such a thing, I just wanted to know why you felt now was the time for such preparations,” the newly established Dark Jedi Knight quipped.
“Because my Master wills it. That’s enough for me. Until I hear that my services are not needed, I’m going to work on these drills and be ready to do what I can to help,” retorted the youthful Guardian, whist he continued with his rhythmic exercises.
Selene regarded Malidir with an air of superiority, just for a minute, before responding with, “that’s not what I meant…just that your particular brand of…ferocity…will likely not require you to employ weapons of that sort.”
Nodding in agreement, Malidir stopped for a moment and pondered again his Prelate Master’s private warning: “prepare yourself for what is to come, for your part in this may prove to be instrumental”.
Thinking inwardly, Malidir began to wonder just what he may be asked to do in the name of the Clan. Perhaps it would be typical one-to-one fights, as he had become accustomed to. Or maybe he would be required to reach back into his past, into days where a fair fight meant little more than him coming out on top, no matter the price.
It was no secret that Malidir’s prior history involved more than a few fights that didn’t always follow the sometimes questionable codes of honor that were often inferred here in the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. While he definitely thought that those days were behind him, circumstances often dictated the flow of events…and who was he to attempt to circumvent such times?
Placing his blade down upon the hard surface of the deck, Malidir began reaching back into his past and allowed his muscles to remember the devilish moves that had been his since almost before he could remember.
As his violent thrusts and gyrations moved him about the space to which he had been allotted, Malidir thought, “perhaps now it is time to live up to what I’ve always been…a pure-born killer.”
“Milady,” Windos greeted as he walked into Aedile Devani’s office. The door slammed down with a loud bang, being pulled down with the force by an angry female; possibly damaging the motivators that operated them in the process.
Windos smirked inwardly; the human was even cuter than usual when she is angry.
Devani threw a datapad that hit Windos hard in the shoulder, “you made me wait for that?!?” She questioned, practically screaming.
“This, Your Grace?” The Zabrak retorted, holding the datapad in one hand while rubbing his shoulder with the other.
“You know what I speak of!” The human’s eyes tore through the other’s skin and into his soul.
“My deepest apologies.”
“I hate you Windos. All you did was write, ‘The Tarenti are up to something’ in a volume of alien languages.” She leaned back in her chair, slowly seeing the humorous side of Windos’ actions.
“I needed the practice.”
Swiftly the Human snapped back into her angry state, “I need answers! What did you find out?”
“Other that Tarentum being the victim’s of some foul play by our clan, I couldn’t uncover anything else.”
“And you couldn’t just tell me?”
A beeping from Windos’ secondary COM link cut the tension in the room, “my apologies again Milady.” Even with Devani’s objections, Windos turned and head for the door, which sparked as he approached it.
A blast of force blew the door into the corridor. “Your door’s broken,” Windos chimed before stepping over the rubble.
Ma`ar and crew arrived to a escort onto the base in Selen.
Proconsul Strategos, and Consul Halcyon greeted the party as they walked out of the wreck of a ship.
“Any Ideas who that was Ma`ar, our scanners picked you up, as they attacked.” Strategos said.
“Well, the identification numbers on the one craft was Scholae Palatinae, and the other was DC registered. But why would they dare to attack the Tribune, and the Grand Masters Royal Guard it just doesn’t make sense.” Blurted Ma`ar.
Halcyon said, “Well, I need you to go over to Arconae Primus, Gavin, and Kosk are heading there now. Maybe another able body or two might help the cause right now. I know you will need a shuttle, I will have the ground crew fix it, and have someone delivery it to you when it is done.”
Ma`ar nodded, and then walked with the party, a time to freshen up, and grab some gear was needed.
“Go to the armory, and get what you need, I will have a shuttle prepaired for you four, and then make way to Arconae Primus. I will need some eyes and ears there and hopefully we will get to the bottom of this soon.” Halcyon spoke as he walked away with Strategos.
Ma`ar, Archean, Akhara, and Odin made there way to the lift. The hallway was long, the group was clinging to just a few hours of sleep between them, but the mission was far from over. Whatever Gavin and Kosk had in store, Ma`ar could only wonder.
The lift opened and the four members stepped in, as the lift speed downward to the lower levels containing the armory.
As the doors opened, the members were treated to several officers, in a caged area; weapons of all kind were hanging on the walls.
“Welcome fellow Arconae, what may we be of service.” Said one of the officers.
Ma`ar looked around and walked past the officers, knowing they knew the Quaestor as they wouldn’t dare cross a summits path twice.
“Grab what you need, I’m not sure what Gavin and Kosk have in store, but this doesn’t smell right so don’t overload yourselves, but come prepared.” Ma`ar barked as he went shopping for the necessary gear.
After finding some older Katarn commando armor, and body suit. Ma`ar grabbed that and a few explosive charges, and a basic kit for demolitions, knowing a few bang bangs would do the trick. Tucked away in a back pack, and noticed some older weaponry.
A DC-17m rifle, with a anti-armor attachment was also taken.
Ma`ar slung all his gear onto a cart, and showed it to his apprentice.
“Odin, make sure this gets to the shuttle, I am in need of a quick refresher, and need to check on a few thing while I’m here. Let’s meet back at the shuttle in 20.” Ma`ar said as he walked towards the lift.
The rest of the group continued to gear up.
Twenty minutes went by quickly. The group were loading gear in the shuttle when Ma`ar came into the hangar.
The ground crew noticed the Sith, his cloak slung over his shoulder wasn’t the usual Ma`ar.
“Lets go, time is buring, and we do have one last stop. I notified Halcyon were underway, and I contacted any available member of Oriens to meet with us on Arconae Primus” The sith barked as he walked past the group and into the lambda class shuttle.
As the group entered the shuttle, Ma`ar changed into the armor, the bodysuit was a bit tight, and the flow of the armor was easier than expected, the whit armor under a black cloak was a sight, as the Vurk made way into the cockpit, as Archean had already fired the engines, and proceeded to lift off.
“Shuttle 4909, you are cleared for take off, and its free sailing to Primus we are sending a escort to follow you half way in precaution of any attacks. Good luck.” The voiced said over the COM link.
Seeing the Vurk on his way, the Arcona Consul quickly strode back to the Command Centre on the Citadel. Strategos was already within, continuing his work.
“Report”, Halcyon ordered as he stepped in, the heavy-set door sealing behind him.
“Arcona veterans are on their way to rendezvous with the army on Arconae Primus. Current investigations haven’t turned up much. Although we already know that the Lord Hegemon and his Praetor are behind at least some of our recent troubles”.
The Master nodded absently, looking over the various screens of information.
“They’re up to something”, he stated suddenly, a look of questioning coming from the Proconsul.
“Mejas and others. They’ve decided to leave me out of their real plans”.
“And this is new how?”
A slight smile appeared on the humans face as he shrugged his shoulders. “We’re in a precarious position. The entire Dark Brotherhood is”. A nod from the Entar came before Halcyon continued. “And what of our forces?”
“Quejo just reported in. The fleet has completed their training and are on full alert. All vessels are now fully staffed. We are functioning at 100%. I’ve also woken all ground units. Security has been tripled at all facilities, with all of our forces ready at a moment’s notice. We can fully mobilize at any time”.
As the Rokir went to respond, a message flashed on the main screen, “Consuls Eyes Only”.
“If you’ll excuse me”, the Sith said, Strategos already moving out of the room. As the door sealed once more, Halcyon focused on the screen itself. “Verification, Halcyon Rokir Arconae”.
The screen went blank before the image of five other Consuls appeared before him. “We need to talk”, Duga simply stated.
= = | o | = =
As the screen went blank once more, Halcyon stroked the hairs on his face idly, going over the information that had just been shared. Leaning back on his seat, he opened the door to the room, the Pontifex entering once more with a questioning look.
“Keep me informed. I shall be in my office if you need me”.
Without another word, the Rokir exited the Command Centre, leaving his second-in-command to question his Consuls recent actions.
The shuttle was in deep space, when the escort peeled off, the COM link came alive with a raspy voice
“All clear 4909, clear sailing to Primus. Gavin and Koskian will meet you on the base.”
“Sounds good, enjoy the flight back to Selen.” Ma`ar said before shutting down the com.
“Archean, get in touch with the base, and tell them we will be there within half a hour.”
Ma`ar walked out of the cockpit, and grabbed his gear stowed neatly by his two apprentices. As he did, they both turned and see the Vurk look into the large bag, and pull out his weapon of choice, a DC-17m with a anti-armor attachment.
The Sith also retrieved a Verpine sniper rifle. And a few blaster pistols a DL-18, and two DL-44’s.
“Master, why so many guns?” Odin asked.
“Well, one can never be to careful, plus a lot of these I have had for sometime. I just don’t go out on missions without a tool or two.”
“Ma`ar, come up front would you, we are nearing Primus.” Archean hollered back to the group.
Ma`ar made his way to the cockpit. Settling down in the main chair, Ma`ar radioed the base.
“Base, this is shuttle 4909 requesting landing clearance I have 4 passengers and some cargo.”
“Shuttle 4909, Gavin and Koskian await your arrival we are transmitting there coordinates to you now.”
As the coordinates were transmitted, Ma`ar sat back and flipped a few switches and placed the shuttle on auto-landing sequence.
“Come on Archean, let’s get everyone ready so we can get this mission whatever it is underway.”
As the shuttle descended down through the clouds and into the clearing. The shuttle touched down slowly, almost as it was piloted.
“Ok listen up; we are going to be splitting up. I know they will need us to go on patrols Archean you take Odin with you, I will go with Akhara I’m guessing that we will be in different sectors, but I will be in touch if you need me send word over the COM link.” Ma`ar snapped as he loaded up on gear.
The DC-17m was slung over his back, and a DL-44 was set in a holster on Ma`ar’s backside. As the rear ramp lowered, Gavin and Koskian came to meet the group as it lowered onto the landing pad.
“Welcome to Arconae Primus, I will be giving each one of you certain tasks we have Soul Fire Brigade out sweeping the area, as it has been reported a few UNWANTED guests have landed. We are not sure who or why they are here, but we will root them out.” Gavin barked.
“Ma`ar, I am glad you came in a hurry, but we were hoping for a few more able bodies.” Koskia uttered.
As the group had there small talk, the party processed their way into the Base camp, the make shift Tents were lined with generators, and several armed guards made there rounds along the outside of the camp.
“Ok, we have sources that have spotted groups of people in these areas.” Gavin pointed to a large topographical map of primus.
“We want you guys to saddle up in the last two AT-ST’s. However remember these are to not be sacrified. I want them back in one piece, both of them.” Koskian said looking directly at Ma`ar.
As the group parted ways, and Ma`ar and Akhara loaded up in one AT-ST, and Archean and Odin loaded up in the other, Ma`ar looked around seeing as this was the first time he had been in one.
The Two walkers separated, Ma`ar took the north and Archean went south.
As the trip drew on, Ma`ar opened the top hatch and watches as the scenery wasn’t any different from when they first arrived.
“Armed forces ahead, check point bravo Akhara I need you to slow down as we need to break now.” The Sith said as he lowered back into the cockpit.
Akhara brough the metal beast to a halt.
The top hatch opened, and Ma`ar made his way outside, and down to the troops.
“Commander, we have a sighting in the northwestern about 10 clicks from here of activity. Scanners are indicating something with a power source has just activated.”
Ma`ar nodded, and then looked to his apprentice.
“Akhara, park that beast, and lets go. We need to go find out who or what is out there.”
Akhara climbed out, the AT-St would have to wait this part of the job was best suited to walking.
Ma`ar and Akhara walked off into the northwestern, they covered ground just as fast as a normal solider, which a few of them soon followed.
A total of ten soldiers followed along, Ma`ar swung around to see the following.
After several minutes, the walked turned into a dead stop.
“Movement up ahead, Lets split into 4 groups and surround them.” The Sith said with a low growl.
As the pairings split up, and moved into position. Ma`ar crept along the ground towards a opening in the tree line.
A shuttle had landed, and was being guarded, but no one was around.
A rustle in the bushes behind Ma`ar’s group was soon to be the undoing.
“You there halt, don’t move or we will fire.”
“Take that one; he’s the one we are looking for. The lady will be quiet pleased with our find.”
Ma`ar was knocked out cold. The blaster fire had killed the soldiers in his part, as did the other two groups.
Akhara barely made here way back to the outpost, she was injured and bleeding.
“call for reinforcements, Ma`ar has been taken.” She said before collapsing.
As she collapsed, a speeding shuttle exited the tree line to the northwest and went into the heavens.
"Contact the Mistress and tell her, her package is underway. Pilot enter the coordinates and lets get out of here."
As Gavin turned to reenter the base his comlink buzzed a familiar signal. He hurried inside followed closly by Koskian. They walked down the hallway and turned into the first empty room they came to. Koskian keylocked the pad as the door slid closed behind him. Gavin reached into a pouch on his belt and clicked the button on a small device his Master had given him. The jammer had been designed to block all but select few frequencies and would ensure privacy while they discussed their next move. Only then did Gavin open the connection and speak.
"Chaos and Terror await your bidding, Master."
"The connection is secure? We can take no chances Chaos." rasped the voice of Dark Jedi Master Mejas Doto.
"The jammer works perfectly Master, as you assured us it would."
"Indeed. I have new information. It has been discovered that the attacks taking place throughout Brotherhood space have been initiated by vessels bearing the Lawakiro family crest and Lord Hegemon's ensignia. This is most disturbing news. This may well be a plot by the Dark Council to throw the Brotherhood into disarry thereby removing any threats upon their right to rule. It may be necessary to make contact with each Clan and let them know of these findings. I sense there is still more to be revealed which is still hidden in shadow. As Arconae, I shall manipulate these shadows....and we shall know the exact time and place to make our move. Do you have anything to report?" Mejas asked so suddenly Gavin took a moment to register the question.
"Yes, my Lord. Arconae Primus has come under attack. Koskian has forstalled the mobilization of SoulFire to deal with the immediate threat here. The entire brigade is out on maneuvers now. Ma`ar arrived a short time ago and took all of Oriens out to reinforce SoulFire."
"It is how I had foreseen then....Deal with this new threat quickly, and contact me when SoulFire is ready to move. I have more work for both of you but it will require all of your attention and SoulFire must be ready for immediate action. I will be awaiting your word."
Gavin's comlick went dead with an audible click and he and Koskian were left in silence. He reached into the pouch on his belt and depressed the rounded button on the jammer. Koskian grunted and opened his mouth to respond when both Jedis' comlicks went live with an all channel alert.
“call for reinforcements. Ma`ar has been taken.” came Akhara's strained voice. Both Jedi looked at each other in slight shock and in unison turned toward the door. Koskian slammed his fist against the keypad and the door shot open. At a run both jedi headed down the hall the way they had come.
Moving to the south, the AT-ST that Archean lead, co-oped by Odin and 10 soldiers as the endorsement troops, walked on its way to the check point. It was a south satellite station, creeper plants covered, built in the jungle, for the purpose of maintaining energy resources and south scanners control. However, the path to get there was not purely forest scenery, the last one third was a hot swamp.
“That should be fun…,”Archean commented.
“Here we go. The hot mud. Last I heard the mud was only in thin layers, the bottom was rock-solid. There are two options. Go straight, or take the turning course. The bridge is still 500 meters from here,” the Guardian said to his old friend, even if he was already an Equite.
“Go to the bridge. We have no time limitation. I don't want to have the troops lose their lives unnecessarily.” Bruth ‘Kothae gave his command.
Vaaj turned the walker to the east. Although, the trembling sound produced by the Metal Beast's footsteps were loud, the shaky feelings he sensed was greater. He had seen his master taking a good number of guns from the weapons depot. Knowing that something was unusual about this mission, Odin could no longer conceal his unrest.
“Archean. Don’t you feel this wobbly disturbance? I've felt this once before..Yes, right before the Research Center exploded, and took my close family...I..,” Ma’ar’s Apprentice suddenly halted the AT-ST as the surge of disturbance hit him. A bead of sweat dropped to the driver stick.
Odin looked at the Sith Warrior, watching his furrowed brow. Although the Warrior was deficient in his sense of sight, he sensed more through the Force. Suddenly, Archean clenched his fist, the anger obvious on his face.
“Ma’ar…,” The former Apprentice of the Sith BattleLord Ga-tir simply stated. The strength of the feelings was overwhelming him..
“Got to finish our task fast, Odin. The Soulfire has already been there also. We have to reach the point and hopefully we will find the clue. The one that will tell us which shadow is behind the other,” Archean ordered.
The Guardian continued to steer the walker to the bridge, pushing it harder than before. They were closely followed by the soldiers that maintained their close position only through running. Without warning, the blast of an explosion emerged from their right, the rising smoke indicating the blast coming from the jungle across the swamp they were facing. The ground trembled under them, the sudden burst of waves rocking the walker.
“What the hell was that?!?” Odin shouted, trying to maintain the stability of the AT-ST.
Quejo growled at the datapad he had just been handed. His counterpart on the Summit had been seized by some unknown forces on an Arconan world. This would not do. Trajectories showed the shuttles fleeing Arconae Primus were headed outsystem, and Quejo believed the Arconan fleet could intercept them above Boral easily enough.
“Full power to engines, if we lose Ma'ar, some of you are going to die.” he stated simply.
“Sonuva....,” muttered Kosk, running out of the base as the concussion wave tore through the surrounding area. His comlink crackled to life, one of his troopers popping over it.
“Damn't, whoever just bolted on us left some kind of seismic charges, this whole area just got torn apart like an earthquake had hit it,” yelled the voice, Kosk realizing it was Odin. Switching his comlink over to broad channel, Kosk began issuing his orders.
“Vendetta, warm up the engines on that shuttle, do a frog hop to the checkpoints and pick up everybody damn't. Archean may want come along as well. And somebody pick up Akhara, she needs medical treatment from the sound of it."
Gavin and Kosk began hoofing it towards the shuttle.
“Direct hit on the engines of target two, sir!” shouted the weapons officer in glee as one of the trio of shuttles descended towards Boral.
“Two down....now then, which one has Ma'ar on board?” mused the Fleet command aloud. The third shuttle broke the planetary grasp, and jumped to hyperspace in a flash. Quejo cursed, reaching out with the Force to drag the weapons officer up to him. Without a word, the Sith slammed his fist into the man's throat.
“Well I'll be a gundarks nephew, Quejo came through...” muttered Gavin, watching the smoking shuttles head towards the ground.
“Put us down within a klick of those ships, Ven,” said Kosk, turning to the bay of the shuttle. “We got two shuttles full of hostiles down there, folks, no idea what they're armed with, no idea if Ma'ar is even down there. But those bastards killed some of our people on Primus, and will surely try to waste us as well. So...Soulfire, lock and load, were gonna get to kill something finally.”
Kosk said this last bit with a grin as the shuttle's ramp lowered, his Troopers grabbing various weapons and smiles spreading across there faces. Watching them descend, he wished silently that Kieran and Jeax were here as well. Then again....he thought, Selene and Malidir were dangerous enough from what he had seen, and Odin was certainly mad. And he knew Archean could handle himself. He glanced at Akrhara, unconcious in the small medical bay of the assault shuttle, bandages covering her wounds.
Turning to his brother Gavin, Kosk grinned viciously, “This oughta be fun.”
Odin was still sitting on the bench in the medical bay of the shuttle, giving Akhara some medical treatments, when the Sergeant called for action. He was sure that his fellow apprentice would make it; the bleeding was already stopped. She was strong in the Force and additional small emergency surgery had increased the prognosis.
Vaaj was extremely angry. Archean and he had felt the signs of trouble some time before the incident. However, they had never expected that Ma'ar would be the person in trouble. The vexed part was that they could not have known earlier, not about the intruders nor the group of shadows that messed with the Arconan's authority. Losing the Battle Lord by way of kidnapping was surely a sign that they were facing the cunningly stealthy dark forces that might just have the upper hand over Arcona. But, Odin had no doubt at all; the true shadows would settle things quickly, restoring normality to their every day lives.
The Sith Warrior and the Guardian had boarded to the shuttle at the shattered south check point as Vendetta had picked them up there. The place was truly becoming a mess. The bridge was cracked, but fortuitously they were still able to pass it to arrive in the point. Four of the endorsement soldiers had luckily only sustained mild injuries because of the concussion waves. The station was badly ruined; half of it was destroyed to the ground. Whatever the type of detonator was, it was eliminating all the signs of life there. Body parts were scattered everywhere ... most of it in very small pieces.
They moved fast to find the titanium prism of the station recorded data in the wreckage. With the guidance of the Force, Archean could direct the soldiers to the precise place. The shuttle picked them up right after they had saved the prism, the rest of the wreckage would be another task of investigation but they had another, much more important priority. Saving the Battle Lord, saving Ma'ar.
"Come on Odin, let's go get them," Selene said when she saw Odin still sat in the medical bay, "we got hostiles to be checked."
Odin stood up and walked towards her; leaving Akhara behind. He grabbed the weapons in the adjacent room, his blasters and tranquilizer darts. His sword was already strapped on his back although he did not know whether he would use it or not. Both Dark Jedi ran to the exit door of the shuttle.
He was glad to see Karel waiting near Archean and Kosk. The two were old friends and Odin had served some time under the previous Commander of the Sith Battleteam Dragon Fist. The old friends' meeting should be a great occasion to celebrate but Odin didn't have the pleasure of doing that just yet. His master's danger had severely dampened the elation.
"They were using our satellite station to penetrate unnoticeably into Arcona Primus. A contact or contacts must have been in place, but they were all destroyed. Some strange looking bodies were also found in that area… perhaps they had executed suicide bombs." Archean said with obvious anger on his face.
"We will have other keys soon, just don't let the bastards get out alive from Boral before we have Ma'ar back," said Karel.
"They must be eliminated," Odin said harshly.
"Okay, we will get this structured. Our intelligence has moved fast. Hopefully we will get Ma'ar there, although I am not sure. The report that came through said one shuttle has already entered hiperdrive to flee. And this is what we are going to do…," Kosk started the strategy as they were all stepping on the ground of Boral.
**OOC: Set a day or so before Odin's post***
Windos stood silently in the hangar of the Galeres base, awaiting the next arrival. After an hour or so a transport set down and Windos continued to stand as rank and file stepped of the ramp in an orderly fashion. Following them came a cloaked figure, one the Zabrak knew well.
The Krath walked to meet the figure, offering his hand, “Karel, my brother,” he greeted as he started to walk inline with the other, headed out of the hangar. “Still no sabre?”
Karel’s hand slid to his side where he kept his training sabre, “I’m working on it.” The companions paused for a moment at a ‘T’ intersection in the corridor. “It’s good to see you again brother,” the human finally said.
“Indeed,” confirmed the Zabrak, motioning down the left hand turn, “come.” Windos lead the other Bruth’Kothae down the corridor into Galeres’ meditation room, where they each took a mat and began reacquainting themselves through the Force.
An hour passed and suddenly crippling pain writhed Windos’ body and he flung himself at the floor. Gasping for breath he managed to speak, “I must… leave for Antei… Anshar.”
Without question Karel helped his brother and aided him in returning to the hangar.
Shuttles were dropping out of the sky faster then they could appear.
“Sir, we have lost two already and the squadron is gaining ground on us.”
“Well then, I truly wonder if they know we have there precious Battle Lord Ga-Tir aboard this vessel.”
The captain opened the COM link to an open frequency,
“We will kill the traitor Ga-Tir if anymore ships attempt to follow or attack this vessel. Consider that a warning.”
“Kosk, Gavin get the fighters to back off the ship it is a Scholae Palatinae shuttle. We need to allow it to pass. We don’t need one of our soldiers dying if we can prevent it, Ma`ar will need to fend for himself.” Quejo ordered.
Suddenly the ship hit its thruster’s full open, and engaged the Hyperdrive.
“Sir it has been done, I tagged the shuttle so we will know where it appears.” Odin said
“Tagged the shuttle?” Kosk said.
“Yes, I had a shot at the shuttle and took a wild guess as to which one to fire on before all the fighting erupted.”
“Good work, the drinks will be on me if we can get Ma`ar back.”
“ALL SHIPS REPORT TO THE ABYSS”
Halcyon and sent the order out, all remaining craft were to return back to the Abyss, and then wait for further orders.
“Strategos, I feel a disturbance someone has been taken.” The Rokir uttered from his chambers.
“Yes sir, Ma`ar was ambushed on Arconae Primus. He was taken and the rest of Galeres, and a few from Oriens pursued. However the shuttle managed to escape with Ma`ar aboard, we took out two of the three shuttles. Still not enough.”
Halcyon slammed his fists on the desk and cut the COM link connection.
“Prepare my shuttle we go to the Abyss.” Consul spoke to a commander.
“Yes sir, within ten.”
"All of you have the information updated on your datapads. That's the latest situation on our unreceptive guests. Two shuttles were shot down but not destroyed yet, they have fallen five hundred meters apart. The landings were at position eleven and twelve o'clock, from where we are, on this moon… for the assumed purpose of repairing the ships after the failed fleeing."
Koskian paused for a moment before finishing.
"However, the darkness is always our ally. They grounded on the murky side of Boral, which never faced the light of Dajorra. Your strikepoint has been programmed in the datapad already. Move in pairs, strike down the guards, deactivate the shuttles and seek the target. Save those that can give us usefull information..dispose of the rest. Stay in the shadows. The subconscious is somewhat more useful than the conscious. Any questions?"
The Sargeant looked at his troopers, waiting for their questions.
The Soulfire Strike Team members yelled in unison, the mission clear in their minds.
"Now, move out! Liscence to kill has been provided to your hands," the Sergeant firmly commanded.
Selene, Odin, Archean and Karel turned to the eleven o'clock coordinate; Gavin, Kosk and Malidir to the twelve. Running hard, they planned to reach the strike areas in three minutes. It was time for the shadows practitioners to test their abilities. Just when Odin was about to take his step to run, Koskian called him.
"Odin, have you processed the tag?" The Obelisk Exarch asked.
"Yes, Sir. Combining it with the data of the Arconan space intelligence, the biggest probability of appearance will be in the CSP ring, Sir."
"Good. It will be the job of the stealth fighters to pursue. Now, we'll tip over the two shuttles. See if Ma'ar is on one of those, we are going to finish this soon," The Obelisk uttered, " Ok, Odin..May the Force serve you well, Soulfire For The Win!"
"Soulfire For The Win!" replied the Guardian, turning around to catch-up to his fellow Arconans to the making their way to the agreed coordinate.
Running toward the position specified by the annoying “bleep” on the tracker, the two Sith and single Krath became one with the shades of darkness. The Soulfire motto “Shadows and Darkness are our allies” burning deep inside them. The suits they were wearing provided additional protection against the thin atmospheric terrain on Boral,
The trio slowed simultaneously as a softly light reached their eyes. The origin of the light inside the downed shuttle, about fifty meters ahead. The silhouettes of at least four attackers were slowly moving around the shuttle.
Archean waved his left hand, signaling the small squad to a halt. Squatting behind a conveniently large rock, they were able to observe the situation. None of them planned to just run in there and have a go at whatever was still inside the shuttle. The Sith Warrior tilted his head, sensing the flow of the Force that came from the shuttle, while Karel used his electrobinoculars to examine the unknown danger.
"Four guards outside with rifles and blasters, I would guess there are more inside." Karel reported in low voice.
"About fifteen people inside. Unfortunately, I can't sense Ma'ar’s presence there. We will only know for sure after we have searched every nook and cranny on that damn ship" the Warrior whispered, his eyes turning to Karel and Selene," Where is Odin?".
"He might still be behind us, he got held up at the shuttle. I am sure he will catch up with us soon," Selene spoke quietly.
"Alright, Karel and I will move closer to the shuttle, we need to go at it from opposite sides, else we’ll be gunned down" Archean nodded at Karel, signaling him to start moving.
"I'll wait for Odin, then we can move to the other side. Signal when we’re good to go?
"Aye, and make sure nobody escaped..." Archean's voice faded away as the two Sith disappeared into the Shadows.
Selene continued observing the area, a small patch of unease settling in her stomach. She was used to it by now, it happened before every battle, but she still hated it. Her eyes roamed the area, constantly checking if there was any form of life aside from those they had already identified. Hoping that Odin will get to her soon, they could not afford to waste a moment.
Scyrone was coming back from the Eye of the Abyss where Quejo was training and prepping the fleets. As the newly promoted Commander of Bas-Tyra Scyrone was hoping to get the Battle-Team members together so they could all converse on their plan. Scyrone went to the small transports communication terminal and signaled for Xar’Kahn and Keno to talk with him over the terminal.
“Xar . . . Keno . . . You there?” said the Guardian into the speaker, “This is Scyrone. I need you to contact me.”
“I hear ya loud and clear Commander,” answered Xar’Kahn, “And Keno is here with me. We are awaiting your orders on what to do next.”
“You are on Selen correct?”
“I will be there in approximately 4 hours. By the time I land I want you and Keno to have gone to the armory and gotten a few blaster rifles and personal weapons for the team, to have also rested up, and to be ready to take off on the teams small transport ship, which is in the hanger bay next to mine.”
“We understand Commander. Xar and Keno out.”
Scyrone was happy for his battle-team. He had not told them where they were going but it was quite obvious where they were going. Something was happening on Arconae Primus and they were about to find out what. The Commander had felt the force tremble. Did something happen to someone of importance? He would find out soon enough.
Xar looked at Keno, there was silence except for the low hum of Keno’s body suit
. They have ben waiting for a moment like this. A chance to use what they had learned against an enemy.
“Well, let go and grab our gear.” The human ordered.
They had just returned from the armory, and although Keno did not pay attention to what Xar was doing or what he has within his bag, Keno went over what he himself selected for whatever this mission holds. Plasma grenades, a SoroSuub X-45, and for more closer combat his favorite weapon, his Shyarn.
As they stood outside the hanger, the sound of the air being sliced fills the ears of the two. Xar paced back and forth awaiting the shuttles arrival. Keno danced around cutting down unseen foes, honing his skill and refreshing his knowledge art of the deadly dance that one almost has to learn while armed with the Shyarn. They were supposed to heed their commander’s words and rest before their assignment, but the excitement that took hold of them both made resting very difficult, the Human managed to rest for an hour or so, but Keno has been awake since the message came in. Now they wait for the Commander, although he was new to that role, Keno would serve with him even if it called for his death, and as the Nagai sharpens his skill with his prized weapon, an officer walked up.
“Your commanders’ shuttle has arrived, he is expecting you in the hanger for your next transport.” reported the officer, then as promptly as he told them this, he turned and walked off.
Xar turned to Keno, “Well, now we see what we are to do.”
A quick check to make sure his uniform was in order and Xar was ready. In one hand he held a bag filled with an assortment of explosive materials, in his left hand he carried another bag, this time filled with food. In his backpack, Xar carried a range a sensory equiptment, his datapad, a few audio/visual drones and the like. On his person Xar carried an array of weaponry covering most bases, his fira hung on his right, his katana, the left. Xar also carried a lightsabre. Full version that was not his own, but that of the clan. As was common in times of war and threat, Arconan journeymen were allowed to carry standard lightsabres, though they were very basic, they did the job.
Xar looked up to see his new commander step out of the ship, ducking, as he did not wait for the ramp to fully collapse. He looked both Xar and Keno in the eye and pointed to the ship. As if by magic, or maybe the force, Xar and Keno immediately mobilised and had the ship up and running. Everything was ready, now they waited in anticipation before Scyrone boarded.
Scyrone started walking up the ramp, with his leather boots making a rubbing sound as he went up.
“Commander,” shouted an officer running up behind him, “I don’t know if you knew this, but Smoke was taken by someone . . . or something . . . on Arconae Primus.”
“Ahhh,” figured the Ithorian, “I knew that something was wrong, but this explains it. Well, we best be going now.”
Just as Scyrone was done saying that, JScumm ran up to the ship. “Sorry, Commander, just getting some weapons for myself, I seemed to have overslept a little too,” chuckled JScumm.
“Don’t worry about it,” said the Ithorian, “Get on the ship and get ready for take-off. And don’t worry about Smoke officer, we will find out where he is hopefully and he will most probably be able to take care of himself while we search for him.”
At that the Officer left the hanger, and JScumm got into the ship. Scyrone followed him up the ramp, and stepped inside the ship. Scyrone looked at the Battle-Team members and the members looked back at him. The Ithorian could tell the team members were ready for anything, and confident in there objectives, although they didn’t know what they were.
“We are headed to Arconae Primus,” started the Commander, “As you probably know Smoke, our beloved Quaestor, has gone missing. And we are going to find out what happened. Soulfire and Qel-Droma are already on Arconae Primus and are already finding out what happened. We are going to do the same.”
The team seemed even more confident than ever before. They had serious faces, but he could tell that they had experience (and possibly more experience than the Commander) in these situations.
“So,” started Scyrone again with a smile, “Xar, rev up the engines, pull-in the ramp and close the door, and get us out of here. Keno, get in the navigational seat and punch in the coordinates for Arconae Primus. And JScumm, sit tight and prepare for take-off. I’ll be in the cockpit with the other two members, helping with take-off. Once were in hyperspace I suggest that we go over some strategy and prepare for what’s coming ahead. After that you can do whatever you guys want until we prepare for landing.”
With that, Xar went into the pilot’s seat, Scy in the copilot’s seat, and behind them both Keno went into the navigational seat, and JScumm prepared for the teams first take-off. They blasted out of the hanger and headed for Arconae Primus.
Keno looked at his console that he was stationed at. The dim orange of the buttons on the navigational chart lit up the front of the Nagai’s helmet. He glanced over to the piolet’s seat, seeing Xar concentrate on the his assigned task.
“Ok we are leaving the planet’s atmosphere. Keno, start punching in the coordinates.” Scyrone ordered.
The guardian turned back towards the panel, and rapidly pressed various buttons. The shuttle started to vibrate a little, then stopped at once. In his gut, Keno knew that they were in space, and that he needed to complete his task. He moved quicker, hands dancing on the face of the navigational chart.
Just as he finished his Commander turned to him.
“Keno, are you done?”
The Nagai looked at Scyrone, and gave him a single quick nod, still maintaining his silence that has lasted him most of his life. The commander turned back to Xar.
“Ok, go to Hyperspace.”
As the inspired greetings of Soulfire Strike Team floated in the air, embracing his very heart, fueling the flow of the nutrients, air; and sparking pulses of life in his nervous system, the Guardian began swinging his lower limbs as fast as he could to reach the place he had memorized earlier. The information in his data pad had been planted thoroughly into his mind. The intruders must be destroyed, efficiently and with no mercy. They had made a big mistake when they captured Ma'ar, his master, a respected leader, his friend, his visage of a father that had long gone...
The darkness was his ally and the shadow was his shelter, though yet he still learning of them. They had finally brought him to the destination, safe and sound. Concealed behind a huge rock, he found none of his comrades there. The silence and darkness were embracing every spot of the scene.
Perhaps, they have all continued to the next phase
He was glad to be on the mission along with his close friends, Archean, Karel and Selene. Flashing in his memory, were the great experiences of successful missions with his master, and his friends. The thoughts almost overwhelmed him for a while. However, they were blending and shaping a little bliss in his past that he could not lean on yet. The present would betray him and the future could have afflicted him if he could not pass this one successfully.
Fifty meters ahead, he would catch the most hated ship. Showing its gleam through a dim light inside, the shuttle was still firm on the ground of Boral, expressing its arrogance in Odin's eyes. It encourage the hatred inside the Sith, combining with the sense that he always wanted to surpass it.
The fear of losing those he cared about. Again.
He was not afraid of his death, but he would rather sacrifice it as the cost. But, was it worthy enough? Disturbing, he would not wish to suffer from a loss again.
His right hand gripped the blaster tightly. His training saber was kept safely on his right waist, accompanied by the tranquilizer darts on the opposite side. His sword was reliably waiting on his back. He was ready to down the impostors, who had tipped over the tranquility of Dajorra. It was the initial time of reprisal.
Moving hastily from one rock to the other, Odin drew himself closer to the target. He felt that one of his fellows was around there. Squatting, he activated the portable secured scanner, letting his fellows know he had arrived to join them, nevertheless, he discovered three other dots that were not identified as allies. They were so close to him, almost piled with his own dot.
Two red laser points shifting randomly from his right drew on the rock before him to find the living dark opaque. Considering the peril, Vaaj turned around in a left leap, seeing two soldiers pointing their guns, following his flying silhouette. He could sense the movement of his opponents' fingers pulling the triggers. Two green blasts were landed on the rock behind him, missing the Sith who was in the second inverted leap, unleashing two green shots of his, that pierced the head and the chest of the enemies.
The Sith landed gracefully on the ground in crouch position, watching his foes crumbling before him.
He was not the target. They were.
But in one exhale Odin just released; he felt a wave behind and a sound of jammed trigger. Too close, he would not make it in such limited second. Crushing himself to the right, his left leg tried to make a sweep hoping to down the attacker. Indeed, the foe fell on the ground by his face, in a separated head of his body. The swing of a lightsaber explained the hack.
"Selene!" Odin screamed in a whisper," Thanks."
Karel and Archean advanced quickly, taking precaution not to be seen by the Sith that were guarding the shuttle.
“They are not heavily armed, this will be easy…” spoke Karel
“Shhh…the element of surprise must be ours. We shall approach them unseen and unheard.”
The two stopped a distance away from the guards, kneeling down and preparing their assault. Archean felt the guards through the Force, and he signaled his companion to attack on his mark.
A moment of silence later, Archean stood up and ran towards the ship, with Karel struggling to keep up. The guards were unaware of the two Jedi infiltrating the site, as they continued their patrol. Archean stopped suddenly and crouched behind a small maintenance vehicle.
“Did they see us?” the warrior inquired.
Karel’s silence was sufficient. The warrior called for the Force once more, and felt a lonely guard approaching their position. They waited until the soldier was close, and Archean quickly rose from his feet and grabbed the now helpless guard, twisting his neck with a loud crack. Karel grabbed the lifeless body and set it down far from the other guards’ eyes.
“The other 3 are forming a single patrol; we should wait for the others before proceeding” spoke Archean
Karel nodded, and hoped Odin and Selene would not waste much time. But seconds later, blaster sounds ended the brief silence, and the two Jedi quickly turned to the source.
“Damn it!” Archean cursed “They should have waited longer!”
The warrior reached for his belt and ignited his lightsaber, and he sprinted towards the front of the shuttle. Karel unsheathed his vibro sword and prepared for the attack.
Selene attacked the 3 guards with her lightsaber in a dance of death. As she deflected the blasts back to the troopers, she noticed one of them trying to escape back in the shuttle, probably to call reinforcements.
“Odin, don’t let him escape!” she shouted
Odin revealed his blaster, and tried to aim at the fleeing soldier.
“I have you in my sight…” he said to himself
But as he was squeezing the trigger, a deflected blast landed a few inches from his position, making him miss the shot. The soldier did not react, and disappeared in the damaged shuttle.
Archean quickly arrived to help Selene, and after a few slashes, the lifeless bodies of the two guards fell to the ground with a loud thump.
“I could have handled it…” said Selene
The warrior did not bother to respond, for he sensed something strange was happening in the ship.
“They’re trying to take off!” shouted Odin
“They won’t get far…” spoke Karel in an ironic tone. “I disabled one of their power generators; they don’t have enough energy to lift 3 inches off the ground”
Indeed, the craft slowly rose from the ground, only to fall back with a loud metallic sound. Immediately, the front doors slid open, and a barrage of lasers targeted the 4 Jedi. Archean and Selene parried with ease, and waited for the impending assault in their attacking stance. Odin readied his blaster, while Karel seemed more interested in the strange markings on the side of the shuttle. Two Jedi Knights appeared at the front door.
“Arconans…interesting…” one of them spoke.
“We’ll be the last thing you ever see” Archean ironically replied.
The two Jedi ignited their sabers, and jumped clear over the heads of their adversaries, and upon touching the ground, entered their fighting stance.
“We’ll handle them; Karel, Odin, enter the craft!” Archean spoke in a low pitched voice
The warrior launched his attack on the Dark Jedi, calling for the Force to aid his swings. Selene swung her lightsaber across her enemy’s head, but he immediately crouched, the blade missing him by only an inch.
While Archean and Selene battled the unknown Jedi, Karel led the way inside the craft, hoping he could track down Ma’ar, or any information to his whereabouts. The inside of the ship was claustrophobic. The corridors were extremely narrow, the rooms seemed small, and the light was very dim. The ship was, apparently, deserted.
“What happened to the soldiers?” Karel asked himself
Odin reached a terminal, and examined a map of the craft. Odin remained still for a few seconds, then turned to Karel and spoke.
“It’s likely the power will run out in a few minutes, they wasted most of it during their attempt to escape. Look here, this is the barracks” pointing towards the screen of the computer “the soldiers are probably there, equipping. If I were to press a few buttons…They could be stuck equipping for a long, long time” the Guardian smirked.
Odin operated the console for a few moments, until a red light appeared on the wide screen, signifying his success. As Odin pressed the final key, the dim lights turned off in unison. The narrow corridors were as dark as the night sky.
“Tell me you shut them down in time” said Karel
Odin did not answer; he instead reached for his pocket and revealed a small portable lantern.
“Lead the way, my friend”
Odin was headed towards the main bridge, in hopes of finding the captain. In absence of a map, it would have been impossible to find Smoke in the darkness of the shuttle.
“I guess this is the entrance” said Odin
Karel had the urge to press the keypad, but shortly after remembered the power was down.
“Um…I may have locked this part of the shuttle down when I closed the barracks” said Odin in an apologetic tone
“Well how are we supposed to get in?” asked Karel
The hunter turned his attention a few yards away to an opened door. He directed the lantern in the direction, and slowly approached it.
“This is the captain’s quarters…. If Smoke’s on this ship there must be record of it”
Karel searched through the files on the captain’s desk, and in the end found a small holodisc. The hunter inserted it in his datapad, and a distortional hologram emerged. It was a slideshow of weapons, tactics, and other details. As Karel was getting ready to eject the disc, a disturbing image appeared
“It’s Ma’ar!” Odin shouted
It was a picture of Smoke, along with the tag
“Subject: Ma’ar Tyrius. Instructions: Apprehend. Dead or Alive”
“Refreshing” Karel said to himself…
The Bas-Tyra Shuttle Craft came out of hyperspace with a loud SHRROOOOM from the engines. Commander Scyrone had immediately started ordering commands to the members of Bas-Tyra, not angrily but hastily.
“Keno, could you possibly find a landing spot for us as quick as possible?”
“Yes, Commander,” said the Nagai, “ I could get you coordinates within . . . now.”
Keno had always, for some strange reason, been fast with navigation. Even though a few times it would be a little longer, he knew what to type in and what to do in the best way possible. So naturally, Keno had been able to find a landing spot fast.
“Xar, get to those coordinates as fast as you can, we don’t want the other Battle-Teams to have all the fun.” Grinned the Commander.
“Yes, Scy,” replied Xar, “I’m heading into the atmosphere now.”
“I’m going to strap myself in the back,” said the Ithorian, “I know you both could keep good control of the shuttle.”
Scyrone walked quickly to the back of the shuttle and sat in a seat next to JScumm. JScumm was surprisingly calm to the shuttles landing and wasn’t fretting at all.
“You seem like you have done this before,” questioned the Commander.
“Honestly,” started JScumm, “I know how to fly almost any ship. I love to fly ships and fighters and to feel the roar of space around me.”
“Are you an experienced pilot?”
“Yes, I know how to use the flight controls, the navigational equipment, and the piloting gear. I know it all. It’s pretty boring back here.”
The Ithorian was surprised, but kept a serious face. Scyrone and the BT would have to explore and find out for themselves what clues lie for Smoke being captured. That is why they are headed to Arconae Primus, to search for clues on the disappearance of Smoke.
The Team made there way into the atmosphere of the planet and had a soft landing on the jungle landscape. Scyrone immediately went to the cockpit and talked to Keno for a second.
“Xar, go and get prepared for combat. There might not be or might be something out there. Surely they wouldn’t be able to clean up every mistake. And help JScumm prep for combat too. Me and Keno will be back in a sec.”
With that Xar went into the back leaving the Nagai and the Ithorian behind at the nav computer.
“Keno, search the surrounding area for any life-signs. Smoke was captured around here so we should be able to find something.”
Keno flickered a few screens around and flew his hands all over the buttons, pressing a certain button each time. Keno and Scyrone were there for a few minutes when there was a beeping sound from the nav computer.
“Ohhh, crap,” said the Nagai, “There seems to be an enemy camp that they have set-up here. But the thing is they aren’t life-signs . . . they’re droids!”
“What’s so bad about droids?”
“Well droids can be totally random . . . they could have the best or worst armor or the best or worst guns. We won’t know what to use on them? And according to the computer they have advanced technology.”
“Well then we prepare for the worst and we bring the worst.”
Scyrone and Keno went to the back and there was JScumm and Xar almost ready for combat.
“Prepare for advanced droids.” said Keno.
“Dammit! I thought we had enough of these for training in the Shadow Academy?!” shouted the angered Xar.
“Of course we did, but now we know how easy they will be.” Responded Scyrone.
Scyrone put on his armor along with Keno and while Keno and Xar got simple lightsabers (it was a time of battle and they were allowed to have them) and rifles in there hands, Scyrone got his Katana sheathed and another rifle for him and JScumm.
“Ok, this will be a little harder but this is what we do. We head for the enemy camp and we will go in a tight line formation until we get close to the camp. I will lead with JScumm behind me and then Keno and then Xar. Then once we get to the camp. I and JScumm will cause distractive blaster fire while Keno and Xar go in, saber lit, and strike them down. Let’s head out.”
The team then left the craft and went out, deep into the jungle. They were approaching the enemy camp and the Commander put up a stop hand signal. And Xar and Keno put away there rifles and held there sabers at hand. The camp was actually defended lightly. The droids being advanced, but easily defeatable. The Team would have little trouble, if any, in defeating this lack of a camp.
Blaster fire erupted from JScumm and Scyrone, distracting and grazing a few of the droids. At the same moment Xar and Keno activated there sabers and ran into the camp slicing down there opponents. Scyrone and JScumm took aim on targets farther away from the sabered combatants, not trying to accidentally hit them with fire. After a couple of minutes it was over and all that was left was a few droid heads and parts left out.
“That was good, but I have a feeling we must hurry. Take as many droid heads as you can and bring them back to the shuttle. I will have a link-up waiting for them.”
Scyrone ran back to the shuttle, with the team members following farther behind him. And Scyrone set up the link once he got into the shuttle. Once the team members had arrived they starting testing multiple heads and memory cores for information. There small battle was not so big, but they had caused so much damage that the memory banks were too damaged. Finally they came across a message on one of the droid heads. It was a picture of the Quaestor along with a tag.
“Subject: Ma’ar Tyrius. Instructions: Apprehend. Dead or Alive”
The sapphire blade whizzing through the air, collecting the other one in a swift stroke, sparks flying through the air. Feeling quite annoyed, Archean moved back slightly, trying to regain his focus, he was being out maneuvered which was getting on his nerves, seeing how Archean takes his training extremely seriously. The Warrior moved forward with his saber up came thundering down on the Jedi but was easily deflected away before a swift kick was initiated, the Sith back flipped out of it, bringing his lightsaber to his right, slowing down the battle.
“Hmm, this is more difficult than I thought.” The Sith contemplated his next move while his face remained stone-like, not giving away any hint of emotion. Selene was also in a difficult situation with the other Jedi.
“I wish Odin and Karel would get their behinds here sometime soon.” She thought to herself, while striking the Jedi with tremendous force. The Jedi stepped back and moved his saber sideways across his body to block the strike, Selene tried to apply pressure but was soon overpowered. Archean felt the force of Selene hitting the ground, he quickly turned his head in her direction, his hearing amplified by his disability, he raced over to her, seeing the shadows in his mind, his long brown hair flailing through the wind, the sweat off his brow flying off..
The Bruth’Kothae’s teeth became clenched as his pace quickened, he lowered his lightsaber, the tip dragging along the ground, leaving a hot scratch line in the ground as he ran. Sensing himself getting closer to his intended target, a slight growl was building inside his head and was coming out of his mouth, growing louder and louder until it became a roar that echoed through the area. Archean’s lightsaber was brought straight up, as swift as lightning, The Jedi’s sense rung out through his ears to get out of the way. The Jedi slid backwards just in time to miss the slice that would have cleaved him in half, but the Jedi didn’t anticipate an all out attack from the Knight. Selene’s lightsaber was fluttering all around, a purple haze could be seen all over the area filled with rage she was as accurate as an assassin, the Jedi having trouble parrying the shots, let alone trying to match her speed. A smirk came across Archean’s face as he jetted forward, the Warrior lunged forward with his saber, trying to stab his opponent but it failed, out of range. Archean tried again but his saber was smacked away. The Sith got an idea and ran out to flank the Jedi, he looked over to Selene who nodded slightly, still pressuring the Jedi. The Human switched his saber to his left hand and held it out to his side. The Jedi tried to maintain focus on the fast paced Knight and the calculating Warrior running up behind him. The Sith Warrior raised the saber as he came into contact with the Jedi, the Jedi felt the Sith come behind him and back flipped over. Archean reacted freakishly quick, he moved back and stuck out a leg, catching the Jedi as he landed, he quickly spun his saber upside down and thrusted it into the ground, piercing the shoulder of the Jedi, he let out a roar of pain as the blade stayed inside his flesh. The Jedi tried rolling back, with the saber still inside him but Selene saw this and pounced on him, slicing down on both legs and taking them clean off. Archean pulled the saber out and without warning thrusted the saber through the heart of the Jedi.
Archean breathed a sigh of relief, as did Selene, the battle they endured was tough but it seemed as though it was a taste of what lies ahead, in the search for his Master.
Selene fixed her robes and looked back at Archean
“Shall we find Karel and Odin?”
“Sure, I believe they are on that ship, with any luck they have found more clues to aid our search.” The Warrior said after taking a few breathes. Selene nodded and both made their way to the ship.
As they approached the metal door it opened suddenly, revealing Karel and Odin behind it.
“Boy, do we have news for you!” Karel exclaimed. Odium came out from behind Karel, holding something of interest for the party.
Quejo smiled when he found out that the shuttles had crash landed on Boral. He was even more pleased to hear that the members of the Shuttles were being dealt with. Soulfire was good for striking quickly and silently, ghosts on the field of battle was what he often referred to them as.
"Sir.." An Officer shouted. "Master Halcyon's shuttle is docking."
A small smile turned to a grin as the Arconae heard the news.
"Very well. Tell him to meet me in the briefing room."
A quick salute was the Officers final response as he rushed out of the room.
"Captain Zor." Quejo summoned. "See to it that we stay on course."
"Yes sir." Was the Zabraks stern reply, her domineering presence making those before her scramble to carry out her strict demands.
Quejo nodded, knowing that the fleet was in competent hands before making his way to the briefing room.
Quejo straightened his uniform before stepping in. The deep voice of his Consul ringing from a darkened corner.
"Sovreign Imperator Bandon." He greeted. "Ready to find Ma'ar?"
"As ready as I'll ever be. Captain Zor will take control of the Abyss and fleet in our absence."
"So you know where they're taking him?"
"Well the tracking device on the Shuttle is telling us that they're headed towards a Scholae compound. I've programmed the computers on two of our shuttles, they'll pilot themselves to a coordinate we will soon gather from the Shuttles computers.When they land, sith probe droids will keep an eye on Ma'ar's whereabouts. Once our Shuttles land and give us the coordinates, we'll intercept Smoke and bring him home."
"Why not go ourselves?"
"If we go ourselves, there will be more chances of being detected. Not only could we be detected, but we could be brought down. I wont take any chances. We'll wait til the time is right. Then....we'll get your precious Quaestor."
"Very well" Halc replied, stroking his goatee curiously. "Who's going with us?"
"Well....I've assembled a group to go with us, they arent here yet, but they should be arriving shortly.
Keno was outside of the shuttle, legs tucked under him and his hood up. After the message Scyrone started to talk to Xar and Jscumm, what it was about the Nagai did not know, but he felt that meditation was needed to keep his mind in sharp focus, and to fully understand what is happening.
Ma’ar Tyrius, the commander of their house, has been kidnaped or dead. It was clear that droids were also a key factor in his disappearance, which ment there is a control station near by since his scans did not show any unusual spacecraft in orbit. So the easiest way Keno can see to find out who the ringmaster is behind this is to follow the droids to the source.
The young Sith looked back at the battle, it seemed that the droids set up there was simply trying to establish a forward command post, so there might be some evidence to where other camps are located. Or it could have nothing. Keno continued to replay the battle in his mind, looking for clues, but all his mind was focusing on was the lightsaber he used. It was the first lightsaber he ever held, other then his training saber of course. The Nagai opened his eyes and looked at the deactivated saber laying next to him on the ground, it was simple in design but nonetheless deadly.
“Focus Keno, ignore distraction, look past the obvious and see the hidden elements in this game.” Keno closed his eyes and tried to forget the lightsaber for the moment. But as much knowledge he possesses of the Force, it in no way made a difference in his concentration.
“Damn, why can’t I look past such a trivial thing as this? Well, no matter. I might as well try something more productive then sitting out here,” the Sith Guardian grabbed his lightsaber and buckled it to his belt as he rose to his feet, “let’s check the scans to see if I can find that control station.” With that Keno boarded the ship again, and pushed past Xar and Scyrone to get back to the scanner.
OOC: I will set the story straight here, sorry for the big mess I caused in this RO.
Scyrone had just got a transmission from his Master, Quejo, calling him back to the Abyss. The Ithorian had already messed up a lot of times in this war and was not about to make any more mistakes on his part.
“JScumm, get to the pilot seat, Keno, we have no time to lose, get to the nav computer, and Xar, get in the co-pilot seat. We’re getting the hell out of here.”
And with that they blasted off the planet and out into space. They then flew onwards to the Abyss.
A few hours later they arrived at the Abyss. There the team was escorted to there small quarters, but Scyrone would rather go and find his Master and see what is going on. With that he left the team behind and went off into the hallways and the whereabouts of the Abyss.
As the four Soulfire members gathered again before the shuttle exit door in the dim light of lantern Odin’s brought, Karel told the Warrior about the holodisks they found in the Captain’s quarters. Not much information about where the House Oriens Obscurum’s Quaestor taken precisely to, but somehow, they could give slight a view of whose order in the charge of authority of targeting Ma’ar. Scholae Clan Summit apparently had the endorsement of this mission. However, the data seemed separated into three parts of complementary operation as the squad in this shuttle was an intelligence disruptor. The two others would be the primary stalking squad and the artillery back up.
“So,… intelligence disruptor, that’s the reason they were headed to Arcona Primus. Still not clear enough here though, how did they know Ma’ar himself would be there. I know the expressive intrusion meant as bait but how did they know?” Archean muttered in ire after observing the hologram data projected in Karel’s datapad.
“Well, as a logical reason, it would need someone from our side helping them to break our secured chain of information, and we can distinguish further if this ship operable. Seems the power generators were being hit severely in the aerial combat, and getting worse by Karel’s arts of machine raid,” Odin grinned, ”I’ve locked down the rest of the squad in their.. .emm… barracks, before the power running out to the end.”
“Good. Have you found the Captain?” Archean asked.
Odin and Karel looked at each other.
“Perhaps, not by us. We found his room empty. I thought one of the Knights you’ve battled was the Captain.” Karel answered simply.
“No, they weren’t. So the Captain must be here somewhere. What about the one I asked you to aim at, Odin. Have you found him?” Selene inquired.
A hard thud hit Odin’s heart as he did not continue to pursue the soldier after Karel and he entered the dimmed ship. Searching fast through his memory of the scanned map and living creatures before the ship power going down, Odin took a temporary determination,” I think, he gathers with other soldiers in their barracks. That’s what I’ve seen in the terminal before the light went out.”
“Alright, you said that they were all locked in their ‘barracks’. Let’s sweep them even though my feelings told me that Ma’ar is not there,” Archean commanded.
“And so did mine…saying so…” Odin whispered to himself.
The four Soulfire members moved deeper inside the ship, searching every scope in the murky atmosphere of the shuttle. It was not an obscurity to them, because the darkness was always their ally, and they had been trained in such circumstances. Passing the Captain’s quarters once more, Odin found something strange to the door. It was closed, not opened as the previous time they entered the room.
“Karel, did you close the door, before we left this room?” asked Odin
“No, I think you went out after me. Did you shut it?” Karel asked back.
“Of course not. There was no power to generate it…or perhaps, we missed something here,” Odin observed carefully the door before him,” It was forced to close manually…”
“Well, only one way to make sure,” Selene ignited her light saber, cutting through the door to open a space.
As the door fell down inside, blasters shots were welcoming them.
"Consul Rokir, you have an incoming transmission." a COM link buzzed as the Consul grabbed at it.
"Understood Captain, I will be on the bridge shortly." The Rokir snapped.
As Halcyon made way through the massive corridors of the Abyss, His Quaestor of Galeres in tow.
"Any Idea who would send you a transmission to the abyss and not your personal communicator." Bandon replied.
With a shrug, the Arconae kept walking, after taking the lift the Bridge was a live with several officers making random checks on several different monitors.
"Now where is that transmission?" Halcyon replied.
"Sir, this transmission isn't from any of our fleet, or headquarters." The officer replied.
As the officer pushed several buttons the live hologram played.
"We have your precious Tribune, since two of our ships were destroyed and lives lost. We shall take what is ours."
The cloaked warrior, turned to view the Vurk, bound at the feet and hands he was shackled to a wall.
Whaaaack, Whaack. Whaack
The Vurk slumped over, blood spilling from his mouth. Muscles clinched and struggling to free himself. The Vurk fought and fought to get free, but the beating kept continuing.
As the cloaked figure turned to face the projector, "I do hope I have your attention now Rokir. Your troops have entered and destroyed a supply depot of ours. Lives lost, and thousands and thousands of credits lost in goods."
In the background the beating of the Ga-Tir had worsened to the point of little struggle from Ma`ar.
Finally the pair of Arconae witness two sabers ignited. The snap hiss was intense as the Vurk could barely lift his head to see the glowing blades.
"Sir, they wouldn't." Quejo snapped.
As the blades drew closer to the Ga-Tir, the look in the swollen eye was of nothing not even fear.
A violet blade slashed at the chest of the Vurk, cutting flesh and cloth. The tribune was helpless at this point, his friends unable to bargain or save him.
"ENOUGH." The Rokir snapped, the hatred was too much
"I'm sorry but you Consul have deemed this mans fate." The voice replied.
As the Violet blade slashed again, this time severing the right arm of the Tribune. His body went limp and his mechanical arm dropped with a loud Thud.
As the hologram continued to play, Ma`ar slumped to the ground.
"Pick his lifeless body up, and let's finish this once and for all." The cloaked warrior said.
A purple bladed hilt emitting a blue blade came into view of the hologram.
"Witch, enough of this madness, as you know the Tribunes are under direct authority of the Dark Summit, and Dark Council killing one of there own will bring enough damage to rival what you claim to be an Arcona attack was." The Rokir said as he watched the carnage.
"You forget Consul; we are the ones under attack. So an eye for an eye." The woman turned to the hologram.
As the blue emitted blade crept closer to Ma`ar, the 2nd warrior raised the Vurk with enough force to slam him hard against the wall.
"For your treachery, Tribune Ga-Tir."
The Sapphire blade entered the chest of the Vurk, as the last breath of air exited Ga-Tir his body fell to the ground as the Hologram ended.
"Dammit, Sir this isn't right they just can't execute a member of the Dark Summit like that can they?" The young Quaestor spoke.
"Rest assured we will not stand for this insult." Rokir said as he walked out of the bridge.
The blasts emerged from the room in an instant, causing the four jedi to evade with difficulty. Archean ignited his lightsaber, as did Selene. The Jedi rose to their feet, in anticipation for the next round of blasts. Odin pointed his flashlight in the direction of the door, but a beam of energy melted his device within seconds. Odin screamed in pain, attracting the others’ attention.
A barrage of lasers targeted the four jedi, sending Odin and Karel to the ground. Archean scanned the dark corridor through the force, and was able to deflect the blast back to its origin with ease. A shriek of pain ruptured the silence.
“Lower your weapon” Archean whispered to Selene.
Complete silence followed. The darkness of the corridor was unearthly. Archean continued to call for the Force, but not even his vast knowledge could help him find his enemies. Selene stood in a crouched position, wondering what the Sith Warrior had in mind.
Odin grasped his blaster, cursing the moment he revealed his lantern. His hand was still in great pain, but he strived to stay focused. He looked around, but could not distinguish anything. He heard the breath of his companions, and tried to get closer to them. As he tried to move, a pain spiked him in the chest, as if a million daggers ran through his heart. Odin crouched to the ground, gasping for air. Karel overheard his friend, and tried to reach him quickly.
“Odin, what’s wrong?” he whispered.
The Guardian could not hear anything, deafened by the immense pain that crossed his body. He spent a few seconds in agony, and with no warning, the pain stopped. Odin slowly opened his eyes, only to be blinded by the darkness once more.
“What…what just happened?” said the guardian to himself.
Odin could not comprehend what he felt, and did not have time to think about it either, for the next moment, blasters lit the narrow corridor, as the soldiers finally emerged from their hideout. Karel helped him get up, and the two hid behind a console to their right. The flashes from the blasters provided little light, but enough to locate the soldiers. Archean and Selene tried their best to deflect the sabers, but the corridor was not a firing range. A deflected shot almost hit Selene’s arm, only her intuition saving her in the last moment. The two jedi ran for cover behind what seemed as a primitive piece of equipment, and tried to catch their breaths.
“We can take them down, why are we running?! A handful of soldiers are no match for us!” spoke Selene in an arrogant tone
“This place is too small, one blaster hit and it will collapse on top of us” replied the Warrior
Archean spotted the enemies between the successive laser flashes. He counted 5, plus a man dressed different, he seemed to be higher in command.
“The captain” whispered Archean
The soldiers’ indiscernible radio chatter could be over heard; Archean had a very attuned sense of hearing.
Archean screamed to his team mates from the bottom of his lungs
“Cover your eyes, now!!!”
Karel, Odin and Selene ducked in unison, as a small spherical object landed right in the middle of them. A short beep, a flash of light emerged from it, blinding everything in its path.
Archean seized the opportunity and revealed himself from his cover, igniting his lightsaber. The troopers covered their eyes protecting themselves, but he did not have any problem with the grenade. He ran towards them and within moments, sounds of flesh meeting his lightsaber pierced the eerie silence. The warrior slew the troopers with ease, and was now looking down at what looked like a superior officer. The man was begging for mercy, but Archean had other plans.
The rest of the Soulfire members rose from the ground, and approached the Warrior.
“Nicely done” spoke Karel
Archean nodded with respect, and pointed towards the officer.
“Let us find out where Ma’ar really is” he spoke…
“Alright. It’s time for a deeper conversation with you...hmm...Captain.” Archean snapped the frightened man before him and gave a sign to the Journeymen.
Karel and Odin perceived the meaning. They dragged the Captain to sit on a chair in the quarters. The Jedi Hunter found something unusual to the chair which equipped by hands and legs cuffs.
“Interesting… you have interrogation devices in your room? Now, it’s your turn to try your own equipment,” said Karel with cynical smile as he shone a flashlight directly to the Captain’s face. Blinked for a moment to adjust the sudden illumination, the Captain swiftly felt his fear expanded. He was the one who usually interrogated the adversary intelligence; his training for this was a long time ago, nearly to forget.
“We are smarter than you all. You won’t have your Lord back!” yelled the Captain tried to eliminate his fright.
Insulted by the Captain’s words, Odin gripped the man’s neck, squeezing him hard, “Where-is-my Master? Where-is-Battlelord Ga-tir!”
The man was gasping for air and groaning a soundless word. Catching the unexpected result if the hatred of the Guardian blew, Selene reminded him,” Odin, he could be dead before we know where Ma’ar is now. Manage your feelings!”
Vaaj freed his grip and slapped the Captain’s face hard. He turned around and calmed himself down but he couldn’t. He felt uneasy as if a tie had been broken. Twice, he had been surrounded by this atmosphere, when he was a child that was still dim to recognize his parent’s missing in Alderaan and secondly, when he had lost the family in the blast of Coruscant Research Center. But he felt something different just before, heart attack like symptoms had fainted him for seconds as a contra of his certainty of his health, especially in his recent ability of the Force connectivity. He came to worry, if something bigger had come to the worst.
The Captain breathed in rush for a while compensating the moment of oxygen loss. He was succumbing in confusion, the thing that he never felt before in such confidence of being an interrogator. Several doubts crisscrossed in his mind. Gazing to the Warrior who stood silently before him, he tried to maintain his poise.
“He’s not here. You’re all too late. Perhaps, my Lady has given vent to her vengeful feelings towards him,” the Captain grinned and laughed sarcastically.
“What have you all done to him!” shouted Odin and giving another slap of his back of hand to the man’s face as he turned around. Blood streamed from the Captain’s nose.
In this time, none of the Soulfire members prohibited the Guardian releasing his anger. Archean remained standing in silence, touching any blockade of the man’s mind. Yet the Captain felt the pain in his nose getting stronger and stronger as if it was going to be yanked out with force. Unable to stand with the hurting that currently embracing inside his skull, the Captain screamed in agony.
“Arrghhh…My Lady wants him to suffer….and…weakens Arcona…. Our attempts were successful… he has been…. in her hands safely ….even if…some of us ….have been… shot down….arghh,” the confession words flew form the officer’s mouth undeniably as the blocked mind had been opened.
“Who is your Lady?” Karel inquired.
“My Lady….Palp….,”the Captain could not continue his words as his power to resist the pain broke down. He collapsed lucratively on his own victim’s chair.
“Weaklings..,” Karel commented as he shaking the unconscious face before him.
The silence went for a moment until it broke by a crack of Archean’s comlink to live.
“Blue Shadow Two, do you copy?”
“Blue Shadow Two copies,” said Archean.
The rest people in the quarters gave their full attention to the voice.
“The exact position of primary objective has been confirmed. We call you back to the old headquarters here. We’ve sent the carrier to pick you up”
The sound of vehicles was heard approaching the shuttle.
“I’ll check it,” Karel disappeared for a moment going to the shuttle exit door. The others waited patiently until the Jedi Hunter showed himself up again to them with an Arconan officer on his right side,” Yes, they are our forces.”
“We’ve received the command to pick you up, Sir,” the officer reported.
“Good,” Archean simply stated, and continued talking to the comlink,” the call’s established. The carrier has been here.”
“We expect to meet you here in ten minutes”
“We’ll be on our ways. Blue Shadow Two over and out,” Archean ended the conversation.
“Shall we?” Said Archean and lead the way towards the shuttle exit door.
The other Dark Jedi strode following him. Odin suddenly remembered something to say to the officer,” Freeze that man, I’ll use him as my specimen later.”
“Yes, Sir. We will take care of him,” stated the officer.
The Arconans entered the transporter quietly, busying with their own thoughts of the upcoming news they would receive. As the engine drove it to fly, the transporter thrust itself towards the old headquarters of Arconan Sith on Boral, leaving a group of soldiers securing the shuttle.
The transporter landed safely in the docking bay of the old Sith Headquarters. As the ramp lowered, the four Dark Jedi exited and walked to enter the H.Q. They went into the lift that brought them two levels above.
Continuing their ways to the hall, Odin felt something that made him uneasy when he passed the room attached to the Quaestor’s chamber and he did not know why. It should be Ma’ar’s old quarters before the headquarters moved to Eldar. He stopped his steps observing the view of the door. Stunned for a moment, he came to reality again as Karel summoned him, “Odin, what do you look at?”
The Guardian saw his friend had been already ten meters ahead, ready to enter the hall. Not to waste any time, Odin drew himself near to his mate by running and covered himself by saying,” Nothing.”
The Sergeant went out from a room to welcome them as he saw his troops approaching the hall.
“Good to see you all. Ma’ar presence has been identified. However, it seems we couldn’t make it. They have acted out of limit,” said Koskian with a sigh.
“What do you mean?” Archean asked a clarification.
“Yes, Sir. What do you mean by saying that we couldn’t make it?” Odin inquired urgently.
“Apparently, they’ve killed him…”
“What?!?” all Soulfire members in that place said in unison, surprised with the news presented by the Sergeant.
“No, that’s impossible. Ma’ar is a powerful Dark Jedi and he is also a trustworthy grand master royal guard. He can’t be easily defeated or even killed,” Archean complained.
“Yes, that’s true. Sir, where did this conclusion came from? Did you find him in the ship you searched?” Odin said, mixed between shocked and puzzled of the unbelievable verity.
“Archean, Odin, come with me,” ordered Koskian.
The Warrior and the guardian followed the Obelisk Exarch towards the room where Koskian had been there before welcoming them. It was a communication control room, equipped by several scanners and holoprojector. The door locked automatically as they were inside the room.
“Although this information is confidential, more or less it is better for you two to know it, as his apprentices. It was relayed directly to the Abyss, to the Consul Bridge. Hope you help your self while watching it,” said the Obelisk as he pushed several buttons to activate the holoprojector.
“Archean?” Odin looked at his friend, regarding the view they would see.
“I’ll sense it, Odin, I’ll feel the atmosphere,” said Archean simply.
Then the hologram replayed before them. The figure of their master bound to the wall, receiving beating after beating that jerking the hands of both apprentices. The lightsaber slashes to the master’s chest and arms were as if transmitted to Odin’s and Archean’s. The final thrust to the heart of the Vurk that ended the process of breathing and heart beating once again reflected as the pain in Odin’s chest though this time was not as hurt as before. Odin managed his breath to stay regular when the holoprojector finished, as the anger rose inside him, and Archean’s.
“It was Ma’ar…” Archean stated in low tone.
“I couldn’t believe it. At least, until we have his body. It could be wrong! It could be only a trick to fool us!” Odin yelled.
“Calm yourself, Odin. You have to see forward.” Koskian said as he led the way to leave the room.
Archean and Odin walked silently to meet the rest of Soulfire members. Suddenly, the Warrior excused himself to the Sergeant,” I have to be alone for a while. Excuse me.” He walked to the lift and disappeared in a few moments later.
Karel tapped his hand on Odin’s left shoulder,” I am so sorry, my friend. But you gotta be tough.”
The Guardian did not say anything. He watched faraway. He had been parted in the close relationship and having a loss again. The figure of a respectful master, a friend and a father perhaps had gone to the Force once more. His master was dead without any barricade of him as his apprentice. He felt very bad and annoyed. The two previous losses of his family were not witnessed by him, but this one was directly thrown to his face and would stay forever. The torturing sensation, the deprivation, were going to be attached to his body and remembered by the Guardian's mind till the end of time. A teardrop landed on the glassy floor.
Odin threw his look around. He would not remain silent. The Sith Headquarters. Perhaps the Force had shown him his course…
Death is not the end… Death is just the beginning.
Archean hurried around the corner and went into the first free room he saw. The door locking shut, Archean let out one of the most harrowing and heartfelt screams as the slumped body, the swift strikes pierced his Master’s flesh played over in his mind, as frightening as if Archean was there, helplessly standing by. His Master, mentor but most importantly, his friend, was slain in such vile circumstances. The Warrior hurled his hand towards the wall with tremendous force, shattering glass, breaking anything that was in his destructive path. A tremendous sadness engulfed the mind of the Sith, as if a movie was playing, remembering the times he had with his Master, training, learning more about the force through the eyes of Ma’ar, all these memories will feed Archean once Arcona find out who killed the Vruk
A few hours had passed, Archean lay there, in a daze of sorts, going through all the memories he had stored, playing them back, thinking, wondering on what will happen next. Over the years Archean has been accustomed to feeling of loss and despair, keeping these emotions bottled up until the time is right is the key. The thought of unleashing fury to the people who did this brought a smirk to the Swordmaster’s face.
Archean focused in the force and started whispering words his Master had passed onto him when he completed his knighthood, so long ago. The Sith paused for a moment.
“This is for you, Master.” He signaled, holding his saber on his chest. Feeling he was ready to return to the group, Archean left the room. Heading back to where the group was, he was stopped by an Officer.
“Warrior Archean, you must come to the communications room, immediately.” Said the officer.
“Alright, let me get the others.” Archean edged forward before he was stopped.
“They are in the room already.” Archean nodded and followed the Officer.
The room was buzzing with the entire leading sections of the clan, Halcyon and Strategos had taken a spot at the main table and were heavily into discussion.
Quejo and Devain were discussing something that wasn’t overheard.
Archean walked into the room, and was ushered over to the holo projector, the vision of Ma`ar replayed as Odin and Koskian were viewing it. As frame by frame clipped by, Odin seemed to stir, as the feelings inside him had gotten the best he bolted from the room, feelings of hatred course through his veins. An end must be reached, and the body of his fallen master was the only thoughts that were clear in the young apprentices mind.
Archean and Koskian were still viewing small portions of the clip to find out where the perpetrators were stationed at. Halcyon and Strategos had noticed the projection.
“Archean, we will be getting the body back, and in due time this was an insult to the clan and Oriens as well. Please go get Odin, as his and your master is the topic of this meeting and have Koskian go with you.” Halcyon said.
“Koskian I just can’t believe this. Ma`ar has been a seasoned veteran both in the skies and on the ground. I just can’t believe that he was so easy to be taken like that.” Archean said with a glimpse of hope.
“Yes, I agree I mean Ma`ar maybe the Tribune and a Quaestor but he isn’t as important as say the clan summit. This whole thing is just way off.” D’Tana snapped as he viewed the replay.
As Odin made his way to the turbo lift, he felt a presence near him that seemed to be steering the guardian towards an empty room.
The door swung open and the entire room was nothing more than storage, but Odin had no clue as to why he was guided there.
A bright light erupted from the back of the room; Odin’s eyes picked the burst up and made way to the back side.
As he rounded a few boxes, a ghostly shape came into view.
Cloaked in a black robe, a tall figure stood before the Guardian.
Odin jerked backwards, as he drew his training saber, with a snap hiss the sapphire blade emitted a bright light, pointing into the space between the two Odin didn’t know for sure who it was, or what he intended to be doing there.
“You dare take a offensive stance against me my apprentice.”
“Master?” Odin said
The cloaked figure, lowered his right hand, as he did so a snap hiss was heard, the crimson blade emitted, and he raised it towards the young guardian from Arcona.
Those words had no meaning at the time to Odin, just as he was going to ask the cloaked man had disappeared. No traces, nothing.
Odin awoke lying on the ground in the storage room; he remembered everything just as vividly as it had happened. However “The Acropolis” eluded him.
As he made his way out of the room Koskian and Archean happened to walking towards him, visually shaken Bruth’Kothae noticed the guardian stumbling around.
“Odin what’s wrong?”
“Ma`ar, Ma`ar is still alive, somewhere I don’t know….he was just here in a vision.” Odin said.
“Odin, Ma`ar is gone you need to accept that we all miss the old Vurk but he’s gone.” D’Tana said as he walked towards the guardian.
“I don’t believe it, he’s not dead he can’t be…….it has something to do with an Arcopolis, what ever that is.” Odin added.
“Kosk, could it be possible? I mean Ma`ar always had small things about him that never added up; his sketchy background was always an issue with the clan summit. As it was said he did attack a supply depot and killed enough lives, and then covered it up. Could it be possible that he is still alive?” Archean asked puzzling.
“Well the key to this is the Arcopolis, if we find out what that is then we can unravel whether or not he’s dead or alive.” Kosk added as he walked towards the turbo lift.
“You know, I have heard of Arcopolis someplace, however I can’t recall where.” Bruth’Kothae said as he gave a nod to Odin.
“Right now our minds must be focused and we must prepare for the mission to Scholae Palatinae.” Kosk said.
As the pair turned back to the board room, the lights began to flicker. As they shut off and on Kosk wondered if the ship had taken fire from an outside spot or if the ship was malfunctioning.
As the lights flickered the hallway turned to pure darkness with a bright light once again coming from down the hallway where the turbo lifts were.
“See, its Ma`ar just as I described.” Odin snapped as he ran towards the light.
Suddenly a loud voice said, “Arcopolis” before the light disappeared and the lights turned back on.
“See I told you two, Ma`ar is alive.” Odin snapped as he looked around.
Archean and Koskian stood there puzzled, whatever the Arcopolis was it was where Ma`ar was or it was important to Ma`ar.
“Lets get to the meeting, and we will discuss this with Halc and Strat.” Kosk said to the two younger members.
Scyrone, after looking for his Master for a few hours, decided tog o back to the Battle-Team. Scyrone was not familiar with layouts of capital ships and frigates, so of course it was a little bit harder for him to find out where to go. After asking a multiple of Officers where to go and Captains where he was, he finally struck some conversation and found out that Clan Scholae Palatine was in charge of the attacks, and the murder of there beloved Quaestor. Scyrone was angry, but he would not let it get in the way of there current mission. In fact, he would save it for later to use on the foolish Scholae, to start the obliteration (unless they surrender of course).
After finally finding the rooms where his BT members were staying he decided to tell them of what had happened.
The team looked at him with some sadness in there eyes.
“We heard the news,” sadly said Keno, “Smoke was brutally killed by the Palatine filth.”
“That’s probably the best way to put it.” replied Xar’Kahn.
“Yes, it is. But we must not drown our sorrows on Smoke like this. We must harness our anger in these times of pain. And we must focus our sights on the pathetic Clan Scholae Palatine.”
As the rest of the Battle-Team sat in the chairs in the dark-lit room, the Commander started pacing the room.
“Our first true battle lies ahead of us . . . we either would be chosen to fly fighters in the squadrons as a team, fight on the ground below, or man the gun turrets on the ships.”
The Ithorian paused for a moment.
“Either that or we could be chosen to do something else. I have a feeling that we don’t have a choice and that we will be put somewhere. And if so, then we must be prepared for anything.”
Scyrone knew that JScumm would have loved to fly a fighter. The Protector is an excellent pilot and could do almost anything in a plane that even the most advanced Dark Jedi Knights could not do. The Ithorian also knew that Xar and Keno would have loved to fight on the ground. They would have loved to fell the blood and adrenaline pulsing through their veins. But it was not up to the Commander, unless it was made so.
“That’s all I can truly say. Prepare for anything, prepare for the best, prepare for the worst, prepare for life, prepare for death, be prepared. Let’s go.”
And with that they all quietly got up and . . . prepared.
“No, I won’t sacrifice my Galeres members,” Quejo stated firmly to the Consul of Arcona. The Sovereign Imperator hologram was standing on the bridge of the Eye of the Abyss visage, with a grunt in that sturdy face. A short idle came to both leaders, inducing an argue aura.
“I have commanded D’Tana to group with Archean and Odin to seek the body and you think it is not reasonable?” Halcyon said with an impression of power in his tone. His keen eyes sharply stared at Quejo.
“I have prepared Soulfire for important missions and since several members have been out of duty and line, I won’t busy them with improper priority,” Quejo continued, “One third of our forces has been sent to empower the Antei already and the inter-allies-clash is enough with the one fourth of navy armada. We’ve lost Smoke and that’s it.”
“No, my Master is still alive,” Odin yelled rushing in the meeting room,” He’s here…and..and… he guides me to find the Acropolis.” The young Guardian turned around twice as if he wanted to show them the presence of his master. “He’s here, somewhere, Archean and Kosk also saw him, or his visage…he gave us clue to find him or…other evidence… I …” he stopped talking as Koskian waved before him.
“Actually, we didn’t see him. Yes, we sensed a kind of disturbance but it was not clear enough to clarify. Perhaps, Vaaj should be in rest for a while. The verity seems having a hold on Vaaj’s thought of realm,” Koskian said with a bit pity look to the guardian.
Odin gripped his head tightly as if he struggled to free any chain in his head. Pain grimace was covering on his face. His mouth wanted to scream but an invisible force blocked the will. With a soundless movement of lips, the audience perhaps could catch the message Odin wanted to deliver before tumbling, “I…am not…crazy…I… saw… him…You must…believe me…. I must go… to the Acropolis…”
“Get the medic here,” Koskian ordered.
Archean called the guards to enter the room to make his fellow safe. Shortly, two medical officers followed to continue the aid.
“I will bring him,” Archean nodded at the medical team seeing Odin lied securely on the medical capsule,” I’ve remembered where the Acropolis is, I in fact went there not too long ago but the secrecy hold the details. Perhaps this issue won’t restrain you from the higher ones anymore.”
“That’s good. You will get this mission done. Other way, we can focus on weakening the CSP’s power and have our revenge. Antei will have the triumph mostly by Taldryan. So, we can pick up our benefit of having two victories. Against red forces and CSP, “Quejo grinned.
Archean bowed to the summit before he left the high issue heated discussion room to accompany the medical transfer of Odin who was lying within his sub consciousness. However, the Warrior still heard Koskian’s voice on his way to the door, “Anyway I would not have the full capacitance of directing Soulfire at the moment. Antei has summoned me to lead as the Head Master and for period of time I’ve been troubling myself in two directions. Higher issue should have my attention appropriately. The right Jac must be defended by the book as stated in our allegiance…”
The Warrior did not give his focus to the room to any further extent. He had his intention to complete the mission. Whether this young weak Guardian was helpful or not, perhaps his babble could be true and it had no cost to search Ma’ar once more.
“Have the Infiltrator come?” Asked Archean to the guard.
“Yes, Sir. As your order, the Infiltrator has arrived from Selen two minutes ago,” the guard reported.
“Good. Bring the Guardian to the shuttle also,” Archean continued to command.
“But, Sir. Doesn’t he need some medical treatments first?” the medical officer said in a bit confusion.
“Don’t worry about him…ah Karel…Won’t you come with us?” Archean said with his style of smile.
“What happens to Odin? And where do you want to go?” Karel questioned as he walked, drawing near to his friends.
Suddenly, the Guardian talked in his ravings,” The Acropolis…Master…waits for us...”
“As you heard,” Archean smiled, pointed to the unconscious man without slowing his steps towards the lift.
“The Acropolis? Hey, what’s this all about?” Karel shouted when he saw the group entering the lift.
“See you in the docking bay if you want to join us,” said Archean before the door of the lift slid to close.
Yridia IV. They would visit that planet again very soon with the heat of war. This time would be not easy as before since the Clan that owned the planet had been declared the opposite allegiance. The Warrior remained in silence instead of sometimes; the talking of the unconscious Guardian had his attention for a while when the group had come into the bay preparing the shuttle to warm up. He busied himself thinking of the ways to the gate of that rocky planet and the fellows he would look for assistance.
For the past few days Arcona had become almost normal once more. There had been no recent attacks, nor had the war between the red and blue sides come to any serious blows. As such, the Clan had taken the opportunity to gather itself once more, and continue preparations for the inevitable confrontation.
For all of its normalcy however, a cloud still hung over the dark jedi of the Clan. Oriens Obscurum still stood leaderless, the Proconsul having taken over day-to-day duties as Scyrone continued to push his team members to stay ready. Three members had gone in search of any news concerning the death of Quaestor and Tribune, Ma`ar. No word had reached the Clan of the mission, although the trip itself would take a number of days alone.
Another member had also disappeared, one who was known however to come and go as he pleased. Former Consul Mejas, a Master of Shadowcrafting hadn’t been seen for some time, no one knowing his current whereabouts.
Although seemingly quiet, the Dark Brotherhood was still in turmoil, literally split over the question of which Grand Master was the real one. Deep within the bowels of Arcona Citadel, the Consul of Arcona was immersed in conversation over the answer to this question.
“We’re re-taking Antei and disposing of the impostor”, the Lord Hegemon’s holographic image stated, his voice forceful.
“And how are we going this?” Taldryan’s Consul asked, his features hard as the two holograms stared at one another.
“The specifics are being sent to each of you now. We are taking it by force. The advantage is ours, and we expect that you each have been preparing your Clans for this moment. We meet in one day, and attack the next. Victory is at hand. For Jac!”
The hologram suddenly disappeared, with both Duga’s and Dakari’s images winking out as well, leaving Halcyon alone with the information and his thoughts. Uploading everything onto a pad, he began looking over the details, a small smile forming as he saw Arcona’s job would be “Space superiority”, his mind recalling fond memories of his time as an imperial pilot.
However, his lips soon thinned out as thoughts of who his Clan was allied with. Although relations with Taldryan were amicable, Scholae Palatinae had been behind many of the recent troubles plaguing Arcona, with reports that Kaiann had played some part as well. Although they had kept the news secret, all information pointed to a certain members within CSP having murdered the HOO Quaestor. The Consul’s hatred had to be held in check at every meeting, the anger festering for when retribution was possible.
There was however much work to do concerning the war plans. With a few strokes of his console, every dark jedi within the Clan as well as all military leaders had been called to the auditorium for a meeting. With only a few hours before the actual meeting, the Arconae began to pour over the details.
= = |o| = =
“We’re about to exit hyperspace”, Odin called from the pilot’s seat, the Hunter slipping in beside him as Archean leaned over both seats.
“As soon as we exit, activate the cloaking device”.
Both Journeymen nodded as the Guardian pulled back on the levers, the Infiltrator easing into real space as Karel switched on the rare device.
“We’re blind”, Odin announced, a slight bead of sweat rolling down his forehead as he gripped the controls. Archean placed a hand on the younger man’s shoulder as he looked outside the viewport.
“It looks, empty”, he stated, the area surrounding Yridia IV showing no signs of Tarentum’s forces.
“No one looks home”, Karel said from his seat, his limited senses not picking anything up either.
“Alright, we do this manually. Odin, take us down and use your eyes only. The sensors will be useless while we’re cloaked”.
The Guardian nodded as he eased the Infiltrator into the atmosphere. The craft glided down through the clouds, breaking free as land came into view.
“Over there”, Archean pointed, “don’t ask me why, but just go there”.
Vaaj nodded as he brought the craft and pointed it towards the location, the vessel coming up on an ancient structure.
“The Acropolis”, Karel muttered.
“Agreed, bring us down. And disengage the cloak. There’s clearly no one here”.
As the Infiltrator became visible, Odin was able to use the sensors to guide the ship to safety. The three dark jedi disembarked and looked upon the structure.
“It’s too quiet. Far too easy to get this far.”
“That’s because they’ve all left for war”, a deep voice said as a form appeared at the entrance. Archean had his lightsaber already in hand and ignited as the two Journeymen each drew their blasters and pointed it at the robed figure. The large figure removed the hood, the distinct features of a Vurk showing themselves.
“SMOKE!” all three called out, surprise lining their faces.
“The plan then worked”, another voice sounded, the form of Mejas Doto appearing beside Ma`ar.
“CSP were causing too much trouble and getting to close to certain information. Mejas was able to throw their scent off, but it cost me a clone. Mejas has land here and I have a friend who holds the title to this structure, so I used it to lay low for some time. Had a feeling you’d swing by to give us a lift”.
The three dark jedi were still in a daze, the quick and simple explanation still leaving so many questions unanswered.
“All will be explained in detail later”, Mejas said as if reading each of their thoughts. “However, war is at hand and our brethren shall be involved. Tarentum has gone off to battle as well. The final fight shall be fought over Antei”.
“It’ll take us days to arrive”, Archean told the gathered Arconans.
“Then we better leave”, the Quaestor called out, already heading inside his personal ship, the rest of the dark jedi following suit.
= = |o| = =
“Greetings Arcona”, Halcyon announced from the podium, looking down at the gathered throng. “The final push for victory is at hand. In the next day, we shall meet up with the forces of Taldryan and Scholae Palatinae and then onto Antei where we shall vanquish our enemies”.
Behind him, images began to flash on a screen, detailing what was being spoken.
“The bulk of our forces shall be used, with only a skeleton crew left in Dajorra. The ships remaining shall be the Torment and the Medusa as well as Arcona’s Shadow. Specific assignments will be found in each of your quarters. However, our primary duty shall be space superiority. Sovereign Imperator Quejo shall continue to lead the Arcona Fleet, but I shall be co-ordinating the efforts of all three fleets from the Eye of the Abyss. Marshall Strategos shall be your immediate superior should you be a part of the ground unit, but the Lord Hegemon has been named overall head of the ground forces. All of our dark jedi shall be involved. This is the end, one way or another. To victory!”
A cheer erupted from the crowd, signalling their acceptance of what needed to be done. As the members began to file out, the Consul pushed away doubts at such a rushed briefing, knowing no more time could be wasted. Each member would find their specific duties on the way. Convincing himself of these necessities, the Rokir left the auditorium as well and headed back to gather his last few supplies.
= = |o| = =
“We’re coming out of hyperspace”, Ma`ar announced as he pulled back on the levers and stars shone brightly once more. Archean’s hand went to activate the cloaking device, but was stopped by the hands of a Zabrak.
“It is over”, the Dark Jedi Master announced as all of the members gathered around the viewport to see what had transpired. Numerous pieces of debris flew by as fires continued to burn on a number of other vessels.
“We are victorious however”, Mejas boldly announced, his hand pointing at a distant object familiar to all, the Eye of the Abyss.
The Infiltrator glided into the Strike Cruiser’s hold, a cloaked man standing at the bottom of the boarding ramp.
“Welcome home”, the emerald-haired man stated, his demeanour calm as he gazed at the gathered members.
“Miss us?” the Vurk casually asked, a small smirk appearing on his face.
“Took you long enough”, Halcyon threw back. “You missed the big party, but the private one is about to start. Get back aboard, we have someone to visit”.
As they were about to ask for specifics, the Consul’s eyes told them their answer, each one of them hurrying back and preparing to leave once more.
= = |o| = =
Two Dark Jedi Master’s conversed with one another in hushed tones as smoke billowed around them. Each had tasted the sting of battles, their robes torn in dozens of places, their own blood and the blood of others splashed across their skin. They had however been a part of the “winning” side, each feeling a sense of accomplishment as a number of shuttles began to land around them.
Their senses immediately made them aware of the danger, lightsabers coming out once more to face the new threat.
Action however was not immediate. Disembarking from the shuttles were other dark jedi, each one showing the marks of battle. An Infiltrator was last to come, the occupants walking down towards them. The gathered crowd gasped in shock as the two veterans each reeled as they saw the tall figure approach them.
“Try harder next time”, Ma`ar spat at them before allowing two other Dark Jedi Master’s to approach.
“Kaiann and Arania. You have been found to be conspiring against Clan Arcona.”
Halcyon brandished his lightsaber, Mejas beside him taking out the dreaded Bloodfang as all of the other gathered Arconans also revealed their weapons.
“Sentence is death”.
Tired and drained, the two enemies of Arcona flew into a frenzy, their very life at stake. For many in Arcona, they too had given everything they had to the previous cause, no match for the two determined Master’s. Many fell under their blade: Malidir’s leg nearly cut off; Koskian’s face receiving a new scar; Windos’ sent flying through the air as a bolt of lightning slammed into him.
In the end however there were too many. The Command of the Guard drew the first kill, his blade entering the back of the Lord Hegemon’s skull, killing him instantly. The second kill was split between the two Master’s of Arcona; Halcyon bisecting Arania’s waist as Mejas took her head clean off.
“Well done, Arcona”, the Consul told those still conscious, holstering his sabre once more and walking towards one of the vessels as the others celebrated their victories and helped their fallen comrades.
Victory was Arcona’s.